New Helen Shepherd Mystery Available: Parlour Game

Blogging has been very light this month, since I’m currently trying for a repeat of the July Short Story Challenge, where the aim is to write a story per day in July (for previous editions, see here and here). I just finished story number 16 and I’m really happy with what I have written so far.

In other news, I am currently participating in a Christmas in July promo, where you can get lots of Christmas books for 99 cents. And if you want more cheap books, Smashwords is currently holding its annual summer sale, where you can find lots of e-books at a reduced price, including several of mine.

What is more, I also have a new release to announce. That is, it’s no longer quite so new, but I was so busy with translation work and Hugo voting and the July Short Story Challenge that I didn’t get around to announcing this new release so far.

The new release is another Helen Shepherd Mystery, the 11th in the series by now. Though it’s not necessary to read the previous ten, cause they all stand alone.

This Helen Shepherd Mystery is entitled Parlour Game and it’s basically my version of the classic country house mystery. Helen and her team (plus DCI Simon Westmoreland from Counter Terrorism Command who is dating Helen) are called to investigate a mysterious death in a manor house (and yes, there are manor houses to be found in Greater London, though Honeydew House is fictional) and find themselves faced with a library full of suspects.

When writing Parlour Game, I finally understood just why classic mystery authors like assembling all suspects in a single place so much. Because when you gather all suspects in a single place, they inevitably start to accuse each other. All the detective has to do is listen and watch. Coincidentally, the scene was also a whole lot of fun to write, because the characters did all the work.

So if you’re in the mood for a modern take (did I mention that there are references to Star Wars and Midsomer Murders among other things?) on the classic country house mystery, check out Parlour Game:

Parlour Game
Parlour Game by Cora BuhlertWhen Edgar Asheford-Browne is found dead in his palatial home, with a hole in his head and a bloody fire poker next to his body, the cause of death seems obvious. Edgar Asheford-Browne was beaten to death.

But as Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team begin to unravel the case, it suddenly seems much less clear. For Helen has to deal not only with contradictory evidence, but also with an entire library full of suspects who are all accusing each other.

 

 

 

More information.
Length: 10800 words
List price: 2.99 USD, EUR or 1.99 GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Our Six Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp’s six year anniversary, so it’s time for another overview post. In those six years, our catalogue has grown to 109 titles in two languages.

In other news, I’m currently trying for a repeat of the July short story challenge, where the idea is to write a short story per day in July (for a summary of the 2015 and 2016 challenges, see here). I’m not sure if I will manage to do it for the whole month this year, but so far I’ve written three stories in as many days. And since writing a short story every day takes time, this post will be a bit more basic than usual:

So let’s take a look at the figures and percentages. The figures of previous years may be found here BTW.

Warning, lots of statistical neepery under the cut. Continue reading

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for June 2017

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some May books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, space opera, military science fiction, paranormal romance, horror, anthologies, non-fiction, dragons, elves, quests, Russian witches, magical princesses, space marines, officers, galactic empires, planetstriders, intergalactic prison breaks, killer virusses, repentant pickpockets and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Into the North by Annie BelletInto the North by Annie Bellet:

The mute elven archer known only as Killer. Azyrin, a half Winter-orc shaman and his human swordswoman bride, Makha. Drake, the charming, swashbuckling rogue. The fireball-slinging pixie-goblin, Rahiel, and her mini-unicorn, Bill. These are the Gryphonpike Companions.

Taking on their most dangerous quest yet, Killer fears she won’t survive to break her curse. Tasked with finding the source behind a magical winter without end far to the north on the isolated island of Imaldor, Killer and her companions sail north. There they must face off against the elements and an unknown foe to end the deadly winter before it ends them and all hope Killer has of ever going home.

This is the final adventure fantasy novella in the Gryphonpike Chronicles series.

Orphans in the BlackOrphans in the Black: A Space Opera Anthology by Lindsay Buroker, Amy J. Murphy and others

We’re all Orphans in the Black …

Strap yourself in for nineteen thrilling short stories of space pirates, time travelers, aliens, AI, and more! Meet determined heroes forging their own path through the universe, men and women who won’t go down without a fight.

Be transported to nineteen fantastical new worlds by award winning and bestselling authors. Download this exclusive collection today.

 

Foreshadow by Cynthia Joyce ClayForeshadow by Cynthia Joyce Clay:

“I am Princess Royal Burta, and I call out your challenger!”

In a time when dragons and gods seduce mortals, greedy kings plot to overthrow the tiny, impoverished kingdom of Allsongs, tempted by the promise of its future. It is said the hope and best defense of Allsongs lies in the person of a small child, Tristabé-airta, the Princess Royal, whose magic always works. Yet, it is the king and sword souled dragon born children whom the enemy kings fear will usurp their kingdoms. An assassin is sent to kill them. One of these children is surely a threat, Princess Burta who trains in arms for the day she can snatch the Allsongs kingdom from Tristabé-airta. While Tristabé-airta knows Burta hates her, Tristabe-airta must do what she can to save her or Allsongs will fall when they come of age.

Press the Line by Chris FoxPress the Line by Chris Fox:

Imperalis has been lost. The Nameless Ones have returned. The Coalition refuses to fight, leaving the Ganog to wage a war they cannot win.

Betrayed and cut off, Khar and Zakanna struggle to survive. Nolan and Burke bring Alpha Company to reinforce the Nyar home world, only to be overwhelmed by the mighty Void Wraith Omegas. Fizgig and Takkar are captured by the sadistic Kthul fleet leader, Azatok.

Only one guttering flame of hope remains. On Nyar, Nolan finds an ancient Void Wraith Omega, weathered and damaged. If he can restore it, they might just have a weapon strong enough to fight back.

Chameleon's Challenge by B.R. KingsolverChameleon’s Challenge by B.R. Kingsolver:

Libby’s chameleon mutation has led to a lucrative career as a thief and assassin. She normally doesn’t worry about the comfort of corporate executives, but when she stumbles onto the grisly murder of a rich man’s mistress, it gets her attention.

The murder leads Libby to believe her best friend’s life is in danger, and she vows to protect her. The killings continue, some in broad daylight, but no one ever sees the killer.

For a chameleon assassin, the scenario feels uncomfortably familiar.

Cut Down to Size by Eugene Kirk and Garan MadCut Down to Size by Eugene Kirk and Garan Mad:

Someone is killing people in the name of profit . . . and it’s up to Tina and Doc to stop them.

A year into their contract with Imperial East Africa, Tina and Doc have gained some measure of notoriety. But when they’re sent into IEA Madagascar with only sketchy intel, they find themselves defending more than just their professional reputation.

Outmanned and outgunned, their only chance for survival is to call a shaky truce based upon an even shakier mercenary code of honor. But when a compromise can’t be reached, the future of both their company and their client hangs in the balance. Pushed to the edge, Tina doubles down with a risky business move that could either see them raking in millions or winding up dead broke, if not just plain dead.

With the stakes higher than ever, just how far will Tina go to win? Will she pull it off at the risk of compromising everything she believes in?

Or will she be the one finally cut down to size . . .

Through the Abyssal Gates by Brian J.W. LeeThrough the Abyssal Gates by Brian J.W. Lee:

From the author of The Keeper of Pulau Purba, sixteen new dimensions of horror emerges.

You stand before a series of dark portals, each of which will take you to a reality worse than the next.

Step into the shoes of a modern day technician, who discovers a strange hatch in a rarely-used and secluded toilet.

Cower with a teenager who’s all grown up, as a strange new neighbour moves in next to him, bringing along strange barrels of vinegar and mannerisms.

Join a woman and her boyfriend as they run an ultra-marathon, only to discover that something has been pursuing them.

Wake up to find yourself on an island city as overpopulated as it is futuristic, where a waitress clings on to her traditions even as everything is grasping to take it away.

Or enter a world rife with ancient artifacts and deadly creatures, where a young man must risk all to save his father.

Many more worlds await, and once you enter the abyssal gate, there is no turning back.

In a collection of eight short stories and eight flash fictions amounting to 120,000 words, there’s always a little something for everyone beyond the threshold.

Oh, and watch your head.

The Goddess's Choice by Jamie MarchantThe Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant:

In a world where the corrupt church hides the truth about magic, the fate of the joined kingdom falls on the shoulders of two young people from opposite ends of the social hierarchy.

Crown Princess Samantha’s life begins to fall apart when she starts seeing strange colors around her potential suitors. She fears that she’s going insane–or worse that she’s defying the Goddess’s will. Robrek is a lowly farm boy with incredible magical powers. He has been biding his time waiting to get revenge on those who call him a demon.

Thrown together by chance, they must overcome their differences to fight their common enemy Duke Argblutal, who, with dark magic, is slowly poisoning the king’s mind and turning him against his own daughter. Time is running out for those chosen by the Goddess to prevent the power mad duke from usurping the throne and plunging the joined kingdoms into civil war.

Breakout by Dominique MondesirBreakout by Dominique Mondesir:

He has one shot–to get out, to save himself, and to protect his family.

Looking for a major payoff, Phoenix Jones will do anything to save the people he cares about. With his brother and sister suffering in a hospital, he needs money–and fast. But when his temper lands him in prison light years from home, everything changes.

Now all he’s ever known and loved is on the line. It’s up to Phoenix to break out of jail and battle vicious aliens he never knew existed. But can he save the only place he’s ever called home before it’s too late?

Shade of Honor by T.S. Paul and Taki DrakeShade of Honor by T.S. Paul and Taki Drake:

Bereft of their elders in magic, hired out to strangers to feed their families. Survival was a constant battle for the Russian Witches. Despised by other witches for their rigid focus on contracts, they were without a moral compass, honorless. That was not good enough for some. For the young witch, Zhanna, life was not worth living without honor – or her magic. Could she find both in her homeland? Would her desire and drive be enough to locate her shade of honor?

 

 

Coins for Charon by P.J. PostCoins for Charon by P.J. Post:

The people of Freemont have always fought for their own, and the end of the world hasn’t changed a thing. They opened up the armory, fueled the World War II trucks and even got the old generators working. They turned on the lights. For the survivors of the War, Freemont is a beacon of hope.

Five days ago Lane went searching for the missing kids, and now he’s brought them here, to the rendezvous, to Freemont, only to find Cart People, Crayton Mercenaries and thousands of townsfolk fighting through the streets and neighborhoods, for their city and for the lives of the millions of refugees that have found salvation.

Sam’s down there, somewhere.

And so is the Button Eye plague.

Retribution by Guy RiessenRetribution by Guy Riessen:

Brian Lockewood grew up knowing the pain of abuse and loss, but his own turn toward hatred and violence will teach him that retribution is a dish best served cold…and wet…and filled with rats.

A Dark Psychological Supernatural Horror Novelette

 

 

 

The Officer, edited by Alasdair ShawThe Officer, edited by Alasdair Shaw:

Being an officer means balancing many conflicting demands. Making the wrong decision can have serious consequences. It takes a special kind of person to cope with the responsibility.

The Officer is an anthology of eleven science fiction short stories by writers from across the globe. It is part of the Newcomer series of scifi anthologies.

 

 

Lock by Hollis ShilohLOCK by Hollis Shiloh:

Drew leads an ordinary, boring life—until one day the ESRB assigns him a bodyguard because he’s in danger. They don’t know why, only that he is.

It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to Drew. Naturally, he develops a massive crush on his bodyguard, Neal, as the two try to figure out why he’s in danger and what it has to do with the ESRB.

When Drew turns out to have an unexpected—and rare—talent, things take a turn for the worse. Because Neal might not be enough to keep him safe after all.

 

Syndicate Wars: First StrikeSyndicate Wars: First Strike by Justin Sloan, Kyle Noe and George S. Mahaffey Jr.

With an alien invasion and survival of the human race at stake, service in the Marines was no longer simply about honor and duty, it was a matter of life and death.

This was especially true for Quinn, a Marine sergeant who was hell-bent on ensuring that her young daughter had a world to grow up in. But one thing separates Quinn from the others:

She’s a certifiable badass.

And as the aliens will learn, it’s tough to keep a good woman down.

The Job: A Darklight Chronicle by Greg L. Turnquist:

What if a pickpocket had a change of heart?

Snitch and her partner in crime decide to knock over a pawn shop. But something goes wrong. What should she do next?

 

 

 

Rocket Surgeon by A.E. WilliamsRocket Surgeon by A.E. Williams:

A.E. Williams presents his thoughts on a variety of subjects of interest to thinking persons.

Bringing together a lifetime of experience as a science fiction author, former aerospace materials engineer, cyber-security expert and irascible genius, Williams provides big picture views on our place in the Universe.

Based on a series of blog articles written for the “Speculative Fiction Showcase” and including material reviewed while performing research for his series “Terminal Reset”, Williams explores and questions some of the most basic precepts of science and physics.

The recent popularization of physics in television and movies has opened up this field to the ordinary lay person.

In these articles, Mr. Williams looks at why we, as a species, crave to leave the Mother planet, and venture out into the hostile territories of uncharted space.

Williams explains, with his own unique and perceptive worldview, just how the Space Race, once the core being of America’s science programs, has defined the processes and bureaucracy of space exploration today.

Williams provides a narrative of his own experiences, working on high-tech and cutting edge programs that led to the technological marvels we take for granted today.

From jet engines to smart phones, from “Star Trek” to “Interstellar”, Williams helps readers to understand just how much the world has been impacted science and technology.

Is a Mission to Mars or other form of manned space flight our future?

Can we afford to spend our resources on these efforts, at the expense of other critical problems facing us today?

Follow Williams down the Rabbit Hole, as he looks at Fake News, the Presidential Election, AGW and other contentious events in our world, and body-slams them using logic and the Scientific Method!

A.E. Williams makes a compelling argument that manned space exploration is not just viable, but necessary to the survival of the species.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2017

Welcome to the second edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some May books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, small town mysteries, police procedurals, legal thrillers, crime thrillers, murder in small towns and country houses, skeletons in the closet, unpredictable events, bartering angels, Steele strangers, remorseful pickpockets, crime-solving dogs, lawyers, the Russian mob, adventures in the Caribbean and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Kicked the Bucket in Grady by Kate BellKicked the Bucket in Grady by Kate Bell:

Grady, Arizona is home to the desert heat and murder. Gracie Williams’ friend, Frannie has been murdered and she’s determined to find the killer. Her snooping enrages the killer and she stands to lose all she holds dear. With help from her faithful canine Sophie and her friends, Aggie and Bernie, can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

 

 

 

Parlour Game by Cora BuhlertParlour Game by Cora Buhlert

When Edgar Asheford-Browne is found dead in his palatial home, with a hole in his head and a bloody fire poker next to his body, the cause of death seems obvious. Edgar Asheford-Browne was beaten to death.

But as Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team begin to unravel the case, it suddenly seems much less clear. For Helen has to deal not only with contradictory evidence, but also with an entire library full of suspects who are all accusing each other.

This is a mystery novelette of 10800 words or approximately 38 print pages.

On the Side of the Angel by J. David CoreOn the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel Story by J. David Core:

Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.

Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.

Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

Winter Downs by Jan EdwardsWinter Downs by Jan Edwards:

Bunch Courtney stumbles upon the body of Jonathan Frampton in a woodland clearing. Is this a case of suicide, or is it murder? Bunch is determined to discover the truth but can she persuade the dour Chief Inspector Wright to take her seriously?

In January of 1940 a small rural community on the Sussex Downs, already preparing for invasion from across the Channel, finds itself deep in the grip of a snowy landscape, with an ice-cold killer on the loose.

 

 

Traffic by Richard C. HaleTraffic by Richard C. Hale:

Family is everything.
Would you kill to protect it?

When Jaxon Jennings witnesses a woman attack a man and kill him, his only thought is to apprehend the woman and bring her to justice. But when he discovers the mysterious and deadly woman, Adi Jordan, is on a mission to save her kidnapped daughter, he can only imagine doing one thing.

He must help her.

In a race against the clock and insurmountable odds, Jaxon joins forces with Adi in a desperate battle with the Russian mob to track down her daughter and get her back before the trail grows cold and Adi’s daughter is lost to the world of human trafficking.

Adi’s dark and mysterious past only adds to the pressure as her brutal and ruthless tactics bring Jaxon to a place he’s never been before. But will her actions destroy any chance they have of finding her daughter and surviving? Jaxon must walk a thin line between what is right and wrong. Will it be enough?

From the first sentence of his latest Jaxon Jennings Thriller, Traffic, author Richard C Hale piles on the suspense and kicks it into high gear. A pulse-pounding, thrill ride that pulls you in and never lets up, Traffic will keep you on the edge until the surprising end.

Steele Stranger by Chris LordSteele Stranger by Chris Lord

Cassie Steele didn’t recognize the man who came home, she was expecting her husband.

Seven years has passed since her husband had left to work in the Middle East post 9-11, and six years since the last letter. But she’s told he’s still alive and coming home.

Just before he could be declared dead she got the news. Ashley was coming home!

The news of Ashley returning caused her hands to shake and to remember how he chose duty over love. When she sees him at the airport it’s his face, his body, but not his soul. She’s on her own–to everyone else he’s the same old Ashley.

Cause not everyone who returns is the same person and Casie she has to find out if this is her Ashley Steele. Or a Steele Stranger.

Steele Tempted by Chris LordSteele Tempted by Chris Lord

Ashley’s searching for An elusive beauty in a deadly paradise!

Ashley Steele’s guilty drinking catches up with him in a bar with a beautiful woman who rescues him from a man with no neck. This chance encounter gives him a reason to climb out of the shallow end of a bottle with the vision of rebuilding his life with her.

Working to get her a job as the only stewardess of the flying yacht, The Good Fortune, little does he know the strings that are attached to the woman will pull him into a family of drugs, white slavery, and terrorism.

Only after he’s let his heart fall for her does he realize that this elusive beauty he’s been searching is connected in a web of crime… a web that is deadly for any who get’s caught in the deadly paradise of the waters of St. Croix, in this Ashley Steele Caribbean action adventure thriller.

Unpredictable Events by Cecilia PeartreeUnpredictable Events by Cecilia Peartree:

This is the 13th book in the Pitkirtly Mystery series, set in a fictitious small town on the Fife coast in Scotland. Not a million miles from Culross, and yet rather different from it.

Christopher finds that going away on holiday is a lot more trouble than it’s worth, while a wedding in the Cultural Centre isn’t without its problems. Amaryllis tries to keep a low profile as she teases out secrets from the tangled threads of everyday life, and Christopher’s sister Caroline allows obsession to lead her into danger.

 

 

Injustice For All by Rachel SinclairInjustice For All by Rachel Sinclair:

Harper must deal with two high-profile death cases. One involves her beloved friend, Stephen. The other involves an underprivileged black youth accused of murdering an undercover cop.

Harper is assigned another high-profile case, as 18-year-old Darnell Williams is accused of killing a Kansas City Police Officer. At first, this seems like just another dead dog case that Harper wouldend up pleading out. But as she gets deeper into the specifics of the case, she realizes that she has stumbled into something much, much bigger. She ends up being warned to back off, or face disciplinary charges of her own. But the more she is brushed back, the more intrigued she becomes. She becomes convinced that a true injustice is being perpetrated on her client and she must fight the system to prove his innocence.

With the fast-pace that you’ve come to expect with a Harper Ross LegalThriller, Injustice for All is a book that is not to be missed!

Murder at Hartigan House by Lee StraussMurder at Hartigan House by Lee Strauss:

There’s a skeleton in the attic!

After a weeklong passage over the Atlantic from Boston to Liverpool, Ginger Gold arrives at her childhood London home–Hartigan House–to find decade-old remains from some poor woman on the floor in the attic. Ginger’s Boston terrier, Boss, noses out a missing phalange from under the bed.

It’s a mystery that once again puts Ginger alongside the handsome Chief Inspector Basil Reed. Who is the victim? And how did she end up in Ginger’s home?

Clues lead Ginger and her good friend Haley Higgins to a soirée hosted in 1913 by Ginger’s late father, George Hartigan. A shadow of suspicion is cast on her father’s legacy, and Ginger isn’t so sure she wants to know the truth about the man she dearly loved.

Ginger decides to host another soirée, inviting the guest list from ten years previous. Before the night is over, another person is dead.

The Job: A Darklight Chronicle by Greg L. Turnquist:

What if a pickpocket had a change of heart?

Snitch and her partner in crime decide to knock over a pawn shop. But something goes wrong. What should she do next?

 

 

 

The Flapper Caper by Victoria L.K. WilliamsThe Flapper Caper by Victoria L.K. Williams

Old Cars, Old Costumes, and an Old reason for Murder…
Megan and Aiden, along with Barney, are back to solving murders, and this one makes friends out of foes.
New characters arrive at Citrus Beach to help solve the mystery, working along with the town’s sleuths. While Megan has her hands full with one zany writer, Aiden, tries to keep the new lawman on the right path.
But its Barney that saves the day again— with the help of his sidekick-Gypsy and a pair of feathered watchmen.

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New Helen Shepherd Mystery available: Kitchen Witch

If you took a look at the brand-new Indie Crime Fiction of the Month round-up I posted two days ago, you might have noticed that one of the new releases listed was a new Helen Shepherd Mystery. So here is the official new release announcement for Kitchen Witch, the tenth Helen Shepherd Mystery to date (and there are at least two more coming up).

The inspiration for this particular Helen Shepherd Mystery was culinary. For you see, I’m very fond of wild garlic a.k.a. ramsons a.k.a. wood garlic a.k.a. bear garlic, a tasty and healthy leafy herb. Wild garlic is only available for a few weeks in April and early May, so I have it as often as possible when it’s in season. My favourite way of preparing it is lightly sauteeing the leaves in olive oil, tossing them with garlic, tomatoes, olives and red pepper flakes and serving it with pasta. Here’s a pic I took last time I had wild garlic spaghetti.

I buy my wild garlic at the supermarket, but quite a few people forage their own. And so, during wild garlic season, I came across an article that warned of the dangers of mistaking the leaves of autumn crocus or lily of the valley, both of which are highly poisonous, for edible wild garlic. This got my mystery writer’s mind working and wondering what if someone deliberately switched harmless wild garlic leaves for poisonous autumn crocus?

Now there are few things that get a mystery writer’s mind going faster than a good murder method. And so I came up with the story of Eudora Pembroke, herbalist, eccentric and self-styled witch, who ends up dead in her favourite armchair, after eating a wild garlic salad that contains a lethal dose of autumn crocus leaves.

As always, Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team question several witnesses and potential suspects. One of these witnesses/suspects is Tara Willows, owner of a New Age shop. I enjoyed writing Tara a whole lot, so much that I decided to keep her around and give her her own spin-off.

I’m not a “write to market” person at all, but I am interested in genres and subgenres and how they are defined. Now I’ve explained before that the definition of crime and mystery fiction is quite different in Germany and the US and that the definition of “mystery” in the US is much narrower than the definition of “Krimi” a.k.a. “crime fiction” in Germany. As a result, most of the crime shorts collected in Murder in the Family and elsewhere (Murder in the Family, Volume 2 is coming soon BTW) are Krimis, but they’re not mysteries in the US sense. But unfortunately, the crime fiction category at Amazon is something of a wasteland – mystery is where the readers and the sales are. So I tried to write a crime story that would fit into the narrower US definition of mystery and so the Helen Shepherd Mysteries were born.

Now one of the most popular mystery subgenres are cozy mysteries featuring an amateur sleuth, usually a woman, solving mysteries, often using specialist knowledge about cooking, baking, crafts, etc… Cozy mysteries are not easy to come by here in Germany – the crime fiction sections in bookstores are dominated by thrillers and suspense – though I enjoyed the atmosphere and quirky characters of those that I’ve read. I also considered writing one, provided the right protagonist came along. When Helen and DC Walker walked into Tara’s shop to question her, I realised at once that Tara was the amateur sleuth protagonist I’d been waiting for. So look out for the first Tara Willows Mystery soon.

But for now, here is Kitchen Witch, the latest Helen Shepherd Mystery:

Kitchen Witch
Kitchen Witch by Cora BuhlertWhen Eudora Pembroke, a self-styled witch, is found dead in her house after ingesting a poisonous plant, everybody suspects a tragic accident. After all, Eudora was elderly and might have mistaken the poisonous plant for a benign herb.

But Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd is sceptical. Would a skilled herbalist like Eudora Pembroke really make such a beginner’s mistake? And who might have had a motive to poison her?

 

 

More information.
Length: 12500 words
List price: 2.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2017

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, historical fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, Asian fantasy, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, Cyberpunk, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, science fiction romance, fantasy romance, gothic romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, horror, young adult science fiction and fantasy, dragons, vampires, witches, magicians, shamans, mercenaries, superheroes, star dogs, werewolves in space, galactic empires, planetstriders, intergalactic plagues, time travel, telepathic space pirates, killer clones, jackalope wives, kidnapped fae, King Arthur reincarnated and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Blue Gold by David BarkerBlue Gold by David Barker:

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow.

When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission.

Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust?

As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’.

Magic Waking by Eva ChaseMagic Waking by Eva Chase:

Die, reincarnate, repeat. It’s been a long fifteen hundred years…

Reborn wizard Emma Hale has three goals in life, or rather lives: Track down the present incarnation of the legendary King Arthur, fend off the shadow creatures that hound him for as long as she can, and break the spell that binds their souls in this morbid cycle.

If only she had a better idea how she’d cast that spell in the first place. And if only Arthur’s current host wasn’t so cocky yet distractingly good-looking. Because Emma is falling even harder for the man she can’t have.

When a fae mercenary with power to rival Emma’s puts her king in his sights, Emma burns through all her tricks just to stay one step ahead. Now her only chance is to find some way to destroy the mercenary before he and his army of dark forces destroy Arthur.

No human Emma’s ever known has managed to kill a fae. But if she can’t, and quickly, this death might be their last.

Looking for a story full of sarcastic wizardry, cruel fae, and a star-crossed love centuries in the making? Scroll up and grab this Arthurian-flavored urban fantasy today!

Starfang by Joyce ChngStarfang: Rise of the Clan by Joyce Chng:

Is a clan captain going to sacrifice everything for her clan? Tasked to kill Yeung Leung by her parents, powerful rival clan leader of the Amber Eyes, Captain Francesca Min Yue sets out across the galaxy to hunt her prey, only to be thrown into a web of political intrigue spreading across the stars. Is Yeung Leung collaborating with the reptilian shishini and playing a bigger game with the galaxy as a price? Is Francesca’s clan at stake? Welcome to Starfang: Rise of the Clan, where merchants and starship captains are also wolves.

“Wolves should not be in space, but here we were, a clan of wolves and merchants. Instead of the preserved forests of New Earth and Noah’s Ark, we were in ships of steel and armor, reading data scans and commanding officers on the bridge. Wolves within the uniform of merchants and mercenaries, human seeming, claws and teeth sheathed.”

– Captain Francesca Ming Yue, of the warship Starfang.

Welcome to Starfang, a space opera with werewolves, politics and intrigue.

Human by Karen DiemHuman by Karen Diem:

Death? Acceptable risk. Taxes? No problem. Ancient magical cutlery of mass destruction? Bad, very bad.
Following a brief foray into the world of superpowered vigilantism, extreme sports enthusiast and halfhearted tax preparer, Zita Garcia, wants her old life, her shiny new abilities, and none of the consequences. She’s even willing to hide her powers since the alternative means endangering her family and living life as a literal lab rat.
Unfortunately, supervillains are searching for the pieces of a decrepit magic dagger, hurting innocents and fueling nasty anti-super protests. Her close friends, who helped before, are barely speaking to her, and one of them stands in the path of the violent hunt for the knife.
Zita better dig out her mask—fast.
Human is the second in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series, and as a movie would be rated “R” for immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence. While Human can be read as a standalone, it contains spoilers for the first book in the series.

Retrograde Horizon by Charon DunnRetrograde Horizon by Charon Dunn:

A fast-paced epic science fiction adventure set in 3748 on an earth with a very different climate, not to mention configuration, chemistry and composition. For Young Adults and Old Children.

TRIGGER WARNING: contains potentially upsetting material about explosions, terrorists attacking schools, malfunctioning robots, school bullies, mean principals that assign a bunch of extra homework, paparazzi, poverty, affluenza, bad neighborhoods, public transit, precipitous drops in socioeconomic status, police drones, police, clandestine lizard fights, exploding roller coasters, unicorn attack, industrial steam calender malfunction, pissed-off chef with a deep fryer … I’d better stop, I’m starting to get into spoilers and I’m barely into the second chapter.

In volume one, Sonny made his way home. Now he’s in volume two, and those pesky clones are still trying to kill him – or worse. Meanwhile, his family is still trapped in a comfortable suburban development on the clones’ super secret mist-shrounded volcanic island somewhere in the South Pacific. It’s starting to look like he’s going to have to go get them, if he can get past the assassination attempts, and avoid getting distracted by true love.

Toric's Dagger by Jamie EdmundsonToric’s Dagger by Jamie Edmundson:

Toric’s Dagger is just another religious relic, until it’s stolen. Belwynn and her twin brother, Soren, volunteer to lead a team tasked with its retrieval. Drawn into a world of danger and treachery, they must rely on Soren’s magical abilities, and on the telepathic bond they share.

Now, as kingdoms and empires start to fall, the twins confront the dark forces that threaten them. They must not let the Dagger fall into the wrong hands. But when mercenaries, zealots and sorcerers are all hunting for the same weapon, who should they trust?

Book One of The Weapon Takers Saga, an Epic Fantasy Series in the tradition of Tolkien, Tad Williams & GRR Martin

Behind the Lines by Chris Fox:Behind the Lines by Chris Fox:

A brand new adventure in the Void Wraith universe

Mechs, kaiju, epic space battles, and galactic archeology…

The Void Wraith ravaged our galaxy, nearly eradicating both humanity and our enemies, the Tigris. Captain Nolan vowed it would never happen again, that he would find the Void Wraith’s dark masters.

Nolan leads a company of mechs into uncharted space, where a new foe lies in wait. The Coalition’s fleet is destroyed, and Nolan’s squad is stranded behind enemy lines. Between them and escape stand three Planetstriders, thousand meter monstrosities capable of destroying an orbiting capital ship.

In order to survive, they must disable these titanic war machines, an impossible task made even more difficult by the discovery of a terrible secret – one that must reach fleet command, no matter the cost.

Fire Wall by Dana FraserFire Wall by Dana Fraser:

RESIST

The men in the bunkers have sent a hit squad to Cash Bishop’s Tennessee homestead. They want to take his woman—and his life.

RESIST

Hannah Carter just found out that she could be the key to bringing down Project Erebus if she can leave behind everyone she loves and infiltrate the Black Diamond facility.

If she tries, the only guarantee she has is that there will be blood.

RESIST

Cash won’t stand by while Hannah puts herself in danger. Even if he has to drag her complicit brother along by the balls and kill every damned soul inside Black Diamond, he will find and protect the woman he loves.

And bring down the corrupt government that ended America.

RESIST

Jess Rising by D.M GuayJess Rising by D.M. Guay:

Seventeen-year-old Jess Flowers sees the killer in visions. He slaughters the helpless with fire and lightning. And she’s next on the kill list.

Billy Combs is the gorgeous outcast with the electrifying secret. He’s stolen Jess’ heart, but his own past may be darker than he’s let on.

As the body count ticks higher, a growing pile of evidence links Billy to the crimes. Jess’ heart says no, but she’s the new kid in isolated Salt Creek, Ohio, a town with a life-changing secret, a town where people aren’t what they seem, a town where it’s hard to know who to trust.

Can she tame the mysterious powers surging within her and identify the real killer before it’s her turn to die?

Magic Reborn by Carly HansenMagic Reborn by Carly Hansen:

On the run and disguised as a boy, Fenix Graystone finds sanctuary when a witch opens her home, arms her with charmed knives, and transforms her into a fearsome fighter. But when an enigmatic vampire overlord arrives seeking help to solve the murders of three young women, Fenix’s newfound peace shatters.

 

 

 

Black Site by Michael Patrick HicksBlack Site by Michael Patrick Hicks:

Are you prepared to enter the BLACK SITE?

Inside an abandoned mining station, in the depths of space, a team of scientists are seeking to unravel the secrets of humanity’s origin. Using cutting-edge genetic cloning experiments, their discoveries take them down an unimaginable and frightening path as their latest creation proves to be far more than they had bargained for.

Perfect for fans of H.P. Lovecraft and Alien comes a new work of cosmic terror!

Black Site is a short story of approximately 10,000 words.

Sky Dancers by E.E. IsherwoodSky Dancers by E.E. Isherwood

Can discovering sunshine trigger the next apocalypse?

Elle is a typical doomsday bunker teenager, living under the crush of routine. She attends classes, tries to follow the rules, and endures the same petty jealousies and anxieties teens have endured since fire was used as the first hangout. But a crumbling section of tunnel exposes a big lie about her world, and Elle’s life quickly spirals downward.

She’s harassed by the enigmatic Commander. She must ward off unwanted advances from older male survivors. And, as the ultimate insult, everyone seems to know more about her past than she does. Elle seeks freedom in the plague-ravaged wasteland outside her home, but discovers the true threat to her people, and her own future, lies coiled inside the dark tunnels she left behind.

Can Elle uncover and expose the secrets buried with her underground home? Or will they fade away like the memories of everyone who thinks to oppose the Commander?

Sky Dancers is a dystopian read that will have you turning the pages! If you like mysterious wastelands, abandoned bunkers, and strong female leads, you will love the Eternal Apocalypse series!

Shadows of Our Fathers by Rex JamesonShadows of Our Fathers by Rex Jameson:

Imagine a war between angels and demons that extends across our universe. Now, think bigger. Imagine that the fight between Lucifer and Jehovah extends across not only our universe but also involves two more ancient universes filled with demons and the remnants of the proud elven race.

Angels and demons fall as the Great War between Order and Chaos comes to a close. For those who thought Jehovah’s days of smiting stopped in the Old Testament, it’s time to give the devil his due.

In the face of democratic and social reforms, the Chaos Universe struggles with its past while pursuing the future that King Lucifer promises. While the demons thrive, the creator of the Elven universe looks to his own past for the salvation of his favorite immortals. Jehovah’s wife Gaea and son Isaac seek asylum in Chaos as Lucifer and Jehovah have their final, apocalyptic battle.

“Shadows of Our Fathers” is the last book of the Lucifer’s Fall trilogy, and book three in the Primal Patterns series.

Contamination by Patty JansenContamination by Patty Jansen:

Jonathan Bartell is a young man, just out of university, when he signs up for the position of Quarantine Officer at the Orbital Launch Station.

He is part of a crop of students who flocked to study exo-biology when bacteria were discovered on Mars, and who are now all making their living flipping burgers, because the jobs are few and hard to get.

He is lucky to get a job in space, no matter how mundane.

Or so he thinks…

Gaby Larsen is a doctor at the tiny hospital at the space station, and she keeps secrets, not because she wants to keep them, but because she is too scared to share them.

Because out in space, your worst enemies are your fellow travellers.

Prelude to Insurrection by J.C. KangPrelude to Insurrection by J.C. Kang:

Only an orphan half-elf spy can avert a rebellion before it starts.

Jie’s superior senses have made her the perfect lookout. Now, as the adopted daughter of the Black Lotus Clanmaster, she wants to prove her pointed ears aren’t a liability when she’s tasked to infiltrate a rebel lord’s castle.

In this prequel to Songs of Insurrection, Jie must decide between her duty to the emperor and her sense of compassion toward the downtrodden. No matter her choice, it will have explosive consequences for her, the realm, and the upcoming war.

Jackalope Wives and other stories by T. KingfisherJackalope Wives and Other Stories by T. Kingfisher:

Winner of the Nebula and WSFA Short Fiction Awards

From award-winning author T. Kingfisher comes a collection of short stories, including “Jackalope Wives,” “The Tomato Thief,” “Pocosin,” and many others. By turns funny, lyrical, angry and beautiful, this anthology includes two all-new stories, “Origin Story” and “Let Pass The Horses Black,” appearing for the first time in print.

 

Once Giants by Eugene Kirk and Garan MadOnce Giants by Eugene Kirk and Garan Mad:

The future is a no-holds-barred free for all, but all in a day’s work…when you were Once Giants.

The year is 2189, and a wormhole leading to five habitable planets has been discovered, prompting a new global space race. Political undermining and sabotage abound, creating the perfect blend of chaos and opportunity for newly minted NETwork operator Tina Thompson to put her augmented, former pro-wrestler body to the test in the mercenary game.

But her celebrity past isn’t so easy to outrun. And when her infamy botches her latest job in Imperial East Africa, her actions trigger repercussions that affect former rival Shay Santiago as well.

As Tina and Shay both struggle to salvage their lives, a bigger threat looms. A mysterious gravitational anomaly has appeared, threatening to destroy the solar system itself. And Shay’s old high school flame may be the only person on Earth who can stop it.

Richly textured, interweaving narratives introduce new characters and bigger military sci-fi threats in this second installment of Once Giants, offering a thought-provoking look at how one person’s actions can affect the entire world.

The Metaverse by William KurthThe Metaverse: Virtual Life – Real Death by William Kurth:

An FBI Agent more comfortable hunting criminals the old fashioned way. A brilliant scientist who kills using Virtual Reality. And an Artificial Intelligence with an agenda of its own.

The Metaverse, more than the “internet of things,” is a place where humankind has devised a way to comfortably and seamlessly merge the biologic and the digital to the point that neither is readily distinguishable from the other. As people in ever greater numbers choose to live, work and play “In World,” so too do those who prey on their fellow man.

The Metaverse is a fast-paced Crime Thriller that takes place in the not too distant future with technology that even now is a part of our world.

A Dark Inheritance by Erme LanderA Dark Inheritance by Erme Lander

“I do not require your eternal love or devotion Ms Johnson, merely what is inside your veins.”

When Tina Johnson, single mother, forty, wakes up in an isolated castle in Central Europe she simply wants to return to her daughter as quickly as possible. She doesn’t expect to find that she has been kidnapped and brought into a world where power is the key to survival and sanity is an optional extra.
Tina discovers she has been watched for many years, she has a rare genetic structure that makes her attractive to vampires and has the possibility of living for well over a century, if she allows herself to become infected. Kalmár has stolen her and intends to keep her captive, hiding her from both her family and other vampires. She meets Wolfie, his bonded servant, unable to disobey the orders given by his master whether he wishes to or not. Normality becomes a frightening place as Tina struggles to escape those holding her and to fights to keep her daughter, her lover and her freedom.

Pirate Nemesis by Carysa LockePirate Nemesis by Carysa Locke:

Killers. Thieves. Pirates. Family.

Mercy Kincaid is a fugitive from her own family. Her dangerous telepathic gifts make her a target. So is anyone she gets close to. When her best friend is captured and tortured, Mercy’s only hope is to reunite with the family that tried to murder her as a child. She trusts few among her blood relatives, but finds herself intrigued by an enigmatic and dangerous killer.

Reaper has spent a lifetime watching his people die. He’s vowed to kill anyone who jeopardizes their survival. Mercy’s gifts are the biggest threat they’ve faced in eleven years, since a biological weapon nearly annihilated the pirate colonies. But Reaper realizes her talents can either destroy them, or save them. He must decide if he’s fallen victim to her power, or if he can truly trust the beautiful woman and her compelling abilities. If he makes the wrong choice, everyone dies.

Pirate Nemesis is the first book in an ongoing space opera series. If you like compelling world-building, fantastic characters, and romantic adventure, then you’ll love Carysa Locke’s new twist on an old genre.

The Rending by Carol Holland MarchThe Rending by Carol Holland March:

The saga of The Dreamwalkers of Larreta continues . . .

Deadly time rifts threaten Earth and Larreta. The rifts have swallowed people, buildings and the land itself. They must be stopped before the very fabrics of both worlds are torn apart.

Dreamwalker Leo can look backward in time. Jesse can walk into the future. Both of these abilities are needed to create the dangerous truan passage to locate and defeat the mysterious instigator of the rifts.

But Jesse is a volatile newcomer, unable to completely control his abilities. And Leo is still uncertain of his personal feelings for Jesse.

Working past their issues is key to discovering the location where the rifts originate. But the dark force behind the rifts has other plans—ones that won’t allow the two dreamwalkers to remain together. And only together can the rifts be stopped.

Physllis Wong and the Girl who Danced with LightningPhyllis Wong and the Girl Who Danced with Lightning by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong’s friend Clement finds a seemingly ordinary old movie poster in an antique shop, little does Phyllis know that the discovery will fling her on a journey into the past … a journey that will lead the brilliant young magician and clever sleuth to a forgotten mystery surrounding one of the most famous stories ever written!

 

 

Moonlight, Roses & Murder by Lori MoultonMoonlight, Roses & Murder by Lori Moulton:

Selina is a woman with a secret and she has been hiding it for a very long time. With her nieces, she runs Luna’s, a nightclub in downtown Seattle, catering to Steampunk and Goth clientele. When someone leaves a body behind her club, she is drawn into a web of mystery and murder. Puncture marks on the body indicate a vampire might be responsible and when more women are killed, a red rose is left by their bodies. As a vampire hunter comes to investigate, Selina wonders, who she can trust…

 

Feral by P.J. PostFeral by P.J. Post:

He’s just a teenager, hollow and lost, looking to keep the past buried, to forget. He surfs the backwash of the westward migration across a dead America; a war-torn desolation devoid of electricity, infrastructure and civilization. It has become a strange and unrecognizable land, rife with the worst of humanity. And his is a life without hope, equally dark and solitary.

Until he meets Feral.

Once was boy, selfish and directionless.

Now is love.

Now is reason.

Now is vengeance.

She is his vow, his purpose, and to save her, he’ll murder the world.

Children of the Shaman by Jessica RydillChildren of the Shaman by Jessica Rydill:

When their aunt is taken ill, thirteen-year old Annat and her brother are sent from their small coastal town to live with their unknown father. Like Annat, Yuda is a Shaman; a Wanderer with magical powers, able to enter other worlds. As Annat learns more about her powers, the children join their father on a remarkable train journey to the frozen north and find a land of mystery and intrigue, threatened by dark forces and beset by senseless murders that have halted construction of a new tunnel. But Annat’s doll, her only remembrance of her dead mother, may hold a dark secret – and when her brother Malchik is kidnapped, Annat and her father must travel onwards to find him before it is too late.

Between uncertain allies, shadowed enemies and hostile surroundings, it is only in the magical kingdom of La Souterraine that they can find answers – and it may be that only a Shaman can save the family and the Goddess.

Missing Things by Hollis ShilohMissing Things by Hollis Shiloh:

Is there a way to save the captive fae?

Jocelyn and Ellis, magicians and life partners, grapple with dilemmas and a miasma of magic and mystery.

Jocelyn searches out magical artifacts, and struggles with the troubling gap in his memories — and the feeling that his and Ellis’s partnership is falling apart.

Meanwhile, Ellis works desperately to dig into a wicked injustice being perpetrated against a kidnapped fae…and finds it may be too much for him to handle alone.

43,000 words
Men of Magic book 2
Very low heat

Rimward Stars by Glynn StewartRimward Stars by Glynn Stewart:

A helpless ally calls for aid
A ruthless enemy strikes without mercy
The fate of empires turns on even the smallest actions

When a minor trade partner sends the Castle Federation a desperate call for aid, they have few resources to spare from their all-consuming war against the Terran Commonwealth. Unwilling to be seen failing their allies but able to spare only a tiny force, Castle sends a hero to command the task group: Captain Kyle Roberts, the Stellar Fox.

Beyond the Rimward frontier of the Federation and its allies, little is as it seems. The pirates are being armed by an outside force, and the politics of these worlds is made deadlier by their poverty. When the Coraline Imperium—the Federation’s oft-difficult ally—sends forces as well, it risks a conflict that could undermine the Alliance protecting them both.

There are deeper games afoot as local schemes play the great powers against each other. Captain Roberts is caught in the chaos as fire and blood explode across the region. There is only one certainty: these Rimward Stars must not fall.

Star Dog Corruption by Lucas C. WheelerStar Dog Corruption by Lucas C. Wheeler:

After the Star Dog Fiasco, as it was termed by the media, Star Dog is joined by Nathan, Nicole, and Clancy while trying to rebuild his life. In the midst of a serial jewel theft and deepening conspiracies, can Star Dog truly fit into society, or will society reject him like a bad organ? Will he be able to stop the thefts and honor his name, or is there something more sinister at work?

 

 

Witch Spelling by A. WoodleyWitch Spelling by A. Woodley:

A fictional tale of witches, warlocks and wizards trying to fit in with the mundane way of life but always fearful of the consequences of being found out, especially after having already been persecuted and driven out of another town previously.
An accidental skirmish between two differing species, (both of which were once witches and warlocks) banished to adjoining worlds in an alternative dimension.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 2017

Welcome to the first ever edition of “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Crime Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, police procedurals, children’s mysteries, mystery short fiction, paranormal mysteries, psychological thrillers, legal thrillers, crime thrillers, near future crime, yakuza, smugglers, watchmakers, lawyers, vampires, kitchen witches, magician sleuths and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Crime Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Kitchen Witch by Cora BuhlertKitchen Witch by Cora Buhlert:

When Eudora Pembroke, a self-styled witch, is found dead in her house after ingesting a poisonous plant, everybody suspects a tragic accident. After all, Eudora was elderly and might have mistaken the poisonous plant for a benign herb.

But Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd is sceptical. Would a skilled herbalist like Eudora Pembroke really make such a beginner’s mistake? And who might have had a motive to poison her?

This is a mystery novelette of 12500 words or approximately 45 print pages.

Tools of the Trade by Cynthia E. HurstTools of the Trade by Cynthia E. Hurst:

He’s considered a heretic. She’s a 13-year-old thief. Jacob Silver and Sarah Simm are mistrusted by the residents of their Cotswold market town even before the suspicious death of wealthy merchant Thomas Martyn – a man with the power to destroy both of them. But a secret night visit, a hidden scandal and a second murder mean that the two outsiders on the fringes of society are now thrust into the spotlight. Can they discover the truth others have missed – or concealed?
‘Tools of the Trade’ is the first novel in the Silver and Simm Victorian Mysteries series.

Impulse Spy by Carrie Ann KnoxImpulse Spy by Carrie Ann Knox:

Studious grad student Quinn’s orderly world is shaken up when she meets mysterious stranger Sloan McKenzie, private investigator and man-dazzler extraordinaire. And she wants Quinn’s help.

It turns out a little espionage may be just what Quinn needs. And she finds that she can even use her hearing loss to her advantage. But when a target of their surveillance turns up dead, and Quinn realizes she may have unwittingly played a role, she may be forced to put her future career–or her life–on the line to uncover the truth and keep other innocent bystanders from harm.

The Metaverse by William KurthThe Metaverse: Virtual Life – Real Death by William Kurth:

An FBI Agent more comfortable hunting criminals the old fashioned way. A brilliant scientist who kills using Virtual Reality. And an Artificial Intelligence with an agenda of its own.

The Metaverse, more than the “internet of things,” is a place where humankind has devised a way to comfortably and seamlessly merge the biologic and the digital to the point that neither is readily distinguishable from the other. As people in ever greater numbers choose to live, work and play “In World,” so too do those who prey on their fellow man.

The Metaverse is a fast-paced Crime Thriller that takes place in the not too distant future with technology that even now is a part of our world.

Physllis Wong and the Girl who Danced with LightningPhyllis Wong and the Girl Who Danced with Lightning by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong’s friend Clement finds a seemingly ordinary old movie poster in an antique shop, little does Phyllis know that the discovery will fling her on a journey into the past … a journey that will lead the brilliant young magician and clever sleuth to a forgotten mystery surrounding one of the most famous stories ever written!

 

 

Moonlight, Roses & Murder by Lori MoultonMoonlight, Roses & Murder by Lori Moulton:

Selina is a woman with a secret and she has been hiding it for a very long time. With her nieces, she runs Luna’s, a nightclub in downtown Seattle, catering to Steampunk and Goth clientele. When someone leaves a body behind her club, she is drawn into a web of mystery and murder. Puncture marks on the body indicate a vampire might be responsible and when more women are killed, a red rose is left by their bodies. As a vampire hunter comes to investigate, Selina wonders, who she can trust…

 

Hidden Defendant by Rachel SinclairHidden Defendant by Rachel Sinclair:

Harper’s uncle, Jack Calhoun, has been charged with murdering a priest. Jack has no idea if he killed the priest or not. All that he knows is that he woke up in the rectory, holding a knife, with a priest covered in blood at his feet.

It soon become apparent that Jack is not who he seems. He’s not the man who Harper grew up with. He’s become something else. Somebody else. It’s possible that he really killed Father Malone – Harper must come to terms with the reality.

As Harper gets further into the case, she’s never quite sure exactly what happened. She doesn’t want to believe that her beloved uncle would be capable of such a crime.

All signs point to Jack as the murderer.

Did he do it?

With the twists and turns that you’ve come to expect from a Rachel Sinclair legal thriller, this tightly-paced story is not to be missed!

Better than Suicide by Amy TasukadaBetter Than Suicide by Amy Tasukada:

A bag of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new Godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, the Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and splash of gay romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

The Girl in the Darkness by John TriptychThe Girl in the Darkness by John Triptych:

Brenda DeVoe lives a lonely, quiet life in a secluded house by the backwoods of Virginia. Her days are spent working as a volunteer at the local animal shelter, caring for unwanted and injured pets. Once the toast of their small town, Brenda and her husband Jeff were destined for great things until one fateful night, when their young daughter disappeared without a trace. Their marriage soon fell apart and they separated, each to live out their damaged lives as best they could. Years later, Brenda finds something familiar when an injured cat is brought into the shelter, and the nightmares that she had once left behind are now returning … with a vengeance.

If you like the pulse pounding novels of Mary Higgins Clark, Gillian Flynn, Kathy Reichs, Tami Hoag and Paula Hawkins, then have a look at this newest psychological suspense thriller by John Triptych!

Ferrying Riches by A. WoodleyFerrying Riches by A. Woodley:

Gabe and Derry Thomson were twin brothers looking for a new life, in a new town, where they found themselves mixed up in the type of criminality that they’d only ever seen in films before.

 

 

 

 

Murder Melange by A. WoodleyMurder Melange by A. Woodley:

20 fictional murder short stories.

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Introducing the Indie Crime Scene

Many of you will know that in addition to the Pegasus Pulp blog and my personal blog, I also co-run the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog for all things indie SFF, together with Jessica Rydill.

Talking of which, I totally forgot to mention that Jessica and I have been interviewed at Joshua Pantalleresco’s Just Joshing podcast last month, where we talk about our books and our writing as well as about the Speculative Fiction Showcase. You can listen to the episode in question here.

Anyway, this weekend I was getting Kitchen Witch, the next Helen Shepherd Mystery, ready for publication. I went looking for places to promote the new release, basically for the crime and mystery equivalent of the Speculative Fiction Showcase. However, I found nothing along those lines. So I thought, “Hey, why don’t I just create my own crime and mystery promo site?” And so the Indie Crime Scene was born.

So what is the Indie Crime Scene? Eventually, I hope that it will become for the crime, mystery and thriller genres what the Speculative Fiction Showcase is for SFF, a place where you can look up new indie releases and read author interviews. There’ll be a regular link round-up as well.

What sort of books will the Indie Crime Scene feature? As explained here, my definition of crime fiction is fairly broad and encompasses not just classic mysteries, from cozy to hardboiled, and detective fiction, but also noir, suspense, both romantic and otherwise, and thrillers.

I’ve already had some submissions and the first new release spotlight will be posted tomorrow. So if you’re interested in mysteries, crime fiction and thrillers, check out the Indie Crime Scene.

Indie Crime Scene

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for April 2017

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some February books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, Asian fantasy, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction western, science fiction romance, paranormal romance, horror, dragons, werewolves, third twins, mindjackers, bounty hunters, FBI witches, alien invasions, galactic empires, intergalactic animal rescues, genetically engineered tiger supersoldiers and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Rogue Prince by Lindsay BurokerThe Rogue Prince by Lindsay Buroker

Starseer, pilot, and animal lover Jelena Marchenko wants to prove to her parents that she’s ready to captain her own freighter and help run the family business. When she finally talks them into getting a second ship and letting her fly it, it doesn’t faze her that the craft is decades old and looks like a turtle. This is the chance she’s craved for years.

But it’s not long before the opportunity to rescue mistreated lab animals lures her from her parentally approved cargo run and embroils her in a battle between warring corporations. To further complicate matters, her childhood friend Thorian, prince of the now defunct Sarellian Empire, is in trouble with Alliance law and needs her help.

Torn between her duty to her family and doing what she believes is honorable, Jelena is about to learn that right and wrong are never as simple as they appear and that following your heart can get you killed.

Broken Wolf by Stacy ClaflinBroken Wolf by Stacy Claflin:

The wolf essence stone—finding it could free werewolves from the curse of the moon. Or it could kill them all.

Victoria has burned with “the fever” to find the stone since hearing about it. Hundreds of werewolves before her have died in the quest. That legacy doesn’t deter her, though. She’s willing to risk anything to find the stone and break the curse that forces them to shift every full moon. Her obsession compels her to travel to Iceland, where she feels the stone calling to her. Pulling her toward it. If only she knew the ancient evil residing inside.

Toby fears the changes in his beloved Victoria. He sets out to find the one person who might be able to help—Soleil, a Valkyrie with incredible power and vast knowledge about essence stones. But even she may not be enough to stop the carnage Victoria is about to set loose on the world.

Victoria has a strong connection to both the stone and danger behind it. Will she be able to end the curse of the moon, or will the stone destroy them all?

USA Today bestselling author, Stacy Claflin, brings you Broken Wolf, the fourth book in the Curse of the Moon series. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense saga that features gripping supernatural drama, surprising twists, dynamic characters, and heart-pounding romance. For the best reading experience, follow the series in order.

Eye of theTiger by Michael-Scott EarleEye of the Tiger by Michael-Scott Earle:

Imprisoned and subjected to brutal genetic experiments, space marine Adam has been changed into a perfect predator. A super soldier that is part man, part tiger, and all killing machine.

When his latest mission has an unexpected outcome, Adam finds himself free of his explosive control collar and honor bound to protect a mysterious woman. Now he is on an alien planet, and they are both being hunted by the most powerful mega corporation in the solar system. Their only escape lays at the helm of an experimental starship hidden beyond countless layers of military security.

All Adam has is his military training, sense of honor, and a beautiful woman who needs to drink blood to live.

It is time to let the tiger out.

Scions of the Star Empire by Athena GraysonScions of the Star Empire: Scandal by Athena Grayson

When a princess who’s no stranger to scandal runs afoul of the secrets of the most powerful cabal on Landfall, even her crown can’t protect her from the consequences.

They can have anything they want…except a future.
Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis–gossip journalist Jaris Pulne–is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who’s no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.

Privilege is a prison…
For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father’s shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion–and freedom from his father’s ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse–force them together before their time.

Symphony of Fates by J.C. KangSymphony of Fates by J.C. Kang:

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

Edge of War by Anthony MelchiorriEdge of War by Anthony Melchiorri

Humanity’s expansion into the stars has led to awe-inspiring discoveries—and terrifying new threats. An insidious alien race is waging an interstellar war, enslaving any civilization they encounter to carry out their galactic rampage. Now they have set their sights on mankind.

Tag Brewer is a medical scientist. Not a ship’s captain. But as humanity’s survival hangs in the balance, he must lead a ragtag crew of humans, a skeptical alien, and a synthetic lifeform into the depths of enemy territory. There he forms an uneasy alliance with a group of aliens—the Mechanics—fleeing from the destruction.

There is only one way to track down and stop their frightening new adversaries. Tag must follow the trail of devastation left behind in the fallen Mechanic empire. There he hopes to recruit other survivors to their cause. But what Tag and his crew find is far more dangerous than any of them thought possible.

Witness Enchantment by T.S. PaulWitness Enchantment by T.S. Paul:

The Magical Crimes Division of the FBI has been loaned out to WITSEC to help protect a very valuable witness. The only problem is they don’t like FBI Agents and refuse to allow them to take him. Agatha and her charge are plagued with Magickal Assassins, Evil Witches, and Fergus her Mini Unicorn. What is one Witch to do when even members of your own family are trying to kill you?

 

 

Locked Tight by Susan Kaye QuinnLocked Tight by Susan Kaye Quinn

In a world filled with mindreaders, being a mindjacker is a good way to end up dead.
And Zeph is no ordinary jacker.

He can break open the toughest minds—or lock the weakest ones—but that just makes him a weapon every jacker Clan wants to control. To keep his family of mindreaders safe, Zeph does what his Clan leader says and tries to shut out the screams—but when jackers are revealed to the world, he has no choice but to hug his kid sister goodbye and leave home.

Passing for a reader is something Zeph does well, but when readers start changing into jackers and his family disappears, Zeph must return to a city filled with jackers who hate him, trick a mindware CEO into helping him, avoid a girl who knows him too well, and spy on the most powerful jacker in the state.

All without dying or revealing his abilities—or being caught in the firestorm of hate between jackers and readers that’s threatening to pull the world apart.

Second Time Charm by Hollis ShilohSecond Time Charm by Hollis Shiloh

I’ve wanted to work with a wolf partner for as long as I can remember. This is my third — and final — chance of being chosen by one.

You know what they say. Be careful what you wish for.

I had no idea wolves could be as broken as my new partner is. He has an intense phobia of dogs, his attitude reeks, he barely knows how to take care of himself, and doesn’t care about much of anything — except having lots of sex.

That’s the best thing about our partnership, the sex. But sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I don’t know how to fix this. He’s difficult, annoying, handsome as hell…and I don’t want to give him up.

My dream come true is starting to feel like a nightmare. But the one he’s living turns out to be far worse.

A shifters and partners novel

The Third Twin by Darren SpeegleThe Third Twin by Darren Speegle

Some things should never be bred…

Barry Ocason, extreme sportsman and outdoor travel writer, receives a magazine in his mailbox and opens to an ad for an adventure in the Bavarian Alps. Initially dismissing the invitation, which seems to have been meant specifically for him, he soon finds himself involved in a larger plot and seeking answers to why an individual known only as the elephant man is terrorizing his family.

Barry and his daughter Kristen, who survived a twin sister taken from the family at a young age, travel from Juneau, Alaska to the sinister Spider Festival in Rio Tago, Brazil, before he ultimately answers the call to Bavaria, where the puzzle begins to come together.

Amid tribulation, death, madness, and institutionalization, a document emerges describing a scientist’s bloody bid to breed a theoretical “third twin,” which is believed to have the potential, through its connection with its siblings, to bridge the gulf between life and afterlife. The godlike creature that soon emerges turns out to be Barry’s own offspring, and she has dark plans for the world of her conception that neither her father nor any other mortal can stop.

Mercury's Bane by Nick WebbMercury’s Bane by Nick Webb:

They’re all gone. We remember them like yesterday: pieces of our stolen heritage. Things like NASA. Football. Parades and pies. Good things, comfortable things. We remember a time when we were alone in the universe, safe and oblivious.

But it’s all gone now.

We called them the Telestines, and in the face of their ruthless invasion we were powerless. By 2040, all the world’s governments and militaries had fallen, and the remnants of humanity exiled to the solar system. We looked down on our blue planet, so close to our birthplace, so close to our home. But the miles may as well have been lightyears.

Our anger smoldered in the darkness of space. On Mars. On Ganymede. In the dank crowded filth of the asteroids. We swore: we will take our planet back.

And today, it begins. Our fleet is ready. Our soldiers determined.

Earth will be ours again.

Coil Hunter by Dean F. WilsonCoilhunter by Dean F. Wilson:

Welcome to the Wild North, a desolate wasteland where criminals go to hide—if they can outlast the drought and the dangers of the desert. Or the dangers of something else.

Meet Nox, the Coilhunter. A mechanic and toymaker by trade, a bounty hunter by circumstance. He isn’t in it for the money. He’s in it for justice, and there’s a lot of justice that needs to be paid.

Between each kill, he’s looking for someone who has kept out of his crosshairs for quite a while—the person who murdered his wife and children. The trail has long gone cold, but there are changes happening, the kind of changes that uncover footprints and spent bullet casings.

Plagued by nightmares, he’s made himself into a living one, the kind the criminals and conmen fear.

So, welcome, fair folk, to the Wild North. If the land doesn’t get you, the Coilhunter will.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for March 2017

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some February books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, Asian fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, dystopian fiction, science fiction romance, time travel, horror, dragons, vampires, witches, ghosts, superheroes, aiens, robots, artificial intelligences, cyborg bounty hunters, supersoldiers, mutant assassins, galactic empires, Martian judgements, intergalactic prison breaks, radioactive wastelands, lake monsters, murder mysteries in space and much more.

Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Wisps of Spider Silk, First Thread by Athena AndreadisWisps of Spider Silk – First Thread by Athena Andreadis:

Wisps of Spider Silk, First Thread is a diptych of two interlinked space opera stories (“The Stone Lyre” and “The Wind Harp”) that tell of interplanetary cultures in conflict — and in perilous alliances — over psychic talents and the dominance they can confer.

These two stories are wisps of a vast nebula. In this universe the Minoan civilization partly recovered from the Thera explosion and some of its descendants eventually took to the stars, as did their adversaries. This is the universe of “Dry Rivers” and “Planetfall” which appeared in Crossed Genres in 2009.

Traitor by Krista D. BallTraitor by Krista D. Ball:

Seven years ago, Rebecca St. Martin took the coward’s path to save her skin. She has lived with that decision, eking out a life as an indentured servant on a space station far from home. Only now, fate has decided to give Rebecca another chance. A ghost from her past plans to execute a daring rescue from the prison bowels of the station Rebecca now works.

Rebecca has to face the same decision she made all those years ago. Could she watch her friends be murdered? Or could she, just for once, be a hero?

Aletheia by J.S. BreukelaarAletheia by J.S. Breukelaar:

Deep below the island, something monstrous lies waiting for Thettie, and it knows her name.

“Family and small town desires and secrets simmer in J. S. Breukelaar’s melancholy and affecting mix of literary, noir, and horror by the lake. ALETHEIA is a compelling 21st century ghost story. Don’t lose your Gila monster!” — Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

The remote lake town of Little Ridge has a memory problem. There is an island out on the lake somewhere, but no one can remember exactly where it is—and what it has to do with the disappearance of the eccentric Frankie Harpur or the seven-year-old son of a local artist, Lee Montour.

When Thettie Harpur brings her family home to find Frankie, she faces opposition from all sides—including from the clan leader himself, the psychotic Doc Murphy.

Lee, her one true ally in grief and love, might not be enough to help take on her worst nightmare. The lake itself.

A tale of that most human of monsters—memory—Aletheia is part ghost story, part love story, a novel about the damage done, and the damage yet to come. About terror itself. Not only for what lies ahead, but also for what we think we have left behind.

Dead World by Cora BuhlertDead World by Cora Buhlert:

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

When they are hired to retrieve a weapons prototype from an abandoned planet, it seems like a routine job. But it quickly turns out that the planet is not as empty as they had thought. And soon, Anjali and Mikhail find themselves caught in a deadly chase across a radioactive wasteland.

This is a novella of 27500 words or approx. 95 print pages in the “In Love and War” series, but may be read as a standalone.

The Bay of Sins by J.D. ByrneThe Bay of Sins by J.D. Byrne:

The war is over, but nothing is settled.

On the Neldathi side of the Water Road the clans are slowly pulling apart following a sudden murder. Hirrek is tasked with getting to the bottom of a mystery: was this killing the random act of a violent, unstable man? Or was it something more sinister, a hint of what the Neldathi thought they’d defeated during the war? The unity won in blood may be slipping away.

In the rebuilding city of Innisport, life is returning to something like normal. That’s largely due to Mida, given the task of rebuilding the city by Antrey Ranbren herself. After Mida hands power over to the Guild of Politicians, she finds herself on trial for her life, charged with treason and being a collaborator. Along the way she meets someone, a curious remnant of the war, who makes her rethink the way she sees those that destroyed her city.

In the meantime, Antrey returns from exile, escaping to the wilderness of Telebria. She gains new allies, including Rurek, and a new foe, the Sentinel Faerl. He’s best known among the other Sentinels as the man who let Antrey slip away once before, getting all his men killed in the process. Now he has a chance for redemption and revenge. But Antrey is willing to do anything to ensure that her legacy does not slip away.

The chase is on, as the saga of The Water Road barrels toward its explosive conclusion.

The Boy with the Blue Sky by N.C. DavisThe Boy With The Blue Sky by N.C. Davis:

How far would you go to bring back a loved one from the dead?

Theo returned her stare. ‘It’s not just a program.’
‘Then what the hell is it?’ she said.
‘It’s a digital reconstruction of our son.’

On the anniversary of their young son’s death, teacher Eury can only find peace by descending into an electronically-induced world of dreamless sleep.

Her husband Theo, a music lecturer, is at the end of his tether and has tried everything he can think of to drag Eury out of the darkness. So, in a final act of desperation he acquires software that can digitally resurrect their child.

Will it bring Eury back to him or will the shock drive her deeper into a world of endless slumber?

The Boy with the Blue Sky is a story that shines a light on the steady creep of technology, into the most intimate parts of our lives.

Starbound by J.J. GreenStarbound by J.J. Green:

Humanity has colonized Mars and invented interstellar travel—joining the thousands of alien races that explore the deepest reaches of the galaxy.

Jas Harrington is the sole survivor of a Martian colony disaster. After growing up in institutions on Mars and Earth, she travels to Antarctica to train as a deep space security operative. All she wants is to graduate college and escape her past, but it isn’t long before she faces familiar prejudice against returned colonists.

Jas must navigate aggression, bigotry, and the frozen Antarctic wastes if she’s to fulfil her dreams.

For once, fighting her way out of her problems isn’t an option, until it is.

Prequel to the 10-book space opera serial, Shadows of the Void.

Prominence by A.C. Hadfield and Colin F. BarnesProminence by A.C. Hadfield and Colin F. Barnes:

They tried to destroy our planets. Our way of life. They tried to send us into extinction. But we, the Coalition, fought them and won. That was a decade ago. We had assumed they were beaten for good.

We were wrong.

They’re known as the Host: a cabal of aliens seeking to dominate our sector of space. And they’re back—with help from a powerful new enemy.

Against their wrath, we must stand. We’re outnumbered and unprepared. If we lose, we lose everything.

But there is hope. An ancient race of long-dead but technologically advanced aliens called the Navigators have a ship called the Blackstar that could potentially turn the tide. That is if I, Kai Locke, a humble ship racer, can find it and learn how to harness its power in time.

If I fail, the Coalition will fall, and the Host will consign us to a distant memory. I refuse to let that happen. I will fight to my last breath for the Coalition’s survival.

Simon Rising by Brian D. HowardSimon Rising by Brian D. Howard:

Five years ago, an alien ship crashed into the bay. Since then, vigilantes and criminals with extraordinary powers increasingly dominate headlines.

A man wakes up in the hospital with no memory. He’s told he is Steve Ambrose, a serial bank robber who was shot while being arrested. Everything changes when he discovers he has telekinetic powers. Hunted by FBI Special Agent Rachel Moore, and with unknown enemies around every corner, can he change who he is, or is the dark criminal everyone accuses him of being too deeply a part of his nature to escape?

The Enemy Within by Patty JansenAmbassador 6: The Enemy Within by Patty Jansen:

Two men went on a surfing trip in a remote area. Only one came back, accused of murdering the other.

Sounds simple, right?

Not quite, because the alleged murder happened on another planet, the accused is a member of the secretive Pretoria Cartel of super-rich business tycoons–with illegal off-Earth ventures–and the only person who can remotely be called a witness is an alien, the elder Abri from the Pengali Thousand Islands tribe.
Diplomat Cory Wilson is asked to accompany Abri to the Nations of Earth court, but when he and his team arrive there, their contacts have been moved to different cases, their rooms are bugged and their movements restricted. No one is answering their questions, but it is when a lawyer is murdered and Cory’s team captures a mysterious stalker that things get interesting.

Just as well they are prepared in the usual way: alert and highly armed.

Dances of Deception by J.C. KangDances of Deception by J.C. Kang:

An invincible empire threatens to invade Cathay, and only a Dragon Song can ensure peace.

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all Kaiya wants is a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor sends her to negotiate peace with the aggressive Teleri Empire.

The critical mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off talks, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

Chameleon Uncovered by B.R. KingsolverChameleon Uncovered by B.R. Kingsolver

The dark sequel to the best-selling Chameleon Assassin.

Libby has a chance to build a legitimate reputation when she’s hired by one of the world’s most prestigious museums to bolster their security. The gig is in Chicago, where her heartthrob lives, so she hopes for a little romance.

She’s on a first-name basis with larceny, mayhem, and death, but Libby’s not used to being on the receiving end. Chicago is far darker and more dangerous than her native Toronto. Amidst terrorist bombings, stolen treasure, and murder, a mutant prophet calls for revolution. Away from her family and friends, Libby has nowhere to turn as enemies assault her from all sides.

Their mistake. Libby is a dangerous enemy.

2184: Beneath the Steel City by Ben Lovejoy2184: Beneath the Steel City by Ben Lovejoy:

In London 2184, the government monitors every move its citizens make, logs every action, notes every visit, supervises every communication, penalises the slightest transgression with all the warmth and sympathy of a hungry piranha.

Computer tech David Lafferty has grown tired of living beneath the crushing weight of a billion petty rules, and decided it was time to create his own rules in an underground life beneath the steel city. Aided by Saira, a Self-propelled Artificially Intelligent Robot Assistant, and a small circuit board stolen from the government, all is going well until an unknown adversary appears to have learned his every secret …

The Cosmic City by Brian K. LoweThe Cosmic City by Brian K. Lowe:

In the conclusion to The Stolen Future trilogy, Keryl Clee finds himself at the center of a crisis which could mean the destruction not only on Earth, but of Time itself. Hostages of a time-traveling madman who is creating an army from the past to conquer the world of the future, before Clee and Lady Maire can defeat him they must come to grips with the shocking truth behind the 300-year-old Nuum invasion of Earth.

Beset by new and powerful enemies, betrayed by the Council of Nobles itself, Keryl Clee has one last chance to unite the peoples of Earth–Nuum and Thoran, human and non-human alike–because even he is powerless against those who are coming from beyond the stars to reach…The Cosmic City.

Insurgence by Lori Ann Ramsay:

Earth’s last hope relied on the mission to Xeoron, to save the captive from the horrid alien virus that claimed so many lives and plagued mankind for over three centuries. The mission would also set those bound on the alien planet free, even if it meant giving their own lives. The team had trained most of their lives for the mission, with many entering the Academy of Space Exploration as young as twelve years old. Now the launch propelled their starship into space at warp speed to a planetary system on the other side of the galaxy. The team sought to free the humans held captive there, whether dead or alive and to bring back a cure to save mankind and to save planet Earth from an alien invasion and annihilation. But the underlying possibility of captivity on Xeoron and failure to complete the mission hung in the air, would they succeed in saving Earth and mankind?

Insurgence is the first book of The Realm of Xeoron series. A space opera sci-fi series with genetic engineering, colonization on an alien planet, and contact with aliens.

Prison Break by Jim RudnickPrison Break by Jim Rudnick:

The Warlord Noriega, once captured is now being tried for the destruction of the Barony destroyer the Gibraltar with hundreds of casualties. But his lawyers are claiming that the Confederacy does not have jurisdiction and that is the court cases that begin with this tale. Added is the threat from the largest Warlord, Konoe, that if the Confederacy does sentence Noriega to life, then that constitutes a declaration of war with his realm.

The Barony is also now a part of the investigations over on Birdland, where the Duke and Duchess are discovering more about the mysterious ball-birds–and why they seem to be important even though the knowledge about them is scant. This however is also a factor in the new dissolution of the partnership between the Duke, the Baroness and the Caliph. With all the Xithricite that is currently known on the RIM, the Caliph and his new admiral are formidable powers on the RIM.

As the Warlord is sentenced to life on Halberd the lawyers file with the RIM Confederacy Supreme Court and yet the Warlord Konoe will not wait, and tries to break Noriega out of the prison planet–something that has never happened before. Ships clash and battles occur as the breakout rises to Pike Station up above the prison and threaten the security of the RIM Confederacy too…

Blood Hunt by Izzy ShowsBlood Hunt by Izzy Shows:

Wizard without a license. Defender of London.

The Hunter in the Darkness. Not a title I wanted, but that’s who I am now. Vampires are trying to destroy my city. We’re one mistake away from the world knowing about magic, but the vampires don’t care. They just crave their next fix. I have to stop them, but I can’t risk using the demonic powers I have. Whatever lurks inside me, it’s dark, and it’s hungry. I will find a way to fight on my own.

Vampires are not the only evil in this world.

Judgment of Mars by Glynn StewartJudgment of Mars by Glynn Stewart:

A war fought in the shadows
A conspiracy shattered in fire
A moment of weakness…
When politics are played for blood.

The destruction of the secret archive of the Royal Order of Keepers on Mars has left Damien Montgomery, Hand of the Mage-King, with his enemies defeated, his lover dead—and his questions unanswered.

When he seeks out the remaining Keepers for answers, he discovers only violence and death in their strongholds. Someone else is hunting down the survivors to make sure they never answer Damien’s questions—or anyone else’s.

As a wave of murder sweeps Mars and the consequences of the Keepers’ conspiracy sink home, Damien is summoned before the Council of the Protectorate to answer for the deaths of two other Hands. In the political heart of the Protectorate of Mars, he finds he may be forced to choose between honoring the oaths he swore and preserving the survival of the Protectorate itself!

Team Guardian by Naomi StoneTeam Guardian by Naomi Stone:

This collection includes the three Team Guardian adventures: Sweet Mercy, Safe Haven and Shining Hope.

When a probability bomb exploded in the heartlands of the US, no one couldhave predicted the results. Spreading chaos was the point of using a probability bomb. Thousands died. Others were gifted with strange powers. Ten years later the world had become a different place.

When Rachel Connolly — a Reverse Empath — and Franklin Luke Delano (Fluke) — a Probability Talent — meet in the course of capturing a would-be bomber, they have little time to explore their powerful connection before they must draw a mad Puppet Master into the open.

Beth Talbot’s psychometry Talent is a curse as well as a blessing, making Time for her less a smoothly-flowing river than a storm-tossed ocean. She sees David Connolly as a rock of stability in that maelstrom, with his Talent for neutralizing other Talents like hers. But how can she even try to turn his attention her way when everyone on Team Guardian needs him, especially with amad Talent out to take control of the entire world’s computing – and banking -systems.

Maybe Tom could have called on another Illusionist to help in the hunt, but Sophia Alvarez is the best, and she’s been on his mind since the last mission they worked together. Tom takes on the authority and responsibilities of leading the Team – in time to join the FBI in tracking down a rogue Talent behind a string of killings they believe the work of a vigilante Talent bent on destroying sexual predators.

The Piranha Solution by John TriptychThe Piranha Solution by John Triptych:

In the near future, a new space race begins. Private industry is now pushing the limits of human exploration and colonization. NASA has changed its mandate into a regulatory agency to oversee all US-based corporations and individuals involved in interplanetary expansion.

Stilicho Jones always has his hands full while working as a personal troubleshooter for eccentric trillionaire Errol Flux and his numerous cutting edge space projects. When a mysterious and potentially deadly situation threatens the colonies on Mars, Stilicho must team up with a feisty NASA special agent in a race against time to avert a looming catastrophe that could end any hope of inhabiting the Red Planet.

Check out The Piranha Solution. If you were ever inspired by the NASA Space Program, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, Robert Zubrin’s The Case for Mars, or Andy Weir’s The Martian, then have a look at this newest, edge of your seat technothriller!

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