Our Seven Year Anniversary

July 3 marks Pegasus Pulp’s seven year anniversary, so it’s time for another overview post. In those six years, our catalogue has grown to 122 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, 2016 and 2017 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, including a lovely In Love and War story. 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 2018

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’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 epic fantasy, urban fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction mystery, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, horror, gaslamp fantasy, Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk, Biopunk, poetry (yes, poetry), werewolves, dragons, shifters, ghosts, superheroes, monsters, aliens, street gangs, demon fighters, space pirates, space cops, prisoners, amnesiacs, cursed watches, airships, dying gods 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:

Pretty Waiter Girls by Greg AlldredgePretty Waiter Girls by Greg Alldredge:

Some monsters are still human.

In a magical 1899 San Francisco, the new millennium is quickly approaching. Of course, new inventions happen every day, some wondrous, some mundane while the streets produce a new murder every night.

Set against this backdrop a debutante goes missing, and socialite Helena Brandywine takes it upon herself, along with her trusted manservant, to discover what happened.

Did the woman run afoul of the Tongs in Chinatown? What horrors might she have exposed? Discover this Gilded Age while Helena uncovers her family’s secrets. The good and evil, where danger lurks around every corner. Can Helena Brandywine be prepared for the monsters she will uncover? Come search for the, Pretty Waiter Girls.

Hyperspace Radio by James BeachHyperspace Radio by James Beach:

A young boy comes to terms with his father’s undead lifestyle. A caveman faces failure at the world’s first art show. A thief runs afoul of a pusher who sells death. God goes to therapy and receives a diagnosis. A tech entrepreneur creates an Internet startup based on a genie’s lamp. A secret worldwide society of dudebros meets to consider an entirely new kind of bro.

These tales and more brought to you from dimensions both strange and familiar, at the speed of imagination.

 

The Luck Thieves by James BeachThe Luck Thieves by James Beach:

Someone stole Aurelian’s luck – and is coming for his life.

 

 

 

 

 

In The House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth BearIn the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth Bear:

A man has been turned inside-out.

Fifty years in the future, in the sleek modern city of Bangalore, a scientist working on revolutionary bioengineering techniques has been discovered inside his own locked home, his body converted into a neat toroidal package of meat. It’s up to Police Sub-Inspector Ferron to unearth the victim’s complicated past and solve the crime, despite the best efforts of the mastermind behind the murder, aliens beaming signals from the Andromeda Galaxy, her overbearing mother, and an adorable parrot-cat who is the only witness.

The Shantytown Robin Hoods by Cora BuhlertThe Shantytown Robin Hoods by Cora Buhlert:

Latisha, Moses and Tim are three street kids eking out a living in a dystopian future. Together, they are the Shantytown Robin Hoods, a street gang that steals from the rich and gives to – well, themselves.

“The Hole” is the hottest night club in Shantytown, where the rich and the famous can party among the less fortunate. But “The Hole” is also a favourite hangout for Latisha, Moses and Tim to find marks they can rob.

But then their latest job is derailed by a mobster with sticky fingers and a prize on his head, a teen pop sensation, a trigger-happy bodyguard and a red-haired assassin.

Soon bullets are flying in Shantytown and Latisha, Moses and Tim must keep their heads down to survive and steal another day…

This is a short dystopian crime story of 2800 words or approximately 10 print pages.

Terra Nullis, edited by Kate Coe and Ellen CrosháinTerry Nullius, edited by Kate Coe and Ellen Crosháin:

Land belonging to no-one. An anthology of speculative fiction that explores the colonisation of our Solar System and far beyond, where pioneers carve out a new existence under other stars. New worlds and new challenges bring out rich stories filled with alien races and strange technology, but against this backdrop there’s the many facets of human emotion as colonists struggle to make a new home.
This is human life on the final frontier.

Thomas J. Spargo — Jessica Rydill — K.N. Johnson — Jessica Reisman — Jonathan Oliver — Will MacMillan Jones — E. M. Eastick — John Bayliss — Gregor Hartmann — G. H. Finn — Matthew Pedersen — Steven Poore — Jill Hand

Super Starr by Kat CottonSuper Starr by Kat Cotton:

As the Demon Fighters’ Council gains more power, Clem travels to Bucharest to find their Head and destroy him. Simple, she thinks. After all, she has her newfound powers. She’s practically invincible.

But first she needs to find the Council headquarters. Then she finds out there’s a serious condition attached to killing the Head.

Meanwhile, the Council have started rounding up paranormals, innocent or not. When Nic’s pack become targets, the fight turns personal.

Even if Clem can fight the Council, she has personal demons to destroy.

This is the final book in the Clem Starr: Demon Fighter series.

New Blood by Zen DiPietroNew Blood by Zen DiPietro

Emiko thought she knew what it meant to work hard. She was wrong.

She’ll have to guard her secrets even as she battles to be at the top of her class at the Planetary Alliance Cooperative academy. Failing to become an officer is not an option. Failing to become a special ops officer isn’t even worth thinking about.

The training isn’t everything she thought it would be, though. As she struggles to learn what it truly means to be a PAC officer, she’ll discover what it takes to lead, how it feels to give up everything in the name of the PAC, and what it means to become far more than she ever dreamed.

Wolf's Bane by Aimee EasterlingWolf’s Bane by Aimee Easterling:

Secrets are my specialty.

I’m Mai Fairchild — fox shifter, sister’s keeper, and bane of the local werewolf pack. In a world where different is dangerous, my sister and I must pretend to be human at all costs. Too bad I just lost the job that lets me live under the radar while putting food on my sister’s plate.

Enter an enticing werewolf who offers enough cash to upgrade our diets from ramen noodles to salami if I join him on a magical hunt. But can I afford to accept the opportunity when the risk of working closely with every fox shifter’s sworn enemy is so great?

The Prize of Zelimir by Elizabeth GabrielThe Prize of Zelimir by Elizabeth Gabriel:

Magic is forbidden in Atlantis City. Despite this, Anne Arnold is a prisoner of a cursed watch, constantly stuck around her wrist. Teaming up with an Alpha named Roswell, Anne is determined to be rid of the watch, all while being chased by assassins, criminals, and a city official who appears to be behind a conspiracy. In the midst of all this, Anne makes discoveries about herself and her past. She soon realizes that having a watch that belonged to one of the Grim Reapers may be the least of her worries.

 

Ghostlight by Rabia GaleGhostlight by Rabia Gale:

Trevelyan Shield would rather fight demons and exorcise haunts than deal with debutantes, alive or dead. But when he encounters the charming but ghostly Arabella Trent, his duty is clear: send the young woman into the afterlife. Otherwise, she risks attracting the denizens of the Shadow Lands, who hunger for mortal souls.

Arabella doesn’t remember the runaway carriage that hit her and left her for dead. Nor does she know why her body was found so far from her. But something—or someone—is preventing her from returning to it, and she’s determined to find out why.

As Arabella and Trey race to unravel the mystery, a sinister plot unfolds and the boundary between the demon and mortal worlds grows thin. If they don’t act soon, Arabella won’t be the only one to fall prey to the Shadow Lands.

Pirates of Mars by Chris GerribPirates of Mars by Chris Gerrib:

Mars has a pirate problem – a big one! The pirates are even attacking the Volunteer Space Rescue Service! The Service and the individuals in it have a decision to make, namely fight or give up. But it’s not just the Service that must decide – pirate victim Janet Pilgrim’s boyfriend was kidnapped by pirates. Does she sit on the sideline or go into action?

 

 

Hands of the Colossus by Nicole GrotepasHands of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas:

One massive shadow organization. One bad ass heroine.

Holly Drake just wants one thing: to destroy the Shadow Coalition and the evil at the heart of their business. With an endless supply of tips from the secretive man pulling her strings, Holly and her crew swoop in, break up the cash drops and steal the money. If one or two baddies die on accident, no big loss, right? They could do this forever, picking the Coalition apart till not even bones remain.
That is, until someone goes missing. In that moment, everything changes.

To save the victim, Holly and her team will put everything on the line to penetrate the mysterious Shadow Coalition and stab at their enigmatic leadership, the Hands who protect the Heart. Treacherous journeys across the 6-moon system in space-zeppelins, dangerous infiltrations of the Coalition, bartering with thieves and relying on the seedy underbelly of the 6-moons. Anything it takes.

But…is the whole set up a trap. How many snares will Holly and her crew have to spring to the save just one victim?
This is Holly Drake and her crew of thieves. If they have to, they’ll go into the hornet’s nest to get the job done. Will it be their last time?

The Hands of the Colossus features a snarky, strong, bad ass heroine fighting against the odds to save the helpless.

If you don’t like seeing a woman experience self-doubt, overcome obstacles, and then dominate, this book is not for you.

Love strong female leads, an entertaining cast of characters, and adventure? Then grab your copy today!

Sierra Bravo by Simon HaynesSierra Bravo by Simon Haynes:

Planet Dismolle is supposed to be a peaceful haven. So what’s with all the gunfire?

A criminal gang has moved into Chirless, Dismolle’s second major city. Elderly residents are fed up with the loud music, noisy cars and late night parties, not to mention hold-ups, muggings and the occasional gunfight.

Chirless has no Peace Force, so Harriet Walsh of the Dismolle City branch has to help out. That puts her up against a gang of hardened criminals with only her training pistol and a few old allies to lend a hand.

And these allies aren’t just old, they’re positively ancient!

Sierra Bravo is the third novel in the Harriet Walsh series. Peace Force and Alpha Minor are already available in print and ebook.

Celestial IncursionCelestial Incursion by Eddie R. Hicks:

Humans, aliens, and dragons. Who will inherit the galaxy?

They said aliens didn’t exist, until they landed on the White House lawn.

They said dragons didn’t exist, until they arrived in the galaxy . . . To turn it into cosmic dust.

A new threat from beyond the galaxy rim has emerged, taking the lives of humans and aliens across the Milky Way. They look like dragons. They sound like dragons. They burn our cities like dragons . . . and apparently our spaceships too.

Captain Rebecca Foster is no stranger to saving the galaxy from mythological beings that shouldn’t exist but do. Dealing with dragons from beyond the galactic rim is a task she and her crew are more than qualified for. The new Earth government, however, disagrees, and sends the Marines instead, grounding Rebecca and her crew until further notice.

And then things don’t go according to plan . . .

Salvation for the galaxy now lies in the hands of Rebecca’s ability to get back into the captain’s chair and show the galaxy how you slay dragons with 22nd century weapons and technology.

Science-fiction and fantasy collide with explosive results in this action-packed adventure set in the Splintered Galaxy universe.

Juno Rising by Patty JansenJuno Rising by Patty Jansen:

A prisoner, a secret he can’t remember, and the military force that will destroy planets to get their hands on it.

When Fabio Velazquez arrives on the secretive military base on Jupiter’s moon Io, he knows two things: one, that he’s had his memories erased and two, that he has a secret. Except because of point one, he can’t remember what point two is.

The portents aren’t good: he’s hated by his fellow soldiers, responsible for “the greatest f***-up in military history”, traitor and human guinea pig. Yet, he managed to be trusted with a secret so big that the military has almost killed him and still haven’t gotten their hands on it. Where is it, and who does it belong to?

His nickname might be Escape Artist, but in the hostile environment of Io there is no escaping punishment. Or so the military thinks, but they’re not the only ones interested in him.

A secret group lurks in a base in the cloud tops of Jupiter. They watch. They wait. They will strike.

Leviathan by L.S. JohnsonLeviathan by L.S. Johnson:

We will survive this, Caroline.

It has been several months since Harkworth Hall burned, and mere weeks since Joanna Chase came back into Caroline Daniels’ life. But when a stranger arrives in their village and asks to see the damaged bay, they know that word of the creature has spread. With tensions simmering between France and England, they depart in haste for Medby, where Sir Edward’s brother resides. There they hope to discover if Thomas Masterson has stepped into Sir Edward’s shoes, and now wields the monster called Leviathan.

The situation in Medby, however, is far worse than they anticipated. Claiming the French attacked his ships, the younger Masterson seems about to launch an audacious reply. But his true plans are not so straightforward and there is little time for Caroline and Jo to uncover them.

With the threat of war demanding risks in kind, Caroline and Jo must weigh their deepening affection against the greater good … and learn to trust not only their instincts, but their hearts as well.

Dragon's Egg by B.R. KingsolverDragon’s Egg by B.R. Kingsolver:

When did I become everyone’s paranormal Miss Fixit?

When the Lords of the Icelandic Elves summon me to use my talents to find a lost Dragon’s egg, I find it hard to say no. I’ve seen what a Dragon can do, and a young, just-hatched Dragon is a being of pure destruction.

But word of the egg gets out, and the race to find it begins. Mages from many realms are in the hunt—including a Dragon—and they don’t always play well together. Unless I want to join the casualties, I need to find that egg and return it to where it belongs. Luckily, I have help, but I wish that damned golden-winged Nephilim would keep his shirt on.

The Werewolf Whoops by Amanda M. LeeThe Werewolf Whoops by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is back on her feet and ready for action. Luckily for her, The Legacy Foundation officially has its first job in weeks and they’re on the hunt for … werewolves.

It seems two campers have gone missing, the campsite littered with strange animal prints. Charlie is excited for adventure but sometimes wishes are more dangerous than they seem.

After meeting a woman and her daughter in the woods – and getting a gander inside her head – Charlie finds she’s on two missions. She wants to find a werewolf and, even more, she wants to find out what makes the secretive Zoe Lake-Winters tick. There’s something about the woman that sends Charlie’s curiosity into overdrive … and that’s not always a good thing.

The Michigan woods are full of dark surprises and Charlie is in for a few herself. She’s hiding a secret, but so are many others, and some of those secrets are worth killing for.

This outing may be one for the record books, especially when multiple mysteries reveal themselves at one time. Survival isn’t always easy, but in this instance, it will be more difficult than Charlie ever imagined.

Sit back and enjoy the show, because the secrets are going to be flying fast and furious … and so is the danger.

War: Dark Poems by Alessandro Manzetti and Marge SimonWar: Dark Poems by Alessandro Manzetti and Marge Simon:

Look in my eyes. My bronze skin reflects the flames of the battles.

I feed on bullets and shrapnel.

I have trenches instead of veins and a bombardier’s whirring plays my favorite symphony inside my big head. This is my story, with some of my best camouflages and disguises, and you should expect your peace plans to fail. Because that’s what I do for living.

Look at my million golden teeth necklace. Ring any bells? Maybe you’re too young. I probably should have mentioned the fireworks over the Baghdad night sky, my new friend, or the live broadcast of two great skyscrapers disintegrating. You know what I’m talking about, right? So, you can call me by one of my many names: Great General, Lock-box of the Powerful, Red Rain, Lord of Steel or, more simply, WAR.

I appear as strife of many kinds, from Stalingrad to Scotland. Africa to Afghanistan, the civil war of Italy and the War Between the States, ghostly wars, drug wars, the battle of the sexes, World Wars I, II and visions of a holocaust yet to come. It’s all herein and more, with poems both collaborative and individual.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Space Corps Revelation by K.D. MattisSpace Corps Revelation by K.D. Mattis:

Admiral Kayla Asher has waited her whole life for this—commanding the inaugural spaceship of the US Space Corps in a race against the Chinese to set up the first self-sustaining colony on another planet. Instead, the Explorer is diverted to rescue the Chinese astronauts after their ship is damaged.

Expecting to find the ship debilitated by an asteroid, Asher and her crew are stunned to find something far more sinister. An alien force with technology that far surpasses anything on Earth has attacked the ship, and they have a message for mankind—they aren’t interested in peace.

Now they’re headed straight for Earth, and it’s up to the Explorer to stop them before it’s too late. Fighting against bureaucracy as well as their own conflicting emotions as trained soldiers and compassionate human beings, Asher and her crew engage in an epic battle against an unknown enemy.

Knight Flyers by Ann McCuneKnight Flyers by Ann McCune:

If you fall asleep within a twenty-mile radius of Twisted Pines without a dreamcatcher, chances are you’ll never wake up. The locals call it the sleeping death, doctors usually call it altitude-induced cardiac arrest, but it doesn’t matter, it’s still a one-way ticket to the afterlife.

Liz Lawson always slept under a dreamcatcher. She even had one hanging from the rearview mirror of her Jeep, just to be on the safe side. She had no idea where it ended up the night she hit the moose, but for the first time she didn’t need it.

Shawn Ericson, a gorgeous stranger, saved Liz from the monster trying to kill her in her dream, and changed her life forever.
Shawn said Liz wouldn’t remember the dream, but Liz always remembered hers. When Liz found out Shawn was a Knight Flyer and part of a super-secret group whose mission was to save people from the monsters plaguing their dreams, she wanted to know why he kept invading her dreams and why she was the only non-knight who remembers them.

The last few months of her junior year of high school are anything but boring as Liz battles the monsters in her dreams, learns she isn’t a typical sixteen-year-old, and deals with high school drama.

The Boathouse by William MeikleThe Boathouse by William Meikle:

Dave Wiggins is taking a trip to his past. He doesn’t much want to—but his Ma is dying.

He intends to get in, do his duty, get out and forget about his small town roots.

But there is something back home that has been waiting for his return—something that lurks, waiting in a tumbledown boathouse in an abandoned community offshore.

Once Dave and his past meet up again, the game is on.

A hurricane, a scrimshaw chess set, beer, rum, cigarettes, old friends and past mistakes all conspire to keep Dave right where he least wants to be.

The game is on.

And it’s his move.

Escape by Bruno MillerEscape by Bruno Miller:

Could you protect your own?

Recent EMP attacks have left the country in a state of chaos and upheaval. With two of his children on the East Coast, Ben Davis has left Colorado behind, embarking on a cross-country journey with his eldest son, Joel, one of Joel’s classmates, Allie, and the family dog, Gunner.

Very few modern vehicles remain functional, but thanks to Joel’s 1972 Chevy Blazer, Ben and his crew are mobile and able to carry supplies. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe in this post-apocalyptic world.

They soon discover that life as they know it is over. Danger fills every moment of their new reality. No longer can people be trusted. Especially with resources dwindling and new threats around every bend in the road.

Survival means working together, but it also means the teenagers have to grow up fast. Ben struggles with some decisions he’s forced to make, but he refuses to let his family suffer at the hands of the desperate. Even if he has to shed blood to keep them safe.

Ben’s skills as a former Army Ranger are tested repeatedly as he fights to lead his crew across the new wasteland of America. Will there come a time when the dark road ahead is too much?

Shadow Magic by Nazri NoorShadow Magic by Nazri Noor:

The gods are dying. But for one man, death is only the beginning.

Murdered as a ritual sacrifice, amateur thief and professional charmer Dustin Graves mysteriously survives, finding himself gifted with strange, dark magic. Then more dead bodies turn up. Some are human, but one is a god of the old world, slain at his own doorstep.

Mortal or divine, the bloodshed must end, and Dust is the mage for the job. But first he must contend with a succubus, a talking sword, a spider queen, a goddess of magic, and eldritch abominations from beyond the stars. No big deal… right?

Mabus by Dean RencraftMabus by Dean Rencraft:

From the ashes, he will rise.

Orphaned by an unfortunate series of catastrophic events, David is pursued by tragedy, doubt, and loneliness as he is shifted from home to home until his prestigious education and bold experiments in technology and bio-engineering bring him to the attention of the first A.I. ever created.

Morpheus opens doors David had only ever dreamed of as he explores the world and the two attempt to mitigate the destruction that corruption, men, and war have wrought over the earth and its people.

David’s intentions are pure, but as time goes on, he is forced to ever more desperate and questionable methods in order to achieve his goals and still survive.

In this thought-provoking and action-packed coming of age thriller, David faces the epic battle between good and evil that opens questions about religion, prophecy, and even his own sanity. Will he survive and be renowned for his work and all the good that he has wrought? Or were his life and fate already written in an age long past?

The Sunkiller Affair by Dave RobinsonThe Sunkiller Affair by Dave Robinson:

When Vic Frank is arrested on trumped up charges while Doc Vandal and the team are searching for a kidnapped scientist, explaining it to her mother is the least of Doc’s problems.

He’s also got to deal with… Vic’s irate girlfriend Ming… Nazis infiltrating the NYPD… and whoever just broke into the 87th floor of the Republic State Building and stole the plans for a device that can blow up the Sun!

Join Doc Vandal and the team in a fight against the Technarchy’s flying commandos, the German American Bund, and the vacuum of space itself!

Enjoy a complete pulp adventure with Nazis, talking gorillas, and Zeppelins in Spaaaace!

Anachronism by Jennifer Lee RossmanAnachronism by Jennifer Lee Rossman:

It’s the same old story: Time traveler meets girl, time traveler tells girl she’s the future president, time traveler and girl go on a road trip to prevent a war…

Petra Vincent is at the end of her rope – or rather, the edge of a bridge. Her world is falling apart around her and she sees no way out of the meaningless existence the future has in store. But when stranded time traveler Moses Morgan tells her that she will one day
lead the country out of the rubble of a nuclear civil war as President of the United States, she’s intrigued – and when another time traveler starts trying to pre-emptively assassinate her, she realizes Moses might be telling the truth…

Anachronism is a time-traveling, adventure-filled novella with a whole bagful of danger, twists, and snarky banter.

Holding On By Our Fingertips, edited by Kate Coe and Amanda RutterHolding On By Our Fingertips, edited by Kate Coe and Amanda Rutter:

An anthology of science fiction and speculative stories exploring the many different reactions and experiences of people during the 24 hours leading up to the end of the world. Our base instinct is to survive, but when the end is nigh, do we simply lie down and die? Or do we celebrate our life and achievements?
Love, loss, forgiveness, revenge, or just that final goodbye…

Gaie Sebold — James Everington — Sarah Higbee — Charlotte Bond — Kim Lakin-Smith — Steve Carr — Leontii Cristea — Charlotte Strong — Tabitha Lord — Theo Graham — Adrian Faulkner — Phil Sloman — C.A. Yates — Ren Warom — Terry Grimwood — Scott Hungerford — Courtney Privett

Star Forged by Justin SloanStar Forged by Justin Sloan:

Semper Fi, Do or Die, the Marines say. But superpowers have changed the equation.

Gunnery Sergeant Trent Helms wanted to be among the first Marines through the gateway to the stars. But as they say, no plan survives first contact. There was definitely no plan to become super-powered and discover the deadliest threat ever known.

Back on Earth, Intel Agent Shrina Collins will do whatever it takes to see the threat extinguished, but discovers a government conspiracy that changes everything. Now it’s up to these two to save the universe, or watch as it unravels.

Earth’s first journey through a gateway to the stars unlocks a great evil, but equally great potential.

Empowered Rebel by Dale Ivan SmithEmpowered Rebel by Dale Ivan Smith:

What do you do when a conspiracy suppresses super powers?

Mathilda Brandt fights to keep her fellow Empowered friends and the Imbued refugees from Sanctuary alive and safe. Environmental disasters are ravaging the world. Her former master, the secretive government agency known as Support, hunts her and the other rogue Empowered and Imbued across the world, seeking to capture or kill them. Only the strange Dark-Net, an extra-dimensional road, keeps Mat and her friends free.

Mat is also desperate to find her mother, who until a few months ago Mat thought was dead. Her mother’s fate is somehow intertwined with the people hunting her, and Mat wants to learn how.

When the Dark-Net begins to fail, Mat realizes she’ll have to do the last thing she ever wanted to do: lead a desperate rebellion to save her mother and free the world.

Spaceships and Spellcasters by Glynn StewartSpaceships and Spellcasters by Glynn Stewart:

A mage cop on his first assignment learns the world isn’t as black and white as hoped

A jump mage and a starship with matching needs turn out to be a magnet for trouble

Digging in 1940s New York City awakens a monster–and brings in the elite of the Fae

The protected heir of an interstellar dictatorship is called to a battle no one expected him to fight

An explosive collection of four novellas from science fiction and fantasy author Glynn Stewart, spanning his ONSET, Starship’s Mage, Changeling Blood and Exile universes, including two brand new urban fantasy novellas.

Infinite Dysmorphia, edited by Kate Coe and Peter SuttonInfinite Dysmorphia, edited by Kate Coe and Peter Sutton:

An anthology of science fiction and speculative stories exploring how science and technology could change what it means to be human. Bio implants, cybernetics, genetic modification, age reversal, robotics and technology…what is the human experience of undergoing these procedures, and what is the advance of technology going to bring?
What does the future hold in store for those who are pushing the definition of humanity?

Ren Warom — David Boop — Isha Crowe — Dolly Garland — Thomas J. Spargo — Elizabeth Hosang — Ron Wingrove — Sean Grigsby — Courtney M. Privett — Steve Cotterill — Anne Nicholls — David Sarsfield — Frances Kay — Alec McQuay

The Tenth Reaver by Sandell WallThe Tenth Reaver by Sandell Wall:

The Kingdom of Haverfell is sinking into darkness. A millennium ago, the High King fell into shadow, struck down by treachery at the height of his power. Corruption rules in his absence, and the throne sits empty. Now whispers of the kingdom’s former glory are punished, and the memory of the High King is blotted from the annals of history.

Kaiser Pellathor, Tenth Reaver of Northmark, is the fallen kingdom’s greatest champion. Undefeated in the arena, unbeatable on the field of battle, he carries out his orders without question, mercy, or fear. He must, for if he should he ever fail in his duties, his family will pay the price.

But for the first time in a thousand years, old powers begin to stir, and rumors of hope are voiced in secret. Tasked with crushing this dissent, Kaiser finds himself on the wrong side of justice. If he stands against tyranny, his family dies. His only other choice is to become the tyrant himself.

As the Shrouded King seeks to reclaim what was lost, Kaiser must decide where his loyalties lie…

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for June 2018

Welcome to the latest 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, hardboiled mysteries, historical mysteries, international mysteries, British mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysterie, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, pulp adventure, noir thrillers, romantic suspense, private investigators, vigilantes, amateur sleuths, serial killers, drug smugglers, street gangs, mobsters, assassins, kidnappers, missing persons, luck thieves, innocents in prison, crimebusting accountants, revenge, murder in London, Greece, Portland, Florida, Hawaii, Bangalore and outer space 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 crime 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:

Rose City Renegade by D.L. BarburRose City Renegade by D.L. Barbur:

Dent Miller used to believe in justice.
Now all he wants is revenge.

Six months ago, his enemies took everything from him. It was the biggest mistake they ever made.
He’s been looking over his shoulder ever since, waiting for them to come.
He’s not afraid.
He just wants them back in his sights.

If you loved Rose City Free Fall and thought the tension couldn’t get any higher, buckle up, because this book cranks it up to 11.

Rose City Renegade is chock full of gritty action, believable characters, and a story that just won’t quit.

The Luck Thieves by James BeachThe Luck Thieves by James Beach:

Someone stole Aurelian’s luck – and is coming for his life.

 

 

 

 

 

In The House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth BearIn the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth Bear:

A man has been turned inside-out.

Fifty years in the future, in the sleek modern city of Bangalore, a scientist working on revolutionary bioengineering techniques has been discovered inside his own locked home, his body converted into a neat toroidal package of meat. It’s up to Police Sub-Inspector Ferron to unearth the victim’s complicated past and solve the crime, despite the best efforts of the mastermind behind the murder, aliens beaming signals from the Andromeda Galaxy, her overbearing mother, and an adorable parrot-cat who is the only witness.

The Shantytown Robin Hoods by Cora BuhlertThe Shantytown Robin Hoods by Cora Buhlert:

Latisha, Moses and Tim are three street kids eking out a living in a dystopian future. Together, they are the Shantytown Robin Hoods, a street gang that steals from the rich and gives to – well, themselves.

“The Hole” is the hottest night club in Shantytown, where the rich and the famous can party among the less fortunate. But “The Hole” is also a favourite hangout for Latisha, Moses and Tim to find marks they can rob.

But then their latest job is derailed by a mobster with sticky fingers and a prize on his head, a teen pop sensation, a trigger-happy bodyguard and a red-haired assassin.

Soon bullets are flying in Shantytown and Latisha, Moses and Tim must keep their heads down to survive and steal another day…

This is a short dystopian crime story of 2800 words or approximately 10 print pages.

Murder Breaks the Bank by Maddie CochereMurder Breaks the Bank by Maddie Cochere:

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, a man hires the investigative firm of Two Sisters and a Journalist to protect him. Jo Wheeler accompanies him to the bank with disastrous results. Jo, Pepper, and Jackie must now scramble to find out who murdered their client before Sergeant Rorski sends the wrong man to prison.

A rash of car vandalism and a Brussels sprouts caper also keep the three women on their toes, and it doesn’t help Jo’s mounting headache that Mama is preparing a comedy routine for open mic night at a local pub.

Only the Truth by Adam CroftOnly the Truth by Adam Croft:

He’s not the perfect husband. But he is the perfect suspect.

Dan Cooper has never been the perfect husband to Lisa. He travels for work and plays the carefree bachelor when he can. But now, on a solo business trip, in a remote coastal hotel, he’s surprised to find Lisa in his bathroom. She’s dead.

He has no idea how she got there but one chilling fact is clear: everything points to Dan having murdered her. Someone is trying to frame him. Someone who might still be watching. In a panic, he goes on the run. But even as he flees across Europe, his unknown enemy stacks up the evidence against him.

Dan is determined to clear his name and take revenge on Lisa’s killer, but the culprit is closing in. And then there’s the agony of his own guilty conscience. No, he didn’t kill her—but is it all his fault?

Ice Cream and Incidents by Agatha FrostIce Cream and Incidents by Agatha Frost:

A free holiday to a seaside B&B run by drag queens sounds like the perfect way to spend a relaxing week away from Peridale, or so Julia South thought. When she arrives at the quirky B&B with her family, she’s determined to have a fun break, but she quickly finds herself in the middle of another puzzling mystery when a lighting rig falls on the star drag performer, Simone Phoenix.

Was it an accident, or something more sinister? Julia quickly befriends the owner, Russell, and learns that the seemingly tight-knit drag family working at Sparkles are not without their problems. With secrets and lies revolving around love, money, and revenge, each of them appears to have a motive for wanting Simone out of the way. Can Julia resist the lure of cracking yet another case for the sake of having a peaceful family holiday by the sea, or will the urge to uncover the truth take over once again?

Shallow Breeze by Jack HardinShallow Breeze by Jack Hardin:

Pine Island, Florida, has a reputation for being a sleepy fishing town, not a coastal waterway for drug dealers.
So when a plane loaded with cocaine crashes into an iconic pier, the locals begin to wonder if any other secrets are about to fall out of the sky.

Fresh off an exemplary career with the CIA, Ellie O’Conner has landed into a new venture with the DEA, and things are off to a blazing start.

But while Ellie secretly struggles with new information unfolding about her family, she tries to unravel the truth, wherever it leads.

And truth often rides in on the back of a lie.

Sierra Bravo by Simon HaynesSierra Bravo by Simon Haynes:

Planet Dismolle is supposed to be a peaceful haven. So what’s with all the gunfire?

A criminal gang has moved into Chirless, Dismolle’s second major city. Elderly residents are fed up with the loud music, noisy cars and late night parties, not to mention hold-ups, muggings and the occasional gunfight.

Chirless has no Peace Force, so Harriet Walsh of the Dismolle City branch has to help out. That puts her up against a gang of hardened criminals with only her training pistol and a few old allies to lend a hand.

And these allies aren’t just old, they’re positively ancient!

Sierra Bravo is the third novel in the Harriet Walsh series. Peace Force and Alpha Minor are already available in print and ebook.

Pound to a Penny by Cynthia E. HurstPound to a Penny by Cynthia E. Hurst:

Gideon Young was a fast-talking con man who could convince gullible people to gamble on almost anything. But even Young wouldn’t have bet on being outwitted by a clock repairer and a thief turned housemaid, as his plans to fleece the residents of a Cotswold market town go terribly wrong. A woman with a mysterious past and a sheep shearer with a grudge add to the mix as Jacob Silver and Sarah Simm help the police solve a mystery involving love, loyalty and loaded dice.

‘Pound to a Penny’ is the sixth book in the Silver and Simm Victorian Mysteries series.

Bend the Rules by Susan Amanda KellyBend the Rules by Susan Amanda Kelly:

Everyone deserves a second chance and Mary Holmes, accountant extraordinaire, is determined to make the most of hers. Sure, she’d love to get her old life back – she used to be thin, well-dressed, engaged-to-be-married, on the corporate ladder and regularly bought three kinds of lettuce. Back then, she could afford the hair products needed to keep her hair sleek. But one unused wedding cake, a regrettable public safety incident and a teensy prison record later, her life goals have shrunk to being able to afford to eat regularly. To do that, she needs to make a success of her second chance… an accounting job with Vetruvious Security.

Everything is proceeding according to Mary’s detailed, color-coded, new-life plan until Vitruvious Security hires a specialist, Crash Coolidge, to work undercover to smash a truck cargo heist ring. Crash is sexy, insolent, sexy, disheveled, sexy and scarily relaxed about the prospect of killing people. Even in a tough-guy company like Vitruvious Security, Crash is the equivalent of a Rottweiler surrounded by Chihuahuas. After Mary is assigned to his team, her life-plan rapidly derails. She is targeted by the sinister and mysterious head of the heist gang and only Crash stands between her and an undignified death.

Mary finds herself doing things that most definitely were not in her employment contract like stripping the shoes from a corpse; adopting a deaf, rank-smelling guard dog; clue-hunting with Crash’s crazy, supermodel sister and lurking in a biker bar to locate a specific tattoo artist. All because Mary ends up wanting a second chance for Crash Coolidge as much as she wants one for herself. And she must find the sinister and mysterious head of the heist gang before Crash does. Because she doesn’t want Crash to do something reckless that lands him in prison. Not when he has become a vital part of her detailed, color-coded, new new-life plan.

*A high-octane cocktail of romance, crime and humor. Some strong language and steam.

Outta Crime by Alex A. KingOutta Crime by Alex A. King:

Two Godmothers. Zero Wands.

It’s not easy being dead. Just ask Kat Makris. She’s stuck in an underground bunker, watching her own funeral, where more people are laughing than crying. Being dead has other consequences, too. Her face is in all the papers, her bank is convinced she’s an identity thief, and the sexy Detective Melas is under siege by his trampy ex-girlfriend, who happens to work for Greece’s version of the CIA.

The timing couldn’t be worse; she just figured out where her missing father might be.

Escaping Grandma’s cozy bunker is the only way find her dad—a feat that would be simpler if she could access her own bank account and ride something other than the local bus. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Marika’s unborn baby is sending her psychic messages—messages that send Kat all the way to Germany, where Grandma’s oldest nemesis is cooking up some payback …

The Governess by Mary KingswoodThe Governess by Mary Kingswood:

The first of a brand new series by the author of Sons of the Marquess.

When Mr Edmund Winterton of Woodside dies, his daughters find themselves penniless and homeless. What can they do? Unless they wish to live on charity, they will have to find genteel employment for themselves.

Annabelle becomes governess to the daughters of the recently bereaved Earl of Brackenwood. She has no idea how to teach, but her pupils can learn all they need from books, so how difficult can it be? She’ll need all her ingenuity to cope with the rebelliousness of her charges, and the unwanted attentions of their father. But when her past returns to haunt her, she has to make a difficult decision.

Allan is slowly getting used to life as a widower, but his mother is determined that he must marry again and produce an heir. He is determined that he won’t, although the new governess is just the sort of woman he could fall in love with. But when a face from long ago reappears and stirs up suspicion, he has to consider the possibility that his wife’s death was not natural. What is worse, he himself is the obvious suspect. If he can’t prove his innocence, he may lose everything – his home, his new love and even his life.

Book 1 of the 5-book Sisters of Woodside Mysteries series, each a complete story with a HEA, but read all of them to find out all the family secrets!

The Werewolf Whoops by Amanda M. LeeThe Werewolf Whoops by Amanda M. Lee:

Charlie Rhodes is back on her feet and ready for action. Luckily for her, The Legacy Foundation officially has its first job in weeks and they’re on the hunt for … werewolves.

It seems two campers have gone missing, the campsite littered with strange animal prints. Charlie is excited for adventure but sometimes wishes are more dangerous than they seem.

After meeting a woman and her daughter in the woods – and getting a gander inside her head – Charlie finds she’s on two missions. She wants to find a werewolf and, even more, she wants to find out what makes the secretive Zoe Lake-Winters tick. There’s something about the woman that sends Charlie’s curiosity into overdrive … and that’s not always a good thing.

The Michigan woods are full of dark surprises and Charlie is in for a few herself. She’s hiding a secret, but so are many others, and some of those secrets are worth killing for.

This outing may be one for the record books, especially when multiple mysteries reveal themselves at one time. Survival isn’t always easy, but in this instance, it will be more difficult than Charlie ever imagined.

Sit back and enjoy the show, because the secrets are going to be flying fast and furious … and so is the danger.

Wired Secret by Toby NealWired Secret by Toby Neal:

Paradise is filled with deadly secrets.
What would you do if you were a killer’s loose end?

Palm trees, volcanoes, and black sand beaches are the backdrop for murder as security specialist Sophie Ang, and her dog Ginger, are swept up in a multi-layered case on the Big Island of Hawaii working with a US Marshal to protect an important witness. A ghost from Sophie’s past returns to haunt her, and a love triangle tears at her heart. Sophie will need all of her friends, lovers, tech-savvy, and skills to stay alive…and that’s just her day job.

The Sunkiller Affair by Dave RobinsonThe Sunkiller Affair by Dave Robinson:

When Vic Frank is arrested on trumped up charges while Doc Vandal and the team are searching for a kidnapped scientist, explaining it to her mother is the least of Doc’s problems.

He’s also got to deal with… Vic’s irate girlfriend Ming… Nazis infiltrating the NYPD… and whoever just broke into the 87th floor of the Republic State Building and stole the plans for a device that can blow up the Sun!

Join Doc Vandal and the team in a fight against the Technarchy’s flying commandos, the German American Bund, and the vacuum of space itself!

Enjoy a complete pulp adventure with Nazis, talking gorillas, and Zeppelins in Spaaaace!

A Lie in Every Truth by Jamie Lee ScottA Lie in Every Truth by Jamie Lee Scott:

It’s spring, and yet private detective, Mimi Capurro, still hasn’t faced the proposal she received from homicide detective, Nick Christianson, at Christmas. She knows she should be making plans, but business is good, and she’s short an investigator. She’ll think about it later.

Just as things are getting on track, Mimi’s mom brings a case to Gotcha Detective Agency. Lydia’s good friend was found dead in her car almost two weeks earlier, and the police ruled it a suicide. Both Lydia and the victim’s husband think the police are wrong.

While Mimi and Lydia investigate, Charles has an investigation of his own. One he’s not sharing with the Gotcha crew.
Do Mimi and Nick have a future together, or will Charles’s investigation change their lives forever?

Stabbed in Shoreditch by Samantha SilverStabbed in Shoreditch by Samantha Silver:

Cassie’s living life on the edge of a knife…

When Violet is hired to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer, Cassie discovers that not only is an innocent man’s life at stake, but also that solving a ten-month-old murder has its own unique challenges.

But what initially seems like it might be a straightforward case quickly becomes more complex with the discovery of a secret computer file, and an encryption even Violet can’t crack.

Meanwhile, Cassie finds herself helping Brianne discover who’s been stealing supplies from the hospital – a great distraction as Cassie avoids making a decision about going back to medical school.

As Violet and Cassie get closer to cracking the encryption, they find themselves embroiled in the middle of a conspiracy even Violet couldn’t have predicted.

Will they be able to solve the case and give an innocent man his life back before they become the next victims?

After the Sunset by Mark StoneAfter the Sunset by Mark Stone:

Dark clouds dampen bright futures and, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, you never know when you’ll be stuck in the eye of a storm.

With his wedding fast approaching, Detective Dillon Storm couldn’t be more at peace. The thing about peace though is that it can be fleeting, very fleeting in a place like this.
When Naples’ newest mayoral candidate’s wife comes to Dillon with concerns about her son’s safety, Dillon takes it seriously. When that same son is then involved in a car accident and placed in an ambulance that promptly vanishes on the way to hospital, Dillon knows he’s dealing with something much more deadly than a mother’s worry.

What he finds is a deadly game of cat and mouse that will twist everything he knows, threaten to ruin the reputation he’s built since his return to Naples, send him crashing into familiar waters, and quite possibly derail his wedding before he even has a chance to say ‘I do’.

Happy endings are hard to come by, and sometimes the most dangerous moments can happen AFTER THE SUNSET!

Taker of Lives by Leslie Wolfe4Taker of Lives by Leslie Wolfe:

How can you outrun a killer you won’t see coming?

Until yesterday, no one knew Miami had another killer on the loose. Special Agent Tess Winnett calls this particularly elusive one the Taker of Lives.

The crimes: bewildering

After a well-known model commits suicide, Tess refuses to accept the findings and pushes for an investigation into the reasons behind the beautiful young woman’s decision to end her life. What she finds surpasses her wildest fears.

The evidence: disturbing

Each new crime scene brings more questions than answers. While secrets are revealed, even those meant to be kept forever in the dark, Tess can draw only one conclusion: she’s not the one in charge; the Taker of Lives controls the game, the players, even the course of the investigation.

The race: intense

With little information and even less evidence, Tess must connect the dots of a deadly scenario with a large number of potential victims. If she fails, another beautiful, young girl will die tonight, and the blood will be on her hands.

The Taker of Lives might be closer than you think. Who’s watching you sleep tonight?

Medieval to Modern, edited by Sarah WoodburyMedieval to Modern: An Anthology of Historical Mystery Stories, edited by Sarah Woodbury:

Join amateur sleuths, private detectives, and feisty female protagonists in a journey through time with this anthology of historical mysteries spanning nearly a thousand years, from Medieval Wales to 1940s Ohio. This collection of eight novellas and short stories is the perfect introduction to five award-winning series in settings ranging from the back streets of Elizabethan and Regency London to the steep slopes of Victorian San Francisco.

— Libi Astaire, the Jewish Regency mystery series.

— Anna Castle, the Francis Bacon mystery series and the Professor & Mrs. Moriarty mystery series.

— M. Louisa Locke, the Victorian San Francisco mystery series.

— M. Ruth Myers, the Maggie Sullivan mystery series set in Depression-era Ohio.

— Sarah Woodbury, the Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries.

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New dystopian crime thriller available: The Shantytown Robin Hoods

I mentioned over at my personal blog that there would be a new release announcement coming soon and here it is.

The Shantytown Robin Hoods is another story to come out of the 2017 July short story challenge, where the aim was to write a story per day during July 2017. Writing a new story every day means coming up with a lot of inspiration, so I occasionally use short cuts such as writing prompts, artwork, etc… The Shantytown Robin Hoods was inspired by a piece of art, namely this one by an artist known only as macfixed, whose Deviant Art account sadly seems to have been closed in the meantime.

Before I wrote the story, I looked at the image and the various people pictured and asked myself who they were and what they were doing in that place. Once I’d finished that little exercise, the story more or less wrote itself.

The result was a crime thriller set in a dystopian Cyberpunk future, where two very different crimes – a gang of street kids trying to rob the patrons of a club and an assassin about to shoot a mobster – intersect. The cover is a suitably gritty and Cyberpunky piece of art by the talented Thai artist Tithi Luadthong, whose work also graces the covers of the In Love and War series. Of course, the Cyberpunk category in the Amazon Kindle store seems to have been overrun by LitRPG books, since the subgenre doesn’t have its own subcategory, but I hope that there still is something of a market for what Cyberpunk used to be.

So far, The Shantytown Robin Hoods is a standalone story, though I may well revisit this setting and the characters – well, those left standing by the end of the story – again in the future.

And talking of the future, July is almost upon us and so it’s time to decide whether I will do another July short story challenge this year. On the one hand, I find the July short story challenge enormously rewarding and I have done the challenge three years in a row now. On the other hand, the extremely early onset of summer this year (we have basically had non-stop hot weather since early April and it isn’t even officially summer yet, so we may well have three more months of hot weather, if we’re very unlucky) has left my low on spoons, since my body doesn’t handle hot weather well. Not to mention that the current political situation in Germany and elsewhere is leaving me frustrated and angry, which also doesn’t help.

I’ve still got two weeks to decide what to do. I’ll probably give it a go, at least for a few days, to see how it goes.

But for now, enjoy the fruits of last year’s July short story challenge and check out:

The Shantytown Robin Hoods
The Shantytown Robin Hoods by Cora BuhlertLatisha, Moses and Tim are three street kids eking out a living in a dystopian future. Together, they are the Shantytown Robin Hoods, a street gang that steals from the rich and gives to – well, themselves.

“The Hole” is the hottest night club in Shantytown, where the rich and the famous can party among the less fortunate. But “The Hole” is also a favourite hangout for Latisha, Moses and Tim to find marks they can rob.

But then their latest job is derailed by a mobster with sticky fingers and a prize on his head, a teen pop sensation, a trigger-happy bodyguard and a red-haired assassin.

Soon bullets are flying in Shantytown and Latisha, Moses and Tim must keep their heads down to survive and steal another day…

More information.
Length: 2800 words
List price: 0.99 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, Google Play, 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 2018

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’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 epic fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, religious fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, science fiction mystery, science fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, horror, Steampunk, fairy tales, YA science fiction, YA fantasy, several LGBT books, witches, werewolves, shifters, superheroes, valkyries, aliens, androids, mercenaries, bounty hunters, space mages, fae and those who hunt them, space cops, lovers on the run, time travel, cartoon characters coming to life, monsters, shaman, djinn, the devil himself 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:

Unlit by Keri ArthurUnlit by Keri Arthur:

Winterborne has long been a city divided between those who have magic, and those who do not. Between those who are free, and those who are not…

Though classified as having no magic, Neve March can hear the whispers of the wind and sometimes even control her. But it’s a secret she must hold close if she wishes to continue as Nightwatch—the soldiers who guard Winterborne against those who roam the wastelands and feast on human flesh.

But when Neve investigates a faint SOS signal, she not only unearths a woman close to death, but a plot involving an ancient enemy long thought dead.

In an effort to expose those behind the plot, Neve goes undercover amongst Winterborne’s elite—a dangerous step that could expose her secret and rip away all that she holds dear.

But the trail of treachery leads her from Winterborne’s golden halls to the heart of the enemy’s hive, and it will shake her belief of not only who she is, but what she is…

Rose Gold by David BarkerRose Gold by David Barker

Rose Gold is the thrilling sequel to the bestselling Blue Gold.

In the aftermath of a world war for water, geopolitical tensions remain high and terrorism is a daily fact of life in the 2030s. But a mining base on the moon offers a rare example of international co-operation and a possible solution to the world’s energy problems. Yet not everyone on Earth is keen for this endeavour to succeed…

Sim Atkins and his wife are desperate to start a family. But a shocking message from the moon base tells Sim that he is already a father and that his son’s life is in danger. The mining station is full of suspects and, worse, the woman who fathered his child. Can Sim rescue his son and save his marriage?

Gopal and Rabten – the Gurkha and monk who helped Sim on his last assignment – are on the trail of terrorists and a giant airship. What the agents discover in the cargo hold makes Sim’s mission even more vital. When they get trapped, Freda Brightwell – Sim’s old partner in Overseas Division – is called out of retirement for one more mission.

Once again, corporate greed threatens the lives of millions. Overseas Division s finest are back at the sharp end. And this time, the stakes are far more personal.

Manus Dei: Harbinger by Edmund A.M. BataraManus Dei: Harbinger by Edund A.M. Batara

The former Light-Bringer’s time to rule is coming. And there’s nothing humanity can do about it. Yet the Devil is prophesied to lose everything in the end. Destiny or not, the fallen Archangel has other plans.

Thus the tumultuous last stages of a conflict as old as time. Fought in this world. With the weapons and science of humanity.

But though the time of the Apocalypse is nearing, Heaven waits. And in preparation for the final conflict, the minions of Hell have started infesting the world. Corrupting humanity and stealing the heavenly spark that connects mortals to God. Unless stopped, when the end comes, most of the divine power that exists in every person will belong to the Adversary. The Serpent has no plans of losing again. With enough heavenly power, he believes that even a divine prophecy can be broken.

Against the forces of Hell, it falls to the shoulders of a few good men and women at the side of diminished angels to delay Armageddon. A retrograde action against the forces of darkness.

One of them is Keith A. North, SEAL E-6, left for dead in the sandbox. Recruited by the secretive Khamsa, an organization almost as old as recorded history, he learns how to fight against nightmares made real. Limited by rules as ancient as the struggle against Hell.

Hunter and Hunted by Cora BuhlertHunter and Hunted 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.

On their way back from a mission, Anjali and Mikhail are ambushed by a squad of bounty hunters. Wounded and hunted through a frozen landscape, they find shelter in a mountain lodge.

But their pursuers are still out there, tracking them. And with Anjali too injured to fight, Mikhail must face down seven bounty hunters on his own…

This is a novella of 21000 words or approx. 75 print pages in the “In Love and War” series, but may be read as a standalone.

Blasters of Forever by Cora BuhlertBlasters of Forever by Cora Buhlert:

1985: Screenwriter Simon St. John makes his living writing toy tie-in cartoons and dreams of finally getting his screenplay “People on a Bridge” produced.

But one night, when Simon has just come up with his latest creation, a group of time travelling cops known as the Blasters of Forever, a portal opens inside his living room. Out of the portal hop none others than the Blasters of Forever or at any rate, people who look very much like them.

The Blasters explain that they are from the future, where Simon is considered not just one of the greatest creative minds of the twentieth century, but also the inspiration for the time travel program that eventually led to the formation of the Blasters of Forever.

However, not just the Blasters of Forever are real. The villainous Doctor Chronos, sworn enemy of the Blasters of Forever, is real as well. And so is his cadre of time travelling assassins.

This is a short story of 5500 words or approximately 20 print pages.

Medusa's Touch by Emily L. ByrneMedusa’s Touch by Emily L. Byrne:

Medusa Pilot Captain TiCara X273, ex-street kid and former bondslave, thought she wanted nothing more than to be captain of her own starship. Or, at least, that was all that she thought she wanted until Sherin Khan came back into her life. A bar singer turned corporate rep, Sherin is now working for Ser Trin Vahn, one of TiCara’s best clients and head of Vahn Corp.

Once they are thrown together on TiCara’s ship, TiCara and Sherin can no longer deny their simmering attraction to each other. A simple mission to transport the ailing Vahn to the legendary asteroid, Electra 12, for medical treatments turns dark and dangerous as betrayal leads to betrayal. TiCara’s greatest enemy is pursuing them, there’s a traitor on her crew and Sherin has a secret that can tear them apart. Can they learn to trust each other before it’s too late?

Renegade Valkyrie by Stacy ClaflinRenegade Valkyrie by Stacy Claflin:

She’s an angel of death, but her life is in danger.

Soleil is a Valkyrie, cursed to obey the laws of Valhalla—laws she’s been skirting for centuries. But when she uses her sword to protect a friend rather than to eliminate her assigned target, she crosses that fine line. Now her species is coming for her. Compounding problems, she’s also in the crosshairs of a powerful, vindictive witch who wants retribution for the murder of her sister.

It’s the worst possible time for her emotions to surface, so of course they do. While dealing with danger, she struggles with moving past the death of her fiancé and budding feelings for her best friend, Titan. Soleil already stays away from her former pack to protect them, now she feels she should leave Titan too, to keep him safe. But she can’t bear to do it.

Now she’s put him in danger, as well as some of her old allies and new friends. It would be in everyone’s best interest if she ran. But she can’t. She won’t. And her fate comes down to an epic battle between supernatural forces—a battle she’s ill-equipped to win.

Desert Sands and Silence by Kate CoeDesert Sands and Silence by Kate Coe:

Moel is a runner, a desert inhabitant who makes her living carrying messages across the sun-baked plains, content in her silence. But when a group of engineers from Meton are caught in a rockslide, politics abruptly brings Moel into the world again, and she meets others who have been pulled back to their pasts by Ziricon’s desire to gain the power of spark without the costs.

 

 

Atomic Underworld by Jack ConnerAtomic Underworld by Jack Conner:

Washed-up professional gambler Tavlin Metzler is done working with the shadowy criminal network that lurks beneath the city streets, but when a brutal and mysterious set of murders occurs in the very bedroom of his old mob boss, Tavlin gets drawn back into the mix. In the world of the Atomic Sea, mutants thrive–fish-people, lobster-people, turtle-people–the list goes on. But in the country of Ghenisa, many of them are disenfranchised and relegated to life in the vast, alien sewers beneath the capital city of Hissig.

There the outcast Tavlin is taken by Boss Vassas’s goons and given an edict by the Boss himself: find out who (or what) committed the crimes . . . or else. In no time, Tavlin is hip-deep in danger, dodging spies, cultists, mobsters, monsters and more sewer mutants than he can shake a foul-smelling stick at. But things get really complicated when his old flame Sophia shows up.

Atomic Underworld is a gripping steampunkish fantasy adventure by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Jack Conner. If you like action-packed storytelling, Lovecraftian horrors, and unique twists and turns you won’t see coming, then you’ll love Jack Conner’s incredible mix of fantasy, adventure, and mystery.

Ruthless Magic by Megan CreweRuthless Magic by Megan Crewe:

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die… or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

Cruelty Unmasked by Ellen CrosháinCruelty Unmasked by Ellen Crosháin:

Henry used to be a god. Now, he’s just the gardener.

Nearly twenty-five years have passed since the ancient Faroust fell in love with Eliza MacTir. Stripped of his powers and forced to work for the family he used to rule, he can’t avoid the woman who ruined him. But when a chance encounter brings him into contact with Eliza’s daughter Áine, a twenty-one year old student looking for a chance to explore herself, he sees a chance to exact revenge. The affair is sweet and Henry knows that when he finally reveals it to Eliza, it will be even sweeter.

But Henry and Áine aren’t the only ones keeping secrets. Áine’s brother Caolán, sixteen and rebellious, has his share of demons and not all is well with Eliza and Cornelius. The veneer of the perfect family has cracks and once the truths start to spill, everything Eliza fought for will start to unravel.
Secrets cannot be buried forever and the Veil won’t stay shut. Darker forces are watching and waiting…

Power by Karen DiemPower by Karen Diem:

After successfully rescuing her brother from a serial killer and stopping a plot to use a magic butter knife to massacre thousands, Zita Garcia is ready for a return to her regular life: illegally climbing skyscrapers, hiding her superpowers, and grudgingly earning a paycheck to cover all those bills piling up.

Unfortunately, her least favorite supervillains are rampaging around in a bloody crime spree, outmaneuvering and outgunning the authorities. Enlisting her friends to help, even the one sulking in his dad’s basement, she’s got to stop the bad guys and their latest evil plan before anyone else dies. Even if Zita isn’t sure what they’re doing, other than it involves Brazil.

And maybe dinosaurs.

Power is the third in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.

House of Sighs by Aaron DriesHouse of Sighs by Aaron Dries:

This award-winning, psychological experience is back in print, and includes the exclusive sequel The Sound of his Bones Breaking, a novella that will leave you leave you truly shaken.

Board for free. But the cost might be your life.

In House of Sighs, Local bus driver, Liz Frost, pulls the gun from her mouth and decides to live with her loneliness for one more day. She dresses, combs her hair, and goes to work. Nine souls board her route that fateful morning in rural Australia, nine souls who Liz drags back to her home against their will. She wants to build a new family from these passengers, men and women who are willing to kill to avoid becoming her kin. The bus leaves a trail of carnage in its wake as it rockets towards a house that has held its secrets for far too long, a place where crows now gather, ready to feed on whatever is left behind.

Includes the sequel novella The Sound of his Bones Breaking:

Trauma has teeth. Big ones. And it’s always hungry for seconds.

Aiden and Danny down their beers in the open bar overlooking the road, legs brushing together, about as far as they let their public displays of affection go in that part of Australia. The warm breeze and pounding music—their last happy memory. Everything changes when the taxi pulls up and its drunken driver stumbles out, starting a street brawl that leaves Danny broken and bleeding on the ground. In an attempt to give his lover the space he needs to heal, Aiden accepts an employment opportunity in Thailand, and the two men set off overseas, their fates sealed air-tight within the confines of the airplane. But in the claustrophobic hush of their tiny Bangkok apartment, and while Aiden goes off to work, instead of mending, Danny’s old scars begin to sing.

The lonely walks. The woman cooking bones in a vat of broth, whispering at him to eat the parts that hurt. The flies nobody but Danny can hear.

A burning desire to trace his heritage of hurt back to ground zero, and there, find someone to blame.

The Sound of his Bones Breaking is the dread-infused sequel to House of Sighs.

Today's Spacemage by Timothy EllisToday’s Spacemage by Timothy Ellis:

Thorn is back! The guilty will be punished.

The war they dismissed as nonsense, is now raging.

Jen needs Thorn. The military want Thorn.

Thorn is older and wiser, and he doesn’t care what anyone wants.

He has a better hold on his growing power, or so he thinks.

The war calls, but there is unfinished business to attend to on the way.

Unanswered questions lead in strange directions, and a war for no reason, is only part of the mystery.

But through everything, Thorn carries two themes. The guilty will be punished, and there will be peace!

Yesterday was just the start.

Now he’s Today’s Spacemage.

Chaos Conspiracy by Holly EvansChaos Conspiracy by Holly Evans:

Wren Kincaid, blood witch.

It’s a shame I can’t put that on my résumé. Mercenaries with magic or supernal blood have a much easier time landing jobs. Unfortunately, if anyone finds out about my blood magic, I’ll be executed in twelve hours or less. Blood witches were eradicated a century before I was born, deemed too dangerous, or so everyone thought.

My life wasn’t too bad. I had to wrangle more drunk pixies than I’d have liked, and it was far from luxurious. I struggled to pay my rent, but I wasn’t complaining. Not too loudly, anyway.

Cue the Council and Dante Caspari. The Council are the people who will execute me if they find out what I am. Dante Caspari is the sexy-as-sin guy they hired me to work with so I can find out what happened to the missing supernals in Bucharest.

It sounds great working with a sexy guy, right? The problem is, his father’s a demon prince and his mother’s one of the most powerful witches in the Americas. If anyone is going to trip me up and hand me over to the Council, it’s him. So, I have to find the missing supernals, save the day, and try not to get killed doing it. Funny, those drunk pixies I was complaining about don’t seem so bad now.

Set in the same world as the popular Forged in Blood series

Fight the Good Fight by Daniel GibbsEchoes of the Past: Fight the Good Fight by Daniel Gibbs:

A republic under attack. A reluctant soldier. An all-out fight for the galaxy’s soul.

David Cohen prays he’ll live to see the other side of his first deployment. His people thought they had left war behind when they fled Earth centuries ago. Time, though, has not dulled the hatred and intolerance of their erstwhile oppressors. To defend his homeland’s freedom, David abandons his dream of becoming a rabbi for the battlefield… and discovers a side of himself he is not sure he can live with.

David’s focus is clear when the bullets are flying. In the long hours after, he must reckon with the toll that blood and blame bring upon his mind. Can he square the tenets of his faith against his responsibility to crew and country? Nothing has prepared him to make decisions that could cause ruin or an end to generations of conflict… except for trust in God, himself, and those who serve under him.

If David Cohen survives it all, who will he be?

Echoes of the Past: Fight the Good Fight is the first book in a military sci-fi trilogy that takes an unflinching look at sacrifice, duty, and the scars left on the minds of those who serve. The trials and tactics of a starship commander are only part of the story… because every soldier faces battles within.

Cinnamon Blade by Shira GlassmanCinnamon Blade: Knife in Shining Armor by Shira Glassman:

Every time Cinnamon Blade, crime fighter making up for a bad past, rescues the sweet and nerdy Soledad Castillo from bad guys, the two women’s chemistry grows stronger. Now that she’s finally asked Soledad out, sparks fly — but is a normal date even possible in a city threatened by aliens and vampires on a regular basis?

Spicy f/f romance starring a bi Jewish superheroine

 

Daughter of Discord by J.J. GreenDaughter of Discord by J.J. Green:

A galactic empire in turmoil…

Rival clans fighting for supremacy…

Dark secrets bursting into the light…

Time’s running out for Carina Lin. She’s given up her merc life in the hope of finding others like her—space mages. But it’s a dicey endeavor. She can’t stay in one place too long because if her powers are revealed, she faces nasty consequences.

A clue has led her to a small town on the home planet of one of the most powerful clans in the galaxy. After searching fruitlessly for information about her long-lost kindred, Carina decides it’s time to move on. Fate has other ideas.

A chance meeting signals the beginning of a friendship and a dangerous encounter with the clan’s military. Before she knows it, Carina is sucked back into space warfare. What she doesn’t know is, she’s on the edge of uncovering a secret that will change everything forever.

Carina’s the meat in the sandwich between warring clans. If she plays her cards right, she can save those dear to her. If she loses, death will seem inviting.

Daughter of Discord is book one in the dark, exciting space fantasy, Star Mage Saga.

M;anu by Anna HackettManu by Anna Hackett:

As the battle against the invading aliens intensifies, a group of bad boy bikers and mercenaries will stand and fight for humanity’s survival…

When former berserker Manu Rahia lost his leg on a mission, he was forced to leave his squad. He knows his new role as head of the Enclave’s firing range and armory is important, but hates that he isn’t still out there fighting face to face against the aliens and protecting his brothers’ backs. But then one woman catches his eye. A no-nonsense woman dedicated to her job as head of security. A woman who seems cool on the surface, but who Manu is convinced is hiding more under her business-like exterior.

Captain Kate Scott dedicated her life to her career in the Army. Now she works hard taking care of security for the Enclave and its residents. She learned a long time ago that she isn’t a passionate woman, and that she’s better off sticking to her work. But seeing one big, bronze-skinned, muscled man at the range every day has her hormones going into overdrive. She’s never felt like this and she’s determined to get herself under control.

But when the aliens launch a viscous new attack, right on the Enclave’s doorstep, Kate and Manu must join forces to stop the raptors before more people get hurt. Kate will fight fiercely to protect her team and the base, as well as her heart. But Manu Rahia is a man who knows what he wants, will walk through fire to get it, and what he wants is Kate.

Note to readers: This sci fi romance contains a lot of action (dangerous missions and deadly aliens), tough warriors (the badass berserkers of Squad Three) and a steamy romance (lots of sexy times between a sexy former berserker and the head of Enclave security). So if you like it fast, and gritty, and sexy, this is for you!

Alpha Minor by Simon HaynesAlpha Minor by Simon Haynes:

The Peace Force has a new recruit, and she’s driving everyone crazy.

From disobeying orders to handling unauthorised cases, nothing is off-limits. Worse, Harriet Walsh is forced to team up with the newbie, because the recruit’s shady past has just caught up with her.

Meanwhile, a dignitary wants to complain about rogue officers working out of the station. She insists on meeting the station’s commanding officer … and they don’t have one.

All up, it’s another typical day in the Peace Force!

Alpha Minor is set in the distant future, where humanity has colonised the galaxy. It’s good clean fun, written with wry humor, and while it has science fictional elements they’re incidental to the story. This is the second novel in the series, with a third, Sierra Bravo, due for release around July/August 2018.

Doom Wielder by Isaac HookeDoom Wielder by Isaac Hooke:

The day of reckoning has come.

Tane just wanted to be left alone. He wanted to live in peace on a remote planet somewhere on the outskirts of the galaxy.

But his enemies wouldn’t stop bothering him.

Now he’s kicking ass and taking names, hell-bent on completing a destiny he never asked for, and he doesn’t care who stands in his way.

He has his sights set on the dwellers next. He will conquer them at any price, even if it means giving up everything he ever stood for.

If he survives, he’ll face his biggest challenge yet. He will either save the universe, or destroy it.

At this point, the latter seems the most probable.

The Empire of Ruin by Robert I. KatzThe Empire of Ruin by Robert I. Katz:

Two thousand years ago, Michael Glover was a soldier. He still is.

In command of one of the most advanced ships ever built, posing as an itinerant merchant captain, Michael Glover has wandered from world to world, building his unorthodox crew and trying without success to avoid trouble.

He found a refuge for the citizens of Chronos, who fled a pocket Universe about to implode, and he helped Douglas Oliver, the Secretary General of Illyria, uncover the deadly plans of a rogue military commander allied with the slaver network, and now Michael Glover has accepted a commission to spy for naval intelligence.

The slaver network is expanding. The worlds and habitats of the Second Empire have come under attack from unknown adversaries. The enemy hits and runs and vanishes, slowly sapping the Empire’s strength.

The outlines of an Empire wide conspiracy can dimly be seen and so far, all attempts to identify the enemy have failed.

The Empire has almost unimaginable power, but power is worthless with no one to fight.

Michael Glover has been given a mission but he will carry out his mission in any way that he sees fit, because Michael Glover has secrets of his own.

What is a soldier to do when faced with overwhelming odds? Whatever is necessary…

Starfall by Jessie KwakStarfall by Jessie Kwak:

He swore to protect his goddaughter. But now the price may be too high.

Starla Dusai is fifteen, deaf — and being held as an enemy combatant by the Indiran Alliance. Willem Jaantzen is a notorious crime lord about to end a fearsome vendetta — and most probably his life. When he learns his goddaughter has been captured by the Alliance, he understands he’s her only hope. But saving a girl he barely knows means letting his wife’s murderer walk free. Will Jaantzen be able to put aside his anger before Starla’s time runs out?

STARFALL is the first book in Jessie Kwak’s Durga System series, a fast-paced series of gangster sci-fi stories set in a far-future world where humans may have left their home planet to populate the stars, but they haven’t managed to leave behind their vices. And that’s very good for business.

You’ll find captivating characters and heart-pounding adventures, all with Kwak’s customary sprinkling of wry humor.

Buy this book and immerse yourself in the gloriously seedy underbelly of the Durga System today.

A Breath of Witchy Air by Amanda M. LeeA Breath of Witchy Air by Amanda M. Lee:

Hemlock Cove is mired in a cold snap, which means the town is calm and quiet. That all changes in an instant when a beer truck tips over on the highway and half the town shows up to get drunk.

Bay Winchester is about to be the sole owner of the town newspaper so she heads out to take photos … and accidentally stumbles over several bodies. It seems there’s a serial killer on the loose, although no one can figure out if the dump site was convenient or if the killer is local.

Some hard digging leads Bay to a local college, where the only thing that stands out is a cell phone game that seems to be taking over the populace. Bay can’t shake the feeling that there’s something off about the game, but that pales in comparison to the dead girls and the motive behind multiple killings.

Things spiral out of control when the game developers pick Hemlock Cove for a big event, which means the town is suddenly flooded with gamers … including Aunt Tillie, who decides that winning really is the most important thing.

Things are about to get wicked for the Winchesters. There’s a killer in their midst and Bay appears to be displaying a new power that no one saw coming.

It’s only a matter of time until two powerful forces collide. Who comes out standing is anybody’s guess but Bay’s new power will be on full display … and may be the ultimate factor in her survival.

Androids: Escape from Mars by F. LeeAndroids: Escape from Mars by F. Lee:

Android AIs battle government mercenaries across the freezing sands of Mars

Sam was happy as a shuttle engineer for Marsport. Until he died. Brought back to life by the AI that shares his android body, Sam struggles with his new reality. Coming to grips with the loss of feelings and emotions, he is determined to find a way to keep his memories alive.

His determination is tested when the government decides to terminate the android program. Terminate, as in wiping his memory as well as the other androids. Death, again, was not an option for Sam. His plan to escape the secret laboratory seems perfect.

The plan falls apart when the government discovers their absence and sends in an elite hit squad. Racing for their lives across the deadly sands of Mars, the androids learn that another group is hunting them as well. While the constant threat of death escalates, and with no help in sight, it’s up to Sam to find a way to save himself and his android friends.

The Dark Corner by Easton LivingstonThe Dark Corner: Featuring the Makarios Cadre by Easton Livingston:

Some people just want to see the world burn, and some people were born to stop them.

• An unwanted guest and the man who has to face him alone in his own home.

• A family vacation that turns into an unexpected horror.

• A special delivery of a wondrous object and it’s terrible power.

• A family’s first home and the darkness that threatens to consume them.

Four stories. Four events that seem unconnected. Yet, under the surface, a monofilament of reality connects each of them, multiplying its tendrils until the web is complete and final curtain is pulled back. In the midst of it are three enigmatic heroes and a dedicated detective, drawn into the battle to save the soul of a city.

The Dark Corner is a supernatural thriller and dark fantasy miniseries of the same name by Easton Livingston. A collection of short stories, novelettes, and novellas, there are five stories in all, each connected to the other in slight ways with that connection becoming more pronounced in successive stories. In essence, it is a novel of stories, each story an episode in the lurking tale rumbling underneath the surface.

The Glory by J.R. MabryThe Glory by J.R. Mabry:

Berkeley is a smoldering ruin.

Bloodthirsty demons prowl the streets.

A revenge-crazed magician ascends into heaven, vowing to bring it down in flames.

When Brian discovers Terry has cheated on him he is utterly devastated, and flees to San Francisco to sort through the rubble of his life…

When magicians open the gates of hell, the Blackfriars scramble to stop them from turning the East Bay into a nightmarish wasteland of torture and mayhem…

While everyone is looking the other way, a lone magician ascends through the planes of heaven with one mission in mind: kill God and bring the Kingdom of Heaven down in flames…

Wounded, bickering, and utterly incapable of handling the situation, the Blackfriars call on Brian to put things right. But if he’s not capable of even holding onto a boyfriend, how can he possibly muster the confidence needed to save heaven and earth?

The Glory is the third book in the Berkeley Blackfriars series, but it is a standalone adventure and can be enjoyed all on its own. If you love supernatural suspense laced with humor and danger, you’ll love J.R. Mabry’s Berkeley Blackfriars’ books. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Preacher, The Dresden Files, and the Mercy Thompson series will thrill to this new paranormal fantasy adventure.

Breakdown by Bruno MillerBreakdown by Bruno Miller:

Do you have what it takes to survive?

Ben Davis was prepared for disaster. He just didn’t know it would come so soon.

He and his teenage son, Joel, are miles deep in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains when high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic detonations light up the pre-dawn sky. Ben, Joel, and their dog, Gunner, must make their way home – or to whatever’s left of it – on foot.

Without the ability to communicate with his ex-wife in Maryland, Ben has no idea if Joel’s brother and sister are okay. The two decide they have no options but to head East. Before their journey begins, they venture into town to check Ben’s outdoor store for supplies and discover one of Joel’s classmates, Allie, alone and in desperate need of help.

When Ben realizes Allie’s flight attendant mother is most likely dead and her father lives in Pittsburgh, he knows he has to take her with them. Ben must use the skills he learned as an Army Ranger many years ago to survive the post-apocalyptic world they now live in.

Can he keep himself and two teenagers safe as they navigate the dark and dangerous road ahead?

All I Ever Wanted by David NethAll I Ever Wanted by David Neth:

Three wishes, a lifetime’s worth of regrets.

Leo’s had some bad luck in his life. After his father walked out on him and his mom, they’ve been struggling to make end’s meet, not to mention any hope of saving for college.

But after finding the perfect replacement for a lost family heirloom for his Mother’s Day gift, Leo discovers it’s actually a magic genie lamp.

Presented with three wishes that could give him everything he’s ever wanted, Leo soon realizes that genies have justly earned their reputation for twisting wishes to other ends. What he thought he wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And now that he’s already used all his wishes, there’s no turning back.

Ghost of a Chance by Jaxon ReedGhost of a Chance by Jaxon Reed:

It’s hard to make a living during the war as a woman. Especially as a detective in New York City, where the nights are late and the thugs are tough. But Nancy Chance, Private Investigator, doesn’t give a rip about that. She’ll work twice as hard as any man for her clients, and do a better job than most. When she investigates a murder in a case called the Manhattan Project, somebody visits her office and puts a bullet in her head. But they don’t know that Nancy is back. For centuries she’s been fighting fae and becoming one of the Walker’s best killers. Now she returns to her own timeline to set things straight. If she can steer clear of Rick, her old flame who is destined to marry someone else, and find Felix, the handsome fae who killed her, she might be able to prevent her world from sliding into chaos. At least she can’t die this time. Unfortunately, everybody else can…

The Oaken Throne by Sara C. RoethleThe Oaken Throne by Sara C. Roethle:

A new era has dawned. The forces of humanity are crippled by the ever pressing threat of the Faie. War continues to tear apart the countryside, robbing those who remain of their last shreds of hope.

While peace is only a distant dream for some, there exist the brave few who will stand and fight for what they believe in. Magic does not always mean death, and death does not always mean the end. Will love and loyalty prevail, or will those who strive for power and darkness put an end to innocence once and for all?

The Ceph Sector by Jenny SchwartzThe Ceph Sector by Jenny Schwartz:

The legendary Ceph have been in stasis for forty two millennia. In a century, they’ll wake. History remembers them as an unstoppable force, employing a mysterious power to decimate sentient life on the planets they attacked.

Jaya’s first mission as a new Shaman Justice is to lead an expedition into the perilous Ceph Sector. If she can learn how to contain or fight the sha-energy-using Ceph, Galaxy Proper might let them live. If not, destroying the Ceph’s home world, with all of them on it, will prevent the Ceph from ever waking.

Jaya will do anything to avoid the annihilation of an entire sentient species. But she has no idea what her compassionate instincts will cost her. She has a century in which to save the Ceph—unless they wake early.

“The Ceph Sector” is a compelling science fiction novel featuring aliens, alien politics, and secrets that will destabilize the galaxy.

A Quiet Man by Hollis ShilohA Quiet Man by Hollis Shiloh:

Tomas Quiróz is a quiet guy. He’s content with his books and his job as a cop, and working with his wolf shifter friend, Riley. But lately, Tomas is lonely — and he starts feeling strangely drawn to a cute guy. Between discovering new things about himself and trying to navigate a possible relationship, Tomas has to deal with Riley’s jealous husband, the new guy at the precinct who wants to be friends (or more than friends?), and finding the best way to be himself.

60,700 words – very low heat

A Shifters and Partners story

Takes place after “LOYAL” and contains characters from that story

Opportunity by Alasdair ShawOpportunity by Alasdair Shaw:

Security Lieutenant Dave is looking forward to some simple cases and patching things up with his wife. His handling of a terrorist attack has gained him acclaim and some new friends in high places, but he is still closely involved with Arancha Station’s mob boss.

When the space station manager is killed in a new and worrying way, Dave realises that he’s got possibly the biggest case of his career. Unfortunately, as soon as his new boss arrives with reinforcements, he is relegated to monitoring data and assigned a rookie partner to babysit.
Dave needs to find something that will crack the case open before the killer can strike again.

Emergence by Marita SmithEmergence by Marita Smith:

The fight for order has only just begun… Fletcher, Ariana and Eli are walkers: carriers of a rare gene that enables them to communicate with animals and bridge our world and the spirit world. It is up to them to avert a catastrophic solar storm that threatens to release a dangerous dark spirit. Yet they’re hunted by a powerful genetics organisation, the MRI, which will stop at nothing to control their powers.
Reeling from loss and betrayal, scientist Robyn Greene must protect the walkers at all costs. Can she figure out the MRI’s plans and help the walkers bring Earth back into balance before it’s too late?

Hunter's Oath by Glynn StewartHunter’s Oath by Glynn Stewart:

From one Court, two are born…
as a new Lord is crowned in glory
But a murderer risks all their secrets…
bringing shadows could burn everything down

Jason Kilkenny is a quarter-human Vassal of the Queen of the Fae and the neutral arbiter of supernatural affairs around the Fae Court in the Canadian city of Calgary. He has spent half a year building relationships with the existing power structure—but all of that is thrown into chaos when the Fae leadership dictates that Calgary’s Court split into Seelie and Unseelie factions. Backed by the highest authority, the new Lord Andrell is there to build an Unseelie Court from nothing, and he will brook no interference, no challenges.

Meanwhile, a rogue Fae launches a vicious slaughter at Calgary’s largest public event, and Jason is dragged into an investigation and pursuit of a monster far more powerful than he is. The rogue’s Unseelie heritage brings him into conflict with Lord Andrell, and the city’s peace is threatened.

One wrong step could unleash civil war between the new Courts and Jason’s own secrets could lead to lighting the embers of a civil war amongst all Fae—embers that have slumbered since before his birth.

If only he knew what those secrets were…

Beneath the Earth by H.S. StoneBeneath the Earth by H.S. Stone:

Laura and her classmates have been looking forward to their senior camping trip for weeks. Three days on an island paradise, away from school and their parents. What more could they ask for?

The camping trip starts out well enough. The island is scenic and just the kind of escape to nature that Laura had hoped for. However, cracks soon begin to appear in her plans. Her boyfriend ditches her to hang out with his friends. She has to share a room with one of the teachers. But those are the least of her worries.

A student disappears, and no one can find him. Soon, Laura and the other students realize that the camping trip is anything but a dream vacation. There’s something else on the island. Something large and frightening. Something that lurks unseen beneath the earth. Something that welcomes the presence of the students because they will satisfy its appetite.

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Indie Crime Fiction of the Month for May 2018

Welcome to the latest 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, hardboiled mysteries, international mysteries, British mysteries, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, action thrillers, crime thrillers, legal thrillers, pulp thrillers, noir thrillers, romantic suspense, police procedurals, spy fiction, lawyers, spies, private investigators, amateur sleuths, serial killers, drug smugglers, kidnappers, missing persons, murderous grandmothers, crimebusting witches, revenge both random and not so random, spy action in the Middle East, crime in Rio de Janeiro, Australia, New Orleans, London and outer space 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 crime 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:

Bodies on the Beach by Stacey AlabasterBodies on the Beach by Stacey Alabaster:

Two ex-friends. One dead body. The beach town of Eden Bay will never be the same again.

A fast paced cozy mystery from USA Today Bestselling Author Stacey Alabaster

Claire is an up-and-coming movie exec who inherited her grandma’s book store in the quiet beach community of Eden Bay. Alyson is a surf-bum who embraces the small-town, beach lifestyle. When a surfer is killed, the two ex-best friends are pulled together to solve the murder. Can they put their differences behind them and find a killer before there are more bodies on the beach?

Bodies on the Beach is the first book in the Hang Ten Australian Cozy Mystery series, a fast paced cozy mystery with an authentic Australian flaire. If you quirky characters and unexpected twists, you’re going to love the Alyson and Claire.

Rose Gold by David BarkerRose Gold by David Barker

Rose Gold is the thrilling sequel to the bestselling Blue Gold.

In the aftermath of a world war for water, geopolitical tensions remain high and terrorism is a daily fact of life in the 2030s. But a mining base on the moon offers a rare example of international co-operation and a possible solution to the world’s energy problems. Yet not everyone on Earth is keen for this endeavour to succeed…

Sim Atkins and his wife are desperate to start a family. But a shocking message from the moon base tells Sim that he is already a father and that his son’s life is in danger. The mining station is full of suspects and, worse, the woman who fathered his child. Can Sim rescue his son and save his marriage?

Gopal and Rabten – the Gurkha and monk who helped Sim on his last assignment – are on the trail of terrorists and a giant airship. What the agents discover in the cargo hold makes Sim’s mission even more vital. When they get trapped, Freda Brightwell – Sim’s old partner in Overseas Division – is called out of retirement for one more mission.

Once again, corporate greed threatens the lives of millions. Overseas Division s finest are back at the sharp end. And this time, the stakes are far more personal.

Bloody Bananas by Cora BuhlertBloody Bananas by Cora Buhlert:

When supermarket employee Nelson Grant is found bludgeoned to death next to a half empty crate of bananas, the case seems a complete mystery. For Nelson Grant was well liked by his colleagues, so who could possibly want him dead?

But then Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team discover that the crate contained more than just bananas and the case suddenly acquires a whole new dimension.

This is a mystery novelette of 12300 words or approximately 45 print pages.

Shameful Justice by M.A. ComleyShameful Justice by M.A. Comley:

Greed is a powerful motive…

With the ultimate goal to achieve something that others have.

This case is close to home… with one of her work colleagues desperate for help.

Lorne’s team are up against the odds… And somebody is restricting Lorne’s usual method of solving a case.

Tick tock… with only 24 hours to raise a vast sum of money to satisfy a kidnapper’s needs, Lorne is forced to seek the assistance of her husband — a former MI6 agent — and a close friend she has turned to before.

More pressure than usual for Lorne to contend with to get the case solved!

Time is of the essence when there is a life at stake…

A fast-paced thriller, ideal for fans of Angie Marsons and Joy Ellis.

Dead and Buried by Adam CroftDead and Buried by Adam Croft:

Two dead bodies are found buried beneath undergrowth just outside Mildenheath. The race is on to uncover their identities and catch their killers.

When two young men tell police they’ve escaped with their lives from a local brothel where they were kept as male prostitutes, DCI Jack Culverhouse and DS Wendy Knight are left facing a case like no other before.

But as their investigation into the people traffickers and kidnappers gets deeper, they realise the ringleaders will stop at nothing to evade justice.

Two dead bodies. A corrupt trafficking ring. A betrayal that’ll shake Mildenheath to the core.

Redeemer by Mark DawsonRedeemer by Mark Dawson:

Rio de Janeiro. Brazilians call it Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvellous City – but crime festers in its favelas like cancer.

John Milton is visiting an old friend who runs a close protection business guarding the city’s elite. Milton offers to stand in when one of his bodyguards doesn’t turn up for work. The job? Take the wife and daughter of an anti-corruption judge to a school recital and bring them back again. Simple?

Not so much. The girl is snatched off the street and Milton is nearly killed. As he recovers at a Group Fifteen safe house, he decides on two objectives.

First, find the girl.

Second, punish the kidnappers for what they’ve done.

Milton’s trip becomes a lethal quest into the heart of the lawless slums and against the gangs who wield the real power in Rio. But Milton won’t stop there – he’ll chase them right into the horrific heart of darkness until his special brand of justice has been well and truly served.

Dreadful by Jana DeLeonDreadful by Jana DeLeon:

Now you see me…

Six years ago, five friends went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Four of them returned. One simply disappeared. Jenny Taylor has never gotten over the disappearance of her twin sister, Caitlyn, but now things are even worse. Caitlyn calls to Jenny in her dreams, begging her sister to find her. But Jenny’s memory of the entire night is completely gone.

Shaye Archer knows better than anyone what it’s like to have gaping holes in your past, and how horrific dreams can cripple you. But this case presents problems on every level. An adult woman disappearing from the French Quarter during Mardi Gras is hard enough to get answers for, but when it happened years before, the difficulty level increases exponentially. But Shaye’s empathy for Jenny prevents her from saying no, even though she doesn’t expect to find anything.

Then a witness is murdered, and Jenny’s memory starts to return. What did she see in the alley that night? And how many more are in danger because of it?

Lies She Never Told Me by John EllsworthLies She Never Told Me by John Ellsworth:

Would You Kill the Man Your Beloved Grandmother Wants Dead?

Lies She Never Told Me is the story of Michael Gresham’s heritage, beginning with his father’s father. The book features mob wars in 1920’s Chicago; World War II invasions and POW camps; romance between powerful men and beautiful women; the most infamous mass murder in 1960’s Chicago; and the complete growing-up story of Michael Gresham himself, from young boy to young lawyer. The book recounts the first meeting between Michael and his famous investigator Marcel in Operation Desert Shield when both young men are soldiers on the track of Saddam Hussein.

Finally, when Michael’s grandmother comes to him with a request that he track down and kill one man, can he refuse? He’s been trained as a lawyer, he believes in the rule of law, and he believes that no man is above the law. But his grandmother won’t let him go. She tells him a certain man must die for his crimes. Michael loves his grandmother with every cell in his body. Can he refuse her dying wish? Will he honor the vow he makes to this most important woman in his life?

And so the hunt begins.

Who will Michael find first: the killer or himself?

Alpha Minor by Simon HaynesAlpha Minor by Simon Haynes:

The Peace Force has a new recruit, and she’s driving everyone crazy.

From disobeying orders to handling unauthorised cases, nothing is off-limits. Worse, Harriet Walsh is forced to team up with the newbie, because the recruit’s shady past has just caught up with her.

Meanwhile, a dignitary wants to complain about rogue officers working out of the station. She insists on meeting the station’s commanding officer … and they don’t have one.

All up, it’s another typical day in the Peace Force!

Alpha Minor is set in the distant future, where humanity has colonised the galaxy. It’s good clean fun, written with wry humor, and while it has science fictional elements they’re incidental to the story. This is the second novel in the series, with a third, Sierra Bravo, due for release around July/August 2018.

Suite Casualty by CeeCee JamesSuite Casualty by CeeCee James:

Maisie Swenson has seen a lot of strange things in her career as a hotel manager, so when Mr. Dayton insists there are ghosts in his suite, she handles it with her usual aplomb. When he demands that she visit his room to show her the items that have been moved, she suspects the two empty wine bottles and a half empty brandy bottle might be where the “ghosts” come from. ?But to reassure him, she posts a guard outside his room.

In the morning, Mr. Dayton is found dead. With nothing removed from his suite, and no way in, rumors fly around that maybe he really was killed by ghosts after all. Or his own fear of them. ?

Maisie hopes the police will handle the investigation discreetly while she deals with an anonymous hotel critic who’s threatening to tear down the Oceanside’s reputation. But everything falls apart as Mr. Dayton’s relatives start to show up, each one calling the other an imposter and demanding a letter Mr. Dayton was supposed to have on him. As they start to threaten each other, and then Maisie herself, she starts to suspect the spirits that killed Mr. Dayton are still contained in living bodies.

Closure by Ethan JonesClosure by Ethan Jones:

Covert operative Javin Pierce will avenge his betrayal or die trying . . .

Off the grid, Javin Pierce is struggling to heal from his wounds. Immediately he’s forced into a shaky deal with former enemies not only to secure his partner’s release from a Saudi jail, but also to settle the score with the traitor who double-crossed them.

While his new rogue team crosses Iraq’s treacherous lands, he can barely stay ahead of the deadly threats coming from all sides. As Javin sets his sights, alliances around him crumble. So with no one left to trust, in an ever-changing maze, how will Javin survive the deadliest mission of his life?

A Breath of Witchy Air by Amanda M. LeeA Breath of Witchy Air by Amanda M. Lee:

Hemlock Cove is mired in a cold snap, which means the town is calm and quiet. That all changes in an instant when a beer truck tips over on the highway and half the town shows up to get drunk.

Bay Winchester is about to be the sole owner of the town newspaper so she heads out to take photos … and accidentally stumbles over several bodies. It seems there’s a serial killer on the loose, although no one can figure out if the dump site was convenient or if the killer is local.

Some hard digging leads Bay to a local college, where the only thing that stands out is a cell phone game that seems to be taking over the populace. Bay can’t shake the feeling that there’s something off about the game, but that pales in comparison to the dead girls and the motive behind multiple killings.

Things spiral out of control when the game developers pick Hemlock Cove for a big event, which means the town is suddenly flooded with gamers … including Aunt Tillie, who decides that winning really is the most important thing.

Things are about to get wicked for the Winchesters. There’s a killer in their midst and Bay appears to be displaying a new power that no one saw coming.

It’s only a matter of time until two powerful forces collide. Who comes out standing is anybody’s guess but Bay’s new power will be on full display … and may be the ultimate factor in her survival.

Hush, My Inner Sleuth by M.A. MeegsHush, My Inner Sleuth by M.A. Meegs:

In the fall of 1947, an impressionable young scholar finds herself seduced by the spirit of a Hollywood pulp detective….

This serpentine saga opens at a New England women’s college, where the ever-playful Betty escapes a meddlesome narrator by slipping her friend a mickey and assuming her identity. Undaunted, the plucky storyteller adopts said friend—the literarily precocious Willie—and accompanies her to L.A.

Meanwhile, the pulp-inflected ghost of Skip Ryker—a recently atomized Hollywood detective—tries in vain to solve his untimely demise. What he needs, it quickly becomes apparent, is a willing instrument.

The ensuing collision of these disparate narratives sparks a battle royal for control of Willie’s suggestible psyche—and subsequently, movie rights to the book.

Random Revenge by William MichaelsRandom Revenge by William Michaels:

Enter the sordid world of aspiring and often desperate actors and actresses in the no-holds-barred scramble to make it to the big time, where sex is a currency—and a price—way before they reach Hollywood.

Melanie Upton is an ambitious actress stuck searching for her big break. She’s got the talent, but so do thousands of other actresses. She needs an edge, and she’ll do anything to get it.

Lenny Gruse sees himself as a celebrity photographer. All he needs is one great photo to catapult himself into the big time. Melanie, with her sultry good looks, is just who he needs, his ticket to fame. Together, they can blow past the hungry competition.

Detective Robert Winter has a knack for solving seemingly random crimes, yet even he is tested in a world where the players will stop at nothing to succeed and have the ability to con even the most seasoned cop.

Poison Butterfly by Lo MonacoPoison Butterfly by Lo Monaco:

Terry Strong has been hired by Martin Oldfield to find his wife. After a bit of confusion, Terry discovers that the wife, Eloise, had disappeared 25 years ago, leaving Oldfield with a five-month old baby. After investigating Eloise’s whereabouts, Terry finds her, but she is now Louise Kingley. Terry arranges for Oldfield and Louise to meet. The day after the first meeting, Oldfield is arrested for killing Louise. Oldfield hires Terry to clear him of the murder, sending Terry on an ever-changing whirlwind search to discover who Eloise/Louise truly was and who, in fact, killed her. A surprise ending brings the investigation to a shocking close.

Death Promise by Jacqueline SeewaldDeath Promise by Jacqueline Seewald:

In this sequel to DEATH LEGACY, New York, psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Reiner is contacted by a woman who claims she was married to his father after his mother’s death and his father’s disappearance from his life. Tiffany Tyler asks Daniel to take charge of the girl she claims to be his half-sister. But when Daniel tries to make contact, it seems the girl has disappeared.

Daniel wants to hire Michelle Hallam to help him investigate the situation in Las Vegas, Nevada. Michelle’s deceased uncle, a former British intelligence agent, operated an international “consulting firm” which she now runs. Michelle and Daniel share some past history as well as a strong physical attraction but Michelle remains wary of him. Daniel has a friendly, warm personality, and urban wit in contrast to Michelle’s outward façade of cool cynicism. Things become complicated and heated in Las Vegas, involving Michelle and Daniel in intrigue, romance and murder.

This fast-paced novel combines elements of suspense thriller, mystery and romance.

Just Shoot Me Dead by Anne R. TanJust Shoot Me Dead by Anne R. Tan:

While on a blind date with a doctor and his mama, Lucy Fong gets a call that her estranged mom is found shot in the stomach in her private investigation office. She returns to Morro Cliff Village to search for answers and her sister…and finds only a dead body in her sister’s apartment.

When the local police chief zeros in on her sister as a “person of interest,” Lucy must brush up her sleuthing skills. It’s a race to find her sister before the police—and the killer—do.

She must use all her wits (and those she can borrow) to find this hidden killer before he strikes at her family again.

Don’t miss this fast-paced cozy mystery—get your copy of “Just Shoot Me Dead” today!

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New Release No. 2: Anjali and Mikhail become “Hunter and Hunted” in a new “In Love and War” Novella

In my last post, I said that there would be two new release announcements in the near future. This is the second new release announcement, a new novella in my In Love and War series.

But first, I’d like to point out a the SFF Book Bonanza, a huge cross promo that is currently going on. There are more than sixty books in various SFF subgenres included in the promo, including one of mine, and they’re all available for only 99 cents from May 21 to May 27. A list of all participating books, organised by subgenre, may be found here. So what are you waiting for? Grab your next SFF read.

And now back to my own new release announcement. As mentioned above, it’s a new novella in the In Love and War series called Hunter and Hunted which pits Anjali and Mikhail against a crew of bounty hunters intent on capturing them for the prize on their heads.

The initial inspiration for Hunter and Hunted was a piece of music. For one day, I heard the 1980s A-ha song “Hunting High and Low” on the radio, which I hadn’t heard in a long time. Now I am heavily music-synaesthetic, i.e. certain pieces of music basically trigger scenes and sometimes whole mini-movies in my head. “Hunting High and Low” is one of those songs and the scene it always triggers in my head is that of two men fighting in the snow, while the girlfriend of one of the men sleeps peacefully in a nearby cabin. When I heard the song on the radio again lately, complete with the matching mini-movie playing in my head, I thought, “That’s actually a pretty good scene. Maybe I should write a story to go with it.” And then I realised that the scene in question was perfect for an In Love and War story. And so I sent Anjali and Mikhail on a mission to a frozen planet, with bounty hunters on their tail.

I started writing Hunter and Hunted sometime in March, when it was still cold outside, so writing about fight and flight throughout a snowy landscape wasn’t too much of a stretch. However, then it suddenly got very warm very fast and just stayed that way, which was quite jarring, because suddenly I was sweating while writing about Anjali and Mikhail battling hypothermia in addition to a squad of bounty hunters.

Now I tend to classify the In Love and War stories as cozy space opera, because there is as much focus on the characters and their relationships as on the usualy space opera action. However, Hunter and Hunted is actually a very action packed story by the standards of the In Love and War series, because it’s a sequence of fight scenes interspersed by brief moments of respite. What is more, Anjali and Mikhail both get put through the wringer physically in this one (come to think of it, I do tend to put them through the wringer a whole lot), though that also means that those moments of respite include some nice hurt/comfort scenes.

The cozy aspects of cozy space opera as well as the comfort part of hurt/comfort both take place in the supremely cozy setting of a secluded cabin in the snowy woods. Now the cabin already features in the original inspiration (in the mini-movie in my head triggered by the song in question, it’s always a log cabin), but I still had to find a way to make it work in a science fiction setting. I had already established that the mountainous parts of Harketon, the planet where the story is set, were a popular destination for holidaymakers. And so I simply decided to use the mountain lodges in the Alps (and elsewhere) as a model for the cabin where Anjali and Mikhail find shelter. After all, the initial purpose of these lodges was providing food and shelter for stranded travelers, though they have morphed into hostels in modern times.

Most mountain lodges in the Alps have a lodgekeeper, who takes care of the lodge and the guests, keeps it stocked with food and firewood, etc… The lodge where Mikhail and Anjali find shelter has a lodgekeeper as well, but because this is still a science fiction story, the lodgekeeper is an AI I named Toni after the popular German pulp novel series Toni, der Hüttenwirt (Toni, the Lodgekeeper). So I guess you call Hunter and Hunted a science fictional Heimatroman – because the In Love and War series clearly doesn’t mix genres enough already (after all, a cabin in the snow is not science fictional enough for certain people, at least according to a rather infamous review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice).

As always with the In Love and War stories, there’s also action, fights, desperate last stands, romance, food (though no recipes this time), vid dramas and even opera, because on occasion space opera should include some actual opera.

The cover art is once again by the talented Thai artist Tithi Luadthong a.k.a. Grandfailure, whose stunning artwork graces all In Love and War covers so far. And this piece of art is really pitch perfect for this story, because we have the frozen landscape, a lone figure and a cozy cabin in the distance.

So what are you waiting for? Get Hunter and Hunted today!

Hunter and Hunted
Hunter and Hunted by Cora BuhlertOnce, 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.

On their way back from a mission, Anjali and Mikhail are ambushed by a squad of bounty hunters. Wounded and hunted through a frozen landscape, they find shelter in a mountain lodge.

But their pursuers are still out there, tracking them. And with Anjali too injured to fight, Mikhail must face down seven bounty hunters on his own…

More information.
Length: 21000 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, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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The Return of Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd in “Bloody Bananas”

I have two new releases to announce in the next few days.

As the post title indicates, the first of these new releases is a new Helen Shepherd Mystery. This is already the twelfth story featuring Helen and her team, making it my longest series to date.

The inspiration for this mystery was a news story about how cocaine packages were found inside banana crates at several Aldi discount supermarkets. The case made headlines, because the amount of cocaine seized was one of the largest in postwar Germany. And the police didn’t even have to do anything, they only needed to pick up the cocaine packages at Aldi, after the supermarket employees called them in. I even blogged about it at the time.

The news story about the cocaine packages found in banana crates at Aldi not only sparked a lot of jokes – “This week’s special at Aldi – Cocaine, fresh from Columbia” – but it also sparked an idea for a crime story. For what if the supermarket employees did not call the police, when faced with an unexpected delivery of cocaine? What if they decided to keep the drugs for themselves to sell them? And what if someone disagreed?

The ingredients were ideal for a murder mystery and so I turned them into a story and let Helen Shepherd and her team, including new additions Detective Sergeant Terrence Quincy of the drug squad and his detection dog Rex (“a highly qualified police officer who just happens to be a dog”), loose upon the case. There’s even time for a bit romance for Police Constable Martin Jackson who acquires a girlfriend in this story.

So what are you waiting for? Read…

Bloody Bananas
Bloody Bananas by Cora BuhlertWhen supermarket employee Nelson Grant is found bludgeoned to death next to a half empty crate of bananas, the case seems a complete mystery. For Nelson Grant was well liked by his colleagues, so who could possibly want him dead?

But then Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team discover that the crate contained more than just bananas and the case suddenly acquires a whole new dimension.

 

 

More information.
Length: 12300 words
List price: 0.99 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, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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“Baptism of Fire” is a nominee for the 2018 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Award

efestival of word award 2018 nomineeThe nominations for the 2018 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards, which are run by the small press Bards & Sages, were announced today.

I was going to put the link to the announcement into the weekly link round-ups at the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene respectively, but first I took a gander at the list of nominees and all but fell from my chair, because there, a bit down the page, was my name. For it turns out that “Baptism of Fire”, my contribution to the science fiction anthology The Guardian, edited by Alasdair Shaw, has been nominated in the “Best short story” category. I had absolutely no idea about this, until I saw the nominee list.

“Baptism of Fire” is a prequel story to my In Love and War series and features Anjali on her first very mission with the Shakyri Corps. The story was originally written during the 2017 July short story challenge. You can either get it as part of The Guardian, together with ten other great science fiction stories, or as a standalone edition for series completists.

I’m really happy about this nomination and thrilled to be in the company of so many other great books and stories by indie and small press authors, so many congratulations to my fellow nominees and thank you to everybody who nominated me.

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New Story Available: Blasters of Forever

It’s time for another new release announcement. While the last new release announcements were all parts of existing series, this story is a true standalone. It’s also something for those of my readers who enjoy the lighter and funnier side of my writing.

Blasters of Forever is another story to come out of the 2017 July short story challenge. One of the big challenges of the July short story challenge project – beyond writing a story every day – is coming up with ideas for a whole month worth of short stories. So I sometimes need a little help to generate story ideas.

And so I found myself looking around the various generator sites on the Internet, while doing the 2017 July short story challenge, and eventually came across something called the merchandiseable toy generator, which generates names for the sort of toy franchises that come with tie-in cartoons. I played around with the generator and wrote down the best names I got, hoping that one of them would spark the inspiration for a story. In the end, however, I liked the various titles so much that I thought, “Why don’t I use all of them and write a story about someone who writes toy tie-in cartoons for a living?” And this is how Simon St. John and his many creations were born.

Now I have a deep and abiding love for cartoons, particularly for the toy tie-in cartoons of the 1980s. Of course, I know that they were basically just advertising, even though the toys they were advertising often weren’t even available in Europe. What is more, toy tie-in cartoons or indeed almost any kind of action cartoons were hardly ever seen on German TV in the pre-private television era, when only the most harmless and wholesome fare was permitted and even Porky Pig was cancelled as “too violent”. As for cartoons meant to advertise anything, including toys – forget it. That sort of thing was far too commercial and would never have been permitted.

However, in the 1980s my Dad worked in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and lived in an apartment which had cable TV, at a time, when cable TV was still a distant dream at home. Via cable TV, we received about ten different channels, which was a huge number in the three channel world of the pre-private TV era. Four of those channels were Dutch and Belgian TV (mostly dull, but sometimes it had cartoons and music), then we got the regular three German public channels (dull as usual) plus two German language private channels (much better, since they had soap operas and US TV shows).

But the very best TV channel available was the earliest incarnation of Sky, back when it broadcast nothing but music videos, 1960s US TV series and cartoons, lots of cartoons. The cartoons were broadcast in the context of a program called The DJ Kat Show, hosted by Linda de Mol and a puppet called DJ Kat. I loved The DJ Kat Show and in particular, I loved the cartoons. And the best cartoons were the many toy tie-in cartoons such as M.A.S.K., Jem, Transformers, Go-Bots, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra – Princess of Power, Bravestarr, Galaxy Rangers, Defenders of the Earth, Dungeons and Dragons, Thundercats, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, My Little Pony and many others. I already homaged The DJ Kat Show in Cartoony Justice. Blasters of Forever is an homage to the cartoons I loved so much back in the day.

Rewatching some of these cartoons as an adult shows that much of what I loved about them existed merely in my head (and that I totally missed all the hints that many of the characters are gay – well, they had to be, considering how very few women there were), because frankly they are not very well made. The animation is jerky, the stories often make little sense, any depth the characters have existed primarily in my mind and the “morality bits” at the end are as patronising as I remember them. However, you cannot help but admire the enormous inventiveness displayed in stories whose main purpose was selling some pretty silly toys to children.

Regardless of their actual quality, the toy tie-in cartoons I watched as a kid had a huge influence on me and also on my writing. These neon-coloured adventures embedded themselves in my subconscious and bits and pieces of them quite frequently emerge in the stories I write today. And yes, it is kind of embarassing, when you realise that some of your best ideas can be traced to some rather silly cartoons whose main purpose was selling stupid toys. Therefore, Blasters of Forever is also a story about how – to quote Captain Chronos – inspiration can be found in the strangest of places.

Now we are living in an era where we regularly see big budget Hollywood adaptations of things none of us ever expected to see on the big screen, whether it’s a whole series of Transformers movies or the Marvel movies which give even the most obscure superheroes their moment in the spotlight. When they created the Marvel universe in the 1960s, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko et all could never have foreseen that these stories and characters would one day become bid budget movies and that they would break box office records. And whoever created the Transformers probably never expected to see a live action version on the big screen. Just as Simon cannot imagine the lasting impact his own throwaway creations will have.

I’ve noticed that stories about writers and their creations are one of the themes I keep coming back to. After all, I already wrote a story bringing a creator face to face with his creation in the “Crisis” portion of Muse and Crisis. And come to think of it, the Silencer stories also fall under the broad umbrella of stories about the relationship between writers and their creations, except that Richard Blackmore actually is the character he created or at least cosplays as the Silencer to fight crime.

The reunion of Steve, the protagonist of “Crisis”, and his character Channa is exactly a happy one – well, Steve does write dark and gritty comics. Meanwhile, Simon’s meeting with the Blasters of Forever is a much happier and lighter story, even if it is interrupted by a time travelling assassin. But then, the Blasters of Forever come from the generally goofy world of toy tie-in cartoons, where even the villains are not too villainous.

None of the toys and cartoons described in Blasters of Forever ever existed. However, they are not all that different from many that did. 1980s toy tie-in cartoons were full of cyborgs, dinosaurs, time travellers, talking dogs, teen pop stars and characters with very silly names. The voice chips, the colour-changing and transforming action and the infrared targeting were all used in real toys of the period, too. And yes, most of them never really worked as advertised. My lone Transformer has been a sportscar for ages, since no one can figure out how to safely transform him back. Coincidentally, Simon’s magnum opus People on a Bridge never existed either, for which we can be thankful, for it’s easy to imagine just how awful that movie would have been.

Designing a cover for Blasters of Forever was something of a challenge, because 1980s cartoons had a very distinctive look that’s not easy to capture. Luckily, I came across the striking pop art inspired graphics of Valeriy Kachaev, which were perfect for my purpose. The character depicted is clearly Amy Extreme – dancer, cyberneticist and Kung Fu blackbelt – because Felicia Galaxy, the other female member of the Blasters of Forever, is black. The typography and the garish and clashing colours are also inspired by real cartoon logos of the 1980s.

So let’s step back in time and prepare to meet the Blasters of Forever, time cops with superpowers, as they meet their creator and inspiration Simon St. John. But of course, mayhem ensues, for the evil Doctor Chronos never rests…

Blasters of Forever
Blasters of Forever by Cora Buhlert1985: Screenwriter Simon St. John makes his living writing toy tie-in cartoons and dreams of finally getting his screenplay “People on a Bridge” produced.

But one night, when Simon has just come up with his latest creation, a group of time travelling cops known as the Blasters of Forever, a portal opens inside his living room. Out of the portal hop none others than the Blasters of Forever or at any rate, people who look very much like them.

The Blasters explain that they are from the future, where Simon is considered not just one of the greatest creative minds of the twentieth century, but also the inspiration for the time travel program that eventually led to the formation of the Blasters of Forever.

However, not just the Blasters of Forever are real. The villainous Doctor Chronos, sworn enemy of the Blasters of Forever, is real as well. And so is his cadre of time travelling assassins.

More information.
Length: 5500 words
List price: 0.99 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, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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