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 October 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, historical fantasy, YA fantasy, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, horror, biopunk, weird western, time travel, vampires, witches, demons, ghosts, superheroes, robots, renegades, gunslingers, space marines, space rangers, space pirates, alien invasions, space prisons, supernatural prisons, shadow ships, cybernetic dogs, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting vampire madams, crime-fighting cockroaches (yes, really) 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:
Night is falling.
The unstoppable Hegemony invasion has reached the very heart of the Confederation. Battle after desperate battle has been fought, and each time, the Confeds have been pushed back, columns of battered and blasted ship retreating from system to system. Now, they prepare to grimly defend the capital world of Megara, the very center of the Confederation.
Tyler Barron prepares for what could be his final battle, a final desperate defense, one last chance to stem the tide of Hegemony conquest and subjugation. The fleet is ready, its exhausted crews prepared to fight with all the strength that remains to them. Still, the enemy is overpoweringly strong, and the odds of victory are slipping quickly away.
But, there is still hope. From unexpected allies. From the grit and determination of the defending fleets and their spacers. And, from a plan so daring it borders on the impossible…a wild and desperate gamble to stem the tide of conquest and halt the enemy.
It is night, and everywhere there is darkness, but the Confederation is not beaten yet. Barron and his comrades will stand, and they will struggle to somehow endure the darkness and fight through to the dawn.
First contact may be our last.
Beyond our world lies the unknown, countless planets with endless possibilities. On a dark world far from our home, an epic war started a chain reaction, sending two alien races on a collision course with Earth. Secret battles wage on our soil, brewing a cataclysmic war that could change the face of humanity forever. If we can’t prevent an alien armageddon, we’ll find ourselves fighting against forces with technology thousands of years more advanced than ours. The war is on, and time is running out. . .
Sienna Wolfe’s life changes when a strange craft crashes near her cabin, and she finds herself in the middle of a bitter battle between two warring alien races, the likes of which could wipe out mankind. As she races to align her new allies with the U.S. military, she may soon learn that her new friends may not be as noble as they seem. Can Sienna prevent an interstellar war from claiming Earth, or will she become the harbinger of an alien apocalypse?
As Sephian forces peck at the Draeken defenses, we soon learn that things are never as simple as right and wrong. Draeken Commander Roden Zyll has spilled plenty of blood in his time, and he cares little for humans. But when he realizes his leader’s plan could lead to his people’s extinction, he plans a coup. Only one problem: he has to work with the Sephians to succeed. If he fails, every Earth nation will be yanked into a war that no one has a chance of winning.
When a deadly virus is released across the planet, all aliens are quickly blamed. When a mass execution is planned, Captain Jax Jerrick becomes a traitor to the military in order to save the Sephians and the Draeken. After bloody battle, he escapes and joins the resistance committed to holding off the world’s military forces while searching for an antivirus. With enemies coming at them from everywhere, can the resistance stop the war before humanity becomes extinct?
No one should ever come between a man’s family and his guns.
Not if they want to live.
Not even a demon.
Or a demonic horde.
Especially when those guns belong to a spellslinger.
The demons who killed his father had a death wish, for Koren D’uene is a ja’lel, a gun knight, and his is the job of granting wishes.
His guns spoke, and demons fell.
Infernal Fire is a weird western, a Wild West-inspired fantasy adventure novel of roughly 50,000 words.
Take a walk into darkness with nine tales of the weird and macabre…
Just how far would you go to win someone’s heart? Would you gamble with your soul?
Jonathon is a good man, but he struggles with body issues and bad skin. When he meets the beautiful Belinda he realizes he would do anything to be with her. With no other options, he turns to the mysterious Kaleen Rae in the solitary Gothic house on the far side of the meadows.
In the Welsh countryside, a werewolf is spurred into action by an alluring scent. But is it ever wise to hunt in daylight?
For Pvt. Eddie Coates, surviving Afghanistan is looking increasingly unlikely. The few remaining members of his unit are pinned down under heavy fire. All seems lost, and then they hear wings beating in the darkness…
A troubled youth plots his revenge. But what price would you pay for retribution?
Hellish demons, haunted houses, shape-shifting monsters, and genetic mutations, make up this unsettling collection, which also includes the original short story version of The Strange Case at Misty Ridge.
The Legend Continues…
In the spirit of popular Dark Fiction and Horror anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, and the best of Stephen King’s short fiction, comes the Tales from The Lake anthologies.
This 5th volume includes:
- “Always After Three” by Gemma Files – A young couple discovers that in a downtown condo you almost never know who your neighbours are, or what they might be doing.
- “In the Family” by Lucy A. Snyder – A former child actress reveals dark family secrets to her long-lost niece.
- “Voices Like Barbed Wire” by Tim Waggoner – Sometimes forgetting is more painful than remembering.
- “The Flutter of Silent Wings” by Gene O’Neill – A heartbreaking tribute to a Shirley Jackson classic.
- “Guardian” by Paul Michael Anderson – Even creatures beyond time and space need friendship.
- “Farewell Valencia” by Craig Wallwork – When you’ve got no reason to live, there’s a hotel that can give you every reason to die. So book in, unpack, and prepare to be checked out, forever.
- “A Dream Most Ancient and Alone” by Allison Pang – A lake mermaid with a penchant for eating children forms a tenuous friendship with an abused girl trying to escape her past.
- “The Monster Told Me To” by Stephanie M. Wytovich – In order for Bria to deal with her past, she must confront the ghosts of her present.
- “Dead Bodies Don’t Scream” by Michelle Ann King – If the universe won’t give her a miracle, Allie will make one for herself. But dark magic has a price.
- “The Boy” by Cory Cone – Grief-stricken from the loss of her husband, a young woman fears she may lose her son as well, if she hasn’t already.
- “Starve a Fever” by Jonah Buck – Fleeing down a bayou highway with a sick criminal in the backseat, a getaway driver must sate his passenger’s horrifying needs while evading the police.
- “Umbilicus” by Lucy Taylor – A father becomes involved in a scheme to rescue a friend’s lost son—with terrifying results.
- “Nonpareil” by Laura Blackwell – Maisie’s wedding cake business needs every client it can get—but between the groom’s unpleasant family and the mysterious bride’s strange requests, Maisie has a tough job baking a cake that will please everyone.
- “The Weeds and the Wildness Yet” by Robert Stahl – Reeling over the death of his wife, Charlie stumbles across a mysterious object—the legendary monkey’s paw. Despite the terrible events that befall that fictional family, he can’t help but give it a try.
- “The Color of Loss and Love” by Jason Sizemore – A couple set out to rescue an unfamiliar couple, only to face an airborne disease.
- “A Bathtub at the End of the World” by Lane Waldman – A little girl plays with her toys in a locked bathroom. Everything is fine, except for the zombies outside.
- “Twelve by Noon” by Joanna Parypinski – A farmer goes about his routine tending to the scarecrows that preside over his field, when three college students show up and cause a strange disturbance.
- “Hollow Skulls” by Samuel Marzioli – When Orson’s son is born, the memory of a tragedy creeps back into his life, threatening his very sanity.
- And much more.
Edited by Kenneth W. Cain and represented by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from The Darkest Depths.
People are dying.
Shortly after Captain Jace Hughes and his team recover hundreds of surviving Eternal refugees, disaster strikes. A recently unearthed fauna dome, one of many biological arks on Earth, is destroyed and several people are killed.
All proof points to the Eternals.
Meanwhile, shortly after the slip tunnel at the center of the planet is shut down for good, a strange distress signal is detected. It appears to be coming from somewhere on the planet, but the exact coordinates are unknown.
Two investigations are launched. One for the saboteur; the other for the source of the signal. With rising tensions between the colonists and the Eternals, Jace must do everything he can to prevent a bloody confrontation.
John Smith has a problem. He’s a retired cop whose pension just got wiped out, and he doesn’t know why or how. Now he needs to find a roommate to help pay the bills.
Sam has a problem. He’s a six-foot-tall talking cockroach and he doesn’t know who created him, or why, or how. Now he needs a place to live.
Thrown together as roommates and amateur detectives, Mr. Smith and the Roach realize their problems might be related.
But those problems are far more complicated than they imagined, and before all is said and done, they’ll run afoul of a Russian gangster, an imprisoned Mafia don, a crooked Wall Street banker, a mad scientist and, maybe worst of all, Mr. Smith’s baby sister.
Can they get to the bottom of an unbelievable plot before someone exterminates the Roach – and Mr. Smith – for good?
The members of Avian Unit have experienced love, loss, and things they can’t even tell each other about.
Their new assignment is to take out a cell of identity brokers who leave a trail of bodies in their wake. They’ll come face to face with the darkest aspects of becoming members of Blackout.
Avian Unit will find out what they’re really made of as they finally become what they were always meant to be.
Brother against brother. Superhero against superhero. His wife has been kidnapped, and now he must decide how far down the road of vengeance he can go.
Benjamin, codename Mercury, is a member of an elite superhero team. Jillian, his wife, has been kidnapped by his soulless brother, Beau. With her life hanging in the balance, now it’s fight or die. Beau believes Jillian knows the whereabouts of JM-104, a compound that renders superpowers worthless, and to weaken his enemies he’s determined to make her talk by any means necessary. Benjamin must risk his life to save her, and then he must destroy what’s left of the JM-104.
But it won’t be so easy. When Benjamin’s team heads after the JM-104 with a ticking clock hanging over their heads, a team of superheroes who specialize in killing other superheroes will be right there waiting for them, just as brother goes against brother with Jillian caught in the middle. In the face of overwhelming odds, will they save Jillian and destroy the biggest threat to their existence? Or will the long arm of hate reach into Benjamin’s heart and destroy everything he holds dear?
Fans of Jessica Jones and Arrow will love Emerald Dodge’s Mercury, a fast-paced thrill ride across the world of superheroes and supervillains.
Pick up your copy today and enjoy the shocking finale of the Battlecry series!
Constable Elke Veraart and her cyber-dog Meisje are peace keepers, patrolling the Babylon Eye. It’s a good job, but there must be more to life than chasing smugglers and settling domestic disputes.
Then three children ask Elke to find their mother, who’s been missing for more than a year. The search attracts the wrong kind of attention. Elke and her young friends are in desperate danger.
Unable to resist the powers that have been unleashed against her, Elke is swept out of the Babylon Eye and into another world. While she struggles to regain her freedom, the children are unprotected. They must face, all alone, a new danger that stalks the corridors of the Babylon Eye.
“The Strange” is the third and final book in the Linked Worlds series.
The war is over. Earth is lost. Running is the only option.
It may already be too late.
Caleb is a former Marine Raider and commander of the Vultures, an elite search and rescue team that’s spent the last two years pulling high-value targets out of alien-ravaged cities and shipping them off-world.
Now he’s on the last starship out, under orders to join forty-thousand survivors on their journey to a new home. It’s not the mission he wants, but it’s a mission he’s doing his best to accomplish. When Caleb meets the colony’s head sheriff, she represents an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to leave his old life behind for good…
Only the mission will be harder to complete than either of them realize.
And the colonists will need the old Caleb more than he ever imagined…
Hal Spacejock and Clunk return in an all-new novel!
Hal and Clunk answer a distress call, and they discover a fellow pilot stranded deep inside an asteroid field. Clunk is busy at the controls, dodging incoming rocks, so Hal dons a spacesuit, takes the jetbike and sets off on a heroic rescue mission.
If he’d only known the trouble he was getting himself into, he wouldn’t have bothered…
Max Damage is the ninth book in the Hal Spacejock series.
All Hal Spacejock novels are stand-alones, not sequels. You’ll get the most out of them if you read them in order, but it’s not required.
Beatrice is back to face her greatest threat since. . .well, the last time!
In Cooper’s Cove a hapless team of archaeologists unleash the vengeful spirit of a 16th Century witch on the sleepy seaside town of Dorsal Finn. Hexes and curses fly as Beatrice and her friends must find out what links the appearance of this incredible foe and The Spirit of the Ocean, a super-yacht hosting the biggest celebrity charity event the town has ever seen.
As the population of Dorsal Finn succumbs to witchcraft, so Beatrice must gate-crash the party with her motley-crew of friends and allies in the hope of stopping the witch’s sinister plan, and save everyone from endless oblivion. . . Again.
This novel is great for those who like their supernatural adventures laced with humour, sinister action and mystery. Fans of Stranger Things, The Goonies, The Librarians, The Monster Squad, Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Nancy Drew will delight in the antics and adventures of Beatrice and her off-the-wall friends.
Murder. Mystery. Monsters. Welcome to the world of Beatrice Beecham!
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
A war without end. The woman who began a revolution.
All Zena wants is a life beyond her home planet, the North Star. A life full of adventure and danger. The life of a soldier.
When her brother is drafted into the Holy Army, Zena impersonates him to save his life. But women are forbidden from fighting in the army, and she will be killed if she’s caught. Her love affair with the High Priest’s daughter only makes matters worse.
Things have been quiet in Hemlock Cove. That means the Winchesters are due to find trouble.
This time, the trouble comes in the form of a dead radio doctor who calls himself Dr. Lovelorn and fixes relationships in distress. Unfortunately for the Winchesters, if he can’t help his normal patients, he’s going to help them … whether they want it or not.
Love seems to be the topic of discussion, because in addition to searching for a murderer, Bay Winchester has her hands full dealing with another surprise. It seems Chief Terry, her favorite father figure, is dating … and he’s not opening his heart to her mother as she expected.
Bay is trying to be mature, but she always thought Terry would officially become part of her family once the barriers were lifted. To make matters worse, Terry’s new girlfriend wants to be friends … something Bay can’t quite wrap her head around.
Thankfully for Bay, she has a murder to focus on. Since Dr. Lovelorn had his fair share of enemies – and a rather unattractive habit of getting too involved with his patients – there are numerous suspects to focus on.
Her expanding magic is also an issue, because she can’t quite get a handle on the ghosts that keep popping up … mostly because they’re mouthy and prone to fighting her efforts.
Basically, it’s going to be a busy week … if everyone survives to see the end of another convoluted case, that is.
It’s all witches on deck for this one, and things are about to get weirder than normal.
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen.
Persinette Basile has a new purpose. The chains she’s carried since the curse began are gone, replaced by a crown. But freedom can’t exist while enemies surround Bela on all sides.
La Dame lurks on the border in Dracon, waiting for her revenge.
In Gaule, magic folk are hunted and punished for their Belaen heritage.
A journey into Gaule brings her face to face with the one person who can destroy her with one simple act: dying.
No longer tied to Alex by magic, his death should mean nothing to her.
As she learns more about who she truly is and the legacy of her family, she’s forced to answer three questions.
Can she save the king of Gaule?
Can he be trusted if she does?
And what will it mean for her people if she finds herself unable to let go of him again?
A rebellion. A dying king. And a magical war that could end everything.
Vic is about to die. At best, she’ll die when the Ministry of Magical Entities finally puts on their sham of a trial and convicts her of a crime she only sort-of committed… but most likely she’ll die in the next flash flood here in this hellhole they’re using as a prison, or maybe whenever that shrieking-squirrel-demon-thing comes back.
Then again, maybe she’ll live just long enough to find out what MOME is really up to, and die along with everyone else if she fails to stop them.
Running a high-class brothel in 1920s Paris would be challenging enough even if Madame weren’t also a vampire. But to make matters far worse, a young man has the audacity to try to kill Melodie – one of the brothel’s ladies – and then fall over dead.
At first the police rule the death an accident, but then they find poison in the body. And Madame also finds a note that implicates a jealous wife in the attack on Melodie – but then who poisoned the attacker? It’s all very confusing… And worse yet, is Melodie still in danger?
Of course, Madame is determined to find out what has happened in her maison and set it straight – without revealing her powers or upsetting the very attractive Monsieur Inspector Thibauld Baudet who is appointed to the case.
This is the first story in Madame’s Murder Mysteries, a historical cozy series with a sense of humor, a taste of the paranormal, and a touch of romance. Perfect for fans of Posie Parker, Ginger Gold, or Lady Katherine.
Peace at breaking point. A dark and ambitious conspiracy. A lethal adversary.
Woken from sleep by intruders, Arrow is shocked to realise that humans have managed to break through her wards. This was no simple break-in. It quickly becomes clear this was just part of a series, and the Erith’s ancient enemies may be involved.
Worse than that, the peace treaty that holds shape-changers, humans and Erith from all-out war is on the brink of collapse.
Arrow is once more in the middle of a deadly power struggle.
Outcast, liberator of the non-people, a mystery to herself.
In a world so desperate that people trade their children for food, a girl, cast out from her city for an unknown crime becomes an unlikely hero.
It is 2472. The British Isles have been transformed by climate change into a desert archipelago. The wealthy and privileged have retreated to high-tech walled cities. Those beyond the walls are known as the Non-Grata. They live a precarious, hand-to-mouth existence, surviving on the “charity” of the cities. In return, these non-people must pay a Quota, a tax paid in human life. Specifically, they give the rich something their money cannot buy: children.
Isobel Twelvetrees has been put outside the walls of her city and left to die in the lethal heat for a crime she cannot remember committing. She was saved by someone or something, but when she wakes, the only companion she has is a dog with odd coloured eyes. When she learns the terrible truth about the plight of the Non Grata, she turns into a new kind of warrior. As she crosses continents with the threadbare armies of the Non Grata, in a deadly race against time to destroy the Quota and right historic wrongs, she starts to uncover the truth about herself and what she left behind.
A collection of ghost stories that will touch you, thrill you and send chills down your spine.
Denver’s one goal in life is to become a fashion designer. Unfortunately, she needs rent money. Why not volunteer for an outlandish time travel experiment? It could be fun and spark new fashion ideas.
But the experiment takes her places she never expected, cutting her off from her dreams and dropping her into the world of a woman accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch trials. No promised stipend is worth a death sentence and bargaining for her life.
A newly-founded human colony world burned from orbit
A warship squadron of the galaxy’s oldest race ambushed and destroyed
An ancient enemy reborn in the darkness beyond the known stars
The A!Tol Imperium and their new human subjects have had fifteen years of relative peace. New colonies have been founded, new worlds explored, new ships built. Formal and informal alliances have been built with the ancient powers of the Core, leaving humanity and the Imperium seemingly on the brink of a new dawn.
The devastation of one of the newly-founded human colonies sends ripples of shock through the Imperium, and a battle fleet under Fleet Lord Harriet Tanaka is dispatched to the edge of the Imperium to find the culprits and bring them to justice.
Meanwhile, the destruction of a Mesharom Frontier Fleet squadron calls the Duchy of Terra’s newest warship, Bellerophon, into action and combat with a strange new power that bears all the signs of the Imperium’s age-old enemy, the Kanzi.
Aboard Bellerophon is Annette Bond’s stepdaughter, Morgan Casimir. The recently promoted junior officer will be thrust into the crucible of war and challenged to rise to her mother’s example in the face of this both new and ancient enemy…
When her village is attacked and her friends and family are taken away to be sold as slaves, Alysha Tanner sets out on a quest across the world to track them down and return them home. Along the way, she is aided by the most unlikely of allies – the world’s last remaining dragon. But as Alysha searches for her family, others are hunting for both her and her companion, and Alysha will soon find herself swept up into a decades-old conflict, one that could decide the fate of the world itself …
There is a region of space that is so hostile to life and magic that anyone sent there dies from exposure alone and yet it holds a valuable resource that must be mined by hand. Cory was sent to these mines to die, and yet he must survive in order to rescue his best friend’s widow. He just has to live long enough to make it happen…
The Cerulean Mines is a Lost Tales of Power novella.
In the deep black of space, there are no rules. Only pirates. And Rangers.
Captain Drummond Bayne is a Navy Ranger tasked with bringing order to the lawless reaches of space. When a simple mission turns deadly, Bayne and his crew must embrace a rogue mentality if they want to make it out alive. Can they escape the pirates with their lives and their convictions?
Parallax is the first book in the exciting Deep Black space opera. If you like fast paced space adventure, rogue pirates, and stories more complex than good vs. evil, you are going to love your visit to the Deep Black.