Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2024

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 and small press authors newly published this month, though some December 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, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, cozy fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mysteries, ghost stories, space opera, military science fiction, dragons, elves, barbarians, alien invasions,  starships, space marines, paranormal investigators, crime-busting witches, crime-busting skeletons 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:

Paranormal Investigation by Chantal BellehumeurParanormal Investigation by Chantal Bellehumeur:

This fictional ghost story with a slice of humour was inspired by historical facts and true events.

Discover the dark history of Cornwall’s old jail, built in 1833, and follow the fictitious Roy family as they conduct a paranormal investigation inside the historic building. Their spooky venture evokes questions about a spirit possibly following them home.


Captain by Jonathan P. BrazeeCaptain by Jonathan P. Brazee:

As a captain, Ryck Lysander has been given one of the most sough-after assignments in the Marines: an infantry company commander.

His new battalion commanding officer, however, is not impressed with Ryck’s past accomplishments, and Ryck finds himself struggling to fulfill his CO’s expectations.

Now, abandoned by the Navy, stranded among the asteroids, Ryck and his battalion must find a way to survive the day.

But these are Marines. . . and that means never giving up.

Destiny Delayed by Lindsay BurokerDriven by Destiny by Lindsay Buroker:

Arwen Forester is on a quest to remove her dark-elven tattoo and get her mother’s evil people out of her life forever. The last thing she wants is for them to magically manipulate her into betraying Azerdash Starblade, the half-dragon refugee she has feelings for.

But when an old elven comrade visits Azerdash, sharing the location of one of the invaluable galaxy blades that were made for his kind, Arwen must set aside her own quest to help him. This may be a chance for him to once again become the leader he was meant to be.

But there are people—and dragons—who will kill to keep the powerful sword from returning to Azerdash’s hands. And they would have no problem slaying Arwen in the process. Is his quest worth dying for?

Echoes in the Deep by Terry Maggert and J.N. ChaneyEchoes in the Deep by J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert:

Mark Tudor is learning a valuable lesson about being a Peacemaker.

With Veteran pay comes veteran problems. And the Guild, more often than not, is the issue.

He’s become an effective enforcer of the law, but unfortunately, crime is growing a lot more complicated. Someone is slaving artificial beings to ships, running contraband across the stars in a fatal practice that marries murder, theft, and kidnapping. Even as Mark’s crew grows, he discovers these crimes aren’t just horrific—they’re common.

And he means to stop it.

Deep in the black between stars, Mark finds an ancient and bizarre place, filled with the galaxy’s discarded junk. And in the middle of that cold, distant void lies a massive ship—one that holds secrets that will rock the halls of power in known space—and turn crime into profit.

Diving headlong into new cases, Mark will find that the elite criminals aren’t scared of a farm boy from Iowa. That professional killers are lurking in the shadows.

But he’s no longer alone.

With Tan, the teenaged tech wizard, and Drogo, whose gifts are a bit more martial, the search for justice will become a little more violent. With seemingly unconnected events escalating, one killer separates herself from the crowd.

Bone Appetite by Rachel FordBone Appetite by Rachel Ford:

I’m a magic-wielding Freak. My partner Flinty Jack is a sentient skeleton. We’re Flint & Co Paranormal Investigations.

Things are going well. I mean, sure, our short-term squatter seems to have turned into a perma-resident. And yeah, there are rumors that an undead serial killer might have set his sights on us next.

But work is steady, and the agency is finally on solid footing. Until one of Nat’s plaintiffs, head chef of an up-and-coming local restaurant, decides to bail on a rock solid case. She doesn’t believe he left willingly, and her firm asks us to take the case. Unpaid.

We don’t have the manpower, and we’re not doing well enough for charity cases yet. But saying no isn’t really an option. Not when it’s my fiancée asking.

So now we’re up to our eyeballs in work, trying to track down an un-missing person. Except the deeper we dig, the more it looks like someone went to a whole lot of trouble to cook up a story of the chef with cold feet…

The Revelations of Zang by John R. FultzThe Revelations of Zang by John R. Fultz:

A collection of dark fantasy tales with a metaphysical edge, full of grotesque wonders and weird splendor. Artifice the Quill flees from tyrant sorcerers into a world of strange magic, ancient gods, and exotic kingdoms. The exiled author joins a traveling troupe of performers known as the Glimmer Faire, where he learns the magical power of art and the art of magical power. These Twelve Tales of the Continent alternate between the exploits of Artifice and the adventures of Taizo the Rogue, a master of skullduggery who sparks a rebellion in the name of bloody vengeance.

The Lost Gods of Narr were displaced a century ago by the Sorcerer Kings, a council of dictators who rule the Golden City with necromancy, alchemy, and terror. The mysterious folk of the Red Isle foster dissension in Narr by smuggling their enchanted goods into the city, while the ancient Zang Forest expands itself across the lands of men, devouring farms and towns as it reaches to smother the wicked city. Now that the Lost Gods are returning to destroy the world, only Artifice, Taizo, and a small band of rebels have any hope of preventing the apocalypse. Seven of these interrelated stories are previously unpublished, including “Spilling the Blood of the World,” the novelette which brings the entire Zang Cycle to a staggering finale.

There's something about magic by Lily Harper HartThere’s Something About Magic by Lily Harper Hart:

The day Ivy Morgan-Harker has been dreading is here and the woman she helped send to prison is back in Shadow Lake…and she’s not acting like herself.

Ava Moffett returns to town just in time to be swept up in the death of a local woman, who had no ties to the area before recently taking over the hardware shop with her husband. Poison is the cause of death, but who doled it out?

If the death wasn’t bad enough, Ivy and her husband Jack have another problem. It seems their daughter Olive is sensing things that Ivy herself can’t see, which means Shadow Lake’s top witch might be falling behind.

Ivy wants nothing more than to live a happy life and help her friends. Ava’s revenge might make that impossible, though.

Prepare yourselves, because Ivy’s past is threatening her future, and this just might be the one fight she can’t win.

Whale Mail by Patty JansenWhale Mail by Patty Jansen:

Picture this: you’ve somehow come into the possession of a dragon (long story–you can read the previous book if you really want to know, but it’s kinda embarrassing, so you don’t need to).

And you need to return that dragon to the place it came from.

You’ve tried putting it on a truck–but it destroyed the truck.

You’ve tried putting it on the train–but it destroyed the carriage.

Now you’ve put the dragon in a warehouse while you figure out what to do, but–

You guessed it: the dragon destroys the warehouse.

Tell me, why wouldn’t you trick some rich merchant into lending you the only thing you haven’t yet tried: a boat.

The Quelling by C.L. LauderThe Quelling by C.L. Lauder:

When you’re Stained, patches of skin glisten like liquid starlight, and sooner or later, his creatures find you.

When Kyjta accidentally brands herself with an alien fluid while plotting revenge, she knows her fate is sealed. As one of the Stained, her markings glisten star-bright, and the creatures sent by the Rhemans to scavenge for bodies will have no trouble finding her.

One night, while sheltering during a raid, Kyjta forms an unexpected pact with a Rheman rebel to protect a young girl, Calipsie, who’s fallen into her care. Days later, when Calipsie is taken, Kyjta abandons precaution to go after her. Facing impossible odds and allied by a Rheman she’s not sure she can trust, Kyjta must not only rescue Calipsie, but also face the Rheman overlord who’s taken a disturbing interest in her.

Witching on the Job by Amanda M. LeeWitching on the Job by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter came to Moonstone Bay to find herself. That included finding her passion in life. She just didn’t think it would involve becoming mayor.

She has no qualifications, other than being a powerful witch.

Half the town is rooting against her.

The other half is just sitting back to see what happens.

Only a handful of people are rooting for her, but they’re the only ones who matter.

When a body appears on the beach, one that’s been stabbed in the back and surrounded by curse runes in blood, Hadley finds her attention split. She might be the new mayor, but she’s also interested in what killed a former member of the power-hungry DDA.

The investigation involves old grudges, hidden files, a new witch in town, and the island’s biggest secret. Hadley isn’t ready for any of it, but she’s not going to have a choice.

Someone on the island is trying to keep dark information from coming to light, and it’s going to put them all in danger.

So, brace yourselves, because the new mayor is about to face a very old problem. Can she solve the case and keep the island safe? That’s anybody’s guess, but the odds are stacked against her.

Neither Beg Nor Yield, edited by Jason M. WaltzNeither Beg Nor Yield, edited by Jason M. Waltz:

Can you handle the truth?

Sword & Sorcery has always been about the attitude.

Stop seeking elaborate definitions. Cease arguing over semantics and accoutrements. Quit making it more difficult than necessary. Learn the fundamental immutability of the S&S Riddle: Protagonists with nonchalant mercenary motivations & indomitable wills. It’s all in their attitude.

The definition of S&S has never been clearer.

Sword & Sorcery warriors are very, very dangerous people, considered barbaric, who act according to their own codes of honor in pursuit of their own ends. Brothers (and sisters) to THE WILD BUNCH, comrades of the SEVEN SAMURAI, partners of every MAN IN BLACK, and riders in every WILD HUNT. They don’t just seize the day—they seize Life itself by the throat and squeeze until it begs. They don’t falter in the dark or before the unknown—they spit in the face of Death itself and stomp it into the dirt until it yields.

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