Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month: May 2014

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

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

This time around, we have science fiction, space opera, dystopian fiction, YA fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, fairy tale retellings, mermaids, dragon shifters, angels, demons, faeries, robotic teachers and werewolves. It’s also a truly international round-up, featuring authors from Australia, Ireland, the US, the UK, Malaysia and Singapore.

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

If you’re looking for more indie speculative fiction, check out the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a new blog devoted to all things indie speculative fiction.

And now on to the books:

Assassin's Way by K.S. AugustinAssassin’s Way by K.S. Augustin

Alshandiel Dolrahn wants a new life away from the suffocating world of Qolar. But will the Diplomatic Corps be her salvation…or undoing?
The ideal assassin is young, smart and on the run.

Alshandiel feels suffocated by her home planet of Qolar. She finds her fellow Qolari narrow-minded and xenophobic and the caste system that governs her world rigid and stifling. She is looking for a way out.

The notorious Department of Other Matters deals with things the average Qolari doesn’t want to know anything about—most notably, the rest of the galaxy.
It seems only natural that Alshandiel should consider a career within the casteless, outward-looking Department. But DOM holds its own secrets. And once it has you, it never lets go.

Outage by Ellisa BarrOutage by Ellisa Barr

When fifteen-year-old Dee is left at her grandpa’s farm in rural Washington, she thinks life is over. She may be right.

A high-tech electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack destroys the country’s power and communication grids, and sends the U.S. hurtling back to the Dark Ages. Can Dee learn to survive without the basics: electricity, clean water… even her cell phone?

The chaos caused by the EMP isn’t her only problem. A sinister plot by a corrupt official threatens Dee and all she holds dear. She will have to fight if she wants to survive in this hostile new world.

Outage is a Young Adult novel of survival with a hint of romance and a lot of action-adventure.

Irradiated by S. Elliot BrandisIrradiated by S. Elliot Brandis

A man thrust a baby into Jade’s hands. It trembled in her arms. The man had a message: escape from the tunnels, and never return. Her parents were already dead. Jade had a sister; she was irradiated.

Thirteen years later, her sister, Pearl, is coming of age. Rows of sucker-caps line her arms and hands. Her skin is coral pink. Each night, her dreams fill with visions: violence, depression, and fear.

On the surface, people have grown wild and dangerous. They scavenge, fight, and steal. Below, in the tunnels, they’re controlled by a ruthless leader and an army of beings known only as Shadows. When both groups come searching for Pearl, sensing the power her dreams may hold, only Jade can stand in the way.

Forsaken by C. Ryan BymasterForsaken by C. Ryan Bymaster

Choices can be such damnable things.
And when Everam is plucked from the afterlife and offered a chance to walk the mortal Earth again, there is only one choice to make. He is sent forth to protect “debatable” souls on Earth, and with each soul saved, he is one step closer to regaining his own soul. Falling for one of the souls he was sent to protect, Everam will learn that his choices—past and present—will have dire consequences.
Yet there must exist a balance between light and dark, and is another sent to oppose Everam. Tasked with ensuring Everam doesn’t succeed, this other will stop at nothing to win the free soul for himself—even if it means killing those mortal souls that are up for “debate.”
With strict rules to follow and a limit to their time on Earth, Everam and the other are pitted against each other in a struggle as old as time, where the demand for results weighs heavily on their conscious choices. And when consequences for breaking the rules begin to blur the distinctions between good and evil, Everam finds that seeking redemption for past choices may cost him more than he’d bargained for.
Some choices cannot be undone, and when contracting with the powers of Heaven and Hell, one should always read the fine print … And remember which side you chose to fight for.

Dark Claw by Joyce ChngDark Claw by Joyce Chng

Gabriel Sutherland, scion of Lord Kevin Sutherland, returns to Singapore, to deal with the resurgence of the Dark Claws, a splinter group of ultra-conservative drakes. Tragedy strikes and he becomes Lord Sutherland, leader of a clan of drakes. Along the way, he also discovers a long-lost sibling. How is he going to balance all these new responsibilities while his inner demons are still not laid to rest.

 

 

Sworn to Defiance by Terah EdunSworn to Defiance by Terah Edun

Ciardis Weathervane returned to the imperial court of Sandrin to unite her foes. But her efforts hit a stumbling block. The imperial kind. She never thought that before rallying an empire, she’d have to fight the emperor himself.

An imposter sits the throne and the court she turned to for help is in turmoil. Ciardis hasn’t survived assassination attempts, torture and really bad luck to be taken down by her own ruler. So she devises a plan. But first she needs to get Sebastian and Thanar to agree. Each seems to love her in their own way. But neither is listening to her. Pushing them to put aside their differences, in an effort to ward off catastrophe, might be harder than displacing an emperor who would do anything to keep his throne.

Butting heads at court isn’t Ciardis’s only problem. With the princess heir’s threat looming she is forced to travel to the mythical city of Kifar, where it is up to her small group to stop the destruction of the entire city while heading a rebellion that could foment a revolution. It wouldn’t be the first revolution that Algardis has ever known. But with Ciardis Weathervane at its head–it would certainly be the last.

This fifth novel in the Courtlight series continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Secrecy.

Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer EllisionThreats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision

Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.

Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.

But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.

Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.

Dreaming of the Sea by Heidi GarrettDreaming of the Sea by Heidi Garrett

Gia Chantal will be called to fulfill an ancient contract. She will promise Cole–an exiled mer prince–freedom from his debt to her–in exchange for help in satisfying the contract. Miriam, an orphan who is driven by visionary tendencies, will be tempted by their offer of a life beyond the convent walls that have kept her safe for over a decade.

The repercussions from the intersection of these three lives will reach all the way to heaven… and hell.

Dreaming of the Sea is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. In the original tale, after falling in love with a human prince, the little mermaid yearns to win his love–and gain an immortal soul–thus her bargain with the sea witch…

In this contemporary retelling, after refusing to heed a merman’s warnings, a young woman will make a different kind of bargain with the Sea Witch…

Zero Sum Game by SL HuangZero Sum Game by SL Huang

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good.

The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight. She can take any job for the right price and shoot anyone who gets in her way.

As far as she knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower . . . but then Cas discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Someone who’s already warped Cas’s thoughts once before, with her none the wiser.

Cas should run. Going up against a psychic with a god complex isn’t exactly a rational move, and saving the world from a power-hungry telepath isn’t her responsibility. But she isn’t about to let anyone get away with violating her brain — and besides, she’s got a small arsenal and some deadly mathematics on her side. There’s only one problem . . .

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

Willow Witch by Patty JansenWillow Witch by Patty Jansen

After fleeing from the burning ruins of Saardam, Johanna, Prince Roald, Loesie and Nellie have been captured by a group of bandits and are being taken to a place unknown through a forest rife with magic. Loesie, struck mute by an unknown but powerful sorcerer, is behaving increasingly strange. The friends try to escape, but is Loesie helping them or is she a danger to them?

Every step they take through the ghost-ridden forest brings them closer to the duke who is rumoured to be the source of the evil magic, the necromancer whose anger against Saarland’s royal family has lain the world to waste.

Continued from Innocence Lost.

The Edge of the Woods by Ceinwen LangleyThe Edge of the Woods by Ceinwen Langley

‘You’re not the first young woman to try to bend the rules, my dear, but they failed and so will you.’

For as long as anyone can remember, young women have vanished into the woods. Believing them to be weak willed and lured by demons, the zealous Mayor enforces rules to protect them: rules that render the village women submissive and silent, or face being ostracised.

Emma’s only hope of a decent life is to be married by her eighteenth birthday, but her quick mouth and low social standing make her a poor prospect. Lonely and afraid, she finds herself dreaming of the woods, and of a mysterious boy who promises freedom and acceptance if she’ll only step across the border into the trees.

With her birthday fast approaching, she has a decision to make: run away from her future, or fight for it.

The Deadly Seven by Kyoko M.The Deadly Seven by Kyoko M.

Michael O’Brien. 24. New Yorker. Musician. Archangel in charge of Heaven’s army.

It’s been centuries since Michael stayed on Earth for an extended amount of time. Now he’s here because of Jordan Amador–a Seer who helped him restore his life and memories and thwart the archdemon Belial from taking over the city. With Jordan on Belial’s hit list, Michael decides to stick around and live out life alongside her as her friend and temporary bodyguard. But as the days pass, he finds it harder to resist the seven deadly sins that tempt all men. Especially as he and Jordan grow closer fighting the demons that want her almost as much as he does…

This collection takes place in the two month period in The Black Parade between Chapters 15 and 16.

Faerie Apocalypse by Caoimhe McCabeFaerie Apocalypse: Aoife’s Tale by Caoimhe McCabe

December 21st 2012, the day the world as we knew it ended.

Ireland’s ancient inhabitants, the Tuatha Dé Dannan, are free from the subterranean prison in which the Celts trapped them thousands of years ago. And the Tuath Dé, or Faeries, waste no time in making the world theirs again.

Aoife O’Neill, a former surgeon, lives on the rugged west coast of Ireland. She lies low, using her wits to avoid the cruel faerie courts that roam the country. Mourning the death of her younger brother, killed by the first explosive wave of Faeries to escape confinement, Aoife researches the Celtic lore for a way to bring an end to the Faerie Kingdom.

Dallada, a powerful arrogant faerie obsessed with Aoife, learns the hard way that she is stronger than she appears. He will stop at nothing to exact revenge for her insolence in refusing him.

Andrew Tyler, a seasoned British Army officer, leads a small band of soldiers in the Yorkshire dales in hit and run missions. Andrew can see no end in sight, but he’s determined to keep fighting.

When Aoife stumbles onto Andrew’s battlefield, he has a choice. Join her in a desperate attempt to defeat the powerful Faeries, or keep the Irish surgeon against her will as part of his military staff.

‘Aoife’s Tale’ begins the fight against the devastating power of the Faeries.

Queen of Grass and Trees by B.E. PriestThe Queen of Grass and Tree by B.E. Priest

A NEW QUEST BEGINS…
Southwind is in uprising,
and Asher is lucky to escape alive.
With an orphaned Finn and the exiled Healer,
he journeys north to the Queendom’s capital.
He goes to find his mother.
He’ll find only death.

Book #2 in a series of fantasy novellas following Southwind Knights.

 

The Child by David J. RollinsThe Child by David J. Rollins

The schools in the little town of Wonderville are different. They are taught by mechanical teachers that have been programmed to be perfect examples in every possible way. They speak correctly. They move correctly. They even carefully analyze each student for any sign of drug use, and they do that correctly too. They are however not very good at teaching. In fact, they are really really boring.

One particularly bright student, Vayle, often finds his mind wandering in class. He is too smart for his own good. He knows more than most of the students in his class. One day, he starts asking questions, questions his school doesn’t appreciate, questions like ‘What is the Garden of Eden like?’ and ‘How do you tell the difference between the letter O and the number O?’ and others. They are questions to which the school has no answer. Vayle gets in trouble.

To teach Vayle a lesson, the Principal sends him on a tour of the upper classes, and Vayle learns the difference between being enrolled and being admitted. Those that are enrolled make perfect grades and eat warm roast beef for lunch. Those that attend spend their days running from mechanical truant officers armed with shock whips and detention slips. And the only difference between those two types of students is degrees of perfection.

Vayle can’t stop asking questions though. He can’t turn off his brain like that. And he asks the one question every school administration hates. ‘Why?’

And then the real trouble begins.

Werewolf Magic and Mayhem by Stella WilkinsonWerewolf Magic and Mayhem by Stella Wilkinson

New witch Emily Rand and her crow Familiar, Bob, are back for another bout of magical mayhem. Following on from the events of Halloween, Emily is approached by a werewolf called Fletcher who wants her to cure him of his affliction. Despite her lack of experience, Emily decides to try to help Fletcher. Unfortunately her spells aren’t known for going according to plan, and Emily accidentally divides Fletch from his handsome human body and brings forth his inner wolf in a very real sense. Now she has to find a way to put it right by the next full moon or Fletcher will be stuck as a wolf forever. New Paranormal Romance novel from best selling author Stella Wilkinson.

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4 Responses to Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month: May 2014

  1. Kaz Augustin says:

    Thanks for the mention, Cora. I appreciate you hosting a monthly round-up like this. :)

  2. Hi Cora,

    only just spotted this reference to Faerie Apocalypse on your site. I appreciate the mention, it’s tough out there for a newbie author!

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