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 September 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 a broad spectrum of titles, featuring science fiction, space opera, horror, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Asian fantasy, YA fantasy, weird western, space western, paranormal romance, gothic romance, demons, werewolves, superheroes, psychic powers, GLBT characters, fairy tale retellings 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 Heidi Garrett, 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:
Let sleeping dogs lie. Wolves, on the other hand…
Recovering from a broken heart and coming to terms with her family history, all sorceress Jade Crow wants is to resume running her comic book store and gaming with her friends. With a town full of strange wolf shifters, a hundred-and-fifty-year-old peace accord hanging in the balance, and the Justice who broke her heart back in her life, Jade’s plans go out the proverbial window.
Wolves are killing wolves, innocent human lives are caught in the crossfire, and not everyone in town is who they appear to be. As the bodies stack up and the doubts build, Jade and her friends race to find the true killer.
And then Jade’s evil ex-lover makes another move…
They feared how the truth might alter Llad Fleck. No one told him about his talented ancestors, their extraordinary heritage, or how they died. He never learned that a powerful research institute in London considered him a lethal threat. Other than the need to move on to the safety of a different city every few months, the only thing Llad knew for sure was that the men he played ball against said he had “mad skills not suitable for a fifteen-year-old.”
When Llad meets an eccentric parapsychologist, Dr. Jemma Rask, she explains that she has waited decades just to teach him how to expand his mind and utilize the unique traits which she believes he has inherited. Even though Dr. Rask and her stories come across as way too weird for Llad, he begins studying her techniques. He quickly realizes that just because the link might be there, it doesn’t mean he actually has the talent or the patience to develop his abilities.
After multiple killings shatter Llad’s life, he still doesn’t know who is behind the brutal murders or why he’s involved. But he knows now that he’s fighting for his life against a fanatical enemy. He must discover more about his family tree and learn how to control his psychic gifts?if he has any. Alone with his grief, Llad searches for clues about his cryptic lineage while being haunted by reoccurring dreams of a mysterious girl trying to help him master the bizarre talents he will need to survive.
Meet the android with no name. Seventy years ago, he was freed: his permission chip was removed and a gun placed in his hand. He was sent to fight for his country.
It was the war that ended the world.
Now, America is a wasteland. Wild towns have emerged across the frontier, lawless places filled with drunks and opportunists. The android rides from town to town, collecting warrants and seeking justice. Life is violent and meaningless—full of blood, whiskey, and dust.
When he meets Sierra—a fiery southerner with a chip on her shoulder—they embark on an unlikely journey, a dangerous search for vengeance.
Jan Xu, wolf and pack leader, faces more dangers when she saves a foreign male wolf in love with one of her ancient enemies, a jiang shi, a Chinese vampire. Throw in a love-struck drake—and Jan finds her situation suddenly precarious, with her reputation and health at stake. How much is a wolf going to take when everything is out of control again and her world thrown into disarray? How is she going to navigate the complexities of Myriad politics while keeping her pack and family intact without losing her mind? The third book of the Jan Xu Adventures will see Jan Xu’s continual fight as pack leader, her clan’s Eye (seer) and mother of three young children. Her mettle, courage and love for her family will be tested to her utmost limits.
This is the sequel to Wolf at the Door.
Sara Fairchild, duelist and combatant, is out for vengeance. Her father was betrayed. Her mother is dead. All she has left is her desire for revenge and a quest for answers.
Now a member of the Mercenary Guilds’ elite guard, she fights on the front lines of her empire’s first civil war. But Sara’s priority isn’t winning the war for the crown or empire. It’s finding out the true circumstances of her family’s downfall while keeping one mild-mannered curator alive.
As emotionally detached as she is from everyone around her, Sara can’t seem to shake the stubborn affection of her one friend. When she stumbles upon the secrets of not one but two Kade mages, she soon finds out that neither of their lives is worth anything to either side.
As she fights to outmaneuver a group of fiendish imperial assassins and win a war that grows more complicated by the day, Sara Fairchild knows that no matter what, the empire will never be the same.
This is book 2 of the Crown Services series, following Blades of Magic
When Lashlor Leaflin offers to escort Queen Narraki Dragonsbane to the Jeltar Woods, he’s unwittingly caught up in a magical adventure of the type he would rather not have.
The sorceress Assassa believes the Land of Ends to be rightfully hers, but King Lanaran refuses to hand over his crown. In retaliation, the sorceress conjures creatures of darkness to hunt the queen and end her life. Lashlor helps where he can, but it isn’t easy when the Guards of Ends who protect the queen believe him to be false.
A confrontation with Assassa will be the death of him, Lashlor is certain. However, the king insists on his help and it soon becomes apparent that he may have no choice.
“The twists & drama of this roller coaster ride are wild from the start.” – Bethany.
The Arctic ice is gone, blasted apart in decades-long resource wars, and global tsunamis have scoured the world into ruin. Survivors hide in utopian cities behind vast flood-walls, or on lawless floating slums on the open ocean, living in fear of the next big wave.
Ex-Arctic marine Ritry Goligh isn’t afraid. His enemy Mr. Ruins is dead, crushed by a tsunami at the edge of the slums, and Ritry’s long nightmare is finally over. Then comes an explosion that makes no sound, but blows all his thoughts to shreds. In an instant Ritry is prey again, hunted by a power so vast he can’t even comprehend it.
This is King Ruin, and before him all Rit can do is run, so far and so fast he starts to forget who and what he is. Soon half of his mind is gone, the King is closing in, and the souls of billions are at stake. Because King Ruin wants the Bridge, a direct path into the minds of every living thing, and only the lost and broken Ritry Goligh can stand in his way.
This is book 2 in the Ruins Sonata series, following Mr. Ruins.
The Earth is in ruins. Cities and nations destroyed. Those who survive the onslaught succumb to the cold blackness of winter. A handful of machines finally emerge into the light, lost and directionless. They are the last remnants of civilisation.
Brant is a synthetic – a machine who has the appearance and emotions of the humans who made him. He is hunted across the wasteland by cruel scavengers known as Marauders who are intent on cannibalising his body to prolong their own lives.
Brant carries a great burden as he tries to return home: a secret that can change the world. Against the unforgiving desert, the twisted denizens of this new world and his own dark past he needs to find a way back at any cost.
Reclusive chef Heinrich Schauer has invited six guests to a blind twelve-course tasting menu.
What You Eat
While snow blankets the isolated Swiss valley surrounding his estate, the guests feast eagerly, challenging one another to guess at the secret tastes plated before them.
Meat Is Murder
As they eat, each guest is overtaken by carnal appetites, unaware of their host’s savage plans…or of the creature lurking below.
One thing is clear: There is more on the menu than any of them have bargained for.
Consumption is a 12,000 word (approx.) short story. It contains graphic depictions of sex and violence, and is intended for mature audiences.
The Sol System was conquered and humans lived as slaves for 500 long years.
Now, after years of brutal warfare, humanity has been liberated. Liberation, however, comes at a cost. And the Sol System has become nothing more than a puppet state for a vast galactic empire.
For Jon Pike, a war hero who has lost everything, there is no substitute for freedom. And he blames the aliens for humanity’s troubles, especially the one living inside him.
But when he is sent on a top secret mission into unexplored regions of the galaxy he discovers that humanity’s troubles are just getting started.
Can he find freedom for himself and humanity?
Kenssie just wants her fellow demons to respect her. A little hero worship now and then wouldn’t go amiss either. But as the lowly thrall of Rak, an embarrassment demon, she’ll take whatever crumbs she’s offered.
When the demon council turns against her master, Rak and Kenssie are forced to relocate to the countryside. It seems Rak has been holding out against his thrall and keeping a secret that will shake her trust in him forever.
When someone from Rak’s past returns to claim him, Kenssie has to fight for much more than his attention. The lives of innocents and not-so-innocents are on the line. How much of herself is she willing to sacrifice for someone else’s happiness?
“I feel lost in the middle of a weird dream I can’t wake up from. Where everything is upside down, and all the rules have changed.”
Jessica Mitchell didn’t know just how true that statement would turn out to be.
Living the carefully constructed life that the Registry dictated, under their firm thumb and watchful eye, was starting to feel more and more like a prison sentence. The stifling existence had only one redeeming factor, amid the endless restrictions and constant scrutiny; Craddock Daniels, Jessica’s husband for all intents and purposes.
Even as discontentment spurs despair, they continue to find solace in each other, clinging to the hope that their imagined future together might still be possible.
But they soon learn that not everything is as it seems. It is much, much worse.
On the run again, joined by old and new friends, Jessica and Craddock try to reclaim their lives… by taking on the Mengliad community’s most powerful agency.
THE REGISTRY’S SECRETS is book two of THE MENGLIAD SERIES, following The Mengliad.
Johanna, Roald, Nellie and Loesie have come to Florisheim finding many of their kinsmen there. The survivors from the burning of Saardam who have come here are the nobles who were never great supporters the old king, and it is likely that they won’t support his son either, even if he was normal. They support his marriage to Johanna even less and Johanna’s position as the new king’s wife would be improved immensely if she produced an heir, but so far that’s not happening.
Florisheim is alive with evil magic, and that magic is starting to affect the Saarlanders who are unused to it. They suffer apparitions of ghosts, people driven to injure themselves, or taken prisoner to work in a mysterious hole in the ground. Johanna knows that they have to get out of that evil place, but where can they go when the violence covers the entire known world?
Something is rotten in Langrenus.
Or technically, north of the city.
Bob has settled down into work and family life but beneath the surface things have changed. He’s a secret agent now, building a budding network of people searching for the alien shadow groups on Earth and working to stop the coming alien invasion from beyond the solar system. But for now, all of that is far away.
The Boss, the mysterious head of Vartan, Inc. sends Bob to the moon city of Langrenus to investigate the Transient Lunar Phenomenon, which has changed pattern and intensity over recent years. No one knows why. At first, Bob suspects he’s been sent on a fluff mission. But the more he investigates, the more questions are raised in his mind as to what is really going on. The heart of the problem lies within the lunar mining communities and the increased frequency of the beautiful lunar lights are the result of something far more sinister than Bob ever imagined.
This is the sequel to Mission: Flight to Mars.
Lesbian romance meets adventure in the first Rosewood Space Western.
The hellcat of Rosewood station is the best of the best. Anelace Rios is a good old-fashioned troublemaker, fiercely independent, and best of all, a steady hand with a flamethrower. Carnivorous amoeba are slowly taking over the half-abandoned mining port, and the freelance exterminator rakes in big bounties killing them off—then she spends those bounties in a grand way. Work hard, play hard.
Meidani Sintlere’s reputation is exactly the opposite of her wild friend. She’s the station’s hardworking black market doctor. She’s shy. She’s nice. She’s got a weakness for imported chocolate and pastel dresses. And she gets mad as a sani-vacced cat when Anelace shows up missing chunks of skin.
The hellcat never lacks for a willing partner. Even so, Meidani’s got notions to cut to the front of the line and stay there. She upends everything Anelace knows about good girls and the bad girls who don’t deserve them, and in a blisteringly hot night they go from friends to lovers.
But their new closeness forces the kind of reckoning even tough Anelace can’t escape unscathed. She thrives on her job, relishes the payoff, but now she’s endangering more than her own adrenaline-junkie hide—every run risks Meidani’s happiness. For the first time, Anelace is risking her shot at love.
“Praying For The Surgeon” is a fast-paced novel with lots of twists and turns that keep smashing its reader’s head against the wall… It is full of action, drama, and suspense – all set in a future where genetic engineering and total data control is running rampant. It combines cyberpunk, 80s retro style and the modern genre of biopunk into a thrilling ride of a book!
Witness what happens when Philip K. Dick meets Mickey Spillane… Deckard and Mike Hammer are about to have a little baby – and it is nasty!
Nobody noticed as it swept around the globe – until billions began to die. Then it got a name: The Lethargy. Everyone just gave up, all interest in life relentlessly gnawed away. 15 generations later humanity is on the brink of extinction.
The only safe refuge is the fabled Commorancy, where Marcus Wolfe, tyrant, oligarch and absolute ruler offers those lucky enough to pass Orientation one of the seven Rooms, where life extension, knowledge of The Noise and more is there for the taking. But running such a home is not without its consequences – Marcus is institutionalized and has to fight daily with a madness that threatens his very reality.
As The Commorancy comes under attack young Letje finds herself out of her depth amongst a group of strangers with a millennium of experience between them. Haughty goats, an almost mythical man obsessed with changing his clothes at every available opportunity, and doors that go whoosh don’t help her situation as the very future of mankind hangs in the balance.
Now Marcus has to protect not only The Commorancy and his guests, but try to hold on to his sanity as well.
Ten years ago, humans created machines so powerful that they became aware of the world around them. The bots improved themselves until their intelligence far surpassed all of humanity’s. They used this intellect to take over everything. Their awakening ushered in a time of darkness for all mankind.
Now, Aiden is determined to find a way to help the resistance infiltrate the bots’ network. Working with his soul mate, Kyra, he must find a way to harness the unimaginable power of the Nether for his fight against the machines.
The fate of two worlds hangs on their shoulders. They must not only face an unbeatable foe on Earth, but race to find a traitor on Solisticia that will stop at nothing to do the unthinkable.
This is book 2 in the Nether Chronicles, following The Awakening.
Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are precisely three obstacles in her way.
The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?
The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.
And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.
Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons . . . See problems one and two.
CHASE THE DARK is the first book in the Steel & Stone series. BIND THE SOUL, Steel & Stone Book 2, is now available for pre-order.
They started with five hundred, but their numbers are decreasing every day. Exponentially.
Science Officer Brent and Medical Officer Kelley are tasked with discovering who – or what – is picking off colonists from their expeditionary settlement on the seeming Eden of this alien planet.
But science and logic are no match for their rapacious nemesis, as they race to find a solution before their colony becomes unviable and the unthinkable becomes reality.
“The Final Solution” was a finalist in the Hugh Howey / Booktrack fanfic short story competition, and is set in a new colony in the “Half Way Home” universe, with Hugh’s kind permission.
Magnolia Hammond encounters Solstice, Blue Earth, and even a god whilst the mirror is falling – and a poison that slows Agent Taylor enough to take him out of the field, and away from combat.
This is a short companion story to Mirrorfall.
Seventeen-year-old Chiara Dragoni is a master glassmaker of Venice, a position that is both a privilege — and a trap. For the glassmakers of Murano are forbidden to ever leave the islands of the Venetian lagoon.
When Chiara’s uncle is caught on the mainland and thrown into the dungeon of the Doge’s Palace, she must use all her talents, including magic, to help free him. But the gift she creates for the prince of Venice has unintended consequences, and now Chiara must decide whether to give up everything — and everyone — she knows and loves in order to save her dream.
Set in an alternate historical Venice with alchemists, witches and magic, the story uses familiar motifs from the beloved fairy tale “Cinderella” to tell a tale with a very different message.
War is brewing on the eastern border of Arden. The shaky truce between Arden and the neighboring realm of Shiraz has all but dissolved, and both sides are building their forces for battle. But in the quiet farming community of Willowdale, the rumors of war are the least of young Gibben Nemesio’s concerns. With both parents dead and two younger brothers to care for, Gib doesn’t have time to focus on anything besides keeping food on the table. Everything changes the day he receives a conscription notice and must report to Arden’s capital.
In Silver City, Gib is forced to leave his life as a farmer behind when he enters the legendary Academy of Arden as a sentinel trainee. If called to war, he will have no choice but to go, for the Sentinels of Arden are the realm’s first line of defense against the evils beyond the border.
A newcomer to this breathtaking city of stone, Gibben finds himself thrown into a world of cutthroat politics and scandals that run deeper than he ever imagined. Caught between the responsibilities to his family and to his country, Gib struggles to find balance. When he unwittingly overhears a sinister plot–that if seen to fruition will bear dire consequences for all of Arden–the young sentinel trainee must find a way to warn those in power before it is too late.
Having recently come to terms with her psychic gift of communicating with the comatose, all Kat Parker wanted was a bit of relaxation and to replace her broken cell phone. But her uncle’s death reveals a new and potentially dangerous wrinkle to her abilities — she can see and talk with the dead.
Phoneless, fed up, and worried for her sanity, Kat is still determined to help her uncle. Discovering he had more than a few secrets, she embarks on a treasure hunt for the one object she believes will help him rest in peace. Standing in her way is the CIA, a Mexican drug cartel kill squad, a group of mask-wearing gang members, and a wild alligator determined to eat her pet turtle.
As things spiral out of control, the absurdity of it all has Kat wondering if she hasn’t already gone insane, if she’ll be forever saddled with babysitting her uncle’s spirit, and if she should even bother to replace her phone.
This is book 2 of the Kat Parker series, following Mind If I Come In.
Some guys have all the luck….
Warlock “Lucky” Lucas Wilcox has a gift that ensures his success in all things, but his magic fails him completely when it comes to sexy Margot Emory, the vibrant “elder” of the McAllister witch clan.
Margot’s own magical gifts weren’t enough to protect her from a terrible romantic betrayal, and she’s wary of repeating past mistakes—especially with a Wilcox—even if it means she’s destined to live her life alone.
When Lucas sets his sights on the one woman he wants but can’t have, it may take a bit of sympathetic magic for the couple to have the happy ending they deserve.
With the war begun, Aniri, Third Daughter of the Queen, has to battle not only a prince with a deadly skyship, but her own sister, the First Daughter, who finally sees her chance to become Queen. With their mother gravely ill and the Second Daughter kidnapped along with Aniri’s husband-to-be, Aniri embarks on a desperate mission to save the people she loves from a war that will tear all three countries apart.
First Daughter is the third book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy following Third Daughter and Second Daughter. This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift–the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother–to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things–images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience–and influence–the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love–even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…
Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?
Trey has dirt magic. It’s messy and not very fun. But some miners in his old hometown are trapped underground, and he feels duty-bound to see if he can help. He doesn’t expect to meet a nerdy, weird gay romance writer who just might have a talent or two of his own. But Leo has a way of growing on Trey—and together, they might just have what the situation requires. Not to mention each other…
A quirky gay paranormal romance
Length: 18,000 words
Heat level: low
An unexpected storm.
A sudden distraction.
For one traveler, the sight of a naked moon might just mean the difference between life and death.
I DIED THIS morning on a winding road in the Ohio Amish Country. Rainy daylight spilled around me while heaping clouds piled high into the sky. In the distant west, the sky bore a giant bruise, sending a curtain of stormy green and black over my head. When the winds became sudden, a howling gale blew leaves and twigs across the road like a child throwing a tantrum. That is when I should have slowed down. That is when I should have eased into the turns and the sharp curves. But I never let up on the gas and marched forward without giving it a second thought.
The weather fronts played together in thundery efficacy while sunlight peered in through a closing blue window, hinting that the storm might soon pass. A torrent of rain and hail came then, pelting the road and ticking off of my windshield and roof. The hollow sound bounced in my car and rang in my ears like an old mechanical phone…
Amanda Shorr, 32, lands a job as the private teacher to the children of action movie star Jace Jencks. When she arrives at his coastal California estate, it seems the ideal job: sunny California with a view of the ocean, on-site swimming pool and gym, and a talented private chef.
But the sun is often hidden behind the mists, the star’s son has emotional problems, and Amanda begins to have bad dreams–about a young woman, her French lover, and her cruel industrialist husband. As her dreams grow stranger and begin to invade her waking hours, her lifelong skepticism about ghosts crumbles.
Then comes a series of accidents, ones that she suspects are not accidental at all. Is someone is out to scare her? Is it the star himself, his son, the gray-haired housekeeper, the chef, the handsome estate manager, or the bodyguard? Is she being haunted? Or is it just possible that Amanda is losing her mind?
In a kingdom where the Gifteds are captured and thrown into fights to the death, Voima is fortunate that she is just a Regular. However, her brother, Vendd, isn’t so lucky. Since his Power started manifesting itself, the siblings have lived a life on the run, barely escaping the king’s soldiers.
Just as Voima and Vendd have settled into a new home, a fleeing Gifted enters their lives, begging for help but bringing soldiers after him. Despite the siblings’ efforts, the soldiers discover Vendd’s Power. Now Voima, an outmatched Regular girl, must find a way to defeat the kingdom’s most dangerous Gifteds in order to save her brother from certain death.
Ember Frost kills demons. It’s what she knows, and she’s damned good at it. Lately, though, the job isn’t doing it for her like it used to, and after a quick fling begins to look more serious, she’s flirting with the idea of finally getting a life outside of work. Unfortunately, there are a couple of catches.
First: a slight misunderstanding at work just might have landed her on top of her employer’s hit list
Second: a Black Hood named Lazarus. He’s made a pact with a powerful demon and is looking to tear down the Rule of God. But first he’s coming after Ember, and he’s willing to destroy everything she cares about to get to her.
Trying to survive life, work, and keep the faith can be a real bitch. But then again, so can Ember.
Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Horror
Red is determined to find her best friend who was dragged into the woods by a giant wolf. She doesn’t know the source of the mysterious growling outside her window every night. She doesn’t know why all evidence of the wolf seems to vanish into thin air.
She doesn’t know if she’s being hunted.
When Mason signs up for an experimental drug to treat his insomnia, he hopes he’ll finally be able to fall asleep when he goes to bed that night.
Instead, he falls into another dimension.
Now he must battle super-powered government agents and risk his sanity to unravel the mystery of why they are after him. His only guidance comes from a fair-weather ghost who speaks in riddles and appears only at peak inconvenience, and a mysterious woman who seems intent on killing him.
The Very Last Days of Mr Grey is a fast-paced science fiction thriller about reality, the mysteries of our world, and why some things are better left unknown.