Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for April 2015

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 March 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. We have science fiction, space opera, military SF, paranormal romance, utopian fiction, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, time travel, weird western, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, horror, dragons, djinns, zombies, sarcastic demon hunters, teenaged half-demons, quirky inns, telepathic assassins, trolls, fairy queens 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:

With Honor Intact by Cat AmesburyWith Honor Intact by Cat Amesbury

When the Cat’s away…

Honor Desry hadn’t applied to be the Innkeeper of a sentient Inn with magical guests, but her sisters and her right-hand fox-man are making the job a lot sweeter. Unfortunately, the supreme Cat God has disappeared on Honor’s watch, and Honor’s old life is about to interfere with her new life in a major way.

The Naked Glassblowers Association has booked a holiday vacation at the Virtue Inn, and Honor’s old boss and his partner are coming along to chaperone. Honor needs to find the Cat, keep the strange guests away from the supernatural guests, and somehow hold family and mind together.

But the Virtue Inn hasn’t revealed all of its secrets and Honor will need to summon every last piece of her courage and cunning to save the day With Honor Intact.

Warning: Contains violence, profanity, innuendo, and homicidal cardigans.

This is the sequel to The Guests of Honor.

Aberrated by S. Elliot BrandisAberrated by S. Elliot Brandis

IRRADIATED told the story of Jade and Pearl, sisters fighting for their lives in an harsh and twisted wasteland.

DEGENERATED delved into the tunnels–a twisted underground society, at odds with the outside world.

ABERRATED is the epic conclusion.

Humanity is on its last legs. Only outlaws and outcasts remain. They are mutants, mongrels, and orphans. They are experiments, degenerates, and visionaries. Every last one is aberrated.

Will they tear each other apart? Or will humanity find a way to survive?

Tormented Slumber by Paul DeaverTormented Slumber by Paul Deaver

War doesn’t always end after the last shot is fired. Returning home begins a whole new battle.

A veteran discovers that demons followed him home from the battlefield and threaten to destroy his life. The soldier regains hope when he finds unexpected allies to confront his worst nightmares.

3,000 word short story.

 

Seeking Sorrow by Zen DiPietroSeeking Sorrow by Zen DiPietro

An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.

The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about mana, even as they learn to trust one another’s abilities. They must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same.

Even success comes at a price.

New Sun Rising by Lindsay EdmundsNew Sun Rising by Lindsay Edmunds

New Sun Rising is about a girl who was raised in a utopian community and leaves home to make her way in a dystopian society. The year is 2199; the place, the Reunited States

Story 1, “The Town With Four Names,” describes the lakeside village in which the girl was raised. It has survived against all odds for more than three hundred years. Cassie Stillwater, a 90-year-old descendent of the original founder, writes down the town’s history.

Story 2, “Leaving Home,” is about the girl’s decision to seek a life outside the town gates. She finds a job that horrifies her parents, who think they raised her too well and protected her too much. They fear she is not suited for life anywhere BUT their idyllic town.

Leinster Gardens and other subtletiesLeinster Gardens and Other Subtleties by Jan Edwards

Fourteen short stories by Jan Edwards, including the BFS award short-listed ‘Otterburn’, plus a previously unpublished tale. “All adeptly told, often with a sense of locale and time neatly placed within the narratives. Her family history informs and inspires some of her stories. Folklore figures as a focus in more than one story, whether urban myth or historical lore. But ghostly they are and deceptively disturbing.” (42,000 words)

 

A King in Time by Mary EnckA King in Time by Mary Enck and David Gutscher

Arthur, Prince of Wales and future King of England, must decide if he wants to return to his own time in 2100 A.D.

Like his predecessor, the Legendary King Arthur, the passion of the young prince is to rebuild ancient Camelot. When he visits the original site, he encounters a prophetic gentleman who seems to know the future, or perhaps he speaks of the past.

Later, as Prince Arthur ponders the true identity of the man, a total solar eclipse occurs and propels him into the Fifth Century. It is only when the prince finally accepts the eclipse has directed the event, time begins to slip once more. It is then he discovers there is more to consider than space-time theories.

No Mere Zombie by Chris FoxNo Mere Zombie by Chris Fox

The sun has wiped out nearly all technology in the largest coronal mass ejection in history. In its wake comes the zombie apocalypse. The dead have risen, and they are hungry.

Yet there are greater threats than the walking dead. The deathless have returned, slumbering in the same Arks that carried the werewolves into the present. If they are not stopped they will build a massive necropolis in the remains of San Francisco, and the entire continent will pay the price.

Only the few werewolves created before the apocalypse stand between humanity and annihilation. Yet they are outnumbered and alone. Their only hope comes from the very enemy that sought to stop their creation, Mohn Corp.

This is the sequel to No Such Thing As Werewolves.

Battleframe by Michael GilmourBattleframe by Michael Gilmour

Resource rich planet Alpha Three becomes the focus of a galactic wide conflict. In the midst of a remorseless Scourge invasion a lone human battleframe pilot, call-sign Whizzbang, strives to find and rescue his closest friend from the invaders.

With the extermination of the human colony seemingly inevitable, Whizzbang’s squad of veteran pilots struggle to turn the tide of the war. Just when he thinks they may have a chance, members of the squad begin vanishing before his eyes and the odds of winning the battle become slim to none.

The mysterious nano-robots, unknowingly developed by an alien intelligence, appear to be all that will enable humanity to survive the onslaught. But all is not what it seems as the micro-machines begin to dramatically transform Whizzbang’s friends in astounding ways.

Safe within his command dome, the enemy General plots on how he can cover the world in the enigmatic Barrier, a force that kills humans in seconds. It is then that Whizzbang discovers that the Earth may be the next Scourge target.

Book one in the “Mindwars” opens with our galaxy in turmoil and humanity on the brink of extinction.

The Rancher's Daughter by Kyra HallandThe Rancher’s Daughter by Kyra Halland

Once a hunter of renegade wizards, Silas Vendine is now on the run from the law himself. He and Lainie are living on what Lainie can win at cards and whatever odd jobs Silas can get from people who need his skills and don’t ask too many questions.

When Lainie’s luck with the cards turns sour, they are led to a meeting with one of the richest ranchers in the Wildings. Brin Coltor wants Silas and Lainie to undertake a dangerous mission into A’ayimat territory for him, and they can’t afford to turn him down. But Coltor is hiding a few secrets of his own, that lead Silas and Lainie right into the trouble they’ve been trying to avoid.

Book 3 of Daughter of the Wildings.

Caught in Crimson by Heather Hamilton-SenterCaught in Crimson by Heather Hamilton-Senter

CAUGHT IN CRIMSON, sequel to the Amazon Bestseller BOUND IN BLUE:

What if you were the monster of your own story?

Armed with Excalibur, Rhi comes to Las Vegas to learn to control both her ability to see magic as color and her hunger to possess it, but from the moment she arrives, she’s consumed by the colors of flame. Rhi has to find her mother—the earth witch Guinevere—before Merlin decides she’s outlived her usefulness, but an ancient artifact of the earth magic keeps calling to her with a fire she may not be able to resist, even at the cost of her life.

The choices caught up in color and magic are never black and white.

Dragon's Luck by Richard HardemanDragon’s Luck by Richard Hardeman

Tips for Survival on the Goblin World

(1) Never trust a goblin.
(2) There are no more dragons. There are other monsters.
(3) Don’t piss off the fairies. Seriously.
(4) Almost everything here will want to eat you.

Studying the list in his hand, Dobbins knew he had to escape the Goblin World. He had a shape- changer to help him, so that was good. He’d had to join forces with a woman who hated him, so that was bad. For any chance at survival, his group of three would have to rely on the fairies. But the fairies can’t stand Dobbins, either.

And that tip about dragons?

Zneeth, the Dragon King, is angry, hungry, and on their trail….

A1gTl59vR-L._SL1500_Crepier by R.D. Henderson

The scene shifts to Hartshire in the Earth Realm from Nambroc in the Nether Realm in Crepier, the third novella in the Nambroc Sequence, a fantasy series.

Crepier, an accountant and black market financier, wants to retire and be financially set for the rest of his life.

To achieve this goal, he convinces Watley Greywall, local crime lord in Hartshire, to get behind his idea of establishing Hartshire Bank.

Other elements of the Hartshire criminal underworld are of two minds about this possibility.

One segment of the Hartshire criminal underworld wants to get involved with this opportunity to start a bank because it is a legitimate commercial enterprise and a way to launder their ill-gotten gains.

Another segment believes the bank will the draw attention of the Hartshire Constabulary, which would be more problems than it is worth.

All that matters to Crepier is establishing the Hartshire Bank, and nothing or no one will stop him.

This is book 3 in the Nambroc Sequence.

Melody of Demons by Ros JacksonMelody of Demons by Ros Jackson

In her home village, Aivee is worse than nobody. If her secret identity as a half-demon leaks out, she’s dead. But in the capital city she will reinvent herself as a dancer. She’ll be wealthy, and adored by thousands. Nobody will be able to hurt her.

Will they?

Nori knows how cruel the city can be. She’s lost her mother to its plagues, and lately her younger sister has joined the ranks of its disappeared. But she’s not giving up. The ruling classes think they can treat people worse than beasts and strip them of their human rights. Powerful factions want to keep the epidemic of missing people a secret. Well, they can eat her blades.

Nori joins a group of vigilantes fighting for answers, and voices in her head urge her to recruit Aivee to the cause. These vigilantes are bumbling amateurs, as likely to get themselves killed as to save anyone. But Nori is changing, going mad, lusting for battle and remembering centuries-old conflicts. She will whip them into shape, or die trying.

Bloodthirsty gangs, inhuman mages, and dragon gods have it in for the people of Kaddon city.

Yes, Nori is mad. But she’s not nearly even.

Venus in Red by Therin KniteVenus in Red by Therin Knite

Grayson Dynamics, led by the illustrious Mick Grayson, is the most powerful technology firm in the world. But underneath the fame and fortune exists a dark and dirty history. Corruption. Lies. Betrayal.

Now, a woman with a grudge intends to wipe clean that filthy slate—by killing the CEO who wronged her years ago and ending the global coup he’s been planning for years.

And how will she accomplish this? With her newly acquired neural enhancements, of course. Complete with the power to manipulate the minds of others.

Linear Shift by Paul B. KohlerLinear Shift by Paul B. Kohler

No one said time travel would be easy.

Peter Cooper, a widowed father of two whose life is crumbling around him—until a bizarre encounter with a desperate Army general launches him on a risky mission: to go back to 1942 and change a moment in time. The repercussions will almost certainly alter the conclusion of World War II. But will the ripple effects stop there? And what kind of life will Peter return to?

Unknown Consequences:

A successful mission may not have the success he had intended.

The Holy Dark by Kyoko M.The Holy Dark by Kyoko M.

Sarcastic demon-slayer extraordinaire Jordan Amador has been locked in a year-long struggle to hunt down the thirty silver coins paid to Judas Iscariot. The mere touch of these coins is enough to kill any angel.

Jordan’s demonic opposition grows more desperate with each coin found, so they call on the ultimate reinforcement: Moloch, the Archdemon of War. Moloch puts out a contract on Jordan as well as her estranged husband, the Archangel Michael. Now Jordan and Michael will have to find a way to work together to survive against impossible odds and stop Moloch’s plan, or else he’ll wage a war that will wipe out the human race.

The Holy Dark is the third novel and fourth book in the Black Parade series, following The Black Parade, The Deadly Seven: Stories from The Black Parade series, and She Who Fights Monsters.

For Whom the Bell TrollsFor Whom the Bell Trolls, edited by John L. Monk and Lindy Moone

Funny, touching, suspenseful—sometimes romantic, titillating and shocking—there’s something for all adult readers in this unique illustrated anthology from 23 authors. Arranged from light to meaty fare, the antrollogy’s “menu” offers up fanciful and farcical stories, family-oriented tales, romance, mystery, high peak adventure, even magically surreal literary stories—starring all sorts of trolls, from the all-too-real Internet variety to the mythical mountain and bridge-dwelling trolls of legend. Readers will laugh nervously at Humphrey the half-breed’s unfortunate beginnings, and bite their nails on behalf of Fergus Underbridge, hard-boiled troll detective. They’ll cheer a not-so-ordinary troll-fighting girl and want to hug—or slap—a woman lost in her own neighborhood. And whatever should be done about the boy with the head of a dragon…?

Time Quirks by A. Peter PerdianTime Quirks by A. Peter Perdian

*** Quirky Time Portals ***

Time Quirks is a science fiction novella, a tale of alien colonizers desperately searching for a new home. Long-range sensors and remote probes have located a distant planet that meets the requirements of their species. A ship is sent to investigate this new world, but upon taking up orbit around the planet, the ship’s crew encounters a major problem. The world is already occupied.

Excerpt:

Jazloo faced the captain in his private study adjacent to the ship’s briefing room, trying not to lose her temper. “I can’t believe you’re seriously planning on bringing back live bipeds for dissection.” She’d waylaid Tusec in the corridor outside his quarters as his sleeping cycle ended, demanding to speak with him about the upcoming shuttle mission to the planet below.

Excerpt:

An odd prickling sensation engulfed Eric. “What the—” He stopped in mid-sentence, scared at what felt like crawling bugs on his flesh. The frightening sensation raced inward until it imploded at its point of convergence. His feeling of being compressed into nothingness vanished, smothering his scream.

Taken by Christine PopeTaken by Christine Pope

With her Djinn lover captured by a band of human survivors intent on discovering a way to defeat their otherworldly foes, Jessica Monroe must make a terrible decision — throw in her lot with the humans, forsaking the one who helped her survive the destruction of civilization, or turn her back on humanity and follow the urgings of her heart.

This is book 2 of the Djinn Wars, following Chosen.

 

Maiden by Jennifer PoveyMaiden by Jennifer R. Povey

In what used to be the suburbs of Chicago, a community lives and breathes despite the Silents in the wilds beyond. Until the unthinkable happens – the zombie-like Silents begin to recover their reason. The stage is set for a conflict between survivors and recovered, and between old ways and new.

This is book 3 of The Silent Years series, following Mother and Crone.

 

Independence by Alasdair ShawIndependence by Alasdair Shaw

In the aftermath of a battle a ship drifts helplessly in space. Is the strange new warship they were fighting still out there? Will it come back for them? Commander Johnson faces a desperate race to get her destroyer back into action and save her crew.

“This is an incredible work … suspense, mystery and intrigue.”
“Loved every word of it.”

‘Independence’ is a short story (6000 words) in the Two Democracies universe. The series will continue with the novel ‘Liberty’.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Hollis ShilohCold Hands, Warm Heart by Hollis Shiloh

Jason is self-conscious about his metal arm and uncomfortable with his sexuality. A big, quiet guy who intimidates a lot of people without even trying to, he works as a cook — and has a hopeless crush on his friend, Dr. Kingsley. Will Jason ever have a shot with his friend? Or does life have a different curveball to throw him?

Approx. 22,000 words
A steampunk-themed gay romance.

 

Priestess of the Dragons' Temple by Amelia SmithPriestess of the Dragons’ Temple by Amelia Smith

Once, Iola flew with a dragon. She might fly again, but only if she can become ambassadress to the dragons’ realm. First, though, she must navigate life as an ordinary priestess, which is not quite what she’d hoped for. Some of her fellow priestesses dragon-blind and corrupt. Worse, they see Iola’s devotions as evidence of greed.

Then the ambassadress returns, too sick to fly again. Iola and three other young priestesses are chosen nurse her, and to have a chance at taking her place. Iola’s main rival, Tiagasa, was raised in a prince’s palace. She thrives on political intrigue and gossip, and her lover is about to become governor of the city.

Iola is just a village girl dazzled by dragons. Her few friends and allies aren’t much more savvy than she is. Still, they hope to persuade the new governor – whoever he might be – to make Iola ambassadress, and to choose faith over scheming, one way or another.

This is the sequel to Scrapplings.

A Conduit for Man by M. Stephen StewartA Conduit for Man by M. Stephen Stewart

Seventeen-year-old Henry Malone’s mind is no longer his own—along with the sum total of humanity’s knowledge, another consciousness has been stuffed into his brain. It plagues him with visions, speaks and acts through him, and worst of all, it’s killing him. He’s quickly running out of time, and if he dies, all of humanity’s knowledge goes with him. His only hope for survival is finding Planetary Link’s top Neurotechnician, Doctor Carter. But in order to get to her, he must cross into a world where his actions have plunged society into chaos—then compel the Doctor to betray her employer before his own mind destroys him.

To Catch a Queen by Shanna SwendsonTo Catch a Queen by Shanna Swendson

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown–especially the crown of the fairy realm…

Sophie Drake has made a promise, and she never breaks her word. She will free Michael Murray’s long-lost wife from the fairy realm even if her intensifying feelings for him make it the most painful thing she’s ever done.

But Sophie is running out of time. Dark fae forces are stirring, threatening the human world. To make matters worse, humans are being cast out of the Realm, whether or not they want to leave, and the shock from these sudden evictions can even prove fatal. It’s only a matter of time before it happens to Michael’s wife.

All this in the name of the fairy queen.

Stunned, Sophie knows this is impossible because she’s the queen. She won the throne fair and square, through trials and blood.

Now she must find and fight an impostor for a crown she never wanted in order to save both the Realm and the human world.

This is the sequel to A Fairy Tale.

The Straysider's Dream Journal by Stephanie TsikrikasThe Straysider’s Dream Journal by Stephanie Tsikrikas

ONE FIRST DATE CAN CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE…

When Celeste Cannonier takes her best friend’s advice to try online dating, she finds herself instantly intrigued by Valentine “Bug” Warren, an antiques dealer with a tumultuous past. It was hardly love at first sight, but one thing led to another and what should have been a one-night stand has turned into a life-and-death adventure as Celeste and Bug uncover the meaning of their dreams — dreams they share, that are really memories from another dimension.

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