Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2017

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, 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, epic fantasy, historical fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, Asian fantasy, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, Cyberpunk, space opera, military science fiction, near future science fiction, science fiction romance, fantasy romance, gothic romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, horror, young adult science fiction and fantasy, dragons, vampires, witches, magicians, shamans, mercenaries, superheroes, star dogs, werewolves in space, galactic empires, planetstriders, intergalactic plagues, time travel, telepathic space pirates, killer clones, jackalope wives, kidnapped fae, King Arthur reincarnated 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:

Blue Gold by David BarkerBlue Gold by David Barker:

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow.

When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission.

Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust?

As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’.

Magic Waking by Eva ChaseMagic Waking by Eva Chase:

Die, reincarnate, repeat. It’s been a long fifteen hundred years…

Reborn wizard Emma Hale has three goals in life, or rather lives: Track down the present incarnation of the legendary King Arthur, fend off the shadow creatures that hound him for as long as she can, and break the spell that binds their souls in this morbid cycle.

If only she had a better idea how she’d cast that spell in the first place. And if only Arthur’s current host wasn’t so cocky yet distractingly good-looking. Because Emma is falling even harder for the man she can’t have.

When a fae mercenary with power to rival Emma’s puts her king in his sights, Emma burns through all her tricks just to stay one step ahead. Now her only chance is to find some way to destroy the mercenary before he and his army of dark forces destroy Arthur.

No human Emma’s ever known has managed to kill a fae. But if she can’t, and quickly, this death might be their last.

Looking for a story full of sarcastic wizardry, cruel fae, and a star-crossed love centuries in the making? Scroll up and grab this Arthurian-flavored urban fantasy today!

Starfang by Joyce ChngStarfang: Rise of the Clan by Joyce Chng:

Is a clan captain going to sacrifice everything for her clan? Tasked to kill Yeung Leung by her parents, powerful rival clan leader of the Amber Eyes, Captain Francesca Min Yue sets out across the galaxy to hunt her prey, only to be thrown into a web of political intrigue spreading across the stars. Is Yeung Leung collaborating with the reptilian shishini and playing a bigger game with the galaxy as a price? Is Francesca’s clan at stake? Welcome to Starfang: Rise of the Clan, where merchants and starship captains are also wolves.

“Wolves should not be in space, but here we were, a clan of wolves and merchants. Instead of the preserved forests of New Earth and Noah’s Ark, we were in ships of steel and armor, reading data scans and commanding officers on the bridge. Wolves within the uniform of merchants and mercenaries, human seeming, claws and teeth sheathed.”

– Captain Francesca Ming Yue, of the warship Starfang.

Welcome to Starfang, a space opera with werewolves, politics and intrigue.

Human by Karen DiemHuman by Karen Diem:

Death? Acceptable risk. Taxes? No problem. Ancient magical cutlery of mass destruction? Bad, very bad.
Following a brief foray into the world of superpowered vigilantism, extreme sports enthusiast and halfhearted tax preparer, Zita Garcia, wants her old life, her shiny new abilities, and none of the consequences. She’s even willing to hide her powers since the alternative means endangering her family and living life as a literal lab rat.
Unfortunately, supervillains are searching for the pieces of a decrepit magic dagger, hurting innocents and fueling nasty anti-super protests. Her close friends, who helped before, are barely speaking to her, and one of them stands in the path of the violent hunt for the knife.
Zita better dig out her mask—fast.
Human is the second in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series, and as a movie would be rated “R” for immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence. While Human can be read as a standalone, it contains spoilers for the first book in the series.

Retrograde Horizon by Charon DunnRetrograde Horizon by Charon Dunn:

A fast-paced epic science fiction adventure set in 3748 on an earth with a very different climate, not to mention configuration, chemistry and composition. For Young Adults and Old Children.

TRIGGER WARNING: contains potentially upsetting material about explosions, terrorists attacking schools, malfunctioning robots, school bullies, mean principals that assign a bunch of extra homework, paparazzi, poverty, affluenza, bad neighborhoods, public transit, precipitous drops in socioeconomic status, police drones, police, clandestine lizard fights, exploding roller coasters, unicorn attack, industrial steam calender malfunction, pissed-off chef with a deep fryer … I’d better stop, I’m starting to get into spoilers and I’m barely into the second chapter.

In volume one, Sonny made his way home. Now he’s in volume two, and those pesky clones are still trying to kill him – or worse. Meanwhile, his family is still trapped in a comfortable suburban development on the clones’ super secret mist-shrounded volcanic island somewhere in the South Pacific. It’s starting to look like he’s going to have to go get them, if he can get past the assassination attempts, and avoid getting distracted by true love.

Toric's Dagger by Jamie EdmundsonToric’s Dagger by Jamie Edmundson:

Toric’s Dagger is just another religious relic, until it’s stolen. Belwynn and her twin brother, Soren, volunteer to lead a team tasked with its retrieval. Drawn into a world of danger and treachery, they must rely on Soren’s magical abilities, and on the telepathic bond they share.

Now, as kingdoms and empires start to fall, the twins confront the dark forces that threaten them. They must not let the Dagger fall into the wrong hands. But when mercenaries, zealots and sorcerers are all hunting for the same weapon, who should they trust?

Book One of The Weapon Takers Saga, an Epic Fantasy Series in the tradition of Tolkien, Tad Williams & GRR Martin

Behind the Lines by Chris Fox:Behind the Lines by Chris Fox:

A brand new adventure in the Void Wraith universe

Mechs, kaiju, epic space battles, and galactic archeology…

The Void Wraith ravaged our galaxy, nearly eradicating both humanity and our enemies, the Tigris. Captain Nolan vowed it would never happen again, that he would find the Void Wraith’s dark masters.

Nolan leads a company of mechs into uncharted space, where a new foe lies in wait. The Coalition’s fleet is destroyed, and Nolan’s squad is stranded behind enemy lines. Between them and escape stand three Planetstriders, thousand meter monstrosities capable of destroying an orbiting capital ship.

In order to survive, they must disable these titanic war machines, an impossible task made even more difficult by the discovery of a terrible secret – one that must reach fleet command, no matter the cost.

Fire Wall by Dana FraserFire Wall by Dana Fraser:

RESIST

The men in the bunkers have sent a hit squad to Cash Bishop’s Tennessee homestead. They want to take his woman—and his life.

RESIST

Hannah Carter just found out that she could be the key to bringing down Project Erebus if she can leave behind everyone she loves and infiltrate the Black Diamond facility.

If she tries, the only guarantee she has is that there will be blood.

RESIST

Cash won’t stand by while Hannah puts herself in danger. Even if he has to drag her complicit brother along by the balls and kill every damned soul inside Black Diamond, he will find and protect the woman he loves.

And bring down the corrupt government that ended America.

RESIST

Jess Rising by D.M GuayJess Rising by D.M. Guay:

Seventeen-year-old Jess Flowers sees the killer in visions. He slaughters the helpless with fire and lightning. And she’s next on the kill list.

Billy Combs is the gorgeous outcast with the electrifying secret. He’s stolen Jess’ heart, but his own past may be darker than he’s let on.

As the body count ticks higher, a growing pile of evidence links Billy to the crimes. Jess’ heart says no, but she’s the new kid in isolated Salt Creek, Ohio, a town with a life-changing secret, a town where people aren’t what they seem, a town where it’s hard to know who to trust.

Can she tame the mysterious powers surging within her and identify the real killer before it’s her turn to die?

Magic Reborn by Carly HansenMagic Reborn by Carly Hansen:

On the run and disguised as a boy, Fenix Graystone finds sanctuary when a witch opens her home, arms her with charmed knives, and transforms her into a fearsome fighter. But when an enigmatic vampire overlord arrives seeking help to solve the murders of three young women, Fenix’s newfound peace shatters.

Black Site by Michael Patrick HicksBlack Site by Michael Patrick Hicks:

Are you prepared to enter the BLACK SITE?

Inside an abandoned mining station, in the depths of space, a team of scientists are seeking to unravel the secrets of humanity’s origin. Using cutting-edge genetic cloning experiments, their discoveries take them down an unimaginable and frightening path as their latest creation proves to be far more than they had bargained for.

Perfect for fans of H.P. Lovecraft and Alien comes a new work of cosmic terror!

Black Site is a short story of approximately 10,000 words.

Sky Dancers by E.E. IsherwoodSky Dancers by E.E. Isherwood

Can discovering sunshine trigger the next apocalypse?

Elle is a typical doomsday bunker teenager, living under the crush of routine. She attends classes, tries to follow the rules, and endures the same petty jealousies and anxieties teens have endured since fire was used as the first hangout. But a crumbling section of tunnel exposes a big lie about her world, and Elle’s life quickly spirals downward.

She’s harassed by the enigmatic Commander. She must ward off unwanted advances from older male survivors. And, as the ultimate insult, everyone seems to know more about her past than she does. Elle seeks freedom in the plague-ravaged wasteland outside her home, but discovers the true threat to her people, and her own future, lies coiled inside the dark tunnels she left behind.

Can Elle uncover and expose the secrets buried with her underground home? Or will they fade away like the memories of everyone who thinks to oppose the Commander?

Sky Dancers is a dystopian read that will have you turning the pages! If you like mysterious wastelands, abandoned bunkers, and strong female leads, you will love the Eternal Apocalypse series!

Shadows of Our Fathers by Rex JamesonShadows of Our Fathers by Rex Jameson:

Imagine a war between angels and demons that extends across our universe. Now, think bigger. Imagine that the fight between Lucifer and Jehovah extends across not only our universe but also involves two more ancient universes filled with demons and the remnants of the proud elven race.

Angels and demons fall as the Great War between Order and Chaos comes to a close. For those who thought Jehovah’s days of smiting stopped in the Old Testament, it’s time to give the devil his due.

In the face of democratic and social reforms, the Chaos Universe struggles with its past while pursuing the future that King Lucifer promises. While the demons thrive, the creator of the Elven universe looks to his own past for the salvation of his favorite immortals. Jehovah’s wife Gaea and son Isaac seek asylum in Chaos as Lucifer and Jehovah have their final, apocalyptic battle.

“Shadows of Our Fathers” is the last book of the Lucifer’s Fall trilogy, and book three in the Primal Patterns series.

Contamination by Patty JansenContamination by Patty Jansen:

Jonathan Bartell is a young man, just out of university, when he signs up for the position of Quarantine Officer at the Orbital Launch Station.

He is part of a crop of students who flocked to study exo-biology when bacteria were discovered on Mars, and who are now all making their living flipping burgers, because the jobs are few and hard to get.

He is lucky to get a job in space, no matter how mundane.

Or so he thinks…

Gaby Larsen is a doctor at the tiny hospital at the space station, and she keeps secrets, not because she wants to keep them, but because she is too scared to share them.

Because out in space, your worst enemies are your fellow travellers.

Prelude to Insurrection by J.C. KangPrelude to Insurrection by J.C. Kang:

Only an orphan half-elf spy can avert a rebellion before it starts.

Jie’s superior senses have made her the perfect lookout. Now, as the adopted daughter of the Black Lotus Clanmaster, she wants to prove her pointed ears aren’t a liability when she’s tasked to infiltrate a rebel lord’s castle.

In this prequel to Songs of Insurrection, Jie must decide between her duty to the emperor and her sense of compassion toward the downtrodden. No matter her choice, it will have explosive consequences for her, the realm, and the upcoming war.

Jackalope Wives and other stories by T. KingfisherJackalope Wives and Other Stories by T. Kingfisher:

Winner of the Nebula and WSFA Short Fiction Awards

From award-winning author T. Kingfisher comes a collection of short stories, including “Jackalope Wives,” “The Tomato Thief,” “Pocosin,” and many others. By turns funny, lyrical, angry and beautiful, this anthology includes two all-new stories, “Origin Story” and “Let Pass The Horses Black,” appearing for the first time in print.

Once Giants by Eugene Kirk and Garan MadOnce Giants by Eugene Kirk and Garan Mad:

The future is a no-holds-barred free for all, but all in a day’s work…when you were Once Giants.

The year is 2189, and a wormhole leading to five habitable planets has been discovered, prompting a new global space race. Political undermining and sabotage abound, creating the perfect blend of chaos and opportunity for newly minted NETwork operator Tina Thompson to put her augmented, former pro-wrestler body to the test in the mercenary game.

But her celebrity past isn’t so easy to outrun. And when her infamy botches her latest job in Imperial East Africa, her actions trigger repercussions that affect former rival Shay Santiago as well.

As Tina and Shay both struggle to salvage their lives, a bigger threat looms. A mysterious gravitational anomaly has appeared, threatening to destroy the solar system itself. And Shay’s old high school flame may be the only person on Earth who can stop it.

Richly textured, interweaving narratives introduce new characters and bigger military sci-fi threats in this second installment of Once Giants, offering a thought-provoking look at how one person’s actions can affect the entire world.

The Metaverse by William KurthThe Metaverse: Virtual Life – Real Death by William Kurth:

An FBI Agent more comfortable hunting criminals the old fashioned way. A brilliant scientist who kills using Virtual Reality. And an Artificial Intelligence with an agenda of its own.

The Metaverse, more than the “internet of things,” is a place where humankind has devised a way to comfortably and seamlessly merge the biologic and the digital to the point that neither is readily distinguishable from the other. As people in ever greater numbers choose to live, work and play “In World,” so too do those who prey on their fellow man.

The Metaverse is a fast-paced Crime Thriller that takes place in the not too distant future with technology that even now is a part of our world.

A Dark Inheritance by Erme LanderA Dark Inheritance by Erme Lander

“I do not require your eternal love or devotion Ms Johnson, merely what is inside your veins.”

When Tina Johnson, single mother, forty, wakes up in an isolated castle in Central Europe she simply wants to return to her daughter as quickly as possible. She doesn’t expect to find that she has been kidnapped and brought into a world where power is the key to survival and sanity is an optional extra.
Tina discovers she has been watched for many years, she has a rare genetic structure that makes her attractive to vampires and has the possibility of living for well over a century, if she allows herself to become infected. Kalmár has stolen her and intends to keep her captive, hiding her from both her family and other vampires. She meets Wolfie, his bonded servant, unable to disobey the orders given by his master whether he wishes to or not. Normality becomes a frightening place as Tina struggles to escape those holding her and to fights to keep her daughter, her lover and her freedom.

Pirate Nemesis by Carysa LockePirate Nemesis by Carysa Locke:

Killers. Thieves. Pirates. Family.

Mercy Kincaid is a fugitive from her own family. Her dangerous telepathic gifts make her a target. So is anyone she gets close to. When her best friend is captured and tortured, Mercy’s only hope is to reunite with the family that tried to murder her as a child. She trusts few among her blood relatives, but finds herself intrigued by an enigmatic and dangerous killer.

Reaper has spent a lifetime watching his people die. He’s vowed to kill anyone who jeopardizes their survival. Mercy’s gifts are the biggest threat they’ve faced in eleven years, since a biological weapon nearly annihilated the pirate colonies. But Reaper realizes her talents can either destroy them, or save them. He must decide if he’s fallen victim to her power, or if he can truly trust the beautiful woman and her compelling abilities. If he makes the wrong choice, everyone dies.

Pirate Nemesis is the first book in an ongoing space opera series. If you like compelling world-building, fantastic characters, and romantic adventure, then you’ll love Carysa Locke’s new twist on an old genre.

The Rending by Carol Holland MarchThe Rending by Carol Holland March:

The saga of The Dreamwalkers of Larreta continues . . .

Deadly time rifts threaten Earth and Larreta. The rifts have swallowed people, buildings and the land itself. They must be stopped before the very fabrics of both worlds are torn apart.

Dreamwalker Leo can look backward in time. Jesse can walk into the future. Both of these abilities are needed to create the dangerous truan passage to locate and defeat the mysterious instigator of the rifts.

But Jesse is a volatile newcomer, unable to completely control his abilities. And Leo is still uncertain of his personal feelings for Jesse.

Working past their issues is key to discovering the location where the rifts originate. But the dark force behind the rifts has other plans—ones that won’t allow the two dreamwalkers to remain together. And only together can the rifts be stopped.

Physllis Wong and the Girl who Danced with LightningPhyllis Wong and the Girl Who Danced with Lightning by Geoffrey McSkimming:

When Phyllis Wong’s friend Clement finds a seemingly ordinary old movie poster in an antique shop, little does Phyllis know that the discovery will fling her on a journey into the past … a journey that will lead the brilliant young magician and clever sleuth to a forgotten mystery surrounding one of the most famous stories ever written!

Moonlight, Roses & Murder by Lori MoultonMoonlight, Roses & Murder by Lori Moulton:

Selina is a woman with a secret and she has been hiding it for a very long time. With her nieces, she runs Luna’s, a nightclub in downtown Seattle, catering to Steampunk and Goth clientele. When someone leaves a body behind her club, she is drawn into a web of mystery and murder. Puncture marks on the body indicate a vampire might be responsible and when more women are killed, a red rose is left by their bodies. As a vampire hunter comes to investigate, Selina wonders, who she can trust…

Feral by P.J. PostFeral by P.J. Post:

He’s just a teenager, hollow and lost, looking to keep the past buried, to forget. He surfs the backwash of the westward migration across a dead America; a war-torn desolation devoid of electricity, infrastructure and civilization. It has become a strange and unrecognizable land, rife with the worst of humanity. And his is a life without hope, equally dark and solitary.

Until he meets Feral.

Once was boy, selfish and directionless.

Now is love.

Now is reason.

Now is vengeance.

She is his vow, his purpose, and to save her, he’ll murder the world.

Children of the Shaman by Jessica RydillChildren of the Shaman by Jessica Rydill:

When their aunt is taken ill, thirteen-year old Annat and her brother are sent from their small coastal town to live with their unknown father. Like Annat, Yuda is a Shaman; a Wanderer with magical powers, able to enter other worlds. As Annat learns more about her powers, the children join their father on a remarkable train journey to the frozen north and find a land of mystery and intrigue, threatened by dark forces and beset by senseless murders that have halted construction of a new tunnel. But Annat’s doll, her only remembrance of her dead mother, may hold a dark secret – and when her brother Malchik is kidnapped, Annat and her father must travel onwards to find him before it is too late.

Between uncertain allies, shadowed enemies and hostile surroundings, it is only in the magical kingdom of La Souterraine that they can find answers – and it may be that only a Shaman can save the family and the Goddess.

Missing Things by Hollis ShilohMissing Things by Hollis Shiloh:

Is there a way to save the captive fae?

Jocelyn and Ellis, magicians and life partners, grapple with dilemmas and a miasma of magic and mystery.

Jocelyn searches out magical artifacts, and struggles with the troubling gap in his memories — and the feeling that his and Ellis’s partnership is falling apart.

Meanwhile, Ellis works desperately to dig into a wicked injustice being perpetrated against a kidnapped fae…and finds it may be too much for him to handle alone.

43,000 words
Men of Magic book 2
Very low heat

Rimward Stars by Glynn StewartRimward Stars by Glynn Stewart:

A helpless ally calls for aid
A ruthless enemy strikes without mercy
The fate of empires turns on even the smallest actions

When a minor trade partner sends the Castle Federation a desperate call for aid, they have few resources to spare from their all-consuming war against the Terran Commonwealth. Unwilling to be seen failing their allies but able to spare only a tiny force, Castle sends a hero to command the task group: Captain Kyle Roberts, the Stellar Fox.

Beyond the Rimward frontier of the Federation and its allies, little is as it seems. The pirates are being armed by an outside force, and the politics of these worlds is made deadlier by their poverty. When the Coraline Imperium—the Federation’s oft-difficult ally—sends forces as well, it risks a conflict that could undermine the Alliance protecting them both.

There are deeper games afoot as local schemes play the great powers against each other. Captain Roberts is caught in the chaos as fire and blood explode across the region. There is only one certainty: these Rimward Stars must not fall.

Star Dog Corruption by Lucas C. WheelerStar Dog Corruption by Lucas C. Wheeler:

After the Star Dog Fiasco, as it was termed by the media, Star Dog is joined by Nathan, Nicole, and Clancy while trying to rebuild his life. In the midst of a serial jewel theft and deepening conspiracies, can Star Dog truly fit into society, or will society reject him like a bad organ? Will he be able to stop the thefts and honor his name, or is there something more sinister at work?

Witch Spelling by A. WoodleyWitch Spelling by A. Woodley:

A fictional tale of witches, warlocks and wizards trying to fit in with the mundane way of life but always fearful of the consequences of being found out, especially after having already been persecuted and driven out of another town previously.
An accidental skirmish between two differing species, (both of which were once witches and warlocks) banished to adjoining worlds in an alternative dimension.

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