Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for April 2020

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

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie 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. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, paranormal mysteries, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA science fiction, time travel, Steampunk, werewolves, wizards, angels, demons, dragons, pirates of space and of the sea, crime-busting witches, revolutionary witches, rebellious numbers, usurper kings, space marines, supernatural prisons, moon goddesses, teens lost in space 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:

The Usurper by James AlderdiceThe Usurper by James Alderdice:

Introducing the Usurper King…And the Road to the Crown is paved in blood…

The Fates weave a tapestry of life and death for young Gathelaus the Sellsword. Now an unexpected opportunity presents itself for the famed mercenary, he has but to claim the blood red crown…

But once you wear the crown, how long can you hold it until that power is turned against you? Follow Gathelaus on a journey through a life of magic, action and intrigue; battling gods and monsters across a mystic realm …

The Usurper is an action-packed heroic adventure in the vein of classic pulp fiction and heroic fantasy. If you like Conan the Barbarian, The Witcher and Logen Ninefingers along with vengeful sorcery, savage duels, larger-than-life characters, and witty humor, then you’ll love James Alderdice’s barbaric tale.

Ever by Odette C. BellEver by Odette C. Bell:

When the future is broken, the present becomes all we have left….

Genevieve wakes in a broken future. Cryogenically frozen in the hopes that one day her illness will be cured, she awakens to find she was never sick. Her disease is a power – one of the greatest in the galaxy. All will fight to control her, and they will bring the Milky Way to the brink of total destruction.

There’s only man who can save her and everyone else – not that he knows it. A transport captain with a rocky past, Scott will have to find the good in his heart before he can rise to the occasion.

Home Front by Lindsay BurokerHome Front by Lindsay Buroker:

Casmir and his allies have struck a devastating blow to the powerful prince who sent invaders into their star system, but war still rages at home. Worse, the prince has escaped with a lethal bioweapon, and he intends to wipe out all human life on Odin. Casmir could lose his parents, his friends, and everyone he holds dear.

On top of all that, the Kingdom fleet commander Jorg has captured two of Casmir’s friends to ensure his “compliance.” But Jorg wants a bioweapon of his own as well as the deadly crushers that Casmir has made. To side with him would be to side with the devil. But if Casmir doesn’t… he may never see his friends alive again.

Tangled Truths by Lindsay BurokerTangled Truths by Lindsay Buroker:

Dealing with dragons is hard. Dealing with a teenage daughter is even harder.

My new mission involves both. Weird things are happening in Northern Idaho, and my boss is sending me to investigate. Unfortunately, my daughter and ex-husband are vacationing in the town that’s at the center of the trouble. Coincidence? Or is someone targeting them to get at me?

I’m a wanted woman right now. Not only by the criminal werewolves, orcs, and trolls that I’m often hired to kill. But by the Dragon Justice Court.

An organization full of arrogant, powerful dragons is exactly as horrible as it sounds. They’re the last beings you’d want after your family. If I can’t get to the bottom of the mystery and convince the dragons I’m not their enemy, I stand to lose far more than my own life.

Boneshaker by Joshua DalzelleBoneshaker by Joshua Dalzelle:

Marine First Lieutenant Jacob Brown is bored.

For months he’s been sitting around on an alien planet, waiting for command to recall his scout team so they could rest and be re-outfitted. The team went through hell during their previous mission, losing both their commanding officer and their ship. For now, Jacob was acting CO of Scout Team Obsidian and their ship was a broken down old surplus combat shuttle they’d stolen from narco-smugglers on a planet called Niceen-3.

When command finally does reach out, however, it isn’t to order Obsidian home for some much needed R&R. Instead, they are being reactivated and sent out into the contested space of the recently conquered Eshquarian Empire to track down a single Terran cruiser called the Eagle’s Talon.

The Talon’s captain has gone rogue and is operating within a fleet of ships bent on open rebellion against the quadrant’s only remaining superpower. If that ship is discovered within the rebel fleet, Earth will bear the brunt of the ConFed’s reprisal. Jacob’s team is in a race against time to locate the missing ship and her rogue captain so that a Navy strike force can swoop in and reclaim her… or destroy her.

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. FitzwaterThe Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. Fitzwater:

Dapper. Lesbian. Capybara. Pirate.
Cinrak the Dapper is a keeper of secrets, a righter of wrongs, the saltiest capybara on the sea and a rider of both falling stars and a great glass whale. Join her, her beloveds, the rat Queen Orvilia and the marmot diva Loquolchi, lead soprano of the Theatre Rat-oyal, her loyal cabin kit, Benj the chinchilla, and Agnes, last of the great krakens, as they hunt for treasures of all kinds and find adventures beyond their wildest dreams. Let Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning storyteller A.J. Fitzwater take you on a glorious journey about finding yourself, discovering true love and found family, and exploring the greatest secrets of the deep. Also, dapperness.

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper includes seven stories about Cinrak and her crew:
•“Young Cinrak”
•“Perfidy at the Felidae Isles
•“The Wild Ride of the Untamed Stars”
•“Search for the Heart of the Ocean”
•“The Hirsute Pursuit”
•“Cetaceous Secrets of the Jewelled Nadit”
•“Flight of the Hydro Chorus”

Witch Confidential by Lily Harper HartWitch Confidential by Lily Harper Hart:

The Big Easy is about to be buried in big trouble.
Again.

For Ofelia Archer, that means she’s knee-deep in an investigation … even though she’s not quite sure how she got there.

Zach Sully thinks he’s in for an easy night at Ofelia’s speakeasy – maybe a little flirting as a lead-up to a date included – when a scream in a neighboring abandoned building draws his attention. Upon further investigation, he finds a young woman dead and a real estate developer traumatized.

The dead girl is a street performer who lived on the edge. That’s bad enough, but when voices from the past cause Ofelia to break open a wall, they find more bodies … and a mystery more than ten years in the making.

The new murder mimics the old deaths, but who are the girls in the wall? Ofelia was a child when stories of street girls going missing were prevalent … and then Hurricane Katrina hit and people forgot their fear in the face of a life-changing storm.

Now, all these years later, Ofelia and Sully are determined to uncover what happened then, tie it to what’s happening today, and find vengeance for all of the victims in the here and now.

That’s easier said than done.

There’s a malevolent force stalking the French Quarter and Ofelia suddenly finds herself in the killer’s path. Someone wants to keep a secret, and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays buried.

Can Ofelia and Sully evade a killer and uncover the truth? It will be a race to the finish to find out.

Broomstick by A.L. HawkeBroomstick by A.L. Hawke:

I used to not believe in witches.

Until I enrolled in Dr. Alondra Johansen’s metaphysical history class. Bryce, Alondra’s super cute teaching assistant, told me my element sign is Earth. I am, in fact, a pragmatic sort of girl. My name is Cadence Hawthorne, but you can call me Katie.

Darkness fell over me and my family during my sophomore year. I thought maybe Alondra could help me with my grief and visions of ghosts. But there was this guy working with her, with a goatee and sardonic smile, who looked more like the devil than a professor. He did terrible things to my best friend, threatening my growing love for Bryce.

Do you believe in ghosts? How ‘bout witches? I do. See, it was at Hawthorne University that I learned all about them. Come take a look in my grimoire. I wrote it all down here in Broomstick.

Content warning: Broomstick is a new adult college paranormal romance containing profanity, sexual scenes, adult situations, and, of course, witchcraft.

Velocities by Kathe KojaVelocities: Stories by Kathe Koja:

From the award-winning author of The Cipher and Buddha Boy, comes Velocities, Kathe Koja’s second electrifying collection of short fiction. Thirteen stories, two never before published, all flying at the speed of strange.

 

 

 

 

Fate of Wizardoms by Jeffrey L. KohanekFate of Wizardoms by Jeffrey L. Kohanek:

1,000 pages of magic, adventure, & intrigue. Where wizards rule, magic reigns supreme.

Power. The ambitious thirst for it. But when a power-hungry wizard lord seeks to expand his rule, he triggers events unforeseen.

The balance of magic is altered, races of old return, and beasts of legend stalk the land.

A squad of unlikely heroes armed with magical objects are drawn into the conflict:

Jerrell “Jace” – A clever thief whose outrageous exploits force him to hide his identity.
Narine – A wizardess caught between her mad wizard lord father and jealous brother.
Rhoa – A determined acrobat, armed with enchanted blades and a thirst for revenge.
Rawk – Exiled for urges he cannot control, this dwarf possesses unique magic abilities.
Brogan – Once a renowned warrior, he labors beneath the weight of his regrets.

These characters lead a compelling and memorable cast including ruthless wizards who vie for thrones able to grant the power of a god.
How do you defeat a god?

Sinfully Delicious by Amanda M. LeeSinfully Delicious by Amanda M. Lee:

Stormy Morgan left her hometown of Shadow Hills, Michigan, with one goal: to write the great American novel and strike it rich. She sold her novel not long after college, did relatively well, and then fell off a cliff into obscurity. Now, without a book contract, she’s back at her family restaurant in a one-stoplight town … and she’s convinced things couldn’t possibly get worse.

That feeling only lasts until her first shift, when on a trip to the storage building behind the restaurant, she literally trips over a body.

Roy Axe, Shadow Hills most hated “Axehole,” died a hard death only feet from the restaurant (and the second-floor apartment Stormy currently resides in). The detective on the case is none other than Hunter Ryan, Stormy’s high school boyfriend, and the man who occasionally still calls to her in dreams. Hunter only cares about solving a mystery – nothing else – so their reunion is tense.

In an attempt to distract herself from what’s happening, Stormy and her cousin Alice get drunk one night and pull out their great-grandmother’s old Ouija board, and it sets off a strange string of events, most of which seem magical … if you believe in that sort of thing, and Stormy isn’t sure she does.

Stormy has trouble deciding which problem to focus on, so she avoids them all until things start blowing up in her face.

Shadow Hills is a small town but the secrets that plague it run deep. Stormy is a woman – or maybe a witch – lost in a sea of magic and despair … but murder might just lead her out of it. That is if she can survive to solve the case, that is.

Kitra by Gideon MarcusKitra by Gideon Marcus:

Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home…and no one coming to help.Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars–until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer, and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.

Ex Nihilo by Nazri NoorEx Nihilo by Nazri Noor:

In the beginning…

Mason Albrecht was a regular kid until the day he turned eighteen, when golden flames seared holy sigils into his skin, when the angels came to exterminate him. The demons came not long after, hungry for a taste of his nephilim flesh.

Fighting off heaven and hell with his bizarre new gifts, Mason speeds towards the only beacon his awakened eyes can see in a world gone mad: a pillar of light emanating from a distant city, where he may yet find sanctuary… or certain doom.

Ex Nihilo is the prequel to the Sins of the Father urban fantasy series, from Nazri Noor, author of the Darkling Mage saga. Experience Mason’s awakening in Ex Nihilo, a humorous, high-impact supernatural suspense story filled with demons, divinity, and plenty of danger.

QUARN by D. RomanQUARN by D. Roman:

On August 5th, 2044, humanity will learn that the number of things we take for granted is almost as limitless as the hubris that guides us.

 

 

 

 

A Touch of Darkness by Nita RoundA Touch of Darkness by Nita Round:

In the shadows, treachery and betrayal grow unseen.

The state funeral of Princess Olivia at Port Ruth marks the end of the Queen of the Desert’s reign of terror. As Lucinda, Magda and Ascara attend this grand ceremony, all is not as it seems. A storm of secrets and lies emerge from the shadows and the darkness threatens to destroy them all.

No matter where Magda goes, her heritage calls to her. Even when they make their way home, peace and safety are still not theirs. Malice and betrayal, hidden and out of sight, finds the three women and threatens to pull them under the waves of death and pain once more.

For the Trinity of Truth: Raven, Fire and Ice, there can be only one way forward, but at what price?

This is the third in the Towers of the Earth fantasy adventure series.

Beneath Black Sails by Clare SagerBeneath Black Sails by Clare Sager:

Sometimes it takes a pirate to catch a pirate.

With weather magic on her side, Lady Vice is the bane of the high seas, but she isn’t captain of her own ship. Yet. If she can persuade her captain to give her a command, she’ll be in charge of her own fate.

To pay off his family’s debts, Knigh Blackwood hunts pirates for the Royal Navy. And he’s damn good at it. When the bounty on Lady Vice increases, he’s determined to make her face justice, even if that means using unorthodox methods.

Forced to work together, neither can deny their mutual attraction. As they face battles at sea and schemes amongst their crew, they discover hints about a long-lost treasure that could be the answer to both their problems.

But treasure isn’t the only thing buried. Secrets best-forgotten lie in wait that could blast them apart. And the closer Vice and Knigh grow, the greater the threat – to her freedom and to his family. Because for one to succeed, the other must fail.

Arrested by Magic by Avery SongArrested by Magic by Avery Song:

Homeless at the age of twelve. Misfit among my peers at sixteen. Unemployed by eighteen. I have bad luck, but never thought I’d be in handcuffs by the golden age of twenty.

Some would blame the universe for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I know better. So does the Alpha wolf hidden inside me. Our potential is massive, but we can’t get a bloody break in a world full of crime, corruption, and hate…and someone did this to us on purpose.

Misfits like me often fall into traps made by higher shifters, and this is no exception. Five supernatural beings hold the key to my shackles, intent in the belief that my wolf holds the key to something powerful…something lethal.

They may be right.

Imprisonment is inevitable, but behind bars, a new world is waiting for me. One where captivity can be a blessing in disguise, creating the opportunity for my wounded walls to crumble in total submission.

I’m ready for it all. I’ll be a misfit no more. I will rise, and those responsible for my captivity will receive capital punishment at my paws.

 

Relics of Eternity by Glynn StewartRelics of Eternity by Glynn Stewart:

The edge of Imperial expansion
Far from Earth and the other homeworlds
Here lie the secrets of ancient gods
Here…there be dragons

Seeking to escape the shadow of Annette Bond’s success, Captain Morgan Casimir has taken a posting on the far side of the A!Tol Imperium. Here she hopes to begin a legend for herself that stands apart from her stepmother, the Duchess.

A chance encounter introduces her to the xenoarchaeologist Rin Dunst—and to the strange mystery cult that tried to silence him. There are darker secrets in these stars than the A!Tol and their human allies ever guessed…and if they can’t find answers, the Precursors’ mistakes might yet destroy the galaxy.

Again.

Access Point by David StormAccess Point by David Storm:

Ford’s life used to be simple. Travel the post-apocalyptic wasteland, find parts to repair the only working computer in the world, dodge roving marauders, rinse, and repeat. But he is getting a little long in the tooth and life after the end of the world can be hard on the young and old alike. During one journey he comes across a teenage girl named Apinya who enlists him to rescue her captured tribe. He doesn’t want to help but something tells him that this girl, and the USB drive hanging around her neck, may have answers to the questions that have plagued him his entire life. Where did the people who lived here before go? How did their world end? And more importantly, will it happen again?

Time Grab by Al TraverskyTime Grab by Al Traversky:

What if you were told you could re-write your past to solve the problems of your present life and save your future?

Farah Wendell is scared. Her life is falling apart. She’s started waking up in increasingly terrifying and dangerous situations with no memory of how she got there and no understanding of why these events are happening.

She’s desperate to find out the cause and to put a stop to it.

And then a mysterious visitor appears to offer Farah hope.

But could you trust a stranger who says that the solution to your problems lies in lucid dreams, time travel and telepathy? Or when they tell you the cause of this new horror in your life is a sadistic psychopathic killer from a dystopian future?

Can Farah channel her inner female heroine to save her family and her own future?

The Witch and the Revolution by Daniel SugarThe Witch and the Revolution by Daniel Sugar:

As the Tsar’s subjects turn against him, Lilly Parris races to save Anastasia Romanov and her brother Alexis – the heir to the Russian throne.

The Witch and the Revolution is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the Russian Revolution.

 

 

 

Fallen Earth by James David VictorFallen Earth by James David Victor:

Sometimes you just have to go back to where the problem all started to find a solution

The Earth has been lost to time, but there are those that believe it is the key to the future. When Anders, Dalia, and their team bet the fate of the galaxy, it becomes their only chance at survival. Can humanities ancient home save their future or will mankind fall the same way Earth did so many centuries ago?

Fallen Earth is the eighth book in the Memories of Earth space opera series. If you enjoy stories in fantastic worlds of aliens, space travel, and genetic engineering, the Memories of Earth series will be right up your alley.

Arterial Bloom by Mercedes M. YardleyArterial Bloom, edited by Mercedes M. Yardley:

Lush. Brutal.
Beautiful. Visceral.

Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.

Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring 16 stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.

With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.

The line-up includes:
The Stone Door by Jimmy Bernard
Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog by Grant Longstaff
Kudzu Stories by Linda J. Marshall
Dead Letters by Christopher Barzak
The Darker Side of Grief by Naching T. Kassa
Welcome to My Autumn by Daniel Crow
Still Life by Kelli Owen
Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia
Doodlebug by John Boden
Happy Pills by Todd Keisling
What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring
Blue Was Her Favorite Color by Dino Parenti
In the Loop by Ken Liu
The Making of Mary by Steven Pirie
Mouths Filled with Sea Water by Jonathan Cosgrove
Rotten by Carina Bissett

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