Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2023

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 and small press 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, 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, YA fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, science fiction mystery, science fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, weird western, horror, space colonisation, time travel, space fleets, lost colonies, wizards, ghosts, barbarians, temporal fugitives, haunted houses, crime-busting witches 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:

Into the Void by Jonathanh P. Brazee and J.N. ChaneyInto the Void by Jonathan P. Brazee and J.N. Chaney:

The Exile Fleet has been decimated, but the mission must go on.

What other choice do they have? With most of the officers KIA, Sergeant Major Reverent Pelletier has to step up to lead the ground force.

Meanwhile, the remaining ships ply the far reaches on unexplored space to identify potential threats to humanity.

And as the saying goes, if you search for trouble, trouble will often find you.

With peace at home beginning to break down, the Exile Fleet is on its own as it tries to fulfill its mission. . . and not get killed in the process.

Join Rev, Tomiko and the rest as they forge an unprecedented path into the vast unknown.

Legacy of Seven by P.J. FlieLegacy of Seven by P.J. Flie:

A world filled with magic, wizards, enchanted beings … and a construction robot?

The mystical world that has risen out of the ashes of science and technology could soon fall.

While the young wizard Ondreeal has her magic safely under control for now, she is plagued with dreams of a nightmarish future that she can’t recall upon waking, dreams that leave her unsettled all the same. A nagging urgency pulls her back to Bastion—a free city of light and a beacon of hope for all peoples.

There, Sir Francis, the wise wizard of the north, will have the answers that she so desperately needs. But if she returns too late, her mentor may fall into the hands of the dark wizard Zairoc, and Ondreeal will forever lose the only one who can unravel the mystery of her past, and help her to become a true wizard of light.

That would also keep robot CD-45 from completing his mission. He carries a dire warning of an ancient threat that looms in orbit above the planet—a message that only Sir Francis can comprehend.

For good or ill, Ondreeal’s fate will be the fate of the world.

Sea of Mist by Rachel FordSea of Mist by Rachel Ford:

Knight Protector Portia Daysen and Captain Valia Iceborn may have rescued the legendary black wyvern hatchling from one peril, but the struggle for his freedom – and their lives – is just beginning.

The route to safety lies across the perilous Sea of Mists. But those treacherous waters can only be navigated by moonlight.

With a Northern knight and a Southern inquisitor on their tails, each hellbent on revenge, the pair is running out of time and options.

But there are worse things than their pursuers lurking in the Sea of Mists…

Gunslingers of the Toxic Age by Theodore GideGunslingers of the Toxic Age by Theodore Gide:

Kristen Black, PI, reluctantly agrees to investigate the murder of a young political activist. Kristen doesn’t want the job — political crimes tend to conceal other, more lethal crimes. The deeper Kristen penetrates into the dark shadows of a broken city during wartime, the more deadly the pushback against her becomes. As Kristen feared, unmasking the killer opens a pandora’s box of violence and she’s on the run from the long arm of Military Security, chemical plants around the world are being bombed and her gun is pointed dead center at the man she loves.


Imaginary Friends by Lily Harper HartImaginary Friends by Lily Harper Hart:

When it comes to magic, Rowan Gray-Davenport has always been grateful to be part of the club. She never wanted to be the leader of it, though.
All of that is about to change.

When Rowan’s friends Sally and Demarcus arrive on their new purchase, a vintage steamboat they want to refurbish so they can turn it into a floating restaurant and casino, Rowan and her husband Quinn are thrilled to reunite with them. That only lasts until their daughter Lana asks about the invisible children on the boat. It seems there are a lot of them, and they just might be dead.

It appears the new boat is haunted, and the ghosts are looking for vengeance. They seem to have their sights set on Lana as a form of protection. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Lana is a little girl who wants to be seen as special. Unfortunately, she can’t see the danger that’s directly in front of her. Rowan can, however, and it doesn’t take long for her to call on her friends Ivy, Harper, and Maddie to get her through this ordeal.

The children might have been innocent when they died, but they’re out for blood now. It’s going to take the whole gang working together to see this through to the other side.

Lana’s life is hanging in the balance, and this time the magic that’s required to save her will stem from her mother’s love. Rowan had better be up to the challenge, because otherwise her family will be lost.

Her moment is here. She has no choice but to embrace it.

Kwelengsen Swarm by David M. KellyKwelengsen Swarm by David M. Kelly:

How long can one man keep fighting?

Logan’s dreams of a peaceful life on Kwelengsen have been shattered. A final battle with the Corporate forces seems inevitable and will cost all the settlers’ lives unless he can get them off planet. But with deadly new species appearing all around, the remaining survivors find themselves battling enemies on multiple fronts.

And when the settlers start behaving in strange, inexplicable ways, Logan must fight to uncover the reasons behind their sinister death wish. But with Corporate reinforcements on the way, he’s fast running out of time.

Kwelengsen Swarm–the endgame is survival, but who is the enemy?

Dial W for Witch by Amanda M. LeeDial W for Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

The Happy Holidays Players—a renowned acting troupe—is coming to town and Hemlock Cove is bursting with excited residents who want parts in the winter festival. That includes the three Winchester matriarchs, who are vying with one another for top billing.

Bay Winchester doesn’t care about the pageant, but she’s more than happy to sit back and watch the shenanigans. That is until her husband Landon Michaels calls with a request for her help. It seems there was a prison break twenty minutes away … and more than a handful of inmates are on the run.

Bay, Landon, and Hemlock Cove Police Chief Terry Davenport make up their own search party. What becomes apparent fairly quickly, however, is that some of the inmates are magically enhanced. By whom, though?

Each subsequent battle results in a tougher takedown, and as Bay delves deeper into the mystery of a guard who may have helped the fleeing inmates, she finds herself entrenched in a fight to the death.

Bay and Landon are looking forward to their first holiday season as a married couple. They’re desperate for some downtime and holiday cheer. To get it, they’re going to have to survive a magical onslaught that seems to be pointed at their family more and more with each passing day.

Bay might be able to call the dead to battle for her, but this is a war between the living … and both sides are going to go down fighting.

Here comes trouble. There’s no going back.

Tempus Fugitive by J.S. MorinTempus Fugitive: Mission 1 by J.S. Morin:

The next generation is here, and trouble is in their DNA.

Jessie and Eric Ramsey have a family history of crime. Fighting back against heredity, each tried to make their way in the galaxy by respectable means. Jessie joined Earth Navy; Eric went to college for magic. But fate wasn’t having it. Eric was expelled. Jessie went AWOL. Now, due to a magical mishap that wasn’t entirely anyone’s fault (we swear!), they’re stranded 5 years in the future on a Mars that’s no longer friendly territory.

Caught behind enemy lines in a galactic civil war they didn’t know about, the pair need every trick in their respective books to survive on Mars long enough to escape. Along the way, they’ll meet old friends and make new foes, and if they’re very lucky, manage to figure out where they belong in this new galactic order.

And Mars is only the beginning. Time travel is a one-way trip, and the only way to stop is death. And Ramseys don’t die easy.

Sons of Sorrow by Nazri NoorSons of Sorrow by Nazri Noor:

The Tears of the Ocean. The Heart of the Flame.

Lochlann Wilde is preparing for his final challenge: entering the Oriel of Fire, the most dangerous of the elemental dimensions. Acquiring the essence of fire will score him another powerful guardian, as well as complete Aphrodite’s amulet.

But the world outside the oriel has its own challenges. Sylvain has discovered something difficult about his heritage. Aphrodite keeps dropping unsettling hints about Locke’s true nature, too.

Most pressing of all is the mystery of the parchment that cursed Queen Aurelia to begin with, the only clue that may lead to the truth about the Withering. Who is behind it? Why did they engineer the plague?

And how can Locke and Sylvain stop them from infecting the cosmos?

The Headless Boy by Kelli OwenThe Headless Boy by Kelli Owen:

A novel similar to suspenseful classics like The Haunting of Hill House, The Woman in Black, and Bag of Bones.

Reeling from the loss of a child, Maggie finds her job at the local daycare unbearable and errands around town impossible. She knows every child, every single parent, and they’re all reminders of what she’s lost. Unable to heal, she sinks further into the grip of grief and depression.

Jake is a good guy, a great husband, and wants only the best for his broken wife. Therapy and medications aren’t helping, and a change of scenery makes perfect sense. A new home. A fresh start. He is nothing but patient, giving Maggie the space and emotional support needed to move on.

But once they’ve settled in, Maggie offers him an alternative. And though Jake doesn’t believe in ghosts, he plays along with the charade in the name of helping his wife. Until he discovers it’s not a game.

They are not alone.

As the subtle activity grows violent, Jakes realizes the thing in their house has chosen Maggie as a surrogate mother, and it does not want a father figure. Jake and Maggie’s fresh start has become a battlefield, and he’s no longer sure which side his wife is on.

Does Jake have the strength to save them both?

The Haunting of Blackstone Mansion by Augustine PierceThe Haunting of Blackstone Mansion by Augustine Pierce:

An abandoned mansion. A restless spirit. A terrible secret…

Seeking to escape a recent tragedy, antiques expert Katherine relocates to Blackstone, Oregon. Her new home lies within reach of the majestic Mt. Hood, and tucked away in the thick forest of those foothills looms the dark, foreboding, and abandoned Blackstone mansion.



Tales of the Wold by Yazar QuintTales of the Wild by Yazar Quint:

Barbarian life is brutal but full of wonder.

Banished from her tribe, Rexa wanders the world, exploring ancient ruins, discovering great wonders, and facing terrible monsters. She has no home but the wild. No gods to guide her. Brazen and reckless, she carves her path with a sharp tongue and steel in hand, fighting for the right to see another sunrise.

Laws of men have no power beyond the stone walls of cities and castles. In cursed forests, treacherous mountains, and dreadful deserts, bravery thrives and weakness withers. It is a world where reality does not play by its own rules—a world of mystery and sorcery. The wild challenges Rexa’s very understanding of life as she deals with matters of immortality, forgotten kingdoms, incomprehensible magic, monstrous humans, and human monsters.

Though she is a crude outsider by nature, Rexa leaves her mark on many lives across two continents. Queens, witches, and warriors tempt her with guile, magic, and courage. Some succeed, if only for a little while. Rexa’s heart belongs to the wild. She is a barbarian, unbeholden to civilization. While death is ever eager to claim her, she can’t resist the wicked wonders of the world.

Tales of the Wild is a journey of sixteen stories set in a harsh realm of sword and sorcery, where it takes a barbarian to survive—let alone thrive. Dive into Rexa’s world as she suffers curses of time, encounters beings of unfathomable origin, faces the trials of hidden tribes, and delves into the remnants of a dwarven kingdom.

Desire by Morgan RiceDesire by Morgan Rice:

Mistfalls Wilderness Camp is an awful place, a series of islands in the rainy Northwest, populated by delinquents and outcasts from their families. It is supposed to be a remedial place—but Taylor soon learns something else is happening here. They are training the kids here for something. But what?

These kids are all different, not normal somehow. And as Taylor herself goes through changes she doesn’t understand, she can’t help but wonder: is she different, too?

But when she finds herself having a crush on a mysterious boy, Taylor realizes he is not what he seems—and that her own destiny may be far greater than she imagined.

But will their forbidden love take them both down for good?

The Forgotten Colony by J.B. RyderThe Forgotten Colony by J.B. Ryder:

Zach Croft wants to forget the Prescott colony ever happened.

He wants to forget the crimson sand dunes, violent dust storms, and meteor impacts. He wants to forget the sight of his neighbors bleeding from their eyes as boils ravaged their bodies. He wants to forget the fact that his best friend was left to die. Most of all, he wants to forget that, without Prescott, humanity is doomed.

But when a Prescott dropship plummets from the sky twenty-three years later, he has no choice but to remember.

As Zach embarks on a life-or-death quest for answers about the dropship’s impossible return, he discovers something even more important: there is still hope for humanity’s survival.

With conditions rapidly worsening on Earth, he is in a race against time to return to Mars, finish the work that Prescott started, and save the human race from extinction. To do so, he must face the truth about what really happened in Prescott—a truth that calls into question everything he thinks he knows about who he is, who he trusts, and what he has done.

Blood Adept by Glynn StewartBlood Adept by Glynn Stewart:

From the genre-blending master Glynn Stewart, author of Starship’s Mage, comes the latest in his thrilling fantasy Western series, set in a new world with a magical twist…

Hard rides and long nights as a cattle hand prepared Teer for the harsh life of a bounty hunter on the Unity’s eastern frontier. His fate now tied to the disguised El-Spehari demigod Kard, his quick eye and steady shooting hand have kept them both alive—even when the bounty hunters decided justice required taking a fugitive beyond the reach of the Unity’s law.

The same law would see Teer himself doomed for the magical powers now awakening within him. He has followed Kard to a strange shaman who promises to train him—but when a monster turns on and slaughters an entire hunting party, Teer and Kard take up the hunt to protect friend and foe alike.

Their hunt follows the monster to the edge of the Unity, where the Spehari lords have sent an entire regiment to bring the monster down. But teeth and claws are the least of the dangers the creature brings to bear—and the monster itself is only one of many dangers Teer and Kard face as they walk among enemies to protect the innocent…

Prodigal by Glynn StewartProdigal by Glynn Stewart:

The star system of Apollo has fallen!
Her fleets are scattered and her enemies victorious.
Apollo’s last hope: an exile mercenary coming home at last!

Ace pilot Kira Demirci fled her home system of Apollo five years ago. Betrayed by her own government and one step ahead of enemy assassins, she smuggled a squadron of star fighters into the Outer Rim and forged a mercenary fleet of old friends and new alike.

Many of the aces of Apollo’s war against Brisingr weren’t as lucky.

Kira has a new home, but a scheme hatched by her enemies has brought her to the edge of her old stomping grounds. This close to Apollo, she’s one of the first to hear the devastating news: Brisingr has achieved its ultimate victory and captured her home. To take a star system should be impossible, but the reality is clear.

With family, friends and old comrades in the hands of the Brisingr Kaiserreich, Kira mobilizes her mercenary fleet to seek out the scattered remains of Apollo’s fleets and allies.

Even if she can manage the merely difficult and bring the broken factions together, the hard truth remains: Brisingr’s victory was impossible. To undo it, Kira will have to duplicate it…

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