Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for August 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 July 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 urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, Steampunk, Dieselpunk, folk horror, regular horror, vampires, zombies, aliens, starships, magical swords, feminist monsters, puppets living in appartment walls, 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:

Servant of a Pale Sword by Tim AkersServant of a Pale Sword by Tim Akers:

A lone pilgrim travels to the Temple of Absolution to free himself from a great sin. But when the priests of the temple cut too deep, Lohit Maast is left with no memory of who is or what burden he sought to escape. Among his things is a strange and powerful sword, its blade forge from materea, the very bones of the world. Is he a thief? An assassin? The hero of some great campaign? Or is he something far more dangerous…



Constant Sorrow by J.N. Chaney and Terry MaggertConstant Sorrow by J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert

Humans have been in the stars far longer than Van originally thought, and they’ve been busy.

But not every visitor to or from Earth has good intentions, and the Peacemakers are faced with an uncomfortable reality. The Earth is about to meet aliens. Some of the aliens are bringing goods to trade. And among those items—are weapons.

When a secret cabal of humans who want to exploit the Earth is revealed, Van has to decide how and where to fight this threat. Along the way, he reveals a secret history that began in the Great War—and ends with mass chaos on his home planet.

Van won’t let that happen—at least not without a fight, and to hold back the gears of war, he’s going to need a lot of help. With Torina at his side, the crew faces a decision that will change the future of the stars themselves, and challenge the Guild, the Earth, and the Equal Grasp as the universe gets smaller with each contact between humans and aliens.

How can Van manage the clash, save earth, and deliver peace?

If he can, what will it cost him?

I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls by Ben FarthingI Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls by Ben Farthing:

Can you tell me how to get… out alive?

Johnny awakes. A puppet looms over his bed.

He recognizes the furry monster: Grandpa was its puppeteer on the children’s television show R-City Street. But Grandpa went missing a year ago. He disappeared from this very apartment building, which was converted from the old R-City Street studio.

Desperate to see Grandpa again, Johnny follows the puppet inside the building’s walls, ever deeper into a puppet-infested labyrinth…

I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls is a horror tale from the “darkly inventive” purveyor of uncanny places and wondrous evils, Ben Farthing.

Galaxy Unknown by M.R, ForbesGalaxy Unknown by M.R. Forbes:

Two hundred years ago, the generation starship Pathfinder fled a war-torn Earth, never to be heard from again. Until now…

Captain Caleb Card and his crew are on a mission to investigate a transmission believed to be from the lost ship. Ambushed upon arrival, they immediately fear the worst. But the beacon isn’t only active, it’s on the move, and where it leads will change everything they thought they knew about the universe. Cast into a distant galaxy brimming with unknown dangers, they’ll need to adapt quickly if they want to survive long enough to help the missing colonists.

Hextraordinary Circumstances by Lily Harper HartHextraordinary Circumstances by Lily Harper Hart:

Vampires are taking over the French Quarter.

Ofelia Archer was hoping for a break, a stretch of quiet time to enjoy the opening of her brother’s new bar, but the sight of vampires walking the rooftops one evening, tracking her, makes her wary. Then, the next morning, when a body is dropped in front of a famous vampire house, things in the Quarter take a turn.

Ofelia’s dealt with vampires before, but there’s something different about this fang gang. She’s confused enough to wonder: Are they really dealing with vampires, or something else entirely?

Zach Sully, Ofelia’s fiancé and a local police detective, starts digging. It seems there’s more than one dead body afoot…and possibly a conspiracy to hide multiple deaths.

Ofelia’s team is prepared to figure out the truth, even if it means putting themselves in danger to do it. When the new enemy focuses on her father Oscar, however, Ofelia goes on the offensive.

The French Quarter is a place where things frequently go bump in the night. This fight is about to get bloody, however.

In more ways than one.

Beast Mom by Kim ImasBeast Mom by Kim Imas:

An Oregon mom is about to lose her $#!t.
It might be what the government’s been waiting for.

On the outside, Harriet “Harry” Lime is a typical American mom. But after years of packing all the lunches and picking up all the socks, she’s become a bit…off on the inside. And after stumbling upon the offensive new statue at her daughter’s school, she gets unusually angry and turns into a gigantic monster.

Now she’ll have to figure out why that keeps happening-and why some mysterious uniformed men have begun lurking around town-all while keeping up with the grocery shopping, the carpool, and all those mother@#!&ing socks.

As soon as Harriet discovers that other local women are undergoing their own amazing transformations, she faces the sudden danger of being ripped away from everyone and everything she loves. Still, she’s begun to wonder: How much of her old life-with its surplus of cleaning, cooking, and monthly cramping-does she want to hold on to, anyway?

Medusa Falling by G.S. JennsenMedusa Falling by G.S. Jennsen:

*A stand-alone adventure set in the Amaranthe universe*

“Can I ask where we’re going?”
“Someplace safe…as safe as anywhere on this broken, fallen world can be.”
A first contact encounter isn’t supposed to kick off with a dead body.
Ambassador Marlee Marano has been dispatched to Belarria as part of a Concord initiative to meet new species and build alliances. But when an assassin murders her counterpart in front of her eyes and takes her hostage, she is plunged into an alien world on the brink of collapse.

With no way to contact Concord or get offworld, Marlee’s only allies may be a shadowy band of rebels with a questionable agenda steeped in government conspiracies, mysterious genetic experiments and bloody historical grievances that threaten to boil over. The rightness of their cause is the least of her concerns, though, for she finds herself wanted for murder and hunted by all sides.

Medusa Falling is a heart-pumping sci-fi adventure that will take you on a roller-coaster ride of twists and turns as Marlee races to uncover the secrets and lies of a captivating but deadly alien culture and find a way home.

Freaky West by Amanda M. LeeFreaky West by Amanda M. Lee:

Mystic Caravan has hit Texas, and things are supposed to be quiet in Austin. The only thing of note in a city that praises itself for being weird is the nest of vampires that rules the town.

They’re not the ones wreaking havoc this time, however.

Poet Parker knows something is up when a walk near the river results in an attack from a manic man with an ax. When he disappears just as quickly as he appeared, however, she knows something magical is afoot.

It seems Austin is trapped in the clutches of a bored being, and her way of entertaining herself includes bringing urban legends to life…and unleashing them on the city.

Poet has fought every type of magic imaginable, but this one leaves her flummoxed. It’s almost as if she’s dealing with a child mentally. Magically, however, she’s dealing with a monster.

Urban legends aren’t the only thing putting Austin in an uproar. The visiting loas—both of whom are there for Poet—are also drawing attention…and from all the wrong people.

Some magics are too strong to fight. Poet is not the sort of hero who can turn her back on people in need, however. Even if it means putting herself at risk to save them.

Poet has new magic at her disposal. Now she has to learn how to use it…or they will all perish.

It’s a fight to the finish, and who will come out on the other side is anybody’s guess.

The Lioness and the Rat Queen by Noah LemelsonThe Lioness and the Rat Queen by Noah Lemelson:

A city burning…
A murderous tycoon on the run…
And three vigilantes out for revenge…

Marcel never thought his investigations would lead to this; his once-friend Lazarus Roache turned slaver and cruel puppet master. For the good of Huile, and to salve his conscience, Marcel must take Roache down, even if that means following him into the desolate and savage reaches of the Wastes.

Yet the tycoon is not the only Wastefolk with a past with Marcel. To find the tycoon Marcel must break hardtack with an old enemy, a disgraced imperial general who he had once tried to kill, and is more than eager to return the favor. Yet she is not the greatest threat in the Wastes, for there is also a bounty hunter on his trail, the mysterious Queen of Rats, who somehow seems to know Marcel’s every dark secret.

Hyvilma by Gideon MarcusHyvilma by Gideon Marcus:

A damaged ship, a dying shipmate–can she save them both?

Under attack! The flight back to Hyvilma should have been the easy part for the crew of the Majera–until a deadly ambush by pirates sends them reeling through hyperspace. Now getting to the planet in time is the only way Captain Kitra Yilmaz can save her dying friend.

But landing at Hyvilma may be impossible: war has broken out on the Frontier.

An Unholy Triquetra: Celtic Fairy Tales</em> by Jason Parent, William Meikle and Curtis M. LawsonAn Unholy Triquetra: Celtic Fairy Tales by Jason Parent, William Meikle and Curtis M. Lawson:

Three unique voices in today’s horror bring you new takes on an old power that threatens to reshape our world. Celtic legends are reborn within these pages, with fresh stories guaranteed to spark nightmares in the vein of Grimm’s pre-Disneyfied fairy tales.

A Knot Within A Knot by Jason Parent: A man survives a plane crash only to find himself in darker circumstances, with a winter storm on the horizon and an orphaned child in tow. An elderly woman faces off against a god of night and his steed from the confines of her airplane seat, while another hides from night and storm in the hope of a new dawn. Unbeknownst to them, their fates are linked and dependent upon the next two tales.

Bound in the Valley of Balor by Curtis M. Lawson: After surviving a plane crash, a corrupt federal agent and a mob informant find themselves stranded in a remote valley. Blood spilled during a conflict between the two awakens an ancient evil bound beneath the valley. Can either of them escape from The Valley of Balor?

Summons by William Meikle (part of hisMythos of Sigils & Totems): Would you fall slave to the rhythm?
He came to Scotland after the death of his wife in search of peace. But the old house is restless. Something is waking, something noisy, something that will not be denied.
His search for meaning in the face of ever increasing activity in the house leads him down strange occult pathways, into deep history and a story that is racing to a finish.
The rhythm calls to him. Will he fall slave to it? Or is there a path to be the drum master before it subsumes him utterly?

This Celtic horror anthology is perfect for fans of folk horror, myths and legends, supernatural horror fiction, Grimm fairy tales, and Scottish survival horror, or fans of Ritual by Adam Nevill, Bag of Bones by Stephen King, or the legendary Ramsey Cambell.

Fire, Steel and Petroleum by Glynn StewartFire, Steel and Petroleum by Glynn Stewart:

From the author of Starship’s Mage, this short, magazine-style dieselpunk story delivers on action and an Arthurian hopepunk style.

Raiders have burned the village. With innocents in danger, a Knight must stand.



The Dead Shall Rise (Dark Tide, Book 10) by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin LouisThe Dead Shall Rise by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin Louis:

They’re coming to get you, Brave Reader.

“Prepare Because Death is Coming” by Jay Wilburn: “Take this and bear the warning.” When a messenger arrives at Dry Stretch, warning that a horde of zombies is heading their way forty years after the fall, Bay scoffs at the news. But a ‘full body’ meeting is called. Ethic is sent north to scout, but in Dry Stretch, no one is preparing. No one is repairing the walls. A William Faulkneresque story of the dead set in a dystopic dust-bowl town.

“Zombie Diner” by Armand Rosamilia: A family finds themselves on the wrong side of the zombie apocalypse while on vacation in Florida…

“Dance with the Dead” by Erin Louis: Tiffney is expecting just another night at the strip club. But when a customer goes berserk in the VIP room, things take an unexpectedly bloody turn. Stuck with a cocaine raddled manager and a shady club owner. Tiffney faces the unimaginable and is forced to turn her coworkers into allies to fight the evil that has taken over the club. Together they have to fight to stay alive.

This Zombie horror anthology is perfect for fans of post apocalyptic survival, The Walking Dead series, zombie apocalypse, and World War Z.

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