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 February 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, dark fantasy, Asian fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction thrillers, space opera, military science fiction, YA science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, dragons, leprechauns, valkyries, aliens, telepaths, interdimensional portals, interstellar wars, space mages, space colonisation, menopausal werewolves, crime-busting witches, King Arthur in space, alien monster spiders from beyond 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:
Carmen Grey always knew she was different.
None of the other children seemed able to read minds. None of the other children were able to manipulate their toys without touching them. On the morning of her sixth birthday, three men dressed in black arrive to remove her from the loving care of her parents.
She is taken to an underground facility meant for others like her, for Clairvoyants. Stripped of her name and identity, over the years she is fashioned into something scary—something lethal. Each day is an endless struggle and every night is plagued by nightmares. Yet Carmen’s ultimate battle won’t be to save her life but to keep her soul.
During a holiday in Belgium, college students Evan and Matt decide to explore an uncharted cave in the Ardennes. Also along for the ride is Evan’s sister Kate, who has been tasked with looking out for her brother since early childhood.
Deep inside the cave, Kate, Evan and Matt stumble upon a portal to another world. But does this portal represent the greatest adventure of their lives or a terrible danger…?
This is a science fiction short story of 3800 words or approximately 15 print pages.
WHEN THE SUN FLARES — EARTH’S MANTLE HICCUPS — SOCIETY SUFFERS
Rob Bell is financially screwed, although his wife doesn’t know it yet. His only hope is to sell a house that he’s constructed near to the beach. With one day to go to the sale, his, and everyone else’s world comes crashing down. Severe movement in the Earth’s tectonic plates caused by sun flares discharging positive charged particles into the mantle, go on to create a disaster that scientists failed to predict in its enormity. EMPs destroy the grid. Ash from volcanos darken the land. Floods divide the nation, with new mountain ranges created. The USA will never be the same again, changed forever.
Their home in a gated community is high in the hills of Santa Monica, overlooking the Pacific. They decide to stay put. Survival is the new game, money no longer an issue as death casts its shadow over the World and their community.
As their food supplies run low, and constantly under attack from outsiders, Brogan the head of their community security creates a mini fiefdom, with Rob’s wife in charge of rations. Under attack, and falling foul of Brogan, and with death stalking him, Rob knows the only way out is for them to travel to his dad’s bunker. Trouble is, io get there is a thousand-mile journey fraught with danger and his wife doesn’t want to go. Fiercely loyal, he will have to decide if he should leave or to stay.
His life and others will depend on the outcome
It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Lemmi, Charlie, and Liam are determined to have some fun before going to watch the guys play baseball.
What happens next is unexpected, to say the least, but Lemmi and Charlie are determined not to miss the baseball game. Now if only the leprechaun would tell them where Liam is . . .
This is a short story coming in at about 12,000 words.
There’s nothing practical about magic—which is why I ditched my wand years ago.
Thirteen years, to be exact.
The day I left Silverlake.
Except now, a family emergency has called me back home, and quite frankly, I’d rather be anywhere but here.
But when my aunt raises her wand to cure a friend and he ends up dead, it becomes abundantly clear I’m not leaving anytime soon.
Welcome to Silverlake, a place where nothing is EVER as it seems… and where a witch can find, and lose, a lot more than herself.
His search for a killer will put him in the crosshairs.
The body of a college student is dumped in an alley far from campus. Is it a case of bad timing, or a drug deal gone wrong?
As the detective assigned to the case, Nathan Miller suspects something more sinister behind it. Convincing his superiors of this won’t be easy, though, and following his instincts will require more than just bending the law. He may need to break it.
But when his pursuit leads him to Syria, and then London, he’s forced to seek aid from the Phantoms—allies who might be enemies. Will they help the killer he’s after, or join him in seeing justice served?
The war is over. The chaos is just beginning.
The North won, but peace is a distant dream. Youngling dragons plague the countryside. On the border to No Man’s Land, Knight Protector Ana Derel negotiates a tenuous peace between the slave warriors turned refugees, for whom only a death sentence waits at home, and the local populace, which wants no part in feeding or aiding their former foes. Far to the North, Knight Protector Brynja Evansdatter struggles with the ambitions and mistrust of the elven mages she freed from captivity. They’ve sworn off the Southern king who shackled them, but they’re not ready to swear fealty to the Northern queen.
And at the heart of all the chaos, with the power to command the races of dragons and destroy whole armies of men, are the most powerful weapons ever devised by men or elves: first runes.
Whoever controls them, controls the fate of the known world. Derel and Evensdatter fought side-by-side in the war. Now, they will need more than blades to bring peace.
In an alternate future, fourteen-year-old Victoria has lived in a bunker for all her life, convinced that beyond the metal walls of her home is a mysterious “Nowhere.”
When she escapes, she is thrown into the futuristic city of Foxwood, rebuilt over Seattle after a catastrophic earthquake. Victoria was never supposed to leave her bunker and isn’t in the Network. Without a Network Chip implanted in her head, Victoria has no identity, an no place in Foxwood.
Despite lacking social skills or street smarts, she gets a job at a massive 3D printing business. This company is targeted by a terrorist team of humanoid machines that are indistinguishable from ordinary humans.
In an effort to prove her worth as a bunker child, Victoria attempts to expose an infiltrator before the terrorists get a chance to attack. On top of that, the education system controls overpopulation by killing the least intelligent people with a terrifying Birthday Exam.
Imagine a secret, hidden city that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the city forever. You can never leave.
Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.
After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.
A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, ORANGE CITY is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel LEMONWORLD.
Space opera meets Arthurian legend.
The Britannic Alliance has been brought back from the brink of disaster by Taylan Ellis, a Royal Marine fighting to win back her homeland.
During one of the battles, the Fearless, the BA flagship, mysteriously disappeared and is now adrift in the Asteroid Belt. Taylan joins the expedition sent to find out what happened.
What she discovers out there is another clue in the riddle of the reappearance of King Arthur. What’s more, it means the Alliance could win back the Britannic Isles, but only if Taylan plays her cards right.
The fight goes on!
Jack Harker and his new wife Ivy have beaten the odds, and with that comes a little rest and relaxation. They have a two-week honeymoon planned, and the first leg involves a glamping trip down the river.
Jack has never been one for camping, and the truth is, he would’ve preferred anything but what they’ve got planned. Ivy, however, is desperate to prove that camping can be fun. What Jack wants most is for Ivy to have everything, so he gives in.
He may live to regret it. That is if he doesn’t die first.
What should’ve been an idyllic kayaking trip down the river, complete with gourmet meals and glamorous tents, turns into a mystery when one of the other guests finds blood on the ground on the second day. Jack and Ivy are instantly suspicious … but they seem to be the only ones.
There’s no body, so no reason to worry, and yet Ivy’s dreams won’t let her rest. Can you prove murder when there’s no body and nobody is missing?
That’s the plan for Ivy and Jack, although the trip will have them questioning more than their fellow travel-goers. It will have them questioning their instincts, too.
Strap in. Just because it’s a honeymoon, that doesn’t mean the ride won’t be bumpy.
Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the world. Only an awkward girl with the perfect voice can rediscover it.
The Dragon Singers of old summoned typhoons and routed armies, liberating mankind from the orcs before fading into legend. Now, with the world again facing a new cataclysm, the power of music stirs in Kaiya, a naïve misfit with the perfect voice.
Without a master to guide her, she must rely on Hardeep, a disgraced foreign paladin, to help awaken her latent magic. His motives might not be entirely noble. When he leads her to the fabled Dragon Scale Lute, which only a Dragon Singer can wield, it is up to Black Lotus Clan to intervene.
Because the instrument’s fell power can save the world…
Or destroy it.
Scout Randall has lived her life in the shadows, always wondering who abandoned her when she was a child and where the magic she boasts came from. Finally, she is about to get some answers.
It won’t be easy, though.
After a wild fight that saw shifters and vampires joining together to battle under an eclipse, things in Hawthorne Hollow are relatively quiet. Scout’s newly-found sister is locked in a cell, her grandfather is laying low, and the enemy appears to be regrouping.
That allows Scout and her boyfriend Gunner to make a trip to her childhood home. Upon their return, a shifter attacks and throws their world into a tailspin. He’s easily dispatched but appears to be suffering from a magical infection that has his body wasting and his mind collapsing.
It’s up to Spell’s Angels to figure out what’s going on, and because nothing is ever easy for Scout, the investigation is going to be harder than she imagined.
It seems there’s a new top vampire in town, and his powers are extensive for a creature who wasn’t born into his legacy. On top of that, he’s crossed paths with Scout before and knows exactly how to push her buttons.
Scout is a fighter but the world is closing in on her. She’s going to need her new co-workers and the family she doesn’t know to help her out on this one … and even then nothing is a given.
The road before her is winding but answers are finally here. Scout will finally know what she is. Whether she survives long enough to benefit from the knowledge is completely up in the air.
With one kiss I can see when, where and how you will die.
Some would call it a gift. But not me.
My death kiss is a curse that has branded me a witch, with no human rights, and has turned me into the most wanted girl on earth.
Why? Because in a world where a vicious movement of sadistic killers are murdering random people to stop overpopulation, my kiss holds the power for salvation.
And makes me a prime target for abduction.
Which is where I am now. Captured by three brothers, burning with grief after witnessing my parents’ murder, and tormented with fear of what is yet to come…
For something doesn’t add up.
I’m trapped inside a deadly game of kiss and tell, but I know there’s a darker agenda at play.
What it is? I just hope I can live to find out.
Death Kiss is an adult, dark fantasy, romance novel which draws you into a world of magic, deception, seductive twists, and desire.
The Wolf’s Point werewolf pack, born from the magic that calls small groups of middle-aged women to embrace their inner and outer wolves, has been protecting the town for generations. Now Becca Thornton and the Pack have their hands (and paws) full of all the trouble they can handle. Plus a bit extra. Pack member Erin Adams just found a dead body in the trunk of her car and confessed to murder. But no one’s sure who the victim is and Erin can’t remember what happened. Did Erin fall off the wagon and murder a former foe? She doesn’t trust herself and Becca’s beginning to have her doubts.
If that wasn’t enough, Becca’s ex-husband sold their old house and their new neighbors are clearly up to something. Can the Pack get the mystery solved and Erin’s name cleared before the next full moon? Or do the town’s new residents have other plans?
The end of the world might be sooner than they think.
The valkyries secretly hand-select fallen heroes to bring back to Valhalla to prepare for the final battle. While out at a nightclub, Kathy witnesses a valkyrie collect a dying man’s soul. Thinking the valkyrie is doing harm, she tries to fight her off, but loses.
Back in Valhalla, the valkyries view their lapse in secrecy as a sign that the final battle is beginning. They capture Kathy and bring her back to Valhalla while they rally their army to send into battle.
Meanwhile, Samantha is reeling from having told Steven she’s a witch. But when she discovers Kathy’s gone missing, she puts her strained relationship aside to save her sister, only to end up in just as much danger as Kathy.
With the valkyries preparing for war, Samantha and Kathy must prove that they mean no harm in order to return to their normal lives. But the end of the world might be sooner than they think.
Valkyrie is the third book in the Coven series, which serves as a prequel series to the Under the Moon series.
Draysky was born to die in the mines.
Like his father before him, his fate was to harvest treasures until the dust claimed his lungs. He’d die the lowest of society, a Knotted, buried with their thin cord still around his neck. He would never advance as a mage, never to learn of the forbidden runes of the kingdom magicians. But when he looks away from the northern mountains, he allows himself to dream that one day, he’d buy his freedom and escape the mines forever.
But the mines don’t relinquish claimed lives so easily. They draw him in deeper, pulling him into their depths, and when Draysky discovers the source of their treasures, he’s left with a choice.
Return to his labor, and be grateful for the years he has left, or risk his life by seizing the mines’ power. Becoming a threat to those who thrive supported on the backs of his people.
And discovering why runes are forbidden.
Old enemies never die.
The unthinkable has happened: an Akkadian assassin has helped broker peace between her star nation and the Alliance. Micah and the rest of Task Force Blue watch the peace talks with guarded optimism—but they know one thing the rest of the settled worlds don’t.
Clint Janus has vanished — with the Alliance’s most closely-held secret.
Micah Case is that secret.
Janus is now allied with Akkadia’s new premier, Asher Dent, but the man is not as peace-loving as he might seem. It’s going to be up to Micah Case and Task Force Blue to prevent Dent from achieving that which he wants most: total space supremacy over all the settled worlds.
Chiral Justice is the third book in the Biogenesis War series, and completes this first story arc in the Biogenesis Universe.
Across the width of the world, Logan’s agony screams in my soul.
Shackled in silver which burns his flesh, he is trapped in a foreign country, lured to captivity by the kidnapping of his human daughter.
I am Luna, the leader of the pack, and it falls on me to lead a rescue mission.
Still, politics would stay my hand. After all, Logan isn’t family, just the runt of my pack; disobedient, combative, and always in trouble.
Wrong. Dead wrong. Pack is family.
Politics decree that I can’t bring the rest of my pack to avoid an international incident.
But nobody said I couldn’t bring Mike, my superhuman bodyguard, an ex-SEAL with the skills to survive anywhere.
And nobody knows about my magical talents, talents that would make the most vicious werewolf seem tame.
Screw politics. Luna White doesn’t leave a packmate in captivity.
The Blackwing War by K.B. Spangler:
Three thousand years ago, the Deep appeared without warning. This alien life form was quickly put to service teleporting people and cargo across great distances, which allowed mass colonization throughout the galaxy. It has also allowed Lancaster, the organization which controls access to the Deep, to grow wealthy and powerful. Cross Lancaster, and you are forced to travel between planets using standard faster-than-light technologies. Nobody wants that!
Tembi Stoneskin is having a very bad day. A Witch in service to the Deep, she spends her time disarming bombs in shipping stations. On her way home to Lancaster, the Deep shows her the aftermath of a weapons test powerful enough to slice a moon in half. While the Deep is a vast intelligence, it is a terrible communicator, and relies on its Witches to translate humanity’s requests into thoughts, moods, and impulses that it can understand. Tembi is a young Witch, but she is a skilled translator and she has learned how to speak with her powerful alien friend.
As they set off to find the source of the weapons test, Tembi and the Deep are pulled into the ongoing war between Earth-normal humans and genetically modified humans. But all wars are founded on excuses, and the Blackwing army has much more to hide than a simple shattered moon.
The year is 2107. Earth is dying. For Wyn, Lois, and Judd, that’s the least of their problems.
Wyn is the pilot on the ISS Minos. Its mission: a race to the ice moon of Europa to cure the disease destroying humanity’s crops. But not everyone on board seems to have the same agenda.
Lois is an Interpol agent investigating the world’s worst criminals – those rich enough to get whatever they want and powerful enough to murder without consequence – and her cover’s been blown.
Judd is hiding as far away from humanity as he can, working in a cheap tourist attraction on the Moon. But when an old man pries a long-forgotten secret from his head, he can no longer hide from the truth he’d buried even from himself. Because Judd is a telepath, and a weapon badly wanted by both sides of an unseen war.
They might not know it, but each holds a key to Earth’s cure… and humanity’s survival.
If you like pulse-quickening action, blood-soaked science fiction, revelations, and revolutions, you’ll love this first episode in Paul Stephenson’s Sunset Chronicles, the new monthly sci-fi horror serial from the author of the bestselling Blood on the Motorway saga.
A bloody war has ended in a restored peace
And the shield of Martian magic guards the stars
Two centuries of spell and steel to ward all humanity
Two years ago, Lieutenant Commander Roslyn Chambers stood witness to the surrender of the last remnants of the Republic. Fueled by atrocity against Mage and mundane alike, the secessionists who waged war against the Protectorate of Mars are finally defeated.
Now, a special commission from the Mage-Queen of Mars takes Roslyn deep into the former Republic to hunt the architects of that atrocity. Mages who betrayed their own, the creators of Project Prometheus must be brought to justice.
But hidden from even the Republic, Prometheus has woven magic and technology together once more. Here, hidden from all prying eyes, they have created a monster…one that even a Protectorate forged by the spell must call black magic.
How far is too far to save the human race?
Captain Dana Pinet is struggling to put her demons to rest while carrying the last of humanity still reeling from the loss of their world onboard the Starship Hope.
She and the crew will be tested yet again when they come into contact with a group of plucky aliens enthralled by their circumstances and eager to befriend them. Things turn ugly when the aliens make off with precious cargo and half their dwindling supplies.
In pursuit of the thieves, the crew discovers they’re not the only ones after the pirates, and getting caught in alien cross-fire will only make matters worse. If Dana can’t track down the pirates and their stolen cargo, it may bring about the extinction of the human race.
Marauders is the thrilling second book in the science fiction series Starship Hope. If you like intriguing first contact with aliens and survival at all-costs scenarios, you’ll love this second book by T.S. Valmond.
Escaping death by her father’s hand was only the beginning…
Determined to prove herself to the gods, Shou will do anything to forget the journey that brought her to the island of the kami. Now is her time to rise up and take her place as the true chosen one.
But when enemies try to destroy Shou, another human saves her. She’s shocked that he bears the same mark as she. Suddenly, Shou questions everything about her history. Is she truly the chosen one of the prophecy?
Teaming up with Masaru, heir to the Date clan, is her only option to uncover the truth and save herself from death. As Masaru and Shou grow closer, one thing is certain: they’ve been wrong about the prophecy all along. Nameless and desperate, will Shou find her courage and fight for her place among the kami or forge a path of her own?
The magic is gone…or is it?
Lucian is a jaded flirt and professional bard who knows all the old songs about sorcery. When he meets Corwin, a shy mage who can still use magic despite the Drought, Lucian finds his desire growing with each passing day—not just for answers, but for Corwin himself.
Sparks fly as they find themselves passionately entangled in adventure and each other. But learning the true origin of the Drought and the Key to ending it comes at a price that their bond may not survive…