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 September 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, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror, vampires, dragons, ghosts, orcs, cyclopi, medusae, wars of succession, war in space, alien invasions, haunted houses, crime-busting witches, displaced villains 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:
Not all endings are happy.
Especially when you’re the villain. When the wicked queen uses her magic to flee her realm, she never expected to end up here.
She and her friends—all notorious villains—find themselves in Astoria, Or. Now they’re trying to make their way in a world of taxes, wrinkle creams, and grocery stores. That would be bad enough, but no one is properly afraid.
It might just be time to teach them who they’re dealing with.
Marsh House stands abandoned in the heart of an English seaside town. A local ghost tour guide regularly stops in front of the house to tell its grim tale, but no-one has actually set foot in the building for more than forty years. Until now.
Desperate to get away from his troubles in London, Andrew heads to Marsh House and sets about trying to fix it up. Between rotten floorboards and bug infestations, he’s got his work cut out for him. And that’s before he even notices the strange noises in the night, and the fact that a strange presence is watching his every move.
When he invites a new friend to move in with him, everything changes. Andrew might not have paid attention to the darker side of Marsh House, but his new guest quickly realizes that something’s very wrong. Does the ghost of a long-dead woman still haunt the house, cursing anyone who dares to fall in love? And is this malevolent entity somehow also responsible for the death of a local woman whose body was found on the beach?
And by the time he uncovers the shocking truth, will it be too late for Andrew to ever return to his old life?
The magic of the Spire of Peace has banished evil from the Known Lands for more than twelve hundred years. When a dragon destroys the spire and murders the king, the realm is thrown into turmoil. As civil war looms, can the royal Kaldarion family regain control over the kingdom and restore peace?
Livia, 20, is the eldest child of the slain King Varun Kaldarion. Though the wisest and most learned of the surviving family members, tradition says she cannot inherit the throne.
Balmar, 18, is too feeble-minded to rule, but his uncle, Duke Erol, crowns him anyway in order to appoint himself regent.
Darus, 17, was exiled by the spire’s magic due to his bitterness that his father never named him heir. By force of personality and skill at arms, he has risen to command the army of exiles at the fortress of East Gate. Now he plans to invade the realm and take back what he feels is rightfully his by birth.
Imric, 13, was disavowed by his father after his mother died birthing him. Raised by his sister Livia, few in the realm even know he exists. Little more than a pawn in the conflict between Duke Erol and his brother Darus, Imric may hold the key to reuniting the fractured realm.
When things fell apart, they fell apart fast, leaving Ben to pick up the pieces.
Unwilling to succumb or surrender, he’ll do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of his crew. Already far behind the eight ball, it’s going to take strength, resilience, and fortitude he never knew he had to get back into the fight.
If he doesn’t, everyone he cares about will die.
Once upon a time, in our ordinary world, there was a grandmother.
She was reborn as a Vampire in a world of Magick.
The grandmother de-aged. Her ailments healed, her body became strong, and her wrinkles faded.
Her wisdom, however, did not diminish. She knew monsters need monstrous names so they never forget the monsters they are.
She named herself Grendel, after the medieval haunter of borderlands and drinker of warriors’ blood, slain by the hero Beowulf.
The name seems appropriate. Grendel the Grandmother haunts the borderlands and drinks the blood of (mostly) evil warriors.
But in a Magickal world, names don’t just have meanings, they are prophecies.
And a new hero is rising. He has been molded since birth to fight evil, and been given the tools and skills to vanquish the most insidious evil of all: Vampires.
His name is Beowulf, and he’s coming for Grendel.
Hannah Hickok is looking forward to her first Christmas in Casper Creek. She has plans for cookies, cuddles with her fiancé Cooper Wyatt, and a visit from Chris Kringle. Instead, the man who visits isn’t the one Hannah was inspecting. No, it’s her former fiancé Michael…and he’s arrived with an agenda.
Michael has more attitude than brains and he’s ready to make life difficult for Hannah…right up to the point where his new fiancée is killed and her body goes missing from the morgue. When Michael is also attacked, Hannah has to use her magic to save him…and it doesn’t go as planned.
Cooper hated Michael when he was just a concept. Now that the man is staying at Casper Creek, Cooper downright loathes him. That’s not his biggest concern though. It seems there’s a new paranormal threat on the horizon…and Michael is a target.
Hannah wants to leave her past behind but she’s going to have to risk her life to save Michael before she can do it. This enemy knows her every weakness, and it’s going to be a fight to the finish to embrace the holiday season and make it to the new year.
Strap in, because it’s going to be a holiday catastrophe.
Don’t look at me. Just don’t.
My name’s Gorgiana. For decades, I’ve lived a happy, simple life, shelving books at Sunland University’s library in Florida. But my peace ended when I witnessed an assault, bringing back horrors from my past. Or course, I took care of him. His body’s no longer whole. But that revealed my location.
I asked for help from my best friend, Cora, the goddess Persephone, and everything turned out just peachy. More than peachy. I met this real hot guy named Ash that same night. Later he took me out to a nightclub by the beach—next, a movie. All was well, until some thug stuck a gun in my boyfriend’s back. But I took care of him. He’s in pieces now too. But it all puts Medusa in a heap of trouble.
See, my name’s Medusa. Yeah, I’m that monster with the snakes in my hair. I warned you not to look.
NOWHERE IS SAFE.
The survivors of Little Creek hope that salvation awaits them at Keystone, but it quickly becomes apparent that things are not as they seem.
As Len, Vera and Guppie grapple with the new reality on the base, Pammy and Cooper join forces with a sympathetic soldier to take the fight to the Clankers.
An unexpected lesson from an unlikely source might be the key to human survival.
But there is a greater enemy than even the Clankers afoot, and it will take all their ingenuity — and a little luck — to survive this time.
And time is running out.
Stormy Morgan has accepted her life as a witch, and is even looking forward to the future. That means training with the most powerful witches in the Midwest. She’s determined to follow through on her destiny. Despite her best intentions though, not everything is going to be as easy as she hoped.
When Stormy steps in and uses her magic following a bus accident, she’s almost killed in the process. Worse than that, it seems the child she risked her life to save might be an ongoing target. At the bottom of a ravine, in a spot where nobody should be, three magical children threaten one innocent child … and only Stormy stands in their way.
Surviving a perilous fall should make Stormy happy. She’s unsettled though, and the magical children that attacked are still out there. Worse than that, they seem to want her. They blame her for thwarting their plans … and they’re coming.
Stormy is brave and loyal, but she’s in over her head. Her boyfriend Hunter Ryan wants to help but he’s out of his depth. Even the Winchester witches can’t figure out what’s going on. That means they’re all going to have to work together to secure Stormy’s future.
Stormy is ready to fight the good fight. With brutal death barreling toward her, however, she might not even get the chance.
Darkness has arrived in Shadow Hills, and there may be no stopping it. Could this be the end?
The big finish is finally here.
Izzy Sage, a bruja with a dark past, is dreaming of a bright future with Braden Grimlock. There’s only one thing that stands in her way.
Banished to a different plane for centuries, the god Pan has managed to escape. He has one goal. He wants to take over the world, starting with Detroit. The only thing standing in his way is Izzy and her merry band of misfits and reapers.
Pan set his plan in motion years ago, and it turns out, Izzy plays into it. He can’t win without her. She has no intention of playing the game by his rules, however. Not only is she going to take him down, but she’s also going to put an end to the revenant army that’s been threatening Detroit for the better part of a year.
Izzy knows what she wants. She even knows how to get it. All that’s left is the fight.
War is on the Grimlocks’ doorstep. The only question is who will win.
The end will make Izzy a legend…if she can survive long enough to see it through that is.
This one might be of particular interest for fans of the blog. It’s an Orctober surprise! “Beasts of Waste and Desolation” is a short story from Grimnir’s wandering days. It’s a bit under 5K words, BUT . . . it’s paired with a sneak-peek at the forthcoming Grimnir novel, The Doom of Odin!
All told, we’re looking at 13,772 words of snarling, spitting action featuring our favorite historical orc.
Sometimes, the monster is just a man…
Painted as the savage man-eating Cyclops in Homer’s masterwork, The Odyssey, Polyphemus comes to life in Scott Oden’s epic tale of duty and obligation. A giant, one-eyed foreigner living on the fringes of Aeolia in Sicily, Polyphemus shuns his neighbors; he scavenges from shipwrecks along the rocky coast, robbing the dead and leaving their bodies to the sea’s embrace — a monstrous breach of the ancient laws of hospitality.
But, when he is himself robbed and blinded by brutal Achaeans journeying home from the War at Troy, Polyphemus is quick to seek justice from those same neighbors. Making his way to the Court of the Winds, where the King of Aeolia holds sway, he befriends a fisherman’s son, young Glaukos son of Lykaon. Together, they seek to answer the question: can a self-professed monster, an outsider who flaunts the Gods and their laws of hospitality, find justice at the Court of the Winds?
Xenia in the Court of the Winds is a mesmerizing descent into the customs and traditions of the ancient Greeks; a beautifully rendered tale where heroes and villains aren’t always what they seem.
Acre, at the close of the 13th century. The last remaining Crusader stronghold, where the ideals of a Kingdom of Heaven – forged by saints and zealots nearly two hundred years ago – now hang by the slenderest of threads. It is a city menaced by Saracen warlords; a city coveted by the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt. It is a city of infidels and sinners, lepers and thieves, seemingly forsaken by God.
Into this bloody crucible comes Tancred of Antioch, a battle-scarred giant of a man known to friend and foe alike as the White Lion. In the streets of Acre, he plies his trade as a sword-for-hire, a merchant of death, always keeping his true allegiances cloaked in mystery. But, when his friend, the gentle and learned apothecary Jawan Khandaq, is murdered and killers alight upon him, as well, the White Lion goes on the hunt.
Now, from the alleys of the Venetian Quarter to the crypts of the Leper King, Tancred of Antioch will reap a bloody harvest among his enemies. And those who seek to chain him, to exploit him, to kill him will learn the truth at the point of his sword: Tancred of Antioch, the White Lion, is not a man to be trifled with.
In The White Lion, Scott Oden does what he does best — he channels the spirit of Robert E. Howard into a tale of treachery and double-cross; a tale set against the last days of the Crusades!
Trapped between warlords
The choice is simple:
From the Solar System itself, Imperator James Calvin Walkingstick prepares the remaining fleets of the Commonwealth for a desperate and brutal campaign to retake their borders and unify humanity once more.
On the other side of the Commonwealth’s seceding star systems, Dictator Kaleb Periklos gathers his fleets to avenge their humiliation. To the mercenary Admirals of the Stellar League, it doesn’t matter whether the worlds they conquer still kneel to Terra.
Caught in-between these two would-be conquerors are Admiral James Tecumseh and the newborn Dakotan Confederacy. Now guardian to a nation, Tecumseh faces enemies on all sides. He’s left with only one answer true to his and his new nation’s principles.
“Everyone was, in one night, made basic again. For when the Lord snapped his fingers, the Devil took the stage. What tremendous music he made”.
October Ninth – the day the world went dark. Nearly three decades later, life is different. Slower, sicker, meaner. In Colorado the Old West was reborn, and with it came the Crows, beastly birds with a taste for man. They’ve outgrown Denver, the Crows. Judge sees how they spread, how they hunt and feast on what remains of mankind, and he hates them. The blackout without mercy—already crippled the world. The past twenty-six years only saw survivors shrivel and perish, quietly, pathetically. All because the lights never turned back on. Instead, through death and dark nights, the untamed West came roaring back, and with it the stink, the grime, and the danger of older days. Now bloodthirsty birds flock to finish what the Devil started.
If Judge could butcher them all, he would. Law has other plans. Perhaps by reliving the past, the town of Genesis might find its future. Already it bears vision, purpose, and people; it has guidance under Law and order through Judge. But talk of a machine, after so long of silence, stagnation, and simple living, has made Law a moth to a dangerous flame. He might walk through hell just to see it. He might take his whole town with him. But there are others—the callous, the crazed, the greedy—who stand in their way.
Could be all of them want the train. For power, for protection, or just for the sake of having something no other soul could claim, the rumor has started a race. One Law intends to win. Because the Crows are coming. And what good are walls when the Devil has wings?
When the pressure is the highest, a person’s true character will come out. The same can be said for entire civilizations.
Artemis has rejoined her childhood friend, Max, and they are now on the same assignment: conquer a new world and defend it from attack. In the process, she finds herself in the middle of a conflict she wants no part of, and her loyalties will be tested. If she makes the wrong choice, it could cost Artemis her life. Will she be able to handle the pressure and make the right choice or will she pay the ultimate price for the mistakes of others?
Free Systems is the third book in the Honor Among the Stars series. If you like sci-fi adventures, space battles with complex alien invaders, and unexpected twists in humanities exploration of the stars, you definitely want to know what happens next.
Fall asleep before you hear the footsteps …
Dr. Owen Drake recently suffered a tragedy so painful that he picked up his entire life and ran away from the memories. Now, Owen is in a new city with a new job as a psychology professor at a reputable university.
He also has a new home that sits on a lake, but the area is eerily quiet. The lake is calm. The neighbors are mysterious.
But then there are the nights … and the thundering noises above … that wake him every night at the same time…