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 June 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. We have science fiction, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction romance, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, YA fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, time travel, horror, werewolf detectives, regency werebears, starships, space pirates, the afterlife, aliens, magical healers, people who live in walls, lots of LGBT characters and much more.
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 Salvation of Innocence by Robert E. Balsey Jr.:
A young woman embarks on a harrowing journey to save her world's last vestige of magical healing in Robert E. Balsley Jr.'s epic new fantasy novel, The Salvation of Innocence.
Althaya, the goddess of healing, wishes to share her ability to help those in need, providing "empaths," which give clerics the means to magically heal others—a means that some people fear and wish to destroy. In response, a dark magic known as the Purge is created to seek out and eradicate all empaths.
But one lone survivor remains, spirited away by Althaya and hidden in a magical stasis field. There, the last empath must remain alive until the time comes for rescue—but the Purge will not rest until the last empath is found and killed.
Three thousand years later, Kristen Rosilie Clearwater is only beginning to realize her destiny. Having been brought to the island of InnisRos as an orphan, she has long felt a "tug" toward something she can't quite understand. But when she begins experiencing the dreams of a young child, Kristen knows that the two are somehow connected—and that the fate of the world, and the future of healing magic, rests on her shoulders.
Finished with Life but Unable to Die by Scott Bartlett:
At ninety-one, Michael Haynes finds his terminal cancer diagnosis a relief.
He’s ready to move on from this world. In fact, he's convinced his death will make things better for his children, providing both financial ease and closure for a long-ago event that still haunts them all.
But just when he thinks he is finally shuffling off, Michael wakes from a coma to find he has undergone a miraculous new procedure and his time here is far from over.
As his condition piques the government’s interest, Michael begins to discover a shocking secret about how the universe works. Instead of solving everything with his death, he must contend not only with continuing to live indefinitely but also with stopping his family from tearing itself apart.
All 5 novellas in the Unable to Die series are available now!
Ascendancy: Rise of the Fallen by Bradford Bates:
John Blackthorn is one of the Gifted, and a member of the Ascendancy. The Gifted, under the direction of Adam, are dedicated to protecting humanity from the supernatural. Using the gift of magic, the Ascendancy polices the supernatural world. Now facing a new threat from the Fallen an alliance must be forged to save humanity. The Fallen are up to something new, and the Ascendancy must take drastic action to save the city of San Francisco. John and his partner Sarah Atsidii will work together to stop whatever the Fallen are planning.
This is the first tale in the Ascendancy Origins Series.
The novella is just over 36k words.
The Bramblewood Werebear by K.M. Carroll:
Jennie Walden is a young woman who has written papers for natural science journals, and has corresponded with a fellow naturalist, Oliver Gunnersen, for years.
When Oliver proposes long distance, Jennie travels to Oliver's home at Bramblewood Estate to wed her mysterious friend. She is astonished at his size and physical strength, yet his adorable shyness remains, if she can see past his imposing exterior.
Oliver has kept his bear form secret from Jennie, fearful that if she knew that he was a monster, she would flee. But the werewolves of the neighboring city of Grayton have emerged to mingle with the populace. A certain pack has begun threatening him and the treasure he protects on the Bramblewood land. The werewolves know that he cannot tolerate another shifter in his territory ... and threaten to turn Jennie.
Now Jennie must choose whether to flee, or whether to stick with this bear-man she has grown to love from a distance. The time is coming when their very survival depends on the love of the other.
Reunification by Timothy L. Cerepaka:
When one knight travels to a another world to find his long-lost sister, he is drawn into a conflict deeper than he knows.
With three photographs of his sister as his only clues, Rii, a Knight of Se-Dela, travels to Xeeo, a world of science and technology completely unlike his magical and mystical home world of Dela, where he hopes to reunite with his sister after her mysterious disappearance six years ago.
It soon turns out that the disappearance of Rii's sister is linked to a vaster conflict between two ancient organizations that stretches back to the dawn of the two worlds themselves. And when Rii finds himself stranded on this world, he must race to find his sister before the mysterious figures who want him dead end his life.
Magic Times by Harvey Click:
Everybody wants a little magic—but just a little can do a lot of damage!
A young man not overly burdened with brains hitchhikes to Ohio in search of his runaway girlfriend, but he finds a lot more than he’s looking for. Soon Jason is chin-deep in a bizarre and perilous predicament involving a witch, a crippled magician, a sinister businessman, a mysterious stalker, and a book of magic that could bring about the end of the world.
Harvey Click, best known for his lurid horror tales, explores a different genre with this darkly comic coming-of-age novel. He mixes a tablespoon of black magic with a teaspoon of zesty sex, a sprinkle of savory satire, a dash of dire danger, a splash of spicy suspense, a pinch of pungent irony, a cup of coarsely ground comedy, and a full measure of sheer madness.
Awakened by Shei Darksbane and Annathesa Nikola Darksbane:
Geeky lesbian Dakota Shepherd was just a bored night security guard, working at a museum in Knoxville, Tennessee until one fateful encounter changed it all. A rogue wizard. A demonic ritual. A silver chalice. Dakota Awakened, Hellfire blazing from her hands.
Dakota's powers are a danger to herself and everyone around her, and she has to learn to control them quickly or risk losing her one chance to finally fulfill a lifelong dream.
While coming to terms with her new reality, she stumbles upon a secret that changed the course of her life.
Now she wants to know who is responsible for the holes in her memory, the blocks that hold back her powers, and all the years she spent alone.
Who put her back to sleep when she Awakened years before?
Awakened is the first book in the Auralight Codex: Dakota Shepherd series.
The Layneworth Monsters by Jolie Du Pre:
There's a vicious serial killer in town that's keeping the detectives of Layneworth and the entire city up at night. Some think it's a ruthless human, while others could swear werewolves are behind the havoc.
The Buscettos are far from human. Though they appear like the typical, charming family to the outside world—they're a sex and bloodthirsty monster race that has stealthily roamed the planet since the fifth century. Known as Zxxtergins, they often leave their victims mutilated and nude in their pursuit of carnal desire.
Detective Brenda Martin and her partner Robert Moretti are determined to crack the case, but at what cost? Vaccinations are said to keep the Zxxtergins at bay. When Brenda forgets to keep up with her vaccinations, does she too become a victim? Amongst all of the cross-species love and uncontrollable lust, loss of life both monster and human, is Layneworth, let alone the world, safe from the Zxxtergin race?
IMPACT by Matthew Eliot:
It's been nine months since the meteorites hit. They brought both destruction and disease, carrying a mysterious pathogen that has killed untold millions, while turning others into Meteorwraiths -- zombie-like human relics.
Now, the tattered remnants of humanity do their best to survive.
Alice and Adrian have lost everything except each other. Both barely twelve-years-old, they fight their way across the ruins of Europe, in a desperate search for their family.
James Walscombe is senior safety specialist trapped inside top-secret US nuclear facility Atlantis with two colleagues. They survived the impact, unscathed. But now, one of them has turned into a psychotic murderer.
Father Paul struggles to keep his faith in a world resentful towards its gods. His life isn't the one he thought he'd chosen when he entered the seminary, and now new, dark deities are creeping out from the shadows.
Earth's survivors are trying to adapt to the harsh realities of the post-impact world.
But the worst is yet to come.
The Green Children by Domino Finn:
Maxim and Diego don't always get along. But they get results.
After missing for three days, a young girl is found wandering the Arizona forest. She's despondent, with no memory of her ordeal beyond eerie delusions. When a second girl disappears, a pattern emerges that sets two police departments racing against the clock to save her.
Only two men dare take on the mysterious Sycamore wilderness: Maxim Dwyer is a small-town detective with attachment issues who faces off against a rival from the county police. Diego de la Torre, a biker troublemaker with an anti-authority complex, walks a fine line between responsible citizen and vigilante outlaw.
Together, the unlikely pair isn't always on the same side of the law, but they are the girl's best hope. Unfortunately, things in Sycamore are rarely what they seem. Maxim and Diego have more problems than they know, and if those don't catch up with them, whatever lurks in the forest will.
Earthbound by Mark R. Healy:
The Earth is suffocating under toxic skies and there’s only one way for those left behind to escape – the space elevator that sits atop the massive structure known as the Reach.
Knile Oberend is an outcast, a man exiled for the crimes of his past. Thrown an unlikely lifeline, he has less than forty-eight hours to cash in his ticket at the top of the Reach and escape off-world.
Disgraced cop Alec Duran had a bright future until he made one fateful mistake. Now his last shot at redemption becomes entwined with the fate of the very man who ruined his life three years ago.
Alton Wilt, an underworld boss desperate to leave Earth, falls upon a rare find – the name of a man who is about to be granted passage off-world. With his minions in tow he is hell bent on stealing that privilege for himself.
As time runs out, these three men find themselves on a collision course that will lead to a confrontation from which only one can emerge victorious.
Shifting Infinity by Patty Jansen:
Melati escaped New Jakarta space station when it fell into Allion's hands. Her family was left behind the enemy lines.
She signed up for active duty with the International Space Force in the hope they would liberate the station. Instead, they chose to maintain a crippling siege that has lasted for ten months.
A small ship escapes from the station with on board a single male occupant whose mind appears to have been wiped.
With her skills in artificial mindbases, Melati is part of the team that tries to get information out of him.
He could be a human Trojan horse sent by Allion and his calls for help nothing more than a trap to get ISF to send people to the station. Or he could be a genuine escapee from the station where the recycling processes have collapsed and ten thousand civilians have mere weeks until they die of asphyxiation. Either way, the time for watching and waiting is over. War is about to begin.
This is the sequel to Shifting Reality.
Ambassador: The Sahara Conspiracy by Patty Jansen:
3 December 2114
Cory Wilson is woken in the middle of the night with a summons to appear in the president of Nations of Earth’s office. An aid worker in Djibouti has discovered a shipment of alien guns.
As ambassador to gamra, the extraterrestrial organisation which controls the Exchange, the FTL wormhole network, Cory has often been critical of Earth’s handling of extraterrestrial problems. This is his moment to shine, to apply his knowledge about alien customs, to, in the words of the president, “get those idiots out of there”.
Except the usual suspects, the Zhori mafia who have caused trouble on Earth for a long time, are nowhere to be seen. This is something far more dangerous, something that involves all of northern Africa, something that provokes the anger of Asto, gamra’s largest world. Asto’s army is already prowling in orbit, ready to strike.
Dead Reckoning and Other Stories by David M. Kelly:
From David M. Kelly comes a cast of characters all in need of some serious therapy.
In Dead Reckoning, Hector discovers that life after death ain’t easy when your shorts itch and your ass belongs to a whip-wielding giant. And pity poor Murphy, struggling to keep the peace between his team of geeky scientists and a gung-ho lieutenant, as they investigate a mysterious alien ship—all while dealing with his own personal case of Murphy’s Law.
First Contact is always complicated, especially when you have to call in cranky old relic, Casteneda, to bail you out. Fresh off the battlefield, Matt Holbrook is also grappling with a perplexing new species, but all he wants is to make it home.
Earl Duarte is in for some interesting pet therapy in How much is that doggy? And as for Elvis, he definitely needs some therapy. In One for the Money he’s re-entered the building, but is kinda confused. Meanwhile, lovesick Dan wonders if Mel will ever notice him in the technology-obsessed world of Version Control.
Hexad: The Factory by Al K. Line
IT WASN'T GOING TO BE A NORMAL SATURDAY...
Dale dug furtively, feeling like a muppet but unable to get the previous evening's conversation with Amanda out of his mind. A stupid, drunken conversation, full of conjecture about the possibility of time travel. Then one of them, he couldn't remember which, had come up with the idea that if it really was possible at some point in their future then they'd go back in time and bury proof under the apple tree in the garden.
Dale knew he was acting foolish, and prayed Amanda didn't wake up to find him digging in the dirt. He couldn't help it though, however ridiculous it seemed. There was that nagging at the back of his mind: what if?
Wraith by Lita Locke:
Welcome to 'Howling Moon Detective Agency' -- where the cases (of beer) are cold, the dames are hot-blooded (important if you're a vampire), the crims are cool-headed ... oh, and the co-owner's a Werewolf!
But that's nothing out of the ordinary, and just a regular day at the office, really!
What's not right is that a Scottish castle has a Bogle, a York theatre needs ghost busting, and a grown man can't go five minutes without crying.
It's up to the team at 'Howling Moon' to sort the clues, catch a killer, avenge the dead and scare off the nearly departed still treading the Victorian theatre boards. Thing is: they've got two weeks to solve the supernatural, otherwise it's ghost lights out for everyone!
Vergence by John March:
Ebryn has trained as a caster from a young age. He sets out to find a place for himself, travelling to Vergence city, where he hopes to be accepted amongst his own kind.
But Ebryn doesn't know he carries a dangerous secret with him. A secret which threatens to overturn the delicate balance between the factions vying for dominance in the city, the heart of a great trading empire.
Orim, a skilled warrior, is sent by the ruler of Vergence to discover the truth. Opposing Orim is a deadly assassin, tasked with permanently burying the past.
As the struggle for control of the city starts to unfold Ebryn finds he's not the only one with a hidden history.
Vergence is the first book in the Vergence cycle.
An Aching in the Bone by Genevieve McKay:
Carolina Brown finally has the life she’s always dreamed of. She lives in a fantastic house with a family who loves her. She is following her dream of being a chef (just like her idol Gordon Ramsay) and she even has a horse of her own.
So what if she’s still a hermit? All she wants is for things to stay exactly as they are.
But, like it or not, things are changing. Cara’s family enter her in a province-wide Junior Chef competition; one she knows she’s going to fail miserably at. That creepy boy from next door lurks behind every tree and, worst of all, her beloved friend Henry is losing his zest for living.
When forces from outside threaten Cara’s world she will stop at nothing to protect her family.
This is the sequel to The Opposite of Living.
The Torrent by Simone Pond:
Grace has survived Chief Morray’s attempt to keep her trapped inside the mainframe, but at a terrible cost: leaving her mother behind. Giving up training at the academy in order to wait for Ava’s return. Grace wants to do the right thing, but it’s never that simple. While Ava struggles against Morray in the virtual reality, Grace is left alone in the real world to fight her own battles. There’s a new corrupt authority figure. A regional council to sway. A war to stop. And a promise to keep to a precious young soul. How can Grace save everyone, including herself?
The Torrent is the final book in the New Agenda Series.
The Book of Daniel by Mat Ridley:
Daniel Stein is having the worst day of his life. The last day of his life, in fact. And things are only going to get worse for him tomorrow.
Death is only the beginning for Dan. Waking up to find that his wife, Joanna, has also been killed is bad enough, but then Dan also finds a sword shoved into his hand, and is told that the only way he's ever going to get to Jo—and Heaven—is if he does as God tells him and fights against the forces of Satan's army.
But demons are the least of Dan's problems in the afterlife. There's also his hatred of God to contend with.
And Dan is pretty sure that God hates him right back.
Welcome to Purgatory.
Pirates by Jim Rudnick:
“Tanner Scott, a RIM Confederacy Naval officer, has fought many battles against both humans and aliens. Years ago, he proved victorious against a band of aliens. His ongoing fight with his own alcoholism however remains a stalemate.
And suddenly, Pirates have appeared on the RIM. They have kidnapped the passengers of many craft and sold them into slavery and Scott is ordered to find them and rescue them.
But the pirates aren't acting alone. They are sponsored by a powerful Royal with ambitious plans, and she isn't about to let some Navy captain stand in the way of her mining empire. Scott must rescue the slaves while simultaneously navigating the treacherous space of interstellar politics.
If he fails, a Royal will gain more power, the entire Confederacy may unravel, and Scott's alcohol addiction will be the least of his worries…”
The Holeys in the Wall by Helen Ryan:
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! KABOOM!
Bo had never heard anything like it before. Red and white dust was everywhere and big bits of the Wall crumbled away.
‘Holey terror!’ shouted Mr Buzz in Bo’s left ear. ‘Take cover!’
What would you do if your world was falling apart? Run, hide or try and save the day? The Holeys all live in a gigantic stone wall that is beginning to crumble and fall. They are frightened if the Wall falls what will become of their home?
Bo is the youngest Holey. He is asked to go where no Holey has gone before, beyond the Wall. He must seek the mysterious Builder who the Holeys believe will save them. Bo discovers there is more to life than the Wall that houses them all.
But what happens if Holeys don’t follow the rules?
Well everyone follows the rules. Don't they?
Mir: Shamansworld Series Box Set by Jessica Rydill:
Follow the adventures of young shaman Annat Vasilyevich and her close-knit but eccentric family as they travel between worlds and fight fearsome enemies.
From quirky humour to deep sorrow, watch her as she grows from an awkward teenager to a young woman, trying to master her magical powers, understand her complex sexual nature and avoid getting killed by fanatical medieval lords, foreign wizards and the Inquisition.
Annat is a Wanderer and a shaman in a world where Wanderers are outcast and shamans are viewed with fear and suspicion. Will she survive to adulthood, or will she be killed and exiled to the underworld where shamans continue to travel after death?
This boxed set includes the first three novels in this fantasy adventure series: Children of the Shaman, The Glass Mountain, and Malarat. Each book is over 100,000 words long.
SAFE by Hollis Shiloh:
Afraid of being outed, Neil Hunter, "Hunt," dreads meeting the new "human lie detector" at the precinct — a registered empath who can sense truth and falsehood.
But Skyler Zane is more of a mess than any closeted cop could ever be, with an abusive ex and a history of mental issues. And instead of avoiding him, Hunt ends up taking him under his wing, looking out for him.
And maybe falling for him, too. Everything is going well — including their unexpected feelings for each other — until Sky's skills come to the wrong attention. Now it's up to Hunt to find him — and figure out how to keep them both alive.
The Deep Link by Veronica Sicoe:
Taryn's DREAM of forging an alliance with powerful aliens has become a NIGHTMARE. She is linked to a ruthless warlord, an alien killing machine who could destroy humanity on a whim.
Taryn will go down fighting before she surrenders to the monster invading her mind.
But in her struggle to regain control, she finds her tormentor has irreversibly changed her, and she has in turn changed him. The link is turning her into a weapon, drawing strength from the world-slayer who had no regard for another's life—until now.
And their powerful connection doesn't remain unnoticed.
As death and destruction erupt around them, quickly growing out of control, theymust carve their way out of their old lives with a single common purpose: unite their forces and change the future.
Grand Master's Game by Aurora Springer:
Spin across the galaxy - Violet and her Grand Master hunt their enemies
Cracks in the portal web threaten galactic civilization, and suspicions fall on the mysterious Grand Masters with their immense psychic powers. Once, there were twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens, on the Council. Now there are eleven. One was killed when the young pawn, Violet, rescued her Grand Master, Athanor, from the Red Queen’s dungeon. The Red Queen fled the fight and she lurks out of sight, regenerating her energies.
Athanor devises a risky plan to expose his enemies on the Council and force the Red Queen into the open. His strategy will use Violet’s empathic skills as his secret weapon. She wrestles with her erratic talents and doubts about their unequal partnership. In their search for revenge, they must contend with the portal crisis, psychic traps and hostile aliens. In the inevitable battle of Grand Masters, Violet and Athanor each will face their worst nightmares. What is the sacrifice for victory?
This is the sequel to Grand Master's Pawn.
Machination by Ella Summers:
For sixteen years, the alliance between the sorcerers of Elitia and the technology-powered Selpe Empire has held. But forces from both outside and within want to see that bond broken—and now they may finally succeed.
When the Selpe emperor is assassinated the same night his twin half-Elition sons vanish without a trace, the high king of Elitia tasks Ariella with uncovering a traitor in the Selpe ranks. She has never felt comfortable chasing conspiracies. If she doesn’t solve this one, though, the traitor will strike again—and the rule of the Selpe Empire will fall to those who want to turn her and every other Elition into living weapons.
Desperate times call for unlikely allies. Ariella teams up with Silas, the dead emperor’s bodyguard; Marin, a bomb-building airship engineer; and Leonidas, a disgraced Selpe intelligence agent. But someone really doesn’t want them to unravel this conspiracy. And this mysterious someone is doing a pretty thorough job of trying to kill them.
Machination is Book 3 in the Sorcery and Science fantasy adventure series.
Friends in Command by Joe Vasicek:
THE FUTURE OF THE OUTWORLDS NOW LIES IN UNCERTAIN HANDS.
The war for the Outworlds is on. The Imperials may have lost the first round, but they're back—and this time, a ragtag flotilla isn't going to stop them.
When Aaron recieves a captain's commission in the new Outworld Confederacy, Mara is his natural choice for second in command. But Mara never expected to live past the first few battles. She only joined the resistance to avenge her father, and fears the monster she's starting to become. The only thing she has left to live for now is her friends.
The Imperials aren't the only enemy in this war, though. The friends must face a threat from within.
This is book 4 in the Sons of the Starfarers series.
The Great Symmetry by James R. Wells:
Exoarchaeologist Evan McElroy has made a discovery about a long-extinct alien race. But his sponsors realize they can make huge gains if the new findings are kept completely secret. Step one of their plan is to kill the entire research team - starting with Evan.
As Evan flees for his life, his trajectory awakens a long-buried struggle. The Infoterrorists, who believe all ideas are screaming to be free, have waited years for the right moment to take on the seven great families that control all of civilization. This could be their opportunity. Or, it could be time for millions to die.
The Great Symmetry is classic science fiction from the great-grandson of H. G. Wells.