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 October 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 space opera, military science fiction, paranormal romance, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Asian fantasy, weird westerns, cyberpunk, galactic revolutions, interplanetary wars, werewolves, were-rabbits, witches, dragons, aliens, telepaths, time travellers, supernatural detectives, feminist swordswomen, interdimensional inns, wild west mummies, bug-eyed monsters 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:
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews:
Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.
Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn...and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper…
Bug-Eyed Monsters and the Women Who Love Them by Cora Buhlert:
Six short science fiction stories that subvert the tropes and clichés of the golden age and caricature the gender dynamics of classic science fiction.
In these pages, you'll travel from suburban America to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. You'll visit New Pluto City and Garrett's World. You'll encounter the terrors of the Brazilian jungle and the horrors of American suburbia. You'll meet phantom lovers and alien she-devils, devious man-eaters, unseen underwater monsters and the tentacled menace of the fearsome Eee'chuk-chi'up. You'll encounter dashing space heroes who don't get the girl and bug-eyed monsters that do. And you'll meet intergalactic heroines who know exactly what they want from a lover.
This is a collection of six satirical science fiction stories of 7700 words or approximately 26 print pages altogether.
The Vintages by Andrei Cherascu:
Ten years after the doomed mission to Carthan, a terrible disease is turning human Mindguards into a threat to society. The Enforcement Unit, the ruthless, peace-keeping arm of the Interstellar Federation of Common Origin, has outlawed their activity and is keeping them under strict surveillance.
Forty-seven prototech Mindguards who call themselves the Vintages have fled to the Hando Desert and seized control of the territory's thoughtenhancing drug trade. Under the leadership of the mysterious Jaycen Nemeth, the Vintages are rapidly becoming a danger to the IFCO, bringing them into direct conflict with the Enforcers. As Nemeth’s influence grows among the Desert Dwellers, the prospect of a new Mindwar threatens the future of mankind.
This is the sequel to Mindguard.
Soulbreaker by Clara Coulson:
There’s a hideous monster on the loose, crushing heads and taking names.
But Detective Calvin Kinsey is on the case!
Two years ago, Cal Kinsey was an up-and-coming cop in the Aurora Police Department. But during a fateful nighttime stakeout in search of a prolific killer, Cal witnessed the darkest corner of his dreams come to life. A rogue vampire slaughtered his partner—to put it nicely—and introduced Cal to the supernatural world he never knew existed in the shadows.
Now, Cal is a newly minted detective at the often mocked Department of Supernatural Investigations. By day, the agents of DSI are called “Kooks” by local law enforcement. By night, they’re known as “Crows,” reviled by the supernatural underworld.
Mere weeks out of the academy, Cal catches his first real case, a vicious murder at a local college. An unknown sorcerer has summoned a powerful creature from the Eververse, a realm of magic and mayhem that borders Earth, and set it on a dangerous warpath through the city.
Between butting heads with his grumpy team captain, stirring up ill will with the local wizards and witches, and repeatedly getting the crap beaten out of himself, Cal must find a way to stop the Eververse monster and send it back to the hell it came from…
…preferably before Aurora, Michigan runs out of coffins for the dead.
Instinct by Annathesa Nikola Darksbane:
Instinct can save your life. Ignoring it can get you killed. And sometimes, it can uncover things perhaps best left alone.
After the escalating series of events on Urzra, Captain Branwen Hawke's crew is on leave, enjoying a vacation at the behest of the Kalaset itself. But for Branwen, the conflict on Urzra may have reawakened in her a desire for action that she fought for years to put down.
A chance encounter devolves into bloody violence, and without the support of her crew, the Captain ends up in a heated struggle for survival on her own as her instincts discover a danger hidden in the heart of Incarnum that may leave her dead, or worse.
Omega Trouble by Eileen Glass:
Alluring but barren, omega is an unfortunate affliction Skye is trying to outrun. He gets away with it for several years, fleeing to a new city whenever the wolves get too close, but his survival mechanism creates a terrible, unforeseen result. By dodging and ducking every rogue alpha to approach him, the one that finally keeps up is the size of a truck. Liam is not a wolf to be disrespected, and Skye is all too aware of his place in the pack. Natural selection has never been kind to him.
But, strangely, Liam sort of is.
Trouble is a novella of about 26,000 words.
The Lead Cloak by Erik Hanberg:
Byron Shaw can track and find anyone on Earth. Except the people who tried to kill him.
By 2081, privacy no longer exists. The Lattice enables anyone to re-live any moment of your life. People can experience past and present events—or see into the mind of anyone, living or dead.
Most people love it. Some want to destroy it.
Colonel Byron Shaw has just saved the Lattice from the most dangerous attack in its history. Now he must find those responsible. But there’s a question nobody’s asking: does the Lattice deserve to be saved?
The answer may cost him his life.
The Dragon Prince by Patty Jansen:
The tyrant Alexandre is gone from Saardam, but a new menace has come: the eastern traders in a ship of metal that is said to have been forged with dragon magic. They bring a chest of gold to buy an office in the city.
The people don't want them in their town. The Church of the Triune, which forbids magic, has increased its hold on the population, despite the Red Baron's efforts to stamp it out.
Newly-crowned queen Johanna is staring into the empty coffers after the extravagant spending by her husband's father before his death. King Roald is off in the garden to catch frogs, and she faces condemnation by the church in the knowledge that Saarland will need both money and magic to defeat the Red Baron's army.
Flight to the Fort by Jim Johnson:
The Scales Are Out of Balance
Tjety, an exiled Ranger of Mayat, and Ruia, a young fisherman’s daughter, team up to guide the survivors of a bandit attack through the dangerous and rugged Kekhmet frontier. Can they reach the safety of Fort Sekhmet before foul cultists and their horrible mummified creatures can capture them?
Flight to the Fort is the second episode in PISTOLS AND PYRAMIDS, an all-new monthly series best described as an ancient Egyptian-themed weird western with magic. And mummies. Lots of mummies.
This book contains some profanity and depictions of violence. Reader discretion is advised.
Dragon of Torik by Floyd Looney:
Short Story & Bonus Story
Four heroes run an errand for the Prince of Archlandia, heir to the throne, because the King is mad and cannot do the job himself. There is a report that the peppercorn workers of Torik are afraid to work because a dragon has appeared and people went missing. The prince has tasked the three large warriors and the slightly built archer to ferret out the truth of these reports. Alas, before they even arrive... trolls!
Marwyn the dwarf has a tough life at the bottom of the ladder, except for gnomes, as a servant to a mean old witch. Until he is approached about a mission to save someone from the clutches of a dragon.
Preserving Eternity by Mercia McMahon:
In an alternate Asia the Fumetsu are a Japanese-style culture of immortal beings, who live among mortal human races based on Sri Lankan, Ainu, and Korean style cultures. Life is tough in their city-state of Chieshi, which exists to protect the mountain on which the older Fumetsu live.
Mayu is a champion in the sport of women's sword fighting and a once in a generation talent. She is also a keen advocate of women's rights, who wants to cross over to the mountain and change society through politics. Then a rebellion happens and she has to decide how best to pursue her aims: by diplomacy or by the sword.
As the Fumetsu are eternally fertile relations between men and women are banned on the mountain, but compulsory in the city. Mayu's dilemma is complicated by the love of her life and fellow swordswoman Yaeko already living on the mountain, and the rebellion could separate them for ever.
The Blue Dragon by Salvador Mercer:
A thousand years ago, on the world of Claire-Agon, a war raged between men and dragons.
After an expedition of elite warriors kills an ancient nemesis, Seth the Sword Slayer, one of Agon’s most feared assassins, finds himself in the middle of a mysterious string of killings targeting the members of his elite group.
As the Kesh wizards call a conclave of Agon’s most powerful realms to Balax, the capital of Balaria, Seth attempts to set a trap and kill the rouge assassin in his homeland with the help of the governor’s troops, the thieves’ guild and his own assassin’s order. Seth must not only save his city from a new threat of destruction, but also navigate the politically deadly waters of high intrigue from the gathered realms.
Seth soon discovers that, in the world of Claire-Agon, when dealing with a Blue Dragon, sometimes appearances can be deceiving.
Time Junkie by Nigel G. Mitchell
"My name is Timothy McGill, and I'm a time travel addict."
Tim was just your usual frustrated and isolated teenager until he stumbled across krono, a new drug which sends him back in time while he trips out. From the moment he first tries it, Timothy begins a downward spiral into crime and corruption, all while living through the moments that led to his addiction. It's a strange and thoughtful journey as Tim explores his past while trying to grapple with the present and determine his future.
Ancient Relics by Jim Rudnick:
"Taking on a new Captaincy with the Barony means that our Captain Scott can now live a life of ease. His drinking will be tolerated, his hangovers ignored and he will be in charge of the newest fastest Supra Destroyer in the RIM Confederacy.
Life is good for Tanner who enjoys his new ship and the favors of the Lady St. August yet the PTSD he still suffers from the thwarted prison escape on Halberd still haunts him. He copes but needs support from loyal friends and that keeps him going.
Except he soon learns that the simple task of doing his shakedown cruise on the BN Atlas means that he inadvertently finds a discovery that will shake the very foundations of science all across the galaxy.
A Conflict of Orders by Ian Sales:
Casimir Ormuz and the Admiral, at the head of the biggest fleet the Empire has seen since its founding, are on their way to Geneza to meet the forces of the Serpent.
On Shuto, capital world of the Empire, the Serpent has begun his siege of the Imperial Palace.
Ormuz and the Admiral must win their battle on Geneza, and then travel to Shuto to save the Emperor, to save the Empire. But winning the fight and lifting the siege are only the beginning. Still complicating matters is the millennia-long conspiracy which seems to be driving the Serpent's rebellion.
So who is the real villain?
And when it all ends, who will be sitting on the Imperial Throne?
Rabbit Trails by Hollis Shiloh:
Logan is a lonely, nervous rabbit shifter — until he meets teasing, gentle Gabe. He's so drawn to Gabe that he's frightened about what that means for him. Gabe might be funny and sweet, but he's also friends with wolves, and he has his own sadness beneath the goofy surface. Can they make a relationship work? Do they even dare try?
sweet gay romance
set in the same world as the "Shifters and Partners" series but can be read alone