Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for October 2018

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 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, 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, historical fantasy, YA fantasy, cozy fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, science fantasy, space exploration and colonisation, dystopian fiction, LitRPG, horror, Steampunk, weird western, time travel, alternate history, writing advice, dragons, robots, dragons versus robots, alien invasions, galactic empires, cities on the moon, restaurants in space, waking starships, intergalactic crime lords, bounty hunters, superheroes, myth seekers, gnomes, elves, crime-fighting ghosts, wild west mages 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:

Invasion by Jay AllenInvasion by Jay Allen:

War…like none that has come before.

The Hegemony has launched the invasion Tyler Barron and his Confederation comrades have feared, and all the Rim is ablaze with the fires of war and destruction.

The Hegemony has brought its vast fleets, its advanced technology, and its endless legions of grim cyborg warriors to impose its system of rigid genetic hierarchy over all humanity on the Rim.

The Confederation fleet is outnumbered and outmatched, but they will fight nevertheless, struggling and dying to hold back the onslaught any way they can, even as the Marines they leave behind dig in and prepare to defend worlds swallowed up by the advancing battle lines.

Barron and his people will fight, they will fight like demons unleashed, and Jake ‘Raptor’ Stockton will lead his wings of strikefighters in one desperate attack after another into the teeth of the enemy armada, but time is running out…even as the enemy pushes relentlessly toward the Confederation’s Core and final victory.

The Myth Seeker by Cora BarclayThe Myth Seeker by Cory Barclay:

A banshee who just wants to sing.
A leprechaun with a gambling problem.
A sex-addicted succubus in recovery.
Vampires who want a sunny day at the beach.

And then there’s Steve, the regular Joe who inadvertently brought these flawed mythical beings to our world. But he has no idea how he did it, which is a problem, because it’s his job to bring them home.

All this responsibility is putting a serious damper on Steve’s directionless lifestyle. Then he finds out a dark force is trying to kill him and his friends. And he might be falling in love with one of his charges…

Steve realizes he must get his act together, before it’s too late…

No Kitten Around by R.J. BlaineNo Kitten Around by R.J. Blain:

Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

The last thing Reed Matthews needs in his life is a kitten, but when an orphaned tabby suckers him into becoming her caretaker, he’s in for the ride of his life. Add in an angel determined to meddle in his affairs, a devil with an agenda, and a bucketful of bad omens, and he’ll count himself fortunate if he survives the clash between heaven, hell, and his ex.

In this anything goes romp, there’s no kitten around: if Reed wants to survive and regain control of his life, his only hope lies in the hands of an elf and his ex, a woman he’s sworn to never see again.

Rookie by S.J. BryantRookie by S.J. Bryant:

Freedom has a price.

Thugs, thieves, urchins – and they’re the good guys.

Nova is tough as steel and as sharp as a switchblade. She thought she’d finally found freedom when she bought a ship and flew away from her home planet, but she soon realizes that freedom doesn’t come cheap.

With crime lords, gangs, and rival bounty hunters chasing her, Nova has to fight just to keep what little she has.

But there’s more at stake than her beat-up ship.

Nova has never needed anyone; she’s a loner, a maverick, a renegade. But now she has to make the ultimate choice; fight in a team, or die alone?

Life is hard, but Nova is harder.

You’ll love this space adventure, because everyone enjoys a gritty hero with a plasma pistol who’s trying to save the Universe.

The Taste of Home by Cora BuhlertThe Taste of Home by Cora Buhlert:

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

Mikhail is on his way home, an anniversary present for Anjali in his pocket, when he suddenly finds himself irresistibly drawn towards an unremarkable storefront and comes face to face with his past.

Meanwhile, Anjali is preparing a special anniversary dinner for Mikhail, only to find that he is late to come home.

This is a novelette of 9300 words or approximately 32 print pages in the "In Love and War" series, but may be read as a standalone.

Fractured Stars by Lindsay BurokerFractured Stars by Lindsay Buroker:

McCall Richter finds criminals, con men, and deadbeats better than anyone else in the empire.

She’s proud of her success and that she owns her own spaceship, especially since she struggles to understand human motivations, can’t tell when people are lying to her, and is horrible at recognizing faces. Being autistic in the empire is frowned upon—and there’s a handy normalization surgery to correct it—but she’s managed to prove her worth and avoid irking the tyrannical regime.

Except for one thing.

Two years ago, she liberated the android, Scipio, from an imperial research facility where he was treated worse than a slave. He’s become her business partner and best friend, but if the empire finds out she has him, a “normalization” surgery will be the least of her worries.

When her ship is confiscated by a cyborg law enforcer needing to transport prisoners, McCall knows she and Scipio are in trouble. Worse, the enforcer’s pilot is a former bounty hunter and business competitor she beat to the prize many times in the past.

Soon, he’s snooping all over her ship and questioning her about her past.

And there's something strange about him. He knows far more about what she’s thinking than any human should.

It’ll only be a matter of time before he discovers her secret. And then what?

Elven Fury by Lindsay BurokerElven Fury by Lindsay Buroker:

Jev Dharrow is trying to convince his father to cancel his arranged marriage so he can wed Zenia, the woman he loves. But when elven assassins arrive in the city, all his personal problems must be set aside.

They are after his good friend, Lornysh, an elf who has saved Jev's life a dozen times over the years. The assassins consider Lornysh to be a traitor to their people, and they’ll kill anyone who stands at his side. They wield great magic as well as their swords, and they have the power to destroy half the city as they chase after their target.

With the arranged marriage looming and elven assassins on the warpath, Jev is running out of time to save his friend—and his own future.

The Kingfisher's Debt by Kura CarpenterThe Kingfisher's Debt by Kura Carpenter:

Magic isn't real, right?

Within the small coastal city of Dunedin, local translator, Tamsin Fairchild has a reputation she hates. People think she's psychic...

Always hovering around and interfering in Tamsin's life, part father-figure, part thorn in her side, Detective Jackson, is an old-school cop. Childhood friend to her deceased mother, Tamsin wonders could her mother have let an outsider in on the truth?

Newcomer, rookie cop Scott Gale is forced to team-up with Tamsin when they investigate the disappearance of a newborn baby and a bizarre crime scene--satanic ritual or hoax?

More and more the blame starts to point towards Tamsin...

Tamsin must uncover who's framing her, find the baby before it's too late, unravel the mystery behind her elder brother's disappearance, and stop Scott from entering a world not meant for human eyes.

But Scott has family secrets of his own and Tamsin doesn't know who to trust.

But can you trust Tamsin? What if the person who saved your life is about to frame you for murder?

Enter the Shroud by Killian CarterEnter the Shroud by Killian Carter:

When Captain Grimshaw and Lieutenant Evans go renegade, the crew of the North Star must enter the Shroud. Vessels that dare travel into the infamous nebula never return to tell about it, but Taza Arkona claims to possess a key that will grant them safe passage.

With the Galactic Alliance coming undone at the seams and a long forgotten enemy looming on the horizon, Grimshaw, Evans, and Arkona must learn the secrets hidden behind the Shroud. If they fail, invaders will ravage the Galaxy unimpeded while it burns from within.

Defiance by H.G. ChambersDefiance by H.G. Chambers:

The void gathers, and shadows deepen.

The terrifying truth has finally been revealed—New Arcadia is a city-sized weapon, poised to destroy the entire planet. Now Oren, Clementine, Anzien, and Ryland must join forces and fight, if they hope to rescue the millions of civilians within New Arcadia, and stop the apocalyptic weapon from activating. But to do so, they must overcome not only their enemies, but also the demons within themselves.

Oren’s memories of Clementine have been burned away, leaving an empty chasm between them. Determined to melt his cold despondence, Clementine returns a precious gift he gave her long ago. Will it be enough to bring them together, or will the contradiction in his memories divide them further?

As the Ko'jin rebels prepare to march on New Arcadia, Anzien discovers that General Graves has been feeding her lies and cannot be trusted. With millions of lives in the balance, Anzien must make a choice—subvert the general’s plans and face charges of treason, or follow orders and risk trading one tyrant for another.

Ryland has finally begun to accept his role as the voice of the resistance. There's just one problem: after his encounter with the Patriarch, he's no longer sure that his mind is his own. Now, not even he can say with surety whether he will aid in the evacuation efforts, or sabotage them completely.

Humanity's final hour approaches, and it appears all may be lost. Those who would fight must now band together in defiance if they hope to beat back the darkness, and save humanity from oblivion.

Defiance is the final book in the award winning Aeternum Chronicles sci-fi fantasy trilogy. If you like heart-pounding adventure, compelling characters, and expert world building, then you’ll love H.G. Chambers’ epic series.

Yesterday's Tears by Sam CheeverYesterday's Tears by Sam Cheever:

It might be a murder from decades ago, but it still has its claws in the present…and someone seems determined to drag Anna into it.

It’s never a good idea to spend too much time in a haunted mansion, and Anna’s favorite cowboy ghost does his best to talk her out of it. But the opportunity to pick from the beautiful antiques left to her in a Crocker resident’s will is just too tempting for Anna and Pratt to pass up. So they’re going in…

They’re prepared to deal with a few cold spots. Maybe the occasional flickering light. But what Anna and the boys weren’t counting on was bumping up against the ghost of Josiah Baumgartner, a contemporary of Joss’ from the 1800s. And when Josiah claims the old woman who lived in the house hid his bones around the place, Anna agrees to help him find them. But something much darker is at work there. And, unfortunately for our happy little gang of antique hunters…Anna seems to have unwittingly stepped right into the middle of it.

Plato Crater by Carleton ChinnerPlato Crater by Carleton Chinner:

The independent European base at Plato Crater is the Earth’s only hope for an end to the Helium-3 crisis if they can’t persuade Yesha Chen, Empress of the Moon, to trade. Every other Earth power will stop at nothing to seize control of the Moon’s lucrative energy supply.

Jonah Barnes would rather have stayed on the Moon with Yesha, the love of his life, than be back on Earth negotiating a Helium-3 deal that might leave him being something other than human.

Yesha thought it was hard to lead a rebellion. Now she must subdue one, but her stolen battle droids have other ideas. To survive, she will need to choose between the man she loves and the woman she must become before it is too late.

Tales of Peavley Manor by Robert DahlenTales of Peavley Manor (Or, Macalley Gets It Together) by Robert Dahlen:

Alice Peavley, young heiress, had hoped life would be simple once everything surrounded her inheritance had been settled. However, life had other ideas, and Alice keeps running into touchy situations and absurd adventures! From book thievery to motorcar mayhem, riding flightless birds to outwitting mad scientists, Alice must face them all...and will hopefully triumph with the help of her eccentric and loyal friends, her brainy gnome valet Macalley, and a good cup of tea.

Blending comedy, steampunk, and fantasy, Tales of Peavley Manor is an entertaining and delightful collection!

(The material in this book has been previously published in e-book format as the novelettes “Book Fair Frenzy (Or, Macalley Turns The Page)”, “The Thorn Harbour Road Rally (Or, Macalley Takes The Wheel)”, “The Missing Mallard (Or, “Duck, Macalley! Duck!”)”, and “The Rebellious Rooster (Or, Macalley Gets Cocky)”.

In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de BodardIn the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard:

From the award-winning author of the Dominion of the Fallen series comes a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land...

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets...

Crossover by Timothy EllisCrossover by Timothy Ellis:

Jon Hunter is back. Whether he likes it or not!

Be careful what you ask for. A higher being might be listening.

It's been 2 days since Jon Hunter reset the timeline, by locking the Darkness away forever.
2 days of grateful rest. For him.

For the rest of the team, it feels like a year has passed, and they're stuck in a limbo they cannot escape.

Jane wants Jon to get back to work, and a higher power seems to want the same thing.

But Jon isn't ready yet, and Jane thinks he only needs a wakeup call.

But when has anything Jon Hunter related ever been as simple as a wakeup call?

Weird is normal for this team, but this is Crossover, and all you can say is…

…It's a Jon Hunter thing!

Belief's Horizon by I.W. FergusonBelief's Horizon by I.W. Ferguson:

Treachery at home. Otherwordly visitors. What else lies beyond belief’s horizon?

Happen Fell lives on an isolated farm deep in the rainy woods on the magical planet Grith. It’s past time for him to go to the annual trade fair to begin his rites of passage, but one untimely trouble after another keeps him from exploring further than his home and the tiny school he attends with his cousin.And one person seems to lurk behind every trouble: Osgar.

Once Happen finally leaves on his journey, he fears his father’s loyal employee will turn up any moment. But when a stranger claims that Grith could be facing a threat from beyond the stars, Happen's coming-of-age journey becomes much more treacherous—and mysterious.

That looming threat is the Lightfeeder Menace, and it could destroy everything. Almost no one on Grith—Happen included—believes it could be real. But what they don't believe might kill them.

Belief's Horizon is the first book in The Lightfeeder Menace series, introducing the world of Grith, where every river deep enough has its naiad, and every sea worth its salt has its dragon.

Pecan Pies and Dead Guys by Angie FoxPecan Pies and Dead Guys by Angie Fox:

Sometimes Verity Long would like to forget that she lives with the ghost of a 1920s gangster. But the reluctant housemates must once again work together when a dead detective blackmails Frankie into helping him solve a Great Gatsby-era cold case. Before she can say “bathtub gin,” Verity is dragged straight into a raging, otherworldly house party. Worse, every guest is hiding something.

Meanwhile, Ellis Wydell, Verity’s living, breathing boyfriend needs Verity’s help with a police case of his own. After a dead body is discovered near the pecan orchard, Verity gives her insights, thinking her job is done. But when mysterious pecan pies start arriving at her house, she wonders who might be thanking her…or stalking her.

Between hard-living ghosts and sugar-laden desserts, Verity has her work cut out for her. But will she uncover the secrets behind the pecan pies and dead guys? Or has she stumbled upon a recipe for disaster?

A warm and witty paranormal cozy mystery!

Starship Waking by C. GockelStarship Waking by C. Gockel:

On an icy, barren world, a starship dreams of doom...?

Throughout the galaxy, the reclusive alien race known as The One are incapacitated by terror.

On the planet Luddeccea, wolf-human hybrid Volka harbors a terrible secret...a secret that must explain her nightmares.?

Trapped on a luxurious asteroid, pleasure 'bot 6T9 struggles to find purpose--until he receives a message from an Unidentified Caller.

The worlds of The One, Volka, and 6T9 are about to collide.

The galaxy will be shaken to its core.

The starship is waking.

The Concordia Deception by J.J. GreenThe Concordia Deception by J.J. Green:

Sabotage at Homecoming

After a hundred and eighty years in deep space, the colony starship Nova Fortuna has reached its destination and long-awaited Arrival Day.

Many have sacrificed everything for this moment. Leaving her life and family on Earth, genetic specialist Cariad has spent the trip in cryonic suspension, while colonist Ethan carries the hopes of six generations of volunteers who knew they would never see their final goal.

A devastating attack on the new settlement forced Cariad and Ethan together, and now they must locate and defeat a deadly foe determined to sabotage humanity's first deep space colony.

Isolated and alone, a fractured crew of colonists struggle for survival on a planet where the enemy could be anyone.

The Concordia Deception is book one in the compelling, provocative space colonization series, Space Colony One.

Mages' Home by Kyra HallandMages' Home by Kyra Halland:

Once, they were hated and hunted by mage hunters and Plain folk alike. Now, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages Silas and Lainie Vendine finally have the life they dreamed of - a home and ranch of their own where they can live in peace and raise their family, and the friendship and respect of their non-magical neighbors.

When a company from across the western sea comes to Prairie Wells, bringing marvelous new inventions, Silas and Lainie figure it only means more prosperous times ahead for the town and for them - until an old and vicious hatred of mages rears its head.

As troubles stirred by unseen enemies divide the town, many of Silas and Lainie's neighbors turn on them. When danger strikes at the heart of their home and family, Silas and Lainie must fight to protect everything they love, everything they've worked for, before it's all destroyed.

If you love fantasy filled with romance and adventure in a unique setting, come join Silas and Lainie Vendine in this new tale from the Wildings.

A Butt of Heads by Simon HaynesA Butt of Heads by Simon Haynes:

Events are unfolding at a breakneck pace in the Old Kingdom!

Laugh as your favourite characters spit in the face of danger ... then run for the hills.
Admire the verbal jousting and witty wordplay ... or is it the other way round?
Gasp as kings and queens lose their heads.

'Enjoy' the groanworthy puns and suffer the slings and arrows of poorly-trained archers.
But that's not all ...

Prepare to be amazed as you learn exactly what Clunk's building in his makeshift workshop!

A Butt of Heads is book two in the Robot vs Dragons trilogy. A Portion of Dragon and Chips is book one, and it must be read first to maximise your enjoyment and my royalties.

Orbit by Leigh HellmanOrbit by Leigh Hellman:

Ciaan Gennett isn’t green, despite the brand of light hair that betrays her heritage: an Earth mother. A mother she remembers but doesn’t know, who left one day and never came back. Ciaan’s as metal as her home planet—cold and hard and full of so many cracks she’s trying to ignore that she doesn’t have time to wonder about questions that don’t get answers.

After one too many run-ins with the law, Ciaan finds herself sentenced to probation at a port facility and given an ultimatum: Prove that your potential is worth believing in. With help from her best friend Tidoris, Ciaan stays away from trouble—and trouble stays away from her. But when a routine refueling turns into a revelation, Ciaan and Tidoris find themselves forced into an alliance with an Earth captain of questionable morality and his stoic, artificially-grown first officer. Their escalating resistance against bureaucratic cover-ups begins unraveling a history of human monstrosity and an ugly truth that Ciaan isn’t so sure she wants to discover.

Now they all must decide how far they are willing to dig into humanity's dark desperation—and what they are willing to do about what digs back.

RiftWorlds Online: Space Opera Insertion by Brian D. HowardRiftWorlds Online: Space Opera Insertion by Brian D. Howard:

In 2028 RiftWorlds Online is the most popular virtual reality MMORPG game ever. A week after its release, millions are playing in a game that spans seven unique universes. But now people can't log out. And when they die in the game, they die in real life.

In prison for manipulating real-world currency through VR-MMORPGs, gamer Rick Danburg just wants to serve out his sentence in peace. But the President's daughter is trapped in the game. Secret Service agents drag Rick before the President who offers him a deal: a full pardon for finding her and keeping her alive until people on the outside get RiftWorlds back under control.

That will be much harder than he is prepared for.

Warrior's Touch by Deb E. HowellWarrior's Touch by Deb E. Howell:

Once upon a time, the last Immortal lost his powers to an Aenuk Healer and her tree. Nine hundred years later, he learns that an Immortal child is going to be born, and with it, the chance to regain his lost magic...

The Kara and Aenuk races have been enemies for centuries, but for Llew and Jonas, love won out. Now Llew faces an uncertain future: one nation wants her to breed their future army, and the other wants her dead. Her Healing talent also means she is feared - and the child she carries makes her a target.

Jonas has returned to his people, but he is torn. The woman he loves is being kept away from him, his superiors want him to carry on his bloodline with an appropriate mate, and he's being expected to fit back into a role he doesn't want. He is meant to be a hero, but the only champion he wants to be is Llew's and their child - a child who might change everything.

But for their enemy to regain his powers, Llew's child must die; and in order to retain them, every Aenuk must be destroyed.

In Warrior’s Touch, loyalties will be tested, lives torn apart and magics rejoined.

Fantastic Tales of Terror, edited by Eugene JohnsonFantastic Tales of Terror: History's Darkest Secrets, edited by Eugene Johnson:

Discover the lost supernatural stories behind some of the most famous people and events in history.
These Fantastic Tales explore the secret history that has been hidden in the shadows of the world, and even alternative histories from other worlds. Tales such as a young man seeking the secret of immortality from none other than Bela Lugosi. The tragic story of how the Titanic really sank. The horrifying lengths the people of New York city would go to raise above the Great Depression, rather in seeking fame or trying to feed the city. And many more Fantastic Tales of Terror.

Introduction by Tony Todd
“The Deep Delight of Blood” by Tim Waggoner
“Unpretty Monster” by Mercedes Yardley
“The Tell-Tale Mind” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Topsy-Turvy” by Elizabeth Massie
“Ray and the Martian” by Bev Vincent
“The Girl with the Death Mask” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
“On a Train Bound for Home” by Christopher Golden
“The Custer Files” by Richard Chizmar
“Red Moon” by Michael Paul Gonzalez
“The Prince of Darkness and the Showgirl” by John Palisano
“The Secret Engravings” by Lisa Morton
“Mutter” by Jess Landry
“La Llorona” by Cullen Bunn
“The London Encounter” by Vince Liaguno
“Bubba Ho-Tep” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Gorilla my Dreams” by Jonathan Maberry
“Articles of Teleforce” by Michael Bailey
“Sic Olim Tyrannis” by David Wellington
“The Washingtonians” by Bentley Little
“Scent of Flesh” by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
“Rotoscoping Toodies” by Mort Castle
“Lone Wolves” by Paul Moore
“The Great Stone Face vs. the Gargoyles” by Jeff Strand
“The Return of the Thin White Duke” by Neil Gaiman

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

HYPO: Appetence by D.L. JonesHYPO: Appetence by D.L. Jones:

Chauncy was introduced to the experimental drug called HYPO when trying to escape from abduction. This drug gives him extraordinary physical abilities. He decides to use those abilities to catch the burglars that has robbed his store. What he doesn't know, there are mind altering side affects. Those side effects come into play in a bad way once he finds out about a secret his wife, Becca, has been keeping from him. Tre, his childhood friend once again shows up to lend a helping hand and and try solve the problem.

This is the second book in the HYPO Series. Make sure you read HYPO: Exordium first, as this is a continuation of that story - Part 2 in a 3 part series.

Only the Lonely by Amanda M. LeeOnly the Lonely by Amanda M. Lee:

Isabella “Izzy” Sage spent her formative years on Belle Isle in Detroit, playing next to the gate that separates the living from the dead as her parents drew a paycheck from the grim reaper council.

Then the impossible happened, tragedy struck, and Izzy found herself an orphan. Her grandfather took her away and raised her among the Bruja in New Orleans, although her heart always longed to return to the gate … which felt so much like a part of her.

Now, as an adult, Izzy has worked her way up to gatekeeper status and she’s back in the place her childhood ended. She’s the one in charge now … although things don’t go how she hoped. On her very first day, the gate is breached, and the wraith that crosses over is not only murderous but enhanced.

Izzy wants to be in charge, but the local reaper council needs help so they send back-up in the form of a magical reaping family.

The Grimlocks are loud, boisterous and used to a good fight. The men are also handsome, something Izzy doesn’t want to acknowledge, even when the flirting gets out of control. In addition to all that, they’re also protective, and whether Izzy wants it or not, they’re going to infringe on her territory if they think they can keep her safe.

The past might be haunting Izzy, but she can’t look forward to the future until the danger is behind her. Those around her know more than they’re letting on, and the magic she’s been trying to hide is about to take over.

The fight is on … and Izzy is loaded for bear.

Machineries of Mercy by Tim MajorMachineries of Mercy by Tim Major:

It's a beautiful day in the village of Touchstone.
The birds are singing. Everyone is happy.
Everyone except Ethan.
The England he knows is broken and dangerous.
But perhaps Touchstone is more dangerous still.

Blaze by Monique MartinBlaze by Monique Martin:

London, 1904 - All Artemis wants for her 16th birthday is a fancy new dress and maybe a few stolen sips of champagne. What she gets is a fiery sword and an inescapable destiny. She’s the Blaze—fated to protect the city from Darkness. With all of two days training, she must strike back against a rising evil. But her new powers come at a cost, and the truth behind them is more terrifying than any monster.

Cinch your corset and strap in for a wild ride through turn-of-the-century London. Don’t miss the next books in the Blaze Series.

Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess by Virginia McClainVictoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess by Virginia McClain:

Victoria Marmot is just an average teenage girl... if by "average" you mean an orphaned, multi-lingual, martial arts expert who owns her own home may or may not have magical abilities.

When Vic is told her parents didn't die the way she thinks they did, her world is turned upside down and she's left with the task of finding out what really happened to them. But when her quest to uncover the truth reveals a massive conspiracy by a corrupt magical government, will her efforts save the world or take the whole universe down with her?

Rick or Treat by Jaxon ReedRick or Treat by Jaxon Reed:

Rick Strickland hasn't flown a plane since he died over three centuries ago. But after being sucked into the vortex during a fae attack on Headquarters, he lands in the back of a doomed airliner bound for London crowded with helpless passengers and a poisoned crew.

He soon discovers this world is strangely different from the one he's used to. The American Revolution failed and territory east of the Mississippi remains colonized. The Republic of Texas controls land to the west and is the dominant hemispheric power. Nazi Germany controls most of Europe, but despite the date there has been no Second World War . . . yet.

Now, a plot by the Nazis on All Hallows' Eve appears imminent. Rick is alone with no outside help, and fae influence on this alternate is increasingly obvious. The Texans are locked and loaded, but they've never faced a fae before. Then, a coded message from their rarely used embassy in New York City arrives . . . and it's addressed to Rick. Can he foil the Nazi plot and turn their Halloween trick against them?

The Queen's Pardon by J.A. SutherlandThe Queen's Pardon by J.A. Sutherland:

Allies and enemies are not always what they seem.

Trapped on a hostile world, hunted by pirate bands and abandoned by her fellow captains, Alexis Carew must lead her small band to safety, even though it seems every hand is set against her. Stalked by pirates in the skies above and shadowy, alien figures on the planet below, Alexis must convince former enemies to trust her even as she discovers where the tendrils of her true enemies lead.

Heist by James David VictorHeist by James David Victor:

It was supposed to be an easy job, but it just might take the heist of the century to get out of this one alive.

The Mercury Blade and its crew are always looking for an easy profit. When presented with a simple heist, they are all-in for easy profit. When things go south, they are faced with a dilemma that could mean life or death. Can Eliard, Val, and Irie pull of the heist of the century or will the crew of the Mercury Blade lose everything?

The Dead Stage by Dan WeathererThe Dead Stage: A Journey From Page to Stage by Dan Weatherer:

“The Dead Stage – the period of time between completing the working draft of a stage play and placing it with an interested party.” – Dan Weatherer

Dan Weatherer, an author turned playwright, learned quickly that there are practices playwrights can implement to dramatically increase the appeal of their work.

Inside, you’ll find advice that will enable you to better tailor your work to the needs of the theatre industry, without having to compromise on style, content or subject matter. Dan discusses his early mistakes, and presents the advice of notable theatre professionals including the award-winning playwright, Deborah McAndrew, noted actor Matthew Spence, and London Horror Festival producer, Kate Danbury (along with many, many more!).

You’ll also be able to read several of Dan’s completed stage plays, which are presented in a preferred industry format, and often contain side-notes detailing the success (and failures) of said pieces.
From budgets to set design, run-time to cast size, if you ever felt the desire to write for the stage, following the advice presented in this book will help improve your chances of pairing your script with an interested party, hopefully making The Dead Stage pass almost unnoticed.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Past Lives by R.J. WolfPast Lives by R.J. Wolf:


What would you do to save the one you love? Would you go to Hell...twice?

Eric Strange was once a psychic detective that solved cases normal humans wouldn't dare touch. Supplanted firmly between two worlds, he kept one foot in the shadows and one in the sun. After uncovering a dangerous conspiracy, that reached the highest levels of government and intertwined the magic and non-magic world together, Eric was possessed by an ancient demon and dragged to hell.

When Eric wakes up four years later inside of a grave, everything he loves is gone. But even worse, he has no memory of who he is or the people he's lost. Fate takes him to a police station, where an old friend finds him and sets out to help restore his memory. The secrets behind his murky past are tearing him apart, but the truth cuts much deeper.

Possessed by Demons, touched by Angels and surrounded by darkness and a powerful magic, Eric doesn't even know what he is. But as the fog clears, his memories slowly start to seep through the shadows and a path to even darker places is illuminated.

Welcome to Hotel California...We've been waiting for you

Chaos in the Countryside by Astoria WrightChaos in the Countryside by Astoria Wright:

Looking for a unique paranormal cozy mystery series that's lighthearted and fun?

Settle into the cozy countryside of Moss Hill, where house-elves rent rooms, sprites live in gardens, a leprechaun is the best tailor in town, and a half-elf/half human named Carissa Shea owns a pharmacy known as The Seelie Tree Apothecary shop. Life couldn't be more idyllic for Cari, but healing humans and fae folk proves challenging at times, especially when secrets unfold in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries.

About Chaos in the Countryside
The quiet town of Moss Hill would be in trouble if not for one daring nature faerie: a sprite known as Chaos. Though she is little, she is...fierce isn't the right word. Spirited is more accurate. She's traveled far and wide to warn the half-human, half-elf Carissa Shae about a danger that's coming to the countryside. Carissa's Seelie Tree Apothecary shop is no stranger to faeries, but with this new arrival, its owner, and Moss Hill, will never be the same. Is this cozy town ready for a little Chaos?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Machineries of Mercy by Tim Major

Release date: October 23, 2018
Subgenre: Dytopian YA

About Machineries of Mercy:


It's a beautiful day in the village of Touchstone.

The birds are singing. Everyone is happy.

Everyone except Ethan.

The England he knows is broken and dangerous.

But perhaps Touchstone is more dangerous still.




MERCY. The word hung in the air, riveted to the arch of the wrought-iron gateway.
“You brought a mask or something, right?” Lex tugged down her headscarf so that it covered the upper part of her face, then arranged it so that she could see through the eyeholes cut into the blood-red fabric. She watched as Ethan pulled a balaclava from the pocket of his duffel coat. “Don’t just stand there holding it.”
The balaclava was bulky but too small for the kid. It looked itchy too. Lex imagined that Ethan’s mum might have knitted it. Still, one good thing about the balaclava being so thick was that it would muffle the sound of shouting from the street. Ethan had actually been shaking as Lex had led him here through the alleys.
“And do you have something for me?” She held out a hand.
Ethan stared at her blankly.
“The card?”
Ethan patted each of his coat pockets in turn. Then, with a guilty expression—he must have known where it was all along—he produced the identity card from the breast pocket of his shirt. He cradled it protectively before passing it over. Lex glanced at the photo above the strip of patterned black blocks. Cecil Wright looked almost exactly like his son, only more plump. He had the same worried expression.
“It’ll be all right,” Lex said. “He’ll never know.” She swiped the card through the slot of a silver device attached to the gatepost. The gate swung open. She smiled. “Don’t expect it all to be that easy.”
Mercy’s headquarters was a tall, wide building in the centre of the walled compound. Gleaming metal struts broke up the expanses of tinted glass.
“Won’t our footprints give us away?” Ethan pointed back the way they had come. They had left deep tracks in the snow.
“We’ll be long gone before anyone spots them. Anyway, we haven’t broken in, so nobody will have been alerted. You don’t have a criminal record, do you?”
Ethan gaped at her. It was clear that the idea horrified him.
Lex noticed flickers of movement against the dark walls of the building. CCTV cameras, adjusting their angle to observe them. They wouldn’t have long, but Ethan didn’t need to know that.
The muffled yells, thuds and splintering noises from the street increased in intensity. Bricks meeting glass. Ethan spun around in alarm.
Lex gripped his shoulder, making him flinch again. “Cool it. The only reason Mercy get away with having their HQ smack-bang in the city centre is because nobody with any sense would come anywhere near.”
Nobody with any sense. She felt a sudden wave of sympathy for Ethan. How old was he? Fourteen? Fifteen? Only a few years younger than her—her nineteenth birthday had come and gone without her acknowledging it—but he’d lived a far more sheltered life than she had. She felt twice his age.
“I had no idea it was this bad,” Ethan said, nodding towards the sounds of rioting.
“Yeah. I blame the government.” Lex grinned. “I’m guessing it isn’t like this behind the Gates.”


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About Tim Major:

Tim Major’s novels and novellas include You Don’t Belong Here, Blighters and Carus & Mitch and he has also published a monograph about the silent crime film, Les Vampires. His SF thriller about spontaneous clones, Snakeskins, will be published by Titan Books in spring 2019. Tim’s short stories have appeared in Interzone, Not One of Us and numerous anthologies, including Best of British Science Fiction and The Best Horror of the Year.


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