Thursday, October 31, 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for October 2019

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, dark fantasy, Asian fantasy, paranormal fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, time travel romance, science fiction romance, space opera both gritty and cozy, military science fiction, dystopian fiction, Cyberpunk, sword and sorcery, fairytales, Renaissance magic, reality show demons, space pirates, space marines, bounty hunters, mercenaries, intergalactic cops, undead cops, crime-busting witches, tyrant slayers, literary characters come to life 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:

Star Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen by Mia ArcherStar Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen by Mia Archer:

Get the loot. Save the day. Get the girl.

That should’ve been Flynn’s happily ever after. It should’ve been a simple matter of selling off the haul from the greatest heist ever pulled in the civilized galaxies.

If only it were that easy.

It turns out selling off a stash of gems stolen from the most powerful and homicidal royal family in the civilized galaxies isn’t as easy as she’d thought. Sure there are plenty of fleets out there looking to take them off her hands, but they’re paying in turbolaser blasts and Flynn isn’t interested in selling at that price.

Her only hope is to get in touch with the mysterious Selevas Separtists and hope they’re stupid enough to buy her gems and paint the target on their back. The only problem? This is one rebel alliance that seems more comfy hiding out than they are in blowing shit up. What’s the most notorious pirate in the civilized galaxies to do?

Escape her mother. Strike out on her own. Get the girl.

That should’ve been Seleya’s happily ever after. All she wanted was to fade into obscurity and live her life far from the center of galactic power with the girl of her dreams.

Too bad the girl of her dreams is now the most notorious pirate the civilized galaxies has ever known!
Now she’s having the time of her life, but that life is always on the edge of ending thanks to the never ending battle fleets her mother is sending at them. Not to mention she’s discovering it’s a big adjustment going from the Selevas palace to a dingy modified pirate freighter where their idea of room service is fixing the food replicator!

A notorious pirate on the run. An exiled princess trying to find her place in this strange new world. All they have is each other, but that might just be enough to conquer galaxies!

Mementos and Memories by Cora BuhlertMementos and Memories 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.

At a market on the tropical ocean world of Sentosa, Anjali and Mikhail come across a dagger for sale. This dagger is the signature weapon of the Imperial Shakyri Corps, and Anjali knows that no Shakyri warrior would ever willingly part with their dagger. So Anjali and Mikhail go in search of the lawful owner of the dagger and come across a long forgotten tale of forbidden love…

This is a story of 7300 words or approximately 25 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.

Forever, Lately by Linore Rose BurkardForever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard:

1816, England

Julian St. John needs a wife. An oath to a deceased guardian must be kept. Miss Clarissa Andrews, a vexatious beauty, has dangled after him all season but he has no intention of choosing such a she-devil.

Maine, Present Day

Author Claire Channing is desperate to write a bestseller to save her failing career. She moves into her grandmother?s abandoned cottage to write the book, but a local resort baron wants to raze the place. Without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. John?s story. But when she discovers an old prayer shawl and finds herself in his Regency world, she falls in love with him, a man she thought she invented! Miss Andrews, however, is also real—and she’d rather see Julian dead than in another woman?s arms!

Claire must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love beat the limits of time itself?

Half a Dream by E.P. ClarkHalf a Dream by E.P. Clark:

Magic meets mystery in a Renaissance fantasy!

The dark gods of battle are cruel and capricious, and require sacrifices worse than blood.

It’s been four years since Giacomo, bodyguard to Prince Luca of Fiori, followed his charge down into the shadowy world of forbidden magic. When Luca disappears once again, Giaco must cast aside his disbelief and delve into the world of fortune-telling and shadow-walking in order to find Luca and bring him back to safety.

And beyond that, he must face up to his own worst fears. Everyone considers Giaco to be a hero, but he is about to learn the true meaning of heroism. More than his own life depends on it.

Set in a magical world inspired by Renaissance Florence, this fantasy thriller will appeal to fans of dark and urban fantasy, as well as paranormal and occult suspense. This 35,000-word novella is the second book in the Giaco & Luca series, but can be read as a standalone.

Return to Kapteyn's Star by M.D. CooperReturn to Kapteyn's Star by M.D. Cooper:

Tangel has decided the time is ripe for the ISF to strike out against the Hegemony. Given its significance, there is no better place to start than Kapteyn's Star. With the Lantzer repaired, she gives the mission to Jessica and Sera. It should be a walk in the park....

Blink by David DelaneyBlink by David Delaney:

A thrilling prequel to the unputdownable Paragon Society Series

Fireball blasting battle-mages, shapeshifting soccer moms and a best friend who is more than happy to throw punches now and ask questions later—Wyatt Murphy is in for a supernatural thrill ride of reality-bending proportions.

If he can just avoid the school bully, survive the big dance and outrun blood-magic wielding bad guys, his night may turn out great.

Slaying a Tyrant by Mel DunaySlaying a Tyrant by Mel Dunay:

Journey to the country of Jaiya, in a world not quite like ours. Here the humans wield magical powers and fight against an Empire which seeks to enslave them, but they share their world with insect people and trollfolk, and stranger things lurk in the shadows…

Vanti would be happy to spend her life in dance and choreography, but her family chooses her as their champion in a deadly gladiators’ tournament. To save her country from enslavement, she must defeat King Obiar the Conqueror and his magical powers. But will the brooding trainer named Gurion be her guide in the battle to come…or a dangerously handsome distraction?

Note: Tyrant is meant as a standalone with a “happily ever after” ending. However, the heroes in the later books in this series are descended from Vanti and Gurion, who are also the ancestors of some of the characters in the original Jaiya series. The romance is on the sweet side, but there is some violence due to the villains’ actions and the tournament in which the main characters fight.

Humanity's Fight by J.J. GreenHumanity's Fight by J.J. Green:

Fighting for freedom from galactic tyranny

General Cherry Lindstrom is responsible for the defense of the colony world, Concordia. This last outpost of human civilization lives under constant threat of attack from hostile aliens who claim the planet as their own.

But decades have passed since the last assault, and the colonists have grown complacent. Thanks to the effects of time dilation, only Cherry and a handful of others remember the devastation wreaked on Concordia previously.

The Concordians don’t understand the danger the colony is in. Cherry must find a way to convince them and to build effective fighting force—before it’s too late.

Two galactic civilizations. One planet. Who will win?

Kiss of Eon by Anna HackettKiss of Eon by Anna Hackett:

When the vital alliance between Earth and the Eon Empire depends on her playing war games with an arrogant, infuriating Eon warrior, what could go wrong?

Terran Captain Allie Borden has her orders. Take her ship, the Divergent, and strengthen the alliance with the Eon by carrying out training exercises with the Eon warship, the Desteron. The only problem…one annoying warrior who gets on her nerves like nobody else. Forced to work with Second Commander Brack Thann-Felis, Allie finds her diplomacy skills stretched to the limit…and her body betraying her with a white-hot desire that’s getting hard to ignore.

Brack Thann-Felis is dedicated to his ship, his warriors, and his job. Watching his parents’ disastrous marriage has ensured that he will never mate or fall in love. Working with feisty, opinionated Allie tests his patience, but the more time he spends with the dedicated captain, the more he finds he can’t stay away from her.

As mysterious, dangerous sabotage events strike their ships, it becomes evident that someone wants their alliance to fail. They might have traitors among their crew and they both know it has to lead back to their enemy—the ravenous insectoid Kantos. Soon, Brack and Allie find themselves in a fight for their lives, with only each other to depend on, and a growing desire that will not be denied.

A Fistful of Demons by Lily Harper HartA Fistful of Demons by Lily Harper Hart:

Hannah Hickok is slipping into her new life as owner of Casper Creek – a cosplay western town – and newly-minted witch. She thinks she has everything under control … until demons come calling.At first, she’s not even certain what she’s dealing with. A freak accident claims the life of a father, leaving him exposed during a sudden sandstorm, and his son’s reaction (complete with glowing red eyes) leaves a lot to be desired.Cooper Wyatt, head of security for the resort, wants to believe her when she explains what she saw but it’s not exactly easy for him. As the evidence starts to mount, though, demon possession becomes the name of the game.As a new witch, Hannah has no idea what she’s supposed to do. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to be proactive. Unfortunately for her, the emergence of new powers – coupled with the realization that something beyond a simple demon possession is going on – quickly becomes overwhelming.The workers at Casper Creek are going to have to join together – maybe even enlist some outside help – to figure out all the answers and solve the ultimate dilemma.A young boy’s life hangs in the balance and Hannah is determined to make sure she doesn’t lose an innocent soul so early in her reign as Casper Creek’s head witch. All she has to do is survive until the end and then everything will be revealed.That’s easier said than done.

Shadow Magic by Jayne HawkeShadow Magic by Jayne Hawke:

Looking for a kick-ass bounty hunter? You found her.

I’m the best at what I do. If a shifter goes feral, or a fae kills the wrong innocent, then I’ll be the one to hunt them down. It’s a dangerous gig, but I do what's necessary to keep the roof over our heads.
Unfortunately, I’m at the bottom of the bounty hunter pay scale thanks to the need to keep my heritage hidden. If anyone ever found out what I am, and what I can do, the entire fae territories would be coming for my head. That means we live from pay cheque to pay cheque. So when the most dangerous fae in the country chooses me to help him with a case, I have no choice but to say yes.
Ethan Hale is a cu sith, one of the finest assassins in the fae territories. If he finds out what I am, he’ll have me begging for death. And yet, I accepted the job to work with him so I can figure out who’s stealing god magic and selling it. People are dying, and it’s down to us to put at end to it.

Now, I have to work alongside the sinfully-sexy fae while trying to keep my secrets under wraps. The closer we get to unravelling this mystery, the closer I am to losing everything. One wrong step and it’ll all be over.

Crown of the Sundered Empire by J.C. KangCrown of the Sundered Empire by J.C. Kang:

Only the demon in Tomas’ glass eye can save his village.

It might cost him his soul.

In a broken land where conquerors dream of empires, Tomas dreams of a day when the townsfolk won’t taunt him. After all, he’s the fishing village kid with a misshapen face.

Only the Rune vendor’s daughter treats him well. To win her heart, he relies on a quick wit and local superstitions to convince her he has Diviner’s Sight.

But if he did, he would’ve foreseen magic-fearing invaders plucking out his mismatched eye.
Or the demon trapped in the glass replacement. It reveals a world beyond human vision, while whispering temptations in his mind.

Now, with his village caught between the advancing armies of the Sun God’s mortal descendants and His Chosen People, Tomas must use a combination of calculation, cunning, and demonic insight to maneuver the forces of his world against each other—prince against prince, princess against princess, army against army—or see his home crushed forever beneath the wheels of war.

But to do so carries a dire risk.

Because using a demon could condemn your soul.

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

Izzy Sage is settling into her new job, enjoying her new romance, and only has one thing on her mind: Choosing a new assistant to help her at Belle Isle’s death gate. All of that changes when the gate malfunctions. Instead of dragging someone over, though, it sends five people back.Years ago, a group of trainees disappeared while on a tour of the facility. There was no rhyme or reason to what happened and the higher-ups assumed they died during the malfunction. Five of them have returned though, and they haven’t aged a day.Naturally, the reaper world is buzzing with the news. Izzy, however, thinks something bigger might be going on. Her belief only becomes stronger when another creature shows up in the middle of the night and attacks.The malfunctioning gate is hiding a sinister secret, and it might just have something to do with what happened to Izzy’s parents so many years ago. Oliver has ties to the initial incident, too, and even though he knew the men way back then, he’s discombobulated by what’s happening now. When you add to that the arrival of Paris Princeton, Izzy has her hands full.Thankfully she’s not alone on the job. She has the Grimlocks to back her play … and serve as emotional sounding boards. Together, Izzy and the Grimlocks are neck deep in trouble and searching for answers. They need to find them before the unthinkable happens and they lose one of their own, because when the gate starts acting weird again, someone is going to have to cross over to the other side – face death itself – and reclaim the most valuable prize imaginable.Izzy’s life is about to take a turn. Somehow, she needs to stay on her feet to see it through. That’s easier said than done when death is your business but if anyone can make it to the other side and live to tell the tale, it’s Izzy. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Blood Harvest by Russ LintonBlood Harvest by Russ Linton:

Hunted by Death, one man will face the forces of Hell to get back home.

Former Baltimore cop Eustace "Ace" Grant is on a quest to find lost sorcery. An apprentice shaman, Ace walks the spirit realm in search of a cure for his terminal illness.

When asked to recover a Civil War sword, Ace finds traces of a magic more potent than he's ever experienced. Forged in England by a smith in possession of the Primal Flame, the blade had been intended for a different battle entirely - the one at the end of time.

That battle upon us, it's up to Ace to recover the sword. Without it, the world as we know it will be plunged into a nightmare. He'll find the sword or die trying. That is if his ghostly mentor, Atofo, will only let go of his soul...

Unfinished Business by Catherine LundoffUnfinished Business: Tales of the Dark Fantastic by Catherine Lundoff:

Haunted houses. Vengeful spirits. Wronged women. A glimpse of a grim future and a visit to a terrifying past. Step inside for a taste of nightmare, a bit of the unexpected and a touch of the weird. 12 stories by award-winning author Catherine Lundoff including:

The Mask and the Amontillado
A Splash of Crimson
Bluebeard’s Wife
Medium Méchanique
Miss Lucy’s Glass
Home Staging, with Phantasm
The Temporary

Unfinished Business marks the launch of Queen of Swords Press “Mini” series. These books will be shorter books that feature single author short story collections or novella length works, each grouped around a single theme or shared set of characters. Essentially, they will function like a tasting menu to introduce authors to new audiences. This particular volume represents a sample of award-winning author Catherine Lundoff’s short horror, dark fantasy and weird stories in a mix of reprint and new work.

Once Upon a Rose by Lorri MoultonOnce Upon a Rose by Lorri Mouton:

In this clean/sweet fairytale, a princess uncovers a plot against her kingdom and tries to stop it with the help of her friends. 

The Brothers of Redemption by D.E. MurrayThe Brothers of Redemption by D.E. Murray:

The Journey You Start Isn’t The One You Finish

It's 2165. The family is gone. The world is ruled by the ferociously competitive, hierarchical Council of the Brotherhood Orders. Sons are bred in cohorts created by Alphas and surrogates.

Half-brothers Jed and Max Kleer are middle-aged burnouts who share little except an Alpha and a mysterious, unbreakable bond.

When an abducted girl drops into Jed’s life, the brothers resolve to guide her home.

What could possibly go wrong?

The journey they start won't be the one they finish.

The Sundering by Vanessa NelsonThe Sundering by Vanessa Nelson:

Nowhere and no one is safe.

Stripped of her rank and her calling by some of her most trusted friends, Yvonne is left shocked and bleeding.

Worse is to come. Not only are children still going missing, but she learns that the death of an old friend might not have been natural.

With old friendships torn apart, Yvonne must work out who she can trust if she is to find the truth.

The Sundering continues the story started in The Gathering. If you like your fantasy with plenty of mystery and magic, and a strong heroine, you’ll want to continue this fantasy series by Vanessa Nelson.

Unseen Voices by Christine PopeUnseen Voices by Christine Pope:

Project Demon Hunters is canceled…but apparently no one told the demons.

Knowing how the horrifying events that took place while filming Project Demon Hunters shook his friend Michael Covenant to the core, Will Gordon readily says yes to Michael’s request to be ready — as a friend and as an Episcopal priest — in case psychic Rosemary McGuire calls for help.

Rosemary doesn’t know exactly why the show was canceled...other than a demon murdered the show’s producer, and the network buried every scrap of harrowing footage under a ton of hacker-proof security.

When an independent filmmaker shows up at Rosemary’s metaphysical bookshop with tantalizing clues that a backup copy of the missing footage exists, she promises Michael she’ll call some crusty old priest “in a pinch,” and begins following a trail of impossibly tiny bread crumbs.

But that trail doesn’t just lead her somewhere. It leads something to Rosemary, alarming enough that she calls Michael’s priest friend…who turns out to be way younger and heroically handsome than she could have ever anticipated. But the heat between them may be no match for the demonic fire that grows hotter and more dangerous the closer they get to the truth.

Carpe Glitter by Cat RamboCarpe Glitter by Cat Rambo:

A novelette from Cat Rambo, author of The Tabat Quartet. What do you do when someone else's past forces itself on your own life? Sorting through the piles left behind by a grandmother who was both a stage magician and a hoarder, Persephone Aim finds a magical artifact from World War II that has shaped her family history. Faced with her mother's desperate attempt to take the artifact for herself, Persephone must decide whether to hold onto the past--or use it to reshape her future.

Tetrach's Dilemma by Jaxon ReedTetrarch's Dilemma by Jaxon Reed:

Raleigh and his crew are tasked with guarding an outlying planet from enemy incursions, when they capture an old friend off a smuggler's ship. The possibilities for an enormous sum of gold prove tantalizing . . . if they can survive the League Navy's attempts at eradication.

Meanwhile the frontier planet of Halcyon stretches its wings, and pulls in support from Lute to begin a new planetary alliance. And Sergeant Wilcox teams up with Julia Thrall to help soften up the Republic's next target . . . if the Ultima Mule can successfully port them in without detection.

Don't miss the latest installment of this action-packed space opera serial!

The Frontier by Chris TurnerThe Frontier by Chris Turner:

Two space mercenaries face down crooks and corruption in the frontier worlds of the far future.

Yul Vrean visits his home world only to get embroiled in a corporate conspiracy to cheat a ranch owner out of his estate. Regers gets caught in the crossfires of a gang war over deadly alien contraband. Two unlikely allies on a much greater mission…
Chalenge of Steel by James David VictorChallenge of Steel by James David Victor:

In a world of genetic engineering, fantastic aliens, and faster than light travel, conspiracies and the quest for unlimited power can still tear the galaxy apart.

Anders Corsigon has spent his life bringing galactic criminals to justice. When a bizarre murder turns into a string of assassinations, he has to run an off-books investigation to try and find a killer who is protected from the highest levels of the empire. In a world where genetic engineering and clones are real, he must find a truth that could cost him his life.

Challenge of Steel is the first book in the Memories of Earth space opera series. If you enjoy stories in fantastic worlds of aliens, space travel, and genetic engineering, the Memories of Earth series will be right up your alley.

The Collected A.E. WilliamsThe Collected A.E. Williams: Volume 1 by A.E. Williams:

For the first time, all A.E. Williams' published works are available as one single volume!
This is the perfect gift for the science fiction reader, science nerd or irascible curmudgeon in your life!

Terminal Reset - The Coming of the Wave

The breakout science fiction novel that explores an alternate history where everyone one earth regresses forty years in age! Dr. David Harding and Dr. Tatania Golovonov must find a way to survive in a world gone mad! Regressed to teenagers, the two fight to find a way to reverse the effects of The Wave, a force from out of Time and Space. Filled with excitement and action, Terminal Reset will have you on the edge of your seat!

Terminal Reset - Return of the Wanderers

A strange spaceship enters the outer boundaries of the Solar System, returning from an eons long mission. But, who are the inhabitants and what do they want with Earth?
Taking place in the same universe as Terminal Reset, this story explores the implications of ancient civilizations and how they have affected our evolution. Mars isn't just our neighbor in space! Another exciting tale for your science fiction enjoyment!

Rocket Surgeon

A.E. Williams essays on AGW, the Space Race, Hollywood and other tales to entertain and fascinate you! Get a behind the curtains peek at Relativity, rocket science, jet engine testing and other cool nerdy things that A.E. has done! Find out why the world probably won't end tomorrow, but is sure to do so in the distant future! Travel in space and time and maybe learn a thing or two about our Universe. Climb aboard for another wild ride from the redoubtable A.E. Williams!

The Unholy Trinity Series

The infamous trilogy of cutting, biting satires that lampoon today's headlines!

Second Coming - Jesus bets His half-brother, Lucifer that the bet God made with him regarding Job can be done, again, and better. The implications are breathtaking! Does the Big J wind up the victor? Or, does the Devil get his due?

Anno Domini - Jesus and Lucifer's betting is getting out of hand! This time, Jesus bets that the souls of the most outstanding humans ever born can redeem Mankind from original Sin. But, there's a catch! A Virgin Birth is part of the scheme, but maybe Jesus didn't think everything through?

Imperius Wrecks - A satirical and humorous look at one possible future! A nightmare or a dream - you get to decide.

In the far distant future, a nun is tasked with ancient rituals descended from one man's egotistical grasp for power and immortality. Could this really happen?

Filled with religious references, popular concerns of the day, and a cast of totally fictional characters, this satire puts a spin on current events that will have you spitting coffee all over yourself in shock, from laughing or pure unadulterated rage. You'll be aghast at the content, the implications and the mirror held up to our world.

Come along as A.E. Williams once more pulls no punches as he slams the One Percent, Religion and Political parties of all stripes!

BLUB by Bradley WindBULB by Bradley Wind:

If light records everything we do, can even shadows hide our secrets?

Imagine your entire life is available for review.

Imagine each day any event can be watched over and over again - your birth, your first kiss, your recent shower, that private itch - all replayable from any angle. Now imagine these can be viewed by anyone at any time.

Is a world where there is far less ego, little crime, and even the smallest moments are recorded and available publicly through the ‘Grand Archive’ a Utopia or a Dystopia? Traumatized by memories he does not want to recall, artist Ben Tinthawin is recruited by the enigmatic, Grand Archive creator Dr. Mamon, who seeks help for his nextgen designs to enhance the world. Ben stumbles across a secret revealing the doctor’s true scheme in all its surreal splendor and questions whether the doctor really is the benevolent soul he claims to be.As the paths of a broken man and a brilliant revolutionary cross, the world shifts and cracks start to appear. Even our most fundamental codes can be encrypted – or corrupted. If the wrong information is discovered, more than Ben’s life will be in danger of total shut down.

Prepare yourself for full exposure.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Old Mommark's Tale by Cora Buhlert

Re-release date: October 7, 2019
Subgenre: Humorous Fantasy, Sailor's Yarn

About Old Mommark's Tale:


In a tavern on Tortuga, the pirate Old Mommark recalls an adventure of his youth and tells a tale of an uncharted island, a great treasure, the gruesome Captain Scarlet and the even more gruesome monster that dragged him to his doom. But is it a true story or just sailor's yarn, spun under the influence of too much rum?

This is a short story of 3800 words or approximately 14 print pages.




Arr, my luvvies, let me tell you a tale. A tale that’s one hundred and ten percent true, honest to God, cross my heart and hope to die. And if my tale be just sailor’s yarn, then may I swing upon the gallows ere the week is through.
So buy me a cup of rum and I’ll tell you my tale. The true tale of how I escaped the island of horror.

’twas thirty years ago, when I was still a young whippersnapper, a cabin boy sailing under Captain Scarlet on the Bloody Skull and hoping for better things.
As ye may know, Captain Scarlet was the most feared pirate in all of the Caribbean in those days. He’d gotten that name both for the colour of his beard and the colour of the deck of a captured ship after he was done with her. Battle-hardened men shuddered and trembled when the Captain entered a room, while women fainted straight away. And when the Skull appeared on the horizon with its sails the colour of blood, many a sailor jumped over board rather than face Captain Scarlet. The Captain spread terror wherever he went, and that included us, his own crew.
The Bloody Skull was once again prowling the Caribbean, looking for booty, when the lookout suddenly yelled from the crow’s nest, “Ahoy, land ahead.”
Now that was very odd, cause there wasn’t supposed to be no land in that part of the Caribbean. Just sea and waves and sharks as far as the eye could see. Besides, the lookout was known to have indulged a bit much in the good old Jamaica rum the night before. So no one paid much heed to what he’d said and seen.
But then he yelled again, “Land ahead,” and again and again. And finally, the first mate Mr. Bones reached for his spyglass and peered through. He frowned and then handed the spyglass to Captain Scarlet, who peered through as well. For lo and behold, the lookout had been right. There really was land on the horizon. A small island, uncharted and not found on any map.
Now it just happened that Captain Scarlet was looking for a good spot to hide some treasure. And an island that’s not found on any map… well, there is no better place to hide a treasure on the Lord’s great big Earth.
So Captain Scarlet ordered the Bloody Skull to set course for the island. We anchored just off the coast. I still remember the jolt as the anchor hit the bottom of the sea. It was bad enough to knock several pirates off their feet and throw me down the staircase back below deck.
“Captain, something’s wrong,” Mr. Bones said, “I don’t like this.”


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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Carpe Glitter by Cat Rambo

 Release date: October 29, 2019
Subgenre: Paranormal fantasy

About Carpe Glitter:


A novelette from Cat Rambo, author of The Tabat Quartet. What do you do when someone else's past forces itself on your own life? Sorting through the piles left behind by a grandmother who was both a stage magician and a hoarder, Persephone Aim finds a magical artifact from World War II that has shaped her family history. Faced with her mother's desperate attempt to take the artifact for herself, Persephone must decide whether to hold onto the past--or use it to reshape her future.



Carpe glitter, my grandmother Gloria always said. Seize the glitter.
And that was what I remembered best about her, the glitter: a dazzle of rhinestone, a waft of Patou Joy, lipstick like a red banner across her mouth. Underneath all that, a wiry little old lady with silver hair and vampire-pale skin.
Not that she was a vampire, of course. But Gloria Aim hung with everyone who was anyone during her days in the Vegas crowd. Celebrities, presidents, journalists, they all came to her show at the Sparkle Dome, watched her strut her stuff in a black top hat and fishnet stockings, conjuring flames and doves (never card tricks, which she hated), making ghosts speak to loved ones in the audience. And when she stepped off the stage, she left in a scintillating dazzle, like a fairy queen stepping off her throne.
All that shine. And at home?
She was a grubby hoarder.
I mopped sweat off my forehead with the hem of my T-shirt and attacked another pile of magazines. Dust wafted up to fill my nostrils and make me sneeze, drifted down to coat the hairs on my forearms with grit. Something had rotted in the corner; I was doing that side once I’d cleared a path to it and breathing through my mouth in the meantime.
This had once been intended as a guest room, but it had been taken over by a troupe of china-headed dolls, stacked atop piles of brittle newspapers and magazines. No cat pee—I’d been spared that in these back rooms, closed off for at least a couple of decades.
Grandmother had bought the house when she was at the height of her first fortune. She’d just burst onto the stage magician scene, a woman from Brooklyn who’d trained herself in sleight of hand and studied under the most famous female stage magician of her time, Susan Day.
The nearest heap of magazines, in fact, flaking away at my touch, showed Grandmother and her mentor on the uppermost cover, a poster from their brief tour together, just after World War II. Glamorous older Day, blonde hair worn in a sleek chignon and eyes blue as turquoise. Grandmother bright and shiny not just from the rhinestones glittering across her chest, but starry-eyed—her grin so wide it stretched her mouth.
The stack held dozens of copies of the same issue, no matter how far down I went. A swarm of silverfish scurried away as I lifted the last one. I’d get the room cleared before bringing out my arsenal of bug spray for an onslaught.
Yellowed confetti bits fell away as I put the stack on the heap to be bagged up and trashed. By now I’d learned that paper flaking that badly meant the appraiser’s regretful headshake and the murmur, “Too badly eroded, Miss Aim.”
As with each of the seven rooms I’d managed so far, I sorted the contents into piles. Throw away was by far the largest. To be appraised had interesting things in it beyond the scads of dolls Grandmother had collected. Keep was actually two subpiles, one for Mother and one for me.
Object after object to be evaluated and sorted. Old magazines and flutters of candy wrappers. So much clothing, most of it absurdly formal, scratchy with ancient starch. Theater props piled on top of grab bags she’d picked up at church rummage sales, still unopened. Half-filled perfume bottles and compacts full of sweet dust.
And then there were oddities: a picture stitched of human hair, showing a castle on a cliff; an enormous crystal ball, a good foot and a half wide; a mechanical banjo trio that played itself, complete with a library of antebellum songs to choose from; a basket stuffed with sandalwood fans.
The “rotting thing” turned out to be a heap of furs that, when stirred, sent up a stench reminiscent of old sauerkraut that sent me out into the hallway for a while to lean against the yellowing wallpaper and breathe in fresher air.
The doll collection was worth a good bit, perhaps, I’d been told. But nothing on the scale of financial windfall I had hoped for. Grandmother had been wealthy, even though she kept her spending discreet, aside from this strange mishmash of a house. Where had all that money gone?
And why had she saved everything? I thought that it was perhaps a return to her childhood days, which had been uncertain and full of moves. My great-grandfather had been a con man, always on the edge of getting run out of town, according to her stories. They’d had to leave in the middle of the night more than once, abandoning anything that couldn’t go into a suitcase. This could be a reaction to that.
There was no point psychoanalyzing my dead grandmother, though. Once the furs were bagged up and taken out, the room was much more bearable. I kept on searching, working through the last of the piles before examining the desiccated rug underneath, so dry I was worried it might crumble away if I tried to vacuum it.
My cell vibrated against my hip. I slid it out of my shorts pocket and glanced at the screen. My mother.
I took a breath before thumbing the phone on. “Yes?” I said.
“I wish you hadn’t chosen this,” Mother said, launching right back into the same argument we’d been having all week, ever since I’d said, “Actually, I’ll take the second option” at the reading of the will. “It’s ridiculous. You could probably tell them that you’ve changed your mind, that you want the money instead.”
“You never know, I might turn up something wonderful,” I said, trying a new tack. Maybe if I could convince her that there might be treasure buried in the piles and heaps lining this massive amalgamation of three houses, she’d support me in this. 
She hissed impatience. At least that’s what that strangled sound had always meant for both her and Grandmother. Mother liked to pretend she was Grandmother’s antithesis, but the truth was, they were more alike than either would have admitted. I had even found a mannerism or two I didn’t think of as mine, but theirs, creeping into my own speech. “Have you found anything?” she demanded.
“Not yet,” I said. “But I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. You have no idea how much stuff she managed to cram into this place. It’s a little mind-blowing.” I toed at the pile I’d been sorting, and it slid sideways with a waft of cedar and old socks that almost made me gag.
“Why are you being so stubborn about this, Persephone?”
“I’m thirty years old. I get to make my own choices. Grandmother offered them to me.” I hesitated before adding, “It’s not your call,” feeling the words slide distance between us when my mother was already so far away.
She hung up without a word. I stared at “Connection terminated” before wiping at my face again, tasting salt on my lips. I was sweating up a storm in this fierce heat. That’s all it was.

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About Cat Rambo:

Nebula, World Fantasy, and Endeavour award nominee Cat Rambo's published work includes 200+ stories, two novels, five collections, a cookbook, a travel guide, and two books for writers, Moving from Idea to Draft and Creating an Online Presence for Writers. She runs The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, which offers live and on-demand online writing classes aimed at speculative fiction writers. She is a two-term President of the The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Find links and more information at


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About Meerkat Press

 Meerkat Press is an independent publisher committed to finding and publishing exceptional, irresistible, unforgettable fiction. And despite the previous sentence, we frown on overuse of adjectives and adverbs in submissions. *smile*

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Once Upon A Rose by Lorri Moulton

Release date: October 11, 2019
Subgenre: Fairytale Novella 

About Once Upon A Rose


In this clean/sweet fairytale, a princess uncovers a plot against her kingdom and tries to stop it with the help of her friends.




“What are you doing here?” Avaleen whispered.  “It’s too dangerous for you to be here right now.”

“I want to ask you about something,” Celsiana whispered back, “but not until we have some privacy.

They walked to the middle of the garden and began weeding.  “So, what did you want to ask?”  Avaleen brushed her hands together.  “The soil is almost too wet to weed today.”

Celsiana nodded.  “I wanted to find out more about the guilds and if they’re involved in what’s happening at the castle.”  She glanced over at her friend.  “And why is your brother so upset?”

“This morning, the head of the guild told Nicholas he could no longer study in the other village.”  Avaleen shook her head.  “It’s not fair, and I don’t want to be the reason he has to stay here.”

“I heard what your father said,” Celsiana admitted.  “Do you really think they would threaten you and your family?”

“I do,” Avaleen replied.  “The guild has always tried to control what happens here, but it’s getting worse.”  She lowered her voice.  “I’ve never seen my father so worried.”

Celsiana debated whether to tell her friend about the diamonds.  She didn’t know if it would help, so instead she asked, “How long ago did the man leave?”

“Why?” Avaleen’s eyes narrowed.  “What are you planning?”

“I think my father needs to know what’s happening in the village,” Celsiana said, “but I doubt he’ll be concerned if Nicholas is not able to return to his studies.”  She hesitated.  “It’s not that he doesn’t care, but his focus will be elsewhere the next few weeks.”

“The weddings?” Avaleen asked.

Celsiana nodded.  “I think if I could see the head of the guild actually doing something that would threaten the safety of our subjects, my father would act.”  Or so she hoped.

“I don’t know what we can do,” Avaleen said.  “Nicholas might help us if you told him who you really are.”

“No.”  Celsiana shook her head.  “He would probably insist I return to the castle.”  She paused.  “I can tell you this.  There are some alliances involved with the wedding that may impact the guild, which might be why they’re so adamant about maintaining control right now.”

“That makes sense,” Avaleen agreed.  “We could try…” She stopped as she heard the shed door slam.

“I don’t want to discuss it,” Nicholas said.  “I’m sorry, Father.  I just need to clear my head.”

“Let’s go.”  Celsiana pulled Avaleen up with her.

“Where?” Avaleen asked.

“We’re going to follow Nicholas,” Celsiana replied.  “I would guess he plans to do more than take a walk.”

“What makes you think that?” Avaleen hurried after Celsiana.

“I have two brothers,” Celsiana reminded her.  “We’ll make sure Nicholas doesn’t do anything he’ll regret.”  She smiled.  “And maybe we’ll find out what’s really going on.”

“Do you think he knows?” Avaleen asked.

“I would imagine he has a fairly good idea,” Celsiana said.  “Royalty or not, men usually don’t share all the details with us.  I think this is one time we need to work together.”


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About Lorri Moulton:

“You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants some magical solution to their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic.”
--Lewis Carroll

Fairytales are simply stories that remind us to be our best selves. If we do this, we can be successful. Good will triumph over evil. True love is possible....and dragons can be tamed.

The need for fairytales is just as important today as it has ever been. True love is romantic, but it is also means considering what is important to someone else and when necessary, to put their needs before your own. To work together to accomplish the goals that matter to both of you. To be open to the idea that magical and miraculous things happen everyday. And to build a future that will make the world a better place, at least in your little corner of the kingdom.

So, take a step back in time and enjoy an Everyday Romance. Real life fairytales happen all the time. You just have to believe in the possibility…and look for magic in the most unexpected places.

My name is Lorri Moulton and I live on a farm in eastern Washington with my family and our five horses. I have a Master’s degree in History and grew up hearing so many wonderful stories about our own family tree. My grandparents spoke of a more simple time, when people loved each other and helped their neighbors. I hope these stories share some of that beauty of the past, with all of you.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Interview with Bradley Wind, author of BULB

Today it gives the Speculative Fiction Showcase great pleasure to interview Bradley Wind, whose novel, BULB, we featured on October 13th.

What made you choose the name BULB for your latest novel, and can you explain what the cover art signifies?
BULB was there from the start because the ideas in the novel were largely what drove the writing. One of the main technologies that affect the world of the novel is an Informed Light, an altered light that can be controlled and used to record information, all activity that light reaches, and then stored in a "Grand Archive" for anyone to access = Lightbulb. But also from my focus on the repeating forms found in nature. Strip the body of the skin and bone, leave the brain and nervous system, and take a look at flower bulb/root systems = one can't help but see the similarities between. The cover art is reflective of the ideas above and also has the conjoined twins who are characters that I use as another way express unusual connections, similar to the way I deal with synchronicity or coincidence.

Your bio describes you as a visual artist, amongst other things. How has your work in the visual arts impacted your writing, and vice versa? 
I'm always telling myself stories in my art. Most of my artwork is a way to explore thought visually.  I spent about 5 years on this "train" painting where I had 2 2'x2' boards side by side. I'd work the image to 3/4 completion as a whole image and then slide one board off and add another fresh one to the end. It went on for 36 panels. This is a painting that came after BULB and was, at the start, somewhat inspired by the writing of the novel

You have also had a varied career as a toy designer and an IT consultant. Being a toy designer sounds like every child’s dream. Was it yours and did it fulfil your expectations? 
I came back from working for Americorps in Texas and sort of just happened upon the job at K'Nex as a toy designer. I mainly worked as a large scale display designer/sculptor creating displays for events like the annual NYC toy fair. It was hard work but we had a great deal of fun. I can't say I ever dreamed of being a toy designer as a kid. I spent more time in the local creeks than playing with toys. I had idealistic notions of making a difference from early on in High School and working to help children was and is still important to me. I left K'Nex to travel but came back and got my IT certifications so I could work for non-profits. My first job was working for Pearl S. Buck International/Welcome House (child adoption and humanitarian aid) and for the past 17 years at Montgomery Early Learning Centers as an IT Director.

Was writing something you practised from the beginning, or was it a later stage in your creative work? 
I wrote journals, lyrics, and short stories when I was younger but it wasn't until I got back from Europe in 1998 that I decided to give novel writing a try. I finished BULB in late 1999. I had an agent for it (Luke Janklow) in 2002 and it went through many revisions/drafts, but I'd put it down for years until I decided to pull it out last year and do a final revision with the help of my wife. 1999 to 2019, hard to believe the 20-year span but a good 30-40K of it has been cut, still leaving the ideas and main story much the same as that first draft.

What inspired you to write BULB? 
It started as an epistolary novel based on a relationship I had with a woman from Chicago. Those letters were filled with cringe-inducing emotion largely related to the dramas that occurred before I met her and I couldn't continue with that relationship as the focus so I switched gears to the topics I'd been painting or thinking about for years. Synchronicity, privacy, resilience were the guiding ideas. I know Jung's The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious ...or might have been Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle had been topics which influenced. If I'm remembering Jung's writings correctly there is an air of too close to the occult or supernatural belief for my tastes now but there is still something to the synchronistic forms/activity that remain unanswered and is of interest. 

Bulb is described on Amazon as Post-apocalyptic or dystopian science fiction. What made you choose to write in a genre topic, or was it chance? 
Honestly, I had no idea it would fall into any scifi category. I was so green, new to it all, and during discussions with Luke Janklow, he didn't see it as scifi so much as litfic. I didn't think in genre terms. I was just writing my story. I see how others can and likely will view the world of BULB as something that fits into Post-apocalyptic or Dystopian fiction. Without a doubt, it's speculative fiction, but I still can see Luke's point of view.

What do you think of other contemporary science fiction, for example The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments by Margaret Atwood? 
I haven't read THT since...late 80s early 90s? I've been reading about The Testaments and am more interested in the process she may have gone through to enter that world again. Was it financial, or market forces driving it? or lingering stories haunting her to continue? Or the adoring masses wanting more of what they'd been experiencing via the TV series. The idea of expanding a story or going back to a style of painting that felt complete at one point in your life and going back is interesting to me. The closest to contemporary scifi I've read is the Paper Girls comics by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson. I've been reading a lot more science non-fiction these days. I'd recommend I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong.

You have already published other books, including A Whole Lot and I’m not a Robot, I’m a Unicorn! Can you tell us about those? 
A Whole Lot is my second novel.  A coming-of-age story about a boy with prodigious savant syndrome. Sort of a young Rainman, if you know the movie somewhat based on the savant Kim Peeks. I'm Not a Robot, I'm a Unicorn!  was a book I created for my girls. I decided to list it on Amazon for fun, but because of the way the website works, its price is too high. I was recently excited my wife decided to share it with a student of hers who she said very much liked it. That kind of personal response means the most to me.

What are you planning to write next, and do you have a “work in progress”? 
I do have a book I'm working on. It's somewhat about proprioception, set in the 90s. Influences might be the River's Edge movie, or possibly several of Crispin Glover's movies ...thinking of Ruben and Ed too... and tales of Yurei or Japanese ghost stories.
But with my writing, it's always Issa's Climb Mt Fuji oh snail but slowly slowly = I'm in no rush to produce.

How does your artistic process differ from your writing process; how do you organise your day?
Well, I have a full-time job, a wife and two girls - 10 and 12, two dogs, chickens, a house/yard so time is at a premium, but I work on my art and writing most nights and weekends.

What, if any, contemporary genre shows do you watch on TV, or in the cinema?
How lucky to live in this golden age of TV with so many options. I've enjoyed many, but in the past 6-12 months? Last Week Tonight with John Oliver regularly. End of the F#$%ing World, Sex Education, Russian Doll, OitNB, The Boys, Stranger Things... Movies? I'm annoyed at how few we watch. There was a time when it was several a week. Now... largely brainless action stuff - fun and I enjoy them but you know...superhero movies. I'm in the middle of Kwaidan - this great Japanese movie from the 60s. It's 3 short stories similar to Kurasawa's Dreams

Have you produced any or many artworks connected with BULB, aside from the cover?
Oh sure. There's one at the top of my facebook author page right now... 

There really are many that happened before the novel and after that completely connect to and relate, but here are a sample:

Who are your favourite authors?
 Always a very difficult question but some mainstays that come to mind: Haruki Murakami, Ryu Murakami, Fydor Dostoyevsky, Oliver Sacks, Sam Harris, David Sedaris, Ken Kesey...

What do you plan to do when BULB has launched?
Plan? Well, I know I'll feel awkward, wonder if any of my friends, family, or people I know will read and like it, hope someone (everyone!) will leave a good review, also hope people will email me and share stories of their personal synchronicity, but I guess I'm planning on trying to get others to read it.

About Bradley Wind:

Bradley Wind was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He is a prolific visual artist whose work has exhibited in the 20th-century wing of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

He worked as a toy designer for K'nex Industries, a manager of IT for Pearl S. Buck International and is currently a director of IT for a child-focused non-profit. He raises chickens and two lovely girls with his wife in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

BULB is his latest novel.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for October 25, 2019

It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with more on Martin Scorsese's derogatory comments about superhero movies, Joker, Watchmen, His Dark Materials, Terminator: Dark Fate, The Lighthouse, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Countdown, Daybreak, an uproar about an anthology featuring only male writers named David and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:

Comments on Martin Scorsese's derogatory comments about superhero movies:

Comments on the latest version of Watchmen

Comments on Terminator: Dark Fate:

Comments on Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Comments on The Lighthouse:

Comments on Joker:

Comments on Countdown

Comments on Daybreak


Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews: 

Con and event reports:


Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: