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Through Shadows by P.S. Livingstone, A.M. Justice, Alex McGilvery, J.E. Hannaford, Laura Shank, Liam Hogan, Anela Deen

A collection of award-winning speculative short fiction! QuaranCon's top entries from both the 2020 and 2021 short fiction contests, these six stories all deal with themes of isolation and innovation, and are sure to keep you entertained in bite sized moments of adventure.


See These Bones: A Post-Apocalyptic Superhero Novel by Chris Tullbane

Some superheroes want to save the world. Damian is just hoping to save himself. In the post-Break world of superpowers, necromancy is the one gift nobody wants. Everyone knows what happens to Crows; they go mad and they go bad. That's the story of infamous mass murderers like Crimson Death, Gravedigger, and Sally Cemetery. It's also the story of David Jameson, an otherwise unremarkable man who came home one day and killed his wife, orphaning their five-year-old son, Damian. Thirteen years later, Damian has inherited more than just grey eyes and a beak of a nose from his father. He too is a Crow, doomed to become a killer unless he can find a way to avoid the violent madness endemic to his powers. When a Finder offers enrollment at Los Angeles' Academy of Superheroes, he jumps at the chance, believing training could be the key to changing his fate. His classmates despise him, the majority of his teachers want him expelled, and his mom's ghost hasn't said a word since reappearing when he was nine, but Damian isn't the kind to give up. He's going to take control of his destiny or die in the process. It's that or end up like his father.


Thief of Souls by Emma L. Adams

I'm Liv Cartwright, mage, thief, and unapologetic nerd. Magically talented people like me have two choices: use our powers at the beck and call of the Order of the Elements or be exiled to the realm of monsters. Sounds like an easy choice, right? Not so much. Since my mentor dabbled in forbidden spirit magic and left me to take the fall, I have to pay off his debts without using my magic. I'd rather spend my free time gaming than retrieving valuable objects for the Order, but my latest retrieval job goes from mundane to deadly when I end up on the wrong side of the terrifying King of the Dead. Turns out he doesn’t like thieves, and he likes the Order even less. To make things worse, I run into my ex-boyfriend, a fire mage who's carrying as many secrets as I am, and find my simple thieving job has landed me in the middle of a conspiracy. A second elemental war is brewing, and the key to stopping it lies in my long-buried memories of my mentor's lessons. The catch? If the Order finds out, they'll show me no mercy this time -- and everyone knows there's a good reason spirit magic was banned. People who use it tend to end up dead.


The Call for Finis: Pride by A.J. Torres

Seven sins. Seven hosts. One city purged. After everything you’ve learned, can you still stand with your faith, or finally rise up against it? Salvia VerdaderaFe has signed a pact with Ultor, a demon of Infernos, to enact the end of all and purge the world of sin. Ultor and six others were granted permission to enter the middle world of Eldara, bound to mortals by the Seraphim of Hevellum. Upon his arrival a messenger of Hevellum should have been waiting to assign him his task, unfortunately the messenger did not appear and thus his mission is a mystery. Along their journey through the country of Marlela, they are set upon by a group of Templar Equitums, bearers of virtue and enforcers of the Cirine faith. From their encounter their destination is revealed. Their journey to Lumen Magnum begins.


Tales of Lunis Aquaria by Tessa Hastjarjanto

Lose yourself in the wondrous world of Lunis Aquaria. Explore daunting deserts, treacherous mountains and the deep blue of the Morcain sea. If you enjoy the fairy tales of old you will enjoy this collection of nine short adventure stories. • Coming of beasts: A mysterious Lady uses her powers to cultivate the land. When five otherworldly visitors arrive, she gives them a set of powers to aid them on their quest. • The sacred maiden: When a young girl's house is raided, she escapes. One thief chases her into the night. Both of them find something they never thought they would. • Moon Flower: To win the heart of a girl, a young man sets out to find the most beautiful flower there ever was. He faces the dangers of the mountains, looking for a flower that might not even exist. • Thomas and the wolf: A wolf finds a little boy watching a blazing fire in which his family is trapped. The wolf takes the boy to meet the only one he trusts. • The witch of Monterra Mountain: The blacksmith's apprentice falls for a woman who's accused of witchcraft. • Shepherd's Stick: A scholar ventures into the desert to experience the ghost stories the elders tell to scare the children. He finds much more than just a ghost. • Archipelago of Wonder: A fisherman survives a storm and ends up on a tropical island. As he looks for resources to repair his ship, he receives help from an unexpected source. • Decapod's Ire: An archer joins a seafaring crew to hunt the creature that destroyed a handful of fishing boats. • Lovers through time: A time traveller finds the love of his life in the past and must find a way for them to be together.


Thicker Than Blood (The Journey Missions Book 3) by Holly Ash

Lieutenant Commander Crystal Wolf's hatred of politics has never been a secret through her spotless military career. So why is she being sent to Earth to speak at a military hearing on behalf of The Lands and Waters of Neophia Organization? When Crystal's team is tasked with convincing the US military to continue the officer exchange program that first brought Lieutenant Desiree Flint and Ensign Justin Anderson to Neophia to serve on Journey’s first tour, the stakes are already high: if they fail their mission, Flint and Anderson won’t be able to return for the second tour. And to make matters worse, they arrive on Earth to find relations between the two planets are far worse than anyone let on. Things escalate when a terrorist group attacks a string of hospitals, demanding the US government acknowledge Neophia’s superiority. Divided from their team in the wake of a retaliatory order that detains anyone with Neophian blood, Flint and Anderson, the only two pure humans, must find a way to complete their mission--and get the rest of their team home in one piece.


EXODUS 20:3 by Freydís Moon

Religious eroticism and queer emancipation meet in a claustrophobic monster-romance about divinity, sexuality, and freedom. When Diego López is guilted by his mother into taking a low-key construction job in New Mexico, he doesn’t expect to be the only helping hand at Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. But the church is abandoned, decrepit, and off the beaten path, and the only other person for miles is its handsome caretaker, Ariel Azevedo. Together, Diego and Ariel refurbish the old church, sharing stories of their heritage, experiences, and desires. But as the long days turn into longer nights, Diego begins to see past Ariel’s human mirage and finds himself falling into lust—and maybe something else—with one of God’s first creations.


Rememory: A Science Fiction Novelette by Frasier Armitage

In the future, memory is currency. Felix is broke, on the run, with nothing in his head but a combination of numbers. Someone robbed him of his mind. Now it's time he took it back.


Elevated Inferno by Carlotta Ardell

Monet Parker wasn't a sucker for a man in uniform. Even if he was a firefighter with dimples deep enough to swim in and ebony skin painted by the gods. She was just trying to get her dream internship and prepare herself for a career in social robotics. She had no idea how her life would change with the simple push of a button. When the elevator taking her to her interview at Real World Robotics stops, Monet isn't sure if she will live, let alone make her interview. She's rescued by Rhys Banks: the gorgeous hunk of a fireman. As much as their magnetism is palpable, Monet is trying to ignore her feelings. Focusing on her career and navigating her chaotic family drama is more than enough excitement for her. Still, it's hard to ignore #FiremanBae when her sister is hosting an Instagram Live video of the rescue and getting the whole internet buzzing. What happens when the internet becomes a third wheel in Monet's love life? What happens when past hurts, career goals, and family baggage are in conflict with their desires? Will these distractions win out and quash the elevated inferno? Can Monet have it all, including love?


Family Binds (The Journey Missions Book 2) by Holly Ash

It should have been a routine rescue mission Lieutenant Commander Crystal Wolf could lead in her sleep: go in, restore life support, and evacuate the colonists of Stapleton Farms if things went south. But when the true identity of Stapleton Farms’ leader is revealed, it changes everything. And for the first time in her career, Crystal is emotionally compromised. With the Commander gone, Lieutenant Desiree Flint must put her own prejudices aside and lead an investigation into the sabotage against Stapleton Farms’ computers; but she soon realizes there’s more at stake here than one colony or Neophia's food supply. War is in the air, even if no one else can see it yet. And Desi can’t stop it on her own. In over her head, Desi only has one person she can turn to for help. But can Crystal set aside the betrayal, pain, and chaos of a compromised past in time to stop Stapleton Farms from being destroyed – and prevent war?


Red Right Hand: A Post-Apocalyptic Superhero Novel by Chris Tullbane

"If life’s taught me anything, it’s that you scrap and claw for every moment you can get. And if you’re a Crow like me, you don’t let a little thing like dying get in your way." Following the events of See These Bones, Damian is back at the Academy of Heroes as the Free States' most unlikely potential Cape. He has a new name, a new reputation, and a whole host of new questions about his own past. If he's going to find answers to those questions, let alone survive another year at the Academy, he'll need to learn a skill the orphanage never taught him: teamwork. Nothing's ever easy, is it?


Birds of a Feather by Sandy Butchers

Gifted with wings and an exceptional predator’s instinct, Gideon finds that The Keep of Whispers is not too fond of Splices like him. Growing up in a cruel city, he quickly discovers that the only people who care about him are the people who created him through generations of genetic enhancements. Trained to be a killer in the name the tech-hoarding Houses, Gael Griswold, the man behind the Splice technology, sells Gideon to the highest bidder. Here, he discovers that there’s more to life than his head on a wanted bounty pamphlet. Follow Gideon Crowby as he tries to discover who he is and how he can become a better man. Birds of a Feather is the third volume in a series of short story collections that prelude the 'The Singularian'


The Crowman by Gareth Clegg

In a dying world, one lone rider is the only hope for salvation.
 Some say the world is shattered, that our way of life is dying. Our sun fills half the sky and the scorched lands struggle to provide enough to sustain us. Still, there has always been hope. But as that fiery red orb descends below the rocky skyline, then comes the shadow: Dark spirits hell-bent on destroying what’s left of humanity, as if we needed any help. My name is Cheveyo Santiago. I cheated death as a child, but that trauma marked me, and now I sense the evil in others. So here I am, drawn like a moth to the flame. Though I carry a revolver, I’m no gunslinger, there are plenty faster on the draw than me. My real edge is knowledge. Old family recipes passed down through the ages – the secrets to banish the shadow back to the hells that spawned it. Salt, Brimstone, Silver and Tallow shall be my weapons.
 So, hear this, all creatures and spirits of evil. I know you. I see you. Prepare yourself for judgement. The Crowman is the first novella in a Weird West / Supernatural Western Horror series from Amazon best selling author Gareth Clegg.


Crystal and Flint (The Journey Missions Book 1) by Holly Ash

It’s been 300 years since humans arrived on Neophia and the planet’s intelligent species have yet to agree on how much influence humans and their advanced technology should have on the planet. With the threat of war hanging in the air, Lieutenant Commander Crystal Wolf races to finish construction of the mega submarine, Journey, in order to calm political tensions on Neophia and cement her already stellar military career.Lieutenant Desiree Flint never dreamed she would leave Earth to serve on Neophia, but with the end of her military career in sight she doesn’t see a way around it. Determined to rebuild her reputation on Neophia, no matter the cost, she sets her sights on dethroning Commander Wolf in order to prove her own superiority. When Journey is attacked by someone from Crystal’s past, the two women must find a way to work together to save the ship, liberate an underwater colony from an oppressive government, and prevent a war.


A Voice That Thunders (Voice That Thunders #1) by Cully Mack

Immortals conquering as gods. A Shadow creeping closer... Can an apprentice healer be the key to ignite a war? Mirah looks for the best in everybody. But her naiveté is shattered when her clan is slaughtered, and she’s dragged into captivity. Vulnerable and scared, she has no choice but to accept her kidnappers’ offer to join their sect of lethal female fighters. Desperate to find stability in her chaotic new life, Mirah throws herself into training as a water mage and warrior. But as she discovers her unprecedented elemental control, her instructor warns that revealing her power will put her in mortal danger. With the fate of humanity at risk, will Mirah’s growing abilities spell her salvation… or destruction? A Voice That Thunders is the first book in the action-packed Voice that Thunders epic fantasy series. If you like strong women, intricate world-building, and stories of enduring friendship, then you’ll adore Cully Mack’s riveting saga.


The Wildflowers at the Edge of the World by Shaylin Gandhi

Yukon Territories, 1898. When circus sharpshooter Sophia Bellerose flees from heartbreak in search of a new life, she doesn’t intend to find work in a Yukon brothel. But she's not the sort of woman to refuse that kind of cash—or the freedom that comes with it. ​ For Sophia, the remote wilds of Canada’s Far North provide the perfect setting to bury old heartbreaks. Up there, memories are short, days are long, and gold dust flows freely for any woman bold enough to make the trip. Even better? She gets to keep her guns. Yet when the warmth of her newfound sisterhood begins to thaw her icy heart, Sophia wonders if she’s stumbled across the perfect life—until she clashes with the local Reverend, whose angel face hides a dangerously devious mind. Not only is he conning the whole town, he’s after both the brothel and her, though she can't tell whether his interest is genuine or just another clever ploy to gain control of her earnings. Determined to preserve her newfound freedom—and ignore the Reverend’s devastating kissing in the process—Sophia unholsters her revolvers and takes aim, ready to do whatever it takes to keep her new life in one piece.


Brightling by C.E. Page

The hunt for a cure led them right into the heart of the Between, but what price will they have to pay to secure it? Caught in a deadly trap made of their own memories, Nea and Garret must find their way out before it’s too late. But as they delve deeper into dangerous intrigues that cross realms, they are confronted with knowledge that changes everything. Can they overcome this new threat? Or will they lose themselves in the unfathomable wilds of the Between? Back in their home realm, Margot is desperate for a distraction from Nea and Garret’s prolonged absence. With mounting rumours of restless dead and a tangled web of secrets left behind by Nea, she goes on a quest for an explanation that will lead her all the way to the City of Stars. There awaits a revelation that could plunge the known realms into chaos. As they all close in on the answers they seek, will they persevere or be swept away by powers beyond any of their control?


Isoldesse by Kimberly Gruenbacher

Friendships are tested, new alliances are made, and the truth of one woman's actions from over a millennia ago are revealed. Kenna and Meegan are college students dealing with upcoming finals, needy parents, boy drama, and what to do with their lives after they graduate in a few weeks. What they weren't expecting was for Kenna to receive a powerful stone necklace that ultimately changes their plans for a relaxing summer. Strange things begin to happen to Kenna, like being the only one who can see and talk to the mysterious old woman with a golden aura. Or how in her dreams, a man with vibrant orange eyes keeps appearing who may or may not be real. Though, not all of Kenna's mysterious encounters are pleasant as she's haunted by massive beings carrying long swords and wearing armor covered in black scales. Besides solving the mystery of where the stone necklace came from, Kenna, Meegan, and their friends are taken to another world for a routine evolutionary assessment. The assessment gets sabotaged and causes more chaos for Kenna and her friends, especially for Meegan who is forced to open up and reveal her true identity and the magic she hides. There's one name that Kenna, Meegan, the Sendarians, and the monsters who've been hunting Meegan and her family for over a century all have in common-Isoldesse.


The Kavordian Library Omnibus (Fyskar, Subject 15, Polaris Skies, Subgalaxia) by Chapel Orahamm

Collects Fyskar, Subject 15, Polaris Skies, and Subgalaxia. Content Warning-18+, not suitable for young people-Depictions and mention of sex, blood, gore, violence, abuse, suicide, rape, death, homophobia, racism, sexism, drowning, PTSD, psychological trauma, war, language, loss of pregnancy


Ascension: Wolves of Goose Creek (Tales from the DarkWorld Book 3) by Ronnie Massey

In a world where vampires, werewolves, witches, and all other manners of beings not only live their lives freely and out in the open but are some of the media’s biggest celebutantes, werewolf Still Waters is an anomaly. Although she is an honorary member of the Eastern Seaboard’s largest pack, Still lives her life as a lone wolf. But when a freak accident claims the life of a loved one, the delicate façade that is Still's life comes crashing down. Not only is Still forced to out herself, but she also becomes first in line to assume the position of alpha of her birth pack…a pack whose members make it clear they want nothing to do with her. But with the chaos, there comes calm in the form of Dee Stratton, the one that got away. Where Still was taught to hide, Dee was raised to embrace her status as a werewolf. Those differences ultimately drove the two apart. But when Dee returns to offer Still support, the two quickly fall back into their relationship. Their joy, however, is short-lived when family skeletons from Still’s past creep from the closet and threaten their bond. Now Still must fight for the very things she once thought she could live without, Dee and the Goose Creek wolves. Still will either rise to the occasion and become the alpha and mate that Dee believes she can be or walk away from her pack and her relationship…this time for good.


Emma and the Minotaur by Jon Herrera

A love letter to innocence, magic, and fantasy. The residents of the City of Saint Martin are disappearing. Those who hear the music of the forest are compelled to follow it and are never seen again. At the same time, creatures of myth and legend are returning to our world. Led by the colossal Minotaur, they hide in the shadows of Glenridge Forest, waiting for a day soon to come. Why are they here? What is the World of Light? Join young Emma Wilkins as she uncovers the truth behind the mystery and learns the identity of the great power behind it all. Like a song in the wind, the tale drifted out into the world. It started its journey in a dark glade deep inside Glenridge Forest. Those who had been there to witness the story carried it with them into the City of Saint Martin. From there, told and retold, the tale transformed and grew wings of its own. Farther and farther, the tale flew, reshaping itself into the form given to it by the voice of the teller. The story morphed and shifted, ever molding itself to the temperament of the land beneath it. The tale reached every corner of the world. To some, it was only a children's bedtime story. But others, in times to come, would find in it solace and truth.


Fogbound: Empire in Flames by Gareth Clegg

London 1899, a ruined city under martial law. It was just another bounty job for Simmons - recover a killer escaping beyond the massive walled city, while avoiding the toxic red fog and the tainted creatures who make their home Fogside since the failed Martian Invasion of '94. When he stumbles across a dastardly plot to overthrow Empress Victoria, the hunter becomes the hunted. With the brutal military police on his trail, he needs to gather others to his cause, learn who is responsible for this treason and keep the Empire he loves from plunging into eternal darkness. But in the darkest and most fogbound areas of the flooded London streets, a sinister intelligence watches, biding its time until the hour of reckoning is at hand…


A Canticle of Two Souls by Steven Raaymakers

A magic sword forged of a demon. A broken boy seeking revenge. A grim coming-of-age tale with a Sanderson-esque magic system. Raziel watched the Rhotian Empire slaughter his family. When a sentient sword promises him the head of the emperor, Raziel carves a bloody path in an epic journey across a land filled with banshees and mercenaries in pursuit of his revenge. But forced to travel with a strange young woman with a dark past, will Raziel even reach his destination? Alicia has plans of her own. Gifted with a terrible magic that can bend others to her will, she also has revenge on her mind and Raziel in her sights. Can two enemies put aside their differences to seek a higher goal, or will mistrust and inner-demons condemn their fates? Magic is a dangerous thing. So is hope. The ‘Aria of Steel Trilogy’ is a heavy-metal power ballad of clashing blades, blood-soaked betrayal, and sweet revenge. Will you walk away or join the fight?


Empire's Bard by Marian L Thorpe

Omnibus edition of Oraiáphon and Empire's Reckoning Courage comes in many forms. The northern invaders are defeated, but the price is high. The Eastern Empire, gone from these lands for generations, now rules. For Sorley, the young lord of Gundarstorp, the war and the treaty he signed have stripped him of both his lands and the chance to be a scáeli, a bard. Now it threatens to take Cillian, the man he loves. Reluctantly accepting a diplomatic role, desperate to stay at Cillian’s side, Sorley is torn between promises: to his country’s leader; to his oath as an envoy; to his closest friend. Taking refuge in his music and the arms of another man, he finds a fragile peace – only to have it shattered by secrets revealed. But there is more than one side to a story, more than one song to be sung – if Sorley is brave enough to listen to his heart.


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