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The Ghosts of Thorwald Place

The Ghosts of Thorwald Place by Helen Power

A Mystery Scene Magazine 2021 Editor's Pick Trust No One. Especially Your Neighbors. Rachel Drake is on the run from the man who killed her husband. She never leaves her safe haven in an anonymous doorman building, until one night a phone call sends her running. On her way to the garage, she is murdered in the elevator. But her story doesn’t end there. She finds herself in the afterlife, tethered to her death spot, her reach tied to the adjacent apartments. As she rides the elevator up and down, the lives of the residents intertwine. Every one of them has a dark secret. An aging trophy wife whose husband strays. A surgeon guarding a locked room. A TV medium who may be a fraud. An ordinary man with a mysterious hobby. Compelled to spend eternity observing her neighbors, she realizes that any one of them could be her killer.


Never Die (Mortal Techniques #1)

Never Die (Mortal Techniques #1) by Rob J. Hayes

SPFBO Finalist

Samurai, shinigami, vengeful spirits, and an impossible quest. Itami Cho has earned the name Whispering Blade. She is a Shintei warrior, sworn to the path of oaths and honour. But keeping her oaths has always been more difficult than taking them. When Flaming Fist and his bandits attack the city of Kaishi, Itami swears one last oath: she will protect the city and its people at any cost. Ein has spent his life dreaming of being a hero, and now the God of Death has given him a chance. The Reaper has set him an impossible quest: an eight-year-old boy sent to stop an immortal Emperor. Never Die is a stand alone set in the world of Mortal Techniques. It’s a wuxia adventure filled with samurai, shinigami, heroes, and vengeful spirits.


El Jefe

El Jefe by Tiffany Christina Lewis

In this third installment of the series, Detective Michael Taylor of the Oakland PD has a decision to make: Should he begin an investigation against his corrupt lieutenant? After being given a file of evidence against him, Michael is expected to act. He knows that after multiple attempts on his own life, opening this investigation would put himself, all of his loved ones and his partner Det. Alex Jamison in danger. As Michael contemplates the case, he and Jamison get a late-night call to the residence of Mia McDowell, who is found assaulted and murdered. Although it initially looks like a breaking and entering, Michael can sense something isn’t right. Just as his momentum rises, Lt. Bruce Vega, the corrupt supervisor in question, arrives on the scene. As the two come head to head, Michael removes himself from the situation only to find that he has fueled Lt. Vega’s fire, and he is now under a month’s suspension. Now Michael has to make some choices: will he investigate Lt. Vega and risk everything or will he do nothing and risk losing himself?


A Dagger in the Dark

A Dagger in the Dark by Tom Dumbrell

Twenty years before the events of The Look of a King, in a world on the cusp of change, a young man dreams of a life far from the one he has known. Is he a captain in the making, or out of his depth? The stakes are high, and only time will tell if the spoils are worth the gamble. . .


The Yellow Oak

The Yellow Oak by Victor Vahl

Trapped in never-ending terror. Isolated from the outside world, with mysterious beings feasting on their sanity. How can they survive long enough to find their escape? Find out in this thrilling psychological tale. Rye Davidson, a third-generation woodworker, relocated his family to a small town near the dense forests of Oregon in the 1980s to make a better life and escape his troubled history. Starting a new job at an old factory, he meets Spencer Mills, a veteran worker who's isolated himself from the rest of the town. When Rye is sent out on his first job with Spencer, they're transported to an unknown forest far unlike their normal reality. Soon, they realize there's no path out, and the path they stumbled through has disappeared. Their job is now a journey of survival. A journey quickly spiraling into psychological suspense, mystery, and horror. The odds to stay alive are slim. The odds to escape are even slimmer. Discover the enigmas and tap into the fears buried within...The Yellow Oak. The Yellow Oak is Victor Vahl's sophomore novel, a psychological thriller inspired by the mind-bending essence of Lovecraftian horror, the bone-chilling atmosphere of Robert Egger's films, and heart-pounding scenarios. If you like The Lighthouse, House of Leaves, Lovecraftian horror, and The Shining, then you'll love Victor Vahl's psychological thriller. Order your copy today!


Stones of Light

Stones of Light by Zack Argyle

Stones of Light continues the story begun in Voice of War, the multi-award-winning start to the Threadlight series. FEAR THE ROSES. FEAR THE LIGHT. Chrys swore to never again let the Apogee take control but, in a moment of desperation, he gave in. Now, he will learn what the Apogee truly wants. In Alchea, Laurel will do anything to get her threadlight back, even if it means working for the leader of the Bloodthieves. But she has no choice...a life without threadlight is no life at all. To the west, Alverax travels with the Zeda people to the large port city of Felia, where they seek refuge after the fires in the Fairenwild. But he shattered the coreseal, and no one quite knows what the consequences will be. They only know it won't be good. Together, they changed the world—now, they must save it.


Head Like a Hole

Head Like a Hole by Andrew Van Wey

When you bury your past, make sure that it’s dead. It’s the mid-nineties. Grunge and flannel are fading as the Spice Girls and Hot Topic conquer the malls. Cherry gloss glistens on the lips of the youth. Modems hiss as America comes online. And in a fog-drenched cove at the edge of New England, something terrible awakens when a fisherman reels in a gruesome catch: the remains of a young woman. Remains still pulsing with furious life. For Megan Monroe and her friends, this is how their nightmare begins: a wet whisper over their shoulder, a dark hand reaching out from the edge of their sight, and a name clawing at the back of their minds. A young woman scratched from their memory. To stop this devouring terror, Megan will need to mend broken friendships and reassemble her fractured past, for what stalks them hungers to remake itself in their image… piece by bloody piece. Dig into the haunted past with Head Like a Hole, a novel of malignant secrets, shattered friendships, and twisted bodily horror. ★★★★★ "This is a brilliant read. A wonderful well-written plot and a story line that had me engaged from the start." ★★★★★ "A quick, fun read that will be enjoyed by true crime, horror, and sci-fi fans." ★★★★★ "A beautiful, gritty tale that engages you to piece it all together while being deliciously entertained at the same time."


The Century Blade

The Century Blade by Rob J. Hayes

Orochi, the king of the dragons, has ordered his brothers and sisters to destroy humanity. It falls to a young hero to assemble a team and stop the dragons' rampage. It falls to the Century Blade. This is a short story set in the world of the award-winning Mortal Techniques. It is designed to be read as a standalone story, completely independent from the full length novels set in the same world.


Dragon Mage

Dragon Mage by ML Spencer

SPFBO7

Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn't know it yet. Aram thinks he's nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he's never known. But Aram is more. Much, much more. Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders. Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn't existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.


Isla's Reach

Isla's Reach by Francisca Liliana

One catastrophe is all it takes. The world of Iona has forgotten the time when dragons ruled the skies and their Viden riders controlled the wind. The Evandis War, started by the long dead Cinaed the Decayed was won, but at the extermination of every dragon and their Viden riders. Evelyn, the last Viden, has been in hiding for her entire life, but no more. Once she bonds with Oretem, the last dragon, her purpose quickly turns from being the shield for those she loves, to the blade that fights to survive. A Reticent assassin haunts her steps, one who has his own demons to battle. They both seek a single person--Meric, a bounty hunter Venandi, who the assassin endeavors to destroy and the Viden hopes to save. These three lives intertwine in ways that leave them questioning everything they've ever known. The roots of Isla's Reach burrow deep to carry the world, and it won't be long until they've broken entirely.


Pawn's Gambit

Pawn's Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

SPFBO9

Yuu wants nothing more than to forget the mistakes of her past. The Gods have other plans. Once a renowned strategist and general, five years ago Yuu made a mistake that cost her everything. Now she is on the run, royal bounty hunters snapping at her heels. But what if there was a way to get back what she lost, a way to bring back a murdered prince? Every century, the gods hold a contest to choose who will rule from the Heavenly Jade Throne. Each god chooses a mortal champion, and the fate of all existence hangs in the balance. On a battlefield full of heroes, warriors, assassins, and thieves can Yuu survive long enough to learn the rules of the game, let alone master it? Pawn's Gambit is a stand alone story set in the award-winning Mortal Techniques universe. It's a wuxia adventure filled with heroes, gods, spirits, and magic.


The Worthy

The Worthy by Anna K Moss

Blood is thicker than water. Tell that to Prince Barsten, betrayed and abandoned on foreign soil. His sister is intent on claiming the throne and he’s intent on stealing it back. One of them might succeed, if it weren’t for a sacred creature infecting people with its emotions. Rage, fear, paranoia, despair. As their country collapses, the royal siblings must stay true to themselves or find out just how thick their blood really is. Moss’s compelling debut novel dives into a desperate kingdom, full of intrigue, treachery and sapphic-longing. Fast-paced and awash with sinful characters and fetid settings, The Worthy is a must-read for all lovers of dark fantasy. Content warning: This novel contains scenes of violence, assault and occasional dialogue of a homophobic and racist nature. The opinions of the awful characters herein are not the authors own.


The Demon's Dagger: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novella (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) P

The Demon's Dagger: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novella (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) P by Douglas Lumsden

SFINCS

Once he checked in, checking out became an obsession! Crawford the were-rat checks into a shady hotel and promptly stumbles over a dead man. A mysterious troll is obsessed with finding the dagger that killed him—a dagger possessed by a demon! The demon denies that he is a demon and is obsessed with regaining his freedom. Meanwhile, the hotel’s night clerk is obsessed with the hooker on the third floor. Crawford is obsessed with what’s in the hooker’s room: a solid gold statuette of a demon-slaying goddess! Crawford has checked in, but, when obsessions collide, does he have any hope of checking out? Content Advisory: This book is intended for a mature audience. It contains misogynistic characters, language, and acts. It also contains graphic violence (including violence against women), smoking, drinking, drug use, graphic sexual acts, and crude language and images.


The Invisible Tether

The Invisible Tether by JP McDonald

Cooper Belrose and his friends gear up for a sporting tournament in tropical North Queensland (Australia) for a week of carefree fun. In an unnerving twist of fate, a cryptic flight attendant hijacks the plane, altering their lives forever. After surviving the plane crash, Cooper and his friends learn the flight attendant was part of a much larger threat, not only to their existence but to the entire human race. In their desperation to return home and find answers, they discover abnormal abilities within themselves activated by the crash and the threat of an opposing force. Will these newfound abilities wield an edge over their enemies? As they strive to combat each twist and turn, Cooper and his friends learn the value of teamwork by navigating the space between life and death. If faced with an imminent threat to the human race, would you and your friends take up the fight? "The Invisible Tether," is a story of love, adventure and the pursuit of truth.


The Gatherings

The Gatherings by Jeremy Ray

The Gatherings were supposed to bring world peace. What they brought was the apocalypse. Celebrities, politicians, and other prominent figures put together The Gatherings, an event to be held worldwide promoting global peace. When a friend invites Emily to one of the gatherings in a secluded apple orchard, she obliges. Sure, she is an introverted writer, but the world is so fractured that The Gatherings are something even she can get behind. Everything is great until the dancing begins. Then it happens... In most apocalyptic tales, the end comes by way of viral plague, world war, or robot invasion. Never in a million years could Emily imagine it would be this way. Will Emily survive to see what happens after the end of the world?


Death of a Christmas Tree Salesman

Death of a Christmas Tree Salesman by Patricia Meredith

Sam Shovel only comes to life for twelve days a year at Christmastime, and this year, he's in time to solve a murder mystery at the North Pole. O. Tannenbaum—the world's largest supplier of Christmas trees—has been murdered, and although Nick and Nora Claus are too busy to solve the mystery, Sam has enough time on his branchy hands to take a stab at it. Woven with enough Christmas references to choke a reindeer, find out if he succeeds in Death of a Christmas Tree Salesman. "Patricia Meredith's recipe for a perfect Christmas mystery? Magic with a dash of murder." —Jess Brady, @jess.literarylife, Bookstagram Reviewer “I see Sam Shovel right up there with Frosty and Rudolph—he'll go down in history!” — Kathy Buckmaster "Cookies, candy, presents...and murder! A holiday mystery that will leave you questioning...and craving sweets!" —Niko Sollazzo, @nikosbookreviews, BookTuber


Spirits of Vengeance

Spirits of Vengeance by Rob J. Hayes

SPFBO8

He'll die as many times as it takes. The Ipian Empire was once a land that welcomed dragons and spirits alike, but a century of war and bloodshed saw them all but vanish. Now, the lost things are returning and the Onryo have gathered. Five legendary spirits with mysterious powers, bent on freeing an ancient evil that would wreak havoc on humanity. Haruto swore his soul to the God of Death for the chance to hunt down the vengeful ghost of his wife. Now an onmyoji, he’s tasked by the Imperial Throne to hunt down monsters and malicious spirits. But he knows not all spirits are evil and not all deserve the peace of the sword. Kira is a student at Heiwa, an academy for children with dangerous techniques. But she has a secret, she’s not like the other students. When the school is attacked, she flees with one of the tutors, determined to hide both from those who would kill her, and those who would use her. As a plague of spirits sweeps across the land, the Onryo leave a bloody trail for Haruto to follow. But who’s hunting who? The Mortal Techniques novels are a series of stand-alone stories that can be read entirely independently, set in the award-winning Mortal Techniques universe.


The Fear of Moncroix

The Fear of Moncroix by Bryan Asher

SPFBO9

All the Waywards have Fallen… After a mission against the Royal Vampiric Court goes horribly wrong, all of the Waywards are slaughtered. All except one. Davion, the last surviving member, must consume potions to mask himself and hide amongst the very people who killed his brethren. After a decade of living this double-life, Davion has resigned himself to his new purgatory. But all will not remain calm for him or the Court. An unknown swordsman arrives, and after killing several Royal Vampires, rumor spreads that he’s searching for anyone still belonging to The Wayward order. Davion decides he must track down this mysterious swordsman. But will finding him bring freedom or his own demise.


I Found Christmas Lights Slithering Up My Street

I Found Christmas Lights Slithering Up My Street by Ben Farthing

Something festive is growing in the sewer... After last year’s tragedy, Douglas’ parents are ignoring Christmas. But when Douglas finds an eerie strand of lights slithering through the sewer, he unwittingly unleashes merry terror upon his neighborhood’s tacky lights contest. String lights spread like invasive kudzu, turning festive decorations into surreal, predatory nightmares. Determined not to lose both Christmas and his family forever, Douglas gathers his courage to confront the source of the holiday horror: deep in the concrete pipes beneath the street. I Found Christmas Lights Slithering Up My Street is a horror tale from the “darkly inventive” purveyor of uncanny places and wondrous evils, Ben Farthing.


Sleeping Celeste

Sleeping Celeste by Alana K. Drex

It is October 1885, and Marie Maecott seems to be the only one who knows what has happened to her daughter, Celeste. She is angry that no one else understands her daughter's condition, as any mother would be. Then one chill night, groundskeeper for Heathridge Cemetery, Jacob Willis, tells her a dark secret in his family's past that just may hold the key to her problem. Marie will need to set off on a journey to find out--one in which she will discover terrible parts of herself--parts that would have been better off left buried. And some are going to find out the truth of the timeless adage: it is best not to come between a mother and her child.


The Girl in White

The Girl in White by Shannon Reber

Two years before, Madison Meyer’s best friend killed herself . . . or that’s what they all believed. The truth about Emma’s death was something only Emma and her killer knew. Now, Emma’s spirit has returned to try and show Maddie what really happened to her. Seventeen-year-old Madison’s life has just begun to go back to something that resembles normal for a genius level girl with a special proclivity for anything electronic. Computers were the world she immersed herself in after the death of her friend. Now, Maddie has to figure out what really happened to Emma, using the intelligence that is her stock and trade. The trouble is, lives are being lost. Can Maddie and her friend Ian figure out the mystery of Emma’s death before it’s too late? Find out in this gripping mystery which is the first book in the exciting series to come!


Blades of the Ice: Age of Rekindling: A Prequel

Blades of the Ice: Age of Rekindling: A Prequel by Luis Falcao De Magalhaes

SFINCS

In a land ruled by patriarchy, an assassin sisterhood delivers justice from the shadows. Now, their mysterious patron has charged burly fighter Erika Langeshen and lithe shadow-stalker Annah Barksdottir with uncovering a plot against the very rulers that have mistreated and oppressed them their whole lives. Their quest will take them to a faraway village on the borders of the Razor Teeth Woods, where they will need to use all the tricks of their trade to build a base of power and expose the machinations of the local lord and his allies. But before they do, they must break into one of the Patriarchate's fortresses and retrieve an unlikely ally… Blades of the Ice is the prequel novella to The Daughter of The Ice, the first book in the Legends of Elessia: Age of Rekindling series. Expect a fast-paced sword & sorcery adventure in the style of R.A Salvatore and an homage to the Forgotten Realms fantasy series. Readers and reviewers alike have compared it to The Witcher and The Wheel of Time


The Queen Protocol

The Queen Protocol by Gregory Benson

They thought they were finally safe… How did they end up on Nathasia, a planet of horrors? A place haunted by the souls of billions murdered in war, its seas poisoned by toxins explicitly engineered to kill and mutate, infested with Thraxon breeding pits, and quarantined by the Marck fleet. Kerriah and her companions awaken with holes in their memories, and the young Tolagon is missing. However, there is a twist of fortune. The yellow orb, lost for decades and protected by the terrors of this world, is finally within their grasp. Now, the calculating Marck Queen, hidden away in an impenetrable fortress, unfolds her diabolical plot. Her order is clear: destroy all life within the Oro system. Crushing pressure, frozen death, and the sacrifice of heroes is the only path to defeat her. As she breaks from her protocol, the queen's protocol, the system falls into darkness. With the return of the Thraxons, bitter alliances have formed, and fate has opened its dark eyes. Learn more about the different species and locations in this story!


Arcranium

Arcranium by Mark Towse, Daemon Manx

Four horror authors with four vulnerable egos, square off against one another, in the virtual world, to find out who is the scariest. Welcome to Arcranium™, a powerful technology that fuses with the author's mind to stimulate their best possible creation, immersing other participants in the narrative. It's all in good fun, but with so much pride at stake, things are bound to get a little bumpy once the gloves come off. So, strap your headset on and don't forget the safe word. The future of literature is about to get an upgrade. The future is … Arcranium™


One Road In

One Road In by Hannah R. Palmer

'Some say, at night, you can see glowing eyes of fire between the trees, watching. Waiting...' Sadie’s younger brother Ben went missing 5 years ago. No one knows where he went. No one knows who, or what, took him. So explain the look of guilt on Sadie’s face when her mother called with the best news possible: Ben has come home. What does Sadie know about his disappearance? And what has her brother brought home with him? There’s something on the small island off the coast of Rose Bay, and its glowing amber eyes are making its presence known. Sadie needs to reconcile what happened all those years ago with where she finds herself now, before it has the chance to tear her family, and her hometown, apart again.


Sons of Darkness

Sons of Darkness by Gourav Mohanty

SOME BALLADS ARE INKED IN BLOOD. Bled dry by violent confrontations with the Magadhan Empire, the Mathuran Republic simmers on the brink of oblivion. Krishna and Satyabhama have put their plans in motion within and beyond the Republic's blood-soaked borders to protect it from annihilation. But they will soon discover that neither gold nor alliances last forever. They are however not alone in this game. Mati, Pirate-Princess of Kalinga, has decided to mend her ways to be a good wife. But old habits die hard, especially when one habitually uses murder to settle old scores. Brooding but beautiful Karna hopes to bury his brutal past but finds that destiny is a miser when it comes to giving second chances. The crippled hero-turned-torturer Shakuni limps through the path of daggers that is politics only to find his foes multiply, leaving little time for vengeance. Their lives are about to become very difficult for a cast of sinister queens, naive kings, pious assassins and ravenous priests are converging where the Son of Darkness is prophesied to rise, even as forgotten Gods prepare to play their hand


Devil’s Hill: Stories

Devil’s Hill: Stories by E. Reyes

Stephen King has Castle Rock. R. L. Stine has Fear Street. E. Reyes has Devil’s Hill. Welcome to Devil’s Hill, Arizona; a place that runs rampant with the occult, paranormal, and supernatural. As Halloween approaches and a group of teenage witches inadvertently summon an ancient deity into a scarecrow, they set off a chain of events that unleashes true evil upon the town. In these interconnected stories, you’ll encounter ghostly spirits, killers, malevolent deities, and other unexplainable horrors as the town of Devil’s Hill is plunged into darkness. Don’t miss out on the terror that awaits in Devil’s Hill! Praise for Devil’s Hill: “Where do fans of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps go when we grow up? There's plenty of room in Devil's Hill, Arizona...if you dare.”—Julia DeBarrioz, author of Cazadora “Absolutely worth reading.”—Heather Miller, author of One Night Stand at the End of the World “I would FOR SURE recommend this book to horror lovers and horror newbies alike, and I will certainly be looking for more E. Reyes in the future!”—Spooky Octopus Reads


The Hunt for Valdune

The Hunt for Valdune by Blake Shimshock and Sherry Shimshock

Senior Agent Derek Fade loved his job chasing down weapons runners and drug traffickers, hunting terrorists, and ruining the fun of major crime lords all across the galaxy. In fact, despite his reputation for being difficult to work with, he was respected among colleagues as one of the most talented agents in the Galactic Intelligence Agency (GIA). Life was pretty good until a powerful gangster, known only as Valdune, brutally murdered his wife. Now, tortured by grief and guilt, Derek Fade struggles between his dedication to the ideals of the GIA and the need for vengeance against the monster who killed Lana. Set in an expansive Fireflyesque galaxy ripe for exploration by those who enjoy science fiction and fantasy, self-proclaimed loner Derek Fade reluctantly lets readers into a dark period of his 007, semi-secret agent life that twists and turns like an Indiana Jones adventure.


The Wolf in Me: Survive

The Wolf in Me: Survive by Alex Smith

The 23rd century is nearing its end. Having been treated as subhuman (and worse) for over 300 years, the Wolves - a race of wolf-human hybrids - have reached their breaking point. With a clear threat of war rising daily, the US Military devises a plan to destroy the beasts they helped create. However, utilizing their intelligence and raw bestial instincts, the Wolves hatch a plan of their own: plunge the entire world into a war to end all wars! In the aftermath of a deadly airship crash, Percy - a six-year-old human boy - finds himself behind enemy lines; in the claws of the creatures he's been taught to fear his entire life. Xander - a twenty-eight-year-old elite black ops Wolf, finds himself with a very difficult choice to make; kill the innocent child he has found, or be ostracized by his own kind and protect the boy? What is a small, frail, boy to do when surrounded by beasts fighting to end his very existence? Survive!


The Black Sun (Tales of Askalon #1)

The Black Sun (Tales of Askalon #1) by Sebastian P. Melang

"—when found, the bodies bore no signs of injuries, other than the eyes that appeared as if they had burned out from the inside and turned into stone; dark, black, like obsidian." So reads the report, which Lorian holds in his hands. As an inquisitor and servant to the aristoi—noble and sublime beings revered by the mortals of Askalon—he had taken an oath to uphold their sacred law, to uncover any forbidden magic, and to hunt those who dared to cast it. Gruesome as these words are, they also remind him of another murder that happened so long ago. And a woman; a woman who seems to have left a mark on his very soul and has not granted him peace to this day. And so Lorian sets out, through the stormy sea to the north, to the frozen continent, to investigate the murder of two young boys who were killed by a form of magic about which the Inquisition knows almost nothing. He does not yet suspect the great forces that will soon confront him, nor how the fate of Askalon and all mortals is about to be decided; for the black sun has awakened.


Devil’s Hill II

Devil’s Hill II by E. Reyes

Welcome back to Devil’s Hill, AZ, where reality distorts, and nightmares walk in E. Reyes’ latest collection of terrifying tales. A séance to contact a deceased horror author unleashes chaos. A girl works with ghosts to stop kidnappings and murders on Halloween night. A group of teens are attacked by wolf-like creatures in the desert. The jack-o’-lantern-headed “Pumpkin Man” goes on a rampage collecting souls. These unnerving tales and others each draw you one step closer to becoming a permanent resident of Devil's Hill!


Wild Flowers, Electric Beasts

Wild Flowers, Electric Beasts by Alina Leonova

Two species of humans — one technologically advanced and one living in nature — have coexisted peacefully on their home planet for over a century. But when an ancient treaty is breached, devastation follows. Balika has always felt like an outsider. When tragedy strikes, she is left without a reason to remain with her tribe. Looking for a place where she can belong, she leaves the familiar forest and ventures into the desert to bond with a mythical animal through music. But her forgotten life calls her back when she discovers an unexpected threat to her land. Sammah works long hours as an experience developer and returns to his tiny apartment alone. He suffers from anxiety and spends most of his time in the virtual world. He opens up to a friendship with a colleague, but just when things start to look up, he gets trapped in a strange and dangerous affair. He might either lose himself, or the only person he truly cares about. Struggling to make the right choices, they get pulled into a brewing disaster. Their worlds are about to collide, and their paths are fated to cross. Caught on different sides of the conflict, Balika and Sammah take up the fight in their own ways. If they want to save what they love most, they must risk everything. Will that be enough?


Fear and Fury

Fear and Fury by Jamie Jackson

SPFBO8 SPSFC 2023

Meet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner. For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from. Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts.


The Look of a King

The Look of a King by Tom Dumbrell

SPFBO7

Two young men. One with a dark past, the other with a bright future. Cyrus is a storyteller frustrated by the mundane trappings of village life, while Prince Augustus struggles to meet high expectations after an upbringing of royal privilege in the bustling capital. As both try to forge their own paths, a royal assassination unexpectedly closes the gap between them. The nation of Easthaven is thrown into war with their oppressive neighbours, and so begins a conflict from which neither can walk away. Will a young prince finally measure up to his destiny? Will a storyteller create a legend of his own? Cyrus and Augustus's lives may seem worlds apart, but perhaps they aren't so different after all...


The Headsman

The Headsman by Christina Mîrzoi

Take a glimpse into the world of a headsman, a gloomy village in which each dweller has a secret: an evil witch, a shrewd florist, a naive young man, a foreign merchant, a dreadful husband, a mischievous maid, and a lustful duke. These stories are intertwined, weaving a dark narrative of love, trickery, brutality, and loss. Under the bleak aesthetic, raw human emotions unravel themselves in a gripping story about moral decay. In a world that belongs to the wicked, how far can one walk this path while keeping a clean conscience? The Headsman is a collection of short stories that focus on interconnected characters, sometimes looking at the same event from a different perspective. As a genre, it falls somewhere under dark fiction territory.


Tracker

Tracker by Bethany Votaw

A young detective desperate to fix his mistake. A recluse pulled from the woods. A murderer on the run. Detective Adam Reis has everything to prove and mistakes to fix. He enlists the help of local search and rescue and an unlikely tracker to help him find a murderer who fled into the winter Montana wilderness. An old recluse, Clay, comes out of the forest when asked to be a tracker. Clay has his own secrets to hide but reluctantly agrees to help the young detective. Will these two unlikely men work together to track a dangerous man through the fierce terrain and snow? Or will their own secrets be their downfall?


Jack Forest, Soul Collector

Jack Forest, Soul Collector by E. Reyes

In the gripping novelette Jack Forest, Soul Collector, the town of Devil’s Hill, Arizona, becomes the stage for a chilling and morally complex tale. Jack Forest, a man returned from the dead on Halloween night, is compelled to serve as a soul collector for Hell. Tasked with branding the souls of woman abusers, he embarks on a haunting mission. As Jack navigates the shadowy realm between the living and the dead, he is torn between the ruthless directives of Hell and his own sense of justice. The line blurs when faced with a momentous decision that challenges his very nature. This gripping narrative explores themes of redemption, the consequences of one’s actions, and the power of individual choice. Jack Forest, Soul Collector delves into the darkness of the human soul and the depths of compassion that may yet emerge from the most unlikely circumstances.


Petrified Women

Petrified Women by Jeremy Ray

Some pranks go too far. This one could be deadly. Harley has the perfect boyfriend. Why can’t her best friend see that? He’s nothing like the others, especially the one who still haunts her memories. She’s finally picked a “keeper” with Aiden. Sure, he’s a bit eccentric. His wood carving hobby is a little odd. His need for isolation while he carves his life-size female figurines is strange. And maybe his obsession with pranks, or "scares" on Harley goes a little too far. But what do you expect? Aiden’s an artist. Harley has finally picked the perfect boyfriend. That’s why this year, Harley ignores all her best friend’s warnings. She has the ultimate surprise planned for Aiden’s birthday, one that’s going to help her get even in their battle to out-prank each other. She hides in his apartment, excitedly waiting to pull off the scare of a lifetime… But then he comes home, and Harley witnesses a different side of her boyfriend. The side that exists behind closed doors when he doesn’t know anyone’s watching. Is this just one of his scares? Or is there something more sinister lurking behind his playful nature? Harley’s about to find out.


The Children of Chaos (The Cruel Gods #2)

The Children of Chaos (The Cruel Gods #2) by Trudie Skies

WHEN THE SAINTS CALL, THE SINNERS ANSWER. Chaos stalks the steam-powered city of Chime and threatens the existence of the gods and their domains. Kayl swore to protect Chime's mortals from their gods' cruel whims, but when she agrees to represent the mortals of a god long thought dead, Kayl is thrust into a political role that goes against everything she's ever stood for. As the newly appointed ambassador to the god of time, Quen's goal is clear - protect Chime and the domains by any means necessary. But as the gods make their demands, Quen is caught between his loyalties and his conscience. To ensure a future for all mortals, Kayl and Quen must unite the gods against the threat of chaos and decide what they're willing to sacrifice for Chime - before the gods choose for them. For the gods are capricious and have their own divine plans. The Children of Chaos is the second book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies's website.


Untouched

Untouched by Jayme Bean

Dr. Julia Morrow and her graduate students, David and Marisol, embark on a research trip to explore a remote section of the Amazon rainforest. When their trails seem to change direction at will and they find themselves lost and without communication, the trio worry they may be in for more than just the latest scientific discovery. Banding together, they’re left deciding which is more important - finding out how to escape the unexpected horrors lurking within the rainforest or getting back home in one piece. The deeper they travel into the jungle, the more they realize that some places are meant to remain untouched.


Tolagon

Tolagon by Gregory Benson

The Oro system, ravaged by generations of war and oppressively ruled by the hammer of a mechanical force created to save them, is at the boiling point between extinction and rebellion. Now a new hero arises twenty years after the fall of the legendary Tolagons. Raised in secrecy among noble equine warriors of Troika, Crix's tranquil life is shattered when a mysterious woman (Kerriah) crashes nearby in a black ship that materializes out of thin air. His journey begins after he gives in to an irresistible urge to locate the ship in the forbidden boglands of Drisal. Little does Crix know that using the hidden power within him—the blue orb of the Tolagons—to aid Kerriah’s rescue will set off a chain of events. The Marcks, a brutal mechanized force, are alerted and hot on their trail. As they struggle to escape the clutches of the relentless Marcks, Crix discovers there’s a hidden menace controlling everything. Their only hope of survival is to find the remaining lost orbs, though he soon realizes it will cost him everything. Joined by Krath, the salty war veteran from the watery moon of Thale, and a budding romance with Kerriah, will he learn to harness his long-suppressed power and become the Tolagon they desperately need, or will the forces of darkness prevail? Discover the gripping tale of hidden powers, treacherous alliances, and a young hero's quest for truth in Gregory Benson's thrilling debut novel, Tolagon. Brace yourself for an unforgettable adventure that will leave you hungry for more. Order your copy now and get ready to be riveted to your seat until the last page! Learn more about the different species and locations in this story!


The 5-Day Plan

The 5-Day Plan by Ashish Rastogi

Curly-haired, bespectacled, Dr. Akhil can replace your hip without a sweat, but he is a rambling, fidgeting fool outside the operation room. The worst qualifications to have for a man in search of love. However, one can overcome any obstacle with a bit of planning. Right? Plan A is simple. Unfortunately, the heart-to-heart blows up in shouting hysterics, tears, and abandonment. Worry not; time for Plan B. A year in London, and Plan B goes belly up. All because of a reality dating show. Anyway, who cares. Akhil has his plant babies. They are not traitors like the stars that Akhil loves gazing at night. The twinklers conspire to bring the dark enemy back into his orbit. Nope, not happening. Akhil has a plan. This time a three-letter one. Plan KDA- Keep Dan Away. But it is not easy blocking "the player" hell-bent on dribbling his way past Akhil's defences one accident at a time- ready to score. Add the nosy Keely matriarch and her two sidekick clowns to flying forks, tripping legs, and an accomplished kiss coach; our Akhil is in deep trouble.


Heart, Haunt, Havoc

Heart, Haunt, Havoc by Freydís Moon

Laced with romance, gothic imagery, Catholic mysticism, diaspora, and horror… When lonely transgender exorcist, Colin Hart, finds himself challenged by an unruly haunted house in Gideon, Colorado, he’s kept awake by ghosts, demons, ghouls, and the handsome nonbinary owner of the house, Bishop Martínez. Unlike the simple hauntings Colin is accustomed to, Bishop’s house is a living beacon, attracting a plethora of inhuman creatures, including a vengeful wolf-headed spirit who might be the key to quieting their sleepless nights. But as a heartbreaking mystery unravels, Colin comes face-to-face with the past Bishop tried to bury, opens a closet full of bloody skeletons, and trips into an accidental romance. As paranormally skilled as Colin might be, this particular haunting may be too messy for him to handle…


Lesser Known Monsters

Lesser Known Monsters by Rory Michaelson

Being the chosen one isn’t always a good thing. Oscar Tundale is useless, or at least that's what he's always thought. He and his friends are about to discover that not only are monsters real, but some of them are very interested in Oscar. Now, they must find out what the monsters want, before something terrible happens to London; or worse yet, the world. Lesser Known Monsters is an own voices queer dark fantasy featuring diverse characters on a found family adventure. Perfect for fans of action and paranormal romance seeking LGBTQ+ heroes. This is the first book in the Lesser Known Monsters series.


The Blood of the Spear

The Blood of the Spear by Mark Timmony

SPFBO7 SFFOasis

Two brothers. One prophecy. A world in peril. When Kaiel loses his chance to become part of the legendary Daemon Hunters, joining the Bronze Guard mercenaries seems like the logical alternative. It is an opportunity to put his training to use and, more importantly, as the company is currently in the employ of Prince Alesandr, it will allow him to keep an eye on his younger brother, Darien, who's determined to follow his dream of becoming a Ciralys magic-user. But the broken continent of Athmay still bears the scars of the war between the Summoners some three-thousand years ago, and an unexpected battle with a daemon - a remnant of that ancient war - reveals the brothers' connection to a forbidden bloodline. Soon they find themselves on the run from the prince, daemonic hordes, and a prophecy that could break the world anew.


The Catalyst

The Catalyst by Anttimatti Pennanen

Jon and Gus comes face to face with the legend of an ancient weapon, the Catalyst. Is this mysterious artefact the answer in the fight against the Breathers, a way home, or something else?


The Wild Court

The Wild Court by E. G. Radcliff

SFFOasis

What perils await on the other side of the veil? In the seventh year of Áed's reign, night descends on the autumn festival. But a time of revelry turns into one of fiery destruction—as fae pour across the veil and the Gut becomes a battlefield in an otherworldly war. Determined to protect his kingdom and the people he loves, Áed finds himself catapulted into a realm as unfamiliar as it is dangerous, where magic is king and wild courts vie for supremacy. While the faerie Queen's missing consort holds the key to life and death, tenuous alliances raise questions about Áed’s connection to the mysterious Bone Court. His survival hinges on cunning as much as illusion. On a mission like no other, only one thing is certain: no one will survive unscathed.


Down Below Beyond

Down Below Beyond by T. A. Bruno

SPSFC 2023

Lodespace is a collection of worlds dominated by the Fessenog Fleet trade empire. Thanks to the Voyalten portals, alien civilizations from all over the universe can gather for glorious trade. For the wealthy, there has never been a more lucrative circle. But the Fleet is hiding something from its investors. A secret that, if exposed, could bring the empire to its knees. Levort Aatra is a prospector on the planet Tayoxe. While scavenging the wastes of the abandoned world, he discovers a mysterious starship and stakes his claim on it. Little does he know, he just made himself the most wanted man in Lodespace. DOWN BELOW BEYOND is a stand-alone sci-fi fantasy adventure filled with aliens, planets, and portals set in a universe crafted by T. A. Bruno, author of the award-winning Song of Kamaria trilogy.


Death of Dulgath

Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria. When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane. From the best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations comes the third installment of The Riyria Chronicles. Although part of a series, it's designed to thrill both new readers looking for fun, fast-paced fantasy and Riyria veterans wishing to reunite with old friends. For those who do wish to experience the entire Riyria saga, two reading options exist: Order of Publication: Theft of Swords | Rise of Empire | Heir of Novron | The Crown Tower | The Rose and the Thorn | The Death of Dulgath Chronological Order: The Crown Tower | The Rose and the Thorn | The Death of Dulgath | Theft of Swords | Rise of Empire | Heir of Novron


Foundations

Foundations by Richard Holliday

HOW DID STREETS IN THE SKY BECOME THE TOWER OF TERROR FEARED FOR DECADES? Foundations is yet another page turner that I simply couldn't put down. It brilliantly explored the origins of the world in which Nightmare Tenant is set, and the author has excelled at giving the reader another wonderful story. Foundations is a thrilling period tale setting up the origin story to the creepy psychological thriller, answering questions and leaving some lingering in the mind! An exciting and engaging precursor. If you enjoyed Nightmare Tenant, Foundations lays the groundwork in another exhilarating adventure! And if you've not yet read Nightmare Tenant, then Foundations is just the start of a thrilling and creepy story in an unusual and effective setting Stephen Norris is a young man in a new job with an almost-famous architect at the turn of the 1970s. Quickly immersed in the murky world of town planning, he finds the transition from drawings and blueprints to brick and mortar is night and day. A discovery of ruins on the site of a state-of-the-art new tower block brings him into conflict with the construction workers, in particular the foreman, Peterson. Lurking inside the ruins is an ancient power are lost spirits. They channel through Norris, imbuing him with power to do the right thing and save their legacy. Within the modern world of the 1970s, complexities of life cloud Norris’ judgment. Those closest to him – friends, family, even the girl he loves – are dragged with him into a whirlpool of mistrust, deceit, danger and lies. All seems lost when the forces of darkness – money and progress – appear to triumph and obliterate the past. Instead, the darkness unleashes the lost spirits who turn vengeful at this defilement of their mortal remains. Norris must battle these forces and save the woman he loves from being a prisoner of Chivron Tower’s new nightmare tenant… Foundations is the precursor to the novella Nightmare Tenantby Richard Holliday. Length: 20,000 words


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