Indie Spotlight: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Adventure
In this edition of Indie Spotlight, our monthly roundup of BookLife titles, we feature sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure stories.
Azimuth (Rahki Chronicles 1)
Rennie St. James
About the book: Azimuth is a contemporary fantasy road trip adventure with a little magic, some romance, and a lot of chocolate.
Author statement: “I had the idea of Mia’s character in college, but I lacked the knowledge and discipline to do more than a few frustrating writing sprints over the next few years. Discovering fanfiction in 2013 gave me courage to try again. Unfortunately, my epic writing journey also began with a stumble. I published too soon in 2014 and ended up pulling the books. After diving into developing my writing craft with conferences and online courses, I rereleased Azimuth in 2018. If you look closely at the cover, you’ll see the street name is Second Street. That was a small nod to my second attempt at publishing.”
Daughter of Aithne
Karin Rita Gastreich
About the book: Eolyn and Akmael’s magical love restored a nation. Now, after a decade of peace, crisis ensues. Eolyn’s students in magic have rebelled against Mage King Akmael. Accused of treason, Eolyn is arrested and imprisoned. Abandoned by those dearest to her heart, Eolyn considers a desperate alliance with the ruthless and cunning Mage Corey. A new war is unfolding, and she has little choice. To reclaim her freedom and defend her legacy, Eolyn must place her trust in the most untrustworthy man she knows.
Author statement: “I hope my readers sympathize with all sides in Daughter of Aithne. Both Eolyn and Taesara are formidable women with much to admire. Each has made her share of mistakes and suffered sorrow and loss. Each is capable of great compassion. I wrote this story not as a conflict between right and wrong, but as a tale of good people dragged into a violent dispute. The true enemy of Daughter of Aithne is war itself. Neither Eolyn nor Taesara want further bloodshed, but, given the society they live in, is that even possible?”
About the book: Random Walk is a near-future space adventure about three Air Force astronauts who become stranded outside our solar system—with no faster-than-light technology to get them home.
Author statement: “I started out with a goal and an idea. My goal, as the recent recipient of an MA in book publishing, was to try my hand at independent publishing. As a sci-fi nerd, my choice of genre was obvious, and my initial story idea was a crew getting stranded in deep space. This idea morphed through research and conversations with my brother, who is a scientist, into the near-future, realistic sci-fi adventure it now is. Random Walk was a challenge to write, as I was dedicated to keeping the fictionalized aspects of the science plausible. But that ended up introducing problems for my characters, as well as creative solutions, I never would have thought of if I hadn't done all that research.”
Sage, Smoke & Fire
About the book: At the peak of summer, Nina is living a fast-paced life in New York City. But, when Earth’s gravitational pull activates a gene—making her and a few others capable of magic—she is called to duty in southern Louisiana to lead a coven of witches and restore balance to the world through magic.
Author statement: “I am a witch and mystic practitioner, and one thing I always say when I finish a fantasy novel about witches is that I wish there had been more of a blend of real witchcraft and fictional witchcraft. One day in 2015, I thought long and hard about what a book about witches for witches would look like. I knew I would want to read a book like that. I ended up with 13 pages of notes and an outline for three novels. I wanted to tell a specific story in a very specific kind of way, one that included material that actual practitioners would respond to and pick up on, while casual fantasy readers would find fascinating or enjoyable.”
Marc Daniel Acriche
About the book: New York City, 2048. High school senior Casey Parker’s life is stuck. When her best friend’s boyfriend, Martin, goes missing, Casey vows to help her find out why. To help save Martin, Casey takes a dangerous gamble. Failure could mean the lives of her family; success could mean the lives of her friends.
Author statement: “Drained started as a three-point-of-view story, with Casey Parker being one of the three. Then, after about 20,000 words, Casey started taking over the story—she would not be denied—and I went back and started over with her as the single-point-of-view character and the book really took off from there. The last thing I expected was to write a book with a teen protagonist, but here we are. She took over, we never looked back, and I’m so excited for readers to get to know her.”
Ridge: Day One
Shawn P.B. Robinson
About the book: The darkest hour is just before dawn. But, with bloodthirsty beasts cutting brief lives shorter, can one man beat the ticking clock? Rezin Hamel will protect his people until his dying breath. Resolving to carry on past every dearly departed loved one, the 44-year-old general has no idea how he’s lived over a decade beyond the average life expectancy. But, when he’s shamed and cast out for an out-of-character act, he sets out to end the constant attacks from creatures who are staining the walls with death.
Author statement: “The idea for Ridge: Day One hit me about four years ago. It didn't start out as much, but I began to chat through the idea with my teenage son, and the story began to come together in my mind. We chatted back and forth and worked through various problems and issues with it for about a year and a half before I finally sat down to write it.”
Christopher St. John
About the book: A rebel rabbit defies the natural order and leads a rebellion against the predators in this postapocalyptic fantasy.
Author statement: “This is a tale about an individual pushing back on an establishment that assigns her the role of ‘victim.’ In this story, it’s a rabbit. In the next story, it could be you.”
Water Must Fall
About the book: In a world heating up and drying out, who gets to drink? Set in 2048 in California and Southern Africa, Water Must Fallfollows three main characters as they attempt to reclaim control of their lives and access to water in the face of water corporations, which hold the fate of millions in their coffers.
Author statement: “I am a disabled South African clinical psychologist who writes as and when I can. Water Must Fall is my third sci-fi book.”
The Coincidence Makers
About the book: For Ami and her partner, Luke, becoming invisible is part of their job. Their mysterious employer assigns them to make “coincidences” happen, from reuniting long lost lovers to toppling empires. For their next job, they must stop a bioterrorism attack on San Francisco. To pull it off, they’ll have to break into illegal labs and federal buildings that make bank vaults seem easy.
Author statement: “I've always had a thing for coincidences: those random events all coming together in ways that one least expects. Good or bad, these kinds of events are fun and fascinating. For some, they suggest a higher power ordering things, but, for me, they're the chaos of the universe sometimes aligning into a wonderful and wondrous pattern. Anyhow, no matter what you think is behind them, they're all kinds of fun to think about. The Coincidence Makers talks about the possibility of there being people who make these seemingly impossible things happen.”
Michelle M. Pillow
About the book: Grier’s fiery passion for Salena might be everything his dragon ever wanted, but loving her might just lead to the destruction of everything he’s trying to save.
Author statement: “I’ve been a published author for nearly 20 years now, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to write in many different genres: dark fantasy, historical, paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi, futuristic. One thing became obvious very quickly in my career. For better or worse, I wasn’t a one-genre writer. My muse likes to explore and research, so I let her.”
About the book: Meet intrepid political consultant Olivia Shepherd. Born an empath, she inherited the ability to read people's emotions. Since her youth, however, she has rejected her gift—that is until an ancient time walker helps her reclaim her skill.
Author statement: “This book would never have been written if I had been better at playwriting. I was trying to write a play about a female political consultant who is failing spectacularly in her career and is suddenly visited by an ancient warrior —someone only she can see—who helps her regain her confidence and learn how to be the leader she was meant to be. After weeks of trying, I switched over to trying to write a novel and suddenly the characters and the words were there.”
A Whole New World
The Space Between: The Prophecy of Faeries
About the book: A young woman. A kidnapping. And a journey to a magical world. Mellis has been taken by the Penitents, a tribe of faeries who believe that she is the key to an ancient prophecy. But, to fulfill this prophecy, Mellis will have to make a great sacrifice. Will she accept her new life with her Penitent captors? Or will the most ancient of evils lay waste to their desperate hopes of reunion with the Maker?
Author statement: “The Space Between began soon after I’d learned of a folkloric belief that faeries are descended from fallen angels. I heard my own voice say in my head, ‘A young woman is taken by faeries.’ A few days later, I was reading a book about the physical abnormalities that have been documented in human beings. I knew at once that the faeries who kidnap the young woman have imposed such challenges on themselves because of guilt over their fallen angel ancestors. I named them the Penitents, and, armed with that knowledge, I began writing the book.”
The Wild Court
About the book: 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.
Author statement: “My first book, The Hidden King, originated in a dream and grew as I began writing. I knew from the beginning how I wanted the entire series to unfold, culminating with the final book in the trilogy, The Wild Court. I write because it makes me feel whole, it makes me feel like all me. It’s grounding. It’s my center.”