Indie Spotlight: Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Lydia M. Hawke
About the book: The book is about a reluctant witch who comes into her powers at the age of 60, inherits a cranky gargoyle and an overprotective wolf-shifter, and learns that she is destined to save the world from the god of darkness and deceit (source of fake news, anyone?).
Author statement: "I wrote the story because I was honestly tired of the wet-behind-the-ears 16-year-olds getting all the glory, and I wanted to see a heroine of my own age who was capable of more than baking cookies and running the quirky local bookstore. Claire is strong, independent, done with being sidelined by society and her family, and more than able to kick some evil God butt—as are all of the women I know who found their way into her character and the many, many women who love discovering themselves reflected in an older character."
Born Under a Bad Sign
About the book: The first book in a new series that is perfect for fans of Urban Fantasy with a slow-burn romance and touch of humor. Isobel Alden is a down-on-her-luck tarot card reader whose clients have one thing in common - they keep dying. One is a coincidence. Two is a problem. It isn't long before the police notice a pattern and name Isobel as their prime suspect. But there's more to these murders than meets the eye. If she has any chance of clearing her name, she'll need to convince the hardheaded detective assigned to the case that she's innocent, before he has her in handcuffs.
Author statement: "When I sat down to write this story, I'd envisioned a paranormal cozy mystery, but it seems like every book I write is destined to be an urban fantasy. Much like my desire to plot at the beginning of the writing process turns into pants-ing every page and wrangling characters back into their storyline. I love Isobel as a heroine for this story."
Embargo on Hope
About the book: On planet Vastire, worth is set by the sins of one's ancestors. Good families rise to the elite and the wicked fall into poverty. Unfortunately for 16-year-old Darynn Mark, his father incited a revolution. Now, Darynn scrounges his way through life in the slums. When Vastire is surrounded by an embargo, it gets even harder to survive.
That all changes when an alien ship slips through the embargo, seeking Darynn with an offer: finish the revolution and the embargo ends. Thanks to mysterious magic powers, he might have a chance, and his two companions: clairvoyant crush Fyra and soldierly alien Kaylaa.
Cutthroat killers, mystical beasts, Vampires, power-hungry priests and lords, and self-serving spies stand in their way. If the three of them can crack his father's secret, maybe they can end the embargo and save the poor. If not, another poor orphan will be added to the growing piles of dead.
Author statement: "When I started writing this book, I was fascinated by the idea of applying an embargo around an entire planet like the world did to South Africa in the late 1980s. That led to the creation of a prejudiced social structure, and from there (because I'm a pantser) it turned into a look at equality and faith while riding along on a young adult adventure."
Of Claws and Inferno
About the book: Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali have worked for the Knight Division capturing wild dragons for years, but now the government has decided to hold a tournament called the Wild Hunt. Jack, Kamala, and their teammates Calloway, Libby, Agent Shannon, and Yousef, must capture five of the deadliest dragons alive before the opposing team or they lose their jobs at the Knight Division. Jack and Kamala are also chasing after Kazuma Okegawa, the yakuza lieutenant who has been trying to kill them. Okegawa is planning a hostile takeover of the worldwide illegal dragon trade and if he succeeds, everyone will be in grave danger. Between the Wild Hunt and Okegawa’s plot to destroy everything in his path, Jack and Kamala have to rely on each other to stay alive in the middle of an inferno.
Of Claws and Inferno is the fifth book in the Of Cinder and Bone science fiction/contemporary fantasy series. It follows Of Cinder and Bone, Of Blood and Ashes, Of Dawn and Embers, and Of Fury and Fangs.
Author statement: "The origins of the Of Cinder and Bone series come from two film sources: Jurassic Park and Reign of Fire. Both of those movies really inspired me to write about dragons in a science fiction capacity and discuss what it would be like to have larger apex predators in a modern-day world."
Quinn of Cygnus: Lift Off
About the book: It all seemed so right—Quinn’s big chance! She’d leave the mud, giant lizards and back-breaking labor behind forever and gain so much more: skills, connections, a job, a real life.
Then Quinn arrives to find the academy under new ownership and everything’s changed. Mean girls, strict schedules, and tough teachers aren’t a problem. Quinn’s got the brains, discipline, and training to beat them at their own game. But the new owners raised the stakes and the house always wins. Quinn’s big adventure has become a fight for survival. Light years from home, with no power or backup, how can she endure? Some might give up and fail. But not Quinn. She’s determined to not just survive, but escape and do a little damage on her way out.
Author statement: "The Quantum Fold Series is a spin-off from my Folding Space Series, but can be read independently. I wanted to write a coming-of-age story with a strong but realistic female character, to inspire young women to take charge of their lives and fully use their talents no matter what obstacles get in their way. Quinn is my version of a programmer, partially because I'd love to see more women in STEM careers."