After a bit of a hiatus while we relocated and regrouped, eSpec Books is back with three delightfully punky tomes for your reading enjoyment. Won’t you help us make these fantastical books a reality? We bring you familiar favorites and shiny new names, but as always wonderful fiction. This campaign will allow us to cover production costs, pay the authors, and possibly include artwork in these books. It hasn’t launched yet, but you can check out the campaign here. And below you can read about the upcoming books…. 

 THE CLOCKWORK WITCH by Michelle D. Sonnier 

 The seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, Arabella is destined to disappoint, when she was expected to shine. Though she descends from a long line of gifted witches she has earned the moniker of a “brown bud” showing no sign of magical talent. 

 When it truly seems her lot can grow no worse, she discovers an unnatural affinity for…of all things…technology. Not only are the mysteries of the mechanical world open to her, but her new-found ability allows her to manipulate them, making her the first ever clockwork witch and anathema to the nature of the witching world. 

 How will she come to grips with her new power when she must question if she will survive the judgement of her family and her peers? 

 SPIRIT SEEKER by Jeff Young 


 The Kassandra Leyden Adventures 

 The Leydens were people of extraordinary means. The father a well-known adventurer. The mother a spiritualist oft consulted by the government of New Britain. 

The daughter, Kassandra, inherent of both the skill and sense of adventure that made her parents great. But when her mother vanishes without a trace, and her father turns toward spirits of a fluid nature as he loses himself in memory, Kassandra is left to find her own way and purpose. She quickly learns a sense of caution as she discovers there is as much intrigue as adventure about the world she lives in. And not all those she’s had faith in are to be trusted. 

 With the whispers of spirits in her ear and unlikely allies at her back, Kassandra strives to defend both the living and the departed…after all… It’s the Spirit of the matter…

 AFTER PUNK: STEAMPOWERED TALES OF THE AFTERLIFE edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer 

 While mankind can scarce hope to pierce the Veil without crossing it, a few intrepid souls will ever bend their will against the aether, combining artifice and the arcane to uncover its secrets. 

 From voodoo death cults to the Day of the Dead, mummy parties, the wheel of reincarnation, the practice of death portraits, and so much more, these tales leave no gravestone unturned. 

 Be it heaven or hell or the limbo in between, the hereafter is about to get ‘Punked. 

 With stories by Jody Lynn Nye, David Sherman, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, James Chambers, Michelle D. Sonnier, Jeffrey Lyman, Bernie Mojzes, Travis I. Sivart, Jeff Young, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.  

Once again, you can preview the campaign for Tales of Paranormal Steampunk here, it should be launching in just a few days.





edited by Mike McPhail

Beyond the Cradle of mankind, the universe is vast, unknown,
dangerous to the unwary…or those caught in the path of intrepid explorers proceeding without forethought.

Thirteen authors explore what it is to pioneer the future with tales fraught with danger and remorse, tempered with hope, luck, and serendipity. We face the monsters. We face the truth. We face ourselves.

Whether the frontier is that of science or space, there is no doubt that at some point one must ask …If we had known, would we have followed this course?


The Necessary Enemy by Ian Randal Strock

The Steady Drone of Silence by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The Last Man on Earth by Jody Lynn Nye

Chasing the Ball by Peter Prellwitz

The Janus Choice by Jeff Young

Between Scylla and Charybdis by Patrick Thomas

The Star Gazers by James Chambers

Giraffe Children by Robert E. Waters

Good Advice by John L. French

Egg by Christopher M. Hiles

Youth by Judi Fleming

Meeting the Other by Nancy Jane Moore

The Third Heaven by Robert Greenberger


We are excited to present to you the cover of Man and Machine, Defending the Future Volume 7. After a three-year hiatus, editor Mike McPhail has given us another great volume for your reading enjoyment, featuring series veterans Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, Jennifer Brozek, James Chambers, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Young, Robert E. Waters, Eric Hardenbrook, Nancy Jane Moore, Judi Fleming, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, plus our newest recruits: Ronald T. Garner, Aaron Rosenberg, and Anton Kukal.

In addition, the collection contains a final farewell from CJ Henderson, written just before his passing, about his participation in the Defending the Future Series.


Back Cover Copy

The plan had been to un-man the battlespace, replacing flesh and blood with steel and carbon fiber. Machines, both remote-controlled and autonomous A.I.s, would fight and be destroyed in the name of freedom; sparing the troops at the cost of the nation’s treasure.

However, as with any arms race, the opposing side’s technology eventually catches ups to yours, resulting in the need to put lives back in harm’s way on the frontline; to deal with, and adapt to the unknown, as only humans can.




As a part of our Man and Machine campaign we were fortunate enough to also fund a Best of collection. We have made our final determinations and are proud to share with you the following:

The embers of war still glow as memories of strange skies over an alien landscape, light-years from home, bring back the sensations of battle; a time when personal sacrifice meant the difference between salvation for all, or total destruction.  

Gathered here is a cross-section of stories from the first decade of the Defending The Future series. Written by the known and up-and-coming in the military science fiction genre, these stories represent the fan-requested highlights from the series.


And now, we are excited to announce the stories selected for The Best of Defending The Future, in no particular order.

From Breach the Hull  

  • Jack McDevitt – Black to Move  
  • John C. Wright – Peter Power Armor  
  • Lawrence M. Schoen – Thresher  
  • Jeffrey Lyman – Compartment Alpha  

From So It Begins  

  • Andy Remic – Junked  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail – First Line  
  • Charles E. Gannon – To Spec  
  • Bud Sparhawk – The Glass Box  
  • CJ Henderson – Everything’s Better with Monkeys  

From By Other Means  

  • James Chambers – Mother of Peace  
  • Jeff Young – Blankets  
  • Mike McPhail – Sheepdog  
  • John G. Hemry – Dawn’s Last Light  
  • Robert E. Waters – Devil Dancer  

From No Man’s Land  

  • Nancy Jane Moore – Gambit  
  • Maria V. Snyder – Godzilla Warfare  
  • Brenda Cooper – Cracking the Sky  

From Best Laid Plans  

  • Keith R.A. DeCandido – The Stone of the First High Pontiff  
  • David Sherman – Chitter Chitter Bang Bang  
  • Judi Fleming – Iron Horses


As a company we cut our teeth on anthologies. Now we are ready to graduate to something more meaty. Our next campaign begins Monday and we are really excited about it. 

>This one is for two original novels: The Sister Paradox, a fantasy offering by Jack Campbell; and POST, a science fiction dystopia novel by Brenda Cooper. You can check out the campaign in advance at http://tiny.cc/Novels2016.


Finally, for those who haven’t heard yet, Joshua Palmatier of Zombies Need Brains started a new campaign yesterday. This one is for three anthologies, about Robots, Water, and Death. Check it out here: http://kck.st/2craV5X. One day in and they are a third of the way there. There are some really awesome authors involved, like Jody Lynn Nye, Faith Hunter, Gini Koch, Misty Massey and Rosemary Edgehill, just to name a few.

Have a good night and enjoy your weekend. Me, I’m off to Star Trek Mission New York at the Javits Center. If by chance you happen to be there a well, come say Hi! I’ll be at the Quidd booth, which is #331.



Due to recent life events I haven’t posted much about this here, but we are in the final hours of a Kickstarter campaign that was initially for the anthology Man and Machine, book 7 in the award-winning Defending the Future series, with stories by Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, Nancy Jane Moore, Jennifer Brozek, Ronald Garner, Aaron Rosenberg, James Chambers, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Young, Eric Hardenbrook, Robert Waters, Anton Kukal, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and a special Afterword by CJ Henderson (posthumous).

KSC-FrontPageNewNot only did the campaign fund quickly, but it has unlocked sixteen stretch goals, including funding a tee shirt, a mission patch, and two additional books: If We Had Known (book one in the Beyond the Cradle anthology series) and The Best of Defending the Future. 

Here is a list of all the bonus rewards all backers at the $5 or higher level will now receive in DRM-Free format:

  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s short story “By Any Means” a prequel to her story in Man and Machine.  
  • Jennifer Brozek’s short story “Found on the Body of a Solider”.  
  • Robert E. Waters’ short story “Old Soldiers Never Die”.  
  • Soothe the Savage Beast (anthology), 
  • “A Second Away” by John L. French (short story), and 
  • “Mercenary” by Bud Sparhawk (short story)  
  • David Sherman’s story “Going After Yeechiphooie” ACHIEVED! 
  • Time Traveled Tales 2 (anthology), 
  • “Grilg Friendly” by James Chambers (short story), and 
  • “Sign of Iron” by Peter Prellwitz, writing as HK Devonshire (short story).  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s short story “Last Man Standing” a prequel to her story in Man and Machine.  
  • Nancy Jane Moore’s short story “Borders”.  
  • Brenda Cooper’s short story “A Hand and Honor”.  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s solo science fiction collection A Legacy of Stars, 
  • “Written in Light” by Jeff Young (story), 
  • “12:70” by Peter Prellwitz, writing as HK Devonshire (story)  

We have also unlocked the following production goals which are available via the add-on section of the campaign or select pledge rewards that have been added:

  • If We Had Known (Book 1 in the Beyond the Cradle series)
  • Dogs of War custom Tee Shirt
  • Defending the Future Mission Patch
  • Best of Defending the Future anthology

And, I made an executive decision. I’d really LOVE to see From the Archives funded so I have reshuffled the rewards so all our lovely backers have a chance at even more great fiction than they are already getting. That means we are just $170 away from unlocking a FOURTH book! With five hours to go, that should be no problem! I have also added From the Archives to the pledge rewards and add-on section. Now, there are just FIVE hours left…What mischief can we get up to? Here are the remaining stretch goals:

220 Backer Bonus – DRM-Free copies of all five Radiation Angels: The Mission Files stories by James Daniel Ross.

$5000 – At this stretch goal we will fund a fourth book: From the Archives, a short story collection edited by Greg Schauer and including stories by Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.  

$5300 – A Man and Machine Mission Patch will be produced and added to the Pledge rewards and Add-on section.  

$5600 – A DTF Man and Machine Challenge Coin will be produced and added to the Pledge rewards and Add-on section.  

$6000 – DOUBLE UP BONUS #4

Can you help us spread the word, or maybe even chip in a dollar or ten? Everyone wins in this campaign! http://tiny.cc/DTF7

Thank you,




eSpec Books is excited to announce that their newest Kickstarter project has funded less than three days into the campaign. With 38 days to go, there are a plenty of stretch goals to be achieved, including custom Tee Shirts, Challenge Coins, Mission Patches, and three additional books.

To check out the campaign visit http://tiny.cc/DTF7


We have two lovely reviews to share with you this week. Please click the link for the full reviews.


On The Weird Wild West

“This anthology offers twelve short stories with full on spectacular weird west. […] I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in trying the genre. It’s the perfect anthology to get your feet wet with.” 3 Stars, Hope Sloper, Amazon

Hope’s favorites in the collection were the stories by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, R. S. Belcher, Jonathan Maberry, Robert E. Waters, John G. Hartness, and Faith Hunter.


On The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson

“CJ Henderson was a writer’s writer. He could fluidly move between genres. […] in ever story his talent shows even more.” 4 Stars, Renfield1969, Amazon