COVER REVEAL – AFTER PUNK


eSpec Books is delighted to present to you:

Web-AfterPunk
(cover design by Mike McPhail of McP Digital Graphics)

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, David Lee Summers, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

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WE’RE BACK!


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 

SpiritSeeker

 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.

Best,
Danielle

eSPEC EXCERPTS – MOONSHINE


proof-tbobafThis is a part of our series of excerpts connected with our campaign for The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries. All of the authors have been selected based on fan and reviewer recognition as some of the best examples of Bad-Ass Faeries, representing over a decade of this award-winning series. If you are interested in learning more about The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, please check out our Kickstarter. #Make100


Moonshine

Bernie Mojzes

In this room, Prohibition was suspended. Booze flowed like the music at Pogo & Bud’s: hot and sultry, drums and bass laying down the groove as the piano tinkled like ice on glass, saxophone splashing across the bar and into darkened corners. Bryn Mawr debs in feathers and fringe danced with nattily dressed Negroes from the city. Tobacco and marijuana mingled in the hot June air, blown around by lazy fans.

Tom Marich leaned back against the bar with closed eyes, letting the music wash over him, fingers tapping echoes of the melody against his whiskey glass. He wasn’t the only regular attracted more by the music than the speakeasy’s other offerings. Young musicians who pushed the boundaries wouldn’t find work at respectable venues like the Dunbar. Bud McGarritty made a point of booking some of the most innovative jazzmen in the country.

“It’s what makes having that,” McGarritty had said to Tom once, glancing toward an unmarked door at the back of the room, “bearable.”

Through that door and down a corridor was another world, one of men with haunted eyes, and sometimes girls in giggling pairs or threesomes. Tom had been there once, enticed by a pale slip of a girl whose name he’d never known. He’d paid a man for passage to a place where something akin to heaven awaited. The opium was sweet as nectar, the sex sweeter, but one look at the wasted men, too lost in dream and decay to appreciate the willing flesh around them, made him swear to stick to jazz and whiskey.

Tom chain-smoked through the set, watching the flappers dance as he sipped his drink. When his last smoke threatened to burn his lips, he caught the attention of the tantalizing redhead with the cigarette tray. He tossed three nickels on the tray and tapped a cigarette out of the pack of Lucky Strikes, smiling as the girl leaned forward with a lighter. She grinned and winked at him.

“My name’s Mary,” she tossed over her shoulder as she walked away.

After the set, Tom waved his empty glass at McGarritty, but the bartender was down at the end of the bar in distracted conversation with a small man that Tom had never seen before. Tom reassessed—there wasn’t even a hint of stubble on the boy’s face as he looked up innocently at McGarritty’s scowl. His oversized jacket and pants made him seem even skinnier than he probably was. Tom drew his bar stool closer for a listen…and for a place at the front of the queue once McGarritty was pouring again.

“That ain’t the way things’re done,” McGarritty was saying. “In this world there’s rules; even a punk like you knows it’s bad for your health to go making side deals.”

The kid took off his hat. Fine brown hair fell to his shoulder.

Tom blinked in surprise. All thoughts of the Lucky Strikes girl vanished.

“Mr. McGarritty,” the kid said in a woman’s low alto, the words falling like music from his—her—lips, “I’m not asking you to do anything on any side at all. I’d simply like you to sample my wares. I believe that with the endorsement of a fine businessman such as yourself, and perhaps some of your more discriminating customers, I shall be able make the arrangements necessary for a long and lucrative partnership for all those concerned.”

There was something slightly alien in her voice: the accent of a girl who had come to America in early childhood. Tom struggled to place it. A first-generation Serb growing up in a neighborhood of immigrants, he had experience with accents, but this one eluded him with a familiarity that lingered just out of reach.

McGarritty hesitated. “I dunno….”

Tom set his empty glass on the bar between McGarritty and the girl. She jumped, just slightly, surprised by the sudden intrusion.

“I’ll try it,” he said with a playful smile, “if you’ll join me. Hell, right about now, seems like it’s the only way to get a drink around here.” The last he directed to McGarritty, though his eyes never left her face.

“Excellent,” she said, pulling a tall, thin bottle from inside her jacket. The liquor that poured from the dark green glass was a translucent, milky white that glowed in the dimly lit bar.

“Is that Absinthe?” Tom asked.

She smiled. “Not quite, though it’s quite potent in its own way. We call it Moonshine. That’s what gives it that glow. I’m told that it’s also a pun. This recipe has been in my family for a long time, and it’s time to share it with the world. So, here I am.” She raised her glass and clinked it against Tom’s. “To world domination,” she said, and her eyes glittered.


Much to his embarrassment, Bernie Mojzes has outlived Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Janice Joplin and the Red Baron, without even once having been shot down over Morlancourt Ridge. Having failed to achieve a glorious martyrdom, he has instead turned his hand to the penning of paltry prose (a rather wretched example of which you currently hold in your hands), in the pathetic hope that he shall here find the notoriety that has thus far proven elusive. His work has appeared in Bad-Ass Faeries II and III, Dragon’s Lure, Dead Souls, Clockwork Chaos, In An Iron Cage, and New Blood. Should Pity or perhaps a Perverse Curiosity move you to seek him out, he can be found at http://www.kappamaki.com.

BAD-ASS FAERIES EXCERPT – MOONSHINE


proof-tbobafThis is a part of our series of excerpts connected with our campaign for The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries. All of the authors have been selected based on fan and reviewer recognition as some of the best examples of Bad-Ass Faeries, representing over a decade of this award-winning series. If you are interested in learning more about The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, please check out our Kickstarter.


Moonshine

Bernie Mojzes

In this room, Prohibition was suspended. Booze flowed like the music at Pogo & Bud’s: hot and sultry, drums and bass laying down the groove as the piano tinkled like ice on glass, saxophone splashing across the bar and into darkened corners. Bryn Mawr debs in feathers and fringe danced with nattily dressed negroes from the city. Tobacco and marijuana mingled in the hot June air, blown around by lazy fans.

Tom Marich leaned back against the bar with closed eyes, letting the music wash over him, fingers tapping echoes of the melody against his whiskey glass. He wasn’t the only regular attracted more by the music than the speakeasy’s other offerings. Young musicians who pushed the boundaries wouldn’t find work at respectable venues like the Dunbar. Bud McGarritty made a point of booking some of the most innovative jazzmen in the country.

“It’s what makes having that,” McGarritty had said to Tom once, glancing toward an unmarked door at the back of the room, “bearable.”

Through that door and down a corridor was another world, one of men with haunted eyes, and sometimes girls in giggling pairs or threesomes. Tom had been there once, enticed by a pale slip of a girl whose name he’d never known. He’d paid a man for passage to a place where something akin to heaven awaited. The opium was sweet as nectar, the sex sweeter, but one look at the wasted men, too lost in dream and decay to appreciate the willing flesh around them, made him swear to stick to jazz and whiskey.

Tom chain-smoked through the set, watching the flappers dance as he sipped his drink. When his last smoke threatened to burn his lips, he caught the attention of the tantalizing redhead with the cigarette tray. He tossed three nickels on the tray and tapped a cigarette out of the pack of Lucky Strikes, smiling as the girl leaned forward with a lighter. She grinned and winked at him.

“My name’s Mary,” she tossed over her shoulder as she walked away.

After the set, Tom waved his empty glass at McGarritty, but the bartender was down at the end of the bar in distracted conversation with a small man that Tom had never seen before. Tom reassessed—there wasn’t even a hint of stubble on the boy’s face as he looked up innocently at McGarritty’s scowl. His oversized jacket and pants made him seem even skinnier than he probably was. Tom drew his bar stool closer for a listen…and for a place at the front of the queue once McGarritty was pouring again.

“That ain’t the way things’re done,” McGarritty was saying. “In this world there’s rules; even a punk like you knows it’s bad for your health to go making side deals.”

The kid took off his hat. Fine brown hair fell to his shoulder.

Tom blinked in surprise. All thoughts of the Lucky Strikes girl vanished.

“Mr. McGarritty,” the kid said in a woman’s low alto, the words falling like music from his—her—lips, “I’m not asking you to do anything on any side at all. I’d simply like you to sample my wares. I believe that with the endorsement of a fine businessman such as yourself, and perhaps some of your more discriminating customers, I shall be able make the arrangements necessary for a long and lucrative partnership for all those concerned.”

There was something slightly alien in her voice: the accent of a girl who had come to America in early childhood. Tom struggled to place it. A first-generation Serb growing up in a neighborhood of immigrants, he had experience with accents, but this one eluded him with a familiarity that lingered just out of reach.

McGarritty hesitated. “I dunno….”

Tom set his empty glass on the bar between McGarritty and the girl. She jumped, just slightly, surprised by the sudden intrusion.

“I’ll try it,” he said with a playful smile, “if you’ll join me. Hell, right about now, seems like it’s the only way to get a drink around here.” The last he directed to McGarritty, though his eyes never left her face.

“Excellent,” she said, pulling a tall, thin bottle from inside her jacket. The liquor that poured from the dark green glass was a translucent, milky white that glowed in the dimly lit bar.

“Is that Absinthe?” Tom asked.

She smiled. “Not quite, though it’s quite potent in its own way. We call it Moonshine. That’s what gives it that glow. I’m told that it’s also a pun. This recipe has been in my family for a long time, and it’s time to share it with the world. So, here I am.” She raised her glass and clinked it against Tom’s. “To world domination,” she said, and her eyes glittered.


Much to his embarrassment, Bernie Mojzes has outlived Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Janice Joplin and the Red Baron, without even once having been shot down over Morlancourt Ridge. Having failed to achieve a glorious martyrdom, he has instead turned his hand to the penning of paltry prose (a rather wretched example of which you currently hold in your hands), in the pathetic hope that he shall here find the notoriety that has thus far proven elusive. His work has appeared in Bad-Ass Faeries II and III, Dragon’s Lure, Dead Souls, Clockwork Chaos, In An Iron Cage, and New Blood. Should Pity or perhaps a Perverse Curiosity move you to seek him out, he can be found at http://www.kappamaki.com.

NEW KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN – THE BEST OF BAD-ASS FAERIES


Currently, Kickstarter is running a promotional campaign Make/100. As a part of that campaign, creators launch a project that includes a limited edition, 100-Backer reward.

eSpec is taking this opportunity to launch a project that is near and dear to my heart, a Best of Bad-Ass Faeries anthology commemorating a decade of this award-winning anthology series that has shocked and delighted readers through four epic volumes. The series is out of print, but we will bring you the highlights of its glory. <grin>

proof-tbobaf

The stories selected for inclusion, based on fan and reviewer response, are as follows:

Bad-Ass Faeries  

  • Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano – The Ballad of the Seven-Up Sprite  
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido – House Arrest
  • Adam P. Knave – Futuristic Cybernetic Faerie Assassin Hassballah  
  • Jesse Harris – Hidden in the Folds  

Just Plain Bad  

  • James Chambers – Way of the Bone  
  • CJ Henderson – Do You Believe?  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail – Within the Guardian Bell  
  • John Passarella – Twilight Crossing  
  • Jeffrey Lyman- Grimm Necessity  
  • Bernie Mojzes – Moonshine

In All Their Glory  

  • L. Jagi Lamplighter – A Not-So-Silent Night  
  • John L. French – So Many Deaths  
  • James Daniel Ross – The Natural-Born Spy  
  • Robert E. Waters – At The Grasshopper’s Hill  
  • Kelly A. Harmon – Selkskin Deep  

It’s Elemental  

  • DL Thurston – The Face of the Serpent  
  • Patrick Thomas – Looking a Gift Horse  
  • Jody Lynn Nye – Fifteen Percent  
  • Lee C. Hillman – Bad Blood  
  • NR Brown – Melia’s Best Wave

We hope you will help us celebrate these great authors!

 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Congrats to Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, and Jonah Knight for being highlighted in this week’s review.

Gaslight and Grimm

“I appreciated that most stories, while building upon the foundations of original tales, didn’t hesitate to stray from them at some point, instead of being “mere” retellings almost identical to their inspirations.” 4 Stars, Yzabel, Amazon

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Just wanted to share with you a bit of good news. We were contacted by The Steampunk Journal this morning to inform us they had reviewed Gaslight & Grimm. It has received a score of 9.3 out of 10 and been awarded the Splendid! Award.

Congrats go to Elaine Corvidae, Jody Lynn Nye, Danny Birt, Jean Marie Ward, Bernie Mojzes, Jonah Knight, and Christine Norris for being spotlighted in the review.

“Gaslight & Grimm can easily be considered a class act. […] If you like steampunk and fairy-tales, then I highly recommend this book. It will keep you thoroughly entertained again and again.” Nemma Wollenfang, The Steampunk Journal

ON A SEMI-RELATED NOTE

We are one week in to our current Kickstarter campaign. This is our first novel campaign and we are featuring books by two bestselling authors, Jack Campbell and Brenda Cooper. If you could help us spread the word or even check it out yourself, that would be great. The URL is http://tiny.cc/Novels2016

Here is are the descriptions of the books:

THE SISTER PARADOX

by Jack Campbell

Liam is his parents’ only child, and that’s just fine with him.  

Until the day the sister-he-never-had shows up at school. 

Just to make it worse, the sword-wielding Kari tells him they have an important quest to complete. 

 And that’s how Liam finds himself dragged into another world, facing basilisks and unicorns, cursed objects, elves, and even a dragon, all magical and dangerous, but none more so than the sister he didn’t have until that morning. A sister who turns out to be quite good with her sword, and ready to use it when faced with things like a dragon as long as her brother is at her side.   

Liam begins to realize two things: it’s going to be a very long day, and having a sister can be weird.  

But most unsettling of all, he’s not sure he minds…

POST

by Brenda Cooper

The world, for some, has crumbled.   

Disease and natural disasters have brought on social collapse in the Pacific Northwest.  

For Sage, born and raised in the safe haven of the Oregon Botanical Gardens, that has never been more than academic. What more could she ask for than to be safe and fed?  

But life in the Garden is static.  

Sage longs to experience the world beyond the Garden walls as society climbs from the chaos. Her reckless exploration forces her elders to give her a choice: Stay here, hidden in safety, or go and never return.  

Sage chooses to leave.  

Will she learn soon enough on her journey that the world outside the Garden follows no law? 

That there is no predator more dangerous than man?  

Will she learn soon enough that to rebuild the world one must be ready to fight for it?  

She will need to if she chooses to live.