FROM THE PUBLISHER – STATE OF THE ‘SPEC 2019


Hard to believe we have been at this for five years, come October. That is a lot of blood, sweat, and cuss words…let me tell you! We have learned a lot and we have grown. We are making a name for ourselves and doing what we love. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are making too much progress, but then we look back and think “Damn!”

I did that today. My entire day has been nothing but entering and calculating data to see exactly what it is we’ve accomplished, by the numbers. So! Here it goes…

  1. We’ve published nine titles in electronic format only.
  2. We’ve published 39 titles in both print and electronic format.
  3. We have eight titles currently under review or in production.
  4. We have originated three imprints: eSpec Books, Paper Phoenix Press, and AGM Publications.
  5. We have three staff members: Danielle McPhail (publisher), Mike McPhail (art director/graphic designer), Greg Schauer (editor).
  6. Eight times out of eight times, we have paid out royalties either early or on time.
  7. We have zero company debt.
  8. We have a positive balance in each of our company accounts.

Those last three fill us with the greatest sense of accomplishment.


All-Time Top Bestsellers

  1. The Clockwork Witch by Michelle D. Sonnier
  2. The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell
  3. The Weird Wild West
      edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw
  4. Issue in Doubt by David Sherman
  5. In All Directions by David Sherman
  6. Gaslight and Grimm edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine
  7. Dragon Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  8. The Best of Defending the Future edited by Mike McPhail
  9. Goblin Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  10. Unicorn Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Proof-4-5-Clockworkproof-front-sisterlg-book-wwwes-iid-final-proof

In All Directions 2 x 3G&GRed-Gold Leaf-150Proof-DragonPrecinctNew-Proof-DTF1b

Goblin Precinct 2x3Proof-UnicornPrecinctproof-iwhk-coverproof-tbobaf

All-Time Highest Grossing

  1. The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell
  2. The Clockwork Witch by Michelle D. Sonnier
  3. The Weird Wild West 
        edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw
  4. Issue in Doubt by David Sherman
  5. In All Directions by David Sherman
  6. Gaslight and Grimm edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine
  7. Dragon Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  8. The Best of Defending the Future edited by Mike McPhail
  9. If We Had Known edited by Mike McPhail
  10. Best of Bad-Ass Faeries edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Highlights of the last five years:

  • One title made it to the Bram Stoker Recommended Reading List.
  • Four titles were finalists for awards.
  • Two of those titles won those awards.
  • We have funded twelve successful crowdfunding campaigns (including one that is running right now – Defending the Future: In Harm’s Way.)
  • We have had the honor of publishing Faith Hunter, Jack Campbell, Brenda Cooper, David Sherman, Jody Lynn Nye, Jonathan Maberry, Bud Sparhawk, James Chambers, Jack McDevitt, Robert Greenberger, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Jeff Young, Michelle D. Sonnier, Bernie Mojzes, Aaron Rosenberg, Peter David, John C. Wright, Eric V. Hardenbrook, Christopher M. Hiles, Patrick Thomas, CJ Henderson, Judi Fleming, John L. French, Christopher L. Bennett, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Misty Massey, Mike McPhail, John G. Hartness, RS Belcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Misty Massey, James R. Tuck, Robert E. Waters, David Sherman, Tonia Brown, Liz Colter, Scott Hungerford, Frances Rowat, Ken Schrader, Bryan C.P. Steele, Wendy N. Wagner, Christine Norris, Danny Birt, Jean Marie Ward, Elaine Corvidae, David Lee Summers, Kelly A. Harmon, Jonah Knight, Diana Bastine, Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano, Adam P. Knave, Jesse Harris, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, John Passarella, Jeffrey Lyman,  L. Jagi Lamplighter,  James Daniel Ross, DL Thurston, Lee C. Hillman, NR Brown, John A. Pitts, Jennifer Brozek, Ronald T. Garner, Nancy Jane Moore, Maria V. Snyder, Lawrence M. Schoen, Andy Remic, Charles E. Gannon, John G. Hemry, Ian Randal Strock, Peter Prellwitz, Drew Bittner, Ty Johnson, Torah Contrill, Walt Ciechanowski, Hal Greenberg and Kenneth Shannon III, Erik Scott de Bie, Ed Greenwood, Christopher J. Burke, Jim Knipp, Herika R Raymer, Anton Kukal, Marie Vibbert, CB Droege, David Bartell,  Rie Sheridan Rose, Jean Buie, David M. Hoenig, Jamie Gilman Kress, Jean Rabe, David Boop, Leona Wisoker Robert M. Price, Leona Wisoker, Edward J. McFadden III, Tony Ruggiero, Janine K. Spendlove, Bryan J.L. Glass, James M. Ward, Kathleen David, and Vonnie Winslow Crist
  • We have projects in the works by Robert E. Waters, Christopher L. Bennett, Michelle D. Sonnier, James Chambers, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.
  • We have anthologies in the works with stories by Gordon Linzner, Lisanne Norman, Dayton Ward, and  Russ Colchamiro.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end here, thank you. It’s a lot of content but we are covering five years 😉 We’ll be making periodic posts throughout the year up to the anniversary. Thanks for joining us on this adventure!

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.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – DAVID LEE SUMMERS (AFTER PUNK)


eSpec Books interviews David Lee Summers, contributor to After Punk: Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer, funding now on Kickstarter.

eSB: What can you tell us about the story you have written (or plan to write) for After Punk?

DLS: My story is about a spiritualist who is invited to a mummy unwrapping party. When she arrives, she finds the place is swarming with scientists, some of whom have called her a fraud. She soon begins to thinks they may be playing her for a fool, but it turns out the party’s host has an experiment in mind and she’s a key element.

The story was inspired by panels I’ve done with magician Dyno Staats at a few different steampunk conventions. Ostensibly we’d talk about how Victorian science was incorporated into magic shows of the period, but no topic related to science and the mysterious was off limits. Mummy unwrapping parties and séances often found their way into our discussions.

eSB: Why did you choose that particular aspect of the afterlife to ‘punk up? How did it lend itself to the theme?

DLS: Mummy unwrapping parties were, strangely and sadly, a thing during the Victorian period. Strange because it involved inviting people over to your house to unwrap an ancient, dead body. Sad because of the total disregard it represented for another culture. Of course the whole point of Egyptian mummification was to send the dead to the afterlife with body and soul. Mummies are so lifelike, I can see where it would be tempting to think one could wake them and talk to the dead.

There’s also an aspect of the story that has to do with hauntings and ghosts, as one might infer from having a spiritualist character. Although I’m a skeptic where ghosts are concerned, I have seen and experienced things that I can’t easily explain and I wanted to bring some of that mystery to this story. Of course, spiritualists and séances were a big part of the Victorian era.

eSB: Does you story introduce new characters, or are they old friends you revisit often…to torment mercilessly?

DLS: My story introduces new characters. However, I have to admit, that prim and tormented spiritualist Dinella Stanton and showman-like chemist Augustus Harriman grew on me in their short tale and they may well have to appear again. Harriman especially has a kind of arrogance that deserves further torment.

eSB: What traditions or beliefs were you raised on regarding death or the afterlife? Did that influence your story at all?

DLS: I was raised in an evangelical Christian household with an idea that faithful Christians would have everlasting life in a paradise. To be honest, that idea didn’t much influence my story. A bigger influence from my upbringing was visiting the Tutankhamen exhibit that toured the United States when I was in elementary school. It engendered a fascination with Ancient Egyptian culture and funerary practices.

eSB: Describe your ideal vision of the afterlife.

DLS: In addition to being a writer, I’m a professional astronomer and I’m confronted by the sheer enormity of the universe on a day-to-day basis. My ideal vision of the afterlife would be to come into the presence of the mind that set all that in motion. I’d also hope that I could somehow use an eternal, spiritual existence to explore the vast multiverse in some form.

eSB: How would you ‘punk the grim reaper?

DLS: Forget the scythe, I’d give that boy a steam-powered combine harvester. His wardrobe is also a bit medieval. Maybe ditch the robes and give him a black tuxedo and top hat combination with a red waistcoat.

eSB: The coffin or the pyre, which one for you and why?

DLS: I always liked the fate Captain Kirk had planned for Spock at the end of The Wrath of Khan, launched into the atmosphere of a planet to go out as a shooting star.  Barring that, I lean toward the pyre. Once I’m done with my body, I don’t need it anymore. It seems the easiest way to deal with what’s left behind.

eSB: What are some of your own works readers can look for?

DLS: Readers can look for my horror novel set at an astronomical observatory called The Astronomer’s Crypt. My Clockwork Legion steampunk novels are Owl Dance, Lightning Wolves, The Brazen Shark, and Owl Riders. I’m one of the editors of Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales which features a story by eSpec’s own Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?

DLS: My fourth Clockwork Legion steampunk novel, Owl Riders, is due out this spring. I also have a spooky story about electricity rousing the dead in the anthology DeadSteam coming out this October from Grim and Grimmer Books.  My ghost story “Evicted from Heaven” will appear in the anthology Hotel Haunted coming from Wolfsinger Publishing later this year.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you? 

DLS: The easiest way for readers to learn more about me is to visit my website at http://www.davidleesummers.com and read my blog at http://davidleesummers.wordpress.com


DLSummers

David Lee Summers is the author of eleven novels and numerous short stories and poems. His most recent novels are the global steampunk adventure, Owl Riders, and a horror novel set an astronomical observatory, The Astronomer’s Crypt. His short stories have appeared in such magazines and anthologies as Cemetery Dance, Realms of Fantasy, Straight Outta Tombstone, and Gaslight & Grimm. He’s one of the editors of Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales from WordFire Press. He’s been nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling and Dwarf Stars Awards. When he’s not writing, David operates telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Find David on the web at http://www.davidleesummers.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/davidleesummers

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/davidleesummers

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/885915.David_Lee_Summers

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/David-Lee-Summers/e/B003LLIC3C/

Blog Address – http://davidleesummers.wordpress.com

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/astroscribe/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/davidleesummers/

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

FROM THE PUBLISHER – 2016 RECAP


This has been an interesting year for us at eSpec Books, in every connotation of the word.

We have held three successful Kickstarters, funding a total of seven books, we have released ten titles in print and/or ebook this year, and we have become self-employeed…but not salaried. 

Our Best Sellers for the year were:

Print

  1. The Weird Wild West
  2. Gaslight & Grimm
  3. Best of Defending the Future
  4. POST
  5. Dogs of War – Reissued / In the Lamplight (tie)

eBook

  1. The Weird Wild West
  2. Gaslight & Grimm
  3. Best of Defending the Future
  4. Dogs of War – Reissue
  5. In the Lamplight

We have signed books with award-winning, bestselling authors  Jack Campbell, Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, and David Sherman, and have brought on some exciting newcomers in our anthology projects.

At Balticon we connected with old friends, had a fire alarm, and held a pretty amazing launch party where we got to meet quite a few of our authors for the first time in person, as well as gave away loads of prizes and sold lots of book. We also had enough goodies left over that we provided food for the party after us, and they still had leftovers to send to the con suite when they were done.

 


We have also started a new reprint line of books, Paper Phoenix Press and released our first title under that imprint.

All in all, this has been an amazing year of growth for us, if also one of readjustment.

Thank you all for joining us on this journey. We hope you’ll continue to follow along in the new year.

Be nice, be happy, be safe this holiday season!

Danielle McPhail, Mike McPhail, and Greg Schauer

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Congratulations go out to James Chambers, Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, Danny Birt, Jody Lynn Nye, David Lee Summers, and Jonah Knight for being featured in one or the other of this week’s reviews.

Gaslight and Grimm

“For steampunk/gaslight fans this is a great anthology; for fans of classic fairy tales and the Brothers Grimm this is also a great anthology. For fans of all those things … this is a truly wonderful anthology.” 5 Stars, Steve R., Amazon

“Just when you think that a famous fairytale can’t be re-imagined anymore, someone comes up with an original idea.” 4 Stars, Kami, Indie Authors, Books, and More