FROM THE PUBLISHER – IN HARM’S WAY


Congratulations to the contributors to In Harm’s Way, book 8 in the Defending the Future anthology series, for recognition in Publisher’s Weekly of a job well done.  Highlighted in the review were authors Brenda Cooper, David Sherman, and James Chambers.


This impressive anthology of 12 military science fiction stories pairs suspense with heart, showcasing oppressive regimes, deeds of heroism in the wake of alien invasions, and the depths of limitless, unknown space. – Publisher’s Weekly

(Click on the above link for the full review.)


Back Cover Copy

When fire and steel meet flesh and bone, a soldier learns a hard truth: you’re not fighting for Glory and Honor, but for survival, for you and your comrades, and you will be damned if you’re going to leave any of them behind.

Join us for twelve tales of military heroism and courage in the face of a hostile enemy.

With stories by Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, David Sherman, Robert E. Waters, Jeff Young, James Chambers, Lisanne Norman, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Christopher M. Hiles, Eric V. Hardenbrook, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail


If you are a reviewer, bookseller, or librarian interested in a review copy, the book is currently listed on NetGalley through the end of August. 

 

COVER REVEAL – DTF 8 – IN HARM’S WAY


Once more, eSpec is proud to announce our newest title, just now off to press: In Harm’s Way edited by Mike McPhail, the next in the award-winning Defending the Future anthology series.

With hope, the book will process in time to also debut at Shore Leave, where authors Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail will be in attendance, along with editor and cover artist, Mike McPhail.

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Cover art and design by Mike McPhail, McP Digital Graphics.

No One Left Behind

When fire and steel meet flesh and bone, a soldier learns a hard truth: you’re not fighting for Glory and Honor, but for survival, for you and your comrades, and you will be damned if you’re going to leave any of them behind.

Join us for twelve tales of military heroism and courage in the face of a hostile enemy.

With stories by Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, David Sherman, Robert E. Waters, Jeff Young, James Chambers, Lisanne Norman, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Christopher M. Hiles, Eric V. Hardenbrook, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail

eSPEC EXCERPTS – DAVID SHERMAN’S CONTAINED VACUUM


Here’s another excerpt from the upcoming anthology In Harm’s Way (Defending The Future 8), which is currently funding on Kickstarter. We have met our initial goal and are now working toward our stretch goals.

The following excerpt takes place in the author’s bestselling Starfist universe.


Contained Vacuum

DAVID SHERMAN

According to  Janes Commercial Starfleets of the Confederation of Human Worlds, the unidentified starship off the  Dayzee Mae’s port bow was the SS Runstable, which had vanished two years previous, along with her crew and cargo.

Sergeant Tim Kerr, of the Confederation Marine Corps, stood on the bridge of the Dayzee Mae, watching the derelict ship on the display. The ship’s acting captain, Lieutenant Junior Grade McPherson, had just finished briefing him. The Runstable’s cargo had been destined for twenty different worlds, none of which were near enough to this jump point to explain why the ship might be where it was. And all of the containers she was carrying when last heard from were missing; the superstructure made a narrow tower over the empty container deck. It was emitting a distress signal but carried no friend or foe identification.

“She must have been taken by pirates,” McPherson said, “then abandoned here. This location is far enough from normal trade routes that she wouldn’t be found quickly. We don’t have a surveillance tech aboard,” he added apologetically, “and we lack the necessary equipment to detect life forms on her. So you’ll be going in blind.”

Kerr nodded silently, his gaze intent on the latest display, which showed the starship in fuzzy detail. Her near-space running lights were on, but her passenger hatch and a bridge hatch were open. No lights showed through the open hatches.

The Dayzee Mae was a civilian starship, confiscated by the Confederation navy when they caught her supporting an illegal alien slavery operation on the twin worlds Opal and Ishtar. McPherson and his crew were ferrying her to the navy base on Thorsfinni’s World where another crew would transport her to wherever the Court of Inquiry determined she should go. So, naturally, she didn’t have military-grade sensors. She did, however, have one piece of military equipment never before found on a civilian freighter. The THB, Tweed Hull Breacher, was used by Confederation Marines to cut their way into hostile or potentially hostile starships. The THB carried by the Dayzee Mae had been used by the Marines when they boarded and took her.

Finally, Kerr said, “It could be an ambush. I want to use the THB and force an entryway. We’ll enter through the rear of the bridge.”

“You’ve got it, Sergeant.” McPherson gave a wry grin. “You are our expert on hostile boardings.”

Kerr grunted. He hoped the boarding wouldn’t be against a hostile force; he and his men had seen enough action on this latest deployment, and were on their way home. Second squad, third platoon, Company L of 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team’s infantry battalion had been given the assignment of providing security on the Dayzee Mae during her transit to Thorsfinni’s World because the squad had suffered badly in the action on Ishtar. Two of the fire team leaders and one other Marine were still nominally on light duty, and two new men weren’t completely integrated into the squad yet. Chain of command thought this duty would give them a chance to rest and recuperate.

“We’re Marines,” Sergeant Kerr said a short time later, when some of his men groaned at being told about the boarding mission. “Everyone in Human Space expects us to do anything necessary, at any time, in any place, regardless how difficult.”

“We’re Marines,” Corporal Rachman Claypoole—one of the injured fire team leaders—muttered. “We do the difficult immediately. The impossible might take a little longer.”

“That’s right, Rock,” Kerr said. “Now go to the arms locker to check out your weapons and armored vacuum suits.”

“With chameleon overalls?” Corporal Chan asked.

“Yes,” he said. There was no telling who or what they might find aboard the derelict. The invisibility provided by chameleons could prove to be vital.

Armored suits, sir? Are we expecting trouble, Corporal Claypoole?” asked PFC Berry, one of the two new men in the squad.

There were vacuum suits, and there were armored vacuum suits. One protected the wearer from the vacuum of space, and the micrometeorites that swarmed through it.  Armored vacuum suits protected the wearer from the flechettes that could shred an unarmored suit, and almost every other known projectile, including plasma weapons, such as the Marines’ own blasters.

Claypoole snorted. “We’re Marines boarding an unknown starship in interstellar space. We don’t have an invitation. No shit, we’re expecting trouble.”

FROM THE PUBLISHER – WE’RE AT IT AGAIN…


Where has the year gone? Already a quarter of the way in and it hardly seems we’ve gotten anything done at all! Time to fix that. We have launched our next campaign.

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This go-around we have three books we want to do: In Harm’s Way (Defending the Future Book 8) edited by Mike McPhail, Footprints in the Stars (Beyond the Cradle Book 2) edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and Devil Dancers, a single-author collection by Robert E. Waters. If we hit our goal the first one will be funded. From there we work to unlock the other books via the stretch goals.

To learn more, please visit our page on Kickstarter.

Not your thing? Or not the right time? Don’t have the extra in your budget?

We understand. We’ve been there! But you can still help us by spreading the word.

Thank you,

Danielle

COVER REVEAL – SHATTERED DREAMS: THE SHARDIES WAR

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

Will Humanity’s First Contact Prove to Be Its Last?

The opening salvos of a deadly war take mankind’s planetary colonies unaware. Jeaux is lost and the Naval courier Provance barely escapes on a course to the planet Morrow, only to discover the alien forces have given chase.

The fledgling colony of Morrow receives a garbled warning it can scarce believe. Before they can decide what course to take, the crystalline aliens strike with brutal force, nearly wiping all evidence of humanity from the planet. Out of thousands of colonists, a mere scattering survive, unaware of the greater war.

On the planet and among the stars, humanity fights to survive with resources sadly lacking against the aliens’ nearly unfathomable technology and tactics.

In an effort to combat the Shards, military command makes the hard call to adapt captured tech, instancing mortally wounded Marines into cyber weapons, leaving many to wonder…

To Defeat the Enemy, Have We Become Them?


Bud Sparhawk is the author of the novels Distant Seas, Dreams of Earth, and Vixen, as well as two print collections: Sam Boone: Front to Back, and Dancing with Dragons. He has three e-Novels available through Amazon and other channels. 

Bud has been a three-time novella finalist for the Nebula award: Primrose and Thorn (Analog, May 1996), Magic’s Price (Analog, March 2001), and Clay’s Pride (Analog, July/August 2004).  His work has appeared in two Year’s Best anthologies: Year’s Best SF #11 (EOS), David Harwell-Editor) and The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Fourteenth Annual Collection, (St Martins Press, Garner Dozois – Editor.)

His short stories have appeared frequently in Analog Fact/Fiction, less so in Asimov’s, as well as in five Defending the Future and other anthologies, publications and audio books. He has put out several collections of some of his published works in ebook format.  A complete bibliography can be found at: http://budsparhawk.com.

He also writes an occasional blog on the pain of writing at http://budsparhawk.blogspot.com.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER – MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


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We are doing something different this year. Instead of trying to grab everyone’s attention during this gift-giving season, we are having a sale AFTER the holiday.  From January 1 through January 7, all ebooks will be a mere 99 cents. So, if you’ve gotten some e-gift cards, or are just looking to treat yourself, here is your chance to score our amazing books for a steal! 

You can access the titles on Amazon by clicking on the below images. We’ll repost this when the sale goes live.

Anthologies

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Solo Collections

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Short Stories

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Novels

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COVER REVEAL – MAN AND MACHINE


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.


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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.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER – SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT


ESPEC BOOKS ADDS ANOTHER SCIENCE FICTION GREAT TO THEIR LIST

STRATFORD, NJ (August 2016) ― eSpec Books is proud to announce their newest acquisition, Shattered Dreams, a science fiction novel by multi-Nebula finalist Bud Sparhawk. The book will be funded through Kickstarter in February 2017 with an eye toward a May 2017 release. An official launch event is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, to be held at Balticon 51 (www.balticon.org) a major science fiction convention in the Baltimore area, which Mr. Sparhawk attends.

Shattered Dreams is a military science fiction novel about mankind’s fight against an invading silicon-based race they call the Shardies. The seeds for this novel began as short stories in the award-winning Defending the Future anthology series edited by Mike McPhail.

Bud Sparhawk is a three-time finalist for the Nebula award in the novella category for his stories, “Primrose and Thorn,” “Magic’s Price,” and “Clay’s Pride,” and his work has twice appeared in Year’s Best anthologies. He is a frequent contributor to Analog, Asimov’s, and various anthologies and publications.

To learn more about his work visit http://www.budsparhawk.com.

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If you’d like more information about this topic, or to request an interview with the author, please contact Danielle McPhail at dmcphail@especbooks.com.

PROJECT UPDATE – MAN AND MACHINE


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,

Danielle

JULY FLASH FICTION CONTEST – GET WIRED!


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In Britain, on July 27, 1982, Neil Harbisson was born with greyscale vision. Since 2004 he has had an antenna implanted in his skull that lets him HEAR colors and SEE sounds! He is best known for being the first person in the world with this type of augmentation and has been officially recognized as a cyborg by his government. His antenna uses audible vibrations in his skull to report information to him. This includes measurements of electromagnetic radiation, phone calls, music, as well as video or images which are translated into sound. His wifi enabled antenna also allows him to receive signals and data from satellites. We thought this was friggin’ awesome! Way to overcome what life has dealt you.

In honor of this amazing man and our current Kickstarter campaign for Defending the Future: Man and Machine, which ends in two days, your challenge, should you chose to accept it, is to write to us of cybernetic enhancement in 727 words or less.

If interested you can learn more about Neil Harbisson here.

Entries should be mailed to especbooks@aol.com as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf attachment. Please include your name, story title, and contact information on your manuscript itself. If we cannot identify your entry from the file you will be disqualified. Multiple submissions are permissible, but reprints are not. Winning entry will be published on the eSpec Books blog and the winner will receive a free ebook copy of the eSpec Books title of their choice. Prize can be reserved for a future book if the winner already has the available titles.

Visit http://www.especbooks.com for a list of titles.

JUNE FLASH FICTION CONTESTS – WAR MACHINES


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On June 24, 2009 the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was released. In honor of that movie and our current Kickstarter campaign for Defending the Future: Man and Machine, your challenge, should you chose to accept it, is to write to us of war machines in 624 words or less.

Stories should NOT be based on the movie in any way, but if you’re curious you can learn more about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen here.

Entries should be mailed to especbooks@aol.com as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf attachment. Please include your name, story title, and contact information on your manuscript itself. If we cannot identify your entry from the file you will be disqualified. Multiple submissions are permissible, but reprints are not. Winning entry will be published on the eSpec Books blog and the winner will receive a free ebook copy of the eSpec Books title of their choice. Prize can be reserved for a future book if the winner already has the available titles.

Visit http://www.especbooks.com for a list of titles.

KICKSTARTER – MAN AND MACHINE


It’s that time again! eSpec Books has just launched its next Kickstarter campaign. The book is Man and Machine, book seven in the award-winning Defending the Future anthology series edited by Mike McPhail. The campaign will run through July 4th and has the potential to fund up to three additional books, including If We Had Known, the first book in the Beyond the Cradle hard science fiction series, also edited by Mike McPhail.

To learn more about the campaign visit http://tiny.cc/DTF7 or watch the below video and check out the campaign page.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/e-specbooks/defending-the-future-man-and-machine-military-sci/widget/video.html

The plan had been to un-man the battlespace; replacing flesh and blood with steel and carbon fiber. Machines, both remote-guided and autonomous, would fight and be destroyed in the name of freedom, sparing the troops. However, as with all arms races, the opposing side’s technology eventually catches ups to yours, resulting in the need to put lives back on the frontline to deal with the unknown.

Gear up! This fight is far from over in 13 new stories of the struggle to survive, the new machines of war. 

With stories by Bud Sparhawk, Jennifer Brozek, Ronald Garner, Aaron Rosenberg, Brenda Cooper, James Chambers, Nancy Jane Moore, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Young, Eric Hardenbrook, Robert E. Waters, Anton Kukal, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.  

NEW RELEASE – DOGS OF WAR


eSpec Books and editor Mike McPhail are proud to announce the reissue of Dogs of War, volume 6 in the award-winning Defending the Future Anthology series. While this is the only existing book in the series that will be reissued, there will be a Best Of collection highlighting stories from the previous five volumes, and future volumes are in the works, including DTF 7: Man and Machine, which will be launching via Kickstarter later this month.

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BACK COVER COPY

Animals have fought for us for centuries, not because of the ideals of service to King and Country, but out of unwavering loyalty and devotion to their human Masters.

The future, it would seem, is no better than the past, as some animals become expendable weapons or augmented semi-machines, while others receive the honor and dignity of being treated as fellow soldiers.

In tribute, we bring you seventeen stories of our animal comrades-in-arms.

Includes stories by Brenda Cooper, David Sherman, Bud Sparhawk, Eric V. Hardenbrook, James Chambers, Peter Prellwitz, Janine K. Spendlove, Judi Fleming, Tony Ruggiero, Edward J. McFadden III, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Young, CJ Henderson, Robert E. Waters, Christopher M. Hiles, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

The Kindle edition is currently available on Amazon, with the print book soon to follow.