EARLY WARNING SYSTEM


Our next campaign is about to launch:  

eSpec Books is working in conjunction with The Awakened editor and game designer Hal Greenberg to bring you the first-ever incursion of The Awakened phenomenon in the modern world.  

The sudden appearance of a second moon in Earth’s sky awakens latent abilities in humanity…a link to a familiar, control of the elements, and so much more becomes possible as the second moon takes effect. What impact will this sudden change have on society? Only time will tell.  

Contents  

  • Wolves Run by Night by Ed Greenwood  
  • Little Sisters of the Hourglass by James Chambers  
  • Cold Snap by Ty Johnston  
  • Return of the Devis by Torah Cotrill  
  • Silverback by Hal Greenberg and Ken Shannon  
  • Whiteout by Erik Scott de Bie  
  • Details in Death by Jennifer Brozek  
  • Song of Tyrta by Drew Bittner  
  • Fire and Brimstone by Walt Ciechanowski  

If you would like to check it out, the URL is http://tiny.cc/AwakenedModern  

Best,  

Danielle

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


This has been a rather good week for discovering reviews. Here are the highlights. To read the full review, click the link. 

lg-book-flip-SoGE

“If you’re a comic fan, this will fit you to a tee, and even if you’re not, this is still a collection of well written and fun stories.” 4 1/2 Stars, David L. Felts, SF Reader.com 

Congrats to Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin, John L. French, James M. Ward, and Drew Bittner for being highlighted in the review.

“Personally I found the Side of Evil stories to be more enjoyable, but that may be personal alignment.” 3 Stars, Danny, Goodreads


CJcover-Mockup_lg

“I tried not to let my personal love of CJ affect my rating here but, thankfully, the stories were all wonderful enough that it becomes a nonissue.” 5 Stars, Joshua Hair, Goodreads


G&GRed-Gold Leaf-150

“I liked this book, and if you are a steampunk or fairy tale fan, this you will probably like it, too.” 3 Stars, Laura, Goodreads


lamp-text-3

“This anthology of Fantasy stories is quite excellent. There was not one weak story here.” 5 Stars, Jeff Miller, Goodreads

 

CONVENTION RECAP – BALTICON 50


Whew! Can you say exhausted? I took yesterday off to recover and I’m still beat!

Balticon was a series of new experiences this year. After almost 15 years of attending, the last ten or so at the same location, the convention moved back down to Baltimore’s inner harbor for it’s celebrated 50th con.

This was a big one, folks. Loads and loads of guests, new venue, bonus Guests of Honors from years past. Needless to say all of these changes elevated the level of chaos this year as everyone scrambled to figure out what they were doing, when and where. There was a lot of walks down long corridors and wandering the maze to figure out where such programming rooms were, but all in all–other than my feet–the experience was less painful than I feared it might be.

On Friday night my first panel was Starting Your Own Small Press. This was very well attended for 5pm on a Friday night. The discussion was informative and well received and the audience had loads of great questions. If only it hadn’t been such a hike to find the room.

The only other thing I had on Friday was Meet the Guests. I showed up at the right room a little early to find a sign saying it had moved to the con suite, but never did see any of those who were supposed to participate and so wandered off to the bar with Jennifer Povey and The Weird Wild West contributor Ken Schrader, after waiting about fifteen minutes for something to happen.

Oh…and a fire scare. The whole building was evacuated around 7:30pm. I’m told someone one thought a smoke machine would really add some atmosphere to a concert going on…they were right. But no one was there to enjoy it once the alarm went off.

0527161830a
Me, Mike McPhail, John L. French, and Patrick Thomas waiting for the chaos to resume.

No programming for me on Saturday…or so I thought. Discovered that was when my reading was, and fortunately I discovered in time to actually attend because the room was pretty packed for the four authors reading. My Meet eSpec Books panel, however, had been moved to Saturday night without my knowledge and so I hung out for a little while in my room, then went to the game room where my good friends Alf and Cynthia regretted teaching me to play Ascension, then wandered off for a little while to Gail Z. Martin’s impromptu pre-release party for Modern Magic…instead of being where I was supposed to be.

0529161430a-1Now Sunday…we’ll have to talk about Sunday. The crazy descended. Con: I had to wake up uber early for a Book Design and Layout panel I was slated to give. That went REAL well, but was nowhere near long enough. Then right off to the dealer’s room where I got to meet Jody Lynn Nye and hug Larry Niven.

I participated in the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, organized by Randee Dawn, then I rushed off to organized everything for the Gaslight and Grimm launch party. Discovered a bunch of supplies weren’t showing up, then arrived at the party room to discover everything was half tables…only about one foot wide! We pushed two together for all the food tables and left the congregating tables as is. We had loads of people and load of authors0529161317b-1 showing up to oggle our books and covet the impressive array of raffle prizes we gave away at the end of the night. Everyone was wonderful helping out, especially the Chrises Hiles (squared) Alf and Cynthia, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Jean Marie Ward, Wrenn Simms, Vickie DiSantos and loads of other people I can’t remember now because my brain was on overload.

The party was a huge success and surprisingly we were able to donate food to the Game of Thrones party following ours. Many, many books were sold and happy authors and attendees abounded.

0529162011a-1-1
Back (left to right): Danny Birt, Jonah Knight, Jeff Young, Robert E. Waters, David Lee Summers, Chris Hiles, Eric Hardenbrook, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Dustin Blottenberger, Drew Bittner, Christine Norris, Ken Schrader. Front (left to right): Greg Schauer, me, Mike McPhail, Jean Marie Ward, Gail Z. Martin, and John L. French. Not pictured here: Vonnie Winslow Crist, Brigitte Winter, Kelly A. Harmon, Bud Sparhawk.

 

I don’t have any photos of the party, other than this one of the editors, authors and artists, but hope to share some once they are sent to me.

All in all a great time, though the added expense of parking and eating was a blow, as was the inaccessibility of places to pick up last-minute party supplies.  

 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


As we get ready to run off to our final convention of the year (DerpyCon) this has been a week of running around scrambling to get things done. In the midst of all of that reviews of our newest releases have started popping up.

We’d like to share with you some of our favorite blurbs. Click on the provided links to read the full reviews.

Congrats to all our authors for jobs clearly well-done!

TW3-COVER-REVAMP“[In The Weird Wild West] eSpec Books has pulled together a fine collection of tales with just enough weirdness, fandom is bound to enjoy every page.” Ricky L. Brown, Amazing Stories

“[The Weird Wild West] is a show of skill by the authors who wrote short stories with skill and flair.” Ailyn, Good Reads

“[The Weird Wild West] takes the grit and glory that epitomizes the old west and gives it many delightful speculative spins.” Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Good Reads

 

Good-Evil“[The Side of Good / The Side of Evil] is a very highly entertaining book and a very enjoyable read.” Sam Tomaino, SFRevu

“In The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, villains get their time in the sun and are also painted with more depth and humanity than usual.” Meredith, Good Reads

“[The Side of Good / The Side of Evil] is definitely a keeper, and worth making into a doujinshi/ comic.” Ailyn, Good Reads

Our thanks go out to all the reviewers not only for liking our books, but for taking the time to tell the world.

NEW RELEASE – THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL


 by Rachel Fernandez

lg-book-flip-SoGEWe are proud to announce the release of the highly anticipated flipbook anthology The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. Sure, heroes get remembered, but sometimes the tales and legends of even the darkest villains will never die.

Whether rooting for the courageous superhero or secretly siding with a malicious scoundrel, this epic journey captivates and excites as it delves deep into the perspectives of two classic yet diverging tales of both good and evil, extenuating on the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

The collection features original stories by comic book legends and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Drew Bittner, John L. French, and Kathleen David. This flipbook also includes in an exclusive, never-before-published Furious short story!

Inspiration for this mythological American classic came easily to co-editor and award-winning author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail. “I am an idea person, I love to develop themed projects and find all the intricate ways to play to the theme. When someone suggested a collection of superhero fiction the idea for The Side of Good / The Side of Evil immediately came to mind and there was no question that it had to be a flipbook anthology, similar to the classic Ace Doubles from the ’80s. It took me three years to make it happen but the end result is even better than I’d envisioned.”

Now available on Amazon.

NOTE: To get this book in ebook look for the individual ebooks The Side of Good (B016Z5GEF8) and The Side of Evil (B016X95RC2)


PROMO COPY

Everyone loves a hero…but sometimes we can’t help but root for the villain…

Indulge both impulses with this nostalgic flipbook anthology—The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. After all, everyone is the hero of their own story and sometimes a change in perspective can make a world of difference. 

Superheroes inspire us to be more than we can be, and on the flip side, Supervillains are reminders of the potential for darkness within us all. The Side of Good / The Side of Evil looks at the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

With stories by comic book and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Drew Bittner, John L. French, and Kathleen David this collection is guaranteed to be super…no matter which side you pledge your allegiance to.

Featuring a never-before-published Furious(TM) short story! 

AUTHOR EVENT – THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL


by Rachel Fernandez

lg-book-flip-SoGE

The wait is over and it’s time to party! This Saturday November 21, 2015 join us for a pre-release launch for the highly anticipated nostalgic flipbook anthology, The Side of Good / The Side of Evil.

Come celebrate the release, attend panel discussions, and meet The Side of Good / The Side of Evil attending editors and authors, including: Danielle Ackley-­McPhail, Greg Schauer, Bryan J.L. Glass, Gail Martin, Walt Ciechanowski, James Chambers, Drew Bittner, Aaron Rosenberg, and Keith R.A. DeCandido, as well as meet attending artists Mike McPhail and Jason Whitley.

What: Philcon: The Side of Good / Side of Evil Launch Party
Where:  Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill, NJ in the Con Suite (suite 823)
When: Saturday, 7pm-9pm.

Can’t make it to the launch? We’re sad to hear it, but you can still get this amazing collection. Pre-order your copy on Amazon.

NOTE: To get this book in ebook pre-order the individual ebooks The Side of Good (B016Z5GEF8) and The Side of Evil (B016X95RC2)

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – PHILCON (NOVEMBER 20 – 21, 2015)


For those attending Philcon (www.philcon.org), here are our current panel schedules:

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza IV (Four) (1 hour)
MODERN MYTH-MAKING
Panelists: Tobias Cabral (mod), Sally Wiener Grotta, Mitchell
Gordon, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Aaron Rosenberg, Gail Z. Martin

How to adapt old myths and create new ones. What makes a belief
system appropriate for a world.

Sat 1:00 PM in Executive Suite 623 (1 hour)
BROAD UNIVERSE RAPID-FIRE READINGS 
Panelists: Elektra Hammond (mod), Danielle Ackley-McPhail, April Grey, Roberta Rogow, Sally Wiener Grotta

Sat 7:00 PM in Executive Suite 823 (2 hours)
“THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL” LAUNCH PARTY, HOUR 1 
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (hostess), Greg Schauer, Mike McPhail, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Gail Z. Martin, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Aaron Rosenberg, Bryan J.L. Glass, Drew Bittner, Jason Whitley, and Robert E. Waters

eSpec Books editors and authors celebrate the release of this nostalgic superhero/supervillain flipbook anthology

Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
HOW TO SELL YOUR FICTION
Panelists: Neil Clarke (mod), Alex Shvartsman, Barbara A. Barnett, Hildy Silverman, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Robert E. Waters

So you have a finally finished a story. What are the main markets?Who do you want to avoid?

Any time I’m not on a panel, you can find me in the dealer’s room or hanging out in the public spaces or game room if the dealer’s room is closed.

Mike McPhail

Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
MILITARY CULTURE IN SCIENCE FICTION
Panelists: Mike McPhail (mod), Christopher Weuve, Eric Hardenbrook,
Jack Hillman, John Skylar

How accurately is it depicted in SF literature, and how has it been
extrapolated into future settings? Who is writing it believably

Sat 4:00 PM in Plaza IV (Four) (1 hour)
WRITING IN SHARED UNIVERSES
Panelists: Michael A. Ventrella (mod), Dina Leacock, T. Patrick
Snyder, Mike McPhail, Catt Kingsgrave, Keith R.A. DeCandido

How do you handle building story arcs and developing characters when
you’re not solely in charge of a world? What changes when you’re
working with others at a professional level

Sat 8:00 PM in Executive Suite 823 (1 hour)
“THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL” LAUNCH PARTY, HOUR 2
Panelists: Mike McPhail (mod), Jason Whitley, Aaron Rosenberg

eSpec Books editors and authors celebrate the release of this nostalgic superhero/supervillain flipbook anthology.

PROJECT UPDATE – THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL


Good-EvileSpec Books is very pleased to announce that The Side of Good / The Side of Evil has come off the presses and is on it’s way to our hot little hands. We are excited about this project and hope you are as eager to see it as we are. The official release date is December 1, 2015.

If you just can’t wait, there are several things you can do.

First – you can join us at Philcon, a science fiction convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey the weekend of November 20 – 22. We’ll be launching the book there and will have copies on hand for sale. Our party is scheduled for Saturday, November 21, in the Con Suite, from 7pm to 9pm. Not only will there be food, fun, and PRIZES, but editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer will be there, along with authors Gail Z. Martin, Keith R.A. DeCandido, James Chambers, Drew Bittner, Aaron Rosenberg and artists Jason Whitley and Mike McPhail, all of us ready to celebrate with you.

Second – Pre-order the print book on the eSpec Books Store: The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. All orders will be shipped out right after the launch.

Third – Pre-order the ebooks (there are two) on Amazon. They will deliver to your ereader as soon as the calendar flips over to December 1.

SoG6x9The Side of Good with stories by Robert Greenberger, Bryan J.L. Glass, Kathleen David, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, John L. French, Walt Ciechanowski, and James Chambers, (includes an SideofEviloriginal Furious! short story!)

The Side of Evil with stories by James M. Ward, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Janine Spendlove, Drew Bittner, and James Chambers (includes an original SCPD short story!)

PROMO COPY

Everyone loves a hero…but sometimes we can’t help but root for the villain…

Indulge both impulses with this nostalgic flipbook anthology—The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. After all, everyone is the hero of their own story and sometimes a change in perspective can make a world of difference. 

Superheroes inspire us to be more than we can be, and on the flip side, Supervillains are reminders of the potential for darkness within us all. The Side of Good / The Side of Evil looks at the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

With stories by comic book and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Drew Bittner, John L. French, and Kathleen David this collection is guaranteed to be super…no matter which side you pledge your allegiance to.

Featuring a never-before-published Furious(TM) short story! 

eSPEC EXCERPTS – THE GIRL IN THE HOURGLASS BY DREW BITTNER


ebook-Final-HourglassAn Excerpt from
The Girl in the Hourglass
by Drew Bittner

JANUARY 4

Kyriegirl.mylifestory.com wrote:

Another year, another blog entry, dear readers. I have to write an essay on the War for Mr. Samuels—600 words, can you believe it?—and then go to my weekly session. Mom’s offered to help, so I’m thinking about writing it from her point of view. I mean, who wouldn’t? She went through The Process as a teenager, became a superstar on the battlefield and for Victory Studios, and she even survived… unscathed! Having a figure from the history books sleeping a dozen yards away is pretty useful sometimes.

What else? Oh, they’re upping my meds again. Seems I’m growing a tolerance. Egad, I might actually be able to feel an emotion. Is that allowed? Not for me. :::dramatic sigh:::

Ah well. Off to the salt mines of high school. Miss Double-Red, out!

(See additional 15 comments…)

Kyrie slouched in the passenger seat, wrapped in sullen silence, as Susan pulled their sedan up to the curb. Her daughter was good at sullen and silence both. “Okay, you know the drill, kiddo,” the former superheroine Superhot said to her child. “Take your meds at lunch, report any upset to the counselor, keep your phone on you at all times.”

Jawohl,” Kyrie muttered, eyes fixed out the window. She slumped in the passenger seat, eyes slightly glassy. Even that flicker of defiance from Kyrie was extreme, given how doped up she was.

Susan Maxwell sighed. She really tried not to resent her daughter’s attitude—the therapist had told her often enough that double reds acted out, especially once they entered the danger years—but it was damned hard. Damn you, Tom, did you have to die?

She smothered the thought as quickly as she could. It didn’t help to blame her dead husband; when he was out mowing the lawn four years ago, it surely didn’t cross his mind that he’d dissolve into bubbles, leaving behind nothing but Bermuda shorts, sandals, and an idling mower. Not to mention a grieving wife and a daughter who’d seen the whole thing.

As flameouts went, it was surprisingly gentle. She could at least be grateful for that, if not for the fact that Kyrie still had nightmares. their daughter had been on a daily regimen of tranquilizers and mood suppressors since that day; some nights, Susan needed help sleeping too. And if Kyrie was a bit of a zombie these days, at least she was alive. Too many double reds weren’t.

Susan hated drugging her child, stealing the fire and passion that made her Kyrie. She consoled herself with thinking she’d have hated burying her child even more. It was better that way, it had to be.

“I’ll see you back here at 2:45,” Susan said as Kyrie climbed out of the car. Once the door was shut, she waited, watching until Kyrie was at least most of the way to the door. Her therapist would say that she had become slightly obsessive, this need to watch her daughter as much as she could, as if she could prevent…

Susan stepped on the gas gently and drove off, putting distance between herself and the fears threatening to steal what life she had left.

~ * ~

“Yo, Ky, what up?”

Kyrie smiled slightly at hearing her friend Veronica’s exuberant good cheer. “Oh, the yoozh,” she said, dropping her pills onto the sidewalk and grinding them underfoot. “Better existing through chemistry, or so Mom thinks.”

“Yeah, I saw your post about ‘tolerance.’ They’re probably upping it because you haven’t been taking them for what, a year?”

Kyrie nodded. “Something like that. So how ’bout you? What’s new in V-world?”

“Essay for Super-Sam,” she said. “Six hundred words on the fall of Washington DC. Your mom was there, wasn’t she?”

Kyrie nodded. “Yeah, the whole American Arsenal team was there, fighting the ’Wocks. Mom’s talked about it once or twice. I think she saved some guys from Congress or maybe the White House. She’s supposed to go there in a week or two for the rededication ceremony.”

“I didn’t think the rebuilding was that far along.”

“They did some of the government buildings first, I heard, just to show America was back, rah-rah,” Kyrie said. “They won’t move the government out of Colorado Springs until more of the city is done, but that’ll take years. This is just for show.”

Veronica frowned. “Do you think your mom knows you’re not taking the meds anymore?”

Kyrie shook her head. “I stopped almost a year ago. If she knew—if she even had an idea—she would have kept me at home and force-fed them to me.” She bit her lip, then added, “She thinks I’m still the little girl who…” Kyrie broke off, not wanting to finish the thought. Even if she knew she was in control of her emotions, there were some tests not worth taking.

Veronica nodded and let it go. Best friends were good that way.

They made their way down the hall, jostled by kids older and younger, eyeballed by boys and talked about by girls. Kyrie and Veronica were two of a kind: both double reds. If any two girls in the school were soul mates, it was them. Their standing joke was that they should wear shirts decorated with the blood-red helix that represented double reds, if only to see everyone’s reaction. Sometimes Kyrie was able to enjoy things like that.

Kyrie stopped at her locker and stared. It was as if thinking of the symbol had triggered something. Someone had smeared two lines of red paint, twisting around each other, on her locker door. “Son of a bitch,” she muttered. She wanted to scream. She wanted to shout at the kids in the hallway, “You think this is funny? You think it’s a joke, waiting to see if I die? You jerks!”

She wanted to rage and explode…figuratively, anyway. She wanted to lose control, to make them really afraid instead of just nervous around her. She wanted them to feel a tiny bit of what she felt.

Every. Single. Day.

But she didn’t. She only sighed and felt a little depressed. If it wasn’t the mood suppressors, and it wasn’t, then it was just the weariness of repetition. She didn’t have that fight in her any more.

The kids in the hall still gave her lots of space.

“I’ll tell the principal,” Veronica said. “If it’s on my locker too, then he’ll have to do something.”

“It won’t be,” Kyrie said. “They like you.” She tried not to make it sound bitter, she really did. She mostly succeeded, and didn’t fool Veronica in the least.

Veronica didn’t say anything; they both knew it was true. Kyrie was the brooding, sullen, rebellious one, while Veronica had always been the charming, outgoing one. She would have been a cheerleader if not for her dangerously volatile genetics and was in the running for homecoming queen regardless.

“Come on, let’s go to homeroom,” Kyrie said. “It’s just going to be one of those days.”

She was beginning to wish she’d kept one of the pills. Maybe it was better to feel nothing than to feel like shit.

~ * ~

Read the whole thing:

Available on Amazon.
Available on BN.com.

PROMOTIONAL COPY:
High school is tough enough without being a ticking time bomb.

No…really. My name is Kyrie Maxwell and I lost the genetic lottery. My parents are Supers and it turns out they never should have had me.

I’m what they call a Double-Red. A child of two genetically modified individuals lacking a key combination of genes that would keep me stable.

They tell me the meds are to keep calm. What they mean is they keep me numb. Too much excitement and I, literally, could explode, so they make sure I feel nothing. I’ve been doped my entire life. Well…until I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore.

You know what I say? What’s the point? If they aren’t going to let me live, why try so hard to keep me alive?

Wait…do you hear something ticking?

NEW RELEASE – DREW BITTNER’S THE GIRL IN THE HOURGLASS


eSpec Books is proud to announce the pending release of Drew Bittner’s The Girl in the Hourglass, a young adult novella about growing up Super…when it’s not so super. The official release date is August 31. The book is currently available for pre-order on Amazon: Order here.

The Girl in the Hourglass
Cover art by Angela McKendrick of Cuddles With Cats.

High school is tough enough without being a ticking time bomb. No…really. My name is Kyrie Maxwell and I lost the genetic lottery. My parents are Supers and it turns out they never should have had me.

I’m what they call a Double-Red. A child of two genetically modified individuals lacking a key combination of genes that would keep me stable.

They tell me the meds are to keep calm. What they mean is they keep me numb. Too much excitement and I, literally, could explode, so they make sure I feel nothing. I’ve been doped my entire life. Well…until I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore.

You know what I say? What’s the point? If they aren’t going to let me live, why try so hard to keep me alive?

Wait…do you hear something ticking?