It’s been a busy week for eSpec on the review front. Here are our favorites. Click on the links to view the full review:

“The stories were imaginative, well-written, and included characters who evoked emotional responses, both good and bad. I can’t identify a single story that I’d not recommend.” 5 Stars, V. Hartman DiSanto, Amazon

0528161248a-1“Throughout Gaslight and Grimm, the stories are illustrated with the delicate woodcuts of Dustin Blottenberger which add a further folkloric feeling to the collection of super, sinister and delightful tales.

If you love the grimness of Grimm and the weird whimsy of Steampunk them this anthology will be a most pleasurable experience. Should you love Grimm but have yet to venture into the weird realms of Steampunk then here is enlightenment!”
4 Stars, N.O.A. Nawle: Reviews

“I’m definitely interested in this genre as a whole and will be keeping an eye out for more books in this vein.” 3 Stars, Cara, Goodreads


“This is such a wonderful book of short stories with a western twist. Space cowboys and aliens..who doesn’t love that? Very original stories, the authors take you to their worlds with vivid descriptions and highly lovable characters.” 5 Stars, Jami Riegel, Amazon


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.

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.

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 is proud to announce the campaign for their upcoming book of steampunk faerie tales has gone live: Gaslight and Grimm.

Back in 2012 Diana Bastine approached me with a fantastic idea for an anthology of steampunk faerie tales. The moment the suggestion left her mouth the title Gaslight and Grimm popped out of mine. Little did Diana know what she was getting in to… I agreed to do the collection as long as she joined me as co-editor.

If we would have been able to produce the book back then we would have broken the trend. Sadly, life happened. We did all the work and even had one of the stories outgrow the collection and become a novel, but the project sat the shelf for much longer than we would have liked. 

Since the anthology’s inception loads of steampunk faerie tale novels and collections have come out. Does that matter to us? NO! It was a cool idea then and it is still a cool idea now. We can’t wait to bring you this wonderful, fully illustrated collection in the fine tradition of all those classic fairy tale books we all grew up on, not because of any trend, but because we believe in it and our authors believe in it. Because we enjoy taking amazing ideas and making them a reality.

After all…books are the magic we make.

Want to help us make this happen? Consider backing us on Kickstarter. Not in a position to do that at this time? You can help just as much by spreading the word:


Once upon a time… ageless tales were told countlessly from one generation to the next. Tales of brave heroes and common men. Of beautiful princesses and good-hearted youths. Tales of danger and caution and magic…classics that still echo in our hearts and our fondest memories even to this day, told from worn, cherished books or from memory at Grandmother’s knee.

Oh yes, tales have been told…but never quite like these. Journey with us through the pages ofGaslight and Grimm to discover timeless truths through lenses polished in the age of steam.

In Wolf’s Clothing by James Chambers based on Little Red Riding Hood

The Clockwork Nightingale by Jean Marie Ward based on The Nightingale

When Pigs Fly by Christine Norris based on The Three Little Pigs

From the Horse’s Mouth by Bernie Mojzes based on The Goose Girl

A Cat Among the Gears by Elaine Corvidae based on Puss n’ Boots

The (Steamy) Tale of Cinderella by Danny Birt based on Cinderella

The Steampowered Dragon and His Grandmother by David Lee Summers based on The Dragon and His Grandmother

All for Beauty and Youth by Kelly A. Harmon based on Hansel and Gretel

The Giant Killer by Jonah Knight based on Jack the Giant Killer

The Walking House by Jeff Young based on Baba Yaga

The Hair Ladder by Diana Bastine based on Rapunzel

Featuring original artwork by Dustin Blottenberger