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 EXCERPT – LITTLE SISTERS OF THE HOURGLASS (AWAKENED MODERN)


cover-proofAn excerpt from The Awakened Modern

Little Sisters of the Hourglass
James Chambers

They’re coming.

Weaver closed his book and rested it on his lap. He finished the last of the scotch in the crystal tumbler on the side table, ice clinking against glass, then stood and replaced the book on a bookshelf.

“We knew they would. Where are they now?”

Next door. My sisters and daughters are watching them.

The prospect of confrontation excited Weaver. He relished the chance to further test his Awakened abilities. He had always planned to move against Cortez one day. The chaos of the two moons had simply brought that day sooner by tipping the balance of power and rendering the conditions ideal. Distraction. Uncertainty. Streets up for grabs. The sex trade, the numbers rackets, drug trafficking, smuggling—all of it in play after years of suffocating under the thumb of that arrogant fucker Cortez, forcing Weaver to pay for the privilege of doing business. The two moons had brought Weaver the devil, and now the devil demanded his due.

He switched off the light in his study and descended to the first floor.

Two armed men stood watch in the foyer by the base of the stairwell.

“Be ready,” he told them.

They nodded, hands on their weapons.

Two more guarded the back door, and another pair joined Weaver in the den. They sat with weapons ready, straight-backed, leaning forward, afraid to make themselves comfortable. None of them liked being in his house, but he paid them enough not to care. If his newfound power served him as he hoped, they wouldn’t need to fire a shot or raise a fist.

They wander in the dark. I don’t understand.

“Wander where?”

In the home beside this one.

“They hope to catch us by surprise.”

We have observed them stalking us for weeks and taken six of their brothers. We have watched them tonight since they came in their rolling shell.

“They don’t know that. They have no idea what they’re walking into. Our goal tonight is to make sure none of them leave to warn anyone else.”

None of them shall.


James Chambers_2017

James Chambers is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the original graphic novel Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe as well as the Lovecraftian novella collection, The Engines of Sacrifice, described in a Publisher’s Weekly starred-review as “…chillingly evocative….” He has also written the story collection Resurrection House and the dark, urban fantasy novella, Three Chords of Chaos. His tales of crime, fantasy, horror, pulp, science fiction, steampunk, and more have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including Allen K’s Inhuman, The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible, Bare Bone, Chiral Mad 2, Dark Furies, The Dead Walk,  Deep Cuts, Gaslight and Grimm, The Green Hornet Chronicles, Hardboiled Cthulhu, Kolchak the Night Stalker: Passages of the Macabre, Shadows Over Main Street, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Qualia Nous, Truth or Dare, Walrus Tales, and the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries and Defending the Future series. He has edited and written numerous comic books including Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals, Gene Roddenberry’s Lost Universe, Isaac Asimov’s I*Bots, the graphic novel adaptation of From Dusk Till Dawn, and the critically acclaimed “The Revenant” in Shadow House. He is a recipient of the 2012 Richard Laymon Award and the 2016 Silver Hammer Award from the Horror Writers Association.

His website is www.jameschambersonline.com.

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

PROJECT UPDATE – IF WE HAD KNOWN


proof-iwhk-cover

edited by Mike McPhail

Beyond the Cradle of mankind, the universe is vast, unknown,
dangerous to the unwary…or those caught in the path of intrepid explorers proceeding without forethought.

Thirteen authors explore what it is to pioneer the future with tales fraught with danger and remorse, tempered with hope, luck, and serendipity. We face the monsters. We face the truth. We face ourselves.

Whether the frontier is that of science or space, there is no doubt that at some point one must ask …If we had known, would we have followed this course?


Contents

The Necessary Enemy by Ian Randal Strock

The Steady Drone of Silence by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The Last Man on Earth by Jody Lynn Nye

Chasing the Ball by Peter Prellwitz

The Janus Choice by Jeff Young

Between Scylla and Charybdis by Patrick Thomas

The Star Gazers by James Chambers

Giraffe Children by Robert E. Waters

Good Advice by John L. French

Egg by Christopher M. Hiles

Youth by Judi Fleming

Meeting the Other by Nancy Jane Moore

The Third Heaven by Robert Greenberger

BAD-ASS FAERIES EXCERPT – THE WAY OF THE BONE


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.


Way of the Bone

James Chambers

Among New York’s grimy buildings and their patchwork of rooftops spread the telltale flickers and momentary distortions of light that signaled the presence of Gorge’s enemies. They gathered in the shadows and quiet places of the city’s high perches, forsaking the beauty of the Faerie Kingdoms for this world of coarse landscapes and ugliness. No doubt their spies had spread word that Gorge was gathering magic in the mortal world, and though they couldn’t know what he planned when he took the stage tonight, they couldn’t let whatever it might be go unanswered. In less than eight hours, Red Gorge would perform the biggest show of their long career.

The most important of Gorge’s life since his exile.

And there’s still much to do, thought Gorge.

He turned from the window to where half a dozen unconscious people lay scattered like wilted flowers. Dev, his drummer, was dead to the world, still dressed in his immutable costume of denim and motorcycle boots, entangled with three sleeping women on one of the couches. Empty bottles and mounds of pills peppered the room. Someone had smashed a torchiere lamp through the widescreen television. Gorge opened the first adjoining room. Inside, Roald, his guitarist, sat meditating on the balcony, his bed empty, his room clean.

Gorge retreated. Next door, his bass player, who looked like he hadn’t yet slept, entertained a handful of women in bed. Three of them stared at Gorge’s naked body with open lust.

“Sound check at four o’clock. If you’re late, I’ll have your balls,” Gorge said. “I fucking mean it, Tank. Don’t screw this gig up.”

The bass player nodded over the soft arc of a perfect buttock, and Gorge shut the doors.

He cherished the chaos and abandon these people brought to their celebrations, sweetened so much by their mortality and the very real possibility of dying for a good time. Gorge had known excess before his exile, but it had been bland in comparison, without consequence and therefore cheapened. Here, life was lived on the hard edge of a genuine abyss, and he found it addictive. He’d participated fully for many years, but drugs and alcohol didn’t affect him the same way they did the others, and anyway it was the atmosphere of risk and the sense of blind defiance that got him off. This was the way to live: with one’s ego and libido unchecked, forever ready to flip the bird at convention.

Back in his room, Gorge opened the curtains and let his skin drink in the midday heat. An old melody from the Faerie Kingdoms flashed through his thoughts, and he sat on the edge of the bed, picked up his guitar, and strummed while he sang the tune in a whisper. He felt a sense of falling into his past, when every day had been a thousand times more glorious than this one, and he had been worshipped, and lived among kings. But the melody Gorge heard perfectly in his mind could not be played as intended here. He put down his guitar and chose that moment to tell himself, as he had every day for more than half a century: Now I am free.

Behind him, Delilah uncoiled from the sheets and cupped herself against Gorge’s back, wrapping her legs around his waist. Her skin, still damp with sweat from a morning spent in passion, plastered to Gorge. The gnarled knobs of flesh over his scapulae tingled as she cleansed their weeping scar tissue with a moist washcloth from a bowl on the nightstand, and then caressed them with her fingertips and her lips. Electrified with anticipation of tonight’s concert, she and Gorge felt more playful and intimate than they had in years.

Delilah hugged him tight, so that her words reached Gorge on the palanquin of her honeyed breath, as she said, “Tell me again about how it was in the Faerie Kingdoms.”

Gorge settled against her, caressing the silky tops of her thighs. “Which version do you want today? The paradise I sacrificed for my life here with you, or the gilded cage from which I broke free to save my soul?”

“How do you see it today?”

“Today, I see through new eyes. Today it’s a delicate fruit rotten at its core, and I will destroy it before it spreads its taint.”

“How will you do it?”

“I will find the way, the Way of the Bone.”


James Chambers writes tales of horror, crime, fantasy, and science fiction. He is the author of The Engines of Sacrifice, a collection of four Lovecraftian-inspired novellas published by Dark Regions Press which Publisher’s Weekly described in a starred-review as “…chillingly evocative….” He is also the author of the short fiction collections Resurrection House (Dark Regions Press) as well as the dark, urban fantasy novella, Three Chords of Chaos and The Dead Bear Witness and Tears of Blood, volume one and two in the Corpse Fauna novella series.  

His short stories have been published in the anthologies The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible, Chiral Mad 2, Clockwork Chaos, Dark Furies, The Dead Walk, Deep Cuts, The Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, Dragon’s Lure, Fantastic Futures 13, Gaslight and Grimm, The Green Hornet Chronicles, Hardboiled Cthulhu, In An Iron Cage, Kolchak the Night Stalker: Passages of the Macabre, Shadows Over Main Street, The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, Qualia Nous, Reel Dark, Truth or Dare, TV Gods, Walrus Tales, Warfear, and the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries and Defending the Future series as well as the magazines Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, and Allen K’s Inhuman.  

He has also edited and written numerous comic books including Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals, the critically acclaimed “The Revenant” in Shadow House, and the original graphic novel Kolchak, the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe. 

His website is www.jameschambersonline.com.