OCTOBER EVENTS


small_dodo_transparentThe next round of conventions is about to hit. Myself, Mike McPhail, and Christine Norris will be at the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ this Saturday. But our next convention is Capclave in Rockville, MD on October 18-20. An intimate comfortable show where the focus is reading, literature, and the business of publishing.

eSpec, of course, will have a presence in the dealer’s room, as well as on programming.


Our attending authors are:

You can access their schedules by clicking on the above links and then clicking on the link next to their bio on the Capclave site. Please be sure to come by and say hi if you are there. It is the perfect time to get your books signed or to ask us your questions. There is a Meet the Pros event scheduled, and, as the convention is rather informal, most of us tend to hang out and chat in the public spaces in between responsibilities.

For those not attending Capclave, Misty Massey will be at  The Palmetto Pirate Festival in Moncks Corner, SC on October 12 and at MultiverseCon in Atlanta, Georgia October 18-20, along with John Hartness!

If you are at any of those shows, please come be social!

Best,

Danielle

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!

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Just wanted to share with you a bit of good news. We were contacted by The Steampunk Journal this morning to inform us they had reviewed Gaslight & Grimm. It has received a score of 9.3 out of 10 and been awarded the Splendid! Award.

Congrats go to Elaine Corvidae, Jody Lynn Nye, Danny Birt, Jean Marie Ward, Bernie Mojzes, Jonah Knight, and Christine Norris for being spotlighted in the review.

“Gaslight & Grimm can easily be considered a class act. […] If you like steampunk and fairy-tales, then I highly recommend this book. It will keep you thoroughly entertained again and again.” Nemma Wollenfang, The Steampunk Journal

ON A SEMI-RELATED NOTE

We are one week in to our current Kickstarter campaign. This is our first novel campaign and we are featuring books by two bestselling authors, Jack Campbell and Brenda Cooper. If you could help us spread the word or even check it out yourself, that would be great. The URL is http://tiny.cc/Novels2016

Here is are the descriptions of the books:

THE SISTER PARADOX

by Jack Campbell

Liam is his parents’ only child, and that’s just fine with him.  

Until the day the sister-he-never-had shows up at school. 

Just to make it worse, the sword-wielding Kari tells him they have an important quest to complete. 

 And that’s how Liam finds himself dragged into another world, facing basilisks and unicorns, cursed objects, elves, and even a dragon, all magical and dangerous, but none more so than the sister he didn’t have until that morning. A sister who turns out to be quite good with her sword, and ready to use it when faced with things like a dragon as long as her brother is at her side.   

Liam begins to realize two things: it’s going to be a very long day, and having a sister can be weird.  

But most unsettling of all, he’s not sure he minds…

POST

by Brenda Cooper

The world, for some, has crumbled.   

Disease and natural disasters have brought on social collapse in the Pacific Northwest.  

For Sage, born and raised in the safe haven of the Oregon Botanical Gardens, that has never been more than academic. What more could she ask for than to be safe and fed?  

But life in the Garden is static.  

Sage longs to experience the world beyond the Garden walls as society climbs from the chaos. Her reckless exploration forces her elders to give her a choice: Stay here, hidden in safety, or go and never return.  

Sage chooses to leave.  

Will she learn soon enough on her journey that the world outside the Garden follows no law? 

That there is no predator more dangerous than man?  

Will she learn soon enough that to rebuild the world one must be ready to fight for it?  

She will need to if she chooses to live.

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEW


Gaslight and GrimmHere’s another one for Gaslight & Grimm. Congrats to Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, Jonah Knight, Danny Birt, Jean Marie Ward, Elaine Corvidae, Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin and Diana Bastine for their call-outs in the review. Click the link for the full write-up:

“While a lot of the tales by Grimm and Andersen are pretty dark, the stories in this anthology tend to have happier endings than some of the originals, which lightens the tendency for Steampunk to be grim. […]

Recommended for when you want some Steampunk with a bit lighter touch, and are tired of the usual themes.” -Gregory G. H. Rihn, Steampunk Chronicle Literary Editor

Thanks, Gregory! Glad you enjoyed it!

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.

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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.

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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.  

 

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE PRIZES #8


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Our Final Batch of Featured Prizes

These are some of our contributor prizes. The books are donated by their respective authors: Kelly A. Harmon (Gaslight and Grimm) Jean Marie Ward (Gaslight and Grimm) and James Chambers (The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, and Gaslight and Grimm); the Fairy Catmother tote bag (x2) is donated by Gaslight and Grimm editor and contributor Diana Bastine; and  the amazing steampunk snowman is both created and donated by Dogs of War contributor Judi Fleming of Fleming Gourds. 

I expect there will be other prizes I haven’t cataloged, but hey…you get the idea 😉

So remember, it’s all fun and games…until someone else wins the prize! Don’t let that happen to you. Join us at the launch for your chances to win!

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #4


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

What?! You didn’t think we’d forget the sweets, did you? I don’t go for sheet cakes or anything…I found that much of the time the cake went to waste because we had so many other yummy things to eat first. Instead we go for other bite-sized yummies you can eat along with your savory items. This year I delegated so I only had to make one batch of cookies…my famous Limoncello Coconut cookies with Candied Ginger. These come with the CJ Henderson Seal of Approval. It is mostly the only cookie I make anymore because I just can’t beat it with anything else. (If you ask REAL nice I might give you the recipe 🙂 )

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Trust me, a photo doesn’t do them justice, but here they are 🙂 I took them to a party today and was surprised to hear someone say the cookies were a mistake…then they went on to say they’d already had FOUR. I’ll also be making rice krispy treats, but not until closer to the event

Now…about that delegating I mentioned. We have four other industrious bakers slaving over a hot oven to ensure there are tasty treats for everyone on May 29th.

Gaslight & Grimm contributor Jean Marie Ward will be serving up molasses cookies and snowballs with pecans, The Weird Wild West contributor Robert E. Waters will be bringing his wife’s famous peanut butter brownies, and my wonderful sister Barbara Miller will be making yummy, crispy chocolate chip cookies! (Disclaimer: the below photographs are for demonstration only and do not represent the actual baked goods my minions are working on, which may or may not have already been baked.)

In addition to these home-baked goods, we generally supplement with my favorite cream puffs and other commercially obtained treats. Will it be enough? Who knows! Will we endeavor to have no con-goer go hungry? You bet!

Have we tormented you enough? Because, you know…the party at this point is just four days away! Oh, and…don’t fight over the canapes, please!

SIGNAL BOOST – GASLIGHT & GRIMM INTERVIEW


Featured Image -- 2111Ever wonder what we authors chat about among ourselves? Curious what went into creating Gaslight & Grimm? Well, tonight we will be hosted on The Catholic Geek Radio Show:

http://apiusman.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-catholic-geek-gaslight-grimm.html

Log in to listed as Jody Lynn Nye, Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin, Jean Marie Ward, James Chambers, David Lee Summers, Christine Norris, Jeff Young, and myself shoot the breeze about this book with host Declan Finn.

The show will be airing Tonight from 7pm to 9pm EST.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE AUTHORS


As we have already mentioned, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As usual we will strive to outdo ourselves with food, fun and prizes. I can guarantee we will outdo ourselves with authors!

Here is a list of those contributors who will be attending the launch:

Gaslight & Grimm

  1. Danielle Ackley-McPhail
  2. Danny Birt
  3. Kelly A. Harmon
  4. Jonah Knight
  5. Gail Z. Martin
  6. Bernie Mojzes
  7. Christine Norris
  8. Jody Lynn Nye
  9. Jean Marie Ward
  10. Jeff Young

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil

  1. Danielle Ackley-McPhail
  2. Greg Schauer
  3. Keith R.A. DeCandido
  4. John L. French
  5. Gail Z. Martin
  6. Drew Bittner

The Weird Wild West

  1. R.S. Belcher
  2. John Hartness
  3. Emily Lavin Leverett
  4. Gail Z. Martin
  5. Misty Massey
  6. Ken Schrader
  7. Robert E. Waters

Dogs of War

  1. Mike McPhail
  2. Danielle Ackley-McPhail
  3. Judi Fleming
  4. John L. French
  5. Eric Hardenbrook
  6. Chris Hiles
  7. Bud Sparhawk
  8. Patrick Thomas
  9. Robert E. Waters
  10. Jeff Young

 

AUTHOR NEWS – BOOK RELEASE


In August 2016 Zombies Need Brains Press will be releasing the anthology Were- about men who turn into creatures other than wolves (or is that creatures other than wolves that turn into men?) The collection includes stories by eSpec authors Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jean Marie Ward, and Faith Hunter, among other great authors. For those who missed the kickstarter that funded the collection, the publisher has made the title available for pre-order on their online store

Were- Cover Art
Were- cover art by Justin Adams

Back Cover Copy:

Werewolves rule the night in urban fantasy, but everyone knows there are other were-creatures out there just as dangerous and deadly, if not as common, each with their own issues as they struggle to fit into—or prey upon—society. What about the were-goats? The were-crows and were-wasps?

Here are seventeen stories of urban fantasy by today’s leading science fiction and fantasy authors that introduce you to some of those other were-creatures, the ones hiding in the dark background shadows, waiting to bite. Join us as they take you into the hidden corners of our world to see some lesser known were-creatures. You may want to bring along some silver . . . just in case.

Table of Contents:

Introduction by Joshua B. Palmatier

“Best In Show” by Seanan McGuire

“We Dig” by Ashley McConnell

“Eyes Like Pearls” by Susan Jett

“Among the Grapevines, Growing” by Eliora Smith

“A Party For Bailey” by David B. Coe

“Cry Murder” by April Steenburgh

“Missy the Were-Pomeranian vs. the Masters of Mediocre Doom” by Gini Koch

“Paper Wasp” by Mike Barretta

“Point Five” by Elizabeth Kite

“The Promise of Death” by Danielle Ackley-Mcphail

“The Five Bean Solution” by Jean Marie Ward

“Witness Report” by Katharine Kit Kerr

“Attack of the Were-Zombie Friendship With Benefits” by Sarah Brand

“The Whale” by Anneliese Belmond

“Anzu, Duba, Beast” by Faith Hunter

“Shiftr” by Patricia Bray

“Sniff For Your Life” by Phyllis Irene Radford/Phyllis Ames

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY – GASLIGHT AND GRIMM


G&GRed-Gold Leaf

Are you a fan of steampunk? How about fairytales? Did you miss out on the Kickstarter for Gaslight and Grimm? Well here’s your chance to win one of three autographed copies of the anthology. eSpec Books is running a GoodReads giveaway starting today and running through June 30th.

Check it out, see if this book is for you. Tales both classic and obscure have been modded out by authors James Chambers, Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, Danny Birt, Jean Marie Ward, Jeff Young, Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin, Elaine Corvidae, David Lee Summers, Kelly A. Harmon, Jonah Knight, Diana Bastine, and Jody Lynn Nye.

Already have the book? Already READ the book? Please let us know what you think. Reviews on Amazon or GoodReads are much appreciated or even just comment to this post so we know we’re giving you what you’re looking for.

PRE-ORDER: GASLIGHT AND GRIMM


We are very pleased to announce that the Kindle edition of Gaslight & Grimm is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

G&GRed-Gold Leaf

Once Upon a Time…

…ageless tales were told from one generation to the next, filled with both wonders and warnings. Tales of handsome princes and wicked queens, of good-hearted folk and evil stepmothers. Tales of danger and caution and magic… classics that still echo in our hearts and memories even to this day, told from old, cherished books or from memory at Grandma’s knee.

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

With tales by

James Chambers ~ Christine Norris ~ Bernie Mojzes ~ Danny Birt ~ Jean Marie Ward ~ Jeff Young ~ Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin ~ Elaine Corvidae ~ David Lee Summers ~ Kelly A. Harmon ~ Jonah Knight ~ Diana Bastine ~ Jody Lynn Nye.

COVER REVEAL – GASLIGHT AND GRIMM


Excited to say we should be going to press on this book within a day. Hard to believe we are just over a month away from the launch!

 

G&GRed-Gold Leaf
Gaslight & Grimm linocut art (c) Dustin Blottenberger Cover design and treatment, Sidhe na Daire Multimedia

 

Gaslight and Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales
edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine

Once Upon a Time…

…ageless tales were told from one generation to the next, filled with both wonders and warnings. Tales of handsome princes and wicked queens, of good-hearted folk and evil stepmothers. Tales of danger and caution and magic…classics that still echo in our hearts and memories even to this day, told from old, cherished books or from memory at Grandma’s knee.

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

With tales by

James Chambers ~ Christine Norris ~ Bernie Mojzes ~ Danny Birt ~ Jean Marie Ward ~ Jeff Young ~ Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin ~ Elaine Corvidae ~ David Lee Summers ~ Kelly A. Harmon ~ Jonah Knight ~ Diana Bastine ~ Jody Lynn Nye.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – JEAN MARIE WARD (GASLIGHT AND GRIMM)


JWardeSpec Books interviews Jean Marie Ward, contributor to Gaslight and Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine, http://tiny.cc/GandG.

eSB: What was your favorite faerie tale growing up and why?

JMW: Before I got married, I never had a single favorite anything. I still can’t pick a favorite color. I love them all. But if you give me a plural, my favorite faerie tales were “The Firebird” (because the hero had a talking wolf as his helper, and the wolf had his own story off-screen—how cool is that!), “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” (because Cupid and Psyche WITH BEARS!) and “Beauty and the Beast” (I still want Beast’s castle with the invisible servants; they might actually be able to keep the ambient chaos in check). Plus anything that featured a talking cat (“Puss ‘n Boots”, “The White Cat”, etc.) I didn’t become a full-time cat slave until nine years ago, but I always loved them, and I always thought they should talk in whole sentences. They already think they do.

eSB: What is your favorite faerie tale now and why?

JMW: Again, I must list several: “The Robber Bridegroom”, “The Peasant’s Wise Daughter” and “The Musicians of Bremen”. Basically, I love the stories where the heroine kicks ass. “The Musicians of Bremen”, however, appeals to my inner comic. Not only is it weird and wonderful, it shows every single one of us has a contribution to make—even singers who can’t sing.

And cat stories. My current Feline Overlord (a large black shorthair who thinks he’s a panther) insists I add cat stories to the list.

eSB: Who would you say is your faerie tale role model and why?

JMW: The Clever Girl in all her incarnations, because she uses her brains to make the world what she wants it to be. She’s like the Sterling character in Leverage. She ALWAYS wins.

eSB: Tell us about your favorite non-European faerie tale.

JMW: First and foremost would have to be “Scheherazade and Shahryā”, the frame story of One Thousand Nights and a Night. Basically, woman storyteller saves the world. (Are you sensing a theme?) But I love the tales of Sinbad, especially since I discovered he was based on a Ming-era eunuch who sailed to Africa to bring back a giraffe. I’m also very fond of Japanese tales of trickster kitsune (magic, shape-shifting foxes), and the Chinese stories of ghost brides who became corporeal and bore children when their lovers treated them right.

eSB: What little-known faerie tale do you think is underappreciated and why?

JMW: I grew up poring over all twelve volumes of Andrew Lang’s fairy books. So I couldn’t begin to list all the wonderful stories that deserve more readers—and Lang’s compendium only scratches the surface. It’s a wide world of wonder out there. We owe it to ourselves to read as many tales from as many different cultures as we can.

eSB: What faerie tale did base your story on and what challenges did you face ’punking it up?

JMW: “The Clockwork Nightingale” is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale”. I picked it because it features the classic Steampunk theme of (hu)man versus machine. My only regret is I didn’t know enough about 19th century China to create a Steampunk variation of the original locale. But I can do Western, specifically the weirdly western world of the New Dominion Territories, where the “The Clockwork Nightingale” is set. I grew up watching Westerns, and the opportunity to rewrite history with saloon girls, mine bosses and a (love-)mad scientist was too good to pass up.

If you’d like to check it out, I posted an excerpt at: http://jeanmarieward.com/books/excerpt-the-clockwork-nightingale/

eSB: Faerie tales are all the rage in TV and movies right now, do you have a favorite and why?

JMW: Grimm. The hero, Nick, is okay, but I really love the supporting characters, from the Blutbot Munroe and the Fuchsbau Rosalie to Nick’s human coworkers who get sucked into the fairy tale madness.

eSB: What interested you in working on Gaslight and Grimm?

JMW: Since I love Steampunk and fairy tales, how could I not be interested?

eSB: Faerie tales are all about archetypes and tropes, which one do you identify with and why?

JMW: The Clever Girl (Aarne-Thompson 875), naturally. It’s not because she always wins—heaven knows, I don’t—but she never gives up, and she knows how and when to think outside the box.

eSB: Have you written/created anything other faerie tale retellings? Please tell us about it.

JMW: Not yet, but I’ve been itching to set a version of “The Robber Bridegroom” in the New Dominion Territories. My projected heroine is a real pip—an illusionist and “recovery expert” named Oleander Jones. The story would also serve as a bridge between that world and the setting of With Nine You Get Vanyr—but I’m not saying how!

In addition, I’ve plotted out a version of “Snow White” from the queen’s point of view. It’s not Steampunk, however, and it’s very dark—not my usual at all.

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

JMW: With Nine You Get Vanyr, written with the late Teri Smith (2006, Samhain Publishing)

“The Wizard of Woodrow Park” in The Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens (2014, Zombies Need Brains, LLC). “Wizard” could be seen as the prequel to “The Clockwork Nightingale”, because both the heroine and hero play major supporting roles.

“Cooking up a Storm” in Tales from the Vatican Vaults (2015, Robinson), a historical fantasy set during the 1814 Burning of Washington.

“Fixed” in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity (2012, DAW Books) for those who like urban fantasy (I do, too).

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

JMW: “The Clockwork Nightingale” in Gaslight and Grimm (2016, e-Spec Books)

“The Five Bean Solution” in Were- (2016, Zombies Need Brains, LLC). This is a sequel of a sort to “Fixed” with added were-opossum and the world’s biggest silver bullet. Mwahahaha!

“Protective Coloring” in Legends of the Dragon 2 (2016, Gilded Dragonfly Books)

eSB: How can readers find out more about you?

JMW: My website < http://jeanmarieward.com/&gt; offers links and excerpts of my work, as well as some free fiction. I hope your readers will check it out.

Thank you. And thanks for this opportunity to chat.

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