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!




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


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 interviews Jack Campbell, author of The Sister Paradox, now funding on Kickstarter, http://tiny.cc/Novels2016 

 Jack Campbell

eSB: Hi Jack, thank you for joining us. We are here to talk about your upcoming novel, The Sister Paradox. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write this novel?

JC: One day I had a random thought about a boy meeting a sister he didn’t have.  I can’t remember anything that triggered it, just some scene about a guy trying to come to grips with meeting his non-existent sister.  Then I imagined him having to take her home to his mother, and how the mother would react to suddenly discovering that she had a teenage daughter.  After that, the whole rest of the story rolled out pretty fast.  

eSB: As an urban fantasy novel, this is a bit different from your usual fare of military science fiction or steampunk, what challenges did you face?

JC: In some ways this was a bit easier, sort of like being GM for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.  I laid out the background for the player characters, set them onto their quest, encountering various puzzles and challenges and monsters on the way, and let them handle things.  The biggest challenge was remembering those heady, early days of D&D (I’ve got the original rules published in 1973 when I was pretty young and orcs were orcs) to build a proper quest for my characters.  The nice thing about writing SF or fantasy of any sort is that anything can be research.  You never know what might come in handy for a story.  So, experience with fencing helps understand sword fights, different myths of dragons gives different ways of seeing them, and so on.  The biggest challenge is always to combine things into a story and background that are unique yet familiar, and recruit characters who readers will want to follow through the story.

eSB: What inspired you to write a young adult novel? Is it something you’ve been kicking around for a while, or did the idea ambush you?

JC: It just hit me.  I’ve always been a fan of works like those of Andre Norton and Edgar Rice Burroughs and Heinlein’s juveniles, and perhaps those inspired this sort of adventure suddenly hitting someone head-on story.   My stories tend to be the sort that people of all ages can enjoy because that’s just the way I write.  The protagonists are sometimes older and sometimes younger, but adventure knows no age limits.

eSB: Did you do any research in preparation for writing The Sister Paradox? Can you tell us something about it?

JC: As I said earlier, everything is research.  Anyone writing about a setting like Kari’s world needs to have a good background in different mythologies of the world, mythical creatures, and how other authors have handled such stories and worlds in the past.  Aside from that, the biggest part for me in preparing to write is figuring out the rules for the story.  One thing that always bothers me in a story is if important things seem to be completely arbitrary.  Something has to be done because the plot demands it.  There’s a time limit that doesn’t seem to have any reason behind it.  That sort of thing.  So when I’m preparing a story I try to both lay out how things work in the story, and what can’t be done, because in the end what your characters can’t do can be more important than what they can do.  Just like in real life.  We are forced into difficult decisions because we can’t do something else that would be a lot easier.  It’s the same for characters in a story.  There need to be good, structural reasons why they can’t do common sense things to solve their problems without facing terrible challenges.  Why does the big thing need to be done?  Why does it have to be done now?  Why won’t various short-cuts work?  Even fantasy should feel real in the sense of “this could happen, and if it did it would work like this.”  That was Tolkien’s genius in The Lord of the Rings.  He treated his world as real, which meant what happened made sense, and that made it all the more powerful a story.

eSB: Was it difficult to shift gears from writing in adult heads to writing teen boys and girls?

JC: We never really leave high school, do we?  Those days and how we thought and the things we did stay with us.  (Even when we really wish we could forget a lot of them.)  I delved into those times, remembering how simple many things seemed and yet how complicated it all was, and how the world turned out to be a bit different from what it appeared during those years.  There’s an idealism that’s already being battered by experience, and an intensity of feelings that isn’t tempered by “been there, done that.”  And above all else, anything still seems to be possible.  Like having your world turned upside down, or actually living up to your dreams of doing something important.

eSB: Could you tell us about one of your most amusing experiences promoting your books?

JC: When I was going around to bookstores in the UK a couple of years ago, my British publisher (Titan) sent a young lady to make sure I didn’t get lost and showed up where I was supposed to when I was supposed to.  It turned out that she had been an extra in the last Harry Potter movie.  What had she played?  She was a Slytherin.  Once I thought about it, that made perfect sense.  Where else would publishers recruit from to find people willing to be editors?

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

JC: My Pillars of Reality series (“YA Dystopian Steampunk Fantasy SciFi Action-Adventure Romance” starting with The Dragons of Dorcastle), my Lost Fleet series (space opera/military SF starting with Dauntless), and my Lost Stars series (more space opera/military SF) beginning with Tarnished Knight.  

eSB: What other projects  do you have coming up?

JC: There are two trilogies in the works.  One is The Genesis Fleet trilogy, set in the Lost Fleet universe centuries before the events in the Lost Fleet.  It covers the period when humanity was rapidly expanding into that part of space, and has a bit of a wild west feel to it.  The first book in that trilogy is Vanguard, due out in May.  The other is the Legacy trilogy, a follow-on to the Pillars of Reality series.  The first book in that series will be Daughter of Dragons and should come out from Audible around the first of the year.  Plus the Lost Fleet comics, the first edition of which is currently planned for early 2017.


Jack Campbell (John G. Hemry) is the author of the New York Times best-selling Lost Fleet series, the Lost Stars series, and the “steampunk with dragons” Pillars of Reality Series. His most recent books are THE LOST STARS – SHATTERED SPEAR, THE LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER – LEVIATHAN, and the Pillars of Reality novels THE SERVANTS OF THE STORM and THE WRATH OF THE GREAT GUILDS. In May, VANGUARD will be published, the first in a new trilogy set centuries before the events in The Lost Fleet series. John’s novels have been published in eleven languages. This year, Titan will begin bringing out a Lost Fleet comic series. His short fiction includes works covering time travel, alternate history, space opera, military SF, fantasy, and humor.  

John has also written articles on declassified Cold War plans for US military bases on the Moon, and Liberating the Future: Women in the Early Legion (of Superheroes) in Sequart’s Teenagers From the Future. At somewhat erratic intervals he presents his talk on Everything I Needed To Know About Quantum Physics I Learned From The Three Stooges, showing how Stooge skits illustrate principles of quantum physics.  

John is a retired US Navy officer, who served in a wide variety of jobs including surface warfare (the ship drivers of the Navy), amphibious warfare, anti-terrorism, intelligence, and some other things that he’s not supposed to talk about. Being a sailor, he has been known to tell stories about Events Which He Says Really Happened (but which cannot be verified by any independent sources). This experience has served him well in writing fiction.  

He lives in Maryland with his indomitable wife “S” and three great kids (all three on the autism spectrum).


Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/172583651591/?pnref=lhc  and


Amazon Author Page –




As a part of our Man and Machine campaign we were fortunate enough to also fund a Best of collection. We have made our final determinations and are proud to share with you the following:

The embers of war still glow as memories of strange skies over an alien landscape, light-years from home, bring back the sensations of battle; a time when personal sacrifice meant the difference between salvation for all, or total destruction.  

Gathered here is a cross-section of stories from the first decade of the Defending The Future series. Written by the known and up-and-coming in the military science fiction genre, these stories represent the fan-requested highlights from the series.


And now, we are excited to announce the stories selected for The Best of Defending The Future, in no particular order.

From Breach the Hull  

  • Jack McDevitt – Black to Move  
  • John C. Wright – Peter Power Armor  
  • Lawrence M. Schoen – Thresher  
  • Jeffrey Lyman – Compartment Alpha  

From So It Begins  

  • Andy Remic – Junked  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail – First Line  
  • Charles E. Gannon – To Spec  
  • Bud Sparhawk – The Glass Box  
  • CJ Henderson – Everything’s Better with Monkeys  

From By Other Means  

  • James Chambers – Mother of Peace  
  • Jeff Young – Blankets  
  • Mike McPhail – Sheepdog  
  • John G. Hemry – Dawn’s Last Light  
  • Robert E. Waters – Devil Dancer  

From No Man’s Land  

  • Nancy Jane Moore – Gambit  
  • Maria V. Snyder – Godzilla Warfare  
  • Brenda Cooper – Cracking the Sky  

From Best Laid Plans  

  • Keith R.A. DeCandido – The Stone of the First High Pontiff  
  • David Sherman – Chitter Chitter Bang Bang  
  • Judi Fleming – Iron Horses


As a company we cut our teeth on anthologies. Now we are ready to graduate to something more meaty. Our next campaign begins Monday and we are really excited about it. 

>This one is for two original novels: The Sister Paradox, a fantasy offering by Jack Campbell; and POST, a science fiction dystopia novel by Brenda Cooper. You can check out the campaign in advance at http://tiny.cc/Novels2016.


Finally, for those who haven’t heard yet, Joshua Palmatier of Zombies Need Brains started a new campaign yesterday. This one is for three anthologies, about Robots, Water, and Death. Check it out here: http://kck.st/2craV5X. One day in and they are a third of the way there. There are some really awesome authors involved, like Jody Lynn Nye, Faith Hunter, Gini Koch, Misty Massey and Rosemary Edgehill, just to name a few.

Have a good night and enjoy your weekend. Me, I’m off to Star Trek Mission New York at the Javits Center. If by chance you happen to be there a well, come say Hi! I’ll be at the Quidd booth, which is #331.




STRATFORD, NJ (July 2016) ― eSpec Books is proud to announce their newest acquisition, The Sister Paradox, a new fantasy novel by New York Times bestselling author Jack Campbell. The book will be funded through Kickstarter later this year with an eye toward a Spring 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. Campbell attends.

The Sister Paradox is a young adult fantasy novel about a young boy who suddenly acquires a full-grown sister from an alternate dimension. Only he seems to realize she was not there before, giving an all-new twist to the concept of sibling rivalry.

Jack Campbell is the pen name of John G. Hemry, a retired Naval officer, in fine family tradition. He has twenty-six novels to his credit, including the bestselling Lost Fleet, Lost Stars, and Pillars of Reality series, and two short story collections. His short fiction has appeared in Analog, Amazing Stories, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, as well as in anthologies by Baen Books, Dark Quest Books, and Marietta Publishing. Mr. Hemry is represented by the JABberwocky Literary Agency.

To learn more about his work visit http://www.jack-campbell.com/


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.