PROJECT UPDATE – IF WE HAD KNOWN


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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

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – JOHN L. FRENCH


eSpec Books interviews John L. French, contributor to The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, currently funding on Kickstarter as a part of the #Make100 campaign.

eSB: What is your idea of a bad-ass faerie?

JLF: My idea is something like Tolkien’s elves or Irish heroes like Cuchulainn and the Red Branch. A warrior race that prizes the literary, mystic, and scientific arts as much as it does the art of combat.  (Note: For truly bad ass, read The Raid by Randy Lee Eickhoff.)

eSB: Can you tell us a little about your story, “So Many Deaths”, that was selected for The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries?

baf3front-smJLF: “So Many Deaths” appeared in BAF 3 – In All Their Glory. I’m a crime scene investigator for an east coast city. I also started out writing crime fiction. So most of my stories, regardless of genre, usually have a crime element to them. Danielle knows this and for In All Their Glory she asked me to write a faerie story about a SWAT team. And so I did, setting the story in Baltimore and making sure it had both faeries and a SWAT team. When I sent it to her she liked it but … “John, what I really wanted was a faerie SWAT team.”

So I wrote another one, tying it into the first. The two stories were then combined and published as “So Many Deaths.” So Danielle, and the readers, get two Swat teams for the price of one.

angelThe names of the faeries in in the story came from two different sources. The male names were taken from Tom Holland’s The Forge of Christendom. The female names from my daughter’s fashion magazine. The name of the lead faerie detective and the style of his part of the story were inspired by the old TV series Dragnet. (art by Linda Saboe, www.croneswood.com).

The name of the lead detective on the mortal side, Beth Steele, came from the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

eSB: What would your fae character’s signature drink be and why?

Guardsman Fredag, appreciates good wine. However, being an underpaid law enforcement officer he drinks the cheap stuff.

eSB: What kind of challenges did you find writing for this series?

First there was an argument with Danielle, I’m sorry, a professional disagreement, about the spelling of the word “Faerie.” It ended the way all such discussions end with “I’m the editor and you’ll spell it my way.”

The part of the story set on Earth was not a problem. For the scenes set in Faerie I had to build a culture, a mythology, and a political structure to make the story work.

eSB: What is your first recollection of faeries growing up?

Tinkerbelle, and clapping my hands in front of the TV so she wouldn’t die. When the 2003 movie came out I found myself the only one in the theater clapping to save Tink when she was poisoned. (I clapped quietly so as not to embarrass my daughter.) I like to think I alone saved her life.

eSB: What interested you in writing for this series?

Danielle asked. When Danielle askes it’s hard to say no.

eSB: Tell us something about yourself that is bad-ass.

I work crime scenes. I’ve helped catch murderers, rapists, and serial killers. Plus I was in three Batman comics.

eSB: Do you have any plans to expand your story…or write in the same universe? If so, what more can your readers expect?

Detective Beth Steel has worked her way into my Bianca Jones supernatural mystery series. One day I might tell the story of what happened to her immediately following the end of “So Many Deaths” then send her and Bianca into Faerie seeking justice and vengeance.

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

John L. French Here There Be Monsters.jpgThere are my pulp fiction based books The Devil of Harbor City, The Nightmare Strikes, and The Grey Monk: Souls on Fire. And there’s the Bianca Jones series – Here There Be Monsters, Bullets and Brimstone, Rites of Passage, and Blood is the Life.

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

Along with Patrick Thomas, I’m currently editing Camelot 13, due out in 2018. And a new Bianca Jones collection, Monsters Among Us, should be out this spring, hopefully before the Memorial Day weekend.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you?

I’m on Facebook, and readers are free to email me at jfrenchfam@aol.com


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John L. French has worked for over thirty years as a crime scene investigator and has seen more than his share of murders, shootings and serious assaults. As a break from the realities of his job, he writes science fiction, pulp, horror, fantasy, and, of course, crime fiction.  

In 1992 John began writing stories based on his training and experiences on the streets of Baltimore. His first story “Past Sins” was published in Hardboiled Magazine and was cited as one of the best Hardboiled stories of 1993. More crime fiction followed, appearing in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, the Fading Shadows magazines and in collections by Barnes and Noble. Association with writers like James Chambers and the late, great C.J. Henderson led him to try horror fiction and to a still growing fascination with zombies and other undead things. His first horror story “The Right Solution” appeared in Marietta Publishing’s Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak. Other horror stories followed in anthologies such as The Dead Walk and Dark Furies, both published by Die Monster Die books. It was in Dark Furies that his character Bianca Jones made her literary debut in “21 Doors,” a story based on an old Baltimore legend and a creepy game his daughter used to play with her friends.  

John’s first book was The Devil of Harbor City, a novel done in the old pulp style. Past Sins and Here There Be Monsters followed. John was also consulting editor for Chelsea House’s Criminal Investigation series. His other books include The Assassins’ Ball (written with Patrick Thomas), Paradise Denied, Blood Is the Life, The Nightmare Strikes, and Monsters Among Us. John is the editor of To Hell in a Fast Car, Mermaids 13, C. J. Henderson’s Challenge of the Unknown, and (with Greg Schauer) With Great Power…  

You can find John on Facebook or you can email him at him at jfrenchfam@aol.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Facebook – John French

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/John-L.-French/e/B004CLN9SI/

NEW KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN – THE BEST OF BAD-ASS FAERIES


Currently, Kickstarter is running a promotional campaign Make/100. As a part of that campaign, creators launch a project that includes a limited edition, 100-Backer reward.

eSpec is taking this opportunity to launch a project that is near and dear to my heart, a Best of Bad-Ass Faeries anthology commemorating a decade of this award-winning anthology series that has shocked and delighted readers through four epic volumes. The series is out of print, but we will bring you the highlights of its glory. <grin>

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The stories selected for inclusion, based on fan and reviewer response, are as follows:

Bad-Ass Faeries  

  • Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano – The Ballad of the Seven-Up Sprite  
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido – House Arrest
  • Adam P. Knave – Futuristic Cybernetic Faerie Assassin Hassballah  
  • Jesse Harris – Hidden in the Folds  

Just Plain Bad  

  • James Chambers – Way of the Bone  
  • CJ Henderson – Do You Believe?  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail – Within the Guardian Bell  
  • John Passarella – Twilight Crossing  
  • Jeffrey Lyman- Grimm Necessity  
  • Bernie Mojzes – Moonshine

In All Their Glory  

  • L. Jagi Lamplighter – A Not-So-Silent Night  
  • John L. French – So Many Deaths  
  • James Daniel Ross – The Natural-Born Spy  
  • Robert E. Waters – At The Grasshopper’s Hill  
  • Kelly A. Harmon – Selkskin Deep  

It’s Elemental  

  • DL Thurston – The Face of the Serpent  
  • Patrick Thomas – Looking a Gift Horse  
  • Jody Lynn Nye – Fifteen Percent  
  • Lee C. Hillman – Bad Blood  
  • NR Brown – Melia’s Best Wave

We hope you will help us celebrate these great authors!

 

PROJECT UPDATE – MAN AND MACHINE


Due to recent life events I haven’t posted much about this here, but we are in the final hours of a Kickstarter campaign that was initially for the anthology Man and Machine, book 7 in the award-winning Defending the Future series, with stories by Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, Nancy Jane Moore, Jennifer Brozek, Ronald Garner, Aaron Rosenberg, James Chambers, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Young, Eric Hardenbrook, Robert Waters, Anton Kukal, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and a special Afterword by CJ Henderson (posthumous).

KSC-FrontPageNewNot only did the campaign fund quickly, but it has unlocked sixteen stretch goals, including funding a tee shirt, a mission patch, and two additional books: If We Had Known (book one in the Beyond the Cradle anthology series) and The Best of Defending the Future. 

Here is a list of all the bonus rewards all backers at the $5 or higher level will now receive in DRM-Free format:

  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s short story “By Any Means” a prequel to her story in Man and Machine.  
  • Jennifer Brozek’s short story “Found on the Body of a Solider”.  
  • Robert E. Waters’ short story “Old Soldiers Never Die”.  
  • Soothe the Savage Beast (anthology), 
  • “A Second Away” by John L. French (short story), and 
  • “Mercenary” by Bud Sparhawk (short story)  
  • David Sherman’s story “Going After Yeechiphooie” ACHIEVED! 
  • Time Traveled Tales 2 (anthology), 
  • “Grilg Friendly” by James Chambers (short story), and 
  • “Sign of Iron” by Peter Prellwitz, writing as HK Devonshire (short story).  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s short story “Last Man Standing” a prequel to her story in Man and Machine.  
  • Nancy Jane Moore’s short story “Borders”.  
  • Brenda Cooper’s short story “A Hand and Honor”.  
  • Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s solo science fiction collection A Legacy of Stars, 
  • “Written in Light” by Jeff Young (story), 
  • “12:70” by Peter Prellwitz, writing as HK Devonshire (story)  

We have also unlocked the following production goals which are available via the add-on section of the campaign or select pledge rewards that have been added:

  • If We Had Known (Book 1 in the Beyond the Cradle series)
  • Dogs of War custom Tee Shirt
  • Defending the Future Mission Patch
  • Best of Defending the Future anthology

And, I made an executive decision. I’d really LOVE to see From the Archives funded so I have reshuffled the rewards so all our lovely backers have a chance at even more great fiction than they are already getting. That means we are just $170 away from unlocking a FOURTH book! With five hours to go, that should be no problem! I have also added From the Archives to the pledge rewards and add-on section. Now, there are just FIVE hours left…What mischief can we get up to? Here are the remaining stretch goals:

220 Backer Bonus – DRM-Free copies of all five Radiation Angels: The Mission Files stories by James Daniel Ross.

$5000 – At this stretch goal we will fund a fourth book: From the Archives, a short story collection edited by Greg Schauer and including stories by Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.  

$5300 – A Man and Machine Mission Patch will be produced and added to the Pledge rewards and Add-on section.  

$5600 – A DTF Man and Machine Challenge Coin will be produced and added to the Pledge rewards and Add-on section.  

$6000 – DOUBLE UP BONUS #4

Can you help us spread the word, or maybe even chip in a dollar or ten? Everyone wins in this campaign! http://tiny.cc/DTF7

Thank you,

Danielle

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 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