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


Congrats to Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, and Jonah Knight for being highlighted in this week’s review.

Gaslight and Grimm

“I appreciated that most stories, while building upon the foundations of original tales, didn’t hesitate to stray from them at some point, instead of being “mere” retellings almost identical to their inspirations.” 4 Stars, Yzabel, Amazon

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 REVIEWS


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A quiet week for reviews, but here is one lovely gem:

“As a collection, Gaslight & Grimm is an absolute delight. There isn’t a single story in this that falls flat, and the mix of genres and themes, tales and characters, makes for a wonderfully varied and interesting anthology.” Kate Coe, SFFWorld

Congratulations to Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, Danny Birt, and Jonah Knight for writing the reviewer’s favorite stories in the collection.

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Congratulations go out to James Chambers, Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, Danny Birt, Jody Lynn Nye, David Lee Summers, and Jonah Knight for being featured in one or the other of this week’s reviews.

Gaslight and Grimm

“For steampunk/gaslight fans this is a great anthology; for fans of classic fairy tales and the Brothers Grimm this is also a great anthology. For fans of all those things … this is a truly wonderful anthology.” 5 Stars, Steve R., Amazon

“Just when you think that a famous fairytale can’t be re-imagined anymore, someone comes up with an original idea.” 4 Stars, Kami, Indie Authors, Books, and More

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.

0527161830a
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.

0529162011a-1-1
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