STATE OF THE ‘SPEC – APOCALYPSE EDITION


Well, folks, like everyone else we are hunkered down and riding out the tidal wave caused by this sh*t storm.

We are working steadily on the books we would have launched at Balticon, normally our biggest convention of the year. It is so surreal…this is the first time in seventeen years we will not be at Balticon, which we consider our home show. It will be the first time in fifteen years we haven’t had our annual launch party there. I can honestly say that one event has become the focal point of my year, prepping the books, making the food. And sadly, this isn’t the only event lost this year. If I had the time, I would be feeling adrift right now. 

Of course, I don’t, as I work in healthcare. But we aren’t going to go there.

I wanted you all to know that life goes on despite the chaos and the uncertainty. Here are some things we’ve already accomplished this year:

We have re-released books 2 and 3 in James Chambers’s Corpse Fauna Series: Tears of Blood and The Dead in Their Masses. The fourth and final book in the series, Eyes of the Dead, is due out in October of this year. Here is a guest post he wrote for Speculative Chic.


We have re-released Megan Mackie’s books Saint Code: The Lost and The Finder of the Lucky Devil. We have one more book to re-release, The Saint of Liars, then we are free to focus on her two new titles, The Devil’s Day and Saint Code: Constable. All of these books take place in an alternate, futuristic Chicago we’ve coined cyber-magical Chicago. If you aren’t familiar with Megan, here is a guest post she wrote for Speculative Chic.)

 


We released Michelle D. Sonnier’s novella, Death’s Embrace, which is a prequel to her debut novel, The Clockwork Witch. (Don’t worry, Michelle is nearly done with the sequel, An Unceasing Hunger.)


Our next re-release is Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn: A Steampunk Faerie Tale, written by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed. This is a steampunk retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Here is a guest post that Danielle wrote for Speculative Chic.

Proof-BabaAli

What We Are Working On Now

Despite how everything has gone topsy-turvy, we are still hard at work on some pretty amazing books. 

First and foremost, we have a nearly complete manuscript for David Sherman’s military science fiction novel To Hell and Regroup, the long-awaited conclusion to his 18th Race trilogy, which also includes Issue In Doubt and In All Directions. Due to health concerns, the final volume is being co-written with Keith R.A. DeCandido.

In conjunction with the above release, we are also working on a new novel by Christopher L. Bennett, Arachne’s Crime, the first book in a brand-new duology, to be followed by Arachne’s Exile.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail is hard at work on Build-A-Book Workshop, a new volume in the Literary Handyman series. This book focuses on the elements that go into professional book design, not how to use book-design software or artistically design a book. She is also working on her first science fiction novel: Daire’s Devils.

And finally, editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail and John L. French are currently working on the upcoming anthology Horns and Halos, tales of devils and angels.

Please stay tuned for more information, and possibly check out some of the above links for great fiction from our authors. Given the need for social distancing and sheltering at home, we have put all of our ebooks on sale for only $0.99 for both eSpec Books titles and Paper Phoenix Press titles.

Not sure if our books are for you? You can still help us out! All of these links are Amazon Associate links, so we receive a portion of your sale no matter what you buy, with absolutely no additional cost to you.

Not a fan of Amazon? We have a link for that! You can order copies of all of our books via our eSpec Books Square Store and we will ship direct as long as the post office is active.

MONTHS IN REVIEWS


I haven’t done one of these in a while. Life gets in the way and you never know when some kind soul will post a review. Delighted with those that have appeared recently.


 

Editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail has put together a sweet collection [ . . . ] with, in my opinion, one of the most striking SF covers I’ve seen in many a year [ . . . ] There’s something here to delight any SF reader.

Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog


Final-Crone

A rather personal kind of story, a mix between urban fantasy and coming-of-age-again story.

Hélène Louise, GoodReads

A good paranormal with an interesting cast of characters and an entertaining plot. I liked the style of writing and the world building. Recommended.

Annarella, GoodReads


Dead Bear Witness-6x9

 

 

If you like zombies, this is a novel to read. [ . . . ] It’s an interesting novel that is well written.

Susan, GoodReads


CONVENTION UPDATE – PHILCON


This weekend is Philcon, for the first time in forever, our last convention of the year. We will again be having a launch party in the Con Suite so mark that in your calendars. We’ve been cooking since last month 🙂 Available schedules are below.

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Homemade Ginger KICK! Ginger Ale
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Some of our raffle prizes for the eSpec Books Launch Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Fri 8:00 PM in Plaza III – WILL MY PUBLISHER EXPECT ME TO GO ON TOUR?
We talk a lot about ways to sell your novel, but what happens after your novel sells? A discussion of debut author questions, issues, opportunities, and challenges

Sat 12:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two – ASK A SMALL PUBLISHER

What do you want to know about getting into the world of publishing? Here’s a chance to ask the pros what they suggest

Sat 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Executive Suite 823 – ESPEC BOOKS LAUNCH PARTY
eSpec Books invites you to join us in the Con Suite to celebrate their 2019 releases. There will be food, fun, authors, and prizes

Sat 10:00 PM in Plaza II – MEET THE EDITORS!

Magazine and small press editors discuss what goes into creating their publications, from the economics of staying viable in the electronic age to getting appropriate submissions

Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two – BOOK LAYOUT AND DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS

Whether you’re working in the literary profession, creating a family history book, or putting together your own cookbook, you’ll have a much better result by learning the basics

Sun 2:00 PM in Executive Suite 623 – READINGS: KATRINA FOREST, ROBERT E. WATERS, DANIELLE ACKLEY-MCPHAIL

Katrina S. Forest (mod), Robert E. Waters, Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Mike McPhail

Sat 11:00 AM in Plaza III – HOW TO NOT SELL YOUR BOOK

Common (and not-so-common) mistakes to avoid while approaching publishers

Sat 2:00 PM in Plaza IV – ART AND ILLUSTRATION FOR PROFIT

Book covers? Magazine illustrations? Art shows? Commissions? Prints and posters? How does an artist make money in a genre art field

Sat 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Executive Suite 823 – ESPEC BOOKS LAUNCH PARTY

eSpec Books invites you to join us in the Con Suite to celebrate their 2019 releases. There will be food, fun, authors, and prizes

Sat 10:00 PM in Plaza II – MEET THE EDITORS!

Magazine and small press editors discuss what goes into creating their publications, from the economics of staying viable in the electronic age to getting appropriate submissions

Robert E. Waters

Sat 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Three—My Favorite Books

Authors talk about their own literary influences and the works that inspired them to become writers.

Sat 11:00 AM in Executive Suite 923—Writing Branching Narratives for Game Play (3609)

What different considerations do you have to make when creating a story that needs to have multiple middles and possible endings?

Sun 12:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two—How Far Can You Suspend Someone’s Disbelief? 

How much can you ask a reader to take on faith before they can’t take your story seriously anymore? Are there ways to get readers willing to accept more challenging changes and assumptions? What authors have succeeded at pushing the boundaries without pushing their readers out of the story?

Sun 2:00 PM in Executive Suite 623—Readings: Katrina Forest, Robert E. Waters, Danielle Ackley-McPhail 

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Schedule available on his blog.

 

Not going to Philcon? Megan Mackie will be at Grand Rapids ComiCon the same weekend!

 

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

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – SHORE LEAVE 41


All the cool kids are doing it…so…

Here’s our schedule for Shore Leave, as well as links to other eSpec authors who will be there! As always, if we aren’t in a panel, look for us in the dealer’s room! The dealer’s room is closed? Check in the bar!

shoreleavebanner

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Friday –

10pm – Hunt Valley Hallway – Meet the Pros

Saturday –

10am – Derby – The Worth of Workshops and Writing Classes
Panelists who have attended writing workshops and/or classes discuss what they got out of the experience, what they wish they would have known going in, and the impact it had on their writing practice and/or career.

Panelists: Kelli Fitzpatrick, Jim Johnson, Derek Attico, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Lorraine Anderson

5pm – Derby – Wearing Too Many Hats
Publishing, editing, promoting and writing—what happens when your different roles collide? How do you find time for the varying responsibilities needed to independently publish in today’s crowded market? How do you produce content and get the word out, without dropping the ball somewhere else?

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jim Johnson, Amy Imhoff, Kim Headlee,
Heather E. Hutsell

6pm – Derby – Meeting eSpec Books
The publishers, editors, and authors of eSpec Books discuss their new and upcoming releases, including novels by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher Bennett, and Bud Sparhawk and new volumes in their ever-popular Defending the Future and Beyond the Cradle anthology series.

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail, Keith R.A. DeCandido,
Christopher L. Bennett, Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward

Sunday –

Noon – Chase – Coming Out of the Desert
Being creative can be difficult when the stresses of life get in the way. How to cope when your muse goes missing and there are still deadlines to be met.

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Dayton Ward, Richard White, Lorraine
Anderson, Michael Jan Friedman

1pm – Chase – Building an Anthology
From author-wrangling to story order, cover design to well-balanced
plot lines, how to ensure an anthology or collection comes together
in its best final form.

Panelists: Mike McPhail, Joshua Palmatier, Phil Giunta, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Michael Jan Friedman

Mike McPhail

Friday –

5pm – Chase – Writing for Themed Anthologies
Many short story markets are themed anthologies, rather than simply SF&F magazines. Panelists discuss how to write a story that fits
the theme and stays within a set word count!

Panelists: Joshua Palmatier, Hildy Silverman, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Mike
McPhail, Susan Olesen

6pm – Belmont – Effective Cover Design
Whether you are creating your own cover or working with the publisher’s art department, how to come up with an effective concept
everyone can be happy with. What works, what doesn’t, and how
much does it matter in the end?

Panelists: Mike McPhail, Aaron Rosenberg, Greg Cox, Joshua Palmatier

10pm – Hunt Valley Hallway – Meet the Pros

Saturday –

1pm – Chase – How Does Fear of Criticism Affect Your Writing?
Authors’ works rarely escape criticism. As a writer, how do you
cope with others “calling your baby ugly”? Can you separate
negative critiques from personal criticism? Do you ever respond?
And have you ever not written a story because you knew it would
provoke a response?

Panelists: Hildy Silverman, Heather E. Hutsell, Mike McPhail, Phil Giunta,
Susan Olesen

6pm – Derby – Meeting eSpec Books
The publishers, editors, and authors of eSpec Books discuss their new and upcoming releases, including novels by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher Bennett, and Bud Sparhawk and new volumes in their ever-popular Defending the Future and Beyond the Cradle anthology series.

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail, Keith R.A. DeCandido,
Christopher L. Bennett, Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward

Sunday –

1pm – Chase – Building an Anthology
From author-wrangling to story order, cover design to well-balanced
plot lines, how to ensure an anthology or collection comes together
in its best final form.

Panelists: Mike McPhail, Joshua Palmatier, Phil Giunta, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Michael Jan Friedman

And Others…

Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Schedule

Dayton Ward’s Schedule

COVER REVEAL – FOOTPRINTS IN THE STARS


eSpec is proud to announce that this title has gone to press. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover by Mike McPhail of McP Digital Graphics? We certainly think so!

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To follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before, first we must find them.

Dreaded hope settles over mankind as we stare into the heavens, looking for a sign we are not alone. Fearing we will find it, puzzled when we don’t.

Among the stars or in our own backyard, lose yourself in the wonder of these tales as we humbly posit mankind’s reaction to the awesome certainty that ‘they’ are out there…or at least, they were…

Footprints in the Stars

With stories by Gordon Linzner, Ian Randal Strock, Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward, Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jody Lynn Nye, Christopher L. Bennett, James Chambers, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Russ Colchamiro, Judi Fleming, and Bryan J.L. Glass

The following authors will be at Shore Leave, where the book will be debuted: Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward, Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Christopher L. Bennett, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Russ Colchamiro, and series editor and cover designer, Mike McPhail.

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!