WE FUNDED PRIZE PACK – TALES OF PARANORMAL STEAMPUNK


WE FUNDED PRIZE PACK

Tales of Paranormal Steampunk has funded with nine more days to go. That means we are all winners, particularly as we continue to unlock stretch goals–seven and counting, so far! But one lucky backer pledging $30 or more will be luckier than all the rest when they win the following prize pack at the end of the campaign.

courtesy of eSpec Books…

  • Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq (DVD)
  • The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (Blu-ray)
  • Frankenstein’s Army (Blu-ray)
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (Blu-ray)

plus…

  • a handcrafted steampunk pendant (donated by Wastland Supply Company)
  • a handcrafted steampunk hat pin (donated by Wastland Supply Company)
  • Mystifying Mints (donated by Wastland Supply Company)
  • Sherlock Holmes mini journal (donated by RetroDaddio)
  • The Ablutions of Sherlock Holmes novelty soap (donated by RetroDaddio)

We hope you’ll join us on this expedition through the afterlife!

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – GAIL Z. AND LARRY N. MARTIN (AFTER PUNK)


eSpec Books interviews Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, contributors to After Punk: Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer, funding now on Kickstarter.

eSB: What can you tell us about the story you have written (or plan to write) for After Punk?

GZ&LN: It will feature an archeological dig, an Edison cylinder to record the voices of the dead, Isaac Pease’s Spirit Telegraph Dial, and some other surprises!

eSB: Why did you chose that particular aspect of the afterlife to ‘punk up? How did it lend itself to the theme?

GZ&LN: Whenever there’s an archaeological dig, particularly for a culture we’re unfamiliar with, we make so many assumptions about what things were used for, how people lived. Imagine if part of the dig was also calling up their spirits and recording their narrative, although of course, you’d have to be sure they weren’t lying…..

eSB: Does you story introduce new characters, or are they old friends you revisit often…to torment mercilessly?

GZ&LN: There will be some new characters, but it will be a Storm and Fury Adventure, so set in the world of our Iron & Blood books.

eSB: Do you see this story being a one-off, or has it inspired you to further storylines? Do tell 😉

GZ&LN: When we come up with secondary characters in the short stories/novellas, they usually hang around and become part of the ongoing gang.

eSB: What traditions or beliefs were you raised on regarding death or the afterlife? Did that influence your story at all?

GZ&LN: We had the very traditional mainline Protestant upbringing, so we’ve got that in common with the characters in the story, although what they find will rock their boat and make them consider that what they’ve been told might not be the whole story.

eSB: Describe your ideal vision of the afterlife.

GZ&LN: All the people and pets we’ve ever loved, endless books, and food that tastes great with no calories!

eSB: The coffin or the pyre, which one for you and why?

GZ&LN: Pyre. Go out in style—with fireworks!

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

GZ&LN: We have Iron & Blood: A Jake Desmet Adventure, the first novel in our steampunk series (with a second novel in the works), plus all of our related short stories/novellas (which are available individually as ebooks) have now been collected for ebook and print in Storm and Fury.

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

GZ&LN: Lots! Vengeance is the second book in the Darkhurst epic fantasy series, and it will be out in April. Larry’s new Salvage Rat military SF series will be out later this year, as well as the first book in Gail’s new buddy flick epic fantasy series, Assassin’s Honor. We have new Deadly Curiosities collections in print/ebook (Trifles and Folly plus Trifles and Folly 2) and a third Deadly Curiosities novel, Tangled Web, will be out this spring.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you? 

GZ&LN: http://www.JakeDesmet.com


Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, and Falstaff Books. Series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cyclethe Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, the Assassins of Landria and Deadly Curiosities. Newest titles include Scourge, Trifles & Folly2, and Assassin’s Honor.

Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Cauldron/Secret Council series.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Facebook – Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms

Twitter – @GailZMartin and @LNMartinAuthor

Goodreads – GailZMartin

Blog Address – http://www.DisquietingVisions.com

Pinterest – pinterest.com/Gzmartin

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: JEFF YOUNG (SPIRIT SEEKER & AFTER PUNK)


eSpec Books interviews Jeff Young, author of Spirit Seeker and contributor to After Punk: Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer, funding now on Kickstarter.

eSB: What can you tell us about the story you have written (or plan to write) for After Punk?

JY: This will be the second story in Kassandra Leyden’s timeline. Now that she knows she’s one of the few that can speak with the dead, she should learn how to do it properly. Enter one Madam Foss, well know medium who has some spirits rather than skeletons in her closet. She maybe showing Kassandra her first view of the other side, but they should both beware what might enter when that door is opened.

eSB: Why did you chose that particular aspect of the afterlife to ‘punk up? How did it lend itself to the theme?

JY: A lot of the other stories in the anthology will be taking on specific legends and aspects of the afterlife, whereas I’ll be looking at the way a character interacts with it, ie. Kassandra Leyden Spirit Seeker. That doesn’t mean I won’t be doing a little world building of my own. Recently, I went for a walk on rail to trail conversion and after about a mile or two of walking on a straight path you reach a point with nothing but woods on either side. If you stop in the middle and look both ways, the path disappears into the distance and the similarity of the trees blends together. It’s an optical illusion that I’m using to describe the interface between the living and the dead. You don’t get to see the other side unless you take a one-way trip, but a medium like Kassandra can straddle the border.

eSB: Does you story introduce new characters, or are they old friends you revisit often…to torment mercilessly?

JY: I would hardly say I torment Kassandra, I see her as someone smart enough to find a way out of whatever I throw at her. On the other hand, sure there are a few new characters in the story. This is part two of her origin tale. Kassandra knows her ability to speak to the dead is unusual; now she’s going to learn from someone more experienced how to make it work for her.

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

JY: This story falls under the collective known as The Kassandra Leyden Adventures. It’s grown organically over time due to requests from various Steampunk anthologies. After a while it did occur to me that I should start filling in the gaps. So there are some stories about Kassandra growing up and then there are those where she’s partnered with Cobham Peckwith. In those cases so far the viewpoint has shifted to Cobham because since he’s not the believer in the phenomenon they experience, his view fits better with that of the reader. In the future, if the novel ever gets written, the idea is to switch viewpoints every chapter. So why keep calling it The Kassandra Leyden Adventures? Well because that sounds cooler, that’s why.

I’m sure there’s lots more to do in New Britain. One of the new stories will be about the use of pre-electronic listening devices to detect dirigibles trying to sneak across the southern border. Kassandra and Cobham will investigate the mysterious deaths of the soldiers garrisoned a listening post set in the Mississippi Delta. I am barely resisting the urge to include clockwork crocodiles.

In a longer story, I plan to bring back villain Emond Ressex who got the better of Kassandra in “Fox Chase”. Our pair of heroes are dispatched into the Red Lands to seek the aid of the natives to cure a violent outbreak of disease. When they reach the city of Cahokia they will discover that Emond is posing as a shaman and using his automaton animals and captured spirits to gather influence. The story is tentatively titled “White Shaman in Red Lands”.

There are certainly more stories to tell, but the big piece in the picture is the novel, which has the working title The Emancipation of Maxwell’s Ghosts. Kassandra and Cobham are charged with protecting dilettante genius Godfrey Kensington from assassins. When they return to Londinium from his father’s estate, they discover that Kassandra’s father has left on an illegal expedition to the Old World. Using various means of transport they follow and discover a diabolical plot to ensnare a god by Sante Moore (first introduced in “Ambergris on Ice”) and that Moore has convinced Casimir Leyden to join him. I have a certain fondness for Moore because, while I tend to let him grandstand like a Bond villain, he’s actually a morally gray character. He believes that the society can’t continue the way it has and that there most be another answer rather than steam power. He’s seen what burning wood and coal does and the effects on the environment around Londinium. I really wanted a villain who stood for something good, but was willing to do anything to achieve it, including step over socially acceptable lines. 

eSB: The coffin or the pyre, which one for you and why?

JY: Probably the pyre. I’m an outdoor person and I’ve always tried to leave things the way I find them following the minimum impact rule. I don’t really see the need to hold onto a piece of the world in terms of a cemetery plot after I’m gone. 

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

JY: This eSpec Kickstarter will be helping to put together my short story collection Spirit Seeker, which features several previously published Kassandra Leyden stories as well as some new material. These steampunk stories set in New Britain cover Kassandra’s awakening as a speaker to the departed through to her pairing with the ever practical Constable Cobham Peckwith. Fortress Publishing has published a collection of my other short stories, TOI 2 Diversiforms. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my work included in a number of other anthologies: Writers of the Future V.26, In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, Clockwork Chaos, Gaslight and Grimm, By Any Means, Best Laid Plans, Dogs of War, Man and Machine, If We Had Known, Fantastic Futures 13, The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson, TV Gods & TV Gods: Summer Programming

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

JY: Aside from writing more Kassandra Leyden stories (One short, one novella and one novel in the works), I’ve been asked to contribute to the upcoming anthology Defending the Future: In Harm’s Way. This military science fiction collection features stories about field medics and will be produced by eSpec Books. I do have a few more long term invites to other anthologies and of course there are at least a dozen other things I should be writing, editing and more but that life thing tends to get in the way.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you? 

JY: http://jy.watchtheskies.org/ and follow or view the social media tags. Don’t worry I’m a low effort follow. Or if you prefer a little more, try the Watch the Skies website for the SF&F reading group that I run (http://watchtheskies.org) and facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/watchtheskies) where things are much more active.


JeffYoung

Jeff Young is a bookseller first and a writer second – although he wouldn’t mind a reversal of fortune. He is an award winning author who contributed to the anthologies: Writers of the Future v.26, By Any Means, Best Laid Plans, Dogs of War, In an Iron Cage, Fantastic Futures 13, Clockwork Chaos, TV Gods, The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson and Gaslight & Grimm. Jeff’s work was also published in the magazines eSteampunk, Realms, Cemetery Moon, Trail of Indiscretion, Realms Beyond, Carbon14 and Neuronet. He is also an editor with Fortress Publishing for their Drunken Comic Book Monkey line as well as the anthologies TV Gods and TV Gods : Summer Programming. Jeff has helped run the Watch the Skies SF&F Reading Group of Harrisburg and Camp Hill for more than fifteen years. Finally, Jeff is also the proprietor of the online eBay and Etsy shops- Helm Haven, which produces Renaissance and Steampunk costume pieces.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jywriterguy/

Twitter – @jywriterguy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7057883.Jeff_Young

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Young/e/B00575IB9U

Blog Address – http://jy.watchtheskies.org/

Instagram – ironmind42

EDITOR SPOTLIGHT – GREG SCHAUER


eSpec Books interviews Greg Schauer, editor of The Awakened Modern, with Hal Greenberg, now funding on Kickstarter.

eSB: What challenges did you find editing stories for a pre-existing shared universe?

GS: For me, hardest thing about playing in someone else’s world is making sure everything meshes with, in this case, Hal’s vision. We have brought together some very talented people to play in his world. This being a modified version of our world means that the things we take for granted in our modern need to stay consistent story to story.   .

eSB: Can you tell us a little bit about your favorite story or stories from the book and why?

GS: My favorite stories involve the human/animal bonds that form after the second moon appears in the sky.

eSB: Sunrise or stargazing?

GS: Definitely Stargazing

eSB: What other projects have you worked on previously?

GS: Stories in Between from Fantasist Enterprises a collection celebrating the 30th anniversary of my bookstore, Between Books, With Great Power from Dark Quest, The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson, The Side of Good/ The Side of Evil from eSpec Books, Arden House by Rob Bryan

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

GS: Most of my time is spent working on projects for eSpec, mostly as a copy editor. There a few things of my own in process but none are close to being finished.


Greg Schauer has been a bookseller for over 33 years as the owner of Between Books in Claymont Delaware. He has also helped produce concerts by local and national bands at the Arden Gild Hall in Arden Delaware, one of the country’s oldest continuously run secular utopian art colonies, for the past 10 years. He has previously worked on Stories in Between: the Between Books 30th anniversary anthology with W.H. Horner and Jeanne Benzel, Steampowered Tales of Awesomeness Vol 1 by Brian Thomas and Ray Witte, With Great Power with John L. French, and The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson with Danielle Ackley-McPhail. He can be contacted at gschauer@betweenbooks.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Facebook –Greg Schauer, Between Books

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – TORAH COTTRILL


eSpec Books interviews Torah Cottrill, contributor to The Awakened Modern, edited by Hal Greenberg and Greg Schauer, which is currently funding on Kickstarter.

eSB: Can you tell us a little about your story, Return of the Devis, from The Awakened Modern?

TC: When Hal Greenberg first suggested that we bring the premise of The Awakened into the 21st century, I wondered how people in the developing world, without access to 24-hour media coverage and with much different cultural lenses, would think about the sudden appearance of individuals with powers. Would they seem like gods, or monsters? Once I found my protagonist, a child with little formal education or knowledge about the world beyond her village, a girl too young for powers, I had a way to tell a story about what watching the world around you blossom with the Awakened might be like, a view from below the clash of powers.

eSB: What do you like most about The Awakened series, and why?

TC: One of the first things that excited me about the series was the fantastic roster of authors already on board. Who wouldn’t want to contribute to an anthology featuring writers like Jaleigh Johnson, Ed Greenwood, and Rosemary Jones? But the aspect of the series that continues to draw me in is the flexibility of the setting, and the number of different stories you can tell about what having a difficult gift, a power, feels like, and how it affects your life and the lives of the people around you.

eSB: What interested you in writing for this series?

TC: With the potential to write a story about characters who have superhuman powers, it’s easy to find yourself writing about spectacular clashes between Awakened, to turn a story into a series of bigger and bigger confrontations, until you’ve turned your story into a series of mind-blowing CGI fights! Those are a lot of fun to write, so part of the challenge of writing for this series is to bring the story back to the characters’ internal conflicts, the struggle to know and understand yourself. I do really enjoy those glorious wuxia ballet fight scenes, though.

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

TC: My stories in Awakened I and II follow one young woman through her awakening in the Frozen Wastes through her impressment into (and escape from) King Stewart’s forces in his push to conquer the Open Lands. Right now, I’m working on a story for Awakened III that explores the cost of using your power in war and the idea that sometimes a power can be more burden than gift.

eSB: If you could have a special power or familiar, what would it be and why?

TC: I’d like to be able to slow time, so I could get everything done in a day that I intend to. Wouldn’t we all?


Torah Cottrill is a professional editor and amateur video gamer whose short stories have appeared in Stupefying Stories, Luna Station Quarterly, Ares Magazine, and Tokyo Yazuka, among other publications. She wastes her free time researching hand-to-hand combat techniques for her novel and failing to complete the seasonal set dungeons in Diablo III. 

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Twitter – @TorahCottrill

Amazon Author Page –
http://www.amazon.com/Torah-Cottrill/e/B00AMNM0FS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Blog Address – http://torahcottrill.weebly.com/blog.html

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – ED GREENWOOD


eSpec Books interviews Ed Greenwood, contributor to The Awakened Modern, edited by Hal Greenberg and Greg Schauer, which is currently funding on Kickstarter.

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

EG: Cutting back on my natural urges to write madly off in all directions, detailing lots of territory and writing about the intertwined lives and subplots of a huge cast of characters. I cut down to a single focus, and had fun that way, instead.  

eSB: What interested you in writing for this series?

EG: Hal Greenberg asked me to, I thought the central idea was fun, and I liked my co-contributors…and have liked them more with each GenCon breakfast with them I’ve managed to attend. It’s been a blast so far!

eSB: If you could have a special power or familiar, what would it be and why?

EG: I would want the special power of being able to stop time (with objects frozen in mid-fall, cars and people in mid-rush, and so on) so I could improve my failing-with-age powers of doing sixteen things at once. Without dropping anything.

eSB: Sunrise or stargazing?

EG: Both. As a writer and late-night reader, I see the stars often. And as a husband with a day job and a wife to care for, I see the sunrise all too often!

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

EG: As a young boy, I created the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting, later adopted as the “world” of the Dungeons & Dragons game, and have published over 20 Realms novels. I’ve also written five Aglirta novels about The Band of Four, a Falconfar trilogy, a Niflheim duology, a steampunk novel entitled The Iron Assassin, and many more; I’ve written, co-written, or contributed to over 300 books thus far. Yes, my house is groaningly crammed full of books. And I’m taking it easy, these days: I’m writing only a novel a month.

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

EG: I’ve started a new transmedia publishing venture, The Ed Greenwood Group, for creatives interested in working in new genre settings I’m creating, such as Hellmaw (daemons lurking among us on Earth, who consider us food; dark urban fantasy); Stormtalons (a medieval-cum Renaissance world in which a tyrant archwizard tries to control other wizards, and is defied by priests of the Six gods, as magical mists, the Stormtalons, ravage the world, and the mighty Sleeping Dragons stir; high fantasy), and almost 30 other settings.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you? 

EG: On the web, drop in on onderlibrum.com (where I blog at “The EdVerse”) or theedgreenwoodgroup.com, or find me on Facebook (I’m, yes, Ed Greenwood) and on Twitter at @TheEdVerse


Ed Greenwood is a New York Times-bestselling Canadian writer, game designer, and librarian best known for creating The Forgotten Realms® fantasy world fifty years ago. His 350-plus books have sold millions of copies worldwide in more than three dozen languages. Ed was elected to the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art & Design Hall of Fame in 2003, and has won multiple ENNIE and Origins and other awards. Through The Ed Greenwood Group, he now helms many shared storytelling worlds he’s created; they can be found at OnderLibrum.com

eSPEC EXCERPTS – SELK-SKIN DEEP


proof-tbobafThis is a part of our series of excerpts connected with our campaign for The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries. All of the authors have been selected based on fan and reviewer recognition as some of the best examples of Bad-Ass Faeries, representing over a decade of this award-winning series. If you are interested in learning more about The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, please check out our Kickstarter. #Make100


Selk-Skin Deep

Kelly A. Harmon

Cade Owen stood on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Livingstone, watching the crew of an ammunition ship loading armaments on board. The night sea cooperated. Gentle waves in the Gulf of Tonkin lapped at the two navy vessels. Men from the other ship, the USS Redoubt, sent over bomb after bomb until a crewman from the Livingstone pointed to a large wooden crate and made a cutting motion with his hands, halting the transfer.

Cade itched to know what the man’s agitation signaled. But from this distance, and under these lighting conditions, he couldn’t make out the problem. The carrier needed those munitions. Without them, the fighter jets couldn’t make their ordered strafing runs north of Hanoi in the morning, and he couldn’t rendezvous with the other SEALs later in the week with the Biet Hai Commandos in Da Nang.

Thank Manannán mac Lir. And President Kennedy, he thought, who created the SEALs only recently. He hoped this special mission would grant him a reprieve from the boredom his nearly immortal life provided him, even if he had to live among humans to find surcease. Humans weren’t a bad sort; he just couldn’t fathom why they seemed to live their lives so intensely.

Didn’t they realize that life is a series of up and down cycles? What made it so hard for them to accept that and move on? How can there be anything worth fighting over—dying over—when all things circle back in the ebb and flow of life?

He would love to discuss it with Friedman, but that would mean telling Friedman his bunkmate wasn’t human. Perhaps they’d known each long enough to swim that current. Long days confined together with the threat of war hanging over their heads had shaped their friendship far more quickly than a casual friendship might have. He’d give it some thought.

Until then, he would observe their intensity first hand. For now, he was just another man on the ship. And if he died serving? More the better, for it gave his life a purpose: something more than living and dying with the sea; yet, still living and dying by the sea.

The trident insignia of the Navy SEALs on his lapel gleamed in the moonlight. The brooding look on his face took on a more thoughtful aspect. He reached within his coveralls and pulled a small, rolled fur from around his neck. Shaking out the seal-shaped pelt, he moved into the darker shadow cast by an F4 Phantom and stripped out of his clothes. He draped the skin over his shoulders, letting the length of it drape down his back. Then, he grabbed the edges, pulling and tugging, smoothing the skin around himself until it grew large enough to cover him, turning him into a seal.

In an instant, the darkness disappeared, and Cade could see almost as well as if there were daylight. He opened his mouth, tasting the salty tang of the ocean on his tongue. He drew in a large breath, savoring the smell. He had waiting too long to return to true form. It always felt this way to him, after the change, like the sea wooed him back. If he were his human self, he would have smiled from the pleasure of it.

He dove into the water, falling forty feet through the air, cutting into the sea in a graceful arc. He plunged deep into the water, then surfaced and made his way around the side of the carrier and closer to the argument.


Kelly A. Harmon used to write truthful, honest stories about authors and thespians, senators and statesmen, movie stars and murderers. Now she writes lies, which is infinitely more satisfying, but lacks the convenience of doorstep delivery. She is an award-winning journalist and author, and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. A Baltimore native, she writes the Charm City Darkness series, which includes the novels Stoned in Charm City, A Favor for a Fiend, and the soon to be published, A Blue Collar Proposition. Her science fiction and fantasy stories can be found in Triangulation: Dark Glass, Hellebore and Rue, and Deep Cuts: Mayhem, Menace and Misery.  

Ms. Harmon is a former newspaper reporter and editor, and now edits for Pole to Pole Publishing, a small Baltimore publisher. She is co-editor of Hides the Dark Tower along with Vonnie Winslow Crist. For more information, visit her blog at http://kellyaharmn.com, or, find her on Facebook and Twitter: http://facebook.com/Kelly-A-Harmon1, https://twitter.com/kellyaharmon.