THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 4/25/20


As we get the reading series up and running the posts are going to be rather close together at first so we can populate the playlists, so we are going to be sharing these links in groups of three or so for the time being. Here is the next batch!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading her short story Turtles All the Way Down from The Die is Cast, edited by Greg Schauer.

Christopher L. Bennett reading from his novel, Arachne’s Crime, which is currently funding on Kickstarter. (We about to fund the second book in the duology, Arachne’s Exile!)

James Chambers reading his short story The Last Great Monologue of Evil Intent from The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer.

 

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – KEITH R.A. DeCANDIDO


eSpec Books interviews best-selling author Keith R.A. DeCandido, co-author of To Hell and Regroup, (co-written with David Sherman and currently funding on Kickstarter) as well as author of The Precinct Series and a wide array of media tie-in novels.

eS: Hi, Keith. Thank you for joining us today. To Hell and Regroup is very decidedly military science fiction. What challenges did you face helping to write it, being of a non-military background?

KRAD: Well, being of a non-military background, mostly. I’ve known enough to fake my way through fictional militaries in the past, in the worlds of places like Star Trek and Farscape and such, but to do a novel that’s almost 100% from the POV of military personnel was on a whole ‘nother level. But I enjoyed that challenge, as it forced me to really up my game. I’ve learned a lot, honestly.

eS: While you have extensive experience with media tie-in work, 18th Race has the added complications of being the third and final book in the series, as well as being co-written with the originator of that series. What was the experience like? How did it differ from your usual types of projects?

KRAD: It’s actually very much like writing a media tie-in, because it’s a world created by someone else, and my responsibility as an author is to write a story that fits in the mode of that universe. So it doesn’t really differ from my tie-in work—or my other work in shared universes like V-Wars and Scattered Earth—hardly at all. I’ve written in forty different universes that other people created, so plugging myself into someone else’s vision is pretty much second nature after 25 years of this…

eS: How much creative input did you have in shaping the storyline? Please tell us a bit about it.

KRAD: David plotted the storyline out and wrote many of the chapters. My main job was to finish the story, and also come up with some of the specific details of the climax beyond the general outline I got from David. All this was done, of course, in consultation with and collaboration with, not just David, but also editor Mike McPhail at eSpec. Both David and Mike are ex-military, unlike my civilian self, so both were very useful at backstopping my screwups.

eS: Though you are known for your media tie-in work, you have quite a few works of your own creation. Can you tell us about some of your other works?

KRAD: I’ve got several original universes I’m working in right now. The biggest is one I’m doing for eSpec, the “Precinct” series of fantasy police procedurals. These books are about two detectives in the Cliff’s End Castle Guard who maintain law and order in the city-state. It’s an epic fantasy setting, but the plots are straight-up mysteries, albeit with fantasy elements. It’s fun to mix the fantasy chocolate with mystery peanut butter. I’ve done five novels so far (the latest is Mermaid Precinct) and a short-story collection, with at least two more novels and another short-story collection due over the next several years.

In addition, I kicked off a new urban fantasy series in 2019, the Bram Gold Adventures, about a guy from the Bronx who hunts monsters for a living. Book 1, A Furnace Sealed, came out in early 2019 from WordFire Press, and I’m working away at Book 2, which doesn’t have a title yet.

I’ve got another fantastical police procedure series, the Super City Cops, which takes place in a modern city that is full of superheroes and super-villains. I’ve got four new novellas in that series coming out soon from Falstaff Books.

Finally, I’m doing a cycle of urban fantasy stories set in Key West, Florida about a woman named Cassie Zukav, who’s a bit of a weirdness magnet. The stories involve scuba diving, rock and roll music, Norse gods, folklore, and beer drinking. The first batch of stories were collected into a book in 2013 from Plus One Press called Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet, and once I’ve got enough stories for a second collection, Plus One will release that, as well, which will be called Ragnarok and a Hard Place.

eS: What authors do you like to read for your own personal enjoyment? And why?

KRAD: I’m addicted by Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell books. I also love the novels of Carl Hiaasen and George Pelecanos, and also books about baseball.

eS: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

KRAD: Finish what you start. It’s much easier to revise and improve a finished story than it is a fragment. And yes, it’s hard—if it was easy, everyone would do it. This is work—treat it like work, and you’ll have more success.

eS: What upcoming projects would you like to tell us about?

KRAD: Well, the big ones next are Phoenix Precinct and the second Bram Gold book. Beyond that, nothing I can talk about in any detail quite yet…

eS: What do you do for fun?

KRAD: Cook. Watch baseball. Take karate classes at the dojo. Go to museums and zoos and botanical gardens (of which we have many of all three here in New York). Travel.


keith-decandido

Keith R.A. DeCandido is a writer and editor of more than three decades’ standing (though he usually does them sitting down). He is the author of more than 50 novels, more than 100 short stories, around 75 comic books, and more nonfiction than he is really willing to count. Included in those credits is fiction in the worlds of Star Trek, Alien, Farscape, Doctor Who, Andromeda, BattleTech, and many other science fiction milieus, as well as in universes of his own creation (such as the “Precinct” series of fantasy police procedurals, also published by the fine folks at eSpec). As an editor, he has worked with dozens of authors, among them Mike W. Barr, Alfred Bester, Margaret Wander Bonanno, Adam-Troy Castro, Peter David, Diane Duane, Harlan Ellison, Tony Isabella, Stan Lee, Tanith Lee, David Mack, David Michelinie, Andre Norton, Robert Silverberg, Dean Wesley Smith, S.P. Somtow, Harry Turtledove, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Roger Zelazny. Having edited David Sherman’s first two 18th Race books, Issue in Doubt and In All Directions, he is honored to assist him in finishing the trilogy by coauthoring To Hell and Regroup with him. Keith is also a martial artist (he got his third-degree black belt in karate in 2017), a musician (currently with the parody band Boogie Knights), and a baseball fan (having avidly followed the New York Yankees since 1976). Find out less about Keith as his cheerfully retro web site at DeCandido.net.

KICKSTARTER – TWO-FOR-ONE SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS


It’s that time of year again…eSpec Books LLC is funding two new science fiction novels:

To Hell and Regroup by David Sherman, co-written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
This is the final engagement in Sherman’s 18th Race trilogy about the battle for the colony planet Troy when raptor-like aliens attack.

Arachne’s Crime by Christopher L. Bennett
The first book in a completed duology, Arachne’s Crime follows a colony ship into deep space. The crew is abruptly awakened from cold sleep when the ship’s AI has an unfortunate encounter with what it believes to be inanimate flotsam in space. Only the ship was wrong…


In just our first day of the campaign, both books are already fully funded and the first stretch goal has been unlocked. With the majority of the campaign ahead of us we have the potential to unlock two additional books for publication, along with a number of other stretch goal rewards of bonus fiction. 

Could you help us spread the word? Thank you! Two-For-One Science Fiction Novels.

Campaign image art credit: 67698892 – SCIFI UFO © mik38, http://www.fotolia.com

GUEST BLOG – DAY AL-MOHAMED


I’m grateful to Dani letting me indulge a little and share with you some of my favorite “Book Secrets.” Think of them as the “Extras” on the DVD. 🙂  

One of the most fun things about steampunk novels are the airships, right? So of course, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn HAD to have an airship. But I didn’t want this to be something “just made up” so was determined that our “Thaddeus Lowe” would be designed off of a REAL airship. But which one? The Hindenburg was the largest, the British R101 was the most luxurious, but the one that I fell in love with, that the whole world at the time fell in love with, was the Graf Zeppelin.

Graf Zeppelin over Jerusalem

 I owe a lot of thanks to airships.net. I cannot say enough about this great resource that introduces airships in all their beauty and complexity in a way that lets you really understand the impact they had on the world. The site was the first place I read about the Graf Zeppelin and fell in love with her. To quote their website:

The most successful zeppelin ever built, LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin flew more than a million miles on 590 flights, carrying over 34,000 passengers without a single injury.

During its nine-year career, Graf Zeppelin made the first commercial passenger flight across the Atlantic, the first commercial passenger flight around the world, flew a scientific mission over the North Pole, made the first regularly scheduled transatlantic passenger crossings by air, and aroused intense public enthusiasm around the globe.

Graf Zeppelin over Pyramids

 Even today, there is significant interest in this specific zeppelin.  There are so many photos of her trips. In fact, I’m willing to bet, 90% of the iconic airship photos you’ve ever seen have all been the Graf Zeppelin: Over the North Pole, with the pyramids in Egypt, by the mountain ranges in Japan, celebrated in New York City…

With the increasing use of airplanes, the Graf Zeppelin was retired and set up as a museum. Sadly, with the advent of World War II, on March 4, 1940, Hermann Goring, Germany’s Air Minister ordered her melted down for parts to feed the German military machine.

Graf Zeppelin Sleeping Quarters (Poor Ali got stuck with the top bunk)

 In addition to images of her exterior, there were shots (and video) of her interior, which a goldmine of information. So yes, our descriptions in the book will mirror very closely some of these photos.

Graf Zeppelin Dining Quarters

 A friend accused me of having a bit of a crush on the Graf Zeppelin and I can’t say that he’s wrong. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few more “Book Secrets” and letting you inside the workings of the text. It’ll be fun! Let us know what you think in the comments.

I hope you enjoy this Update. If so, please feel free to Share it and our Kickstarter with friends, family, groups, and communities who might be interested. Spreading the word is what makes the difference.

http://kck.st/31N0rSQ

Best,

Day Al-Mohamed

FROM THE PUBLISHER – BABA ALI AND THE CLOCKWORK DJINN


 

We’re at it again. In the next day or so we will be launching a campaign to fund Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, a unique retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, written by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed. Previously published by Dark Quest Books, the title has been out of print for a number of years, but interest has never seemed to wain. We plan to re-issue the novel under our Paper Phoenix Press imprint. Below is the cover from the previous edition. Sadly, we can’t afford the artist’s price to reuse it, though it was custom art for this book. However, we’re sharing it here because it is lovely and we don’t have anything to replace it with yet (thus the need for funding 😉

We are hoping to raise enough money not only for new custom art but also interior illustrations, which we weren’t able to include the first time around. If we do real well we will also fund a new novella by Michelle D. Sonnier set in the same universe as her novel, The Clockwork Witch… If we do crazy well beyond our wildest imagination we may just do a limited edition numbered hardcover edition…heck…maybe even a handful in full color! Why not? If the funds are there we are more than glad to reach for the moon! Can you help us get there? The campaign isn’t live yet, but please feel free to share the link in this post with your friends if you think they might be interested in Middle Eastern Steampunk or Faerie Tale retellings with a mechanical flare. Once the project goes live, this link will redirect to the active campaign page.

BabaAliandtheClockworkDjinn
The cover for the previous edition, art by Autumn Frederickson.

Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined…

 In the Nejd there is nothing at all…except secrets. A band of thieves wishes such secrets to remain hidden.

In England, far from his desert home, Ali bin-Massoud serves as apprentice to the famed Charles Babbage. One night a mysterious box is delivered by a clockwork falcon and Ali’s world is never the same again. Heartache, danger, and thieves mark his journey as Ali is summoned home at the death of his father.

It will take faith, knowledge, and yes, love to realize his destiny, and more than a little skill with steam-driven technology. Can he unravel the mystery of the puzzle box and the clockwork djinn before it is too late? An ancient legacy and Ali’s very life depend on his success.

Hear you the tale of Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.


Praise for Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn

“Rich with steampunk, magic, and an enchanting setting, this story casts a spell and won’t let go until the very last page!” —Maria V. Snyder, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Readers of steampunk and Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy alike will adore this lush foray into a world seldom explored by the genre. Buckle up for a wild ride across the deserts of your imagination!” —Tiffany Trent, award-winning author of The Unnaturalists

 “A charming retelling of the famous classic […] Whether you are a fan of Steampunk, of exotic fairytales, or just of good writing, this story should delight.” —L. Jagi Lamplighter, award-winning author

“Beautifully evocative of the fairy tale tradition in parts that the modern, steampunk nature of the tale is completely encapsulated in a wonderful adventure.” —Luke’s Reviews


Kickstarter DMcPhail

Award-winning author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. In 2014 she joined forces with husband Mike McPhail and friend Greg Schauer to form her own publishing house, eSpec Books (www.especbooks.com).

Her published works include six novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court, The Redcaps’ Queen, and Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo collections Eternal Wanderings, A Legacy of Stars, Consigned to the Sea, Flash in the Can, Transcendence, Between Darkness and Light, and the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Gaslight & Grimm, Side of Good/Side of Evil, After Punk, and Footprints in the Stars. Her short stories are included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

In addition to her literary acclaim, she crafts and sells original costume horns under the moniker The Hornie Lady Custom Costume Horns, and homemade flavor-infused candied ginger under the brand of Ginger KICK! at literary conventions, on commission, and wholesale.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, and three extremely spoiled cats.

To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com or www.especbooks. 

Day

Day Al-Mohamed is an author, filmmaker, and disability policy executive. She is co-author of the Young Adult novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, is a host on Idobi Radio’s Geek Girl Riot with an audience of more than 80,000 listeners, and her most recent novella, , was published July 2019 by Falstaff Books. Her recent publications are available in Daily Science Fiction, Apex, Crossed Genres anthology “Oomph – A Little Super Goes a Long Way,” and GrayHaven Comics’ anti-bullying issue “You Are Not Alone.”  

Her current documentary, “The Invalid Corps” is on the festival circuit. 

She is an active member of Women in Film and Video and a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.  However, she is most proud of being invited to teach a workshop on storytelling at the White House in February 2016.

Day is a disability policy executive with more than fifteen years of experience. She is currently a Senior Policy Advisor with the Federal government. She has also worked as a lobbyist and political analyst on issues relating to Health, Education, Employment, Technology, and International Development. For more information on work in disability policy, please check out: http://www.DayinWashington.com.

Day presents often on the representation of disability in media, most recently at the American Bar Association, SXSW, and New York ComiCon. A proud member of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 24-01 (5th District Southern Region), she lives in Washington DC with her wife, N.R. Brown and guide dog, Gamma. She can be found online at http://www.DayAlMohamed.com and @DayAlMohamed.

michelle d. sonnierMichelle D. Sonnier is a fiction writer with a specialty in mythic fiction, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, and classic horror. She delights in giving a giggle and a shiver. Her debut novel, The Clockwork Witchreleased through eSpec Books in 2018. Look for upcoming projects from Sam’s Dot Publications and Otter Libris.

eSPEC EXCERPTS – DAVID SHERMAN’S CONTAINED VACUUM


Here’s another excerpt from the upcoming anthology In Harm’s Way (Defending The Future 8), which is currently funding on Kickstarter. We have met our initial goal and are now working toward our stretch goals.

The following excerpt takes place in the author’s bestselling Starfist universe.


Contained Vacuum

DAVID SHERMAN

According to  Janes Commercial Starfleets of the Confederation of Human Worlds, the unidentified starship off the  Dayzee Mae’s port bow was the SS Runstable, which had vanished two years previous, along with her crew and cargo.

Sergeant Tim Kerr, of the Confederation Marine Corps, stood on the bridge of the Dayzee Mae, watching the derelict ship on the display. The ship’s acting captain, Lieutenant Junior Grade McPherson, had just finished briefing him. The Runstable’s cargo had been destined for twenty different worlds, none of which were near enough to this jump point to explain why the ship might be where it was. And all of the containers she was carrying when last heard from were missing; the superstructure made a narrow tower over the empty container deck. It was emitting a distress signal but carried no friend or foe identification.

“She must have been taken by pirates,” McPherson said, “then abandoned here. This location is far enough from normal trade routes that she wouldn’t be found quickly. We don’t have a surveillance tech aboard,” he added apologetically, “and we lack the necessary equipment to detect life forms on her. So you’ll be going in blind.”

Kerr nodded silently, his gaze intent on the latest display, which showed the starship in fuzzy detail. Her near-space running lights were on, but her passenger hatch and a bridge hatch were open. No lights showed through the open hatches.

The Dayzee Mae was a civilian starship, confiscated by the Confederation navy when they caught her supporting an illegal alien slavery operation on the twin worlds Opal and Ishtar. McPherson and his crew were ferrying her to the navy base on Thorsfinni’s World where another crew would transport her to wherever the Court of Inquiry determined she should go. So, naturally, she didn’t have military-grade sensors. She did, however, have one piece of military equipment never before found on a civilian freighter. The THB, Tweed Hull Breacher, was used by Confederation Marines to cut their way into hostile or potentially hostile starships. The THB carried by the Dayzee Mae had been used by the Marines when they boarded and took her.

Finally, Kerr said, “It could be an ambush. I want to use the THB and force an entryway. We’ll enter through the rear of the bridge.”

“You’ve got it, Sergeant.” McPherson gave a wry grin. “You are our expert on hostile boardings.”

Kerr grunted. He hoped the boarding wouldn’t be against a hostile force; he and his men had seen enough action on this latest deployment, and were on their way home. Second squad, third platoon, Company L of 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team’s infantry battalion had been given the assignment of providing security on the Dayzee Mae during her transit to Thorsfinni’s World because the squad had suffered badly in the action on Ishtar. Two of the fire team leaders and one other Marine were still nominally on light duty, and two new men weren’t completely integrated into the squad yet. Chain of command thought this duty would give them a chance to rest and recuperate.

“We’re Marines,” Sergeant Kerr said a short time later, when some of his men groaned at being told about the boarding mission. “Everyone in Human Space expects us to do anything necessary, at any time, in any place, regardless how difficult.”

“We’re Marines,” Corporal Rachman Claypoole—one of the injured fire team leaders—muttered. “We do the difficult immediately. The impossible might take a little longer.”

“That’s right, Rock,” Kerr said. “Now go to the arms locker to check out your weapons and armored vacuum suits.”

“With chameleon overalls?” Corporal Chan asked.

“Yes,” he said. There was no telling who or what they might find aboard the derelict. The invisibility provided by chameleons could prove to be vital.

Armored suits, sir? Are we expecting trouble, Corporal Claypoole?” asked PFC Berry, one of the two new men in the squad.

There were vacuum suits, and there were armored vacuum suits. One protected the wearer from the vacuum of space, and the micrometeorites that swarmed through it.  Armored vacuum suits protected the wearer from the flechettes that could shred an unarmored suit, and almost every other known projectile, including plasma weapons, such as the Marines’ own blasters.

Claypoole snorted. “We’re Marines boarding an unknown starship in interstellar space. We don’t have an invitation. No shit, we’re expecting trouble.”

eSPEC EXCERPTS – JAMES CHAMBERS: A BEACH ON NELLUS


eSpec Books has a current campaign to fund three books. We’ve met our base goal, so the first book is funded, which means I can start giving everyone a sneak peek at all the wonderful words inside 🙂 This first excerpt is by James Chambers, one of the very first people I ask to any project and for good reason. I hope you enjoy! If you do, please consider checking out our campaign for Defending the Future: In Harm’s Way. We have 18 days left to fund two more books. With your support and/or help spreading the word, we can make that happen!



A Beach on Nellus

James Chambers

Sarah Nuhr FitzRose spotted the missing planet cruiser, Mercury, submerged beneath clear water at the end of a trail gouged through the jungle to the narrow beach and into the bright, rippling surf. A tongue flick to the sheath of her helmet lit her augmented reality display. Among the illuminated strings of data blinked a red icon, confirming the proximity of the beacon sewn into the abducted girl’s clothes.

Sarah scouted the shore for a place to land. The next nearest scrap of earth on Nellus lay 660 miles away across a world covered 98 percent by ocean. She banked the glider and eyed a sandy strip fringed by vine-draped trees and elephantine leaves. Cutting altitude until spray kicked up, she fired her braking thrusters then skimmed her glider’s belly across the surface to slow her approach. The glider lurched sideways. Sarah wrestled with it on course, skipping from wave crest to wave crest. She nosed down, plunging the glider beneath the fluid’s skin. The sharp drop in speed pitched her forward, knocking her helmet against the cockpit glass. Caught by the undertow, her glider jerked sideways into shallow waters then spun and skidded up the beach, furrowing sand until it stopped hard against a thick wall of entwined tree trunks.

The glider’s systems malfunctioned and winked out. The echo of the crash rang in Sarah’s ears.

When the shock faded, she punched the cockpit release, lifted the glass, and spilled out onto the soft sand. Wrestling her feet under her, she stood, surveyed her landing, and found the glider’s frame crumpled beyond repair.

She activated a sensor in her helmet to initiate a diagnostic app for her vital signs and then confirmed her weapon remained holstered at her waist. Her sleek, black body suit looked undamaged, and seconds later the diagnostic confirmed her stats as normal and verified the com-link to her orbiting ship, the Sif. She retrieved her gear bag from the wreck and slung it across one shoulder.

Ahead, an endless ocean confronted her. Behind, the abyssal dark of deep jungle awaited. To either side, the pale sand narrowed until it vanished between the two realms. She could swim along the shore or trek through the lush growth to reach the Mercury. Either way, she belonged to Nellus now, to its barely charted oceans and its inscrutable jungle untouched since its discovery early in the Myriarchy War.

She referenced her frustratingly limited planetary knowledgebase. Nellus had claimed seven exploratory expeditions before then being ignored because it held no strategic value. The planet’s most common fauna, nicknamed nellies, resembled, according to their database image, a monstrous mix of lobster and tuna with a long, translucent fin rising from its back. Each had two mouths set vertically parallel and ringed with razor-sharp teeth. They hunted in schools, which could devour their prey completely in seconds, but feeding frenzies often continued with the school consuming its own, reducing its numbers by as much as one third before satiating its hunger. Only Nellus’ sea clouds, rare, enormous creatures larger even than Earth’s blue whales, preyed on the nellies. The database listed no such predators on land, making the jungle path far more inviting.

She cycled through her full mission plan. Radiant ghosts of terrain maps slid across her view augmented by meager data—water content, soil composition, weather patterns—regarding Nellus’ vast oceans dotted by a few scattered land masses, even the largest of which sometimes vanished beneath its tides. The only thing Sarah knew less about was her objective: the abducted girl.


James Chambers2019

James Chambers is an award-winning author of horror, crime, fantasy, and science fiction. He wrote the Bram Stoker Award®-winning graphic novel, Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe. Publisher’s Weekly described The Engines of Sacrifice, his collection of four Lovecraftian-inspired novellas published by Dark Regions Press as “…chillingly evocative…” in a starred review. His story, “A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills,” was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

He has authored the short story collection Resurrection House and several novellas, including The Dead Bear Witness and Tears of Blood, in the Corpse Fauna novella series. He also wrote the illustrated story collection, The Midnight Hour: Saint Lawn Hill and Other Tales, created in collaboration with artist Jason Whitley.

His short stories have been published in the anthologies The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the CrucibleBad-Ass Faeries, Bad-Ass Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad, Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory, Bad Cop No Donut, The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, The Best of Defending the Future, Breach the Hull, By Other Means, Chiral Mad 2, Chiral Mad 4, Dance Like A Monkey,  Dark Hallows II: Tales from the Witching Hour, Deep Cuts, The Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon, Dragon’s Lure, Fantastic Futures 13, Gaslight and Grimm, The Green Hornet Chronicles, Hardboiled Cthulhu, Hear Them Roar In An Iron Cage, Kolchak the Night Stalker: Passages of the Macabre, Man and MachineMermaids 13 No Longer DreamsQualia Nous, Shadows Over Main Street (1 and 2), The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson, So It Begins, The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, To Hell in a Fast Car, Truth or Dare, TV Gods, Walrus Tales, Weird Trails, and With Great Power; the chapbook Mooncat Jack; and the magazines Bare BoneCthulhu Sex, and Allen K’s Inhuman.

He has also written numerous comic books including Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals, the critically acclaimed “The Revenant” in Shadow HouseThe Midnight Hour with Jason Whitley, and the award-winning original graphic novel, Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe.

He is a member and trustee of the Horror Writers Association, and recipient of the 2012 Richard Laymon Award and the 2016 Silver Hammer Award.

He lives in New York.

Visit his website: http://www.jameschambersonline.com.


Other eSpec Books James Chambers has contributed to:
The Best of Defending the Future
The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries
The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson
Defending the Future 6: Dogs of War
Defending the Future 7: Man and Machine
Gaslight & Grimm
The Side of Good/The Side of Evil
Beyond the Cradle 1: If We Had Known
Awakened Modern
After Punk: Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife


Upcoming eSpec Books titles by James Chambers:
Three Chords of Chaos: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale
The Dead Bear Witness
Tears of Blood
The Dead in Their Masses


Upcoming eSpec Books title James Chambers has contributed to:
Defending the Future 8: In Harm’s Way
Beyond the Cradle 2: Footprints in the Stars

FROM THE PUBLISHER – WE’RE AT IT AGAIN…


Where has the year gone? Already a quarter of the way in and it hardly seems we’ve gotten anything done at all! Time to fix that. We have launched our next campaign.

KSC-IHW-FrontPage

This go-around we have three books we want to do: In Harm’s Way (Defending the Future Book 8) edited by Mike McPhail, Footprints in the Stars (Beyond the Cradle Book 2) edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and Devil Dancers, a single-author collection by Robert E. Waters. If we hit our goal the first one will be funded. From there we work to unlock the other books via the stretch goals.

To learn more, please visit our page on Kickstarter.

Not your thing? Or not the right time? Don’t have the extra in your budget?

We understand. We’ve been there! But you can still help us by spreading the word.

Thank you,

Danielle

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!

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