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

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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!

COVER REVEAL – AFTER PUNK


eSpec Books is delighted to present to you:

Web-AfterPunk
(cover design by Mike McPhail of McP Digital Graphics)

AFTER PUNK:
Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife

edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer

While mankind can scarce hope to pierce the Veil without crossing it, a few intrepid souls will ever bend their will against the aether, combining artifice and the arcane to uncover its secrets. 

From voodoo death cults to the Day of the Dead, mummy parties, the wheel of reincarnation, the practice of death portraits, and so much more, these tales leave no gravestone unturned. 

Be it heaven or hell or the limbo in between, the hereafter is about to get ‘Punked.

With stories by Jody Lynn Nye, David Sherman, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, James Chambers, Michelle D. Sonnier, Jeffrey Lyman, Bernie Mojzes, Travis I. Sivart, Jeff Young, David Lee Summers, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


lamp-text-3There isn’t a bad story in here. The tone of the stories ranges from funny to sad to though provoking. Pick this one up! – Amazon Reader


consigned-to-the-sea-2x3Overall this is a fun, albeit very short, collection, well-worth a read. -David Felts, SFReader


proof-front-sisterAs expected this author has performed with excellence. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. – John Krizo, Amazon


mam-proof-finalAnyone who enjoys military science fiction in general, and speculations on the future of machines, and machine/human interfacing and machine intelligence specifically, will be thoroughly entertained. -David Felts, SFReader


Gaslight and GrimmLiked the premise of the book and thought the authors all did a good job of successfully merging fairytale tropes with steampunk ambiance, to create a whole that was greater than the sum of its (carefully geared and lubricated) parts. Anna, Kobo

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – L. JAGI LAMPLIGHTER


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

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

LJL: A fairy that has a noir attitude rather than the more delicate eerie mood common of folk tales.

eSB: Can you tell us a little about your story, “Not-So-Silent Night”, that was selected for The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries?


baf3front-smLJL:  A friend of mine was once at a book signing when a somewhat unkempt stranger came up and began regaling her with a story idea—I cannot recall if he wanted to write it himself, or wanted her to write it for him. The idea was Santa Claus in a dog fight with Nazis on Christmas Eve.

wacI loved the idea. When the time came to write a Bad Ass Faerie story, I remembered this charming idea and started doing a little research. The unheralded efforts of the WAC were being discussed at the time. The two ideas kind of clicked. From there, it was a matter of picking what kind of fairy to have join the fun. I love gremlins, but having them as the attackers seemed appropriate. Somehow Shauna O’Shaughnessy and Tom-O’-Thunder were born.

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

Irish Whiskey, to be sure.

eSB: What do you like most about The Bad-Ass Faeries series, and why?

I like several things. One, fairy tales are a favorite story form of mine. This series provided a chance to put them before the reading public again. Two, there is a vibrancy and charm that comes from updating a classic and bringing it into a more modern way of thought.

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

For me, the hardest part was the bad attitude. As a lover of fairytales, I like the eerie, mystical mood that comes with the genre. Making my fae loudmouthed instead of gracious and tricky was difficult.

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

It goes back so far, I can’t recall the start. But I have a clear memory of being seven years old and making a fairy house—the way other people make bird houses—out of old pie tins and other knickknacks. (In retrospect, I wonder why we thought a fairy would want to live in a metal house, even if it was aluminum.) We put it up in the woods, so faires or brownies could find it and make a home.

eSB: What interested you in writing for this series?

I loved the idea from when Danielle first mentioned it, well before she eve started on the first book. Urban fantasy had not even begun yet as a genre. It sounded like an idea that would resonate with readers.

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

Alas, nothing about me is bad-assed. ;-P

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

I have not thought of expanding this particular story. Though I do hope someday to write more about Santa Claus.

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

l-jagi-lamplighter-dreamlandThe Books of Unexpected Enlightenment have been described as “Fringe meets Narnia at Hogwarts.” The Prospero’s Children series is a modern sequel to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with mystery and humor. A couple of my short stories that appeared in various Bad-Ass Faerie anthologies were set in this background.

I am in several recent anthologies including God, Robot, Forbidden Thoughts, Mythic Orbits.

lamp-text-3I also have an anthology of my own short stories—including some that first appeared in the BAF anthologies—called In The Lamplight. It is published by eSpec Books!

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

I am hard at work on The Awful Truth About Forgetting, book four of The Books of Unexpected Enlightenment. I am also working on several short stories.


l-jagi-lamplighter

L. Jagi Lamplighter is the author of the YA fantasy series: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. She is also the author of the Prospero’s Daughter series: Prospero Lost, Prospero In Hell, and Prospero Regained. She has a brand-new short story collection, In the Lamplight, out through eSpec BooksShe has published numerous articles on Japanese animation and appears in several short story anthologies, including Best Of Dreams Of Decadence, No Longer Dreams, Coliseum Morpheuon, Bad-Ass Faeries Anthologies (where she is also an assistant editor) and the Science Fiction Book Club’s Don’t Open This Book.  

 

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

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

Twitter – lampwright4

Gab – @Arhyalon

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/L.-Jagi-Lamplighter/e/B0028OGMLM

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

Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts: http://lampwright.wixsite.com/roanoke-academy

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


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This one seems to be aimed at teens and older elementary (and grandfathers) and it was a fun read. – 5 Stars, F. David Porter, Amazon


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Generally a very entertaining read, with several superlative stories – 4 Stars, ggibson, Amazon


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Brenda Cooper is always a good bet for an entertaining and thought provoking read. – 5 Stars, Mickey Elam, Amazon


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This collection does more than entertain. It enthralled me.

I don’t remember the last time I read a collection of stories, single author or otherwise, where I found each story to be so good. – 5 Stars, Frank Luke, Amazon

NEW KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN – THE BEST OF BAD-ASS FAERIES


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

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

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

Bad-Ass Faeries  

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

Just Plain Bad  

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

In All Their Glory  

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

It’s Elemental  

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

We hope you will help us celebrate these great authors!

 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


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“This collection of uplifting fantasy tales from this imaginative author will entertain you and tug your heart to a nobler realm.” J. Mark Thompson, Amazon Review

“This is s fantasy work that will appeal to nearly everyone. I especially enjoyed MIRROR OF MATSUMA. A fun and mentally challenging collection. Unusual today.” SFWA Reader, Amazon Review


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It’s not a review, but Brenda Cooper’s POST made Kirkus’s Epic List of books to look forward to in 2017!

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER – 2016 RECAP


This has been an interesting year for us at eSpec Books, in every connotation of the word.

We have held three successful Kickstarters, funding a total of seven books, we have released ten titles in print and/or ebook this year, and we have become self-employeed…but not salaried. 

Our Best Sellers for the year were:

Print

  1. The Weird Wild West
  2. Gaslight & Grimm
  3. Best of Defending the Future
  4. POST
  5. Dogs of War – Reissued / In the Lamplight (tie)

eBook

  1. The Weird Wild West
  2. Gaslight & Grimm
  3. Best of Defending the Future
  4. Dogs of War – Reissue
  5. In the Lamplight

We have signed books with award-winning, bestselling authors  Jack Campbell, Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, and David Sherman, and have brought on some exciting newcomers in our anthology projects.

At Balticon we connected with old friends, had a fire alarm, and held a pretty amazing launch party where we got to meet quite a few of our authors for the first time in person, as well as gave away loads of prizes and sold lots of book. We also had enough goodies left over that we provided food for the party after us, and they still had leftovers to send to the con suite when they were done.

 


We have also started a new reprint line of books, Paper Phoenix Press and released our first title under that imprint.

All in all, this has been an amazing year of growth for us, if also one of readjustment.

Thank you all for joining us on this journey. We hope you’ll continue to follow along in the new year.

Be nice, be happy, be safe this holiday season!

Danielle McPhail, Mike McPhail, and Greg Schauer