CONVENTION UPDATE – PHILCON


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

2019-11-05 14.03.55
Homemade Ginger KICK! Ginger Ale
2019-11-05 13.32.23
Some of our raffle prizes for the eSpec Books Launch Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Danielle Ackley-McPhail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike McPhail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert E. Waters

Sat 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Three‚ÄĒMy Favorite Books

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

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

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

Sun 12:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two‚ÄĒHow Far Can You Suspend Someone’s Disbelief?¬†

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

Sun 2:00 PM in Executive Suite 623‚ÄĒReadings: Katrina Forest, Robert E. Waters, Danielle Ackley-McPhail¬†

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Schedule available on his blog.

 

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

 

CONVENTION SCHEDULES – NOVEMBER

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

Whew! November is very busy for us these year. This coming weekend is the only one we don’t have a convention.

Here are the schedules we have been assigned (subject to change without prior notification.) 

As always, we can be found in the dealers room at each convention when we are not on panels. Unless, of course, the dealers room is closed, in which case you’ll find us somewhere if you try hard enough, but I can’t tell you where ūüôā

DerpyCon – November 9 – 11 – Morristown, NJ

Schedule for Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Friday
Opening Ceremony Friday 2 PM-3 PM Main Events
Book Design for Beginners Friday 9:15 PM-10:15 PM Panel 2

Saturday
Crowdfunding for the Beginner Saturday  2:45 PM-3:45 PM Panel 1

Sunday
Publishing Q and A Sunday 10:15 AM-11:15 AM Panel 2
Sunday Morning Mad Libs Sunday 12:15-1:15 PM Panels 3 (Danielle only)

Philcon – November 16 – 18 – Cherry Hill, NJ

Schedule for Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Friday
Fri 6:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SELF-PUBLISHING (3050)
    [Panelists: Chris Kreuter (mod), Paul Levinson, Danielle
¬† ¬† Ackley-McPhail, April Grey, Michael D’Ambrosio, Russ Colchamiro]
    When is it better to shop your book around to publishers, and when
    does it make more sense to put it out yourself
Fri 7:00 PM in Executive Suite 623 (1 hour)
READINGS: FRIDAY 7PM (3331)
    [Panelists: Darrell Schweitzer (mod), Danielle Ackley-McPhail]
Saturday
Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
INDIE PUBLISHING 103: THE PUBLISHING PROCESS (3070)
    [Panelists: Alex Shvartsman (mod), Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle
    Ackley-McPhail, Paul Levinson, Ken Altabef]
    From cover design to distribution options, where do you take your
    masterpiece
Sat 4:00 PM in Executive Suite 623 (1 hour)
BROAD UNIVERSE RAPID-FIRE READINGS (3280)
    [Panelists: April Grey (mod), Elizabeth Crowens, Sally Wiener
    Grotta, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Roberta Rogow, Elektra Hammond]
Sat 7:00 PM in Executive Suite 823 (1 hour)
BOOK LAUNCH for SHATTERED DREAMS and STORIES OF FREMONT’S CHILDREN: BY eSpec Books (3303)
    [Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (mod), Mike McPhail]
Sunday
Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
WHEN LESS IS MORE (3079)
    [Panelists: Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Steven Brust, Marshall Ryan
    Maresca, Bernie Mojzes, Danielle Ackley-McPhail]
¬† ¬† We’ve talked a lot over the years about how to avoid infodumping, or
    at least, giving your readers information in a way that is
    entertaining and easy to parse. But sometimes the question you ought
¬† ¬† to ask is not how to insert all the facts about the world you’ve
¬† ¬† built, but “is it necessary?
Schedule for Mike McPhail
Saturday
Sat 10:00 AM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
INDIE PUBLISHING 101: BECOMING A PROJECT MANAGER (3068)
    [Panelists: Mike McPhail (mod), Chris Kreuter, Leighland Feinman,
    Glenn Hauman, Aaron Rosenberg, April Grey]
    How to plan the project, manage time, and stay on budget
Sat 1:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)
HOW NOT TO DIE FROM EXPOSURE (3220)
    [Panelists: Nathan Lilly (mod), Lisa Hertel, Heidi Hooper, Tess
    Kissinger, Mike McPhail, Robert Walters]
    Artists are always being asked to work for exposure. When is working
¬† ¬† for free (or ‚Äúon-spec‚ÄĚ) a bad idea? When is it a good idea? How
    do you know the difference
Sat 3:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
GETTING STARTED WITH DIGITAL ART (3221)
    [Panelists: Ray Ridenour (mod), Alan Beck, Eric Hardenbrook, Nathan
    Lilly, Mike McPhail]
    What are the best art applications? Platforms? Where do I learn to
    use them? Is a digital pen and tablet needed
Sat 7:00 PM in Executive Suite 823 (1 hour)
BOOK LAUNCH: BY MIKE MCPHAIL AND DANIELLE ACKLEY-MCPHAIL (3303)
    [Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (mod), Mike McPhail]
Sat 9:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
THE PARADOX OF WRITING SF (3074)
    [Panelists: Michael Swanwick (mod), Martin Berman-Gorvine, Eric
    Hardenbrook, Mike McPhail]
    Science Fiction is the genre best suited for ideas that challenge
    the status quo, because it is not bound by our reality as we know
    it. At the same time, SF has existed for long enough that it has
    become full of ossified paradigms that no longer force us to examine
    our perspectives. How do we keep our ideas relevant given the
    evolutionary nature of the genre while also dealing with the natural
    tendency of fiction to recycle cliches, frameworks, and touchstones
    that are familiar to us
Sunday
Sun 12:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
HOW TO CHANNEL YOUR COMPULSIVE WORLD-BUILDING HABIT INTO SOMETHING
CONSTRUCTIVE (3076)
    [Panelists: Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Brenda W. Clough, John Monahan,
    Mike McPhail, Russell J. Handelman]
¬† ¬† You’ve got maps, star charts, cultures developed for a multitude of
    different races, and a timeline of the main historical developments
¬† ¬† over the last 1,000 years. But what you don’t have is any clue what
¬† ¬† to do with it all! Let’s see if we can help with that.

ChessieCon – November 24 – 26 – Timonium, MD

Schedule for Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Friday
Running a Small Press Friday 6:45pm GS1
Reading: Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading Friday 9:15pm GS2
Saturday
**Moderator Time Management for the Overachieving Creator Saturday 10:00am GS1
**Moderator¬†It’s OK to Not Like Things…¬†Saturday 5:30pm GS1
Group Signing Saturday 6:45pm Atrium
Sunday
Reading: Danielle Ackley-McPhail Sunday 11:15am C1-2
Schedule for Mike McPhail
Friday
Real Life Military vs SF/F Friday 8:00pm GS1
Saturday
Put a Pretty Face on It РCover Design in the Age of Digital Art Saturday 12:30pm GS2
Group Signing Saturday 6:45pm Atrium

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – BALTICON 51


It’s that time of year again! Convention time.

This weekend Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail represent eSpec Books at Balticon, in Baltimore, MD.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Saturday May 27, 2017

¬†11:00AM –¬†Book Design 101 Workshop

Sunday May 28, 2017

7:00PM –¬†eSpec Books Launch Party¬†– With John Hemry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Lee C. Hillman, Brian Koscienski, Chris Pisano, Jeff Young, Robert E. Waters, Peter Prellwitz, Chris Hiles, John L. French, Patrick Thomas and more.

Mike McPhail

Saturday May 27, 2017

Sunday May 28, 2017

¬†7:00PM –¬†eSpec Books Launch Party

Monday May 29, 2017

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – HELIOSPHERE


heliosphere_logo_wptheme5Hard to believe Heliosphere is just two weeks away, in Tarrytown, NY. I was pretty sure I had at least three weeks to get ready. :::sigh::: 

If you aren’t familiar with the convention don’t feel bad. This¬†is the first year. I’m excited to say I am one of the guests of honor, along with David Gerrold and Jacqueline Carey. I don’t have locations, but below is the current schedule for both myself and Mike McPhail.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Autograph Signing – Friday 4:45 – 5:45pm

Meet and Greet – Friday 8:00 – 10:00pm

Reading – Saturday at 10:00am.

Guest of Honor Spotlight (with Keith R.A. DeCandido) – Saturday 2:30 – 4:00pm

The Die Is Cast Launch Party – Saturday 6:00 – 8:00pm – There will be food, fun, and prizes, as usual, but this time around the only cooking I need to do is make some nummy baked goods to supplement what will already be there.

Kickstarter 101 – Sunday 10:00 – 11:30am

proof-tdis-final

Mike McPhail

Starting Your Own Small Press – Saturday Noon – 1:30pm

The Die Is Cast Launch Party – Saturday 6:00 – 8:00pm

Breaking into the Industry as an Artist – Sunday Noon – 1:30pm

Books-n-Brews – to be scheduled

 

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – PHILCON


Philcon

Hard to believe that Philcon is already coming up. eSpec Books will have a table in the dealer’s room, for those who need to bring their library up to date. We will also be holding a launch party Saturday from 7pm to 9pm in the Con Suite (823). Hope to see you there! Below is our full schedule.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Sat 7:00PM in Executive Suite 823 –¬†The eSpec Books Launch Party, Hour 1
Sat 8:00PM in Executive Suite 823 –¬†The eSpec Books Launch Party, Hour 2

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (mod), Mike McPhail, Jeff Young, Robert E. Waters, James Chambers, Eric Hardenbrook, Lawrence M. Schoen

eSpec Books launches their new titles, The Best of Defending the Future, edited by Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, POST by Brenda Cooper, and In the Lamplight, by L. Jagi Lamplighter. Join the authors and editors for food, fun, and prizes

Sun 11:00AM in Plaza III (Three) –¬†Marketing Multi-Genre Works
Sun 1:00PM in Plaza III (Three) –¬†So Should I Just Self-Publish Through Amazon, or What?¬†

Mike McPhail
Fri 9:00PM in Plaza III (Three) –¬†“Reverse the Polarity? But that Would…!”

Sat 11:00AM in Executive Suite C –¬†Shared Storytelling in Games
Sat 12:00PM in Plaza II (Two) –¬†What To Do When Real Science Outpaces Your Current SF Project¬†
Sat 7:00PM in Executive Suite 823 –¬†The eSpec Books Launch Party, Hour 1
Sat 8:00PM in Executive Suite 823 –¬†The eSpec Books Launch Party, Hour 2¬†

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Well, Happy Friday to you too ūüôā So glad to see it’s gotten here. This week¬†we actually have an event review, which is both wonderful and unusual (kind of describes us as well, doesn’t it? ūüôā )

0529162011a-1-1“With plenty of good food, an impressive array of authors, and a pile of good books to be had, this was an excellent event. There were a number of small presses at Balticon, many of whom clearly get a decent chunk of their business from convention sales, and eSpec, run by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Mike McPhail, is one of my favorites” Dreaming About Other Worlds¬†

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Fans of Steam Punk will love, non-fans will enjoy too. 4 Stars, Rotten Roger, Amazon

From the Horses Mouth (Gaslight and Grimm): 4/5
I don’t know anything about The Goose Girl, but I love the old woman and the horse head, as well as the reveal at the end. In my opinion, the best use of suspense/withheld information so far.” 3 Stars, Naima, Goodreads¬†

CONVENTION RECAP – BALTICON 50


Whew! Can you say exhausted? I took yesterday off to recover and I’m still beat!

Balticon was a series of new experiences this year. After almost 15 years of attending, the last ten or so at the same location, the convention moved back down to Baltimore’s inner harbor for it’s celebrated 50th con.

This was a big one, folks. Loads and loads of guests, new venue, bonus Guests of Honors from years past. Needless to say all of these changes elevated the level of chaos this year as everyone scrambled to figure out what they were doing, when and where. There was a lot of walks down long corridors and wandering the maze to figure out where such programming rooms were, but all in all–other than my feet–the experience was less painful than I feared it might be.

On Friday night my first panel was Starting Your Own Small Press. This was very well attended for 5pm on a Friday night. The discussion was informative and well received and the audience had loads of great questions. If only it hadn’t been such a hike to find the room.

The only other thing I had on Friday was Meet the Guests. I showed up at the right room a little early to find a sign saying it had moved to the con suite, but never did see any of those who were supposed to participate and so wandered off to the bar with Jennifer Povey and The Weird Wild West contributor Ken Schrader, after waiting about fifteen minutes for something to happen.

Oh…and a fire scare. The whole building was evacuated around 7:30pm. I’m told someone one thought a smoke machine would really add some atmosphere to a concert going on…they were right. But no one was there to enjoy it once the alarm went off.

0527161830a
Me, Mike McPhail, John L. French, and Patrick Thomas waiting for the chaos to resume.

No programming for me on Saturday…or so I thought. Discovered that was when my reading was, and fortunately I discovered in time to actually attend because the room was pretty packed for the four authors reading. My Meet eSpec Books panel, however, had been moved to Saturday night without my knowledge and so I hung out for a little while in my room, then went to the game room where my good friends Alf and Cynthia regretted teaching me to play Ascension, then wandered off for a little while to Gail Z. Martin’s impromptu pre-release party for Modern Magic…instead of being where I was supposed to be.

0529161430a-1Now Sunday…we’ll have to talk about Sunday. The crazy descended. Con: I had to wake up uber early for a Book Design and Layout panel I was slated to give. That went REAL well, but was nowhere near long enough. Then right off to the dealer’s room where I got to meet Jody Lynn Nye and hug Larry Niven.

I participated in the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, organized by Randee Dawn, then I rushed off to organized everything for the Gaslight and Grimm launch party. Discovered a bunch of supplies weren’t showing up, then arrived at the party room to discover everything was half tables…only about one foot wide! We pushed two together for all the food tables and left the congregating tables as is. We had loads of people and load of authors0529161317b-1 showing up to oggle our books and covet the impressive array of raffle prizes we gave away at the end of the night. Everyone was wonderful helping out, especially the Chrises Hiles (squared) Alf and Cynthia, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Jean Marie Ward, Wrenn Simms, Vickie DiSantos and loads of other people I can’t remember now because my brain was on overload.

The party was a huge success and surprisingly we were able to donate food to the Game of Thrones party following ours. Many, many books were sold and happy authors and attendees abounded.

0529162011a-1-1
Back (left to right): Danny Birt, Jonah Knight, Jeff Young, Robert E. Waters, David Lee Summers, Chris Hiles, Eric Hardenbrook, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Dustin Blottenberger, Drew Bittner, Christine Norris, Ken Schrader. Front (left to right): Greg Schauer, me, Mike McPhail, Jean Marie Ward, Gail Z. Martin, and John L. French. Not pictured here: Vonnie Winslow Crist, Brigitte Winter, Kelly A. Harmon, Bud Sparhawk.

 

I don’t have any photos of the party, other than this one of the editors, authors and artists, but hope to share some once they are sent to me.

All in all a great time, though the added expense of parking and eating was a blow, as was the inaccessibility of places to pick up last-minute party supplies.  

 

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE PRIZES #8


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at¬†Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three¬†anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War ‚Äď Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Our Final Batch of Featured Prizes

These are some of our contributor prizes. The books are donated by their respective authors: Kelly A. Harmon (Gaslight and Grimm) Jean Marie Ward (Gaslight and Grimm) and James Chambers (The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, and Gaslight and Grimm); the Fairy Catmother tote bag (x2) is donated by Gaslight and Grimm editor and contributor Diana Bastine; and  the amazing steampunk snowman is both created and donated by Dogs of War contributor Judi Fleming of Fleming Gourds. 

I expect there will be other prizes I haven’t cataloged, but hey…you get the idea ūüėČ

So remember, it’s all fun and games…until someone else wins the prize! Don’t let that happen to you. Join us at the launch for your chances to win!

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you‚Äďor someone representing you‚Äďmust be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – BALTICON 50 MAY 27-30


LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #4


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at¬†Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three¬†anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War ‚Äď Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

What?! You didn’t think we’d forget the sweets, did you? I don’t go for sheet cakes or anything…I found that much of the time the cake went to waste because we had so many other yummy things to eat first. Instead we go for other bite-sized yummies you can eat along with your savory items. This year I delegated so I only had to make one batch of cookies…my famous Limoncello Coconut cookies with Candied Ginger. These come with the CJ Henderson Seal of Approval. It is mostly the only cookie I make anymore because I just can’t beat it with anything else. (If you ask REAL nice I might give you the recipe ūüôā )

0514162319_resized

Trust me, a photo doesn’t do them justice, but here they are ūüôā I took them to a party today and was surprised to hear someone say the cookies were a mistake…then they went on to say they’d already had FOUR. I’ll also be making rice krispy treats, but not until closer to the event

Now…about that delegating I mentioned. We have four other industrious bakers slaving over a hot oven to ensure there are tasty treats for everyone on May 29th.

Gaslight &¬†Grimm contributor Jean Marie Ward will be serving up molasses cookies and snowballs with pecans, The Weird Wild West contributor Robert E. Waters will be bringing his wife’s famous peanut butter brownies, and my wonderful sister Barbara Miller will be making yummy, crispy chocolate chip cookies! (Disclaimer: the below photographs are for demonstration only and do not represent the actual baked goods my minions are working on, which may or may not have already been baked.)

In addition to these home-baked goods, we generally supplement with my favorite cream puffs and other commercially obtained treats. Will it be enough? Who knows! Will we endeavor to have no con-goer go hungry? You bet!

Have we tormented you enough? Because, you know…the party at this point is just four days away!¬†Oh, and…don’t fight over the canapes, please!

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #3


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at¬†Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three¬†anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War ‚Äď Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

This weekend saw more of Mike’s homemade dough, this time for the creation of homemade stromboli. If you aren’t familiar with that word, its also often called pepperoni bread because that is the most common ingredient, paired with mozzarella cheese.¬†We like to be a bit more diverse, though.

The fillings we used this time around are:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Fresh garlic
  • White onion
  • Green pepper
  • Black olives
  • ricotta cheese
  • parmesan

We¬†roll the dough flat into as close an approximation of a square as we¬†can, lay out our toppings, then roll the whole thing into as tight a spiral as we¬†are able, like we¬†were making pinwheel cookies, only we skip¬†the slicing step until AFTER we’ve baked ūüėČ .

They don’t always turn out pretty…but are definitely delicious!

Right now there are TEN stromboli waiting in my freezer. Four pepperoni/mozzarella, one ground beef with peppers, onions, and black olives, one sweet italian sausage with peppers, onions, and black olives, one spinach/mozzarella, one sweet italian sausage with fresh garlic, spinach and mozzarella, and two that are three-cheese! 

I must confess, this time around we didn’t behave ourselves, we made two for ourselves to nosh on.¬†

The first is the traditional pepperoni/mozzarella, the other is a spinach/ricotta. Me, I will go for the pepperoni EVERY time (I taught myself to make this recipe because I LOVE pepperoni stromboli and couldn’t get it anymore when I moved for school)…but we know not everyone can or chooses to eat meat, so we make sure to have vegetarian alternatives.

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEW


Happy Friday, everyone.

We didn’t get any reviews this week. Apparently everyone is too busy reading the¬†books¬†ūüôā

So, this week we are giving you an event review.

Weird Wild West editors Margaret S. McGraw and Emily Lavin Leverett attended Ravencon last weekend and the convention was kind enough to host a launch party for them. Here is a write-up from Margaret:

The Authors
Left to Right: Emily Lavin Leveret, Gail Z. Martin, RS Belcher, and Margaret S. McGraw

RavenCon hosted a Weird Wild West book launch party¬†in Williamsburg, VA, featuring editors Emily Lavin Leverett and Margaret¬†S. McGraw, and contributing authors Gail Z. Martin and Rod “RS” Belcher. Attending guests included Darin Kennedy, Matthew Saunders, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, Jim Nettles, and several others.

The Guests

Gail Martin read from her short story “Ruin Creek” and shared¬†wonderful¬†stories about her parents, to whom the book is dedicated, and their experiences living with the Lakota tribe, as well as the unusual legacy they left behind.

LRZ_FTZ  in Native American Costume
Dr. L.R. Zehner (Choker 68, talon & bead 69, peace medal 67, breastplate 73, shirt 72, pants 63, mocc 70, pipe bag 64, pipe 61) and Frances Zehner (dress 6, belt 4, mocc 2) 

Photo credit: Frank Bennett Fiske, dated Oct 23, 1950.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #2


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at¬†Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three¬†anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War ‚Äď Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

On Friday my kitchen–or more accurately, my whole house–filled with¬†some very tempting scents as we made homemade flatbread pizzas.¬†Mike first made the dough from scratch, adding fresh rosemary and garlic powder to the basic recipe, then I came in for the actual construction.

You can see photos below of the toppings we used, Mike’s lovely dough as I began to roll it out, then the three stages of the construction itself. The toppings, the cheese, then the glorious endgame of the baked bread. Once we reached this stage the pizzas were cut in half, then into strips roughly an inch and a half wide for easier serving. When everything cooled down they were frozen for the big day.

Again, we have to serve them cold, but it doesn’t seem to have an adverse affect on anyone’s appetite ūüėČ

The mostly diced toppings–used in various combinations–are:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Stewed tomatoes
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Fresh garlic
  • White onion
  • Green pepper
  • Black olives
  • Traditional tomato sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto sauce

All in all, I estimate we made about ten pizzas in meat, vegetarian, and all-cheese varieties. This is in addition to the five we made previously for the event. (We couldn’t do a cheeseless variation because the toppings would have fallen off by the time they were served.) It sounds like a lot, but we serve a LOT of people and by Sunday at the con they are pretty hungry for “real” food.

Anyway, here’s hoping we see you there!

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE PRIZES #2


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War РReissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s¬†Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Today’s Featured Prizes

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These are our leather-themed prizes. The Satchel bag purse is a Sandcrafter creation donated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail. The steampunk cap is of unknown origin, also donated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail. The leather flask featuring the Gear-and-Wolf icon from the Gaslight & Grimm Kickstarter campaign is another Sandcrafter creation, commissioned by eSpec Books specifically for the launch.

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

THE LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #1


If there is anything I am known for–besides my awesome hugs–it is my launch party fare.

See, I know what cons are like. I know most people who go to them have already blown their cash in the dealer’s room, or just getting to the con, so most of what the subsist on during the weekend is whatever food they can scrounge at the evening parties.

If you’ve been to a con you know this mostly consists of veggie trays, cheese, chips, cake and soda…oh, and candy, lots and lots of candy, and if you’re lucky, some free alcohol.

Not much real food, though.

And then there is me. See…when I hold a launch I am so busy running around, I’m lucky if I get to eat at all, so I know how all those con goers feel. Their bellies are wrapping themselves around their spines…or rebelling against all the less than food like substances being consumed.

It’s genetic…I have to give them food.

So, if you are fortunate to join us at Balticon 50 this year, you can expect to enjoy (if you get in the food line quick enough) one of my specialties – Homemade Pork/Sausage Potstickers

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These contain half sweet Italian sausage, half ground pork, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, carrots, and cabbage. Oh, and love ūüôā

Thank you, I’ll be cooking all week…okay…all month, be sure to tip your waiters ūüėČ

But seriously, I really will be cooking all month, and bringing you updates…and photos, of what will be on the menu.

Please do consider coming out to help us celebrate the release of Gaslight & Grimm, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, and the reissue of Dogs of War.

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The Prizes #1