STATE OF THE ‘SPEC – APOCALYPSE EDITION


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

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

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

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

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


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

 


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


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

Proof-BabaAli

What We Are Working On Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NETGALLEY LISTINGS


Are you a librarian, bookseller, or reviewer? Do you have a NetGalley account? The following eSpec titles are available for request in the month of March.


Proof-DeathsEmbrace

Now available on NetGalley

Michelle D. Sonnier’s Death’s Embrace

There is no aspect of life that magic does not touch, including death.

Raised to follow in her mother’s footsteps, groomed to be a proper hedgewitch, Macaria longs to blossom and bloom both into womanhood and her magic. But deep inside, doubts have begun to take root.

During a springtime ritual meant to ensure a fruitful growing season, fate conspires to redirect Macaria’s path. Falling victim to ill omen after ill omen, she returns home bloody and bruised to meet her destiny.

With the dawn, and an unfortunate sacrifice, her magic unfurls and her new vocation as a death witch is revealed.

Can Macaria learn to see the beauty in Death? Or will the Council of Witches force her into its final embrace?

A prequel novella in the universe of The Clockwork Witch


Proof-Finder-J

Now available on NetGalley

Megan Mackie’s The Finder of the Lucky Devil

The only thing more dangerous than using your magic to help a cybernetic spy find a missing criminal is being the criminal he’s looking for…

When Rune Leveau is approached by a charmingly dangerous, cybernetically-altered, corporate spy, St. Benedict, his request seemed simple: use her magical Talent to help him find an elusive criminal named Anna Masterson. But Rune has a dangerous secret: She IS Anna Masterson.

Over the past six years, St. Benedict has searched for the Masterson Files, a computer program rumored to do the impossible—cast magic spells. The technology could reshape the world. His last hope is this Finder of the Lucky Devil, but the Finder is proving difficult… and St. Benedict isn’t going to take no for an answer.

Set in an alternate Chicago, where technology and magic are in competition with each other, this fast-paced cat-and-mouse chase makes The Finder of the Lucky Devil a welcome addition to your urban fantasy/cyberpunk library.

NEW RELEASE – THE FINDER OF THE LUCKY DEVIL by MEGAN MACKIE


Proof-Finder-J

Book One of The Lucky Devil series

The only thing more dangerous than using your magic to help a cybernetic spy find a missing criminal is being the criminal he’s looking for…

When Rune Leveau is approached by a charmingly dangerous, cybernetically-altered, corporate spy, St. Benedict, his request seemed simple: use her magical Talent to help him find an elusive criminal named Anna Masterson. But Rune has a dangerous secret: She IS Anna Masterson.

Over the past six years, St. Benedict has searched for the Masterson Files, a computer program rumored to do the impossible—cast magic spells. The technology could reshape the world. His last hope is this Finder of the Lucky Devil, but the Finder is proving difficult… and St. Benedict isn’t going to take no for an answer.

Set in an alternate Chicago, where technology and magic are in competition with each other, this fast-paced cat-and-mouse chase makes The Finder of the Lucky Devil a welcome addition to your urban fantasy/cyberpunk library.

Now available.


IMG_0450Megan Mackie is a writer, actor, and playwright. She started her writing career as an indie author and had such smashing success in her first year with her inaugural book The Finder of the Lucky Devil, that she made the transition to traditional publishing. She has become a personality at many cons, recognizable by her iconic leather hat and engaging smile. She has recently joined Bard’s Tower, a mobile con bookstore, and has sold her books next to great authors such as Peter David, Melinda Snodgrass, Dan Wells, Claudia Gray, John Jackson Miller, and Jim Butcher, to name a few.

She has written four novels including: The Finder of the Lucky Devil, The Saint of Liars, Death and the Crone, and Saint Code: Lost all of which will be re-releasing through eSpec Books. She is also a contributing writer in the role-playing game Legendlore soon to be published by Onyx Path Publishing.

Outside of writing, she likes to play games: board games, RPGs, and video games. She has a regular Pathfinder group who is working their way through Rapanthuk. She lives in Chicago with her husband and children, dog, three cats, and her mother in the apartment upstairs.

NEW RELEASES


We’ve been bringing out some backlist titles, both our own, and for our authors. The following are our recent releases.


Saint Code The Lost 2 proof

The Lost (Saint Code Book 1)

Megan Mackie

The cybernetic revolution was inevitable. Nothing else changed.

For St. Augustina, a cyber-spy for hire, life has been a series of endless nights in the heart of the Data Bowl, the cybernetic city of corporate markets and submarkets. She wasn’t expecting a typical job from the mysterious Orange Lady to be any different.

She was wrong.

From fighting Neo-ninjas to singing in a lounge act, the job turns out to be anything but typical. But as she comes closer and closer to her goals, the attacks grow more personal…and deadly. Caught in a web of betrayals both new and old, St Augustina fights to untangle the facts and discover who’s after her.

Will she lose her life or gain her freedom?

Related books: Death and the Crone


Tomorrow's Memories 6x9

Tomorrow’s Memories (Eternal Cycle Book 2)

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Havoc…Destruction…Revenge…

With triumph heavy on their hearts, Kara O’Keefe and the survivors from the battle atop Yesterday’s Dreams rush to Ireland and Tír na nÓg, carrying with them a weapon feared by gods and men. There they seek solace and healing for their warriors, and a miracle for Patrick, Kara’s father, mortally wounded in the battle.

What they find is a siege of ancient enemies. Carmán’s children have returned, united with a foe from the very dawn of the Tuatha de Danaan. Their combined forces threaten to be more than the immortal Sidhe and their human allies can combat.

Still coming to grips with her magical heritage, Kara must once m

ore face ultimate evil and help to save the immortal bloodline from which she is descended.


Today's Promise 6x9

Today’s Promise (Eternal Cycle Book 3)

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Love…Life…Liberty…

Never before had Kara O’Keefe had cause to doubt in any of these, and yet she was now called to defend all three or lose them for all time.

Though the Battle of the Knock was counted a victory, the war–as they say–was not won. Carman’s Children have resurfaced after millennia and have reunited against their common foe once more. These adversaries from the ancient history of the Tuatha de Danaan have one goal: dominate all. Kara and the Sidhe Fianna must find a way to end this threat forever or find themselves and all humanity shackled to the will of evil demigods.

As this journey of self-discovery comes to an end, will Kara find herself and retain her freedom, or will all be lost for eternity?

Related books: Yesterday’s Dreams (Eternal Cycle Book 1), Eternal Wandering (Eternal Wanderings Book 1)

MONTHS IN REVIEWS


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


 

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

Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog


Final-Crone

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

Hélène Louise, GoodReads

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

Annarella, GoodReads


Dead Bear Witness-6x9

 

 

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

Susan, GoodReads


CONVENTION UPDATE – PHILCON


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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Danielle Ackley-McPhail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike McPhail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert E. Waters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Schedule available on his blog.

 

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

 

FALL NEW RELEASES


FB-McP-Cover-Dancer

“I Am the Lightning Flashing and Streaking!”

Beneath the stars or flying up among them, the Ga’an dance a deadly dance. Apache Devil Dancers take to the skies to defeat the ruthless Gulo, an alien race bent on the destruction of humanity. Led by Captain Victorio “Tomorrow’s Wind” Nantan, the 3rd Sol fighter Wing follows a long tradition, adapting the dance to make them an ace squadron, but will it be enough?

It is hard to hold faith in the face of a never-ending foe, when life and limb are sacrificed with no end anyone wants to see in sight. But Captain Victory comes from a long line of fierce warriors and he is more than ready to take the fight to the enemy.

Join us for seven action-packed tales of Robert E. Waters’ Devil Dancers.

On NetGalley until 11/5.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with Robert here.


Dead Bear Witness-6x9

A chronicle of survival in a world of the living dead.
There is no Heaven or Hell; there is only blood and the dust of flesh.

Sentenced to life after a bank robbery gone bad, Cornell thought his worst nightmare had come true—and that he deserved it. After a stint in solitary, though, he learned his nightmare had only started: While Cornell rotted in isolation, all around the world the dead had returned to life.

Inside the prison walls, Cornell should’ve been well protected.

He didn’t reckon on the stone-cold killer who demanded his help breaking out, nor the fanatic warden who forced him to help “save the souls” of other prisoners. He didn’t count on being snared in a web of lies, violence, and betrayal. He didn’t expect his survival to depend on fighting his way back to freedom before the eyes of the watchful dead. Now as nooses sway over the prison yard, Cornell can almost feel one tightening around his neck, and freedom seems so far away….

On NetGalley until 11/5.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with James here. 


Final-Crone

What woman doesn’t dream of a young, handsome stranger sweeping her off her feet?

Margaret.

She gave up on such nonsense long ago.

Old, homeless, and unwanted by society, such faerie tales seemed beyond impossible for her. So when a young, handsome stranger, more child than man, asks her to come home with him, she knew he could only mean her harm, but who cared? She was tired of living anyway.

But instead of finding her death, Margaret learns that nothing in her savior’s world is what it seems, including herself.

Why would someone young enough to be her grandson be interested in her? And when would he drop his pleasant façade to reveal the darkness she expected beneath?

New hope struggles with old suspicion as demons from Margaret’s past come to call.

After all, was it really possible to get a second chance at life?

Now on NetGalley through November.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with Megan here.