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.

COVER REVEAL – DEATH’S EMBRACE by MICHELLE D. SONNIER


Are you a fan of The Clockwork Witch? Have we got a treat for you! Death’s Embrace, by Michelle D. Sonnier, is a brand-new prequel novella set in the Clockwork Witch universe.

Proof-DeathsEmbrace
Cover Design: Mike McPhail, McP Digital Graphics, Cover Image: Vladimir Sazonov

 

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


michelle d. sonnier

Michelle D. Sonnier writes dark urban fantasy, steampunk, and anything else that lets her combine the weird and the fantastic in unexpected ways. She even writes horror, although it took her a long time to admit that since she prefers the existential scare over blood and gore. She’s published short stories in a variety of print and online venues and has upcoming projects with eSpec Books and Otter Libris. You can find her on Facebook (Michelle D. Sonnier, The Writer) or at www.michelledsonnier.com. She lives in Maryland with her husband, son, and a variable number of cats. The Clockwork Witch is her first full-length novel.

OCTOBER EVENTS


small_dodo_transparentThe next round of conventions is about to hit. Myself, Mike McPhail, and Christine Norris will be at the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ this Saturday. But our next convention is Capclave in Rockville, MD on October 18-20. An intimate comfortable show where the focus is reading, literature, and the business of publishing.

eSpec, of course, will have a presence in the dealer’s room, as well as on programming.


Our attending authors are:

You can access their schedules by clicking on the above links and then clicking on the link next to their bio on the Capclave site. Please be sure to come by and say hi if you are there. It is the perfect time to get your books signed or to ask us your questions. There is a Meet the Pros event scheduled, and, as the convention is rather informal, most of us tend to hang out and chat in the public spaces in between responsibilities.

For those not attending Capclave, Misty Massey will be at  The Palmetto Pirate Festival in Moncks Corner, SC on October 12 and at MultiverseCon in Atlanta, Georgia October 18-20, along with John Hartness!

If you are at any of those shows, please come be social!

Best,

Danielle

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.

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

Proof-4-5-Clockworkproof-front-sisterlg-book-wwwes-iid-final-proof

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!

FROM THE PUBLISHER -HAPPY NEW YEAR

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

Happy New Year, everyone.

We were pretty active last year. We released thirteen new titles, a record for us as we try to manage our list a little more closely to avoid growing too fast. The primary reason for our list’s sudden growing spurt was the re-release of Keith R.A. DeCandido’s backlist, which included five books in his Precinct fantasy police procedural series, and Without a License, a collection of his original (non-media-tie-in) short fiction.) Other highlights are The Clockwork Witch, a breakout novel by newcomer Michelle D. Sonnier, Among the Wild Cybers, a collection of original (non-media-tie-in) short fiction by Christopher L. Bennett, and Stories of Fremont’s Children, a short story collection based on the Fremont’s Children novel series by Brenda Cooper.

We also re-released, under our Paper Phoenix Press imprint, my writer’s guide The Literary Handyman, and a new release, The Ginger KICK! Cookbook.


It appears 2019 will be even more exciting…and busy! We wanted to share with you some of what we have planned.

Pending Novels

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

 

 

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War – an epic science fiction novel by Bud Sparhawk

 

 

 

HaftScale-Proof-Mermaid

 

 

Mermaid Precinct – the next in Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Precinct fantasy police procedural series

To Hell and Regroup – the final entry in David Sherman’s 18th Race military science fiction series


Pending Novellas

The Dead Bear Witness 2x3Tears of Blood 2x3

 

The Dead Bear Witness, Tears of Blood, and The Dead in Their Masses – dark fantasy/zombie fiction by Bram-Stoker Award winner James Chambers

 

 

 


Pending Collections

Devil Dancers – a military science fiction collection by Robert E. Waters containing both reprints and new content set in his Devil Dancers universe.

Pending Anthologies

FB-McP-Footsteps-Proof

 

Footprints in the Stars – edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail – Stories of the discovery of evidence of ancient aliens and how humanity reacts to those discoveries. The next in the Beyond the Cradle science fiction anthology series.

 

 

 

In Harm’s Way – edited by Mike McPhail – Military science fiction stories of rescue and recovery during combat. Eighth in the award-winning Defending the Future military science fiction anthology series

On the Final Frontier – edited by Mike McPhail – Stories of the exploration of deep space. The third in the Beyond the Cradle science fiction anthology series.

Novels Under Consideration

How the Night Ends – a dark fantasy novel by Michelle D. Sonnier (unrelated to The Clockwork Witch)

Anrachne’s Crime and Anrachne’s Exile – epic science fiction novels by Christopher L. Bennett