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.

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


eSPEC EXCERPTS – ROBERT E. WATERS’ DEVIL DANCERS


Tangent Online has given Devil Dancers a nice, in-depth review, which you can read here.

As the book release is coming up November 1, we figured this was a good time to post an excerpt.

Here are links if you would like to pre-order a copy of the book: eBook. Print.


DEVIL DANCERS

Victorio Nantan, Captain Victory, Squadron Leader of the Devil Dancers, looked over the smoke-filled room. Somewhere within its cavernous swill of booze, laughter, music, and celebration, were his men. They were the Devil Dancers. Aces every one; the finest fighter squadron in the fleet. They deserved their seventy-two hours of R&R. Their record kills at the Battle of Pallid Musings had earned them their playtime. But the war continued, and Captain “Victory” had just received secret intelligence about enemy fleet movements near Castor V. It was out of his squadron’s designated deployment zone, but an opportunity that could not be ignored. The finest pilots in the Federated Union had to keep pushing themselves, and at such a critical moment in the war, time was imperative. The enemy was on the verge of collapse.

That enemy was the Gulo, a wolverine-like race that had nearly cut the Union in two. Feral, savage fighters, their technology was on par with that of the humans. They were a formidable foe. Deep in his heart, Victorio could not help but admire their prowess in battle. But the war had waged for over thirty standard years, and even personal admiration grows pale over time. He and his men were working hard to defeat the Gulo. A turning point was at hand. Victorio could feel it. He had seen it in his dreams. One more push, one more decisive rout, and the scales could be tipped.

The Devil Dancers were not going to be left out.

He crossed the room, pushing through the partiers, responding in kind to the salutes of junior officers from the 3rd Sol Fighter Wing. He even recognized some crew members of the Star Chariot, an old carrier that had been refitted to accommodate a full battalion of troopers and their drop pods. Among these men, he and the Devil Dancers were legend, and whenever they were present, they received much respect. Victorio passed through them politely but kept his eyes set on one of his pilots who sat on a plush red sofa near the bar, surrounded by adoring women and sycophants.

Naiche looked up from his drink and recognized his brother. “Ah, Captain Victory!” He stumbled to his feet, the beautiful ladies surrounding him shifting their bare legs to let him pass. “You’ve decided to crawl out of your wickiup and join us.”

Victorio grabbed his brother before the younger man embarrassed himself by hitting the floor. Naiche’s face was flushed red, his breath rancid with drink, his eyes dilated and distant. “You’re drunk.”

“You’re goddamned right I’m drunk!” Naiche said, receiving cheers and laughter from his friends. “And I intend on staying that way for another forty-eight hours.”

“We need to talk, brother,” Victorio said, pushing Naiche away. “Now.”

“Nonsense,” Naiche said. “We need to drink. Pull up a chair and join us.” Before Victorio had a chance to respond, Naiche said, “Ladies, let me introduce you to our na-tio-tish, our war leader, Captain Victorio “Tomorrow’s Wind” Nantan, the second finest pilot in the galaxy.” He tapped his brother’s chest with a blunt, lazy finger. “This man single-handedly wiped out an entire Gulo squadron at the Battle of Two Dwarves. He’s received six commendations for bravery, and a score of Silver Wings. And ladies,” he put his hand to his mouth and lowered his voice, “he’s got the cutest little tattoo on his—”

“Enough!” Victorio grabbed Naiche’s shoulders and shook. The drink in his brother’s hand toppled to the floor, spreading red liquid across the plush white carpet. The internal lattice-mesh of the floor began sucking the fibers dry. “We will talk, now.” He turned and looked at the women, whose expressions had become quite still. “Will you excuse us, please?”

Naiche wrestled himself free and stumbled to the sofa, apologizing profusely to his fans. He gave each lady a small kiss and promised to call on them. They shuffled past Victorio without a word and disappeared into the throng of dancers.

“You waste yourself away with all this,” Victorio said, finding a seat near his brother. “Father would not be pleased.”

Naiche rubbed his forehead and chuckled. “Father is just as boring as you, big brother. You are the worst kill-joy I’ve ever met. If you had played your cards right, one of those ladies would have given you a—”

“Everything comes so easy for you, Naiche. Not so for me. I’ve had to bust my ass for everything. While you were off carousing with your friends at Boot, I had to double down, pull second shifts, commit overtime. And you’d waltz right in the next morning and ace your—”

“And yet here you are,” Naiche interrupted, “Captain of the Devil Dancers.”

Victorio had gotten the promotion in the field during an engagement in the Kuiper Belt eight standard years ago. His calm, serious demeanor had impressed Star Marshall Kinski Shu, who said, ‘You’re not like others of your kind, are you, boy?’ Images of his father’s hostilities toward the White Eyes came to mind, but Victorio kept his mouth shut like a good soldier. He always kept his mouth shut. ‘No, I guess not, sir.” And so it was that he took command, and the rest was in the common record.

“There are reports of heavy Gulo activity near Castor V.”

Naiche perked an ear. “And?”

“And I’ve asked Star Marshall Shu to give us a temporary transfer to Peregrine Task Force.”

Naiche sat straight in his seat, the effects of the alcohol washed from his face. “Are you nuts? That racist is going to get us killed!”

Victorio shot glances around the room. Luckily, the music was too loud and the patrons too drunk to notice his brother’s insubordination. “Keep your opinions to yourself, pilot.”

Naiche lowered his voice and leaned in. “The men need rest, sir. We won at Pallid Musings, but it was a near-run thing, and you know it. Blue Bird just had her foot reattached. Shines Like the Sun has a new heart, and—”

“They can rest and recover en route. The Exodus does not depart until eighteen hundred hours.”

Naiche’s expression grew still, his eyes silent. “We’re leaving that soon?”

“Yes.”

“Shouldn’t I have been consulted on this, sir? I am second-in-command.”

“Second being the operative word.”

Naiche shot out of his seat. They stood there, faces close. Victorio was taller and so he towered over his brother like a bitter tree. Naiche was shorter, indeed, but very fit and muscular, and if he wanted to, he could bring Victorio down and make short order of him. Around them, patrons began to take notice, pretending to party, but with a curious eye turned toward the disruption. Word of two Devil Dancers fighting would spread throughout the fleet; questions would be asked, demands would be made. It was an untenable situation. Hitting a superior officer, even if he was your brother, would be tantamount to suicide. Naiche blinked and stepped back. “And so that’s how it’s going to be, huh? Captain Victory has made his decision, and all shall bow to him.”

“Don’t be dramatic, brother. You have a taste for Gulo blood as strong as any pilot.”

“Yes, but why now? And why this particular action? Enemy fleet movements have been reported all over the Caustic Drift. What interests you so much about this particular report? You hate Captain Shriver of PTF. Why would you—”

“Gingu-sha has been spotted with that fleet.”

Naiche’s mouth dropped open.

The greatest Gulo fighter pilot was Gingu-sha. His kills alone matched those of the entire Devil Dancer squadron. His name drew fear even from the crews of capital ships. One story told of how Gingu-sha single-handedly dispatched a Union destroyer, crashing into its hull with a burrowing torpedo and then fighting his way to the bridge, where he massacred the crew and drove the ship into Starbase Calvin, only to escape unscathed on a shuttle. A destroyer did indeed strike the starbase, but whether or not Gingu-sha was responsible was unclear. Since everyone on the ship died on impact, there were no eye-witnesses to confirm the event, only hearsay from nearby ships. But that hardly mattered. The stories were out there, and his reputation and skills were undeniable.

Over the years, the Devil Dancers had had opportunities to take the Gulo ace down. The Battle of Two Dwarves, Cassini Station, the Emerald Rim, Ambush at Three Moons. Battle after battle, and yet the na-de-gah-ah had always slipped the net. On one particular occasion, Gingu-sha had turned his fighter upside down and aligned his cockpit with Victorio’s, after he had shot a hole through Victorio’s engine and left him for dead. They drifted there for a long while, and the beast could have, at any time, looped around and fired his guns. But he didn’t. They just drifted, both of them looking at each other through the cockpit glass, an arrogant smile spread across the creature’s black lips. Perfect black teeth with a darting pale tongue. His pure-white fur was as beautiful as the first snow of winter, his eyes blazing red hot like fire. And then he gunned his engines and was gone in a flash of blue energy.

From that moment on, Victorio vowed to find and kill Gingu-sha and put his pelt on the wall of the Devil Dancers’ headquarters on the light carrier Justice.

“Gingu-sha is your albatross, brother,” Naiche said, “not mine.”

Victorio ignored his brother’s insult. “And I’ve decided that you will be the Clown.”

Naiche’s expression turned from anger to surprise. “Me? But what about Music-Maker?”

“He’s down with fever. He’ll not be ready when we depart.”

“But you have never allowed me to play the Clown. Why now?”

“The opportunity is here, Naiche. Do you accept this honor or no?”

Naiche stood there rubbing his face. Victorio could see the passion behind his brother’s dark eyes.

Naiche nodded. “Yes, I will accept the honor. I will be the Clown.”

Victorio breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. Now gather the men. We leave immediately.”

Naiche stiffened and saluted. He was back to his old self. “Don’t worry your fat, arrogant head, brother. I’m the best goddamned pilot you have. I won’t let the Devil Dancers down.”

Yes, you are the best, brother, Victorio said to himself as he watched Naiche leave the room. But let’s see just how good you really are.

***


Robert E Waters is a technical writer by trade but has been a science fiction/fantasy fan all his life. He’s worked in the gaming industry since 1994 as designer, producer, and writer. In the late ’90s, he tried his hand at writing fiction and since 2003, has sold over 65 stories to various online and print magazines and anthologies, including the Grantville Gazette, Eric Flint’s online magazine dedicated to publishing stories set in the 1632/Ring of Fire series. His latest novels, The Cross of Saint Boniface and The Masks of Mirada, are currently available on Amazon.

He has also written in several tabletop gaming universes, including Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy series and in the Wild West Exodus weird tech/steampunk universe. He has also dabbled a bit in Warlord Games’ Beyond the Gates of Antares milieu, writing about assassins and rescue missions.

Robert currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Beth, their son Jason, and their precocious little cat Buzz.

For more information about his work, visit his website at www.roberternestwaters.com.

NETGALLEY – SHATTERED DREAMS

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

For those of you who are book sellers, librarians, educators, reviewers or book bloggers, we wanted to let you know that Bud Sparhawk’s Shattered Dreams is currently available for request on NetGalley. In fact, it will be available through the end of December.

If you enjoy hardcore science fiction, please consider checking it out. And if you don’t, maybe tell your friends about the book instead!

 


Will Humanity’s First Contact Prove to Be Its Last?

The opening salvos of a deadly war take mankind’s planetary colonies unaware. Jeaux is lost and the Naval courier Provance barely escapes on a course to the planet Morrow, only to discover the alien forces have given chase.

The fledgling colony of Morrow receives a garbled warning it can scarce believe. Before they can decide what course to take, the crystalline aliens strike with brutal force, nearly wiping all evidence of humanity from the planet. Out of thousands of colonists, a mere scattering survive, unaware of the greater war.

On the planet and among the stars, humanity fights to survive with resources sadly lacking against the aliens’ nearly unfathomable technology and tactics.

In an effort to combat the Shards, military command makes the hard call to adapt captured tech, instancing mortally wounded Marines into cyber weapons, leaving many to wonder…

To Defeat the Enemy, Have We Become Them?

THE WEEK(s) IN REVIEWS


It has been a while since I have done one of these so the span is more like a month in reviews, rather than just a week. We are very pleased to share with you the accolades some of our titles have recently received. Congrats to the authors for this recognition of their hard work.


Proof-4-5-Clockwork

 

“Intriguing magic, gender politics, and historical detail weave together in this coming-of-age fantasy debut […] Readers will especially enjoy Sonnier’s inventive worldbuilding.
Publisher’s Weekly

 

 

 


Proof-UnicornPrecinct

 

 

“All the familiar and fun elements of the previous book are there […] Unicorn Precinct was enjoyable.”
SF Reader

 

 

 


Proof-DragonPrecinct

 

“…DeCandido has presented is a police procedural set in a standard Dungeons & Dragons world. And I’m OK with that. […] A pleasant way to spend a few hours with characters that come to life in a world you can easily lose yourself in.” –SF Reader

 

 

 


proof-iwhk-cover

 

 

“A fascinating premise, one that plays teasing meta-games with the whole notion of fiction and story. […]There’s certainly something here for everyone.” –Don Sakers, Analog (The Reference Library, May/June 2018)

 

 

 


proof-tdis-final

“These stories tackle the emotional minefields that await military personnel in the reaches of space. If you like David Drake, Joe Haldeman, or Jack Campbell, you’re bound to like this anthology.” –Don Sakers, Analog (The Reference Library, May/June 2018)


cover

“Danielle teaches a great path for any stage of writer.” -JAnn Bowers, Goodreads

“The conversational tone is appealing and accessible. This book is worth reading as a very broad overview of the writing and publishing process.” -Darcysmom, Goodreads

The Literary Handyman by Danielle Ackely-McPhail is filled with great advises for aspiring writers. The book is structured in small articles and very easy to read.”
– Guy Lou, Goodreads

“Much of the information included in this volume might be a bit basic for more accomplished or connected authors, but I think this could be a handy reference guide for just about anyone — sometimes it’s easy to forget the basics when you’re stuck in a rut.” – Jane, Goodreads


spiritseeker.jpg

 

“All in all, an enjoyable collection of steampunk tales.” – David Lee Summers, Goodreads

 

 

 

 


eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


 

proof-front-sisterSomething very different from Jack Campbell, but fun. I liked it quite a lot. Chris L., Amazon 

It’s a fun little read, and I liked the ending. I bet middle grade readers would really like it. Reanne, Amazon

This book gave me Percy Jackson vibes right at the beginning […] Middlegraders would enjoy reading this book. And honestly, so did I! The Common Shelf


G&GRed-Gold Leaf-150This steampunk anthology provide[s] several evenings of excellent entertainment, if you manage to put the book down before dawn. Erin Penn, GoodReads

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


proof-front-sisterAdult author Campbell (the Wrath of the Great Guilds) makes a foray into YA with a breezy contemporary fantasy. […] [The Sister Paradox]  is a light, zippy escapade. Publisher’s Weekly

Wow. This is the best example of the guy who gets sucked into another world that I’ve read lately. 5 Stars, Amazon Customer


New-Proof-DTF1bIf you like to read military science fiction this is a great book to add to your collection! 5 Stars, L. Pierce, Amazon

 

 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


proof-front-sister

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


lg-book-www

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


thumbnail_cover-proof

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


lamp-text-3

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

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


This has been a rather good week for discovering reviews. Here are the highlights. To read the full review, click the link. 

lg-book-flip-SoGE

“If you’re a comic fan, this will fit you to a tee, and even if you’re not, this is still a collection of well written and fun stories.” 4 1/2 Stars, David L. Felts, SF Reader.com 

Congrats to Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin, John L. French, James M. Ward, and Drew Bittner for being highlighted in the review.

“Personally I found the Side of Evil stories to be more enjoyable, but that may be personal alignment.” 3 Stars, Danny, Goodreads


CJcover-Mockup_lg

“I tried not to let my personal love of CJ affect my rating here but, thankfully, the stories were all wonderful enough that it becomes a nonissue.” 5 Stars, Joshua Hair, Goodreads


G&GRed-Gold Leaf-150

“I liked this book, and if you are a steampunk or fairy tale fan, this you will probably like it, too.” 3 Stars, Laura, Goodreads


lamp-text-3

“This anthology of Fantasy stories is quite excellent. There was not one weak story here.” 5 Stars, Jeff Miller, Goodreads

 

DECEMBER NETGALLEY ANNOUNCEMENT


Do you love great speculative fiction? Are you a reviewer? Would you like to be?

eSpec Books offers all of our new titles on NetGalley for review. Reviews can be posted on Amazon, GoodReads, or a personal or professional blog site. Currently available are our two newest novels. You must have a NetGalley account to request the books for review, but anyone can create an account. To request these titles click on the below titles.


post-proofPOST

by Brenda Cooper

The world, for some, has crumbled.

Disease and natural disasters have brought on social collapse in the Pacific Northwest.

For Sage, born and raised in the safe haven of the Oregon Botanical Gardens, that has never been more than academic.

What more could she ask for than to be safe and fed?

But life in the Garden is static.

Sage longs to experience the world beyond the Garden walls as society climbs from the chaos. Her reckless exploration forces her elders to give her a choice: Stay here, hidden in safety, or go and never return.

Sage chooses to leave.

Will she learn soon enough on her journey that the world outside the Garden follows no law? That there is no predator more dangerous than man?

Will she learn soon enough that to rebuild the world one must be ready to fight for it?

She will need to if she chooses to live.


Brenda Cooper’s novel, Edge of Dark, just won the Endeavour Award


proof-front-sisterThe Sister Paradox 

by Jack Campbell

Liam Doesn’t Have A Sister. And She’s Weird.

Liam is his parents’ only child,
and that’s just fine with him.

Until the day the sister-he-never-had
shows up at school.

Just to make it worse, the sword-wielding Kari tells him they have an important quest to complete.

And that’s how Liam finds himself dragged into another world, facing basilisks and unicorns, cursed objects, elves, and even a dragon, all magical and dangerous, but none more so than the sister he didn’t have until that morning. A sister who turns out to be quite good with her sword, and ready to use it when faced with things like a dragon as long as her brother is at her side.

Liam begins to realize two things: it’s going to be a very long day, and having a sister can be weird.

But most unsettling of all, he’s not sure he minds…


“Jack Campbell has penned a fun, engaging, fantasy story that’s brought to life by depth and authenticity of its young characters. A major  win!”

– Ty Drago, Author of the Undertakers and Publisher of ALLEGORY


 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Congrats to Gaslight & Grimm for making such a great impression on everyone. We have a new review, and inclusion on a must-read list.

G&GRed-Gold Leaf-150

“This one was delightful surprise! All the stories are well crafted and entertaining: fun re-imagining of old tales, well paced, interesting characters, and no loose ends. […] It was such a good introduction to eSpec Books that I will be looking for more of their offerings.” 4 Stars, Morwen’s Cat, Amazon

“Here are 10 fairy tale retellings you’ve probably never read, but should.” Crissi Langwell, The Press Democrat

 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


Congrats to Christine Norris, Bernie Mojzes, and Jonah Knight for being highlighted in this week’s review.

Gaslight and Grimm

“I appreciated that most stories, while building upon the foundations of original tales, didn’t hesitate to stray from them at some point, instead of being “mere” retellings almost identical to their inspirations.” 4 Stars, Yzabel, Amazon