PROJECT UPDATE – IF WE HAD KNOWN


proof-iwhk-cover

edited by Mike McPhail

Beyond the Cradle of mankind, the universe is vast, unknown,
dangerous to the unwary…or those caught in the path of intrepid explorers proceeding without forethought.

Thirteen authors explore what it is to pioneer the future with tales fraught with danger and remorse, tempered with hope, luck, and serendipity. We face the monsters. We face the truth. We face ourselves.

Whether the frontier is that of science or space, there is no doubt that at some point one must ask …If we had known, would we have followed this course?


Contents

The Necessary Enemy by Ian Randal Strock

The Steady Drone of Silence by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The Last Man on Earth by Jody Lynn Nye

Chasing the Ball by Peter Prellwitz

The Janus Choice by Jeff Young

Between Scylla and Charybdis by Patrick Thomas

The Star Gazers by James Chambers

Giraffe Children by Robert E. Waters

Good Advice by John L. French

Egg by Christopher M. Hiles

Youth by Judi Fleming

Meeting the Other by Nancy Jane Moore

The Third Heaven by Robert Greenberger

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CONVENTION SCHEDULE – FARPOINT (FEBRUARY 12-14)


In just five days eSpec Books and several of our authors will be hanging out at Farpoint, along with Sean Maher and David Gerrold. If you’re going to be there, please look us up. eSpec will be in the dealer’s room and many of the authors will be found in the FARPBooks Lounge located in the Dulaney Valley 1 room. When we all aren’t on panels, that is. I’ve listed preliminary schedules below (these are subject to change). We weren’t given locations, so please check your program for room assignments once you are at the con.

Ackley-McPhail,Danielle

(1403)Readings: Danielle Ackley-Mcphail, David Krauss Friday 5:00 PM
(1061)Publishing On A Budget: Spending Your Money Wisely Friday 7:00 PM
(1308)Becoming a Mainstream Super Hero Saturday 2:00 PM
(1317)Struggles with Building an Audience & Fan Base Saturday 9:00 PM

McPhail,Mike

(1313)Enter the Hobbit Saturday 7:00 PM
(1319)Advice for New Writers Sunday NOON

David,Kathleen

(1056)Fantastical Shows And Where To Watch Them Friday 5:00 PM
(1323)Hows Twelve Doing? Saturday NOON

David,Peter

(1416)Autographs: Rigel Ailur, Peter David, Dave Galanter, Allyn Gibson Saturday 10:00 AM
(1417)Readings: Peter David, Jennifer Povey, Joseph Berenato Saturday 11:00 AM
(1305)Aliens: Beyond Pointy Ears & Bumpy Heads Saturday 3:00 PM
(1345)Crazy 8 Press Saturday 4:00 PM
(1422)Autographs: Joseph Berenato, Peter David, Keith DeCandido, Dave Galanter Saturday 6:00 PM
(1320)Star Trek Turns 50! Sunday 10:00 AM
(1325)Whats Changed with the All-New All-Different Marvel Comics Sunday NOON
(1315)World Building 101 Sunday 2:00 PM

DeCandido,Keith

(1459)Prometheus Radio Theatre Tech Rehearsal Friday 3:00 PM
(1321)Holy Golden Anniversary, Batman! Saturday 3:00 PM
(1421)Readings: Michael Ventrella, Kim Headlee, Keith DeCandido Saturday 5:00 PM
(1422)Autographs: Joseph Berenato, Peter David, Keith DeCandido, Dave Galanter Saturday 6:00 PM
(1311)Writing Inclusively vs. Token Characters Saturday 8:00 PM
(1361)Keith DeCandido Self-Defense Demo Sunday 11:00 AM
(1372)Sci-Fi Fights! Sunday 1:00 PM
(1431)Autographs: Ben Anderson, Keith DeCandido, Don Sakers, Richard White Sunday 2:00 PM
(1312)Writer Beware Sunday 3:00 PM

Greenberger,Bob

(1336)Bob Greenberger Saturday 10:00 AM
(1218)Writing Workshop Saturday NOON
(1219)Writing Workshop Saturday 1:00 PM
(1321)Holy Golden Anniversary, Batman! Saturday 3:00 PM
(1345)Crazy 8 Press Saturday 4:00 PM
(1359)The Bob & Howie Show Sunday 11:00 AM
(1372)Sci-Fi Fights! Sunday 1:00 PM

Rosenberg,Aaron

(1053)Changes In Business Of Speculative Fiction Friday 6:00 PM
(1345)Crazy 8 Press Saturday 4:00 PM
(1309)Writing for the Game Industry Sunday 11:00 AM
(1314)Collaborations Sunday 1:00 PM

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


As we get ready to run off to our final convention of the year (DerpyCon) this has been a week of running around scrambling to get things done. In the midst of all of that reviews of our newest releases have started popping up.

We’d like to share with you some of our favorite blurbs. Click on the provided links to read the full reviews.

Congrats to all our authors for jobs clearly well-done!

TW3-COVER-REVAMP“[In The Weird Wild West] eSpec Books has pulled together a fine collection of tales with just enough weirdness, fandom is bound to enjoy every page.” Ricky L. Brown, Amazing Stories

“[The Weird Wild West] is a show of skill by the authors who wrote short stories with skill and flair.” Ailyn, Good Reads

“[The Weird Wild West] takes the grit and glory that epitomizes the old west and gives it many delightful speculative spins.” Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Good Reads

 

Good-Evil“[The Side of Good / The Side of Evil] is a very highly entertaining book and a very enjoyable read.” Sam Tomaino, SFRevu

“In The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, villains get their time in the sun and are also painted with more depth and humanity than usual.” Meredith, Good Reads

“[The Side of Good / The Side of Evil] is definitely a keeper, and worth making into a doujinshi/ comic.” Ailyn, Good Reads

Our thanks go out to all the reviewers not only for liking our books, but for taking the time to tell the world.

NEW RELEASE – THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL


 by Rachel Fernandez

lg-book-flip-SoGEWe are proud to announce the release of the highly anticipated flipbook anthology The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. Sure, heroes get remembered, but sometimes the tales and legends of even the darkest villains will never die.

Whether rooting for the courageous superhero or secretly siding with a malicious scoundrel, this epic journey captivates and excites as it delves deep into the perspectives of two classic yet diverging tales of both good and evil, extenuating on the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

The collection features original stories by comic book legends and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Drew Bittner, John L. French, and Kathleen David. This flipbook also includes in an exclusive, never-before-published Furious short story!

Inspiration for this mythological American classic came easily to co-editor and award-winning author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail. “I am an idea person, I love to develop themed projects and find all the intricate ways to play to the theme. When someone suggested a collection of superhero fiction the idea for The Side of Good / The Side of Evil immediately came to mind and there was no question that it had to be a flipbook anthology, similar to the classic Ace Doubles from the ’80s. It took me three years to make it happen but the end result is even better than I’d envisioned.”

Now available on Amazon.

NOTE: To get this book in ebook look for the individual ebooks The Side of Good (B016Z5GEF8) and The Side of Evil (B016X95RC2)


PROMO COPY

Everyone loves a hero…but sometimes we can’t help but root for the villain…

Indulge both impulses with this nostalgic flipbook anthology—The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. After all, everyone is the hero of their own story and sometimes a change in perspective can make a world of difference. 

Superheroes inspire us to be more than we can be, and on the flip side, Supervillains are reminders of the potential for darkness within us all. The Side of Good / The Side of Evil looks at the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

With stories by comic book and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Drew Bittner, John L. French, and Kathleen David this collection is guaranteed to be super…no matter which side you pledge your allegiance to.

Featuring a never-before-published Furious(TM) short story! 

SNEAK PEEK – MAKING A DIFFERENCE BY ROBERT GREENBERGER (THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL)


SoG6x9an excerpt from
Making a Difference
by Robert Greenberger

(from The Side of Good)

Gravel and grit forced their way into his mouth as he felt his boots drag along the street, kicking up the debris as the car picked up speed. He held on tight to the front bumper, willing his hips and legs to swivel into action, letting him scale up to the hood. His mind fought to control multiple inputs, starting with the foul taste in his mouth, the ache in his calves, and the strain in his biceps.

Willing his body to behave, he once more moved into action and somehow wound up exactly where he wanted to be: riding a speeding car, weaving in and out of light Manhattan traffic at three in the morning, with police sirens beginning to fill the air. His gloved hands gripped the sides of the tapered hood and he stared through the windshield at the driver, a greasy-haired, pock-mocked kid of maybe twenty. Normally, he wouldn’t have bothered with a simple car theft except for the other occupant in the vehicle—a screaming infant, safely buckled in the car seat in the rear.

The driver’s eyes bulged and the hero saw his mouth work and finally form the name: “Crusader”.

He hated the name but it had been pinned on him on the very first night he sought to make a difference. When he decided to don the black-and-gold outfit, he had been mulling over names but after stopping a riot in the wake of an unfavorable legal decision, a reporter quipped, “Hey, caped crusader, where’s your cape?” And, that was all it took, suddenly he was the Crusader.

There were worse names, he supposed, and he’d grown accustomed to it, but he’d much rather have had a say in his alter ego’s name.

A sharp swerve to the right shook him from his reverie and he nearly lost his grip on the polished metal surface. With a severe gesture, he made it clear he wanted the panicky driver to pull over and surrender.

Rather than obeying the command, the driver braked hard and came to a sudden stop, the momentum dislodging the hero. Crusader rolled to the street, taking the brunt of the impact on his right shoulder, but the sound of the door opening, sneakers hitting the pavement, and the wail of the frightened infant shocked him into action. With an effort he regained his footing, checked to make certain the infant was still in the car, and took off after the thief, certain the impending arrival of the police would mean the kid would be looked after. The scumbag who stole the car, though, needed some justice. And the way the Crusader felt right then, it would be rough justice.

~ * ~

Harmony looked up in alarm when the Crusader appeared in the doorway to her bedroom. He tended to call ahead or at least knock to alert her of his arrival. Instead, given the late hour, the costumed figure slipped a key from a belt compartment and let himself in, the sound waking her.

“Its 4:30 in the mor…” her complaint trailed off when she saw him somewhat stagger to the edge of the bed where he heavily let himself down. “My god, you look terrible.”

“Feel worse,” he said in a hoarse voice. She turned on the night-table lamp and in the illumination saw the black streaks from his most recent activity. His mouth was bruised and swollen and even the skin was raw, trickling blood, adding a new color to the gold piping on his outfit. She noted that spots were worn through the costume and his boots were scuffed. The stylish outfit was one of the first things she focused on when they initially met. It was thick leather, providing him with some protection, creased and crinkled here and there but being mostly black you needed a strong light to notice. The helmet and faceplate cowl had a gold design that led to piping down both sleeves, disappearing under tight gloves. It was far less garish than some of the outfits other heroes appeared in, especially the women who clearly were using their cleavage to distract criminals from their fists.

“What happened?” She rose and kneeled beside him, totally unconscious that she was wearing her oversized Crusader night shirt, his grinning, cowled face looming large from shoulders to hips.

He began to speak of the evening’s activity but she placed two fingers on his lips, silencing him as she headed into the bathroom and came back with all the usual first-aid supplies. By then, he had peeled out of the leather and Kevlar-fitted jacket, exposing the various older yellow and fresh black bruises that created a pop art image on his body. She deftly applied antiseptic cream and bandages. His breathing slowed and resumed a regular rhythm.

“Was it worth it?”

“I saved a baby, so yeah,” he told her, which caught her attention. Children always do that to heroes and civilians alike, it must be hardwired into humanity, Mike Kinnard thought. Finally loosening his cowl and peeling it away, his brown eyes met hers and they silently communed for a minute.

“You’re a mess,” she said, breaking the silence which had been growing uncomfortable. “You never used to finish the night like this. You must be getting sloppy or…”

“…or old,” he finished for her. This had recently become the centerpiece of their conversations when it came to his colorful alter ego.

She nodded, closing up the first aid kit. “How much longer do you think you can keep this up?” she asked, the anger clear in her tone.

This was far from the first time she raised the question but tonight, this morning, was the first time he actually considered a real response. He ached. Seriously ached and not for the first time this year, he realized. He was not healing as quickly as he used to.

“There’s still work to be done,” he began before she could cut him off. “As long as I can make a difference.”

“That’s a pat, bullshit answer. You’re closing in on forty and are still trying to act like someone half your age. It’s no longer safe. You go out, beat the shit out of the bad guys, and come back here to be patched up. You make time for me as convenient, but even then you’d have to be inside me before you’d consider staying, rather than answer a cry for help.”

“Harm, that’s not true or really fair.”

She pulled a stray lock of hair away from her eyes, tucking it behind her ear. “Fair? Fair is us being together, making a life for ourselves, actually planning more than a few hours out. I fell for you, Mike, not the Crusader.”

“I am the Crusader,” Mike Kinnard told her, some heat of his own in the words. “You knew that from the moment I yanked the rapist off you.” That had been four years ago, when he could still patrol the streets for hours, bust some heads, and go to work without getting tired. He felt strong and vital then; in love, real love, for the first time in his life. Mike could not now imagine his life without Harmony St. James, but she was challenging that idyllic vision and he was not in the mood to consider it. Letting a deep breath out slowly through his nose, Kinnard kept his mouth shut, not daring to let this escalate into something ugly. He was weary and sore and did not need a fight with his lover to finish off a tough night.

“Yeah, I knew you as the Crusader first,” Harmony went on, clearly not reading his mind or his body language. “But I came to love Mike Kinnard and you’re making that very hard right now. Before you, I wasn’t sure I’d ever find someone I could imagine growing old with, but then you swooped in and became my personal hero. But for us to grow old together, you need to stay alive and, you know, healthy.”

He winced at that, much as he winced at the aching muscles that screamed for Ben Gay or a whirlpool. His local gym was a 24-hour place and he wanted to go there before he had to make an appearance at Count on Kinnard, his private accounting company.

“I can’t do this without you,” he began. When she shot him a look, he let the sentence die mercifully.

“Do you want us to stay together? Get married, settle down, skip the picket fence and kids, but experience things as a couple? Answer yes and that will tell you what you need to do. Answer no then you’ve set the timer on our relationship starting tonight.”

He didn’t answer her and he didn’t believe she truly expected an answer at this late hour. She deserved one and he wanted to say the former but knew full well he was not done fighting for his city. The Blockade, Doctor Bizarre, Lightspeed, and the other heroes were still going strong and together, they were keeping Manhattan from becoming more dangerous. It felt like he’d be betraying them but then again, they had their powers to protect them. He was just an extraordinarily gifted athlete with an above-average intellect. Right now, though, he was not feeling particularly smart.

“Mike…you have to slow down. Take some nights off. Make some time for us. I don’t want to make an ultimatum, but we’re getting really close to having that ‘me or the mask’ conversation. The one you told me you never wanted us to get to.”

That conversation started about a year back, after he fought to stem a gang war while still wearing a splint, a trophy from battling the Gentleman. It was then he began to notice the wear and tear on his body and the impending onset of serious middle age. He always joked forty was when the warranty would end and his body would fall apart. What he didn’t realize at the time was that he wasn’t being sardonic but prophetic.

~ * ~

Read the whole thing in The Side of Good / The Side of Evil releasing December 1, 2015.

PROMOTIONAL COPY

Everyone loves a hero…but sometimes we can’t help but root for the villain…

Indulge both impulses with this nostalgic flipbook anthology—The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. After all, everyone is the hero of their own story and sometimes a change in perspective can make a world of difference. 

Superheroes inspire us to be more than we can be, and on the flip side, Supervillains are reminders of the potential for darkness within us all. The Side of Good / The Side of Evil looks at the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

With stories by comic book and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Neal Levin, John L. French, and Kathleen David this collection is guaranteed to be super…no matter which side you pledge your allegiance to.

Featuring a never-before-published Furious(TM) short story! 

PROJECT UPDATE – THE SIDE OF GOOD / THE SIDE OF EVIL


Good-EvileSpec Books is very pleased to announce that The Side of Good / The Side of Evil has come off the presses and is on it’s way to our hot little hands. We are excited about this project and hope you are as eager to see it as we are. The official release date is December 1, 2015.

If you just can’t wait, there are several things you can do.

First – you can join us at Philcon, a science fiction convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey the weekend of November 20 – 22. We’ll be launching the book there and will have copies on hand for sale. Our party is scheduled for Saturday, November 21, in the Con Suite, from 7pm to 9pm. Not only will there be food, fun, and PRIZES, but editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer will be there, along with authors Gail Z. Martin, Keith R.A. DeCandido, James Chambers, Drew Bittner, Aaron Rosenberg and artists Jason Whitley and Mike McPhail, all of us ready to celebrate with you.

Second – Pre-order the print book on the eSpec Books Store: The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. All orders will be shipped out right after the launch.

Third – Pre-order the ebooks (there are two) on Amazon. They will deliver to your ereader as soon as the calendar flips over to December 1.

SoG6x9The Side of Good with stories by Robert Greenberger, Bryan J.L. Glass, Kathleen David, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, John L. French, Walt Ciechanowski, and James Chambers, (includes an SideofEviloriginal Furious! short story!)

The Side of Evil with stories by James M. Ward, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Janine Spendlove, Drew Bittner, and James Chambers (includes an original SCPD short story!)

PROMO COPY

Everyone loves a hero…but sometimes we can’t help but root for the villain…

Indulge both impulses with this nostalgic flipbook anthology—The Side of Good / The Side of Evil. After all, everyone is the hero of their own story and sometimes a change in perspective can make a world of difference. 

Superheroes inspire us to be more than we can be, and on the flip side, Supervillains are reminders of the potential for darkness within us all. The Side of Good / The Side of Evil looks at the best and worst that über-mankind is capable of.

With stories by comic book and literary masters: James M. Ward, Bryan J.L. Glass, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Janine K. Spendlove, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Drew Bittner, John L. French, and Kathleen David this collection is guaranteed to be super…no matter which side you pledge your allegiance to.

Featuring a never-before-published Furious(TM) short story! 

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – ROBERT GREENBERGER


eSpec Books interviews Robert Greenberger, contributor to The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a Superhero Flipbook anthology, http://tiny.cc/SoGSoE.

Bob_Greenberger copy

eSB: What drew you to this project?

RG: Danielle’s winning smile as she explained what the book was about so I asked her if I could come play. After all, I grew up on comics and super-heroics is in my DNA.

eSB: Which side are you writing for?

RG: I’m writing for the side of good. Most super-hero comics are serialized and with the reboots and all, the major heroes never retire, never really question when the time comes. With the freedom of a short story, I decided that would make for an interesting story.

eSB: What got you interested in superheroes/villains?

RG: I was six and home sick with bronchitis. Mom brought me an issue of Superman and I was hooked. Something about the colorful figure, the super-powers, and – I am guessing here – the not being ill was really appealing. Since then I like the larger than life figures, which is why I am also drawn to mythology.

eSB: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would it work?

RG: I usually say I want a power ring which can do so many things, great and small. Or, I would love to fly. First, it would cut down on my commute to school and second, it would just be damn cool.

eSB: What would your weakness be and why?

RG: My current weakness is peanut M&Ms. A bag of those and I weaken, my will becomes shot.

eSB: Describe your ideal super suit.

RG: Something akin to speedskaters, sleek in design, not overly colorful. Or something with a cloak so I can hide the paunch from the M&Ms.

eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?

RG: I am drawn to many but usually will tell you its Green Lantern. First of all, he’s fearless (save the psychobabble about that for another time) plus out of billions of people, the ring chose him to join this corps that is out to protect the universe. That’s an awesome power matched with an awesome responsibility.

eSB: Who is the villain you love to hate, and why?

RG: I don’t think I hate any one villain, but I do hate the C-list guys who have a cheesy name or poor motivation. They’re badly conceived by lazy or desperate writers then hang on when other writers need cannon fodder.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a hero?

RG: Using power (however it has been derived) for the greater good. Willing to sacrifice yourself for higher ideals. Doing what must be done regardless of the obstacles.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a villain?

RG: Using power (however it has been derived) for selfish gain. Unwilling to serve society and acting entirely against the public good.

eSB: What is your viewpoint on Sidekicks?

RG: Many benefit from having someone to watch your back or someone to talk to. There’s a great deal of loneliness that comes with power so this can help ground the hero. Of course, not all sidekicks should be minors, that brings up other issues.

eSB: What other comic or superhero-related work have you done in the past?

RG: 20 years at DC and 1 year at Marvel mean tons of heroes and villains have crossed my desk. I am particularly proud of a series I helped create, Suicide Squad, now becoming a feature film. As a writer, I have written an Iron Man novel, The Essential Batman Encyclopedia, co-written The Batman Vault and The Essential Superman Encyclopedia; and two young reader Batman books. I’ve also done short fiction with Zorro and Captain Midnight so I get around.

eSB: If there was one comic franchise you could work on, which would it be and why?

RG: Can I say the entire DC Universe? If not, the one series I always wanted was Green Lantern (are you detecting a thread here?).

eSB: Fiction or comics, which is your favorite medium and why?

RG: They both appeal in different ways. Fiction is you and your imagination, using strictly words to bring your reader to other places. Comics is collaborative (which I love) and blends words with pictures which is a unique storytelling experience.

eSB: Please tell us about your non-comic related work.

RG: I am a cofounder of Crazy 8 Press, a digital press hub where I write original fiction. The next work there will be a story in the Pangaea anthology, debuting at Shore Leave. I am also a high school English teacher in Maryland. As an author, I have co-written The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Murder at Sorrow’s Crown, with Steven Savile, due out in December from Titan Books.

eSB: Please let us know where you can be found on social media.

RG: I can be found at www.bobgreenberger.com or on Facebook or twitter @bobgreenberger

eSB: Thank you for allowing this glimpse beneath your alter-ego. We’re looking forward to more super heroics and evil geniuses to come.