COVER REVEAL – DAWNS A NEW DAY


We are ahead on this one. The book isn’t quite done yet, but once again we have found the perfect artwork, so I am thrilled to share with you the cover for Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s upcoming science fiction collection Dawns a New Day: And Other Futuristic Tales. While this one is primarily reprints, there will be a few new stories in it as well, thus the delay on the book and cover copy. Please do enjoy the pretty picture in anticipation of the book to follow!


FB-McP-DawnsANewDay


Kickstarter DMcPhail

Award-winning author, editor, and publisher 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’ guides The Literary Handyman, More Tips from the Handyman,  and LH: Build-A-Book Workshop. She 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 two extremely spoiled cats.

COVER REVEAL – THE KINDLY ONE


I was going to spread these out, but I am WAY too excited about this cover. It is for The Kindly One: And Other Horrific Tales. My first ever horror collection, given I never set out to write horror, with only two exceptions, both of which can be blamed on CJ Henderson. Otherwise, such stories always sneak up on me. I could not have ended up with a more appropriate cover image if I had commissioned it. Stock art for the win!


Proof-KindlyOne

Guilt, the venom running through humanity’s veins,
The cancer eating mankind’s soul.
Death, both courted and earned, well fed upon denial.

Balanced on the delicate edge between madness and damnation, clarity comes to us all.
There is one thing more terrifying than the darkness at the edge of your vision staring back.
The seed of that darkness peering from within your heart.
What is real? What is imagined?
Right, or wrong, the price of your answer is your soul.

Includes the Stories:
The Kindly One
Skippy
Ruby Red
The Carrier
The Forest of a Thousand Lost Souls
Uncast Shadows
In the Dying Light
Burning Conviction
Purgatory


Kickstarter DMcPhail

Award-winning author, editor, and publisher 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’ guides The Literary Handyman, More Tips from the Handyman,  and LH: Build-A-Book Workshop. She 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 two extremely spoiled cats.

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL – THE FOX’S FIRE


It isn’t often I get to do something specific for me. I’ve taken this week to rectify that. Here is the first bit of self-love. I went through my old files and realized I had so many stories that had been published by other people! Stories I hadn’t collected into one book yet. Enough that I could make several books grouped by genre. This is the cover for the first of those books. More fun to come!


FBMcP--FoxsFire

Dance Among the Embers, But Don’t Get Burned…

From a kitsune slinking through the mists… to an elven champion tied to every crossroad in the moment of Midnight… to the heir of Underhill ruling the road on a Harley, the mystical and magical intersect nearly unrealized with the world of man.

Do you dare to walk among them with open eyes? Do you seek a glimpse of their power? Take care and proceed with soft steps among the folk of magic and moonlight. Fickle is the least of what is said of them. But well worth the risk, for those looking for something more…


Kickstarter DMcPhailAward-winning author, editor, and publisher 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’ guides The Literary Handyman, More Tips from the Handyman,  and LH: Build-A-Book Workshop. She 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 two extremely spoiled cats.

THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 8/14/20


I know…I know… we’ve been doing a lot of postings to the Guest Author playlist and not the eSpec Author playlist. What can I say, we take what content we get and work with it, otherwise, you’d just get a bunch of videos of me reading my own work. I’d like to think not necessarily a bad thing, but I do make efforts to spread things out. We hope you’ll enjoy them all. If you are interested in the books, they can be purchased via the links provided.

If you are an author and would like to participate in one of these series, please visit the eSpec Books Author Reading Series Facebook page for details.


The eSpec Guest Author Reading Series

Keith R.A. DeCandido reading his short story “Materfamilias” from the anthology Bad Ass Moms, edited by Mary Fan and published by Crazy 8 Press. 

About the Book

To celebrate bad-ass moms everywhere, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a fantastic line-up of authors to create stories spanning numerous genres, including sci-fi, contemporary, historical, and fantasy. Since moms and badassery come in infinite forms, the authors were given only one criteria: that their story be about a bad-ass mother or mother figure, whatever that meant to them.

From grandmas to new moms, biological moms to adoptive moms to mom figures, this collection features a fantastic range of stories. A human mom on the PTA of a school for supernatural kids. A new mom who adopts two babies with special powers. A hard-boiled detective who stumbles upon a mystery while looking for childcare. A grandma who fights back against an unsavory mayoral candidate. A witch who battles dark magic while wrangling her kids. An artificial intelligence who nurtures delinquent boys sent to her care. And much, much more.

STORIES BY: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Derek Tyler Attico, TE Bakutis, Russ Colchamiro, Paige Daniels, Kathleen O’Shea David, Peter David, Keith RA DeCandido, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E Hutsell, Kris Katzen, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, TJ Perkins, Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg, Aaron Rosenberg, Joanna Schnurman, Hildy Silverman, and Denise Sutton.

Mary Fan reading an excerpt from her story “Haven” from the anthology Pangaea III, edited by Michael Jan Friedman, published by Crazy8 Press.

About the Book

Pangaea At War The super-continent Pangaea, on which mankind has lived its entire life as a species, has become a dangerous and unpredictable place. The ancient oppressors known as the Aristai are tearing civilization apart in order to rebuild it in their own image.

If the nations of the world are to weather the storm of death and destruction, they will need heroes—not just leaders and lawmen, but also saviors from the most unlikely of places: A bodyguard who’s lost his way in the wilderness. A chef who knows the value of keeping everything in its place. A truck driver carrying more than what’s in his truck. A professor who’s unlocked the greatest secret of the super-continent.

To guide you on your journey through the lonely mountain peaks, the wild, wide plains, and the teeming seacoasts of Pangaea, we’ve enlisted the talents of a distinguished fellowship of science fiction luminaries—Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Ilsa J. Bick, Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Dan Hernandez, Paul Kupperberg, Ron Marz, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Geoffrey Thorne, Marie Vibbert, and Dayton Ward.

In this, the final volume of the Pangaea series, see who will rise, who will fall . . . and who will be left to pick up the pieces.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading an excerpt from her story “Mis En Place” from the anthology Pangaea III, edited by Michael Jan Friedman, published by Crazy8 Press.


All purchase links in these posts are Amazon Associate links
and we do receive a token commission if you should purchase via these links.

THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 8/5/20


This, apparently, is Bad Ass week! Our eSpec Reading is from The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale and all three videos in the Guest Author playlist are excerpts from the recently released anthology Bad Ass Moms. We hope you’ll enjoy them all. If you are interested in the books, they can be purchased via the links provided.

If you are an author and would like to participate in one of these series, please visit the eSpec Books Author Reading Series Facebook page for details.


The eSpec Books Author Reading Series

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading and excerpt of her novel The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale

The Hunt is On!

When strength becomes weakness…
And hope becomes doubt…
As the past collides with the future…hard…

Can Suzanne—Wild Hunt biker chick and one-time member of the fae High Court—stand strong as her world falls apart? She survived an assault by redcaps, an all-out battle with the High King’s armies, and her first encounter with roller derby… but how will she fare against her inner demons?

Caught in the midst of a transformation she scarcely realizes and does not understand, her hard-won convictions are tested as never before. Suzanne is left with only one question—what if they’re wrong? The truth could mean the difference between saving her sanity and losing her soul…

About the Author

Award-winning author, editor, and publisher 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’ guides The Literary Handyman and LH: Build-A-Book Workshop.

She 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 one extremely spoiled cat. To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com or http://www.especbooks.

The eSpec Guest Author Reading Series

 

Joanna Schnurman reading an excerpt from her short story “A Songbird and Her Cage” from the anthology Bad Ass Moms, edited by Mary Fan and recently published by Crazy8 Press. 

About the Book

To celebrate bad-ass moms everywhere, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a fantastic line-up of authors to create stories spanning numerous genres, including sci-fi, contemporary, historical, and fantasy. Since moms and badassery come in infinite forms, the authors were given only one criteria: that their story be about a bad-ass mother or mother figure, whatever that meant to them.

From grandmas to new moms, biological moms to adoptive moms to mom figures, this collection features a fantastic range of stories. A human mom on the PTA of a school for supernatural kids. A new mom who adopts two babies with special powers. A hard-boiled detective who stumbles upon a mystery while looking for childcare. A grandma who fights back against an unsavory mayoral candidate. A witch who battles dark magic while wrangling her kids. An artificial intelligence who nurtures delinquent boys sent to her care. And much, much more.

STORIES BY: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Derek Tyler Attico, TE Bakutis, Russ Colchamiro, Paige Daniels, Kathleen O’Shea David, Peter David, Keith RA DeCandido, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E Hutsell, Kris Katzen, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, TJ Perkins, Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg, Aaron Rosenberg, Joanna Schnurman, Hildy Silverman, and Denise Sutton.

 

Denise Sutton reading an excerpt from her story “Did THEY Do That?” from the anthology Bad Ass Moms, edited by Mary Fan and recently published by Crazy8 Press. 

 

Paul Kupperberg reading an excerpt from his story “Come In, Sit Down, Have a Bite” from the upcoming anthology Bad Ass Moms, edited by Mary Fan and recently released by Crazy8 Press.


All purchase links in these posts are Amazon Associate links
and we do receive a token commission if you should purchase via these links.

THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 7/27/20


This week’s offerings are all Guest Author videos with a fantasy theme harkening to myth and legend for inspiration. We hope you’ll enjoy them all. If you are interested in the books, they can be purchased via the links provided.

If you are an author and would like to participate in one of these series, please visit the eSpec Books Author Reading Series Facebook page for details.


The eSpec Guest Author Reading Series

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading her short story “The Devil in the Details” from the anthology Heroes of the Realm, published by Realm Makers Media. 

About the Book

One Need not Be a Hero to Make Heroic Choices.

When villainy strikes, when harm threatens, when nature takes its brutal unsympathetic course, true heroes take their stand in an instant, without thought, and chose to act on the side of good, despite risk. Not because of glory, or for reward, but because it is right.

Of course, some who are hailed as heroes are nothing of the sort,
and what we perceive as villainy is at times simply misunderstanding.
It takes a brave soul to seek out the difference.

Realmscapes: Heroes of the Realm… With stories by Kathy Tyers, L. Jagi Lamplighter, James Chambers, Steve Rzasa, Gabrielle Pollack, Wayne Thomas Batson, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Paul Regnier, Kerry Nietz, Teisha J. Priest, and Jeffrey Lyman.

Mary Fan reading and excerpt from “The Firedragon’s Hunt,” from her collection A Girl Called Firedragon, published by Crazy8 Press. 

About the Book

Teen monster slayer Aurelia “the Firedragon” Sun has been training since she could walk to do one thing: gank supernaturals. Almost a hundred years ago, the Lord of the Underworld unleashed countless beasts upon the earth, and it’s up to fighters like her to defend what’s left of humanity. But under the Triumvirate—a totalitarian regime built from the ashes of the United States—she’ll always be considered a second-class citizen for being born without magic, no matter how great her combat skills. Meanwhile, a secret rebellion is brewing, one whose beliefs in freedom and equality mirror her own.

A Girl Called Firedragon is an illustrated collection of short works that follow Aurelia’s journey from government-trained cadet to underground revolutionary. Stories included are: The Firedragon, Firedragon Rising, The Firedragon’s Hunt, The Firedragon Strikes

This compendium follows Aurelia’s standalone adventures prior to the events of Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil, the first novel in the Flynn Nightsider series.

Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg reading an excerpt from her story “Hellbeans” from the recently released anthology Bad Ass Moms, edited by Mary Fan and published by Crazy8 Press. 

About the Book

To celebrate bad-ass moms everywhere, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a fantastic line-up of authors to create stories spanning numerous genres, including sci-fi, contemporary, historical, and fantasy. Since moms and badassery come in infinite forms, the authors were given only one criteria: that their story be about a bad-ass mother or mother figure, whatever that meant to them.

From grandmas to new moms, biological moms to adoptive moms to mom figures, this collection features a fantastic range of stories. A human mom on the PTA of a school for supernatural kids. A new mom who adopts two babies with special powers. A hard-boiled detective who stumbles upon a mystery while looking for childcare. A grandma who fights back against an unsavory mayoral candidate. A witch who battles dark magic while wrangling her kids. An artificial intelligence who nurtures delinquent boys sent to her care. And much, much more.

STORIES BY: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Derek Tyler Attico, TE Bakutis, Russ Colchamiro, Paige Daniels, Kathleen O’Shea David, Peter David, Keith RA DeCandido, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E Hutsell, Kris Katzen, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, TJ Perkins, Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg, Aaron Rosenberg, Joanna Schnurman, Hildy Silverman, and Denise Sutton.


All purchase links in these posts are Amazon Associate links
and we do receive a token commission if you should purchase via these links.

COVER REVEAL – IN A FLASH 2020


It has been a while, but time for something new! Our monthly flash fiction may have gone away due to lack of participation, but we met a lot of great authors during it’s run. One of them had the distinction of entering nearly every month and often right under the deadline wire. He won more than a few of them. Such dedication deserves to be rewarded. Coming in August, a brand-new flash fiction collection by author Chrisopher J. Burke!

InAFlash-Burke 2x3

Who says there’s never enough time anymore?

Help yourself to twenty tales of wit and wonder for those with but a little time to read. Pick up Christopher J. Burke’s debut collection of award-winning flash fiction for a quick trip through the whimsical to magical to speculative and back again.

A space-traveling hustler gets taken,
but can’t bring himself to mind in the afterglow.

Playing fetch takes a darker turn as a man who hears dogs’ thoughts
encounters a hellhound.

A disturbing young man brings a whole new meaning
to the term ‘writer’s block.’

With the edges of the galaxy to explore,
solitary confinement is more than worth doing extra time.

A young visionary is on to a hot new idea,
but it takes an outside perspective to give it a brilliant spin.

And many more fantastic tales to transport you
for just a moment or two…there and back again In a Flash!


DSC_0028Christopher J. Burke is a writer, high school math teacher, and webcomic creator. He’s also a gamer and fan of science fiction who has been telling stories since he was little. This combination ultimately led to his first professional sale, “Don’t Kill the Messenger,” in Autoduel Quarterly. This was followed by the creation of a fiction fanzine, Driving Tigers Magazine, with stories set in the Car Wars universe of Steve Jackson Games, which had a five-issue run. Thanks to his knowledge and love of that game, he was asked to co-author GURPS Autoduel, 2nd edition for Steve Jackson Games.

He took time off from writing when he switched careers and went back to school to become a teacher. But not before he completed a goal of having a humor piece published in MAD Magazine.

In 2007, he started the math-based webcomic, (x, why?), filled with the kind of geeky humor that makes his students groan when he includes them in the daily lesson. The comic still updates with new strips every week on his blog

After a chance meeting at a launch party in 2014, Christopher was once again bitten by the writing bug and started producing flash fiction. He won several of the monthly flash fiction contests on the eSpec Books website, and appeared in their anthology, In a Flash 2016.

Christopher lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Antoinette.

THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 6/28/20


This week’s offering is three videos of classic science fiction and fantasy reads. We hope you’ll enjoy them all. If you are interested in the books, they can be purchased via the links provided.

If you are an author and would like to participate in one of these series, please visit the eSpec Books Author Reading Series Facebook page for details.


The eSpec Books Author Reading Series

Lisanne Norman reading an excerpt from her short story “Hope’s Children” from In Harm’s Way (DTF8) edited by Mike McPhail.

The eSpec Guest Author Reading Series

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading an excerpt from her short story “Mama Bear” from the upcoming anthology Bad Ass Moms, edited by Mary Fan and published by Crazy8 Press.

Gordon Linzner reading his story Masquerade, published in issue #1 of JEET fanzine way back in the day!


All purchase links in these posts are Amazon Associate links
and we do receive a token commission if you should purchase via these links.

eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 6/6/20


We’ve posted a wide variety of work on YouTube over the last week or so, steampunk, paranormal fantasy, science fiction. We hope you’ll find something you enjoy!

Please remember to Like and Subscribe and hit the little bell icon to receive notification of these videos as they go live.

And, as always, if you are an author looking to participate, you can contact us through the Series fan page on Facebook.

The eSpec Books Author Reading Series

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading her short story “On the Wings of an Angel” originally from In An Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, and rereleased in Flash in the Can: Speculative Microfiction by Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

Keith R.A. DeCandido reading an excerpt from his novel Supernatural: Bone Key

Robert E. Waters reading his short story “Giraffe Children” from If We Had Known, edited by Mike McPhail

The eSpec Guest Author Reading Series

Michael A. Ventrella reading an excerpt from his steampunk novel, Big Stick, from Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press.


All purchase links in these posts are Amazon Associate links
and we do receive a token commission if you should purchase via these links.

FROM THE PUBLISHER – THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES


Hello,

We are proud to announce that eSpec Books has launched a brand-new YouTube series featuring our authors reading from their works. A number of videos have already been posted and more are to come. Here is a list of what is already up:

cover

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading Brothers (from Dogs of War, Defending the Future Volume 6)


proof-final-legacy

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading A Legacy of Stars (from A Legacy of Stars, a stand-alone collection)


Jeff Young reading Bucket Brigade (from In Harm’s Way, Defending the Future Volume 8)


Please like and subscribe to be notified of new videos as they are posted.

 

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.

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.

COVER REVEAL – DTF 8 – IN HARM’S WAY


Once more, eSpec is proud to announce our newest title, just now off to press: In Harm’s Way edited by Mike McPhail, the next in the award-winning Defending the Future anthology series.

With hope, the book will process in time to also debut at Shore Leave, where authors Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail will be in attendance, along with editor and cover artist, Mike McPhail.

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Cover art and design by Mike McPhail, McP Digital Graphics.

No One Left Behind

When fire and steel meet flesh and bone, a soldier learns a hard truth: you’re not fighting for Glory and Honor, but for survival, for you and your comrades, and you will be damned if you’re going to leave any of them behind.

Join us for twelve tales of military heroism and courage in the face of a hostile enemy.

With stories by Brenda Cooper, Bud Sparhawk, David Sherman, Robert E. Waters, Jeff Young, James Chambers, Lisanne Norman, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Christopher M. Hiles, Eric V. Hardenbrook, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail

COVER REVEAL – FOOTPRINTS IN THE STARS


eSpec is proud to announce that this title has gone to press. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover by Mike McPhail of McP Digital Graphics? We certainly think so!

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To follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before, first we must find them.

Dreaded hope settles over mankind as we stare into the heavens, looking for a sign we are not alone. Fearing we will find it, puzzled when we don’t.

Among the stars or in our own backyard, lose yourself in the wonder of these tales as we humbly posit mankind’s reaction to the awesome certainty that ‘they’ are out there…or at least, they were…

Footprints in the Stars

With stories by Gordon Linzner, Ian Randal Strock, Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward, Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jody Lynn Nye, Christopher L. Bennett, James Chambers, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Russ Colchamiro, Judi Fleming, and Bryan J.L. Glass

The following authors will be at Shore Leave, where the book will be debuted: Robert Greenberger, Dayton Ward, Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Christopher L. Bennett, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Russ Colchamiro, and series editor and cover designer, Mike McPhail.