THE eSPEC BOOKS AUTHOR READING SERIES – 4/25/20


As we get the reading series up and running the posts are going to be rather close together at first so we can populate the playlists, so we are going to be sharing these links in groups of three or so for the time being. Here is the next batch!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail reading her short story Turtles All the Way Down from The Die is Cast, edited by Greg Schauer.

Christopher L. Bennett reading from his novel, Arachne’s Crime, which is currently funding on Kickstarter. (We about to fund the second book in the duology, Arachne’s Exile!)

James Chambers reading his short story The Last Great Monologue of Evil Intent from The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER – MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


merry-christmas

We are doing something different this year. Instead of trying to grab everyone’s attention during this gift-giving season, we are having a sale AFTER the holiday.  From January 1 through January 7, all ebooks will be a mere 99 cents. So, if you’ve gotten some e-gift cards, or are just looking to treat yourself, here is your chance to score our amazing books for a steal! 

You can access the titles on Amazon by clicking on the below images. We’ll repost this when the sale goes live.

Anthologies

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Solo Collections

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Short Stories

Cover-Final-DownPlayground Fire-Cover FallofAutumnFINALebook JL-TTK-CoverFinal ebook-Final-Hourglass

NotOneWord Proof-Restavek TheOath DifferentCourage TheNatureOfMercy

Novels

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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. 

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“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


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“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


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“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


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

 

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEWS


I’m posting this a bit early as Balticon is this weekend and tomorrow will be crazed. I doubt I’ll see a computer, let along get to sit down at one.

So, this has been a particularly good week. Congrats especially to the authors of Gaslight & Grimm:

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“In this tasty short fiction anthology, the editors have combined two appealing genres into something greater than the sum of its parts.” John DeNardo, Kirkus Review

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“Plenty of fun for the reader no matter who you root for!” – 4 Stars, Ron, GoodReads

 

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE PRIZES #8


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Our Final Batch of Featured Prizes

These are some of our contributor prizes. The books are donated by their respective authors: Kelly A. Harmon (Gaslight and Grimm) Jean Marie Ward (Gaslight and Grimm) and James Chambers (The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, and Gaslight and Grimm); the Fairy Catmother tote bag (x2) is donated by Gaslight and Grimm editor and contributor Diana Bastine; and  the amazing steampunk snowman is both created and donated by Dogs of War contributor Judi Fleming of Fleming Gourds. 

I expect there will be other prizes I haven’t cataloged, but hey…you get the idea 😉

So remember, it’s all fun and games…until someone else wins the prize! Don’t let that happen to you. Join us at the launch for your chances to win!

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #4


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

What?! You didn’t think we’d forget the sweets, did you? I don’t go for sheet cakes or anything…I found that much of the time the cake went to waste because we had so many other yummy things to eat first. Instead we go for other bite-sized yummies you can eat along with your savory items. This year I delegated so I only had to make one batch of cookies…my famous Limoncello Coconut cookies with Candied Ginger. These come with the CJ Henderson Seal of Approval. It is mostly the only cookie I make anymore because I just can’t beat it with anything else. (If you ask REAL nice I might give you the recipe 🙂 )

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Trust me, a photo doesn’t do them justice, but here they are 🙂 I took them to a party today and was surprised to hear someone say the cookies were a mistake…then they went on to say they’d already had FOUR. I’ll also be making rice krispy treats, but not until closer to the event

Now…about that delegating I mentioned. We have four other industrious bakers slaving over a hot oven to ensure there are tasty treats for everyone on May 29th.

Gaslight & Grimm contributor Jean Marie Ward will be serving up molasses cookies and snowballs with pecans, The Weird Wild West contributor Robert E. Waters will be bringing his wife’s famous peanut butter brownies, and my wonderful sister Barbara Miller will be making yummy, crispy chocolate chip cookies! (Disclaimer: the below photographs are for demonstration only and do not represent the actual baked goods my minions are working on, which may or may not have already been baked.)

In addition to these home-baked goods, we generally supplement with my favorite cream puffs and other commercially obtained treats. Will it be enough? Who knows! Will we endeavor to have no con-goer go hungry? You bet!

Have we tormented you enough? Because, you know…the party at this point is just four days away! Oh, and…don’t fight over the canapes, please!

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – PRIZES #7


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Today’s Featured Prizes

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These are our miscellaneous prizes. The top image is a superman pendant donated by S. Iserman and a pair of Side of Good/Side of Evil magnets donated by eSpec Books. The middle image is a limited edition print, #1 of 500, by Grendel’s Den. The final image is a Sharper Image motion-sensor candy dispenser donated by a local construction firm. 

Now, the prizes we’ve featured in these posts are not our only prizes, but they are the only ones we have available to photograph. To see what other cool items are up for grabs you’ll have to join us at the launch party and help us celebrate. We certainly hope you will!

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – PRIZES #6


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Today’s Featured Prizes

This is our Robert E. Waters library prize. The first book is Fantastic Futures 13, published by Padwolf Publishing, with stories by both Robert E. Waters and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, the second books is Hides the Dark Tower, edited by G&G contributor Kelly A. Harmon and includes a story by Robert E. Waters, and the final book is Wild West Exodus, with a story by Robert E. Waters. And, you’ve guessed it, this bundle has been donated by Robert E. Waters. 

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATES – PRIZES #5


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Today’s Featured Prizes

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These are our book bundle prizes. The top image is autographed copies of Diana Bastine’s three novels, donated by the author. The middle image is issue #1 of Grimm’s Faerie Tales graphic novel donated by the Philcon freebie table. The last image is the eSpec Books book bundle, donated by the publisher.  

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #3


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

This weekend saw more of Mike’s homemade dough, this time for the creation of homemade stromboli. If you aren’t familiar with that word, its also often called pepperoni bread because that is the most common ingredient, paired with mozzarella cheese. We like to be a bit more diverse, though.

The fillings we used this time around are:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Fresh garlic
  • White onion
  • Green pepper
  • Black olives
  • ricotta cheese
  • parmesan

We roll the dough flat into as close an approximation of a square as we can, lay out our toppings, then roll the whole thing into as tight a spiral as we are able, like we were making pinwheel cookies, only we skip the slicing step until AFTER we’ve baked 😉 .

They don’t always turn out pretty…but are definitely delicious!

Right now there are TEN stromboli waiting in my freezer. Four pepperoni/mozzarella, one ground beef with peppers, onions, and black olives, one sweet italian sausage with peppers, onions, and black olives, one spinach/mozzarella, one sweet italian sausage with fresh garlic, spinach and mozzarella, and two that are three-cheese! 

I must confess, this time around we didn’t behave ourselves, we made two for ourselves to nosh on. 

The first is the traditional pepperoni/mozzarella, the other is a spinach/ricotta. Me, I will go for the pepperoni EVERY time (I taught myself to make this recipe because I LOVE pepperoni stromboli and couldn’t get it anymore when I moved for school)…but we know not everyone can or chooses to eat meat, so we make sure to have vegetarian alternatives.

LAUNCH UPDATE – AUTHORS IN THE WILD


We took a day trip up to the Steampunk World’s Fair today so that Gail and Larry Martin could sign books….LOTS of books. About two hundred in all. They were great sports about it. See, Gail will be at Balticon and the Launch, but Larry will be holding down the homefront and making sure the one remaining teenager doesn’t get up to mischief 😉

Knowing this, and with SWF taking place just a little over an hour away from our home base, we decided it was more than worth the trip to get the additional scribble in Gaslight & Grimm, The Weird Wild West, AND The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, because, well…you guys are worth it! Besides, who knows the next change we’ll get to meet Larry in person!

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LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – PRIZES #3


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Today’s Featured Prizes

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These are our steampunk-themed prizes. The costumer’s bundle containing a feather fan, vintage gloves, wire-rimmed glasses, brass key and opera glasses is donated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail. The airship painting is an original work of art painted by contributor Christine Norris expressly for the launch. The stuffed airship is donated by contributor David Lee Summers and was hand-crocheted by his wife, the talented Kumie Wise.

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #2


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

On Friday my kitchen–or more accurately, my whole house–filled with some very tempting scents as we made homemade flatbread pizzas. Mike first made the dough from scratch, adding fresh rosemary and garlic powder to the basic recipe, then I came in for the actual construction.

You can see photos below of the toppings we used, Mike’s lovely dough as I began to roll it out, then the three stages of the construction itself. The toppings, the cheese, then the glorious endgame of the baked bread. Once we reached this stage the pizzas were cut in half, then into strips roughly an inch and a half wide for easier serving. When everything cooled down they were frozen for the big day.

Again, we have to serve them cold, but it doesn’t seem to have an adverse affect on anyone’s appetite 😉

The mostly diced toppings–used in various combinations–are:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Stewed tomatoes
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Fresh garlic
  • White onion
  • Green pepper
  • Black olives
  • Traditional tomato sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto sauce

All in all, I estimate we made about ten pizzas in meat, vegetarian, and all-cheese varieties. This is in addition to the five we made previously for the event. (We couldn’t do a cheeseless variation because the toppings would have fallen off by the time they were served.) It sounds like a lot, but we serve a LOT of people and by Sunday at the con they are pretty hungry for “real” food.

Anyway, here’s hoping we see you there!

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE PRIZES #2


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

Today’s Featured Prizes

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These are our leather-themed prizes. The Satchel bag purse is a Sandcrafter creation donated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail. The steampunk cap is of unknown origin, also donated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail. The leather flask featuring the Gear-and-Wolf icon from the Gaslight & Grimm Kickstarter campaign is another Sandcrafter creation, commissioned by eSpec Books specifically for the launch.

How it Works

Just a note on how you can win said prizes. At any event where we are holding a launch party we have a standing practice that whoever buys one of the books launching gets a free raffle ticket for each one. Once you have a free ticket, if you wish you can purchase additional tickets for $1 each, all the way up until the drawing. Once you arrive at the party you can peruse the prize table and see if any of them interest you. At that point you take your two-part raffle ticket and separate the perforated sides. You put one half of the ticket in the bin in front of the prize you want to win, the other half you put back in your pocket until it is time for the drawing. No need to put your name on either half of the ticket because you–or someone representing you–must be present at the time of the drawing to collect your prize.

THE LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #1


If there is anything I am known for–besides my awesome hugs–it is my launch party fare.

See, I know what cons are like. I know most people who go to them have already blown their cash in the dealer’s room, or just getting to the con, so most of what the subsist on during the weekend is whatever food they can scrounge at the evening parties.

If you’ve been to a con you know this mostly consists of veggie trays, cheese, chips, cake and soda…oh, and candy, lots and lots of candy, and if you’re lucky, some free alcohol.

Not much real food, though.

And then there is me. See…when I hold a launch I am so busy running around, I’m lucky if I get to eat at all, so I know how all those con goers feel. Their bellies are wrapping themselves around their spines…or rebelling against all the less than food like substances being consumed.

It’s genetic…I have to give them food.

So, if you are fortunate to join us at Balticon 50 this year, you can expect to enjoy (if you get in the food line quick enough) one of my specialties – Homemade Pork/Sausage Potstickers

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These contain half sweet Italian sausage, half ground pork, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, carrots, and cabbage. Oh, and love 🙂

Thank you, I’ll be cooking all week…okay…all month, be sure to tip your waiters 😉

But seriously, I really will be cooking all month, and bringing you updates…and photos, of what will be on the menu.

Please do consider coming out to help us celebrate the release of Gaslight & Grimm, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, and the reissue of Dogs of War.

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The Prizes #1