FROM THE PUBLISHER – STATE OF THE ‘SPEC 2019


Hard to believe we have been at this for five years, come October. That is a lot of blood, sweat, and cuss words…let me tell you! We have learned a lot and we have grown. We are making a name for ourselves and doing what we love. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are making too much progress, but then we look back and think “Damn!”

I did that today. My entire day has been nothing but entering and calculating data to see exactly what it is we’ve accomplished, by the numbers. So! Here it goes…

  1. We’ve published nine titles in electronic format only.
  2. We’ve published 39 titles in both print and electronic format.
  3. We have eight titles currently under review or in production.
  4. We have originated three imprints: eSpec Books, Paper Phoenix Press, and AGM Publications.
  5. We have three staff members: Danielle McPhail (publisher), Mike McPhail (art director/graphic designer), Greg Schauer (editor).
  6. Eight times out of eight times, we have paid out royalties either early or on time.
  7. We have zero company debt.
  8. We have a positive balance in each of our company accounts.

Those last three fill us with the greatest sense of accomplishment.


All-Time Top Bestsellers

  1. The Clockwork Witch by Michelle D. Sonnier
  2. The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell
  3. The Weird Wild West
      edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw
  4. Issue in Doubt by David Sherman
  5. In All Directions by David Sherman
  6. Gaslight and Grimm edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine
  7. Dragon Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  8. The Best of Defending the Future edited by Mike McPhail
  9. Goblin Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  10. Unicorn Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido

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In All Directions 2 x 3G&GRed-Gold Leaf-150Proof-DragonPrecinctNew-Proof-DTF1b

Goblin Precinct 2x3Proof-UnicornPrecinctproof-iwhk-coverproof-tbobaf

All-Time Highest Grossing

  1. The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell
  2. The Clockwork Witch by Michelle D. Sonnier
  3. The Weird Wild West 
        edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw
  4. Issue in Doubt by David Sherman
  5. In All Directions by David Sherman
  6. Gaslight and Grimm edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine
  7. Dragon Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  8. The Best of Defending the Future edited by Mike McPhail
  9. If We Had Known edited by Mike McPhail
  10. Best of Bad-Ass Faeries edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Highlights of the last five years:

  • One title made it to the Bram Stoker Recommended Reading List.
  • Four titles were finalists for awards.
  • Two of those titles won those awards.
  • We have funded twelve successful crowdfunding campaigns (including one that is running right now – Defending the Future: In Harm’s Way.)
  • We have had the honor of publishing Faith Hunter, Jack Campbell, Brenda Cooper, David Sherman, Jody Lynn Nye, Jonathan Maberry, Bud Sparhawk, James Chambers, Jack McDevitt, Robert Greenberger, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Jeff Young, Michelle D. Sonnier, Bernie Mojzes, Aaron Rosenberg, Peter David, John C. Wright, Eric V. Hardenbrook, Christopher M. Hiles, Patrick Thomas, CJ Henderson, Judi Fleming, John L. French, Christopher L. Bennett, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Misty Massey, Mike McPhail, John G. Hartness, RS Belcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Misty Massey, James R. Tuck, Robert E. Waters, David Sherman, Tonia Brown, Liz Colter, Scott Hungerford, Frances Rowat, Ken Schrader, Bryan C.P. Steele, Wendy N. Wagner, Christine Norris, Danny Birt, Jean Marie Ward, Elaine Corvidae, David Lee Summers, Kelly A. Harmon, Jonah Knight, Diana Bastine, Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano, Adam P. Knave, Jesse Harris, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, John Passarella, Jeffrey Lyman,  L. Jagi Lamplighter,  James Daniel Ross, DL Thurston, Lee C. Hillman, NR Brown, John A. Pitts, Jennifer Brozek, Ronald T. Garner, Nancy Jane Moore, Maria V. Snyder, Lawrence M. Schoen, Andy Remic, Charles E. Gannon, John G. Hemry, Ian Randal Strock, Peter Prellwitz, Drew Bittner, Ty Johnson, Torah Contrill, Walt Ciechanowski, Hal Greenberg and Kenneth Shannon III, Erik Scott de Bie, Ed Greenwood, Christopher J. Burke, Jim Knipp, Herika R Raymer, Anton Kukal, Marie Vibbert, CB Droege, David Bartell,  Rie Sheridan Rose, Jean Buie, David M. Hoenig, Jamie Gilman Kress, Jean Rabe, David Boop, Leona Wisoker Robert M. Price, Leona Wisoker, Edward J. McFadden III, Tony Ruggiero, Janine K. Spendlove, Bryan J.L. Glass, James M. Ward, Kathleen David, and Vonnie Winslow Crist
  • We have projects in the works by Robert E. Waters, Christopher L. Bennett, Michelle D. Sonnier, James Chambers, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.
  • We have anthologies in the works with stories by Gordon Linzner, Lisanne Norman, Dayton Ward, and  Russ Colchamiro.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end here, thank you. It’s a lot of content but we are covering five years 😉 We’ll be making periodic posts throughout the year up to the anniversary. Thanks for joining us on this adventure!

eSPEC BOOKS WEEK IN REVIEW


Very excited about this week’s review. Congratulations go out to contributors Wendy N. Wagner and Tonia Brown, highlighted as the reviewer’s favorite stories. Click on the link for the full review.

TW3-COVER-REVAMP

 

“The variety in this anthology is fantastic. I highly recommend The Weird Wild West for bite-sized adventures in a frontier that isn’t quite ordinary.” – 4 Gears, Gearhearts Steampunk Revue

 

 

 

For more steampunk goodness, check out Gaslight and Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales, now funding on Kickstarter.

 

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – WENDY N. WAGNER (THE WEIRD WILD WEST)


Wendy N. Wagner - 500 pixels

eSpec Books interviews Wendy  N. Wagner, contributor to The Weird Wild West edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw.

eSB: What is your favorite western movie and why?

WNW: I love True Grit, the 2010 film by the Coen Brothers. Every character in that story is engaging and unique, and I love the tough-minded teenaged girl at the heart of the film. It’s a movie that’s full of trouble and humor and, well, grit. I could watch it a dozen more times!

eSB: What does the wild frontier mean to you?

WNW: The wild frontier means self-sufficiency. The people who came out west had no infrastructure to depend on—they were alone, their communities stretched thin in an environment with no safety nets. To survive, they had to depend on their own wits and what they had brought with them from more developed regions. I have the utmost respect for the settlers of the American West. Even a teenager on the frontier probably had more skills than I do!

eSB: Who would you say is your Wild West role model and why?

WNW: Abigail Scott Duniway. Most people outside of Oregon have never heard of her, but she’s one of my heroes. She came to Oregon on a wagon train, got married, took charge of her family when her husband was permanently disabled in an accident, ran her own business, and started her own newspaper devoted to women’s rights and suffrage.  She wrote the first novel published in Oregon, and produced twenty-one more, all the while campaigning for women’s right to vote. She is a great example of the pioneer spirit!

eSB: What is your favorite spec fic/western mash-up?

WNW: I love the story “Last Bloom on the Sage,” by Andrew Penn Romine (from the anthology Fungi). It’s filled with weird magic, a fungus that turns people into zombies, and a thrilling train robbery. Is there anything more Wild West than a train robbery?

eSB: Can you tell us anything about your story for The Weird Wild West?

WNW: Many generations of my family have been ranchers and farmers in Eastern Washington—the setting of my story. It’s a harsh landscape that calls for tough people, and the place itself was a big inspiration. I wanted to tell a ghost story with a strong sense of that area, and once I got the idea, “Blood Tellings” practically wrote itself.

eSB: How do you research to capture that western feel?

WNW: My husband likes to joke that I grew up a hundred years before he did! My parents lived in a very remote town in rural Oregon while I was in my elementary school years, and it was a place that really encouraged self-sufficient, homesteading-type behavior. We canned our own fruits and vegetables; my dad went hunting and took me fishing; we got our water from a spring behind our house. Once a storm knocked out electricity and closed the roads for almost two weeks! We kept warm using our wood stove and we played card games by the light of oil lamps. My parents both came from farm families and lived for periods of time without electricity or indoor plumbing and shared their stories with us, so the flavor of those old times comes very naturally to me.

I also love doing research. I read a lot of historical material about the Pacific Northwest because I enjoy it so much, and I like to visit historic sites and local museums. While working on this piece, I visited The Big Bend Historical Society Museum in Wilbur, Washington, to study photos and artifacts from the era (some of which, weirdly enough, were of my own great-grandparents and from my great-great-grandparents’ house). It really helped me visualize what these farms looked like a hundred and fifty years ago.

eSB: Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why?

WNW: I’d probably be a School Marm. It might not be the most exciting role in Western life, but it usually came with a roof and a wood stove with a good supply of wood! Also, I really enjoy teaching and working with young people. I’ve taught writing classes for middle schoolers, and I worked in a children’s museum for seven years. As long as my students didn’t need to learn calculus, they’d probably be in pretty good hands.

eSB: Have you written/created anything else in a weird western vein? Please tell us about it.

WNW: I’ve worked on several short pieces set in Oregon’s early years, although most are set in Portland. There’s a lot less dust and dirt and cattle drives in my work and more mud and river traffic. I’ve been working (very slowly) on a novel set in the late 1800s in a Portland that’s filled with ghosts and opium dens and wicked magic. It was a very wild time in the region, and writing about it is thrilling. Just researching the book is a blast!

eSB: What are some of your own works readers can look for?

WNW: My first novel, Skinwalkers, is the story of former pirate who has returned to her Viking-inspired homeland to raise her son, but finds her new community threatened by shape-shifting cannibals. It’s written in the world of the Pathfinder role-playing game, but you don’t need to know anything the game to enjoy all the excitement.

If you like action tales, I also have two of my short pieces to recommend: “Hind and Horn,” a story of a Victorian-era British Museum scholar at a dig for a bog mummy in rural Ireland (in the anthology Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places); and “Words of Power,” the story of a soldier who repairs golems in a magical version of World War I (from the anthology Shattered Shields).

eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?

WNW: I’m very excited about my novel Starspawn, due out August 2016. It’s about the same heroine featured in my first novel, but she and her crew have landed on treasure-filled island inhabited by one steadily awakening Great Old One. If you like Lovecraft and treasure hunts, you’ll like this book.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you?

WNW: They should visit my website, www.winniewoohoo.com, or even follow me on Twitter, where I’m @wnwagner.



TW3-COVER-REVAMPThe Weird Wild West
edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw

The untamed frontier is a challenge, a test of character, a proving ground for the soul. It’s a place where pioneers rewrite their future, or end their days…for better or worse. In the spirit of Bret Maverick, Cat Ballou, Kwai Chang Caine, and James West, The Weird Wild West blends western grit with the magical and mysterious unknown that waits beyond the next horizon.

With thrilling stories by Jonathan Maberry, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, John Hartness, RS Belcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Misty Massey, James R. Tuck, Robert E. Waters, David Sherman, Tonia Brown, Liz Colter, Scott C. Hungerfold, Frances Rowat, Ken Schrader, Bryan C.P. Steele, Wendy N. Wagner, and a bonus story by New York Times bestselling-author Faith Hunter, you’ve hit the Mother Lode!

Now available on Amazon.

NetGalley (available here for review through the end of January): https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/77412

NEW RELEASE – THE WEIRD WILD WEST


by Rachel Fernandez

STRATFORD, NJ (December 2015) ― eSpec Books and editors Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw are proud to announce their newest release, The Weird Wild West, a triumphant collection of riveting tales that will instantly transport you to the western battleground of frontier land. This title is available on NetGalley for review through January 31.

The ebook is now available on Amazon and the print book will be available by the end of December.

TW3-COVER-REVAMPThis speculative collection includes a multitude of thrilling stories by both best-selling and award-winning authors such as Jonathan Maberry, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, John G. Hartness, R.S. Belcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Misty Massey, James R. Tuck, Robert E. Waters, David Sherman, Tonia Brown, Liz Colter, Scott C. Hungerfold, Frances Rowat, Ken Schrader, Bryan C.P. Steele, Wendy N. Wagner, and a bonus story by New York Times bestselling-author, Faith Hunter.

Artist Jason Whitley returns with nine stunning illustrations.

“[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.com

The west is a place where gallant trailblazers either ride off into the sunset or crumble beneath the hardships they face. In the fine tradition of media frontiersmen such as Bret Maverick, Cat Ballou, Kwai Chang Caine, and James West the characters in The Weird Wild West take on the unknown and encounter unconventional challenges that test their strength and character.

UPDATE – THE WEIRD WILD WEST


eSpec Books is proud to share with the Table of Contents for The Weird Wild West (final order yet to be determined)

  • Diana Pharaoh Francis – Grasping Rainbows
  • James Tuck – From Parts Unknown
  • John Hartness – Redemption Song
  • Gail Z. Martin and Larry M. Martin – Ruin Creek
  • Tonia Brown – Frank & Earnest
  • R S Belcher – Rattler
  • Jonathan Maberry – Son of a Gun
  • Robert Waters – Mungo Snead’s Last Stand
  • David Sherman – Rocky Rolls Gold
  • Liz Colter – Sundown
  • Scott C. Hungerford – Fifteen Seconds
  • Frances Rowat – Abishag Mary
  • Ken Schrader – Haven
  • Bryan C. P. Steele – Via Con Diablo
  • Wendy N. Wagner – Blood Tellings
  • Misty Massey – (As Yet Untitled)
  • SUPER SECRET SURPRISE!

Congrats to everyone, this is going to be one hell of a book!

Based on the current progress, the book is scheduled to release sometime in October.

We also have a few surprises up our sleeves…but we are not at liberty to let those cats out of the bag yet!

PROJECT UPDATE – THE WEIRD WILD WEST


I was waiting to share this with you until I had the full Table of Contents to present, but there has been a delay in my receiving that information and I did not want to hold off on this announcement too long.

Congratulations to the following authors who will be fleshing out The Weird Wild West!

Liz Colter – Sundown
Scott C. Hungerford – Fifteen Seconds
Frances Rowat – Abishag Mary
Ken Schrader – HAVEN
Bryan C. P. Steele – Via Con Diablo
Wendy N. Wagner – Blood Tellings

The editors are currently working their magic to polish and put together the manuscript. Once we have the production schedule set I will let everyone know when the book is expected to release.