Contests, Quizzes and New Stuff

Happy New Year! While you’re bracing for (or digging out from) Snowmageddon, make sure you have plenty to read along with your milk, bread, beer/wine and TP!

Free Stuff

What kind of reader are you? Take my survey and enter for a chance to win a prize!

Contest just for newsletter readers!  The Chronicles newsletter is going monthly and so are the giveaways with two new winners every month, one from existing subscribers and one from new subscribers! January’s prize is a $10 Amazon gift certificate plus an envelope of signed swag! Watch for a new prize and new drawing in February!

Goodreads giveaway for Vendetta! 

Join the Shadow Alliance!  My new street team gets exclusive snippets from the books and stories I’m working on, plus special contests, giveaways and get-togethers for helping spread the word about my books. It’s free—and fun!

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Book News

New Steampunk! Grave Voices, our newest novella, is now live on Kindle, Kobo and Nook. It’s a Storm and Fury Adventure, set in our Iron & Blood world of 1898 alternative history Pittsburgh. Clockwork zombies, mad scientists, creepy dolls and awesome inventions make for a thrilling tale packed with explosions!Grave Voices V2

We’re also stretch goal authors for the Gaslight and Grimm steampunk fairy tale anthology funding now on Kickstarter! We’ve hit our basic funding level, but to add our story (a steampunk retelling of the Three Billy Goats Gruff), we need to add a few more bucks to the bucket. Hurry—the Kickstarter campaign ends soon!

shadowAndFlame.inddBinge readers! If you’ve been waiting to read the Blaine McFadden Ascendant Kingdoms series until all the books were out—now’s the time to start!  Shadow and Flame, the fourth and final book in the series comes out March 22 (now available for pre-order). And now there are three new ‘prequel’ novellas in my new King’s Convicts set plus a short story that fill in a six-year gap at the beginning of Ice Forged and spill the secrets about Blaine’s years as a convict, how he met Kestel, Piran, Verran and Dawe, and more! Here’s the sequence: Ice Forged (novel), then Arctic Prison, Ice Bound, No Reprieve, and Cold Fury (novellas and short story), and Reign of Ash, War of Shadows and Shadow and Flame (novels). Perfect reading for long winter nights! Click on the links for excerpts and ordering.

Vendetta is hot off the press, and it’s the newest Deadly Curiosities novel in my urban fantasy series set in historic, haunted Charleston, SC. Someone very powerful is trying to destroy Sorren and everyone he cares about. That puts Cassidy, Teag and Trifles and Folly in the cross-hairs, against an unknown enemy with strong magic and significant resources. Sorren has spent centuries shutting down the plans of powerful immortals, dark warlocks and supernatural creatures, and now he’s got to figure out which of those many enemies is out to get him before they pick off his friends one by one and come after him to finish an immortal vendetta. DEADLY CURIOSITIES-VENDETTA2

Redcap is the latest Deadly Curiosities Adventure short story, with killer pixies running loose in Charleston. It’s a ‘bloody’ good Christmas story!

New feature—Meet My Author Friend

Stuart1Each month, I’ll introduce you to a writer friend whose work you might enjoy. This month, my guest is Stuart Jaffe, who writes a number of series across several genres, including the Max Porter paranormal detective series. His gift to you–The Max Porter Starter Library: 2 FREE novels and a FREE short story. It was supposed to be a new beginning – good job, good pay, and a lovely home in North Carolina. But when Max Porter discovers his office is haunted by the ghost of a 1940s detective, he is thrust neck-deep into a world of old mysteries and dangerous enemies. One in which ghosts, witches, curses, and spells exist. One in which a simple research job can turn deadly. Real history meets the paranormal in this exciting mystery series!

Here’s the Link: http://www.stuartjaffe.com/max-porter-starter-library/

RedcapUpcoming events

Here’s where to find me in February and March. If you’re at a con with me, I love it when people take panel photos or take a pix with me and tag/post!

  • Jan 30 Signing–Barnes and Noble, Morrison Charlotte, NC 1-3 pm
  • Feb 11 – 14 Capricon, Chicago, IL
  • Feb 20 Signing—Books a Million, Concord Mills, Concord, NC 1-3 pm
  • Feb 26 – 28 Mysticon, Roanoke, VA (launch party)
  • Mar 5-6 AZ Renaissance Festival, Apache Junction, AZ

Just a reminder—you can find me hanging out nearly every day on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook at The Winter Kingdoms, and on Goodreads, Wattpad and Pinterest. Come say hi!

Arctic Prisonice boundNoReprieveCold Fury

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Vendetta Launch! (And Other Cool Stuff)

Vendetta, the second book in my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, is now in stores and on ebook!   Read an excerpt here, then go get your very own copy!

DEADLY CURIOSITIES-VENDETTA2

Early reviews love Vendetta!

“Wow! One marvelous, twisty, touching, thrill of a book.”–Kat Richardson, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels

“Exceptional once again.” –Douglas Meeks

“Rachets up the tension”–Blackgate

“Ending 2015 with a bang”–Horror Underground

In case you still have some room on the book gift card you got for the holiday, here are a few suggestions!

WWW coverThe Weird Wild West features our Storm and Fury steampunk adventure Ruin Creek, set in the world of Iron & Blood (and a reviewer favorite). Plenty of your favorite authors and lots of weird West stories to while away a winter evening!

Cinched: Imagination Unbound anthology with a corset theme features another of our Storm and Fury steampunk stories, Lagniappe, set in New Orleans. We’re in fine company with a slew of other amazing authors!

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil superhero/supervillain anthology features still another Storm and Fury steampunk adventure, Ghost Wolf (another reviewer favorite) with all-star author company in a fine anthology for a long winter night.Cinched

No Reprieve revisits a moment in Blaine McFadden’s convict past–brand new from Orbit Short Fiction on Amazon. Arctic Prison and Ice Bound are two novella-length stories in the new King’s Convicts ebook series about Blaine’s time in Velant Prison (watch for the third and last King’s Convicts novella–Cold Fury–coming soon!).

RedcapRedcap is the new Deadly Curiosities Adventure short story for December, for anyone who has ever been suspicious of the elf on the shelf or thought it was no accident that grandma got run over by a reindeer. It’s a bloody good Christmas story!

What are you waiting for? Dive in now and read until spring!

And remember–if you like my books, please write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It really matters!  Thank you.

Want to always have the latest news? Join The Shadow Alliance, my new street team!

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How I Became a Publisher…Accidentally on Purpose

The Weird Wild West anthology from Espec Books rides into town in November looking like big trouble. Saddle up, pardner and discover strange, supernatural, otherworldly and downright weird adventures way out West from some of your favorite authors. Larry and I have a story in The Weird Wild West, so throughout November and December, we asked some of our author friends to prance their ponies over in this direction and share a few lines with us. Enjoy the blog posts—and then order the book please!

by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

One of the things I swore I would never do was start my own press.

(Never make such claims. It is generally the most certain way to ensure that you eventually do whatever you say you’ll never do.)

Having worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years as a career taught me all the various headaches that come with publishing books. However, absorbing all that knowledge and doing virtually every job there is in the industry pretty much meant it was bound to happen eventually. At least I’d gathered a wealth of knowledge beforehand. Now I have only half as many mistakes to make on my own.

This doesn’t tell you how I became a publisher, though.

Earlier this year I ran my first Kickstarter. It was for a little personal project called Eternal Wanderings, a continuation of my Eternal Cycle series of Irish myth-based novels (you can learn more here if you are curious: http://kck.st/1tv0cq7) The campaign was successful and the book needed a brand, an imprint to serve as a foundation. Thus eSpec Books (www.especbooks.com) was born.

A few weeks after the campaign completed I received an email from my friend, Misty Massey. She remembered that I work for Dark Quest Books (www.darkquestbooks.com) and was hoping they would be interested in a project for which the original publisher had fallen through. That project was to become The Weird Wild West. Unfortunately Dark Quest had a full schedule through 2016 and Misty and her co-editors, Emily Lavin Leverett and Margaret S. McGraw, didn’t want to wait so long to see their vision become a reality.

(Yep…here comes the accidentally on purpose part…)

When I saw how disappointed they were I found myself saying…If you don’t mind taking a chance on a brand-new press, but with plenty of experience, eSpec Books could help you out.

We hashed out the particulars and the rest, as they say, is history!

Our editors did a fantastic job corralling high-quality authors for the project, such as R S Belcher (Six-Gun Tarot), Tonia Brown (Railroad!), Diana Pharoah Francis (Trace of Magic), John Hartness (Bubba the Monster Hunter), Jonathan Maberry (Code Zero), Gail Martin (Deadly Curiosities), Misty Massey (Mad Kestrel), and James Tuck (Blood and Bullets).

And, because we are optimistic that way, if we raise enough funds there will be a second volume, for which the editors already have commitments from Faith Hunter, Barb Hendee, Devon Monk, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Charles E. Gannon and Laura Anne Gilman.

But it’s not just about the known talent. Both eSpec Books and the editors are very dedicated to giving new authors a chance. To this end the first collection will have a minimum of four open submission slots, with two additional slots to be added if we hit the appropriate stretch goals. If we unlock a second volume, that will have open-submission slots as well.

BIOS

The Publisher

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books and has started her own press, eSpec Books.

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court: and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

She is a member of the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, the New Jersey Authors Network, and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (especbooks, damcphail or badassfaeries), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more visit www.especbooks.com, www.sidhenadaire.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

 

The Editors

Misty Massey is the author of Mad Kestrel (Tor), a rollicking fantasy adventure of magic on the high seas, and Kestrel’s Voyages (Kindle DP), a set of stories following Captain Kestrel and her daring crew. Her short fiction has appeared in Rum and Runestones, Dragon’s Lure and The Big Bad II.  Misty is one of the featured writers on Magical Words (magicalwords.net). When she’s not writing, she studies Middle Eastern dance and performs with Mythos Tribal and Chimera. You can see more of what Misty’s up to at her website, mistymassey.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Emily Lavin Leverett is a fantasy, sci-fi, and (occasional) horror writer from North Carolina. Her works have appeared in Flash Fiction Online and Drafthorse: A Journal of Work and No Work, and will appear in Summer 2015 in Athena’s Daughters II from Silence in the Library. She also edits, with short story collections including The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil and Big Bad II with John Hartness, from Dark Oak Press.  She freelance edits as well. When not writing or editing, she also is a Professor of Medieval English Literature at a small college in Fayetteville. She teaches English literature including Chaucer and Shakespeare, as well as teaching composition and grammar.  Medieval studies, especially medieval romance, heavily influence her work. When neither writing nor teaching, she’s reading novels, short stories, and comic books or watching television and movies with her spouse and their cats.

Margaret S. McGraw’s writing includes the daily prompt-writing blog WritersSpark.com, several short stories currently in circulation for publication, and two novels in progress: Mira’s Children is a YA science fiction adventure, and OceanSong is a fantasy begun in the 2012 NaNoWriMo challenge. Her imagination draws on her lifelong love of science fiction, fantasy, and anthropology. Her education and experience range from anthropology and communication through web design and IT management. Margaret lives in North Carolina with her daughter and an array of cats, dogs, Macs and PCs, and too many unfinished craft projects. For more details on her writing, follow Margaret on Twitter @margaretsmcgraw or visit her daily blog at WritersSpark.com.

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eSpec Books interviews Keith R.A. DeCandido

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil is a book of superheroes and super villains by some of your favorite authors, including Larry and me! It’s available for pre-order now here: http://amzn.com/1942990030 Now enjoy one of several interviews as our authors take you behind the scenes!

Keithbanner

eSpec Books interviews Keith R.A. DeCandido, contributor to The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a Superhero Flipbook anthology, http://tiny.cc/SoGSoE.

eSB: What drew you to this project?
KRAD: Danielle Ackley-McPhail saying, “Wanna write a superhero story?” and me saying, “Sure!” I’ve been a huge fan of superhero stories since I saw Spider-Man show up on The Electric Company in the 1970s, and two of my first short story sales were superhero stories, as was my first novel.

eSB: Which side are you writing for?
KRAD: The villain side.

eSB: What got you interested in superheroes/villains?
KRAD: I’ve just always been taken by superhero stories. Seeing Spidey on children’s television led to reading the tie-in comic Spidey Super Stories, which led to reading more comics, and I just loved ’em. I love the notion of powers and what they do to change people, some for the better, some for the worse.

eSB: Please tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your story.
KRAD: I’ve written one novel and one short story so far in the world of Super City Police Department. SCPD is about the cops in a city filled with superheroes and all the nonsense they have to deal with. One of the bits in the first SCPD novel, The Case of the Claw, is about how the homicide detectives just hate when they find the body of the Clone Master, because another one always turns up later, and they waste time and effort investigating his death only to have him turn up again. When Dani came to me with the notion of TSoG/TSoE, I thought it might be cool to flesh the Clone Master out and delve into his particular brand of lunacy.

eSB: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would it work?
KRAD: Flight. The closest I’ve come to unaided flight is when I went parasailing, and it was the most wonderful feeling in the world.

eSB: What would your weakness be and why?
KRAD: Why would I want a weakness? That’s just silly.

eSB: Describe your ideal super suit.
KRAD: Thin body armor that protects my entire body.

eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
KRAD: Spider-Man, because he’s still a person who has to deal with the same nonsense as other people, and being a superhero not only doesn’t make it better, it often makes it worse. Plus, he’s someone who does whatever it takes to do the right thing regardless of personal consequences, even if the consequences are horrifically negative and those consequences only affect him. Plus, he’s hilarious…
eSB: Who is your real-life hero and why?
KRAD: My great-grandmother, Grazia DeBacco. She came to this country as a teenager on a crowded boat in the early part of the 20th century, moved to rural western Pennsylvania and proceeded to have ten kids. Despite the fact that the kids were almost all born at the height of the Depression, despite the fact that they lived in a house the size of a shoebox, those ten kids (starting with my grandmother) grew up into the nicest, sweetest, most generous people. And she was this little 4’9″ woman with incredible presence who kept them all in line and raised them to be fantastic. She died in 2003 at the age of 98, and I based Federation President Nan Bacco in several Star Trek novels after her.

eSB: Who is the villain you love to hate, and why?
KRAD: Dick Cheney. If I must stick with a fictional villain, it’s so hard to narrow it down I’m going to go with Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road, because he was deliciously evil, and the root of his evil is something we see in the world today, with his need to control women and use them only as incubators for children.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a hero?
KRAD: Someone who is faced with all the crap in the world, but still perseveres and does the right thing, even though it would be so much easier to not do it.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a villain?
KRAD: Someone who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about consequences.

eSB: What is your viewpoint on Sidekicks?
KRAD: They’re usually more interesting than the hero.
eSB: What is your favorite superhero movie and why?
KRAD: Mystery Men. It was ahead of its time, as it would have been much better received after superhero movies took off, not in 1999 the year before X-Men was released. But it’s a great sendup of the genre, and still also a great movie about heroes. “We’ve got a date with destiny, and she just ordered the lobster.”

eSB: What other comic or superhero-related work have you done in the past?
KRAD: I’ve done a bunch of licensed comics: Star Trek, Farscape, StarCraft, Cars. I also scripted a graphic-novel adaptation of Greg Wilson’s Icarus, with art by Matt Slay, that should be out in 2016. My superhero work, on the other hand, is all prose. I’ve written two Spider-Man novels, two Spidey short stories, short stories featuring the Silver Surfer, Hulk, and the X-Men, plus I’ve got the aforementioned SCPD stuff, and another nifty superhero project I can’t talk about—yet…

eSB: What was your most exciting moment working in the comic industry?
KRAD: Getting to write the post-finale Farscape comics, collaborating with the show’s creator, Rockne S. O’Bannon. We did “season 5″ of the show in comics form, and it was fantastic. Just a great three years.

eSB: If there was one comic franchise you could work on, which would it be and why?
KRAD: Probably Spider-Man, just because I have such a history with the character.

eSB: Fiction or comics, which is your favorite medium and why?
KRAD: I’m more comfortable with prose, because that’s what I’ve worked more in—more than 50 novels and more than 75 short stories, versus a comparative handful of comics. But I like both.

eSB: Please tell us about your non-comic related work.
KRAD: Tons of it. Most recently or coming soon: the Star Trek coffee table book The Klingon Art of War, the novels Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution and Stargate SG-1: Kali’s Wrath, the short-story collection Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido, and short stories in Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental, Buzzy Mag, Out of Tune, Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: Far Horizons, V-Wars, V-Wars: Night Terrors, With Great Power, and The X-Files: Trust No One. I’m also doing weekly rewatches of the original Star Trek (Tuesdays) and of the various Stargate series (Fridays) on Tor.com; in the past I’ve done rewatches of both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for that site.

eSB: Do you have any news you would like to announce?
KRAD: I wish, but I’m working on two projects right now that I can’t talk about yet. But soon. Keep watching the skies! (Or the Internet…)

eSB: Please let us know where you can be found on social media.
KRAD: I’m on Facebook as Keith DeCandido, my blog is at kradical.livejournal.com, and I’m on Twitter @KRADeC.

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

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eSpec Books interviews Gail Z. Martin

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil is a book of superheroes and super villains by some of your favorite authors, including Larry and me! It’s available for pre-order now here: http://amzn.com/1942990030 Now enjoy one of several interviews as our authors take you behind the scenes! Today it is me!

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

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

eSB: What drew you to this project?
GZM: Superheroes are cool! And so are super-villains. It sounded like a fun prompt working with people I like. Always up for an adventure!

eSB: Which side are you writing for?
GZM: A villain!

eSB: What got you interested in superheroes/villains?
GZM: I watched Batman as a kid and enjoyed shows like Wild Wild West and The Avengers and James Bond movies, which had over-the-top villains. I guess it stuck!

eSB: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would it work?  
GZM: Being in two places at once, so I could get all the things done I need to do!

eSB: What would your weakness be and why?
GZM: If a super villain captured all the coffee in the world, I would ‘grind’ to a halt!

eSB: Describe your ideal super suit.
GZM: It should be a cross between Spanx and the TARDIS—bigger on the inside and yet figure-flattering!

eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
GZM: I’ve always been partial to Batman, probably in part because of the 1960s TV show, but also he’s a dark and interesting guy.

eSB: Who is your real-life hero and why?
GZM: Walt Disney, because he has made so many people happy.

eSB: Who is the villain you love to hate, and why?
GZM: Politicians. Oh, you mean fictional? Delores Umbridge. Because I had teachers like her. Not so worried about the Dark Lord turning up in real life, but I’ve met people like her.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a hero?
GZM: Dedication to a cause larger than one’s own interests, that benefits all people or people who don’t have the means to get justice for themselves.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a villain?
GZM: Someone who is only out for his/her own interests and/or the interests of his/her own small group.

eSB: What is your viewpoint on Sidekicks?
GZM: Sidekicks rock! They should get better costumes, higher pay and more respect!

eSB: What is your favorite superhero movie and why?
GZM: Sky High. I loved that sidekicks made the difference.

eSB: What other comic or superhero-related work have you done in the past?
GZM: I have a story in the upcoming Icarus: The Graphic Novel illustrated by Matt Slay and Joe Corroney, a story in the Heroes anthology from Silence in the Library, and a story in the With Great Power anthology.

eSB: What was your most exciting moment working in the comic industry?
GZM: Being able to walk into a comics store with my teenage son, point to work by Matt and Joe and say—“They’re illustrating my story!”

eSB: Please tell us about your non-comic related work.
GZM: I write epic and urban fantasy, and with my husband as co-writer, steampunk and space. The epic fantasy series are the Chronicles of the Necromancer, The Fallen Kings Cycle, The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (newest book is War of Shadows). The urban fantasy series is Deadly Curiosities, with one book out and a new one, Vendetta, coming out in December. The steampunk series is co-written with my husband, Larry N. Martin, and the first book, Iron & Blood, just came out! We also do several series of ebook short stories with new stories every month including the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures (epic), the Deadly Curiosities Adventures (urban) and the Storm and Fury Adventures (steampunk) that are available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook. And we’re in a lot of anthologies!

eSB: Do you have any news you would like to announce?
GZM: Iron & Blood, our new steampunk novel, came out in July, and Vendetta, the second Deadly Curiosities novel, will be out at the end of December!

eSB: Please let us know where you can be found on social media.
GZM: You can find us at www.AscendantKingdoms.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin and @lnmartinauthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and  free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

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

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eSpec Books interviews Greg Schauer

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil is a book of superheroes and super villains by some of your favorite authors, including Larry and me! It’s available for pre-order now here: http://amzn.com/1942990030 Now enjoy one of several interviews as our authors take you behind the scenes!

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eSpec Books interviews Greg Schauer, co-editor of  The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a Superhero Flipbook anthology, http://tiny.cc/SoGSoE.

eSB: What drew you to this project?
GS: Danielle beat me over the head caveman style and forced me to edit a group of writers I have admired for many, many years. Actually, I have been a both a fan and comics retailer since I was a teenager. The nature of a good Superhero/Supervillian story is about the mythic fight between good and evil. Doing this as a flip book allows us to show that struggle from both sides. We have been lucky enough to attract a very talented pool of creators to this project. It will be a fun and exciting book.

eSB: What got you interested in superheroes/villains?
GS: To paraphrase Keith Laumer “Comics taught me how to read. Trust the Comics” I have always loved to read, but it was superhero comics that sent me to the dictionary more often than the books I was assigned in elementary school. What the young me took a long time to understand was that the stories I was reading were introducing me to many new concepts in science and philosophy and advanced my vocabulary at a very young age. Through them I was introduced to the modern mythologies Marvel and DC were creating at the time, worlds filled with Super Science, magic and a very firmly defined morality.

eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
GS: Wow, so many favorites it is hard to choose. If pressed (I see that mallet, Dani) I would have to say ‘Mazing Man. Sigfried Horatio Hunch III is a man who believes he is a superhero and does what he can to help his friends and people in his neighborhood. The stories were told in a lighthearted whimsical style and yet told some of the most poignant stories about courage, bravery and selflessness I have ever read in a comic book      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%27Mazing_Man

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a hero?
GS: A hero is someone who does their best to help their community. Whether that is placing themselves in danger or helping a neighbor in need.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a villain?
GS: Anyone who intentional hurts other people by any means, Physically, Mentally, Emotionally or Financially.

eSB: What is your viewpoint on Sidekicks?
GS: Sidekicks help to keep a Hero sane and balanced.

eSB: What other comic or superhero-related work have you done in the past?
GS: John French and I edited a collection of Superhero stories, With Great Power published by DarkQuest Books.

eSB: Fiction or comics, which is your favorite medium and why?
GS: Hard to say, they both use vastly different techniques to tell a story. Comics, being a visual medium allows the story teller to focus on characterization in the dialogue while the art creates the mood and conveys the action. In fiction the writer needs to do it all through words. Comics can be a very surface medium if the storyteller relies exclusively on the art to tell the story sacrificing character motivations. Fiction allows the writer to delve into the inner being of a character but may sacrifice details of immediate surrounding. I love both for different types of stories.

eSB: Please tell us about your non-comic related work.
GS: My not so secret identity is as the proprietor of Between Books 2.0 in Claymont Delaware. I am also the editor of Stories in Between edited by myself, Jeanne Benzel and W.H. Horner, a collection put out in 2010 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Between Books.

eSB: Please let us know where you can be found on social media.
GS: I can be found on Facebook under Greg Schauer and Between books.

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

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eSpec Books interviews John L. French

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil is a book of superheroes and super villains by some of your favorite authors, including Larry and me! It’s available for pre-order now here: http://amzn.com/1942990030 Now enjoy one of several interviews as our authors take you behind the scenes!

JohnFrench
eSpec Books interviews John L. French, contributor to The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a Superhero Flipbook anthology, http://tiny.cc/SoGSoE.

eSB: What drew you to this project?

JLF: I’ve always been interested in superheroes.

eSB: Which side are you writing for?

JLF: Truth, Justice, and the America Way, what else?

eSB: What got you interested in superheroes/villains?

JLF: I like stories of crime and adventure. In all of these there are, or should be, good guys and bad guys. This is especially so in superhero fiction with the lines between he two more clear-cut than usual

eSB: Please tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your story.

JLF: Some time ago I was asked to write a story for an anthology about phoenixes and firebirds. As one of my series characters is a pulp fiction hero called The Nightmare I created a story in which he helps a man who’s been cursed by immortality and rescues a phoenix. I like the character so much that I write two more stories about her and this Phoenix trilogy became the last three stories in my collection The Nightmare Strikes. I thought that was the (literary) end of The Phoenix. But as you know, a phoenix cannot die and so when I was asked to do a story I found myself brining her back.

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

JLF: I would be able to read, speak and understand every language there was, is, and will be

eSB: What would your weakness be and why?

JLF: Poor penmanship

eSB: Describe your ideal super suit.

JLF: That depends on the hero and his mission. Heroes like Superman need something bright, something people can look up to. Heroes like Batman, the Shadow, and (ahem) the Nightmare need something dark so they can blend in with the darkness. I think the best super suit out there today is the Flash’s

eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?

JLF: Batman and if you need to ask why you don’t know Batman.  My second favorite is anybody from Astro City. And if you don’t know about Astro City, you need to stop reading right now, go to a comic book store and buy the trade. Go ahead, I’ll wait …

eSB: Who is your real-life hero and why?

JLF: In general, it’s the people who keep us safe on a daily basis – the members of the police and fire department. Specifically it’s anyone who’s got the guts to do the right thing no matter the cost. There’s damned few of them these days and none of them hold elected office.

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

JLF: Keyser Söze – if you don’t know who that is, you need to watch The Usual Suspects as soon as possible. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a hero?

JLF: Raymond Chandler said it best – “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.”
Anyone who meets this standard has the makings of a hero.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a villain?

JLF: Someone who cares only for himself without regard to the consequences to the world or those who live in it. There are too many of these people around and, yes, some of them are in elected office.

eSB: What is your viewpoint on Sidekicks?

JLF: I think a direct punch to face works better than a side kick. Oh, you mean people like Robin. Let’s get one thing straight – heroes like Tonto and Kato were not sidekicks (sidekick is what Kato did) they were partners. Maybe they were not always treated as equal partners but they were partners. It’s kids like Robin who were sidekicks. They are good dramatic derives that give the hero someone to explain things the reader need to know as well as gives the hero someone to rescue on a regular basis.

eSB: What is your favorite superhero movie and why?

JLF: I don’t know if this counts but right now it’s Daredevil: Season One. Why? Because they got (most of) it right.

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

JLF: I’ve written two superhero hero stories (Turquoise: The Right Betrayal” and “Hero” that can be found in my short story collection Paradise Denied and which will also be available as goals for this book.

eSB: What was your most exciting moment working in the comic industry?

JLF: My major contribution to the “comic industry” has been buying too many comics for far too long. But other than that, I have been in the three Batman comics written by the late, great C. J. Henderson. I “play” a crime lab technician for the Gotham PD and work for Captain James Gordon. It mirrors my real life job as a crime scene investigator for a large, east coast city. In addition, I am the co-editor of With Great Power … an anthology about people with superpowers.

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

JLF: While Batman is my favorite I’d like to take over either the Superman or Green Lantern franchises. Both of these have gotten away from fighting for truth, justice, etc. and have been too involved in fighting personal battles.

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

JLF: There’s this Romany fortune teller down the street who pretty good … but I don’t think that’s what you mean. I like books. The kind that come with just words and no pictures. I get to use more of my imagination.

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

JLF: I write short stories and edit anthologies. My books include The Nightmare Strikes, The Grey Monk: Souls on Fire, Here There Be Monsters, The Devil of Harbor City, and (with Patrick Thomas) The Assassins’ Ball.

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

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eSpec Books interviews Danielle Ackley-McPhail

The Weird Wild West anthology from Espec Books rides into town in November looking like big trouble. Saddle up, pardner and discover strange, supernatural, otherworldly and downright weird adventures way out West from some of your favorite authors. Larry and I have a story in The Weird Wild West, so throughout November and December, we asked some of our author friends to prance their ponies over in this direction and share a few lines with us. Enjoy the blog posts—and then order the book please!

Ackley-McPhail_TheSideofGood-TheSideofEvil
eSpec Books interviews Danielle Ackley-McPhail publisher of The Weird Wild West edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret McGraw.

What is your favorite western movie and why? You know, for me it isn’t a movie, though there are plenty of those that are really good. For me it was a TV show: Kung Fu, not only a western in the finest tradition, but thanks to the mystical aspects a bona fide Weird Wild Western! You had all the trademark elements of the frontier life, but also the unique flare of Shaolin mysticism and Asian culture. The fighting was a mix of kung fu and good old fashion gunfight/bar brawl, and the messages have stayed with me for a lifetime.

What does the wild frontier mean to you? The Wild West is a proving ground. An untamed land that tests a person’s soul and mines it to discover what they are made of, often when they don’t even know themselves. You either come out of the wild frontier strong or you come out broken…presuming you even come out alive.

Who would you say is your wild west role model and why? LOL…I think most people would say Calamity Jane 😉 I gets into trouble, but I also gets out again.

What is your favorite spec fic/western mash-up? You know, again I have to say Kung Fu. Between the grittiness of the old west and the mysticism of the Shaolin there were a lot of fantastic things in that series, not to mention a lot of worthwhile lessons. There’s definitely an element of camp to it, but the show stuck with me and brought me back week after week. It’s one of the few shows where the complete box set sits on my shelf.

Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why? You know, I think I would have to be the prospector…mining literary gold every chance I get, seeing the potential in things and sometimes getting carried away in pursuing that dream. Yes, sometimes I’m worn out, sometimes I’m grungy, and sometimes that claim fizzles out instead of producing the mother lode, but there’s always a dream right behind that one.

Have you written/created anything else in a weird western vein? Please tell us about it. A while back I edited a collection called In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk. I knew I wanted some variety in the collection so I wrote a piece of my own that took place in the old west. On the Wings of an Angel was meant to be a piece about an early photographer literally stealing souls with his new-fangled camera. Instead it turned into a redemption story for an almost soiled-dove. I don’t want to say much more, because that would be telling, but it was a lot of fun to write and even more fun to read aloud.

What are some of your own works readers can look for? I write a wide range of things so there is quite a variety to check out. My novels are mostly urban fantasy. The Eternal Cycle Trilogy (Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, and Today’s Promise) is basically Irish elves in New York City fighting evil demigods…to start, anyway; The Bad-Ass Faerie Tale novels (The Halfling’s Court and The Redcaps’ Queen) are biker faeries taking on the forces of faerie land; and Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn is a steampunk retelling of Ali Baba an the Forty Thieves. Everything else I’ve published is short fiction and there is way too much to go into here so best to check them out my site at www.sidhenadaire.com/books.htm.

What projects of your own do you have coming up? Right now I’m writing a spin-off series to the Eternal Cycle trilogy. The first book is called Eternal Wanderings and it follows Kara O’Keefe as she seeks out her purpose in her now-immortal life. I’m also working on Daire’s Devils, a military science fiction novel, and Kantasi, an unconventional vampire novel.

How can readers find out more about you? A websearch on “Ackley-McPhail” turns up loads of stuff! Plus there is my website (www.sidhenadaire.com) or most social media platforms.

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books and has started her own press, eSpec Books.

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court: and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

She is a member of the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, the New Jersey Authors Network, and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. To learn more visit www.especbooks.com, www.sidhenadaire.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page   http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail

 

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Q&A with Misty Massey

The Weird Wild West anthology from Espec Books rides into town in November looking like big trouble. Saddle up, pardner and discover strange, supernatural, otherworldly and downright weird adventures way out West from some of your favorite authors. Larry and I have a story in The Weird Wild West, so throughout November and December, we asked some of our author friends to prance their ponies over in this direction and share a few lines with us. Enjoy the blog posts—and then order the book please!

MistyMassey Banner

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

What is your favorite western movie and why?  A Fistful of Dollars.  It was the first western I ever paid any real attention to, and I was utterly fascinated by the anti-hero playing both sides against each other.  So much fun!

What is your favorite spec fic/western mash-up? Since someone else has already said Firefly, I’ll go with Cowboy Bebop.  Again, we find that Misty is attracted to the anti-hero, since Spike Spiegel is not really a good guy, but certainly not a villain either.  That ending scene can bring me to sobs every single time.  Bang.

Can you tell us anything about your story/artwork for The Weird Wild West?  At the moment, I’m finishing a western fantasy novel, so the story I’m submitting to the anthology is a prequel, focusing on Durango, a young woman who makes her living as a wrangler of unusual creatures.  None of the secrets of the novel will be given away, and of course readers don’t have to have read the short story to enjoy the novel, but I thought it would be fun to explore the character of Durango a little before releasing the novel.

What interested you in working on this project? Last summer, Emily, Margaret, and I were attending Congregate.  Margaret had presented the first page of a weird western story during a workshop, and we were encouraging her to submit it somewhere.  All of a sudden, the topic shifted to how much fun publishing a weird western anthology would be, and boom!

Describe your idea of a weird western chuck wagon meal. Beans and bread!

Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why? I’d like to be a Gambler, because in my current life, I am lousy at gambling!  Playing poker has to be fun, because so many people love it, and I’d like to feel that particular thrill sometime.

Have you written/created anything else in a weird western vein? Please tell us about it. At the moment I’m finishing a weird western novel – with any luck, by the time the anthology comes out, there’ll be news about the novel being sold!

What are some of your own works readers can look for?  My first novel, Mad Kestrel, is still available for Kindle and in print.  My volume of short stories, Kestrel’s Voyages, is available for the Kindle as well.  And my short story “Drawing Flame” is appearing in The Big Bad II, coming to e-readers and bookshelves everywhere on December 15, 2014!

How can readers find out more about you?  Visit me at mistymassey.com

Misty Massey is the author of Mad Kestrel (Tor), a rollicking fantasy adventure of magic on the high seas, and Kestrel’s Voyages (Kindle DP), a set of stories following Captain Kestrel and her daring crew. Her short fiction has appeared in Rum and Runestones, Dragon’s Lure and The Big Bad II.  Misty is one of the featured writers on Magical Words (magicalwords.net). When she’s not writing, she studies Middle Eastern dance and performs with Mythos Tribal and Chimera. You can see more of what Misty’s up to at her website, mistymassey.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

SOCIAL MEDIA USER IDs

Facebook: Misty Massey
Twitter: @MistyMassey
Goodreads: Misty Massey
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Misty-Massey/e/B001IQXT44/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1418174577&sr=8-1
Blog Address:  http://mistymassey.com/

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Inventing Holidays, New Blog Hop & Gift Ideas

One of the things I love about world-building is the chance to create entirely new holidays. I personally believe that you can never have enough holidays, so the chance to invent a few of my own is really too much to resist.

As with any world-building, holidays need to fit into the belief structure of the place and people you’ve created. I’ve found that it helps a lot to read about holidays, feasts, and celebrations world-wide and throughout history in order to get a feel for the kinds of things that people commemorate with a special time set apart.

If you’re writing a militaristic culture, it’s likely that they will commemorate great battles, both wins and losses. The losses are likely to be solemn occasions, while the victory remembrances may include feasting, storytelling, gift-giving, dances and music. It may be a time when mayhem is permitted and even tacitly encouraged. Or it could be the time when young warriors are presented for initiation.

In an agricultural culture, holidays are likely to follow the seasonal cycle of planting and harvest. There will be times when people are too busy to celebrate, and other times when it’s possible to take a day to enjoy the harvest. Foods will be what are seasonally available. Spring will focus on new life, and may be the time for handfastings. Fall is a time for counting stock and preparing for the cold dark winter.

Holidays play a big role in all of my series. In my Chronicles of the Necromancer series. Not only do they provide a window into the cultures of the different kingdoms in how they are celebrated, but the characters’ attitudes toward the holidays also provide an insight into who they are and what they have experienced. In the Ascendant Kingdoms series, even exiles in a harsh arctic colony find a way to make a celebration out of the beginning and end of the “white nights”. And of course in my Deadly Curiosities Adventures, real-world Charleston, SC knows how to celebrate in a big way!

Holidays are also a great way to provide a view of the economy of your fictional world. Are special goods required for a celebration? How far in debt will people go to acquire them? What trade is necessary to supply them? Can they be obtained illegally? How do celebrations differ between the rich and the poor? Slave and free? People of different races or kingdoms?

Make sure to study folklore and world customs to avoid just copying the holidays you might be most familiar with. Throughout history, people have found a rich variety of ways to honor their deities, so you’ve got a lot of inspiration to pull from beyond our modern culture.

Holidays are a lot of fun to write. Invent a good one, and you may be able to make it an annual celebration with your readers. Adding holidays to your writing creates a whole new layer of believability and texture to your world. Try it and see!

Just in time for the holidays–some bright shiny new books, giveaways and more!

Mocha NewSGBlog

Mocha Memoirs Press Holiday Blog tour is live! This is one of the holiday-themed posts–follow them all for clues on how to enter to win cool stuff!  Click on the graphic to find out more about the prizes, and click on the frog in the box to find all the other great blog posts!!

DEADLY CURIOSITIES-VENDETTA2Vendetta, the new Deadly Curiosities novel, launches Dec. 29! You can pre-order online–just in time for Christmas, and some great New Years’ reading.

Larry and I have a new Storm and Fury Adventure story (set in the world of our Iron & Blood steampunk series) in the new corset-themed anthology Cinched: Imagination Unbound. It’s a hot bunch of stories guaranteed to warm up your winter nights.Cinched

Superhero (and villain) fans, rejoice! The Side of Good/The Side of Evil is now available–and it includes our Storm & Fury Adventure Ghost Wolf, with a steampunk superhero, set in our Iron & Blood world!

The Weird Wild West anthology is coming soon–with another of our Storm & Fury steampunk tales, Ruin Creek (which got a special shout-out from two reviewers!)

Blaine McFadden fans–lots of good stuff new for you! No Reprieve is a brand new story set during Blaine’s time as a prisoner in Velant–coming on ebook Dec. 15 from Orbit Short Fiction. ice bound

Arctic Prison and Ice Bound are two new novellas in The Kings’ Convicts series set during Blaine’s convict years, now available on Kindle/Kobo/Nook

NoReprievePre-order The Shadowed Path, the new Jonmarc Vahanian collection in print or ebook, perfect for the Chronicles of the Necromancer lover on your list!FC JONMARC COLLECTION

Fatal Invitation was the Thanksgiving Deadly Curiosities Adventure for November, and watch for a spookalicious Christmas story coming in December!

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Still time to get in on the big Holiday Book Giveaway! The more you enter, the more chances to win!Happy Holidays giveaway

 

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