Cover Master TemplateApril has turned into a pretty busy month for us here at eSpec and Systema Paradoxa. We have a whole lot of titles coming out all at once due to some shuffling of the SP titles in the Cryptid Crate Boxes. Our congratulations to all the authors and our thanks for their talent and patience, and our thanks to Box Mountain and Cryptid Crate for inspiring this series.

All of the below titles will officially release on April 21st but are currently available for pre-order.

SP - Alone in the Muck 2 x 3

Alone in the Muck, as accounted by Anton Kukal

After what felt like a lifetime in the sewers, Inspector Max Dalton would have thought he’d seen everything. He would have been wrong. When his trainees discover something inexplicable in the muck, life changes radically for all of them, including Max’s granddaughter, Gwen.

News of their discovery gets out and bounty hunters invade the tunnels beneath the city, forcing Max’s cooperation in their search. With life and love and liberty in the balance, Gwen will need help from an unexpected source to evade those looking to capture her new friend.

 About the Author

Anton Kukal is an author, actor, and adventurer. After serving in the United States Army as an armor officer, he graduated from law school and enjoyed a highly successful legal practice, then he decided to embrace his creativity. Anton is now a full-time writer. His fiction appears in the award-winning Defending the Future anthology series. His website is

SP - Chessie At Bay 2 x 3

Chessie at Bay, as accounted by John L. French

Same ol’ Syn, all new mischief…

Just when Theodore Syn starts thinking about sinking roots, the military comes calling, needing a man with his… unique qualifications to deal with a need-to-know problem that’s cropped up in the Chesapeake Bay.

Something is out there, frightening fish and fishermen alike.

But that’s not the real problem. Someone is masquerading as a military official on American soil, and with war on the horizon, steps need to be taken to safeguard the East Coast, before the Axis Powers drive a U-boat—or something more unexpected—right up the mouth of the Bay.

About the Author

JOHN L. FRENCH is a retired crime scene supervisor with forty years experience. He has seen more than his share of murders, shootings, and serious assaults. As a break from the realities of his job, he started writing science fiction, pulp, horror, fantasy, and, of course, crime fiction.

John’s first story “Past Sins” was published in Hardboiled Magazine and was cited as one of the best Hardboiled stories of 1993. More crime fiction followed, appearing in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, the Fading Shadows magazines, and in collections by Barnes and Noble. Association with writers like James Chambers and the late, great C.J. Henderson led him to try horror fiction and to a still-growing fascination with zombies and other undead things. His first horror story “The Right Solution” appeared in Marietta Publishing’s Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak. Other horror stories followed in anthologies such as The Dead Walk and Dark Furies, both published by Die Monster Die Books. It was in Dark Furies that his character Bianca Jones made her literary debut in “21 Doors,” a story based on an old Baltimore legend and a creepy game his daughter used to play with her friends.

John’s first book was The Devil of Harbor City, a novel done in the old pulp style. Past Sins and Here There Be Monsters followed. John was also consulting editor for Chelsea House’s Criminal Investigation series. His other books include The Assassins’ Ball (written with Patrick Thomas), Souls on Fire, The Nightmare Strikes, Monsters Among Us, The Last Redhead, the Magic of Simon Tombs, and The Santa Heist (written with Patrick Thomas). John is the editor of To Hell in a Fast Car, Mermaids 13, C. J. Henderson’s Challenge of the Unknown, Camelot 13 (with Patrick Thomas), and (with Greg Schauer) With Great Power

 You can find John on Facebook or you can email him at

SP - Eyes of the Wolf 2 x 3

Eyes of the Wolf, as accounted by Robert E. Waters

When a sudden trail of death and desolation sweeps through south and central Texas, elements of the case trigger an alert with a division of the FBI that tracks possible supernatural influence.

Agent Chimalis Burton, a specialist in cryptids of the Americas, has a history of vanquishing such monstrous creatures. When she is assigned the case, she scrambles to find answers before the situation worsens.

Evidence begins to suggest an evil that has festered for centuries; an evil that now rises to reclaim its power.

An evil that rests in the soulful eyes of a wolf.

About the Author

Robert E Waters is a technical writer by trade but has been a science fiction/fantasy fan all his life. He’s worked in the computer and board gaming industry since 1994 as a designer, producer, and writer. In the late ’90s, he tried his hand at writing fiction, and since 2003, has sold over 7 novels and 80 stories to various online and print magazines and anthologies, including the Grantville Gazette, Eric Flint’s online magazine dedicated to publishing stories set in the 1632/Ring of Fire Alternate History series.

Robert’s first 1632/Ring of Fire novel, 1636: Calabar’s War, (co-authored with Charles E Gannon), was recently published by Baen Books. Robert has also co-written several 1632 stories, including the Persistence of Dreams (Ring of Fire Press), with Meriah L Crawford, and The Monster Society, with Eric S Brown.

Robert is the author of The Mask Cycle, a Baroque fantasy series that includes the novels The Masks of Mirada and The Thief of Cragsport (Ring of Fire Press).

For e-Spec Books, Robert has written several stories which have appeared in the widely popular military science fiction anthology series, Defending the Future. All seven of his stories that appeared in the series were recently collected into one volume titled Devil Dancers.

Robert currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Beth, their son Jason, and their two precocious little cats, Snow and Ashe.

SP - Forget Me Not 2 x 3

Forget Me Not, as accounted by Carol Gyzander

What is legend? What is truth?

 A monster is said to lurk beneath the waters of Lake Erie. Jane and her twin brother Rob are haunted by just that. As children, they lost half their family to a terrible boating accident. They haven’t left dry land since. Only, at the age of sixteen, they allow friends to lure them onto the lake.

But should they have held their ground?

When something nearly swamps their boat, years of secrecy are swept away and the children’s father shares their family history with the supposed Monster of Lake Erie.

Will the tale bring closure or just more tragedy?

About the Author

Carol Gyzander read classic science fiction and Agatha Christie mysteries non-stop as a child. Now that her own kids have flown the coop, she writes and edits horror, suspense, dark fiction, and sci-fi stories from the outskirts of New York City. Twisted tales that touch your heart!

Her story, “The Yellow Crown,” was nominated for the HWA Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a Short Story. It can be found in the Stoker-nominated anthology, Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign from Hippocampus Press.

Carol has stories in over a dozen other anthologies, including Stories We Tell After Midnight from Crone Girls Press; Across the Universe: Tales of Alternate Beatles from Fantastic Books (amidst stories by Cat Rambo, Spider Robinson, and David Gerrold); Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse from Camden Park Press; and The Lost Librarian’s Grave: Tales of Madness, Horror, and Adventure from Redwood Press.

As editor-in-chief and one of the founders of Writerpunk Press, she’s edited four anthologies of punk stories inspired by classic tales, including Merely This and Nothing More: Edgar Allan Poe Goes Punk and Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk. She co-edited the Even in the Grave anthology of ghost stories, with James Chambers, from the NeoParadoxa line of eSpec Books.

She works with James Chambers as Co-Coordinator of the Horror Writers Association New York Chapter and as co-host of the HWA-NY Galactic Terrors online reading series (on the second Thursday of every month—see for details). She is also one of the overall Chapter Program Managers for HWA.

Carol’s a member of Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Broad Universe, and Historical Novel Society. Find her at or on Twitter and Instagram @CarolGyzander.

SP - Found Footage 2 x 3

Found Footage, as accounted by Mary Fan

The camera doesn’t lie… but it has been known to hold a secret or two.

High-school student Jenny Chen captures a glimpse of an unbelievable creature when filming a student movie in the woods near Princeton, New Jersey. Despite her proof, only her best friend believes her.

Determined to reveal the truth about the strange creature, Jenny returns to search the woods, only to end up in a terrifying game of hunt and chase. Someone wants her discovery silenced…but who?

About the Author

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series (Red Adept Publishing), the Flynn Nightsider YA dark fantasy series (Crazy 8 Press), the Starswept YA sci-fi series (Snowy Wings Publishing), and Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon, a YA steampunk fantasy (Page Street Publishing).

She is also the co-editor of the Brave New Girls YA sci-fi anthology series about girls in STEM (proceeds are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund). In addition, she has had numerous short stories published in collections including MINE!: A celebration of liberty and freedom for all benefitting Planned Parenthood (ComicMix), Magic at Midnight (Snowy Wings Publishing), Tales of the Crimson Keep (Crazy 8 Press), and Thrilling Adventure Yarns (Crazy 8 Press).

In her spare time, when she has any, she can usually be found in choir rehearsal, at the kickboxing gym, or tangled up in aerial silks.

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