I know, I know. I literally just posted about Kickstarters, but here are a few super-cool ones I didn’t know about then, and in the indie press community, we support our own and help spread the word where we can, so here’s another post.


Visions: The Art of Jeff Sturgeon

I wanted to let you know about this first one now because anyone that backs before noon EST today will qualify for the First Backer Bonus, a one-of-a-kind digital sketch created specifically for each backer, and an add-on option that lets you get a print copy of your unique sketch.

Also, there are a bunch of amazing campaign-exclusive rewards and bonuses you don’t want to miss out on. It is about to conclude the first 24 hours and it is only $1320 away from hitting goal! It will be running for 59 more days, but you don’t want to miss out on the early bonuses!


The next one is from Falstaff Books, an amazing operation run by eSpec author John Hartness. He is funding a dark fantasy anthology inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, who endlessly inspires authors to this day. Knowing the quality of fiction produced by Falstaff, and the authors involved, I am sure you don’t want to miss this one! They have 26 days left and are $8642 away from goal, so let’s help them out!

Zombies Need Brains Presents: Year Two

This campaign is to fund the second year of Zombies Need Brains’ online magazine venture. Again, amazing authors, and quality content. They have 27 days remaining and are $3621 away from goal.

Trust me, you won’t regret supporting any of these creative ventures.


I feel so behind at the moment, but that is no excuse to let things go, right?


eSpec author Danielle Ackley-McPhail is running a personal campaign to kick herself into gear. Nineteen days to go on The Town of Ground-Down Gears. Goal has been met, but now to unlock the bells and whistles!

eSpec authors Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger) and Keith R.A. DeCandido have paired up to fund a weird western anthology The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny featuring some amazing authors, such as R.S. Belcher, Laura Anne Gilman, Aaron Rosenberg, John Hartness, and others.

And eSpec friend and fellow author Alex Shvartsman is funding an audiobook production of Kakistocracy.

We hope you’ll check all three out.


Horror on Main Promo Image

Keith R.A. DeCandido and I are headed for Hunt Valley, MD, this weekend for Horror on Main. For us, a primarily selling event. Each of us will have an author reading, though.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail – 8pm Friday Night, Tell-Tale Library (with Mercedes M. Yardley)

Keith R.A. DeCandido – 2pm Saturday Afternoon, Tell-Tale Library (with Tim Lebbon)

All the rest of the time, you can find us in Monroeville Mall, the alternate dealer’s room. 

Show Hours
Guests of Honor 5 pm – 9 pm 10 am – 8 pm 10 am – 1 pm
Vendors 5 pm – 10 pm 10 am – 8 pm 10 am – 1 pm
Readings & Panels 6 pm – 9 pm 10 am – 8 pm n/a
Contests 9 pm – 11 pm 9 pm – 11 pm n/a


Oh, my! That happened fast… Heliosphere is just around the corner. Next weekend, in fact!

We really hope to see many of you there.

It is both my birthday and we have a book launch, so it’s going to be a non-stop party!

Here are our schedules:

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

6:30 pm – 7:45 pm  – Salon D
Mythology – New Takes on Old Tales

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm  – Salon C
Making Our Monsters or Finding Them

4:00 pm – 5:15 pm  – Salon D
Story Inspiration from Breaking Science

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm  – Salon D
The eSpec Books Launch Party
8:00 pm – 9:15 pm  – Salon C
Signing (This is a group autograph session available to everyone)

11:30 am – 12:45 pm  – Library
Reading (Time shared with Hildy Silverman and Keith R. A. DeCandido)

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm  – Salon C
Marketing for Creatives

Mike McPhail

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm  – Salon D
The Biggest Mistakes Made by New Writers

5:00 pm – 6:15 pm  – Salon D
So you want to be in an anthology…
11:30am – 12:45pm  – Salon D
Writing Believable Injuries for Fictional Characters
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm  – Salon D
The eSpec Books Launch Party
8:00 pm – 9:15 pm  – Salon C
Signing (This is a group autograph session available to everyone)
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm  – Miracle Ballroom
Interview w/ Chuck Gannon

Other eSpec authors attending this weekend are James Chambers, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Ef Deal, Hildy Silverman, Gordon Linzner, Amy Grech, Randee Dawn, Charles E. Gannon, Aaron Rosenberg, Jenifer Rosenberg, Russ Colchimaro, and Ian Randall Strock


Coming down to the wire, this time! Sorry, there has been so much going on.

tell-tale steampunk logo

We and a whole bunch of our authors–including David Lee Summers, Michelle D. Sonnier, Ef Deal, Dana Fraedrich, Jessica Lucci, Doc Coleman, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeff Young, Mike McPhail and John L. French–will be at the Tell-Tale Steampunk Festival this weekend. In fact, we are something of a main attraction, with most of our authors present participating in the literary scavenger hunt being held during the event, and our anthology, A Cast of Crows (upon which the scavenger hunt is based) will be launching Saturday (along with our other new steampunk and dieselpunk titles).

Mostly, we will be in the dealer’s room, but here is our schedule.

Saturday, April 1 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
“Why do you think me Mad Libs.” (Tell-Tale Heart)
The Spectacles (main ballroom)
Don’t be nervous! Join our cast of crows (aka authors) for a madcap game of Mad Libs. The authors will take you on a wild ride of steampunk, Poe, and pure madness with stories that need some help from the audience to finish. Why do we insist they’re mad? Yell out while the crazy, creative, […]

Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Ef Deal, Jessica Lucci, Christine Norris, Jeff Young

Saturday, April 1 @ 3:15 pm – 4:00 pm
Author Round Table – What’s the Big Ef Deal?
Poe’s Parlour
Meet the author of the French paranormal steampunk novel Esprit de Corpse and chat about the writing life, the joys of doing the research for steampunk fiction, and her plans for the continuing adventures of Jacqueline and Angélique, the Twins of Bellesfées.

Saturday, April 1 @ 4:30 pm – 5:15 pm
Author Round Table – Writing process with Jessica Lucci
Poe’s Parlour
Plotters, pantsers, and in betweeners: join steampunk author Jessica Lucci and learn fun, easy to follow, writing plans to execute your next story!

Saturday, April 1 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Beyond The Oblong Box Podcast taping
The Spectacles (main ballroom)
Beyond The Oblong Box is a podcast born of a need to eliminate misinformation about Edgar Allan Poe. Join your hosts Levi Leland and Virginia Poe as they discuss the loves, life, works, and the world in which Poe once resided

Saturday, April 1 @ 5:15 pm – 6:00 pm
Author Round Table – Writing Steampunk in the Wild West and Around the World
Poe’s Parlour
David Lee Summers often sets his steampunk in the western United States of the late 1800s where many cultures were meeting and colliding. Join him for a discussion of why the region appeals to him and the opportunities it presents for telling multicultural steampunk stories.

Saturday, April 1 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
A Cast of Crows: Poe-Inspired Steampunk Book Launch
Rue Morgue Panel Room

Come celebrate the launch of A Cast of Crows, the premiere volume in the Forgotten Lore series, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and featuring stories by David Lee Summers, Michelle D. Sonnier, Judi Fleming, Aaron Rosenberg, Ef Deal, Dana Fraedrich, Jessica Lucci, Doc Coleman, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail. Also launching: Grimm Machinations and Grease Monkeys.
Contributing authors to the three anthologies attending the launch will be David Lee Summers, Michelle D. Sonnier, Ef Deal, Dana Fraedrich, Jessica Lucci, Doc Coleman, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeff Young, and John L. French.

Sunday, April 2 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Author Round Table – Audiobooks for Indie Authors
Poe’s Parlour
Dana Fraedrich has explored every audiobook creation route so you don’t have to. From DIY to hiring a professional voice actor, ACX to Findaway, and more. Come with your audiobook creation questions and allow Dana to demystify this daunting (and rapidly growing) corner of the market for you.

Sunday, April 2 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
More than Gears and Goggles
Poe’s Parlour
Join a round table, intimate discussion with writer, editor and publisher Danielle Ackley-McPhail. She will discuss suggestions for taking your writing, crafting, or costuming to the next level by paying attention to the relevant details.


Do you like free books? I guess I already know the answer to that one…

Do you have a NetGalley account? If so, great! If no, they are free to sign up for, and once you have one, you can request all kinds of books to review, some of them before they’ve even been released! From large publishing houses and small. Here’s a link to NetGalley in case you want to sign up. 

I am a little late in posting this, for reasons. We have another Systema Paradoxa volume listed for February, Out for Blood by Jorie Rao. You can learn more about the book below. Once you do, we hope you will click the link to head over to NetGalley and request it.

Esprit de Corpse

Ef Deal


What secrets lay beneath Parisian Streets? And who will kill to keep them?

When a malfunctioning automaton runs full force into their locomotive on the new Paris-Orléans railway, Jacqueline Duval and her bohemian twin sister Angélique Laforge become embroiled in a mystery deeply rooted in their tragic past.

A polytech and famed engineering prodigy, Jacqueline is fascinated by the metal man, even more so when she discovers it is powered not by steam, but by the supernatural. Her investigation puts the sisters on a path both dangerous and mysterious as they must foil a plot to employ the dead to power a mechanical army aimed at international conquest. 

Aid comes from unexpected sources as the twins rush to avert this engineered war, but will they be in time?


A Curse of Ash and Iron

Christine Norris

Curse-CoverFrontAll The World’s A Stage, As They Say

In 1876 Philadelphia, Benjamin Grimm knows real life is much like the theater—people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives and never revealing their secrets. When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, his delight turns to dismay. On learning she has been under a spell for the past seven years, forced to live as a servant in her own home, he realizes how sinister some secrets can be.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under her stepmother’s watchful and unforgiving eye. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seemed no one could help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, likewise bespelled. When she encounters Ben one evening, he seems immune to the magic that binds her. Her hope rekindles along with their friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the curse before midnight on New Year’s Eve, both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

eSpec Books LLC Logo


Just as a reminder, the Nebula Nominations end at midnight tonight. Here are a list of the eSpec Titles that are eligible for nomination.

eSpec Books

It is award season once again. For those interested, here is a list of our qualifying titles by publication month. For those eligible to nominate and vote for the Nebula Awards, files have been posted to the relevant SFWA forums, or you can contact the publisher.


Clockwork Solution 2 x 3NOVEL CATEGORY –
The Clockwork Solution by Michelle D. Sonnier

The Legacy of the Sortilege Line

Treated with disdain by her family her entire life for not living up to their expectations—or prophesy—Arabella Leyden forges her own path and attains her greatest wish: to join the Sisterhood of Witches, doing so in a manner no one ever anticipated.

As the first-ever technomancer, the way before her is fraught with peril. Can she survive the machinations of her order, or be ground between the gears of reluctant progress?

More important yet, can she succeed at her first assignment: find the root cause of the…

View original post 1,066 more words


We are at it again! Kicking off the year with a brand-new campaign: Full Steam Ahead!

Yes, we are funding more books. Yes, we would love if you would check them out, maybe show your support. But don’t think you have to do it blind. Here is a taste of Grease Monkeys: The Heart and Soul of Dieselpunk, an anthology that takes a look at the mechanics that keep the tech running and even mod it out beyond its original capabilities, striving for efficiency and peak performance or just keeping things going.

The other two books funding through the campaign are Grimm Machinations – the sequel to Gaslight & Grimm, bringing you even more steampunk faerie tales; and A Cast of Crows, a Poe-inspired steampunk collection created in conjunction with the Tell-Tale Steampunk Festival, but more on those later.

Over the course of the campaign, we will be sharing these excerpts so you can get to know our authors’s style.

Grease Monkeys 6 x 9

My Mechanical Girl
Misty Massey

Billie glided onto the stage to the applause of the audience, positioned herself under the lights on her mark, and struck a pose. Her music swelled. “It’s the loveliest of days when I’m near you,” she sang, “Robins chase the clouds out of the sky…”

Billie’s the headliner at La Fantaisie. Me, I’m her mechanic. I polish her steel face until she glows warm under the electric lights, lubricate her joints, and spend the dough to dress her in glam. I didn’t create the valve system that lets her sing in a voice like warm molasses spilling down the back of a velvet chair nor the hydraulics that allow her to spin and dance, but I know how they work, and I can build off what the old inventor did. My grimy fingers carry permanent stains from years in a factory. My nails are bit back to the quick and I cut my own hair. At any time, there might be a streak of ash or oil on my face where I scratched an itch without bothering to wipe my hands first. The powerful gentlemen who frequent the Fant expect to see people like me fixing their cars, not standing in the club watching them drink brandy. It’s okay, though. I stay out of sight, watching from the wings while my girl entertains the room. It’s best that way, considering how I make the lion’s share of my money.

La Fantaisie has always been popular with the higher-ups in the military, thanks to it being so close to the capitol building. Colonels and congressmen spend their evenings drinking expensive liquor and talking important talk while my Billie sings. I’ve installed nearly a dozen songs into her voice system, all the ones I like best. In between sets, she roams around the room on a magnetic track I built into the floor, stopping at every table to say something flirty. She knows eight different phrases, and I’m working on three new ones.

She’s a toy. Metal arms and legs. A complicated hydraulic on the inside to keep her moving. A series of delicate valves connected to a circuit board that serve as her voice box. She’s a mechanical girl. But I love her like she’s real.

George Dupree, owner of the Fant, used to hire human women to sing in his nightclub, pretty ones with white-blonde curls who sang and danced and sometimes slid the necks of their dresses down to show off their bare shoulders. Between that Hitler guy and his Nazi thugs in the newsrags and women being found burnt to crisps in alleys, the military brass ordered their bigwigs to stay away from ordinary singers and dancers. Might have been for fear of them spilling secrets over pillow talk, or maybe the burnt-up women were the results of some experiment gone wrong and the generals wanted to put distance between their scientists and the victims. Who can guess? George was left without dames for his customers to ogle, and business dropped off. He was on the verge of closing down until he met my Billie.

Billie finished singing, took a bow, and the music for her next song began. “It’s always summer when you smile at me…” she sang. Suddenly her chin jerked, and she stuttered, like a record player needle skipping. The music continued on, but instead of singing, her jaw fell open with a click, and words poured out, words I didn’t understand. “Eian saprue prace sius ceva iot…”

The audience stared at my girl, as confused as I was. This gibberish was not one of the phrases she could say. After a few seconds, someone at a table said, “Is that German?” Silence fell again, until another said, “Sounds like a numbers station.” Like a dam breaking, the whole room burst into chatter, and some of the officers rose to their feet.

I ran out onto the stage, grabbed Billie’s arm, and drew her with me into the wings. “Sorry, folks,” I called out. “Show’s over for tonight.” George met us backstage, his face redder than his cummerbund.

“Why the ever-loving hell did you teach her German?” he hissed. “You’re going to get me shut down!”

It hadn’t sounded like German to me. But George wasn’t wrong. These days, the whole country seemed to be on a witch hunt, and Germany was the devil. It was time to hit the road before the bigwigs out front found their way backstage. “This ain’t my doing. It’s likely radio interference,” I said, turning my girl toward the street door. Her full-length coat hung on a hook next to it, so I slipped it over her shoulders and buttoned it at the neck, sliding the hood up to shadow her face. She’d stopped talking at last, thank goodness. The noise out on the main floor rose, and I heard snatches of unpleasant comments. Things like “spy network” and “treason” and “federal custody.” “I’ll recalibrate her vocal valves. Something’s just gone out of whack.”

“Send me a message tomorrow,” he said, pushing his shoulders back and straightening his tuxedo jacket. “It’s apology time, and I don’t want her anywhere near here if she’s spouting more of that kraut nonsense.”

Thudding footsteps echoed from the direction of the stage. Time to make tracks. Billie has wheels set in the soles of her feet, so she rolls instead of walking. Tonight I was glad of it.

Massey 2023 - HeadshotMisty Massey is the author of the Mad Kestrel series of rollicking fantasy adventures on the high seas. She is an editor for several small presses, and an instructor for the Speculative Fiction Academy. When she’s not writing or editing, Misty appears on the Authors & Dragons podcast sister show, Calamity Janes, as the cheerful, sundrenched cleric, Malibu. She’s a sucker for ginger snaps, African coffee, and anything sparkly. You can keep up with Misty at and on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about Misty Massey here:

Website  *  GoodReads  * Amazon Author Page

Follow Misty Massey on social media: 

Facebook  *  Twitter