Coming in July! The new, remastered, expanded edition of Three Chords of Chaos, available now for pre-order from eSpec Books.
Once, lord of lyrics;
once, prince of peace…
Now a demon let off his leash…
No greater musician than Gorge ever lived in the Realm of the Sidhe.
No faerie musician ever delved so deeply into the taboo songs and the forbidden music—the Way of the Bone. Yet, Gorge refused to deny himself their temptations.
In reward his true love betrayed him, and the faerie kings and queens who once praised him stripped him of his magic and exiled him to the mortal world. Left to go mad and die, Gorge discovered new life in the arms of a mortal woman, Delilah—and new magic in the music that sings in the souls of mortals. Decades later, Gorge walks a dark path through the musical underground of New York City. He lives a secret life, hiding from the fae, waging a guerilla war of punk rock, and wielding his guitar like a weapon as he gathers magic and recharges his power. Until the day he’s strong enough to return home and open the Way of the Bone to all the Faerie Kingdoms. But the mortal world is far more dangerous than it seems
Gorge never expected to discover such raw power, almost beyond his control, among the mortals who worship his music. Nor did he count on a mortal wizard to discover his secrets or turn the ancient weapons of the fae against him. Caught in a dangerous game of magic, music, and lies, Gorge must find the truth and uncover the source of his enemy’s magic. Survival and love hang in the balance. And Gorge has only his music to protect him, only a song for any hope of salvation….
Praise for the work of James Chambers:
“…chillingly evocative writing…” —Publisher’s Weekly
“James Chambers writes stories that are paced fast enough to friction burn a reader’s eyeballs.” —Horror Reader.com
“Three Chords of Chaos is a darkly rich story, starring an exiled faery and his lady love. Mr. Chambers has created a cast of intriguing and charismatic characters in a music and magic fueled world.” —Bibliophilic Book Blog
“Three Chords of Chaos is a well-written, compelling story interwoven with an authentic description of the famed punk rock culture that developed in the early 80s. A very entertaining and enlightening novella. Highly recommended.” –Gene O’Neill, The Cal Wild Chronicles
“In this dark urban fantasy James Chambers plays a thrilling riff on the razor’s edge where music and magic meet. Sex, drugs, Faustian bargains, and rebellious Fae make Three Chords of Chaos my kind of faery tale.” –Douglas Wynne, author of The Devil of Echo Lake and Steel Breeze
The latest release from eSpec Books includes my story “A Feast for Dead Horses.” This is a new tale in the my Machinations Sundry steampunk series, starring Morris Garvey, Detective Daniel Matheson, Anna Rigel–Queen of the Witches, and guest-starring Ricard LeFarge, Hatiain Minister of Hoodoo! With stories by Jody Lynn Nye, David Sherman, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, Michelle D. Sonnier, Jeffrey Lyman, Bernie Mojzes, Jeff Young, David Lee Summers, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, After Punk: Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife delivers a great line-up of steampunk stories tinged with the supernatural. While mankind can scarce hope to pierce the Veil without crossing it, a few intrepid souls will ever bend their will against the aether, combining artifice and the arcane to uncover its secrets. From voodoo death cults to the Day of the Dead, mummy parties, the wheel of reincarnation, the practice of death portraits, and so much more, these tales leave no gravestone unturned. Be it heaven or hell or the limbo in between, the hereafter is about to get ‘Punked.
Recently released by eSpec Books, The Awakened: Modern includes my short story “The Little Sisters of the Hourglass.” Set in the world of the Awakened role-playing game created by Hal Greenberg, the anthology includes a mix of modern fantasy stories influenced by super-hero themes. Published by eSpec Books.
Get Ready To Be Awakened…
The sudden appearance of a second moon in Earth’s sky awakens latent abilities in humanity…a link to a familiar, control of the elements, and so much more become possible as the second moon takes effect. What impact will this sudden change have on society? Only time will tell.
With stories by Drew Bittner, Ty Johnson, Torah Contrill, Walt Ciechanowski, James Chambers, Hal Greenberg and Kenneth Shannon III, Erik Scott de Bie, Jennifer Brozek, and Ed Greenwood
Originally published by Dark Quest Books, Defending the Future, Volume 5: Dogs of War has bee re-issued by eSpec Books. This volume includes my story, “Father of War,” about a scientist taken prisoner, and the cybernetically enhanced dogs he created who attempt to rescue him. Researching military working dogs (MWDs) proved fascinating. The ability of these dogs amazed me as much as their connection to their handlers. These brave canines have saved many lives in battle over the years, though they haven’t always been treated with the respect and appreciation they earned. That situation has improved significantly in recent times, but there’s still a ways to go. This collection honors their efforts and those of their trainers and handlers. “Father of War” is the most emotionally taxing story I’ve written for DTF–but there’s a fair amount of fun to it as well, especially for those who enjoyed 1970s war comics and the artists and writers who created them. More info and the full table of contents is posted on eSpec’s website. Amazon has the book for sale in print and e-book.
Defending The Future is a long-running, award-winning series of military/science fiction, comprised of six volumes. I’ve been fortunate to have contributed stories to all but one volume, with special thanks to series editors Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail whose confidence in me allowed me the opportunity to take a crack at writing this kind of s/f. It’s a challenging genre to write, demanding of meticulous research, and I’ve turned in at least one or two “weird” stories along the way when ideas led me to strange places. Mike and Dani accepted them along with the more conventional ones, much to my great excitement. Editors aren’t always able to allow their writers that kind of freedom. For authors, it’s invaluable because it opens up opportunities to flex different writing muscles, explore new ideas, and play with genre conventions.
I’ve seen plenty of sci-fi movies that fit into this genre, with Aliens, Enemy Mine, and Starship Troopers springing to mind. But my inspiration for writing these stories lay firmly with the works of Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Fred Saberhagen, and the other s/f masters I read growing up, with perhaps a dash of DC Comics’ Weird War Tales thrown in (especially for my contribution to Dogs of War). So it strikes me as a great honor that my story, “Mother of Peace,” originally published in DFT3: By Other Means has been selected for the recently published The Best of Defending the Future. The stories, chosen based on reader reaction and requests, individual reviews, and editorial judgement include a fantastic cross-section from the series and work by some of the best military/sf writers working today. More information and the full list of table of contents can be found here. The Best of Defending the Future is also available on Amazon.
My latest short story, “In Wolf’s Clothing,” will appear in Gaslight and Grimm next month. A dark (and sexy!) steampunk retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” it also continues my Machinations Sundry short story cycle.
Once Upon a Time… ageless tales were told from one generation to the next, filled with both wonders and warnings. Tales of handsome princes and wicked queens, of good-hearted folk and evil stepmothers. Tales of danger and caution and magic…classics that still echo in our hearts and memories even to this day, told from old, cherished books or from memory at Grandma’s knee.
Oh yes, tales have been told…but never quite like these. Order here!
Journey With tales by James Chambers ~ Christine Norris ~ Bernie Mojzes ~ Danny Birt ~ Jean Marie Ward ~ Jeff Young ~ Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin ~ Elaine Corvidae ~ David Lee Summers ~ Kelly A. Harmon ~ Jonah Knight ~ Diana Bastine ~ Jody Lynn Nye.with through the pages of Gaslight and Grimm to discover timeless truths through lenses polished in the age of steam.
The final part of my conversation with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, casting an eye on the nuts and bolts of creating anthologies, finding an audience, making the most of the convention circuit, and Dani’s most recent projects and ventures. Thanks all for reading! (Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, or Part 5.)
You’re known as one of the most successful anthology editors in the specialty press, having edited, co-edited, or worked on nearly a dozen anthologies in the past decade and helped to launch them. How does your role as editor shape your work as a writer?
Well…thank you again. Editing anthologies came out of my love of creating books, something I have been doing for thirty-two years. I get ideas, I find the twist, and then I am driven to complete the project. Mostly they come about because I want to explore whatever concept has captured my mind. Consequently, of all of the anthologies I’ve been involved with in an editorial capacity only two of them do not contain stories I’ve written. So…in that context my editorial work shaped my writing by enabling me to explore some fascinating concepts as I found my tale to fit the theme. Conversely, in most other ways my editorial work just gets in the way. I find I’m so busy dealing with production and administrivia (not my phrase, though I absolutely love it!) that my writing often comes in last minute as I scramble to get my story done before we have to go to press. That, in fact, is why I only have an introduction in Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental… I just couldn’t draw my story together fast enough and we were out of time. This is the first volume in the series that doesn’t have a Wild Hunt tale. I’ve started it, but I just haven’t had time to find my way to the end. I’ll likely post it on the Bad-Ass Faeries website (www.badassfaeries.com) as a bonus freebie once it’s done.
Oh… this is so hard to say… everyone has their own tastes when it comes to fiction. And I don’t think you can really break it out by editor and writer because there is too much overlap. Good fiction, originality, excitement. And as a writer I would add a solid connection to the characters, but that is me, as I am a writer of character-driven tales. Yet I know there are those readers out there who couldn’t care less about the characters, they want the action… You know. I think in the end it comes down to one thing: whether you are in the character camp or the action camp, you have to make the reader care. It is as simple as that.
To what extent do you think a shared connection with readers, such as common interest in fandom activities or a regular presence at conventions, contributes to succeeding as a writer versus simply publishing good writing?
I don’t know how it is for every author, but I know that I would not be where I am without my personal connection with my fans. I sell more books in person than I do on-line, with much more repeat customers because they know me. They can talk to me about what they liked and what they didn’t, we can chat and hang out at a convention. Now there are a lot more authors out there that are wildly successful who don’t do this, but most of those have a big-house publisher behind them feeding the distribution machine. And even so, I say an author that gets out and moves among their following has a stronger, more loyal fan base than one who stays up on their pedestal typing away, without connecting to their readership.
In terms of bringing great fiction to your readers, how do your goals as an editor differ from those as a writer?
Whatever hat I’m wearing, I love to create cool books. I love to share the unexpected and the wonderful with readers. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but that goal is always the same.
You’re very well plugged in to the regional science-fiction/fantasy convention scene, appearing at several cons each year, often hosting launch parties for new publications. What advice can you offer to writers about connecting with readers, editors, and publishers at these conventions?
Talk. Listen. Socialize. Don’t pitch or pimp or continually drag focus only to your book or manuscript. Build a relationship, don’t just try and make a connection. We’re all there to have fun in a community where we are comfortable and can relax. Being pushy or obnoxious gets in the way of that and will turn people off more than anything.
Where should a reader who hasn’t yet read your work start? Give us some suggestions from your short fiction as well as your long fiction.
Well… any of my first novels are good places to start, depending on the reader’s taste: Yesterday’s Dreams (Celtic urban fantasy), The Halfling’s Court (biker faeries – urban fantasy), or Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn (historic/steampunk fantasy). After all, who wants to start with book two of a series. J As for the short fiction. If a reader is partial to science fiction it would have to be the short story collection A Legacy of Stars, which contains the bulk of my sci-fi stories. For fantasy I have a collection called Transcendence coming out later this year from Dark Quest Books. It contains a nice chunk of my fantasy stories. As for individual stories… that is so much harder to recommend. I just can’t do it. Each one contains some kernel of wonder that I love, and all of them are so different from the others. There is no comparison, no way to guide someone to ease their way in. Best to leap in with both feet. J
What should readers look for next from Danielle Ackley-McPhail?
Oh goodness! Who knows what mischief I’ll get into next! I certainly don’t. There are a number of on-going projects in the works. For anthologies I’m editing: Gaslight and Grimm, Eternal Flame, The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson, and The Transdimensional Adventures of the Miracle Mead Men. Those I’ve contributed stories to that are coming out this year are: Dance Like a Monkey, Athena’s Daughters, Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil, and Lucky 13. Novels I’m working on are The High King’s Fool: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, Daire’s Devils (military science fiction), an as-yet unnamed sequel to Baba Ali, and an unconventional vampire novel looking for a new name. So…I guess readers should expect pretty much anything!
To follow Danielle’s projects, learn more about her, or buy her books, please check out her website and visit her Amazon author page. Also, look for her on the convention circuit where she’s a steadfast con presence up and down the east coast.
Last year, when my good friend CJ Henderson was diagnosed with lymphoma, many of his friends, fans, and colleagues rallied to help him and his family through a difficult, horrible time. Several fund-raising efforts were launched, including one spearheaded by Danielle Ackley McPhail, The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson. Over the course of several months, several thousand dollars were raised and directed to CJ and his family to help defray medical bills and everyday costs while CJ was unable to write or attend conventions, his primary source of income. The Society anthology was intended as a fundraiser, with all proceeds to go to CJ and his family, and as a tribute from CJ’s friends in recognition of all the years of friendship, support, and mentorship CJ shared with us.
Sadly, CJ passed away on July 4, 2014, before the anthology was completed.
Thanks to tireless efforts of Danielle and co-editor Greg Schauer, though, The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson has now been published by eSpec Books and all proceeds will continue going to help CJ’s family recover from medical expenses and keep on their feet.
My story, “Every Second of Every Day,” was inspired by one of my favorite stories of CJ’s, “All Around the Mulberry Bush.” It happens to be CJ’s first Monkey King story, and it was published in Weird Trails, an anthology which also included my first published piece of short fiction, “The Last Stand of Black Danny O’Barry.” CJ helped me connect with the editor and encouraged me while writing the story, so in that sense, my piece for the Society anthology comes back full circle to my short fiction beginnings. The title comes from one of the principles by which CJ lived, the idea being that we are free at any moment to choose another path, to be who we want to be or not, and that every second of every day, we make that choice. It’s a powerful idea that has stayed with me a long time, and I hope the story does it justice.
Other contributors include John L. French, Jean Rabe, Patrick Thomas, David Boop, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeff Young, Leona Wisoker Robert M. Price–and featured is a previously unpublished story by CJ Henderson. Jason Whitley provided illustrations for all of the stories, and Ben Fogletto painted the cover.