Interview with Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Signal Boost for The Awakened Modern

An interview with Danielle McPhail, publisher and co-founder of eSpec Books, with husband Mike McPhail and Greg Schauer,


Please tell us about your current project.

DM: The Awakened Modern is the third anthology set in The Awakened Role-Playing universe created by Hal Greenberg. In the game, the story takes place on a fantasy world with two moons. The influence of the second moon triggers special abilities in a portion of the population when they hit their maturity at age 19. In Awakened Modern, the sudden appearance of this second moon in Earth’s sky awakens similar latent abilities in humanity…a link to a familiar, control of the elements, and so much more becomes possible. And because the moon’s influence is new, the abilities appear in adults of any age because the abilities were latent.

What is the predominant theme of Awakened Modern?

In the earlier anthologies you had people dealing with new abilities, but the concept was something expected to them. It was understood that at a certain age abilities might appear and those existing in this world.

In Awakened Modern, the appearance of the moon and the sudden abilities awakened represent a drastic shift in reality so you have characters that must discover the bounds of their abilities while dealing with the rest of humanity panicking because of the unexpected changes and the division between “us” and “them” in regards to those who discover they have developed abilities.

Who can we look forward to seeing in the collection?

The collection, edited by Hal Greenberg and Greg Schauer, will feature stories by Ed Greenwood, James Chambers, Drew Bittner, Torah Cottrill, Ty Johnston, Walt Ciechanowski, Erik Scott de Bie, Hal Greenberg and Ken Shannon, with potential bonus stories by Darren W. Pearce, James M. Ward, and Richard Lee Byers.

Some of the authors involved are veterans of The Awakened universe, having appeared in The Awakened or The Awakened II, others are veteran eSpec authors, contributing to one or more of the anthologies we have done previously.

Where can we get the book?

Right now we are funding the book through Kickstarter. The campaign has already met its funding goal and we have three weeks left to reach some pretty great stretch goals. The campaign URL is The campaign ends at the end of May.

Once the book goes to press it will be available on line through most third-party book sites, by special order through most brick-and-mortar book stores, and at any convention eSpec Books is represented at.

The Awakened Modern!

When a second moon appears in Earth’s sky, life will never be the same as people all over the world find themselves Awakened.