Elaine Isaak

Elaine Isaak

Elaine Isaak is the author of The Singer's Crown (EOS, 2005), and its sequels, as well as the "Tales of Bladesend" epic novellas comprising Joenna's Ax in full-length, and Winning the Gallows Field.   As E. C. Ambrose, she writes "The Dark Apostle" historical fantasy novels about medieval surgery, which began with Elisha Barber (DAW 2013), and continues with Elisha Magus (2014), Elisha Rex (2015), and two forthcoming volumes.  Library Journal's starred review described Elisha Barber as "painfully elegant, beautifully told."

Her short fiction has won the Tenebris Press Flash Fiction contest and appeared in the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction series, Fireside magazine, Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, and Warrior Women, alongside the work of such greats as George R. R. Martin and Carrie Vaughn..  She has gone on to edit three volumes of the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction series.

A graduate of the Odyssey Speculative Fiction workshop, she has returned to teach there as well.  Elaine also offers freelance editorial and critique services, and has published numerous articles and blogs about writing.  In addition to writing and teaching about writing, Elaine works part time as an adventure guide and rock climbing instructor.  Visit www.TheDarkApostle.com or www.ElaineIsaak.com to find out why you do not want to be her hero.


Novels published as Elaine Isaak

  • The Singer's Crown, Eos Books, 2005
  • The Eunuch's Heir, Eos Books, 2006
  • The Bastard Queen, Swimming Kangaroo Books, January, 2010

Writing as E. C. Ambrose:

  • Elisha Barber, DAW Books, 2013
  • Elisha Magus, DAW Books, 2014
  • Elisha Rex, DAW Books, 2015
  • Elisha Mancer, DAW Books, forthcoming

Novels published as Leah Brent (romance)

  • Sinner's Lips, Rocinante, 2013
  • Sea Change, Rocinante, 2013

Anthology Editing

  • Rick Broussard's New Hampshire Pulp Fiction, Volume IV: Love Free or Die, February 2014
  • Rick Broussard's New Hampshire Pulp Fiction, Volume V: Live Free or Ride, forthcoming Fall 2016
  • Rick Broussard's New Hampshire Pulp Fiction, Volume VI: Live Free or Dragons, forthcoming 2017

Short Stories

  • "The Horde," Glyph, Spring 2001
  • "To Carve a Queen," Kinships, 2001
  • "Branching," Peeks and Valleys, Fall 2001
  • "Joenna's Ax," Clash of Steel: Demons! anthology, September 2006
  • "The Disenchantment of Kivron Ox-master," Prime Codex anthology, May 2007
  • "The Princess, the Witch and The Watchmaker's Heart," Escape Clause anthology, October 2009
  • "Memento Mori," Live Free or Undead anthology, October 2010
  • "Til Death do us part," Flush Fiction: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader anthology, April 2012
  • "Merge," Live Free or Sci-Fi anthology, October 2013
  • "Joenna's Axe," Warrior Women anthology, Prime Books, December 2015

Writing as E. C. Ambrose:

  • "Custom of the Sea," Tenebris Press, October 2012
  • "The Burning," Penguin Special, June 2013
  • "A Poem in Brass," YARN, June 2013
  • "Carver," Fireside, forthcoming


  • "Winning the Gallows Field," Elysian Fiction #3, 2002


  • "Ode for a Singer," Threads #112
  • "Working the Con," The Writer Magazine, July 2005
  • "Issues from Fantasyland," Linn's Stamp Digest, October 1, 2005
  • LadyBlade writing column, Alien Skin magazine, bi-monthly 2006 – 2010
  • "The Basement of Awesome," NINK newsletter, July 2009
  • "Street Teams and Ninja Letters," NINK newsletter, July 2010
  • "Ten Mistakes I've Made in my Writing Career so that You Don't Have to," The Writer Magazine, November 2010
  • "Revealing Culture Through Character," The Broadsheet, April 2012
  • "Goal Buddies: Partners on the Path," NINK newsletter, August 2013

Writing as E. C. Ambrose:

  • "The Romance of Ruins," Clarkesworld, March 2012
  • "Spoiler Alert!," Clarkesworld, January 2013
  • "Medieval Surgery," Renaissance, October 2013



  • "Mixed, as Doubles or Metaphors," Ship of Fools
  • "Dancing Princess" and "Nightwatch," Primitive Bikini, Winter 1997
  • "Swimming Lessons," Northern New England Review
  • "Two by Two," Conscience, Spring 2000
  • selections in Poets Unbound anthology, iUniverse, Spring 2001
  • Doubles or Metaphors, Snail on the Road Press
  • The Intimate Toes of Rome, Snail on the Road Press



    Awards and Memberships

    Professional Memberships

    Science Fiction Writers of America, life member

    Novelists, Inc.

    International Thriller Writers, professional member


    • "The Dance of Harmony," honorable mention, Ray Bradbury Short Fiction Contest 2002
    • "A Touch of Grief," 3rd place, Single Syllable Short Story Contest, Monadnock Writer's Group
    • "Merge," 1st Runner-Up, New England Science Fiction Association Short Story Contest 2003

    Related Experience

    Extended Workhops

    New Hampshire Youth Writing Workshop, Keynote address "The Most Dangerous Weapon, the Most Powerful Tool" and workshop, 2015

    Odyssey On-line Writing Workshop, "Bodies and Heartbeats:  Crafting Character from the Inside Out" 2013

    Odyssey Writing Workshop, Instructor, 2006, 2012, 2015

    Adventures in Writing overnight camp, Greater Manchester YMCA, 2013, 2014

    Short Story Writing Seminar, Souhegan Adult Education 6-week workshop

    short talks:

    "10 Mistakes I've Made in my Writing Career So That You Don't Have to" (delivered at:  Boskone, New Hampshire Writers' Day, The Maryland Writers' Association, New Hampshire Romance Writers' Association)

    "Selling What you Write" (delivered at Boskone, Annie's Bookshop Seminar)

    "Promotional Fireworks" (delivered at New Hampshire Writers' Day, New Hampshire Romance Writers, New Hampshire Writers' Week)

    "Breathless:  Pacing the Novel" (delivered at New Hampshire Romance Writers, Maine Romance Writers, Boksone)

    "Making it Real" (delivered at Bay Area Writers' Conference, New Hampshire Youth Writers' Conference)

    "How to Write a Bloody Good Story" (Academy for Science and Design Spark Day)

    Additional topics:

    Taglines and Elevator Pitches, Hard Fantasy, Worldbuilding 101, Through a Stranger's Eyes: Crafting Point of View, Writers' Warm-up, Revealing Culture Through Character

    Convention Participation

    Elaine has spoken on panels and given workshops at the following conventions:  World Science Fiction Convention, World Fantasy Convention, Novelist, Inc, Boskone, Arisia, Bay Area Writers' League, New Hampshire Romance Writers' Spring Fling, Readercon, New Hampshire Writers' Project Writers' Day, Balticon, and at the Library of Congress.

    Other Experience

    Elaine co-manages the monthly Writers' Night Out, Manchester meet-up for the New Hampshire Writers' Project.  She is a past president of the New Hampshire Romance Writers of America chapter, and a past Published Author Network member of the national Romance Writers of America.  She has been a frequent guest speaker at local high schools. 

    For several years, Elaine organized and ran the Wilton Writers' Federation writing workshop, and is also a past member of the Cambridge Science Fiction Writers' Workshop.She was a co-founder of the long-running Poets Unbound workshop in Nashua, NH.

    Elaine offers critiques through the Odyssey Critique Service, and does occasional freelance editing and ghost writing.

    Elaine is a many-times judge for local flash fiction and slam poetry competitions.  She has served on the judging panel for the Phillip K. Dick Award for Best New Science Fiction Novel, and for the World Fantasy Awards.



    Contact Member