Why So Quiet Lately? Because Big News is Down the Road!

New Misha Burnett Anthology Coming Soon!

We couldn’t really say anything earlier, but since we’ve been told that the signed contract is in the mail [for the second time; the USPS lost the original signed copy we sent] for an all new anthology from Misha Burnett! This is just a tease, though, we’ll have some real information for you soon.

Wild Stars V: Proof Orders

We’ve got 2 of the 3 proof orders in for Wild Stars V [Virgin and Hardcover]. We’ve been wrestling with KDP [because when aren’t we?], but apparently a file processing issue has just been resolved, so we were finally able to take another stab at uploading the interior for the retail version. We’ll have some pictures of those when they come in.

Summer Cirsova

The Summer issue of Cirsova is just about ready to go. We’re going to hit up the contributors soon with information on contributor copies and whatnot. I’ve already got the Lulu proofs in, and KDP should be fine. This is going to be an AMAZING issue. Not only does Orphan of the Shadowy Moons continue, we start off a new novel from Dave Ritzlin, who is a friend of the publication, fellow Sword & Sorcery aficionado, and one of the top indie publishers on the scene right now. This issue features a cover by Apriyadi Kusbiantoro.

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase

Okay, this is easily the biggest deal we’ve got going on at the moment. We’re going to start taking pre-orders at the end of the month. This collects M&M #6-11 in a single volume [the second year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together]. It also features a cool who-dunnit fantasy mystery thriller novelette as a bonus! Illustrations by Dark Filly and maybe even some new RPG bonus content from yours truly.

2023 Submissions

Whew, this is something I don’t really want to think about, much less talk about. They’re closing in fast, and I’ve got a few people I need to reach out to individually beforehand. I’m already sitting on 100K of publishable fiction from last year, some of which I’ve made arrangements with past contributors to consider or “hold” for 2023. Some of it, I need to see if it’s still available, and if not, be sure to invite that author to contribute something for this year’s submission window. But I can’t tell you how important that The Heat of the Chase will be to our ability to afford acquisitions for next year.

Fall and Winter Cirsova

Things are proceeding on or according to schedule for the Fall and Winter issues of Cirsova. Fall will feature a cover from first-time Cirsova artist Tessa Rose for David Skinner’s The Impossible Footprint. Winter features the return of Usanekorin [Cirsova Vol 2. #7] with a cover for John Daker’s Sister Winter, plus some interior illos!

The Mighty Sons of Hercules

I’ll bet some of you are wondering about what happened with my idea for a strongman/peplum anthology. The plan was always to write my own story to serve as sort of a cornerstone piece to build the anthology around. Not necessarily out of any sense of self-importance, but so that we definitely had at least one story in the can before we solicited authors for additional stories. We would probably do something different from usual, with conditional acceptances and then make offers based on how well the anthology kickstarter did [with stretch goals to include additional stories/volumes]. Then, I’d use the money we raised to actually put out payments on the conditionally accepted stories. This would help keep me from losing my shirt on it. Well, the story I was writing for it is done! Okay, so not “done” done, but the first draft is finished and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. So, I’ll be looking at moving forward with the project sometime next year once a few more of our titles are behind us. Probably after we get out Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3.

Update:

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All Series

Yes, these will continue, I haven’t forgotten about them, things have just been busy and NGL I’ve kind of neglected the blog for the last few weeks.

Launching Soon: The Heat of the Chase!

At the end of this month, we’ll be launching the Kickstarter for Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat, Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase!

Mangos, the brash and somewhat impetuous swordsman, and Kat, the mysterious Alnessi rogue, have been adventuring together for a year now, and have finally begun to build a reputation as competent adventurers who can get the job done when the price is right.

The duo sets up shop in the city of Alomar, a place where anything can be bought and sold. While seeking patrons for future plans, the Mongoose and Meerkat turn old enemies into new allies, but there’s always cost! While Mangos seeks flashy wealth and fame, Kat has her eyes on bigger prizes… and making some new and powerful foes among the elites comes with the territory when the Crown of Alness is on the line!

The Heat of the Chase collects the second year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together, including:

  • The Golden Pearl
  • Hunt of the Mine Worm
  • The Grain Merchant of Alomar
  • The King’s Game
  • Too Many Mangos
  • The Wreck of the Cassada

Plus, as a bonus, we’re including the previously unpublished standalone novella, Thunderhead!

The Books

We’re offering The Heat of the Chase in eBook and three physical formats:

  • $3 – eBook
  • $18 – Pocket Paperback
  • $20 – Trade Paperback
  • $30 – Linen-wrapped Hardcover

As a bonus, we’re giving ALL backers a digital copy of Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking so you can get all caught up!

Add-Ons

Signed Bookplate

  • $20

Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1

  • $10 – Audiobook
  • $15 – Pocket Paperback
  • $15 – Trade Paperback
  • $30 – Linen-wrapped Hardcover

Original Art

  • $300 – The Gate Demon
  • $250 – The King’s Game
  • $350 – Kat Killing Mangos
  • $300 – Mangos and the Submarine

Stretch Goals

$3000 –  RPG Bonus Content

Like with Volume 1, we will be adapting elements of these stories into gaming content! The hardcover’s appendix will contain additional stats, items, and more! Plus, updated character sheets for Kat and Mangos.

100 AudiobooksM&M Volume 2 Audiobook

Show us that there’s demand for an Audiobook of Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2! We think that Erin Mitchell did a fantastic job reading for volume 1 [she absolutely nails Kat], and we’d love to do another! If 100 backers get the Audiobook add-on, we’ll do what we can to get her on board and record Volume 2 for us!

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 12)

The UCF’s second PC visitor was Fluid the Druid. This was a much more fruitful encounter for the PC, and also established that the cavemen were partial to druids. [Mostly because they are naturalistic neutral-good, so someone that they see in tune with nature is looked on favorably and blessed, even if druids’ true nature is much more sinister.]

Brian

Hey. This is Fluid the Druid. I’m traveling to Cave 6. Will arrive in five days. Jeffro says play out the encounter now if nothing of note is happening over the next five days.

Fluid arrives riding a bison with his dog Petunia.

Cirsova:

Alright. Not far into the wilderness, you’re challenged by 4 cavemen who have a slight vantage over the trail you’re pushing forward along on your bison. You’re probably not surprised by them, as your dog may have have indicated their presence. The cavemen seem wary of you and await introduction.

Brian

They might have met me. Had earlier contact and did battle as an ally of the Ringo tribe. In any case I’ve come looking for Ringo.

Cirsova

Gotcha. They recognize you after a moment, and 7 more cavemen emerge from the bush. They say they’d be happy to escort you to speak with Chief Fudd who rules the caves of Fug. Ringo is busy conducting tribal business elsewhere at the moment, but Fudd can speak on his behalf for his tribe

Brian

Okay, I’ll go meet Fud. Also, while a friendly greeting I’ll play with my shiny rock in front of him as the somatic component of Charm Person or Mammal. Save v. Spells to negate.

*[Note: Caveman rolls a 20]

 

Cirsova

The leader of the patrol looks at you for a moment, chuckles, says “Funny tricksy man. Save your tricks for Fudd. He may enjoy them, especially after last funny man came.”

You’re led to the caves of Fug. Chief Fudd recognizes you and welcomes you, asking what the cavemen of Fug can do for you.

Brian:

Fluid is looking for help to try to understand what the mushroom men are up to. Next visit I’ll bring tasty animals if they find out anything about the Mushroom men and their doings.

Cirsova

Fudd says that he has no news of the Mushroom men, but a funny man came by speaking blasphemies and discouraging the noble labor of one’s hands. When asked to measure the worth of his god against the God who made the grugs of Fug, his god failed him and miserably. Fudd goes on to say that the stores of Fug are empty and the moon of the Great Hunt is still some time off. There are scraps which are of no use to the grugs of Fug from the funny man which Fluid may find of some use. Fudd invites Fluid to join him and his hunters for a week. With his mighty tricks, he may bring great game, food and ivory, to the caves of Fug and be rewarded.

Brian

Fluid agrees to aid them in their hunt. He will find animals that will give themselves freely to the hunters. Also, agrees to inspect the scraps.

Cirsova

Okay, shift to meta-game. I’ll let Jeffro know so he can adjudicate a week’s worth of hunting with Fluid and a bevy of cave grugs. At the end of it, if all goes well, you’ll get a pretty nice cleric scroll.

Brian:

Awesome possum.

Cirsova

Alrighty. Looking forward to a mighty yield!

Brian

Should be able to use locate animals and charms to find some big game for you.

Plus, healing if anyone gets trampled/gored.

Cirsova:

Great, we should be able to get some good stuff, take no casualties, and have a pretty nice reward for your help.

I’ve passed all the details along.

Brian:

Me too.

The United Caveman Federation Tell-All (Part 11)

The United Caveman Federation was so cool, PCs began to insist on being allowed to adventure there during the Braunstein [the Trollopulous PC game was on hiatus at the time]. What happened to Bob Dobs, the first PC to visit the UCF?

Note: this is also the first significant appearance of Chief Fudd of Fug, who has become a [relatively] major figure in both the UCF and the Trollopulous campaign.

Kes:

So Bob Dobs, Cleric of the SubGenius, arrives safely at Cave 6 on a horse seeking to spread his faith.

*Fighter/Cleric. He’s a half-elf

Cirsova

Okay, you make to the hex of Cave 6, but you don’t exactly arrive safely at Cave 6. You’re stopped by a group of 5 grugs who have been tracking through the wilderness. They want to know what weird man is doing in their forests.

Kes:

Bob bows respectfully and tries to communicate and/or make hand signals about the great Battle of Mt. Glovermore. He also offers them some tobacco from his pipe.

Cirsova:

The leader indicates that he appreciates the gesture, but it would be more appropriate for around the camp fire. What is your business?

Kes:

He states that the cavemen who fought alongside him in the battle were very brave despite taking heavy losses, and was curious about their gods and if they were interested in hearing about his god who brought blessings during the battle (he literally cast bless on his unit of cavemen during the battle)

Cirsova:

The leader replies “God make grug and God provide for grug.” [he gestures to the wilderness around them] “What grug need with new god?”

Kes

“Grug’s god provides, but does Grug sometimes wish life was better? Does he wish that life were easier? That maybe there is more to life than getting eaten by a dinosaur? By achieving Slack, goals can be easier to reach and life can be more comfortable”

“I rode through the wilderness alone on a horse for three days. The only things that came close to me were a group of peaceful dinosaurs foraging. This is the path of Slack.”

Cirsova:

“The grug walk through forest God made. The grug eat what God provides. The grug work with hands God gave him. The grug of Fug know peace of wilderness till ear-man show up and talk of other god!”

“You want talk God? Go to cave, speak with Cleric, we take you. Else go home and leave grug of Fug in peace.”

Kes

Bob graciously decides to drop the subject and agrees to go to the cave to see the cleric.

Cirsova:

You’re taken to the caves of Fug. Your arrival has been expected. runners must have been sent that you did not see. On a stone throne, you see a guy who is obviously the chief, along with several warriors and a man who is obviously a Shaman. Women and children watch the scene with curiosity from a distance, while dozens of other cavemen look on. The leader of the patrol makes a summary of your case. The Chief, Fudd, demands to know what you are doing here. He doesn’t seem immediately inclined to allow you to enter discourse with the clan’s shaman.

Kes:

“Hail, great chieftain! Having seen the strength of the people of the caves during the grand battle of the mountain, I have come to show proper honor to you.” He bows and offers some tobacco.

“Word of your deeds has spread to the city of Trollopulous, and undoubtedly elsewhere, and I have concerns for your people’s safety, both physically, from the armies beyond, and spiritually, from the debauchery of the great, wicked city.”

Cirsova:

[Some underlings take the tobacco]

“you are first man we have from wicked city, and you propose the grug of Fug abandon God who created them for god from wicked lands beyond?”

You notice Fudd doing a point with his chin and some subtle nodding.

Kes:

“I may be of the city, but I have no set place among them and my god is not their god. But I am at peace, because the SubGenius has given me the wisdom to know that my god wants me to be free and comfortable in this world.”

Cirsova

“Your god is greater than God who makes and provide for grugs of Fug? Depart from these lands, never to return, or show us, and we will be convinced that your god and God of grug are on in same,”

[do you leave or accept the challenge?]

Kes:

“What would you have me do to?”

“*do

Cirsova:

10 cave bears attack you.

They have been ushered in by the various cavemen while the spectacle was going on, and the nod was the signal to release them.

Kes:

lol

Cirsova

I’ve let Jeffro know we have a trial by combat to adjudicate XD

Kes

I don’t have my stats at hand, but I’m pretty sure a lvl 2 fighter/level 1 cleric can’t take 10 cave bears in a fair fight. Let me see what kind of spells I have.

Cirsova:

oh, yeah, I think one of them probably tears you apart.

Kes:

All right. I can see the chief from where I am yes?

Cirsova:

maybe, but I don’t know if you have time to do anything.

what are you trying to do?

Kes:

Light takes 4 segments. If I have that, I cast it right in front of his face trying to blind him and scare him into calling off the bears. If not…

Cirsova

lol, sorry friend! The cavemen of Cave #6 were not ready to be proselytized to.

Kes

Lol, ah well. The life of a missionary is often brief.

Cirsova

Indeed. However you can take solace in knowing that your death has affirmed in them that there is no God but God who made the grug!

 

Kes:

AC/BC – You Shook Me All Night Long (PALEOROCK CLASSIC)

youtube.com

HA. May their feasting be merry tonight.

I’ll have to see what Items the grugs looted off his corpse later. I don’t think he had anything magical

Cirsova

All right

Whatever’s left of him will be given a proper burial

Kes

This domain shit’s hilarious.

Cirsova

Yeah, it was fun, thanks!

Kes

Best part is, there was a chance that he could’ve pulled it off. Maybe a different cave. Maybe a different hustle. Maybe casting a spell during the convo to impress the chief.

Cirsova

I’ll let you in on a bit of a hint: the cavemen really don’t need all that much, least of all a new religion. They more or less function as a neutral faction, with no grand designs.

[Also, for some reason I was thinking your cleric was higher level]

[Should’ve known better if he was multi-class]

Kes:

He was trying to get them hooked on tobacco as leverage, so they were probably right to kill him.

Cirsova

Lol

I don’t know if cavemen had taken up tobacco usage. I should look that up.

[I’m running the faction based mostly on having read Clan of the Cave Bear, but don’t know if we’re going to be migratory.]

Kes:

Besides, meme PCs get old after a while. I won’t really miss him.

Cirsova

Okay, Jeffro says that once you have your character sheet in front of you, let me know what loot you had so he can award Fudd XP.

Kes:

Cool. That’ll be after work, so like an hour or two.

“City Man think he smarter than Grug. But City Man not smarter than Cave Bear.”

All right, Bob had 1,291 gp on him, a battle axe, set of plate mail, and a dagger. Also a 10 ft pole, backpack, 50 feet of rope and some yucky city food rations