2020 Submissions Update

Hey, everyone! The going has been slow for a number of reasons, but we’re making progress.

We’re starting to send out the first round of rejection letters this week. And it’s tough, let me tell you, because we’ll be saying no to some excellent stories from authors we love.

There are

  • 30 stories we desperately want
  • another 30 that it’s gonna absolutely kill us to say no to but we probably have to
  • 20 rejections we’ve written
  • about 40 we haven’t
  • just over 100 stories we haven’t even read yet…

And I’m still wringing my hands over that duct work that needs replacing

The only immediate panacea for this would be to take out an advertisement in our spring issue! That would infuse us with the immediate capital we need to start making offers.

Maze of Nuromen, Breaking the Speed of Light, and 2020 Advertisements

Maze of Nuromen at Arkansas RPG Con

Over the weekend, I ran the Blueholme introductory module, Maze of Nuromen. It’s called The Necropolis of Nuromen now, but I’m Old SchoolTM.

Michael Thomas of Dreamscape Design was kind enough to not only send us some player guides, he also sent a copy of the updated module [which turned out to be a lot of help]. I made sure to let everyone there know that DD had sponsored the game and gave out the Prentice rulebooks as gifts to my players.

We ran the module DCC style, with each player having 3 characters. I gave everyone a Fighting Man and let them pick two other classes; these two other classes were where their “goals” came from:

  • Elves and Dwarves looking to retrieve the Elven Crown
  • Magic Users looking to find the Book of Power
  • Thieves looking to find the chest of the Master Thief
  • Halflings looking for the body of a long-ago halfling adventurer [which I made Yolo Swaggins from my B/X B4 game]
  • Clerics looking to find and destroy an unholy bible of the ape god

Fighters were hired muscles to act as the “front row”.

This is the first time I haven’t used minis for a Basic game, but this setup made it easy to do things Final Fantasy style–unless there was a “boss” or unique circumstances, fighters get hit, then folks in back as characters go down. Worked out nicely, actually.

My players made surprisingly good progress on it for a con module that lasted roughly 3 and a half hours. If I didn’t have to go run some errands and could’ve stuck around another hour, they might have even finished it.

So quick rundown:

They got into the Maze without any real problems; for some reason, I always forget about the goblins in the first room, so I just handwaived that they’d hidden behind rocks when they heard nearly two-dozen adventurers gathering around the tower entrance. The party crossed the stream and wisely ignored the bottomless pit. Surprisingly, the character they sent to secure the rope across the stream only had dex 7 but he made the check.

Some elves in the main hall told them that they’d seen a boatload of goblins in the dungeon, so they’d been hiding and waiting for a moment to make a run for it.

The party got hit pretty hard with the Harpies’ charm person in the dining hall–the PCs that made their saves managed to pull everyone out, but at least one MU got nabbed and torn to shreds.

They explored the prison corner to little avail [it’s a trolly dead-end with almost no loot and just some encounter bait].

The barracks proved a bit more of a challenge, but some lucky rolls and good choices helped them survive it. A shrieker attracted a gelatinous cube, but they wisely didn’t mess with it–unless you’re determined to get yourself killed by a jelly cube, they’re pretty easy to avoid. The skelies didn’t prove much of a problem, either.

While the party was pretty uninterested in the pantry and kitchen, they smartly guessed that they could use the wax for the candles to plug their ears so they wouldn’t be affected by the harpies’ song. Sated on mageflesh and fairly outnumbered, the harpies were content to leave them be as they skulked out of the dining hall.

A fighter got green slimed near the savage garden, but since he was wearing plate and helmet and it was a VERY SMALL green slime [ended up like 1hp], the fighter took more damage from having it burned off his armor than from the slime itself. The party didn’t poke around the vegetation, and the dwarf kept everyone from tripping up the water features, so fire beetles kept to themselves.

The party raided Nuromen’s apartment, found the keyword to open the door to his lab and made their way there. They messed with EVERYTHING.

At least two characters got blown up by the alchemy lab trap, someone got hurt by the frog, they found Yolo’s stuff, and the trap doors.

With all the magic users dead, no one achieved a “goal” from the Tome of Power, but an elf got permanently infused with Detect Magic. One of the clerics thought the Tome of Power was the evil book they were trying to destroy. It wasn’t, but it unleashed a chain reaction that permanently enchanted their mace with light. If any MUs had been alive, they would’ve lost their mind over it, but elf didn’t really care.

Party dropped down the trapdoor to the temple of the ape god and found the back-way into Nuromen’s ancestral tomb. While the party made pretty short work of the three zombies, Nuromen himself killed 3 party members with Magic Missile and level drains. They managed to drive him off by, of all things, hitting him repeatedly by throwing the silver puppet at him and then dousing him with holy water.

That’s where we called things.

Funny thing, for how many goblins were crawling around the Maze, they never actually encountered any because they never found the room where they were camping out and goblins never came up on the Random Encounter table.

Great part was DMing for old school guys [including Shane Stacks from Shane Plays] who were demanding more blood and more PC death, even saying that it would be great for things to end in a TPK [because Con Game]. It was a blast.

Wild Stars: Breaking the Speed of Light 

This comes via Wild Stars author, Michael Tierney:

When I wrote my first Wild Stars novels back in the 1970s, three of concepts that drive the mechanics the Wild Stars universe challenged the accepted views of our reality. One was that mankind made our first migration into space and colonized planets circling the brightest stars in the night sky some 75,000 years ago. Then, around the year 2000, geneticists cracked the human genome and discovered that the human population crashed to only a few thousand people alive on Earth around 75,000 years ago (the Wild Stars explains where the rest went). The other two were the often mocked concepts of time travel and starships that can travel faster than the speed of light. A couple of weeks ago, this story was released:

https://www.thescienceandspace.com/2019/10/breaking-researchers-at-cern-break.html?fbclid=IwAR1kOX72AAKnHrp_U6wdY86MNRGAOkpMMFSSrRlEjnA9KLKz_sYQcwYT_aQ

Also, Michael’s shared the following tidbit about author sales rankings:

For anyone who ever wondered how the rankings work on Amazon, here is today’s snapshot of my sales in Science Fiction, superimposed with new works released at the time. Amazon recalculates hourly, who what might be an upwards spike in the morning could end up as a rankings dip by the end of the day.

michael's sales rank

2020 Advertising

We’re opening up advertising for 2020 a little bit early so we’ll have enough money to buy stories for next year. John E. Boyle has already claimed the back cover slot for the Spring Issue [#3], but there is plenty of interior space.

Details on ads are here: https://cirsova.wordpress.com/cirsova-magazine/advertising/

Why are we trying to get our hands on as much capital as quickly as possible?

I need at least another $3k monies to buy all of the stuff that we’re wanting buy for 2020 and still be able to replace the ductwork in my house. I’d rather not have to take out a loan; I mean, I’m probably going to have to take out a loan anyway, but I’d rather it only be for a few thou than

ductwork quote.png

 

Half-Way Through the Submissions Stack!

We’ve read a little over 100 of our 200+ submissions, and I’ve got to say, we’ve received some truly excellent stories this year!

There are a LOT of stories we’re going to cry about having to turn away before everything is said and done.

With where we’re at right now, we’re looking at nearly 223K words of fiction that we’d love to publish… and reading the next 100 stories, that number is easily going to double [unless the bottom of the pile is all 2nd person elf stories written in the future tense]. The cost of that word count comes shy of $3k, and TBH, we really ought to not spend more than $2k on acquiring fiction right now [I’m sitting on a $7600 estimate to get my ducts replaced in my house that I’d rather not take out a huge loan on but probably will anyway.]

Quick Cirsova-nomics lesson!
1 issue is Approximately 50k words
At our rates, that’s ~$625 for content
We pay our editors $100 per issue for editing
Our covers are $300-$500
So, ~$1k-$1.2k per issue
We make about $3 per copy we sell on Amazon.
We need to sell ~400 to break even.

TL;DR: we really only have money for 3 issues, we want to buy for at least 4 issues, because we probably have 8 issues worth of solid content in our pile.

How to help us afford making 2020 a 4-issue year:

Please note: Cirsova Publishing DOES NOT and WILL NEVER require contributors or would-be contributors to purchase copies of the magazine featuring their stories or any other issues. Purchases WILL NOT be considered when weighing submissions.

Wild Stars Backstock Sale

I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here, but we have made some of the Wild Stars backstock available via our Amazon store.

We had several damaged copies when trying to fulfill our crowdfunds–these have been made available at 1/2 SRP. I’ll note that while a few of these were pretty mangled, most of them were dents, dings and corner creases. While these would’ve been unacceptable to send to backers or for retail shelves [especially for comic folks], these are perfectly good readable copies if you want Wild Stars at a lower buy-in.

Also, Michael Tierney has authorized us to act as an intermediary for his limited stock of the 1st edition printings of Wild Stars: Time Warmageddon.

Our store is here.

Also, Wild Stars is absolutely buried by Amazon’s algorithm. Please help us by leaving a review if you’ve received and read any of our Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Edition volumes!

Final Days for Submissions, Discounted Wild Stars, and Other News

Submissions

We’re on the home-stretch of our submissions window for 2020. The final day to send us something is this friday. Our current numbers are:

  • Unread: 79
  • Read: 34
  • Total: 113

As you can see, I’ve still got my work cut out for me. For comparison, when we were open for a full month last year, we ended up with 156 submissions. Glad we opted for only two weeks this time around.

Wild Stars

You might remember, due to very poor packing on the part of Ingram Spark, we had numerous copies of Wild Stars that were too mangled to send to crowdfund backers or go on retail shelves at Michael’s store. We don’t want to hang on to these, so we are offering them on Amazon for 1/2 off SRP. Most of the damage to these is on the corners, where they got dinged or crimped; definitely not pristine or collector-grade by any stretch, but if you want a cheap reading copy, we’ve made them available.

Also, we have made Michael’s stock of the first printing of Wild Stars III available on his behalf, including both covers and the hardcover. Supplies are limited.

Other Stuff

  • I have a big project that I hope I’ll be able to announce soon.
  • I swear, when I get a minute, I’ll write my review of Sunrider: Liberation Day
  • It turns out I DIDN’T miss Arkansas RPG Con, so I might be able to make it out this November and run some games after all! [I could’ve sworn it was in September, but I’m glad it wasn’t!]

Interview with Critical Blast

Last Sunday, I was on with RJ Carter of Critical Blast. We were supposed to have Michael Tierney with us, but his computer at home is a potato and could log into StreamYard.

I was a little under-prepared, because this was supposed to be Michael’s stream and I was just gonna chill and let him do most of the talking.

Be sure to buy as much Wild Stars as you can so we can afford to get Michael a computer that he can actually stream on!

Also, don’t forget, we’re accepting submissions now!

Cirsova Magazine is Open for Submissions! Oct 14th-25th

Cirsova Publishing is now accepting submissions for our flagship magazine, Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense!

We’ll be looking to acquire roughly 150k words of fiction to publish in 2020.

Our submission guidelines can be found here; please be sure to read them carefully before submitting.

Some additional suggestions for the kinds of fiction we’re looking for are included in this post.