Advanced Review of Spring 2023 Issue

We got a surprisingly glowing review from Tangent reviewer Victoria Silverwolf! I think we’re finally starting to grow on her. You can check out the review here.

The new issue drops in a week, though mailing list subscribers who receive the Lulu direct links early have started getting their copies already.

Michael Tierney on the Evolution of the Publishing Process {Part 1}

[Check out Michael’s Sky Dance of Winter Fire, for pre-order on Kickstarter now!]

I have many hobbies that include being a Master Certified scuba diver and underwater photographer, but the hobbies that turned into professions have been my writing and artwork.

After teaching myself to use a typewriter while still in grade school, I’ve seen a lot of evolution take place since those days of carbon paper and using white out solution to correct typing errors.

Recently I wrote an article, “The Creation of Science Fiction,” about how a type composer who hand-assembled the leaden letters for newspapers lost his job when Linotype machines arrived in the late 19th century. That man was Bob Davis. He found other employment,  first as a journalist and later as a newspaper editor, eventually becoming the editor of the Munsey line of pulp magazines, where he shepherded the careers of writers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was a pioneer in the genre now known as Science Fiction. If not for the invention of Linotype, the world may never have adventured with John Carter of Mars or Tarzan of the Apes.

Progress on Sky Dance of Winter Fire and Other Stuff

The Kickstarter for Sky Dance of Winter Fire hit its initial goal, and right now is sitting at ~$800 with 25 backers.

Not bad, given this is something so outside of the norm for us. I know we went with a low goal, in part because it’s an opportunity to game the algorithms on Kickstarter, but our real goal is to sell AT MINIMUM 60 copies. To me, that would make this project worthwhile and show that there was some genuine interest in this from our readers. The good news is, that looks like a likely goal to meet at this point.

Mongoose and Meerkat 3 is coming along nicely. Last night, I finished the Trade/Hardcover interior and Trade cover. Took longer than I had hoped because I had to deal with some image compression issues, but I think the extra effort on the art will be worthwhile. I should be able to order proofs of M&M by the end of next week.

Lastly, don’t forget that our Spring issue will be dropping in just under 2 weeks!

Live on Kickstarter: Sky Dance of Winter Fire, by Michael Tierney

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For Michael Tierney, it was nothing more than moving a stack of firewood; for Wallflower, one of the insects living in the pile, it was the beginning of the adventure of lifetime.

A few years back, author and artist Michael Tierney was out during a bout of surprisingly good winter weather, restocking his firewood. Huge waves of winter fireflies rose into the sky in an explosion of light.

This fantastical spectacle stuck with Michael, and sent him on flights of fancy. He envisioned the miraculous flight within context of an epic adventure and struggle. He wondered how those bugs that had been in the woodpile might have envisioned him: a giant; a monster; an out-of-this-world alien being? 

Michael initially put the story of the sky dance to paper, but that was not quite enough. He also wanted to capture the essence of those moments in art and imagery. Sky Dance of Winter Fire was born as a digital mixed-media storybook that Michael Tierney and Cirsova Publishing would like to bring to you now…

About the Author

Michael Tierney is an author, photographer, pulp historian, comic artist, comic shop owner, and digital art restoration specialist. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Michael has been writing and illustrating for decades. One of his earliest publications was the Multiversal Scribe, a zine that showcased his short fiction with his original illustrations. He has gone on to publish multiple art folios, independent comics, novels, and art histories. 

He is most well known for his Wild Stars series, an epic space opera published across multiple mediums, and his massive Art Chronologies of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard.

Michael honed his expertise in digitally restoring old and damaged pulp artwork for his Art Chronologies, a skill which he also lent to the Cirsova Classics projects, where he digitally restored the original cover artwork for Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, A Goth From Boston, and Sara Was Judith. 

He also writes the Beyond the Farthest Star weekly web strip for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and digitally colored the first volume. 

He also completed a previously lost original Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan fragment which was published in Cirsova Magazine in 2019 as “Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She.”

About the Artwork

In late 2022, when AI artwork was really coming into its own, a common refrain was “I’ll just use AI art to help with compositions and then have a real artist draw the real thing for me.” What Michael Tierney wanted to see was what could be done with AI art in the hands of an experienced digital artist using it as a sampling palette, taking textures, tones, and figures and applying them to digital pasteboards to create wholly original compositions.

The imagery in Sky Dance of Winter Fire was created using a mix of original photography, photoshop, and MidJourney.  

In some cases, AI-generated images were used simply to extract textures and gradients which could then be applied to photographs. 

In other cases, various figures might be modified and extracted and used as collage components in a larger composition. Each final image is a composite of several different images from which various elements have been drawn. 

Below is an example of an finished composition created having drawn on and extracted elements from several different prompt-generated images.

Describing the approach to creating Sky Dance of Winter Fire in Michael’s own words, “it’s about 40% photographic and 20% A.I., over all of which comes the other 40% of me using my photoshop skills developed from airbrushing the shades and tones on 300-plus pages of my Wild Stars comics, colorizing 100 episodes of Beyond the Farthest Star, and processing and restoring 12,000-plus images that illustrated the works of ERB and REH. Having always been an artist, I’ve continued to study my craft and refine my skills with all the tools available, and now I finally have the time to put them to full use.”


$20 – Sky Dance of Winter Fire Saddle Stitched Storybook – 

Receive a saddle stitched copy of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.

$25 – Sky Dance of Winter Fire Squarebound Storybook

Receive a squarebound copy of Sky Dance of Winter Fire. 

$40 – Both Formats

Receive both the saddle stitched and square bound versions of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.

$60 Retailer Bundle (Saddle Stitched) – 5x Copies

$75 Retailer Bundle (Square Bound) – 5x Copies

Add Ons

$10 – Make Your Copy a Signed Copy 

Michael Tierney will sign your copy/copies of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.

$20 – Wild Stars Erlik and First Marker One-Shots

Add on Erlik and First Marker, the original Wild Stars one-shot comics that, along with the 2001 Wild Stars comic series, formed Wild Stars I: The Book of Circles.

$20 – Wild Stars 2001 Comic Bundle + Force Majeure

Add on a bundle of the original Wild Stars Comics which, along with the Erlik and First Marker one-shots, formed Wild Stars I: The Book of Circles. This bundle will also include the Force Majeure: Prairie Bay one-shot comic.

Risks and challenges

This is the first time Cirsova Publishing has done a full-color picture book project. We’re working with a new printer that we have never worked with before, so this is uncharted territory for us. While we’ve had a long track record of being able to deliver high quality products quickly, the timelines for this new printer are an unknown quantity, so we are trying to offer as much lead-time as possible. We also understand that this project is outside of the usual scope of our offerings. We hope that our loyal readers and fans will give this book a chance and will enjoy it!

Mongoose and Meerkat’s Kickstarter is Finished: So What’s Next?

I’ll address each of these in their own posts, but we’ve got three big things we’re moving forward with in tandem with fulfilling Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3.

1. Cirsova Spring Issue

The Cirsova Spring Issue will be out 3/15. We’ll post more details in the soontime, but our cover story is the first installment of Wild Stars 7: The Gold Exigency.

2. Sky Dance of Winter Fire

Something a bit different from our usual fare, in March we will be taking pre-orders for Michael Tierney’s picture book, Sky Dance of Winter Fire.

3. Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds

This anthology is sure to be another grand slam from modern master of short fiction, Misha Burnett. Right now, the manuscript is in the hands of one of Cirsova’s talented and capable copy editors, and we plan on taking pre-orders for it starting in April.