Cirsova 2023 Lineup!

Okay, everything has cleared, and we can announce our amazing 2023 lineup!

Among our major recurring features, we’ll be serializing Wild Stars VII: The Gold Exigency, in which a space cop gets roped into the cosmic struggle between warring titans, space pirates, and a telepathic dragon cult! Jim Breyfogle’s Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat race toward their dramatic conclusion this year in three stories, culminating in The Redemption of Alness! Adrian Cole’s New Dream Lords saga continues, chronicling another of Arrul Voruum’s early adventures in Across the Poison Sea!

We have a number of other returning Cirsova veterans as well as some new and exciting names! 2023 is going to be fantastic!

Spring

  • Quicksilver – J. Comer
  • Egg – Jaime Faye Torkelson
  • The Unshrouded Stars – David Skinner
  • Search Pattern – William Suboski
  • Starring Hedy Lamarr – Troy Riser
  • Hunger in the Void – Andrew Gallant
  • The Gold Exigency (pt1) – Michael Tierney
  • Comes the Hunter – Bill Willingham
  • The Feast of the Fedai – Jim Breyfogle

Summer

  • Across the Poison Sea – Adrian Cole
  • An Affair of Honor – Will Lowry
  • Curse of the Iron Moon – Frank Sawielijew
  • Meat on the Bone – Tia Ja’nae
  • Olvir’s Dream – C.D. Crabtree
  • The Red Queen of Ustari – Shuya Nanahara
  • Terror-trap of the Jintra – John Gradoville
  • The Machine of Fear – Harold R. Thompson
  • The Ruins of the Dalgre – Richard Rubin
  • The Serpent and the Spire – J. Thomas Howard
  • The Gold Exigency (p2) – Michael Tierney

Fall

  • Black Sky, White Knight – Mark Mellon
  • Children of Summer – Louise Sorensen
  • Dead Men Do Tell Tales – Teel James Glenn
  • Fossils of Truth and Grace – E.E. King
  • Trapped in the Loop – Jim Breyfogle
  • Metamorphoses at the Gate – Lysander Arden
  • The Dusk Next Door – Mark Pellegrini
  • To a Dead Soul in Morbid Love – Matthew Pungitore
  • The Chilling Account of The Wolf-Bann of Krallenburg – J.E. Tabor
  • The Angel Hanna – Rodica Bretin
  • The Gold Exigency (p3) – Michael Tierney

Winter

  • The Redemption of Alness – Jim Breyfogle
  • Moonlight Over Sussex – Daniel J. Minucci
  • Red Queen’s Race – Paul Lucas
  • Rising Shadows – Adam S. Furman
  • Incident in Burma,1942 – Mark Arvid White
  • That Hideous Brain – Jeffery Scott Sims
  • Commander – Richard Martin
  • Ithuriel’s Spear- Joseph W. Knowles
  • The Gold Exigency (p4) – Michael Tierney

Just don’t forget about 2022, we’ve still got several months and another issue left! The Fall issue just dropped in physical formats [softcover, hardcover] with part 3 of Orphan of the Shadowy Moons and Part 2 of Vran, The Chaos-Warped. You don’t want to miss it!

Review: Rags and Muffin by D.G.D. Davidson

While I’m not especially overdue on book reviews [except for a couple I’ve been sent that I just don’t know that I’ll ever get to; sorry], I think that I’ve managed to get to a spot where I can knock three out at once this week, starting with Rags and Muffin.

I picked this up last winter around the same time as They’ll Get You and read it right afterwards, but I’m just now getting a chance to sit down and write about it. This one was a bit of a surprise, I’ll admit. All I knew going in was crime-fighting catgirl with an Asian dragon dog. I didn’t know what to expect, really. Certainly not an incredibly rich fantasy setting heavily inspired by Indian mythology.

I used to be something of a Hindu Mythology wonk in my younger years, so this was a pleasant surprise. Davidson incorporates the cultural textures without overly romanticizing them, showing both the beautiful aspects which Lord Curzon fell in love with as well as the ugly and downright evil.

Rags & Muffin takes place in a fantastical pseudo-India that’s under the control of a steampunk/magitek pseudo Romano-British empire. Humans live and work alongside furry cat-people; while they are able to interbreed, the resulting hybrids invariably die before adulthood but are revered as living gods because of the psychic experience they’re able to grant worshippers. Same psychic experience can also be harvested from a gland at the base of the brain, so they can fetch good money on the black market.

The main character is one such hybrid who has devoted her life to save her fellow hybrids from being trafficked. There’s a lot of waif-fu, though the prana-based martial arts is able to somewhat justify how Rags and her friends, the Ragtag Army, are able to hold their own against powerful crime lords and human traffickers.

There’s a lot of excellent worldbuilding in Rags & Muffin, but as a book, it’s a little all over the place in setting things up. A number of seemingly unrelated events, as well as side excursions of the main characters, tie in to the world and add a backdrop to the story but go nowhere on their own in this volume. While this volume’s main story is a simple and straightforward rescue mission that, against all odds and many complications, the main characters manage to pull off, so much of this book is devoted to setting up the puzzles and mystery boxes that I find myself feeling that I can’t judge it until I’ve read the [as yet unpublished] sequels to see if any of these threads will pay off.

If the subsequent volumes are able to stick the landing and answer the questions that this first book poses about the characters, the world they live in, and the nature of their city and the strange hybrid goddess girls, then this will be an excellent first entry. If we don’t get a sequel, or the sequels don’t provide satisfactory answers on the questions about the characters, who and what they are and what choices they’ll ultimately make, then Rags & Muffin will have been a pretty fun and entertaining, though a little long and in some spots meandering, ride that could’ve stood to have been tightened up a bit.

On its own strengths and weaknesses, it’s a solid three stars. If a sequel is able to make good on the bits that it’s laying into place, it would be bumped up to a 5.

https://www.amazon.com/Rags-Muffin-Deus-Magical-Girl/dp/1737573547

Wild Stars V Out in All Formats

Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars V is out now in all formats.

Need to catch up on Wild Stars? Really, at this point, the cheapest and easiest way is with the Wild Stars Omnibus. Use promo code WELCOME15 at checkout for 15% off. This tome contains all 4 previous volumes of Wild Stars in a single coffee table format.

Submissions Question: How long does it take to hear back?

Here’s a question we get sometimes: When should I expect to hear back from you after I’ve submitted my story?

It’s kinda hard to say, since I’m the one reading all of the stories. If we get a lot of stories, it takes longer to hear back from us.

First of all, we will always send a confirmation of receipt email once we’ve received and downloaded your manuscript. If it has been a few days and you have not gotten a short, polite “Thank you for your submission, blah blah blah,” it means we probably didn’t receive your manuscript, in which case, try to follow up no later than the 10th of August. We’ll allow for some grace depending on the circumstances, but it depends on more factors than I can really outline here.

Now, regarding rejections and offers:

If you submitted to us on the first day of submissions and it’s taking awhile to hear from us, it likely means we’re still considering your story but haven’t reached a final decision based on our budget and space constraints.

If you submitted to us on the last day of submissions and it’s taking awhile to hear from us, it likely means we haven’t gotten to your story yet. We really do try to give everyone who submits a fair shake, but there does come a point where I’m pretty happy with a stack of stories that I’ve read, and every story I read after that stands a chance of getting in means bumping off something I’d already been strongly considering, possibly even set my heart on!

So, it’s not a bad idea to submit early if you can! [and by early, I mean on the first day that we are open, not before we open–please don’t do that].

I’ll try to have everything settled by the end of September: that’s the target. Earlier would be nice. If we’re still holding onto your story by sometime in September but we haven’t contacted you with an offer yet, we may contact you to let you know that you haven’t been forgotten about and are still under consideration.

Again, the biggest factor is how many stories we get. Could be a hundred. Easy peasy. We get nearly 200 or more like we have some years? That makes it tougher. Like I said, we try to give all the stories a fair shake, but we’re really limited in how much we can afford to buy and place. And yes, I will play favorites with past contributors and IPs I’m personally a fan of, but there’s never a guarantee.

Don’t forget to support An Atlas of Bad Roads in the meantime! It’s the absolute last chance for Cirsova to make additional on-hand cash for 2023 acquisitions!

Mongoose & Meerkat Fan Theory-post!

Not John Daker recently posted some of his current fan theories about Cirsova’s ongoing Mongoose and Meerkat series.

He’s definitely right that there are a lot of hints that have been dropped from the very first story we ran back in 2017 and over the course of the dozen stories we’ve published so far, and he’s on the right track! [Unfortunately, Jim Breyfogle has confirmed that Deathwater does not take place in the same universe as Mongoose and Meerkat; it was included as a bonus for people who had already read all of the original magazine stories in Cirsova.]

Major clues about who Kat really is and what’s going on with her are dropped in Death and Renewal, which is out now in our latest issue. One major thing to remember is that despite being an adventuring duo akin to Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser, Mongoose and Meerkat’s adventures are principally from Mangos’s perspective: Kat is the mystery box of series. Mangos’s hesitance to puzzle it out for himself are likely as not from a fear that he might lose what he has in his reliable adventuring partner who has helped him earn a reputation as a reliable sell-sword. He could always just ask her: but what would that cost him? Would he lose her forever if he knew the truth?

Mongoose and Meerkat’s adventures are entering their final arc with the story in this issue, as well as the stories in our fall and winter issues, Fight of the Sandfishers and Thunder in the North, where most, if not all, secrets will be revealed!

You can get caught up on the first two years of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together by backing our latest Kickstarter for Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase. All backers will receive digital copies of Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking.

[Also, keep an eye out for Not John Daker’s Sister Winter, which will be the cover story for our winter issue!]

Cirsova on Wordcraft Podcast

We were on the Wordcraft Podcast last night with Kat Rocha and J. Ishiro, plus a drop-in appearance of Fiannawolf. It was a lot of fun: check it out!

Jim Breyfogle was on a surprise Superversive stream with Ben Wheeler! You won’t want to miss either of these shows. [Ben turns his fan off after the first couple minutes, please bear with it!]

Cirsova Summer 2022 Paperback Available on Amazon Today!

We’re two days late because the price drop didn’t process within the 72 hour window, but you can now buy the Summer 2022 issue of Cirsova on Amazon for $14.99. You can still get it from Lulu (on nice paper) for $14.99, or $34.99 in linen-wrapped hardcover. But I know a lot of people just like to buy stuff from Amazon [I’m kind of one of them], so rock on with it!

Cirsova Summer 2022 Issue Out Today!

Or, well, it’s supposed to be…

The eBook is available from Amazon.

Amazon STILL hasn’t dropped the price down to where we told them to, so hold off on buying it from them.

Instead, if you want a softcover, or even a hardcover, you can get it from Lulu [on nicer paper] right now and save 15% with promo code WELCOME15.

Vran, the Chaos-Warped (Book 1)

By D.M. RITZLIN

Vran the Chaos-Warped has sworn that the wizard Foad Misjak must die for his debaucheries! Vran’s strange nature due to a sorcerous accident, however, twists with unpredictable results all magic around him… and strands both on another world!

Orphan of the Shadowy Moons (Part 2)

By MICHAEL TIERNEY

The Black Assassins have slaughtered all the children of the Worldlord except Strazis, the strange golden child he adopted as his heir! Strazis’s escape strands him on a mysterious isle as the Worldlord goes to war to secure the fragile empire!

Death and Renewal

By JIM BREYFOGLE

The Prince of Alomar has won a slave from the Bursa… Kat and Mangos must ensure the slave’s silence at all cost, but on one condition: they cannot kill him!

What Price the Stars

By JEFF STONER

Jørgen Pangloss offers the promise of the unthinkable: faster-than-light travel! To what lengths will potential investors go to win Jørgen monopoly… and its fetters!?

Dead Planet Drifter

By J.D. COWAN

Galactic Enforcer Ronan Renfield finds himself prisoner of a death-worshiping cult! Can the whispers from his past aid him in his battle against the cannibals?!

The Last Khazar

By REV. JOE KELLY

Two men, one a Polish Jew, the other a Prussian Nazi, are bound by dreams and bound by destiny to confront one another, both in the present and in the past!

Melkart and the Crocodile God

By MARK MELLON

An evil and sorcerous monster plagues the land of Kush! Can Melkart stop the crocodile-headed man-beast Sosostris from enslaving the people of Meroë!?

My Name is John Carter (Part 12)

By JAMES HUTCHINGS

Reviews

By J. COMER