Happy Birthday, Leigh Brackett!

leigh bracket

Happy Birthday to Leigh Brackett, the Queen of Space Opera Science Fiction! Leigh Brackett was one of the best and possibly most important authors you’ve never heard of [unless you follow us, of course].

She was a fan-favorite in the pages of the pulps [and yes, the readers knew she was a woman, and if a neophyte reader misgendered her in the letters columns, editors were quick to correct them]. Some of her Hollywood screenplays are among the most beloved classics of all time.

These days, she gets short shrift in some circles, in part because of the Year Zero approach to culture that requires glass ceilings to be broken over and over again–plus the uncomfortable fact that she not only spoke up about NOT facing discrimination for being a woman in Science Fiction [Hollywood was another story], she was unapologetically /our girl/–her final sci-fi epic, Skaith, was Atlas Shrugged in Space with a black man siccing his psionic dogs on hippies and communists so that the people who worked for a living could escape to the stars with their labor intact.

We’re such huge fans of Leigh Brackett that this year, we published a fully illustrated 70th Anniversary edition of her Eric John Stark Planet Stories adventures!

Be sure to check those out [they’d make great Christmas presents] and her other many thrilling works!

Cyber Monday – STARK!

Apparently Amazon is liquidating their stock of Stark.

The hardcover omnibus with over 100 illustrations is currently just $10.00.

Limit one per customer…

This is 80% off and cheaper than even I can get my hands on them [I used my one purchase to send another copy to our artists] Grab this now!

Hardcover Template for Omnibus-Case Final front cover only

Rawle Nyanzi’s Brand Zero and a Look at Some Cirsova-Published IPs

Our hard work at Cirsova has not gone unnoticed, and Rawle has commented on it here!

Rawle is one of the pioneers of the Brand Zero concept that some of the folks in our circle have been bandying about. He talks about it here, having grown out of some musings by Jon Del Arroz.

The short version of it is a mindset to put fully behind the failing corporate fiction brands that continue to disappoint and instead focusing on new brands, new properties, either by creating them or supporting them. Talk up these new IPs instead of spending time and effort on complaining about how let down you are by the old brands.

Brand Zero has picked up a lot of traction in the last few weeks, but it’ll be interesting to see if it gains real momentum beyond a few writing circles.

If anything, it gives us an opportunity to highlight a few of the brands we’ve helped build up by publishing them in Cirsova:

Michael Reyes’ Clock – The misadventures of an invisible dwarf [as in he has dwarfism; he is not “dwarven”] who is a chaos magician tasked with guarding Coney Island and the world from extra-planar monsters. We’ve run a couple stories [Clock’s Watch and The Iynx] and will have another Clock story in the Spring. I’ve also helped Michael assemble the interiors and write lead-ins for his two anthologies.

First Cirsova Appearance, Fall 2016.

Adrian Cole’s New Dream Lords – This isn’t new, but it is a rebooted franchise. Older followers may have seen some of my posts about the original Dream Lords books, which I picked up on a lark a few years back. I really enjoyed them, despite having originally mocked the bad covers. Doc Morgan at Castalia actually put me in touch with Adrian, though, and we talked some about the covers and he gave me the scoop on what exactly had happened. We got to talking about other stuff, and eventually things worked out where we started publishing a sequel series to his Dream Lords, following the adventures of Arrul Voruum, one of the Witchfinders tasked with rooting out the remaining evil that went into hiding following the events of the original trilogy. We’ve published 3 shorts, a novella, and will be publishing a novelette this spring that is part of a prequel to the first four New Dream Lords stories we’ve run.

First Cirsova Appearance, Summer 2016.

Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose & Meerkat – We really loved the first story Jim published with us [Blood & Bones, the cover story of issue 3], so when he approached us with a proposed cycle of fantasy adventures, we jumped on the opportunity. Cirsova Publishing has now run 5 Mongoose & Meerkat stories, we have two more queued up to run in 2020, and plans are in the works for an illustrated volume 1 collection sometime next year.

First Cirsova Appearance, Fall 2017.

Harold R. Thompson’s Captain Anchor Brown – We’ve run three of these shorts about the proverb-quoting bookish adventurer who finds himself in some pretty wild and perilous predicaments.

First Cirsova Appearance, Winter 2016.

J.D. Brink’s Leonidas Hawksblood – We’ve only had a couple of the stories featuring this salty space pirate [though one was broken into two parts], but we still love him!

First Cirsova Appearance, Fall 2016.

Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars – The stories we’ve published by Michael in the magazine only tangentially tie into his sprawling Wild Stars epic [they have been collected in the 2nd printing of Time Warmageddon], but as of this summer, we’ve now published an all new edition of ALL of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars, including the original graphic novel, the comic/novel hybrid, the Time Warmageddon novella, AND the all new Wild Star Rising.

First Cirsova Appearance, Summer 2016.

The Eldritch Earth – This was the brainchild of Cirsova contributor, Misha Burnett–Burroughsian fantasy in a pre-historic Lovecraftian setting. This setting was born with Misha’s novelette “A Hill of Stars”, and was then opened up to a writers circle on Google+ before that platform’s untimely demise. We’ve had several writers who dipped their toes into this world, and we featured them in a special Eldritch Earth issue of Cirsova, but we’ve kept publishing more Eldritch Earth stories when we get them. We’ve published two of Louise Sorensen’s Darla of Deodanth stories, and we have another Eldritch Earth sequel that we can’t quite announce just yet that we plan on having for 2020.

First Cirsova Appearance, Spring 2016.

Abraham Strongjohn’s Neptune – I wouldn’t have even mentioned this, if someone hadn’t brought it up the other day, saying they wanted more. It’ll be done someday. Maybe.

First Cirsova Appearance, Spring 2016.

There are more, and there will be more, including some that we can’t confirm yet but plan on making offers on soon…

But if you want to support Brand Zero at the grass roots, check some of these titles out and get in on the ground floor of some truly amazing and exciting properties!

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

 

Wild Stars Available on Amazon [If You’ve Read Your IGG/KS Copy, Leave Us a Review!]

By now, just about everyone should have received their copies of Wild Stars!

Because we were able to fulfill both crowdfunds a month earlier than we’d planned, we were able to move up the world-wide release date.

The Wild Stars pages on Amazon are now live, so if you enjoyed Wild Stars and would like to continue to support Michael Tierney and Cirsova Publishing, you can do so by leaving reviews!

Book of Circles
Force Majeure
Time Warmageddon
Wild Star Rising
Omnibus

These help raise book, writer, and publisher profiles on Amazon and are a quick and easy way to help us out that doesn’t cost anything but the couple minutes it takes to leave one.

Thank you all again for supporting this exciting project, and we hope to be able to bring you much more exciting science fiction, fantasy, and adventure in 2020 and beyond!

Don’t forget, submissions open a week from today!