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!

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!

An Atlas of Bad Roads Stretch Goals!

Since we hit and exceeded our goal early, it’s time to think about stretch goals for Misha Burnett’s An Atlas of Bad Roads.

$4,000 – Take a Card!

What better way to remember the strange places you visited on your trip than by grabbing a business card?

All physical backers will receive facsimile business cards from some of the odd and out of the way places in An Atlas of Bad Roads!

*Note: As we’re fulfilling international orders directly, these may be mailed out separately to those individuals.

$8,000 – Cheap Souvenir

Maybe you want to pick up something a little more from the gas station…. something that will remind you of the good times you had every time you use it!

All US physical backers get An Atlas of Bad Roads bottle opener keychain free! [International backers who want these will need to pay separate S&H. Sorry, but mailing things is expensive! ToT]

100 Audiobook Sales – Throw Something on the Stereo

Need something to listen to on your next road trip? If we sell 100 audiobooks of Endless Summer, not only will we commission an audiobook edition of An Atlas of Bad Roads, we’ll throw in the first story to backers of this Kickstarter for free!

Misha Burnett’s An Atlas of Bad Roads is Live on Kickstarter!

An Atlas of Bad Roads, Misha Burnett’s newest horror anthology from Cirsova Publishing, is available for pre-order now on Kickstarter!

There are many strange places off the beaten paths in this great land of ours. From the abandoned shopping malls where squatters revel in violent nihilism to the new subdivisions built atop ruins where tragedies lay buried, Misha Burnett is your guide to the weird and out of the way places that are haunted by the past and the future. 

This all new collection from Misha Burnett includes 16 strange tales of the macabre as well as 16 original poems, exploring the mysterious nature of the seemingly mundane world, where the run-down warehouses, shady night clubs, and even 24-hour gas stations may be home to magical fae creatures or skulking maniacs.  

You’ve been offered a map to these beautiful vistas and disturbing local attractions. Just try not to get lost.

[In case you missed it, Misha Burnett was on Critical Blast with R.J. Carter last week. It was a fantastic interview! After you’ve backed An Atlas of Bad Roads, be sure to check it out!]

Coming Soon: Misha Burnett’s An Atlas of Bad Roads!

Review: Michael Gallagher’s Body and Blood

There is a genre out there of kickass gun-toting Catholic Priests who fight both worldly and supernatural enemies of the Church. I’m honestly not that well-versed in the genre, but I’m aware of it because a number of our friends have either dipped their toes into the genre or made names for themselves with some of their series. Doug Ernst’s Soulfinder comic series aside, this is actually the first book in this subgenre of adventure fiction I’ve read, and I’ve got to say: it was a lot of fun!

An older hard-drinking Irish(?) priest, Fr. James Keenan, and his younger [and swole] protege, Fr. Akono Nwosu, have been having problems with break-ins recently. They come to find that a witch has put a bounty out on church paraphernalia, ranging from brochures and missals to the ultimate prize: the sanctified Body of Christ. Everyone from urchins and minor delinquents to hardcore gangbangers are going after churches all over the city for these items which will be used in unspeakable blasphemous rites.

The side of Good, however, has plenty of back-up, including a tough-as-nails outlaw biker gang and the Russian mob! Things turn into an all-out war as Keenan and Nwosu and their allies bring the fight to the witch and her acolytes who are planning a massive human sacrifice to unleash a demon into the world.

There’s a LOT going on in this book. It’s very action-driven, and a little dense; it crams of lot of stuff into a relatively short span of time within the novel itself. While this isn’t a bad thing, the amount of action is almost overwhelming, and I found myself wanting a bit more space for the characters to breathe. There are a lot of point of view characters on all sides of the conflict in this story, but they’re all very distinct and give a complete view of all the action without anyone ever blending together or feeling under-developed or seeming extraneous to the story. The only downside is that there are SO many characters in the short span of the books events that I would’ve liked to have spent more time with some of them and gotten to know them better. Also, there are a lot of good horror elements and potential for mystery, yet while the horror delivers, I think that the compressed events of the timeline necessitated sacrificing rising tension for the sake of pacing.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this book is BRUTAL. A lot of gore, a lot of body horror, and a lot of good people dying pretty nasty deaths. So, I’d say it’s not for the faint of heart.

Another interesting element is the near-future cyberpunk dystopian setting. In some places, it’s almost blink-and-you’ll miss it. In other places, the sci-tech elements are critical to the story. For the most part, though, it’s a nice excuse for the Priests and their comrades to have some serious ordnance.

All-in-all, Body and Blood is an excellent debut novel from Michael Gallagher. It’s a high-octane thriller with an explicitly Christian bent. Maybe I should check out more of those “Priests with guns fighting demons and witches” books? If those are your thing, you should absolutely check this one out.

Michael Gallagher sent us an ARC of Body and Blood. His cyber-noir thriller The Nighthawk will be appearing in the Winter issue of Cirsova Magazine.

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

Review of They’ll Get You, by Mark Pellegrini

I’m sure most of you are familiar by now with Mark Pellegrini as writer of the smash hit comic series Kamen America. But we also hope that you’re familiar with him as a Cirsova contributor and horror writer of Don’t Open the Door and She Saw it Creeping Up the Stairs [and tomorrow, Channel 121 After Midnight.]

In addition to his comic accolades, Mark Pellegrini may well be the rising King of Gen Y Horror.

Gen Y was a narrow band that spent its early childhood in a largely analog world. There were video games, sure, but they were not ubiquitous. Few families had computers, and the internet was some weird thing you read about in scifi books [where it was usually called the Interweb] and maybe saw on TV, but nobody you knew had or used it. We played outside, because cable only gave you 50 or channels to watch.

This was the world that people Mark’s and my age grew up in, and he captures it fantastically in his horror writing, down to the decade-old shag carpets and wood paneling you see in those “ackshually, if you grew in up the 80s” memes.

Mark’s horror takes you back to that time when you were young, the world around you was uncanny and on the verge of changing in ways you could not possibly comprehend–inevitable; inescapable.

And there is no story that captures that more than his They’ll Get You.

Kevin lives with his mom in a suburban neighborhood, goes to a “good” school, has a handful of friends, and is living a fairly normal lifestyle for a kid in the early-mid-90s. But all is not as it seems. Those strange things we sometimes fancied and hyperfocused on as children–those monsters in the drain pipes, the weird houses that didn’t seem quite right, the school janitors who seemed off, and the “big kids” who were such jerks they might as well not even be human–well, for Kevin, these may be more than just the hyperactive imagination of a child.

They’ll Get You has amazing detail and presence of place–it’s so easy to not only visualize but grasp the entire world in which Kevin lives, and is trapped. It’s an incredibly visceral horror story that will resonate with anyone who lived through those times, and hopefully give people who didn’t an idea of the kind of nightmares we had as kids in a pre-digital world.

They’ll Get You is a touch on the long side, but it is surprising how well Mark is able to keep up the tension across so many scenarios as the story builds towards its endgame. There’s not a lot to criticize, and my few qualms [aside from formatting; bro, justify both sides of the text!] would include spoilers which I really would not want to give away…

But speaking of give away, tomorrow we’ll be doing a give-away of a copy of They’ll Get You on Twitter!

The Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm: Sara Was Judith is Out Now!

Kinda… The eBook is out tomorrow; we weren’t able to time things exactly right with the print edition, which we expected to be a little late, actually.

But be sure to check out this incredible weird tale by Julian Hawthorne, son of famed American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne!

Movie Review – The Convent [Run Phee / Senior]

So, my girlfriend picked up The Convent [Run Phee/Senior] on DVD from the library recently, and we just now had a chance to watch it.

I think that there was a really good supernatural murder mystery flick here buried under the worst commercially released dub I’ve ever encountered. Remember the episode of Bob’s Burgers where they dub the Hawk & Chick movie? It’s worse than that.

Not only that, the DVD release did not contain the original Thai audio with subtitles. Imagine releasing an Asian horror movie on DVD in the Year of Our Lord 2022 without original audio and subs!

Anyway, the murder mystery is actually really cool:

  • A Thai princess has been murdered
  • There’s a will that’s been tampered with by her doctor and her lawyer [both men are married]
  • The doctor is having an affair with the princess; the lawyer is having an affair with his secretary
  • The princess is intensely jealous of the doctor’s wife
  • There’s a little girl who is adopted by the princess as a “niece” who should have been the heir and disappears a few years after what turns out to be three murders all within a short span of time

So, an orphan girl living at a convent school who can “smell” ghosts is approached by a the ghost of a young man who is related to the old groundskeeper who he claims was framed for the murder and executed by firing squad. He wants her help solving the murder so his relative’s ghost can rest in peace; of course, he was also murdered for investigating the mystery, so solving it would also free his spirit.

Some of the effects are pretty cheesy, but the story–particularly the complex and tragic mystery of the princess’s death and disappearance of the young girl she adopted–is actually pretty brilliant. But it’s just so marred by the trashfire english dub that scenes that would’ve otherwise had some real emotional weight are absolutely ruined.

If you can tolerate the bad dub, I think it’s still worth it to watch this. It was easily one of the most interesting Asian horror stories I’ve come across in recent years, never wallowing or at least relishing certain levels of incomprehensibility, and it didn’t pull any weird dumb twist at the end that would undermine the success of the protagonist as so many horror movies [regardless of country of origin] enjoy tacking on after the denouement.

Anyway….

Be sure to subscribe for notification when we launch the Wild Stars Kickstarter!