What Stories are We Looking For for 2020?

Cirsova Publishing will be opening Submissions for our flagship magazine in October. Details can be found here. Everything in the descriptions there hold true in terms of what it is we’re looking for, but I’d like to highlight a few things in this post:

Raygun noir – Dark detective stories that had exotic space locals as their setting were a staple in the pulps, particularly Planet Stories. We’d love to see more of these.

Monster Girl – We got a couple of these last go-round, but none were quite what we were looking for. Seriously, go read C.L. Moore’s The Bright Illusion and get back with us. You got something along those lines? We’d definitely be interested.

South Seas Adventure and Chinoiserie – There’s a lot of interesting territory to be explored here, and we’ve dipped our toes in a bit [see The Last Fortune of Ali al’Ahmar and The Bookhunter’s Apprentice as more fantastical examples]. That’s not to say we’re looking for Yellow Peril; we’re looking for exotic settings outside the normal fare of a lot of contemporary fantasy and adventure.

Afrofuturism – We’re genuinely interested to see what can be done in this field. We haven’t gotten any in our submissions before [though we’ve received and published fantasy stories with both northern and sub-Saharan African settings].

Mystery – If we get some genuinely good mystery stories, we don’t even necessarily need there to be fantastical elements, though strange and exotic settings would certainly be a plus.

Men’s/Boy’s Adventure – While we aren’t looking for Weasels Ripped My Flesh, classic early-to-mid 20th century Men’s adventure or, even further back, RL Stevenson Boy’s adventure would be of interest. See also Frank G. Slaughter and C.S. Forester.

Antiquity Romance and Medieval Mythology – You guys know how I rave about Swann. Also, remember that Medieval fantasy isn’t just dragons, elves and fairies; it’s also Blemyae, Skiapods, and Prester John.

Gothic Horror/Romance – We’ve actually received and published some of this sort of stuff in the past two years. Our Lords, The Swine and Pale Moon’s Bride are two solid examples. Remember that Gothic doesn’t just mean Vampires and Werewolves. In fact, we’re really not looking for either of those unless you can put a really damn good spin on it. Gothic means ghosts, crumbling dungeons, disused manses, courtly love, mysterious knights, and heretics and clergymen too damn zealous for their own good.

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Wild Stars Mega Round Up Post

We’ve been talking about the Wild Stars and plugging it all over the place, so we thought it would be a good idea to do a round-up post!

We’ve only got two weeks left in the Wild Stars IndieGoGo, and we REALLY NEED TO HIT THAT $8K goal! Especially if you guys want more Cirsova Magazine in 2020. This project’s will give us the funds we need to make it happen!

The Wild Stars Twitter Megathread

B/X D&D Stats for Griefs

Michael Tierney and P. Alexander on Shane Plays:

P. Alexander on Geek Gab:

P. Alexander on Superversive SF:

 

Cirsova Presents: Wild Star Rising!

The IndieGoGo is live!

Cirsova Publishing is teaming up once again with Michael Tierney to publish his all new SFF time-travel adventure set in his Wild Stars universe, Wild Star Rising!

Plus, to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Wild Stars, Cirsova will be releasing all-new premium magazine-style editions of the Wild Stars graphic novel, Book of Circles, and the hybrid comic/novel, Force Majeure. We’ll also be reprinting a new 2019 edition of last year’s Kickstarter-exclusive illustrated novella, Time Warmageddon.

Wild Stars transparent 2

Cirsova Publishing is creating an all new standard edition of all previous Wild Stars books that will match the new release, Wild Star Rising.

Wild Stars: Book of Circles collects the early comics, Erlik (WS Vo1 1 #1) and First Marker (WS Vol 2 #1), placed chronologically within the 2001-2002 run of Wild Stars comics (WS Vol 3 #1-7)

Book of Circles tells the story of conflicting timelines and parallel worlds that culminate an alliance between a wolf-like alien race called the Brothan and alternate time-line fascists, the Artomiques, that aims to attack and destroy the earth by launching a comet at Jupiter to ignite it as a second sun.

These comics feature artwork by Frank Brunner (Doctor Strange, Howard the Duck), David Brewer (Cable, Deadpool), Dave Simons (Ghost Rider), and Michael Tierney, plus the collected editions feature additional painted works by Mary Tierney.

This new edition of the almost 300 page graphic novel will be printed in Cirsova Magazine’s standard 8.5″ x 11″ format, and will fit nicely on the shelf between your collection of Cirsovas and the rest of the 35th Anniversary Wild Stars books.

Wild Stars II: Force Majeure wraps an 83,000 word novel around 38 pages of comics penciled by Armando Gil (Conan the King, Ka-Zar the Savage), along with 50 ‘flashback’ illustrations by Dave Simons.

Seeking revenge for his defeat, Carthage kidnaps the First Marker’s infant daughter and absconds with her through time! Erlik and Daestar aid Mark Mackavicka and Akara in their search through time for their missing daughter. Except to preserve the future and prevent a resurgence of the Brothan empire, they can’t rescue Mark and Akara’s daughter until she’s already a grown woman!

This new edition of the novel / comic hybrid will be printed in Cirsova Magazine’s standard 8.5″ x 11″ format.

Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon continues the saga of the Wild Stars as former-President Bully Bravo seeks to solve the mysteries of distant suns going missing, only to be replaced by white dwarfs, and newly discovered planets showing the apparent signs of previous human colonization, all while pursued by an evil pirate queen and a rogue time-traveler trying to create a god.

This novella featured cover art by Timothy Lim (My Hero Magademia, Black Hops: USA GI, Street Fighter), and interior illustrations  and two variant covers by Mark Wheatley (Song of Giants: the Poetry of Pulp, The Flash, Blood of the Innocent).

This new edition will reprint this one-time Kickstarter-exclusive edition with new bonus content, including an additional epilogue on the whereabouts of Akara and the First Marker, two stories by Michael Tierney originally published in Cirsova Magazine, and the previously unpublished Wild Stars story, The Grimgrip.

Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising is both a prequel and sequel to the previous Wild Stars adventures. Looking back 75,000 years into the past to the last days of Atlantis and the final exodus to the Wild Stars led by the Ancient Warrior, Wild Star Rising unfolds the aeons-long plan to rescue the Ancient Warrior’s long-lost beloved, Phaedra, from the heart of a black hole where she was imprisoned by another powerful immortal… A sailor from earth’s distant past must join with the Ancient Warrior’s Wild Stars companions to help them navigate the great gulfs of space, free Phaedra from her black-hole prison, and stop the extra-dimensional squids that could destroy the universe if they can meet up and mate!

This illustrated novel will be printed in Cirsova Magazine’s 8.5″ x 11″ format, matching the previously released Time Warmageddon, the new 35th Anniversary Editions of Book of Circles and Force Majeure, and your collection of Cirsovas!

This edition will also contain the first-ever extensive bio-glossary of Wild Stars universe, making it a must-have for old and new fans alike!

Wild Stars Launches Tomorrow + Wild Stars RPG

Tomorrow, we begin taking pre-orders for the Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising and the rest of the 35th Anniversary goodies, but I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to this other crowdfund from Chenault & Grey / Troll Lord Games.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/amazing-adventures-5e-rpg?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=amazing%20adventures

C&G / Troll Lord is a local Little Rock-based publisher, best known for Castles & Crusades. Last year, they also published Michael Tierney’s Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology.

The Amazing Adventures RPG crowdfund on Kickstarter includes a $50,000 stretch goal for a Wild Stars RPG supplement.

While admittedly, 5e does not feel very D&D-like to me, I’ve noted frequently in the past that it would be a good system for super-hero teams. And Wild Stars features all sorts of crazy aliens and monsters and immortal space warriors, so a system like Amazing Adventures could be perfect for it! If you want to see a Wild Stars RPG setting, you have 5 days to back and put them over that $50k stretch-goal.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that our upcoming edition of Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising contains an extensive bio-glossary appendix, Wild Stars Navigational Chart: The Multiversal Guide, effectively making this fall release one of the first supplements, valuable to old fans and new.

We’ll be launching our own crowdfund tomorrow morning around 9-10 CST.

Finally, on top of everything else, tomorrow our illustrated edition of Leigh Brackett’s Black Amazon of Mars drops! So if you haven’t pre-ordered it, be sure to do so!

Black Amazon of Mars Front Only

Summer Advertisements Due Friday!

We’re trying to get everything in for our Summer Special, which will be out June 3rd!

We need all Advertisements in by 5PM EST on May 10th!

250 Character Text Advertisement $25
1/4 page Advertisement $35
1/2 page Advertisement $50

1/2 Page – 7.5″ w x 4.5″ h or 3.5″ w x 9″ h
1/4 Page – 3.5″ w x 4.5″ h

Send images at 300 dpi and payment via paypal to cirsova at yahoo dot com!

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Competing With “Dead Guys”

Earlier this month, SFF author Fonda Lee took to twitter to point out what she and many other contemporary SFF authors were “up against” at brick and mortars like Barnes & Noble.

This is what modern fantasy writers are up against. In my local B&N, most authors are lucky to find a copy of their book, super lucky if it’s face out. There are 3.5 shelves for Tolkien. 1.5 for Jordan. Here’s who we compete against for shelf space: not each other, but dead guys.

Before you @ me about the importance of classics, I love LOTR too, okay? But 3.5 shelves?? So much great modern SFF work out there. I found one copy of my WFA-winning book. One of most of the other Nebula and Hugo nominees. One copy of The Fifth Season. 18 copies of LOTR.

If you think a bookstore should be a place of discovery, who goes into B&N and “discovers” Tolkien? Do they figure people want another 5 copies of LOTR and aren’t interested in all the other work out there? I dunno guys. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to go into bookstores, tbh.

(And reminder that this is another reason why I love my local indie bookstores and why we must, must, MUST for the love of God keep supporting them.)

This got picked up by Bounding Into Comics, so needless to say, it kind of blew up and people, myself included, decided to share their takes on the matter.

My own take ignores the specter of “SJWs in science fiction” and “Look at them wanting to erase dead white guys”, because even if those are the case, there’s a lot more going on here that maybe I’m more aware of than some of my twitter mutuals because I’m in publishing.

The fact of the matter is, old works have a much wider audience than the current SFF niche. Even award winning and award nominated works sell far fewer copies than a handful of big-named older works. But remember: these chain book stores are where people go to pick up quick gifts for birthdays and holidays. Nearly everyone will buy new copy of LotR for whatever kids they have whenever that birthday rolls around that they think the kid is old enough to read it themself.  Anyone looking for B&N shelfspace is competing against a market that’s principally driven by easy access to nice editions of classic works to be given as gifts, not one that’s able to sustain itself on new content. 30+ years on, they might get that spot.

A bunch of the “New Authors just need to git gud” takes I saw kind of missed the real point that new authors can’t actually look at B&N the way that many of them, Fonda Lee, too apparently, are looking at it.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of books, the quality of writing, or the quality of the authors. It has EVERYTHING to do with who or what is moving whale numbers, and the rest is being propped up by those sales.

Around 15k sales per year (two copies per month per location–B&N has 633 stores) is pretty good by most publishing standards today, and really only justifies one or two copies of a book kept on the shelf.

Even for successful new SFF titles, it’s still apples to oranges. Fifth Season may be great–it’s sure popular and a big seller for a new SFF book, and Jemisen has a lot to be proud of. But it’s not a book that every parent buys a copy for their children going on 4 generations

B&N’s bread & butter are gift editions of extremely popular and timeless works and novelties.

Being on the shelves of these stores should not be the end goal. Growing your audience is more important than sitting unsold on a shelf next to Tolkien.

Bookstores are no longer “places of discover” and have not really been so for a long time. This is unfortunate, but the realities of the market have changed. It’s why B&N is turning into a toy-store for millennials and carrying less media.

There are some authors out there that genuinely believe that people use B&N as something besides a place to pick up a nice edition of a classic or currently boom-popular work to give as a gift for Xmas or Birthday, and the more authors dissuaded from this the better.

I’d also note that if Barnes & Noble decided to carry Cirsova titles in their stores, we’d probably be bankrupt (I’d be bankrupt–Cirsova’s non-incorporated) within a year when they ship backed the returnable copies. Now, that said, you CAN purchase Cirsova products through Barnes & Noble’s online store! In fact, you should do that now. (Plus Duel Visions, which shows up separate from the search term “Cirsova”.)

Note: this post was originally comprised as a disparate series of tweets across a couple threads. It’s been edited [cobbled together] for cogency and saved for posterity.]

Note 2: Cirsova Magazine of Heroic Fantasy & Science Fiction was a Hugo-Nominated publication with literally 88 nominating votes.

Free D.M. Ritzlin Story – The Infernal Bargain

With all of the excitement about the new Tarzan story in our upcoming issue, it might seem easy to overlook some of the other cool stuff we’ve got coming out next month.

Well, it would be a mistake to do so, for sure!

One of the other stories our spring issue will be featuring is by D.M. Ritzlin of DMR Books. Dave publishes some of the best Sword & Sorcery out there today, and we’re thrilled to have one of his stories, Born to Storm the Citadel of Mettathok,  in our upcoming issue.

And if you sign up for DMR Books’ mailing list, you’ll get another of his stories free: The Infernal Bargain!

Don’t forget to sign up for Cirsova’s mailing list, either! We’ll be sending out discount codes for hardcover copies to our mailing list subscribers when the hardcovers become available.