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!

Some Cirsova Contributors in Other Publications

DMR Books has a couple of new fantasy anthologies coming out.

Death Dealers & Diabolists has a new story by Kenneth R. Gower, featuring the further adventures of Kral Mazan, the anti-hero of The Idol in the Sewers [featured in our spring issue.]

Also, Spencer E. Hart, who’s becoming something of a Cirsova regular, has a story in Warlords, Warlocks & Witches. Spencer’s next Cirsova story will be appearing in our fall issue, out on the 16th of this month.

DMR Books is a really solid Sword & Sorcery and Fantasy publisher, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have published a story by Dave Ritzlin in our spring issue.

Cirsova Summer Special Out Today! + Tangent Online Review

Our Summer Special is Out Now!

Check out this review on Tangent Online.

The Ghost of Torreón
By EDD VICK and MANNY FRISHBERG
A strange experiment gone wrong has granted Professor Rigoberto “Beto” Caminante an extraordinary power—the ability to “ride” radio waves!

The Bullet From Tomorrow
By MISHA BURNETT
A mysterious visitor claiming to be from the future has a simple job for Private Investigator Butch Norton: sabotage an airplane to prevent World War III!

The Star-God’s Grave
By SCHUYLER HERNSTROM
A young sorcerer’s apprentice steals a starship from his master… only to be pressed into the service of a pair of space hussars to undertake a perilous quest!

Bleed You Dry
By SU-RA-U
A simple news assignment—talk to the reprobate son of an aloof dying billionaire—leads one small-town reporter down a trail of death and madness!

The Last Fortune of Ali al’Ahmar
By REV. JOE KELLY
No search for treasure is ever easy, but the hoard of a legendary pirate sought by a shifty client steeped in sorcery may prove tricky for even Sudah’s tough crew!

Halcyon
By CAROLINE FURLONG
An interstellar war has spilled onto the planet Halcyon, where humanity finds an unexpected ally in their fight against an alien race and their sinister masters!

front cover only

Submissions are Open!

We’re accepting Submissions now for Cirsova volume 2.

Details are here.

We’re looking to acquire ~100K words in text in total. That’s enough to fill two issues of Cirsova.

Payment is .0125 per word. That’s less on the short end than we used to pay, but more on the long-end. [mostly it keeps our expenses flat, which we need on such a tight budget, as opposed to when we paid a .01 cent bonus on the first 2500 words and costs fluctuated based on the number of stories rather than actual wordcounts.]

 

Black Gate Magazine Spotlights Cirsova in Their Summer Short Story Roundup

Last we saw them, with Issue #1back in April, I wrote “If this is what the first issue looks like, I expect future ones will blow me away.” Having just plowed through the 108 pages of #2, count me blown away.

One of the ongoing conversations about writing these days is the place of narrative storytelling. Personally, I’m for more of it, and it’s clearly something editor P. Alexander favors as well. If you prefer stories like tone poems, or with deep introspection, this is probably not the publication for you. Action, adventure, and vivid scene-setting are the hallmarks of every story.

Read the whole thing here: https://www.blackgate.com/2016/08/16/summer-short-story-roundup-part-one/

Or better yet, back us on Kickstarter for issues 3 & 4!

Cirsova Anthology Update! (Looking for SFF Writers!)

Things are moving along quickly.  I’ve received an unexpected and impressive level of interest in this project which bodes well. I’ve already received a few submissions and have a couple of awesome pieces locked in.

I’ll be keeping the FAQ updated as stuff comes up.

Several people have been asking about deadlines.  It’s not a hard and fast deadline, and if things take an unexpected drop-off I may extend it, but your best bet would be to get submissions in by the end of October.  Currently, I am be reading pieces and making offers in the order that I receive them.  So, the sooner the better.

Short Reviews – The Venus Evil, Chester S. Geier

The Venus Evil by Chester S. Geier appeared in the Summer 1947 issue of Planet Stories (Vol 3. No 7).

I’ll admit that the first few times I saw the title, I kept wanting to read it as “The Venus of Evil”*, which sounds pretty hot. That missing “of” aside, “The Venus Evil” is a pretty classic example of planetary sci-fi horror. I’d actually go so far as to call it “Lovecraftian”; not “let’s fly a B-2 into Yog Sothoth’s face” Lovecraftian, but actual creepy gross horror of the unknown Lovecraftian.

Like many of Lovecraft’s tales, The Venus Evil is a survivor’s account. Only one man of a three man scientific expedition to Venus has made it back alive, and this is his account of why he killed one of his fellow crewman and why he is not facing any sort of disciplinary action for doing so. What follows is a story of greed and bizarre and monstrous creatures.

Probably what Geier best achieves is conveying the unknowable and indescribable nature of alien life; all we can do is compare it to the known, but it is so uncannily different from the known, our notions end up betraying us. Something can look like a small deer, but it is certainly not a deer. Something can look like a beautiful butterfly, but it is certainly not a butterfly. And something can look like a valuable gemstone, but it is certainly not the egg form of a vampiric quasi energy based life form. Oh, wait, nevermind, maybe it is.

I wouldn’t call this one of the “greats” of the genre or anything, but it certainly would’ve made a more than decent episode of Star Trek or the Outer Limits. Unfortunately, this is another one of those stories that you’re probably not going to find unless you get your hands on this issue of Planet Stories. According to SF Encyclopedia, Chester S. Geier “was one of the more prolific Pulp-magazine writers, [but] his short stories have never been collected in book form”. At least two of his other stories from Amazing are available on Project Gutenberg, though, so you might look for those.  Additionally, several stories released under the name Gerald Vance in the late 40s were Geier’s.

*: In fairness, it IS in the same issue as “The Martian Circe”, which I will talk about soonish.