Thinking Critical Interview with Michael Tierney

Michael was on with Wes of Thinking Critical to talk about the closure of his retail fronts and the state the comic industry.

He also confirms that he IS working on the next installments of Wild Stars, which we are planning on serializing next year alongside Paul O’Connor’s Badaxe comic, Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose & Meerkat, and more!

Now is as good a time as any to support Michael in his transition to being a full-time writer! Catch up on ALL of the Wild Stars in one go in the 35th Anniversary Omnibus or read the Individual Volumes.

Central Arkansas Comic Stores Closing Their Doors

It’s with a heavy heart today that I picked up my consignment copies of Cirsova from The Comic Book Store on Treasure Hill Road in Little Rock.

After nearly 40 years, Michael Tierney is closing his shops.

He’s sold his Collectors Edition property on JFK in North Little Rock, the lease is up on The Comic Book Store at the end of this month, and he’s found a buyer for all of his inventory.

While this is very sad for his many loyal customers, in many regards it’s a blessing for Michael who is moving into a highly active retirement. He’ll still be fulfilling comic mail orders for subscribers, engaging in his duties as a city councilman, and working very diligently on his writing. If all goes according to plan, he should have a new Wild Stars novel read for next year among myriad other projects.

If you’re in Central Arkansas, now is the time to swing by his shops before it’s too late.

If you’re not in Central Arkansas but want to support Michael, now would be a great time to check out his Wild Stars series published through Cirsova.

For more information about Michael’s stores, the future of his pullbox customers, the Wild Stars, and more, visit http://thewildstars.com/.

I’ll be at Saline County Comic Expo in Benton, AR over the weekend and will have a handful of Wild Stars stuff with me, including the 1st editions of Wild Stars III. If you stop by and pick some up, be sure to swing by The Comic Book Store on Saturday afternoon, and Michael will sign them for you for free!

Wild Stars 35th Anniversary 2nd Edition + Cirsova Hardcovers Now Available Once Again!

As you know, we had some hiccups with our hardcover printer, but we’re back online and proud to announce the 2nd Editions of Cirsova’s hardcovers! The real highlight of this is the 2nd Edition of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars!

Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Edition Omnibus

This fabulous 700+ page tome collects all four volumes of Michael Tierney’s science fiction epic.

Omnibus Cover 0.05 Front Only

Also available from Cirsova Publishing:

Summer Special 2020 #2

Spring 2020 [Vol 2, #3]

Fall 2019 [Vol 2, #2]

Summer Special 2019 #1

Spring 2019 [Vol 2, #1]

Winter 2018 [Vol 1, #10]

Fall 2018 [Vol 1, #9]

Summer 2018 [Vol 1, #8]

Spring 2018 [Vol 1, #7]

Fall 2017 [Vol 1, #6]

Spring 2017 [Vol 1, #5]

Winter 2016 [Vol 1, #4]

Fall 2016 [Vol 1, #3]

Summer 2016 [Vol 1, #2] [Kukuruyo Variant]

Summer 2016 [Vol 1, #2]

Spring 2016 [Vol 1, #1]

 

Mongoose & Meerkat Art Arrives Safe & Sound + Comic Retailer Round-table w/Michael Tierney

The original illustrations by DarkFilly for Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose and Meerkat arrived Saturday.

On one hand, sorry for the lousy focus–my tablet is a potato. On the other hand, for those of you who haven’t read the stories, this gives you an idea of the art style without too many spoilers.

We have three days to go for this Kickstarter, and you can still get your hands on one of these original pieces of artwork.

Also last week, Cirsova author, Wild Stars creator, and LCS owner Michael Tierney appeared on a round-table discussion with, among others, notable online comic shop personality Comic Perch and renowned comic-creator Mike Baron.

They discuss the impact of the comic industry shutdown plus DC’s efforts to do an end-run around Diamond to ensure that the comic shops are getting SOME product.

Michael’s central Arkansas stores have been weathering the storm as well as could be expected; he’s managed to stay open for an entire month with no new product, but as you might imagine, it has been lean times in Little Rock.

Now would be a fantastic time to pick up a Wild Stars from him, particularly since you can get the Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Omnibus cheaper from him than from us, due to some issues with Lulu’s platform migration.

As usual, Michael has a dozen irons in the fire, including his Beyond the Farthest Star web strip and several others we can’t talk about, but we hope to have some new Wild Stars news in the near future. In the meantime, it sounds like Troll Lord Games is gearing up to start printing the Wild Stars RPG–no release date yet, but we’re guessing “soon”.

Cirsova Publishing Author Michael Tierney On the Comic Industry Shutdown

Michael Tierney was on with RJ Carter of Critical Blast last night talking about the Comic Industry Shutdown in wake of the COVID19 pandemic.

There’s talk that new comics will not be shipping until June at the earliest, which is absolutely killer for these businesses. While you can say “buy backstock!” and “buy some trades!”, and that does help, it’s a bandaid. Subscriptions of weekly comics are these stores bread and butter. There are some people out there saying “nobody buys new comics anyway, they’re all trash!” but these people have no idea what they’re actually talking about. Every week, there are several dozen titles coming out with several hundred people buying multiple titles every month.

No new product is going to kill these stores.

Do what you can to support Michael. We are.

What we’re doing:

Every week, I’ve been going in, spending 2 hours or more going through the bargain bins. I’ve picked out every remotely interesting looking indie title I could string an reasonable run  together. I’ve made it through the M’s. I’ve also bought supplies [boxes, bags, boards], since right before the shutdown, he got a big order of supplies in. Plus I need them for the literal hundreds of floppies I’ve been buying.

What you can do:

If you’re in central Arkansas, you can do what we’ve been doing [but I’ve kinda picked the bargain bins clean in Little Rock through the M’s… but you may find something YOU like].

You can buy Wild Stars. If you’re not in Arkansas, you can buy them online from the links here. If you find copies of the Wild Stars hardcover on eBay, Michael is listing these himself; he’ll sign and personalize them for you.

If you ARE in central Arkansas, go to his stores, buy copies of Wild Stars from him, not us!

For more info on Michael Tierney, his comic stores, the Wild Stars, visit his website www.thewildstars.com.

Cirsova 2019 Awards Eligibility by Category

Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense is a semi-pro publication that, in 2019, paid .0125 per word for original fiction. In addition to its flagship magazine, Cirsova Publishing has released original fiction in Misha Burnett and Louise Sorensen’s Duel Visions and the 35th Anniversary Editions of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars.

Cirsova has published 38 eligible works of fiction in 2019.

[Bold works are Tangent Recommended; * indicates Ursa Major Award eligibility]

Novel

Novella

  • Halcyon, by Caroline Furlong [S. Spec.]*

Novelette

  • The Elephant Idol, by Xavier Lastra [2.1]
  • La Molejera, by Marie Brennan [2.2]
  • The Ghost of Torreon, by Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg [S. Spec.]
  • The Bullet From Tomorrow, by Misha Burnett [S. Spec.]
  • The Star-God’s Grave, by Schuyler Hernstrom [S. Spec.]
  • Bleed You Dry, by Su-Ra-U [S. Spec.]
  • The Last Fortune of Ali al’Ahmar, by Rev. Joe Kelly [S. Spec.]
  • The Blacklight Ballet, by Misha Burnett [Duel Visions]

Short Stories

  • Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She, by Edgar Rice Burroughs & Michael Tierney [2.1]
  • Atop the Cleft of Ral-Gri, by Jeff Stoner [2.1]
  • The Idol in the Sewers, by Kenneth R. Gower [2.1]*
  • Born to Storm the Citadel of Mettathok, by D.M. Ritzlin [2.1]
  • The Book Hunter’s Apprentice, by Barbara Doran [2.1]
  • How Thaddeus Quimby the Third and I Almost Took Over the World, by Gary K. Shepherd [2.1]
  • Deemed Unsuitable, by WL Emery [2.1]
  • Warrior Soul, by J. Manfred Weichsel [2.1]
  • Seeds of the Dreaming Tree, by Harold R. Thompson [2.1]
  • The Valley of Terzol, by Jim Breyfogle [2.1]
  • Moonshot, by Michael Wiesenberg [2.1]
  • A Little Human Ingenuity, by William Huggins [2.2]
  • The Burning Fish, by Jim Breyfogle [2.2]
  • For I Have Felt a Fire in the Head, by Adrian Simmons [2.2]
  • Pale Moon’s Bride, by Ville Merilainen [2.2]
  • Pawn to the Queen, by Christine Lucas [2.2]
  • People of Fire, by Jennifer Povey [2.2]
  • Blue-Like-The=Sky, by Spencer E. Hart [2.2]
  • Doomsday Shard, by Ken McGrath [2.2]
  • Titan, by Rebecca DeVendra [2.2]
  • The Handover of the Scepter of Greatest Regret, by Hal Y. Zhang [2.2]
  • The Grimgrip, by Michael Tierney [Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon 35th Anniversary Edition]
  • Sinker, Sailor, by Louise Sorensen [Duel Visions]
  • Ragged Angels, by Louise Sorensen [Duel Visions]
  • The Green Truck, by Louise Sorensen [Duel Visions]
  • Selena, by Louise Sorensen [Duel Visions]*
  • The Statue, by Louise Sorensen [Duel Visions]
  • The Summer of Love, by Misha Burnett [Duel Visions]

Covers for the Spring and Fall issues + Wild Stars Omnibus were done by Anton Oxenuk.

Omnibus Cover 0.05a

Cover for the Summer Special and art for our Illustrated Stark were by StarTwo.

Covers for the 35th Anniversary Editions of Wild Stars were by Mark Wheatley.

Proof Frontsproofs 7

Duel Visions’ cover was by Susan Bolhafner.

Featured Image -- 13516

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 Backstock Sale

I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here, but we have made some of the Wild Stars backstock available via our Amazon store.

We had several damaged copies when trying to fulfill our crowdfunds–these have been made available at 1/2 SRP. I’ll note that while a few of these were pretty mangled, most of them were dents, dings and corner creases. While these would’ve been unacceptable to send to backers or for retail shelves [especially for comic folks], these are perfectly good readable copies if you want Wild Stars at a lower buy-in.

Also, Michael Tierney has authorized us to act as an intermediary for his limited stock of the 1st edition printings of Wild Stars: Time Warmageddon.

Our store is here.

Also, Wild Stars is absolutely buried by Amazon’s algorithm. Please help us by leaving a review if you’ve received and read any of our Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Edition volumes!

Final Days for Submissions, Discounted Wild Stars, and Other News

Submissions

We’re on the home-stretch of our submissions window for 2020. The final day to send us something is this friday. Our current numbers are:

  • Unread: 79
  • Read: 34
  • Total: 113

As you can see, I’ve still got my work cut out for me. For comparison, when we were open for a full month last year, we ended up with 156 submissions. Glad we opted for only two weeks this time around.

Wild Stars

You might remember, due to very poor packing on the part of Ingram Spark, we had numerous copies of Wild Stars that were too mangled to send to crowdfund backers or go on retail shelves at Michael’s store. We don’t want to hang on to these, so we are offering them on Amazon for 1/2 off SRP. Most of the damage to these is on the corners, where they got dinged or crimped; definitely not pristine or collector-grade by any stretch, but if you want a cheap reading copy, we’ve made them available.

Also, we have made Michael’s stock of the first printing of Wild Stars III available on his behalf, including both covers and the hardcover. Supplies are limited.

Other Stuff

  • I have a big project that I hope I’ll be able to announce soon.
  • I swear, when I get a minute, I’ll write my review of Sunrider: Liberation Day
  • It turns out I DIDN’T miss Arkansas RPG Con, so I might be able to make it out this November and run some games after all! [I could’ve sworn it was in September, but I’m glad it wasn’t!]

Interview with Critical Blast

Last Sunday, I was on with RJ Carter of Critical Blast. We were supposed to have Michael Tierney with us, but his computer at home is a potato and could log into StreamYard.

I was a little under-prepared, because this was supposed to be Michael’s stream and I was just gonna chill and let him do most of the talking.

Be sure to buy as much Wild Stars as you can so we can afford to get Michael a computer that he can actually stream on!

Also, don’t forget, we’re accepting submissions now!