Millhaven Press seeks “Lost World” stories…

Another Millhaven project accepting submissions.

Books of the Broken

We are now accepting story proposals for our next project due out in late winter/early spring 2019.

We are seeking five story proposals of 12,000-20,000 words.

This time out we are looking for adventure stories of “lost worlds”.

We are paying tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sir Conan Arthur Doyle, H. Rider Haggard and the like…

Do you have a story idea featuring dinosaurs in the modern world? Does your story feature explorers stumbling upon a lost race of men?  Does your story feature a lost civilization at the bottom of the sea, in a long extinct volcano, in a remote jungle, or in the depths of the Earth itself?

If you have an idea with any or all the above, then send us a proposal.  If your story has none of the above, but is an adventure story with some fantasy element, give us a try.  Send us a…

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Millhaven Press


Full disclosure (1): The swag in the picture was sent to me by Millhaven’s publisher, Jeffrey Blehar, on his dime. Full disclosure (2): I am working with him on an upcoming project.

That having been said, I would say good things about Millhaven Press even if he hadn’t sent me free stuff.

By now, readers of this blog should know my feelings about short fiction and the need for short fiction markets to keep any genre of fiction alive and growing.

That’s where innovation comes from. You can experiment and play around with the form, the themes, the genre conventions. Every significant literary movement has begun with short fiction, and has been made possible by publishers who do the hard work of getting the stories to market.

I’m not alone in feeling that the traditional short fiction market has grown  moribund in the past few decades.  What I find very exciting is that there is a growing number of people who are willing to step up and do something about it.

Jeffrey Blehar’s vision for Millhaven Tales is to focus each issue on a different genre, which is a really exciting idea. As you can see in the picture, his first two are Tales Of Wonder and Tales Of Suspense.  Next up for Millhaven Magazine is Tales Of Terror, (which I believe is currently accepting submissions.)

In addition he is working on full sized anthologies, the first one Sword & Sorcery (submissions closed–that’s the project I mentioned above that I will be part of) and is currently accepting submissions for a Lost World anthology.

That’s a lot of irons in the fire, it’s a heavy schedule for an emerging publisher. I  have the first two issues of Millhaven on my desk right now and it’s clear that a lot of work has gone into them. This is a man who is committed to reclaiming genre fiction.

Tales Of Wonder opens with a story right out of The Twilight Zone sets the tone for the issue.  These are not “Science Fiction Stories” or “Fantasy Stories”–these are Freakin’ Tales Of Wonder, just like it says on the box. It’s a very pre-Campbellian collection, you won’t find extensive backstories or drawn out pseudo-scientific rationales for the events in these stories. You just get dropped into the weird and come face to face with giant scorpions and bureaucratic angels and divine tattoo artists and (my personal favorite) an extremely disturbing walk through an old automobile graveyard.

This isn’t “retro-pulp” where the authors are camping it up and leering at the audience to make sure that everybody knows they are just making fun of that kitschy old-timey junk–these are stories in the spirit of Bradbury and Lovecraft and Frederick Brown.

Tales Of Suspense follows the same pattern, only harkening back to Black Mask rather than Weird Tales. To my delight I found that I recognized two of the stories–they had been originally written for my 21st Century Thrilling Tales collection which became orphaned when the publisher backed out. (Full disclosure #3) I am very happy to see that they found a home, and the fact that Millhaven picked them up goes to show how close his vision is to what I have been trying to do.

Again, these are not pastiches or parodies that randomly drop hardboiled gangster slang into a stew of moral ambiguity. There is irony here, and some black humor that reminds me of Roald Dahl’s stories for grownups, but it’s not poking fun at the form. These are stories that would be at home in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

The overall quality of both magazines is good, beautiful covers and clean, readable interior design. Okay, so the cover art on Tales Of Wonder is a bit on the sloppy side (sorry) but it is colorful and fun. Overall, both are professional products, well-formatted and printed by Createspace.

All in all, well worth checking out.

 

Posted in Artists That I Admire, New Wave, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, pulp revival | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cirsova 8 Paperback and Hardback Out Now!

Issue#8!

Cirsova

All subscriber copies have been sent to fulfillment.*

Paperback copies of Cirsova #8 are available now through Amazon.

Hardcover copies of Cirsova # 8 are available now through Lulu.

Kindle copies will be available June 1st.

Issue 8 Cover w Clock ad v2 Front Cover ONly updated

*:If we had your address. If you haven’t sent us your address, we haven’t sent you your magazines!

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The City & The City

China Mieville’s 2009 novel The City & The City is a true masterpiece. It won a lot of awards, which I realize will turn some people against it, but even a blind hog finds a truffle now and then.

Now, I did find out that the BBC made a four episode mini-series of the book, which I have not seen.  From the episode guide it seems they took some liberties with the storyline, because they do that, but the clips I’ve seen look good, so if I can find a way to watch it I’ll check it out.

But I’m talking about the book here. Let me start with the most important part, the story. This is a Police Procedural Mystery. The main character is Inspector Tyador Borlú, of the Extreme Crime Squad in the city of Besźel, somewhere in Eastern Europe. The exact location is never specified, but from hints dropped it seems to be on the Black Sea, probably between Bulgaria and Turkey.

Besźel is a fairly poor city, technologically and economically still trying to recover from the collapse of the Soviet bloc, eager to join the West but not entirely certain how to go about it. This is reflected in Tyador’s working environment, we see him trying to use the internet via old Bell Europa exchanges that can’t handle caller ID and relying more on grunt work and the occasional enhanced interrogation rather than high tech wizardry.

He’s no Sherlock Holmes.  Nor is he some deeply flawed vigilante with a tragic history, or a madcap loose cannon who ignores his superior’s orders, or any of the other traditional police cliches. He’s a working man, with a moderately difficult job that he does moderately well. It is his very ordinariness that draws in the reader. Tyador is a relatable, believable character.

We see him working a job that starts going sideways almost from the beginning, an unknown woman killed and her body dumped in a park. As Tyador works the case, Mieville works the genre trope of The Case That Is More Than It Seems flawlessly, throwing one clue after another in Tyador’s path, gradually building a picture of a shadowy conspiracy reaching far above the level of a working detective.

It is a fine, solid piece of work, and if that were all that was going on this would simply a very good mystery.

But that’s not all that’s going on.  See, Besźel has a rather unusual geographical situation. It occupies the same space as another city, Ul Qoma. Ul Qoma has a different language, customs, economic status (it has a somewhat better grasp of capitalism than Besźel).  The cities are not entirely different, they have both been shaped by the history of the region they inhabit, but they are distinct cities.

Distinct cities that just happen to share the same real estate. Literally. This is not a matter of alternate dimensions or some kind of space warp, the two cities are in the same place. The separation between them is not physical, it is epistemological. The natives of one city have learned to ignore (to “unsee”) the other city. Cars and pedestrians from Besźel avoid their opposite numbers in Ul Qoma without consciously being aware that they exist.

There are signifiers–styles of clothing, architecture, the way that people move, even certain color shades–that let the inhabitants of the two cities know at a glance if someone or something exists in their city or the other.

It is an unusual conceit for a story, and Mieville makes it work beautifully, giving the reader the facts of the situation painlessly and gradually letting the implications sink in. And the strange relationship between the two cities becomes an integral part of the case Tyador is working to solve.

Really, I can’t recommend this novel enough. The link I have above leads to the Audible edition, read wonderfully by John Lee, but if you’re the sort of person who prefers to read with your eyes, the Amazon link is here. 

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Cirsova: The time to jump on the bandwagon is now.

I know a lot of good independent writers. I know a number of good independent artists, and few really top notch independent editors. I even know several good independent voice actors for recording audiobooks.

All of which is great, because it means that new, original fiction is being created and brought to market on a regular basis.

Today, though, I want to give a shout out to an independent publisher who you need to watch. Publishing, as near as I can determine, is kind of like juggling snakes while killer cyborgs throw dry ice snowballs at you. While balancing on 2×4 over a wood chipper. I mean, it’s hard. I’ve tried it, and it is not for the weak.

Cirsova is good at it. And I’m not just saying that because he’s published two of my stories and has another one that he’s bringing out in the Winter issue of Cirsova Magazine. Or because he pays authors and artists top dollar, and in a timely manner. Or because he has a unique visual style that has created an instantly recognizable brand from the magazine’s first issue.

Cirsova is consistent. That’s about the rarest trait you’ll find in creative people. It has now been just over two years that Cirsova Magazine has been published and every single issue has come out as scheduled, with a consistent level of quality genre fiction. Issue #8 is currently available for pre-order.

And Cirsova is expanding into book publishing, having just announced the upcoming release of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars III. I don’t know this particular franchise, myself, but I know Cirsova, and I’m sure it’s going to be a quality product, because that’s what Cirsova does.

This is a publishing company that is going places. Right now the advertising space is dirt cheap in Cirsova Magazine, but as the audience increases (and it is) the price is sure to go up.  But consider–the ad that you buy today isn’t like an old style traditional magazine where the issue is out for a month and disappears–it won’t ever go out of print. And as new readers discover the magazine what are they going to do? Buy the back issues. With your ads that you bought cheap.

Such a deal.

But even if you don’t have a product to sell you owe to yourself to check out the magazine because it showcases some of the freshest, most interesting short genre fiction available today. A publisher who treats his authors well is going to get the best talent. He’s in a position to pick from the brightest stars of the indie publishing scene, and it’s just going to get better.

Trust me on this.

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Projects Update! Wild Stars III and Cirsova #8 & #9

Big things coming from Cirsova!

Cirsova

First, we’re gearing up for Wild Stars III: Time Warmaggedon.

This is a high-octane space and time-travel in the vein of Gardner F. Fox, Albert DePina, and Raymond F. Jones. Written by Michael Tierney, whose 4-volume history of the Art of Edgar Rice Burroughs is coming out this summer, and edited by Brian Niemeier (The Soul Cycle) and yours truly, I can assure you this is gonna be one heck of a ride.

What does Brian think about this project?

Wild Stars III is just what fans of fun, heroic action stories have been starving for. How do I know? Easy. I’m the book’s editor.

Michael Tierney has been a joy to work with. He is a true pro whose style and outlook remind me of the old pulp masters. His latest book is a whirlwind space adventure that will become the gold standard for putting fun first.

Wild…

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Infinity Wars: Earth’s Mightiest Baking Show

Okay, this will be a critique of the film Avengers: Infinity Wars.  There will be spoilers. If you have not seen the film and intend to, read no further.

Spoilers beyond this point.  Continue reading

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