Cirsova #5 More Than Just a Magazine

Cirsova #5 finally came out this weekend and I devoured this fantastic issue. If you follow me at all you have no doubt read about my enthusiastic discovery of Cirsova which led to me taking up the banner of the Pulp Revolution and rekindling my faltering love for Fantasy. I enjoyed issue #3 of Cirsova so much I bought the back issues and Kickstarted  #5 and #6. Cirsova

Cirsova isn’t just another SFF magazine. It’s a herald of a movement that will change Science Fiction and Fantasy, a romantic revolution that will bring back the magic, wonder, and adventure drained by the cancerous ghouls of litfic-fantasy.

Cirsova is part magazine, part mission statement. It’s an artistic collaboration akin to a digital Montparnasse in the 1920s, where the outcast artists and writers built and borrowed from each other, constantly innovating without a care for the giants of the industry.

The format of Issue #5 collaborates my thesis by being a themed issue. Almost every story is centered on the shared Misha Burnett created Eldritch Earth setting, with a goal of “telling Burroughsian stories in a Lovecraftian setting.”

All six of the collaborations succeed, giving a glimpse of a unique alien world and it’s inhabitants. Misha Burnette’s piece, In the Gloaming O My Darling, is one of the standouts. A grotesquely chilling piece that mixed Lovecraftian pulp horror with a modern grimdark style that really worked for me.

The highlight of the issue and a story I think illustrates the absolute badassery and potential of the Pulp Revolution writers, is Schuyler Hernstrom’s* novella, The Fist American. A piece of dark science-fantasy filled with savage barbarians, time-traveling astronauts, lizardmen, genetic mutations, flying saucers, and dinosaur riding. Schuyler crammed so much fucking awesome into one story that it should require a trigger warning for readers who haven’t been awakened to the Pulp Revolution, their poor litfic-fantasy weakened minds might shatter from exposure to so much action and excitement.

But of course not everything is perfect, and I think the magazine still has a lot of room for growth and improvement. For example, compared to past issues I don’t really dig the cover art. It doesn’t really capture the theme and mood of the pieces within. I much prefer the art found in past issues, which was a unique painterly fantasy style that stood out from the other hyperrealistic covered magazines. I also thought that the issues would have been tighter if it didn’t include the non-themed pieces, for example, The Bears of 1812, was a good historical-fantasy, but it felt out of place compared to everything else.

What Cirsova lacks in polish it makes up for with clear editorial purpose and passion. Reading these stories you can’t help but notice that the authors have an undisputed love for adventurous and heroic fantasy. It’s clear Cirsova isn’t one of those award chasing magazines filled with pseudo-lit stories that hit every current trendy sociopolitical theme yet fail to tell anything that resembles a compelling story. No, Cirsova is rough and raw, but unceasingly real.

Pick up issue #5, join the revolution, you won’t be disappointed.

*Schuyler Hernstrom has a great short story collection called Thune’s Vision.

Writing Update: March 2017

I just finished the first draft of my latest story, An Eye for Eligos. A dark musket and magic tale set during the American Revolution, where I attempted to channel the darker aspects of Howard’s writing. Violence, black magic, sinister monstrosities, all of the pulpy stuff I enjoy.

I did a quick editing pass, then read it to my wife. She usually mercilessly tears my stuff apart so her input is priceless. She liked it but pointed out that it was darker, a whole lot darker,  than my usual stuff.

Tomorrow I’m going to run a few more in-depth passes, let it sit, then send it to WotF. The contest right now is a bit of a placeholder, I don’t particularly feel that this piece will place, mostly due to its horror vibe and the higher level of violence. But that’s ok because I wrote it for my planned story collection that will have a dark sorcerous pulp theme.

I also intended to knock out something for the Baen contest but I don’t think I will make the deadline. I might dig through my digital closet and pull out some old story, spiff it up real quick, and hope it magically impresses.

This weekend I will begin on something for the 21st Action Pulp anthology I posted earlier. Something about Mexico, tequila, cartels, Santa Muerte, and mustaches.  When that’s done I’m planning on moving on to space babes, sentient techno-bears, and space mutants, something I believe will be sent to Cirsova if it opens up.

In between all of this I will try to squeeze in some blog posts. I devoured a bunch of Leiber, read Vance’s Lyonesse, and have Cirsova 5 loaded on my Kindle. Posts need to be written and discussions need to be started

An anthology I will be submitting to.

We are looking for 21st Century Pulp Revival stories. Who’s we? Well, there’s me, Rawle Nyanzi, Kevyn Winkless, and Sky Hernstrom. There is also a good chance that, once complete, the anthology will be published by Superversive Press. Right now payment details haven’t been worked out, but I’ll be honest, this collection is not likely […]

via 21st Century Wonder Stories: Call For Submissions — mishaburnett

Retrowave Writing Listening

The retro synthwave scene makes for great writing music. Everything might end up a bit cyberpunk, but yeah. Hours of this keeps me writing fast and furious, like a replicant on a murder rampage.

A Good Day

toryshighball.jpgI woke up this morning, checked my phone, and was greeted with a fresh rejection email. Not a big deal, rejections are part of the game. But this one was cool, it was a detailed, personal one. Something about getting a more in-depth reply makes the experience a bit more pleasant and motivates me to continue messing around with the submission game.

But the highlight of my day came while I was at work. My favorite story got accepted. Not only that, but it got accepted exactly where I wanted it to go. The market I sent it to matches the style of my writing and the story is a perfect fit. I look forward to sharing more details when everything is finalized.

Cheers!

Pathetic Lawnscaping Project

It seems that talking about lawns, yards, and grass is a popular topic discussed by writers on the blogosphere. Being a self-described writer I figured I should get in on the lawnscaping discussion, or else not be taken seriously.

I grew up in apartments and condominiums so I never had a backyard. Never had a lawn to mow or any of that cool suburban stuff. As a matter of fact, I have never lived in a house in the United States.

My current residence is my first ever house. Of course being a Japanese house it’s a bit different than you typical American domicile. But I finally have a yard. Well, sort of, I have a strip of weed infested dirt that I have no idea what to do with.

yard1.jpg

My majestic yard, envy me.

 

Today I decided to actually get proactive on the whole yard maintenance thing. Mostly because I was embarrassed by the jungle of weeds covering the whole thing. In some places, it was several feet tall and unknown species of mammals lived underneath the lush canopy. I’m pretty sure the neighbors loved it. (I messed up and didn’t think about taking pictures before I murdered the weeds)

So after a bit of weed whacking, dirt scraping, and raking, the dirt strip looks presentable. I need to do some reading and figure out if I can spray some weed killer to get rid of the rest of them. But, my main goal is to make this area a presentable spot to read and relax. I need to do some self-teaching on the whole thing but my goal is to maybe drop some rocks on the ground, put up a nice outdoor table, and two chairs.

Then I can sit, drink tea, and be completely paranoid about poisonous centipedes crawling up my legs.

Writing Goals

The last couple of weeks I have been writing on and off, working my way through some short stories. I have two pieces out for submission right now that I am excited about and hope to get back this week. Most importantly my writing and my outlook on short fiction are revitalized. I am 100% into the pulp revolution and digging deep into old Fantasy fiction. The community inspired by Jeffro’s Appendix N, the discussions, the debates, and the reading recommendations, is hands down some of the best writing inspiration I have ever come across. I’m excited to take all this inspiration and put it down on paper, bringing my own ideas and concepts to the table.

Mura

My spirit animal. 

 

Right now I’m aiming for some fast and heavy writing. My short term goal is to submit to Writers of the Future and The Baen Fantasy Adventure Award. Both contests have an April 1st deadline. That means I need to sit down and knock out up to 25,000 words in the next two weeks. An achievable goal, but one that will be tough with my work schedule.

My mid-term goal, one that I want to accomplish by the end of the year is the indy release of a short story collection. I want to put out a 40,000 to 60,000-word collection, of my pulpiest fantasy stories. I want to do it indy and punk rock garage band style. I’m already putting together some outlines, picking my favorite topics, and coming up with some crazy crap. The pulp rev guys have inspired me, especially reading Hernstrom’s Thune’s Vison. A badass, indy published collection of fantastic stories.

I plan on having a productive spring and summer.

 

Support Indy Short Fiction

Eric over here just dropped the second short story in his Exiled Crown series. Good, independent, fiction, of the dark variety.

If you’re looking for a short Grimdark read on your lunch break, commute to work, or even if the grim darkness helps you sleep at night, Storm Witch is out today. It’s the second tale in my ongoing series The Exiled Crown. It can be read independently from Forsaken, but some of the elements from […]

via Storm Witch – Out Today — The Grimdark Review

My Favorite Fantasy Writer

robin-2Because it was Woman’s Day back home and everybody is posting their favorite books written by women, I felt like I should jump in and do the same. So here we go, Robin Hobb. She isn’t my favorite woman writer of fantasy, she’s actually my FAVORITE living writer of fantasy. I consider The Farseer Trilogy and the series that followed the best fantasy written in the past three decades. Nothing comes close in my opinion.

The Farseer books are deep, dark, character-driven works of art. A dark world filled with pain and suffering but populated with characters that are good and against all odds pull through and embrace heroism. The second book in the series has, in my opinion, the greatest fantasy scene featuring a strong heroine; Queen Kettricken rallying the soldiers and reminding them that the Forged were once their family.

Oh yeah, and Nighteyes, the best human and wolf relationship in Fantasy.