Read Storyhack!

Storyhack Action & Adventure Issue #0 has been out for about a week. If you haven’tStoryhack0 read it yet, stop what you are doing and pick it up. My story, A Tiger in the Garden, is the cover story. It’s an action-packed Musket & Magic story taking place in a far off fantasy jungle colony. The other stories are equally great, detective werewolves, ex-military vigilantes, and a Sword and Sorcery story about a reanimated Goliath.

Pick up Issue #0 for free here in whatever digital format you prefer. If you enjoy the stories, please take the time to write a review on Amazon and on Goodreads. Reviews are critical, especially for independent publications and new writers.

Most importantly, please support the Kickstarter. The idea behind it is that Issue #0 is a proof of concept, illustrating the direction and potential for an ongoing magazine. So if you want more awesome action and adventure throw a few bucks towards the Kickstarter and support the Pulp Revolution.

Joining the Pulp Revolution with Storyhack Action & Adventure Issue 0!

It’s finally official, my Musket and Magic story A Tiger in the Garden will be in issue 0 of Storyhack Action & Adventure!

I am beyond humbled and happy that I get to debut my first story in such a fantastic way. Bryce Beattie exemplifies the Pulp Independent Aesthetic. He said fuck it, I’m starting a magazine that features the kind of stories I love, and actually went ahead and did it.fuckyeah

The Pulp Revolution is growing, becoming an unstoppable force. Every week a new anthology, magazine, or independent work gets published, while social media is chock full of fascinating genre discussion. For the first time in forever, I’m energized and motivated to read and write, trying my best to keep up with each requested submission. It is a great time for SFF!

I’m excited to be a small part of this movement, and I hope my contribution is up to par. It’s honestly humbling debuting my first piece next to great writers like Jon Mollison and the others that will make up Storyhack 0.

Stay tuned, once more information about this issue comes out I will let everyone know. Now on to finishing my pieces for all the other submissions I intend to make.

 

 

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

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!

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

The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard

I am in this old school D&D, Sword and Sorcery, adventure, and horror kind of mood. So far this collection is fantastic, some stories even eclipse his Conan pieces. 
Check out this book on Goodreads: The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8151962-the-horror-stories-of-robert-e-howard

The Biggest Sin of Story

I reread my post  on Asimov’s and realized that in my guns blazing critique I left out my main problem with the magazine. The stories, for the most part, are well written, and beyond my amateur writing to technically critique. But, and this is a massive bconanut. They are boring. The worst thing a story can do is bore me and I had to force myself to finish most of them.

I became a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy a bit different than a lot of people. Narnia and Lord of the Rings were not my opening introduction. For me, the gatekeeper of strange new worlds was Conan the Barbarian and Dungeons & Dragons. I devoured SFF in the form of 90s pulp television like Hercules, Xena, and the animated Conan show. I loved going back to the gritty SFF of the 80s; Conan, Heavy Metal, Robocop, Total Recall, Alien, Predator, and other great pieces of fiction.

Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are reminiscent of the opening to Stranger Things. My brother and our friends spending countless hours lost exploring damp dungeons and putting vile creatures to the sword. Fantasy was dark, mysterious, yet romantic and heroic. Worlds filled with dark dungeons, treacherous mountains, exotic jungles, and grotesque alien beasts.

The Fantasy and Science Fiction we loved was far from the boring slice of life tripe I come across nowadays. None of our favorite tales involved some boring putz pining about the woman that left him before coming to a forgettable unresolved end. It was fun, action-packed, and filled with adventure.

The type of stuff I enjoy is still easily found everywhere. From recent movies, tv, videogames, and anime. People love it, evidenced by the millions who attend Comic Cons and the huge fandom for 80s style action adventure. Where it’s conspicuously missing is where it should be found front and center. Mainstream SFF magazines.

If you are looking for adventure, heroism, mystery, and wonder, the last place you will find it is between the pages of today’s major SFF magazines. Instead, you will find dull, depressing, pointless character pieces that lack agency, action, and plot. It would be fitting if Asimov’s changed its name to Ambien’s because from cover to credit the whole thing is soporific.

But there is Hope. Good, action packed, adventurous SFF is out there and a revolution is brewing. Indy magazines like Cirsova are pushing for a pulp revival. Bloggers all over the place are commenting on the topic like Misha Burnetts post The Five Pillars of Pulp Revival.

Science Fiction and Fantasy stories need to move past the post-modern literary quicksand it has become mired in. We need to expel the failed Creative Writing MFA carpet baggers and their slice of life, preachy, dull, writing. It’s time to bring back adventure, action, and romance to the genre it most belongs in.

 

Winter Issue of Cirsova is Out Now! — Cirsova

 

Cirsova is hands down my favorite indy Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine. The last issue was fantastic. Old school Sword and Sorcery, pirates, Sword and Planet, wizards, witches, monsters, and everything that got me into Fantasy minus all the pretentious creative writing lit fic bullshit that poisons SFF. Buy it!

Stickied Post The Winter Issue of Cirsova is available now! Softcover Softcover and Kindle editions on Amazon Hardcover editions on Lulu (Use Promocode NIGEL35 for big savings!!!) Various digital editions on Smashwords

via Winter Issue of Cirsova is Out Now! — Cirsova