Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Sale

We're currently discounting Mysterion by 20% for the paperback, for $13.59, and 40% for the ebook, now $5.99, from now through Christmas. If you haven't yet gotten your own copy, now's a good time. Or buy copies as Christmas presents!

See our Buy page for more information.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mysterion Goodreads Giveaway

We are currently giving away 10 copies of the Mysterion paperback on Goodreads. Click the link below to enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mysterion by Donald S. Crankshaw

Mysterion

by Donald S. Crankshaw

Giveaway ends November 25, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, November 7, 2016

World Fantasy Report

We spent the last weekend in October at the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Here's what happened.

Thursday

We had to get up around 5 am so we could fly from Boston to Columbus. Donald tried to nap on the plane but didn't really manage. We made it to the hotel around noon. Just in time for lunch at the hotel restaurant, Market Stand Cafe. Kristin got the Banh Mi sandwich with a side of fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon), and Donald got the French Dip sandwich with fries. We're trying to avoid eating french fries at conventions, for health reasons, but Donald doesn't like melon and they didn't have the option of substituting a salad. Kristin's sandwich was decent, once she pulled out the well-past-their-prime cilantro sprigs, but the fruit looked as if it had been cut up the day before. Kristin decided that we wouldn't eat here again, because of the mediocre food and the paucity of healthy alternative side dishes. 

Then we delivered copies of our book to Chris Edwards of Tigereyes Press, who had offered to sell them at his table in the dealers' room. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel room, where Kristin did some writing and Donald took a nap.

After attending a reading by our friend, Rajan Khanna, who read from an original, unpublished story, we came back to the room, where Kristin and Donald both wrote (Donald inserting jokes into the story he and Kristin co-wrote, Kristin working on her novel).

Then we went out to eat at Marcella's, an Italian restaurant. We got antipasti small plates of Brussels sprouts, calamari, and funghi (mushrooms), plus crispy potato and pesto shrimp pizzas. The pizzas were flatbread style, and really good, but the antipasti were just okay. The Brussels sprouts hadn't been cooked long enough and were still too hard. Unfortunately, many people are still overcompensating for all those years when Brussels sprouts had to be boiled into submission before they were considered ready to eat.

After dinner, we returned to the room to write and work on this blog post.  Finally, we went to the hotel bar, to meet with friends and make new ones. (If you go to a science fiction or fantasy convention just to attend panels and lectures, going to bed early every night, you're missing out. The only way to get to know people is to hang out at the bar or at various parties thrown by groups attending the convention.) Donald introduced himself to one of the panelists for the panel he would be moderating on Sunday. Kristin tried to order a Negroni at the bar, but they didn't have Campari, so she had to drink bourbon instead.

And no, this post won't just be reporting on the restaurants where we ate, the writing we did, and Donald's attempts to nap. Probably. Hopefully, we'll be able to catch some panels and/or parties tomorrow.


Friday

We slept in on Friday, and then went to Bareburger for lunch. It's one of those upscale local artisanal burger places, serving meats like elk and bison in addition to mundane beef and turkey (veggie options, too). Kristin had the Grindhouse burger, Donald had the El Matador burger, and we shared an order of the crispy Brussels sprouts with Manchego cheese, which were amazing! Donald also had onion rings. Kristin gave him a hard time about it (although she did have to admit that they weren't fries), but then went and got a Mexican chocolate milkshake. Following Kristin's bad example, Donald had a root beer float for dessert.

We wandered around the dealer's room for a while, looking at all the books (and jewelry!) for sale. Donald was able to talk to two more of the folks who were supposed to be on his Sunday panel. It turned out that one of them really didn't want to be on the panel, and asked Kristin to take their place (they did clear it with con programming, once Kristin said she was willing). So now Kristin not only had to be up for a 10 am panel on Sunday, she also had to be awake and prepared to entertain an audience.

Next, we went to a panel that our friend Frederic Durbin was on, called "Our Favorite Monsters and Why We Love Them." Fred brought up some good points about how differently night time was viewed by pre-Industrial civilization, encouraging anyone who writes about civilizations that don't have artificial lighting at night to read the book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past. Overall, we did feel that the panelists may have tried too hard to humanize all monsters, without allowing for the fact that some monsters just want to eat you.

Next on our agenda was a reading by our friend Matt Kressel, followed by the Clarion West party. Kristin attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in 2008, and the annual party at World Fantasy is an opportunity for alumni and instructors from different years to connect with each other.

Later that afternoon, Donald did some writing (Kristin was still at the party), before we headed to dinner at Lemongrass. This was one of those pan-Asian places that serves both Thai food and sushi. It was pretty decent, even though Kristin can sometimes be a bit snobby about places like that. They didn't overcook the shrimp, which is always nice.

Friday evening was the open signing--everyone at the con could grab a spot in the ballroom and sign books, and hey, we were at a con and had books we could sign for folks. Unfortunately, no one really wanted our signatures . . .

After the signing, we went to a party promoting the 2018 World Fantasy Convention, which will be in Baltimore (2017 is going to be in San Antonio). There was another party across the hall to celebrate the release of The Starlit Wood, an anthology of cross-genre fairy tale retellings, but that one was really crowded, so we didn't even try to get in (although Kristin had wanted to stop by, since one of the editors is a fellow Canadian, and Max Gladstone from her writers' group has a story in the anthology). It turned out that the 2018 in Baltimore party had better drinks anyway, including a good selection of microbrewed beers and some single malt Scotch. We saw Fred again at the party, and Raj and Matt along with our friend Mercurio D. Rivera (who's in the same writers' group as Raj and Matt), and John O'Neill of Black Gate, and a number of other people we knew.

Saturday

On Saturday, we went to two panels: "Sword and Sorcery Today: Still Slashing Away", and "New Findings in History and Archaeology: How Do These Inform Fiction?"  These were both very strong panels.

Scott Andrews, the editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies and a friend of ours, was on the first, and he defined sword and sorcery as more the blue collar version of fantasy, where the characters are mercenaries working for beer money, while epic fantasy is more about the fates of kingdoms or even the whole world. But aside from the stakes, sword and sorcery often has a different feel--it's more about loners and individuals than about factions and nations. Mercedes Lackey, one of the Guests of Honor at this year's convention, was also on the panel.

The second panel featured Eric Flint, David Drake, S. M. Stirling, Rhiannon Held, and Rosemary Smith (Drake and Stirling were on the earlier panel, too). They reminded us to: 1) at least do a minimum of research, and 2) remember that the state of historical knowledge is constantly changing, so what people now believe about the past may change in twenty years, and no one expects fiction writers to be at the cutting edge of archaeological research. They also pointed out that too much historical accuracy can throw readers out of the story too, if you include a correct detail that most readers don't know (the fact that ancient Roman shields were made out of plywood, for instance). 

Then we went to Frederic Durbin's reading, from a weird western in the upcoming anthology Discovery. It was quite good, with a really strong and distinctive voice, and we look forward to reading the rest of the story.

At some point, Kristin went back to the dealers' room to buy several books and a pair of earrings. We also looked at the work on display in the Art Show.

We had dinner at Wolf's Ridge Brewery, which was excellent but had very small portions. Good if you're not too hungry. (Earlier that day, we both had brunch at Double Comfort, but not at the same time. Kristin often gets up earlier than Donald, and is hungry while he's still sleeping. Kristin had the chicken n' waffle, while Donald sampled the chicken fried pork cutlet (also on a waffle). This was also a good restaurant and much cheaper than Wolf's Ridge, with more substantial serving sizes; probably not as healthy though, with all that Southern fried food.)

After dinner, we attended the Art Show reception and then went to the Baltimore in 2018 party again, since we'd had such a good time the previous night. Donald didn't stay too late because of our panel first thing in the morning the next day. Kristin thinks she stayed later, but we're working on this post a week after the fact and can no longer remember whether that's true.

Sunday

We got up in time to attend our panel, "How to Make a Small Fortune in Specialty Publishing (Starting with a Large Fortune)". Aside from Donald and Kristin, we also had Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books and Tod McCoy of Hydra House. Unfortunately, Yanni Kuznia and Robert Sawyer couldn't join us. It was a good panel, less because of Donald's moderating (though we will note that, unlike many panels, he kept this one on topic), than because of the range of perspectives represented.

That was pretty much it for the con. There was a banquet on Sunday afternoon, followed by the World Fantasy Awards ceremony, but we didn't go. We've often gone in previous years, but the banquet food is always mediocre and overpriced, and neither of us really enjoys award ceremonies (we don't even watch the Oscars).

We had Mexican food at Nada for lunch (pork belly tacos for Donald and carne asada tacos for Kristin), and dinner at The Eagle (another Southern place specializing in fried chicken--Kristin had a quarter chicken with dark meat, Donald had the blackened shrimp po boy, and we shared orders of spoonbread and stewed collard greens with ham hocks and bacon). Both of these places were quite good, and reasonably priced. For breakfast, Kristin ate at the hotel restaurant again. It was pretty average. They did have a really good herbed chicken sausage, which seemed to have been made in-house.


We don't usually include photos from restaurant men's rooms, but this display from Nada is worth a closer look.

We did spend some time before dinner hanging out at the bar, but avoided stopping by the post-con party people were talking about, since we had to get up at 3:30 am on Monday for the flight home.

That's about it. We had a great time connecting with everyone, and hopefully were able to get the word out about Mysterion to more people who didn't yet know about it.

Our next convention will be Arisia here in Boston, in January. If you're planning to attend (and who doesn't want to visit Boston in January?), let us know!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Reviews of Mysterion

We've started to see the first few reviews of Mysterion come in.  First is Gillian Daniels at Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, who especially liked "When I Was Dead" by Stephen Case:
“When I Was Dead” left me thoughtful, not least of all because its title implies the narrator’s state of death is transitory. If this is only a moment in eternity, where he passes from one state to another, what comes next and how will he get there? Case offers no easy answers but provokes conversation.
Kevin Lucia at Cemetery Dance Online says:
Now comes Mysterion, and in my opinion, it’s an absolute success. One of the things which drew me to this collection in particular is that it’s a collection of “speculative fiction.” Like the Whispers magazine edited by Stuart David Schiff and its “Best of” collections, there’s no “theme” past speculative stories grappling with elements of faith. Stories in Mysterion range from fantasy, to mythic horror, horror, urban fantasy, historical speculative fiction, science fiction to dystopian fiction. All of them well-told and well-written, grappling with different elements of the Christian faith, but not proselytizing or preaching.
And finally, there's Jessica Snell's review:
But did it work for me? The answer is…mostly. It was more heterodox than I would have liked, and there was at least one story I regret reading because of the extreme ugliness of its images. But I also found, in this anthology's pages, Christian science fiction that actually felt like legitimate science fiction—there were worlds in this book that were as fascinating and enthralling as the worlds I’ve found in books edited by the best secular presses. I loved that.
There are also several in-depth reviews at Goodreads.

If you've written a review, let us know! As you can see above, we appreciate thoughtful criticism as well as praise. And if you'd like to write a review, we'd love to see more of them, especially on our Amazon page, or at the other online stores.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Excerpt from "Horologium" by Sarah Ellen Rogers

Our final excerpt is from Sarah Ellen Rogers's story "Horologium".

Martha did not come today. Instead ’twas a maiden much resembling her but fairer, lissomer, with a waist drawn in like a wasp’s, and more of a sharpness about the eyes.
“I am Malkin,” said she, bowing her golden head, and lifted her basket through the window in the wall of my cell. “Martha’s sister.”
I crossed myself before the altar and rose from my knees. “Is Martha sick-a-bed?”
Malkin’s eyes lowered and roamed back and forth, then nodded she her head. “Her child twists and pains her belly.”
“I will pray for her,” said I, taking the basket. Inside were two loaves of barley bread and a rind of blue-marled cheese, and a bottle of wine stopped up with wax.
Malkin fell silent for a little while. Then she sucked the air through her teeth and said, all at once, “D’ye ever see our Lord Jesu when you pray? I have heard that holy anchoresses sometimes have visions. D’ye ever see him?”
I smiled. It is the best reproof. My mother taught me that.
Malkin cast down her eyes again. “I would know what he looks like.”
“Look for him when you look on the faces of your fellow Christians,” said I, “and there you will find him, for we are all members of the body of Christ; that is, the Church.”

She nodded, and departed without looking on me again. Only when I turned back from pulling the lattice to did I see that she had forgotten to take the basket with her. Perchance ’twas sin, but I did not call her to retrieve it.

Sarah Ellen Rogers grew up in a small town in northeastern North Carolina. She studied English at Duke University, where she first encountered the medieval literature that inspired "Horologium". Inspired in part by the writings of the anchoress Julian of Norwich, "Horologium" is set around and after the first outbreak of the Black Death, a time of great social, economic, and technological change. Other influences include the Ancrene Wisse, Augustine’s Confessions, Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale, and Middle English lyrics. In her spare time, Sarah writes both speculative fiction and creative nonfiction. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her cat, Dante.

We hope you've enjoyed sampling the stories we selected for Mysterion! If you'd like to read more, you can buy the anthology in paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace; and as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. And if you've already read it, reviews, especially at Amazon and Goodreads, are always welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Excerpt from "Cracked Reflections" by Joanna Michal Hoyt

Our excerpt this week is from "Cracked Reflections" by Joanna Michal Hoyt.

Kass is fifteen, finally done with school and able to wait tables full-time at Herr Schramm’s diner. She’s glad to be earning her share, and she doesn’t miss school. After the war started in Europe, stories about German atrocities appeared in the newspapers, and then sometimes in civics class, and then in the taunts of the students who speak English at home. “Lies,” Kass’s father said. “Germans don’t behave like that.” “Who knows?” Pastor Baum said. “When men are trained to kill, who can know that they will not behave like that? Likely the English soldiers are no better.” “Don’t argue at school,” her father told her. She didn’t. She’s good at not saying things. She’s mostly learned to hide her nightmares and her daytime fears so her father won’t know she’s crazy like her grandmother. He guesses, he worries, but he doesn’t know. She hopes no one else guesses.

Joanna Michal Hoyt, a Quaker, lives and works with her family on a Catholic Worker farm in upstate NY. She’s learning to deal constructively with her irrational anxieties, and she wonders what could heal the irrational fear of immigrants and “others” which afflicts so many of her fellow citizens. Writing “Cracked Reflections” allowed her to explore these issues, and the role of religion, in a different context. Robert Murray’s Red Scare and Ann Bausum’s Unraveling Freedom provided historical background.

Mysterion is available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as an ebook from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Kobo.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Excerpt from "The Physics of Faith" by Mike Barretta

In our latest excerpt, from Mike Barretta's dystopian near-future tale "The Physics of Faith", Dave and Jesús are looking for corpses to cart away from an abandoned church turned drug den.

Dave stepped over an emaciated gray skeleton. The man’s eyes fluttered. His brain was deep in a supercharged dream state, consuming every available bodily nutrient at many times the natural metabolic rate. His eyes opened into mean slits and he hissed and went back to his dream, pulling a collection of rags and soggy E-print with him as he rolled over. The E-print flashed faded old news and went dead.
Jesús stopped and looked down at a girl. Her clothes were sodden rags, her mouth twisted into a skull grin. Her breath was ragged. “Didja ever?
“Ever what?”
“Want to try. I mean, really look at them. What do they see? What do they know?”
“They don’t know shit.” Dave looked around the church in disgust. “These people walked in here and surrendered.”
“These people got faith. Faith in the dream. No different than the ones that used to be here. I mean look, they even hold hands. I heard it makes the dreams better. Maybe they know something you don’t. It has got to be some good dreaming. Just wondering, that’s all.”
“Well, stop wondering.”
“I hear they live a whole life . . . a beautiful life in their heads and then when they are done . . . they are done.”


Mike Barretta is a retired U.S. Naval Aviator who currently works for a defense contractor as a pilot. He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Planning and International Negotiation from the Naval Post-Graduate School and a Master’s in English from the University of West Florida. His wife, Mary, to whom he has been married for 26 years, is living proof that he is not such a bad guy once you get to know him. His stories have appeared in Baen’s Universe, Redstone, New Scientist, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and various anthologies.

Mysterion is available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Excerpt from "Ascension" by Laurel Amberdine

This week's excerpt is from Laurel Amberdine's story "Ascension".  Marina is visiting Jerusalem with a Catholic tour group because of a promise she made to her dying grandmother, and having the worst time of her life.  She's just abandoned the tour for the day and is setting out on her own in search of a fun adventure.

Marina pulled out the hotel’s tourist map, but after a few turns she lost track. The cab kept lurching into motion and stopping hard, the sun glared harsh through the glass, and everyone kept honking. She closed her eyes and leaned against the window, thinking back to what she’d promised Grandma. This excursion was probably breaking both the word and the spirit of that promise. Not that Grandma was around to care anymore. For all Grandma’s rosaries and masses, Marina didn’t feel the slightest hope that any of it mattered. Marina didn’t have anything against religion. It seemed nice. She liked the art. But Grandma wasn’t anything but dead and gone.

Even if grandma was, improbably, somewhere else, it didn’t help Marina any. She was still alone with no one to count on, just her drunk, flakey mom, pushy step-dad, and lying cheat of a real father.

By the time the cab lurched to its final stop, Marina was curled up on the back seat, sobbing.

“Hey girl, stop that.”

Marina sat up and scrubbed her face. “Sorry, how much?” She fumbled at the unfamiliar bills in her purse.

The driver’s scowl deepened, which hadn’t seemed possible. “How can you Americans be so stupid? Did you see me touch this meter? No, I didn’t. It’s off. I could charge you anything. Then you spend the whole ride crying in my car. How do you think that makes me feel? My day is ruined. Get out.” He gestured at the window. “There are your buses.” One of the bus drivers misunderstood and gestured rudely back.
Marina tried to hand a few bills to the driver, but he told her to get out again. Possibly this was his attempt to be nice? She would never understand this place.

Laurel Amberdine works for Locus Magazine and helps out with Lightspeed Magazine. Raised without any particular religion, she converted to Catholicism at age 21. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and one big dumb cat, where she enjoys visiting the ocean, taking naps, and trying to teach herself quantum mechanics. Such study prompted her to wonder about the nature of glorified matter, and inspired her story “Ascension.” Her debut YA fantasy novel Luminator is forthcoming from Reuts Publishing in 2017.

Mysterion can now be purchased as an ebook and paperback at Amazon, and as an ebook at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. The paperback is $16.99, the ebook $9.99.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mysterion is now available!

We're pleased to announce that Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith is now available for purchase. You can buy the anthology as an ebook and paperback at Amazon, and as an ebook at iTunesBarnes & Noble, and Kobo. The paperback is $16.99, the ebook $9.99.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Excerpt from "This Far Gethsemane" by G. Scott Huggins

G. Scott Huggins' "This Far Gethsemane" takes us to another world.

The sun rises.” 
Shoshanna stiffened at the voice behind her. Though she’d heard it as often as Caansu’s, Aiierra’s voice always sounded harsher, more Human. 
“It looks like dusk to me.” Caansu’s warm hum emanated from the outer tympanum on her throat, as if she were still singing. 
Aiierra’s derisive bark made Shoshanna turn. Except for the fact that Aiierra was a bit smaller, and that the saffron traceries on her chest were only as wide across as a small dinner plate, the two Shrii were identical. 
When we made shore, Aiierra had only a greenish spot on her chest, almost invisible. And Caansu’s yellowing was only a tiny, barred spiral. But now . . . 
New branches of yellow had formed since yesterday on both of them. 
Aiierra met her gaze. “The sun rises, child,” she continued, looking at Caansu. “Even the alien sees it. Must she explain it to you?” 
Shoshanna shuddered. She could indeed explain it. Had tried to explain that, and more, to Caansu. She felt sick. The traceries on the bodies of the Shrii spread as the sun rose in the ecliptic toward Midsummer. 
The Time of Rii or Not At All. Matingdeath.

G. Scott Huggins grew up in the American Midwest and has lived there all his life, except for interludes in Germany and Russia. He is responsible for securing America’s future by teaching its past to high school students, many of whom learn things before going to college. He loves to read high fantasy, space opera, and parodies of the same. He wants to be a hybrid of G. K. Chesterton and Terry Pratchett when he counteracts the effects of having grown up. His stories have appeared on Podcastle and will appear in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine later this year. You can read his ramblings and rants at his blog, the Logoccentric Orbit (scotthuggins.wordpress.com), and you can follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/gscotthuggins).

Mysterion comes out this next week, on August 31st. Pre-order your eBook copy now at AmazoniTunes, or Kobo!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Excerpt from "A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows" by Beth Cato

This week's excerpt is from Beth Cato's story "A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows".  Ruth and her Mama are selling Mama's homemade pies at the big June picnic.

“Well, well,” said a man’s voice. I jerked up my head.
Mr. Reginald Yates was as old as Methuselah with a wild, wiry beard and skin as creased and dirty as an old wooden fencepost. Mama warned us to stay away from him ever since he got out of jail back at Christmastime. He lived down in the hollow on the far side of the valley. Mama’s friend Miss Catherine said that was the closest a person could get to hell without moving to Yankee territory.
With sly fingers, Mama whisked the money box behind her back and to me. I hid it behind the stack of boxes.
“I want to buy a pecan pie,” he said.
“I don’t sell pecan pies.” Mama met his steely gaze.
Sensing trouble, one of the lemonade ladies set off at a fast waddle towards where the sheriff’s department had their dunk tank on the park’s far side.
“Why can’t I have my pie?” growled Mr. Yates.
“My Esther is allergic,” said Mama.
“But I’m willing to buy,” he said, then lowered his voice so only me and Mama were close enough to hear. “I’ve had my eye on you since your blue ribbon fair days. I know something’s going on in those pies. I want a cut.”

Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone. Her newest novel is Breath of Earth. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter @BethCato. For “A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows,” Beth says she drew on her southern roots and her family’s deep affection for pie. As a baker, she can’t help but feel that there is something inherently magical about the pie-making process.

Pre-order your eBook copy of Mysterion now at Amazon, iTunes, or Kobo!  The paperback goes on sale at Amazon on August 31st.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Black Gate Giveaway

Our friend John O'Neill at Black Gate is helping us give away digital review copies of Mysterion. If you'd like to get the eBook for free, and are willing to review it, check out his post.

Mysterion launch party at Worldcon

We've announced this elsewhere, but if you're at Worldcon this week, we'll be having a launch party tonight in the party area of the Convention Center Exhibit Hall, starting at 8 pm. Come join us!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Excerpt from "Yuki and the Seven Oni" by S. Q. Eries

This week's excerpt is from "Yuki and the Seven Oni" by S. Q. Eries.  Yuki, suspicious of her new stepmother, is poking through the woman's possessions when she finds something unexpected...

Her breath caught. Resting on a scarlet plush lining was a mirror. One unlike any she’d seen.
An impossibly perfect image of her face reflected back. Yuki’s own mirrors were the best in Japan, of the finest polished bronze, but this was like gazing upon a twin. The oval surface captured every detail with clarity, from the luster of her jade hair ornament to the rosy tint of her lips.
“Magic,” she murmured. It was the only explanation.
A warning clamored inside her head. If Stepmother possessed an enchanted object, who knew what else Yuki might encounter? It was best to withdraw until she obtained a protective charm against evil spells.
Yet Yuki lingered, captivated by her reflection. For once she could truly admire her complexion, fair as the snow for which she was named. Vanity outweighed prudence, and she lifted the mirror from its case. Just a little while
“Mistress, welcome home.”
Yuki jumped at the chorus of greetings coming from the front gate. Stepmother was back. The girl hastened to return the mirror to its case, but it slipped from her grasp and shattered against the trunk lid.
Fear sliced through her. She reached to put the mirror back together, but the shards bit her skin.
Footsteps thudded down the corridor. Yuki’s eyes darted from her bleeding fingers to the broken pieces. She couldn’t hide what she’d done, had neither Father nor talisman to protect her.

Yuki fled out the garden door.

S. Q. Eries lives with her husband of fourteen years in Silicon Valley, where she writes book reviews for The Fandom Post website and young adult fiction. Prior to moving to Northern California, the couple lived in Los Angeles for ten years, and she is forever grateful the Holy Spirit connected them to the community known as Mosaic (mosaic.org), which continues to be their Southern California tribe and source of inspiration. “Yuki and the Seven Oni” is her sixth short story. For more about S. Q. Eries and her writing, drop by her blog: sqeries.wordpress.com.

Mysterion is now available for pre-order.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Excerpt from "St. Roomba's Gospel" by Rachael K. Jones

This week's excerpt is from "St. Roomba's Gospel" by Rachael K. Jones.

In an outlet behind the altar of the First Baptist Church, the Roomba’s red glowing eyes blink in time with Pastor Smythe’s exhortations. The hallelujahs pulse electric through its circuits, and the repents roll like gasping breaths in the gaps between electrons. When the choir sings, the light pulses brighter, approaching ecstasy as the battery power maxes out. When Pastor Smythe bows his head to pray, Roomba’s eyes go reverently dark.
At the hour’s end, the people gather their children and gilded books and hurry downstairs for coffee and glazed donuts. When the last starched trouser leg or long, blue skirt whisks downstairs, Roomba’s service begins. It clicks its frisbee-shaped self free from the horseshoe dock and zips down the sloping wheelchair ramp that connects chancel to nave, holy to secular. As it sweeps, it drones a tone-deaf hymn while it gathers unto itself the dust and dead bugs, the crumbs and gum wrappers of another week’s worship.
After its opening hymn, Roomba writes a sermon on the sanctuary floor in long, brown lines of vacuumed carpet crisscrossing beneath the pews. The letters span from wall to wall. Words overwrite one another, making runes, then spiky stars, and finally total blankness. Roomba preaches a different sermon each week, but like Pastor Smythe, the message stays the same: all things byte AND beautiful, all creatures great AND small, all these are welcome, smoker AND not-smoker, man AND not-man, young AND not-young—even, perhaps, Roomba.

Rachael K. Jones grew up in various cities across Europe and North America, and picked up (and mostly forgot) six languages, along with a couple degrees. Now she writes speculative fiction in Athens, Georgia, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared in dozens of venues, including Shimmer, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Flash Fiction Online, Fireside Magazine, Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, Crossed Genres, Diabolical Plots, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and Daily Science Fiction. She is an editor, a SFWA member, and a secret android. Follow her on Twitter @RachaelKJones.

Mysterion is now available for pre-order from Kindle, iBooks, and Kobo.  The paperback will be available from Amazon.com on August 31, 2016.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Excerpt from "Cutio" by F. R. Michaels

This week's excerpt is from "Cutio" by F. R. Michaels.

Subject: HE'S HERE!!!!!!!!!
From: William.Grimaldi@paumanok.edu
To: ellenfuentes777@freemail.com
Sent: Tuesday March 6, 3:22 pm
Ellie -- he's finally here! He was waiting for me when I got back from lunch with Janice. His face and upper torso are burnt black all over the right side, he's missing an arm, and his guts are all over the place, but HE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Bill Grimaldi, PhD
Professor and Co-Chair, Department of History
Paumanok University
___________________
Subject: Re: HE'S HERE!!!!!!!!!
From: ellenfuentes777@freemail.com
To: William.Grimaldi@paumanok.edu
Sent: Tuesday March 6, 4:08 pm
Bill -- WTF are you squealing about? Who is "he"?
PS -- Are we still on for Friday night?
PPS -- Who, exactly, is Janice? :/
-- Ellie
___________________
Subject: Re: HE'S HERE!!!!!!!!!
From: William.Grimaldi@paumanok.edu
To: ellenfuentes777@freemail.com
Sent: Tuesday March 6, 4:16 pm
His name is "Cutio" -- at least, that's what's carved on his belly from what we can see. And apart from the right arm, it looks like most of his pieces are intact. Some of the innards have dried out and rotted away, but we can replace those. I have copies of Vasco's original sketches. Give me a few days and some duct tape and I swear HE WILL LIVE AGAIN!

Frank Raymond Michaels (F. R. Michaels) is actually a very nice, normal person who happens to like weird and scary stories. He lives on Long Island and writes horror and dark fantasy.

Pre-order your ebook  for Kindle and iBooks. Other ebook venues are coming soon, while the paperback will be available from Amazon.com on August 31, 2016.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Excerpt from "The Angel Hunters" by Christian Leithart


This week's excerpt is from "The Angel Hunters", by Christian Leithart. Regin and four others have gone out at night into the Nevada desert in pursuit of something they may not be prepared to encounter.

Up ahead, Regin saw a bluish light. It crackled and threw dancing shadows behind every ridge in the stones. She came out between two boulders and entered a small clearing in the middle of the rock field. She threw up a hand to shield her eyes.

In the middle of the clearing, a shining orb of light floated ten feet off the ground.

On the other side of the clearing stood La Ferrier, holding the 4-D net gun, his Raiders cap askew. He was standing absolutely still, like someone in a trance, and his face, still wearing that vacant smile, was filled with blue light.

“Garcia, cover your eyes! Don’t look at it!” Regin shouted.

Garcia walked slowly past her without turning his head. His boyish face was upturned, staring straight into the light. Behind him, his shadow writhed across the ground like an insect pinned to a board.

“Garcia!”

The priest ignored her. His lips moved. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” he whispered. He reached out a hand toward the orb and took another step.

Out of the corner of her eye, Regin glimpsed a second spiky shadow moving across the ground toward Garcia’s. The two shadows met and Slugger tackled the priest to the ground.

“Get down!” Slugger yelled at Regin.

Garcia twisted under Slugger’s bulk. “Let me go!” he shouted.

“Shoot it, Regin. Quick!” Slugger grunted as he pinned Garcia’s arms down. “Do it!”

Regin didn’t stop to ask questions. She sighted in on the sparking orb, the stock of her weapon cold against her cheek. As she started to squeeze the trigger, the glowing shape grew until it filled her vision. Her limbs felt like candle wax. Electric tendrils groped for her.

When he was eight years old, Christian Leithart moved with his family to a small town in northern Idaho. He has loved the west ever since. He is a graduate of New Saint Andrews College, where he received an MA in Trinitarian Theology and Letters, and he is currently pursuing a Master’s in English at Villanova University. He can be found online at www.pushlings.com or on Twitter @cleithart.

You can still pre-order your copy of Mysterion here. However, on July 28th, our Patreon site will close to allow us to fulfill all of our Patrons' rewards. After that, you will be able to pre-order the ebook on Amazon, but only at full price, and you will not receive it until August 31st. The paperback will no longer be available for pre-order after the Patreon site closes, and you will have to wait for it to go on sale.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Last chance to get Mysterion early

We're getting close to publication! Mysterion will be available through Amazon and other retailers on August 31st, in both paperback and ebook form.

With that in mind, we will be closing our Patreon site on July 28th. On July 29th, everyone who has supported us with a pledge of $5 or more will receive a link through which they can download the ebook in either .mobi (Kindle) or .epub (everything else). Those who have pledged $25 or more will also receive their paperback copies shortly thereafter.

The paperback will not be available for pre-order after July 28th. Going forward, you will be able to pre-order the ebook from Amazon, but only at full price ($9.99), and you won't receive it until August 31st.

If you've been wanting to get the book early, now's the time! A $5 pledge will get you the ebook. $25 gets the ebook plus paperback (list price $16.99), with free shipping. Additional rewards are available at higher pledge levels.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Full cover reveal



Presenting the full cover for Mysterion, front and back (click to enlarge).

Cover layout is by Kirk DouPonce at DogEared Design, with artwork by Rob Joseph.

At this point, we expect to publish the book sometime in late August.  There's still time to pre-order your copy by supporting us on Patreon!  We'll be sending out copies to Patreon supporters before the book is generally available, possibly even in the next 2-3 weeks.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Excerpt from "Confinement" by Kenneth Schneyer

This week's excerpt is from "Confinement", by Kenneth Schneyer.

He stood motionless in a cream-colored suit, frozen as he bent to pay a seated news seller, but his head jerked up and he glared into her face as if Tamara’s glance had pulled him on a string. His golden hair, twisted back out of his face, glinted fiercely in the merciless sun. His skin was polished and sallow, yet with a blush at the cheeks, small mouth and smaller, down-pointing nose. Delicate, impossibly delicate hands. He stared at her, unsmiling, appraising, ruthless, taking the breath out of her. She almost stopped, almost acknowledged him; then she hurried on.
That was the first time.
On the first chill day of autumn he appeared again, at the blustery Saturday farmer’s market near the North End, as Tamara was looking for apples. His thin, strong fingers stacked pomegranates on a table, a white-and-gold apron constraining him. The cool air made his skin look waxen; the breeze did not stir his hair.
He looked up from the red-spackled fruit and said, “You are well-favored.” She thought his voice was masculine, but only barely so, and she had the irrational feeling that he hadn’t actually made a sound; when she tried, later, to recall the timbre of that voice, nothing came.
Again his face was solemn, intent, imperious; his eyes burned into her. She could not answer, but turned away and went to find, instead of apples, some bitter watercress or radishes. When it came time to pay the other vendor for them, as far from the golden man as she could manage, involuntarily she looked back in his direction. He wasn’t there.

Kenneth Schneyer received a Nebula nomination, and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Award, in 2014. His stories appear in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the Clockwork Phoenix series, all three Escape Artists podcasts, and elsewhere. By day, he teaches humanities and legal studies to undergraduates in Rhode Island.


Order your copy of Mysterion here!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Excerpt from "Yuri Gagarin Sees God" by J. S. Bangs

This week's excerpt is from "Yuri Gagarin Sees God", by J. S. Bangs.
As he rose into the vacuum, Gagarin fell silent in his capsule. Mission Control asked him, “Comrade Gagarin, what is your status?” 
He was quiet for a while. Then he said, “There is singing . . .” In the background could be heard bodiless voices whose tones made the hair stand up on the arms of the men in Mission Control. 
Unfortunately, as good Soviets, the men were atheists and had no idea what this meant. “Gagarin, can you confirm your status?” 
“I am surrounded by angels,” he said. “Beautiful. Strange. They have six wings, the faces of animals, and they burn with fire.” 
At this point the navigational instruments first noted that Gagarin had left his assigned orbital path. The men of Mission Control looked at each other with alarm. “Comrade Gagarin,” they asked, “what is happening to your capsule?” 
“The angels are carrying me away,” Gagarin said. “I see . . .” He fell silent again. 
This is not what Mission Control wanted to hear. Angelic intervention would ruin their reentry trajectories and make it difficult to recover the capsule. Failure to recover the capsule with Comrade Gagarin alive would reflect badly on them, and probably ruin their careers. 
On the radio, Gagarin gasped. He said, “I see a wheel within a wheel. It is covered with eyes.” 
“Are you going to collide with it?” asked Mission Control. This was a useless question, since the Vostok capsule had no steering capabilities. 
“The throne of God!” Gagarin said. And his voice was swallowed up by a swell of song. 
This was the last that Mission Control heard from Yuri Gagarin.
J. S. Bangs lives in Romania with his family, where he works as a freelance software developer and writer. Everyone in his family is bilingual, but he writes only in English. This story was inspired in a roundabout way by a song called “Mercury” by the Prayer Chain, an early Christian alternative rock band, together with a misremembered anecdote about Yuri Gagarin’s first spaceflight.

Order your copy of Mysterion here!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Excerpt from "A Good Hoard" by Pauline J. Alama

In Pauline J. Alama's "A Good Hoard", Lord Richard of Chateldor has brought in the Pest Banisher to deal with a mysterious infestation ...

“They’re breeding,” the Pest Banisher said. He gestured at a group of little winged pests. Somehow, they seemed to circle around his hand instead of swooping in to sting. “The queen must be hiding in your treasury. Queens, I should say, to spawn this many.”

“Lovely,” Lord Richard drawled. “They’ve already driven away my mistress. They sting like fire, you know, besides making holes in all her best silks. What kind of moths are they, anyway?”

“Moths, sir?”

“Or perhaps it’s not moths. Is it something more . . . Biblical?”

“My dear sir, everything is Biblical,” the Pest Banisher said amiably. “The world is a book in which God’s word is written, if only we knew how to read―”

“Yes, yes,” Lord Richard cut in, “but I mean, is it a plague of locusts, like in Moses’ time? I’ve never quite understood that verse—”

“Locusts? Oh, no. No indeed. They attack fields, not castles. Forgive me, but I thought you knew what you were facing. Sir, I’m afraid you’ve got dragons.”

Pauline J. Alama, author of the quest fantasy The Eye of Night (Bantam Spectra 2002), sees religion and spirituality as the heart and blood of fantasy. Her work has appeared in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Abyss & Apex, numerous volumes of Sword & Sorceress, and other publications. She feels an affinity for dragons—lonely flyers, guardians of hoards—but struggles to keep her draconian traits in check. This story was inspired by a moth infestation, proving that all life’s frustrations, rightly viewed, are story research.

Order your copy of Mysterion here!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Excerpt from "Of Thine Impenetrable Spirit" by Robert B Finegold, MD

In Robert B Finegold's "Of Thine Impenetrable Spirit," bioengineering entrepreneur Nicholas Montgomery has just learned that his son is dying.
“Can you save him?” 
Dr. Albert did not answer. The room was silent except for the soft rhythmic cycling of a respirator and the slow pulsing beep of Nick Jr.’s heart monitor. 
“Prepare little Nick for transfer, Dr. Albert.” 
The older man nodded and left the room. Nick watched him go, and as the door slid open and closed, he became aware of the pain in his palms. He looked down and unclenched his fists. 
A whisper like the rustle of dry leaves said, “Dad?” 
He stepped closer to the containment chamber and leaned over it, resting both hands upon the cool surface. It gently vibrated beneath his fingers. 
Little Nick’s eyes were half-open. His long lashes blinked once, twice, slowly. Azure light rippled beneath him as if he were floating upon a sunlit pool. 
“How you doing, little man?” Nick said. Despite the flood of anxiolytics surging through his system, Nick felt as if his heart would burst. 
“Am . . . am I gonna die, Dad?” 
Nick waited until the constriction in his throat eased and then said, “No. You cannot die. You are going to live forever.”
Robert B Finegold, MD is a radiologist living in Maine. He has an undergraduate degree in English (Creative Writing and British Literature), has been a university newspaper cartoonist, and served as a Major in the U.S. Army during the first Gulf War. He is a two-time Writers of the Future Contest Finalist whose work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, GigaNotoSaurus, Straeon 2, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and the anthologies Robotica: The Real Relationships of Artificial Lifeforms,1st & Starlight, and 2nd & Starlight. On Facebook, find him at Robert B Finegold’s Kvells and Kvetchings www.facebook.com/robertbfinegold.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Excerpt from "A Lack of Charity" by James Beamon

In James Beamon's "A Lack of Charity," Will seeks vengeance, though not for the first time.

The compass stopped its frenzied pulsing and began to bleed from its seams. Will stopped the car. Originally a pristine pearl white, the Buick was now a beaten up and weary warhorse that was always eager for rest.

He was here. Wherever here was.

A field of golden wheat stretched from the highway. A man, shadowed against the deepening reds of dusk, was finishing his work. Will tensed. This must be Chainer. The compass always led to Chainer. He entered the field. The air was heavy with dust.

Chainer looked up. “Lo, stranger. Help you with sumthin?” Always that same stupid look. Always that same twisted sneer.

“Yeah,” Will said. “I’m here for stories.”

“Stories? Heh! You in the wrong place.”

“I’m always in the wrong place. But you’re the right guy. You’re gonna tell the right stories.”

“What stories you think I know?”

“Tell me about rape and murder.”

Chainer’s face straightened. “Look, I don’t know what you think this is . . .”

“We both know what this is. It ain’t just wheat you’ve been sowing, farmer. I’m gonna kill you, there ain’t no getting around that. So now you can either tell me the story before you die or you can keep pretending that we ain’t speaking the same language.”

Will had been giving this deal for a while now. Most of the time Chainer would keep trying to pretend amnesia. Sometimes he would make some shit up. Every once in a blue moon, he’d come clean. 
This Chainer bolted.

James Beamon writes stories because he doesn't have the operational budget to make the movie version. He currently lives in Virginia with his wife, son and attack cat but he's been all over the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for job and country. James invites you to hang out with him at fictigristle.wordpress.com.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Excerpt from "Golgotha" by David Tallerman

This week's story is "Golgotha" by David Tallerman. Reverend Halloway has lamented to the shipwrecked sailor Alstad that, despite outward displays of piousness, the islanders he and the other missionaries have brought to the Christian faith don't genuinely believe.

I remembered something then, out of nowhere . . . something I’d heard long ago and then forgotten. It would have been better if the memory had stayed that way too—and even as I spoke, I recall a part of me resisting.
“I heard talk once,” I said, “that there’s another god . . . a god even over Oro. A god of gods, you might say.” The memory was returning now in full; a night I’d passed with some of the natives, and their voices hushed with awe, as though they whispered of things not meant to be shared. “His name was Joro. He’s not an ancestor like the others, I don’t think. They say he was here before the people came, before the island.”
Halloway looked at me distrustfully. “If this Joro of yours existed, then I’d have heard.”
“He’s not mine,” I told him, “and he’s not something they much like to talk about. I don’t know that they even pray or offer to him. But the man who told me was in no state to be lying.” 
Halloway’s eyes narrowed further, for he saw my meaning. 
“Yes, I’d been drinking,” I said, “and so had he. But contrary to your beliefs, Reverend, drink can reveal truths as well as lies. I tell you upon my life, that man was being honest. And I’ll tell you something else: he was afraid. I’ve heard them speak of Oro, and they make a show of fear, while Hiro they treat like an old friend. But this Joro . . . they talked of him as a Christian man would of the Devil, though I’ve never seen any Christian as cowed as these.”

David Tallerman is the author of the comic fantasy novel series The Tales of Easie Damasco, graphic novel Endangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Science, the Tor.com novella Patchwerk and the recently released The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories, a collection of pulp-styled horror and dark fantasy fiction. David’s short fantasy, science fiction, horror and crime stories have appeared or are due in around eighty markets, including Clarkesworld, Nightmare, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. He can be found online at davidtallerman.co.uk.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Monday, June 6, 2016

We're now on Facebook

Enigmatic Mirror Press is now on Facebook, and we're talking about Mysterion.


We even have a logo.
In case you don't remember, Enigmatic Mirror Press is our publishing house. We are the smallest of small presses, as we have a grand total of zero books out. That will change when we release Mysterion sometime in August. But, while Mysterion is our only book (so far), Enigmatic Mirror Press and Mysterion are technically different things.

Back on point, you should check out, and share, our Facebook page.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Excerpt from "Too Poor to Sin" by H. L. Fullerton

This week's story is "Too Poor to Sin" by H. L. Fullerton, with an angelic visit and some uncomfortable questions.

A tax of angels parade through our school, glittering and bright. Not just any angels, but those from the Legion. Their robes are decorated with thick golden braids and, on their chests, an image of a red dove carrying arrows in its mouth. I have never seen warrior angels up close before. The one in front, with the largest wings of all and olive branches woven through his curls, sings his name. 
Teacher kneels and we kneel and the entire tax sings out a blessing. Then Teacher motions for us to take our seats and we do and not even Tollum raises his eyes from his desk. We wait and when I think we can wait no more—someone will shift in their seat, but no one does—the holiest of the tax tells us about the Legion. 
It doesn’t sound anything like I’ve imagined from Father’s few words. Before I can stop the thought, I think: the angel must be lying. Questioning an angel’s word is a lesser sin and I worry their black faceted eyes will spot my perfidy. But I stay still, very still, and keep my eyes down, and they don’t. I say a prayer of contrition and resolve to ask Father about what the angel said. Because despite what Mother’s family think of him, Father wouldn’t lie about the Legion and angels cannot lie (that is a Truth.) Yet both cannot be true. Can they?

H. L. Fullerton writes fiction—mostly speculative, occasionally about angels—which is sometimes published in places like AE, Daily Science FictionFreeze Frame Fiction, and PARSEC’s Triangulation anthologies.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Excerpt from "Forlorn" by Bret Carter

This week's story is "Forlorn" by Bret Carter. In an abandoned house, Keith learns something about the empty places of the world.
Keith forced his eyes back to the flashlight. "But Marcus said it wasn’t the houses themselves that are frightening. He said it’s something else." 
"What?" 
"The emptiness. Marcus said it’s the emptiness around the houses. And inside too. That’s what makes us uneasy. And I have to admit, Mother, that at least for me—he was right." 
Saying it out loud made Keith feel a little stronger. "In my philosophy class we were debating whether or not God created evil. Since He created everything, then He must have created evil. But Dr. Edding said the flaw in that argument is assuming evil to be something. Evil is not something. It is the absence of good. Even Satan was created with free will, but he chose the emptiness. That’s why we’re afraid of wastelands. Why we feel uneasy when we learn that atoms are mostly empty space. We’re made of tiny desolations, and that makes us uneasy. It’s the nothing that we fear. Because that’s what evil is. Nothing." 
She frowned. 
Keith kept going. "People always talk about how those long stretches of Nebraska and Kansas are boring. But Marcus said people are actually sensing something along these stretches that strikes a dark chord in all of us. He called it uncanny emptiness. He said it’s not so much boredom as fear. It’s a reminder the universe is mostly void. The spaces between the stars. The spaces between our brain cells. All our thoughts are leaps across the void."
As her eyes wandered again, her mouth drew downward. 
Keith used the pencil’s eraser to tap on the table. She didn’t look at the pencil. She looked at him. He forced himself to stare back. "I say all that because of what Marcus found out about the Millwood House."
Bret Carter lives with his wife and daughter in Denver, Colorado. He teaches Bible and English at Hyland Christian School and he preaches at the Miller Street Church of Christ. His fiction has appeared in Perihelion MagazineBoston Literary Magazine, and CrossTIME Science Fiction Anthology. His book God’s Words is currently available on Amazon. Two more of his books will be available Fall of 2016: Life Among the Married People and Paper Bullets: Point-Blank Notions on Writing. And just like every third person you pass on the street, he is currently working on a novel.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Excerpt from "When I Was Dead" by Stephen Case

This week's story is "When I was Dead" by Stephen Case. Stephen had multiple cancers as a teenager, and spent a lot of time thinking about what might come after death.
When I was dead one of the first things I did was to try to find Jacob. He should have been there before me. So in my first few months (as they measured time in the villages) I would find myself glancing at every shadow or pool of light under the trees, thinking I saw him stepping out from behind branches or around a low hedge into the road. 
You are not supposed to be able to lie there. If you stay long enough they say you forget how. But that doesn’t mean you have to answer every question anyone asks, so for a long time I didn’t know he wasn’t there. 
Then one day I saw him, just as I hoped, walking toward me between rows of poplars, down a slight rise in the road. 
"You were the missing piece," I told him. 
He smiled. If anyone tells you that you cannot be frightened there, they’re wrong. There was emptiness in the smile. 
"I know," he said. 
It wasn’t Jacob. 
They would say later that it really was him in a sense. He was an echo, a memory. Everything still exists in the mind of God, they would tell me. We never have the freedom of being truly forgotten. 
When they said this I wondered if it was supposed to be a comfort. Maybe they were really saying I should have let him be forgotten. It was, after all, my desire to seek him and talk with him again that had stirred his form from shadows under the trees.
Stephen Case teaches astronomy at a Christian liberal arts university by day and by night (when it’s cloudy) writes stories, some of which have appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Shimmer. His novel, First Fleet, is a science fiction horror epic (think H. P. Lovecraft meets Battlestar Galactica) published by Axiomatic Publishing and available on Amazon. Stephen holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of science and will talk for inordinate amounts of time about nineteenth-century British astronomy. Follow him on Twitter @BoldSaintCroix or at stephenrcase.wordpress.com.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Excerpt from "The Monastic" by Daniel Southwell

In the lead-up to the publication of the anthology and beyond, we'll be posting an excerpt from one of the stories each week. 

This week's story is "The Monastic" by Daniel Southwell. After a rough experience as a parish priest, Father Kyle retreats to a hermitage on an island in Lake Superior. He slowly begins to realize that he is not the only one on the island . . .
It was completely dark. His eyes wouldn't stay open. The sound of the waves never stopped. He shook himself awake and leaned forward to find his lantern. He cranked the propane valve to its lowest setting and the center of the cabin filled with humming blue-tinged light. The corners still hovered in darkness.
It was easier to stay awake with the light on. He hoped it wouldn't scare away whatever was out there on the island.
Father Kyle sat on the edge of his cot. Its titanium frame cut into his thighs but he didn't move. The rifle was across his knees. It was loaded. 
He didn't know what time it was, but it didn't matter. There weren't alarm clocks on the island and there weren't appointments. His only job was praying, and right now, he realized, he was praying that nothing horrifying was out there. He still couldn't shake the shrill feeling that had run up and down his limbs after he fired the rifle. He couldn't help thinking he had disturbed . . . something
After he stopped thinking and looking around, waiting was easier. He stared at the wall and only thought about breathing.
Sometime after Father Kyle's mind cleared, he focused on the sound of scuffling feet outside. He wasn't sure how long it had been going on. His heart immediately accelerated and he stood up slowly. The cot creaked and he winced. The footsteps didn't stop. 
The latch rattled and the door opened a crack. 
Father Kyle backed up until he could feel the rock wall against his shoulder blades. 
The door opened.
Daniel Southwell is a script writer for a video production company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife, Claire, and their son, John. Daniel grew up in northern Michigan, swimming in the Great Lakes and hearing the stories of what lived there.

You can order your copy of Mysterion here.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Table of Contents

We're pleased to announce the full Table of Contents for Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith.

“The Monastic” by Daniel Southwell
“When I Was Dead” by Stephen Case
“Forlorn” by Bret Carter
“Too Poor to Sin” by H. L. Fullerton
“Golgotha” by David Tallerman
“A Lack of Charity” by James Beamon
“Of Thine Impenetrable Spirit” by Robert B. Finegold, MD
“A Good Hoard” by Pauline J. Alama
“Yuri Gagarin Sees God” by J. S. Bangs
“Confinement” by Kenneth Schneyer
“The Angel Hunters” by Christian Leithart
“Cutio” by F. R. Michaels
“St. Roomba’s Gospel” by Rachael K. Jones
“Yuki and the Seven Oni” by  S. Q. Eries
“A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows” by Beth Cato
“This Far Gethsemane” by G. Scott Huggins
“Ascension” by Laurel Amberdine
“Cracked Reflections” by Joanna Michal Hoyt
“The Physics of Faith” by Mike Barretta
“Horologium” by Sarah Ellen Rogers

Congratulations to our authors, and thank you for your support and your contributions!  We received over 450 submissions and chose 20 stories out of those, rejecting many that we both would have loved to include. It was a tough decision, but we're really happy with all the selected stories, and we think this will be a great anthology.

You can pre-order at a discount through our Patreon page, and subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date information.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Patreon

We've been asked this by a few people, so we thought it would be good to clarify here on the blog: you can still donate to the Patreon campaign. This will no longer affect the number of stories or the pay rate (we needed to set the deadline on those to before we chose the stories), but you can still receive the Patreon rewards, including the ebook at half price and the ebook and paperback together at a reduced price. We've even extended the deadline on some of the rewards, such as having your name listed as a Supporter, Sponsor, or Patron in the book, to March 31st. Support us on our Patreon campaign site!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Stories selected

We've now chosen most of the stories that will go into the anthology: 19 stories representing a variety of genres. So if we were holding a story of yours, you should have received an acceptance, a rejection, or a please wait a little longer until we can determine how much space we have left. We're only continuing to hold onto a few stories, all of them reprints where we're asking for non-exclusive rights and the author is free to send the story to other places while they wait.

We still need to go through the editing process and get the contracts signed. Then we can announce the table of contents, hopefully before the end of March.

Thank you to everyone who sent us stories, and we're sorry that we couldn't accept more of them!

Monday, January 25, 2016

All stories read!

We have now read all the stories that were submitted to us. Everyone who sent us a story should have received either a rejection or a hold request. If you haven't heard anything from us, please let us know right away (use the editors email on the sidebar to the right).

So what happens now? We are currently holding 60 stories. Each of these is a story we both liked and would be delighted to publish, but we only have room for about 20. How do we decide which stories will be accepted? 

First, Donald and Kristin will each assign every story we're considering a ranking of Low, Medium, or High, where the ranking is less about quality than a subjective determination of how excited we are to publish the story, compared to others we're holding. If we both rank a story High, the default assumption is that it will go in. If we both rank it Low, the default assumption is that it won't. (Again, this does not mean the story is bad or that we don't like it. It does mean that we can't afford to publish an 800-page anthology.) We agreed that each of us should assign a High rating to no more than 12 pieces, and a Low rating to at least 12.

After the initial pass, there will still be room for more stories, and a large part of our decision-making will depend on balance: science fiction vs. fantasy, reprints vs. original fiction, different themes and concepts and cultures and so on. We expect it to take at least a week or two before we settle on the stories we want to publish.

Once we reach that point, it's time to start sending out acceptances and rejections, and then we come to the really hard part: editing. Some of the stories may be ready to print as is, but most at least need some copy edits, and others may need some minor content editing. Acceptances will be contingent on the editors and author agreeing to the version of the story that goes into print. Then we'll send out contracts and get signatures from both sides, and pay the authors.

And that's not all! We'll have to write an introduction (once we know for sure which stories we're publishing); then there's interior layout, independent copy editing, final cover design, proofs, print samples, fulfilling pre-orders, advertising and sending out review copies, and making the book available for purchase. So there's still a lot to do.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fundraising deadline on Friday

We are coming up on the January 15th deadline for our fundraising this week. That's the date we set for pledges made at our Patreon site to contribute to increasing the number of stories in the anthology. We want to thank everyone who's pledged so far: our fundraising has added an additional 5,000 words (about the length of a story). Our next goal is still $333 away, to increase the length of the anthology by another 5,000 words.

We received over 450 submissions to the anthology, of which we're holding 53, and the number of held stories is likely to grow as we read the last few submissions. The January 15th deadline is necessary so that we know how many stories we'll be able to purchase before we go through the ones we're holding and decide which will get in. You can still contribute after January 15th, but doing so will no longer increase the number of stories in the anthology.

If you'd like to contribute but don't want to use Patreon, there are other ways. You can send money to us through Paypal, using


or even send a check, to:
Enigmatic Mirror Press
PO Box 750095
Arlington, MA 02475
Checks should be made out to Kristin Janz. We'll count any check postmarked by January 15th as contributing to our January 15th goals.

All contributions will be eligible for the rewards offered at the Patreon site, repeated here for your convenience:
  • $1 : Our hearty thanks and listing on our website as a Backer.
  • $5: An ebook copy of the anthology at least a month before it's generally available, at half the retail price. Plus listing on our website as a Backer.
  • $20: A copy of the ebook, and your name listed as a Supporter in the anthology itself (paperback and ebook versions).
  • $25: A paperback copy of the anthology, a copy of the ebook, and listing on our website as a Backer.
  • $40 : Two paperback copies and the ebook, plus listing on our website as a Backer.
  • $50 : The paperback, the ebook, and your name listed as a Sponsor in the anthology.
  • $65 : Two paperback copies, the ebook, and your name listed as a Sponsor in the anthology.
  • $75 : The paperback, the ebook, your name listed as a Patron in the anthology, and the editors will sign your copy.
  • $100 : The paperback, the ebook, your name listed as a Patron in the anthology, the editors will sign your copy, and we'll include a bookplate with a signature by the contributing author of your choice (must contribute before the anthology is published to receive the bookplate).
If you contribute by PayPal or check, please tell us the name by which you would like to be listed on our website and in the anthology (if applicable). Supporters, Sponsors, and Patrons will also be listed on the website (see who's already contributed here!). If you prefer not to be listed in either or both places, be sure to tell us that, too. Pseudonyms are allowed, but must be approved by the editors. And, in order to have your name listed in the anthology, you'll have to contribute by January 15th.

If your reward entitles you to a paperback copy, be sure to include your mailing address. And we'll need your email address if you're getting the ebook.

You can still contribute after the January 15th deadline, and continue to receive the rewards to which you're entitled (except having your name listed in the anthology). But making a contribution now will have the biggest impact on our ability to bring you more great stories.