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!!!!!!!!!
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!!!!!!!!!
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!!!!!!!!!
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 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.


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 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!