Friday, July 28, 2017

Enigmatic Mirror Press is at Realm Makers

We're at Realm Makers this weekend, in Reno, Nevada. In case you haven't heard of Realm Makers, it's an annual conference for Christian speculative fiction writers. Unlike the science fiction conventions we typically attend, the focus here is more on instruction by experienced pros, vs. panels by lots of different authors.

If you're also at Realm Makers, keep an eye out for us and say hello!

Of course our Kickstarter for Mysterion 2 is still ongoing. Currently holding steady at 27% funded, with 3 weeks left. Please consider making a pledge, and help us bring you another great anthology!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reason #6 to support Mysterion

The sixth reason to support Mysterion on Kickstarter is that we can't do it without your help.

Anthology projects often come to Kickstarter with a complete table of contents, all the stories contracted and in hand, and a final cover ready to go. At that point, it's pretty obvious that the anthology is going to happen whether anyone contributes to the Kickstarter or not. Kickstarter becomes just another way to pre-order your copy. Which is cool--but it's not the same as having helped make it happen.

Supporting Mysterion is different. If you contribute, those funds will be used to pay the authors for the stories we select. And we pay on acceptance, not on publication, so our authors don't have to wait until we get around to publishing the book before they're compensated for their work.

Each story costs us between $30 and $600 (depending on length, and whether it's a new story or a reprint), with an average of about $280. So, depending on your pledge amount, it might be covering a significant percentage of an individual author's payment for their story.

Also, if we end up surpassing our funding target, we have stretch goals that will enable us to commission art for a full wrap-around cover instead of only a front cover, and to purchase additional stories and pay our authors more.

So support Mysterion on Kickstarter, and help us bring you another anthology!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Reason #5 to support Mysterion

The fifth reason to support Mysterion on Kickstarter is because you want to see better dialogue within and between the Christian and speculative fiction communities.

Certain controversies over the last few years have not, we're sad to say, brought out the best in our communities.

Good stories can bring us together. The characters, the themes, the conflicts and epiphanies. And most of all, the flaws, the weaknesses, and the plot holes. We love to geek out about those. You can bond over these things, or at least get into really good arguments that can change the way you view the story, each other, and the world.

And the stories themselves talk to each other. We love stories that argue with one another and take different perspectives on the same idea, and we're thrilled when we can make that happen in one book. That's why the same anthology that had "Cutio" and "Of Thine Impenetrable Spirit" also had "St. Roomba's Gospel," that gave you "Golgotha" also gave you "This Far Gethsemane." This way you can read different perspectives without arguing or name-calling or ALL CAPS SHOUTING ON THE INTERNET COMMENT SECTION, but rather good stories where believable characters struggle with hard questions.

If you want to see more of this kind of dialogue, support us on Kickstarter!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Reason #4 to support Mysterion

The fourth reason to support Mysterion on Kickstarter is because you read the first anthology, and you loved it.

Our first anthology contained twenty short stories, by newcomers and old hands alike, all dealing with Christianity in some way. From fallen priests to desperate missionaries, from angels to demons, from astronauts to poachers to robots, we included it all: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between. If any of our stories beguiled you, thrilled you, entranced you, or scared you, you know that you want more. And we want to provide it.

If that's the case for you, please support us on Kickstarter.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Reason #3 to support Mysterion

The third reason to support Mysterion on Kickstarter is because you want to see a new professional market for short speculative fiction that engages with Christianity.

There are never enough markets for science fiction and fantasy short stories, especially places that pay a pro rate. When you're an author, you're always looking for new places to send your work, and it's like a miracle when you find the perfect fit for your story.

Whether you're an author or not, if you want to see a new pro-paying market, please support us on Kickstarter!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Reason #2 to support Mysterion

The second reason to support Mysterion on Kickstarter is because you want to support authors of speculative fiction that engages with Christianity.

The best way to support artists in their work is to pay them. We at Enigmatic Mirror Press are firm believers in Yog's law: "Money should flow toward the author." We believe in promptly paying our artists, whether authors, cover artists, cover designers, or layout artists, a fair amount. That is why we pay a professional rate of six cents per word upon acceptance, once the editors and author agree on edits and sign the contract, so they don't have to wait until the book comes out.

We decided we needed a Kickstarter so we could raise the funds to pay our authors. If you want to help us do that, please contribute!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Reason #1 to Support Mysterion

The first reason to support us on Kickstarter is that you want to read high-quality speculative fiction that engages with Christianity.

Not all Christian fiction is bad, but it's not uncommon to read Christian fiction that is preachy, that gives pat answers to straw man questions, and that censors a fallen world in order to be clean enough for children. Nor is all mainstream speculative fiction unfair to the Christian faith, but too often you find Christians stereotyped as repressed theocrats and bigots, the divine shown to be evil or a lie, and wicked monotheists oppressing the enlightened polytheists and atheists.

In short, we can all do better. You want to read stories that treat the faith seriously, but acknowledge the problems and shortcomings of the faithful; that ask the hard questions and look past the easy answers; and above all, you want to read good stories, with authentic characters, engrossing plots, and adept prose.

And we want to give you all those things, in Mysterion 2, so support us on Kickstarter!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mysterion 2 Kickstarter

When we released Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith last year around this time, we were very happy with the result. Now that we've had a chance to rest, we've decided to do it again. But publishing an anthology is expensive, so we could use your help.

We're currently running a Kickstarter to raise the funds to pay our authors. To the best of our knowledge, Mysterion is the only Christian-themed anthology that pays professional rates of 6 cents per word, and paying pro rates for twenty stories adds up.

You can make pledges to the Kickstarter for copies of the anthology, both the new one and the old. We'd also really like your help spreading the word, and letting others who would be interested in this anthology know about Mysterion and our Kickstarter. So be sure to share the news on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or wherever you hang out online (or even in real life, if you’re into that sort of thing).

And if you'd like to submit a story, watch this blog or sign up for our newsletter, so you'll be one of the first to know when we open to submissions.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Enigmatic Mirror Press is now on Twitter!

Enigmatic Mirror Press now has a Twitter account, so be sure to follow us @EnigmaticMirror for all the latest news on Mysterion and other projects!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review of The Ghost Box by Mike Duran

Reagan Moon is a paranormal reporter working for the Blue Crescent, an LA tabloid. He's good at his job, and one of the things that makes him so good is he doesn't believe. Oh sure, there are strange things out there: cults and designer drugs and brain hacks, but nothing supernatural. Nothing that can't be explained. He hasn't believed in much since his dad died, and his girlfriend Ellie's death less than a year ago only made him more of a cynic.

But tabloids don't pay a whole lot, and if a rich eccentric wants to pay him to talk to a medium, he's game. The problem is that Klammer wants him to make contact with Ellie, hinting that she wasn't incinerated in a freak accident but rather harvested for some grotesque purpose. In grand noir tradition, Reagan is soon dodging the police on suspicion of being involved in the death of said medium. Whether holed up with the Mad Spaniard and his daughters, Kanya and Cricket, in their Asylum for strange artifacts, or following a lead to the Spiraplex, a grand building/science experiment built by Klammer’s old business partner and rival, Soren Volden, and centered around a giant statue of Anubis, Reagan is constantly in over his head.

Mike Duran, the author of The Ghost Box, is known in Christian circles as the author of The Resurrection and The Telling, traditionally published in the Christian market. Both contained supernatural elements that didn’t neatly fit into Christian theology, for which he received blowback from many readers of Christian fiction. The Ghost Box, published independently, is an effort to get outside the narrow restrictions that limit what he can do in Christian publishing. That is something that we here at Enigmatic Mirror Press greatly appreciate. In doing so, Mike Duran doesn't hide his Christian worldview, though he avoids words like "Christian" and "Jesus". He wants to make this story accessible to  those who aren't Christians, without turning them off by evangelical vocabulary. We don't think it's necessary to go quite that far. It's possible to engage with Christianity, as we would call it, without being preachy, or writing what's usually called "Christian fiction", in the sense of being written by and for Christians while avoiding anything the least bit heretical. That said, The Ghost Box would meet Mysterion's theme guidelines, since it deals with Christian themes and Christian cosmology.

It is not about a Christian character, however. Some of the side characters, such as the ex-priest Mad Spaniard, may be, but it's pretty clear that Moon is not, and there's no conversion experience in this book. Or rather, it's not a conversion to Christianity so much as a conversion to hope, an acknowledgment that there's more to this world than the physical, that we do survive after death, and that some of us even go on to something better.

Of course, to get there, Reagan Moon first has to see it with his own eyes. Enter Rival's Curtain.

Rival's Curtain looks like aviator goggles with amber crystal lenses. What it actually does is reveal the world of the Invisibles. Most people can only look through Rival's Curtain for a few minutes without getting physically ill, but Reagan takes to it naturally. And once he sees what's on the other side, he can't go back to his comfortable cynicism. Not only are there ghost currents moving through the air, but there are whole worlds, occupied by such beings as a fiery-mouthed, many-limbed cytomorph, and a burnished angel whom Reagan nicknames Bernard. In Rival's Curtain, most ordinary objects are dimmed, but people can glow, or be ridden by demons, or be revealed to be something not even remotely human. And some objects are revealed to be not so ordinary, such as the Tau, an oddly shaped cross which Ellie gave him, along with the mandate to protect it. Through Rival's Curtain, it crackles with electricity.

The Tau is the key to what’s happening, as Soren Volden’s minions try numerous times to recover it. Bernard guides Reagan and Kanya to Volden’s Spiraplex, where they learn the truth about Ellie's death and the Lovecraftian horrors her murderer intends to release.

Reagan is not a typical hero. He's not particularly brave or bold, and he has an annoying tendency to freeze up or gawk when he encounters something strange. In the beginning, at least, he doesn't really believe in anything, and it takes some effort--and money--to get him moving. Ultimately, it's Ellie that gets him motivated, the desire to first learn the truth of what happened, and then to do something about those responsible. It's pretty late in the game where he begins to grasp that maybe he has a larger responsibility, that those behind Ellie's death may be a threat to the entire world, and that somehow he's the only one equipped to stop them.

By the end of the novel, though, he's changed. Oh, he's still not particularly bold, and he's a long way from knowing what to do with the gifts he's been given, but he's started to see the world in a new way, and accept things which he did not acknowledge before. He's not ready, but he's no longer hiding, either.

The Ghost Box is available for $0.99 on Amazon for the ebook, or $7.49 for the paperback. There is, unsurprisingly, a sequel.