Hallowed Be Thy Gun

7 Dec

I couldn’t ignore the call to arms

when my neighbours grabbed their muskets

and rushed to the village green

Hallowed Cover

Hallowed Be Thy Gun is the new poetry booklet from Gary Beck and recounts the history of the USA through its wars and military adventures.

It is available for £3 (UK) / £6 (overseas) from the editorial address. You can also pay via https://www.paypal.me/DJTyrer (please also email with details of your order). The 3-for-2 booklet offer applies to all booklets.

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Review of Imaro

22 Nov

This is a review of the 2006 Night Shade Books version of Charles Saunders’ African fantasy novel (which replaces the original Slaves of the Giant-Kings with The Afua to avoid awkward similarities to the Rwandan genocide and loses City of Madness to better fit in to volume two; changes only of academic interest to those of us who never read the original version).

The novel is a stitching-together of short stories to tell the story of the titular hero, Imaro, as he adventures in a land analogous to east Africa.

It begins with Imaro approaching initiation into adulthood and discovering that forces are plotting against him. Events lead him to abandon his tribe and become a wandering adventurer in the mould of Conan, even coming to lead a band of robbers.

Imaro is a book of two halves. The first half, inspired by Massai culture, was quintessentially African, presenting a tale infused with African cultural elements that wouldn’t really work in the classic pseudo-European worlds of most fantasy tales. The second half, with its mounted bandits, was a disappointment in comparison because it could easily have come from almost any fantasy setting. That’s not to say it was badly written – Charles Saunders is a great fantasy author – but it wasn’t distinctly African. (The problem is that it deals with an east coast analogous to the real world’s and, thus, heavily influenced by the Middle East.)

If you enjoy fantasy fiction, there is much to enjoy here. Even if you’re not too interest in stepping away from the usual trends of the genre, Imaro is still good fiction. But, you will be particularly pleased if you’re looking for fiction outside the usual run of fantasy tropes as the first half is a brilliant evocation of an African culture.

Charles Saunders created something great, which deserves to be more widely read. Highly recommended.

Lunaris Review Reviewed

7 Nov

Lunaris Review issue 9 is available to free read online or to download in pdf format.

I must open with a caveat – I have a poem in this issue, although I hope that might be seen as an additional enticement to take a look at this issue! Also, I won’t be going into much detail with this review, as you should just click over and take a look.

Lunaris Review is a great ezine filled with artwork, poetry and fiction. I really enjoyed the poetry, my favourite pieces being Musings by Fatima Shahzad and the brilliant A Cycle of Futility by Uduak Uwah. None of the fiction quite hit the high notes of the poetry, there are some interesting pieces in here. But, it is the artwork by Omoniyi Gabriel Gilbert that blows everything else away. These are truly excellent pieces of art – especially Arewa and The Glorious Child – and worth taking at the issue for alone.

I really cannot encourage you enough to take a look at this issue. Highly recommended.

It’s Hallowe’en…

31 Oct

Yes, it’s that time of the year again and that means another horror poetry booklet…

Cast A Curse

This year’s booklet is named for Christopher Catt James’ title poem and accompanying cover art, Helza (Cast a Curse). Other poems include Dark Encounter by Neal Wilgus, October Frost by Aeronwy Dafies, November Thirst by Angela Boswell, and Witch Cult by Lee Clark Zumpe. Other contributors include DS Davidson, Christopher Hivner, Arthur C. Ford, Sr., Gary W. Davis and Matthew Wilson.

Although it is too late for you to read it tonight if you don’t already have it, you can still order it and enjoy it on the long winter evenings, along with our previous years’ booklets.

And, yes, we will be seeking contributions to another volume in 2018…

A Competition That’s Doing Good

5 Oct

Want a chance to win a prize for your writing whilst also doing good? Then, you want to enter A Story For Daniel. The competition itself is free and you could win £100 for writing a joyful or uplifting piece of flash fiction. The twist is that the organisers ask that you assist a charity or do a good deed in memory of baby Daniel. The deadline is the end of October 2017 and the competition is open to everyone.

Corporate Cthulhu is coming!

5 Oct

Nothing is more terrifying and mind-shattering than the Cthulhu Mythos – expect, perhaps, the meaningless bureaucracy of a corporation. Well, now, these two hideous horrors are being combined in one anthology – Corporate Cthulhu!

The anthology is on Kickstarter now and needs your assistance if it is to meet its target and escape the cloying tendrils of Great Cthulhu and enter print. So, rush over to the anthology’s Kickstarter page and take a look at its contents and the various stretch goals, then pledge something towards making this blasphemous tome a reality!

Corporate Cthulhu

Word Limits

3 Oct

The word count can be confusing for those just beginning on the path of the writer. Thanks for the miracle of wordprocessing, you no longer need to count words per line and lines per page (unless you write longhand and need an estimate before you type it). Word or Libre Office or whichever program you use will tell you just how many words your document contains. Easy!

A word of warning, though. Remember that this count will include every word in the document, including the title and ‘The End’ (neither of which counts towards the total). If you have included your contact details at the beginning of the document, they will be counted towards the total (however, any words in the header or footer won’t be counted), but you can highlight your actual submission or delete unwanted words and then click restore to put them back once you have the word count.

Beware, too, of section breaks (such as *** or #), which will show up as words, but don’t actually count towards the total, and hyphenated words, which will show up as one word but may be counted individually. You may wish to remove hyphens and other such things before getting an accurate count.

So, you now know how many words your story contains. But, how many words are you allowed? The numbed will be listed for the magazine or competition – there may be a minimum and/or a maximum. You should always read the guidelines to see if these are hard limits (that is, you cannot break them by even one word) or soft limits (that is, you are allowed to break them by a reasonable amount – what counts as reasonable may be stated, otherwise a few words over is definitely okay and as much as 10% might be considered acceptable). If not otherwise stated, you can usually assume that you can go a few words over for a magazine or anthology, as the editor is likely to have the leeway to balance longer stories with shorter ones (although you probably wouldn’t be paid for excess words, if being paid by the word) and they may be willing to work with you to edit the story so that it fits. Competition entries should stick to the stated wordcount as deviating by even one word is likely to see your submission disqualified.

Personally, for competitions, I try to keep comfortably within the stated word-limits, just in case the word count I make it doesn’t match that of the judges. Leaving a cushion means you are unlikely to fall foul of a disagreement. (Remember, the judges are unlikely to contact you, so you won’t have the chance to dispute a disagreement.)

But, don’t worry about it too much – a little commonsense should see you through most situations.