Archives: Tales From The Magician’s Skull

The Magician’s Skull will Return

The mighty Skull has made an official announcement. Yes, there will be more issues of the sword-and-sorcery magazine!

No, the Skull is not yet open to submissions. The stars are not yet right. Also, I wouldn’t have time to read them. But mostly the stars.

You can read the announcement here!

I haven’t seen any reviews yet of Issue 2, which leads me to think maybe going quarterly would be too frequent. I mean, if people haven’t found time to read the second issue yet in the last few months, how would they find time to have read TWO issues in the last few months?

As the time for the new Kickstarter nears, I hope you’ll help spread the word. I want to reach even more readers this time.

Existing issues can be purchased here. Note that the PDF of 2 is not yet available. Soon, though.

Editorial Choices

Back in May, my friend Keith asked for a few more details about what goes on behind the scenes at a magazine. Specifically, he wrote: “I’d love to read about what it’s like to edit a magazine, not just about submissions and what you look for in a story (although that is of much interest), but what all is involved in putting a publication together. In other words, I’m interested in the nuts and bolts of what goes on behind the scenes.”

I can’t speak from a position of great authority, as I’ve only worked on two magazines, but I can speak with familiarity about Tales From the Magician’s Skull, the caveat being that each issue has been a little different. With the third issue underway, though, it feels as if routines are getting into place.

Submission Reading

When I stepped up to be the Managing Editor of Black Gate, I started running a live journal. It seems hard to believe that was already so long ago, but when I got to looking up a post I’d written that might be of interest I saw that it dated from 2007, which kind of floored me. The years have sped past.

Anyway, prior to this post I had just finished reading through a big batch of Black Gate submissions, and the percentages of rejections I discuss seemed to hold in the years going forward. I expect they’ll be true when I start reading magazine submissions again, so I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to pull manuscripts from the envelopes, or e-mail. Have a look at what kind of things I found there, and perhaps most importantly, what submitters have done wrong. Better than learning from your own mistakes is learning from those that other people have made, right? That’s less painful.

Believe me, when we finally get around to asking for subs for Tales From the Magician’s Skull, these are the things writers really need to be aware of.

Tales From the Magician’s Skull Issue 2

Just this weekend I double-checked all the final changes for the stories intended for issue 2, and now it’s getting close to release ready. The art’s in place, the stories are in place, the ads are all there… it’s just a grand looking product. Some of the authors I’d hope to include didn’t have time to finish a story or didn’t have time to draft a heroic fiction tale, but I hope that they’ll all be in the magazine eventually, and I’m mightily pleased with the writers we do have.

I’ve been contemplating some changes to the web site, at least in the way I present it. I intend to start discussing editing and writing more frequently, along with publishing tips, and I hope to start inviting some guests by with a lot more frequency. I may also get around to changing the banner up at the top, as it’s based on The Bones of the Old Ones. I happen to be very proud of that particular book, and while I’d still like more people to read it, I think it’s time to start promoting the next one.

Likewise I’ll check up on my links, updating to get rid of ones that don’t work, and adding links to some other web sites I visit with regularity. It’s time for a spring cleaning, so to speak. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the yard, and on the inside of the house, so I might as well take that clean-up process to the web site.

Are there any topics that you wish me to discuss more regularly?

 

 

 

 

Windy City

Yesterday evening I got back from the Windy City Pulp and Paperback convention. It was pretty grand, if you happen to like old magazines, old books, art from both, and the people who love that stuff.

Here’s a pic of some of the treasures I returned with. Click to enlarge. I’ll summarize the events later this week. Note in the lower portion of the picture that there’s the Haffner hardback collecting the amazing Paul Pine detective stories of Howard Browne, Halo for Hire. Harder to see are the paperbacks from DMR publishing. They’re nifty little paperbacks printed on high quality paper. I picked up the first of DMR’s sword-and-sorcery anthologies, Swords of Steel, and their printings of the first collected editions, ever, of Weird Tales authors Clifford Ball and Nictin Dyalhis. Both are definitely worth a look, and a steal at the $10.00 price point. You can find them here.

While I was away, another review of Tales From the Magician’s Skull rolled in, from Morgan Holmes over at Castlalia House, He seemed to like issue 1!

The Skull Lives

I have the proof — observe, a copy of the issue, back from the printers. Addresses and envelopes and all that good stuff are being printed up and issues should be going out in the next few weeks.

Also, issue 2 has already headed to layout, and we’re now finalizing ads. How’s THAT for some sword-and-sorcery service?

Feast your eyes upon a random page flip, to the right. Oh, look at that. It’s a story by Bill Ward!

This is just the first step. Soon there will be multiple issues of the skull available for enjoyment.

If you missed the Kickstarter, it’s not too late to pre-order an issue.

 

The Pledge of the Sword

Today, on the final day of the Kickstarter for Tales From the Magician’s Skull, I poured my heart out to tell you just why I love sword-and-sorcery and why I’m determined to bring the best of it your way.

I hope you enjoy the essay; I hope, also, that you’ll join forces with us and pledge for the magazine, and if you’ve already done THAT then I’ll prevail upon you to help me spread the word one last time!

 

The Grand Finale

Usually when my wife heads off to one of her work conferences I get a lot of work done in the hotel room but I also explore a bit. This time, while she was in Washington, I was only a few minutes walk from a Metro line, but I did hardly any exploring at all. Comes of being under deadline. I saw an awful lot of my hotel room walls and occasional glimpses of the lobby.

I did get my first ever in-person look at various Washington D.C. monuments, but only from a distance as we strolled along the capital mall on our last evening before we left, prior to going out to an awesome Peruvian/Chinese fusion restaurant.

We’re nearing the end of the Kickstarter, so if you’re wanting to see some great new sword-and-sorcery stories I hope you’ve already signed on.