Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Cover for Issue 4. Art by Jake Kelly.

This is the cover art for Issue 4. The art is by Jake Kelly. More information about his work can be found HERE. Issue 4 will be published on Friday, December 3rd, 2021.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Submissions Open (Issue 4)

Submissions are open for Whetstone (Issue 4). Please note our contact information changed.

Submissions: OPEN (Issue 4)
• Submission deadline for issue 3: Sunday, September 12th, 2021, 11:59p.
• Editorial decisions: Sunday, October 17th, 2021.
• Publication of Issue 4: Friday, December 3rd, 2021.

Length: We prefer short, compressed stories that are nevertheless complete and cohesive narratives (1500 to 2500 words). These limits are firm. No more, no less.

Style: We prefer “dialog light, action heavy” fiction with vivid imagery that is unselfconsciously literary but nevertheless takes joy in an occasional old word that gives the breath of antiquity.

Publication, payment, and rightsIssues will be published as .pdf files. If work is selected for publication in WHETSTONE, authors will (1) be paid an honorarium of $10 and (2) will be asked to provide, by contract, "First North American Serial Rights." In our opinion, this means that copyright is NOT transferred. All copyright stays with you, the writer; however, you will have sold/transferred a form of "exclusive use rights" called "First North American Serial Rights" (FNASR). This is the right to publish your unpublished work for the first time, and ONLY the first time, no more. The important thing to remember is that some professional publications may ask for FNASR upon acceptance of a specific work; you are not legally permitted to provide those for that specific work after publication in WHETSTONE, for you have already rendered their use to us. In other words, once you publish a work in WHETSTONE, that works' associated FNASR have been sold/transferred. You CAN publish your previously published work elsewhere as a reprint but only as long as that publication does not require FNASR. This is a long way of saying that WHETSTONE is an amateur publication, meant for showcasing emerging talent for the consideration of professional markets (which is why we kept the word count so low). In essence: save your best work for higher paying markets!

Submit: Proofread standard manuscripts should be sent to the publisher at spiraltowerpress@gmail.com as .doc or .docx attachments. Include the following subject line: "WHETSTONE: [Last Name]." Please keep cover letters brief. A story title and a one- or two-sentence bio is sufficient.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Whetstone Issue 3 Now Available!

Whetstone Issue 3 is now available. You can download it HERE. This issue includes several great stories. Thanks to Chuck Clark (Associate Editor), Jace Phelps (First Reader), and all the great contributors for helping us release this issue. We hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Flashes of Wonder Prompt: Setting as Character Contrast

UKA THE UNDYING, the zombie sorcerer, is experimenting with flashes of dark magics to blast the minds of bards! Illustration provided by Mustafa Bekir.

"Flashes of Wonder" is posted irregularly. It will feature a sword and sorcery flash fiction prompt. -JRC

Setting as Character Contrast

Vivid setting in sword and sorcery can bear thematic weight. A swamp can suggest sorrow and decay. A desert can evoke hopelessness and austerity. A verdant jungle can bring to mind sensuous vitality. Indeed, "setting" can almost become "character" in sword and sorcery. 

Consider Robert E. Howard's famous description of Cimmeria, Conan's homeland, as rendered in poem "Cimmeria."

Vista on vista marching, hills on hills,
Slope beyond slope, each dark with sullen trees,
Our gaunt land lay. So when a man climbed up
A rugged peak and gazed, his shaded eye
Saw but the endless vista - hill on hill,
Slope beyond slope, each hooded like its brothers.

The colorless and monotonous land that Conan abandons to begin his life of adventure in the various vibrant kingdoms of the Hyborian Age adds a imporant dimension to his character. Could it be that Conan is uniquely Conan because he is a Cimmerian, a mirthful man fleeing a sorrowful and sad landscape?

Write a sword and sorcery flash fiction that uses setting to contrast a character. For example, write about a just warrior in a lawless slum, a pious monastic in a sensuous temple of profligacy, a sage scholar in a barbarous, illiterate frontier. Focus on "extreme close-up" details: flora, fauna, matter, dynamic activity. 400 words.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Familiar's Four Gems, a Miscellany (Issue 7)


SPITTLEDRUM, the Four-eyed Demon, has scoured the internet for new eyes: four sword-and-sorcery gems! Illustration provided by Mustafa Bekir.

"The Familiar's Four Gems will be posted intermittently. It is a curated list of old and new digital resources for amateur sword and sorcery writers and readers; it will occasionally provide short reviews where appropriate. If you have something you would like to include, contact us. -JRC

DMR Books: Boris Vallejo at 80, by Brian Murphy. "If you grew up in the 1980s it was impossible to avoid Boris Vallejo’s influence. Love him or hate him, he is inextricably intertwined with all things sword-and-sorcery, sword-and-planet, and fantasy art in general."

Tales from the Magician's Skull: Bran Mak Morn, Doomed King, by Bill Ward. "Bran Mak Morn emerges out of Howard’s fascination with the Picts – but not the Picts of modern, sober archaeology – rather the Picts of turn-of-the-century pseudo-scientific conjectural anthropology, the sort of thing that was available for a young Howard to read."

The Cromcast: Karl Edward Wagner's, "Raven's Eyrie." "Hail, Cromrades! We return with discussion of another story as we continue down the Left-Handed Path! Here we discuss 'Raven's Eyrie. Be sure to check out our story list for details and links to ebooks!"

REH World: The Robert E. Howard Museum. "Thanks to Arlene Stephenson and Rusty Burke I have put together an information page about the Robert E. Howard museum, run by Project Pride in Cross Plains, Texas. Just click on the brochure to read all about it."

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