Boston in the Spring

Halfway through the second month of social distancing just south of Boston, not much has changed, not even the weather. It's hard to imagine when we'll be able to meet friends in person again, let alone attend a church service that isn't on YouTube or eat at a restaurant. The Massachusetts emergency order set to expire today, prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, has been extended until May 18th, and the stay-at-home advisory is still in effect. But, hospitals here aren't as overwhelmed as people had feared they might be, and we're more confident that treatment will be available for our more vulnerable friends if they should become infected. (We still aren't visiting them, though.)

March showers have brought plenty of April flowers, and with the amount of rain we're getting, we expect a good showing of May flowers, too. Kristin's vegetable garden has gotten off to a slow start due to the unusually cold weather and lack of sunshine, but we're expecting a small asparagus harvest in the next couple of weeks, and the fava beans, radishes, and arugula have all come up. Last week, we had a homemade salad dressing with fresh chives from the garden.

Fava beans enjoying a rare sunny day. The chicken wire and cayenne pepper are to deter squirrels from digging them all up.


Be sure to visit us on the 4th Monday of each month for a new story! Here's what we'll be publishing in May and June:

May 25  "Gordon's Knot" by Jennifer Milne. 15-year-old Mary Gordon has the chance to undo one past mistake. How will she decide which moment to relive? And how can she know if a different choice would make things better, or worse?

June 22  "Work in Progress" by Mike Ekunno. Nigerian comic Ambrose Akpoveta finds the Pentecostal church he attends on and off most useful as a source of material for his stand-up routine, and views the weekly parade of miracles with some skepticism. But not everything can be explained away as easily.

Our own current work in progress is the virtual stack of story submissions from January, which we're still reading ... though a little more frantically at this point, as we realize that we do have to choose the stories we'll be publishing July through December, ideally well before the end of this month. It turns out that global pandemics do not, in fact, improve our productivity.

The situation isn't too dire. Eight stories remain unread as of writing this, all from the last day of our submission window. So if you sent us a story before January 31st, and haven't heard back, that means at least one of us has read and liked it, and it's either waiting to be read by the other editor, or advanced to the final round. Of the stories that were not rejected in the first round, Kristin has 17 to read and Donald has 18. 12 stories have been read by both of us and moved ahead to the final round.


As always, we'll be open to submissions again July 1st-31st. We look forward to seeing what you have for us!

Since some of you may already be working on your submissions, it probably bears mentioning that we are not especially interested in stories about pandemics right now. If you've already written one, and don't have a different story that you think would be a better fit, go ahead and send it in. We don't promise not to publish anything directly relevant to the current situation. But do keep in mind that stories sent to us in July won't be published, even if selected, until at least January 2021. And who knows what will seem timely and relevant by then?

We're always open to art submissions, but those are handled differently than fiction. Instead of artists sending us specific pieces to accept or decline, we ask that you send us a link to your online portfolio. We usually choose art once we've selected the stories that it will accompany, so we don't often know what we're looking for more than a few months in advance.

It's rare that we're looking to commission new artwork (see below, where we talk about our financial constraints). What we're looking for is existing art that we can pay you to display on our website for a period of time. With all that in mind, once you've sent us the link, you probably won't hear from us unless there's a particular piece we're interested in using, and this may be months after you initially contacted us. However, we do look at (almost) every submission that we receive. If you haven't heard from us in a year, and you have more artwork you think we'd like, it is worth sending another email. We're less likely to choose art from people who submitted two years ago or more, partly because there's a chance that the links and contact info they sent us no longer work.

We have, unfortunately, seen an uptick in the number of artists who are sending us links to their Facebook page and requiring us to Like their page or send them a Friend request before we can see the art. This is unlikely to happen. If you want us to consider paying you to use your work on our site, it's in your best interest to send us a link that we can access directly, without having to sign up for an account somewhere. (If there's a reason you can't do this, let us know in your email, and attach 5 or 6 of the images that you think we're most likely to be interested in.)


Thank you to everyone who's joined recently! Our Patreon funding now stands at $212 per month, which puts us comfortably above the $200 mark, and we currently have 19 active supporters. Every little bit helps, even the $1 per month supporters, since having a higher number of Patrons increases our visibility on the platform and makes us more likely to show up in searches. So, thank you to all our Patrons, new and old!

Having said that, Patreon is pretty much our only source of funding for Mysterion at this point, apart from the occasional book sale, and it still accounts for less than half of what it costs us to pay our authors and artists. (The rest of that still comes out of our own savings.) If you appreciate the fiction we publish, and aren't supporting us yet, and can afford it, please consider signing up!

All our Patreon supporters get access to the Mysterion Discord channel and monthly chats with the editors (and, sometimes, authors). And depending on what level you join at, you could also get early access to all the stories we publish, and even some free books!

We know this is a very challenging time for everyone, though. Please ignore this appeal if you're struggling to cover your own expenses! (Or if you're already contributing.) You can also help us out a lot just by reading the stories we publish and mentioning them on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and by telling friends and family about what we're doing.

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy! And thanks for reading!

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