June 2020

We have at long last finished evaluating the stories from the January submission period! Seven stories were accepted, to be published from July through December of this year. 249 stories were rejected, and 11 withdrawn by the authors (sometimes to submit a different story they thought might be a better fit), for a total of 267 submissions.

Just in time for the July submission window!

If you sent us a story in January and did not hear back, please do let us know right away.

We've now started editing the stories we selected, when we can find time in between Kristin's garden and Donald's video games (and day job). And, since we do now have a tentative schedule for when we plan to publish them, it's also time to choose the art that will accompany the four July through September stories. We're unlikely to find anything that feels relevant to all of them, but we do keep the stories in mind when selecting artwork and are always thrilled to find something that fits at least one of the fiction offerings to be published while we're using it.

This means that if you're an artist, this is a great time to send us a link to your portfolio! Art submission guidelines can be found here. We're always open to art submissions; the catch is that you'll only hear from us if we find something in your portfolio that we'd like to use (since, even if you don't have anything that works for the current batch of stories, we may still be interested for the next batch, or the one after that).

Please don't send us links to sites where we need to sign up for an account, or like your Facebook page, in order to look at your work! If for some reason you aren't able to display your art somewhere online to which we can easily navigate, then send an email explaining this to submissions@mysteriononline.com, with a subject line starting with "ART:" and followed by the artist's name, and attach two or three images that you think we might be interested in. In fact, you're welcome to include attachments even if your site is easily accessible; the possible downside is that most artists aren't great at guessing which pieces are most likely to appeal to us, so it's always best to include the link to the rest of your portfolio if you can.

We currently only use four pieces of artwork for the website each year, so we don't have a vast archive; but here's where you can see what we have already used and get a sense of what we like. You'll notice that none of it is overtly Christian, and some of the pieces have no discernible Christian imagery at all (and where it is present, it's subtle and/or ambiguous). So we're probably not the best market for work featuring crosses, lions, lambs, doves, angels with big swords, etc.

Coming Soon!

Don't miss our June story, by Nigerian author Mike Ekunno! "Work in Progress" relates the adventures of a stand-up comic who uses the services at his Pentecostal church as a source of material for his routine, and views the weekly parade of miracles with some skepticism. You know something's going to happen, or we wouldn't be publishing it in our speculative fiction magazine... It will be available here on June 22nd (and is already available for $3+ supporters on Patreon!).

Gardening and Local Wildlife

Kristin's garden enjoyed the recent spate of hot, sunny weather here in eastern Massachusetts. We had homegrown asparagus in early May, and lately it's been radishes and salad greens, and more chives, oregano, and lovage than we could ever use. The fava beans are flowering, so we hope to have some of those before our next monthly update.

Our across-the-fence neighbor also gardens, so Kristin enjoys discussing gardening plans and progress with her (from 6 feet away, of course!). Also our shared disdain for squirrels and rabbits. There's a small plum tree in their yard, just the other side of the fence, and last year all the plums were apparently eaten by squirrels before they ripened.

This year might be different.

The robin that had been sitting in the nest wasn't interested in having its picture taken, but it's even less interested in allowing squirrels anywhere near the tree. (Also spotted nearby, though on the other side of our house: half a robin eggshell lying on the ground, empty. Squirrels are not vegans.) Kristin can see this tree from our kitchen window, and one morning, a squirrel was making its way along the top of the fence when it was suddenly dive-bombed by two very aggressive robins. The robins won.

If you look closely, you can see the two robins on the far edge of the lawn (our neighbor's). So, are they all the way over there because they consider Kristin and her camera far more dangerous than a squirrel, or is it the other way around?

Quarantine Baking

Actually, Kristin bakes desserts whether there's a quarantine or not. The difference is that we now have to eat everything ourselves.

To avoid the temptation to keep us constantly supplied with homemade sweets (see the post on Donald's website about his diet and exercise program), Kristin mostly tries to limit dessert-making to feast days celebrated in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer (not counting ordinary Sundays). This Swiss-style Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte) was prepared and eaten in honor of Ascension Day.

In other quarantine news, restrictions have started to ease up here in Massachusetts, though not too quickly. Places of worship are allowed to reopen, though people who aren't part of the same household have to stay at least 6 feet apart and everyone needs to wear masks. (Our church has decided to stick with live streaming services for now, and not to allow worshipers to attend in person.) We're also allowed to get haircuts, though when Kristin asked Donald when he would feel comfortable with her going to the salon to get one, he suggested, "Two years?"

Patreon News

We're very thankful for our newest Patreon supporters! We now have 22 active Patrons, and are at a funding level of $220 per month. Once we get up to $275, we plan to start publishing an additional 2 stories every year, for a total of 16. If you're able to help out with that, we always welcome new supporters, at any level--even $1 a month helps!

July Fiction Submissions

We look forward to seeing what you have for us in July! Submission guidelines are here.

Sometimes authors ask us what we're looking for. Here are some things we like and don't see enough of:
  • Science fiction about space exploration, far-future technological speculation, and/or non-humanoid aliens
  • Horror (though supernatural or psychological horror is more our thing than vampires/werewolves, Cthulhu mythos, or graphic descriptions of violence or torture)
  • Stories about characters who are Christians but not priests or ministers
  • Stories about Christians who are not Catholic, mainline Protestant, or generic evangelical (we don't mind these denominations, they're just over-represented in our submission pile); by authors who know and understand the communities they're writing about
  • Stories about Christians in or from Latin America, Africa, or Asia; or about minority Christian communities in the US, Canada, UK, etc.; again, by authors with intimate knowledge of those communities

Here are some things we see too often and/or are not wild about:
  • Deal with the devil
  • Someone goes back in time to either kill or save Jesus
  • Omniscient aliens reveal that the author of the story is 100% correct in all their beliefs about God and morality (we've rejected both the atheist and Christian versions of this)
  • Battle Royale between angels and demons with flaming swords
  • Christian archaeologist discovers a cursed book or other artifact, usually something from the Cthulhu mythos
  • Stories that consist of two characters having a philosophical discussion, often staying in the same room the entire time
  • Poorly-researched historical fiction
  • Retold Bible stories

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to come back on June 22nd for our next story!

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