November 2023

We had a grand total of 2 trick-or-treaters last week for Halloween. This was an increase from 2021, when we had 0. (We weren't here for last year's Halloween.) We have a very long driveway, and few of the households in our immediate neighborhood have small children. Also, apparently kids don't trick or treat as much these days? Oh well, more leftover candy for us! We didn't expect that many kids to show up, so we made sure to only buy candy we like, and not too much of it (one bag each of Lindt assorted truffles and a "fun size" Hershey's bar assortment).

Maxwell enjoyed the pumpkin we bought, before it became a jack o'lantern.


Still reading stories from July. We hope to be finished soon, by the end of November at the latest. As of last Friday, we had 9 unread stories, 20 that had been reviewed by at least one Mysterion staff member (and had not been rejected), and 8 that had advanced to the final round of consideration.

We've been seeing a lot of "deal with the devil" stories this time around, perhaps even more than usual  (and "usual" is already a lot). While this is a trope that's technically "on theme" for us, few of these stories explore any new terrain in the selling-one's-soul-to-the-evil-one landscape. We're also pretty tired of "Heaven and Hell are nothing like those silly Christians think they are!" stories. Also, gratuitous cat content! It's no secret that we love cats, but putting a cat in your story will not convince us to accept it, and we must reluctantly conclude that not every story is improved by the inclusion of cats.

Many thanks to Anne Horn and John Nadas for helping us review stories this time around. Anne also does graphic design for us, and John is one of our authors (though he only reads fiction submissions for us when he doesn't have a story of his own competing for one of our few available publication slots).

We've finished editing and can now announce our November and December stories. For November, D.G.P. Rector returns with his 3rd Mysterion story, "Devil in the Rain", set in the same space opera milieu as "On Charis Station".

Only two other authors, Frederick Gero Heimbach and Joanna Michal Hoyt, have published 3 stories with us thus far. We hope to publish many more stories by each of them in the years ahead!

Our December story is scheduled for Christmas Day, but is titled "Twelfth Night", and comes to us from Jonathan Edward McDonald. This is Jonathan's first story with us, a contemporary supernatural tale (a scary ghost story, perhaps?).


Did you know that only about a third of what it costs us to pay the authors and artists we publish is covered by our Patreon subscriptions, and that any shortfall comes out of our own savings? 

While we do hope to reach the point at which this expense is fully funded by Patreon subscriptions, with our readers contributing enough to pay for the fiction and art they enjoy here, our current funding goal is a much more modest $275/month. Once we reach it, we'll start publishing 16 stories a year instead of 14.

If you can contribute $10/month, you'll receive a free e-book of our upcoming stories every 2 months, now featuring the gorgeous covers Anne Horn makes for us. (If you were a $10/month subscriber back when we were doing these covers ourselves, you know how much of an improvement this has been.) Anne doesn't do the artwork herself, but she crops it to fit in our cover template (also her handiwork), and adjusts the lettering as needed.

You can subscribe for as little as $1/month, and every contribution helps! $1/month subscribers still get access to our Discord server, and plenty of bonus cat pictures. And for only $3/month, you get early access to all our stories, sent to you via email and also available on our Patreon page.

Please help us out if you can, so the continued existence of this magazine isn't quite as dependent on our being able to cover most of the expense ourselves!


Kristin's garden is winding down for the season now that we've had a couple of light frosts, though there are still lettuces, baby spinach, and a beautiful crop of French breakfast radishes waiting to be harvested. The parsley, sage and thyme are also abundant. 

Her potted lemon and rosemary plants have been moved inside for the winter. For now, they're in our unheated sun porch, because it has the best lighting. Kristin usually moves these plants upstairs to her office once overnight lows start dropping into the 20s F (below about -1 C), but is considering leaving the lemon tree out on the porch this year. It was already too large to easily carry up a flight of stairs last year, and it's not getting any smaller. And did you know that lemon trees have large thorns? 

Last winter, Kristin had two potted rosemary plants to bring inside, but she'd been repotting them into larger containers each spring, and one was already in a 16" container (same size as the lemon container). Anything larger, full of dirt, is really too heavy to be carried around even twice a year, so last spring, Kristin decided to transplant the larger one out into a sheltered spot outdoors and hope for the best. Rosemary can usually survive through the winter in US hardiness zone 7, and we're in zone 6b, so it's not impossible.

The lemons are starting to ripen, but still more green than yellow.

Earlier this year, we provided a home for an elderly cat for her last few months after her owner, a friend of ours, passed away. She mostly lived in the guest room, and didn't get along well with Maxwell and Marie. Before Belle came to us, the guest room bed was one of Marie's favorite napping spots, but she and Maxwell have mostly avoided it since then. Only in the last few weeks have we started to see them hanging out there, usually to take advantage of an afternoon sunbeam. We hope they're starting to forget about the Mean Cat, and reclaim the room as theirs.

Thank you for reading! Don't forget: D.G.P. Rector's science fiction story "Devil in the Rain" will be available to read here on November 27th. Also: we'll be open to fiction submissions again on January 1st. The January submission window supplies the stories we publish between July and December, so if you get inspired by this year's holiday season to write a Christmas story, January is not too early to send it in (though we're unlikely to publish more than one Christmas story per year, no matter how many cats saunter through their digital pages).

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