Read it for free in this month’s issue of Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine.
I know there has to be at least one person out there who’s craving a new Old Zyrgoth story. Well, here you go: Crow Song For a Blood Spine by Morgan Argor is now live on Penumbric’s website.
I wrote this story ages ago, to the point where I can’t remember whether it was a year and a half or three. It’s one of my older works that I always believed in. After receiving a personalized rejection from the cult classic Tales From the Magician’s Skull on one of my first submissions of that story, I knew not to give up on it. I think I got something like 40 rejections before Penumbric finally picked it up.
For anyone new to the cosmic nightmare sideshow, I wrote a novel that reveals the hidden history of a distant world once called Old Zyrgoth. In many short stories such as Crow Song, I expand on the hidden history of this alternate universe.
I always thought it was kind of funny that so many of the short stories like The Prince of Murk and Rot or The Jester of Arathos are floating around out there with zero context. Murk and Rot was published in All Worlds Wayfarer years ago, and The Jester was about a year and a half ago in Mythic. I’ve just reposted both stories on my own site because I get no revenue if you purchase those books from the publisher. More importantly, I just want them to be read. Contemplated.
While The Jester takes place at the dawn of time, and The Prince of Murk and Rot occurs many aeons later . . . Crow Song for a Blood Spine is somewhere in the middle. The Black Ages certainly weren’t young when Grim King Azgoroth von Marduk, Arch-Nemesis of Silvenmyr and Breaker of Blood-Drenched Mirrors ruled Old Zyrgoth in the name of fear and eternal chaos. But there’s still a huge gap between this story and the start of Ralyn’s adventure in “The Last Grim King”.
Speaking of which, I’m tired of holding out on that. I’ve had a significant increase in agent interest this time around, and I know with persistence this time I’ll find someone to help my story find the place in history that it deserves. I’ve already been close, and I’m still very early on in my true agent search. The response has been overwhelmingly neutral-to-positive and I’m getting way more full requests and personal feedback. But it’s a weird book, and I’m still looking for someone who can get their hands wet with the blood of Old Zyrgoth and then shake hands with men in suits at publishing companies on my behalf.
I don’t care about it like I once did–about the ultimate destiny of the book, about getting an agent. I know the book will be remembered. I know my writing has already changed people’s lives. It will survive or it won’t. Natural Selection.
Lately, I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time just writing short, slipstream-style pieces that I don’t finish–or odd little snippets that aren’t ready to share just yet. Writing isn’t my top priority at the moment because I’ve gone back to school, and at the moment I just don’t feel that surge of inspiration that makes for truly great work.
The Starless Timeline is starting to feel stagnant, which I hate, so maybe I should force myself to write something from the far future of All Dysnomia . . . So far away that it doesn’t spoil anything, just like these stories about the distant past of a universe that never was.
Or was it?
Kick back, relax, and enjoy Crow Song For a Blood Spine. There are worse places you could be: Places our dear protagonist is about to experience in stunning 667-bit technicolor.