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This month I selected five stories for our OUTSIDERS theme. At least two of the stories are by authors for whom these are their first published stories: Richard Durisen’s “The Pop-Up Book” and Colin Bashford’s “Mean Monsters.” Both of those stories touch on some familiar elements from the horror genre but do so in radically different ways. Richard’s story is poignant; Colin’s is amusing. We have two fantasy stories this month, “Knave of Crows” by Rachel Anding and “The Peregrin” by Tracey Ambrose. Finally, William Rotor brings us “Implicit” — is it fantasy? science fiction? horror? — a case could be made for any of those. The genre, though, is not the key element, but the connection between the pseudonymous youths in the story.

Choosing the stories this month was quite challenging as we had over 50 submissions. There were stories I enjoyed which didn’t end up making the final list of selections and I’m proud to present all five of these stories. I’m also pleased that we have writers who are currently living in four different countries in this issue — Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States.

Finally, I’d like to let people who are considering submitting to Kazka Press know about some updates to our guidelines. We’ve increased our pay rate to $15 per story and we’ve also loosened up some of the submission formatting guidelines. In addition, all of the themes which we have announced are open for submissions as of this moment. So that means that right now there are SIX different themes for which you could submit a story! The first of those, OUT OF TIME, will be the basis for our November issue.

I hope that you enjoy reading these stories as much as I did. If you do, please comment on the stories and/or share them on Facebook and Twitter. I know it means a lot to authors to see people appreciating their work.

Until next month,
-Michael Haynes

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This is LLL. Any problems this month, blame me…not Michael.

This month, logistically, has been less than stellar. My wife and I have had the chance to spend a month and  half together traveling, and we took advantage. [We live in separate cities Sept.-Dec. and Feb.-June, so we only get weekends together most of the year.] As such, I’ve been away from home and from Kazka–which has put Michael in a bind since I’m the only one with Kazka email access.

He’s been a true gentleman, but I know it’s been frustrating for everyone.

Thus, last month, though Michael read all the stories, only the folks we accepted for publication this month got a response. Every one else got the ‘silent rejection.’ No email. Nothing. (Though all the stories were diligently read by Michael.) Shitty, I know, but it is what it is.

That was my fault. Not Michael’s. Hanging out with my wife took all of my time.

I am sorry about leaving those of you who expect a response from us–as we do every month–in the dark. This is a two man show, and we do it out of love for the great stories we find. And we do it in our free time. (Michael more artfully than I.)

So, every so often, I’ll drop the ball. It’s always me. Never Michael.

In an effort to change this, we’re shifting our submission address to kazkasubs@gmail.com. We’ll check both for a while, but then we’ll shift over fully to kazkasubs@gmail.com so that Michael has access to the account and can reply at will (instead of praying that I’m able to). You can submit to either address for at least the next two issues.

It’ll be better for everyone this way.

So, to close, I apologize for dropping the ball with rejection letters this month (and a delayed issue).

My wife is more important to me than anything, and sometimes everything else falls away.

I’m not apologizing for that part.

Best,

L. Lambert Lawson

Publisher

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Thanks for joining us for our May issue. We have three stories on the theme of The Missing Piece, each with a very different feel. Amanda M. Hayes returns to our pages with “Nine Thousand Pieces.” Deirdre Coles examines a couple on the edge in “Bloodletting,” and Swedish artist George Cotronis appears here with his debut short story, “Last Rites.”

We’re open for submissions for the June issue, this time on the theme of “Slipping Through Time.” We will also be announcing our next three themes in the very near future.

Thanks again for joining us and I hope that you enjoy this month’s selections.

-Michael Haynes

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PLEASE SUPPORT OUR GREAT WRITERS, AND OUR PRESS, BY PURCHASING:
At Year’s End: SFF Holiday Stories – $2.99 on Kindle

STORIES from Beth Cato, Alex Shvartsman, Matthew Johnson, Alicia Cole, Michael H. Payne, and Many More!

- – -

I am beyond excited to publish this issue…and also a bit sad.

Excited because of these STUNNING stories based on our ‘And you think razor wire will keep me out?’ prompt:

David L Clements: Brane Surgery

Michael Haynes: Act of Penance

Lyn Thorne-Alder: Higher Walls, Sharper Wire

Linda Palund: The Beholder of Io

Anna Ilona Mussmann: The Hum of Refuge

Sad because this is my last issue as editor, curating the monthly issues. Work at my college is ramping up, and I need to place much more of my attention there. I’ll still be around as Editor-In-Chief, but that’s more titular than anything else. I will pay the bills, write blog posts, and keep the site going.

But someone else will be selecting the stories. Someone awesome.

Kazka Press’ monthly 713 Flash feature is in good hands with Michael Haynes, who has agreed to take over as Editor. [You'll notice Michael has a story in this issue--his last with us, sadly. Stories are read blind, and we didn't know we'd picked Michael's story until the author reveal. I take it as a sign we're going the right direction with Michael at the helm. We like his work, and we know he'll select excellent fiction for us moving forward.] He’s a class act, a wonderful writer, and the perfect person to step into this role.

I’ve enjoyed bringing fiction to you these past 15 months. What a ride it’s been. Now, I’m excited to discover, with you, what Michael uncovers. So get writing!

Keep after the dream,

LLL

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Our newest collection, At Year’s End, is available on the Kindle and Nook systems for only $2.99! What a steal for these wonderful stories! Here’s the lineup for this trim, slim, and kicking’ volume:

A UNICORN FOR CHRISTMAS (c) 2012 by Beth Cato

WHEN FRIENDS COME TO CALL (c) 2012 by Zach Shephard

AUTUMN WAITS (c) 2012 by Ken MacGregor

NUCLEAR FAMILY (c) 2012 by Alex Shvartsman, reprinted by permission of author

THE CHRISTMAS ZOMBIE (c) 2012 by James S. Dorr

MISSION LOG, DAY 67 (c) 2012 by Lance Schonberg

RESOLUTION (c) 2012 by Amanda M. Hayes

THE CONJURER (c) 2012 by Alicia Cole

NATIVITY (c) 2012 by Brandon Alspaugh

HISTORY LESSONS (c) 2012 by Sandra McDonald

GIFTED (c) 2012 by Dan Hart

MISTLETOE (c) 2012 by Casey Peterson

NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION (c) 2012 by Katherine Sparrow

THEY WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (c) 2012 by James Aquilone

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER (c) 2012 by Michael H. Payne

THE GREATEST TIGER LANTERN OF ALL (c) 2012 by J. Deery Wray

A VISIT, A GIFT (c) 2012 by Matthew Johnson

ELECTRIC HATSUYUME (c) 2012 by Deborah Walker

A REASON TO LINGER (c) 2012 by Alexis A. Hunter

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Our December 2012 issue, where you wrote stories on our theme ‘An Unexpected Guest for the Holidays’ is released. Please enjoy these wonderful stories from three writers new to our pages:

William Cheshire: The Seven-Faced Bird

Stephen Gordon: Eyes Like Dark Chocolate

William R. D. Wood: Jolly and Old

In addition to these stories, we have some news. As you might notice, there’s not a short story in this issue. We’ve elected to discontinue our short story feature and, instead, focus on our flash and ebook features. We’ve released all submitted stories back to their authors, but if you didn’t get that email, please know that we’ve released all short stories submitted to us back to their authors.

Also, we’re looking for an editor. I will continue to publish Kazka Press, but I’d like a fresh voice selecting 713 flash stories for our issues. If you’re interested, please email me. llambertlawson [at] gmail [dot] com.

Until then, enjoy writing for our January 2013 theme!

Best,

LLL

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