Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores
Hi there! I am interested in having a story critiqued. Where do I go about posting it?
Hi Rei. Thanks for your interest. For now the stories we are picking from to critique are ones that have been submitted during Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores’ regular submissions rounds, and that have included a note indicating interest in a critique.
We don’t know if or when we might expand past that.
Hello everyone! I’d like to announce that I’ve recently had a few short stories published. “Macrophages” is a psychological horror story with SF elements, and you can read it for free on Writerfield: https://writerfield.com/macrophages/. The full Aggregate anthology in which it originally appeared is available on Amazon as well: https://www.amazon.com/Aggregate-Stories-Intersection-Science-Fiction/dp/B084P21YSV/
My story “The Eternal War” was recently published in The Kyanite Press as well: https://www.amazon.com/Kyanite-Press-Winter-2020-Bass/dp/1949645975/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=kyanite+press&qid=1585749915&s=books&sr=1-2
Thanks a lot for your interest! If any other first readers had stories recently published I’d love to see.
– Erica Ciko Campbell
Congratulations! That’s awesome news!
It’s a great time for expanding your circle by taking a short online course. Many of them are run globally and are free. I can recommend FutureLearn, and other MOOCs.
Love this story! Great characters and as refreshing as tea 🙂
Aubrey stood at the very top of the obsidian tower. Below him stretched the vastness of the Desolate Wastes in every direction. Not even tumbleweed, zombies or even misshapen monstrosities dared venture out there any more.
Aubrey frowned deeply. It just won’t do. Something needed to be done, and done at once!
Here’s a link for 10 tips on keeping up creativity during the pandemic: https://blog.patreon.com/10-tips-for-creativity-during-global-pandemic
The gold dragon, he soars on a line,
A thread silver and ever so fine,
He isn’t a kite,
No threat to a knight,
At the throat of my lady he shines.
I’d give this one a vote:)
Nice! Love how this subverts expectations!
This one has a beautiful, almost classical Renaissance feel to it — not easy to do for a limerick!
Thank you all for the kind words 🙂
The mead was near gone from my flagon
When I revealed my true love was a dragon
It could have gone ill
But from up on the hill
He came and carried me off tail a’waggin’
Hi, sorry, I meant the last line to be a little different:
The mead was near gone from my flagon
When I revealed my true love was a dragon
It could have gone ill
But from up on the hill
He swooped down and carried me off tail a’waggin’
LOL! Lovely. Very Mercedes Lackey, I’m thinking.
Thanks! I’m glad you liked it 🙂
Do not take a wrong turn in this cave,
Even if thou art clever and brave,
For my sharp teeth and claws
And my flame-spewing jaws
Will will send you to a smouldering grave
Definitely not a cave to wander into…
Woo. I like this. Good pacing and imagery. 🙂
Zoinks! Powerful imagery!
Here’s a link to Andrea Bocelli singing in the cathedral of Milan on Easter Sunday. He dedicated this to everyone, the whole world, because in the midst of the pandemic he wanted to offer hope and comfort.
In the hills lived a pair of poor weavers.
When their well started boiling with steamers,
They looked low and looked high,
Found a dragon nearby,
Changed their sign from “Fine Wool” to “Dry Cleaners.”
Awesome! Love this. Definitely receives my vote 🙂
“Dragon Named Hound”
There once was a dragon named Hound
Who plowed with whatever he “found”.
When he stole from the bard,
The man was quite scarred.
“Stop draggin’ my harp around!”
LOL! Stop dragging my…stop dragging my harp around!
One vote from me!
Love it, Rebecca! Thanks for popping over!
Thank you to all who entered and participated. The excellent entries delighted Fran, our CRES editor, so much so that an additional prize of a free subscription to CRES is being awarded.
Such great entries caused some debate among the judges, with them split over those entries that subverted expectations and the traditional limerick.
In the end, TWO winners were chosen: MORGAN WELCH and REBECCA R PIERCE. Congratulations you two:-D Please email me at TheQuester2020 at gmail dot com for your badges and prize.
Looking forward to our next Open Mic Challenge…with some added surprises for those who’ll participate! Stay tuned and stay safe!
Thanks so much and congrats to Rebecca too!
Oh ship of Earth
Oh ship of Sky
Do not, I beg you, pass me by.
Take me with you when you go
Into the bright day’s dawning glow
They watch through the portholes. He looms from the dark.
The lights on his hull advertise R&R.
He docks and the MotherShip opens her doors,
Allowing her raucous crew to disembark.
She waits in the silence while they drink at the bar
And chill in the holosuites. Thunderous applause
Follows the androids’ contortionist feats.
They squander their wages then stagger back home
To the still-waiting MotherShip, thanking their hosts,
Complaining it’s over, but enjoying clean sheets
And nutritious meals. Meanwhile, beyond the dome
Of the observation deck, the other ship coasts
Into the black without hailing ‘Goodbye’.
The trinkets are lost and the memories fade
But the MotherShip provides and holds their course true.
The crew never thanks her. Standardized days tick by
And she toils without reprieve or accolade
Until those bright lights return, long overdue.
Love the world building and strong message.
Waiting for Mother
I die a little every 182 minutes,
waiting, watching her pass by
with so much life inside –
bone-white against a teal sky,
mothership in orbit. She,
no bigger than a grain of rice
from my buglike perspective –
standing on an ancient glacier,
a wind-swept ice-blue river
of brittle frozen crystals,
looking up – still waiting.
Last night, I felt the darkness stir,
timeworn and pregnant with fear;
I am here, restless in the stillness,
look down, mother – look down.
I like the imagery of the glacier. Great sense of drama and story. I’d like to know more about the lonely soul.
Wow, beautiful piece!
Wow, this one is good.
The Spider (A Haiku)
Hark! It watches me
From the wall of my shower;
I scream for mother.
LOL! Fun. But I don’t see how it fits the theme of Mothership.
I guess the mother is like a whole supportive ship that she can rely on in a spider crisis.
My daughter also has me ‘take care’ of spider problems, although when she lived in southern Japan she had to deal with huge monster spiders usually by herself.
Ah, I see it now, like an extension or inversion of the Earth as mother concept.
Wow! Didn’t know there were monster spiders in Japan. They’re everywhere! Guessing spiders are going to be the first hitchhikers into space on our crafts…hopefully not the monster ones!
Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a excellent job with this. Additionally, the blog loads very quick for me on Opera. Outstanding Blog!
Thanks so much Marci!! We’re so happy you enjoyed your visit to our site. Please visit again! 🙂
Awesome! Congrats, Chovwe!
There once was a challenge about Time
It asked us to make up a Rhyme
But though I worked hard over it
I just had to quit
‘Cause the result was far from sublime
Nice one, Absinthe 🙂 Truth beats sublime, any time!
Just wanted to let you know that I’ve started a new feature on my blog to help creatives overcome blocks and other agonizing aspects creating or getting your work out there. It’s called Dear Agonist Aunt and works on the Agony Aunt column you used to get in newspapers way back when.
Here’s the link to the 3rd set of letters: https://leennascreativebox.com/2020/06/24/dear-agonist-aunt-sulking-character-photo-op-or-not/
You’re welcome to send in a letter yourself if you find these posts helpful:-D
hi, your post is perfect.Following your articles.
I thought I should get a T-shirt: “My grandmother (that I never met) died, and all I got is this lousy black cat.”
Yeah, I know, too long for a T-shirt.
“You will take care of Lucifer,” Mother said when she came back from the funeral.
Grandmother Reynard (that’s my mother’s maiden name) was always a stranger to me. Mother won’t talk about the fallout. Something about father. Gran Reynard was never fond of him. Prescient, in retrospect: he walked out when I was seven.
Anyway, Mother placed the cat cage in my room, and retreated to hers.
I looked at the creature. Lucifer was admittedly a cool name, but I never was a cat person.
“You will be,” the cat said.
I stared at it. A strangled cry escaped my lips.
“No hysterics, please” he said. “Can you let me out?”
“What—what are you?”
“Witch’s familiar. Let me out, it won’t take long.”
“Your legacy. Will you open the cage?”
I undid the clasp, opened the door, and fell back as Lucifer came out.
“I’m to give you what’s yours,” he said. “Your Grandmother wanted to be sure you’d have it.”
I felt dizzy. “My mother—”
“She’s got hers from her grandmother. That’s the way. Now look in my eyes.”
I didn’t want to, but I did it. They were very green.
It was like being hit by lightning. As power surged inside me, everything became clear.
It really did not take long.
So I won’t need that T-shirt anyway, see? I’m more into the Goth thing, right now. Black lipstick and striped stockings and all that. And before you ask, Mother approves.
We often go out together, to meet the dark things in the wood.
She borrows my lipstick, sometimes.
I love the “No hysterics, please.” Sounds like a great familiar!
They usually say’ a family that plays together stays together,’
but in this case it’s
‘A family that does spells together does well together.;
Fly off and have a good time you guys!
She’s spun a web around four lovers now.
I try to warn them.
We must cuddle all night. Or else!
They think it’s a weird quirk
until they’re entombed in her web.
Eight eyes wait until morning
to watch my reaction.
Are they okay?
Two have mostly recovered.
The last two forgot. That’s progress.
Maybe I should get a cat.
Intriguing and strong first line 🙂
Sarah opened her door to find a large white and orange cat looking proud and puffed over a disemboweled bird, its entrails spread head to tail and wing tip to wing tip.
“Eww! Why do you keep bringing me dead things? You’re not even my cat.”
The cat’s pupils constricted before he darted in.
The cat whipped around. “What?”
“You talk? Am I losing it?”
“No, but I might if you don’t figure your shit out. You understand me because I’m your familiar. I’ve been dropping major hints.”
Sarah shook her head. “But…”
“But what? I worked hard on sacrificial rituals for you. I admit the first one, the mouse, was kind of phoning it in—nothing special, but I upped my game to a newt. Do you know how hard it is to find a newt? And how many spells, the eyes alone are good for?” His spine undulated.
“I capture a wild newt. Kill it and lay it out in the traditional manner. There’s no scratch of appreciation, no bowl of cream. No, you tell me to get lost.”
He stepped toward her. “What do I do? I try again—with a baby songbird to help you find your voice, take flight toward your calling, soar beyond whatever is holding you back. Do you have any idea how protective hatchling parents are? Or how bad I felt about it? At least until momma and daddy bird started scratching and pecking the crap out of me. I have scars and bald patches that may never grow back.”
He sat, wound his tail around his legs and looked into Sarah’s eyes.
“Bottom line, we’re done pussyfooting around. You’re a witch and I’m your familiar, so go get me some God damn tuna fish and let’s get on with it.”
Interesting, though I’m not sure I’d want to live with such an overbearing familiar!
“Where do I know you from?” Jamie asked, eyeing the strange bird perched atop the fence. It wasn’t unusual to see a bird on a fence in this town, but it was weird to see one like this. It looked exotic, like something out of a rain forest, not suburbia. Yet somehow, it didn’t seem out of the ordinary to Jamie when it landed, staring at him knowingly. He felt like he knew the bird somehow. Jamie approached with caution,not wanting to scare it. “You look familiar.”
“Precisely,” a female voice said from behind him.
“I’m sorry?” Jamie said, turning around.
“Right again,” the woman told him, brushing thick red hair from her face. It was then that Jamie recognized her and realized where he knew the bird from. He had met her at the Halloween party last night. She was peculiar and talking to the bird like it was a person. Jamie decided she was nuts and steered clear but not before snagging the amulet she dropped. He figured she was drunk or high and she would never know, but now he was questioning his judgment.
“I would just give it back and apologize,” the bird said. Jamie’s eyes darted to the creature, then back to the woman.
“He can make his own decisions, Clarence,” the woman said with a wink. She extended her hand, palm up.
Jamie frowned. “Pawn shop. Sorry.”
Clarence left the fence and pulled the amulet from his pocket with its beak. The woman shook her head and snapped her fingers. Where Jamie had stood was now a simple field mouse.
“No one likes liars,” she said.
LOL! No one likes liars! Unusual familiar and I like the interaction between them and their witch 🙂
Woo. If only he had told the truth. Maybe she’ll turn Jamie human again once hes learned his lesson. I like the name Clarence for an exotic bird familiar.
“Familiar’s Night Off”
In the deep velvet dark
Of midnight on All Hallows Eve,
The black cat is invisible
Except for the glint of her eyes
When they catch a sliver of moonlight.
It suits her to walk in silence,
Shedding her secret glamors
On this night when the veil is thin
and magic most potent is rife in the air.
Ah, such scents!
Deep as earth, these pungent powers,
Lying like ozone on the fallen leaves.
They renew her spirit, replenish the wellspring
of her otherworldly essence.
At dawn she will play human again
Walking in partnership with the one she chose to answer.
But tonight, as moonlight waxes and wanes,
She will be
Her old familiar self.
Beautiful! I think we all need to replenish ourselves like this being. Love: ‘It suits her to walk in silence.’
Thank you kindly!
“Shedding her secret glamors”!! Good line. I can just imagine it!
My Beloved Familiar
The best I know of magic is in this bond —
his indifferent affection protects
and shields me from harm
so much about him of which I am fond
His incredible scent of tea and spiced fur
his resonant and healing motorcycle purr
heals more than his injuries,
it cleanses surrounding space
He’s taught me how low decibel sound
protects with persistent, subtle grace
He sees the unseen and teaches me how to look
for interstitial realms spilling out of a nook
for dimensional wrinkles beyond my eyes
that unfurl with a breath or a directed sigh
More than facilitator he’s protector too
teaching by example what to do
to shift reality and reimagine time
to find treasures transcendent and sublime.
Akua Lezli Hope
Oh wow! I love the emotion and imagery in this. ‘Cleansing space with his purr…’ That would explain a lot!
This is beautiful. And what a great familiar!
In the still of the night,
I open the door.
Autumn leaves blow across the full moon.
Softly, on feet of silk,
Velvet Midnight black as space
Pads in through my door.
Nice 🙂 I wonder what adventures were had in that full moon…
And here I am in the comments with a letter to Cupid 😀
Dearest Cupid, fuser of hearts,
who shoots future beloveds with Love’s darts.
May your sight be as clear as your aim,
and your judgement bright as love’s flame.
Match me with a kind one,
an easy to find one.
Match me with a beautiful soul,
an understanding and wise old soul.
Shoot us soon and make love bloom
even if our first date is to be on Zoom.
Yes! I think this is not only a fun poem, but on target, hits the bullseye one might say, for what are the good things to ask Cupid for.
LOL! Aww thanks, Absinthe! And for the pun, too 😀 Yes, I think it’s good to be careful what we ask of Cupid.
Very Apt for the current situation…I am using your poem for me when I talk to cupid. Thankyou
It’s a pleasure, Lakshmi. Thanks so much 🙂
Love this, sounds appropriate for a Valentine’s toast!
LOL! Thanks, Pamela 🙂
There was a young lady from Delhi
who fell in love with my belly.
An arrow of Cupid
had made her quite stupid
and she turned herself into lime jelly.
I just decided to make myself at home in the belly as I was making my way to your heart.
Make yourself at home
among the domestic comforts
of my digestion please.
And when I have worked out
how to swallow my head
I will join you down there
in my belly’s bed.
LOL! Thanks for the limerick, Rhys Hughes. It’s great to have one. Though I doubt it was Cupid’s intention to turn people in the curse of every trifle, but one never knows.
I know you hate talk but when you hold me close
It’s like a thousand words of the sweetest prose
Well, more like five and two thirds
So, you’re a man of few words
And I don’t like numbers I suppose!
Nice! I like your take on actions speaking a thousand words, Maithreyi. 😀
Cupid noticed two teens outside of a high school. The boy was talking to his friends, the girl had her back on him, ignoring him and talking to her best friend.
Smiling impishly, Cupid went for his quiver. Alas, he had run out of arrows! He should go back to Mount Olympus to get more!
Nah, he’ll make do with what he had. He looked around, unsure. There were so many things one could throw around him!
Then the boy grabbed a pebble and threw it at the girl with anger, but his aim was all wrong and he missed her.
Cupid had an idea, and quickly made a slingshot, then looked for the right pebbles. There were none available, so he carved some. Soon he had a neat little stash of heart-shaped pebbles, ready to be used instead of arrows.
Cupid set up his ambush, covered by a double invisibility veil.
Here was the boy! Aiming truly, Cupid shot. The boy scolded his friends who protested it wasn’t them.
Here was the girl! Cupid aimed again. She yelped, cursed the boy, then a pebble and threw it at the boy, hitting him because she had better aim.
He turned around, furious, and they finally started talking, no, screaming at each other.
It wasn’t working? Cupid was both surprised and disappointed.
Suddenly the two shut up and just stared at each other, no longer angry.
Much better. Cupid smiled. He put the heart-shaped pebbles in a small pouch and went back to Mount Olympus, happy with himself.
Except the pebbles didn’t actually work.
Cupid sighed. He used his arrows and then he got rid of his heart-shaped pebbles, since they were useless.
So remember, if you find a heart-shaped pebble, it’s one of Cupid’s and it could have hit you!
Thanks for the flash fiction, Barb. What a great observation of teenagers and Cupid’s experimentation. Now, I don’t know whether I’d feel sad finding a heart-shaped stone or not!
I don’t have it like I used to,
or maybe it’s the reefer slowing
For me there will always be
an underground, or used to be,
before I survived.
What kept you sane all these years?
Come and visit and we’ll talk,
I should have said.
I do hope you get that talk, Al Simmons. Thanks for your entry!
Cupid’s arrow left his bow
More than 18 years ago,
How it happened, I cannot say;
Perhaps his arrow went astray?
For though we were miles apart,
We were connected, heart to heart.
So we’ve remained, through good times and bad,
Side by side, in happy times and sad,
Because the God of love’s grace
Ignores the laws of time and space
And the gift Cupid is giving
Cares not how far apart your living.
I love this! 🙂
I’m of the same mind as Barb on this, Tori 😀 Thanks!
Congratulations, Tori! You’re our Eros Challenge winner! Please send me an email at:
so I can send you badge and other prizes.
YAY! Sorry I was slow to see this, but thanks so much! Just eMailed you… The sender will probably be listed as “Victoria Zigler”
Got it! Will be sending you your goodies shortly 😀 Congrats again. Looking forward to your entries for our future challenges 🙂
Not quite a limerick, but it will do 😀
When Johnny planted his first apple seed,
he didn’t know how things would be.
He wandered far and wide,
often without a guide,
until he realized what the land might need.
Nice! It shows how big things can end up happening from just one first seed!
If we all went around planting seeds the world would be a better place:)!
Johnny gave his friend Davy Crockett
Apple recipes in a locket.
He said, “Davy, I don’t lie,
Apple cider and pie
Are gifts from the sky!”
Because though he set apple trees bloomin’.
Johnny was not human.
He’d arrived on a rocket
With alien seeds in his pocket.
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