Press Release: Issue #1 Cozy Contents!

I’m excited to have a story in this upcoming magazine. It’s a story dear to my heart, and I’m glad it found a home where its aesthetic and vibe fit right in with the editorial mission.

Wyngraf

Wyngraf Announces Cozy First Issue

Wyngraf, a new magazine of cozy fantasy fiction, has released the story lineup for its inaugural issue.

Cozy fantasy is having a moment. Readers are curling up with tales of community and family, featuring lush settings and low stakes. Into this growing movement comes Wyngraf, a magazine dedicated to cozy fantasy in all its forms. With the carefully curated selection of tales in its first issue, Wyngraf gives cozy fans what they’re looking for, welcomes curious new readers, and helps define the genre itself.

I’m thrilled to showcase the range of cozy fantasy in the first issue of Wyngraf. From old pros to rising stars, our writers are as diverse as their stories—the one thing they have in common is talent!

Nathaniel Webb, Wyngraf Editor-in-Chief

The Wyngraf wordmark

The table of contents for Wyngraf #1 is…

  • “The Perils of Living with Your…

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Poppins and Pennywise

I came across this Facebook post that made a convincing argument that Mary Poppins and Pennywise the Clown (the monster from Stephen King’s It) were members of the same species. In my head, the story immediately started writing itself:

“Spin your little nightmares all you like,” Poppins said. “But I expect my charges back in their beds by 9 o’clock.” She rapped Pennywise on the head with her umbrella. “Intact, mind you.”

“Oooh,” Pennywise said, his eyes widening to the size of saucers. “And what if I took one teensy weensy BITE, Maaary? A spoonful of sugar, and all.”

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Wordle Is Humane Technology

I listen to a podcast called “Your Undivided Attention” by a group called The Center For Humane Technology. Their core premise is that technologists should be using technology to help people achieve their own goals instead of hacking behavioral science to addict them to devices and programs.

It made me think of the game Wordle that is sweeping through our feeds. It’s an example, I think, of Humane Technology. By limiting its play to once a day (for 5-15 minutes, usually), it resists aiming for success metrics of constant engagement. It’s not about ads. The way you share your results isn’t even a direct means of promotion–there’s no link or tracker. (It’s telling that this was created by a software developer for his girlfriend.) It succeeds by being a short, daily delight.

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All the Best Stories Are Endings

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

“Closing Time,” Semisonic

“There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”

The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan

Sometimes, someone articulates an idea that has been rattling around in your brain with such simple clarity, that it unlocks a new way of looking at familiar things. That’s what Darren Mooney did in The Escapist Magazine when he said that all of The Lord of the Rings is one big ending.

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The Wheel of Time Season One Finale Predictions

Season one of Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time has two episodes left. The show has departed in significant enough ways from the books that I don’t know how the season will end–and that means that it’s time for SPECULATION THAT I ALWAYS GET WRONG. That’s how I have fun with this stuff–seeing how well I can glom onto what the showrunners are doing. There will be SPOILERS for season 1, episodes 1 through 6 of Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time, and some spoilers from Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. (This post will be updated with what I got right and wrong after the episodes air.)

[UPDATED with the results of Episode 7]

[UPDATED with the results of Episode 8]

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Scared of Bees (full text)

by Rajiv Moté (Fiction, 3,400 words)

Aryeh Levin picked up the newspaper from his driveway to see how the world would disappoint him today. “Rockets Break Cease-Fire.” Well what else would they do? When your only tool is a sword, every problem looks like a neck. Sarah saw vindication in the headlines, never a sign we ought to do better. But on this side of the world, the morning street was quiet. The big houses lining it were variations of his own, with tidy lawns, shady trees, and gardens dappling the green with a Crayola box of blooms. A summer breeze carried their scents. Here, there was enough room to live and let live. He had resisted moving here. Places like this were walled gardens in a complicated world. He encouraged his students to start their adult lives and careers outside such walls. But Aryeh came to agree with Sarah that this was where Dina should grow up. In this neighborhood, on this block, Dina could learn what civilization could be, before her generation had to rescue it.

Aryeh returned a wave from a neighbor, the father of Dina’s friend, the bossy little one with pigtails. He started climbing the stairs to the porch when something strafed in front of his nose. He jerked back, stumble-hopping down a step. It was a bee. The porch was swarming with them.

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Eternals Is a Parable of Middle Management

SPOILERS for the 2021 Marvel movie Eternals

Now that I’ve noted what Eternals is not, it’s worth spending some time on what it is. Eternals is a story about the gods of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And about the gods of those gods. And I can’t help but see it as a parable about organizations with layers of management, and how quickly those layers can become disconnected and unaligned. Maybe I’ve just been a middle manager who has gone through one too many reorgs or acquisitions, but hear me out.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the godlike Celestials charge the somewhat-godlike Eternals with protecting the nascent humans of Earth from an extraterrestrial predator species, the Deviants. The Eternals are not to interfere in any other conflict. But the Eternals live among the humans, and develop sympathy for them. They roll up their sleeves and work with humans, romance them, and build families with them. They chafe against the injunction against protecting humanity against its worst instincts, and are sometimes horrified by what their non-interference AND their interference produces over the span of millennia. In either case, they become emotionally invested. That is, except the leaders among the Eternals, who commune with the Celestials. These upper rung managers know what the Celestials are doing, and know that it’s best not to get too attached.

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Every Day Is a Miracle (full text)

by Rajiv Moté (Flash fantasy, 500 words)

Palms slide on palms, knuckles bump. Tail lights turn the corner. The stereo’s thump fades into the city. Bayard stands at the mouth of the dark alley. His smile dies.

The English accented voiceover says the gazelles know there are lions nearby. See how they keep watch. Tense.

Predators hunt here. Shapeshifters: Adze. But after a night of swagger, your friends don’t walk you to your door. “You can’t live in fear,” they say. But they do. Every damn day. The mayor wants more police, but police can’t tell Adze from human beings. Everyone’s a predator. Everyone’s prey.

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Dragonmount and The Wheel of Time

I’ve been a regular (paid!) columnist for The Wheel of Time fan site, Dragonmount, since 2020. As the site’s crew works through a surge of renewed interest in Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series in the days leading up to Amazon Prime Video’s TV adaptation (November 19!), I’m expanding my duties to join Dragonmount’s podcast series.

This is so exciting for me. For three decades I’ve delighted in writing and talking about The Wheel of Time, and now I get to do it under the sponsorship of Tor Books and our wonderful supporters on Patreon.

On the eve of the Amazon Prime Video show premier, I want to re-surface my first columns of “Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern” for folks new to the series–books or television. (These will continue to be catalogued in the “Non-Fiction” section of my Published page.)

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