Zehlreg A. Grindstone’s Spectacular Western Oddity Emporium Kickstarter Saddlin’ Up with Suzanna Lundale & Mark Tizura

Horror Tree
7 min readJun 18, 2024

Zehlreg A. Grindstone’s Spectacular Western Oddity Emporium Kickstarter

Saddlin’ Up with Suzanna Lundale & Mark Tizura

By Angelique Fawns



Sometimes a project looks like so much fun, you can’t help but hop on the stagecoach. The title alone might be the one of the best I’ve ever heard. This anthology promises stories where “the Wild West meets the vast worlds of Fantasy.”

Hello. Right up my corral.

Check out the Kickstarter here!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/grindstonesemporium/zehlreg-a-grindstones-spectacular-western-oddity-emporium

They were accepting stories from January till March of this year and I wanted to sub something, but didn’t have anything quite long enough, so I queried and got this response:

“Thanks for your interest. I think one of the things we’ve learned on our adventures is that rules make for manageability and must be flexible when need be. Turn away a promising author from her favorite genre in the universe? Not us.”

How can you not love editors like this? I sent in a strange piece about dragons who mountain race in a dwarf world in the throes of war, and it was accepted. I sat down with Suzanna Lundale to find out more about this “spectacular” project.

AF: How did you come up with the title of your anthology?

SL: We knew we wanted something big, over the top. I was picturing a general store, but full of the unexpected, with some of the energy of Wall Drug, in South Dakota, which is a delicious and weird cultural experience, and still has signs for many miles advertising “Free Ice Water.” I offered Zehlreg Grindstone’s Emporium as a base, and my co-editor, Marc Tizura, gave him the middle name Augustus and suggested the Spectacular Western Oddity. Boom. Zehlreg Augustus Grindstone’s Spectacular Western Oddity Emporium. It’s big, it’s over the top. Mission accomplished! (Sharp eyes may notice some homage to Wall Drug in one of our enamel pins.)



AF: Tell me more about the conception and mission statement of End of the World Publishing.

MT: World domination. laughs Seriously, it started as a hashtag game, Tales from the End of the World, that I created based on work I did at Columbia College with my sketch comedy friends, creating our own episodes of Twilight Zone. Later, I rebranded it as End of the World Productions, with the idea that people would submit stories and a voice actor would read them for a video production, and there were a few of those, but it was a lot for one person, wrangling submissions and trying to get the word out. I ended up putting it on a long hold.

SL: There’s a YouTube channel for all that, and it’s really cool. People should check it out. So then Marc and I became friends in 2022, and he told me about another idea he had, about a building that appears once a year. It’s inhabited by people who are in Hell. A single character would go through and hear their stories, and then find out he was their new neighbor. I said, “Let’s do it!” That was our first thematic anthology, The Hyperion: Tales from Hell, which came out in 2023. We decided to adapt the framework of End of the World as our base of operations, and will continue to put together thematic anthologies under that name.



AF: I see you are from Arizona. What sort of influence has this had on your project?

SL: I think quite a lot, actually. The American West has long been, and still is, even now, a place of cultures meeting, and often clashing. I’m the product of a white Scandinavian-American mom and a dark Mexican-American (what I grew up calling Chicano) dad, and genetics being what they are, I’m whiter than my mom, with red hair and green eyes. *chuckle* I’ve never been white enough for some folks or Mexican enough for others. I’ve *lived* that meeting and clash of cultures all my life. I also have an intimate appreciation for some of the landscapes of the West. Anyone who has seen the Arizona desert in all her seasons is blessed by a very special pantheon, indeed.



AF: What kind of stories did you end up choosing? Tell us about your criteria and what made for a successful acceptance.

SL: Oh, wow. We chose such an array of tales. I’ll start by explaining our process. Marc lives in Chicago, and I’m in North Carolina these days, so we can’t read them in the same room, but we still read every piece for the first time together. We read them as they come in, to avoid a backlog, so during submissions period, a couple of times a week, we sit down to read in tandem. Then we talk about it and decide yes/no/maybe. The “maybes” get reread later, once we’ve had time to think and reread.

We kind of expected people to stick with classic mainline big-F Fantasy tropes, like elves and dragons and magic, and we got a lot of that. Very quickly, though, we realized that a lot of folks had stories to tell that stretched that conception of fantasy wide open, and we’re so glad they did. There’s a Greek god struggling in a changed world. There’s Death on his pale horse, riding through Texas. There are vampires, leprechauns, elder gods, and ghosts, and so much more, besides.



AF: What advice do you have for writers submitting to your future anthologies?

SL: We have been, and always will be, looking for good stories, for rich characters, for surprising ideas, for images we want to reread for the sheer joy of it. Bring us that. We can work with authors to tweak an inconsistent bit here or a word choice there. That’s mostly my department, and it’s a lot of work, which I undertake with joy.



AF: Do you have a day job? Tell us about your own writing and future plans.

SL: We do both have day jobs, though I dream of being able to write, edit, and publish full time. Marc is a security guard at a fancy residential building in his native Chicago, which has given him a lot of material over the years. He’s written mostly horror and dark speculative fiction, as well as writing for years as Thanatos for the online collective In the Pantheon and as Dr. John Lafayette for the related site, In the Crescent. I’m currently editing the manuscript for book one of a speculative fiction trilogy called The Man from Grenin that Marc wrote, which we hope to have out later this year.

I work in the workplace ethics & compliance field, which is a corporate way of saying my company takes labor complaints. I do a lot of editing and a fair bit of translation work there, and I work entirely from home, so it’s a good fit for me. I’m working on a book of short stories featuring ghost whisperer Ambergris Jones, who will appear in my contribution to the anthology, as well as a speculative fiction novel involving a half-Hispanic kid alone in the world, a bunch of morally gray fae masquerading as carnies, and a traveling pop-up carnival. That might be finished in 2025, but those characters are very unruly, always pushing me somewhere other than I thought I was going, so really, it’s up to them. For those who like spicy romance, I also write as Sofia Gioconda (@LaSofiaGioconda on Twitter), mostly with a consortium of spicy authors I’ve been working with for 2 years now. We put out 3–4 collections a year, our next being Love Potion 69, out at the end of June. I have a story in that one about an author who falls in love with her main character. Madness, mayhem, and a spicy picnic scene ensue.



AF: What’s next up for End of the World Publishing?

SL: We have a whole list of ideas for future anthologies. We haven’t chosen one yet for next year, and a wild idea might appear between now and that decision, as this one did. We’ll publish Marc’s The Man from Grenin and my Ambergris Jones collection, and the path will appear as we go. We’ve also outlined and started writing a joint project based on his original idea about a house at the end of the world, where an exiled elder god played host to the survivors. I added some characters, including a sassy witch who has survived some impossible things and a modified version of Mothman. It’s speculative. It’s surreal. Hell, it’s just plain weird. And there I go, tooting our own horn. Stay tuned. Watch us. We’ll bring you some stories.





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