The first issue of Emerald Tales is available for order here. I got my contributor's copy yesterday. Usually I only read my story in any given contributor's copy, and sometimes one or two others if they look interesting--short stories aren't my favorite--but I read all of Emerald Tales. I wanted to see how the other authors handled the "follow the butterflies" theme.
The issue starts off with Erika Tracy's beautifully written "A Search Dog's Tryptych," which made me cry. It's my favorite story in the whole issue, worth the price of admission on its own if you ask me. My next favorite is Catherine J. Gardner's surreal "Empty Box Motel." Both those stories actually take the same approach to the theme, and they're both full of brilliant imagery--lush and earthy in Tracy's case, bright and sharp in Gardner's--but they could not possibly be more different.
Most of the stories contain literal butterflies, except for Arthur Carey's "Wedding Present" (a darkly funny story) and my own SF story "Cult of the Butterfly" (where the butterflies are aliens). I was a little disappointed by that, but each author used their butterflies a little differently. I didn't love all of the stories, but most of them aren't speculative in nature and that lowers my interest level right there. I'm looking forward the next issue in a few months; its theme is "masks, or things are not what they seem."
Wow, look at that. I actually reviewed something in more than three words.