Just got finished reading the special SF/F/H edition of Emerald Tales #1: Follow the Butterflies. Need to spend a moment here talking about the physical aspects of the magazine, because they impressed me. If you're not going to go in the direction of an ultra-sleek store magazine feel, this is the way to do it. The magazine has an antique string binding and a spackled cover with very adorable stylized butterflies on it. Each page has a faint greyed-out impression of the butterfly, which I first found a little distracting, but it quickly faded into the woodwork (ahem ... pun intended?) and it was nice flavor.
What impressed me most was how many different ways there were to "follow the butterflies." Some of the stories took it literally; one took it as a bellwether of the apocalypse; one as a metaphorical pursuit of beauty ... impressive work with the theme.
I think my favorites were "The End of the World: A User's Guide," "The Return of the Supes," and "How To Mount and Frame Fairies" which is ... morbidly hysterical. I was a little disappointed not to find any secondary world fantasy, but perhaps in future editions ...
I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed most of the poetry, considering that I am usually not very fond of free verse. They definitely have cadence, rhythm and mystery. (I am little concerned about my own poetry sub for the next issue, though. It's structured form, which is my passion in poetry. Hope just the form-i-ness doesn't turn the editor off.)
If I had a critique, I think that White Butterfly might not have been the best opening. It's a short, crisp, clean story - and I enjoyed it - but it's more slipstream than hardcore fantasy, and I sort of feel as if a special issue of SF/F/H needs to start with a, "WE ARE HERE!" to the genre elements. ;-)
This is worth picking up. I only wish it were longer!