So last night and this morning I got the go-ahead to share two very exciting bits of news that came to fruition in the month following the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter.
First, I’m pleased to announce the sale of my novel, tentatively titled The Black Fire Concerto, to Black Gate. The few and proud who have followed my blog entries this past year have heard me refer to this work as the “Claire-dare novel.” That’s because my wonderful friend and colleague Claire Cooney, who writes as C.S.E., solicited this work from me late last fall (and just spent the last four months editing it, bless her heart.)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where magic works, ghouls walk and fox-people populate hidden cities, my book chronicles the adventures of a sorceress, musician and sharpshooter named Olyssa, told from the point of view of Erzelle, a young harpist whom Olyssa rescues from a death cult and ends up taking under her wing.
The book is an experiment on two fronts: Black Gate intends to tackle the e-book market, so that’s the form in which Black Fire Concerto will first appear. (No publication date’s set at the moment; there’s a lot still to do to reach that point.) Second, inspired by Black Gate’s sword and sorcery roots, Black Fire Concerto is an effort on my part to capture that Elric and Moonglum/Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser feel — filtered through my own dark and twisty sensibilities, of course — and thus it’s not a solid brick of a novel, but rather two episodes, a free standing novelette (The Red Empress) followed by a two-part short novel (Bone Mosaics/Burning Horses.) For those of you who know your Elric, the latter aspires to some of the same over-the-top magical extravagance that marks the “Sailing to the Future” episode that kicks off The Sailor on the Seas of Fate.
Of my published work, the novel’s probably closest to “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade” in style and tone … and yet, not really.
I’m grateful to Claire and to Black Gate overlord John O’Neill for giving me this opportunity. And I’m certainly grateful to Nicole Kornher-Stace, Elizabeth Campbell, Virginia Mohlere, and definitely Anita, who all gave me oodles of essential beta reading. More news as things develop.
Now, second — I’ve already announced the sale of my first short story collection, The Button Bin and Other Horrors, which contains, among other things, the novella “The Quiltmaker,” which is the sequel to my Nebula Award-nominated short story “The Button Bin.” I was excited to sell this to Apex Books earlier this year, with a planned release of later summer/early fall.
Well, you might note what time of year it is. As things shook out, for reasons it wouldn’t be my place to divulge, Apex wound up unable to provide any sort of timetable for when the book actually would appear, and we had an amicable parting of the ways.
But now here’s the great news … within a day(!!!) I resold the collection to Carrie Cuinn of Dagan Books. Carrie is just coming off her own successful Kickstarter, that will let her finish two new anthologies, Fish and Bibliotheca Fantastica, and launch a line of e-book novellas.
Dagan Books editor Don Pizarro has attended my poetry workshops at ReaderCon in Boston, and I had my first substantial conversation with Carrie there this past summer, with no clue at the time that she and her crew would end up becoming my publishers. They’re a dynamic bunch and I’m delighted to be on board.
The Button Bin and Other Stories will have cover art by frequent Mythic Delirium contributing artist Paula Friedlander and an introduction by Laird Barron. Thomas Ligotti has written a blurb that says, among other things, this:
“…there’s one thing that I feel especially urged to say: these stories are fun. Not “good” fun, and certainly not “good clean” fun. They are too unnerving for those modifiers, too serious, like laughter in the dark—unnerving, serious laughter that leads you through Mr. Allen’s funhouse.”
More as things develop. This is going to be fun.