So what on Earth happened in 2012?

/ Monday, January 7th, 2013 / 4 Comments »

I’m still asking myself this.

In terms of writing, editing and publishing, this was easily my biggest year since 2009 (when I was up for the Nebula for “The Button Bin” and had released the 10th anniversary issue of Mythic Delirium and the second volume of Clockwork Phoenix.) But it’s such a big year for some pretty off-beat reasons.

My brain definitely divides 2012 into pre- and post-Kickstarter. I can barely remember what happened before I launched the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter in July — though a lot of things did.

But, might as well deal with the biggest thing first. After months of talking about it, I decided to use Kickstarter to revive the Clockwork Phoenix anthology series. Anita helped come up with reward prizes; we asked for $5,000 and raised $10,000. So Clockwork Phoenix 4 will be coming out in time for ReaderCon 2013. I should be able to make an announcement really soon about the book’s table of contents. There’s a lot of moving parts to the Kickstarter; it’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever tackled. I expect to be assembling a much more detailed update about where things stand with all those moving parts at the same time I announce the Table of Contents, so I’m going to save those particulars until then. I will say it’s exhilarating to have Clockwork Phoenix back by undeniable popular demand. Thanks again to all who supported this, whether you’re a backer, a behind-the-scenes brainstormer, or one of those who added to the 1,400-strong pile of stories I had to choose from to make this book reality (or all three!)

As a corollary to kickstarting Clockwork Phoenix 4, I made the first, second and third volumes available as e-books. This proved a very worthwhile endeavor.

The other project that consumed huge chunks of my year is even more experimental. I wrote my second novel, The Black Fire Concerto, specifically to be published as an e-book by the folks behind Black Gate Magazine. There were plans to release it before Christmas, but I had suspicions that this was perhaps too optimistic a timetable, and that proved true. At present the plan is for the novel to launch under an imprint called Haunted Star; we’re now on a search for cover art. I’ve at least learned that I can write an entire novel (70,000 words in this case) and redraft it on short notice; I don’t recommend duplicating the pace I set for myself, but I hope to be reapplying this skill in moderation in the new year.

Short-fiction-wise, I had two new tales appear, the dark fantasy “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade” at Beneath Ceaseless Skies #93 and a bizarre sf piece, “Twa Sisters,” in Not One of Us #47. “Twa Sisters” made the June 2012 Locus Magazine Recommended Reading List.

Something I’m about equally proud of is that I wrote a companion piece to “Twa Sisters,” its weirdness only slightly toned down, called “Still Life With Skull,” that’s going to appear this coming spring in Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ian Whates.

I’m not sure if this counts as a short story, but I had an odd little microfiction-thingie called “Coelcanzetl” appear on the Shared Worlds website as part of a marvelous text-and-visual ensemble piece.

I also had a few stories reprinted. My weird apocalyptic tale “Let There Be Darkness” was adapted to audio by Pseuedopod. Another odd apocalyptic story, “Strange Wisdoms of the Dead,” co-written with my buddy Charles M. Saplak, reappeared in Ocean Stories, edited by Angela Craig. And yet another offbeat sf story, “Dee-Dee and the Dumpy Dancers,” this one co-written with buddy Ian Watson, popped up in Ian’s new collection, Saving for a Sunny Day. The story was accurately described in The Guardian as as a “bizarre vision … featuring aerial ballet and alien turkeys.”

Last but hardly least I sold my first short fiction collection, The Button Bin and Other Stories, to Apex Books, then wound up parting ways with Apex, and resold the collection to upstart newcomers Dagan Books. I’m very hopeful, and very excited, about the upcoming release of this book, for a number of reasons — generally, I’m hopeful that the collection will help people perhaps at last grasp that there’s more to me than “editor and poet”; and specifically, the collection holds “The Quiltmaker,” the direct sequel to “The Button Bin” — and though at least some of the few and proud who’ve read “Quiltmaker” have told me it’s my best work, it has yet to see daylight. (Such is the novella curse.) It also holds “Condolences,” a really dark, very personal horror story written after my father’s death.

Though I would like it to stick in folks’ long-term memories that I write things besides poems … well, I wrote poems too! And had a number of them published, though not at the prolific pace of past, um, decades. Here’s that list:
• “Budding,” Phantasmagorium 2, Jan. 2012
• “Carrington’s Ferry,” Strange Horizons Jan. 23, 2012
• “A Prayer,” Fandom Forever 1, March 2012
• “Kandinsky’s Galaxy,” Strange Horizons, April 9, 2012
• “Surcease,” Inkscawl 3, April 2012
• “The Duelists,” Star*Line 35.3, July-Sept. 2012
• “The Vigil,” Goblin Fruit, Issue 27, Autumn 2012
• “Machine Guns Loaded with Pomegranate Seeds,” Strange Horizons, Nov. 19, 2012
I had a number of poems reprinted as well, though it feels excessive to list them all here.

As for the poetry journal I edit, Mythic Delirium, I’m proud to crow that this past summer Shira Lipkin’s prose poem “The Library, After” from Issue 24 won the 2012 Rhysling Award for short poem, becoming the fifth poem from our pages in the last 10 yeas to land a Rhysling Award. We published our usual two issues, #26 (which got a nice review at and the current one, #27, and our subscriber base got a boost thanks to the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter.

Because of the Kickstarter, there will be some big changes to Mythic Delirium in the coming months, but that’s also a topic for another post. So stay tuned on that front.

So a lot did happen in 2012, but what does it all mean? It means I still have a lot of work ahead of me in 2013, heh.


  1. Dusty says:

    This is great stuff. I’ve already read about half of The Button Bin and will definitely be checking out some of your other stuff.

    I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot. I love speculative fiction and apocalyptic tales and have been unknowingly communicating with a strong influence in that field. Currently I’m reading The Worm Ouroboros and Cormac McCarthy’s The Orchard Keeper. Hopefully I’ll have them wrapped up by the time “Black Fire Concerto” is available.

    Another local blogger that I went to high school with is Jessica Yopp over at . She’s currently a librarian at Hollins and is a major book enthusiast. You should check out her blog sometime, she’s incredibly knowledgeable and a terrific writer. Honestly, her book reviews put my movie reviews to shame. She’s also really funny. We’ve done a little crossover work too. She posted an article about the Oscars on my site last year and I lent her my review of Roger Ebert’s memoirs.

    Anyway, I look forward to exploring the works of the author Mike Allen who I formerly knew as the blogger Mike Allen.

  2. Dusty says:

    She did. She posted on Arts N’ Extra about it as well. As an experiment she started a film adaptation blog , she’s very knowledgeable about films as well, that blog is covering adaptions from books, comics and videogames. Unfortunately, she’s seriously considering shutting it down just because her heart isn’t necessarily in it. Hopefully she’ll just incorporate some film stuff into the virtualmargin blog.

    She’s also a fan of SF and her twitter handle is @scifilibrarian

  3. […] computer. I consider this a step up.   In fact I was so sick at this time in 2012 that my year-end summary didn’t turn up until mid-January. At least 2013 lets me be a bit more on the ball.   My […]

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