The Silence of the Busy

/ April 5th, 2013 / No Comments »

Contemplating the balance the modern writer/editor has to strike between maintaining a social media presence and actually getting work done, I decided now would be a good time for an update on my juggling act.

There’s a lot of exciting behind-the-scenes stuff going on with my novel, The Black Fire Concerto, though nothing is to the point that I can show off anything publicly yet, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I suppose I can tell you though about what is going on, aside from much copy-editing: the novel and the imprint publishing it, Haunted Stars, will have a snazzy website; the first portion of the novel, “Part One: The Red Empress,” will be available as a free-to-read sample, something I’m really excited about, especially as Claire Cooney, my editor for this project and an all-around awesome person, has recorded a kickass audio reading of the same excerpt. All of it Coming Soon.

Clockwork Phoenix 4 is in the final stretch of the proof-reading phase, which is giving me a little bit of a case of butterflies-in-the-stomach, as that means we’re that much closer to releasing the book for real, not just to a handful of reviewers. My thanks to the invaluable Francesca Forrest for taking on the proofreading duties. My thanks too to Elizabeth Campbell, who took it on herself to create the anthology’s EPUB/MOBI editions.

The artwork is due in soon that will let me finish up the special edition of Cherie Priest’s The Immigrant for Kickstarter backers; I’ve already got the cover and one of the five interior illustrations. It won’t surprise any of you familiar with her work to know that artist Paula Friedlander is doing some amazing stuff.

Mythic Delirium 28 is ready to go; there’s a little bit of a delay happening that’s completely on my end; I need to create a form that allows subscribers to figure out their options as I prepare to introduce the all-new and very different electronic version of the magazine, and as you can see, finding the window to work on that hasn’t been simple. But it’s coming.

A guest post at Solaris

/ March 29th, 2013 / No Comments »

To help promote the new anthology Solaris Rising 2 (which contains my short story “Still Life with Skull”) I wrote a guest post for the Solaris blog in response to a request by editor Ian Whates to discuss my favorite sf short story.

“When Ian Whates asked me to write a few words about my favorite science fiction story, it surprised me how quickly my mind turned to Harlan Ellison’s ‘I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.’ … I read that story at an age when I was mentally unprepared for its merciless postulations: that a machine could become an all-knowing, all-powerful god driven by hatred and psychosis; that a desperate, heroic act of mercy could be rewarded with eternal damnation. …”

The third review of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4

/ March 28th, 2013 / No Comments »

Pandora continues her publicist duties.

Dora_books 005

The newest preview/review of Clockwork Phoenix 4 popped up this week, this time from Tangent Online. (No one seems to want to wait till June — thank goodness the buzz is so good so far.)

Here’s the crux of it:

This 4th volume of Clockwork Phoenix contains an excellent diversity of speculative fiction ranging from cold and hopeless to harsh but victorious and warm and fulfilling. It was a pleasure to read.

Reviewer Louis West has kind words for almost all the stories — I’m not sure if there’s a system here, but I count three stories as “highly recommended,” four stories as “definitely recommended,” four stories as “recommended,” one “simple but profound,” one “thought-provoking” and one “poignant and compelling.” We’ll take it, yes we will.

Since reviewers aren’t waiting to share their opinions, I’ve made the book available for pre-order in e-book and trade paperback form for anyone who isn’t already getting a copy through Kickstarter. (The Kickstarter folks will get their copies first, of course.)

Follow these links to get a gander at the first and second reviews. Or you can take my word for it that so far, this book is on a roll.

My short story in SOLARIS RISING 2 now out

/ March 28th, 2013 / 2 Comments »

Pandora is assisting me with book promotion today.

Dora_books 002
Ian Whates’ anthology Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction came out Tuesday. I’m really excited about being in this book, with the likes of Vandana Singh, Norman Spinrad, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Eugie Foster, Allen Steele and many, many more.

And I’m amused by what Ian had to say about my story “Still Life with Skull” in his introduction.

I initially crossed paths with Mike Allen when submitting for his first Clockwork Phoenix anthology. He declined my effort with an encouraging “I really like this, but…” rejection message. Tempting though it was to respond in kind, his madcap and frenetic “Still Life with Skull” proved too good a piece to turn down. Damn!

Hee! It is true. (For the record, I did indeed say nice things about Ian’s story. My actual message said “I think what you’ve written is quite publishable but it’s not what I’m after.” Ian, however, has done quite well for himself without my help! And I’m grateful he still found my story irresistible.)

Like my story “Twa Sisters” from last year, “Still Life with Skull” is inspired by the art of Alessandro Bavari, first shown to me by Patty Templeton — specifically his “Sodom and Gomorrah” series.

The main character of “Twa Sisters” is a supporting character in “Still Life with Skull,” though s/he goes by a different name; likewise, the secondary antagonist in the first story is, under a different name, the main antagonist in the second. I have an idea for a third story, that would be called “The Hierophant’s Daughter” — someday, hopefully, I’ll actually have time to write it!

The first Mythic Delirium of 2013

/ March 21st, 2013 / No Comments »

A perfect image for today, supposedly the first day of spring.

 

MD28_finished 006

 

As a bonus, here’s some gratuitous staff shots of my assistants.

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Pandora aka Dora

Sephie_staff

Persephone aka Sephie

Loki aka Loki

Loki aka Loki

The second review of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4

/ March 19th, 2013 / 1 Comment »

The official Clockwork Phoenix 4 publication date is still three months off — though I’ve made the anthology available for pre-order through my Mythic Delirium account, see below — and the second review just came in, from writer, poet and book blogger Bonnie Joe Stufflebeam.

At her Short Story Review blog, she has this to say:

This volume contains eighteen original stories which can only be classified as speculative; most of them blur or even reject genre lines altogether. The common thread which runs through these stories is a sense of unsettling strangeness. There were several moments when reading that I felt physically altered, only to realize that it was the story and not my body which was causing the queasy feeling in my gut.

That is not to say that these stories are not enjoyable; they are, in a discombobulating, shiver-inducing kind of way. And there were several of the tales which left me thinking on them long after I had finished reading.

I raise my glass in a toast and drink to that!

She highlights the short stories by Richard Parks, Yukimi Ogawa, A.C. Wise, Alisa Alering, Corrine Duyvis, Kenneth Schneyer, Benjanun Sriduangkaew and Barbara Krasnoff. (Congrats to those writers!)

It’s fascinating to me to compare Bonnie’s take to Lois Tilton’s. (Click here to see the antho’s first review.) Both reviewers agreed on a handful of points, varied wildly on most everything else, but had nice things to say about the book overall.

I’m going to take this as a good sign.

And, in case this tempts you to reserve a copy:


Prices include shipping & handling


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SOLARIS RISING 2: table of contents, moi included

/ March 18th, 2013 / 1 Comment »

Next week marks the release of Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction. It’s already available for pre-order all over the place. Here it is at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound.

Solaris_Rising_2I’m very excited to be in this book and flattered editor Ian Whates chose to include me.

My contribution, “Still Life With Skull,” is a sort of companion piece/sort of sequel to my story “Twa Sisters,” which appeared last year in Not One of Us. “Twa Sisters” wasn’t seen by many people, but it got a nice nod from Locus.

The characters Mercurio and Delilah from the first story reappear in “Still Life With Skull,” though true to the fluid nature of this future, they have different names. The few and proud who’ve actually read “Twa Sisters” ought to be able to pick them out pretty quickly.

The official table of contents was announced last month over at SF Signal. I’m both thrilled and humbled to be in such good company.

Here’s the ToC, lifted from the SF Signal post:

 

  1. “Tom” by Paul Cornell
  2. “More” by Nancy Kress
  3. “Shall Inherit” by James Lovegrove
  4. “Feast and Famine” by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  5. “Whatever Skin You Wear” by Eugie Foster
  6. “Pearl in the Shell” by Neil Williamson
  7. “The Time Gun” by Nick Harkaway
  8. “When Thomas Jefferson Dined Alone” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  9. “Bonds” by Robert Reed
  10. “Ticking” by Allen Steele
  11. “Before Hope” by Kim Lakin-Smith
  12. “The Spires of Greme” by Kay Kenyon
  13. “Manmade” by Mercurio D. Rivera
  14. “The Circle of Least Confusion” by Martin Sketchley
  15. “Far Distant Suns” by Norman Spinrad
  16. “The Lighthouse” by Liz Williams
  17. “The First Dance” by Martin McGrath
  18. “Still Life with Skull” by Mike Allen
  19. “With Fate Conspire” by Vandana Singh

Book info as per Amazon US:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (March 26, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1781080887
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781080887

A new Mythic Delirium is coming (to a mailbox near you)

/ March 17th, 2013 / No Comments »

Last week I announced that Mythic Delirium is going to undergo a big change. More about that in just a bit.

This week I get to announce that the newest issue of Mythic Delirium is almost here (and we’re on time for once.) Here are the issues-to-be, collated and ready to be saddle-stapled.

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Here’s a straight-on look at Tim Mullins’ tongue-in-cheek tentacular cover for this Winter Thaw issue.

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And here’s the very serious table of contents.


  • Editorial: Myths and Delusions
  • The Theatre Golems by Dominik Parisien
  • Mice by Beth Cato
  • The Nostalgia of Roads by Alexandra Seidel
  • Wheels by Adele Gardner
  • The Motor Prayer by Donald Raymond
  • The Princess Becomes a Prophet by Jeannine Hall Gailey
  • Gleaming by Mari Ness
  • The Beast by Rachel Manija Brown
  • skin by Lynn Hardaker
  • Circe in Manhattan by Wendy Howe
  • Persephone Set Free by Sofia Samatar
  • Rare Annie by Caitlyn Paxson
  • How to Bring Your Dead Lover Back by KL Pereira
  • Día de los Muertos by F.J. Bergmann
  • The Green Green Rain by Neile Graham
  • Doomcall by Alistair Rennie
  • The Ceremony of Innocence by Sonya Taaffe
  • Maud Gonne, After by Alicia Cole
  • The Serpent Explains the Nature of Tricksters to His Wife by Ruthanna Emrys
  • The Last Siren by Andrew Gilstrap
  • Revising Horror (The Wrong Mouth) by David Sandner

 

If you don’t want to miss it — and you don’t — you oughtta subscribe. Now, as I’m mentioned before, the print edition of Mythic Delirium has an end date; the final print issue will be Issue 30, due out in Spring 2014. If you get a 2-issue subscription (1-year) that doesn’t really matter. If you get a 4-issue subscription, though, you’re going past that end date. In that case I’ll be offering the same thing I’ve offering subscribers now: an available back issue of their choice, or a partial subscription to the forthcoming electronic edition.

So there’s nothing at all to lose if you subscribe. Just in case you were wondering.

And finally: There’s a new Featured Poem up on the site: Dan Campbell’s “Triptych: an Offering of Fruit”, from Issue 26, with a spectacular illustration from Paula Friedlander.

triptychfruitsmall

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a new Featured Poem. I apologize for that. I had originally hoped that the new version of the website would be up and running by now, but I ain’t managed it. It has to be up by July, when the new e-version of Mythic Delirium launches. Until then, I hope you enjoy what will certainly be the last of the Featured Poems in the old format.

Clockwork Phoenixes, Kickstarters and poems, oh my!

/ March 17th, 2013 / No Comments »

Because I never have enough to do (heh, heh) I have proposed a discussion, a workshop and three group readings for the upcoming ReaderCon convention in July. As of last week, all have been approved.

I share their descriptions below.

 
Clockwork Phoenix 4

    • GROUP READING: CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4
      “All of the critically-acclaimed CLOCKWORK PHOENIX anthologies have officially debuted at ReaderCon since the series began in 2008. That bond deepened when editor and publisher Mike Allen launched the Kickstarter campaign for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 at ReaderCon 23. The campaign was a smashing success, the latest lineup of boundary-pushing, unclassifiable stories has been bought and paid for. At this official reading, the new anthology’s authors will share samples from their stories with all of you who helped make this book reality.”

 

    • CROWDFUNDING: THE GLORY AND THE PERIL
      “In this troubled market, small publishers, authors and editors are all turning to crowdfunding to get the backing for their cherished projects. Novelists, anthology editors and magazine publishers are asking for funds on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other sites and coming away triumphant. So if you want to try it for yourself, how do you make it work? What do you avoid? What unexpected problems lurk? Author, editor and publisher Mike Allen, veteran of a $10,000 campaign to fund the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 4, will lead a discussion of what works, what doesn’t, and even what successful campaigners wish they’d done differently.”

 

    • OPEN MIC POETRY READING
      “ReaderCon has become one of the rare hubs for poetry in the esoteric field of speculative literature. Come here the full range of what speculative poetry has to offer: humorous, gritty, beautiful, moving. Fans of the Rhysling Readings of previous years shouldn’t miss this.”

 

    • GROUP READING: MYTHIC POETRY
      Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, Cabinet des Fées, Jabberwocky, and the now-defunct Journal of the Mythic Arts showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. Come to the reading and hear new and classic works from speculative poetry’s trend-setters.

 

    • SPECULATIVE POETRY WORKSHOP
      “Speculative poetry can be defined a number of ways, but one way is this: a speculative poem uses the trappings of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or more unclassifiable bends in reality to convey its images, narratives and themes. The speculative poetry can unfold with the same subtlety and power that speculative fiction does, with considerably fewer words. Come prepared to write.”

 

Signups for individual readings haven’t happened yet. Because I have the possibility of a first novel and/or a first collection to promote there, I’m going to sign up for one once those are offered. Now the question is, how to get people to come? Much as people seem to enjoy listening to me read, I have the damndest time with that, so hmmm. Offer cookies and chocolate? Dangle the threat of eternal enmity over no-shows? Cookies and chocolate are probably less exhausting in the long-term…

A new Mythic Delirium is coming…

/ March 11th, 2013 / 3 Comments »

…and the old Mythic Delirium is going away.

In a nutshell, the print edition of Mythic Delirium, which only publishes poetry, is going to be wrapped up and put to bed.  And a new version of Mythic Delirium will launch in July that will exist in web and e-book form, that will publish fiction as well as some poetry.

In terms of immediate consequences, what that means is the current Mythic Delirium submission window, which lasts through May 1 (click here to read the guidelines) will be the last open submission call for poems for the print edition of Mythic Delirium. The poems accepted will go into Mythic Delirium 29, which I plan to have out by October of this year. The final print issue, Mythic Delirium 30, due out in Spring 2014, will be a retrospective issue spanning 15 years of poetic highlights.

NOTE: I am not currently reading unsolicited fiction submissions. I’ll do that during the next submission window, Aug. 1-Oct. 1.

There’s a tiny, tiny handful of subscribers to the print edition whose subscriptions go past Issue 30. Those subscribers will be offered the option of completing their subscription by picking from the available back issues, receiving an issue or a subscription of the new electronic version, or receiving a refund of the portion of their subscription that hasn’t been filled. Those subscribers will get notices to that effect.

MD_zero_coverThe new version of Mythic Delirium, which I’ve been personally referring to as “Mythic Delirium Zero,” will launch in July (to coincide with the release of Clockwork Phoenix 4). It will follow the models established by Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, et. al., though in a more modest form. It will be published as quarterly e-books that contain three stories and six poems, and also published online at the soon-to-be-renovated mythicdelirium.com website at a rate of one story and two poems per month.

Fiction-wise, the first two issues are already filled, with stories by Marie Brennan, Georgina Bruce, Ken Liu, Alexandra Seidel, David Sklar and Patty Templeton. Poem-wise, the first issue is full and the second is filling, with work by Liz Bourke, C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, Karthika Nair, Virginia M. Mohlere,  S. Brackett Robertson, Sonya Taaffe, and more to come. At left you can see the mockup cover for Issue 0.1, with a stunning cover by Danielle Tunstall.

(If you’re familiar at all with my MYTHIC antholgies (Vol. 1, Vol. 2), the new Mythic Delirium will very much follow the pattern those books set.)

I’m very grateful for the opportunities the Clockwork Phoenix kickstarter gave me to transform and transition my longtime labor of love. And I look forward to sharing the results with you, in both new format and old, as the year proceeds.

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