CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 Kickstarter: rewards finished or nearly there

/ April 14th, 2013 / No Comments »

We’re definitely approaching the end game in the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter. The proofreading is done. I’ll be making the e-book edition of the anthology available to backers by the end of the month if not sooner, with the print edition to follow in May. (That’s for backers only, mind you — the book won’t be on Amazon et.al. until July — though if you’re not a backer, you can preorder. Every bit helps.)

A number of the other rewards we’re offering are finished or in the final stages.

Here’s the hat and the e-reader case Anita made that are going to two lucky backers:

Here’s a close up of the e-reader. Click the photo to go to Anita’s album where she documented creating it.

And for those who are going to be getting the special chapbook edition of The Immigrant by Cherie Priest, here’s what the wraparound cover by Paula Friedlander looks like:

Cover by Paula Friedlander

Pretty sweet, eh?

More reviews: SOLARIS RISING 2, CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4

/ April 10th, 2013 / No Comments »

Writer and poet Francesca Forrest, who took on the daunting tasking of proofreading the soon-to-be-finalized (VERY soon!) manuscript of my Clockwork Phoenix 4 anthology, brazenly took to the Internet to share how much she liked what she had just read. I’m pleased to point people at her “partisan review” (click to read in full):

Clockwork Phoenix 4 is nearly out, and oh my goodness, the stories. There’s not a single bad one, and there are some amazing gems. I know whereof I speak; as the anthology’s proofreader, I read each one very carefully. (I apologize in advance if any typos got by me!) So, this is not a disinterested review, it’s a partisan recommendation.

And in the meantime, a delightful surprise — Starburst Magazine has published an extremely enthusiastic review of the Ian Whates anthology Solaris Rising 2 that highlights my contribution:

It’s difficult to pick out a ‘best’ story when all possess such quality, but there are two that leave the greatest impression. Of all the stories, Mike Allen’s Still Life with Skull is arguably the least human, yet it contains much emotion and some of the strangest — and therefore attention-grabbing — imagery I’ve ever read.

It’s always nice to be reminded that I’m a creator myself, not just someone who artfully showcases the creations of others. Though I try my best at both.

SOLARIS RISING 2 book launch

/ April 8th, 2013 / No Comments »

I couldn’t attend the book launch of Solaris Rising 2 (lacking the financial and temporal freedom to jet to the U.K. and back for a weekend) but Solaris released this interview with editor Ian Whates and several of my fellow contributors that makes for a decent substitute.

I’m thrilled my bizarre “Still Life with Skull” story gets to be part of this.

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


Box_o_CP4_ARCs

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
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