The MYTHIC DELIRIUM Kickstarter is live

/ June 24th, 2013 / 1 Comment »

UPDATE: The first issue, Mythic Delirium 0.1, is ready. You can get it by backing the Kickstarter for Mythic Delirium or by ordering a subscription through the Mythic Delirium website.



As the Bard put it so eloquently, “Once more into the breach.”

I’m announcing a new Kickstarter, to fund the new, rebooted  e-zine version of Mythic Delirium beyond its first year of operations (click the pic to check it out.)


The first year — four issues of “Mythic Delirium Zero” — was funded last year as the final stretch goal of the wildly successful Clockwork Phoenix 4 campaign. The first two issues have been filled, with Mythic Delirium 0.1 set for launch in a couple weeks. I’m going to hold a reading window from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1 for Mythic Delirium 0.3 and 0.4. But to keep going beyond that the magazine needs a subscription drive. This Kickstarter is the equivalent of that.

The new Mythic Delirium, containing fiction as well as poetry, will be released in PDF, EPUB and MOBI format every three months. In addition, each month, one story of up to 4,000 words and two poems from the most recent issue will be featured on the website until the entire issue is archived online — following the models established by Lightspeed and Nightmare magazines, but at a less hectic pace. (Below, you’ll find the contents of the very first issue, and its website schedule.)

The rewards we’re offering start with subscriptions and work up through additional e-books, jewelry pins, and poem and story critiques (click here for all the details.) #SFWApro

I’ll be honest with you, I’d be delighted if I didn’t have to launch a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is really hard work. But I’m in this for the long haul, and for the new Mythic Delirium to survive and thrive, it has to have support and subscribers. The evidence is overwhelming that Kickstarter is the most effective way for me to make that appeal. So here I am again, nervous, and already worn out, as I’ve been working nonstop to get all these things ready … but also eager to get started.

Even as this Kickstarter gets under way, I’m getting ready to launch the first issue of Mythic Delirium in its new incarnation. Here is the table of contents of the e-book editions (in PDF, EPUB and MOBI) of Mythic Delirium 0.1.

The Wives of Paris • Marie Brennan
Ahalya: Deliverance • Karthika Naïr
Cuneiform Toast • Sonya Taaffe
Hexagon • Alexandra Seidel
Voyage to a Distant Star • C.S.E. Cooney
Rhythm of Hoof and Cry • S. Brackett Robertson
Echoes in the Dark • Ken Liu
This Talk of Poems • Amal El-Mohtar
Two Ways of Lifting • Virginia M. Mohlere
Cover by Danielle Tunstall

Image by Danielle Tunstall,

Here’s the schedule for when the stories and poems will appear on the new website:

Featured in July
The Wives of Paris • Marie Brennan
Ahalya: Deliverance • Karthika Naïr
Cuneiform Toast • Sonya Taaffe

Featured in August
Hexagon • Alexandra Seidel
Voyage to a Distant Star • C.S.E. Cooney
Rhythm of Hoof and Cry • S. Brackett Robertson

Featured in September
Echoes in the Dark • Ken Liu
This Talk of Poems • Amal El-Mohtar
Two Ways of Lifting • Virginia M. Mohlere

So as you as you can see, we’re off and running. This Kickstarter is designed to turn what could be a short sprint for the new Mythic Delirium into a productive marathon. I hope you’ll find it worthy of support, and even if all you can do is help spread the word, I’ll still be grateful.

eggs rolling out of the basket

/ June 23rd, 2013 / No Comments »

It all comes down to ReaderCon. Somehow I always manage to do this. However, ReaderCon has always been very good to me, so I suppose it’s in part the con’s fault for being so encouraging.

Here’s everything that is supposed to happen, that I’m going to try to make happen, in the next three weeks. #SFWApro

KickPlay1) I will launch, very very very soon, a Kickstarter with a $2,500 goal, basically to serve as subscription drive for the new version of Mythic Delirium. The first year of the new version of the zine is actually funded already — and Issues 0.1 and 0.2 are filled. I’ll be reading stories and poems from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1 for Issues 0.3 and 0.4, regardless of what happens with the Kickstarter. Whether I read for any issues beyond that of course depends on how the Kickstarter goes — it’s meant to fund the zine through at least mid-2016.

CP4_web_small2) I will, very very soon, officially launch Clockwork Phoenix 4. Hard to believe it’s not out already, isn’t it? Well, actually, technically, I’ve been quietly putting it in place this past month so that when I announce that it is out, people can find it. But it hasn’t launched yet. So I’ll announce that next. With the official launch events happening at ReaderCon, a group reading from the anthology and a party, woo-hoo!

3) And next (very soon) I launch the new Mythic Delirium website, which was funded by the Clockwork Pheonix 4 Kickstarter, and which has the first featured story and poems from Mythic Delirium 0.1 built in. By proxy I also launch the first issue of the new zine. Though there’s no official tie in to ReaderCon for this, there is a giant “Mythic Poetry Reading” scheduled that I’m co-hosting with Caitlyn Paxson of Goblin Fruit (they have a new issue out, by the way, give it a read.) So I imagine I’ll at least mention it.

Screencap1Those are the three things I have (almost) complete control over. By the way, I’m aware that there are poets still waiting to hear back from me about inclusion in the second-to-last print issue, Mythic Delirium 29. I hope to nail that down during this time period too, but I need to ask for your continued patience in the meantime.

There’s a fourth thing on the agenda that’s not completely in my hands — the launch of my first novel, The Black Fire Concerto. It’s tantalizingly close — the plan is for me to have copies with me at ReaderCon, and to read a passage to whomever I can bribe to show up with candy and cookies (I’ll even take requests, heh.) By the end of this coming week I should know for certain whether this will go down like I’m hoping it will.

And just today I received a great bit of news that would add a fifth thing to this list, but it’s not my place to announce it here first. So stay tuned. The draft of my ReaderCon schedule looks awesome, so stay tuned for that too. Stay tuned for all of it, in fact!

Tours of the Abattoir

/ June 9th, 2013 / No Comments »

The latest edition of Tales to Terrify contains a new “Tour of the Abattoir” column from me, in which I discuss why I’m not a Scott Sigler junkie. And I’ve been so swamped these past couple months that I completely neglected in this space to mention the previous column, in which Shalon Hurlbert and I examine Evil Dead. #SFWApro

Kickstarter, more CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 reviews & adventures of the special signed edition

/ June 9th, 2013 / No Comments »

I’m still too busy for my own good — in other words, nothing new under the sun. The writing life isn’t the only reason why I’m busy … but it’s reason enough!

So all but a handful of the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter rewards have gone out, and that remaining handful is earmarked for folks to whom I’ll be handing their bounty to in person. So now it’s time to finally get this book published, right?

Well, yes, but it’s not quite so simple as that. The final stretch goal of the Kickstarter provided funding for a year of a new webzine for fiction and poetry, and afterward I decided to transform Mythic Delirium into that new zine. And it’s coming up on time for that new zine to launch, which means, as I’d suspected it would, a month-long scramble before July 1.

It also means that I’m getting ready to launch another Kickstarter. Those of you with Kickstarter fatigue, I can hear your groans from here. I believe though that this is the sensible thing to do — the new Mythic Delirium needs a subscription drive to last past next June, and Kickstarter has been proven again and again to be about the only effective tool a small press guy like me can turn to these days. So there’s that! More about this very soon, you betcha.

It’s been comforting as I’ve plunged into this to see Clockwork Phoenix 4 continue its accumulation of accolades. The self-described “snarky redhead” behind the Little Red Reviewer blog has penned a review of Clockwork Phoenix 4 that’s the opposite of snarky. She writes:

What kind of stories will you find in Clockwork Phoenix 4? Only those that are magical, imaginative, heart-wrenching, just plain bizarre, forward-looking, backward-looking, biological, romantic, hopeful, darkly funny and openly frightening. All the words that describe the best speculative fiction you’ve ever read apply. In fact, if this isn’t the epitome of speculative fiction, I don’t know what is.

The review goes on to highlight stories by Patricia Russo, Richard Parks, Ian McHugh, Gemma Files, Marie Brennan, Corinne Duyvis and Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

A little closer to (my) home, a Roanoke business journal, Valley Business Front, has printed (print!)  a review of Clockwork Phoenix 4 by Heather Brush (another redhead, for what it’s worth) that’s much shorter but just about as enthusiastic.

 This anthology defies genre, offering bits and pieces of sci-fi, horror, paranormal and more, while a vein of plain creepy runs throughout. … Eighteen times the anthology offers a drink to appease the thirst of wanton readers, succinctly and precisely.

This shorter review gives special props to A.C. Wise’s “Lesser Creek: A Love Story, a Ghost Story.”

In the meantime, the single special edition of Clockwork Phoenix 4 that’s supposed to be signed by all the authors has been traveling back and forth across the U.S.

Here it is when Anita and I first unveiled it to its owner back in April, in the special padded case Anita made for it to travel in.

The unveiling of the special singular signed edition of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 in the special padded case Anita made for it to travel in.

And here it is at Alisa Alering’s pad a couple weeks ago. #SFWApro


If all goes according to plan, it will come back home to me after visiting one more author (five in all), and then Anita and I will bring it with us to ReaderCon, where seven more contributors will sign it. And then it gets to travel internationally. Good luck, little book.

Almost but not quite to the end, and new CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 reviews

/ May 29th, 2013 / 1 Comment »

Funny how when I haven’t blogged in a while, I get worried. Yet I’ve just been flat out too busy to do it. Reason #1 pictured below.


For two weeks straight (maybe longer?) I’ve been mailing out the rewards for the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter, most of which are simply copies of the book itself, which exists, as you can see. It’s been wild raising and then spending so much money and distributing 100s of copies of a book that technically isn’t published yet. The official launch still takes place at ReaderCon, where seven of the authors — Gemma Files, Barbara Krasnoff, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Shira Lipkin, Yves Meynard, Ken Schneyer and A.C. Wise — will join me (hopefully!) in christening ye book!

(BTW, if you can’t wait to get one, and want to give a beleagured publisher a little boost, there is a way. The preorder buttons at are still live and kicking.)

I’ve been sending out other rewards, too. Here’s the special Cherie Priest chapbook (all copies signed by Cherie herself) that was created exclusively for the Kickstarter.


It looks like I may end up with a few left over. I’m going to have to figure out what to do with them…

In the meantime, advance reviews of Clockwork Phoenix 4 continued to come out, but I’ve been too busy to post links.

The fantasy and fairy tale webzine Cabinet des Fées says:

What makes this fourth edition so special is that it belongs to an impassioned community of writers and readers who went above and beyond to make it happen. … All eighteen [stories] have the power to pull the reader out of his own reality and transport or transform them entirely.

Here in my hometown, blogger Dusty Wallace of Dusty on Movies gives the book a thorough-going over, story by story:

Clockwork Phoenix 4 takes the reader on a journey through the outer reaches of imagination.

And a briefer summation at the book’s entry at GoodReads.

The cover promises “tales of beauty and strangeness” and by god it delivers. This is a collection of stories to boggle the mind and exercise the imagination. A must read for fans of weird speculative fiction.

And to be fair, Publishers Weekly has also reviewed the book, though the reviewer apparently was not as enthusiastic as whomever reviewed the first three volumes for that publication. Though I suppose the odds of four raves in a row were pretty slim. On the other hand, the fact that PW acknowledged this Kickstarted and self-published book is a bit of a triumph in its own way.

And there’s material to work with:

Yves Meynard’s “Our Lady of the Thylacines” is a tale of a young woman embracing her adrenalin-filled destiny. Alisa Alering’s “The Wanderer King” depicts a society collapsed into mutual extermination, and Barbara Krasnoff’s “The History of Soul 2065” manages to find a happy face for encroaching mortality. Of particular note is Gemma Files’s “Trap-Weed”; in its way the mirror image of the Meynard, it follows a Selkie determined to reject both the ways of its people and those of the humans it encounters.

Previous reviews of Clockwork Phoenix 4 can be found here, here, here and here.

The CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 Bag of Books reward

/ May 22nd, 2013 / No Comments »
These are going to be a bear to ship internationally.

These are going to be a bear to ship internationally.

Mastering the whirlwind. (And sometimes tumbling about.)

/ May 19th, 2013 / No Comments »

Since the beginning of May I have:

Spent a weekend at the home of writer Nicole Kornher-Stace and her husband Dan at a gathering that was informally dubbed “CoalCon,” with the likes of Claire Suzanne Elizabeth Cooney, Francesca Forrest, Julia Rios, Caitlyn Paxson, Dominik Parisien, Paula Friedlander, Shveta Thakrar, Katie Redding and various lovely spouses and partners. We shared embarrassing early-years writing, had an evil laugh contest, ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant, and consumed much rum. (Or at least I did.) A special thanks to Autumn Canter for schlepping me partway to CoalCon and back. She’s a gracious hostess.

Managed to finally finish the first draft of a new short story during a write-in held at CoalCon.

Claire, Nicole and Dominik at CoalCon.

Claire, Nicole and Dominik at CoalCon.

Learned while at CoalCon that the entire shipment of trade paperbacks for the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter had arrived at our house in Roanoke.

Traveled to Philadelphia to give a talk to the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society that turned out to be about Clockwork Phoenix 4 and Kickstarter with a dash of my new novel The Black Fire Concerto thrown in for good measure. I think I ended up spending more time answering questions than I did actually making the presentation. My thanks to Lee and Diane Weinstein for inviting me up and taxiing me around.


Waiting in the wings at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society meeting.

Started sending out the remaining Clockwork Phoenix 4 rewards, both in ebook and trade paperback form, to everyone I owe them to. I’m not done yet, and really won’t be done for months yet, but the overwhelming bulk of the shipping and e-mailing will be finished by the end of this week.

The unveiling of the special singular signed edition of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 in the special padded case Anita made for it to travel in.

The unveiling of the special singular signed edition of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 in the special padded case Anita made for it to travel in.

Booked our room and rental car for ReaderCon in July. Started to fill out the giant programming sign-up, haven’t quite finished.

Got a couple invitations to a couple cool projects. Can’t say more.

Read through two months of submissions for Mythic Delirium. What’s left is what I’m holding for further consideration in putting together Mythic Delirium 29, the second-to-last print issue. If you haven’t heard from me at this point you’re more than welcome to query.

Contemplated whether I need to launch a Kickstarter to get the new version of Mythic Delirium where I want it to be. I think I will have to (ulp.) At least it won’t need to be as epic as the Clockwork Phoenix one was.

The Black Fire Concerto cover + a new interview

/ May 1st, 2013 / No Comments »

I’m thrilled to at last be able to publicly reveal the amazing cover for my first novel, The Black Fire Concerto, which makes use of a spectacular digital painting by Lauren K. Cannon.


Plans were made to be foiled, but at present the plan is to release the novel in ebook and trade paperback formats in time for Readercon, so that would be, yes, July 11.

Folks who saw the interview with me at Bookstore-Bookblogger Connection over the weekend got a sneak peak at the cover. In the interview, conducted by the spirited redhead behind Little Red Reviewer, I talk about both The Black Fire Concerto and Clockwork Phoenix 4.

Last year the balancing act got really tricky, because I had two huge projects on my plate: the Clockwork Phoenix 4 anthology and the Kickstarter that funded it, and then there was my first novel, The Black Fire Concerto, my tale of magic-wielding musicians battling ghouls and sorcerers that I wrote on deadline for the folks at Haunted Stars Publishing. Somehow in there I also finished two short stories. I think I pulled that off by treating the novel as a break from editing (or vise versa) and viewing the short stories as breaks from the other stuff.

Two Mike Allen titles

Speaking of Clockwork Phoenix 4 — I’ve been so busy getting stuff done that I’ve had no time to pause to post anything about what is getting done. So let me say while I’ve sort of caught my breath that everything is done. All the Kickstarter rewards have been made and/or ordered. All that’s left is for them to arrive at my house, and then for me to start sending them to your domiciles, if you’re either a contributor, a backer, or someone who had the wherewithal to order early. And we’re right on budget, shock of shock of shocks.

A little bit of poignance

/ April 25th, 2013 / No Comments »

I’ve begun the process of changing Mythic Delirium from a print ‘zine to an e-zine. I received this touching note today from a longtime subscriber.

Been reading since Issue 6 — I will miss you! (I don’t have a computer.) Thanks and best of luck in the future.


Issue 6 came out in 2002, and featured several creative and off-kilter poems by Ian Watson and David C. Kopaska-Merkel, as well as one of the last poems by the late Keith Allen Daniels to see print and a poem by Sonya Taaffe, “Sedna,” that’s still one of my favorites. At that time we were officially part of DNA Publications — Weird Tales was our sister magazine! It surprises me, sometimes, how long this little zine has been around and what adventures it’s had.

Of course I’m writing a nice note back to go with the copy of my very first issue that he requested to satisfy his subscription.

By the way, the latest print issue is out (I’ve been too busy to promote it! But it is out, nonetheless), and early subscriptions to the electronic version are available too.

It ain’t over yet.

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 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?

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