I am speechless

/ July 3rd, 2013 / No Comments »

This review of Clockwork Phoenix 4 at Strange Horizons pulls no punches.

But here’s how it ends:

… this anthology, and this anthology series, are serious about working on the edge of commercially viable fiction. There is room here for the confusing, intentionally or otherwise; for the unexplained; for the extremely different. When it pays off, it pays off spectacularly. The first three Clockwork Phoenix anthologies were published by Norilana Books, but this one was funded by a Kickstarter campaign run by Allen after Norilana ran into financial difficulties. It’s good to see that a community can come together and support an original endeavor of this kind, and delightful to see how well the results have turned out. Whether Allen continues this particular anthology series or not, this book is in several distinct ways a look into the future: the future of fantasy and science fiction, diverse, strange, and wonderful; the future of these individual writers, many of whom are at or near the beginning of careers which promise to be interesting; and, additionally, the future of publishing, in which a crowd-sourced publication from a very small press can produce, and can present professionally and beautifully, work which is at the height of what is being written in genre. This particular phoenix has risen from its ashes triumphant.


The pins Anita is making for the Mythic Delirium Kickstarter: a teaser

/ July 3rd, 2013 / No Comments »

Anita has shared the first image of the pins she’s making as rewards for the Mythic Delirium Kickstarter (which has less than $1,000 to go to be fully funded; click the link for proof.) #SFWApro

She also offers this poem:

Twenty little pinny pins, all lined up in a row.
Twenty little pinny pins, whose faces I won’t show.
Twenty little pinny pins, a poet’s joy and pride.
Twenty little pinny pins, that I shall soon provide.

And she adds this:

( This is the beginning of the special Kickstarter pins for Mythic Delirium, our poetry magazine. Keep an eye out for updates as I create these little works of art. I hope to do them daily. Like the Clockwork Phoenix pieces, the style is similar, but each pin is unique. And Like the CP pieces, I won’t be making more of this style again. )

My schedule at ReaderCon (& news of a party)

/ July 2nd, 2013 / No Comments »

I have a great schedule at ReaderCon. And a full schedule. And a ton of things to promote: my anthology Clockwork Phoenix 4 (now out!), my novel The Black Fire Concerto (almost out!), the new Mythic Delirium and its attendant Kickstarter (over halfway but still needs help!). Anita and I are holding a room party Saturday night to celebrate my double book launch — and we planned this even before word got out the hotel wouldn’t have a bar this year. Should be a blast. #SFWAPro

Thursday July 11

9:00 PM RI Write What You Know All Too Well. Mike Allen, Gemma Files (leader), Shira Lipkin, Sonya Taaffe. Gemma Files is currently making the transition from writing a series of novels (the Hexslinger series) to a stand-alone novel (Experimental Film), from historical fantasy to contemporary horror, and from something very separate from her life to something that actively riffs off it in a somewhat intimate, vulnerable-making way. She will discuss this process and invite others to talk about similarly intimate work they might have created or experienced.

Friday July 12

1:00 PM RI Speculative Poetry Workshop. Mike Allen (leader), Margo Lanagan, Alex Dally MacFarlane. Speculative poetry can be defined a number of ways. One is that a speculative poem uses the trappings of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or more unclassifiable bends in reality to convey its images, narratives, and themes. Speculative poetry can unfold with the same subtlety and power that speculative fiction does, with considerably fewer words. Come prepared to write.

4:00 PM NH Clockwork Phoenix 4 Group Reading. Mike Allen, A.C. Wise, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Barbara Krasnoff, Shira Lipkin, Yves Meynard, Ken Schneyer. 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, and 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 everyone who helped make this book reality

5:30 PM VT Reading: Mike Allen. Mike Allen. Mike Allen reads an excerpt from the novel The Black Fire Concerto.

Saturday July 13

3:00 PM NH Mythic Poetry Group Reading. Mike Allen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Gwynne Garfinkle, Andrea Hairston, Samantha Henderson, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Rose Lemberg, Shira Lipkin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Dominik Parisien, Caitlyn Paxson, Julia Rios, Romie Stott, Sonya Taaffe, JoSelle Vanderhooft. 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. This reading will feature new and classic works from speculative poetry’s trend-setters.

7:00 PM F Speculative Poetry Open Mic. Mike Allen. Mike Allen emcees an open mic for speculative poets. Sign up at the information desk.

8:00 PM F A Most Readerconnish Miscellany. Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, Lila Garrott, Andrea Hairston, John Kessel, Daniel José Older, Caitlyn Paxson, Sonya Taaffe. C.S.E. Cooney and Mike Allen emcee an extravagant evening of music, theater, and readings to benefit the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and Operation Hammond. Bring cash or credit cards to make donations toward these very worthy organizations, all while being entertained by exquisite performers including Andrea Hairston and Pan Morigan, Daniel José Older, John Kessel, Sonya Taaffe, C.S.E. Cooney and Caitlyn Paxson, and a capella group Sassafrass. Don’t miss this unforgettable event.

Sunday July 14

12:00 PM E Autographs. Mike Allen, Rosemary Kirstein.

1:00 PM ME Crowdfunding: The Glory and the Peril. Mike Allen (leader), Kevin E.F. Clark, Matthew Kressel, Ken Schneyer, Cecilia Tan. 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 some are coming away triumphant. 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 what successful campaigners wish they’d done differently.


/ July 1st, 2013 / 3 Comments »

The anthology Kickstarter built is available for everyone to buy.

CP4_web_small Kindle Price $4.99
Canada $5.07
UK £3.28

Watch Weightless Books for e-book editions in alternate formats.

Trade Paperback $15.95 (Discounted at some stores)
Barnes & Noble

Don’t see it on the shelves at your local store? Ask for it.

If you want to get a signed copy direct from me, go here. #SFWAPro

What reviewers have said:

The tone ranges from dark to heartwarming and simple. The overall quality is high … Several of the pieces are quite challenging. Readers will do well to pick up a copy. — Locus Online

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. — Cabinet des Fées

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. — Tangent Online

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. — Little Red Reviewer

Clockwork Phoenix 4 is a collection of 18 stories edited by Mike Allen. Who, I will tell you now, is a master editor. And the authors, all masters as well. This collection is really fantastic. I took my time reading it and was rewarded each time a new story began. You can call it speculative, fantasy, science fiction, but what it is, is good reading. — Just Book Reading

The stories are diverse. 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. Publishers Weekly

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. — Short Story Review

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. — Goodreads review

You read Clockwork Phoenix books the way you would eat a meal prepared by a master chef: trusting that every ingredient is placed precisely and with a purpose, even if one bite is bitter, it is to allow you to savor the sweetness of the next. In that way, the book absolutely succeeds and is a triumph. — Goodreads review


Table of Contents
“Our Lady of the Thylacines” by Yves Meynard
“The Canal Barge Magician’s Number Nine Daughter” by Ian McHugh
“On the Leitmotif of the Trickster Constellation in Northern Hemispheric Star Charts, Post-Apocalypse” by Nicole Kornher-Stace
“Beach Bum and the Drowned Girl” by Richard Parks
“Trap-Weed” by Gemma Files
“Icicle” by Yukimi Ogawa
“Lesser Creek: A Love Story, A Ghost Story” by A.C. Wise
“What Still Abides” by Marie Brennan
“The Wanderer King” by Alisa Alering
“A Little of the Night” by Tanith Lee
“I Come from the Dark Universe” by Cat Rambo
“Happy Hour at the Tooth and Claw” by Shira Lipkin
“Lilo Is” by Corinne Duyvis
“Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” by Kenneth Schneyer
“Three Times” by Camille Alexa
“The Bees Her Heart, the Hive Her Belly” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
“The Old Woman with No Teeth” by Patricia Russo
“The History of Soul 2065″ by Barbara Krasnoff


A new reward for the MYTHIC DELIRIUM Kickstarter

/ July 1st, 2013 / No Comments »

Taken from our first update, posted last night (6/30.) To visit the Kickstarter, click here.

Howdy, MYTHIC DELIRIUM backers (and all the others who read this.) #SFWAPro

First, my thanks to all of you who’ve backed the project so far. It’s only been six days, and this Kickstarter has already passed the halfway mark. I’m humbled and amazed that this esoteric project has so much support, thank you so much! That $1,300 will fund a full year of issues, from July 2014 to June 2015. Of course with the all-or-nothing nature of Kickstarter we still have to raise the remaining $1,200 or we get nada, so there’s lots of work left to do.

Even though we’re ahead of schedule I’m not taking anything for granted. That’s why I’m pleased to announce that we’re adding a new limited reward. For our new $45 backer level, Paula Friedlander, a long time illustrator for MYTHIC DELIRIUM, is offering ten signed 8″ x 10″ Giclée fine art prints of her paper cutout artwork “Triptych,” which began life as illustration for Dan Campbell’s poem “Triptych: an Offering of Fruit” in MYTHIC DELIRIUM 26 (print issue, Winter/Spring 2012 — you can read the poem, by the way, if you click here.) Paula afterward created a color version of the illustration that Anita and I loved so much that we asked her to modify it so that we could re-use it as the cover for MYTHIC DELIRIUM 0.2,  coming in October. Check it out below and I think you’ll see why:

I note that Paula also created the cover for one of our other rewards, the signed and numbered edition of THE IMMIGRANT by Cherie Priest.

Last but not least (for now) — as of this morning, MYTHIC DELIRIUM 0.1, the first issue of this new electronic incarnation, is already ready already. Though it feels like a bit of a gamble, as we’re not fully funded yet, I’ve decided that it’s not fair for the folks who’ve backed us so far to have to wait until July 24 to read it. So this update will be followed by another one for BACKERS ONLY with instructions on how to get your copy now.

The corollary to this, obviously, is that if you want to read a copy now and you’re NOT a backer, I hope you’ll consider becoming one.

Thanks folks for all you’ve done so far. Whatever you can do to further spread the word, we’ll be grateful for the help.

Poetry sale: ‘Hungry Constellations’ to GOBLIN FRUIT

/ June 29th, 2013 / No Comments »

I’m pleased to report my first new sale of the year (yes, it’s true) — The Queens of Air and Darkness at Goblin Fruit have accepted “Hungry Constellations,” which can be read as a cycle of 10 interlinked poems or, taken together, as possibly the longest single poem I’ve ever written. (I don’t know for sure as I haven’t been counting lines.) I’m told the Editrixes (Editricksters) plan to use “Hungry Constellations” for a poetry feature in the Fall 2013 issue. I’m honored, for sure, to be a featured poet there.

While you’re at it, you should check out their latest issue. Riches abound. #SFWAPro



/ June 27th, 2013 / 1 Comment »

I was wondering aloud to Anita in a grousing way why it’s seemed so hard to get the Mythic Delirium Kickstarter to reach $1000 … it’s been so close all day.

She suggested I offer to post a picture or video of myself doing something silly (or sillier than usual.) I was reluctant. What if no one bid? And I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired.

After a bit of riesling steeped with elderflower that Anita gave me, the idea looked a little better. I posed the possibility as a question in a tweet, actually got a couple affirmatives.

So I made the offer. No response. For all of about five minutes. Then I received a Kickstarter notification for the exact $21 needed.

I am a man of my word.


THE BLACK FIRE CONCERTO is here. For real.

/ June 27th, 2013 / 1 Comment »

See? I write things too!


Pic by Anita, who knows how to make me look less ugly. ;-p #SFWApro

The Black Fire Concerto is not available for sale just yet, unless you buy one from me. But it won’t be long now. (UPDATE: I am told it’s already supposed to be available on Amazon and the publisher is trying to sort out why not. Stay tuned.)

While I’ve distracted you with the shinies, don’t forget, I have a shiny Kickstarter too, for one of those deals where I publish other people. Check it out!

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, http://www.danielletunstall.com/

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!

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