The first review of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4

/ February 28th, 2013 / 3 Comments »

Over the past two weeks, I’ve begun sending out advance reviewer copies of Clockwork Phoenix 4. As it shakes out, Lois Tilton of Locus Online ends up having the first word on my Kickstarted anthology, turning around a review more or less immediately (click here to go read.)

She notes that this is her first-ever crack at one of the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies and says, in part:

a rare original anthology … takes best of show this time. … 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.

Kenneth Schneyer’s “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” not only receives a “Recommended” rating, but also her “Good Story Award,” the only one she declared in February. She calls it “A piece that rewards re-reading.”

She also gives a “Recommended” to Nicole Kornher-Stace’s “On the Leitmotif of the Trickster Constellation in Northern Hemispheric Star Charts, Post-Apocalypse.” (Yay, long titles!) She calls it “A fascinating puzzle of a fiction.”

She also offers particular lauds to stories by Ian McHugh, Richard Parks, Gemma Files, Tanith Lee, Corinne Duyvis, Benjanun Sriduangkaew and Patricia Russo, and, notably, has very little that’s critical to say about the stories she didn’t actively praise.

Because it’s not clear from the review, I feel the need to clarify: Lois read an uncorrected proof, provided to her just two weeks ago. (That is one spectacular turnaround time.)

However, the anthology will not be publicly available for sale until July. (The others, of course, can all be had now.) Ideally, Kickstarter backers will receive their e-book and/or trade paperback copies in May/June, assuming I can keep the schedule on course. Regardless, by then it will have been proofread.

Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that I still have a few trade paperback ARCs left if there’s a reviewer out there who’s interested.

February Tour of the Abattoir at Tales to Terrify

/ February 10th, 2013 / No Comments »

This post is a little late, but then that tricksy Larry Santoro ran my column a little early! Regardless, there’s a new “Tour of the Abattoir” up at Tales to Terrify, in which Shalon Hurlbert and I talk about Let the Right One In in all its incarnations.

Next up, Mama, and some things I’ve been reading.

What I’ve been working on

/ February 10th, 2013 / No Comments »


Speculative poetry editors make Best of 2012 recommendations

/ January 31st, 2013 / No Comments »

Writer and editor Rose Lemberg today posted a round-up of a weeklong project she organized in which editors of speculative poetry publications listed their top five favorite poems published in 2012 by venues other than their own.

Individual recommendations come from Amal El-Mohtar (Goblin Fruit,) Romie Stott (Strange Horizons,) Mitchell Hart (Through the Gate,) Samantha Henderson (Inkscrawl,) Rose Lemberg (Stone Telling,) Adrienne J. Odasso (Strange Horizons,) Alexa Seidel (Niteblade) and Erzebet YellowBoy (Cabinet des Fées.) Reviewer Bogi Takács of also made a list of recommendations.

I hope you’ll all follow the links and make new discoveries.

(Full disclosure, because a few have asked: I was invited to participate but couldn’t carve out enough time from my other projects to do the reading I felt would be necessary to make informed recommendations. I’m grateful that a couple of my poems received nods, and three poems from Mythic Delirium also received mentions. To see which ones, you’ll have to go read.)

Picking the Clockwork Phoenix 4 stories: The Process (part 2)

/ January 22nd, 2013 / 2 Comments »

I’m back with part two of my explanation of the Clockwork Phoenix 4 submission process, this time breaking down the most crucial piece of the process: what happens while the submission window is open. (Part One can be found here.)

There’s all sorts of misconceptions out there about how short story slush reading works. I’m pretty sure the way I handle it is close to how most pro and semi-pro outfits do things, so hopefully elucidating will be helpful all around.

Here’s metaphor #4. A story submission essentially works like an audition for a part in a play. I think some writers lose sight of this aspect, because sending in an e-mail and waiting for a response feels much more impersonal than waiting to be called in front of the director to start your monologue or demonstrate your dance skills.

And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening. Your story is your performance. And in the case of Clockwork Phoenix, I’m the director.

Read the rest of this entry »

Picking the Clockwork Phoenix 4 stories: The Process (part 1)

/ January 21st, 2013 / 2 Comments »

I’ve split this long, long post about the inner workings of the Clockwork Phoenix 4 submission process in twain in an attempt to make it more digestible. Part Two will appear tomorrow. (Click link to read.)

When announcing the Dark Faith: Invocations table of contents, Jerry Gordon put up a post explaining the process involved in selecting the stories. Based on his example, I thought it might of interest, and perhaps even educational, if I offered the same information for Clockwork Phoenix 4.

So how do you get from more than 1,400 submissions down to a final lineup of 18 stories?

I’ll share the brutal truth. But first, a preamble or two.

Read the rest of this entry »

New reviews of my e-book short stories

/ January 21st, 2013 / No Comments »

My thanks to William D. “Dusty” Wallace (known here in Roanoke as the man behind the Dusty on Movies blog) who checked out my three short stories available on Amazon as e-books and wrote a review for each one. Generously, all are five-star.

I share snippets from each:

She_Who_Runs She Who Runs

For a short story this feels big. The main events are influenced by ages of cosmic unrest that came before and the story progresses eons into the future. In context it’s awe-inspiring and never seems like it’s cutting corners to maintain its status as a short story.

Steamexp Sleepless, Burning Life

This story portrays a tangible creation myth that’s inhabited by headless men, mechanical objects and lesbian goddesses. Personally, I’m ready to attend mass at that cathedral … Beautifully written, erotic, imaginative and with a host of alternate endings built in.

cover Stolen Souls

This is really about a detective who can’t cope with the murder of his beloved and ends up flying off the rails in a selfish attempt to right the wrong. By the end of the story the author is working in a realm of pure imagination but it never gets confusing. This is a winner that you’ll read to the end in one sitting.

A new “Tour of the Abattoir” at Tales to Terrify

/ January 18th, 2013 / No Comments »

In which I discuss the novel This Book Is Full of Spiders and the movie John Dies at the End. Our main feature is a reading of “The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall” by Kaaron Warren.

Winter storm bonus: best photo of my house ever

/ January 17th, 2013 / No Comments »

My own ghostly winter wonderland.

CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4: official table of contents

/ January 15th, 2013 / 3 Comments »

(NOTE: This is culled from a recently posted update on the Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter. If you’re a backer, and you haven’t read the full update yet, I recommend that you do. It’s chock full of things you need to know, much of it time sensitive.)

I’m thrilled to be able to share the official table of contents of Clockwork Phoenix 4.

This is a truly international anthology – with contributors hailing from seven countries – that encompasses off-beat takes on sf, fantasy, horror, or combinations of two or more, as well as interstitial works that just can’t be easily classified.

We received more than 1,400 story submissions during our reading window, and we whittled them down to sixteen short stories and two novelettes that all together total 87,000 words, making this the largest volume in the series by far. All of the writers have received their contracts and I’ve begun sending them their payments. This crucial stage is what the Kickstarter was all about; I wouldn’t be able to pay the writers at all, much less offer them a worthy pay rate per word for their work, without the generosity and support of all our backers, and of those who helped us out in other ways.

I’ll be publishing Clockwork Phoenix 4 simultaneously in trade paperback and e-book formats. I’m aiming for a June release, and then an official reading and launch party at ReaderCon in Boston in July, the same convention where I officially launched the Kickstarter last summer, and where I’ve launched all three of the previous volumes.

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