Anthology to benefit Red Cross tornado relief out on Smashwords & Kindle

/ May 17th, 2011 / No Comments »

T.J. McIntyre’s Southern Fried Weirdness: Reconstruction — all proceeds from which go to the Red Cross to help with tornado relief in the South — is out now on Smashwords and Amazon Kindle, with stories and poems from a cutting edge and up-and-coming roster including Nicole Kornher-Stace, Rae Bryant, Mari Ness, Berrien C. Henderson, Jaime Lee Moyer, Marshall Payne, Gustavo Bondini, Marsheila Rockwell, F. Brett Cox, Fabio Fernandes, Danny Adams and many others. (Click here to see the complete table of contents.)

The anthology also contains a folk tale-tinted horror story of mine that absolutely fits the “Southern Fried Weirdness” motif: “The Music of Bremen Farm.” Here’s a sample of the opening.

But for a flat tire, no one would have ever known that Old Hag Bremen was dead.

Her forebears, like other settlers from Germany, staked out plots in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains even before the white colonies declared themselves a nation. Throughout the rolling hills, where houses regard each other across wide vales, and narrow roads still ford streams with wooden bridges held together by iron spikes, the Anglicized names speak from rusting mailboxes: Anselm. Flohr. Krone. Newman. Schrader.

Yet even in this place of isolation, with corn blanketing the hills for miles before giving way to ancient mountain slopes and defiant oak, the Bremens stayed a world apart. They sent no sons to fight in the War of Northern Aggression. They did not come to the whitewashed A-frame churches. They did not grow crops, or ask for work in others’ cattle farms or dairies or tobacco fields. Those few who knew the business of the Bremen family left them to it, and spoke of it at most in late night whispers that by morning seemed like troubled and half-forgotten dreams.

By the time the single-lane dirt ruts finally gave way to asphalt, only one Bremen remained, a sad, solitary heir rattling alone inside a rambling home more than three hundred years old: still with an outhouse, still with a kitchen standing separate from the building where she made her bed. Only the squirrels and wasps that took shelter in the walls kept her company.

In all its formats the anthology is only $2.99. I hope you’ll check it out.

A new review and a review PDF offer

/ May 11th, 2011 / No Comments »

Sam Tomaino at SF Revu tackles the stories in Apex Magazine 23 and makes mention of my “Button Bin“:

“The Button Bin” by Mike Allen (originally appeared in Helix: Speculative Fiction Quarterly, 2007) is quite the horror story. Our narrator is after a man named Lenahan who has taken his niece, his half-sister’s daughter and done something horrible with her. He confronts the man with a gun but things take an unexpected turn and we find out why Lenahan is called the “Button Man”. We also find out some nasty things about our narrator. All in all, quite an effective piece.

Speaking of reviews, I’ve created a review PDF of the interior pages of the soon-to-be-released Mythic Delirium 24. If there are any reviewers or bloggers (this means you!) interested in a copy, just let me know! (You can email me or just post that you wannit.)

And one more poetry sale

/ May 8th, 2011 / No Comments »

I learned tonight, to my delight, that Fantastique Unfettered is also accepting my poem “Binary.” This is a surreal, dark magic- and dark relationship-themed piece, another of the “Claire-dare” poems, inspired by this painting shown to me by Claire Cooney.

And another poetry sale!

/ May 7th, 2011 / 2 Comments »

Dan Campbell, poetry editor for Durham, N.C. magazine Bull Spec informed me this morning that he’s accepting my poem “Sad Wisps of Empty Smoke.”

The title comes from John Hall Wheelock’s “Sunday Evening in the Common,” but the topic is quasi-personal — with all the details changed, of course — in general, it’s about an abusive person who later in life, in failing health, becomes dependent on the person who was the target of the abuse. It was also the first poem in what I call the “Claire-dare” series, which I attempted to describe in this previous entry. Specifically, I had to write this poem before I could write in response to Claire Cooney’s prompts. Take that how you will.

Dan asked me if “Sad Wisps” had any connection to my poem “Requited.” It doesn’t, directly, but thematically I suppose they tread related ground.

A poetry sale

/ May 5th, 2011 / 1 Comment »

I’m pleased to announce the sale of my poem “Sisyphus Crawls” to the new speculative fiction/poetry market Fantastique Unfettered.

And congratulations to fellow poet Alexandra Seidel, who was appointed Poetry Editor there just days ago.

“Sisyphus Crawls” is a part of what I call the “Claire-dare” series, a group of poems I produced last October after my buddy Claire Cooney (and her friend and mine, Nicole Kornher-Stace, and Claire’s mom, Sita Aluna) started bombarding me with prompts. Some of the poems resulted directly from the prompts, some came about simply by virtue of having my “poet’s block” dynamited loose. This poem is one of the latter. It’s not a sequel exactly to my poem “Sisyphus Walks,” but it sort of ups the thematic ante — if “Walks” takes place at the first level of Hell, “Crawls” belongs in the ninth.

Attack of the Killer Sequel

/ May 4th, 2011 / No Comments »

Actually, it’s too bad there isn’t a quick, snappy word akin to “killer” that conveys the concept of a fate worse that death.

I’ve just finished a new draft of “The Quiltmaker,” the sequel to “The Button Bin.” It was originally a lumbering 18,000 words. Now it’s a slightly more lumbering 19,000 words. Yes, I know, a novella, that special writer’s nightmare.

When I sent the mostly cleaned up first draft out to betas, I got three distinct camps of feedback, that could be succinctly characterized as: 1) cut it at least in half; 2) expand it into a novel; 3) a few tweaks and you’re done. For now, I’m going to gamble on a variation of 3) that at least somewhat addresses concerns raised by both 1) and 2). Should that fail to find traction, I will re-evaluate, I suppose…

Now, to … await more feedback!

Mythic Delirium closed to submissions

/ May 2nd, 2011 / No Comments »

Mythic Delirium is now closed to submissions. We’ll reopen again Aug. 1.

Those of you who sent in poems before the deadline … you’ll hear from me before the month is out.

A reprint sale that’s also a donation

/ May 1st, 2011 / No Comments »

When I saw that T.J. McIntyre decided to resurrect his zine Southern Fried Weirdness as a Kindle anthology with all proceeds to go to tornado relief, I realized I might have something that would fit in with that project right well. And as it turns out, T.J. agrees, so I’m pleased to announce that my short story “The Music of Bremen Farm,” first published in Cabinet des Fées in ’06, will be part of this endeavor.

When I was a kid “The Bremen Town Musicians” was my favorite Grimm fable, and I even back then tried to write my own version on my parents’ typewriter. In my version, which as I recall was never finished, the “musicians” really were supernatural monsters.

But as a grown-up, I finally did get to write my own (delightfully gory) take on the story. Finished it, even! I’m delighted to have another chance to share it, and I hope other writers and readers will check out this cool project.

National Poetry Month post recap

/ May 1st, 2011 / No Comments »

The cruellest month is over!

So I wound up posting fourteen free poems total in honor of National Poetry Month — and mini-posts about the making of most of them — for no greater reason than the thought that it might be a fun thing to do. And, as it turned out, it was.

If you missed any part of it, and for some reason decide you want to unmiss it, here’s a recap with links to all the poems and notes.

Poem Zero: “Phase Shift

Poems from The Journey to Kailash:

I. “Defacing the Moon” (note about)
II. “Requited” (note about)
III. “A Curtain of Stars” (note about)
IV. “Bacchanal” (note about)
V. “Midnight Rendezvous, Boston” (note about)
VI. “Manifest Density” (note about)
VII. “Petals” (note about)
VIII. “Giving Back to the Muse” (note about)
IX. “Disaster at the BrainBank™ ATM” (note about)
X. “No One” (note about)
XI. “Sisyphus Walks” (note about)
XII. “The Strip Search” (note about)
XIII. “The Thirteenth Hell” (note about)

And as a final bit of fun, inspired by Saladin Ahmed … since I’ve been exploring my last poetry collection in the course of doing all this, I thought it would be fun to plug the whole thing into Wordle and see what I come up with.

Let’s just say I’m a poet who is prone to simile:

A Mythic Delirium reminder: last day to submit for Issue 25

/ May 1st, 2011 / No Comments »

Just a reminder that today is the final day to submit poems to be considered for Issue 25.

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