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MD_2_4_cover_smallOur slow reveal of our spring issue continues with the unveiling of our featured content for May.
In “The Muse,” Amy Aderman shares a thoughtful, touching tale of the prince whose transformation from swan to human remains incomplete. Sandy Leibowitz’s poem “One-Winged” approaches that story from yet another angle. Completing an anthropomorphic trifecta, Carina Bissett warns us about “Swimming with the Shark Boys.”
If you can’t wait to read the rest of the issue, you still have options! You can subscribe here, or purchase the complete issue at Amazon or Weightless Books.

Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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Since mid-April, I’ve started a new chapter.
Not so much in any particular writing project, of which I have several ongoing, but in my writing life as a whole.
This “new chapter” feeling comes not from fresh goals I’ve set for myself, but from the way a number of endeavors of mine reached a satisfying denouement, a sort of serendipitous equivalent of the awards-giving scene at the end of the first Star Wars movie.
CP5_widgetMay 2015 was a watershed month in my overlapping careers as writer, editor, publisher and journalist. On the freelance side, I hustled and huckstered my way through the $12,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund the Clockwork Phoenix 5 anthology. On the newspaperman side, I was the point person for The Roanoke Times' coverage of the return of the restored Norfolk & Western J Class 611 steam engine, a once-in-a-lifetime event for many in this built-by-the-railroad city where I live. (I called these twin tasks my “Test to Destruction,” which, for the curious, is a reference to Keith Laumer’s short story in the ol’ Dangerous Visions anthology.)
A lot more happened that month, some things awesome, one event a heartwrenching tragedy, but I’ll leave out those details for the sake of streamlining.
On April 5, I hosted the launch reading for the completed Clockwork Phoenix 5 anthology in the Brooklyn Commons Café in NYC. Jim Freund had invited me to make the launch part of the monthly New York Review of Science Fiction Readings series that he’s overseen since the late 1980s.
You can hear Jim and I talk about how successful the reading was on the Hour of the Wolf radio show, which Jim also hosts (click here to listen/download). We had a standing-room only crowd — according to Jim, the second-largest crowd in the decades-long history of the reading series. Rob Cameron, Shveta Thakrar, Barbara Krasnoff, Sonya Taaffe, A.C. Wise, and the duo of C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez read excerpts from their stories (and in a couple of cases, the entirety of their stories), and even though these were all challenging, artistically-layered works, not the sort of stuff you think of as audience-friendly, this audience loved it. (There's a Facebook photo album here; there's even a File 770 report on the reading, a first for an event I've hosted.) It was a giddy night, and I spent most of the evening stunned by delight. After a full year of painstaking labor, I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing finale.
And then, further adding to that sense of a chapter coming to a close: four days later, on April 9, I shared a first place award for best story and pictures from the Virginia Press Association. I don’t talk about my journalism career much at all on this blog (professionalism requires me to be careful about “crossing the streams”) but this feels worth sharing. The award was for our Sunday, May 31, 2015, coverage of the 611 steam engine’s return to Roanoke. My role? I boarded the 611 in Lynchburg, rode it back to Roanoke, and wrote about the people I met and the things I saw during that historic ride. (You can read that story by clicking here.)
It was my first 1st place award from VPA since 2000, when I was part of a Roanoke Times team that claimed 1st place in the investigative journalism category, so to say it’s a satisfying personal milestone phrases it mildly. Another reason I’m fiercely proud of our 611 coverage? The second place prize went to The Washington Post, a paper with circulation at least five times our size.
Anita couldn’t join me for the Clockwork Phoenix 5 reading, but she was there at the Virginia Press Award ceremony, which made it 100 times better.
Now the CliffsNotes version: Clockwork Phoenix 5 made its funding goal May 28, 2015. The 611 came back to Roanoke on May 30, 2015. The launch for Clockwork Phoenix 5 happened April 5, 2016. The VPA awards were April 9, 2016.
Okay, life, what next?
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
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Thanks to a surprise opportunity, e-book editions of the Mythic Delirium Books anthologies and collections (and a number of my own books, too) are now available on Google Play, the Android equivalent of iBooks.
One feature of Google Play that particularly impresses me: readers who buy a book can toggle back and forth between an EPUB edition and a PDF edition, thus having the choice of a standard e-book with flowing text and a facsimile of the print book available simultaneously. Given that many of my books (written by and edited by) incorporate some typographical pyrotechnics, this strikes me as especially handy.
Here are links to all our books on Google Play:
Edited by Mike Allen
Clockwork Phoenix:
Tales of Beauty and Strangeness


Clockwork Phoenix 2:
More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness

Clockwork Phoenix 3:
New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness

Clockwork Phoenix 4
Clockwork Phoenix 5

Edited by Mike and Anita Allen
Mythic Delirium
Mythic Delirium:
Volume Two


Bone Swans
Stories by C.S.E. Cooney
(Introduction by Gene Wolfe)

Hungry Constellations
by Mike Allen
(Introduction by Amal El-Mohtar)
The Spider Tapestries
Seven Strange Stories by Mike Allen
(Introduction by Nicole Kornher-Stace)
by Mike Allen
(Introduction by Laird Barron)

The Black Fire Concerto
by Mike Allen


Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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Here’s a treat: what I consider to be the most fine-detailed and insightful review of the Clockwork Phoenix 5 anthology to date appeared in installments over the course of a couple months at the A Story A Day Keeps Boredom Away blog, also known as 365shortstories.
Here’s links to all of the individual reviews:

  • The Wind at His Back” by Jason Kimble
  • The Fall Shall Further the Flight in Me” by Rachael K. Jones
  • The Perfect Happy Family” by Patricia Russo
  • The Mirror-City” by Marie Brennan
  • The Finch’s Wedding and the Hive That Sings” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
  • Squeeze” by Rob Cameron
  • A Guide to Birds by Song (After Death)” by A.C. Wise
  • The Sorcerer of Etah” by Gray Rinehart
  • The Prime Importance of a Happy Number” by Sam Fleming
  • Social Visiting” by Sunil Patel
  • The Book of May” by C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez
  • The Tiger’s Silent Roar” by Holly Heisey
  • Sabbath Wine” by Barbara Krasnoff
  • The Trinitite Golem” by Sonya Taaffe
  • Two Bright Venuses” by Alex Dally MacFarlane
  • By Thread of Night and Starlight Needle” by Shveta Thakrar
  • The Games We Play” by Cassandra Khaw
  • The Road, and the Valley, and the Beasts” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli
  • Innumerable Glimmering Lights” by Rich Larson
  • The Souls of Horses” by Beth Cato

    The reviewer also offers a brief overview here.
    And just in case any of this inspires you to get the book, here’s where it can be found:

    Paperback: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound
    Ebook: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon AU | Google Play | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Scribd | Weightless


    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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    CP5-reading-detailSo, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m still playing the “belated” game, which is why I’m only now getting to the official post declaring that our newest anthology, Clockwork Phoenix 5, is available everywhere — though, to be fair, numerous shouts resounded via more ephemeral social media outlets on the April 5 launch date, and the launch reading that day was a smash success. More about that anon.
    First, links to all the places you can find Clockwork Phoenix 5 can be found here. (Including a new Google Play edition! More about that in the coming days.)
    Second (Part A), in addition to the starred review from Publishers Weekly, the book’s launch was heralded by a sweet review from Faren Miller of Locus:

    “The arrangement is superb. This anthology of 20 stories can resemble a symphony of themes and variations in a wide range of keys, or a tapestry whose elements form patterns of imagery and meaning that shift and offer new insights throughout the book.”

    And a wonderful metaphor-rich endorsement from well-known book blogger Andrea Johnson, a.k.a. Little Red Reviewer:

    “And then there is that secret restaurant . . . It is perfection on a plate! And you feel better about yourself and your life and the world every time you go there. Clockwork Phoenix is the name of this restaurant, and Mike Allen is the restaurateur. One sublime dish after another, and yet I still have my favorites that I keep coming back to.”

    Second (Part B), an interview Andrea conducted with me about Clockwork Phoenix 5 and other incarnations of my career appeared on launch day at SF Signal, and can be read here.

    CP5 signing

    Third, the Clockwork Phoenix 5 launch the evening of April 5, went better than I could ever have expected. More than 90 people came to the NYRSF Reading in Brooklyn, which apparently set an attendance record — the largest crowd they’ve had since a special reception held 12 years ago for Susanna Clarke (and thus the second largest in the 25-and-some-year history of the series). It was so successful it even took the organizers by (happy) surprise.
    The people who came out got to see one hell of a show. Rob Cameron (his blog entry on the event here), Shveta Thakrar, Barbara Krasnoff, Sonya Taaffe (her LiveJournal entry here), A.C. Wise and the team of C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez all gave terrific readings. From my perspective as a dabbler in amateur theater, there’s nothing quite as electrifying as a packed room that’s paying rapt attention to everything happening on stage, and wow, did we have that. It was even more remarkable what a crowd-pleasing event this was when you consider how complex and poetic all of these stories are.
    I’m thrilled too that our cover artist, Paula Arwen Owen, made it out, and got to share in the autograph signing and the delicious apple cake that NYRSF organizer Jim Freund acquired for the contributors.
    CP5 turnout

    The reading was livestreamed, and can still be watched in its entirety here: http://livestream.com/accounts/12973202/events/5083616/videos/118332564
    A whole album of photos from the event has appeared on Facebook, and can be viewed by clicking this link.
    Also, a kind of half review/half report about the reading appeared on File 770 the next day: http://file770.com/?p=28343
    This was definitely the most glorious “rise from the ashes” in the history of the series. My thanks to Jim Freund for thinking it up, to Shveta Thakrar, C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez for making it possible for me to get to the launch and back (and, especially to Shveta, for many other kindnesses besides), to all the readers for the distance they traveled and the terrific jobs they did, and to everyone who came out to watch and listen.

    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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    MD_2_4_cover_smallThe April-May-June 2016 issue of Mythic Delirium (click to view)celebrates spring with three stories of fey strangeness from three writers new to the pages of our magazine. Roshani Chokshi reveals the fate of those who seek the fox feast, Amy Aderman offers a bright take on an inescapable curse, and Alisa Alering (an alumna of Clockwork Phoenix 4) spins an ekphrastic tale of preternatural sisters.

    Our poems this time come from Theodora Goss, Virginia M. Mohlere, Sandi Leibowitz, Carina Bissett, Danial Ausema, and A.J. Odasso, with meditations on the perilous magic inherent in bears, swans, sharks, and other animal forms, and explorations of aerial biology and genetic identity.


    Our evocative cover photograph comes from Gary Every, making his debut as a cover artist for us after many appearances as a poet over our 16-year history.


    We hope you enjoy this otherworldly spring bloom. Chokshi’s story and Goss’s and Mohlere’s poems are live on the website for April.


    Table of Contents

    Featured in April
    A Trade at the Fox Wedding • Roshani Chokshi
    The Bear’s Wife • Theodora Goss
    Daily Office • Virginia M Mohlere


    Featured in May
    The Muse • Amy Aderman
    One-Winged • Sandi Leibowitz
    Swimming with the Shark Boys • Carina Bissett

    Featured in June
    We Will Hold • Alisa Alering
    Beings of Air • Daniel Ausema
    XX/XY • A.J. Odasso

    Click here to read our featured story and poems for April. To read the complete issue without having to wait for the next features to go live, purchase it at Amazon or at Weightless Books, or subscribe, either at Weightless Books, or right here on the Mythic Delirium Books website.

    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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    CP5_widgetAs of this evening the official release of Clockwork Phoenix 5 is less than two weeks away.
    In collaboration with Jim Freund, the man behind New York’s long-running Hour of the Wolf radio program, we’re going to be holding a launch party for the book in Brooklyn, N.Y., as part of the New York Review of Science Fiction Readings.
    Clockwork Phoenix 5 contributors Rob Cameron, C.S.E. Cooney, Carlos Hernandez, Barbara Krasnoff, Sonya Taaffe, Shveta Thakrar and A.C. Wise will be on deck to read excerpts from their stories – or even their entire story if short enough. I’m hosting and I may read a story excerpt, too, just to further demonstrate the range of what the anthology contains.
    The reading happens 7 p.m. April 5 at the The Brooklyn Commons Café, 388 Atlantic Avenue for more details check out the official page, the write-ups on SF Signal and File 770, and the Facebook event page. I hope to see friends and new faces there!
    In the meantime, there’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for a chance to win one of 12 ARCs of the book, that runs right up until April 4, the day before launch. Sign up for a chance to bring a phoenix to your doorstep…

    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    Clockwork Phoenix 5 by Mike Allen

    Clockwork Phoenix 5

    by Mike Allen

    Giveaway ends April 04, 2016.

    See the giveaway details
    at Goodreads.


    Enter Giveaway


    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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    For reasons good and bad, I’m awfully behind in promoting my latest writing and publishing hijinx. So, belatedly but enthusiastically, more than three weeks after the fact, I’m thrilled to announce that my second short story collection, the ultra-ultraweird The Spider Tapestries: Seven Strange Stories, is loose in the world!
    TSPcover_widgetI had been planning on Book Day to share the full text of the wonderful blurb that World Fantasy Award winner Scott Nicolay wrote for The Spider Tapestries—except I never managed to make a Book Day announcement. So here it is now, still unbowed:

    “There was a time before the marketplace sliced our wild fantastic literature into bite sized chunks, a time when visions could be astounding, amazing, and weird all at once, a time when Clark Ashton Smith could mainline a Thousand and One Nights into million-colored suns. Now comes Mike Allen, shredding raw that scar-woven shroud between then, now, and infinity, releasing hallucinatory torrents of jewel-encrusted erotic transhumanism with the intensity of a quasar and stripping bare the secret wheels and cogs of the universe beside those lovers who would destroy them. Here are stories accelerating divine sibling rivalries into ultimate cosmic horror and offering unthinkable sacrifices to mark mere step stones on journeys redefining time, space, and identity . . . dangerous short stories, not padded doorstops, epic explosions out of almost microscopic doses. More than a simple collection, these seven tales overlap and interplay in a crystalline cubist web that might as easily be the nightmares of deities or the dead dreams of a painted cranium, pirated memories or the visions gifted in an azure star spider’s bite. Surrender yourself to The Spider Tapestries and let these tales rewire your mind past genre for a while­—a while woven out of an eternity.”

    One good thing about taking so long to write this post: I can include the complimentary review of the book that appeared in Library Journal last week!

    “The seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs. Goddesses, aliens, and genetic splicers all pull on strings. Gems include ‘Sleepless, Burning Life,’ about a woman in love with a goddess, and ‘Twa Sisters’ with a man hiding secrets in his brain. Especially vivid in its blending of imagery and narrative is ‘Stolen Souls,’ in which a former cop tries to reconnect the stolen pieces of his lover’s consciousness.
    VERDICT: As he did with his previous collection Unseaming, poet Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images. Poets often make excellent writers of the short form owing to their ability to use few words to evoke an emotion or paint a picture; this volume displays that skill.”

    Intrigued by all these wriggly insinuations? Here is a list of links to many (but not all) of the places where you can find The Spider Tapestries.

    Paperback: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound
    Ebook: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon AU | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Scribd | Weightless


    This post first appeared on Descent into Light.


    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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    The first review of Clockwork Phoenix 5 has appeared, and we’re proud to report that it’s a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly! We could not have hoped for better.

    CP5_widgetAllen’s strange and lovely fifth genre-melding fantasy anthology selects 20 new short stories of unusual variety, texture, compassion, and perception. . . . The common denominator seems to be love in many unusual incarnations: two fathers’ devotion to their lost children in Barbara Krasnoff’s ghost story “Sabbath Wine,” a sensitive testament to same-sex marriage in Jason Kimble’s tall tale “The Wind at His Back,” and the love of excellence in Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s “The Finch’s Wedding and the Hive that Sings.” Perhaps the most difficult to classify is Beth Cato’s “The Souls of Horses,” which explores an unusual side of the U.S. Civil War. All the stories afford thought-provoking glimpses into alternative realities that linger, sparking unconventional thoughts, long after they are first encountered.

    Read the full review here.
    At present Anita and I are getting ready to visit the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando. And the official launch of Clockwork Phoenix 5 follows not long after, at the New York Review of Science Fiction Readings in Brooklyn on April 5.
    I’ll have copies for sale there, but if you can’t make it, no worries—there’s plenty of pre-order links to be found here.

    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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    NewClairePixWe at Mythic Delirium Books want to offer a huge, heartfelt congratulations to C.S.E. Cooney, whose story “The Bone Swans of Amandale” from her collection Bone Swans is now a finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Novella!
    You can read Claire’s Nebula nominated story free on our website — and of course, you can buy the collection, too!
    nebulaawardlogoThis honor comes on top of 2015 Locus Recommended Reading List appearances for both “Bone Swans” the novella and Bone Swans the collection. And we’re confident there’s more to come. Needless to say, we’re happy we took this project on!
    We’d also like to offer a shout of congratulations to Nicole Kornher-Stace, whose much-honored novel Archivist Wasp is up for the Andre Norton Award. We just don’t get tired of mentioning that the story this book grew from, “On the Leitmotif of the Trickster Constellation in Northern Hemispheric Star Charts, Post-Apocalypse,” first appeared in Clockwork Phoenix 4.
    For more Nebula Award-nominated fiction from Mythic Delirium Books, check out “Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela” by Saladin Ahmed (from Clockwork Phoenix 2) and “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” by Kenneth Schneyer (from Clockwork Phoenix 4).

    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

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