Tag Archives: Mike Allen

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Mike Allen

CORVIDAE blog tour banner

Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Mike Allen.

Interview with Mike Allen

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

A spider with a leg span wider than my outstretched hand squeezed out from the space behind the light switch, and spread its wings.

I froze, my finger still on the toggle. Behind me the dust-draped ceiling fan hummed to life, the light bulb beneath it flicking on to paint the monster with my shadow.

The marks on its body formed a single staring eye above a screaming mouth.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? In this case a little bird approached me, heh, heh, and asked me to consider creating a corvid story that didn’t involve crows, ravens or magpies. I was intrigued with the idea of writing about a bluejay, because I have a thing for blue, and the more I read about these birds, the more inspiration I found. I had already written two short stories (“The Hiker’s Tale,” “Follow the Wounded One,” published) and a whole novel (unpublished) that take place in a world where certain special people have spirit animal forms possessed of immense power. I didn’t start out intending to set “The Cruelest Team Will Win” in that universe, but the elements just snapped into place unbidden.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? 
In the case of the bluejay, the ability the bird has to smash open acorns with a single peck of its beak.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? The scalps of my enemies.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? For me, there’s nothing shinier than a wickedly good story.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?I live in the Appalachians, and though “The Cruelest Team Will Win” isn’t explicitly set there, all the other stories in the series most definitely are.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?At its heart, my fear of flying spiders.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?I’m a raven man, myself.

 

Mike Allen edits the digital journal Mythic Delirium and the critically-acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthology series. He’s a three-time winner of the Rhysling Award for poetry; his short story “The Button Bin” was a Nebula Award finalist. His newest poetry collection, Hungry Constellations, offers a 20-year retrospective on his career, while his first collection of horror stories, Unseaming, debuted in October to starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. By day he’s the arts columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and frequent project co-editor Anita Allen, as well as a dog named Loki and two sister-felines, Persephone and Pandora.

 

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:
Amazon
Goodreads
Kobo

Corvidae Cover Reveal

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

I mean, I could have started this post with some text, maybe an explanation about what you were going to see but seriously? Were you going to notice? No. Because as soon as you looked at this page this cover would have captured your attention and once you’ve seen it, what additional explanation is needed? Still, there is protocol to follow… 😉

This is the cover for my latest anthology, coming out July 7th!

Corvidae

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.

 

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

Pre-orders available now (within the United States) from World Weaver Press or add it to your shelves at Goodreads!

 

Corvidae Table of Contents

Proposed Table of Contents for CORVIDAE


A Murder of Crows
by Jane Yolen
Whistles and Trills by Kat Otis
The Valravn by Megan Fennell
A Mischief of Seven by Leslie Van Zwol
Visiting Hours by Michael S. Pack
The Rookery of Sainte-Mere Eglise by Tim Deal
The Cruelest Team Will Win by Mike Allen
What Is Owed by C.S.E. Cooney
Raven No More by Adria Laycraft
The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence by Michael M. Rader
Sanctuary by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix) by Sara Puls
Flying the Coop by M. L. D. Curelas
Postcards from the Abyss by Jane Yolen
Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird by Mark Rapacz
Seven for a Secret by Megan Engelhardt
Flight by Angela Slatter

 

You are going to love this book.

(Titles and such are subject to change right up until the day of publication of course)

Mythic Delirium Anthology

If you follow me on social media you have definitely seen me bragging about this LoL

This is the cover for the very first, Mythic Delirium print anthology:

Mythic_Delirium_paperback_cover-1024x760

How freaking gorgeous is that?

And did you look at the back cover? Halfway down the second column of names? THAT’S ME!

*squee*

I am freaking blown away that I’m sharing a table of contents with all those amazing people. Oh. My. Gawd.

Also? I’ll say a special oh my gawd just for Jane Yolen because, c’mon! It’s Jane-freaking-Yolen. Oh my gawd!

*deep breaths*

Okay… so… yes. My short story, Seedpaper, is included in this amazing anthology. And for the record? It’s not just me who thinks it’s amazing, this anthology received a starred review by Publishers Weekly.

Look at this table of contents and you’ll get an idea of why that might be LoL:

“Myths and Delusions: An Introduction” by Mike Allen
“This Talk of Poems” by Amal El-Mohtar
“The Wives of Paris” by Marie Brennan
“Cuneiform Toast” by Sonya Taaffe
“Hexagon” by Alexandra Seidel
“Unmasking” by Sandi Leibowitz
“Ahalya: Deliverance” by Karthika Naïr
“Katabasis” by Liz Bourke
“The Art of Flying” by Georgina Bruce
“Dreams of Bone” by Christina Sng
“India Pale Angel” by Robert Davies
“a recipe” by Lynette Mejía
“Anna They Have Killed” by Jennifer Crow
“The Two Annies of Windale Road” by Patty Templeton
“Zora Neale Hurston Meets Felicia Felix-Mentor on the Road” by J.C. Runolfson
“Princess: A Life” by Jane Yolen
“Present” by Nicole Kornher-Stace
“Old Bone” by Sandi Leibowitz
“Backbone of the Home” by Lisa M. Bradley
“Flap” by David Sklar
“Rhythm of Hoof and Cry” by S. Brackett Robertson
“The Silver Comb” by Mari Ness
“Milkweed” by Cedar Sanderson
“Never Told” by Jane Yolen
“Foxfeast” by Yoon Ha Lee
“Seeds” by Beth Cato
“Seedpaper” by Rhonda Parrish
“The Onion Prince” by David Sklar
“The Girl Who Learned to Live with Bees in Her Hair” by Brigitte N. McCray
“The Giant’s Tree” by Yukimi Ogawa
“Two Ways of Lifting” by Virginia M. Mohlere
“Levels of Observation” by Kenneth Schneyer
“Cat’s Canticle” by David Sklar
“Nisei” by Beth Cato
“Echoes in the Dark” by Ken Liu
“Voyage to a Distant Star” by C.S.E. Cooney
“WereMoonMother” by Brittany Warman

Holy crap, amirite?

I get a free copy of this book because I’m a contributor, but I’m totally considering buying several more just to give out at Christmas LoL If you, too, are considering picking up a copy it’s currently available at a lot of places:

AMAZON: trade paperbackKindle
AMAZON UK: trade paperbackKindle
BARNES & NOBLE: trade paperbackNook
iTUNES: ebook
KOBO: ebook

…and if you’re coming to World Fantasy this year, bring it along. I think a lot of contributors (including the editors and myself) will be there and happy to sign it 🙂