Another Slush Status Update

It’s been a while since we posted a general update about the status of submissions to the Coulrophobia anthology. We had hoped to have all our responses out by now, but alas, work and life and other such things intervened. As of the moment, we have responded with either a hold or a pass to all Coulrophobia story submissions received on or before 5/27/15. We are considering the clown facts separately, and we have not responded to the majority of those one way or the other yet. As often happen, the bulk of our submissions came in within the last few days of our submission window, so we still have quite a few stories to work through. Thank you all for you patience, and for sending us such wonderful work. We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. If you sent us a story on or before 5/27, and you haven’t heard back from us, please query.

Submission Status Update

Well, as frequently happens, pesky things like day jobs and server problems have gotten in the way of fun things, like clowns. As a result, we’re running a bit behind on our promised 4 week response time for Unlikely Coulrophobia submissions. At the moment, we’ve responded to everything received on or before May 3, 2015. Everything else is still in the queue. If you received an initial response from us saying that we got your story, then rest assured it is in good hands and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for sending us so many wonderful stories. We can’t wait to share this anthology with you!

As for the Unlikely Academia issue, our aim is to publish it in July. We’ll do our best to keep you all updated.

Announcing the Journal of Unlikely Academia ToC

It’s been a long wait, but we’re delighted to announce the Table of Contents for the upcoming Journal of Unlikely Academia. We received a lot of excellent submissions, and we had some difficult choices to make, but we promise it’s worth the wait. It’s going to be a wonderful issue and we can’t wait to share it with you, which we’ll be doing in early July. So, when July rolls around, you’ll be able to read the following stories (in no particular order) featuring the unlikely world of academia, learning, and the things people do in the pursuit of knowledge…

Follow Me Down by Nicolette Barischoff

And Other Definitions of Family by Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Candidate 45, Pensri Suesat by Pear Nuallak

The Dauphin’s Metaphysics by Eric Schwitzgebel

The Librarian’s Dilemma by E. Saxey

Minotaur: An Analysis of the Species by Sean Robinson

Soteriology and Stephen Greenwood by Julia August

The Shapes of Us, Translucent to Your Eye by Rose Lemberg

So, please join us in July for The Journal of Unlikely Academia. It’s going to be fabulous, and we can’t wait for you to read it.

An Unlikely Mini Interview with Carlie St. George

Do you find clowns to be a) creepy b) downright terrifying c) mildly amusing d) laugh out loud funny e) some combination of the above or f) none of the above (please supply your own alternate adjective/description)?

E. I think clowns are kind of creepy, which is probably why I also find them funny. My instinct to laugh at anything eerie and unnerving is probably not going to serve me well if I ever end up in any kind of horror movie scenario.

On a related note, what is you earliest clown-related memory, and how did it scar you and or shape your view of clowns?

To be honest, I don’t think it ever occurred to me to find clowns frightening OR funny as a kid. I loved playing dress-up, and clowns were just another kind of costume. The first clown I ever saw was probably Ronald McDonald and he provided the chicken nuggets, so I suspect I was okay with him.

My first really specific clown memory, though – and one that directly influenced this story — was actually an art project from second or third grade. Our teacher taught us how to draw happy and sad clowns and told us we could pick which kind we wanted to draw. I don’t think I’d ever seen a sad clown at that point, so they seemed way more interesting.

What lead you to take the particular approach to clowns you used in your story, Break the Face in the Jar by the Door?

Initially, I’d hoped to write a scary story, actually — I’m a huge fan of Pennywise. But everything I tried ended up feeling hopelessly derivative, so I shifted gears. I got to thinking about those sad clowns I used to draw and somehow that connected with this other ghost of a story I had in my head, where this woman in an emotionally abusive relationship starts making the first steps to taking control back. At first — less imaginatively — I thought maybe the daughter was drawing sad clowns herself, but I realized the story was a lot more interesting if she just woke up as a clown one day. Cause I figure, clowns are creepy because you can’t trust the expressions painted on their faces. This time, though, the clown is intrinsically honest. It’s everyone else who’s lying.

Unrelated to clowns (or not, as the case may be), what else are you working on/have you published recently/have upcoming that you’d like people to know about?

I’ve been working on a trilogy of fairy tales retold as noir stories. I’m pretty excited about them — they’ve been a kick to write. “The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper” will appear this October in The Book Smugglers. The subsequent sequels will appear in November and December, respectively.

An Unlikely Mini Interview with Caroline M. Yoachim

Do you find clowns to be a) creepy b) downright terrifying c) mildly amusing d) laugh out loud funny e) some combination of the above or f) none of the above (please supply your own alternate adjective/description)?

It really depends on the clown and what they happen to be doing at the time. A clown doing some juggling at the state fair? Amusing! A clown with red eyes and pointy teeth knocking on the window of my car? Significantly less amusing.

On a related note, what is you earliest clown-related memory, and how did it scar you and or shape your view of clowns?

When I was two years old, my mom made me a clown costume for Halloween. She spent a lot of time working on it, and it was kind of big, so I wore it for Halloween three years in a row. Maybe I developed a profound empathy for clowns, having been one myself. . . or maybe the costume had no impact on me whatsoever.

What lead you to take the particular approach to clowns you used in your story, Everyone’s a Clown?

I was looking around for ideas for clown flash stories, and decided to start by searching for clown songs on YouTube. Eventually I found a video of “Everybody Loves A Clown” where a little girl stands and stares at Gary Lewis while he sings the entire song. It was actually kind of creepy to have a kid just stand there and stare, like she could see something I couldn’t--and that was the seed for the story.

Unrelated to clowns (or not, as the case may be), what else are you working on/have you published recently/have upcoming that you’d like people to know about?

I actually do have another clown story! “The Carnival Was Eaten, All Except the Clown,” appeared in the final issue of Electric Velocipede and was later podcast at The Drabblecast.

I also have several stories that have nothing to do with clowns. “Four Seasons in the Forest of Your Mind” is forthcoming in the May/June issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and I recently did a “Tasting Menu” of food-related flash stories at Daily Science Fiction. I have a complete list of my publication on my website.

Open for Submissions

We’re now officially open for submissions for Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix.

This anthology will be appearing in e-book and trade paperback format in October 2015. We’re looking for original clown-related fiction of up to 1038 words.

Submissions will remain open until May 31st, the 178th anniversary of the death of Joey the Clown (aka Joseph Grimaldi), impoverished, alcoholic, and depressed, at the age of 58.

See our full guidelines.

 

An Unlikely Mini Interview with Virginia M. Mohlere

Do you find clowns to be a) creepy b) downright terrifying c) mildly amusing d) laugh out loud funny e) some combination of the above or f) none of the above (please supply your own alternate adjective/description)?

It depends completely on the clown. I find the more-human-looking clowns of, say, Big Apple Circus much less creepy than Ronald McDonald. Bozo? Forget about it: terrifying.

On a related note, what is you earliest clown-related memory, and how did it scar you and or shape your view of clowns?

I had a clown puppet given to me when I was in the hospital as a very small child -- an almost Pierrot-looking clown with a sad expression. She was my faithful companion for many years. It definitely gave me a soft spot for the sad doll characters of folktales, like the Nutcracker, Petrushka (my love of ballet might be showing here) and the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

A funnier clown memory was my “brilliant” idea for my sister and I to take the clown dolls our grandmother made us and chase my little brother around the house with them … right after having watched “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.” Elder siblings: terrorizing the young and innocent since time out of mind.

What lead you to take the particular approach to clowns you used in your story, A Million Tiny Ropes?

The Roberts started with that whisper, “we’ll always catch you.” I definitely creeped myself out right from the beginning, writing that one. From there it was just a pile-on of things I personally find uncomfortable: things looking the same that shouldn’t, people staring out you in places they shouldn’t, and that pervasive feeling of not being able to get away. *shudder*

Unrelated to clowns (or not, as the case may be), what else are you working on/have you published recently/have upcoming that you’d like people to know about?

I recently went through that uncomfortable phase of realizing I had leveled up, so it was best to just trunk a bunch of stories and hope they never see the light of day. It’s a clean slate for me! I’d better get busy.

Clowns: The Perfect Gift for the Clowns in Your Life

We’re in the last week of our Kickstarter campaign. What Kickstarter campaign, you ask? Why, the Clowns anthology! Who else but Unlikely Story would dedicate a whole anthology to clown flash fiction? 

I could enumerate the reasons why you NEED a copy of this book, but I won’t. Instead, I’d like you to take a moment to think about all the reasons why your friends and relatives need this book, nicely gift-wrapped and sitting, waiting, watching, from under the darkly festive Halloween tree.

Who else might need a copy? Your partner’s annoyingly cheerful-yet-creepy ex who keeps hanging around? Your boss or other co-workers? Your local or national elected officials? Your probation officer? You know who in your life needs this book, and you know the reasons why. Look around, they’re all around you.

Clowns make a perfect gift for all occasions. You have three days left. 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/788055090/clowns-the-unlikely-coulrophobia-remix

An Unlikely Mini Interview with Sara K. McNeilly

Do you find clowns to be a) creepy b) downright terrifying c) mildly amusing d) laugh out loud funny e) some combination of the above or f) none of the above (please supply your own alternate adjective/description)?

A? Really it’s ​F. Unsettling​ more than creepy​. All that make up.

On a related note, what is you earliest clown-related memory, and how did it scar you and or shape your view of clowns?

An older cousin used to draw the most terrifying clown, call it the joker, and tell me it was going to get me. I think I was about five or six.

What lead you to take the particular approach to clowns you used in your story, Perfect Mime?

I think mimes are far more unnerving than clowns. I wanted to play with their unwillingness to communicate verbally versus an inability to communicate verbally and really push the concept of slapstick​-​cum​-violence as spectacle. I wanted the reader to be scared for the mime.

Unrelated to clowns (or not, as the case may be), what else are you working on/have you published recently/have upcoming that you’d like people to know about?

I’m working on a few longer projects at the moment, none of which are close enough to completion to really brag about.

An Unlikely Mini-Interview with Derek Manuel

Do you find clowns to be a) creepy b) downright terrifying c) mildly amusing d) laugh out loud funny e) some combination of the above or f) none of the above (please supply your own alternate adjective/description)?

I think of clowns in three dimensions: funny, scary, and sad. A clown can be all three of those things but almost certainly has to be at least two of them. If a clown can somehow be funny without being either scary or sad, I’ve never seen a clown like that.

On a related note, what is you earliest clown-related memory, and how did it scar you and or shape your view of clowns?

I’m not sure, but I think the first clown I encountered was probably the mascot for a well-known fast food eatery. That character didn’t do much to influence my views on clowns in general. I always saw him as a special case, affable and relatable in a way that real circus clowns weren’t. As an adult, I see him as the smiling face of an insidious marketing machine, almost like a mild take on the horror trope that clowns have become in recent years.

What lead you to take the particular approach to clowns you used in your story, Five Things Every Successful Clown Must Do?

My clown story came together in exactly the way stories I’m writing usually don’t. I read the call for the Journal, immediately knew I wanted to write something for it, and got down to it. I knew I couldn’t write anything about a serial killer clown, and I enjoy making monsters protagonists without sacrificing what makes them monsters. The “romance” was the last element to come to me, but it felt completely right, and the story almost wrote itself. I think I wrote a story about a clown who is funny, scary, and a little sad, and I hope I wrote a story that people will enjoy reading.

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