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An anthology of flash fiction featuring clowns, mimes, and other unlikely clown-type creatures.
An anthology of flash fiction featuring clowns, mimes, and other unlikely clown-type creatures.
47 backers pledged $1,793 to help bring this project to life.

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Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix is an anthology of flash fiction featuring Clowns, Clown-like creatures, Jesters, Fools, and a handful of Mime thrown into the stew for good measure. 

Unlikely Story has been publishing critically acclaimed fiction as a free online magazine since 2011. This is our first first foray into print and e-book publishing. With clowns.

What exactly goes into a clown-themed anthology? Well, clowns, for one. We prefer ours marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar (with either salt and lemon pepper or a generous dash of cajun spices). Toss them on a hot grill to get a nice initial char, but be careful not to overcook — that results in a rubber-nosey texture when you add them to the stew. A gentle touch is— But look at me: going on as if you already know the basics. Let's take a more systematic approach. 

Ingredients: 

We start with a base of Unlikely Story #11.5: The Journal of Unlikely Coulrophobia. Yes, this is an off-the-shelf ingredient, readily available at your local neighborhood Internet, but it's a tasty one, comprised of five flavorful stories by Carlie St. George, Caroline M. Yoachim, Derek Manuel, Sara K. McNeilly, and Virginia Mohlere. 

6 additional stories, hand-raised and fed only a diet of fresh, organic grains and marshmallow peeps, by Mari Ness, Kristen Roupenian, Evan Dicken, Line Henriksen, Holly Schofield, and J.H. Pell. Add these to the pot and bring to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Additional stories, to taste, folded gently into the simmering broth. The more flavors, the better the stew. Our initial funding goal budgets for five or six additional stories, but we hope — with your help — to incorporate even more. 

Garnish with interior art by the inimitable Bryan Prindiville, the hand behind Bassetville and other comics, and eternal veteran of the Super Art Fights. 

Serve with cover art by Linda Saboe

Music by Shriekback, because what's the fun in cooking without a soundtrack? 

Film and Animation by Gregory Norman Bossert.

The stories in this anthology explore clowns in all their terrifying glory, but also, always, with an eye to the human condition. Some will leave you chilled, and some, like a sad velvet clown, may bring a tear to your eye. All are fiercely original, and we look forward to sharing them with you . 

We aim to publish the anthology on or shortly before Halloween 2015.

Why Are We Doing This? 

Because everyone loves a clown. 

Or not. Some people find them downright terrifying, hence the term coulrophobia, which came into the popular lexicon in the 1980s. We set out to explore the darkest corners of this not-so-irrational fear in our online mini-issue, and—

[No, not really. We set out to put together a silly April Fools' Day mini-issue, full of tales of dread pirate were-clowns vs vampiric ninja clowns. And we got plenty of those stories. And they were all we could have asked for. But we also got these other stories, that did explore the darkest corners of clowndom and human nature. Stories that bubbled up from some deep, unknowable collective unconscious and grabbed us by the throat, insisting that they be brought into the spotlight.

—received a clown car's worth of wonderful submissions. There were so many talented authors interested in exploring this theme that we came to the conclusion one mini-issue of Unlikely Story wasn't enough. Hence this book.

For Readers 

We present you a collection of flash fiction (about clowns) that is bone-chilling, heart-warming, terrifying, horrifying, funny, and sad, often simultaneously. 

"I didn't expect the gut punches," said Bryan Prindiville, when we sent him the stories for illustration. Which is a good way to put it. What did he mean? Well, check out Derek Manuel's "Five Things Every Successful Clown Must Do" and Carlie St. George's "Break the Face in the Jar by the Door," and decide for yourself.

For Writers 

Once the kickstarter is over, assuming we hit our fundraising goals we will be opening for submissions for additional stories. At a bare minimum, we'll be looking to fill five slots, but we're hoping for more. It depends partially on how much ultimately we bring in, both in absolute terms (percentage of funding reached) and what the distribution of rewards is (some rewards cost more to fulfill than others). As a guestimate, accounting for author payment, art, and cost of rewards fulfillment, etc., for every approximately $150 raised above our funding goal, we can add one more story. 

Key details: 

About US

Edited and produced by Bernie Mojzes, A.C. Wise, and Linda Saboe, Unlikely Story started life as The Journal of Unlikely Entomology in 2011. Since then, the online magazine has expanded to encompass other unlikely themes such as Architecture, Cryptography, Cartography, and Academia. Works from Unlikely Story have been reprinted in Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing and received honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, Gardner Dozois' Year's Best Science Fiction, and Michael Kelly's Year's Best Weird Fiction, among others. Unlikely Story was the storySouth Million Writers Award runner-up for Best New Online Magazine in 2011.

The Editorial Staff:

Bernie Mojzes has published three or four handfuls of short stories in markets as diverse as Crossed Genres and Circlet Press's Whispers in Darkness, and has a half-dozen novels in progress. He tries to keep his personal site — www.kappamaki.com — up to date. In his copious free time he publishes and co-edits Unlikely Story.

A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories, which have appeared in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 4, among others. She can be found at www.acwise.net and on twitter as @ac_wise.

Linda Saboe is an artist, grassroots herbalist and nature-lover. When she is not making colorful messes with paints and clay, she volunteers her time feeding and caring for baby or injured raccoons, skunks, squirrels and other critters. Her illustration work can be seen at Unlikely Story and in a number of other books.

About the Money

We're looking to raise $1500.00. The funds generated will go toward: 

  • Paying authors
  • Paying for art
  • Producing the book (printing, distribution costs, ISBNs and barcodes, etc.)
  • Cost of producing/acquiring/shipping rewards

If you're extra generous, the additional funds will go toward: 

  • More content (more stories, more art, bigger book)
  • Compensating our film-maker
  • Recouping a fraction of our out-of-pocket costs
  • Cost of producing/acquiring/shipping additional rewards
  • Advertising/review copies/etc.

Stretch Goal: $2000.00

  • We'll add a minimum of three to a maximum of five additional stories (exact count will depend on story length), plus illustrations.

About the Rewards

Needless to say (but we're saying it anyway), all backers have our profuse thanks, and will be listed as a backer in the anthology and on our website. 

We tried to be pretty straightforward and clear in our rewards descriptions, and I think most of it doesn't really require further explanation. But here's some highlights.

All rewards at or above $15 receive a copy of the anthology in print and e-book.

Mari Ness's limerick cards and Sara K McNielly's microfiction cards come either individually or as sets. Backers who request the full set will receive a set with matching numbers, and will be fulfilled in order (i.e. first person gets the set of #1's, second person gets the set of #2's, etc.). Backers requesting individual cards will receive a card chosen at random. You say you wanted two cards? Don't worry, we'll make sure there are no duplications.

Backers choosing the Pie-Car Coffee Break (meet the editor(s)) reward must make their own way to some place one or both of us are.

  • Capclave (A.C. Wise)
  • Philcon (Bernie Mojzes)
  • Balticon (Bernie Mojzes)
  • Readercon (A.C. Wise and Bernie Mojzes)
  • The Greater Philadelphia Area (A.C. Wise and Bernie Mojzes)
  • San Francisco & Vicinity (Bernie Mojzes)
  • North Virginia (Ashburn/Tyson's Corner/etc) (Bernie Mojzes)

If you choose this reward, the editors will follow up to arrange a mutually convenient time and place.

Is there some combination of rewards you'd like? Contact us.

Is there some reward you'd like to see us offer? Ask. Who knows? Maybe it's something we can do.

Did you already back at a rewards level that gets you a copy of the paperback, and now you realize you need another to give as a gift? Add $10 to your pledge and let us know you want another.

UPDATE: April 19, 2015

We've reached our funding goal! (Actually, we did that last Tuesday, but a bout of plague place me upon my buttocks and I'm only now getting enough cognitive facilities back to figure out how to string words together.) 

We're opening to submissions on May 1st. Go here for guidelines:

http://www.unlikely-story.com/fiction-submissions/

Now is the time to reach for the ring — the stretch goal: MOAR CLOWNS! For every $125 we get, we can add about 1038 words of clowny goodness. We're adding 2 more critiques/edits by the Unlikely Story editors to the rewards, and one other very special reward: Mr. Boingo himself.

Risks and challenges

Unlikely Story has been publishing since 2011. We're familiar with the process of putting together collections of stories, working with authors and artists, and producing them for the web and PDF formats. Our most significant challenge will be translating that into e-book and print formats, and negotiating the wild, wooly worlds of printing and distribution. Our goals are designed with some buffer to allow for miscalculation of costs, and sufficient supplemental funds exist to cover a larger miscalculation. The biggest risk is that we make a mistake in the production schedule that pushes us past our Halloween publication date.

There is, of course, a small but non-zero possibility that Bernie will die in a horrible pie-related incident — AS MAY WE ALL — in which case, production may be delayed. Some rewards require the efforts of third parties; in those cases, rewards fulfillment depends on their successful avoidance of deadly pies. In such an event, we will contact the backer to work out an alternate reward.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 3 or more About $3

    Pi to the Face

    This pledge amount was supposed to be $3.14, but we can't get that to stick. This is why all our pies come out lopsided. So save our pies: send us $3.14 (or $3), and you'll receive our thanks and your name listed in the back of the anthology and on our website as a patron of the clowning arts. Round up to $4 and we'll send you a postcard with a handwritten thank you note.

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    Pledge US$ 6 or more About $6

    Auguste

    Receive an e-book copy of Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix in PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats. Also, your name will be listed in the back of the anthology and on our website as a patron of the clowning arts. Add a dollar and we'll send you a postcard with a handwritten thank you note.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Clown Blanc

    Receive a paperback copy of Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix. Also included: the e-book in all available formats, your name listed as a patron of the clowning arts, and a postcard with a handwritten thank you note.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Pierrot

    Mari Ness has composed a collection of clown limericks, which we're distributing over a set of five postcard-sized limited edition prints — the cover art on one side and two limerick verses per card on the other.

    You receive one limited edition limerick card, signed and numbered by Mari, plus all the rewards listed in Clown Blanc. Two limericks aren't enough for you? Add more for $5 per card, or collect a matching set of all five with the Pierrot Flush reward level, below.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Mime

    Sara K. McNeilly has composed three microfictions that flesh out and flavor the world of her story, which we are distributing across three postcard-sized limited edition prints — the cover art on one side and story on the other.

    You receive one limited edition microfiction card, signed and numbered by Sara, plus all the rewards listed in Clown Blanc. One story isn't enough for you? Add more for $10 per card, or collect a matching set of all three with the Mime Flush reward level, below.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Harlequin

    Who doesn't love a good, snarky movie review? File it under guilty pleasures, if you must.

    Within two months of this project being funded, Carlie St. George will write a possibly thoughtful, almost certainly snarky movie review for any film you desire, so long as it's not a) an inspirational sports movie, b) porn, or c) one of the movies she’s already reviewed on her blog. Check that list out here: http://mygeekblasphemy.com/index-of-movie-reviews/

    Additionally, you will receive all the rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards level (book, e-book, our profuse thanks, etc.).

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Clown College

    Professional critique of a story up to 7,000 words by short story writer and Clowns contributor Evan Dicken. Additionally, you'll receive all the rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards level.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Pierrot Flush

    Mari Ness has composed a collection of clown limericks, which we're distributing over a set of five postcard-sized limited edition prints — the cover art on one side and two limerick verses per card on the other.

    You receive a full set of limited edition limerick cards, signed and numbered by Mari, plus all the rewards listed in Clown Blanc.

    Don't need a full set? Check out our Pierrot rewards level, above.

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    Pledge $53 or more About $53

    Mr. Boingo

    Mr. Boingo played a pivotal part in the making of the Clowns Kickstarter video. He is, in fact, a cheap, plastic Halloween skull, with clown makeup hastily applied. He is, in fact, the only one of his kind, and he wants to live in your bedroom. No, he hasn't told me why.

    Of course, you'll also get a copy of the book in paperback and e-book, and all the other rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards category.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Mime Flush

    Sara K. McNeilly has composed three microfictions that flesh out and flavor the world of her story, which we are distributing across three postcard-sized limited edition prints — the cover art on one side and story on the other.

    You receive a full set of the limited edition microfiction cards, signed and numbered by Sara, plus all the rewards listed in Clown Blanc.

    Don't need a full set? Check out our Mime rewards level, above.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Clown College: Extra Credit

    A professional critique of a story or excerpt up to 8000 words from Unlikely Story editors Bernie Mojzes and A.C. Wise. This will include edits on multiple levels: developmental edits, line edits, and copy edits, as well as some general notes and commentary. We will also review your revised manuscript and give additional feedback.

    You will also receive all the rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards level.

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    The Art of Clowning

    Receive a high quality 8x10 print of the Clowns cover art, and another print of your choice from Unlikely Story Art Director Linda Saboe's portfolio, at https://croneswood.wordpress.com/illustration-gallery-2/

    You will also receive all the rewards included in the Clowns Blanc reward level.

    If you are interested in additional artwork, add $10 per 8x10 print.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Art of Clowning in Big Shoes

    Receive a high quality 11x14 print of the Clowns cover art, and another print of your choice from Unlikely Story Art Director Linda Saboe's portfolio, at https://croneswood.wordpress.com/illustration-gallery-2/

    You will also receive all the rewards included in the Clowns Blanc reward level.

    If you are interested in additional artwork, add $10 per 8x10 print or $15 per 11x14 print.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Three Ring Circus

    Receive the original art of one of Bryan Prindiville's clown illustrations for the book. The drawings are pen and ink on 4-1/2" x 6" 2-ply acid free paper.

    You'll also receive all the rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards level.

    If you're interested in more than one piece of artwork, talk to us.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Pie-Car Coffee Break

    Meet with an editor! Coffee and donuts, tea and crumpets — the details don't matter. It's the company that counts.

    Are you local to the Philadelphia area (or in Bernie's case, the San Francisco area, intermittently)? Or are you planning to attend Balticon, Philcon, Capclave, or Readercon 2015? You'll have a chance to sit down with one or both of Unlikely Story's editors and pick their brain(s) about writing, editing, and why clowns are so very terrifying. Feel free to bring along bits of manuscript, questions about starting your own magazine, or really, anything else you want to talk about.

    You'll also receive all the rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards level, incidentally. If the timing's right, maybe we can even give it to you in person.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Big Shoes to Fill

    Receive Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix in paperback and e-book, along with a bag of clown-themed swag carefully chosen for you by your esteemed editors. You'll have to take a leap of faith and trust our taste on this one. We assure you it's impeccable.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Art of Clowning Redux

    Bryan Prindiville will create a full-page frontispiece (frontispiece (n.) the illustration facing the title page of the book), based off photo references provided by the backer. Have a favorite clown you'd like to commemorate? Want to see what that clown of a brother-in-law looks like — as a clown? The backer will receive the original artwork.

    You'll also, of course, get a copy of the book and all the other rewards listed in the Clown Blanc rewards category.

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Funding period

- (30 days)