From the Editors

Fickle Muses will continue publishing into early 2017, with our final date of publication on Sunday, February 12. Read this post for background on the closure.

We’ll begin contacting contributors in the coming months to request permission to include work in an ebook anthology, intended to preserve the work published on Fickle Muses in a more lasting format. Until the ebook is complete, work will remain available on this website (unless removed at the contributor’s request). Contributors can help speed the process by updating your contact information on this site (for those submitting since 2015) or contacting the publisher with a current email address.

Write a good myth!

After a 10-year run, Fickle Muses will close at the end of 2016. We will continue considering submissions in all categories through September 30 September 4. Updated 8/28: Due to a strong submission response, Fickle Muses will close our final reading period early. The last day to submit is Sunday, Sept. 4, by 11:59 p.m. GMT. We’ll also extend the publication timeline as needed to ensure that all work receives full consideration, probably into early 2017.

I began publishing Fickle Muses in January 2007, a few months after finishing a master’s degree at the University of New Mexico. I had been submitting my poetry (then evenly divided between autobiography and mythology) for a couple of years, and while I was seeing some mythological poetry in literary magazines, most were dominated by contemporary realism. When I looked for magazines specializing in mythological writing, I found only one, and that one took submissions by solicitation only. Writers of mythological fiction might find homes for their work in fantasy and related genres, but they might have a harder time if their stories carried the myth too far from more recent genre tropes.

So I decided to create a venue dedicated to mythological writing. Though the work published in Fickle Muses has not represented the plurality of mythic traditions so well as I’d intended, I hope it has inspired new ways of thinking about the traditional world views expressed in mythology and how they shape our contemporary worlds.

The same year that I began publishing Fickle Muses, I was diagnosed with major depression, which I’ve been living with in some degree since adolescence. After my current depressive episode began in 2011, it became evident that I would have to turn the editing reins over to others. I’m grateful to all the editors who’ve kept Fickle Muses alive. They and the contributing writers and artists are responsible for the most important work in publishing: the content. In recent months, however, I have found that I’m no longer able to handle even my more limited behind-the-scenes role, leading to the difficult decision to close Fickle Muses at the end of this year.

I don’t want the content to be lost. It will be preserved in some degree through the Wayback Machine, but I mean to keep as much of it as possible available in a more reader-friendly format as well. I’ll begin contacting contributors later in the year about plans for preservation. Most of the site will remain available until June 2017.

Though it’s sad to be closing Fickle Muses, I’m glad it’s happening at a time when there are more opportunities for publishing contemporary mythic writing. I’ve stumbled on two active publications that specialize in it, Parabola and Mythology Magazine, and have seen a number of calls for myth-focused anthologies in recent years.

Thank you, dear readers, writers and artists for sharing this journey. I hope it’s been good for you, too.

A God's Life book coverOne of the new books I’m releasing may interest Fickle Muses readers, an urban fantasy verse novel called “A God’s Life.” It tells the story of an exiled spy god working at a queer video store in Washington Heights, reflecting on his past loves and wars and trying not to start any new ones. The book draws on several mythologies, mainly Zoroastrian, Hindu, Jewish, and Greek/Roman.

Print copies can be purchased through a Kickstarter campaign ending Oct. 11 for $8. “A God’s Life” will also be available as a free ebook at starting Nov. 12.

Myths and legends have long served as gateways to our understanding of morals, emotions, and the mysteries of life. They capture our wonder and open our minds to a world of possibilities. I want to see fiction that captures the wonder and magic represented by the myths and legends of old. Fiction needs to successfully integrate mythology in a way that strongly affects the characters and plot of the story. I’m not looking for the mere mention or reference to a myth, (something easily recognized and just as quickly forgotten). I want to see fiction that utilizes myths to successfully create connections throughout.

Although I expect high quality writing, I am more interested in meaningful, emotional, and complex content. I will gladly accept great fiction that deals with Greek or Norse Mythology, but since a majority of the works we receive fall into those categories, I would love to see fiction that explores less common traditions. I look at many factors while reading a story and choosing which to publish, including writing quality, subjective taste, and integration of mythology. Strongly hateful and distasteful language and content will be rejected.

I am excited to start reading your submissions.

Once, when histories were oral, we passed each other myths for the keeping of our souls.  Please send fiction that dreams with myth and legend and dances with ancient tropes.  I’m looking for you to turn us all back on ourselves: déjà-vu of an epic scale.

There is a vast field against which your stories can be set.  Whether the work brings ancient gods to the here and now, (American Gods), adds back the myth into medieval history (The Habitation of the Blessed), or grapples with a post-historical world and an invented mythology (A Canticle for Leibowitz), I want to read it.  However, if your submission doesn’t dialogue with our deep history, this rich way of being human, it will be rejected, no matter the quality of the writing.

I do, of course, expect high quality prose.  The writing can be lyrical and fractured, if your phraseology breaks like light over your fragments.  Otherwise, the words should fall away from the page, like negative space, bringing your characters and their plights to the foreground.  

I am not looking for clever plot twists; the archetypal story is all palimpsest,  written over itself so many times.  I want to invest in your characters, their desperation, their still, silent moments.   It should go without saying that hateful writing, or writing that is overtly pornographic, will be rejected outright. 

Delight me. 


We’re all moved in to the new server, but I may be sweeping the corners a few more days. Please bear with us, and if you encounter any big bugs, contact us to let us know.

Site may be offline intermittently today through June 12

The long preparations are almost complete. Starting Sunday, June 21, Fickle Muses returns with weekly installments of mythic poetry, fiction and art.

The next submission period for poetry and art opens June 21 – August 2. Reopening of fiction submissions will be announced.

Between now and June 12, the site may sometimes be unavailable as we migrate to a new host and finalize the new site design and submission system. The changes should make it easier for readers to search and browse the archives and give contributors more control and flexibility in how their work is displayed.

We’re also searching for a new fiction editor. If you’re interested, please contact me at (official email addresses may be unavailable during the transition). Include your name, email address, a brief description of your creative work/background, and four of your favorite fiction authors with one or two sentences each explaining why their work interests you.

If your work has been published on or accepted by Fickle Muses, you should have received an email including a call for volunteers in addition to the information above. Please contact us if you did not receive this email.

Myths and legends are stories that we use, for better or worse, to understand who we are in the world. Please send poems that explore one’s relationship with those stories, whether it’s showing how a myth helps one better deal with the world or it exposes how a certain legend reinforces a problematic view. I’m interested in the whole spectrum of poetry from traditional formal verse to more experimental poems. The majority of poems that we receive deal with Greek or Norse myth. While I’ll continuing reading and publishing these poems, I would like to see more poems that deal with a wider array of traditions.

When selecting poems, I’ll read a poem multiple times before deciding to reject it or accept it. Many factors do affect my decision, such as how well the poem works with what has already been accepted or even my own subjective taste. If the poem doesn’t deal with myth or legend then the poem will be rejected regardless of quality. Hateful or prejudiced poems will also be rejected outright.

I look forward to your submissions!

Hi, there, Fickle Muses friends and fans. Did you miss us? We definitely missed you!

So we want to welcome you back by welcoming back FM contributor James Nicola. Dip more than just your toe into his delightful poems “Sisyphus Revisited” and “In Crosswords We Recall.” I love the way he plays with language, giving it a vitality with an upbeat tone even when dealing with poor Sisyphus and his eternal boulder.

So enjoy and we’ll be back next week with a short story!


Angela Maria Williams


Fickle Muses


Contributor’s Notes: ames B. Nicola has had over 300 poems published in periodicals including the Atlanta Review, Tar River, Texas Review, Lyric, and Nimrod. A Yale grad and stage director by profession, his book Playing the Audience won a Choice Award. As a poet, he also won the Dana Literary Award and a People’s Choice award (from Storyteller); was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award; and was featured poet at New Formalist. His children’s musical, “Chimes: A Christmas Vaudeville” premiered in Fairbanks, Alaska—with Santa Claus in attendance opening night


Hey, there, FM friends! I will be traveling all over the place during the next three weeks and have no idea what access I’ll have to proper technology. Therefore, we will have two more issues and then be taking a short break for the rest of July. I know, I know–I’ll miss you all, too! But we’ll be back in August for a full line-up of fiction and poetry. Until then, I know you’ll love the next two writers we’ve got coming up on July 7 and 14. They’re both super talented and it’s a joy to feature them our our site.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!


Angela Maria Williams


Fickle Muses

Hello again after our short break and a crazy hot and stormy week!

We’re glad you’re joining us and we’re especially pleased to welcome back FM friend and contributor, James Scruton. Continuing on with our “Greek” obsession, he gives us a two-part poem as his own version of afterwords in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. In “After Ilium”, he transforms the waiting for and after battle into something stunningly contemplative. Then with “Axe-Heads”, he employs that same elegance (which is simply marvelous) as he gives us Odysseus suspended in the moment of the epic’s climatic and terribly violent event.



Angela Maria Williams


Fickle Muses


Contributor Notes: James Scruton’s work has most recently appeared in Poet Lore, Thema, Slipstream, and Poetry South. He is the author of two chapbooks: Galileo’s House, available from Finishing Line Press, and Exotics and Accidentals, available from A sampling of other poems can be found at


I know, I know, we’re running a little late. But sometimes when you’ve got something good, you have to stretch the already taut wire of anticipation.

And we’ve got something good. Two somethings, to be exact.

First, I’m excited to introduce you to our new fiction editor, Annie Olson! Your humble editor tricked Ms. Olson into doing this job because I fancy myself as wily and evil like Loki. It had to happen because Annie is super talented and a perfect fit for the magazine. But don’t let me convince you. We put together a little five-question interview to let you all see for yourselves how awesome she is. I mean, she can’t even be mean to your ridiculous editor when handed the opportunity.

FM: We’ll start easy. Pudding or Jell-O?

AO: Pudding

FM: What’s the one myth that has always stuck in your mind and stayed with you no matter how hard you’ve tried to shake it? 

AO: Icarus gets his more than his fair share of mentions in pop culture; however, I remember hearing the Icarus story in 3rd grade and it stuck with me.

FM: If you woke up in the body of a god or goddess who would you want it to be and why? (This is like the “if you could have a super power” question only way cooler.)

AO: I don’t know about God or Goddess, but I will go with the shape shifting trickster Coyote from Native American creation myths.

FM: So you’re our new resident fiction expert. What do you like to see in a story that is submitted to Fickle Muses?

AO: Originality. If you’re using themes or characters from myth, something new should be revealed in the story.

FM: Do you have a favorite writer or artist who uses myth and legend?

AO: Rudolfo Anaya. I love his use of language and modern take on traditional stories. Way before I moved to New Mexico, I did my undergrad thesis in Native American mythology.

FM: Bonus question: If you could sic a mythological being on Angela, what would it be? (This is to see how much you want to kill me for making you do this. Bahaha!)

AO: Oh, dear… You’re just an Artemis. I love Artemis. Ambitious and strong.

See how great she is? And for her very first edition she picked an equally great story by Orlaith O’Sullivan. Finally we get to hear the many conquests of Zeus’ side of the story all together. It’s great solidarity but they also have a fun surprise up their sleeves to show the world that it is these famed mythological women who truly hold the control. It’s fabulous and I was delighted. I’m sure you will be, as well.



Angela Maria Williams


Fickle Muses


Contributor’s Notes:  (Orlaith is pronounced ‘Orla’, just so your internal monologue is correct). Orlaith is an award-winning Irish writer with a PhD in Renaissance literature. Her short stories have appeared in Irish and international journals. She is winner of the Fish Knife Award and The Stinging Prize, and was shortlisted for the William Trevor International Short Story Competition and the JG Farrell Award.

Short Stories:
‘The Bottle’, available in Hauptfriedhof (The Dance Macabre Anthology)
‘Gilt’, in A Paper Heart is Beating, A Paper Boat Sets Sail
‘A Tall Tale’, in The Stinging Fly, Summer 2008:




So much goings on lately! You all may have noticed that we have once again opened up fiction submissions due to our brand-spanking new fiction editor, Annie Olson. We’ll learn more about her next week when we put out her first fiction edition. So send us your fiction, your poetry and your art. We look forward to reading all your wonderful work!

This week, we are back to poetry and what a treasure we have to offer. Paul Nelson gives us a superb poem full of fervor, deliberations and mythical journeys. I don’t even normally like long poems (short attention span? love of conciseness? who knows) but I just fell into this one and couldn’t drag my eyes away from it. You will have to read it more than once because he gives us so much and upon each reading, you’ll happily peel away the layers to reveal something new and fascinating.

So enjoy and we’ll see you next week!


Angela Maria Williams


Fickle Muses


Contributer’s Notes: Paul Nelson, Downeaster, writes now from the North Shore of O’ahu …like deep-sea trolling. Seven books, including an AWP winner. Burning the Furniture will come with Guernica Editions in early 2014. He directed CW for Ohio University for years.