The State of Shock Totem Publications, or We Are Not ChiZine Publications

In recent days, many in the small press have banded together in support of Ed Kurtz and others who were mistreated by those running ChiZine Publications and some of its authors. I have never had any interaction with ChiZine or its owners, but all of us here at Shock Totem Publications stand in support of any author abused by unprofessional publishers.

Sadly, through the various and many discussions across social media, one person in particular tossed Shock Totem into the fray, particularly to assail my character.

I have been very open about my mistakes as a publisher. I regret them. I publicly detailed all of it here, here, and here.

“At some point in the past year, I stepped back and realized I was slowly but surely becoming a bad publisher.”

I said that and more. There’s no need to go over it all again. There are no smoke and mirrors here.

To further add to that, there have been delays with Shock Totem 11. Life is different for me now. I no longer work third shift from home; I work day shift in the office, and I have an hour commute each way. One of my kids is now in kindergarten, the other is in preschool, and I have to drop both of them off before I head into work. My father is dying, and for the past year I have been taking care of him. If you’ve been paying attention to my Facebook feed, you know I do a lot of fishing and traveling on the weekends. All of these things and more—life has changed for others on staff as well—has dramatically slowed the Shock Totem train compared to our early days. This new issue has taught me some lessons, knowledge which will be used to alter and improve the process for future issues.

I am human, I have made mistakes, and I have owned up to them and righted my wrongs as best I could, as detailed in the posts I linked above. I won’t repeat what vile lies this person has spread about me. I have interacted with countless people in the eleven years Shock Totem has been in existence, and while I am certain not everyone—staff and authors alike—has liked me or agreed with me at times, I am equally certain you will find no one in or outside the small press who agrees with this person.

Shock Totem Publications is not ChiZine Publications. I am not the monster this person describes.

The next issue of Shock Totem is about to drop, and that is far more important. We have eleven fantastic stories from eleven equally great authors, and I’m hoping we can focus on that instead of all the drama and lies.

Cover art by Mikio Murakami.

About K. Allen Wood

K. Allen Wood is the editor/publisher of Shock Totem. For more info, visit his website at
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