Black Friday deals on my books and anthos

Quick note about some Black Friday deals that are running…


Apex is discounting all their books 40% today. Use checkout code BLKFR15. That means you can get For Exposure and Appalachian Undead for under 10 bucks.

For Exposure –


Amazon is having an unprecedented book sale. They’re offering 30% off any physical book. Use promo code HOLIDAY30.

Irredeemable –

Book Review: The Human Equations

Hydra Publications Cover Reveal PNGDave Creek is a familiar name to fans of Analog Fact and Fiction magazine. Even though I don’t read Analog too often, I’ve noticed his name on the cover of the magazine numerous times. After reading The Human Equations, I can see why he’s a frequent visitor to their pages.

Most of the stories in this collection follow the tried-and-true mold of Analog stories: a dire situation is presented, a plan is made to correct the situation, problems arise, solutions are found. For someone who likes to read a stream of dark fiction, I enjoyed the more optimistic side of science fiction that Dave offers. Sometimes the pat endings leave me wanting more…I dunno…bad things to happen. But that’s because I have a problem: I love horror and I love dark SF.

The best two stories, “Kutraya’s Skies” and the “The Day That Reveals” offer a latticework of plot threads: morality, religion, culture, and relationships. These types of stories hit all the Sizemore sweet spots. In Kutraya’s Skies (a story I liked enough to ask Dave if I can reprint it in Apex Magazine), a scientist on the ‘dark’ side of a planet shares his discovery of a deadly comet with the scientists on the ‘light’ side of the planet. Cults. Racism. Politics. All three try to stop the scientists attempting to save the world based on their skewed perceptions of morality. It all feels very germane to the world of the last couple of weeks.

A couple of the stories didn’t gel for me, but then, I’m a rather picky reader when it comes to short fiction. Legendary editor Stanley Schmidt and Analog readers found something in them, so I think it’s a matter of taste.

Good hard science fiction is in short supply these days. I recommend this book as a fast and entertaining read for the science fiction fan.

Order The Human Equations by Dave Creek from Amazon

The Final Plea

The Final Plea.

Today is the last day of the Apex Magazine subscription drive. We’ve done incredibly well. Even so, we’re about $1800 from our primary goal of $5000. I think the goal is still attainable. We have 1 more lifetime sub we can sell for $250. We are selling our entire catalog of back issues for $40. Gift subscriptions are available.

A small combination of purchases would have us at $5000 rather quickly.

Apex Magazine, even after 78 issues, is a passion project for me. Simply put, I love editing and publishing a zine. The $5000 will pay for a big-time novelette from one of the most popular authors in the field right now: Ursula Vernon. It will allow me to take a giant step toward making the zine a true PRO zine (it falls into the semipro category currently).

$5000 doesn’t provide ME financial security. It provides the magazine with fuel to grow further. $5000 secures the future of Apex Magazine. It makes long-term goals such as expanding into regular novelette features, producing an Apex Magazine app, and bringing a quarterly chapbook edition of the zine closer to reality.

Ten years ago, I started Apex with the hope of making a difference. I’m proud to say that, IMHO, Apex Magazine has made a difference.

And to all those who have helped in the last two weeks, either via money, your time, or by helping spread the word, you’ve made a difference to me. And I say THANK YOU.

Nine hours until midnight. Let’s finish on a high note!

I am a pro-level juggler

Like most modern day members who live on the bleeding edge, I’m crazy busy these days. Because I only get myself in trouble during times of introspection and boredom, keeping the wheels burning is a great thing.

I’m ready to reload. I’ve finished the work of the first wave of freelance clients and am ready to pile it back on. To the best of my reckoning, I received high marks across the board.

If you’re interesting in my editing, writing, or web services, please check out this page:

I have one story out right now. It’s a weird sci-horror piece that I’m quite pleased with. I hope it finds a good home.

I’m also making slow progress on my alien invasion novel based on the short story “Sonic Scarring” from Irredeemable.

I’m editing an anthology with Lesley Conner titled Best of Apex Magazine. The plan is to end the poorly selling The Book of Apex series and replace it with an irregular Best of… antho. It contains 20 stories selected by Lesley and I from the first 78 issues of Apex Magazine. Fans get to vote on the 21st story. The story that receives the most votes will be included. Cool, right?

Speaking of Apex Magazine, we’re running a major subscription drive until November 13th. We’re hoping to raise $5000 in order to do some cool things in 2016 with the zine. If we make our goal, we’ll be publishing a great novelette by Ursula Verson set in the same world as her award-winning “Jackalope Wives.”

After the passing of Ghost, I thought it would be awhile before I wanted another cat. But a visit to the Lexington Humane Society’s setup at PetSmart disabused me of that notion quickly. A feisty little orange guy charmed me and the family in record time. We went home with him that evening and promptly named him Pumpkin.

He’s lazy, though. This is his reaction this morning when I told him we needed to go to the office and work on some editing:

12183779_10153038824407820_7869248450969806437_o“Work? I don’t think so!”

Helping out Carrie Cuinn, a friend and colleague

Paying it forward is one of my favorite concepts. If you’ve read For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, you’ll know why. I’ve been the benefactor of many ‘paying it forward’ acts of kindness by colleagues over the years.

I have a friend that can use a bit of that paying it forward love. Her name is Carrie Cuinn. She’s a hardworking single mom who has hit a bit of a financial snag due to a recent illness, the demands of school, and a twelve-year-old special needs son. She’s open and forthright about her situation. You can read about the issues she’s dealing with here.

Apex Publications bought an enrollment to her next editing workshop, “Editing for Writers“, and we’re raffling the enrollment we purchased to help raise some funds to ease the financial stress Carrie is dealing with.  Carrie gets the $100 from our enrollment and half the money raised from the raffle (the other half will go to the authors of the anthology Best of Apex Magazine).

You can buy raffle tickets from Apex here:

There are other ways to help. You can hire her for freelance editing. You can buy her book. You can donate directly.

And if you don’t have any money, you can still help by sharing the raffle info or sharing Carrie’s freelance page!


Carnegie Center Writers Group: SF/F/Horror

Happy Sunday everybody!

I’m late with this reminder (it was a busy week), so I do apologize…

I’m leading a formal 4 week long writers group starting tomorrow at 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington, KY. The cost is only $48.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this should be an excellent way to get feedback on the direction your novel is heading.

Signup here:$48

I hope to see you there tomorrow!

Subverting Racist Tropes in Fiction

Over at Apex Magazine, I published a powerful short story by Maurice Broaddus titled “Super Duper Fly.” The author confronts the deeply ingrained “passive” racism that still exists in contemporary literature. In particular, offensive stereotypes of black people: the magical negro, the mammy, and others.

It struck me after reading “Super Duper Fly” that writers lean a lot of stereotypes to build stock characters. The story even references one of our society’s most famous depictions of the magical negro trope by one of our most popular and beloved authors: John Coffey in The Green Mile by Stephen King.

“The Magical Negro is not bound by the rules of space and time. It is a sacred responsibility.” Another man stepped from his light. Over six and a half feet tall, weighing over two bills, he strutted toward the two, all swagger without consequence. He held his arms out, either for an embrace or waiting for a white woman to swoon and fall into them. “You had one job. One.”

“What was that, The Buck?” The Magical Negro asked.

–excerpt of “Super Duper Fly” in issue 77 of Apex Magazine

I interviewed Maurice about the story. We had a good discussion about race in fiction. At least, as good as one you can have between a pasty white country boy publisher and a popular black author. He had some smart things to say about Stephen King, about an author’s social responsibility, and cultural appropriation.

There is also the unspoken, yet very present, social responsibility to the community in terms of the stories we tell and the characters we craft.

–excerpt of interview with Maurice Broaddus

I encourage you to check out the interview and story. You’ll enjoy them.

“Super Duper Fly” by Maurice Broaddus

My interview with Maurice Broaddus

What Say You: Stephen Williams on NanoWriMo

Stephen Williams is an up and coming young writer I met through a science fiction and horror workshop I led a year ago. While he has no books out, the guy is one of the most prolific writers I know. Give him a few years and he’ll be running a novel sweatshop like James Frey.

Stephen is big into NaNoWriMo, and I invited him to give the blog readers some information about NaNoWriMo and how to become more involved.


It’s that time of year again. No, not pumpkin spice latte, haunted house, scary movie, outrageous costumes, and baseball playoffs time of year—it’s time to plan for National Novel Writing Month.

If you’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, then let me give you a quick breakdown. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel in the month of November—“literary abandon” as some have described it.  A novel in NaNoLand is considered 50,000 words which equals 1,667 words a day. For a slow writer and busy person like me this is not an easy task. Normally, I average 500 words a day but during the month of November I write like no other time in my life.

Last November was my first time, and I was so excited to have a completed a rough draft at the end of the month. I went a bit overboard and wrote 80,000 words. I spent the next year ridding it of superfluous adjectives and unnecessary description. Now if only I could find an editor…

The community in Lexington, Kentucky, is great and all the local support propelled me to keep writing. This year I am one of the Municipal Leaders, and I’ve scheduled a plethora of events at regional coffee shops, libraries, bookstores, and bars. It’s so exciting to see writers, people notoriously known as hermits, gather together to participate in the solitary activity we love.

If you are sitting on that great novel idea and need the extra motivation to crank out the first draft I would recommend that you sign up at Connect with your community of writers to help you write that novel you’ve been dreaming of writing.

This October also signifies another exciting time for me—my completion of the first year of the “School of Sizemore,” a school so elite that even the teacher doesn’t recognize its existence. A year ago I was searching for a way to improve my writing and find others to share it with. I stumbled upon a Science Fiction and Horror Workshop taught by Apex publisher Jason Sizemore.

I had my doubts but they dissipated after the first few minutes of his workshop. Three weeks later, I’d written my first science fiction short story and immediately signed up for the next class. A year later and I am about to finish a collection of 18 short stories, have met a ton of fellow writers who helped beta-read and co-write projects with me, read some amazing speculative fiction, and learned a ton about the publishing industry so that I don’t make a fool of myself when I query my manuscript. I would recommend Jason’s workshops and seminars to any ambitious writer who has the opportunity to attend. I think he travels too!

ApexReaderStephen Williams is an unpublished writer in Lexington, Kentucky, and avid Apex Publications and Apex Magazine reader. He is the municipal leader of the Lexington region National Novel Writing Month group, member of the Lexington Fiction Writers Group, Lexington Prose Group, and a sophomore in the School of Sizemore. He blogs at and is on twitter: @swilliky.

Said the Spider to the Guy

It is Friday. I want to end the week with a terrifying experience I suffered last weekend.

The day is warm, the sun is bright, and I’m enjoying a nice drive on a busy highway. The radio is booming a favorite song (nothing by Milli Vanilli, trust me on this). The power of music causes me to break out into song.

It is then that I notice something dangling from the driver side sun visor. At first, I figure it a loose thread that had floated and stuck to the interior material. I kind of cross my eyes for a better view. The object comes into clear focus.

A moderately-sized spider is dangling two inches from my nose. Its web is attached to the visor.

My first reaction is to flinch backward. I think I nearly tore the seat from the car’s body. All the same, this gives me no breathing room. In my panic, I nearly run into a truck in the other lane and receive both a middle finger salute and a lengthy horn eruption. Well, bugger that guy. I’m fighting for my life, and I am not sorry if my attempts to escape the situation caused him a moment’s discomfort.

Naturally, the shoulder of the road is walled off due to construction. There is no approaching exits. I can’t stop my vehicle in the middle of the highway.

Breathe, Sizemore, you can do this.

I shove the rising fear into the back of my mind. I estimate I have two miles until I can turn off at the next exit. That’s 3 minutes.

Sizemore, you can do 3 minutes.

The first half mile goes well enough. The spider stares at me. I stare at the spider.

Then it moves.

Not side to side. Not front to back. But down.

The damn thing is heading south and I’m not liking this one bit!

“No,” I cry out. “No, do not go down there.”

I and see I’m at least a mile away from the exit ramp. The spider glides further down on its silk strand of terror.

The damned thing stops about 3 inches above my legs.

My voice becomes high pitched and frantic. “No you don’t. I’m telling you not to do this.”

And this spider, obviously a total OG, falls from the strand and disappears between my legs.

# # #

I eventually get off at the exit and pull into a gas station. I search my pants. I look under the seat. On the floor mat. Under the floor mat. In other parts of the car.

There is no spider.

I’ve no idea where it went after it disappeared. I like to think perhaps it made an escape when I was searching my body and the car. Because the other two options I can see are two my mind can’t handle: 1) The spider burrowed into my body somewhere or 2) It is still in the car, growing, waiting.

Thoughts about The Canyons starring Lindsay Lohan

James Deen in The Canyons -- "My Friend's Hot Mom 35 is better than this movie. I need a new agent..."

James Deen in The Canyons — “My Friend’s Hot Mom 35 is better than this. I’m firing my agent…”

I want Lindsay Lohan to succeed in life.

Why do I care (other than the effect of basic human empathy)? I’m…not sure…but I will toss out some conjectures. She’s a fellow redhead, and redheads have to stick together. I love all things Tina Fey including the movie Mean Girls, and, of course, Lindsay Lohan is the lead actress in the film. I’ve been dismayed by how the media delights each time Lindsay has a failure, which makes me root for her. Nobody should have to deal with that.

Whatever the case, I currently consider myself a pro-Lindsay person.

Thus, when I saw a recent Lindsay Lohan film, The Canyons, available for streaming on Netflix, I decided to take a look. About a year ago, I read a fascinating behind-the-scenes tell-all on the Vanity Fair website about Lohan’s bad behavior on the set (you can read it here). I also went in knowing that the movie was terrible…Brett Easton Ellis is credited as the screenwriter, Paul Schrader (he of the fantastic 90s thriller The Afflicted) is the director…and Lindsay Lohan as the lead.

How bad could it be?

Schrader and Ellis should be ashamed of themselves.

Lohan plays Tara, paramour to trust-fund baby and casual movie producer Christian (James Deen). When Christian discovers that Tara has been playing “hide the poker” with Christian’s leading man of his current production, violence happens. The movie plays like a typical late 90s “Affair leads to murder” thriller. There is nothing to see here (other than Lindsay Lohan who looks great in the film).

The production values are atrocious. The acting, save for Lohan, is atrocious. The Canyons looks like a terrible late 90s Skinemax feature (not that I’ve seen one). The plot plays out like one (or so I’ve heard).

Paul Schrader made an interesting casting choice with James Deen. Deen is a fairly well-known porn actor. Here he plays the role of Christian. He appears to be channeling his inner Christian Bale from American Psycho (another Brett Easton Ellis movie). While Bale was terrifying as a rich, spoiled white dude, Deen comes across as creepy and a caricature of evil.

For some reason, Gus Van Sant (director of Good Will Hunting) has a cameo.

I can understand why Lohan took the role. On paper, The Canyon has some high power names attached to it. It probably looked like an opportunity to climb out of the doghouse that she and the media has put her in over the past decade. Unfortunately, the movie only throws more dirt over her career.

So here’s to hoping that my fellow redhead can revive her career! My suggestion is to beg Tina Fey for a part of whatever film project she might have cooking.