Sizemore sighting at That Book Place this Saturday

Douglas F. Warrick is signing his fantastic new collection PLOW THE BONES this Saturday at That Book Place. I will be in attendance, and I’ll be around to sign any of my books along with any babies or biceps you would like me to draw on.

Details:
That Book Place
11am – 2pm EST
Madison, IN (about 2 hours from Lexington)

Event Page:
http://www.facebook.com/events/632074443488742/

Store Website (though their event page is out of date):
http://www.thatbookplace.com/

That Book Place is owned and operated by a gentleman named Frank Hall. Frank is an outstanding individual and a big supporter of indie authors and indie presses (like Apex!).

Doug Warrick is a fantastic performer and reader. I submit this YouTube video of Doug reading from his collection. I challenge you to watch all 12 minutes and NOT want to attend.

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Come see me (and vegetables) at the Lexington Farmers Market

lfmSomewhere in between the shelves and tables of tasty vegetables and fruits sold at the Lexington Farmers Market, I will be participating in The Morris Book Shop’s “Homegrown Talent” exhibit.

I’ll be selling a few books, but mostly, I’ll be shaking hands and being friendly to the local farmers and supporters of those hardworking farmers. I also hope to make off with some fresh blueberries. Mmm, blueberries.

Come out. Buy a book. Buy lots of homegrown fruits and vegetables. Go home happy.

Details:
Cheapside Park, Lexington, KY
8am — Noon
Saturday, June 1st


A Collection of Sizemore Fiction — Thoughts and Possiblities

question-markAn odd thing is happening.

I’ve had two different small press publishing houses query me for a short story collection. I find this to be amusing, considering I haven’t written anything new in nearly two years. It is gratifying to be asked, for sure, but frustrating at the same time. A guy drowns the internet promoting his publishing company for years and years to mixed success (okay, two Hugo Award nominations are nice…), and yet it is my little read short fiction that draws the most attention.

Of course, if I do go forward with a Sizemore collection of short fiction, then I would need To Do Things. Stuff like maintain this blog. Actually post to it on a regular basis. Instead of spending 100% of my energy promoting Apex titles, some of that effort will need to go toward promoting my book. Also, I would need to find the time to write several new stories to include in the collection.

Another publishing option that many friends in the publishing business have advocated is that I self-publish a Sizemore collection via Apex. This appeals to me as a sound financial strategy.

You can tell I’m waffling and stalling, mostly because I’m not sure what the right play here is. What do my small cadre of readers think?

Would you buy a collection of Sizemore fiction? The last thing I want this to be is an exercise in futility.


Hugo Award Nomination!

And then it happened again…

Apex Magazine and its editors Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, and me have been nominated for a Hugo Award in the category of Best Semiprozine.

Second year in a row… never did I imagine I would be a Hugo nominee, but to have it happen twice… it is quite surreal.

The Best Semiprozine is STACKED with quality. This list of five nominees is filled with so much that is righteous that it makes me want to call out a series of “hallelujahs!”

BEST SEMIPROZINE
Apex Magazine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Clarkesworld Magazine
Lightspeed Magazine
Strange Horizons

I can’t imagine anybody complaining no matter which of these five wins the rocket.

Here is a full list of nominees.
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/03/finalists-2013-hugo-award-plus-free-fiction-links/


See me at Millennicon this weekend

I’m a guest and panelist at this weekend’s Millennicon (March 15-17) in Cincinnati, OH. I haven’t been in a few years, and am looking forward to catching up with some good friends.

http://www.millennicon.org/

My panel schedule:

Geeks: Real vs. Poseur
11:00am Saturday, McKinley Room

Devil’s in the Details
3:00pm Saturday, McKinley Room

The Art and Science of Editing
1:00pm Sunday, MR1216

If you see me out and about, don’t hesitate to say hello.


Booksigning on Saturday: Bookmamas in Indianapolis, IN

Bookmamas in Indianapolis, IN is hosting a book event this Saturday for Dark Faith: Invocations from 4 – 6pm. Editors Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon will be there with me, along with authors Lucy Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Kyle Johnson, and RJ Sullivan. Even my senior editor Janet Harriett will be joining in the fun.

Come on out, pick up a copy of Dark Faith: Invocations to be signed by everyone there, and listen to the authors read their stories.

Bookmamas
9 S. Johnson Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46219

I’ll have copies of my anthologies (The Zombie Feed Volume 1, The Book of Apex) on hand to sign, along with free sampler issues of APEX MAGAZINE that I’ll sign. This promises to be a fun event. :)


Movie Review: V/H/S the horror movie anthology

Those of us in horror love our anthologies.

We like the frights to come fast and to come often. I think that’s one small reason why the anthology format works so well in horror. We sit down, we read, we want a jolt. If I grab a novel, I’m not assured that jolt. I might have to slog through pages and pages of boring exposition and some bull crap called characterization and plot building. If I grab an anthology and read a short, then (in theory, at least) I should be assured a jolt.

That’s a terrible over-simplification, but I hope I’ve gotten my meaning across.

V/H/S is a collection of five horror vignettes bound together by a framing narrative. Despite the title, this isn’t set in the 80′s, but contemporary times. Different well-known directors for each vignette (at least “well-known” in horror fandom). The whole thing is filmed in “found footage” format (no, hold on, don’t run off!).

The film opens weakly. If you read this review and decide to watch V/H/S, either suffer through the first ten minutes or take the smart path and make use of your fast forward option. I’ll even tell you what you’re missing. I watch and suffer so that you don’t. There are a bunch of lowlifes, who in our framing story are filmed committing acts of destruction, vandalism, sexual assault, weak swearing (Samuel L. Jackson needs to come teach these guys the proper way to say “fuck”), and inexplicably this is all inter-cut with a scene of one of the creeps trying covertly to film himself having sex with a woman.

The movie’s plot finally starts when the leader of these delinquents gathers his friends for a “job.” He has been tasked with stealing a videotape from a house. As we’ve been shown, these guys film everything, even acts of felony, so cameras are rolling as they arrive and break into the home. It appears that nobody is home until they find a room on the second story filled with a wall of televisions, stacks and stacks of videotapes, and VCRs. And a fat dead old man and the chair he sits on.

Why is the guy dead? Did somebody get all A Clockwork Orange on his ass and make him watch Cannibal Holocaust or Zombi until his heart gave out? Don’t know, the film never tells us. He is there just because, okay.

Don’t give up on the film just yet. Please bear with me a little bit further.

So far, this movie is trash. At the time, I wanted my 20 minutes of life back.

Naturally, the leader doesn’t know what the tape looks like, just that he will know supposedly when he sees it. Great plan when there are hundreds of tapes all about.

The leader of the band of merry thieves directs one of his lackies to start watching the tapes in the room with the dead guy. One by one. That will get the job done, right? They’ll find that tape in no time!

Mercifully, we leave the framing story and we go to the first vignette.

Amateur Night directed by David Bruckner

And just like that, we’re dropped into the best 20 minutes or so of V/H/S.

Three typical, horny guys party at a bar hoping to find some sweet ladies to take back to their hotel room. For sexual activities. One guy is wearing a fake-looking set of spy glasses because they hope to record these sexual activities. Yes, this is sounding stupid. And, honestly, it is, but at least these three guys have personality (Read: they’re drawn just a smidge beyond stereotypical) and are halfway decent actors.

The guy with the spy glasses meets this woman:

V/H/S -- Lily

I like you.

Her name is Lily. She tells Clint (guy with glasses) “I like you” many times, but she doesn’t say much else. It is obvious that something is a little off with Lily, but the guys decide to take her and another lady back to the hotel with them.

The woman with Lily passes out from too much booze. In an act of marvelous chivalry, the lead guy elects not to rape the woman, and instead decides to make his move on Lily. She is quite pretty in a psycho-killer kind of way.

I like you.

Lily is definitely a little off. And a little different. And what happens next is one terrifying and couch-clenching situation. Well done, David Bruckner!

The clip ends, and the movie takes us back to our framing narrative. Stuff happens. Next vignette, please.

I’ll give Amateur Night 4 out of 5 stars.

Second Honeymoon directed by Ti West

Ti West makes weird, intense movies. They have a 1970s vibe. Raw. Cold. Unflinching. House of the Devil is a fantastic horror flick. The Innskeepers has its detractors, but I think it is worthy of your time. So I was excited that he had a segment in the anthology. His contribution to V/H/S feels more modern than his two US movies, but it exhibits the same detached, cold horror. Wes Craven mixed with Dario Argento. Unfortunately, it is about as shallow as much of Craven and Argento’s lesser works.

A young couple are traveling the American southwest. They’re bunking down for the night at a cheap hotel when a weird hitchhiker knocks on their door. There is a quick cut, and we’re shown the aftermath of this visit. The husband is visibly shaken. The wife less so.

The piece has a twist. It also has one scene of violence that is shocking, realistic, and hard to watch.

3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday the 17th directed by Glenn McQuaid
This one rips on slasher films. Four friends, two hot ladies, one jock, one dweeb (all four stereotypical on purpose, I’m sure) go to camp at a lake where a mass killing spree occurred the summer prior.

The acting is terrible (probably on purpose, but it does nothing to help the segment). A couple of the kills are funny. There are recreational drugs. And a lame twist.

You’re all going to fucking die up here.

The only thing interesting about the segment is its killer. You never “see” him. I mean, he is on screen, but obscured by tracking errors in the recording. Kind of cool effect.

1 out of 5 stars.

Poor EmilyThe Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger directed by Joe Swanberg

You’ve probably seen the incredibly spooky ad for V/H/S where this segment’s pretty actress is given a good jump scare by a ghost slamming the door of her room. Yeah, that was pretty effective. And misleading.

The disappointment I felt upon the reveal of the true plot and the twist… it was upsetting, and not in a good way. Even if it did turn to science fiction at the end.

1 out of 5 stars.

Hard to breathe?10/31/98 directed by Radio Silence

In a print anthology, you want to open strong and close strong. Perhaps not intentionally, the brains behind this film have arranged the best two segments to open and close. As Amateur Night is a monster story, this one is a ghost story. And a well-done one, at that.

Four guys hope to attend a Halloween party at a friend’s house. But the directions they’re given leads them to an oddly empty two story home. They go inside, find nobody, and instead of busting out of there at top speed, they elect to snoop around.

Why?

Just because.

Upstairs, they hear some shenanigans in the attic. They venture further. And they find… a woman who appears to be the tied to the ceiling and about to become a sacrifice to a cult. Something ritualistic is going on.

The boys flee. But then they do something unusual… they decide they can’t leave the woman to die at the hands of the cult. So they go back to the attic. The unexpected chivalry is handled in a realistic, logical manner you seldom see in horror films.

Plot wise, that’s as much as I’ll divulge, because this segment has a fantastic conclusion, and a deliciously evil twist at the end. If you can ignore some cheesy special effects stolen right from a popular YouTube video, 10/31/98 makes suffering through the previous three stories almost worthwhile.

Then we’re taken back to the frame narrative. It provides no closure. Stuff happens. Why? Because. To compound the agony, the credits roll, not over new footage of one of the shorts, but of the same idiotic opening sequence we watched 90 minutes earlier. Did we really need to see the young woman sexually assaulted once again in the parking structure? No.

That aside, kudos to the filmmakers. Less misogyny would be nice. Better acting would be a plus. Cleaner plots please. But, all in all, this was an enjoyable horror flick that contains several real scares.

Tally it up:
2 points for Amateur Night.
An extra point for actress Hannah Fierman’s portrayal of Lily.
A half point for Second Honeymoon almost working.
I’m docking the film 1 point for segment three.
I’m docking the film 1 point for segment four.
2 points for 10/31/98.
And I’m docking the film 3 points for the stupid framing narrative.

Add it up, and:
I give this one 2.5 stars out 5.


Conglomeration Publisher Guest of Honor

It has come to my attention that I have been named Publisher Guest of Honor for the multi-media science fiction and fantasy convention Conglomeration to be held in Louisville, KY, the weekend of April 5th-7th.

I find this invitation to be gratifying for a whole bunch of reasons, most of which having nothing to do with ego and self-promotion (honest!).

Ages and ages ago, I attended my first Conglomeration that happened to be my second convention ever and the VERY FIRST convention where I was a panelist. It is also the first convention I attended where I had Apex products for sale (Apex Digest issues 1 through 4). Back then, I used to think “Geez, these dealer tables ARE HUGE! I’ll never need this much room.”

The Apex madness became an obsession and created this monstrosity:

This convention also holds my personal record for the most “fuzzy” memories. You know the kind… things you *think* may have happened, but you aren’t quite sure they really happened. My pal and graphic designer Justin Stewart (and not the Power Ranger) accompanied me to Louisville and helped me work our dealer table. He also led me around to all the different room parties. We had blue stuff from Xerps. Other rooms had red stuff, clear stuff, and a giant walked around carrying a cooler of deadly stuff. At some point, 3am or so, Justin and I got split up. We both had separate, bizarre and surreal experiences. Nothing I can talk about in an open forum such as this blog, but if you run into me at Conglomeration, and if I’ve had a cup or two of blue stuff, I will happily share both sides of the story.

Conglomeration is a fun con. Add the fact that I plan on being one fantastic and fun guest of honor, and this turns into a Conglomeration you will not want to miss.

Because you never know what sort of crazy adventures I’ll have.


Did I Miss Anything?

A few minutes ago, I remembered I had a website. With a blog. Scrambling over to check it out, I noticed I hadn’t updated my blog since… August 4, 2012.

Sorry. I’ve been busy.

I came in second for the Hugo Award. I was a featured guest at Scarefest. I talked about my love of pumpkin spice latte in the Wall Street Journal. I trained Janet Harriett to be a vicious and cruel publisher. I said a lot of stupid stuff on Twitter. I released a few books through Apex. I’ve also become a champion thumb wrestler and compete in various professional leagues across the country.

I am also in the process of changing my surname to Cumberbatch.

Now that the website is once again under my withering gaze, it will be updated more frequently. Or so that’s the plan.

In the meantime, here is a fairly high profile interview ThinkProgress.org did about me. Highlights include me accusing a NYTs reporting talking out his ass. I consider it less an accusation and more a statement of fact.


Apex Publications seeks Blog Editor

I’m cross posting this here hoping to lasso a few more qualified candidates. :) This originally appeared on the Apex blog.

Apex is looking for a blog editor. Are you interested?

Hey, you might wonder. Didn’t they recently hire Sarah Olson?

Indeed, we did. And Sarah has been and remains insanely awesome. She has done a great job. I’ve discovered that she’s a smart lady with a wide and varied set of unique skills. For this reason, she’s agreed to step down as blog editor and step up to do some difficult software development type work for Apex (that I hope to assist her with). This will be some seriously cool stuff once completed. For now, though, it will remain super secret. She remains on our masthead as an editor and person of high importance to our overall goals.

A few things up front about the “job” of Apex Blog Editor … this is a non-currency position, meaning there is no money to be made. But you do get amazing intangibles like a free Apex shirt, merchandise when we have it, and you get free copies of some of the most valuable items in the world (to me, at least)–free Apex books! You do have to ask for them, though, because I am one forgetful and overworked publisher type.

Job specifics:

* As blog editor, you will work with the publisher (me) and senior editor (Janet Harriett) to implement our strategy of making the blog a fine source of genre entertainment, discussion, and a means of keeping Apex fans apprised of the latest company news.

* You will be responsible for getting at least three articles posted a week from our blogging roster.

* You will be responsible for making sure we have new posts everyday of the week. This isn’t as ominous and insane as it sounds. For example, our Sunday posts can be “Link Roundups” or an “Apex Week in Review” with links to our past week’s contents.

* You will be responsible for light line editing of the articles posted from our blogging rosters.

* Our blog editor will need to make sure articles we run aren’t insensitive to normal human beings  (not running an article such as one hating on Community, or more serious stuff like blatantly homophobic or racist essays with little or no merit). Naturally, anything that goes up on this blog is the responsibility of the publisher (me), so I need a gatekeeper who can watch out for such things (since I can’t Overlord over everything no matter how hard I try, and oh, I do try).

* The blog editor will prepare and format our bloggers’ posts.

* You will be responsible for maintaining the blogger roster. When spots invariably come open, with the assistance of the publisher and senior editor, you will seek suitable replacements.

* Land at least one quality guest blog post per month.

* You will maintain an editorial calendar.

Skills Required:

* Moderate knowledge of the WordPress blogging platform

* Excellent organizational skills

* Decent line editing skills

* A little knowledge of HTML is quite handy

* Solid communication skills

A candidate needs to be able to spend 5-10 hours a week doing the job and can promise at least a year of service.

All interested parties please send a query to Jason Sizemore (jason@apexbookcompany.com).

This all sounds quite formal and professional… the reality is that I’m not a demanding guy about this stuff. Knowing that it is essentially a volunteer-filled position, I recognize the dynamics that creates. I do try to make the job fun when I can. You get to interact with some great writers (Gary Braunbeck, BJ Burrow, heck, just look at the list of bloggers in the schedule in the right column).  All the same, I want someone who takes the responsibility of blog editor seriously, someone who will work hard to make a name for themselves for doing quality work, like Sarah Olson, Sarah Peduzzi, MG Ellington, and Sarah Brandel have done.

And being named “Sarah” IS NOT a requirement of the job.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment below.

Applications will close on August 10th.


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