Lexington Legendary Book Bash

I’ll be taking part in the first annual Lexington Legendary Book Bash. Apex will have a couple of tables and several of our authors will be in attendance signing (Shawn Pryor, Justin Stewart, Tressa Bowling, Mari Adkins, and me).

Where: Hilton Lexington Suites (adjacent to Joseph-Beth Booksellers)

When: 10am – 4pm

Here’s a Facebook event page:

The event organizer, Michelle Areaux, is a local teacher who wants to start an annual book festival in Lexington. She’s teamed up with Joseph-Beth Booksellers to make it happen. Next year, I hope I’m able to better organize and support Michelle in this noble venture.

Guest on The Horror Show with Brian Keene

A couple weeks back, I made the drive from Lexington, KY to the far reaches of eastern PA to visit Brian Keene’s studio where he interviewed me for his popular podcast (The Horror Show with Brian Keene).

Okay, so I drove up there to enjoy fellowship, booze, and to hang out with several Apex authors and editors AND to do the interview.

The weekend was a blast. Being in a car alone with my thoughts for 10 hour stretches is a dicey proposition, but I survived, and can say without reservation the trip was worth it.

I hope that you enjoy my interview, and that you decide to subscribe to Keene’s podcast.

Listen here: iTunes/ Stitcher / Libsyn

Free Coffee, Compliments of the Telford Nature Explorers of Washington

I have a new story (my first in a long while) over at Speculate! magazine titled “Free Coffee, Courtesy of the Telford Nature Explorers of Washington.” Read it here.

Recently, I learned that some states have rest stops where charity organizations setup tables and offer free coffee to weary travelers. Ever suspicious of random acts of kindness, I began to imagine the dangers this might pose.

Big pharma, cryptids, organic free-trade coffee, government conspiracies…and one man who wanted a simple cup of delicious coffee.


Black Hole Sun

“Times are gone for honest men.”

The man who wrote and sung that lyric has died.

Chris Cornell is probably most famous for fronting the Seattle grunge band Soundgarden. He also had success as a solo artist and leading Audioslave (with the remaining members of Rage Against the Machine). Cornell had incredible vocal range and one of the most recognizable yowls in rock music.

The song that made him and Soundgarden famous was “Black Hole Sun.” It’s a trippy, moody 5+ minutes. A song you can listen to over and over.

Personally, it’s a touchstone song.

In the summer of 1994, I shared an apartment with my cousin in Richmond, KY. He and I worked different shifts and rarely saw one another. He also had a job that required travel, so I was often home alone.

One Friday morning, I awoke very ill. Vomiting. Terrible pain in my side. Any movement I made caused me to dry heave. But remaining still was agony. Few people had cellphones in 1994, including me. And my cousin and I had thought we would save money by foregoing a landline.

Being 20 years old, I thought I could tough out whatever illness had befallen me (kidney stones, as I discovered later). I laid on the floor in front of my bed, in the dark, crying in agony for 12 hours. The only thing keeping me company was my little 13 inch television playing MTV. “Black Hole Sun” was in heavy rotation. It’s the only song I remember during my suffering.

At one point, I decided I must be dying, and therefore, had to summon the strength to find a phone. I recall walking to a nearby gas station to use the payphone to call my parents (who lived 2 hours away). Thinking back, I’m shocked nobody called the police. I probably looked like a strung out druggie, rung out, puking every minute or two.

For reasons I don’t remember, it took my folks 6 hours to come get me. They took me to the UK hospital emergency room where I was given two ibuprofen and told to tough it out because I didn’t have insurance. I eventually started showing a fever after another 12 hours where I was in so much pain I was delusional and my parents took me to a different hospital.

I primarily remember three things from those hellish 24 hours. 1) “Black Hole Sun.” 2) Apologizing to my brother for being a shitty big bro. 3) Dropping my pants and pleading with the nurse to give me a shot for the pain (ha!).

RIP Chris Cornell. Your song got me through some tough times, man.

3rd Annual Sapiens Plurum Short Fiction Contest

3rd annual Sapiens Plurum short fiction contest.

Free entry.
Theme “the future of humanity.”
1500-3000 words.
Deadline May 27th.

1st: $1000; 2nd: $500; 3rd: $300

Rules & Info:

Past winners include Richard William Larson and Hannah Ruth Krieger.

Full Disclosure: I’m on the board of directors of this organization. I do help judge submissions, but we use a multi-reader blind submission protocol. Judge pool includes several other professional editors.

If you have a submission you think fits, send it in.

Apex Magazine subscription drive

It’s the last day of the drive. We’re sitting at $5275. A solid number. The goal is $10000 to achieve all I want to do for the zine for our readers and writers over the next 12 months.

You can support the zine for as little as $3. Some amazing rewards remain: original signed manuscripts from Brian Keene, handwritten poetry by Brandy Schwan, freelance services from me, signed books from Ellen Datlow, signed art prints, and more.

Revive the Drive


Books in Progress Conference

I am leading a writing SF/F/H breakout session at this year’s Books in Progress conference here in Lexington. This is one of (if not) the largest professional writing conferences in the state. It’s tailored for the literary crowd, though this year they’re sneaking some genre into the fun (yay!).

My breakout session is planned for June 9th, 2pm-3:30pm.

Link below for information about the conference. This is affiliated with the Lexington Carnegie Center.

Click here for more information.

Updates Updates

My next genre writers group session starts on April 10th at the Carnegie Center for Literacy. They run 5:30-7:00pm.

Sign up here.

Some Jason-centric items are up in the Revive the Drive (Apex Magazine fundraiser) store.

Hey, guess what? I sold a story to Speculate! magazine. This was one of those rare instances where the story was bought by the first place I submitted it!

The title of the short is “Free Coffee, Courtesy of the Telford Nature Explorers.” It’s about many things: rest stops, coffee, cryptids, big pharma, fear of flying. Here is a very short snippet.

To be honest, Jack was surprised Telford had much of anything, let alone a Nature Explorers group and a rest stop. Few cars passed by on US-HWY 2. No houses, strip malls, gas stations, or other signs of civilization marked the lonely stretch of highway—just yellow lines and innumerable mile markers ticking off the passage of time and distance. Snow-capped mountains could be spotted far off to the west while driving over the occasional gentle rises in the road, but otherwise the view was all dirt, road, and shrubbery.

It is slated for publication in the June issue. Naturally, I’ll be crowing about it on the blog when it comes out.

Why Revive the Drive?

If you follow Apex Magazine, you probably know we’re currently running a promotion called Revive the Drive. It’s a mix of subscription drive, fundraiser, and an excuse to have some fun (the Pumpkin vs. Oz cuteness showdown, the live stream of It Follows commentary).

We called it “Revive the Drive” because we cut our annual drive short back in November after the election. It was a time of celebration for Trump supporters. It was a time of sadness for Clinton supporters. Nobody was in the mood to spend money. Bigger things were going on.

Also, being raised a Southern Baptist in the hills, I’ve always had a thing for revivals.

But why do a drive at all?

Fair question.

Apex Magazine makes enough via regular promotions and day-to-day sales to maintain the status quo. But what’s a life if you’re not always trying to improve? We want to increase our author, artist, and editor pay. We also desperately, and I mean DESPERATELY, need to hire a part-time assistant editor. Lesley and I struggle to keep our heads above water at times.

There are also plans to expand how much fiction we publish each month, but that’ll require a bit more than our $10,000 goal.

But really? This is all a grand scheme to make Lesley Conner watch and live tweet It Follows with me.

Travel Weary

I’m not much of a socializer. I enjoy going out just enough to dispel any sense of loneliness, but otherwise, I am content to stay home, play video games, and work on Apex or my own editing/writing. All the major conventions (and minor ones) I did last year put a toll on my social fuel.

On a more practical manner, it put me way behind on many, many projects.

So I’m restricting my official travels for the rest of the year to Imaginarium in October. I might pop up elsewhere depending on money, time, and levels of loneliness.

2018 will be a much more active year. For now, I rest.

Please don’t fret. You can always get your fill of that special Sizemore sauce online!