for exposure: the life and times of a small press publisher

For Exposure available to HWA members

The 2015 Horror Writers Association recommended reading list has been published. For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher is listed in the category of Nonfiction.

If you are a member of the Horror Writers Association and would like a gratis copy of For Exposure to read for Stoker consideration, shoot me an email to and I’ll hook you up.

A Playlist for a Madman

Because I needed a reason to procrastinate, I decided to build a playlist for For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press publisher.

“Hell” by The Squirrel Nut Zippers — The book opens with a sweaty preacher evangelizing about hell. Play this song in the background while reading. (Prologue)

“Kiss Off” by Violent Femmes — An appropriate choice for my ungraceful exit from city government. I considered “Take This Job and Shove It”, but that seemed too obvious. (Chapter 1)

“Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo” by Bloodhound Gang — An obvious choice for the chapter that has the honey baked ham. (Chapter 2)

“Brass Monkey” by The Beastie Boys — A song about a nasty drink plays nicely with a story involving a nasty drink. (Chapter 3)

“N.W.O.” by Ministry — This song aptly expresses unruliness of a slush pile. (Chapter 4)

“Happy Idiot” by TV on the Radio — Happy idiot describes me during the first few years of running Apex. (Chapter 5)

“S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats — Sermonizing about the dangers of the devil’s drink. Perfect for the chapter of how Dark Faith was birthed. (Chapter 6)

“Anthem for the Already Defeated” by Rock Plaza Central — It’s hard to succeed when you’re your own worse enemy. (Chapter 7)

“Party Hard” by Andrew W.K. — The way to build a legend. (Chapter 8)

“Put Your Hand in the Puppet Head” by They Might Be Giants — Do the things you have to do. (Chapter 9)

“Human Behavior” by Bjork — This chapter is full of odd human behavior. Nice fit. (Chapter 10)

“Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend — Any chapter with a contribution from Janet Harriett has to play to this tune. (Chapter 11)

“Sprawl II” by Arcade Fire — The climax of the book centered around losing has to be accompanied about by a song of loss and artistic endeavor. (Chapter 12)

“Do You Realize?” by The Flaming Lips — I relate this song to the up and down nature of life that is sort of magnified by my successes and failures.

I had a blast putting the playlist together. I hope you enjoy the music!

Apex 10th Anniversary/For Exposure Release Party Info

I posted this on our FB event page, but I wanted to expand a bit on some of the activities. The 5pm start is set in stone as is the 10pm end time (the store closes). The other times are there as a guide.

If you arrive early and need to leave early (or arrive late) we’ll have signed copies of FOR EXPOSURE available.

Also, I hope to have the panel discussion and Q&A recorded.

Any questions? Drop them in the comments!

Schedule of Events–Activities begin at 5pm.

5pm — Welcome and commencement with JBB employee Patricia Murphy

5:10pm — Panel discussion and Q&A with Jason Sizemore, Janet Harriett, and Lesley Conner. Geoffrey Girard is the panel facilitator. Subject is “10 Years of Apex, Apex 10 Years from Now”. We’ll discuss publishing, the small press, and Apex secrets.

This will be a good time to ask embarrassing questions as Lesley, Geoff, and Janet know all the dirty Apex secrets and details. Of course, I know a few about them, too…

6:00pm — Gary A. Braunbeck introduces Jason Sizemore and For Exposure.

Patricia of JBB asked if I wanted anyone to introduce me. My initial reaction was that such a thing wasn’t necessary. Then it occurred to me that this was a rare opportunity.

I asked Gary A. Braunbeck if he would do the honors. He said yes.

How many times in a guy’s life do you have a chance to have Gary Braunbeck introduce you to a crowd? I am honored beyond belief. Gary is someone I’ve admired since I first read his fiction. Then I met him, and discovered he’s as fantastic in person as he is a writer. He’s been a positive influence for so many people and consider myself lucky to call him a friend.

6:10pm — Jason Sizemore reads a brief extract and talks about the inspiration for the book.

I’ll make this short. I don’t want anyone to get restless.

6:30pmFor Exposure signing with Jason Sizemore and contributors Janet Harriett, Lesley Conner, Geoffrey Girard, Jettie Necole, and Maurice Broaddus.

There might be another person or two there, and there might be a person or two who won’t be.

7:00pm — Dinner with Apex at the Joseph-Beth Bistro

Here’s the menu the chef has put together for the dinner.

What if the World is Flatbread Slow roasted pulled pork and caramelized red onion with a BBQ ranch drizzle. $8

Cyberpunk Chili Fresh veggies, beans, tomatoes and spices slow-cooked and served over rice. Topped with Monterey jack cheese, sour cream and green onion. Cup $4.5, Full order $9

Editor’s Salmon A salmon filet sautéed in a Kentucky bourbon glaze served over rice with a red pen. $14

Turkey Android Roasted turkey breast topped with house-made slaw, Swiss cheese and 1000 island. Served on toasted wheat bread. $10


8:30-10pm — Cocktail Mixer with Apex at the Joseph-Beth Patio (next to the Bistro)

Special drink: Time Traveler Tonic Melon liqueur, Vodka and xxx. $7

After 10pm???

A couple of people have mentioned post-party hams. NO. NO NO NO.

Apex Authors in Attendance

For those who would like to take this rare opportunity to meet some of our way-out-of-town authors, here is a list of who will be in attendance. The authors/editors will be selling and signing copies of their books.

Douglas F. Warrick — Author of Plow the Bones, contributor to Dark Faith and Dark Faith: Invocations.

Elizabeth Massie — Author of Desper Hollow, contributor to Appalachian Undead

Eugene Johnson — Co-editor of Appalachian Undead, contributor to The Zombie Feed: Volume 1

Maurice Broaddus — Author of I Can Transform You, co-author of Orgy of Souls, co-editor of Dark Faith, co-editor of Dark Faith: Invocations, contributor to Appalachian Undead, contributor to Glitter & Mayhem. contributor to For Exposure

Jerry Gordon — Co-editor of Dark Faith, co-editor of Dark Faith: Invocations

Lesley Conner — Contributor to Mountain Dead, contributor to For Exposure

Lucy A. Snyder — Contributor to Dark Faith: Invocations, contributor to Appalachian Undead

Mari Adkins — Author of Midnight, editor of Harlan County Horrors

Damien Angelica Walters — Author of Sing Me Your Scars, contributor to Glitter & Mayhem

Gary A. Braunbeck — Author of To Each Their Darkness, contributor to Dark Faith, contributor to Appalachian Undead

Geoffrey Girard — Contributor to For Exposure, contributor to Dark Faith

Audio excerpt of FOR EXPOSURE

Would you like to hear an excerpt from FOR EXPOSURE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A SMALL PRESS PUBLISHER as read by the author?

Course you do!

I discovered today that FOR EXPOSURE has made its way to Amazon US and UK.

Amazon US (TPB):
Amazon US (HC):

Amazon UK (TPB):
Amazon UK (HC):

Directly from Apex Publications:

An eBook edition will be out shortly after June 20th.

Starting Monday, you can also buy the book from Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington KY.

For Exposure — Table of Contents reveal!


Prologue: See the Child

Chapter 1: The Risk Master

Chapter 2: The Ham

Chapter 3: A Forgotten Night

A Forgotten Night: Eyewitness Rebuttal by Justin Stewart

Chapter 4: Legends of the Slush Pile

Chapter 5: Death by a Thousand Cuts

Chapter 6: Another Forgotten Night,

with Fact-Checking by Maurice Broaddus

Chapter 7: Business Acumen

Chapter 8: Building the Legend of Apex

Building the Legend of Apex: Eyewitness Rebuttal by Elaine Blose

Chapter 9: Stoned and Delirious

Stoned and Delirious: Eyewitness Rebuttal by Sara M. Harvey

Chapter 10: Waterfalls

The Case of the Mysterious Warm Splatter: Eyewitness Rebuttal by Monica Valentinelli

Chapter 11: For Exposure

For Exposure: Eyewitness Rebuttal by Lesley Conner

Chapter 12: Lord Hugo

Lord Hugo: Eyewitness Rebuttal by Janet Harriett

Chapter 13: Parting Shot

“Faithful Reader” by Jettie Necole

“Unless…” by Maggie Slater

“I Remember the Future of Apex Publications” by Michael A. Burstein

“Feed the Beast” by Jaym Gates

Only 11 days until the Apex 10th Anniversary event where FOR EXPOSURE will be released!

Event page:


For Exposure_CVR002sm With 18 days to go until the big Apex 10th Anniversary Party, we have hit a milestone date.

Today, Apex Publications has announced that we are accepting preorders for FOR EXPOSURE! Your order comes with free domestic shipping. You’ll also have your book signed by the author, artist, and numerous essay rebuttal contributors.

I’m quite verklempt about this news. The book is a deeply personal one for me. It also serves as a milestone for a big moment in my life–where I go from unhappy software developer to invigorated small business owner, writer, and editor. The success or failure of FOR EXPOSURE will set a personal tone for the next few months. The whole book, its reception, and its sales, makes me nervous!

I will say this for For Exposure. It’s been well-received by my beta readers and writers groups. Better than anything I’ve written before.

Preorder Page:

Announcement Page: (yep, that’s a long URL!)


By my reckoning, we are 23 days from the Apex 10th Anniversary event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY. This day also marks the release date for my new book For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher.

Each day I hope to write a countdown post until we reach the big date. Each post will relate to Apex Publications and/or For Exposure. This is the third one!

Today marks my last day at the day job. I am now floating in the void, looking to make a living off my creative talents. It’s a surreal feeling. It’s also bittersweet, as I leave behind a handful of good friends that I’ll no longer see five days a week.

I’ll miss the relationships but not the work. Sadly, software development has bored me for years.

I’m tired of fighting with poorly designed reporting tools. I’m done fussing over the placement of a text label. I’m finished deciphering requirement documents written by people who have no clue what they really want.

I’m burned out.

I’ve given 20+ years of my working years to coding. It is time to move on.

As they discussed punitive actions as though I wasn’t sitting right there, I considered my life. That exact moment was playing out exactly as it should based on the parameters I had set for myself for the last 30 years. I would sit there meekly, accept whatever punishment deemed appropriate, and continue to being a nobody to all the superiors in my life.

No, that would not do, I thought. I would change the script of my life.

–For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, Chapter 1

Ten years later, I am changing the script of my life again.

On June 20th, we celebrate my 10 years of being a genre publisher. Event page is here. Event info is below.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Lexington, KY
5:00 pm

24 Days till the Apex Celebration

By my reckoning, we are 24 days from the Apex 10th Anniversary event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY. This day also marks the release date for my new book For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher.

Each day I hope to write a countdown post until we reach the big date. Each post will relate to Apex Publications and/or For Exposure. This is the second one!

Religion has always played a prominent role in my writing. In fact, it still informs my genre leanings. I’m always drawn to shows and movies that have a religious/mythological aspect: Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and so on. I attribute this to my grandmother. She was a pious woman. The kindest and sincerely good individual I’ve known. She attended church her whole life and lived her life in a Christian manner the best she could. The best parts of Christianity she tried to instill in her family: love, generosity, kindness, acceptance, charity, and more.

She loved taking her grandchildren to church. My youngest brother didn’t attend to often. Her other grandchild lived in Ohio. So usually, I accompanied her alone to every Sunday service, most Wednesday night services, and many of the church’s extracurricular activities. Church never was a spiritual thing for me. Instead, I went because I loved the shared time with my grandmother. I wasn’t a mommy’s boy or daddy’s boy (Is that even a thing?). I was a granny’s boy! (Sorry mom. Sorry dad.)

The church we attended was across the street from where I lived. It’s a tiny building that holds 100 worshipers at best.


Big Creek Baptist Church

Even though this church is a deep well of inspiration for my horror and dark SF, it has also shaped some of my fondest memories. Churchs typically function as makeshift community centers in the poorer parts of our country. Big Creek Baptist was no exception. The church sponsored or held many events and activities that united the hill-folk in fellowship.

While Big Creek Baptist Church scared me into becoming a genre fan (Thanks, Lord!), it also holds a place close to my heart.

“Such beautiful hair this one has,” she’d said. “Did’ya get it from your momma’s side?” It’s a common refrain he hears, particularly from the older folks. No Sizemore in memory has ever had red hair, and members of the small community never fail to note the aberration.

–Excerpt from For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, Prologue

Actually, people never stop commenting on my red-fro until I started going bald in my late 20s. People rubbed my head like a Buddha’s belly for good luck. As a misinformed youth, I hated my hair. As a misanthropic adult, I would give up my right pinky finger to have it back! 🙂

If I can find a picture of my red-fro, I’ll post it. This weekend I visit my parents and they have albums filled with little Jason photos…

On June 20th, we celebrate my 10 years of being a genre publisher. Event page is here. Event info is below.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Lexington, KY
5:00 pm

For Exposure: Prelude

Jeff VanderMeer, one of the world’s best writers, posted this picture to his Facebook profile.

Ready for a cock fight!

Ready for a cock fight!

Why he did so is not important for the purposes of this post. What’s important is the picture: a man, looking unhappy, dressed as a giant chicken.

During a recent meeting with my writers group, I was asked about the first story I had had published. I made a choice that day to share a shameful moment from my past. Now I do it openly on the internet.

Way, waaaaay back when, I was a grunt programmer who worked in a small cubicle. On my cubicle wall I had  displayed a large, colorful calendar that I had picked up at a local Mexican restaurant. The calendar promoted the restaurant, of course, and displayed the months of the year (of course). The artwork adorning the calendar was something like a scene straight out of a Cormac McCarthy novel: a group of wild-eyed Mexican men and scantily clad ladies stood around a bloodied cockfighting pit, many of them holding money in their fists above their heads. Two fighting cocks were engaged in a horrible fight and feathers flew all different directions.

Looking back, I shake my head at the young Jason. I can’t believe I hung such a racist, violent calendar in my work office! At the time, I reasoned that Hey, the Mexican restaurant gave it to me, so it must be okay.

The restaurant’s calendar inspired me to write a terrible short story titled…well…I’m not going to divulge the title in case the story exists somewhere. I don’t want anybody reading it. Ever.

I can tell you about the story’s plot, though. There is an unhappy young man working in a cubicle farm. He is called into a meeting by his supervisors. The bosses tell him he’s going to be fired, but he can save his job by agreeing to do some cleanup work in the basement of the building. He agrees to do the work. In the basement, he’s clubbed over the head, locked in a steel cage, and fed nothing but cans of corn for 3 days. After three days, they force him to wear an armored chicken suit and then throw him into a pit with another, larger man (the pit champion!) and tell him to fight or die. The senior management of the company he works for all sits around the pit on leather couches while betting on the outcome.

The cubicle flunky loses the fight and is pecked to death. Finis!

I warned you it was a terrible short story. But I got it published in one of those ‘for exposure‘ do-it-yourself underground zines. I bought 20 copies of the issue and gave them out to family and friends.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

I see chicken suits all the time. And every time, I’m reminded of my shame.

(Author note: This is not an essay in my upcoming book, just an essay about a sale I made to a “for exposure” venue)