Apex Magazine: Operation Fourth Story

Apex Magazine wants to add a fourth original short story to the magazine each month. To pay for this, we are hoping for 250 new subscribers to the magazine.

Over the next two weeks (April 3rd to April 17th) we’re going to be showcasing Apex Magazine – and short fiction in general – here on the Apex blog and across the web. Every day we’ll have guest posts from authors, editors, and bloggers about the importance of short fiction. Several bloggers will be reviewing issues of Apex Magazine, and there will be guest posts and interviews with the Apex Magazine crew popping up everywhere.

Our goal is to get 250 new subscribers. If we meet this goal, then we’ll have the revenue to add a fourth piece of original short fiction to every issue. That means more stories from the authors we love, more new talent being found amid the slush piles. It means Apex Magazine will bigger and better than ever.

Go, look at the blog!

Subscribers get their choice of free ebooks from Apex Magazine. In addition, we are giving away a Kindle Paperwhite. The blog post details the many ways you can support and subscribe to Apex, including Weightless Books, Kindle, and Patreon, to name a few.

Check it out. Apex is going strong, and we hope to make it stronger. We’d like your help to do that.

Thank you.


Did I mention it’s spring?

Yes, we had an ice storm Monday night.


It melted.

This is no thaw; thing is Spring.


April issue of Apex Magazine!

Issue 59 of Apex Magazine is live!


“Perfect” by Haddayr Copley-Woods
“Steel Snowflakes in My Skull” by Tom Piccirilli
“The Cultist’s Son” by Ferrett Steinmetz
“Repairing the World” by John Chu
“Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary” by Pamela Dean (eBook/subscriber exclusive)
“The Violent Century — Excerpt” by Lavie Tidhar (eBook/subscriber exclusive)


“Cogs” by Beth Cato
“Unlabelled Core c. Zanclean (5.33 Ma)” by Michele Bannister
“Aristeia” by Sonya Taaffe
“Tell Me the World is a Forest” by Chris Lynch


“Resolute: Notes from the Editor-in-Chief” by Sigrid Ellis
“After Our Bodies Fail” by Abra Staffin-Wiebe
“Apex Author Interview with Ferrett Steinmetz” by Maggie Slater
“Apex Cover Artist Interview with Mehrdad Isvandi” by Loraine Sammy

As always, you can read the issue for free at the website.

You can, however, also subscribe! Subscription gets the magazine pushed to you each month, to your email or Kindle or other tablet device. If you, like me, intend to go read great short fiction each month but just never remember when you are at your computer, subscription may be the answer!

We really enjoyed this issue. I hope you do, too!


What are you reading and watching?

Wiscon is a convention that is all about the conversations. Conversations in panels, in hallways, at meals, in parties. It’s a convention made of conversations.

Each year before Wiscon I try to suss out what people are going to be talking about. Which books, movies, or television series are catching the imagination and moment. And, time permitting, I try to read or watch at least a few of those things.

This year I am hoping that folks will have read The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. It’s a look at the immigrant experience in New York City around the turn of the twentieth century through a carefully thought-out and imaginative lens. One of the narrators is a golem. Another is a jinni. I am finding the book to be an engaging read.

I am also hoping that others will have read Elizabeth Bear’s Steles of the Sky, which I deeply loved for a host of reasons.

I am also catching up on some television. I’ve finished House of Cards season two. I intend to finish American Horror Story: Coven in the next few weeks. Right now I am beginning Elementary season two.



What are you watching? What are you reading? Whether or not you are going to Wiscon this year, what works of fiction or non-fiction are you and your friends talking about? Comics? Podcasts? Blogs? What has engaged your attention?

Do, please, tell me in the comments. NOT links, PLEASE, as link-heavy comments get marked as spam. But do tell me what you like about the thing in question, if you have time –


Why don’t you just

J and I were discussing language use in the car yesterday, driving back from the YMCA with the kids. And we mutually agreed that one really ought refrain from using the phrase, “why don’t you just [whatever].”

Here’s what’s wrong with “why don’t you just”:

It’s the “just”.

“Just” is a word that, in this sentence implies that whatever follows is obvious and easy. That it’s a small thing. When used in “why don’t you just” it does not give the object of the question a graceful way out.

“Why don’t you just” unfolds, like some dark interdimensional hellworm from the pit, into “What is wrong with you that you have not done the obvious, incredibly easy, perfectly simple thing that would have solved your problem six hours ago? I can’t believe I am asking you this question, but since you have not done the thing, I am wondering whether you are incompetent, stupid, or lazy. I await your reply with interest, so I can more easily figure out what your problem is.”

Them’s fightin’ words.

If you, dear reader, do not intend “why don’t you just” to mean those things, I beg you to consider your word choice. If you actually want to know why the person spoken to is taking one course of action rather than another course of action, there are better ways to say it.

“From where I am, it looks like [thing] might give you the result you want. Is there a reason not, that I am missing?” is a decent way to phrase it.

“If I were in that situation, I might try [thing].” is another.

“I know you’ve probably tried [thing] already, how did it go?”

Or even a simple, “have you considered trying [thing]?”

Try it. Try removing “why don’t you just” from your conversation. You may be pleased with the results.


Crashing frames of workflow

My day job, the job that brings the paycheck and makes me drive to Farmington, MN, five days a week, is air traffic control.

My other job, the one I do for love and growth and money and because I can, is freelance editing.

The workflow of these two jobs is entire different. It is so different as to be nearly opposite.

What I cannot yet discern is whether these differences compliment or contradict each other.

I will explain.

Air traffic control is a very well-defined job. It is complex, yes. It requires high-pressure decision-making. But it is exquisitely defined. If I am sitting in front of a radar scope with my headset plugged into the jack, I am working. If I am not, then I am not working. Working. Not working. Working. Not working.

The instant I finish the relief briefing and the relieving controller says, “I have the sector,” I unplug and walk away. I put my headset back on its shelf, I grab my tea mug, and I go to the breakroom where my computer sits. That’s it. I am Not Working until I go back to the control room floor.

Freelance editing is … not like that.

There is always something more to do. Always. Forever. And while there are deadlines, there is a logjam of tasks that have no deadline, some unknown portion of which are utterly required for the deadline-task to be completed.

Moreover, email is always accruing. The editing I do involves international teams across many time zones. People work on their projects with me when they get to them, and send emails with questions or updates or finished pieces. I get to them when I get to them, which isn’t always when I first see them. I might first see your email while I am waiting in the checkout line at Target. I read it, I know I need to respond, but I can’t look at the attachment until I get home. And, even then, your email is going to wait until the freezer-food, at least, is put away.

I rather presume that all the freelancers, writers, creators, and publishers I work with have similar constraints. Some clearly have “work time,” I know from Twitter. Some may even do this work full-time, and may even have an office that does not involve the grocery shopping. Yet I know that our project, the one we are working on together, is only one of many.

The workflow is … different. And all of us, all of the freelancers and independents and writers and artists and editors, we all have different workflows FROM EACH OTHER.

… I don’t have a pithy conclusion to this post, or words of wisdom, or a lesson I’ve learned. It’s just a thing, this. This is just a thing. The kinds of work I do are very different from each other, and after three years I still can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not.


Media consumption round-up

1. I started watching the TV series, Elementary. It’s fun, and I am enjoying it.

However, what I find myself craving is an episode in which Sherlock is listening to his police scanner, hears a crime, and runs to the scene — and when he gets there, nothing is amiss. He goes home, dejected. Then the scanner tells him, another crime! He runs off. Same thing happens. And the entire episode is him haring off to crime scenes in which nothing out-of-the-ordinary has happened.

2. I watched the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie trailer.

Okay. That’s a thing.

See, I can’t have feelings about X-Men movies. I just can’t. Nope. I have TOO MANY FEELINGS about X-Men, too many opinions. It goes far better if I just go to the movies expecting a pleasant summer action film.

3. I am re-reading books about gardening. Because it is the end of March, and it snowed here yesterday, and all I want in the world right now is a tomato that tastes like tomato.

Sun-warmed, tart, sweet and plump and full, sharp and tangy –




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