Apex Magazine issue 61 is live!

Issue 61 of Apex Magazine is live!

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Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.

Fiction
“Cape to Cairo” by Eden Robins”
“Soul of Soup Bones” by Crystal Lynn Hilbert
“The Salt Path” by Marissa Lingen
“The Faery Handbag” by Kelly Link (eBook/subscriber exclusive)
“Sineater — Excerpt” by Elizabeth Massie (eBook/subscriber exclusive)

Poetry
“Afterwards” by Alice Dryden
“Brighid” by Mary Soon Lee
“Harry of Five Points” by John M. Ford

Nonfiction
“Resolute: Notes from the Editor-in-Chief” by Sigrid Ellis
“Black Communities of the 30th Century: Racial Assimilation and Ahistoricity in Superhero Comics” by Osvaldo Oyloa
“Apex Author Interview with Eden Robins” by Andrea Johnson
“Apex Cover Artist Interview with Tory Hoke” by Loraine Sammy

Cover art by Tory Hoke.

You can read the issue free at the website, or you can subscribe here.

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The short bio; an art, not a science

Let’s say, Gentle Reader, that Apex Magazine has bought your poem or essay or short story. Or maybe it’s Strange Horizons, or Beneath Ceaseless Skies, or Tor.com. Someone liked your work! Enough to buy it! What do you need to do next?

Right after you call your grandma, text your best friend, and tell your partner to take you out for dinner, I mean.

Whoever has purchased your work will likely ask you for a bio, a short bio, or a bio paragraph. You know what these are. You’ve seen them in anthologies, in convention program guides. You probably haven’t given a great deal of thought as to how those things are made or who makes them.

Well, Gentle Reader, you make them. You write your own. Unless you have a publicist, you write your own author bio. Here, then, First-Sales-Author, are a few pointers on writing your short bio.

1. The purpose of the biographical paragraph is twofold. First, to establish your credentials and sell your other work. Second, to dispose the audience favorably towards you. It is not, despite the misleading name, to give a biography to the reader.

2. Your bio is written in the third person. Not “I live in Saint Paul, MN,” but “Sigrid lives in Saint Paul, MN.” Don’t write it in first person and presume that the editor will notice and fix it for you. Nope.

3. As to the first purpose, you want to do two contradictory things. You want to remind readers who you are by mentioning your most popular works and biggest awards. At the same time you want to draw attention to your newest or forthcoming work. These are often not the same thing. You may also want to mention facts unrelated to writing if they are relevant, such as your ten years with JPL if your story is about rocketry.

4. As to the second purpose, here you want to know your audience. Is your piece comedic? Then a slightly wry bio might be in order. Do all the bios of your favorite authors mention their pets? Possibly you could mention your cat. Does your story have a somewhat political tone? You might could mention your membership in the NRA or your volunteer work for Planned Parenthood. Personally speaking, I always mention my family structure because I stubbornly insist on raising awareness of queer, poly families. Could I employ that sentence to some other use? Sure. But I have a point to make and I will likely continue to make it. Ponder what you really, really want the reader to know about you. Mention that.

5. Make it short. Three-to-ten sentences. And you should only be hitting ten sentences if you have a lot of accomplishments.

Here is the bio paragraph I am currently using:

“Sigrid Ellis is editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine. She is co-editor of Queers Dig Time Lords and the Hugo-nominated Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She is editor of the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.”

Four sentences. Major works. Award nomination. Personal note. Did I leave off my single published short story credit? Yes. I am very proud of that work, but it’s a few years old. Moreover, I am working more now on editing, not writing. My editing credits are more relevant.

If you are writing the bio paragraph for your first sale, don’t despair. And, for the love of all that is holy, do not talk yourself down or apologise for anything. Just, no. No. Make the audience like you. Be charming. Here are examples of a first sale bio paragraph for imaginary people.

A. Daenerys Targaryen is a recent graduate of the University of California at San Diego. Dani is committed to social justice and works for immigration reform with various non-profits in the area. She lives in a housing co-op she helped establish, and dotes on her three iguanas. This is her first sale.

B. Cersei Lannister is a mother, homemaker, and community volunteer. She will happily tell you all about her children over a glass of wine. In addition to this story, Cersei has work forthcoming from Strange Horizons.

C. Varys Arana has lived on four continents but is pleased to call Washington, D.C., his home. He has been a professional activist, a political fundraiser, a private detective, and a translator of non-fiction. He hopes the publication of his poems will draw attention to the ongoing human rights crisis in Sudan.

(My apologies to GRRM and Game of Thrones … )

Think, therefore, about what you want to say. Think about how you want to be recognized and remembered. Don’t apologise. Don’t talk yourself down. Don’t equivocate. And keep it short! Let your work speak for you.

Let the work speak. That is, after all, what you want readers to remember.

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Awards eligibility

Hello, all!

It’s time to remind people of what works I have done that are eligible for awards for 2013. In addition, please, please go look at the 2014 Awards Eligibility post John Scalzi is hosting. It is full of talented people and great work, much of which I had forgotten was published in the last year.

I have one work this year, Queers Dig Time Lords, co-edited with Michael Damian Thomas, from Mad Norwegian Press.

If you liked the book, and are considering nominating it for various things, it is eligible in Best Related Work or the equivalent.

Thank you. And do go check out the Scalzi post. It’s well worth the time.

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Station identification January 2014

Hello, you have reached the blog of Sigrid Ellis.

I can most easily be reached via Twitter. @sigridellis

I have a Tumblr, where I regularly reblog items. This Tumblr has its own Twitter account, for those who do not have a Tumblr of their own but want to follow along. @SigridsTumblr

I edit Apex Magazine. New issues come out on the first Tuesday of each month.

My other writing and editing credits can be found here.

I am on Snapchat, and use it a LOT. If you are a person to whom I feel comfortable sending blurry photos of my dirty dishes, my kids, and snow, I will likely add you.

Yes, I am on Google+, but I never use it.

Yes, I am on Facebook. I never log on to it except to manage pages for books I am editing. I will never see a message you send to me there. I. Will. Never. See. It. My Facebook page says to not contact me via Facebook. Email me instead. Please.

My email is firstnamelastname, at Google’s email , dot com. To email me regarding any Apex Magazine related issues, use apex.sigrid [at] gmail [dot] com.

Hello!

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Apex Magazine editor-in-chief

As of January 1st, 2014, I will be the new editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine.

This is very exciting. Apex is a great, great magazine, multiply-nominated for awards. I said in my intro post that I am honored to be a part of the magazine. That sounds sort of trite, it’s what a person ALWAYS says, right?

I am genuinely honored. I feel it is an honor, a gift granted to me, to try my hand at furthering the work that Apex does. I hope to do well.

We’ll all see the results together, I expect!

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Queers Dig Time Lords: More Reviews!

Starburst Magazine

“Right now, when the whole Whoniverse is speculating on who the Twelfth Doctor will be and wondering whether a woman or person of colour will take over the role, a book that embraces equality in all its forms seems perfectly timed and makes for excellent reading.”

Allwaysunmended

“The bottom line for many of these essays seems to be that the Doctor and his companions in their many forms instilled confidence in those who admired them, and many dreamt of someday being whisked away in the TARDIS, free to develop and be themselves as they traveled from time to time and place to place, free from worry, fear, doubt and judgment.”

Cobalt

“As Doctor Who has become arguably more heteronormative (and definitely more mainstream), so has the queer community. Neither the blue Police Box nor the gay community are just for radicals and weirdos any more.”

GScene

“There’s a great sense of fun in this book and allowing such a wide range of authors to contribute their thoughts, ideas and experiences of quite what Dr Who has meant to them and how it affected them is a great way to celebrate this most treasured of evening serials. Some of these experiences are really quite funny, others touched me deeply and one or two are simply brilliant.”

Of Dice and Pen

“However, the stand-out essays (for me at least) are the ones that take a more in-depth look at the show itself and how it handles LGBTQ characters and themes.”

Life, Doctor Who, and Combom

“The anthology is filled with heart-warming coming out stories and personal accounts of the impact the series has had on the lives of individuals. Regardless of your sexual orientation, all of these stories have something that fans can empathise with in their personal history. ”

The Tearoom in the Tardis

“I was truly impressed by the range of authors included, and the fact that more than gay men were included: there are essays by lesbian, transgender, bi male, and bi female authors. The authors have totally different identities and viewpoints and Whovian histories; they are just as complementary and contradictory as you would expect in real life.”

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June 26 2013

1. I really rather like the first two episodes of the new police procedural drama Crossing Lines. Which you can watch on Hulu, if you can watch Hulu.

The premise is that an international police task force is needed in the EU. So it’s … European cops. That, to me, makes it different from the forty-seven different versions of CSI. Also, the acting in the first two episodes was quite good. It’s a promising start, is what I’m saying.

2. I did a couple of round-table interview-esque things for The Body. First is Living Queer, Speaking Geek, and What’s Monogamy Got to Do with Marriage.

3. When new procedures or equipment are introduced into air traffic control, at some point the testing has to go live. And at that point, we in the air traffic control business privilege safety, sometimes at the temporary expense of efficiency. This is frustrating for everyone, but, honestly, you don’t want us to choose anything differently.

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