Coincidence & Synchronicity: SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE by Marcus Sedgwick – Review

She Is Not Invisible 3D

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: Young adult contemporary
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release date: April 22 2014
Source: e-ARC from publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 224

four stars

The nitty-gritty: A completely original story with a brave and plucky main character, filled with fascinating information about the nature of coincidence, and lots of heart and emotion to tie it all together.

I held Benjamin until he stopped sobbing, and I told myself I wasn’t alone. We weren’t alone. I told myself that again and again.

I had Benjamin with me, and Stan. We’d find Dad. We had to.

“I’m scared, Laureth,” Benjamin said. “I’m scared. I want Mum. Aren’t you scared?”

And then, that was it, I was crying, too.

Because, yes, I was. I am scared, almost all the time. But I never tell anyone. I can’t afford to. I have to go on pretending I’m this confident person, because if I don’t, if I’m quiet, I become invisible.

This was my first Marcus Sedgwick book. I’ve been trying to get to Midwinterblood for, well, forever, and it wasn’t until I received She Is Not Invisible from NetGalley that I finally put Sedgwick on my reading schedule. The book wasn’t quite what I expected in some ways, but in others I was thoroughly delighted. Laureth is indeed a wonderful character. She’s blind, for one thing, but because she was born that way, she’s never had sight and never feels as if she’s missing anything. This fact allows her to have an upbeat attitude, which gets her through some very tricky situations in this story. I thought the book was a near perfect balance of mystery, family drama, adventure tale, and educational piece about coincidences. I say “near perfect” because I was a little disappointed in the final reveal of the mystery (why Laureth’s Dad was missing), and some of the action scenes at the end felt out-of-place to me. But overall I enjoyed this book so much, and now that I have seen Sedgwick in action writing contemporary, I can’t wait to experience his horror stories.

The story.

Sixteen-year-old Laureth is worried. Her father, a once-famous writer named Jack Peak who is away from home on a business trip, has not returned any of her phone calls. And when she reads an odd and threatening email to her father from a man who claims to have found one of his private notebooks—in New York City, no less—Laureth decides to take action. She drags her brother along on a madcap adventure from their home in England to America, to meet the man with the notebook and hopefully locate their father. But finding him isn’t as easy as she thought it would be, and Laureth is going to need all her wits to figure out the clues that keep leading her closer and closer to the truth.

Yes, Laureth is blind.

One would assume Sedgwick isn’t blind himself—although I guess one should never assume—but “seeing” the world through Laureth’s first person narrative was a completely immersive experience. Since she’s blind, she pays particular attention to sounds and smells, and those things tell her almost everything she needs to know about the world around her. Sedgwick made the city streets of New York come alive, and never once did he describe how something looked (unless it was Benjamin doing the talking). At times as I was reading, I could almost imagine being blind myself, so clearly did he explain how Laureth can estimate distances by listening to the way sound bounces off the objects around her. Laureth tries so hard to blend in and appear as if she can see, and I loved the poignant moments when the strangers she interacts with discover she’s blind, and react poorly to her blindness.

But Benjamin is her eyes.

And Benjamin, be still my heart! I loved that boy. Benjamin is only seven, but he trustingly goes along with Laureth’s scheme to steal her mum’s credit card and fly to another country without any parental supervision or permission. I loved his stuffed raven Stan, his constant companion and security blanket. The way Laureth and Benjamin interacted was refreshingly upbeat, and even though Laureth isn’t completely honest about the reason for their trip, you can tell Benjamin loves his sister and will do (almost) anything for her.

I learned some fascinating facts about some famous coincidences.

One of my favorite parts of the story was when Laureth gets the notebook back and Benjamin starts reading it to her. In its pages they discover that their father has become obsessed with coincidence and synchronicity, and he gives some true life examples of coincidences in history, in particular one famous example that involves Edgar Allen Poe and Richard Parker. I had one of those “ah ha!” moments when I remembered that the name “Richard Parker” was the name of the tiger in Yan Martel’s Life of Pi, and that Martel had also cunningly used the eerie story of Poe’s novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket in his book. (Click on that link above, it’s worth the read!) There’s almost nothing I love better than when an author can take a riveting fact like that and seamlessly make it part of his story. And look for the number 354 in She Is Not Invisible. It pops up again and again…

But, then the story went off-track a bit.

Unfortunately, the book took a downturn for me near the end, when Laureth and Benjamin get mixed up in Jack Peak’s disappearance.  It felt as if Sedgwick was trying to throw in a dangerous element to add more action to the plot, but to me it came across as cartoonish and over-the-top.  But there are so many other little details about this story that I loved: the ongoing reference to Jack’s “funny books,” the “Benjamin effect” (OMG! I wish I could tell you what that is, but you need to read the book and find out for yourself), and a very sweet ending that ties up all the dangling emotional threads. Mostly I loved Laureth’s voice and her fierce love for her family, a love that sets her on an extraordinary path.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. The above quote was taken from an uncorrected proof, and may differ from the final version of the book.

You can find She Is Not Invisible here:

amazon button2b&n buttonThe book depository button Indiebound buttonGoodreads icon

3 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Reviews

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: THE NIGHT HOUSE by Rachel Tafoya

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

The Night House by Rachel Tafoya

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

TNH_Final

Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

add to goodreadsTitle: THE NIGHT HOUSE
Publication date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Author: Rachel Tafoya

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Rachel Tafoya

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.

Connect with the Author: Tumbler | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Wow, doesn’t this sound good? I’m ready for a good vamp story, maybe this could be the next one! What do you think? Are you going to add The Night House to your TBR pile?

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win an e-book of The Night House & a $10 Amazon gift card! Open to international readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Button

3 Comments

Filed under Cover Reveal, Giveaways

Waiting on Wednesday (96) THE HELLSBLOOD BRIDE by Chuck Wendig

WOW banner 2014 copy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers can share the upcoming books they’re excited about. This week Chuck Wendig had a cover reveal on his blog for a book I would literally kill for. Yes folks, there are not too many things I would kill for. My kids, definitely. My husband, maybe. But this book, for sure. This is the second book in a trilogy (I think it’s a trilogy), after The Blue Blazes, which if you regularly read this blog, you will know was my very favorite book last year. Here’s the cover for book two:

The Hellsblood Bride

 

The Hellsblood Bride (Mookie Pearl #2) by Chuck Wendig. Release date: January 1 2015 (Angry Robot). So, that woman who is being dragged down to hell is Nora, the kinda nasty daughter of Mookie Pearl. (That’s Mookie above trying to save her, I’m thinking.) Nora found herself in a pickle at the end of The Blue Blazes, and it’s been torture waiting to find out what happens next. Here’s a short description of the book from Goodreads:

Yes, we’re going back deep underground for another twelve rounds with Mookie Pearl. Father, barkeep, former Mafioso, ruler of his subterranean crime-kingdom. The Organization is back, and they’ll do anything to get Mookie on board, but Mookie has gone legit, and it’s taking every ounce of effort for him to keep his new bar from crashing and burning. To top it all, his daughter is missing, and when Nora’s not in plain sight, that’s usually a sign of bad things to come! On one hand, the Organization. On the other, Nora. Why can’t Family ever be easy?

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Seriously, urban fantasy fans, you need to read this series! You have until January to catch up, so what are you waiting for? Let me know what you’re waiting on this week.

 

9 Comments

Filed under Waiting on Wednesday

April New Release Giveaway Hop!

new-release-giveaway-hop_april2014_header

Welcome to my stop on the April New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bo-ok Nerd! This month has lots of great book releases, in both young adult and adult. I’m offering one international winner (must be from a country that The Book Depository ships to)  a choice of one of the following books:

Young adult choices:

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Adult choices:

Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I’m dying to read all of these, so I thought I’d offer up a wide variety of choices!

Ready to enter? Simply click the Rafflecopter button below:

Raffle button

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the hops on this giveaway!

81 Comments

Filed under Giveaway Hop, Giveaways

OPERATION FOURTH STORY: Guest Post by Social Media Editor Lesley Conner

Apex Mag banner

I’m participating in Apex Magazine’s Operation Fourth Story this month, and today I’m thrilled to welcome Apex social media editor Lesley Conner to the blog! Operation Fourth Story is Apex’s digital magazine drive to promote the magazine and to hopefully get new subscribers. If they reach their goal of 250 new subscribers, they will add a “fourth” story to each month’s issue. You can read more about it here, and if you feel so inclined, you can subscribe to this awesome magazine here.

And now, please give a hearty round of applause to Lesley! Because Lesley is a stay-at-home mom, and a writer, and an editor, I asked her how she balances family life with her job at Apex.

bio pic

“Mom, can we make cupcakes?”

“Mom, what are we doing today?”

“Mom, come look! This is awesome!”

*sigh*

I look at the stack of Apex work waiting for me, think of the writing project I’m collaborating on with a friend, hide another friend’s novel that I really should be critiquing, and try to forget about the 3rd draft of my novel that needs a final polish before I can start submitting it to publishers. It’s all there, waiting for me, and I know that it’s going to have to keep waiting. The kids are calling.

The art of being an editor and writer and also a stay-at-home mom is not about balance. It really isn’t. For a long time I thought it was. I thought if I found this magical routine then I would be able to keep up with everything and finish it all on time. This is a mirage. A fantasy. A fairytale. It doesn’t exist.

After eight years of juggling my creative life with my domestic life – both integral parts to the whole that makes up who I am – it’s occurred to me that it isn’t balance that makes it all work; it’s flexibility.

I wrote the majority of the first draft of my novel while my younger daughter was an infant and toddler, stealing snippets of writing time when she napped, and then getting up at 5am every day to write when she declared at two and a half that “big girls don’t nap, and I’m a big girl.” Writing that way is agonizing. It’s slow and you can’t build a rhythm and I almost quit more times than I can count.

Now, several years later, both of my kids are in school and the majority of my day is dedicated to writing and keeping up with all things Apex – the blog, proofreading, managing our social media feeds, and marketing. All take time and all need my attention. And we had eleven snow days this year. You might be thinking “Yay! Snow day!” and part of me was too (at least in the beginning of winter, toward the end it was getting ridiculous) but I work from home. I can’t really call off due to snow, because I’m not driving anywhere. If you think about it, eleven days is the equivalent of having two energetic, needy pinballs stuck in your office for more than two weeks.

Then there’s summer. During the school year, I work more or less full-time from home. Sure, if one of the kids get sick then I’m out for a day, and if a friend wants to go out to lunch I’m not watching the clock so I’m home within an hour, I go and enjoy myself, but for the most part I’m at home working. For nearly two months, my kids are off for summer vacation and it would be incredibly awful for me to expect them to stay home every day and play by themselves while I’m tip-tapping away at my keyboard. Not only is that unreasonable, but it’s unrealistic. Small kids can only entertain themselves for so long before boredom drives them to whining, which means I’m not getting anything done. My solution is to cut my hours basically in half for the summer. I work from 5 to 9 am, and my kids know this is Mommy’s work time. They get up, feed themselves breakfast, and play quietly while I’m busy being Lesley the writer and Apex editor. Then by the time most people are getting to their day job, I’m heading to the park or the lake, slathered in sunscreen with two happy kiddos in tow.

All this flexibility isn’t perfect. Sometimes I fall behind and have to play catch up after I put my kids to bed. Sometimes writing goals slip by and blog posts get shuffled because snuggling up and reading one more chapter of an A to Z Mystery is more important. But the writing goals are set by me and can be readjusted, and Jason Sizemore, owner/publisher of Apex Publications, trusts me to get what needs to be done accomplished in more or less a timely fashion. So far I don’t think I’ve let him down, and that’s all because I’m flexible.

Thank you for visiting, Lesley! Find Apex: Apex Book Company | Apex Magazine

About Lesley:

Lesley Conner is a writer and the social media editor and marketing leader for Apex Publications. She spends her days pestering book reviewers, keeping the Apex blog in order, and chatting about books, writing, and anything else that crosses her mind. She’s currently looking for a home for her first novel The Weight of Chains, which she recently finished. For updates on everything Apex follow her on Twitter at @ApexBookCompany. For everything else, you can find her at @LesleyConner.

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under Guest Post, Magazine drive

High School is Not For Wimps: HIGH & DRY by Sarah Skilton – Review

High  Dry 3D

High & Dry by Sarah Skilton
Genre: Young adult contemporary
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release date: April 15 2014
Source: eARC from publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 272

four and a half

The nitty-gritty: A tantalizing mystery, an unreliable narrator, high school hijinks, and one of the worst fictional high schools I’ve ever run across.

When you find yourself tied up in the chem lab supply closet, surrounded by jars of formaldehyde, about to be maimed by a microscope-wielding thug, it’s a pretty good indication that something in your life has gone wrong.

High & Dry was not at all what I expected. I knew from reading Sarah’s first book Bruised that I would most likely love it, but I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the story synopsis before I started reading. This is always the best approach that I’ve found to reading if you don’t want to have your expectations squashed. In any event, I was surprised and delighted by this book and the sarcastic narrator whose life is more or less falling apart. High & Dry is a comedy of errors, as one unfortunate event escalates to another. Skilton’s dialog is some of the best I’ve ever read. Not only does she really understand the way teens talk, but her dialog is snappy and natural. The most surprising thing about this book, however, was the way the author depicts high school. Now, I understand that this is a fictitious school, set in a fictitious town, but I hope places like this don’t really exist. More about that later, because I have lots to say on the subject.

It’s Charlie Dixon’s senior year of high school, and his future is set. He’s planning on attending the local college where his father works, so he’s not scrambling around stressing out about college applications like his friends are. But Charlie’s life is less than perfect at the moment. His girlfriend Ellie has broken up with him, for no reason that he can see, and it’s ruining his life. He can’t concentrate on school and he’s been drinking more than usual.

One evening he decides to crash a party to talk to Ellie about their break-up, but after drinking way too much, a girl named Bridget insists on driving him home. The next morning Charlie finds out he’s been framed for the near-overdose (LSD) of a girl who was at the party. Now he has to prove that someone else dropped the girl off at the hospital (someone who “borrowed” his car). Not only that, but Bridget has blackmailed Charlie into helping her find a lost flash drive. With a large cast of characters who are also looking for the flash drive, it’s all Charlie can do to locate it first, try to get Ellie back, and graduate from high school before his life implodes.

High & Dry was a fast-paced caper with so many twists and turns it made me giddy. Skilton really knows how to pace her story, and just when you think you know what’s happening, she turns the tables on the reader and takes things in another direction. This book could also be called “The Journey of a Flash Drive,” because much of the plot concerns various characters trying to find the flash drive first—obviously there is something very important on it.

Charlie is a difficult character to love—at first. But I quickly grew to appreciate his snide remarks and sarcastic approach to looking at the world. His entire world is shaped by the fact that Ellie has broken up with him, and he’s suffering terribly because of it. He drinks all time—clearly he’s an alcoholic—mostly to dull the pain of being rejected. But he puts on a stoic face at school. He’s a star on his soccer team, or at least he’s developed a reputation for being aggressive and sometimes violent on the field. And because of soccer, he’s a well-respected senior. But Charlie has a vulnerable side, and it turns out he’s also got scruples. When he catches an old friend breaking the law, he manages to step up and do the right thing.

One of my favorite side-plots involves Charlie’s friend Ryder. Charlie and Ryder have drifted apart over the years, but they are forever bound by a poignant moment during a baseball game when they were younger. I loved the emotional impact their relationship had on the story, and how Charlie is unable to see Ryder as anyone other than the boy who helped him that day on the field.

I also loved Charlie’s grandfather, who is unfortunately the person who has taught Charlie how to drink (by giving him a flask for his birthday and offering to fill it up for him whenever Charlie visits), but who is also one of the few people in Charlie’s life that understands him and accepts him as he is.

But as much as I loved this book, I was completely thrown off guard by Skilton’s portrayal of Palm Valley High. I’m sure there must be schools like this somewhere, but I fervently hope my own kids will never have the terrible experiences that these kids have. The school’s social structure seems to be built on a bullying system, where freshmen who don’t belong to one of the groups on campus are fair play for upper classmen attacks. (And when I say “attacks,” I mean they beat the shit out of the freshmen.) Groups like the “songbirds” (choir kids), “poms” (cheerleaders), “beckhams” (soccer players) or “chekhovs” (lit freaks who study Chekhov) are safe havens, but if you don’t have a group, watch out. Worst of all, the adults at this school seem to be either oblivious to what’s going on right under their noses, or they simply don’t care. Comparing this to my own kids’ school district, where something as innocent as shoving another student in the hallway can get you kicked out of school, you can see why I find this educational environment hard to wrap my head around. And don’t even get me started on why none of the teachers seem to notice that Charlie shows up at school drunk.

But as much as I hate the thought of bullying, I couldn’t help but love the story and the characters anyway. There is a tinge of noir to High & Dry—mostly in the way Charlie narrates—like these favorite lines of mine:

“I glanced down to where her curves seemed to be inviting my hands on a date.”

and

“She looked like a sad girl in search of a tragedy. I could steer her toward mine, but it would cost her a finder’s fee.”

Skilton’s California desert setting plays nicely with Charlie’s feeling of always being thirsty—both literally and figuratively, and when the play-on-words of the title hit me, all I could think was, BEST TITLE EVER! We eventually find out exactly how Maria, the girl at the party who winds up in the hospital, was dosed, and I have to say I learned more about LSD than I ever wanted to know! High & Dry ends on a reflective note rather than an action-packed ending, but I thought it was perfect. If you love quirky, multi-layered stories, High & Dry will surprise you too—in a good way.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

Find High & Dry here:

amazon button2b&n buttonThe book depository button Indiebound buttonGoodreads icon

2 Comments

Filed under 4 1/2 stars, Reviews

Stacking the Shelves (52)

STS banner 2014 copy

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and is a fun way to share the books you’ve acquired recently. Thankfully, I’ve had a very slow couple of weeks on the book acquisition front…I cannot even begin to tell you how behind I am with review books! I received a couple of surprises in the mail from Random House, and a couple of NetGalley titles:

In the mail:

20140412_081711

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Super excited to get this! I’m not sure if I entered a Publishers Weekly contest to get these two books, but I’m sure happy about this one. I’ve read some awesome reviews.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares. This one, not so much. I have only read one positive review so far, and so I don’t know if I’ll be reading this anytime soon.

From NetGalley:

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this title, and I’m pretty excited to read it!

Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon. The reviews on this seem to be mixed, but I’m still looking forward to it.

That’s it for me this week. Let me know what’s on your shelves!

14 Comments

Filed under Stacking the Shelves

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: CALL ME GRIM by Elizabeth Holloway

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Call Me Grim

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake — and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper… and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark… but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

add to goodreads

Title: CALL ME GRIM
Publication date: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Elizabeth Holloway

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Elizabeth Holloway

Elizabeth Holloway is a registered nurse living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children, Bam-bam the dog, and Tinkerbell the cat. CALL ME GRIM is her first novel.

 

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win an e-book of Call Me Grim + a $10 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Button

9 Comments

Filed under Cover Reveal, Giveaways

APEX OPERATION FOURTH STORY: Interview with Apex Managing Editor Cameron Salisbury

Apex Mag banner

Yesterday I introduced you to Operation Fourth Story, Apex Magazine’s official digital magazine drive. And today, I have an interview with Managing Editor Cameron Salisbury. Please give Cameron a warm welcome!

cameron_in_maine

Hi Cameron, and welcome to the blog. I’m thrilled to have you visiting today!

Hello!  This is my first interview as an Apex editor, so I’m really excited to be here.  Thanks for hosting.

Can you start by telling us about your job at Apex as Managing Editor? What is your work day like?

It’s a work evening, usually.  I come home from my day job, heat a bowl of soup, and curl up with my laptop and my housemates’ dogs, who are developing into discerning critics of science fiction themselves.  I spend a nice chunk of time sorting and distributing the slush and fielding all the queries that land in the submission inbox.  I’m also one of the souls behind our social media accounts.  We don’t have a full-time copy editor, so I do some of that, and I’m a problem-solver and sounding-board for all the other small predicaments that inevitably pop up as issues come together.  One of my favorite tasks is helping Sigrid Ellis, Apex Magazine‘s editor in chief, decide which stories to put in each issue.  We’re constrained by word count — so if we publish a really long story, we have to find a short one to go with — and then we decide who makes an interesting compare-and-contrast, how they talk to each other, what themes connect them, etc.  I love the creative puzzle-piecing that goes into that.  My other big job is scouting out art to feature on our covers (send me a link to your portfolio!), stories to reprint, and essayists to solicit.  I have boxes full of goofy old paperback anthologies that I plow through, hunting for forgotten gems.

How long have you worked for Apex, and have you worked for any other publishing houses?

Sigrid lured me into this madness in October.  I’ve worked for no other publishing houses, but I volunteer as the Symposium editor for Transformative Works and Cultures, a peer-reviewed fan studies journal run by the Organization for Transformative Works.  The two gigs complement each other well.  I have a nifty mix of fiction and scholarship crossing my desk every week.

Apex is one of my favorite small publishers, and I’m so impressed with not only the quality of work you put out, but the way your books and stories seem to be mash-ups of more than one genre. As Managing Editor, is it hard to find the right types of stories to fit the Apex “brand,” or do you have more than enough submissions to choose from?

We are getting so many good stories right now that earlier in March we considered closing submissions for a while!  We are still open, and I have a heroic team of submissions editors who make sure every story gets the attention it deserves, but they’ve been working their butts off.  Finding work we’re excited to publish is not a problem.  We’re also still running some content that was purchased by Apex’s previous editor in chief, Lynne Thomas.  I’m looking forward to watching Sigrid develop a reputation of her own.  She’s queued up some stunning stuff.

Since we’re hoping to spread the word about Apex’s Operation Fourth Story, can you tell us a little bit about it and what you’d like to accomplish?

We’re trying to raise funds and drive up subscribership so we can pay one more author per month.

We feel pretty strongly about keeping the majority of Apex Magazine‘s content available for free on our website — it provides important exposure for the authors, doesn’t shut out lower-income readers, and promotes conversation and community — but this means we rely on our readers’ generosity — and enthusiasm for our gorgeous eBooks — to grow.

Hence!  From April 3rd to April 17th, year-long magazine subscriptions will be discounted to $17.95 when you buy direct from Apex or through Weightless Books.  You can also purchase through Amazon or by becoming a patron of the magazine through Patreon.  No matter your preference, everyone who subscribes (new and renewing) will get a free Apex eBook of their choice.  All you have to do to claim your book is forward a copy of your receipt to Lesley at lesley@apexbookcompany.com and let her know which title you’re interested in. Check out the Apex store for a full list of available novels, anthologies, and collections.  What’s more, if we reach our goal of 250 new subscribers, we’ll give away a Kindle Paperwhite to one random new subscriber.

EBooks come with extra goodies including reprints and chapters from upcoming novels and anthologies.  This month’s has “Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary” by Pamela Dean and an excerpt from The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar.  The more subscribers we get, the more awesome content we’ll publish.

It’s not uncommon for people in publishing to be authors themselves. Are you also a writer, or do you have hopes of publishing your own work one day?

I am a writer.  So far I haven’t written anything I feel like shopping around, but I’m sure I’ll hit that point eventually.  I really love editing, though, often even more than writing.  I have degrees in literature and teaching, and get a huge kick out of the workshopping process from both sides.

What do you do in your free time, when you aren’t working?

I enjoy stomping through the woods and paddling on lakes, mucking about in the kitchen ruining perfectly healthy muffin recipes with fistfuls of chocolate chips, and hosting fannish tea parties here in Boston, which mostly consist of a bunch of people in a slightly too-small living room, cackling about television and favorite story tropes, watching vids and eating bonbons.  It’s not a bad life.

I’d love it if you can tell my readers three things about yourself that may not be widely known.

1. I’ll be at WisCon and Readercon!  So will several of my Apex colleagues.  I’m hoping to meet lots of people and hear what they think about Apex, genre fiction, and anything they think we, as decision-makers in the industry, can do better.  I’d also love to just hang out and talk about t.v. and books and writing and meta, so please say hello.

2. I get an awful lot of correspondence addressed to Mr. Salisbury.  This is quite understandable, and I’ll never hold it against you, but I will vaguely associate you in my head with peddlers of unneeded credit cards.  I’m a “Ms.”  :)

3. I live in the States, but I’m a dual citizen.  It’s important to me to get plenty of international content and diversity of all kinds into Apex Mag.  Canada represent!

Thank you so much, Cameron! I hope everyone considers subscribing to this amazing digital publication.

About Cameron:

By day Cameron Salisbury works with numbers; by night she works with words as the Managing Editor for Apex Magazine and the Symposium Editor for Transformative Works and Cultures, a peer-reviewed, open access fan studies journal. She has degrees in literature and education from Wellesley College, The U. of Victoria and Trent U., but most of the really important stuff she learnt from fandom. She is a writer, occasional lecturer, and a denizen of the Somerville Curatorium, an artistic-academic co-op in Somerville, MA, with seven humans, one cat, two dogs, and fifteen pots of basil.

7 Comments

Filed under Interview, Magazine drive

Apex Operation Fourth Story: An Awesome Apex Magazine Subscription Drive!

Apex Mag banner

I’m super happy and excited to be part of the Apex Operation Fourth Story Digital Subscription Drive from Apex Magazine! (Wow, I know that’s a mouthful…) If you’ve never heard of Apex Magazine or Apex Books, now is your chance to catch up! Apex Magazine is a monthly digital magazine featuring short fiction from some of the most talented writers in the science fiction/fantasy/horror genres today. If you love odd and wonderful stories, genre mash-ups and avant-garde writing, you should definitely give Apex Magazine a try. Check out this Apex blog post for more information about Operation Fourth Story.

Since this is an official subscription drive, I am making it easy for you to be one of Apex Magazine’s new subscribers! And what a bargain it is: only $17.95 per year, and each month you’ll get a digital issue in the format of your choice, with original short stories, non-fiction pieces, an interview, and more. Take a look at some of the gorgeous cover art from past issues:

Click here to subscribe, and before you know it, you’ll have a steady stream of awesome fiction pouring into your e-reader!

To help get the word out, I’ll have several posts coming up that will introduce you to some of the folks who work at Apex, and I’ll be reviewing an issue of Apex Magazine too. Check back here tomorrow for my interview with Managing Editor Cameron Salisbury, and next Monday I’ll have a guest post with writer/editor Lesley Conner.

Get ready to read some amazing stories!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Event, Magazine drive