Writer Wednesday – Jason Sizemore

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Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Tell us (briefly) about you…

Hello! I am Jason Sizemore. Most people know me as that one guy, the red head who runs Apex Publications. I’m also known in genre circles as an editor (I’ve picked up three Hugo Award nominations and one Stoker Award nomination for my editing work). I also publish and help edit the genre short fiction zine Apex Magazine.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
Over the past 10 years, I’ve been exclusively a short fiction author. I estimate I’ve had about 40 stories published. Recently, Stephen Zimmer of Seventh Star Press asked if I would like to submit a collection to him. He had read many of my stories over the years and felt it would make a good book. I was skeptical. Stephen and a collection of writer pals convinced me to go for it. The result is IRREDEEMABLE!

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’m writing my first novel…okay, co-writing my first novel with Maurice Broaddus. It’s a fun collaboration. He brings the urban. I bring the rural. I’m collaborating on a story with Elaine Blose (it’s finished, looking for a home) and a story with Sara Price.

As you can tell, I’m big into collaborating right now.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
My first memory is being in first grade and reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and thinking “Now this is a book.”

What are your three favorite books?
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I usually have three going at once. At home, I am reading Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago and Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, and the audiobook of The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
Allow my mind to relax and forget about the stresses of the day.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
I do not re-read because there are too many good books I haven’t read.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very likely if the recommendation is from a friend whose tastes I trust.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely, but I save the recommendations for books I feel are truly excellent.

Why do you write?
To purge the creative urges that builds up over time!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A professional videogame player.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Primarily from memories of my youth. Southeast Kentucky is filled with memorable and interesting people and places.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They’re surprised by it. I’ve always been the editor/publisher person. Then they read my work and start asking questions like “Why do you like to write about such dark things?”

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
A big challenge for newbies involves understanding the options you have these days. Do you self-publish? Do you seek an agent and aim for New York? Is a small press right for you?

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Too numerous to list. *shakes head*

How do you deal with your fan base?
I give them hugs and love.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I’m partially color blind! I know, I know, this is surprising due to my impeccable fashion sense and fantastic art skills (sarcasm meter set to maximum).

Anything else we should know?
You sure ask a lot of questions about me. Maybe I should ask YOU a question!
*turns spotlight on*
Okay now, where shall we begin…

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Book Review – Vampires Don’t Sparkle

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Title: Vampires Don’t Sparkle
Editor: Michael West
Published: 2013
Format: Print and eBook (most of the review done by print book)

In Vampires Don’t Sparkle, editor Michael West has managed to take the vampire and make it awesome again. He got rid of the current trend of sexy, sparkly, undead love interests that make teenage girls swoon, and instead has replaced it with something dark, something unique. Gone are the cheezy “I want to suck your blood” types that 1950s B-level horror flicks brought us. Gone are the neauveau un-scary un-dead. What he’s left us with is, well, awesome.

I was going to pick a favorite, and I sort of can’t. Vampire Nation, for instance, felt like it was a bit too short, but I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way. Even stories that needed work, like I Fuck Your Sunshine were good enough (in this case, the author attempted a Russian-esque sounding narrator and it didn’t quite work), and with minor changes would have been incredible. So really, I’m just going to tell you to read the book. There are some incredible authors in this anthology, and they’re worth their weight in words. Also, I’m not big on prologues and introductions, but I read Michael’s and actually agree with every word he said.

As for a rating, I hee’d and hawed for a bit, and… Well, there is one little footnote worth mentioning. On the very back cover, it says A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to cancer research institutions to fight the real horrors of cancer. And since the book was hovering somewhere around there anyway, I’m going to tell you to buy the thing. It’s absolutely worth a read, and, well, if buying it can cure a very much real horror of the non-sparkly un-dead kind (note: I haven’t today said that I wish cancer would get cancer and die, so I’m saying it now…), then there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick up a copy.

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