Mars Girls (Novel Excerpt)

By Jason Sizemore
on June 13, 2017

A YA-SF Adventure on a colonized Mars!

CHAPTER 1

FREE RIDE

 

Nanoannie Centime snapped awake with a galaxy-class headache. The hard surface under her was moving. Was she on a rover?

No, too smooth. Her many hours in the sky made that tilting, dipping motion familiar: she was on a Marsplane.

But the deck underneath vibrated harder than the Origami Firefly. To put the chromium plating on her headache, she was seeing everything double. And her hand! Her poor hand throbbed as if she had stuck it in the plane’s engine. For a minute she couldn’t remember why, but then her vision cleared and she saw the duct tape. Kapera’s rover: there’d been an accident.

She raised her good hand to her head and found she was wearing her helmet, her own helmet. She spoke the suit com on.

“Excuse me? Guys? Where are you taking me?”

No reply. That was bad news. She had to do something. But what?

This was real trouble. Last mear when that guy wanted her to be a hostess on a Marsnet nightsite, she could have wriggled out of that easy, even without her parents butting in.

Let’s face it, being a nightsite hostess topped what her parents planned for her: a life of servitude under Utopia Limited Corp. No friends. And for sure no boyfriend. She had to do something.

“The little hell-cat woke up,” said a voice. Synthetic, like through a translator. A guy or a babe?

“Just what we needed,” said another voice, also synthetic, but quicker, sharper.

They didn’t want her awake. Scary; should she pretend to be unconscious? Gather her strength to fight them?

Vibrations. One of them was stepping back toward her. “She’s awake,” the first voice confirmed.

The back of Nanoannie’s head hurt. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Had she fallen? She tried to reach around and find out if she had a bruise. If they had hit her while she was unconscious, she’d figure out how to get even. No, first get away. But her hand shrieked in agony as she tried to get up.

The two of them were in Mars camo, which was called red, though orange-tan was more accurate. Red camo suits. High fashion for serial killers.

One of the suits pushed her back down. “Anoxia. Stay still. I adjusted your suit to compensate.”

“Where are you taking me?” Nanoannie thought she was shrieking, but the sound came out a gravely rasp. Hm. Her throat felt as if she had swallowed a shovelful of gritty fines, mixed generously with other mineral specimens.

The other voice droned, “I found her parents’ little spread on Marsnet. Tell her she’s going home now.”

Nanoannie’s vertigo turned to outrage. Little spread? Centime Pharm was bigger than Kapera Smythe’s Pharm, plus her parents had a huge installation in Hellas Planitia. Now she was mad!

Kapera!

“Where is—?” Wait. Better not mention Kapera.

“Where is what?” The first synthesized voice sounded preoccupied. “Sit up, cutie-pie. Raise your arms. Lean forward.” The redsuit looped straps over Nanoannie’s head. Buckled blue bundles to the back of her suit, to the top of her helmet, and to her backside. “This goes between those long pretty legs. Tight.”

Who were they? The synthetic voices might be translators, because they spoke some weird language—or to hide their identity. They sure weren’t from Utopia Limited, her parents’ corp. Intercorp Police? Nah. Those cuy-brains only intervened in olympic dustups: wars between pharms, or squatter invasions.

Kapera. If she asked, they would know Kapera was back there at Smythe Pharm. She had to find out their intentions. Think positive. Maybe they were good guys; they’d rescue Kapera and take her somewhere.

Somewhere. Poor Kapera no longer had a home.

Screeeebang.

Nanoannie looked down.

Way, way down, at a landscape of ice and fines, through a yawning hole in the fuselage.

* * *

Kapera. Kapera Smythe, that prepubescent, precocious runt. Two mears younger than Nanoannie, but in the same online math class. But where was Kapera now? Maybe Nanoannie shouldn’t have jumped in to help her when she came rolling up to Centime Pharm in the rover she had “borrowed” from her parents, Dr. and Dr. Smythe.

If only Nanoannie lived in a big settlement like Equatorial or Sagan City, she would have a choice of careers and lots of friends. Nanoannie had never visited either city, but a kid from Sagan City in her online school said the habs were like Earth apartments.

Kapera Smythe had a ticket to Earth—well, Earth Orbitals, but it was a lot nuker than, say, Deimos or Phobos. She’d see all that nuke Earth stuff. She’d get to go to clubs and meet guys. Except Kapera was too young to appreciate guys.

Kapera’s parents, Dr. and Dr. Smythe, had sold their Pharm and were packing to catch the Down Escalator, to Earth. Martian schools didn’t teach much about the Down Escalator, because Martians hardly ever could afford to take it, especially if they were planning to come back to Mars on the Up Escalator. The Up Escalator she knew more about, because her parents yammered on endlessly about how they had come to Mars on it. It was an asteroid, actually, with tunnels inside. It had been steered into an orbit so it took people to from Earth down to Mars. Then it circled around in orbit beyond Mars—she had seen the calculations—and rendezvoused with Earth orbit to pick up the next batch of passengers.

The Escalators were named by Earth people, so they had it all upside down. When you come down to Mars, you come on the Up Escalator. When you go back up to Earth, you go on the Down Escalator.

Earth people called it the Down Escalator because the sun is the center of the solar system’s gravity, so toward the sun is down.

Earthlings will say anything to makes themselves sound more important.

* * *

Nanoannie had seen the rover coming from a long way away, kicking up a rooster-tail of dust from its rearmost axle. She first thought to run and tell her parents, Krona and Escudo Centime. But they were fussing over her sister Zloty’s upcoming first birthsol. Nanoannie was sick of how her parents doted on Zloty. Krona had gotten pregnant again with great difficulty after Nanoannie’s birth, or so they said. Nanoannie figured it was because they didn’t like having sex anymore, being too old. Krona had miscarried four times. Blamed it on Father Mars. What crap.

So she didn’t tell them about the approaching visitor. Instead, she got binoculars to enhance the logo on the side of the rover.

Hm. Smythe Pharms.

She hated to admit how overjoyed she was at the prospect of talking to an in-the-flesh person besides her parents and Zloty.

She would show Kapera her makeup and the gowns she had designed and would create just as soon as Krona bought her a desktop manufacturing unit. Then they would discuss visiting a club in Borealopolis, or maybe even Sagan City.

Kapera would rub it in that she had been to Sagan City. But Kapera was too young to appreciate the city.

True, Nanoannie was also too young, but she could pass for ten mears, the legal age for regulated intoxicants.

She kind of hoped the Smythes had brought Kapera.

* * *

The rover stopped and spread out its solar cells to catch the low afternoon sun, but only one figure got out, a small person. No sign of Dr. and Dr. Smythe.

The small figure trudged up to the outer airlock. Nanoannie rushed to open it before Kapera even punched in her code. She fidgeted while the pressure built, then grabbed her own helmet (she had suited up already, she was so excited to have company) and trotted into the low-pressure room.

“I’m in trouble,” said Kapera, soon as she got her helmet off.

Nanoannie peered at her. She’d noticed online how Kapera was losing her hair and getting skinny. It must be one of the experimental diets the Smythes went on. They ought to import a little canned ham from Earth. “What’s up? You stole your folks’ rover? Does it have enough charge to get us to Borealopolis?”

Kapera went through the membrane to the middle pressure anteroom, undid her gloves, then wiped her nose on the back of her hands.

Kapera’s eyes seemed really big. Then Nanoannie realized why. Kapera must have shaved her head. Or had gene therapy to eradicate her hair. Eyebrows, too! Her eyes looked strange and wet with no lashes or brows.

Kapera said, “Link to my suit com. I have to show you something.”

Nanoannie didn’t like to wear her contacts (the fines got in everything) and she didn’t have her helmet on, so she had to use a wall screen to look at what Kapera showed her.

Kapera’s parents’ spread was built on the same plan as Centime Pharm, but the Smythes had, over the mears, built several middle pressure greenhouses on the surface.

The wall screen displayed a greenhouse-style lab, except a lot of plants were torn up and strewn all over. A vine—or was that wiring—dangled from the ceiling swinging back and forth, as if just cut. Kapera fiddled with the perspective and focused on an airlock gaping open.

Kapera bit her lip. “See?”

Nanoannie bent the perspective around. Kapera took over, impatient, and zoomed in on a leg, visible behind a bench, as if somebody were lying on the floor. The leg was enclosed in an environment suit, but the body of the suit was under a bench.

Kapera said, “Does that look like a Sears environment suit?”

Weird question. “Who knows? Environment suits always come in that loud shade of blue in case you get lost outside. So they can find your body.”

“That’s not funny!”

Something might be kind of wrong at Smythe Pharm. “Those are your parents?”

Kapera leaned into the picture and flipped on her two-way. “Daddy! Mother! Please, wake up! You’re scaring me!”

“They might be taking a nap. Maybe they can’t hear you.”

Kapera gnawed her lip. “Mother called me just after I left. I pretended the link was futzed up. But then Daddy called, super upset. And he’s always the laid-back one.”

“Well, of course.” It would have been perfectly nuke if Nanoannie, an almost adult, had run off with the family rover. But Kapera was a mere child. “I mean, you shouldn’t just run off when your family is selling their pharm to go to Earth orbitals.”

“Sure, sure, Nanoannie. But why don’t they answer now?”

“Why not peek in your parents’ puter?”

Even through the suit, she could see Kapera stiffen. “I don’t spy on them, and they don’t spy on me.”

“Come on, hab-rat! That isn’t spying. I have a back door to my parents’ puter. Surely you must have a way in.”

Kapera’s voice went slightly hard. “My mother spied on me. That’s why I keep my journal on my wrist puter. She got snoopy about it, too. But it’s too old to link to the house net.”

“So? Turnabout is fair play.”

Kapera took a deep breath. “I have privileges in housekeeping and Daddy’s science areas. Let’s look there.” She finger-tipped into the puter, with Nanoannie as a tag-along. Letters, chore lists, recipes, corp business memos, and even family pix.

Nanoannie found a picture of a frisky little boy flirting with the camera, beside an even smaller girl. “Is that your brother Sekou and you?”

“Yep. Me and Sekou. Could you please not look at that?”

Huh? “Why not? I let you see pix of my sister.” This was not strictly true. Nanoannie had never shown Kapera pictures of Zloty. But she would have. If she thought of it.

“Never mind. Just leave that picture be.”

“How old is Sekou now, hm?”

“Born about two mears before me. Stop asking about him, cause he’s none of your business. Please.”

“You have recent pix of him? Is he cute?”

“No! And no!”

Would Sekou be open to a rendezvous in Borealopolis? Some Kiafricans were prejudiced against white-skinned Martians, but the Smythes seemed open-minded.

Maybe that didn’t extend to romance-type stuff.

Kapera scrolled files. While she was occupied, Nanoannie scanned the picture of Sekou and Kapera and stored a copy on her com’s memory.

“No clues,” said Kapera.

“Let’s go look in person.”

Cabin fever. Some Martian-born girls got so used to their home habs that they never wanted to leave. Scared to leave. Happy corp slaves. Not Nanoannie.

She liked the open sky.

* * *

Krona and Escudo were in their bedroom whispering and making stupid giggly noises. Ignoring her, or trying to plan her boring future? Nanoannie considered stealing their Marsplane, the Origami Firefly, but they’d get really mad. So she sealed her suit and made to follow Kapera.

Kapera frowned. “Shouldn’t you tell your folks you’re leaving?”

“Why? You took your parents’ rover without telling them, didn’t you?”

“I wanted to bring you my models and cuttings to keep until I come back.”

“You’re coming back?”

“Darn right. Mars is my home. Earth Orbitals are just a place we’re stopping awhile. A short while.”

“So we’re going for a joy ride?”

“No joy, just a ride. Why not tell your folks? They could get Intercorp Police to help us.”

“Nah. We won’t go inside if anything looks funny. We can call Intercorp ourselves.”

Kapera was being a hysterical little kid. Why call the cops? So Smythe Pharm was messy. So the Smythes dropped an environment suit on the floor. There couldn’t be anybody inside it.

Anyway, if Nanoannie told her parents, they wouldn’t let her go. And she needed some excitement. She and Kapera would just cruise by Smythe Pharm. By that time, Kapera’s parents would be awake. They’d invite her in to look at Kapera’s games and models, or get online to the sites her own parents had blocked.

* * *

“So. What exactly are you scared of?” Now that they were on their way, Nanoannie was scared too, and she wanted something concrete to be scared of. The rover bumped along toward Smythe Pharm.

Kapera drew a big breath. “I don’t know. When I call in, nobody answers.”

“The power is down?”

“Not sure. Thought I saw a light shining from the skylight in my room. And I heard some noises through the com connection. Hissing noises.”

“Hissing?” Nanoannie suddenly remembered that sand vampires hiss.

Sand vampires, however, were the invention of Nausicaa Azrael, the only person on Mars who actually made a living writing fiction.

Wait. Didn’t early explorers have legends of people who disappeared on the polar ice cap leaving only empty environment suits?

They crested a hill and saw Smythe Pharm in the distance.

Lights shone pallidly in the spring afternoon sunshine. Something didn’t look right.

Kapera keyed into the house com and listened.

Nanoannie said, “What do you think that hissing is?”

“Don’t know. Air escaping?”

Nanoannie suddenly regretted leaving home. “Let’s call Intercorp.”

“I did call them. Think they’ll come, being as my folks are Freemen?”

“Sure.” But Nanoannie wasn’t sure. Intercorp Police did investigate serious crimes. Murder, for example. But not always. Consider the dust-up over that apartment in Sagan City, two brothers both claiming possession. When the younger turned up dead, nothing was done, except for a newsnet editorial.

“I have to go in,” said Kapera. “Stay here and I’ll call you if anything is wrong.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” Nanoannie didn’t want to go inside that empty Pharm, but she couldn’t let Kapera go in alone. That would be cowardly, and she was a woman of courage. A brave Martian Martialle. “I’ll come with you.”

* * *

At the main airlock, Kapera paused. “I don’t hear pumps or ventilators. That hissing stopped.”

Nanoannie shivered. “Let’s check everything out before we unseal our suits.”

Kapera glanced at the Pharm entrance. “Even outside something sounds wrong.”

“You can’t hear anything in Mars ambient.” But that wasn’t true. Kapera had supersensitive hearing.

Creepy, real creepy.

“I’m scared, Nanoannie.”

Nanoannie had been scared for some time, but she said, “Look, hab-rat, your parents are just asleep. They turned off their suit coms.”

Kapera keyed the airlock. As it cycled, she gazed straight ahead.

“Your dad probably yelled at you because he was mad,” said Nanoannie. “They’re giving you the silent treatment.”

Kapera’s eyes got huge. “You don’t understand, Nanoannie. He was yelling not to come back.”

Order Mars Girls to read the rest of this exciting SF-adventure!

MARS GIRLS Available Now!

By Lesley Conner
on June 13, 2017

Grab your helmet! Strap into your seat! Get ready for an out of this world sci-fi adventure in Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo!

Early reviewers of Mars Girls have been blown away by Nanoannie and Kapera’s exciting story:

Mars Girls is a fast-paced, exhilarating space adventure.” — Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

“This book was a treat from start to finish. A fast-paced, adventure in the hard SF mould, it's pretty relentless action from the very beginning.” — Blue Book Balloon

“Mary Turzillo takes strange to a whole new level, but she deftly combines it with humor, teenage hijinks and adventure. Mars Girls is aimed at the young adult crowd, but this story will put a smile on your face no matter what your age.” — Books, Bones, & Buffy

And now you can go on your own Red Planet romp! Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo is out today!

Buy your copy now!

Nanoannie is bored. She wants to go to clubs, wear the latest Earth fashions, and dance with nuke guys. But her life is not exciting. She lives on her family's Pharm with her parents, little sister, and a holo-cat named Fuzzbutt. The closest she gets to clubs are on the Marsnet. And her parents are pressuring her to sign her contract over to Utopia Limited Corp before she's even had a chance to live a little. When Kapera—a friend from online school—shows up at her Pharm asking for help, Nanoannie is quick to jump in the rover and take off. Finally an adventure!

What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe's Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn't bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don't know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.

Life isn't easy when you're just a couple of Mars Girls.

Bring a little adventure to your summer reading! Read Mars Girls!

 

APEX MAGAZINE, June 2017: Fiction by Aimee Ogden, K.A. Teryna, Pip Coen, & Tobias S. Buckell + nonfic + interviews!

By Jason Sizemore
on June 06, 2017

27,000 Words of Entertainment

Today we released issue 97 of Apex Magazine!

We have a loaded issue filled with the good stuff. Original fiction by Aimee Ogden ("Elena's Angel"), Pip Coen ("Welcome to Astuna"), and K.A. Teryna ("Black Hole Heart" -- translated by Alex Shvartsman). Our reprint comes courtesy of Tobias S. Buckell ("Sundown"). Andrea Johnson interviews Aimee Ogden. Russell Dickerson interviews our cover artist Irina Kovalova. Karen Lord writes about identity. And Mary Turzillo contributes an essay about Mars.

Rounding out the content is an excerpt of Mary Turzillo's upcoming YA science fiction novel Mars Girls (Apex Book Company).

You can read it at http://www.apex-magazine.com where we release the issue piecemeal throughout the month.

Alternatively, you can buy an eBook edition of the issue from Apex for $2.99 in DRM-free form. Also available from Weightless Books, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and Kobo.


Subscriptions. Never miss a story.

The best way to support Apex Magazine and to make sure you read every great story we publish is to subscribe!

A subscription contains 12 monthly issues. We have numerous cheap and easy subscription options:
  1. Apex Direct ($21.95 a year)
  2. Weightless Books ($21.95 a year)
  3. Amazon ($1.99 per issue)
  4. Patreon ($1 per issue)

We adore our readers!
Without you, we don't exist. Thank you for our existence.


Jason B. Sizemore
Editor-in-Chief

Taking Preorders for EVERYTHING THAT'S UNDERNEATH

By Jason Sizemore
on June 05, 2017

Kristi DeMeester's debut collection has gone up for preorder. We're running a special early buyers discount of 20% off retail. $11.16 for the tpb and $3.99 for the eBook.

We also are selling signed copies for $16.

Available from Apex and the following vendors:
Amazon (Kindle) - Smashwords -

ISBN TPB: 978-1-937009-57-1
Release: 08/29/17

The book will be available at Kobo, iTunes, and for the Nook in a few days. Also look for the print edition to be available on Amazon and B&N soon.

ROSEWATER by Tade Thompson is a John W. Campbell Award finalist

By Jason Sizemore
on June 05, 2017

We're pleased to share that ROSEWATER by Tade Thompson is a finalist for the 2017 John W. Campbell Award.

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year is one of the three major annual awards for book-length science fiction, and the only juried award of its history and stature.

Other nominees include Colson Whitehead, Ben Winter, Nisi Shawl, and Don DeLillo.

For a complete list go here.

Mars Girls Blog Tour Kickoff

By Lesley Conner
on May 28, 2017

Welcome to the Mars Girls blog tour!  Over the next few weeks, Mary Turzillo and her new YA novel Mars Girls will be touring the blogosphere with reviews, guest posts, interviews, and a giveaway!  The best thing about a blog tour? It means you (yes you!) can visit every stop, read everyone’s reviews, learn more about Mary through her interviews and guest posts, all without ever leaving your comfy sofa.  You can follow along through social media too!

Here’s the schedule for the blog party tour, in all it’s Martian glory:

May 28th - Blog kicks off.  Omgosh, that’s today! Muppetflail!  The kickoff party is all day today on Twitter and Facebook!

May 29th and May 30th    The Grimdark Files

May 31st    Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

June 1st  and June 2nd Books, Bones, and Buffy

June 4th     Nights at the Circus

June 5th     10 Bad Habits

June 6th     Ardent Attachments

June 7th     Skiffy and Fanty Show

June 8th     I Smell Sheep

June 9th     Reading Away the Days

June 10th and June 11th Frank Errington’s Blog

June 12th   Dab of Darkness

June 13th   Women Write About Comics

June 14th   Rapture in Books

June 15th   Little Red Reviewer

Impatient? We got you covered. You can pre-order Mars Girls direct from Apex Books.

Memorial Day Sale! Plus, lower prices on more than 20 eBooks!

By Lesley Conner
on May 26, 2017

Looking to stock up on great reads for the summer, but not wanting to spend a lot of money?

Apex has you covered!

Just in time for Memorial Day and the official start of summer, we’re giving you 20% off everything in the Apex store! This includes all novels, single author collections, anthologies, nonfiction, and Apex Magazine!

Use discount code MEMORIAL2017 to save!

Sale ends Tuesday, May 30th.

But wait! There’s more! (I love getting to say that!)

Not only can you save 20% off anything and everything in the Apex store right now, BUT we’ve also permanently lowered the price on more than 20 of our eBooks! From newer titles like first communions to older collections like Unwelcome Bodies, we’ve lowered prices across the store so that we can make sure that we get these amazing books into the hands—or onto the eReaders—of as many people as possible.

Head over to the Apex store to check out our full catalog. Load up your cart and save 20% with discount code MEMORIAL2017. Plus, get free shipping on orders over $25 if mailing within the US!

Want to know which titles we’ve permanently lowered the digital price on? Here’s a handy list:

Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifika

To Each Their Darkness by Gary Braunbeck

Dark Faith: Invocations edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon

Dark Faith edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon

Machine by Jennifer Pelland

Best of Apex Magazine edited by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner

Desper Hollow by Elizabeth Massie

first communions by Geoffrey Girard

For Exposure by Jason Sizemore

Plow the Bones by Douglas Warrick

Disintegration Visions by J.M. McDermott

Appalachian Undead edited by Jason Sizemore and Eugene Johnson

Maze by J.M. McDermott

Unwelcome Bodies by Jennifer Pelland

Starve Better by Nick Mamatas

The Labyrinth of the Dead by Sara M. Harvey

The Tower of the Forgotten by Sara M. Harvey

Last Dragon by J.M. McDermott

I Remember the Future by Michael Burstein

Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters

What Makes You Die by Tom Piccirilli

Midnight by Mari Adkins

Plus, Apex Magazine issues 1-24 are only $0.99, and issue 25-36 are $1.99!

 

Amazon Buy Box Shenanigans

By Jason Sizemore
on May 23, 2017
1 comment

Late last week, Vox.com picked up a Huffpo piece about Amazon.com changing the way books are sold on the Amazon website. How this change affects different publishers depends on that publisher's sales model. I want to speak about how the change affects Apex Publications and other small press publishers like us.

(In this screen grab, you can see the Buy Box change)

Background about the Apex model

Briefly, Apex Publications is made up of two arms: Apex Book Company and Apex Magazine. Our magazine is online only, so let's drop that from the discussion. Apex Book Company mostly uses a print-on-demand sales model (although we occasionally will have a book traditionally printed and sell it through the Amazon Advantage program).

For years, we used Lightning Source as our sole POD printer because they offer catalog placement in Ingram. This catalog placement allows our books to be sold by online vendors such as Amazon, B&N, etc. It also lets bookstores stock our books should they want (but at a short discount...usually bookstores will only do this for local authors).

When things started to stink

A few years ago, Amazon started messing with the availability of POD books sourced through Lightning Source. Titles went from being Prime Available and shipping the next day to being listed as available in 1 to 3 weeks. Our Amazon print sales dropped. When you order something off the internet, you want it now, not 3 weeks from now.

The solution that Amazon wanted POD-model publishers (and the massive self-publishing sector) to embrace was to switch from Lightning Source to Createspace. And yes, go figure, Createspace is owned by Amazon.

Apex accepted the solution and we now use Createspace for sourcing Amazon (we still use LSI for everyone else). Lo and behold, the books that were once listed as being available in 1 to 3 weeks were once again available immediately.

3rd Party Sellers

That first bit of strong-arming POD publishers and self-publishers to Createspace was but the first step in the current Amazon strategy to control book production and book sales from start to finish.

As outlined in the Huffpo and Vox pieces, Amazon no longer lists Amazon as the default seller of some books. They now allow 3rd party sellers to bid on who gets listed as the default.

Naturally, for books printed and distributed by Createspace, Amazon is always listed as the primary seller and every thing looks the same as it ever was.

Why 3rd Party only is bad

Granting 3rd parties the ability to be the default seller does not really help bookstores or online vendors that buy from a wholesaler or distributor. What it does is help Amazon drive more POD publishers and self-publishers to Createspace. It also has the possibility of driving book prices down as 3rd parties acting in bad faith sell advance copies of books at a cheaper price than the publishers and bookstores.

Also, book buyers tend to shy away 3rd parties for various reasons. Many of the sellers aren't Prime eligible. The loss of customer trust suppresses sales. I've seen both of these first hand back during our initial availability troubles. And finally, according to Vox, the buy box bid winner's availability affects your book's listed availability.

What it means for Apex?

Mostly, it means business as usual. We do have a handful of books still only on LSI, but they'll be moved to CS soon.

As a POD model publisher, we've already been forced to Createspace. But it worries me that Amazon is now expanding its hold on the bookselling and publishing business.

I'm afraid it's inevitable.

Announcing the Mars Girls Blog Tour!

By Lesley Conner
on May 22, 2017

The new YA adventure novel Mars Girls, by Mary Turzillo, lands on June 13th. To celebrate the book and Apex’s first YA novel, Mars Girls and Mary will be going on tour across the blogosphere from May 28th to June 15th.  There will be reviews, interviews, guest posts, giveaways, funny stories, and more!  Participating bloggers include:


Dab of Darkness

The Skiffy and Fanty Show

Books, Bones, and Buffy

Frank Errington

Rapture in Books

Women Write About Comics

10 Bad Habits

The Grimdark Files

I Smell Sheep

Cedar Hollow

Reading Away the Days

Ardent Attachments

Nights at the Circus



Stay tuned for more details! And preorder your copy of Mars Girls now!


Are you a book reviewer who would you like to review upcoming Apex titles? (oh, hello Entertaining Demons!)  Receive an eArc in exchange for an honest review.  To learn more, email Lesley at lesley@apexbookcompany.com.

Audiobook of KING OF THE BASTARDS by Brian Keene and Steven L. Shrewsbury now available

By Jason Sizemore
on May 15, 2017

Apex Publications is pleased to announce that in partnership with Beacon Audio, Brian Keene's outstanding adventure novel THE LOST LEVEL is now available in audio format.

Length: 5 hours 23 minutes

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2riEwRU

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/King-of-the-Bastards-Audiobook/B071Z2CH1M

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/king-of-the-bastards-unabridged/id1236279173

Narrated by Doug Greene.

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From the Blog

Mars Girls (Novel Excerpt)

June 13, 2017

A YA-SF Adventure on a colonized Mars! CHAPTER 1 FREE RIDE   Nanoannie Centime snapped awake with a galaxy-class headache....

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