Short Story Collection Acquisition: The Grand Tour

By Lesley Conner
on February 14, 2018

Apex is happy announce the acquisition of The Grand Tour by E. Catherine Tobler. The Grand Tour is a collection of nine of E. Catherine Tobler's circus stories. The stories range in length from flash (500 words) to novelette (15K words), and cover a variety of times, locations, and characters, giving the reader a wide scope of the circus universe Tobler has created.

The Grand Tour is slated to be released in early 2019.

In the meantime, if you'd like to dip your toes into E. Catherine Tobler's circus universe, check out The Kraken Sea, which features Jackson, the ringleader of the circus, as a child, or read "The Three-tongued Mummy" from Apex Magazine issue 96.

Join the adventure! Return to the Lost Level!

By Lesley Conner
on February 13, 2018

Return to the Lost Level by Brian Keene is available now direct from Apex, and through Amazon and Kobo!

(Amazon has the print edition for only $10.83! I don't know how long this will last, but it's a great deal, saving you 28% off the cover price!)

Return to the Lost Level is an old school, pulpy, lost world adventure with twist that only Brian Keene could bring. This sequel takes us back to the Lost Level, and follows Aaron Pace as he leads a group against the snake-like Anunnaki.


 


War has come! The snake-like Anunnaki have always been a blight for the people living in the hidden dimension known as the Lost Level, but now, the denizens are fighting back. After their community is decimated and their loved ones are enslaved in the aftermath of a devastating Anunnaki attack, Aaron Pace leads a diverse group of warriors — including the bow-woman Tolia, the mighty Karenk, a baby Triceratops, and a time-displaced Ambrose Bierce — on a trek through primordial jungles, dark forests, and a sun-blasted desert while battling pterodactyls, man-eating worms, and other dangers. 

Can their small band lay siege to the Anunnaki city and rescue their friends, or will they suffer the same cruel fate so many others have before them? Find out in Brian Keene's Return to the Lost Level

Includes the bonus short story "The Chinese Beetle."

Miss out on The Lost Level? No worries. Pick up a copy of the first book in the series here.

After reading Return to the Lost Level or The Lost Level, please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon! Reader reviews really do matter and we appreciate each and every one.

Supernatural Thriller Acquisition: Some Kind of Monster

By Lesley Conner
on February 09, 2018

Apex Publications is happy to announce the acquisition of Some Kind of Monster by Tim Waggoner. Some Kind of Monster is a supernatural thriller novella that follows Doreen as she hunts down urban legends and paranormal activity looking for something greater than the dull, everyday reality she can’t seem to escape.

Tim Waggoner is the author of numerous novels, including Like Death and Teeth of the Sea, and hundreds of short stories. His work has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, and his novella The Winter Box won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction.

Some Kind of Monster is scheduled to be released in early 2019.

Novel/Novella Submission Guidelines

By Lesley Conner
on December 29, 2017

Apex Book Company will be holding open novel and novella submissions from January 1st to January 31st, 2018. Anything sent outside of this time period will be deleted unread.

We will consider novellas in length of 30,000 to 40,000 words and novels in length up to 120,000 words, and are particularly looking for novels that fit within the dark sci-fi category. Dark fantasy and horror submissions are also welcome.

A literary agent is not required for submission. We may take up to three months or more to review your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay. We will only accept one submission per author.

We only accept email submissions to apex.submission@gmail.com.

When submitting, the subject line should read: NOVEL SUBMISSION: <Title> by <Author Name>.

In your submission packet, attach your entire manuscript and a synopsis no more than one page in length.

The body of your email should be a cover letter. 

In the upper right hand corner of the first page of your manuscript there should be your name, address, phone number, and manuscript word count.

Apex publishes 6-10 books a year. We offer an advance and standard royalty terms.

Apex requests First English language trade paperback and eBook rights, as well as audio rights and certain subsidiary rights.

Please direct questions to Jason Sizemore (Jason@apexbookcompany.com). Any submission queries should go to Lesley Conner (Lesley@apexbookcompany.com).

Apocalyptic Thriller Acquisition: Breaking the World

By Lesley Conner
on December 28, 2017

Apex Publications is thrilled to announce the acquisition of a thrilling apocalyptic novel by Jerry Gordon.

Breaking the World takes place during the fifty-one day standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidian Church. It focuses on three outcast teenagers, nonbelievers dragged to a Christian commune in Texas by their born-again parents. When a botched government raid on the church turns deadly, the teens must take charge of their own destiny in order to survive a clash between infamous cult leader David Koresh, an erratic FBI, and a growing pandemic that seems to confirm the worst of the church's prophecies. 

The novel takes readers deep inside the historic conflict, offering a perspective on the government raid that questions the news media's reporting of the event, the wisdom of militarizing domestic law enforcement, and the blurry line between religion and cult.

Jerry Gordon is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated co-editor of Dark Faith, Invocations, and Streets of Shadows. His short fiction has appeared in numerous venues, including Apex Magazine. Breaking the World is his debut novel.

Breaking the World is slated to be released in April, 2018.

2018 Apex Book Company Releases

By Jason Sizemore
on December 08, 2017

Dates subject to change.

January -- Cry Your Way Home (collection) by Damien Angelica Walters

February -- Return to the Lost Level (novel) by Brian Keene

April -- Breaking the World (novel) by Jerry Gordon

May -- Aetherchrist (novel) by Kirk Jones

June -- Close Your Eyes (novel) by Paul Jessup

July -- Undead (poetry anthology) edited by Bianca Spriggs and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

September -- The Apex Book of World SF 5 (anthology) edited by Cristina Jurado and Lavie Tidhar

October -- Do Not Go Quietly (anthology) edited by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner (dependent on success of Kickstarter)

December -- Hole in the World (novel) by Brian Keene

Winterglass excerpt — Chapter One

By Jason Sizemore
on December 03, 2017

Winterglass

Order today!

Apex | Amazon

By Benjanun Sriduangkaew

The season’s last match brings with it a press of audience, the mass and noise of them audible even in the preparation vestibule where silence is meant to be the final word. There’s nothing for it, Nuawa supposes, as she tightens the seals on her armor and checks her gun one last time. Everything is oiled, ready.

The gladiator’s bell rings. The arena gate lifts slowly, a hum of blindfolds and lion helms, a susurrus of tiger tails and specters. She knows the mechanisms are lubricated well, the ghosts fed a rich diet of incense and candlewicks, but the tournament masters like their theatrics.

She steps into a dome of obsidian glass and agate tiles. It is opaque from inside, transparent from the outside. If she falls, they will hear every last noise: the rattle of her final breath and the wet slap of viscera meeting glass, while she will never see their faces. Their rapt faces, empty-eyed, mesmerized by spectacle. So it goes.

The opposite gate unfurls, dove wings and mandarin petals. For half a moment, she sees nothing at all, then discerns the solid outlines of the muzzles, the light-drinking coat, the sleek knotted limbs. They have sent her leopards to fight.

She hears the whirr of their articulated legs, the scrape of their curse-alloyed claws, and knows they are more than animal. Guided by a human mind, potent with thaumaturgy. She counts: four pairs of jade-dark eyes, four tails like whips.

An instant’s calculation for angle and trajectory, and she fires. The leopards are fast, upon her far quicker than any human or natural beast could be. Her bullet ricochet off the dome, piercing a leopard’s shadow; its flesh corresponds in a rip of meat, a spray of gore. Her second shot catches another in the haunch, interrupting it mid-pounce.

Her drop to the floor is a fraction too late. Claws screech across the metal of her armor, not penetrating but leaving a slick of concentrated grudges: pain flashes down her vertebrae, bright turquoise synesthetic across her vision. Her gauntleted arm is all that keeps her face from being shredded to cartilage and gore.

She pulls a polynomial from her belt, tearing off its safety with her teeth. An implosive flash, more light than heat, blinds the puppeteer behind those feline eyes. Nuawa uses the pause to gain distance, rolling away, drawing her blade. Her sword’s beaked shadows click and clatter, a spread of five today: thanks to the lighting, all far longer than the blade itself or her reach. More than sufficient.

Blade shadows roar as they meet the leopards’. Fur tears; arteries rupture and tendons snap.

Nuawa beheads the animals, for theater and for good measure. Even then she half-expects each to get up for a rematch, but apparently they haven’t been witched to work beyond stopped hearts and spilled brains. A ground fog of expended power rises, is quick to dissipate. She wonders what shape the puppeteer is in. Incapacitated, with luck. In agony, she hopes.

Her gate lifts. There is no announcement of her victory, no applause. The Marrow is too refined for that.

Back in the vestibule there are attendants waiting, sent by her manager Tezem. One is moon-dusted, the other with a face painted half white and half green. Both are slim, male, adolescent: the diametric opposite of Nuawa’s preferences, Tezem’s idea of a joke. When they offer her purifying balm and cleansing ointments, she takes the bottles and jars from them. “I’ll go up for a bath.” Many of Tezem’s duelists enjoy being pampered, with attendants to scrub their backs and lather their hair, oil their limbs and perfume their throats. Nuawa prefers to be left well enough alone.

She steps into an elevator; here no sense of drama interferes with function and so the ghosts are efficient, the ride smooth and fast. From overhead, a portrait of the queen looks down, the royal coiffure as iridescent as borealis light. Winter’s visage is everywhere, austere in its gauntness, alien in its sclera the black of frostbitten flesh. Speculations as to the queen’s origins run abundant, in euphemism and guarded whispers, and most say she is from the distant isle of Yatpun: a snow-woman from permafrost peaks, sick of the mountain gods’ tyranny and determined to be lord and deity of her fate. But Yatpun has been inaccessible for centuries behind its event-horizon wall, and if she is indeed from the island nation, the queen is the sole individual alive certain of that truth.

Nuawa presents her credentials, a chalcedony cube at her wrist, to the toothed locks that guard the Marrow’s highest, most exclusive floor.

A low humming and a haze of steam. Yifen is coming out of the bath, toweling her hair dry and unselfconsciously nude. At the sight of Nuawa her eyes brighten, her mouth widening into a grin, openly voracious. “Nuawa! I’m just done cleaning up but I don’t think I have gotten all the grime out of my hair. May I join you?”

Nuawa holds up the purification jars. “Only if you want to risk getting curses on you. This was a dirty fight.”

“Please, stuff that weak can’t begin to touch me.” The other duelist widens her eyes, tilting her head, coquettish. “Or have I begun to bore you?”

In truth, a little. She enjoys Yifen’s company well enough most times, but while Yifen is a fine lover, her appetites tend to exceed Nuawa’s. Still, a good source of information. “If I tire of you, I would be tiring of life.” She disrobes and follows Yifen into the bath. There’s only one other occupant, a sour-faced, taciturn duelist from abroad; they don’t greet or so much as look up, attention fixed on the pane displaying an intake audition. Nuawa takes a look. Duelists at the Marrow go into each match blind, but the auditions give her some idea of new challenges.

Yifen has opened the jars, spooned out ointment, and warmed it between her tattoo-protected palms. She is inked everywhere, inscribed for stamina and luck, for senses beyond the five physical ones; their first time together was an educational experience for Nuawa. “Scouting for a fling?” Yifen asks, following Nuawa’s gaze.

“I’d never slight you to your face.” On the pane, Nuawa spots two duelists she’s fought in other venues. But most of the aspirants are foreign, a few occidentals whose faces and coloring are only slightly less alien than the queen’s. “Why so many travelers?”

“You haven’t heard? You must mingle more, visit the commoners once in a moon.” Yifen lowers her voice as she spreads purifying balm down Nuawa’s spine and hips. “We’re getting our first tribute game. The winner gets an officer’s commission and the queen’s general will train them as her very own protégé. Imagine if one of us gets chosen? The first officer ever from Sirapirat.”

Despite herself, Nuawa is intrigued. Sirapirat citizens have never been allowed to enlist in the queen’s army, let alone rise to an officer. They have to give the queen tribute the same as any other territory, but never in a game, never with the promise of reward. “How is it going to work?”

“Ah, now you’re more interested in that than in me. How I self-sabotage.” Yifen makes a moue. “Our rankings will give us no head start, I fear. All participants will begin equal. The first part will be a survival course. Ten to thirteen winners out of nearly three hundred applicants will then proceed to fight in single-combat matches.”

“And?” She inches her legs apart, an invitation. Behind her, the foreign duelist makes a disgusted noise and climbs out of their bath, then to the dressing parlor.

“And I can get a roster of the applicants, should you wish to …” Yifen’s thumbs a warm, oiled line up Nuawa’s thigh. “Get preemptive.”

“Which ex-partner or enemy do you want gotten rid of?”

“Little cynic. What if I just want you to win and bring Sirapirat the glory we’ve long been denied, even though we produce fighters as fit as any for the army?”

Nuawa slides into one of the pools, down until the water comes up to her throat then her face. Her hair flares in naga corona, snake-tendrils floating in the water. She shuts her eyes, feels the grime of perspiration and leopard-carried grudge sluice away. When she emerges, she finds Yifen laid flat against the floor, chin in hands and watching with undisguised interest. The gaze of a hawk on prey.

Nuawa wipes hot water from her mouth. “Are you not participating, then, in this tournament of tournaments?”

“Given what’ll happen to the losers? I’d rather not.” Yifen cards her fingers through Nuawa’s drenched hair, tickling an earlobe. “The soldier’s life is not for me, besides. Too demanding and I’d look terrible in that uniform. You, though, have just the right mindset and could go far. Only don’t forget me when you rise high in the general’s favor, hmm?”

“You overestimate me,” Nuawa murmurs. The pool is churning, curse-vestiges calling out hungry ghosts from the pipes. She climbs out. “But tell me more and I’ll do my best.”

* * *

Out in the streets, away from the luxuries of the Marrow, Sirapirat is bitterly cold.

Nuawa’s boots crunch on new snow, her hands and body all but disappearing into the bulk of her coat and gloves and furs. Her breath curls in the air, the warmth of the bath already a distant dream. Mother tells her that Sirapirat once knew three seasons. Hot, wet, cool. Monsoons and storms, draughts and floods, rice paddies running full and mangoes bursting on the tongue. It is beautiful at first, snow, Mother would say, until it erases and turns all you know into a copy of itself. Soon you no longer recall a time without; soon you forget warmth and buffaloes dozing by the riverbank. Soon, you remember only what it wants you to remember.

She can’t picture any of that and has never seen a live buffalo, though there are paintings and sculptures in galleries, in museums. The queen doesn’t forbid commemoration of the past, regards them with the apathy most might regard an insect—inconsequential, beneath her notice. No museum in the world, no shelf of gold-leaf history and marble maps, can alter the absoluteness of winter. The only thing the queen forbids is fire. Candles and lamps are allowed, barely; pyres are prohibited outright. Cremation used to be the truest form of bidding the dead farewell and seeing them off into the rebirth cycle. Now they are consigned to the queen’s machines that turn them into power that warms, feeds, and animates Sirapirat’s infrastructure.

Fifty years winter has reigned over Sirapirat, out of Mother Indrahi’s sixty. Fifty out of the seventy Nuawa’s giving-mother Tafari would have been, if she were alive today.

Nuawa cranes her neck back, gazing up at the sky where Sirapirat’s second self resides. Up there Sirapirat is vivid with color, golden spires and scriptoriums, silver palaces and lapis gardens. Yet even there, the mirage said to have been painted as Sirapirat’s ideal self, the gardens glitter with frost. Mother’s fruits do not bud on the branches, mangoes and mangosteens absent. Jasmines and globe amaranths do not bloom on the bushes. Instead, the phantom trees are coated in snow, their boughs bare and bleached.

Along the streets, she occasionally spots a likeness of herself on laminated boards, a distant likeness with rather more height and bosom than the reality, eyelids and cheeks and lips painted to hyperreal emphasis. But most recently the foreigner gets more play on the Marrow’s advertisements, being exotic and newer. She stops to watch an imprint of her latest match. It replays, over and over, the part where she chops the heads off the leopards—four decisive swings, four decisive decapitations. Nuawa of the Lightning. A moniker she’s always disliked but which Tezem insists upon. Improbably, it’s caught on.

Her home is perched on the hills of Matiya Street, a neighborhood of tenements housing students, non-tenured professors, various researchers and academics of the less-prestigious stratum. The Marrow offers lodgings to a duelist of her caliber, but she prefers distance between home and work. Her apartment is better-furnished than most, vintage rather than run-down, a double façade of wood reinforced by steel. Octagonal windowpanes and pots of white cyclamens blushing magenta. A spirit shrine on the highest balcony, visible from the ground, laden with tiny dishes of condiments and baked rice. The landlady, like Nuawa’s mother, belongs to a generation that recalls the time before winter, a generation that takes her faith seriously.

She unlocks her room with a jade key. Her mother helped decorate and accordingly the ceiling is busy with meshes of rough bismuth and amethyst for luck, the chimes depending from them tinkling as Nuawa enters. She inhales the heat and sheds her coat, gloves, tightly laced boots. Heating—like water, like so much else—is ever powered by ghosts. Justice in Sirapirat has become much hungrier since winter’s advent. Large thefts send the convicted to the kilns much oftener than to a prison sentence or rehabilitation among the monks. Even then much of the city goes cold and hungry; production of ghosts does not match the demand, especially when a portion is taxed for the queen’s vaults.

She wrings the meltwater from her hair and checks on her cyclamens. In good shape. Thinking of her mother, she breathes on her calling-glass.

Indrahi answers, face appearing in hazy reflection. Behind her, there is a diptych of a summer sky: a blue so deep, a sun so bright, the leaves gigantic and the flowers riotous. She is doing beadwork in her lap, a complicated tangle of soft wire and semi-precious stones. Next to her, a bowl of persimmons sliced crescent and fine as a moon in wane. “Nuawa,” Mother says. “How does it go? I’ve watched some of your recent fights.”

Unlike her brother—who fled for ordainment as soon as he could, taking on the saffron robe—Mother never cautions or chides her for her profession; if anything has encouraged it. I want a child who can defend herself and what she loves. There is a time for piety, for pacifism, but we are at war. “The latest was leopards. Maybe they wanted a novelty to cap off the season.”

“Very symbolic.”

They chat, Nuawa asking after her mother’s arboretum, Indrahi inquiring whether the landlady has kept up good maintenance and whether Nuawa is taking up more contract work. There is always demand for bodyguards who have done well at the Marrow. Then the subject veers to the tribute tournament, and Nuawa asks, “Mother, what do you know about the queen’s general?”

“Lussadh al-Kattan.” Indrahi cocks her head. “I’ve studied her. A dangerous person and an unnatural child, all that troubled history. What of her?”

“The tribute game. Our first.”

“Ah.” Her mother nods slowly; evidently she too has heard the particulars. “The prize is real. One of their new officers was selected this way from a tribute game in Jalsasskar, three months past. And thus, so many fools will enter this one, hoping—praying—to be the next; sure that they have the prowess and the luck. The queen is excellent at tricking us into feeding ourselves to the kiln.”

“Am I a fool, Mother?”

Indrahi puts down the beadwork and laughs. “I raised you better than that.”

To lose is to go into the ghost kiln, a forever poltergeist. “Then may I have your leave to join the game?”

Her mother stops laughing. But she does not admonish; she does not disallow. Instead she says, “Then I will tell you all I know of the queen’s general. First you must know this, the most important: if the queen can be said to have a heart, then she has given that heart into the keeping of General Lussadh al-Kattan.”

 

The Apex Book of World SF 5

By Lesley Conner
on November 30, 2017

Reading stories beyond those written in the US and UK is something that we here at Apex have long felt is incredibly important. The world is a vast, ever-changing place, and different cultures and experiences can create magical stories that deserve to be written and to be read. They can build understanding, friendship, and a realization that there is more out there than what you can immediately see before you.

It is with this in mind that we began The Apex Book of World SF series. Back in 2009 we published the first volume of The Apex Book of World SF edited by Lavie Tidhar. Lavie went on to edited two additional volumes. In 2015 a fourth volume was published with Mahvesh Murad in the editor position and Lavie steering as series editor.

Yesterday Jason Sizemore officially announced that The Apex Book of World SF will be back with a fifth volume! This time Cristina Jurado will take the editor position, working with Lavie to bring you another fantastic collection of stories that explore the wonderful world of speculative fiction. Cristina guest edited a special world-SF themed issue of Apex Magazine (issue 76) back in 2015. She is the editor of SuperSonic, a magazine of Spanish speculative fiction, and Apex Magazine's international fiction editor. We are extremely excited to be working with her on this new anthology.

The Apex Book of World SF 5 is slated to be released in 2018. While you wait, be sure to check out the first four volumes of the series.

It's Small Business Saturday! Support Small Presses!

By Lesley Conner
on November 25, 2017

It's Small Business Saturday! Support Small Presses!

Just in time for Small Business Saturday, we're bringing back our titles from 2016 in an awesome bundle that will save you tons of cash! Get eight books from the year ranging from anthologies, novels, our first graphic title, short story collections, and a novella! This bundle includes:
  • Upside Down edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates
  • Kentucky Kaiju by Justin Steward, Tressina Bowling, and Shawn Pryor
  • Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka
  • The Kraken Sea by E. Catherine Tobler
  • Freeze/Thaw by Chris Bucholz
  • first communions by Geoffrey Girard
  • Glitch Rain by Alex Livingston
  • Best of Apex Magazine Volume 1 edited by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner
Get all eight books for only $80 in print or $18 in digital!

This bundle has a little bit of everything, making it the perfect bundle to buy and give as gifts to the book lovers in your life!

These yearly bundles, including the 2017 bundle featured yesterday, will only be available through Monday, so don't wait! Get your bundles now and save the most money!

Is there a book you want that we didn't bundle? Never fear! You can still save 30% off every book currently in our catalog (excludes preorders) now through Monday. Use discount code CHEER17 at checkout and save!
 

Apex Publications to hold OPEN novella/novel submissions period in January 2018

By Lesley Conner
on November 16, 2017
1 comment

Apex Publications will be accepting unsolicited submissions of novels/novellas January 1st through January 31st.

During our last open submissions period we bought six novellas and novels—Glitch Rain by Alex Livingston, The Kraken Sea by E. Catherine Tobler, Rosewater by Tade Thompson, Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka, Entertaining Demons by Daniel I. Russell, and Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo. Both Rosewater and The Kraken Sea received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. Erica L. Satifka won Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards for Stay Crazy. Rosewater was a Campbell Award nominee and won the NOMMO award for best sci-fi novel. Basically, our last open submissions period was incredibly successful and we’re ready to do it again!

We will consider novellas in length of 30,000 to 40,000 words and novels in length up to 120,000 words, and are particularly looking for novels that fit within the dark sci-fi category. Dark fantasy and horror submissions are also welcome.

A literary agent is not required for submission. We may take up to three months or more to review your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay. We will only accept one submission per author.

We only accept email submissions to apex.submission@gmail.com. In your submission packet, please send your entire manuscript with a cover letter and a synopsis no more than one page in length. Please include your name, address, phone number, and manuscript word count in the upper right hand corner of the first page of your manuscript.

Apex publishes 6-10 books a year. We offer an advance and standard royalty terms.

Apex requests First English language trade paperback and eBook rights, as well as audio rights and certain subsidiary rights.

Please direct questions to Jason Sizemore (Jason@apexbookcompany.com). Any submission queries should go to Lesley Conner (Lesley@apexbookcompany.com).

Apex has published novels and novellas by Jennifer Pelland, Tom Piccirilli, Sara M. Harvey, Maurice Broaddus, Lavie Tidhar, Erica L. Satifka, Tade Thompson, Brian Keene, Chris Bucholz, and more. If you're familiar with our books (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/collections/all-books) and these authors, you will have a general idea of the type and quality of work we seek to publish.

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From the Blog

Short Story Collection Acquisition: The Grand Tour

February 14, 2018

Apex is happy announce the acquisition of The Grand Tour by E. Catherine Tobler. The Grand Tour is a collection...

Read more →