Apex Digest Needs (and Finds) Help

UPDATE: (2/13/07) Thanks to an amazing grassroots campaign, Apex Digest is alive and well. Read the Louisville Courier-Journal article about Jason Sizemore and the magazine’s success at this link.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

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Original Post: (9/20/07) Apex Digest, the critically acclaimed science fiction/horror magazine started by writer and editor Jason Sizemore in 2005, needs our help.

Jason’s story is much like mine, in some ways. We were both unemployed for four months last year, we’ve both had bad dealings with commercial printers (though in different ways), and we both have had a long standing dream of starting our own speculative fiction magazines. Of course, Jason did it, and I didn’t. The closest I came was editing the Fort Lewis College literary magazine, Images, in 1987.

The loss of Jason’s job last year put Apex Digest in jeopardy. The magazine was receiving good reviews and starting to break even, but when Jason lost his job, he could not afford pay the debt he had accrued in starting the magazine. The commercial printer for Apex Digest, which had been understanding about late payments, suddenly lowered the boom, and now the magazine needs 200 new subscribers to stay afloat.

Apex Digest is a quarterly; it puts out four issues per year. Some big names have appeared in its pages in only six issues: Tom Piccirilli, Ben Bova, Poppy Z. Brite, M.M. Buckner, and James P. Hogan, to name a few. Apex Digest is something of a rare breed; a professional, printed, perfect bound market for science fiction and horror stories. Sure, there are other digest-sized SF/F/H markets, but there’s room for more, and we need to encourage the quality of fiction that appears in Apex Digest, not allow it to fade away.

A one year subscription costs $20 (for U.S. buyers, $24 for Canadian buyers, and $34 for all other international subscriptions.) I wanted to subscribe last year, but my own unemployment precluded that. I’m employed now, and I don’t think $20 is too much to pay for a year of good writing delivered to my mailbox.

How about you?

Apex Digest Subscription Page

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Multiple Income Streams

Being unemployed has given me the opportunity to consider making a living freelancing. At the moment, I’m certainly not making a living doing it; in fact, I’m not even making enough for it to have an effect on my biweekly unemployment check. But it has opened my eyes to the possibility that I might be able to grow all of my skills into multiple income streams that can replace the income I was making before.

If I were to pursue being self-employed full time, my plan would be three-fold. I would offer on-site computer consulting, possibly in affiliation with Nerds On Site, with whom I have already been in contact. That would probably be my main income stream. In fact, I’m doing some of that today, and I have five other consulting jobs either on tap or which I’m already doing on the barter system.

My second income stream would be writing. My relationship with ComputorEdge has been excellent thus far, and I look forward to continuing that relationship. In addition, I would like to add more sales to my writing résumé, especially fiction sales. I have a great idea right now for a short story contest hosted by Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest. It’s an ambitious idea, and if I can pull it off, I think I will be able to find a home for it somewhere, if not within the pages of Apex Digest.

The third income stream would be music. My band, Steel River Three, currently doesn’t have any gigs lined up, but our recent gigs have been a step up from the coffeehouses we have been playing. We are considering approaching a different style of venue in hopes of continuing the trend of better pay for our playing. If we do that, I could also consider doing a solo acoustic act, or putting something together with Lannette, as she has suggested a few times. If SR3 moves out of the coffeehouse circuit, maybe Lannette and I could get our feet in the door at those places.

Making a living on my own schedule and from my own talents is an intriguing concept, and one that I would like to explore. The big thing stopping me is insecurity. How do I make sure my family is provided for? How do I make sure my multiple income streams combine into a stable flow of income? It’s scary, but it’s also appealing.

I think I need to talk with some more people about how they have been successful following similar paths. I know several people who make a living from their creative talents. Maybe I should call them up, have lunch with them, find out what hidden gems and pitfalls exist on this path.

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Rainy Sunset

I took this picture with my camera phone tonight while on a grocery store run.

Rainy Sunset
This is why I live near the Rockies. When mother nature contrives to create images like this, I remember to take a deep breath, enjoy the gift, and put everything in perspective.

Life has been rough at times over the last couple of years, with family illness, a divorce, very tight finances, and my job not going as well as I would have liked. But there are bright spots, and I think that is what Mother Nature is trying to tell me.

I’m getting married again in a few weeks, and in that marriage, I gain not only a loving, supportive, intellectual wife, but I gain a new son. I will never attempt to interfere with Logan’s relationship with his real father, but for those times when his Dad is not able to be there for him, I hope to be an able assistant.

Another bright spot of the last couple of years is my band, Steel River Three. We haven’t made much money, but we have managed to play several different venues and are starting to notice familiar faces at the shows. I’ve become much more comfortable playing and singing in front of people, and recently wrote my first song in over eight years.

The writing is taking off a bit, too. The articles for ComputorEdge are not only bringing in a bit of extra money, they have given me the confidence to submit more work to different markets. As I mentioned in the last entry, I submitted a piece to NPR, and yesterday I submitted a short-short story to the new science fiction/horror magazine Apex Digest. The response time for that market is listed as 20-30 days, so I hope to hear whether the story was accepted by mid July. I also have another story idea that might be right up that magazine’s alley, but I have to write it before I can submit it. 😉

Yes, there have been challenges in my life recently, many of them brought on by myself, but I need to remember that not all is dark and stormy. As people in the Pacific Northwest might say, the sun breaks are a reason for celebration.

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