The Torn Soul cover reveal

by Jennifer 28. April 2015 15:11

The Torn Soul, Book 3 of the Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo.
To be released on May 15, 2015.

Time is running out for Darien.

It has been nearly a year since the battle in Texas, where Darien learned of the curse that accompanies his powers as Sheynan. He is afraid to leave the safe haven of Susan’s family cabin in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, despite Richard’s growing impatience.

When the Arm of Gaia and the Shadows catch up to them, Darien is unprepared for the consequences, and only the intervention of a secretive government agency saves their lives. Who and what is this agency? How do they know so much about Shifters? Is their offer of help really what it appears to be? Or, is it something more nefarious?

As new players and new dangers enter the scene, Darien must confront his past, and convince the Arm and the Shadows to work together against a new enemy—before his mind is lost to the Sheynan’s curse.

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Author Etiquette: Death Threats are NOT OKAY

by Jennifer 22. April 2015 09:36

Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on Author Etiquette a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

And ugly it has gotten in the past month. We won’t go into details and just assume you were all online and at least heard some about it. A lot of people were angry for one reason or another. Some places had some very good discussions about the subject in question. Other places, not so much.

 

As I’ve said before, writers are often very passionate people. We make our living by tapping into emotions and scenes and stories and try to allow other people into the worlds we create. We have high expectations of our work and sometimes feel very vulnerable when it goes out into the wild. And so when the unexpected happens, it’s easy to let our passion for not only our work but the work of our friends and family, get out of hand.

 

Most of the comments I read about the situation were from shocked authors and fans. They expressed hurt and confusion that later led to anger. All of these are very understandable emotions. I suspect that our characters would feel the same way in the same situation.

 

But some people went too far. There were threats made to some of the people involved. This folks is NEVER, EVER okay.

 

The real world isn’t like our books. In fiction, people can threaten others with harm and the only people who pay consequences are the very fictional characters. But the real world isn’t fiction. Threats can’t simply be blown off by those who receive them.  There can be serious consequences to both sides.

 

Fear isn’t an easy emotion to deal with and a constant fear can lead to some serious health and mental issues. Post traumatic stress can cause later complications for those who have been threatened in person and even online. In some cases people have left their homes, moved to different cities and tried to start another life. Some people can leave it all behind, but in some cases, it takes years to get over the damage.

While some people  think that online threats are some sort of game, nothing could be further from the truth. All threats should be taken seriously no matter what the context. A report to the police should be filed, even if it is anonymous. This way, if things escalate there’s a record. And as laws against these sorts of things develop and improve, arrests could be possible even across state lines.

Neither side wins in situations like these.  Anger is a very real and powerful emotion. It can be difficult to control, but threatening others doesn’t accomplish what you want it to. In some cases, it just makes things worse.

Remember, everyone has opinions and is entitled to those thoughts. You don’t have to agree. Think of better ways of handling the situation. Work towards a solution, not more problems.

~The Shadow Minion

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Apocalypse Ink Productions 3rd Year Anniversary

by Jennifer 6. April 2015 10:49

This month, Apocalypse Ink Productions celebrates our 3rd anniversary. We started this independent publishing company with a plan to produce excellent dark fiction and non-fiction books that assist writers in their venture towards publication.


Of course, not everything went exactly as planned; there’ve been some hiccups and heartaches. Through it all, we’ve always found a way to not only move forward but learn from the experience.

 

We’ve met some really great authors in the past few years and made friends from all over the world. You have our sincere thanks. Without you we’d not be here.


AIP would also like to give our authors a big shout out. Some of you have been with us for most of the ride. Others are newly acquired. Our biggest desire is to see you succeed so we will work hard to make that happen.

To our fans, thank you so much for supporting us.


To those who have just happened across our site, let me introduce you to the crew.

 

Ivan Ewert is the author of the Gentleman Ghouls series. The first two books, Famished: The Farm and Famished: The Commons are currently out with Ivan working on the third book of the series, Famished: The Ranch currently in production.

 

The Sheynan trilogy, by Dylan Birtolo, takes you into the world of shapeshifters with the first two books, The Shadow Chaser and The Bringer of War. The third book, The Torn Soul will be out next month.

 

If you’d like dark fantasy Peter M Ball’s trilogy, The Flotsam, is right up your alley. The first two books, Exile and Frost take you to The Gold Coast in Australia. Crusade, released later this year, concludes this series.

 

Jennifer Brozek concluded her Karen Wilson Chronicles last month. Follow Karen Wilson as she discovers a hidden world in the very city she lives in. We’d also like to congratulate her on her Hugo award nomination for Best Editor, Short Form. We couldn’t be more happy for her.

 

Look for a new series by Wendy Hammer. The Thin, the first book in The Cross Cutting trilogy comes out in August.

 

But AIP also has non-fiction as well.

 

If you are considering writing for RPGs or editing an anthology, Industry Talk, would be great to check out.

 

Last but not least is Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. This book takes the reader through posts written by Jay Lake throughout his years of writing. It’s an excellent glimpse at the growth and process of writing.

 

Again, we thank you for reading and we look forward to bringing you more books in the upcoming years.

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Publishing Hiccups--Physical Copies of Chimera Incarnate Are Available

by Jennifer 29. March 2015 11:41

Sometimes, no matter what you do, some things get mixed up. You can double check that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted but some things just slip up. Publishing is no different. Chimera Incarnate was released earlier this month in digital and physical copies. Usually the physical copies are available on the same day as the digital release but we’ve hit a little snafu.

 

The copies that are available on Amazon and B&N through Lightning Source are delayed because of a few hiccups. We are sure they will be ironed out soon.

In the mean time, if you would like a copy to complete your Karen Wilson Chronicles collection, please order it from the Apocalypse Ink Productions website or catch Jennifer at  Norwescon later this week.

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Author Etiquette: Grace

by Jennifer 24. March 2015 10:01

Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on Author Etiquette last month and it was a great success. AIP loves authors, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

Last month we spoke about Patience. It’s a very important skill to learn. But there are other elements of being an author that are important to remember.

 

Because very little in publishing moves quickly, it’s easy to lose patience and become frustrated. Other authors--whom you think are less deserving than you--might get chances on projects you’d love to be part of. At times we feel overlooked and undervalued not only in our own lives but in the writing world as well.

 

So when an opportunity arrives where we feel we can contribute, it’s very easy to jump in with our opinions. But this isn’t always the best option.

 

Authors are passionate people who know how to use words, but when it comes to being emotionally involved that skill seems to disappear. Many authors have jumped into a matter loudly proclaiming an opinion only to be embarrassed and frustrated that their side wasn’t taken seriously. Other times an author or publisher has the best intention but doesn’t take the time to carefully craft the correct words. This can often lead to misinterpreted intentions, phrases taken out of context and things spiraling quickly out of control.

 

It’s okay to be passionate about something.Everyone has things they are passionate about. There’s a lot in the world that needs passionate people so that changes can happen.  However, there are always going to be others who will not support change because of personal views, experience or stubbornness. Often they are just as passionate at resisting change as those trying to make the change.

 

For instance:

 

Writer A passionately believes that there are not enough dragon stories being published. He’s an avid reader and has seen the decline in dragon stories over the years. He believes that all publications should change their submission guidelines and state that a dragon must somehow be included in the story. Bob then begins a campaign on his blog and other social media outlets for this cause.

 

Editor M believes differently. She’s tired of dragon stories--they were the rage three years ago--and sees that purple elephant stories are making a strong showing in her submission queue. She doesn’t pay much attention to Writer A’s campaign at first until Writer A mentions that Editor M has not changed the guidelines for her publication.

 

Thinking that Writer A’s proposed policy change is ridiculous, she responds publically. Before long there’s an online battle between two factions. There are hurt feelings on both sides that leads to more and more anger and very little discussion about the real problem.

 

It can be difficult to deal with passionate people but sometimes a little grace can help. From the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, Grace is described as:

the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

 

In a situation with passionate people it’s often a good idea to first find out why they are so passionate about that idea. While it might seem silly to you, perhaps they do have a very good underlying reason for their thoughts. You don’t have to agree but allowing the other side to state their point might make it easier for you to argue yours. If you acknowledge that the opposing side has a point, it might leave them open to think about yours. In discussion, think things out slowly and clearly. Attacking the person (verbally or otherwise) or the idea itself is never a good idea and can often make the situation worse. State your side of the idea and why you feel that way and point to concrete evidence that supports your side. And it really is okay to step back and say “Hey, I’m going to collect my thoughts on this. I’ll be back with you in a little bit.”

 

Many times no one is going to change their minds. We are human, we want to be “right” and it’s very difficult for many people to change their minds especially if they are emotionally close to a subject. But by being respectful and considerate, you might just be able to walk away from an argument without virtual bloodshed.

 

If you’d like to see an example of Grace in action, look here. I can’t think of a better way to handle such a situation.


~The Shadow Minion


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CHIMERA INCARNATE has been released!

by Jennifer 16. March 2015 08:48

Chimera Incarnate
Karen Wilson Chronicles #4
This is the final book in the series.
More InformationBuy Now.
Amazon | B&N | DriveThruFiction


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My 1 Year Minion Anniversary

by Jennifer 4. March 2015 21:12

Sometimes there are moments you can  point to in your career or life that definitely changes the path you wander on. I’ve been working on the back end of some small press organizations doing slush work, some promotions and beta reading. At the end of 2013 had decided to really push my writing and get submissions out and work hard on my short stories. But then I was approached by Jennifer to work as her personal assistant and help promote Apocalypse Ink Productions.


Being a minion wasn’t anything new to me. I’ve been behind the lines in publishing for a little while, but this was a bit different than what I had had been doing. I’d be responsible for roundups, blog posts and updating various platforms. I’d be helping authors promote their work and answering questions to problems. I’d have a much more visible role in publishing.


I jumped at the chance and I’m so very glad I did.


Publishing--no matter if it’s a large or small company--takes a lot of personnel to get everything done. It is possible for one person to start a publication and hold down the fort without assistance but at some point, he/she’s going to have to have help. As the slush pile grows, the editing challenges get harder and the distribution becomes more diverse, having people designated to do certain job takes a lot of stress off of the owner/publisher. Without help burn out is not only a possibility but a certainty.


Many independent publishers rely a lot on volunteers and this is a great place for newer writers to learn a lot about the publishing industry. There’s always an open call for slush readers somewhere and most people can find a publication to read for in a short amount of time. Slush reading really does help a writer learn to identify what works in a story and what doesn’t. It’s often one of the factors that begins the change of an okay writer to a good writer.


But volunteers also learn other things too. Sometimes they get to work with authors by editing stories or checking for errors before publication. They also might get to help out with promotions by sharing posts or signal boosting.


Working for AIP and Jennifer has allowed me to do this and much more. I’ve helped organize a Q&A for blogs for the authors of a box set. After finding a list of about 500 reviewers I’ve finally pared it down to those who are still active, and found and added several who weren’t on it. I’ve written press releases, contacted reviewers and set up interviews along with checking stories for errors prior to publication and much more.


And in the next year I’m sure there will be more minion challenges. I’m learning all I can, not only because I think it’s important for authors to at least have an idea of how publishing works but perhaps one day I’ll start a publishing imprint of my own (not in the near future I assure you!) There is still so much more to learn and I’m happy to figure out the puzzles that are handed my way.


So if you ever get a chance to become a minion--volunteer or paid position--jump at it. You are going to learn a lot about publishing and writing. It’s hard work but it’s so worth it.


The Shadow Minion

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Author Etiquette: Patience

by Jennifer 17. February 2015 10:00

Apocalypse Ink Production is starting a new feature on our blog this month on Author Etiquette. AIP loves authors, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

Patience is always a great quality to have especially if you are a writer. If you don’t already know, very few things in publishing move quickly. While it might not take long to write some short stories, once you submit, its a waiting game. You have to wait for deadlines then responses from editors. Sometimes this takes a while. It’s easy to lose patience when you are eager to hear a response.

 

For example:

Writer X sends off a short story to Publisher 1. Writer X sends the story at the beginning of the reading period so he knows he’s going to have to wait. Publisher 1’s first readers work through the slush pile sending up stories that they think are publishable.


As the deadline approaches Writer X begins to get excited as he should hear back first since he  submitted early in the reading period. The deadline passes and so does the projected response date. Writer X has heard nothing.


Writer X emails Pubisher 1 and demands an answer on the submission but before Publisher 1 can respond, Writer X pulls the story.


This is an unfortunate situation for both the writer and the publisher. It isn’t exactly a common occurrence but it happens more often than you think.

 

While many publications run like a well oiled machine, sometimes there’s a glitch. Editors get sick or have real life issues or they receive more submissions than expected. Technical difficulties can cause a loss of submissions. Weather related issues can cause loss of electricity or the ability to access the internet. These problems and many more can cause a publication to get behind. Publishers often update the blogs or submission pages if such things happen but sometimes authors are left wondering what happened to their stories.

 

In cases like these, a query letter is the best response. A query letter is a polite request by an author on the status of a story. It often contains the title of the story, the date sent and a brief statement by the author. This is often sent after the response time has passed. Most publications post response times on their submissions page but it’s not always accurate. Sometimes an author must resort to Duotrope or the Submission Grinder for more details on response times.

 

The query letter notifies the publisher that the author would like a quick update on the status of the story. Publishers usually respond to queries quickly with a brief message on where the story is in the publication queue but sometimes no response is ever received. While queries are often more for the writer they can notify the publisher of problems. At times the query alerts the publisher that either the story has gotten lost, was never received or other problems. In these last cases, publishers usually try to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.

 

In the above situation, Writer X was not patient enough to allow the publisher time to respond. He did not wait to find out if his story was being held for consideration by the publisher--possibly for a special project or other edition. The editor could have had his hand hovering over the send button on a response when Writer X pulled the submission. We don’t know. Instead Writer X demanded a response and pulled the story before anyone had time to respond.

 

It’s difficult to wait, I’m very well aware of the fact. Some publications have an extremely long wait period and many go over the expected response time. But by being patient, you cultivate the air of being open to the publisher’s requests. It makes the editor more secure in their decision to take a chance on a story that could need some major edits. It improves your chance of your story being picked.

 

So next time you look at your spreadsheet or submission tracker and find a story that’s been held overly long, take the time to write a polite query letter to the publication. They will respond as soon as they are able. And in the mean time, don’t fret, write another story.

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CHIMERA INCARNATE Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 9. February 2015 09:11

CHIMERA INCARNATE, the fourth and final book of the Karen Wilson Chronicles
by Jennifer Brozek
To be released on March 16, 2015
Available for Kindle pre-order now.

“The Veil is breaking. The Nightmares are coming through.”

The supernatural forces of Kendrick may have defeated the Children of Anu, but every war leaves destruction in its wake. And fixing the collateral damage is never easy.

The fourth and final volume of the Karen Wilson Chronicles tells the story of what happens when all the chips are down, places of power have been consumed, and one of Karen’s greatest allies teeters on the edge of oblivion. The Grey Lady and her people are fading. Only their pact with the Makah people, and the land of Kendrick itself, is holding their ancient foes at bay.

Karen and her allies must find a way to save one of their own before the Veil falls and the world as they know it is destroyed.

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It's All Connected

by Jennifer 20. January 2015 09:49

For a very long time, I, like many young readers, didn’t know or understand much about publishing. I went to bookstores, picked up books that I thought I’d like to read or borrowed books from the library. I didn’t know much about different publishing houses or even the difference between traditional publishing and indie publishing. It wasn’t until I began writing and submitting stories that the difference became clear. I also realized how connected everything really was, especially in the speculative fiction side of publication.

 

From the outside, publishing seems to be a wild and crazy industry, and it can be. At first glance there’s a mad rush of stories to fit into select spots in anthologies, publishing houses and magazines. There’s tears on occasion, sometimes anger and shoulders to cry on along with virtual high fives, congratulations and cheers. It can be a scary place at times, especially for a new writers. But with some time and some mentoring things begin to make sense.

 

There’s many different types of publications in the world of speculative fiction. If you start at the top, there’s the traditional publishers--the ones that most people are familiar with on bookshelves. These brick and mortar companies have stables of authors, warehouses of books and thousands of customers. They often carry books with familiar themes or characters.

 

Indie or independent publishers are often thought of having a smaller fan base and books that are a bit more difficult to find but that isn’t always the case. Some indie publishers have a wide distribution list that includes bookstores. Even though they might not be as well knows as the big 5 publishers, many indie publishers have a very strong and loyal fan base. They are often more willing than the larger publishing houses to take a chance on a new sub-genre or a unique piece of literature. Many indie publications have found a niche and cater to a particular corner of the market.

 

And while most people think of publishing as books, we should not dismiss the importance of magazines. In speculative fiction, there are many popular magazines both in print and online. While few only print publications have survived through the years, online magazines--often referred to as ezines--have grown in popularity. Some have subscriptions but many are free. They offer a wide variety of stories that are often thought provoking and well as entertaining.

Even though speculative fiction seems to be segmented into the big publishers, indie publishers and magazines, it’s really very connected. What happens on one segment often has implications in other portions. For example, an upsurge in a particular type of story often begins in the magazines and indie publishing houses. Once it catches on, the large publishing houses are more willing to take a chance on something new. Other changes, such as contract negotiations often start in the larger publishing companies (though not always).

Authors and editors often wear several different hats according to what publication they are working for at the time. Authors often have short stories in magazines, while writing novels for larger publications. Editors often work for a variety of employers including indie houses and guests in ezines. New writers often get to know the business by volunteering for positions such as slush readers, public relation positions and internships. As writers gain experience, they often lend a hand up to newer writers, offering the same types of advice they received when they started out.

So while yes, speculative fiction publishing might seem complicated it’s mostly because of how connected everything is. Once you dive in, it’s much less scary.

~The Shadow Minion

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