Inspiration

by Jennifer 4. May 2014 21:51

When interviewing a writer--or an artist of any type--one very common question always seems to pop up. “Where do you get your ideas?” I’ve rarely ever heard an interview without it and the answers are as varied as the people who are interviewed. I like simple answers best. “Everywhere” is always a good choice.

For many artists, inspiration is all around us. It can’t be determined by math or science--although those things can certainly add to the pot of ideas. For some, music is a common source, so are photos and landscapes. Other times, it’s a person walking down the street or a phrase in a newspaper. But it isn’t just a single thing that causes someone to create. What often happens is the artist picks up bits and pieces of things and with one event, several ideas come crashing  together, leaving you staring into nothingness for a few moments as you sort out what is going on.

Inspiration is a driving force for an artist and it often produces highs and lows. I’ve heard writers say the muse won’t leave them alone and even wakes them up at night.  While other days they despair because  it seems as though they’ve been abandoned. Inspiration can be fickle while teasing you with just enough of an idea to begin to put it on paper before everything fizzles out. It can also drive you to writing until your wrists are sore because you are so close to the end. In many cases most artists report depression on days the muse isn’t present and a high on days they are filled with ideas.

Some people have so many ideas it makes others jealous. But if you look closer, those successful artists have learned to harness their creativity so that it comes in a more steady stream. They tickle the muse back and ply her with what she craves: more experiences to feed upon and tidbits of things she’s never seen/felt/heard before. The muse can’t help but cooperate as her little mind is full to the brim with possibilities. That slips over to the artist as he or she continues with a smile.

So if you are an artist of any sort don’t starve your muse. Take her to a museum, a walk in the park or a concert. You never know what might tickle her fancy and lead to your next big idea.

~The Shadow Minion

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Interview with Ivan Ewert

by Jennifer 8. April 2014 09:36

Ivan Ewert is the author of Famished: The Farm. Its sequel, Famished: The Commons, is going through the editorial process right now.

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What drew you to Speculative Fiction?

Ha, I just did a blog post about this! My father was a huge speculative fiction fan. His library was the thing I coveted most in my young life. When I started reading, I was actually more interested in legends like King Arthur, Robin Hood, and such – things that Disney probably turned me onto initially – but the trappings of fantasy were there.

Therefore, as I was reading, dad would suggest things I might enjoy. In third grade, I think, there was a confluence – my mother was teaching (voluntary) art classes to grade school kids, and she brought in the Brothers Hildebrandt, where I learned about The Hobbit. That was it. Done. Fantasy all the way.

Lovecraft was my introduction into horror, straight out of dad's library. He also had a lot of originals from Van Vogt, Asimov, and such, but he preferred hard science fiction, which I just don't find interesting. When I found social science fiction, I got more into it.


Was there a reason you started writing?


I drove my mother nuts with "Let's pretend" as soon as I was old enough to communicate. She humored me, though there was the occasional "Let's pretend you're Ivan, a human boy, and I'm his mother, okay?" I loved make-believe so much more than reality. (Let us leave that in past tense for the moment …)

So again, in grade school, I sat down and wrote a play at some point for my friends at school. I remember a cuckoo clock, living toys, and a lost girl. Not much else. Everyone loved it, though, and I was hooked on both the creative aspect and the attention it garnered.

Role-playing games distracted me for a long time, and didn't write much in high school – I was making stories but not having to work at writing them down. After college, I took it more seriously.


Where do you get your ideas?

Do you know I think you're the first one to ask? Ideas have always come to me most easily when moving through the darkness – driving before dawn, flying through the night. Moving silently, alert for danger, other travelers, and story fragments.


What's your current writing process? Outliner/Pantser, when, do you play music? pen/paper or keyboard/ink? any rituals? Etc.

AIP turned me into an outliner. Once I have the outline done, I carve time in my daily calendar, aiming for a minimum of one hour (usually my lunch hour at work).

When that time hits, I turn off my email notifications, my telephone, and any instant message programs. I work in Microsoft Word, though I just bought a new laptop and plan to give Scrivener a whirl. I don't like writing by hand as much. That distracts me.

Music is key. KEY. For horror and science fiction work, I'll usually go to bandcamp.com and search tags for ambient, downtempo electronica, or doomjazz. Fantasy is either Azam Ali Radio on Pandora.com or Darkfolk Radio on Last.fm.

Then, I just write until the time I allotted is up.

I don't have any real rituals. I do give a short "thank you" every morning to whatever's given me all the good in my life, which includes an imagination and the ability to convey it.


How did you get started with AIP?

I met Jennifer Brozek online through Livejournal; I think it was a friend-of-a-friend thing. I had a lot more spare time at that stage in my life, and I posted little snippets of tales and writing exercises online. We became friends online, then met up at a convention and – to my mind, anyway – became friends in real life.

When she founded The Edge of Propinquity, she asked me to contribute; and I can't tell you how happy that made me. I really enjoyed the work, and the discipline it required. Not that I was perfect. At all. I did enjoy it, though; and I'm beyond flattered that AIP continues to believe in me and work with me. They are wonderful, wonderful people whom I love very much.
 

Talk some about the Gentleman Ghouls series.

The Lovecraft short story, "The Picture in the House," which scared me sleepless, inspired the main subject matter. I wanted to examine the way that closed, insular societies work. Cults and secret societies have always fascinated me, as has the American experience as a whole, which I hope will come across more clearly as we release the books.

I wrote the first book, FAMISHED: THE FARM, over the space of four years. FAMISHED: THE COMMONS took a little over one year. I've written quite a bit about the process of editing those.


What are you working on now?

I have a dear friend named William Dolan who paints tremendous Chicago street scenes (check him out at http://www.dolanart.com/). His motto is, "I never talk about my work. Talking about it makes me feel like I've done something about it, and as such, the work never really gets done."

I saw a lot of truth in that. Talking about the work dilutes it for me and makes it easy to pretend it's moving along faster than it is. I'm still focused on the Gentleman Ghouls series as well as some poetry and short stories, one of which I'm very excited about.


Best and worst advice you've received or heard about writing.

The worst advice is "write what you know." I hate that phrase with a passion; it lines shelves with copyists and endless memoirs of suburban alienation. I've said it before; write what you're excited to know more about.

The best advice … Steven Raichlen, one of my cooking idols, says, "Set concrete goals with realistic timetables." Creative work is still work, and if you just dream up this great big book you want to write "someday," well. Someday never comes.


Any last words?

Not last, I hope.

But I believe in you. I believe in everyone reading these words … you can do anything you want to. It might not be easy, it might not be fun; but it's possible. When you think nobody has any faith, think again. I want you all to succeed and live a life that you find worth living.

--

Read more about Ivan at his website.

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Last Day of the Holiday Sale

by Jennifer 2. December 2013 10:26

Holiday Sale!
Apocalypse Ink Productions Store
All ebooks are $0.99 and all domestic shipping is free.


If you prefer Amazon:

FICTION
Caller Unknown, Karen Wilson Chronicles, Book 1, Jennifer Brozek
Children of Anu, Karen Wilson Chronicles, Book 2, Jennifer Brozek
Famished: The Farm, Gentlemen Ghouls, Book 1, Ivan Ewert

NON-FICTION
Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, Jay Lake
Industry Talk, Jennifer Brozek

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Update for 22 Aug 2013

by Jennifer 22. August 2013 10:31

Jay Lake's Process of Writing has been shifted out to September 15th due to dealing with Jay's schedule and final proofs. However, the book looks good!

Mena, the AIP kitty, has gone back into ear surgery on her other ear. We've already made arrangements to pay for this ear surgery but, the MENA code will still give you 30% off your order.

Finally, don't forget about the Goodreads Giveaway of Children of Anu, Book 2 of the Karen Wilson Chronicles.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Children of Anu by Jennifer Brozek

Children of Anu

by Jennifer Brozek

Giveaway ends August 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Jay Lake's Process of Writing Cover

by Jennifer 19. June 2013 10:41

Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, 2005-2010
Author: Jay Lake
Foreword: Ken Scholes
Afterword: J. A. Pitts
Editor: Jennifer Brozek
Editorial intern: Minerva Zimmerman
Cover image: Bob Brown

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Ivan Ewert on Writing Horror

by Jennifer 19. October 2012 20:08

Famished: The Farm author Ivan Ewert talks about writing horror on Booklife Now. It's a great article.


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It Has Begun

by Jennifer 16. May 2012 20:11

Industry Talk is out in the world as an e-book and the sales have started. It’s an exciting time for us at Apocalypse Ink Productions. We’ve already learned a few things along the way but nothing that hurt too much. Now, we are in the process of working with Lightening Source to get the soft copy of the book done. We project a release date of July 15, 2012 for the soft copy version.

In the meantime, you can find Industry Talk in these formats:


Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

Drive Thru Fiction (ePub, PDF)

 

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INDUSTRY TALK PRESS RELEASE MAY 2012

by Jennifer 10. May 2012 11:40

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INDUSTRY TALK PRESS RELEASE MAY 2012

Industry Talk; Your guide to breaking into games, editing anthologies and managing your career

Release Date: May 10, 2012.

“Want to write for games? Want to navigate the dark labyrinths and endless mazes of freelancing? Let Brozek be your guide.”
 – Chuck  Wendig, author of Blackbirds and 500 Ways to be a Better Writer


Apocalypse Ink Productions brings you INDUSTRY TALK, by award-winning editor and veteran freelancer Jennifer Brozek, a collection of her previously published columns Dice and Deadlines and The Making of an Anthology. This insider’s guide for freelance game writers and editors contains brand-new content addressing frequently asked questions like "How to pitch an anthology", and includes advice on managing a freelance career.


“If you’re going to make that leap, though, and come over to the freelance side to join us, don’t go blind. Do your research. Ask questions. Read this book.”
– Matt Forbeck, author of Amortals and Vegas Knights


Available: May 10th, 2012

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Industry-Talk-Insiders-Anthologies-ebook/dp/B0081WAGEE/

Drive Thru Fiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/101746/Industry-Talk%3A-An-Insider%27s-Look-at-Writing-RPGs-and-Editing-Anthologies

Nook and ePub forthcoming.

For more information, please contact: Apocalypse.ink.productions@gmail.com

 

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INDUSTRY TALK Cover

by Jennifer 3. May 2012 11:16

 

Industry Talk by Jennifer Brozek

Cover design by Ivan Ewert

Industry Talk is a collection of two previously published columns by Jennifer Brozek, Dice & Deadlines and The Making of an Anthology. The collection also contains brand-new content including step-by-step instructions on how to pitch an anthology and advice on managing a freelance career.

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