The Bringer of War cover reveal

by Jennifer 8. September 2014 10:02

The Bringer of War, Book 2 of the Sheynan Trilogy by Dylan Birtolo
To be released on September 29, 2014

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Dystopias, the Apocalypse, and World Annihilation

by Jennifer 1. September 2014 21:26

By looking in the news, it’s easy to understand how some people might think current events could bring life as we know it to the brink of the end of times. Police and citizens face off in the streets of small towns. A volcano in Iceland shows signs of being ready to erupt. Scientific breakthroughs put humanity on the fast track to discovering the secrets of the universe. Other events such as severe droughts or extreme rainfall scream climatic changes. It’s no wonder people look to the future of our world and wonder if we'll survive.


But this kind of outlook isn’t new. Throughout history people have thought the world was going to end. Things like comets, eclipses and other natural disasters were thought to be signs of an impending apocalypse. Plagues have decimated the human population. Even in the 50s people nervously watched their TVs for news about the Cold War and nuclear weapons.

Even though these scenarios are frightening, they can be inspiring as well. Over the years, authors have turned the fear and destruction of the end of the world and spun it into tales of hope for the human race.

Stories such as dystopias, the apocalypse and world  annihilation have  fascinated writers and readers for ages.  When things become troubling, it takes human strength and spirit to go on when everything you’ve ever known crumbles to the ground.

Dystopias are generally stories where some portion of everyday  life is controlled by the government or societal entity.  Authors such as Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins reveal worlds that have shattered and have been held together by a forceful government. When the characters face odds that most people can’t overcome, they find assistance from those who feel the same and begin to change the world.

Apocalyptic stories are often those that  start with--or right before--an action that changes the world. Disease, a nuclear event, or natural disaster are often common catalysts for the state of the world.  Writers such as Cormac McCarthy and Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore throw characters in to survival situations like we’ve never dreamed of.

But what happens when  humans go too far?  World annihilation is a common theme for many science fiction stories. Because  of uncontrollable factors, the Earth, our home, is destroyed. Where does humanity go? Does humanity survive?  Well, authors answer that question in many ways. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and  Ray Bradbury deal with a dead Earth in their stories.

Even though the world as we know it, could end, these authors show us that humanity, no matter how flawed will go on in some form.  It’s heartening to realize that people will continue fighting and living even through a disaster.  Perhaps there is hope for us yet.

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Interview with Ivan Ewert about Famished: The Commons

by Jennifer 19. August 2014 08:39


Famished: The Commons
Gentlemen Ghouls #2
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1. Previously, you've written series for me. Now that you are writing novels, has it been difficult to shift it from an episodic format to a novel format?

It’s a mixed bag. I prefer the structured cadence of the serial format, with a specific deadline every month. But that leaves little time for review of the work by independent alpha or beta readers, which sharpens the quality of the work I’ve done in novel format.

Peter Ball talked in his interview for Exile about some of the specific difficulties in the serial format around outlining and planning. While it’s true that there are restrictions there, sometimes those restrictions can result in wonderful things you never thought of. It’s similar to structured poetry vs. blank verse.

For example, I actually “killed” Gordon at the end of Year One, and only then learned the editor wanted me to continue the story another year. Without that wrinkle, Orobias would never have been created. He and his agenda have become so central to the story since then, it’s hard to imagine the books without him!

Overall, I’ve converted to the novel format. I wouldn’t mind going back to serials, but I’d use the skills I’ve learned in the past two years to approach it differently this time around.


2. Famished: The Farm and Famished: The Commons are set in middle America and on the East coast. Have you ever been there? Are parts of the story set in real world locations?

Nearly all the locations are real! Though I can’t speak to the activities of the people who actually live and work in those buildings. Every location Gordon visits exists – from St. Raymond’s Catholic Church outside Sun Prairie to Pete’s Hot Dogs in Greenville to the Attitash ski resort. A large part of the concept of the Gentleman Ghouls series is how closely tied to the real America their world is.

I’ve lived my entire life in the American Midwest, mostly northern Illinois along the border with Wisconsin. The landscape fuels a lot of my ideas and creativity, and Madison, Wisconsin (where Famished: The Farm begins) is one of my favorite places in the world. From there I use a lifetime of walking through forest preserves and woodlands in the upper Midwest to spin the rest of the Farm’s story.

There’s a special note of horror in parts of the Midwest. We have the wide open spaces of the West, but less of the self-reliance that could save an isolated individual. When you look across a prairie, realizing there is nowhere to hide from anything that pursues you, it’s a disturbing sensation...

As a child we often vacationed in Vermont and Maine. While I haven’t been back to New England in decades, the impressions of those resorts inform many scenes in The Commons.

With all of that said, Google Earth is a godsend! It’s not the same as being there, of course; but it does provide more of those wonderful restrictions I mentioned above. Putting Carol’s house on a specific cul-de-sac in Greenville, South Carolina allowed me to inform the attack of the Ghouls in a more realistic manner than just dreaming up a subdivision.


3. Will you explain who "the Boeren" is?

The Gentleman Ghouls place a lot of importance on bloodlines and families. Gordon Velander’s great-grandfather, Han Boeren, left the Farm in the prologue to that novel and remained free under the assumed surname of Velander until his death. His son, Hank, and grandson, Thomas, had no idea of their relation to the Gentleman Ghouls – or even of their existence.

When Sylvie finds Gordon and recognizes his bloodline, she immediately looks for other male relatives. Finding none, Gordon simply becomes known as “The Boeren” in her communication with the Ghouls, and the title sticks.


4. Do you have any other stories set in the same fictional world as the Gentlemen Ghouls universe?

I write flash fiction and small scenes when I need to fill out a character’s background, or see how they’d respond to different scenarios. Some of the character studies I draw up result in full-fledged short stories – Linh’s final estrangement from her father, Jacob’s encounter with his grandfather in the Commons cellar. Some are horror, some are more slice of life.

Understand that I wouldn’t share them in their current rough form. They’re more like exercises to give me a better feel for the character, though I’ve considered running Goodreads contests with these sketches as potential prizes for fans.


5. What are you working on now?

My number one priority is outlining and starting work on Famished: The Ranch, the final book in the Gentleman Ghouls series. I have a cycle of short fantasy stories and a young adult urban fantasy simmering on my back burners, but I don’t plan to do any more serious work until The Ranch is with beta readers.

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FAMISHED: THE COMMONS has been released!

by Jennifer 11. August 2014 09:22


Famished: The Commons
Gentlemen Ghouls #2
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FAMISHED: THE COMMONS, Gentlemen Ghouls 2

by Jennifer 4. August 2014 10:20

FAMISHED: THE COMMONS by Ivan Ewert
To be released on 11 August 2014

You might have noticed the new cover style. Here's Famished: The Farm's new cover.

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Exploring new worlds in Urban Fantasy

by Jennifer 28. July 2014 08:56

Urban fantasy (UF) is a subgenre that often deals with modern settings and adds magic, monsters and mayhem to produce a great story.  While many stories simply use the area as a back drop, UF utilizes the city or town itself in a very personal way. Often the city is seen as a character in itself adding flavor and character to the story line. There are many UF stories out on the market, but not all of them successfully pull the city into the storyline well.

 

Not everyone has the advantage of being able to live in or visit different areas of the world. UF stories give readers the opportunity to visit places they might not get to experience. Many of the more popular UF books are set in areas of the United States. Chicago and New York are very popular settings. But not all UF stories are set in the US.

 

Authors such as Marie Brennan and Barbara Hambly set their stories in Europe. Underworld is set in Budapest. Other UF settings include Moscow and Dublin.  These stories pull in the setting giving the stories not only a scene but shapes how the story flows.

 

This month AIP has released a new UF series from Peter M. Balll titled Flotsam. The first book titled Exile, introduces us to Keith Murphy. On the outside he seems like a drifter, and he is, but he’s also something else. He’s part of a team that helps clean up the really scary things that most people have no idea about. He’s good at it, but something went wrong on his last job.

 

Exile is set on the Gold Coast in Australia. It’s a unique setting for a unique story. Like many other UF series, the Gold Coast is kind of like a double sided coin. Peter drops you into the shadowy side of the city first, where things go on that most wouldn’t care to know. It isn’t until later than he shows you the light side, where normals go about their business. Peter does a great job in explaining how the real Gold Coast city helped shape the story in his blog.

 

So if you are in the mood for a bit of adventure but can’t spare the time or money for a big trip, check out some of the Urban Fantasy titles we have here on AIP.  You will not only get a great reading experience but can get a taste of the world without worrying about your luggage.


~The Shadow Minion

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Interview with Peter M. Ball

by Jennifer 21. July 2014 10:37

1. The Flotsam series is based on previously published webseries. Has it been difficult to shift it from an episodic format to a novella format?

I’m going to be honest: I hated writing the first version of Flotsam.

Partially this is because my approach to writing isn’t particularly suited to writing serialized stories. I tend to start with a very light world and character sketch, then fill in the details as the story goes on. Often this means I’ll learn something important very late in the drafting process that either changes the story, or requires a lot of foreshadowing in order to make things work.

You can do that when you’re drafting a story or a novella – it’s a simple matter to go back and change the things that contradicts what you’ve just written, or drop hints that this revelation is coming. But in a serial, where you’re churning out a story a month? You have to commit to things early. You have to stay true to what’s already been printed. And if you come up with a better idea, well, you’re out of luck.

In addition to being ill-suited to the form, the year I spent writing the series version Flotsam was pretty trying in other ways. It started with my dad having a heart attack, involved me having three different jobs in a twelve-month period, and I spent a lot of the second half of the year in-transit as I travelled for work.

All of this was pretty big change for me. I’d never worked a job where I went to an office and I’d certainly never been required to travel. I didn’t cope well with the way it all impacted on my schedule and the Flostam series suffered for it. I was happy with what I achieved in the series, but it never really felt like I’d succeeded in telling the story I wanted to tell.

On the other hand, I love novellas; there’s something about the length that suits the way I write, and I’ve got a better feel for the pacing of the story. It also tells a story in a very different way, compared to the serial, so it’s less like rewriting the serial and more like telling a new story with the same source material. In my head, their basically two different continuities, similar to the approach Marvel takes with its comics and its films.

My only disappointment has been my inability to figure out how to fit Keith Murphy, Supernatural Pro-Wrestler, into the novella continuity.

 

2. Exile is set on the Gold Coast of Australia. Have you ever been there? Are parts of the story set in real world locations?

I grew up on the Gold Coast, and my parents still live there (despite my best efforts to convince them they should leave). It’s a deeply weird city, in a lot of respects, and it’s definitely one of those places where the differences between people’s experiences run very deep.

You’d probably find a lot of people who’d make the tongue-in-cheek argument that nothing on the Gold Coast is real. It’s a city built around tourism - beaches, theme-parks, bars, and shopping – and it’s very, very good at faking things and creating replicas of other places.

But everything in Flotsam is based on a real place. Keith’s safe-house is based on a place a friend of mine lived in high school, where we used to play D&D until about six in the morning then hike down the hill to the beach. Langford’s house is where another friend of mine grew up, or at least my hazy memory of the place some twenty years later. Jupiter’s Casino and the Hard Rock Surfers Paradise are open to visitors all year around, although I’m pretty sure I’ve taken some liberties with both their layout and insinuation that there are demons working there.

 

3. Will you explain what the Gloom is?

There will be some pretty broad hints in the next novella, Frost, but I’m not sure there will be a really detailed explanation in the series. Mostly this is Keith’s fault: the world gets filtered through his point of view, and he doesn’t really want to know what the Gloom is. He’s content knowing that it’s the place where demons and other creatures come from, and he should probably start shooting anything that calls the Gloom home.

 

4. Do you have any other stories set in the same fictional world?

Just the one: Tithes, which appears in the Coins of Chaos anthology, takes place in the same continuity as the Flotsam webseries (you can tell, ‘cause it only features Randal, as opposed to Randal and Wesna, as Sabbath’s representatives).

 

5. What are you working on now?

I’ve got a pretty ambitious run of projects on my plate this year – you can see the full list over on my website – but right now I’m doing some rewrites on the second Flotsam novella, Frost, and preparing to take a run a romance novella titled Hot For Teacher as a change of pace from Keith and his tendency to think about pragmatic solutions.


Exile
The Flotsam series #1
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Exile, Flotsam 1, is Live!

by Jennifer 14. July 2014 09:44


Exile
The Flotsam series #1
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EXILE, Flotsam 1 by Peter M. Ball

by Jennifer 7. July 2014 12:38

EXILE, Flotsam 1 by Peter M. Ball
To be released on 14 July 2014!

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AIP acquires CROSS CUTTING from Wendy Hammer

by Jennifer 30. June 2014 09:46

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Apocalypse Ink Productions is proud to announce they have acquired CROSS CUTTING, the novella trilogy (THE THIN, THE HOLLOW, THE MARROW) from Wendy Hammer. This dark urban fantasy is set in contemporary Indiana.

ABOUT CROSS CUTTING'S MAIN CHARACTER:
Trinidad O’Laughlin is a Walker. She has the power to magically bond with a place and call to it for aid, but without a territory to call her own—she’s adrift. Trinidad grew up on the shores of her namesake island and in Ireland, but it’s cities that call to her. Trinidad travels to Indiana in search of a home and the possibility for romance with Achilles Vetrov, a clairvoyant bass player she knew years ago.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Wendy Hammer grew up in Wisconsin. She has English degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ball State University. She now teaches literature and composition at a community college. Her stories can be found in Pantheon Magazine’s anthology Gaia: Shadows and Breath, on Liquid Imagination, and in Plasma Frequency. Another will appear in the forthcoming anthology: Suspended in Dusk (Books of the Dead Press). Wendy lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband.

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