10. March 2014 10:13
Over the past few years Urban Fantasy has grown from a scattering of stories to a popular subgenre on the shelves of bookstores. Combining familiar elements such as cities and a modern setting with classic monsters and gods might seem easy but creating a good urban fantasy is more difficult than you think.
First of all, most urban fantasy centers itself around a city or area that is just familiar enough to evoke a sense of comfort in the reader. For the author this takes a lot of research if they haven’t actually lived in the area. Not only are streets and buildings important but the atmosphere and general outlook of the population are taken into consideration. The city isn’t just a setting in a good urban fantasy, it’s a character in itself.
Characters come next on the list of important items. Generally an urban fantasy heroine or hero is a strong but complex character. Thier back story might be revealed in pieces throughout the series or laid out up front to complicate the story line. Many times they have powers, but not always so. Some of the best urban fantasy series have great secondary characters that not only help out the heroine or hero, but prove that even though they are powerful they are human also.
Another great characteristic of urban fantasy is the monsters and gods that are readapted to the story. Where werewolves were seen as bloodthirsty monsters in the past, in an urban fantasy they might be the downtrodden minority in the story. Ancient gods are given new roles in a modern world and sometimes seem confused about the changes while other gods seem to delight in the new accommodations.
While the main plot might be familiar--finding the stolen item/defeating the bad guy/rescuing those who have been kidnaped--some of the secondary plots are pretty complex. Urban fantasy often touches on discrimination, gender roles and other subjects that hit close to home and make a lot of people uncomfortable when said in normal context. By bringing these issues up in a fantasy setting, it allows people to think on the issues without being pressured.
I’ve seen quite a bit of diversity in urban fantasy over the past few years and I’m looking forward to more. I’ve enjoyed the more traditional noir private eye such as Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher. Patricia Briggs gives us a mechanic who can shape shift in the Mercy Thompson series. And our very own Jennifer Brozek introduces us to a city with a mind of its own in the Karen Wilson Chronicles. Each series offers us a different look at what the world could look like if there was a little magic around.
So if you are interested in writing urban fantasy, keep these things in mind. I hope it helps out.
~The Shadow Minion
12. February 2014 16:47
Apocalypse Ink Productions is pleased that we’ve had several queries for our 3 Linked Novellas. Some while interesting, weren’t quite what we were looking for. We do have a few hopeful submissions but we aren’t closing our doors yet. Our reading period closes on March 31, so there’s still time to get your query polished and sent to us.
So far, this has been an interesting and educational experience for us. As our first open call, we weren’t sure what to expect. It’s been eye-opening to say the least. But things are going well.
While it might not make a difference to some, most of our submissions have been from men. We want to make sure that women, POC, and LGBT writers know they are also welcome.
So, if you have a dark urban fantasy or horror set between 1950 and 2050, we’d love to see it. Right now we aren’t looking for far future or anything having to do with zombies.We might consider a YA if it leans more towards adult.
We look forward to seeing your queries.
~The Shadow Minion
10. February 2014 17:36
After answering a variety of questions, reviewing industry contracts, and looking at our finances, we are looking to update our payment terms as follows.
- Authors will receive a royalty of 15% of the cover price of all physical print editions sold.
- Authors will receive a royalty of 35% of the cover price of all electronic e-book editions sold.
- All royalties earned will apply towards the Author advance.
AIP is more than willing to negotiate contract terms with individual authors, as we believe in paying authors what they are worth.
30. January 2014 10:15
I don’t remember when I started reading horror. I think it was probably in the fifth or sixth grade (somewhere about age 12 I guess) when my voracious appetite for books left me little to read in our small elementary school library. Because I scored high in reading, I was allowed to pillage the high school for books. I enjoyed mysteries and I somehow ended up grabbing my first horror book.
I don’t remember the title, and of course it was probably very mild on the horror scale, but I liked the thrill the book gave me. From there, I slowly picked off the horror section at school and at the local library. I became a horror junkie really quickly once I started. When we stopped at the used book store I’d load up with anything that happened to have vampires, werewolves or a mention of serial killers on the cover. Most of my family rolled their eyes and looked the other way as I devoured bloodbaths in word form. Even some of my teachers suggested that some of what I was reading wasn’t suited for a young lady my age.* But I was happily addicted and I still am today.
But the question remains: why do we like to read about monsters and people who do terrible things to their fellow humans?
For the most part, our lives are pretty boring. We get up in the mornings, go to work, do our job, come home, cook, eat supper, watch some TV then go to bed. Kids and pets stir up this recipe of boredom but overall, the days still blur into each other. When you boil it down, our lives are stagnant and boring most of the time. We live a life safe from big scaries in the dark (for the most part) and live in a world where we feel we are wrapped in bubble wrap. But some portion of our brain still wants a bit of excitement. So--purposely or not--we reach for something that makes our heart beat a little faster.
Horror safely satisfies that craving for many people. When we read horror, we can experience danger and excitement in a very safe place. We can glimpse inside the heads of monsters while we stumble through the mundane. The mess of blood that often accompanies horror isn’t a problem to clean up because the visualization is in our minds. Horror evokes a variety of emotions from fear to disgust to unease. If it gets too much, we can take a break and set it aside. It makes us twitch and it makes us think.
We still have that portion of our lizard brain that makes us jump when someone knocks on the door unexpectedly or when we see a shadow on the wall that shouldn’t be there. When our heart races we feel suddenly alive and able to do things we normally wouldn’t think of. The flight or fight response isn’t easily subdued by years of evolution. In fact, with our quiet lives, I think the response is stronger.
There are other reasons why people read horror (please feel free to add them) but I’m sure most of us will agree that experiencing fear--even if it is jumping a little in your seat--is one of the biggest draw of the genre. It’s hard to deny that adrenaline rush.
* I read IT in the eighth grade
~The Shadow Minion
30. January 2014 10:06
We have a new minion at AIP.
Sarah isn’t your typical minion. Not only does she crush a heaping slush pile but she excels in chaos. Her duties in the past have included co-hosting the #sffwrt chat on twitter to chasing down ideas for stories. She loves the developmental stages of a project and likes weaving seemingly unrelated things into a beauteous whole. To complete her love of all things unorganized, she has 2 cats, 2 teenage boys and a fiancé and she makes wearable art with small beads. Her stories can be found in the Space Battles FTST#6 from Flying Pen Press, the In Situ, and the FISH anthologies both from Dagan Books and in Feb, a flash piece from Lakeside Circus. You can follow her on her blog at http://shadowflame1974.wordpress.com/.
26. January 2014 11:18
AIP is currently open to query submissions for 3 linked novellas. We are looking for well-written, modern day, dark speculative fiction. The kind of story that could be happening around you as you walk out the door.
As creative director, what are you looking for?
I want to be transported. I want to read the story in a coffee shop, look up, and imagine it happening in around wherever I am. I want supernatural elements that intrigue me and horror elements that affect me. The worst thing is to have a story that I care nothing about.
Why go with 3 linked novellas?
Think of it like a serial novel. We want to get the novellas out 3 times a year in e-format only and the release a compilation of the stories in limited edition hard back, trade, and e-format. This way, content is coming out quicker throughout the year.
Can or should the link be obvious or subtle?
The link needs to be obvious enough that the three novellas together tell a whole story.
Why not Zombies?
I don’t like zombies. That’s not subtle. They’ve been done to death. They bore me.
Why have other queries been rejected?
For a number of reasons. For not fitting the dark speculative theme (urban fantasy / horror). For not being an interesting story. For having really bad world building rules.
Common flaws you've seen in submissions?
Weirdly, I’m getting a lot of people who don’t have a story idea. Instead, they want me to tell them what story I want written and to hand-hold them through the synopsis and outline. I have to admit, this was not something I expected. Other than that, just not suiting AIP’s chosen niche.
What would your dream submission be like?
A synopsis of 3 linked novella length stories with diverse characters (LGBT, POC characters encouraged), a fascinating take on the real world, with an interesting plotline. The synopsis is erudite and concise. The author is responsive and willing to take editorial direction. I want an emotional story with action.
24. December 2013 10:04
Just a quick reminder to say that AIP opens for novella query submissions next week!
2. December 2013 10:26
Apocalypse Ink Productions Store
All ebooks are $0.99 and all domestic shipping is free.
If you prefer Amazon:
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
Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, Jay Lake
Industry Talk, Jennifer Brozek
28. November 2013 18:00
HOLIDAY WEEKEND SPECIAL
November 28-December 2nd
ALL ebooks are $0.99
All domestic shipping is free with the code: BLACKFRIDAY
25. November 2013 10:15
Here's a peek at some of the stuff our authors have been doing lately.
Ivan talks about what it's like to go through heavy revisions on a novel (Famished: The Commons) for the first time. This is the sequel to Famished: The Farm.
Jennifer talks how she came up with the title for the fourth Karen Wilson Chronicles book, Chimera Incarnate. The first two books, Caller Unknown and Children of Anu, are already out.
Jay talks about his 2013 fiction bibliography. He doesn't mention his writing book, Jay Lake's Process of Writing, because it's not fiction. It's an impressive list. You should take a look.