Keystones is available for purchase!

by Jennifer 15. April 2014 09:36

KEYSTONES is now available at the AIP store, in Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

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The Shadow Chaser is Available for Purchase

by Jennifer 14. April 2014 08:02

THE SHADOW CHASER is available in our webstore here or on Amazon here.

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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.

--
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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AIP Anniversary

by Jennifer 1. April 2014 23:43

As of April 1, Apocalypse Ink Productions has been in existence for 2 years. In that time, we have published 5 books: two non-fiction and three fiction. By the end of April, it will be seven books with a new Karen Wilson Chronicles book by Jennifer Brozek and the first of the Sheynan Trilogy by Dylan Birtolo. We also have a series of linked novellas coming up from Peter M. Ball in July and the next in the Gentleman Ghouls series by Ivan Ewert in August.

We’re proud of what we’ve created here at Apocalypse Ink Productions. We hope you’ll continue on with us in our journey.

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Keystones cover art revealed!

by Jennifer 24. March 2014 10:10

I'm pleased to reveal the cover for the Karen Wilson Chronicles book, KEYSTONES, by Jennifer Brozek. The cover artist is Amber Clark of Stopped Motion Photography. This book and ebook will be released on April 15th. Here's the cover. Is it not wonderful?

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The Shadow Chaser cover art revealed

by Jennifer 17. March 2014 10:32

I’m pleased to announce that Larry Dixon is the cover artist for the Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo. The first book of the trilogy is THE SHADOW CHASER. This ebook will be released on April 15. Here’s the cover. Is it not marvelous?

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What Makes a Good Urban Fantasy?

by Jennifer 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

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AIP Submission Update

by Jennifer 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

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Updated Novella Payment Terms

by Jennifer 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.

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Why read horror?

by Jennifer 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

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