ink smith publishing

Q and A with Alec Arbogast!

Inksmith Publishing would like to offer a warm welcome to our new author Alec Arbogast, author of The Last Odinian! Below are some questions he has answered for us to help get to know him better!

Message from Alec: Hello! It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for reading, and let us share in our love of storytelling together.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: Even though they aren’t single stories, my favorites would be The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, and also The Great American Short Story Collection. They have both had a great impact on me. Regarding single, full-length stories, I first read The Shining by Stephen King when I was a teenager. It became a sort of catalyst for my creative mind, introducing me to the immense world of storytelling, the concept of tasteful, imaginative horror. It made me aware and reflect on the struggle between good and evil, and the grey area between the two.

Q: What is your favorite food? Favorite color?

A: My favorite color is blue, and I love Thai food.

Q: What/whom is your favorite mythical creature?

A: This is a hard answer to narrow down. Recently, I’ve been drawn to Slavic and Norse mythology. However, Medusa from Greek mythology is my overall favorite. She’s a singular, terrifying creature, who can make quick work of almost anything or anyone- even the Titans.

Q: Can you share a little of any of your current work(s) with us?

A: I have three writing projects I’m currently working on. One is an action-adventure novel revolving around an elite group of soldiers; one is a story that blends elements of time travel, mystery, and horror; and the other is a gangster drama set in post-Civil War America.

Q: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

A:  I find quite a few aspects of writing challenging, but it’s always a good challenge. I’m drawn to historical fiction, and in these stories it’s a challenge to make sure I’m accurately representing the event while also molding it to fit my narrative. Pacing is another struggle as well, as I find it tends to do one of two things: the narrative flow develops naturally or can be hard to keep on track. Almost like an intractable horse, I feel like sometimes I have to nudge it in the right direction while it wanders off.

Q: Did you learn anything from your book(s)?

A: I learned the forbearance and discipline it takes to finish a full-length book, which can be equally an exhilarating and daunting process. I stretched myself intellectually at the same time as discovering who I was as an artist and what message I’d like to be sending. I also learned the worlds you create are a tenable space in your mind and can leave a mark on your soul.

Q: What inspired you to write your first book?

A: The Last Odinian originally came to me on a whim, to be honest. I started writing it knowing the setting and atmosphere I wanted—the haunting forests of the Pacific Northwest–and developed a narrative around that (almost similar to The Twilight Zone).

Q: Do you remember how your interest in writing began?

A:  I’ve always been interested in the function of stories, and produced some short films in school with a few friends. I didn’t discover the writing form of stories until a few years ago.

Q: Do you have a specific writing style?

A: My style varies from story to story, actually. I try to find a voice that feels right with each individual story, and the characters within. I think my prose tends to have a grounding in the contemporary style while borrowing from romanticism and transcendentalism.

Q: Who is your favorite author? What really strikes you about their work?

A: I have many favorites, but I’ll try and narrow it down. On the classic side, I admire Edgar Allan Poe’s complex prose. He tackles haunting subjects, like the inescapable reality of death, in a truly singular way. Edith Wharton made me a lifetime fan based on just one of her short stories, Afterward, due to her unique style. On the contemporary side, Stephen King has influenced me with his unending creativity, and I respect his voracious need to tell stories. His characters are always vivid and three-dimensional, and he has a pragmatic approach I admire. Craig Johnson has a sort of straight-forward and laconic approach to his prose, but it’s riddled with sardonic insight.

Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?

A: Find a writing process that speaks to you. Some people prefer a meticulous preparation: a diligent outline, layers of notes detailing each character, the narrative mapped out beforehand, etc. Others prefer a more organic process wherein the narrative, characters, subplot, and all the other details just flow naturally. And these are just two examples of the compositional process- everyone develops their own process. Another tip is to be true to your story. Don’t let your own moral standards and ideologies overly influence your characters or narrative. It’s important to realize the difference between who you are and what you create within your writing. On a similar note, don’t be too concerned with your audience or their opinion of you based on your writing. Write how you want and what you want, and your creations will be truer. Finally, your final story will likely be quite different from how you originally wanted it to be, and that’s okay.

 

An Excerpt from The Last Odinian

 Seeing him in plain sight was an abhorrently different experience than through the peephole of his hotel room. Light and shadow played across Kendric’s mutilated face like a symphony of horror as he stood under the bar lights. Koenig forced the coffee down his throat and exhaled. Like a boxer caught off guard, he didn’t know whether to swing a punch or duck for cover. For a moment he just stared at the decrepit man, and the man stared right back, his one working eye fixed on Koenig. Words came to him at last, and he steadied his voice… “Any final thoughts?”

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Submissions Now Open for 2017!

It’s that time of year again! Ink Smith Publishing has opened submissions for 2017! Genres accepted can be found on our website: www.ink-smith.com/submissions. We love fantasy, so if you do not see your specific fictional genre listed, we encourage you to submit to us anyway. There are so many fiction genres (particularly hyper-specific genres) that we cannot list them all.

But, please note, we do not accept non-fiction or children’s (12 years and under) titles at Ink Smith. For non-fiction/children’s titles please submit to Native Ink Press. Guidelines and requirements apply to Native Ink Press as well.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions will be accepted January 1 – July 30 each year, with a closed reading period beginning August 1. 

  • Novellas must be 30,000 to 50,000 words and novels must be at least 50,000+ words.
  • No fan fiction.
  • No short stories.
  • Manuscripts must be polished. No first drafts or incomplete manuscripts.
  • Manuscripts that you submit cannot be previously self-published.
  • No attachments in the email.
  • No manuscripts on first query. *We will request your manuscript if we are interested in moving forward.*
  • No non-fiction titles.
  • No children’s books aimed at ages 12 and under.
  • No submissions from outside the U.S./Canada at this time.

Submit Your Book Query

Please follow ALL guidelines below. Submissions not meeting submission guidelines are automatically rejected regardless of the quality of the work submitted.

  1. Title Your email: Query, Your Last Name, Title of Your Book
  2. Cover letter: Tell us about yourself. Please include current address, as we use this to verify that you are currently residing in the U.S. or Canada.
  3. Story information: Genre, Word Count, etc.
  4. Synopsis: no longer than 1 page, please.
  5. Your marketing plan! In the event we move forward with your manuscript for publication, please note that we expect our authors to be active in the marketing of their titles alongside our efforts. Your ideas, opinions and comfort level with marketing tools are essential for us to develop a marketing plan that works for you and your book.
  6. The first three chapters of your story copied and pasted into the body of the email. (NO ATTACHMENTS)
  7. Send your query to submissions@ink-smith.com!

As a final reminder: NOT FOLLOWING GUIDELINES WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC REJECTION.

The Funeral Portrait Gets a New Cover!

If you haven’t heard yet, The Funeral Portrait by Vincent Viñas has received a facelift!

The Funeral Portrait is a fictional, literary satire packed full of humor!

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Guy doesn’t smile easily. He could be described as fundamentally glum. Tallulah doesn’t die easily. She could be described as annoyingly immortal. What if you wanted to die but were unable to? Such is the case with Guy Edwards and Tallulah Leigh, who want to end their miserable lives for different reasons. The only problem is, she’s been stricken with an unexplained (and unwelcome) case of immortality while he lacks that final, sorrowful piece of inspiration he needs to effectively do himself in. What better way to solve this dilemma than to help kill each other. However, a bigger problem has emerged–one of them is falling in love with the other. They’ll now have to decide what is a more frightening option–dying or taking one last shot at happiness? The Funeral Portrait is a very dark and comedic (but often horrific) tale about two lost souls who find each other and soon realize the only thing that may be worse than death is commitment.

Ready to read the book yet? If so, click here and get your copy today! And don’t forget, the best gift you can give a talented author is a review, so if you read Vincent’s amazing novel make sure to stop by Goodreads  and Amazon and leave a review!

 

What You Know vs. Branching Out

When I was first starting out as a writer, people constantly told me to “write what you know.” That makes a lot of sense. Writing what you know gives your story a solid basis in reality, accurate reality.

What do I mean by accurate reality? You can create any reality you want as a writer. A world where dogs live on the moon, where people are born with hands as their ears–any world you want. But it has to make sense, it has to be believable. Connection to the reader matters.

One of the reasons people love books, is the idea that it represents someone or something they can connect with in addition to reading for enjoyment. Even though your manuscript falls into the fiction category, it doesn’t mean the entire book is made up. Relationships, people, emotions: they are based in reality.

I came across this conundrum during a class in my master’s program at Lindenwood University. We read the book, Rose Metal Press Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers and Writers in the field. It talked about truths and making sure that when you are writing about certain types of people that you get them accurate. (A great source for writers – in addition to the Writing Flash Non-Fiction edition as well!)

If you aren’t someone who is intimate with the particular group of people you are writing about, than you need to be careful about writing about them. You don’t want to misrepresent their culture just because you felt like writing about them one morning. This goes for any group or culture–misrepresentation does two things: offends the group you are misrepresenting and provides inaccurate information to people who are not familiar with said group/culture.

The basis of belief for Quakers, is that God exists in every person, and therefore should be treated in accordance with that belief. LGBTQ have their own slang, different parts of the U.S. have different accents, it is impolite in some countries to wear your shoes into the house–these facts may seem inconsequential to someone who is on the outside of these groups, but is essential in the representation of the culture.

So, if you are looking to write about the Aboriginals – do your research, make sure you understand their way of life. If you can, submerge yourself in the culture, talk to some of the people. Experience is the strongest learning tool.

Make sure you understand them and their way of life before you write. In essence,  the notion of “write what you know” is 100 percent accurate. You may want to write something new, but make sure you do the research and write the truth!

Happy writing, and happier researching!

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

When You Submit: Follow the Guidelines

Whether you are submitting a poem to a literary magazine, a memoir to an independent publisher or a fantasy manuscript to one of the big five – you MUST make sure you follow all of the submission requirements. This also includes submitting your piece during the time the company is accepting submissions. Some companies, Ink Smith Publishing included, occasionally close submissions for a certain time frame each year to catch up on reading through submissions. Others, like our sister company, Native Ink Press, have rolling submissions, meaning they accept submissions year round.

But remember: Follow the guidelines.

As we sift through the submissions we receive the first thing we note is who followed directions. We do this for multiple reasons; the most obvious is: did this author take the time to read, research and decide upon our publishing company? Not following the submission guidelines, which are normally pretty simple, and for the most part universal amongst publishing companies, is indicative that the author may be either blindly submitting to every available publishing company, or that they do not pay attention to details. Two things that suggest the author is less serious about their handwork than they should be.

The second reason, is because we want to know how an author responds to direction. Each author/publisher/editor relationship is different. You will see authors working with different editors on different kinds of books, different publishers on different genres, etc. When in the editing process, editors will provide feedback, critiques and suggestions on things that may work better for the piece in question. The purpose of the editing process is to make a great idea even better – a project that both the editor and the author are invested in. Without an author who is receptive to change, suggestions and edits, that task is not one that will be possible to complete, at least not easily!

Finally, there are a lot of submissions. There are a lot of authors with great books, and a limited amount of books we can publish per year. If it comes down to two books, one where the author followed the directions perfectly and one who did not; the decision is easy.

Keep in mind, Ink Smith Publishing discards any submissions that do not follow the guidelines – no matter how good the book is, and no matter who the author is. We firmly believe that an author who is serious about their book, about their careers, and about publishing with us specifically – will make sure to follow the guidelines. If you are interested in submitting to Ink Smith Publishing, or Native Ink Press, please make sure to do the following:
1. Review the kind of content we publish
2. Make sure your content fits in
3. Make sure submissions are OPEN
4. Review and follow the guidelines
5. Give us your best!

For more information about Ink Smith Publishing and our submission guidelines visit www.ink-smith.com/submissions. You can also visit www.nativeinkpress.com  to learn more about Native Ink Press’ submission guidelines.

 

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Author Interview with Evelyn Allen Harper

Ink Smith: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?

Evelyn: The view out of the picture window by my desk is a small lake called Pearl. No matter the season, the view is always beautiful. I write at no special time as I have been fortunate to survive well into retirement and all the free time that brings. How I write is another story. I don’t know too many writers, so I don’t know if anyone else writes the way I do. When I start a book, I invent characters and a setting, and then sit back and watch them. I just record what I see and what I hear. I’ve written nine books using this method, so it works for me.

Ink Smith: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?

Evelyn: What I like to read depends on my mood and what is going on in my life. Sometimes I like to read thrillers, and other times when I pick up a book and terrible things are happening, I can’t read it. Deep dark complex writing that I have to reread several times to figure out what could have been said in simpler terms doesn’t appeal to me at any time. There are so many books out there to read that if a book hasn’t captured my attention in the first couple of chapters, I don’t finish the book. In my younger years I used to read to the bitter end, no matter what. Old age has taught me that I don’t have to finish the book if I don’t like it. So who is my favorite author? Any writer who gets my attention and keeps my attention.


Ink Smith: How did you come up with the idea for Sweet Adeline? How long did it take you to write it?Sweet Adeline Cover

Evelyn: Knowing several couples who reunited with their old love at a school
reunion, I used that information to begin my story. I would say it took me about a year and a half to complete the book. I have sung with Sweet Adeline International for twenty-five years and for that reason I named my character Adeline. When her boyfriend harmonized with three other guys to sing the chorus of “Sweet Adeline”, it was just natural to title the book, “Sweet Adeline”.

 

 Ink Smith: When did the “writing bug” as you call it, bite?

Evelyn: The writing bug didn’t bite me until I was well into retirement. But once it bit, it became an obsession. To me, a day without writing is a day without sunshine. I had never written, not even a short story, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. The first venture into my new hobby was writing six books in The Accidental Mystery Series, followed by a two book series, The Coat and The Collar.

I write every day.

 

Meet the Author

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Evelyn Allen Harper was born in Pennsylvania, the daughter of a coal miner. She earned her undergraduate degree from Anderson College, and later a master’s degree from Wayne State University. She taught school until the birth of her two children and after they were old enough for her to work outside the home, Evelyn sold residential real estate for the next fifteen years. Evelyn and her husband, Barry, retired to Traverse City, Michigan, and ten years into retirement, she started writing. Sweet Adeline is her 9th published book, and her third with Ink Smith Publishing. Her other two books, The Coat and The Collarare available for purchase on the Ink Smith website.

You have a story, but you aren’t ready

Writing is something that some people, the writers, feel compelled to do. It isn’t a pastime, it’s  not something that you do occasionally, you have to do it. Sometimes, it’s almost as if it’s painful to not write.

But what happens when you aren’t ready to write what you know you need to? Do you just not write it? Do you let that story go?

Yes. And no.

Recently, I’ve had some moments in my life that I’d like to write about. But I know I’m not ready to write them. I put my pen to paper and I get a few sentences down – usually the angry parts that really don’t make much sense without the context of the entire story.

And then I find I can’t put into words the rest of the story.

Sometimes we have to accept that while we need to write the story it isn’t always the right time to write it. It takes time, you need time to reflect and to understand your story just as much as you would if you were creating a brand new world. Emotion is a wonderful thing, and you should share it. That’s what every professor you’ve ever had has instructed you to, “Make people feel your story.”

But your story should have resolution, or a reason for not having resolution. We should learn, reflect and make sure we tell the story in its entirety. The good, the bad, the awful, the too-terrible-to-talk-about.

An interview with Kelly Fig Smith, reveals a lot of things that people writing memoir should take note of.  Smith is the winner of Creative Nonfiction’s Spring 2015 $1,000 prize for best essay in The Memoir Issue #55. Her essay, “Do No Harm,” was chosen by the magazine’s editors from more than 1,700 submissions. You can read her full interview with Creative Nonfiction on their website: www..creativenonfiction.org/online-reading/writing-down-hard-stuff#sthash.4gt4BU0q.dpuf.

You can also check out some great tips on Reader’s Digest, on how to write your memoir.

 

 

Connect with me on Twitter! @AndersonCorinne

Connect with me on Twitter! @AndersonCorinne

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lindenwood University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Meet Grant Elliot Smith

Grant Elliot Smith

Originally from the Midwest, Grant Elliot Smith loved to read from an early age. Saving up his allowance, he spent it all at the local bookstore buying up as much as he could from the fantasy section. Writing has always been a passion of his.

His first interest was poetry, which he wrote voraciously. Some of his early work, from as far back as the 1980s, can be found in various poetry anthologies.

Completing four university degrees, including a Masters in Sociology from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, Smith has lived and worked around the world, spending a number of years in Japan. The sights and sounds from the various cultures he has seen helps to fuel his imagination for writing.

His most recent work, Rathen: The Legend of Ghrakus Castle is a fantasy novel about Rathen, a former Captain in King Delvant’s army. Rathen has retired to a quiet backwater town after the Kingdom’s forces were dissolved following the King’s sudden death. After being recruited to lead a band of fighters, healers and mages to dispel brigands from his lands Rathen, and his ex-gladiator best friend Bulo, begin to hear stories of magical creatures and numerous dead in the land they are tasked with cleansing. Despite these stories, they head for Ghrakus Castle, learning of its dark history on the way.

When they finally arrive, the full horror of their task becomes clear—with their chances of returning home dwindling, the threat of betrayal awaits.

7 Days left For Submissions!

This is a very quick shout out to all the writers out there.

There are 7 days left to get your book submission in to Ink Smith Publishing for consideration. Any books submitted after July 1st will be read starting January 1st 2015. Please share the word! We want to give everyone a fair chance and enough notice.

Please follow all submission guidelines, or use our form.

ink-smith.com/submissions

Misty Watts- Author Interview

Misty Watts

Website: http://www.mistywatts.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mistywattsauthor
Twitter: @wattsbooks
Book Page: http://ink-smith.com/product/earthborn/
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

“I would be happy to! I have self published four books and my latest book, EARTHBORN, will be released June 12.
In Earthborn, Declan, Max and Olivia take center stage as old college buddies that endlessly debated the existence of giants, or Nephilim, in biblical times. When they are reunited for a mass murder investigation, they find that these slayings were not committed by men. A young student, Clementine, gets caught in the crossfire between her favorite professor, Olivia, and her best friend, Mae, when she is “”chosen.”” It has secret societies, government involvement and lots of twists and turns. I hope everyone has as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
The first three books are a series, Walking Among Them, a YA paranormal story, set in the small town of Hickman, Ky. I also have a novella, Willow’s Grace, a horror story set in my fictional town of Banesville, Ky. “

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always wanted to write and found myself in a situation where a story was threatening bursting out of my head. At first, I planned for it to stand alone, but after I finished it, I wanted more for the other characters. This went on for three books. I fell in love with all of them and their circumstances and the world they lived in. I couldn’t get enough.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I can remember making little children’s books as a child. I would get my grandmother to staple sheets of papers together. It had to be all the way up and down the side, too. I had no tolerance for one staple at the top left. I would go through the pages and write in the story, then go back and draw pictures to go with it. Creating those stories is one of my first memories.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I can honestly say no. My latest book was my baby. It was the story I had always wanted to write and I was proud of myself. It took me two weeks to write it. It poured out of me. I wrote for 10-12 hours a day almost constantly. It was the best writing experience of my life.

Any Final Thoughts?

Thank you for your time and be sure to check out Earthborn, releasing June 12. Also, keep up with book signings and other news on my website at http://www.mistywatts.com.