Category: AIW Press

October Specials

October Specials

       Look what’s happening in October at AIW Press

 

Love Set in Stone and Romance Under Wraps are only 99¢ for the month of October.

If you want suspense, thrillers, and sci-fi, you can download Macabre Sanctuary and Quantum Wanderlust, free. Simply select and download. Pour yourself a glass or mug of your favorite beverage and start reading.

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s inside:

Love Set in Stone

Perched above Pittsburgh, a gargoyle spends centuries as a protector of humanity while he waits for the one who will break his curse and free him from his stone prison. When he finally finds her, her life is in jeopardy, and he realizes he may face eternal damnation to save her life.

Romance Under Wraps

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History gets an Egyptian installation, and it seems to come with the ubiquitous mummy’s curse. Death and destruction abound. But the real curse is on the mummy’s advisor—he must teach the mummy how to pass forty-three judgments or find the reincarnated queen and win her love—or they are doomed to continue reawakening every century to try all over again.

Macabre Sanctuary

Thrills. Chills. Shadows and superstitions. Things that go bump in the night. Macabre Sanctuary boasts suspenseful fiction designed to elicit goosebumps and raise heart rates.

This collection from ten talented authors offers ghosts and demons, spirits and zombies, cannibals and killers… even a ferocious animal. Historical and contemporary tales of violence and fright keep readers on the edges of their seats. There’s something for everyone who loves spine-tingling, bone-chilling, blood-curdling stories.

Quantum Wanderlust

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

AIW Anthologies

AIW Anthologies

Unless you are like Harper Lee, who had only one highly successful novel published until a few months before her death, authors need a number of publications before people begin to notice their work. This is what is known as building your backlist.

Your backlist doesn’t necessarily have to be all full-length novels. Consider including shorter pieces of fiction, such as novellas or short stories. And what better way for an author to feature their short stories is to team with a group of writers?

Readers benefit by having the ability to read the works of multiple authors.

Quantum Wanderlust Cover

Last week, AIW Press announced the release of our newest release, Quantum Wanderlust, featuring thirteen time-travel stories. But many of you may not be aware that AIW had published three other anthologies.

Unshod
A Western Short Story Anthology

Unshod is a collection of stories by nine female writers, written with a western theme. However, they’re not your granddaddy’s western. The only stipulation we gave authors is the stories must be set in the American west. You’ll find both historical and modern day tales, romance and murder mystery, Native Americans and Japanese Americans.

Macabre Sanctuary
A Paranormal Short Story Anthology

Macabre Sanctuary was released last year and features ten authors. As you might guess from the title, these stories are designed to elicit goosebumps and raise heartbeats. You can read about prophetic nightmares, grave robbing on Halloween night, hazing rituals, and even find a feline or two along the way. (What’s a Halloween type story without a black cat or two?)

Bright Lights and Candle Glow
Holiday-themed short stories

Bright Lights and Candle Glow is a collection from a group of eight authors. These Christmas/Holiday themed stories are set from the mid-1800s to modern day. Read about a Civil War soldier, a 1920’s mobster, a neighbor who is a Grinch, and more.

Each of these collections are free of charge through most major online retailers. So whether you’re in the mood for the old or modern west, want to feel a little frightened, in the mood for a Christmas story, or want to travel in time, you’ll find stories for just about every taste.

To download your free copies, click on the links below.

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The Role of the Minor Character

The Role of the Minor Character

A minor or supporting character is vital in developing a well-crafted novel. For example:

  1. Harry Potter and Mr. Filch
    Filch delights in the misery of the students and is still far from likable; however, he is devoted to Hogwarts.
  2. Office Space and Milton Waddams
    Milton is famous for his rant about the red Swingline stapler. He is a disgruntled employee who brings life to all the mistreated employees in all possible ways.
  3. Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Munchkins
    They are there to further the plot, give Dorothy some insight into what she needs to get home, or to see the Wizard. Without them, there would be no one to fear the Wicked Witch of the West.

All supporting characters need to be memorable even though they appear in limited scenes. While having these minor characters in your novel, they should be used to further the plot by providing subtle insights and helping or hindering the hero.

Don’t just throw them into your novel. Take the time to develop them, enabling them to provide insight into your main character without using an info dump.These characters need to have a reason for being there. If they don’t advance the plot, they need to go. Remember it can be a small part, or an addition to the subplot, but they must serve a purpose.

Use your minor characters to ground the reader in a place, adding stability to your novel. You don’t want them to overshadow your hero, but rather give a depth to your hero. These characters make your world building feel real. And who knows—you just might create a character for your next book.

Tips to Crafting a Minor Character

  1. Propel your plot forward.
  2. Help the hero achieve his goal.
  3. Move the story forward, reveal information, and provide insight about major characters, including back-story, in an organic way.
  4. Enhance the mood and tone of the world you have created.
  5. Change your hero’s point of view by advising your hero in a positive or negative way.

How do you use your minor characters?
Do your minor characters become major characters in their own novel?
Let us know. We love hearing your thoughts.

Cover Reveal–Quantum Wanderlust

Cover Reveal–Quantum Wanderlust

AIW Press is proud to reveal the cover for Quantum Wanderlust.

Spring Forward, Fall Back

That reminds you of changing the clocks, right? When we talk about the passage of time, it’s usually in short bursts—seconds, minutes, hours—. Or slightly longer chunks—weeks, months, years.

What if it was limitless? What if you could go forward or back, in any size segment you wanted? Decades, centuries, eons? Would you go back and change your life? Go forward and see your future?

We are excited to share thirteen short stories crafted by very talented authors that will take you forward and back through time.

If you could travel through time, what would you do?

Professional Editing (Part One)

Professional Editing (Part One)

This article is the first of a two-part series on the importance of using a professional editor. I’ll post the second part in late September.

Self-editing, beta readers, and critique partners or groups are all an important aspect of the writing process. Each step has its own benefits. Some writers may not use beta readers, and others don’t have a critique partner or group.  I believe both provide useful feedback and it goes without saying that self-editing is a must.

However, if you want your manuscript to be the best it can be, you need the services of a professional. It’s important to know there are different types of edits—content edits, line edits, and copy edits.

Some people use the terms line editor and content editor to mean the same thing essentially. Others differentiate slightly on the two. You may also hear the term developmental edits rather than content edits.

Today, I’m going to talk about content editors. This person can take an otherwise dull manuscript and make it shine.

The content editor will go over your manuscript with a fine-toothed comb. Some of the things they do are:

  • Inconsistencies with character behavior and/or speech
  • Point of view issues, including author intrusion and deep point of view
  • Redundancies or repeating the same information in different ways
  • Ways to tighten dialogue or sentences
  • Active vs. passive voice
  • Confusing scenes or passages
  • Overused words or sentences
  • Suggest changes that can improve the pacing of a scene or paragraph
  • Telling vs. showing

The following is an example from one of my manuscripts. A simple rewording of one sentence changed the passage from what’s known as author intrusion to deep point of view.

Before:

Stephanie felt more confident knowing her father was in the stands cheering for her.

After:

Knowing her father was in the stands cheering for her boosted her confidence.

In the first sentence, I’m telling the reader what Stephanie felt. In the second sentence, I’m in her point of view and showing the reader how she feels.

Here’s another example from the same manuscript in which the editor eliminated unnecessary words.

Before:

Stephanie messaged back. You may call me directly. She entered her phone number and eagerly awaited the call.

After:

Stephanie messaged back her phone number and eagerly awaited the call.

The second sentence, although shorter, is stronger and I didn’t lose the intent of the passage.

It’s important to note a good editor never changes the author’s voice. Sadly, I once had an experience with someone who was, in reality, a frustrated writer. By the time he finished editing my work, I almost didn’t recognize it.

To this day, I regret not using a pen name with that story. And even though it was published in a collection with other writers, I refuse to make references to the book on my website. (Of note, I wasn’t the only author who felt that way.)

A good editor not only points out ways in which a writer can improve his or her work, but they also leave encouraging comments when warranted.

I had this comment from on a particularly tense scene in a novel in which a character reveals something about his past:

Oh! Gut punch! As a writer, this is delicious. As a reader, so sad. Good job.

You can see how this help boost my confidence both as a writer and in the story.

If you go with a traditional publisher, they will provide someone to edit your work. It’s important to note that editing isn’t cheap, but it can make or break your book. If you self-publish, it’s well worth the money spent to hire a professional.

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A Pre-Submission Checklist

A Pre-Submission Checklist

We’ve been talking a lot about story submissions, but we never really stopped to discuss all the things you need to consider in general terms. I thought it might be nice to provide you with a checklist so you have no questions about whether your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. Print out this list or bookmark this post and refer back to it before you contact a publisher.

Pre-Publishing Checklist

  Create your elevator pitch. (Doing this first helps you with your focus.)


  Compose back cover copy. (Doing this second can keep you on track.)

  Write a hook.

 Only hit the highlights.

 Do not reveal the ending.


 Outline the story.


 Write the very best book you’re capable of.


 Spell check and grammar check.


 Share your work with your critique partners.


 Incorporate their feedback.


 Revise for submission.


 Write the query letter, adhering to the publisher’s guidelines.

 Address your query to the right person, confirming spelling and title.

 Use a 3-paragraph format (greeting, book content, author bio and contact info).

 Use professional tone, but one that is in keeping with the tone of the story.


 Craft your synopsis. (This is the next thing a publisher will ask for.)

 Only use the main characters.

 Do not omit the climax and resolution.


Remember, publishers are busy and receive many submissions a month, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back right away. But if you follow the list, your chances will increase. Best wishes!

Staci Troilo

What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

Blanche, Muffy, Winchester, Bruiser, Tiny. Each name and nickname evoke something in us. They imply something.

Each time you choose a name for a character in your work, that name determines how you want your reader to react to the character—the image you want the character to portray.A simple name will set the tone of your work and determine how the character will act. And, when you take the time to name a character, that tells the reader the character is important to you and to your story. He has meaning, and you want your reader to remember him. If the character isn’t a vital part of your story, don’t name him—simply refer to him as what he is (waiter, lawyer, lifeguard). These words let the reader know a bit about the person but keep them from becoming too prominent.

Not only will names aid in the description of your characters, they help set the time period. For example, Beulah, while popular in the late 1800s, isn’t a common name today. As a reader coming across this name, you most likely would imagine an old woman rather than a young girl.

How can you choose the perfect name?  Every author goes about it differently, but below are a few tips that can help.

  • Use an online name generator
  • Read phone books
  • Walk though a cemetery
  • Search the Internet
  • Ask your friends

There are things you should avoid when naming characters as well.

  • Names that don’t match the time period
  • Names that sound the same or start with the same letter
  • Names that are hard to pronounce

What tools do you use to name your characters? Share them with us. We’d love to know.

 

Research ~ A Necessary Evil

Research ~ A Necessary Evil

Allison stepped onto the patio, enjoying the coolness of the desert southwest evening. Saguaro cacti were silhouetted against the sunset, and a roadrunner darted behind an agave plant. A cactus wren perched nearby. Allison walked further into the yard and stopped to stand beneath a giant magnolia tree…

Okay, I won’t say research is evil, but it hasn’t always been my favorite thing to do. When I first began writing fiction, I didn’t want to be bothered with research. All I wanted to do was to get the story out of my head and onto the computer screen.

“Write what you know.” I heard these words repeated over and over by several seasoned writers.

So I began with something that was comfortable to me. I loosely based the setting of my first novel on my hometown. However, the subject matter required research on my part to make part of the story believable.

My second novel, currently in draft state, necessitated me spending time on the Internet, looking for information about arsonists. (Suffice to say if someone looked at my browser history, and didn’t know I was a writer, they might want to report me to the nearest law enforcement agency.)

It’s easy to slip into a comfort zone. Therefore, the “write what you know” advice only goes so far. If an author continues to use the same setting or story line, readers will quickly become bored with their work and move on. Even though we might write in the same (or similar) genre, we want to generate stories that continue to please our readers and entice new ones.

Hence the need for research. We want our fiction to be believable. So what’s wrong with my opening paragraph?

Saguaro cacti, agave plants, roadrunners, and cactus wrens all fit within the scene. However, magnolia trees do not grow in the desert southwest. A simple mistake like that can cause readers to lose interest and damage our credibility as writers. Worse yet, they could leave a bad review, and we all know too many one and two-star reviews can make or break a book.

How do we go about gathering information? Fortunately, we live in an age where we have instant access to almost anything we want to know. Google and Bing can be a writer’s best friend.

A word of caution—just because something is on the Internet, doesn’t make it true. It’s best to check several sources and/or websites. Wikipedia, while popular, isn’t always the most accurate source because anyone can post anything.

In addition to the Internet, talk with experts. Law enforcement officers, physicians and nurses, fire investigators, military personnel, etc. Most times people are willing to answer specific questions you might have. When meeting with these people, go prepared. Have a list of specific questions so as not to waste their time or yours.

Travel to locations where you want to set your stories. Look around, observe, talk with locals, get a feel of the area, and make copious notes.

I’ve come a long way in regards to conducting research since I started writing fiction. In fact, I’ve probably spent more time gathering information for a current short story than I did with both novels.

The reason? It’s a setting and a story line that is totally beyond my scope of knowledge. Hopefully, my research has paid off. On a recent vacation, while touring a former aircraft carrier turned museum, my husband was impressed that I was able to identify two types of aircraft without looking at signs. I admit that I’ve learned a lot of interesting things from doing this project.

What about you? As a writer, do you enjoy research? What are some of your favorite methods?

 

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THE RIDE OF MY LIFE—COVER REVEAL

THE RIDE OF MY LIFE—COVER REVEAL

Coming in August
THE RIDE OF MY LIFE

A look inside:

Fear of financial ruin began when I discovered the coast-to-coast bicycle tour price was $10,000. How would I afford it? The cost was all inclusive, but not suitable for my budget. After all, I was retired and lived on a fixed income.

Then one day as I reviewed the tour company’s website for the hundredth time, I read that they were hiring ‘SAG drivers’ for the cross-country tour. SAG stands for Supply and Gear. They offered no salary, but they gave forty percent off the actual price of the tour. I applied at once and surprisingly got the job. Probably because of my many years of cycling experience. I had hoped and prayed this would happen. It was a go. The trip now cost $6,000 instead of $10,000 and started to take shape. The fear of financial ruin, self-doubt, and anxiety were gone—at least for the moment.

Days later, after getting the job, very specific instructions arrived in the mail from the tour company. It was like Christmas morning as I opened the mail. Hands shaking, palms sweaty, I anxiously ripped open the envelope with total disregard for its contents.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into The Ride Of My Life.

Anteprima Press

What’s a Writer to Do?

What’s a Writer to Do?

blogOne criterion publishers use to determine whether they should take a risk on a writer is the ubiquitous author platform.

I know. You’re rolling your eyes and sighing. Maybe getting a little queasy feeling in your stomach.

All authors—traditionally published, self-published, or hybrid—need a platform to market their work. There are several tools you can use to establish your platform, but one of the most popular and useful is the author blog.

The problem is, so many fiction writers don’t know what to write about.

Let me give you a piece of advice before we move forward.

Authors should not blog about the craft of writing. These posts attract other writers, but the goal is to attract readers.

So, what’s a writer to do? What can they blog about, if not their craft?

Here are some suggestions:

Their Work

  • cover reveals
  • story research
  • character dossiers/interviews
  • new releases
  • tour of the setting
  • blurbs/teasers/excerpts
  • spotlight on the villain (particularly if it’s a type of creature or a mental illness)
  • any lore or legend related to the story

Their Process

  • how they conduct research
  • where they prefer to work/what their workspace is like
  • what music (or ambient sounds) they listen to when writing
  • what they eat and drink while they work
  • where they get story ideas
  • where they get character names

Their Preferences

  • what genres they like to read
  • books on their shelf (or their ereader)
  • what novels/TV shows/movies inspire them
  • biographical notes that impacted their story

Their Silly Side

  • things they enjoy or hate (think top-10 lists)
  • ways for readers to get to know them (favorite foods, games, etc.)
  • stories about their pets or their families
  • original short fiction

Their Generosity

  • book reviews of other authors’ works
  • interviews with other authors
  • other author’s new releases

So, there you have it. Twenty-five topics for fiction writers to blog about. That’s roughly half a year at one post a week, assuming you choose each of these only once. And we all know these can be mixed, matched, and repeated as necessary. Hopefully there’s enough here to get you started on expanding your author platform.

Do you rely on any blogging topics that we didn’t mention here? Please share them with us in the comments.

Staci Troilo

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