Blog Tour Day Nine! Interview with Rick Silva

1. As an editor and publisher, do you think the ever changing publishing industry has helped or hurt small press publishers?

Would it be too much of a cliche to fall back on Dickens’ famous line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”? Right now technology has made it possible for anyone to be a publisher. The startup costs are pretty much as low as you could want them to be. I pay for small print runs on my comics at a reasonable price to sell them profitably, and the print-on-demand technology allows me to scale back print runs if I don’t have the money available to fund the business. And I could operate for even less if I went to a strictly e-publishing model. Prose publishers will incur even lower costs than comic publishers because they have less graphic design and artwork expenses.

That being said, the competition has never been tougher. When everyone can be a small press publisher, then everyone is a potential competitor. And all of those publishers are competing for their reader’s time with an array of literature, comics, and other entertainment available for free on the internet. Large publishers are cutting back and taking chances on fewer new authors, which means that there are fewer book contracts available that actually pay an advance. Bookstores are in trouble, threatening the distribution network that still drives a large percentage of sales.

All of this makes for an environment where it is easier to publish or get published, but considerably harder to make a living doing so. Although this can be discouraging, I do like the fact that degree success is much more in the hands of the individual creator. The opportunities to reach a large audience are still out there, and the individual can take actions that will directly affect his or her exposure to those audiences. Marketing is much more creator-driven, but that means that the creator has more control over their own message.

2. Tell us how you got started writing, who inspires you, and what to you plan to write in the future?

I’ve been writing since high school. I get my inspiration from all over the place: Fiction and nonfiction of many genres, classics, comics, old movies, nonfiction and history, and gaming. My future plans for comics are mostly focused on finishing the series that I have started. Perils of Picorna and Stone are both limited series with definite endings plotted out. Kaeli & Rebecca is more open-ended, although there is still a specific eventual plot direction. Zephyr & Reginald: Minions for Hire has one more issue scripted. I take a different approach to Minions because I consider comedy to be a very different kind of writing. I don’t want to continue the series if I don’t feel like I can continue to write enough jokes to make it work. So I’m leaving open the possibility of doing more Zephyr & Reginald: Minions for Hire if I feel inspired to write enough funny material.

As for prose, I have half of a novel written (a zombie western!) that I might go back to. I’ve also got some short story ideas. I just finished up my run at www.edgeofpropinquity.net, which frees up some writing time and creative energy now that I’m no longer responsible for a serial fiction installment every month. I’ve never really made a serious effort at getting my name out in the short fiction market. In fact, I have only picked up a couple of rejection letters. It might be time for me to start working on paying my dues submitting short stories.

3. Writing is considered a solitary art, several of your past projects had co-writers, how different was it writing with a partner, did you enjoy it and what did you learn from writing with others?

Collaboration is tricky, but very satisfying. I’ve enjoyed all of the collaborations that I’ve worked on, but I’ve learned that it’s necessary to take different approaches depending on the collaborative partner. When I collaborate with my wife, Gynn Stella, on Zephyr & Reginald: Minions for Hire, we tend to talk through plot and then I go off on my own and write a script, which she then looks over and suggests changes to. With Amy Kaczmarowski, my Perils of Picorna co-author, we’ve got a very good “vibe” for working together directly. We write our scripts on AIM, usually with a fair number of brainstorming sessions before we get to the actual scripting. We have very similar tastes in plot and characters, so we tend to work well together. Amy likes the world-building a bit more than I do, and I have a bit more affinity for fight and action scenes.

One of the biggest advantages I see to collaborative writing is that it’s a great way to fight through writers block. When one partner is stuck, the other partner almost always has an idea.

Rick Silva has been involved in small press publishing since his college days. He published and edited Kinships Magazine. Along with his wife Gynn, Rick is a partner in Dandelion Studios. He publishes his own print zine, Caravan, and he is one of the featured contributors for the fiction webzine The Edge of Propinquity. Rick Silva grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Cornell University, and currently teaches chemistry at a high school on Cape Cod, where he resides with his wife, their son, and three cats. My comics are available at www.dandelionstudios.com My serial fiction can be found at www.edgeofpropinquity.net My short story “Roadkill” appears in the anthology Close Encounters of the Urban Kind published by Apex Books

Blog Tour Day Eight! Interview with Chris Redding.

You’ve recently changed gears from writing suspense and mystery to a romantic comedy. How did the change come about and what challenges did you face in the new genre that you weren’t expecting? It wasn’t so much a change of gears. A View to a Kilt is still a romantic suspense, it just incorporates more humor than I’ve put into books in the past. I’ve tried writing romantic comedy, but there is always a dead body, so you go with what your strengths are. I knew this book was not for traditional publishing. I find smaller presses and e-publishers are more open to different types of stuff.

Your feature authors on your own blog: http://chrisredddingauthor.blogspot.com/, what have you learned from networking with other authors and how has it benefited you and your writing?

I’ve learned that there are a lot of amazing and energetic writers out there. The advantage of hosting authors? I have many places to guest when I am doing a blog tour and now that I have a Kindle, I have a dearth of authors’ work I can fill it up with.

Tell us more about your latest release and how you came up with the idea.

My latest is Incendiary. Years ago a friend had an idea for a story. Whenever there is a suspected arson, a police photographer will take pictures of the crowd. Then if there is more than one arson and the same face is seen in the pics over and over, they can be a suspect. My friend’s twist was that the arsonist be the photographer. I took it one step further and made it someone who had even more knowledge about fire investigation. A firefighter.

I’d like to thank Jenn for letting me guest host on her blog today! Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, kids and various animals. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in Journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital.

Blog Tour Day Seven! Interview with Joanna Aislinn

Describe for us what a sweet romance novel entails: Direct from The Wild Rose Press, a sweet romance “will make a reader sigh, cry, and everything in between. The relationship between the hero and heroine is the centerpiece of the story. This is the type of romance that we consider…old-fashioned.” Emotions drive the story. Sexual tension can—and I would imagine should—exist between the couple but there are no explicit love scenes, or shall I say, no peeking into the bedroom for this pair.
How I came to start writing them: No Matter Why actually developed out of flashbacks in what would have been a three-part series. It was intended as a prequel to showcase the hero and heroine’s early days. Since both characters were very young (approximately 22 and 26)—and the hero being of a strong Christian bent—going the sweet route was appropriate. I also think I was way too shy about writing a more sensually descriptive scene. (I’ve since gotten over that, lol.)
Do you see yourself writing other genres in the future and what challenges do you think you’ll face? No Matter Why was written for adults, but is easily appreciated by (and appropriate for) a teenage crowd—a ‘safe’ work to add to a school’s library. The sequel’s content, though still primarily emotion-driven, definitely has a more mature audience in mind. (Took me a while to get that first love scene written. The second came a little more easily—and now I keep ramping them up, keeping them more sensual-spicy than anything else.) I consider myself a pantster, but now that I think about it, I knew where both No Matter Why and its sequel (tentatively and so very originally titled No Matter What) were headed before I started them. Another book in this series is slated to have more elements of suspense and is still being fleshed out. Writing suspense is all new; it’s forcing me to realize how important outlining is. The ideas are coming in bits, pieces and the occasional flash-vision, so I just started a running list of the ideas as they come. Eventually, I’ll figure out how many of them will work as scenes. As a working mother and writer, how do you find time to write, where do you do most of your writing, and do you write every day? As a mom of two boys (now ages 14 and 12), a wife and four-day-a-week job holder who gets to bring lots of her work home this has become a real challenge. When all I had to worry about was writing and revising a single story, I did so much better, especially the writing every day part! Promo is a major challenge. I’ll come clean here and say I’m not doing anywhere near enough of it; I can’t manage keeping my own blog consistent. Promo is not just hosting a blog and/or making blog visits. It’s creating and booking live appearances, buying vendor space, putting together workshops and finding creative ways to sell those books. It’s a career unto itself, a time-consuming, frustrating one when time is as crunched as it is in my world these days. (My curls off to those of you who can work this in along with everything else you do! Haven’t figured out the organizing magic yet.)
As per where I write, any place that’s visually peaceful and distraction-free works. Sometimes it’s my kitchen. As I write this I’m on my sofa in the living room opposite the Christmas tree. I would love a secluded space. The closest I have is my enclosed front porch (for which I definitely need a space heater) and a screened-in second floor porch at my cottage in the woods where I look into the branches of the surrounding trees every time I take my gaze from the computer screen. (Unfortunately, it’s only available to us from April-October). Interesting though, the places one can scare out to write. My laptop usually travels with me to places as simple as the skate park; the boys jump the ramps while I sit in the car and tap away. The best time to write? Early in the AM when the men of my house are asleep, on weekends and any time school isn’t in session for extended periods of time!
Thanks so much to you and your readers, Jenn, for allowing me this opportunity. I can’t communicate enough how those of you who take the time to read an author’s work (be it book, blog or other pieces) humble and inspire me to keep going; to persevere and to believe in that next work that doesn’t seem to want to take shape; to write that next blog post and stay in touch with all of you when the rest of life shouts for my full attention instead.

Blurb: Trust and stability became empty words the day motherless, sixteen-year-old Carrie Norwell came home to find her brothers murdered. Within moments, her father arrived and his heart gave out at the scene. Five years later, is it any wonder the walls with which she’s barricaded her heart are virtually impenetrable to anyone looking to get close and offer what she wants more than anything? The security only a loving family can give? Or someone with whom to build her own? Confident and charismatic Billy Jay Eldridge believes Carrie is the right girl but is clueless his noble career aspirations will be the biggest obstacle to getting her to accept what she wants and needs most. Is the love he’s offering enough to break through Carrie’s mile-high barriers?

So who is Joanna Aislinn? I am a wife, mother, day-job holder, fan of tennis (and recently football—Go Giants, Colts and Cowboys!) as well as an avid reader. My writing roots stretch back to my early teenage days. My debut novel, No Matter Why, hit the virtual shelves on January 15, 2010. At present, I’m fine-tuning its sequel, developing a third story in the series and working on some more free reads (for posting when the time is right J; there are, however, quite a few already at my blog). When I’m not writing reports for work I’m still learning about promo, building my web presence and looking for ways to connect with the readers out there. I’m also very excited to have added my name to the pages of Amazon Connect’s Author Central! (The page is currently under construction, so check in again soon!)
For those who’d like to know more, find me at my website, blog and Facebook. (One request re: Facebook: if sending a friend-request please let me know of your association with Jenn, that way I know who you are!)
Again I thank all of you and look forward to Jenn’s upcoming visit in my little corner of cyberspace. May your days be blessed!