Most of the stories I’ve had published in anthologies over the last year had been taking up space in the proverbial drawer for ages it seems. The ones that made it into Scribings Volume 2: Lost Civilizations http://amzn.to/MZTBLc and The Terran Shift Anthology http://amzn.to/Z4pXki were the ones that I pulled out of the drawer and at last polished up. So it’s hard for me to say how long it took me to write any to them.
What were the biggest obstacles in getting your stories published?
A couple years ago the writing group that I am in here in Portland, Maine (The Greater Portland Scribists http://scribists.blogspot.com/ ) began publishing an annual anthology of our best work through a local imprint, Lost Luggage Studios http://www.lostluggagestudios.com/books/ . We are doing all the writing, editing, artwork, graphic design, media and marketing ourselves. There was not just one “biggest” obstacle. But to sum it up, trying to keep our own production deadlines and getting group consensus on all decisions were at the top of the list.
Things Taken, from The Terran Shift Anthology
Vandessa suffers every day in Densobo, a New City in the technocracy of Zimbabwe. She knows what will save her, and everyone else. But only after she gives all that she holds dear, including her cybernetic arms, does she learn what it is that will be her salvation.
The Master of Paths from Scribings 2
Ziven leads his friends through the northern taiga to a magical labyrinth in the mountains where he hopes they will find the center and gain three wishes each that will change the ways of their people. They didn’t expect that even the powers of the Labyrinth’s lost keepers wouldn’t be able to give them what they wanted and what their loss would cost.
The Initiation from Scribings 2
Buntible is a high priest in the dying Order of Jab. If he and his acolytes can perform the summoning ritual properly tonight, they will gain the favor of their lord and gain power enough to stand up to the local religious powers. Through the course of the night, they find that they should be more worried about judgment from their own.
Which character from your stories are you most attached to and why?
Right now, it is Vandessa. I think it’s because she learns the coolest life lesson at the end of Things Taken. She’s tumbled around in my mind quite a bit, the poor thing, to get there as well.
Is this a part of a series or a standalone book?
In a word, yes; and that goes twice. Many of my stories take place in overlapping worlds-pay attention and you’ll see how they fit together.
But then, the anthologies are annually serialized as well. Many of the same authors contribute year to year, but new voices always find their way in to freshen the bill. Pick up an anthology to discover an unknown author, to get a large dose of stories on your favorite topics, or to get a reading fix if you are constantly on the go.
Who are your main writing influences?
I never would have started reading if it weren’t for the epic fantasy stories I first picked out at the library. Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey opened the doors for me. I went on to study writing in college (UMaine Farmington) and even grad school (Seton Hill University) where I had heaps of “influences” and “influencers” from Maine Poet Laureate Wes McNair to curmudgeonly lit proffs and fabulous fiction mentors. Currently, I’m adoring the writing of Catherynne M. Valente and Michael Swanwick.
What advice would you offer beginning indie writers?
Do your research. Market research as well as tech research. You really need to know your market and how to reach them. And on the tech side, there are a million potholes waiting for you. They will spring up in the most unexpected ways. For instance, em dashes are not recognized by some ebook formatting programs and if you’ve used any unrecognized character, it could muck up your potential upload something awful.
What types of promotion are you doing and how successful are you finding it?
For the most part, I’m hitting the social media circuits. I find that guest blogging and hosting guest blogs myself gets the most bang for my time.
The marketing plan laid out in Financial Success for Creative Professionals http://www.creativesuccess.net/?hop=vikfic is what I’ve been going by for almost a year now and it has helped me to increase my social media footprint and to move in directions I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
The past. Definitly the past. I’d hunker down and blend in as best I could and hopefully live happily ever after. I’d then hopefully hit a time loop where I’d keep doing this for eternity. So, maybe it’s both?
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
I would pick my five closest friends. They’ve all seemed to fly to the farthest corners of the world and I don’t get to see them nearly enough, never mind to break bread with them.
If you were stranded on a deserted island what 3 things would you want with you?
A Swiss Army Knife, rope and a paperclip. MacGyver proved you can make anything out of a paperclip, right?
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
K.J. Bishop’s The Etched City http://amzn.to/W2QA7x. It is a beautiful book that takes you away to the mysteries of a tropical city and the strangers that try to make a life there. It was nominated for the World Fantasy award in 2004 and I know why. Yes it is a fantasy, yes there is magic…and guns violence and tears of loss. It all adds to the mystery, which is really not a mystery.
Where can readers find your books?
All of the Lost Luggage Studios books are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and iBooks; and also any major ebook retailor. Links for all my books in all formats are on my website http://cynthiaravinski.com/books-2/.
Cynthia Ravinski writes Emotobooks, among other things. From her coastal northern setting she finagles language into stories. She’s been an athlete, a co-pilot, and a world traveler. She’s basked in the light of great poets, and has been educated to high degrees. To say she is obsessed with drinking tea is an understatement.
Find Cynthia Ravinski at her Blog www.cynthiaravinski.com
On facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CynthiaRavinskiAuthor
And twitter @CynthiaRavinski