Publishing open access online in cycles of eight to ten weeks with short breaks between, the newly established Intrepidus Ink lives up to its name. From the Latin, intrepidus characterizes resolute fearlessness, fortitude, and endurance. Editor-in-Chief Rhonda Schlumpberger wanted to showcase “alarmingly individual characters through a distinct lens of intrepid culture, not subordinate to other themes, with words that are gutsy and characters who overcome in big and small ways. Our stories tell our tale.” To that end, the publication focuses on flash fiction 300–1,000 words and short stories of 1,500–2,500 words.
Schlumpberger’s background is its own intrepidus tale, as she shares, “I’m a Midwest farmer’s daughter who liked climbing silos to watch the sunset and later joined the Air Force and watched setting suns around the world. I completed my career in the military and worked in molecular diagnostics sales and sales leadership for eight years before abandoning my traveling ways to pursue writing.” She earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University (emphasis: speculative fiction, romance) and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, where she also studied professional editing. She was an Editor at Orion’s Belt Magazine, a Priority Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine, and an intern at Entangled Publishing. She currently reads for Space and Time Magazine.
“Editing captures my heart,” she says, “as does building something from the ground up, like Intrepidus Ink. I like working with teams. Tapping into their genius makes Intrepidus Ink better and stronger.” That genius making up the Intrepidus Ink editorial team are Allison Renner, a freelance writer and editor who has previously worked as a graphic designer, MakerSpace teacher, and public and school librarian; Amanda Hurley who lives in Germany and has worked as a journalist in fast-paced newsrooms such as The Daily Telegraph in London, and Radio New Zealand in Wellington; Ellie Jacobson who, after twenty-five years of dreaming, decided “to go for it” by enrolling in the MFA program at SNHU to fulfill her dream of being a published novel writer and creative writing teacher; and Calie Voorhis, a short story author, poet, and editor who holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.
Together, this editorial team has a well-developed submissions management. Schlumpberger explains, “We use a custom-built platform that automates our process (meaning how stories move from place to place) from the submissions form through the steps required for refining a story for publishing. We respond to every submission (unless an author’s email isn’t entered correctly). Editors, including me, read and decide on every story. We use a competitive, two-step decision process. We share a templated response with authors whose stories we initially decline, but stories reaching my desk always receive positive feedback, i.e., I share tidbits about what I liked, and we turn stories around fast—usually in days. Second-step stories take longer.”
With the amount of work this involves, Schlumpberger identifies the motivation for starting a literary magazine was in her from a young age. “I adored my older sister, who was very logical, and I still remember the first time I realized we were different, which also defined how I saw myself from then on. I’d revealed an elaborate 4-H project plan to my sister, and she just smiled and said, ‘Oh, Rhonda, you’re such a dreamer.’ I didn’t know what a dreamer was and felt ashamed. (To be fair, it was a wild plan!) Much later, I realized my affinity for leading and managing big projects, teams, and organizations, envisioning strategies and tasks from start to finish. I was good at dreaming and following through, and I finally understood that I’m a builder. I like creating things and finding joy in delighting people. I like taking risks and watching programs grow as a result. I started a magazine to fulfill everything I enjoy: writing, editing, creating, and working synergistically with others.”
The passion has been equally rewarded, as Schlumpberger shares, “I adore our authors and interact with writers from all over the world! I learn so much from our writers. I also enjoy Intrepidus Ink‘s editors. Each one brings unique talents; all are highly skilled and easy to work with. They make the job of EIC fun! Negatives exist if one chooses that lens. I prefer to see opportunities in my learning curves. For example, I now know a great deal about social media and even use it unconventionally, such as when I conduct live author interviews on Twitter.”
Visitors to the publication can expect “stories that explore the intrepid culture. Fearlessness, danger elements, struggle, emotion, and overcoming—in big or small ways—define the tales. Gutsy words. Alarmingly individual.” Some recent contributors include MM Schreier, Dustin Walker, Matthew Goldberg, Mileva Anastasiadou, Matthew Pritt, Maureen Bowden, and Rashmi Agrawal.
Writers interested in submissions are encouraged to read these contributions and consider if their own writing has the fearlessness and fortitude to match Intrepidus Ink!