Sink Hollow is a landmark of Logan Canyon, at the mouth of which stands Utah State University and its iconic Old Main Building bell tower. In the canyon, Sink Hollow refers to a series of depressions that trap cold air, causing the hollows to be noticeably colder than the rest of the canyon. Visitors can expect to find frost on a July afternoon in the sinks.Read more...
Enticed? I certainly was, which is why I contacted Kelsey Mars, founder and sole editor of Heather, a new online indie literary publication, to learn more about this nakedness next to me in bed.
First – the name. "Heather," Kelsey tells me, “is a unique feminine name, as well as being a shade of purple and a color generally associated with alternative sexuality. I wanted Heather as a publication to embody all aspects of this, to draw up images of bad girls in pleated skirts and the back row of the movie theater.”
Publishing fiction, non-fiction and poetry as well as digital art, photography and film, readers can determine whether or not the content stands up to its namesake. The free, online PDF features poems “about subjects that might make you uncomfortable,” Kelsey warns, as well as “erotica, film to chew on, stories about robots, flash fiction to make you cry a single diamond tear.”
While new to this venture, Kelsey is a seasoned literary professional. “I've been published in Huffington Post: Queer Voices, Thought Catalog, Miscellany, Meat For Tea and am upcoming in Painted Bride. You can read my original screenplay, Gotham Summer, as I tweet it out: @gothamsummer. I studied Media Theory and Communications at the College of Charleston, where I was first introduced to flash fiction writing. Since then, I've written two novels and more poems and flash fiction than is healthy for one person. In the light of day, I work on the Customer Experience team at Casper Sleep and preach the good word of Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Never ask your art to pay for you.”
While involved in so much of her own writing,I asked Kelsey the motivation for adding this responsibility. “So many of us get rejection after rejection, often without knowing why. So many voices go unheard in this industry and it's a damn shame. I started Heather to publish the weird stuff, the stuff that other publications might not see as ‘premium’ or literary enough. I wanted experimental stuff, the weirdest thing someone has ever written. I wanted a home for that stuff.”
Writers looking to home their works should know that Kelsey manages submissions on a rolling basis, accepting works as they fit the arc of each issue, offering the work more than one shot, but releasing it if it hasn’t found its fit after two issue cycles. Heather accepts simultaneous submissions, which keeps the editorial process timely.
Already, Heather has been made home by authors such as Maggie Cooper, whose first published pieces of fiction appeared in Heather and, as Kelsey notes: “totally blew my mind”; Monique Quintana, a fiction editor herself “whose shit haunts my dreams” Kelsey says; and Kirsten Bledsoe, a filmmaker whom Kelsesy knew prior to Heather, who has made both a feature length series about queer women of color and a prodigious ode to Marilyn Monroe's poetry (which Heather published).
The future for Heather is boundless: “I want to go to Mars, dude,” Kelsey tells me with an edge of seriousness. “I want to see what's outside of our solar system. Send me poems, fiction, art about that stuff. The stuff that we don't even know yet. Let's go to uncharted territory and live to brag about it.” Back down on earth, Kelsey hopes to publish Heather three times this year and keep the publication going well beyond that.
In addition to the regular publishing cycle, Kelsey is planning a special holday issue. The publication is not holiday themed, “but rather what you actually want to be reading when you're avoiding your family over the holidays,” Kelsey says. “I'd like to publish more creative nonfiction in this issue, poetry about our fears, things like that.” Submissions accepted via Submittable; deadline November 27 to be published December 11.
As a final word, Kelsey encourages writers: “The most important thing I want people to take away from Heather is that you can do it to. You can publish the stuff YOU love. And if more of us do that, more of us will realize we're someone's favorite thing.”
As may seem obvious, the name Cherry Tree honors George Washington, but perhaps less well known, the editors share, is the fact that, “in 1782, Washington gifted ‘the College at Chester’ 50 guineas, consented to serve on its Board, and gave the educational institution permission to use his name. In the American imagination, George Washington is a figure who has come to represent both truth-telling and mythmaking. The famous story of the cherry tree—I can’t tell a lie, Pa; you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.—reminds us that there is truth even in invention, that even apocrypha can convey the facts of life.”
Truth be told, Cherry Tree is extremely well-staffed for a start-up publication. Jehanne Dubrow is the author of five poetry collections, including most recently The Arranged Marriage (UNMP 2015). Her scholarly and teaching interests include creative writing, formal poetry, prosody, American Jewish literature, Holocaust studies, and the graphic novel. Managing Editor Lindsay Lusby, winner of the 2015 Fairy Tale Review Award in Poetry, is Assistant Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and Assistant Editor of the Literary House Press. Poetry & Creative Nonfiction Editor James is Associate Professor of English at Washington College, and Fiction Editor Kate Kostelnik earned her Ph.D in English from the University of Nebraska and her MFA from the University of Montana and now teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Cherry Tree also involves a staff of student screeners serving the first round of reading for all submissions during the open reading period. Selected works are moved up to Senior Readers, and then Fiction Editor, and Poetry & Creative Nonfiction Editor. Dubrow makes the final determination about which pieces will be published. Student screeners are all undergraduate students at Washington College (or very recent graduates) who have successfully completed the English Department’s Literary Editing & Publishing class.
Writers interested in submitting to the publication will appreciate the publication's mission. According to the editors, "We are writers who value and publish well-crafted short stories, poems, and creative nonfiction essays that are not afraid to make us care. We want work that braves to be, that dares to be. We encourage well-informed work where the form understands its relationship with the content. We want pieces that seem wise, that are unafraid to confront topics that matter, and that speak with urgency, that beg for an ear to listen. We want to read vividly-drawn characters who challenge and enlarge our sympathy.”
Readers coming to Cherry Tree will find what the editors believe to be the best poems, short stories, and essays holding “the truth and lyricism of language above sentimentality and message-making” from both established and emerging writers. While readers may choose to “cherry-pick” pieces, the editors advocate reading a full issue from cover to cover, “because we always order the pieces in such a way as to create a sort of thematic story arc, making the reading experience more engrossing and meaningful.”
Previously published contributors include Rick Barot, Jericho Brown, Jennifer S. Cheng, Claudia Emerson, Vievee Francis, Anna Journey, Julie Kane, Roy Kesey, Matthew Lippman, Paul Lisicky, Matthew Olzmann, Emilia Phillips, sam sax, Bruce Snider, and Julie Marie Wade.
Cherry Tree opens for general submissions in the categories of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from August 15 to October 15 each year via Submittable only.
What’s with 3288? Purely a Michigan thing, as Editor-in-Chief John Winkelman tells me: “We wanted a name which reflected something about Michigan. Based on a survey done in 2000, Michigan has a total of 3,288 miles of coastline (including islands). However, with the rise in water levels over recent years, we may need to revisit this.”
A project of Caffeinated Press, established in 2014 as an independent publisher serving the authors and readers of the West Michigan community, The 3288 Review is dedicated to finding and showcasing literary and artistic talent with a particular focus on West Michigan. Winkelman explains the publication’s philosophy, “Literary journals provide a good point of entry for new writers, and can be more narrowly focused than can publishing companies as a whole. We feel that West Michigan talent is under-represented in the larger literary world, and we want to do something about that.”
Working alongside the editor-in-chief are Jason Gillikin (fiction editor), Elyse Wild (nonfiction editor), and Leigh Jajuga (poetry editor) who read all submissions blind, providing input and feedback. Accepted submissions are then “curated" for individual issues.
The 3288 Review readers can expect to find finely crafted arts and letters, with that particular focus on talent from West Michigan. Some recent contributors include Lisa Gundry, Jennifer Clark, Mary Buchinger, Z.G. Tomaszewski, Robert Knox, J.M. Leija, Elyse Wild, and Matthew Olson-Roy. The 3288 Review also just nominated two of their published writers for the Pushcart Prize: J.M. Leija, for her essay "Tacet" from issue 1.1, and Matthew Olson-Roy, for his short story "Our Monstrous Family" from issue 1.2.
Winkelman tells me that future plans for 2016 include a broader scope to include regional journalism and long-form interviews.
Submissions are accepted through the publication’s website on a rolling basis with deadlines for inclusion in each issue - roughly a month before the publication date.
Founding Editors Liesl Nunns & Laura McNeur comment on their motivation for starting up a literary magazine, “We wanted to create a journal that gives voice to aspiring writers alongside established authors, offering a platform for first-time publication. New Zealand is home to remarkable literary talent, and Headland is a springboard for writers to explore and develop their potential, and showcase their early-career works.”
To support this focus on new writers, the editors offer this encouraging insight on their submissions page: “If we are umm-ing and aah-ing over whether to select your piece, it may just tip the balance in its favour if we know that we have the opportunity to introduce a new voice and, hopefully, make someone’s day.”
Choosing the name Headland, the editors meld both their local and global interests, “We wanted a name that invoked a very New Zealand sense of place and also looked outward to the rest of the world. For us, Headland not only does this, it touches on the limb writers go out on when they submit, on the experience readers have when lost in a good story, compelled to finish, and the place where the story lingers long after the last word is read."
Readers who come to the publication can already find great variety among the three issues of published authors. “We're very upfront about the fact that we publish what we love,” say the editors. “Readers can expect to find stories that they'll remember. Stories that take them places, and works that strike a chord in some way."
Some featured authors include Alex Reece Abbott, Michelle Elvy, Nod Ghosh, Heather McQuillan, Sian Robyns, Trish Harris, Rupa Maitra, Patrick Pink, Bonnie Etherington, Becca Joyce, Ignacio Bayardo Peña, and Jillian Sullivan [pictured]. The editors will soon be announcing their Best Story, and Best Story by an Unpublished Author for 2015. Headland will also feature a few contributors on their blog for each issue, exploring a different aspect of writing.
Headland accepts short literary fiction and creative non-fiction pieces between 2000-5000 words. The next deadline is Friday 11 December 2015. The editors plan to run another special issue featuring flash fiction alongside their regular content. Submissions are accepted by e-mail.
Editor Ellen Blum Barish [pictured] has taught writing in Chicago-area universities, including Northwestern, where she draws her motivation to create this new publication: “The beautiful work of some of my writing students sparked my desire to publish emerging writers and build a community with established ones.”
The title comes from Barish’s attraction to the word thread: “for its multiple meanings, as a term we use to talk about what writing is about, the material that connects pieces together as well as the act of connecting them, and as a string of human conversation.”
But she also sees the publication as creating something even more rich for the readers to experience. The publication will offer readers, “Stories from life turned into art, accompanied by photographs that deepen and enrich those stories.”
Some past contributors include Robert Root, Lee Reilly, Randy Osborne, and Ona Gritz, and the upcoming issue will feature Roberto Loiederman, Annette Gendler, and Tom McGoehy.
Barish looks forward to the continuation of the publication, noting “I’m thinking about adding a flash nonfiction category and possibly a theme issue.”
Thread accepts submissions every day of the year by email, though Barish advises potential contributors, “To get a good sense of the publication, I urge writers to read at least two issues before submitting a piece of work to Thread.” See the website for full submission details.
Founding/Managing Editor Caseyrenée Lopez and Fiction Editor Ella Ann Weaver oversee the publication of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, flash fiction, interviews, art/photography, and experimental/hybrid work. They will consider audio/video of readings, but it's not something they've published regularly.
The motivation for starting CFLM, Caseyrenée tells me, was "to join the conversation. My educational background is focused on queer writing/publishing, and supporting minority voices was the next step for me. I also wanted to see what was out there; starting Crab Fat has provided me with interactions and experience I wouldn't have gained otherwise."
Most intriguing to me is that name – Crab Fat. Where on earth did that come from? Caseyrenée says, "I wanted something memorable and cool, but was struggling to find something that would vibe with my goal of highlighting awkward/experimental/queer prose and poetry. A few days before I committed to buying a domain, my husband and I were at breakfast and started calling out random phrases and obscure words. He suggested 'crab fat' because we'd been listening to Crudbump's Illuminati Shit. Our favorite line in the song is 'rock a big gut, that's my crab fat' and we'd been making jokes about his chubby belly being 'crab fat.' So really, the name Crab Fat is a weird mashup of rap lyrics and body positivity."
In keeping with the unique name, readers can expect to find "a little bit of this and a little bit of that," Caseyrenée tells me. "We feature a wide variety of voices and offer an eclectic mix of contemporary content. We are progressive and like to publish work that goes against the grain of mainstream." To that end, during their first year CFLM has featured writing from Adam Kuta, Edward A. Boyle, D.S. West, Haley Fedor, Alana I. Capria, Philicia Montgomery, and Susannah Betts.
The future for CFLM will include pushing the genre limits and incorporating more experimental work into the magazine. "We want work that breaks conventions and makes us question what we know about genre" says Caseyrenée, "so we are actively reaching out to a wider audience than before. We are also trying to raise money through tip-jar submissions, a GoFundMe campaign, a cool image prompt contest, and sales of our print anthology. We want to pay writers for their work, even if it is just a token payment, to show that we appreciate all of their hard work." Crab Fat also actively works to recognize writers through nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.
CFLM's print anthology is published under the Damaged Goods Press imprint. Caseyrenée is the founder of both, so in a sense, they're sister sites/publications. The quarterly magazine is available as PDF and print, and the every other Sunday installments on available online. Submissions are accepted a rolling basis using Submittable.
"Polychrome Ink is run by a group of diverse friends," Executive Editor Em Salgado explained to me. "We met due to a mutual love of literature. During frequent literary discussions, we often noticed a shortage of characters that represented any of our individual diversity points, which only further highlighted what we felt was lacking. The need to see ourselves normalized in the literature being produced and the literature we love became our raison d'être. Eventually we grew tired of simply talking about it and decided to take matters into our own hands."
At the editorial helm along with Em are Associate Editor Zire Fournier, Copy Editor Kimmia Masterson, and Assistant Associate Editor Zaira Fournier. Additionally, Polychrome Ink currently has eight specialty editors who assist with topics and themes in which they have experience. For example, if Polychrome Ink receives a submission with any of the following themes: gay male, genderqueer, religious, neuroatypical — the editors send that submission to Aaron for review because he, himself, is a gay neuroatypical genderqueer individual who studies theology.
Unique to this publication, writers who submit may choose the editor that they feel best suits their work. Em explained, "The process of selecting an editor with the appropriate diversity points and literary interests helps to assure writers that their submission is being reviewed by someone that their work will resonate with the most — thus making the relationship between writer and editor more personal."
Even the name Polychrome Ink speaks to the diversity of the publication: "We were looking for a moniker that represented diversity," Em said, "and by extension, diversity in writing. Polychrome means multicolored, yet does not have the same connotation as rainbow, since our demographic extends beyond LGBTQIA+ themes. And Ink, of course, represents the writing itself."
Readers of Polychrome Ink can expect to find a collection of short fiction, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, essays, and poetry written by diverse authors and/or with diverse themes. Em explains that "Polychrome Ink seeks to share authentic voices and quality literature, covering an array of genres and topics, with the hopes that the work resonates with readers."
For their inaugural issue, the featured author was Tessa Gratton, alongside Emma Mauze, Frances Kimpel, D. Michael Warren, Shana Bulhan Haydock, David Perlmutter, Yuan Changming, Anders Scott, Jan Steckel, Robin Wyatt Dunn, Courtney Hamel, Kim Luna, Jaycee Boydgarcia, Alex Franco, Malcolm Friend, and Stephen Mead.
"In terms of the future," Em told me, "we will continue providing an outlet and resource for writers and readers alike. We would like to be amidst the publications everyone looks to for original diverse literature. We also have plans to expand our staff — thus broadening the diverse spectrum of our editorial team."
Polychrome Ink accepts submissions via email and is approaching the end of the submission period for Volume II — which releases in October. (Submissions close July 31.) There is no reading fee and the publication is a paying market with hopes that as readership grows, so will the compensation to writers.
Publishing quarterly fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art, including cartoons, the current issue of The Tishman Review is available for free online. All issues are available to purchase as an e-book and in print-on-demand.
Porter tells me they started a magazine "to be DIFFERENT. We wanted to pay our contributors, we wanted to be hands-on editors—not only reading everything that comes in (and often providing feedback) but also editing accepted pieces, we wanted to be open to what authors are creating rather than having pre-determined ideas of what they should be writing."
As a result of their up-to-elbows approach, readers can expect to find a selection of poetry, prose and art that "speaks to the human condition" and "hopefully elicits a response, whether it be emotional or intellectual."
There have been no preset themes for submissions, though themes have appeared from among the works once they have been selected for publication. The editors shared, "We do like to publish work that challenges the 'isms of sex, race, age, etc."
Among those writers whose works have been selected, in poetry: Lauren Davis, Ace Boggess, Barrett Warner, Karla Van Vliet and Jennifer Martelli; in fiction: Tamas Dobozy, Amanda Pauley, Laura Jean Schneider, Lee L. Krecklow, James English, and Mercedes Lawry; in creative nonfiction: Robert Vivian, Jayne Guertin, and Kerrin O'Sullivan.
For the July issue, The Tishman Review will begin mini-contests in which readers (on our website) and the staff vote for their favorite piece in each genre and contributors will win prize monies. The editors hope to continue working on the publication's financial standing so as to increase contributor payments.
All poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions can be made through Submittable. There is a fee to submit works, which the editors felt a need to comment on: "There is a lot of controversy surrounding submission fees. On our website we've posted a Code of Ethics for our journal as we do charge a submission fee. We want each submitter to see what they are paying for. We also host regular no fee submission days that we announce through social media. We do not charge a submission fee for art or craft blog posts."
The Tishman Review also accepts submissions of book reviews and craft essays for the Craft Talk Blog (there is no pay for these contributors, but the byline is worth it – the blog already has some excellent content that has been featured on NewPages), as well as cover art, interior black and white art, and cartoons.
Shaun explains: "Writing Maps are created to suit writers of all genres and levels. Writing Maps are devised to inspire stories, spice up your writing routine, expand your work, develop work-in progress, and make sure you have writerly fun in ways that'll surprise you." There are currently 16 maps available with more planned, such as Writing School Map and Write Around the Garden.
In addition to the Writing Maps, Shaun is editor of The A3 Review, a publication folded in the same style as the maps, featuring poetry and prose with a 150 word limit. With room for a cover and back cover, 14 writer's works can be featured in each publication. The contributors come from a monthly writing contest in response to changing prompts. Current and upcoming prompts: Green Things; Journeys; Hands. Contest winners receive a cash prize, with two works selected each month for publication in The A3 Review.