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Fifth Annual High School Writing Contest Winners Selected

Contact: June Saraceno
jsaraceno [at] sierranevada [dot] edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Incline Village, Nevada) Sierra Nevada College’s English Program has announced the winners of the 5th annual High School Writing Contest, a national competition which honors high school juniors and seniors in three categories: creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry.

The winners receive a cash prize, an invitation to the awards ceremony on Jan. 9, a scholarship offer from Sierra Nevada College, a private, non-profit four-year university in Incline Village, Nevada, and possible publication in the Sierra Nevada Review.

Bryce Bullins, managing editor for the Sierra Nevada Review said, “Selecting just a few winners from such a large pool was an especially difficult process considering the caliber of work these young writers submitted.”

Creative writing professors and Sierra Nevada Review staff evaluated a record number of submissions. Chosen from over 525 entries, the winning submissions came from students across the United States, including Maryland, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, and New Jersey.

“I am inspired and energized after reading these diverse and passionate stories. The future of the written word is clearly in good hands,” said Gayle Brandeis, the college’s Distinguished Writer in Residence and an award-winning novelist.

In creative nonfiction, first place went to Lindsay Emi, Westlake Village, California, for “Latin Class in Seven (VII) Parts.” Second place went to Darla Macel Anne Canales, Erie, Colorado, for “Oven.” Third place went to Gabriel Braunstein, Arlington, Massachusetts, for “Family on the Commuter Rail.” The nonfiction Local’s Prize went to Isabella Stenvall, San Luis Obispo, California, for “Wars with Numbers.”

Finalists in creative nonfiction were Emily Zhang, for “Family History,” Oriana Tang for “Sister,” Aletheia Wang for “Scar,” Jack Priessman for “A Merciless Deed,” and Annie Harmon for “Reflected.”

In fiction, first place went to Emily Zhang, Boyds, Maryland, for “Midwestern Myth.” Second place went to Lucy Silbaugh, Wyncote, Pennsylvania, for “Burrowing.” Third place went to Laura Ingram, Disputanta, Virginia, for “Absolute Value.” The fiction Local’s Prize went to Erin Stoodley, Ventura, California, for “Ghosts.”

Finalists in fiction were Lindsay Emi for “For My Daughter,” Jessica Li for “Ellen and Su-Ji,” Tatiana Saleh for “Laundry,” Madison Hoffman for “Genderfuck,” and Oriana Tang for “Lara.”

In poetry, first place went to Oriana Tang, Livingston, New Jersey, for “Bildungsroman.” Second place went to Catherine Valdez, Miami, Florida, for “Mami.” Third place went to Ruohan Miao, Chandler, Arizona, for “Dust Bowl.” The poetry Local’s Prize went to Ava Goga, Reno, Nevada, for “Notes on Repression.”

Finalists in poetry were Emily Zhang for “Transitory,” Katia Kozachok for “Primordial Roar,” Allie Spensley for “Palo Verde,” Emma Symmonds for “Purging,” and Jessica Prescott for “Daughter of Zeus, Lover of Mine.”

Winners in each category received $500 for first place, $250 for second and $100 for third. The Local’s Prize honored student writers from Nevada and California with a $100 prize. These students are also eligible for a $20,000 scholarship to attend Sierra Nevada College.

The winning students have been invited to read their work in an awards ceremony on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 at Sierra Nevada College alongside highly acclaimed writers Suzanne Roberts and Alan Heathcock. They will be reading at 7 p.m. Friday in Sierra Nevada College’s Prim Library as part of the college’s low residency MFA creative writing program.

The Sierra Nevada Review’s annual issue publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by emerging and nationally recognized authors. All High School Writing Contest winners will be considered for publication in the 2015 issue, which releases in May.

The 6th annual High School Writing Contest runs Sept. 1-Nov. 1, 2015. Guidelines can be found at http://www.sierranevada.edu/writer

Black Rock Press Visit

by Tom Loeschner

 

On Wednesday morning Sierra Nevada Review staff members paid a visit to the local press, Black Rock Press, at University of Nevada Reno. Staff members Amy and Inge run the Press and teach bookmaking to students at UNR.

black rock press

 

Machines dot the concrete floor of the lower room in the Jot Travis Building. The press shop is a wonderful world of flywheels, oscillating ink rollers, and 100,000’s of metal and wood types. Some of the printing presses date back to the last century while others are newer.

Various hand crafted books made in house are on display.Holding a handcrafted book by Black Rock Press gives the same experience as seeing a new painting or feeling a handmade ceramic bowl, you can see and feel the work that went into it.

black rock press 2

The vibrancy of the ink, the layout of the fonts, unique bindings and the texture of quality paper gives their books a truly artisan feel.

Black Rock Press 3

__________________

Tom Loeschner Loeschneris an aspiring writer and student at Sierra Nevada College. While Tom is an Incline Village, Nevada native, he has lived in both Washington and California. Tom enjoys writing creative non-fiction, climbing, fly fishing, and spending time with his wife, Andrea, and their dog, Munchichi.

Announcing the 2014-2015 Sierra Nevada Review Editors

Welcome to our new student editors:

Rebecca Victoria Ramirez Ramirezholds a BA in English, graduating Cum Laude, from California State University, Stanislaus. She is currently pursing her MFA in Creative Writing at Sierra Nevada College. She is a writer of both poetry and non-fiction, with poetry from her youth being published in her city’s anthologies. She resides with her four children and partner in Northern California.

 

 

 

Bryce Bullins Bryce2is a first year graduate student focusing on poetry but has worked previously on the Sierra Nevada Review as an undergraduate student. He received his BA in English with a minor in Music from Sierra Nevada College in 2014. Bryce currently lives in Pahrump, NV. 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Gonzalez Gonzalezis a Junior attending Sierra Nevada College as a Creative Writing major. He currently resides in Incline Village Nevada, but he is originally from Sacramento California. His focus is in fictional writing and has completed two novel manuscripts. One day he envisions himself not only writing books, but he wants to own two restaurants as well.

 

 

 

Tom Loeschner Loeschneris an aspiring writer and student at Sierra Nevada College. While Tom is an Incline Village, Nevada native, he has lived in both Washington and California. Tom enjoys writing creative non-fiction, climbing, fly fishing, and spending time with his wife, Andrea, and their dog, Munchichi.

 

 

 

 

Meredith Crosby Crosbyresides on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in California but calls South Carolina home. She is currently a senior at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada. She will graduate with a Bachelors in English and a minor in creative writing. An avid hiker and nature enthusiast, Meredith can be found most days wandering with her pitbull rescue mix, Prudence, in Tahoe’s pristine wilderness. She also has a contemporary dance background and is an aspiring yogi.

 

Courtney Berti Courtney Bertigraduated from Sierra Nevada College with her BFA in Creative Writing. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction. She lives in South Lake Tahoe with her hairy boyfriend and her fuzzy dog who both have a tendency to resent her very hairless laptop.

 

2013 High School Writing Contest Winners Announced

After much deliberation by the Sierra Nevada Review faculty, undergraduate editors, and graduate editors, Sierra Nevada College is very happy to announce the winners of the fourth annual creative writing contest for high school students.

Over 325 students submitted work, most with entries in more than one category and submissions came from across the country. The readers were all impressed by the quality of writing from the finalists, and it was a difficult decision in each category.

The winners will be hosted for an awards ceremony on Friday, January 10 to congratulate and acquaint them with SNC. All students who submitted entries are invited to the Awards Ceremony. Winners will also receive a cash prize and be offered a scholarship to SNC.

 

WINNERS AND FINALISTS FOR THE
 2013 HIGH SCHOOL WRITING CONTEST

 

Poetry

 

First place = How to Mix Native Blood with Foreign Water: A Lab by Dalia Ahmed

Second place = Dream in Which the Moon is replaced by my grandfather’s lymphoma tumor by Talin Tahajian

Third place = Concavity of Checkmate by Hanel Baveja

 

Local’s winner = Mitosis by Stephanie Hsu, Fremont, CA

 

Fiction

 

First place = Kindergarten by Alexa Derman

Second place = The 29 by Catrina Sun Tan

Third place = Moon Country by Nick Burns

 

Local winner = The Countdown by Sara Lagen (Monterey CA area)

 

Nonfiction

 

First place = A Reality on a Friday Night by Jenny Jung

Second place = How to Be Holy by Allison Light

Third place = Camp by Tyler Randazzo

 

Death of a Dogfish = Local’s Prize Eloise Perrochet (Northridge, CA)

 

 

What to Do When You’re a Genre Writer, cont…

Highlight: Tracking and Etiquette

by Crystal Miller

Staying on Track

Once you have discovered the right places to submit, you must focus some energy on organizing all of that information. Keeping track of when, where, and what you have submitted can quickly get out of hand if you do not have a system in place. If you are computer savvy, (good for you!) an Excel spreadsheet can be your best friend. Excel does, however, require a certain amount of knowhow when setting up a new spreadsheet. For example, you can calculate an expected response date for your submissions by creating a formula that gives you the date that falls six months following your submission (or however long the expected response time may be for that journal). If you know how to create a spreadsheet, insert formulas and successfully format a customized template, that is great – but unfortunately not everyone is so technically inclined. If you fall toward the less inclined end of the spectrum (like I did), do not fret. You can take a class to learn Excel, ask a friend or check out the links posted below. In fact, if you open Excel on your computer, in the upper right hand corner of your screen there is a blue circle with a white question mark in it – clicking on it will take you to Microsoft’s help site where you can watch a number of tutorials. When I started using Excel, my spreadsheets were pretty primitive with Magazine titles, story titles and dates submitted. Over time, I became a little more comfortable with the program and added fees, re-submission schedules and rejections/acceptances. You may also utilize the icons that ascend, descend and/or alphabetize the columns. You’ll get the hang of it if you are willing to stick with it and have the desire to dedicate the time, and on the upside – once your formatting is finished you will have a customized tracking form that you can easily duplicate and/or expand to fit your growing needs.

 

However if, despite the customization and ease of access on your computer, you find all of that entirely too daunting there are other avenues to explore. Many sites have been established to help writers track submissions and stay organized.

Submission Managers:

 

Free

Luminary Writer’s Database – www.writersdb.com – you can track submissions, find markets and chart your writing. Each aforementioned feature is thoroughly explained and optional so you can pick-and-choose features.

Excel – http://spreadsheets.about.com/od/excel101/a/Excel_beg_guide.htm (you can learn, I promise) – This article on About.com, titled “How to Use Excel – Excel Tutorials for Beginners,” is a straight forward, no frills approach to learning Excel.

–          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBT_sBzFcOA – “Computer Help: How to Use Excel” is an easy visual tool for learning Excel basics.

 

Fee-based

Duotrope – $5/month https://duotrope.com/index.aspx – Duotrope exists to help writers help themselves. This site offers a submissions tracker, data reports, a literary search engine and best of all they offer a “calendar of upcoming themes” to get you on an inspirational cycle.

Writer’s Market – $5.99/month http://www.writersmarket.com/ – Writer’s Market offers subscribers extensive listings that include publishers, agents, magazines and contests along with organizational tools like personalized folders, electronic records and reference articles. One other thing that Writer’s Market does is show you a side-by-side comparison of how their listings differ from their competitors’.

 

Other Things to Consider

While staying on top of things and being organized is crucial to your personal success and sanity, there are a few other things that should be taken into consideration – like etiquette.

  • Do not submit more than once during a writing period unless the guidelines clearly state that that sort of thing is acceptable. (If nothing is said, it is not acceptable)
  • Wait at least six months between accepted submissions. It is important to stay on everyone’s good side and to show courtesy and consideration. Do not be an eager beaver and flood their inbox.
  • Address cover letters accordingly – it only takes a couple of minutes to look up who will be reading your piece. A little personalization can go a long way. Think of it as a résumé cover letter – it is very similar.

 

The writing world can be a fickle mistress. Always do your homework, proceed with caution and cling to your optimism. You will get rejection letters. They are part of the process. Keep them. File them away (or jam them onto a large nail above your desk for motivation like a very young Stephen King) and press on. Every successful writer has been rejected more times than they would like to think about. You will be rejected, too. Hang in there and above all, write on!

Journal Review: Area Sneaks

by Laurie Macfee

Area Sneaks
Published by Poetic Research Bureau
$15.00 per issue
Los Angeles, CA
www.areasneaks.com
ISBN 1939-4152

I just finished writing about The Georgia Review, one of the US’s “finer literary journals.” It is elegant and timeless. I wanted to take time to look at another part of the spectrum with a journal published in Los Angeles called Area Sneaks.  Two issues fell into my hands earlier this month, one from 2008 and the other from 2009. If The Georgia Review is a Merchant Ivory film, then Area Sneaks is an early David Lynch spectacular.

But perhaps that is not a fair comparison. The two journals have different reasons for being: one has published the best of literary tradition for almost 70 years, and was 5th in Pushcart Prize ratings for poetry last year, 6th in fiction.  The other is a cutting edge, pop-up, art-lit mag with completely different aims, as outlined on their website:

AREASNEAKS, a new print and online journal, seeks to touch the live wire where language and visual art meet…. Gertrude Stein’s Paris artist salon, Velemir Khlebnikov and Vladimir Tatlin’s constructive collaboration, Bernadette Mayer and Vito Acconci’s editorial partnership, Augusto de Campos’s concrete engagement with Brazilian modernism and Mike Kelley’s interest in systems of literary knowledge have each provided potential models of positive exchange between artists and writers. AREA SNEAKS hopes to maintain this dialogue by creating a fellowship of discourse within an open community of contemporary artists and writers.

Belatedly, I found out these are the only two issues produced. Which is entirely too bad, as it seems the editors Joseph Mosconi and Rita Gonzalez were stirring up a wicked and fearless brew.

8

Issue 1: 2008/187 pps.

In the first issue alone there is a 22 pg interview between visual artist Stephanie Taylor with Kathryn Andrews and Michael Ned Holt, which features her sound/photo/sculptural installations in Berlin, creating a narrative over time. There is a new, “Improvisational Score,” by Sawako Nakayasu, a stunning performance poetry piece. You will find the 16 pg “Tearoom Texts: Project,” by William E. Jones, that presents research and clandestine documentary footage shot by police, leading to a crack down on public homosexual sex in the 1960s. There is a 24 pg translated and layered poem, “The Cape of Good Hope,” by French poet Emmanuel Hocquard, written in 18 parts, as well as a prose poem in segments by experimental writer/artist K. Lorraine Graham, which stretches to 7 pages.

Area Sneaks isn’t afraid of length, or depth.  It is not afraid of grainy photographs of men having sex in a public bathroom in Mansfield, Ohio. It unabashedly embraces the concept of hybrid. It lives in a world where there aren’t as many rules, or perhaps the rules are made to be broken. The second issue includes visual poetry experiments, a visual poetry forum, news drawings, and an essay entitled, “From Man’s Wars and Wickedness: A Book of Proposed Remedies and Extreme Formulations for Curing Hostility, Rivalry, and Ill Will”.  Artists interview writers, writers talk with artists; writers use images, artists use words in their compositions, or they work together in collaboration and present image and text side by side. It is part art journal, part lit mag, and part wonderful.

This may be a “temporary” magazine project that may pop back up at another time, but it looks and feels weighty, and substantial. The matte text paper is of beautiful quality, the reproductions are clean, the covers have full-bleed artwork with no title, except on the spine.  The back covers feature a list of artists and authors, the title, and the issue number.

Speaking of lists, another thing Area Sneaks is not afraid of: women. In the first issue, seven women were represented out of 18 contributors, or 38%. But in the second issue, out of 29 contributors, 14 were women, or an increase to 48%. Contrast that to The Georgia Review’s paltry 25% representation of female writers in the pages of last summer’s issue.

Interestingly, Area Sneaks is also a participating partner of the Poetic Research Bureau (http://www.poeticresearch.com), or perhaps it is better to say that the PRB is a literary umbrella for projects such as Area Sneaks.  About the Bureau (from their website):

As a research bloc, the PRB attempts to cultivate composition, publication and distribution strategies that enlarge the public domain. It favors appropriations, impersonations, ‘compost’ poetries, belated conversations, unprintable jokes and doodles, ‘unoriginal’ literature, historical thefts and pastiche. The publication emphasis is on ephemeral works, short-run magazines and folios, short-lived reprints and excerpts in print-on-demand formats, and the occasional literary fetish objects of stupidly incomparable price and value.

Hidden in the center is the phrase “short-run magazines.” I hope they mean the print run of Area Sneaks is short, that each of these issues is a treasure to be hoarded, and not that that the magazine itself is short-run, or on the way out. Since the last issue was four years ago, that may be the case. [see postscript]

30

Issue 2: 2009/174 pps.

Creating these epic intersections of people and their passions – a community of discourse – must have been a herculean labor of love. It provides a model of what is possible between visual/written/spoken languages. Like all real relationships, or conversations, it is messy and occasionally unsuccessful. But it is in the reaching out, in the making of the bridge, that this journal succeeds wildly. Each of these two issues of Area Sneaks is itself a collaborative art piece. I hope Mosconi and Rodriguez have had a nice hiatus and can get back to it soon, with renewed vigor.

Area Sneaks makes more things possible. Area Sneaks is dead. Long live Area Sneaks.

[postscript: Area Sneaks lives! I wrote to the editor, Joseph Mosconi, to check on what short-run might mean. He got back to me to say they are working on new issues:

“we’re going to focus on less expensive zine-like editions, each with an artist and writer collaboration, interview or pairing, that we can publish on an ad-hoc basis as we receive the submissions. They can then be collected in a box set once the number of editions (10 or so) are complete, and that will complete the third issue. They will be printed and for sale but also appear as free downloadable PDFs. Look for the first ones in January.”

So after the New Year’s bubbly has worn off, check in with www.areasneaks.com! Or better yet, find an artist to collaborate with and send in a submission…]

 

Heavyweight Match: Digital vs. Paper Journals

By Bryce Bullins

There is an increasing shift within literary journal publishers and owners over print vs. electronic media. Some journals, like Superstition Review, staunchly support publishing only electronic editions, as it adheres to their mission as a journal, while others, such as Dirtflask will tarry the line and offer both print and digital, seeking to expand the physical edition with new and fascinating gimmicks or calling cards (Dirtflask sends it’s “print copy” in a literal glass flask of dirt), thus making the physical copy more desirable. In a world where we have access to increasingly cheap and borderline ubiquitous technology, the face of lit mags and journals and their corresponding publishers is changing.

There are understandable arguments on either side. On the electronic front we have a decent reduction of costs. The compiling of a PDF document may very well be only the cost of a designing program such as Adobe’s InDesign®, if there is someone in-house who is able to use it, or the labor cost of commissioning a third-party. There are some hurdles to overcome, such as a digital store, but with the slew of options available to the end-user now, most of said hurdles can be overcome in a matter of days. More pertinently, a digital edition will exist forever in some form, somewhere. Even now we are seeing an ever increasing influx of what were considered out-of-print works being revitalized into digital editions (Project Gutenberg, Archive.org for example) thus making archiving easier for journals who already have a sizable back catalog.

Tablets and e-readers are a becoming an increasingly popular way to consume all forms of media. Photo courtesy of Melenita2012 via Flickr for use under CC License

Tablets and e-readers are a becoming an increasingly popular way to consume all forms of media. Photo courtesy of Melenita2012 via Flickr for use under CC License

       On the print front, many simply prefer the feel of a book in their hand, something palpable rather than a glowing screen staring back at you. The very text has texture, as it were. The costs are higher but there is another, and admittedly more profitable, angle. Most serials departments at universities and colleges across the country, moreover the world, utilize print editions to stock their shelves. These subscriptions cost and thus the publisher can recoup some of its printing costs. Some libraries will fluff their shelves with check-out digital editions but by and large most periodicals found in libraries are in print form. The print cost is higher but there are several highly competitive printers out there that will print 100+ books for roughly $4.95 a book. A “book” in this case being defined as roughly 48 to 800+ pages, at least by Dog Ear Publishing standards.

There is a trend for smaller journals to tend toward electronic publications for various reasons: financial, environmental, experimental, etc. I interviewed Trish Coleen Murphy, founding editor of Superstition Review, Arizona State University’s online-only literary journal to ask her about why they elected that route:

BB:  Superstition Review seems to have taken a firm root in electronic only publishing. What was the biggest draw for producing a digital only literary journal?

TCM: I started the magazine in 2008 as a teaching tool for our undergraduate students. We are a polytechnic campus, so our focus is on the intersection of humanities and technology. My students gain knowledge about the literary and arts community. They also learn how to use Drupal, WordPress, Photoshop, InDesign, Vertical Response, and other tools that will become even more important to them when they enter the job market. I designed the magazine the way that I did because I have an MFA in poetry, but I also have extensive tech and web design skills from years of online teaching. I also have a strong commitment to sustainability and have been teaching paperless classes since 1998.

BB:  Superstition has a social media presence on basically every social media network in existence. Do you feel it is necessary for a journal to be present on so many sites? Also, do you find that in doing so your reader base has increased by a large amount?

TCM: I don’t think it’s necessary for a journal to be present on so many networks—lit mags have diverse missions.

We are active on 9 networks: Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, iTunes U, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube (we also maintain a blog). For my magazine, using social networks is a way to train students to learn more about the contemporary literary and arts community while also giving them valuable skills in technology.

Part of why we’re on so many networks is because there ARE thriving literary and arts communities on each one. My students learn by reading Tweets and status updates by other lit mags and by authors and artists who are working right now all over the world. I feel very strongly that my students need to learn about contemporary trends in writing and publishing. Social Networks offer a real-time reflection of those trends, written by the people who are leaders in the field.

Also, one of my main goals is to mentor my students. I’ve had several students attain competitive positions at social marketing firms after graduation. One student who ran our Twitter feed for a semester got an amazing job running social networks for celebrities. Many of the networks we maintain were student driven: Our Tumblr, Pinterest, and iTunes U channel were started by students who came to me and said, “I think I can use this tool to enhance the content we’re offering our audience.” And I said, “go ahead and try it.” And I feel strongly that each of those networks has greatly enhanced what we offer.

Our networks allow us to offer a lot of supplemental content, which is important since we only publish issues twice a year. And it has increased our readership exponentially. It has also given us wonderful opportunities: we organized a reading by Franz Wright after he contacted us on Facebook, and we conducted an interview with David Shields after he tweeted us to ask if we would do so.

BB: As the digital trend continues to flourish do you see other journals going to a digital only subscription if enough smaller presses and independent journals do so as well?

TCM: Some lit mags are print and will stay that way. Some lit mags are online and will stay that way. Some print mags will go online because it’s cheaper and saves trees and is an easy and current model.

After hearing Trish’s ideas on digital media, the future looks to be grounded there. While there may always still be print-only journals, I don’t foresee this current digital revolution stalling or falling by the wayside any time soon. In fact I only see it flourishing even more as time moves forwards. Physical journals, much like Dirtflask mentioned earlier, will need to find innovative ways to keep customers consuming a physical product. At the end of the day, innovation on both fronts really isn’t a bad way to go. No winners, no losers, just a flux of words and the ways they are revealed to us, the readers.

What to do When You’re a Genre Writer

Highlight: Horror

Miller_bred2by Crystal Miller

 

Being a genre writer can produce hurdles in your publishing prowess. I could produce an endless list of agents, sites and magazines that state, “no genre pieces, please.” Insert deep sigh. At least they said “please,” right? It’s enough to drive any sane writer right over a cliff. However, despite the troubles that seem to be ever mounting for writers, there is some relief if we roll up our sleeves and do a little digging – okay, a lot of digging.

 

Accepting Your Genre-Specific Persecutions

Horror writers often get a bad rep just for carrying the title associated with their genre. We may write other things, but horror just happens to be our sweet spot – the dark spot where we shine. Another pesky little thing: we are also not science fiction or fantasy writers – not that there is anything wrong with that. However, that is apparently the group to which we have been assigned. It is hard to find a press, electronic or otherwise, that does not lump these three genres together. Perhaps during the early genre-assigning-days all three topics were much less common and the speculative nature was enough of a commonality. So what to do when you are lumped into a category that is limited and you’re only a fraction of that? Like those who struggled before us, (picture a budding Stephen King here) you make the best of it and if you really, really, really want it, you will go out there and make it happen.

In an effort to stand out amongst your peers (sci-fi and fantasy writers included) you need to pay particular attention to how your writing fits into any possible environment. What does this mean? Like any other writer, not every venue fits or even wants to read your work. Therefore, in an effort not to waste anyone’s time, an editor’s or your own, do your homework. Read, read, read! If you have not read the magazine, do not submit to it. If you have not read anything produced by them, you cannot possibly know what they like.

 

Where to Turn

Miller_pencil-pusher-1235996-m

Literary magazines often shun us, agents deny us, and the stigma of being a “genre writer” in and of itself haunts us. There is a light at the end of the treacherously winding tunnel though if you are determined enough to trudge there and there are resources that do include us if we peer into the crevices. Yay! One of the first things to do is find a database that suits you. I am particularly fond of The Review Review (http://thereviewreview.net/). It is an invaluable resource – despite the fact that you have to manually comb through their many, many listings alphabetically – they are a supplier of presses of every kind. There will be fruits of your labors though and you will find a few fitting outlets for your work.

From The Review Review, I have found websites like these:

These particular outlets may not work for every horror writer, but they do show that there is hope out there. You may also found that reading the bios of like-minded writers in aforementioned journals will lead you to other resources that you may not have otherwise discovered.

 

Play to Their Preferences

Miller_magnified-print-497769-m

Don’t forget that editors are people – and people have preferences. Some preferences are easy to spot during your homework/research phase but others can be more elusive. Some sites will even tell you upfront what they do not like: i.e. political references, sexual situations, strong religious undertones, etc. When in doubt, ask around. Your peers may have gleaned some insight from something that you glossed over. During a recent inquiry, Laura Roberts (the Editor and founder of the aforementioned Black Heart Magazine) revealed that she is turned off by “buckets of blood” horror. Her “personal taste runs more towards the thriller or suspense end of things, which…have elements of horror stories to them, but are more psychological than physical in their violence.” This is an imperative piece of information when submitting to this magazine or any journal looking for horror. Not a big deal, just submit something where you have turned down the gore and voila! Your chances of being picked up have dramatically increased. Bottom line: Be cognizant of what you are submitting and to whom it is going.

 

Onward!

In any effect – this path to horror publication is riddled with hills and potholes that are not likely to let up any time soon; that is okay though. Do not be daunted. This is the path of your passion and once your current resources are spent or you simply crave more variety, you can dive back into the dark depths to discover more. Luckily, the Internet proves a source of ever-evolving resources at your fingertips. Again, remember and admire the determination of those who prospered before the advantage of the web but with a little effort and a ton of determination, we genre writers will not be excluded, will not be forgotten. Keeping that in mind, keep digging and above all, write on!

 

Miller headshot

 

Crystal Miller currently lives in Tampa, FL with her family. She is a voracious reader and before entering Sierra Nevada’s MFA program, she earned her Bachelor of Arts at SUNY Empire State College with a dual major in Literature and Creative Writing. Crystal is currently working on her first novel, which will be the first in a series regarding female serial killers.

Rejection Coping Mechanism

 

 

By Chris Muravez

Rejection. You would think I’d be used to this by now. I’ve been turned down for jobs, by women, by men (well, that happened once, but that’s a different story and a rather confusing period in my life), and by publishers. But it’s that last one that always stings, especially since I’ve made the choice a few years ago to dedicate my life to my art. Being turned away by my favorite publishers always hurts more than not getting that interview, that second date, that kiss good night.

This last summer I spent a rather damaging amount of time putting together a short collection of poems. My first chapbook. My first real attempt to enter the published literary world. I say a damaging amount of time because by the end of it all my friends and family were seriously concerned for my sanity. But what good is sanity when I get to spend my days writing and creating? Sure, I spend my time “working” at a “job” or maintaining a living environment that might actually be livable. Then again, I wouldn’t be able to produce 18 pages of poetry that is rejected by everyone; which, in turn, means that I also wouldn’t have the experience to tell you these things. But let’s not get on the problem of causation here, there were more important things at work.

This enterprise of mine wasn’t completely devoid of coherent thought, however. I did a lot of research into chapbook calls and contests (see the post on Duotrope). Some of my favorite journals, Burnside Review, Arcadia Magazine, and Rattle, all had contests that I could enter. I also felt confident enough to give them all a shot, and the biggest motivator for me was the work itself. That creative process that produces a light at the end of a tunnel you didn’t even know you were in. That constricting tunnel of everyday life in a totalizing environment of confusion and consumerism. The work itself is an escape, a rage, a release.  That is why many of write in the first place, isn’t it? But once you’re done (or done enough, I fall under the “a poem is never really finished” camp) it isn’t enough. It has to be understood by others too. That is how we connect after all. That’s why we write. We want to the world to know we are here, we are human, and to listen to us (or read us). So, with a determined drive, I voraciously created.

Once my work was sent out, I had a serious sense of accomplishment. That hardest part at this point was to not dwell on the possibilities that the future of my endeavors held. But this is hard when I have my Submittable page bookmarked on my computer, always sitting there tempting me to check its status.

Then I got my first rejection, from Burnside Review, and I felt a slight pin prick in my chest. Granted Burnside was not my big hopeful for publication, I still felt that twinge of sorrow that rejection brings. And I know better. We all know better than to get our aspirations to a point that when it falls through we regress into depression. But knowing and doing are two different things here. I could go on about what rejection is to writers. I could sit here and throw phrases about perseverance and patience at you. After all, rejection (at least in this context) is part of a writer’s life. But I did learn something.

When I saw who won the contest, Ed Skoog, I realized that I was going up against some heavy hitters. People who are established, but have most likely gone through similar torturous experiences. This is when I learned that rejection doesn’t necessarily take patience or perseverance, but practice. I learned that as I develop my skills as a writer, rejection is one of them, and quite possibly the most important. Becoming disciplined at rejection, or at least dealing with it, I don’t want to project an air of mediocrity here, is an often overlooked foundation of writing and trying to get published. Sure, I could fall back into my usual attitude of “Fuck the system” and become a rogue writer, but that requires more discontent than I care to deal with. So, practice. I still have a few more submissions out there, and if they turn me down too, I’m prepared for it (but I might just lose my shit if Arcadia rejects me).