Joanna Valente - photo credit Brooklyn Magazine

Behind the Editor’s Desk: Joanna C. Valente

By Lauren Eggert-Crowe

We’re reposting last year’s interview with Luna Luna editor Joanna C. Valente, in honor of October and witching season. Luna Luna is open for all Halloween themed submissions now!

Are you a witch?

Do you have a dark, strange story or poem looking for a home?

Are you drawn to the magical, the mysterious, the occult?

Then it’s time to start reading and submitting to Luna Luna. Founded four years ago by Lisa Marie Basile, Luna Luna is a delightfully witchy feminist journal dedicated to all things occult, poetic, and otherworldly. At Luna Luna you’ll find everything from a personal essay on Mexican White Magic to a Berry Lip Stain Spell for Confidence to a rundown of movies about BDSM to directions on how to sew a poppet. The mixture of essays and magickal ephemera is beautiful.

I asked some questions of Managing Editor Joanna C. Valente. Continue reading

Behind The Editor’s Desk: Muriel Leung

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Our main priority at Women Who Submit is uplifting the voices of writers who are historically marginalized in arts and letters. We believe in practicing Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality, which means we look beyond gender discrimination and work for the liberation of women who are at the intersections of various oppressive systems of power, such as white supremacy & anti-Black racism, homophobia, classism and ableism. We value racial justice and economic justice as an essential part of our mission to center the art and literature of the most underserved and overlooked writers.

That’s why we love journals like Apogee, a beautiful online/print magazine that prioritizes writers of color. From their Mission Statement:

Apogee is a journal of literature and art that engages with identity politics, including but not limited to: race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and intersectional identities. We are a biannual print publication featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. Our goals are twofold: to publish fresh work that interrogates the status quo, and to provide a platform for underrepresented voices, prioritizing artists and writers of color.

The word “apogee” denotes the point in an object’s orbit that is farthest from the center. Our mission combines literary aesthetic with political activism. We believe that by elevating underrepresented literary voices we can effect real change: change in readers’ attitudes, change in writers’ positions in literature, and broader change in society.

Muriel Leung is the poetry editor at Apogee, and also a member of Women Who Submit who has read at our various events, such as LitCrawl and the L.A. Times Festival of Books. We interviewed her about her work at Apogee:

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Behind My Editor’s Desk

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

For the past year and a half, I’ve been interviewing badass women editors for this blog, asking about what they love about their jobs, what they’re looking for in submissions, and how they balance writing and editing. Today I’m going to talk about MY job as editor!

In April of 2016, I signed on as the Reviews Editor at Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. I’d known about Terrain for ten years, having gone to grad school with editor in chief Simmons Buntin. I’d long admired Simmons as an editor and a friend, so when we caught up at AWP Los Angeles and he asked if I’d like to be part of the Terrain team, I jumped at the chance!

So, what is Terrain and what do we publish? Continue reading

Behind the Editor’s Desk: Rachael Warecki

The Nervous Breakdown just got a new fiction editor: writer, photographer and Women Who Submit organizer Rachael Warecki! If you are looking for a place to submit your fiction, consider The Nervous Breakdown, a fun and irreverent blog of essays, stories, poetry, podcasts, and interviews.

While Rachael was spending two weeks at a writing residency at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, she took a few minutes to step away from the beautiful view of Santa Cruz to answer some of my questions.

As the new fiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown, tell us what you’re looking for in pieces. How do you hope to make TNB’s fiction section stand out?

For our original fiction section, I’m looking for short literary fiction from authors of many different backgrounds, featuring characters who have traditionally been underrepresented in literature. I’m new to TNB and our fiction section has only been open to original fiction for a short time, but I previously served as a fiction editor at another literary magazine, and I can say that in my year and a half at that journal, we never had a shortage of submissions from men. And I’m starting to see that a little bit here at TNB: men don’t need to be encouraged to submit their work, because they’re already doing so. Continue reading

Behind The Editor’s Desk: Sherisa de Groot

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

In a current cultural moment saturated with blogs dedicated to all things childrearing, it can be nonetheless difficult for some mothers to find the answers and community they are looking for. There are still constrictive stereotypes about what a “regular mom” looks and acts like: white, middle-class, straight.  Women who don’t look like they just walked off the set of a dish detergent commercial often get shut out of the conversation. On top of that, the creative knowledge production around parenting and family-building still gets devalued in comparison to other, supposedly more urgent topics, because it is most often women who are producing this knowledge and pushing the conversation forward.

Enter, Raising Mothers, an online magazine “for mothers by mother writers, publishing personal essays, in-depth interviews and creative writing, honoring both parenting and personhood.” Raising Mothers “actively seeks out and supports work by and about those often marginalized in the literary conversation, including people of color and gender non-conformists, and members of the LGBTQIA and differently abled communities.”

If you are a mother searching for a community that sees you and wants to lift you up, Raising Mothers wants to hear your story. Continue reading

"Who the f*ck is Taleen Kali"

Behind The Editor’s Desk: Taleen Kali

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Even though I’ve never been published there (yet), I feel a certain kinship with DUM DUM Zine. It came into existence the same year I moved to L.A., 2011. I spent ten years of my youth making handmade zines about poetry and politics, so I’m drawn to anything with ‘zine’ in the title. It features interviews with some of the first writers who I was introduced to in the early disorienting days of searching for my footing in a new metropolis: Kate Durbin, J. Ryan Stradal, Zoe Ruiz, Yumi Sakugawa. A sidebar link list displays Los Angeles fixtures like Skylight Books, Otherwild, and Stories.

DUM DUM is an online zine of poetry, prose, and uncategorizeable ephemera, calling out to the avant garde, the hybrid writers, the genre-melting artists among us who need an outlet that celebrates weirdness. They accept submissions on a rolling basis for their e-zine, and publish a print issue yearly. Don’t expect a traditional format; DUM DUM’s previous tangible productions have included a music/poetry CD in a handmade envelope, a cardboard box, and an accordion-folded chapbook.

I asked some questions of Taleen Kali, the artist/writer/yoga instructor/musician/editor-in-chief and founder of DUM DUM. Continue reading

Behind the Editor’s Desk: Nikia Chaney

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Early in 2017, Women Who Submit invited Nikia Chaney to one of our submission parties. It was the beginning of the year, so the room was packed with writers excited and motivated to accomplish their goals and renew their commitments to good work. We hung posterboard on the wall with goals like “Submit to Residencies,” “Get Paid For Work,” “Finish a Project,” and “Activist Writing.” We each scrawled our names in marker underneath the goals that spoke to us. Still buzzing from the spirit of the Women’s March and the inspiration of powerful intersectional feminist leaders, many of us were eager to connect our creative work to community building. Nikia Chaney, of Jamii Publishing, led new and seasoned WWS members in a great discussion about starting collaborative projects like a press or a journal, and how to best involve the community in the artistic process.

It’s safe to say Nikia knows a lot about goal setting. Jamii, an independent press based in San Bernardino, beautifully lays out its vision, mission, and goal: “Our mission at Jamii Publishing is to foster the communion of artists from all genres, foster growth in the artistic world, and to bring these arts to the community.  We strive to work with artists who are already active in the community as well as those who have a desire to reach outside of their comfort zone and share their art with the larger world. We want to gift books to these dedicated people and help them in turn help others.”

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Kaya Press catalog screenshot, from kaya.com

Behind the Editor’s Desk: Neelanjana Banerjee

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe
Chances are you know about Kaya Press. Perhaps you recognize the name Nicholas Wong, Lambda Literary Award winning author of Kaya Press poetry title Crevasse. Or maybe you’ve heard of Ed Lin’s books This is a Bust and Waylaid. You might have listened to that 99% Invisible podcast episode about Thomassons but didn’t know that Kaya Press reprinted Genpei Akasegawa’s book on the subject. And in 2015 you might have seen all the positive press for Sam Chanse’s hybrid tour-de-force Lydia’s Funeral Video. Over the past two decades, Kaya Press has built a catalog of fresh, innovative work and has established itself as an organization at the forefront of independent publishing.
In their own words, “Kaya Press is a group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. We believe that people’s lives can be changed by literature that pushes us past expectations and out of our comfort zone. We believe in the contagious potential of creativity combined with the means of production.”

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Behind the Editor’s Desk: An Interview with Siel Ju

We are reposting this interview with Siel Ju from August, 2016, in celebration of her book release! Cake Time, a novel in stories, is out on April 6th from Red Hen Press. If you’re in L.A., come join Siel and special guests at Skylight Books on April 5th for the book release party. More events are listed here. Congratulations, Siel!

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Siel Ju is the editor of Flash Flash Click, an online lit zine for fast fiction. Subscribers get a weekly flash prose piece delivered every Tuesday. The pieces range in style, tone, and content but all have a compelling narrative driving them, no matter how short. Some veer more towards the lyrical and sublime while others give the reader a sardonic slice-of-life from a first-person narrator. Siel has featured such authors as Wendy C. Ortiz, Catherine Daly, Lisa Cheby, Maureen Gibbon and Molly Fuller. I asked Siel a few questions about her job as editor of Flash Flash Click.

Why did you decide to start Flash Flash Click? 

The impetus came from feeling there was a big, untapped population of readers out there who weren’t being reached by the current literary marketplace. I have friends who are writers, but I also have many non-writer friends who are smart and literate — who might very well enjoy reading poems and stories but are completely unfamiliar with the world of literary journals. I think a lot of people don’t even know literary journals exist! So the idea was to start a lit zine that sent a short piece a week via email — tiny bits of prose that can be read easily on a smartphone — sort of like a gateway drug to entice “regular” people to become regular readers of contemporary fiction and poetry. Continue reading

Behind The Editor’s Desk: Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is the Editor-in-Chief of The Offing, an online literary magazine that began as a channel of Los Angeles Review of Books. As described on the site, “The Offing is an online literary magazine publishing creative writing in all genres and art in all media. The Offing publishes work that challenges, experiments, provokes — work that pushes literary and artistic forms and conventions. The Offing is a place for new and emerging writers to test their voices, and for established writers to test their limits.”

I spoke with Dr. Prescod-Weinstein about being an editor, and the future of The Offing.

As an editor, what do you look for in submitted work? What separates good submissions from really stand-out ones?

I am always looking for works that give me the feeling that I will be thinking about them for a long time to come. I should caveat this by saying that the department editors make almost all of the publication decisions, although occasionally I will be asked what I think about a potential piece. I want us to publish work that is unfamiliar but captivating. I want it to keep crossing my mind hours, weeks and months later. For example, Scarlett Ji Yeon Kim’s from the Koreana Cycle is a bilingual series that experiments with form in both English and Korean.  Months after we published it, I’m still returning to it because it speaks to me as a third culture kid. I’ve also been drawn repeatedly to Khadijah Queen’s I HAVE QUESTIONS, which is a deeply personal and provocative think piece in verse about constructing a world without anti-Black police violence. Continue reading