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A Letter from the Editrix: "If you're going through hell, keep on writing"

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

by Silver Webb

2020, the "Year that Ate Publishing," was as exciting for Lit Jo as it was for every other publication. Nobody was hosting readings, few people were out in bookstores buying books, and many writers stopped writing altogether. We delayed Volume 5 to August and nixed a Volume 6 in Fall. The long-anticipated anthology Delirium Corridor, curated by Max Talley, originally scheduled for June, stole third and slid into home base in December.

Both are publications I am really proud of, and I hope you will enjoy reading. But I regret the books that I didn't publish. If quarantine taught me anything, it is to keep on publishing and keep on writing, even if you or the nation or the whole world are going through hell. And we did go through hell, let's face it. I genuinely hope that you stayed healthy and as happy as possible. I'm cautiously optimistic for 2021.

Speaking of my editors, I'm fortunate to have formidable writers on my crew, who work hard to get their own work published. Why does this matter to me? Because I'm a cranky, cranky editrix who thinks that people who don't pursue the craft of writing shouldn't be judging literature. And only people who have received a thousand rejection letters should be allowed to send them out. Otherwise, it's like a couch potato shouting at the television to tell Bruce Lee his kicks aren't high enough. Sure buddy, you go ahead and show Bruce Lee how it's done. I know, I know, plenty of good editors don't write. Just humor my crankiness. Personally, I prefer to surround myself with writers who write often and well.

Associate Editor, Max Talley has published a multitude of short stories and currently has a great story titled "On the Bridge" in Dark City, the theme of which merited the cover. He has a fantastic story, "It's all Speculation," currently up in Underwood. It's also not too early to sign up for his April "Submitting and Marketing Your Writing" online workshop at the Santa Fe Workshops.

I'm probably almost as happy as he is to announce that our Poetry Editor, Shelly Lowenkopf, has signed a two-book contract with Berkeley books. As he says, "The first of these, The Reluctant Lawman, will take place in Virginia City, Nevada, during the heyday of The Comstock Lode. The protagonist, a former lawman, has become a cook, until he is pressured to become a lawman once again, to pursue a gun fighter who once shot off the lawman's earlobe. I had no objection to using my own name as author, but once again was asked to consider a pseudonym. Now, as in the distant past, I will use the name Craig Barstow." Bravo, Shelly...or shall we say, Mr. Barstow?

An additional happiness to me was that writer MK Knight has enlisted as Assistant Editor, and musician extraordinaire Dennis Russell agreed to be our new Music Editor. Check out my last blog post to see more about them.

Aside from being the editrix at Lit Jo, I do write every day, send my work out weekly, and receive the usual bloody heap of ten rejection letters just to find that elusive acceptance letter. To wit, I was pleased to have "Lady of the Lake" featured in Danse Macabre in December, and another story out in the world this month, "Little Plastic Psychosis," which is a spaghetti western that takes place in a fish tank. I said I wrote every day. I didn't say I was classy.

I look forward to what we can create this year at Lit Jo. If you are a writer and would like to send your work, check out our submission guidelines, as we're now accepting submissions for Volume 6. If you're interested in helping with or learning about publication production, let me know. And if you're new to Lit Jo, and wondering how to acquire our books, check out our bookstore.

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