PROFILE: SKYSONG PRESS . . .
By Donna Farley
SKYSONG PRESS was founded in 1988.
Editors and Publishers Steve and Wendy Stanton produce
the two publications whose guidelines are given below.
An interview with Steve Stanton follows.
DREAMS AND VISIONS is a quarterly anthology
of short stories focusing on the religious, spiritual
ethical topics that will shape society in the twenty-first
century. Pays in copies for 1st NASR and One-time
non-exclusive reprint (2 copies for stories over
2500 wds., 3 for over 5000). All published stories
become eligible for a $100 cash award for Best Short
Story of the Year as chosen by subscribers. Editors
want to see work that has some literary value, that
is in some way unique and relevant to Christian readers
today, and will consider Christian SF & fantasy,
humor, inspirational, experimental and Biblical stories
1500-7500 wds. Payment of $10 is made for b&w
cover art 4 5/8 in. sq. (or capable of being cropped
or reduced to that size.)
DREAMS AND VISIONS is distributed
to bookstores across Canada by the Canadian Magazine
and in Australia by Hexagon Press and Praise Warriors
Ministries. A sample copy can be ordered direct from
the publisher, Skysong Press, RR 1 Washago ON L0K
2B0, for $3.95, a package of the first four volumes
for $10, or a current subscription for $12 (Please
remit in US funds for delivery outside Canada.)
VISION publishes material of interest to Christian
writers and artists. Editors accept short
articles to 1000 wds., poetry, reprints, news, commentaries
and b&w art. All rights revert to contributors.
Payment is 3 copies for major work, 1 copy for news,
reviews, art, etc.TBT: Although DREAMS AND VISIONS
is a forum for Christian fiction, some of the stories
that appear there are not explicitly religious. What
criteria do you use to select stories?
SS: The first
criterion we use to select stories is technical excellence.
We will publish good “secular” stories,
but we will not publish bad “Christian” stories.
We do try to target a Christian audience by picking
stories that examine topics of current interest or
controversy in the Christian world. Obviously, many
of these topics are of general interest and controversy
also. We do regard ourselves as an orthodox ministry
and take great pains not to offend Biblical sensibilities.
Personally, I have a penchant toward experimental
stories that take risks in style and/or format and
yet can still communicate effectively. Wendy is more
concerned with the spiritual or emotional significance
of a piece.
TBT: Steve, you are also a writer who
has sold Science Fiction and Fantasy to RAMPIKE,
STANDING STONE, CHURCHYARD,
TRAJECTORIES and SEARCHING SOULS. Are you looking
to publish more F & SF in DREAMS AND VISIONS
SS: We are open to F & SF for DREAMS & VISIONS,
and I do think that we have made a reputable showing
in this regard. Readers request this genre more than
any other, and it is important for Christians to
examine some of the critical ethical issues that
will arise in the near and far future. However, as
I have expounded in detail elsewhere, religion and
science are not happy bedfellows, and many science
fiction writers base their stories on atheistic assumptions
rather than Biblical principles.
TBT: Does editing and publishing at
SKYSONG PRESS steal time from your own writing?
Absolutely. I have not written a single major
creative work since Skysong Press began operation.
My novels are gathering dust and my muse has left
the country. [Stories which appeared in ZYMERGY and
CACANADADADA REVIEW] are excerpts from an unpublished
novel, “Centurion.” Other excerpts will
appear this year in STUDIO in Australia, DAYSPRING
in Colorado, and a short section was used in DREAMS & VISIONS
#4. I do write two quarterly columns in Victoria
and Toronto, and various other articles and reviews
in the real world, but I miss the contemplative reverie
of fictional creation.
TBT: Are your publications
especially for Canadians? Are there any equivalent
publications in the U.S.
SS: We do not slant our publications
toward Canadians. At the present time, the bulk or
come from other countries. DREAMS & VISIONS is
still the only established anthology of Christian
literary fiction in the world. There are two fine
Christian journals that publish poetry, articles
and reviews and some fiction: STUDIO in Australia
and LIVING STREAMS in the US. A similar American
journal called IMAGE published a pilot issue in 1989
and is still trying to secure funding. SEARCHING
SOULS is a new small press Christian magazine targeting
the sf/horror market, as did CHURCHYARD, which has
now ceased publication. There are many periodicals
for Christian writers somewhat similar to CHRISTIAN
VISION: BRIGHTREDLIFE in Toronto, THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNICATOR
in California, TALENTS in Australia, THE CUT in England,
WRITERS INFORMATION NETWORK in Washington State and
TBT: What are the worst mistakes made
by writers who submit to you? What would you like
to see more
SS: I would like to see more professional
excellence, more pure, rapturous perfection, but
I often settle
for a manuscript free of blunders. Amateur manuscripts
are often cluttered with the verb “to be”,
awkward transitions, effluent wordiness, and show
a lack of sensitivity to the reader’s cognitive
process. Many of the subtle qualities of good writing
are learned by perseverance, by trial and error,
by writing in a quiet closet while the world turns
far away, and I don’t mind reading early work
or pointing out obvious errors to beginners. The
worst mistake, I suppose, is made by writers who
submit to us without studying our publication or
guidelines. Lately we have been inundated with poetry
because of a listing in POETS AND WRITERS and by
gory horror stories because of a listing in SCAVENGER’S
NEWSLETTER, both of which we do not publish. That
most of these writers put American postage on their
return envelopes further shows their unprofessionalism.
Writers who target their market specifically will
have the best success.
TBT: Do you have a favorite
story of the ones that have appeared so far in DREAMS
SS: It sounds terrible to say it, but
by the time they get into print I hate them all.
or four readings, keyboarding and correcting, editing,
discussing changes with authors, arguing, re-editing
and endless proofreading, I cannot bear to read a
single story. In fact I have yet to read a copy of
DREAMS & VISIONS after it is published. Five
or ten years from now I will get out my archival
collection and enjoy the fruits of my labor for the
first fresh time. Until then I will have to rely
on the comments and commendations of my peers.
What can we hope to see from SKYSONG in the future?
Skysong Press has yet to break even financially,
or to pay editors, authors or illustrators more
than token awards or honorariums. However, our
to continue remains stronger than ever. It would
take years to pull out now anyway. These things
take on a life of their own. We hope to be able
novels and single-author collections in the future.
Originally published online,
Tickled by Thunder Vol.
2, No. 5, Summer, 1991.
Copyright (c) 1991 for
the author, all rights reserved.
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