Well, the semester’s underway now and my poor schedule is straining at the seams. Lucky for me my dear friend Adriena Dame has consented to be interviewed, which made this week’s post quite easy!
Today I have the pleasure of hosting an interview with artist, publisher, fiction writer, and teacher, Adriena Dame. With the publication of her literary journal 94Creations just hitting the streets for its fourth printing, she’s here to talk to us about her life, her work, and how YOU can submit.
Q1: So, Adriena, why don’t you tell us about your literary journal and how you got started in publishing.
My true start in publishing began with my passion for reading. I simply adore the printed word, the feel of books, the smell of paper . . . the art of filling pages with ideas, dreams, victories, disappointments . . . stories.
From self-publishing my short stories when I was still in pigtails and covered in playground dust, to the poetry newsletter I produced when I was a regular on the open mic poetry scene years ago, I have always somehow ended up making things for people to read. However, it wasn’t until my experience as the assistant managing editor for The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press that I began to fully understand and appreciate the delicate art, science, and passion it requires to birth a quality publication from cover to cover.
And it wasn’t until my 94-year-old grandmother was dying, and I, the writer in the family, was tasked with writing her eulogy, that the idea to publish a literary journal began to stir. My grandmother, Narvelle Jasmine Alexander Littleton, had spent most of her life making things. Clothes, curtains, wall art, talk-of-the-town southern cooking, and she could tell the hell out of story. She did it all. 94 years of being creative in every way she had access to in the rural south as a mother of ten and the wife of a preacher man. I thought that was something worth celebrating. The 94 in the title of the journal is just a number to everyone who sees it, but for me, it is a reminder that I must make every effort to live the best life I can, while I can. For me, that includes creating a space to celebrate the creative gifts of others while they’re still living.
Q2: What sorts of things are you working on now? Can you tell us where we can find your work?
Currently, in my writing life, I am working on two collections of linked stories. One collection explores the intersection of a diverse group of quirky lesbians who are ultimately drawn and/or catapulted into the world of roller derby, where they discover who they are, and who they are not. The other collection is fantasy fiction revolving around two, second-generation demigoddesses who are lost, but need to be reunited to activate their powers and save humankind from the wrath of their father. My book, The Moo: Stories and a Novella, is available at Barnes & Noble and amazon.com.
As far as publishing goes, I am in the process of launching a new literary journal.
Q3: What sorts of work does 94Creations publish?
94 Creations welcomes the gritty, offbeat, marvelous works that are often overlooked in mainstream publishing venues, and is also interested in those works that create an authentic experience within the framework of more conventional literary landscapes. We publish short fiction, creative essays (including lyric/braided essays and conventional forms), poetry (lyric and prose forms), as well as stage and screen dramas.
Q4: Are there any length requirements?
Generally speaking, a single prose submission can be up to 5,000 words, and poetry up to 3,000.
Q5: Is there anything you’d love to see that you haven’t been seeing? Things you’re sick of seeing?
I would love to see more visual artwork, creative nonfiction essays, and plays. We don’t get nearly enough of those. I am also interested in seeing more works reflecting the various forms of diversity that exist in the world. Where are the African American, Native American, Latino, Asian and other writers, characters, and voices? Where are the supernatural forces and the young adult protagonists? Where is “Mr. Ed”?
Q6: Do you have any tips for writers interested in submitting their work for publication?
Create a sensory experience for your readers. We want to be taken somewhere, to go on an adventure, to feel, to care, to be incensed, to cheer . . . .
Avoid forcing figurative language onto the page for the sake of being literary. Check for your crutch (overused) words by using the “Find” tool in document. There is nothing like a 300 “Really”s in a 2,000-word story.
Q7: Where should people go to submit their work to 94Creations?
Q8: So what’s next for you and 94Creations?
Issue 4 and a multi-genre contest are at the forefront of 94 Creations’ publishing agenda.
Adriena Dame, author of The Moo: Stories and a Novella, is a military brat, adventurer, artist, and creative writing professor at Spalding University. She also leads writing workshops; teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and wearable art classes; and offers homeschool English courses at 94 Creations Studios, located at Mellwood Arts Center in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to publishing 94 Creations literary journal, she contributes to the editorial efforts of Tidal Basin Review, is a poetry coach for Generation iSpeak, and serves as a board member for the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is a graduate of Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program.
Contact Adriena Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org