"ResAliens Press (short for Residential Aliens) is a publisher of spiritually infused speculative fiction," both online and in print (themed issues). "We really like thoughtful SF, fun sci-fi, space opera, fantasy – all varieties, speculative mystery, and more."
W1S1: First off, how would you describe your role(s) at ResAliens Press?
I'm the founding editor of "Residential Aliens" - an online and print magazine (www.resaliens.com) and I'm also the publisher of ResAliens Press - a micropublishing venture that specializes in "spiritually infused speculative fiction." Although the zine came first (in the form of a blog in 2007), I decided to start a "one man show" small press with the goal of turning this part time hobby into a regular small business. In addition to Residential Aliens magazine, I also edit Fear & Trembling magazine at fearandtremblingmag.com, an outlet for "spiritual horror" but without the sex, gore, and celebratory evil that one often finds within this genre. My plan as a publisher is to provide free content via these two sites as well as publish various anthologies and single author collections of short stories by some of our recurring authors.
W1S1: What are the top three things you look for in a story?
I consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to what I look for in a story: solid plot, intriguing characters, engaging writing. I teach 8th grade English and have to admit I like the basic narrative structure we're all familiar with: inciting incident, rising action, crisis-climax, and denouement. I would say, though, that since truly original plots are few and far between, I place a bit more weight on characterization and the voice of the writer. These two elements, in my opinion, distinguish good stories from poor. If someone sends me an experimental/psychedelic piece because they want to offer something other than a traditionally plotted tale, it'll have a tough time avoiding the delete button.
W1S1: Typically, what makes the difference between a story's acceptance or rejection?
Based on the above, then, if the plot doesn't go anywhere and the characters are flat and the writing is boring, then I won't accept the story. I don't mind "derivative" works (stories that follow the common tropes we all love or love to hate) as long as there is at least some new slant on the storyline and/or strong characterization. Plus, I enjoy moral/happy endings. Not that every story has to end with the hero kissing the horse, but there should be some indication of hope, transformation, or resolution for me to find a story fulfilling. Again, this doesn't mean that "everything works out" but I want to be left with the feeling that one day it might. If a story is ultimately nihilistic, I won't accept it. This is what I mean when I say I want to publish "spiritually infused" spec fic - not every story has to be spiritual, but it should touch on themes of truth and eternality.
W1S1: What fresh story ideas/themes/genres would you like to see submitted to ResAliens Press this year?
I enjoy such a wide variety of speculative fiction that I really want a cross section of themes and genres in each issue. One reason I became the editor of Fear & Trembling was because so many people were sending me horror stories, which I didn't think fit my vision at Residential Aliens - so I found a different outlet for them. So other than horror, ResAliens is open to just about anything (keeping in mind the PGish guideline that I'm shooting for). I also like Westerns, so a cross-genre story will definitely get my attention. Oh, and I'm not necessarily looking for "religious" stories - for me "spiritually infused" spec fic is broader than that.
W1S1: If you could change anything about the publishing industry today, what would it be?
The industry is definitely changing, isn't it? This is a hard one because with the advent of online self-publishing tools and distribution sites like Lulu and CreateSpace, there really is no excuse for an author or author/editor team or micropublisher/small press to be successful. I mean, hey, it's a capitalistic and competitive market out there. You have good product? Go promote it. Don't wait or rely on the big houses or some faceless publishing industry to discover you. In other words, don't worry about changing the industry - it's changing already. Take advantage of what's available and go conquer the world.
W1S1: Thanks, Lyn!
So for all you Write1Sub1ers who might have a story to submit, go check out the submission guidelines here. You'll also find the themes listed for the quarterly print magazine, starting this month with "SteamPunk/Alternate History."