The following market report on the anthology, Penumbra, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.

The Market

Zine: Penumbra
Editor: C A Summers
Pay Rate: pro rates, 5¢ a word
Response Time: 2-3 weeks at the moment; will probably change
Reading Period: the 1st through the 10th of each month
Description (from the editor): Penumbra is a speculative fiction pro-rates paying ezine seeking science fiction, fantasy and horror under 3k.
Complete Guidelines: Writer’s Guidelines

Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.

The Scoop
1. What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
I like so many authors, it’s hard to narrow things down. I’m ensnared by strong character-driven fiction. Right now with modern authors, I like Jacqueline Carey, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, Gini Koch, Kelly Meding – the list goes on.

2. What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
I like speculative fiction of all types. We want to see any story that falls under the speculative fiction umbrella. Right now, I’d really like to see some good steampunk and urban fantasy.

3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Well-defined settings, regardless of location or time or genre, are what I look for.

4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I prefer stories where the action begins immediately and continues to escalate. I am not a big fan of a world building infodump right at the beginning.

5. What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I like characters that I can immediately ‘see’ – not because the author describes them, per se, but because the character is so well-drawn that she or he is instantly credible. I think some of the best examples of this can be found in T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

6. Is there a specific tone you’d like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
I’m looking for speculative fiction with a twist – like a horror story that not only scares the heck out of you but makes you laugh at the same time, or a science fiction story that takes you right to your own kitchen.

7. What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
Aside from the normal taboos, I appreciate well-written violence, sexual content and vulgarity – but only if it’s not gratuitous. These elements must contribute to the establishment of the character(s) and/or forward the progression of the plot.

8. What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
I like to be surprised. Right now, we’re casting out our nets to see what we can fish in. Speculative fiction has an infinite range of possibilities, so any story that stretches those possibilities further is one I’d be really interested in.

9. Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
I don’t prefer one over the other. I’d rather see the story finish in a manner that is natural to the flow of the narrative.

10. Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical do’s or do not’s?
Please follow our submission guidelines exactly, particularly the upper limit of our accepted word count. I won’t spend time opening up a manuscript that’s eight thousand words long; I’ll just reject it. I’m not interested in paranormal romance stories either. If you have a longer piece of short fiction, 4k and up, submit it instead to our parent company, Musa Publishing, at submissions@musapublishing.com. Musa is publishing short stories as standalone e-books.

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