The following market report on the anthology, Times of Trouble, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Times of Trouble Anthology
Editor: Lane Adamson
Pay Rate: USD 1¢ / word
Response Time: No promises, but I’m known as a fast worker
Description (from the editor): Things go very wrong when you mess with time (more in guidelines)
Complete Guidelines: Permuted Press
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.
1) What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
I prefer active storytellers, whose prose demands your attention. At the least, those who employ language creatively and beautifully. I’ve been a Tolkien fan since I was ten years old; his prose can be quite dense, at times (to put it mildly), but there’s something elevating about it, all the same. Starting at that same age — and until his death, in 1988 — I read every single book by Louis L’Amour (all 100+ of them). You won’t find two more stylistically different writers, yet both touched a chord in my spirit.
2) What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
I’m very much a fan of speculative fiction, action/adventure, and mystery, but horror is right there, too (love me some Stephen King, yo). While the basic concept of this anthology is straight SF, that leaves open practically any door through which the author dares to walk. There is nothing to stop a storyline from delving into the deepest past, the farthest future, or anything in between — although sword and sorcery or vampires and werewolves could be a mite hard to justify, in the context of the theme.
3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Again, fantasy settings (and supernatural characters) will be very difficult-to-impossible to pull off in this thematic milieu, but other than that — “anything goes!”
4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I tend to prefer stories that start with a bit of a bang. Remember a couple of seasons ago when they nuked Ventura County in, like, the third episode of 24? That kind of story gets me going. But moody, gothic-type stuff can work, too. Just make sure it’s well done, whatever you do.
5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I like my heroes heroic and my villains villainous. If I want shades of gray, I’ll go look for a cat in the dark. Ever seen Once Upon a Time in the West? Henry Fonda’s character Frank was the perfect villain — he was bad, and he by-gum liked being bad. For a hero, let’s go with Mr. Spock. The Wrath of Khan was almost — almost — a perfect movie in the way it played Good against Evil, with both of them making the Ultimate Sacrifice in order to achieve their goals.
6) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content?
I’m not against it in principle, but had better be contextually appropriate. To paraphrase Justice Stewart, I know smut when I see it—and there won’t be any in a book I’ve edited.
7) In general, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
I tend to like at least a note of hope, however faint — but I do want the stories in this collection to have a decidedly dark tone, overall. That’s the overarching theme here: that mucking about with the fabric of reality is, generally speaking, not a good idea.
8) What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
I mention all of them in the guidelines, although I ran two of them together: clichés and wish fulfillment. The other thing to avoid is using time travel as a handy-dandy plot device just to set up some grand adventure that really has nothing to do with time travel.
9) What trait are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
I’m looking for innovative treatments of what is, after all, a well-used theme in SF. There’s almost endless possibility for creativity in this meme — take advantage of it.
10) Any last advice for submitters to this market?
In this context, let’s refer to some classic exemplars: H.G. Wells wrote ably about time travel, for example—and quite darkly, as well—but the only unhappy consequence to the Time Traveler, ultimately, was internal. That happens often, as writers seem loathe to deal with the greater ramifications of the genre. Some of my personal favorite time-slippage stories—The Man Who Folded Himself, by David Gerrold; all of Robert A. Heinlein’s several excursions into the notion; Behold, the Man, by Michael Moorcock—are ultimately involved only with the effects of time travel on the protagonist(s). That’s all well and good (especially in such gems as I’ve pointed out, plus those listed in the submission guidelines). But I’d really like to see some explorations of how dilly-dallying about with the time line is a Very Bad Thing for the universe generally (or at least, our little piece of it). Finally: I’ve provided not one, but two links to formatting examples in the guidelines. Look at them and try to follow them. It’s not that hard. Submissions that don’t at least make some semblance of an effort to follow the format requirements will be rejected unread. Is that really what you want for your baby?