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Editor Interview: Tales From the Magician's Skull

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Sword-and-sorcery fiction

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Weird Tales
Grimdark Magazine

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: John Chris Hocking, Nathan Long, James Enge, William King, Clint Werner, Violette Malan, Chris Willrich, Sarah Newton and many others

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: The old school artistic aesthetic, visible from the cover and interior pieces and maps, and the presence of The Skull as the guide to his beloved genre, sword-and-sorcery. Tales From the Magician's Skull is a new edge sword-and-sorcery publication, bringing modern tales with an old school feel, minus the suspect racism and sexism found in some examples of earlier heroic fiction.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read the magazine, and sword-and-sorcery in particular. Watch to see when we open for submissions, and be sure to read our guidelines very carefully.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: On point with the fiction in the magazine and following the submission guidelines.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: They send gaming fiction or high fantasy or have failed to read the submission guidelines.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Certainly, although that never sways any purchase choices. The only metric taken into account during submissions is whether or not we love the story.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: It depends upon the piece. I can often tell within the first paragraph if I am interested in reading to the end, and I always know by three pages whether I wish to read to the end. But sometimes I reject tales that I read all the way through.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: Is the tale too similar to others we have purchased already? Does the publisher like it as much as I do?

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: I'm just a guy reading through a stack of subs the interns have sent me, looking for a story that thrills me.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: I really don't have any thoughts about any of that.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: We run everything through copyediting, and proof reading, and, if necessary, I make multiple developmental passes on a piece. Generally I prefer to take pieces that are already in strong enough shape that they don't require substantial edits-- because I am not made of spare time -- but occasionally I'm really taken with a story that has potential but isn't quite there yet.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Well, I guess I should! I didn't realize that was a thing I could do.