QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview with Angie Lofthouse -- Editor for Mindflights Magazine

The recent combination of two award-winning magazines - Dragons, Knights, and Angels and The Sword Review - resulted in one frequently-updated, high-quality magazine called Mindflights, brought to you by Double-Edged Publishing. Angie Lofthouse is one of the team of editors at Mindflights, which features the stories, poetry and illustrations of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Angie has graciously agreed to share her knowledge with us and will be available to answer your questions in the comments of this post.

What’s the most recent thing you’ve read that you loved?

Ironhand by Charlie Fletcher, the second in the Stoneheart Trilogy. Loved it!

How many submissions does your magazine get each week?

We average 15-20 submissions each week. We try to respond within three weeks.

What are you looking for now that you’re not getting?

We always like to get more science fiction, more flash fiction (under 1000 words), and more poetry (though I am not strongly involved in the poetry side of things.)

What is your #1 pet peeve in submissions you receive?

I think my biggest pet peeve is reading stories that are predictable, obvious and clichéd. Those have fallen into about three categories lately, Conversations with the Devil, Afterlife stories, and Dystopia/Oppressive Government stories. It's not that I don't want to read stories that fall into those categories; it's just that most of them that I've read have nothing new or fresh to offer to those themes. Another pet peeve is getting submissions that clearly do not fit our guidelines and are not appropriate for our magazine.

What is the most common mistake writers make in their submissions to you?

Probably the most common mistake is a lack of careful proofreading. It's very distracting to read a story riddled with errors. It leaves me with the impression that the author didn't really care.

What can writers do to make their submissions sparkle?

Proofread carefully. Let more than one person proofread the story. More eyes will catch more errors. Use proper manuscript formatting. Then, start off strong with an opening that catches my interest and makes me want to keep reading. Don't begin by explaining the history of the world or your main character's life story. Create characters that are three-dimensional, that I can relate to and care about. Avoid clichés. Show, don't tell. Use strong, active sentences and word choices. Give me a satisfying ending. At Mindflights, we are looking for stories that are entertaining, enlightening, and uplifting.

How does one submit to Mindflights magazine?

You can submit to Mindflights using our online form. Be sure to read the guidelines first.

You are an author as well as an editor, with several publishing credits. Would you mind sharing links to some of your work with us?

Sure. Here are two of my short stories.

"Soul Singer" and "Brierly's Lilies"

How do you find time to write, edit, and have a personal life?

My family always comes first, so it can be hard to find the time. My husband and children are very supportive and encouraging, though, and that makes it easier. One of the biggest ways I found time for writing and editing was getting rid of my TV. We don't get any TV reception at all, and I don't miss it even one little bit, though I must confess that I watch an occasional episode of Star Trek on DVD. I usually do my Mindflights work during the day while the older kids are at school, and write in the evenings (when I might otherwise be watching TV.) I try to take advantage of any time I get, and keep my notebook handy at all times. I did most of this interview with my toddler on my lap.

If you could give one tip to writers everywhere, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to dream and keep working for your dreams. Let your imagination run wild. Never give up. Okay, I guess that was more than one tip.

I will be available to answer any question until 5pm MST today. If you'd still like to submit questions, and don't mind waiting, I can answer a few more tomorrow.

BIO: Angie Lofthouse is a stay-home mom of six children. Her fiction has appeared in NFG, AlienSkin, Amazing Journeys, The Sword Review, Dragons, Knights and Angels, Irreantum, and Unparalleled Journeys. She is also an editor for Mindflights Magazine. She lives in a little canyon in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains with her family of writers, artists, singers, composers, illustrators and musicians.

Suzette Saxton's idea of a perfect day includes a picnic lunch, laughing children, and her laptop. When she's not writing books for kids, Suzette can be found gardening, doing finish carpentry in her home, or walking in the canyon in which she lives.


Anonymous said...

thanks for this great interview...

Michelle D. Argyle said...

What a great interview! This really does give me some hope for getting published. I write mainstream commercial fiction with a literary twist. Which means... that my fiction does not fall easily into any category.

Do you think fiction that doesn't fall easily into a category is harder to publish?

Susie Bramble said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

I am wondering, what is the longest submission your magazine will accept?

ALS said...

How old do I have to be to get published in your magazine?

Unknown said...

Great interview! What makes a good flash fiction piece? Is it the same as writing a novel?

CD Covington said...

I was reading the guidelines, and you say no homosexual content, no matter how tame. Does that include characters who merely have a same-sex partner, and no sexual content of any sort? (Well, there's a hug.) Since most of my writing includes queer characters, should I strike Mindflights off my list of potential markets?

Angie said...

Wow. Lots of questions already. That's great!

Lady Glamis -- I don't think the category is all that important, except in broad terms. I do not think about what category a piece falls into when I am reading it, except to decide if it is speculative (sci-fi or fantasy) or not. Other than that, I'm not really looking for specific categories.

Susie -- We don't have any word limits, though we don't consider novel length pieces. For the online magazine, we usually like stuff about 5000 or less, though that is not a firm limit. We purchase one longer story each quarter to go exclusively in the print edition.

'Shroom -- There are no age limits at Mindflights, and we love to publish student work!

Janyece -- Flash fiction is a whole different ballgame from a novel. I wish I could speak more definitively on the subject, but flash is not my strength. You do need to have a strong theme and arrive at a satisfying conclusion quickly. There isn't much room for character development in a flash piece. (Personally, I'm not a big fan of flash fiction, but that's why we have a whole team of editors to judge.)

Conni -- We'd probably have to read the story and let the editors decide, however I think it would be difficult to get homosexual characters published in Mindflights. Sorry.

ALS said...

What's your most favorite thing that's been in Mindflights? Can you give me a link?

Suzette Saxton said...

The cover art on Mindflights is breathtaking - do you use the same artist, or do you accept submissions?

Angie said...

'Shroom -- That's a tough one. It's like asking me to pick my favorite song or my favorite child. I'll share one of my many favorites:

"Quite the Character" by Joanna Mallory:

Suzette -- Yes! We do accept cover art submissions, and we need more of them. You can use the same link as above to submit art.

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

Just wanted to say thanks to both Angie and Suz for this great interview! It's a great kickoff for interviews for the blog!

Linz said...

What a great interview! Thank you Angie!

As an author, where you find ideas and inspiration for your stories?

Angie said...

Thanks for the question Linz. I get ideas literally everywhere: from dreams, from my family, from other books I read, from the news... I've decided that "getting ideas" is really just a frame of mind, when everything around can become story-fodder if you unlock your creativity and let your imagination flow.

Unknown said...

Do all your submissions come via email? How does one submit art?

Angie said...

William -- all of our submissions are done via our online submission form. Both fiction and art can be submitted this way. There is a link to our guidelines and the form in the interview above.

Bethany Wiggins said...

What a great article. I'm sorry I'm too late to add any questions. I have read some of "Mindflights" stories and poetry and enjoy how diverse they all are.