By our longtime friend Laine Cunningham and her new venture, Sunspot Literary Journal:Â
Sunspot Literary JournalÂ speaks truth to power through the power of words and art. The name derives from areas of lower temperatures on the sun’s surface. Because of the brilliance surrounding these areas, sunspots are not visible to the naked eye, just like the celebrity rehab stories that drown out unique and creative work.
Launched in January 2019, the journal is dedicated to hearing every voice. Writing and art that is thoughtful, evocative, and created with exceptional skill fill the pages. The authors and artists supported by the journal might not be social media influencers, but they still have something to say.
Publisher Laine Cunningham has worked in the industry for over twenty years. As an award-winning writer, ghostwriter, and consultant, she taught for the Loft Literary Center and was a regional liaison for the National Writers Union. She is often approached by authors desperate to break free from stereotypes applied by publishers and literary agents.
After following the VIDA Count, which quantifies the dismal state of diversity in the publishing industry, Cunningham producedÂ Writing While Female or Black or Gay. Although the book helps underserved voices succeed, even that wasnâ€™t enough.
She launchedÂ Sunspot Literary JournalÂ to support authors and artists from every background.
The contests run by the journal will tie into that mission. One will focus on novels, while another will push microfiction to its extreme.
The inaugural A Single Word Contest, is indicative of Cunninghamâ€™s approach. The theme revolves around a single word that has become weaponized in modern society. The wordâ€™s impact is so potent that contest listings refer authors to the website to view the word.
Another critical part ofÂ Sunspotâ€™sÂ approach is publication of long-form works. Authors can submit poetry up to 120 pages in length while prose can run up to 29,000 words. Some of the most important poetry ever written is long. Financial considerations also mean that fewer journals are able to publish long-form prose. Sunspot will provide an important avenue for these significant forms.
The journal produces four digital-only quarterly editions per year. These editions are free to the websiteâ€™s visitors and will be distributed through a monthly newsletter that will launch this summer. The digital editions will include visual art, photography, video stills, and graphic novel frames.
The first year,Â SunspotÂ will produce one print volume by blending select pieces from the digital editions with new work.
Barring solar flares, the number of print editions will increase in 2020.
Special editions will publish contest winners as well as a number of finalists. All contests offer publication, a byline, and cash payments. The prizes will grow as more funding becomes available.
One such current contest isÂ the “100 Bucks for 100 Words” contest, which runs through the end of June.
The journal is produced by Sun Dogs Creations out of Hillsborough. Cunningham serves as the senior editor, and several volunteers are helping with administrative tasks. The print editionâ€™s designer is Angel Leya, an author who magically manages to write while chasing her young children around the house.
Submittable portal:Â https://sunspotlit.submittable.com/submit
Digital editions: Free
Print edition: $25 plus shipping, or $25 with US shipping included via the Submittable portal.
Open Call Deadline: May 31, 2019.