Friday, November 2, 2018

Six Questions for Daniel R. Julian, Editor, Bull & Cross

Bull & Cross publishes fiction to 2,500 words in any genre. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Daniel R. Julian: I write and submit stories, so I thought this was one way to help other authors who are in the same boat--by giving them a market with an easy submission process, where I try to give some feedback on rejected stories, and where I try to do a good job promoting the published pieces.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

DRJ: I’m looking for: a story (surprisingly rare) with an engaging voice (not as rare) that I could forward to my mom.

By story, I just mean it needs a clear conflict, some action, a climax or culminating moment, and a conclusion. I don't mind if those are wrapped up inside of innovative forms and nonlinear structures, or told in a direct, linear fashion.

By engaging voice, I just want something that keeps me on the page (or screen!). Probably the biggest issue for me here is consistency of diction. If the diction varies wildly ("she blinked and chewed her gum, masticating like a noisy rabbit with failing ocular orbs"), I'm out.

And by "forward to my mom," I mean that both literally and figuratively. My mom loves to read, and so she ends up reading most of what B&C publishes. But I mean that I'm restrictive with the content: no erotica, profanity, or gore, basically.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

DRJ: Nihilism and misanthropy. Didacticism. Sentimentality and frigidity. And all these stem from the same source: limited knowledge of and love for human beings, combined with a ton of love for oneself.

SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

DRJ: I like Lunch Ticket, the E&GJ publications Spark and Zetetic,, Ellery Queen, etc.

SQF: If Bull & Cross had a theme song, what would it be and why?

DRJ: Either "Stress" by Justice or "Dettingen Te Deum" by G.F. Handel.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

DRJ: This is where I confirm your suspicions that I'm a grumpy, geriatric buffalo.

I'd ask, "Is 'story' really as rare as you claim? And why is that?" and I'd answer, "Maybe not, but it's rarer than it should be, and it's probably because too many of us live too little. We're satisfied to let Disney tell us what looks heroic or romantic or adventurous. We let the various internet subcultures encourage our reprehensible inclination to dehumanize our neighbors. And we spend our days going from distraction to distraction, unable to draw a coherent narrative throughout a single day, let alone a hundred pages. In short, we don't know what's true, we don't know who people are, and we don't have the time to figure it out and represent it artistically."

And then I'd ask, "What's your deal, man?" And I'd answer, "I'm sorry, I'm just really tired lately, you know."

Thank you, Daniel. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.