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A Special Moment Between Two

For this year, my interviews for ILA Magazine I'll concentrate on bringing editors to you. We will learn about new submission opportunities as well as hear best practices about the submission process.

First up for 2024, is my dear friend, Mysti Milwee, editor of Sequoyah Cherokee Journal. Here is the link for submissions and she does nominate for the Pushcart awards:

Carl: Good morning, Mysti, we are honored at ILA Magazine to spend some time with you today and appreciate your time with us.


CARL: What motivated you to pursue a role as an editor for a literary journal?


MYSTI: The literary world is a challenge in itself, in the world today. Often, we see poets and writers being accepted and rejected during challenging times in a world where mental health is the biggest issue for writers and poets alone. My motivation to pursue being an editor came during the COVID pandemic, I wanted to become a vision and inspiration to keep other writers, artists, poets, creatives, etc., out of the depression and fog due to so much sickness the world was and is still enduring, and yet alone the ones being abused during this time as well. Being an empath, my heart felt like I should do something to help others and give back at the same time. By doing this, I hope to make a difference in society as a whole. Hoping and praying that if I could make a difference in someone's life, I felt that this challenge would open doors to those suffering, giving them space that keeps writers, artists, poets, etc., happy in a beautiful and uplifting setting, and in response to help make a difference in someone's life.


CARL: How do you approach the editing process for literary pieces? Can you walk us through your typical editing workflow? **

MYSTI: During the editing process I approach each piece delicately. My vision for the journal acts as a story from beginning to end. So, each piece has its own unique voice, and is placed accordingly to the vision and voice of each piece at the same time, replicating a different perspective of beauty and flow of words and art, as the workflow generates the story. Each piece of work, in my mind (visually and written form) is projected through my synesthesia method, which makes the journal unique in its own setting. So that when you read through the issue, it is brought to life through and with form and shape.


CARL: What criteria do you use to evaluate and select pieces for inclusion in the journal?


MYSTI: First of all, adhering to the submission guidelines is my number one way of evaluating and selecting pieces for inclusion in the journal. I look at it from a professional standpoint, and knowing that my writers take their submission(s) seriously. Secondly, I evaluate by those who adhere to the vision of the journal. Overall, I also look for how a writer projects themselves within the email as well.


CARL: In your opinion, what makes a literary work stand out and deserving of publication?


MYSTI: In my opinion, the overall vision and how each work adheres to the journal's vision and voice within, makes a literary work stand out. If it does not flow, it throws it off, and shows irregularities within the workflow, and the story becomes broken. Stand out pieces projects the vision and overall atmosphere of the journal. The voice and tone make a literary work stand out, and then how it fits into the story and/or workflow. When I see a standout piece adhering to the vision of the journal, I know that it deserves a special place within the story, therefore I accept the piece for publication.


CARL: What mistakes do you see in the submission process that would cause you to reject work you might have published?


MYSTI: Not adhering to the vision and voice of the journal is the biggest mistake when seeking publication in a journal or magazine. For example: If a Dog magazine is wanting to be captivated by beautiful stories, poetry or photos of dogs, you don't send your cat's photo to the magazine. Another common mistake would be not following the guidelines.


CARL: Can you discuss any ideas you have for expanding the reach and impact of your literary journal?


MYSTI: This year, I hope to expand through other international literary platforms and add ads of the journal covers with the submission email and specs, so that anyone can send their work any time of the year. Other ideas are to approach through ads in the Global Literacy Foundation, that makes over 10,000 literary journals and magazines worldwide. Right now, Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal is reaching over 800,000 people worldwide since I've started my journal on April 1, 2020. Its impact has reached more than I thought it would, and I'm grateful to have honored and published all writers, poets, and artists in my journal on a global platform.


CARL: Thank you, Mysti, and to you, our ILA readers, please consider submitting to this growing and incredibly special editor and publication.

Mysti Bio:

Mysti S. Milwee is an international award-winning and published multidisciplinary artist, synesthesia artist, poet, writer, translator and screenwriter. She serves as an International Art Ambassador, a leader in the arts. Her poetry and art have been published in over 25 countries and over 12,000 publications globally. Her poetry, literature and art have also been used for academic and ministry studies across the globe. She serves as the "Poet Laureate" of Fire Eagle Ministries. She is the editor-in-chief and publisher of her journal, 'Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal'.

She resides in Southside, Alabama in the USA.

She is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors; International Society of Filmmakers & Screenwriters; National Director at Large Forensic Art Therapy and is the Vice President of the Worldwide Art and Writers Literacy Department for Intellectual Property. Her poetry and art have appeared in numerous magazines, brochures, journals, TV shows, newspapers, blog talk radio shows and many other media outlets across the globe.


About the Interviewer:

Carl Scharwath is from the sunshine state of Florida. He is a Co-Editor/Interviewer of ILA Magazine, Art Editor of Glitterti and former editor of Minute Magazine. His work has appeared globally with 175+ journals selecting both his writing or art. He has published three poetry books and his latest book, "Ebb Tide Reflections", features short stories, photography and poetry (World Inkers, NYC). Carl has published four photography books by Praxis and CreatiVingenuitiy. He has been nominated for three 'The Best of the Net Awards' (2021-2023) and two different Pushcart Nominations in 202, for poetry and short story.

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