Daniel Cureton

[This issue, we sit down with Daniel Cureton. Founder and editor of Enheduanna: A Pagan Literary Journal, Cureton here discusses how the journal got its start, what goes into creating each issue, and what other projects he has in the works.]

Eternal Haunted Summer: How would you describe your personal spiritual path? Do you follow a specific tradition, or are you more eclectic?

Daniel Cureton: I first found Paganism in 2008. I had been playing a lot of World of Warcraft as a druid so the thought occurred to me “what do real druids do?” So, I looked up the path and found the Ancient Order of Druids in America (when it was under John Michael Greer). I joined in 2009. Since then I have adopted a more eclectic approach, feeling free to mix Wicca, Shamanism, spells, and various philosophies into my path that fits me on my journey, but the core is built on druidism — priest of nature. 

EHS: As chief editor, you oversee the publication of Enheduanna: A Pagan Literary Journal. How did Enheduanna get its start? What was the impetus for creating it?

DC: I was in graduate school pursuing my MA in English at Weber State University. The intro to grad studies course required a special project. I began thinking about it and my new venture into an advanced academic field. I had been published by this point in the AODA druid journal Trilithon, and the idea for a Pagan literary journal popped up. I then did some research in the Pagan community, looking at other publications and journals and found that they all (or nearly all) were tradition specific (i.e. Witches’ Almanac, Oak Leaves, Uncle Thor’s Online Magazine, Rosicrucian Digest). I didn’t really see anything literary/writing focused either in my research. I wanted to be inclusive of everyone, as well as have it be open to all, as well as promoting critical creative and literary spaces for the Pagan community worldwide. It’s not a religiously focused journal, but writing focused, so that’s why the only requirement is authors be Pagan instead of having Pagan-focused writings.

EHS: What are you looking for in terms of submissions? What would you like to see more of?

DC: I look for anything that can be called literary and writing. It’s very open to all types of works from essays and poetry, to articles and film scripts. I’d like to see more book chapters, film scripts, author interviews, and fiction. We get a good amount of poetry, some essays, and a selection of fiction, but to make it a really great journal I think it needs that variety and inclusivity. 

I’d also like to get a few more well-known authors involved. I’ve worked with Raven Digitalis, Ellen Evert Hopman, and Philip Carr-Gomm and they have been wonderful. I always contact such writers each year [about submitting]. 

EHS: What is the production process like? What steps are involved, from sending out the call for submissions to putting the volume up for sale?

DC: Well, I make up the flyer with the picture I think I’ll use on the cover. I throw it across social media and to authors like Philip Carr-Gomm (who generously shares the call on his website). 

I generally have submissions come in from the website (when technology is working). Those roll in and I send receipt acknowledgements. From there I get a few fellow experts in the field for reading and we judge them by craft and potential. I’d rather work with an author than flat reject. So, we’ll send out revisions/suggestions on works. Most authors gladly make changes. 

Once things are accepted and changes made, I start the layout process and plug in all the files into the sections. I try to mix the poems so that the subject matters flow instead of being grouped by similarity. I also intentionally structure them to open on a two-page spread if they are longer than one page to avoid the unconscious disconnect that the end of the first page means the end of the poem. 

I make a proof copy in print and go through it with a red pen. I have another reader do this as well.

At this point I purchase an ISBN for it since each issue is its own monograph and start the cover file, putting all the right information and the excerpts on the back. I enter all the metadata for the ISBN on the provider site. I then acquire rights to the cover art if necessary. 

When this is all finished and submitted to the printers I get a printed proof in paperback. I list the book on Enheduanna’s site, and when I’m satisfied with the proof, enable distribution. 

A few copies go to a local bookstore and I mail two copies to the Library of Congress as required by the mandatory deposit program that Enheduanna participates in.

Then it’s a matter of mailing out author copies and copies to library archives that collect the journal and promoting it around as much as I can as events, online, and to libraries. 

I think that since now it’s moving into volume four and has a presence on Amazon, more institutions are looking at it as a serious publication (and that has critical writings) that will stick around instead of being a one-shot venture.  

One thing I’d like to do is get an issue or two reviewed in a journal or newspaper book review section, but have yet to mail off copies to the various journals that could review it.

EHS: Where can readers find Enheduanna?

DC: They can find it at the University of Utah library, Weber State University library, Utah State Library Division, Ken Sanders’ Rare Book, Valdosta State University Occult and New Age Special Collections, Library of Congress, UC Santa Barbara’s American Religions Collections, on Enheduanna and on Amazon.

EHS: Which book fairs, conventions, or other events will you be attending in the near future?

DC: We will have a booth at Westercon 72 in Layton, UT in July; Ogden (UT) Pride festival in August; and Salt Lake City Pagan Pride Day in September.

EHS: What other projects are you working on?

DC: Of course, volume four of Enheduanna. I own another non-Pagan publishing company, Forty-Two Books, and we are in the process of putting together a new anthology of weird fiction titled Strange Stories. We have open calls for horror poetry for Putrescent Poems and living stories in a Satanic collection by Faustus Blackbook called Satan Speaks! which wants to collect stories and works by 21st century Satanists. 

We just put out the Utah Horror Writers’ 5th anthology, Peaks of Madness: A Collection of Utah Horror in April. Forty-Two Books will be the publisher for their 2020 anthology called They Walk Among Us: A Collection of Utah Horror.