12 May 2014

A Visit with Darlene Poier and Laura Crowe

Alberta, Canada’s Darlene Poier is no stranger to SleuthSayers readers and writers.  Both Leigh Lundin and I wrote about her several years ago when John Floyd, Leigh, and I had stories published in the same issue of her magazine Pages of Stories.  Recently I interviewed Darlene about her new magazine, Ficta Fabula, which includes include my story "Positive Proof" in this issue.

     What is your mission statement for Ficta Fabula?
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Darlene Poier, Publisher of Ficta Fabula
What a great question. It’s good to know what a business stands for. Our mission statement at Pages Of Stories, Inc. is “To inspire creativity and imagination by providing high quality reading entertainment for people all over the world.” I truly believe that too many people just concentrate on making it through the day unscathed. We don’t seem to get very many opportunities to use our imaginations and be creative and ultimately have fun. Short stories provide a great 10 – 15 minute break where the reader has no responsibilities and can just sit back, relax and let the words on the page create pictures in their minds.
    Do you publish stories in all genres?  If so, what is the most common in the magazine?  If not, what genres are not acceptable?
We accept all genres of fiction and it seems that crime and mystery lend themselves to making excellent short stories. Romance and dramas are also right up there with good tales.

     What is the most frequent weakness that prevents acceptance of a story?

Ah, that’s the million dollar question. Each magazine has its own set of standards and requirements. I’d like to emphasize that when we turn down a story, it’s not really a rejection but more of a statement that it’s not the right story for the magazine at that time. I strongly encourage each author to keep shopping their story around. If it’s a well constructed and compelling story a magazine will pick it up.
As for Ficta Fabula and its predecessor Pages Of Stories, well, it’s tricky. We want stories that appeal to the mainstream public and as a result I’m very fortunate to have the assistance of a story selection committee. There is no one thing that I could pinpoint. Sometimes it’s the plot that doesn’t work for this market, sometimes it’s incomplete character development, and sometimes it’s too many loose ends in the story.
Editor Laura: Final acceptance decisions are made by Darlene but from my point of view, weaknesses that cause a story to be rejected—and involve too much editing time—include proofreading and typographical errors, disappointing or unfinished endings, or weak storytelling skills. Stories that work unfold on the page and draw readers in, and connect with them on an emotional level; too many authors rush through the vital elements of setting and character development and the story suffers for it.

     What are the word requirements for Ficta Fabula stories, both minimum and maximum? Can you tell us how, or perhaps why, you determined the limits?

The minimum word limit is 1,000 words. I like to give our readers stories that have more detail in them so that when they are enjoying this escape in their day, they can really dig into it.

     Ficta Fabula has a new editor, Laura Crowe.  Please tell us about her.

Laura and I first met when she submitted a story to Ficta Fabula’s predecessor, Pages Of Stories. She is a talented author in her own right and has done an awesome job editing FF. I’ll let her tell you the rest..
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Laura Crowe, Editor of Ficta Fabula
Laura: I am a writer, editor, teacher, and owner of Imagine It In Writing. My short stories and articles have appeared in numerous Canadian magazines including Pages Of Stories, The Prairie Journal, Every Day Fiction, and Horizons. My first book, Take Flight: True Stories of How Dreams Shape Our Lives, is a unique collection of true short stories contributed by thirteen authors that I edited and compiled.
Besides writing, I love working with authors one-on-one as an editor, specializing in fiction and memoir. I also offer mentoring programs, and am available for speaking about the writing and editing process, doing readings of my work, and teaching writing classes. 
When not writing, I'm usually in my piano studio, or outside on my deck with a cup of coffee and a great book. I live in Alberta with my  husband, two daughters, and two quarter-Siamese cats.
I can be contacted at 403-518-5858.  Or find me on the web at www.imagineitinwriting.com.

     Back to Darlene:  When will the next issue of Ficta Fabula be available and how can readers obtain it both electronically and in print.

Alas, FF is no longer available electronically but I’m working hard to bring it back. The next printed issue is available this month.  If anyone would like to order this awesome magazine (said completely objectively!) containing the work of the most talented authors surrounding the globe, then just send me an email at info@pagesofstories.com.

      Please tell us a little about you personally such as who's in your immediate family, where you live, and what do you enjoy in addition to publishing? 

Ok, a little about me. I’ve been married to Gary for nearly 20 years and we have no children but two gorgeous critters. Kayla is an awesome 14 year old canine companion. She’s our little girl with a fantastic and funny personality. Persephone is a wonderfully cuddly feline friend. (I’m a fan of alliteration). She’s a 3 ½ year old long haired beauty. She’s a bit of a stinker in the middle of the night but in all the time we’ve had her, we’ve never heard her hiss at anyone or anything.
We live in a little town just north of Calgary, Alberta where we are blessed with mountain views and prairie sky.
In addition to publishing? What else is there?  Gary and I are big fans of warm tropical locations and go down to the Caribbean just about every spring. Gary is a huge football fan and I love old movies and when the weather permits I like to spend time in my garden. We love to travel and this year we’re determined to see more of the natural beauty that is all around us. I also enjoy giving back. Both Kayla and Persephone were adopted from animal shelters so we work to give to them. As well, the YWCA women’s shelter program is dear to my heart and I participate in a fundraiser every year (if interested the link to my fundraising page, it is: https://www.ywcakeeparoofcalgary.com/darlenepoier2014. Beyond these activities and working at a day job outside of publishing – that makes for a pretty busy time.

How did you select the name Ficta Fabula for this magazine and what are your plans (or dreams) for your publishing company, Pages of Stories, Inc.?
Well, the name came with the help of Google Translate and roughly translated from Latin it means fiction story. I’d been playing around with different titles in different languages and when ficta fabula showed up in the window I knew it was a winner.
I’m planning on Pages Of Stories, Publishing being the provider of the best fiction to our readers out there. Our special ABBA issue is the start of what I hope will be an annual magazine of special issues. I’d like to start publishing novels and novellas in 2015 and we’ve just launched Fabulous Fiction Fridays where everyone who registers can enjoy a short story direct to their inbox every Friday. I also want Pages Of Stories Publishing to be the publisher of choice for many authors. I sense much of the frustration with other publishing companies and I’m determined that we’ll operate differently. It’s no easy thing for an author to submit their work to a complete stranger for evaluation and I want people to know that we respect and appreciate that effort. Laura and I are collaborating on a book for authors with tips and suggestions about preparing novels and other stories before submitting to a publisher and how to best go about submitting it for the best results. Down the road we’d also like to offer workshops and retreats. We also want to offer more value to the discerning reader. Soon we’ll be announcing something special for them off the Pages Of Stories website. I believe that collecting good fiction and sending it out into the world will bring a smile to someone’s face at some point in the day. If we’ve made someone’s day better, then we’ve achieved something special.
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Darlene:  Happy reading.
Fran:  Ditto


  1. A nice post. Darlene is terrific and so is her new magazine!

  2. Thanks for introducing us, Fran. I'm looking forward to reading the magazine.

  3. Great interview, Fran. Looking forward to seeing the magazine.

  4. Thank you - I always look forward to a new magazine!

  5. Some readers have emailed me that the pics didn't appear on the blog, yet they show when I go there. I apologize if you didn't see any photos. Needless to say, I'm eagerly awaiting this issue.

  6. Fran, you and ABBA are the only two pics showing on my SS screen. Is that "The Outer Limits" theme music I hear playing . . . ?

  7. John, there are supposed to be a picture of Darlene and Laura. Read this week and I'll repost the pictures on my next blog. I don't know why so I don't know how to correct it.

  8. Great post, Fran. I always love learning that a new magazine has opened. As for the pics, Blogger sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. lol



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