Creating a Writing Career: Think Big

Some say we write for an audience of one.  Granted that our great work is writing the words that reader loves to read, we may also ask ourselves big-picture questions, like

  • What talks would I love to give?
  • How best may I receive, track, and deal with an increasing income?
  • How might I answer classic interview questions? 

Success expert Jim Rohn famously said, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” That’s thinking big, for even the best keep getting better.  Let me rephrase. Especially the best, get better.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week.  Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou arrange matters to get a great sleep most nights, ready for the writing ahead. Fab. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

Mel will be dispensing more of her encouraging words of wisdom at the Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby from March 31st – April 2nd.  She’s not here in town often, so be sure not to miss her!

Last day for Creative Ink Passes!

Well, not the last day entirely — you’ll still be able to purchase passes at the door for $100.  But today’s your last day to get them online for only $80.  This is an amazing deal for three days worth of workshops, panels, pitches, blue pencils, and rubbing elbows with industry professionals.

All three senior Pulp Lit editors will be there (a rare chance to find us all on the same continent at once) and we’ll be doing an Hour Stories Session, and many panels and workshops — some involving swords!  Plus you can find us and our marvellous crew at our sponsor table in the vendors’ hall, and at the reading and booksigning where we will launch Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.

In addition to Guests of Honour Eileen Kernaghan and Ken Scholes there are so many amazing speakers and writers attending that we can’t list them all.  Instead, go to the Creative Ink website and check them out yourself.  Whatever you do, don’t forget to register today and save yourself $20 to spend in the bar.

See you there!

Jen, Mel, & Sue

Where the Angels Wait

Pulp Literature Issue 14 is with the printer and will be available in time for The Creative Ink Festival (31 Mar – 2 Apr) and our launch at Steamworks on Monday April 3rd.  We’re delighted to have another story, ‘The Ankle Bracelet’, from our very first feature author, CC (Chris) Humphreys.

Chris will be on hand at the launch to give a reading and sign books, but in the meantime, let us whet your appetite with a snippet of the poignant ‘Where the Angels Wait’ from all the way back in Pulp Literature Issue 1.

Granada, Andalusia, Spain. August 1986.

Sitting on the edge of the bed now, listening. A door opened, shut, someone has come and gone, that much is certain. They’ve hidden them, and he must find them.

Unless they didn’t leave.

“Hello?”

No reply. He has to start. The drawers? Too obvious but he tries a couple. The cushions? He pulls them off the sofa, feels down the back and side, moves carefully because if they
are there what state might they be in? He finds a crumb covered coin, nothing else. On the high shelves then, at the back of the cupboard, rolling in dust? Or in a jar in the bureau, pickled, floating like onions? With others? Alone? Alone, yes, has to be.

He starts to move quicker. Grapes on the table, that’s frightening. Eat one? Too risky. Time’s nearly up, pull back the sheets, grope under the pillows.

“Who’s there?”

He lies back down. “There’s no one there,” he says, challenging the dark.

He sits up. He knows where they are. His father is in the doorway, making it look small, and he has them exactly where they should be.

“Looking for these?” Dad says, and starts to squeeze his eyeballs from his face.


Off the bed,
groping for a light, blundering in an unfamiliar dark to a wall, a door, a switch, filling the room with yellow, running to the window, pulling back the thick curtains. He thrusts his head out into fierce sun and furnace air and the heat brings him back. He remembers where he is.

It takes him longer to remember why.

Six PM. Jet lag muzzles his head like a warm, wet towel and he can’t figure if home is ahead of Granada or behind. No, behind, it’s nine in Vancouver now. Gwen will be getting Sunday breakfast. French toast. Wearing her blue smock to protect her church clothes. If he was there they’d eat, then she’d take the smock off.

“Coming?” she’d ask.

“Nothing to confess,” he’d say.

He’ll call, catch her before she goes, but after a shower. He wants to make sense when he speaks to her. Before the shower though…

read the entire story in Pulp Literature Issue No. 1, Winter 2014.

 

Introducing Renée Saklikar, the Magpie Award Judge

It is our pleasure to introduce the judge for this year’s Magpie Award for Poetry, Surrey BC’s Poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, a life-long poem chronicle.  Work from the project appears in journals, anthologies and chapbooks.  Renée’s first book, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry and was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award.

Renée is currently a mentor and instructor for Simon Fraser University, and co-founder of the poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU.  With Wayde Compton, Renée co-edited The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015).  She is currently at work on the long poem, “Thot-J-Bap”, excerpts of which can be found in Eleven Eleven, The Capilano Review, DUSIE and The Rusty Toque, as well as in chapbooks published by Nous-Zot and above/ground presses.

Renée is the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey and the 2017 UBC Okanagan Writer in Residence.  She collects poems about bees.

We are delighted to have Renée onboard as the Magpie Award judge. Thank you, Renée!

The 4th annual Magpie Award for Poetry is open until April 15th.  Contest guidelines  here.

The New Queen of the Hive: The Bumblebee Contest Winner!

The editors and judge Bob Thurber are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2017 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest is “Crushed Velvet” by Ingrid Jendrzejewski. 

Bob Thurber notes:

Among its merits are its playful, whimsical tone. Its seductive smoothness. Its refreshing eccentricity and, of course, its good fashion sense.

Congratulations, Ingrid! “Crushed Velvet” is a story to read and reread.  Ingrid takes home the $300 prize and her story will be published in Issue 15, Summer 2017.

The judge’s nod for runner-up goes to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” by Jay Allisan —

for its jaunty seriousness and obvious merit.

Well done, Jay!  We hope to publish this story as well in an upcoming issue, space allowing.

For those authors who requested editorial critiques, you should start receiving your manuscripts back in the next few weeks as we work through them.

Thank you to all our contest entrants who submitted their carefully polished prose.  We enjoyed reading your work.  For the poets among you, the Magpie Award for Poetry is currently open, and for the rest, the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize opens May 1st.   To stay on top of submissions openings and contests, request our free monthly newsletter, and you’ll never miss an opportunity for glory again!

 

 

 

 

The Bumblebee Contest Shortlist

Drumroll, please.

Writers and readers and other good folk, it is with great pleasure that we announce the shortlist for the Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest.  Choosing between so many excellent stories was a challenge, but at last we narrowed the entries down to ten.

Here are the authors and stories, listed alphabetically by author’s first name:

  • Albert Liau, “The Utility of Mandatory Hilarity”
  • Charity Tahmaseb, “Lucky”
  • Ingrid Jendrzejewski, “Crushed Velvet”
  • Jay Allisan, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”
  • Katie Gray, “The Pit”
  • Laura Taylor, “A Royal Institution”
  • Leslie Wibberley, “The Weight of Time”
  • Melanie Cossey, “Even Steven”
  • Tristan Marajh, “Roshan”
  • William Kaufmann, “Bedside”

Congratulations to these three authors!  The winner chosen by our judge the brilliant Bob Thurber will be announced tomorrow …

PS:  Poets, don’t forget that the earlybird entry fee rate for the Magpie Award for Poetry ends tomorrow too!

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day

I love our cover art.  For me, one of the greatest joys of the magazine is finding and choosing paintings to wrap our words in.  But I’m always a bit sad when the necessary banners and text cover up some of the beautiful images.

So to celebrate International Women’s day,  we offer you a sneak peek of the cover art for Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017 by the amazing S. Ross Browne.  Here is The Huntress, in her full undecorated glory.  Enjoy!

The Huntress, by S. Ross Browne.

Find more of Ross’s wonderful paintings here.

Galloping Time, Supporting Systems for the Writing Life

Now and then, a moment arrives, when hardly anybody wants anything from us. Maybe something was cancelled, leaving a serene empty space, or it’s the day after a holiday.

I used to go mad at such moments.  Quick, this is my chance to write 5400 words.  But, what if, instead of typing up a storm until the next serendipitously empty timeslot raises its noble head and invites us to gallop away upon it (okay, that’s a tempting thought to me too, so if you love that idea, leave this paragraph in your dust and ride away on inspiration), what if we use this little moment of peace to redesign the systems and reset the components of our lives to create timeslots of our own?  And perhaps ask 3 questions:

  1. If my perfect life and writing career were here, what would it look like?
    hint: every day includes time for relationships, for eating and moving well, and for kicking back.
  2. What am I using up time for that I don’t like much, and that doesn’t serve me or mine?
    hint: we all know what to do, so, how to do it?
  3. In the area of life where things seem so crazy they’re sucking my creative energy, is there any system, perhaps over the course of the week, that I could set in place to make things less onerous?
    hint: systems are not about achieving perfection, they are about our present selves doing something in a few minutes to save our future selves an hour for writing.

I don’t want to use my creative powers to deal with It’s five pm and there’s nothing to eat, what magic can I perform?  I like cooking, but I’d prefer to use the magic on my manuscript and have food in the fridge and a plan in the kitchen.  Come the weekend, I don’t want to take that big beautiful 3-hour drafting timeblock and use it to shoulder through crowds at Costco.  If we can generate a system or two, we can support our creative powers without shortchanging our lives and the people we adore.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers, Mel

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muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseWhatever the weather, you keep writing. Your persistence, endurance, and strong talent move your career along beautifully. Your Writing Muse 

Adventures in Writing

untitledEndurance is one of the great challenges in our writing careers — holding on with tenacious minds to the idea that we can do this, even though we’re working on page 17 with 350 left to go.  But even more boldly, we’re also attempting to devise something brilliant, something that has never been made before.  Originality has always been a daunting sort of goal.  Making something out of nothing is the ultimate creation within the arts.  By definition, creation takes us out of our comfort zones.

One trick to time management and self-motivation, is to find a way enjoy the tension and fear, rather than frittering our drafting time away with other things in an unconscious avoidance of a big leap in storytelling or any tricky aspect in our writing careers.

It’s kind of like a day up Whistler, I guess, facing the most challenging run we’ve ever taken.  And, we never wanted it to be easy.  If we do this crazy thing, we do it because we know we can.  It’s down to us to find a line and follow it, and to choose — not whether we’ll do it, we already know we will, we’re equipped with the skills we need, we’ve paid our bucks, and won’t turn back — but choose to enjoy the ride and wear a cool smile while the snow arcs up around us.  What a great day this is.  Of writing, I mean.  Darn, I’d love a day up Whistler, too.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers, Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse:

I admire your discipline as you create time blocks for planning, drafting, & revising during your busy week. Your Writing Muse 

The Magpie Award is Open!

M is for March, and M is for Magpie … which means the 4th annual Magpie Award for Poetry is now open.  Earlybird rates save you $5 until March 15th, so hurry and get your poems in now.

Submission guidelines are here.

To inspire your fine-feathered words, here is some lovely coloured pencil work by Sandra Vander Schaaf, on artwork by Mel Anastasiou from Colouring Paradise: A Renaissance-Inspired Colouring Book.

'Two for Joy' by Mel Anastasiou, coloured by Sandra Vander Schaaf

‘Magpie’ by Mel Anastasiou, coloured by Sandra Vander Schaaf