A New Fantasy Novel from Rebecca Gomez Farrell

Congratulations Rebecca Gomez Farrell, author of ‘Thlush-a-lum’ in Pulp Literature Issue 5, on her new book out with Meerkat Press.  Her fantasy novel Wings Unseen is available for preorder.  Here’s a taste of what lies in store for her readers.

To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.  … more here.

 

Rebecca Gomez Farrell writes all the speculative fiction genres she can conjure up.  An associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Becca’s shorter works have been published by the Future Fire, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and Pulp Literature, among other outlets. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, in August 2017.

Thlush-a-Lum

excerpted from Pulp Literature Issue 5, Winter 2015

Markella’s earliest memories are of the sounds outside her window.  At hours when no men moved, rustling branches and shuffling grass woke her.  A beating pulse like slower, fleshier helicopter blades banished sleep:  thlush-a-lum thlush-a-lum.  In summers, the heat in her attic bedroom hot enough to incubate, Markella pushed the window open and dozed to the endless static drone of cicadas.  In winters, choking radiator warmth wrapped tight around her, she cracked the window and the low, deep hoots of an owl drifted in with the freezing breeze.    … read more in Issue 5.

 

Creating and Sustaining Suspense and Tension, Part 2

If we create suspense and sustain tension during the plotting and drafting stages, then we save truckloads of time on revisions.

Try one or more of these to sustain tensionWriting tips from Pulp Literature
  • Keep the story goal and central conflict front and centre, with a hint at the start of each scene, so readers remember what matters most deeply to our point of view character.
  • Within the parameters of genre, establish that anything can happen.  If the author has something unthinkable happen at the start, within the genre’s context, that raises the tension.  Readers never feel a hopeful young squire is safe just because he’s young and hopeful.  See the first scene of George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones.
  • Remove tension killers.  Capote said, “I believe more in the scissors than in the pen.” Check ends of scenes and chapters, make sure there’s no sentence that seems to finish things off.

More on tension and suspense next post.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers, Mel.
The Writer's Boon Companion, Thirty Days Towards and Extraordinary Volume

If you enjoy Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

From Pulp Literature Press

Congratulating Andrea Lewis, Issue 10 Author

What My Last Man DidAndrea Lewis, the Issue 10 author of Vellum, has a new book out with Indiana University Press. It is a collection of linked stories, called What My Last Man Did.

“Following generations of one family across nearly a century, each of Andrea Lewis’s intertwined, engaging short stories evokes an intense sense of place and time, from New Orleans in 1895 to Grand Isle, Louisiana, during the hurricane of 1901 and on to London during the Olympic Games of 1948. The people in these ten vivid tales face tragedy and real-world catastrophic events—war, hurricanes, the Great Depression, racial tension—in their pursuit of love, family, and belonging.” –Indiana University Press.

 One reviewer wrote “Andrea Lewis’s linked stories about Hannah Delgado and her family’s “frayed skein of love” may make you fall in love with both a new writer and the fictional family she’s created.”

Andrea Lewis’s stories, essays and prose poems have appeared in Prairie SchoonerCatamaran Literary ReaderCutthroat, and many other literary journals. She lives with her husband, Wendell Tangborn, on Vashon Island, Washington. She is a founding member of Richard Hugo House, a place for writers in Seattle.

Congratulations, Andrea!

Get “What My Last Man Did” here.

Pulp Literature Issue 10, Spring 2017

If you’re still hungry for more of Andrea’s wonderful prose you can read her short story ‘Vellum’ in Pulp Literature Issue 10, Spring 2016.

Creating Suspense and Sustaining Tension, Part 1

At the wonderful Creative Ink writing festival I sat on panels on creating tension and suspense.  I have been thinking ever since about ways to accomplish these.  And, from the point of view of time management for writers, if we can create suspense and sustain tension as we plot and draft, then we save a crazy amount of hours on revisions.

First, it’s worth taking the time to develop a protagonist the reader will care deeply about. We’ve heard of the Monkeysphere — the theory that humans can only keep a certain number of people close to their hearts.  Along with family members and friends, we appear to have  room for fictional characters as well. Right, Netflix?

To develop engaging characters, it’s worth taking the time to list flaws and balancing strengths.  I see so many flawed protagonists in our subs box, but few of them achieve the balance that helps the reader take them to their hearts. Balance involves developing

  • inner and outer longings.
  • kindnesses and sacrifices.
  • falls and redemptions.

Look at the extraordinarily flawed and engaging Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  She’s not all flaws; in fact, her ferocious loyalty, physical strength, and world-beating intellect balance all the imperfections that make us love her.  Looking at my submissions inbox, it seems that there’s a lot of great work on developing flaws in characters, but not much attention to the strengths, as if somehow strengths were old-fashioned.

Once we create that engaging character, half our work in sustaining tension is done for us as the readers bring their own anxiety for the protagonist to the page.  The stakes, depending on our genre, may be survival, love and belonging, power, or freedom. These same stakes resonate with us all, through a character readers can believe in and take for our own.

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

Read more about Creative Ink

Poet Daniel Cowper, Chapbook Contest Winner

Congratulations to poet Daniel Cowper. He is a co-winner of Frog Hollow Press’s second Chapbook Contest. The God of Doors is out now, and you can order your copy here.

Daniel has been our expert and valued poetry editor since the inception of Pulp Literature Press in July 2013.  Like Pulp Literature, he is from Bowen Island, BC.  After studying mediaeval literature, philosophy, and law in Vancouver, Manhattan, and Toronto, Daniel returned to Bowen Island, where he is finishing his cabin with an eye to his wife’s comfort.

Daniel’s poetry has appeared in Arc Poetry, the Literary Review of Canada, Prairie Fire, Vallum, CV2, Dalhousie Review, Freefall, the Hart House Review, and is forthcoming in Noise Anthology. His non-fiction has appeared at the Puritan’s Town Crier, and you can read his article on conceptual poetry here.

 

 

Cover Reveal: Allaigna’s Song Overture

You’ve already seen the beautiful painting by Melissa Mary Duncan … now here’s what the cover of Allaigna’s Song: Overture looks like with lovely custom-embellished titles by our talented designer Kris Sayer!

We can’t wait to hold the real thing in our hands!

You can reserve your own signed copy through the Eventbrite page, and pick it up at our launch at Steamworks Brew Pub on July 10th.

Great Openings Via Tone and Setting


Establishing tone and setting right away is a good way to get point of view quickly and firmly established.  It’s not the only way to begin — we certainly read successful starts composed of rants, reflections, and resonant difficulties.  But, it might be worth our while to examine some excellent examples of authors establishing their authority with POV through tone and setting.

“A big noisy wind out of the northeast, full of a February chill, herded the tourists off the afternoon beach, driving them to cover, complaining bitterly.”

-The Quick Red Fox, John D MacDonald 

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.  The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot.”

-Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt 

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”

– Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Sometimes, if a writer is dissatisfied with the start, it may be worthwhile to dig about the first pages of the work, where lines like these may be lurking unnoticed, and try one of them as line one of the tale.

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

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYour amazing ending complements your story beautifully. You saw it from the start. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

 

  

Calling All Geniuses: Join Our Team

Pulp Literature Press is growing. Come and join the fun!

Calling all geniuses

Our team needs a marketing mastermind to help spread the word about the magazine, contests, book releases, and whatever bold endeavours our editors launch.  If you can generate press releases and find publicity opportunities (book fairs, readings, etc.), we’d like to hear from you.  Email info(at)pulpliterature.com for more information or to apply.

If you aren’t the cackling, rubbing-hands-together-in-evil-glee sort, here are some easy ways to help:

  • Boost the signal: retweet, reshare, follow us, #tag
  • Reviews: reviews on Amazon or Goodreads help immensely!
  • Word of mouth: tell your friends, namedrop, leave your dog-eared issues out on the coffee table

Are spreadsheets and envelopes your thing?

We could use someone to take over managing subscriptions and mailouts.  Mailouts are quarterly, and not onerous; subscriptions are ongoing (but not too onerous at the moment).

Advertising

Maintain our advertising contact list with quarterly updates and earn a 10% commission on every ad sold. 

These positions could all be held by the same person or be divided between one, two, or more.  It depends how much time you have and how deep you want to sink your hands into the magazine.  As with any non-profit organization, a large part of our work is on a volunteer basis, though there are some opportunities for commission and paid piece-work.

Send us an email to info(at)pulpliterature.com introducing yourself, give us a bit of background info, and tell us why you are interested in working with Pulp Literature Press.    We look forward to hearing from you!

Peter Norman, Author and Sunburst Nominee

Congratulations to author Peter Norman.  He’s been nominated for a Sunburst award for his eerie, brilliant story ‘The Night Stylist’ in Issue 12.  He summons atmosphere, intrigue, and danger with every word …

A tire blew out. A motor died in the cold. A wrong turn off the 17 got you lost. Or maybe you just got confused, like most of us do, somewhere down the road. You need help, a hand, someone with jumper cables, know-how, kind words. Someone who can snip away the shroud of confusion, tidy things up into a shape you understand.

One way or another, if you ever wind up on the streets of Rayburn late at night—later, say, than two in the a.m.—winter gnawing your extremities, you’ll peer around for someplace open. Windows will be dark, the neon dead above the old Chinese restaurant.

–  ‘The Night Sylist’, Peter Norman,  Pulp Literature Issue 12, Autumn 2016

Peter Norman got his start in non-fiction, and has gone on to write well-received poetry, including three collections, and a novel, Emberton.  His poetry and novel have also received nominations, for the Trillium Poetry Book Award, and for the Sunburst.  He won the 2013 NOW Battle of the Bards.  He continues to write, and edits for magazines and publishers across Canada. He is an award-winning public speaker, and recent appearances include The Word on the Street Toronto, Thin Air Winnipeg, and the International Festival of Authors.  We’d walk the streets of Rayburn in the dead of night to hear him speak.  Congratulations, Peter Norman, on your Sunburst Award nomination.

 

Four Quick Fixes for Chapter Starts and Finishes

galaxiesmallMost writing exercises are useful in some way or other, but some take us so swiftly and directly towards our goals, that they’re worth identifying and emphasizing. For example, taking a close look at the beginnings and endings of chapters.

  1. When changing POV character, it would seem a no-brainer that you want to get the new character up and identified as soon as possible. However, setting the reader directly into the character’s skin is more important still, while they’re learning whose skin they’re now wearing. The reader is naturally reluctant to leave the previous POV, and to name the new one too soon may cause the reader to set the book down rather than read on. To settle, see the next point.
  2. At the start of every chapter, and arguably every scene, we want to cover time, place, setting, tone, promise of genre, and a hint at the central conflict.
  3. At the end of every chapter, it’s worth making sure that it doesn’t actually “finish.” A great sentence that feels like an ending to the conflict may cause the reader to close the book. Sometimes the sentence must be removed; sometimes it works to move it to the next chapter.
  4. Watching out for rhythms in positive and negative starts and stops is a subtle way to establish storytelling authority. As author Beverly Boissery once put it to me, chapters that always begin positively and end negatively, read flop flop flop. If a chapter ends negatively, consider beginning the new chapter negatively as well, and end it positively, with a hint at future conflict.

Chapter starts and endings set us up to keep reading, keep invested in the characters, and love the book. Whether drafting or revising, these are fairly easy fixes to create even greater narratives.

I hope you’ll have another great week in your writing career. Cheers, Mel


If you enjoy Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

From Pulp Literature Press