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Où sont les blurbs d’antan?

small writerOne problem I have with ebooks, is that once I’ve purchased them, I can no longer read the blurbs without returning to the estore.

I want my blurbs. Those artful, enticing descriptions put a smile of anticipation on my face, speed my reading with a supporting scaffolding of basic information, and reassure me that I haven’t already read this one (or that it’s going to be my great pleasure to read it again.)

I noticed that Stephen King’s Revival (loved it) has all the copyright/acknowledgements at the end of the ebook. That made for a slick clean start. He’s always on the ball with these things.  But where is the best place to place eblurbs so that we can see those back cover/inside flap descriptions before we read the book? Summer weather is too pretty for brooding, so I’m lying on the grass, gazing up at the sky and mulling on it.

 

Issue 7 cover mockup

Summer 2015 Launch

Issue 7 coverWe enjoyed the Magpie Award party so much at the Wolf & Hound, we’ve decided to go back for our annual Summer Launch Party!

Join us at the Wolf & Hound on Monday July 6th.  You can pick up your hot-off-the-presses copies of Issue 7.  Please RSVP to info(at)pulpliterature.com so we can give pub a heads-up for numbers. All three editors are in town, and we look forward to meeting you and raising a glass or three of beer!

Issue 7 Launch Party
Monday 6 July, 7 – 9pm
The Wolf & Hound, 3617 W Broadway
rsvp: info(at)pulpliterature.com

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A Taste of Last Summer

The Hummingbird Contest closes on Monday. Do you have your stories in yet?

Our contest judge is Bob Thurber, master of short fiction.  To inspire you to inspire him, here are a few paragraphs from ‘Wager’, the first of his stories to be published in Pulp Literature.

I’m in this story, though only because I have to be, and I’ve taken liberties to keep my appearance to the barest minimum.  The truly important people are Tony and Phil.  You’ll need to excuse them both, especially Phil.  The poor bastard’s a wreck, jittery from lack of sleep, fuelled by too much coffee.  He hasn’t bathed, shaved or eaten since Thursday’s late afternoon breakfast, when he was chewing on a slice of rubbery bacon, commenting to Tony, his roommate and life partner, how premium quality, centre-cut bacon really should not be cooked on a paper towel in a microwave.

That’s when the phone rang and Phil answered.

The caller’s voice was flat, cold, nonchalant to the point of sounding breezy.  It was a voice right out of a Hitchcock thriller, in that moment right before some woman screams.  After a brief, rather one-sided conversation full of ugly and melodramatic references to shattered bones, torn flesh, broken teeth, the caller said, “Imagine how it’s going to feel to have both your eyes scooped out with a soup spoon, you deadbeat faggot.”

Issue 3 coverWant to read the rest? You can pick up the ebook version of Pulp Literature Issue 3 for just $2.99 for the month of June, and the print version is $3 off as well!  Click here to order.

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Celebrating Summer!

We love summer!   After all, Pulp was born on a sunny deck on Bowen Island in July of 2013, and our earliest graphics featured books and beer on the beach.  While we eagerly await issue 7, we thought we’d celebrate the start of summer by offering back issues of last summer’s offering, Issue 3, on sale for the month of June.  Pulp & Prosecco

For this month only you can get the Summer 2014 issue, with stories by Governor General Award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod,  Hummingbird Prize judge Bob Thurber, as well as  Laird Long, Deborah Walker, Conor Powers-Smith, Fred Zackel and more.  Only $12 for print, and $2.99 for ebooks both here on our website and on Amazon. Crack open a cold one and get a head start on summer reading now!

Issue 3 cover

 

 

Rooftops and Moon

Pacing, Description, and Painted Toes

Pacing is a tricky learning curve for some, like me.  Other writers seem to have an intuitive feel for it and know just when to give us that beautifully painted descriptive passage that informs character and even moves the story along.  Whenever my co-editors Jen and Sue read their work during our Writing Circles sessions, I’m always gobsmacked at the brilliance of their pacing.

viellaHow often we read this criticism of novelists and short fiction writers:  “Too much description.”  Although sometimes that’s right on, more frequently I find that description is misplaced.  One of the ways a master storyteller shows his or her skill is by knowing where a descriptive passage works, and where it must not set one painted toe.

And it’s worth learning where in story structure these places are.  For example, during the quiet moments where the character is finding that he or she is not what she was, description adds to the importance of the moment, and of course you want to get out the brush and paints when you’re drawing out a reveal moment (the unopened letter’s in his hand, the stranger’s on her doorstep).  GG winner Joan MacLeod nails the placement in her perfect story ‘The Salt Tour’ in Issue 3 of Pulp Literature. Best selling thriller writers like Lee Child are masters at knowing exactly when to use description and figurative language and you can examine a book chapter by chapter to see where he’s placing action, description and figurative language.  For a perfect example of description informing plot, conflict, and character, take a look at the moment Harry Potter first enters Hogwarts dining hall.

I think of description like caesura in music.  Stop on the wrong bar, it’s a hand in the face. When it’s rightly placed, wow.

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The 2015 Magpie Award for Poetry

The results are in, and here is the report from the final judge, George McWhirter!

The finalists for 2015 were all masterfully precise and evocative at the same time, making a choice of top three not so easy. Finally, I opted for the following:

  1. ‘Caffe Pettirosso’ by Diane Tucker

I think the poem and poet speak for generations of café and restaurant goers whose main item on the menu is their sitting down to appear cool in a cool place, only to have, as on this visit, the afternoon light, the city’s flora and fauna outshine any of the bright lights and personae in the eating and drinking place. This other side of being part of the scene has just been waiting for this poem to happen—with its afternoon scenario, brilliant put-down and simultaneous illumination.

  1. ‘Water in the Way’ by Ace Baker

The drama in the poem of a trip (literal and metaphorical) into death and the consecration of the beloved dead-one’s remains, with the fish-shaped skull, to the deeps of mystery and the waters is spectacular. The moment of that fish arising out of those waters into indelible memory for the granddaughter and the poet solders emblem and epiphany to mine and makes a perfect consummation for the poem.

  1. ‘Wild Berry Suite’ by Jude Neale

This is an elegant and heartfelt elegy with resonant recollections and touching details, very human, very ordinary, but of that small order of the magically ordinary like the berries in the poem that once picked and basketed can be relished over and over with the wild bitter sweet mix of sadness and joy. The poem also mulls the rural and urban into a very special liquidity, the City of Vancouver and the countryside with the fluidity of the river that runs through both and which becomes the sound of Mary Greener Thompson to whose memory the poem is dedicated and that very easy to hear and listen to voice of the poet.

Congratulations to our three finalists, as well as to the rest of the entrants who gave them a hard run for their money.  Our first-place winner will receive $500 and the runners up each receive $50.  The three winning poems will be published in the Autumn 2015 issue of Pulp Literature.

We are thrilled to let you know that all three finalists are local and will be able to attend our awards presentation and reading on Monday May 25th, along with some of the other short-listed poets and both of our judges, Daniel Cowper and George McWhirter.

The Magpie Award for Poetry
magicforestmagpies3Poetry Reading and Award Presentation
Monday 25 May 2015, 6:30pm till ???
The Wolf & Hound, 3617 W Broadway, Vancouver

Please join us as we congratulate the winners with an evening of poetry and celebration!

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The Magpie Shortlist

We are extremely pleased to announce the shortlisted poems for the 2015 Magpie Awards.  In alphabetical order by poem title the finalists are:

  • ‘Caffe Pettirosso’ by Diane Tucker
  • ‘Eighty-five green candles’ by Jude Neale
  • ‘Her tongue depressed’ by Sonia Jind
  • ‘Nana’s Hat’ by Jude Neale
  • ‘Northland’ by Ada Maria Soto
  • ‘The heart is a willow tree’ by Ev Bishop
  • ‘The Meadow Spittlebug’ by Monica Diaz
  • ‘Tool Shed’ by Matthew Walsh
  • ‘Water in the Way’ by Ace Baker
  • ‘Wild Berry Suite’ by Jude Neale

According to George McWhirter “The finalists for 2015 were all masterfully precise and evocative at the same time.”

Contest judges George McWhirter and Daniel Cowper will be presenting the awards to the winner and two runners-up on Monday May 25th at the Wolf & Hound pub in Kitsilano.  All the finalists who are local have been invited to attend and read their poems, and we hope you will join us too!

The Magpie Award for Poetry
Monday 25 May 2015, 6:30pm till ???
The Wolf & Hound, 3617 W Broadway, Vancouver

 

Begin with the End in Mind

I’ve been re-reading Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The second habit, ‘Begin with the end in mind’, has several layers of application for me.  In terms of my work, I need to focus on my end-goals for my career as an author, which means I’ll be saying no to that tempting but distracting job I got offered last week.  In terms of the writing itself, ‘begin with the end in mind’ is about the most profound advice I can give fiction writers.

"This Double" by Mel AnastasiouFor flash fiction especially, it is the end that marks the master from the apprentice, for the end is the bursting truth of a short story.  In any length of fiction, however, even when I think I’m starting a story with an opening, the truth is I’m starting with a vision of the ending.  The inspiration for a story comes from that end-goal, and it pulls me forward.  It is the climax, and the rest of the story must be designed to set up and support the final emotional note. Some writers hate outlining, and I believe it is because they are intuitively hearing that distant ending call them forward and it guides their path.

Covey  also says of his second habit that ‘all things are created twice.’ I know what this means, as well. Revision, revision, revision. To get to the end, I have to go back and start at the beginning, multiple times.

So back to the grindstone now, fellow writers. Let us remember our endings, for as TS Eliot said, ‘In my end is my beginning.’

Congratulations to Dr Mary Rykov!

twofish2 smallReaders of Pulp Literature will know the high standards of quality that go into every page.  That attention to detail is the result of hard effort from many talented people, including our proofreader, Dr Mary Rykov.  We became friends with Mary in Issue 2, when we printed her wonderful poem, “A Siren’s Tale.”  Since then, Mary has done the final polish on each issue and we only wish she lived closer!

Mary RykovToday we’d like to congratulate Mary on her full scholarship to Sage Hill, where she will enjoy a 10-day poetry residency with Steven Heighton. This is an honour and congratulations are in order! To find our more about Mary and her work as a poet, editor, or music therapist, visit maryrykov.com.