All posts by PULP Literature

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The Bumblebee Closes Tomorrow!

In between your chocolates and champagne, don’t forget to send in your sweet and fizzy short stories to the Bumblebee contest, which closes tomorrow at midnight!

loveofficesgirl2And once you’ve checked that box off your to-do list, relax with some candles and bubblebath, enjoying Valentine’s day content in the knowledge our judges will fall head over heels in love with your story.

Entry guidelines here.

Stay up to date on all our contest openings with our free monthly newsletter.

Blue Skies

Issue 14, Spring 2017

Planes, trains, automobiles, and mechanical bears carry us away this issue!

  • Bestselling author, actor, and swordsman CC Humphreys sets two strangers on a train ride in ‘The Ankle Bracelet’.  candy apple baby
  • Colin Thornton’s ‘Candy Apple Baby’ spins us out of control on the road.
  • Poetry from Ian Haight’s ‘Detroit’ takes us to the gritty streets of motor city.
  • Joseph Stilwell’s and Hugh Henderson’s graphic novel Blue Skies Over Nine Isles, soars to an intriguing post-post-apocalyptic future.
  • The protagonist of ‘Robin Hood’ by Susan Pieters takes a road she hadn’t planned to travel.
  • We’re stalked by two very different bears, in Greg Brown’s ‘Bear’ and William Charles Brock’s ‘Jonathan S Primrose Gets Eaten by a Bear’.
  • David Clink’s ‘Birdcage’ takes a suburban trip to the final destination.
  • There are two contest winners this issue.  Our Raven Short Story Contest champion Pat Flewwelling’s ‘The Handler’ is a superhero tale that doesn’t put a foot — or wing — wrong; and the winner of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference’s Storyteller’s Award, Claire Gregory, tells a poignant tale of heartbreak and betrayal from the beginning of the last century in ‘Forget Me Not’.
  • Stella Ryman is back with more amateur sleuthing and righteous red-tape slashing in The Case of the Fallen Crusader.
  • And with the second instalment of Allaigna’s Song:  Aria, our heroine wields magic and a hero’s conscience as she gets farther and farther from home

Pre-order and save!

Issue 14 smallIssue 14, Spring 2017
$14.99  $12.99


ebook
$4.99 $3.99

 

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North Pole Blue

A Story by Bob Thurber

This Christmas tale comes with a bite, as all Bob Thurber stories do.  For more, go to bobthurber.net, and look for some of his short sharp stories in Pulp Literature issues 3, 6, & 12.

The first time I saw Santa’s eyes they were the same pale green as the plastic holly my mother hung on the door on a hook she left up all year, and the rawness of the flesh around them was the same blood-shot red as actual holly berries, which are technically ‘drupes’ and contain the plant’s seeds.  The second time I saw his eyes (a year later, same store, after waiting in a line for nearly an hour) they seemed larger, but less round, and their color had cooled to the crystal blue you find in glacier ice — which, at the time, I called North Pole Blue — and this made sense, even though I was only six, still too young to understand the density and compactness of anything so old as a glacier.  That was the year Santa asked my name, and, when I stammered Bobby, he said, “Ah. Bobby. Of course.”  As though we were old friends.

The third time I sat on Santa’s lap and looked up into the old man’s eyes they had changed dramatically, become far less wrinkly and slightly almond-shaped, with pupils the burnt brown of old acorns.  I got a good long view because Santa was focused on the camera the whole time, fidgeting like he had someplace better to be, and he repeatedly scratched the same spot of his beard; in a faint and tired voice he asked what ‘big gift’ I wanted for Christmas, and though I don’t remember what I said, I do recall that he didn’t acknowledge the request, or in any way signal that he had heard, so when I climbed off his lap I felt less sure of everything.  Oddly, my mother always liked that picture the best because of the shy, inquisitive, almost contemplative expression on my face, plus the camera’s flash put a dot of sparkle in my left eye, so there is, I will admit, a dreamy magical quality, but it’s purely an illusion, a trick of light, because my absorption at that moment was really my gut-wrenching disturbance at the weariness I saw on the man’s face, and my utter confusion at his not remembering me.

Years and Christmases and more photos went by.  Santa took to wearing glasses with wire frames made of gold or silver, which I liked.  Though, whether I looked through their lenses or above them, I’d be lying if I said I glimpsed anything other than vagueness.

The last time I had an up-close, personal view of Santa’s face I avoided his eyes entirely, focusing on his nose, which had not only widened and flattened but now contained tiny broken veins like intersecting highways on a roadmap.  He asked how old I was and I said ten.  He asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said, “A pocket knife.”

He shifted me slightly on his lap.  “You a Boy Scout?”

I wasn’t, though I wanted to be.  But I felt he didn’t need to know that.

His breath rolled out the smell of coffee and cigarette smoke.  I turned my head, found my mother behind the elfish-looking girl working the camera.  Mom was waving, trying to get me to smile.  She’d painted her nails a garish Christmas green, and I didn’t like the color.

Right before the flash went off Santa pulled me closer and I felt his beard brush against the top of my ear.  “You know,” he said, “you’re a little too old for this crap.”

And that man, I’m certain, was the real deal.

Nothing but troubleBob Thurber’s short story collection Nothing But Trouble is now available at bookstores everywhere.

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‘Better Watch Out’ by Anna Belkine

By now our subscribers should have received their digital copies of Issue 13, and many of the print versions have arrived at their destinations as well.  In the errata department we issue our profuse apologies to author Anna Belkine, whose name was inadvertently left out of the table of contents.  Fortunately, her creepy Christmas story, ‘Better Watch Out’ was not left out, and for those you who haven’t yet had a chance to read it, here’s a sneak preview …

 

Better Watch Out

by Anna Belkine

Sally and I were terrified of Santa as children.  No, not those impostors who hung around shopping malls.  The real Santa lived in our air conditioning vent.  You could hear him moving in there, every once in awhile — a sort of wet rustle.  We knew our parents could hear it too, but they tried very hard to be dismissive about it.  This was just the sound old vents made in the winter, they said.  Santa was just a myth, they said.  But the terror in their eyes told me he was real.  They knew he was real.  That he was there.  And they were lying.

He came out only when we slept.  Somehow he could always tell if we were just pretending.  Like in the song.  You would hear him come out just as you felt your body go limp, just as your consciousness slipped heavily out of your belly and you were no longer able to command your eyes to open.  You could feel him, moving around the room, the large round mass of him, dressed in the sort of shimmering red hues that creep behind your eyelids on bright days.  And he talked, a lot, all the time, using mangled sounds neither pronounceable nor reproducible.  All we understood at first was that his name was Santa.  The way he said it, it sounded like a heavy scuffling, followed by the noise of something viscous dripping heavily on a linoleum floor.  Sssss— tah.  Tah.  Tah.

We had no choice but to listen to him scuffling and hovering and looming there in the dark, behind our closed eyelids.  He never threatened.  He was just waiting.  For the opportunity to be mean.  And we were waiting too, immobilized by sleep, like insects under a pane of glass.

Some nights, we could make some excuse not to sleep in our beds.  Some nights we managed to stay awake until morning.  But in the end, we were still made to lie in the dark by ourselves, with him behind the vent.  Rustling.  Eventually we understood that it was important to our parents that we do that.  They let him visit us.  That must have been the deal they made with him.  Sally and I were on our own.

Especially Sally.  See, I was the favourite child.  Our parents made a token effort to conceal it, but it wasn’t enough; we both knew it, we both felt it.  She was in their way.  An embarrassment.  It’s not like they actively wished her gone, no — but it was clear they would have been relieved if she were.  Just as I could feel the evil skulking around in our room, I could feel her loneliness and her rejection clinging to me, a skinny bundle of ribs, knees, and gasps.  Without me, she had nobody.

… find out what happens to Sally and her sibling in Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017.

Bowen Snug Cove KTW

You deserve a writing holiday

twotwentytwosmallFor those of us who clock in at our keyboards and notebooks rather than stepping through the office doors every morning, ‘holidays’ are often a mixed blessing.  We love the time spent with family, the food, the festivities, the break from daily routine.  But in the back of our hearts we feel the tug of the loved ones we’re neglecting: our manuscripts.

Writers love what they do, and enforced time away from writing when the work is calling is a special kind of agony only fellow pen-monkeys can appreciate.  To make matters worse, during the holiday season we open our houses to friends and family, busying ourselves with cooking turkeys, decorating, and wrapping gifts while our notebooks lie unopened, and our keyboards gather dust.  We are in our offices, but unable to sit down and do the work we enjoy most.

As writers, we need a holiday from the holidays.  That’s why at Pulp Literature we book the second weekend in January for our annual Muse Retreat.  It’s a time for us to put the hectic holidays behind us, forget deadlines and production schedules, and simply write for three days while Dan and Julia at The Lodge at the Old Dorm pamper us with luxury accomodation and gourmet meals.

The Old Dorm setting perfect for Samll Meetings and Family Gatherings

breakfastAs always, we open the doors for a few other writers to join us.  There are two spaces left and the price is only $899 until January 1st.

Non-writing spouses are invited to attend as well at a cost of $699.  Bowen Island is a beautiful and inspirational place for walks in the forest, kayaking, and simply escaping the bustle of city life.

Your Muse deserves the gift of quality time with you.  Register here to start 2017 with a well-earned break and come away with at least 3000 fresh new words on the page.

See you on Bowen!

Jen, Mel & Sue

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Literary Launch and Swordfighting Salon

It’s a party, and you’re invited!

melissaJoin us at Academie Duello this coming Sunday December 18th for a festive afternoon of readings, last-minute gift shopping, tea and swordfighting as we launch Issue 13 and celebrate the success of Something Novel!

From 2 – 6pm we’ll be filling the salle at Academie Duello’s School of Swordplay at 412 W Hastings in Vancouver with artisan tables, books, and baked goods.

Sip a cup of tea, courtesy of the Granville Island Tea Company, listen to some of our favourite authors read, and enjoy thrilling swordplay demonstrations by Academie Duello.

Artisan Fair

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Get your last minute gift shopping done as you browse the tables at our artisan fair.

There’s something for every taste:  jewellery that ranges from sophisticated to saucy, with steampunk, gaming, and fandom flavours from CrossedPromise, Vicborgian Princess & Friends and Kristen Kahila; exquisite  hats, clothing, and accessories from authentic period pieces to pure fantasy from Dark Anachronisms,

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My Tell-Tale Heart and Ragnar the Trader; books for children and adults alike from Barefoot Books, Reality Skimming Press, and our author tables; carvings, paintings, and artwork from the Carnegie Vending Cart artists, Melissa Mary Duncan, and Marika Purisima; decadent bath bombs and irreverant needlepoint from Layne Moore and Miss Stitched.

Author readings

We are thrilled to have readings from CC Humphreys, JJ Lee, Eileen Kernaghan, Sebastien de Castell, Jude Neale, Rhea Rose, Elizabeth Armerding, Graham J Darling, Daniela Elza, and Sylvia Taylor!  Books from these authors and several others will be available for sale and and signing.books

devonSwordplay Demonstrations

Devon Boorman, director of Academie Duello will take you through the history of European swordplay in three thrilling demonstrations of long sword, sword and buckler and rapier with team of expert students.

Issue 13, Winter 2017

issue-13-cover-smallAnd of course we’ll have copies of Issue 13 hot off the press.  Pick yours up along with any back issues you may be missing!  If the shipping gods are good we may even have early copies of The Writer’s Boon Companion available!boon-cover

Admission is by donation, and proceeds from the event go equally to support our non-profit organization and Academie Duello’s Youth Outreach Program.  We look forward to celebrating the season with you!

Literary Launch & Swordfighting Salon
Sunday 18th December 2016, 2pm – 6pm
at Academie Duello, 412 W Hastings, Vancouver

 

 

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Many Thanks!

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Sketch for Allaigna’s Song cover by Melissa Mary Duncan

We are thrilled and still a bit giddy after the nail-biting hours of the campaign last night!  Our funding was successful and we cannot thank enough all the wonderful backers who made Something Novel happen!

Issue 13 is at the printers, and Boon Companion will be  soon too.  Kris Sayer is hard at work on the cover for Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries and we’ve just seen the first sketch by Melissa Duncan for Allaigna’s Song: Overture.  Mel and Jen will be tidying up the documents and we’ll be getting the pre-launch gears rolling for the novels soon.

But today is Friday, and it’s time to relax with a glass of prosecco.  Hope your weekend is wonderful!

Saluto!

Jen, Mel & Sue

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Pulp Literature’s Pushcart Nominees

We love all the stories in our magazine, and choosing which ones to submit for prizes is like choosing between one’s children.  But we only get to nominate six pieces for the Pushcart Prize, and this year’s nominees are:

  • ‘Stalk’ by George McWhirter (Issue 9)
  • ‘Taraxicum Officinale’ by Mary H Auerbach Rykov (Issue 9)
  • ‘Uncanonical Murder’ by Carol Berg (Issue 10)
  • ‘Vellum’ by Andrea Lewis (Issue 10)
  • ‘How to Write a Successful Obituary for a Superhero’ by Matthew Hooton (Issue 11)
  • ‘If You’d Like to Make a Call, Please Hang Up’ by Bob Thurber (Issue 12)

We have our fingers crossed and we wish these authors all the best of luck as we send their stories off.

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To read these fine stories you can purchase all four digital versions of the 2016 issues for only $15 on the Something Novel Kickstarter (select the Digital Sampler).  But hurry — only until 11pm today!

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85% Funded, 24 Hours Left!

Something Novel is 85% funded on Kickstarter!  Can we have a HUGE round of applause for all the amazing backers who’ve got us this far!  And a special HIP HIP HOORAAAAY for more than a dozen backers who have stepped up in the last few days and doubled, tripled, sextupled, or12-fold increased their pledges!

If you haven’t been to the Something Novel Kickstarter page, today’s your last chance.  Get your pledge in for your subscription, your copy of The Writer’s Boon Companion, and the novels Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries and Allaigna’s Song: Overture. stella-allaigna-2-small

Kickstarter is all or nothing.  If we don’t reach our funding goal of $13,970 by 10:30pm Pacific Time on December 1st none of the funding comes through.  Boon, Stella and Allaigna won’t happen, and neither will this brand new Canadian novel publishing enterprise.
If you want to bring these heroes to the page, along with brand new novels by established and emerging authors, consider tossing a nickel in the hat as an investment in a vibrant arts scene and the health of your future bookshelf.
With immense gratitude to all our backers!
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Join us at Academie Duello

Join us to celebrate the success of our Something Novel Kickstarter campaign

We’re planning a party and you’re invited!

CC Humphreys

CC Humphreys

A Literary Launch & Swordfighting Salon
Sunday 18 December, 2pm – 6pm
at Academie Duello School for Swordplay
412 W Hastings, Vancouver BC

This will be an entertaining afternoon of swordfighting and author readings.  We have ten local authors lined up to read, including CC Humphreys, JJ Lee, Eileen Kernaghan and Sebastien de Castell!

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JJ Lee

Tea will be served, and there will be a selection of baked goods and afternoon delicacies.  There will also be book sales, signings, and a craft fair featuring beautiful gifts by local artisans so you can get your last minute shopping done while being entertained.

Eileen Kernaghan

Entrance is by donation.  Half the proceeds go to supporting the magazine and the other half to Academie Duello’s Youth Outreach program, helping get kids get engaged and active.

Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell

 

 

 

 

 

 

boon-coverWe’ll be launching Pulp Literature Issue 13 there and The Writer’s Boon Companion print edition as well.

You can RSVP on the Facebook invitation to let us know you’re coming to the launch.  We’d love to see you there!

Jen, Mel & Sue
Pulp Literature Press