Category Archives: News

Jan22017Banner Writers' Cafe

Welcome to the Writers’ Café and Centre Stage. Be Prolific, Publish Often, Get Paid.

ProfileJan22017Writers'cafeOne of the many reasons we began publishing our literary quarterly Pulp Literature was that there were very few magazines that paid, and many that did not.  We firmly believe in paying authors.

Writers have a deep reservoir of great pieces.  Opportunities for paid publication can be tracked down on the Internet, although they are apt to go out of date quickly.  And, when agents and publishing firms are happy to accept unsolicited manuscripts, you want to know it.

Somebody’s got to scour the web for these opportunities, and since Mel is a mystery writer, and Jen is unstoppable in mounted combat, we decided we are the women to take on the challenge.  We search for paying opportunities, for open submissions windows, for publishers who are willing to take on emerging and established writers, and we devised a meeting place where you can find them.

Welcome to the Writers’ Café and Centre Stage, where there’s a paying opportunity posted at least once every day.  Cheers to you and your career, may you be prolific, publish often, and get paid for your excellent work.

With three cheers, from your Pulp Literature Team!

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This week from @yourwritingmuseYou’ve got talent, persistence, and a great love of learning. Top success indicators. Congratulations from Your Writing Muse.

The Pop-Up Writing Space

We most likely have, each of us, a dedicated writing office space of one kind or another. Here, seated or standing at our own desk, we often feel primed to begin. It’s almost like having a head start on the work. I hear some of us saying, as I have from time to time, I can only write when I’m alone in my office.

Still, charm of setting and pursuing a noble goal are not enough for storytelling, nor are they always enough for the writers who devise them. Just as the stories we’re writing demand transformation to hold a reader’s attention, our writers’ minds desire change to keep sharp.

Libraries.  Coffee shops.  Different areas in our homes.  If we consider devising pop-up writing spaces, should silence be a prerequisite?  Those of us who admire Jane Austen’s work know we’d be missing much had she required quiet.

A pop-up office won’t be as fab as our own perfectly — or madly — arranged private offices.  Especially office spaces we love with all our hearts.  But, even pleasures may fail to please when we settle into a favourite rut.  Our brains are our most important writing tools, and they thrive on change as much as comfort.

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

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse:

You keep the goals for your writing career in plain view. A perfect guide for your continued success. Your Writing Muse

Stay up to date on all our writing tips and 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

 

Be Kind to Authors

pupsmallWhistling in the dark, we sometimes call it, but it’s painful, hearing emerging and establishing writers speak self-deprecatingly of their work.   We don’t hear that sort of self-mockery much in other professions.  And, even in our own, with a few Fitzgeraldian exceptions, we would be shocked if top-of-their-field authors spoke with destructive irony about their work.

Furthermore, feeling down about writing interferes with our management of our planning, drafting, and editing time.  Well, I’ll never get there and the world’s not waiting, so I might as well check my emails.

Instead of speaking harshly about our own work, we would be better served to give our inner writing minds all the encouragement we can.  And give that encouragement with our eyes wide open, and sincerely, because we know what our strongest skills are, and which skills we’re working on.  With persistence, hard work, and learning we will always get better still.  And that’s why we’re in this game, isn’t it?  To write superb stories.  To become our highest writing selves.  To do that, we look to our great goals, and show up for the work.  And, we don’t kick the authorial dog.

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

 

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: You’ve wisely employed all the skills your hero gained in Act 2 in your final showdown. Your Writing Muse @pulpliterature

 

For more daily writing inspiration from Mel, check out The Writer’s Boon Companion, available in our bookstore and on Amazon.com.

Bowen Breakfast LST

Recipe for Writing (aka How to Bake a Perfect Muse Retreat)

Take one part beautiful island in BC (I recommend Bowen Island, the birthplace of Pulp Literature) and one part historic lodgings and add a gourmet chef with a laid-back personality. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine eight writers with different styles, preferably from a variety of locations. (This year’s combination of writers from the East and West coasts lent a tangy flavour and I’d advise repeating this balance of flavours).

Set the timer for one hour, five times during the course of the weekend. (Yes, we wrote five sessions and not only had time to read out our works to each other, but fit in a critique session as well).

Garnish with praise and encouragement and honest admiration for each other’s talents. Serve with a warm heart, and enjoy for the rest of the year.  And share this recipe with others, because next year will come again faster than you think!

Next year’s Muse retreat is pencilled in for the 12th – 14th of January.

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Dear Muse

musefinalbwDear Muse, thank you for showing up at our retreat on Bowen Island. Just when I thought I had no more words to write, you rescued me and my manuscript.  I don’t think Superman has better timing.  I hope I don’t come that close to crashing before our next retreat.

Dear Muse, I also want to say it was a nice touch to expand my horizons in the way you did. The selection of people at our table was like a vase of flowers with eight very different varieties in bloom. To see the contrast in our voices, yet to affirm each other in our different styles, brought health and a sturdy platform of confidence to my writing. Together we were stronger. Support is such an important part of long term success as a writer.  Thanks.IMG_0128

breakfast 2Dear Muse, I’d also like to thank you for the food.  I don’t usually get such careful cuisine for so many meals in a row.  Or even one meal in a row.  I felt the respect and craft that was put into the cooking seep into my body like some physical artistic elixer.  And that didn’t even include the wine.  I guess you are the Muse of chefs, too, aren’t you?  And the Muse of bubble baths.  And that was also a lovely walk through the snowy forest.

Dear Muse, please help me to remember how great this retreat was when I get discouraged later this year.  Remind me that such places and spaces exist still inside myself.  And when more opportunities come, let me grab hold of them and say yes.  Saying yes was important.

Sincerely yours,

Sue

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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.

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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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Editorial and Red Flags

Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind. – Woolcott Gibbs

Notes from the acquisitions editor

Every acquisitions editor has a few red flags in a top desk drawer.  This list may save you time with rejections.smallpenandink

  1. Ten cent transitionals like suddenly, then, next, and realized.
  2. Actions that come after they occur (eg Stella walked on, having shut the door behind her.)
  3. Bouncing blonde curls (You wouldn’t believe how often I read stories where blonde curls bounce around.  Also, raven hair.)
  4. Without a doubt, paragraphs jam-packed with sentences beginning with modifying phrases.
  5. Dialogue tags like “chuckled”, “said flirtatiously”, “shouted”, “gasped”, “For which better dialogue can be substituted,” Mel advised testily.
  6. Exclamation points. (Excepted, the masters Ray Bradbury and Tom Wolfe.)
  7. Frequent adverbs, (excepted, the master Bill Bryson.)
  8. ALL CAPS DAMMIT.

However, there are no hard and fast rules.  Many editors think all use of the passive stinks like old fish, but two of my favourite writers, Wodehouse and Churchill, use the passive form a lot, and for excellent reasons, so the passive is not much of a red flag for me.  One reason authors love writing is that we enjoy our creative freedom.  Do what you like, really, for there will be editors who are fine with ! and Iy.   I read somewhere that McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies was rejected many times for its slow start, and it became an adored bestseller. (Note: the previous sentence was in passive form because the manuscript was more important than the editors who rejected it).

How comforting it is to know that none of us will ever catch everything.  That’s why we employ brilliant, talented copy editors to work over our manuscripts.  Pay them. Pay them more than they ask.

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

MuseThis week from @yourwritingmuseI admire the way your first paragraph gives us time, place, tone, and hints at the central conflict. Your Writing Muse

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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!