Category Archives: News

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.

old dorm

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.

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

 

 

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!

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!

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!

JJ with hat

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

Submissions close tonight

Last call for submissions for 2017!

Get your short fiction in before midnight on November 30th.  Submission Guidelines are here.

colored-pencils-rainbow-heartThere is no reading fee for this call.  However if you’d like to support the magazine and the work we do, please consider getting a subscription or a back issue through our current Kickstarter campaign, Something Novel. Your support is truly appreciated by our hard-working editors … as are your stories.  We look forward to reading them!

Jen, Mel, & Katherine

 

PS: If you submitted a story to us in the last round and haven’t heard back that is good news!  It means the story is under consideration and has gone for a third round of readings.

Double Dare: Stella and Allaigna!

What’s better than one great heroine?  Two!

Our Something Novel campaign has just been picked as staff favourite over at Kickstarter, and we like to think it’s because of our ‘Strong Female Characters’, aka the heroes of Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries and Allaigna’s Song: Overture.

On the surface, Stella and Allaigna couldn’t seem more different:  one is in her eighties, trapped in a home waiting to die; and the other is a child just starting out on a life of adventure.

However, it is their similarities that make them characters we love.  Despite their lack of personal power, they are stubborn, strong-willed, and fierce crusaders against injustice of all kinds.   We are rooting for them from page one.

If you want to invite both these uppity women into your home, choose the Double Dare on Kickstarter.  For $35 + shipping we will send you each novel as it’s released: Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries at the end of March, and Allaigna’s Song: Overture in late May.  And if digital is your style, you can get both novels for the amazing deal of $10.

bookshelfBut wait, there’s more!  The second Allaigna novel will start in the pages of Pulp Literature Issue 13 and continue to be serialized throughout the year.  Plus, issues 14 and 16 will both contain brand new Stella novellas!  To avoid missing out you can get a print subscription plus the novels with the Reader’s Delight at $80, or your can add a digital subscription to any reward for only $10.

But hurry!  There are only a few hours left of the Kickstarter campaign.

 

Help these heroines into books of their own by backing us on Kickstarter!