Category Archives: Workshops & Retreats

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.

old dorm

Domenichino155

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

IMG_0132

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

outdoors

 

 

 

Bowen

Retreat Afterglow

Bowen Breakfast LSTGourmet food, historic bedrooms, island sunshine, and the Muse guiding our pens … Last weekend on Bowen was a writer’s paradise in every way, and four steps towards our manuscript goals, as we used the Hour Stories cards four times in three days.Bowen writing

Writers know better than to rely solely on the Muse to inspire creativity; discipline is the only thing we daily control. But when nine writers join together for timed writing exercises, the energy flows more easily, and both discipline and inspiration combine to empower writing.  Add to this the magical environment of Bowen Island, where Pulp Literature was conceived, and it creates a recipe for literary pixie dust.  Most of us wrote 4000 words!Bowen lounge KTW

If only the walls had ears, they would have heard time-management wisdom from Mel Anastasiou, murderous backfiring from Laura Kostur, oracle-like insight from Jane Durant, bizarro machinations from KT Wagner, romantic yearning from Kate Austin, fantastic captures from LS Taylor, photographic memories from Carol McCauley, comic counselling from Susan Pieters, and the conclusion of Allaigna’s trilogy by JM Landels.

Yes, a feast all around.  We can’t wait for next time!

Bowen ferry home LST

Thanks to Laura Taylor and Katherine Wagner for the photos!

 

Mel, Jen, Sue & Jane

Happy New Year to the Muse!

MuseNow that the holidays are winding up we are reenergized to get back to work here at Pulp Literature!  We are tidying up the stories for Issue 10, collecting entries for both our Bumblebee Microfiction Contest and our Songbird Cover Painting Contest, and preparing for a busy year of publishing for 2016.

Before that, however, we are privileged to be able to take three days and do what we love most, and what brought the three of us together: write.

old dormWe are writers first and foremost, and this is the weekend we remind ourselves of that.  From January 8-10 we will be on Bowen Island, nurturing our Muses with good food, stimulating company, luxurious rooms, and restful surroundings while we write.  Throughout the year we are diligent about writing together almost every week, but this weekend is our gift to the Muse.  While Dan, Julia, and the wonderful staff of The Lodge at the Old Dorm pamper us we can devote our energy towards words on the page, as well as supporting our fellow writers and revelling in the stories that will be told around the fireplace.breakfast

This year we are delighted to be joined by five other amazing writers who are at various stages in their careers.  There is space for one more writer, or two if you wish to share a twin-bedded room.  If you would like to join us for this nourishing, soul-refreshing start to the New Year email info@pulpliterature.com, or sign up on the Writing Retreats page, and renew your vows to your muse with us this year.

Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

Jen, Mel & Sue

book &Pen small

book &Pen small

Nurture your Craft

small writerWriting is a solitary pursuit, often performed in a what seems like an echo chamber.  We write, re-read, re-write, with only our (often negative) self-critic there to give us advice.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  The feedback received from an editor can be a lifeline when we’re drowning in the quagmire of self-doubt and circular thinking.

We’ve been there; we know what it’s like.  For Mel, Jen, and Sue, it’s the feedback from each other and from our amazing copy-editors and proofreaders — Amanda Bidnall, Dana Tye-Rally, Mary Rykov and Katie Howard — that keep our manuscripts on track and our heads on straight.  That’s why we’re offering three rewards on our Kickstarter especially for fellow writers.

Manuscript SOS

Need some editorial guidance?  Whether you want developmental and structural advice or detailed line-edits, we’re here to help.  Send us a single novella-length work all at once or three or four shorter pieces throughout the year, and we’ll give you an editorial critique plus a second post-revision editing pass on up to 80,000 words.  The reward also includes the Colouring Paradise colouring book and a print subscription to Pulp Literature – that’s a $500 value for only $300!

Twelve-week online writing course

Struggling with getting the words down?  Need to add some zing to your prose?  Write three new short stories or three sections of your work-in-progress in our Skype-in writing sessions, and we will help you hone and polish them in our four-step editing process till they are publication-ready.  As well as the colouring book and subscription, the course includes a minimum of three Hour Story sessions by Skype, and three editing stages of at least one piece by our in-house professionals:  structural editing, line-editing, and proofreading.  All this for only $600!

Year-long mentorship

musefinalbw

If this is the year you truly want to make a quantum leap in your writing, consider a mentorship.  On top of everything included in the 12-week course, our mentorship program features continuing editorial feedback, a monthly Hour Stories session, submissions guidance, editing tutorials and — possibly the most important ingredient in the solitary career of a writer — collegiality and moral support.  Normally this level of mentorship is available for $120 a month through our Patreon page, but for the Kickstarter we are offering it at $1200 for whole year.  That’s only $100 a month!

Support and constructive critique is the fuel that feeds your Muse.  Thank her for her gifts by treating her — and yourself — to some well-earned soul food!

Creative Ink Festival

There’s an exciting new literary festival in town, and Pulp Literature is thrilled to be a part of it!

The Creative Ink Festival for Writers, Readers, and Artists is the brainchild of writer, fitness guru, and all around ball of energy Sandra Wickham.  This one day event on Saturday April 25th is a fabulous chance to see presentations, panels, and readings by dozens of authors, editors, artists and other creative folk, get your work-in-progress blue-pencilled for FREE, and get inspired for that next project, all for the WOW price of only $25.

This is a great way for new writers to get their toes wet at a fun and friendly conference.  It’s a chance to network, learn more about the business of writing, and come blinking out of the solitary writers’ caves in which so many of us tend to spend our working days.

What will the Pulp Lit team be up to?

Laura Kostur

Kimberleigh Roseblade

Visit us: Come by our booth where you will find Sue and Jen, as well as authors Laura Kostur, Kimberleigh Roseblade and Kris Sayer floating between our booth and Academie Duello’s.  We have free ebook issues for Creative Ink attendees only, as well as 20% off all subscriptions, print or ebook!

Kris Sayer

Blue Pencils: Free blue pencil sessions by a host of authors and editors are on offer.  Sue will have sessions between 10am – 11am, and Jen will be available 11am – noon.  Email Sandra to book a session now.

Susan PietersPanels: Sue will be chatting with Patrick Swenson, Silvia Garcia-Moreno, and Ian Alexander Martin in What Agents, Editors and Publishers are Looking For at 11am, and Jen will have her yea or nay thumb at the ready for Live Action Slush with Claude Lalumière, Patrick Swenson, Mark Teppo, and Alex C Renwick.

JM LandelsReadings: Join us at 4:30 for Pulp Lit readings by Sue, Jen, and special guest authors.

Workshop: Jen will present David vs Goliath: Writing the Mismatched Fight Scene at 6pm.  Come and learn how to write fight scenes that thrill and satisfy, in this interactive workshop involving swords, knives and office furniture.

There’s a full day of programming on offer for writers, readers, artists and publishing professionals, and member bags full of free books and other giveaways.  All for amazingly low price of $25.  Prices go up to $30 at the door, so register online this week.  Come out and support this fledgling festival and help it grow to a full three day weekend next year.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Kris 2

Pen & Sword: The Author’s Journey in Writing Swordfights

CC Humphreys

CC Humphreys

How far would you go for your art?  Would you risk a duel at dawn?  Face an armoured warrior?  Fight an axe-wielding assailant, with only a spoon?  Authors CC Humphreys, Sebastien de Castell, Kris Sayer and JM Landels will discuss their personal journeys studying swordplay (and spoonplay) to enrich their writing, characters and stories.  With live sword fights and show and tell by Academie Duello, fans of fiction, fantasy and history will be entertained and delighted!

Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell

Monday, 23 March 2015,  7:00 pm
FREE! (come early)
Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level
VPL Central Library, 350 West Georgia St, Vancouver

Pen & Sword Giveaway
Kris Sayer

Kris Sayer

Three out of the four authors in this panel have had works published in Pulp Literature.  Do you know which ones?  The first five people who can name these authors and the stories they have had published in Pulp will receive a free ebook issue of their choice.

JM Landels

JM Landels

Email info(at)pulpliterature.com with the subject line ‘Pen & Sword Giveaway’ to enter.

Issue 6 Sneak Launch

Pulp Literature Issue 6Hot-off-the press copies of Issue 6 will be available at this event!  There will also be a number of other Pulp authors present including Laura Kostur, Susan Pieters, Kimberleigh Roseblade (who will be enacting one of the sword spoon-play scenes from Kris’s work) Melissa Mary Duncan, Kate Austin, Beverley Boissery, and KL Mabbs.  We will have copies of issues 1 through 5 available, and there will be book sales and author signings by the panelists.

CC Humphreys & JM Landels in 2013. Will revenge be involved this year?

CC Humphreys & JM Landels in 2013. Will revenge be involved this year?

It’s going to be a fun night — see you there!

Find out if poet Kimberleigh Roseblade (right) is as wicked with a spoon as she is with an umbrella!

Find out if poet Kimberleigh Roseblade (right) is as wicked with a spoon as she is with an umbrella!

 

VISS

The panel is a prequel to the biennial Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium happening March 27 – 29th.  This event is a great resource for authors, with audit passes and lectures allowing you a glimpse into the history and technique of many western martial arts.

 

The writing table.  Photo by Rosie Perera

Bowen Island Writing Retreat

Old Dorm

The Lodge at the Old Dorm. Photo by Rosie Perera

The Muse showed up. That’s all you really need to know.  If you’re a writer, you’ll know how that tastes, feel the warmth it creates, know how time stands still as you see the path forward, see the world laid out at your feet…

At the Tuscany Restaurant. Photo by Rosie Perera

At the Tuscany Restaurant. Photo by Rosie Perera

Our weekend on Bowen Island consisted of six participants and four teachers, and using the Hour Stories cards, we shared over 30,000 words of productivity together.  Those words were read aloud in every available space over the weekend, before meals and before ferries.  And that doesn’t even include the time we spent opening our eyes to beauty with Sandra Vander Schaaf, taking walks in the forest, enjoying fabulous food and good company, and winding down over drinks late into the night.

We’d like to thank all our participants for sharing their words and love of stories with us all, Rosie Perera for capturing the memories with lovely photos, and Karen Cowper for opening her beautiful home to us for our first evening meal.

Reading together. Photo by Rosie Perera

Reading in the lounge. Photo by Rosie Perera

photo by Rosie Perera

Photo by Rosie Perera

To give yourself the gift of a retreat is to devote time with the Muse, and protect that time from the distractions of this life.  Our collective writing momentum built during our days together, and it was hard to part with these storytellers, knowing that the words would continue to flow beyond each others’ hearing.

The feedback has been so positive that we plan to have another retreat soon, and not only at Bowen, but in France.  Keep your eyes on our retreats page for details.  Yes, we’re listening to the Muse this year.  She’s calling from far away, and together, we’re going to find her!