The Real Sting: Bumblebee Contest Longlist

The Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest: short and sweet stories with a sting.  The real sting, though, is choosing between so many excellent entries.  The editors had to work hard to select a longlist.  Thank you to everyone whose stories made choosing difficult.

Here are the authors on the longlist, alphabetically by first name:littlepen

  1. Albert Liau
  2. Amanda Truscott
  3. Candace Kubinec
  4. Catherine Raphael
  5. Charity Tahmaseb
  6. Claire Lawrence
  7. Colin Thornton
  8. Cornelia Hoogland
  9. David Perlmutter
  10. Ingrid Jendrzejewski
  11. Jenny Fleming
  12. Jay Allisan
  13. Joel Freiburger
  14. Kat McNichol
  15. Katie Gray
  16. K. Kris Loomis
  17. KT Wagner
  18. Laura Taylor
  19. Leslie Wibberley
  20. Luo Yang
  21. Margaret Code
  22. Melanie Cossey
  23. Richard Arbib
  24. Rose Divecha
  25. Steven Kochems
  26. Tristan Marajh
  27. William Kaufmann

Congratulations, authors!  We editors will steel ourselves to make a shortlist for contest judge Bob Thurber soon.

In the meantime, the Magpie contest opens tomorrow.  Poets, prime your pens!

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  Opportunities for paid publication can be tracked down on the Internet, although they are apt to go out of date quickly.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.

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.

In Praise of Stationery

pen2smallMaybe it’s the same for you, author:  I love stationery stores. Once inside, there comes over me a feeling of pleasant expectancy mixed with the urge to guard my own actions.  It’s the same kind of self-restraint with which I’d approach choosing three magical wishes.

The new notebook, the perfect pen, the …

I think writers love stationery stores because they are shops jam-packed with possibility, of white pages and dark ink that magically become something at once concrete and ethereal when they come into our hands.  Transformation is what storytelling is all about.

Great dreams and concrete goals fuel our writing energy and grow the amount of time we spend working on our manuscripts in progress.  At any rate, this is what I tell myself — that time spent among the pens and paper is actually time saved from procrastination.  And that, in a way, it’s our natural habitat.

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

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

Don’t miss a writing tips post!  We collect them once a month and send them to your inbox in our free newsletter.

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

 

Using the Lag to Become Superb

beatlebootsstampA brilliant and successful writer once told me, “All writers secretly wish they were musicians or baseball players.”

I don’t know whether that’s as true as it sounds, but watching professionals having fun in their profession never fails to thrill me.

Ron Howard’s documentary Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years, provides a view of The Beatles at the top of their field, taking the music (but not themselves or each other) seriously.  I love the way they josh, endure, satirize, remain true to their promises, adapt, compromise (the time they give to live performances,) and refuse to compromise (the recording sessions.)

And, they use the lag when things are slow to become superb.

The number of hours to excellence bandied about the Internet is 10,000, (and then on to another 10,000, I’ll bet) and those guys spent a chunk of theirs in Hamburg, playing eight hours a day, attempting to draw in passersby to a seedy club on a seedier strip.  I love to see the footage of the Fab Four making the most of their time on stage, the girls, the joking, and repeatedly creating the wild discipline required to play on through day and night.  Watching endurance, exuberance and excellence combined, I remind myself to smile while I write.  I’m kind of relieved that I’m spending my 10,000 in Vancouver and the UK, driven by nothing but deadline, with holly berries and sweet-singing blackbirds outside my office window.  I’m only kind of relievedthough.  Who doesn’t want to play music?  Or, baseball?  Who?

“I saw that Meryl Streep said ‘I just want to do my job well’.  And really, that’s all I’m ever trying to do.” -Paul McCartney

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

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou face your work with the happy, bold mindset that brings continuous growth and sure success.   Your Writing Muse @pulpliterature

Don’t miss a writing tips post!  We collect them once a month and send them to your inbox in our free newsletter.

Meanwhile, Bruce Springsteen Keeps Working

notebookvellumsmallAs I read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, I’m delighted, but not surprised, to find that he is a superb storyteller and a beautiful writer.  Of course he is.  To a fiction writer, his  career  in music is a lesson in love of work and use of the lag time between early talent indicators and enormous success.

In the first quarter of the book, Springsteen talks about the times he lived in the back room of a surfboard shop, without ID or bank account.  His talent was strong, but his fans were few, and he worked on his music in the meantime.  His fans grew, and life got wilder, but the money was small, and he worked on his music in the meantime.  The money began to come in, but he knew he could be better, so he changed his direction, the money stopped, and he worked on his music in the meantime.  When the call came to play for Hammond, who ‘discovered’ Dylan, Springsteen had a strong folder of songs and was accepted, but the company said that he didn’t have a hit single, and so …

I wish I could thank people like Bruce Springsteen, who inspire aspirers. Springsteen got his chance later on to thank his inspiration, Bob Dylan, and instead found Dylan thanking him for playing his song at Kennedy Centre.  The greats are grateful.  They’re grateful for any moment they get to do their chosen work, and call it play.  And, in the meantime, they work to get even better.

Get Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen here.  An amazing read.  The kind you savour.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week.

Cheers to you, Mel

muse small

This week from @yourwritingmuse: I admire the way you deal with exchanges of power among characters in dialogue. These shifts and imbalances keep us reading your stories late into the night.  Your Writing Muse @pulpliterature

Don’t miss a writing tips post!  We collect them once a month and send them to your inbox in our free newsletter.

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.

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