Tag Archives: Allaigna’s Song

The Songbird Selection

When we decided to run a contest for the cover of Issue 11 we were nervous.  What if there were no entries?   Or worse, what if the entries we received were not up to the standards of our usual beautiful covers?  I have to admit to a little nail biting in the week leading up to our contest closing date.

When they did start to come in I let out a huge sigh of relief, and then I got excited.  Not only had artists been reading the chapters of Allaigna’s Song to date, they got it.  It was clear from the choices of character and scene that these artists understood and cared for Allaigna, her family, and her world almost as much as I do.  For a writer there is no bigger compliment, and I am truly grateful to all the entrants.

Winner

As always, it is hard to choose a winner, but choose we must.  The winner of the Songbird Cover Painting Contest is Kris Sayer, for her untitled piece depicting Allaigna’s epiphanic moment as she unlocks the magic of turning sound into light.  The painting is beautifully composed and skillfully drawn in dark tones and eery lighting.  IKrisSayer detailn addition to the technical qualities of the work, Kris has also come closest to reading my mind and capturing Allaigna’s appearance.  Brava!

We’re not going to show you the whole painting here — that reveal will have to wait until it shows up on the back cover of Issue 10.  But in the meantime here’s a close-up detail to tease you.

Runner Up

Elizabeth Stricker‘s painting ‘Angeley’s Secret’ was chosen as the runner-up.  Though the composition technical execution is not as expert as that of winning painting, there is a beautiful tenderness in this quiet but key scene from Issue 4 that won my heart.  The Madonna-blue of Angeley’s dress and the pink glow emanating from her hands are simply lovely.  Here is the artist’s statement.  (Caution: spoilers!)

‘Angeley’s Secret’ … depicts the scene in the story which I felt most poignantly shows the overall theme. Allaigna’s Song follows three generations of the women of a family, their loves, lives, and magic.  In this scene, Allaigna is singing to her wounded grandfather.  Her nurse Angeley joins her and begins singing also.  A pink glow shines from her hands and she moves them up and down his body, healing him.  What the reader doesn’t know at the time, is that Angeley is really Allaigna’s grandmother, Irdaign.  Chanist, her grandfather, is Irdaign’s great love. In his delirium, it is her, and not his new wife that he calls for.

Angeley's secret (1)

‘Angeley’s Secret’ by Elizabeth Stricker. Oil on canvas.

Circumstances robbed her of the life she could have had with him, raising their daughter — Allaigna’s mother Lauresa — together.  Irdaign never got the chance to teach her daughter magic, and had to disguise herself as a nursemaid to find a place back in her life.  Now, she has the opportunity to pass her knowledge of magic on to her granddaughter.  The love of this family crosses the barriers of circumstances.  Missing from this tableaux is Lauresa.  Her absence is also significant, as she has missed the opportunity to share in the magical lineage that is being passed (unknown to her) from her mother to her daughter. Angeley (Irdaign) is the only one who knows all of this.  In her face, I meant to capture the secret pain that she carries with this knowledge, along with her joy in her granddaughter.

Congratulations to both Kris and Elizabeth, and a huge thank you to all the entrants!

 

Interview with the Future

Today’s Proust answers come from Irdaign, midwife, gipsy, princess, seer, and grandmother to the heroine of Allaigna’s Song by JM Landels, which appears in each issue of Pulp Literature.

  1. IrdaignWhat is your idea of perfect happiness? I look forward to the day when all the puzzle pieces I’ve seen fall into place.
  2. What is your greatest fear?  That meddling with Fate for the sake of peace will cost the lives of those I hold dear.
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  My inability to live in the present.
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Cowardice.
  5. On what occasion do you lie?  My life is wrapped in lies.  Easier to ask, when do I tell the truth?
  6. What do you most dislike about your appearance?  My appearance suits my needs, depending on my current role in life.  Other than that, it is irrelevant.
  7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “It is beyond my control.”  That too, is often a lie.
  8. When and where were you happiest?  When my daughter was young and my husband’s soul unbroken by the deaths of his father, brother and sister.
  9. Which talent would you most like to have? To be able to close my inner eye.
  10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  My family.
  11. What is your most treasured possession?   Peace.
  12. What is your most marked characteristic?  My voice.
  13. What is your greatest regret?  Leaving my daughter at court when I was set aside.  I should have taken her with me and Fate be damned.
  14. How would you like to die?  If not with the knowledge, then at least with the illusion that my grandchildren will live happily ever after.
  15. What is your motto?  Fate be damned.
  16. What is something we’d never glean about you from Allaigna’s SongWhen I was young I could pick a lock with a breath of air, and pick your pocket with a smile.

J Green Spur croppedJM Landels wears nearly as many hats as Bartholomew Cubbins: writer, editor, artist, equestrian, and swordswoman are just a few.  After acquiring her degree in Mediaeval English Lit she went to London to get a PhD in English, but instead dyed her hair pink and joined a rock band.  She currently splits her time between working on Pulp Literature, managing Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, and teaching Mounted Combat for Academie Duello.

Allaigna’s Song: Overture is currently being serialized in Pulp Literature.  To read the installments in order, begin at Issue 1, Winter 2014, currently available on our Kickstarter page.

Swords at the Ready

Take a wander over to the blog of swordfighting guru Guy Windsor who is writing a book on … well, Swordfighting … and you’ll catch a sneak peak of some upcoming Pulp Lit fight scenes.  There’s part of an upcoming chapter of Allaigna’s Song (in which she meets her heart’s desire) plus some rough panel sketches of “The Ambush”, a graphic short story scheduled for issue 8.

http://guywindsor.net/blog/2014/10/writing-swordfights-and-a-great-offer/#sthash.hE6vuL82.dpbs

And if you write historical fiction, fantasy or games and want to get those sword fights right,  you’ll definitely want to check out Swordfighting when it comes out!

A Work in Progress

Allaigna 1 cropped

Artwork for Allaigna’s Song by JM Landels

Things are chugging along nicely here at Pulp Literature as we ramp up to the launch of our Kickstarter campaign next week.  Content is falling into place, and our editing gears are clicking away.  I need to keep reminding myself that I have creative content to provide as well.  Here are some unfinished pencils of a piece I’m working on for our first issue.

It’s a family portrait containing two of the three main characters in Allaigna’s Song:  Allaigna and her mother, Lauresa.  (Also pictured, the annoying baby brother, but we needn’t talk about him just now).

The drawing has been sitting in its unfinished state for some time, and I’m finding it hard to touch a pen or brush to it.  Partly it’s because I’m not entirely happy with the pencils yet.  It is not just any illustration; it’s the opening scene of the story, and I want to get it right.

But also, there is one part that is right — just right — and I’m a little bit nervous I might ruin it with ink.

You sometimes hear writers talk about how characters take over, and begin writing themselves.  Well, apparently it happens in sketches too.  This is not how I imagined Lauresa when I wrote her, or even when I began to draw her; but she had other ideas.  Lauresa portrait

She was supposed to look more tired, harried, oppressed by post-partum blues and an unhappy marriage. Indeed, her right eye is withdrawn and weary.  But the left — it pins the viewer.  This is the eye of a woman who knows she is the matriarch.  Her husband’s possessive hand on her shoulder is irrelevant, for it is she who calmly holds the future in her arms and challenges you to say otherwise.

My brush-pen hovers over the page and this woman looks back at me, saying ‘don’t you dare mess it up.’

I’m embarrassed to report I seem to have been intimidated by my own character.  Who’ll win the battle of nerves?  Hard to say at this point.  Wish me luck …