Tag Archives: CC Humphreys

Three pages from Colouring Paradise

Our new Kickstarter project, Colouring Paradise: a Renaissance-Inspired Colouring Book, launched yesterday, and today we thought we’d give you a closer look at the three drawings that are available as single images.  They all appeared in Issue 1 of Pulp Literature, and even though they are some of Mel Anastasiou’s earliest published work they are remarkable in their detail and feeling.

Magpie

magpiesmallerDeep in the magic forest, a magpie rules all she surveys.  This drawing is one of the first instances of Mel’s signature, rope-like, tangled trees.  The magpie at first seems caged by the forest, until you realize she might fly away at any moment into the clearing behind her.  The orginal drawing now lives in Australia, feeling regal amid her short-tailed down-under cousins.

Michael

Michael, by Mel AnastasiouMichael holds the world up for review.  When CC Humphrey‘s story ‘Where the Angels Wait’ came to us, we knew Michael was the perfect angel for its title page.  Here’s a peek at the work in progress, before Mel added the globe to this drawing in the style of Carlo Crivelli.  You can already see Mel has captured the delicate hands, nose and mouth typical of the 15th century painter’s work.

Lost Lady

smallhistorical2After Paolo Veronese;  Veronica  is lost in the woods with only her shining jewels and silks to light the darkness around her.  This drawing first appeared as an incidental illustration in Issue 1.  In Issue 2, she reappeared in a plain white dress to accompany David Clink’s poem, ‘The Lady in White’.  Here she is, with her intricate dress restored for your colouring pleasure.

These three images are on offer as high-resolution pdfs on the Kickstarter page for only $2 each, or $5 for all three.  This is nowhere near what the intricate works are worth, but Mel is very generously offering them for those just dipping their toes into the colouring craze.  And if three’s not enough, you can get the entire book for $10 as a pdf, or $20 in print.

We are a registered non-profit organization, and once we have covered our production and shipping costs, all remaining funds to paying artists and authors.    Please consider backing us on Kickstarter:  this colouring book project will help keep Pulp Literature, and the stories and artwork you’ve come to love, alive!

Issue 8 available at VCON

Hot off the presses!  Issue 8 will be available at VCON, the Vancouver Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention, this weekend October 2-4.

Come and pick your copy up from Jen or Sue in the Vendor Hall … and get it signed by at least three of the authors.  You’ll also be able to hear dvsduncan read from his steampunk story set in New Westminster, ‘Cropper’s Ball’ on the Friday evening multi-book launch.

While you’re at it track down Issue 1 and 5 cover artist Melissa Mary Duncan in the Artists’ Hall, hear Issue 5 feature author Eileen Kernaghan read from her captivating books, and listen to Issue 1 feature author CC Humphreys talk about writing the past.Autumn harvest

We haven’t heard whether feature author JJ Lee will be able to attend, but keep your eyes out in case you spot him … or perhaps the Man in the Long Black Coat!

See you there!

VCON #40
Friday – Sunday, October 2-4
Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
7551 Westminster Highway, Richmond

 

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.

 

A Great Exchange

swordAn exchange of power between characters is a fantastic way to get a tight rhythm going, whether in dialogue or with a physical struggle.  In Shakespeare’s Rebel, watch how author CC Humphreys handles an exchange of power between his hero John Lawley and John’s friend Will Shakespeare.

At first, John seems stronger than Will:

It was John now who took his friend’s arm. “You have been careful, William?” he asked softly.

“Regarding what?”

“This play.  Its themes.  The times are tender yet and it is only a month since you were called before the Privy Council to answer for Richard the Second.”  He lowered his voice still further.  “They let you off with a warning, I heard. You do not want to test that now.”

“This is different.”

“Indeed?  As I recall the piece, it still features regicide, rebellion, usurpation…”

“All themes well established in Hamlet,”  Shakespeare looked at the activity around him.  “I do but rework an old piece, truly.”

John looked into his friend’s eyes.  “And ghosts, Will?”

“They have always been in the story, too.”

“Not your own.”

Here, John has pushed too far, and now the tables begin to turn as Will shows by his body language as well as his words.

The playwright looked sharply up. “I do not know what you mean.”

Will here takes back his power and now begins to block John at every point. CC Humphreys is a swordsman as well as an author and writer, and he’s skilled at these turnings.  Note that exchanges of power are not limited to struggles between enemies; allies must have them too.

If characters are trading information or threats, if they’re setting up for a trial of strength or a big reveal, writing their meeting with an eye to exchange of power is a mark of exceptional storytelling.

 Shakespeare’s Rebel by CC Humphreys.  Orion Books, London. 2013.

 

 

And the Raven Contest Winner Is…

Pesky Summer Jobs by Tais Teng
Pesky Summer Jobs by Tais Teng

Our third contest was a tough one: write a story to go with the intriguing and detailed cover painting, ‘Pesky Summer Jobs’ by Dutch artist Taïs Teng.  Some of the stories submitted merely touched peripherally on the theme of ravens or the ancient artifacts, while others made full use of the visual images, but all of the finalists had something, whether in the theme, the writing, or cleverness of the plot, that caught our eye.

We congratulate once more our finalists:

  • ‘The Hemisphere Stone’ by Mike Glyde
  • ‘Dear Louis’ by Sara Cedeno
  • ‘Claws In’ by Ace Baker
  • ‘Odd Jobs’ by KL Mabbs
  • ‘Family Relics’ by Katherine Wagner
  • ‘The Ravens’ by Anna Belkine
  • ‘The Inner Light’  by Krista Wallace
  • ‘The Jealous Valley’ by Kiril Lavarevski

From this list the editors would like to make special mention of ‘Odd Jobs’ by KL Mabbs, which was a witty encounter with Babylonian mythology, and ‘Family Relics’ by Katherine Wagner, which managed to encorporate almost all the elements of the painting in an excellent story.

The winner and runner up were both so good that we have decided we will publish both stories in Issue 6, with the runner up receiving our regular per word rate.  We would love to be able to award first prize to both of these, but a favourite must be chosen.  The Runner up in the 2014 Raven Cover Story Contest is

  • ‘The Ravens’ by Anna Belkine.

And the winner is …

  • ‘The Inner Light’ by Krista Wallace!

Actor, author and swordsman CC Humphreys took time out of his busy speaking and writing schedule to choose our winner, and he had this to say:

“The subtlety of Inner Light won me over.  I loved the total immersion in a clearly realized world.  Of course I am an actor and I get the references.  But the story works on many levels other than the theatrical. The writing is clear, precise from the beginning. The unease is there, but subtly, making me want to read on. In such a short piece, the several characters are distinct.  Matilda is nicely nuanced, the arrogance of an award winning director, the fear of someone dealing with forces beyond control.  There’s a distinct sense that the characters will go on – except perhaps for one who won’t!  Sacrifices must be made for art. For success.  As Macbeth discovers. Bravo!”

Our congratulations to Krista Wallace for writing the winning story — and even more for garnering such praise from the brilliant CC Humphreys!

Krista Wallace will be the featured author for Issue 6 of Pulp Literature.  Along with publication and her name in large font on the cover she will receive a prize of $500.00. We are so pleased!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who took the time to write such wonderful stories for our contest.

From Jen, Sue and Mel

Award Season!

We are pleased as punch to announce our nominations for the Pushcart Prize.  How did we pick them?  It was hard.  Have you even looked at a fantastic menu and couldn’t decide what to order?  Twice Sue’s had the pleasure of dining at renowned Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver.  Both times she asked the owner which dish he’d recommend, and his reply was the same:  how can a parent choose his favourite child?  As publishers, we find ourselves in a similarly impossible position trying to pick favourites, but by studying the inclinations of each prize, we recommend the stories we think stand the best chance of winning each competition.  The Pushcarts are geared to literary fiction, which we have in each issue, but we proved our cross-genre dedication by nominating a literary vampire story. (Think they’ll notice?) The competition is fierce for these awards, but we know these stories are gems. And win or lose, we trust the authors of these stories will feel how much we value them in our magazine.

Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2015:Victorygirlbutterfly

We have also have suggested the following stories for Imaginarium 4, an anthology of Canadian Spec Fic by Chizine.

In addition, ‘Blackthorne & Rose: Agents of DIRE’ by KG McAbee has been submitted for a Bram Stoker Award.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our Journey Prize nominations.  And hey, all you members of the SFWA, now’s your chance to be a hero and nominate a favourite fantasy or science fiction story for a Nebula Award!  If you’d like a complete list of our stories in that genre, just let us know.  We’d also like to hear from you if there is one or more of our stories you think ought to be submitted for other prizes.

Finally, the estimable CC Humphreys has finished judging our very own Raven Cover Story Contest  and we’ll be announcing the winners on Monday.  To whet your appetite, here, in no particular order, is the list of finalists:

  • ‘The Hemisphere Stone’ by Mike Glyde
  • ‘Dear Louis’ by Sara Cedeno
  • ‘Claws In’ by Ace Baker
  • ‘Odd Jobs’ by KL Mabbs
  • ‘Family Relics’ by Katherine Wagner
  • ‘The Ravens’ by Anna Belkine
  • ‘The Inner Light’  by Krista Wallace
  • ‘The Jealous Valley’ by Kiril Lavarevski

Congratulations to all these authors and best of luck in the final judgment!

Contest Alert!

Pesky Summer Jobs by Tais Teng
Pesky Summer Jobs by Tais Teng

Only a fortnight until the Ravens come home to roost! Our story challenge is to write a piece to link with this painting by Tais Teng. In addition to the $500 prize, the winner will be our Issue 6 featured author, an honour shared with award winning authors CC Humphreys, JJ Lee, Joan MacLeod, Susanna Kearsley, and Eileen Kernaghan. If this sounds like good company, send us your story soon! We have a limit of 100 entrants. Your story needn’t capture all the elements in this fantastical painting, but should tie in to at least one of the visual or symbolic references.  Final judge will be CC Humphreys, so sharpen your quills and write!

“Hide!”, Plague and the Monkeysphere

monkeysphere1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got a Flash Fiction contest happening, and we’re looking forward to reading the entries. I’m full of admiration for you Flash Fiction writers. FF has to grab its readers almost from word one, hold them tight and send them off, tingling, after a few moments’ read.

Mind you, a gripping start is arguably necessary to most fiction nowadays. So, how do skilled storytellers achieve an immediate lock on the reader? In previous blogs we’ve talked about nailing the central conflict while setting us firmly in time, place and point of view. As well, many writers set their hero down right in the middle of the action. Danger ought to work, but often it doesn’t, because action alone isn’t enough to make us care.

Why not? I asked myself.  I recalled reading up on the Monkeysphere idea, which states that most or possibly all of us are only emotionally equipped to care deeply about a certain number of people within our circle. (for more on that, visit  http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html). Then, how do you cause a reader to drag your hero into his circle, so closely that he cares enough to read on?

Let’s say your hero is fighting her or his way out of a car accident or gunfight or whatever the action may be. You haven’t had time to set up a fascinating, flawed character that we can identify with and care about (although clever dialogue can help, and often does in movies that start in a hail of gunfire).  One answer is, if you don’t have time to build a character up front, then what you need is heroic resonance. I was fascinated to see how Ian Rankin begins Hide and Seek (Orion, 1990), smack in the middle of the action.

Chapter 1

“Hide!”

He was shrieking now, frantic, his face drained of all colour. She was at the top of the stairs, and he stumbled towards her, grabbing her by the arms, propelling her downstairs with unfocussed force…”

Rankin has skillfully made me care by having one imperiled character desperate to save, not himself, but somebody else. “Hide!” panic gives us heroic resonance that Help me! panic can’t easily achieve.

Then we have C.C. Humphreys, who this month released Plague (I love writing that!). He wrote one of the all time great starts in his book, that seems to take literally George M. Cohan’s advice to get the protagonist up a tree and throw rocks at him. His hero is in mortal danger as The French Executioner (‪McArthur & Company, 2001)begins:

“It was unseasonably cold for a late May night but the former occupant of the gibbet was too dead to care and his replacement too unconscious.”

 But these are only two highly skilled examples of one sort of beginning.

There’s an unlimited number of brilliant ways to start a Flash Fiction piece, of course, and I can’t wait to read yours.

Mel Anastasiou

You’ll find our contest page here and on the tab at the top of this page.

CC Humphreys New Novel Coming Soon: Plague

cchumphreysportrait.Author. Actor. Swordsman. That’s the title of CC Humphreys’s website. http://cchumphreys.com

He’s got a new novel coming out on July 15th.  Watch for Plague —and for chances to hear Chris read from it. Because CC Humphreys gives one hell of a reading.

With one sweep of his blue-green beacon of a gaze, he casts you hugger-mugger into the fray of his thriller. Now, you’re tottering in your padded jerkin on London’s South Embankment, nose to nose with a gang of armed Elizabethan thugs. He thrusts a sword and buckler your way, and the conflict overtakes you. It’s fight or die….

I love CC Humphreys’s books, and by a very good fortune, he enjoys writing them. Not that rapidly paced, well-researched storytelling is a doddle. He likens writing to climbing a mountain: step by step, and don’t look down. But it’s exciting, too, like his stories.

I last heard him read in London’s Samuel French Ltd, Bookstore—established 1830—a great venue whereat to entertain his listeners with stories of his quite epic career: how he became a Shakespearian actor, how he wrote his first play in 24 hours and won first prize, and how the idea for his first full-length novel occurred to him: there was CC Humphreys, chinning himself on gym bars, and noticing in the mirror as he did so that he had quite a long neck. Easy work for the axeman, he thought. Or… for the swordsman. From there, it was a leather-booted leap of inspiration to six-fingered Anne Boleyn and the swordsman hired to behead her. The French Executioner, which has one of the best opening lines ever penned. Look it up. On his site: cchumphreys.com

And never miss one of the man’s readings.

Also by CC Humphreys:

Shakespeare’s Rebel, Orion, 2013

A Place Called Armageddon, Orion, 2012

The Hunt of the Unicorn, Knopf, 2011

Vlad: the Last Confession, Orion, 2009

The Runestone Saga, Knopf, 2006 – 2008

The Jack Absolute Series, Orion, 2003 – 2006

The French Executioner Series, Orion, 2002 – 2003

 

 

PULP pairings

Those of you who have been following Pulp Literature from its inception may have noticed a certain malty, hoppy flavour hereabouts.   It seems only right, therefore, that we play the part of good cicerones and offer you beer pairings to go with the fare in our first issue.

Where the Angels Wait by CC Humphreys.  Without a doubt the beer to quaff with this one is a cerveza, pronounced “thairvaitha”, and not from one of those ubiquitous bottles you find all over the liquor store shelves.  No, you need an Alhambra, served cold while you take refuge from the merciless Spanish sun in the shade of an orange tree.  Take care, though.  This one goes down so smooth you won’t notice you’re drunk till you stand and try to walk away.

Stella Ryman and the Case of the Third Option by Mel AnastasiouWhen drinking with Stella it doesn’t do to put on airs.  You’ll want a no-nonsense beer.  Nothing hoppy, nothing chilled, and certainly nothing with fruit in it.  A decent pint of ESB will do nicely, hand-drawn from a cask, if you please.

Only the Loons Know by SL Nickerson.  After the apocalypse it’ll be good to know university students.  They, if no-one else, will be back to making beer in no time.  The eclectic bunch of survivors will all have their own far-flung cultural ingredients to add to the mix, but whatever comes out of the vat will be quintessentially Canadian.  One only hopes they don’t use Lake Ontario water.

Of Siege and Sword by Tyner Gillies.  This is one you’ll want to drink with the lads.  Lager, and lots of it.

Glass Curtain by Sue Pieters.  Sophisticated, mature and bittersweet.  What better to match the floral overtones, the old- and new-world sensibilities, and the lingering poignant flavour of this story than a Westcoast IPA?

The Mechanics by Angela Melick.  A different kind of dystopia needs a different kind of beer.  We recommend a Japanese can.  Whether it’s super-dry or malty is your choice, but make sure it’s from a vending machine.

Allaigna’s Song: Overture by JM Landels.   Allaigna is underage, so only give her small beer, well watered.  Lauresa has exotic tastes and will drink something different every time: frambozen, wheat ale, kriek … surprise her.  But if you’re going to sit in a smoky tavern with Irdaign and hear the future told, you’ll need a well-aged stout to stiffen your spine.

Join us at the Launch Party on December 20th as we raise glasses of fine R&B Brewing Ale and toast these stories into life.