Tag Archives: Hummingbird Prize

A Taste of Last Summer

The Hummingbird Contest closes on Monday. Do you have your stories in yet?

Our contest judge is Bob Thurber, master of short fiction.  To inspire you to inspire him, here are a few paragraphs from ‘Wager’, the first of his stories to be published in Pulp Literature.

I’m in this story, though only because I have to be, and I’ve taken liberties to keep my appearance to the barest minimum.  The truly important people are Tony and Phil.  You’ll need to excuse them both, especially Phil.  The poor bastard’s a wreck, jittery from lack of sleep, fuelled by too much coffee.  He hasn’t bathed, shaved or eaten since Thursday’s late afternoon breakfast, when he was chewing on a slice of rubbery bacon, commenting to Tony, his roommate and life partner, how premium quality, centre-cut bacon really should not be cooked on a paper towel in a microwave.

That’s when the phone rang and Phil answered.

The caller’s voice was flat, cold, nonchalant to the point of sounding breezy.  It was a voice right out of a Hitchcock thriller, in that moment right before some woman screams.  After a brief, rather one-sided conversation full of ugly and melodramatic references to shattered bones, torn flesh, broken teeth, the caller said, “Imagine how it’s going to feel to have both your eyes scooped out with a soup spoon, you deadbeat faggot.”

Issue 3 coverWant to read the rest? You can pick up the ebook version of Pulp Literature Issue 3 for just $2.99 for the month of June, and the print version is $3 off as well!  Click here to order.

Contest Special: Paperboy by Bob Thurber

Bob ThurberWord must have spread about the keen eye and discerning taste of our Hummingbird Prize judge, the multiple award-winning Bob Thurber,  because entries are coming in a steady stream.  If you haven’t read anything by Bob, you don’t know what you’re missing!  To prove the point, we’re glad to announce that Bob has discounted his novel Paperboy for the duration of the Hummingbird Contest.  Yes, until June 15th, you can grab Bob’s ebook from Amazon for $4. (That’s half price!)  Folks, this is a man that made the New Yorker‘s list of authors who could weave magic in 25 words. Imagine what Bob can do with a whole novel!

Whether or not you are submitting to the contest, you’ll want to pick up a copy of PaperboypaperboyOnce you’ve had a taste of Bob’s writing, you won’t be able to stop.   Readers are immediately drawn to the narrator, a young boy whose dream is to be a paperboy, biking down a clean street where life is normal.  Because what he wakes up to isn’t.

In case we haven’t sold you yet, check out the reviews for Paperboy on Amazon.  While you’re at it have a look at Bob’s other books, and take advantage of this half-price sale while it lasts!

 

The Hummingbird is an Early Bird!

hummingbirdissue7Our contest is officially open!  You’ve a fortnight to enter the Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction for a discounted pittance, so sharpen your quills!  Pen us a story that will cut our senses to the quick, or dull them with delight!  Our 1000 word contest is limited to 300 entries, and until May 14th, just $10 will get you a chance of earning a solemn nod from final judge and flash fiction icon, Bob Thurber.  The $300 or $75 awards are definite incentives, but let’s not kid ourselves.  The real reward is the thrill of knowing for one moment, you owned the stage.   With words, you served the world up on a plate, and we bit.

Tell your friends!  Tweet the news!  Show your support of lit mags by entering the contest.  Or, if you can’t write worth beans, buy an issue or two.  We promise to intrigue and delight!

Spinning Straw into Gold

Life is full of pain.  As writers, we feel the blows keenly, yet the best of us utilize that pain.  Instead of letting tragedy or injustice overwhelm us, we turn our experiences into words.  We sit in an attic, holding on to the truth, and we dare to spin straw into gold.

Bob ThurberBob Thurber is a writer who transforms pain into beauty.  His dark past brings shadowy depth to his characters, and his dialogue bites like a call from home.  His voice is pure, simple, strong. He’s won or been nominated for every short fiction prize we know of, and it was pure pleasure to print his stories in Issues 3  and 6 of Pulp Literature.  We claimed, “Bob Thurber shines in the darkness like a Bic lighter in a munitions dump.”   We meant it.  When Bob offered to be the final judge for our Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction, we felt we had won an award ourselves, and knew something big was about to happen.

Nothing But TroubleCheck out Bob’s latest collection of short stories, Nothing But Trouble, or his novel, Paperboy.  Check out his online micro-fiction at 50-Word Stories, and read his treasures in Pulp LiteratureAnd most important, for all you writers out there, our Hummingbird fiction contest opens on Friday, May 1st.   Entries are limited to 300, giving you a better chance to win, and there is an earlybird entry fee until May 15th.  For guidelines see our contests page.

Submit your stories to a true master.  Take your straw, and spin it into gold.

 

The 2014 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction

For the past few weeks author, raconteur, and stylish man-about-town JJ Lee has been reading through the longlist of flash fiction stories for the Hummingbird Prize.  That list, compiled by a panel of three readers was:

  • ‘WFF – Worst Friends Forever’ by  Ace Baker
  • ‘The Importance of Documentation’ by  William Masters
  • ‘Beauty Takes Care of Itself’ by  Bob Thurber
  • ‘Mermaid Hunt’ by  Holly Walrath
  • ‘Waiting for Twilight ‘ by  Daniela Elza
  • ‘Testing the Waters’ by  Ryan Seifert
  • ‘Last Train to Strasbourg’ by  Alexis Larkin
  • ‘Here I Lay Down My Heart’ by  Rob Taylor
  • ‘Canoeing in the Tropics’ by  Hannah van Didde
  • ‘The Fundamental Clarity of Light’ by  Michael Patrick Eltrich
  • ‘Not All Magic is Nice’ by  Ev Bishop
  • ‘3D Monarch’ by  Katherine Wagner

Of the finalists, contest judge JJ had this to say:

“Short short stories demand much of writers: concision; commitment to a single, sometimes simple, idea or image that can resonate in a reader long after reading is done; and a willingness to somehow find space to bow the arc of narrative in the tightest of spaces. It is hard to get it right. The form is unforgiving.  So congratulations to all the finalists for their stories.”

Editors’ Choice

The variety of tone, genre and style in all these well-written stories makes picking favourites like choosing between apples and helicopters.  Once we editors read all the finalists we realized we wanted to publish more than two, so we each picked an honourable mention from the remainder of the longlist that we would like to place in a future issue of Pulp Literature  at our regular rates.  We’ll be contacting these authors directly.  The editors’ picks in no particular order are:

  • ‘WFF – Worst Friends Forever’ by  Ace Baker
  • ‘Beauty Takes Care of Itself’ by  Bob Thurber
  • ‘Mermaid Hunt’ by  Holly Walrath

Runner-up

‘Waiting for Twilight ‘ by  Daniela Elza
These contests are judged blind, so JJ had no way of knowing that the author of his runner up for the Hummingbird was also runner up for the Magpie Award.  Daniela will receive $75 for her story, which will be published in our Winter 2015 issue.

Hummingbird Prize Winner

‘Here I Lay Down My Heart’ by  Rob Taylor
Rob wins the $300 prize and publication in the Winter 2015 issue of Pulp Literature.  Here’s what judge JJ Lee has to say about this poignant story:

“On the strength of its setting, naturalism, and the pleasure it takes in the search for language, ‘Here I Lay Down My Heart’ wins the Hummingbird Flash Fiction contest.  Its author has created a small gem about a nighttime boat trip and a missing child. The author avoids sloppy dialogue and needless back story and, in less than 600 words, crafts a compelling tale which readers will rush to reach to the end.”

Congratulations to all the contestants who made the job of judging so difficult, but of reading so enjoyable!

The Raven Cover Story Contest opens today, so sharpen your quills and delight us with more of your work!

To read some of JJ Lee’s own short fiction, pick up issue 2 of Pulp Literature, featuring ‘Built to Love’, the story of a girl her bear, and the rise of the appliances.

Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest Winners TBA Monday

 We can’t see them yet, but the winning stories of the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest are all set to make an appearance tomorrow.

The entries were wonderful, and I enjoyed every read.  I’m always impressed by Flash Fiction writers.  I write novellas and novels and I’m gobsmacked at the way you Flash Fiction Genii get

1. so many amazing ideas and

2. a fully satisfying story in a couple of pages.

I can’t wait to learn who won.   Again, the announcement will be on Monday September 15.

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

Our next contest is for a cover story. And what a cover! Tais Teng, you leave me … breathless.

 

hummingbird5Due to full mailbox issues here at Pulp Lit central we’ve extended the deadline for the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest to Monday 18 August.  That means you’ve got all weekend to get your stories in to us.

Heck, with a little caffeine, you can probably write two stories under 1000 words in that time, and double your chance of winning $300 and eternal fame!

Flash Fiction Endings

It’s all about the ending. Novels get quoted by their first lines; in flash fiction, it’s the last line that goes down in history. It carries the punch, like a bee sting.

With a flash fiction story, you don’t begin in medias res–you begin at the final scene. You leave just enough time for the reader to latch on to your opening, and then you are off. You don’t explain (you haven’t time) but you leave clues, and every detail is smoking-gun important.

The tone can be intense with foreboding or calm with post-catastrophic hindsight. Like an instant replay done in slow motion, the narrator rewinds us through the crucial scene, the climactic event, carefully re-examined because it decides the game.

The goal of flash fiction is to spin the reader around in a complete circle of transformation leaving us dizzy, or upside down. We look again at the title and it reads differently, its hummingbird5secret exposed. We are left to gasp into our coffee mugs, unsettled, and changed.

Last chance to enter our Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest is Friday August 15th!