Tag Archives: Mel Anastasiou

Friday Live Readings

The Pandemic, the Press, and You

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected you in some way. (If you have been living under a rock, stay there — it’s safer). For us at Pulp Lit, many things have not changed.  We’re writers and editors, and we like working at home in isolation — revel in it, even!

We have always conducted our business meetings virtually, and our day-to-day operations haven’t changed.  However Pulp Literature Press will feel the effects. Conventions, booklaunches, and retreats are an important part of what we do.  They get our books out in the community and let us engage with writers and readers in person.

This will be a hard year for us financially with so many event cancellations and the Canadian dollar plummeting due to oil prices.  It will be hard for our authors and artists too. We’ve already seen one of our favourite bricks and mortar stores, the Wylde Wood Collective, close its doors due to the crisis.  Here’s what we’re doing to help out our readers and our authors while keeping our non-profit press alive.

  • We have linked our Patreon income to scaling pay rates for authors and artists.  When we reach $200 a month (we’re almost there now), our maximum pay for short stories will increase to $0.08 per word and go up to $0.10 per word at $400.  You can see more details on the Patreon page.
  • We will be livestreaming readings from authors every Friday at 10am pacific time starting today!  Each week will feature three different authors who will read and answer questions from the audience between 10:00 and 10:30.

Today’s live line-up

Our line-up for today features the amazing trio of CC Humphreys, Laura Kostur, and Mel Anastasiou.

https://cchumphreys.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/image.jpg?resize=201%2C302CC Humphreys

He’s an actor, playwright, and fight choreographer. Oh, he’s also an award-winning novelist.  CC Humphreys is the distinguished 1st Issue feature author, appearing again in Issue 14. He’s a chimaera, like so many of our authors — and professional in every field (if his 17 published books and plethora of acting credits are anything to go by).

Laura Kostur

Born and raised in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, Laura Kostur finds inspiration from her surroundings and the wide variety of people drawn to the West Coast. Now employed in Communications with the Federal Government of Canada, Laura enjoy a job that allows her to write and edit every day, while interacting with a wide variety of people, and being of service to the public. When not at work, or working on her next novel, Laura can be found cutting and thrusting her way through classes at Academie Duello, a school of European Swordplay and Western Martial Arts. Laura currently works, fights and writes in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and possibly a dog, if enough people pester the aforementioned spouse into letting her adopt one.

Mel Anastasiou

Acquisitions editor Mel Anastasiou co-founded Pulp Literature magazine in 2013. She helps writers develop through structural editing with the magazine, in addition to her weekly writing tips on melanastasiou.wordpress.com, the popular ‘Writing Muse’ twitter feed, and through her non-fiction workbooks, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Toward and Extraordinary Volume, and The Writer’s Friend and Confidante.  Her fiction includes Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries, the Monument Studio Mysteries, and the Stella Ryman Mysteries.  In addition she is the chief illustrator for Pulp Literature and has produced two colouring books of renaissance-inspired artwork: Colouring Paradise and Dragon Rock.

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Frankie Ray Rolls into Tinseltown by Mel Anastasiou

Fresh from the pages of our Winter 2020 issue, this week’s feature author is the multi-talented Mel Anastasiou. As a writer, editor, and mentor, Mel is dedicated to the written word and the writer’s craft. Her stories captivate and entertain readers, and her writing guides encourage new and seasoned authors alike.

Today, we offer you an excerpt from Pulp Literature Issue 25, Winter 2020: Part 3 of the Monument Studios Mystery The Extra, starring Frankie Ray and Connie Mooney. The intrepid duo reaches Hollywood in their stolen rattletrap, with unexpected extra cargo — a mendacious movie mogul and his gun-shot son. A power struggle at the highest levels and a gun under the seat propel the can-do heroines to a rocky start in Tinseltown, 1934. 

The Extra: Frankie Ray Rolls into Tinseltown

by Mel Anastasiou

Chapter One

This was not how Frankie had planned to arrive in Los Angeles. 

Not with King Samson, head of Monument Studios, hunched over the wheel of the Model A. Not with Frankie in the rumble seat, hanging on with both hands and jouncing madly with every turn as midday wore on to afternoon. 

Frankie said, “I wish we didn’t have to drive so fast.”

“You go ahead and wish,” King Samson said. “I’m in a hurry. I’ve got to put myself between Marietta and my director before she drives him crazy with her woman-director opinions. Or he up and quits.” 

“I’m cold and windblown,” Connie said, “and bounced halfway to old age.”

“Tin-can it,” Samson said. “The two of you have groused and fidgeted ever since we pulled over for coffee and doughnuts three hours ago. Cold coffee.”

“Tasty doughnuts,” Frankie murmured. “And my cocoa was plenty hot.”

The head of Monument Studios changed gears with a roar. [Illo 2 Frankie Issue 25]

With Samson doing the lion’s share of the driving, they stopped only when the tanks showed empty. Once the tanks were filled, they’d torn past Burma-Shave ads so quickly that they missed half the punch lines. Now it was Thursday afternoon, and as California deepened around them, Samson refused to give up the wheel, ripping through grim forests of oil wells and storming seas of pastel bungalows edged with white picket fences.

Frankie wiggled her knees around on the rumble seat and thought about things. She thought, for example, that even though he’d paid for their food and fuel all the way south, King Samson’s shoe was too heavy on the gas. Connie never learned to speed up when she was taking a corner, like Frankie did. And Leo, with his wounded shoulder, never took the wheel at all. But they’d made it almost all the way to Hollywood, and that fact alone made her smile until the wind slapped a small bit of something into her eye. 

She squeezed her eyes half-shut and blinked until they were clear. Palm trees along the side of the road cast shadows that flicked over her like scenes from a stuttering movie projector. Every so often an oil derrick, smack in the middle of the road, lowed and creaked as they passed, and for a moment or two the whole world smelled like petroleum. Frankie almost lost her hat to the wind, staring goggle-eyed at ticky-tack businesses like the Coffeepot Diner — shaped, by heaven, like a coffeepot. On the left side of the road stood midnight auto supply garages. shiny with stacked hubcaps. On the right lay junkyards, prickly with scrap iron. Where, Frankie asked herself, was the grandeur? Where was the glamour?

Where was Hollywood?

She pictured her father, glowering over the rim of his sherry glass. “Fool of a girl, look to the hills, whence cometh my help.”

Even from his bed a thousand miles to the north, her father was right. Frankie looked to the hills, and there it was. She nudged Connie. Heads swivelling, they gaped at the huge crooked letters standing chalk-white against the green and brown hills above the city. 

The huge sign read Hollywoodland. Frankie was so overcome by the sight that she had to remind herself to breathe. 

Samson leaned forward and jutted out his chin, both hands on the wheel of the Model A. They sped like an arrow straight down the street to the end of the road. Ahead, the road widened into a palm-lined avenue, busy with traffic. 

A smaller sign on the roadside read Sunset Boulevard. 

The end of the road. Frankie could hardly believe they’d arrived. She could more easily believe that the four of them would sit in this car, in a tangle of mutual help and enmity, to the end of time. But they’d made it, and straight ahead of them stood a pair of gates as tall and golden as the gates of song and story. Shining letters across a great wall read Monument Studios, and beside the gates there loomed a pair of radiant statues.


To find out what happens next, pick up your copy of Issue 25, Winter 2020 here!

In addition to the Monument Studio Mysteries, Mel  writes the Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries, featuring Spencer Stevens, and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, starring Stella Ryman, which won a Literary Titan Gold Book Award and was longlisted for the Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. As well, she is the author of two illustrated writing guides for Pulp Literature Press. Follow her at MelAnastasiou.wordpress.com and on twitter @melanastasiou

 

Throwback Thursday: The Mystery of the Forgotten Soldier

Each week we are taking a look back at the authors, stories, and poems that captivated us in 2019, and offering the issue to you for the author price of 25% off. Today we offer you an excerpt from The Seven Swans: The Mystery of the Forgotten Soldier by Mel Anastasiou, from Pulp Literature Issue 21, Winter 2019

At sixty-two, Spencer Stevens longs for lost chances and long-ago true love. He’s the proprietor of the Seven Swans, a derelict Hertfordshire canal pub rich with past mysteries. In this installment,  Spencer’s survival depends upon a war horse’s great heart, and his lasting happiness upon his investigative talents.

The Seven Swans: The Mystery of the Forgotten Soldier

by Mel Anastasiou

Chapter One

When a fellow my age makes up his mind to pursue youthful dreams, he had better be one of two things. Either he must be wealthy, in top physical form, and retain a full head of hair, or he must be gifted with a supremely optimistic view of the world. I had the head of hair of the former and nothing of the latter. Nonetheless, I was on that June morning in Hertfordshire, the Garden County, creating a daring plan for my own future. I was a fairly old fellow, setting out to do the impossible, viz. to get back the love of my far-off youth, who was living in America, and married to somebody else. The plan I was concocting involved several other people, who might not be quite so ready to risk their own endeavours in the pursuit of my own. It was up to me to see my plotting safely through. 

All for love, I told myself. I placed a cooler, vital to my scheme, beside the picnic table between the canal and the Seven Swans pub. The cooler stood open and ready for action along with several rolls of kitchen towel. I fiddled with a bag of plastic cutlery. This might sound dramatic, but so be it: I awaited my luncheon guests with mixed feelings of daring and trepidation. 

I had gone to great lengths to please with my selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I was of course a dry alcoholic, equipped with all the regrets, past and present, of that particular condition. Still, the bottles of shandy were safe from me. The cans of Guinness were more of a temptation. Those cans were earmarked for my elderly builders and mentors, Stan and Eustace. Sunshine glinted off bottles of lemon and orange squash, danced along the folded wrappings of cellophane sandwiches—egg and cress, cheddar and pickle, always safe choices—and a more adventurous selection of bags of crisps, including lamb and mint, and Coronation Chicken flavours. In all my years here in the UK, as an expat Canadian, I had never grown accustomed to the adventuresome national taste in crisps. I had a private theory that this sort of bold individuality had, in macrocosm, gone a good way towards winning two world wars. 

I unscrewed the top a bottle of lemon squash, twisted myself around on the picnic bench seat, and stuck my feet out in their battered old trainers so that they caught the full June sun. I examined the Seven Swans pub with a critical eye. It was a long way from being ready to open and resume business. The window on the canal side was as yet unglazed, and I smelled beers from centuries past, as if the Seven Swans were breathing out like an old fellow across his pint glass. Still, we had made some progress here, Stan and Eustace and I, and I raised my lemon squash bottle in salute.

To my left along the canal, a narrow boat chugged round the bend towards me, its green and red painted sides striped with shadows from the willows and rowans overhead. Branches waved in the late morning breeze as if to hurry the boat along. But narrow boats cannot be hastened. Like history, friendships, French cooking, and true love, narrow boats move in their courses and at their own speed, and there is nothing anybody or anything can do to quicken their pace. 

Contrariwise, for me, the time for slow progress had passed. In my plans to retrieve Holly from the past into our future together, I had reached a point where action was recommended and even required. However, romantic action on an intercontinental scale requires money, and I had less than none. I grimaced and tipped lemon squash down my throat.

The narrow boat reached the Seven Swans. I read the name painted on the prow: The Narrow Escape. Sweat gleamed on its captain’s brow, and the hot noise of his diesel engine made speech impossible. On impulse I tossed him a bottle of cold shandy and an egg and cress sandwich. He let go the wheel, caught one in each hand, and touched his brow with the bottle. I saw him untwist the cap and swig at the shandy as the willow boughs closed round the back of the narrow boat and he moved out of sight.

I was not alone for long under the willows, for here at a swift hobble came the spry, expert renovating duo, Stan and Eustace. Both carried pint glasses half filled with servings of well-poured Guinness. The pint glasses were what Stan and Eustace termed loans, from the well-established Bearded Lamb public house. It was these two old fellows’ practice to walk off with glasses from the Bearded Lamb, and over the last month or so I might have completely equipped the Seven Swans with pint glasses they’d brought with them. However, it seemed wise to wash and return the glasses to the Bearded Lamb’s proprietor at least once a week. Not out of friendship, for I had long since stopped hoping that relations between that publican and myself would thaw. No, I returned the glasses for my own private satisfaction, the way office workers who dislike their jobs bend to collect and toss crumpled, discarded papers into distant waste paper baskets. The world did not watch, nor did it applaud these small moral efforts, but they felt good and were the right thing to do. Philosophical treatises have been developed out of less.

We three gazed at the Seven Swans pub, now somewhat revived under our handiwork.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. I easily recognized that the hand was attached to Angelica, as I’d felt that same hand on bits of me quite often over forty years, when we were married.  Angelica spoke in my ear. “I certainly hope that you’re improving, as well.”


To find out what happens next, pick up your copy of Issue 21, Winter  2019 here!

Along with the Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries, Mel Anastasiou writes the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, starring Stella Ryman, and the Monument Studios Mysteries, starring Frankie Ray and Connie Mooney. As well, she is the author of two illustrated writing guides for Pulp Literature Press. Follow her at MelAnastasiou.wordpress.com and on twitter @melanastasiou

 

Save even more!  Get Mel Anastasiou’s Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, The Labours of Mrs Stella Ryman, and The Writer’s Boon Companion, a $53 value, for the special price of $40!

 

2019 Year of Authors: 24 – 28 June

It’s not every year you get to celebrate publishing 20 issues of genre-busting literature. We want our readers to reap the rewards, and our contributors to shine in the spotlight, so every week we are offering up a selection of deeply discounted past issues, based on one of the authors, poets, or artists whose work fills the magazine’s pages. Welcome to week 25 of Pulp Literature’s Year of Authors!

24th – 28th June 2019

Monday: Matthew HughesIssue 13 & What the Wind Brings

Matthew Hughes writes in many genres under many names including Matt Hughes and Hugh Matthews. He has won the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada and has been short-listed for the Aurora, Nebula, Philip K Dick, Endeavour (twice), AE van Vogt, and Derringer Awards. He first appeared in Issue 13 with two stories, and now he has pulled out all the stops for a foray into historical fiction with What the Wind Brings, and we are thrilled to be his publisher for this endeavour.

Issue 13 cover by Zoran Pekovic

Tuesday: Matt Andrew, Issue 9

Matt is a retired US Marine officer who deployed in support of combat operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. He currently lives and works near Dallas, Texas. His fiction can be read in Thuglit, Pantheon Magazine, and Blight Digest, among others.

Wednesday: Matthew Walsh, Issue 10

Matthew Walsh is a writer from Nova Scotia. Their work has recently appeared in Sad Mag and Qwerty, with upcoming work in The Quotable, The Capra Review and Jonathan Magazine. Their recently released debut collection of poetry can be purchased through Goose Lane Press.

Issue 10 small

Thursday: Megan Waring, Issue 11

Megan Waring is a poet, playwright and fiber artist who currently resides in  Boston.  She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech and is currently earning her MFA in poetry from University of Massachusetts.  In between degrees, she worked in education and non-profits in China and California. She is the recipient of Virginia Tech’s Literary Award and her work can be read in Salamander, The LegendaryAegir, and Germ Magazine, among others. Her second co-authored play, Archer and the Yeti, is being produced by Greene Room Productions in October 2019.

 

Friday: Mel Anastasiou, Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, The Labours of Mrs. Stella Ryman, The Writer’s Boon Companion, Colouring Paradise.

Acquisitions editor Mel Anastasiou co-founded Pulp Literature magazine in 2013. She helps writers develop through structural editing with the magazine, in addition to her weekly writing tips on melanastasiou.wordpress.com, the popular ‘Writing Muse’ twitter feed, and through her non-fiction workbooks, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Toward and Extraordinary Volume, and The Writer’s Friend and Confidante.  Her fiction includes Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries, the Monument Studio Mysteries, and the Stella Ryman Mysteries.  In addition she is the chief illustrator for Pulp Literature and has produced two colouring books of renaissance-inspired artwork: Colouring Paradise and Dragon Rock.

Stella Ryman and the Literary Titan Book Award

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Big news! Literary Titan has announced the winners of it’s May 2018 Book Awards, and Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries has won gold!

“The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.”

Thank you to Literary Titan, and congratulations to all the other incredible books Stella was listed with. We’re looking forward to slapping the Literary Titan Gold star on Stella’s cover!

Stella is a Leacock Medal Contender

Things that bring us joy:

  • Great books
  • Good beer
  • One of our authors being longlisted!

Mel Anastasiou has been longlisted for the
71st Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour!

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries is one of ten books out of seventy that are under consideration for this prestigious award. The shortlist will be announced May 2nd, followed on June 9th by the announcement of the winner.

More information on the longlisted authors, as well as the history of the Medal, membership, and all the previous winners, is available on the Leacock Associates’ website at leacock.ca.

Stella Ryman’s sleuthing adventures were first serialized in Pulp Literature Issues 1, 3, 5, and 7, and were complied into our first novel publication in 2017.  We’re incredibly proud of this book and delighted it is being recognized by such an esteemed jury.  Please join us in congratulating Mel, and be sure to check out Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.

Already read the novel and want more Stella Ryman?  Check out Pulp Literature Issue 18, Spring 2018, containing a preview of Mel’s second Stella novel, Stella Ryman and the Mystery of the Mah-Jongg Box.

 

 

 

What Mothers Want Most

Flowers, schmowers.  Nine out of ten mothers agree:  what they want most for Mother’s Day is time alone with a good book.  And we’re here to help.

From now until Mother’s Day you can send mum a copy of Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by Mel Anastasiou and we’ll send her a copy of Pulp Literature Issue 14 as a gift from us.

Or, if you really want to shower mum with appreciation all year long, give her a subscription to Pulp Literature and we’ll add in both Stella Ryman and the soon to be released Allaigna’s Song: Overture by JM Landels for only $10 more.

Stella + Issue 14, print:  $17.95

Stella + Issue 14, eBook: $6.99

 

Mother’s Day Subscription bundle, print: $60

Mother’s Day Subscription bundle, eBook: $27.99

 

Be sure to drop us a line at info(at)pulpliterature.com to let us know her address, and we’ll even send an e-card on Mother’s Day.  Now all you need to do is arrange that time alone for her to read …

And if this is a gift for yourself?  Don’t worry, we won’t tell. Besides, you deserve it!

Double Dare: Stella and Allaigna!

What’s better than one great heroine?  Two!

Our Something Novel campaign has just been picked as staff favourite over at Kickstarter, and we like to think it’s because of our ‘Strong Female Characters’, aka the heroes of Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries and Allaigna’s Song: Overture.

On the surface, Stella and Allaigna couldn’t seem more different:  one is in her eighties, trapped in a home waiting to die; and the other is a child just starting out on a life of adventure.

However, it is their similarities that make them characters we love.  Despite their lack of personal power, they are stubborn, strong-willed, and fierce crusaders against injustice of all kinds.   We are rooting for them from page one.

If you want to invite both these uppity women into your home, choose the Double Dare on Kickstarter.  For $35 + shipping we will send you each novel as it’s released: Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries at the end of March, and Allaigna’s Song: Overture in late May.  And if digital is your style, you can get both novels for the amazing deal of $10.

bookshelfBut wait, there’s more!  The second Allaigna novel will start in the pages of Pulp Literature Issue 13 and continue to be serialized throughout the year.  Plus, issues 14 and 16 will both contain brand new Stella novellas!  To avoid missing out you can get a print subscription plus the novels with the Reader’s Delight at $80, or your can add a digital subscription to any reward for only $10.

But hurry!  There are only a few hours left of the Kickstarter campaign.

 

Help these heroines into books of their own by backing us on Kickstarter!

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries

For my money, here’s the best reward on Something Novel

Mrs Stella Ryman is an amateur sleuth, trapped in a down-at-heel care home.
You’d be cranky, too.

Have I mentioned how much I adore Mel Anastasiou’s Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries?

Of course, I may be biased.  I was there when Stella was born, in Mel’s beautiful house on Bowen Island, overlooking the water, with the sun flickering through the towering trees around us.  In fact, I feel sure the opening sentence that came from Mel’s pen in that Hour Stories session, and which has remained unchanged since, was a product of benevolent Bowen sunshine.

“On this particular sun-and-shade April morning at Fairmount Manor, Stella Ryman no more entertained the idea of becoming an amateur sleuth than she had of entering next spring’s Boston Marathon.” 

Isn’t that brilliant?  I’m sure that a hundred years from now it will be one of those oft-quoted first lines, right alongside “It is a truth universally acknowledged …”

But Mel’s prose isn’t just elegant and witty … it’s also warm, compassionate, and insightful.

48944aa0e49fc0f95a6d49b4a2911610_originalIn Stella, she has written a character who is brave, intelligent, wise, and stubborn, but who is also trapped.  Stuck in a care home, limited by physical fraility, and at the mercy of her slightly less-than-reliable memory, she is nonetheless a warrior, seeking justice for the powerless within the walls of the Fairmount Manor care home.  While the context is mundane and the situations treated with gentle humour — the erratic wisdom of Mad Cassandra Browning, the convoluted plot to allow Thelma to take an unsupervised bath, the snarky observations of ‘The Greek Chorus’ of elderly harpies — Mel’s sharp and compassionate writing makes us care about defending the defenceless and righting the wrongs of the nursing home as much as Stella does.

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities; and Stella, for all her eighty years and circumscribed life, is a hero that can stand proud in any Hall of Worthies.

If you haven’t yet met Stella, or if you have and want to get to know her better, consider ordering a copy on Pulp Literature‘s Something Novel Kickstarter campaign.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

-Jen

 

 

The Writer’s Delight

Wondering what to give the writer in your life?  Look no further than Something Novel where you’ll find …

The Writer’s Delight

Limited Reward!  Jam-packed with Writing Value. You receive:book &Pen small

  •  The Writer’s Boon Companion, the motivating, illustrated 30-day writing guide
  • a detailed critique of up to 1000 words of your short story or work in progress by one of the Pulp Lit editors.
  • A print subscription to Pulp Literature (Additional back issues or years of Pulp Literature can be added for $25 per four issues.)
  • Allaigna’s Song: Overture
  • Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.

This is a steal of a deal at the $100 reward level.  But hurry! There are only 9 left!

Looking for more great gift ideas?  Head on over to Something NovelWe even send gift cards!3-notecards