Tag Archives: Mel Anastasiou

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!

Colouring Paradise

Colouring bookFall is in the air, so it must be time for us to launch a new Kickstarter campaign!

This one is a little different though.  Colouring Paradise is a compilation of twelve beautiful plates of Mel’s artwork in full-page colouring book format.  The saddle-bound book is printed on high quality paper, with one image per sheet for easy colouring and framing.

Colouring is relaxing, creative way to focus the mind, relieve stress, and open new creative doorways.  But don’t take it from us — check out these articles from The Guardian, CTV, and The Huffington Post.

This is a smaller campaign than usual for us: we’re only asking for the $3750 we need to produce this book, and the campaign will run for just 22 short days.  Of course you can still subscribe and purchase back issues of Pulp Literature on the Kickstarter page.

Take a look at our campaign, share it with your friends, family and social network.  We’ve only got three weeks to meet our goal, but with your help we can do it!

We hope you love this new book as much as we do!

Jen, Sue & Mel

Bowen Island Writing Retreat

Old Dorm

The Lodge at the Old Dorm. Photo by Rosie Perera

The Muse showed up. That’s all you really need to know.  If you’re a writer, you’ll know how that tastes, feel the warmth it creates, know how time stands still as you see the path forward, see the world laid out at your feet…

At the Tuscany Restaurant. Photo by Rosie Perera

At the Tuscany Restaurant. Photo by Rosie Perera

Our weekend on Bowen Island consisted of six participants and four teachers, and using the Hour Stories cards, we shared over 30,000 words of productivity together.  Those words were read aloud in every available space over the weekend, before meals and before ferries.  And that doesn’t even include the time we spent opening our eyes to beauty with Sandra Vander Schaaf, taking walks in the forest, enjoying fabulous food and good company, and winding down over drinks late into the night.

We’d like to thank all our participants for sharing their words and love of stories with us all, Rosie Perera for capturing the memories with lovely photos, and Karen Cowper for opening her beautiful home to us for our first evening meal.

Reading together. Photo by Rosie Perera

Reading in the lounge. Photo by Rosie Perera

photo by Rosie Perera

Photo by Rosie Perera

To give yourself the gift of a retreat is to devote time with the Muse, and protect that time from the distractions of this life.  Our collective writing momentum built during our days together, and it was hard to part with these storytellers, knowing that the words would continue to flow beyond each others’ hearing.

The feedback has been so positive that we plan to have another retreat soon, and not only at Bowen, but in France.  Keep your eyes on our retreats page for details.  Yes, we’re listening to the Muse this year.  She’s calling from far away, and together, we’re going to find her!

 

Swallows Contest Open

The Swallows Sequential Short Story Contest opened on New Year’s Day, and I’m thrilled to announce that the fine folks at The Comicshop in Vancouver will be our judges.  Not only do veteran funny-book connoisseurs Brent, Keith, and Tim have a fine eye for the best in comic book art and storytelling, they’ve been managing my comics reading list for years and I have utter faith in their judgement.

What are we looking for in this contest?  Aside from the nitty gritty details of size and format, which you can find on the Contests page, we are looking for what we always want between the pages of Pulp Literature:  beautiful art and good storytelling.  To give you an idea of our taste here are a few sample pages from previous sequential shorts we’ve published.

mechanics_p1 sample

‘The Mechanics’ by Angela Melick

‘Unwanted Visitors’ by Kris Sayer

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‘Dragon Rock’ by Sylvia Stopforth & Mel Anastasiou

'The Wolf' by Kimberleigh Roseblade & JM Landels

‘The Wolf’ by Kimberleigh Roseblade & JM Landels

So sharpen your pencils, get out your brushes and digital pens and send us your best 1 to 5 page long short comic.  The earlybird entry fee is only $20 until January 15th, which includes an e-subscription to Pulp Literature, and the contest deadline is February 15th.  First prize is $500 plus publication in issue 7 of Pulp Literature, alongside feature author Robert J Sawyer!

Contest rules and guidelines are here.

 

Picture Yourself …

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Backer portrait by Mel

Last year, Pulp Literature’s own editor and illustrator Mel Anastasiou created lovely portraits for some lucky Kickstarter backers. In each issue, she’s inked portraits of feature authors and had rave reviews.

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Character sketch by Jen

This year, we are again offering portraits as a kickstarter reward, and you have a choice of three artists! If you love bold and stylized black and white inks, Mel is your gal!

If you like the subtle shadings of a pencil sketch (which can be inked or turned to colour if you choose that option),  then Jen is your artist!

Sci Fi portrait by Kris

Sci Fi portrait by Kris

If you’d like to see yourself envisioned by a colour comic artist and costumer, Kris Sayer is your person!  All portraits can be done in costume or period piece, and can be a portrait of the person of your choice. Children, spouses, pets … These make excellent gifts!

All we need is a photograph or character description and your pledge of support on Kickstarter!

Interview with a Mouse

Today’s interview is with the wise and witty Mouse from Sylvia Stopforth’s cautionary tale ‘Dragon Rock’,  adapted to graphic novel format by Mel Anastasiou and first seen in issue 3.

Artwork for ‘Dragon Rock’ by Mel Anastasiou

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  A hot, freshly steeped pot of tea; a companion who can accurately define the word “humble.”
  2. What is your greatest fear?  Being stepped on.
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in others?  An inability to see past the obvious.  A lack of imagination.  A tendency to mock … which can, on occasion, prove dangerous.
  4. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  The tea is getting cold.
  5. What is your most marked characteristic?  Not suffering fools gladly; also the delightful hint of sulphur on my breath.
  6. Who are your favourite writers?  Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux); Leo Lionni (Frederick); EB White (Stuart Little); Brian Jacques (Redwall). I am also fond of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy; he had a good grasp of species hierarchy.
  7. How would you like to die?  I should like to die of a surfeit of satisfaction.
  8. What is something we’d never glean about you from ‘Dragon Rock’?  I am fond of clocks, and loathe farmers’ wives.Sylvia Stopforth

Sylvia Stopforth is a university archivist and research librarian whose fiction has appeared in Room, The New Quarterly, and Pulp Literature.  She has had a smattering of book reviews published, as well as an essay in an anthology, Shy (University of Alberta Press, 2013).  For ten years  she has served as a regular column editor for BC History Journal. Sylvia lives near the ocean with her husband.

You can find the delightful Mouse amid the pages of ‘Dragon Rock’, in the Summer 2014 issue of Pulp Literature.

Interview with a Sleuth

The subject of today’s Proust Questionnaire is Mel Anastasiou’s wily octogenarian detective, Stella Ryman, who is trapped in a down-at-the-heels care home.  Here’s what the sleuth of Fairmount Manor has to say:stellanovella2poster

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  Making myself a cup of tea, unsupervised.
  2. On what occasion do you lie?  For my dignity, or Thelma Hu’s.
  3. What do you most dislike about your appearance?  These darned fleece tracksuits.
  4. When and where were you happiest?  Thirty years back, when I was in a love affair with my no-good lodger.
  5. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  My daughter Junie. I wish we were still speaking.
  6. What is your most marked characteristic?  Two: I am intrepid, and I’ve read everything.
  7. What is your greatest regret?  Selling up and assigning every penny to come to Fairmount Manor care home.
  8. How would you like to die?  With my hands folded on my breast, like the Lady of Shalott.
  9. What is your motto?  Soldier on, Stella.

melanastasiouNot only is Mel our talent in-house illustrator and co-editor, she has also written many fabulous novels and novellas.  The Extra (aka Frankie Goes to Hollywood) is due out soon, and you can follow Mel on her blog.  You can find  the first two Stella Novellas, ‘The Case of the Third Option’ and ‘The Poison Pen Affair’ in the Winter and Summer 2014 issues of Pulp Literature. The third and fourth novellas, ‘The Four-Digit Puzzle’ and ‘The Case of the Vanishing Resident’ will appear in issues 5 and 7 respectively.  You can order back issues and one- or two-year subscriptions on our Kickstarter page:

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.

 

Writers’ Time Management and Kindness to Strangers

What’s the best way to get time to write?

I believe that you do so by treating yourself with as much caring and respect as you’d offer a total stranger.

Here’s the scenario. You’re waiting for an appointment, and a woman beside you has struck up a conversation. “What do you do?” she asks.

You’ve been practicing the answer, so you don’t hesitate or apologize: “I’m a writer.”

“How wonderful,” she says. “I so admire you. I’ve always longed to be a writer, but I can never get the time to do it. There are just so many things in life you have to do first.”

“That’s true,” you say. “You’ve got to really want to write…”

“Oh, I want to,” she says. “My life doesn’t want me to, but I do.”

“There’s a time for everything,” you say. “You’ll find the time now or someday. Don’t worry.”

Notice that you didn’t tell that woman that she was wasting too much time, ask her whether she was lazy or maybe just untalented or easily distracted or addicted to television or internet surfing—all things that we accuse ourselves of being.  Relax and look for the hour for yourself. We’ve all got them at least once or twice a week: in a coffee shop, in a library. While everybody’s watching a movie.

You can write about a thousand words in a quiet hour.  You can outline in a noisy ten minutes anywhere, if you bring a notebook, so that those thousand words will move the plot forward.

And if you can’t find time for a thousand words, maybe you do five hundred. And you know what? If you can’t do that this month or next, it’s okay. It’s just fine. You will do it someday. And your work will be wonderful because dreaming is good. Loving the thought of being a writer is fantastic training for loving writing.

 

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.