Tag Archives: Pulp Literature Issue 16

Running with the Theme

Here’s a fun game—spot the theme, as stated in the first half of the first act of the novel or film, usually by a supporting character or similar. What about the moment in Spectre when Moneypenny, on the phone with Bond, tells James she can’t help him just then because she has a life, and he should get one too?  Because, there may be shooting, peril, fab inventions, and mad escapes, but in my view (not the only view, obviously) the film’s theme is, It’s hard to get a life, when you’re Bond.

 Your Writing Tip: Run with the Theme.

In The Wizard of Oz, look for Professor Marvel to state the theme in his conversation with the runaway Dorothy in Act 1. The theme is repeated throughout. There’s no place like home. So, for a strong line, write out the theme 3-6 different ways. You can use each of these in strong but subtle ways to draw out the theme throughout the story.

One Theme, Several Ways.

Here’s part of a list of different views on the same theme that I wrote for ‘Stella Ryman and the Ghost at the End of the Bed’, the ninth Fairmount Manor Mystery novella starring my octogenarian sleuth, trapped in a down-at-heel care home. (Pulp Literature, Issue 16.)

  1. Reach out or die.
  2. Without connection, we’re just bundles of cells in fleece warm-up suits.
  3. If we can let go of loving people, we might form new and greater passions. What would they be?
  4. Or, maybe it’s the other way around, and all the love we feel makes supports for more passions.
  5. In Fairmount Manor we residents are like hermits or saints, who must connect to nature because we’ve cut ties with the world.

(The author takes no responsibility for the views of her characters.)

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is Senior Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume.  Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

 

 

Author News: Greg Brown

Pushcart Prize 2018 CoverAt Pulp Literature, we know our writers are talented, and we want the rest of the world to know too! That’s why every year we nominate six of the authors whose pieces have especially inspired us for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Touted as “the best of small presses”, Pushcart awards honour those writers who excel at their craft. This year we are pleased to announce Pulp Literature author, Greg Brown, has been nominated by Pushcart judges for his short story, ‘Love’ (Issue 16).

Greg Brown is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He is a recipient of UBC’s Roy Daniels Memorial Essay Prize, and you can find his stories, criticism, and essays in Postscript, Paragon, The
RS500, Lenses: Perspectives on Literature, and Tate Street. His surreal short story ‘Bear’ appeared in Pulp Literature Issue 14.

We will find out if Greg’s story makes the final cut in May. Until then, we’ll give you a taste of the story that has Pushcart judges sitting up in their seats…

 

‘Love’
Greg Brown

We agreed as a family that the only thing to do was to bring Mom home for the next few months or weeks, whatever it would be. It’ll be hard, Dad said. But maybe it can be fine, too. Denisa was suspicious about the cost of it all — like the private nurse we’d have to pay for, where at the hospital it was free — although she didn’t put it like that, said that we’d be crazy to bring Mom into a place where there wasn’t any immediate care, because what if there was a problem like before, the thing with her stent that plugged up and caused some internal bleeding that almost wasn’t staunched in time?

She could’ve, Denisa said.

The oncologist had said October, and the late pale fog had come and now the
sky was mostly dimmed and gone by suppertime.

I said that I would only do it if we agreed that Pastor Karen would not come to
the house; I was not comfortable with Pastor Karen coming to the house. Jon and Dad looked at me a moment and said, Okay.

Denisa said, I don’t get what you don’t like about Pastor Karen.

And I explained why I didn’t like Pastor Karen.

And Denisa said, Well I don’t think it’s really fair to call her a liar.

And I explained why I thought it was fair to call Pastor Karen a liar.

And Denisa said, Well, by that standard they’re all liars. And then we’d all be
liars, too. The whole thing would be a lie. We don’t need lies right now.

I agreed with Denisa, especially about how we didn’t need lies right now.

Read the rest of ‘Love’ in Pulp Literature Issue 16. And check out Greg Brown’s ‘Bear’ in Issue 14, currently on sale!

 

 

 

Featured Author: Erin Kirsh

Erin Kirsh is a pushcart-nominated writer, performer, funnyman, and rant maker from Toronto. She has toured original works on stages across North America, and has represented Vancouver twice at both the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and the National Poetry Slam.

Her blog, The Losing Game, chronicles the heartbreak and jubilance of publication rejection and acceptance (respectively), which we at Pulp Literature can appreciate all too well. As Erin says: In 2018, you can follow my progress (or lowgress, depending on the stretch) here. Come for the sweat and the ugliness. Come for the support. Come to feed your superiority, if you need to, come to reminisce about a time you were less successful than you are now, come if you need to see the struggle of the game, come if you need hope for yourself. I promise to gift wrap it nicely for you. 

You might remember the riveting reading Erin Kirsh gave last September at the Issue 16 launch. Her story, ‘The Wind of a Train’, had us all worried for a future we hope never to see, and optimistic for the future of this talented writer and performer.

The Wind of a Train
Erin Kirsh

I have thirty minutes to get to the station. It doesn’t really matter which station, anything on the line will work, only I’m not really sure where I’ve gotten to. I don’t have the benefit of being from this city.

The Sinking was sudden. A lot of places, including the coastal city I lived in, shook then were swallowed by water. Those of us who were rescued got airlifted to other parts of the country, where, as it turns out, there’s not enough room for all of us. I was an early recovery, I got here when people were feeling more hospitable. The city wasn’t overrun then. Nobody wants to tell the survivors of a tragedy to fuck off until said survivors start inconveniencing them. So being a sort of pioneer of the good ship shitstorm, I have a shelter of sorts, but it’ll be gone if I’m not back before midnight. If things are lawless in the day, at night they are competitively piratical. I didn’t mean to be out so late, but this city’s more or less unnavigable and it doesn’t take much wandering to end up far from Woodbine or Coxwell or any of the four street names I’ve memorized. So I got lost, and now I’ve got two choices. Get back to the place where I’m somewhat comfortable and my stuff remains unpoached as of yet, or move in on someone else’s territory and hope that the stuff I snatch is better than what I’d be giving up.

Twenty more minutes. I should’ve picked taller landmarks when I first set out. Picking buildings that may or may not be chain establishments was a lapse of judgment. I wish I could ask someone for directions to the subway, but they’d either be Settled and think I’m fucking up their society, or worse, they’d be Displaced. Settled would make me feel bubonic and burdensome, but a Displaced person would lead me in the wrong direction, steer me down some dark alley and mug me. Best case scenario, I mean…

 

 

Read the rest of ‘The Wind of a Train’ in Pulp Literature Issue 16

Author News: Brandon Crilly

If you missed author Brandon Crilly at ConFusion this past weekend in Detroit, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to get a spot at Can-Con 2018, where Brandon (and many other writers) will be speaking, workshopping, and/or roaming the dealer’s room.

In the meantime, Brandon’s literary time-travel piece, ‘Moments‘, was published in Daily Science Fiction. About the piece, the author says:

Ideas sometimes come from strange places. ‘Moments’ actually originated with a yearbook comment I wrote for one of my students in June (2017). There was a running joke in class where every time I said something like, “Don’t worry, I won’t change the date of the test,” this student would pull out her phone and say, “So at this time, on this date, you said this”–basically pretending to keep a record to hold me to my word, since too many teachers didn’t keep theirs, in her experience. I came up with the structure of ‘Moments’ on the fly when I was scribbling in her yearbook, and then realized it would be an awesome structure for an actual story. The time travel narrative came naturally, and the rest of the story followed. And since this is my first ever DSF story, I’m dedicating ‘Moments’ to my students and colleagues at Merivale High School, who gave me no shortage of inspiration and entertainment.

Brandon can also be found in Pulp Literature Issue 16 with his short story, ‘Clearing Out Nests’.

Clearing Out Nests
By Brandon Crilly

Hana triple-checked that she had cleaned all the dried blood off her skin before she left the restroom. No one in the coffee shop had noticed it when she walked in, so focused were they on their conversations or smart phones. There had only been a few patches of gore; she thought about sitting down at the counter to see how long it took for someone to give her a weird look. Or scream. Willis would have killed her if she’d tried that, though, so her bloody hijab, shirt and pants went into her backpack, to join the pile of similar laundry waiting at home.

A steaming cup of coffee was waiting for her at the long counter that looked out on the street. Willis had a newspaper in front of him, but that was just for show; between sips of herbal tea, his eyes were on the empty building across the street, one hand resting near the duffel bag that held their weapons. The place across the street had been a clothing store before a couple of unexplained deaths led to it closing down. There was a gap in the polite FOR LEASE signs lining the windows, but if no one had seen Hana take it down with her when one of the ghouls threw her across the interior, she doubted anyone would bat an eye now.

“Nothing, I’m guessing?” Hana asked.

“Not a peep.”

Hana took a careful sip of coffee, but the motion still made her throat ache where that ghoul had grabbed her. She grimaced, and Willis shook his head.

“Please don’t start already.”

“You should’ve gone left,” he said. He licked drips of tea from his shock-white
mustache.

“Are you really going to criticize me for making the wrong choice on a fifty-fifty chance?  If you thought I should’ve gone left, maybe you could’ve shouted or something, because going right seemed perfectly fine to me at the time.”

Willis grunted.  “You’re being too loud.”

“Like anyone would care in here,” Hana murmured.  She glanced around.  The patrons in here had been two lanes of traffic away from a nest of ghouls that would have gladly ripped their faces off and danced in their skin.  But of course they had no clue, and would go on with their blissfully ignorant lives, thanks to people like Hana and Willis.  …

The entirety of ‘Clearing Out Nests’ can be read in Pulp Literature Issue 16, currently half off in our bookstore with the code BEATTHEBLUES.

Hallowe’en Special on Spooky 16

The Autumn issue of Pulp Literature is spectacularly spooky this year.  We have no fewer than two ghosts and one ghost town, three very different end-of-life experiences, ghouls in coffee shops, unidentified monsters in the subway, and a scarily low price of $2.99 on Amazon.com until Hallowe’en!

Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017

With authors like kc dyer, Brandon Crilly, Rina Piccolo, Patrick Bollivar, Susan Pieters, Oak Morse, FJ Bergman, Mel Anastasiou, Leah Komar, Greg Brown, JM Landels, and Glenn Pape, this is an issue you don’t want to miss!

FJ Bergmann, Winner of the Gold Line Press Chapbook Contest

Congratulations to poet and short fiction author FJ Bergmann, winner of the 2017 Gold Line Press chapbook contest for her collection A Catalog of the Further Suns.

Judge Sarah Vap had the following to say about the winning manuscript:  “As I moved through A Catalog of the Further Suns I found myself, as a member of the human species, alien-ized. I found myself alien-ating. I found myself in a labyrinth of mirrors that reflected back and forth among the histories of colonization and mass extinction, and the futures of colonization and mass extinction. While reading these poems I slipped, for fractions of fractions of moments, just the tiniest distance outside of my human brain… Read more here .

FJ Bergmann is the author of  the intriguing short stories ‘Opening Doors’, Issue 6, ‘How to Lose a Week’, Issue 13, and ‘For your Convenience,’ upcoming in Issue 16.

How to Lose a Week

From Issue 13, a taste of FJ Bergmann’s storytelling flair:

After accidentally pouring reconstituted orange juice instead of milk into the remaining half-cup of coffee, you make a snap decision that it’s okay to go to the art museum instead of work, since you are late to work anyway. When your car won’t start because someone who shall not be named left the interior light on, you decide to hitchhike downtown. The eighteen-wheeler that picks you up is going to Florida; you decide that’s even more okay. You spend the rest of the day travelling south and taking notes for future use in a roman-à-clef while the trucker tells you his very interesting life story. He talks a lot faster than you are used to.

Tuesday
In the wee hours, somewhere near Atlanta, Georgia, the trucker, who has become progressively more wild-eyed and chatty and for some reason hasn’t needed to stop for anything but gas, informs you that an alien spaceship is landing on the road ahead 

Find the rest of Issue 13 here.

More about FJ Bergmann

FJ is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets who also writes speculative fiction and is a web designer and artist.  She maintains madpoetry.org, a local poetry website, as well as the WFoP site, bookthatpoet.com, and others.  Her personal site is fibitz.com. She also offers a poetry submission service, PoemFactotum.com. She has had poems in the Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, Rosebud, Southern Poetry Review, Tattoo Highway, and Weird Tales… Read more here  

We look forward to reading A Catalog of Further Suns when it comes off the press.