Tag Archives: writers

The Magic of Bowen

There’s something about Bowen Island that feeds the writer’s soul, and this magical place, a stone’s throw across the water from Horseshoe Bay, is central to the very existence of Pulp Literature.outdoorsI first went there to write over a decade ago as part of Dale Adams Segal’s writing retreat through Langara.  Her Hour Stories cards were a breakthrough for me, allowing me to muffle my harsh inner critic and revel in the joy of storytelling.  And my early morning walks through the quiet, misty woods near Snug Cove allowed me to empty my mind and let stories pour in.  Without that retreat, I’m not sure I would ever have written a novel — or even another short story.

Allaigna 1 croppedA year later I returned to The Lodge at the Old Dorm with some of the attendees, and we hosted our own informal retreat.  There, curled up on the luxurious bed in the Lady Cecilia room, I wrote the first lines of Allaigna’s Song: “If you walk down the grand staircase of Castle Osthegn, you will see a family portrait …”

If I hadn’t mentioned that writing holiday to Mel — who has lived on Bowen much of her life — I would never have known she was a writer too, she would not have introduced me to Sue, and the three of us would never have begun writing together using the Hour Stories.  Our writing sessions together have produced the drafts of all three Allaigna novels, the delightful Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, Mel’s new mystery series The Seven Swans (see Issue 9!), Sue’s captivating historical novel about Esther, and many of the exquisite short stories you see from her in the pages of Pulp Literature.

Winter 2014 cover proofBut perhaps the largest creation to emerge from one of our writing sessions was the magazine itself.  After a productive morning writing at Mel’s place on Bowen, the idea for Pulp Literature sprang almost fully formed:  like Venus rising from the sea below the sunny deck where we drank our beer and supped on the inspiration of trees and wind and ocean.

Maybe Pulp Lit could have been born in Sue’s welcoming home, or my chaotic one, or even on the ethernet waves of Skype where we meet so often.  But I tend to think the vital spark came from the magic of the island itself.  Which is why we held our first Year of the Muse Retreat there this year, and why I’m so delighted to be returning in January 2016.alexandra

Fellow writers, I hope you’ll join us at the place where it all began, to steep your writing in the magic of Bowen.

The Muse Revisited
An all-inclusive writers retreat surrounded by natural beauty, with gourmet meals, luxurious rooms, and good company.
The Lodge at the Old Dorm
Bowen Island BC
8 – 10 January 2016
Register here

The writing table. Photo by Rosie Perera


Paying the Contributors First

Most writers starting out don’t make much money. They generally wind up paying out lots of money upfront for conferences, for memberships, for websites, for contest entries, for business cards…all in the hopes of eventually breaking even, then getting a real income.  We at Pulp Literature find ourselves in a similar situation. In order to promote our magazine, we have volunteered our own time and money to get the website started, the illustrations drawn, the submissions read… We don’t expect to earn an income this year.

But we want our guest writers and artists to earn. We want to pay you first.

Our established feature writers have agreed to donate their works if there is not enough funding. They’re trying to support new writers. As well, Jen, Sue and Mel have agreed to donate their works if there isn’t enough funding. When the kickstarter ends, and our budget is clear, we will offer contracts to our approved submissions and let them know how much we can afford to pay. We would like to offer seven cents a word, but the reality might be less.

We may not make much money our first year, but we can offer a different kind of dividend to our writers and artists. We can offer a new network and a cool community.  We can offer publication credits and a printed format that you can brag about and give your parents at Christmas. We can offer a place where your work will rub shoulders with well-known writers who are generously supporting our project. We hope you can also support us by submitting your work and spreading the word.