All posts by Jessica Fabrizius

2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest Winner

As a fitting reminder to cut the suspense, a bumblebee buzzed past one of our editor’s windows today. From Bob Thurber, the humblest bumblebee we know, we have our winner:  Kate Felix with ‘Shayna’s Eulogy’, just edging out runner up Kim Martins with ‘Let’s Start with the Horse’.  The finalists were all so excellent that we editors couldn’t resist picking another, and the  Editors’ Choice goes to Mitchell Toews with ‘Piece of My Heart’.

To quote Bob Thurber: “A fine batch of finalists this year.  All of them fun to read and so interesting to ponder.”

Queen Bee Kate Felix brings home golden pollen to the tune of $300, and her story will appear in Issue 27, Summer 2020.  The runner up and editors’ choice stories may also be published if space is available.

As always, we thank the writers, readers, and judges who make these contests possible. Your hard work fuels this busy hive!

While you wait for these wonderful stories to appear in print, why not check out contest judge Bob Thurber’s newest anthology If You’d Like to Make a Call … Please Hang Up.  The title story first appeared in Pulp Literature Issue 12, and we’re delighted to see it out in the world again with siblings.

 

Throwback Thursday: Evelyn Lau

Every Thursday for the next few months, we’ll be taking a peek back in time to look at authors and stories from past issues.  And during the week they’re featured, you, dear reader, can pick up the issue at the author price of 25% off! This Thursday,  we head back to the opening pages of Issue 21, Winter 2019, with …

Evelyn Lau

Evelyn has the distinction of being both an author and a poet, but for the pages of Pulp Literature Issue 21, she pulled on her credentials as Vancouver’s Poet Laureate (2011-2014) and offered three poems riddled with grief and stolen moments. Daniel Cowper, our poetry editor, gained insight into Evelyn’s process, feelings, and appraisal of poetry through a brief interview, published in Issue 21.

Interview by Daniel Cowper

Daniel Cowper: Do you like to write on paper or directly in electronic format? What kind of paper do you like to use? How much do you care about the material tools of writing?

Evelyn Lau: First drafts always have to be written by hand. I’m not fussy about paper, usually it’s the blank side of a stack of bills, student poems, and correspondence that would otherwise go into recycling. I still can’t imagine composing poetry on a screen, but the computer is useful for editing the numerous drafts that follow. Material tools aren’t so important, but silence and solitude are.

DC: Richard Wilbur commented that poetry is always in danger of cocooning itself, and that to be worth its salt, it needs to be continually bashing itself against real things. What do you think about that dictum? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

EL: Hmm … thumbs sideways? I both agree and disagree. Just being alive means constantly bashing ourselves against things, even if you’re cocooned in your tiny apartment. You can hardly escape the news, the intrusion of people who need you, the haunting of past experiences. I think a poem that is purely personal and interior, or meditative and serene, is just as valid as one that engages with the noisy headlines.

DC: The language and narration in ‘Forest Edge’ feels incredibly accurate and honest to me, although I have no idea how it relates to anyone’s true biography. To me, the emotional accuracy makes it a true story, whether or not it is based on real-life events. Do you think it is easier to write such a persuasive poem about true or imagined facts?

EL: Yes, emotional accuracy is always what I am seeking, both as a reader and a writer.
This poem was based on a true experience, but of course that didn’t make it necessarily “easier” to write. Perhaps harder! Of course, emotion is easier to access when it’s in your own life; the challenge is to convey that intensity of feeling without hitting the reader over the head with it.

DC: Throughout these poems, the alien makes incursions into the ordinary, to great effect. For example, in ‘Forest Edge’, you describe the subject of the poem as being overtaken by a metaphorical sandstorm in the Ontario countryside, and you make the reader feel that sandstorm of grief. Do you intend incursions like that as surprises, or is the surprise a side effect of the emotionally apt image?

EL: I like to be surprised by images and metaphors, so I stretch for those moments in my own writing. The difficult balance is finding metaphors that aren’t completely outlandish but still feel original in some way.

DC: In your poem ‘Once Upon a Time’, a bear captures a child, intending to eat it, but instead adopts the child. What is it that appeals to you about the ambiguity of a story that can be described either as “he had saved her or snatched her?”

EL: When you are taken from your own family, or choose to leave of your own accord, are you being saved or destroyed? Perhaps this is something I’ve struggled with subconsciously, as I’ve been estranged from my own family since running away at fourteen. Of course this changed the trajectory of my life; it felt necessary for my survival, but it has also had many lasting negative repercussions.

DC: The final image of ‘Once Upon a Time’, the remembrance of the bear’s mouth opening to eat the child, feels gorgeous and oddly tender. What do you think can transmute a threat to tenderness in recollection? Is nostalgia enough, or is more than that needed? Is a kind of forgetting at work?

EL: I like ambiguity, and the idea that no experience is ever entirely one thing or another, but shaded. There is also comfort in the familiar, no matter how awful or lacking. I never realized the role of nostalgia in my work until it was pointed out to me; maybe a preoccupation with one’s past always holds an element of nostalgia?

DC: All three of these poems are, to some degree, centred on the weight of the past. “It isn’t even past,” Faulkner says, and these poems seem to prove him right. Do you think there is a meaningful distinction between being oriented to the past, the present, or the future? How do you think those three temporal orientations, so far as they are meaningful, relate to your work?

EL: I’m drawn to the fluidity of time, the concept that it’s all one day. Too often, we either replicate or repudiate the past in our present relationships, our daily decisions.

DC: Lightning round: In ten words or less, what do you think about the relationship between good prose and good poetry?

EL: Ideally, both will have breathtaking lines and lasting emotional impact.

Read Evelyn’s stunning poems ‘Gone’, ‘Forest Edge’, and ‘Once Upon a Time’ in Pulp Literature Issue 21, Winter 2019 at the author price of 25% off.

Issue 21, Winter 2019

$15 11.25 print
$5  3.75 digital

Or subscribe now and get four new issues delivered to your doorstep during the next twelve months.  That’s over 800 pages of fabulous fiction for your reading delight throughout the year!

Throwback Thursday: Frost and Snow

Every Thursday for the next few months, we’ll be taking a peek back in time to look at authors and stories from past issues.  And during the week they’re featured, you, dear reader, can pick up the issue at the author price of 25% off! This Thursday, take in Frost and Snow, the cover painting for Issue 21, Winter 2019.

Melissa Mary Duncan

Fantasy artist and illustrator Melissa Mary Duncan lives in New Westminster, BC, with her husband, author dvs Duncan. An avid historic re-enactor, neo-Edwardian, and wishful thinker, Melissa has a passion for life, learning, and the creative process. She has had numerous solo exhibitions and her art has found homes in private collections from Japan to Great Britain. Her book, Faye—the Art of Melissa Mary Duncan, was released in 2013 and is available for sale through her website . Melissa was our first cover artist. Her paintings The Beer Fairy, Fondly Remembered Magic, and The Storyteller have graced the covers of Pulp Literature and she is the cover artist for Allaigna’s Song: Overture and the forthcoming Allaigna’s Song: Aria from Pulp Literature Press as well. Find more of her beautiful paintings at melissamaryduncan.com.

Frost and Snow by Melissa Mary Duncan
Frost and Snow by Melissa Mary Duncan

Issue 12 cover by Melissa Mary Duncan

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Raven Short Story Contest Winner

The Raven Short Story Contest always rounds out our year nicely, and Autumn 2019 produced a wonderful crop of tales sure to sustain us well into the new year. JJ Lee joins us fresh from Issue 24 as our featured author, now acting as ultimate decider for this season’s winner. From his deliberations, a clever raven emerges victorious:

Mike Donoghue for ‘Life4Sale’

‘Life4Sale’ showed in its epistolary structure a great command of character voice. The world building and the weird factor are efficiently established without ever forgetting that character motive and conflict are what make a short story tick. It never bogs down in the spec fic mechanics. I appreciated how it is the kind of story you may find on Black Mirror or, if you’re old enough, classic Twilight Zone.

The runners up garnered additional praise

MFC Feeley for ‘Dannemora Sewing Class’

‘Dannemora Sewing Class’, a very short short story, daringly makes a section and POV break in the middle and it works. The focus is on a single interaction and we discover through the POV switch that it has ramifications. The story demonstrates the writer’s skill and his or her ability to inhabit characters with a realistic diction.

Rob McInroy for ‘Zoroman’s Cave’

‘Zoroman’s Cave’ is a throwback with the hyper intelligent yet sinister narrator reminiscent of Lovecraft’s high-pulp style narrators. The volume of verbiage and contortion of the narrator’s thoughts can come across as quite dense, high falutin’ even, yet it flowed. It made for a smooth read. For that I thought it should be recognized as a standout and a great nod to the classic weird story genre.
Congratulations to these authors!  Thank you to JJ Lee for his perspicacious eye, and thank you to all submitting authors for bringing us your best and supporting Pulp Literature Press.

The 2019 Raven Short Story Contest Longlist

An Unkindness of Ravens

What’s unkind about the Raven Short Story Contest?  Why, making us choose, of course!  It’s never easy deciding which stories will make the cut.  Sometimes it’s like choosing between apples and automobiles: both are useful, and many are beautiful, but I wouldn’t want to ride in one or eat the other.

But choose we must.  And so here are the authors on the longlist, alphabetically by first name:

Ariel Basom

CC Smith

Claire Lawrence

Dave Kunz

Dawn Miller

Doug Harrison

Elizabeth Cockle

Erin Evans

Hannah Van Didden

John Shea

Jonathan Sean Lyster

Kim Martins

KT Wagner

Laura Kuhlmann

Leslie Wibberley

Mara Vranjkovic

Matthew Vickless

MFC Feeley

Michael Donoghue

Rob McInroy

Robert Bose

Robert Runte

Soramimi Hanarejima

Taryn Pearcey

VJ Hamilton

Thank you, writers, for being so unkind to us, and congratulations on winning us over this far with your words.  The shortlist will be published soon!

 

Origins of a Magnum Opus

This month will see the highly anticipated debut of Matthew Hughes’ novel, What the Wind Brings. With a slip stream narrative, and elements of magical realism, readers might be tempted to believe this novel is a work of fiction — which it is — but it is also based very firmly on real people, real ideologies, and real history. Here is the inspiration for his novel, some 50 years in the making:

In 1971, Matthew Hughes came across an intriguing footnote in a university textbook on cross-cultural conflicts and assimilations. In fewer than two dozen words, the footnote said that a group of shipwrecked slaves had been castaways on the coast of 16 th century Ecuador and had managed to build a new society in conjunction with the indigenous people. 

Hughes thought, “That would make a great historical novel.” 

But researching the events proved difficult. There was very little English-language scholarship about the Zambo state; most of what was available was in Spanish-language journals in Spain and South America. But as the years went by, Hughes kept a watching brief on the subject, gathering what information was to be found in academic papers.

By the second decade of this century, the Zambo state had caught the attention of several North American scholars. Papers and books began to appear, and the true shape of what had happened in Esmeraldas began to emerge. In 2014, The Canada Council for the Arts awarded Hughes a major grant and he began the process of putting the story together.

In 2018, he found a publisher in Pulp Literature Press.

The Zambo state remains a distinct ethnic identity in parts of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Their history was largely ignored, thanks in large part to historical whitewashing that has only recently been re-examined. We believe What the Wind Brings is a credit to that new research, as well as a credit to well-researched and masterfully written historical fiction.

Order your limited edition, signed hardcover here!

Pulp Literature at When Words Collide

Calgary, we know we don’t say this often enough but … we’re coming to see you!

A lot has happened since our last visit; we published a debut novel from Cowtowner, Michael Kamakana; we put out several new issues; and by the time we touchdown at YYC for When Words Collide, Matthew Hughes’s magnum opus, What the Wind Brings, will have landed as well.  We’d love to catch up with you, so if you find yourself at Delta Calgary South for the 2019 WWC conference, stop by the Fireside room on Saturday (August 10th) at 2 pm.

In addition to Pulp Literature Presents, Jen Landels and Jessisca Fabrizius will be presenting at the following sessions:

Friday

  • 3:00pm – Hiring the Right Editor
  • 5:00pm – Common Manuscript Problems
  • 6:00pm – Storytelling with Swordplay

Saturday

  • 12:00pm – Pitch session
  • 2:00pm – Pulp Literature Presents
  • 8:00pm – Autograph Session

Sunday

  • 11:00am – David vs Goliath: Writing the mis-matched fight scent
  • 12:00pm – Live Action Slush – High Fantasy
  • 1:00pm – Cover Art Trends
  • 3:00pm – Live Action Slush – Urban Fantasy
  • 4:00pm – Blue Pencil Cafe
  • 5:00pm – Literary vs Speculative Fiction

Some of the other Pulp Literature authors  in attendance at WWC include Jasmin Nyack, Michael Kamakana, Robert J Sawyer, Robert Runté, and Pat Flewelling.  We hope to see you there as well!

Pulp Literature Presents
Saturday 10 Aug, 2:00 – 3:00pm
Fireside Room,  Delta Calgary South

RSVP here

Pulp Literature Summer 2019 Launch Party: Toronto

Face it — Toronto in August is muggy at best, and we know you’re looking for an escape. Thanks to a strong western wind, Pulp Literature is coming to Ontario, and we can provide the refreshment you’re looking for! Toronto local Kelly Robson rounds out Issue 23’s flavour profile, and it’s free to sample Thursday, August 8th.

Join editor Mary Rykov as she hosts local authors and poets Raluca Balasa, Dave Benyon, Joelle Kidd, Peter Norman, Kelly Robson, Douglas Smith, R Daniel Lester and more for another evening of genre-busing readings, book signings, book raffle, and good cheer.

Hear our writers, peruse our magazine issues and novels, and learn about submission opportunities. Help us celebrate Pulp Literature and launch the Summer 2019 Issue 23.

Sign up for 2 time-limited open mic spots available at 6 pm.

Thursday 8 August 2019 
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Another Bar
926 Bloor Street West, Toronto

RSVP HERE

Good books, good cheer, and most importantly, cold beer!

PS: Cowpokes stay tuned for details on our Calgary appearance later this week!

2019 Year of Authors: 29th July – 2nd Aug

This week we move into the blaze of August, and Pulp Literature is going to be busy! Catch us in Toronto, Calgary, and of course, Vancouver for launch parties and other special events. Or, if that doesn’t jive with your end of summer schedule, stay tuned for our weekly author and artist deals. This is week 29 of Pulp Literature’s Year of Authors — get ’em while they’re hot!

29th July – 2nd Aug 2019

Monday: Patrick BollivarIssue 10 & 16

Patrick Bollivar is a writer and an air traffic controller (do tell!) living in Vancouver, BC. His short stories have previously appeared in Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe, and The Outliers of Speculative Fiction.

Issue 10 smallIssue 16 cover art by Akem

Tuesday: Peter Norman, Issue 12

Born and raised in Vancouver, Peter Norman received a Creative Writing BFA from the University of British Columbia in 1998 and has since lived in Ottawa, Calgary, Halifax, Windsor (Ontario), Montreal, Edmonton, and Toronto, where he now lives with his wife, fellow writer-editor Melanie Little. He is the author of a novel, Emberton, and three collections of poetry.

Issue 12 cover by Melissa Mary Duncan

Wednesday: R Daniel Lester, Issue 5

R Daniel Lester reads, writes and lives in Terminal City, aka Vancouver, BC. He is the author of the poetry collection It’s All in the Interpretation, the short story collection Caffeine Fueled Revelation Machines and the novel, Die, Famous! His writing has been seen online in Geist, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, The Flash Fiction Offensive and The Big Adios, and he was a semi-finalist in Broken Pencil’s Indie Writers’ Deathmatch.

Thursday: Rebecca Gomez FarrellIssue 5

In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe, maybe, sea captain was the right choice after all. And when Rebecca says she’s a writer… she’s not joking. More than 20 published short stories, a romance novella, and an epic fantasy novel are just the tip of the iceberg. She’s also a television commentator and food/drink/travel blogger... basically, she puts us all to shame.

Friday: Rebecca Wurz, Issue 13

Rebecca Wurtz is the author of County, Kind of a Love Story, a novel in verse, and she was a runner up in the 2015 Texas Observer Short Story Contest with ‘Hands moving through hair’. She lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. ‘Xuefei and his Heart’ was the winner of the Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize in 2016.

Issue 13 cover by Zoran Pekovic

2019 Year of Authors: 22 – 26 July

It’s another week dominated by the poets! Week 28 of Pulp Literature’s Year of Authors starts out strong with two Magpie Poetry Contest winners, stays steady in the middle with two poets from across the pond, and finishes with the odd woman out — though something tells us that Pat revels in being the outlier.

22nd – 26th July 2019

Monday: Nicola Aimé, Issue 12

Nicola Aimé writes about the spaces in between, those places where people touch but never entirely find each other: immigration with its sacrificial gains, the ambiguous embraces of tango, the tangled demands of being a woman in the modern era, the vast failures of justice in an indifferent world. Her work has always been among words—stories, screenplays, editing, ESL, and literacy. Poetry arrived unbidden and took her by surprise. It continues to keep her curious and is her route both into herself and out into the world.

Issue 12 cover by Melissa Mary Duncan

Tuesday: Oak Morse, Issue 16

Oak Morse is a poet, spoken word artist, speaker and teacher who has travelled and toured across the Southeast as a performing artist as well as a teacher of performance poetry. He now is becoming recognized for his recent literary works, which aim to bring attention to a speech disorder known as ‘cluttering’, which Oak has worked tirelessly to overcome. Oak Morse now speaks and serves as an ambassador for cluttering and writes poetry which seeks to engage readers and immerse them into the cluttering experience. Oak currently lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia, where he works on his poetry collection titled When the Tongue Goes Bad.

Issue 16 cover art by Akem

Wednesday: Oscar Windsor-Smith, Issue 7

Oscar Windsor-Smith writes fiction, creative non-fiction, non-fiction and poetry from his home in Hertfordshire, UK. His stories have been finalists in the New York City Midnight Short Story Challenge and the University of Plymouth short fiction competitions.

Thursday: PA Levy, Issue 11
Born in East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, PA Levy has been published in many magazines, from A cappella Zoo to Zygote In My Coffee and stations in between. He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective.
 

Friday: Pat Flewwelling, Issue  14
By day, Pat is a senior business analyst at a major telecommunications company; by evening, she works at a brand-new micropress; on weekends, she runs Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore; and by night, she fights ninja vampires using nothing but radioactive garlic and weapons-grade sarcasm. And sometime between Never O’Clock and the Second Tuesday of Next Week, Pat writes short stories and novels, including Helix: Blight of Exiles, Helix: Plague of Ghouls, and Helix: Scourge of Bones.  Her story ‘The Handler’ won the 2016 Raven Short Story contest.