Monday, September 24, 2007

A Moment Of Silence, Please

From one of the editors of Astonishing Adventures Magazine-

I don't want to intrude on Katherine, but I just wanted to say a little something.

We lost one of our pulpsters recently and we at AAM want to say we're sorry. Katherine's sister Mary contributed the illustration for Tit For Tat in the first issue and she passed away on Saturday.

Please keep Katherine and her family in your thoughts.

Editor JDC

Friday, September 14, 2007

The New Submission Guidelines for Astonishing Adventures Magazine Issue #2

From Editor Tim Gallagher


Okay, kids, we got the first issue out of the way. It darn near killed some of us, but we did it.

In the process of putting the magazine together, we learned what worked and what didn’t; what we need help with and what we have down pat; and what changes will have to be made in order to ensure things go smoother the second time.

The submission guidelines for the time being are going to remain essentially the same:

1) We’re looking for all-new, all-original stories covering all pulp genres. That includes adventure, mystery, science fiction, Western, aviation, fantasy, sword and sorcery - you name it (except romance! Romance is verboten! If I don’t have to deal with it in real life, I don’t want to deal with it in my magazine!). And please don’t make the mistake that many do and equate pulp with noir; most noir is pulp, but not all pulp is noir.

The stories can take place in any time period, and in any location. We’re looking for stories that evoke the spirit of the ‘30s and ‘40s - pulp’s golden age - but that doesn’t mean your stories have to take place then.

Most of all, we’re looking for stories that are FUN and ENTERTAINING! This ain’t some long haired, highbrow literary magazine, it’s a pulp!

If you’re still not sure what we’re looking for, please check out the plethora of pulp reprint magazines available: THE SHADOW, THE SPIDER, DOC SAVAGE, PLANET STORIES, G8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES, SECRET AGENT X, etc. Those are the sort of stories we want to showcase.

2) We said it above, and we’ll say it again: we want all-new, all-original pulp stories. Stories you’ve written featuring characters you’ve created. We will accept absolutely no fan fiction (stories featuring someone else’s characters).

3) We are aiming for the broadest possible audience, from tweens to twilighters, so your submission should be appropriate for all. We will not accept submissions with excessive, gratuitous violence; offensive language (cursing); gratuitous hanky panky (the hero can kiss the girl, but everything else should occur off the page); or content that is deemed disparaging, offensive, or hateful by the editors. Basically, if you couldn’t get away with it in a PG-rated film, you won’t get away with it here.

4) The word count for stories is still 3,500 or less, but as you saw in the first issue, we are open to longer stories. Please query us first before sending anything longer than 3,500 words.

5) We can only accept single, stand-alone stories. We do not accept serial stories at this time. Our quarterly publication schedule makes serialization impractical. We will accept stories that are excerpts of longer works, as long as the excerpt can stand alone: it must have a beginning, middle, and end, like any other story.

6) Here’s the new wrinkle, so please pay attention: ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE IN THE FORM OF A WORD DOCUMENT (.doc), with the option of an additional .html doc. We can no longer accept submissions that are in the body of an e-mail. Sorry if this inconveniences anyone, but it makes too much work for us when we put the magazine together.

7) Yes, we accept art submissions. We need spot illustrations for stories as well as cover art. If you can provide art for your submission, by all means do so. For more specific requirements and specifications, contact JDC directly at

8) We are also looking for non-fiction material about the world of pulp: articles, reviews, interviews. Just read a great pulp novel you want to share with everyone else? Write a review and send it to us. You met a man who claims to be the real, live Doc Savage? Well, by jingo, we want to read about it. You just happen to be the neighbor of a man who made his living pounding out pulp stories for a penny a word? Get a tape recorder and get him talking.

The variety of non-fiction material we’re looking for is wide open, as long as it’s pulp related. Please query us first with what you have in mind.

9) Finally, and I can’t say this enough, don’t be afraid to use the LESTER DENT PLOT FORMULA posted elsewhere on this site. I know it’s set up for a 6,000 word story, but it can easily be modified for a story of any length. It’s a great tool, so use it. That’s why we posted it in the first place.

Questions? Concerns? Did I miss something? Well, that’s what the e-mail addresses are for. Shoot us a line, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.Now get cracking. The deadline for issue #2 - NOVEMBER 1 - is fast approaching. And yes, we would love holiday-themed pulp stories.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"The Post-Nuptial"

This story originally appeared at Powder Burn Flash Blog.

"The “City of Angels ?” They have all the letters right, but their order all wrong. It’s the “City of Angles.” As in everyone there has an angle, is hiding behind one or they will come at you from a funny angle. Because people down there just don’t deal with anyone straight on.

I don’t like coming down here; it’s way too bright and that’s just the light coming off of all of the bleached smiles. Don’t get me started on the sun. But I am here on business, on behalf of a fine piece of pleasure.

She’s battier than a cave full of guano, which is good for the bedroom and bad for everywhere else. Even when she comes up for the occasional recreational tryst, this gets to be too much. So I know all too well as to just why her husband wants to divorce her, since he has to deal with her every single day.

The problem, as far as she is concerned, is that she is a movie star who has amassed millions over the life of her career, and before they were married he was a boom-mike operator with bad shoulders. When she finally cuts him loose, he won’t be able to work for long and though I don’t know all of the details, the only thing that both of their lawyers can agree on is that he has a fairly good chance of overturning their prenuptial agreement.

My plan is pretty simple: I’ve already driven down here and stolen a car. I’ll kick it off with a squat-and-stop right in front of her husband’s car.

It’s six P.M. on an overcast December 15th and it’s nice and dark. He turns off of Franklin Boulevard and I follow. I pull ahead of him and I look for witnesses...that’s right, I look for witnesses.

If you ask them what happened next, they would tell you that he rear-ended me, even though I was the one that stopped short in front of him. They would tell you that a Mexican gang-banger got out and cursed at him in Spanish for being crazy and for hitting his car.

Then they would tell you that the Mexican shot the husband point-blank in the head...even though I am about as Mexican as Charlton Heston in “A Touch of Evil,” and that my clothes and car are authentic, only in the borrowed sense.

I drive off of Whitley Avenue, where I torch the car and the disguise. I get the rental car I drove down here out of the garage and I’m home free, because L.A.’s finest won’t be looking for “Joe Tourist” as the world’s best “accidental” post-nuptial agreement.

Just south of Lompoc , I have to get gas for the car and caffeine for myself, as we are both running on fumes...twenty hours on the road will do that to you. I nod at the cashier, a nice East Indian who that will go far, judging by all the books he studies in between transactions. Then, in my sleep-deprived stupor, I make a mistake...I pay for the sale with my credit card. If a detective gets lucky and makes it up to Pacifica, this will put a huge hole in my “all alone at my cabin up in Tahoe” alibi.

I space out until the cashier and a Highway Patrol officer waiting behind me, bring me back. I sign the receipt and thank the kid.

Three miles later and I hear the distinct horn of a police car. I mull pulling over for about thirty seconds, then the car flashes the red and blue lights, and I panic. I get the first shot off, but I should’ve just shot myself instead, as it’s real hard to hit anything with a patrol car spotlight in your face.

I slip in and out...

...I see the Highway Patrol officer who was at the gas station.

...I hear him tell another officer that the station cashier said I forgot my credit card, and that he just wanted to give it back to me. I take it back...that cashier won’t go far; he’ll make a bad American, because he’s too damn honest.

...I just hope they can’t connect me to her.

...Yes, I contradicted myself by what I’ve done, but I’ll still talk shit about “The City of Angles.” I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite and the most comforting fact to me as I depart this world, is that at least I won’t die in L.A.