Romancing the pulps

Say “pulps” and most of us probably think about action, adventure, gunfights and barbarians. Pulps also included sports and romance. Classic pulps such as Love Story Magazine and Ranch Romances have spawned a modern-day zine, Romances With Attitude.

As a teen in the 1960s, Conrad V. Sucatre enjoyed the pulp reprints of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Captain Future and Doc Savage. In the 1970s, he began reading romance novels, Sucatre says. By the 1980s, the romance novels, he says, had taken on a pulpish feel, with detective-suspense and science fiction themes.

“By 2000, I was toying with the idea of finding some way to ‘jump-start’ some fun back into romantic fiction when I came across some old romance pulps for sale at a store in Ferndale, Mich.,” Sucatre wrote in an e-mail. “I’d been unaware that romances had been a part of the pulp universe in the glory days (1920s through 1940s). After noticing the faster pace, plus the use of action and suspense in the old pulp romances, I figured this might just be the format the genre needs to hook the younger crowd. In a way, by reviving the older pulp format, I’d be hitting two birds with one stone: giving my beloved romance genre a new shot in the arm, and also reintroducing the fun of the pulps to a new generation.”

Thus was born Romances With Attitude. The zine is published in October and February and is “a family production,” Sucatre says. Editing is handled by his daughter, Cathy Heath, while Sucatre does sales and “general hustling.” His wife, Linda Sucatre, has written most of the stories for the first three issues, “until we were able to recruit more writers,” Sucatre says. Elva R. Jones, who won Storyteller Magazine’s People’s Choice Award in 2000 for her story Arkansas Girl, has written stories for the third and fourth issues.

The zine has found additional writers through a writing contest it held with My Writer Buddy Web site in May. The winner — W.R. Avery of Canada for his fragment, “Heart of the Kraken,” which reads much like a tale in the Robert E. Howard tradition, Sucatre says — and other participants will be contributing to upcoming issues.

Interested in reading or writing pulp-style romance fiction? Then visit Romances With Attitude’s Web site for submission and purchasing information. (Editor’s note: This site is no longer available as of October 2008 because AOL discontinued its Web hosting service.)