Sundress Publications Opens Submissions for the 2017 Chapbook Competition

Dear friends, readers, and fellow writers, I’ve just received this email from Sundress Publications. If you have a chapbook manuscript in the works, or already written, here’s your chance to win a publishing competition. Good luck!


Sundress Publications is pleased to announce its fourth annual chapbook contest.  Authors of all genres are invited to submit qualifying manuscripts during our reading period of February 1 to April 15, 2017.

Enter Now

What We’re Looking For
We are looking for poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or any combination thereof. Manuscripts must be between twelve to twenty-six (12-26) pages in length, with a page break between individual pieces. Individual pieces may have been previously published in anthologies, print journals, online journals, etc., but cannot appear in any full-length collection, including self-published collections. Both single-author and collaborative dual-author manuscripts will be considered. A unifying element is encouraged but not required. Manuscripts must be primarily in English; translations are not eligible.

Entry Fee & Prize
The entry fee is $10 per manuscript, though the fee will be waived for entrants who purchase or pre-order any Sundress title from our store.

The winner will receive a $200 prize, plus publication as a beautiful full-color PDF available exclusively online for free. Runners-up will also be considered for publication.

Our Judge
unnamed-3This year’s judge will be Darren C. Demaree. Demaree lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. He is the author of six poetry collections and the recipient of nine Pushcart nominations. Currently, he is the managing editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Submission Guidelines
All manuscripts should include a cover page (with only the title of the manuscript), table of contents, dedication (if applicable), and acknowledgements for previous publications. These pages will not be included in the total page count. Identifying information should not be included in any part of the manuscript. Authors with a significant relationship to the judge (friends, relatives, colleagues, past or present students, etc.) are discouraged from entering. We are dedicated to a fair judging process that emphasizes the quality of the writing, not the résumé of the author.

Simultaneous submissions to other presses is acceptable, but please notify Sundress immediately if the manuscript has been accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are allowed, but a separate entry fee must accompany each entry. No revisions will be allowed during the contest judging period. Winners will be announced in Summer 2017.

Send your manuscript as a DOC or PDF to contest@sundresspublications.com along with a receipt number or screenshot for your payment.

#BookPromo – Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion by John Chaplick

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About the Book

An archaeological dig under the streets of London unearths a Roman Centurion’s 2000-year-old letter which throws doubt on and threatens the foundations of Christian doctrine and modern society. Is it possible the New Testament is a forgery promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church? In a desperate effort to assess the validity of the letter’s contents, a team of scholars including Dr. Peter Clemens, a devout Christian, and Sam Wykoff, an avowed atheist, track the First Century itinerary of Roman Legion XX through England and the Near East travels of Apostle Paul upon whose writings the centurion’s letter was based. In the process, the team encounters danger and subterfuge at every turn. An antichrist group anxious to discredit the Bible, and religious zealots eager to protect the status quo by attempting to stop or kill them are just a few of the obstacles they must overcome.

Genre(s): Genre Fiction, Religious/Spiritual, International Mystery/Crime, Thriller

To Purchase: Author’s Website | Amazon


Excerpts from A Critical Review of Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion by Jim Booth

A bit like a mystery, a bit like a thriller, John Chaplick’s Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion explores some profound ideas while it seeks to accomplish an elusive and difficult task. A Roman centurion who knew the apostle Paul sends his son a letter which is discovered twenty centuries later in an archaeological dig under the streets of London. The discovery challenges the validity of the New Testament and sends a team of scholars across England and Asia Minor in search of the truth.

In its Da Vinci Code like narrative Chaplick’s novel challenges the reader with at times almost dauntingly philosophical and theological discussions among its main characters, including a theologian and an avowed atheist. There is action, danger, mystery, and even a little romance as the team encounters both hard core zealots who fear opposition to the Bible, and evil cultists who eager to discredit it.

The reader will find him/herself both entertained and enlightened by John Chaplick’s novel. One can ask for no more.


About the Author

5702261110072.JPGA former auditor and partner in an international CPA firm, John Chaplick is an instructor in the field of forensic and investigative accounting. His experience includes a specialty in fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. He was the founder and president of his own business for eighteen years before he retired and made his home in Lutz, Florida.

He has published technical articles in various professional journals, and his mystery and romance novels are based upon his extensive corporate and professional experience. An Elder in the Presbyterian Church, John’s biblical studies have included research on the life of the apostle Paul. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He is a leader in the Florida Writers Association.

John also teaches writing classes at the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa, and at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USF.

Titles by John Chaplick can be found on his website @ EngagingBooksBlog.com:

  • The Pandora Files
  • An Enduring Conspiracy
  • The Rivergrass Legacy (Award-winner)
  • Bridge of the Paper Tiger
  • Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion (Award-winner)

John Chaplick’s Website | LinkedIn

Book Review – The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay

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The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay is much more than a murder mystery. It is a story about love, hope and redemption with a paranormal and Christian slant. When three young boys enter the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department to report a murder at the Columbia County Elementary School, Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life and those around him will be forever changed. A fifteen-year mystery, the death of Manny Grimes, and a suspected murder/suicide are all tangled together in this thrilling novel.

Manny Grimes had information that linked the murder/suicide and the mystery from fifteen years ago together, and he paid for it with his life. As DeLong, his mentor Russ Calhoun, and the CSI team of Newman and Elliot set out to solve this murder, life becomes complicated for all of them. DeLong is driven by the voice of Manny Grimes to help him and he cannot let him down.He also discovers that his wife and Calhoun had an affair and it drags him down a spiraling dark hole of alcoholism and rage. His personal life is as twisted and mixed-up as the case before him is. The team soon discover that the murder/suicide might have been staged and that one of the victims’ spouses could be involved in the cover-up, but the case is much deeper than that. It involves a murder fifteen years in the past that was also covered-up. Somehow through this tangled mystery, Kay ties all of the ends together in a shocking conclusion.

What I enjoyed most about this novel is that Kay does an excellent job of weaving so many story angles together to form a cohesive, well-written mystery. She also does an excellent job with the personal angles of the story – between DeLong and his wife, the affair his wife had with Calhoun, the interwoven angle of all the families involved in Manny Grimes’ murder and the budding romance between Calhoun and Elliot. These characters are rich, and humanly flawed, making them believable. The police procedural is also well done in this novel.

The only angle of the story that would have normally warded me off is the Christian slant. As a rule, I do not read Christian novels. Not because they are Christian, but because they are normally preachy and not my thing. However, in this novel, it made sense. DeLong’s life was spiraling out of control and a few nuances of scripture gave him the hope and determination to get his life back under control. It was well done in this novel and not at all preachy.

The only flaw I discovered was a minor one – DeLong was checked into a motel when he left his wife Samantha, but in once instance, it became a hotel. With such a minor flaw, there is no way I am allowing it to detract points from my review. This is a solid novel and deserves to be read and praised.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Mystery, Police Procedural, Christian, Paranormal

To Purchase: Amazon

#BookPromo – Hippie Mafia (Granola Gang Book 1) by Jessica Evans

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About the Book

Hippie Mafia is a multi-voice narrative that examines gender roles within the constructs of urban identity. The antagonist of the work, Mason, is the antithesis of the female archetype, both in her decision making skills and in the progression of her character through her stand-alone agency. The female protagonist, Amy, is one who responds to the situations she finds herself in as one might expect of a standard female character. It is the hope of the work that these two conflicting female identities will help the reader to begin to understand and examine ways in which female characters do not need a male counterpoint to advance their own stores.

To Purchase: Amazon


About the Author

616395.jpgA Cincinnati native, Jessica Evans grew up in a sub-blue collar neighborhood on the city’s west side.  Early on, she began to examine the ways in which life is impacted by socioeconomic status.  Her work is largely a reflection of this interest.  She writes about things that move and motivate her in the hopes that her words can help change her community.

She has earned an MFA in Fiction from Spalding University, and like the rest of the world who hold MFA’s, she has no idea what she’s doing with it. When Jess isn’t bleeding her fingers on her laptop keys, you can find her lifting heavy weights or running half marathons.  She lives with her cat at the base of a mountain range.

Jessica Evans is the author of innumerable short stories, flash fiction and poetry.  Her current work includes four full length poetry collections, two novels and a basket full of vignettes, shorts, short-shorts and stories.

Various poetry and fiction can be found in myriad journals and anthologies, including Base Line Press, The Avalon Review, Crack the Spine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Magazine and many others.

Her most recent collection of poetry, Learn to Find, is now in print. Forthcoming is her latest collection of short-shorts, The Trip Continues, published by the University of Arkansas Press. She is currently working on a new manuscript.

Jessica Evans’ Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

 

Book Review – Who Watcheth by Helene Tursten

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Who Watcheth is a mystery/thriller by the Swedish author, Helene Tursten. A serial killer is on the loose in and around Goteborg, Sweden. He watches his prey, building up a fantasy in his mind that he is in a relationship with the women, and then when they commit what he considers a sin, he kills them. He also leaves photos he’s taken of them committing the sin, a white chrysanthemum, and a note with a Bible verse on it days before he kills them. His M.O. is specific, he always uses a cord with knots in them to strangle his victims and leaves behind some telling clues. The one victim who got away recalled that he had an abhorrent odor about him. Irene Huss is a detective on the Goteborg police department and along with her colleagues, she sets out to find the killer. During the course of the story, Irene has some problems of her own with a woman who wants vengeance for the deaths of her children. She directly blames the police department and Irene in particular, adding an additional round of suspense to the story.

What I enjoyed most about the novel is the interactions that Irene has with both her husband and her colleagues. Her character is well-rounded and well-developed. The other characters are well-developed too. The story unfolds at a nice pace – not too slow or quick, just right. I also enjoyed the police procedural. The suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and the attack scenes are well-written.

Unfortunately, I guessed who the killer would be long before it unfolded in the story because it was just so blatantly stereotypical, and he didn’t appear to be as sophisticated as I had assumed he would be. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for other readers. I will let them make their own determination.

All in all, this is a well-written novel with a good plot, great characters and a suspenseful conclusion. I just wish the killer had lived up to my expectations so I could have given it a higher rating.

Note: I won a copy of this novel on Goodreads Giveaway for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedrual

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Wind Catcher (Chosen #1) by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

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Wind Catcher (Chosen #1) is a Young Adult novel by the father/daughter duo, Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. The reader is introduced to teenager Juliet Wildfire Stone whose life balances between two worlds, that of the rich and wealthy who attend an elite high school called Bartens and that of her Native American heritage. While Juliet tries to fit in at her new school, she is also taught the wisdom of her heritage by her grandfather, Sicheii. Along the way, you meet Juliet’s friends – Katie who also attends Bartens and has a father who will soon go to jail, Troy who is Native American and lives near the reservation and attends a normal high school, and Ella and Marton who are friends of Juliet’s from her former school. Juliet has a special gift. She hears voices and when she dreams, she has visions of her Native American heritage. All of this confuses Juliet, but soon becomes clear as a series of murders occur and are tied to her grandfather. Juliet and Troy embark on a journey to discover what the strange tattoos mean, why her grandfather is involved in a secret society and what all of it has to do with Juliet.

Wind Catcher takes the reader on a wild ride of fantasy, science fiction and Native American lore. As the story unfolds, the reader will learn about the Great Wind Spirit, Coyote, a demon, and the Seeker. The plot is complicated, but unfolds in a well-written series of events. Juliet is the Chosen and she must stop the Seeker, an alien, from destroying all she holds dear as well as Earth itself. The characters are all well-developed and even a bit complicated through their woven relationships. The Altabefs do an excellent job with settings, from Juliet’s school, to Slippery River, the town, and all of the vision worlds Juliet visits. The battle scenes near the end are exciting and well described.

What I loved most about this novel is the Native American lore sprinkled throughout the story. You can tell that the Altabefs spent an enormous amount of time researching it to make it believable, even though they do not link any one particular tribe or nation to it. I also loved the science fiction elements to this story, which the read will discover near the end.

Wind Catcher is one of the most original stories I have read. It has mystery, adventure and aliens. Who could want for more? I highly recommend this first novel in the Chosen trilogy for anyone who enjoys fantasy and science fiction. Although it is categorized as Young Adult, I believe even adults will enjoy it. I know I did.

Note: I received a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Native American Lore

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

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Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth is a YA fantasy novel. Elizabeth introduces us to Honoria, a fifteen year old who lost her parents in the 911 attacks. Along with her brother Geoffrey and aunt and uncle, they leave New York City and the tragedy behind to settle in the small upstate community of Arnn. Arnn holds many secrets and legends. Witchwood Hollow is one such legend. It is said that anyone who wanders in never returns because of the witch who lives in the woods. Honoria and her new friend Leon set off to uncover the truth of Witchwood Hollow, finding more than just a legend.

This novel is told in three time periods – the 1600s, the 1800s, and 2001 – and weaves together a story  of family histories, lost loved ones and reunions. The story begins in 2001 with Honoria and her family’s arrival in Arnn. Then switches to the 1600s where Lady Elizabeth Clifford, the witch who, accused of murder, stumbles into the woods and makes it her home. It continues in the 1800s with Albertine who travels from England to live with her father in Arnn, but gets lost and trapped in the woods. Other characters are woven throughout and add richness to the tale. The story then switches back and forth between these time periods as it unfolds to reveal a deranged witch, a vengeful curse of sorts and the need to save all of Arnn from the witch’s control.

I really enjoy the plot of this novel. It is original, entertaining and keeps you guessing until the very end to figure out how everything ties together.  All of the characters are well-developed and distinctive. Elizabeth does a great job of keeping all of their personalities separated and original. The settings, especially Witchwood Hollow, are descriptive and well-written.

The only problems I had with the novel are 1) not being able to like the character Honoria at the beginning of the novel. She is snobbish and a bit glib in her interactions with others and reminded me of people I’ve avoided most of my life. However, during the course of the novel, I grew to understand her and like her more, especially after she begins to interact with Leon. And 2) I wasn’t overly impressed with all of the clothing descriptions in the 2001 parts of the book. I do understand why they are there – a city girl comes to the country and there is the need for distinctions to be made between the previous lifestyle and the current one she is living in. These two issues only barely detract from the great story being told.

If you enjoy paranormal stories with witches, then you will definitely find this novel entertaining. It is not your usual witchy story and that makes it a step above other novels with similar themes.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

To Purchase: Amazon