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 along with a receipt number or screenshot for your payment.


Awesome Discount from Kingdoms in the Wild Publishers


Hello, dear friends and readers. A while back, I reviewed the book, Lace Bone Beast: Poems & Other Fairytales for Wicked Girls by N.L. Shompole. As I said in my review, this was one of the best books of poetry I have read in a very long time. So unique and raw. As a result of my review, the publishers at Kingdoms in the Wild have offered a 30% off purchase price for a limited time deal for my friends and families. If you enjoyed my review and have wanted to purchase a copy of this book, now’s the time to do so at this great discounted price. (Note: This is a Kindle edition of the book – for paperback at undiscounted price shop here)

Here’s the deal:

Discount Link:
Lace Bone Beast

midnight on Feb 27th-Feb 28th 2017 at 11:00 pm PST time zone (time zones)

Please check your time zone against the Pacific Standard Time to be sure you access the Amazon site during the appropriate Discounted time limit. I hope you will take advantage of this great discount and purchase this amazing book of poetry. Please leave me a message in comments to let me know if you’ve purchased the book. If you do purchase and read, please consider leaving reviews on your blogs, Amazon, and Goodreads, and maybe leave a link on your Twitter and Facebook as well. Thank You in advance for helping other writers get noticed!

Book Review – Lace Bone Beast by N.L. Shompole


Lace Bone Beast: Poems & Other Fairytales for Wicked Girls by N.L. Shompole is one of the most profound and engrossing books of poetry that I have read since reading The Death Notebooks and Live or Die by Anne Sexton in college. I am constantly reminded of the Confessional Poets throughout Shompole’s book because her poetic style mimics those of Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, although Shompole has her own distinctive style. The poems, prose poems called fairytales by Shompole and the meditations all are unusually haunting. Shompole uses various literary devices such as repetition, imagery that flows consistently throughout the series and metaphors that give cohesion from beginning to end of the book. Her themes include love, death, and survival, reminiscent of wisdom shared from one woman to another in life’s struggles.

One image that Shompole uses repeatedly in this collection is bones, an image that resonates with and has always fascinated me. So naturally, I was sucked into each and every poem, prose poem and meditation that involved it. Other images are birds, dreams, monsters and seasons. All of these create a cascade of stark emotions that feed the reader’s soul and touches one on deeper levels than you’d expect.

The theme of love in this collection is both romantic and tragic, revealing the beauty and monstrosity that love can bring into a person’s life. Death is used not only as an ending, but also as a beginning, the process of birth, life and death as natural progressions. And survival is a theme used not only as cautionary, but also as empowerment.

Shompole reminds the readers to hold onto their dreams, to be cautious with their heart, to protect their bodies and yet, to be softened by life’s tragedies, not to be hardened by them. Monsters are real, love can sting, and yet life is also like the changing seasons, sometimes harsh and sometimes a breath of fresh air.

Shompole opens the book with these words:

Here is emptiness. Here is a mouth after a recent excavation, black with soot, devoid of kisses. Here are hands, trembling against the soft ache of morning, here are eyes, wet, wide, half-full of sky and loneliness. Here is belly, back, femur, spine, ragged and smooth all at once, all at once. Here are dreams, ink black and speckled, lost behind the eyes. Here is a muted elegy, crow’s feet feathered over the eyes like lace. Here are the last strains of a dirge, wild, discordant, free. – The Lacemaker

And closes it with these:

everything that matters
comes slowly, the teeth
the bravery, the strength
the softness

– Meditations for the Soft-Hearted

Everything in between will leave you just as awed and breathless.

Lace Bone Beast is a beautiful collection of poetry, prose poetry and meditations that leaves me in awe. I’ve devoured it cover to cover twice since receiving a digital copy for review. I am so impressed that I had to own a book copy for my personal collection. I not only highly recommend this collection, I insist, that if you are a collector of poetry, this is one book you will definitely want in your collection.

Note: I was given a free copy of Lace Bone Beast for an honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Abstract Poetry

To Purchase: Amazon

“Confessionalist” by Mary Sukala

Powerful poeming in the fashion of the Confessionalists. Brilliant!
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The Confessionalist Booth

As a first post, I felt it only fitting to put up a poem that is closely tied to the name of this chunk of cyberspace. I wrote this a while back, when I first stumbled upon my all time favorite poet, Sylvia Plath. There was something addictive about her cool-as-all-get-out tone. I clamored to find more poets like her and discovered the tribe of poets known as the “Confessionalists,” and fell head over heels with every piece from that era. I quite liked the term and subsequently applied it to my own honest, raw, slightly dark pennings. Despite the way my voice and subject matter in my work has evolved, the name has stuck.

So without further ado, here’s “Confessionalist.”


1. Outside

My people are unsmiling, as if

our mouths will not tug themselves

into grins, low slung valleys. Our sin

is not knowing the…

View original post 144 more words


Keith Moul’s chapbook, Naked Among Possibilities, is his seventh published work. Inside, you will find works dedicated to family, nature and baseball. Moul isn’t just a poet; he is also a photographer and his poetry reads like skilled photographs on display – snapshots of life, living, love and nature.

In the poem, Vine and Wall, Moul reflects on how a vine and a wall have been tended by the locals for three hundred years. As though looking through a lens, he tells a snapshot of the historic significance of the vine and wall before inviting the reader into the sights, sounds and smells of the surrounding area – “Hearing scrub trees fall, watching/paint crack and peel, smelling rust/work and deer dead on the roadside,/I admire the nurturing of vine and wall.” And finally, Moul brings us from the impersonal of the vine and wall into the personal of his own life, picking weeds and repairing his fence. He ends with these words, “But I cannot conceive a storied vine,/nor can I create an honored wall.” It is his ability to take us from the concrete to the tangible that makes this poem so powerful.

Moul dedicates four poems to his wife Sylvia – Going With Luck, Rattler Streams On Course, A Period of Inattention, and Come On Fairy. Each poem reveals how Moul blends a photographic eye of nature, his own desires and inner conflicts with his observations of Sylvia.

In Going With Luck, Moul begins the poem discussing winter and how it affects him and his surroundings. His words entice the reader to witness his concept of luck – “My winter months often go with luck,/a barometer my shaman/parceling small peace with wild disruption,/as if to urge tolerance of a mercurial child.” He ends the poem with Sylvia’s view of luck – “Like a diva of dirt,/trusting in luck, you sing/your original songs.” There is a beauty in his words which draws the reader into Winter and cold and quiet resolution.

In Rattler Streams On Course, the reader gets to view a trip to the red Sedona canyons. The language in this poem is rich and angular in its description of nature. My favorite lines are those that describe Sylvia’s actions – “Feet bared, you wade ceremonially in a red baptismal,/all smiles at your initiation: cacti blooming up the wash,/seductive, spike and flesh concoctions fully evolved/for sumptuous, momentary color, then exiled to hibernation/in hard seeds.”

A Period of Inattention is slightly different from all the others. He talks about how he once molded young minds (and his own) but how he has tired of this course of life. His words echo this sentiment – “Or, have I/finally withdrawn from too many poor decisions/or chosen to forget?” He goes on to describe how he has returned from “the Gulag, back from the Cave of the Winds,” from “lost tribes” to “reclaim conscience, and baseball,” and “just in time for Valentine’s Day.” To me, the entire poem sounds like paying penitence for ignoring Sylvia so long in his pursuit of career and interests. It is a beautifully written confession poem.

Come on Fairy is a song of praise to Spring, but more importantly to Sylvia. Of Spring, Moul writes – “I am of two minds about spring: this early/version of crocus, wet, and green sprig;/and the voracious revival of growing things/deadset on sunlight and extra shares of air.” And of Sylvia, she has become a fairy in his imaginings – “Aw come on fairy, you know you’ve moved me/into mud, maybe only one knee at a time,/so my butt’s inevitable surrender, icy cold,/red and tingling, meets yours in happy slime.” This merging of real and fantasy creates a lovely vision for the reader.

Moul is a baseball fan and dedicates two poems to the game. In A Crack In The World, he discusses Pete Rose – his rise and fall. Although the poem is divided into four parts, his opening words sum up this poem elegantly – “Notice a tough stalk growing low/to the ground, elastic, always feeling/for attainable space: an animal rose, called pete,/albeit not blessed with appealing scent./Forgive such a rose its cruel sport.” In his final poem of this chapbook, titled The Fifth Inning, he opens the poem with “Do I ache too much for the national game? I tend to arrive/for the groundskeepers’ complete routine, hose, chalk and all.” You immediately get the sense that although he loves the game, he also has raw feelings toward it too. He laments at how badly the game is going, the missteps and errors. By the end of the poem, you get the complete line of disgust – “Disgusted, I abandon friends in the stands for limping innings 6-9:/so many summers of fruitless hopes, dinghies at sea, languishing/with jargon in the second division, just beyond community pride.” As a baseball fan myself, I can definitely understand the dichotomy between love and hate for the game.

These are just a few of the beautiful and raw poems in Naked Among Possibilities. Within are still poems of love and lust, a dedication to his daughter, and more observational poems about life and nature. Reading Moul’s work takes you on a journey through your own psyche. His words have a ring of truth to them, imagery that anyone can relate to. Although the words are not complicated, the themes are often complex. If you enjoy poetry about life, relationships and nature, then this chapbook is for you.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Genre: Poetry

Rating: 5 stars.

To Purchase: Amazon

Keith Moul’s blog

Daily Prompt Poetry: To Hear The Silence

Incredibly raw poem on Silence, Depression and Death
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So here’s anther wonderfully ‘happy’ poem inspired again by the daily prompt challenge, today’s word being Silence .  I’m not sure if this poem sounds right, it came out in a rather disconnected process today.  Not sure what I’d written until I read it back and after that I didn’t really know if and what to edit so I mainly left it as was written 😮 !  So be kind in any comments please, especially if you think it’s terrible :/ .

To Hear the Silence

Don’t want to listen, don’t want to hear,

Don’t want the silence to return.

Drown out the sound, put on the music,

No longer want to feel it burn.

Play it loud, louder than ever,

Can’t stand to hear the quiet.

Scream, shout, anything will do,

Snuff out the sound of this riot.

Take it away, don’t make me hear,

Can’t cope with all the pain.

Bring a…

View original post 36 more words