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What, on Earth, is MOLP2?

And why am I excited?

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize (MOLP) is a journey of discovery for everyone involved. From the aspiring author submitting their work, to the unsuspecting judge-to-be ambushed via Facebook (Thanks Tracey!)… We are all thrown in at the deep end, and we all swim in the ocean of literary creativity.

There were gems to be found, vibrant streaks of glittering words woven into tales that gripped by the throat and refused to let go. The decision of who to carry forward, who to cull to the wayside, so hard. But, in my humble view, there are no losers. There are simply so many talented writers vying for a very few spaces. If you didn’t make it through this time, don’t give up. Please don’t be disheartened. Submit to the next MOLP, write more, write better, write bigger.

If you want to be part of this, meet some of the judges, the authors, then you can get your free tickets here. But be quick, I suspect they’ll be snapped up fast.

As for me? I’m not sure if I can make it to the event, but I’ll be there in spirit, and if they’ll have me back, I’ll be happily judging again for the next MOLP.

Good Luck everyone!

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Rabbit in Red; Joe Chianakas

Gore without fear is like sex without love; you’ll squirm, but it’s better when your heart’s in it.

Distinguished Press is proud to launch Rabbit in Red, the first book in a horror mystery series by Joe Chianakas!

Rabbit in RedBill Wise has blood in his past, so he turns to horror films to wipe it clean. Jaime Stein has felt the betrayal of death, so she too takes refuge in the on-screen deaths of others. Now Bill, Jaime, and seventeen other horror-loving teens have gathered at Rabbit in Red Studios, the brainchild of eccentric horror producer Jay “JB” Bell, for the terror-filled, blood-drenched contest of their lives.
JB has presented this competition as a race between the best of the best that will reward the winners with cash, internships, and a career making the movies they love. But things aren’t always as they seem at Rabbit in Red, and soon life starts to imitate art. Will Bill and Jaime be strong enough to confront real horror to save their friends, or will they all fall victim to JB’s twisted plans? Continue reading Rabbit in Red; Joe Chianakas

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Long road to publication

A Long Road to Publication by Jennifer L. Gadd

Cat Moon Final CoverThere are a couple of things that I don’t talk about much when I discuss my upcoming YA book Cat Moon, Book One of The Were-Children series. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to trot out my lack of success as an author. Maybe I don’t really want to admit that I turned 55 years old earlier this summer. I’m not sure. So here I go. True confessions.

The first is that I wrote it ten years ago. Ten years. An entire decade. My daughters were 11 and 17, just children, and now they are grown women living their own successful adult lives.I was teaching at a different school in a different district. The students who were sitting in my classroom then are grown and having their own children, some of whom are approaching school age themselves. I probably owe them an apology for having assigned so much Silent Sustained Reading so I could scribble furiously on a yellow legal pad by longhand. They know me better, though, than to think I will ever apologize for giving them time to read. But if they ever wondered what I was doing while they were reading, this was it. I was writing this book. It was a long, long time ago.

The second is, I think, connected to the first. Author Stephen King once said he got “dozens” of rejection slips for his first published novel Carrie. I don’t know how many that actually is, but I do know that Mr. King has nothing on me. I have kept all of those rejection slips in a folder, even printing out the many that came via email. Some are from agents; others are from the few publishers who consider un-agented work. I’m pretty sure I could wallpaper my bathroom with them. That, of course, doesn’t count the ones for which I got no response whatsoever. Any author who has queried a novel will tell you that it is absolutely soul-crushing. Oh, most them are so sweetly polite they set your teeth on edge, and they tell you that your work is probably quite good. It’s just not right for them. They let you down easy like that, but inside, you know. You know they thought your manuscript was stinking up their office and that you better not be quitting your day job. You know.

Then came the magical moment when I got a phone call from a reader at a publisher I will not name. (I will, however, tell you that this same publisher’s predecessor company was the original publisher of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, a fact which absolutely delighted me.) The reader loved it and was passing it on to an editor. A few months later, she called back and said that editor was going to pass it on to another editor she thought better suited for it. A few more months passed, and yes, I got another rejection slip. She said it had some good points, but she just didn’t have the time for the work it would take to make it publication-ready. In other words, my manuscript was stinking up her office. I did not quit my day job.

You know what, though? A few more years went by, and the industry started changing. I toyed with the idea of self-publishing, but it was so overwhelming to consider, I just never did much that direction. Technology also changed, and that I felt I had a better handle on. So at the end of 2014, I participated in one of the literary pitch events on Twitter. Distinguished Press “starred” my short pitch, requesting that I query. I queried, fully expecting another rejection slip. This time, though, that didn’t happen. They accepted the manuscript. They love the story. They believe in me as a writer.

We’re sitting now, about a week from the release of the book, with the editing and revising all done and the cover looking just gorgeous. I have the second book of the series in (very) rough draft form. I am confident that the third book will not take me a decade to complete. I have the intent-to-publish letter in that same folder with all the rejection slips, right on top, giving them the final word.

Cat Moon comes out July 24.

You can join the party here on July 25th.

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Fresh mojo, new shop.

Things have been a bit quiet round here….

I’ve been increasingly frustrated while looking for the right software that could fill a big gap for me here. The package I was looking for had to have the ability to list both physical and electronic products, side by side. It also needed to be able to apply stock controls to the physical products. It didn’t matter whether it had to control stock for the e-products too, but it did need to be able to adjust stock of physical products as they sold.

Ideally, I was looking for all that, and a variety of payment and shipping options as well.

I almost found it. There’s one shipping option I can’t do.

But. I have e-products with the right stock option and shipping applied, alongside physical products with different stock control and shipping applied! And pictures, and categories, and tags, and paypal….

And it all integrates perfectly into this existing blog.

It ticks almost every box for me, and I can be very demanding when it comes to out-of-the-box software.

Damion at Degrafik suggested Woocommerce as one that was designed for, and works well with, WordPress. Look for it in your plug ins options, it’s so easy even I could get it to work!

Damion, and Woocommerce, have no idea I’m singing their praises today.

I redesigned the logo too, I’m quite pleased with the new look. So, go on, have a browse around, let me know what you think!

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Nebula Nights.

Nebula Nights: An Anthology, featuring…

The Key,  by Pauline Baird Jones

It was deeply quiet in the cave, quiet enough to hear her own breathing. And someone else’s. An icy trickle made its way down her back. Who, or what, was sharing this cave with her? Sara sat up, stifling a groan when various bruises and bangs registered formal protests to her brain housing group. She’d planned to stand up next, but something stirred across from her. Who—or what—ever it was rose, throwing an ill-formed and very large shadow against the wall and roof of the cave. Maybe it was the bad light, but the outline was very Sasquatch-ish—shaggy and kind of ominous. The icy trickle turned to a rushing stream. It moved toward her, passing into the half light cast by the sort of fire. Not Sasquatch, though he could have been a second cousin. He had a head full of dreads, he bristled with armament, and he bulged with muscles wrapped in what appeared to be tight fitting leather. It was hard to find features—his face was darkened by dirt or camo, or both—but his eyes were deeply, sharply green.And he was really, really tall. Sara had to tip her head way back to look up at him. He didn’t speak, which upped the eerie factor a few more degrees. She somehow managed to get her legs under her and stand.  She was a tall girl—Tall Girl was actually her call sign—but the top of her head didn’t reach his chin. He’d have to be around seven feet to top her by that much. He looked like a ragged cave man, but there was a sharp intelligence in his eyes. And he’d managed to get her clear of her bird. Not exactly cro-mag man skills. She wanted to say something, but all she could think of was, crap. Not particularly useful.

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy, by Greta van der Rol

Allysha was there, waiting,just inside the infra-red barrier. She smiled, a taut lifting of the lips, when he came in.

“Hello. Nervous?” Saahren said the words in his head.

She nodded. “Yes. But I’m ready.”

He dropped the infra-red barrier for the time it took to pass behind the counter and went to the secret warehouse for the explosives. He pulled down the carton and took out two packs of shardite and detonators, enough to blow the room to smithereens but not bring down the mountain, and slipped the blocks into his pockets.

She had her oblong device—she called it her techpack—in her hand. “Give me a sec to adjust the inventory.” She raised her head. “Done.”

“Now for the medical research center.”

She followed behind him,back to the main drive, along to the medical center and into the laboratory.

“Copy some of the data off the system so we have the evidence and then destroy it all.”He’d made it an order, damn it. “Please.”

While she worked on the computers he pulled the two shardite charges out of his pockets.Where best to place them? One on top of the benches to cause maximum damage. He molded the material around the fixtures and attached the detonator. And another here. Allysha had disappeared, he guessed into the foyer. He opened all the cupboard doors, switched off the climate conditioning and set the second charge.

A screeching howl from the room with the cages froze the blood in his veins. He leapt to his feet, heart racing.

Allysha charged toward him, eyes wide, mouth open. “A kartek.”

She tried to slam the door behind her but a heavy, clawed foot stopped the movement. A hooked talon, long as a saber, appeared in the gap above her head.

Continue reading Nebula Nights.