Milton, DE – May 15, 2021:Mosquitoes and Men, the debut novel by Mark Alan Polo, is a finalist in the 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition. Published by Devil’s Party Press of Milton, DE, Polo’s Southern Gothic novel centers around family secrets that are unveiled during a funeral gathering in South Carolina.
Mr. Polo is an award-winning interior designer and owner of The Urban Dweller. He is a frequent contributor to the Rehoboth Beach Designer Show House event. In addition to Mosquitoes and Men, Polo’s work has appeared in numerous literary anthologies.
“Mark is an extremely talented writer whose stories are filled with complex, often flawed, characters. His work is multi-layered—there’s always more happening than what first appears on the surface. We’re delighted that Mark’s work has been recognized by the Hoffer Book Award judges,” said DPP publisher Dianne Pearce.
Each year, thousands of books are submitted to the Eric Hoffer Book Award competition, which honors the memory of American philosopher Eric Hoffer. Less than 10% of the nominees become finalists. The award recognizes outstanding writing and the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer Award has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses.
Mosquitoes and Men is available via bookstores, Amazon, and the Devil’s Party Press online store.
The newest volume in the EPIC book project with HBCU: University of Maryland Eastern Shore is now available as a free Kindle download from May 16-20, 2021.
This 132-page collection is 100% written by college students, and is chock-full of wonderful fiction and poetry from the UMES creative writing students. Support a great group of young people by downloading a copy and dropping a review on Amazon for them. As writers know, seeing your name in a published book for the first time is … amazing!
Thanks so much for supporting the EPIC project and its contributors.
As you know, we, in some extraordinary foresight, took a hiatus for 2020 to work on growing the number of readers for our authors. During that time period, Dave, my partner in crime, finished his MBA. Between the two of us we now have 5 hard-earned degrees, in addition to over 50 years combined experience in editing, publishing, and nurturing creative writing.
I can tell you that Dave worked extremely diligently on his degree, usually every weekend and two-three nights each week. He was top of his class, and he learned a lot about how to market, something every author needs to take a look at in addition to any publisher the writer may work with.
This is all part of our commitment to be the best choice for your publisher, and the best choice for your bookshelf.
Congratulations Dave; I could not do this without you, and thank you for sharing the dream, and working so hard and consistently to fulfill it.
Wow Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, has gotten themselves a very famous new employee!
Don’t forget your local bookstores as you stay safe during the pandemic. Your local bookstores will ship, do curbside pick-up, and help you select a great new book that is much better than doom-scrolling on your phone.
We love and appreciate all the bookstores that support our authors. Why not add your bookstore to that list? We can easily supply any bookstore willing to promote great Indie writing with our books.
Looking for a title to help you ride out the pandemic? Have you tried WHAT SORT OF FUCKERY IS THIS? It’s our biggest, boldest, and most bad-ass anthology we’ve produced to date, and is the perfect response to the world we find ourselves in today. And if you’re local to Southern Delaware…
One of the limitations of producing a physical book is that at some point, you gotta cap it. We’ve done a few larger collections (HALLOWEEN PARTY 2019 and WHAT SORT OF FUCKERY IS THIS? being the obvious examples), but in general our collections gravitate toward 200 pages. This means that a fair number of authors are excluded, and this is true of any publisher producing physical titles.
To help provide our over-40 authors with more resources, we’ll be rolling out our online anthology, INSTANT NOODLES, this spring. More details will be forthcoming, but in short, the magazine will feature short stories, poetry, and memoir. We will promote the authors published in INSTANT NOODLES to the same extent we promote all of our contributing authors which, if you’ve worked with us before, you know is a lot. There is no submission fee for authors, and no cost for readers. All content will be publicly available within the INSTANT NOODLES section of the DPP site.
Check out the INSTANT NOODLESwebpage for more details, and to submit your work.
It’s about time we finally announce the winners for HALLOWEEN PARTY 2019.
It is extremely challenging to choose winners in general, and this anthology had so many excellent submissions that it was, in fact, doubly difficult.
But, winners there must be.
Our third place prize is going out to James Michael Shoberg for his collection of poems:”The Grim Wicked Wood,” “Lizzy Dies From a Plane Crash at the End of This Poem,” and “Run Red.”
Dave and I found Shoberg’s writing to be absolutely delightful, clever, and creative. Dave read them first, and couldn’t wait to show them to me, and Dave is not typically a poetry guy.
Here is a little taste of one of the poems… to whet your whistle:
Kirk’s father said, “Roam and you’ll come to no good, For bloodsuckers lurk in the grim, wicked wood. This farm’s isolated; there’s no neighborhood, And trees swallow screams in the grim, wicked wood.” He frightened the lad, maybe more than he should, To quell the allure of the grim, wicked wood.
“I know my boy’s mind, and he’ll come to no good— He’ll get himself lost in the grim, wicked wood. And frightening him, maybe more than I should, Will keep him away from the grim, wicked wood.”
What will be the outcome of “The Grim Wicked Wood?” Will Lizzy die in that plane crash? I’ll never tell…never.
Our second place prize is going out to James Goodridge, for his short story “The Stumpville Affair.”
Dave and I really liked Goodridge’s juxtaposition of horror and pulp novel. Dave said, “James’ story reads like a Dashill Hammett Nick and Nora adventure if Hammett had been writing for WEIRD TALES and finding inspiration in William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective, Carnacki.”
Here is a tasty little morsel from inside of “The Stumpville Affair” just to give you the unique flavor of this piece.
…The creature snatched at him as razor-sharp fangs bit into Mason’s right arm, snapping it off at the elbow. Blood, bone, and muscle mass splattered about in the moonlight. Mason’s lower arm sailed end over end into the air, finally landing atop the weathered house roof. As shock set in, August Mason howled in pain, body quivering. His cries reverberated into the village of Stumpville before trauma took him into eternal darkness.
Just before dawn, the day laborers Mason had hired approached in a dirty pickup. As the headlights grew nearer, the creature, which had been feasting upon the Mason’s crimson and pink flesh, vanished into a nearby treeline. The hens, which had remained silent, resumed their frenzied cackle as Mugsy the rooster emerged from the crawlspace beneath the hen house.
Times were tough, even for occult detectives. Our clientele, those high society moneybags who hired Sue and I to chase ghosts or perform Tarot readings, had dried up as a reliable source of income. Contract work from the city’s paranormal Office of Special Concerns had slowed because of budget cuts.
It was Tuesday, 12:35 AM. Dressed in stripped azure PJs and my red smoking jacket, I was in for the night. I sat behind my desk rolling around a nice-sized emerald from our stash on a desk blotter, wondering how much it might fetch. Off in the distance, a tugboat horn mewed deep on the Hudson River. At least the tug captain had work, unlike the occupants of Riverside Drive and 107th Street. A mug of hyssop tea on my desk curtailed my cravings as the silence of the room was suddenly interrupted.
Sweet heaven help me! What is going to happen next? There is only one way to find out who, or what, is ripping people apart, and you must find out if you want to survive!
Our first place prize is going out to Lisa Fox, for her story “Fallen Hero.”
Fox is a frequent contributor to our anthologies, and we have enjoyed all of her submissions over the years (can I say that now? Wow! Years!). “Fallen Hero” has amazing suspense, and no respite from the terror and retribution inside. What we particularly liked about Fox’s story was the way it pushed you relentlessly forward; there was no hope of escape from this horror.
Here, then, is a small bit from the beginning of “Fallen Hero,” to disquiet you and make you wish you had the book in front of you so that you could find out how it all turns out. Badly… it all turns out badly.
The man walked.
His scuffed work boots pushed pebbles with each step down the gravel path toward town. Ashen dust clung to his faded dungarees and the faint aroma of smoke lingered in the crisp fall air. Hands tucked in the pockets of his tattered black leather jacket, he strode beside the rusting tracks peeking through tufts of brittle overgrowth, the rails warmed but once per week with the slow rumbling of the CSX train as it passed through Mineville, brimming with coal. In the distance, endless rows of dilapidated houses settled beneath the shadow of shale mountains.
After 20 years away, the man returned to the only home he had ever known. Nothing changed here—nothing ever changed here. But, had he? His rounded and hunched shoulders belied his former stature; it was easier for him, better for everyone, to slink by in a world where he was no longer welcome than to rise to his true height, walk with purpose and show them that he was different now; he’d done his time, made peace with the past. The man welcomed the camouflage of age, his graying hair and beard painting him in a sad, non-threatening invisibility that he hoped would allow him to blend in with the landscape and help others forget.
His hazel eyes, magnified by the thick lenses of his oversized and bent wire-framed glasses, fixated on the dust that swirled in eddies beneath his feet. He studied the impression his soles made in the terrain and the way the gravel reset itself as he marched forward, his presence as fleeting as his footsteps.
The boy emerged from the shadow of a burnt-out home in the distance.
Oh, no, no, no! If only the boy had not emerged! Sweet-mother-of-all-that-is-unholy, save us!
I have to tell you, truly, that I do apologize, but once you open the pages of HALLOWEEN PARTY 2019, nothing will save you, not closing the book, getting out of bed, putting on all the lights, having a nice cup of tea or a good stiff drink, the dawn… nothing. Open the book, and your doom is sealed.
Regardless of whether you’ve been writing for days or decades, you’ve probably heard at least some of the quotes about writing. One of my favorites is by Patrick Dennis…
Writing isn’t hard – no harder than digging a ditch.
The truth of the matter is that writing is work. Anyone who says otherwise has either never attempted to write or doesn’t understand what it means to write. For many writers, the most difficult part seems to be finding the time to sit down and start digging that ditch. I won’t attempt to insult your intelligence by offering suggestions on how to do this. If you write, then you probably already either have a plan that you use (or are planning to use). I will echo the sentiments of other writers who state that repetition is key. Just as you would not expect to make much progress in digging a ditch if you were only to dig up a couple shovelfuls of earth every few weeks, the same is true of writing.
There is, of course, the art of percolating, of allowing the writing to occur within your mind on a more-or-less constant basis. Nothing wrong with this, and in fact it can be an invaluable approach, provided you take the follow-up steps and actually transfer the ideas in your head onto paper be it paper or digital.
Regardless of where you are in your writing pursuit, be sure to gift yourself time to hone your craft. And make no mistake, writing is a gift you give to yourself. No one else can give it to you. Writing is a lofty, solitary task that takes practice, perseverance, and patience. And no, I’m not going to refer to these as the 3 Ps even though that would fit into a nice little advice package.
Write and write often. The stories you tell and the worlds you create are limited only by your imagination and by the time you gift yourself toward polishing your skills.