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Madville’s Blue Moon Novel Competition

Madville's Blue Moon Novel Competition

$1000 advance + publication for the winning novel.

Madville's Blue Moon Novel Competition

Publication for the runner(s) up.

$35 entry fee

Accepting submissions from October 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. 

Winners will be announced May 1, 2021.

We’ve called it The Madville Blue Moon Novel Competition in honor of the last blue moon we’ll see until August 2023, but don’t think of the moon or the blue moon, for that matter, as a theme. We hope to receive submissions in various styles and on various themes.

Judge, Clay Reynolds

Clay Reynolds Will Judge This Year

Successful entries in this contest are typically those that do one thing: they tell a simple story well, without the garnish of fashionable trends, fancy experimental styles, or attempts to write abstractly rather than directly. I look for great characterization, natural and credible dialogue that fits the speaking characters, accuracy and vividness of setting, consistency in point of view and technique, and above all else, a well-written piece of fiction that is free of misused words, contemporary slang and jargon, grammatical and mechanical error, and stylistic flights of fancy. I am not interested in work that appears to be argumentative or tries to sell me on a particular perspective or point of view, that is trendy or that tries too hard to be fashionable. I also shy away from work that imitates some other contemporary, popular writer, either in style or content. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Be original. I look for honesty and directness in the writing, something that entertains and holds interest and gains admiration, even envy for its creativity.

Clay Reynolds

Award-winning novelist Clay Reynolds is a retired professor of Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he taught creative writing and literature and humanities. He previously served on the faculties of the University of North Texas, Villanova University, The University of South Dakota, and Lamar University. He holds academic degrees from UT Austin, Trinity University, and the University of Tulsa, where he took his PhD in Modern Letters. He is the author or editor of twenty books, ranging from novels to short stories to essays to scholarly analysis, as well as more than 1500 other publications including hundreds of book reviews and essays on education and culture, and well academic and scholarly articles. He lives with his wife, Judy, in Lowry Crossing, TX.

Read the submission guidelines on our Submittable Submissions page:

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FAIRVIEW CHRONICLES release date moved

Fairview Chronicle, written by Jonathan Paul, edited by Andrew Dunn

Fairview Chronicle, written by Jonathan Paul, edited by Andrew Dunn

Exciting News about Fairview Chronicles

Fairview Chronicles, the mystical horror fantasy novel by Johnathan Paul was slated to release through Madville Publishing in Spring 2019. This release date has now been moved back to Late Fall 2019. Worry not, the reason for the move is an exciting one. A television pilot based in the same world is being produced as we speak.

A TV Pilot!

Author Johnathan Paul and production company Datalus Pictures LLC are currently in pre-production on the hour-long pilot episode of Fairview Chronicles. The book will now release alongside the feature pilot, and work alongside the television pilot as one of three pieces in the initial media launch.

Thank you for your patience. More news to come!

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Meet Francis N. Stein–Last Descendant of the Wretch

The Autobiography of Francis N. Stein: The Last Promethean

The Autobiography of Francis N. Stein: The Last Promethean

Who is Francis N. Stein?

He is the last descendant of Dr. Frankenstein’s wretch. Whoa! we said. You mean the wretch had a family?

A fictional account of the last descendant of the Frankenstein wretch. . .

We love stories that connect to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and The Autobiography of Francis N. Stein: The Last Promethean is a fun spin-off.

Francis, the protagonist in this story is a really large guy who can’t seem to catch a break, but his heart is in the right place, hence the choice of the heart on the cover. The journal that is referenced in this image is also important to the story.

We hope you like it!

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Book Cover Design

No Evil is Wide by Randall Watson Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say

…but we all do it anyway.

Because of this, designing a book cover can be one of the most crucial and time consuming aspects of publishing a book (apart from actually writing the book, of course). The cover must be right.

When a book’s cover is wrong, can give a potential reader the wrong impression of what the book is about. This applies if the cover does not match the book’s genre; a shirtless man might draw Fifty Shades fans instead of the high-fantasy audience it was meant for. At the same time, a highbrow cover featuring abstract art might appear too “literary” for the casual reader, who will probably never read the synopsis on the cover to discover that the book is actually a YA adventure novel.

So how do I get the right cover image?

There are many ways to obtain cover art. On the more expensive end of the spectrum, an artist might be commissioned to create original artwork just for the book. It is also possible to license original artwork and photography that already exists, this is generally costly as well. If you are very lucky, you have artist friends who are willing to share their work at little or no charge. As was the case with No Evil is Wide by Randall Watson. In fact, Watson was spoiled for choice as he has an extensive personal art collection.

No Evil is Wide

Released in November of 2018, Watson’s novel is both dark and chaotic and we wanted to make sure that the cover reflected that. Watson wanted to use a piece from his personal art collection for the cover of No Evil is Wide, and there were some excellent paintings to choose from, but we ran into a snag. We didn’t have permission to use them.

Ownership of a piece of art, doesn’t mean one owns the right to reproduce that piece of art.

Ownership of a piece of art, doesn’t mean one owns the right to reproduce that piece of art. Physical ownership does not equal intellectual ownership. The author or publisher must have written permission from the artist to use their work, or a licensing agreement.

Luckily for us, Watson was able to track down one of his favorite artists despite the fact that they were out of touch for a decade. Once we received Charles Moody’s permission, we were able to create a selection of composite covers, each with a different painting of Moody’s. (see below)

Right off the bat, the third cover was simply too bright and did not match the overall theme of the novel, but we weren’t ready to give up on it, so we changed the background and typography colors, which improved it a lot, but the painting still didn’t convey a strong enough message. Similarly, the first image of the bird-headed girl, while powerful, didn’t have the violent appeal of the hand image. The bright reds in that painting screamed for our attention. We could see ourselves  picking up that bright red book at Barnes and Noble. Still, the author, Randall Watson, wasn’t sold on it, so we tried some variations.

There was still something about the red background and and the framed image that wasn’t right. The text and the image felt disconnected. Our resident millennial didn’t like how… “old” it felt—like a text book.

We had just read this Literary Hub article discussing the current fashion in covers that focuses on bold text using all-caps. We got mixed replies when we shared that article on Facebook, but I loved the bold type because it is easy to read, even on a tiny thumbnail of the cover. In addition, the font feels as though it’s a part of the image itself, not just slapped on top of a picture.

With that in mind, after playing around with fonts, colors, and layer blending modes in Photoshop, we came to our final rendition of the No Evil is Wide cover:

This cover immediately catches the eye–peaks the reader’s curiosity and makes them ask the important questions.

What’s up with that dude’s hand? It looks like he’s not having a very good time. Is that fire? Why is there an eye there? No Evil is Wide? What does that mean?

All fantastic questions that inevitably end with the most important thing you want a potential reader to think:

I’m gonna read the synopsis.