Tuesday, September 6, 2022


Time to Fall in LOVE!
It's Release Day!

IWSG Anthology #7
Romance – Clean & Wholesome/Contemporary/Historical

And to celebrate, our authors have left you snippets about their stories. Get ready to experience the sticky sweetness of first love…


A fiercely independent cop is softened by the guy who makes the doughnuts.

    I was surprised when Pete asked me to join him for dinner tonight, and even more so to hear myself accept. Though, what choice did I have when he stood there holding that perfect little pastry, soft and warm and made specially for me?
    Half of me hoped something would force me to cancel -- a massive sinkhole downtown or a bomb scare at the station. The other half kept a watchful eye on the clock, counting the minutes until my shift ended.
    Because, well, the doughnuts.

MY HEART APPROVES by Melissa Maygrove

Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine?

    Addy sat in the chair nearest the head of the table with posture that would silence the harshest finishing governess, though she had lost the feeling in her backside and her legs. Her amber taffeta dress skimmed the edge of her shoulders without being too revealing, and her hair was expertly coiffed, thanks to Cara’s skill. Hopefully, her husband would find her appearance pleasing.
    She’d insisted the servants wait supper on him, even though it was a hardship.
    The candles had burned halfway down by the time his carriage pulled up.
    Addy drew a calming breath and waited. Long minutes passed while he dressed for supper, then approaching bootsteps made her palms turn damp.

MY FIRST LOVE(S) by Templeton Moss

The world’s most forgetful man tries to remember the first time he ever fell in love. We travel with him backward through his life from adulthood, to college, to high school and childhood…and then his wife sets him straight with a surprising revelation.

THE REAL THING by Sammi Spizziri

After months of chatting with "The One" online, Lola can't wait to meet her guy in real life and start a face-to-face relationship. But on the way to the airport, she gets stuck in a ride share with a stranger who breaks through her carefully-crafted persona. When the ride is over, she must decide between pretending she's someone she's not with the online friend she's worked so hard to impress or starting fresh with the unexpected, unfiltered stranger who accepts her in the real world.


When Lizzie meets Fitz, the front man of a popular band, she is not a fan. He mocks her taste in music, wastes her time, and looks down his nose at her, literally. However, she needs his help to save the local radio station where her best friend Jane is a morning show host. As Lizzie gets to know the aloof heartthrob, she sees another side he keeps hidden from the public—a side she might even like. Will the two find a way to turn the sour notes of their first meeting into a love song?


    No lights warmed any of the tiny slit windows. No one waited to welcome them inside. Indeed, only the wind soughed in her ears, as cold and empty as the castle. 
    “Why did you agree to marry me, Hippolyta?” he asked abruptly. 
    She sighed and hitched her little bundle higher. They’d been married all of six hours. She wasn’t sure she owed him the truth yet, but she also didn’t quite want to lie. “So that I could never escape, husband.”


God brought them together a lifetime ago, now they are once again joined in love, entwined in their golden years.

Damon is perplexed. Cora, his Greek grandmother, his Ya Ya, wishes to visit the Greek Islands. Why wait so long? Is it related to the painting of a little blue house she has hung in pride on her walls for decades? On the island of Aghia Anna, Damon recognizes the house from the painting up the road from the taverna where they eat. Then Cora begins a lament for lost souls. The whole restaurant joins in. Is the soul she believed lost standing before her, summoned by the song? Is he the painter who lives in the little blue house?

PAPER FACES by Sylvia Ney

Helen Barnes wants the same rights as any man. Why should the pursuit of the American Dream be available only to males? Yet, just when success is in her grasp, she must question whether she is willing to sacrifice love to achieve her goals. The discovery of a man’s secret past might be enough to help her achieve her dream, but it would also turn his son’s dreams into a nightmare. Will she sacrifice her greatest desires, or someone else’s? 


For a few weeks post-break-up, crossing paths with that handsome stranger was almost punishing. I saw him everywhere. And though he smiled politely and I smiled politely—not a word exchanged between us—I couldn’t help but think he’d witnessed me at my absolute worst as I yelled and cried and tossed all my ex-boyfriend’s belongings into the hallway...and over the railing in one very extreme case.

High school sweethearts, my foot.

OLIVER'S GIRL by Michael Di Gesu

In his youth, Oliver fell in love with his dream girl. Sixty years pass, and he has a lifetime of memories without her. With the help of his great-granddaughter, will Oliver find his lost love and start again? 

These stories will pull at your heartstrings and give you that warm, wistful feeling. Be sure to check out the FIRST LOVE IWSG Anthology. Here are all the details and the Release Tour dates:

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Romance - Clean & Wholesome (FIC027270) / Contemporary (FIC027020) / Historical (FIC027050)
186 pages, Freedom Fox Press, an imprint of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Print ISBN – 9781939844880, $14.95
EBook ISBN – 9781939844897, $4.99


“…a refreshing read! This is a gem of a book that I highly recommend.” 
- Rebecca Boerner M Ed., reviewer

 “…this collection nailed the little bites of cute romance… recommend to anyone looking for an uplifting collection of sweet romance to fill an evening.” - Hayley Reese Chow, author

“This was a sweet, warm collection of love stories.” – Angie Titus, author

9/1 - Book Blurbs - IWSG Anthologies Blog
9/5 - Interview - Kelly F Barr
9/6 - Review - Kelly F Barr
9/7 - Interview - Diane Burton
9/7 - Book Feature - Cathrina Constantine
9/9 - Book Feature - Sandra Cox
9/12 - Article, Working on an Athology - Elizabeth s. Craig
9/14 - Interview - C. Lee McKenzie
9/16 - Review - Louise M. Barbour
9/19 - Interview - Susan Gourley

Enjoy the Fall cuddled up with a cozy romance!

Monday, August 8, 2022

How do writers do it?


We asked our FIRST LOVE Anthology authors to give us a glimpse into their Writing Processes - Plotter? Pantser? or a Mix of Both? Here's what they said...

On top of the world -- Oia, Santorini
I definitely began my writing career as a Pantser which is now more kindly known as a Discovery Writer. Not to say I didn't TRY to be a Plotter, but it just didn't stick. Now, like many writers, I combine both. I roughly outline chapters I'd like to write, then find my beginning, then "discover" my story as I write. Usually, I dump my ideas under forthcoming chapter headings, calling these the "bare bones" waiting to be fleshed out. During this process, I rely heavily on my critique partners and the occasional editor friend. 

As I'm very visual, my best stories have been written after immersing myself in another country, another culture. For example, the story I wrote for the IWSG Romance Anthology was based on a gem of an idea that surfaced during a trip to Santorini in the Greek Islands which was followed by lots of research into its tragic history. I find it easy to put myself into the place of my characters and suffer along with them. 
-- Denise Covey, Marmalade Sunset

I am a plotter. At least, I am now. I went in sans plan with my first novel—a vampire romance (Thank you very much, Stephanie Meyer.) Much like a creature of the night, that book will never see the light of day. Well, I say never, but who knows. Trends are cyclical. If the vampire craze finds new life, maybe I’ll dust it off and start over…with an outline this time. 
-- Kim Elliott, Clyde and Coalesce

I am a mix of a plotter and a pantser. I like to have a good foundation for the story and its structure to make sure I have an actual story and an idea of where it's going, but if I plan too much, I have a hard time wanting to write. Part of the fun of writing is discovering the characters and their journey, and I find I don't know that well enough until I start writing in the main character's voice and putting them in sticky situations. The downside is I then often have big structural revisions because I use the first draft partially as a discovery tool but, as they say, you can't edit a blank page, so having something down leads me to the final version, even if it's not the most efficient way. 
-- Sammi Spizziri, The Real Thing

I’m an outliner. It was very necessary for my five book series where I had to keep track of the overlapping stories as they moved forward in time. It was also necessary for my two non-fiction titles. (Critical!) However, the project I am working on now is a bit more free-form. Three of the stories were plotted mostly in my head and the fourth is a re-write of a very old story. 

I used to edit as I went, but now I finish a story first before going back to edit. And 99% of my fiction pieces originated from a dream. So, sometimes it’s a challenge just to write a story that make sense. 
-- L. Diane Wolfe, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

I'm a bit of both a pantser and a plotter. I never preplan. I always start out with an idea, scene, or emotion and write until I can’t go anymore. When I run out of steam, I take a break and then write out an outline or sets of goals for the story and its characters. I never take less than four passes at a manuscript before sharing with others for feedback. 
-- Sylvia Ney, Paper Faces

My writing process looks a lot like being attacked by butterflies. If butterflies carried ten pound cannonballs, dropping them randomly and maliciously. I'll be in the middle of doing something useful, like cooking dinner, when the butterflies choose to chuck a giant idea on me. WHAM, 'What if we wrote a story based on that meme we saw? That really funny one? About beauty seeing the library and becoming an instant roommate to the beast whether he likes it or not?'. With all the ideas fluttering about, you could definitely call me a Pantser. I take an idea after it lands on my head, and run with it. Sometimes I fall flat on my face and the idea goes into the discard bin. Sometimes it works, and the idea turns into a story. I've never met such thing as an outline. They tend to avoid me. I think it's all the butterflies.
-- SE White, The Castle of Ohno

The way it generally goes is that I get an idea for a story and start writing it. Then I get bored of the idea (or I get stuck), so I come up with a new idea and start working on that until I’m bored or stuck. Now, you might think that at this point I go back to work on Idea #1, but you’d be wrong. I usually come up with a third idea. The upshot of all this is that I generally have between three and ten different stories that I’m “working on” at any given moment and it’s six-to-five and pick ‘em which one I will eventually finish. In fact, it’s genuinely surprising that I manage to finish anything at all. 
-- Templeton Moss, My First Love(s)

My writing process is painful. I cannot stop myself from editing as I go. I cannot write the next sentence until I've composed the "perfect" sentence, or the next paragraph until I have perfected the last one, or the next chapter... you get the idea. The good news is, once I've finished my first "draft," my manuscript is pretty much ready to go. Unless I think of a major plot twist, in which case I have to go back and revise all my "perfect" sentences and paragraphs and chapters. And since I'm more of a pantser than a plotter, that happens a lot. As I said, painful!
-- Linda Budzinski, The Art of Making Doughnuts

I’m a mix of a plotter and pantser. I go into the story with a baseline of who my characters are and what I want to happen, but I always leave room for the magic. I love when my characters surprise me, so if they happen to veer off course, I adjust my plans to accommodate. I suppose that makes me a plantser. :)
-- Katie Klein, How to Save a Princess

I plot the basic story, then I half-plot, half-pants the scenes. I flesh out my plot notes in paragraph form, right in the drafting document, and delete them as I go. This allows me to jump forward and write a scene out of order if I get a burst of inspiration.
-- Melissa Maygrove, My Heart Approves

And there you have it, some insightful examples of different ways to get through the writing process. What about you? Are you a plotter or a pantser or a little of both? Can you relate to some of these writing processes? Maybe you found something new to try.

Whichever way you write, keep writing!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Summer of Writing

Writers never stop writing... Here we get a glimpse at what the authors from our latest anthology FIRST LOVE are up to. I'm sure they will whet your appetite for a fantastic future read by giving you a taste of their writing personality...

I'm taking a break before starting my next novel and writing a novelette that will be free to my newsletter subscribers. I don't write insta-love romance, so it has been both a challenge and a delight, drafting a shorter, less-complicated book.
~ Melissa Maygrove, "My Heart Approves"

I’m currently working on a screenplay. Lately, I’ve been writing screenplays and then using them as a treatment/foundation for a novel. This will be the third project I’ve completed like that. It’s a romance, of course, and while I haven’t quite nailed down the logline yet, the gist of the story is: a celebrity musician suffering from a very public/humiliating break-up returns home to hide out only to fall for her best friend from high school, who’s now a single dad. 
~ Katie Klein, "How to Save a Princess"

I’ve spent six months editing book two of my YA superhero trilogy, Heart of a Hero. The more I change, the more ideas I get. It’s a totally different (and better) book now. My characters had it too easy in the first draft, so I added some PAIN. I won’t give spoilers, but readers should prepare to shed tears! My beta readers will receive the manuscript by the end of July, and I aim to publish late summer. Then it’s on to book three…
~ Kim Elliott, "Clyde and Coalesce"

I have three projects started, and I hope you will help me decide which one to focus on completing first. Please let me know in the comments which one you would like to see the most. I welcome feedback, questions, and ideas!

Story #1: “Moving On” is a contemporary romance. Zach Sanders is tired of being fixed up by his best friend Joe. He isn’t enjoying the dating scene, and in fact, can’t get over his forbidden crush: Joe’s sister Katherine. When Katherine moves back to town and sparks fly, will they be able to create a meaningful relationship, or is he doomed to remain single forever? 

Story #2: “Praying for Death” is a murder mystery. Detective Henry Spence is looking into a string of seven murders that have all happened over the course of the last year. The only connection between all seven victims is a single woman who has an alibi for five of the deaths. Is Sabrina Heigel merely unfortunate enough to know these victims, or worse yet, is she somehow becoming a serial killer? 

Story #3: “Saving Grace” is a fantasy short story, a series about empaths. While excavating an ancient cave, archeologist Grace Marten uncovers a hidden treasure. Now the brotherhood, a centuries old enemy of the empaths, will stop at nothing to retrieve one item in particular and silence her forever. Damon De Santis offers her aid, but does she dare trust him with her life? 
~ Sylvia Ney, "Paper Faces"

I'm super excited to say that my current work in progress is... The Art of Making Doughnuts! I fell in love with the characters in my short story for the anthology, so I'm working on turning it into a novel! I am expanding the story (obviously) and also writing it in dual point of view, so we can learn more about Pete and his backstory and experience his emotional arc as well as Gina's. My day job is particularly busy these days, so the writing is going very slowly, but I'm taking my time
and enjoying the writing.
~ Linda Budzinski, "The Art of Making Doughnuts"

I have published 6 books, and this is the book that has excited me from the get go. I’ve been playing with taglines to encapsulate the story, working title, Le Petit Paris Kitchen Cookery School. Let me share what I have so far…

“Drama, romance, and passion are layered, flavoured, tasted, left to simmer, not unlike the traditional French recipes scattered throughout the book.”

“Food, love, passion for Paris, combined with characters layered with shades of darkness combined with a good measure of charisma.”

“More than cooking goes on in this kitchen.”

“Absolutely delicious … like a warm hug.”

“If you love reading about food, Paris, love, feisty characters, this is a book you will relish.”

~ Denise Covey, "Marmalade Sunset"

My last book release was 2013 – How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now, based on my experience as a publisher and the book publishing and promoting seminars I teach. (And I’ve since updated it, too.) However, my next book project has been in the making since 2015 since I have been so busy with Dancing Lemur Press book releases. Those come first, so time to work on my own stuff has been scarce.

After the release of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s book, CassaDark, I’ve had some time to revisit my project and work on it. I’m happy to say the novelettes that comprise In Darkness are coming together. The Vampire is with our editor. The Werewolf is next. I am on the second draft of The Shark. Then I will finish and polish The Alien. And who knows? Maybe I can solve the saggy middle issue and The Ghost will become a reality, too. Either way, it is such a joy to be writing again!
~ L. Diane Wolfe, owner of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

I hope you enjoyed this sampling of what's up and coming. May you be inspired to read and write to your heart's desire this summer!