Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Call for Submissions - Covid-19 Anthology



NO ENTRY FEE                           SUBMISSIONS NOW OPEN

We are now accepting entries for In the Midst, a Covid-19 Anthology. We’ve all experienced unique situations during this historical event. Some of us have suffered great losses, some have experienced amazing miracles, some have undergone lifestyle changes, but all of us have been changed—forever. This anthology will capture the emotional truth of this time while we’re still in the midst of it. 

Our goal is to include the stories and poems of people from all types of backgrounds from all over the globe. We want to hear about your unique experience—and you may be creative in telling it. We will accept essays, articles, fiction, poems, photographs, and artwork. Pieces will be selected based upon emotional impact, creativity, and uniqueness. Stories of humor and inspiration are encouraged, as are stories of missed special events, coping mechanisms, kindnesses of strangers, and anything else you’ve experienced as a result of Covid-19. Photographs and other artwork that encapsulates the impact of Covid-19 s are accepted. 

We want to provide a family-friendly book that captures this unique time both for those still living through it and for future generations. Submitted material will be edited just enough to provide a professional-quality book; our goal is to retain the author’s voice. 

We will accept: 
Nonfiction up to 1500 words (one supporting artwork allowed)
Fiction up to 1500 words (one supporting artwork allowed)
Poems up to 30 lines (one supporting artwork allowed)
Artwork/Photographs (up to 6 cartoons, photographs, or sketches). All artwork will appear in black and white within the book; artwork selected for covers will be in color. 


This completed form must accompany the entry. 
All entries must be the original work of the submitter, and the rights to the work cannot have been assigned elsewhere (Entries may be previously published as long as the submitter retains the rights to the piece). 
We require one-time rights only; the copyright for each piece remains with the author.
Submissions accepted between 05/12/20 and 08/15/20
The anthology will be published through KDP and available for sale through Amazon for a reasonable price no later than 12/10/20. 
Entries will be accepted based on creativity, emotional impact, uniqueness, and writing/art quality. 
There is no entry fee. However, we ask that you repost this call for entries through your social media accounts. 
No payments will be made for submissions.
Entries may be edited by Inspiration for Writers, Inc., prior to publication. 
We reserve the right to reject any submission. 
We reserve the right to cancel this call for submissions.
Any conditions that prevent us from fulfilling the rules will result in the cancelation of the publication of the Anthology.
All submissions must be in English. 
Releases must be signed by identifiable people in stories or photographs (one release per person). We strongly recommend changing the names and likenesses of people mentioned.
Entries are accepted by email only. Submission forms and releases must also be attached. 

We will not accept:
Material that is hateful to any religion, race, gender, or other group.
Anything not considered “family friendly.” 
Anything political. 

We will email you when we receive your submission. If you do not hear from us within 48 hours (longer on weekends or holidays), please check your spam folder. 

If your email address changes before the anthology is printed, please email us at IFWeditors@gmail.com and let us know.

QUESTIONS: Email us at IFWeditors@gmail.com

Friday, March 20, 2020

What to Do (When You Can't Do What You Normally Do)

by Sandy Tritt

For some us, these challenging days mean an abrupt change to our routines. We may find ourselves with nothing to do but worry—which is the worst thing we can possibly do. However, when we do something productive or creative with our time, our outlooks brighten. We feel better—and, when we feel better, we stay healthier and happier. Here are a few hints—some old, some new—to help you thrive in these strange times.

·       Learn something new. There’s nothing the soul enjoys more than a new challenge. There are all kinds of you-tube videos out there to help you learn anything. Anything. Here are some suggestions:
o   Learn a foreign language or sign language.
o   Learn to play a musical instrument.
o   Learn a new craft. Learn to sew, cross-stitch or crochet. Take up woodworking or stained-glass making. Make candles or lamps.
o   Learn to play chess, bridge, or poker. 
o   Learn to decorate cakes or tile a bathroom.

·       Do something you intended to do when you had “time.”
o   Make a gourmet meal (or a special dessert).
o   Read those novels you’ve been meaning to read.
o   Play board games (or put a jigsaw puzzle together). Involve the whole family.
o   Help your parents (or someone else) write a memoir.
o   Telephone a friend or family member.

·       Accomplish something.
o   Clean out a closet or a cabinet.
o   Paint or wallpaper an “accent” wall.
o   Old kitchen cabinets? Paint them!
o   Redecorate the living room.
o   Paint. Check out Bob Ross videos.
o   Write your memoir.

·       Adopt healthy habits. (C’mon. You know this drill. But now isn’t the time to get lazy. The better you feel, the better you’ll continue to feel).
o   Eat well. But don’t be afraid to splurge on a little chocolate.
o   Exercise. Fresh air will do you good.
o   Practice meditation, yoga, and/or prayer (this is especially important). There are plenty of you-tube videos to show you how.
o   Sleep. (But not too much. There's much to do).

·       Do something kind for someone you know.  
o   Send a food basket, arrange for grocery delivery, or snail-mail a thinking-of-you card.
o   Frequently check in with your elderly/health-challenged friends, neighbors, and relatives. Make sure they are eating, taking meds, and doing okay. Spend time just talking with them and reassuring them all will be well.
o   Prepare a meal, soup, or dessert for someone. 
o   Write a letter telling someone why you appreciate having them in your life.
o   Enjoy this time spent with family. Make a special effort to be kind to one another. Talk about your fears, but, more importantly, talk about things that make you happy and about your dreams for the future.

·       Do something kind for someone you don’t know.
o   Leave groceries (and toilet paper!) on the shelves for others.
o   Donate books, board games, or jigsaw puzzles.
o   Generously tip those who deliver groceries or food, or who do other things to make your life easier.
o   Give a package of toilet paper (or something else “valuable”) to someone who needs it.
o   Be kind. Everyone is stressed. Everyone needs a smile and a kind word.

·       Do something nice for yourself.
o   Be gentle with yourself.
o   Review your positive qualities.
o   Take a relaxing bath in Epsom salts and lavender oil. Feel your anxieties melt away.
o   Take a nap.
o   Write poetry.
o   Watch a movie.
o   Read inspirational books.
o   FINISH YOUR NOVEL (or hire Inspiration for Writers to finish it for you).
o   Send your novel (or memoir or book) to Inspiration for Writers for an edit.

·       Keep a positive attitude.
o   TURN OFF THE NEWS. When you are doing an activity that doesn’t require thought, keep your mind busy by listening to an audiobook.
o   Make sure you smile several times an hour—whether you feel like it or not. The very act of smiling makes you feel better.
o   Laugh out loud. If you need help, watch your favorite comedy or read a book of jokes or funny stories. Or look in the mirror and make faces at yourself.
o   Whenever negative thoughts threaten to take control, push them away by diverting your attention to happy thoughts or getting busy with an enjoyable activity.
o   Keep a gratitude journal or make a list of the things you’re grateful for. Add to it and review it several times a day. Especially find reasons this situation has brought joy into your life (more family time, spending less money commuting to work, time to try new things, etc.)

Yes, these are trying times. But if you spend this time learning something new, accomplishing something, spending time with family, and being kind, you will have done something important.

Please let us know how you’re coping with the current situation. Give us your suggestions for staying healthy and positive.

Just a reminder: Inspiration for Writers, Inc., is open for business. We already work from home, so we’re here and ready to help you take your writing to the next level. TALK TO US!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 New Year's Resolutions

IFW editors

2019 has come and gone. Some of us are sad to say goodbye to a year filled with blessings; some of us are glad to say “See ya!” to a year of tribulations. With the new year comes a clean slate—a blank page, if you will—and the chance to write the next chapter in our lives.

Some of our editors here at IFW have elected to share their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps they’ll inspire some resolutions of your own—or you can inspire us with your 2020 goals in the comments!

Charl Firbank-King: My “NO” button is broken­—I’m incapable of saying no—so I’m going to fix it.

Rhonda Browning White: I’ve given this New Year’s resolution thing a bit more thought this year, and I have a different take on it than before. I mean, why do we have to resolve to make a marked change on the first day of the year, only to (typically) falter or fail weeks or months later? I mean, theres enough pressure just to write 2020 instead of 2019, right?

I wonder, why is it that we don’t make resolutions on other days of the year? Our birthdays, for example, seem the perfect time for improvement, considering that’s our personal New Year. Or we can resolve to be more loving on Valentine’s Day, or to make a new beginning on Easter Sunday or the first day of spring. As writers, we can resolve to sit down and write today, the very day we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. And we can make that same resolution again tomorrow, and the day after that. And we can skip a day (or three), and resolve again when inspiration (or deadline) strikes.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I am making a new resolution: I’m resolving to resolve to make positive changes on a more frequent basis. And, instead of waiting for New Year’s Day, I’m going to start right now.

Will you join me?

Eric Fritzius: People often fail at keeping resolutions because they shoot at too far a target.  Oooh, I’m gonna exercise every day and lose 50 lbs!  Oooh, I’m gonna keep my office clean and be super productive this year!  Oooh, I’m gonna solve the Riemann Hypothesis!  These sorts of things rarely work out so well.  No, I like to aim at targets that are far more immediately achievable.  I march into the laundry room and announce: “I resolve that I’m gonna find a way to get the cat food dish from where it fell behind the washer, four months back.”  I then go find a magnet and some string and I bob around back there until I come up with cat dish.  I then resolve to celebrate this achieved resolution, possibly with a Reese cup or a libation or possibly both, depending on my proximity to 5 o’clock.  And I move on to resolving to build a little fence that will prevent the cat from knocking his bowl behind the washer anymore.  See, you can knock out two of three small resolutions like that in an afternoon and feel genuinely good about yourself.

Jessica Nelson: As much as I probably need to resolve to hit the gym and eat healthier, I think my resolution for 2020 is to be more mindful of how I react to things. I saw this quote from Charles Swindoll early this year when it made its rounds on social media: “We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.” It really resonated with me. I tend to overreact, and usually in a negative way. So this year, I resolve to be more mindful of my reactions—to not catastrophize, to manage negative emotions and keep them in proportion to the situation, and consciously search for the positive when my instinct is to be pessimistic. So here’s to a more positive 2020!

Sandy Tritt: Resolutions laugh at me.  If I resolve to do or not to do something, within an hour, my resolution lies crumpled in the corner with a huge smirk on its face. Never fails.

So, instead of making a resolution, I want to try something different this year.

Twenty-twenty insinuates perfect vision. Twenty-twenty is the number of our new year. So, I am praying for vision—for the ability to see with clarity, wisdom, and insight—in 2020.  

May 2020 be your year for perfect vision—and success. Best wishes from all of us at IFW.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Our Editors Can Write: Books from the IFW Family

Want to give the gift of reading or writing? We have you covered. First, we have gift certificates good for any our services, available in any dollar amount. If you want to truly encourage the writer in your life—or give a gift to yourself, we are offering 10% off the face value of all gift certificates ordered by December 25. Get it here!

If you or your loved one are more inclined towards reading, we have a selection of books by our Inspiration for Writers family for your enjoyment.

First up is Sandy Tritt, the founder and CEO of Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Although she normally writes fiction, her two most recent books are nonfiction. Her selections include a book for the writer in your life and one for the reader.

The PLAIN ENGLISH Writer's Workbook explains writing concepts in simple terms. It's written for fiction and memoir writers of all levels, from beginners to previously published. This workbook includes nine worksheets with detailed instructions to help you plot, create memorable characters, and edit your own work like a pro. Throughout the workbook, generous samples are given to show the right and wrong way to perform various techniques. EVERY WRITER NEEDS THIS BOOK.

LAUNDRY TO LOVE -- Everything I Know about Life.  When Sandy's oldest daughter was nearing high school graduation, Sandy suffered a major panic attack. Had she taught her daughter everything she needed to know? Had she shared the family recipes? Did her daughter understand the ethics she wanted to pass along? Sandy made notes all the things her daughters would need to know, then organized them by topic. As she cooked, she measured the pinches and pours and created recipes. Described as a marriage of Robert Fulghum and Martha Stewart, Laundry to Love gives practical hints, creative solutions, and unique outlooks on life (as well as 66 favorite family recipes)—a handbook for young women and men as they step out on their own. Perfect as a graduation or wedding gift, this book is also excellent for anyone who enjoys a fresh perspective sprinkled with a little humor. Laundry to Love is the life instruction book you didn't get. Until now.

Next is Charlotte Firbank-King (C.F. King), a prolific writer and artist living in South Africa. She’s been editing and ghostwriting for Inspiration for Writers for about fifteen years. Here are a few of her own books. 

Cape of Storms, 1872.

A spoilt liberal English girl arrives in the Cape Colony ready to take off into Africa. No one has ever thwarted her, until she meets her father's taciturn wine estate manager. 

Dara, the headstrong English suffragette arrive in the Calvinistic Cape Colony like a whirlwind. She is a gifted photographer and finds trouble the moment she sets foot in Africa. Her outspoken opinions set her at odds with the hardworking, reclusive Oran, who manages her father's two wine estates in Stellenbosch. 

Dara's ailing father, in England, asked Oran to take her on a photographic safari. Oran readily agreed to his mentor's request, until he met her. Not only is Dara irresistibly beautiful, but she's contentious and a magnet for trouble. Claiming it's inappropriate to spend months alone with Dara, Oran delays the trip for reasons that don't suit her. Then events take an unexpected turn for both of them and Dara takes off with only her maid. She heads into the savage interior with no idea of how to survive the vast African wilderness. Oran chases after her from the Cape Colony to the Kimberly diamond fields, then to Zululand -- a kingdom in turmoil as their new king, Cetshwayo, is crowned. Even here, Dara manages to find deadly trouble.  

Hanoverian England, 1745 and the second Jacobite uprising. A man is so driven by revenge and righteous anger that the line between good and evil becomes blurred.

Marquis Blake de Montfort's life is dark and his past violent. He is haunted by a murdered wife and child and obsessed with avenging their deaths. He ceases to care what separates good from evil as he walks his twilight path. Blake is the most powerful man at court, but his power is not vested in parliament -- it's more insidious. He's a ruthless spymaster, hated by men, desired by women, and feared by all.

Blake is forced to marry Tanisha Ashburn, who unwittingly draws him from his path of destruction, but she has no idea she's surrendered her life to intrigue, the lusts of men, and finally, betrayal. 

There is no way to control a truly fiery free-spirit, except to crush it or risk burning with desire in the flames.

Against the Victorian backdrop of Impressionism and the awakening of women's rights, the naive Calla is a free-spirited, wild artist. Orphaned as a child and reared by the aged but liberal Earl of Felton, Calla has never known restraint, social or otherwise -- until he dies.

Fire meets ice. Ryder is a lieutenant colonel ruled by discipline. From infancy, he has never known anything except restraint. Forced to leave his military career to take on the responsibility of a title, Ryder chooses a worthy lady to marry, but his is unprepared  for the added responsibility of a ward, much less the lovely, unruly Calla. Determined to see her subdued and suitably married off, Ryder's ordered life unravels in his pursuit to control her.

Cape of Storms, Africa, 1853. A harsh society, not a good place or time to be born a bastard.

One man takes Roark's identity before birth. Those meant to nurture him shroud his life in secrets, abuse his body and break his spirit, until pride and his love for Tavia are all that remain. Then they tear away his love. The only recourse of a baseborn child, now a dangerous man, is revenge.

Next on the list, we have Eric Fritzius, Inspiration for Writers' technical and website guru--as well as a prolific writer, editor, playwright, audiobook narrator, graphics designer, ebook formatter, and actor. His keen sense of humor keeps us all smiling, and his stories of the unknown keep us awake at night.

A CONSTERNATION OF MONSTERS  A collection of 10 short stories of monsters and the paranormal in the tradition of the Twilight Zone, available in print ($12.99), ebook ($5.99), and audiobook ($14.95) formats. (Hear a SAMPLE)  

West Virginia Writers, Inc., proudly presents Writerly Advice, a series of lessons offering tips, tricks, and inspiration for writers of all skill levels and genres, written by over 20 talented member of West Virginia Writers, Inc., including a chapter by Eric himself.

Other books narrated by Eric Fritzius:

MISSISSIPPI NIGHTS by D.M. Webb, narrated by Eric Fritzius — A Christian romantic thriller that tells a story of one firefighter's struggles overcoming pain and addiction, which affect not only himself but those around him—especially his new love.  Audiobook available from AmazonAudible, and iTunes.  (Hear a SAMPLE)

HOW TO CARRY BIGFOOT HOME by Chris Tarry, narrated by Eric Fritzius — a collection of adult literary fiction featuring settings and characters both grounded and fantastical, with equal parts comedy and often harrowing drama.  Audiobook available from AmazonAudible, and iTunes.  (Hear a SAMPLE)

THE BLACK STAR OF KINGSTON by S.D. Smith, read by Eric Fritzius — A middle grade adventure novel featuring rabbits with swords. This is the first part of Smith's Tales of Old Natalia, which is a prequel series to his Green Ember series of novels.  

Audiobook available from AmazonAudible, and iTunes.  (Hear a SAMPLE)

THE LAST ARCHER by S.D. Smith, read by Eric Fritzius — A middle grade adventure novel featuring rabbits with swords as well as bows and arrows.  A side-story set during the events of Smith’s Green Ember main series. Audiobook available from AmazonAudible, and iTunes.  (Hear a SAMPLE)

THE WRECK AND RISE OF WHITSON MARINER is the second installment of S.D. Smith's Green Ember prequel series, Tales of Old Natalia, and the sequel to The Blackstar of Kingston.
Available from Amazon and Audible. (Hear a SAMPLE.)

I know what you’re thinking: Where are the romances? No worries. Sandi Rog has you covered for sweet romances that have just the right amount of heartache. Sandi was the first editor to join Inspiration for Writers, way back in its early days—like maybe 1999? (But who’s counting? 😉) Sandi is also a prolific writer and editor, and is the founder of Tulpen Publishing, a Christian traditional publishing company.

By the way, Out of the Ashes won FIRST PLACE in the FHL Reader's Choice Awards. This was a prestigious contest (as they are associated with RWA) and not a popularity contest, so we’re really proud of her! 

by Sandi Rog

A stranger. A kiss. A shotgun wedding.

NATHANIEL WARD, a wealthy entrepreneur, needs a wife. But he’s not interested in the preening, high-society women who are offered to him on a silver platter. He wants one woman, and one woman alone: the girl who gave him all the money in her reticule years ago when the Great Chicago Fire left him destitute. He sets out to find this woman and discovers she’s unattached. There’s only one problem: a shotgun wedding may be able to bind them, but will he ever be able to win her heart?

AMELIA E. TAYLOR blows a kiss to a street rat. Little did she know, years later that kiss would follow her to Green Pines Colorado. When a handsome stranger arrives in her hometown, she guards her heart from the stirrings this man ignites. Despite society’s disapproval of spinsterhood, she is determined not to marry, having witnessed first-hand the lack of love and the horrors that accompany marriage. But will a shotgun wedding reveal blessings that arise out of the ashes?

Next is Jessica Nelson, intern/editor/social media go-to-girl for IFW since 2014. Her prose poem I Am Not a Poet can be found in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vol. VII, Homer Hickam Edition and her poem Irish Road Bowling (based on an old Irish sport that the men in her family have dragged her all over the state of West Virginia to play) is featured in the Anthology of AppalachianWriters, Vol. X, Wiley Cash Edition. The volumes also contain the works of respected writers such as Marc Harshman (poet laureate of West Virginia), Randi Ward, M. Lynne Squires, Anna Egan Smucker, and Natalie Sypolt. These anthologies are perfect for the readers in your life who love poetry and prose both but just can’t get through a full-length novel. (Photo credit: Wiley Cash.) 

For the readers in your life who may not have the patience for a full novel or prefer the potato chip-addictiveness of short stories, look no further than our own Rhonda Browning White! In addition to her work with IFW as a ghostwriter and editor, her writing appears in Qu Literary Journal, Hospital Drive, HeartWood Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Steel Toe Review, Ploughshares, Writing Lessons, Tiny Text, NewPages, South 85 Journal, The Skinny Poetry Journal, WV Executive, Mountain Echoes, Gambit, Justus Roux, Bluestone Review, and the anthologies Ice Cream Secrets, Appalachia's Last Stand, and Mountain Voices. You can find even more on her Read. Write. Live! blog. Make sure to check out her work! 

Her book The Lightness of Water of Other Stories is the winner of the 2019 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. The characters in these emotionally charged stories deal with loneliness, loss, greed, and guilt. They, like all of us, wrestle with the people, places, and memories they cling to, belong to, and run from, learning (sometimes too late) that these experiences remain with them forever. The stories in The Lightness of Water and Other Stories are bound by a strong sense of place -- Appalachia and the South -- and prove that no matter where we go, there's no place far enough to leave home behind. 

Last, but most certainly not least, we present Geoffrey Cameron Fuller, a New York Times best-selling author--and an editor and ghostwriter for IFW. He is the author or co-author of five books, including Full Bone Moon (a work of fiction inspired by the infamous WVU co-ed murders of the 1970s, which can be accompanied by his podcast about the real case), and his writing is credited in another dozen books.    

Geoff recently teamed with Daleen Berry (Sister of Silence) to write about the stabbing murder of high school honor student Skylar Neese by her two best friends. Their  work resulted in two books, The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (BenBella Books; February 2014) and Pretty Little Killers: The Truth Behind the Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (BenBella Books; July 2014). The crime and the books were featured on Dateline (NBC), Dr. Phil (NBC), 20/20 (ABC), and I Killed My BFF (Lifetime). The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese peaked at #12 on the New York Times bestseller list, and the second book, released in July 2014, is also selling well.

Thanks for reviewing our books. Remember, we are always here to help you write or edit your own books, and from now until December 25, gift certificates for our services are 10% off. Just email IFWeditors@gmail.com. The first sample edit is free!