Wednesday, November 25, 2020

In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology is here!


It’s here! I’m so excited to announce the release of In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology.

It’s been more than 8 months since a global pandemic shattered our world. Perhaps for the first time in history, people from every continent are experiencing the same emotions—fear, anger, sadness, anxiety. How are they coping? What are they learning? How have they changed? Writers and artists of every age (10-90) from six continents (including the countries of Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe) have contributed original art, photography, poems, essays, fiction, and scripts to create In the Midst, a COVID-19 Anthology. The works reflect a common humanity beyond age, ethnicity, or location and are captured here to share with the world.

People are suffering in so many ways from this unprecedented situation. But the pages of this anthology carry much more than tears. They also show the resilience of the human spirit. Some offer encouragement. Some ways of coping—especially creative ways, such as taking up new hobbies. Others find humor in the quest for toilet paper, the mandate to “wash your hands,” and hair—from new hairdos and natural hair colors of those who can no longer see their hairdressers to COVID cuts for those who took the problem into their own hands. Some describe new skills or practices that have improved their lives—things they will retain long after the pandemic is over. And many show appreciation to the ones who’ve sacrificed to keep the world moving.

What ties them all together? The universal experience of living in isolation and anxiety during a global pandemic with no end in sight. People are in crisis and need to share their experiences and imaginative solutions.

Difficult decisions were made to cut down the deluge of entries to this final selection of 100 pieces representing 84 authors and artists. I’ve always said that when you share your art or your writing, you share your soul. And we now celebrate the courageous people who have bared their souls to give you a glimpse into their lives.

I hope you are as touched as I have been by these honest, from-the-gut reactions while still IN THE MIDST of this historic pandemic. Hopefully, we’ll see our way out of this soon, and this anthology will become a collection to help future generations understand exactly what it was like to endure separation from friends and family, shutdowns of schools, churches, and “non-essential” businesses, and, of course, the fear and suffering caused by illness and death.  

In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology is available in two formats on Amazon. The standard format has a black and white interior and, for a limited time, sells for $16.95. The full-color edition printed on high-quality paper sells for $52.00. 

If you don't live in the USA, sign into Amazon in your domain area. Then you can type B08NX43Y4L in the search bar for the low-cost, black-and-white interior edition for a limited-time price of $16.95 USD (converted to local currency). Type B08NX6Q2Q1 for the full-color version (or click on the links if you are in the US) for $52.00 USD. You can also search for "In the Midst COVID-19 Anthology" to see both versions on the selection screen.

The unique cover was designed and created by Lana Hunneyball. The artwork featured on the card faces are among the more than 30 original creations or photos included within the anthology. Lana used the layout of the card game “Patience” as a fitting representation of the patience required to get through this pandemic—and it’s a form of solitaire, which is especially fitting since many of us are alone at this time. Isolated.

But now you don’t need to be! Order a copy of this anthology for yourself and for everyone you know. You’ll be glad to have the company.

And be sure to share this announcement. Thank you! 

Be safe out there. 


Monday, August 3, 2020



NO ENTRY FEE                                                Submissions deadline 8/15/20


Everyone has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis--and this is your chance to share your unique thoughts and experiences.  Get creative! We want to hear your stories, see your photos, enjoy your poems, and view your artwork. All ages and nationalities encouraged to enter.

Selected entries will be included in a printed book (ebook may follow) available on Amazon and other retailers later this year.

Please share this call on your social media platforms. Thank you. 

Click here for the submission form and additional information: 
If you are submitting photographs or artwork, please also include the appropriate release form: 

QUESTIONS: Email us at

Monday, July 20, 2020

What's Your Favorite Punctuation Mark?

by Sandy Tritt

What’s your favorite punctuation mark?
Until recently, I had never thought about having a favorite punctuation mark—although I admit I’ve always had an affinity for those cute little curly commas. (And I have a distinct dislike for the colon and the semicolon: they remind me of too many late nights spent typing academic papers on my state-of-the-art Brother Electric Typewriter.) But the mark that really brings me joy is the EM DASH. This little guy has become more popular as of late—mainly because he’s versatile and, I’m told, “hipster.”

So, how can you hang out with the cool kid?
Lots of ways. He can be used in place of commas, parentheses, colons, semi-colons, or ellipses. He can offset phrases, show interruption or a change of direction, offer examples, or add emphasis. And he can be used to show missing words or parts of words. See why I love Mr. Dash?

Let’s look at ways he can help.  

An EM DASH can add clarity to a convoluted sentence. Examples:
  • Before: “When the check finally arrived, over six weeks after the accident, it was only for the parts, labor, and other repairs.” After: “When the check finally arrived—over six weeks after the accident—it was only for the parts, labor, and other repairs.”
  • Before: “Don’t start baking brownies if you don’t have everything you need, like a pan, an oven, and ingredients, including eggs, butter, sugar, cocoa, and nuts.” After: “Don’t start baking brownies if you don’t have everything you need, like a pan, an oven, and ingredients—including eggs, butter, sugar, cocoa, and nuts.”
  • Before: “Before we go camping on Sunday, we need to make sure we have plenty of ice, hamburger buns, marshmallows for s’mores and fruit salad, olives, and onions.” After: “Before we go camping on Sunday, we need to make sure we have plenty of ice, hamburger buns, marshmallows—for s’mores and fruit salad—olives, and onions.”
An EM DASH can indicate a sudden break or change in continuity. Examples:
  • “I don’t want to ever see—what is that thing crawling up your shirt?”
  • “I—uh—I just don’t know.”
An EM DASH can delineate a non-essential phrase within a sentence (non-essential means the sentence will still be a sentence without the phrase). Do note that if the phrase occurs in the middle of a sentence, both a beginning and an ending EM DASH must be used. Examples:
  • “Just as I was about to sit—and I do mean just—I saw the spider.”
  • “I decided to burn that ratty old sweater—until Jason said it was his favorite.”
Likewise, an EM DASH can be used to set apart an explanatory phrase. Examples:
  • “I love reading novels—fat, juicy, long-winded novels—while on vacation.”
  • “We need to get a first aid kit—bandages, antiseptic wipes, splints—for the cheerleading squad.”
An EM DASH can join two independent clauses. It’s a modern replacement for the semicolon, joining two related sentences that could each stand alone. Examples:
  • “We could sure use some rain this week—this heat is killing the garden.”
  • “I absolutely love old romantic movies—I get that from my mama.”
An EM DASH can add emphasis. Examples:
  • “I don’t want to see that jerk in here again—ever!”
  • “Can we forget the whole thing—please?”
An EM DASH can show interruption. Whereas ellipses at the end of a sentence illustrates a dropping off in tone or a pause, the EM DASH shows an immediate halt.
  • Either all in one sentence or by one speaker: “Hey!  Don’t step on the—oh, crap. Too late.”
  • By multiple speakers:  “You never let me finish. All you do is—” “No, I don’t!”
  • By an outside force: “Please quit fidgeting. We’re almost—” The doorbell rang.
An EM DASH can indicate an unfinished sentence or thought. Examples:
  • “I hope that isn’t a snake—”
  • “Is that car coming in my lane? There’s nowhere to—”
Where to find Mr. EM DASH
So now that you’ve grown to love Mr. EM DASH, you may discover that he simply doesn’t exist on the standard keyboard. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to create him. Let me count the ways:
  • Within most Word Processing programs (and iPhones), you can create an EM DASH automatically by typing two hyphens side by side.
  • MS Word will change two hyphens to an EM DASH as long as there is no space before, between, or after the hyphens. The metamorphosis appears after typing the next word or letter and then pressing the space bar.
  • If that’s too complex, in many programs, you can click on the toolbar below the edit box. Place your cursor where you want the EM DASH, select INSERT from the pull-down menu, and click on the second character (the longer dash).
  • In MS Word, you can click on the INSERT tab, look at the far right and click on SYMBOL, select MORE SYMBOLS, click on SPECIAL CHARACTERS, and—finally—click on the EMDASH (right at the top).
Too many steps? Give one of these a try:
  • In Windows on a PC, type ALT 0151  
  • For a Mac, use OPT  SHIFT  -
  • Simply copy an EM DASH from anywhere and paste it where you need it.
Other things to know:
  • In most usages (Chicago Manual of Style, etc.), no spaces should exist before or after an EM DASH. The most common exception to this is the Associated Press Stylebook (such as for newspapers), which adds a space on either side of the EM DASH.
  • The EM DASH is mostly used in informal writing—blogs, novels, emails, etc.—and is typically used sparingly in formal writing (magazine articles, academic papers, business letters, etc.).
  • There are three “dashes” in the dash family. The HYPHEN is the baby. It’s the smallest of the lengths and is used to join two words. The EN DASH is longer than a hyphen and is used to show a range—such as 3-4 years—or to attach a prefix, such as pre-Civil War era. And then there’s the EM DASH, the largest, the longest, the greatest. Aren’t you glad you’ve met him?
  • Mr. Dash got his name back in the old days when typesetters measured the number of points in a line. An EN DASH was considered to be the same width of the letter N—and, the EM DASH was considered to be the same width as the letter M.
So, tell us, what’s your favorite punctuation? Why?
And, of course, if you need help straightening out those cute little curly commas or making the most out of Mr. Dash, just shoot us off an email at

Monday, June 15, 2020

What's a Gawking Narrator?

By Jessica Murphy

Jessica Murphy
A “gawking character” is a narrator who tells the reader what happens in a scene instead of letting the reader experience it directly. This is also called narrator intrusion, and it robs the reader of the full experience, thus distancing him from the story. A gawking character looks like this:

Gawking: Adam saw the orange glow and the rolling black smoke in the sky from where he stood on the corner of the block. As he jogged down the sidewalk toward it, he felt a cool breeze and smelled burning wood. He ducked under the branch of a tree and saw the burning house. From where he stood, he felt the intense heat and heard the flames roar and pop. Adam stepped forward toward the open front door but felt the searing heat from the sidewalk drive him back.

The bold words show you where the narrator steps between the reader and the action and tells the reader what happens. This detracts from the reader’s experience. A scene must allow the reader to experience the action directly in order to grab him. Would you prefer to watch a friend eat a hot fudge sundae and tell you how sweet it tastes, or would you want to eat it yourself?

A gawking character is also redundant. If the scene is told from the character’s perspective, we already know that he experiences what we read. We don’t need to say the same thing twice. Here is the same sentence without the gawking character:

Direct: Adam glanced up from the corner of Kingwood and Beechurst. The starlit sky glowed orange, and thick smoke rolled across it. He spun on one heel, crunching grit on the sidewalk beneath his shoes, and ran down the street. The cool autumn breeze carried sparks and the smell the burning wood. Adam brushed the branches of a tree out of his face. In front of him, a house burned.

A rushing roar filled Adam’s ears, and a wave of heat lifted the hairs on his tan arms. Shading his blue eyes with his right hand, he squinted against the blinding light. Flames engulfed every inch of the house and licked at the cloudless sky. Pops and crackles from inside the house echoed down the empty street. Adam rushed toward the front porch, but the heat seared his face and drove him back.

This time, the narrator does not water down the scene. We see no “Adam felt,” “Adam saw,” “Adam heard.” Instead, the reader is the one standing on the sidewalk, the one who sees the flames, feels their heat, hears their roar. This kind of direct experience captivates the reader and keeps him interested.

Nonphysical Gawking
A gawking character can also filter internal experiences, such as thoughts or emotions. Again, if the scene is being told from the character’s perspective, we can assume that any thoughts belong to that character (unless he or she can read thoughts or sense emotions).

Gawking: Blood soaked through the fabric, and Preston realized he had plunged the blade into Jack’s side.

This scene is told from Preston’s point of view, so he must be the one realizing something. We don’t need to state the obvious.

Direct: A red stain spread across Jack’s gut, matting the shirt to his skin. The silver blade glinted from where Preston had plunged it in Jack’s side.

The same holds true for emotions:

Gawking: I felt worried, but a breeze made me feel a little better.

This is told in first person point of view, so the narrator must be the one who felt worried. After all, he cannot feel another character’s emotions. So, stating what the narrator felt is redundant.

Direct: My stomach churned, but the crisp air cooled my feverish skin and the nausea settled for the moment.

If you take out the gawking character, the reader can experience every scene directly. Any less cheats him out of the story and, in the end, loses him.

If you need help with this concept, shoot us an email ( We're happy to look at your sample and tell you how to make it better. And, remember, we offer free sample edits. We're here for you!

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.

TEACHERS and PARENTS: We'd love to get submissions from students so we can include their perspective. Thanks! 

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. 

Click here for the submission form for all submissions: 
Also click here if you are submitting photographs or artwork: 

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 and let us know.

QUESTIONS: Email us at

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 The first sample edit is free!