Interview of Ten Authors

I have had the unique privilege of interviewing ten authors who have written short stories for a new romance anthology, First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts, which releases on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. I also received a free ebook copy of the anthology to read to aid in creating questions for each author, and to write a Book Review of First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts, which I will post here on Tuesday.

Because there were ten authors to interview, I will post my interview questions and the answers of five of the authors today and the other five tomorrow. This is not an in-depth interview of each author. Instead, in this interview, I ask each author a little bit about the story they wrote for the anthology to whet your reading appetite in hopes that you will grab your own copy of First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts on Tuesday! I have also asked each author where you can find more about them and more of their writing.

The first author is Linda Budzinski:

Q: Where did your idea for the short story, “The Art of Making Doughnuts”, come from?

A: I write young adult romance, so when I saw the anthology’s theme was First Love, I, of course, thought about writing something with teen main characters. But the more I thought about it, the more I was drawn to the idea of writing about someone who finds her true “first love” later in life. And I wanted this character to be happy with her current situation, because although I am a romantic at heart, I absolutely believe that people can be happy on their own as well. I wanted the romance to be a “plus” for her, not a “must”. I needed her to be independent and wanted her to have an interesting job, so a cop seemed like a good fit. And who would a cop fall in love with? Why, the man who makes the doughnuts, of course!

Q: I read that you write mainly Young Adult Fiction, so what inspired you to write about characters that are 50+?

A: I’ve been writing teen romance for about 15 years, so I was a little nervous about writing one for adults. But it wasn’t so different. Every good romance starts with the character, and Gina is a much more mature, self-confident person who knows herself better than any of my teen characters have. She is simply in a different stage of life. She knows who she is and what she wants, and has been working toward it for many years. So her relationship with Pete has a very different sensibility than a teen romance might. I ended up falling in love with both of them as I wrote their story (and, in fact, am currently working on turning it into a novel!).

Q: Where can readers learn more about you and read more of your writing?

A: They can find me at https://lindabudzinski.com/ and can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LindaBudzinskiAuthor/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LindaBudz

Author Melissa Maygrove:

Q: Your story, “My Heart Approves”, is a Mail Order Bride story. Are you aware of any records that tell of any mail order brides from real life that did include a “real love relationship” and not just a marriage of convenience or necessity?

A: Many mail-order couples corresponded for months before deciding to marry and grew quite fond of each other. On the flipside, there’s the story of Eleanor Berry, who courted by mail, only to discover at her wedding that her groom was the same man who had robbed her stagecoach.

Q: What draws you to writing Western Historical Romance?

A: I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and have always felt I was born a century too late. I love the stoic, hard-working mindset of 19th century settlers as well as their traditional values. I’m also fascinated when I study the details of how they lived.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you and read more of your writing?

A: They can follow me on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Maygrove/e/B00JL4UPCY and BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-maygrove and they can get a FREE book titled Bride for Sale when they sign up for my newsletter at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/uonrrvm6ze My website is: http://www.melissamaygrove.com/

Author Katie Klein:

Q: I found “How to Save a Princess” a very unique story. What led you to such a unique idea for a romance story?

A: I actually started with a writing prompt I stumbled across online. I was poking around for some inspiration and found a prompt about a handsome neighbor saving a girl from an ex-boyfriend. So I made the ex her first love and the neighbor someone she’d been wanting to meet, and the story grew from there.

Q: Do you always write your main character in first person, and if so, why?

A: I do. I know the genre is divided on this, and every reader has their preference, but I love writing in first person, and I love reading it. It makes me feel fully immersed in the story.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you and read more of your writing?

A: I blog at https://katiekleinwrites.blogspot.com/

I have a free first in series urban fantasy available (The Guardian) at: https://books2read.com/u/mv1MNz

And I’m pretty active on Twitter: https://twitter.com/katiekleinbooks/status/1564271152909979650

Author Templeton Moss:

Q: You’ve written a lot of books for kids, so what inspired you to write a story for “First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts” which is geared more toward adults?

A: For me, the focus is always on telling a good story. One that is of interest to me and (I dearly hope) others. My style tends to gravitate toward the silly and fanciful which is why so many of my stories come out as “children’s stories”.

Q: Would you write a romance story again, and would you consider writing for adults again?

A: In a way, everything I write has been for adults. I think it’s important for grownups to remember what it’s like to be a kid. So while I’m pleased that kids do read my stories, I consider my work to be more “kids’ stories for grownups.”

Q: Where can readers learn more about you and read more of your writing?

A: If they visit http://www.sixtysomethingtrees.com/, readers can read several stories and poems I’ve written (some for kids, some for grownups) as well as links to where they can buy my various books, or books that my work appears in, like First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts.

Author Sammi Spizziri:

Q: How would you explain the importance of fact-to-face interaction to young adults?

A: The importance of face-to-face interaction is something that’s better experienced than explained. It often requires greater risk and vulnerability, but it’s that very vulnerability that allows for a deeper connection. I think you can absolutely make great friends online and keep in touch with old ones long distance but nothing beats being in the same room as someone. I actually met my husband online but we always say there’s a difference between online dating and online meeting. We met online and very intentionally moved to in-person quickly so as to truly get to know each other outside of written communication. This short story explores the difference between starting a relationship purely online–with all the filters and self-editing you want–and one in person, when it’s raining and you’re anxious and all your flaws are all to visible.

Q: Do you find it more difficult to write short stories than novels? Why or why not?

A: Each format has its own difficulties. I don’t read as many short stories as novels so writing them doesn’t come as intuitively for me. It’s hard to develop a character and tell a full story so succinctly. On the other hand, novels require so many moving parts and subplots and details, which makes keeping track of everything its own challenge.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you and read more of your writing?

A: While I don’t have any other published work just yet, readers can keep up-to-date with any new releases on my website: https://sammispizziri.com/ and follow me on social media (links on my website).

Be sure to come back tomorrow to read the interviews of the other five authors who wrote short stories for First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts.

Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of ’Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review. This is my honest review.

’Twas Just Before Bedtime is a collection of short stories and poems for children. There are fifteen stories and fourteen poems. Each poem tells a story and has a rhyme scheme. Every story and poem in this collection is short enough to be read to young children and to be read “just before bedtime”.

Every story includes some kind of magical happening or magical creature. There are a few witches, though not scary, and lots of fairies. The poems include characters that are animals. For parents who like reading fun, magical stories that are very rich in make believe, these stories are for you.

I found all of the poems well written and delightful and most of the stories are fun.

A few of the stories may be scary for younger or more sensitive children.

For my readers who prefer stories that include character building or biblical lessons, this is not the kind of book you’re looking for.

I give ’Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best 4 stars.

An Unintentional Gift of Love by Z. Barr

Today’s post is a special short story — special because it was written by my youngest son. We just began our homeschool year — his 7th grade year, and this was his first writing assignment. I love how it turned out (it’s one of the best he’s written and I thought it went so well with the illustration). The photo of the illustration isn’t very good, but in the upper left hand corner, there is a man dressed in a white shirt with a hand in the air, like he’s waving. He only had to make a few minor adjustments. I asked if he minded if I share it here, and he gave his permission.

The assignment was to write a story to go with the illustration and to include what happened just before and just after the picture. If you enjoy it, leave a comment that I can pass along to him.

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“An Unintentional Gift of Love”

by Z. Barr

     Three-year-old, curly blond-haired Alice and five-year-old, brown-haired Susan were helping Ma with the dishes.

“Ma, when can we go out and pick flowers?” Alice asked.

“When the dishes are done,” Ma said.

When the dishes were done, Alice asked Ruff, their dog, if he wanted to go along to pick flowers and get some fresh air.

“Ruff!” The dog barked. Ruff got his name because of the way he barks.

“Have a good time girls!” Ma called. “And take this loaf of bread, butter, and preserves to Uncle Richard’s farm. Set this basket around fifty feet from the sidewalk that leads to the house. Then go flower picking.”

“Okay, Ma,” the girls said in unison.

The girls left the house and headed toward Uncle Richard’s farm.

“I’ll put the basket down and you and Ruff stay here, Alice,” said Susan. She left the basket fifty feet away from the sidewalk. Richard’s family was under a spell of fever.

When Susan came back, she, Alice, and Ruff went flower picking. Ruff bounded around the girls happily. The girls picked violets, daisies, morning glories, and buttercups.

They saw their Ma’s friends, Joanne and Amelia, deep in conversation. When they noticed the girls, Amelia said, “Hi. How are you and your Ma doing?”

“We’re fine, thank you.” Susan answered.

Once, Susan looked in the direction of Uncle Richard’s farm, and she saw Uncle Richard picking up the basket and waving ‘thank you’ to them.

After Susan and Alice picked armfuls of flowers, they headed home.

When they entered the house, they showed the flowers to Ma, who was embroidering. “Morning glories! I love morning glories! Thank you,” she cried. “Those were the kind of flowers your Pa gave me before our wedding, and he gave more to me before he died of cancer.”

Ma put all the flowers in a vase with water. In less than an hour, the whole house smelled of flowers.

 

 

Abba’s Promise Has Arrived!

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This is the book!

“What book?” You might ask.

The book for which I sent a short devotional story for submission about two years ago and it is now published, my story is in it, and you can get your own copy from Cross River Media.

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Yes, this is my story! They chose my story for Day One! Yes, this is a teaser. If you want to read this story, you’ll have to buy the book. It’s a beautiful little volume and three of my other writer friends have stories in it too — Jill Printzenhoff, Cheryl Weber, and Renita Gerlach. Altogether, there are 33 encouraging, inspiring stories in this little book!

 

Big News!

I’m sorry if you came looking for a Flash Fiction Friday post here today, but I just couldn’t wait to share my “Big News”. Flash Fiction Friday will return again next Friday.

The photo below is the cover reveal of a book that holds thirty-three personal stories of God’s provision for the writers’ lives, and I am one of the thirty-three writers who has a story inside!

The following was taken from CrossRiver’s website, explaining a bit more about them and this book:

God’sPromisesHoldTrue

For us here at CrossRiver and for many of our authors, it has been a challenging year. Our mission is To glorify God by providing high-quality books and materials that ignite an individual’s relationship with God and inspires them to lead lives that honor Him.

Satan doesn’t want God to be glorified, so the enemy strikes where he can. Psalm 34:19 NLT tells us:

The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

God’s promises hold true. He is faithful. We can trust him.

However, we all need encouragement now and then. To that end, in November CrossRiver is releasing our newest anthology, Abba’s Promise: 33 Stories of God’s Pledge to Provide.

Why 33 stories? Because in biblical numerology 33 means promise, and that’s what this book is all about.

From our smallest to biggest need, God has promised to provide. And Hebrews 10:23 NLT tells us, “God can be trusted to keep His promise.” His promises anchor our hope. Additionally, our personal testimony is a powerful weapon against Satan. “They overcame him… by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11 KJV).

From the provision of finances to His guiding presence to angelic protection, Abba’s Promise offers you 33 stories filled with hope and encouragement for today.

Debra Butterfield is an editor for CrossRiver and it was a pleasure working with her to get my story into this lovely anthology. You can read more about her at the CrossRiver website.

You can preorder this book of encouraging stories for just $9.99 (plus shipping and handling) at:

http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/abbas-promise/gallery/bookstore/

Anyone who knows me and would like me to sign your copy, I would be happy to do so.

20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno

I received an  ecopy of 20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno free from BookLook bloggers to write a review for them.

I haven’t read very many short stories, and I had read that romance stories don’t really work well as short stories.  However, in 20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno, Dan debunks that statement.  The stories in 20 Short Ones are all relationship stories — some friendship and some romance.  His characters are interesting and his plots are sometimes quirky, but between his characters and his plots, he kept me reading.

I loved how in these stories offered so many different aspects of relationships and the problems that can be part of a relationship, whether that problem is caused by both people, an external force, or an internal conflict in one of the two people or even both of the people in the relationship.  These short stories did a good job of exploring many different relationship conflicts and possible resolutions.

There were a couple of stories in this collection that seemed a bit difficult to follow either because the author bounced from one character’s point of view to the other’s quickly and without warning or offering a page break or something to alert the reader.  Also, sometimes long passages of dialogues caused me to have to go back and figure out which character said which part of the dialogue because there were no tags or beats to help clarify who was speaking.  I understand too many tags take away from a story, but beats can actually add to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed nine of the stories and felt that nine of the stories were good.  There were only two stories in the collection that I found I didn’t really care for and two that I absolutely loved.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading stories about relationships with characters and situations that may remind them of relationships in their past or present, or maybe one that they hope will be part of their future.  I will definitely hold on to this collection and read most, if not all, of these stories again.  I found that short stories can satisfy me and can be a pleasure to read.