Does your writing style have fat instead of muscle? By leaving out certain words, you can tighten and tone your manuscript.


In thirty years as an editor, I’ve found the same fatty words bloat the style of many authors.


Here are two notorious phrases: “begin to” and “start to.” They contain empty calories Continue reading

How To Write Like You Are In Love: Tips For Romance Writers By Dave Goodlove

Have you ever noticed how different you feel and act when you are in love?  The whole world opens up, flowers bloom like the first day of spring after a long winter, and you notice things that have always been there but suddenly appear like they are in technocolor after having watched black-and-white TV your whole life.  Such is the heart inflame with love.  When a romance writer’s characters are in love, the reader absolutely must feel it.  For the reader to live vicariously through our characters, there must be a sense that life for our character in love is completely different in every way.  In some ways, it’s like the difference Continue reading

February’s 2014 Valentine’s Poetry Writer’s Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Joseph Imperi for winning the Valentine’s Poetry Writer’s Challenge!!!

Joe Imperi, 43 and a daddy of two young boys, Alexander and Christian, has been writing poetry on and off since high school.  After his separation in April 2011, he founded the

Joe Imperi

Joe Imperi

Dads Rights Coalition of NY support group on FB. This was done due to not being able to find an outlet for people in his situation.  He is also a board member of Fathers and Families of NY. Writing has “saved his sanity” and has been his way of channeling his energy into something positive.  By creating a place to vent positively against parental alienation, he has been able to help many afflicted by the same situation as his own. This is also when he decided to start writing his blog that is aptly titled “Saving my sanity, one blog at a time”.  Joe declares himself a hopeful romantic, yet a lot of his poetry draws from the darker side of loves lost. He recently was published on the online journal The Cultured Vultures in the U.K.  He is working on a compilation of country music poems that he hopes will one day become actual songs. One very recent poem of Joe’s, “She’s just a country girl”, now has a sister version written by Denise Baxter Yoder called “Country Gal”. The two of them hope to bring both poems together into a duet version in the near future.

Along with witting, Joe is an avid hockey fan of the Buffalo Sabres, a lover of fishing, festivals, rollercoasters and anything else related to his home town of Buffalo, NY.

You can find all of Joe Imperis work on his main blog site: www.dadsrightscoalition.wordpress.com

Joe is active in poetry communities found on FB and Google+ and also has another blog: www.savingmysanityoneblogatatime.blogspot.com

Finally, here is a link to his support group that supports not just Dads, but all parents affected by Parental Alienation: www.facebook.com/groups/DadsRightsCoalitionofNY/

Joseph Imperi’s Winning Entry

Really?!?!?!?! Seriously?!?!?!?!

You were always my best friend first
There is really no excuse
Your love is what I thirst
Oh really what’s the use

You were given all I could give Continue reading

The December 2013 Christmas Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Vanessa Wright for winning the Christmas Writer’s Challenge!!!! 

She is a 47 year old visual artist, author, mom and pug breeder. Two of her Afrikaans short

Vanessa Wright

Vanessa Wright

stories have recently been published in My kort vir jou sop available on www.amazon.com as an e-book and soon to be released in soft cover. She has taken part in Nanowromo 2012 and 2013 and reached the target on day 26. She has also published a collection of short stories on Smashwords, titled Twisted. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/361196. She has her own blog at http://iread1966.wordpress.com, appropriately named Humouring the dark where the muse has captured many readers’ attention and a book about the character is in the offing. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter and is a member of a writing group. She leads her own book club and is a true bookaholic. Writing has always been her passion, however the timing always seemed incorrect as daily life interrupted more frequently than not. Now, she has decided to go big or go home.



Vanessa’s Winning Entry

Sweat was running down his back in rivulets and pooled in his underwear. Christmas in the Southern hemisphere at an awesome 37 degrees, dressed in a red velvet suit, white beard, tasselled hat and black boots. He surveyed the manically shopping populace from his fake golden throne.  The true spirit of Christmas was painted on their faces in garish colours as they rushed to and fro. Santa Claus was his name and boosting sales hisgame.

According to myth the Claus was a fat, white man supposedly living in the North Pole, hence the dress code.  He commanded elves, reindeer and an ever pudgier Mrs Claus. In direct contrast Bongani Shabangu was ebony black, single, lived in a sweltering South Continue reading


Almost every novel has a climax near the end of the book. This is when all the plot strands come together and the heroine (or hero) faces her greatest challenge. The tension is so high that the reader perches on the edge of her seat, unable to tear herself away from the story’s action. Continue reading

Joseph Imperi–Winner of Valentine’s Writer’s Challenge

Congratulations Joseph Imperi !!!!!! You are the winner of the Valentine’s Writer’s Challenge. joseph imperi

You have won your choice of prizes in which we will discuss in private, along with a painting by A. Joleigh.


To find out more about Joseph Imperi, please visit Meet the Winners!!



To learn more about our upcoming Mardi Gras Writer’s Challenge, click here.


To keep the reader going, turning page after page even when she meant to do the dishes or go to sleep, place an exciting hook at the end of every scene.

Don’t end a scene with everything resolved, good and well. Instead, make the reader tense

Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall

about what happens next.

Scene-Ending Hooks

State the character’s goal at the beginning of the Continue reading

Voting Time!!! Valentine’s Poetry Writer’s Challenge

Time to vote on your favorite poetry!!!

Voting: January 20th – January 25th (you may vote up to two times)

Winner’s announced: January 26, 2014 

Prizes: ***a romantic theme painted by A. Joleigh (reserved for winner by the public vote), a book of poetry (specifics will be announced soon), chocolates and a card sent to a secret love or someone you admire from afar.

***painting will be done on canvas and shipped in a mailing tube to the winner. Winner is responsible for framing once they receive it. 

A Cup of Wine by M. A Barr

Through-out time I’ve seen men like you destroyed by this same madness, cross-eyed, weeping, howling to the moon and stars,

scribbling promises they cannot keep, stars they cannot touch, diamonds they cannot buy, and an eternity that they cannot live or even measure,

star-crossed boys who believe they know everything but spout drivel from milk-stained Continue reading

In Maiden’s Eyes (inspired by A. Joleigh’s photo) by A. Long

In maiden’s eyes, great surprise,
inspiring all, like day’s sunrise!

In maiden’s eyes, I see the world,
All it’s glories, are unfurled.
In maiden’s eyes, I see the light,
All it’s beauty, beaming bright.
In maiden’s eyes, I see the joy,
All it’s laughter, all souls enjoy. Continue reading

Shadow Dancer by Doug Metz

once walking through the woods
my mind dull and dreary
i paused to rest beside an oak
and lay my spirit weary
the orb of light hanging low
having all but given up Continue reading

V.A.L.E.N.T.I.N.E by Francis James Franklin

Voluptuous perfection, passion divine
Always I’ve ached for you to be mine
Love me, I beg you, I’m yours to command
Every wish, each little demand Continue reading

Again by Robert Price

By Robert C Price

Here we go
Starting over
Living in the infinity of time Continue reading

A Beautiful Procession by Sam Collett

A divine beauty, sent from above

Her eyes shining like stars
I could not help but lose myself in them
Silky hair cascading down her shoulders
Flowing like a magnificent waterfall

She smiled, sweet velvety lips Continue reading

The Kiss by Yolanda Isabel Regueira Marin

His eyes meet mine, Through lowered lashes I glance back. I feel my heart skipping a beat, A sharp intake of breath. Warm body pressed against my own, My body moulding into his. Hand travels slowly down my back, He pulls me closer, We are locked. A soft Continue reading

Teenage Love by Tanya Miranda

I put salt in my Dad’s coffee
And dash sugar on my fries,
“What’s the matter with you? Are you in love or something?”
I am, to my surprise.

Dad asks me why I’m staring
At the budding roses on the window sill. Continue reading

Memories of Love by Matt Ewens

Delicately touching her image locked in time,
A whispered voice, ‘darling you were once mine’,
Swallowing tears and reliving distant fears,
His head bows to remember those years.

Her sparkling eyes, once so full of love,
Beautifully enigmatic, like angels above,
Her sunshine smile and wispy golden hair, Continue reading

If You Are The Fire, I Am The Flame by Charlee Felice

Did you know that we carry
Our love in our hearts?
Destiny made our path
To never be apart

It was on that day
When I walked along your side
A magical moment
You stood tall with a smile Continue reading

Really?! Seriously?! by Joseph Imperi

Really?!?!?!?! Seriously?!?!?!?!

You were always my best friend first
There is really no excuse
Your love is what I thirst
Oh really what’s the use

You were given all I could give
I asked for only love in return
What I offered was a chance to live
Instead I am alone and need to learn

Now I know It’s over
I can read between the lines
So much for the four leaf clover
You have given me all the signs

A wish is a wish
And I guess it just never took
My foolish heart, like a foolish fish Continue reading

Untitled Poem by Margie Morales

Moonlight stars in the sky it’s a perfect night, feels just right
My lover is near everything seems so clear as we touch
Music is playing the sensual notes of lovers in the night
As he engages closer, gently his caress so soft and warm Continue reading

Love Revealed by Jeffery Brand

I come to you naked,
My dreams and fears
Resting on the surface of
My existence…
I’m awash in an ocean of insecurities…
Capsized in life’s waters,
I reach for you;
Struggling against the undertow,
Swimming feverishly towards your
Safe harbor…
I’m unjust in bestowing a moniker
Of savior upon you,
As you’re human and far from
But your love
Is an unfamiliar salvation Continue reading

Inter canem et lupum by Marco Casteleijn

There a dance, it is starting. Movements, infucatus,
sparks drawn across the darkening sky. Dancing
the night away in perpetual fluttering. Papilio
trying to catch the last rays of the sun. Aeternus eternus
are its movements. Seeing without seeing. Only being.

This faint light in our veins, there only for us to know. Continue reading

A Shrubbery by Sheikha A.

The night growing into day is the way of the universe;
I wait, in this longing, for the permanence of the moon.

These ghost nights have possessed the ambience again
causing my being to rattle clueless in addiction, my eyes
carry dark bags of memories that do not escape by tears
or words to release me from the clogs of bellowing aches
reverberating in my shrunken veins withered of waiting
and wanting the glass to now appear as full empty. Continue reading

Stolen Moments By M.A. Kastle

We steal away by moonlight.
Its shadows dancing between us, caught in the silver light we disappear.
Our eyes lock, forever this moment will stay.
A song plays softly while glasses clink with cheer.
Wine pours, laughter carries on the wind, masking our fear. Continue reading

Couch by Saranya Wallooppillai

The couch smells.

And the pillows are

kind of lumpy.

And my nose itches because

we haven’t bothered to evict

the colony of dust bunnies underneath. Continue reading