Welcome to the new home of Author & Professional Speaker, L. Diane Wolfe (AKA "Spunk on a Stick") and The Circle of Friends!

The Circle of Friends series follows a group of young adults as they face different challenges and learn to overcome. The emotionally gripping stories focus on love, friendships and the pursuit of dreams. Aimed at adults/young adults, these books defy the growing trend of salacious titles, especially for teenagers. Positive and uplifting, this series will leave readers determined to overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.

This blog is now the home of the original The Circle of Friends website.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Anthology Experience and Dark Matter: Artificial Release


Several of the authors in this month’s anthology release, Dark Matter: Artificial, have been in previous anthologies with Dancing Lemur Press. I asked them to share their experience and offer tips.

To get your story into an anthology, you must comply with three conditions. The first condition: your story must fit the word count and the theme of the anthology. The theme fit could be literal or oblique, but it should be there. The second condition: your writing must be clean, edited to the best of your abilities. These two conditions are mandatory if you want the editor even to consider your submission. And they’re objective, while the third condition is subjective. To get into an anthology, your writing style must match the editor’s vision and personal taste. For example, if I assign human actions or human qualifiers to an inanimate object and say: “The quirky moon smiled,” some editors might find it charming. Other editors might reject my story based on my ‘flowery’ writing or request me to change the verb and/or the adjective because the moon doesn’t really smile, quirky or not. It is a metaphoric smile, and not every editor approves such writing. - Olga Godim

The best part of being in an anthology is the camaraderie that forms from it. There is definitely a sort of bond between the authors as we read one another's stories and see how they all fall into place, becoming a part of something spectacular! When we look across the "room" of the cyber world, we see each other and think, "Hey, there's my buddy!". Quite the feeling! - Elizabeth Mueller

The biggest difference I've noticed with the IWSG anthologies from other books and magazines in which I've taken part? Diane and Dancing Lemur Press put a lot more work and effort into marketing and spreading the word about the book. While some other publishers just print the anthology and quickly move on to the next one, Diane puts tremendous effort into getting the work out to the widest audience possible, and she makes all the contributing authors part of the process. It's actually a great learning experience for new writers (especially self-published and small-press authors) to see what goes into marketing and promotion, tools and skills which are just as important as writing and editing. - C.D. Gallant-King

When I was asked about anthologies, I realize I've done more than I thought. The first one I did hosted authors writing a letter to our younger selves. I don't even know if that one is still out there. Then I did one for my old publisher, so it's not in print anymore, but of course I have a few copies left. It was CHRONOLOGY - speculative fiction short stories, and it was very exciting because I was in it with one of my favorite authors, Piers Anthony! I also really liked my story "The Comeback" - a zombie love story. I am always thrilled any time I am accepted into an anthology, it's like winning a prize! So I was very honored to be selected for TICK TOCK: A Stitch in Crime. And now, DARK MATTER, so awesome! Since these were done through a publisher, they made the process smooth and easy--I like guidance and deadlines, keeps me organized. Plus with so many other authors to help promote, we sell more. I highly recommend submitting your work to an anthology, it's great for exercising your writing muscles, and you can get your foot into the industry (or keep it in!) - Tara Tyler

This is the second IWSG anthology I've contributed to, and both of them were exactly the right theme at the right time for me. Last year, I had just released a middle-grade novel about a 17th-century English boy, with a gift of seeing ghosts, who sails to Japan as a cabin boy, but ends up stranded and needs the help of yokai spirits to find his way home (Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts). The theme of the anthology was "VOYAGERS: Middle-grade historical fiction with an element of the fantastical." How perfect was that? The story I submitted was an "intraquel" to my novel, one that fit into the action without significantly changing the plot.
Shortly after that anthology came out, a question occurred to me in the wake of George Floyd's death and the ensuing demonstrations: "Can a white person imagine life as a displaced, formerly enslaved people, living in a hostile environment that's still the only home we ever knew?" The most suitable vehicle I could think of to explore this question was science fiction, and once again, IWSG gave me a perfect opening with a science-fiction theme for the 2021 anthology, "Dark Matter." I'm excited for the release of this one, and I can't wait to see what the next theme will be! - Charles Kowalski


Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Release date: May 4, 2021
Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99
Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies / Space Exploration / Genetic Engineering

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter. A Writer’s Digest 101 Best Website for Writers and The Write Life’s Best 100 Website for Writers.

Links: Dancing Lemur Press / Amazon / iTunes / Kobo / B&N / Goodreads

“Dark Matter is a stimulating and eclectic trip through AI minds, disturbing futures and alien worlds. This collection is a box of delights for fans of good sci-fi.” – Max Gorlov, author

“Dark Matter: Artificial offers an impressive assortment of style, substance and emotion in its varied tales, with much darkness and heartbreak but also knowledge, connection and hope.” – Kenneth Silber, Splice Today

Do you have experience working on an anthology?