Friday, September 16, 2022

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts: The Latest IWSG Anthology!

The latest Insecure Writer's Support Group anthology was released on September 6, 2022.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading First Love:  The Art of Making Doughnuts.
Escaping into a light-hearted book that raised my spirits was exactly what I needed.
It was a delight, as sweet and comforting as Officer Gina McAllister's 
favorite raspberry cream doughnuts, but without the calories.

Typically, I don't read romance books.
I'm more into science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and historical fiction,
but I read the six previous IWSG anthologies, and I wasn't going to miss the seventh.
The ten IWSG authors wrote engaging stories set in a variety of places and times,
and they showed that you're never too young or too old to experience a first love.


The Ten Stories:

Story #1:
"The Art of Making Doughnuts" by Linda Budzinski
Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen
by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts?
This story deserved the honor of being featured on the cover.  
It is sweet perfection with fun characters, a strong narrator's voice,
and a tight, well-integrated structure.
Definitely cops and doughnuts go together.
The surprise was jigsaw puzzles and Impressionist art. 

Story #2:
"My Heart Approves"
by Melissa Maygrove.
Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband
get a dose of her own medicine?

A suspenseful and funny story, with an unlikely couple wed by proxy
after a long correspondence.  Can Abby and John find love together?

Story #3:
"How to Save a Princess"
by Katie Klein.  
Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day "princess" from a tenacious ex-boyfriend??

This over-the-top hilarious story with an unusual love triangle
kept me laughing from beginning to end. 

Story #4:
"My First Love(s)"
by Templeton Moss.  
Do you remember your first love?

A married couple reminisces about theirs.  Two distinct voices
and an unexpected twist make this story memorable.

Story #5:
"The Real Thing"
by Sammi Spizziri.  
Can two strangers in a ride share be honest enough to fall in love for real?

You can change your life by taking a risk.  
"The real thing" hits Lola when she least expected it, 
and it is someone she would never have anticipated. 

Story #6:
"Paper Faces"
by  Sylvia Ney.  
Can this journalist get the story or will her big heart get in the way?

An awkward position confronts Helen when her employer instructs her
to get the information to bury an up and coming politician.
A fun story with a good ending. 

Story #7:
"Oliver’s Girl"
by Michael Di Gesu.  
Will star-crossed sweethearts find a way back to each other?

Olivia spends an afternoon with her great-grandfather and learns some surprising things.
This is a poignant and uplifting story. 

Story #8:
"Clyde and Coalesce"
by Kim Elliott.  
Can an unexpected collision and some embarrassing assessments lead to true love?

Lizzie knows she lost the right guy for her, and she worries she'll never find love again.
This is a relatable and engaging story with a satisfyingly sweet ending.

Story #9:
"Marmalade Sunset"
by Denise Covey.  
What is his grandmother up to a grandson wonders when she invites him
to accompany her on an-end-of-life trip to Greece.

This moving love story is set on the beautiful island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea.  
It is well-written with a strong sense of place.

Beautiful Santorini, Greece

Story #10:
"The Castle of Ohno"
by  S.E. White.  
Can two lonely, even desperate, people risking everything
for a chance to improve their lives find love?

This atmospheric story set inside the formidable Castle Ohno
is a fitting end to the First Love anthology.
I was racing to the end of the story wondering how this possibly could end well.


If you're looking for an enjoyable book to curl up on a quiet evening,
this one will touch your heart and bring back memories of your first love.

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The sweetness of first love…

Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts? Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine? Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day “princess” from a tenacious ex-boyfriend? Can two strangers in a rideshare be honest enough to fall in love for real? Can you remember your first love? How about your second? Third? Fourth? 

Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

Print ISBN – 9781939844880, $14.95
eBook ISBN – 9781939844897, $4.99
Romance - Clean & Wholesome / Contemporary / Historical
186 pages, Freedom Fox Press, an imprint of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. 

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 refreshing read! This is a gem of a book that I highly recommend.” - Rebecca Boerner M Ed., reviewer

“…this collection nailed the little bites of cute romance… recommend to anyone looking for an uplifting collection of sweet romance to fill an evening.” - Hayley Reese Chow, author

“This was a sweet, warm collection of love stories.” – Angie Titus, author


Up, Up, and Away!
February 22, 2022
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Please Note:  
I had no idea when I signed up to do a review of First Love, that I would be flying today.
Furthermore, I'll be without my computer until I arrive home late this afternoon.
I look forward to reading your comments.
I will be late responding, but I'll reply to each and every one!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

My next post will be on Friday, September 23, 2022.  🤞

Wikimedia Commons


  1. Most enjoyable to read and I loved the pics. hope all is well with you.

    1. Thanks, Yvonne! We have just arrived home after three wonderful nights in Yellowstone National Park. Terry and I are doing so much better compared with where we were six weeks ago when we had to cut our family visit to Nova Scotia and fly home for medical reasons. I'm going to have fun sharing some of my photos. Have a great weekend, my friend. Take care!

    2. I visited Yosemite National Park some years ago , a wonderful place.
      Sorry you have not been well and wish both you and husband better health in the future. I have had much anxiety over family issues and Covid still being around but must try and get myself together.

    3. I'm sorry you have been having anxiety over family issues, Yvonne. As for Covid, it's still killing hundreds of people every day here in the USA. I was vaccinated twice, boosted twice, and still very sick when I caught it. So was Terry, who had some serious health complications. It exacerbated everything else I was dealing with medically as well. But that's the past. Things are much improved for Terry and me. It's certainly a sad weekend and a time for reflection in the UK as you all sy goodbye to QEII. Take care!

  2. Another interesting collection of stories. I like the "Donut" title... and can't imagine the twist in "First Love" as sharing about old flings with your spouse sounds pretty dangerous. Travel safe.

    1. Thanks, Jeff! We arrived home safe and sound, and I survived three days and nights without my computer, the internet, cell phone service, and a tv. Yellowstone is magnificent. It felt so good to get out into the wilderness, even if it is sitting atop perhaps the most dangerous volcano on the planet. Have a good weekend, my friend!

  3. Safe flight!
    Glad you enjoyed all the stories in the anthology.

    1. Thanks, Alex! Everything went smoothly. However long or short a trip, it's always good to come home. Fingers crossed, I hope the anthology sells well. Have an enjoyable weekend.

  4. Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to share FIRST LOVE with your readers! It really is such a fun collection!

    1. I loved your story, Linda! Congratulations on earning the top spot and being featured on the cover. You deserved it, hands down!

  5. I'm delighted you enjoyed the stories so much. Yes, the winner is always first, but we like to end on a high note and place the second best story last.

    1. Both stories were great, Diane. I enjoyed them and the other eight between them. I'm not sure if your husband did the cover image, but it is awesome. The IWSG's seven anthologies are so varied and fun. What a great book to add to the collection. Well done!

  6. Thanks for reviewing the anthology. We appreciate the time you invested and your kind words. Have a safe flight!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Your story was so much fun! I can't imagine marrying someone I had never met other than through exchanging letters. Sometimes you have to take a big risk to achieve what you want out of life. Yay for Abby and John both! And congratulations to you for being chosen for the anthology!

  7. Hi Louise, Michael Di Gesu here. I am having a hard time commenting that is why it's showing anonymous. Thank you so much for the wonderful review. All writers appreciate reviews and you took so much time doing this one. Thanks again! I am so happy you enjoyed the collection! Safe travels!

    1. Hi, Michael! I loved Olivia and Oliver's story. I never knew my grandfathers or great grandfathers, because they all died young. But I used to have tea with my Great Uncle Stan, and your story brought back wonderful memories for me. The story rang so true. And, of course, I really enjoyed the love story. Congratulations on being featured in the anthology!

  8. Thanks for reading and promoting the anthology! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on each story. Have a safe flight!

    1. Thanks, Kim! My husband and I made it home just fine, although it was hard to leave Yellowstone Nation Park. Congratulations on winning a place in the anthology! It's such an honor and a thrill! The beginning of your story was so funny. I just knew Lizzie's cringeworthy comments were going to come back to bite her. But love wins out in the end ~ Thank goodness for Lizzie and Fritz!

  9. Sure a great batch of stories in the latest anthology indeed.

    Hopefully you enjoyed your trip and will get home safe and sound.

    1. It's a really good anthology, Pat! We had a wonderful time, and I survived being without my computer, the internet, cell phone service, and a tv. I connected to the internet a few brief minutes here and there if we happened to be at the Snow Lodge sitting in the right spots. The geology of the park is incredible, and Terry was such a good sport putting up with me as I raved about the geothermal features and the super volcano. And he knew I was not going to get out of that park without one or two geology books. We're already planning to go back again. I hope that your nephews are enjoying the start of the school year. It's been fun enjoying the photos of all your adventures this summer. Have a great weekend!

  10. Enjoy your flight, Fundy Blue. Thanks for the time you put into this post. Was lovely seeing your take on each story. Reading is so subjective, isn't it? And the images added a pizzaz to the post. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks, Denise! We had a great trip home, and everything went smoothy. Terry is an excellent trip planner. Reading is definitely subjective, and I'll bet that every story will have readers thinking it's the best. Congratulations on landing a place in the anthology. I really enjoyed your story. It's amazing how having a purpose for living can change your life. You have to have the courage to shake things up and step out. Your story had the best sense of place of any of the stories. You really made Santorini come alive. Enjoy the fun of being a winner!

    2. Yes, our reactions to stories are so subjective. I'm glad I made Santorini come alive; that was part of the plan. I like for my settings to become characters. I'm chuffed when readers email me and tell me I should have won. I think it's a great collection for those who like short stories.


  12. Precious Louise wanted to thank you for for lovely comments always. Sadly can't comment though my youngest son 's laptop for unknown reasons which can be luxury to because typing on laptop is easier than tablet and quicker as well.
    I hope you are enjoying your visit.
    You mentioned that one of your sisters is sick with lecumia. I am sorry for this inconvenience. I can only imagine what you and your family are going through because of this. But as you mentioned your sister is fighter and will surely be fine by the Grace of the lord hopefully!
    My heartfelt best wishes and prays are with her and you.
    I found all the ten stories beautiful and I would love to read them in some time.
    Hugs and blessings

    1. Thanks for your compassion, Baili! Hugs nd blessings back at you, my dear friend!

  13. Replies
    1. Your comments are coming through, Baili! I have my first infusion for my double vision tomorrow (Wednesday 9/21). Finally! I'm optimistic that this will help my eyes. I have to have eight infusions at three-week intervals, so it's a 24-week process. Slowly, but surely, I'm getting there! 🤞 Take care!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.