Friday, March 23, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. 
– Amelia Earhart
Thursday, March 22, 2018 | By: Lynn

Get to Know Lynn Crandall

The Write Way Café does something a little different today by interviewing one of the blog's partners. HiDee and Lynn have featured a large variety of talented authors on the blog for a number of years. Today, Lynn Crandall answers the questions we've asked others so you can get to know her a bit better.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?

Casually, I made up stories to tell my younger sister when we were both very young. I wrote a short one-act play when I was twelve. My best friend and I were the only characters and we performed in front of our church. It took me awhile to discover my passion for writing, and in particular romance novels. That first book will never see the light of day. I wrote it in longhand with a pencil in a notebook and it took two weeks. Yeah, not good, but it was a start.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
My first book was published by Kensington, then it took me a few years to juggle my way through family, a day job, and writing to produce another novel. That was titled Dancing with Detective Danger, a romantic suspense. For that story, I interviewed police officers and detectives to help me write about private investigator sisters and their private investigator and police officer heroes. The heroine and the hero carried emotional scars that I needed input from a counselor and real people who had experienced those particular traumas. I do Internet research to get background and familiarity with various elements of the story, but I really enjoy first-hand interviews.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
Dancing with Detective Danger was an exploration of family working together and creating family out of people beyond their biological family. I feel our commonly held beliefs for how family occurs and behaves is often far from the real experience of family. I wanted to explore different ways of finding groups where we get a sense of belonging. All my subsequent books, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance, carry that theme of what makes a family, within the context of the developing love relationship, of course.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
I only write stories set in the Midwest. There is so much natural beauty everywhere, but I like the variety of the Midwest. So whether the setting is a fictitious town during a Michigan winter, a rural area of Minnesota, or a big city located on one of the Great Lakes, nature is a frame for the characters’ experience. More recently, I’ve been having fun pinning setting images, which include housing fitting the characters, natural landscapes, town scenes, and other relevant elements, in my Pinterest book boards.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
My main characters reflect their individual stories. They are imaginary, but sometimes they may be an amalgam of a variety of personality types. I believe people are born who they are, but are also shaped by their life experiences and behave out of patterns and beliefs, rather than their true selves. Part of their character arcs demonstrate dealing with their understanding of who they are and learning about their true selves and how they want to express their values. So, in a way, that experience for characters reflects my personal goals, abstractly.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
I wish I had magical secrets that would prevent blocks. The closest thing I have to a secret is personal, and it is to write. It’s not unusual for me to get bogged down and not write, which makes things worse. Over and over, when I just sit down and dig in, my muse is there with things to say. And I always say a big thank you to my magical, invisible writing team for showing up, because the next day may begin the same way. I really admire writers whose writing is hard won and they just keep soldiering on regardless of level of support, amount of available time, or bouts of discouragement.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
With each book, I have been happily surprised at being able to write, and finding that I like what I’ve written. I get pretty attached to my characters and their trials. For instance, in Probabilities, as I was writing I realized I was going kill off a young boy’s mother. I really struggled with that. How could I take away his mother??!! I cried during writing the scenes regarding her death and the child’s life after. That was surprising.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about technique, skills, and your goals? 
I love words and streaming them together, and reaching for a way to produce the kind of immersive experience I want readers to get. I always strive to improve my skills. But beyond all that, what I’ve learned from writing is that for me it is a vehicle for personal growth, purpose, and having more and more joy becoming more and more who I really am.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
I lust after the writing space Tom Selleck had in the movie Her Alibi. It was upstairs on the second or third floor in a kind of large attic room with windows and books and disorganized order all around. But…I have a desk in front of a window, two tall bookshelves to my left filled with books I turn to during writing, a shelf with little things that inspire me or tickle my imagination, and filing cabinets. I would love a writing space in a personal library, and a much bigger desk, which would still be orderly in my own disorderly way.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
Books that have taken my breath away include Persuasion by Jane Austin because of the characters’ palpable aching for each other; Jane Eyre because of the absolute devotion the main characters have for each other; and the Dark Materials series by Philip Pulman for their tremendous depth. I credit Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series with teaching me everything I needed to know about myself. I could go on, because there are the Harry Potter books, the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson, and on and on.

What are you working on now? 
Presently I am writing a contemporary romance I’ve tentatively titled Love and Cherish. It is a runaway bride story that is challenging me.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why? 
I have written romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and a children’s book. I’ve enjoyed writing them all, but I am keenly interested in writing women’s fiction and plan to start one this summer. I also dream of writing dark fantasy.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
I would never not be a writer. LOL But I also would like to study and be knowledgeable about art history.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
I’ll admit, writing skillfully to show not tell keeps being a challenge.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
I’m going to be selfish and pick from my own books. Even picking from those books is hard. I love them all. But because Quinn in Probabilities is not a typical romance novel hero, I have a soft spot for him.

Lynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the
company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to inspire, empower, and uplift.

Visit Lynn:

Website            Facebook            Twitter  
Amazon            Instagram            Pinterest

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Beg for Mercy with Jami Gray


Choosing a side has never been so dangerous…

The world didn't end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality.

An assassin by trade, a loner by nature, Mercy is sent to infiltrate the Cartels and unmask the identity of their new silent partner. Instead, she discovers a darker plan threatening to crumble the entire Southwest and ends up with a hefty bounty on her head. Still, she’s determined to stop the impending attack at any costs, even if it means partnering up with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures.

After enduring a brutal, blood soaked lesson on the savagery of civilization’s scavengers, Havoc is well acquainted with the consequences of battling predators. But as a member of the nomadic band of arbitrators known as Fate’s Vultures, he’s determined to cement the necessary allies to oust the biggest threat looming on the horizon. When an enigmatic woman crosses his path, her secrets and troubling loyalty light the fuse on an unexpected craving and his insatiable curiosity.

In order to trap a common foe and derail an impending threat, Havoc and Mercy must turn the tables to hunt a predator. Can an assassin and a mercenary find their balance on the thin line of loyalty, or will it snap under the weight of their wary hearts?

Escape Publishing         Amazon         Barnes & Noble
iBooks         Kobo

Jami Gray is the coffee addicted, music junkie, Queen Nerd of her personal Geek Squad, Alpha Mom of the Fur Minxes, and award winning author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams, and her latest Romantic Suspense series, Fate’s Vultures. She writes to soothe the voices in her head.

Friday, March 16, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out. 
– Steve Jobs
Thursday, March 15, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

When Reality Exceeds Imagination with Susanne Matthews

The Write Way Café welcomes author Susanne Matthews, who offers tips for effective writing of setting.

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here today. This morning, I would like to discuss setting. To me, realistic settings are critical to the story, and I do my best to work my stories into places I’ve been, but that isn’t always possible.

Most new authors work on a limited budget. That being said, while hands-on research is best, a lot of us have to rely on the opinions—and photographs—of others and Internet research.  This picture is one I took in January on Cozumel during my recent Caribbean cruise. Until this year, I had never been any farther south than Williamsburg, Virginia.

Last year, when I decided to create a tropical setting for my novel, Wedding Bell Blues, I relied heavily on research and the opinions and comments of friends and family who’d taken island vacations. Creating an imaginary place as the setting often works better than using a real location, especially if you have limited knowledge of the region, but even then, you need to have enough information about the area, its history, its laws, and its people to make the setting and the story believable. For example, if you decided to set a story in the Mediterranean, you can’t have your characters using machetes to cut back jungle and tropical rainforest. Any reader who lives in that area or has been there will dismiss the story at once and probably give you a lousy review simply because you didn’t do your homework.

Wedding Bell Blues is set on Paradise Island, an imaginary island off the coast of Martinique in the Caribbean.  When I wrote the story, I wanted to give it something different. There are so many romance novels out there, I wanted mine to stand out. So, instead of your typical contemporary romance, I added paranormal elements by suggesting mermaids existed and live among us as well as using Quimbois, the voodoo religion practiced in the area. I added a cursed sunken treasure, a greedy evil practitioner of the dark arts, and of course a romance. This is a second chance at love story where a girl who had a crush on her brother’s best friend actually gets the guy. But, for MJ, the course of true love doesn’t run smooth as whatever can go wrong does.

Since I started the story in the dead of a Canadian winter, I wanted to visualize the sun and the sea, but more importantly, I wanted to be able to describe it so that other armchair travelers would see it, too. When my husband surprised me with plans for a Caribbean vacation this year, I was thrilled. Not only would I get a chance to escape the cold for 14 days, I would be able to see how close I’d come to reality. I wasn’t disappointed.

Here’s one of the pictures I took. I was absolutely awed by the color of the water and the shades of blue reflected in them.

One of the primary images in the novel is the color of MJ’s eyes. Here Paul reflects on them.
There was no way in hell he’d ever forget her incredible eyes. They were a pale aquamarine with a deeper ring of the same color edging the outer iris. They reminded him of sand beaches and warm seas, and he’d never seen any others like them.

Here is MJ’s reaction. Instead of commenting, she stared out at the aquamarine water once more. Were her eyes really that shade?

Another image I used involved the vegetation common to the region. Our vacation coincided with the end of the rainy season, but we saw a lot of downed trees and puddles. The week before we arrived in Roatan, a mud slide had claimed the life of a child. Beautiful scenery could be destroyed in a matter of hours.

Paul and MJ have such a storm during their stay, a fitting backdrop for their own emotional storms.  Picture this beach as MJ sees it after the storm.  If you saw any of the footage from last season’s hurricanes, you can easily visualize the damage. While there were a few broken branches here, the trees had survived intact. Palms are hardy trees, well suited to withstanding storms, and even if they lose most of their leaves, as long as the palm bud or palm heart at the top of the trunk isn’t damaged, it will regrow its branches.
All around them, branches from palm trees and other tropical plants littered the wharf. The water level in the lagoon, which had been a good two feet below the walkway, was mere inches under the boards, and up ahead, along the beach, half a dozen of the majestic Roystonea trees, better known as royal palms, had been uprooted. Two of them blocked the path leading to the main building.

I could go on all day about how everything I saw confirmed or exceeded my expectations, but I will leave you with one last image.

In the novel, MJ falls overboard, and Paul dives in to save her. Because I am severely asthmatic, I could never hope to see what Paul did, but never say never. In Georgetown, Cayman Islands, we took a submarine ride. I was so excited, I didn’t have time to worry about being 112 feet underwater.  Here’s Paul’s description. Diving deeper, he opened his eyes, ignoring the burn of the salt water. As always when underwater without a mask, everything was fuzzy and distorted, but the water was amazingly clear. He looked below him into the darker depths and saw her drifting down, a strange iridescent purple shadow beneath her, almost as if it was supporting her.
And here is what I saw through the porthole. Yes, the water really is blue 112 feet down!

While I will always try for realism in my settings, it’s nice to know that proper research can come close to reality.

Wedding Bell Blues is available in paperback and digital from most online retailers including

About Susanne:
Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Not content with one subgenre, Susanne writes romance that ranges from contemporary to sci-fi and everything in between. 

Follow Susanne on her:  Website   Blog    Facebook  Twitter @jandsmatt  Amazon author page and   Goodreads author page.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Since Larry Died by Charmaine Gordon

Charmaine Gordon

She drives off on an adventure. Since her husband died, the widow feels angry so she gets on his Harley and drives to the club. She thinks why not? It's my Harley now and I can shoot. Heart aching, she drives.

That's the beginning of the story. A woman lost and wondering what will happen next.

I've been writing for years with many cats on my lap.  Stories of love, humor and therapy dogs, all fun. Enjoy my work and know I write for pleasure. From my heart.

This story is special; I hope you all enjoy it.

by Charmaine GordonJoan finds herself alone after the death of her husband of 37 years. Determined that she will not become a recluse confined to her home, she forces herself to take part in life as a single woman. The work she does helping others with her therapy dogs become part of the strength that propels her to move forward in life and quit blaming her husband for dying.


About Charmaine: I was an actor for many years on daytime drama: One Life to Live, Another World, All My Children. Movies: my first was Working Girl where I sang Happy Birthday to Melanie Griffith and shared a Hot Dog with Harrison Ford during the break. The Road to Wellness with Sir Anthony Hopkins,"call me Tony" he said and invited me to lunch at the special room for the leads and staff. What fun and delicious filet mignon. The sweet time in my life after caring for a large family in the loving days of momhood. Then my voice failed me and I began writing. How I love this career and my publisher, Kimberlee Williams, Vanilla Heart Publishing.



Friday, March 9, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundation under them. 
– Henry David Thoreau