Friday, February 27, 2015 | By: Cafe
A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.
- Oscar Wilde
Thursday, February 26, 2015 | By: Cafe

Breaking New Ground with Charmaine Gordon

Fall in love with author Charmaine Gordon, who The Write Way Café welcomes today. Read how in following her own advice -- Never give up. Keep writing every day and don't let rejection get you down -- she has built a career.

Tell us a little about Breaking New Ground.
When the CEO of a major Construction Company claims a part of Celia Brown's property, he has no idea what he's up against. The elderly widow and her six year old granddaughter prepare for battle. River's Edge, the town that believes in kindness to strangers, jumps into the fray. Add romance, kids, and pride to the mix; there are lessons to be learned in Breaking New Ground.

If Breaking New Ground was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
I haven't lost my acting chops so I cast myself as the sassy widow Celia Brown. TaDa!  Ryan Gosling is a possibility for the arrogant CEO who has much to learn. If Amy Adams can be made up to look native American, I'd like to see her as Anna Youngblood, the young woman who teaches James Chandler how to be a real person and last, CassidyRae Malone, known to me as my granddaughter, who gave me the idea for Breaking New Ground, will definitely gain the role of the six year old who helps her granny save the old homestead while her Marine Mom is on deployment to the Middle East.

What's the best writing advice you've been given? What's your best writing advice for others?
Kimberlee Williams, my publisher of Vanilla Heart Publishing, is wonderful. From the beginning five years ago, she believed in me and therefore I believed in me. My suggestion to other authors is this. Never give up. Keep writing every day and don't let rejection get you down.

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
Funny you should ask. Just last week, a so-called young friend told me never to stand up at a book signing. Sit down always and stay seated. I was born in the early thirties when women/girls didn't speak their minds so even now at the ripe age of 84 I still can't think of a snappy comeback unless it's in a script. I thought about this for a few days and when our paths crossed at a meeting, I said, "I've been engaging with the public longer than you were born so don't tell me what to do." Actually I could have used a lot of 2 word combinations: not Happy Birthday but she got the picture.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I've heard gorgeous descriptions, delightful dialogue and words to live by like that. Then the critical nasty stuff, nit picky-not my word-you used the same word twice close together and you began at the wrong place or I love it BUT ... Big Butt.

We're adding books to our Cafe menu. Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entree or a dessert? What would you call it?
Breaking New Ground is a long/short rich with love, romance mature and young and belief in kindness to strangers. In my humble opinion I say this story is an entree. And how about my full length To Be Continued book-optioned for a television movie? There's a book worthy of an entree plus dessert. Sorry, I got carried away.

What is your favorite social media? Why?
I like blogging about my acting experiences and family exploits. FB is great for keeping in touch with friends all the country.

Tell us about the book in your closet. 
I'm in the middle of another River's Edge story, no name as yet, and someone I met on FB has a fascinating story she's agreed to let me write. I plan to do her justice.

And now for the fun stuff!

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality?
Full to over flowing, that's me.

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
I build flagstone patios from found stone in upstate NY. They are there in stacks under dirt or near the roads. Once built, it's time to transplant hostas and climbing flowers to trail along the fences. I was a professional dancer years ago and gave it up due to arthritis. Now I dance with my grandest granddaughter to wild and crazy DVD's on a flat screen with WI. She said the other day after a hot session, "Grans, you dance great for an old lady!"

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
Dogs I've loved are long gone and passed away. Now we have 3 hand-me-up cats from daughter-all sweet and loving except for Tony who can be a mean S.O.B. sometimes.

What is your favorite season and why?
Forget winter. I'm over that. Too fearful of falling and breaking old bones. My hubs used to take me for a walk. Now he takes me for a drag. Give me the three seasons to embrace. Although I do wake up each day and think, "This is a plus."

There are a lot of top ten lists. What list would you be number one on?
If Mature Romance/Suspense ever becomes a bona fide genre then I'll make the top of the list. Been there and still doing that. My motto is "it isn't over 'til it's over."

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest. I'd love to read some comments so bring them on.  Are you embarrassed reading about older romance? Let me know.

I'm offering an e copy of Breaking New Ground to one incredibly fortunate commenter and for another a copy of To Be Continued. How would you survive and thrive if, heaven forbid, you were abandoned by your husband?

iTunes     All Romance      Amazon

SMASHWORDS for ALL EReader Devices
including PC and Mac
Smashwords     Barnes & Noble

About Charmaine:  I learned a lot reading scripts, watching directors like Mike Nichols, Rob Marshall, and so many more and working with wonderful actors like Gene Wilder, Billy Crystal, Anthony Hopkins, and singing with Harrison Ford in Working Girl. I’m a watcher and I pay attention. When writing, that’s a good trait. Anthony Hopkins told me to learn my lines and don’t trip over anything on the set. Then we had lunch.  How cool is this? Known in New York as the voice of Betty White, never met the lovely lady, whenever her voice was needed and they didn’t want to pay the big bucks, they called on me. My first job was as the leg model for Geraldine Ferarro, first female vice presidential candidate. Secret Service men guarding her and two daughters as they filmed a Diet Pepsi commercial and there was me with my nice legs. Show business. There’s no business like it.

Now I’m an oldie, a goodie writing daily and loving it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Chris Cannon

Chris Cannon

Don't just fight the system…burn it.
     Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking…
     But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn't a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally. 
     Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.

Buy links for Bridges Burned:  Barnes & Noble      Amazon    iTunes  Kobo    Amazon-UK     Amazon-Canada

Chris is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.  Please leave your email address so Chris can contact you if you win!

Chapter One
     On the drive back to school, Bryn reflected on how her life had recently gone to hell. It had all started when flames shot out of her mouth on her sixteenth birthday, proving she wasn’t completely human. Since then she’d been shipped off to a secret school for dragons—the Institute for Excellence—where she was learning how to control her shape-shifting dragon powers. She’d faced discrimination, death threats, and poisoning. She’d been blown up and involved in a battle to the death with a radical Revisionist member—and she’d been there for only a few months.
     Though not everything about her new life was bad. She had a sexy boyfriend, Black dragon Zavien Blackthorn, and two good friends, Clint and Ivy. Being a crossbred dragon meant she had both the Red and Blue dragons’ breath weapons, fire and ice, and even though she was the only crossbreed, she could still outfly even the fastest Blue. Of course, that’s why some of the other Clans hated her. She’d upset the natural order of things in this color-coded world, where the Directorate dictated what Red, Black, Green, Orange, and Blue dragon Clan members could do as a profession and whom they could marry. It was absurd. Yet most dragons didn’t question it.
     Part of Zavien’s appeal lay in the fact that he headed up the student Revisionist group that petitioned the Directorate to change outdated laws. Bryn glanced at Directorate lawyer Merrick Overton, who was driving the Cadillac SUV hybrid she was riding in. Her classmate and former nemesis Jaxon Westgate rode shotgun. She and Jaxon no longer hated each other. Scratch that: he no longer hated her based on his father’s vendetta against her mother, but that didn’t mean they were friends. Funny how saving someone’s life could turn you from enemies to…what? Not friends. Frenemies, maybe? Who knew? It’s not like she wanted to hang out with him, but there was a weird level of trust between them now that she didn’t know what to do with.
     God, what she wouldn’t give to close her eyes and wake up at home with her mom and dad, sitting in the living room eating popcorn and watching bad television. But the Directorate would never let that happen. She was stuck. Stuck in this weird shape-shifting dragon world where she still didn’t know all the rules. And half the rules she did know were total crap.

Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shitzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. 

Chris can be found at:  
Website     Twitter     Facebook     Google+     Pinterest

Friday, February 20, 2015 | By: Cafe
The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail.  The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible. 
- Mark Twain
Thursday, February 19, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Sandy Loyd

Romance reader turned prolific author, Sandy Loyd finds inspiration for her books in life around her.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? 
I thought about writing a book for a long time before I actually wrote one. The moment I finally decided to do so was after beginning a book that was so disappointing I threw it across the room and thought ‘I could do better.’ I wrote my first one and have been writing ever since. Was that first thought related to writing romance? Of course it was related to romance, since I love the romance genre.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? 
I already had the characters in mind, since it’s the fifth book in the series. I just needed to sit down and write it.

What type of research did you do?
It’s contemporary romance, so I didn’t have to do a lot. I did luck out, though, in having gone through a simulated attack that soldiers face while I toured Ft. Sam Houston with my writing group.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
During the same tour I took at Ft. Sam Houston, we met and heard stories from field medics and one story really resonated with me. I had to put the experience in a book to highlight what those brave men and women go through on a daily basis while fighting to keep us safe.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
That was easy, since it was the fifth book in the California Series. It stands to reason, the book would be set in the Bay Area. The heroine lived in Hayward, and I put her hero in San Jose. It was close enough, yet far enough to suit my purposes for the story.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? 
I think my characters are composites of people I know. A laugh, a smile. Something I remember that I liked might go into a book as well as something I disliked.

Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
That’s probably true to an extent. My characters are based on my experiences and would react how I think they should or would react given certain circumstances. Someone else’s character might act totally different because their experiences are different.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them?  If not, what's your secret?
The hardest part for me is getting the characters down and sometimes that takes a lot of writing and then rewriting. I do get blocked when I can’t figure out what’s going to happen or if what’s happening isn’t organic. My critique partners help keep me on track and tell me how the characters are coming across. That eases most of the blocks because they usually have suggestions. The best remedy to unblock a writer’s block is to write, even when it gets impossible.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
The characters always surprise me, especially if I just write and let their story come out. One was that Cam’s mother would find a love of her own. I didn’t plan it, it just happened. And Cam’s reaction was a surprise. I truly learned about him by writing the scene.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about death, promises, and finding a new normal?
The more I write, the more I learn about myself. I’ve unearthed feelings from my childhood as well as feelings about those around me, like my family. It helps with understanding motivations from loved ones. I’ve learned life is short and one should always let people know how much they are loved.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
One of my favorite romances is Shauna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. In fact I fell in love with romance novels after reading her Flame and the Flower. I also love Gone with the Wind. I’ve read both probably a couple of dozen times in my life. Also, I’m a big Sandra Brown fan. I loved Envy. I’ve read that one several times. It was one of those books that just spoke to me.

What are you working on now? 
I’m working on book 3 in a romantic mystery/suspense series called DC Badboys. This is Eric Coleman’s story. I have it mostly in my mind and may or may not follow the outline I’ve created.




About the author:  Sandy Loyd is a Western girl through and through. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, she's worked and lived in some fabulous places in the US, including South Florida. She now resides in Kentucky and writes full time. As much as she loves her current hometown, she misses the mountains and has to go back to her roots to get her mountain and skiing fix at least once a year, otherwise her muse suffers.
     As a former sales rep for a major manufacturer, she’s traveled extensively throughout the US, so she has a million stored memories to draw from for her stories. She spent her single years in San Francisco and considers that city one of America's treasures, comparable to no other city in the world. Her California Series, starting out with Winter Interlude, are all set in the Bay Area.
     An empty nester, Sandy has published almost two dozen novels, all with true to life characters and heart-warming stories filled with romance that makes the world go ’round. Whether romantic suspense, contemporary romance, or historical romance, she always tries to weave a warm love story into her work, while providing enough twists and turns to entertain any reader.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 | By: HiDee

What's in Your TBR Pile?

Previously, I wrote about how Debbie Macomber’s book Thursdays at Eight resonated with me, but that other of her books remain in my to-be-read pile.  I started thinking about what my TBR pile is composed of, and why.

My original TBR pile began many years ago, when as a teenager I subscribed to the Harlequin Reader Service.  Four to six books arrived in my mailbox each month.  Sometimes I read them all before the next shipment arrived, and sometimes I didn’t.  I also subscribed to a hardcover book club and Writer’s Digest Book Club.  My home library grew.

During those teenage years, my focus was on love stories and their exotic locations.  I was fascinated with characters with knowledge well beyond my years.  I wanted to visit the settings in the books; even Montana and Virginia seemed exotic to me at that age!

Closely following love was sorrow.  All that teenaged angst was really depressing!  I started reading poetry, especially that of Rod McKuen.  Then I started writing poetry, sharing it with friends who shared it with other friends, which was all well and good until it landed in the hands of my crush.

When I was burned out on human love, I turned to animals.  My love affair with horses had begun years earlier, but the closest I could come to having a horse of my own was living vicariously through books. I devoured books by Marguerite Henry, Mary O’Hara, Walter Farley and Will James.  I learned about and fell in love with Seabiscuit long before Laura Hillenbrand told his story in 2001.  I branched out into stories about other animals as well.  All Things Bright and Beautiful and All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott made me smile and want to make a difference in that area. For awhile I dreamed of becoming a vet, but my failure to grasp chemistry and a severe cat allergy put a stop to that.

My reading path took me through history and biographies, feeding my desire to learn what makes people the way they are. This, in turn, brought me back to historical romances, particularly western historicals.  I am in awe of historical writers, both for their knowledge and their ability to bring those worlds so vividly to life in the pages of their books.

Although I’ve always been drawn to romances, when we started our family, I found myself particularly drawn to romantic comedies. I guess I needed a fun escape from the stresses of parenthood.  Now that my children are grown, I increasingly find myself drawn to continuity series with family at the heart of the books.

Looking back over the years, my TBR pile has definitely reflected different periods of my life.  Some of those TBR books have moved to my keeper shelf.  I don’t often re-read a book, but I find comfort knowing those books are there.  They represent parts of me, showing how I have grown and changed, and they reflect who I have become.

What’s in your TBR pile?  Please share.
Friday, February 13, 2015 | By: Cafe
Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze. 
- Elinor Glyn