Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: A Second Chance by Augustina Van Hoven

Augustina Van Hoven


Can a person learn to live and love again?
     A single moment changed Jessica Winters’ life forever… a drunken driver crossed over the centerline and stole the lives of her husband and her little boy. Now, she is trying to find meaning in her life, and she has immersed herself into the world of journalism. While on her way to cover a story, she swerves to miss a deer, and loses control of her car.
     When she awakens, everything has changed—even the century.
     Captain Harlan Jefferson Baylor had found Jessica, unconscious and, to his eye, half-dressed, and he had taken her to the only person he thought would offer help: the local madam. But he’s intrigued by her, and it’s the first time that’s happened since his wife and child died during the Civil War.
     With Harley’s help, Jessica must piece together a new life in the rough, antiquated town. She soon realizes that he not only holds the key to her return to her former life, but he may also hold the key to her heart. 

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Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats.   She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy.  When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines.  

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Friday, October 13, 2017 | By: Cafe
Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect.
― Margaret Mitchell
Thursday, October 12, 2017 | By: Cafe

Who's That Guy? Finding Your Character with Tarot by Arwen Lynch

The Write Way Café welcomes Arwen Lynch, who shares her technique for getting more acquainted with her characters.

Hey y’all. I’m here to talk about Tarot and writing. Or maybe writing and Tarot. Any way I look at it, the two are inextricably entwined for me. Like many, I’ve always written. Unlike many, I’ve also used Tarot for a pretty long time—since 1981 to be exact. I want to share how I use Tarot to go deeper into my characters with a modified version of my Character Background check.

First, let me tell you a bit about Tarot. It’s a visual system that uses 78 cards. Some use it to play games (Tarocchi is very popular in Europe) while others use it for divination, spell work, and introspection to name just a few of its many incarnations. Tarot has been vilified by the Roman Catholic church primarily because of its use as a card game for wagering. It has been around since at least the 15th century and possibly longer. It is not, as is commonly believed, a Romany tradition. That group of wanderers used playing cards more. But now many readers use Tarot. Other types of cartomancy include the Oracle Belline, Kipper, Lenormand and Oracle decks. The popularity has only grown leaps and bounds since I began in the  80’s.

I write as Marilu Mann with my high school bestie, Cai Smith.  She wasn’t a Tarot aficionado then but has become one. When I began using Tarot with our writing, we were both surprised by how it helped. Sounds odd coming from me, right? I mean I was doing this professionally but didn’t think it could help my writing? Just goes to prove you can always learn something. Anyway, that first spread was to see how a character might react. But what we got was backgound information as well. We learned that the reason she might respond to a threat had connections to her past. The Tarot helped us create a more layered character who leapt off the page.

The way we did that was to ask a question “What would Joie do if Malcom did this?” The card we got seemed odd for Joie so we pulled a clarifying card. Now some of you may be saying, “Duh, Arwen, that’s why we have imaginations.” First, it’s mean to say “duh, Arwen”. Secondly, we were stuck. I mean like rock/hard place/pan/fire. So we pulled cards which gave us the answer that she would blow a gasket. Since our heroine was pretty laid back, we wondered why. The card we pulled told us she’d been cheated on by someone and that was one thing she didn’t take lying down.

Think of Tarot as a visual storyboarding technique. The truly fabulous thing is that you don’t need to memorize 156 meanings (in Tarot, there are reversal meanings as well as upright meanings.) You lay the cards out then tell yourself the story you see. It helps if you have questions or assigned spots such as “childhood”, “now”, “her mother” for examples. A wonderful deck that can help you with this is Tierney Sadler’s The Deck of 1000 Spreads: Your Tarot Toolkit for Creating the Perfect Spread for Any SituationYou can use this to help you with the spread or layout.

But let’s get to the layout now, shall we? I am going to show you how I might do a reading for a character in one of my own stories. I like to do this before starting to dive into the meat of the character. This is actually how my book on using Tarot for writing starts—with the character. As Henry David Thoreau reminds us, You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. For this, you would pull out only the Court cards of your Tarot deck.

COURT CHARACTER SPREAD
CARD IMAGE
CARD IMAGE
CARD IMAGE
CARD IMAGE
CARD IMAGE
1.  What was your Hero like as a young person?
2.  What does your Hero do for a living?
3.  Who is your Hero’s role model?
4.  What is your Hero’s weakness?
5.  What is your Hero’s strength? 


EXAMPLE:

1. What was your Hero like as a young person? The card that I pulled was the Page of Wands. This card traditionally brings the message of being eager and passionate. Often seen as someone with anger issues. I would say that my hero was easy to anger and quick to fight.

2. What does your hero do for a living? I got the Queen of Cups for my male hero. So perhaps he’s a male matchmaker or maybe he’s a marriage counselor. This is where you will need to be flexible. It could also be his boss or that he works for his mother. I decided he was someone others turned to for comfort in times of emotional distress. So a grief counselor was my thought.

3. Who is your Hero’s role model? Now this card could be called the mentor, but role model is a bit different. This is who he wanted to be when he grew up. The King of Pentacles is an emotionally unapproachable older man who is very protective of his family. Boundaries are important to him. For me, this would be my hero’s grandfather who was a bit of a loner after his wife died but never failed to do what his family needed. He made sure they were financially safe.

4. What is your Hero’s weakness? Now we go back to the passion suit of Wands with the Knight of Wands who charges off on his horse. The theme here can be about learning to choose battles wisely. I think my hero likes to win but isn’t careful about whom he insults. This has created some enemies for him. He may need to watch his back more than the average Joe.

5. What is your Hero’s strength? Here the King of Cups lends credence to the second card which was the Queen of Cups. But instead of a grief counselor, I wonder if he might be something a bit more secretive. The King of Cups looks like a good secret keeper. So a psychologist maybe? Or a therapist? But when I look at that Page of Wands, I think he’s more of a white knight. So maybe he’s one of those bikers who volunteer to help abused women and children move out of their homes safely. He knows how to keep a secret so maybe he is an investigator as well? And part of his work as a PI shows him what women are in need of his White Knights Agency’s moving service?

So to bring that all into one package, you have a man who makes his living finding out who’s cheating on whom (expressing that Page of Wands passion with the Queen of Cups) but doesn’t have a relationship of his own (King of Pentacles). He wants one like Grandpa and Grandma had, but his current job leaves him with a bad taste in his mouth. He can’t talk to anyone about what he does because of confidentiality issues.

Your turn. You can even do this exercise with playing cards since they have the court cards as well. Leave me a comment to let me know how this worked for you. Here are a few additional resources as well as a recommendation of three very different Tarot decks. Since it’s a visual art, pick one that you like.

Resources:
Hero’s Journey, Arwen Lynch
Tarot for Writers, Corrine Kenner
The Writers Journey, Christopher Vogel
Waite-Smith Borderless Tarot (an updated version of a classic)
Steampunk Tarot
Gaian Tarot

About Arwen:  Stephanie Arwen Lynch-Poe has been published since 2009. Her Tarot career dates back to 1981 where she swears it was uphill both ways in the snow to reach the High Priestess. She resides in New Mexico where she wears the hats of professional joy seeker, Tarot consultant, medium, psychic and magazine owner. You can find her online at http://www.tarotbyarwen.com and http://www.thecartomancer.com She also offers a free promo service for her fellow published authors. If you want her to do a character reading to help you get the word out about your published book, contact her at readings@tarotbyarwen.com.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017 | By: Cafe

The Write Mood by @lcrandallwriter


My latest release, At Midnight, is an anthology of three love stories in which each author, Lainee Cole, Rena Koontz, and I, addresses the theme of an approaching deadline at midnight. My contribution, Two Days Until Midnight, focuses on a reclusive billionaire hero and a bird-shifter whose mission is to protect her flock’s habitat from a project headed by the billionaire. As in almost every story I’ve written, the protagonists face dire situations, their own kind of hell.

Here’s an excerpt:
Tamier’s shoulders sagged. It would have been better if the spell caster had killed him too that day in the ruins. The hole in his chest where his love of life should have been had never closed. It dragged him down every day. It stole his life. On his twenty-eighth birthday, two years ago, the cheetah inside him took away everything he’d worked for and wanted.
He stood and turned to the window, staring into the woods and groves of trees surrounding his house. About a mile away, the forest and hills surrounding his home turned into prairie, with tall prairie grasses. When the cheetah inside him took him over, he was drawn to the prairie to run, wild and fast.
His home was equipped with many amenities that made living here inside the three stories of stone and glass less troubling. But it didn’t relieve the loneliness.
            A memory of the spell caster’s grinning face taunted him. Tamier slammed his fist into the stone wall of his office. “I hate you!”
The familiar warning aura scratched like sandpaper under his skin. Stripping off his clothes, he ran down the three flights of stairs to the main level in his house and tore open the back door, racing the cheetah. Panting, he fought the transformation with every iota of his will. Pain shot through his bones, every one of them, twisting them into the shape of the beast. His body throbbed with each cell’s change. Helpless to stop it, Tamier watched paws replace his hands and feet, spotted fur replace his skin, and a thirst for speed bunch his muscles.
            He burst into a full charge, dust churning up behind him as he sprinted through the tall prairie grasses. His ears picked up tiny sounds of rabbits fleeing, of wind streaming around his sleek body, and grass swooshing as he sliced through. None of it, not the speed and agility to run faster than the wind, or the strength and coordination of his muscles, exhilarated him. He wouldn’t, couldn’t take pleasure in any of it.
            All he could do was attempt to outrun his curse until exhaustion returned him to his human form and he took refuge in the solitude of his home.


I love to write intrigue, suffering, and love’s triumph. But I’ve wondered lately if that kind of writing is true to myself or indicative of a generalized mood. I read an article that suggested a writer in a depressed mood would be inclined to write dark stories. Maybe it’s true. There are many stories of troubled genius writers. I’m not a genius and I’m not depressed. But it’s an interesting consideration to contemplate if I’m drawn to writing a certain type of story because of my interior life. I am an introvert. A deep, thoughtful story that showcases the emotional turmoil of characters is my kind of story, whether writing or reading. Now I could cringe to think I could be revealing my psyche in my characters. I’d rather believe I’m tapping into the existential prevailing mood of humanity.


Writers tap into what’s relevant to their writing. Inspiration and fuel for stories comes from personal experience, but probably also personality and curiosity play a role as well. Is there a Write Mood? What kind of stories do you write and read? Does your mood -- happy, optimism, sorrow, or fear -- play a role?

Find At Midnight on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.
Friday, October 6, 2017 | By: Cafe
Thursday, October 5, 2017 | By: Cafe

Meet Tina Newcomb

The Write Way Café welcomes Tina Newcomb, who used a terrifying experience to fuel writing.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I first started writing in the fourth grade. My teacher prompted and then rewarded us for trying. I took some college courses, but didn’t write again until I was in my late twenties. My first manuscript resides in a box in the closet.  No, my first thoughts weren’t related to romance. More to just telling a story.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     This story started out in Finding Eden, Book 1 of my Eden Falls Series. An editor suggested Carolyn’s story (A Taste of Eden, Book 3) become a book of its own. That was four years ago. I write sweet romance, which wasn’t selling very well at that time, so I decided to self-publish the whole series.
     Not being familiar with domestic abuse, I did quite a bit of research on the subject, mostly internet articles and statistics.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     When I was in my early thirties, a man I worked with stalked me. I remembered the feeling of terror, of feeling trapped. The experience was far below what my heroine goes through, so I ramped up the feelings and emotions for her.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     I get my inspiration from traveling with my husband. We took a trip through Washington a few years ago and the story was born. My setting comes before my characters.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I think of my characters are completely imaginary, but, just last night, my stepdaughter (reading Finding Eden) texted a passage with the comment, “This is you! I love reading about you in your books!”
     The characters in this story are completely imaginary—except for Carolyn’s blush. If I could change that about me I would. I hate to blush.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?

     Luckily, I haven’t suffered from writer’s block. Yet. If I get stumped on a character or a conflict, I step away, work on something else for a day or two, read a book, look for inspiration outside my writing space, talk to my husband. Watching television can even spark inspiration.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     I can’t think of any surprises I’ve encountered.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about being a chef and about abusive spouses?
     The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I can write a book/books if I put my mind to it. I’m editing Book 5 in the series. I’m a huge fan of NaNoWriMo. I’ve participated two years and finished two books. I’ve also learned to (sorta) navigate the self-publishing world. I didn’t do a lot of research on being a chef, since I don’t dwell on that subject much, but I learned more than I wanted to know about domestic abuse, what keeps people in the situation, and how frustrating it is for police officers.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I have an office I rarely use. Since I write on a laptop, my writing space can be anywhere, but I prefer the bed. I’m not one to write in my pajamas. I might not do my hair and makeup, but I do get dressed. My biggest interruption is a retired husband who doesn’t think he’s an interruption.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypool White, and Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky are four of my favorites. I love to laugh so I read Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Kristan Higgins. They both put their characters in the most unique situations. I wish I could write funny.
     I also love to read anything by Karen White, Barbara O’Neal, and Sarah Addison Allen. LaVyrle Spencer inspired me to become a writer.

What are you working on now?
     I’m editing Touches of Eden (Book 5 in the Eden Falls Series). I’m aiming for a January release.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     I’m working on a Women’s Fiction novel that I hope to publish traditionally. I love to read Women’s Fiction, but I’m not sure I can write it yet.  We’ll see…

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Country singing superstar!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Conflict. I don’t like it in life, so I have a hard time coming up with believable conflict.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     Heroine - Sugar Beth Carey from Susan Elizabeth Phillips Ain’t She Sweet.
     Hero – Beam Garrett from my own Beyond Eden.


An Eden Falls NovelWelcome to Eden Falls, Washington, where smiles are frequent and a helping hand is always near.

     Best-selling author Colton McCreed flies into remote but charming Eden Falls for the summer to study small town life for his next horrific murder mystery. As his research pulls him into the community, his life becomes entwined with Mayor Alex Blackwood and her exuberant son. Colton’s bitter past left him believing he’s immune to love, but he soon finds himself drawn to Alex and her happy-go-lucky kid. 
     Alex Blackwood is not only the mayor of Eden Falls, she’s a business owner, the mother of six-year-old Charlie, and a widow. While love for her son fills her soul, the crushing reality of the death of her husband, who was killed while serving his country, is always near. As she struggles to find balance between her busy life and the challenge of raising a young son on her own, dating someone who’s leaving at the end of summer runs dead last on her to-do list.
     Charlie’s impromptu invitations to dinner throw Colton and Alex into a world of discovery, shattering her image of Mr. Right and his belief forever happiness is out of reach.
     Colton must move past his fear of attachment or risk losing his opportunity at love.

eBooks:  Kindle      iBook     Nook      Kobo


Paperback:  Amazon


About Tina:  I was born and raised in Utah on the foothills of the spectacular Wasatch Front, where life as a kid was magical. Summers were spent hiking or swimming in the neighborhood pool, winters were for sledding down mountain hills.
     I acquired my love of reading from my parents. My mother was a librarian and stacks of books were always close at hand. I wrote my first (more than three page) story in fourth grade. Tobie, my heroine, bravely solved The Mystery Behind the Iron Door. I took writing classes in college and stories began to develop.
     I write happily-ever-after stories about real people going through the trials and tribulations of life. 
     I love my job, from blank page to the “ah-ha!” moments when a story comes together. 
     I live in Northern Colorado with my husband five of our eight children, and one of three grandchildren.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: At Midnight with Lainee Cole, Lynn Crandall, and Rena Koontz


Three talented authors. 
Three love stories. 
Three approaching deadlines.


Currently $.99 on Amazon!  

Midnight Casanova 
by Lainee Cole
Stranded at midnight by a broken-down car, dog trainer Maddie Lockhart finds refuge in a deserted farmhouse. When the owner of the house, Chance Marlow, tries to oust her, Maddie uses the stray mutt he calls Casanova to convince him she can help with his collection of homeless animals. While their paths seem incompatible, working side-by-side to rescue animals, they discover otherwise.
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Two Days Until Midnight 
by Lynn Crandall
Time is running out for reclusive billionaire Tamier Rein to save himself from transforming into a cheetah, and bird-shifter Lark Ellis is his only hope for surviving past midnight. 
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Midnight Deadline for Love  
by Rena Koontz
T.B. Amanscott is Harrison City’s wealthiest man and his kidnappers want one million dollars ransom by midnight or they will kill him. Every possible resource is available to Sergeant Ariana Jeanne Lozione, who is heading up the rescue attempt. There’s only one problem. A.J. wants him dead.
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