Friday, November 21, 2014 | By: Cafe
The starting point of all achievement is desire.
- Napolean Hill
Thursday, November 20, 2014 | By: Cafe

Inspiration and Sticking To It

The Write Way Café welcomes author Alice Abel Kemp, who shares inspirational quotes as well as her thoughts on sticking to it.

Today’s feature is a cover reveal: The Jury Scandal, available on Amazon

This story finaled in the Daphne du Maurier 2013 contest for excellence in mystery and suspense.

A divorced professor, Marilise, struggles with an unintended pregnancy from a foolish one-night stand. When her high school sweetheart, Tommy, shows up as a student in her class, she’s scared to get involved. He’s a short-tempered homicide detective working on a case where a sportscaster is accused of shooting his ex-wife. Tommy is attracted to the new Marilise.

Marilise attends the sportscaster’s trial to see Tommy testify. In the bathroom on a break, she overhears a thug threaten a woman juror to vote not guilty. She tells the judge and becomes a target and a risk to a local politician’s plans. Tommy and Marilise rekindle their relationship while he attempts to protect her. Can their new relationship survive the threats and will he accept her pregnancy?

​A ​little bit about me.
I’m a retired sociology professor, and I’ve lived in New Orleans since graduate school at the University of Georgia. My life partner, Wayne Moore, and I live with my adult sons, a daughter-in-law, and a menagerie of three dogs, five cats, and two birds. My hobbies include quilting, machine embroidery, and crochet. My first fiction publication is a novella, The Red Halter Top, a romance available on Amazon.

A favorite quote from Ernest Hemingway:  “Write drunk and edit sober.”  That sounds like fun, but for me, being drunk is one step from falling asleep.

​I​n a burst of enthusiasm I agreed to write this blog and offered this topic. But now as the deadline approaches, I find myself struggling to write it. Is that irony? Or maybe just foolishness.  Across the last couple of months I’ve collected several pieces related to this topic and now have a folder full of stuff.

A collection of steps to overcome procrastination. (You might need to be inspired).
​     ​Be kind to yourself, eat chocolate, exercise, set a timer, etc.

A list of common excuses to avoid writing (Isn’t that the same thing?).
​     ​I have to walk the dog, look at email, Facebook, cook dinner, clean house.

More stuff on the deadly ‘writer’s block.’

Don’t start a new project, have sex, read the local paper.

F​or me the worst part of any novel is the opening paragraph, the first page, or to quote Noah Lukeman, “The First Five Pages.”  All kinds of advice is available on how to make the beginning hot, and even longer lists of what not to do.

When I was a college professor, I found writing the abstract for research articles to be ​very ​difficult. In that context an abstract is like a book blurb. Tell the story in twenty-five words or less but leave out the ending. Academic abstracts are supposed to be a concise summary of the whole research article: what you did and why, how did you do it, and what did you find. Auugh!

But this blog posting is supposed to be about inspiration and sticking to it.

I propose that the issue of inspiration is not procrastinating or some type of writer’s block, but rather a weakness in characterization.

When you’re telling a story about characters you love, that you know and want to succeed, the writing flows. Tricks like taking a walk, watching a movie, or rewarding yourself with a piece of chocolate when you finish a paragraph are just that, tricks. They won’t make up for a boring, predictable hero or heroine.

Perhaps the job is to review whatever notes or questionnaires you used to flesh out your characters. A good friend and author, John Foxjohn, uses a seven-page questionnaire addressing every possible aspect of a person’s life—appearance, family background, wishes, disappointments, goals, accomplishments, and so on and so forth. It’s an exhaustive list that when complete gives you everything about a character. Most of it won't be explicit in the manuscript. See the full list on my blog.

​T​he last point is to consider your creativity. I found a blog post from October 13, by Mary Jaksch. and another about writers’ block:

Both of these recommend watching movies, and Jaksch says to re-read your favorite books.

All in all, you could procrastinate for days reading the helpful blog postings when you’re stuck. But I recommend reviewing the characters, who they are, why you or anyone would care about them. Above all, however, don’t quit. Keep your butt in the chair.


The Red Halter Top, Soul Mate Publishing on Amazon.

The Jury Scandal, Soul Mate Publishing on Amazon.

The Taste of Her, forthcoming from Soul Mate Publishing, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | By: Cafe

Tricks of the Trade: Looking Your Best

The Write Way Café welcomes Joni Tadlock, a barber/hairstylist extraordinaire, who draws from her many years of experience in the field of beauty to share some of her tricks of the trade.

Joni recently was asked to speak to a group of school teachers and her initial reaction was, “What am I going to talk about?!” Then she realized that teachers are people like everyone else who would appreciate learning tips about beauty and hair care. Joni has worked as a hairdresser for 37 years and has co-owned her own shop, Wave Lynx, for 22 years, so she has a lot of expertise to draw from. Here’s a shortened version of her presentation.

To remove all of the build-up that can happen in your hair (oil and products like hairspray can clog up your scalp and put a halt to your hair’s growth!) mix baking soda in water to create a paste, and use that to wash your hair. Rinse the baking soda out with a mixture of apple cider vinegar for a completely natural, clean head of hair. 
When blow drying your hair with a round brush set the curl by blasting it with cold air.
Bobbi pins should be put in the hair wavy side down.
Tame flyaway hair strands by spraying a toothbrush with hairspray and combing them down.
To slough off dead skin on your feet, mix 1/4 c Listerine, 1/4 c vinegar, and 1/2 c of warm water and soak for 10 minutes. 
For girls with rounder faces, a long wispy side swept bang is the best to break the roundness of a face shape. Never wear super short bangs, as they will emphasize the roundness of your face shape.
For gals with a heart-shaped face, long layers that frame the face or bangs straight across to the eyebrows work well.
Longer sides are the best to offset a square shape, and also those with a square jawline should avoid center parted bangs and super blunt bangs cut straight across like a china doll.
The oval face is the perfect shape that can wear any bang. But do wear a bang!
Don't use dry shampoo just when you're short on time and your hair is looking a little greasy - it's great for creating volume on fine or flat hair too for everyday styling.
While asleep, your head is in direct contact with the pillow for 6-8 hours and so if it's wet, water can't evaporate, the result is that your scalp over-compensates by creating extra sebum. Over production of sebum clogs pores. Excess sebum in the scalp can cause greasy looking hair and eventual hair thinning and loss.

About Joni:  Joni Tadlock is a Christian, a business owner, hairstylist, wife and mother. She has dabbled a little in writing for the local newspaper as a Theater Critic, and has written many sermons and delivered them before different churches. She has been asked to speak on different occasions about different subjects, probably because of her time as a speaker in the pulpit. "I use my chair at my shop as a way to communicate with people about all kinds of subjects, but I always try to witness to people the love I have for them and my Lord. My love for reading is a passion, and I give respect to those who have the gift to write. Life is a journey, and I am blessed every day," says Joni.
Friday, November 14, 2014 | By: Cafe
From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other.  But when books are opened, you discover you have wings.
- Helen Hayes
Thursday, November 13, 2014 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Karen Sue Burns

The Write Way Café welcomes author Karen Sue Burns. Learn why she suffers from pounding her head on her desk and turning to her dog Dexter for answers. 

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
Research wise, this was an easy book for me. The stories are straight contemporary romance with all the stories located in a small Texas city (Sugar Land, named after Imperial Sugar) just a few miles from my home. Thus, I didn’t have to research the setting or places to hide/find a dead body, which is the norm for my stories.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I’m like most writers and get ideas from everywhere—talking to people, the news, dreams, outer space, thin air—you know, the usual places. The key is to translate that idea into a decent character or a doable plot.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
At times it’s difficult for a writer, especially a new writer, to separate themself from their characters. However, the more I write the easier it is. My first published book, In Hot Pursuit, is the story of the controller of a liberal arts university in Houston and the theft of $25 million. Yes, it was based on my job and the settings were places I’d travelled to, Las Vegas and Rome. I followed that old saying of “write what you know.” Now that that’s out of my system, I have characters that are imaginary and no doubt have characteristics of people I know…that’s hard to get away from.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I suppose my biggest block is what will happen next in the plot. I’m a pantster, cannot write out a detailed plot outline, just not in me. So I suffer from pounding my head on my desk or repeatedly asking my dog, Dexter, what should happen next? Of course he looks at me with his head cocked and a cute look that says “Figure it out yourself, human.” And, of course, I do figure it out.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
In writing the four stories for Christmas in Sugar Land, the most surprising thing for me was how much fun I’d have in writing straight contemporary romance. It was a nice break to write a story without a theft or a dead body. Of course, I’m itching to get back to my cozy mystery series coming up next…The Coyote Cove Series.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My writing space is a small desk set up in the breakfast room. I have a very cool bedroom I call the Bookroom that would be perfect for a study. Nope, not for me. I do not like to be closed off in a room while I write. Don’t know why I’m like that…just the way it is. Maybe I was stuffed in a car trunk in a former life.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing the second book in my Texas Ghost Stories series, Crazy for Home. It will be available on December 26th for all those Kindles given as Christmas gifts. It’s set at a B&B in Brenham, Texas. The next book is Death by Merlot, the first in my cozy mystery series, the Coyote Cove Series. Coyote Cove is a fictional town set on the Texas Gulf Coast with an eclectic group of residents.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I’ve thought about writing paranormal—vampires, especially if a male looked like Edward Cullen/Robert Pattinson. Plus I think living forever like the Cullen clan would be cool. But I only have so much time and I need to concentrate on my first love, mystery and suspense for novels and contemporary romance for short stories.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
This is an easy one—a chef. I enjoy cooking and absolutely love the process of creating new recipes and tinkering with an old one. Honestly, having a TV show on the Food Network would be a dream come true! Note: All my heroines cook and my books have recipes. Christmas in Sugar Land has Enriched Content with button links to recipes, pictures, and author links.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Heroine—the usual, Elizabeth Bennett and Scarlett O’Hara
Hero—John Corey, hunky detective first introduced by Nelson Demille in Plum Island

Christmas in Sugar Land
Christmas in Sugar Land is a collection of heartwarming Christmas themed stories featuring fictional residents of Sugar Land, Texas and includes Enriched Content—pictures, recipes, and author notes for each story with a touch button (Kindle) or a notation (print) access to the content throughout the text. If you enjoy Romance and Christmas, this is the book for you!

THE CHRISTMAS STAR – Under the glow of a magical Christmas star, two lonely people find each other and learn that the true meaning of the holiday does indeed entail family and love.
A HOLIDAY SURPRISE – After divorcing fifteen years ago, can two mature and successful adults overcome the differences that forced them apart and then succeed together at love a second time?
CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT – With the company of a clever puppy, a widowed freelance writer falls for a hunky landscaper as feelings of loyalty to her dead husband threaten her chance at happiness.
ROCKIN’ JINGLE BELLS – Can high school sweethearts now in their mid-thirties, a coffee café manager and a famous rock singer, overcome the dissimilarities in their lives and build a relationship based on love and trust?

Christmas in Sugar Land is available at Amazon as an E-book or in Print.

Karen Sue Burns has been a writer since 8th grade. She recently retired from her day job as a CPA and now spends her time writing romance and mystery novels along with contemporary romance short stories. She enjoys cooking and creating recipes so her heroines do the same. All of her indie works include at least one of her favorite recipes. In Hot Pursuit is her debut romantic suspense novel and The Liberation of Mr. Delaney is her first indie published novel. Christmas in Sugar Land is her first collection of short stories with Enriched Content. Readers may contact Karen via the Bio/Contact tab on her website. Check out the Recipes tab while you’re there!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014 | By: HiDee

Finding My Corner of the Sky

Years ago, a traveling musician performed at our high school.  I’ve long forgotten his name, but some of the lyrics from his song “CORNER OF THE SKY” often surface from my memories.

Everything has its season, everything has its time... 

Priorities change throughout the seasons of our lives.  Our wants and needs as children were very different than they are as adults, and they change yet again depending on our stages of adulthood.  Priorities are also different for each of us.

My family and my job have been priorities for me for years.  Sprinkled in among them were my wants and needs to be creative – also a priority but one often masked by familial responsibilities.  I could have chosen differently, but that’s not who I am.

Now, as a mature adult, I hope I have learned how to better balance my life.  My family and my work are still priorities in my life, but I’ve learned that my creative wants and needs are also important to my health and well-being.  The key is finding and keeping a balance between them.

During a recent conversation with my 22-year-old daughter, I was complaining that there aren’t enough hours in the day.  Everyone has the same 24 hours, Mom, she told me.  How I wish I could have recorded those slightly patronizing words to play back to her some day!

Around the same time, I read several posts about authors who have faced overwhelming difficulties and yet they still found time to write.  They still found time to pursue their dreams and obtain success.

Their stories have been quietly churning in the back of my mind, reminding me that I have no excuse for not writing.  I have the same 24 hours they have.  Now, it’s my season, it’s my time to pursue my dreams.

And the song continues in my mind:
– CORNER OF THE SKY, written by Stephen Schwartz

How did you find your season, your time to write?  Please share!

Friday, November 7, 2014 | By: Cafe
One must be a little crazy to write a good novel.
- John Gardner