Friday, September 21, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.

– Christian D. Larson

Thursday, September 20, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Barbara Stark-Nemon

The Write Way Café welcomes Barbara Stark-Nemon, who brings a broad interest in life and family to her books, including her latest, Hard Cider.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? 
I had taken refuge at my great aunt’s home in Germany at a troubled time in my own life. We were standing in her dining room, and I asked her about a painting that didn’t fit in with the serene antique and light-filled ambience of the room. I knew about my aunt’s life from years of her brother, my grandfather’s admiring stories about her. I asked her how she’d managed to survive her horrendous experiences during WWII, lose so many people, and still remain the witty, glass-half-full person she always appeared to be. She replied “The mouth laughs, and the heart cries.” I knew right then I had a book to write. That became Even in Darkness.

What was your path to getting Hard Cider written and published? What type of research did you do? 
After I published Even in Darkness, I had some interest from a “big five” editor, but when I submitted Hard Cider, she passed. I realized that I’d gotten such a feeling of agency and support in the publishing process for Even in Darkness from She Writes Press that I didn’t want to give that up to seek a “traditional” publication path. Having the community of She Writes sisters has been invaluable, and having a publishing team who are so experienced and well regarded in the publishing community has been invaluable. I love the research part of writing my books. For Hard Cider, I traveled to New Hampshire and to northern Michigan and visited/interviewed some of the premier cider makers in both places. I’d also fallen in love with hard cider during a year I lived in England a long time ago. I also did a lot of research into surrogacy, which is a major plot element in the book.

Where did the idea for Hard Cider come from? 
 I like to call Hard Cider a “what if” book. What if some of the experiences in my own life had happened very differently? I also guess I wasn’t done with the concept of a strong multidimensional woman having to overcome unexpected challenges with dignity and self-determination. That thematic element connects the heroines of both my novels. I also have thought a lot about how we form families— who are automatically our family and who do we make into family? And then there was that year I spent living in England and getting to know a lot about hard apple cider!

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
I’m a born and bred Michigan girl! My absolute favorite place to be is in the northwest corner of the state on the shores of Lake Michigan, and it’s covered with vineyards and fruit orchards. There’s a burgeoning hard cider industry in Michigan so that made the choice of setting easy.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Some are entirely imaginary, and others are hybrids of people I know. My main character, Abbie Rose, has some interests (knitting, running, growing things) that I do, and has to contend with some life experiences that I know a thing or two about, but then that “what if” concept kicks in. Abbie’s life departs significantly from mine!

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? 
One significant challenge was shifting from the very literary, European, historical fiction voice of Even in Darkness to the more contemporary voice in Hard Cider. I got stuck at one point on a significant plot point, and also needed to incorporate a mystery element into the narrative, which I’d never done before. In all these cases, my wonderful writer’s group helped me get past the obstacles.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
One surprise is how deeply early readers have responded to my creation of the northern Michigan setting. I love that! In researching infertility, I was amazed at how the landscape of the way we form families has changed in the last thirty years. Family laws, medical technology advances, and changing social norms have truly changed our concepts about families.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about producing hard apple cider, and family dynamics? 
Wow, I could write (and have!) several articles about all that I’ve learned. These are great questions and go to the heart of why I love being a writer. I have learned that what I put into my books is very important to me— artistically and emotionally. But then I have to put that aside and open myself up to what readers experience and express, which may be very different. I learn so much from my readers. It’s an element of being in the writing world that I hadn’t thought much about.

I had great fun learning about producing hard apple cider! People who do this are a whole world unto themselves, and I loved being able to join in.

Family dynamics? Abbie Rose has to contend with quite a bit in Hard Cider. We all have family dynamics, and what I wanted to feature is how a woman reconciles her dream for an encore career with her complicated family.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
My absolute favorite writing space is in a comfortable chair overlooking Lake Michigan—in all seasons! I also often work at a desk, in my office looking out into a pine treetop. I need quiet and a block of time to write and am lucky to have spaces where I can get both.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
Some of my early favorites were Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I loved the dreamy quirky kids and the sense of place in the natural world in each of them. I learned a lot about people from those books and the magic of a good book. Some of my favorite authors as an adult have been A.S. Byatt (Possession), Mark Helprin (A Winter’s Tale) and Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) I’m entranced by a whiff of magical realism, historical novels, and lush writing!

What are you working on now? Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
I’ve just started researching and writing a new novel (or maybe a novella?) about a 14 year-old embroideress who has to find her way from Inquisition-era Portugal to Germany to reunite with her father. She’s assisted by an older woman who is an herbalist and healer. This may be a YA or New Adult book… another genre hop for me, but does go back to historical fiction which was Even in Darkness’s genre. I write the stories that demand to be written, regardless of genre…

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
Writing is my dream job! And my second one… I had a long wonderful first career working with children with communication disorders.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Carving out the space and time to do it!

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
Sorry, can’t pick just one … but here’s the dedication to Hard Cider — it speaks to my heroines everywhere…

To Everywoman- maker and keeper of families—especially when it isn’t easy…

Abbie Rose Stone’s acquired wisdom runs deep, and so do her scars. She has successfully navigated the shoals of a long marriage, infertility, challenging children, and a career. Now it’s her turn to realize her dream: producing hard apple cider along the northern shores of Lake Michigan that she loves. She manages to resist new versions of the old pull of family dynamics that threaten to derail her plan―but nothing can protect her from the shock a lovely young stranger delivers when she exposes a long-held secret. In the wake of this revelation, Abbie must overcome circumstances that severely test her self-determination, her loyalties, and her understanding of what constitutes true family.

Amazon        Indiebound        Barnes & Noble

BARBARA STARK-NEMON is the author of the award-winning first novel, Even in Darkness. She lives, writes, cycles, swims, does fiber art, and gardens in Ann Arbor and Northport, Michigan. After earning her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Art History and a Masters in Speech-language Pathology from the University of Michigan, Barbara enjoyed a teaching and clinical career working with deaf children. Barbara writes novels, short stories, and essays. Visit her online at:   Website        Facebook        @bstarknemon 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: But Pain Crept In by Shelaine Strom

A memoir by Shelaine Strom
We expect life to follow a patterned path with rises and dips along the way. Growing up, high school, starting on our own. Maybe we will meet someone, find meaningful work, raise a family, settle into comfortable community with close friends.

We don’t expect career-ending pain. Identity-altering surgery. Faith-testing disruption.

In But Pain Crept In, Shelaine Strom shares her sojourn from vibrant vistas to deep valleys as jaw joints crumble and bones splinter. Where does one rest, breathe, revive when pain reigns? When does one quit, wait, try to go on? How does one lean on family, friends, even strangers to endure? And where is God in the midst?

In her winsome and honest way, Shelaine tells of travelling between hurt and hope, from agony to plains of purpose renewed. Through tears and humor, her storytelling signals gratitude and grace and no simple answers to the problem of pain.        Amazon

Excerpt from But Pain Crept In:

The faces looming over me are familiar, each with a knotted expression. Their lips are moving but they appear mute. Blackness. My eyelids press hard against the weight of unconsciousness. I am shaded from the shocking blue Arizona sky by the circle of tall bodies towering above. Where am I?
My left hand can’t clench. It just sweats in my baseball glove, limp by my side. My right hand claws at hot sand, grasping, dropping. I am on the ground. But where? The answer must be beyond the shins surrounding me. I turn my head. Aaahh. Searing hot jolts fire up my jawline, bursting through the joints, igniting my temples. I can only hear pain. Talk louder, people. Tell me how this happened!

No, don’t move me! My head will disintegrate. My mouth won’t cooperate and let me scream. No, I can’t sit up. They need to stop sliding their hands under my shoulders and pushing me up. I’m spinning, I can’t see. Blackness. “Hold her head,” I hear up close in the distance. Someone is behind me, supporting me. Another dabbing at my lip. Blood.

I am on the pitcher’s mound, home plate warping in and out of focus. The pitcher’s mound. We were told to run out to the field for catching practice. Coach would hit fly balls and we’d improve our fielding game. I grabbed my glove and shoved it on as I jogged toward second base. “Shelaine,” I heard yelled from home plate, along with the familiar crack of ball meeting bat. I threw my momentum over my left shoulder and turned back to answer the call. The line-drive had my name on it.

The strike on my left chin spun my head viciously right. Muscles, tendons and bones flew into action, preventing my head from completing the wild trajectory. Simultaneously, my sloshing brain slammed into skull plates, dropping me to the dirt unconscious; the velocity of impact fracturing my mandible ear to ear, puncturing condyle heads through cartilage, smashing bones against zygomatic arches. This is no ordinary broken jaw.

Shelaine Strom resides in Abbotsford, BC where she and her husband, Bill, raised their three sons. She works part time as Manager of Education for Food for the Hungry and writes weekly on her blog, In the Midst. 

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Friday, September 14, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. 
– Les Brown
Thursday, September 13, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Isaac: Letters of Fate by Paty Jager

Today at The Write Way Café, award-winning author Paty Jager shares interesting facts about her Letters of Fate series.

Tell us a little about Isaac: Letters of Fate.
     This book was first issued as part of Debra Holland’s Montana Sky World, through Kindle Worlds. When I wrote the first version of this book, I loved it and was sorry I had put it in her world. But Kindle Worlds closed and I received my rights back. One of the stipulations of getting my rights back was taking out all of the elements from the Montana Sky World. Which also made me happy because the other two Letters of Fate books are set in Oregon and now so is Isaac. The new setting for it is actually one of the highest payout mining areas in Oregon. The Cornucopia mines.

     As with all of my Letters of Fate books, they start with the hero getting a letter that changes his life. In the case of Isaac, he receives a letter from the daughter of a miner who died. Isaac had taken care of the man until his death and had sent his pay and a letter to the family. But the daughter isn’t satisfied that all of her father’s belongings were returned and has come to get them. The two are like water and oil until they begin to trust one another and see the others true character.

If Isaac: Letters of Fate was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
     Since this is a western…a young Tom Selleck would be perfect for Isaac, but let me see if I can find a younger actor… Christian Bale. He has the look I picture for Isaac and is 6 ft. While most of his roles have been tough characters, to play Isaac, he’d have to have a more forgiving personality. My choice for Alamayda would be Anne Hathaway. She is physically tall and thin and could do an excellent job of showing not only Alamayda’s chip on her shoulder when Isaac first meets her but she could also show the child-like qualities Alamayda never had the chance to explore since she had to take care of her younger siblings.

How is this book related to your Letter of Fate series?
     This is book 2 in the Letters of Fate series, but these books don’t have to be read in order due to the only thing making them a series is the fact the heroes receive a letter that changes their lives. There are no reoccurring characters and all are in different settings.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
     Anyone who enjoys reading about U.S. Western history, cowboys, outlaws, and romance would like these books. I make sure the stories are historically accurate, warts and all. There are gunfights, fist fights, and passion in my books.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

     I came up with the Letters of Fate series because I wanted to put a twist on the Mail Order Bride theme. I wanted men to receive a letter that took them to the woman who would become their wife.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
      I love both Isaac and Alamayda. They are two of my favorite historical western characters. My favorite character in the book is a secondary character. White Hawk is an older warrior they come across. He has a wry sense of humor and deep sense of honor.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
     My least favorite character is Tulley, a new guard who tries to force himself on Alamayda more than once and falls in with two outlaws looking for the same thing Alamayda and Isaac are seeking.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
     I’m proud of my cover. The background photo of the cave or actually old mine was taken by me. I saw it while driving to Bourne, Oregon an old mining area in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. I found the photo of the cowboy on one of the online photo depositories. My daughter is my cover designer. She is Covered by CLKeerins. Because the story deals with mining and they spend some time in a cave, I thought my photo made a good background for the book. My cover designer designed the Letters of Fate banner and did an awesome job with the ebook and print covers.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
     In Brody: Letters of Fate, I have the hero and heroine stuck in a cave that is ten miles from where I live. It is a lava tube cave that has a lake in it. Davis: Letters of Fate is set at the base of the Steens Mountains which are about thirty miles as the crow flies from where I live. I incorporated a real person into the book. Peter French who ran one of the largest cattle enterprises in Oregon in the mid-to-late 1800s. And as I state above, I set the beginning of Isaac in a mining area that amassed $20 million worth of ores taken from that area in the years it was mined.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
     Hands down it would be Nicole McCaffrey. She was the first person to see my potential and help me hone my craft. We have been good friends since the day I received a contest entry back and she’d explained what I was doing wrong rather than just marking red everywhere and not explaining anything. She put her email on my entry and said she wrote historical western romance too. We became critique partners. I helped her with horse related questions and she helped me with craft. We’ve never met in person but I hope to see her this fall when I travel to the east coast with my daughter.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

     Hmmm…. I can write backwards. I sent letters home from college written backward and would transcribe my class notes backwards. I like to sew and ride my horse.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
     Readers: The best way to make sure an author you like continues to write what you like is to leave a review. While many don’t read every review, we do make note of how many reviews we have and the rating because that can be used to help us get ads to promote our books. We can’t write if we can’t show a profit from our writing. 

     Writers: If you love to write and want to pursue it as a career, then make sure you join writers groups and learn not only the craft of writing but also the business of writing. Whether you plan to self-publish or go the traditional route. Knowing what you need to know will help you with the self-publishing side and make an agent or editor like that you are knowledgeable about your career path.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
     The best way to say thank you to an author is to write a review and put it up at the ebook vendor where you bought the book, Goodreads, and Bookbub if you are a member. Also, tell others how much you enjoyed the book. If you are on social media put up the cover or talk about the book and why you enjoyed it.

What can we expect from you in the future?

     Lottie Mae: Silver Dollar Saloon another historical western romance just published. Coming up next are two more Shandra Higheagle mystery books to round out this year. Dangerous Dance and Honeymoon Cadaver. Then I start 2019 with a contemporary western novella from the Tumbling Creek Ranch series, Wrong Cowboy to Love and a book a month coming out January, February, and March of my new Gabriel Hawke series. The next Silver Dollar Saloon book, Freedom, will be out in June 2019.

Thank you for having me on The Write Way! I enjoy being a guest and answering your wonderful, thought provoking questions.

Isaac: Letters of Fate
Historical western filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

Alamayda Wagner’s life has left her cynical, but also vigilant, and that’s what propels her to Cornucopia, Oregon to uncover the secrets her father took to his grave. She quickly discovers her only hope includes trusting Isaac Corum. That soon proves to be expensive, and not just financially.

The last thing Isaac Corum needs or wants is a snooty woman telling him he didn’t do enough to save her father, which is what her letter implied. He’d helped the man more than most people would have, and swears he won’t go out of his way like that again. He’ll meet her at the Baker City train station, deliver her father’s belongings, and send her back the way she came.

Universal Buy Link  - Available in ebook and print.

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 34 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous short stories and anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what readers have to say about the Letters of Fate series- “...filled with romance, adventure and twists and turns.” “What a refreshing and well written love story of fate and hope!”

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Lily in the Loft by Carol MacKay

Carol MacKay

Some writers move towards publication later in life, while others find their way to literary expression as children, encouraged by others and given a platform for their creations. I joined a children’s newspaper writing club when I was eight years old. The club, established by the women’s editor of a farm newspaper in the 1920s, encouraged children to send in their poems, stories, and letters for publication. Members could also be elected to leadership positions which presented the unique opportunity to review and award credits to the best pieces appearing in the newspaper each month.

All of the professional writers I’ve spoken with over the years, who were also members of this newspaper club, have said the experience provided them with early training for their vocation. As children, we learned how to submit our work and how to constructively accept the inevitable rejections. We were encouraged to critique the work of others honestly, but never unkindly, and learned that a community of writers is a wonderful place to develop lasting friendships.

By writing a children’s picture book about a vulnerable young poet who wants to share her words I was able to present this unique history to young readers who are the same age as the children who wrote for the club. LILY IN THE LOFT speaks directly to the creative child about perseverance and patience, but perhaps more importantly, to any child who has wondered, “Am I good enough to do this?”

by Carol L. MacKayFrances loves to write, especially in her favourite spot—the barn loft. She sends a poem to The Western Producer, hoping it will be chosen for the YC pages—a section of the newspaper just for young writers like her. And she waits ... and she waits. Will the newspaper editor ever print her poem?

by Carol MacKay
Illustrated by Val Moker
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, 2017 (Regina). 
ISBN 9781927756911, 32 p. $14.95. Available online at Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, and McNally Robinson or through your local library or bookstore.

About the Author:
Carol MacKay is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in children’s magazines, including Ladybug, Babybug, Cricket, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Quest, Skipping Stones, and Fun for Kidz. She has two early readers coming out in 2018 with an educational publisher, and her colouring book story, MAXINE’S MARKERS, was published by Warner Press in 2017. LILY IN THE LOFT is her first picture book.

Monday, September 10, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Two Days Until Midnight


My novella, Two Days Until Midnight, is one of the eleven romance first chapters featured in Love, Forever. Thank you for stopping by to read the blurb and an excerpt of Two Days Until Midnight.  Find Love, Forever at your favorite retailer and read all the first chapters to find your next reads.

Two Days Until Midnight
by Lynn Crandall

Tamier closed his eyes, clinging to the sense of wonder and peace spreading through him, and trying to ignore his spontaneous impulses to reach for her. “I do know I don’t want this moment to end.” He stepped close to her, so close he felt her breath on his face. She didn’t move away, and he looped a lock of her hair behind her ear, sinking into the soft feel of it. Oh, how he wanted to kiss her lips, but he stood suspended in doubt nanomillimeters away.

“Tamier.” She stared at his mouth. “You don’t know everything about me.”

He pulled his eyes from her lips and looked into her eyes. “I don’t expect I do.”

“There are things I want to tell you, but I’m afraid.”

“Don’t be. If there are things I need to know, you’ll tell me or they will come up.” He nuzzled the soft spot under her ear and into her neck, all of his senses exploding with sensations.
“Tamier,” she whispered. “What?”

“Remember later that I warned you.” 

Bird-shifter Lark Ellis has spent her life shielding her true identity. Now, to protect her flock’s habitat she’s taken a job that pits her mission against her secret and her integrity.

Reclusive billionaire architect and CEO of Global Environments, Tamier Rein lost his freedom and his dreams the day a Society assassin cursed him and changed him into a were-cheetah. Imprisoned by uncontrollable transing, he faces a devastating condition of his curse on the approaching Autumn Solstice.

Lark risks her identity and all she holds dear to help Tamier as their relationship develops into a promise of true love. As the deadline looms, Tamier must let her teach him to live or lose everything in two days.

📚  Find Lynn Crandall here:
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