Friday, March 27, 2015 | By: Cafe
When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm is all about. 
- Haruki Murakami
Thursday, March 26, 2015 | By: Cafe

Researching My Next Historical with Becky Lower

The Write Way Café welcomes Becky Lower, who got up close and personal with the kinds of hazards experienced by riders of the Pony Express to give authenticity to her characters in Expressly Yours, Samantha.

     Early last year, my sister called me with a request to help her drive to Ohio from Oregon. I hesitated for maybe a nanosecond before I agreed. After all, I write American historicals and we’d be following the path of the Oregon Trail, where so many thousands traveled. Only it would be Wagons East this time. I was about to embark on my next novel in the Cotillion Ball Series, and it was to be about one of the brothers in the Fitzpatrick family joining the Pony Express in 1860. What better way to research my topic than take a cross-country trip? I had my suitcase packed in minutes.
     I’ll gloss over the part where that particular suitcase caused a pileup on the people mover when I changed planes in Denver. You really don’t need to know what a klutz I can be.
     Finally, I made it to Salt Lake City, where I was meeting up with Sis. Snow was lightly falling, and it was a quintessential winter scene. The next morning, as we prepared to depart, we were told there was going to be a blizzard chasing us from west to east, so we’d best get moving.  Plans for my research and all my little side trips to Courthouse Rock and the like went flying out the window and into the swirling snow.
     We put on a brave face, and laughed at the predictions. I insisted we go to Antelope Island, one of Jedediah Smith’s stomping grounds near Salt Lake City. From Antelope Island, we took another side trip once we got into Wyoming to pay homage to Jed Smith’s discovery of the South Pass, used by settlers coming over the mountains. The temperature was about 13 degrees, and the wind was blowing about 50 mph, so I just got one quick picture and jumped back in the car. Maybe the weather people did know what they were talking about.
     Following interstate 80, we hustled along, trying to stay ahead of the threatening clouds. We eliminated some of my planned side trips, but each time we came to a sign pointing to something relating to the Pony Express, I insisted we pull off and check it out. You’d be amazed at the books I accumulated along the way, the quaint museums and saloons we wandered into, the relay stations from the Pony Express that now grace the town squares along the route. The cowboys playing poker at the saloon where we had buffalo burgers.
     Even though it was hectic, and yes, we did beat the storm, I managed to get a feel for the route of the Pony Express. With biting temperatures, the constant threat of weather getting the best of us, and ice to fall on, I also got a taste of some of the hazards faced by the brave men and horses that made up the Pony Express. If you read the book, Expressly Yours Samantha, you’ll see that I put some of this first-hand knowledge to use in the story line.



     Samantha Hughes has one day to escape from her wicked uncle, and a sign in the post office is her answer. She’ll cut her hair to pose as a man and become Sam Hughes, a Pony Express rider.
     Valerian Fitzpatrick doesn’t want the weight of responsibility that his brothers have in the family business. Fortunately, the Pony Express offers a chance to make his own way in the world.
     He assumes his new buddy, Sam, is on the run from the law, until she’s hit by a stray gunshot and he has to undress her to staunch the wound. Friendship quickly turns to attraction—and more—but when Sam’s uncle tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again.
     Val’s determined to find her, but will a future with Sam mean giving up the freedom he’s always craved?

Amazon




About Becky:  Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America.  Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Cheryl Rees-Price

CHERYL REES-PRICE
www.cherylreesprice.weebly.com/

Do you believe in ghosts?
     It started as a nightmare, an unknown soldier, glimpses of a buried past. Then a death and the nightmares turn into hauntings. It’s time for secrets to be told.
     Alice is an ordinary woman, a good career, handsome husband and a comfortable home. But her life is suddenly thrown into turmoil when she begins to experience terrifying nightmares of a young soldier. These dreams set in motion a chain of events that irrevocably change her life.


     Life was idyllic for Alice Harper, a good career, handsome successful husband and an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. But her life is suddenly thrown into turmoil when she begins to experience terrifying nightmares of a young soldier. These dreams set in motion a chain of events that irrevocably change her life forever.
     The nightmares precede the sudden death of Alice’s beloved father and when her husband fails to comfort her she finds solace in the arms of his brother.
     As the nightmares intensify and merge with reality Alice begins to sustain physical injury and sees the ghostly figure of the soldier in her waking hours.
     Fearing for her sanity Alice must find the identity of the soldier and the link that draws them together.  Her search takes her from New York to a sleepy village in Wales. Here she meets a cantankerous old man who holds the key to unlocking a sixty year old tragedy which will save Alice from a similar fate.
Available from Amazon


Chapter 1
     Alice Harper stood shivering in her nightdress, her cold hands rubbing her bare arms doing little to eradicate the chill that ran through her body. Turning around, she scanned her surroundings. She stood in a wide, dimly lit corridor that stretched beyond her line of vision. Large windows blackened by the night sky ran along one side of the corridor. The only light came from the dusty wall lamps that emitted a low buzzing sound as they struggled to illuminate the vast area. She had no recollection of how she came to be standing in this place, barefoot and alone.
     Wrapping her arms protectively around her body, she took tentative steps forward, the dusty grime from the worn floor gathered on the soles of her feet. As she walked, old picture frames housing anonymous portraits glared eerily at her. She averted her eyes from their gazes and quickened her pace. She needed to find a door, some way out. The lights flicked menacingly, and she stopped. Panic coursed through her veins as the light faded and oppressive darkness closed in.
     Alice groped around, the sound of her fear ringing in her ears, as each quivering breath and rapid heartbeat magnified in the silence. Her fingers met with the cold damp wall, and she flinched. She reached out again and, placing her hand against the wall, walked blindly on, using it as a guide.
     Outside, the moon escaped its captive clouds, allowing silver light to seep through the windows, bedecking the floor with patches of light. Alice moved into the moonlight, taking comfort from the pale glow, then hurried to the next window. She continued moving in and out of the light as she willed the moon to lend its light long enough for her to find her way.
     A glimpse of a shadow creeping across the moonlit floor made her freeze. She stayed in the shadows, watching until she could make out the silhouette of a man gliding silently along the corridor, until he faded in the distance.
     This person could help, she thought. She ran toward the figure, her bare feet stinging as they pounded the cold hard floor. As she drew nearer, her legs became unnaturally heavy. She slowed, her chest heaving as she dragged herself forward.
     Closer now, Alice could see that the figure was a tall man dressed in uniform. He took long strides, oblivious of her attempt to reach him. She pushed on, desperate to catch him. The stranger slowed his pace enough to allow her to gain on him. As she reached out to touch him, he stopped. She came to an abrupt halt to avoid crashing into the back of the stranger.
     The soldier stood motionless before her, shoulders straight and back ridged, the seconds slipped away while Alice, so close, couldn’t speak or move her hands to touch him. Her legs shook, threatening to crumple beneath her. He turned and fixed a piercing stare down on her face. She forced herself to look up into the face of the handsome young soldier, who towered over her petite frame. His uniform was buttoned up to the collar and his cap, tilted to one side, revealed a crop of dark hair. Alice saw no malice in his eyes, only sadness. He continued to stare, his expression softening as recognition reflected in his ink-blue eyes.


About Cheryl
     Cheryl Rees-Price was born in Cardiff and moved as a Young child to a small ex-mining village on the edge of the Black Mountains, South Wales, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and two cats.  After leaving school she worked as a legal clerk for several years before leaving to raise her two daughters.
 Cheryl returned to education, studying philosophy, sociology and accountancy whilst working as a part time book keeper. She now works as a finance director for a company that delivers project management and accounting services and sits on the board of a local circus company.
     In her spare time Cheryl indulges in her passion for writing, the success of writing plays for local performances gave her the confidence to write her first novel. Her other hobbies include walking and gardening which free her mind to develop plots and create colourful characters.

Friday, March 20, 2015 | By: Cafe
If we don't risk it all, we may as well not write at all. 
- Anne Stewart
Thursday, March 19, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Rachael Slate

The Write Way Café welcomes author Rachael Slate, who draws inspiration from "her own little blended world" to create imaginative and exciting romances.


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

     After my children were born, I began devouring romance books. I fell so in love with the genre that I desperately wanted to try my hand at it. I’ve been hooked ever since!

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     The first thing I did after I wrote my first romance was join RWA and their online chapter, FTHRW. The romance writers I’ve met have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. I’ve met so many critique partners who helped me to learn the craft of writing. After I wrote Trancing the Tiger, I was fortunate to find my brilliant editor, AJ Nuest. The entire process of self-publishing has been a very empowering journey and I’m very lucky to have the support of so many people around me.
     I have been to Malaysia once before, but I recently spent a month there researching. It was amazing to be immersed in the setting of my book and I’m very excited to share that experience with readers.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     My husband is Chinese and from Malaysia. We visited there several years ago and I fell in love with the location. I knew I had to set a book there! I’m also a mythology junkie and I love the Chinese Zodiac, so writing about it seemed like a natural fit.

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

     No. I really just try to let the story flow and not force anything. My plots and characters change as I write them, and I think it’s important to let that natural process happen. I find that works really well for me.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about traditions, superstitions, and the Chinese zodiac?
     I think I never realized how empowering romance novels can be for women. Reading and writing romance has given me confidence in myself, as well as in my relationship with my husband.
     There are so many superstitions and traditions in Chinese culture. I learn more every day and it’s fascinating. I was fortunate to attend a traditional Chinese wedding (my niece’s) a few months ago in Malaysia. The experiences of that trip have provided me with amazing inspiration for writing more books in my Chinese Zodiac series!

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I love to write in my office, with the music on and the coffee hot. I get lost in my own private daydream and it’s fantastic!

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     I love the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. The world-building is incredible. I also love the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. It’s so hot!

What are you working on now?
     Getting Book 2 in the series ready for publication and writing Book 3!

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Probably a baker. I love baking!

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     I really adore Jericho Barrons and MacKayla Lane from the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. They’re fantastic characters!



Delve into a world steeped in tradition and superstition…
     After her parents become infected with the Red Death, Lucy Yeoh flees to Malaysia seeking answers. Everything in this closed-off section of the world is paradise—from the lush tropical climate to her sexy new neighbor, Sheng…who just might be delusional. He claims the Plague God unleashed the Red Death and only a circle of Chinese Zodiac spirit animals can cleanse the Earth. Even more, he insists she’s one of them: the Rabbit. Long furry ears and fluffy bunny tail included

He’ll show her how to fight to save the world…
     As the Chosen of the Tiger, the burden of restoring balance to the world has fallen onto Li Sheng’s shoulders. When he discovers that the ally he’s long awaited, the Dragon, is actually just the Rabbit, Sheng is quick to dismiss Lucy. If only she’d stay dismissed. Lucy’s Rabbit refuses to cooperate, undermining the authority of his Tiger at every turn…and seducing him to the limits of his darkest desires. He’s not supposed to want her. Not when he needs the spirit circle complete and she’s their weakest link.

She’ll show him a love worth fighting the world to save…
     Sheng’s enemies draw closer, and not everyone wants Lucy alive. Together, they’ll have to navigate a treacherous world where a line between duty and their hearts has been drawn between them. They must either sacrifice one, or find a way to surrender to both.

Buy Links:     Amazon     B&N   

About Rachael:  Rachael Slate resides on the West Coast of Canada with her husband and two children—or as she likes to call them, her own little blended world. One of the best parts about sharing in her husband’s Chinese-Malaysian culture is definitely the food—and the awesome celebrations!
     Rachael writes stories that blend the lines between mythology, reality, and fantasy. In her worlds, you’ll encounter strong, sexy alpha males and the capable women who challenge them. And always, scorching hot romance.

Find Rachael at:  Facebook        Street Team        Twitter        Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page        Newsletter        Website        Pinterest        Tsu        Google+ 
Goodreads        Book Trailer


Tuesday, March 17, 2015 | By: HiDee

Spring Forward!

I dread losing an hour of sleep when we change to Daylight Saving Time. It always throws my rhythms off for a few days.

On the other hand, I love having an extra hour of daylight! It means spring is finally on the way.

After a long winter being cooped up inside, I’m ready to get out in the sun.  We head to our local parks to hike the trails, breathing deeply of fresh air and clearing the cobwebs from our minds. Relaxing and viewing nature gets my creative juices flowing, which leads to being sedentary.  It’s a vicious circle.

But back inside, there are things I can do to take care of my writerly health.
  • Ergonomic keyboards. We all know repetitive tasks like typing can take a toll on our wrists.  Handeze support gloves provided relief when my wrists ached from typing all day at work, and then typing more at home while writing. When that wasn’t enough, I added an Aircast arm band to relieve the pain around my elbow.  Both items helped, but they didn’t correct the problem.  Thankfully, since purchasing an ergonomic keyboard I haven’t needed the Handeze or the Aircast, and I spend more time on the computer than ever before.
  • Back support. I haven’t mastered this one yet.  I often find myself ensconced in a comfortable chair.  For years, I’ve written in the family room surrounded by my family.  The TV blaring, the kids arguing – it’s kind of like white noise for me.  Now, my kids are grown and I still find myself heading for the comfortable chair.  This is hard on my back, I know.  I find myself fidgeting, and my back, hips and legs feel stiff and sore when I rise.  I know I’m not doing my body any favors.  I’m learning I can be more productive perched on a straight-backed chair, with my computer on either the table or a sturdy wooden TV tray.  Hubby and the TV are still white noise. 
  • Frequent breaks.  It’s hard to make myself get up and move when the words are flowing.  However, I know sitting for hours without moving is not good.  Maybe that's partially why I gravitate to my comfortable chair.  I know I can't sit too long without needing to move.  Writers – not just writers, but anyone who sits for long periods of time – need frequent breaks to stretch our legs and set our blood flowing.  
  • Drink water.  Staying hydrated is important for our health.  Water flushes toxins, regulates appetite and body temperature, and lubricates and cushions joints.  My Bubba insulated tumbler keeps water cold longer than other water bottles I've tried. I'm not a fan of warm water, so having ice-cold water makes it much easier for me to consume a decent amount of water. 
We may love what we do, but writing takes a toll on our bodies.  Having an extra hour of daylight motivates me to get moving.  I still spend hours in a chair, but it’s much easier to get out and get moving in daylight and warm weather than it was in darkness and cold weather.

What effect does an extra hour of daylight have on you and your writing routine, and how do you stay healthy?  Please share.



Friday, March 13, 2015 | By: Cafe
Punctuation is a fabulous tool for controlling your reader - you even get to control where they breathe. That's what I call power!
- Nicola Morgan