Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Jill James


Love in the Time of Zombies
     Guess you never know. Who would have thought something as terrible as the zombie apocalypse would bring me something as wonderful as Seth Ripley?
     Of course, the zombies got my mother and my father, and my husband, Carl. Pretty much, they got my whole family. Okay, my husband Carl had been an asshole so he was no great loss. Never could keep it in his pants, if I may be so crude. If he could’ve kept it in his pants, he may have kept that appendage altogether. But, it was the early days of the Z virus mutation and how could he know the hooker he took to the cheap by-the-hour motel had the sickness? I’m sure he didn’t realize anything until the woman chewed it off, to be honestly blunt. He never was a great one for paying attention during sex as it was. Oh, maybe in the early days of our marriage, but he’d changed in the last few years, just before the end of the world.
     Five years of him spreading it far and wide to prove his virility and all I was left with was a one-sheet police report and a blurred photo of Carl with one between the opaque, dead eyes. The police had stopped trying to take sickies to the hospital a couple of weeks before. By the time Carl was attacked it was kill ‘em, identify ‘em, and burn ‘em in a pile. KIB was the order of the day. A few weeks after that and they skipped the identify part of the acronym too. A few weeks more and there weren’t enough police or bullets for the killing part either.
     Six months had passed and the police were all gone, along with the military. Now it was survival of the fittest. Never in a million years would I have pictured myself; neglected society, trophy-wife, Emily Gray, in that category. Guess you never know.
     Your day could start so shitty and end so... well, not great, because there weren’t too many great days anymore. The only definition to divide the monotony of the days were get bitten by a zombie day and not get bitten by a zombie day. But that day would turn out better than most. At least it would with a great deal of hindsight and distance from the event. Adding a whole hell of a lot of seeing a silver-lining after the fact helped too.
     As with most days, I had zombie patrol for the morning, which was so not my best time of the day. But zombies don’t have an off switch so we had to hunt first thing in the morning to clear the perimeter around the giant mall.
     Did you know shopping centers are the best defense against zombies? Me neither, until I got shipped out of what was left of San Francisco to the middle of nowhere—Brentwood. I’d never even heard of the town before I got sent there. Shopping centers are like medieval castles. Brick up the front doors and small back doors and the roof is like the battlements of a castle. Zombies can’t climb. Thank God for any small favor we could get. It’s about the only advantage we have. Because we have to sleep and the zombies don’t.

Love in the Time of Zombies is available at:     Amazon    Barnes & Noble     iBooks

About Jill:
     Jill James is a published author with The Wild Rose Press and now self-published. Her books are contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy romance. She lives in Northern California with her husband who is the inspiration behind all her romance novel heroes.
     Jill has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 2004. She started her work career as an accountant but soon realized that books and writing were her passion. Her first published book, Tempting Adam with The Wild Rose Press was a combination of her love of romance novels and the golden era of Hollywood movies.
     Her hobbies are writing and reading, not necessarily in that order.
     You can find Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, January 23, 2015 | By: Cafe
Treat every setback as an opportunity to learn the lesson and move you closer to your dreams.
- Billy Cox
Thursday, January 22, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Zrinka Jelic

The Write Way Café welcomes prolific author Zrinka Jelic, who offers this insight and more: the only author I try to be like is better than the one I was yesterday.
Zrinka will be gifting an E-copy of Rose of Crimson to one lucky commenter.  Be sure to leave your email so Zrinka can contact you if you are selected!

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve always made up stories, be it totally made up ones or different endings of fairy tales, what if versions of the movies I’ve seen and so on. I never really thought of writing them down until high school when I wrote by hand my first short romance. Can’t remember the title of it, but all I know is it got passed around and eventually ripped to pieces in some cat fight over who got their hands on it first.
     I guess the love from romance comes from fairytales. There’s always a prince who rescues the princess and they lived happily ever after. Who wouldn’t love that? Only my princes and princesses are ordinary everyday people and princesses can hold their own and don’t need to be rescued by the prince in shining armor. In fact, Sirena, the pirate captain in Treasured Chest saves the hero, then he repays the favor.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     Rose of Crimson was released by Secret Cravings Publishing on December 23rd, 2014. This is a prequel to Bonded by Crimson which was published on January 15th, 2012. I’ve started working on the prequel the day I was offered a publishing contract for Bonded by Crimson. Then it got pushed to the back burner while I worked on other projects. Since then I’ve written and published Treasured Chest, a pirate romance, Love Remains, a time travel romance and Deck the Halls, a Christmas novella.
     The kind of research I’ve done for this book was mostly online, but I did travel to Croatia in summer of 2012. The plan was to visit Rušinić castle in Kaštel Lukšić, but it just did not pan out. Trotting on the bus for a few hours, even if air conditioned, in the heat was not in my plan and renting a car with automatic shift is virtually impossible. All the rent-a-car agencies have is manual shift which I’m not comfortable to drive, especially on those roads with crazy drivers around me.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     The Miles’ story is original Croatian legend from late 17th century, but I added a few details to make it interesting.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     With the story comes the setting. Since this is (for the most part) based on the true love tragedy, I had to stay true to the setting.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     As I mentioned above, the two characters are or rather were real people. Heroine, Kate in a small way reflects me.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     I read all the time and find the inspiration in the books I read so I guess that’s my secret for not having a writer’s block. Though, some chapters/scenes do occasionally give me grief and I can’t clearly see them, but if I keep plugging at it, they’ll eventually surfaced out and come together just fine. So another secret is, keep at it.

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

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about time travel and aristocrats?
     A hard question. Every book is a learning process. One tidbit I’ve learned is that aristocrats at the time this book takes place were a spoiled bunch of weaklings dependent on the working class.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     All I have is a couch, a small laptop table that tilts and my computer. It works because it’s in the living room and tiny so clutter is not an option.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     There’re too many to list here or to single one out. Right now I’m reading the second in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings, or better known as HBO series A Game of Thrones. I didn’t think I’d like this enormous saga, with the numerous characters that I’ve heard is hard to keep up. I’m only on the second book and so far finding it OK, but I’ve been warned about the third book. Still, the only author I try to be like is better than the one I was yesterday.

What are you working on now?
     My work in progress is titled In the Stars, it’s a suspense romance about the high school sweethearts separated 14 years ago by the heroine’s parents. Now she’s back in town, still very much in love with the hero, and he’s in love with her, but trouble’s following her, plus she has a secret of her own.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     My work in progress is a tryout in suspense genre. I’ve been published in historical and paranormal romance, but love to read a good suspense novel, it’s hard to find one with a strong romantic theme.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     I’d like to try myself as a yoga instructor or maybe a personal fitness coach.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Usually it’s the middle of the story. I get the beginning and the ending. But the middle can quickly turn to soggy and I need to keep reminding myself to wind the story up not down, to keep that suspense going, to entice the reader to keep reading as they come to the end of the chapter.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     My favorite is Matthias Zrin form Bonded by Crimson and its prequel Rose of Crimson if I must choose one only. But honestly, they are all my favorites.

KATE ROKOV‘s grades are plummeting. She needs to get the voice out of her head or she will flunk her finals.

MATTHIAS ZRIN, a three centuries old immortal, born into an aristocratic family as Miles Rušinić, is enthralled with Kate. It is his voice preventing Kate from sleeping and her ignorance is testing his limits. He wants her to write down his story to settle his wife’s earthbound spirit. His tragic love story has become Kate’s obsession since fifth grade during her summer trip to Rušinić castle.

You can pick up a copy for your Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or iPad

About Zrinka:  Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic's love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that's about the only break they get. "Alas," Jelic says, with a grin. "Some rain must fall in everyone's life."

You can find Zrinka here:    Blog     Facebook     Amazon     

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | By: HiDee

Words to Live By

About five years ago, I read Debbie Macomber’s Thursdays at Eight. I confess it’s the only Debbie Macomber book I’ve read, despite my mom and aunt raving about and plying me with more of her books. They just keep getting shuffled in the to-be-read pile in my back room. And yet, something about Thursdays at Eight spoke to me.

The four women in the book were constants in each other’s lives. The last line of the blurb sums it up well. Their experiences become “opportunities for all of them to learn, to nurture, and to overcome life's obstacles--together.”

One of the ways the women supported each other was by choosing a word for the year. I loved this idea!  In the chaos of everyday life, it helps to have something to keep you centered. Having a word as a theme for my daily life resonated with me.

Each year since reading Thursdays at Eight, I’ve chosen words I hoped would encourage and enhance my creativity; words like choices, write, progress, accomplish, and focus. Sometimes they were simply written on a piece off paper and kept near my computer. Other times they were printed on index cards, and carried with me. The words were never far from my thoughts, though. Any time I thought about something writing related, the words were there reverberating in my brain, motivating me to write.

But words are just words by themselves. I had to choose to put them to work for me, to live by the words I had chosen in order for them to serve their purpose and allow me to improve my writing. Along the way, I learned my words often applied not just to my writing, but to my life in general.

I took advice from that cover blurb and decided to look upon each day as an opportunity to seize with both hands. My word for 2015 is persevere. I will need to make conscious choices in order to meet my writing and other goals. I also need to nurture my muse, so I plan to stop and smell the roses along the path of perseverance, and savor the journey.

What book(s) have you read that resonated strongly with you?  Please share.

Friday, January 16, 2015 | By: Cafe
The biggest decision you can make about your goals is what you are willing to give up in order to achieve them.
- Unknown
Thursday, January 15, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Jennifer DeCuir

The Write Way Café welcomes author Jennifer DeCuir, who believes home is where the heart is but loves to visit her small hometown through writing her books that feature small-town living.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I wrote a really dark short story when I was in eighth grade. A friend insisted it was so good I needed to read it in front of the class. I either blew them away or freaked them the heck out, because everyone was staring with their mouths open. No one said a word. So I originally thought I’d write Stephen King type books. But by the time I was in high school, I was hopelessly addicted to Harlequins. And I was one of those critical “I could do that so much better” readers. I’ve been writing romance ever since.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
This is my 4th book with Crimson Romance, but the first that I sold based solely on proposal (submitting a manuscript with just the synopsis and the first three chapters). And yet I still didn’t feel comfortable submitting the proposal until I was in the editing phase, having just finished the rough draft. I didn’t really do much in the way of research, as most of it is based on my hometown. A little Pinterest trolling for just the right inspirational pictures.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I grew up in a small town and couldn’t wait to leave. The opportunities, the excitement and adventure – it was all somewhere else. Anywhere else. Though the coffee shop idea is strictly because I am hopelessly addicted to coffee!!!

Why did you pick the setting you did?
As a young woman, I may have been thrilled at the opportunity to leave my hometown, but not a day goes by that I don’t miss it now. My fictitious town of Scallop Shores is based on my old hometown and every time I sit down to write a scene where I can describe even a tiny bit of the town, it’s a chance to “visit” with my hometown memories. The next best thing to being there.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Cady’s need to leave town was the same as mine. But her personality couldn’t be any more different. Her family is quirky and loving and probably a bit stifling, something I always wanted. So I am living vicariously through her. I’d guess 99% of what I write comes out of my imagination.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
I love the Malory family books by Johanna Lindsay. And just about any family trilogy by Nora Roberts (bonus points if they’re set in Ireland). I have always enjoyed getting to know an entire family through a series, and revisiting them through the next books and so on.  At the moment I am reading and re-reading The Hobbit. Someday I swear I am going to give Thorin, Fili and Kili happy endings.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on Book 5 in my Scallop Shores series. This is Bree’s (the children’s librarian and everyone’s favorite ‘go to’ person) story, and probably the last in the series, though I have left it quite open-ended…just in case.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Funny you should ask, because the series I am plotting out right now is fantasy. Such a huge departure from what I have published so far. I’m equal parts terrified and excited to see if I can pull this off. But part of me realizes that from the moment I entered J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth, I was meant to try my hand at something similar. I tell my kids I was a hobbit in a past life. 

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I love to crochet and tried, at one point, to build a business around it. I did a few craft fairs, and had a booth in a crafters’ co-op. Now that Etsy is around, I think it’d be fun to see if I could actually turn a profit crocheting baby shower gifts, scarves, slippers, etc. 

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Would you believe the love scenes? I have no problem reading them, but writing them? Honestly, you should see me blush. It’s so ridiculous. I’m on my fifth book so far and I still blush.

About Jennifer:  Jennifer is a busy writer mom, juggling play dates, sports schedules and book deadlines. She lives on coffee and chocolate and keeps the local pizza delivery service in business.

Keep in touch with Jennifer at:

Website: www.jenniferdecuir.com
Blog: blog.jenniferdecuir.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferDeCuirauthor
Twitter: @jenniferdecuir
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mzdecuir/

Buy links for Trapped in Tourist Town:
Amazon     Barnes & Noble      Crimson Romance      Kobo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Ashley York

Ashley York

The Saxon Bride
     Rowena, the lone surviving member of the powerful Godwinson family, must bow once again to the Normans with a marriage to one of the King's most favored knights. Why should she set aside her proud Saxon heritage to become this warmonger's latest conquest?
     John, the bastard son of unknown parentage, follows the dictates of his King, William of Normandy, without question. That is until he is saddled with the spoiled Saxon princess as a bride. What can William be thinking to tie him down to these barbarians?

Available here:
Barnes & Noble

     "Methinks your way is more than clear."
     "No," John's voice was quiet again. "You called out to me as sure as a Siren's song."
     She shook her head, her lips in a tight smile. "So now you are a hero that legends are written of?"
     "I came across a beautiful woman I would rather die than not have."
     Her lips parted with her quiet gasp, her silver eyes rounded with the longing he'd sensed in her response to him.
     John stepped toward her and continued, "I was a drowning man and you were refreshing water."
     Rowena seemed to lean toward him as well. A knock at the door startled him, breaking the spell.
     "Who is it?" They responded at the same time.
     After a long pause, a woman's timid voice answered. "It is Joan."
     "Come in." Rowena's voice held a note of desperation.
     "Go away." John commanded
     At the sound of the retreating steps, a crest-fallen look swept across Rowena's face. He had hurt her yet again. But she was not screaming at him or beating his chest. She glanced at the ground.
     John fought the need to take her into his arms and finish what he'd started. His hands clenched at his sides to stop from reaching out to her.
     Her eyes finally met his, the look of longing replaced by anger. "Why have you come back?"
     "I have come to be your husband."

About Ashley:
Always an avid romance reader herself, Ashley York enjoys bringing history to life through vibrant and meaningful characters, writing historical romance novels full of passion and intrigue set in the 11th and 12th century British Isles. Her latest release, The Saxon Bride, is the first in The Norman Conquest series.

When she is not writing, talking about writing, or thinking about writing, Ashley relaxes with visits to the local pubs listening to live Celtic tunes. She lives in southern New England with her husband and 3 very spoiled animals.