Tuesday, August 22, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Mr Congeniality with Sherry Lewis

Sherry Lewis

Dean Sheffield has been hurt-in more ways than one. The car accident that robbed him of his baseball career also took away the woman he loved. Now he’s starting over with a new business, the Eagle’s Nest Dude Ranch in Whistle River, Montana. He’s also been asked to take his teenage nephew for the summer, but Dean has no idea what’s in store for him. The only thing he does know is that women are the last thing on his mind.

Annie Holladay is also starting over, gearing up for a new career and spending a few precious months with her daughter before Nessa moves in with Annie’s soon-to-be ex-husband. Annie also has her hands full working at the Eagle’s Nest for the summer, especially after she realizes that she and Dean are attracted to each other.

It’s too bad they agree it’s not the right time to start a relationship because the attraction between them is becoming a distraction for them both.

Available in paperback:
AmazonUS     AmazonUK     AmazonDE     AmazonFR
AmazonES     AmazonIT     AmazonJP

Available for your Kindle or Kindle Reading App:
AmazonUS      AmazonUK      AmazonCA
AmazonAU      AmazonIN

About Sherry:  Sherry Lewis is a national bestselling, award-winning author who writes across several genres. Along with her writing career, she is the owner and instructor of Dancing on Coals Workshops for Fiction Writers, where she has been teaching writing workshops for more than 20 years.
     In 1993 Sherry launched her mystery-writing career with the sale of her first three books in the Fred Vickery mystery series to Berkley Prime Crime. In early 1994 she sold her first romance to Harlequin Superromance, launching her career as a romance writer.
     As Sammi Carter, she wrote the Candy Shop mystery series set in Paradise, Colorado and featuring Abby Shaw. As Jacklyn Brady she wrote the Piece of Cake mystery series set in New Orleans, featuring cake artist Rita Lucero. She is a long-time member of Romance Writers of America, where she served several terms on the board of directors, including one term as president. She is listed on RWA’s Honor Roll.
     Originally from Montana, Sherry spent several years living at the base of Utah's Wasatch Mountains. She now lives a block from the beach along Florida's Emerald Coast. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

Facebook     Twitter: @SherryLewis      Google+     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Tumblr

Friday, August 18, 2017 | By: Cafe
To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. 
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Thursday, August 17, 2017 | By: Cafe

Revisiting My Favorite Post

Following Lynn's "revisiting" theme this week, I am revisiting one of my favorite posts. I hope you enjoy it!

*Punch* the keys, for God's sake!

“Watch the movie – before you write another word, watch the movie,” a friend insisted as he handed me a video.  I glanced at it.  Finding Forrester sported a cover that read “In an ordinary place, he found the one person to make his life extraordinary.”  Below the words was a head-shot of an older, very serious-looking Sean Connery.  Behind him stood a young black man – basketball in hand.

What the heck did this have to do with writing?

As I watched, I found myself scribbling notes, rewinding at times to play something a second time.  It was an excellent movie.  Sean Connery plays William Forrester, a reclusive Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who wrote only one book.  Rob Brown plays Jamal Wallace, a talented 16-year-old basketball player with a secret passion for writing.  Forrester befriends and mentors Wallace, and in his own way, Wallace becomes a mentor for Forrester.

So what did I learn from Sean Connery aka William Forrester?

The purpose of a question is to obtain information that matters to us and no one else.
When we plot, or when we outline, it is necessary for us to know information that may never become a part of our books.  We ask questions of our characters so we know who they are, who they have been and who they will become.  We ask questions like “Why? What if?” because those questions reveal things we need to know for the creative process.  That doesn’t mean we have to reveal all to the reader.

The words we write for ourselves are so much better than the words we write for others.
Have you ever tried to write about something you weren’t interested in?  It’s difficult. We write because we feel passionate about something, and we inject our passion into our writing.  So if we write something we don’t feel passionate about, doesn’t it make sense for us to struggle to inject passion into that article or story?

Write your first draft with your heart.  Rewrite with your head.
We are all passionate about writing when we first start.  Unfortunately, some of us lose the passion as we create because we aren’t able to finish a project quickly.  It’s hard to maintain passion and rhythm amid the distractions of everyday life.  But why not try? Turn your mind loose on the page, let the creative juices flow!  So what if it doesn’t always make sense?  So what if you have glaring grammatical errors or blank lines you have to go back and fill in later?  The important thing is to get your ideas down on the page.  Capture the mood while you can and you’ll be off to a good start.  You can always patch up the holes and cut out the bad parts when you rewrite with your head.

The first key to writing is to not think.
This really is a good point.  How many times have we messed up a scene by “thinking” about it too much?  We edit and revise and edit and revise, and then we end up putting it back like it was when we started!  Just let the words flow.  Your goal is to write - editing is a tool to be used later.

Just typing gets you from page 1 to page 2.  When you begin to feel your own words, start typing them.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  Pretend you are the author writing the book you’ve just read and loved.  Re-type it.  Just typing will draw you into the writing rhythm - you don’t have to think about it.  Just type. You’ll begin to feel what the characters are feeling.  You’ll become absorbed in the book.  Then suddenly you’ll realize you want to type something of your own.  Maybe you want to change the dialogue, or enhance a character or setting.  When you feel this urge, just do it.  Type your own words. 

The final lesson may well be the most important of all:

We walk away from our dreams not because we are afraid of failing, 
but because we are afraid of succeeding. 

Reposted from The Write Way Cafe on 7/10/12. The title of this post is a quote from the movie.  Parts of this post are excerpted from an article originally written for Romancing the Prairie, newsletter for Prairie Hearts RWA.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special with Me, Lynn Crandall

Tuesday Special with Lynn Crandall, 
who invites revisiting series 
for the pleasure of it.

A welcome visitor to The Write Way Cafe just recently commented about the fun of reconnecting with a favorite series. She mentioned the sweet nostalgia of revisiting the characters who feel like old friends. I so agree. I would add slipping into the familiar setting also feels like being welcomed home. I invite you to revisit or get to know, which ever is the case, the "family" of were-lynxes in my Fierce Hearts Series.

Fierce Hearts series:

An epic showdown will pit love against evil in this shapeshifter romance series as the were-lynx colony faces off with the all-powerful Nexus Group determined to wipe them out. Only the strong and dedicated will survive - and only those willing to risk it all will find their soul mates in this thrilling and value-priced digital collection.

Secrets: Casey Mitchell has always kept his identity as a were-lynx secret. But he's drawn to Michelle Slade, and when he begins to help investigate the circumstances surrounding a mysterious disappearance, the situation soon spins out of control. Their survival depends on trusting each other with secrets better left unspoken. Will these two lonely souls triumph and find true love . . . or lose everything?

Cravings: A victim of kidnapping and torture, were-lynx Kennedy is suspicious of everyone and unsure of her path forward. Sportswriter and were-bobcat Asher Monroe has been trying desperately to ferret out the truth behind why the sinister Nexus Group is kidnapping and experimenting on were-cats. As their need for the truth takes them into escalating danger, they discover explosive secrets that could bring Kennedy and Asher together - or rip them apart forever.

Heartfelt: When investigative reporter and were-lynx Asia Blue suspects the Nexus Group is behind her mother's disappearance, she reaches out to former friend and colony mate Conrad Pike, now an investment banker and serial heartbreaker. They must once again join forces to save their tribe, but will this strong-minded duo risk opening up their hearts and owning up to their long-simmering attraction?

Probabilities: Bubbly were-lynx Tizzy Sands planned to teach kindergarten, eventually marry, and start a family. But cancer changed that goal, and she's now determined to take down the nefarious Nexus Group - and steer clear of any romantic involvements. Quinn Arons's genius IQ makes him the least socially skilled were-lynx in the colony, but he might just be the man to show Tizzy there's more to life than saving their world.

Unstoppable: When veterinarian Lara Monroe's fellow colony cat - and secret crush - Booker Chase needs help, she's willing to use her special healing touch to help him survive his emotional hell. As a top-notch physician, he's not convinced anything can repair his soul, broken from the loss of his wife and burdened with PTSD from his service in Afghanistan, but Lara is showing him flashes of what might be. But they can't grab this second chance at love unless the colony takes its biggest risk of all to shut down the Nexus Group forever.

Website      Amazon Author page      Facebook

Twitter: @lcrandallwriter      Simon & Schuster

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes

About Lynn:  
Lynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don't back down. She hopes that readers discover, over and over, stories of ordinary people who face ordinary life challenges and are transformed by extraordinary love. 

Friday, August 11, 2017 | By: Cafe
Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
- Zadie Smith
Thursday, August 10, 2017 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Madge Gressley

The Write Way Café welcomes Madge H. Gressley, who has the best of both worlds with her dream job and writing.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I have always loved reading, and I often thought, as many do, "I can write a book." But, that was as far as it ever went. Since I could pick up a crayon, I have been an artist—drawing, painting, etc., but never really thought seriously about writing until my husband passed. He was my greatest cheerleader for my art and with his passing went my desire to pick up a brush or pencil, but the creative part of me still needed to be fueled. When I stumbled across the Twilight series, that was the spark I needed.
     At that point, I was not sure what I wanted to write about, but I knew I had to write something. What genre I would write in never occurred to me as I put my fingers on the keyboard and typed away. The words whirling in my head needed to be put down.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     I don’t let things simmer. When I start a project, I carry it through to the end. You could say that I get a little obsessed with the project. I started the book in June and had 500 pages written by the end of August. I asked advice from friends who were authors what I should do next. They were accommodating. I lined up an editor and went to work polishing up my draft. Finally, I broke the story up into a three-book series.
     I spent hours on the internet researching the different aspects of the book. At one point, I became a little paranoid with all the news stories talking about how some government offices was checking the internet for search words that might indicate terrorism, and since I was looking for different types of weapons and ammunition as well as human trafficking, I thought I might be a candidate.  Apparently, my searches didn’t have any “trigger words” because no one came knocking on my door. Whew!

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     Now that is a difficult question to answer. When I started writing, a scene appeared in my mind with two people. I tried writing what I thought they should be doing, but after several attempts to force the scene, I gave up and started writing what I saw in my mind. It was almost like watching a movie but in my head. The words just flowed. The plot just unfolded. It was like I had no control over what the characters would do next.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     I didn’t. My characters did. I had no control over it. As I said, things just appeared in my mind, and I wrote them down.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     The only character that is anywhere close to anyone I know or have met is Darcey. She has a little of me in her with her "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead." attitude and she is a graphic designer which is what I do for my day job. The rest are completely imaginary.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     I did not have any blocks with the Inescapable series. However, with some of the books since, there have been times that the words just wouldn't come. When that happens, I do what I call "free writing." I start writing whatever comes to mind. It could be related to the story I am writing, or it could be something entirely different. The object is to put something on paper. I find that as soon as I quit trying to force the words, they start coming on their own. It is tough to explain, but that is the best I can tell you.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     The biggest surprise was finding out just how many authors there are writing today. The internet has been a boon to the independent author who struggles to find an agent or publishing house for their book.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about Morocco and human trafficking?
     While researching the tragic and awful business of human trafficking, I decided to do a "what if" and wrote my character Luis Vargas as a somewhat "good" villain. I know that is an oxymoron, but I wanted to portray him as a person with mixed moral values who was trying to do good while still living outside the law. I must tell you when he first came on the scene, he was not a good guy, but somehow, I felt he had goodness in him, unlike another character later on in the book who has no redeemable qualities.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     My space is now in my bedroom which forces me to make my bed every day, something I have been lax on over the years. It was always so easy to just close the bedroom door. (Don't judge. :-D) When my mother-in-law passed, we converted her mother-in-law quarters into my office, but now since my granddaughter has come to live with me, I have moved my office into my bedroom so she can have that space. It works well for both of us. I have my computer, my TV, radio, phone, everything I need to keep me working, and of course the door to shut out the world when needed.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     There have been so many over the years that it is hard to pick just one. However, if I have to, I think Stephen King's The Stand would have to be my favorite. I have read the book at least five times and it still never gets old. A close second is Frank Herbert’s Dune. I have read it equally as many times. I also have the CD of the movie. When I need to get away and just chill out, I pop the CD in, and it takes me lightyears away from the maddening crowd.

What are you working on now?
     I am working on a historical romance and a time travel. The third book in my Sophie Collins mystery series is percolating on the back burner, too. I have been exploring different genres like I did with different mediums when I was doing fine art. I feel variety is the spice of life and I don't want to be pigeonholed as one particular thing. I also have two children’s books that I wrote and illustrated—Dexter’s Wonderful Day and Totally Terrible Tommy.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     I already have the best of both worlds. I have my dream job and write, too. I am a graphic designer by trade and co-owner in Art & Graphic Innovations, LLC, a full-service graphic design business.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     I guess what gives me the most trouble would be when my characters won’t do what I want them to do. Sometimes it is like herding cats. I have even gone so far as to delete a character because they wouldn’t play nice with the others.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     I guess I will be telling my age, but I have always loved Nancy Drew. She is who I patterned my Sophie Collins character after. I loved her strong personality, her strength, and fortitude. My cousin and I spent many youthful summers at our aunt's farm reading Nancy Drew mysteries with the kittens in the hay loft of the old barn in 100°+ heat.

When Darcey Callahan, tumbles for Brad Daniels, it starts her on a dark and perilous journey that quickly turns into her worst nightmare. Believing Brad has gone missing—while investigating an attempt to sabotage his top-secret project in Peru—Darcey dashes off to find him, setting in motion a series of events beyond her control. Awakening from a near-deadly car crash, she finds herself with no memory and a prisoner in the dangerous world of human trafficking, murders, and espionage. Held captive in Morocco until she can be “sold,” she doesn’t know whether to trust the stranger who has come to rescue her. Is he really willing to help her, or is this a nightmare from which she may never wake up?

Black Opal Books       Google Books       Kobo

Barnes & Noble      Amazon       Smashwords

About Madge:
       I grew up in the Midwest, specifically Sedalia, Missouri, home of the Missouri State Fair, and for over 60 years, I have been a visual artist.  From the early years in elementary school where I drew horses and horses and horses (I like horses) for my classmates to the present, I have been honing my skills as an artist, winning numerous awards along the way.
     Unfortunately, my life took a drastic turn in 2011 when my husband and biggest cheerleader passed away. At that time, I totally stopped painting or drawing. But, the growing need to create would not go away. I tried many times to bring out my brushes again, but to no avail. The excitement for the paint was just not there. So, I made the decision to channel my energies into my graphic design business.
     Then in 2013, I was introduced to the “Twilight Saga” and that changed everything. My family can attest to how obsessed I became. I bought the books, the DVDs, the CDs, and anything else “Twilight” related did not escape my grasp. One day, while surfing the web to add to my obsession, I came across a website totally dedicated to the “Twilight Saga,” and that was the beginning.
     The site was full of thousands of other “Twilight” followers, some even more obsessed than I was. Hard to believe, but I assure you it is true. Among the many obsession-filled pages were the pages featuring Fan-Fiction. Some of the stories were extremely good while others were so-so, but I enjoyed the creative bent they all took on Meyer’s work. Slowly, as I read, I felt a small creative fire developing. It finally exploded into a full-blown inferno when I put pen to paper, or in this case fingers to keyboard and turned out my first 500-page novel, later separated into three books for my “Inescapable Series.”
     The “Inescapable Series” has been picked up by Black Opal Books and the first book in the series came out in April 2017. Book two is scheduled for release in October 2017. In the meantime, I have been keeping busy writing my young adult series “Sophie Collins Mysteries.” Sophie is my vision for a modern-day Nancy Drew. “The Red Coat” is book one in the series. I have just finished book two “The Secret of Trail House Lodge,” which has just been released.
     I have also written and illustrated two children’s picture books—“Dexter’s Wonderful Day” a Purple Dragonfly Book Awards winner, and “Totally Terrible Tommy” a 5 Star Readers’ Favorite choice. I also have a short story with four other authors in the romantic anthology “Now & Forever.”
My granddaughter and two dogs (Pixie and Lily) live with me. I enjoy working from home where I squeeze in my writing in between my jobs for my graphic design business and letting the dogs in and out—a full-time job in itself.

“INESCAPABLE: The Beginning”  Paperback or eBook on Barnes & Noble
“The Red Coat”
“The Secret of Trail House Lodge"
“Dexter’s Wonderful Day”
“Totally Terrible Tommy”

Follow Madge on TwitterFacebook, or Facebook Author Page 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 | By: Cafe

Summer Reading @lcrandallwriter

I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying the summer weather. In Indiana, there have been frequent storms and some very hot days. There also have been mild temperatures, but the main thing I am enjoying is the variety. The sun shines, storms come, the sun comes back out. Perfect days for summer reading. Even though it is August, there is still plenty of summer left to fit in some reading.

I don’t get a lot of time to read, one of my favorite things to do, so when I find a time to sit down with a book I want it to give me a satisfying experience. I tend to stick with favorite authors, but I’m venturing more and more into new-to-me authors lately. After all, I am a new author to those who have not yet found my books, so I like to give new authors a chance.

For a number of summers, I’ve included books in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher and that tradition continues this year. Since I was late to discover these gems, I still have plenty to choose from. I’m presently finishing up Changes. Love it, as I do all Jim Butcher books. If you don’t know, Butcher’s main character Harry Dresden is a paranormal private investigator who trudges through different realities filled with a variety of humans, fairies, vampires, and monsters.

I’m a big Kelley Armstrong fan. This summer I’ve been reading a collection of her stories titled Otherworld Chills. I finished her Women of the Otherworld series long ago, but this anthology gave me a chance to revisit her paranormal characters and come away with big sighs. I love getting my Kelley Armstrong fix.

Seawitch, a book in the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson, finally came off my to-read stacks. The main character in the series, Harper Blaine, is a pararnormal detective, and a strong female protagonist. The plots are interesting and Richardson’s descriptions are immersive.

It wouldn’t be summer without a Christmas in July, err, August book. That’s what Captured by Christmas is. An anthology featuring two seasonal short stories that celebrate sentiments of the holiday season, The Mistletoe Effect, a contemporary romance by Lainee Cole, and Snowbound, a paranormal romance by me. 

I also have read and am reading books by authors I haven’t read before in my summer reading stack. Because there are so many talented authors out there offering really great books, that stack is tall, but I’m enjoying the new-to-me writers. Some of these writers are published by Crimson Romance, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Here’s a peek at just a few of its authors. https://youtu.be/9czGSclk6Fo . A few I suggest readers take a look at include Protecting Her Secrets by Dana Volney, a romantic suspense, and Slopeside, a romantic suspense trilogy by Angela Smith, set in the Montana mountains. Another Crimson author, Rena Koontz, released a romantic suspense from Soul Mate Publishing titled Broken Justice, Blind Love, a 2017 Rone award nominee. Who doesn’t like to read about cops and serial killers?

It wouldn’t be my blog post if I didn’t introduce some of my books to you. I’m working on a romantic suspense novel right now, but until it releases, I invite you to put my books in the Fierce Heart series  on your summer reading list. I’ve set up an instafreebie 
https://www.instafreebie.com/free/uzQfA for you to get a quick intro to my writing with Finding Finn, a paranormal romance spin-off of my series. All you have to do to get the download is sign up for my newsletter. In every issue, I discuss my writing and feature books by other authors for you to consider, as well as run monthly giveaways. I hope to connect with you soon.

Meanwhile, happy summer reading! What books are on your list?