Friday, July 20, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.
– Unknown

Thursday, July 19, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Welcome to Bronxland with Paul Thaler

The Write Way Café welcomes author Paul Thaler, who embraces childhood memories and transports readers to life in the 1960's.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
Bronxland is my first novel after having written two nonfiction books earlier on, so that pull to write “long” has been there for quite a while. I suspect the idea began brewing during my early professional career as a journalist. I found that I wanted more to say beyond the 750-word story, so writing books was a natural extension. And it’s been empowering, energizing and a wonderful form of legitimization as a writer.

What was your path to getting Bronxland written and published? What type of research did you do?  
Bronxland was six years in the making and the end result of a rather “interesting” (read: “agonizing”) journey both in terms of the writing process and then publication. The novel actually began as a memoir centered on my years growing up in the Bronx of the early 1960s. After spending several years with that book I thought I was done and ready to publish – only for that thought to come crashing down. Among other colleagues, one friend pondered whether my own family members might be interested in reading this memoir—but that was the extent of my readership. Since I was going for a slightly larger audience than my wife and kids, I went back to my computer. As it turned out, I was grateful for my friend’s honest if somewhat brutal appraisal. Unshackled, my memoir morphed into a much more enjoyable ride for readers (at least I hoped so). The publishing part, however, was less pleasurable—and I won’t bore you with all the gory details. Only to say, that I finally found my publisher (and thank you Black Opal Books), after a year of wandering in the desert in search of an agent and publisher. Rejections became so deflating that I was tempted to send off my manuscript and cover letter signing off as Stephen King. But somehow I didn’t think that a book about a Bronx kid would fool them. 

Where did the idea for Bronxland come from?
It’s been said that most fiction is autobiography, and that is certainly true of Bronxland. The time spent with the memoir was put to good use, and a number of events and characters from the novel were born from this original source. One reviewer called the book “a memory dream,” and I think that’s an apt description of Bronxland.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Real life has certainly informed this story and that includes a cast of characters that form around my alter ego, 13-year old Paul Wolfenthal. While I have changed names, I’ve kept close to actual people from my past. Here is the bully (“Tommy Branigan”) that besieged me back in my early Bronx days; the Irish girl (“Dee-Dee O’Hara”) with the hazel eyes and dimpled smile who broke my heart; my seventh grade math teacher and Marilyn Monroe look-alike (“Miss Bonnet”), who stirred my imagination, and not in a good way. My family and relatives are also present; to honor them I’ve used their real names. Historic figures are also woven into these Bronx episodes. They include John Kennedy, who also was a Bronx kid (yes, it’s true), and plays a part in my growing up (both in my fictional and real world). Other famous characters make an appearance as well, among them Richard Nixon, Roger Maris, and Harry Houdini (who Paul “visits” one Halloween). I admit to also using names of current friends as an unscrupulous way to get them to buy the book in search of their “character."  

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them?
Because I had so much “raw material” I didn’t run into too many blocks with Bronxland. But there were those times that I’d run into a wall, the result of poor planning (I don’t outline my books), or, simply, a nonfunctioning creative side of my brain. If I was stuck, I would take a break, walk away from the computer for even an entire day, and, hopefully, come back more clear-headed. This usually worked for me. However – your question dredged up a memory that I thought I had repressed. A number of years ago, I had been given a significant contract from a major publisher only to fall victim to the writing block of all blocks partway through the project. I made my way to Chapter 7 of a historical book only to stop—for good. I discovered I just had nothing more to say. Unfortunately, I was about 200 pages short of the promised book. I wound up with no book, a folded contract, and a vow never to take on a subject that was better left to other writers. A lesson there about reaching too far past your writing comfort zone.  

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
The main drawback in my process – a problem always – is in trying to be too “perfect” with each word, sentence, paragraph. The computer thesaurus is both a blessing and a curse, stopping me in mid-sentence for the “right word” or phrase. I would be better off just, well, writing, then coming back to do all the polishing that is necessary, but can wait. Best to just get the story down. Writing dialogue can also be a challenge, but in Bronxland it became much more fun once I found my characters and their voice.  

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a surprise, but I felt something of a sense of loss after giving up Bronxland to my publisher. I had lived with my characters for so long, that I found myself missing my daily engagement with them. As corny/crazy as it sounds, I kind of wanted them to stick around, only grudgingly sending them off. There is something intensely personal about writing fiction; essentially, giving birth to characters and their world. I felt that in Bronxland though and wouldn’t be surprised if other writers have suffered from such insanity. 

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about life in the Bronx?
Writing a book truly inspires a sense of confidence; the equivalent to running the marathon—that you have broken through some barrier that seems out of reach for most people. But more than that, this novel in particular gave me the chance to return back to a special time and place in my life. They say you can’t go home again – but it really was nice to visit. 

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
There is my computer, printer, desk – and a closed door. Some writers can work with other distractions around. I can’t. I need solitude. I remember an interview with Jonathan Franzen after publication of The Corrections. Working out of his Harlem apartment, Franzen told an interviewer that he writes while wearing a blindfold and earmuffs to avoid any sensory distractions. I’m kind of like that without the blindfold and earmuffs. I just need to get lost in the silence.   

What are some of your favorite books and why?
A tough one with so many. Sometimes a book just enters your life at the right time and place. Growing up there was the science fiction crew of Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, among other sci-fi writers. Philip Roth was a must read (how could any Jewish boy avoid Portnoy’s Complaint?). Really got lost in Doctorow’s Billy Bathgate, Ragtime and Daniel. (He was also a Bronx kid, so that was an added plus). I continue to be a fan of historical novels, and Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden are two of the best storytellers in this genre. I’ve also read everything that Dennis Lehane has written including, Shutter Island, Mystic River and The Given Day. There are the more “serious” reads that satisfy a different part of my brain and fuel my other life as an academic (my day job is as a university professor).  

What are you working on now?
I have a few ideas in mind. Among them is returning to my alter ego, Paul Wolfenthal, older, no longer a resident of Bronxland, but still trying to avoid having the rug to be pulled out from under him. 

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
At least for the time being, I will be playing it safe and keep writing fiction that intuitively feels right. I might enjoy, say, a good crime story, but I would not want to denigrate the genre and insult those readers by pretending I know anything about forensics outside of what I have watched on CSI.  

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Playing clarinet in the New York Philharmonic and soloist in Dvorak’s New York Symphony.


The top-rated novel on Goodreads' list of "Best Historical Coming of Age Books"!

 
Welcome to Bronxland by Paul Thaler—and this uproarious and heartrending coming of age novel set in the Bronx circa '60s. Paul Wolfenthal is a peculiar 13-year-old kid grappling with the absurdities of his young Bronx life circa 1960. He visits the dead, hears voices in his head, despises Richard Nixon, is infatuated with his Marilyn Monroe look-alike math teacher, and is a choice victim for the neighborhood’s sadistic bully. And then Paul really starts running into trouble.

Paul is, in fact, a kid in search of heroes, alive and otherwise, and finds them in John Kennedy and Harry Houdini, both of whom cross into his life. But these are strange and even dangerous times. Hovering in the shadows are “the demons” that haunt Paul’s young childhood dreams, only to come alive and shatter his world. One steals away a neighborhood child. And then his president.


Set against the turbulent history of the times, Bronxland tugs on a kaleidoscope of emotions. A place of the heart known to all of us, with our own story to tell of growing up, of trying to make sense of our life, with everything that comes along. 

https://www.facebook.com/WelcometoBronxland

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36534843-bronxland


https://blackopalbooks.com/bronxland/

Bronxland buy links:   Amazon        Barnes & Noble


Paul Thaler
is a former journalist and the author of the critically acclaimed The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the OJ Simpson Story, and The Watchful Eye: American Justice in the Age of the Television Trial. Bronxland is his debut novel, released (October 2017) by Black Opal Books. In addition to his writings, Paul has also been an on-air media commentator for numerous television cable news programs and documentaries including those on CNN and HBO. He holds both a Masters of Arts in Journalism and a Ph.D. in Communications from New York University. Paul is a longtime resident of the Bronx, New York, where he lives with his wife, Amy, and their three children, Matthew, Robby and Rebecca.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Clock is Ticking...

Lainee Cole ●  Lynn Crandall 
●  Rena Koontz

  


Three talented authors. 
Three love stories. 
Three approaching deadlines.

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 July Summer/Winter Sale
$1.50 Now through July 31st!


Midnight Casanova 
by Lainee Cole
Stranded at midnight by a broken-down car, dog trainer Maddie Lockhart finds refuge in a deserted farmhouse. When the owner of the house, Chance Marlow, tries to oust her, Maddie uses the stray mutt he calls Casanova to convince him she can help with his collection of homeless animals. While their paths seem incompatible, working side-by-side to rescue animals, they discover otherwise.
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Two Days Until Midnight 
by Lynn Crandall
Time is running out for reclusive billionaire Tamier Rein to save himself from transforming into a cheetah, and bird-shifter Lark Ellis is his only hope for surviving past midnight. 
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Midnight Deadline for Love  
by Rena Koontz
T.B. Amanscott is Harrison City’s wealthiest man and his kidnappers want one million dollars ransom by midnight or they will kill him. Every possible resource is available to Sergeant Ariana Jeanne Lozione, who is heading up the rescue attempt. There’s only one problem. A.J. wants him dead.
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Friday, July 13, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.
– Thomas Edison

Thursday, July 12, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet God Father's Day Hero - Attorney Justin Martin

The Write Way Café welcomes author Lynda Rees, who gives us a peek inside her hero's life with a revealing character interview.


Handsome, successful, attorney, Justin Martin rushes home to care for his ailing father and unravels an evil past threatening to destroy Justin’s perfect life. Vulnerable at his lowest point, Becky’s strength carries him through. She keeps men at bay for her and her son’s safety, but Justin’s broken spirit penetrates armor opening her fragile heart. Neither of them believes in love, and they certainly aren’t seeking it. Becky can’t compete with his wealthy fiancé. Justin discovers what matters most—in perfect time to lose it. Certain death looms in the sleepy, lakeside town. Vicious confrontation is eminent.

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Thanks for joining us today, Justin. I’ve heard you were a big-shot real estate attorney in Nashville, hob-knobbing with the elite, but recently returned home to your father’s lakeside resort.

JUSTIN: Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure being here. Yes, my career has certainly taken off since I met tycoon Landon Bridges, a real estate developer. Landon took me under his wing and opened lucrative opportunities for me.

I hear you enjoy more than a business relationship with Mr. Bridges. Rumors are you’re wedding to his daughter. True?

JUSTIN: (Clear’s throat and gives small laugh.) Yancy Bridges and I have been dating for a while now. She’s a fabulous woman, gorgeous and exciting. We’ve discussed matrimony, but I can’t confirm today.

Why the leave of absence and move to your rural, lakeside, Kentucky home town?


JUSTIN: My father, Richard Martin, has developed a critical condition and is unable to manage the resort alone. I want to spend what time Dad has left enjoying his company. I’m here to make his life as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.

How are you managing a critically ill father and his business alone?

JUSTIN: I have help. Luckily Dad’s amazing cardio nurse when he was hospitalized, Becky Simms, helped us. Her sister, Sadie Watkins, also a cardio nurse, now lives at the resort as Dad’s full-time nurse. Dad adores her. Sadie Watkins is a delight. She’s extremely competent and brings needed sunshine into our home.

What’s in the cards for your future, Justin? Is there a love life you’re not talking about?

JUSTIN: That’s a complex question. I don’t believe in fairy-tale, forever-type love. It’s a figment of the imagination—a trick nature plays on us to enable procreation and continuation of the species. I don’t expect to engage in such a thing. Should I marry in the distant future, it will be for the right reasons—position, money and power.

(Interviewer gives a snide laugh.) Is that right? Does a broken heart have anything to do with your attitude?


JUSTIN: I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Losing my mom at a young age was devastating, both to me and Dad. I watched his agony. I’ll never subject myself to such pain. Why bother? I’ve been an attorney long enough to realize love never lasts.

I’m sorry you feel that way, Justin. I hope you change your mind and find true love. Tell me about nurse Becky Simms.


JUSTIN: (His face breaks into a genuine smile, engaging tiny wrinkles beside his eyes, making an already darkly handsome face appear more human and vulnerable.) Becky is a fine woman, compassionate and giving to a fault. She watched over Dad like a hawk, and helped me get through bad days with him. She convinced me I’d need professional help to care for him once I got him home, and arranged for us to meet her sister Sadie. Sadie is an answer to a prayer Dad and I didn’t realize we’d sent out. Becky and her son, Evan, visited Sadie last weekend at the resort. That little scamp was delightful. Dad enjoyed having them as guests, and he seemed to feel better with them around.

So nothing can be done for your dad? That’s very sad. You have my condolences.

JUSTIN: No, nothing. We’re taking it day-by-day. It’s rare having the opportunity to say things gone unsaid and to make memories to fondly recall later on. We’re enjoying the time and learning a lot about each other. It’s been enlightening. (A troubled look filters through Justin’s eyes, but he quickly blinks it away.)

I suppose you’re uncovering some secrets.

JUSTIN: (Justin snickers.) Indeed, we are. Things are never as they seem. Be careful what you ask. Once you learn something, there’s no going back.

Wow! That sounds eerie. What other books has Lynda Rees written?

JUSTIN: Two are suspense novels about descendants of past mobsters—God Father’s Day and Madam Mom. Her debut was a historical novel about a young widow’s struggle during the savage 1890’s Alaskan Gold Rush. It’s called Gold Lust Conspiracy. She also co-authored a middle-grade children’s book with her ten-year-old granddaughter, Harley Nelson, called Freckle Face & Blondie. Lynda has authored 9 books in The Bloodline Series, starting with Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine. These romantic suspense novels are set in race horse country of rural Kentucky. Two of these, Real Money and The Bourbon Trail, incorporate Kentucky’s mobster heyday history into the plot. Lynda is a U. S. history buff and loves showing how history affects today’s world.

How about that cocktail you promised?

JUSTIN:   GOD FATHER’S DAY COCKTAIL: Kentucky bourbon, vodka and Coke in equal parts, shake and pour over ice.

Where can the books be purchased and how can fans reach Lynda?

Fans can find Lynda at:


Website     Facebook       Twitter       Pinterest         Bookbub

Email: lyndareesauthor@gmail.com

Please give a review. Or follow me at newsletter:



Lynda Rees is a story teller and dreamer whose dreams come true.  She lives on a farm in Kentucky with her incredible husband and herd of critters watching her children and grandchildren breath—fascinating. Born in the splendid Appalachian Mountains the daughter of a coal miner and part Cherokee Indian, Lynda grew up in northern Kentucky when the Mob reigned supreme in Newport and the city prospered as a gambling, prostitution and sin mecca. She’s fascinated with how history affects today’s lives and it works its way into her written pages. After a corporate career in marketing and global transportation this free spirited adventurer with workaholic tendencies followed her passion with for writing.
 
Gold Lust Conspiracy, her award winning historical romance, launched Sept, 2017 by Sweetwater Publishing Company along with Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary and Wine, the first of The Bloodline Series of romantic suspense set in Kentucky horse country. Books 1-5 launch before 2018 with others schedule in the spring. Stay tuned.

Lynda’s first children’s book, Freckle Face & Blondie, is co-authored with her granddaughter Harley Nelson launching early 2018. Enjoy her stories. She hopes you become life-long friends.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Blinked by Zari Reede

Zari Reede


by Zari Reede
It’s 1975 in the Big Easy where Mardi Gras floats and strangely dressed people are in abundance. Mindy Nichols, an agent of the Inner Space Monitoring Alliance Team “ISMAT,” is about to set the Crescent City on its ear. This special government team protects Earth from the Blink phenomena that connect our world to the Realm of Ortharos. An energy portal indiscriminately exchanges beings between both worlds, Blinking insane Other Realm Beings (ORBs) in as Earthlings Blink out, causing worry and angst over missing loved ones who sometimes never reappear. ISMAT’s longstanding protocol, to exterminate all ORBs for the safety of mankind, is challenged one fateful night when Mindy wakes up to find her husband, Jim, missing; a huge, naked Cyclops in her bed; an OCD brownie cleaning her kitchen; and six purple imps swinging from a chandelier. The last time ORBs roamed the Earth unchecked, a great war ensued, and Mindy knows things are about to get ugly…


I didn’t have time to play nursemaid to every ORB who Blinked onto the planet, especially a high- maintenance fire goddess who was bound to get me canned…

Miffed, ’Punzel glared at me.

“Oh, don’t take it so personally. I admit we all wish at one time or another we could blow up the world. Unlike most of us, you can.” I had started toward the door when I saw Max’s helmet and motorcycle keys on the entry table. Bingo! I had taken a tutorial from Max on his Triumph Bonneville in the Schwegmann’s parking lot one afternoon at lunch. One down, five up, I reminded myself. It wasn’t terribly hard. I just had to point it north out of town.

Leaving through the door this time, we made our way to Max’s parking space. Doubting my sanity as ’Punzel saddled up behind me, I instructed her to hold on tight. She was begrudging being led along like a puppy, but I could tell by the few smiles she couldn’t smother that she was really enjoying her vacation from Ortharos. Maybe she wasn’t aware of the DOA status of most ORBs when they returned to her world. They say ignorance is bliss, so let her be happy and hope we make it to Harry’s all in one piece.

’Punzel tapped the helmet I wore. “Where is my fancy hat?”

“Can’t your hair protect your head?” I tried to remember how to get started and realized I should probably wheel it out of the tight corner it was wedged in first. Apparently, Max shared his parking place. More likely, some hot chick shared her space with Max.

“I want a hat like yours.” ’Punzel’s pout trumped Sammy’s, but I was a pro at resisting pouts.

“Hop off for moment and let me wheel this out.”

“You made me get on and now I have to get off. And I don’t have a hat!”

Her bottom lip stuck out so far that the freaking helmet could have fit on it.



“Fine! You can wear the helmet!” I knew I shouldn’t yell, but not being a biker, I shuddered at the thought of riding the thing. I hopped off the Triumph and scowled.

She studied the handlebars and glanced over the motorcycle.

“Doesn’t look so hard.” Rapunzel eyed the bike with glowing interest. A spark shot out of the ignition switch, she revved the Triumph and sped out of the lot toward the street. As I ran after the motorcycle, I saw her hair curl and shrink around her head until it resembled a helmet with pink flowers.

Dammit all! Now I had to catch the ORB before ISMAT spotted her and she doomed us all.


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KIRKUS REVIEW
A 1970s wife—secretly in a government project to fight supernatural invaders—must find a solution when a magical creature from a dangerous fantasy realm switches places with her husband.
Pseudonymous author Reede (Daisy Dukes ’n’ Cowboy Boots, 2017) conjures a semicomical urban fantasy focusing on the antics of Mindy Nichols, a young New Orleans wife and mom. Mindy is really an agent for the Inner Space Monitoring Alliance Team, a covert U.S. government task force that battles magical intruders from other realms. Readers are told that letting such entities go uncontrolled led to the two world wars. It’s 1975, and ISMAT’s new headache is the “Blink” phenomenon, wherein hostile fairy-tale beings—imps, cyclops, etc.—are teleporting into the U.S. apparently at random from a magical world called Ortharos. For each appearance, an earthling has to teleport to Ortharos in exchange, and outcomes are not good. During Mardi Gras masquerade time, Mindy discovers that her husband, Jim, is missing, having Blinked away. But replacing him is a house-elf–style “brownie”—the first Ortharian to be communicative and friendly. Mindy, to figure out what’s happening and save her family, disobeys standing orders to terminate such beings. Multiple story strands in short, addictive chapters, each in first-person narration by a different quirky character, follow Jim to Ortharos, where he meets a green-skinned witch and her enticing, imprisoned Rapunzel look-alike sister (named Rapunzel, in fact) and the cyclops queen. Meanwhile, Mindy contends with myriad crises and phantasmic fallouts back home. The best conceit is that mythic characters defy expectations of who’s good or evil. But with two sets of protagonists teleporting or dodging peril via hidden passageways, there are considerable storyline snarls involving who is doing what, where, and in which world before things intersect at the Bacchus Krewe parade in the French Quarter. Paranormal romance followers who take the bouncy ride should delight in the playful tweaking of all the ingredients, including the Carnival king cake.
A frothy paranormal comedy-adventure that offers a respite from the usual brooding over messy werewolf/vampire love affairs.  


Writers extraordinaire, domestic goddesses, lovers of all furry things…

Zari Reede is a writing team consisting of Zoe Tasia and Minette Lauren. Both have an addiction to collaborative writing that rivals Oreo Double Stuffed cookies with fine champagne. Writing solo for years, they decided to engage in a writing exercise to strengthen their skills and enlighten their creative minds. It turned out to be a great venture and is still going strong today. Zoe lives in Houston, has two cats, two boys, and a priceless husband, who supports all her rebel dreams. Minette Lauren also enjoys living in Texas, has five dogs, two god-dogs, three turtles and a wonderful husband that thinks all things she writes are golden… even if it is horse hockey. They are lucky in life, enjoying every day they can write and dream.

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Friday, July 6, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Freedom is the oxygen of the soul. 
- Moshe Dayan