Friday, September 22, 2017 | By: Cafe
Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life.’
 – Helen Exley

Thursday, September 21, 2017 | By: Cafe

Meet Tamara Eaton

The Write Way Café welcomes Tamara Eaton, who started with 'what if' and ended with Weeping Women Springs.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I started writing a Nancy Drew take-off in sixth grade. We’d call it fan-fic now. So I thought about writing a book early on. In high school, I thought I’d write a romance novel and figured I’d have it written by the time I was 25. Well, that ended up being put on hold for a long time. When I finally returned to writing I didn’t write in the romance genre.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
My path was a long one for this first book. This story had been on my mind since college, but I was 47 when I sat down to write for National Novel Writing Month and on November 1 needed a story idea so that old idea came to me and I started to write. That first draft I didn’t do much research, just wrote a story. After I finished that draft I did the research. In historical fiction, I find that research often becomes a rabbit hole that once you start you end up lost for hours if not days. For me, I try not to get too lost in specifics, but I want it to sound authentic and I am careful to get the facts right of things outside my fictional world. Most of my research was online, though I’m fortunate enough to live with a WWII history buff who gave me lots of ideas. He makes documentary films and we’ve interviewed a lot of WWII vets as well as some of the women who either served or worked in the war factories. That became helpful background.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
As I mentioned the story was one I had in college. I imagined this town filled with women who had hidden themselves away from the world. It all starts with what if—and then I needed to figure out why they would do this and Weeping Women Springs was born. I think I needed a lot more maturity to write the story it eventually became.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
Weeping Women Springs is set in New Mexico and I chose that place because I needed somewhere isolated. Originally the village was set in Arizona, but for a variety of reasons I switched it to New Mexico, primarily because I’d lived in NM for quite a few years and loved the state.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are completely fictional except for a few minor ones except for names. I’ve borrowed names from various people in my life. Maxine Fiekens was a sweet neighbor in SD and her daughter Peggy, the postmistress of the village we spend our summers in. So I borrowed Maxine’s name and Peggy’s name and put them in Hope Springs. Peggy has the same profession she had when I met her, running the post office. All characters are parts of me I suppose, at least things I’ve seen people do or imagine them doing.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Since I edit for other people, my blocks usually come from outside sources. It’s easy to let their stories come before mine. However, on the writing front, I faced a couple obstacles in getting the story right. For example, when I started I knew little of Point of View and why you should stick with one character. I also had all kinds of characters in there telling their stories, so I had to whittle it down to five main characters.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I think the biggest surprise was how little I knew about writing a story, even after being a lifelong reader and had written stories before. When I set out to put something down, there were so many details I didn’t know and had to learn. I’ve learned since there is no right or wrong way to do it, but sometimes we get lost in the process and guidelines and I had to figure out what worked for me and my story.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about the effects of World War II and the Korean Conflict on women left behind?
I rather answered this question for the last one, but the primary lesson I learned was about grief and moving on—and I took this to the extremes where each character represented a different aspect(s) of the grieving process. I learned a lot about individual events of the war, mainly as they fitted in with my timeline I’d look for an event which happened in the war at that time and that led me to different battles which we don’t necessarily hear about, such as Attu in Alaska.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver. I loved The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna. Both of these stories had some influence on my book’s structure.

What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m attempting to finish up my second novel set against the backdrop of a coal mining disaster in 1913 Dawson, New Mexico, the second deadliest mining disaster in US history. The bulk of the story takes place over one night when three women bond while waiting for news of their husbands. It’s called The Waiting Shadows, and has been well-received by those who have read parts of it. I still have a couple more scenes to write and a thorough revision to go through. I’ve been working on this one for two years, and hope to have it done in the spring.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Actually the idea I have for my next book will be in a different genre. I imagine it being a bit of a suspense/thriller type story and set more in the present than I’ve written before though the roots of the story are in the late 60s.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
I’m a terrible procrastinator for my own stories. I do great if I have a deadline, but left to my own devices, I put off making time for it. My goal is to become more disciplined and make sure I work on my own stories every day.

Thank you for having me!


Hope Springs has a secret–the waters mysteriously uplift the spirits of whoever drinks them. When the town’s young men depart to fight in WWII, tragedy strikes. Grief dilutes the waters unique effects, and hiding the village away from the world may provide shelter from the pain—but at what cost? Preoccupied with honoring their loved ones’ memories, five shattered women struggle to gather strength to overcome their loss, and find hope again.

Amazon

Tamara Eaton is a "western woman." She lives in the southwest, and wide open spaces of the desert and prairie are often portrayed in her work--fiction and poetry. Several of her stories have been published online and in print. When she isn't writing, she is often editing for others. Weeping Women Springs is her first novel.

Website     Facebook    Twitter: @LiteraryTamara


Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Joseph A. Willis

Joseph A. Willis

by Joseph A. Willis
Teaching lessons is written from the perspective of the classroom teacher to provide realistic information concerning the ways our schools operate. Excellence in our school requires that we change cultural environment in which students learn. 


Teaching Lessons is available here.

About Joe:
     Joe Willis received his Bachelors degree in Speech Communication and English from Eastern Masters degree in Speech Communication from Texas Tech University in 1978. Mr. Willis has been a classroom teacher for thirty two years. He spent the first fifteen years of his career teaching Speech and English in the public schools. During that time, Mr. Willis coached three UIL state champions in various speech events. Mr. Willis’ students won five UIL district championships in all of the five years he taught at Floydada High School. While at San Angelo Central High School, Mr. Willis’s speech and debate teams won eight consecutive UIL district championships. He coached a Texas Forensic League Extemporaneous Speaking Champion in 1992 and finished his high school teaching career in 1993 coaching a National Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate.
New Mexico University in 1977 and his
     Moving to Midland in 1993, Mr. Willis taught for eleven years at Odessa College. In 2004, Mr. Willis took a position at Midland College, teaching speech communication as an Assistant Professor. During this time, he focused on raising his two sons, Joey and Randy, who attended MISD schools and have gone on to successful careers in vocational ministry.
     Mr. Willis is married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara. The couple has been married for thirty-five years. Their son, Joey, is youth minister and currently involved in World Race 11:11 His brother, Randy, lives in Houston, Texas, where he serves as a youth minister. Mr. Willis attends First Baptist Church. He is active in the Emmaus Community, as well.
     If you would like to know more about Joe, please visit http://www.joewillis.net/.  Joe can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.


Friday, September 15, 2017 | By: Cafe
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
- Henry Ford

Thursday, September 14, 2017 | By: Cafe

R.T. Wolfe Writes From the Heart

The Write Way Café welcomes R.T. Wolfe, who follows her stars to write stories of her heart.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of Island Secrets?
Oh! This is such a great story. I’m really glad you asked. I watched a random, yet fascinating, clip about sea turtles and thus started this game of ping-pong in my head.
     Ping: In the back of my mind an eccentric family who raises goats on their roof and grows herbs on their porch lives on a small island. Each devotes their life to sea turtle conservation.
     Pong: But, sea turtles? Really? I live in the Midwest. I’ve written about dogs, eagles, dogs, whooping cranes, and dogs. But, sea turtles? A few weeks later a box turtle crawls out of the pond behind my home, up my berm and digs a nest on the side. I about came out of my skin, videotaping and taking pictures for over an hour.
     Ping: The eldest brother of said family goes missing during an underwater treasure hunt causing the entire family to pour their lives into finding him.
     Pong: Okay, okay. Divine intervention seems to be taking place but still…I would need a conservation group willing to talk to me and place to stay and when would I go? How does Nora Roberts do this all the time and everywhere she goes?
     Ping: Raine, Willow and Zoe Clearwater. What perfect names. Each sister will have her own book. I could start with the youngest, Zoe. She, of course, carries the most guilt with the loss of their brother. It was she who was set to be his diving partner the day he went missing, except she was too busy building her scuba diving business and blew him off.
     Pong: A colleague of mine offered me her condo on Anna Maria Island off the west coast of Florida. I tried not to get my hopes up, but this was getting out of hand. The stars just kept lining up.
     Ping: Zoe sells her business to her childhood treasure hunting nemesis, spends her days with the island local turtle conservation organization, her evenings working as an employee for the nemesis, and her weekends diving in caverns searching for clues for her lost brother.
     Pong: Suzi Fox, the Primary Permit Holder of the Anna Maria Turtle Watch and Sea Bird Monitoring, offers me the opportunity to shadow her for the week this condo is available. I spent 7 days on the island and never put my swimsuit on once. Suzi took me under her wing and we were off. It was a non-stop week of chasing turtle watch volunteers, excavating nests, saving injured turtles, protecting nestlings and releasing several into the wild. It was a week that turned into several return trips and a great friendship I will cherish forever. Plus, a fantastic trilogy in the making.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching Island Secrets?
Suzi Fox is the Primary Permit Holder for Anna Maria Island which, in my mind, basically means she runs the island. (Hi, Suzi! Sorry, but it’s true. ☺) Her along with her expert assistants, Glenn and Claudia Wiseman and so many, many others who volunteer their time for the incredible cause of saving these endangered species have changed my life forever. What amazing, selfless people who have dedicated their lives to helping sea turtles and assisting with an amazing story.

What are some of the references that you used while researching Island Secrets?
The turtle conservationists often wanted to educate me on the ins and outs of saving turtles. What they didn’t realize was that I was taking most of my notes on the conversations and scenarios between and around them.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of Island Secrets, where should they start?
With the book, of course. It is available in ebook form from all retailers and in print through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre that they need to know?
Romantic suspense novels come in vast varieties of time periods, settings, range of violence as well as of heat level. R.T. Wolfe books are intelligent writing for today’s contemporary romantic suspense reader. They could be compared to a PG-13 rating in both violence and love scenes.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I recommend using fans for naming characters. That’s what I do. Zoe, Willow, and Raine are all names suggested from followers on my Facebook Page. It’s all about the readers. ☺ So dang fun.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Both, if that makes any sense. I plot my outline, but the characters always seem to have minds of their own and cause me countless revisions to my outlines.

Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
No way! If that were the case, I would stick with romance only or possibly the suspense genre. Authors write what we love to read for sure.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews and try to respond to each but have been overwhelmed with that as of late. The bad ones are killers for sure. Many are just plain hateful, but some are quite helpful. So, I force myself. --glutton for punishment--

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive? What is your best marketing tip?
Most useful? The never-ending path of learning to pull a reader into the head of the character. The least useful? All of the rules the powers that be say are set in stone that mean very little to the people who matter…the readers! Best marketing tip? I say leave that to the people who do that for a living. The best marketing for an author is to get out the next book.

What’s next for R.T.?
My current work-in-progress is Island Pursuit, Island Escape Series book 2, and then onto book 3. Life is good when I can get to Panera, warm up my coffee and power up my laptop.

Thank you for having me, ladies. Love, love, love your blog.



About R.T.:  R.T. was born and raised in the beautiful Midwest, the youngest of six ornery children. She married at a young age and began her family shortly after. With three amazing small boys, life was a whirlwind of flipping houses and working two jobs in between swim lessons and Candyland. Now that her boys are nearly grown, R.T. spends much of her time on the road traveling from one sporting event to another serving as mom and cheerleader. She works to assist the several non-profit organizations that have supported her books and promote the work they do for those who cannot help themselves.

Website          Amazon          Google Play 
Barnes and Noble          iTunes          Facebook 
Twitter          Pinterest






Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | By: HiDee

Bookshelf Revelations

I spent the weekend at my daughter’s place while she is recuperating from foot surgery. She is not, and never will be a model patient so I came prepared with my laptop, my Kindle, chocolate, and Pepsi. I had strict orders not to touch anything, but I was permitted to be chief cook and beverage provider. She had planned to kick me out in less than 24 hours but permitted me to stay almost 48. Given the level of independence my daughter aspires to, this was an honor!

So while she slept off the anesthetic, I prowled her house. It should be no surprise the space that held my attention the most was her bookshelves.

Stacked on bedside tables in her room were books of poetry and blank journals. Nestled among decorations and trinkets from the beach (her happy place), her living room bookshelves held books by Nicholas Sparks and Jimmy Buffet, along with some biographies and mysteries. But the vast majority of books in both locations revealed to me her daily struggle on an entirely different level.

My daughter suffers from anxiety and depression. We are going on two years now of trying different medicines to find one that helps her. So many of them have terrible side effects that affected her ability to function, so she was forced to quit taking them. Her life has been a rollercoaster of good days and bad, of emotions ranging from being deliriously happy to wanting to be six feet under. I’ve been riding the rollercoaster with her, carrying my share of fear and worry, trying to balance being supportive while giving her the space she needs to grow. It’s not been easy for this mama bear.

I opened the blinds to let in some light, as she prefers the darkness. My heart broke to read titles like Suicide Notes from Beautiful GirlsLove Letters to the DeadPurpose for the Pain, and By the Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead – all novels dealing with topics like suicide, self-harm, bullying, and depression – all things she has experienced.

Mixed in were books by John C. Maxwell: How Successful People GrowHow Successful People Lead, and How Successful People Think among others. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I'm not surprised to see these books, as they reflect her inner struggle to be successful. At 25, she is not where she expected to be.

Her books mirror the roller coaster of her life, filled with euphoric highs and gut-wrenching lows, interspersed with painful twists and encouraging turns.

But mixed in with those books, I also found hope: books of encouragement by Jamie Tworkowski, who founded To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) to help a friend. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. His website says: It started with a story.

And isn’t STORY what speaks to all of us?

We each have our own story, as do our characters. Our stories are what makes each of us unique and interesting to others.

What story does your bookshelf tell? Have you ever been surprised by what books you found on the shelves of someone you know?  Please share.


Friday, September 8, 2017 | By: Cafe
The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
- William Faulkner