Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Augustina Van Hoven

Augustina Van Hoven
http://www.augustinavanhoven.com/



A DISTANT PAST
In 1882, Rose Van Buren loved the wrong man and paid for it with her life. Now, more than a century later, the angel Gabriel has granted her another shot at living. In exchange, she must convince a smart, handsome, up-and-coming lawyer to set aside his lofty ambitions.

A FUTURE PRESENT

Stephen Winship is headed straight for the governor’s chair. He has a brilliant career, solid allies, and a seemingly perfect girlfriend. But night after night he finds himself dreaming of a heavenly beauty, a luminous but long-dead girl. Like some altered Ghost of Christmas Past, she shows him her own tragic tale in order to “save him.” And he’s beginning to see Rose is risking her heart as much as baring her soul. Yet falling for her will cost him everything—and open him up to a happiness he never imagined.

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From Boroughs Publishing


Excerpt

          Stephen gave Rose a short bow and stretched out his right hand. “Miss Van Buren, may I have the honor of this dance?”
         Rose laughed. The sound was like a healing tonic. They took their places on the dance floor with the shadows of the past. He held her close as he guided her over the well-manicured lawn, weaving between the other couples. She was too beautiful to be real, and that smell of roses she always carried—he knew he was dancing with an angel.
         Rose’s eyes were bright with pleasure as they moved around the lawn. The other Rose glided past them in the arms of a young man in a gray suit.
         “Who was that?” Stephen asked.
         “The brewer’s son. He was a nice young man, but my father didn’t approve of him. Papa wanted me to have an easier life than he had, so he needed me to marry well. The brewer’s family worked long hours each day in their business.”
         Rose lifted her head and looked into Stephen’s eyes. “May I ask you something?” she said.
         “Anything you like.” He smiled back at her.
         “Why did you go into politics?”
         Stephen blinked. The question took him by surprise.
         “I guess I got into it because of my dad.”
         Rose tilted her head and scrunched up her adorable forehead.
         “Your father wanted you to be a politician?”
         “I don’t know. I didn’t really know him. He died when I was two.” Stephen shot a
glance at Peter Van Buren, who was talking to a group of men on the far side of the lawn.
         Rose frowned. “I don’t understand.”
         Stephen smiled at her. “All the time I was growing up, my mother told me stories of
my father, of how he was interested in politics and had been planning to run for office. After I finished law school and landed a job at my firm, an opportunity came up to run for the legislature, and I took it. I guess politics is my way of having a connection with my dad.” He pulled Rose closer and twirled her on the dance floor.
         The orchestra began a new song, and Rose led Stephen toward the food tables along the back of the house. They cleared the crowd of couples entering and exiting the dance floor just in time to see John Jacob disappearing around the side of the house with Felicia.
         “Well, now, that’s interesting. Are they—” He didn’t finish his sentence but looked at Rose to check her reaction.
         She sighed. “Yes, it is exactly what you think.” She waved her arm and the scene around them dissolved and reformed. They were still at the party, but the band was now playing a different song and the light had changed slightly.
         “Watch the door.” Rose pointed to the French double doors they had passed through at the beginning of the party. Felicia slipped quietly through them, glancing from side to side to see if anyone had noticed her. Her lips looked slightly swollen and her skin was flushed. A few stray hairs were out of place from her fancy hairstyle, and her dress looked a little wrinkled. She wound her way through the crowd, stopping to stand next to a large matronly woman who looked her up and down and frowned.
         Rose turned to Stephen. “That’s Felicia’s Aunt Miriam. She was Felicia’s chaperone for the party.” They watched as Aunt Miriam thanked her hostesses for the lovely evening and led her niece through the French doors and into the house.
         Stephen looked around and spotted John Jacob talking to a group of young men in a corner of the yard near the orchestra. He didn’t look as ruffled as Felicia, but his shirt was more wrinkled than it had been. He wore a smug expression. Stephen wanted to wipe that smile off the man’s face with his fist.
         Rose from the past twirled in front of John in the arms of another young man. John’s expression went from cocky to angry in an instant. Stephen tightened his fists, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. John had already had Felicia that evening and now he wanted Rose too.
         “Stephen?”
         He shook his head and turned to face Rose. She wore a look of concern. He gave her a weak smile. He needed to get a grip. He was getting angry about something that happened in the 1800s.
“Let’s dance.”


About Augustina:  Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats.   She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy.  When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or, in the winter months, crochet and knit on her knitting machines.

Where to find Augustina:     Twitter: @augustinavhoven       Facebook




Friday, June 26, 2015 | By: Cafe
In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.
- Nikos Kazantzakis


Thursday, June 25, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Rich Amooi

The Write Way Café welcomes Rich Amooi, who pulls from his experiences and love of romantic comedies to create fun, light-hearted romances.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance? 
     My wife knew how much I loved romantic comedies and heard some fun radio commercials I had written, so she convinced me to take some creative writing classes for fiction. I ended up taking four classes at Stanford between 2010 and 2012. I started writing short stories and many of them were romantic comedies. After she read my twenty-page short story, Five Minutes Late, she loved it so much she said I had to make it into a novel. Isn’t it great having someone who believes in you so much? I took her advice and that was my debut novel!

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
     I did a ton of research online because I knew I didn’t want to have a traditional publishing contract. I wanted complete control, to be my own boss. I researched everything I needed to know about self-publishing, writing, hiring cover designers, hiring editors, selling books online, formatting ebooks, having an author platform where people could find you, etc. I learned a lot by reading posts in the Writer’s Café forum on Kboards from authors who were already self-published and selling books.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     Dog Day Wedding was another book that started out as a short story in my creative writing class. The title is based on the 1975 Al Pacino movie, Dog Day Afternoon. In the movie, Pacino robs a bank and ends up taking everyone hostage.
     My story is a lot lighter since it’s a romantic comedy, but the final scene is three chapters long and includes a wedding with hostages. Don’t worry, nobody dies and there’s plenty of red velvet cake for everyone! As for the inspiration behind the story, I love weddings and wanted to do something fun and crazy.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
     I picked it because it was local and I knew it! Can’t get much easier than that! In fact, my first four books are set in small cities very close to my home in Silicon Valley.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I think there are pieces of me in many of my characters. How scary! LOL.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
     Dog Day Wedding was the easiest to write out of the three books I’ve written so far and I’m not sure why. I wrote it in November of 2014 when I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I am still trying to find the system that works best for me and I think I work better and faster with pressure and when I plot as many things out as possible ahead of time. Keep in mind that is completely opposite of what I did when I wrote short stories because with those I would just write and see where the story took me.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
     I usually learn a lot when I have to do research for one of the characters. In Dog Day Wedding the hero, Giovanni, makes guitars for a living. It was fascinating to find out how they are made and how much some of these hand-made guitars sell for.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about romantic comedies; about cops and shotgun weddings? 
     I’ve learned that I am still learning! The response to my books so far has been amazing but my writing is not where I want it to be. I want to continue to improve my craft. Reading helps me with my writing, that’s for sure, so I need to read more. I’ve learned that writing can be very difficult at times and there have been more than a few occasions where I wanted to scream or pull my hair out.

What from your previous jobs as a DJ and radio personality has translated into something useful in your writing? 
     I’ve been to over 1500 weddings and I’m considered an expert when it comes to wedding receptions. Lucky for me many romance novels have wedding scenes, so they are pretty easy for me to write. I also have plans to write a romantic comedy that is set in a radio station and don’t think I will encounter too many difficulties.

Was it hard to switch gears and build a writing career? 
     I must admit it hasn’t been too difficult. I knew what I wanted to do and just had to figure out how to do it. I researched for months. I still research now! I do need to stay focused because it is very easy to get distracted when you are working from home.

Describe situations you’ve encountered where writing romance, a female-dominated genre, proved interesting, intimidating, fun, different. 
     One of the first pieces of advice I received when I consulted publishing experts at the beginning was to use a female pen name instead of my real name. The thought was that women would feel more comfortable (and prefer) reading a romance novel written by a woman. But some of the most popular romantic comedies in Hollywood were written by men and I wanted to be attached to the story. I love romantic comedies so much and I wanted everyone to know that there are men out there that do. I also figured that the women who love romantic comedies were open minded enough to try a romantic comedy from a man. Because the bottom line is, we all just want to be entertained.
     I haven’t encountered any situations working in a female-dominated field. I find it quite fun being one of the few men doing it and other romance authors I’ve met have been so supportive. I can’t wait to get together with 2500 romance writers in New York for the Romance Writers of America conference. My wife is going with me since she just started her first romance novel. 

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     We have an office but I don’t like it for writing because the desk faces the wall and it’s kind of a boring place to write. My three writing spaces at home are the dining room, the family room, and the backyard. My favorite one is in the backyard under the patio cover in front of the water fountain. It allows me to relax and write, while listening to the water of the fountain and the birds singing. There is also a hummingbird feeder almost directly over my head so I enjoy them as well, many of them hovering right in front of my face.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, The Best Man by Kristan Higgins, and Stop the Wedding! By Stephanie Bond. I love love love fun romance novels with humor. Now you know why I write them!

What are you working on now? 
     I’m just getting ready to publish my third romantic comedy, Kissing Frogs, so I am in the beginning stages of the next one, Mr. Crotchety. This is the story of a bitter, cranky (Crotchety!) man who gave up on love after losing his wife, but then meets the most positive woman in the world. One thing is for sure, he’s either going to kill her or he’s going to marry her. Can you guess which one? LOL.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     I am obsessed with romantic comedies and want to continue down that path. I may write a few parodies but my first eight books I know for sure will be rom-coms. I do have plans to take all of the short stories I wrote at Stanford and put them in an anthology, but that doesn’t have much priority right now.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
     I already had my first dream job when I was on the radio. My second dream job is writing romantic comedies. Yay! If I had to choose something else, I would say it would be a professional soccer player. I played soccer for over 25 years when I was younger and absolutely love the sport.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
     Keeping track of all the different parts of the story. That drives me nuts. I think once I find the best way to plot my stories, it will be a hundred times easier. I’m trying a new outlining method with Mr. Crotchety to hopefully better manage everything, so hopefully this is it. Cross your fingers!

Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy's Perspective


Amazon US           Amazon UK

About Rich:  
     Rich Amooi is a former Silicon Valley radio personality and wedding DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster and has a hairy golden retriever/lab mix that likes to eat carrots, tuna, and Manchego cheese imported from Spain.
     He believes (Rich, not the dog) in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

Learn more about Rich on Social Media!
Facebook          Twitter          Google+   
Goodreads        YouTube

www.richamooi.com


Tuesday, June 23, 2015 | By: Lynn

Human Nature

I’ve been in shock for weeks. Ever since I first heard on the local news that a young woman put her ex-boyfriend’s puppy in a 300 degree hot oven, closed the door and propped a chair against the door, I have been upset. It’s unbelievably horrifying that a human could and would do such a terribly heartless thing. If you want to be as shocked as me, read the report in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette .

I try not to think about it. My brain is as horrified as the rest of me and seems to need to repeat intricate thoughts of the experience for the puppy before he or she died. An innocent animal is picked up by a familiar person, having no expectation of what is to come. He’s suddenly set on searing hot metal and cries out. No one helps him.

See? My brain can’t accept it.

In my fiction writing, people get hurt and people suffer and people die.  But it’s fiction. In my current series, Fierce Hearts, the main characters are not human, they are were-lynxes.  Being half-human, half-animal affects how they present and experience the world. It influences how they treat the planet and the beings that populate it. The Fierce Hearts series books deal with diabolical activities committed by the bad guys. Human bad guys.


In the first book, Secrets, the bad guys are people who have joined together to form The Nexus Group in order to create a world more to their liking, and in the process hurt humans and animals alike. The colony, led by Casey Mitchell, understands the ways of humans but it’s not in their nature as were-lynxes to cause arbitrary and selfish destruction. They accept the responsibility of thwarting the bad guys for the better good and use their keen senses and special abilities to end the chaos. And in the midst of the colony’s problems and personal issues, the hero, Casey, and the heroine, Michelle, find love.

In the next book, Cravings, the colony’s problems with TNG expand. During a rescue of animals at a TNG research facility, the colony discovers the group has stolen children from were-lynx families to groom them for contributing to the take-over of all resources and power. One of those children, Kennedy, has grown up, and now, rescued by the colony from a dangerous drug project, has to address the trauma she’s endured her whole life. The colony, comprised of Casey Mitchell, Asher Monroe and his sister Lara Monroe, Conrad Pike, Booker Chase and his wife Shaun, Asia Blue, Lara Monroe, and Tizzy Sands, welcome her into their family-like circle and help her to unlearn destructive ways. In the process, she, too, finds love with a fellow colony cat, Asher.

However, the battle continues as TNG seems to be unstoppable. In the third book, Heartfelt, the were-lynxes discover the next horrifying plan in the works for TNG is to create a hunter’s paradise, providing captive big game to hunt. It’s a shoe-in who will triumph in the so-called hunt. The humans. Asia and Conrad, BFFs, are drawn into the machinations of TNG, when Asia discovers her alcoholic mother has been kidnapped and is a subject in TNG’s research projects conducted by Phoenix Biosciences. Each were-lynx has a special ability at their disposal, and when they shimmer into lynx form, they are ferocious, strong, and fearsome. Still, the conflict pushes the were-lynxes ‘abilities to the edge. The lynxes have an advantage over the humans by nature. But they are at a disadvantage, as the humans will stop at nothing to win the struggle. Casey’s colony members respect life. All life.  And are rewarded with sorrow and loss and self-respect and love, as Asia and Conrad become more than just best friends.


So you see, while I write stories with real-life inner conflicts and put characters in dire situations, I can make characters with strong morality and kindness and respect for life. It doesn’t change the way real people conduct themselves and I’m no judge. But it does offer me a bit of “setting things right” when atrocities occur at the hands of people. While people are awesome and complex and capable of kindness and generosity and great intelligence and creativity, we are capable of poor choices and causing great harm. It’s human nature.
Friday, June 19, 2015 | By: Cafe
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
- Edward de Bono


Thursday, June 18, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Dana Tanaro Britt

The Write Way Café welcomes Dana Tanaro Britt, a self-claimed dreamer, a wisher, a liar, and a magic bean buyer, traits she draws from to write her books.

Dana is giving away e-copies of Shades of Blue to 5 lucky commenters.  Please leave a comment for a chance to win.  Be sure to check our giveaways page in about a week to see if you're a winner!

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember—I suppose from when I could actually write. By the same token, my first thought to writing romance probably came along as soon as I was old enough to know what romance was. I’m a people person, relationships fascinate me and thus romance is intriguing.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
     As with all of my story ideas, a spark happens and then the story takes on a life of its own.  Shades of Blue was originally sparked by my sorrow for an acquaintance who had suddenly lost her husband, one of my deepest fears.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
     I chose the setting for Shades of Blue--based on islands in the South Pacific--because I needed it to be a far-flung place, someplace Charlie felt would be the edge of the world, so to speak.  In addition, it needed to be magical and idyllic in contrast to Charlie’s grief.  As I was freezing amid an Indiana winter at the time, I also wanted to immerse myself in an island story filled with sunshine and warmth!

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
     My main characters are always a product of my imagination with traits or quirks that I might have seen or experienced in real life. That’s the way this writer’s mind works, it gathers bits n bobs whilst living daily life and sometimes those things show up in a story.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
     No blocks--my secret is that I’m a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a magic bean buyer (click here for explanation) *laughs* In truth, my stories happen organically. I don’t plan them, I simply write them down as they come to me. If a story isn’t flowing, then it’s because I’ve let something distract me and I need to walk away, to change my scenery in order to let things return to what happens naturally.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about tropical islands, safe harbors, and firefighters-turned-fishermen? 
     Writing Shades of Blue was an incredible experience on so many levels. I learned so much, it’s rather baffling. I learned that the revision process—I like to call it renovating—is just as exciting as the first draft. The first draft captures the story while the renovation polishes it up for company.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
     I can pretty much write anywhere I feel the need to, but am so lucky to have a study in the house as well as a big porch from which to write. The most important part of my writing space inside is the double windows—I’m a windows wide open girl, seeing outside makes me happy and I don’t feel closed in. I spend a lot of time gazing out that window! Books and more books, pictures, odds and ends that make me smile, while not necessary for writing, are bonus.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
     We might be here awhile with such a question! *laughs* Okay, let’s see…I adore the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for a king among men in the form of Jamie Fraser, but also for the fascinating world that is built around him and Claire. Absolutely nothing in their lives can be depended upon except their love for one another— a love that’s repeatedly tried and tested yet still strong.
     I also love Maeve Binchy’s stories—specifically Nights of Rain and Stars and Evening Class, but all of them are dear to me. Maeve’s stories weave a rich tapestry of friendship, of love—both romantic and platonic—and Ireland. The people are the focus, living their ordinary yet extraordinary lives, weaving in and out of each other’s worlds.
     While I can’t name a specific title, Nora Roberts’ books top my favorites list, as well. Her stories bring not only romance but friendships and connections.

What are you working on now? 
     Right now I am working on the book to follow Shades of Blue, a second book in the Island Sanctuary series—same setting, different characters. That being said, you just might see a familiar face or two from Shades of Blue.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
     I didn’t set out to write in a specific genre in the first place, I just wrote the story that came to me. I love a story that has deep friendships as well as intimate couple relationships and I always want a happy ending for the main characters—always.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     My dream has always been to be a mother and a writer—I’m living that dream, every day is an incredible gift. To say I’m a lucky girl doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
     My all time favorite fiction hero is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. It’s no wonder he’s been dubbed a king among men or that fans often say Jamie raises the bar for husbands everywhere, he is the ultimate fiction hero with his abiding loyalty and love for those he loves—Claire, above all. Interestingly enough, what drew me to Jamie most was how so many of his characteristics remind me of That Husband o’ Mine, my own personal Hero. Again, so lucky.


SHADES OF BLUE
“I can promise you one thing will stay the same—me.”
She wants to get lost in her memories.
He wants her to find her way home.

  Heart-broken and reeling with grief, Charlie flees to a far-flung tropical island in search of a safe haven where she can let her treasured memories consume her. Hiding away from the world, she battles nightmares and fresh tragedy while trying to make sense of her new reality.
     Living his island dream, firefighter-turned-fisherman Gabe Montgomery is determined to be Charlie’s port in her storm of pain and loss. Blindsided by life-changing revelations from his own past followed by the possibility of terrifying personal loss, Gabe realizes that sometimes letting go is as much a part of love as holding on.
When Charlie and Gabe acknowledge their powerful connection and cling to one another for comfort and hope, both face a frightening dilemma: surrender to the past, or face the challenge and promise of a future together.
Will the memories and mistakes of the past consume them or can Charlie and Gabe hold fast to each other and the hope that will bring them to promising future together?

Amazon         Barnes & Noble

About Dana:  Once upon a time, a sassy Kentucky girl fell in love with a handsome Hoosier boy. What followed is a still-unfolding story filled with laughter, children...and pizza--yes, pizza.  When Dana Britt is not writing stories of hope, home and happily ever after, she can be found porch sitting with a book in hand. Her idea of a perfect day is a road trip that includes sunshine, taking pictures and spending time with her own Hero and two young adult children. Dana often shares bits about it all online at DanaBritt.com--she'd love for you to stop by!

Website      Facebook     Twitter



Tuesday, June 16, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Regan Walker

Regan Walker
www.reganwalkerauthor.com/


“A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!”

Paris 1782…AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear... her.

A BATTLE IS JOINED

The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

Amazon  



About Regan:  Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits were encouraged. One of her professors suggested a career in law, and she took that path. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown.” Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” Each of her novels features real history and real historic figures. And, of course, adventure and love.  Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.
 
You can find Regan here:    
Blog     Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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