Friday, April 24, 2015 | By: Cafe
Let your past be your spring-board, not your quicksand.
- Dr. Steve Maraboli
Thursday, April 23, 2015 | By: Cafe

Heatherly Bell and The Flaming Red Head

The Write Way Café welcomes author Heatherly Bell, who shares how story ideas fall like boxes into her lap and that her alter ego is a flaming red head who puts away bad guys.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?

I’ve always wanted to write since my tenth grade high school English teacher gave me an A+ for my short story, but the first time I thought about writing a book was when I fell in love with Jodi Picoult’s A Second Glance. At the same time, I was overwhelmed with the thought of writing something so large. I had several false starts throughout many years. I had not found my own writing “voice” and tried too hard to be a “Jodi wanna-be”. In the end, my voice turned out to be radically different from that of one of my favorite authors.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
I wish I knew – I think it came from that place in heaven that drops down all story ideas into lucky author’s open minds. I knew that I would write about Wallace and Gen, dovetailing from Somebody Like You (the end of the book introduces them). Little blocks of the story dropped down from heaven, until I had my inciting event. What if you loved someone so much but didn’t think you had a chance in hell with him? Would you marry someone who looked like him? Why wouldn’t that work? Let’s just begin with the fact that looks aren’t everything. And we go from there … no it doesn’t work, because when you love someone they are irreplaceable.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
First of all, I live in California and we are known for our wines. I’ve spent a lot of time among these vineyards, some of them in my own backyard. Also, there’s something romantic about a vineyard setting – first of all there is the obvious physical beauty of the land and the ripe luscious vines. But if you go beyond that to the metaphors, grapes need tending and love. If you leave a vineyard unattended it’s going to shrivel up and die.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
This never happens to me, but Until There Was You flew off my fingers in a month. I then took another month for revisions, edits, and the like. I’m not sure why this happened, but I was ecstatic that it did. Most of the time, I do encounter blocks. I handle them by powering through and forcing myself not to look back until I hit “the end.”

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about life in the Napa Valley and settling for less than you want?
Although I do not live in the Napa Valley, I do live in a smaller part of “wine country”. There are several vineyards in my own backyard and the climate is quite similar to Napa, which is about an hour north of us. I had already done research on vineyards for the previous two books in the series, but for this one I was able to consult Ben Scorcur, who leads the crew at a beautiful winery in my little hometown near the garlic capital of the world. For one scene in which Wallace goes to visit his brother Billy, I wanted to know what the crew would be doing to the vines in January. Ben was so helpful, and he actually offered for me to come down and watch them work.

The theme of settling for less than you want can be a painful one, forcing you to look at your own life and the choices you’ve made. Fortunately, everything works out well for my heroine otherwise I wouldn’t write books.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My favorite writing space is the local coffee shop – it works for me because I don’t have a smart phone to distract me. I will bring along my Alphasmart, which cuts me off from the distractions of email and Facebook (I’m addicted, I admit it.) I often stare into space searching for the next few words, because there is nothing else to do. This is where the best ideas come from, as I engage my subconscious which I believe is a much better writer than I am.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on Scott’s story. He’s the youngest Turlock brother, a former soldier and current firefighter. After that I’ll be done with brothers – I should have made up a bigger family, huh? Actually, there are so many secondary characters in this series begging for their own story. I will be telling Joe’s (the pilot, Gen’s older brother) story in a novella that is part of a boxed set out this summer.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Someday I’d love to try my hand at romantic suspense, because I admire authors who do it and do it so well like Barbara Freethy, one of my favorites. But I fear that will require me to become a plotter. I’m working on it. Maybe one day …

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
My bio says this, but I’d love to be a homicide detective and put away the bad guys. I love watching Dateline every Friday night (especially Keith) and often I’ve already figured out “whodunit” before the big reveal. If I were a detective, of course I’d mostly hang out with the young good-looking cops and detectives. We’d trade thinly veiled sexual innuendos as we worked side by side solving the gruesome murder. I’d also be hot, with long flaming red hair and legs that went on for days. Ooops, you said dream, not fantasy …

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s plotting. My books are character centered, so I fear that many times not much actually “happens” other than the inciting event and the journey the two protagonists take towards each other. I work hard at trying to find interesting and funny situations that will also advance the plot. It’s the toughest part of writing for me. I’ve tried using story boards and the like, but nothing works for me like just sitting down, “butt in chair, hands on keyboard.”



How far would you go to get your fantasy man? 

Would you marry someone who looked just like him?


Genevieve Hannigan has loved her big brother’s best friend, Wallace Turlock, for as long as she can remember. But when he never noticed her, she settled for Wallace 2.0.

With her disastrous two month marriage behind her, Gen knows that nothing but the original Wallace will do.

But when Genevieve’s ex-husband is back in town with hopes to reconcile, things are about to get complicated … 


About Heatherly:   
     When early onset stage fright dashed dreams of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Heatherly tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave. She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).
     If she were not an author, Heatherly maintains she would be a detective and a criminal's worst nightmare. She watches Dateline every Friday night and takes notes.
     Her best selling Starlight Hill series has made the Amazon top 100 and top 50 paid lists in romantic comedy (All of Me) and sports romance (Somebody Like You).
     She lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say 'hello' and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows. 

Website          Twitter            Facebook  

Heatherly also has a brand new author page that needs some attention! She hopes you'll stop by!





Tuesday, April 21, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Rachael Slate

Rachael Slate
www.rachaelslate.com 

Delve into a world steeped in tradition and superstition…
After her parents become infected with the Red Death, Lucy Yeoh flees to Malaysia seeking answers. Everything in this closed-off section of the world is paradise—from the lush tropical climate to her sexy new neighbor, Sheng…who just might be delusional. He claims the Plague God unleashed the Red Death and only a circle of Chinese Zodiac spirit animals can cleanse the Earth. Even more, he insists she’s one of them: the Rabbit. Long furry ears and fluffy bunny tail included.

He’ll show her how to fight to save the world…
As the Chosen of the Tiger, the burden of restoring balance to the world has fallen onto Li Sheng’s shoulders. When he discovers that the ally he’s long awaited, the Dragon, is actually just the Rabbit, Sheng is quick to dismiss Lucy. If only she’d stay dismissed. Lucy’s Rabbit refuses to cooperate, undermining the authority of his Tiger at every turn…and seducing him to the limits of his darkest desires. He’s not supposed to want her. Not when he needs the spirit circle complete and she’s their weakest link.

She’ll show him a love worth fighting the world to save…
Sheng’s enemies draw closer, and not everyone wants Lucy alive. Together, they’ll have to navigate a treacherous world where a line between duty and their hearts has been drawn between them. They must either sacrifice one, or find a way to surrender to both.

Buy Links:     
Free on Kindle Unlimited       Amazon US        Amazon UK        B&N

     Sheng grappled for control that seemed as fleeting as his sanity. Lucy was off-limits. He’d reminded himself a thousand times tonight. Yet when Tiger had pinned her to the ground, Sheng would have taken her. Right then, right there.
     If not for the intrusion of his friends.
     Worse, she’d melted right into him the moment she’d realized his identity.
     She trusted him and didn’t even bloody know why. Once he got her somewhere safe, he’d enlighten her with the logic fueling her instincts.
     Tiger puffed out in supreme satisfaction. He almost hadn’t caught her; she was so swift. If not for the inclined tree trunk providing a bounding point, he might have missed.
     Sheng’s shoulders tensed, on alert for more of Snake’s “friends.” Penang Hill—behind them—served as the boundary between the Hai San and Ghee Hin territories. The Gardens were the gateway to the Ghee Hin Kongsi’s residence in the Batu Feringghi—the stretch of posh beaches on the north coast of the island. He had to get Lucy out of here before Snake caught sight of her and realized what she was.
     Where she might have argued with him, she simply obeyed. Her light footsteps padded behind him. That blind obedience concerned him more than her bolting. She shouldn’t trust a stranger with such ease, certainly not one who looked like him.
     He raked his hands through his hair to stop from lashing out at her…or drawing her into his arms and shielding her. He wasn’t sure which instinct would win.
     Even more reason to hold his tongue.
     He straddled his motorcycle, unclasped the helmet, and offered it to her.
     She approached him, her golden eyes wide and wary. Great. Now she chose to be cautious. “Who were those men?”
     “You wanna stay and find out?”
     Her nose twitched. “Do you work for my uncle? Are you my bodyguard? Where are you taking me?”
     “Get on.” He dismissed her questions and waved the helmet. No time for this, not here.
     Her hands trembled as she accepted it and secured the strap around her chin. Without questioning him again, she slipped onto the bike behind him.
     “Hold on tight.” He reached back, seized her wrists, and clasped her hands together around his waist. “I don’t do slow.”
     He revved the gas, the tires squealing while they pivoted around and peeled away. Her body slammed into his, her grasp cinching tighter as they sped through the streets. Lucy’s slender fingers spread across his abdomen, causing his muscles to tighten and his c*ck to throb. Was she purposefully teasing him with her velvety touch?
     She slid her fingers beneath the hem of his t-shirt and his abs jerked as though sparked by a live wire. He growled once, in warning.
     “Sorry. My fingers are cold. Do you mind?” Her murmur against his ear spiked his blood.
     Was she actually cold or did he detect a sultry note to her voice? Did she suffer the same raging attraction he did?
     With his concentration on navigating the streets and his hands gripping the handlebars, she had him at a disadvantage against the fanning of her fingers.
     Her warm fingers.
     They rounded a corner, and her body crushed against his. She didn’t draw back, and the imprint of her full breasts branded his back. He swore he could even feel her tight little nipples rubbing against him. He fought the urge to swing around and take her on the motorcycle. To hell with crashing—as if they’d even notice. They’d both survive.
     Your fault, Tiger. The beast practically heeled at her side. Like a bloody dog.
     Was it Rabbit or Lucy, herself, driving them both to madness?
     They squealed to a halt in front of a warehouse at the pier. He stiffened as he removed her hands from his waist and plucked her off the bike.
     She regarded him, one hand grasping her opposite wrist while she scanned the dockyard and the scattered people milling around—mostly couples out for a midnight tryst or teenagers looking for trouble.
     “Helmet.” He stretched out his hand.
     She unclasped the strap and removed his helmet, shaking out those long, wavy locks. Tendrils curled over her breasts and down to her waist.
     He licked his lips, his throat suddenly dry. His nostrils flared, inhaling her sweet, floral fragrance. Even caked in dirt, she was the most delectable woman he’d ever scented.
     The helmet slipped from her fingers to his. The slightest brush of contact between them made him bite back a groan.
     A knowing sparkle glinted in her eyes. Oh, yeah. She hadn’t missed his hard-on earlier and likely deemed she possessed an edge of power over him.
     Foolish little Rabbit. Didn’t she know?
     No one toyed with Tiger.


About Rachel:  Rachael Slate resides on the West Coast of Canada with her husband and two children—or as she likes to call them, her own little blended world. One of the best parts about sharing in her husband’s Chinese-Malaysian culture is definitely the food—and the awesome celebrations!
     Rachael writes stories that blend the lines between mythology, reality, and fantasy. In her worlds, you’ll encounter strong, sexy alpha males and the capable women who challenge them. And always, scorching hot romance.
     To find out more about Rachael Slate, visit her website or sign up for her newsletter to learn about upcoming releases.
     Rachael would love to hear from you. You can email her at rachaelslate@outlook.com or find her on social media here:

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Pinterest     Tsu     Google+    BookTrailer




Friday, April 17, 2015 | By: Cafe
I write to give myself strength.  I write to be the characters that I am not.  I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. 
- Joss Whedon
Thursday, April 16, 2015 | By: Cafe

Worries, Blocks, and Successes with Liz Flaherty

The Write Way Café welcomes author Liz Flaherty, who has learned a lot while furthering her writing career. She shares her her worries, her blocks, and her successes. 

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
I started Summer in Stringtown Proper a long time ago, when I was looking for something to read that didn’t feature people too young for me to identify with. However, I never finished it. I never knew why, because I loved Molly and Joe, but I guess it wasn’t time.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
It was part of the community “the Ridge” in A Soft Place to Fall. I always hated leaving the Ridge, and I was happy to go back!

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Big blocks, because it’s—even for me, a low key writer—a very low key story. I think it’s real and warm and quirky, but even now, when I’m in final editing stages, I worry that it’s somehow not enough.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about divorcees, widowers and second chances?
It’s my first novella-length story, and I learned that you can’t pack 75,000 words worth of stuff into 25,000! Writing that short is also tremendous fun. I’m writing another one this summer for a Christmas anthology and am champing at the bit to get started.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
When my husband and I retired, it became apparent that I needed a quiet space of my own, so he and my son made a 14 X 24 foot section of detached garage into my office/sewing room. My other son brought me a teacher’s desk from Vermont, an old oak one a college professor he worked with had given him. (I still have phone numbers for Lyndon State College in 2007 taped to it!)

What are you working on now?
I’m getting ready to start a novella for a Christmas anthology, which I’m really excited about, and I’m waiting for edits on my next Harlequin Heartwarming, tentatively titled The Winter of Letting Go.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Each romance I write leans further and further toward women’s fiction. It is what I prefer to read—because there aren’t enough romances written about “mature” protagonists—and I think it’s what I’ll end up writing. The Girls of Tonsil Lake is WF with just bare elements of romance and I had so much fun writing it! Characterization is my favorite thing, and there’s a lot of room for it in WF.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I would own a tearoom, because I love them. They’re often not very successful in the area where I live, but I keep thinking if it were attached to a little bookstore complete with fireplace and cat, it would go, wouldn’t it? J

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Conflict. Because what works for me may not work for a reader or an editor. Because I don’t like conflict in my own life, I use mostly internal conflict (that, at least, I can understand), and sometimes it’s just not enough.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Jo March from Little Women; she was where I went when I was young and distressed or depressed and they never let me down. Heroes? Jeff Grant in Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s Maybe This Time because he’s just a nice guy with flaws. I should admit that the next time I’m asked this question, I’ll have a different answer, but that’s one of the joys of being a reader.

Showing up in the SMALL TOWN SUMMER box set on July 13 is SUMMER IN STRINGTOWN PROPER. It's my first-ever novella in my first-ever anthology and I am so excited to tell Molly and Joe’s story. They’re two fifty-year-olds who meet at the wedding of her aunt and his father. She's a divorcee who's afraid to trust and he's a widower who's reluctant to love again.


About Liz:  Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in North Central Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…30-some years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening! She’d love to hear from you at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at:

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015 | By: HiDee

Unlimited possibilities @ your library®

When I was a child, getting your own library card was like winning the lottery. It meant you could go to the library and choose from a smorgasbord of books. It meant an opportunity to explore other worlds, to learn about people, places and things that you might never experience if not for books.

I remember heading to my favorite sections of the library, trailing my fingers across the spines of books aligned on the shelves as I perused the titles. Often I would select a book and slide to the floor, right there in the aisle, to flip through and read a few passages before deciding if I wanted to check out that book. Sometimes I thumbed through the card catalog, looking for books that might have been shelved somewhere other than my usual sections. Visiting new sections exposed me to books I wouldn’t have thought to explore on my own. But each visit, I would check out as many books as they would allow, or as many as I could carry!

Thankfully, my parents supported my love of books. We were encouraged to check out library books at school, as well as through the public library. Good grades earned opportunities to purchase books from the Scholastic Book order forms that came home with our papers. When we moved out of state, the first place we visited after moving in was the local public library. As we got older, we were treated to trips to the bookstore. Used bookstores were my favorites, because I always came home with a stack of “new” books that didn’t cost my parents a small fortune!

My love of books has grown over the years. I have more books on my shelves and in boxes than I will probably ever read, but I can’t make myself get rid of them. I have core reading preferences but I have also learned to explore new-to-me authors and subjects.

I still prefer having a book in my hands to watching TV. I also live in a small town without a library so I haven’t checked out any library books in a very long time, but I still visit the bookstore or my local department stores every week looking for new books.

Because books are important to me, I wanted to share information on book-related celebrations happening across the nation during the month of April.

D.E.A.R.-- Drop Everything and Read -- is a national month-long celebration of reading designed to encourage people of all ages to make reading a priority in their lives. Author Beverly Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R. in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8.  Since publication of her book, "Drop Everything and Read" programs have been held nationwide in honor of Mrs. Cleary’s birthday on April 12th.

National Library Week – April 12-18, 2015
Every April since 1958, libraries across the country observe National Library Week to celebrate contributions of libraries and librarians and to promote support and use of libraries.  In the mid-1950s, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers were concerned that Americans were reading less, and they decided to do something about it. They wanted to motivate people to read, and therefore generate more interest and use of libraries. Their theme that first year was "Wake Up and Read!"

Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.
I love this theme for 2015!  Libraries are filled with possibilities for people of all ages and interests!  While I love the internet and easy access of books through my computer or other electronic devices, there is no experience quite like visiting the library.  It has the potential to change lives, if only people are exposed to it.

How has a library influenced your life?

Friday, April 10, 2015 | By: Cafe
Good fiction's job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
- David Foster Wallace