Friday, April 29, 2016 | By: Cafe
The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new. 
– Samuel Johnson
Thursday, April 28, 2016 | By: Cafe

Meet Richard Fowler

The Write Way Café welcomes Augustina Van Hoven, who offers a character interview with Richard Fowler from her book The Thorn of a Rose.

The Thorn of a Rose releases on June 24th.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Richard Fowler. I am a member of the Idaho House of Representatives.  Luckily, they only meet three months out of the year so I get to spend the rest of my time running my sports bar.  I don’t have a great record when it comes to my love life,  I’m thirty-four years old, and I’ve been divorced twice.  Maybe I never really learned what it means to be married.  My parents weren’t exactly the greatest examples.  Dad spent most of his time taking his inheritance and turning it into an empire, while mom disappeared into a bottle when she wasn’t at her garden club or some charity event.  I guess I need to find a woman who doesn’t mind a slightly used husband who needs to grow up.

What is your goal in the story?
Like I said, I am a state legislator.  This session I’m presenting a bill to take back state lands from federal control.  If I can get the bill signed into law it will open up opportunities to dramatically increase funding for schools and improve education in my state.  The current Governor is not going to stand idly by and let this legislation pass.  What I’m proposing to do will undermine a lot of his power and take money away from his own special projects.  I have allies helping me in this and we are all taking a risk moving it forward, our Governor doesn’t play nice.

What is your favorite hobby?
Well I’d have to say drinking and being a smart aleck.  No seriously, I love tasting and acquiring bottles of good whiskey.  My bar is noted for its excellent selections, both imported and domestic.  As to the other, well let’s just say I enjoy being a thorn in the side of certain political figures in my state.

What challenge are you trying to overcome during the story?
Something supernatural happened last year, I thought it was over, but I was wrong.  Strange things are going on which threaten my allies, one in particular, Ashley Halliday.  I have to protect her and I can’t tell her from what or why.    




Website
Blog
Twitter: @augustinavhoven
FaceBook

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.





Tuesday, April 26, 2016 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Forgotten Debutante by Becky Lower

Becky Lower
www.beckylowerauthor.com


Don’t miss the touching conclusion to the Cotillion Ball Saga!

In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.

Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.

Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them … especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it.

Amazon




Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America.  Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com





Friday, April 22, 2016 | By: Cafe
Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it…
–Michael Crichton

Thursday, April 21, 2016 | By: Cafe

Jami Gray: Editors, The Red Pen Wielding Superheroes

The Write Way Café welcomes Jami Gray. Her editors provide insights and suggestions, guiding her to become a more successful writer.

I love my editors.  That's right, I am proud to announce I have more than one, more like five to six if you combine both sets from Black Opal and MuseIt Up.  If you're not familiar with what happens to your favorite book after your author types "#END#", here's a quick run down.

The poor baby begins a weight loss program. The first round will beat that baby down until it's bawling in a corner.  The second round will coax it out, wipe its nose, then proceed to show it tough love with some very straightforward talk.  After some pouting, the story will straighten up, and face down the last round--where the final, professional polish will be applied--hair combed, pants pressed, shoes polished.  Because of this, some writers have a love/hate relationship with their editors, they just love to hate them even as they lovveee the final product.

This past summer in preparation for combining all four of my Kyn books into one printed volume, my editor asked me to go back over the books and ensure there were no specks of dust on my shiny baby.  Since she’s my editor, I didn’t refuse.

Know what I found? The difference between the fourth book of the series, Shadow's Curse and the first, Shadow's Edge is...well...tremendous. As in, if I was doing the first book now with what I've learned, it might be a very different novel, but I digress.

In 2011, I got my first round of edits back on Shadow's Edge. I spent at least a week solid going over every point raised, making notes on style (don't make this passive, show don't tell), and pondering each question my editor poised. This turned into long discussions via track changes in Word through all three editing rounds until I finally I let the little bugger go, freeing it to walk on its own.  It's very difficult, as a new author, to release your clutching hold and see your story as a new reader, because you've breathed, cried, and screamed at it for so long. Move ahead six months to the second book in the Kyn series, Shadow's Soul, this time the track change discussions we're down to "got it", "yep, I can see that", or "What about this?".

Then came Shadow's Moon, the third installment, and one of the biggest reasons I love my editors. Every bit of feedback I got from my editors on the first two books pushed me to look at my craft critically and asked myself, what can I do to strengthen my writing? Challenge myself as a writer? Create something really cool for my readers?

I decided I wanted to change character perspective for my third book since Gavin and Raine needed some breathing room. Plus, well, I was challenged to write a romance. (Challenge me will you?) Not only did I want Shadow's Moon to focus on the evolving relationship between Xander and Warrick, but I decided to mix it up even more, I did two points of views instead of my normal one.  It wasn't easy, but it did teach me quite a bit about what I still had to learn and practice.

Then, mid 2013 when I handed off Shadow's Moon and the proposal for book four, Shadow's Curse, to Black Opal's caring hands, I decided to pause before starting Shadow's Curse. I'd been living in the Kyn universe for a long time, much longer than the publication dates on the books. Other characters and worlds were pestering me for their spotlight. Add in the fact I write from limited third person point of view, and at one time wrote Shadow's Edge completely from Raine's POV (oh yes, much therapy was needed after that), I decided to brave the wild new frontier of first person point of view.

Not as a New Adult story where first person seems prevalent, but in an adult Paranormal Romantic Suspense story, one where I could explore my love of military suspense and paranormal abilities. But here was my challenge—I didn't want every damn sentence to star with "I" . Come on, if all you hear is "I, I, I..." you may wanted to gouge out said "I's" eyes.  It wasn't easy, it was difficult, enough so I almost gave up, but finally, FINALLY, I finished Hunted By The Past and it became part of the MuseItUp family. It also created a new series, the PSY-IV Teams.

Then while working through the toughest Kyn book yet, Shadow's Curse and the fiendishly difficult Natasha, I got hit with the edits for Shadow's Moon and Hunted in one fell swoop. Anxious, I opened up the track changes, leery I may soon find myself curled up in a whimpering pile in front of my computer. Instead I got something better. Both editors left me notes, really heart warming ones, on how much my writing had deepened and how much they were touched by the story. And this hardhearted wench of words, got a little bleary. There were still discussions and muttered comments (not in Track Changes because I didn't want a hit put out on me), but I'm still loving my editors, because they are still providing me insight on things I can do better, ways to consider things differently, and how to ultimately become a more successful writer.

So when the conversation arises among my partners in writing plots about what makes a successful writer, my first answer is: EDITORS.

Whether you're Indie or Traditional or any mixture of writer, an editor can only help you. Not only can they give you an unbiased opinion on your work (Like my question prior to writing Touched by Fate of "So I'm going to change the POV on Book 2 of PSY-IV, you're okay with that right?”), they will keep your story straight, catch when you add an extra arm, leave a character standing at the side of the road, or catch when your character decides to not only change hair color but their height (w/o shoes), your editor will be the first one to push you off that cliff of what ifs when you can't get your feet to move. Because if you want to be a successful writer, you need to continue to grow your craft and your skill set. Otherwise--same story, different....you get the picture.


Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Website        Facebook Author Page        Twitter        Goodreads
Amazon Author Page       Black Opal Books       Muse It Up Publishing

Slip into Jami Gray’s Kyn Kronicles, a world of intrigue and shadows, and discover why readers are screaming for more.  Or dare to walk to on the heart pounding side of intrigue with her Paranormal Romantic Suspense, PSY-IV Teams.

BUY LINKS:
You can find all the buy links for both The Kyn Kronicles and PSY-IV Teams, in all formats at:

http://jamigray.com/kynkronicles/

http://jamigray.com/psyivteams/

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 | By: Cafe

Ethereal Blonde, Raging Redhead, or Sultry Brunette?

Someone asked in an Internet discussion group why so many romance novels feature redheads. I didn’t know that to be true, but it made me consider the question, what does hair color have to do with characterization? Is it scientific or just an author preference?

In real life, hair color preference is influenced by how society feels about hair color, according to Midge Wilson, PhD and professor of psychology at DePaul University, in an interview written by Courtney Linstrand for Teen Vogue.

In her article, Lindstrand references Wilson’s statement that “blonde hair used to be seen as dull and unattractive until Clairol came out with a ‘Blondes Have More Fun’ ad campaign that totally transformed popular opinion of the color.”

"If society is accepting of pink hair right now, it makes us more apt to dye our hair pink, therefore perpetuating the cycle," Wilson said.

It’s no secret, though, that hair color is and has been for a long time connected to certain personality traits. Hairfinder.com points out that in ancient Greece, deities were given a variety of hair colors, and women dyed their hair blonde as a sign of nobility.

Beliefs change and hair color reflects that. Hair color is also influenced by location and local belief systems, as well as time period.

Throughout the world, the tendency to imbue certain hair colors with personality traits persists. In Western culture, according to Hairfinder.com, blondes are considered a trophy, a woman who can bring admiration to her boyfriend or husband with her ethereal hair, innocence, and childlike playfulness or outright ditzyness. Redheads are considered exotic, wild, and sexy, but of possession of a fiery temper. Brunettes are seen as sultry, intelligent, bold, and confident.

Today’s trend of dying hair in unnatural hair colors, such as purple or teal, is a way to showcase a person’s ability to step off the beaten path and as a means of self-expression. It’s a way to stand out, but in an accepted way, Lindstran wrote, quoting celebrity colorist Daniel Moon.

“We connect with colors in life like never before. Sunsets, flowers, trees remind us of our hair color," said celebrity colorist Daniel Moon.

So, as a writer, I can use these societal beliefs about hair color as a way to inform my characters’ appearance or not. When I begin creating a character for a book, I think of a number of things. An image develops in my mind that speaks to me. I look through website images, magazines, and ad flyers to see what stands out for me in terms of character appearance. Personality traits and hair color, as well as other physical traits, mingle together and either fit together or don’t. Also, I’m very interested in writing a variety of characters, especially with traits that are not necessarily romanticized or fit stereotypical heroines and heroes.

For instance, when I created characters for Probabilities, Book 4 in my Fierce Hearts series, I was intrigued by the idea of a heroine who is socially skilled, bubbly, and blonde contrasting with a hero is a redhead, deep-thinking, genius. I saw them as not necessarily likely compatible types. 

The confident but awkward geek falling for the heroine who speaks without thinking was interesting to me. But along with their expected personalities aligned with their hair color as based on society’s beliefs, I wanted to give them inner conflicts that affect real people with these traits to humanize the stereotypes.

I believe that a lot of different elements enter into what a lot of different authors choose for their characters, just as in real life everyone has personal beliefs about what makes a person attractive or unattractive. In fact, for some people, hair color is less important because baldness is badass. 


Does any particular hair type trip your trigger more than others?

Friday, April 15, 2016 | By: Cafe
I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
–Stephen King