Friday, September 27, 2013 | By: Cafe
Be yourself.  Be true to that, to your heart.  Patience.  See what happens if you step back instead of bounding forward. 
– Nora Roberts
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | By: HiDee

Support Is A Two-Way Street

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
– Allen Saunders

Life has been more stressful than usual lately. I’ve got too many proverbial irons in the fire – some by choice and others not – but I’m doing my best to cope. My mind races with thoughts of who, what, when, where, why, and how the heck am I going to get it all done?

A popular modification of the serenity prayer comes to mind:  Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know where I should hide the bodies. 

Yes, I like that idea! Bury the bodies. That will take care of some of my problems. . . until I land in jail for murder. I would not make a good prisoner. Can you imagine how difficult I would be if I couldn’t have my daily dose of books and chocolate? PMS would pale in comparison.

We learned a long time ago that we don’t always get our way. But even as adults, it’s not easy to accept.

Being a member of the sandwich generation, I often find that my life is not my own. My youngest is a senior in high school, and definitely not the social butterfly his sister was four years ago. He is passionate about soccer, so we’re on the go to his varsity games several times a week. That will be over before any of us are ready, so I’m not really complaining. Mixed in for good measure, on both sides of the family we have aging and health-challenged parents who demand more of our time. It’s a rare day that we have to ourselves, and hubby and I usually have different ideas about how we want to spend that time, which results in more conflict. Throw in work upheavals, and I recently had the perfect recipe for feeling sorry for myself. 

Then a friend called under the pretense of inviting us to a backyard celebration for her son, who had just graduated from boot camp and would be leaving in three short days. I asked how she was doing and she hesitated a second too long. We talked for about fifteen minutes and she insisted she was fine so we said goodbye. But my friend needed me – I could feel it in my gut. I hopped in my van and drove to her house, only to find her sitting in the dark on her patio, wrapped in an old chenille robe, bawling her eyes out. She didn’t have to explain the pride and fear warring in her heart; I just knew. I wrapped her in my arms and cried with her. When she was spent, she simply said “I knew I could call you.” 

Those were powerful words, a boon to my feeling-sorry-for-myself soul. I was needed.

We all need a support system. Sometimes it’s just someone to vent to, someone who will listen and empathize without judging. Sometimes, we need someone to gently steer us in the direction we need to go. Other times, we need a swift kick to reboot our mindset. Surrounding ourselves with people who can fill these roles is important.

Writers, by necessity, have solitary spans of time. We talk to ourselves, answer ourselves, even argue with ourselves. But we still need the support of our family and friends to cover for us when we are deep into writing on a deadline. We need the support of other writers to help us work through stuck plotlines or stubborn characters who just refuse to cooperate. We rely on other writers to understand how we think, why we struggle, and to help us navigate the path to publication. And then we need the support of readers once we are published. 

But in the end, support – like life – is a two-way street. You have to give to receive. 

How have you been supportive of someone in your life?  How has someone helped you? Please share.
Friday, September 20, 2013 | By: Cafe
No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.  No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
– Robert Frost
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Andrea Cooper


Today, the Write Way Café welcomes Crimson Romance author Andrea Cooper.

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 had stories and characters running through my mind. As early as I can remember, I had kids ask me what we were going to play. I set the plot, characters, etc. However, I didn’t start writing novels until my late twenties. I wrote poetry from my teens until my mid-twenties. It was after reading a Christian historical romance, which to me was illogical, that I tossed the book across the room, frustrated. Then I decided to write a story I would like to read; and to give the characters and story ideas in my head a place to manifest.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     I wrote this book and the second book, Son of Dragons, and third book, War of Darkness in this trilogy within months after watching the movie Underworld in the theaters. These three books are the fastest of anything I’ve written so far.
     My path getting this book published was a long one. I was not aggressive in sending it out to publishers. I would send out an inquiry once or twice a year—sometimes waiting another year before trying again.
     I didn’t do any extra research for this novel. Since this is a fantasy/paranormal world, I let my imagination have free rein. On my historical romance, I had pages of research and still had to look up a few things during the editing process.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     The character, Brock, came after I watched the movie Underworld in the theater. The tone and combining of werewolves and vampires just got my imagination going. I thought, everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human (or in the case of the movie a werewolf), but what if the victim is Elvin? From the answer, Brock came to me. He repeated lines that are in the book over and over in my head while I was at work until I had to take a break and write down what he was saying—so he’d stop repeating and say something new.
     Shortly after this, the premise of the story came to me. Everything else in the story developed as I wrote it. I don’t outline (unless the characters and I are lost) since both of us hate it. Besides, either me or my characters will get us unstuck before the outline is done.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     I created the world of The Garnet Dagger as a fantasy story. I love history and fantasy novels, so it was the perfect way for me to combine the two. Although, I do like contemporary novels and love some Urban Fantasies (like Kim Harrison, Yasmine Galenorn, etc.), I am drawn to older time periods.

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 completely imaginary. They may have slivers of me, either the good parts or the parts I’d rather not admit. The few times I have tried to base a character on a real person in fragments, they take on a life of their own and no longer resemble the original blueprint.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     This trilogy flowed out of me. The second book, Son of Dragons, I wrote in less than three months while working fulltime. At the time, my secret for not hitting blocks was only being able to write on my lunch and breaks while working, at home late at night, and on the weekends. My job took little mental capacity, since I’d done it for years, so I let my mind wander while I worked. Before long, I’d have a scene, dialogue, or character that would make me want to take a break early.
     Now, since I’m a stay-at-home mom, I have even less time. And my four-year-old and ten-month-old don’t understand the concept of a coffee break. So I write whenever I have time. If I do get stuck, I find something else to do that I do not enjoy. I dislike cleaning (but love a clean house) so by the time I’ve finished, the story is begging to take over.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     Every time I write, I’m surprised. I know the beginning, basic idea, and the ending (ish), but the journey there is new. Whenever a character learns something, 98% of the time, I’m discovering it too as I write. To me, it’s one of the best parts of writing. After writing this trilogy, I was surprised that so many people have liked the characters and their story. So much so, that I’ve gotten lots of questions on when book two and three will come out. Although I have all the books written, I’m working on revisions and with beta readers now.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world, and about the paranormal activity of vampires and witches?
     I learned that I need feedback from others (readers and other writers) to make my stories better. I revised The Garnet Dagger for years, but there came a point when I felt like I was going in circles and did not know how/what would make the story better. It wasn’t until I received the first edits back that I saw some of my weaknesses and some of my strengths. I learned through this process that I’m blind to my writing, but can find ways to improve another’s easily.
     Since Brock was an Elvin, instead of a human, before he was bitten by a vampire, I merged attributes of both. Vampires crave and live on blood, but to tweak this, I had Brock be sustained by the life essence of others. However, his touch is deadly—so he struggles with harming others and self-preservation, which also means the saving of his people. He has weaknesses, he has to drain others to survive, and he is susceptible to hypothermia (which is why Celeste had to wake him when he was unconscious in the snow).

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, because these were the first fantasy books I had ever read. Sad thing is, I didn’t read them until I was an adult and married to my husband now (who introduced me to the books). Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to read or watch anything that had magic, paranormal, or mythical elements or creatures. Not even Disney. Needless to say, those were the books that I craved. Only this year did I read one of Tolkien’s books and I have George R.R. Martin on my TBR list as well.
     The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop. I love her world and how she explains why men are the way they are.
     The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, I just love the intensity of the main characters and that they make mistakes, but somehow find a piece of Happily Ever After for now.
     The House of Night series by Kristen and PC Cast. Yes, I know it’s YA, but it’s addictive. I like that it doesn’t talk down to the reader, and always increases the stakes with each book.

What are you working on now?
     I am working on revisions to both the second and third books in The Garnet Dagger trilogy. A new book idea for a YA shifter (possibly a series) has taken over all the creative space in my head, so I’ll see where it takes me. It’ll be my first YA book, so I’ll see how it turns out. I also have several unfinished novels that I want to complete.


Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?

Forbidden to cross the Elvin barrier into human lands, Brock cannot sate his curiosity. Cursed by a vampyre bite that forces him to feed on the life-essence of others, he is unable to touch another without taking their life. Chained by prophesy, he must find a witch, pierce her heart, and draw her blood for his cure.

Celeste must escape the monks who have held her prisoner for years. Her magic has been kept dormant by her captors. An ancient powerful Warloc craves her powers. If he succeeds in devouring her magic, she and his world will die.

When Brock falls in love with Celeste before realizing her demise is his cure, will love triumph over his desire to be healed? Will he risk everything to save her from a Warloc, an oath breaker, who also wants her dead?

About Andrea:  Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.  What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).  Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.  She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

The Garnet Dagger Book Trailer  http://youtu.be/ISi0u9LoseM
Viking Fire Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/m1bPZ3nUyzs
Twitter: @AndreaRCooper
Author Website: www.AndreaRCooper.com

Buy Links:
The Garnet Dagger Amazon: http://goo.gl/rMEJ59
The Garnet Dagger B & N: http://goo.gl/Qp5i6A
The Garnet Dagger iTunes: http://goo.gl/s1Cugp
Viking Fire Amazon: http://goo.gl/71VAsf
Viking Fire B & N: http://goo.gl/EvBxwf
Viking Fire iTunes: http://goo.gl/fQuKBd

Friday, September 13, 2013 | By: Cafe
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. 
– Jim Rohn
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | By: Lynn

Romantic Gestures Matter

Google "romantic gestures" and you'll find tips for using special efforts to infuse a relationship with romance. Parenting suggests 15 ways to show someone you care, and reminds that taking care to do so is important to keep the "spice" in a relationship.  AskMen offers a list of gestures that are sure-fire for getting into a woman's bed, and acknowledge that women take these gestures, or lack of them, seriously.

"Women notice everything – and I mean everything," writes Oliver Jameson, relationship correspondent for the AskMen site. "They are masters at detecting details and their meaning. So even the smallest gesture, when done earnestly and thoughtfully, will not only be appreciated, but can earn you serious bedtime points."

While romantic gestures typically are part of dating life, they shouldn't go away after marriage, even in a long-term marriage or relationship, or be directed only at women. Men are romantics, too. They want to be appreciated and acknowledged for being important in a woman's life. I get this on authority of several important men in my life, including my husband. And though the AskMen article, "Top 10 Small Gestures That Turn Women On," seems shallow and self-servicing, it hits home in suggesting that lovemaking is an important element in an intimate relationship. It helps people engage not just physically but emotionally, or at least offers that possibility. So why not keep the romance alive?

The occasional romantic gesture is nice, but regular and genuine expressions of love help build an abiding feel-good structure that can sustain us individually and as a couple. According to AskMen.com, romantic gestures have a life-span, so the feel-good of any given gesture will diminish.

"Even the most spectacular gesture will wear off, and there is not a single romantic gesture that will get you off the hook forever."

'Get you off the hook' seems like the wrong way to think of a romantic gesture, but it does remind me of my son while dating in high school. I asked him what he and his girlfriend were doing for Easter and he sighed heavily, referring to just having done something romantic for Valentine's Day, and asked, "Am I required to get a gift for Easter, too?" Kind of sad.

So inspiration for romantic gestures can be organic and very personal. I've told my husband repeatedly, 'Write me a poem and I'll love you forever.' Still waiting for that. Romantic gestures in movies and TV are often grand and might be classified as something that would promise life-time benefits.  A rich man surprises his love with jetting to Paris for dinner and dancing, for example. Who wouldn’t like that? Well, any woman who suspects shallowness or lack of investment in the gesture. Maybe we women are cynical, but I tend to think we want something real over showy.

I've thought about the importance of romantic gestures mainly because my husband is such a romantic and I tend not to be so much. Please, there's laundry and soccer and work and writing to focus on, so it's easy for me to get caught up in the mundane of life – there's plenty of it to take my energy and my thoughts. But even for me, life can get pretty dry without a nod to the value of a romantic moment. A moment when things stop and I stand there with my husband when he's brought home flowers for no other reason than he loves me, or he helps me capture tiny kittens to reunite with their mother for a trip to their new home. These things show me he has a tender and loving heart.

I'll never forget one of his most romantic gestures in our long relationship. It took thought and preparation and making himself vulnerable, all things that remain endearing to me today, many years later.

A little background: When my husband and I married, we joined two families that totaled five children. The children from each side were very young, from 7 down to 3. We dated but we were both very into our lives with our children. Our honeymoon was short. We dropped into a life that was very family-centered. But one night I came home from work to find a nice outfit and corsage lying on the bed. He had made reservations at a favorite restaurant. He told me, though we hadn't had the dating and excitement of a long engagement, he wanted to make sure we remember to make time for special moments for just us – sans kids and the mini-drama of uniting two families.

This gesture on his part stays in my heart, as much a part of my feelings for him as anything he's done since. 

What is your most romantic moment with a loved one? Have you seen any really super romantic gestures in a movie or TV show lately? Share??



Friday, September 6, 2013 | By: Cafe
Go often to the house of your friend, for weeds choke up the unused path.
- Unknown
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 | By: HiDee

Identity Crisis

“Wait. You’re going to a movie? You don’t have friends, you can’t go. That’s just weird, mom.” 

Ah, the cutting words of a teenager. If I were less comfortable in my own skin, I might be having an identity crisis.

Apparently my son thinks because I am a mother, I have no life. I can see where he might think that. For the past 21 years my life has pretty much revolved around he and his sister and their activities. It was important to me to be there for them. Why should they think I have a life of my own?

Ah, but I do!

I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife, and self-appointed family referee. I’m a friend and a co-worker. I’m an animal lover and a hiker, a photographer and scrapbooker. And I am a writer. While my persona’s share some traits, others are unique to a specific role. And yet, they all tie in together to make me who I am.

My family undoubtedly sees me as the bossy one. Being the oldest of five, of course I learned to be bossy! My siblings either are too far away or don’t want to deal with the issues of aging parents, so naturally I’ve taken charge. Someone has to.

“Suzie Homemaker” is what some of my soccer mom friends have dubbed me. To my way of thinking, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yes, I attend all my son’s games. I roam the sidelines taking pictures of our players, and often share them with other parents on Facebook. I’m happy to help out organizing the parent phone tree, painting signs, or bringing snacks. They laugh when I tell them I don’t cook, but it’s the truth. My hubby is the cook in our family, and believe me, it’s better that way!

Co-workers might say I do too much, meaning I need to learn to say no. But my job is more than just a job to me, it’s another family. I care about the people I work with and for. I strive to do the best that I can do. Yes, I’m bossy there sometimes too. But for the most part, what needs to happen gets done, and done right. Co-workers and my bosses know they can count on me to get the job done. I don’t need accolades for doing my job. I’m perfectly happy behind the scenes.

My writer persona is still a work in progress. I’m like a sponge, trying to soak up as much information as I can, then wringing it out as words on paper or on my computer. I am the boss here, too, and sometimes that can be a bad thing. It’s like having the whole world to run free in, and not knowing which direction to go. But I’m learning!

And then I had an Aha! moment.

The heroine in my current WIP has been a real struggle for me. Who is she? Maybe I haven’t explored the fabrics of her personas enough. She’s not a mother, but she is a daughter and a sister. How do others perceive her in those roles? How do those roles tie in to her professional role in life? Obviously I’m missing something because she’s not working for me, and if she’s not working for me, she won’t work for my readers. Maybe I need to think more like my son and question who her friends are.

Do you or your characters ever suffer from an identity crisis? How do you cope with it?