Thursday, December 31, 2015 | By: Cafe

Writing Great Characters

The Write Way Café welcomes Augustina Van Hoven, who shares tips for making characters as real as the neighbors.

The heart of any story is its characters.  No matter how interesting or compelling the plot, if the reader doesn’t connect with your characters, they will stop reading your book.

To be a memorable character your creation needs to feel like a real person, someone your reader wants to get to know and care about.  I have found that creating a well-rounded character is a lot like building a house, the first thing you need is a good frame.

I like to begin by casting an actor or actress in the role of the character I need for my story.  This person becomes the basic frame of my character.  The handy thing about actors and actresses is that there are usually lots of pictures of them in various roles available on the internet.  This way you get to see your characters different facial expressions and gestures.  An actor, unless he is playing a character with a physical handicap, will walk a certain way; have a special set to his shoulders, a unique smile.  These are all characteristics I can use to create the physical appearance of my character.  An actor can dye his hair, wear makeup or contacts, and as a writer you can change or adjust any feature of your character.  Remember the actor is merely a starting point.  Any features or changes you make need to be carefully recorded on your character sheets.  Readers notice when your hero’s eyes suddenly go from brown to blue.

The next part of a house is the walls and roof.  For a character it is their personality traits and quirks. A good way to create this part of your character is to assign him or her a birthday and look up the personality traits associated with that day in horoscope books.  This gives you a great list of traits like autocratic, passionate, fiery temper, introverted, sympathetic, a bully, respectful, etc.  You get the idea.  Add to this, skills and talents the character will need to survive in the world where your story takes place and you have a good foundation for his personality.  Don’t forget to add flaws to your characters.  No one is perfect; your character shouldn’t be either.  A real person makes mistakes, has a temper, says something stupid or makes bad choices.  Your characters need to do the same to be believable.

Finally, finishing the interior of the house, for a character, this is backstory.  What needs to happen to your character in the past in order to turn them into the person they are at the beginning of your book?  Each of us has a history of life experiences that have shaped us into the people we are today. It is the same for your character.  The loss of a parent at a young age, surviving a house fire, being mugged, winning the lottery, major occurrences can shape a person in a positive or negative way. The events don’t necessarily need to be traumatic; they can be small like being the quiet one or the smart one in class.  Regardless of what you decide to use, you need to record it on your character sheet and figure out how this will affect your characters actions and decisions in your book.  Unless the back story is significant to the plot, it shouldn’t appear in the book, but you as an author need to know it.

The more you know about your character before you begin writing the easier it is to anticipate how they will react to the twists and stumbling blocks you put in their way.  This also helps keep the story flowing in the right direction and eliminates major edits and rewrites.

A great character is a fictional person who is as real to the reader as the neighbor across the street. Someone she will cheer for, cry with, worry over and want to read about again and again.

Augustina Van Hoven
Proving Love is Strange

Website
Blog
Twitter: @augustinavhoven
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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, December 29, 2015 | By: Cafe

Winding Down 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to thank you for being a part of The Write Wy Café!

Authors have generously given their time, sharing their lives and their stories.  Readers have responded by leaving comments. We've heard from many people who have been referred to our blog by their author or reader friends, and that feels like a huge compliment to us!  It's a good feeling to know we are able to help promote fellow authors.

We hope you will keep visiting in 2016!

Authors, we still have a few openings for Tuesdays and Thursdays, April through June.  If you are interested, please email us at thewritewaycafe@gmail.com.

Do you know of an aspiring author who might like to be featured?  Send them our way!

And remember... 

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. 
     - Brad Paisley


We wish you a safe and Happy New Year!

- Lynn and HiDee


Friday, December 25, 2015 | By: Cafe

Merry Christmas!


Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
- Winston Churchill



Thursday, December 24, 2015 | By: Cafe

My Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring...

Whoa. Wait. Stop right there! 

I would love to be nestled all snug in my bed, with visions of publication dancing in my head. Alas, it is not to be.  Not yet anyway...

There is food to be prepared.  Those who know me well know that I don't cook.  Well, I cook very little.  Hubby is the cook in this household and I will gladly wash dishes to avoid cooking.  However, since we are hosting my family at my house, I am expected to participate in cooking. I ask family members to bring a dish to share, hubby takes care of the meats, and I prepare the dishes I'm good at: potato salad, deviled eggs and no-bake cookies.  Hey, I could live on those items if I had to!

There is cleaning to be done. Vacuum the carpet. Sweep and mop the kitchen floor.  Dust the visible places. Polish my wooden dining room table to a shine!  And then comes the fun part: watching hubby and kids try not to wipe out as they walk sock-footed across the also-polished floor beside the table.  Hehehehe... Sock-skating at its best!

There are presents to wrap. Last minute gifts...or not.  Gifts I hid in a safe place.  Hm....I know I had something else for so-and-so. What did I do with it?  Ah, yes!  Now that I tore the house apart looking for those gifts, I find them somewhere I should have looked first.  Ah, well.  At least I found them.  Nobody will be short a present!  Out come all the wrapping supplies that hubby earlier declared we were done with.  Silly men...

And last but not least, there is Santa to play!  My kids may be grown but some traditions must continue. So after everybody goes to bed, hubby drags out the wrapping supplies one last time - and hopefully kept one roll of paper just for Santa!  I spread out on the floor at the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, wrap the Santa gifts, and fill the stockings. About an hour after the rest of the family has gone to bed, I can finally crawl beneath the covers myself.

Now I can nestle all snug in my bed.  It's been a long day!  If creatures are stirring I probably won't hear them, because I'm too worn out to finish my own night before Christmas story. So here are some Night Before Christmas stories I found online, just for writers!  
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Cheryl Rees-Price and The Silent Quarry

Cheryl Rees-Price


The Silent Quarry is the first in the DI Winter Meadows series by Cheryl Rees-Price.


In 1987 a quiet Welsh village was devastated by a brutal attack on two schoolgirls, Bethan Hopkins and Gwen Collier. Only Gwen survived, with horrific injuries and no memory of the attack. The killer was never caught.

Now, nearly thirty years later, Gwen has gone missing and DI Winter Meadows is assigned to the case. Charismatic and intuitive, he has an uncanny gift for finding the truth. But in this small and close-knit community, the past is never far away, and those who have secrets will go to any lengths to keep them. Tensions run high as old feelings and accusations are stirred. And DI Meadows has to battle his own demons as he uncovers a truth he wished had stayed in the past …

Amazon


About Cheryl:  
     Cheryl Rees-Price was born in Cardiff and moved as a Young child to a small ex-mining village on the edge of the Black Mountains, South Wales, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and two cats. After leaving school she worked as a legal clerk for several years before leaving to raise her two daughters.
     Cheryl returned to education, studying philosophy, sociology and accountancy whilst working as a part time book keeper. She now works as a finance director for a company that delivers project management and accounting services and sits on the board of a local circus company.
     In her spare time Cheryl indulges in her passion for writing, the success of writing plays for local performances gave her the confidence to write her first novel. Her other hobbies include walking and gardening which free her mind to develop plots and create colourful characters.

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Friday, December 18, 2015 | By: Cafe
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.  
- Ernest Hemingway
Thursday, December 17, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Amy Olle

The Write Way Café welcomes Amy Olle, whose writing journey has been filled with unexpected surprises.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     After I finished the long, difficult slog that writing my graduate thesis entailed, I wanted to read something less academic and more entertaining. I picked up Outlander and discovered the genius of romance novels. Oddly enough, Outlander is not shelved in the romance section at bookstores and libraries, so in my hunt for similar works, I read lots of fantastic historical fiction and fantasy. Eventually, I found the romance section and discovered the many brilliant historical romance writers there. I was hooked. I don’t know if you’ve heard (;-)), but romance readers are voracious readers. I can attest to that! After a year and probably a hundred or more romance novels, I’d become that stereotypical budding writer with my head full of elaborate daydreams, mini-stories, or snippets of scenes. One day, while reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel, I thought, I want to write a book like this. Just a pure, simple wish and so, so naïve!

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     I wrote Beautiful Ruin, start to finish, at least three separate times. Technically, it’s the first book I’ve written, but in truth, I’ve written three complete manuscripts, all with the same premise and two of which are an abomination to the craft, before producing this last version of Noah and Mina’s story. It took me years to learn story structure (A plot? What’s that? Do I need one?) and to discover my writing process (still discovering). During those years of writing and rewriting, I moved across the country, started a new job - twice, had a baby, and lost my dad to illness. Sometimes, I think about that naïve wish to write a romance novel, and then I start laughing.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     I can’t pinpoint the exact moment this story idea occurred to me. Instead, it sort of evolved over time as I wrote (and rewrote). I knew I wanted to write about a woman struggling with a past trauma, and ultimately, I wanted it to be a story of healing and redemption. From there, I just wrote. Not something I would advise, by the way (see previous answer). J

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     I lived in the south (Georgia) for several years while attending graduate school, but I always pined for my home in Michigan. Mainly, I missed my family and friends, but also I missed the little things about the state where I’d grown up. I missed the way it smells. I missed the four distinct, oftentimes intense, seasons. I missed the beaches, the freshwater lakes, the quaint harbor towns. I missed the vibe. We have two Big Ten universities within an hour of each other. Of course, we’re bitter rivals (football and basketball season are particularly exciting!), but it’s created this diverse community of intellects and scholars, students, and working class families. The film industry is growing in the state and has only enriched the already large community of writers and artists. Michigan is such an interesting place and I knew I wanted to write about it.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I’m a sucker for the tortured soul so, thankfully, most of my characters are completely imaginary. Of course, they share my likes and dislikes, and my love of history and travel and old homes, but that’s about it. The characters populating my stories are more tormented and larger than life than anything or anyone in my personal reality (and that’s a good thing!).

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     I SO wish I could say no way, not me, never. Alas, I have days when I’m uninspired, or bogged down, or just plain stuck. I wish I had the mental toughness to power through on those days, but I only ever ended up getting nowhere fast.
     What has worked for me most reliably is to try something surprising in the story. I’m a plotter, so rather than pushing out an uninspired scene, I might look for a plot twist at the point where I’m stuck. Or, I might let a character go and see what kind of trouble they wander into. So far, they’ve always come through for me and either did something unexpected or said something surprising or revealing. A small spark is all it takes and every time I’ve tried this, I’ve wound up with a more complex plot or a previously undiscovered layer to one of the characters. I’m learning to trust my inner-panster! She’s the best at getting me unstuck.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
  I am constantly amazed at how supportive romance writers are of each other. Maybe my surprise stems from the fact that I come from academia, which is not exactly what I would call supportive. I’ve thought a lot about the differences between the two communities and, for the most part, remain baffled. Maybe the supportiveness in romancelandia is due to the fact we’re a community of mostly women (with more and more men joining all the time!), or maybe it’s because we write to entertain and not to convince or persuade or prove our worthiness for tenure. Maybe it’s because we don’t actually have to compete against each other. I think of those voracious readers. They want more books!
     On top of that, I was initially surprised to learn, in contrast to the ridiculous stereotypes of romance readers and writers, we’re an open-minded, highly educated, professional community. Now, I take tremendous pride in belonging to a community that we gives voice to women while at the same time champions fellowship and love. Oh, and we’re HUGE. All the haters can suck it.
     One last comment – I’m surprised how hard it is to learn and master craft (is it even possible to “master” craft?), how hard it is to find the time to write (and study and read), and how, even given that difficulty, I can’t stop trying to do all of it anyway. J
  
What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about remote islands and archaeology?
  I’ve learned (and continue to learn) an awful lot about the many ways doubt and uncertainty destroy creativity and productivity.
     Growing up in Michigan, I didn’t need to do a lot of research on the climate, history, or geography, though I’ve taken full advantage of the excuse to visit Mackinac Island and a number of Michigan’s beautiful coastal towns. Also, I’m a bit of an amateur genealogist and some of my and my husband’s family histories worked their way into the details of Mina’s family history. I’ve worked at two universities, both of which had active archaeology programs where I could observe an excavation and learn about the field.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I don’t have a designated space. I take my writing with me everywhere I go and squeeze in writing time whenever and wherever I can. My mobile workspace includes a netbook with the manuscript file (which I backup daily) and a notebook where I jot down ideas and scenes. It all fits in my oversized purse and travels with me. At home, I set up any number of places to write - in bed, on the couch, at the dining room table – anywhere I can find some relative quiet!

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     There are so, so many books! I love anything written by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but especially It Had To Be You and Heaven, Texas. Lisa Kleypas (Smooth Talking Stranger, Blue-Eyed Devil) and Julia Quinn (I’ll take any Bridgerton novel, any time) are auto-reads for me. All three authors write with an incredible depth of emotion about characters who are flawed, but honorable, and who always find a way to turn their hurts and disappointments into strengths.

What are you working on now?
     I’m editing book two in the Nolan brothers series while also writing book three.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
  For now, I’m sticking with contemporary romance. Although, I have a dark ages romance about a Welsh-Irish prince and a Pictish princess bandying about inside my head. Maybe someday…

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     A historian. In particular, I find Celtic and British history fascinating. Is it possible to be a professional genealogist? I love to do research and I love researching family histories.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     I have two: 1.) Starting - sitting my butt in a chair, blocking out the many, many distractions, and putting in the time it takes to write a book – and 2.) editing. I’d rather face the dreaded blank page, where anything is possible, than wrestle with my own words. Having to confront all my doubts and fears about my writing, with no escape, is So Freaking Hard.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     I love an underdog and both Penelope Featherington and Evie Jenner come to mind. Both women are insecure and awkward, but also extremely smart and determined with loads of integrity. I relish the way they prove people wrong.
     I also adore Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Lisa Kleypas’ The Devil In Winter. He’s so naughty, but also extremely vulnerable. He touches my heart, as does Julia Quinn’s charming and easy-going, Colin Bridgerton. On the surface, he appears carefree and playful, but underneath it all, he has a deep-rooted insecurity about his place in the world. It’s probably not a coincidence that both heroes fall for imperfect heroines. *Dreamy sigh*
     I have to give a mention to Jamie Fraser! I mean, what’s not to love? He’s smart, loyal, self-assured, honorable and sexy, and he’s a bit of a tortured soul. Oh, my.



A good archaeologist always finds what he’s digging for…

When Mina Winslow buys her ancestral home with plans to restore it to the beautiful sanctuary it once was, she discovers more than she bargained for. Soon, she's face-to-face with a man from her past. The one man she never stopped longing for.

Renowned archaeologist, Noah Nolan, swore he’d never return to the small, remote island in Lake Michigan. After agreeing to complete a short-term excavation project, he realizes the site belongs to the woman who inexplicably rejected him years before. A woman he’s never forgotten – or forgiven.

When Noah’s affinity for uncovering all things lost, forgotten, and buried stirs Mina’s repressed memories of a terrifying secret, she must find the courage to unearth the past, or risk losing the treasure of her heart forever.


Amazon


Amy Olle writes sexy contemporary romances filled with hope, heart, and humor. Her first book, Beautiful Ruin, is the first in a series about five Irish-born brothers sent as children to live with family on a remote island off the coast of northern Michigan. She is delighted to put her Psychology degrees to good use writing romance.
     Amy lives in Michigan with her long-suffering husband, brilliant son, and (female) turtle named George.
     For new releases and giveaways, join Amy’s mailing list. She loves to hear from readers! Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook or contact her at amy@amyolle.com.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Luanna Stewart


Luanna Stewart
http://www.luannastewart.com/


I'm giving away a $5 Starbucks gift card to one commenter, to help maintain sanity during the holidays!  Please leave a comment (and your email!) for a chance to win. 



When her wealthy art dealer father died, Heather James was expecting a fortune. Instead, his bank account was empty and Heather’s working in a bakery, wondering exactly what happened to her father's millions...until someone tries to kill her.

Tony Simons is on the trail of an art theft cold case that's practically giving him frostbite. He's hoping that by sticking close to Heather—the daughter of his deceased prime suspect—he'll find the answers he needs. Instead, he's finding himself distracted by a gorgeous woman who drives him crazy in every way imaginable…

Now Tony's in serious trouble. Even if Heather can't—or won't—tell him where the stolen paintings and money are, she may well have stolen his heart.

And now someone wants her dead…

Portrait of a Girl is available at:  Entangled Publishing
Amazon      B&N      iTunes       Kobo       Amazon UK   


About Luanna: Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered her grandmother's stash of romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.
     Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys, and two cats. When she's not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.
     Writing under the pen name Grace Hood, she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press. She is excited to have a book published under her own name with Entangled Publishing.

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Friday, December 11, 2015 | By: Cafe
A story isn’t about a moment in time, a story is about the moment in time.
–W. D. Wetherell

Thursday, December 10, 2015 | By: Cafe

Dump the Clichés? Will they Still Get It?

The Write Way Café welcomes Ashley York, who discusses tips to avoid telling instead of showing.

When I first started writing full-time, one of my favorite things to do was to try to pick out just the correct words to describe expressions people made. I wanted to catch just the right movements to convey that same emotion because when you experience the person making "the face," the emotion is conveyed without question. My husband's favorite expression is a lopsided grin that sort of tucks in at one corner. His conveyed emotion? Censure. I'd describe it as his "are you really going to say that?" look. And, naturally, my response is "Don't give me that look."

We all want to show and not tell, but how best to go about it?

One of the most common ways is to use what's familiar.  And why is it so familiar? Because we've read it over and over and over again. That is the very definition of cliché-overuse. It's easy to slip these in without even realizing it. I've had critique partners "correct" my words to turn them into the well-known cliché. And I said "thank you!" <Smack the forehead> The sentence just seemed to sound right after that. We were familiar with it. We knew what it meant. But STOP! It was a cliche—overused; losing its original impact; trite. Is that really how we want to write? When we spend so much time selecting just the right word? I'd venture a guess and say "NO!" How to avoid it? I admit I'm not always able to avoid them. If there are ten clichés, trust me, there use to be fifty :)

How do your favorite authors avoid writing clichés when they describe expressions and gestures that we all do every day?  Please share!


About Ashley: Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author's imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.

Connect with her online:
Email: ashleyyork1066@gmail.com
Twitter: @ashleyyork1066
www.ashleyyorkauthor.com
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Savage Disclosure, Nickie Savage Book 3

R.T.Wolfe
www.RTWolfe.com



Savage Disclosure, Nickie Savage Book 3

Detective Nickie Savage is on the heels of a domestic child trafficking ring—the same one responsible for her own childhood abduction. 


When the ringleaders repeatedly slip her grip, Nickie suspects there's a mole funneling information to an outside source and calls upon her new husband, Duncan Reed, to find the leak. 


But Nickie needs more than Duncan's photographic memory and computer hacking skills to get back on track. She must make peace with the ghosts of the children she left behind. 


Amazon     Google Play       Barnes and Noble       iTunes


     Juggling both the take-out bag from Mikey’s Bar and Grill and the yogurt she snatched from home, Nickie stepped into the elevator and pushed the button to the top floor. Except, this was Northridge, New York, which meant the top floor to the tallest downtown building was a whopping four floors. And yet the man the local newspapers call The Taste of L.A. stayed for her. Here. And bought the top floor of the tallest building to serve as an office he used only part-time. 
     The doors opened and she stepped into the hallway, her mind still rolling through the roadblocks of her frustrating new case. Duncan had had two sections of wall on each side of the entrance replaced with floor-to-ceiling glass. As she spotted his morning receptionist’s empty chair, Nickie realized how late it was for lunch. Luckily the bag from Mikey’s was heavy.
     It wasn’t like her to walk into anyone’s office unannounced, especially when the door was closed. With the absence of his receptionist, Nickie attempted to raise her full hands to knock. The door opened before she had the chance.
     Duncan greeted her with a half smile. He took the Mikey’s bag from her, then wrapped his free hand around hers. Twirling her wedding ring between his thumb and forefinger—the habit he’d picked up since their marriage—he leaned in and kissed her softly. The familiar scent of him dove into her lungs and settled next to her heart.
     “There you are,” he said just as softly. She blinked three times in order to regain her composure.
     Turning, he headed back for his desk with his bag, opening it as he walked.
     “Am I so late that you waited by the door for your lunch?” she asked as she sunk into the guest chair on the opposite side of his enormous desk. She lifted a boot, ready to plop it on the top before noticing the polish of the glass and letting it fall to the floor.
     Pulling out the over-sized tenderloin from the bag, he gestured to the monitor at the side of his desk. “I saw you on the security cameras.”
     Of course.
     “Sorry for leaving you hungry. And for the hectic past few days. It doesn’t look like the next few will be any better.”
     “Hmm,” he said as he swallowed bites of the French fries, never one to talk with his mouth full. “That it a shame since I haven’t seen you naked in seventy-two hours.”
     Opening her half-empty yogurt container, she considered. “What about the other night?” On the stairs. Yum.
     “You weren’t naked.”
     She smiled. It couldn’t be helped, but it was followed by the frown created from her predicament with her recent case.
     “Would you like to talk about it?”
     “Hmm? Oh.” She shrugged and dunked some of the blueberries she’d thrown in the container on her way out of the house. “Roadblock on a case. Alleged college rape.”
     “You use the word ‘alleged’ often. I know better, but others view this as assumed innocence.”
     Another shrug. “Innocent until proven guilty and all that. The girl sounds legit, but no need to throw some bloke under the bus until I have proof. Which is where we come to my roadblock. Statistically, these things don’t come in isolated cases. I’ve got the alleged victim.” Oops. There was that word again. “I’ve got the dude’s ID.” She dug in the pocket of her blouse and pulled out the photo she’d downloaded of him. Waving it around with her free hand, she took another bite before continuing. “I can’t exactly stand in front of his Drama Club practice and show his picture to girls as they leave, making accusations. I’m a NPD detective.”
     Duncan set down the burger that so ironically mismatched everything about him and walked around to her. Would the reaction of her heart rate to this kind of simple gesture ever wane? He reached down and placed his hand beneath one of her calves, lifting her leg and setting her boot on top of his desk. Before repeating the process with the other leg, he snatched the photo from between her fingers. “I, however, am not a cop and would enjoy an afternoon on the beautiful Heritage Junior College campus.”



About R.T.:  R.T. Wolfe enjoys creating diverse characters and twining them together in the midst of an intelligent mystery and a heart encompassing romance. It's not uncommon to find dark chocolate squares in R.T.'s candy dish, her Golden Retriever at her feet and a few caterpillars spinning their cocoons in their terrariums on her counters. R.T. loves her family, gardening, eagle-watching and can occasionally be found viewing a flyover of migrating whooping cranes.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 | By: Cafe
Books aren't made of pages and words.  They are made of hopes, dreams, and possibilities.
- Unknown
Thursday, December 3, 2015 | By: Cafe

First Love Again with Kristina Knight

The Write Way Café welcomes Kristina Knight, an enthusiastic author who may have been an exclamation point in another life.


Tell us a little about First Love Again
First Love Again is a story about second chances and redemption. Emmett blames himself for something that happened years ago ~ to the point, he hasn't been 'home' in 10 years. Jaime is trying hard to leave the past behind, but the people around her can't let go of what happened. Together, they'll face the past and hopefully find a future together.

If First Love Again was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why? 
As I was writing the book, I had very specific people in mind! I'd pick Scarlett Johansson for Jaime - because she does feisty but broken so well! - and Joe Manganiello for Emmett because...well, Joe Manganiello.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
There are so many people! I've been incredibly lucky to have a very supportive husband and a core group of real-life friends who not only let me whine when a story isn't going well, but who kick my butt to get the story back on track! They know who they are. :)

What “keepers” are in your home library?
There are SO MANY! And for so many different reasons! I still have my dog-eared copies of the Narnia series because just seeing them on my shelf takes me back to my teenage self and the dreams those books instigated, I have copies of two of my favorite romance books - scammed from my grandmother's book shelf! - and I have several 'keeper' authors whose hardback books will always be on my shelves.

What is your favorite social media?  Why? 
Instagram! I love Twitter and Facebook, but a lot of the images you see in those places are memes or graphics using professional photography (nothing wrong with that!)...but I love, love Instagram for the simple reason that the pictures I see there are, for the most part, real pictures take in real time by real people.

And now for the fun stuff!

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be? 
Exclamation Mark..because I get overly excited. Some people would say about nothing. I disagree.

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
Bags and shoes. I'm a HUGE Dooney & Bourke fan and a Vera Bradley fan...I've got more bags from those 2 designers than, probably, 5 people would need...but I love them.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality? 
Glass half full...some would call me a Pollyanna. I prefer Optimist.

Are you a dog/cat/other person? 
Dog! I love my Hazel (she's a shih tzu) and so silly!

What is your favorite season and why? 
Fall, because of all the color...no, Summer because beach-time. But I can't forget about snow days in Winter (and we get a lot up here!), so Winter. Wait a sec, with snow days come weeks of sub-zero temperatures. I'll go with Spring, because it's a little bit of all three - warm like summer but without those 100 degree days, colorful like fall and still crisp in the early mornings and evenings like the beginning of winter.


Coming back to Gulliver Island after a ten-year absence to take care of his father should have been simple. Emmett Deal would fix and sell the family home, and return to Cincinnati with his ailing father in tow. Yet something compels him to stay a little longer. The beautiful, bright eyes of Jaime Brown.

Ten years ago, traumatic events changed the course of Jaime's life forever, catching her in a small-town life she can't escape. Emmett's return stirs up the memories she wanted to ignore ... and dreams she had forgotten. Now she finds herself with a rare opportunity - a second chance. Only this time, it's not just for love...

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About Kristina:  Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer's capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she's living her own happily ever after. Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Ashley York and The Gentle Knight

Ashley York
www.ashleyyorkauthor.com



A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won't be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?

Padraig MacNaughton's death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she's ever wanted?
Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?


Excerpt:
     "What. Will. It. Be?" He leaned in closer, whispering each word.
     "Whatever you think best?" She spoke as calmly as she could but the room was getting very hot.
     He glanced up as if trying to read an unclear sign but then that assured smile returned.
     A tiny quiver rippled through her. Before she could speak again, he was closing in on her, his body up against hers.
     "Whatever I think best?"
     She wavered for a moment, unsure why he answered her with that tone. She wanted nothing more than to melt against him, envelope herself in his heat. This was just like in her dream. Hot and heady.
     Then his firm lips were on hers. His hard length pressing her into the table, as if trying to meld them together. Her body would gladly have done just that if only it could have turned to pure liquid instead of just a growing warmth where his hips grinded into her.
     He pulled his head back enough to search her face. He was breathing hard. He looked bewildered. "Is this what you want then?"

Buy links:    Apple       Kobo        Amazon        Barnes and Noble


About Ashley: Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author's imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.

Connect with her online:
Email: ashleyyork1066@gmail.com
Twitter: @ashleyyork1066


Friday, November 27, 2015 | By: Cafe
Once you learn to read you will be forever free.
- Frederick Douglass
Thursday, November 26, 2015 | By: Cafe

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 

- Lynn and HiDee
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 | By: Cafe

Love vs. Compatability

My husband and I recently celebrated our thirty-second anniversary. Wow, thirty-two years as husband and wife. Some would call reaching that milestone an accomplishment. I would agree.

Ours was a second marriage for both of us. Blending a family of completely different lifestyles was challenging. My husband and I went through lots of those. Challenges, I mean. The first year I was so nervous that we would become part of the statistics that report second marriages don't last. But we have! Not just survived, but each of us has grown and our relationship evolved. Our relationship is something I'm grateful for every day. For Thanksgiving, it's at the top of the list, along with having wonderful children.

In romance novels, there are no obstacles too big for love to prevail. Not distance, not differing lifestyles, not status, not ethnicity, not different belief systems, not even different solar systems.

In real life, it’s similar. Many of the former restrictions in our society have gone by the wayside. When we meet someone who trips our trigger, we’re typically willing to become involved, regardless of potential obstacles. In romances and real life, not much thought is given to compatibility in a developing relationship. We’re more inclined to follow our heart, believing simply the heart wants what the heart wants, and, of course, the heart isn’t wrong.

But humans are so complex. Is it that simple? Just follow your heart and you’ll find the person who will love you and you will love for a lifetime? Do opposites attract or does love find better luck between two similar people?

I don’t think anyone actually knows the answers to those questions. But according to Carolyn Hack, a relationships columnist for the  Washington Post  no matter what draws a couple together or the character of their relationship, compatibility is key to a workable mutually satisfying relationship.

“…The best way to find out whether you’re compatible is to communicate your needs clearly. And the best way to communicate your needs clearly is to trust them, vs. spinning them in the most favorable way or second-guessing your own normalcy. And the best way to show respect for normalcy as a range, vs. a fixed point, is to treat all (non-destructive) emotional styles and needs as equally valid, just different. Starting with your own. … If you can give each other what each of you needs without taking a chunk out of who you are, then you’re compatible. If you can’t, then you aren’t. Getting this cold calculation right is the secret to warmth that endures,” Hack wrote in a recent column.

Being compatible is not about being different or having similarities as much as accepting the individual as is and loving him or her for being themselves, wrote Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC Board Certified Coach, for Love to Know web magazine.

“You cherish the person for who he or she is and respect his or her differences.”
In book four of my Fierce Hearts Series, Probabilities, were-lynx hero Quinn Arons is attracted to perky, vivacious heroine Tizzy Sands, also a were-lynx. But his life experience as a genius has taught him that average people find him difficult to engage with and reject him easily. He expects the same from Tizzy, because, after all, he’s serious and geekish, while she’s outgoing and normal.

Here’s an excerpt from Probabilities in which Quinn is feeling his differences around Tizzy.

Quinn watched her slip effortlessly into the conversation. He wished he could do it as easily as Tizzy did. A faint whiff of her scent, no perfume, just simply her unique scent with a touch of vanilla-scented soap, wafted to him. Dressed in a deep blue dress that hugged her slim curves and ended just above her knees, she dazzled. Her short blond hair framed her heart-shaped face in a delicate caress. At about five-foot-three inches, she made a petite but powerful package of bubbly personality and strong passion. He’d known her for five years, since she’d joined the colony. Their opposite personalities, his reserved, hers vivacious, made it hard for him to feel as close to her as he’d like. She fascinated him. Made his brain freeze. They were friends, sure, but strong feelings for her had always been there.
But he knew the odds. The probability of her finding him attractive in any way was slim. It wasn’t that he was insecure or lacking in confidence. His brain gave him a broad and rich perspective of the world, and he loved that. He simply was pragmatic and knew it was a challenge for “averages” to connect meaningfully with him.
He didn’t believe she was inferior or stupid. She was an asset to the colony and had proved it many times, especially in the most recent clash with The Nexus Group when they’d kidnapped Casey and gone to war with the colony over the group’s hunting services for trophy animals, animals that had been “hunted” in confined areas. The organization had been a threat to the colony and the community for years, but they had recently progressed to a very dark place of death and destruction. Tizzy had been integral to Casey’s survival during that battle.
She glanced Quinn’s way and lit up his insides with her smile. “Hey, Quinn. Big day for the colony, huh?”
Her hand on his arm sent his mind spinning. “Yeah. Big day.” Doofus. Your mind is racing with thoughts. Say something. “You look nice.”

Despite their differences, as they begin to get to know each other better, they start to appreciate the differing qualities in each other. Tizzy sees that Quinn’s mind is fascinating, and his heart is tender. Quinn sees that Tizzy is self-confident, but also very vulnerable. Whereas he can calculate solutions to any problem instantly and she can’t, Tizzy can easily contain and empathize with a member of colony’s sorrow or despair. A quality that is not Quinn’s strong suit.


Different but compatible? Potentially, if the colony geek and the colony party girl can cherish both their similarities and their differences to form a life-long love.
Friday, November 20, 2015 | By: Cafe
To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. 
- W. Somerset Maugham
Thursday, November 19, 2015 | By: Cafe

Robyn Bachar Writes Magic and Mayhem

The Write Way Café welcomes Robyn Bachar, an author who loves to combine epic love stories with magic and mayhem.

Your first book is being re-released as part of a boxed set. Tell us about it!
Blood, Smoke and Mirrors is now available from Samhain Publishing as part of the Five Past Midnight boxed set. It includes five tales of suspenseful paranormal romance, each the first book of a series. It’s a really fun read! My favorite in the set is Veiled Target by Robin Bielman. It’s like an action-packed mashup of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
For the boxed set we settled on Five Past Midnight because there are five stories and most of the paranormal shenanigans happen after midnight.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
We have a Kanaxa cover! All of my book covers with Samhain have been designed by Kanaxa. She’s awesome to work with and always does a fabulous job.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I love paranormal romance. It’s always fun to combine epic love stories with magic and mayhem.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?
Blood, Smoke and Mirrors was my first novel, and I’ve learned a lot since then. I’d definitely fix Lex’s dialogue. He tends to drawl and drop his “g”s, which drives readers insane. I know better now, I swear!

Do you have any writing rituals?
I need noise in order to write. If I’m on the couch with my laptop I’ll pick something bland to have on in the background like a nice, soothing cooking show, or something I’ve seen a million times. If I’m at my desktop I turn on one of my instrumental Pandora stations, otherwise I get distracted and try to sing along with the music.

What is your favorite part of the publishing/writing process and why? What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process and why?
Getting author copies! My copies for Sunsinger arrived in the mail recently, and it made my day. My least favorite part of the writing process is coming up with a synopsis, or even worse, the blurb. I have a hard time boiling my stories down into a few words.

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?
My best advice is don’t read reviews! I only read reviews from review sites, like RT or Dear Author. I feel that readers are entitled to their opinions, and I expect that some of them will hate my books. That’s fine. I know I don’t like everything I read. I focus on the positive and don’t let myself get dragged down by the negative.

Do you have a favorite place or way to meet your readers?
It’s always fun to meet readers at book signings. I’m going to be signing at RT in Vegas!

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
If you like it, recommend it. I love finding new books and sharing them with my BFF Diana. The squee is better when you can squee together.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
Oh geez, this is hard. Hmm… “Do you know who Harrison’s soul mate is?” Yes, yes I do. I’ve had a few starts and stops with writing his book, which will be the last in the Bad Witch series. It’s going to be tons of fun.




Falling in love has never been so deadly.
Five supernatural thrillers packed with action and romance, each introducing you to an exciting series. Honorable heroes, strong heroines and relentless suspense combine to bring you five page-turners you won’t soon forget.

Veiled Target—USA TODAY bestselling author Robin Bielman: Tess wants revenge, but thrust into an inconvenient alliance with her sexy enemy, she must trust the shifter she’s supposed to kill or risk losing everything.

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors—Robyn Bachar: Hunted by a powerful evil, exiled witch Cat must entrust her fate to the man who betrayed her. Now Lex faces the fight of his life to keep her safe. If they both survive.

Slayer’s Kiss—Cassi Carver: Fallen angels Gavin and Julian have been sent to protect Kara, but she’s determined to track down a killer, even when she realizes her target may be the creature hunting her.

Soul Bound—Anne Hope: Jace is no longer human. Something dark and powerful has taken root within him. Something that that could destroy the one woman he’d sacrifice everything to protect.

Phoenix Rising—Corrina Lawson: Everyone looks at firestarter Alec Farley as a weapon. Beth is the only one who sees a hero. But proving that could be deadly.

Warning: Contains shifters, vampires, witches, fallen angels, a firestarter and troublemaking faeries. Watch out for gratuitous violence, gripping emotion, unconventional sex, some foul language, and a love triangle that gives new meaning to the term hot-wings.

Amazon       Barnes and Noble       All Romance eBooks      Kobo       Samhain


Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires, and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her paranormal romance Bad Witch series, historical paranormal romance series Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles, and spicy space opera romance trilogy Cy’ren Rising are available from Samhain Publishing. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Lynn Crandall - Probabilities

Lynn Crandall
http://lynn-crandall.com/ 


     Bubbly were-lynx Tizzy Sands thought she knew the path of her life: teaching kindergartners, eventually marrying, and starting a family. But when cancer stole her dream of having children, she fell into a dark place where she believes her life would be too short and too empty to engage in a lifelong relationship. As a member of a were-lynx colony that faces constant danger from nefarious The Nexus Group, she focuses on helping the colony defeat them and tunes out any developing feelings for colony mate Quinn Arons.
     With his genius IQ, Quinn isn’t the most socially skilled were-lynx in the colony, and can’t imagine party girl Tizzy could give him a place in her heart. Though his past of molestation as a boy and alcoholism as a young adult haunts him, he cares deeply for Tizzy and can’t accept her attitude that cancer will return and claim her life soon. Instead of persuading her she’s wrong, he patiently shows her life is what you make it.
     When working as partners to prevent powerful TNG from launching its Project Powering and changing the world, Tizzy and Quinn begin to wonder whether their individual paths lead them together or send them apart.

Amazon          Barnes and Noble  


Excerpt:
     "I still have nightmares and want to douse them with alcohol. That’s when I turn to Lara and her healing touch. But times when I’m keenly aware I’m different, I’m back in my childhood when being different made me a target.”
His shoulders hunched over, he still stared at the table, his head in his hands, as he seemed to struggle with regaining his composure.
Tizzy let down her walls and felt the entire room, the whole house, vibrate with energy. It streamed through her, grounding her in the moment alone with Quinn and his pain.
Gently, she touched Quinn’s shoulder. “You’ve been through so much and still you’ve been so very successful at remaining true to yourself. I’m proud of you, Quinn.” She took his hand and pulled him to his feet, then tenderly cupped his face in her hands. “You bring so much good to the world. You’re beautiful.”
Love, the kind that can bear anything, powered through her. Slowly, she leaned up to his face and placed a soft kiss to his lips. She stood back, breathless, and sought his eyes.
Bright and clear, his eyes welcomed her in. Tizzy lifted her lips to his, and he pressed them to hers, hard and needy.
Her legs got weak, but she wanted more of him. Leaning against him for support, she ran her fingers through his hair and savored his presence, so strong yet vulnerable.



Lynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her two cats. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don't back down.

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Friday, November 13, 2015 | By: Cafe
An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.
- Stephen King
Thursday, November 12, 2015 | By: Cafe

What If... with Lola Karns

The Write Way Café welcomes Lola Karns, who shares "what if" she hadn't been disrupted by a hurricane in working toward a PhD.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance? 
I grew up expecting to write a dissertation, not a book per se. I was working on a PhD in European History but a hurricane wiped out an archive central to my research on cultural exchange between Germany and Mexico. After some soul searching, I decided not to start over, but rather turn my research into a work of fiction with a female friendship at the core. At the time, Romance Writers of America included Women’s Fiction so I turned to my local chapter. I still haven’t written the dissertation inspired book yet, but one day I will.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
Winter Fairy was my first published work of fiction and it took about three and a half years. The editing process taught me so much that I’m glad I didn’t rush to publish. As for research, I watched a lot of dance videos and reached out to a few people I know who have danced professionally and asked questions about their career paths. I also read a lot of parenting magazines.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
Author Yvette Hines challenged me to write a holiday story. I can’t imagine the holiday season without the Nutcracker Ballet, which led to the creation of a ballerina heroine. I had the idea of making my hero a widower as a way to explore the challenges of being a single parent and to exaggerate the sense of being overwhelmed that I think all parents experience.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
I knew I wanted to set a scene at The Art Institute of Chicago. I love people watching there almost as much as the art. To see people of different ages and backgrounds coming together surrounded by beauty makes my heart sing.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
My characters come from real questions and real fears I have. Penelope stands at a cross-roads in her career when we meet her in Winter Fairy, much as I did with my dissertation. Eloise and Carson sprang from a moment when my daughter had a temper tantrum and my husband and I did some tag-team parenting to get her calmed down, which got me thinking about what would happen if I didn’t have a reliable partner. My favorite question in life and writing is “what if….”

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
Winter Fairy flowed easily, so I was fortunate. I did struggle a bit in sequencing plot events. I played around with post it notes and some blank calendar pages until I found the right combination.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
For me the biggest surprise has been the positive response from male readers. The cover is so pink! But I’ve heard from a number of men who looked past the cover and then enjoyed the book. I’m honored so many men find Carson relatable.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; a bout six-year olds, and professional ballerinas?
I learned that I love writing kid characters. Their honesty is liberating. I also learned not to be shocked by the initial list of edits. There will be changes, but the story will be better. As far as professional ballerinas, like any top athlete, there are a lot of injuries.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
I have a small desk so I can’t add too much clutter and I have it facing a gray wall so when I look up, I don’t have many distractions. When I need a nature fix, I can look out the window to see a pond, a marsh and corn field. I wish I had a devoted office, but my workspace doubles as our guest bedroom and craft room so I get kicked out on a regular basis and then spend time organizing and reorganizing the furnishings.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
I recently reread Jane Wagner’s play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which is one of my go-to books for reaffirming hope. For a classic romance, I love E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View. The playful humor in Jasper Fforde’s books make them must reads for me.

What are you working on now? 
A writing experiment and plotting a new contemporary. I’m playing with ideas for a companion piece to Winter Fairy featuring Penelope’s brother.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
I’m working on a horror story. I enjoy the genre and wanted to push myself in a different direction. I may never publish it, but I’m learning a lot about setting the scene.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Anything? I visited a bunch of National Parks this year. Working for the National Park Service would be nifty. Usually, if I find a job appealing in some way, one of my characters will have that as a career. I was hung up on owning a bakery for a while until I wrote Bad Traveler and researched the reality of the job.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
Getting sufficient words on the paper. This is a matter of both weak discipline and my tendency to write short.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
It depends on the day and what I need to get through my daily challenges. That’s sort of a weak answer, but it’s true. Some days, I’m a fierce defender of my family and I channel my inner Katniss. Other days I observe the world around me and find everything as curious as Alice in Wonderland. The beautiful thing about literature is all the variety.

Thanks for inviting me to the Write Way Café.

Winter Fairy is currently available as a stand-alone work or as part of the multi-author Tidings of Love: 7 Holiday Romance Novellas bundle.

Tidings of Love:    Amazon      Barnes & Noble

Winter Fairy:   Amazon       Barnes & Noble



About Lola:  
     Having been a bartender, doctoral candidate, document translator, shipping clerk and more as I moved through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, and Virginia, I decided I needed a portable career. Writing fit the bill.
     I currently reside in Minnesota with my husband, two children, two hairless cats and a fluffy ex-stray cat. My garden is a disaster, but I love experiencing all four seasons. (And yes, we have summer in Minnesota). When not writing, I enjoy baking, reading, drinking coffee and connecting with other book lovers.

Media links:    Website/blog Twitter @lolakarns      Facebook 
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