Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | By: Lynn

Don't Give Me Platitudes, Give Me Real

I’ve been on my soapbox for a while about platitudes. I hate platitudes. I want interaction with others to be real, even if it’s difficult. Platitudes don’t make connections, in my opinion, or offer real sentiment that might help. Platitudes are shallow and not always truthful. That is why I hate them.

Platitudes, however, are used often, for various situations. Someone tells you his or her mother just died. Because it’s a sensitive moment and it’s hard to know just what to say, it’s often an occasion to use a platitude: “At least she didn’t suffer.” “He’s in a better place.” “He lived a full life.”
 
In that moment, we may feel discomfort ourselves with the idea of death, our own or of a loved one. A platitude can help us avoid being present at all with what’s real. It usually has good intentions. Platitudes get credit for that. And when we’re busy and don’t want to be in a lengthy discussion, a platitude can suffice while letting us move on. Sometimes the situation is overwhelming and we’re at a loss for words.

In my book Dancing with Detective Danger, the main characters, sisters Sterling and Lacy Aegar, have suffered so much loss and pain in their lifetime that they’ve adopted a coping mechanism. When things get rough they use platitudes to distance themselves from the problem.

Noting that the receptionist’s desk was empty, Lacey glanced at the wall clock and casually wondered why Michelle wasn’t at her desk by 10:30 a.m. But the thought was quickly forgotten when sounds of anguish spilled out from behind the door of the private office she shared with Sterling.
                “I can’t believe it!” Sterling fumed.
                “Can’t believe what?” Lacey walked to her desk and tossed her purse in a nearby chair, slightly alarmed by her sister’s dismay.
                “Oh, when it rains it pours, I guess.” Sterling’s sleek, chestnut hair fell over her face as she leaned her head on her hands.
                “If it weren’t for bad luck we’d have no luck at all?”
                “We’re between a rock and a hard place,” Sterling came back with from under her hair.
                “Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It was a common game for the sisters, something to test their edge and sometimes to relieve stress. But Lacey knew this time something was serious. “Wanna tell me what’s up?”

In part their habit is denial of the severity of the problem. It lets them bypass fear and anxiety. But in real life, platitudes don’t help us feel any better because deep inside we know the truth. But being real is what everyone longs for, according to John Amodeo, PHD, writing for Psych Central.

“The deeper yearnings of our heart — our desire for love and connection — requires something from us. We need to know and show what we’re really feeling inside. Rather than keep our authentic self hidden due to a fear of being rejected or shamed, we need to summon the courage to contact and reveal what’s genuine inside us,” Amodeo wrote. “We legitimately want love, respect, and connection. But this wanting will not be actualized unless we’re willing to give something, both to ourselves and others: the gift of authenticity and realness.”

I’ve been learning in the last year or so that not every adult is skilled at communication. I don’t know why but I’ve always assumed adults know how to engage and interact effectively. It’s not true. Becoming skillful and real at communication with diverse people and in diverse situations takes awareness and practice. It’s not something we learn from others modeling and it’s not taught but as a means to get something, like a job or cooperation. But it’s interesting to see teachers, preachers, politicians, people who work with the public, and those we imagine would need to have acquired good communication skills haven’t.

It’s a thing of beauty to watch or engage with someone who is skilled in communications. They understand it takes focusing on the moment, presence, whether on the phone, in an email, or face to face. Even when a platitude would do the job, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” for instance, is a decent platitude. But how much better to be real, notice, and acknowledge that sometimes things just stink. They’re hard, devastating, grievous. And those moments should not be bypassed.

Last fall, one of my daughters-in-law was walking hand in hand with my son (her husband) on a semi-deserted road when a truck crossed over into the opposite lane, where the two were walking on the shoulder, and hit my daughter-in-law. The hit threw her several yards away into a ditch. She received a severe concussion and a broken arm. When my husband and I got the news we called my son at the hospital. One of the first things my husband said to our son was this: “I wish I were there so I could give you hug.” My distraught and traumatized son said, “I wish you were, too. I need a hug.” Over the phone the two shared the moment of deep emotion that deserved time and attention. My husband could have said, “Everything will be okay.” But at that moment, it wasn’t, so why bypass the truth?

Of course others, family and friends, offered something different. “Tomorrow will be better.” “It could have been worse.” I don’t mean to be critical. It’s just that platitudes or a cheer-up-things-will-get-better would have fallen so flat in easing my son and daughter-in-law’s emotional pain.

There is a time for something simple and traditional in moments that are challenging. When someone gets downsized it could be a time to say, “With losses come opportunities.” “Life is full of changes and you have to roll with the punches.” But that might come later. At first, having the heart and time to say something real and be present in the moment with the other person can meet the longing for truth —some things are hard, some things just hurt so much, and I’m right here in it with you.

Some platitudes are fun to ponder. What platitudes do you know?
Friday, March 27, 2015 | By: Cafe
When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm is all about. 
- Haruki Murakami
Thursday, March 26, 2015 | By: Cafe

Researching My Next Historical with Becky Lower

The Write Way Café welcomes Becky Lower, who got up close and personal with the kinds of hazards experienced by riders of the Pony Express to give authenticity to her characters in Expressly Yours, Samantha.

     Early last year, my sister called me with a request to help her drive to Ohio from Oregon. I hesitated for maybe a nanosecond before I agreed. After all, I write American historicals and we’d be following the path of the Oregon Trail, where so many thousands traveled. Only it would be Wagons East this time. I was about to embark on my next novel in the Cotillion Ball Series, and it was to be about one of the brothers in the Fitzpatrick family joining the Pony Express in 1860. What better way to research my topic than take a cross-country trip? I had my suitcase packed in minutes.
     I’ll gloss over the part where that particular suitcase caused a pileup on the people mover when I changed planes in Denver. You really don’t need to know what a klutz I can be.
     Finally, I made it to Salt Lake City, where I was meeting up with Sis. Snow was lightly falling, and it was a quintessential winter scene. The next morning, as we prepared to depart, we were told there was going to be a blizzard chasing us from west to east, so we’d best get moving.  Plans for my research and all my little side trips to Courthouse Rock and the like went flying out the window and into the swirling snow.
     We put on a brave face, and laughed at the predictions. I insisted we go to Antelope Island, one of Jedediah Smith’s stomping grounds near Salt Lake City. From Antelope Island, we took another side trip once we got into Wyoming to pay homage to Jed Smith’s discovery of the South Pass, used by settlers coming over the mountains. The temperature was about 13 degrees, and the wind was blowing about 50 mph, so I just got one quick picture and jumped back in the car. Maybe the weather people did know what they were talking about.
     Following interstate 80, we hustled along, trying to stay ahead of the threatening clouds. We eliminated some of my planned side trips, but each time we came to a sign pointing to something relating to the Pony Express, I insisted we pull off and check it out. You’d be amazed at the books I accumulated along the way, the quaint museums and saloons we wandered into, the relay stations from the Pony Express that now grace the town squares along the route. The cowboys playing poker at the saloon where we had buffalo burgers.
     Even though it was hectic, and yes, we did beat the storm, I managed to get a feel for the route of the Pony Express. With biting temperatures, the constant threat of weather getting the best of us, and ice to fall on, I also got a taste of some of the hazards faced by the brave men and horses that made up the Pony Express. If you read the book, Expressly Yours Samantha, you’ll see that I put some of this first-hand knowledge to use in the story line.



     Samantha Hughes has one day to escape from her wicked uncle, and a sign in the post office is her answer. She’ll cut her hair to pose as a man and become Sam Hughes, a Pony Express rider.
     Valerian Fitzpatrick doesn’t want the weight of responsibility that his brothers have in the family business. Fortunately, the Pony Express offers a chance to make his own way in the world.
     He assumes his new buddy, Sam, is on the run from the law, until she’s hit by a stray gunshot and he has to undress her to staunch the wound. Friendship quickly turns to attraction—and more—but when Sam’s uncle tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again.
     Val’s determined to find her, but will a future with Sam mean giving up the freedom he’s always craved?

Amazon




About Becky:  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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Cheryl Rees-Price

CHERYL REES-PRICE
www.cherylreesprice.weebly.com/

Do you believe in ghosts?
     It started as a nightmare, an unknown soldier, glimpses of a buried past. Then a death and the nightmares turn into hauntings. It’s time for secrets to be told.
     Alice is an ordinary woman, a good career, handsome husband and a comfortable home. But her life is suddenly thrown into turmoil when she begins to experience terrifying nightmares of a young soldier. These dreams set in motion a chain of events that irrevocably change her life.


     Life was idyllic for Alice Harper, a good career, handsome successful husband and an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. But her life is suddenly thrown into turmoil when she begins to experience terrifying nightmares of a young soldier. These dreams set in motion a chain of events that irrevocably change her life forever.
     The nightmares precede the sudden death of Alice’s beloved father and when her husband fails to comfort her she finds solace in the arms of his brother.
     As the nightmares intensify and merge with reality Alice begins to sustain physical injury and sees the ghostly figure of the soldier in her waking hours.
     Fearing for her sanity Alice must find the identity of the soldier and the link that draws them together.  Her search takes her from New York to a sleepy village in Wales. Here she meets a cantankerous old man who holds the key to unlocking a sixty year old tragedy which will save Alice from a similar fate.
Available from Amazon


Chapter 1
     Alice Harper stood shivering in her nightdress, her cold hands rubbing her bare arms doing little to eradicate the chill that ran through her body. Turning around, she scanned her surroundings. She stood in a wide, dimly lit corridor that stretched beyond her line of vision. Large windows blackened by the night sky ran along one side of the corridor. The only light came from the dusty wall lamps that emitted a low buzzing sound as they struggled to illuminate the vast area. She had no recollection of how she came to be standing in this place, barefoot and alone.
     Wrapping her arms protectively around her body, she took tentative steps forward, the dusty grime from the worn floor gathered on the soles of her feet. As she walked, old picture frames housing anonymous portraits glared eerily at her. She averted her eyes from their gazes and quickened her pace. She needed to find a door, some way out. The lights flicked menacingly, and she stopped. Panic coursed through her veins as the light faded and oppressive darkness closed in.
     Alice groped around, the sound of her fear ringing in her ears, as each quivering breath and rapid heartbeat magnified in the silence. Her fingers met with the cold damp wall, and she flinched. She reached out again and, placing her hand against the wall, walked blindly on, using it as a guide.
     Outside, the moon escaped its captive clouds, allowing silver light to seep through the windows, bedecking the floor with patches of light. Alice moved into the moonlight, taking comfort from the pale glow, then hurried to the next window. She continued moving in and out of the light as she willed the moon to lend its light long enough for her to find her way.
     A glimpse of a shadow creeping across the moonlit floor made her freeze. She stayed in the shadows, watching until she could make out the silhouette of a man gliding silently along the corridor, until he faded in the distance.
     This person could help, she thought. She ran toward the figure, her bare feet stinging as they pounded the cold hard floor. As she drew nearer, her legs became unnaturally heavy. She slowed, her chest heaving as she dragged herself forward.
     Closer now, Alice could see that the figure was a tall man dressed in uniform. He took long strides, oblivious of her attempt to reach him. She pushed on, desperate to catch him. The stranger slowed his pace enough to allow her to gain on him. As she reached out to touch him, he stopped. She came to an abrupt halt to avoid crashing into the back of the stranger.
     The soldier stood motionless before her, shoulders straight and back ridged, the seconds slipped away while Alice, so close, couldn’t speak or move her hands to touch him. Her legs shook, threatening to crumple beneath her. He turned and fixed a piercing stare down on her face. She forced herself to look up into the face of the handsome young soldier, who towered over her petite frame. His uniform was buttoned up to the collar and his cap, tilted to one side, revealed a crop of dark hair. Alice saw no malice in his eyes, only sadness. He continued to stare, his expression softening as recognition reflected in his ink-blue eyes.


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.

Friday, March 20, 2015 | By: Cafe
If we don't risk it all, we may as well not write at all. 
- Anne Stewart
Thursday, March 19, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Rachael Slate

The Write Way Café welcomes author Rachael Slate, who draws inspiration from "her own little blended world" to create imaginative and exciting romances.


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

     After my children were born, I began devouring romance books. I fell so in love with the genre that I desperately wanted to try my hand at it. I’ve been hooked ever since!

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     The first thing I did after I wrote my first romance was join RWA and their online chapter, FTHRW. The romance writers I’ve met have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. I’ve met so many critique partners who helped me to learn the craft of writing. After I wrote Trancing the Tiger, I was fortunate to find my brilliant editor, AJ Nuest. The entire process of self-publishing has been a very empowering journey and I’m very lucky to have the support of so many people around me.
     I have been to Malaysia once before, but I recently spent a month there researching. It was amazing to be immersed in the setting of my book and I’m very excited to share that experience with readers.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     My husband is Chinese and from Malaysia. We visited there several years ago and I fell in love with the location. I knew I had to set a book there! I’m also a mythology junkie and I love the Chinese Zodiac, so writing about it seemed like a natural fit.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?

     No. I really just try to let the story flow and not force anything. My plots and characters change as I write them, and I think it’s important to let that natural process happen. I find that works really well for me.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about traditions, superstitions, and the Chinese zodiac?
     I think I never realized how empowering romance novels can be for women. Reading and writing romance has given me confidence in myself, as well as in my relationship with my husband.
     There are so many superstitions and traditions in Chinese culture. I learn more every day and it’s fascinating. I was fortunate to attend a traditional Chinese wedding (my niece’s) a few months ago in Malaysia. The experiences of that trip have provided me with amazing inspiration for writing more books in my Chinese Zodiac series!

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I love to write in my office, with the music on and the coffee hot. I get lost in my own private daydream and it’s fantastic!

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     I love the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. The world-building is incredible. I also love the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. It’s so hot!

What are you working on now?
     Getting Book 2 in the series ready for publication and writing Book 3!

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Probably a baker. I love baking!

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     I really adore Jericho Barrons and MacKayla Lane from the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. They’re fantastic characters!



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

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

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

Buy Links:     Amazon     B&N   

About Rachael:  Rachael Slate resides on the West Coast of Canada with her husband and two children—or as she likes to call them, her own little blended world. One of the best parts about sharing in her husband’s Chinese-Malaysian culture is definitely the food—and the awesome celebrations!
     Rachael writes stories that blend the lines between mythology, reality, and fantasy. In her worlds, you’ll encounter strong, sexy alpha males and the capable women who challenge them. And always, scorching hot romance.

Find Rachael at:  Facebook        Street Team        Twitter        Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page        Newsletter        Website        Pinterest        Tsu        Google+ 
Goodreads        Book Trailer


Tuesday, March 17, 2015 | By: HiDee

Spring Forward!

I dread losing an hour of sleep when we change to Daylight Saving Time. It always throws my rhythms off for a few days.

On the other hand, I love having an extra hour of daylight! It means spring is finally on the way.

After a long winter being cooped up inside, I’m ready to get out in the sun.  We head to our local parks to hike the trails, breathing deeply of fresh air and clearing the cobwebs from our minds. Relaxing and viewing nature gets my creative juices flowing, which leads to being sedentary.  It’s a vicious circle.

But back inside, there are things I can do to take care of my writerly health.
  • Ergonomic keyboards. We all know repetitive tasks like typing can take a toll on our wrists.  Handeze support gloves provided relief when my wrists ached from typing all day at work, and then typing more at home while writing. When that wasn’t enough, I added an Aircast arm band to relieve the pain around my elbow.  Both items helped, but they didn’t correct the problem.  Thankfully, since purchasing an ergonomic keyboard I haven’t needed the Handeze or the Aircast, and I spend more time on the computer than ever before.
  • Back support. I haven’t mastered this one yet.  I often find myself ensconced in a comfortable chair.  For years, I’ve written in the family room surrounded by my family.  The TV blaring, the kids arguing – it’s kind of like white noise for me.  Now, my kids are grown and I still find myself heading for the comfortable chair.  This is hard on my back, I know.  I find myself fidgeting, and my back, hips and legs feel stiff and sore when I rise.  I know I’m not doing my body any favors.  I’m learning I can be more productive perched on a straight-backed chair, with my computer on either the table or a sturdy wooden TV tray.  Hubby and the TV are still white noise. 
  • Frequent breaks.  It’s hard to make myself get up and move when the words are flowing.  However, I know sitting for hours without moving is not good.  Maybe that's partially why I gravitate to my comfortable chair.  I know I can't sit too long without needing to move.  Writers – not just writers, but anyone who sits for long periods of time – need frequent breaks to stretch our legs and set our blood flowing.  
  • Drink water.  Staying hydrated is important for our health.  Water flushes toxins, regulates appetite and body temperature, and lubricates and cushions joints.  My Bubba insulated tumbler keeps water cold longer than other water bottles I've tried. I'm not a fan of warm water, so having ice-cold water makes it much easier for me to consume a decent amount of water. 
We may love what we do, but writing takes a toll on our bodies.  Having an extra hour of daylight motivates me to get moving.  I still spend hours in a chair, but it’s much easier to get out and get moving in daylight and warm weather than it was in darkness and cold weather.

What effect does an extra hour of daylight have on you and your writing routine, and how do you stay healthy?  Please share.



Friday, March 13, 2015 | By: Cafe
Punctuation is a fabulous tool for controlling your reader - you even get to control where they breathe. That's what I call power!
- Nicola Morgan
Thursday, March 12, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Maureen Bonatch

The Write Way Café welcomes author Maureen Bonatch, who finds writing as a pantser offers excitement and intrigue to her stories, as she combines nature elements with her creativity.


What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?

Destiny Calling went through much transition with the early stages of the story until I came across the idea for the villain. My research into Hecate helped me develop the abilities of the Enchantlings, and then I put my own twist on Hecate. I put the book aside several times over a year, as life interfered, but I always came back to Destiny Calling because the storyline intrigued me. I submitted the story to my editor at The Wild Rose Press and it was contracted for publication in December of 2014.

Why did you pick the setting you did?

I love to embrace small towns and the eccentric characters you can find there. I spend a lot of time during the warmer months walking or biking, and Pennsylvania is a beautiful state, so I can’t help but use this as the setting for most of my books. I may have stumbled across the Crossroads on the walks with my hubby deep into the wooded trails around our home, but luckily I’ve not run into an Oppressor yet (only in my very vivid imagination).

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are completely imaginary. They, of course, may have traits from people I know or see or even some of my own, because it’s easier to write what I know. But once the traits mesh— they become a distinctive character. So unique, that I discover many things about the characters as I write the story when the characters decide to reveal them to me. (Since I’m a panster. Meaning I don’t plot much of the story, but rather write by the seat of my pants).

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I did have some times when I wasn’t quite sure what happened next in the story or how the characters would deal with a situation. The best thing I’ve found for my writers block is if I can hitch a ride on the back of my hubby’s motorcycle. It really clears my head when I’m forced to do nothing else but hold on and think about my story. I’m always sure to carry a small tablet and a pen with me, just in case I need to write down some notes. (Which I do after we stop, of course, as I don’t want to fall off!)

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I encountered a lot of surprises while writing the story. As I mentioned being a ‘panster’, when new things developed in the story, or things fell into place, I was just as surprised as the reader. After the story was done some of the surprises I encountered began when I started the second book in the series and discovered new characters entering the scene and things I hadn’t known about my original characters—so the plot thickens!

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about paranormal events and the Underworld?
As far as what I’ve learned about myself, I’d say mainly that I am better if I’m writing everyday. It keeps the story alive in my mind, I can accomplish so much more writing than I’d thought was possible for me and I’m a happier person. I’ve learned the writing world is a generous community that has a ton of very supportive people that are willing to help if you ask. As far as paranormal events and the Underworld, I’m still learning new things about my stories every day.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I can write almost anywhere, and take my laptop with me to make that happen. But a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to convert our guest bedroom into an office…my writing space. (Sorry guests, you’re on the couch ;) Before that I had papers everywhere and had trouble finding what I needed, now I’m able to organize my books and notes a little better (this stuff still leaves something to be desired as far as my quest for organization). I have the room to set up the bulletin boards I use to gather my notes for my novels and have candles to help me relax and stimulate my mind before a long sprint of writing. This works for me because I don’t have to gather all my papers and notes to begin, everything is waiting for me to step back into the story.

What are you working on now?
The Wild Rose Press has contracted my humorous, Paranormal Romance entitled, Grandma Must Die. So I’m in edits for that, as well as working on edits for a short story with The Wild Rose Press Candy Heart Series entitled, Forget Me Not, which will be released in February 2016. As for my upcoming stories, I’m editing a story I wrote a few years ago to see if I can get it into shape for submission, and then I’ll be returning to finish Book 2 of The Enchantlings.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I’ve considered writing a Young Adult book sometime, that and/or a Horror story. (Or a YA Horror) I read both of these genres and enjoy them. Maybe someday, if the story is right, I’ll try one.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Knowing when to stop editing. Every time I read the story I want to tweak, add or cut, I’m always striving to improve upon the story but have to step away so I don’t edit my writer’s voice right out of the story.


Hope Doesn’t Know If The Man She Can Touch Is A Dream Come True, Or A Nightmare Just Beginning.

     Hope only wants to find out if her ability to infuse euphoria or despair with her touch makes her the devil's spawn, or his exterminator. But when the woman who raised her is murdered by something not human, she loses the only family she knew and discovers one she might wish she hadn’t.
     Drawn back to the hometown she vowed never to return to, her ability is seen as an asset to everyone but Hope, and she doesn't know who to trust. Her family wants her to help them overcome an enemy oppressing the human population, while the man of her dreams is courting her for the Underworld.
     Time is running out, and Hope’s choice may be made for her, as she discovers she’s a pawn in a bigger game played by a merciless ruler who doesn't lose.

Amazon Kindle        Amazon Paperback        The Wild Rose Press



About Maureen:
     Growing up with four siblings had Maureen familiar with escaping into a good book, or the recesses of her mind. She realized later in life everyone didn’t have characters telling stories in their heads, or weren’t envisioning magic and mayhem within the everyday. This, and long walks in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania spawned a love of writing.
     Since her desire to become a Solid Gold Dancer was thwarted when the show was discontinued, Maureen opted to pursue other paths. Attempting to conquer new endeavors proved fruitful with her first novella, while other attempts, such as challenging a fear of heights with parasailing, were unsuccessful. 
     Therefore she’s chased other interests, though none-the-less-daring, but closer to the ground, such as belly-dancing, becoming a self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur, fulfilling her role as biker babe to her alpha hubby and surviving motherhood to twins (so far).
    Penning stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.

Find Maureen here:   Twitter     Blog     Website     Newsletter     Pinterest     Facebook     Goodreads


Tuesday, March 10, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Taylor Nash

TAYLOR NASH
www.taylornash.com

From award winning author Taylor Nash comes another contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal undertones that will keep you riveted as you journey from the past, present, and future of Wicked Moon.

     In 1863 a wealthy sea captain, Sam Eldridge, built a 19th Century mansion on the bluff of Cape Cod Bay.  Secrets and lies not only destroyed his family, but led to the death of his seventeen-year-old daughter, Belinda, when she fell off the bluff. According to folklore, Belinda’s ghost strolled the widow’s walk waiting for her love, Joshua, to return from the sea.
    Over decades, the mansion was handed down generations.  After Hattie Hubbard went into a nursing home, the mansion suffered grave damage from neglect.  When Hattie passed away, she bequeathed the mansion to her niece, Kelli Goddard.
     Determined to restore the mansion as her aunt had wished, Kelli returns to Manomet. She didn’t expect resistance from Rod Kesson, a land developer, who claimed he owned the property. The situation is further complicated when she becomes the target of numerous threats putting her life in danger.
     How many secrets does the mansion hold? Did Captain Eldridge hide rare coins on the property? Was the house inhabited by ghosts?
     Will Kelli falter under the pressure of selling the mansion for millions? Or, will she stand her ground, risking her life to hold on to her beloved Manomet Mansion?

Watch the Book Trailer:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8Zj9svnPZg

Visit www.taylornash.com for ordering information or www.wickedmoon.taylornash.com

Win a FREE Autographed Book:  E-mail Taylor at taylor@taylornash.com with your name to be entered into a drawing for a free autographed copy of Wicked Moon! 

PROLOGUE

Manomet, Massachusetts
1884

  “No, Father,” Belinda Eldridge exclaimed. “I will not give up my child."
  "Yes, you will, young lady,” Captain Sam Eldridge replied. “There will be no bastard child raised in this digging, regardless of what your mother said. You will not keep this child. You are nothing more than a strumpet."
  She stomped out of the bedroom fit for a princess on the second floor of the family’s mansion, down the mahogany-trimmed, curved staircase. She ran down the steps faster than prudent, but she ignored safety in favor of escaping her unreasonable father.
  "Where do you think you're going, Belinda Sue?" he yelled. He descended the spiral staircase. “You come back. We’re not finished with this conversation. There’s no way in hell you’re leaving this house—now or ever.”
She tripped a few steps away from the bottom stair. Her hand trembled when she grabbed for the banister at the same moment her father’s fingers closed tightly around her arm.
He wasn’t trying to keep her from falling. He was doing everything in his power to keep her from leaving. If she got outside, she’d never come back to her mean, controlling father.
She yanked away her arm which enabled her to reach the glass knob. Her father slipped on the stair. The heavy door swung open and slammed into the wall, allowing the strong November wind to fill the vestibule.
The frigid air forced its way beneath her flannel robe and nightgown, chilling her to the bone. Or, perhaps it was the fear of her father and what he might do to her and her unborn child. He would never let her marry a man of her choosing, especially Joshua.
“Belinda, stop,” he yelled. He tried to regain his footing.
She dashed barefoot across the frozen lawn; her toes tingled from the bitter cold. Her father’s labored breathing indicated he was close behind. The thorny, wild rosebushes caught her robe. If she could reach the bluff and get down the stairs, he’d never find her in Joshua’s cave, their love nest recessed amongst the dense trees.
Asthma caused her chest to tighten and made it difficult to catch her breath. She stumbled over a large branch that had fallen in the recent storm. Hands and knees soiled and bloodied from the spill, she fled with renewed intensity until she reached the bluff blanketed with ivy.
Even though her father had been drinking heavily earlier, he caught up and blocked her entrance to the stairs that led to the strip of beach far below. Her pregnant condition had slowed her down.
"Father, you can't take my child away from me. I love my baby and would do anything to keep it safe. I love Joshua. He’s coming back for us. We're going to get married, be a family. You’ll see.”
"No, he's not, Belinda.” He placed his hands on his knees to support his body, puffs of mist released into the frigid air. “He’s nothing more than a no-account mud sill. His boat sank in that nor'easter fifty miles out. He's dead and you can't raise this child alone. I forbid it. You and the baby will be a disgrace to this family. You will go to a home and put this bastard up for adoption. This is the devil’s work."
"No, I won’t. He is coming back. You're lying to me. They never found his body. You’d do anything to keep me away from Joshua, I know you would. Mother said she’d help me."
When he approached, she stepped back toward the cliff. Her left foot slid underneath a tangled, thorny locust tree. She lost her balance, causing her to fall backwards.
"No, Belinda, no," her father shrieked as he extended his arm.
She reached out, his fingers inches away. Her body reeled seaward with a sense of timelessness and suspended animation.
“No, please God, no.” The hysterical tone in his voice echoed over the water.
The winds whirled around her as though attempting to soften her fall. The radiant full moon illuminated the sky; speckles of stars dotted darkness. Waves crashed on the jetty below and echoed in her ears.
Her nightgown fluttered in the wind while her body made the descent. Her back faced the rocks eighty feet below. She swathed her arms around her distended abdomen, holding her precious baby she loved more than life itself. She wailed silently within, but was peaceful as she embraced her impending doom, accepting a fate beyond the reality threatened by her parochial sire.
Instead of seeing the man in the moon, Joshua’s face appeared. His eyes beckoned before she hit House Rock.


CHAPTER 1
Manomet, Massachusetts
Present

     Kelli Goddard's stomach tensed when she recalled the letter she received two weeks ago. Compelled to deal with the property tax issue herself on her inherited mansion on Cape Cod Bay, she turned into the uneven rocky driveway on Manomet Point Road just as dusk set in. Intertwined, overgrown knotweed had created an impenetrable barrier that hid the old mansion from the two-lane road. She slowly crept up the winding drive.
At the top of the driveway, she came to a halt. The silhouette of the house reminded her of a horror flick movie set. The dilapidated mansion had obviously been neglected too long. No lights were on, inside or out. An upstairs window had been boarded on the top quarter panel, crooked steps and a slanted porch obvious even in the growing darkness.
Something creaked, maybe a shutter, maybe not. Goosebumps traveled up her arm and caressed her spine. Not knowing what she faced, her breathing quickened.
She parked and rolled up the window in her decade old Jeep and grabbed the bulky flashlight from the cracked leather passenger seat. She had been afraid of the dark since a small child. Her pulse quickened. Fallen tree limbs, uneven stones, and warped steps caused her balance to falter. It was as if the old house warned her to leave. Nevertheless, she bravely faced the ten-foot double wooden doors.
Imposing overgrown lilacs and wisteria, tangled with bittersweet, swayed with the strong north wind and clamored like a woman with long nails, scraping wood on the side of the house. The wind swirled restlessly and sounds emitted from the interior.
Was someone whining or crying? No, it was just her imagination.
With fumbling cold fingers, despite it being late June, she propped the flashlight between her bare knees and struggled with the padlock. After several attempts to unlock it, she tried to force it only for the padlock to smash her stiff ring finger before giving in.
“Damn,” she muttered, shaking her injured appendage. Then she mustered all her strength to push open the cumbrous doors. Rusted hinges creaked loudly. Her ears vibrated.
She hated to admit, but she was scared shitless. Her heart beat fast and hard; she held her breath. She focused the flashlight beam up the massive curved staircase, catching a red reflection at the top. Was that Belinda, the ghost she’d seen as a child? Strong drafts hurled dust and debris through the ray.
The batteries in the flashlight weakened and drained fast. If there had been moonlight, it might have helped her strained eyes. She’d driven over twenty hours straight from Illinois.
A board creaked on the second floor. A piercing wail reverberated throughout the house. She quivered. Maybe she should leave and come back tomorrow during daylight?
Without warning, a crushing blow smashed the side of her head. Luminous streaks of light flashed around her as the darkness overtook her.
~ ~ ~
When Kelli woke, her head pulsated which quickly reminded her something serious had happened. Her eyes darted around the pristine white room. She searched for anything familiar. An IV machine beeped next to her. Doctors and nurses scurried in the hall with stethoscopes draped around their necks.
Why am I here?
“Miss Goddard?” The doctor strolled into the room with a small laptop in his hand. “I’m Doctor Brown and you’re one lucky lady.” He stepped closer and made eye contact. “If that blow had been a quarter of an inch closer to your temple, I’m afraid the outcome would have been significantly different. The CT scan didn’t show any swelling of the brain, which is remarkable given the size of the wound to your skull.”
“What happened?” Her fingertips recognized the gauze surface which covered the side of her head, the wound tender to the touch. “I don’t remember anything.”
The young intern stepped to the right side of her bed, leaned down and flashed a bright light in each eye temporarily blinding her. “That’s not uncommon with head injuries, ma’am. Actually, Officer Scott is here to ask a few questions, or I can tell him to come back tomorrow.”
Acid swelled in her throat. Her body was sore, reminding her of the time she’d flipped over the handlebars of her bicycle at twelve.
“You have a concussion, so you may experience dizziness, nausea, or blurred vision, all normal symptoms. We’re going to keep you overnight for observation,” the doctor said. “I’ll let the officer in, but just for a few minutes. If you need anything, let the nurse know. I’ll check on you tomorrow morning.”
Before she could reply, a man, oddly familiar, in a blue uniform entered.
“Officer Scott,” Dr. Brown said, “you may find she perseverates or repeats herself. You have five minutes and that’s all.”
She rearranged her body in the uncomfortable hospital bed. Each move caused a throbbing pain.
“Kelli, it’s Gregg. Officer Gregg Scott now. Didn’t think we’d be meeting up after all these years like this.”
“Gregg?”
“Sorry about the accident. Heard rumors you were coming back to handle the probate for Hattie and do something with the mansion.”
Gregg Scott. Of course. She hadn’t seen him in at least thirty years, but she would never forget those baby blue eyes. And, how she’d felt about him at one time.
“What happened? I don’t remember anything?”
“A passerby found you lying on Point Road unconscious and bleeding from the head. Thought you’d been involved in a hit and run, but doctors said that was unlikely with your head wound and no abrasions or broken bones. Were you walking on the road? We’re hoping you could shed some light on what occurred.”
“Side of the road?” She lightly ran her fingers through her tangled hair; flecks of blood dislodged and fell on her loosely-fitting hospital gown that would expose all if she stood up.
“Try to remember, Kelli.”
She closed her eyes and laid her head against the pillow. “All I recall is going to the mansion. Just got into town and was anxious. I went inside and that’s the last I remember.”
“Were you alone?”
“Yes.”
“Did you see anyone or hear anything?”
When she opened her eyes, two of everything danced around the room which caused her to be woozy and queasy. “No. It was dark and windy. Did someone hit me on the head?”
“Doctor said you got a dandy blow. Who would've known you were there? Maybe some plaster from the ceiling fell on you? But that doesn’t explain how you got back down the road.”
A petite nurse entered the room. “Officer, I’m afraid you must leave. Doctor wants Ms. Goddard to rest now.” The woman grabbed her wrist and checked for a pulse.
“Kelli, we’ll get to the bottom of this. Where are you staying?”
“The Blue Spruce, but haven’t checked in yet.”
“Once you’re feeling up to it, we’ll need to interview you. If you need a ride when you’re discharged, let me know.” He handed her his card. “Nice to have you back in town. Sorry you got off to a rough start.”
“Thanks, Gregg. My car?”
“It’s parked in front of the mansion. It’s not going anywhere.” He exited the room with a familiar lazy gait she recalled from their teenage days. Apparently, over the years he’d gained extra weight, especially the bulging midsection that obscured his belt. A fan of locally brewed beer, no doubt, or maybe too many donuts. Then she frowned.
Why would someone want to hurt me?





Taylor Nash resides in Champaign, Illinois and has authored award winning Uncharted Depths and The Apparition, available wherever books are sold and e-book format. Taylor loves spending time with her granddaughters, family, and golfing.










Friday, March 6, 2015 | By: Cafe
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. 
- Louis L'Amour
Thursday, March 5, 2015 | By: Cafe

Ashley York and Wikipedia

The Write Way Café welcomes Ashley York, who has a thing or two to say about Wikipedia. Is it a good source or a bad source?

     So you're reading something and come across a term you're unfamiliar with. What do you do? Well, if you're like many, many people you look it up on Wikipedia. Bingo. That's what it is! How could you not have known that. And off you go on your merry way thinking, "It really is true. You do learn something new every day." STOP!
     I was in college during the transition from paper to computer. (Yes, that's how old I am.) It was everywhere. It couldn't be avoided. It was in your face! It wasn't long before the only way you could register for a course was through a computer and with that darn password that expired every 90 days when a semester is 105 - whose poor planning was that? That, my friends, is when the wonder site "Wikipedia" appeared. The professors, such kill joys, said "Do not use Wikipedia." So we listened (?) but that was many years ago and surely now it's more reliable or works differently or whatever their aversion to it was must be fixed, right? No!
     Wikipedia is a place where, in its own description "almost anyone can access the site [and] can edit almost any of its articles." They're not necessarily knowledgeable. They don't have to prove their credentials.
     They're not scrutinized by their peers for assessment or accuracy. They can literally put anything they want to on that site. They pride themselves on their "high openness" and "inclusion of much unacademic content."
     What does "unacademic" mean?  Not scholarly. What does scholarly mean?  Relating to serious academic study. So that term you think you know about now? And can have a knowledgeable discourse with someone about? You may not want to put yourself out as an expert when your own source is Wikipedia. I'm just saying.

A note from Ashley:
     Thanks so much for having me. I'm sharing information about the first in The Norman Conquest Series, The Saxon Bride, in preparation for the release of  the second book, The Gentle Knight.
     The Gentle Knight is about John's friend, Peter, who plays a prominent part in helping John and Rowena. Peter returns from England to find his love has died in childbirth. His own mother had died delivering him, a fact his father never let him forget. Peter is devastated and believes he must be cursed. He makes a decision to live his life alone, without love. It might have worked if he hadn't met Brighit, a beautiful, Irish woman, who is in dire need of a hero to help fulfill her father's death bed request—that she enter a Priory and become a bride of Christ. Watch for The Gentle Knight.

The Saxon Bride by Ashley York
     In war torn England the battle lines between Saxon and Norman are clearly drawn.
     Rowena Godwinson, the sole remaining member of the defeated royal family, stands proudly against the Normans that would trample them underfoot. Her nobility and grace,  however, make her an ideal pawn in King William’s play for power with the Saxon people. When he decrees she marry a powerful Norman knight, her subjugation appears to be complete. Can she hold firm to her Saxon heritage and refuse to give in to his advances?
     John of Normandy is rewarded for his service and loyalty with land, titles and a Saxon beauty for a bride. John balks at the marriage, driven by the secret guilt of knowing Rowena's father died by his sword
     As their people look to them for guidance and peace, can John and Rowena find a love that unites all of England?

Excerpt:
     "As my wife, Rowena..."
     Her eyes narrowed at use of the title.
     "...you will not allow men into your bedchamber. Other than me, that is."
     A little shiver passed through her at the idea of him coming to her in the middle of the night. She could again feel his fingers caressing her. Perhaps he had indeed returned to be her husband in truth. The possibility excited her.
     Arthur had followed her and even taken her in his arms to comfort her. In the past she had welcomed the feel of his arms around her, seldom as that happened, but she was already different. His arms no longer felt right around her. She had tried to tell him he could not be in her chamber, it wasn't seemly. He had looked so hurt.
     "Do you not understand  me, wife?" John said.
     The title bristled her. "Yes, husband, I understand you fine."
     The use of titles did not make it any more true. Men always thought it did. They were wrong. Turning to him, she felt her cheeks grow hot as he caressed her ever so slowly with his eyes, finally resting on her face before her spoke again.
     "Husband I will be soon enough."
     His answer told her he didn't miss her meaning. He stood suddenly, and the fire silhouetting his large frame caused her breath to catch at his imposing size. From his powerful legs, slightly parted and ready for attack, to his solid torso, ready to receive the assault, to his burly arms more than willing to instigate the encounter. This was certainly no complacent lord of the manor; this was a well-honed fighting machine. Rowena was confused when she realized her own longing to touch him. His brown hair looked soft and the shadow of a beard around his chin caused her hand to itch for the touch of both.
     "Know this, Rowena...:
     Her breath quickened when he stepped toward her, his eyes piercing her own.
     "...there will be no one but me."
     He stopped just short of touching her but that now familiar heat reached out to her.
     "You are mine and only mine."


Always an avid romance reader herself, Ashley York enjoys bringing history to life through vibrant and meaningful characters, writing historical romance novels full of passion and intrigue set in the 11th and 12th century British Isles. Her latest release, The Saxon Bride, is the first in The Norman Conquest series.

When she is not writing, talking about writing, or thinking about writing, Ashley relaxes with visits to the local pubs listening to live Celtic tunes. She lives in southern New England with her husband and 3 very spoiled animals.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | By: Cafe

Hair Cuts, Family and Deadlines

Writing deadlines and goals demand time. So do chores, family and friends, and haircuts. How do we manage the push and pull of different aspects of our life?

It’s not unusual for my writing plans to get sidelined.  I try to take life’s interruptions in stride, but it happens so regularly that I get upset. I’m always waiting for the nonwriting stuff in my life to settle down, be done, stop interrupting my writing time so I can have a clean slate week of writing. It’s important to me.  I HAVE DEADLINES! I want to shout “Stop the madness!”

But that is never going to happen. There is not going to be a huge, weeks-long pause in my life. The things I call interruptions are not madness, they are just a part of living. For instance, last week I planned six solid days of writing. I actually wrote very little. My regular pay-the-bills job needed attention. Family needed my attention.  My beautiful, sweet cat begged for my attention…repeatedly. Add a trip or two to the grocery store and the six days of nonstop writing I’d planned melted away.

I struggle with mixed feelings. I want to be available to family. I understand my cat’s need for attention. I have to get haircuts, dental checkups, and  vision exams. These are as much a part of my normal life as writing. I am working on being able to contain a large life, one that includes writing and meeting deadlines.

How to do that? How to keep interruptions and obstacles to writing in their proper place? Here are some suggestions others have made:
·     Quit writing. It’s causing too much stress.
·     Take an extended break. This feels like  a shortened version of quitting.
·     Extend the hours in the day available. For me, that means getting up earlier. For others it means writing late into the night.
·     Optimize your time. That’s a tough one because for many authors, the process of publishing now also requires managing our own promotions. Enter time spent on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
·     Ignore, ignore, ignore. I like this suggestion my husband gave me in my early years of writing. He told me to write. The housecleaning would always wait.

According to many experts, including author and entrepreneur Kevin Daum, for those willing to face some hard truths, obstacles can be overcome and interruptions can be transformed.

“First, it helps to understand that obstacles come in three different flavors: internal, external, and habitual,” he wrote for Inc.

There are times that external obstacles are out of our control and prompt us to rethink our goals and strategies. While internal obstacles are varied, they are issues we have control over and include available time and skill level, as well as internal beliefs that warn us to stop what we’re doing. Like internal obstacles, habitual obstacles require reflection and awareness about what is truly preventing us from doing what we want to do. Is it the voices of people who used to give you the message as a child or young adult that you were incapable of creating the life you wanted?

So what are some ways these interruptions and obstacles can be put in their place? For me, self-reflection and increased awareness has made a difference in how I use my time and how I approach my goals. It’s kind of a secret, but only you are entitled to making the choices that are right for you. Do you really need to clean the house as frequently as you do? Can you pay attention to your family and still claim enough time to yourself to accomplish your dreams? Can you take an honest look at the time-wasters in your daily life? Whether those activities are time-wasters or not is only up to you, and making a choice that supports your goals is for you to find self-discipline for. It may feel like you’re taking a big risk by implementing needed changes. What will your family say? Who will keep the cupboards full? Granted, it takes courage to stand up for ourselves and work out compromises, but expect the best and you might get it.

If trying to carve time for serious writing is getting you down, remember you can go inward and assess what is the real problem, you can take a hard look at how you spend your time, and you can use discipline to avoid too many time-wasters.

Also, to fire up your self-determination and claim your time, infuse your life with useful phrases and inspirational sayings. Follow on Twitter one or two quote sites, such as Motivational Quotes and Quote Soup. I love a good quote and I have many favorite quotes. Today, this one from Manifestation Miracle is really ringing for me: “Whatever you love, you want to make sure to hold onto it tight and get ready to fight off anything that gets in your way.”

What do you rely on to overcome obstacles to your writing goals?