Friday, July 31, 2015 | By: Cafe
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
- Oliver Wendell  Holmes Jr.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Red Jameson

The Write Way Café welcomes Red L. Jameson, who shares her unique perspective on writing and addressing writer's block.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I began creating stories before I could write the alphabet. I loved cursive writing, still do, so back then I’d string a lot of curlicues together to create my “words,” tape or glue everything together, then force my poor brother to listen to my tales while he was strapped into his highchair. 
     Then, a few years after that, when my friends and I played Barbies, it was always with these outlandish plots. I swear to God that a friend of mine and I created the television show Lost WAY before it ever aired. Eventually, Barbies gave way to just talking about our “stories.” And by the time of middle school our “stories” were all about romance. 
     It’s odd, but from high school until many, many, many years later, my writing didn’t have much in the way of romance. It took me a long time to steer back to romance, and I’m so much happier for it.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     It wasn’t until more than ten years into writing that I suffered my first block, and, man, it sucks. I think each writer’s block is personal. So, for me, I had to figure out what was personally blocking me. I hadn’t taken a break for many years. I mean, I hadn’t even taken a break when my mother passed away. I kept writing and working my day job and going and going and going until eventually I had my block. The words weren’t coming to me; the story wasn’t coming to me; nothing was happening. The more I panicked over the situation, the worse it got. That’s when I—forgive me for sounding all new agey—stepped into my panic and surrounded myself with the block. Instead of fighting it, I surrendered to it. It helped me see I needed to take a break every so often. It helped me to understand what I was going through, and, in turn, that helped my writing become more emotional and more creative. I think having the block aided my writing, but, again, it does suck when going through it. 

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     Duchess of Mine follows the real travels of Detective Frank Geyer on his now infamous case of trying to find missing children. I knew his trek would begin in Philadelphia and go to Cincinnati, Detroit, Toronto, and other cities of late-nineteenth century America. What surprised me the most was Detroit’s history. I’d driven through the city only once, and I never would have imaged it had been called the Paris of America. It had been the epicenter of culture, art, as well as an economic stronghold. Now, when I think of the abandoned buildings of Detroit, I can see it’s beautiful past. 
     And what’s surprised me after writing the book? Hmm...how many compliments I’ve gotten for the cover. I don’t know why that surprises me, but it does. J

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I converted the guest room into my office. It still has a small bed, but now my dog sleeps on it. Yes, spoiled black lab he is. I have a huge 1970s desk that I love to write on, a filing cabinet for my research, and other assorted office supplies. Oh! I almost forgot to talk about my laptop! You see, I finally made the big religious conversion of switching to a Mac, and I am in love with all things Apple now. I have seen the light and I could go on and on about user-friendly computers, but I’ll rein it in now. 

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     To Kill a Mockingbird will continue to be a favorite of mine until eternity. As I age and reread it, I am more and more amazed at the power of that story, the craft of it, how beautiful it is. Yeah, I love that one.  
     I didn’t start reading romance until ten years ago. So I have a lot of catching up to do. And I feel if I started listing off favorite books of mine, I’d forget something really good. So let’s just say, I have tons of favorites. And lately paranormal romance has been my favorite subgenre. 

What are you working on now?
     Ha! The last question segues into this one perfectly! I am working on a paranormal romance series now. I love time-travel romance and always will. BUT I really wanted to work with a more modern setting, modern jargon. Plus I’ve been dying to work with some contemporary military heroes, which I can do now! Squee! The new series features many paranormal elements with military men. Wish me luck with that!

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     Well, I don’t think I’ll ever veer far from the romance genre, but I do want to dive into more subgenres. I’ve had a contemporary crossover mystery idea I’ve been thinking of for more than twelve years. It would be much darker than anything I’ve written so far, but I can’t wait to write it. And erotic romance is something I’ve thought about a lot too. Gosh, I’d like to write it all! 

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Honestly, if writing wasn’t available, I think I’d shrivel up into a dustball. I LOVE writing and I can hardly think of doing anything else. 
     And even though I’m an historian, I don’t think I’d like to do much more in academia. Sorry to all those in Academia Land, but if I had to figure out one more index, I’d have torn out all my hair. So, if I really had to pick something else it would be a close call between photography or fashion. I’m in love with all the artistic things photographers can do and am a hobbyist photographer myself. But I would love to make clothes that looked beautiful for real-sized women. Maybe I’d do both!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     It wasn’t until I was published that I ran into some serious trouble. See, I’m a people pleaser. I don’t mind getting a bad review. But my problem is I want to make that particular reviewer happy. So sometimes I’d be writing my next story, thinking about how to make that reviewer happier with the next book. BUT I can’t do that. I need to only focus on what will make THAT particular book better. And sometimes there will be no pleasing some people. I had a negative review for tying up all the loose ends at the end of my book. And there have been a few times where the negative reviews might not even be about my books. I had one review where the reviewer talked about characters I had never written about. 
     I have to say that writing has really helped me with my people please problem in that I don’t do it nearly as much. Instead, I try to focus on what’s best for that particular book. And I ask my editor and my critique buddies too who’s opinion I value but don’t feel the need to please. See, that’s why I love writing! Helping me personally as well as professionally!

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     Of my own books, I have to say my favorite hero and heroine are in my latest release, Duchess of Mine. Gabby Murray and Michael Cameron had me laughing a lot while writing about them. Sometimes, they had me in tears too, which I love to connect that much with my characters. 
     Of hero/heroines of all time...gosh, that’s a toughie. Well, my first thoughts are of some of my favorite movies. I love The Fifth Element, for the kick-ass heroine Leeloo who saves the world, and the scarred but sweet Korben Dallas. There’s Hawkeye in the movie rendition of The Last of the Mohicans, saying, “Stay alive. I will find you. No matter how long it takes. No matter how far. I will find you.” Oh, my heart flutters when thinking about that. And I loved Broken Sword and Flying Snow in the movie Hero, even though they had a sad ending.  Maybe I just loved them because of the amazing cinematography of Hero. It really is one of the most visually beautiful movies of all time, but I did enjoy the love between the hero and heroine, both assassins. So cool!  




**Book 4 of The Glimpse Time Travel Series, where mythical muses play naughty matchmakers**

Seventeenth century Highlander Michael Cameron should have been prepared for his journey to Philadelphia in 1895. After all, it wasn't the first time he'd been kidnapped by two mischievous muses, who delighted in taking him by surprise and shuffling him off to far-flung lands and eras. But nothing could have readied him for angelic Gabriella Murray, the Duchess of Northampton. She’s a beautiful, lovely, gorgeous—did he mention just how bonny Gabby is?—duchess, and he’s a lowly Scot. How is he going to solve the missing children case the muses have given him with such a distracting woman?

Becoming friends with a muse, Gabby feels her life has taken a turn for the fantastic, which suits her fine, since being a duchess is gray and depressing. So, when that muse asks her to go on an adventure imitating her idol, Sherlock Holmes, of course she says yes. However, Michael, who is to play her Dr. Watson, is quite possibly the most handsome and intriguing Highlander she’s ever encountered. Lord, Sherlock never had to contend with an overwhelming desire for Watson. How can she concentrate on the case when he’s more fun than she’s ever had before?

As Michael and Gabby hunt through the mean streets of cities such as Chicago and Detroit, they dive deeper into a world of danger and violence. Fighting against their growing attraction to each other, they race against time to find the children, knowing that with every corner they turn, they might be too late.

Amazon       iBooks        Barnes & Noble     Universal link for Duchess of Mine
Also available at other retail book sellers

About Red:   As a military historian by day, sometimes Red does feel a bit clandestine when she writes romance at night. No one knows that while she researches heroes of the past and present, she uses everything for her characters in her books. Her secret's been safe . . . until now.  She lives in Montana with her family and far too many animals but never enough books.  She loves her readers, so please feel free to contact her at http://www.redljameson.com 

You can find Red L. Jameson at . . .
Website          Blog          Facebook          Amazon Author Page 
Pinterest          Goodreads        Twitter: @RedLJameson






Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Jessica James

Jessica James
www.jessicajamesbooks.com


“Reminds me of American Sniper and Lone Survivor, but accompanied with an epic and beautiful romance that is completely unforgettable." – Lauren Hoff, United States Air Force

     It started as a chance encounter on the beach, and ended 24 hours later when they parted to go their separate ways.
     Or so they thought.
     WHEN LAUREN CANTRELL said goodbye to the guy she had just met on the beach, she had no way of knowing their paths would ever cross again. But fate had another unexpected meeting in store for them—this time in a place where danger was part of the culture and the stakes were life and death.
     THE LAST PERSON in the world Rad expected to see at a special ops briefing in Afghanistan is the girl he met at the beach two weeks ago—the one he can’t stop thinking about.
     From the sundrenched beaches of Ocean City, Md., to the snowcapped mountains of Afghanistan, this thrilling tale of espionage and intrigue takes readers on a spellbinding journey into the secret lives of our nation’s quiet heroes—and answers the question:  What do you do when the person you most want to protect is the one risking everything to make sure you survive?

MEANT TO BE recounts the dedication of our military, the honor and sacrifice of our soldiers, and a relationship that is tested and sustained by the powerful forces of love, courage and resolve.

Book Trailer

Available at:  Amazon        B&N          Smashwords        KOBO  


Excerpt

     When she felt a shadow pass over her, Lauren instinctively tensed as if sensing someone was near. But before she opened her eyes, she remembered where was. Relax. You’re at the beach. It’s just a cloud blocking the sun.
      “Are you okay?”
     Realizing her first instinct had been correct, Lauren jerked her head up and squinted.
     The owner of the voice stood directly beside the rising sun, making it difficult to see. After blinking a moment at the brightness, she recognized the jogger who had retrieved her hat.
     “Sorry,” he said. “Just checking to make sure you’re okay.”
     Lauren stared into his mesmerizing eyes as she tried to calm her pounding heart. She couldn’t believe she had let her guard down like that. There was no excuse for being careless, even on a quiet beach.
     “I’m… just thinking. You know… about … stuff.” She groaned inwardly at her inability to make a sensible statement or even put a cohesive sentence together.
     The man, apparently on his way back from his jog, sprawled out on the sand beside her, still breathing heavily. “Oh, well, it gives me a reason to take a breather anyway.”
     A little startled by his boldness, Lauren glanced over at him and decided he was probably in his mid-30s—slightly older than she.
     “You find something worth keeping this morning?”
     Lauren cocked her head, unsure of his meaning as she dug her sunglasses out of her sweatshirt pocket so she could stop squinting.
     “In the water.” He nodded toward the shoreline. “Before you lost your hat.”
      “Oh, yeah.” She patted the pocket. “A nice shell. Got it right here.”
     She didn’t elaborate. Her mind was racing. So much for her situational awareness skills—being cognizant of one’s surroundings at all times. Not only had she let down her guard in a big way, but she was sitting beside someone who apparently had not. He’d been aware of what she was doing on the beach before she even knew he existed.
     A flicker of apprehension coursed through her, but the reason was more complex, or at least more confusing, than this stranger’s attentiveness to his surroundings—and her lack of it. Lauren could not understand why her heart throbbed with so much force she could feel it in her throat, a circumstance she found both ridiculous and frightening—and therefore bewildering. Conversing with complete strangers as part of her job, even heads of state and military officers, had never been a problem. Yet making small talk with an incredibly attractive man on a social level was suddenly beyond her control.
     The jogger didn’t seem to notice—or care—about her discomfort. “You come here a lot?” He tilted his head and stared at her, waiting for a response.
     Lauren shrugged to show outward calm, but the trickle of trepidation creeping up her spine began turning into a wave of anxiety. Is this guy trying to make polite conversation or pick me up? She was so unaccustomed to being in a civilized society, she didn’t know if she should be thrilled or scared to death.
     “Sometimes,” is all she said.
     The man smiled and held out his hand, ignoring her intentionally vague statement. “My friends call me Rad.”
     Lauren stared at the hand, then into his gray eyes—now more blue—and finally extended her hand.  
     “Lauren.”
     Trying not to appear startled at the strength of his grip, Lauren studied him a moment once he’d released her hand. His smile appeared playful, yet she had the feeling he didn’t really use it that often. He seemed like a very serious guy, trying to act casual. Her usually—suspicious nature began to ramp up as she continued to analyze him. This just didn’t make sense. Why would such a good-looking guy be paying attention to her?
     For a moment they both sat silently, engrossed in watching a sailboat float across the water toward the orange fan of color created by the sun. Once the craft had glided over the glassy-hued reflection and returned to the dark mass of water beside it, Rad picked up the conversation again.
     “Now that we’re no longer strangers, maybe you can tell me how long you’re staying.” He leaned back on his elbows and crossed his legs as if chatting with an old friend.
     Lauren’s heart thumped again. “I leave tomorrow morning. Just came for some quick R&R.”
     He sat back up and put his arms over his knees, sighing heavily. “Yeah, me too, actually.”
     Lauren felt a sense of relief, swiftly followed by a wave of disappointment. The dueling sentiments surprised her, but she didn’t have time to question them.
      “Since time is so short, maybe we can get together later this morning… you know, for coffee or something.” He did not say the words tentatively as if testing the idea, but rather seemed to imply that such an arrangement was the only possible remedy to their predicament.
     Flattered by the invitation, but still leery of his intent, Lauren almost laughed out loud. Good looking as he was, she had no intention of having a one-night-stand with the man—or ever seeing him again for that matter. She had responsibilities—big ones—and a job that pretty much prevented her from even considering the idea. Tomorrow she would be on a plane to the other side of the world, with no plans for returning to the United States in the near future. What would be the point of getting involved with someone?
     Lauren tried to act casual when she finally answered, but his cool stare when she lifted her gaze unnerved her. “N-n-o,” she stuttered. “Sorry. I have plans.” She tilted her head down to look at him over the top of her sun glasses and felt like he had read every thought with his searching eyes.
     “You’re not a very trusting person, are you?”
     “Should I be?”
     He stood and brushed off his sweatpants. “I guess not. You’ll probably live longer that way.”
     He bent down and shook her hand again. “Nice to meet you, Lauren. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
     Lauren nodded and watched him jog away. She put her head back down into her knees and chastised herself. What are you afraid of, Lauren? Maybe he was just trying to be nice. Not everyone is the enemy for heaven’s sake.
     When she raised her head, she almost expected him to be standing beside her again and was disappointed when he was not. She lay back and stared at the sky, forcing herself to think of something else.      But try as she might to delete the last hour from her mind, her thoughts kept drifting back to him.
     He was a tall man. She liked that. Physically imposing, strong, masculine. She liked that too—almost as much as the way he grinned from one side of his mouth and the way his eyes seemed to sparkle. In fact, if she had a list of things she wanted in a man, she could pretty much look at that guy named Rad and check them off.
     Lauren sat back up, put her chin on her knees, and stared out at the water. But she didn’t have a “man list.” She didn’t have time for things like that. Not with where she was going and what she would be doing.
     She laughed to herself. What did it matter, anyway? He was gone now. She turned her head and scanned the empty beach. Yep. Definitely gone. And once the beach got crowded, there was no way she’d run into him again. In another hour or two every vacant foot of the beach would be filled with umbrellas, chairs, blankets, and people.
     Lauren stood and dusted the sand off her pants, her mind preoccupied with a single regret. If things were different, she would have acted differently. She wished she could have told him that.



www.jessicajamesbooks.com
www.facebook.com/romantichistoricalfiction
Please let me know if you DO NOT wish to be added to my email list. Reply with OPT OUT.




Friday, July 24, 2015 | By: Cafe
The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.
- Robert Green Ingersoll

Thursday, July 23, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Luanna Stewart

The Write Way Café welcomes Luanna Stewart, who shares her path from rough draft with hairless, naked characters to full blown story with unforgettable characters.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve always enjoyed writing in journals and diaries but it wasn’t until about ten years ago that I thought I’d try my hand at a novel. I’ve read voraciously for as long as I can remember, with romance fiction being my favourite genre. I had an idea for a story bopping around in my head, so one day, while the kids were at school, I opened a notebook and started writing. That story will never see the light of day – boy, is it bad. I broke just about every “rule” there is for romance fiction. But by the end of the story, over 400 pages, a year, and a few online classes later, it’s not half bad. It would require too much work to fix though, so it remains in the deep dark recesses of my hard drive.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     Portrait of a Girl started as an idea several years ago. I brainstormed the plot and characters with my critique partners, got to the mid-point, then got sidetracked by a new and shiny idea. When I returned to the story, I’d changed my mind about the heroine’s past, so I had to rewrite a good bit of the beginning. But from there it was easy sailing. My first draft is the bare bones of the story with very little description of anything. Quite often my characters walk around naked, with no hair and colourless eyes. It’s only after I’ve gotten to know them, usually by the mid-point of the story, that I can fill in the details that bring them to life. I spent many hours looking online for a special piece of artwork that my villain desperately wants. And I lost myself in the French countryside via Google Earth searching for the exact kind of location for one of the scenes to play out the way I needed.
       Once the book was finished, I shared it with my critique partners, chapter by chapter, took their feedback and made the book better. I submitted the manuscript to Entangled Publishing and signed the contract a few months later. And then the real work began! I thought my critique partners were picky, but they have nothing on my editor, for which I’m extremely thankful. She helped me apply the final polish.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     I’ve always been intrigued by family secrets. When I was a young girl, my dad was considering changing jobs, but for one reason or another, we were told not to talk about it with our friends – it was a family secret. I thought it was cool to have a secret like that, it sounded so important. For this story I needed a secret that was bigger and badder, and would have far reaching consequences. Learning that one’s father had been an art thief fit the bill.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     Portrait of a Girl starts in Portland, Maine, but it’s my version of the city. I don’t name streets, and the few businesses I mention are fictional. The large park by the harbour where my heroine runs into the hero is actually based on Point Pleasant Park in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. A portion of the story also takes place in France. It’s been many years since I visited that country, so I relied on Google Earth for familiarizing myself with the landscape. My high school level French was fine-tuned for the book by a friend who lives in Quebec.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I’d like to say my main characters are completely imaginary, but I doubt any writers out there would believe me. There are bits and pieces of me in the heroine – I love cats, and I love to bake. My hero is a photographer – my husband is an avid amateur photographer. My villain will do anything for his young son – I’m a parent who will do anything for my children. Well, except for the illegal stuff. There is also that big, bad family secret that may or may not be drawn from real life.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     The only thing that surprised me in the story was how much I cared about the villain. But that all changed after he did that really bad thing that he did, and then I wanted him punished.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     My writing space changes with the seasons. Right now I like to spend as much time out of doors as I can, so I set up a little folding table on the back deck, under the shade of the pergola, and use my laptop out there. I can keep an eye on the two cats and make sure they stay in our yard. And I can rescue any chipmunks who were too slow to escape the jaws of death. In the winter I’m in my office, sitting at my Grammy O’s desk, with a knitted shawl over my shoulders. The most important feature of my office is the door that can be closed. I need quiet in order to write.

What are you working on now?
     I’m working on another romantic suspense novel set in the world of international art thievery. This time my heroine runs a catering company. I can’t keep away from cooking and baking!

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     If I were to write something completely out of the romance world, it would be a cozy mystery. I love Agatha Christie and have read and re-read all her novels. But in order to do so, I’d have to do a certain amount of advance plotting and planning, and I tend to write by the seat of my pants.
     Within the romance world, I’ve published two contemporary romance novellas under the pen name Grace Hood, but have found I prefer to write the longer, full-length novel, because more stuff can happen. I’ve written a paranormal romance with Wiccan elements, I wrote a retelling of The Princess and the Pea fairytale, and I’m working on my third historical romance set in the Victorian era.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Oh, I bet you can guess I’d own a bakery. I started baking at my mum’s knee and haven’t stopped. I bake all our bread, cookies, cakes, pies, etc. We have dessert after every supper, and if the boys are home from college, it usually contains chocolate in some form.

Portrait of a Girl 
Shortly after Tony moves into the big house, Heather needs an excuse to visit– to be neighbourly, NOT for another chance to get up close and personal – so she bakes a batch of Whoopie Pies and delivers them while he’s in his bedroom.

Wicked Good Whoopie Pies
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In bowl of mixer, combine butter, oil and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat well. Add half of flour mixture, followed by milk and remaining flour mixture, stirring after each addition until well blended.

Drop by tablespoon  onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for approximately 9 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. They are done when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack and cool completely. Place frosting between two cookies and sandwich together.

Frosting
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons milk or cream, or as needed to make a soft icing
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Blend confectioner’s sugar and butter at low speed of mixer. Add milk and vanilla extract, blend at low speed until fully incorporated, then increase speed to high and beat until smooth, adding more milk by the teaspoon if needed.

http://www.entangledpublishing.com/portrait-of-a-girl/


About Luanna: 
     Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered, and devoured, her grandmother's stash of medical romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.
     Luanna writes full time, concentrating on sexy romantic suspense, steamy paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance.
     Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys, two cats, and one surviving gold fish. When she's not torturing her heroes and heroines, she can be found in her kitchen whipping up something chocolate.
     Writing under the pen name Grace Hood, she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press. Now she is super excited to have a book published under her own name with Entangled Publishing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 | By: Cafe

What's On Your Bucket List?

The words “Bucket List” seem to be in the air these days. My husband and I watched, again, the movie by that title starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the story of two dying men trying to make the most of their last days. I was hosted on a blog a week ago for which the question was asked, “What’s on your bucket list?” Is it a new concept or one that has been around for a while?

According to Slate magazine, the phrase “to kick the bucket” dates back to 1785, when it was used in the context of dying. But it has evolved since then.

“In 2004, the term was used—perhaps for the first time?—in the context of things to do before one kicks the bucket— in the book Unfair & Unbalanced: The Lunatic Magniloquence of Henry E. Panky, by Patrick M. Carlisle. That work includes the sentences, “So, anyway, a Great Man, in his querulous twilight years, who doesn’t want to go gently into that blacky black night. He wants to cut loose, dance on the razor’s edge, pry the lid off his bucket list!” wrote June Thomas, a Slate culture critic.

Hence, the bucket list has become in popular culture a list to make of all the things the list maker must do before kicking the bucket, or before dying. In the movie, The Bucket List, the characters listed things like kiss a beautiful woman, skydive, see something awesome, and find the joy in your life. A lot of people might list exotic places to visit, like the Taj Mahal or Paris.


I think somehow making a bucket list gives life a purpose, a direction. Narrow living down to completing activities or visiting places that have meaning and life will have been worth living. The list maker takes satisfaction in taking control of his or her life, not letting it simply happen. By taking control of life armed with a bucket list, when death approaches there will be less regret, if any.

I think the concept is interesting. But when asked the question, “What’s on your bucket list,” I couldn’t think of any one thing or list of specific things I longed to do before I die. Maybe as a writer I should have a bucket list of things I want to write: poetry, literary fiction, a children's book. I could try to do those things, bu I'm content with the books I'm writing already.

Turns out, I’m not a bucket list person. I like structure, planning, and purpose, but I’m living my life as it comes, remaining open to whatever as much as possible. I can’t imagine knowing what is ahead, so why would I prioritize a certain path that includes specific actions or places? It feels like pressure, to me, to have to meet certain goals in order to be ready to leave this life.

But I do think it’s a fun game. So, what’s on your bucket list? Are you a bucket list maker? Please share.

Friday, July 17, 2015 | By: Cafe
A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
- Roald Dahl
Thursday, July 16, 2015 | By: Cafe

It Isn't Over 'Til It's Over

A seventies-year-old prolific writer and near-death experiencer visits The Write Way Cafe today. We welcome Charmaine Gordon, who exemplifies the phrase, It isn't over 'til it's over.


When I was young, was I ever young? I never dreamed of writing books. My plan was to  have many children and so it was. Of course I never expected to have a near-death experience with my sixth baby but that happened and somehow, as I made my way down a corridor of light so seductive, I thought I can't leave my husband with all those children and I didn't. We women are remarkable. I returned to life to raise, love and protect my family.

What has this to do with writing, you may ask. Here is my story.

One day while shopping at the local Shop Rite, I overheard two young women gossiping. Gasp, gasp. Edging my full cart closer, I listened. "Did you hear about Dr. Sorenson? He left his wife in the middle of the night with nothing but a note saying goodbye." "Oh no, when did that happen?" They put their perfectly groomed hairdo's together and whispered so I couldn't hear. Damn. What a great idea for a book.

I enjoy reading Romance and Suspense and this repartee between two strangers appeared to be a fascinating start For. A. Book! So this homemaker with many children rushed through the checkout to pay the bill and drove home, scenarios running through my mind.

Shakespeare wrote "There's nothing new under the sun." Did he mean there are a zillion variations of stories floating around and why can't an everyday housewife write one? I believe he meant that or something similar so I wrote, cooked, wrote, cleaned, and wrote some more and I never stopped until I wrote The End and then I cried. I needed another book to write.

Writers, has this happened to you? I got lucky. Not too many rejections and then a request for a manuscript followed by a contract. It happens, folks. In my seventies, a new career. Five years and twenty three plus stories later, I'm building a platform of Contemporary Romance/Suspense and mature Romance Books where the motto is "It isn't over 'til it's over."

My latest story is Spreading Her Wings:
Kindness to strangers in River’s Edge rubs off on all who live there. Sally Kirkwood responds to an emergency call from a friend one early morning. A daughter is missing and with Sally’s skill as a reporter, she finds her at an audition in NYC. Thus begins an adventure of show business, unfaithfulness, forgiveness and success.

Available now:  http://www.amazon.com/Rivers-Edge-Trio-Volume-Trios/dp/0692441549

You can find Charmaine here:
https://authorcharmainegordonwordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/charmaine.gordon

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Jami Gray

Jami Gray
www.JamieGray.com





THE KYN KRONICLES (Urban Fantasy series w/Black Opal Books)

WRAPPED IN SHADOWS, Kyn Kronicles .5 
(Things That Go Bump For The Holidays Anthology)
     The magic of the holidays can be hell…
     Celebrations abound during the holidays, but this Christmas an engagement celebration goes horrifically wrong.  What appears to be a simple murder/suicide hides a vicious surprise. The type of gift Raine and Gavin, elite member of the Kyn, didn’t want humans to unwrap, because revealing the monsters in the shadows isn’t the way to spread holiday cheer.
Amazon      Nook      Smashwords     Black Opal Books 

SHADOW’S EDGE, Kyn Kronicles #1
Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…
     When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand. 
     As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.
Amazon       ARe     Black Opal Books     Smashwords      iBooks       Kobo         Scribd      Google Play 

SHADOW’S SOUL, Kyn Kronicles #2
Some nightmares are born of love…
     A simple assignment turns into a nightmare when Raine McCord follows Cheveyo to the Southwest on a consulting gig. When the most feared beings of the Kyn kidnaps Cheveyo and leaves Raine for dead, her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.  
     Unraveling the Southwest Kyn’s web of secrets and hidden vendettas will either bring them together or tear them apart forever.
Black Opal Books       Amazon         ARe      Nook      Smashwords        iBooks     Kobo    
Scribd       Google Play 

SHADOW'S MOON, Kyn Kronicles #3
Even wild hearts can be broken…
     Tracker, Xander Cade, confronts an enraged Shifter in a crowded human nightclub, fraying the thin secrecy shielding the supernatural community from public scrutiny. Danger stalks the pack and she must protect her alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis, even if he doesn’t want it.
     If they don’t find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond they risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.
Amazon       Barnes & Noble         Black Opal Books     Smashwords       ARe         iBooks         Kobo      Scribd      Google Play  

SHADOW’S CURSE, Kyn Kronicles #4
Death and chaos can devastate even the best-laid plans…
     After tragedy strikes the Northwest Kyn, leaving the houses in chaos and the Wraiths hungry for blood, the fallout threatens Natasha Bertoi’s carefully laid plans. When the Council sends Darius Abazi, the one man guaranteed to skew the odds, she faces her toughest opponent yet.
     As death stalks the Northwest Kyn, can Natasha trust Darius, a man well versed in subterfuge, to uncover the truth before treachery destroys them all? 
Amazon       Barnes & Noble         Black Opal Books       iBooks      Smashwords         KOBO        ARe  Scribd   

Coming Fall 2015:  
A collection of Kyn shorts, including WRAPPED IN SHADOWS
PSY-IV Teams (Paranormal Romantic Suspense series w/MuseIt Up Publishing)


HUNTED BY THE PAST, PSY-IV Teams #1
Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past…
     Changing the past is impossible, a fact ex-marine, Cynthia Arden, understands all too well. Struggling with the aftermath of a botched mission, a panicked phone call brings her home to face a killer’s game. Unfortunately, the distracting Kayden Shaw returns as well, the one man she thought would stand by her, until he chose his job over her.
     To survive, will Cyn risk her heart or lose the man she loves and her life?
MuseItUp Publishing     Amazon        Smashwords       Barnes & Noble 
iBooks         ARe         Kobo        Google Play

Coming Spring 2016:
TOUCHED BY FATE, PSY-IV Teams #2
Trusting him with her secrets is dangerous. Trusting him with her heart could be fatal.
     As a specialized consultant for the Department of Defense, Risia Lacoste understands the bargaining chip of a well-kept secret. When her current assignment threatens to unearth her deeply buried skeletons, she’s forced into a high-stakes game of lies and loyalty where even her ability to foresee the future can’t predict the winner. 
     Darkness lies under the skin of every man, and PSY-IV Team operative and touch empath, Tag Gunderson, has the demons to prove it. Scarred by betrayal and disillusionment, he’s not Risia’s top pick for a partner in the game, but he’s all she’s got.
     As the game draws them deeper into a pit of intrigue and their list of enemies grow, will Risia trust Tag with more than her secrets or will his demons destroy them both?  


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

You can find her at: 

Black Opal Books  
Muse It Up Publishing
Facebook
Facebook Author Page   
Twitter
Goodreads
Google+       
Amazon Author Page
Newsletter 
Pinterest

You can also find all the buy links for both The Kyn Kronicles and PSY-IV Teams, in all formats at: 
http://jamigray.com/kynkronicles/
http://jamigray.com/psyivteams/  






Friday, July 10, 2015 | By: Cafe
If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
- Colin Powell
Thursday, July 9, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Carol Malone

The Write Way Café welcomes Carol Malone, who shares her experiences writing as a labor of love.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
My husband and I took an English course at the local community college to support our son who, at the time needed help staying motivated to attend school. The professor read some of my writings and told me I was a writer. Because of his belief in me, I wrote 6 manuscripts within 4 months and have never looked back.

Was that first thought related to writing romance?
Absolutely. At the time, I was reading about 130 romance books a year and thought, “I can do that,” and I proved that I could.

What was your path to getting this book written and published?
It didn’t take long for me to realize I wasn’t a mainstream romance writer—I wasn’t going to write sexually explicit scenes in my books. So I needed a group that would support the sweet romance writer that I learned I was and found the Sweet / Clean Romance group on Facebook. They were supportive and encouraging and I found my inspiration there. I also learned that they were going to do a compilation of sweet tales for the summer. I jumped on that like the last piece of bacon on the breakfast table. I was all in.

What type of research did you do?
I had always wanted to write about my life as it related to visiting my mother’s mother on her farm in a small community in Northern Utah. I didn’t need to do any research as such, I could describe in such clarity of detail every road, every path, every farmyard, and house because I had been there. The historical stuff came from Google searches about education in that time period. I had heard that women who taught school in the early 1900s could not be married. This set up my premise for my story. Lizzy Golden wants to be a doctor like her great-grandma—she doesn’t want to teach school. But her father is insistent that she become a teacher like himself since he had no son to follow in his footsteps. Voila! Conflict!

Where did the idea for your story come from?
Like I said, this was a personal story to write, though not about me at all. I had actually had a summer crush on my grandma’s neighbor across the street and acted like a silly girl that I was, so I wanted to re-create that special time, that special summer love. I took my fictional characters and placed them in my beloved valley, in my grandma’s house, and in the town that I adored. I wanted Lizzy to be bold where I was not.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I had been kicking around the idea of writing a historical set in territorial Utah for a while so when the Sweet / Clean group said lets write a summer themed compilation where a beach is mentioned, all I had to do was add in a lake that, technically, wouldn’t be completed for many years. But it made for great fun for the town folk to look forward to an end of summer picnic at the lake.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people?
Brent Pierce is based on a real characters—the young man I had a crush on so many years ago. I believe Lizzy Golden would be more based on the spunk of my grandmother. At age 65, she had to learn to drive and pay bills, because my grandfather always did the driving and the finances for the family and he had passed away.

Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Maybe Lizzy is a little bit like me, but she’s more outspoken.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them?
I didn’t face a block while writing Summer Holiday. I had a deadline and I work really well under the thought of a deadline and someone expecting me to deliver a finished product. So no, I didn’t suffer any blocks with this book.

If not, what's your secret?
But I have suffered writer’s block—or basically fear, to keep writing many times. I’m still struggling with the sequel to my Ladies Night. I guess because it means I won’t be with these characters anymore and I love being with them. I have to force myself to sit, maybe read back a couple of chapters to catch a glimpse of my brilliance, then forge onward. It works 9 times out of 10. If not, I run downstairs and veg in front of the TV watching Castle reruns.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
It surprised me how easy it was to write. It was so natural to write about the setting that played the biggest part in my growing up years until my grandmother passed away.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about the early 1900s and medical practices at that time?
I didn’t so much learn anything new or different about myself or my process, but I did learn that when the passion is there, when the characters are firm in your mind, writing is not a chore—it’s a labor of love. There were a lot of things to learn about that time of the early 1900s, customs, dress, farm equipment and practices, food, and what set them apart as hard working people who helped forge a new nation. I was surprised that they weren’t all calling a concussion a concussion. Grandma called it a “brain shaking” because that’s what it was. There were some other medical breakthroughs that Lizzy talks to Brent about.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My writing space is in an upstairs bedroom and my desk faces a large window where I can look out and see the local hills and orchards. I have two monitors that have proved invaluable for doing research. I could really use three, but that’s just ridiculous. As usually, my desk is covered with stuff needing my attention, but I’m too focused on writing to do business. I’ve written many stories sitting at my desk surrounded by photos of places that move me like San Francisco and Kauai.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
When I first started writing romance, I read everything Nora Roberts ever produced. Now I’ve changed my focus to cozy mysteries and favor B.J. Daniels. I love stories of the wild west even if it’s today, I like Linda Lael Miller and her Montana or Wyoming tales. I do like Louis L’Amour for the real taste of the wild west, and Kate Atkinson for her Jackson Brody series. Gosh, I wish she’d write more about him.

What are you working on now?
For Camp NaNoWriMo during the month of July, I’m going to write a YA romance about a young man and young lady who win the parts of Tony and Maria in the play, Westside Story. She’s been crushing on him since she was 8 years old, so she’s in seventh heaven. And I’m still trying to finish my sequel to Ladies Night.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Yes. Which one and why?
I wrote Ladies Night when I was struggling to write a contemporary romance. It was like writing on a breeze the words came so easily. So I discovered my passion for writing crime drama set in historical settings like LA in the 1950s with a dash of sweet romance. There was never a struggle to put fingers to keys to write in this genre. It was a great discover about myself and where my heart lies.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I would love to be the person who could coach people with a passion for writing to become writers. Actually, that’s what I’m studying to become with my own book coach as my mentor. I work as her apprentice and have already helped a gentleman get his World War II book ready for publishing. It’s a great feeling helping and lifting other writers to their potential.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
My book coach, Beth Barany http://school.bethbarany.com/ has developed an entire curriculum for writers to be able to plan out their novel BEFORE sitting down to write it. This has been a tremendous help to me as I’m struggled with writing as a pantzer—by the seat of my pants. Even pantzers can have trouble with where to go next. My trouble lies in creating compelling characters—finding their core beliefs and deciding how they are going to change through the novel by deciding on their goals, their motivation to reach their goals, and what conflict will stand in the way. (Sorry, didn’t make it sound like an ad for Beth, although she is a great coach.)

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Though I adore Lizzy and Brent—sorry guys, I absolutely have a deep passion for Detective Marc DeLuca and the winsome beauty, Helene Dominic in my sequel to Ladies Night, Sunday Punch, scheduled for release later this year. **fingers crossed**

About Carol: Award-winning author Carol Malone has successfully combined her three passions – romance, sports, and writing in her two highly-rated books, Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night, and Ladies Night Christmas sequel. She’s also tested the waters with a historical set in 1905 down home on the farm in Summer Holiday. She was the first woman to write a romance for the all-male dominated genre. Carol invites her readers to scramble into a front row seat for a thrill-ride of suspense, sports, and sweet romance. If not hammering out new tales, Carol’s loves reading, sports, and hanging with her author husband on the coast of California.

Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night
Ladies Night Christmas
Summer Holiday

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Pinterest


Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | By: HiDee

Words Sometimes Get All the Attention

Show don’t tell. 

Writers hear this advice all the time. Readers want to see what the characters see, feel what they feel. They want to experience the story as if they are living it.

But what about in real life? Does it apply there?

When it comes to love, my husband is a big proponent of show don’t tell. He picks wild flowers from the side of the road more often than he buys me a bouquet of flowers.  He selects a card from a deck of cards – always a heart – and composes messages for me.  He randomly leaves rosebuds, or little sticky hearts, on my steering wheel for me to find of a morning.  He will tell me he loves me, but he believes actions speak louder than words – and not just in romantic situations.

For example, our daughter was out of town on Father’s Day, so she called him. She texted me afterwards.  “I hate that dad and I cant have a normal relationship where we show how we feel. When I said I loved him, he just said OK like he didn’t know what to say. I’m just sad that we didn’t grow up telling each other.” I shared this with my husband because I felt it was important for their relationship. He stuck to his “actions speak louder than words” mentality, even as I explained that sometimes we need to hear the words.

A couple weeks later, Daughter had a particularly rough week and was talking to her dad on the phone.  He was supportive and encouraging to her, and before they hung up, I heard him tell her he loved her. I was so proud of him! When I talked to her later, she told me she almost cried when he said it. At the same time, she was disappointed in herself because she didn’t react any differently than he had. She didn’t know what to say. That saddened me.

In a deeper discussion, I learned that my daughter wished we had been more affectionate – with the kids AND with each other – as they were growing up.  They don’t remember us holding hands, hugging, or kissing in front of them so when we do it now, they are embarrassed. Now I wonder, have they doubted that we love each other – and them? – because we didn’t say “I love you”; because we weren’t more openly affectionate?

I learned something from this experience. Actions can be a very compelling mode of communication, conveying what we are unable or unwilling, for one reason or another, to say. But words are just as important - they bridge the gap and tie our actions together.

Which camp do you or your characters fall in?  Do actions or words mean more?


Friday, July 3, 2015 | By: Cafe
Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay. 
- Dalai Lama


Thursday, July 2, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Jessica James


The Write Way Café welcomes award-winning author Jessica James, who is open to writing whatever story the Universe sends her way.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
The idea for this book hit like a lightning strike from out of the clear blue sky—so I’m not sure where exactly it came from. I have always been an author of historical fiction and had no intention of writing a contemporary romance—but this storyline just wouldn’t let go.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The opening setting of Ocean City, Md., was a natural since that’s where the book was born. I was there for a weekend getaway putting finishing touches on one of my historical fiction novels when this book started pushing its way into my mind. Lots of beach-goers have generations of memories in Ocean City, so in addition to setting it there, I tried to include as many recognizable landmarks as possible.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about soldiers, special ops, and Afghanistan?
I already knew about the courage, honor, and commitment to duty of our military, but reading first-hand accounts of those who have served in Afghanistan made it so much more important for me to convey those traits and principles to readers. I also learned a lot about the training, the equipment, and the tactics of war, as well as the geography, culture and languages of Afghanistan. I never dreamed that writing a contemporary novel would take almost as much research as writing one that takes place 150 years ago.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I write in a comfortable recliner with a laptop. In my field of vision, through a sliding glass door, is a hummingbird feeder, a bird feeder, and a butterfly bush. There is always something to see when I look up, which helps keep the creative juices flowing.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
I read a lot of non-fiction to do research, but when I think of the books I’ve read more than once, they are some of the classics, like “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain. I love the English language, and enjoy the rhythm and flow of words in the older works.

What are you working on now?
I’ve started working on my next book, which is actually the first book I ever started writing. It’s tentatively called DEADLINE, and features a homicide detective and reporter. It’s turning into a romantic political thriller.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I never had any desire to write anything but historical fiction, but here I am with a published romantic military suspense novel and now have a political thriller in progress. Apparently the Universe has other intentions, so I will write what it tells me to.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I always envy people who know what they want to do at a young age, and continue to have a passion for it even after they’ve been doing it for years. I have a degree in veterinary technology because of my love for animals, but I found that work very depressing. After working at a horse hospital for two years, I went back to school and got a degree in journalism. After doing that for eighteen years, I grew bored, and tried my hand at writing fiction. This is my dream job because I can write about anything I want… a Confederate cavalry officer one day and a special ops soldier the next. It’s the perfect dream job!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
As far as the actual writing process, I don’t outline or have any idea where my story is going, so I end up writing scenes here and there, which I then have to piece together. It’s a very time-consuming way of writing, but I enjoy the seat-of-the-pants method of writing over outlining and knowing everything ahead of time.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
When I see the word “hero,” the only thing that comes into my mind is a member of our military. There is no greater gift and no bigger hero than a person who will willingly sacrifice their lives for their country and fellow man.


Amazon          B&N Nook          Kobo
Apple             Smashwords

About Jessica:
     Jessica James is an award-winning au­thor of historical fiction and romantic military suspense ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day.
     She is the only two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, pub­lished in 2010.
     James resides in Gettysburg, Pa., and keeps from becoming rooted to her writing chair by working part-time as a stagehand at a local performing arts theater.