Friday, October 30, 2015 | By: Cafe
A thousand fearful images and dire suggestions glance along the mind when it is moody and discontented with itself. Command them to stand and show themselves, and you presently assert the power of reason over imagination.
- Sir Walter Scott
Thursday, October 29, 2015 | By: Cafe

My Foray into Fan Fiction


The Write Way Café welcomes Tracey Lyons, a best-selling author who shares her thoughts on Fan Fiction.

I have to admit writing fan fiction wasn’t even on my writer’s radar. I’ve never even read a fan fiction book, but when opportunity knocks sometimes you have to open the door to see what’s on the other side. For me the opportunity came after I attended the 2014 Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio. There I had the chance to hear about a program at Amazon Publishing called Kindle Worlds.  This is not an endorsement one way or the other for this program, this is just my experience venturing into the realm of fandom, as it’s known. I never knew the scope of this phenomenon. I popped on over to the website www.fanfiction.net and found hundreds, if not thousands of subjects where people have added to the worlds created by the original authors. And that was just under the book tab! There are authors who cut their teeth writing fiction this way.

So fan fiction is written by writers who loved a certain setting, all the characters etc. created by an author. Popular are the Sweet Valley Series, Catcher in The Rye, Star Trek and many more. Authors of the original work are never paid by the writers who write in their worlds. In Kindle Worlds all of the “Worlds” in this program are licensed works; meaning the original authors share in all the revenue of all the subsequent works created by other writers in their series. For more information you can check out Kindle Worlds at Amazon.

For me the experience so far has been one book, in one world. And that would be the world created by Lucy Kevin, aka the mega bestselling author Bella Andre. I decided on The Four Weddings and A Fiasco series because I love the San Francisco area and this gave me the opportunity to write a wine themed love story! Lucy Kevin wrote four original stories for the series and set them at a wedding venue called The Rose Chalet. My challenge was to continue to use her setting and some of her characters infusing them into my story. The experience so far has been a positive one. I got to debut my first contemporary novella, The Wedding Toast. Writing short after doing full length novels for the bulk of my career was fun! Working with the Kindle Worlds team has been a pleasure. If you are an author looking to add to you writing portfolio you may want to consider exploring the world of fan fiction. If you are a reader wanting to try new authors and new stories, you should definitely look at fan fiction works.

So I’m curious; have you ever written or read any fan fiction? Is there a particular series that you love?


About Tracey:  An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author, Tracey sold her first book on 9/9/99! Tracey’s books have been translated into several languages. She has appeared on the award winning Cox Cable Television show, Page One and at the famous Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC. She holds membership in Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers and Novelists Inc. Tracey writes small town, sweet historical and sassy contemporary romances. When not busy writing, Tracey enjoys spending time with her family and making her husband crazy with renovation projects on their 1860’s home. Tracey will have an Amazon Publishing Waterfall Press inspirational historical romance release in July 2016. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at www.traceylyons.com.

Facebook
Twitter: @traceyjlyons




Tuesday, October 27, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Ashley York and The Irish Warrior

Ashley York
www.ashleyyorkauthor.com


Outcast and alone, Thomasina MacDonell is hell bent on finding her brother, the only person who can thwart their father's latest scheme to offer her as payment for his gambling debts. Disguised as a lad, she defiantly sets off on foot to locate him—never expecting to find a handsome, Irish warrior riding her beloved horse. The warrior's offer of help and unsolicited advice on how to be manlier sparks an intimate desire to reveal her more feminine side.

Rejected by the love of his life, Sean O'Cisoghe wants simply to return home and heal his broken heart. When a young "lad" steals the horse out from under him, he discerns the spirited woman may be in way over her head against her ruthless father. Finding her brother while keeping her would-be betrothed at bay, Sean must confront the fact that Thomasina has stolen his heart. Will Norman soldiers out for his blood and shifting clan alliances cut short their growing passion? 

Available at:               Amazon                Barnes and Noble


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

Connect with her online at:

Website
Email: ashleyyork1066@gmail.com
Twitter: @ashleyyork1066



Friday, October 23, 2015 | By: Cafe
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.
- Rumi

Thursday, October 22, 2015 | By: Cafe

Island Secrets with R.T. Wolfe

The Write Way Café welcomes R.T. Wolfe, who is full of surprises and words of wisdom.

Good day, The Write Way Café! It’s lovely to be back on your blog. I truly enjoy your postings. Thank you!

Tell us a little about your Island Escape series.
     When Zoe Clearwater learns that the skull she found in an underwater cave is her missing brother, she sells her scuba diving business, Sun Trips Touring, and dedicates herself to unravelling her brother's mysterious death.
     Dane Corbin, the new owner of Sun Trips, is determined to prove to Zoe, now his employee, that he is not the womanizer he once was. But it'll take more than profit to turn Zoe's head.
     Her investigation at a standstill, Zoe unearths letters from a secret lover among her brother's possessions, along with plane tickets, a promise to run away to safety, and the painful realization that she'll need Dane's help.
     As mercurial clues plunge Zoe and Dane into a life-threatening pursuit and the truth burns brighter and brighter, Zoe recognizes she needs Dane as much as her brother's unnamed lover needed him. But Dane will have to make it to safety, first.

If Island Secrets was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
     Renee Zellweger is the perfect Zoe Clearwater! She’s independent and focused on the outside and a delightful train wreck on the inside. And Chris Hemsworth fits the bill for Dane Corbin. He’s simple, loyal and, oh who am I kidding … then, I’d get to meet him!  J

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     “Finish the damned book,” Kate Larkins.  And “Finish the damned book,” R.T. Wolfe.
     Nine times out of ten an author overthinks verses underthinks their work. We are mostly a group of insecure introverts for sure!

What “keepers” are in your home library?
     Full House by Janet Evanovich, Northern Lights by Nora Roberts, Private by James Patterson, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     Oh no! This is supposed to be a blog about my new release, Island Secrets! Yes, the main character, Zoe Clearwater, is smart, witty and a delightful train wreck all at the same time. Yes, she has 2 sisters who are completely unique, devoted and fun. Oh and, Dane Corbin is completely NOT a train wreck, adventurous, and in love with her. And yes, she has a hilariously lovely hippy mother and equally fun father. But my true hero is Detective Nickie Savage from my Nickie Savage Series (book #3 coming out next month!). She is unrefined, canny, and completely dedicated to helping victims of abuse and kidnapping. Understandably, she relies on her husband, Duncan Reed, and his photographic memory and computer hacking skills to help her take down the bad guys. She’s a blast to write.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
     Toughest: That I am a Nora Roberts wanna be.
     Best: That I am a Nora Roberts wanna be.

We’re adding books to our Café menu.  Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert?  What would you call it?
     Island Secrets is an appetizer as it is book #1 in the Island Escape Series.

Do you have any compulsions you must do for no particular reason?
     All of my hangers have to be the same color. I can’t believe I just admitted that. HAHA

Tell us about the book in your closet.
     Other than a few dozen skeletons, I have no book in my closet. I am a transparent skeleton/book closet girl. J

And now for the fun stuff!  

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?
     I am a question mark. Always seeking to learn. J

If you aren’t a full-time writer, what is your day job?
     I am a kindergarten teacher. #LoveMyKiddos!

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
     I raise caterpillars on my kitchen counter all summer long.

If you had to write with a pen instead of a computer, what type of pen would be your preference?
     Ball point. Medium line. And who writes a manuscript with a pen?! So dang funny.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of love?
     Married the love of my life six months after meeting him! Who does that!

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
     I write while pedaling on my stationary bike. I have rigged a table that fits just above the handlebars for my laptop. It’s perfect!


About R.T.:  R.T. was born and raised in the beautiful Midwest, the youngest of six ornery children. She married at a young age and began her family short after. With three amazing small boys, life was a whirlwind of flipping houses and working two jobs in between swim lessons and Candyland. Now that her boys are nearly grown, R.T. spends much of her time on the road traveling from one sporting event to another serving as mom and cheerleader. She works to assist the several non-profit organizations that have supported her books and promote the work they do for those who cannot help themselves.

Website          Amazon          Google Play     
Barnes and Noble          iTunes          Facebook     
Twitter          Pinterest


Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Kathleen Bittner Roth

Kathleen Bittner Roth
www.kathleenbittnerroth.com


JOSETTE
When Hearts Dare
Book Three

Across the oceans, between worlds old and new—two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads. 

Josette LeBlanc left behind her poverty-stricken life in a Louisiana bayou after marrying the wealthiest man in New Orleans. Now a widow living in luxury, Josette should have it all. Nothing could be further from the truth. Polite society's scorn has forced her into a lonely existence. When a wayward niece overwhelms Josette, she grudgingly turns to someone she once adored—the man she believes to be the girl's father.

Wealthy shipping magnate Cameron Andrews possesses everything a man could want, but tragedy shrouded his heart in darkness. He has every intention of escaping a life more suffocating than the sultry heat of the French Quarter. Fate, however, has something else in mind when a precocious young girl storms into his life claiming to be his daughter. Not only is the girl a Cajun raised in the bayou backwaters, she is also the granddaughter of a wicked voodoo priestess.

Like a rose bush filled with prickly thorns, an unwanted attraction blossoms between Josette and Cameron. While denying the passion that sparks between them, their verbal sparring heats their blood as nothing ever has, but treacherous forces are at work. Soon, Josette and Cameron are caught in a tangled web of passion and betrayal that could cost Cameron his life.

Josette Book trailer

Available at:     Amazon       Barnes & Noble
Also available at Target and Walmart


About Kathleen:
     Once Kathleen Bittner Roth realized that making a living was not the same as making a life, she blazed her own trail by founding a successful well-being center, walking on fire, marrying in a castle in Scotland, scuba diving in dangerous waters, and performing dressage on her Arabian horse. She has somehow managed to live in six U.S. states and several foreign countries. Currently residing in Budapest, Hungary, she keeps one boot in Texas and the other in her home state of Minnesota.
     Kathleen considers writing romance a great venue for creating characters who are forced to draw on their strength of spirit in order to overcome adversity and find unending love.
     A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen has been a regular guest on radio, television, and various blogs. She has won or been a finalist in numerous writing contests, including the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart®.
     You can find Kathleen on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, or by visiting her website at: www.kathleenbittnerroth.com.
     Four of Kathleen’s books released in 2014: The Seduction of Sarah MarksA Duke’s Wicked Kiss; the When Hearts Dare series: Celine and Alanna. Book three, Josette, is her current release.

Website           Facebook          Twitter:  @K_BittnerRoth



Friday, October 16, 2015 | By: Cafe
The problem is not making up the steps but deciding which ones to keep.
 - Mikhail Baryshnikov
Thursday, October 15, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Nikki Weston

The Write Way Café welcomes aspiring author Nikki Weston, whose writing took off during a ride in a taxi from hell on a hillside in Sri Lanka.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
The first time I really wanted to try was 2008 on my honeymoon (sure, I was in love with my husband. And also, Stephen King’s The Stand). There we were, bouncing down a Sri Lankan hillside in the taxi from hell, I turned to my husband and said "You know, I could write a book." Ever the pragmatist, DH says in an exasperated voice, "Would you ever stop talking about it and just do it?" Seems I must have mentioned it to him once or twice before that, or maybe he wanted me to do it before we both got killed in aforementioned taxi.

Tempted by the Italian Tycoon is a contemporary category-length story set in Italy. Most of my stories "belong" to my heroes, and this Italian real estate developer is no exception. Luca DiMauro fights through throes of grief for ownership of a decrepit mansion that London student Stella Sullivan calls home. He’ll do anything to get it—including losing the woman he loves. But destroying the place can never destroy his pain of the present or the past.

How do you do research?
Eeek! Research and I don’t get along. In fact, I do as little research as I can get away with. And when I can’t, I turn to the Internet. It is generally for geographical references or getting my facts right on things like legal matters. I set a timer and when it goes off, I move gleefully back to Word! My settings are based on, or inspired by, the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the years, including Australia and New Zealand, the USA and Canada, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, and all over Europe. All beautiful spots, gorgeous enough to live on in my mind ;-).

Where did the idea for your story come from?
Back in December, I had to hang my hat on a long and demanding Suspense manuscript. To say it was a chore is an understatement. It pulled the life and soul out of me, and darn it, I wanted to enjoy my writing again. So I decided to take a modified version of "my story" – that of my husband and I, and our long-but-ultimately-smart split, years before we married. Clueless as to how to bridge the gap of a two-year split of absolutely no contact, I reverted to the only approach I knew – swilled a drink in a Dublin bar at the work gathering we were both attending, strode over to him, and asked him if we could go somewhere to talk. Note: "talk" is an exaggeration of what we did. In fact, it’s a downright lie.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
Mostly to tie in with the publisher I’m targeting (Harlequin Presents), but as the story progressed, my kick-ass Alpha Italian hero seeks isolation, in more ways than one. My Cinderella heroine hails from lovely London, and rediscovering her strength reflects the robust feel I have always gotten from my nearest neighboring capital.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
I believe that main characters should always carry the best and the worst of real people. So yes, my heroine’s courage would reflect my own (see aforementioned striding to retrieve my husband), my hero’s smarts and wit reflect that of my husband. Physically, my hero was inspired by awesome Australian Formula 1 driver, Daniel Ricciardo. Yum!

What do you consider your greatest writing strengths? What gets in your way of writing?
I have taken many MANY classes over my seven years of writing. I believe that if I continually write and continually learn craft, my work will strengthen. I love examining the human psyche and asking why the heart wants what it wants. When I grasp that kernel, I bust it open every way I can. I also love reading Deep POV, and endeavor to write in this way. My greatest weakness? That’s easy: plotting. Overthinking the plot, ditching the plot, turning plot on its head, ditching it again. So I work at it. And my critique partners work on it with me.

Do you have a favorite playlist for when you write? Classic, rock, pop, none of the above?
It’s not a playlist per se, but I find quiet (preferably sleeping) children really help.

What is your likely choice for publication, a publisher or self-pubbed?
Right now, due to my eagerness to write and my reluctance to learn either formatting or Amazon contracts, I am targeting traditional publishing. The software nerd in me (and the proofreader) will one day welcome self-pubbing, but right now there is only enough time in my life to get the words done and write the odd submission letter.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
Simple: the kitchen table, 5 a.m. Or the kitchen table for 30 minutes after lunch when the kids nap. Or the kitchen table for an hour at 9 p.m. On a great day when I have a husband or a childminder, I have a huge desk upstairs crammed alongside our bed. Craft books on the left, toiletries on the right, printer stuck underneath, a tiny foldaway seat slanted on top. I decided this year after Nationals that my writing would have to fit around the family, or rather that there would always be stuff in my life but writing had to be part of it. No excuses, I was going to make it happen. However, I try to keep weekends free for my delightful family. I have started the habit-building writing challenge of "Don’t Break The Chain," a challenge that can start off small. It aims to help you write a little every day, crossing out the day on a calendar that displays in a prominent place. It has taken away my fear of the prospect of the day’s words, so that the habit is easier to keep than it is to break. Right now, my chain is unbroken at 34 days, looking forward to keeping her intact ;-)

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Naked in His Arms by Sandra Marton was my very first Harlequin read. And what a read! I read it at least three times for the action both in and out of the bedroom. Margie Lawson’s Deep Edits class introduced me to writers who were new to me, like Harlan Coben and his Hold Tight thriller. And my beautiful friend Johanna Gohmann gifted me my first Nora Roberts novel, my beloved and much read Sea Swept. In my more naïve less confident days, I tried to emulate these writers, their books. Now I learn from them.

Who is your favorite book boyfriend? Why?
Cameron Quinn in Nora Roberts’ Sea Swept, the first in her Chesapeake Bay series. Unapologetically male, Cam makes a racer’s ultimate sacrifice by putting family before his career.

Who are your greatest support people for writing?
My writing colleagues on the (so-called) Procrastinators’ group, a loop that is part of RWA’s From The Heart chapter. Warmth and enthusiasm propelled me to volunteer to moderate this amazing group of women, and it has yielded me two amazing critique partners. All are highly talented and hardworking women.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Lead singer in a Blondie tribute band. Note, not ACTUAL Blondie. Too much fame! I just want to get up on stage and sing in French ‘til last drinks (and wouldn’t being blonde be such a bonus!?)

What line from a book left an impression on you and/or your writing?
In To Kill A Mockingbird, remember Scout’s line, "Hey Boo"? This line—a simple phrase, spoken in kindness—reflects the courage and conviction that only a child can bring to the most tense of scenes.

What is the quirkiest thing you’ve done to your character/s?
I must confess, I avoid quirky. I fear I’ll go too far and my readers will be like "Huh? What just happened there?" But give me a few more years, a dollop of confidence, and an editor who can handle "far out," and I promise you, I’ll come up with quirky a’plenty!

Thanks so much for having me, Write Way Café! Keep up the great work! Best for now.
– Nikki


Nikki Weston pushes through self-doubt on a daily basis to write romance novels with a splash of heat. An Irish native, Nikki loves meeting anyone who love emotions and the human heart as much as she does. An acute allergy to plotting forces her to study craft as much as she can stand, all while aiming for publication.

A keen member of RWA, Nikki is proud to serve as loop moderator for From The Heart’s Procrastination loop online. In real life, she housewives in the Dublin home she shares with her husband, two young sons, and a mountain of Lego.

http://www.nikkiweston.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nikki.weston.102


Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Kristina Knight - Anthem Trilogy

Kristina Knight
www.KristinaKnightAuthor.com

Anthem Trilogy

Book 1: Light My Fire
Lily MacIntyre's life is offtrack, and she knows exactly how to right it: shed her America's sweetheart image in a big way. Getting down and dirty in a limo with rocker Nate Lansford seems like the perfect solution. Plus, she's had a mad crush on him practically since birth. The only problem? Nate is her brother's best friend…and he doesn't see her as anything other than a surrogate little sister.

Links:   Amazon     BN     Kobo



Book 2: Start Me Up
Matchmaker Nina Wright might work in LA but she keeps Hollywood types off her client list. She doesn't need their drama and she doesn't like the way so many of them exchange lovers like last year's accessories. But she needs one happy, high-profile client to get her business off the tabloid pages and back on solid ground.

Hollywood hottie Chase MacIntyre wants the gossip surrounding his lastest fling to stop and he knows exactly how to do it: show up on his next red carpet with a new woman and once he meets Nina Wright he knows she is the woman to stop the presses. 


The problem? Once they're under cover, this business-only agreement is definitely too hot to handle…


Links:  Amazon      BN      iB     Kobo



Book 3: Call Me
Katrina Phillips is itchy. The job that has always challenged her seems stifling, her friends are all pairing off and she's been without male companionship for seven long months. 

Josh Hanna is paying off a debt: fly to LA, play backup for the house band during the season finale of Star Power and then back to his boring - and sober - life in San Francisco.


But five years hasn't been long enough to douse the flames between them, and its hard to remember why things went so badly in the first place...


Links:  Amazon     BN     iB     Kobo



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


Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest     Goodreads     Google+




   

Friday, October 9, 2015 | By: Cafe
When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.
- Peter Marshall

Thursday, October 8, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Kathleen Bittner Roth

The Write Way Café welcomes author Kathleen Bittner Roth, who took her mothers' advice and found her calling (one of them!) writing historical romance.

Kathleen is giving away a signed copy of Josette (U.S. only).  Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win! 

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     When I was quite young, I would lull my little sister to sleep at night using my vivid imagination. At about twenty-five, my mom shoved a historical romance at me and said, “You need to write these kinds of books. You’ve got the talent and you’ve always been a romantic at heart.” Smart woman.
     I went on to found a wellbeing center that kept me incredibly busy for twenty-five years. In any spare time I had, I enjoyed reading historical romance and never forgot Mom’s words. When the opportunity came for me to write, I sat down, placed my fingers on the keyboard, looked to the heavens and whispered, “I’ll be needing a little help with this.” Within moments, my fingers started flying over the keyboard and A DUKE’S WICKED KISS was born, a historical romance set mostly in India in 1857 during the sepoy uprising against the British East India Company. DUKE went on to become a Golden Heart finalist and my first sale.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     I had entered CELINE in am RWA chapter writing contest. Alicia Condon, Editorial Director at Kensington Publishing, was the final judge. After I took first place, she asked for the full manuscript. Once read, she then offered me a three-book contract. JOSETTE is book three in my When Hearts Dare series that chronicles the powerful Andrews family, world-wide shipping magnates from New Orleans. CELINE, book one in the series, began on a plantation upriver from New Orleans. Cameron Andrews, my hero in Josette, was a vital secondary character in book one. With JOSETTE, I wanted Cameron to return to his roots in the French Quarter after having spent years abroad (he’s French/English). As for research, I enjoy thoroughly digging into the past. I scoured the history of New Orleans in person, online, in libraries, and meeting with people who could provide information key to the story.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     For JOSETTE, I was on Skype with a critique partner who’d worked with me on books one and two of the series. She knew Cameron Andrews inside out from the first two books and agreed with me that Cameron should return to his roots in the French Quarter. We chatted about him as if he were a living, breathing being (my characters pretty much come alive for me while I’m writing). We brainstormed about what he would do if…how he’d react if… With just that bit to go on, JOSETTE was born.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     I picked the New Orleans area for the series because I’m enamored with the city’s sultry, mysterious and flamboyant personality. With JOSETTE, I got to explore how life in the bayou contrasted to plantation life in book one, and the luxurious Garden District where Josette ended up. Then there was delicious historical French Quarter that Cameron calls home—oh, the food alone had me hungry all the while I was writing! Josette’s mother is a voodoo priestess who raised her own and her sister’s illegitimate children in a shanty along the bayou. Josette’s two brothers are irascible, handsome rogues. Their stories, The Bayou Bad Boys, will come next, in another three-book deal.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     My characters are all imaginary. However, I once read that an author can’t help but slip a bit of themselves in every story. That said, I can see a bit of my humor in Josette’s brothers and in Cameron’s business mind. At seventeen, Josette escaped an impoverished life in the bayou by marrying a wealthy, older man. Widowed and living in a fabulous mansion in the Garden District, she is nonetheless rejected by society. That’s the part of her that I identified with and here’s why: My late husband and I moved to a small town in Western New York in the late ‘90’s. To our dismay, the quiet village turned out to be a closed community. We were actually told we’d have to live there twenty-five years in order to be accepted. We moved on!

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     No blocks. When I’m writing, my stories play in my head like a movie and won’t leave me alone until I can write “the end.” I often dream scenes or chapters along the way, so I get out of bed every day and write. No matter how I feel, I write. I believe that keeps the blocks from interfering with the progression of my stories.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     I was barely on chapter four when René and Bastien, Josette’s hot bad boy brothers, showed up. They ended up playing an integral part in the story. The big surprise after I finished JOSETTE came when my editor fell for those bad boys as well and suggested I write their stories. That’s when I got another three-book deal and the green light to continue with the series.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about ships, and about New Orleans and its’ peoples?
     I think we, as writers, grow every time we sit down to write a story. Giving myself permission to explore the gritty, poverty-stricken circumstances Josette and her brothers endured growing up with an abusive voodoo priestess for a mother really gave me more confidence to explore the darker side of life while still writing a romance with a happy ending. As for ships—oh, the glorious feelings I had while researching the magnificent China Clippers. They first appeared in CELINE, book one, for a bit, played a big part in ALANNA, book two, and were an integral part of the landscape of JOSETTE. I researched clipper ships and the China trade until I felt as though I had sailed on one.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I live in Budapest, Hungary in a grand old apartment located in the very rear of the building. My windows overlook the back yard of a villa that houses the Franz Liszt Music Academy students. My desk is a massive, ornate German antique, circa 1850. It angles in one corner of the living room nearest the window. This gives me a wide view of the apartment’s interior as well as the tall trees and mansion behind me (I’m on the third floor). I often hear classical music pouring in through the nine-foot tall windows so I don’t play anything myself when I’m working. I sometimes feel as though I’ve stepped back in time.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     For craft themes, I have three favorites: Stephen King’s ON WRITING, Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD, and Debra Dixon’s GOAL, MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT. Both Stephen King and Anne Lamott’s words reached into my soul and gave me permission to write what I love.

What are you working on now?
     I’m working on the next book in the series, Rene’s story, and also the sequel to THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH MARKS with Entangled Publishing (I feel blessed to be able to work with two publishers).

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     It’s in the works.  I just returned from Northern France where I conducted research for a WWII story. This one will be women’s fiction.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     I would go right back to my old job. I founded a wellbeing center years ago, worked my butt off while loving every minute of interacting with and helping people become self-empowered. I still have ties to it and conduct seminars and classes whenever I’m in Texas. Who knows what time will tell. Were I to reopen a physical address, this time around I would include rescue animals to interact with the students. But I’d keep on writing nonetheless.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Those last couple of chapters when I know the ending is looming and I have to keep from racing through to get to it!

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     If you mean in my books, they are always the stories I am currently writing.



Available at:     Amazon       Barnes & Noble.
Also available at Target and Walmart

Josette Book trailer


About Kathleen:
     Once Kathleen Bittner Roth realized that making a living was not the same as making a life, she blazed her own trail by founding a successful well-being center, walking on fire, marrying in a castle in Scotland, scuba diving in dangerous waters, and performing dressage on her Arabian horse. She has somehow managed to live in six U.S. states and several foreign countries. Currently residing in Budapest, Hungary, she keeps one boot in Texas and the other in her home state of Minnesota.
     Kathleen considers writing romance a great venue for creating characters who are forced to draw on their strength of spirit in order to overcome adversity and find unending love.
     A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen has been a regular guest on radio, television, and various blogs. She has won or been a finalist in numerous writing contests, including the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart®.
     You can find Kathleen on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, or by visiting her website at: www.kathleenbittnerroth.com.
     Four of Kathleen’s books released in 2014: The Seduction of Sarah Marks; A Duke’s Wicked Kiss; the When Hearts Dare series: Celine and Alanna. Book three, Josette, releases this September 29th.

Website           Facebook          Twitter:  @K_BittnerRoth

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Jami Gray and Hunted by the Past

Jami Gray
www.JamiGray.com


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



About Jami:  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 Jami at: 

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

Friday, October 2, 2015 | By: Cafe
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.
- Maya Angelou
Thursday, October 1, 2015 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Taryn Leigh Taylor

The Write Way Café welcomes Taryn Leigh Taylor, who shares personal challenges and how she overcomes them.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve wanted to be an author since the second grade. Our librarian read Gordon Korman’s This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall to my class, and I adored it. When she told us he’d started the book in the seventh grade as an English project, and I knew that writing a book was something I wanted to do, too. I didn’t have to wait to be a grown up.
     As for romance, that was a natural progression. While my earliest works were about pencils that came to life when everyone went home after school, my later works revolved around the hunks from teen magazines. I would write stories about my friends and their latest celebrity crushes. My friend’s mom would marry the father of  the chosen celebrity crush, and  the new step-siblings would turn from enemies to boyfriend-girlfriend and *gasp* kiss. The ultimate in sixth-grade love affairs!

What was your path to getting this book written and published?
     Last year, I entered the first chapter of Kiss and Makeup in Harlequin’s SYTYCW contest and was lucky enough to make the top 25. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the contest but I was invited to submit my story and after a nail-biting, ulcer-inducing, three-month wait, on January 15, 2015, I got The Call. It’s been full throttle ever since, and I’m loving the ride.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
     Because Taylor is so common, I found myself wondering how often I’m seated beside or standing in line behind someone who shared my last name without knowing it. So I saddled Ben and Chloe with the same last name and decided to see what kind of misunderstandings--and sparks!--would arise when they found out.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     I love to travel, and planes and hotel rooms seemed like a great way to strand Ben and Chloe together. These two characters are such opposites--she’s an aspiring YouTube makeup artist, he’s a dedicated ad-exec--that their paths would never cross in their everyday lives. They just needed a little forced proximity to push them out of their comfort zones and into each other's arms...over and over again. Sometimes without clothes. *wink*

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I definitely draw physical inspiration from celebrities. As far as personalities are concerned, I try to give my characters a strong enough backstory that they become themselves, rather than carbon copies of people I know. And while I could ramble on about how I do that for the good of the story, truthfully, it’s mostly for self-preservation...lest any of my friends or family recognize themselves!  
     As far as the books reflecting me goes, it seems to be inevitable. I never consciously set out to put myself on the page, and yet, once the novels are finished and I’ve had some time to reflect, I suddenly see little pieces of me--from broad themes to tiny moments--showing up in the story. It’s like therapy that I didn’t even realize was happening!

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     I face crippling self-doubt on a regular basis! It’s the price of putting a piece of your heart onto the page, which is exactly what writing is. I’ve noticed that when I get blocked, it’s usually when I start getting ahead of myself and worrying what people will think of what I’m writing--Will people laugh at this joke? Will people respond to this character? If my parents read this sex scene, will I ever be able to sit across from them at the dinner table without blushing? (Seriously. This is a very real fear.)
    And so far the only thing I’ve found that can remove all that blockage is just to focus on the story and write like nobody’s reading. Am I an expert at doing this? Heck no! It’s a skill that I’m trying to develop one day at a time. But that’s what you do when you love something...you work at getting a little better at it every single day.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     I’m happy to report that the biggest surprise I’ve encountered is a good one! People have been so supportive of Kiss and Makeup, and of me as a writer. It’s something that has been so private for so long, my writing, and while I’ve got a great family and a very supportive writing group, my authorial ambitions were not something I ever broadcasted far and wide. (It’s an introvert thing.) So when I found out I was going to be published, that I would actually have to put myself out there with coworkers and acquaintances and tell them about my book...let’s just say I didn’t know what to expect.
     I have been overwhelmed by how awesome people have been. People you know have never read a romance novel in their lives have given me the most lovely, most heartfelt congratulations. It’s been really amazing.
     The worst surprise? Writing is always a waiting game, whether you’re pre-published or post-published, you’re going to be biting your nails and waiting for the next email or phone call with bated breath. The waiting is part of the biz, so get used to it.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about corporate-type heroes and makeup artists?
     I learned a couple of things from this experience. First of all, I am a chronic procrastinator, and whipping up a five-page essay the night before it’s due is far different that writing a whole book. So my pre-published process--write when you feel like it--wasn’t going to cut it. The key is just to write. Every day. Even when you don’t want to. Because it never gets easier...you just have to keep practicing. That’s how books get written. 
     Plus, if you do that, you’ll never have to pull an all-nighter to finish up a submission...and then you’ll never have to learn the hard way, like I did, that energy drinks are the embodiment of evil. 
     I also learned that no matter how many YouTube videos you watch on the subject, applying cat-eye eyeliner might be a skill that always eludes you. (Please tell me I’m not the only person who struggles with this particular makeup skill...please?)

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I’m actually a bit of a writing nomad, to be honest. While I have a desk at home, I can often be found haunting a number of local Starbucks locations. I also go back and forth between typing and writing long hand. I find for me that different types of scenes need different types of stimulus--from dead quiet, to idle background chatter, to awesome music. Switching from desk to coffee shop and computer to notebook lets me customize the exact right ambiance to craft the scene I’m looking to write.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     I love Anne of Green Gables. It’s funny and heartfelt, and it speaks to my writer’s heart. Anne Shirley and I connected at a time when I needed proof that wanting to be an author was a dream worth exploring. 
I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak blew me away. Such an interesting exploration of narrative structure, and I get something different each time I reread. Also, the coolest concept EVER. Lord of the Flies is one my favorites for the mere fact that I thought I would hate it. I couldn’t skip out because it was assigned school reading, and it didn’t take long before I couldn’t put it down! It taught me that books can seduce you if you give them a chance.
     And for all out fun, sex, and romance and murder? The In Death series by JD Robb is still winning my love after 40+ books. And as a bonus, it’s an incredible lesson in growing a cast of characters.

What are you working on now?
     My next Blaze, Playing To Win, is about Luke Maguire, a professional hockey player, and Holly Evans, an aspiring sports reporter. These two were a blast to write, because they are in a race against time, and each other, to figure out who’s behind a sports betting scandal that could rock Luke’s team to the core. I loved giving Holly and Luke the power to destroy the other and the responsibility of deciding whether or not to pull the trigger. It made for some great sexual chemistry, too! Extra-added bonus--a hero is nothing without his team, so there could be some more hot hockey heroes in Blaze’s future!
    
Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     I would love to write a YA novel. One’s been brewing in my head for awhile, and it’s not going to be content to rattle around in there forever. I just love how strong the genre’s been of late, how much depth of subject matter is being explored. YA has been a staple of my TBR pile, and I’m consistently impressed with the work of authors like Markus Zusak, Moira Young, and John Green, among a whole host of others. And I’d love to try my hand with some slight fantasy elements as well, really let my imagination run wild!

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Paleontologist, no question. Dinosaurs are the best!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Believe it or not, the romance! I have a really bad habit of going for the joke. How’s this for an actual quote from my editor about the original ending to Kiss and Makeup: “The end is really funny...but we’re wondering if you could make it more, you know, romantic.” My first drafts sometimes come out more like buddy comedies than romance novels, but I try to trust the process and get the jokes out of my system in the first run through. Then I can focus on the really important stuff--the sexy, sultry, and emotionally satisfying stuff that turns a book into a Blaze.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     I hope this isn’t a cop-out, but I can’t pick just one! The beauty of writing, and reading for that matter, is the infinite number of combinations that align to make a hero you fall for and a heroine you root for. I definitely have a type though!
     I like my heroes with a sense of humor and a hint of badass--Roarke, Dean Winchester, Kid Chaos, Jim Halpert. (Hey, putting your coworker’s stapler in Jell-O counts as badassery! I stand by that.) And let’s face it, abs don’t hurt either. *angelic grin*
     I like my heroines plucky and independent, so when they choose their man, you know it’s not because they need him as because they want him--in every sense of the word. Love me some ladies with brains and vocabularies to match, too--Eve Dallas, Veronica Mars, Elizabeth Bennett, and Anne Shirley come to mind.



A hot shade of lipstick calls for a hot, sexy guy… 

Makeup artist Chloe Masterson has a look for every occasion. Flying home for your sister's wedding and family torture? Easy. Bring out the sarcastic wit and black eyeliner. Bonus—the look catches the eye of the corporate hottie sitting beside her on the plane. Turns out Ben has the exact same last name, and everyone assumes they're married. 

When they get stuck in a hotel room together, Chloe decides to accept the gift the Fates have bestowed upon her. (Tip: a bold lip color does wonders for seduction.) But as their lies begin to snowball, Chloe and Ben find it harder and harder to distinguish between what's real and what's all just smoky eyes and mirrors.



Amazon          Book Depository          Harlequin


Taryn Leigh Taylor likes dinosaurs, bridges, and space, both personal and of the final frontier variety. She shamelessly indulges in cliches, most notably her Starbucks addiction (grande-six-pump-whole-milk-no-water chai tea latte, aka: the usual), her shoe hoard (I can stop anytime I...ooh! These are pretty!), and her penchant for falling in lust with fictional men with great abs (yum!)

She also really loves books, which is what sent her down the crazy path of writing one in the first place.

Find Taryn here:  Website       Facebook          Twitter          Instagram