Friday, February 26, 2016 | By: Cafe
When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, 'I am going to produce a work of art.'  I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. 
- George Orwell
Thursday, February 25, 2016 | By: Cafe

Spinning Plates - Are You Old Enough to Remember?


The Write Way Café welcomes author Alice Abel Kemp, who is practiced at juggling multiple plates. 

Back in the days of black and white TV, one of my favorite performers on the Ed Sullivan show was a juggler who could keep several big white dinner plates spinning on long wooden poles. He’d start with one pole and toss up a plate, and then add more and more. Soon he’d have to run back and forth to catch poles that were starting to bend as the spinning slowed.

I share this because this is how I feel sometimes. Any day I don’t have a chance to write leaves me cranky. My routine is Write First, although it’s hard some days with other commitments to get up at five a.m. in order to do that.  I have a new book coming out March 2nd—Annabelle’s Dilemma. That’s Plate Number One.

The second plate is my family. My husband is still working, and my son and grandson who live with us have divergent schedules. We have three cars for four people, and if I’m needing to go somewhere, I have to make sure I’ll have a car available. Plate Number Two.

Next, we have four dogs who need to go outside frequently across a day. Every time I move away from my desk, to get tea, to check on the laundry, to defrost something for dinner, etc., they all jump up and race to the back door. If I let them out, I’ll spend ten minutes or more trying to get them back in the house.  Plate Number Three.

I belong to a Unitarian Universalist church here in New Orleans, and I treasure the friends I’ve made there. I love being a part of this beloved community. However, this year I’m president of our Board of Trustees. So far, it’s been a year with many one-time events with a new minister and the ten-year anniversary of Katrina. I have trouble saying 'No' to requests for me to do stuff. Plate Number Four.


Lastly, I’m a quilter. I love making quilts. The best part is even though it takes a while to complete one, there are multiple steps along the way that give me the satisfaction of accomplishing something. Writing fiction is a long process, and even when you sell a manuscript, it could be a year or more before it’s published. I have a sewing room with three sewing machines, one of which does machine embroidery. In this picture, the fish are machine embroidered. With many projects in process or planned, this becomes Plate Number Five because the projects call me to work on them.

Don’t read any of this as complaints, please. I have a great life and am grateful for the support of Debby Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing, my husband and family, and my friends to pursue these many projects. Managing them requires dexterity, commitment, and speed.

What plates are you trying to manage?


About Alice: 

Alice Abel Kemp retired from the University of New Orleans as a professor of sociology and women's studies. Devoting herself to fiction writing, she has three publications, a novella, and two romantic suspense novels. A third romantic suspense, Annabelle's Dilemma, is forthcoming  March 2.

A long-term resident of New Orleans, she lives with her partner, Wayne Moore, and her son and grandson. Also, they keep a menagerie of four dogs, one cat, and two birds. Her hobbies include quilting, machine embroidery, and crochet.

Life in New Orleans can be a rich resource for writers and a distraction, too. There's always some kind of food and music festival and numerous fabulous restaurants. Living near to City Park, she often takes an early morning walk with the dogs or goes for a bike ride.


Blog          Amazon Author Page        Twitter:  @Dr_AAK

Buy links for Annabelle's Dilemma not available at press time.  
Other books by Alice:      The Jury Scandal         The Red Halter Top   



Tuesday, February 23, 2016 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Lynn Crandall with Unstoppable

Lynn Crandall


Reeling from Project Powering, the recent battle between the evil Nexus Group and her colony of were-cats, were-lynx Lara Monroe is struggling with not only thwarting the group’s plans to take over the world and eliminate her colony, but also her own traumatic past and aching heart. Through her work as a veterinarian equipped with a special healing touch, she can help animals. Animals she can trust not to tear open her heart. As the colony’s unofficial go-to for help with emotional issues, Lara is eager to use her healing touch to help colony cat Booker Chase process grief and his PTSD. But as the focus of her unrequited love, Booker unknowingly beckons her to ask for more than friendship.

A formidable were-lynx and a physician, Booker nonetheless has his hands full helping patients who were seriously injured in Project Powering. Though his healing touch is powerful in healing physical injuries in his patients, it’s useless to help him heal from the loss of his wife or the retriggered PTSD he incurred while serving in Afghanistan. Now that his good friend Lara is standing by him in his emotional struggles, he is finding there is more to his connection with her than he realized. But dare he open his heart to her?


In the epic conclusion of the Fierce Hearts series, while the colony faces constant threats in attempting to end TNG, will Lara and Booker survive to take their second chance at love?


Amazon       Barnes and Noble


Excerpt:

Each member of the colony had put their lives on the line to protect the city from the ravages of TNG. Each cat used their heightened were-lynx senses—stealth and agility—along with their individual special ability to fight for good. Casey, the leader, could see through objects. His fiancée, Michelle, though a human, was highly sensitive to others’ emotions and was psychic. Conrad had the ability to perceive solutions, whether a problem or directions to a location. His wife, Asia, could read minds and had expanded her skill from reading animal minds to human minds, as well. Casey’s sister, Kennedy, had procedural, photographic memory and was skilled in technology. Lara’s brother and Kennedy’s boyfriend, Asher, could control minds, what he called nudging. Genius Quinn could see parts of things in the context of visualizing a whole. His wife Tizzy could interact with surfaces and gather information through her feet from those surfaces. She also could leap very high and perform athletic stunts. And, like Lara, Booker had special healing power. All of them had used their skills and abilities in the colony’s attempts to thwart the malevolent activities of TNG and protect the humans.

And what had they gotten from those they were protecting? Fear and hostility.



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


Facebook   
Twitter or @lcrandall246 







Friday, February 19, 2016 | By: Cafe
Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them.  Most people don't see any.
- Orson Scott Card
Thursday, February 18, 2016 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Malena Crockett

The Write Way Café welcomes Malena Crockett. Author of Fool Me Once, Crockett explores what a family does when the wheels to their good life come off.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have at least one untamed story running around loose in my head, and of course when that happens, your most urgent desire is to tame that story and turn it into a book!
     All of my stories have happy endings (it may take a volume or two or three to get there), so in that sense at least they are romances, but a lot can happen between the first paragraph and the last and it’s not all roses and lollipops!  I guess I didn’t really focus so much on the romance aspect as on the knowledge that I had stories I wanted to tell and giving them happily-ever-after endings just made them all the more satisfying.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     This book (Fool Me Once) and its two sequels (Love Me Twice and Kiss Me One Last Time) form a trilogy – Melody Joy’s Personal Mystery – which is a memoir novel in three parts. The story follows a combination of real life and fictional characters and events, set in the time period immediately after the 9/11 attacks. That historical event informs the story, but does not drive it – Melody Joy and her family find themselves responding to an altered external reality at the same time their private lives are shifting dramatically as well.  The path to getting written and published was a rocky one – three major moves, two major career changes, and multiple personal losses all served to get me to hunker down and really focus on my writing. The repeated message I took away from all the turmoil in my personal life was the one we tend to forget: LIFE IS SHORT. If you want to do something, do it now, because you are running out of time whether you think you are or not. So…this story that was wandering around in my head for several years finally pushed its way to the front and demanded to be written NOW. It took two solid years to get it done from start to finish.
     I ended up doing much more research than I originally expected to, actually!  Even though 2001 seems like it was very recent, a lot of things have changed since then. The internet wasn’t nearly as well established then as it is now. Google was relatively new and still growing its legs; Facebook hadn’t been created yet; Wi-Fi was taking off but was certainly not ubiquitous as it is now; mobile GPS was a wonderful idea, and cell phones – although very popular – still had relatively limited reach compared to what we are used to now.  I-Tunes was brand new, and the i-Pod wasn’t released until October of that year.  As I wrote, I realized I couldn’t rely on my memory to be sure of what technology became available when, so I did a lot of backtracking. Remember those cute little candy bar cell phones with the stumpy antennas? Yeah. This level of authenticity became especially important in terms of locations, and businesses, and roads, and other things that change over time. Things like bus routes, restaurants, and road construction come and go, neighborhoods are built where landfills used to be, and buildings change their names when ownership changes.  Not everyone will notice those details, but some people will and you don’t want to disappoint them!

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     It’s a pretty balanced mix of inspiration from experiences in my own and my family’s life, plus observations of friends and relatives and other humans occupying the planet at the same time.  We’ve all seen marriages that seemed to be rolling along splendidly and then suddenly the wheels came off.
     This is the story of one family where the wheels came off. This story answers the question that nobody wants to ask directly because it’s too indelicate. But everyone wants to know the answer, if only to try to avoid the same fate. So, I wrote it to answer that question. Fool Me Once is the answer to “You were getting along so well. What in the hell happened?”

Why did you pick the setting you did?
  Lesson number one of writing: write what you know about.  I don’t know if it’s easier or harder to write about a place that really exists, especially if you’re going to write about it in the past tense (because things change so quickly), but for this trilogy it was important to place the characters on their home turf. Since the action was going on mostly in their home and in their hearts and heads, it would have been too many conflicts at once to have my characters trying to function in alien territory as well.
     Lesson number two: if you don’t know what you need to know, learn about it before you write, unless you’re writing fantasy, and then you can make stuff up wholesale, but you still have to be internally consistent and that’s a lot of work, too (so make sure you take good notes, in case you have to check them later)!  Even working in a setting that was very familiar to me, I found I still had to do plenty of research and fact-checking to make sure I got the details right.  I’m glad – at least for this project – that I didn’t increase my work load by trying to write about a place I had never even visited!

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     Like the other elements of the story, the characters in Melody Joy’s Personal Mystery are a combination of real personalities and fictional ones. For example, the protagonist, Melody Joy (MJ), is both smarter and more emotionally volatile than I am, so she responds to the events and people in her life with more wit and power than I might.  You know those conversations you have where later you think “Oh – I should have said x or y” only you didn’t think of it in time?  MJ usually thinks of it, and says it, at the perfect moment.  Walter – the antagonist – is a combination of different actual personalities plus some artistic license. Since his behavior is the catalyst for the whole story, the focus is more on his actions than it is on him as an individual, but you still get to see a person who is trying to figure out his own path while also trying to minimize the negative consequences of forcing change on other people.
     I think it’s pretty difficult to write any story, even if it’s pure fiction, without incorporating aspects of one’s own personality or life experience. A lot of times, I suspect it happens unintentionally. Precisely because we can’t really effectively write about what we don’t know, and that knowledge base helps to form who we are, everything an author writes is going to be reflective of who she or he is, even if it’s only to a small degree.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     Absolutely I faced blocks, some of them mental, some emotional, some physical/temporal/fiscal. The biggest one, of course, was fear: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of sending your “baby” (your book) out into the big wide world all by itself, fear of being lost in the masses. Figuring out where to start and stop a story that runs for decades was also not an easy thing to decide. I rewrote the beginning of this book more times than any other project I’ve ever worked on.  And there were the everyday obstacles: writing during non-existent free time, maintaining a good writing space, keeping up daily life when all you really want to do is go hide in your cave and write down the chapter that revealed itself to you fully-formed in your last dream before the alarm clock went off, before you forget all of it!
     The biggest block was letting the story tell itself the way it wanted to be told. It required me to quit worrying about what the neighbors or my family or other people might think, and just lay it out there. For various reasons, that was a very difficult thing for me to do. Ultimately, I managed to take Play to your strengths – go with what you know – don’t minimize the value of your own essential self – and recognize that which is weird about you IS your strength. That which makes you unique is the thing you can build on and leverage to the greatest benefit. You can say it a dozen different ways, but it comes down to the same thing: Your weirdness is your strength. Put it to work.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     Probably the biggest one while I was writing is that the story didn’t come together in a strictly chronological fashion.
     Well – no – I take that back. The biggest surprise was the dead body in the hotel room.  I didn’t know it was coming and neither did anyone else.  It is still impacting the story and we still don’t know much more than we did!
     Ok – back to the time line thing. The story has a timeline, yes, but the past plays as big a role in the action as the present does, and I had to identify key moments in the early story line and match them up with key moments in the “present” story line so they could work to propel the plot along and keep the characters on task.
     After Fool Me Once was released, there was a big initial marketing push, and then I had to get back to finishing up episodes two and three.  It is very gratifying to see that episode one has been so well received and is gaining a following on its own, by word of mouth, I think, mostly. That’s so validating as a writer, to know that what you wrote is actually ringing true for your readers.  I have new messages every day asking when Love Me Twice will be ready.  Unfortunately, it was delayed a bit from its 2015 year-end release by an unexpected death in my family. That kind of took the wind out of my sails, and I needed a few weeks to regroup. There was nothing to do except soldier on and hope my readers would understand.  The writing on LMT is done now, and I just sent it out to beta readers, and to my magician of a cover design artist, so it won’t be long before Love Me Twice is on the market with its sibling (unless the beta readers hate it, in which case there will be howling and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and all bets on release dates will be off)!

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about preserving knowledge, and about the Mormon religion?
I love this question! I figure if I get through any day without learning at least one new thing, then I’m not paying attention. When I’m writing, this is even more true. I’m constantly researching to make sure I’m not inserting assumptions where actual facts should be and this always leads me off into wonderful educational tangents. So…in general, I learned that you can draft b.s. all day long, but if you want your readers to willingly suspend their disbelief, you have to tell them the truth whenever the truth is out there.
     About myself, I learned that I really truly can finish something this huge! It seemed like it was taking forever to get episode one ready for public consumption, but I had to keep working with it until it was ready. I must have learned something from that process, because episode two took about half as long from start to finish, and three will probably take even less time (I hope).  Of course there was a fair amount of drafting going on with two and three as I built one (because you have to keep things organized), but still, I think overall I may be getting better at this as I go along.
     My process, I learned, is probably unique to me. I’m not really a plotter (although I’m working to get better at that), but I’m not really a pantser, either. I tend to outline in pretty extended detail and then fill in the story as I go along. I wish I had psychically linked clones of myself so one could outline, one could write and polish, one could do all the book design and graphics, and social media / marketing stuff, and one could SLEEP!
     As for what I learned about the writing world…probably the biggest lesson there is that even when you’re alone in your writing cave, hammering away on your keyboard, there are thousands of other writers all over the world doing the same thing at the same time – so none of us is truly alone, even when we’re all by ourselves.
     Re: Preserving knowledge – I’m a big one for learning, and for hanging onto information that might come in handy later. Writing my own books has reminded me that those who have specific knowledge that isn’t commonly shared have an obligation (in my opinion) to preserve what they know, if not for use now, at least preserve it for future generations. Think how much this world would have lost if Leonardo da Vinci hadn’t made notes on all his studies and inventions. What if the Dead Sea Scrolls had all been destroyed? The Library at Alexandria, the archives at the Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress are every bit as important, and the information contained in those places was preserved by ordinary humans who were passionate enough about their work to write it down. But for those people, I would have a very difficult time finding answers doing my own research!
     There is always something new to learn about the Mormon religion. Even (maybe especially) for those who are raised LDS, and even though the church is only barely officially not quite two hundred years old, the history of its establishment, its evolution, and its people is rich and intriguing. Much has changed about the church since it was first organized, but some things (some important and some not so much) haven’t changed much at all.  It’s this contrast between tradition and progress, between dogma and mythology, that captures my attention. You don’t have to share Mormon beliefs to learn from them and appreciate the fervor of its adherents. As a study of human behavior and the influence of religion on broader culture, Mormonism is fascinating.

What are you working on now?
     I just completed work on Love Me Twice, episode two in the Melody Joy’s Personal Mystery Trilogy. I’m pretty excited about this one, because it took a couple of turns I hadn’t planned on and the story is going to be better for it.  It’s in the hands of the finishing crew (for lack of a better descriptor) – editing, cover design, formatting, beta readers, etc., so while that’s happening I’ve jumped right into episode three – Kiss Me One Last Time – the final installment in the trilogy.  I have to make sure I write down all the new twists and entanglements before they get away from me! I thought episode three was going to be the last book directly dealing with Melody Joy, but now I’m starting to wonder. She may be back at some future moment, doing something entirely unexpected.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     Actually, next up after I finish Kiss Me One Last Time is a multi-part historical series set in the American Frontier west of the Rockies. It will involve some of Melody Joy’s ancestors – in particular her great grandmothers and their various supernatural and spiritual gifts. I’ve been researching this storyline for a while –it’s going to be complicated and surprising and, I hope, very entertaining.
     I have a fantasy series simmering away on the back burner – it’s one that has been bouncing around in my brain for years now. Melody Joy insisted that her story had to be told first, so she got moved to the front of the line, but these other magical folks and their elf and dragon friends will get their turn, too.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
  I wish this question weren’t so easy to answer! My biggest challenge, day in and day out, is keeping all the other gotta-do items on my list at bay. That’s why I need all those clones. When it comes right down to it, it doesn’t really matter who cleans the house or pays the bills or shops for groceries, as long as those things get done. But they have to be done, and I don’t have the budget to hire that work out, so it’s a lot of time spent doing things that don’t directly add to my writing productivity. I’d be happy to delegate them to someone who actually enjoys doing them. It doesn’t have to be a clone. It could be a house elf who’s happy to trade work for room, board, and a tea cozy for a hat. I’d be fine with that.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Being a writer has always been my dream job.  I’m so happy to be able to be doing this! I’ve done a lot of other things to put food on the table but writing is the thing that my heart insists I do for myself and for everybody else.  Second choice: probably a scuba-diving whale psychologist. Whales need someone to talk to, too.



     On the surface, MJ appeared to be an ordinary Mormon wife with an ordinary Mormon life. But looks can be deceiving. 
     When MJ married Walter, he said “I Do” and she thought he meant it. After all, when Mormons get married in the temple, it’s for keeps: happily-ever-after lasts forever. 
     Then Lacey - six feet tall and built like a Barbie Doll - came along and snagged Walter's attention. 
     When MJ discovered that the one person she had trusted with her heart and her eternal soul was actually a treacherous, lying cheat, she had to decide what to do. The church discouraged divorce, she didn't want to do jail time, and she couldn't afford a hit-man. What other options are left when your fairy-tale marriage is in serious trouble? 

Follow MJ's adventures as she sorts out her priorities, learns how to protect her heart, and discovers things about herself and her LDS family she never knew she needed to know. 

Amazon


About Malena:
     When I was a tiny child, I had great big Cinderella character cutouts on the wall in my bedroom (if you grew up in the 50s and 60s, you'll know what I'm talking about - those heavy cardboard cutouts with Disney movie characters on them). We had the princess, and the glass slipper, and the pumpkin/carriage, and a couple of mice...but no prince. Of course I grew up thinking that the ultimate objective was to find that handsome prince and marry him, throw a big party with a white dress and a cake, and live happily ever after.
     Fast forward a few years, and now I am a recovering fairy tale princess and a factual story keeper. I collect records of women's life experiences from personal and family histories, journals, and other private and public sources, and weave them into fictional narratives that introduce characters whose lives are a combination of fantasy and hope mixed with adventure and reality.  Since my family background is pioneer Mormon, I have a treasure trove of information and lots of stories of ancestors to work with. Who were these people? Why did they make the choices they made? Where did they end up? What did it cost them and what were the rewards? What made them tick?
     This project should keep me busy for a while (at least for a couple dozen books or so), and I'm very happy to be able to share these sagas with you! I get my inspiration from records of Mormon women’s experiences I have found in family histories, pioneer journals, and private and public sources. I take those stories and weave them into fictional narratives about the messy, complex and humorous human entanglements that can result from living a Latter-day Saint life. My characters, like most humans, can be naïve, vulnerable and flawed, but they are more often strong, smart, and courageous, and have to rely on inspiration and heart to work through the challenges life presents.
     I weave a few adventures and mysteries into my stories – because everyone has them, even in real life. We all have to do something while we're waiting around to get into heaven, don't we?
     Speaking of real life, I've done time in both the Mormon corridor and the Bible belt, and now live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my beloved human, canine, and feline family.

For more about Malena Crockett and her writing adventures, go to:
Website      Blog      Twitter       Facebook




Tuesday, February 16, 2016 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Susanne Matthews with The White Iris

Susanne Matthews
http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/


Time’s running out for Special Agent Trevor Clark and his FBI task force. They’re no closer to uncovering the identity of the Prophet, a dangerous serial killer who has been murdering new mothers and vanishing with their infants. If Trevor can’t unlock the clues, the killer’s threats to unleash what the FBI suspects is biological warfare could mean death for all of them. His only recourse is to swallow his pride and reach out to his former fiancée, the CDC’s renowned virologist, Dr. Julie Swift.

Two years ago, Julie ended their engagement after Trevor abandoned her when she needed him most. Now, faced with the possibility of the greatest epidemic since the Spanish flu, she has to put her faith and her safety, as well as that of countless others, into the hands of a man she doesn’t trust. Can they set aside their differences to stop the Prophet, and in doing so, will they find the love they lost?


From the streets of Boston to the wilds of Alaska, this thrilling conclusion to the Harvester Series takes several turns you won’t see coming!

Excerpt:
     Shutting down the computer, she got up, twisted her hair back into a chignon, and fastened it with her clip. Pulling open her bottom drawer, she removed the makeup bag there and took out the compact and lip gloss. As soon as she’d done what she could to make herself look fresher, she grabbed her lab coat and put it on to hide the overly casual outfit. Satisfied this was as good as she’d get, she headed up the two flights of stairs to the director’s office. She might not be ready for the cover of Vogue, but she could probably manage Science World.
     Knocking on the door, she opened it. “Sorry I’m late…”
     Her throat closed, preventing her from saying anything else, her pride coming to the rescue and keeping her from falling flat on her face. No. This wasn’t happening, not to her, not today. The man standing next to Brad was Trevor Clark. This was a storm alright, one worse than any Colorado blizzard might be.
     I’m going to kill Ellie.
     “Julie,” Brad said, coming forward, buying her a few precious moments to get herself under control. “Thanks for helping out like this. Dr. E.J. Swift, meet Special Agent Trevor Clark.”
     “We’ve met,” Trevor said, his voice husky, but he didn’t look surprised. His shadowed, deep blue eyes bored into hers as if he was searching for something.
      She gritted her teeth, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her. Her thumb rubbed the base of her ring finger as if the band she hadn’t worn in two years was there again, only this time it pained her. Whatever Trevor was looking for, she’d be damned if he’d find it. She pulled herself together, refusing to allow even a muscle twitch to show seeing him again upset her.
     The man responsible for so many tears and sleepless nights stood there, stone-like, his face not betraying a thing. He’d always been good at hiding his feelings, and now it seemed he’d perfected the ability. The only sign that he might not be as relaxed as he pretended to be was his clenched jaw.
     He’s uncomfortable—the son of a bitch should be in abject pain and agony.
     As always, Trevor was impeccably dressed in a pale gray suit with a coordinating shirt and a blue, gray, and silver silk tie. His light brown hair, as thick as ever, was cut short, and he wasn’t wearing his glasses. He looked tired, but when he was working a case he rarely got more than a few hours’ sleep each night. He was clean-shaven, and the faint scent of the woodsy aftershave he always wore tickled her nose.
     “Julie, it’s been a while. You look well,” he said, coming forward, his extended hand meeting the one she’d unconsciously held out when she’d walked into the office.
     Forcing a smile, she shook his hand, ignoring the familiar jolt of electricity and letting go as quickly as she could, stuffing both of her suddenly trembling hands into her lab coat pockets.
     “Trevor, nice to see you again.” She swallowed her anger and donned the professional mask she wore whenever she had to deal with unpleasant people and situations. There was no point in letting him know her cousin hadn’t given her a heads-up. “Ellie mentioned you were here from Boston. I thought you were based in Quantico.”

Pre-order and Buy links:
Amazon       Amazon Canada          Barnes and Noble      Crimson Romance


The Harvester Series
     The White Iris is the third book and final book in the Harvester Series. While all three books can be read and enjoyed on their own, reading the three books in order will add to your reading enjoyment.
     Book One, The White Carnation, begins the hunt for a serial killer kidnapping pregnant women, murdering them, and then vanishing with the newborn infants. But there is much more to the crime than the detectives on the case can possibly imagine.
     Book Two, The White Lily, continues the hunt, but the Harvester is angry, determined to reclaim what he sees as his, not caring how many have to die for him to achieve his goal.


Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love. 

Not content with one subgenre, Susanne writes romance that ranges from contemporary to sci-fi and everything in between. 

When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traveling to interesting places she can use as settings in her future books. In summer she enjoys camping with her grandchildren and attending various outdoor concerts and fairs. In winter, she likes to cuddle by the fire and watch television.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website   Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page 





Friday, February 12, 2016 | By: Cafe
Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.
- Leo Burnett
Thursday, February 11, 2016 | By: Cafe

Romancing the Sweet Side with Trinity Blacio

Romancing the Sweet Side Anthology
99% of sales will go to One Way Farm (Fairfield, Ohio), a house for abused children.



The Write Way Café welcomes Trinity Blacio, who believes in second chances and through her anthology, hopes to inspire others to be believe as well. 

When did you first have the thought you'd like to put together a Charity Anthology?
At Lori Foster’s Gathering last year.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? 
I knew I wasn’t going to be able to host the breakfast for the following year, so I wanted to create this book, my way to help out. So, I went around the event gathering names of who would like to join me.

Of course, authors had contract issues, deadlines and some had to drop out, but our 9 authors turned out to be a nice bunch of ladies.

Your anthology is titled Romancing the Sweet Side.  Why did you select erotic authors to write sweet romances?  
I thought it would be fun and challenging for each of us to come up with a story that was sweet. Plus, this anthology is for a Childrens home for the abused so we wanted to keep it a little less erotic.

Tell us about your story in the anthology.
My story is about second chances. In some ways the children in this home are being given a second chance, at a safer home.  I kind of wanted that aspect to be brought into my storyline. Showing, us that at any age people can get a second chance.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
Yes, my characters are imaginary, but like in most of my stories I want to give some aspect of me in them. My heroine in some ways is like me. She knows she’s raised her children and now in her later years, it was her time.

Did you face any blocks while writing this story, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
No blocks in this story, but it was hard not to have the characters rumble in bed. No secret really the idea was there before I created the anthology, I just changed the theme for the story a little to fit what I was doing.

What have been surprises you've encountered while coordinating the anthology? 
Author’s time schedules was one of the hardest to overcome. A lot of us had deadlines with publishers, but the nine of us did it finally.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about working with other authors, and putting together a Charity Anthology? 
I learned quite a few things. One to make sure all the details are one ahead of time before I ask other authors, that took a lot of the time, trying to agree with everyone. Each author is different and has done things their way, but we managed. Also, another hard aspect was trying to make sure this book wa different from all those .99 cent anthologies.  I wanted this one to stick out more, since 99% of all funds would be going to the charity.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
I have two writing spaces, unless I’m traveling. One is in my rocker recliner in the living room in front of the fire and the second place is the makeshift office I made, which I’m sitting at right now. I’m usually in the second place in the morning trying to get the block of my work done then. In the evening, I’ll take a laptop and join the family in the living room watching TV while slipping in some writing.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
My favorite books that I have written so far are, My Cat series,  Fantasy series, Lovers of the Galexy Series and my Grandma’s Need Loving Too series. As you can see I love to write a series. I have many of them.  As far as why, the first three are science fiction, fantasy mixed in.  I love writing and creating for those worlds. The last one is for older ladies like myself. This series is all about the change in life after we have raised a family and deciding what we want to do with ourselves afterward. So a  little challenge in that one.

What are you working on now? 
Right now, I’m working on the first book, of a four book series, Forgotten Dreams: Vegas.  I’m hoping to pitch at Romantic Times Convention, in April. Think paranormal, destiny and earthquakes mixed together.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
I would love to try and write a historical mixed with a little bit of future in it. Sort of like your Back to the future story, but with a twist.  I have ideas already written down too, so one day when I get time I’ll visit that line of stories.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
Reviewer of hotels. I love to travel so I would so love to review hotels and such.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
Editing. I have a few handicaps when it comes to writing, which I’m sorry to say I’ve passed onto my daughter.  I’ll learn one rule and forget the other three I just had down pat. My short term memory is horrible.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
Another author’s story would have to be Kenyon’s, Bride and Vane, in Night Play. I can so relate to them. My stories would have to be Maya and Akaos story line. She’s a  fighter, tough, but when it comes to her men , especially Akaos. All she wants to do is curl up in his lap and be held, she melts in his arms.

Romancing the Sweet Side is available at:
All Romance Ebooks        Kobo       Amazon       Barnes & Noble


Trinity Blacio has been writing now professionally for ten years. Currently, she has available titles from Freya’s Bower, Ravenous Romance, Ellora’s Cave and Riverdale Avenue Books, and a few self-published books, with more to come.  She is always excited to be writing and hearing from readers.

She lives in Elyria, Ohio. Married for twenty years, has two children, Cheyenne and Rudy, two cats Smokey and Missy. When Trinity has time you can find her reading all sorts of romance novels. But as you have figured out her favorite are Dark Fantasy, Erotic, Ménage, Horror and Science Fiction.

You can find Trinity here:

Website       Facebook       Twitter       Goodreads       Pinterest






Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Maureen Bonatch

Maureen Bonatch
http://www.maureenbonatch.com 


The car accident totaled Sabrina Post’s convertible and reinvented her memories. She can't recall dumping Cole Dawson ten years ago. What her new clairvoyant visions tell Sabrina is he’s her husband. Any practical girl would question her sanity. But if Sabrina wants to make this imaginary future a reality, she'll have to regain Cole’s trust and eliminate her rival, the coffee shop waitress who’s pegged Cole as husband #4. To prove she’s foreseen their destiny, Sabrina stirs Cole’s interest by revealing specifics about him she couldn’t have otherwise known. 

Unfortunately, the one detail he vividly remembers is the pain when she left him and their "rinky-dink" town in her rearview mirror.


If Cole can't believe she's a changed woman, can Sabrina accept the only second chance she has at love exists in her memories?


Amazon      The Wild Rose Press     Barnes and Noble

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     The boxes of candy hearts Julie forgot spilled across the floor.
     Cole hunkered down and gathered the papers. His mouth formed a hard line as he glanced at Sabrina’s leave paperwork with the end date prominently circled. He replaced it on the table under the keys.
     “No really, I can do it. You stay, Cole. I’ll be right back.” Sabrina caught her reflection in the mirror on the wall. The quest for a coat resulted in her hair looking as if she’d stuck her finger into an electrical outlet. Her appearance matched her desperation. She ran her hands over her head, but the static filled strands resisted smoothing.
     “I need to check on Dad anyway, and it’s on my way. I’ll take Josie.” Cole extended his elbow, and Josie latched on like a lifeline, her fingers digging into the leather of his jacket. She skittered across a few of the remaining candies, crushing Be Mine and Love Me on the floor. “Thanks again for dinner, Marge.”
     “Cole wait.” Despair leaked into Sabrina’s plea.
     He glanced toward the papers on the table and sighed. “I waited for years, Rena. It’s you who waited too long.”
     As the door closed behind him, so did the future with Cole that she’d imagined. Her shoulders fell. She knelt to collect the candy hearts scattered on the floor. Forget Me Not and Hug Me taunted her with their cheerful words. Lacking a garbage bag, she shoved a handful of the candies into her jacket pocket. Several hearts were trodden into tiny pieces, like her own.


Maureen writes stories in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania that boast laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world. She writes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy.

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Friday, February 5, 2016 | By: Cafe
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
- Charles Swindoll
Thursday, February 4, 2016 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Richard Whitten Barnes

The Write Way Café welcomes Richard Whitten Barnes, who shares his backstory about writing Enemies, a historical World War I novel.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
     I was new at writing short stories; got involved with a writing group who convinced me that one of my stories was too big for the genre, and a book was there waiting to be written. I had never even considered I had a book in me.
     So…I began writing, and 100,000 words later I had a manuscript.


What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     That manuscript (a historical WW2 novel) sat in my drawer for a year while I tried my hand at a mystery, which I self-published at iUniverse. It was only after that, and more than 100 queries to publishers that I was picked up by Wings Press, Inc. who liked my WW2 novel.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     That first book idea came from my long time infatuation with the strange Pacific island names of WW2. Names like Tarawa, Truck, and Leyte. The book was about a merchant marine “Liberty Ship” that traversed the Pacific, calling at many of those places.

What are you working on now?
     Trying to promote my latest (eighth) novel, Enemies, another historical war novel set in WW1.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     My father and my father-in-law both served in WW1. (we were both youngest children, and they were very young when they served). I always thought how interesting it would be for two men to meet after having had an encounter in the same battle. The story is woven around that concept.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     Yes, the characters are imaginary. One is a young boy from Northern Ontario who joins the Canadian Expeditionary Force, while the other is a young German who is conscripted into the German 238th Infantry. I used a detailed history of the 238th as a template for the German boy’s movements, and dovetailed it with engagements of the Canadians. I had to use a Canadian, because the Americans fought in France and the 238th fought in Belgium, mostly. It was fascinating to follow the footsteps of my father-in-law.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     There are always blocks. Simply writing a fictional account of a series of battles is not a problem, but weaving it around an interesting plot that holds the reader, then tying it all together at the end in an original way is the challenge where blocks can occur. My time-tested cure for a block is to talk it out (usually with my wife). For me, merely verbalizing the problem seems to result in a solution. I usually come up with the answer myself.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     While I have always had respect for the hardships the WW1 soldiers endured, researching the book gave me a whole new outlook, certainly a magnitude more horrific than I had conceived.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about soldiers from different backgrounds, and about World War 1?
     Nothing much has changed in this world. We still have politicians and generals who send young boys into battle to die for our inability to get along with one another. If I didn’t know that before writing Enemies, I know it now.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     Ha! When I started writing seriously, I made myself a cozy office in an (empty nest) bedroom away from the rest of the household goings-on. You know… comfortable chair a step away from the computer. Now I write wherever I happen to be in the house; sometimes in the den, sometimes in the rarely used living room, sometimes in the original venue. I’m a vagabond in my own house.
     The reason I can do this is because I write my first draft in pencil in a spiral notebook. I enjoy the tactile process of writing in longhand. I can take that notebook anywhere. After about 500 to 1,000 words, I’ll transpose it into the computer. I like doing that, because it serves as a first edit.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Jeff Shaara’s trilogy on WW2 in Europe
Robert Parker’s Spencer series
Anything by David McCullough
Phillip Craig’s Martha’s Vineyard series.

     Why? Shaara found a way to tell history in a fascinating way by giving dialogue to real historical characters. I copied that in one of my books, Luzon, where I had FDR speaking with my main character.
     Parker is no-nonsense in his depiction of Spencer and his sidekick, and psychiatrist girlfriend.
Craig has interesting stories in a limited venue much like my character Andy Blake in my St. Joseph Island mysteries.
     David McCullough needs no praise from the likes of me.

What are you working on now?
     I am just getting started (Enemies was just published this past December) on a new Andy Blake mystery. She is a single, 40-something detective with the Ontario Provincial Police. The story will center around a religious cult that goes bad and she must deal with the consequences.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     By all means, a classical (or maybe jazz) musician. I think writing is a lot like being a musician, anyway; but that’s for another whole interview.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     A) Marketing and promoting my work. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and time; both are in conflict with writing, itself.
     B) Devising a book’s plot that is, at the same time, continuously interesting (page turner) and has an ending that leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction. Don’t you hate it when the book just stops cold?


     It is November 11, 1968, fifty years to the day since the armistice of the Great War. The seventy-year-old German diplomat Jürgen Stern is in Ottawa, Canada on a special assignment. He rescues a portfolio mistakenly left behind in his hotel lobby by a man near his own age. Inside are drawings that are obviously from a soldier’s perspective of WW1. One of the sketches is so intriguing he is compelled to find this man and learn the truth about it.
     As war rages in Flanders and Picardy, two young men enter the military a half world apart. The callow, inexperienced Jürgen Stern has been conscripted as part of Germany’s draft, and torn from the arms of a girl he’d thought he could never have.
     Brian MacLennan, the talented young artist from northern Ontario, aching to be on his own and free of the family farm, enlists in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Their lives come together almost fifty years later in a way they could not have imagined.
     ENEMIES portrays the daily lives of the two soldiers and their comrades. The story follows the trails of the German 463d Regiment and a company from the Canadian 119th Battalion as history has documented their time in that horrific conflict. ENEMIES is a story of bravery, cowardice, fear, heroism, and ultimately, humanity.

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About Richard:  Richard Whitten Barnes was born in Minnesota but grew up on the north side of Chicago. A band scholarship took him to Michigan State University, where he majored in chemistry. He is now retired from a long career in international chemical sales and marketing, taking him all over the world. Barnes is a veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and an avid sailor. He lives in Lake Wylie, S.C., but spends summers with his wife Marg and dog Sparty at their cottage on St. Joseph Island, Ontario.




Tuesday, February 2, 2016 | By: HiDee

Learning to Read as a Writer

Spread out on my table, the printed draft of my novel is colorful. It’s filled with typed comment bubbles, handwritten notes, and highlighted sections that mark passages I need to clarify, facts I need to verify, and loose ends that need resolved.  Colored pens, highlighters, and post-it notes – all tools of my trade – are within easy reach.  But after hours of editing, I can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right.  Something is still missing from my draft.

My bookshelves are full to overflowing with writing books containing suggestions on how to tackle
every aspect of writing.  While helpful at times, I’ve reached the point that reading about how to write is not the answer.  I need to experience first-hand how my favorite authors handle the craft of writing.

Armed with an open and curious mind, I’ve selected a variety of books to read for craft.  I plan to be a sponge, absorbing how some of my favorite authors balance things like point of view, narration versus dialogue, and telling versus showing.  I want to discover how they draw the reader in. What do they do that causes the reader to emotionally invest in their characters from page one?  How do they maintain the secret ingredient that captures attention and refuses to let it go?

While searching for suggestions on how to read for craft, I discovered a post on The Center for Fiction by author Gabriel Roth, who notes that there are at least three different ways to read a novel: as a reader, as a critic, or as a writer. He offers the following words of advice for reading as a writer:

With every sentence you read, you have to ask: Why did the writer do that? What could she possibly hope to achieve that way? This character is annoying -- what’s he for? Why am I reading faster than I was a few pages ago? How did we get to the point where I’m interested in all this crap about hunting/topology/the glove industry?

Because the writer you’re reading is solving problems right in front of you, and those are the same problems you’re going to face when you sit down to work tomorrow. And it’s going to feel like the waiter is never going to come, and two more bodies just turned up by the docks. Better be ready.

Great advice!  Apt description for a writer feeling lost in where to go next, what to do, and how to do it.

So now the real work begins.  I’m ready and eager for my brain to absorb what is necessary to solve my novel story problems.

What do you look for when you read for craft?  Please share your tips!