Friday, April 29, 2016 | By: Cafe
The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new. 
– Samuel Johnson
Thursday, April 28, 2016 | By: Cafe

Meet Richard Fowler

The Write Way Café welcomes Augustina Van Hoven, who offers a character interview with Richard Fowler from her book The Thorn of a Rose.

The Thorn of a Rose releases on June 24th.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Richard Fowler. I am a member of the Idaho House of Representatives.  Luckily, they only meet three months out of the year so I get to spend the rest of my time running my sports bar.  I don’t have a great record when it comes to my love life,  I’m thirty-four years old, and I’ve been divorced twice.  Maybe I never really learned what it means to be married.  My parents weren’t exactly the greatest examples.  Dad spent most of his time taking his inheritance and turning it into an empire, while mom disappeared into a bottle when she wasn’t at her garden club or some charity event.  I guess I need to find a woman who doesn’t mind a slightly used husband who needs to grow up.

What is your goal in the story?
Like I said, I am a state legislator.  This session I’m presenting a bill to take back state lands from federal control.  If I can get the bill signed into law it will open up opportunities to dramatically increase funding for schools and improve education in my state.  The current Governor is not going to stand idly by and let this legislation pass.  What I’m proposing to do will undermine a lot of his power and take money away from his own special projects.  I have allies helping me in this and we are all taking a risk moving it forward, our Governor doesn’t play nice.

What is your favorite hobby?
Well I’d have to say drinking and being a smart aleck.  No seriously, I love tasting and acquiring bottles of good whiskey.  My bar is noted for its excellent selections, both imported and domestic.  As to the other, well let’s just say I enjoy being a thorn in the side of certain political figures in my state.

What challenge are you trying to overcome during the story?
Something supernatural happened last year, I thought it was over, but I was wrong.  Strange things are going on which threaten my allies, one in particular, Ashley Halliday.  I have to protect her and I can’t tell her from what or why.    




Website
Blog
Twitter: @augustinavhoven
FaceBook

Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats.   She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy.  When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines.





Tuesday, April 26, 2016 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Forgotten Debutante by Becky Lower

Becky Lower
www.beckylowerauthor.com


Don’t miss the touching conclusion to the Cotillion Ball Saga!

In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.

Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.

Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them … especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it.

Amazon




Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America.  Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com





Friday, April 22, 2016 | By: Cafe
Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it…
–Michael Crichton

Thursday, April 21, 2016 | By: Cafe

Jami Gray: Editors, The Red Pen Wielding Superheroes

The Write Way Café welcomes Jami Gray. Her editors provide insights and suggestions, guiding her to become a more successful writer.

I love my editors.  That's right, I am proud to announce I have more than one, more like five to six if you combine both sets from Black Opal and MuseIt Up.  If you're not familiar with what happens to your favorite book after your author types "#END#", here's a quick run down.

The poor baby begins a weight loss program. The first round will beat that baby down until it's bawling in a corner.  The second round will coax it out, wipe its nose, then proceed to show it tough love with some very straightforward talk.  After some pouting, the story will straighten up, and face down the last round--where the final, professional polish will be applied--hair combed, pants pressed, shoes polished.  Because of this, some writers have a love/hate relationship with their editors, they just love to hate them even as they lovveee the final product.

This past summer in preparation for combining all four of my Kyn books into one printed volume, my editor asked me to go back over the books and ensure there were no specks of dust on my shiny baby.  Since she’s my editor, I didn’t refuse.

Know what I found? The difference between the fourth book of the series, Shadow's Curse and the first, Shadow's Edge is...well...tremendous. As in, if I was doing the first book now with what I've learned, it might be a very different novel, but I digress.

In 2011, I got my first round of edits back on Shadow's Edge. I spent at least a week solid going over every point raised, making notes on style (don't make this passive, show don't tell), and pondering each question my editor poised. This turned into long discussions via track changes in Word through all three editing rounds until I finally I let the little bugger go, freeing it to walk on its own.  It's very difficult, as a new author, to release your clutching hold and see your story as a new reader, because you've breathed, cried, and screamed at it for so long. Move ahead six months to the second book in the Kyn series, Shadow's Soul, this time the track change discussions we're down to "got it", "yep, I can see that", or "What about this?".

Then came Shadow's Moon, the third installment, and one of the biggest reasons I love my editors. Every bit of feedback I got from my editors on the first two books pushed me to look at my craft critically and asked myself, what can I do to strengthen my writing? Challenge myself as a writer? Create something really cool for my readers?

I decided I wanted to change character perspective for my third book since Gavin and Raine needed some breathing room. Plus, well, I was challenged to write a romance. (Challenge me will you?) Not only did I want Shadow's Moon to focus on the evolving relationship between Xander and Warrick, but I decided to mix it up even more, I did two points of views instead of my normal one.  It wasn't easy, but it did teach me quite a bit about what I still had to learn and practice.

Then, mid 2013 when I handed off Shadow's Moon and the proposal for book four, Shadow's Curse, to Black Opal's caring hands, I decided to pause before starting Shadow's Curse. I'd been living in the Kyn universe for a long time, much longer than the publication dates on the books. Other characters and worlds were pestering me for their spotlight. Add in the fact I write from limited third person point of view, and at one time wrote Shadow's Edge completely from Raine's POV (oh yes, much therapy was needed after that), I decided to brave the wild new frontier of first person point of view.

Not as a New Adult story where first person seems prevalent, but in an adult Paranormal Romantic Suspense story, one where I could explore my love of military suspense and paranormal abilities. But here was my challenge—I didn't want every damn sentence to star with "I" . Come on, if all you hear is "I, I, I..." you may wanted to gouge out said "I's" eyes.  It wasn't easy, it was difficult, enough so I almost gave up, but finally, FINALLY, I finished Hunted By The Past and it became part of the MuseItUp family. It also created a new series, the PSY-IV Teams.

Then while working through the toughest Kyn book yet, Shadow's Curse and the fiendishly difficult Natasha, I got hit with the edits for Shadow's Moon and Hunted in one fell swoop. Anxious, I opened up the track changes, leery I may soon find myself curled up in a whimpering pile in front of my computer. Instead I got something better. Both editors left me notes, really heart warming ones, on how much my writing had deepened and how much they were touched by the story. And this hardhearted wench of words, got a little bleary. There were still discussions and muttered comments (not in Track Changes because I didn't want a hit put out on me), but I'm still loving my editors, because they are still providing me insight on things I can do better, ways to consider things differently, and how to ultimately become a more successful writer.

So when the conversation arises among my partners in writing plots about what makes a successful writer, my first answer is: EDITORS.

Whether you're Indie or Traditional or any mixture of writer, an editor can only help you. Not only can they give you an unbiased opinion on your work (Like my question prior to writing Touched by Fate of "So I'm going to change the POV on Book 2 of PSY-IV, you're okay with that right?”), they will keep your story straight, catch when you add an extra arm, leave a character standing at the side of the road, or catch when your character decides to not only change hair color but their height (w/o shoes), your editor will be the first one to push you off that cliff of what ifs when you can't get your feet to move. Because if you want to be a successful writer, you need to continue to grow your craft and your skill set. Otherwise--same story, different....you get the picture.


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.

Website        Facebook Author Page        Twitter        Goodreads
Amazon Author Page       Black Opal Books       Muse It Up Publishing

Slip into Jami Gray’s Kyn Kronicles, a world of intrigue and shadows, and discover why readers are screaming for more.  Or dare to walk to on the heart pounding side of intrigue with her Paranormal Romantic Suspense, PSY-IV Teams.

BUY LINKS:
You can find all the buy links for both The Kyn Kronicles and PSY-IV Teams, in all formats at:

http://jamigray.com/kynkronicles/

http://jamigray.com/psyivteams/

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 | By: Cafe

Ethereal Blonde, Raging Redhead, or Sultry Brunette?

Someone asked in an Internet discussion group why so many romance novels feature redheads. I didn’t know that to be true, but it made me consider the question, what does hair color have to do with characterization? Is it scientific or just an author preference?

In real life, hair color preference is influenced by how society feels about hair color, according to Midge Wilson, PhD and professor of psychology at DePaul University, in an interview written by Courtney Linstrand for Teen Vogue.

In her article, Lindstrand references Wilson’s statement that “blonde hair used to be seen as dull and unattractive until Clairol came out with a ‘Blondes Have More Fun’ ad campaign that totally transformed popular opinion of the color.”

"If society is accepting of pink hair right now, it makes us more apt to dye our hair pink, therefore perpetuating the cycle," Wilson said.

It’s no secret, though, that hair color is and has been for a long time connected to certain personality traits. Hairfinder.com points out that in ancient Greece, deities were given a variety of hair colors, and women dyed their hair blonde as a sign of nobility.

Beliefs change and hair color reflects that. Hair color is also influenced by location and local belief systems, as well as time period.

Throughout the world, the tendency to imbue certain hair colors with personality traits persists. In Western culture, according to Hairfinder.com, blondes are considered a trophy, a woman who can bring admiration to her boyfriend or husband with her ethereal hair, innocence, and childlike playfulness or outright ditzyness. Redheads are considered exotic, wild, and sexy, but of possession of a fiery temper. Brunettes are seen as sultry, intelligent, bold, and confident.

Today’s trend of dying hair in unnatural hair colors, such as purple or teal, is a way to showcase a person’s ability to step off the beaten path and as a means of self-expression. It’s a way to stand out, but in an accepted way, Lindstran wrote, quoting celebrity colorist Daniel Moon.

“We connect with colors in life like never before. Sunsets, flowers, trees remind us of our hair color," said celebrity colorist Daniel Moon.

So, as a writer, I can use these societal beliefs about hair color as a way to inform my characters’ appearance or not. When I begin creating a character for a book, I think of a number of things. An image develops in my mind that speaks to me. I look through website images, magazines, and ad flyers to see what stands out for me in terms of character appearance. Personality traits and hair color, as well as other physical traits, mingle together and either fit together or don’t. Also, I’m very interested in writing a variety of characters, especially with traits that are not necessarily romanticized or fit stereotypical heroines and heroes.

For instance, when I created characters for Probabilities, Book 4 in my Fierce Hearts series, I was intrigued by the idea of a heroine who is socially skilled, bubbly, and blonde contrasting with a hero is a redhead, deep-thinking, genius. I saw them as not necessarily likely compatible types. 

The confident but awkward geek falling for the heroine who speaks without thinking was interesting to me. But along with their expected personalities aligned with their hair color as based on society’s beliefs, I wanted to give them inner conflicts that affect real people with these traits to humanize the stereotypes.

I believe that a lot of different elements enter into what a lot of different authors choose for their characters, just as in real life everyone has personal beliefs about what makes a person attractive or unattractive. In fact, for some people, hair color is less important because baldness is badass. 


Does any particular hair type trip your trigger more than others?

Friday, April 15, 2016 | By: Cafe
I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
–Stephen King

Thursday, April 14, 2016 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Skye Taylor

Author Skye Taylor skydiving
The Write Way Café welcomes Skye Taylor, who shares writing experiences and her affinity for strong heroes.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
Unlike many of my peers, I loved the English teacher I had in my junior and senior years of high school. He was strict and deducted heavily for misspelled words. He expected us to take the time to look up if we didn’t know, but he inspired us to dig deep. Our assignments weren’t what we did over the summer, but things like 500 words on an odor we loved or hated, describing it and how we felt about it. Daunting at first, the challenges this man presented us with showed me I had both a talent for and a desire to write.

My first attempt at a novel was a Regency romance – mostly because I was heavily into Georgette Heyer at the time. I currently have a contemporary romance series going with three books out and the fourth coming in July. But the most challenging book I’ve written to date was The Candidate, which started out as one man’s struggle to find personal honor during a hotly contested presidential campaign, then ended up including three candidates and each of their individual battles. Weaving all three stories together with a touch of romance thrown in was a major challenge. The Candidate placed second in strong romantic elements in the Reader’s Choice Awards, but it is a mainstream intrigue.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
Since my main character is confronted thirty years after the fact with memories of his time in Vietnam, I had to do considerable research into the events surrounding the evacuation of the embassy in Saigon as well as interviewing my brother and other veterans about their memories of those years. I wanted to honor their service in a way the American people did not when the soldiers came home after their year in hell, and I wanted to do it with compassion and understanding. I also needed to research the nuts and bolts of a presidential campaign, which I knew nothing about. The book was written originally some years ago and then had to be updated to be politically current when it finally sold to eWings Press.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
When people ask me why I wrote this particular book, I often give them a flippant answer about not liking any of the current crop of candidates so I decided to write one of my own I could really root for. But the more serious answer is that it sprang from a number of things: The musical "Miss Saigon," non-fiction books about the men and women who served in that war, the TV show China Beach and my brother’s own both painful and humorous memories.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are entirely creations of my imagination. And there’s nothing of my personal experience in this story either. But I did come of age during the height of the Vietnam War, and experienced first hand the treatment a populace angry about the war dished out to the men and women who went either voluntarily or by draft. I pay attention to current events as well, the scandals, the dirty politics, the erosion of faith in our leaders and some of that has found its way into my story.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
At one point, with five main characters whose points of view I told this story through, I felt like I had the proverbial tiger by the tail and the story felt totally out of control. But then I went to a conference and heard a wonderful presentation on keeping a handle on story arc and multiple characters by T. Davis Bunn. There’s no way I can summarize his three hour workshop here, but in the end, the nugget I brought home was a simple sketch he drew showing how the individual story arcs come together and at that point every character is either for or against the outcome you have planned. I came home and sketched out each of the five story arcs, and suddenly my novel came together.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I learned some things about my brother I didn’t know. They were very personal and rarely if ever shared so I felt honored that he trusted me with his thoughts and memories. In my updated version, I include a man with a hot current issue and my research into his background, emotions, struggles and triumphs, so totally different from my main character it was enlightening, and reminded me not to judge others by personal convictions.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I work at a desk set under a window overlooking the ocean with all three walls behind me filled with floor to ceiling books. I love the feeling of being surrounded by books and I love having all my resources close at hand. I also love being able to gaze out at the ocean when I sit back to contemplate some knotty bit of plot. Walking the beach is where I work through plot lines, dialog, and scenes when they stop flowing while I’m typing, so living this close to the ocean is fantastic.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
As a child Heidi was my favorite book. I so wanted to be Heidi and live life on that mountain. My childish heart was very much in love with Peter. In my early adulthood, I fell in love with a trilogy that had been written during and just after WWII and set on an island off the coast of Maine. Again, I was more than a little in love with the hero, but I was also enamored of island living. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon and On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves are my current favorite books and I’ve read both more than once. Again, it was the hero I fell in love with most. Both authors have created wonderful settings and a story that engages, but their heroes are what caught my heart and held it. Both were young to start and while brave and intelligent, had a lot to learn about life and love, but flawed as they were, they grew in stature and honor.  Jamie Fraser (long before the Starz series and Sam Heughan) and T.J. Callahan are heroes that capture the heart and don’t let go.  I loved Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi and The First Boy I Loved by Cheryl Reavis. As I write this, I’m seeing a pattern that doesn’t surprise me, but I’ll admit, I’m different than a lot of other romance writers and readers. The heroines are important, but for me, it’s the hero I fall in love with that makes the book memorable. I might also add that none of these heroes are wealthy, powerful, or influential. They don’t fit the traditional boxes. Jessie Best is a simple man with simple desires. Jamie Fraser is a wanted man. T. J. Callahan is a teenager at the beginning, forced by illness and circumstances to grow up fast. They are ordinary men who rise to extraordinary heights when faced with adversity and challenge and that is what makes them memorable.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing up the final edits on a historical time travel set during the American Revolutionary War and when that’s submitted I have another paranormal plot brewing in my brain about an author who falls in love with a shadowy hero from WWI that she is researching for a book she wants to write. I also have two more books, one written but in need of edits and one unwritten as yet in my contemporary Camerons of Tide’s Way series from Bell Bridge Books.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Obviously the answer to this is yes.  The Candidate is mainstream intrigue, while The Camerons of Tide’s Way are contemporary romance (with a hint of women’s fiction,) but I’ve written straight historical and time travel as well.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Since I’ve already talked about my favorite heroes, my favorite heroine is Joanna Bennett from Elizabeth Ogilvie’s Tide Trilogy (High Tide at Noon, Storm Tide, and Ebbing Tide) I think, because I feel I’m very like her. I can be headstrong, but I love deeply. I throw myself passionately into things I believe in and I love adventure. I consider myself a leader rather than a follower and Joanna Bennett is all those things.


The Candidate book cover
It’s down to the last two months in a neck-and-neck presidential election race. Matt Steele is trying to run a clean and honest campaign, while not alienating his party base with details of the harsh economic realities he knows he will have to embrace if he wants to restore the American dream. While campaigning, he is slipped an old snapshot by an Amerasian immigrant. The photo took Matt Steele off guard, jerking him back to a time he’d done everything to forget, to emotions he never wanted to relive. In the midst of a hotly contested race for the White House, the photo and the man who brought it to him will challenge everything Matt thought he knew about himself. The choice he faces to put honor on the line could change the outcome of the election and the fate of a nation.

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About Skye:  
Skye Taylor lives in St Augustine, Florida, enjoying the history of America’s oldest city and taking long walks along its beautiful beaches. She’s a mother, grandmother, and returned Peace Corps volunteer. She posts a weekly blog, volunteers with the USO, and is currently working on a time-travel romance and a mystery novella. Her published work includes: The Candidate, Falling for Zoe, Loving Meg, Trusting Will.  Free Short stories: Loving Ben and Mike’s Wager and non-fiction essays of her experiences in the Peace Corps (Available on her website.) Book four of the Camerons of Tide’s Way series from Bell Bridge Books, Healing a Hero will be out in July. Also available on her website is a free short story, Saving Just One.

Website       Blog       Facebook     Twitter   
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Chris Cannon featuring Trial by Fire

Chris Cannon



Bryn's hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her-again. She's not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare-of-a-Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon. The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real, or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life.

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Amazon Kindle Edition        Kobo



Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or snarky romantic comedies.

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Friday, April 8, 2016 | By: Cafe
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. 
 – Ben Franklin
Thursday, April 7, 2016 | By: Cafe

An Interveiw with Shirley Martin

The Write Way Café welcomes Shirley Martin, author of Magic Mountain. Martin enjoys spinning fantasies and paranormal romances.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
First, thank you for having me.   After my three sons had grown and left the house, I decided to start writing.  But I didn’t start right off with a novel, instead started with short stories.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
Since Magic Mountain is a fantasy, I didn’t do much research, but I got the idea from a non-fiction book titled Lost Treasures of the Anglo-Saxons. That book tells of the gold treasures left in England by the Anglo-Saxons.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
As I said, Magic Mountain is a fantasy, so I just created a world full of magic.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
All of my characters in all of my books are imaginary.  But I give them the traits I most admire in other people.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
One surprise that happened and often happens with writers is that the characters have a mind of their own.  They don’t always do what you want them to do.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
My publishing company, Books We Love, has many fine authors,.  But one of my favorite books is Illusions by Frank Peretti.  He has written other fine books, as has Ted Dekker.  Anything by Terry Brooks is a good read.  These authors all write paranormal or fantasy, which are the genres I write in now.

What are you working on now?
The Door to Forever.  I’m very excited about this. It’s another fantasy romance, but part of it takes place in the real, contemporary world and part in the elven kingdom.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
No, I’ve already written historical romances, paranormal and fantasy.  I enjoy writing paranormal and fantasy, so that’s what I’m staying with.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
My favorite hero is Owen of Forbidden Love, a historical romance, because he had so many obstacles he had to conquer.  My favorite heroine is Gwen of Dream Weaver my time travel romance because she, too, had many obstacles, going from her contemporary life, back to colonial Pennsylvania in 1762.



     She wanted to love him, but he was the enemy.
     Gold! Legend tells of a fortune in gold, hidden in a cave at Misty Mountain, in a land faraway.
     Princess Olwen must find the treasure . The neighboring warlike country of Volanar has held her brother hostage for years and demands a fortune to free him. Olwen’s country of Airenn Tir is too poor to pay the ransom. Her father doesn’t believe the legend of hidden gold and refuses to send anyone to search for the treasure.
     So she’ll find the gold herself, Olwen determines. Disguised as a man and traveling alone, she leaves in the dead of night and travels to a distant land to find the treasure. Painful surprises await her, for she has no idea she’ll encounter a land of magic . . . and danger.
     In Volanar, the king sends his son, Prince Garth, on a mission to find the gold. The king must have more money to wage war against Airenn Tir. He knows something the king of Airenn Tir doesn’t know, something his soldiers discovered while occupying part of that land. Greenstone lies beneath the earth, a precious gem believed to protect people against fatal illnesses.
     By accident, Olwen and Garth meet at an inn, neither knowing they have the same goal. Agreeing to travel together, they each make up a story to mask the true reasons for their trip. When they both realize they seek the same treasure, trouble follows, and plenty of it.
     When Garth discovers that Olwen is a woman, he fights his blossoming attraction for her. He must not fall in love with her, for they are enemies, each seeking the treasure for their countries.
     Too soon, Olwen discovers that Garth is a prince, from the very country that is holding her brother hostage. She wants nothing more to do with him and travels on alone.
     The evil sorceress, Gitta, vows to seize all the gold for herself and kill anyone who stands in her way.
     Who reaches the treasure first becomes a matter of life or death.

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About Shirley:
     Born in western Pennsylvania, Shirley Martin graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught school for one year, then obtained a position as flight attendant with Eastern Air Lines. Based in Miami, she met her future husband there. After raising three sons, she devoted her time to writing, something she'd always wanted to do.
     With a vivid imagination and a love of storytelling, Shirley has always enjoyed writing. Her first published novel, "Destined to Love" reflects her familiarity with western Pennsylvania and her love of romance writing. From this historical romance, she blossomed out to other romance genres. "One More Tomorrow" is a vampire romance, one her publisher dubbed "a sizzling seller." With several fantasy novels and novellas, her writing should appeal to just about every lover of romance. Her books have been sold at Amazon and most major bookstores and have garnered great reviews.
     A widow, Shirley lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her two cats.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016 | By: Cafe

Strive for Progress

https://quotefancy.com/quote/757178/Anonymous-Strive-for-progress-not-perfection

We all want things to be perfect, but sometimes life gets in the way.  Outside forces – things beyond our control – prevent us from achieving the perfection we seek.

When it comes to my writing, instead of getting down about life's interruptions, I try to find ways to make progress. Here are some of my solutions:

Always carry a book.  I always have a book with me.  If I can do nothing else, I can read for craft.  I can study how another author made something work, or maybe didn’t.  I'm always thinking, "What can I learn from this author?"

Always have a pen and notepad.  I love pens and small notepads!  I carry them in my purse and my totebag. I use them to capture all kinds of inspiration: snippets of conversation, people observations, ideas, names, settings...  You never know what you might encounter that will surprise your muse.

Talk to strangers. Strike up a conversation with the person nearest you in the waiting room, or the person behind you in the grocery line.  Pay them a compliment, or ask a question.  Even that old standby  the weather – can be come in handy.  You never know where a conversation might lead. Funny stories, the spark of an idea, and colorful descriptions from a different point of view have all come out of spontaneous conversations with strangers.

People watch and listen.  Stuck in the waiting room?  Get out that notepad and pen!  There are interesting people all around us.  What about the stranger across the room catches your eye?  Why did they catch your eye?  Can you recapture that for a character in your book?

Take a walk.  Stretch your legs and clear your mind!  Be open to your surroundings.  Notice things you never paid attention to before.  Walking on my lunch hour at work allows me to get some fresh air and walk off some stress.

Photo by HiDee EkstromMy walks also have another purpose: I'm taking pictures of anything and everything as reference points for my son, who is creating a video game.  In the course of walking and taking pictures, I started noticing things I never noticed before: details on sculptures, a variety of light fixtures, and  architectural details on buildings.  I've wandered into public buildings I've never been in before, and discovered really elaborate ceilings and wall decor.  Zooming in or out with the camera restricts my view, or focuses it, on details I was oblivious to before.  The combination of walking and photography is relaxing and creative on a completely different level than writing!

It's good to remember that even if we find ourselves in a stalled line of traffic, or unexpectedly sitting in a hospital waiting room, we can put our mind to work, allowing ourselves to feel creative and to collect information we can later use in our writing.

It may not be perfection, but it is progress. 

What do you do to maintain your muse when life interrupts your flow?  Share?


Friday, April 1, 2016 | By: Cafe
I love reading; it's a great way to avoid writing.
- Tony Kushner