Friday, December 15, 2017 | By: Cafe
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
- Najwa Zebian
Thursday, December 14, 2017 | By: Cafe

A Writer's Treat: The Retreat by Jami Gray

The Write Way Café welcomes Jami Gray. Author of Beg for Mercy, Book 2 in her Fate's Virtues series, she offers tips for taking a break.

Ah, the scent of wood smoke and rain tells me another year is gearing up for the fall and it’s time for a well-earned break. You know the kind, the type you use to reward yourself for surviving another round of new projects, writer conferences, pitch sessions, the merry-go-round of queries, new releases, and the never-ending whirlwind of life in general.

My reward of choice is the Writer Retreat. A chance to go off alone or with other like-minded individuals and spend uninterrupted days of living in my head.  This year I get to disappear to a cabin north of my desert dwelling where the dust is filtered out by the green things known as trees and I’ll hole up with my writing partners. We’ll disappear into our laptops, rising only to refuel with caffeine and/or actual food, then sink back under the creative waves. I can’t wait!

I make it a habit to take time each year to devote purely to my writing, and it’s never easy.  Last year was a wash because my schedule just couldn’t support me ghosting. Trying to find the time is your first challenge, and before you clear that hurdle, the second one is nipping on your heels, how to pay for it. Most writers hold a day job, because it’s the one that pays for the nifty roof overhead, so doing a retreat is…well…a treat.

While I’m not the guru of retreats, I can share a few ideas to help spark your own. There are tons of options out there: train rides across the U.S., cruises, themed hotels, retreats in exotic locales, or just getting away all by yourself. Whatever route you choose, I urge you to take one each year. Trust me, your creativity will love you for it.

Normally such an adventure requires I ban together with my critique partners. We locate desirable shelter, generally a cabin hours from the desert sun, hopefully with enough beds so we aren’t flipping a coin for the futon. We utilize Vacation Rentals by Owner (aka VRBO) and keep our requirements basic: beds, electricity, and a functioning kitchen and bathrooms. If there’s no internet, all the better, then no one is tempted to sneak online. We plan on three days and then all bring various foodstuff, enough so we have one big meal together each day, the rest of the time we forage. Coffee is a must, and so is chocolate, but the rest is up for discussion. Significant others are banished. Phones are put on silent. For all intents and purposes, we no longer exist for the world at large.

It’s a beatific existence and many words are conquered. Late night conversations create unforgettable memories and for those three blessed days, we live the life of a WRITER. Once we return from our creative mountain, our creativity is back in session and ideas are bouncing all over the place.

Then there are the solo retreats, where the stars align and suddenly you have a day or two at your disposal. I wish I could tell you that staying home works, but I’ve found it never does. Too many “to-do” things lurk in the corners waiting to pounce. Slipping away to a hotel, or if you’re the intrepid type, hiking out to a secluded corner of nature, works well. The further away you get, the less likely those in your life are to hunt you down with pesky questions. 

Regardless if you retreat group-style or solo, the whole point is to get away from the daily pressures of deadlines, word counts, family obligations, school commitments, job pressures, and whatever else has piled on top of you in the last few months, so you can take a moment to recapture the excitement and joy of writing. 

Burn out doesn’t discriminate, and writers suffer from it all too often.  It’s easy to say, “I can’t”. Trust me, I get it. There’s always something coming up for payment, a commitment you can’t get out of, or the fact you’re feeling guilty for not spending time with the kids (even though they barely look up from their computers/phones). Yet, I’m begging you, if you get a chance, even if it’s just a few hours, take it and run. I promise it will be worth it in the end.

BEG FOR MERCY, Fate’s Vultures #2, coming February 2018

     Choosing a side has never been so dangerous…
     The world didn't end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality.
     An assassin by trade, a loner by nature, Mercy is sent to infiltrate the Cartels and unmask the identity of their new silent partner. Instead, she discovers a darker plan threatening to crumble the entire Southwest and ends up with a hefty bounty on her head. Still, she’s determined to stop the impending attack at any costs, even if it means partnering up with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures.
     After enduring a brutal, blood soaked lesson on the savagery of civilization’s scavengers, Havoc is well acquainted with the consequences of battling predators. But as a member of the nomadic band of arbitrators known as Fate’s Vultures, he’s determined to cement the necessary allies to oust the biggest threat looming on the horizon. When an enigmatic woman crosses his path, her secrets and troubling loyalty light the fuse on an unexpected craving and his insatiable curiosity.
     In order to trap a common foe and derail an impending threat, Havoc and Mercy must turn the tables to hunt a predator. Can an assassin and a mercenary find their balance on the thin line of loyalty, or will it snap under the weight of their wary hearts?

Jami Gray is the coffee addicted, music junkie, Queen Nerd of her personal Geek Squad, Alpha Mom of the Fur Minxes, and award winning author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams, and her latest Romantic Suspense series, Fate’s Vultures. She writes to soothe the voices in her head. 

Her upcoming release: BEG FOR MERCY is the second in her Fate’s Vultures series and hits shelves in February 2018. Catch up with LYING IN RUINS, available wherever ebooks are sold.

If you want to hunt her down, she can be found lurking around the following cyber locations:

Website     Facebook    Twitter      Goodreads     Google+     Amazon Author Page

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Last Christmas on Earth by Augustina Van Hoven

Augustina Van Hoven

Coming soon!

What would you do 
if you had to choose 
between your life’s dream 
or your soul mate?

The Last Christmas on Earth is a prequel for my series, A New Frontier, coming out in March.  Scott Southerland is an engineer aboard the colony starship Halcyon.  The ship is currently in dry dock going through final fittings and testing for its trip to a new world.  Harper Castille is a botanist specializing in cloning vegetable plants.  They are both looking forward to their new lives on an alien world but someone has other plans.  How do you choose between your lifelong dream and your soulmate?

Buy links coming soon!

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.  

@augustinavhoven     FaceBook     Pinterest

Friday, December 8, 2017 | By: Cafe
You can't think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.
- John Rogers
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | By: Cafe

Adventures with Naughty Nana by Saralyn Richard

The Write Way Cafe welcomes Saralyn Richard, who shares background on her book, Naughty Nana, and tips for writing children's books.

Naughty Nana is a children’s picture book about an Old English sheepdog puppy who “just wants to have fun.”  Written for three to eight year olds and the people who love them, it explores the age-old question of why some puppies or some kids choose to be naughty.

I wrote the book when my real-live naughty sheepdog was at the height of her wild phase.  Nana’s nicknames were Princess of Pandemonium and Duchess of Destruction.  I resorted to keeping a list of her acts of mischief.  When the list exceeded two legal pad pages, I thought of turning it into a book, and a star was born.

Cute, but wild and crazy Nana, the Princess of Pandemonium

Vividly illustrated by veteran artist Rebecca Evans, the book is narrated by Nana herself.  Since its publication, Nana has become a divapup, entertaining young audiences at book readings and birthday parties.  I never dreamed Naughty Nana would receive as much acclaim as it has.  We have fans throughout the United States and in the U.K.  One young reader dressed up as Nana, her favorite book character, for Diversity in Action Day at her school.  Another sleeps with Naughty Nana under her pillow every night. 

What are the keys to a successful children’s picture book?
  •        A compelling, relatable character,
  •        An understandable plot, simply told,
  •        A positive message,
  •        Vibrant illustrations and cover design,
  •        A liberal dose of humor, and
  •         In the case of Naughty Nana, a fluffy and lovable living example of what it means to be not-so-naughty-anymore.
For more information about Naughty Nana, including reviews and shopping, see or like the Naughty Nana page on Facebook. 

About Saralyn:  Mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, has been a teacher who wrote on the side. Now she is a writer who teaches on the side. Some of her poems and essays have won awards and contests from the time she was in high school. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children in five countries.
     Murder in the One Percent, soon-to-be-published by Black Opal Books, pulls back the curtain on how the privileged and powerful rich live, love, and hate. Set on a gentleman’s farm in Pennsylvania and in the tony areas of New York, the book shows what happens when someone comes to a party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.
     When she is not writing, Saralyn likes going to movies and concerts, traveling, and walking on the beach with her husband and two dogs. She is an avid reader and is working on her second mystery.

Website     Facebook       Twitter       Goodreads

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 | By: Cafe

Christmas is a State of Being @lcrandallwriter

I’m not going to say it. Christmas is----days away. I’m not going to say it. I want you to just enjoy your day today, and not get all bunched up about an impending holiday and all the preparations that go into said holiday.

I’m thinking Christmas, when we really enjoy it the most, is a state of being. We tell ourselves we’re supposed to be filled with good cheer. Ho, Ho, Ho, and all that. We’re supposed to enjoy our gatherings with family and friends. We’re supposed to buy gifts and enjoy gift giving. Those things are not bad, they’re good. And yet, sometimes the season feels fake; it’s in our mind but not our heart. We have to muster up enough pleasure in traditions to care very much. Where is the joy in our hearts, the sense of peace on earth, the satisfaction of making others happy?

I say, it can become less than joyful when our state of being is something else. And sometimes our state is troubled or going through the motions, wishing we were genuinely peaceful.

Noël Hartely, the heroine in my newest release, Nutcracker Sweet, is facing Christmas in a state of grief and sorrow. Christmas everywhere is a blast of frigid air, because the first anniversary of her sister Regina’s death is upon her.

Christmas magic is not there either for the hero, Jonah Grant. As a firefighter, he should have saved Noël’s sister. Her death haunts him, now more than ever.

Here’s an excerpt from Nutcracker Sweet:

Ringing in Jonah’s ears drowned out all other sounds in the grocery story. He backed behind a shelf of pistachio nuts and pumpkin and chia seeds to gather his composure. He was the last person Noël would want to run into. No, there wouldn’t be any small talk between Reggie’s sister and the fireman responsible for Reggie’s death.
His pulse raced. Get a grip, man. If he could make his feet move, he would march out to the street and keep marching until he could disappear inside Cranberry Cove Fire Station Four.
But he stayed still, letting his body come back to life. This wasn’t the first time their paths had nearly crossed, but each time he had gone through the same whole-body shut down. He couldn’t ever escape what happened that night at Reggie’s house when her wood stove had caught fire.
It was a firefighter’s nightmare, his dad had said, himself a former firefighter. But the words hadn’t helped because the facts remained that he’d gone into the fire and a young woman died anyway.
He shook his head. No, he couldn’t go to the memory pit right now, not here. He peeked around the shelving unit and caught a glimpse of Noël as she headed toward the bread aisle. This was his chance. At six-foot-four, he felt like the green giant as he moved away from his hiding place. Briskly, his head down, he strode down the aisle toward his escape.
“Excuse me, could you help me get that box of crackers on the top shelf?”
The female voice sounded familiar and he looked up, ready to assist the woman. His heart stopped. Please floor, open up and swallow me now.
It was Noël Hartley, standing two feet away and asking for help. She blinked, twice, and swayed a tiny bit. It was a very quiet sound, but he heard her gasp.
“I’m sorry.” The words just fell out. “I mean, sure.” He couldn’t move.
She held his gaze, silently, for a full, frozen minute. “Hi, Jonah. Do you mind?” She pointed to a box of seven grain, sea salt crackers. “Please? I’m five-foot-six, but that’s a tall shelf.”
She had to justify asking for help? So she was nervous, and that made him sick. He grabbed the box and handed it to her, his arms were heavy logs. “Just one box?”
She slanted her head, and his pulse sped up. Cute was not a strong enough word to assign to her face. Cad.
“No, two would be better.”
He gave her another box and paused, their eyes meeting again. His mouth went dry. Words, where were his words? Nerves rattled in his head. “I came in to get something for dinner, but I don’t know…” He let the sentence drop and studied the shelves. The boxes blurred into a mass of indistinguishable colors.
She chuckled lightly, and it steadied his rambling thoughts. “Me too. I have to pick up things for a dinner, anyway.” She chewed on her lip, drawing his attention to them.
His heart ached for her. The apologies he had made to her and her family just after the fire were the last words he’d spoken about the tragedy with them. His words had been so inadequate that thinking of them now he felt his skin blanch. He lifted his gaze and found Noël searching his face.
“Jonah,” her expression got very somber, “I don’t hold any hard feelings for you. Don’t feel uncomfortable for what happened.” She dropped her gaze, but not before he saw her pain. Then she perked up. “It’s been almost a year. I’m fine. I hope you are too. Now, I need to finish my shopping. Good luck with finding your dinner.”
So we’re going to gloss over everything wrong. She was not fine, and that crunched his heart.

A death near the holidays is truly awful. But other things can be awful, too, and detract from what we want to feel. Family issues can be difficult, even at Christmas. Finances can create drudgery when all we want it to give our loved ones hearts their hearts’ desires.

No matter, I believe we can become that state of being that Christmas means to us, it may take a little centering, a little pausing, a little reflection but it’s there it in your heart.

To see how Noel and Jonah find it peace and meaning at Christmas, find Nutcracker Sweet on Amazon . For visuals relating to the story, find my board on Pinterest. .


Friday, December 1, 2017 | By: Cafe
As a writer you try to listen to what others aren't saying...and write about the silence.
- N.R. Hart
Thursday, November 30, 2017 | By: Cafe

Getting to Know Augustina Van Hoven

The Write Way Café welcome Augustina Van Hoven, who keeps writing and finishing a variety of stories.

Tell us a little about The Last Christmas on Earth.
The Last Christmas on Earth is a prequel for my series, A New Frontier, coming out in March.  Scott Southerland is an engineer aboard the colony starship Halcyon.  The ship is currently in dry dock going through final fittings and testing for its trip to a new world.  Harper Castille is a botanist specializing in cloning vegetable plants.  They are both looking forward to their new lives on an alien world but someone has other plans.  How do you choose between your lifelong dream and your soulmate?

If The Last Christmas on Earth was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
Actor Ben Barnes would play engineer Scott Southerland and actress Eleanor Tomlinson.  I really liked Ben Barnes as Sam Adams in the Sons of Liberty.  He is what I picture Scott to look like.  I love Eleanor Tomlinson in Poldark.  I picture her as Harper.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
I’ve always written stories, even when I was a little girl.  I didn’t get serious about it until much later.  My good friend, Rebecca Zanetti kept encouraging me and I finally finished my first book.  It was picked up by a small press and published in 2014.  That was the beginning of my writing career.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
I was told to write what you want to read and that is what I try to do.  The advice I give other writers is to write every day.  The only way to finish a story is to keep at it.

What “keepers” are in your home library?
The book that has been in my library the longest is JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  I got it for my birthday when I was 12 and it has been my favorite ever since.  I like a wide selection of books from fantasy, science fiction, romance, to thrillers.  My library covers the walls in three rooms of my house.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
I would be Eowyn from Lord of the Rings.  I loved her story of not wanting to be in a cage, disguising herself to go off to war, and in the end she finds true love.

What book do you wish you could have written?
I wish I had written Outlander.  I love the story of Jamie and Claire, soul mates through time.

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? 
The Last Christmas is definitely an appetizer, a tasty morsel that gets you ready for the main course.
Pastry star puffs with marinara sauce.

What is your favorite social media?  Why?
Pinterest.  I have gotten lots of story and scene ideas from the amazing pictures I have found there.

Tell us about the book in your closet.
There are actually several books hidden in my closet waiting to come out, the first book in the New Frontier series, a romantic suspense, the second book in the time travel series, and a new paranormal series.

And now for the fun stuff! 

If you aren’t a full-time writer, what is your day job?
For my day job, I am a controller for an electronics firm.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality?
I’m definitely a glass half full person.  I always look for the positive side of things.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
I’m actually a cat and dog person.  I have an Akita named Lancelot and a German Shepherd named Guinevere.  I have three cats.  Sammy is a tuxedo cat, Zayden is a long haired black cat and Tyrion is a long haired gray cat.

What is your favorite season and why?
I love the fall.  I love all the colors from the turning of the leaves.  I am an avid gardener and it’s the time of year I get to harvest the fruits (and vegetables) of my labor.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
I love to plot and plan out scenes in the shower.  I don’t know whether it’s the hot steam clearing my head or the pounding of water rattling my brains from the shower massage, but I do my best thinking in the shower.

Coming soon!

What would you do 
if you had to choose 
between your life’s dream 
or your soul mate?

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.  

@augustinavhoven     FaceBook     Pinterest

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: A Secret Scottish Christmas by Regan Walker

Regan Walker

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!
Scotland 1819

Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?

Amazon US       Amazon UK       Amazon Canada 

Amazon Australia

Pinterest Storyboard for the book       Goodreads

Excerpt for A Secret Scottish Christmas – Sailing from London:

Captain Anderson, a rather stern-looking Scot with dark curly hair and ruddy cheeks, strode across the deck to join them.
“Welcome, Lady Claremont,” he said with a pronounced brogue, lifting his cap in greeting. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Captain Dougal Anderson of William Stephen’s shipbuilding. Your fellow passengers will be pleased to hear of your arrival.” Then with a chiding tone, “They were afraid we might have to leave you behind.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” the countess scolded in a commanding voice. Her back as straight as steel, her head held high, she confronted the captain nose to nose. A formidable woman, thought Nash. Definitely not one to be intimidated by the unsmiling captain. “I am an adventurer at heart, my good man, and I love to sail, this dashed cold weather notwithstanding.”
Lady Claremont moved aside, allowing the captain to view the woman with light brown hair and white mobcap who had been waiting patiently behind her mistress. “I have brought my cook, Mrs. Platt.”
“An English cook for my… my ship?” the captain sputtered.
Ormond turned to wink at Nash, clearly enjoying the exchange.
“No, no, my good man,” the countess scolded as if addressing a schoolboy. “For our Christmas feast in Scotland.” Then to her cook, she muttered, “One could not expect Mr. Stephen’s cook to serve up a proper roast goose, minced pie and plum pudding.”
The countess returned her attention to the captain. “Mrs. Platt’s supplies are in a crate sitting on the quay. Please have it loaded promptly.”
“Now see here—” The captain began, but stopping himself, he let out an exasperated huff and snapped his fingers at a waiting seaman, who hurried down the gangplank to retrieve the crate.
Ormond covered his mouth, stifling a laugh.
Nash pressed his lips together, holding in his own laughter, thankful Robbie chose that moment to emerge from the aft hatch to approach their small group.
The countess glanced from Robbie to Nash. “Another?”
“Twins,” said Nash, managing a small bow. “Nash Etienne Powell, at your service, my lady.” He gestured to Robbie. “This is Robert Pierre Powell, older than I by a mere five minutes yet he will not let me forget it.”
The countess perused them. “Humph. I believe I may know one of your older brothers. Sir Martin. Yes, that’s the one.”
Nash had always been amazed at the power of his brother’s charm over the ladies, but when Robbie bestowed his most brilliant smile upon the elegant countess and bowed over her hand, Lady Claremont had a very different reaction than Nash had expected.
She picked up a quizzing glass, dangling from a gold chain around her neck, and carefully examined Robbie through the lens. Dropping the glass, she said, “You must keep hearts in the ton all aflutter, Mr. Powell. I shall have to keep an eye on you.” Then she turned to Nash. “You, too, I daresay. How confusing it will be if you have a smile like your brother’s.”
Nash thought to show her just how alike he and Robbie could appear but, just then, the captain pulled a pocket watch from his waistcoat, gave it an anxious glance and frowned. Narrowing his gaze at the Thames, in a tone that brooked no dissent, he said, “I would ask you and your servant to go below, Lady Claremont. We are about to sail.”


Regan Walker is an award-winning, Amazon bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full-time writer, she has seven times been featured in USA TODAY’s HEA column and nominated six times for the prestigious RONE award. (Her novels, The Red Wolf’s Prize and King’s Knight, won Best Historical Novel in the medieval category for 2015 and 2017, respectively.) In 2017, her novel The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards, and To Tame the Wind won the International Book Award for Romance Fiction.

Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government have given Regan a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her stories often feature a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels includes real history and real historical figures as characters. And, of course, adventure and love.

Follow Regan on Amazon and BookBub.

Keep in touch with her on Facebook,  where you can join Regan Walker’s Readers. You can sign up for her newsletter on her website.

Friday, November 24, 2017 | By: Cafe
The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. 
- William Blake

Thursday, November 23, 2017 | By: Cafe

Giving Thanks

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Captured by Christmas

Captured by Christmas
by Lynn Crandall and Lainee Cole

It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas. However it finds you—under a Christmas tree or drifted in snow in a backwoods cabin—the spirit of the season will wrap you in love.

In Snowbound, Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.

In The Mistletoe Effect, Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show. Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

Amazon       Smashwords

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.

Website      Blog     Facebook     Twitter      Goodreads     Amazon

Lainee Cole is a Midwestern girl who writes in the company of a husband always trying to talk to her. Lainee’s goal is for her stories to make readers laugh and cry, give them hope, and encourage them to believe in the power of love. When she’s not writing or reading, Lainee enjoys spending time with family and friends; hiking, camping, and traveling with her husband; and consuming daily doses of chocolate.

Facebook Author Page      Facebook Personal Page      Twitter

Friday, November 17, 2017 | By: Cafe
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. 
- Unknown
Thursday, November 16, 2017 | By: Cafe

Raise a Glass with Mary E. Thompson

Today The Write Way Café welcomes Mary E. Thompson, who didn't let self-doubt prevent her from writing books readers count among their favorites.

Tell us a little about your Raise A Glass series.
     The series is set in the Finger Lakes in central New York, on Cayuga Lake. Vineyards are a way of life in that area with so many of them. My family is an Italian family and the third generation is taking over the vineyard. There are nine cousins that we get to watch find, mess up, and capture love. The fifth book in the series, Too True To Be Good, released on Tuesday!

If Too True To Be Good was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
     My inspiration for my main characters was David Gandy and Rachel Bilson. I saw a picture of David Gandy in jeans and a white t-shirt, a casual stance, and it just worked. Zach is a chef, but also the kind of guy who knows how sexy he is and doesn’t really have to work at it.
     I watched Hart of Dixie and loved Rachel Bilson. She was quirky and funny and sweet, and I know that’s the character, but it worked for Gianna. Of course, my female characters are nowhere near as skinny as she is, but we could work that out!

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
     My husband, definitely. When I lost my last job, I was a few months away from quitting anyway. My husband encouraged me to start writing. It took me a little bit to believe I could do it, but he kept pushing because he knew I wasn’t happy. Once I finally gave in and started writing, I knew he was right! I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support and encouragement.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     So many authors say write the next book. At first I took that to mean you have to have more than one, but as I’ve kept writing, it appeared to me that it meant keep going and don’t give up. I’m not sure if that has ever been the intention, but that’s how I’ve started to take that advice. Keep writing, move forward, keep learning.
     My advice for other authors is to find your path. Not just in terms of the way you publish, but in what you write, how you market, and everything you do. Sometimes you’ll have a burning desire to write something that isn’t mainstream, or isn’t in your current wheelhouse. If it’s something you can’t stop thinking about, do it. It might not be a hit, but if you want to do it, there are times you have to take risks. You know your path. If you want to take risks, take them, and be prepared for whatever the outcome is. But know where you’re going and go.

What “keepers” are in your home library?
     We moved into an apartment a few years ago so I was forced to get rid of a lot of books. It was a very painful process, but I kept the books that spoke to me. Books that I loved, that inspired me, that were personal in some ways.
     A few of those include Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis, Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin, A Bend In The Road by Nicholas Sparks, and A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck. There are tons more on my shelves, but those five are ones I could give you details about without a second thought!

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     One book that has stuck with me for a while was actually written by a friend of mine. I love romantic comedies, but don’t have the voice for it. Stephanie Haefner does, and I love her books. Try Me On For Size is about a woman put in a very hilarious situation to save her business. She’s an amazing friend, a smart business woman, and struggles through her own confidence issues. I think we all have moments of self doubt, but Mia pushes aside her own concerns and does what she thinks she needs to do to save her career. In all this, she’s an amazing friend to her business partner and shows that she’s really smart and a good person. I think being there for the people in your life is a trait I always want to have, and there’s a little bit of taking care of herself, too. I think we all need to reach for what we want a little more than we do, and I aspire to be like Mia in that way. Throw caution to the wind once in a while and just go for it!

What book do you wish you could have written?
     Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis was the first romance novel I ever read. I didn’t know books like that even existed until a few short years ago. I always loved to read, but when my kids were little, I didn’t read much. When I finally got back into reading, I found that book. It might sound silly, but it changed my life. That book opened my eyes to a whole new world of reading and writing. I absolutely loved it.
     I think the part I wish I’d written is the part that inspired me to become a writer. I’d love to have a reader tell me one day that they wrote a book because of one I wrote. That I inspired them. To me, that would be a huge compliment. I would be doing what I do without Jill Shalvis, and yes, I told her
that when I met her!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? 
     Any time I get a review that isn’t complimentary, it’s hard to take. Not every reader is going to like what I write, but it’s still hard to hear when someone doesn’t like a book I poured myself into.
The best compliment I ever got was when a reader emailed me and said my book was the best one she’d read all year. I was amazed because there are so many truly spectacular books out. It made my day, my whole year really!

What is your favorite social media?  Why?
     Pinterest, even though most people say it’s not really social media. I’m visual so I like that. Straight up social media, I’d have to say Facebook since I feel like interaction is easier there. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong on all the others!

Do you have any compulsions you must do for no particular reason?
     That I must do? I don’t think that applies. However, I am very habitual. I can put my slippers on (under my nightstand stacked on top of each other) without looking because I always take them off in the same order. My keys are never lost, my calendar is color-coded, and I’m even particular about where things go in the fridge. Don’t even get me started on which way the toilet paper is supposed to be hung!

And now for the fun stuff! 

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
     My kids. Maybe that’s a silly answer, but I want my kids to have everything. It’s a delicate balance between spoiling them and teaching them to work for what they have. If they need something though, they’ll get it. Without a question.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality?
     Mostly I’m a glass half full kind of person.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     Definitely a cat person. I like that they’re more independent and I don’t have to worry if we go away for the weekend.

What is your favorite season and why?
     Winter! I grew up in Buffalo, New York, but lived in South Carolina for seventeen years. I missed winter. The cool air and the freshness of it all. I love that it’s cozy and you can have a fire and hot chocolate and really, is there anything better than winter?

If you had to write with a pen instead of a computer, what type of pen would be your preference?
     Pentel Energel Liquid Gel Ink Pens with a 0.7 mm needle tip. And I’d have to write in the purple one - it’s my favorite. Although I do have a lot of other colors because…well, I said my calendar was color-coded!

Mary E. Thompson grew up loving to read, like a good little girl. Many nights she would fall asleep with the flashlight still turned on as she hid under the covers trying to finish the last few pages of a book. As an adult, the light from her ereader means she doesn't need a flashlight, but she still stays up way too late to finish a book.
     When Mary's not reading, she's playing with her two kids or living out her own real life romance novel with her hubby. She has a weakness for chocolate, especially when it's paired with peanut butter, and has been known to have a bad day just because there's no chocolate in the house. Unless there’s wine. Then everything is okay.
     Mary grew up in Buffalo, New York and swears she's the only local to never ski or snowboard. Soccer was always her sport, with a couple adventures white water rafting and skydiving to keep things interesting. Mary moved to South Carolina for college but missed Buffalo every day.  Yeah, she thinks she's crazy, too. She somehow convinced her South Carolina born and bred hubby to return to Buffalo to raise their kids and live out their lives. He’s still not sure what he was thinking.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Too True To Be Good

Mary E. Thompson

His life was good…
     Zach Bennett was content to go to work, hang out with his family and friends, and entertain a woman once in a while. As his family found love all around him, he was content to stay single. Unattached. Happy.
     Besides, he had enough to worry about with a new chef breathing down his neck for his job.

She faced the truth every day…
     Gianna Brooks always wanted to work with people. She saw enough growing up to know kids need all the help they can get. They deserved to be safe. Loved. Happy.
     Which is why she’s determined to get her new client into a forever home.

But the truth isn’t always good…
     The last thing Zach needs is a little girl showing up on his doorstep claiming she’s his. Her social worker hot on her heels, and demanding a place to stay, definitely doesn’t make it any better. Especially with Gianna’s curvy body and bedroom eyes, and his daughter’s sad sweetness, making him consider keeping both of them.
     Gianna knows she should run. Zach knows he should send them away. But neither of them can resist the pull toward the other.

Amazon      Kobo      iBooks      B&N

Mary E. Thompson grew up loving to read, like a good little girl. Many nights she would fall asleep with the flashlight still turned on as she hid under the covers trying to finish the last few pages of a book. As an adult, the light from her ereader means she doesn't need a flashlight, but she still stays up way too late to finish a book.
     When Mary's not reading, she's playing with her two kids or living out her own real life romance novel with her hubby. She has a weakness for chocolate, especially when it's paired with peanut butter, and has been known to have a bad day just because there's no chocolate in the house. Unless there’s wine. Then everything is okay.
     Mary grew up in Buffalo, New York and swears she's the only local to never ski or snowboard. Soccer was always her sport, with a couple adventures white water rafting and skydiving to keep things interesting. Mary moved to South Carolina for college but missed Buffalo every day.  Yeah, she thinks she's crazy, too. She somehow convinced her South Carolina born and bred hubby to return to Buffalo to raise their kids and live out their lives. He’s still not sure what he was thinking.

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Friday, November 10, 2017 | By: Cafe
No one is perfect - that's why pencils have erasers. 
- Unknown

Thursday, November 9, 2017 | By: Cafe

Meet Ana Morgan

Today The Write Way Café welcomes Ana Morgan, an author who proves when a story keeps insisting to be written, listen.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance? 
I had just read the last chapters of a western historical romance written by a multi-pubbed author and was hugely disappointed by the contrived ending. “I could do better than that,” I thought. “How hard could it be?”

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
I enrolled in a creative writing class, poured my heart into a first draft, and was encouraged to send it to agents. After receiving scathing rejection letters, I wrote a time travel and sent it off. More rejections. For six years, late at night, I studied conflict, plotting and point-of-view. Then I found an online critique group. In 2016, Stormy Hawkins took first place in the Pages of the Heart contest. Two editors requested full reads. I signed with SoulMate Publishing last spring and Stormy Hawkins was published in September. As for research, I did lots, from snagging submerged trees on the Missouri River to when barbed wire was invented. I wanted every detail to be historically accurate.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
The opening concept—lonely heroine meets hustler hero—popped into my head as I was doing the first creative writing class assignment.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
A year after we were married, my husband and I homesteaded our farm in northern Minnesota. Two city kids, we taught ourselves to milk cows, chop stovewood, and fix barbed wire fences. It wasn’t hard to transfer the setting of my life to a story.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Stormy Hawkins is a lot like me. She’s shy and determined. Blade Masters is a Hollywood-ized version of my husband. The secondary characters are completely fictional, though they have qualities drawn from real life experiences.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
Confidence was a huge hurdle. I wasn’t sure I’d ever become a published author. But the story kept insisting that I keep trying, and when a contest judge commented that it was obvious I didn’t know anything about living on a ranch, I got mad enough to write a fourth draft. That draft sold.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
I wasn’t sure any publisher would buy a story set in 1888 South Dakota. Western historicals, I was told, were not selling, so my first big surprise was encountering an editor who “got” the South Dakota setting and offered a contract. The next surprise was discovering that there ARE readers who love the genre.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about ranching and the Dakota Territory?
I’ve learned that romance writers are the most supportive group of people.

I'm still learning to turn off my internal editor. The adage that one can't edit a blank page should be tattooed across my forehead.

I knew a lot about homesteading and ranching. My husband and I were raised in cities, and we moved to a rundown Minnesota farm in 1972 to farm organically (when organic wasn't cool). We learned to build fences and milk cows by hand. The second summer, we borrowed a neighbor's scrawny Jersey bull to breed our cows. One evening when I went to bring the cows up for milking, the bull decided he didn't want them to go. He (and his rather long horns) chased me off the pasture. So what happens to Stormy in the story is based on a true story.

I did do lots of research. Like when barbed wire was invented and how Dakota Territory became North and South Dakota. Most of all, I researched river boats that plied the Missouri River. Snag boats, like the one Stormy and Blade ride, were real. The Missouri River is muddy, winding, and when I crossed it in Yankton last August (taking granddaughters to watch the solar eclipse) I saw two trees half submerged in the water.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
Legs up on the couch in my log cabin living room with my laptop on my lap. Pirate, the cat, purrs beside me. It’s super early in the morning. The house is quiet save for the whir of the ceiling fan and the musical trills of the wind chimes, suspended on the overhang of the deck.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
The first romance book I read was a Bertrice Small historical. I was hooked. Lately, I’ve envied short story writers; their ability to distill a plot arc to its essence is amazing.

What are you working on now? 
I’m writing the sequel to Stormy Hawkins. I want to do a final draft of my time travel romance, and I’ve written half of a contemporary suspense story.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
Mysteries fascinate me. The plotting would be intricately fun. Someday.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?  
Pastry chef. I would love to be able to create exotic cakes and pastries.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Time to write. I own a specialty food business and work full time. I grow a big vegetable garden in the summer, and attend my grandkids’ sporting events.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
The characters in the story I’m working on. I fall in love with the hero every time.

by Ana Morgan
Blade Masters has finally spotted his ideal Dakota Territory ranch, where he can live alone, forget his cheating ex-fiancée, and bury the shards of his shattered heart. All he needs to do is sweet-talk the ailing owner, and his spitfire daughter, into retiring.
If she weren’t desperate, Stormy would never hire a cowhand. She’s learned the hard way that she’s happier working her family’s ranch alone. But, the greedy banker who holds their mortgage just demanded payment in full—or her hand in marriage.
Will this handsome drifter protect her?  Or does he have designs of his own?

Amazon    (Free read on Kindle Unlimited)

About Ana: 
     When she was small, Ana Morgan’s dream was to know something about everything. She has studiously waitressed, driven a school bus, run craft service on indie film sets, wandered through European castles, wired a house, married a Marine, canned vegetables, and studied the stars. She knows how to change a flat tire but prefers a gallant, handsome stranger who strips off his jacket and spins the lug nuts for her.
     Ana embarked on her writing career by crafting succinct cooking directions for her Secret Garden soup mixes—and graduated to lyrical essays about living on a small organic farm for her CSA’s weekly newsletter. Eventually she realized she wanted to write what she loved to read—steamy romance novels.
     She and her husband eloped six weeks after they met and moved from southern California to northern Minnesota. They taught themselves how to milk cows (at first by hand), and raised three go-getter children. One is an award-winning woodworker. Another is IT super-smart. The third is an actor-director-producer.

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