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.

Website       Facebook       BookBub       Twitter

Pinterest       Instagram       Goodreads

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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Tuesday, November 7, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: Elly Molina


Developing superpower skills is not only possible but it is something all humans once knew how to do. Training your child to do this will enhance his or her life in unimaginable ways. This book shows you how to look at the mind as an untapped resource, our greatest asset, and invites you to take a different view of our innate mental powers. What you discover may alter the course of your life and the way you perceive and interact with yourself and your children.

Amazon Bestselling author, Elly Molina, is an international mind power consultant and visionary. Elly’s clients include Heads of State, celebrities, business professionals, and seekers. She is the founder of www.psi-kids, where children and adults learn to develop, trust and utilize their mind power and intuitive abilities. Elly has appeared on FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, and in The New York Times. Elly is the author of Children Who Know How to Know (Black Opal Books) and Annabelle and the Domino, and her latest release, a collaborative Amazon Bestseller with Betsy Chasse of What the Bleep Do We Know, and others, titled  Dancing In The Unknown.

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Friday, November 3, 2017 | By: Cafe
Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light. 
-Madeline L'Engle
Thursday, November 2, 2017 | By: Cafe

How To Choose a Book Title That Sells!

Today The Write Way Café welcomes author Bill Brier, who has some great suggestions for finding the best title.

1. Make a list of possible titles. Be sure to throw in a screwy one. Like, say, The Killer Who Hated Soup. For example:

2. Take copies of your list to a busy bookstore. Approach customers and tell them you’re a mystery writer (or whatever). Ask if they’d take a few seconds to help you choose a title for your upcoming book. Hand them the list and a pencil.

Ask them to put an F by their first choice and an S by their second choice. When they’ve finished, ask them to put a W by their worst choice. Don’t overload them with three questions at once.

At some point, you’ll be asked to leave the store. But that’s fine. You’ll continue your survey outside on the sidewalk. Eventually, a security guard will come along and wag his finger at you. But that’s fine, too. By that time you should have a large enough sample to do your arithmetic.

To determine the winner, assign two points for each first choice, one point for each second choice, and minus one point for each worst choice.

For example, title one might net a plus 52, title two 46, title three 61, etc. The Killer Who Hated Soup outranked second place by a large number. It goes to show…you can’t beat market research!

The Internet? Never heard of it. Smart phones? Who you kiddin’? We’re talkin’ 1956.

Energetic and eager to make his mark on what Time magazine called the next great boom town, Bucky Ontario leaves his Louisiana home and hops a bus to Defiance, Oklahoma, a town not particularly averse to murders, just the embarrassment of them. While helping his friend, Kindra search for a ring that once belonged to her dead mother, Bucky is told: “Find the baby, find the ring.”

About Bill: 
     Bill grew up in California and went to Hollywood High School, then served as an Air Force combat cameraman. After hiring on at Disney Studios as a film loader, he soon advanced and moved on to other film studios. He earned a master’s degree in psychology. A big help when working with Trumpish Hollywood producers.
     During his more than twenty- five years in the movie business as a cameraman, film editor, and general manager, Bill worked on everything from the hilarious, The Love Bug, to the creepy, The Exorcist, to the far out, Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica.
     Eight years ago, Bill switched from reading scripts to writing mysteries and driving racecars. After completing three award- winning novels, he signed with Black Opal Books. His first novel, The Devil Orders Takeout, is a standalone thriller about a devoted father and husband who makes a deal with a real- life devil to protect his golf- prodigy son after his wife and older son are killed in a mysterious accident — and pays hell for it.
    Bill’s second novel, The Killer Who Hated Soup, is Book One in the 1950s The Killer Who mystery series, and is available NOW! Book Two of the mystery series, The Killer Who Wasn’t There, is scheduled for release February 24, 2018!
     Bill writes everyday and golfs infrequently (that damn right knee!). His five children and eight grandchildren keep him busy going to birthday parties, and he never misses a one!
     The Brier Patch is Bill’s wildly entertaining blog about his shameless early days in Hollywood. It’s here on his website, along with a contest linked to The Killer Who Hated Soup, which will award the grand prizewinner $1,000.
     Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

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