Friday, May 30, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have. 
– Maya Angelou
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | By: HiDee

I Want to Live a Thousand Lives

My name is HiDee and I’m a bookaholic.

According to Urban Dictionary, that means I’m someone who keeps buying books to add to a stack of unread books.  My husband would tell you that accurately describes me.  He’s threatening to shore up the floorboards of the spare room before making it my library, and that’s only because he knows he can’t get away with using my books for fire starter, even though he threatens from time to time!

I’ve been an avid reader and book “collector” for as long as I can remember.  I still have a decent collection of Little Golden Books, as well as Nancy Drew books, from my younger days.  I have an assortment of hardcover fiction titles, and an even bigger assortment of paperbacks: cozy mysteries, biographies, horse stories, and boxes upon boxes of romances - all part of my To Be Read pile.  I have milk crates at work overflowing with books others have given me.  I sneak them home one or two at a time. On top of that, my Kindle library currently shows 597 items, most of which are also part of that To Be Read pile.

Despite my husband's insistence that I'll never read these books, I am reading them. Maybe not as fast as I'm collecting them, but hey - baby steps.  One book at a time.  I never go anywhere without at least one book.

This year I signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, estimating that I would read 25 books this year. I have no idea how many books I normally read in a year, so 25 seemed like a reasonable number.  So far, I’ve read 14 books and Goodreads tells me I'm ahead of schedule.  I remember thinking when I was younger that I should have put a quarter in a jar for every book I read.  At that point in my life, the books were all borrowed from the library.  Saving a quarter each time wouldn’t have made me rich, but it would definitely have helped support my later-in-life book habit!

As most readers do, I have keeper books written by my favorite authors that I never plan to give up.  But since I like to share my love of reading with others, I donate books to my local library, and trade books with friends who have similar tastes.  Still other books I trade on  I love PaperbackSwap for finding backlists of new-to-me authors.  It’s a great way to share the love of reading!

Why do I keep “collecting” books if I’m not reading them very quickly?  Because, to borrow a quote from George R.R. Martin, "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.  The man who never reads lives only one."

I want to live a thousand lives!  I want to live vicariously through the characters in the books I read, experiencing adventures I might never have the opportunity for in my real life.

Are you a bookaholic?  What types of books do you collect?

Friday, May 23, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. 
 – Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

A Thirsty Mind Book Design

Author, former bookstore owner and wine seller, and former archaeologist--multi-talented Pam Headrick shares with The Write Way Cafe some tips about book formatting.

Hey, HiDee and Lynn. Thanks so much for asking me to guest blog. Always happy to talk formatting and self-pubbing.

Why don’t I start with a bit of background on me because, well, you asked me to.  I seem to need to change professions about every 5 years or so.  After I pared down my Archaeology career (I have an MA in Anthropology/Archaeology and spent many years as an archaeological illustrator), I decided to open a bookstore. Makes sense? So I dove right in, took a course offered by the American Booksellers Association... yes, there’s a week-long course in How To Open A Bookstore. And if you’re thinking about doing that then you must take the course or you’re headed for a mighty fall. Anyway, I took it, exhausting but fun too as it was on Amelia Island!

Then after a few years, the financial crash and eBooks took me down, and I closed the bookstore. I got tired of customers coming into the shop, drinking my wine (yes, we were also a wine bar), and browsing the bookshelves, only to be told when they walked out the door, “Thanks, I found the one I wanted to buy on Amazon. Great wine though!”

Anyway, I languished for a year or so, then in early 2011 an author friend called me and said, “You know Microsoft Word, don’t you? Do you think you could format this book I have and turn it into an eBook?”

Well, having no clue, I said, “Sure, of course, piece of cake.” Then spent a solid month researching on-line how to actually format an eBook.

Since then, I’ve gotten better at it, the technology has changed and I’m more or less up-to-date. I’ve also added to my services formatting for print-on-demand, which I love because it’s so much more creative, so many fewer rules. And the company now offers a virtual assistant’s program. Many of my clients have been writing for years, have a ton of backlist books, but don’t want to learn the new technology of uploading an eBook to various platforms. They also hate social media, and promotions had always been left to their publishing house. Well, they are their publishing house now. So they use us to upload, promo, form social media groups, schedule events, all those things their publishers used to do.

This is what I do almost full time from my office in a 200 years old house on the far eastern coast of Maine. But in 2012 I decided... hey, it’s not enough... I bet I could be an author too. This time though I didn’t take classes, more’s the pity. I should have been as diligent in this career as in the archaeology one, the bookselling one, and the formatting one. But I have my debut novel up at Amazon, Stone Bay by Min Edwards (pen name), and have some nice reviews. Several other novels are in the hands of Developmental Editors and my critique partner, so hopefully in a few months I’ll be a multi-published author.

Now how about some formatting tips for today’s eReading devices, and there are lots of them. Most devices accept only ePub files, which is nice because the ePub format is very forgiving. If you can format a Word ‘doc’ then you can format an ePub. It’s nice if you know InDesign, an Adobe product that accepts a Word file and turns it into an ePub. But you can also use Word, then save your file into Webpage-filtered (an HTML file). With a few tweaks with Notebook or another text editor, you’ll have something you can take to Calibre, a free ePub formatting program. Well, it’s not really for that. It’s actually a library management system, something you can organize your books with. But most formatters use it to upload an HTML file and then output an ePub file. The drawback is it makes the final output a bit complicated... and it’s not in fact the final output. You have to tweak it more.

Using another free editor called Sigil, you tweak the epub, tagging sections with Semantic tags such as Title page, Table of Contents, Beginning of the text. If you don’t do this then the last step, converting to a Kindle file, won’t be able to find some of its parts.

Amazon has finally gotten on the bandwagon with ePubs and now allows you to (also a free app) open up Kindle Previewer, drop in your ePub that you tweaked in Sigil, and have Amazon convert it to a mobi/kindle file.

That’s how you do it, kind of. There is lots of tweaking and learning going on every day, though. And if you’re serious about being a formatter you must join MobileReads forum It’s filled with formatters solving each others’ problems. I know they’ve solved quite a few of mine.

One thing I would say is very important, is to learn HTML code. Even though you start off with Word or InDesign, HTML is still the basis of an eBook. Don’t be intimidated by it. If I can learn it, anyone can. You don’t need to know it well enough to program, but you will need to be able to recognize when something is wrong with your HTML file. Does every paragraph start off with a <p> and end with a </p> or a <h1></h1> etc... Can you tell when your Table of Contents is wonky...?

<p class=MsoNormal<a href=”#Start_Reading”>Chapter 1</a></p> This is what your TOC should say when reading in HTML mode, Chapter 1, the place where you want the reader to start their reading experience. Of course there are many variations on this, but it’s a start.

Word Styles are things on your Word Home Screen that you probably never look at. You use a default tab to insert the indent on each paragraph, don’t you? Don’t do it! EBooks hate tabs. Use your Normal Style to set indents please... or your Page Layout feature. Stay away from tabs! Also, and you probably never noticed this before, but when you look at Normal, Modify, Paragraph, Line, and Page Breaks, you’ll probably see a little box checked that says Widow and Orphan control. Please uncheck that! Another thing that eBooks abhore! Well, they don’t actually have set pages, so what good is corralling those widows and orphans?

Here’s where Styles become critical. If you don’t use them then you’ll want to put a gun to your head at the end of the day. These styles (Center, Normal, Scenechange, Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Title, and anything else you want to use) control your content... transfer into your HTML document as Style Descriptions and tell the document exactly how this ‘book’ is supposed to appear on a reader’s device. You’ll want to stay away from blank lines (Enter)... Kindle (at least the older Kindles) deletes those blank lines which will really wreck your eBook. Epub lets you keep them, but because I don’t want to be formatting 100 different versions of one book... I always format for Kindle; ePub reads it just fine.

Sorry, I’m getting more in-depth than I think anyone wants. My clients stop me all the time with “TMI... I’m lost... You could be talking ancient Sumerian for all I know!”

Remember, though, that formatting is the last step in your self-pubbing process: First you have to polish that initial Draft manuscript, then send it off for some ‘Big Picture’ editing, then revisions, then off to your critique partner (who’s been reading your work all along, but now needs to read the final entire book), then have the book line-edited and/or proofed, then send out some ARCs for review, then back for the final proofing (not by you though... you’ve read it too many times already). Now you can format, put all those pretty flourishes in, set off those quotes nicely, think about the screen sizes on Smart Phones. You need to have in the back of your head at all times what this book will look like to someone reading it standing at a bus stop with a Smart Phone, sitting at the doctor’s office with a tablet, lying in bed at night with a Kindle.

The gist of this blogpost is: To have a beautiful eBook you can’t just bang away on your keyboard. There was a design department at your publisher, wasn’t there? Well, they designed and you must, too. You have to study the process, and of course it changes all the time, but if you’re diligent, at the end of the day when you upload that file to KDP/Amazon (that’s Amazon’s publishing platform) then your readers will be happy. And if they’re not, they’ll let you know! This is the instant digital world.

Now on my own blog at I just give out tips or explain changes in technology. Sometimes I rant and rave about something, usually related to Amazon. I haven't started blogging yet in my Author persona.

About the author:  Pam Headrick writes as Min Edwards. 
Stone Bay Romance
Stone Bay -

High Tide Suspense - coming soon
Stone Bay Romantic Suspense
Stone Cold
Stone Heart
Precious Stone
Stone Fall

Talon, Inc. Suspense - coming soon
Romantic Suspense with an Archaeology theme
Triton Bay

Friday, May 16, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Don’t think of roadblocks as stumbling blocks. Think of them as building blocks. 
- Stacy Peltier

Thursday, May 15, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Evelyn Timidaiski

Author Evelyn Timidaiski, W/A Evie Morris, shares with The Write Way Café how her style of research allows her to write vivid scenes.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
In Junior High school. I read lots of books and always wanted to change the characters and what they did. In 2011, my daughter and I both started writing a novel. We critiqued each other’s work and supported each other.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I am finishing a Christmas story about a California biker and a Navajo Police Chief. I just completed my favorite novel, “Tiponi-Child of Hope.” It’s currently a finalist in the Winter Rose Contest.

How do you do research?
Of course, like everyone I do much of my research online. With Tiponi, I flew to Arizona and drove around for a week. It’s an experience that must be felt rather than read about. I soaked of the culture, climate and vastness of the canyons. I incorporated the scenery and culture into my book.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
It started with the big media blitz about 2012. I wanted to write a story which included the Mayan prophesy. It kind of took off from there. I based the main character and her quests on the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The setting had to be Arizona, because that’s where it all began. Of course my heroine travels through the Slipstream, flies on a space ship and visits another planet.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Tiponi is based, somewhat on the legend, but the rest of the characters are pure fiction. Yes, I think my characters absorb my strong sense of right and wrong. They are survivors as I am myself. I find it difficult to write bad guys because I’m so innately “good.”

What do you consider your greatest writing strengths? What gets in your way of writing?
I think my vivid descriptions of scenery and situations are my greatest strength. My personal feelings and moral code hinder my writing sometime. I find it hard to write one night stands, gratuitous sex and violence. Today’s readers want harsh language, too real situations, which make me uncomfortable.  I think much of the true romance has been replaced by reality.

Do you have a favorite playlist for when you write? Classic, rock, pop, none of the above?
I watch TV while I write. It plays in the background. I have to tune it out which makes me more focused when I write.

What is your likely choice for publication, a publisher or self-pubbed?
I hope to publish with a small to medium sized publisher. Of course I wouldn’t turn down a major publisher either.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I’m totally disorganized. I sit in my oversized chair with my two pups and type on my laptop. When I sit at a desk, I feel stilted.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
I love the Longmire series by Craig Johnson. He writes like people speak and his descriptions are fantastic.

Who are your greatest support people for writing?
My son and daughter are very supportive and my critique group FTHRW critiquers are the best.

What is the quirkiest thing you’ve done with your character/s?
My character Brandon Falcon in Jungle Blooms, posed as a corpse on the back of a donkey cart. To add realism to the pose, his friend poured rotten meat and maggots on him. Poor Brandon had to travel all day like this. He even had to listen to the sounds of his own grave being dug.

More about Evelyn: 
I am a former Science teacher and I currently work as an assistant to autistic children. I love to travel and I try to incorporate this into my books, enriching the scenery and making the reader feel like they are there.

I have two grown children and I will finally be a grandmother in August. I find that very exciting. I share my house with a Pomeranian, who thinks it’s her world and I just occupy space in it, and a Miniature Pincer/ Chihuahua, who chews up clothes.

Writing has become my creative outlet. I used to talk a lot. Now, I write a lot.

I welcome you to read about my first successful writing experience on my website,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | By: Lynn

What Now? Life, Decisions, and Randomness

Frequently I yell out, “Crystal ball now!”

I stole that demand from Doug Heffernan, of the television show King of Queens, who yelled it in a moment he needed instant knowledge so he could make the right decision.

Like Doug, I face decisions all the time that seem so important to get right. Big and small decisions that for me carry weight. I’m a pretty serious person and I see in my mind’s eye implications of decisions, unintended consequences. I mainly want to avoid unhappy, uncomfortable, possible wrong decisions that take me down a path I didn’t expect. For instance, a conversation between my husband and me about dinner:

Him – Wanna take a bike ride before dinner? Get some exercise in?

Me – It’s 4 o’clock.

Him – I know.

Me – It would have to be short because I have to be here to make dinner.

Him -- I know. We could eat late.

Me – No, ‘cause then we won’t be able to get everything done we need to and be ready to sit down to watch our show.

Him – Maybe we could eat just sandwiches.

Me – Well, we could but then you won’t have enough deli meat for you to take a sandwich to work tomorrow.

Him – Okay, well, let’s not bike then.

Me – Okay.

For me, pushing back our schedule would mean stress. I don’t want stress. But what could be the unintended consequences of “our” decision to skip the bike ride (Yes, I know I am the one who shut down the bike ride)? For my husband, skipping exercise could lead to more arthritic knee pain. We’re both trying to lose weight, but we’ve chosen against an activity in favor of remaining couch potatoes.

Some decisions carry much weightier results. They are crystal-ball worthy choices. Should I go back to school and get a graduate degree even though my children are young and I would miss some of their childhood? Should we move to live closer to half our family when we retire, even though it means leaving all our friends and the other half of the family behind? Should I set aside my paying work to finish my present WIP when I don’t know if it will pay off? And on a daily basis I weigh whether or not I should set aside my writing and devote hours to social media and promotions.

I’ve been trying to be more open to spontaneity and to believe that something unexpected doesn’t necessarily mean something bad. If I can let go of control maybe I’ll find life gives me open doors I didn’t know about. In writing, that might mean though I struggle with self-doubt, if I pursue my goals, maybe an unexpected scene will flow onto the page or maybe an editor will suggest a spin-off series.

Life could be an adventure that includes happy and uncomfortable and sad and scary stuff. There are many philosophies and distractions we humans use to keep us going and staying hopeful and able to continue on in the face of the hard stuff. A popular one states, “Everything happens for a reason.” It comforts us when things don’t go as we’d planned or hoped. If an editor rejects my story, it’s because other opportunities are better. That’s the reason the editor rejected my story.

But I don’t prescribe to that thought. I think we make decisions, not knowing what will happen but we plan as best we can. Then we live with the consequences of our choices. We can use our insights, explore possibilities, but random is still a factor in our lives, whether we’re open or controlling. I’m thinking the concept of accepting what happens, processing it, and then using the good and the bad to inform my next decision is a powerful way to live. It acknowledges the feelings and ramifications of choices and asks, “Now what?” It’s what we do with what comes our way that matters.

What are some statements of life philosophies that you prescribe to?

Friday, May 9, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Live out of your imagination, not your history.
– Stephen R. Covey
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Angela Kay Austin

Multi-talented Angela Kay Austin joins us today at The Write Way Café to share her thoughts about being able to add her own spin on the world through her self-expression.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
In all of the books I’ve written so far, my characters are completely fictional.  But, I am working on something now that is built on true historical figures.  But, that’s only how it begin…where it ends is all me.  J

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I don’t know if I always face blocks, but there is usually a point here or there that may not work like I want, and sometimes it takes a little longer for me to work out whatever the kink may be to get it to work like I want it to.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I think the surprises I’ve enjoyed most when writing any book involve how sometimes the story just seems to connect without me as a writer purposely trying to make something happen. Sometimes the words flow so well, that when I finish a scene or a chapter, I can’t believe what I just wrote.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
Anywhere I can pop out my laptop, and start typing is my writing space.  But, at home, it’s a spare room that has huge windows and a lot of sunlight.  I like to people watch.  It helps a lot when you’re stuck, and need to not focus on anything.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
I have a very long list.  Most of the books on the list have one thing in common…great story telling. They pull you in almost immediately, and don’t let you go until the very last word.  The Yellow House is one of my most recent favorites.  Love it!

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a few pieces.  A Women’s Fiction piece, and a Historical Romance piece.  I love to read historical works, and I guess that love has finally turned into a desire to write one of my own.  And I’ve always loved writing Women’s Fiction.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I like writing in different genres because it challenges me.  There is a technique to all genres.  The pace, the story development/character development…it’s all different.  And true die-hard fans will let you know when you have it wrong.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Producing some other form of creative expression.  Music, art, something.  Being able to add my own interpretation or spin to the world I live in is what I enjoy.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
When a lot of research is involved trimming off the fat to give the readers the parts you need to really pull them into the world you’ve created without boring them is a true art, and can be difficult.  There’s so so much information out there, and sometimes it is hard to shut it off.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
In my own books, I love love love Chad Michael.  He’s the hero in my book, Sweet Victory, he is absolutely kind and patient.

About Angela:  Angela Kay Austin has always expressed herself through words.  An infatuation with music and theater led to years playing music and extra roles in TV shows before giving way to a degree and career in radio and TV production.  After completing a second degree in marketing, Angela found herself combining her love for communications and marketing and worked in advertising and promotions for many years.  But, writing called again, which led to her first published work, which hit the best seller list for her publisher and All Romance Ebooks.

Contact Angela through her website or her blog.

Rumer Wilson married the love of her life ten years ago, has two beautiful children, and what she believes is a wonderful life to prove it. But, does anybody ever control love? Her world spirals into an unfamiliar place of uncertainty for everything she holds dear, when her husband falls in love with a woman hiding secrets. 

Sebastian Ortiz has loved many women. Rumer is a means to an end. He doesn’t want to hurt her, but he needs her – for revenge on the man who hurt his sister – the sister he’s protected from harm his whole life. 

Neither Rumer nor Sebastian could imagine what comes next...

Rumer is available on Amazon.

Friday, May 2, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The best teachers are those who show you where to look. but don't tell you what to see. 
- Alexandra K. Trenfor