Friday, June 27, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Your training can help you as much as your intuition can.
- from Sanctuary
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 | By: Lynn

Focused Writing with a Hunker Down

I’m just emerging from a “hunker down.” My eyes are sore. My mind is tired. I'm happy.

According to author and journalist Ron Francell , the use of the word “hunker” dates back to the 18th century, when it meant “crouch” or “squat,” positions that related to safety. But more recently in the United States, the word has come to mean to take shelter or hold a position.

My hunker down was sort of a “hold a position.” I hunkered down for a week to finish my WIP. Like many authors, I holed up in front of my computer and held that position, focusing only on my writing for that week. It was a concentrated writing period, and that was why I did it. Life is full of other things to do, other things than my writing, so for one week I did very little but write. With that highly focused mindset, most of my thoughts pertained to my story. That’s what a good hunker down can do.

For me, it’s not easy to ignore distractions. But for the duration of the hunker down I didn’t check emails very often and when I did it was primarily to read emails from only certain people. I didn’t stop to sweep the kitchen floor or call friends or family. It could all wait. I was hunkered down. Meanwhile, the stack of unread newspapers grew. Promotions for my books went on hold. Meals were things I could make quickly or my husband could fix. Dishes either waited for before bed or again, my husband would step in. Laundry piled up while I increased my word count. At the end of the week I’d met my goal.

Several conditions need to be met for a successful hunker down:

-Coffee. I love coffee and making it is the first thing I do in the morning. It is pivotal to a good hunker down. It’s almost a companion that cheers me on during a hunker down.

-Water. It’s important to stay hydrated during a hunker down, so a large glass of water sits beside my endless mug of coffee at my desk.

-Food. I’ve missed meals during my hunker down, but only because I was so focused I lost track of time. It’s important not to starve.

-A comfortable chair as well as variety of writing spots. I happen to feel most comfortable writing at my desk in my cushy, swivel, tiltable desk chair. My mind turns on in the spot. I’m at work. But taking my laptop to a nearby park or in the backyard at the picnic table can help extend my endurance. The main idea is not to get uncomfortable to the point you can no longer stay hunkered down.

-The ability to ignore the call of other things, including a shower or shopping or a nice nap. Barring an emergency, during a hunker down I keep working until bedtime.

Deadlines for an author are an ever-present way of life. Sometimes the only way to meet them is to hunker down and get the writing down. The hunker down can be very wearing, so I try to space them and hunker down only when it’s the only way to complete my project.

Unfortunately, it seems the pause, a lovely time between deadlines when I catch up on reading and cleaning and interaction with others, doesn’t come around as often as I’d like. But I’m not complaining. It means I’m busy and have work, which is a good thing. Balance is best, but when I’m truly under the gun, trying to meet a deadline, I settle in for a productive hunker down.

Do you find occasions for a hunker down? What do you need for a productive hunker down?

Friday, June 20, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Whatever you can do or dream you can to, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
- Goethe

Thursday, June 19, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

BookPerks, Book Clubs, and, well, Books! A story of obsession.

Author Tameri Etherton is on The Write Way Café challenging readers and writers to get out of their comfort zone and find new reading and writing pleasures.

I love books. To hold them, read them, or write them, books make me happy. But heres my dirty little secret: I tend to stay in my comfort zone of fantasy. Over the years Ive dabbled in other genres, especially historical fiction, often romantic suspense, and sometimes thrillers. Then one day I won a copy of Tessa Dares The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-good Mr. Wright and my love of Regency was born.

Who knew!

Since then, Ive bought Tessas entire collection and several other authors books in the genre. Im telling you, if you havent tried Regency, give it a go!

Tessa Dares a member of one of my writing groups and Im fortunate in the fact that I belong to many groups (most of them associated with Romance Writers of America) and hear about new books all the time. But what if youre not a writer? How do you find books? There are SO MANY to choose from! Where do you begin?

Word of mouth is great, but there are tons of places online readers can find new books. Goodreads is a fun place to start. Just search for the genre you like and hundreds of of choices will pop up. Scan the reviews, join some groups, interact with other readers, its a book lovers paradise. Be careful though, you might lose an entire day just to perusing the lovely book covers. Not that Ive ever done that, mind you. ;)

And then there are places that make it easy to find new books, like BookPerk. I discovered this gem a few years ago and Im hooked.

BookPerk is this cool site that sends E-book bargains, giveaways, exclusives, and moredelivered straight to your inbox. Most of the books are $1.99, but some are $2.99, and if you look at the list price, youre getting a great savings. The best part? Its totally legit! The deals are emailed to you, and you buy them through Amazon, B&N, Apple, Google, Kobo, or Indiebound.

What I love about BookPerk is it gets me to expand my reading beyond my comfort zone. Ive bought literary fiction, humor, biography, and even a paranormal book because of them.

Another way Im breaking out of my reading comfort zone is by joining a book club. A friend of mine started a monthly book club where reading the book is mandatory to coming to the meeting. We meet at a restaurant that serves the best cheese plate Ive ever had, so thats a compelling reason to read the damn book! Last month we read Hugh Howeys Wool, and this month were reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

Two totally opposite genres and I love it.

Im stretching my book tastes and delving into genres I didnt know Id enjoy. Its something I highly suggest everyone try. If you cant find a book club in your area, Goodreads has many online clubs. The discussions are lively and well-moderated, again, I say give it a go!

As an author, Im always curious how readers find books. As a reader, Im always looking for something that will grab me and not let go. Someone once asked me to name my top five favorite books. I couldnt do it. They change with the seasons of my life. I love them all. At one time or another, they are all my favorites.

What are some great books youve read lately that surprised you? Were they recommended to you, or did you happen upon them yourself? If you had to name your top five, what would they be?

Rocker of sparkly tiaras, friend of dragons, and lover of all things sexy, Tameri Etherton leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates and conquers new worlds and the villains who inhabit them. When not masquerading as a mom and writer, rumor has it she travels to far off places, drinking tea and finding inspiration for her kickass heroines—and the rogues who steal their hearts—with her own Prince Charming by her side.

Monday, June 16, 2014 | By: HiDee

My Writing Process Blog - Part Two

Welcome back to the The Write Way Café for another round of the My Writing Process Blog Tour.  There is no “right” way to write.  I’m always interested in learning what works for other writers, and looking for ways to improve my own process.  I'd like to thank my friend and blog partner, Lynn Crandall, for inviting me to participate.

What am I working on?  
My current project is a contemporary romance titled Fugitive Heart.  I started the story as a means to cope with frustrations generated by a situation my family was unwittingly drawn into and had no control over.  My characters, J.T. and Dana, took on a life of their own and put my negative emotions to work in a much more positive way.  I’m also working on a story about a woman who reconnects with her first love while in the midst of a midlife crisis.  The idea for this story haunted my sleep for a week before I accepted the challenge of telling the story.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know that my work is any different than others in the genre, but I like throwing two people together who have very different ideas about life, and showing how they overcome their differences to make their relationship work.  Everybody has a right to be their own person, and I hope I am reflecting that attitude in my characters.   

Why do I write what I do? 
I write contemporary romance because that’s what I enjoy reading.  My goal is to write books readers can relate to and get lost in.  I’ve enjoyed so many adventures by living vicariously through characters in books, and I hope to share some of my own adventures – real and imagined – with others.  I want to share and encourage a love of reading.

How does your writing process work?
I never go anywhere without at least a small notepad and pen, along with whatever book I’m currently reading.  Ideas are everywhere!  They hit me when I least expect it, and often they are quite persistent until I jot them down.  That being said, I’m definitely a pantser.  General ideas and notes work well for me, while outlining drains my creativity.  Usually I start with a character and a situation.  Sometimes I have ideas about where the story should go and how it should end, but other times, I figure it out as I write.  I like turning my characters loose on the page because they always surprise me.

My writing flows better when I draft on paper, because my mind works faster than I can write.  I’m always trying to catch up with the thoughts in my head before I lose them.  But I put the draft on the computer early in the process.  My thinking process is progressive, so I have to write the story in order.  I can’t write a scene for the last third of the book, even if I have the idea detailed in my notes, until I get there.  It messes me up.  And I’m learning to let a draft be a draft the first time through, instead of trying to revise and edit it to the point that I can’t move on because that section isn’t done yet.  My writing process is definitely a learning process! 

Thank you for checking out my writing process.  Next up on June 23, Nancy Brandt and Meg Mims.  I hope you will check out their processes as well!

Nancy S. Brandt is a stay-at-home mom, Army veteran, kidney transplant recipient and cancer survivor who has been writing romantic fiction for over 20 years.  She loves crafting worlds where magic, dragons and intrigue keep her hero and heroine apart and only the power of true love can overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.  After all, when the real world is full of parking tickets and tax returns, don't we all need some magic in our lives?

Author Meg Mims – also one-half of the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mystery writing team for St. Martin's Minotaur – lives in Michigan. She's won a Spur and a Laramie Award for her popular western mystery series.

Friday, June 13, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
When we read (and write) fiction, we practice putting ourselves in another’s shoes. We develop empathy… 
- Debbie Fuller Thomas,, May 25, 2012
Monday, June 9, 2014 | By: Lynn

My Writing Process Blog

My Writing Process Blog Tour has come to The Write Way Café. Many authors have shared their process on this tour, answering four questions about their writing process, and I’m happy to be included. Thank you Rena Koontz, for asking me to participate.

Now to the questions and answers.

What am I working on? I presently am working on finishing the first draft of a paranormal romantic suspense that picks up where the last Aegar sisters book, Always and Forever Love, left off. While this book involves the sisters featured in Dancing with Detective and Danger and Always and Forever Love, they are not the main characters. In this book, their secretary and friend, Michelle, is the heroine. The hero, Casey Mitchell, was introduced in the second book and becomes the werecat hero in this WIP. I read paranormals and love the concept of a completely different world among the one we all consider normal, so writing this book has been fun.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I love exploring relationships, as I assume most romance writers do. My novels so far explore the characters’ internal lives in a way I feel is somewhat unique because they must face aspects of their lives they’ve been avoiding and defending against. Those very human moments of choosing to continue in their same pattern or not, over and over until they choose to face the pain and grow, are important to me. I want my books to entertain but I hope they take readers on a ride of self-exploration, too.

Why do I write what I do? I like to write romantic suspense because I like putting characters through life and death situations and see how they manage. I have said before, I don’t live on the edge of death and danger, but I enjoy putting characters on that edge. Since I am a pantser, how the story unfolds and how the characters move through the story surprises me at times and that is a blast. Plus, I love a happy ending, so writing romance fits my needs.

How does your writing process work? As I just wrote, I’m a pantser, so I don’t make a formal outline or create a full-blown plot from beginning to end. That’s what I don’t do. But I do conduct a lot of research first. That fuels my characterization and my loose idea of a story. I brainstorm for possible scenes, then I place them in a list titled Beginning, Middle, and End. Then I write, and as I do I do more research and learn more about my characters and their story. It’s a bit stressful to write as a pantser, but since my brain is wired that way it’s the way that works for me. I try to write regularly, even if I’m sure I have nothing to write some days, because it turns out, over and over, that it’s not true. At my computer, I always find myself writing and feeling mostly pleased with what comes out. I have a lot of supportive sayings tacked to my office wall to help me when I nearly sink in self-doubt. The self-doubt in my head has gotten less loud over the years and the sayings have helped. One of my newest favorite:

Retreating into your safety zone is an intelligent strategy if you are feeling emotionally vulnerable. But remember, encountering an obstacle doesn’t mean you’ve failed on any level. To the contrary, you’re receiving a notice from the cosmos that you just reached beyond your normal grasp. Instead of running scared, consider what you can learn from the experience.

Thank you for checking out my writing process. Be sure to check out two writers who keep the blog rolling June 16 – HiDee Ekstrom and Lola Karns.

HiDee Ekstrom never goes anywhere without a book or a pen and paper. Reading, writing, and chocolate are important elements of her daily life that inspire her to pursue becoming a published author. She also finds inspiration in and enjoys photography, scrapbooking, camping, hiking, and spending time with her family. Come back to to discover all about her writing process.

Lola Karns, author of Winter Fairy and the forthcoming Bad Traveler, writes quirky contemporary romance from her home in Minnesota. Once a doctoral candidate, she turned to writing after moving way too many times in way too few years. When not writing, she can be found sipping coffee, eating chocolate, chasing her two children, or any combination thereof. Find her at

Friday, June 6, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically - to say 'no' to other things.  And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside. 
- Stephen Covey

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Interviewing Your Characters by V.S. Nelson

Creative storyteller V.S. Nelson shares with The Write Way Café  how interviewing her characters fuels her stories.

Seriously, there are times I wish the voices in my head (or muses) would shut up, especially when they all decide to talk at once or clamor for top position of my hectic time-line. Sometimes it’s like having a house full of children, ages 2-6, tugging on my skirt tail. There never seems to be enough time or words to satisfy everyone. This one wants that, the other wants this… and such is the life of a very active author.

Like most writers, I love the muses who infiltrate my mind with a story I can’t refuse to write, but then there are times when it gets to be a bit overwhelming. Today is one of those days; Michael wants me to work on his story as does Poseidon as does Susan… while all I want to do is go back to bed. So this is their punishment, I’m not writing a thing for them until I get this article out of my head.

I may complain and beg for a little peace of mind but I often wonder where I would be if they all packed their bags and disappeared. I’m pretty sure I would go through a major empty nest syndrome like any mother whose children have all left home. As much as I complain, I’m also very happy to have them around. They do keep me on my toes and life as I once knew it, is never a dull moment.

I recently had an author friend complain to me her muse was unusually quiet. Was she developing writer’s block, she asked?  I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do understand when a Muse chooses to remain quiet. It usually means they have something going on within them. Just like us, they can have quiet moments when they are trying to figure out a problem. In reality, they are like us; afraid to open up and share what is really on their mind until they know exactly how the situation will play out. What do I do in situations like this? I interview them.

Interviewing them will help you understand what they are going through and who knows, you just might end up with an entirely new book. It worked for me and it should work for you.

When Gabriel, the leader of Sekhmet’s Guardians (and my first muse) planned out the series, I was under the impression each book would evolve around each one of the heroes. I never expected to write a book entirely based on one of the villains. Last year, I found myself hammering out a story about Bagsu, the leader of the Set’s Legions, my Guardian’s immortal enemy… and it all started with an interview I did with him towards the end of book three, Eternal Blades. I was curious as to why he, a blood sucking villain, would turn loose of a beautiful woman before draining her dry, and then of all things, return her to his immortal enemy… even if that immortal enemy was his identical twin brother.

It took a little while to get him started, but after the second interview, he took me back in time, back to a time when he and Gabriel were youngsters. He showed me their triumphs and their downfall. How could I not write everything down and share what he so freely shared with me? And so, my little interview turned into an entire 300 plus page book. I pushed Eternal Life back to position number five in the series and inserted Eternal Tuat in its place.

What follows is the first interview I did with Bagsu, Set’s Prime.

V: What is it you really have planned for the Earth’s population?

Total domination, that’s all. Humans are by far, weak, lesser beings than Tuaties and should be treated as such. Of course many of my brethren believe you are nothing more than a food source for our unquenchable thirst.

(I swallow hard and readjust my position when Bagsu smiles, baring a razor sharp fang at me which glistens in the sunlight. Is he toying with me?)

V: Is this some kind of joke? You can’t be a vampire… its daylight.

Honey, don’t believe what you read in fairy tales. I’m as real as can be and I do require human blood to sustain life here on Earth. It is one of those little things that binds us to your world... Without it we would cease to exist.

V: Okay if you’re a vampire will you answer another question for me?

Sure, hit me with your best shot.

V: Are you repulsed by garlic and crosses? Can a stake through the heart kill you?

No, no and no. There is only one way to kill this Tuatie and that is by taking my head and I do not foresee you having the skill to do such a thing.

V: Never entered my mind… Would you like some coffee? Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot Vamps don’t eat and drink.

So little do you know about us... We can eat, drink and do everything else you humans do, including mate and have offspring, although the Legion has strict rules about such things.

V: What about the Guardians; are they like you? Aren’t you related to one?

Yes, the Guardians are from Tuat and they are like us in many ways, although those damn do-gooders think and act like humans. They would just as soon remain on Earth protecting your kind. Gabriel, their leader is my twin. Lance the youngest of the bunch is supposed to be my younger brother, although I must say he looks nothing like me or Gabe. I’ve always questioned his legitimacy, so who truly knows.

What follows now is the interview I did with him which triggered the Eternal Tuat, Bagsu’s story.

V:  Ok Bagsu, I have a question for you. Why on Earth would you let Jennifer go. You had her right where you wanted her, on your couch, naked, for heaven’s sake.

My dear V, I may be a son-of-a-bitch, but I am not that cold. There was a time when Gabe helped me when no one else could. I will not take from him that which someone took from me. Just can’t do it is all. Now let it be, will ya?

I wasn’t sure what he meant by take from him that which someone took from me… Did he once have a lover, a wife? I knew I had to know more, and so I pushed.

I pushed and asked more questions until Eternal Tuat was born.

SNIPPET from Eternal Tuat:

     “When I am gone, when my soul leaves this body, I want you to take what remains of me to our cave. Place my body in Khnemitti’s sarcophagus and ask him if he would say the proper prayers for me.”
     “Nefer, please, let us not speak of such things. You are going to be fine… You and our child are going to be fine.”
     “Bagsu, you are my love, my beloved husband, please, you must promise me.”
     I fight back the tears which are streaming down my face and nod.
“When that time comes, I will do as thee request.”
     She smiles, reaches to touch my cheek and I see the light in her eyes one final time.
     “I will always love thee, my husband.” Her hand drops, her eyes close and I know she is gone. My sweet, sweet, Nefer, along with my reason for living, is gone.

Buy Eternal Tuat 

About author V.S. Nelson
     With a love for history, Native American author V.S. Nelson, instructed history in elementary and high schools and colleges in the U.S. and abroad before launching her second writing career.
     V has been a story-teller all her life, always creating stories about people discovering the courage to make a difference. This drove her into writing her paranormal series centering on strong relationships and led her to coin the term: Ancient Legends, New Worlds.
     A member of three RWA chapters she sits on several committees and judges writing contests across the states.
     She invites you to join her in cyberspace on her Website, Blog, Amazon author page, Facebook, and Twitter.

Win a copy of Eternal Tuat!
V will gladly send a copy of Eternal Tuat to one lucky commentator. Please be sure to leave your email address so she may contact you for shipping arrangements. Thank you.