Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | By: Lynn

What Gets You Out of Bed?

I heard a line on a television show, probably a CSI of some sort since those shows dominate programming, that made me think. The cop had just charged through the door and had a gun on the suspect. The cop said, “So you hook children on drugs and murder people for money?” The man raised his hands in submission and said, “Isn't money why we all get up in the morning?”

At first I dismissed his statement as shallow. But after another moment’s thought, I told my husband, “He may be right. Is he?” We all get up to go to work and make a living. I had to ponder that.

If someone asked me what gets me up in the morning, I’d say coffee. The idea of a hot cup of that dark elixir gives me a reason to get out of bed. The sheets and blankets are so comfortable in the morning and my cat is always snuggled nearby. That’s a lot of happiness to overcome just to get out of bed. That first movement of feet on floor is motivated by the reward of coffee. I work as a freelance writer and editor, so there is no time clock to punch in and no boss standing at the door waiting for me to arrive. It’s all up to me to meet my deadlines and not procrastinate. So beyond that first cup of coffee, what drives me to perform my job and do it well? Money, right? I want to get paid.

It’s not actually that simple, according to many experts. One, Walter Chen, the owner of iDoneThis, a work productivity tool, presents an argument that money is the reward we all want and need. It’s a survival element in our society. But what keeps us motivated to soldier on every day is a short list, he writes at Buffer Social.

“(T)here are in fact just 3 very simple things that drive nearly each and every one of us to work hard:

· Autonomy: Our desire to direct our own lives. In short: 'You probably want to do something interesting, let me get out of your way!'

· Mastery: Our urge to get better at stuff.

· Purpose: The feeling and intention that we can make a difference in the world," Chen wrote.

Our brains, Chen suggests, have a connection to these three elements. And though we’ve all been programmed not to let our emotions go to work with us, it’s our emotions that help us tackle obstacles and trudge on with more spring in our step.

“Emotions play a leading role in how to succeed in business because they influence how much you try and this is widely misunderstood by bosses and managers. …The components of the inner work life — motivation, emotions, and perceptions of how the above three things work together — feed each other,” Chen wrote.

Not only do our emotions inform our daily decisions, according to Chen and his expert sources, the quality of the emotion can improve our creativity and zeal or interfere. He quotes from a study by psychologist Alice Isen to prove the point.

“Negative emotions like fear and sadness can lead to brain activity and thought patterns that are detrimental to creative, productive work: (a) avoidance of risk; (b) difficulty remembering and planning; and (c) rational decision-making.”

We have to feel our feelings, whatever they are. Negative emotions inform us just as positive emotions do. We have to process them and not be stopped by them. But sometimes simple things, like talking to a friend or exercising, can boost our mood.

Oversimplified, if coffee makes me happy, it helps to put my inner work life into a more positive state. I can move from that positive state with courage and self-confidence a little easier and work toward autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These are the underlying reasons to get out of bed. These infuse us with energy to go after what we want, whether it’s creating a book, a new phone app, or a harmonious home.

Please share your thoughts. What gets you out of bed?

Friday, September 26, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Every author's fairy godmother should provide him not only with a pen but also with a blue pencil.
- F L Lucas in Style
Thursday, September 25, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Open Velocity or have you HOOKED your reader today?

Writers need to excel at writing a good hook. The Write Way Café welcomes today an expert at that, author Carol Malone.

This material first appeared as a course I taught within the Group Coaching Program for Novelists where I work as an assistant mentor. Click here  for more information about the program where we help novelists write, edit, publish, and market their books in with joy, love, enthusiasm, and smarts.

“Thomas had to die. There were as many ways to kill the man who raped her – nails guns, pneumatic cutters, craftsmen shears, and huge rolls of fabric that could easily slip from their precarious slots at the top of very tall pallets – as there were reasons. Else just needed to get him in the plant – alone.” The Game of Dating by Carol Malone

Did those sentences grab you? 
Were you hooked in? 
Do you want to read more? 

What you just read was my attempt at an opening grabber, hook, or what’s called “opening velocity” in my suspense romance novel.  

Opening Velocity or can you hook the reader with your first few sentences?

What is opening velocity?

It is that writing device or skill with which every writer wants to grab hold of their readers and not let go. We want to start off with a bang and keep the momentum going so the reader won’t be able to put our novels down. In order to accomplish that task, we have to snare our readers from the very first words.

Why is opening velocity or a great opening hook important to a novel? 

How many of you have read stories that begin with a narrative dump? Have you read on and on about the weather, the setting, non-essential characters, yet aren’t getting involved in their story enough to care? I once read the novel from a very famous writer. They had twenty-five pages of narrative about the countryside of Spain as their opening. Needless to say, I skipped a lot of detail to get to the meat. 

Don’t you want a book to jump out at you, hook you by the throat and not let go until you’re reading, “The End.” 

How do we do this? There are a number of ways to write a great hook, or rev up the opening velocity:

1.  Some people start their novels with a few lines of dialogue. It begs the reader to ask, "What just happened?" and they will continue to read because their interest is piqued:  
"Do we go to our death—or worse?" Malkom Slaine gazed over at his best friend, Prince Kallen the Just, wishing he had a better answer for him, anything to ease the apprehension in Kallen's eyes.”
-- Opening line from Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole 

2.  Open with emotion. And don’t just tell the reader your character is angry, you have to SHOW this in your creative way of writing: 
“Charlene Braddock slammed her laptop closed and hurled it across the bedroom.” 
-- Midnight Lies by Ella Grace

3.  Start with something that will scare or excite your reader. “I’m sitting on a cold metal slab, and there’s blood all over my shirt.” Opening from Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters.

4.  Use a contradiction to start you story. This works well with stories with more emotion:  
“I started walking to the canal one day out of boredom. It's not that I'm particularly fond of canals;” From Lee Rourke, The Canal

5.  Try to find an interesting description. (No long treatise on nature, please!):  
From J.D. Robb’s, Treachery in Death:  “The old man lay dead on a scattered pile of candy bars and bubble gum. Cracked tubes of soft drinks, power drinks, sports drinks spilled out of the smashed glass of their cooler in colorful rivers.” 

6.  Introduce a fascinating character. The more intriguing a character, the more you pull your reader in to see how the story will play out:  
From Stephen King’s, Full Dark, No Stars: “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  My name is Wilfred Leland James, and this is my confession. In June of 1922 I murdered my wife, Arlette Christina Winters James, and hid her body by tupping it down an old well.”

Any one of these devices would add great POP to the opening of a novel and HOOK the reader from the start. As a great author, we want to hook with a great opening. 

Start your novel right at the moment when our characters are going through a crisis or at the very least, a compelling problem that will engage and hold the interest of our targeted audience. 

Try choosing one of these opening velocity devices and use it to revise an opening line or two from one of your own stories. See how much better your opening line and/or lines can become if you put a little effort into crafting an opening with a BOOM!   

Stephen King instructed authors in his article featured in The Atlantic magazine, July 23, 2013; “How can a writer extend an appealing invitation – one that’s difficult, even, to refuse? … An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” http://theatln.tc/1rngTEj

Put in the time and effort to perfect your entire story, then think deeply about the opening line or couple of lines. 
1. Will they reflect what I want the reader to know in one sentence? 
2. Will it grab their attention and not let go? 
3. Will it create interest and set the stage? 
4. Then will you spend months, like Stephen King, or maybe even years perfecting your opening? Hopefully, it won’t take that long because you’ll all be experts. 
It is my hope you will get something from this discussion on how to write with opening velocity. Creating memorable openings is essential. Try choosing one of the above opening velocity devices and use them to revise an opening line or two from one of your own stories. See how much better your opening line and/or lines can become if you put a little effort into crafting an opening with a BOOM!  


“It was a dark and stormy night.” –Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time OR Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1830, OR maybe Snoopy?

“When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.” –Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

“It was the best of times and the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“I remember when polio was the worst thing in the world.” – Joe Brainard

“Not every 13-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty.” –Avi, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

“You’ve Been Here Before.” Douglas Fairbairn, Needful Things.

“Where’s Papa going with that axe?” –E.B White, Charlotte’s Web

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1

“You better not never tell nobody but God.”–Alice Walker, The Color Purple

“They shoot the white girl first.” Toni Morrison, Paradise

“They threw me off the hay truck about noon.” James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice

“This is what happened.” Douglas Fairbairn, Shoot

About the author:  Carol Malone successfully combined her three passions – romance, sports, and writing in her highly rated book, “Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night.”  With her love story “Ladies Night,” she became the first woman to punch her way into the male-dominated genre of pulp boxing. Her stories to entice readers to scramble into a front row seat for a thrill-ride of romance and sports. When not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, watching sports or the Food Network, or hanging with her sci-fi author husband.

Carol can be found at her websiteFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Amazon.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | By: HiDee

Connecting with Readers and Writers

Last time, I wrote about my love/hate relationship with technology.  Today, I’d like to share some of the reasons I love technology – particularly the internet.

The Internet Society offers this definition of the internet:  What is the Internet? While it may seem like a simple question, defining the Internet isn’t easy. Because unlike any other technology, the Internet can be whatever we make it. We can shape it. We can mold it. But most importantly, we can use it to connect people, communities, and countries around the world.

Here are some of my favorite internet sites – sites connecting me to other readers and writers.

www.writerspace.com – Monthly contests offer readers the chance to win autographed books, Advanced Reader Copies of upcoming releases, gift certificates and more.

www.freshfiction.com – Monthly contests for autographed books, gift certificates and other fun items.  This site also offers book reviews.

I've won several giveaways from these two sites, including books and chocolates! 

www.likesbooks.com – All About Romance offers reviews, author interviews, blogs, and more. 

www.onceuponaromance.net/romancelinks.htm  – A whole list of links for romance readers of all genres!

www.fantasticfiction.co.uk – A friend recently introduced me to this site.  This site allows you to search by author, book, or ISBN.  Many of my favorite authors write continuity series, and this site is especially helpful for following which books belong in which series, and in what order.

www.writerbeware.com – Writer Beware is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, with support from the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association.  Their website states: Writer Beware’s mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry.

www.wow-womenonwriting.com – An ezine promoting the communication between women writers, authors, editors, agents, publishers and readers.  They offer articles, writing contests, and classes.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com – Visit the website or subscribe to receive a daily email.  Every day they publish a new article, with topics ranging from grammar to punctuation, from spelling to usage and vocabulary.

http://writersinthestormblog.com – Great articles and writing tips for writers.

www.writersdigest.com – I subscribe to the magazine, but I also spend a fair amount of time on the website.  They have tons of articles, writing prompts, editor blogs, writing contests, and writing resources, in addition to their store.

But I think my favorite of all is Critique Circle on Facebook.  They share terrific articles, and fun cartoons and graphics. 

What are you favorite sites?  Maybe you've discovered something I've missed.  Please share!

Friday, September 19, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending. 
- Carl Bard
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Rebekah Ganiere

The Write Way Café welcomes author Rebekah R. Ganiere, whose creative thinking takes her into the world of fairy tales, where she turns the classics into new gems.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
For the Fairelle series I originally had the idea of self publishing and then I tried very limitedly sending it out to see if I could get a publisher. But in my heart I knew I wanted to self publish it because this was going to be a big series I wanted to be able to release on my own schedule. So I got the other series I am writing under contracts with publishing houses and then went with my gut to self publish this one. As far as research, I did a lot of research on Medieval Earth and then tweaked and toned it the way I wanted it to make it my own fairytale world.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
Well this entire series is twisted fairytales so I started with the fairytales I really liked and went from there. Red the Were Hunter was the first book in the series. The idea for that one came because I had seen the movie Red Riding Hood and just felt it lacked something and I wanted to do it my own way. Snow the Vampire Slayer came about because I thought, well, if she has seven brothers what could they all do? They could be vampire slayers! And what if she falls for a vampire? And it grew from there.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I wanted something totally imaginary and my own. Several years ago there was a TV miniseries called Tenth Kingdom which had a bunch of fairytale characters in one world and then I heard Into the Woods and thought both were so cool that I wanted to make my own Fairytale world that all my characters lived in.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Uhm... both I guess. The hero, Sage, is kind of modeled after Tom Hiddleston, but it's my interpretation of him as a hero Loki character. And Snow is like me in some ways and in some ways she is like what I wish I was. 

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
In this one I didn't. The book flowed so nicely. It was awesome! Sage and Snow just talked me through their entire story! My characters aren't always that nice though. I have a couple right now who are being down right stubborn! I find that happens usually when I have characters that I try to write one way and they are actually totally different. They don't like being forced into models I create. So I find I will go back and tweak them and let them go their own directions and before I know it, they are talking me through their stories again :)

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I think the biggest surprise was that I've had so many people tell me how much they love the relationships between Snow and her brothers. I had no idea people would love them so much! Which is why each brother is getting his own novella now. People just love them and want to see them each get an HEA. 

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about brothers, vampire slayers, and creating your fantasy world?
Well Snow the Vampire Slayer is the second book in my Fairelle Series and not the first book I've written, but one thing I learned was how to make characters stand out and be different from each other. For instance, Snow has 7 brothers. All of them needed to be unique in his own way so that you could tell them apart. I also learned how my relationship with my wonderful brothers was able to help me write the relationships between Snow and her brother. 

What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working the first Novella in the Fairelle Series which is releasing in December. It's about Snow's brother Jamen. I'm also working on the third book in the series that is releasing in early 2015. It is called Zelle and the Tower and is about Rapunzelle and Snow's brother Flint. And I'm working on the second book in my series The Society, which is under contract with Kensington Lyrical and the first book in that series will be out on Nov. 17th.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I already have my dream job! I went to college for theater and I love theater but I gave it up to be a mom and now I think I'm too shy to get up in front of that many people. So if I wasn't a writer I would be a mom. I love being a mom. It is totally my dream job!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Plotting.  I hate it. I'm bad at it. And I don't like to be boxed in. I am a plotzer. I took a plotting class by Cherry Adair and LOVED it. But found I felt too confined by plotting everything out in detail so now I plot major chapter points and that's all. Then I let my characters do what they need to. 

Rebekah R. Ganiere is an Award Winning Bestselling Author. Her novel Dead Awakenings, debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, released in May. The second book Snow the Vampire Slayer will be releasing in September 22, 2014. And her trilogy The Society will be released Nov. 17th 2014 by Kensington's Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County chapters. In her spare time when she isn't writing you can find her moderating on SavvyAuthors.com or hanging out with her husband, four children and her English Bulldog, rabbit, two tortoises, and two bearded dragons. The escaped snake has yet to be found.

Buy Snow The Vampire Slayer

Rebekah R. Ganiere - Books with a Bite
Dead Awakenings & Red the Were Hunter
Snow the Vampire Slayer Coming Sept. 22
Reign of the Vampire Coming Nov. 17 by Lyrical Kensington
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Making Time

I write for a living. I also edit for a living. I love my work and am grateful to have it. But it keeps me busy and it is hard to carve out much time for my romance writing. I have to contribute regular income to my household and there is only so much time in a day, week, month. Only so much physical and emotional energy within me to put out. However, there is nothing like getting a book contract for renewing my commitment to my stories.

I Got, Got, Got, Got No Time
I’m weary of talking about not having enough time. I'm kind of bored but not surprised with myself that I’m writing about it again. I wrote a post about it last summer and discussed how those of us writers who also work jobs and take care of families need to be creative, something we're good at, in finding time to write. And here I am again, reiterating the topic.

I'm open to suggestions for how to put time on my side. Here's a thought from Hope Clark in one of her Funds for Writers newsletter and website. She suggests taking a hard look at life's demands.

"We have to give up something else to make writing happen. We have selected a crazy hobby/career path/dream that is one of the most time-consuming interests on the
planet. It starts as a whim, then a dream, then an urge that grows. You have to do this. You NEED to do this . . . this . . . writing. … So, for every new hour of writing, what other hour of something else will you sacrifice? Give it a name. Cleaning? Jogging? Sleeping? Gardening? Lunch?" she writes.

The P Word
Clark makes a good point, because there really is only so much time to work with. It's a likely conclusion that I have to set my Priorities to, well, Prioritize working on my books. It seems that even though, as Clark points out, we as writers often glow when we talk about what it means to us, we don't do it. And according to Jennifer Blanchard on Better Writing Habits, being too busy to write, another way of saying not having enough time, is the number one reason writers give for not being productive with the thing they love. She, too, attributes this situation to not Prioritizing.

"Most likely you’re making time for non-productive things, like watching TV or surfing the Web. That means you actually do have time to write, you’re just not making it a priority to write," she writes.

It seems a good, stiff shaking of myself is in order. As Clark, author of Lowcountry Bribe and The Shy Writer, noted and what we all know, we can't do everything. We may have to stop doing something we feel has greater importance than our writing. She's found this out by becoming more successful with her writing.

"As my writing grew, as I had to promote a novel I never had to before, the demand for my other hours grew ravenous for my attention. How could I find more time? There went some of my gardening . . . I saw my chickens less. The house is definitely not as clean. I stopped going to the gym."

It seems obvious but nonetheless mindboggling—I have to pick what I'm going to spend time on. And if I seldom pick writing fiction, I'll not produce books. I have already cut back on housecleaning, so what can I cull? I'll have to figure it out. It's time.

Any suggestions?

*This post has been adapted from its original version posted on The Write Way Cafe in October 2012.

Friday, September 12, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Dreams are the seedlings of realities. 
- James Allen

Thursday, September 11, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Alexis Morgan

The Write Way Café welcomes author Alexis Morgan, who explains why writing is like walking through fog.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?

I met my first published writer, Janice Kay Johnson, about twenty-five years ago and became fascinated by what she was doing. She introduced me to the wonderful world of romance novels of all kinds. Eventually, because of my intense interest, she encouraged me to try my own hand at writing a romance and mentored me through the whole process. Most people can’t point to the one person who dramatically changed their lives, but Janice did that for me. We still brainstorm ideas and support each other in our writing.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
I’ve always wanted to write a fantasy romance trilogy, and when this idea started to come together for me, I had several long talks with my agent and with my friend Janice to flesh out the concept and how the trilogy should be structured. Once I had that figured out, I researched a bunch of different topics.  I started off by reading a lot about life in medieval castles and towns. Then I studied the clothing of different eras to decide how my people would dress. I read up on scrying and on swords. I studied pictures of gargoyles and read about Irish wolfhounds. I also spent hours looking at pictures of horses, deciding which kind of horse would choose each of the five warriors. As the most chivalrous of the warriors, Duncan was chosen by a lovely, well-mannered mare. On the other hand, Kane’s horse, like him, wasn’t classically beautiful, but Rogue is strong, loyal, and fierce in battle. By the way, the book I liked best on horses was called The Beautiful Horse by Bob Langrish & Nicola Jane Swinney. It has the most amazing photographs of horses.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I was watching the Lord of the Rings movies and became intrigued by the warriors Frodo saw sleeping in the waters of the swamp. I kept wondering what circumstances would have brought them there and what, if anything, would ever bring them back to life. That’s when I first imagined my own set of five warriors who have been resting for centuries beneath the river as they waited to be called forth by their gods to defend their world.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I’m a huge fan of fantasy stories with fierce warriors and strong women banding together to fight evil. There’s something so compelling about knights on horses and mages who wield powerful magic of different kinds. I also love including animals in my books, and this kind of world allowed me to have magical horses that choose their own riders. I also had great fun picking out the animal avatars for each of the warriors. Only Lord Kane would have a pet gargoyle!

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Although I always know who the hero and heroine are when I sit down to begin a new book, it’s often the secondary characters who manage to surprise me. Sometimes they are people I planned to include in the story, but often others sneak “on stage” and demand my attention. In this series, Sigil was originally just one of the Duke Keirthan’s captains, and I meant for him to die in the first book. However, Sigil refused to play that part and instead developed into a complex character who was so much more than a spear carrier for the villain. The other character who surprised me was Sarra, the young girl whose parents were killed by the duke. I expected her to be just another victim of Keirthan’s hunger for power. As it turns out, Sarra has her own powerful magical gifts, ones that play an important role in the stories. I love it when a book is unexpectedly enriched by characters that take on a life of their own!

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My office is a bit cluttered, and I share it with two parakeets, who keep me company as I write.  I listen to music as I write, so it’s a good thing Nimbus and Jubal share my taste in music. As far as I can tell, their favorite song is Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler, which is only appropriate for a romance writer’s boon companions. It probably comes as no surprise that I have shelves stuffed full of books, both fiction and nonfiction. I’m also surrounded by stuffed dragons, hedgehogs, a dinosaur or two, and my collection of gargoyles. I like having my favorite books close at hand, and the critters (both real and not) make me feel as if I’m in my own little world when I sit down to write.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard will always be a favorite because the hero, Grant Sullivan, pretty much defined for me the kind of hero I love in a book. It came out just as I got really interested in writing, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about heroes with a powerful sense of honor and fought to protect those who couldn’t defend themselves.

Most recently, I read The Haunting of Maddy Claire by Simone St. James and really loved it. It’s set in England right after World War I. Her choices in language and description were really amazing and really brought that world to life for me. I’ve read all three of her published books now and loved them all for the same reasons.

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a paranormal novella and polishing the synopses for three more contemporary stories.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Plotting in any great detail before I actually write the book can be troublesome for me. I usually have a good idea of where the book is going to start and where it needs to end up, but the middle is pretty hazy until I actually write it. Someone once said writing a book is like walking through the fog. You can’t see very far behind you, and you can’t see very far ahead. The only place that is really clear is the page you’re writing at the moment. I’ve had to learn to trust my process and know that once I take that first step into the fog that I will reach “The End” safely.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Ooooh, there are so many!  As I already mentioned, Grant Sullivan has been a favorite for a long time. Zsadist in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series about broke my heart. I also love Curran, the Beast Lord in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel’s series.  Lord Ian Mackenzie in Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is an amazingly complex hero.

I love a really strong heroine, too. Mercy Thompson in Patricia Briggs’ series comes to mind, and Kate Daniels is the perfect match for Curran in the world Ilona Andrews has created.  And in Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series, I love how Kim Fraser fights to defend not just her client, but all of the shifters.

About Alexis: USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of more than thirty books, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and most recently, contemporary romance. Alexis has been nominated for numerous industry awards, including the RITA© from the Romance Writers of America, the top award in the romance genre.

www.alexismorgan.com      Twitter: @Alexis_Morgan      Facebook

Buy links for Honor's Price:  Amazon          B & N  

Alexis is giving away a signed copy of Honor's Price and a custom designed book thong for the Warriors of the Mist series. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | By: HiDee

The Culture of Instant Gratification

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

I embrace the computer, but don’t have a smart phone – mainly because I refuse to pay the price.  In my area, one month of a smart phone costs approximately three times what I currently pay for one month of internet access.  I’m not denying there are times a smart phone would be convenient, but I’ve also seen how addictive it can be.  I enjoy having downtime from electronics, and I don’t want to be attached at the hip, or hand, or ear.

I like my Kindle, but I love the feel of a paperback book in my hands.  My Kindle is great for having untold numbers of books readily accessible, as long as I have battery life.  It’s taken the place of a smart phone when I’ve spent hours sitting in hospital waiting rooms, or waited in the van for soccer practices to end.  But there’s a different connection with a paperback book in my hands.  The texture of the paper, the motion of turning the page... it’s just so easy to get lost in a book!
The internet makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends far away, which I love, but I hate how people sometimes hide behind the relative anonymity it offers.  That’s a hypocritical statement, because sometimes I crave the anonymity as well.

But my biggest issue with technology today is the culture of instant gratification it has created.  Many people can’t function without checking their email or social media sites constantly.  Instead of face-to-face conversations, they communicate in short bursts via texting, Facebook or Twitter.  Companies exploit their clients to generate more sales by promising products that are faster than their rivals, and consumers buy into it because they crave even more immediacy.

“The unmistakable message people receive in both the workplace and marketplace is that faster is better,” writes Ronald Alsop, a freelance journalist and book author as well as longtime reporter and editor for The Wall Street Journal.  His article, Instant Gratification & Its Dark Side, explores the effect of technology on the millennial generation (those born during the 1980s and 1990s).

Unfortunately, in the quest for instant gratification, it is easy to forget that there are real people on the other end.  Being compelled to comment or post something NOW causes people to simply react with words, rather than considering the effect their words may have on others.  That’s when we run into trouble.

I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to craving instant gratification, even without a smart phone.  I’m a social person so I like knowing what is going on, even though I don’t really need to know all the time.  There are times when my kids are more likely to converse through texts than they are in person, so I take advantage of that.  And yes, I enjoy some aspects of social media - it’s darned addicting!

That being said, when I participate in social media, I try to abide by some basic guidelines that I hope I have instilled in my own millenials:
– Don’t be rude.
– Think about your words.  How would they affect YOU if you were the intended recipient?
– Remember that what happens online stays online...forever.  It might come back to bite you.
– Sometimes you have to be the bigger person and just let things go.

Sometimes instant gratification is not all it’s cracked up to be!

How do you feel about technology and instant gratification?  Do you love it, or hate it?  Please share.

Friday, September 5, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe
A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling.
-Robert McKee

Thursday, September 4, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Becky Lower

Author Becky Lower shares how writing historical romances has turned into a pleasant history lesson. The Write Way Café welcomes her, as she shares her happy discovery of the American Cotillion.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I’ve always been a writer in some form or fashion—diaries in high school, the college newspaper, ad copy when I began working, chatty office newsletters. But the first time I thought about writing a book was when I saw an adult education class offered at the local community college called “Writing The Romance Novel.” I signed up, along with ten other women. To my knowledge, none of them moved beyond the ‘writing as a hobby’ stage. But I always knew I was meant to do something other than sell advertising and I found the answer by taking that class.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
I love reading Regency romances, but my heart is wrapped around American history. Lewis and Clark, Jedediah Smith, Thomas Jefferson–those men are my heroes. The light bulb moment for me came when I overheard someone talking about her daughter’s Cotillion Ball coming up. I realized America had a long-standing tradition of the Cotillion to introduce women into society, every bit as formal as the English Cotillions. I set out on a mission to discover when the first Cotillion ball was held in the United States. Of course, no one was writing about New York in the 1850s, so I had no interest from traditional publishing houses.  I was fortunate to find a small press who only cared if the story was good.

Where did the idea for your story come from?  
I wanted to create a series similar to what Julia Quinn did with her Bridgerton series, but I wanted it set in America. When I discovered the Cotillion had its introduction into New York society in 1854, that set the stage for my series.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
The setting for my stories evolved from the Cotillion’s introduction, but each book focuses on a different setting. So far, my characters have been in New York, St. Louis, Savannah, GA, the Bronx and back to New York.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
I’ve been told my books have a consistent theme of women’s rights and feminism. So, I guess there’s a bit of me in each book, since I’ve rebelled against the restraints placed on women in the advertising world from when I first got into the business. A gentleman who had graduated from college the same time I did was hired the same day I was, but because he was a man, he got the job of Junior Account Executive, and I became a proofreader. It took me an entire year to work up to Junior Account Executive. That experience set the stage for my campaign for women’s rights in the workplace.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
I’m surprised, and lucky, that the era I chose to write about was so chock full of monumental events. I was aware of when the Civil War began, but I was not at all familiar with the railroad expansion opening the west, the many people who were involved with the abolitionist movement, the gold rush–things like that.  I love taking small events from history and placing my characters in the middle of things. Fancy New York restaurants had secret rooms to hide slaves on the run, bridges built to accommodate railroads collapsing during a hard rain, the harshness of life on the edge of civilization–it’s like Rose and Jack on the Titanic. Seeing how my characters deal with actual events happening in the era I’ve placed them is what makes my job so enjoyable.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about Cotillion balls, Ojibwa Indians, and women’s rights in 1855 New York? 
If American history could be taught in the way I’m now learning it, I would have been a much better student! With each book, I learn something new about how America grew in its early years. The wagon trains pulling out every spring from St. Louis and St. Joseph, the railroad tracks steadily weaving their way across the land, the clash of cultures, with Indians, former slaves and white men all trying to carve out a place in this new country.  These are the things that keep drawing me back to historical romance. What I learned about my process though, is that I need to take a break from the past and write a fun contemporary. I usually have heroines who have been around the block a time or two, and finally get up the gumption to find their own chance at love.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
Of course, Julia Quinn’s books are among my all-time favorites. I also have a deep love for Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor. I’ve recently become a fan of Sarah Maclean. But I also have a contemporary side, and will read everything Nora Roberts publishes, as well as a host of other contemporary authors.

What are you working on now? 
I just started book seven in my Cotillion Ball Series. It’s about the Pony Express, which was an exciting time in American history. It features the youngest brother of the Fitzpatrick family, Valerian, and a girl on the run, who poses as a boy working with the Express riders. The history of the Pony Express, how it was laid out, why it began, and how quickly it faded into the history books, is the stuff I crave. I hope to share some of my excitement about this time with my readers.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
I do write contemporary romances, to take a break from the heavy research needed for historicals. I have a time travel story that’s been stuck in my head for years. Someday, I’ll write that one. And I’d love to tackle a light paranormal, with ghosts, or something. So many ideas, so little time.

About Becky:  Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s or present day middle America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com

In 1859, ladies of New York society were expected to do three things well: find a husband, organize a smooth-running household, and have children.

Rosemary Fitzpatrick’s agenda is very different. As the author of the popular Harry Hawk dime novels, she must hide her true identity from her new publisher, who assumes the person behind the F. P. Elliott pen name is male. She must pose as his secretary in order to ensure the continuation of her series. And in the midst of all this subterfuge, her mother is insisting that she become a debutante this year.

Henry Cooper is not the typical Boston Brahmin. Nor is he a typical publisher. He’s entranced by Mr. Elliott’s secretary the moment they meet, and wonders how his traditional-thinking father will react when he brings a working class woman into the family. Because his intentions are to marry her, regardless.

Rosemary’s deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion ball, when Henry recognizes her. The secretarial mask must come off, now that he knows she is a member of New York society. But she can’t yet confess who she truly is until she knows if Henry will accept her as F. P. Elliott.

The more time they spend together, the closer they become. But when Rosemary reveals her true identity to him, will Henry be able to forgive her or has her deceit cost her the man she loves?

Available at Amazon

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with DC Stone

The Write Way Café welcomes author D.C. Stone, who shares the discovery of her writing process and how her day job contributes to her writing projects. 

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
You know, I often feel awkward when I answer this question, because truth be told, I never was a big reader, nor did I ever think I wanted to become an author. My love for romance was something I discovered in my early twenties, and it wasn’t until six years ago that I really took a different look toward writing my own book.

I’ve been known to read at least two-three books a week, sometimes more if they are shorter. My most peaceful time, the moments I want to relax, are often behind a good romance novel. It got to the point where Mr. Stone was coming to me, baffled at the amount I’d be spending on books. And let’s not get started on how the librarians would make sure to get out of my way when I’d visit them.

The thought of writing my own book just evolved over time. I had characters in my head for days, books that I couldn’t let go of, and I thought, “I want to be able to give this to a reader, this feeling that they don’t want to put my book down or say goodbye to my characters.” The next day I picked up my laptop and the rest, as they say, is history.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
Both books I’ve recently released, WHAT COULD HAVE and INTIMATE DANGER, are very near and dear to my heart and yet, they are very different stories. For the first few years of writing I struggled to find my voice, and subcategory of romance. It wasn’t until I sat back and really thought about what I’ve done with my life (I’m an internal affairs investigator for my 9 to 5, and have served in the military as a criminal investigator) that it really clicked and my subcategory was discovered. I write military romance and romantic suspense because those are the world’s I know. They are what I’ve been through, and what I’m in constant contact with.

The research behind INTIMATE DANGER involved me asking a lot of questions with different federal agents I work with, on top of doing hours and hours of reading on a case I had discovered. I wanted to find a way to translate a form of that investigation and crime into a romantic suspense book. At first, the book edged more toward a thriller aspect, but eventually, with tweaks from my former agent and editor, it became a beautiful and highly intense story.

WHAT COULD HAVE is based a bit on my personal background, at least that’s how I built my heroine in it. I’ve had close friends and other writers who know me often tell me of the resemblance as well. It’s a heady thing to know I got that right.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I chose Nyack, New York as I used to work in that village a few years ago and fell in love. I tried to keep my setting in INTIMATE DANGER as close to Nyack as I possibly could, with just a few creative liberties. Anyone who picks up the book will notice a lot of the village’s same features and roads, though, and that was important to me so I could also have my readers fall in love with the same place. Mind you, this really is a village where police officers take time out of their days to help little old ladies cross the street. It’s lovely.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are a little of both. Each do have their own individual quirks that I relate to either myself or people close to me, but I do that because I love who those individuals are in my life and want to show others the same. (Bear with me here as I give a few examples and yes, I’m laughing as I explain).

For instance, Trent Rossi in INTIMATE DANGER is based not entirely, but partly on my husband. When I first met Mr. Stone, I thought he was entirely too cocky, and I told him as much. He then responded with, “Honey, there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness, but I know where I stand there.” It’s true, and now, ten years later I see it, too. Trent gives off this type of confidence in his book and is often described the same way.

Also in INTIMATE DANGER, there is a secondary character, Dwayne, who has his own story in INTIMATE FEAR, book two of the Empire Blue series. He’s based in part on my lovely sister-in-law. There’s a line in INTIMATE DANGER that I’ve heard her use before. And I tell you what, if you can identify it and email me, then I’ll give you a copy of INTIMATE FEAR for free.

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 think there’s any writer that doesn’t come into some sort of block in the process of writing their book. It always comes up, sort of like a little monster under the bed. I did face a few blocks with both books. With WHAT COULD HAVE I knew I had a book that I couldn’t categorize with Romance specifically. It had romantic elements, but it wasn’t a full out romance. That was a cause of concern for me because my readers have come to expect specifics from me and this was going out of my and their comfort zones. I tried to change the book, but in the end, I changed it all back because it became something I didn’t want it to be.

I found it prudent to remain true to myself and with what my characters had wanted, rather than forcing them in another direction. The story didn’t seem so pushy after that and their interactions flowed very nicely.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
You know, I have to say I will gobble up anything written by Julie Ann Walker and Joan Swan. These two authors give me so much inspiration to really get going and get my own work out there. I finish with one of their books and I feel as if I could move the world. Then, after I’m done moving the world, I pick their books back up and read them all over again. Julie Ann and Joan give me the same feeling I’ve always strived to give my readers: I don’t want to put their books down, and I want to read them again as soon as I’m done. They are two very talented and remarkable women.

What are you working on now?
I’m actually working on two separate pieces right now. One is the third book in my romantic suspense series, Empire Blue. This story is giving me an emotional tug of war with everything my characters are going through. And to top it off, I have a secondary character who is also doing his own form of struggling, in the K-9 pawed variety. It deals a lot with post-traumatic stress syndrome and it’s not only the human individuals that go through it. What I’m hoping to accomplish is a way of healing with all parties involved, that will also bring them together as a cohesive unit.  It’s requiring a lot of research and questions to K-9 handlers I know, people I’ve served with, and veterinarians in the area. To say this is an icebreaker and a shock to them would be an understatement.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I actually would love to try my hand at thrillers, but I don’t know if I’d be a good fit, because for me I love that romantic element in there. I have found that there is a fine line between thriller and romantic suspense, and if you edge too far one way, you lose everything you have for the other. There is no absolute scale that will allow you to keep one or the other and still be able to market it to both sides with readers. To step outside of the box that is romance would be a challenge I’d love to try—that is, after I have a few more years of writing under my belt. With my background, though, I do think it could be plausible.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Exactly what I’m doing now for my daytime job. I love investigations and solving the puzzle of “who done it?” Working through each of the steps within an investigation takes patience, an analyzing mind, and the ability to think outside of the box in order to try and see what the true motivation is for the crime that’s been committed. I’ve been in the world of Criminal Justice for fifteen years, and I hope to continue on that path for another fifteen. When I need a break from the harsh reality of those crimes and the people whose lives are being affect as a result, sitting down and writing a good romance is my way of escape. I get to give a happy ending when in my day job there typically aren’t any.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
My favorite hero/heroine are always the ones I’m currently working on, and at this moment, Chris and Jorja are no exception. Meet this guy who is a K-9 handler, who has secrets and worries that astound many, and then watch as this strong woman, who has fears of her own, come in to help Chris and his dog, DA, heal. It’s beautiful to see and humbling to write.

About D.C. Stone:  
D.C. Stone is a romance author and full-time fraud investigator. She lives in the north-east with her incredibly supporting husband and two kids. She’ll deny any association with the grumpy cat that also resides in the house, but he is there, never-the-less.

After serving eight years of service with the United States Air Force, she went on to transition into the world of financial crimes and became a lead investigator for many years.

Reading has always been a passion of hers, getting lost in a good, steamy romance is one of her favorite past times. She soon after discovered her own love for writing and recreating stories and characters in her head.

Her writing concentrates on romantic with specifics in paranormal, suspense and erotica.

Now, when she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world of fraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, RomVets, RWA Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. She currently serves as the Vice President and 2014 Conference Chair for NJRW.

Come stop by on Facebook, Twitter, or her website and say hello!
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