Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Augustina Van Hoven

Augustina Van Hoven

In 1882, Rose Van Buren loved the wrong man and paid for it with her life. Now, more than a century later, the angel Gabriel has granted her another shot at living. In exchange, she must convince a smart, handsome, up-and-coming lawyer to set aside his lofty ambitions.


Stephen Winship is headed straight for the governor’s chair. He has a brilliant career, solid allies, and a seemingly perfect girlfriend. But night after night he finds himself dreaming of a heavenly beauty, a luminous but long-dead girl. Like some altered Ghost of Christmas Past, she shows him her own tragic tale in order to “save him.” And he’s beginning to see Rose is risking her heart as much as baring her soul. Yet falling for her will cost him everything—and open him up to a happiness he never imagined.

Amazon          Barns and Noble          Smashwords          

From Boroughs Publishing


          Stephen gave Rose a short bow and stretched out his right hand. “Miss Van Buren, may I have the honor of this dance?”
         Rose laughed. The sound was like a healing tonic. They took their places on the dance floor with the shadows of the past. He held her close as he guided her over the well-manicured lawn, weaving between the other couples. She was too beautiful to be real, and that smell of roses she always carried—he knew he was dancing with an angel.
         Rose’s eyes were bright with pleasure as they moved around the lawn. The other Rose glided past them in the arms of a young man in a gray suit.
         “Who was that?” Stephen asked.
         “The brewer’s son. He was a nice young man, but my father didn’t approve of him. Papa wanted me to have an easier life than he had, so he needed me to marry well. The brewer’s family worked long hours each day in their business.”
         Rose lifted her head and looked into Stephen’s eyes. “May I ask you something?” she said.
         “Anything you like.” He smiled back at her.
         “Why did you go into politics?”
         Stephen blinked. The question took him by surprise.
         “I guess I got into it because of my dad.”
         Rose tilted her head and scrunched up her adorable forehead.
         “Your father wanted you to be a politician?”
         “I don’t know. I didn’t really know him. He died when I was two.” Stephen shot a
glance at Peter Van Buren, who was talking to a group of men on the far side of the lawn.
         Rose frowned. “I don’t understand.”
         Stephen smiled at her. “All the time I was growing up, my mother told me stories of
my father, of how he was interested in politics and had been planning to run for office. After I finished law school and landed a job at my firm, an opportunity came up to run for the legislature, and I took it. I guess politics is my way of having a connection with my dad.” He pulled Rose closer and twirled her on the dance floor.
         The orchestra began a new song, and Rose led Stephen toward the food tables along the back of the house. They cleared the crowd of couples entering and exiting the dance floor just in time to see John Jacob disappearing around the side of the house with Felicia.
         “Well, now, that’s interesting. Are they—” He didn’t finish his sentence but looked at Rose to check her reaction.
         She sighed. “Yes, it is exactly what you think.” She waved her arm and the scene around them dissolved and reformed. They were still at the party, but the band was now playing a different song and the light had changed slightly.
         “Watch the door.” Rose pointed to the French double doors they had passed through at the beginning of the party. Felicia slipped quietly through them, glancing from side to side to see if anyone had noticed her. Her lips looked slightly swollen and her skin was flushed. A few stray hairs were out of place from her fancy hairstyle, and her dress looked a little wrinkled. She wound her way through the crowd, stopping to stand next to a large matronly woman who looked her up and down and frowned.
         Rose turned to Stephen. “That’s Felicia’s Aunt Miriam. She was Felicia’s chaperone for the party.” They watched as Aunt Miriam thanked her hostesses for the lovely evening and led her niece through the French doors and into the house.
         Stephen looked around and spotted John Jacob talking to a group of young men in a corner of the yard near the orchestra. He didn’t look as ruffled as Felicia, but his shirt was more wrinkled than it had been. He wore a smug expression. Stephen wanted to wipe that smile off the man’s face with his fist.
         Rose from the past twirled in front of John in the arms of another young man. John’s expression went from cocky to angry in an instant. Stephen tightened his fists, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. John had already had Felicia that evening and now he wanted Rose too.
         He shook his head and turned to face Rose. She wore a look of concern. He gave her a weak smile. He needed to get a grip. He was getting angry about something that happened in the 1800s.
“Let’s dance.”

About Augustina:  Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats.   She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy.  When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or, in the winter months, crochet and knit on her knitting machines.

Where to find Augustina:     Twitter: @augustinavhoven       Facebook

Friday, June 26, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe
In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.
- Nikos Kazantzakis

Thursday, June 25, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Rich Amooi

The Write Way Café welcomes Rich Amooi, who pulls from his experiences and love of romantic comedies to create fun, light-hearted romances.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance? 
     My wife knew how much I loved romantic comedies and heard some fun radio commercials I had written, so she convinced me to take some creative writing classes for fiction. I ended up taking four classes at Stanford between 2010 and 2012. I started writing short stories and many of them were romantic comedies. After she read my twenty-page short story, Five Minutes Late, she loved it so much she said I had to make it into a novel. Isn’t it great having someone who believes in you so much? I took her advice and that was my debut novel!

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
     I did a ton of research online because I knew I didn’t want to have a traditional publishing contract. I wanted complete control, to be my own boss. I researched everything I needed to know about self-publishing, writing, hiring cover designers, hiring editors, selling books online, formatting ebooks, having an author platform where people could find you, etc. I learned a lot by reading posts in the Writer’s Café forum on Kboards from authors who were already self-published and selling books.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     Dog Day Wedding was another book that started out as a short story in my creative writing class. The title is based on the 1975 Al Pacino movie, Dog Day Afternoon. In the movie, Pacino robs a bank and ends up taking everyone hostage.
     My story is a lot lighter since it’s a romantic comedy, but the final scene is three chapters long and includes a wedding with hostages. Don’t worry, nobody dies and there’s plenty of red velvet cake for everyone! As for the inspiration behind the story, I love weddings and wanted to do something fun and crazy.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
     I picked it because it was local and I knew it! Can’t get much easier than that! In fact, my first four books are set in small cities very close to my home in Silicon Valley.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     I think there are pieces of me in many of my characters. How scary! LOL.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
     Dog Day Wedding was the easiest to write out of the three books I’ve written so far and I’m not sure why. I wrote it in November of 2014 when I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I am still trying to find the system that works best for me and I think I work better and faster with pressure and when I plot as many things out as possible ahead of time. Keep in mind that is completely opposite of what I did when I wrote short stories because with those I would just write and see where the story took me.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
     I usually learn a lot when I have to do research for one of the characters. In Dog Day Wedding the hero, Giovanni, makes guitars for a living. It was fascinating to find out how they are made and how much some of these hand-made guitars sell for.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about romantic comedies; about cops and shotgun weddings? 
     I’ve learned that I am still learning! The response to my books so far has been amazing but my writing is not where I want it to be. I want to continue to improve my craft. Reading helps me with my writing, that’s for sure, so I need to read more. I’ve learned that writing can be very difficult at times and there have been more than a few occasions where I wanted to scream or pull my hair out.

What from your previous jobs as a DJ and radio personality has translated into something useful in your writing? 
     I’ve been to over 1500 weddings and I’m considered an expert when it comes to wedding receptions. Lucky for me many romance novels have wedding scenes, so they are pretty easy for me to write. I also have plans to write a romantic comedy that is set in a radio station and don’t think I will encounter too many difficulties.

Was it hard to switch gears and build a writing career? 
     I must admit it hasn’t been too difficult. I knew what I wanted to do and just had to figure out how to do it. I researched for months. I still research now! I do need to stay focused because it is very easy to get distracted when you are working from home.

Describe situations you’ve encountered where writing romance, a female-dominated genre, proved interesting, intimidating, fun, different. 
     One of the first pieces of advice I received when I consulted publishing experts at the beginning was to use a female pen name instead of my real name. The thought was that women would feel more comfortable (and prefer) reading a romance novel written by a woman. But some of the most popular romantic comedies in Hollywood were written by men and I wanted to be attached to the story. I love romantic comedies so much and I wanted everyone to know that there are men out there that do. I also figured that the women who love romantic comedies were open minded enough to try a romantic comedy from a man. Because the bottom line is, we all just want to be entertained.
     I haven’t encountered any situations working in a female-dominated field. I find it quite fun being one of the few men doing it and other romance authors I’ve met have been so supportive. I can’t wait to get together with 2500 romance writers in New York for the Romance Writers of America conference. My wife is going with me since she just started her first romance novel. 

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     We have an office but I don’t like it for writing because the desk faces the wall and it’s kind of a boring place to write. My three writing spaces at home are the dining room, the family room, and the backyard. My favorite one is in the backyard under the patio cover in front of the water fountain. It allows me to relax and write, while listening to the water of the fountain and the birds singing. There is also a hummingbird feeder almost directly over my head so I enjoy them as well, many of them hovering right in front of my face.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, The Best Man by Kristan Higgins, and Stop the Wedding! By Stephanie Bond. I love love love fun romance novels with humor. Now you know why I write them!

What are you working on now? 
     I’m just getting ready to publish my third romantic comedy, Kissing Frogs, so I am in the beginning stages of the next one, Mr. Crotchety. This is the story of a bitter, cranky (Crotchety!) man who gave up on love after losing his wife, but then meets the most positive woman in the world. One thing is for sure, he’s either going to kill her or he’s going to marry her. Can you guess which one? LOL.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     I am obsessed with romantic comedies and want to continue down that path. I may write a few parodies but my first eight books I know for sure will be rom-coms. I do have plans to take all of the short stories I wrote at Stanford and put them in an anthology, but that doesn’t have much priority right now.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
     I already had my first dream job when I was on the radio. My second dream job is writing romantic comedies. Yay! If I had to choose something else, I would say it would be a professional soccer player. I played soccer for over 25 years when I was younger and absolutely love the sport.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
     Keeping track of all the different parts of the story. That drives me nuts. I think once I find the best way to plot my stories, it will be a hundred times easier. I’m trying a new outlining method with Mr. Crotchety to hopefully better manage everything, so hopefully this is it. Cross your fingers!

Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy's Perspective

Amazon US           Amazon UK

About Rich:  
     Rich Amooi is a former Silicon Valley radio personality and wedding DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster and has a hairy golden retriever/lab mix that likes to eat carrots, tuna, and Manchego cheese imported from Spain.
     He believes (Rich, not the dog) in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

Learn more about Rich on Social Media!
Facebook          Twitter          Google+   
Goodreads        YouTube


Tuesday, June 23, 2015 | By: Lynn

Human Nature

I’ve been in shock for weeks. Ever since I first heard on the local news that a young woman put her ex-boyfriend’s puppy in a 300 degree hot oven, closed the door and propped a chair against the door, I have been upset. It’s unbelievably horrifying that a human could and would do such a terribly heartless thing. If you want to be as shocked as me, read the report in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette .

I try not to think about it. My brain is as horrified as the rest of me and seems to need to repeat intricate thoughts of the experience for the puppy before he or she died. An innocent animal is picked up by a familiar person, having no expectation of what is to come. He’s suddenly set on searing hot metal and cries out. No one helps him.

See? My brain can’t accept it.

In my fiction writing, people get hurt and people suffer and people die.  But it’s fiction. In my current series, Fierce Hearts, the main characters are not human, they are were-lynxes.  Being half-human, half-animal affects how they present and experience the world. It influences how they treat the planet and the beings that populate it. The Fierce Hearts series books deal with diabolical activities committed by the bad guys. Human bad guys.

In the first book, Secrets, the bad guys are people who have joined together to form The Nexus Group in order to create a world more to their liking, and in the process hurt humans and animals alike. The colony, led by Casey Mitchell, understands the ways of humans but it’s not in their nature as were-lynxes to cause arbitrary and selfish destruction. They accept the responsibility of thwarting the bad guys for the better good and use their keen senses and special abilities to end the chaos. And in the midst of the colony’s problems and personal issues, the hero, Casey, and the heroine, Michelle, find love.

In the next book, Cravings, the colony’s problems with TNG expand. During a rescue of animals at a TNG research facility, the colony discovers the group has stolen children from were-lynx families to groom them for contributing to the take-over of all resources and power. One of those children, Kennedy, has grown up, and now, rescued by the colony from a dangerous drug project, has to address the trauma she’s endured her whole life. The colony, comprised of Casey Mitchell, Asher Monroe and his sister Lara Monroe, Conrad Pike, Booker Chase and his wife Shaun, Asia Blue, Lara Monroe, and Tizzy Sands, welcome her into their family-like circle and help her to unlearn destructive ways. In the process, she, too, finds love with a fellow colony cat, Asher.

However, the battle continues as TNG seems to be unstoppable. In the third book, Heartfelt, the were-lynxes discover the next horrifying plan in the works for TNG is to create a hunter’s paradise, providing captive big game to hunt. It’s a shoe-in who will triumph in the so-called hunt. The humans. Asia and Conrad, BFFs, are drawn into the machinations of TNG, when Asia discovers her alcoholic mother has been kidnapped and is a subject in TNG’s research projects conducted by Phoenix Biosciences. Each were-lynx has a special ability at their disposal, and when they shimmer into lynx form, they are ferocious, strong, and fearsome. Still, the conflict pushes the were-lynxes ‘abilities to the edge. The lynxes have an advantage over the humans by nature. But they are at a disadvantage, as the humans will stop at nothing to win the struggle. Casey’s colony members respect life. All life.  And are rewarded with sorrow and loss and self-respect and love, as Asia and Conrad become more than just best friends.

So you see, while I write stories with real-life inner conflicts and put characters in dire situations, I can make characters with strong morality and kindness and respect for life. It doesn’t change the way real people conduct themselves and I’m no judge. But it does offer me a bit of “setting things right” when atrocities occur at the hands of people. While people are awesome and complex and capable of kindness and generosity and great intelligence and creativity, we are capable of poor choices and causing great harm. It’s human nature.
Friday, June 19, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
- Edward de Bono

Thursday, June 18, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Dana Tanaro Britt

The Write Way Café welcomes Dana Tanaro Britt, a self-claimed dreamer, a wisher, a liar, and a magic bean buyer, traits she draws from to write her books.

Dana is giving away e-copies of Shades of Blue to 5 lucky commenters.  Please leave a comment for a chance to win.  Be sure to check our giveaways page in about a week to see if you're a winner!

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember—I suppose from when I could actually write. By the same token, my first thought to writing romance probably came along as soon as I was old enough to know what romance was. I’m a people person, relationships fascinate me and thus romance is intriguing.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
     As with all of my story ideas, a spark happens and then the story takes on a life of its own.  Shades of Blue was originally sparked by my sorrow for an acquaintance who had suddenly lost her husband, one of my deepest fears.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
     I chose the setting for Shades of Blue--based on islands in the South Pacific--because I needed it to be a far-flung place, someplace Charlie felt would be the edge of the world, so to speak.  In addition, it needed to be magical and idyllic in contrast to Charlie’s grief.  As I was freezing amid an Indiana winter at the time, I also wanted to immerse myself in an island story filled with sunshine and warmth!

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
     My main characters are always a product of my imagination with traits or quirks that I might have seen or experienced in real life. That’s the way this writer’s mind works, it gathers bits n bobs whilst living daily life and sometimes those things show up in a story.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
     No blocks--my secret is that I’m a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a magic bean buyer (click here for explanation) *laughs* In truth, my stories happen organically. I don’t plan them, I simply write them down as they come to me. If a story isn’t flowing, then it’s because I’ve let something distract me and I need to walk away, to change my scenery in order to let things return to what happens naturally.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about tropical islands, safe harbors, and firefighters-turned-fishermen? 
     Writing Shades of Blue was an incredible experience on so many levels. I learned so much, it’s rather baffling. I learned that the revision process—I like to call it renovating—is just as exciting as the first draft. The first draft captures the story while the renovation polishes it up for company.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
     I can pretty much write anywhere I feel the need to, but am so lucky to have a study in the house as well as a big porch from which to write. The most important part of my writing space inside is the double windows—I’m a windows wide open girl, seeing outside makes me happy and I don’t feel closed in. I spend a lot of time gazing out that window! Books and more books, pictures, odds and ends that make me smile, while not necessary for writing, are bonus.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
     We might be here awhile with such a question! *laughs* Okay, let’s see…I adore the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for a king among men in the form of Jamie Fraser, but also for the fascinating world that is built around him and Claire. Absolutely nothing in their lives can be depended upon except their love for one another— a love that’s repeatedly tried and tested yet still strong.
     I also love Maeve Binchy’s stories—specifically Nights of Rain and Stars and Evening Class, but all of them are dear to me. Maeve’s stories weave a rich tapestry of friendship, of love—both romantic and platonic—and Ireland. The people are the focus, living their ordinary yet extraordinary lives, weaving in and out of each other’s worlds.
     While I can’t name a specific title, Nora Roberts’ books top my favorites list, as well. Her stories bring not only romance but friendships and connections.

What are you working on now? 
     Right now I am working on the book to follow Shades of Blue, a second book in the Island Sanctuary series—same setting, different characters. That being said, you just might see a familiar face or two from Shades of Blue.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
     I didn’t set out to write in a specific genre in the first place, I just wrote the story that came to me. I love a story that has deep friendships as well as intimate couple relationships and I always want a happy ending for the main characters—always.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     My dream has always been to be a mother and a writer—I’m living that dream, every day is an incredible gift. To say I’m a lucky girl doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
     My all time favorite fiction hero is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. It’s no wonder he’s been dubbed a king among men or that fans often say Jamie raises the bar for husbands everywhere, he is the ultimate fiction hero with his abiding loyalty and love for those he loves—Claire, above all. Interestingly enough, what drew me to Jamie most was how so many of his characteristics remind me of That Husband o’ Mine, my own personal Hero. Again, so lucky.

“I can promise you one thing will stay the same—me.”
She wants to get lost in her memories.
He wants her to find her way home.

  Heart-broken and reeling with grief, Charlie flees to a far-flung tropical island in search of a safe haven where she can let her treasured memories consume her. Hiding away from the world, she battles nightmares and fresh tragedy while trying to make sense of her new reality.
     Living his island dream, firefighter-turned-fisherman Gabe Montgomery is determined to be Charlie’s port in her storm of pain and loss. Blindsided by life-changing revelations from his own past followed by the possibility of terrifying personal loss, Gabe realizes that sometimes letting go is as much a part of love as holding on.
When Charlie and Gabe acknowledge their powerful connection and cling to one another for comfort and hope, both face a frightening dilemma: surrender to the past, or face the challenge and promise of a future together.
Will the memories and mistakes of the past consume them or can Charlie and Gabe hold fast to each other and the hope that will bring them to promising future together?

Amazon         Barnes & Noble

About Dana:  Once upon a time, a sassy Kentucky girl fell in love with a handsome Hoosier boy. What followed is a still-unfolding story filled with laughter, children...and pizza--yes, pizza.  When Dana Britt is not writing stories of hope, home and happily ever after, she can be found porch sitting with a book in hand. Her idea of a perfect day is a road trip that includes sunshine, taking pictures and spending time with her own Hero and two young adult children. Dana often shares bits about it all online at DanaBritt.com--she'd love for you to stop by!

Website      Facebook     Twitter

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Regan Walker

Regan Walker

“A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!”


All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear... her.


The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.


About Regan:  Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits were encouraged. One of her professors suggested a career in law, and she took that path. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown.” Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” Each of her novels features real history and real historic figures. And, of course, adventure and love.  Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.
You can find Regan here:    
Blog     Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
Facebook          Goodreads          Pinterest Storyboard

Friday, June 12, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe
With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
- Thomas Foxwell Buxton
Thursday, June 11, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Traci Andrighetti

The Write Way Café welcomes Traci Andrighetti, an award-winning author who pulls from personal experience, a twisted imagination and sense of humor to write her books. 

Leave a comment for a chance to win one of 5 e-copies of Rosolio Red!  PLEASE leave your email address in your comment so we can contact you if you win!

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
Actually, the first book I wrote was my dissertation (yawn). I’m very grateful to graduate school for teaching me that a book is just a series of short papers strung together. Once I’d figured that out, I realized that I could write a work of fiction—and that it would be a hell of a lot more fun. Anyway, that’s how Limoncello Yellow, the first book in the Franki Amato mysteries, came into being. By the way, I’m thrilled to announce that Limoncello Yellow has been named a finalist in the mainstream mystery category for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Why? Because this means that I’m going to the “Death by Chocolate” awards ceremony in New York City! (I’m seriously in it for the chocolate.)

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I wrote “Rosolio Red” for an anthology of Christmas stories that Gemma Halliday published for only two months called Cozy Christmas Capers. The idea for the story came to me in the same way that the content for all my books does—from personal experiences, from things I’ve learned while traveling and studying language and culture, and, of course, from my twisted imagination and sense of humor (cue evil laugh).

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The story starts out in New Orleans because it’s the most wild, weird, and wonderful city in the United States, but it quickly takes the reader to Houston, which is Franki’s hometown and where I went to high school (Go, Clear Lake falcons!). The best part of setting the story in Houston was that readers get to meet Franki’s family in person, instead of over the phone. Her nonna is quite a force to reckon with on her home turf, and then there’s her brother Anthony...

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Glenda O’Brien, the sixty-something ex-stripper, is the only one of my recurring characters who is a complete figment of my imagination (although, she was inspired by a group of strippers I met when I had to make an emergency bathroom stop in Big Daddy’s strip club at ten a.m. one morning on Bourbon Street—the bathroom turned out to be their dressing room). Franki is the only character that shares any traits with me. She and I don’t always think alike, but we speak in the same bewildered/sarcastic style.

Did you face any blocks while writing the story, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
“Rosolio Red” just flowed out of me like a kind of therapy, because elements of her family dynamic come straight from mine (heavy sigh). When I write books, I don’t have blocks only because I plan about two-thirds of the plot in advance. The blocks come when I’m trying to outline my books. Now that’s murder.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My writing space is my bed or my couch. I need to be on my back with my head and knees propped up, preferably while semi-watching a rerun of Murder, She Wrote or some old mystery on Turner Classic Movies. Oh, and my dogs (Dagoberto, Fabiana, and Gigetta) are always there with me, driving me crazy with their licking and scratching. That combination of comfort and tension is key to creating a good cozy mystery. LOL

What are you working on now?
I’m writing Amaretto Amber, the third book in the Franki Amato mysteries, and I’m also putting together a synopsis of A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, which is the second book in my Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. Incidentally, the first book in that series is Deadly Dye and a Soy Chai, which comes out July 20th. Anyway, the synopsis for A Poison Manicure is seriously killing me.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?
I wouldn’t change genres for anything in the world, but sometimes I think I’d like to write a traditional mystery—a creepy one set in Italy, for example. It seems like it would be such a challenge to write a serious mystery, but on the other hand, I might get bored. I mean, without the laughs (yes, sometimes I actually crack myself up), I’m just not sure that writing would be as much fun.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I probably would have stayed in academia, teaching Italian and writing really nerdy papers about Italian linguistics. But I like to think that I would have become a tour guide, arranging fabulous trips to Italy that involved lots of food and fashion. I have a years-long love affair with the Gucci store on Rome’s Via Condotti, by the way.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Ugh, facial expressions, body language, and dialogue cues, i.e., phrases that inform the reader how the dialogue was delivered. It’s SO EASY to think of what characters would say in a given situation, but it’s SO HARD to describe how they said it and what they were doing with, like, their left thumb at the time. I actually ordered lessons from an online class about how to depict these things on paper, and it just frustrates me so much that I haven’t even been able to bring myself to read the notes. Ha, yeah. That’s me.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Smashwords

Kindle     Nook     Kobo     Smashwords

iTunes: forthcoming

Learn more about Traci:    Website          Amazon author page

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | By: HiDee

Writing Distractions

Despite having good intentions, interruptions often find their way into my writing time.  It’s a challenge to juggle writing time and responsibilities, to find a life balance that works for me.  But I refuse to quit trying!

I’m currently taking a workshop in which the leader has challenged us to set goals, to list the challenges we will face in meeting those goals, and to learn from both. Listing the challenges has helped me focus on ways to overcome them and make progress on my writing projects.

Weather – We’ve been in a stormy weather pattern here in Central Illinois lately.  Heavy rains punctuated with thunder and lightning have kept me off the computer during my normal writing times.  Even with surge protectors, I’d rather not take a chance on frying my computer.  Unfortunately, stormy weather always seems to hit when I don’t have a printout that includes my most recent edits, so I use a notebook to jot down ideas and brainstorm.  At least I am doing something writing related!  

Nice weather patterns are just as bad, especially in summer.  Since I’m cooped up in an office at the day job, I prefer to spend my evenings and weekends outside whenever I can, enjoying nature.  Long walks with my hubby and hiking in the local parks are definite distractions.  While the exercise is good for me after sitting all week, it doesn’t put words on the page.

Social media – I’m a social person, so some social media for me is fun.  It’s also addicting! If I stay offline too long, I find that little devil sitting on my shoulder, whispering about all I’m missing by not being online.  But if I want to make writing progress, I have to stay off the internet during my designated writing time.

Research – With the internet so readily available, it’s so easy to do research.  There are so many resources for just about any subject, it’s easy to spend hours surfing...or just wasting time looking at interesting information.  Once again, if I want to make progress, I have to stay offline.  Instead of rushing to search out something immediately, I’ve started inserting brackets with notes to “check XYZ” – and try to keep writing!  I also include any abstract ideas or related question. Once I have everything noted, I usually highlight the bracketed information to make it even easier to see on the page when I’m ready to start researching.

Reading – I’ve always been a voracious reader, and being a writer has not changed me.  Sometimes I need to take a break from writing – from every day life in general – and reading relaxes me.  It’s also very useful because my writing mind absorbs information when I read. If I’m struggling with how to handle something, reading offers a solution. It helps to see how other authors put all the pieces together. 

Family, friends, and responsibilities are my biggest writing distractions.  They are not easily overcome.   Instead, I strive to find a balance.  A calendar helps me keep track of responsibilities, and to plan time with family and friends.  Mapping out my week or month helps me to also schedule blocks of writing time.  Having it all in front of me allows me to see the bigger picture and be flexible enough to make it work for me.  

What are your biggest distractions and how do you combat them?  Please share!

Friday, June 5, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Maybe it's not about the happy ending.
Maybe it's about the story.
- Unknown
Thursday, June 4, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Regan Walker: What to do when you’re stuck and the words won’t come…

The Write Way Café welcomes Regan Walker, who shares her tips for busting writer's block.

As writers, we’ve all experienced that unfortunate time when the well of words dries up and we sit staring at our computer in desperation. To me it typically comes midway though the story, as it did in my latest novel, To Tame the Wind. It’s a seafaring romance set in Europe in the last year of the American Revolution—and the prequel to my Agents of the Crown trilogy.

So what to do when I hit the wall and nothing is coming to me? First, I should tell you I’m a pantser—I do not have an elaborate plot all drawn up when I begin. (I envy those people.) I like to let the history lead me and see where my characters take me. Usually I have an idea for the characters and the beginning. Sometimes the end. But the rest is magic.

So, I thought to share what I do to help me get writing again. Perhaps you will find one of these helpful. And I’d love to know what you do!

1. Since I’m an author of historical romance, I might dive into the history a little deeper to see if any ideas come to me. My stories are driven by history and real historic figures so more research might give me an idea of a new scene or a new character. In To Tame the Wind, it was the idea of a man living in 18th century Paris who might have a secret to hide and would need a marriage to provide him cover. I found him living among the young lawyers there. Of course, I then had to research the tavern he might hang out at.

2. I might go back and edit the last few chapters, sometimes I go all the way back to the beginning. Along the way, I pick up new ideas, so when I hit the end of what I’ve written, the next words sometimes just flow, along with the next scenes.

3. If I’m feeling particularly determined, I just force myself to stay at my computer and put words on the page, saying to myself I will come back and fix whatever is wrong tomorrow. Surprisingly, I find I have less to fix than I’d thought I would. It doesn’t work all the time, but when it does, I pat myself on the back for being willing to slog through the difficult parts.

4. When I can, I might skip to later scenes, maybe even the end if I have a thought of how I want to bring the threads together. Often those out of place scenes fit in just fine when I get to them.

5. When I am really worried, I go to lunch with one of my critique partners and tell her where I’m stuck. She may suggest an idea that has me saying, “Yes! Great idea. I can use that.” Then, when I get home, I can’t wait to begin writing again. I always take pen and paper to those luncheons so I can capture the idea as we are discussing it.

6. I might read a book. Somehow diving into an absorbing romance written by someone else takes me out of the stuck place. It works like greasing the skids. But I don’t reach for this too often as it takes me farther away from my own story.

7. Lastly, when all else fails, I take a break. I take a walk with my Golden Retriever, go shopping, listen to music (which often inspires scenes), or I bake (yes, I love to bake; you can see a few of my recipes on my website). There’s always Facebook, and email too, but I do those most days so they aren’t much of a break. In fact, that can be just another sort of work.

The point is to do whatever you can to move past the blank page—past that place where nothing is coming to you.

I would love to know what you do when you hit those rough places, so do share!

The Agents of the Crown trilogy of Regency romances now has a prequel, To Tame the Wind, a Georgian romance set in England and France in 1782. It's the story of Capt. Simon Powell, an English privateer, and the wild Claire Donet, a French pirate's daughter, who became the parents of Sir Martin and Capt. Jean Nicholas Powell, heroes in books 2 & 3. To Tame the Wind is also book 1 in the Donet duology. Echo in the Wind, the  story of Claire's dashing pirate father, is planned for 2016.

About Regan:  Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits were encouraged. One of her professors suggested a career in law, and she took that path. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown.” Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” Each of her novels features real history and real historic figures. And, of course, adventure and love. Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Ashley York - The Gentle Knight

Ashley York

The Gentle Knight

     A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won't be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?
     Padraig MacNaughton's death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she's ever wanted?
     Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?

Apple         Kobo         Amazon         Barnes and Noble

     I have wanted to be a writer since the sixth grade. My first story was a mystery and I discovered that my classmates loved it and it kept them guessing. I was a voracious reader, even at a young age, and loved the history in the novels I picked up. I was so enthralled with that history that I decided to get my MA in History. The early medieval period is my favorite, as you can tell from the novels I write.
     Although my works are fiction, I often like to incorporate authentic places, events, and people to increase the reader’s enjoyment. One of the more valuable lessons I have learned as a writer is the importance of using real history with the flair of artistic license. You’ll discover a world of fiction wrapped around historical people and events! I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I delight in writing them.
     I live in New England with my husband, two cats and a yellow Labrador named Caledonia.

Contact Ashley at ashleyyorkauthor@gmail.com