Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | By: HiDee

Summer Reading List

Summer is here – finally! In my neck of the woods, it seems like it’s been a long time coming. I think we pretty much skipped spring and went from cold to hot. But I’m not complaining!

I love the long, sunny days of summer. After being in an office all day, I look forward to evening walks with my husband. On weekends we try to spend at least one day visiting area parks, hiking and getting our nature fix. I always take my camera because you never know what you might see. I’ve captured shots of fawns, turtles, frogs, ducks, flowers, fungi, and bugs. And even though I hate snakes, my husband laughs at me because I feel compelled to take pictures of them – if I see them first. Getting outside is a great way to unwind and refuel, physically and mentally.

For those days when there isn’t time to visit a park, we hang out on the back patio. Shaded by big trees and landscaped with assorted flowers and bushes, several bird feeders and two birdbaths, we’ve designed our backyard to be an inviting place for a variety of birds, bunnies, squirrels, and ground squirrels. If we sit quietly, it doesn’t take long for them to go about their business. I can spend hours watching them all. Except when the hawk visits – then all the critters are scarce.

Usually, though, the better part of my patio time is spent reading. With a pitcher of iced tea and a good book, I can spend hours comfortably ensconced out there. The breeze rustling through the trees and the chattering of birds are comforting background noises that help me relax and escape into another world.

This summer, my patio reading list includes books by my favorite authors, as well as some new-to-me authors. Into the Whirlwind by Kat Martin, Susan Mallery’s Blackberry Island and Mischief Bay series, and Jill Gregory’s Cowboy Heroes Western Series are at the top of my list. I also plan to read Seabiscuit: An American Legend and Secretariat. Throw in some ebooks from the wonderful authors we’ve spotlights on The Write Way Café, and after that I’m open to suggestions!

What’s on your summer reading list?

Friday, May 27, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. 
- Thomas Jefferson
Thursday, May 26, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Getting to Know Rena Koontz

The Write Way Café welcomes Rena Koontz. Delightfully entertaining in life and in her stories, Koontz discusses her writing life and her newest upcoming release, Broken Justice, Blind Love.

Can I first say: Thank you HiDee and Lynn for hosting me today. This is the first time I’m talking about my new release, Broken Justice, Blind Love. I’m excited and nervous to share some details. Soul Mate Publishing releases the book on October 5th. I hope you like it.

Tell us a little about Broken Justice, Blind Love.
     For those who read my books, they know I always write about cops. Cops are the good guys and the good guys always win. Broken Justice, Blind Love is my first book where the cop is a woman. She’s a play-by-the-rules cop. Right and wrong for her is as clear as the black-and-white markings on her police cruiser.
     But when she meets and falls in love with a man who might be connected to a string of serial killings, her moral lines blur. All the evidence points to him as the killer and her police brain tells her to arrest him and stop the murders. Her heart tells her otherwise. In her heart she knows he is incapable of killing.
     My tagline sums up her dilemma:  Believe him and risk her career or arrest him and lose the man she loves?

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?  
     I was a career journalist and through the years I’ve had several good editors. One in particular taught me to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it and then write it. Sometimes I close my eyes in the middle of writing a scene and make sure my characters are doing all that.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     I’m not one for giving advice because – what do I know? If I were to offer someone guidance, I’d say know your story and write the book. Sit down and finish it. Write the beginning, the middle and the end. Then read it out loud. You’ll know whether or not it’s good.

What “keepers” are in your home library?

     My dog-eared copy of The Flame and the Flower has been a mainstay on my bookshelf since I read it in college. I’ve read it at least 50 times since. I can quote passages from the pages. I write romantic suspense but that’s the love story that caught my attention and made me want to be an author.
     Beside Kathleen Woodiwiss sit Brenda Novak, Patricia Cornwell and a host of other romantic suspense authors. Plus the books from my author friends.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     Hmmm – there is a little bit of me in each of my books. Bits and pieces of me usually comprise the main character. For example, in Love’s Secret Fire I’m the reporter covering the arson cases and riding along on a late night scary patrol in search of the firebug.
     In Thief Of The Heart I’m the burglary victim who is blown away by the police officer who responds to the call. And yes, together with my friend, I truly did scope out the pawn shops and find some of my missing jewelry.
     All of my heroines are stubborn, strong and passionate. Anyone who reads my books and knows me will recognize me.

What book do you wish you could have written?    
     Any book on the best seller list making tons of money.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

     Mind you, I made my living as a newspaper reporter and garnered several (two full boxes) writing awards, including recognition by the Associated Press. When I received a critique back from a contest judge who suggested I take writing classes before attempting to write another word, it cut me to the quick.  It was a lesson about how subjective this business truly is and, perhaps, how cruel other writers can be when they feel threatened by someone more talented.
     The best compliments are the readers who tell me they couldn’t put my book down and the ones who complain I’m not writing fast enough.

We’re adding books to our Café menu.  Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert?  What would you call it? 

     I’d like to be a drink, please. Like a fine wine. Full-bodied, deliciously flavorful and completely satisfying.  So good on your tastes buds, you’ll want more.  I’ll call it Rena’s Rich Romances.

What is your favorite social media?  Why?   
     I’m not a fan of social media at all. I like to stay private, which is difficult when I’m putting myself out there as an author. I’m working on my mindset.

Tell us about the book in your closet.

     I think it’s another contemporary romance. Crystal Clear Love is a contemporary romance while my other books, including my new release, Broken Justice, Blind Love, are romantic suspense novels.
     But I have a shoebox full of old love letters and cards from a former boyfriend. I know there’s a story in there.

And now for the fun stuff!  

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?
     I’d say an exclamation mark. Think about it. I can be surprised, stupid, angry or emphatic. I can snap or even shout. And I can be happy!

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality? 
     I’m a glass is half-full person, which works well with my husband who won’t even say the glass is half empty. He simply says the glass is bone dry. So I’m a good counter-balance, sometimes to the point of being naïve. But that’s okay.

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
     I read the credits on TV shows and movies. Read them to the very end.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     Definitely a dog person although if you have a cat I’ll give it some lovin’. But for me it’s dogs all the way, which is ironic because as a child I was afraid of dogs. In fact, my friend had to lock her St. Bernard in the basement whenever I visited. Now, I can’t imagine my home without one. (Used to be two).

What is your favorite season and why?
     Easier to answer the season I like least – winter. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, lived for 13 years in Cleveland, OH, and then moved to Decatur, IL. All of those locations see snow and lots of it. When it came time for us to relocate again we tossed the snow shovels. I’m happy as can be in sunny Florida (on the Gulf side). For me the hotter the better.

Coming October 5, 2016
Broken Justice, Blind Love
     He is a suspect. An accused killer. And Trish Kleerey is the law. Patrolman Kleerey stands tall, speaks with an assertive tone, and sees right and wrong as clearly as her black and white cruiser. Commit a wrong and face the consequences. But her strict moral code is challenged when her investigation into a series of murders incriminates the man she loves. Her training tells her to arrest him. Her heart screams otherwise.
     Bryan DeJewel feels the line between love and the law blur when Trish starts asking him questions about the serial killings. The Trish Kleerey he knows is soft, warm, and capable of bringing him to his knees with desire, but that passion isn’t enough to build a lasting relationship. It’s as plain as her black and white cruiser: If she loves him, she must trust him.
     But the choice is not so simple for Trish. Believing Bryan means turning her back on the evidence, breaking the rules and risking her career to prove his innocence.
     Meanwhile, the real killer watches and waits, hoping she’ll fall into his deadly trap. Will Trish listen to her heart and choose love, or strap on her gun and enforce the law?

About Rena:   "Rena Koontz broke into the publishing world in 2012 with her debut novel, “Love’s Secret Fire.” It was quickly followed by “The Devil She Knew” and “Thief Of The Heart,” – all three romantic suspense novels that critics praised for keeping readers on the edge of their seats.
     But Rena had a love story in mind, just begging to be told – the book of her heart. “Crystal Clear Love” is Rena’s first contemporary romance, inspired by childhood friends and memories, and fictionalized from stories gleaned from her career as a journalist. Working as a news reporter at two of the country’s top 20 newspapers provided a writing journey that took Rena into the sports arena, politics, feature writing, editorial writing, and, her favorite, cops and courts. Along the way she met killers and kids who left an impression, victims and victors who beat the odds, and reported stories on life, loss and love.
     While another contemporary percolates in her head, she releases her third romantic suspense on October 5, titled Broken Justice, Blind Love.
     Her novels are the realization of a lifelong dream to write stories that combine romance, suspense and strong female characters designed to mirror today’s women.
     A Pittsburgh native, Rena lives in Central Florida.
     Visit Rena at www.renakoontz.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: A Journey Home with Angela Scavone

Angela Scavone

     Stephanie Tyler’s sole job is to fly overseas to war torn areas of the world to retrieve and escort the bodies of fallen soldiers back home to the United States. It is a tough and emotional job but she is honored for the privilege. Her duty also helps her to escape her past and her failed marriage.                                                     But those flights have become increasingly more dangerous and she is forced to have a partner accompany her. Much to Stephanie’s surprise and dismay, she is partnered up with her ex-husband, Captain “D.A.” Douglas Aston.             
     From the moment Captain D.A. enters the scene, he irritates her. It could have something to do with the fact he slept with her best friend while they were married. As they go on several missions together, Stephanie is forced to be courteous and professional with D.A. even though the very sight of him irritates her beyond comprehension.
     Then, Stephanie’s cheating, husband stealing, ex-best friend is killed in Afghanistan and Stephanie and D.A. must escort her body home. While executing this difficult duty, a myriad of conflicting emotions makes Stephanie ponder how short life really is . . . and to question her own ability to forgive. 

Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: Some explicit language


Angela Scavone lives in Ontario, Canada sharing her home with her father and her two much-loved pups (and one evil cat).  She currently works for the Board of Education behind the scenes supporting and analyzing student data, however, in her spare time, apart from her avid love of storytelling, she likes to read, spend time with family and friends and concoct dairy free recipes from scratch. Sometimes she wins some, and sometimes she loses some – tofu, banana and peanut butter pudding we are looking at you.

Facebook      Twitter       Goodreads       Pinterest

Friday, May 20, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Don't fear making a mistake; fear failing to learn and move forward. 
- Pilip Humbert
Thursday, May 19, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Hey, Lady! That's An Ugly Baby by Sarah Vance-Tompkins

The Write Way Café welcomes Sarah Vance-Tompkins, who shares her tips for grooming your ugly baby.

How To Take Feedback and Criticism Of Your Manuscript

You've worked hard. You've spent countless hours writing down eighty thousand words that tell a cohesive story. You've cried. You've sweated. You may have even bled. It sure felt like it when you were working alone in a little room while everyone else in your family was watching "The Voice."

You've finally typed "The End." You couldn't be prouder. It's a huge milestone on your path to publication. But here's the thing -- your manuscript -- your baby -- is seriously ugly. 

Even if you know you've got an ugly baby, it's hard to hear those words spoken by someone else. Sending your manuscript out for criticism and feedback can be painful. Here are five things to consider when you are ready for a critique -- professional or otherwise -- about your manuscript. 

1. Tell Me What You Want. What You Really Really Want.
You don't have sing it like a Spice Girl, but before you hit send, you need to ask yourself if you are in search of encouragement to keep writing, or feedback to make your project better. This is important. There is a difference. You need to know what you really want before you send your manuscript off for review and criticism.

Set your own goals. What do you want to accomplish in this round of edits? What are you expecting from the review? Give your editor or critique partner a list of questions you have as the writer, so they can tailor their feedback to your specific needs. 

3. A Pinch Of Salt.
We're all human. It's hard to set aside the problems we're facing in the real world and read someone else's manuscript without prejudice. When we're tired and distracted, we forget to use the kind of words that will encourage an author to keep going without calling their manuscript an ugly baby. You have to have confidence in your own project. Use the feedback that helps you tell your story, and ignore the criticisms that feel like someone might be tossing a little shade. 

4. You Said. She Said. 
The best advice I've gotten from an experienced writer about the editing process was to look at the feedback as the opening of a discussion. If your editor or CP questions an element in the manuscript, they're not necessarily saying what you've written is bad -- but rather -- they may be asking you to create a better storytelling element. Remind yourself that the person you've asked to read the story doesn't know it as well as you do. Whether you agree or disagree -- you should at least respect them for pointing it out. 

5. Say What? 
If you don't understand a comment or suggestion you receive from a critique partner or editor, ask questions before you start to make big changes. Save your original draft in case you need to go back to it. And make sure you have a plane before you start editing. 

Be proud of your ugly baby. The criticism and feedback you receive will put you on the path to success. 

Kisses On A Paper Airplane
A debut YA novella by Sarah Vance-Tompkins

Drama student Hannah Evans isn't kissing any frogs on her path to find Prince Charming. She's determined to share the perfect first kiss -- with the perfect boy -- in the perfect place -- or she's not kissing at all. When Hannah meets a cute ginger-haired boy in first class lounge in the London airport, she knows he's 'The One.'

Pop star Theo Callahan is on the road to get as far away as possible from his back-stabbing best friend, and the supermodel girlfriend who broke his heart. Until one shy smile from Hannah has him rethinking all of his travel plans.

Theo is smitten, but he's worried she's just a groupie in search of the ultimate selfie. Can Theo learn to trust Hannah in time to share one perfect first kiss, or will Hannah be forced to kiss a frog?

Amazon          Kobo

Sarah Vance-Tompkins was born in a small town in northern Michigan. She received an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California, and went on to work in feature film development. Prior to film school, she wrote and produced radio and television commercials. A working writer, she has been paid to write everything from obituaries and press releases to breathless descriptions of engagement rings. She and her husband, The Handsomest Man Alive™, live in Southern California with three cats.

Facebook (Home)
Author Page

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

The Write Time

Writing time. It isn’t easy to come by for me. It never has been.

I don’t think I’m atypical when it comes to writers trying to find/make writing time. Oh, I treat my writing as work. I know it’s a business, and though I’m passionate about writing, I understand if I’m going to succeed in my chosen profession I can’t wait to be in the mood or for anything in particular. I have to sit down and pound out the story.

But it’s still hard to find enough time. Like most authors, I have many interests. I won’t call them distractions because they are a part of life and I enjoy them. I like spending time with my family. A lot. I enjoy spending time in solitude, in nature, just to keep myself grounded and peaceful. I also enjoy spending time alone with  my husband. We do fun things together and with our kids. I purposely make sure I spend time with my cat, Willow. She’s a member of the family, not a couch pillow. And somewhere in there, time needs to be spent cleaning and cooking, and on and on it goes.

Oh, I almost forgot but how could I? Social media and promotions for my books have become big time grabbers, but that’s just the way of a writer’s life.

During the past few years, I’ve dealt with sickness in myself and in loved ones. I’ve lost loved ones. I’ve gone through overwhelming changes to my life. Today I’m very happy with where I’m at and with what I’m doing. I’ve simplified my life a degree or two. Still, sometimes I feel like hanging a virtual sign on my life that reads, “Don’t bother the writer. She might break down.”

I’m still seeking balance. I want it all. Writing, family, leisure, fun, and a clean house (though that part of my life dropped to the bottom of list many writing years ago). I don’t want to feel annoyed and stressed all the time. I love writing and still want peace and balance.

To solve this dilemma I have sought out solutions, genuine ways to not just survive but also thrive. Writing is very much a part of thriving and I’m so grateful to have found my passion and have seen my writing published. I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped. Here’s a typical list:

1.      Complete most important tasks first.
2.      Learn to say no.
3.      Get an early start.
4.      Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down.
5.      Turn key tasks into habits.
6.      Commit to your goals.

This a summation of a list found at The Creativity Post.

Honestly, I believe how a writer invests in his or her writing and what strategy is used to keep balanced is an individual thing. Fundamental tactics are useful in guiding us. But from what I’ve found in seeking writing time and feeling good about my life, the methods and choices are as varied as the writers. According to Internet publication  Van Winkles' in an article written by Sharon Stodala, author of Process, the Writing Lives of Great Authors, Toni Morrison begins writing early in the morning before her family gets out of bed. Earnest Hemingway also began early. Pulitzer Prize winner Edith Wharton wrote in bed. F. Scott Fitzgerald, on the other hand, slept until around eleven in the morning and tried to accomplish some writing in the afternoon. Frank Kafka took a four-hour afternoon nap after arriving home from his day job, then began writing in the evening. George Orwell wrote at night, but he was known to write at other times during a day, too.

“Vladimir Nabokov, too, could write seemingly anywhere and anytime, perhaps owing to the many emigrations he made throughout his life. If we could all be so lucky,” Stodola wrote in the article.

I’m still working out how I’m going to balance my life now. But however I decide, I’m going to make my process mine and own it, because there are no sure-fire strategies that fit us all.


Friday, May 13, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor. 
– Edgar Rice Burroughs
Thursday, May 12, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Paty Jager: Letters of Fate

Paty Jager joins us today at The Write Way Café, sharing how her new series was born from the success of an earlier series. 

Tell us a little about your Letters of Fate series. 
     My Letters of Fate series came about from seeing so many people say they enjoyed Mail Order Bride books. However, I wanted to do a twist but couldn’t figure out a Mail Order Groom premise, but I came up with the idea of a letter changing a man’s life and in the course of following that he finds a feisty woman who captures his heart. After writing a series that dealt with a family, I liked the idea of the only thing tying this series together is that each man/hero receives a letter and that’s how I, with the help of my niece, came up with the series title Letters of Fate. Not having anything connecting the books other than the letters, they can be read in any order another bonus for readers. No matter which book they pick up they won’t be in the middle of anything other than that story. 
     The first book I wrote for the series is Davis. It is set in the area where I live. I use a real person from history in the area as the catalyst that causes the external conflict in the story. Peter French ran a large cattle dynasty in southeastern Oregon for a California doctor. He fenced land that was between parcels they owned and kept homesteaders out. He was not a popular man as he worked hard at acquiring as much of Harney Valley and the Steens that he could. I set the story up that he was trying to take a widow’s ranch. The hero has lost his family and feels the eyes of his community on him. His sister sends him a letter suggesting he come marry her friend (the widow) in a marriage of convenience to help her save the ranch for her children. He accepts and while they get off to a rocky start since he’s a city slicker and the heroine has been freighter’s daughter and a rancher, the sparks of animosity turn to sparks of interest.
     Isaac is the second book I wrote for the Letters of Fate series. This book was written to be in the Kindle World, Montana Sky Series by Debra Holland. When I received the information about her world, I made my hero a mine guard. He friends an older miner who becomes sick and dies. After sending the man’s pay to his family, Isaac feels he’s done all he can. Then he receives a letter from the man’s oldest child. The woman makes an accusation her father would still be alive had Isaac given him better medical help, and she is coming to collect his things.  He decides to meet her at the town with the railroad and hand her the one set of dirty clothes from her father before placing her back on the train. She has other thoughts. She’s come to collect her father’s things for a reason and that reason isn’t in his dirty clothes.
If Davis: Letters of Fate was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
     I’m not good at this. I don’t watch that many new movies. I would say Brook Shields for Mariella, the heroine. Because Brooke is six foot and a strong build. She’s played roles that showed vulnerability and strength. And can jest and have fun.  Davis, he’s harder.  Perhaps Ryan Reynolds. Because he has strength of character but can be gentle. At least he portrays that well in the movies I’ve seen him in.   

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
     As I think about this there are three people who were instrumental in my writing journey. The first was my mom. She told me I could do anything I put my mind to. That’s the mantra I’ve had as I’ve been on this writing journey. I just wish she was around to share my journey with her.
     The second was my high school English teacher.  She gave us an assignment to research a historical figure and write a paper from their point of view. I wrote Joan of Arc’s burning at the stake. Come to think of it, that was my first heavily researched historical writing project. The teacher picked my story to read out loud to the class. There wasn’t a sound in the room when she finished. Even the class clown was sitting still. That was when I learned the power words can have.
     The third person is one of my critique partners. When we first met she was a judge in a contest I entered. She was the first contest judge to tell me what I was doing wrong rather than rearranging my sentences and not saying why they did it. I contacted her and discovered we both wrote historical western romance. I had knowledge of horses, ranches, and the west and she had the writing knowledge. We became critique partners and friends. She encouraged me to send one of the books she’d critiqued to a small press and I became a published author. I owe her my writing career.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     The best advice I’ve been given is write what you know and you don’t always have to agree with a critique but if more than one person makes a comment on the same thing, dig deeper and find out why.
     My advice to other writers is learn your craft and know your genre.  You can be a good storyteller but if you don’t make that story shine with good grammar and word choices it won’t get you the agent, editor, or good sales. And know your genre. There are many writers who write in a genre they know nothing about. I’m not saying you have to be a demon to write demon stories but know something about those types of worlds, same goes with westerns. I’ve read several where the author had no clue about horses or cattle. That pulls me out of the story and makes me not read another of their books. 

What “keepers” are in your home library?
     Agatha Christie collection, Nora Roberts, The MacGregor Brides and her trilogy Born in Fire, Born in Ice, Born in Shame, LaVyrle Spencer’s  Hummingbird- It’s the book that started me writing historical western romance. L.V. McWhorter’s  Yellow Wolf: His Own Story. A Little Bit of Wisdom: Conversations of a Nez Perce Elder by Horace Axtell and Margo Aragon.

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
     Tough question.  I guess it would have to be at the Left Coast Crime conference in Phoenix this past February.  I was a moderator for a prestigious panel on Sunday morning. I did my homework and had insightful questions to ask. I came down with the flu Friday after arriving in Phoenix.  I wore blisters on my feet walking around looking for a pharmacy. Yes, I won’t hire a taxi for short distances, only for transportation to the airport. Saturday I nursed the flu and my blisters and only attended the dinner, leaving before the awards ceremony.  I woke feeling better on Sunday but I had hardly any voice.  I arrived early to the panel and let the authors know I could barely talk. I would introduce them and direct my main questions to them and would one of them repeat questions from the audience, please.  I managed to pull it off. The authors said I had thoughtful questions and the audience said it was one of the best panels. So while I felt like a failure, it seems the panel went well.

We’re adding books to our Café menu.  Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert?  What would you call it?
     An entrée. It is a full and filling story with loss, redemption, family, and love. Redemption Roast.  

What is your favorite social media?  Why?
     I’m not a fan of any of the social media because I have a hard time keeping up with them. But I would have to say I like Facebook the best because I’ve been able to keep up-to-date with family and close friends since we moved to SE Oregon. 

Do you have any compulsions you must do for no particular reason?
     You could probably say my need to have a cup of hot chocolate in the morning, like most people have coffee, a compulsion.  I even take packets of hot chocolate with me on trips in case the hotel I stay at doesn’t have a complimentary breakfast or hot chocolate.  I have to have my cup of hot chocolate or my day doesn’t go right.

Tell us about the book in your closet.
     I have a couple of books in the closet. The oldest two are murder mysteries. That was my first love to read and write, but I ended up in Romance Writers of America and wrote romance until 2014 when I went back to writing mystery.  The first two mysteries actually were written to kill a person who in real life was on my not-a-favorite-person list. She’d cheated on her husband, and when he confronted her, she named my husband. But my husband had witnessed her and the real person fooling around in a car. I think she was hoping to discredit his account of what he saw. Anyway, it blew things up between my husband and his friend and our kids who were friends. To take out my anger on this person, who I’d thought of as a friend, I murdered her in two books. ;) I still like the main character in the books, but they were before I’d had workshops on craft and realized I had a lot to learn to be a writer and a published author.

And now for the fun stuff! 

If you aren’t a full-time writer, what is your day job?
     I help my husband take care of our 280 acres and half an irrigation pivot that produces alfalfa hay. I also help him with his job of managing three irrigation pivots of alfalfa hay for a dairy.

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
     I love cowboy boots. I have five pair. One for work, one for going to town, and three for events.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality?
     I’m a glass half full. Life is a wonderful thing and with a positive attitude you can accomplish anything you set your mind to do.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     I’m a dog person. I like having a big dog for outside and a lap dog for inside.

If you had to write with a pen instead of a computer, what type of pen would be your preference?
     I love the gel pens and prefer the color purple. Gel pens write smooth and the color purple makes me happy.

Davis: Letters of Fate

Historical western filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

Widowed with two small children and a ranch to run, Mariella Swanson knows she needs help, but isn’t sure her heart, or neighbors, will accept her marrying a stranger. When the greenhorn shows up, smoking a pipe and wearing a derby hat, she can’t help but wonder if agreeing to this marriage may prove to be her biggest mistake.

When Davis Weston receives a letter from his sister asking him to marry a friend, he scoffs at the idea. However, losing his wife and son has left him a lonely man, and the whispers from others that he didn’t do enough to save his family has gone on long enough. His arrival in Oregon may be worse—these neighbors are doing more than whispering. Guns and horses aren’t his forte. He’s willing to learn, but is he willing to love again?

Windtree press       Amazon      Apple         Kobo        Nook

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. All Paty’s work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at:
her Website
Newsletter Paty’sPrattle

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Color Through Divorce with Sara Woodard-Ortiz

The Write Way Café welcomes Sara Woodard-Ortiz, author and designer of  Color Through Divorce. 

Sara Woodard-Ortiz had an amazing idea to help women and children navigate divorce via the Butterfly Effect, the theory that activity in one part of your life can change other parts of your world. Recently divorced, she tapped into her creativity to design the coloring book full of fun things to color with her daughter or alone, and learned that the activity reduced stress and redirected her thoughts into upbeat and affirmative mindsets.

Why did you have to get this book "out there"?
I felt the need to get this book out there because I know how difficult it is to find quality resources to help rebuild yourself after divorce. So many women (and men) rush into the next relationship without having healed properly and without having rediscovered themselves. I wanted to create something that helps moms specifically help themselves through divorce and be able to support their kids through divorce as well.

How did coloring with your daughter help the two of you move through the new world? 
I haven't done much coloring with my daughter because she's still young and doesn't have the awareness or attention span to color for long periods. She also doesn't let me color with her :) But doing the research for the book and drawing the pages has helped me a lot. It's helped me to know that my creation will help other women who are in the same position I was. And in researching ideas on how to start a conversation with children about divorce I've found many ideas that have made me more confident in helping my daughter through our divorce.

What do you hope people will get from your book? 
Ultimately, I hope moms get a chance to 1) take a break from their divorce and 2) help keep a strong connection and open communication with their children during the divorce.

Here are examples of pages in Sara's coloring book:

She also shares some tips about how to market a self published book.

Learn more and connect with Sara:

Website        Color Through Divorce        Amazon

YouTube        Facebook        Pinterest

This post was adapted from Lynn Crandall's blog, with permission from Lynn and Sara.

Friday, May 6, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed. 
- Linda Wooten
Thursday, May 5, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Alexia Adams

The Write Way Café welcomes author Alexia Adams, who is learning to be ruthless and put her characters through the wringer.

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 written stories in my head but I first thought of putting them on paper after the birth of my fourth child. My husband and I decided I’d give up work to care for the children but I worried I’d be bored so I decided to write down one of the stories I’d been thinking about. I’ve been reading romance stories since I was an early teen so when I began to write, romance was a natural niche for me.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
The Playboy and The Single Mum is my tenth book and my third self-published venture. I’ve been a fan of Formula 1 for over thirty years so most of my research revolved around finding information about the behind-the-scenes stuff that happens at the races. And, of course, as the story follows the final five races around the globe, I had to research some of the exotic destinations I’ve not visited.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
When I wrote the first book in the series, The Vintner and The Vixen, I needed a charismatic, charming brother to offset the rigid control of the hero in that book. And as a passionate follower of Formula 1, I’ve wanted to write a racing driver hero for a while. Then I just had to give him his worst nightmare for a man who’d dedicated his life to winning—a woman and child who distracted him to no end.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The settings were picked for me as the story follows the last five races of the F1 season (2015 schedule) to Russia, America, Mexico, Brazil and U.A.E. I threw in a few more exotic destinations, just because I love them.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are completely imaginary. Daniel is a composite of several drivers currently racing in Formula 1 and Lexy is just a regular single mother trying her hardest to do the best for her child. There may be bits of me in Lexy, I’ll leave it to the reader though to figure out which they are.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I can’t remember facing any blocks writing this particular book. Sometimes a scene will go off track and I’ll have to spend a little while working out whether I like the new direction or if I have to delete what I’ve written and go back to where I expected the story to go. I spend a lot of time thinking about the next scene or chapter while I’m not writing. If I do get blocked, I find reading always spawns an idea or two to get me over a problem.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I don’t know that anything really surprised me writing this book. The characters drove the story (sorry for the pun) and I kind of just followed them. I had originally only thought of writing two books in the Vintage Love series but then Genevieve and Santiago came along in book two and now there are three books.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about advertising and public relations, and about Formula 1 racing?
As with almost every book I write, the true story comes out in the rewrite. The book I submit to my editor and the one that gets published are very different. I can never seem to get the conflict right the first time, I’m too nice to my characters. So I’m learning to be ruthless and put them through the wringer. As for what I learned about advertising and public relations – I suck at it. I really need to hire someone to do this for me. As for Formula 1, as previously mentioned, I’ve been a fan for over thirty years so there was just some minor research on behind-the-scenes action. I also didn’t want to get too technical as I know not everyone follows the sport so I needed to be sure I had a book everyone could enjoy whether they’ve seen an F1 race or not. However, as this is a work of fiction, I made a lot of stuff up as well.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I know the importance of having a dedicated writing space, but I don’t have one. I write on the dining room table while the children are at school, on the sofa in the evening after they’ve gone to bed, and upstairs in my bedroom on the weekend. I have a laptop so basically I can write anywhere. I’d love to have an inspirational office but until several of the children move out, that ain’t happening.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
My all-time favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I love how he wrote complete and utter nonsense and made us believe it all. And I have never looked at towels the same way. Another book that has stayed with me is A Rose in Winter by Kathleen A. Woodiwiss. I have had to buy this book several times as it has gone missing in my moves. I love the internal conflict the heroine goes through trying to live up to the vow she made to her masked and deformed husband while resisting the seductions of a handsome suitor.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on the edits for the third Vintage Love story, The Tycoon and The Teacher. It will be published on July 21st this year.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Eventually I’d like to try writing an historical romance. It’s the genre I read the most, aside from short contemporary. I actually have a story outlined but haven’t found the time to do the research. I love how the heroines in historical romance have shifted from being demure, delicate little blossoms to women willing and able to take on the men in their society and live life by their rules.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I’d love to be a travel blogger or someone who gets paid to visit different places and give feedback or design travel itineraries. Unfortunately, the majority of my travels were pre-Internet or I’d have been one of the first on that bandwagon. Imagine being paid to visit places on my bucket list. At least with writing romance I get to do it vicariously (without the jetlag or security lineups).

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Revisions and developmental edits. Once I’ve written a scene I find it very difficult to think of a different way to rephrase what I was trying to say. Thankfully I have a brilliant editor who always explains why a passage doesn’t work and then gives me ideas on how to fix the issue.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
This is a tough one. I’ve read so many great ones. It’s like choosing your favorite child, you love them all. Of the books I’ve written, my favorite hero is probably Luca in An Inconvenient Love. He has this idea of how his marriage of convenience is going to work, but finds things going awry from the “I dos” and has to struggle to keep up with his bride. My favorite heroine is definitely Rania in The Greek’s Stowaway Bride as she was unstoppable. I remember as I wrote that book thinking, “I wonder what she’s going to do next.”

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. It’s been a pleasure. If anyone has any questions for me please leave a comment. I’ll be popping in for the next few days to answer them.


Alexia Adams once traveled the world. However marriage and the birth of four children clipped her travel wings, so she took to vicarious voyages through the characters she creates in her romance novels. Her stories reflect her love of exotic destinations and unique cultures and feature locations as diverse as the wind-swept prairies of Canada to hot and humid cities in Asia. To discover other books written by Alexia or read her blog on inspirational destinations, Journey to Love at http://Alexia-Adams.com and sign up for her newsletter to keep up-to-date with new books and adventures.

Website       Facebook       Twitter
Pinterest      Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

The Vintner and The Vixen (Vintage Love Book 1)
The Tycoon and The Teacher (Vintage Love Book 3)
The Greek’s Stowaway Bride
Her Faux Fiancé
Miss Guided (a Guide to Love novella)
Played by the Billionaire (a Guide to Love novel) 
His Billion Dollar Dilemma (a Guide to Love novel)
Love, International Style (3 book bundle)
An Inconvenient Love
An Inconvenient Desire
Singapore Fling

Love, International Style (3 book bundle)
Tall, Dark, & Wealthy
Romance in Color
She’s the Boss
He’s the Boss

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 | By: HiDee

Thanks, Mom!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and I have my mother to thank for being a booklover. 

My mom has always fostered my love of books.  In grade school, I remember my siblings and I being really excited whenever we brought home a Scholastic book order form.  Mom always allowed us to choose one book to order.  It seemed like it took forever for the books to arrive, but when they did, whichever book I had ordered was usually read within a day or so.  At that rate, Mom couldn’t afford to keep buying me books.

Library cards came to the rescue!  Public library cards, school library cards…I think mom figured I couldn’t exhaust my choice of books if I had both.  The public library allowed us to check out books for up to 2 weeks. I don’t remember what the maximum number of books was that we were allowed to check out, but I never went home without a stack of them.

My dad gets a little bit of credit, too.  When we were kids, he would load us up on Saturday morning and drive an hour or more to a used bookstore he had discovered.  If I close my eyes, I can still conjure up a vision of that big white building, filled with rows and rows of bookshelves stuffed with paperbacks.  I can still smell the slightly musty odor of old books.  I miss those days…

Somewhere along the line, I started writing.  Mom found a folder of those early writings awhile back and gave them to me.  I flipped through the folder, rediscovering two of my favorites: a story about wild horses, and a class assignment in which we had to “travel” through history as a car with each historical event represented by another type of car.  That was a fun assignment that taught me a little about perspective.

I remember penning short stories and poetry before I discovered romance novels.  I told Mom I wanted to be a romance novelist and she encouraged me.  We talked about how much fun we would have traveling together, with me writing and she helping me do research for my books.  The best laid plans…

I still write and Mom still encourages me, but I’m sorry to admit our plans to travel together never materialized.  Our lives got in the way.  Mom is no spring chicken but she still reads and we share books we love and talk about our favorite authors.  I wish I would have pursued that dream much earlier in my life, so Mom and I would have had that time together.

Books are an important part of my life, and I am thankful my mom introduced me to them.  Maybe for Mother’s Day this year I will take her to the bookstore and return the favor.  She doesn’t need more “stuff” in her life, but giving the pleasure of reading is something she can keep or pass on as she chooses.

Has your mom influenced your love of books? Share?