Friday, July 29, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.
- Walt Disney
Thursday, July 28, 2016 | By: HiDee

Fool Me Once: Walter's Story by Malena Crockett

Back in February, we interviewed author Malena Crockett. That interview generated a bunch of new questions from readers, including several regarding Walter Bainbridge, the antagonist in Malena’s debut novel, Fool Me Once (book one in the Melody Joy Personal Mystery series). We like to get our answers straight from the source whenever we can, so special arrangements have been made for Walter to join us on the blog today, to give him a chance to introduce himself and answer questions from readers.

TWWC: Welcome to The Write Way Café, Walter. Tell us a little bit about yourself and then we’ll get started.
Walter: I’m happy to be here. There isn’t much to tell, really. I grew up in Utah, went to BYU for undergrad and master’s degrees, and then out of state for a Ph.D. When I was done with school, I got a job teaching in Oklahoma and we’ve been there ever since.
TWWC: You went to BYU? Is that where you and Melody Joy met?
Walter: They don’t call it the happy hunting ground for nothing, you know.
TWWC: Ha! So that part of undergraduate life worked out for you, at least.
Walter: Right. We met in the fall and got married in the spring, along with about half the rest of the school. Then we went back to classes the next fall. Well, I did. MJ didn’t last long. She wasn’t good at going to school and working at the same time, so she dropped out and went to work full time and I went to school full time so I could get done faster.
TWWC: You make it sound very straightforward, but you really went to school for a long time, didn’t you?
Walter: True. By the time I finished my B.A., I knew I needed to get a Ph.D. to teach at the college level. It just made sense to keep going.
TWWC: Going to graduate school and earning advanced degrees is not for the faint of heart, is it?
Walter: That’s quite true. I was the first person in my family to get a graduate degree of any kind, and only the second one to finish a bachelor’s degree.
TWWC: What drove you to work so hard and so long going to school?
Walter: It was kind of an accident, really. When I got to college as a freshman, I thought I would be a lawyer because I had been good at debate and I liked learning about the legal system and the government. But the further along I got in my education, the more I realized I wasn’t really temperamentally suited to be a lawyer. I was better at teaching. So ultimately I changed majors and got a degree in education. The rest just worked out as I went along.
TWWC: How ironic that you started out thinking you would be an attorney and MJ has similar aspirations now.
Walter: I don’t know if it’s ironic. I think she’s just trying to make me feel bad for picking a profession that doesn’t pay very well. She thinks she has to take up the slack, and she figures being a lawyer is the best way to make good money fast.
TWWC: So you think she doesn’t really want to be a lawyer, she just wants to make you feel bad about not being one?
Walter: Yeah – something like that.
TWWC: That’s a lot of trouble to go to, just to make someone feel bad.
Walter: That’s what I think, too.
TWWC: OK – well – now that we have the introductions out of the way, let’s move on, shall we? Thanks for making time to talk with us, by the way.
Walter: No problem. They don’t let me out much, as you might guess. Apparently I’m not to be trusted.
TWWC: And why is that, do you think?
Walter: I don’t know. I do the best I can. I get up, go to work, teach my classes, deal with students. I’m a responsible person. And yet I always seem to be getting into trouble at home. My wife and son are always angry with me about something or other. I can’t seem to do anything right these days. 
TWWC: That sounds difficult. Are you trying to work with them so you can all get along?
Walter: Well, I don’t know, at this point. It seems like they’re mad at me all the time, so why should I bother? I’m just a regular guy, with regular guy needs, you know? Why can’t they understand that?
TWWC: What kind of regular guy needs are you talking about, exactly?
Walter: Oh – you know – man needs…a fine woman on my arm, someone who will boost my confidence and let me have my way now and then, regular exercise of my libido, man needs.
TWWC: So you want to have sex, a lot, with someone who turns you on?
Walter: Yeah, pretty much.
TWWC: But not with your wife?
Walter: Who – with Mel? Oh – she’s great, she’s wonderful, but in a whole different way. Our relationship is more like best friends, you know? I don’t know what happened with her. She used to get me so wound up I could go for days, and now…I don’t know – maybe she’s too familiar. She doesn’t get me all hot and bothered the way … oh … uhm … I don’t suppose you know about Lacey, do you?
TWWC: We do now.
Walter: Right. Well. Lacey, then.
TWWC: Tell us about Lacey.
Walter: Ah. Lacey. She’s amazing. She could rule the world. We met in a collaborative learning workshop, you know. We got paired during a group exercise. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s ambitious, ruthless, really.
TWWC: So, all the things that attracted you to Melody?
Walter: Oh, sure, and then some. MJ isn’t particularly ambitious any more, and she’s definitely not ruthless. She wouldn’t hurt a flea.
TWWC: Sounds like you’re attracted to power.
Walter: Huh. Maybe I am. What’s wrong with that? I need someone who can keep up with me.
TWWC: Interesting. MJ isn’t keeping up with you?
Walter: Well, how can she? I mean, she didn’t do anything much except work at clerical jobs while I was getting my Ph.D., and now – well – law school isn’t really the same thing, is it?
TWWC: So, you were sort of looking for someone new when Lacey came along, is that what you’re saying?
Walter: What? No. Well, I don’t know. But Lacey explained to me how people need to be physically and mentally well-matched to be happy with one another, and she makes me happy when I’m with her, so I guess there must be something to it.
TWWC: That’s very interesting. Is Lacey a specialist in human behavior or philosophy?
Walter: Lacey? She’s a student of all forms of human inquiry.  She doesn’t just study, either. She’s big on experiential learning – she really likes to get into the thick of things, to see and feel what she’s learning about.
TWWC: It sounds like you know more about Lacey than you do about your own wife.
Walter: I suppose that could be true at the moment. Mel doesn’t really seem to want to spend much time with me lately.
TWWC: Why do you suppose that is?
Walter: I can’t really figure it out, actually. We used to get along really well. But ever since she started law school, all she wants to do is study and go to work, and maybe watch movies with Christopher. I can barely get her to do anything around the house or with me anymore.
TWWC: That sounds rather sad. How did things work in your family when you were going to graduate school? Did you have a lot of free time to hang out and do things with your wife and kid?
Walter: Of course not. I was going to school full time, and teaching half time, and doing research in my spare time so I could get my degree done. I didn’t have time for family stuff.
TWWC: So – pretty similar to what MJ is doing now, it sounds like.
Walter: Well…maybe a little bit…but it was different when I was doing it.
TWWC: How so?
Walter: Well…it wasn’t optional when I was doing it, was it? I had to get a Ph.D., and all the massive studying and research time involved was required. It’s optional for her, isn’t it? Nobody’s making her go to law school. Why can’t she just be content as a secretary and a wife and a mom?
TWWC: Didn’t you just say that you need a woman who can keep up with you?
Walter: Yeah…I guess I did. But I didn’t mean she should compete with me.
TWWC:  Compete?
Walter: Yeah – compete. You know…for degrees and power in the family, and income.
TWWC: So you’re worried she’ll get more attention than you do, and she’ll make more money than you?
Walter: Well…yeah…I guess I am. How are people supposed to know I’m the man of the house if she makes more than I do? And if she’s in a more publicly visible job, people will just think I’m Mr. Melody and that I don’t have a life or a career of my own. That’s not likely to get me a promotion in my own job, is it? Besides, if she’s a fancy-pants lawyer, who’s going to help me get my books written and published? She can’t do both.
TWWC:  That does sound like a lot of different hats to wear, indeed.  So you want to keep your friendship with Lacey and have her as your public companion, but you want MJ to stay with you and stay supportive the way she has always done? 
Walter: That would be nice, but I don’t think she’s going to go for that arrangement. MJ says it smacks of polygamy and patriarchy and she’s not interested in a shared marriage.  If Lacey doesn’t mind it, why should Mel care?
TWWC: That was a rhetorical question, yes?
Walter: Not really, but you’re probably the wrong person to ask.
TWWC:  Definitely!  Can we talk for a minute about your Mormon background? You grew up in Utah and went to BYU. Is your family Mormon?
Walter: Yes – my family has been Mormon for several generations, going back to the early times of the church.
TWWC: This idea of a shared marriage – it sounds a lot like polygamy. Is that what you’re thinking?
Walter: Oh – please – let’s don’t get into that. Nobody in their right mind would sign on for polygamy. It’s too hard. Think about it – you’re one man with a handful of wives, all of them wanting all of you all the time, and all of them wanting to raise families with you. How are you supposed to do that, really?
TWWC: Did you have ancestors who practiced polygamy?
Walter: Oh, I probably did. I don’t know. But why are we talking about that?
TWWC: Shared marriage…staying married to MJ and keeping Lacey as a spare companion on the side. How is that different, really, than polygamy?
Walter: Well, I’d only be married to one of them, for starters.
TWWC: And how does Lacey feel about that?
Walter: She’s not really very keen on it either. She thinks I should choose her, leave MJ, and get on with it.
TWWC: And what about the Mormon Church. Have they weighed in on this? Are you talking with them?
Walter: The church has no say in my decisions. I used to worry about them a lot – making sure that whatever choices I had to pick from lined up with what I thought the church would expect from me. Those days are long past. I’m my own man now – I don’t need some ancient mythological anthropomorphic sky wizard telling me how to think or what to do.
TWWC: Doesn’t the church have disciplinary proceedings for members who go astray?
Walter: Yeah – that happens.
TWWC: Have you ever been called to answer a disciplinary inquiry by the church?
Walter: Not yet. Mostly they just ignore me and I ignore them. I’m easy to get along with that way.
TWWC:  You have some tough decisions to make, it seems like.
Walter: I’m afraid so. And it just gets harder by the day.
TWWC:  So let’s talk for a minute about your son, Christopher. He’s growing up fast, isn’t he? How are you and he getting along?
Walter: Oh – Chris. He’s a great kid, but he’s a teenager now. He acts like his old man is an idiot and he won’t spend any time with me if he can help it.  It makes me sad. We used to get along great. I’d get him up to go work out in the mornings and we’d do yard work together and house projects together. Now he refuses to do any of those things with me. I miss that. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I move out.
TWWC:  So you’ve definitely decided to move out of the house then?
Walter: MJ says I have to. She made it pretty clear that she wants me gone. I guess we’ll try a separation and see how it goes.  I don’t see how it can turn out well, especially if Chris won’t see me.
TWWC: That’s a fairly common problem with couples who split up. It’s touchy business to figure out how to handle things like visitation and discipline and money and household goods.
Walter: Yeah. All of that. I smell a disaster coming.
TWWC: Isn’t there anything you can do to make it go smoothly?
Walter: No. I don’t think so.  I don’t know. Melody says if I give up my friendship with Lacey then she’ll consider letting me stay. But why should I do that? Why should I let MJ dictate all the terms of my existence? She has friends. Why can’t I have friends?
TWWC:  Is it just a question of friendships?
Walter:   What do you mean?
TWWC: Well, do you really need to have someone spell it out? There are friends, and then there are friends with benefits.
Walter: Yeah. That sounds like something Mel would say. She thinks Lacey and I are friends with benefits.
TWWC: Are you?
Walter: I don’t have to answer that question.
TWWC:   Okay. Moving right along… what are your plans for the next year or so, then?
Walter: I guess I’ll find a new place to live and see what I have to do to either make my wife and kid love me again, or start my life over.
TWWC: Do you want your wife to love you again?
Walter: Sure I do.  She’s a great help to me. I don’t know what I would do without her.
TWWC:  It sounds like you have your work cut out for you. 
Walter: I guess I do. And I have no idea how to make it happen.
TWWC: Just one last question before you go, if you don’t mind.
Walter: OK.
TWWC: What about that dead body in the hotel room? What do you know about that?
Walter: Why does everybody keep asking me about that? I don’t know anything. I don’t know who the guy was, or why he was hanging out anywhere near our hotel room. He wasn’t there when we were there. The room was empty when we left it.  I had nothing to do with it.
TWWC: Rumor has it he was a private investigator, tailing you. Why would he be doing that, and who hired him?
Walter: I told you, I don’t know anything.
TWWC: And what about that business at the lake earlier in the year? Are the two incidents connected?
Walter: You’re not supposed to know anything about that. I don’t have to comment. I don’t know why I’m talking to you. Did Melody Joy put you up to all these nosey questions? I have nothing more to say to you. Good-bye.

TWWC: There you have it, readers. Walter Bainbridge, evasive and secretive spouse of Melody Joy. He didn’t seem to want to answer our questions, so if you want to know what he’s really up to, you’ll have to read Fool Me Once, and its sequel, Love Me Twice (due out next month).                                  

Twitter: @MalenaCrockett 

Fool Me Once is available on in both Kindle and print format:  
Coming soon to Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and audio!
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | By: HiDee

The Struggle of Being Disconnected

My local newspaper recently printed a good news-bad news article:  children are finally heading back outside to play. That’s the good news.  The bad news is they aren’t creatively building forts, playing cowboys and Indians, or playing sports. No, instead, they are chasing Pokémon.

Many jokes have been made about how Pokémon Go accomplished in a day what Michelle Obama has been trying to do for years: get people on their feet and moving.  It’s working for my kids.  My son likes to wander our small town after dark playing the game, and my daughter spent 6 hours one Sunday wandering her small town doing the same!  But that’s the extent of my knowledge of the game, so if you aren’t familiar with it and want to learn more about the “pocket monsters” you’ll need to google Pokémon Go.

With the variety and availability of various electronic devices, children – and adults – are spending too much time being sedentary: watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing video games.  Decades ago, parents sent their children outside to entertain themselves, to roam neighborhoods and interact with other children doing the same. Comparing the two lifestyles, words like “play deficit” and “play deprivation” are being used often by people in the know.

Peter Gray, a psychologist and research professor at Boston College, says “Play deprivation is bad for children. Among other things, it promotes anxiety, depression, suicide, narcissism and loss of creativity.”

It’s important to realize that play deprivation or play deficit is detrimental for adults, too.  Many of us are just as attuned to our electronic devices as our children are.  We are addicted to technology, to the ability to be connected 24/7, and to the instant gratification we get from those connections.  The struggle of being disconnected is real.

And yet, we need to disconnect to refill our inner wells.  Writers especially need time to give our eyes a rest from the glare of screens, to give our fingers, hands, and wrists a break from repetitive motions that cause distress to our bodies.  It’s important for us to get up and move frequently to try and offset any number of health issues that can beset us.  In addition, our minds need down-time to just wander, to discover new-to-us things, to enjoy the beauty of nature without the distractions and stresses of everyday life.
photo credit: <a href="">Communication breakdown</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>
So what can we do?

Find something that allows you to disconnect, even if it’s not a complete disconnect.  Start out small if you have to – 10 minutes without your phone or electronics.  Take a walk around the block and look – really look – at your surroundings.  Listen to the sounds around you.  You’ll be surprised what you notice that you haven’t paid attention to before.

Maybe the outdoors is not your thing. Maybe you sew, scrapbook, or just read. Those things aren’t necessarily going to get you moving, but they can still give you a break from electronics.  Focus on patterns, or pictures, or words. What draws you to one over another?  As a writer, how might you incorporate your focus into your stories?

We all lead busy lives and sometimes struggle to balance everything in a way that works for us.

What can you do to reduce the play deficit in your life and rejuvenate your soul?

Friday, July 22, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.  
– Jack London
Thursday, July 21, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Nancy Brandt

The Write Way Café welcomes Nancy Brandt, author of fantasy romances who answers the question 'what if' in quirky and interesting ways.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?  
When I was in about sixth grade, our English teacher told us to write a descriptive essay. I wrote about a cave full of gems. It was so much fun that I went into every English class after that hoping to have to write something. It wasn't until my father told me that I should be a writer that I thought about becoming one. Romance wasn't even something I thought about until I graduated from college, hadn't gotten a job, and my sister gave me How to Write a Romance and Get it Published by Kathryn Falk.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? 
I had published Sword & Illusion with Astraea Press, and I found them through a pitch session on a blog. It made sense to send Pigsty Princess to them, too.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 

The hero in Sword & Illusion was a Prince who had a sister who was only interested in clothes, dances and jewelry. I started wondering what would happen if a king had a daughter who was spending all the treasury on dresses and decides to teach her a lesson by marrying her to someone poor.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
I write fantasy novels, so I invented a fantasy kingdom for my setting.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
I can't say that I never use parts of real people, but I think they are pretty much imaginary. As far as reflection of myself, I imagine so. I think every writer uses parts of themselves in the characters, but I can't pick out any specific characteristic she has that comes from me.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
Oh, yes. Blocks and I are good friends. Normally, what I do is just keep writing, and tell myself that I'm allow, no required, to write junk. I don't worry how bad the story is because it can always be fixed.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
Pigsty has sold so much better than I expected. In the last quarter, for example, I sold 240 copies in the UK alone! During the writing, sometimes new ideas or solutions to problems come as a surprise out of the blue. A major part of the plot came to me while I was chopping vegetables.

Tell us about Pigsty Princess (Misfit Monarchs Book 1).  What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about pig farmers and princesses? 
I learned that I have to write the whole book all the way through before I can be sure of the story and how it all worked out. Then the other drafts are to add needed scenes and polish. I took an online class on nobility and titles to try to figure class structure. I learned stuff but mostly discovered that it is certainly too complicated for me to try to put in my book. Several beta readers told me they were confused by the titles, so I had to fix that.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 

My writing space varies from day to day. I sit on a sofa or a chair in my bedroom or in the rec room. It all just depends on the day and how I'm feeling. As long as I'm comfortable and have a place to set a big glass of iced tea, I'm good.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 

My favorite books are Princess Daisy, The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, the Weather Warden stories by Rachel Caine, and many more.

What are you working on now?
I am working on the third book in the Misfit Monarchs series. Book 2, Questionable Queen was just accepted by CleanReads.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I have an idea for an "urban" fantasy series about a werewolf pack living in a small town in Northern Pennsylvania.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
I would love to be a fashion designer or costume mistress at a theater.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
I hate writing descriptions of people because I don't see them in my head when I read, so it's hard for me to describe a person even looking a picture.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
I love Gideon and Ursula from Questionable Queen, of course, or Mariana and Orlando from Pigsty. My next couple is Haddrick, a pirate, and Oriana, a princess.

In a country where Elemental Sensitivities determine a person's place in society, Mariana, fourth child of King Jonathan and Queen Alexandria, was born an Insensitive. She is given the made up title of Progenna, because she can't be in line for the throne and therefore, can't be a Princess. All her life, she is reminded that she isn't quite good enough. When her father decides she is to marry Pir Leo Valentine, an eighty-four year old man with a scar across his face that took his eye and only one hand, she runs away from the palace.

Orlando of Talla is a pig farmer and former soldier who served the King until he watched his Sovereign burn an entire harbor town rather than lose a battle. Now he tries to live a quiet life while leading a band of rebels who steal from the nobility to bring prisoners home from that war.

Orlando is also the bastard son of a nobleman, and therefore, he has a Sensitivity, one of Blood that allows him to feel the Sensitivities of others.

He finds the injured Progenna in the forest and immediately realizes that the stories about Mariana aren't true. Rather than being an Insensitive, Mariana may be the most powerful Sensitive in Valborough.

CleanReads     Amazon       Barnes & Noble
Kobo      Smashwords     iTunes

Nancy S. Brandt is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a daughter, 25, who is an appointment's clerk at an orthopedic clinic and an editor and book reviewer; and a son, 12, who studies karate, and wants to be either an historian or an artist. Nancy's husband, Steven, is also an author and an adjunct professor of computer science at Louisiana State University.

In about sixth grade, an English teacher gave an assignment to write a descriptive essay. Nancy's was all about a wonderful cave filled with diamonds, emeralds and other precious gems. From that experience, she walked into every English class hoping to get to write something, and she learned three things:

1. The difference between stalactite and stalagmite,
2. That fantasy was probably the genre she should concentrate on, and
3. Never end a story with "It was all a dream."

Nancy is a kidney transplant recipient (her husband was her living donor), a thyroid cancer survivor, and an Army veteran. She is currently working on the sequel to Pigsty Princess, called Questionable Queen.

Website       Facebook      Goodreads
Twitter:  @NancySBrandt
Instagram: nancysbrandt
Pinterest:  nancy_s_brandt

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Sweet Texas Secrets with Robyn Neeley

Robyn Neeley

Hello, Readers!

I’m so excited to stop by The Write Way Cafe to share that Sweet Texas Secrets trilogy is now available as a boxset for $0.99. (Less on Amazon!) Here’s the scoop!

Small town. Big secrets. Welcome to Sweet Ridge.

The Cooper brothers receive the shock of their lives when their deceased father, owner of the lucrative Guac Ole company, wills away their inheritances to three random women, leaving them each only a mysterious object and a riddle to solve. You don't want to miss a sexy minute of their search for answers - and love.

This trilogy was written by me and two other fabulous authors, Monica Tillery and Nicole Flockton.

This is the second time we’ve teamed up to write a series together. In addition to Sweet Texas Secrets, our first series, the Emerald Springs Legacy (also written with Holley Trent and Elley Arden) is still available at e-retailers including Amazon for $0.99 or less!

Enjoy an Excerpt from Sweet Texas Charm (Book 3)
     “So, Grayson …” Maybe the wine was starting to take effect, or maybe it was the pretty dress and strappy shoes boosting her confidence to get her flirt on. “If you’re such an expert on all things avocado, when is National Guacamole Day?”
     “Oh, please. September sixteenth. The day’s practically a national holiday for my family.”
     He raised a playful eyebrow. “Bet you can’t answer this. When is National Nachos Day?”
     She folded her hands across her heart. “Only my favorite day of the year. November sixth.”
     “Impressive.”  “It looks like we have a tie.” His lips curled up. “Not so fast.” He slid off one shoe and lifted his foot onto the bed, rolling up his jeans. “Check these out.”
     Becca bent down to get a better look. “Are those avocados on your socks?”
     “Yep, and I have six other pairs, one for every day of the week,” he said proudly. “Wow. That is something.” “It’s okay if you have to concede.” He fixed his jean cuff and slid his shoe back on. “I won’t tell anyone. Shall we continue the tour?”
     “Not so fast, Avocado Man. I can top that.” That declaration got one big ol’ suggestive eyebrow. “How? Bra? Panties?” He stepped a little closer, causing her limbs to shake. She steadied herself, but it was no use. His closing into her space was also causing her heart to pound.
     “Neither.” She pressed her top lip into her bottom one.  “Avocado lip gloss.” His gaze rested unmistakably on her mouth. Becca brought up her clutch, unzipping the top. “I have it right here if you don’t believe me. You could try it yourself.” “I would like a taste.” He brought his finger underneath her chin, tilting her head up. “But I have a much better way, if you’ll indulge me.”
     “If you must.” She tried to play all cool, lowering her lashes. “I mean, my reputation is on the line as the biggest fan of the avocado in this room and all.” She closed her eyes at the moment Grayson’s lips made impact, a fireball exploding through her.

Sweet Texas Secrets can be purchased at:
Amazon       Barnes & Noble       iTunes       Kobo

Thanks for stopping by! I’m always interested in favorite summer drinks (alcoholic or nonalcoholic). I had an amazing margarita in the Outer Banks, NC over the 4th of July. For a chance to win an electronic copy from my backlist, leave a comment with your favorite summer sip!

Website       Twitter       Facebook       Goodreads
Robyn on Amazon       Contact Robyn

Friday, July 15, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. 
- Robert Stuberg
Thursday, July 14, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Kristina Knight: What the Heiress Wants

The Write Way Café welcomes Kristina Knight and her Billionaire Cowboys series, in which cowboys sometimes prefer nice cars to trucks.

Tell us a little about What the Heiress Wants, and your Billionaire Cowboys series.
The Billionaire Cowboys are three brothers, raised on a ranch outside Las Vegas. Their mother was a gambling addict, and their father chased her all over trying to bring her home/separate her from the they all have conflicted feelings about Vegas, casinos, development, etc. Connor, in What the Heiress Wants, is the least 'cowboy' of the brothers - he prefers suits and nice cars to trucks and boots - but he is cowboy in one perfect (I think) way: when he sees something (or someone) he wants, he goes after it, no matter what! Miranda, Connor's new VP at his publishing company, is everything he wants, and he goes after her. It's a fun romance!

If What the Heiress Wants was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why? 
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone! I love their chemistry on screen (Crazy, Stupid, Love for the win!), and they are part of my pin-board for the book, tool. Hopefully they're free when the movie is options (hey, wishful thinking is fun!). :D

What “keepers” are in your home library?
Our keeper shelf is a hodge-podge of favorite romances, sports books (Radioman's), and early readers (I canNOT give away bebe's copy of Goodnight Moon, I just can't!).

What book do you wish you could have written?
There are books that I absolutely love - Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, Ramona the Great by Beverly Cleary, The Girl with the Silver Eyes, Legend by Jude Deveraux, Palomino by Danielle Steel...pretty much anything by Nora Roberts. But I love those books because I got to experience them as a reader, and I got to let them sweep me away into another world for a little bit. The books I wish I could have written? I'm writing them right now!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? 
I'm pretty good with criticism usually, having worked in TV news for 10 years, I developed a thick skin. I've had several readers tell me they can see my books playing in their minds like movies as they read...and that is the best compliment, I think. Because if a book comes to life for a reader, that's the magic, don't you think? As for criticism, any time someone tells me the book *didn't* come to life, that's hard, and I wish I could fix that for them.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others? 
To get the story down. A lot of writers start a story and then skip to another one and then skip to another...and they never finish. I had a bit of a case of that as a beginning writer, and a very smart lady sat me down and told me I'd never be an author if I couldn't tell a complete story. So I focused on finishing one story and then the next without the skipping around part. So far, it's working! As to my advice: don't stop. Ignore those people who tell you that you can't do it, that you don't have enough life experience and just keep writing. I'm a girl from a very small town (graduating class of 47 people, thank you very much), I've never been to New York or Paris or London, I live in a small-ish town in the midwest now...and yet I have stories to tell...and so do you. So tell your story!

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? 
Dessert! All three of my Billionaire Cowboys books are on the shorter spectrum (60,000 words), so they're a little lighter, but the romance and smexiness is definitely your favorite dessert!  I would call it Cowboy Shortcake...not that my cowboys are short, they're just the right amount of sweet and a little tart, as strawberry shortcake can sometimes be.

What is your favorite social media?  Why?
Instagram is quickly becoming a favorite! I just love all the pictures.

Do you have any compulsions you must do for no particular reason? 
I have to separate my M&Ms into color groups, I have to eat in even bucket of pens are arranged like a color wheel and none of them can be out of place...there are *many* things about me that are slightly OCD! lol

Tell us about the book in your closet.
I've had a book in my closet since I started writing, and it's very close to my heart, but I just don't think it's going anywhere. I love the characters, but the plotting is just...blech! It's the first book I wrote, and I sometimes think about dusting it off and fixing it up, but I never do. I think of it as my dream book, my when-I-have-time book...Maybe. Someday!

And now for the fun stuff!  

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be? 
Exclamation mark because I get excited by a LOT of things!

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
Shoes...the answer is always shoes!

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality? 
Half-full. My friends say I have a Pollyanna complex, and I probably do..but what's wrong with that?

Are you a dog/cat/other person? 
Dog, for sure! I love the cuddles...and I'm a recent Betta fish Mom and I'm loving them, too. Bettas are funny little guys.

What is your favorite season and why?
Spring/summer - I love the greenness of new grass and those pops of color from the first flowers of the season...and long afternoons in the pool and my flip-flop tan. If every day could be a spring or summer day, I'd be in heaven!

The Billionaire Cowboys trilogy by best-selling author Kristina Knight continues with What the Heiress Wants.

Denver publishing heiress Miranda Clayton craves more from life than society parties and shopping sprees, but her tycoon father refuses to take her seriously. Her solution? Beat him at his own game by going to work for his top competitor, Connor Reeves, in Las Vegas.

Connor isn't fooled by Miranda's new plan for a second. He knows exactly who she is; what he doesn't know is why she's pulling him into her games. After their first meeting, Connor knows what he wants - Miranda in his bed! But the more he's around his new vice president, the more he wants something deeper than a short-term fling. The question is does the lady want Connor - or his business?

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     Connor tilted his head to the side. “Ground rules like?”
  “No public displays of affection. When we’re at work, we work. There is a lot to do with the new magazine launch, and we’re still not out of the woods with the existing publications.”
“So you won’t be coming into my office at odd moments with empty file folders and a desperate need for my body?” His beautiful mouth twisted in a wicked smile.
“As the male form goes, yours is quite good. But I think I can control myself between the hours of nine and five.”
“So no nooners. Bummer. Any other rules we should abide by?”
“No nicknames.”
Connor blinked. “I shouldn’t call you Love Muffin within earshot of anyone in the office. Got it.”
“You shouldn’t call me Love Muffin anywhere.”
“No love muffins?”
Miranda wrinkled her nose. “Definitely not.”
“No nooners. No love muffins. So far, so good. Rule number three?”
“We shouldn’t advertise the fact that we had dinner tonight, or any other night. And we shouldn’t mention the kisses from before, either.”
“Damn it, I was planning on talking about that with the pressmen tomorrow.”
Miranda pursed her lips. “I’m serious. This doesn’t have to be a state secret, but we don’t need to advertise the fact that we’ve been on a date, either. At least, not until we know where this is or isn’t going.”

About Kristina:
     Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer's capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she's living her own happily ever after.
     Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Reading and Writing Romance in Series

Reading and Writing Romance in Series

I’m a fan of series. I love knowing when I finish the first book in a series there will be more coming. It’s like becoming part of a community. Everyone in the community is an individual with his or her own story. But we all know the stories, the backgrounds, the experiences, and being among our community members is always easy to slip into and enjoy the sense of belonging and support. We recognize the faces and can’t wait to discover what has happened since the last time we saw one another.

Reading series is like that for me, especially when the titles in the series can also stand alone. There is pleasure in reading each book, and with romance, following the developing story between the hero and heroine as they find their HEA. In the final book, it’s so satisfying to see every character from the multiple books gather together and affirm their devotion to one another. It just feels good.

I get the same satisfaction as an author when writing a series. My books often have a theme of 'family is what you make it.' Love and support can come from nonbiological family members just as well, and maybe better, than from a biological connection. Sometimes family is where we learn our most difficult and painful lessons about ourselves, and that’s not always fun. Turning to our ‘made’ family can provide solace and companionship and support in a meaningful way. For these reasons, I enjoy creating a ‘made’ family in writing a series with a group of characters who can push each other’s buttons but also never let each other down.

Writing my Fierce Hearts series was hard work and it was a deep experience for me. I enjoyed the diversity of characters and problems, as well as the strength of each one as they faced danger and pain and still triumphed in their individual ways. Although right now I’m working on a book project that I expect to be a single title, thoughts for future projects are popping up in groups, so more series are to come.

Do you like to read series or do you prefer single titles? Do you have a favorite series? Share?

Friday, July 8, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
When you start seeing "obstacles" as just puzzles waiting to be solved, you'll get more energetic and creative.
- Dr. Henry Cloud

Thursday, July 7, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

When One Love Story Isn't Enough by Regan Walker

What if more than one couple demands their own HEA in your novel?  Author Regan Walker shares her experience with The Write Way Café. 

We all know that romance novels involve a hero and a heroine, an intricate plot that presents obstacles to their love and a story in which the obstacles are overcome so that the reader gets that longed-for happily ever after. Right? But what happens when more than one couple shows up and demands their own HEAs?

When I began writing my newest novel, Rebel Warrior, set in Scotland in the late 11th century, I never thought there would be more than my hero, Steinar of Talisand and his heroine, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven—two lost souls recovering from devastating crises. But then there was this mysterious Welsh bard, Rhodri ap Bleddyn from The Red Wolf’s Prize, (book 1 in my series) who had come to Scotland with Steinar. The bard was a very handsome poet and a master of the bow and who caught the attention of Fia, the heroine’s cousin who just happened to be the daughter of a powerful nobleman. Fia’s father would never wed her to a mere bard, but what does love know of that? And who was that mysterious bard anyway?

Then, of course, there was the King of Scots himself, Malcolm Canmore, and his devout Saxon bride, Margaret of Wessex. How could I tell a story set in their court without telling of the love of the rough warrior king for his pious queen? Despite my better intentions, they kept injecting their noble selves and providing the reader with endearing love scenes. My heroine was quite envious of the love the two royals shared. Hundreds of hours of research were devoted to this couple, but in the end, I do believe I got it right.

My heroine, Catrìona, thought nothing of having a tendre for Steinar, the golden-haired exile from England, even though he was so badly wounded he could only serve the unlettered King of Scots as a scribe. As she was falling in love with the scribe, the king was planning to give her hand to the captain of his guard, Colbán of Moray, a gruff warrior who had an eye for the redheaded vixen and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I just had to find a ladylove for him because he was getting in Steinar’s way. Enter gentle Audra, daughter of Duff, the powerful Mormaer of Fife whose mother and younger siblings had been murdered by Mac Bethad of Moray. Ah, the plot thickens.

So now I had four—count ‘em—four romances and I wasn’t done yet!

Those who read Rogue Knight, book 2 in the series, will recall Maerleswein, the former Sheriff of Lincolnshire, who defected to Scotland when the Conqueror brutally devastated Yorkshire. A real historic figure, Maerleswein was due a reward from the King of Scots. And so one of the queen’s ladies found herself betrothed to this older, but still quite virile, nobleman.

In the end I had five couples to worry about and five HEA’s to deliver to my readers. It was like cooking up dinner on the stove, hoping all the dishes would be hot when it’s time to serve them up. I was a very busy person. But, eventually, all the threads came together. Whew!

And along the way, I’d learned some lessons that might help other authors.

1. When weaving multiple love stories into a single novel, it’s important to make each pair likeable. I really wanted my readers to care that all five should find their happy ending.

2. To help readers become involved in the different love stories, it’s important to give each couple stage time, even before they become a pair, which might not happen until the end of the story.

3. While you are doing all that, you must keep the one, special lead romance in the foreground.

For me, there is the added task of weaving in real history and real historic figures. After all, William the Conqueror invaded Scotland in the year of my story.

I think my tale set in Scotland is richer for all those love stories. See if you don’t agree.

When your destiny lies far from where you began…

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the court of Malcolm Canmore, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered king while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! And while she captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona’s home was viciously attacked by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that was not all she would suffer. At King Malcolm’s court the man she once thought to wed betrays her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

Amazon US       Amazon UK        Author website   

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Regan Walker is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. She has six times been featured on USA TODAY's HEA blog and four times nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf's Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the medieval category). Regan writes historically authentic novels where history is a character and her readers experience adventure as well as love.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Thorn of a Rose with Augustina Van Hoven

Augustina Van Hoven

We are all chess pieces on a board … in a game played by supernatural forces.

Newly elected state senator Ashley Halliday is over her failed engagement and ready to help make Idaho a better place to live and work. She has no time for romance … until she and Richard, a handsome state representative, take their friendship to a new level. But then there's John, an aide to the governor of Idaho. Both hold power … but only one is a good man. The other is on a mission to destroy lives. Will she learn the truth in time to save lives and keep her friends safe from dark influences?

Sports bar owner and state representative Richard Fowler is happy for his best friend Stephen and his bride, Rose. He knows their secret--Rose came back from the dead to save Stephen from his lofty ambitions. Richard himself has no time for any supernatural goings-on or for romance, not with his work to save state education funding. Until he sees the vibrant Senator Halliday through new eyes, that is. But to win Ashley, he must keep her safe from a rival who wants her for darker reasons.

A villain has returned from the dead, summoned by a demon, and given another chance to do what he failed at the first time. He'll gladly take down anyone else who gets in his way. And his new post in the halls of state government? A devilish chance to play corrupt lobbyist, and foil the plans of those with loftier goals.

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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.

Twitter: @augustinavhoven

Friday, July 1, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Some books leave us free and some books make us free.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson