Friday, September 29, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Learn from the past, live in the now and be optimistic about the future. 
- Anonymous
Thursday, September 28, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Getting to Know Diana McCollum

The Write Way Café welcomes Diana McCollum, an author who enjoys creating worlds where anything is possible.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?  
     I’d been toying with the idea of writing a historical romance for about ten years while working at a full time job. Ideas kept floating in and out of my brain. I’d write them down in a notebook of “someday story ideas”. I also collected interesting news stories that I thought I might one day use in a book. Finally one idea was too intriguing not to be written. I bought a typewriter, checked books out of the library, read the books during my lunch hour, and researched medieval history. That story was a romance. I joined the local writing group in Auburn, California. A mixed group of writers from novels to non-fiction. There I met a lady who told my about Romance Writers of America. I joined the Sacramento, California group where I listened to lectures on writing, took classes and workshops and realized how much I NEEDED to learn. Needless to say, that first book is under the bed and may never see the light of day.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
     I found out it takes a tribe to publish a book. I sent the manuscript to Beta readers, hired an editor, and hired a cover designer. I bought “DIY Publishing” by Maggie McVay Lynch, I took some online classes on e-publishing, and taught myself publishing by trial and error. 
     As for research I did most of it online. I studied fishing boats, and terminology, I looked at pictures and read descriptions of Massachusetts. I did some research on bacteria and scientific facts about the ocean. Waxing, MA in my book is made up, but based on a fishing village in MA.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
     The idea for this story sprang from the short story I wrote, The Crystal Witch which is part of an anthology “Love & Magick”. The witch in the short story belonged to the Coastal Coven and Ella my heroine was a member. So I had Ella’s name but what sort of witch was she? Always fascinated with mythology, I thought a sea witch would have to be governed by Poseidon, the god of the sea. Then I did the “What if?” game and from those questions I came up with Ella who is a sea witch, who is also a marine biologist researching the Atlantic ocean off of MA. When disaster strikes in the form of an unknown bacterium, Ella is forced to find the answers for a cure not only by the local officials, but Poseidon demands it.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
     I love New England. Massachusetts seemed a fitting place for this Coven to exist. 

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
     They are imaginary, although some physical attributes are from me or people I’ve met. 

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
     Yes I did have writing blocks. Sometimes all I needed was to take a break from the computer for a while. Sometimes it’s just a quick walk around the yard enjoying the flowers. If that didn’t work, I either brainstormed with my critique partner or asked myself ten to twenty questions of what could happen. Of course the main thing is I got myself back in my chair with my fingers on the key board!

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     I was very surprised at Mischell, a tween mermaid with short pink hair who showed up while I was writing the book. Afterwards, I was surprised at how many people have asked for two things: Mischell’s story, and James, who was cursed by Poseidon to live as an Octopus. James is Ella’s familiar.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world? 
     I learned I get a lot more writing done when I have a specific time to sit in the chair with fingers on the keyboard. And to not start off by editing three chapters back. Just get the first draft out and then go back and edit.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
     My writing space is a corner of our den. I sit by the window and have a birdfeeder outside which is enjoyable, especially when I’m trying to think of the perfect word. Much better staring at the birds and sunshine than the computer screen. Since it is a small area I sometimes write at the kitchen table. 

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
     Anything by Nora Roberts because she is such an excellent writer and story teller. The “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon. Her books average 800 pages and she has made Jamie and Claire’s story last for eight books which is amazing. Plus I love time travel stories, and this one is of epic proportion. My keeper shelf has all of Paula Brackston’s books. I started with The Witch’s Daughter. Paula’s use of language and description are wonderful and she is a talented story teller.

What are you working on now? 
     I’m about four chapters into my new manuscript, The Twilight Witch. Opal is also a member of the Coastal Coven in Waxing, MA. She lives and works in Nova Scotia. Opal is a scientist studying the evolving coywolves. And yes there really are coywolves, a cross between coyotes and wolves on New Briton Island, Nova Scotia, I researched it.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
    Yes, someday I’d like to write a medieval romance. I’ve always been interested in that time period. And what’s great today is we have the internet and tons of information at our finger tips.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
     I would like be a courier for the diplomatic corps. I could travel to many different countries and see the world, and maybe help with world peace.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
     When I sit down to write in the mornings I sometimes go back three or four chapters and edit before beginning to write. I try to only allow myself to go back through the last scene on the first draft. Every now and then I do go back several chapters, but doing so is such a time drain. Most important is getting that first draft done!

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
     I’d have to say Jamie and Claire, from Outlander. In my own writing my favorites are always the story I’m working on, so Opal and Gavin. 

Diana will be giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment!

     Gifted witch Ella Stone, born with an affinity for water and the ability to talk to sea creatures, is on a mission. Ocean life is disappearing off the Atlantic Coast, and Poseidon needs her to find out why. She'll do anything she can to find answers, even if that means hiring handsome, brooding sea captain Noah Drago to help.
     Ella leads an isolated existence, keeping her secrets close. To the world at large she's a scientist, but deep down she's a lonely witch, wanting a deeper connection but afraid of reaching out. When Noah accidentally learns of her magick, she'll have to trust him.
     Noah has been a commercial fisherman all his life, except for five years as a Navy SEAL. He's seen and done things that scarred him, so he keeps to himself. Ella hires him and his life changes as quickly as a storm at sea. The sexy scientist's kisses turn Noah's world upside-down. Soon, he's plunging into a world of myth, magick and passion.
     But will their growing connection-their love-be enough to save them from an encroaching evil bent on destroying all life as they know it?


About Diana: Diana McCollum, her husband and 91 year old mother live in Central Oregon with a view of Mt. Bachelor. Life is often chaotic. Having a few hours of uninterrupted writing time is a precious commodity.
     In between her duties as caretaker, administrative assistant, chauffer and cook, Diana likes to read, paint, garden, hike and fish, and of course WRITE!
     A lifetime avid reader, Diana enjoys creating worlds where anything is possible. She can’t help but include an element of the paranormal in her stories, and always a happily-ever-after.
Diana is a member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers RWA, Central Oregon Writers Guild, and Bend writer’s lunch bunch!

You can find Diana at the following locations:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: No Time for Green Bananas with Charmaine Gordon

Charmaine Gordon

by Charmaine GordonCeleste Hamlin, the seventy-five-year-old widow, CEO of O.U.R. Airlines specializing in chartered vacations, has a goal. She needs to once more conquer the six mountains in the Saranac Lake region before deciding what to do with the rest of her life.
Sixty-two year-old Professor Paul Harris, is on sabbatical to hike and relax. When he meets the dynamic Celeste, he recalls the last words his wife said before she passed. “Find another love and begin again.” What happens next between an older woman and younger man is a story of gentle passion and discovery of The Beginning. . .Not The End


authorAbout Charmaine: I was an actor for many years on daytime drama, One Life to Live, Another World, All My Children. Movies; my first was Working Girl where I sang Happy Birthday to Melanie Griffith and shared a Hot Dog with Harrison Ford during the break. The Road to Wellness with Sir Anthony Hopkins,"call me Tony" he said and invited me to lunch at the special room for the leads and staff. What fun and delicious filet mignon. The sweet time in my life after caring for a large family in the loving days of momhood. Then my voice failed me and I began writing. How I love this career and my publisher, Kimberlee Williams, Vanilla Heart Publishing.

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Friday, September 22, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life.’
 – Helen Exley

Thursday, September 21, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Tamara Eaton

The Write Way Café welcomes Tamara Eaton, who started with 'what if' and ended with Weeping Women Springs.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I started writing a Nancy Drew take-off in sixth grade. We’d call it fan-fic now. So I thought about writing a book early on. In high school, I thought I’d write a romance novel and figured I’d have it written by the time I was 25. Well, that ended up being put on hold for a long time. When I finally returned to writing I didn’t write in the romance genre.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
My path was a long one for this first book. This story had been on my mind since college, but I was 47 when I sat down to write for National Novel Writing Month and on November 1 needed a story idea so that old idea came to me and I started to write. That first draft I didn’t do much research, just wrote a story. After I finished that draft I did the research. In historical fiction, I find that research often becomes a rabbit hole that once you start you end up lost for hours if not days. For me, I try not to get too lost in specifics, but I want it to sound authentic and I am careful to get the facts right of things outside my fictional world. Most of my research was online, though I’m fortunate enough to live with a WWII history buff who gave me lots of ideas. He makes documentary films and we’ve interviewed a lot of WWII vets as well as some of the women who either served or worked in the war factories. That became helpful background.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
As I mentioned the story was one I had in college. I imagined this town filled with women who had hidden themselves away from the world. It all starts with what if—and then I needed to figure out why they would do this and Weeping Women Springs was born. I think I needed a lot more maturity to write the story it eventually became.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
Weeping Women Springs is set in New Mexico and I chose that place because I needed somewhere isolated. Originally the village was set in Arizona, but for a variety of reasons I switched it to New Mexico, primarily because I’d lived in NM for quite a few years and loved the state.

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 fictional except for a few minor ones except for names. I’ve borrowed names from various people in my life. Maxine Fiekens was a sweet neighbor in SD and her daughter Peggy, the postmistress of the village we spend our summers in. So I borrowed Maxine’s name and Peggy’s name and put them in Hope Springs. Peggy has the same profession she had when I met her, running the post office. All characters are parts of me I suppose, at least things I’ve seen people do or imagine them doing.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Since I edit for other people, my blocks usually come from outside sources. It’s easy to let their stories come before mine. However, on the writing front, I faced a couple obstacles in getting the story right. For example, when I started I knew little of Point of View and why you should stick with one character. I also had all kinds of characters in there telling their stories, so I had to whittle it down to five main characters.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I think the biggest surprise was how little I knew about writing a story, even after being a lifelong reader and had written stories before. When I set out to put something down, there were so many details I didn’t know and had to learn. I’ve learned since there is no right or wrong way to do it, but sometimes we get lost in the process and guidelines and I had to figure out what worked for me and my story.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about the effects of World War II and the Korean Conflict on women left behind?
I rather answered this question for the last one, but the primary lesson I learned was about grief and moving on—and I took this to the extremes where each character represented a different aspect(s) of the grieving process. I learned a lot about individual events of the war, mainly as they fitted in with my timeline I’d look for an event which happened in the war at that time and that led me to different battles which we don’t necessarily hear about, such as Attu in Alaska.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver. I loved The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna. Both of these stories had some influence on my book’s structure.

What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m attempting to finish up my second novel set against the backdrop of a coal mining disaster in 1913 Dawson, New Mexico, the second deadliest mining disaster in US history. The bulk of the story takes place over one night when three women bond while waiting for news of their husbands. It’s called The Waiting Shadows, and has been well-received by those who have read parts of it. I still have a couple more scenes to write and a thorough revision to go through. I’ve been working on this one for two years, and hope to have it done in the spring.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Actually the idea I have for my next book will be in a different genre. I imagine it being a bit of a suspense/thriller type story and set more in the present than I’ve written before though the roots of the story are in the late 60s.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
I’m a terrible procrastinator for my own stories. I do great if I have a deadline, but left to my own devices, I put off making time for it. My goal is to become more disciplined and make sure I work on my own stories every day.

Thank you for having me!

Hope Springs has a secret–the waters mysteriously uplift the spirits of whoever drinks them. When the town’s young men depart to fight in WWII, tragedy strikes. Grief dilutes the waters unique effects, and hiding the village away from the world may provide shelter from the pain—but at what cost? Preoccupied with honoring their loved ones’ memories, five shattered women struggle to gather strength to overcome their loss, and find hope again.


Tamara Eaton is a "western woman." She lives in the southwest, and wide open spaces of the desert and prairie are often portrayed in her work--fiction and poetry. Several of her stories have been published online and in print. When she isn't writing, she is often editing for others. Weeping Women Springs is her first novel.

Website     Facebook    Twitter: @LiteraryTamara

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Joseph A. Willis

Joseph A. Willis

by Joseph A. Willis
Teaching lessons is written from the perspective of the classroom teacher to provide realistic information concerning the ways our schools operate. Excellence in our school requires that we change cultural environment in which students learn. 

Teaching Lessons is available here.

About Joe:
     Joe Willis received his Bachelors degree in Speech Communication and English from Eastern Masters degree in Speech Communication from Texas Tech University in 1978. Mr. Willis has been a classroom teacher for thirty two years. He spent the first fifteen years of his career teaching Speech and English in the public schools. During that time, Mr. Willis coached three UIL state champions in various speech events. Mr. Willis’ students won five UIL district championships in all of the five years he taught at Floydada High School. While at San Angelo Central High School, Mr. Willis’s speech and debate teams won eight consecutive UIL district championships. He coached a Texas Forensic League Extemporaneous Speaking Champion in 1992 and finished his high school teaching career in 1993 coaching a National Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate.
New Mexico University in 1977 and his
     Moving to Midland in 1993, Mr. Willis taught for eleven years at Odessa College. In 2004, Mr. Willis took a position at Midland College, teaching speech communication as an Assistant Professor. During this time, he focused on raising his two sons, Joey and Randy, who attended MISD schools and have gone on to successful careers in vocational ministry.
     Mr. Willis is married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara. The couple has been married for thirty-five years. Their son, Joey, is youth minister and currently involved in World Race 11:11 His brother, Randy, lives in Houston, Texas, where he serves as a youth minister. Mr. Willis attends First Baptist Church. He is active in the Emmaus Community, as well.
     If you would like to know more about Joe, please visit  Joe can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, September 15, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
- Henry Ford

Thursday, September 14, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

R.T. Wolfe Writes From the Heart

The Write Way Café welcomes R.T. Wolfe, who follows her stars to write stories of her heart.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of Island Secrets?
Oh! This is such a great story. I’m really glad you asked. I watched a random, yet fascinating, clip about sea turtles and thus started this game of ping-pong in my head.
     Ping: In the back of my mind an eccentric family who raises goats on their roof and grows herbs on their porch lives on a small island. Each devotes their life to sea turtle conservation.
     Pong: But, sea turtles? Really? I live in the Midwest. I’ve written about dogs, eagles, dogs, whooping cranes, and dogs. But, sea turtles? A few weeks later a box turtle crawls out of the pond behind my home, up my berm and digs a nest on the side. I about came out of my skin, videotaping and taking pictures for over an hour.
     Ping: The eldest brother of said family goes missing during an underwater treasure hunt causing the entire family to pour their lives into finding him.
     Pong: Okay, okay. Divine intervention seems to be taking place but still…I would need a conservation group willing to talk to me and place to stay and when would I go? How does Nora Roberts do this all the time and everywhere she goes?
     Ping: Raine, Willow and Zoe Clearwater. What perfect names. Each sister will have her own book. I could start with the youngest, Zoe. She, of course, carries the most guilt with the loss of their brother. It was she who was set to be his diving partner the day he went missing, except she was too busy building her scuba diving business and blew him off.
     Pong: A colleague of mine offered me her condo on Anna Maria Island off the west coast of Florida. I tried not to get my hopes up, but this was getting out of hand. The stars just kept lining up.
     Ping: Zoe sells her business to her childhood treasure hunting nemesis, spends her days with the island local turtle conservation organization, her evenings working as an employee for the nemesis, and her weekends diving in caverns searching for clues for her lost brother.
     Pong: Suzi Fox, the Primary Permit Holder of the Anna Maria Turtle Watch and Sea Bird Monitoring, offers me the opportunity to shadow her for the week this condo is available. I spent 7 days on the island and never put my swimsuit on once. Suzi took me under her wing and we were off. It was a non-stop week of chasing turtle watch volunteers, excavating nests, saving injured turtles, protecting nestlings and releasing several into the wild. It was a week that turned into several return trips and a great friendship I will cherish forever. Plus, a fantastic trilogy in the making.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching Island Secrets?
Suzi Fox is the Primary Permit Holder for Anna Maria Island which, in my mind, basically means she runs the island. (Hi, Suzi! Sorry, but it’s true. ☺) Her along with her expert assistants, Glenn and Claudia Wiseman and so many, many others who volunteer their time for the incredible cause of saving these endangered species have changed my life forever. What amazing, selfless people who have dedicated their lives to helping sea turtles and assisting with an amazing story.

What are some of the references that you used while researching Island Secrets?
The turtle conservationists often wanted to educate me on the ins and outs of saving turtles. What they didn’t realize was that I was taking most of my notes on the conversations and scenarios between and around them.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of Island Secrets, where should they start?
With the book, of course. It is available in ebook form from all retailers and in print through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre that they need to know?
Romantic suspense novels come in vast varieties of time periods, settings, range of violence as well as of heat level. R.T. Wolfe books are intelligent writing for today’s contemporary romantic suspense reader. They could be compared to a PG-13 rating in both violence and love scenes.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I recommend using fans for naming characters. That’s what I do. Zoe, Willow, and Raine are all names suggested from followers on my Facebook Page. It’s all about the readers. ☺ So dang fun.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Both, if that makes any sense. I plot my outline, but the characters always seem to have minds of their own and cause me countless revisions to my outlines.

Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
No way! If that were the case, I would stick with romance only or possibly the suspense genre. Authors write what we love to read for sure.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews and try to respond to each but have been overwhelmed with that as of late. The bad ones are killers for sure. Many are just plain hateful, but some are quite helpful. So, I force myself. --glutton for punishment--

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive? What is your best marketing tip?
Most useful? The never-ending path of learning to pull a reader into the head of the character. The least useful? All of the rules the powers that be say are set in stone that mean very little to the people who matter…the readers! Best marketing tip? I say leave that to the people who do that for a living. The best marketing for an author is to get out the next book.

What’s next for R.T.?
My current work-in-progress is Island Pursuit, Island Escape Series book 2, and then onto book 3. Life is good when I can get to Panera, warm up my coffee and power up my laptop.

Thank you for having me, ladies. Love, love, love your blog.

About R.T.:  R.T. was born and raised in the beautiful Midwest, the youngest of six ornery children. She married at a young age and began her family shortly after. With three amazing small boys, life was a whirlwind of flipping houses and working two jobs in between swim lessons and Candyland. Now that her boys are nearly grown, R.T. spends much of her time on the road traveling from one sporting event to another serving as mom and cheerleader. She works to assist the several non-profit organizations that have supported her books and promote the work they do for those who cannot help themselves.

Website          Amazon          Google Play 
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | By: HiDee

Bookshelf Revelations

I spent the weekend at my daughter’s place while she is recuperating from foot surgery. She is not, and never will be a model patient so I came prepared with my laptop, my Kindle, chocolate, and Pepsi. I had strict orders not to touch anything, but I was permitted to be chief cook and beverage provider. She had planned to kick me out in less than 24 hours but permitted me to stay almost 48. Given the level of independence my daughter aspires to, this was an honor!

So while she slept off the anesthetic, I prowled her house. It should be no surprise the space that held my attention the most was her bookshelves.

Stacked on bedside tables in her room were books of poetry and blank journals. Nestled among decorations and trinkets from the beach (her happy place), her living room bookshelves held books by Nicholas Sparks and Jimmy Buffet, along with some biographies and mysteries. But the vast majority of books in both locations revealed to me her daily struggle on an entirely different level.

My daughter suffers from anxiety and depression. We are going on two years now of trying different medicines to find one that helps her. So many of them have terrible side effects that affected her ability to function, so she was forced to quit taking them. Her life has been a rollercoaster of good days and bad, of emotions ranging from being deliriously happy to wanting to be six feet under. I’ve been riding the rollercoaster with her, carrying my share of fear and worry, trying to balance being supportive while giving her the space she needs to grow. It’s not been easy for this mama bear.

I opened the blinds to let in some light, as she prefers the darkness. My heart broke to read titles like Suicide Notes from Beautiful GirlsLove Letters to the DeadPurpose for the Pain, and By the Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead – all novels dealing with topics like suicide, self-harm, bullying, and depression – all things she has experienced.

Mixed in were books by John C. Maxwell: How Successful People GrowHow Successful People Lead, and How Successful People Think among others. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I'm not surprised to see these books, as they reflect her inner struggle to be successful. At 25, she is not where she expected to be.

Her books mirror the roller coaster of her life, filled with euphoric highs and gut-wrenching lows, interspersed with painful twists and encouraging turns.

But mixed in with those books, I also found hope: books of encouragement by Jamie Tworkowski, who founded To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) to help a friend. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. His website says: It started with a story.

And isn’t STORY what speaks to all of us?

We each have our own story, as do our characters. Our stories are what makes each of us unique and interesting to others.

What story does your bookshelf tell? Have you ever been surprised by what books you found on the shelves of someone you know?  Please share.

Friday, September 8, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
- William Faulkner
Thursday, September 7, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with V.C. Buckley

The Write Way Café welcomes V.C. Buckley, who shares feeling around and stumbling a few times on her way to getting published.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I got tired of reading romance stories where the female character was always weak and needed a man to make her life better. So I did something about it—I wrote my own book inspired by events happening around me.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
It was a long and lonely path to get this book published. Lonely-because I didn’t know anyone who knew anything about publishing or writing a romance fiction book. I had to feel around in the dark and stumble a few times. I learned about querying and editing and everything else from days of research on the internet, but nothing led to anything and I was pretty sure my letters were not written well enough despite the numerous blogs of Dos and Don’ts I tried to follow online. And then my husband sat next to USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans in the plane coming from New York. She had just attended the RWA Annual Conference. She gave my husband some insight and advice about the publishing world and told my husband about RWA and how there are multiple workshops and seminars perfect for aspiring authors to educate themselves in this field, as well as a network of like-minded people who support each other in their writing journey. I got in touch with Ms. Evans and I became a member of RWA. I felt like a child in a candy store. I soon made friends, learned more about the industry and corrected the mistakes I made in my manuscript and learned about critique partners and beta-readers. I also tried my luck on a chapter contest and my book came in second place in the romantic suspense category of the BEACON contest of First Coast Romance Writers. I became more confident and grew so much as an author from all the classes and perspectives I had gained. And then I joined a pitch contest from Savvy Authors. My entry garnered multiple requests from different publishing houses and in less than a few weeks, I was offered a contract from Passion in Print Press.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
The idea came after seeing someone getting bullied. I imagined a different outcome where the bullies got what they deserved after realizing they picked on the wrong person.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture, and in my story, the character comes from a notorious crime family, so I picked the Yakuza, an infamous organized crime group in Japan.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My main characters are imaginary, but their characteristics are based from real people that I know. Like the brooding and impatient aura of Kenjin is thanks to my husband, while the craziness of Sakura comes from my mom.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Hanami was rewritten so many times upon the request of several publishers. It went through two major facelifts. I never faced any blocks until the second re-write. I had to fix some of the plot and change some characters around, and there were scenes that had to either be taken out or added, it was starting to get overwhelming until my brain refused to look at the story anymore and I started feeling depressed about it. So I took a step back and went on a writing hiatus for a few weeks. I went on vacation, read books and watched movies. I gave my brain a break and started refilling my inspiration tank. Solutions to some of the book scenes naturally came at random moments, and before you know it I was back to writing and finished the story.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Many times the characters would take on a life of their own. I’m a plotter, so I always know where the story is going and how the characters are supposed to behave, but I don’t have them on a tight leash though. I allow for certain changes that show themselves. Like in the first version of the book-there wasn’t really a love triangle, but in the final version it was brought front and center, and now I’m starting to like the secondary love interest more than the main guy and I’m planning to write a novella just about him because I want to give him a happily ever after as well.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world? How is Hanami important to your book?
I have grown so much during the entire process of Hanami. After this book, I came out a different person because now I know better. Although I still have so much to learn I can dare say that I have more knowledge now than when I started in terms of writing and publishing. I also learned how challenging it is to be a writer and it can really get lonely at times. I am in awe of those who have written more than five books, and those that have made it to the bestsellers list on their own with no agent or publisher backing them up.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My husband loves the ocean and likes to travel, so I usually end up writing anywhere. Sometimes I get seasick writing on a boat or dizzy editing on a plane. Most days I find myself on the floor or on the roof writing away, or sometimes from a rickety tower watching my kids surf. I write with a pen and notebook, so it’s very versatile. And the ideas just flow better from my brain and through the pen rather than the keyboard. I started writing this way before laptops and computers became affordable, so I became accustomed to this manner.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Franny Bilingsley’s Chime. The way the book was written was incredible. She has a way of painting an entire portrait with just a few brushstrokes, and her storytelling is compelling, which made Chime such an enjoyable read.

What are you working on now?
I am polishing up the sequel to my book Hanami, and I have a Fantasy Romance in the works as well as a young adult and adult contemporary romance in progress.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Yes, I would like to try my hand at regency romance and some middle-grade books someday. These are genres I would like to learn more about.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
That’s a hard one because being a writer is already my dream job. Anything after that would just be something for the means of survival, but if I could choose, I would like a job involving international and diplomatic affairs.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
The querying process is always the hardest. Everything else is a breeze, but for someone who doesn’t have an agent yet, getting the book published is a real challenge. I do hope to someday find an agent to grow and work with.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Mulan. Because her story didn’t happen from waiting around to be rescued, instead she went and made her destiny… and she met the dashing young captain because of that.

SAKURA SHINTANI is the Dragon Clan heir—Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the prying brats of Oniyuri Academy?

She must try to master her demons and avoid hurting anybody, but having the face of an angel only puts her on everyone’s radar… including the arrogant heir to Asia’s most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.

Hanami will be available on September 16. Please check for more information!

V.C. Buckley was born in a top-secret military facility and shipped off to Southeast Asia. She grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and questionable characters. She jetted all over the world at age sixteen after being discovered by a model agent. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Devil Orders Takeout with Bill Brier


A tax attorney with integrity…a powerful mobster determined to bend his will…

Grayson Bolt isn’t about to compromise his integrity to help a notorious crime boss escape the cross-hairs of the IRS. But there’s a steep price to pay for defying The Man–Grayson’s beloved wife and older son.

There’s only one way for Grayson to prevent his younger son, Jim, an innocent golf prodigy, from also being taken out: play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. And what will Jim be forced to do when the woman he loves gets ensnarled in a web of betrayal and deceit?

Twenty- five cents for every print and ebook sold will be donated to the United States Blind Golf Association.

Buy the Book:      AMAZON       BARNES & NOBLE

Buy the eBook:    KINDLE       NOOK       IBOOKS

About Bill: 
     Bill grew up in California and went to Hollywood High School, then served as an Air Force combat cameraman. After hiring on at Disney Studios as a film loader, he soon advanced and moved on to other film studios. He earned a master’s degree in psychology. A big help when working with Trumpish Hollywood producers.
     During his more than twenty- five years in the movie business as a cameraman, film editor, and general manager, Bill worked on everything from the hilarious, The Love Bug, to the creepy, The Exorcist, to the far out, Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica.
     Eight years ago, Bill switched from reading scripts to writing mysteries and driving racecars. After completing three award- winning novels, he signed with Black Opal Books. His first novel, The Devil Orders Takeout, is a standalone thriller about a devoted father and husband who makes a deal with a real- life devil to protect his golf- prodigy son after his wife and older son are killed in a mysterious accident — and pays hell for it.
     Bill’s second novel, The Killer Who Hated Soup, is Book One in the 1950s The Killer Who mystery series. It launches October 21, 2017 and can be pre-ordered NOW! Book Two of the mystery series, The Killer Who Wasn’t There, is scheduled for release February 24, 2018!
     Bill writes everyday and golfs infrequently (that damn right knee!). His five children and eight grandchildren keep him busy going to birthday parties, and he never misses a one!
     The Brier Patch is Bill’s wildly entertaining blog about his shameless early days in Hollywood. It’s here on his website, along with a contest linked to The Killer Who Hated Soup, which will award the grand prizewinner $1,000.
     Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

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Friday, September 1, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Change your thoughts and you change your world. 
– Norman Vincent Peale