Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Killer Who Wasn't There with Bill Brier


Bill A. Brier, author

A murder in a locked room. Yet, the murderer escapes.

Powerful officials conspire against Bucky Ontario's attempt to solve the case, including the KKK, whose members particularly resent Bucky’s friend, Charlotte, a Harvard-educated “Negro” lawyer. When they drag her off to a hanging — her hanging — Bucky reaches the end of his rope.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble

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, and is available NOW! Book Two of the mystery series, The Killer Who Wasn’t There, was released 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.
     Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

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Friday, February 23, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
- Ray Bradbury
Thursday, February 22, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Murder in the One Percent with Saralyn Richard

The Write Way Café welcomes Saralyn Richard, an author who has power in her passion!

Tell us a little about Murder in the One Percent.
     Murder in the One Percent is no ordinary mystery novel, mainly because the characters are not ordinary. The guests who gather at the Campbells’ country mansion are among the country’s wealthiest elite. One is a friend to Presidents, the former Secretary of the Treasury. Another is the CEO of a large investment banking house. Some inherited their wealth, others earned it, and others married into it. An outsider might think the party-goers haven’t a trouble in the world, but the reader soon finds out differently. The elaborate menu, gorgeous decorations, and plush accommodations can’t mask the fact that there is something sinister in the air.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
     I began writing for an audience when I was very young. I remember earning a Girl Scout “scribe” badge, enjoying all the tasks required. All of my teachers encouraged me, but two stand out:  Mari Allmond and Mary Pennington. Both nurtured my talent and pushed me to do more and more.
     Over the years I’ve taught creative writing and journalism, and I’ve had amazing students who inspire me as much as I inspire them. Then there is my writers’ critique group—wonderful people to share the ups and downs of the writing journey with. My other writer friends, including other Black Opal authors, have provided much-needed encouragement and trouble-shooting info along the way.
     I’m grateful to the wonderful, hard-working staff of Black Opal Books for seeing the value in Murder in the One Percent and for working with me to perfect the final product. My publicists at Caitlin Hamilton Marketing have done an outstanding job of representing the book and the author. Their suggestions have been invaluable. Libby Jordan, social media expert par excellence, has weighed in on PR matters, as well.
     My friends and family members who are supporting me with launch parties and other activities to promote the book are a significant part of the journey. The members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute classes I teach have shown enthusiasm and support throughout the process. And of course, I am thankful for every one of my readers. Without them, there would be no Murder in the One Percent.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     I teach writing, so I’m constantly giving writing advice to others. I have important quotes written on colorful strips and posted around my classroom:  Hemingway’s iceberg, using all five senses, clarity, specific word choices, connotative language, and more. When we were doing a nonfiction unit, I asked Erik Larson what advice he had for the class, and he said, “Stop in the middle.” What he meant was stopping a writing session in the middle of a sentence, paragraph, or chapter, makes it easy to pick up the writing on the next day. It is wonderful advice that speaks to momentum—an important issue for any writer.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     What a thought-provoking question! I’ve been reviewing many of my favorite books, favorite characters, but most of them have so many problems to overcome—I wouldn’t wish to be in their shoes, even in my imagination. There are hundreds of characters I’ve loved and admired, so picking one to assume the role of is really difficult. At the risk of raising the eyebrows of my feminist friends, I will choose Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is a thoughtful, educated attorney who practices in Maycomb, Alabama during the race-torn 60s. Many of the people he represents pay him in goods, because that’s all they have. He is so highly respected by the black community that they welcome him in their church and stand when he enters the courtroom. Atticus is both father and mother to his two children, and his loving care for them includes the imparting of deeply philosophical and thoroughly practical wisdom. Throughout the book, we see Atticus facing a variety of challenges, but he meets them all with remarkable kindness, humility, and humanity.

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?
     Once I was on safari in South Africa in Krueger National Park. There were five people in the all-terrain vehicle, including the knowledgeable and friendly guide, Brandon. Before going out into the park, Brandon gave us a lecture about staying in the vehicle and making sure all arms and legs remained inside, as well. The animals, he told us, view the vehicle as one giant animal, and they won’t attack, as long as they don’t realize there are small two-legged animals inside.
     We went on several safaris with Brandon, both during the day and in the evening, but one morning, we were driving through the brush, and our vehicle hit a chasm that was covered by brush, and it stalled out. We were tilted sideways at a 45-degree angle, and we couldn’t move forward or backward. We knew we couldn’t get out of the vehicle without becoming bait for lions or leopards, and Brandon’s calls for help weren’t producing results. In fact, another vehicle driving by refused to help, frightened that they would become stuck, as well.
     What I did was show everyone how to keep the vehicle from toppling over by concentrating all of our weight in the opposite direction. That kept our bodies and minds occupied and calm enough, so that we didn’t panic or attract unwanted attention from wild animals. Eventually we were rescued by a larger vehicle. Whew! That was tense!

What book do you wish you could have written?
     I’m not the envious type. Happy to have written books of my own, I don’t wish to steal the thunder of the accomplishments of other authors. That said, I do admire the impact that J.K. Rowling has had on readers of all ages and in countries all over the world. The Harry Potter series has literally changed the literary world, not only by its commercial success, but by its empowering anti-bullying themes. The characters, settings, even vocabulary words from the books have become iconic and memorable details in our culture. It’s hard to realize that an entire fantastical world has emanated from the creative imagination of just one author, and it’s hard not to be awestruck.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? 
     As a teacher of writing, I believe in the value of constructive criticism. No one’s writing is perfect every time, and if we don’t embrace comments from readers, we won’t learn and grow. When I was writing Murder in the One Percent, my writers’ critique group was diligent in pointing out places where I had point of view switches. I know all about the importance of establishing and maintaining a consistent point of view within each chapter section, but writing scenes with multiple characters talking and thinking, I found myself slipping in occasional shifting points of view. Once they were pointed out to me, I rushed to fix them, before, like weeds, they would take over with minds of their own.
     As for the best compliment, it has to be when a beta reader told me he hated for the book to end, because he wanted more, much more of Detective Parrott. To me it is a hallmark of an outstanding book when the characters live on in the minds of the readers beyond the reading of the book. Of course, there is no compliment greater than having someone read, understand, and appreciate one’s book.

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? 
     Murder in the One Percent will definitely be an entrée. It will fill up your plate as you follow the twists and turns in the plot. Bite by bite, its richness will satisfy your hunger for a good book, and give you energy to stay up late, reading. I would call it “Murder Wellington,” and I would serve it on the finest silver platter. It’s a dish to die for!

What is your favorite social media?  Why?
     All social media are valuable communication channels for authors, and I’m on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. Each one has a different slant, and I try to enjoy the benefits of each in connecting with family, friends, and readers. To choose a favorite seems disloyal to the others, but I suppose Facebook is the one I spend the most time on, both in posting and in reading and commenting on others’ posts. Facebook has allowed me to connect with many old friends in far-flung places. It’s given me new friends through groups with common interests. It’s easy to operate, and you can post as much as you like as often as you like. I love the way you can become friends with your friends’ friends. You can never have too many friends, right?

Tell us about the book in your closet.
     Since it’s in the closet, it’s not ready to emerge, but I’ve written a second mystery novel, Murder at Lincoln High. It takes place in a Midwestern urban high school, where multiple obstacles interfere with the mission of student success. Though it’s a far cry from the setting and characters in Murder in the One Percent, the book pulls back the curtain on the challenges of school administration, and it’s a fun read!

And now for the fun stuff! 

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?
     I would be an exclamation point! I tend to be on the emotional side! I feel things very deeply! I’m so excited to be asked this question! And I’m so excited to answer this question!

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
     Given the shopaholic nods in Murder in the One Percent, readers will likely be surprised to know I am not a shopper. I used to have a weakness for shoes. I held Imelda Marcos in high esteem for having over 400 pairs of shoes in her closet, and I enjoyed having a wide array of shoes to choose from to complete every outfit. That was before Hurricane Ike in 2008, which decimated my house and its contents. Since then, I’ve realized how little we actually need, and while I still like a good-looking pair of shoes, my joy in shopping for them has evaporated.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality?
     Half full most of the time. I’ve seen people worry themselves sick over minor problems, while others in dire situations find a way to make the best of what they’ve got. The latter is far less stressful and more effective.

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
     I volunteer in a doctor’s office one day a week. I love the interaction with people, and there is always some way I can find to make a difference in somebody’s day. I even saved a person’s life by recognizing over the phone that she was having a heart attack and convincing her to seek treatment.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     Ha! Anyone who knows me knows I am a dog person. My Old English sheepdog Nana is the narrator of my children’s book, Naughty Nana, and she is my constant sidekick when I do book signings and appearances for that book. My other dog, Archie, is a Bichon frise. The two of them rest at my feet while I’m writing, and they “participate” during my writers’ critique group meetings.

Someone comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.

When old friends gather for a weekend retreat at a country mansion, no one anticipates how their lives will be changed—or that one of them will turn up dead. Remote and serene, the Campbells’ horse farm is the perfect setting for a lavish party. The guests, members of the country’s elite wealthiest one percent, several of them politically connected as well, indulge in delights befitting their station—gourmet food, fine wines, Cuban cigars—but greed, lust, and jealousy insinuate themselves into the party.

Playboy and former Secretary of the Treasury, Preston Phillips, brings his new trophy wife to the party, unaware that his first love, the woman he jilted at the altar years ago, will be there, enchanting him once more with her timeless beauty. A snowstorm, an accident, and an illicit rendezvous later, the dynamics crackle with tension.

When Detective Oliver Parrott is charged with solving the untimely killing of one of America’s leading financial wizards, he realizes this will be the case to make—or break—his career.

Murder in the One Percent offers relatable characters, memorable moments, surprising twists, and humorous insights. Dive into the world of the one percent, and you’ll come up intrigued and thoroughly entertained.

Barnes & Noble           Amazon Kindle           Amazon paperback        Black Opal Books

     About Saralyn:  Mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, has been a teacher who wrote on the side. Now she is a writer who teaches on the side. Some of her poems and essays have won awards and contests from the time she was in high school. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children in five countries.
     Murder in the One Percent, soon-to-be-published by Black Opal Books, pulls back the curtain on how the privileged and powerful rich live, love, and hate. Set on a gentleman’s farm in Pennsylvania and in the tony areas of New York, the book shows what happens when someone comes to a party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.
     When she is not writing, Saralyn likes going to movies and concerts, traveling, and walking on the beach with her husband and two dogs. She is an avid reader and is working on her second mystery.

Website     Facebook       Twitter       Goodreads

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: In This Life with Terri Herman-Ponce

Terri Herman-Ponce

     When psychologist Lottie Morgan meets Galen, their encounter is as intense as it is eye-opening. Something about him is familiar. His looks. His words. His touch.
     Lottie can’t resist the urge to know more about him, or the smoldering memories that surface every time he’s near. Only Galen’s keeping a dangerous secret, one linked to a life shared thousands of years ago. One that could destroy the relationship Lottie has with her current lover David.
     One that is about to cost Lottie her life. Again.
     Take a trip to mysterious ancient Egypt, where powerful passions ignite and deadly deceptions begin. The Past Life Series starts here.


Terri Herman-Ponce looks for any opportunity to make stuff up. She thinks anything that can’t so easily be explained is worth an extra look and often makes a great story. She loves red wine, scotch, sunrises, Ancient Egypt, the beach—and a host of other stuff that would take too much real estate to talk about. The youngest of five children, Terri lives with her husband and son on Long Island. And, in her next life, if she hasn’t moved on to somewhere else, Terri wants to be an astronomer. Or an astrophysicist, if her brain is big enough. She’s fascinated with the night skies almost as much as she’s fascinated with ancient Egypt.
     Terri is a member of member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and you can read about her at http://terriponce.com/. You can also find her on me on Facebook and Twitter.  Come visit. She'd love to hear from you!

Friday, February 16, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You can have anything you want if you give up the belief that you can't have it!
- Bashar
Thursday, February 15, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Getting to Know Caroline Clemmons

The Write Way Café welcomes author Caroline Clemmons, whose understanding of what a hero is comes from personal experience.

Tell us a little about your McClintock series.

So glad you asked. ☺ The McClintock’s are a close-knit, loving, ranching family that live in the Texas Hill Country near Bandera and Medina. The first in the series was Dallas McClintock in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. That book is perma-free at most online vendors. Dallas is injured saving the life of beautiful Cenora O’Neill and ends up trapped in marriage to her to save her from the bully head of a band of Irish Travelers. The second is Cenora’s brother, Finn O’Neill, in O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE. To earn his chance at a ranch, he agrees to work undercover at a coal mine to ferret out a saboteur and clears Stella Clayton’s father of suspicion before he marries Stella. Book three is McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE and features Josh McClintock and his reluctant bride, Nettie Clayton. In that book, Daniel’s horse is shot and he is pinned with his back on a sharp rock, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. We join Daniel two years later in the current book, DANIEL McCLINTOCK. Clara Van Hoosan comes to the McClintock ranch from Amsterdam as a mechanotherapist, the early name for physical therapist.

If Daniel McClintock was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?

Chris Hemsworth or Hunter Parrish. Actually, no actor matches the vision in my head, but these are the closest I can name.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
My biggest influence has been my husband who I call Hero. I couldn’t accomplish nearly as much without him. My entire family has been supportive, but Hero is my greatest support.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
Advice to me: Don’t let someone else steal your dream.
To others: Keep learning and honing your skill—persevere.

What “keepers” are in your home library?

With so many wonderful books available, choosing is difficult. Here are three on which I rely: PRINCE CHARMING by Julie Garwood, LORD PERFECT by Loretta Chase, and FALLON by Louis L’Amour (actually all of his westerns). I reread those about once a year. I love the way Loretta Chase phrases descriptions. Julie Garwood also has a definite way with words and this book includes both English Victorian and American West scenes.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? 
Criticism: A reader said the hero in THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND was unredeemable. He wasn’t and redeemed himself by the end of the book. As it turns out, all her other reviews were for sweet inspirational.
Compliment: A fan wrote that with my writing she could “see” the characters and places in the book as if she were there.

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? 
The entrée because there’s meat in it and it gives food for thought as well as entertaining the reader.

What is your favorite social media?  Why?

Facebook because one sees the photo of the person and can interact with many from one comment.

Do you have any compulsions you must do for no particular reason?

To accomplish my best writing, I must be in my office alone at my desktop. That’s where I write faster and where I prefer to spend my time. I’m happy there in what my family calls my “pink writing cave”. When writing, I listen to classical music on Pandora.

Tell us about the book in your closet.

I have a 4-part series of women’s fiction I may get around to one of these days in the not-too-distant future.

And now for the fun stuff! 

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
Books, of course! Books, books, and more books—both paper and e-books. Most of my paper books are for reference for writing. When purchasing a book to read, I choose an e-book unless the cost is the same as the paper book.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality? 
I’m a glass half full person, also keeping in mind the glass can be refilled.

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
I enjoy genealogy. I’ve contributed to several genealogical journals and have written family books for my mother-in-law’s family and my mom’s family. In addition, my brother and I collected material, anecdotes, and photos for a book on my father’s family.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
Both.  Hero and I have three cats. Our little shih tzu passed away a year ago and we are just now ready to adopt another. All our pets have been rescues.

What is your favorite season and why?
Spring is my favorite. Spring is such a hopeful time of year.

A compassionate woman…
Clara Van Hoosan entered training when she finished school at sixteen. Now, at twenty-two, she is one of the best heilgymnast in the new field of mechanotherapy. When her supervisor receives a request for someone to travel to Texas in America and help a paralytic patient, Clara is pleased to accept. On her arrival in McClintock Falls, she is surprised that the patient she thought would be a teenage boy is a very handsome man her age.

A desperate man…
Two years ago Daniel McClintock was paralyzed from the waist down. He is deeply discouraged and wonders if he is bound to live his life an invalid. Each week he becomes more depressed although not idle. He keeps books for the ranch and paints landscapes with sales donated to the church. The local doctor learns of a new type of treatment developed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Daniel can’t go there, so his family writes for a therapist trained in the new treatment to come to them.

A surprise arrives…
Everyone is expecting a man when Clara Van Hoosan arrives. As she and Daniel work together, they become attracted. She believes his is the normal attachment a patient feels toward a therapist and will fade once he’s healed. She tries to hide her feelings for him. Daniel knows she’s The One if only he can convince her to remain in McClintock Falls.


About Caroline:
     Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To make up for this tragic error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.
     Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.
Follow her on BookBub.
     Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?
     She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Murder in the One Percent with Saralyn Richard

Saralyn Richard

Someone comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.

When old friends gather for a weekend retreat at a country mansion, no one anticipates how their lives will be changed—or that one of them will turn up dead. Remote and serene, the Campbells’ horse farm is the perfect setting for a lavish party. The guests, members of the country’s elite wealthiest one percent, several of them politically connected as well, indulge in delights befitting their station—gourmet food, fine wines, Cuban cigars—but greed, lust, and jealousy insinuate themselves into the party.

Playboy and former Secretary of the Treasury, Preston Phillips, brings his new trophy wife to the party, unaware that his first love, the woman he jilted at the altar years ago, will be there, enchanting him once more with her timeless beauty. A snowstorm, an accident, and an illicit rendezvous later, the dynamics crackle with tension.

When Detective Oliver Parrott is charged with solving the untimely killing of one of America’s leading financial wizards, he realizes this will be the case to make—or break—his career.

Murder in the One Percent offers relatable characters, memorable moments, surprising twists, and humorous insights. Dive into the world of the one percent, and you’ll come up intrigued and thoroughly entertained.

Amazon        Black Opal

About Saralyn: 
     Mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, has been a teacher who wrote on the side, but now she is a writer who teaches on the side. Some of her poems and essays have won awards and contests from the time she was in high school. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children in five countries.
     Murder in the One Percent (©2018 Black Opal Books) pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful. Set on a gentleman’s farm in Pennsylvania and in the tony areas of New York, the book shows what happens when someone comes to a party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.
     A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn is revising her second mystery. Visit her website for reviews, tour schedule, and more at www.saralynrichard.com.

Friday, February 9, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
It is those with the boldest dreams who awaken the best in all of us.
- Johnnetta B. Cole
Thursday, February 8, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Getting to Know Sally Meadows

The Write Way Café welcomes Sally Meadows, author of the children's book, The Two Trees, which draws on her life experiences and her passions.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? 
I have always wanted to write, from when I was a little girl. I have been fortunate that of the careers I have had—including scientific editor and educator—there has been plenty of opportunities to work with words. But it was when I was working with northern Saskatchewan schools and students ten years ago that I first had a burning desire to write a children’s book. The idea for that book was based on a project our office was supporting—the building of an energy efficient home that combined traditional Metis building materials and techniques with the latest green technology. I am still debating about writing that book, because it showcases the strengths of a demographic—Aboriginal youth—that is both overlooked and underrepresented in children’s stories.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
About six years ago I took a course from award-winning YA/children’s author Alice Kuipers about writing a children’s picture book. After tossing around a few ideas (including the one above), I decided to write a story about a boy on the autism spectrum as told from the younger sibling’s perspective. I felt very encouraged by my classmates and instructor, and decided to look into publishing the story. It took a few years, but my first children’s picture book The Two Trees was finally published in April 2015. I wanted to publish the book quickly so I could earn additional income doing school presentations. So I decided to go with a blended publisher that functions somewhere between a royalty publisher and indie publishing.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
I am a former teacher and am familiar with the challenges of children on the autism spectrum, ranging from those who have multiple disabilities and cognitive challenges, to highly functional and/or gifted. I also happen to be a parent of the latter. One day I was staring out the window, upset with the bullying that was happening to my son. I saw that one of the two trees my children planted when they were little was struggling to survive. The contrast between the growths of the two trees became the metaphorical foundation of my story The Two Trees.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The story begins with the planting of the two trees in the backyard. Much of the action in the story happens here, so we as readers can visually assess the progress, and contrast the growths, of the two trees in parallel with the child with autism struggling to find a place where he can flourish. Other scenes occur within the home and at school, two common places a child can be encouraged and nurtured—or not.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
The Two Trees is very loosely based on my family’s experience having a child with high-functioning autism in the home. However, there are fundamental differences in personality and ability of the two main characters—Jaxon, who tells the story, and his older brother Syd, who has autism—from any real-life individuals. While there are a few scenes in the book that actually happened—such as the bullying event at school—the majority of the scenes, and the minor characters, were partially or entirely fabricated to serve the narrative of the story. Of course, the two trees, which I consider as important characters in the book, are real. (By the way, they are both thriving and now very tall.)

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? 
It was almost two years between finishing the manuscript and starting the process of getting the book published. I had a lot going on during that time, both personally and professionally, and I had to put the manuscript aside for a good year. Further, it had always bothered me that there wasn’t a well-defined critical turning point or climax in my original manuscript. Then one day, one of my children said something to me, and everything clicked into place. Many people now tell me that the scene I added was the one that impacted them the most: when Jaxon says, “I’m tired of being the older younger brother!”

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Originally my intent was to write a book that might help alert parents that their quirky child might in fact have high-functioning autism, which can be disguised by giftedness. An early diagnosis is always better for the child. Mostly, though, the book has been an excellent tool in introducing school children to what autism is and what they can do to help, including being accepting of, and kind to, others who may be perceived as “different.”

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about children with autism.
After The Two Trees was considered for two awards (The Word Awards (Canada, 2016)) and the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award (US, 2015) I felt affirmation that I was on the right path for this season of my life. I write about things that are important to me—my faith, autism awareness, positive stories about Aboriginal students, and connecting to the natural world. Although I wouldn’t call myself housebound—I am out doing school presentations, teaching workshops, and doing music at least some of the time—there are long periods when I feel quite isolated. I don’t mind being alone, but I didn’t expect to miss the social aspect of working outside the home so much! Now I make a concerted effort to build in social time—usually with other writers or musicians! And by the way, the absolute best moments for me as an author are at public events when I meet a child with autism—or their sibling, or friend—who connects with my story.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I work from my home and during the day, no one else is around. So I take my computer out of my office area into my big, bright kitchen, and work from there. I love looking out into my tree-filled backyard, where I see lots of birds and the occasional bunny, all year round. It has in part inspired me to focus over the next two years on children’s books about wildlife.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
I am a life-long learner, so I read lots of non-fiction books, usually with topics related to writing, marketing, crafts, health, and faith. I am never without my bible. I also read all kinds of children’s books, which help me discover what I like and don’t like to help inform my own writing. Finally, I read a lot of novels—mostly Christian, and in a wide variety of genres. So just as I am diversified in what I do, I also am diversified in what I read!

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two children’s picture book manuscripts and a middle-years manuscript. All have to do either directly or indirectly with wildlife. I am very, very excited where my career is going over the next year or two. I am also doing a lot of song writing in the first quarter of 2018.  I am really looking forward to getting back into the studio after the success of my most recent radio single “Holy Spirit.”

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
My picture books tend to have a serious tone to them, so I would love to write a quirky, fun, imaginative children’s book. Also, although I have never aspired before to write a novel, that is starting to change. After reading some lovely Christmas novellas over the last two holiday seasons, I am inspired to try my hand at something similar.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I am blessed to have had several wonderful careers over my lifetime, each of which was perfect at the time. My dream job is to do what I am doing now, but with more interaction with live humans! More income would be nice LOL. I’ve always wanted to work at a kid’s museum. I definitely see all my strengths coming together in a position there.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Too many ideas and not enough time! I could work all day and all night! But I don’t, to keep balance in my life. Also, while I enjoy marketing, I find it can very easily eat up my time; I am truly happiest when I am actually creating. Finally, as mentioned above, I find the lack of human interaction during most of my days challenging. But that’s an easy fix, right?

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

by Sally MeadowsJaxon loves his big brother, but why can't he be like other kids? A poignant story about autism spectrum disorder as told from the perspective of the younger sibling.

The Two Trees Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/thetwotrees

The Two Trees can be purchased at https://sallymeadows.com/storeAmazon or at Amazon Canada.

About Sally:  
     Sally Meadows is an award-winning, multi-award-nominated author, recording artist, and speaker from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Sally writes children's picture books, short stories for adults, informational articles, and inspirational songs. Her work has been shortlisted four times for The Word Awards, Canada's largest and most prestigious awards for Christian writers. Her children's picture book The Two Trees was also considered for the 2015 Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award. Sally is also passionate about photography, incorporating many of her photos into videos and a range of retail products including greeting cards and calendars.
     Sally travels all around her home province (and beyond) speaking to elementary school children about autism and the importance of being a good friend in support of her book The Two Trees (see Speaking page). She passionately supports families that include a child on the autism spectrum.
     Sally also delivers hands-on workshops to adults in various topics related to writing and songwriting (see Speaking page).


Tuesday, February 6, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Bloodlines & Lies with Lynda Rees

Lynda Rees

The Bloodline Series, Book 5
Ad executive Riley Power’s fiancé, Levi Madison, and his Native American horse trainer, Calvin Coldwater, prepare Cheyenne Powers for triple-crown racing. An old flame returns to Sweetwater, and the stunning redheaded chef wants Riley’s man. Instead of focusing on wedding plans, Riley’s concerned with her dad’s prognosis of Black Lung Disease. Her house is broken into, and her next door neighbor is murdered. Police search for the drug ring involved. Riley and her friends, Lemon Sage Benton and FBI Special Agent Reggie Casse, follow another line of investigation. Danger follows them home. 

Amazon Kindle Print or eBook        
Barnes & Noble Print 
Barnes & Noble NOOK  
Apple iTunes 

For the first fifty who email me at lyndareesauthor@gmail.com with their order number for Bloodlines & Lies, I will send them a FREE copy of The Bloodline Series novella Leah's Story. 

     Lynda is a story teller and dreamer whose dreams come true.  She lives on a farm in Kentucky with her incredible husband and herd of critters watching her children and grandchildren breath—fascinating. Born in the splendid Appalachian Mountains the daughter of a coal miner and part Cherokee Indian, Lynda grew up in northern Kentucky when the Mob reigned supreme in Newport and the city prospered as a gambling, prostitution and sin mecca. She’s fascinated with how history affects today’s lives and it works its way into her written pages. After a corporate career in marketing and global transportation this free spirited adventurer with workaholic tendencies followed her passion with for writing.
     Gold Lust Conspiracy, her award winning historical romance, launched Sept, 2017 by Sweetwater Publishing Company along with Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary and Wine, the first of The Bloodline Series of romantic suspense set in Kentucky horse country. Books 1-5 launched before 2018 with others scheduled in the spring. Stay tuned.
     Lynda’s first children’s book, Freckle Face & Blondie, is co-authored with her granddaughter Harley Nelson launching early 2018. Enjoy her stories. She hopes you become life-long friends.

Gold Lust Conspiracy
The Bloodline Series
Book 1 - Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine
Book 2 - Blood & Studs
Book 3 - Hot Blooded
Book 4 - Blood of Champions
Book 5 - Bloodlines & Lies
Book 6 - Horseshoes & Roses

God Father’s Day
Madam Mom
Freckle Face & Blondie, Book 1

Friday, February 2, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Today is a good day to try. 
- Quasimodo
Thursday, February 1, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Sullivan's Sons

The Write Way Café welcomes Elley Arden, Kristina Knight, and Katie Kenyhercz, authors of the three-book series Sullivan's Sons, who give us a peek into their writing process.

Tell us about your series, Sullivan’s Sons.
     Katie: Three professional athlete brothers get the shock of their lives when they find out they have a long-lost sister. Over the course of the three books, they search for her and each finds love along the way.
     Kristina: Sullivan’s Sons is a kind of family saga, focusing on the three sons of Jack Sullivan, a former football player and broadcaster. When a deep family secret comes out, Gavin, Colby, and Luc will have to reassess everything they thought they knew about their family…and about love!
     Elley: The Sullivan’s Sons series gives readers an inside look at the personal lives of an extremely successful and iconic sports family with a surprising secret. The three books in the series follow along with each Sullivan son as he learns the truth about his family and comes to terms with what it means for him. Of course, all that soul searching leaves a man open to love!

How did you come up with the idea, and then the title of your series?
     Katie: Elley came up with the idea after spending some time on Anna Maria Island. Once we had the character names, the series name took care of itself!
     Kristina: That’s an Elley question! She was the mastermind of this whole thing!
     Elley: I’ve been spending time on Anna Maria Island, which is a true island in the Gulf of Mexico just south of Tampa, for several years now, and it’s magical. Last year, while I was writing the last book in another series, I started thinking about what I wanted to do next, and I knew whatever it was had to take place on AMI. Since I go for spring training, I figured I should write what I know, but I thought it would be fun to include other authors and other sports. From there, my brain went wild, using Howie Long as inspiration for Jack Sullivan. I emailed Katie and Kristina with the basic premise, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Can you share a fun fact or a few about your series?
     Katie: In FOUND on Anna Maria Island, the character of Ernie is inspired a great deal by a wonderful lady named Liz. She was my best friend and passed a few years ago. She may have grown old, but she never grew up, something I really loved about her!
     Kristina: It’s set on the actual island of Anna Maria, in the Tampa area. In my book, Lost on Anna Maria Island, Colby and Madalyn have been friends for most of their lives, so it was really fun watching how they opened themselves up and grew into the romantic part of their relationship. Oh! And Colby has nicknames for his brothers – Boy-O and Dude.
     Elley: The Sandbar Restaurant, where Gavin and Emerson have their first date in HOME is real. You can eat with your toes in the sand! There is also a nightly sunset contest. If you pick the exact time, you win dessert and champagne. And yes, we won last February with 7:21 p.m. as our guess. The Waterfront Restaurant is also real and incredibly delicious. And, my mother saw dolphins for the very first time at the Rod and Reel Pier much like Emerson does in the book. (My mom squealed and cried, too.)

Is this the first time you’ve done a series with other authors?  What did you learn that you didn’t expect?
     Katie: This was the first time I collaborated on a series with other authors, and it was a blast! It was so helpful having other authors to work out plot issues. We were very lucky, too, that our styles were so similar, and we agreed every step of the way about pretty much everything. I get the feeling that probably doesn’t happen with every collaboration, so I’m very grateful! I’d work with Elley and Kristi again any day!
     Kristina: It is! I went in kind of expecting us to butt heads a little, but the whole process has been really exciting and fun. I think Elley had a great idea for the family saga part, and that was so well thought out that it very much shaped where the series as a whole went, but it also left all of us room to write the books as we saw them.
     Elley: I worked with multiple authors on another series a couple years ago, so I know how rewarding these collaborations can be. This is my first time working with Katie and Kristina, though, and I’m so happy with how effortlessly everything came together. We really enjoyed ourselves and worked well together.

If Sullivan’s Sons was made into a movie, who would play the main characters of each book, and why?
     Katie: I’ll answer for FOUND! I’ll say Zac Efron for Lucas and Anna Kendrick for Skylar.
     Kristina: Colby (hero of book two) was very loosely based on real-life football player JJ Watt, who I think is adorable. Madalyn (or Mad, as she’s called through most of the book…but I swear she doesn’t have an anger problem) was loosely based on Cobie Smulders, who I’ve loved since her HIMYM days.
     Elley: I don’t know if either of these lovely ladies act, but models Ashely Graham and Candace Huffine would be my top choices to play Emerson in HOME. They are both gorgeous and vivacious, the embodiment of bold and beautiful. Gavin would be played by Charlie Hunnam, because, well, look at him. Lol. And he does a great job with rough-around-the-edges characters while still giving them heart.

Are you plotters or pantsers?  If both, did this create problems in brainstorming your series?
     Katie: I’m a hybrid! I usually come up with a loose outline and let creativity take it from there. For this series we had to plot extensively and brainstorm together throughout the entire process to make sure everything was set continuity-wise. I enjoyed it because we all got a lot of reassurance we were on the right track, and if any alterations were needed, we had each other to rely on for good advice. We were all good at compromise and cooperation and didn’t hit any bumps.
     Kristina: I’m a little of both, actually. I keep a pretty detailed outline from the beginning of where I think the story is going to go…this time, I got to about the ¾ mark and realized I’d really messed up part of the sequence of events and character arcs. Which put me a little behind schedule and probably stressed out Katie and Elley, but we made it work, and they were so supportive and encouraging!
     Elley: I’ve forced myself to become a plotter over the last few years, but it hasn’t worked out well for me. I almost always end up off track. I did for this book, and that set us back a little bit time wise. Thankfully, Katie and Kristina were there to help me get back to the heart of the story I’d intended to write in the first place—another bonus of working together from the beginning.

Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
     Katie: The hardest for me are what I call the “between scenes”. I can know my major plot points and can write those easily enough, but I usually stall out between those scenes and am not sure what to do to keep things moving. Eventually it comes to me!
     Kristina: It depends on the book. In this one, it was definitely the love scene. The kissing scenes, those were fun, but I just couldn’t get the full-on love scene to flow.
     Elley: Scenes with heavy emotion tend to get away from me and become very dark or melodramatic. I need to step away and come back to them over and over again to get the right balance.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?
     Katie: I favor quippy banter and playful sarcasm with genuine heart ribboning through it.
     Kristina: That’s a hard question! I think it’s the emotion and character depth, at least that is my hope. I like to write strong and capable and yet flawed heroes and heroines, because I love an emotional read. That’s what I always strive to do, and hopefully, that’s what winds up on the page.
     Elley: I’ve been told I do conflict well. I always try to give my hero and heroine true conflict rather than trouble. Often times, this leads me to write about opposites attracting. Usually I start out with two people who seem like the worst possible match, but they end up being absolutely perfect for each other. There was a little of that between Gavin and Emerson in HOME, but not as much as I’ve written in the past.

What was the hardest part of writing this series?
     Katie: We wrote the books simultaneously, so for me, the hardest part was writing the third book without having read the first two. I knew the major turning points of HOME and LOST, but I had to guess a lot about characterization and backstory only to go back and change things once Elley and Kristina got a look at my draft.
     Kristina: Figuring out the right sequence of events that I mentioned above! Katie and Elley were so fun to work with and play with – we have a string of Facebook IM’s that could probably circle the globe at this point!
     Elley: I wrote the first book, so the hardest part for me was writing with the knowledge that if I wrote a crappy book, nobody would want to read the other books in the series, which would mean I’d let Katie and Kristina down. Those thoughts paralyzed my writing at times.

What did you enjoy most about writing this series?
     Katie: Working with Elley and Kristina and sharing the excitement together!
     Kristina: The backstory, and weaving in what happened before with what was happening currently. Creating the saga arc that is present through all three books what a challenge – as was figuring out the schedules of three professional athlete brothers! – but it was also a lot of fun.
     Elley: I love the string of Facebook messages we’ve had running for almost a year now. There’s so much information, it’s impossible to go back through and find what you need. When I was actually writing, though, what I enjoyed most was revisiting all the things I love about Anna Maria Island. It really is magical.

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?
     Katie: I do read them, but never respond! It’s not professional and is only asking for trouble. When you get a bad review, just keep in mind that person is not YOUR reader, but plenty of other people are. Re-read the good reviews and remember that you reached the people you wanted to reach.
     Kristina: I try not to read them, but it’s impossible not to see things now and again. I never respond, because that isn’t my job. My job is to write the best book I can, and after that, I can only hope that readers will connect with the story and characters. That’s my best advice: write the book as well as you can, and then let it go.
     Elley: As a rule, I don’t read reviews. Occasionally, someone will send me a link or I’ll see a favorable title or rating, and I’ll bite, knowing it won’t be horrible. When I was first starting out, I read all reviews, believing the criticism would make me a better writer. It didn’t. It only sent me to the sofa, where I cried about being awful and couldn’t write for days. It’s impossible to keep deadlines like that—at least it’s impossible for me.

What are you working on now?
     Katie: As we wrap up the releases of the Sullivan’s Sons Series, I’m starting Vegas Girl, Lady Sinners Book 2!
     Kristina: I just turned in a new series proposal to my editor for something that’s going to be a little new and different, and hopefully I’ll be able to share details soon! I’m finishing up a new women’s fiction project, with a strong romantic element to it, and there are more books coming soon!
     Elley: I’ve started work on a new series set in a small Pennsylvania lake town, where Rosie Ellis discovers her late father’s best kept secrets: two daughters, Violet and Sugar, who now own as much of the Laurel Lake Tavern as Rosie does. Lots of family drama in this one, too. I’m looking forward to returning to small-town romance again.

What advice would you give other others working on their first series together?
     Katie: Remember that the series belongs to all of you and really listen to your collaborators. Make decisions based on the best interest of the books.
     Kristina: Don’t be afraid to share ideas. Create a schedule with plenty of wiggle room, because life has a way of blowing up when you least expect it. Be kind and encouraging with one another, but never be afraid to share an honest opinion.
     Elley: Teamwork makes the dream work. Talk openly and honestly. Most importantly be flexible. Lean on each other when need be, but give each other space to create, too.

Anything else you would like readers to know?
     Katie: If you like sports romance and hockey in particular, check out my Las Vegas Sinners Series!
     Kristina: Just that this series was so much fun to write, and I hope they enjoy the books as much as we enjoyed writing them!
     Elley: I have more sports romances available at online retailers. Baseball and football. I especially like to make women the professional athletes. Why should guys have all the on-field fun?

Home on Anna Maria Island
book cover by Elley Arden
     Pittsburgh Privateers third baseman Gavin Sullivan is home on Anna Maria Island with a lot on his mind: his mother’s recent battle with breast cancer and, now, the surprising news his oldest brother, Colby, is a twin. Gavin has a sister he’s never met, and worse, he’s sworn to secrecy while his parents try to find her. Is it any wonder he shows up to Spring Training thirty pounds heavier than last season? Armed with a complicated diet and a warning from Coach Zee, Gavin feels wrecked, until he finds a half-naked goddess on his parents' stretch of beach. Funny how the body that has been making him feel so miserable lately suddenly has him flying high.
     Curve model Emerson Raye wants to prove the naysayers back home in West Virginia wrong. Big is beautiful, too. All she has to do is land a spot in the Sports Unlimited Swimsuit Edition by convincing America to vote for her. When pro athlete Gavin Sullivan stumbles onto her oceanfront photo shoot and asks her out for drinks, Emerson and her assistant concoct a plan to leak photos of the date to the media and create the vote-getting buzz Emerson needs. Soon, Emerson realizes there’s more to Gavin than meets the eye, and their temporary, no-strings relationship heats up. But can something lasting survive under harsh media scrutiny when secrets threaten to sabotage everything?

Available now on Amazon

Lost on Anna Maria Island
book cover by Kristina Knight     Florida Warriors star defensive end, Colby Sullivan, is the best in the business, but since his parents dropped the news that he not only had a biological sister but a biological twin sister, he’s been on his heels. He feels like he’s in the middle of a cover defense with no one backing him on the strong side. Colby knows, as the eldest, it is his job to keep the family going, but he can’t figure out what all this means to him with the daily interruptions from either his well-meaning parents or his rallying brothers. A flirtation with the girl next door is the perfect distraction, but all too soon she’s way past his defenses and heading for a touchdown that his heart just isn’t ready for.
     Between her baby sister’s wedding and her job rehabbing Colby’s image, Madalyn Hunter is holding on by a thread. Mad understands football, cover defenses, and option offenses, but dealing with sneaky paparazzi, her sister’s obsession with the perfect wedding, and Colby’s not-friend-like kisses has her ready to throw a Hail Mary. The more time she spends with Colby, the harder it is to resist the gorgeous man who has always been her best friend. It’s fourth and goal with love on the line, but can Madalyn teach this star defender that the best way to protect his heart is to give it to her?

Available February 7 on Amazon

Found on Anna Maria Island
book cover by Katie Kenyhercz     Tampa Thunder hockey player Lucas Sullivan’s world took a hard check when his parents revealed he had a sister they gave up for adoption when she was born. His mother’s recent health scare brought the truth to light, and a search for the lost Sullivan began. It seems to be one step forward, two steps back, and Lucas is still trying to wrap his head around it all while battling to win the Cup, and he’s so close. To de-stress between games, he heads home to Anna Maria Island every chance he gets, looking for relaxation and peace of mind. What he finds instead is a beautiful, new surf instructor who dekes past his defenses and gets dangerously close to his heart.
     Skylar Avery’s sister Scarlet has always been her best friend even though they aren’t biologically sisters. When Scarlet’s search for her birth family hit a wall, she stopped looking. Sky didn’t. Finally, the dots connected and led her to the Sullivan sports dynasty family and their home base, Anna Maria Island. Taking a job as a surf instructor puts her in the right place at the right time to meet middle brother Lucas Sullivan. He’s her ticket to getting to know the whole family so she can decide if they deserve to know Scarlet. One problem: he’s kind of perfect. Without meaning to, she starts to fall for the hockey player. Can their sweet connection survive the truth?

Available February 14 on Amazon

About the authors:

Elley Arden writes strong athlete heroines, who know how to sweep a man off his feet, for Crimson Romance. She is the author of the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed Cleveland Clash series, which follows along with the on- and off-field accomplishments of a women’s professional football team. She previously worked for The Walt Disney Company and spent over a decade as a non-fiction writer and editor. Elley loves everything about this crazy life, and she believes there’s beauty to be found in every situation. All we have to do is look for it.
     Join Elley's mailing list at www.elleyarden.com for news about her books and giveaways. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ElleyArdenAuthor/ and Twitter at @elleywrites.

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!

AuthorKatie Kenyhercz: I live in Ohio with my Air Force hubby, and I write hockey romance. I played one season of roller hockey when I was fifteen--it hurt enough that I decided I liked it better as a spectator--and it's been true love ever since! My fictional team is the Las Vegas Sinners, and my real-world team is the Pittsburgh Penguins.
     I like strong, capable heroines who bring out the vulnerability in their tough guys.
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