Friday, August 31, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
All I would tell people is to hold onto what was individual about themselves, not to allow their ambition for success to cause them to try to imitate the success of others. You’ve got to find it on your own terms.
– Harrison Ford

Thursday, August 30, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Boo of Moo: How to Unmask Writing Fears

art copyright Cynthia Morgan
© Cynthia Morgan

Boo of Moo: How to Unmask Writing Fears
by Nan Lundeen

Ways in which I avoid writing:

Check email.
Water plants.
Check air pressure in tires.
Hunt for lost socks.

Fear of facing the blank page delights in disguise. The Mask of Procrastination loves to do its dirty business in my subconscious. I intend to write first thing, yet when I’m paying attention, I recognize a few troubling warning signs. Why am I ironing, cleaning the refrigerator, or snoozing for five more minutes?

As if every day were Halloween, writers may glimpse a few masks that hide the fear of writing floating about in subterranean lairs. Writers, being creative sorts, can come up with a mob of them.

In addition to procrastination, you may notice:

Self-Doubt Mask – Who do you think you are? There’s nothing new under the sun. There’s nothing you can write about that hasn’t been written before by better writers.

White Rabbit Mask - I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! Arrive at work early to jump-start climbing mountains of tasks, and hurry, hurry, hurry all day and all evening. No time to say hello, blank page.

Mr. Excuse Mask – This writer rationalizes away writing time as if it were a commodity to be bartered, making elaborate excuses. I would write now if I could, but I can’t because . . .

Flawless Mask – I produce perfect manuscripts. Maybe I’d better wait to share this poem-story-novel in case I missed a mistake. I’ll just polish it again.

Shine the powerful tool of awareness on them and their true identities under the masks can be uncovered. I’ll share a trick to reveal them in a moment, but first, boo of what?

Boo of Moo comes from a chapter in my handbook, The Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential. The chapter looks at ways we writers unknowingly impede ourselves.

Moo of Writing is a process centered on the writer as a ruminant, digging down into the subconscious to pull out—voila!—creativity. It's also meant to conjure mu, a Zen koan whereby you find your work by getting out of your own way.

The dairy cow symbolizes the process because while she stands in the meadow peacefully chewing her cud and swishing her tail, she produces five gallons of milk every day. She’s relaxed, and she’s productive.

I don’t think she’s beset by the Boo of Moo.

But the human ruminant—gnawing on his virtual pencil and sensing something is not quite right—faces a formidable opponent that rings his doorbell most days dressed in the mask of the moment.

What lies beneath?

Consider how closely writing is tied to your identity. When I’m producing, I feel centered and grounded. I know who I am. Conversely, when I question my worth as a writer, a pall settles over me, and placing words on a page seems futile. Fear of unworthy writing threatens my raison d'être, a heavy burden to place on words.

Living in the Information Age, peace seldom settles lightly beside us. We have become a society of scurriers. I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! Hence, the popularity of quick-fix escapes such as beer, movies, whodunnit novels (my personal favorite—just one more chapter, one more chapter), the elsewhere of smartphones. We have kids to raise, livings to earn, appointments to keep and toenails to clip. Writing deadlines challenge us. It’s easy to morph those into stress. The White Rabbit Mask usurps focus.

If a desire to escape butts you relentlessly on the backside, take stock. Something is amiss. Try some quiet time to meditate, ground yourself and restore balance.

Rationalization is a tricky mask. When I find myself in a logic labyrinth, rationalization is the culprit. To recognize it, I must step off the path and observe my thoughts. For instance, I have no time to write tomorrow because I must do this and this and this. What? Wake up earlier? That would be unhealthy. I need my sleep. Can you spare 10 minutes? Stupid! What can I possibly accomplish in 10 minutes? I must get into the flow.

Rationalization, especially when played with the topic of time, can leave you trudging on a circular path forever lured by the carrot, I could write this except for . . .

Perfectionism kills even the desire to write because it forever leaves us tilting at windmills of illusion.

In Moo of Writing, I suggest an exercise to help writers identify masks and uncover fears:
  • Gather drawing tools such as, crayons, pencils, markers, colored pencils, scrap paper, or sketch paper. If you're comfortable with a drawing program on your tablet or computer, use it. Relax. Visualize yourself in safe space. Invite your mask into your vision. Without thinking, sketch it. Again, without thinking, write its name. You have named your fear, and when you name it, you own it.
When I did this, I drew a long, red rectangle-shaped face. Two black horizontal slits slashing across the page became eyes. The nose was a red, backwards comma. I interpreted the down-turned partial black arc mouth as aborted self-expression. “Hopeless” popped into my mind. Hopeless because? A moment’s thought and I had it: The mask showed me that I'd been letting rejections get me down. When I peeked beneath the mask, fear said, “What's the use? The path ahead is strewn with rejections.”
  • Write an affirmation to resolve your fear. Make it short, specific, and use the present tense. Examples: I acknowledge my fear of ________and move forward. Or, I write even when I feel fearful. Or, fear, I recognize you behind that mask of ________. I enjoy writing.
Affirmations are powerful tools that help you overcome fears you have dragged into the light. I wrote, I choose hope and placed it on my nightstand. "Hopeless" hangs in my writing room as a reminder that if I value my work, that value may be mirrored back to me by editors and readers. Poor “Hopeless” actually amuses me now, he's so pitiful.

The Boo of Moo concept has been helpful to me. I hope it is to you. May you happily wander about in creative pastures wearing unmatched socks, sketching fears in your notebooks.

Please excuse me now, my computer screen needs dusting.

Find more about Moo of Writing and hear free Moo meditations at

Also, find Nan at and @nanlundeen.

photo by Ron DeKettNan Lundeen’s Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential, (CreateSpace, 2015), was a finalist in Indie Excellence and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her columns on writing have appeared in Writing Magazine, U.K., SC Writers Workshop’s Quill and The Paddock Review. She facilitates writing workshops. A retired award-winning journalist, she’s published three books of poems. Her poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Connecticut River Review, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, Illuminations, Yemassee, The Petigru Review, and others. She blogs at She holds a  master’s in communications from Western Michigan University.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Lynx by Connie Vines

With a dangerous reputation for taking chances and tempting fate, rugged cowboy Lynx Maddox had one goal in life—to win the coveted Silver Buckle rodeo championship. But when he sets eyes on lovely Rachel Scott, he becomes determined to capture her as well. 

Rachel traveled the circuit with her famous rodeo rider dad until his fatal accident in the arena. Now, she wants nothing to do with that world—or the men who risk their lives for one brief moment of glory. But her attraction to Lynx becomes too powerful to deny. . . and his unexpected gentleness too seductive to resist. . .

Amazon        iTunes        Smashwords        Google Play

CONNIE VINES lives deep in the quirky suburbs of Southern California with her husband, grown sons and a playful poodle. Raised in a career Naval family, her writing reflects her diverse background, numerous occupations, and her love of animals.
        Often giving a nod to an artistic family member (Band member of Louisiana 5/ Hollywood composer, Anton Lada; novelist, Clarence "Clancy" Carlisle; Playwright/ songstress, Jackie Marx) in her books, Connie admits her writing is greatly influenced by the summers she spent with her grandparents in the panhandle of Texas.
        Her interests are varied: a kitchen decorated with a 'gingerbread boy and girl" theme; her paring of a Pioneer Woman teapot and her Royal Albert teal poke-a-dot china cups and saucers. Her cinematic tastes, unique: mashed-together cross-genre 2 and 3-star movies; and her most fav Canadian sleeper-movie," Powwow Highway" and the "Moose TV" sitcom.
        Connie has published over one hundred fiction and nonfiction articles, twelve genre novels, educational student activity books, and has ghost-written two literary novels and one screenplay. Under a pseudonym, Connie published with Kensington/Zebra and is currently contracted with BWL Publishing, Inc.

Facebook        Website        Twitter
Instagram        Blog

Monday, August 27, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind

We're highlighting the authors of Love, Forever, a sampler of first chapters of books written by eleven authors of different genres but each one a romance. This week, say "Hi!" to author Karen Kelley.

Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind
Planet Nerak Series Book 1
by Karen Kelley

“I’m going crazy,” Mala murmured. Jumping to her feet, she strode to the plate glass window overlooking the pristine city surrounding her townhouse.

The planet Nerak, where the light never faded and everything was white. So horribly white—colorless, stark and cold. Just like everything on her planet.

“Would you like a hormone smoothie?” Barton asked over the monitoring system.

She stuck her tongue out. “No, I wouldn’t like a smoothie.”

A small aero unit whizzed past, rattling her window. Everything moved too fast. Instant gratification. Sad? Drink a happy smoothie. Tired? Drink an energy smoothie. Horny? Drink a hormone smoothie. Everything was a quick fix.

“You get this way every year. I’m only suggesting a smoothie because it usually calms you.”

She cocked an eyebrow. “Maybe because it has a sedative in it?”

“We could copulate.” A door that blended with the wall whisked silently open.

She turned as Barton stepped inside the room. He was like no other. Six feet three inches of rugged, sexy male. Blond hair, blue eyes...she should be happy. She should. Shouldn’t she?

Then why was she so frustrated!

“It’s been three years, twenty-one days, fourteen hours, twenty-two minutes and nine seconds since you’ve had an orgasm,” he informed her.

And he was driving her crazy. She didn’t want perfection, but Barton was exactly the way she’d ordered him. A gift from her cousin on Mala’s twenty-first birthday. Together they had chosen everything about him. He was their creation.

At the time, her older cousin, Kia, had been going through a rebellious period and had smuggled a catalog of male specimens into Mala’s apartment. Barton was born from a sketch they’d compiled.

But they had taken their creation a step further. They’d practically breathed life into him. At least, as much life as could be breathed into a companion unit. Barton had all the emotions of any Nerakian.

He was the perfect male.

He was still perfect five years later.

Everything about her life was perfect.

She hated it.

Want to read more? 

Amazon       Nook        Kobo        iTunes

There are no men on Mala’s home planet. Only robots to serve and satisfy, but after viewing her space-traveling grandmother’s documentary about the planet Earth, and seeing Sheriff, the superb male specimen in the documentary, Mala knows she must break the rules of forbidden space travel and see for herself what a real man is like.

Sheriff Mason McKinley has his hands full after the town nutcase reports a UFO crashing near Devil’s Bend. The idiot already has three reporters from a national rag magazine convinced Big Foot is in the area. When he investigates, he doesn’t find little green men, instead he finds a very sexy female stumbling around in the dark.

Staying with Sheriff is the best solution. What wonderful things he has, like chocolate! It’s her duty to explore Sheriff’s planet…and Sheriff. As long as the Elders don’t realize she’s gone, that is.

📚  Find Karen Kelley here:

Website         Facebook          Twitter @KarenKelley15

Friday, August 24, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. 
– Buddha

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Paladin Series with Alexis Morgan

The Write Way Café welcomes Alexis Morgan, a best-selling author whose interest in geology inspired a series. 

Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Atone in Darkness! Winner will be selected on Monday August 27th. 

Tell us a little about Atone in Darkness.
Atone in Darkness is a story about two strangers who must find a way to trust each other in order to survive. Chase Mosely is a Paladin, one of the secret band of modern day warriors who protect our world from invaders from across a mysterious barrier that leads to a dying planet. He has been kidnapped and held prisoner by an organization that wants to learn the secrets behind the Paladins’ ability to come back from devastating injuries and even death itself. Marisol Riggs is the doctor who has been hired to study Chase and the strange markers in his DNA. She accepted the job without knowing what she was really getting into. She had no idea that her test subject would be tortured on a daily basis. As she renders what care she can, she finds herself fascinated by Chase as a scientist but also as a woman. Chase isn’t sure he can trust Marisol, but his conscience won’t let him leave her behind when he finally escapes. As they flee their common enemy, they run…right into each other’s arms.

If Atone in Darkness was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?

I would cast Sam Worthington to play Chase Mosely in a movie of ATONE IN DARKNESS. I loved how he portrayed his character in Avatar, showing he could be charming with a great sense of humor. At the same time he was so fierce when he needed to be protective. I also love his voice, and he has a great smile. To play Dr. Marisol Riggs I would pick Jennifer Lawrence. She looks very much like how I envision Marisol, but she also comes across as smart and strong.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
There are so many people who have been instrumental in my journey. The first person I’d have to mention is my fellow writer, Janice Kay Johnson. She is the first author I ever met, and she’s the one who inspired me to try my hand at writing my own books. That was over two decades ago, and we still get together to plot our next books together. We approach story from much the same way, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without her to bounce ideas off of. Another person who has played a key role in my career is my agent, Michelle Grajkowski. She’s been right there with me through all the ups and downs of this business. And finally, I’ve been lucky enough to have found good friends—some writers and some not—who have cheered me on along the way.

What “keepers” are in your home library?

My “keeper shelf” has gotten pretty crowded over the years. I have all of Ann Bishop’s The World of the Others books. The world building in that series is just amazing. I also have all of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling books and reread them often. Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound is another favorite series. When it comes to historicals, I have a lot of shelf space dedicated to Sarah MacLean’s historical series (One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is my favorite!) I also love a four book series by Karen Robards about a psychiatrist who studies serial killers and is haunted by the ghost of one of her former subjects. (I love a good ghost romance!) The first book in the series is The Last Victim. And finally, any book by Ilona Andrews is a must-buy for me. I really love the newest series, A Hidden Legacy.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
I think I would want to be Tate Justice, the heroine in DEFEAT THE DARKNESS, one of my Paladin books. I suspect I identify with her because she’s a romance writer or at least trying to be. She inherited an old Victorian house that her late uncle used as a bed-and-breakfast/tea shop. Tate is working on her first book, which is a American West historical. When she starts writing, the sheriff is supposed to be the hero, but the sexy outlaw ultimately wins the heroines heart. Of course, that might have something to do with the mysterious man who is renting the apartment over Tate’s garage. Hunter Fitzsimon is an incredibly handsome Paladin, but he’s been badly wounded and needs time to recover both physically and emotionally. As Tate gets drawn into Hunter’s world, she finds out how brave she can be, and Hunter learns that he is once again the warrior who stands strong against his enemies.

What book do you wish you could have written?
I would have loved to have written Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard. It originally came out in 1986, and the hero, Grant Sullivan, won my heart. All these years later, I can still remember my favorite scenes from that book. He was a great wounded-soul warrior. Jane, the heroine, had her own emotional scars, but she was the perfect person to help Grant leave the darkness behind and live in the light again. When I started writing my own books a few years later, he was the inspiration for all of my own heroes.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I think the hardest criticism to take is when a reader genuinely doesn’t like the hero or heroine in one of my books. Tastes vary greatly, of course, and I really don’t expect everyone to love every word I write. Having said that, it makes me feel as if I’ve somehow failed to paint a clear picture of who my character is and what motivates them.

The best compliments I’ve ever gotten are when a reader lets me know that my books have helped her through tough times. One woman told me that reading one of my early American West historicals helped her get through the dark days after 9/11. Another young woman told me that she and her mother shared reading my Paladin stories while the mother was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. That took my breath away.

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

I use a different 3-ring binder for each book I write. I know that some people prefer things that match, but I love using all different colors of notebooks. My friends have gotten used to me having to study the notebook selection at the office supply store to see if they’ve come out in any new colors. When I find one, I squeal like a preteen girl at a boy band concert. Just FYI, my current notebook is dark green; the one before that was pink.

Tell us about the book in your closet.

Twenty-plus years ago, my very first complete manuscript was essentially a western with aliens. A troop of fierce warriors followed the evil entity who had destroyed their world to ours in order to end their enemy once and for all. They knew they could never go back home, but they were willing to sacrifice themselves to stop him from destroying another world. Unfortunately back then, the paranormal market as we know it now didn’t exist. Although an editor or two were intrigued with the concept, they weren’t sure what to do with the story. I still love writing band-of-brothers stories about sexy warriors who stand the line to protect their world.

We’re adding books to our Café menu. Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert? What would you call it?
I’d like to think of Atone in Darkness as a decadent dessert, the kind a reader could indulge in at the end of a hard day. I’d call it A Paladin Delight, and I’m envisioning a lot of dark chocolate and whipped cream. Yum!

And now for the fun stuff!

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?
I think I’d be a question mark. Writers often see an article in the news or watch two strangers interact and wonder “Hey, what if????” An entire book or even a complete series can stem from that one question.

What is your biggest shopping downfall?

I don’t know if buying books is actually a downfall, but it is definitely one of my greatest weaknesses when it comes to spending money. Oh, and office supplies. I’ve often said that if they put a Starbucks in my local office supply store I’d never come home.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full personality?
I try really hard to remain optimistic most of the time. I’ve found a positive attitude makes me a more productive person.

What is something you do that people would be surprised at?
I enjoy watching podcasts on geology. It was my interest in geology that helped inspire my Paladin series in the first place.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
I’m actually all three of those things. I’ve owned several cats in the past (well, technically I suspect they owned me.) Having said that, I currently have two grand-dogs in my life, both bulldogs. Remus is an English Bulldog, and Walter is an Olde English Bulldogge, a slightly different breed. They are both great guys, and I love when they come to visit. When they were both here at the same time, we had our very own “running of the bulldogs” in my kitchen, which was great fun.

I also have a writing partner who keeps me company when I’m working. His name is Nimbus, and he’s a blue and white parakeet.

If you had to write with a pen instead of a computer, what type of pen would be your preference?

I would use a Pentel EnerGel pen with violet colored ink. In fact, that’s what I really do use when I’m starting either a new story idea or the first chapter in a new book. I find it hard to face a blank computer screen, so I write by hand until I get the opening paragraphs just the way I want them.

by Alexis MorganReturn to the steamy and suspenseful Paladin series by the USA TODAY bestselling author with this heart-pounding novel following a doctor and her mysterious patient as they try to escape a mysterious military force hell-bent on exploiting them both.

Brilliant doctor Marisol knows nothing about the mysterious man whose vitals she monitors and whose every move she's paid to track—other than the fact that he is brought to death's door each night by a squad of military grade thugs. She certainly can't ask the people who hired her. After all, they run this shady, hi-tech compound where she is now stranded, the only woman among huge, uniform-clad brutes.

Chase Mosely, Marisol's sole charge, knows nothing about who was behind his kidnapping, other than the fact that they want to know about his Paladin's ability to heal. Nor does he know anything about his pretty keeper, who seems to be working for the enemy, but still looks at him with compassion in her eyes.

Both held captive in a remote testing facility, their desperate stories intertwine. And, as they discover that they mean more to each other than they could ever have imagined, the two of them must find a way to escape, no matter the odds.

Amazon         Barnes & Noble         iTunes         Kobo

About Alexis:  USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a wide variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is really excited about the release of her latest Paladin Strike Team book and that 2019 will see the launch of her new cozy mystery series, the Abby McCree Mysteries.

Website         Twitter        Facebook

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Dead Shrinks Don't Talk by Sandra Gardner


by Sandra GardnerWhen Marabella Vinegar finds her psychotherapist's bloody corpse, she becomes the NYPD's perp of choice. Her recently deceased mother -- the bane of her existence in life -- comes back to help get her daughter out of trouble and find the real killer.

Things get even worse when, thanks to Marabella and her mother's sleuthing, someone tries to kill her. Another body is found and Marabella is thrown in jail, awaiting trial for two murders.

Can she and her mother-the-ghost-detective find the killer before Marabella becomes corpse number three?

Amazon          Barnes and Noble          Kobo

About Sandra:  I am the author of six published books, fiction and non-fiction. Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk, the first book in the three-book Mother-and-Me mystery series, was published by Black Opal Books in May, 2018. Grave Expectations, book 2, and Death of a Nuisance, book 3, are scheduled for publication later in 2018. Halley and Me, a coming-of-age novel, won the 2012 Grassic Short Novel Prize and was published by Evening Street Press in 2013. Non-fiction books include Teenage Suicide and Street Gangs in America, published respectively by Simon & Schuster and Franklin Watts. I am also a former contributing writer and columnist for The New York Times.

Website       Facebook

Monday, August 20, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Romantic Suspense with Connie Vines

We're highlighting the authors of Love, Forever, a sampler of first chapters of books written by eleven authors of different genres but each one a romance. This week, say "Hi!" to author Connie Vines.

Rodeo Romance Book 2
by Connie Vines

Audralynn Maddox heard her own soft cry, but the pain exploding inside her head made everything else surreal, distanced somehow by the realization that someone had made a mistake.

A terrible mistake.

He caught her wrists, pinning them behind her and shoved her, face first, against the van. “Nobody double crosses J.B., bitch. Nobody!”

His attack had come so unexpectedly that Audralynn hadn’t seen his face. His voice didn’t sound familiar, yet she delved into the depths of her subconscious, trying to pin a name to the voice. She jerked and heaved against his grip, trying to gain her freedom, but he was far too strong.

“I don’t know any J.B.,” she whimpered. She wanted to scream the words, but her head pounded. Tears of pain stung her eyes and ran down her cheeks.

He laughed. The hateful sound mocked her growing terror. Her pitiful struggles only increased his cruelty, but she dared not stop. “Thought you could go back on the bargain, did you? We’ve been watching your place. Your friend didn’t want to cooperate, either. Too bad she put up such a fight.”

“Vikki? What did you do to Vikki?”

He shoved her face against the door. “She didn’t cooperate. Stupid bitch. I only wanted the photos.”

The man’s hot, rancid breath assaulted her senses as he grabbed her by the shoulders to still her struggles. “Now, you’re a smart little piece,” he hissed. “Don’t cause me any more trouble and maybe I’ll let you go. Where’d you stash the photos?”

“Photos? I don’t know what you’re talking about!” She wept with rage and renewed her struggles until she jerked one hand free.

“Don’t lie to me. I know you have them!”

The coarse fabric of his denim shirt rasped against her silk blouse and bile burned Audralynn’s throat. She jerked her face away from him and tried to focus her thoughts. The warehouse district was deserted this time of night. Audralynn knew she had to keep her wits about her if she wanted to escape.

“Let me go,” she pleaded, her heart battering against her ribcage. “I won’t tell anyone what you did.”

He laughed again—a sick, hollow sound.

Using her free hand, she struggled to turn around and face her attacker.

A heavy, knitted ski mask covered his features, but Audralynn could see his smile. That’s when she knew he’d killed Vikki.

And he was going to kill her too.

Desperation added strength to her efforts. Whirling around at the same moment he stepped back to open the door to the gray van, she grabbed at the ski mask and raked her fingernails across his neck.

He lunged for her. She kicked him in the shin and smashed her booted foot against his kneecap. He cried out.

She turned to run, but he grabbed a handful of her hair and thrust her into the van. Before she could recover, he jumped inside, shoving her to the metal floor. He slammed the door shut and was on top of her before she could scramble away.

She screamed.

She screamed while he bound her.

She screamed while he backhanded her.

She screamed and screamed until he knocked her unconscious.

Want to read more? 

by Connie VinesAmazon        iTunes        Barnes and Noble

Trouble is something hard-edged rancher, Brede Kristensen, knows all about. A widower with a rambunctious young daughter, a ranch to run and an ornery cook who has just runoff, Brede doesn’t need another problem. Yet in the midst of a violent storm, he finds an injured woman. The beautiful woman can’t recall her name or her past, but Brede vows to protect her from harm. What he hadn’t bargained for was her laughter and gentleness finding a way into the lonely corners of his heart.

If you enjoy the Caroline Fyffe Colorado Hearts series you're going to fall in love with Brede.

Beaten and left for dead, Amberlynn Maddox has no memory of her past. Accepting Brede’s offer as temporary ranch cook, the woman, now called Kate, discovers the sexy rancher with his protective nature and sizzling kisses has claimed her heart. When a madman discovers Amberlynn’s hiding place, no one is safe from harm: not Brede, his young daughter—or Amberlynn herself!

📚  Find Connie Vines here:

Novels by Connie Vines        Facebook        Twitter

Google+        Blog

Friday, August 17, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
– Mark Twain

Thursday, August 16, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Sandra Gardner

The Write Way Café welcomes Sandra Gardner, who shares her seeming fated pathway to writing fiction.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
     I’ve been writing since high school. Back then, it was poetry, especially during Algebra class! Needless to say, I didn’t do well in Algebra. Or any kind of math or science class. I also started writing for the high school magazine. I guess you’d call them short essay pieces. Always humorous. The best thing that happened to me in high school was my senior English teacher. She had us write what she called “a theme” a week. I’d lock myself in the bathroom at home and write until I was done. She told me that I could write.
     When I got to college (Boston University), my friend and I used to cut class and hang out at a local cafeteria and critique each other’s poems. I also wrote poetry for the college magazine.
     Eventually, I began writing nonfiction articles for magazines, later articles for The New York Times. Because of the articles, I was able to get contracts for four Y/A non-fiction books (Simon & Schuster & Franklin Watts) and an agent. When it came time to write another what I thought would be a non-fiction book, it turned out to be a Y/A novel. I never thought I could write fiction. Then I wrote another Y/A novel. Neither was ever published, though they both received critical acclaim from contests, etc. Following was a coming-of-age novella, Halley and Me, which went through many incarnations: a novella (adult); a Y/A novel; a novel in two voices. Nobody liked this book: critique group, agent, editor. I was shocked when I got the phone call that Halley and Me had won the Grassic Short Novel Prize from Evening Street Press, published in 2013. 

What was your path to getting Dead Shrinks Don't Talk written and published? What type of research did you do?
     The road to publication for Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk was a complicated one. Originally titled Mother, Murder and Me, I entered it into two contests and won both. I accepted a contract from the first contest I heard from --- wow, was my book really going to be published? This was a very small publisher, Swyers Publishing, who published it in 2012. (Six months after signing the contract, I heard from the second, good-sized publisher, that I’d won that one, too. Sigh.)
     After I’d gotten the rights back from Swyers, and had written two more books in the series, I submitted the books to Black Opal Books and received a three-book contract for the series. Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk was published in May, 2018.
     As for research, I did tons. (Having been a journalist, I was used to it.) Took a trip to Rikers Island (women’s detention in NYC), consulted with a lawyer/judge writer friend, got lots of information online about legal and judicial issues, etc. 

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     Ah, the idea for my story. I was laid up on the living-room sofa with bronchitis, when I felt -- something – a mother – hovering over me. (Definitely not my own deceased mother, maybe a tiny bit like my mother-in-law.) I dragged myself off the sofa, went to my computer, and typed up 20 pages of a deceased mother and her daughter’s tangled relationship. A few days later, feeling better, went back and read what I had and decided it wasn’t going anywhere. Long an avid mystery-reader, I decided to throw in some bodies – and make it a mystery.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     The setting – New York City – was one that I’d spent a lot of time in: graduating from Hunter College, seeing a therapist, commuting to work from New Jersey, being a member of a writer’s group at the 63rd St. YMCA.

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 pretty much totally imaginary, but, of course, writers use everything as grist for the mill, including characteristics of people they know or have met. However, the M.C. (Marabella Vinegar), I’m afraid, sounds a lot like me. (At least, my friends think so!) Super-nose, able to sniff out pizza – or garbage!—blocks away. Hates fish (except canned tuna). Mathematically impaired. Can’t drink. Worries about weight. And writes for a living…

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them?
     Blocks. Of course! Went around the house groaning to my husband (also a writer, who understands), swearing (not at him), ready to take to drink (except I don’t drink). I stopped and started (while carrying on a job) and stopped and started. I was in critique groups and was lucky enough to be able to trade manuscripts with my lawyer/judge mystery-writing friend. When I finally got through the worst of it, and saw that it was going to work (maybe), I was able to finish it. Also, as my mother-in-law used to say about my horrible attempts at learning to knit, “Well, at least you’re persistent.” (She was a knitting teacher and my adoptive mother, whom I loved.) She also told me to stick to my writing… Oddly enough, the second book in the series, Grave Expectations (due out later this year), almost seemed to write itself. But the third book (Death of a Nuisance) was almost as hard a slog as the first.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     Surprises. Um. I realized when reading it over, that it was really funny! I know my friends had told me that they laughed so hard …. Anyway, I never realized it while I was writing the book. Maybe it’s hard to do that at the same time?

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about killers and ghosts?
     What did I learn? Well, I learned that mystery-writing seems to be my thing, my niche, my whatever. It seems to come pretty much naturally. Is it because I’ve been reading mysteries forever? Don’t know. As for killers and the way they do their victims in—my husband has asked me: How do you know about all this? As if I’d experienced it… I reminded him of all the mysteries I read. And the noir and other crime movies I watch on TV. (BTW, for those who like noir, TCM Sunday 10 am – Noir Alley—it’s great.) As for ghosts, we live in a 175-year-old farmhouse, with lots of interesting spaces. Unfortunately, no spirits (yet). But I think it was the character of the mother that drove me into this. That she happens to be a ghost, just happened.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     My writing space: my husband and I are lucky enough to each have our own study. It’s where I can lose track of time and everything else except the story I’m creating. When my friend saw my study, she said, “So this is where the magic happens.” She’s right. I have my PC, printer, desk, and lots of books. Plus my neglected knitting basket. And a sewing machine, which I keep forgetting how to thread….There’s a small air conditioner above my PC. A print of The Lady of Shallot up above me on the wall. On the other wall there’s a lovely old print of two 19th century women, one of whom is painting at an easel. Next to that is my wolf calendar. (NY Wolf Conservation Center). Oh, and there’s a sign outside my door (which I hardly ever close because mostly nobody bothers me—hooray!) that says “Please do not disturb, crime writing in progress.” And another sign, Rosie the Riveter: Woman at Work.
     So what else would I ever need? Except my baby grand piano, which is in the living room (wouldn’t fit in my study!).

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     I’ve probably read every Agatha Christie at least once. Only figured out whodunit twice. (I love puzzles, do crosswords.) Love Megan Abbott, she really gets inside adolescent angst, sometimes very painfully. Really loved The Magic Men series, Ellie Griffiths. I have a thing for British mysteries – and magic. Wonderful combination. Speaking of magic, loved Jonathan Norrell and Mr. Strange. Read all 800? 900? pages and watched the PBS series. Especially loved the footnotes that she created from whole cloth, very clever. Loved Caleb Carr’s first two. And Music of the Spheres, Redfern. I know there’s lots more, but that’s all I can think of right now.

What are you working on now?
     I’ve been working on a whole new kind of mystery, very different from my cozy paranormal series. The Murder Blog features an investigative reporter who also hosts a crime-solving blog. And there’s a serial child killer. And a psychic.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
     I guess I have been doing that – trying a different genre. If I were to categorize The Murder Blog, it would probably be suspense. Or thriller. Definitely not cozy! Why I started writing this: my husband was reading a novel that had been ghostwritten. I said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if an actual ghost (there I go again!) were writing a book?” That turned into not-a-ghost who blogged about crimes. It’s been a real challenge, especially since there are multiple POVs. But it’s been interesting to try something new.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     I have a hard time imaging myself doing anything that doesn’t involve writing. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a public relations writer, a writing teacher, and have written a lot of poetry… hmm, seems to follow a pattern. The only thing I can think of is having Richard Engel’s (NBC) job: foreign correspondent. (Oh, that’s a writing job, too…)

What aspect of writing gives me the most trouble? 
     I think the original creating, getting it down, would be the most difficult. Editing is a breather compared with the actual creating. Oh, and making myself put butt in desk chair. Are all writers inherently lazy, or is it just me? Maybe it’s not so much laziness, but scary. What if I can’t do it? What if it isn’t any good? No matter how long one has been writing, the fear always seems to be there. 

by Sandra GardnerWhen Marabella Vinegar finds her psychotherapist's bloody corpse, she becomes the NYPD's perp of choice. Her recently deceased mother -- the bane of her existence in life -- comes back to help get her daughter out of trouble and find the real killer.

Things get even worse when, thanks to Marabella and her mother's sleuthing, someone tries to kill her. Another body is found and Marabella is thrown in jail, awaiting trial for two murders.

Can she and her mother-the-ghost-detective find the killer before Marabella becomes corpse number three?

Amazon          Barnes and Noble          Kobo

About Sandra:  I am the author of six published books, fiction and non-fiction. Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk, the first book in the three-book Mother-and-Me mystery series, was published by Black Opal Books in May, 2018. Grave Expectations, book 2, and Death of a Nuisance, book 3, are scheduled for publication later in 2018. Halley and Me, a coming-of-age novel, won the 2012 Grassic Short Novel Prize and was published by Evening Street Press in 2013. Non-fiction books include Teenage Suicide and Street Gangs in America, published respectively by Simon & Schuster and Franklin Watts. I am also a former contributing writer and columnist for The New York Times.

Website       Facebook

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Fallen Wizard by S.P. Brown

by S.P. Brown
Twelve-year-old Peter Michaels is accustomed to weird things happening with a regularity that seems to be a part of his life. But when an old man dressed in strange clothes falls from the sky and lands in Peter’s front yard, the weird quotient, as his dad would put it, gets ratcheted way up. Peter does the only thing he can. He helps the man into his house. That mistake leads to a second, the one that puts an end to Peter’s dream of making the all-star baseball team. As Peter soon discovers, comforting a dying wizard puts your mark on an unbreakable pact—one that will ensnare him and his two best friends, Raven Dakota and Stumpy Simpkins, in a fight for their lives…

 Amazon        B&N       Smashwords       Kobo

Black Opal Books       iTunes        Scribd

 About S.P.:  Born on August 30, 1953 in Plaquemine, Louisiana, to a painter (Joseph Harry) and a homemaker (Vivian), Stanley P. Brown as a child always had heroes. These were mostly in the form of his big brother, Harry, and those populating the pages of Marvel Comics. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff to be a superhero himself, he concentrated on academics at Louisiana State University and The University of Southern Mississippi (where he earned his doctorate in Exercise Physiology). He went from there to his first academic post at The University of Mississippi. Others followed, as did many, many scientific publications and several textbooks. But the call of storytelling remained strong in him and he answered that call. The Legacy, his debut novel, is the result of that. Other novels (Veiled Memory and Fallen Wizard) are following in short order, with sequels planned for the three fictional worlds he has created.




Monday, August 13, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Welcome to Monday Morsels!

Welcome to Monday Morsels... a taste of romance!

Everyone likes to know what they're getting into before diving in. We taste the spaghetti sauce we're making for dinner. We like to peek at the insides of chocolates in a box before we commit to a full bite of marshmallow cream when we prefer nuts. That's what Monday Morsels allows you to do, only with books. Instead of relying on just a book blurb, you can read paragraphs on Monday Morsels that authors share of books. Take a taste of romance to discover new authors, new genres, and new books by favorite authors, knowing a little more. Then, click on links that take you to authors social media to learn more about them, and buy links that take you right to your favorite retailers.

To start Monday Morsels, we're highlighting the authors of Love, Forever, a sampler of first chapters of books written by eleven authors of different genres but each one a romance. First up, say "Hi!" to author Bonnie Edwards.

Finding Mercy
Return to Welcome Book 1
 by Bonnie Edwards

“Did you hear your sister-in-law’s back in town?”

Clay Foster’s receptionist watched for his reaction from her seat across the front counter of his veterinarian clinic.

This was his dead wife’s sister’s first trip home in two years. “She must have blown in for a quick visit.”

“Pfft, so much for making it big,” Sybil commented with a glance at her computer screen.

“Out with it, Sybil. You look too delighted for this to be anything but juicy gossip.” Mercy was a Hollywood success story. Everyone knew it.

Sybil crossed her arms and leaned forward. “She came home with boxes. Lots of boxes.” Sybil’s husband, Bud, worked at the bus depot and shared all the comings and goings of Welcome’s population.

Clay leaned in to glean every nuance of meaning from Sybil’s face. “Out with it,” he repeated.

She licked her lips as if each morsel of gossip was filet mignon. “When Bud asked if he could call her a cab, she said no, she couldn’t afford it.” She hefted a disbelieving sigh and muttered, “Of all the nonsense. So”—she stretched out the word because Sybil loved telling a good story—“Bud called Nate, who showed up half an hour later. Nate didn’t say a word, which, of course, is just like him, and tossed all the boxes into his pickup. Mercy didn’t explain a thing, just looked miserable, Bud said.”

He nodded, at a loss. It still came as a surprise that he was related, if only by marriage, to Mercy Talbot. Welcome High’s golden girl: the blond, beautiful, leggy, and untouchable Mercy Talbot. The Talbot daughter who’d made a real success of her life, unlike the one who’d ruined her life by marrying him, the town hell raiser.

Want to read more?

Seriously? Return to Welcome? She’d rather chew rusty nails…

Mercy Talbot left Welcome on a high—a golden-girl beauty queen who stepped confidently into a bright, exciting future. But that was a long time ago and that girl is far, far, away. She’s failed in her career, failed in love, failed her family—and she’s dead broke.

All Mercy wants is to forget her failures and move forward into a new life with a fresh set of dreams—and get out of Welcome before it sucks her back in for good. But one look at her precocious niece who desperately needs her sends Mercy on a journey into her past that will change everyone’s future.

Clay Foster used to be Welcome’s bad boy, but marriage and his daughter Dilly transformed him into a devoted father. Widowed now and struggling to be the daddy his child needs, Clay fights his sudden and unexpected attraction to Mercy. But, tempted as he is, Clay can’t afford to be taken in by a golden girl. Beautiful, talented women like Mercy always have an exit strategy and when her career beckons, Clay knows she’ll leave him and Dilly flat. His daughter has already lost her mother and he won’t put his little girl’s heart on the line.

When Mercy learns her tattered dreams and dead career have been reborn, will she leave the man and child who need her? Will Clay believe in their future and accept that Mercy has found there’s no place like home?

📚  Find Bonnie Edwards here:

Website       Amazon author page       Twitter       Facebook       
Pinterest       Goodreads         Sign up for her newsletter:  Bonnie's Newsy Bits

Friday, August 10, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
– Unknown

Thursday, August 9, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

The Origin of a World with Elizabeth Spaur

authorThe Write Way Café welcomes Elizabeth Spaur, a die-hard football fan who discovered a whole new world while exploring the marriage of football and fiction.

Second Chance Option, currently available on most platforms, is the first book in my Gridiron Knights series. When I first got the idea for Gridiron Knights, I was knee deep in my Regency series, submitting it to agents and editors and getting a lot of amazing feedback. I wanted to write contemporary but had no desire to jump into that subgenre at the time, because I was so immersed in my Regency world.

Then I got the idea for a series set in a struggling college football program. As an alumnae of University of Southern California, and a die-hard football fan, I was familiar with what could happen to a college program when it was hit by sanctions. I got an idea for a program, which was sanctioned to the brink of extinction, that hired a group of former players, all military veterans, with no coaching experience to build something completely new. The idea interested me but didn’t call me away from my Regency world.

My brother played college football for a Division 1 program and was on a conference championship team. He was also going through a rough time. I thought I would run the idea by him, give him a chance to step in as my big brother (age and distance don’t allow him to do it very much these days). I described the idea and his response was “that would never happen.” My next thought was, “oh well. It was an idea. I can talk to my brother for a while and get back to my Regencies.”

His next words changed everything. “If you had a group of older, experienced coaches mentoring them for a few years, that would work. It would be seen as experimental, maybe crazy, but it might happen.”

Suddenly, the idea intrigued me. What if a group of coaches, forced into retirement by the very man whose misdeeds almost destroyed the football program, came back to the university to train a group of talented former players, who, for a variety of reasons, didn’t get their shot at the pros and joined the military instead, to be the coaches for the next generation?

Gridiron Knights was born. But a funny thing happened as I started writing the series. A whole world exploded on the page. This small-town took on a life of its own. Football rivalries made themselves known. Families jumped onto the page with a half-dozen more stories to tell. Characters started jumping out at me, demanding I tell their stories too. Even if they had nothing to do with the football program. I found myself writing a series set in a world where multiple other series would live.

I will be forever grateful to my big brother. He didn’t just say “that idea won’t work” and move on to a conversation about our lives. My amazing brother, whose strength lies with numbers not words, took my idea that wouldn’t work in the world of college football and thought of a way to make it work. As he’d done so many times while we were growing up, he stood up for me and my dreams. He had no idea that I wasn’t invested in the idea, yet. Because he didn’t, he gave me way to fix it and helped me create a world I’ve lived in for three years. A world I am so excited to share with my readers.

That’s not to say I’ve abandoned my Regencies. That world is coming.

For now, I’m writing in South Carolina, in a small coastal town that thrives based on its proximity to the beach and a national forest. King’s Folly is a town that loves its football team and has embraced the daring program filled with men and women who are ready to step up and build a program that honors the best of the sport.

The first few releases are all about the Gridiron Knights, but their rival team, the Gridiron Dragons are coming soon.

Readers will enter the world with Tess and Cade. She’s a genius veterinarian who’s used to doing everything for everyone else and nothing for herself. He’s a former Navy Seal who once had a shot at a football career but traded it for a military career after a profound betrayal. They meet after his dog is hit by a car (don’t worry, Tess saves Sonny). They aren’t looking for love, but they find it. Or it finds them.

Book 2, Shotgun Romance, is Olivia and Nick’s story. It will be out on August 31.

I hope readers enjoy reading about these characters, and this world, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

by Elizabeth Spaur
He was looking for a fresh start. She was looking for a new path. Love is what happens when they least expect it.

At loose ends after a medical discharge from the Navy, a call from Cade Maguire’s college coach gives him a new objective. Help save his alma mater’s football program. A gut-wrenching betrayal drove him from the game once. Can he finally stop running long enough to let go of the past and find his future?

Veterinarian and genius Tess Gallagher has an abiding love for home and family. She’s spent her life taking care of everyone else. Doing what was right always came before doing what she wanted. When her younger brothers enter her in the American Ninja Warrior competition, can she finally stop hiding her true self from the world?

Sparks ignite between Tess and Cade when she saves his injured dog and love is on the horizon when Cade’s new job is put in jeopardy before it even begins. Will Cade realize Tess is the second chance he really wants? Will Tess realize that Cade has always seen her for who she truly is?

Will they realize that love is the only option that matters?

Welcome to Second Chance Option, the first book in the Gridiron Knights series where football is king in King’s Folly, South Carolina and the locals have something to say about everything. When you come for a visit, you’ll never want to leave.

Books2Read Universal Link       Amazon         Kobo

Barnes & Noble       Smashwords          Amazon Australia         Amazon UK

About Elizabeth: 
When her physics teacher gave her detention for reading a romance novel during class, Elizabeth Spaur knew she was destined to be romance writer. Her journey from physics class to published author as gone from coast to coast and led her through multiple industries, including film and television, banking and the law. Every step along the way has enriched her life and helped her tell stories that always come with a happily ever after and, usually, a side of snark. Elizabeth writes contemporary, historical and paranormal romance. She lives with the love of her life and two pairs of cats and dogs, all of whom are named after television crime fighters. She enjoys hearing from her readers at

Website         Facebook      Twitter       Instagram