Thursday, December 13, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Writing by the Rules by HL Carpenter

The Write Way Café welcomes HL Carpenter, a team writing with tips for breaking rules.

Would you ever drive through a red stoplight?

While doing research, we found this question posed to readers of a blog. In response, one reader posted that she had indeed run a stoplight. She had been on a dark country road, driving by herself, when she arrived at a deserted four-way intersection. She felt uncomfortable waiting at a red light when clearly no other vehicles were in sight. So, after doublechecking the road in all directions to be certain she could proceed safely, she drove through the still-red light and went on her way.

To us, her response was logical. We're not of the opinion that rules are meant to be followed blindly, nor substituted for common sense. In the case the blog reader presented, removing herself from a deserted intersection in the middle of the night was more important than unthinking obedience to a traffic light. She wasn't promoting wholesale red-light running. She merely made a considered decision at a particular moment. We would probably have done the same.

Yet gauging by the scathing comments of other posters, we're in the minority. "Rules exist for a reason," wrote one. "What if everyone decided for themselves when to follow the rules?" "Who are you to make up your own rules?" asked another.

Who indeed?

We happened across the post while researching our mystery, Murder by the Books. All right, perhaps by that point we had gotten sucked into the rabbit warren of the internet, even though we began with good intentions. At any rate, the post—and especially the responses—gave us greater insight into how to add depth to one of the characters in our story.

Miss Fae, as she is known, is not the main character in Murder by the Books. In fact, she's already dead when the story begins. But the choices she made during her life, few of which were conventional, shaped the future and the personality of our protagonist, her granddaughter, also named Fae.

No doubt you make decisions every day that go against conventional rule-thinking, too. We know we do, especially in our writing. Here are three lessons we have learned about the rules of writing.

1. The accepted way is only one way. Sometimes it's the best way, sometimes not. Creative power lies in deciding when to stray from the well-trod path.

2. A simple method for deciding which rules to break and which to follow is to understand why a specific rule exists and why it is the default.

3. Breaking rules for the sake of being different is counterproductive. Instead, bend the rules. Adapt what's useful and discard the rest.

In Murder by the Books, Miss Fae paid a price for her choices, and so does her granddaughter. Were the choices worth the price? We think Miss Fae would say yes. She lived her life on her terms and made it one of meaning and value. And isn't that the purpose of rules, in both real and fictional worlds? They define conventional boundaries, and consciously choosing whether, and when, to accept those boundaries can point the way to new horizons. As the character in our book learns, the past does not have to define the future. Sometimes a considered decision to drive through a metaphorical red light is the best choice.


While you're pondering whether or not rules are meant to be broken, we invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our mystery, Murder by the Books.

A letter from beyond the grave brings Fae Childers face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

by HL Carpenter

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She's lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She's running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae's past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she's falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she's going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.



The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, "The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae."

I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

"Beautiful morning," I said, as if I cared.

"Afternoon," Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. "Still mopin', girl?"

He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn't bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

"Nope. Not my style."

"'Scuse me." His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. "Forgot you've been hidin' in the apartment, tap dancing with glee."

I met his gaze. "For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?"

He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

The description would have horrified him.

"How are the treatments going?"

He grunted. "They tell me I ain't gonna croak this week."

"Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I'm jinxed."

Gus shook his head. "You gotta get over them fools, girl."

"That's no way to talk about my former bosses." Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

Ha, ha.

"Anyway, I am over them. Way over."

"Yeah?" He was not convinced. "You over the suit, too?"

"Sure am." Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. "I have moved on."

Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

Gus snorted. "Funny how much movin' on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself."

In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn't been, I didn't have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

"Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?"

He stuck out his chin. "Don't get smart. You know I'm right. You're mopin'."

"Only because I can't tap dance."

He was right. In the eight months since my mother's death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman's detour was another's stop sign.

"You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What's her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?"

No. And I didn't want to hear from her, much less call her.

I shook my head.

"Your ma would have been annoyed with you."

A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom's bedroom was beyond me.

"So? You gonna open the letter?" Gus asked.

I turned over the envelope in my hand.

Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?


Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Pinterest, Twitter, Amazon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Race for the Sun

Minette Lauren

by Minette Lauren

Soledad, an old soul, confronts the failures of her last life, having committed suicide when things became too difficult. As she moves forward into the soul-watcher’s phase of the afterworld, she picks from a list of struggling souls to guide and guard. Ally, a popular artist and her niece from her former life, is among Soledad’s choices. Trapped in a soul-watching state, Soledad follows Ally, throughout parts of her daily routine, trying to surmise her embodied ward’s purpose. Once she can master the meaning of Ally’s reality, Soledad hopes to be granted another life with her own soulmate. Journey with these very real characters to find what lessons are learned in the passing of time and the rewards their love brings. Race for the Sun is a lesson on life and loving for all.

Alley was starting to feel like she was on a reality television show with all the skeletons in her closet, falling at her feet…

Ally internally sighed with relief. Travis hadn’t seen the portrait yet, which meant he also hadn’t encountered Marcel. Now how would she distract him and get him out of there before Louis answered? It was too late. She saw people gathering at the outskirts of their small circle gawking at Travis’s likeness to the painting.
Marcel could be heard from a mile away as he spotted Ally. She cringed. Here goes nothing.
“Darling! You didn’t tell me David was coming! You little devil, trying to hoard them all for yourself.” He snapped his fingers in the air, appearing not to know which man to devour first. His eyes glinted playfully. “Call dibs quick, before I dib them both.”
Ally tried to ignore the rush of heat climbing from her shoulders to her cheeks. Both men looked confused and wary of Marcel’s proclamation.
“Marcel, this is Travis, and you remember Louis from the airport?” Ally tried to cover her discomfort by taking a long sip of her champagne.
“Travis, hmm, well I like David better. Mind if I call you David?” Marcel batted his eyes and linked arms with Travis playfully.
Ally almost sprayed her champagne onto the floor when she saw Travis’s blank look. She could tell he was uncomfortable but trying to be polite. He didn’t know the dynamics of the group at hand, and his eyes pleaded with Ally to save him. She let Marcel whisk him off to the room where David was displayed. If she was uncomfortable at his sudden appearance, then he could be uncomfortable with Marcel. She hated that the gig was up, and now Travis would know exactly how he had plagued her sleep.
Louis cleared his throat then let out a small laugh. “I fear your Travis is in for two surprises,” He tipped his glass toward the departing duo.
       Ally giggled a little too hysterically. Maybe she should cut herself off. Yes, it was definitely one too many, and it wasn’t the champagne she was referring to.
Release date: December 8, 2018 

Pre-order now at  Amazon

About Minette:  Inspired by the movie, Gone with the Wind, I picked up a pencil as soon as I was old enough to write. I composed a play in one act about the love of Seth and Beth. Not deterred by the play’s questionable success, I have been in love with writing ever since. Growing up in a small town outside of New Orleans, Louisiana has fueled a lot of my creative endeavors. I travel often and take advantage of anyplace with a view that inspires me  to write. I now resides in Texas, where I co-write with good friend Zoe Tasia under the pen name, Zari Reede. I love to write outdoors by my pool, with my five furry writing muses. Besides my menagerie of tail-wagging pooches, I also have a loving husband, three turtles, two Macaws, and a Quaker parrot to keep me company. Together, they make all of my dreams come true.

Amazon       Website        Twitter        Facebook

Instagram        Bookbub        Goodreads


Thursday, December 6, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet the Hero: Sam Finch from Madam Mom

Today at The Write Way Cafe, we would like you to meet Sam Finch, author Lynda Rees’s hero from her most recent suspense novel Madam Mom.

Thanks for joining us today, Sam. We’ve heard you are a big-shot investment attorney in New York and your boss/father dropped an unpleasant bombshell on you.

     Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure being here. Yes, my career is going well. I manage my family’s office in New York. My brother, uncle and father continue running the corporate office in Northern Kentucky. Not only am I in Kentucky learning a new computer system. One of our most prominent clients passed away. Her daughter, the sole heir, resides in New York. Her accounts are being transferred to me.

We understand you are less than happy about it.

     (Clear’s throat and gives a small chuckle.) Of course, I will remain professional and treat this new client to the best service possible.
     (He whispers.) Off the record, between you and me, I’m dreading it. I hope I’m wrong, but have no doubt this rich bitch heiress is a spoiled, entitled brat. She comes from a less than stellar background, which could mean trouble for both of us—possibly danger.

What do you mean?

     I don’t know much about her in particular. I understand she’s related to past associates of The Cleveland Mob. Between 1920 and 1978 when the FBI stepped in, they reigned in Newport. The town prospered as a mecca for illegal gambling, prostitution and alcohol. This was before Las Vegas was established. Famous people came from around the world to entertain or be entertained. Strip clubs lined the streets. Police looked the other way in this haven for crime. Of course, that’s all changed now.

You believe her family was involved?
     I hope not, but her mother did a stint in prison, and her dad was gunned down on the street execution style. If that doesn’t speak to mob influence, I don’t know what does. I’m afraid of what I’m going to be required to handle for this young woman.

Well, let’s hope you’re wrong. So you’re born and raised a Northern Kentucky native. Don’t you miss family? We understand your sisters settled in the Greater Cincinnati Area.
     Indeed. I miss my five sisters and their spouses, my nieces and nephews, my brother and of course, Mom and Dad. But New York owns my heart. I adore the vitality and excitement of the great city and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Besides, it makes it more difficult for my sisters to continually set me up with one woman or another. They’re anxious to see me married and settled down.

You don’t want that?

     I do, but continual interference in my love life is distracting. So far it has gotten me nowhere. The right woman will come along organically. I’ll know her when I meet her.

Is that right? We understand you met a woman on the trip home. Tell us about her. 
    (His face blushes crimson.) I met a lovely, young lady. Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be seeing her again.

Why is that? Didn’t you make a good impression?

     Don’t get me wrong. I tried. Raised with five sisters, I can’t stand seeing a woman in pain. The poor thing was distraught going through Security. Her tears broke my heart.
     I reached out to try and help. She took it wrong resenting my interference. We had harsh words. It turned out, she was on my flight. We chatted, and she apologized for being rude when I over-stepped my bounds. We parted on a positive note. I doubt I’ll see her again. I didn’t get her name and number.

Too bad you didn’t hit it off. Maybe you’ll have better luck while you’re home. Surely your sisters will rally to find you a woman.

     (Sam laughs heartily.) You’ve got that right. I’ve no doubt they’ll meddle again in no time.

Tell us about your story—the novel Madam Mom.

Madam Mom by Lynda Rees

     Attorney Sam resents having a spoiled, rich-bitch heiress dropped onto his plate. Tisha’s been betrayed before, broken-hearted and grieving her mother. The intrusive buttinski at the airport riles her, but he’s an appealing distraction. Without revealing identities, they share an intimate fling.
     Unraveling family’s sordid past proves her prim, proper mother’s involvement in shady affairs. Dad’s brutal execution remains unsolved, though she suspects a mob hit.
     Recognizing misconceptions about each other, Tisha and Sam must work together. Sam is concerned for the vulnerable female, and they form a special bond. Can she escape her perilous predicament, evade a killer targeting her, and end the vicious McClain Curse to find love?

What other books has Lynda Rees written?
     Two are suspense novels about descendants of past mobsters—God Father’s Day and Madam Mom. Her debut was a historical novel about a woman’s struggle during the savage 1890’s Alaskan Gold Rush called Gold Lust Conspiracy. She co-authored a middle-grade children’s book, Freckle Face & Blondie, with her ten-year-old granddaughter, Harley Nelson. She authored several books in The Bloodline Series, romantic suspense novels about everyday heroes and heroines facing murder and danger in a rural horse-country area of Kentucky. The books are Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine; Blood & Studs; Hot Blooded; Blood of Champions; Bloodlines & Lies; Horseshoes & Roses; and The Bloodline Trail.

Where can the books be purchased and how can fans reach Lynda?
     You can obtain her books and reach author Lynda Rees the following ways.

Amazon        Website        Facebook         Twitter

Pinterest         Amazon          BookBub


Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Unleash the Fire with Karen Kelley

Karen Kelley

 A brand new hot romantic comedy from Karen Kelley!

author Karen KelleyKatie:
     I visualized Cockzilla and King Dong terrorizing Dallas, Texas. Women would be screaming and holding their vaginas as they tried to escape.
     I really needed to get serious and concentrate on my writing, but the barista behind the counter at my fav coffee shop is not making it easy. The guy is drop dead gorgeous. I’m talking six-pack abs, broad chest, and oozing sex appeal. In other words, way out of my league!
     Then he finds my flash drive and reads the start of my book! I want to die. I’m a nice girl. Really, I am, but I have very naughty thoughts.
     When I discover he’s actually a famous writer and offers to help, how can I say no? His help means I might actually escape my demonic boss, and living with my evil twin sisters (no lie! I’m talking straight out of f**king Cinderella evil).
     But just how far am I willing to let him go when I stumble over the love scenes?

     I’ve never seen anyone with worse fashion sense than Katie. But as she sat at one of the tables in the coffee shop, laptop open, she removed those god-awful black glasses and nibbled her bottom lip. Then she smiled and transformed before my eyes.
     I want her.
     Can’t have her. She’s not that type.
     Then I find and read her flash drive and discover there’s a whole other side to her beneath those baggy clothes and ugly glasses. She only needs a little help. Especially with her love scenes.  
     I should probably keep the relationship strictly platonic.
     Nope, not going to happen.  

 Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Kobo       iTunes

Karen Kelley always had a secret desire to live the life of a Gypsy. So she and her husband quit their jobs, sold their house, decluttered their lives and moved into their 5th wheel RV. Now they're traveling the United States. She works full time on her writing and spends her downtime walking on the beach or hiking in the mountains. Her motto has always been 'Who says you can't have it all.'

Website        Facebook          Twitter          Pinterest