Friday, August 23, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.
- George Singleton
Thursday, August 22, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

The Beginning...Not The End with Charmaine Gordon

The Write Way Café welcomes author Charmaine Gordon, who shares what she's been up to and talks about mature romance.

It’s been a while since we talked with you last.
Yes, it’s been way too long since we had a chat. Over the months, I became a whole different person full of happiness, smiles and dancing carefully.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your books? 
Since I’m what I call an elder woman-YIKES, when in the world did that happen? I write real life experiences adding Therapy dogs, and humor.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your books? 
Stories just happen for me. All of a sudden, I think about a woman looking in a mirror. What does she see and what should she do to make life better.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why? 
My granddaughter, now eleven going on twenty. Way back, I began to write about her as a child living with her Granny while her parents are Marines and before long, one after the other, die during the war. Granny and grandest child live together from then on.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you? 
A man, totally wrapped up in himself, wants to take Granny’s home away from her. Gran fights him with the help of her granddaughter and the selfish man’s young daughter.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your books!
Humor is a big factor and romance.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
Ever since I fell and had rehab for four months, I learned to be careful, use my cane all the time, write daily and exercise.  Good life for me.

What can readers who enjoy your books do to help make them successful?
Buy the right books and leave a good review. I sure enjoy a super review. Thanks a bunch, my friends.

Charmaine Gordon here: I didn’t realize at the time while working as an actor in NYC, I’d become a sponge soaking up dialogue, setting, and stage directions. I learned many tools of writing watching Mike Nichols, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, and Billy Crystal. When the sweet time ended, I began another career and creative juices flowed.

I’m a senior, when did that happen? And decided there are a gazillion stories about slim women and hunks in love but none about Mature Romance. So I wrote one, had a ball doing it and instead of writing the End, I wrote The Beginning...Not The End. A series was born.


https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/364854
The Beginning ...Not The End
Available in one volume 
Smashwords

Also available Individually

Instant Grandpa
Summer at the Jersey Shore just got hotter...Take one widower grandfather, add two little grandkids, and a widowed grandmother with a small granddaughter. Mix well. Stir in sun drenched beach days and moonlit nights. What have you got? A kite flying high with a new tail; an author writing a book to sort out emotions; a talented boy with his mother returned to claim the prize.
Smashwords

Young at Heart
Seventy year old Joyce Campbell expected her new left hip to heal at Helen Hayes Rehabilitation. What she didn’t expect was to fall in love with the distinguished silver haired Collin Brody who wouldn’t give her a second glance. Until Kizzy, the therapy dog comes into Collins life...and into his heart. What Happens Next? The Beginning, Not The End.
Smashwords

Before The Final Curtain
Once lovers, aging actors collide on stage as stars in a romantic comedy written and directed by a manipulative director; add to the mix the talented assistant, a tough stage manager, one prominent costume designer, two young actors, secrets and gossip. Show Business. There’s no business like it.
Smashwords


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

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Devilish Duke

Maddison Michaels



by Maddison Michaels
Devlin Markham, the notorious “Devil Duke” of Huntington, needs a woman. And not just any woman. If he can’t woo one of the most eccentric bluestockings of the Ton within the month, he can kiss his hard-earned fortune goodbye. But he’s always thought love a wasted emotion and marriage an inconvenience at best. And oddly enough, Lady Sophie Wolcott seems unmoved by his charm…

When Sophie learns her beloved orphanage is in imminent danger, she will do anything to save it. Even marry a ruthless rake who takes what he wants in business and pleasure. A man who’s everything she’s always feared most—but whom she reluctantly begins yearning for.

Then Sophie becomes the target of a killer lurking from the dark shadows of Devlin’s past. And they find not only their lives in jeopardy but their very hearts.

Amazon US        Amazon UK        Amazon AUS

Amazon CAN        iBooks        Kobo        Barnes & Noble



Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was only 14-years-old, Maddison Michaels is a prolific reader and an award-winning writer of historical romantic suspense fiction. A member of the Romance Writers of Australia, Maddison is as passionate about her writing as she is about her other two loves; her family and her cups of tea. Maddison is the author of two novels:  THE DEVILISH DUKE, which recently won the Australian Romance Writers Historical Romantic Book of the year (RUBY), and THE ELUSIVE EARL.

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Monday, August 19, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: My Way to You

...a taste of romance

MY WAY TO YOU
by Lyndell Williams

The grinding sound of the elevator doors churning open cut through the silence. Simon wiped the last tear from under Regina’s eyes when she pushed off the wall and bolted. Her handbag jostled at her side as she hurried down the corridor. Simon reached and kept pace with her. “Which one is yours?”

“The last one on the left.” She looked straight ahead—her eyes vacant and emotionless.

A familiar aching feeling crept over Simon. I know that look. He’d seen it on Marcus plenty of times while they were in college. Although he’d encountered his share of racist bull, some unimaginable stuff happened to his best friend. Professors were especially condescending and offered Marcus far less face time. Cops followed him around, and he was frisked in the street more than once because he “fit the description.” The world makes sure that people with darker skin do not have an easy time of it.

Like then, his gut twisted in knots and the back of his neck tightened. He walked by Regina’s side in complete silence, waiting for her to say something—she didn’t.

Regina’s hands shook as she fumbled her keys in front of the apartment door. Simon held out his. She looked at him. Her eyes now showed an intense mixture of pain and anger. He motioned towards his hands with his. Regina’s shoulders slumped before she dropped the keys in his palm.

The rattling in the lock crackled through the air. “You know,” he said trying to make sure his voice was just the right tone, “I wanna listen if you wanna talk.” The line always worked whenever he or Marcus needed to get something off their chest.

“I don’t.” He paused. Her tone shut him down and out. He searched her face. The angry expression softened and her eyes shifted from side to side. She touched his chest. “I’m sorry. I just can’t.”

“I get it. I’m not totally clueless, though.”

She smiled. “I know. I just don’t want to give it any more energy.”

Simon opened the door. “Enough said.” Light from the hall fell on the tile floor of the apartment entryway. He braced an arm on the wall, looking at the blackness inside and then Regina.

“Thanks for understanding.” She turned just at the door and grabbed her keys. “Goodnight.” Tight-lipped, she cast her gaze downward and closed it.

Simon flattened his back against the wall and glared at the ceiling. “I don’t believe this,” he grunted to the air. “The whole evening ruined by one jerk.” He strode down the hallway. His thoughts quickened with the vein thumping at the side of his neck. I understand why she’s angry. She should be. The guy was a complete douche, but why shut me out?

He pushed the elevator button and groaned when he heard the churning sound. He looked around for the stairs, but then slumped his shoulders and paced. Staring down the hall towards Regina’s apartment door, his heartbeat steadied. They had such a good time at dinner, and the chemistry between them was potent. If it wasn’t for the idiot on the elevator, he would be holding her in his arms, something he waited so long to do. “No. This isn’t ending like this.” He took a deep breath and hiked his backpack higher on his shoulder. Undeterred by the nervous sensation creeping through his spine, he strode back to Regina’s door and knocked. He placed his outstretched hand on the door jamb, closed his eyes and breathed deeply with his head down.

She appeared in her bare feet, skirt and tank top. “Simon?”

He cleared his throat. “Hi.” She stepped a little closer and his pulse pounded so hard that he felt it through his entire body.

She looked down the hall. “Is everything okay?”

Simon stepped until his shoes met her painted toes. “Yes. You just forgot something.”

Her eyes darted in their sockets as she searched his face. “What?”

Simon held the back of her neck between his hands. He grazed her lips. The light touch sent charges of desire through his body. “Me.”

Regina’s eyes became alit with passion. He felt the rush of her breath tickle his top lip. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and smashed her lips against his. They parted, and his tongue explored the sweet warmth of her mouth. Regina backed into the apartment, pulling him with her. The sound of the elevator door churning open drifted into the apartment just before the door closed.

###

by Lyndell Williams
Lawyer Simon Young is smart, confident, and adept at keeping things with women casual—until he meets his best friend Marcus’s sister, Regina. Immediately intrigued by Regina’s beauty, Simon becomes increasingly enthralled and ultimately risks his friendship to have her for himself.

Social justice writer and activist Regina Kent is usually cautious and savvy. Yet, unable to resist her attraction to the handsome Simon, she plunges into a torrid affair, knowing that she chances angering big brother and her less tolerant followers, many of whom will not accept that one of their most popular pro-Black bloggers is dating an Asian man.

As their clandestine romance evolves, Simon and Regina fall deeper in love. Making sure that things stay between them becomes progressively impossible, and neither knows how much longer they can keep Marcus in the dark and the world at bay.


📚  Find Lyndell Williams here:  

Website        Facebook        Twitter        Instagram

LinkedIn       Amazon Author Page        Goodreads


Friday, August 16, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.
- William S. Burroughs
Thursday, August 15, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Thrillers by Steven M. Moore

The Write Way Café welcomes Steven M. Moore, who discusses the appeal of thrillers versus mysteries.

In the book world, the thriller genre is popular and populated by many excellent novels, so many that it has many subgenres—legal thriller, psychological thriller, romantic thriller, and so forth—and it’s often combined with other genres—sci-fi thriller, for example. It’s also a genre that has more in common with movie classifications than other genres, although romance now competes with it—Hollywood action thriller and Hollywood romcom, for example. And some great non-fiction books are written in the thriller style. Just what is this book genre and why is it so popular?

First, some personal history: When I was junior-high age (also called middle school for people living east of the Mississippi), I read under the covers at night with my flashlight. My parents didn’t like that; it also annoyed the family cat who often slept there. Among my reading material were books from Dame Agatha and H. Rider Haggard. Christie’s books were mysteries. Haggard’s were thrillers, but back then they were called adventure stories. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot were heroes; so was Allan Quatermain.

The thriller tag has become ubiquitous in recent popular literature, so much so that International Thriller Writers has become one of the largest writers’ organizations. Many well-known publishers and writers belong. (I’m a member who’s not so well known!) The fact that this organization is so large is evidence for a large readership that’s entertained by thriller writing.

People often ask me, “What’s the difference between a mystery and a thriller?” Perhaps I’ve helped to create some of that confusion because I often label my books both mysteries and thrillers and I write in both genres. (For example, I call my Penmore Press book Rembrandt’s Angel a mystery/thriller. It’s a modern bow to Dame Agatha and her two famous sleuths, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. A sequel will be published any day now.) While many entertaining books combine elements of both, to purists these genres are different.

In the classic mystery, a crime has been committed and the main characters(s) must figure out who did the foul deed (sometimes before it happens again, adding a bit of urgency). Usually the reader doesn’t know who the culprit is and processes the clues along with the sleuth(s). Many readers love to guess who the culprit might be among the different possibilities, and the author often misdirects both the sleuth(s) and readers to make that guessing more fun. While the mystery can unravel at a slow pace, modern mysteries often alternate some action with the slower sleuthing to speed things up a bit.

In a thriller, the reader often learns upfront who the villain or what the conspiracy is and what their evil plans are. The protagonist(s) must then try top stop them, or keep it from happening again.
Usually action is more intense in a thriller than in a mystery. The pace is far from sedate, although quiet moments of introspection for protagonists and antagonists alike often interrupt the intense action so that readers can catch their breath and learn more about the characters. Villains are often more important in a thriller; sometimes they’re even the main character (Forsyth’s Jackal comes to mind).

A mystery is often written in first person in order to allow the reader to identify with the sleuth(s), discovering the clues and where they lead along with the protagonists. A thriller is often written in third person and multiple points-of-view—minimally the protagonist(s) and villain’s. This isn’t always the case, though.

A thriller can also be written in first person, especially when the story is about the adventures of that one protagonist and villains are mostly replaced by circumstances—adverse weather events, a dark conspiracy, a plethora of personal and challenging situations, and so forth. (My post-apocalyptic thriller The Last Humans from Black Opal Books is an example. Its sequel will be in third person and use multiple points of view, which is more standard.)

And a mystery can also be written in multiple points-of-view if the characters and their thoughts need to be emphasized. That can be used effectively when there are many suspects and clues for the reader (as well as misdirects) can be found in each character’s internal dialogue. (Saralyn Richard’s interesting Murder in the One Percent is a good example, as is P.D. Halt’s When Murder Imitates Art—both books are also from Black Opal.)

Good thrillers are so popular because they’re extreme examples of books that the reader doesn’t want to put down. Arguably a thriller fails if it doesn’t grab a reader that way. It should make most readers race to the finish line as the author puts the protagonist(s) in many seemingly impossible situations, leaving readers breathless at the end of the marathon. (Believe me, that also happens to writers!) Readers’ pulses should quicken and their hands perspire as they turn the print book or ebook’s pages. And when they finish, they should be exhausted but still want more, which is why so many thriller series exist. (Howard Levine’s Last Gasp and Zari Reede’s Sins of the Sister are good examples of entertaining marathon runs, although the latter could also be classified as a mystery.)

I grew up reading many good authors and good books, but the thrillers were the books I more often read into the wee hours of the night. Now I write them as well as read them, and hopefully some of my novels will entertain other readers. And writing them is a lot of fun too! “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”—Toni Morrison. Although this inimitable writer wrote literary fiction that went far beyond mere reading entertainment, this quote defines my reading and writing life.


by Steven M. Moore
Rembrandt’s Angel. Esther Brookstone, ex-MI6 agent and current Scotland Yard Inspector working in the Art and Antiques Division, becomes obsessed with recovering a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Interpol agent and paramour Bastiann van Coevorden tries to control her obsession and keep her safe. Their quest to recover the painting leads them to an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. (A sequel is coming.)

Amazon

by Steven M. MooreThe Last Humans. Penny Castro, ex-USN Search and Rescue and current forensics diver, goes on a forensics dive for the LA County Sheriff’s Department off SoCal shores and surfaces to find herself in a post-apocalyptic world. A bioengineered and airborne contagion has been delivered to the West Coast. It will be carried around the world, killing billions. Her adventures trying to survive in this new and dangerous world will make you ask, “Could this really happen?” (A sequel has been submitted.)

Amazon


About Steven:  Born in California, Steven M. Moore is now a full-time writer of many thriller, mystery, and sci-fi novels, short fiction, blog articles, and book and movie reviews. His stories reflect his keen interest in the diversity of human nature that he has observed in his different abodes across the U.S. and in South America as well as in his Latin and European travels for work and pleasure. After spending more than two decades in scientific R&D in the Boston area, he and his wife now make their home just outside New York City, where he devotes most of his time to storytelling.  For more details, visit him at his website https://stevenmmoore.com. He can also be found on Facebook  and @StevenMMoore4.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Paying Forward A Love of Books

Books! 
I dunno if I ever told you this, but books 
are the greatest gift one person can give another.
- Bono

Before I retired from my day job, I would order books and have them delivered to my work. That way I could sneak them home in my bag without my husband knowing. Trust me, it was just less of an argument that way! And now that I’m retired, I’ve got to make a new plan. If only I could schedule deliveries for his random golfing days…

I already own way more print books than I will ever read, not to mention the e-books on my Kindle, but I love having a variety of reading material available at a moment’s notice. My shelves hold mostly romances, but mysteries, westerns, biographies, and various nature and animal books also have a place in my home. In addition, books on the craft of writing fill up their own shelving unit in my office. In my mind, there is always room for more!

One of the women’s magazines I read recently had a two-page spread about author Sarah Wilson, and her book “First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety. Reading the article gave me goosebumps. I accepted the overwhelming urge to buy the book so I could share it with my daughter, who suffers from anxiety and depression. By gifting the book to her, I felt helpful – and hopeful.

Last week, UPS delivered a book package addressed to me. I hadn’t ordered anything, and the package didn’t say who it was from. Inside I discovered a beautiful hardcover titled “Fifty Things That Aren’t My Faultby Cathy Guisewite (creator of the “Cathy” cartoon). There was also a note from my cousin: I saw this and thought of you because you love to read and I’ve heard great things about this book. Let me know what you think.

My cousin currently lives in another state, but she is aware my life is in flux. With chapters such as “At Least I Didn’t Eat a Donut”, “I’m Flunking Retirement”, and “My Cup Would Runneth Over Except It Was Full of M&M’s and Now They’re All Gone”, this seems like the perfect book to help me retain my sanity! The best part is, I plan to read it and then send it back to her so she can enjoy it as well.

Did I unintentionally pay it (a love for reading and books) forward? I don’t know, but sharing books with others feels like the right thing to do.

The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.
 - Rachel Anders

What books have you given or received that made an impact? I’d love to add to my list!



HiDee Ekstrom never goes anywhere without a book or a pen and paper. Reading, writing, and chocolate are important elements of her daily life that inspire her to write. She also finds inspiration in and enjoys photography, scrapbooking, camping, hiking, and spending time with her family. Writing as Lainee Cole, two of her short-stories have been self-published in anthologies: Captured by Christmas and At Midnight. Follow Lainee at Facebook Author PageFacebook Author Profile Page, and on Twitter.


Monday, August 12, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Midnight Casanova

...a taste of romance

MIDNIGHT CASANOVA
by Lainee Cole

THWAP-CLAP.

Maddie jumped at the sound of the large doggie door snapping shut behind her as she crawled into the dark farmhouse. Heart pounding, she scrambled back against the door, listening for any sounds coming from within.

A resident dog would have greeted her in one way or another before she ever made it this far. And even if it didn’t, she was confident in her abilities as a dog trainer to handle any surprises.

What she couldn’t handle was turning into a pumpkin at midnight. She tipped her head back and closed her eyes.

Baby, her trusty Ford Mustang, had malfunctioned as soon as the clock turned midnight. Despite her foot mashing the gas pedal to the floor, the car had slowed and the speedometer dropped. She’d gripped the steering wheel and barely made it onto the shoulder before the car shuddered to a stop. The dash lights dimmed, the headlights flickered, and then both had gone out, leaving her stranded on a dark country road.

Talk about experiencing a Cinderella moment.

Maddie sat in the darkness, thinking about her life. She’d loved fairy tales since she was a little girl. In some ways, she was living her very own, having been adopted by doting parents. But she knew nothing about being a princess, or a pumpkin. Well, aside from reading Cinderella many, many times.

Unlike the horses in her favorite childhood fairy tale, the horses under her hood hadn’t turned into mice and scuttled away, but their magic had definitely expired. Taking shelter in a deserted farmhouse in freezing cold Illinois was not how she had planned to spend her New Year’s Eve.

There were some positives. One, Baby hadn’t turned into a pumpkin so once she was fixed, Maddie still had wheels. Two, she was dressed in comfortable jeans. No dresses or fancy glass slippers for her. And three, there was no prince. She would have to save herself.

She blew out a deep breath. The few dates she’d made time for in her busy life had turned out not to be prince material, so while saving herself might not be a positive, it was definitely something she could handle.

Since she was likely to be stranded for at least a day, maybe she would try to locate her dad’s latest grantee applicant. It might be difficult to do without his contact information, though. She braced her hands on the floor and sighed. Tomorrow, when she called her dad, maybe she would swallow her pride and ask him for it.

Maybe.

As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, her heart settled into a quieter rhythm and her breathing calmed. When she’d peeked inside from the front porch windows, she’d seen the living room furniture covered in sheets. Either nobody lived here or they were gone for an extended time because she heard no sounds at all in the house.

She let the tension drain from her body. The brisk walk from her car had kept her awake but now she was inside and out of the wind, the long hours of driving were catching up with her. With a little luck, she could find a blanket and crash on the sheet-covered couch she’d spotted through the front window.

Maddie glanced at her phone as she pushed to her feet. It had taken less than half an hour to get here. She was lucky. It could have been a much longer walk.

She adjusted her phone flashlight to dim and looked around. Nestled between cabinets, a small window overlooked the kitchen sink. The counters were clear. An empty Lazy Susan sat in the middle of a round wooden table with four chairs. A cozy little kitchen for someone.

To the left of the table was a closed door, a broom closet maybe? She didn’t venture into the short hallway to her right, but guessed she would find a bathroom there. A wide arched doorway led from the kitchen to the living room. She kept her beam lowered but flashed it around the room. All the way to the left she spotted another closed door. Hopefully, it led to a bedroom.

Bingo! She wrinkled her nose at the stale smell but the room was clean and tidy, with an old-fashioned chenille spread barely covering the queen-sized bed. Her hand trailed across the quilt folded at the foot of the bed, feeling the yarn ties at the corners of the quilt blocks. It was almost like being at her grandmother’s house.

Maddie gathered up the heavy quilt, hugging it close to her chest and went back to the living room.

Knowing the house was locked and it was unlikely anyone would be coming “home” tonight, she shed her light winter coat and balled it up to use as a pillow. She tugged her sweatshirt down and toed off her fur-lined duck shoes.

Settling on the couch, she curled up under the comforting weight of the quilt. With a deep sigh, she closed her eyes.

Tomorrow would be soon enough to reinvent her fairy tale gone wrong.

* * * 

CHANCE MARLOW EXITED the men’s room and glanced back into the main bar area of the Pine City Pub. Thank God he’d had the good sense to take a restroom break just before the countdown to midnight. If he hadn’t, he’d have been on the receiving end of Courtney’s affections. Instead, the lithe brunette was plastered against one of his buddies.

The music segued into another slow song. That was his cue. He turned the opposite way and escaped out the back door. The weight of the evening fell from his shoulders as he crossed the parking lot and climbed into his truck.

Everyone was temporarily otherwise occupied. It felt good to be free.

###

by Lainee Cole, Lynn Crandall, and Rena Koontz
MIDNIGHT CASANOVA
     Stranded at midnight by a broken-down car, dog trainer Maddie Lockhart finds refuge in a deserted farmhouse. When the owner of the house, Chance Marlow, tries to oust her, Maddie uses the stray mutt he calls Casanova to convince him she can help with his collection of homeless animals. While their paths seem incompatible, working side-by-side to rescue animals, they discover otherwise.

AT MIDNIGHT also contains Two Days Until Midnight by Lynn Crandall and Midnight Deadline for Love by Rena Koontz

Amazon          Smashwords


📚  Find Lainee Cole here:   Facebook     Twitter

Friday, August 9, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. 
- Scott Adams
Thursday, August 8, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Haley Cavanagh

The Write Way Café welcomes Haley Cavanagh, who asked 'what if' and answered with writing a sci-fi.


When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
I first started writing when I was eight. My first (memorable) idea came when we went to Disneyland on the Matterhorn, and I had an idea for an Abominable Snowman children’s story.

What was your path to getting Astraeus written and published? What type of research did you do?
Well, I’ve been traditionally published since 2015 under a pen name, mostly contemporary romances and some New Adult novels. But at heart, I’m a sci-fi nerd, and I love everything related to astronomy. I studied it extensively in college and frequently visit the Planetarium with my family. I’m a hard-core Trekkie, and a few ideas for the novel had been floating around my mind for several years. After writing six romance novels, I decided it was time to write something I’d feel comfortable with my children reading, but also something which appeals to adults. I submitted Astraeus to a few different publishers. After receiving a few different offers and considering what they each had to offer in terms of editing and cover art, I decided to accept Covey Publishing’s offer, and I’m so glad I did. They’ve been incredible.

Where did the idea for Astraeus come from?
My imagination, classes in college, mostly, and the desire to explore the possibility of life on other planets/in the universe. If we exist, surely others exist, and I wanted to explore the science of that beneath the action, drama, and romance of the adventure.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
Because I find futuristic concepts fascinating, and up until now I’ve always written contemporary romance novels. In my writing, I’m all about exploring “what-if’s” and exploratory concepts, be they emotional or figurative. Also, I think space is interesting. How humans survive in space is interesting, and I wanted to go further into how that might evolve a hundred and fifty years from now. The stakes of the characters’ situations were interesting to me, and I felt a strong pull to write it.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
They’re imaginary, but their feelings and passions are certainly real. Sakota is a driven, purposeful person who cares about making a difference and saving humanity. Astraeus has his own reasons for what he does as well, as does Rutledge. In essence, everyone in the book is after something in some form or another, damaged by something, and driven by something. I do like to sprinkle tiny morsels of myself into certain characters, but they’re each their own person.

Did you face any blocks while writing Astraeus, and if so, how did you handle them?
The blocks I encountered while writing Astraeus were mostly research-related. I wanted the science to be as accurate as possible, so a great deal of the world-building and astronaut-life consumed a good portion of the outlining process. It was a fun book to write, but it was important to me that it seem believable as well, so I took my time on that before getting to the meat and gravy of the story.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
You know, it’s been well-received, for the most part. I’ve been very touched by the wonderful reception and how many people loved the book. I think the surprises have been the heavy political tones some people seem to take away from the novel. Everyone reads what they will into every book they pick up, but it’s fascinating to me (especially in our current political age) how passionate people can get, and how passionate some have become over this book. And I mean that in a good way. I didn’t intentionally set out while crafting this pre-apocalyptic world to offend people or rile up political sore spots, but there are some who have carved out a lot of political undertones reflective of what’s going on in our world today. And that’s okay, I think it ended up being a timely piece that deals with a lot of “what-if’s”, which is what science fiction is all about. Books should say something about life, sci-fi especially. They need to stir you.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about space, planets, and extraterrestrial life?
I learned that I really enjoy writing sci-fi. I will continue to write romance under my pen name, but this is the first book in the line of many for Astraeus, and I have a few novels outlined for the future which I’m looking forward to exploring. I’ve always been passionate about space and the concept of intergalactic travel, so the buck won’t simply stop here. I learned the universe is indeed infinite, and there’s always something to explore. I greatly enjoyed writing the second book and getting more into how life on other planets looks, and how humans would fare there.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Writing blurbs. The most painstaking thing ever is to craft the novel of your life, edit it to within an inch of its life, get it all set up for success, and then having to condense a several hundred-paged novel into a two-paragraph, saleable pitch. It’s every author’s nightmare.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I’m something of a writing nomad. For the most part, I enjoy writing in the comfort of my living room with my dogs at my feet, typing away at a laptop, but I’m also a mom. I wrote Astraeus everywhere, at family fun centers, libraries, soccer games, the car pool lane, on planes, while making dinner at the kitchen counter, you name it. As a parent author, you sort of have to do what you can, wherever you are, with what you have. Sometimes that involves getting up early to squeeze time in. I don’t like writing to interfere with family time, so it’s a delicate balance.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Anything by Stephen King. He’s a master storyteller, and he writes strong, realistic women. A few of my favorite novels include King’s The Stand and Dark Tower series, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Intensity by Dean Koontz, the Legend series by Marie Lu, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, anything by Shakespeare or Alice Walker, Roots by Alex Haley, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Chyna Shepherd from Intensity. Like Stephen King, Dean Koontz writes women well. She’s realistic, emotional, and gritty, while being vulnerable. Her inner strength from her past rings true to her circumstance, and she’s a fantastic, nuanced character who I deeply love.

What are you working on now?
I’m shuffling a few, nearly-completed romance novels around, and gearing up to write the third installment in the Astraeus trilogy. I recently finished Astraeus II: Retaliation, and I should have a release date soon. I also have a YA dystopian sci-fi novel on the back burner, so there will be more sci-fi releases in the next year.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
Absolutely. I write like I read, all over the place, and I think limiting myself to one particular genre as an author is debilitating. Like any aspect in life, you have to branch out and grow, and there are areas I’m eager to explore in writing, such as my military experience, which up until now I haven’t really used (other than for Rutledge in Astraeus). I have toyed with the idea of writing historical romances and also some crime/military thrillers down the road.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Possibly voice over work. I’m a theater person, musically inclined, and I really enjoy both musical theater and plays, but I’ve always struggled with stage fright. I’d love to do some voice over acting at some point.

by Haley CavanaghOne pre-apocalyptic Earth. One desperate space mission to find a solution. One unexpected alien.

When Dr. Sakota Thorell signed onto the mission to scout out a new, habitable planet, she knew discovering extraterrestrial life was always a possibility. But she never expected to find an alien adrift in space, nor for that alien to be so intriguing. Sakota feels an instant and undeniable attraction to Astraeus, but he represents a million possibilities, and just as many threats.

There are others hunting Astraeus, and his rescue may cost Earth its last hope.


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Haley Cavanagh is a science fiction author, playwright, and screenwriter. Her award-winning, debut sci-fi novel, Astraeus, released on October 12th, 2018 with Covey Publishing. Haley has been an award-winning published novelist since 2016. Her seven romance novels are written under a pseudonym. She also occasionally writes informative articles for corporate magazines and healthcare-related brochures.  She served for most of her young adulthood in the U.S. military, and she is an alumni of Columbia College, a theater nerd, and a nature enthusiast. She resides in the United States, and when she’s not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with her family.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Murder in the One Percent

The Write Way Café welcomes Saralyn Richard

In February, 2018, my debut mystery novel, Murder in the One Percent, was published by a small press, Black Opal Books. Since then, the book has taken me on a great adventure. It’s been selected as a finalist in the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards for police procedurals, the June read in the Goodreads Crime, Mystery, & Suspense group, one of the best mystery/thrillers of 2018 by Hungry for Good Books, and a finalist for best suspense/thriller in the Chanticleer CLUE awards contest. During this time, I have been promoting the book by traveling to more than 100 appearances in 15 cities, at over 30 book clubs, and I’ve recently given two author talks on the Pacific Princess Cruise Ship. It’s been featured in numerous magazines, including International Thriller Writers’ Big Thrill, Kirkus, and USA Today’s Happy Ever After. Most importantly, the book has given me an opportunity to meet readers, who enjoy the intellectual and emotional puzzle of a whodunit as much as I do.

If you’ve read Murder in the One Percent (or even if you haven’t yet), you know it starts with a birthday celebration at a country mansion in lush Brandywine Valley, PA. The guests, members of the elite wealthiest one percent, enjoy gourmet foods, fine wines, mouth-watering truffles, and more.

Here is a glimpse of the menu from the elegant party:

Menu
Hors d’oeuvres
Champagne Krug, 2000

First Course
Bouillabaisse with Loupe
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, 1990

Second Course
Pate’ d’Foie Gras, Toast Points
Sauterne Chateau d’Yquem, 1990

Third Course
Fresh Halibut Cheeks
Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2006

Fourth Course
Bibb Lettuce with Hearts of Palm, Vinaigrette

Fifth Course
Wood Roasted Squab, Boysenberry Sauce
Richebourg Leroy, 1991

Sixth Course
Rack of Lamb Persillade
Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, 1982

Seventh Course
Selection of Fine Cheeses
Graham’s Vintage Port, 1977

Eighth Course
Triple Chocolate Torte with Chocolate Ganache
Truffles a la Vicki
Hennessy Paradio Cognac and Other Cordials


This month, in honor of the impending release of the sequel, A Palette for Love and Murder (January 2020), I’m offering a free book of recipes from the menu at John E. Campbell’s birthday party. You can eat like America’s one percent, and remember the party to die for! If you’re interested in this free recipe book (pdf), email saralyn@saralynrichard.com with your email address.

While you’re at it, check out author info, media links, tour schedule, and more at www.saralynrichard.com. I’m available to meet with book clubs and organizations, either in person or by FaceTime.


###

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



by Saralyn Richard
"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.


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Mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, 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 worldwide. 

Murder in the One Percent, ©2018 Black Opal Books, pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful rich. 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 has written the sequel to Murder in the One Percent. Entitled, A Palette for Love and Murder, it is due to be released early in 2020. Her website is www.saralynrichard.com

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Monday, August 5, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Tormented Souls

...a taste of romance


TORMENTED SOULS
  by Autumn Winchester

The ends of my midnight hair tickled my arms as I stood off to the side of the arched entryway. I watched as a few people went in and out, not giving me a second glance as I willed myself to just enter the ballroom.

It was as if I were invisible. Unfortunately, I was anything but.

I willed my palms to not be sweaty as I told my nerves to calm down. I had nothing to be nervous about. This wasn’t about me.

I didn’t want to be here, or anywhere for that matter, but tonight, I had no choice.

I was the last person to be looking forward to this little party. I wanted no part in it, which I was clear from the start. My parents knew I’d rather be studying than here.

I’d tried to get out of it. I tried everything I could think of, even going as far as begging my parents. Nothing had worked.

Everyone knew this was more than just a simple eighteenth birthday party for my one and only sister—a sister who hated me being so close to her age. A sister who got everything she wanted with a simple look. I, on the other hand, had to work tooth and nail to get anything; a reason I hardly ever asked for anything to begin with. I didn’t like attention as it was, so I was perfectly fine with tonight being all about her. It always tended to be, anyway.

“There you are,” my mother said as she spotted me.

Opening my eyes, I met her disapproving stare as she stopped just feet in front of me. Her blue irises were the color of a dark, stormy sky. Sometimes, I couldn’t tell if they were blue or black with how dark they were. It fit her stormy nature, so who knew what mood she was in this evening.

“Couldn’t you have worn the gown your sister picked out? It would have shown off your body so much better,” she sniffed, looking me up and down as if I were wearing a paper bag.

My mother and sister thought showing off one’s body was the only way to get the attention of not just the opposite sex, but of everyone in one room—despite her chin-length dyed red hair making her look ten years older than she really was.

Unlike her tight black dress that was sprinkled with diamonds around her breasts to showcase her assets, mine was flowy and lacked flair. The silk material touched the tops of my toes and swayed around my legs with every movement. It hung over my frame by two very thin straps that were only just noticeable. A small little flower sat right on my hip, binding the layers of the dress together in an elegant way.

“What’s wrong with this one?” I asked, looking her right in the eye as I kept my shoulders back to disguise my displeasure of being here.

The dress my sister had picked out was something I’d never be caught dead in. It had been dog pee yellow and was two sizes too small for even her to wear, along with having a deep V in the front to where any man with eyes would have seen my barely-there breasts.

“It’s not that flattering,” she spoke in distaste.

“It is to me,” I said, holding my head up. I wasn’t going to let her know her words could get to me. She knew the right thing to say to make me rethink my choices. I hated when she put me down, but there wasn’t much I could do while still living under this roof.

If only I could get out of my parents’ clutches. I was merely biding my time now, hoping I’d get a way out of their strict rules soon.

“At least it matches your eyes,” she grunted, like it was the only nice thing she could say. For her, it almost certainly was.

It did match my eyes. The dress was a silvery green color, more gray than green depending on how the light caught it.

I loved my eyes because they were the only thing that didn’t match either of my parents. They were strictly my own.

“Why haven’t you joined the party yet?” Mom asked. She knew I was stubborn when it came to certain things; the way I dressed was one of them. It was only because there were people nearby that she didn’t make any more comments. I could imagine what she was thinking, though, and the words weren’t pretty.

“You know why,” I grumbled, the words nearly a whisper.

“You can’t blame your sister,” she huffed. “You could have been the center of attention right next to her. It would have been easy to make this your night too, you know.”

She made it sound as though I wanted to be the center of attention. I detested having people look at me. I didn’t want a birthday ball. I saw no point in it.

I breathed through my nose, willing myself to keep the words I desperately wanted to say inside my throat. It didn’t matter that they burned on the tip of my tongue. I knew if I said what I so desperately wanted to, all hell would break loose. Tonight was not a night to do that—not if I wanted to keep being invisible for as long as I possibly could.

When you looked at my sister and I, we were two opposites. While she was tall, blond, and perfect, I was short, dark haired, and had strange eyes. Judi was the spitting image of the woman who stood before me, except for the hair. I wasn’t sure why the looks didn’t pass to me, but I had a pretty sure guess.

My sister was the apple of Daddy’s eye while I stayed in the shadows. It was where I preferred to be. The few times I did have my father’s attention, it never ended well for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t like having a father figure in my life, it was just that I didn’t like him. He gave me the creeps, possibly because I could see past his emotionless face and carefully spoken words.

###

by Autumn Winchester
After months of my monsters attacking me in my dreams, I come to know I am not normal.

I am not human.

I don’t know what I am, but whatever it is, my parents want me dead. They see me as a threat, a target.

To what? I have no idea.

When the monsters from my nightmares manifest in real life, I will do anything in my power just to stay alive—including following the lead of a stranger who promises to protect me from the unknown.

Can we survive what’s in store for us?

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Friday, August 2, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
August is like the Sunday of summer.
- Unknown

Thursday, August 1, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

How To Make Scenes Move by S.P. Brown

The Write Way Café welcomes S.P. Brown, who shares insights on avoiding worthless scenes.

I recently read a story I had committed to reviewing and, sure enough, I struggled through it. It was supposed to be a thriller, and as such should have been fast paced. Further, it had some international intrigue, the kind of story I usually like. But I could not get into the story. AT ALL.

The problem was that this writer filled the entire novel with scenes that didn’t really go anywhere. Here is what I mean. A scene in any book must have polarity. That is, the scene must have movement. Think of it as an electric charge.

Take a scene that starts negative. Let’s say that your character is attending his best friend’s funeral. Wow, a huge negative polarity right at the start of the scene. Now, for that scene to move there must be a place to go from this hugely negative polarity. One option is for the scene to become more negative. Problem: how to accomplish that when the negative value is so high to start with in this example. But it can be done, and you can probably think of a few ways to do that. For example, the dead friend was a CIA operative and the evil terrorists decide to add insult to injury by bombing the funeral. More people dead, right? It works.

But another option is to move from a negative polarity to a positive one. In this case the tension developed is good instead of bad. Tension, any tension, is the stuff of story. Without it you have no story to tell.

So, how would this work for our funeral scene. There could be a happenstance meeting of the love interest for your protagonist. She knew your dead friend, liked him, your characters commiserate together, have coffee and hit it off. Tension, but good tension. Movement from negative to positive. See how that works?

Scenes “turn” on this type of movement or they don’t turn at all and go nowhere along with your story. Compare the charge at the beginning and the end of your scene. If the value doesn’t change polarity, negative to positive or positive to negative, or more negative (and vice versa) then why is the scene in your narrative?

That’s an excellent question to put to all your scenes. Scenes have to do a couple of things only – development of character and move plot forward. But they must do this with added tension and if there are no polarity shifts, then there is no movement and you have a worthless scene. Too many worthless scenes and you have a worthless book people can’t get into. They stop reading this book and they never pick up another one of yours.

How you develop your novel along these lines is often dictated by genre specific conventions which dictate pacing. But no matter the genre, simple attention to polarity and scene shifts is guaranteed to spice up your writing.

###

by S.P. BrownHarry Black has a curse he doesn’t understand, or could it be a gift he can’t escape? He’s the last heir of a dying clan, but there’s a problem. To inherit, he must fulfill the only stipulation in the will—accept the Black family Legacy. After seven weeks of the same nightmare, Harry is desperate to see a psychologist to be “cured.” But instead of help at the hands of Dr. Virginia Rankin, Harry falls headlong into the legacy’s grip when he experiences an ecstatic utterance and inexplicably reveals information to her that he couldn’t possibly know. Shocked that this stranger has knowledge of her family’s dark secret, Ginny makes a frantic call to her brother. The call makes the Minority Whip of the US Senate late for a meeting at a world economic summit in DC, delaying him long enough to avoid a terrorist bombing that kills two other senators and dozens more innocent people. By saving the life of Dr. Rankin’s famous brother, Harry has also sealed his own fate. Wanted or not, the Legacy has finally come to him…

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S.P. Brown has been reading and writing from a very early age. He blames this on his addiction to all those great characters produced by Marvel Comics. Inevitably, this led to a passion for fantasy/sci-fi novels, which led to his first book, Phoebe Alleyn and the Quantum Sorcerer. A professor and father of three daughters, Brown lives with his wife in Starkville, Mississippi, where he is hard at work creating new mythologies for children and adults.

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