Thursday, January 31, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Dawn Baca Explores Family Themes

The Write Way Café welcomes Dawn Baca, who enjoys the adventure of living and exploring themes of family in her writing.

Tell us a little about your Letting Love In series.
     This whole adventure started as a single story that morphed into a series about a young woman with four sisters, a controlling mother, and all the family drama one could imagine.
     Each of the five sisters will have their own novel and their own love story, with novella length, spin-off stories of key people in the series. The first book in the Letting Love In series, Her Guarded Heart, tells the story of Addison’s experience in Russia where, while studying abroad, she falls in love.
     The second book, Her Heart’s Desire is a spin-off novella and tells part one of the story of Sophie, the French roommate Addison had in book one. Right now, I’m writing the second part of Sophie’s story, another novella.
     The series itself will follow Addison as she struggles to find balance in her life, and wade through the muck of a dysfunctional family, meeting new people, and having adventures. It’s full of characters and situations that many readers will find (wholly, absolutely, entertainingly) relatable. Partly completely fictional and partly a compilation of my friends and families various experiences.

If Her Guarded Heart and Her Heart’s Desire were made into movies, who would play your main characters, and why?

Addison – Mandy Moore:  Mandy’s got that down to earth girl next door feel to her while being beautiful without it being all you notice about her.

Sergei – Eric Bana:  Eric sports those exotic good looks and easy-going demeanor which reminds me of how easy it is to fall in love with a smile.

Sophie – Natalie Portman:  Natalie is full of fun and laughter and innocence all rolled into a spitfire personality that gets things done

Claude – Scott Eastwood:  Scott’s rugged good looks give you the impression that he would easily get down in the trenches and get his hands dirty which is perfect for a man on a horse farm.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
     I have met dozens of writers over the last few years, and their constant support has helped push me forward even when I didn’t think I had what it took. I would never have even started this journey without the encouragement and initial help from my darling friend Deb Julienne. Not only did I learn so much from her, but we also learned a lot of new things together. Another author, Casey Hagen, has become one of my greatest friends. Her critiques are always spot on and I treasure our friendship.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given? What’s your best writing advice for others?
     The best advice given so far is to tell the story the best way you know how. It can always be edited into shape later, so get those words down, and even the best of writers need to be edited, so never skip that step. The second piece is to establish a solid social media platform under your author name long before you publish so that you can build relationships that are not all about pushing your book.
     My advice to others is to write at least three complete books before you even try to publish. The practice will make you a stronger writer, and the experience will prepare you better for the fast pace of the business. Also, take the advice of other authors, both established and those that are in the same place as you. You can always learn and grow from another’s experiences.

What “keepers” are in your home library?
     My home library contains an eclectic array of: JK Rowling (Harry Potter Series), Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody Series), Mary Higgins Clark, Nora Roberts (The key Series, the Irish Sisters Trilogy), Julia Garwood, Kay Hooper (Bishop Series), and Iris Johansen (The Eve Duncan Series) at the moment. Additionally, about two dozen stand-alone romance novels I picked up at the last RWA Conference. Last year I donated a couple hundred Harlequins that I’d had since high school. Since I read diverse genre’s, my tastes are constantly changing, and so are the books on my shelves.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     I would have to pick the Nora Roberts Born In Trilogy. My father was a huge fan and sent me the books. He often said that the main characters reminded him of his three daughters. I often thought that I was similar to Maggie the firstborn, torn by duty and the desire for independence, an often fiery temper, and sharp tongue, and stubborn as only the Irish can be and laughing all the way, my father agreed.

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
     Oddly enough, I find myself in one of those currently. Every year the hubs take a ‘guys' camping trip. Mind you its not just all guys, some of them take their wives too but, to me, it’s always been a week-long trip, with 40 to 60-year-old men behaving like 12-year olds playing at a college frat party drunk fest, ‘guys’ trip. I usually pass on that experience. This time around, one of our dear friends is bringing his wife and she really wants me to go as well… Again, a bunch of mostly guys sitting around getting rip-roaring drunk for a week out in the desert in early February is not my idea of fun. But it seems I have been outvoted and volun-told that I am going along this year and should be getting ready as well. I can think of a half dozen reasons to bow out. Have tried voicing about half of them come to think of it. However, the guilt trip/peer pressure is wearing me down. I have just about accepted that this is going to happen. Still, I resist. So… how to make the best of the situation… If I am honest, I am currently threatening to find a way to induce food poisoning upon my unsuspecting but thoroughly insistent traveling companions so as to not be invited back next year, lol. (I’m joking.)

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
     Criticism – Many of my initial critique partners often told me that what I write is too personal and dry, and I need to make it less real and more fictional in order to make the story more interesting to read.
     Compliment – A friend I’d lost touch with when we stopped working together more than a decade ago reached out after I published my first book to tell me she loved it. We reconnected and she’s been a great support ever since. She said that I wrote like Robyn Carr and that she had no doubt that, in time I’d become someone else’s new favorite author.

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 would have to go with an appetizer. Specifically, Crepes filled with melted Brie, and a fruity jam sauce, and I’d name it Decadence.

What is your favorite social media? Why?
     I think Facebook gets that dubious honor. I find it’s a great way to easily connect with so many different types of people, and I’ve reconnected with many long lost friends because of it as well. Also, I won’t lie… I love the cat videos. Having five cats of my own, I’m never far from their constant shenanigans.

And now for the fun stuff!

If you were a hashtag, what would you be?
     #CrazyCatLady – being allergic to cats and dogs now, and having allergy-induced asthma, the doctors and my friends all think I’m certifiable to have so many cats inside. (I can’t help myself)

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
     I’m not a big shopper; in fact, do most of my shopping online now. But when I do buy things that are all about me, it’s usually shoes, wine, and books… in that order.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     I’m both. I’ve had 3 dogs, and 8 cats so far. (Currently 5 indoor cats, 1 outdoor cat, 0 dogs) Trying to convince the hubs we need another dog, but he’s still trying to get over the loss of both of our Labs last year…

What is your favorite season and why?
     My favorite season is Fall. It’s the most comfortable here in Central California. The warmth of Summer starts to taper off but the freezing (for me anything under 65 is freezing) hasn’t started yet.

If you had to write with a pen instead of a computer, what type of pen would be your preference?
     I love Blue ink I think its prettier on the page. It’s a weird thing, but I don’t like to write in black ink. I like the gel rollerballs the best because they seem the smoothest to glide across the paper and as a lefty; I tend to press down hard.

Her Guarded Heart

Her Hearts Desire

About Dawn:  An insatiable reader of all genres since her childhood, Dawn is a globetrotter hungry to discover new places and experience unique adventures. She can be found indulging in her husband’s first love of summer camping in the mountains or luxuriating on the open seas while cruising to exotic destinations during the frigid winter months. When she’s not jet-setting she can be found in Central Valley California with her family and their many rescue animals.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Her Heart's Desire by Dawn Baca

Dawn Baca

by Dawn BacaA loving woman’s desire . . .
     Sophie Compte leads a charmed life. Blessed with brains, beauty, and wealth she’s spent her whole life preparing to someday take the reins of the family business, a horse breeding farm world-renowned for its championship lineage. Also lucky in love, Sophie expects to marry the only boy ever to win her heart—if she can convince the man he’s become to bury his foolish pride.

A strong man’s honor . . .
     Claude Durand loves Sophie more than his next breath, but loving her and being worthy of her are two different things. He appreciates the long-term employment assured to him and his widowed mother by Sophie’s family, but he is determined to earn it for himself. For Claude, this means becoming an accomplished veterinarian so his value to the Compte business will never be questioned. He’ll marry Sophie because she owns his heart, but not until he’s proven to the world he’s the man she deserves.

Threatened by scandal and pride . . .
     Turmoil erupts when the elite Compte horses are compromised by drugs. As the spiraling scandal threatens Sophie’s legacy, Claude’s hard-earned reputation, and puts their families at risk, the lovers race to find the culprit before all they’ve worked for is lost. Sophie believes their love is strong enough to survive anything but fears Claude’s stubborn pride is stronger. She’ll do anything to convince him that win or lose, he is her heart’s desire.


About Dawn:
     An insatiable reader of all genres since her childhood, Dawn is a
globetrotter hungry to discover new places and experience unique adventures. She can be found indulging in her husband’s first love of summer camping in the mountains or luxuriating on the open seas while cruising to exotic destinations during the frigid winter months. When she’s not jet-setting she can be found in Central Valley California with her family and their many rescue animals.

Monday, January 28, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Madam Mom

by Lynda Rees

He had the most engaging smile. She wanted to stroke the tiny wrinkles in the corners of his eyes to see if the skin felt soft or firm. When he smiled, slight dimples formed to the sides of his mouth. She wondered how it would feel kissing those tempting lips and nibbling to explore the depth of those tiny dips.

Wow. Where had it come from?

Her libido, normally well-guarded and in check, entangled emotions with actions. Nothing fired as it should. She was beyond able to control sparking senses, no matter how inappropriate.

Sex appeal oozed from each breath he expelled. Pheromones struck a happy, hot dance in her veins.

The Seatbelt On sign blinked off. He extended a hand. “I’m Sam Finch.”

Tisha shook it firmly. Heat from his skin melted any resistance that remained. Their eyes locked and spoke more than words could.

“Nice meeting you, Sam Finch. I’m Tisha McClain.” The sultry words came out with a life of their own, expressing more about her needs than her name.

Sam blinked, cocked his head and raised an eyebrow, keeping their gaze locked as though trying to read her intention.

“Listen, I owe you an apology for the way I acted today. I’m sorry. I’ve been overwhelmed, and you offered nothing but kindness. I hope you’ll forgive my rudeness.” Her lashes fluttered flirtingly as though they had a will of their own. She didn’t try to control them.

“Don’t give it another thought. I understand. I shouldn’t have butted in. You appeared . . . well, desperate.”

“I guess that about sums it up. I’ve been in shock since getting the news.” She couldn’t bear repeating it.

“I’m sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you’re going through.” It rang sincere.

“Thank you.” Glad he hadn’t assumed to understand. She hated when people did that. How could anyone know how a person felt? She struggled to get grounded. Sam is a nice guy, certainly a handsome one; and he acts interested.

He wouldn’t leave her alone. He certainly had sex appeal. She longed to run her fingers through the golden locks continually straying out of place and pull the gorgeous lips to hers.

Maybe a hot tryst with a sexy stranger would help her equilibrium return. She wasn’t fast and loose with men normally, but discretion got her a broken heart more often than she cared to count.

She’d never see Sam again. The perfect plan formed in her mind. They stepped into the gate and claimed their baggage.

“Could I buy you a cup of coffee?” Sam appeared hopeful.

She felt herself falling under his spell. She had nothing to lose. Why not go for it?

“If you need anything while in town, don’t hesitate to call me—really.” Sam handed her a business card.

She pocketed it without looking at it. Her humming horny side heated her cheeks instead of the ebbing allergic reaction. “I doubt it. I’m busy and heading home soon as possible. I won’t have a social life while here.”

He was hitting on her— commendable after what she’d put him through. He acted gluttonous for punishment, but it served her needs.

She dabbed at a tear in the corner of her eye. Would they never stop?

“I’m sorry. Again I’ve screwed up. I never know when to shut my trap. I didn’t mean disrespect. Growing up in a houseful of females, I can’t stand to see a woman cry. You might need a friend. But of course, you must have lots of friends, having grown up here.” He blundered around acting flustered and looking cute.

Tisha felt sorry for him. “Not really.” Tisha gazed away wiping a tear.

Now or never. The guy acted interested, clearly. Men were always opened to sex without strings. Why not take advantage? She needed something to bolster her strength. They’d both get laid. No one lost in the deal. No harm. No fowl.

Want to read more?

Tisha McClain’s attorney, Sam resents having a spoiled, rich-bitch heiress dropped onto his plate. The sexy, blonde male at the airport is an intrusive buttinski, but appealing. Without revealing identities they share a wild, one-time fling.

Unraveling her family’s sordid past, Tisha exposes deception. Proper, business-woman, Mom performed as a stripper and ran a brothel. Dad had managed strip clubs, associated with gangsters, and his brutal execution remains unsolved.

Recognizing their misconceptions about each other, Tisha and Sam form a special bond; but Tisha’s been betrayed by men before. Can Tisha get out of an unlawful predicament, evade the killer targeting her, and end the vicious McClain Curse?


📚  Find Lynda Rees here: 

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Friday, January 25, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thursday, January 24, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

The Heart of Aleppo by Ammar Habbib

The Write Way Café welcomes Ammar Habbib, an award-winning, best selling author who tackles serious topics with positive messages.

Tell us a little about The Heart of Aleppo: A Story of the Syrian Civil War.
Thank you for the interview! As the title suggests, this novel is set in the midst of the current Syrian Civil War. It follows a 13-year-old boy (Zaid Kadir) who is trapped in the city of Aleppo after it becomes a warzone. The book encompasses themes of humanity’s strength during the darkest times. The novel is definitely not politically powered, as it focuses more on the human aspect of the tragedies occurring in Syria. It’s told from the perspective of the young protagonist, which I think gives an extra layer of development to the story. Although the main character is fictional, everything that he sees and experiences in the novel is based on true events. It has done extremely well since its release in July 2018 in terms of its reception.

If The Heart of Aleppo was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
For this question, I honestly don’t have an answer. I am not very familiar with many Arabian actors who fall under the age of the main characters (who are all teenagers), so I’m not sure which actors/actresses I would pick.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
I think most readers would enjoy this book due to the contemporary topic, but it was written with the young adult audience in mind. However, I have gotten a lot of feedback from readers of all ages about the novel. I think that because of its relevant subject, most readers would connect with the story.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
I’ve been keeping up with the Syrian Civil War since it began several years ago. Hearing all the first-hand accounts, I wanted to write a work that would do justice to those who have been hurt or affected by the war. However, I wanted to keep the novel true to the people suffering from the war and keep the focus on them, not politics. That’s really how the idea for this novel began.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
My favorite character is the protagonist, Zaid Kadir. He’s a 13-year-old boy, and this book is very much his “coming-of-age” story. His character is very much based on me when I was a child, everything from his personality, physique, and internal thoughts. For that reason, I think I connected with him in a way I haven’t connected with any of my previous protagonists.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The artwork was created by my friend, Fiona Jayde. She is a freelance book cover designer who I’ve worked with for nearly all my projects. What I loved about this book cover is that it shows the themes of the novel. It displays the destruction that we see in the story. The burnt up soccer ball symbolizes that lost innocence of the protagonist, Zaid, as he journeys through the wrecked city. And the lighting effect where a small stream of bright light breaks the darkness shows the theme of how hope never dies as long as we hold onto it.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series.
One fact about this book is that it is very accurate to the events of 2012’s Battle of Aleppo. Everything that Zaid is faced with and witnesses is true-to-life. I wanted this work to show war from the perspective of a refugee, and I did a lot of research to keep the timeline of events accurate to what really happened. I think this all adds a layer of realism to the story that it would not have otherwise had.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That’s a great question. I don’t have a mentor when it comes to my writing as of now. However, if I ever had the chance, I would love to learn from one of my favorite authors, John Grisham. I’ve always enjoyed his books, and I would love to pick his brain about storytelling.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
Outside of writing, my unique talents would be my ability to daydream in any situation!

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
I’ve learned a lot about the industry over the past few years. What I’ve seen is that along with filmmaking, it is probably the most subjective industry out there. A writer may spend months perfecting their story, putting their heart and soul into it, staying up the whole night working on it, only for an editor to reject it with a short sentence of vague reasoning. That’s what can make the industry very frustrating.
     What I tell people who ask is that you need to write something that you believe in. Don’t worry about what others think about it. If you think it’s a great story and one that needs to be told, then write it! The other thing is that writers need to have thick skin. Editors and agents reject hundreds of works a day and critics give bad reviews all the time, so never take it personal. But if you believe in your work and did your best, then never let the opinions of anyone tear you down. Write stories that you’d want to read, regardless of what others say!

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
The biggest thing readers can do to help out an author is to leave a review after they read the work. Whether it’s a positive, neutral, or negative review, reviews left on Amazon, Goodreads, or personal blogs all help generate visibility for an author’s work!!

What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on 3 new projects (2 fiction and 1 narrative nonfiction). I don’t have release dates or official titles for any of them yet, but I hope to release at least one more novel in 2019!

by Ammar Habbib
After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo's ruin came overnight.

Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, thirteen-year-old Zaid Kadir is lost in the middle of a war zone. Alongside his friends, he is forced to survive the dangers of a civil war he does not even fully understand. Zaid witnesses the destruction of the brutal Syrian Civil War as it grows more deadly by the day and rips his city apart. However, as he braves this destruction, as he desperately tries to survive this catastrophe, he discovers something. Zaid realizes that it is in the darkest hours when humanity's spirit of hope burns brightest.


Ammar Habbib is an award-winning & bestselling author originally from Lake Jackson, Texas. Writing has always been a passion of Ammar’s since he was in elementary school. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining, but also have something useful to say to the reader. Ammar presently resides in his hometown. He lives with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. To learn more about Ammar, please visit his official author website at:

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Her Guarded Heart by Dawn Baca

Dawn Baca

by Dawn Baca
Independence born of fear . . .
     Addison Tetrick fears one thing: becoming like her demanding, train-wreck of a mother who wallows in the bitterness bred by poor choices, from marrying the wrong men to being controlled by them. Addison vows to walk a different path, one of independence and free of men—until she meets fellow student Sergei Petrova while studying abroad. Sergei’s intelligence, kindness, and dedication to family win Addison’s heart. But is that enough to dissolve her fears?

Devotion born of strength . . .
     Sergei Petrova is driven to bring pride to his adoptive parents whose love built a solid foundation, but his ambition toward success has left him hollow. When Sergei meets Addison, his world explodes with light, and he knows she is the missing piece of his heart. Convinced Addison is his destiny, Sergei promises to destroy the barriers behind which she hides.

Love born of the stars . . .
     Addison and Sergei soon find their hearts and souls entwined. Sergei believes no obstacle can break them, but Addison’s fears deepen and darken until tensions boil, and she makes a fateful decision that shatters their world. A life apart is in their stars until the Fates offer a second chance. But is Addison capable of releasing a lifetime of fear to accept the gift of Sergei’s heart? Sergei’s love for Addison must be strong enough to conquer the walls that surround . . . Her Guarded Heart.


About Dawn:
     An insatiable reader of all genres since her childhood, Dawn is a
globetrotter hungry to discover new places and experience unique adventures. She can be found indulging in her husband’s first love of summer camping in the mountains or luxuriating on the open seas while cruising to exotic destinations during the frigid winter months. When she’s not jet-setting she can be found in Central Valley California with her family and their many rescue animals.

Monday, January 21, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: The Reluctant Heir

The Reluctant Heir
by Jean Jacobsen

1822 Mt. Pleasant, NY

     The river has secrets.
     From time to time, she has been known to share.
     The cold water of the Hudson River lapped at Samuel’s feet as he dug for clams. Piles of driftwood and debris along the shoreline, left by recent storms, made the bubbles of his prey difficult to see. In among the rubble, he spotted an oiled canvas bag. Upon retrieving the heavy bag, he released the bindings and withdrew the contents. To his utter shock, Samuel gazed upon the family Bible of Captain Kidd and one half of a treasure map.
     Samuel tucked away the unexpected cache and returned home. Over the next several months, he listened to the local gossip about the Captain, his whereabouts, and a secret map. In time, the talk faded, and Samuel went about his life. The map and bible remained in his thoughts, and on his deathbed, he shared the secret with his family.
     The map remained a family secret, passed down through the generations. Although many in the family tried, no one could decipher the code and symbols left by the famous pirate, and they never found the other half of the map.
     Erin’s small hand held her grandfather’s work-hardened one as they walked along the Hudson River shoreline. They leaned into a brisk wind as they scoured the sand, searching for clams.
     After a time, Erin shouted, “Do you see any bubbles from the clams yet? My eyes are tearing up.”
     "Your eyes are much younger than mine. I If you’re not seeing the signs, then there aren’t any. Let’s search among the rocks and wood. Perhaps the river will give us something today.”
     Although they searched, there was nothing worth retrieving. If only the water had given up another gold doubloon, this day would be special. Empty handed, they left the shoreline and headed for home. The path leading from the river to the village was lined with trees, their branches whispering in the wind. It was much quieter here than on the shore.
     “Erin, my dear, I was about your age when my grandfather found something special on the shoreline. It’s been in our family over one hundred years. With your father’s passing, it’s time for me to pass the family secret to you, being his oldest child.”
     Erin wrapped her cloak more tightly about her slender body, hurrying along to keep up with his long strides. “Tell me, Granda Walter.”
     “Let’s get home first.”
     Soon enough, they reached the Blue Goose Inn, the popular tavern which had been in their family for several generations. Erin’s mother greeted them as they entered through the back kitchen door. “Find any clams today?”
     “Not a one,” answered Erin. “We’re going to the attic.”
     Her mother smiled and resumed her housework.
     Granda Walter pulled out an old wooden chest from the back corner and worked the lock. Once opened, he removed a few items and then took out a waterproof canvas bag. Erin was surprised as a wooden box slip from the bag and landed in her hands. The book was heavier than she expected. Her eyes grew wide when she lifted the latch and saw a Bible.
     “What is it, Granda?”
     “Open it.”
     She opened the cover. On the book plate a name was neatly penned. Captain William Kidd. Awestruck, she turned the pages until she came to a loose one.
     “We think this paper is part of a treasure map, but no one has been able to figure out the letters and symbols. Captain Kidd lived and sailed out of New York for many years so some of his treasure may be in this area.”
     “Your task my child is to keep the secret safe and locate the treasure.”
     Oh, I will, Granda. I will keep it safe for our family. No matter what.

1832 – Paris, France

     In the late spring of 1832, the Granger family received word James, the eldest son, had gone down on a ship from Boston bound for Paris, France. He had been managing the family’s American holdings and was returning for a rare visit to attend the christening of his sister’s youngest son, to whom he would be Godfather. Instead of rejoicing in celebration, the Granger family now planned a funeral. Robert Granger, head of the family, was the ambassador to France from America. The ambassador’s residence, maintained by the appointed statesman and not the government, served both as place of business and living quarters. Official offices occupied the first floor of the stylish manor house, with the upper floors serving as the family’s residence. The second floor was used for entertaining guests, state dinners, and afternoon soirees.
     The announcement of James’ death, threw the entire household in to mourning. A steady stream of visitors flooded the upstairs family receiving rooms. Dignitaries sent notes of condolence. Spring flowers filled the halls. Black crepe marked the doors, and servants wore a black armband on their uniforms. Family and staff alike found the news hard to believe. Their beloved James had perished.
     Liam, as a second son, found himself more exposed than ever. He went through those first days after James’ death haunted by their shared past. His now dead brother had been the fair haired boy, the favorite son, the apple of his father’s eye. Liam, the spare heir, had a different life. His father, the authoritarian, loomed large and routinely compared his and James’ achievements. He also pitted Liam against James in subtle games Liam most often lost. His father’s negligent treatment brought feelings of worthlessness and fears of punishment. The constant belittling he endured served to drive a wedge in their relationship.
     Nicholas, the third born, had gone through life assuming he would always be a second spare heir and as such would never be called upon to fulfill any major family obligations.
     Their sister Ann, being the only girl, was protected and loved by them all. She had been properly presented to society, married to a man of wealth whom she professed to love, and had successfully birthed several children.

Want to read more?

by Jean Jacobsen

Opportunity. Betrayal. Love. 

New York, 1830

     After tragedy strikes his family, Liam Granger, once simply considered the spare heir, is given a choice—marry a proper society chit, or travel to America and oversee the family’s holdings. Seeking adventure and opportunity, he chooses to return to the land of his birth. Shortly after arriving, he discovers a devious scheme and is forced to flee Boston for New York. Injured and seeking asylum, Liam meets Erin, the only woman who has ever stirred both his intellect and his passions.
     A bloodied, bruised, and hunted man was the last thing hardworking inn keeper Erin Baldwin expected to find in her courtyard. Although circumstances urged her to send Liam packing, the way her beloved dog Jack took to him convinced her to give his sanctuary. She discovers a kindred soul and is soon fighting a powerful attraction to this impossibly handsome man. As she grows closer she wonders, what are his true intentions?
     The discovery of a secret document brings Liam and Erin closer and enables them to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Will they be partners until they reap their rewards, or is their partnership meant to last a lifetime?
The Reluctant Heir is an American historical romance set in New York’s Hudson River Valley in the 1830’s. If you like strong female characters, roguish heroes, and 19th Century adventure tales, you’ll love Jean Jacobsen’s latest novel.

📚  Find Jean Jacobsen here: 

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Friday, January 18, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise. 
– Unknown

Thursday, January 17, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Confessions of a Pantser by Sandra Gardner

Today at The Write Way Cafe author Sandra Garner enlightens us on the ins and outs of pantser versus plotter.

I’m a proud pantser. As you might guess, a pantser is a person who writes by the seat of his or her pants. More or less.

That’s versus a plotter, a term that usually refers to someone who carefully plots, using tools such as an outline of what’s to come. Or what should be to come.

There’s the problem with being too much of one or the other. Too much plotting can mean the characters aren’t fleshed out enough. Too much pantsing can make your mystery go off the rails. Most writers have to use elements of both. For me, going over to the, um, other side – plotting – happens when I get desperate. When I’m mumbling to the people populating my head, this book isn’t going anywhere, guys. We need help!

Sometimes, I feel as if I don’t have much to do with what my characters do and say. They just appear inside my head and start doing things. Often I don’t know where they’re going or what they’ll be doing next. When they talk to me. I let them go on and on, telling me what’s happening (external dialogue), what they’re thinking (internal dialogue), what they’re planning on doing (action), what they’re afraid of (tension). I’m their scribe, there to listen and take all the notes I can scribble. And then try to make sense out of it all.

That’s all well and good. But … much as I loathe outlines, at some point, I have to bite the bullet. Because though I love listening to my characters, getting to know them, letting them have relationships, getting themselves in trouble, fighting off those who mean them harm – sometimes landing them in near-death experiences but managing to get themselves out of them – eventually, I realize that I don’t know where all this is going, how it’s going to get where it needs to get, and what I need to do to make it work to a satisfying end. Somehow, I have to balance keeping the characters talking, walking and acting, moving the story along and making it all work. In other words, I need … an outline.

Here’s an example from my Mother-and-Me Mystery Series.

My main character, MC (protagonist) Marabella, and her recently deceased mother (sidekick) – the bane of her existence in life -- popped into my head and wouldn’t leave (see description of the ghost-mother-detective later). That happened in Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk, book 1 in the Mother-and-Me Mysteries.

In Grave Expectations, book 2, the annoyingly helpful ghost mother reappears, warning about imminent danger to Marabella’s favorite neighbor, Sam. Sam becomes the first victim of an unknown killer. Mixed in were a bunch of possible suspects (greedy relatives, heir to the first victim’s considerable estate). There’s a second victim (Rose, another elderly neighbor and Sam’s friend), and then a third victim. Marabella tries to enlist the help of the NYPD. Unfortunately for her, her bête noir from book 1, Detective Eddie Rivera, now a lieutenant, doesn’t believe there was a murder and as usual, doesn’t take Marabella’s instincts seriously.

Though you need strong, believable characterization in a mystery – as in any fiction – you need a strong, believable story for the characters to inhabit. Which involves (sigh) plotting.

So, a plot outline becomes necessary. I’ve tried it several ways. One way is writing down scenes in numerical order. Here’s what I did in Grave Expectations:

     1.  Marabella’s (main character, amateur detective) elderly neighbor Sam (victim) is found dead. She and her mother-the-ghost-detective (sidekick) think it could be murder. Marabella calls cops and, as the executor of Sam’s will, notifies his greedy relatives and heirs (suspects).

      2.  Rose, another elderly neighbor and friend of Sam’s, is frightened, because she caught a glimpse of someone (possibly the killer) running out of Sam’s apartment. She’s afraid the person saw her.

     3.  Sam’s fancy funeral, staged by materialistic relatives. Rose isn’t there. Marabella finds her in the laundry floor, seriously injured by an attacker (second victim).

Woven into the story (and the outline) is the not-so-loving relationship between Marabella and her irritating ghost-mother. Making things worse in the relationship is the curmudgeonly cat Marabella acquired as a tiny kitten, who’s grown into Catzilla. Her mother and the cat hate each other on sight.

Into the outline go Toniann (best friend), a good listener who often just doesn’t get it. Her problem is her upcoming wedding and soon-to-be interfering mother-in-law (subplot). Marabella’s job is writing in a college PR department in New York City. (setting) In a big city, it’s easier to manufacture dangerous situations. The college is where Marabella met her hunky boyfriend, John, a vet who runs the veterinarian technician program. But his new assistant is a flirty, sexy woman whom every woman at the college, including Marabella, is ready to kill – or at least, do her harm. (subplot) Another problem in Marabella and John’s relationship is that his pets are three large St. Bernard brothers. Marabella hasn’t told him that she’s terrified of creatures larger than a breadbox, with too many legs or no legs. Even worse, she hasn’t told him about her ghostly roommate, whom no one can see or hear except Marabella and her cat ….

To make the story work, the dreaded outline includes these relationships, what’s happening with them, how they related to our M.C., how are they moving the story along, and often leading to a subplot or two. Oh, and of course, everything leads to a climax and we find out whodunit.

Now you know why and how this proud pantser uses an outline to save her mystery novel.

by Sandra Gardner

When Marabella’s favorite neighbor, Sam, dies, everyone -- including the NYPD – thinks it was natural causes. After all, Sam was pushing 80, with a heart condition. But Marabella knows his heart problem was mild and under control with medication. And she’s already acquainted with Sam’s greedy relatives, so she doesn’t think there’s anything natural about it. Neither does her sleuthing sidekick, her mother-the-ghost-detective, who recently dropped back into Marabella’s life, happy to interfere again. Marabella and her mother vow to track down the killer by investigating the heirs to Sam’s considerable estate. Can she and her mother find the killer before the killer finds her?

More information about Sandra Gardner and her books is available on her Website

Grave Expectations, book 2 in the Mother-and-Me Mystery Series, was published by Black Opal Books in December, 2018.

Print and e-reader copies are available from:

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Loveless Arrow

Lynn Hammond  

by Lynn Hammond
Victoria Price likes nothing more than to be in her deer stand, hunting for her next trophy hunt. She is only in her twenties and owns her own hunting show. Everything is great except her next-door neighbor has been an asshole since his wife died. He blames Victoria and her love of the outdoors for the tragedy.

Keith Thomas has spent two years hating his neighbor. Without her, Holly would never have wanted to go hunting, and she would still be alive. And now, with another season about to start, Victoria in her hunting gear will be taunting him every day.

Or enticing him?

One dangerous act will force these two together, but nothing good can come of this. Or can it?

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Lynn Hammond works fulltime as an LPN but writes at night. She lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She is an RWA member. She loves to make children’s tutu's in her spare time. Every night before bed she takes time to read. She loves romance, paranormal romance, and erotica. She is a proud mother of three beautiful girls, two beautiful grandbabies, two boxer pups, two lizards, seven ducks, and loves spending time with her husband riding in her father’s old corvette. She is a new author writing New Adult romance and would love to hear from readers. You can contact her at To find out more, please visit her Facebook page.