Friday, March 29, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
- Victor Hugo
Thursday, March 28, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Allie McCormack

The Write Way Café welcomes Allie McCormack, a dedicated romance novelist with a lot of magic in her heart.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
     I’ve been writing all my life, since I was old enough to hold a pencil. But I didn’t think I could ever write a whole book, beginning to end, until I won a first-chapter contest back in 2000, and the prize was to have the winning manuscript (that was Truck Stop) read by a senior editor at a major publishing house. So I finished the book, and no one was more surprised than I was!

What was your path to getting Wishes in a Bottle written and published? What type of research did you do?

     I first sent out a lot of queries to literary agents, and wasn’t getting anywhere. Then I woke up one day and realized, I wanted to self publish. I think my mind was still stuck back in 2001 when I first started looking at writing as a career, and you pretty much had to be traditionally published if you wanted anyone to take you seriously. But the world, and publishing, has changed enormously since then, and I think now if a traditional publisher came along and made an offer (unlikely!), I’d have to give it a lot of thought, and they’d have to be offering me something tangible for me to accept.
     Research! I did TONS of research! First I did a lot of research on the Djinn, naturally. But Julian is not a Djinn per se, he’s a mage, or ceremonial magician (alchemist) who did a powerful spell that backfired and bound him to a Djinn vessel, forced to grant wishes. So I did loads of research on ceremonial magicians and alchemists, etc. Since Julian was from Genoa in the 14th Century, which was the landing spot for the Black Death coming east from the Black Sea, I wound up doing a lot of research on the plague and learned a LOT more than I wanted to know, I assure you. There are tons of plague historical documentaries on Youtube, and they can get pretty graphic.

Where did the idea for Wishes in a Bottle come from?
     Oh my gosh, that came right out of my sleep! There I was, half awake one morning, and there was this genie on a sandy beach, with the hot tropical sun burning down on him, in agony at being trapped for so long in bondage to the bottle…. I have NO idea where he came from, but I just went with it, and here we are!

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     Good question. No idea why I chose Manhattan, it just kind of… came to me, as so many of my ideas do. But once it did come to me, I liked the idea of NY, of Central Park, and the antique shop on a small side street. I love the thrumming energy of NYC and it just seemed to fit.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
      They are completely 150% imaginary. As far as reflecting some aspect of myself, not really, except that, to all intents and purposes, all my characters live inside my head so in that manner, perhaps, general, no, they’re not me, or aspects of myself.

Did you face any blocks while writing Wishes in a Bottle, and if so, how did you handle them?

     Oh gosh, yes! A HUGE one, in the secondary character Jacinth who showed up as Julian’s Djinn mentor. She was so cute and funny, so lively and charming, I had a hard time keeping her from taking over the story. In fact, she came into my head so strong that I finally gave up trying to write Wishes in a Bottle, and put it aside to write her story (the 2nd book in the series) first, because she just wouldn’t let go of my headspace!

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     Yes, until I researched alchemy, I had no IDEA there really was such a thing as the Philosopher’s Stone, as in Harry Potter. I also didn’t know that although one of the main goals of alchemy was to change base metals to noble metals (which I knew), the *main* purpose is to discover the Philosopher’s Stone. Also there really WAS a Nicholas Flamel who was (reputedly) an alchemist (although this is disputed). I had no idea! The whole thing was absolutely fascinating.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about Italy, spells and magic? What is a Djinn?
      I learned that I really LOVE writing about the Djinn, and creating my own world for them; their history, the rules, the interactions between Djinn and humans, and so forth. Also magical world-building. I spent a lot of time going back to change things as regards the magic, or to clarify, as I figured out the rules of the magic as I went.
     A Djinn is the original Arabic word from which we get “genie” in English. They existed in pre-Islamic folklore, and the Qur’an mentions them in a number of places. They are magical beings who live in the mystical homeland of Qaf. According to the Qur’an, Angels were created of light, Djinn were created of fire, and Man was created of clay. While Angels were created to do the will of God, and as such are perfect beings, the Djinn, like Man, were created with Free Will; they can be good, or they can be bad. Having said this, the Qur’an then goes on to talk mostly about the bad Djinn. I don’t have bad Djinn in my books; my female Djinn Jacinth acknowledges their existence, but they simply don’t show up in my stories (or haven’t yet, at any rate, LOL).

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     Oh I looove my writing space! My home has a corner bay window in the dining room. Instead of a dining room, I made it my office. I have a huge corner desk setup, with my monitor in the center of the bay window. What’s more, the full moon rises right up the center of the bay window, directly above my monitor!

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     I’ve been a Lord of the Rings aficionado since I was about 11 years old, and still re-read the trilogy now and then. Childhood favorites like The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy are still favorites! Another favorite author is Georgette Heyer, who wrote Regency and historical English romances back in the 50s and 60s. I’m a Nora Roberts fan and my absolutely #1 favorite of hers is The Winning Hand, one of the MacGregor series.

What are you working on now?
     I’m in the process of polishing A Gift of Jacinth, the 2nd book in the Wishes & Dreams series, for publication on June 4th of this year.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
     No. I write romance, I live and breathe romance stories. I don’t ever want to write anything else!

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     That one is easy!! I’d ADORE to be a tour guide at Disneyland!! I could memorize thousands of facts and dates and trivia, and share my love of the park with guests!!! That would be SO cool! Of course, now I’d have to lead handicapped tours, but I could do that!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Procrastination, of course! It’s not usually so much writer’s block that’s my main problem. It’s just focusing. I also have to work around chronic pain issues and the associated depression, which doesn’t help, but it’s the writing that makes my life worthwhile!

by Allie McCormack
     Centuries ago in plague-struck Italy, Julian DiConti cast a powerful spell in desperation to have the magical power to be able to help his people who were dying in horrific conditions. The spell goes spectacularly awry, leaving Julian enslaved to a Djinn bottle, bound to grant three wishes to each Master of the bottle until the spell can be broken. More than anything, Julian longs for a normal life – for a home, and a family. After six hundred years, however, he has begun to despair of ever being freed from the spell.
     Enter Alessandra Taylor, a young woman who has followed her calling to help others, in the face of vociferous disapproval from her family, particularly her controlling father. Working at a shelter for battered women, she's thrilled to meet the reclusive Julian DiConti, whose collection of garments from third world countries has provided funding for shelters across the country. When Julian turns out to be a Djinn from the old bottle she found in her attic, she hears his story and empathizes with his despair. Although she's willing to free him, he can't tell her how. As time goes by, their initial attraction blossoms into a love that both realize is doomed. Once she has made her third wish, the magic of the bottle will whisk Julian away and out of her life forever... unless she can somehow figure out how to free him. But one by one, she's forced to use the precious wishes to help others.


About Allie:
     A former career medical transcriptionist and disabled Veteran, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who's recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. Allie now lives in the beautiful Sonora Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time.
     Allie says: "A writer is who and what I am... a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories."

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: You Say Goodbye

Keith Steinbaum

by Keith SteinbaumAfter a temperamental meltdown on stage, Sean Hightower, a regretful and resentful “one-hit wonder” rock musician hoping for a comeback, returns to his girlfriend’s condo seeking comfort from the woman he loves. But after letting himself in, he discovers her naked body on the bed, murdered from a bullet to the head. When the police detective arrives and sees the two taped pieces of paper on the wall with the word, “hello,” on one and “goodbye,” on the other, he realizes that the renowned serial killer, The Beatles Song Murderer, has struck again. In the days that follow, he reaches another conclusion—the Beatles Song Murderer is probably somebody Sean knows. Now the detective needs Sean’s help to find the killer.

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About Keith:

     After graduating college from UCSB, I set my sights on becoming a professional song lyricist after many years of writing poetry. Had I known through the haze of my naiveté and post college optimism what a difficult task this was to accomplish as a career goal, I would have focused on my other alternative of disc jockeying somewhere. I spent a couple years doing middle of the night work at the college station playing rock ‘n roll for those few listeners either partying or working night shifts, and I had about a hundred resume cassette tapes ready to send. I’ve occasionally wondered where this would have led me had I decided on this course for my career, but as it turns out, although I did have song on a popular album in America, and other songs recorded in a number of foreign markets, I wasn’t able to make a living as a lyricist and moved on into the field of landscape. But my creative writing flame continued to burn. Understanding that idea took time to realize through initial bouts of unhappiness lasting several years. But once I started focusing on poetry again, that’s where I rediscovered the untethered freedom and joy of writing without monetary goals.
     Fast forward to an eventual desire to write a novel, culminating in the completion of The Poe Consequence. As a buildup to the idea for the book, my landscape job entailed years of working in many low-income housing projects throughout Southern California, and, consequently, many neighborhoods with gang problems. This experience played a major role in formulating the concept for my story. Originally self-published, this past June I signed a contract with Black Opal Books for it’s re-release next summer. In the future I’d like the opportunity to delve further into all the ingredients that factored into the creation of the book but I’m certainly gratified for receiving valued blogger reviews on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads, as well as other accolades.
     Winner of’s Book of the Year in the Supernatural Thriller genre, the novel also made the 2015 Kirkus Reviews Books of the Year issue. And in 2017, it received a Finalist placing in the international Book Excellence Awards competition.
     My second novel entitled, You Say Goodbye, a Beatles themed whodunit murder mystery revolving around the search for a renowned serial killer, is my first with Black Opal Books. The story prominently features a one-hit wonder ex-rock star and a little girl with cancer who's a big fan of the L.A. Lakers. The child's character was inspired by the life, and unfortunate death, of Alexandra Scott from the Alex's Lemonade foundation.

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Monday, March 25, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: The Elusive Earl

...a taste of romance

by Maddison Michaels

Chapter One 

1856—London, England

Miss Penderley was in trouble again. Of course she was. He should have known that was the case as soon as he’d received the summons from Sir Walter.

Daniel Wolcott, the Earl of Thornton, leaned back against the blue-brocade-covered armchair and regarded the man seated across the expanse of the desk. “She managed to become accidentally engaged to not one but two men and at the same time? Whilst in Italy, of all places. Do I have that correct?”

Sir Walter Penderley sighed heartily. “Yes, apparently so. Though, I do not know the exact details, my boy. Unfortunately, my wife’s letter was rather absent of important information. Apart from disclosing of my niece’s accidental betrothals, all she added was that help would be needed to delicately untangle Brianna from the predicament.”

Daniel swore softly. For over ten years, Sir Walter Penderley had been in charge of the intelligence department for the War Office, and for twenty years before that, a spy himself. Looking at him, though, with his easy smile, gray hair, and jovial girth, he would be the last man you would expect to have such authority and power on behalf of the British Empire. But he was excellent at his job. Just not so excellent at keeping his niece under control. “No offense, Sir Walter, but wherever trouble is, Miss Penderley is sure to be at its very center.”

“Yes, my niece has a tendency to get herself into some rather unusual predicaments,” Sir Walter agreed.

“Putting it rather mildly?”

“Possibly,” Sir Walter conceded. “But I must implore you to travel to Naples and extract her from the situation, Thornton. My wife and daughter are there with her, but I feel, considering the circumstances, a man needs to be there to assist. I would go myself if it wasn’t for this nasty Frantleigh investigation, but time is of the essence. You know what Italian men are like; they are particularly hot- headed when it comes to affairs of the heart. And I don’t wish for Brianna to try to intervene between the two and get hurt, or worse, married.”

“She should be married. Someone needs to control her impulsive ways.” The woman was far too headstrong and used to running headfirst into situations without properly considering her actions beforehand. She should have married years ago, and then perhaps, whoever the poor chap was could have had her well in hand before now.

But then Daniel shook his head. Who was he fooling? Miss Penderley was like a bright, burning flame, and one he doubted any man could control. He suddenly felt sorry for her unfortunate fiancés. They obviously had no idea what they were getting themselves into, becoming engaged to the chit.

“Are you offering, dear boy?” There was a look of eagerness on the old man’s face that alarmed him.

“Good God, no,” Daniel exclaimed. The thought of marrying Miss Penderley, and the ensuing mayhem it would cause to his well-ordered life, sent a chill down his spine. He wouldn’t wish that hoyden on anyone. “Any man who ends up stuc—ah, married to your niece would be in for a life of constant chaos, with her rash and headstrong nature. No disrespect, Sir Walter, but that is certainly not my idea of a suitable marriage. Besides, you know I have no particular wish to marry until I absolutely must.”

Sir Walter looked at him appraisingly for a moment. “You are not your father, my boy.”

The mention of his father had him stiffening up reflexively. No, he was not his father, and he damn well wasn’t going to end up like him either—a rake and a wastrel who had broken his mother’s heart time and time again, until eventually, he’d broken her spirit and been the catalyst for her death. A man Daniel had spent the better part of twenty years doing his hardest to never emulate, particularly as the man’s blood flowed in his veins. Hence why Daniel adhered to a well-ordered regime, at least in his personal life. There was no way in hell he was going to lead such a chaotic life as his parents had, nor would he take part in such a disastrously tempestuous relationship.

“It’s a moot point in any event.” Sir Walter slumped slightly in his chair. “She wouldn’t have you.”

“Wouldn’t have me?” For some reason, the man’s words rankled. He did, after all, have to spend the majority of his time at balls and assemblies fending off determined mothers from foisting their darlings on him. His sister enjoyed reminding him that he was considered quite the catch, thanks to his title and fortune—and much to his annoyance. But here Sir Walter was, saying the irrepressible Miss Penderley wouldn’t have him?

“No. She dislikes your ‘stuffy ways’—her words, not mine—as much as you abhor her rather free-spirited nature.” “Well, at least in that, we are agreed,” Daniel allowed. But still, the fact that she thought him to be stuffy annoyed him. Clearly, she didn’t know about the occasional clandestine missions he assisted Sir Walter with. She wouldn’t think him stuffy then. Although, why he was allowing Miss Penderley to affect him while she was over a thousand miles away was a mystery.


by Maddison MichaelsBrianna Penderley has a knack for getting into precarious situations, especially when it comes to her love for archaeology. In the heart of Naples, her terrible Italian has her accidentally becoming engaged to two men at the same time. Of course, Daniel Wolcott—the Earl of Thornton and the only man ever able to vex her—shows up to rescue her.

Daniel has spent the majority of his life exercising rigid control over his emotions, determined never to become the rake his father was. But when he goes to aid his mentor’s danger-prone niece once again, he finds himself struggling to control his attraction to a woman who is his complete opposite.

When their situation goes from bad to worse, Daniel and Brianna find themselves swept up into a perilous adventure, and they must work together to set things right. Now, if they can just avoid killing each other in the process.

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