Friday, August 30, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.
- Ernest Hemingway
Thursday, August 29, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Teresa Roman

The Write Way Café welcomes Teresa Roman, who explores tough topics of abuse, loss, and finding love in Second Chances.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
About 6 or 7 years ago. I’m a big daydreamer and I get all these stories in my head. One day I just decided it would be fun to write them all down.

What was your path to getting Second Chances written and published? What type of research did you do?
The stories in my contemporary romance books are always a combination of personal experiences and my imagination. Because I draw from personal experience, I usually don’t have a ton of research to do. For Second Chances most of my research consisted of talking to people who had been through the loss of a spouse.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
There are so many stories out there about someone losing a spouse, how painful it is, and their road to finding love again. I wanted to explore what happened when the marriage wasn’t happy, when the grieving widow didn’t necessarily lose the “love of her life.”

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The story is set in Sacramento, CA where I currently live. It’s a great city so that’s why I decided to use it as a setting for my book.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
They are a mix of my imagination and a mix of either myself or people I know. Choosing to write characters that reflects aspects of myself is very cathartic for me, but since the characters aren’t truly autobiographical I feel like I still retain some privacy.

Did you face any blocks while writing Second Chances, and if so, how did you handle them?
Second Chances was fairly easy to write because I had the story so fleshed out in my head.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing Second Chances and after?
I’d say the biggest surprise I encountered was in a handful of reviews. It is a story about emotional abuse among other things. I was surprised at how judgmental some people can be about this topic. To be honest that made me a little sad. I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to judge others when you’ve never been in their place.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about being a single parent, and then blending families?
I learned that there are a million emotions involved with losing a spouse, falling in love again, blending families, etc. Now when I watch people go through similar circumstances, my heart really aches for them.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Transitions. Going from one scene to another is always a challenge for me. The other is endings. I have a habit of rushing them.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I mostly write on my couch, just because it’s more comfortable than sitting at a desk. I write when my kids are in school. When they’re around I get way too distracted.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
So many … I think my all-time favorite book series is the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. I also really love Harry Potter, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Book Thief, Me Before You. I could talk about my favorite books all day.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
That’s another hard one. There are so many good choices. I love Hermione, of course. I also really love Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones (the books, not the show).

What are you working on now?
A paranormal romance series called The Cursed Prince.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
If I had the confidence, I’d really like to try historical romance. I’m so scared of getting some detail wrong that I’m too anxious to give it a try.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Really anything that has to do with books like a librarian or editor. I just really love books - reading them, writing them, and talking about them.


by Teresa RomanWhen Vanessa’s tumultuous marriage ends with the unexpected death of her husband, she’s left battling a mix of emotions. Haunted by her husband’s final words, Vanessa must find the strength to keep it together for the sake of her two children. But being a widow and single mother isn’t easy.

As Vanessa starts to put the pieces of her life back together, she runs into an old high school friend. Alex convinces her to take a chance on love again, but the burden of her unresolved emotions and the challenges of blending two families take their toll, leaving Vanessa fearful that second chances aren’t for everyone.


Teresa Roman writes contemporary and paranormal romance for adults and young adults. If it were possible to be born with a book in her hands, that’s how Teresa Roman would’ve entered this world. Her passion for reading is what inspired her to become a writer. She loves the way stories can take you to another time and place.

Born in Romania, Teresa has lived in the Midwest and on both coasts but currently calls Sacramento, California, her home. She lives there with her husband, three adorable children, three cats, and a dog. When she’s not at her day job or running around with her kids, you can find her in the kitchen baking something sinful, in front of the computer, writing, or with her head buried in another book.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Go For Your Personal Best by @lynncrandallwriter

My sons are runners. I am not. But one thing about their running has translated over to my writing and my perspective on success. That one thing is called Personal Best. The concept is to always strive for bettering a runner’s time. Yes, runners compete against other runners. But when a runner continues to obtain a personal best, he or she is improving their own time. The runner runs for themselves and finds pleasure in improving. By focusing on always seeking ways of improving their personal best, runners find constant inner inspiration and, to use a cliché, go the distance.

About a year ago I was facing disillusionment with writing, or to be more specific, publishing. The publishing world has changed over the years I’ve been writing. I hear and read about writers getting discouraged with the way of publishing. It’s challenging to make a career out of it and it’s dispiriting when sales are low. As writers we want our work to be appreciated and validated. Good sales numbers and an expanding readership prove to us that our efforts are worthwhile.

It’s natural to look to sales for validation, but when we look outside of ourselves for validation, we’re putting our satisfaction in others’ hands. It can lead to hopelessness, because we have little control over anything outside of ourselves. We can submit, we can promote, but we can’t make publishers or agents love our work or make people buy our books. That is when seeking our personal best can save the day and sustain our career. 

This concept is not a secret to acquiring a publisher or agent or increasing sales. But resetting your writing goals can influence your personal satisfaction and bring new doors into your perspective. When I realized the personal best concept could go to work for me, I refocused where I put my energy and accepted that I had to try new things. You’ve probably heard the saying: Old ways won’t open new doors. Sometimes it’s time to reassess our dreams. Maybe your dream has always been to see your print books sitting on shelves in bookstores. That is a common dream and one I share. But if traditional publishers aren’t giving you much love, look for other doors. Could you write for game companies or reading phone apps? Could you write for BookRiot, for example? Imagine the size of your audience and what effect that could have on your book sales.

Maybe your books are on shelves or at least on retail sites but they’re not getting much attention. What other doors can you find for promo? Think broadly. Put your face out into the readership spheres. How about turning something you know well into a topic you can speak on? Again, consider other avenues for which you could write differently but that put your writing in front of a large audience, such as the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

While your primary focus may remain on writing and selling books, you can improve your skills in other areas, expand your knowledge base, and extend your reach while having fun doing different things.

Monday, August 26, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Fractured by Deceit

...a taste of romance

by Jami Gray

How long does it take for a mind to break? 

Since time had long since lost meaning, I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling I might be close to discovering the answer. Too bad I wouldn’t be in any shape to appreciate it.

“My name is Megan Rouser. I have a brother, Dev, and a sister, Keelie, and my parents…” I faltered under the smothering weight of despair. Do they even know I’m still alive? Is anyone even looking for me anymore? 

Ice stroked a bitter finger along my spine, and I pressed my forehead against my drawn-up knees, squeezing my eyes tight as I rocked. My heart beat a frantic fist in my chest, making it hard to breathe. The cold finger became a claw piercing my neck. Its nails slowly sank into my mind. Agony seared me as if every nerve ending had been dipped in fire.

I threw my head back and opened my eyes to a gray fog, blind to everything but pain as my muscles seized in protest. The vicious claw tore through my brain in unrelenting demand. The pain rose to a new excruciating level. A scream tore from my raw throat and bounced off the walls until the sound encompassed my entire world. A hellish agony-infested inferno turned the blinding gray to ash.

“Give me what I want.” That sibilant voice weaved its way through the pain.

“No.” My answer never changed, because under my agony lived a deepening rage that refused to die. I no longer had any idea what the interrogator wanted or who it was. Once upon a time, before the days had blurred into one horrific endurance test after another, I had a clue, but not anymore. Now it was nothing more than a brutal entity asking the same damn question on an endless loop.

Something warm dripped over my lip as the cracks in my mind widened and stretched. The pressure on my head increased until blackness edged my mind. I reached for it, knowing the oblivion would be temporary. Still, it was better than this, anything was better than this.  The never-ending nightmare didn’t leave me many options. It was getting harder to resist slipping into the dark and the final exit it offered. What would it matter if I never woke again? It wasn’t like I was going to be missed.

Hold on, Megan. The whispered demand chained me in place as a flickering outline cut through the encroaching darkness. Recognition came, but the belief that normally followed my personal talisman of hope didn’t because I no longer had faith in it. I’d been here too long, and this thing—hallucination? Apparition?—could not sustain my faith that help was coming. Not anymore.

“I'm sorry.” Why I apologized even as my heart ached, I didn’t know. Some small still-sane part of me knew my illusionary guardian wasn’t real, no matter how many times it had saved me in the past. It was nothing more than my desperate hope given form, but even that wasn’t enough anymore.

The pressure on my mind snapped away so fast that the back of my head knocked against the hard wall behind me. Freezing at the unexpected reprieve, I blinked my vision clear. My prison remained unchanged, which was no surprise since it was self-made, an attempt to stay safe—well, as safe as I could get, anyway.

Gray stone walls, like those found in a castle, surrounded me. Ragged pages filled with my rough, manic jumble of sketches of demonic eyes and faces covered the stone. Some were marred with heavy black lines as if a child had tried to scratch them out of existence. Some shifted, following my movement, much like the fantastical drawings from one of my favorite stories of a boy wizard. An unseen wind riffled through the paper layers, revealing older images—a flash of the indistinct figure serving as my imaginary savior—but before it came into focus, the nightmarish images fluttered back into place, hiding it.

No door broke the stone-and-paper-covered walls. Other than an occasional visit from the figment of my damaged mind and fractured hope, I was the sole occupant. It took five steps to cross the room. I knew because I’d counted. Hazy light filtered through a narrow window high above me and forever out of reach.

Warm wetness touched my sore, swollen lips. Unlocking my arms, I raised a shaking hand to brush it away. Bright-red smears stained my dirt-encrusted fingertips. Another nosebleed. I wiped my fingers against my dusty, dirty pants, adding another crimson mark to the fabric.

Concentrating on sucking air in and letting it out, I tried to make my mind blank, waiting to see if the monster who’d been playing with me for what seemed like forever would come back for another round. I was met with silence. Instead of easing my tension, this sent dread crawling under my skin, leaving me chilled. Imagination was a dangerous thing when fueled by fear, and I had no shortage of that.

A harsh, bitter laugh sliced through the unsettling quiet, leaving me on edge. It took a second for me to realize that the horrible sound was coming from me. I stuffed my scraped fist against my mouth, choking back my rising screams. My body shook as the last piece of me shattered into unrecognizable pieces—such an ironic end, considering how often I’d been accused of living in my mind. Now that I really was living in my mind, all I wanted was to get off the damn stage.

A muted roll of thunder drifted from the window above. Dust rained down, and my prison shook for the first time in… ever. Scrambling to my feet, I tried to figure out what was happening. Considering that this was a mental construct built deep in my own subconscious, this disruption was unexpected and unusual. Maybe it was a reflection of my mental collapse.

Want to read more?

Hunted by a faceless enemy, she turns to him for help…

Megan Rouser survived six months at the hands of a brutal telepath only to emerge with fractured memories and a terrifying premonition of impending danger. Determined to regain control of her life, she turns to the one man who held her together and brought her out of hell…Bishop.

But who’ll protect him from her…

Jacob Archer, aka Bishop, has spent his life protecting others, and as part of the off-the-books psychic ex-military team known as PSY-IV, it’s a skill he’s mastered. Rescuing the determined and intriguing Megan triggers all his white knight tendencies, despite lingering suspicions about her kidnapping. But what happens when the threat he should be watching for, is her?

As Megan and Bishop delve deeper into the twisted mind of a madman, will they find a way to survive unseen threats or be torn apart by the most intimate of betrayals?

Available in Kindle Unlimited:    Amazon       Amazon UK         Amazon AUS

📚  Find Jami Gray here:    Website       Facebook Author Page        Twitter

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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.
The Beginning ...Not The End
Available in one volume 

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.

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.

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.

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

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:  

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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.)


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.)


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 He can also be found on Facebook  and @StevenMMoore4.

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

Paying Forward A Love of 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

by Lainee Cole


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.


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
     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.

Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Bookbub           iTunes 

Kobo          Goodreads           Google Play           Indigo 

Powell's           Walmart           AbeBooks

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:

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 with your email address.

While you’re at it, check out author info, media links, tour schedule, and more at 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.

Amazon ebook       Barnes & Noble print book   

Black Opal print book        Autographed print book

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

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