Tuesday, December 31, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Changes at The Write Way Cafe

As 2019 comes to a close, we at The Write Way Café have mixed feelings announcing that today is the last day for our blog. Starting January 1, we are moving in a new direction, and we hope you will join us on that adventure!

We want to thank everyone who has blessed us with their input, their sharing, and their support over the past year. So thank you to all authors, readers, and visitors. We have truly appreciated doing our part to bring you all together.

As we review the journey we've been on since The Write Way Café debuted in 2012, we think back to our primary goal of establishing an inviting space where writers and readers could engage, share, vent, and celebrate. We had no idea when we started how many authors would touch our lives with their stories. To date, we've featured more than 180 authors, some more than once. It's been our treat to get to know the breadth of authors, and come to call some friends.

But things always change, and we, HiDee and Lynn, have decided it’s time for change at The Write Way Café. We need to evolve personally and devote more of our time to our writing.

Please join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheWriteWayCafe/ and Twitter at https://twitter.com/writewaycafe2, where we plan to continue promoting books for our fellow authors.

Authors: please continue to send your book information (Title, genre, buy links and preferred social media links) to us at thewritewaycafe@gmail.com and we will post on our Facebook page and Twitter. How often we post will depend on how many submissions we receive, but we sincerely want to continue helping you by promoting your books.

Again, a huge thank you to all the authors we've featured at The Write Way Café, and to all the visitors and readers who have taken time to share and support the blog and our authors. We hope you will continue to support this circle of life in our writing world!

Best wishes and happy reading!

HiDee and Lynn

Monday, December 30, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: The Seeds of Change

... a taste of romance

by Augustina Van Hoven

The door was stuck on the outside and hard to open, but they managed it. Dex stepped out on the ground of his new home. It was freezing. The wind blew snow everywhere, limiting visibility. He wore a heavy coat, gloves, and a ski mask, but the wind cut right through him as if he were naked. Just as he turned to go back inside, he saw them: three large, fur-covered figures about his height.

Wonderful, we crash on an alien planet, and we’re going to be eaten by yetis.

They stopped a few yards from him, and the center creature held up its hand. It held a red box. The creature yelled something he couldn’t understand. Then a voice came from the box. “We are representatives from New Ardor, and we are here to help you.”

Behind Dex, his little band of survivors shuffled and whispered. He was taking a huge risk allowing the aliens into the cargo bay, but it was too cold to stay outside. Besides, he wasn’t one to shy away from risk, and luck had been on his side so far today. He gestured for the trio to follow him.

“Are you crazy?” one the men whispered.

“There’s more of us than them,” Dex said. “Now help me get this door closed.” The muttering subsided as the men worked to close the door. As soon as they were finished, they aligned themselves in a half circle, flashlights held like weapons.

What he had thought were the creatures’ own fur was actually a removable coat; they removed their hoods to reveal the humanoid heads. The one with the red box had to be a woman. She had long, silky, deep-blue hair. Her face was angular and quite attractive, but it was the eyes that got him, bright green eyes with oblong pupils. They reminded him of Jimmy, the cat. She spoke again. The language sounded like a combination of Arabic and Chinese. Like before, it took a moment, then a voice came from the red box.

“You must seal the breach in your hull and power up your ship. Nightfall will be here in sixteen hours, and the temperatures will drop. If you do not do this, you will not survive the night.”

He stood stunned.

“How can we help?” the woman asked through her translating device.

“What’s your name?” Dex asked instead. He couldn’t just keep thinking of her as the alien.

The leader of the alien delegation reached up and moved her deep blue hair away from her shoulder, exposing the red box. It translated Dex’s request into her language. She looked surprised. The answer came back. “Laize.”

“I’m Dex. Can you tell me where we are?”

“Your ship came to rest on an ice pack at the base of Mount Denair in the northern hemisphere of Kao.”

The Space Exploration & Colonization Group’s Starship Halcyon wasn’t supposed to be here. It, along with two other ships, was supposed to land on Nedrion.

But because of treachery and sabotage by members of the SE&C Group, the ship, its crew, and the colonists it was transporting were now stranded. How long would it take the Lexington and the Aryton to notice the Halcyon was missing? He shrugged. It didn’t matter; both ships were too far away to be of any help. The survivors of the crash were on their own and at the mercy of their new alien neighbors.

“Do you have any portable power generators?”

She seemed to take his change of topic in stride. “Yes.”

He addressed all three aliens. “We have six cargo haulers and two shuttlecraft flying somewhere above us. Can we use your power generators to light up a landing area?”

Laize listened to her translator, nodded, and then spoke to her to companions. They wrapped themselves in their cold weather furs and headed to the door.

“Sir,” said one of the five men who had come to the cargo bay with him, his tone edged with uncertainty.

Dex pushed ahead; he didn’t have time to dither. “We have to trust that our new neighbors are people of their word. We’re going to need their help to survive here. This will be our makeshift infirmary until we get the power back on and the hospital and clinics are operational. Look around for anything you think we can use.”

The men fanned out, their flashlights soon becoming little specks of light, like fireflies in the darkness.

Want to read more?

by Augustina Van Hoven
The last thing Dexter Thompson expected was to get a field promotion from being a member of the ship’s construction crew to the ship’s ambassador. When the Halcyon crash lands on Planet Kao, he’s the first one to interact with the aliens who showed up to help. The blue haired beauty, who led the delegation, haunts his thoughts and dreams.  Is it possible for them to have a future together?

Laize never believed in the prophesy that a new species was coming to their galaxy.  She didn’t believe until the day when a ship dropped from ski and landed at the base of Mount Denair. When the Council sends her to be their emissary, she’s surprised by the size of the ship and the humans inside. She’s even more surprised to find the handsome human ambassador is slowly melting her frozen heart.

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📚  Find Augustina Van Hoven here:    Website     @augustinavhoven     FaceBook     Pinterest


Friday, December 27, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence.
- Jim Watkins
Thursday, December 26, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

The Time Traveler Professor Series with Elizabeth Crowens

The Write Way Café welcomes Elizabeth Crowens to tell us more about her Time Traveler Professor series.

Tell us a little about your Time Traveler Professor series.
The first book, Silent Meridian, is like a 19th century X Files meets Doctor Who featuring Arthur Conan Doyle and his paranormal enthusiast partner. Its sequel, A Pocketful of Lodestones, can be described as Slaughterhouse Five meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell on the Western Front. If you know anything about Arthur Conan Doyle’s background, he was essentially a Victorian ghostbuster. He wanted to kill off Sherlock Holmes and concentrate on paranormal studies and writing. Historically, he befriended Houdini and eventually fell out of favor with him over these issues.

If The Time Traveler Professor series was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?
I used to be a professional photographer, and for most of that time I specialized in doing stills for motion pictures and television. Therefore, I have a good eye at spotting actors and how they can be transformed with hair and makeup effects. For Conan Doyle—Hugh Jackman. He’s got the height and build and easily transformable facial features. For John Patrick Scott, Robert Sheehan, an Irish actor who was recently in The Umbrella Academy. For H.G. Wells, Edward Norton. For Francois Poincaré, Sasha Baron Cohen. Other roles would be up for grabs.

What was your path to getting these books written and published? What type of research did you do?
The path was long and circuitous. The first draft of book one, Silent Meridian, was completed in 1983. It was resurrected in 2010 and finally published by MX Publishing (London) in 2016. Its second edition was published by Atomic Alchemist Productions in 2019 along with the first edition its sequel, A Pocketful of Lodestones. Research? At least five trips overseas to countries including England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Belgium and Russia and purchasing many antiquarian books.

Where did the idea for your series come from?
Coming across some bizarre antiquarian books and a series of strange incidents that happened afterward.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the books and after?
Having the right book or piece of information I needed pop up out of the clear blue. However, I’m still seeking material on WWI espionage from the German point of view—written in English. That’s been a challenge.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I wouldn’t exactly say my space is working, because I live in a space that should only be my office. I’ve pretty much outgrown my tiny Manhattan apartment but can’t afford anything larger at the moment.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
Steven James. I took a writers intensive workshop with him and Robert Dugoni, but Steven’s book, Story Trumps Structure, is one of the best I’ve read on the craft of writing. Paula Munier’s books are good, too.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
A quote from Galaxy Quest, “Never give up! Never surrender!”

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Some of the toughest criticism was on Silent Meridian. I had a lot of ideas, but I had never written a novel before. I hired three freelance editors before submitting it to publication. Definitely a learning experience and a good chunk out of my wallet.

One of the best compliments I received was in my blurb from Jim Freund who is the host of the long-running SF/F radio show Hour of the Wolf. He compared my style of writing in Silent Meridian to Tim Powers (The Annubis Gates) and Nicholas Meyer (Time After Time and The Seven Per-Cent Solution).

What are you working on now?
Trying to decide where to go next, because I have three works-in-progress at the moment. I had to fire a bad literary agent and am looking for a new one to send out two, completed novels in a Hollywood mystery series I’m writing. So, I wonder whether I should complete book three of that unsold series, book three of the Time Traveler Professor series, A War in Too Many Worlds, or another project I’m working on which is a chick-lit mystery.

by Elizabeth Crowens
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert musician and paranormal investigator. Although in his humble opinion, Scott considers himself more of an ethereal archeologist and a time traveler professor. Together they explore lost worlds and excavate realms beyond the knowledge of historians when they go back in time to find it. But everything backfires, and their friendship is tested to the limits. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future. Silent Meridian reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other notable luminaries in the secret diaries of a new kind of Doctor Watson, John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. Stay tuned for A Pocketful of Lodestones; book two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.


by Elizabeth Crowens
In 1914, the war to end all wars turns the worlds of John Patrick Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Rebecca West and Harry Houdini upside down. Doyle goes back to ancient China in his hunt for that “red book” to help him write his Sherlock Holmes stories. Scott is hell-bent on finding out why his platoon sergeant has it out for him, and they both discover that during the time of Shakespeare every day is a witch-hunt in London. Is the ability to travel through time the ultimate escape from the horrific present, or do ghosts from the past come back to haunt those who dare to spin the Wheel of Karma?

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES, sequel to SILENT MERIDIAN, combines the surrealism of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five with the supernatural allure of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell set during WWI on the Western Front.


Elizabeth Crowens writes in both the Hollywood suspense and speculative fiction genres. Her first novel, Silent Meridian, an alternate history novel was published by MX Publishing in London. As of September 2018 it is out of print and will be re-issued along with its award-winning sequel, A Pocketful of Lodestones, in the summer of 2019. Silent Meridian won First Prize in Chanticleer Review’s Goethe Award for Turn-of-the-Century Historical Fiction and First Prize in the 2017 Independent Book Awards for Steampunk. It was a finalist in the 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Awards and on the short list of finalists for four other competitions.

Crowens has two suspense novels completed in the Alice’s Adventures in Hollywoodland series and is currently seeking new literary representation. She received First Prize in Chanticleer Review’s 2017 Chatelaine Awards for Domestic Suspense and an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s fiction short story contest for Emerging Writers for an excerpt from Dear Mr. Hitchcock, the first book in that series.

She has also published a variety of non-fiction articles and is currently writing a column called The Poison Apple in the World Fantasy and Alfie Award-winning publication, BlackGate.com.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Tuesday, December 24, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Out of Time


by Cathi Stoler
It was supposed to be a simple and quick assignment for Marina DiPietro and Nick Donahue regarding Marina’s client, Adnan Haddad—protect his fabulous race horse from human predators who threaten the stallion with death if millions aren’t paid in “protection money.” Just post a few guards around the horse then catch the predators in the act, right?

Not so fast! Turns out, the threat against the horse is just a ruse to get into Haddad’s science lab and steal his latest invention. Now Nick must stop the perpetrators, ISIS, from getting their hands on the ultimate weapon of war—a tool of unimaginable terror, a cloaking device, that could tear the world apart.

Then events spiral out of control. Haddad’s niece is kidnapped, Marina is kidnapped, and Nick becomes enmeshed in a web of betrayal and deceit. ISIS is determined to have the cloaking device, and Nick has to use all the cunning, skill, and subterfuge he’s acquired as a gambler to discover the ‘tell’ that will help him turn the predators into prey.

And, there’s no time to lose.


Just ask Marina.

If you want to know how I wound up tethered like a sacrificial goat to a flimsy spire swaying in the wind on top of the world’s tallest building, maybe she can explain it.

Probably tell you I had a special knack for getting into trouble. And, she’d be right.

From where I stood, the Arabian Gulf looked like a giant swimming pool. The water shimmered in a sensuous ripple. Its surface blue and sparkling tinged with golden light from the afternoon sun beating down from above. A sight that normally would have drawn a wow if I hadn’t believed it would be one of my last.

A half-mile below people scurried in and out of streets and buildings like the streams of black-bodied ants they resembled. Not one of them poked a nose into the air and noticed the man far above struggling against his bonds. Had the citizens of Dubai become so used to the Burj Khalifa in their midst, they didn’t even glance at it anymore? Seemed so. The people who put me here hadn’t even bothered to gag me. I could scream all I wanted and not a soul would hear.

The Salafi thought I was their insurance, like a Blackjack player protecting his bet, while hedging that the dealer has twenty-one. They already had what they wanted. At least I thought so.

Believe me, I was scared. Being trussed up and hung above the city were just the beginning. They were waiting to make sure the other player hadn’t pulled a switch. Either way, I was sure they’d kill me. I wasn’t going to be the one to tell them I thought he had, that what would happen if he had given in would be unthinkable.

The sun had almost dropped below the horizon, the water turning cool and steely, the wind picking up and creating ripples along its surface. After hours under a blazing sun, a night up here when the desert turned frigid was going to be even more brutal. Shivers ran up my spine just imagining it. I tucked my chin toward my chest and tried to conjure up warm thoughts. It wasn’t working. All that came to mind was Marina, her green eyes wide with surprise, then anger, as that big black Glock pushed into her. Watching as they led me away, dumped me in the car, and drove off. My anger had been the equal of hers, my mind reeling with thoughts of what they might be doing to her. Was it possible she’d escaped and made it back to Adnan’s villa? Or was she still in their clutches, desperate in some blistering desert wadi? The fear came later when they put me up here.

This was actually Marina’s case. I’d just come along to keep her company, to be a sounding board when she needed one. Then, before I knew it, I was smack in the middle of things. So, if you want to know how this happened, I’m not sure either one of us could tell you. I just hoped we’d live long enough to try.

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Cathi Stoler is an award-winning author. Her new series, featuring Blackjack player, Nick Donahue, includes the just released OUT OF TIME, a mystery/thriller. The prequel, NICK OF TIME, will be released in 2020. Cathi Stoler's Urban Thriller Murder On The Rocks series includes, BAR NONE, with The Corner Lounge bar owner, Jude Dillane. The next two books in the series LAST CALL and STRAIGHT UP will be published next year. She is a three-time finalist & winner of the Derringer for Best Short Story, “The Kaluki Kings of Queens”. Cathi is a board member of Sisters in Crime NY, and a member of Mystery Writers of America & International Thriller Writers.

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Monday, December 23, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Cupcakes & Kisses

...a taste of romance

by Minette Lauren

Melvina Banks was put down by vanity—literally.

She’d flipped her hair down, then up, while blow-drying herself into a heated frenzy. As a result, she lay on the cold tile of her bathroom, moaning in pain. That last toss and swish was her back’s final undoing. Tucked into flesh-colored Spanks, she lay on the teal-and-white-checked floor. Small bullets of sweat beaded on her freshly painted face.

Hell, there goes my makeup.

Patting her hands on the floor around her, she searched for her cell phone. Hoping she’d knocked it from the corner of the sink in her fall from grace, she winced as another spasm shot through her lower back. Then she remembered it was in her bedroom on the bed. Probably lost beneath the mound of clothes she’d plucked from her closet while trying to decide what to wear.

If I die here, they’ll eventually discover my lifeless form gripping my roller brush for all eternity.

She wished she’d accepted Mona’s invitation to set her up on a blind date. At least the poor fellow, whoever he was, would be able to hear her scream from outside and call for help.

Instead, she had shaken her head, saying she didn’t need the additional complication in her life. Besides, sitting across from a stranger, making awkward small talk while he silently judged if she were worthy enough for him to pay for her dinner, was not Melvina’s idea of a romantic night out.

She’d had enough of those dates in her twenties and thirties to know they never turned out great. She usually ended up paying for her own meal and sometimes her date’s dinner as well. She was embarrassed to admit she was left with the check more than once.

Melvina tried to push herself up from the cool floor and gasped as a lightning bolt of pain shot along her spine and down to her hip. She was due at the Magnolia Ladies dinner in twenty minutes, and it took fifteen minutes to drive to town. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to miss a Magnolia Blossom Ladies League dinner, but she had a role in the actual event. She was meant to introduce Cecilia Lockwood, reigning president, so that Cecilia could then introduce their esteemed guest for the annual fundraiser.

This year’s proceeds were allocated to the construction of another fire station in the growing community of Magnolia, a blossoming suburb of Houston. The guest speaker would be none other than Riley James Nash, renowned chef and area native, recently making his big splash on the Food Network. He was the owner and head chef of Braised, the hottest new restaurant in Houston, and there were rumors two other locations were opening in New York and San Francisco.

Ah, to be a Food Network star….

If that happened, she would be able to open her dream cupcake shop, maybe even expand to other places. On many occasions, she’d imagined building a cupcake mini-empire, including big cities like San Francisco. She’d flown there once for a cupcake convention and had fallen in love with the small town of Half Moon Bay. With a population of only ten thousand residents, Half Moon Bay was more her speed than San Francisco proper. But the folks who visited the small coastal town on the weekends would provide plenty of business for her booming imaginary bakery.

Unfortunately, she would never own her own business if she couldn’t make the right connections and get someone to back her dream. A dream that wouldn’t materialize if she didn’t get off the floor and make it to that dinner. Riley Nash could very well be her lucky lotto ticket to owning her own bakery.

She placed her hand on the white cabinet door and slid herself across the tiles, squeaking again with pain. Putting both of her heels as close to her buttocks as possible, she pushed hard with a heaving grunt and then repeated the motion several times until she’d slid herself into the bedroom to the foot of her bed. Reaching up, she fumbled her hand around on the mattress and tugged. A mound of clothes showered her, and a button on one of the dresses tangled in her freshly brushed, long blonde hair. She tried to swim free of the many layers of fabric, blowing out her breath hard when a scarf floated over her face.

“Ow,” she complained, finding the loop in her hair to release the oversized button. The sultry beat of the old but catchy Junk in the Trunk, by The Black Eyed Peas, blared from above, taunting her rather curvy rump, currently stuck on the bedroom floor. Melvina had chuckled when her friend, Mona Calhoun, had downloaded the tune onto her cellphone the last time they had cocktails at Bubbles.

Melvina imagined her skinny, small-bottomed friend wiggling around on her own front porch, centered in the middle of High Valley Estates Golf Community. Mona was a trust fund baby who was still spoiled rotten at the age of forty-one and was one of the first people who’d bought in the elite new housing community.

Some of the stauncher neighbors had complained about Mona’s lively paint choices for her mini-mansion and the amount of time she sipped margaritas while watching Louis, the lawn guy, trim the hedges. More than likely, the residents were upset about the laughter coming from inside Mona’s house after the lawn work was finished. Louis was a twenty-something attractive Latino and Mona was almost twenty years his senior…but age never stopped Mona.

She often bragged about her cougar status, telling anyone who’d listen, “As long as they’re of legal age, handsome is handsome.” Right along with, “What’s good for the goose….”

Want to read more?

What does it take to make it Hot in Magnolia?
One cup of sexy
Two tablespoons of sizzle
And a whole lot of heart

Magnolia, Texas, might be booming with single men, but as far as Melvina Banks is concerned, it’s a bust. Between her volunteer work with the Magnolia Blossoms, tutoring at the local library, whipping up cupcakes for the local firefighters, and working at her dad’s diner, she has no time for blind dates let alone finding “the one”. Melvina would much rather spend her precious down time fine-tuning her plan to open a bakery. When celebrity chef, Riley Nash comes to town for a Blossoms fundraiser, Melvina hopes for a chance to pick Riley’s business-savvy brain. With Riley’s nationally acclaimed talents and his successful new restaurant, Braised, he just might be the one who can help Melvina whip her blossoming idea into a recipe for success. Trouble is, she can’t seem to keep her mind on business when it comes to Riley’s devilish good looks and sizzling charm. The heat is turned up when Magnolia’s handsome fire chief, Manny Owens, sparks an interest in Melvina. Torn between two of Magnolia’s hottest bachelors, she can’t help but feel the burn. Can Melvina separate her rising affections for both men, or will she end up with egg on her face?

Cupcakes and Kisses is the first book in the delicious new romantic comedy series, Hot in Magnolia, by award-winning author Minette Lauren. Set in the burgeoning town of Magnolia, Texas, this hot new series is brimming with laugh-out-loud moments and chock-full of endearing characters who will have you rooting for love and cheering for happy endings.


📚  Find Minette Lauren here:      Website        Twitter

Friday, December 20, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.
- Lao Tzu
Thursday, December 19, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Common Elements Romance Project with Lainee Cole

The Write Way Café welcomes Lainee Cole, who has a wealth of creativity and a heart of gold.

(Ed. note: Thank you for your patience as we resolved issues with Chrome not allowing interactions with this page. We believe the issue has now been corrected.)

Tell us a little about Storms of the Heart.
Storms of the Heart is a sweet contemporary romance set in the fictional town of Twin Creeks, located in Southern Illinois. Emerson Lane and Justin “Max” Lomax learn that sometimes the hardest thing to do, and the right thing to do, are one and the same – especially when it comes to family dynamics.

Is this book tied to your shelter dog stories, previously published in the Captured by Christmas and At Midnight anthologies?
No, but Storms of the Heart does feature a loyal German Shepherd named Thor. He’s afraid of storms.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read Storms of the Heart?
I hope anyone who enjoys contemporary romance with just a hint of mystery will read it. Also, family and all that it encompasses is a large part of my life. In my stories, I try to show readers positive and supportive ways family members can be there for one another.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
Following authors and writing groups on Facebook, I stumbled on The Common Elements Romance Project a little over a year ago. Over seventy romance authors came together to write stories with five elements in common. Everything else is up to the individual authors. The stories are not connected to each other or in the same “world,” so they can be read in any order. They might be short, epic, or in between. They run the gamut of romance sub-genres and heat levels, so there’s something for everyone. All stories for the project will be published between September 2019 and January 2020. Check out our website for more information – there are some fabulous books here!

Who is your favorite character from Storms of the Heart and why?
I know I should say my hero or heroine, right? But my favorite character is the housekeeper, Irene Beresford. She’s a spunky red-headed woman who revels in being herself, no matter what others might think. She’s been so much fun to write!

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
My least favorite character is Jameson Blackwell. He’s the mayor, and the town bully. Knowing there are actually people like him in the real world saddens me.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
My cover was designed by Dar Albert from www.wickedsmartdesigns.com. I shared with her the five common elements for the Common Elements Romance Project: a lightning storm, lost keys, a haunted house (really haunted or rumored to be), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max. She did a great job working them all in to my cover!

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about Storms of the Heart.
Irene BeresfordLet’s see… I’m always on the lookout for inspiration! Irene Beresford came to life for me last fall. On our way to the Black Hills of South Dakota, there was an exit sign for the towns of Irene and Beresford. The names just stuck with me, and I thought they would make a great character!

I love old houses with character and am intrigued by secret passages. It would be so cool to have one in my house! I Googled secret passages and hidden rooms, and found some great images. They meshed well with some of the ideas I had for this story.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
No question about it. My friend and fellow author, Lynn Crandall has been instrumental in my writing career. She is brutally honest in a way that challenges me to expand the boundaries of my comfort zone, to see my words from a different perspective, and to push myself to be a better writer. Best of all, she believes in me when I doubt myself. Her words of understanding and encouragement are the boost I sometimes need!

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
My kids claim I make the best no-bake cookies. Does that count? 😊

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
For readers: Support your favorite authors by following them on social media. It’s fun to get to know them!

For writers: 1) Always be open to learning. I love learning how authors work. Everyone uses different methods – there is no right or wrong way. Anytime I hear of a new method, I note what I think will be helpful to me, and try to implement it when I can. I don’t yet have a set method. I’m still learning what works for me. And 2) Never give up! I’ve been writing since I was in grade school, and have wanted to be a romance author for many years. Now that my kids are grown and I am retired, I am finally realizing my dream!

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
If you enjoy my book, please leave a review on Amazon! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a simple “Enjoyed it!” will do. Reviews help get our books noticed and included in recommendations to other readers.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I have lots of ideas for future books! I have one completed manuscript that needs revisions, but a different manuscript that is barely started has been poking at me to come back to it. Either way, I plan to keep writing contemporary romances. If you'd like to keep up with what I'm doing, please follow me on Facebook!

by Lainee ColeAfter the perfect storm that devastated her family, Emerson Lane fled her uncle and the suffocating small town of Twin Creeks. Seven years later, she returns home to make amends with her uncle and help him with the town’s Centennial, only to learn doing so involves working with her former crush—Max.

Sheriff Justin “Max” Lomax has had enough of small-town life and his overbearing bully of a grandfather. He plans to resign and move to the big city as soon as the Centennial celebration is over. There’s only one problem. Emerson Lane has returned. Years ago, he felt sorry for the young girl who’d lost her family, but now she’s all grown up, and he’s tempted to explore new possibilities.

In the week before the Centennial, storms abound—both emotional and literal. As Emerson and Max unravel mysteries of the past, they just might find their future.

RELEASING JANUARY 2020 - Please follow my Facebook page for updates!

Lainee Cole is a Midwestern girl who writes in the company of a husband always trying to talk to her. Lainee’s goal is for her stories to make readers laugh and cry, give them hope, and encourage them to believe in the power of love. When she’s not writing or reading, Lainee enjoys spending time with family (especially her new grandbaby!) and friends; hiking, camping, and traveling with her husband; and consuming daily doses of chocolate.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Last Humans


by Steven M. Moore
The apocalypse kills billions—numbers so large that most survivors’ minds snap shut. Foes of the US have attacked with a bioengineered contagion that spreads around the world. One of only a few survivors, Penny Castro, ex-USN diver and LA County Sheriff’s Deputy, reacts differently. She fights back and creates a life for herself where death is the common denominator. On a forensic dive, she is interrupted. When she surfaces, she finds all her colleagues dead, so she has to battle starvation, thirst, and gangs of feral humans until she ends up in a USAF refugee camp. A post-apocalyptic thriller for our times, Penny’s adventures will entertain and shock you into asking, “Could this really happen?”


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

Monday, December 16, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Sinful Seduction

...a taste of romance

by Jacqueline Seewald

New Jersey, 1776

AT FIRST, the trip to Princeton was not frightening. There were no armies of soldiers on the road. Yet the smell of fear was in the air. Anne McIntyre had been told the Continental Army was retreating across New Jersey with the British army in hot pursuit. The coach pressed on. She grimly kept her skinning knife at one side and the spare pistol at the other — just in case. Visions of red-coated soldiers pillaging and raping marched through her mind.
A few miles outside of Princeton, old Jacob sped up the coach. Anne could hear horses racing and drawing near. Soon there was the sound of voices yelling at Jacob to halt.
“Is it soldiers?” Delia Baincroft asked in a small, frightened voice that made her sound more childish than her sixteen years.
Anne turned her head toward the window at the rear of the coach and peered out. There were four armed men on horses chasing after them, but they were in civilian dress.
“It looks like highwaymen, although I cannot be certain.”
The coach could not outrun the men on horseback, and they were forced to pull over. Anne’s heartbeat increased as she gripped the pistol beside her.
“Where are you goin’, driver? And who are the folk within this fine coach?”
“Who wants to know?” she heard Jacob return sharply.
“Do not be rude to your betters, old man, or I’ll slice out your tongue.”
Fanny Baincroft slightly opened the coach door and peered her head outside. “Step away, man. My daughter is ill, and we are on our way to seek a physician.”
“Then surely you fine ladies have money with you to pay a fat fee. Get out of the coach and hand over your valuables.”
“How dare they!” Delia sputtered indignantly.
“Stand and deliver.”
There was the sound of a pistol fired and then another in exchange. Anne brushed past Fanny to see what was happening. Jacob had obviously tried to shoot one of the robbers, but his aim wasn’t good enough. The old man gasped, holding his chest where blood spurted forth. While the men had their eyes turned on Jacob, Anne took up her weapon and aimed it at the leader of the group.
“I’ll shoot you if you don’t get out of here,” she said, cocking the mechanism.
The highwayman laughed at her in a crude, menacing way. “And what does a young woman like yourself know of weapons?” He started moving toward her. “I think you need to be taught a lesson in how to yield right and proper.”
Anne let loose her shot and caught the man in the head. She saw the look of astonishment as he fell from his horse, blood trickling down his temple. She hoped that without a leader, the others would turn and ride away, but that was not the case. Three men charged toward her, and she could only think to remove her knife from its hide casing in readiness. She would not die without a fight.
But suddenly she heard a pistol discharging and then another. A tall man on a great horse dispersed the robbers, another of whom fell from his horse, bleeding profusely while the other two rode away.
“Are you all right?” The man’s black horse reared up.
Anne found herself trembling. She had been fine in the moment that required her greatest effort, but now she felt weak. It was as if her legs could no longer support her. Their savior seemed to sense this. He climbed down from the spirited stallion and put his arms around her, holding her close as if she were a child. Normally, she would have been shocked and offended by such behavior from a stranger, but these were not usual circumstances. She felt his gesture of comfort suffuse her flesh with an unfamiliar but pleasant sensation of warmth.
“They won’t be back,” he said reassuringly.
He ran his hands over her back and continued to press her close against the hard length of his masculine body. Her reaction to him was peculiar. She felt herself begin to tremble as if in the grip of a raging fever. It took all the strength she could summon to pull free of him.
Anne looked up into the handsomest face she had ever seen. The man removed his hat and bowed to her. His eyes were of a deep, dark blue, hair completely blond on top and sandy beneath. He was well-dressed in a great, black cape and fully armed with a sword and brace of pistols. When he returned his hat to his head, he cocked it jauntily like a military man.

Want to read more?

Jacqueline Seewald
They met and loved passionately in a time of revolution.

Anne McIntyre, a schoolmistress in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey at the outset of the American Revolution, is serious-minded, intelligent, and patriotic. Anne supports her sister in her marital problems and helps the ironmaster’s widow manage a difficult situation with her daughter.

Peter Kensington should have been an earl, but thanks to the duplicity of his younger brother and his own reckless nature, he has ended up an officer in the colonial war. Spying is alien to his gentlemanly code. Yet he must do exactly that. Anne is suspicious of him from the first but as passionately attracted to him as he is to her.

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Friday, December 13, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.
- Andrew Murphy
Thursday, December 12, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Christmas Remembrances with Susanne Matthews

The Write Way Café welcomes Susanne Matthews, who shares memories of the magic of Christmas from days gone by.

Well, it’s December. For some, as the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” while for others, it’s a time of sorrow and pain. This Christmas will be different from the others we’ve spent as a family. This past fall we lost not only two good friends, one who spent Christmas with us each year, but my father passed away. He lived a long, rich life, but that doesn’t make his passing any easier for us.

1955As I sit here, I reminisce about the Christmases of my youth, and dwell on the fond memories of days long gone. One of my memories focuses on my grandparent’s tree. My grandfather would go out to the bush and collect a pine tree, and then he would bring it home and spray paint it all white. To me, it was the most beautiful tree ever. If you look at the picture of my mother and I, taken in 1955, you’ll see the branches of the tree. Notice the tinsel? Each strand was lovingly placed by hand, and while the picture doesn’t show it, each light was shrouded in angel hair—raw fiberglass—to keep the heated bulbs from setting the tree on fire. How times have changed!

Other things I recall included the new pajamas to wear to bed on Christmas Eve, and the fact that bedtime came very late indeed since we attended Midnight Mass, and then went to my grandparent’s house for a Réveillon, the first of many feasts consumed over the holiday season. By the time we got to bed, it was well after two, and yet we were up before dawn and Santa had stopped by and filled our stockings with candies and treats, like an orange, an apple, a chocolate bar, and candy canes, as well as coloring pencils or crayons. Under the tree, there would be a new doll, a baby carriage, a storybook, a coloring book, a new snow shovel, and maybe a pair of skates. One year, I specifically recall an aluminum toboggan. My sister and I were the envy of every kid on the hill since our toboggan was so much lighter to carry back up the hill than their wooden ones.

When I decided to write His Christmas Family, I wanted to put into it some of the magic I remembered from that time—going tobogganing, taking a sleigh ride into the bush to pick out the perfect tree, making cookies, going to the Christmas fair—all the things that made the Christmases of my childhood special to me.

The other thing I remembered from that time was the way my mother and father put together baskets and delivered them just before Christmas. We weren’t rich, but Mom and Dad did what they could for those less fortunate than we were. That was the main inspiration for the book. Christmas isn’t about you or me. It’s about others; it’s about community. It’s about giving, not just receiving, and it’s about making memories. So while I will miss those who’ve gone, I take comfort in the memories that I have of wonderful Christmases past. Like Lee in the novel, I’ll never forget the ones who’ve gone, but I’ll rejoice in the ones still with me.


by Susanne MatthewsSince losing his wife, children, and parents six years ago to a drunk driver, Lee Ostler stopped celebrating the holidays, especially Christmas. But he isn’t a modern day Scrooge by any means. Because his parents would’ve wanted it, he does his duty by his employees at Ostler Construction, the Payton Falls community, and his sister and her family, but that’s it.

When Sonia has to leave the country for a few weeks before Christmas, she begs him to watch the twins for her. Even if it means, parades, pageants, and fairs, how can he refuse? But things get complicated when the twins accidentally injure one of his employees, who turns out to be the shy girl he admired years ago in high school.

Life has dealt Laurie Wilson a lot of blows, but this year, the widowed mother of four has hit rock bottom. How will she give her children a magical Christmas when the cupboard’s bare, her wallet’s empty, she can’t work, and may well lose the roof over their heads? She needs a miracle, and if he happens to be her boss and the former high school quarterback she was too terrified to even speak to back then, how can she say no?

Can Christmas magic bring two broken souls together?

His Christmas Family is available exclusively from all Amazon dealers and is free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

About Susanne:

Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

While most of her books are romantic suspense, Susanne writes stories that range from contemporary to supernatural and everything in between. She is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America.

When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traveling to interesting places she can use as settings in her future books or as interesting entries for her blog, Living the Dream.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website     Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt
Amazon author page  and Goodreads author page

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Weeping Women Springs


by Tamara EatonA magical Spring of Hope was their protection--or so they thought...

The tranquil little town of Hope Springs, New Mexico is shattered on December 7, 1941. All the village boys go to fight, leaving their families behind to pray for their safety. Their hope knows no boundaries the boys will return unharmed—for they have a secret. The Spring delivers hope to all who drink from it.

They’ve kept this secret for years, but all is lost when tragedy strikes. Their grief dilutes the magical waters. The wives, mothers, and sisters have no option but to face the loss on their own. They struggle to find hope again, while withdrawing further from the world. Yet another war looms on the horizon and even the measures they’ve taken cannot protect them.

An exploration of the various facets of sorrow and its effects, Weeping Women Springs is “like finding a scrapbook long hidden” of interviews, letters, journal entries and poems. The novel is “intriguing and mysterious.” “A “beautifully wrought story,” which will make you think long “after you finish it.” –Various Amazon Reviewers

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We hope you enjoy this excerpt!

I DIDN’T ALWAYS WANT to hide. The Council made sure we hid the water from the start, but I would rather have gone out into the world. Hope Springs was a good place to grow up. Once I reached high school, I dreamed of going places. Did you know that? You came to town later, so I never shared that with you. The Council wants us to tell you the secrets so you can report everything that happened, maybe we won’t be forgotten.

You only see what is left, middle-aged and old women who teeter on unsteady legs, searching for balance that is never quite there, the dusty roads, the faded buildings, the closed up businesses, all but Fiekens’ General Store. Maxine always kept that open, even after—no I’m getting ahead of myself. Remind me to stay on track. It’s always best to start a story at the beginning, then maybe you’ll understand.

On that crisp December afternoon the air wafted over me cool and brisk. That morning I went to church with my family like every other Sunday. Maxine didn’t attend church, not since her parents died in an accident the year before. Anna Frolander never did attend church much, but I couldn’t pass judgment, not then or ever.

Maxine spent Sunday afternoons with us kids at the gym when the boys practiced basketball, and well, we girls practiced watching the boys.

I met up with Maxine at the store, but I’d seen the new carving, so I wasn’t surprised when she shared the latest.

“Have I got news for you.” Maxine’s voice sang over the aisles of canned goods and staples. It was like my old friend was back, happier than I’d seen her in so long.

“Does it have anything to do with the new heart on the Sweetheart Tree? Spotted it this morning after church.” I waited at the front door and hooked my arm into her elbow when she came up to me. We headed down the dusty street toward the high school. My friend almost skipped beside me.

Her face glowed. “Yes,” she said with a little squeal. “Billy asked me last night. Liv, you’ll be my maid of honor, right?”

I hugged her hard. “You bet. When’s the wedding?”

“Not until school’s out.”

“Let’s hurry. I’m sure Billy’s eager to see you.” I pulled her along faster toward the gymnasium.

On that quiet Sunday, few people were outside. We waved to my mother’s good friend, Anna, who was sweeping her front walk. An early snow dusted the craggy mountains in the distance, but the moderate temperature promised a mild winter. The surrounding mountains and hills sheltered Hope Springs in a verdant valley. It made hiding easier then and later when it became more necessary. Our seclusion saved our lives or perhaps it ended them. I suppose you’ll be the judge of that when the story’s told.

We stepped inside the gym. The basketball players’ shoes screeched on the wood floor. The boys practiced non-stop since the big game on Tuesday with our rival, Tularosa High, loomed in our future. We’d lost the last game with them, and we wanted to make the state playoffs.

The ball whooshed through the net.

“Billy made a good shot,” I said and Maxine just grinned. “So tell me about the proposal. Did he get down on one knee?”

“No. He made my favorite sundae at the store and put a little toothpick with a flag on top. On the flag were the words, ‘Will you?’”

Billy had loved her it seemed like forever, so I wasn’t surprised, but his parents weren’t a fan of the idea. “Did he decide to stay in town and run the store with you?”

“Mother and Papa would have approved, don’t you think?” Her question came out breathless as she searched for confirmation.

I squeezed her hand. “I’m sure they would have.”

The excitement of a moment ago faded from her eyes, replaced with the haunting pain of grief. At least while watching the boys, Maxine could be a girl again. I worried about her since she’d quit school to run her family’s store. On Sundays and game days she closed the door and warmed a seat on the bleachers, cheering Billy Fiekens on. She hadn’t lost her place in our class of 1942, though she wouldn’t graduate with the rest of us. Without Maxine we’d only have thirteen on stage for the ceremony in May. She had confided to me she hoped to get her diploma after marrying Billy, if he could watch the store.

“His parents approve of it?” I asked.

Maxine closed her eyes a moment. The hesitation spoke volumes. Over the last year, I had watched her deal with the unthinkable. I couldn’t imagine losing one parent, let alone both. My poor, gentle Maxine, who always had a kind word of encouragement for me whenever I grew tired of waiting to leave town, withdrew even deeper into herself after the accident. With the proposal, I saw signs of her sorrow lifting.

“They still want him to go to UNM?” I asked.

“Yes.” Maxine clenched her green cotton skirt before smoothing it down. “I kept telling him to go ahead and attend school. Teaching is so important to him. He just said, ‘If your parents were still alive, I’d do it, we’d go together and live in Albuquerque.’ Then he’d mention selling the store.”

“You could sell the store, but—”

“I can’t do that, not yet. It’s too soon. Besides, Billy’s parents can’t afford to support us both. Who would buy a store in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico?”

I laughed. “Or if the Council would even let you sell. I’m sure they’d have to authorize it.”

The door at the end of the gym burst open and little Eddie Frolander ran inside. “The Japs bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted. “Melvin’s dad heard it on his radio.”

Everything went silent, all but the bouncing ball echoing through the gymnasium. The players surrounded Eddie and everyone began talking at once.

“Where’s Pearl Harbor?” Maxine asked me.

“I don’t know,” I answered. We climbed down the bleachers to join the players.

Nine-year-old Eddie’s words tripped over one another. “I dunno any details, but Mr. Bracht said to tell everyone. He said we might be at war and spread the word.”

“War.” The word was murmured repeatedly through the crowd.

“Pearl Harbor is in Hawaya. The president said they bombed the navy base there.” Eddie’s dark hair fell over his eyes.

Maxine rushed over to Billy and he threw a sweaty arm around her shoulders. At that moment, I longed for a shoulder to lean on too.

Donnie Frolander, Eddie’s older brother, sidled up to me. “If we’ve been attacked, what will it mean?”

“Surely the president will tell us what to do.” I said. “President Roosevelt has seen us through a lot already.”

“Maybe we ought to head over to Mr. Bracht’s house,” Billy suggested.

“The Council was mad when Mr. Bracht bought a battery radio last year,” Donnie said. “But maybe this is a good reason to have a radio in town. Imagine if we didn’t find out until Tuesday when Tularosa comes to play the game. Boy, would we look dumb.”

I itched to tell Donnie to keep his opinions of the Council to himself, but swallowed the urge. Too late anyway. The other young people muttered an agreement, falling into their common theme of whining about the Council’s decisions. Uncle Jim’s words echoed in my mind. “You youngsters have no real idea what it means to this town to keep us isolated as much as possible. Besides you have opportunities enough to get outside, go to Tularosa or over to Alamogordo to the movie house.”  Arguments of the young people wanting more freedom, and wishing to see the world, or letting more visitors in to see us always fell on deaf ears. Freedom wasn’t in the Council’s vocabulary.

From the time I started school, my parents and other adults in the community drilled into us the necessity of keeping the secret. On the verge of adulthood, me and my friends questioned the rules set up by the founding fathers. I pushed the thought away. War on the horizon? What did it mean to Hope Springs?

Tamara Eaton is a "western woman." She lives in the southwest USA, and wide-open spaces of the desert and prairie are often portrayed in her work--fiction and poetry. Several of her stories have been published online and in print. When she isn't writing, she is often editing for others. Weeping Women Springs is her debut novel.

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Monday, December 9, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Storms of the Heart

... a taste of romance

by Lainee Cole

Emerson Lane slowly zigzagged her SUV down the winding dirt drive, hitting more potholes than she missed.

Jagged lightning sizzled through the murky night sky, followed by a shock wave of thunder. She cringed and her hands tightened on the steering wheel as she peered through the watery darkness. The ominous cracks and booms reverberated through her body, anticipated and yet still so unexpected. So out of her control.

Like everything else in her life.

Bouncing over another pothole, she rounded a curve and slammed on her brakes. The SUV lurched to a stop just short of a downed tree.

She groaned and briefly bent her head to the steering wheel. What else could go wrong?

“Don’t ask, Em, just don’t ask!” She shoved the SUV into park but left the engine idling. Wavy rivers of water cascaded down her windows, blurring the lines between her past and her future.

Her life was a storm. A destructive tornado that had twisted her into someone she didn’t know or like before it finally spent itself out and dropped her into adulthood, leaving her to deal with the aftermath of her youth.

She was at the end of a fifteen-hour drive, running away—again.

She frowned at the rivulets of water. She loved her job as an archivist, until she discovered her controlling ex-boyfriend was the son of a board member at her small, elite university. She might have avoided dating him if she’d known. At the very least, she would have kept her thoughts to herself after she dumped him. Then she wouldn’t be in danger of being suspended from the job she loved.

Emerson blinked. Maybe something good could still come from the whole experience. Uncle Wayne had been inviting her back ever since she left seven years ago, but this time he wanted her help. Maybe they could bond over their shared love of history as they worked together on the Centennial.

Her heart swelled with gratitude. He’d always been there for her, even if she hadn’t acknowledged him. Here was her chance to repay him. Although, heaven only knew what words would spill out of her mouth when the time came…

Her heart beat steady, strong, and reassuring in her chest. She was here now. That’s all that mattered.
Two weeks of vacation would allow her to help Uncle Wayne, and hopefully mend their relationship. She was sure going to try anyway.

And with a little bit of luck, the Tony situation would blow over by the time she returned.

She waved her hand in front of her face. Enough thinking for now. She shut off the engine and pocketed her keys.

Waiting out the storm would only delay the inevitable. The drive was too narrow to attempt a three-point turn, and she had zero faith in her ability to back all the way to the main road. Good thing she had her own two feet!

She zipped her lightweight jacket and pulled the hood up. It wasn’t a raincoat but it was better than nothing. She grabbed her backpack and flashlight then climbed out and locked the doors. So what if it was the boondocks of southern Illinois? One could never be too careful.

With her back to the SUV, she swept the flashlight beam over the trees. The thought of wildlife scuttling through the underbrush sent a shiver spiraling through her body. She was accustomed to manicured lawns and well-lit cityscapes. Everything was so dark out here.

Rustling noises sounded nearby. She gulped and scurried past the SUV, picking her way around exposed tree roots. Then she was striding up the dirt driveway with the storm on her heels.

Rain pelted her back. The wind howled through the trees. Lightning crackled over her head, striking an old oak tree. A branch fell across the drive in front of her. She shrieked and jumped back.

With her heart battering her chest, she stood stiffly in the rain, unable to escape the words forming in her head. Bad things happen in threes. Okay not a tree – a large dead-leafy branch. That was three things. She wasn’t normally superstitious, but she was counting anyway. She scowled. Now she would have to maneuver through the soggy grass around yet another obstacle in her already soaking wet tennis shoes, in the still pouring rain, with lightning crackling over her head. Yeah, she should definitely be done.

Oh, stop feeling sorry for yourself and just get on with it! 

Emerson glared at the branch. She yanked her backpack higher and tugged her hood farther forward. She hurried through the wet grass to skirt the branch. One last mad dash of about twenty feet, and she ran up the front porch steps.

Dismissing the childish urge to stick her tongue out at the storm, she slipped her hood off and slumped against the house to catch her breath.

God, she hated storms, especially lightning storms. She hated driving through them in the dark even more.

Stop it! Think about the positives! Despite the doubts, despite the storms—both real and imagined—she’d made it back to Twin Creeks. She’d made it home.

Home. She blinked several times. Her heart climbed into her throat, but she would not give in to tears. Breathe in, breathe out, she coached herself. You can do this! 

Despite Uncle Wayne’s pleas, it had taken her a long time to be brave enough to return to the last place that had been a semblance of home after her parents had been killed in a car accident.

Now that she was home, she couldn’t wait to feel his firm bear hug.

She straightened her shoulders and pushed away from the house. Yes, she could do this! At twenty-five, she could finally take control of her own life. She could put her past to rest, and look forward to her future.

Emerson flinched when another crack of lightning split the air and forked through the sky, illuminating two cars parked at the side of the house. She’d been so focused on where she was stepping she hadn’t noticed them before. One was a distinctive black and white car with SHERIFF in gold lettering on the side.

Her breath hitched as she peered through the downpour. Wait. What is the Sheriff doing here? She’d already lost her parents and her aunt. She couldn’t lose Uncle Wayne, too. Not now.

Want to read more?

by Lainee Cole
Blinded by the painful loss of her parents and life as she knew it, Emerson Lane fled Uncle Wayne, Twin Creeks, and Justin “Max” Lomax – not necessarily in that order – immediately after graduation. When she returns seven years later, ready to make amends with Uncle Wayne, he’s away on a secretive business trip and Max never left. Can she carry out her uncle’s work in time for the town Centennial beginning in less than a week, all while protecting her heart from Max?


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