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Happy Wednesday, story lovers!

After spending last week enjoying the cuisine, quaint streets, swamps and plantations of  New Orleans, researching for a new urban fantasy, I'm back and ready for strong caffeine and another author talk. Please join me in welcoming Paula Benson!
Paula, what may I get you to drink?

PAULA: I love a bold coffee brew in a mug with half as much cream.

Ally: An easy request for my magic pot. :) In the meantime, please introduce yourself to our readers and include something not normally in your bio.


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BIO:
A legislative attorney and former law librarian, Paula Gail Benson’s short stories have been published in Kings River Life (http://kingsriverlife.com/), the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable (http://bwgwritersroundtable.com/), Mystery Times Ten 2013 (Buddhapuss Ink), and A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder (Dark Oak Press and Media, released January 20, 2014).

She regularly blogs  with others about writing mysteries at http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com. Her personal blog is Little Sources of Joy, at http://littlesourcesofjoy.blogspot.com, and her website is http://paulagailbenson.com.


Something not in my bio: 
I performed in two productions of Noel Coward's Blythe Spirit in two theaters, one time playing the medium Madame Arcati (where I threw a sandwich over my shoulder and the night the reviewer saw the production it landed in the onstage trash can like a slam dunk) and other time playing the Maid (when I had to take on a deep demonic voice during the seance scene—also I broke the tray I threw in rehearsal).  


Ally:  I'd like to start the interview by asking why you decided to write short stories instead of novels?

PAULA:  When I joined the online Guppy (“Great Unpublished”) Chapter of Sisters in Crime in June 2012, I began receiving emails about story calls for anthologies. For a long time, I had told people I was a writer, so I decided I needed to prove it by making submissions. In 2013, I was fortunate to have eight stories accepted and published. This year, I’ve had one story published and another accepted for publication. Two of my stories are scheduled to be in anthologies released in 2015.  

Ally:  Describe the differences you have to consider in writing a short story as opposed to a longer manuscript. Which do you think is easier to write - novels or shorts?

PAULA:  In a short story, you have fewer words to establish character and setting. Descriptions must be tailored to the bare minimum, particularly if you’re limited by word count. Also, many short story calls are for themed anthologies, so you must write to meet the requirements instead of what you might prefer.

Novels allow you more room to explore characters or situations, but also require a more detailed structure to maintain conflict and suspense and keep a tight rein on a longer plot arc.

So far, I’ve had greater success writing and finishing short stories; however, I’m still trying my hand at novels. What I’ve learned by writing short stories has helped me to hone my skills for creating longer works. Each story I write seems to grow in word count.

One thing that makes writing short stories easier is that you may learn more quickly if your submission has been accepted or rejected. Writing for a deadline, then getting feedback quickly can be encouraging and help you keep striving to improve your writing.

Whether long or short, actual writing takes discipline and dedication. And, that can be hard work whatever the length of the story.

Ally:  How do you find a publisher and audience for short stories? How do you market them?

PAULA:  Again, I must give a lot of credit to the Guppies, who are a great source for possible markets. Also, Sandra Seamans has a wonderful blog that publicizes short story and other writing opportunities. (http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com/). In addition, the Short Mystery Fiction Society (http://shortmystery.blogspot.com/) provides lots of support and publicity for its members. There is no cost to join the SMFS and its list serv always offers useful information.

Marketing short stories follows the same path as marketing novels. Once you have a few short stories published, you need to help readers find you, through a website, blogging, and social media networks. The wonderful thing is that short stories appeal to people who have a limited time span for reading. Maybe that’s why drabble (100 word stories) and flash fiction (usually 1000 words or less) are getting so much attention and being acquired by so many new markets.

Going to conferences and meetings (for writers as well as social, religious, and community events) where you can tell people about your work, sell books, and hand out bookmarks is important. Keep connecting with other short story writers as well as readers. Word of mouth and networking are crucial. I find listing your online credits on a bookmark to be very beneficial. People may be willing to give your writing a chance if they can read some of it free of charge. Also, most folks can use a bookmark!

Ally:  What kind of paranormal did you incorporate in two of your stories?

PAULA:  In “Ghost of a Chance,” Heck, the pirate hero, discovers that his vessel is being followed by a ghost pirate ship. As he tries to outrun it, he finds himself haunted by the face of a woman who jumped over board to avoid being ravished by the crew.

“Long in the Tooth,” the Featured Story in the online Bethlehem Writers Roundtable June 2013 issue and 3rd Place Winner of the Rountable’s 2013 Short Story Award, is about an elderly, dying patient, irritably tolerating hospital routines and longing to leave life behind. As she feels herself fading away, she encounters an angel who makes her wait at Heaven’s gate, then gives her a reason to linger on earth when she answers his question.

Ally:  I love quick answer questions, so here are a few for you:
  • Favorite way to eat chocolate:  in almost any combination with ice cream
  • Last place you went shopping:  online
  • If you could take anyone with you on your next shopping trip, who would it be?  my friend Charlotte
  • What book or short story would you like to have written? B.K. Stevens’ short story “Thea’s First Husband” published in the June 2012 issue of AHMM and nominated for an Agatha and Macavity
  • An item on your bucket list:  travel to Europe and beyond!

Ally: Thanks so much for being on the Coffee Chat today. I enjoyed hearing about a writing category that I find much harder than novels. Good luck with your future stories!

PAULA: 
This is my first online interview! Thank you so much for this opportunity.


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A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder (Dark Oak Press and Media, January 2014)–anthology available from Dark Oak Press

“Ghost of a Chance” by Paula Gail Benson

Heck, a pirate first mate with a treacherous captain, spies a ghost ship following their vessel. Will the ghost ship prove to be Heck’s ultimate damnation or possible redemption?



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Mystery Times Ten 2013 (Buddhapuss Ink)–anthology available on Amazon

“Confidence in the Family” by Paula Gail Benson

In a contest between two con-artists, who will triumph in demonstrating their true family feelings?


Thanks for stopping by the Coffee Chat!
Check out Paula's stories and watch for her in future anthologies...
And come back soon!

Notice re comments: For some reason the comment section of this post is not acting the way it's supposed to by showing you all the comments that have been made. I can see them, but nobody else can. Weird. So I've forwarded them to Paula, and she has responded to all. Of course, you can't see that either, so I'm reposting her comments here, where you can read them. (I hope.) :)

Paula Gail Benson has just posted a comment on your blog post, Interview With Short Story Author Paula Benson:

Ally, I am so grateful to be able to join you here at Coffee Chat. Thank you for the interview.

Allan, thanks for your kind words. I hope you'll enjoy SMFS. So good to see you at Malice.

Art, Barb, and Bonnie, thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm still very much enjoying reading your work. Barb, you said it--short stories rock!

E.B., thanks for being my wonderful blogging partner and short story critique partner (not to mention a terrific short story writer), and for mentioning my short "Apple's Lure" that will appear in the July/August issue of the BWG Roundtable.

Georgia and Kaye, you are two more fabulous short story critique partners and writers. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such lovely comments.

Susan, I really enjoyed meeting you at Malice and hope our paths will cross again soon!


 
 
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Good Morning, everyone! Thank you for joining our Wednesday coffee chat. Today's guest is Norma Huss, a writer of mysteries and young adult fiction.
Norma, what may I get you to drink?

NORMA:
I take my coffee decaffeinated with a half spoonful of sugar. But, more often I drink hot tea, with slightly less sugar. Oh, and one bite of dark chocolate would hit the spot. (I just read how dark chocolate replenishes something good in the stomach—good excuse, right?)

Ally: Lol. It sounds like chocolate is the important part, and I always keep that around the blog. 
While I get our drinks, please tell readers about yourself and reveal something not in your regular bio.



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BIO:

I call myself the Grandma Moses of Mystery. (The original Grandma Moses was an artist who switched from embroidery to primitive or folk art when arthritis stopped the needle work. She became famous at 80 and continued painting until she was 101.) I grew up on a farm, and honed my fiction-writing-skills by telling my younger sister stories after we went to bed—to keep her from kicking me. I worked as a secretary when manual typewriters were the latest innovation. One thing that inspired my writing was boating. My husband and I sailed on Chesapeake Bay and beyond. (My two mysteries for adults are both set on Chesapeake Bay.) I love to cook creative meals, and doing Zumba. I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, and, for something not previously in my bio, am about to become a great-grandmother.


My links:

Website: http://www.normahuss.com
Blog: http://blog.normahuss.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5087868.Norma_Huss
Twitter: https://twitter.com/normahuss

Ally:  What a bio, Norma! You're an inspiration. Congratulations on the pending great-grandbaby!



Ally:  Now let's switch to book talk. How would you categorize your mysteries - hard boiled, cozy, humorous, something else? What interests you about this sub-genre?  NORMA:  I guess I’m soft-boiled with a bit of humor and a touch of the paranormal. One of my two mysteries for adults features an imaginary cat, the other has a ghost as a main character. (I didn’t really intend them to be that way—just happened. What can I say?)

My soon-to-be published young adult mystery is a Halloween ghost story. YA was my first love, but, along with my kids, I grew up—I thought. I’ve fallen in love again with my new story, a mega-update from one I first wrote a generation ago. I began rewriting, wanting to finish the book before my grandchildren were too old to be interested. Found out I needed a lot of help from the younger generation to write about text messaging and other mysteries of the current teenage years. In return, those teens will discover a few oddities from the teenagers of 1946.  Is this a mother-daughter read? Nope, this is a grandmother-granddaughter read.

Ally:  How long have you been writing fiction? Were you an overnight wonder in the publishing world or a persistence pays off? Tell us a little more about your journey to publication.

NORMA:  File me under persistence. I wrote my first story in grade school. Then, skip a generation or two for motherhood, etc. before I took the Famous Writers’ Course. I placed articles and stories in children’s magazines, some of them major markets, while my youngest two (now in their 40s) were still in school. I switched to full length manuscripts, got a ton of rejections, and eventually sold my first mystery that was published a month before my 80th birthday. 

Ally:  If you could be any living mystery author (besides yourself), who would it be and why?

NORMA:  Living? Hm. Got to tell you I’d like to be a clone of Rhys Bowen. I don’t want to be her because I adore every one of her books in all three of her series, and I want to keep reading her books. But a clone? Yes! I want her fantastic imagination, speed of writing, and her wonderful way with words. (Okay, and maybe her age—I’m sure she’s younger than me.)

Ally:  Which comes first plot or characters? How do you pick your characters? Which character out of the book you brought today was the most fun to write?

NORMA:  I’m not always sure what comes first. Perhaps a situation, perhaps a character. I seem to mull it all over until I don’t know which came first. A situation or location affects the character, and the character grows into the plot. I do remember the exact spark that led me to Cherish. Some years ago as my husband was driving and as I gazed out the window, we passed a road sign. Sandy Bottom Road. Yep, that name started it all. The story swirled, changed, died, was reborn,  but that germ remained, and it remained important to the story.

Ally: I love quick answer questions, so let's try a few.

  • Favorite accessory: My favorite fashion accessory is a wooden bead necklace on elastic string, a Christmas gift from my youngest granddaughter.  I think she was three or four when she painted the beads with a mixture of colors.
  • Best way to relax: Definitely, read a book. (Also the best way to keep me up late without adequate sleep, but let’s forget that.)
  •  Favorite movie, current or old:  I go to almost no movies. I do, however, view them while visiting with our children. Our oldest daughter especially loves to save a supply on TV, so I’ve seen the likes of Ratatouie  (which I don’t know how to spell but is a cartoon with cooking rats if I remember correctly) and Wally (which is also probably misspelled—another cartoon from a post-war-of-the-worlds life of mechanical remains).
  • If they made a movie of your life, would it be a drama, comedy, or tragedy?  Oh dear, how about an historical? You know, the kind one must sit through, or should I say, sleep through? Okay, we could throw in a bit of Travelogue, as my husband and I have been to such places as Antarctica, Galapagos Islands, South Africa, and Australia
  • An item on your bucket list: Although I have been to England, Scotland, and Wales, I’ve never been to Europe. Europe, or, I would accept a paddlewheel trip on the Mississippi.
Ally:  Norma, it has been a delight to have you! I hope you'll come back again. Before you leave, can you tell us a little about Cherish?

NORMA:
This blog visit is the official start of my cover reveal campaign. I'll release a PDF of the first two chapters, then the final cover in August or before. My book will come out in September.

Ally:  Perfect timing for a Halloween story...


If you want to know more about Norma, visit her website (listed above). If you can't wait for September to read some of her writing, you can find her books at online bookstores, including Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Norma-Huss/e/B008GO6I9E/

Thanks for joining us for coffee. Watch for the release of Cherish in September...
And come back soon!

 
 

A.J. Locke has a fantastic new release! Witches, curses and dead bodies...

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Book Description:

A deadly curse, a deadly assassin, and one shot to save everyone she loves…

Malachi Erami can’t fall in love. After she’s caught with Knave, the witch Queen’s favorite lover, she’s cursed to savagely butcher any man she falls for. Exiled to live among humans, Malachi runs a bar that serves magic-laced drinks, but since her curse labels her high risk, she’s also closely monitored. Julian Vira is her latest babysitter, but he’s also the first man since Knave that she’s been attracted to. Good-looking and nonjudgmental of her horrible curse? Yeah, he’s hard to resist.

But when Malachi finds a body behind her bar, she knows she’s in trouble. If the Witches Control Council gets wind of it, she’ll be accused of murder and sent to her death. And when her friends start getting framed for murder, she realizes she’s not the only target. Malachi and Julian dig into the evidence to clear her name, but the closer they get to answers, the closer the curse comes to taking over. So when Malachi uncovers a plot to kill the witch Queen, she finds herself suddenly recruited into service, with the promise of having her curse lifted and a reunion with Knave as well. But if she fails, Knave will die. And she and Julian might not live long enough to see that happen.


Purchase Links:

Amazon
All Romance E-books
Barnes & Noble

Other books:

Affairs of the Dead
Elemental Inferno

Excerpt:

                                                                        Chapter One

Today was the anniversary of the worst day of my life, and I’d been trying to forget about it by consuming a vast amount of booze. The fact that I owned a bar greatly helped with that endeavor, and the fact that I was drunk was an accomplishment, since witches weren’t easily susceptible to alcohol. Humans were onto something with this whole drinking-to-forget-one’s-crappy-life thing.

Behind the bar, I poured a shot for an eager customer. Amaretto, Southern Comfort peach liqueur, and sweet-and-sour mix went into the glass, then I held my hand over the drink and let a stream of purple magic, the same color as my eyes, flow into it. The drink glowed purple for a few seconds, then I handed it to the customer, who drank it with no hesitation. After slamming the glass down, he grabbed the tipsy woman who’d been hanging on him and gave her a sloppy kiss, then led her out of the bar. I smiled and shook my head. The magic I’d put into the shot, aptly named Piece of Ass, would ensure they didn’t leave the bedroom tonight.

Somewhere in the room I heard riotous laughter, and above that the voice eliciting that laughter. Xiune was having a good night for a change and wasn’t holed up in my office. Though since she was just a head inside a clear acrylic box, it was understandable that sometimes all she wanted to do was hide.

“Malachi, darling!” Xiune called. “Seven handsome young men have requested the Challenge!” I smiled slyly. I loved administering the Challenge.

“It’s time for the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge!” I announced, filling up eight shot glasses with vodka, one of which I downed. “Which sin will it be and what will its victim do?” People shouted their guesses while I sent tendrils of magic into the shots. My magic sparked like tiny bolts of lightning, and like the shot I had just made, the liquid briefly glowed purple. I focused on one of the glasses and started whispering a spell, channeling the essence of one of the seven deadly sins through my body. For a brief moment, my body became flushed with a feeling of ravenous desire, then it flowed out of me into the shot glass. I felt rather charged and wondered if this had been the right sin to choose tonight. But hey, I was drunk, and I kind of wanted to see someone suffer. Misery loves company right?

I levitated the shot glasses onto a tray and sauntered over to the table where Xiune was entertaining the men who thought they were up for the Challenge. With her flawless complexion, golden eyes, and vibrant red hair, Xiune didn’t need a body to be beautiful. I’d known her when she had one though, and if she’d been sitting there in all her glory, she’d have every man kneeling at her feet. Her allure was only heightened by the fact that she was a bodiless beauty who used her magic to float herself around in a box. The box wasn’t necessary for Xiune to move around, but she felt safer inside it when she was out in public. That way if a witch hater spat on her, she’d have a shield. It also prevented those on the other end of the spectrum, people who were fascinated by witches, from getting too close. I set the shot glasses down and motioned for the men to stand around the table. They looked like your typical college fare: unkempt hair, sagging pants, and some sort of ironic or sports themed T-shirt. High-fives and shit talking all around.

“Now boys,” I said, leaning forward on my forearms, giving my cleavage time to shine. “Are you sure you’re ready for this? One of you is moments away from experiencing a sin you may or may not enjoy.” They assured me they were man enough to handle any sin, and I smiled. The fun thing about the Challenge was that everyone handled it differently. One man caught with gluttony had run across the street to McDonalds, spent over a hundred dollars on food, then sat on the floor and gorged himself. A woman under the same gluttony spell had tried to eat her friend’s purse.

“Let’s hope it’s lust and let’s hope it’s me,” one of the men said, winking at me. He stood a couple of inches over six feet, had brown hair and a lanky physique. If he started spending time at the gym, maybe his lame come-ons would give him more luck getting laid.

“Honey, I would eat you up,” I said with a slow smile. Normally I would never have said such a line, but all the alcohol I had consumed was speaking for me. He probably had no idea how true those words were though, because his smile never wavered. However, for a moment after I spoke, I saw another face in place of his, and it cut through my drunken haze like a knife. I gasped, and he must have thought that was a sign he had a chance with me, because his smile became more lascivious. Lucky for him, he did nothing for me.

“Malachi, let’s get this show going.” Xiune slid her box over to nudge me, and I shook my head and turned back to the waiting crowd.

“All right, it’s about to go down!” I yelled. “For anyone who hasn’t witnessed the Challenge before, I’ll explain how it works. One of these shot glasses is infused with the essence of one of the seven deadly sins, and the recipient will be overcome with that sin for the next half hour, while the others will experience the most euphoric feeling they’ve ever experienced from a shot of alcohol.” I motioned for the men to pick up a glass, and Mister Flirtatious had one more wink for me.

“Gentlemen, take your shot of sin!” They took their shots to the head. When they slammed their glasses down, every eye in the room was on them. After about twenty seconds, one of the men—not Winky—suddenly gasped, whipped his head around, and bolted from among his friends to accost a mildly attractive woman standing nearby.

“Fuck me! Fuck me, please!” He shook her by the upper arms while she stared at him, mortified, as his friends tried to pry him off her. I brayed with laughter, as did Xiune and everyone else in the bar.

“Oh god, I’m so horny. Someone please, fuck me!” He struggled against his laughing friends, trying to reach any female in sight, with his erection leading the way. Lust had been the winner tonight, and for the next thirty minutes this poor sap would be lusting after every woman he saw, whether she was twenty-eight or eighty-two. He even lurched toward Xiune, but she floated out of the way. Xiune was one sexy head in a box and had a mouth she could work wonders with. She often came out of her box to work those wonders on any willing man. There were more than you’d think.

“Right sin, wrong guy, right?” brown-haired dude said to me.

I rolled my eyes. “You and your friends will have your hands full for the next half hour. I suggest you hold on to him real good and don’t be surprised if he turns to one of you when it starts to look like he won’t be getting any women.”

He laughed and pulled out his cell phone. “I’ll call his girlfriend, though she’ll probably be too pissed at him for doing this to alleviate his lust.” He left the bar to make the call, while the other five continued to hold on to their friend, laughing like they’d never experienced anything so hilarious in their lives. Some of the more mischievous or drunk women teased the guy by parading in front of him and doing dirty little stripper moves. Only his friends’ hold stopped him from tackling one of them and trying to rip her clothes off.

I wasn’t afraid of things getting out of hand because I could break the spell any time I wanted. There was always a point where things stopped being amusing and started getting annoying. I left them and headed back behind the bar, while Xiune found another table of people to entertain. She was a wonderful songstress, and soon her melodic voice filled the bar as I went back to making magicked drinks. I glanced at my watch, noting that it was almost midnight, which meant the day was almost over. That didn’t actually mean anything though. The day passing didn’t mean I would forget the curse that was hanging over my life.

“Hey, Malachi, can you pass me a knife?”

“Knave?” I quickly turned to the busboy, James, who was bent over a box behind the bar.

“No, I said knife,” he said. My throat was suddenly tight, but I reached under the bar, got a knife, and handed it to him. I stood back and ran my hands through my short black curls, blowing out a slow breath as I tried to rein in my reaction to thinking I had heard the name Knave. That was the name attached to the face I did not like to think about, but no amount of alcohol and rowdy college boys taking the Challenge could truly put him from my mind. I didn’t want to see Knave’s face, didn’t want to think about the hard muscles my hands used to slide over, following the planes of his body to his waist and not stopping until I touched something that arched his back and made him whisper my name. I didn’t want to think about the nights we’d spent wrapped in each other’s arms, feeling our hearts beating against each other. But of course, since his name crossed my lips, he was all I could think about.

Falling in love with Knave was why I was cursed. And I could only blame myself. I should have known better than to take someone else’s lover to my bed. Especially if the woman crossed was a witch queen who was powerful, sadistic, and known to curse people just for sneezing out of place.

“Malachi? Excuse me, Malachi?” I blinked and brought myself out of my thoughts, turning to see that one of the other busboys, Dan, was trying to get my attention. He held a box of empty liquor bottles and needed me to move so he could pass. I shuffled out of the way, but thinking of Knave and my curse, along with all the beer and shots I’d drunk tonight, made me feel slightly unstable. Suddenly, the rowdiness in my bar wasn’t fun; it was obnoxious, and I wanted to get away from it. I headed through the door Dan had passed through, into the hallway that led to my office and the Dumpster out back. Halfway down the hallway, I heard a crash, followed by a scream. I ran through the back door, taking in several things at once that left me rooted to the spot. One, the revolting stench that went far beyond what our single Dumpster could give off. Two, Dan standing rigidly a few feet away with broken bottles scattered at his feet. And three, the thing that had caused him to drop the bottles and scream. Behind the Dumpster was a dead body.

Author Bio:

A.J. Locke is an author and artist, originally from Trinidad, now residing in New York City. Black Widow Witch is her second published novel, and other than writing she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, graphic design, and watching too much television.

Contact the author:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Good Reads



 
 
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It's Wednesday and time for our weekly infusion of caffeine and book talk! Author Suzanne Adair is visiting today. Welcome, Suzanne, what may I pour for you from the magic pot?

SUZANNE:  I drink Darjeeling tea black.

Ally: While I'm getting our drinks, please show readers your bio and add something unique about yourself.




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BIO:
Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in a two hundred-year-old city at the edge of the North Carolina Piedmont, named for an English explorer who was beheaded. Her suspense and thrillers transport readers to the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Unique: I’ve been dancing classical ballet for almost 40 years.

Contact links:
Blog: http://www.suzanneadair.net/blog/
Quarterly electronic newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/Suzanne-Adair-News
Web site: http://www.suzanneadair.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Suzanne.Adair.Author
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Suzanne_Adair
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1188958.Suzanne_Adair/


Ally:  Let's start with the type of books you write: what genres, and what drew you to them?

SUZANNE:  Published: historical crime fiction. Pre-published: futuristic science fiction.

I enjoy the world-building aspect of both genres. And both allow me to transplant an issue that plagues us currently—for example, child soldiers (see my answer to the next question)—to another time and examine it there, see how other people would deal with it.

Ally: Tell us a little about the book you brought today and what inspired you to write it.

SUZANNE:  I brought A Hostage to Heritage, second in the Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller series. Like my other books, it’s written as a stand-alone, so you can read it without having read other books in the series. And note that currently on Amazon, all 24 reviews for this book are five-star reviews.

This book has several sub-plots, including a light romance with a slow, sexy kiss. But one thing that inspired the main plot was discovering from my research that an ancestor of mine had joined the Continental Army at the age of twelve. Imagine a twelve-year-old carrying a firearm that’s longer than he is tall, then imagine that boy looking across a field at disciplined enemy soldiers taking position for battle. Of course, child soldiers have been a part of warfare since humans began fighting each other. But this piece of research made the topic personal.

I wrote a guest essay on child soldiers for Crime Fiction Collective (http://www.crimefictioncollective.blogspot.com/2013/05/americas-legacy-of-child-soldiers.html).

Ally:  What would be your ideal writing place and conditions?

SUZANNE:  Just about anyplace will do as long as it’s sunny, warm, and near the ocean.

Ally:  How do you feel about marketing? Is it fun, a necessary evil, or something else? What is your favorite way to promote? Least favorite?

SUZANNE:  Marketing is fun! It works a part of my brain that writing doesn’t exercise.

I promote mostly with social media and only use tools that I enjoy. Currently here’s what works for me:
  • Blog: Not just my blog posts, but guest essays of other authors via the Relevant History feature.
  • Suzanne Adair News: This quarterly newsletter includes news from my Relevant History author friends and me, and information about our discounted books and freebies.
  • Facebook: I post personal information on my profile and professional information on my fan page.
  • Twitter: This one took some getting used to, as it’s very different from Facebook, but I enjoy getting into those 140-character conversations with Tweeps.

I want to do more with Goodreads and have my eye on Pinterest, but I gotta write, too.

Ally:  Four quick answer questions:

  • what you would love to do on a rainy day:  Visit a museum, read a good book, or enjoy a high tea.
  • an item on your bucket list:  Spend at least a week at a Caribbean island resort.
  • an author you'd like to take to lunch:  Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • a movie you've watched more than twice:  Casablanca.
Ally:  Thank you for visiting the Coffee Chat, Suzanne. It was a pleasure having you. We'll finish up with a look at your book, A Hostage to Heritage...
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Blurb:

A boy kidnapped for ransom. And a madman who didn't bargain on Michael Stoddard's tenacity.

Spring 1781. The American Revolution enters its seventh grueling year. In Wilmington, North Carolina, redcoat investigator Lieutenant Michael Stoddard expects to round up two miscreants before Lord Cornwallis's army arrives for supplies. But his quarries' trail crosses with that of a criminal who has abducted a high-profile English heir. Michael's efforts to track down the boy plunge him into a twilight of terror from radical insurrectionists, whiskey smugglers, and snarled secrets out of his own past in Yorkshire.

Buy links:
Kindle:  http://amzn.to/1mycZWn
Nook : http://bit.ly/1o7r5zQ
iTunes:  http://bit.ly/1jeeYw5
Kobo:  http://bit.ly/1mydcJi
Paperback:  http://amzn.to/1hhKdpw

Thanks for stopping by today. Come back soon!

 
 
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                                    New Release

              Chasing Luck (a Serendipity novel)
                                by Brinda Berry


$2.99
New Adult* Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 978-0-9916320-2-2

On Amazon /  Kobo  /  B & N   /   iBooks

Sometimes surviving doesn’t feel lucky. Especially when you’re a sole survivor... 

At the age of seven, Malerie walked away from a bombing that left hundreds dead—including her mother. When a crazed gunman kills her guardian on her eighteenth birthday, Malerie suspects there may be more to her survival than luck. A mysterious code holds the key to her future, and a reluctant white knight holds the key to her heart.   

A loner wearing emotional armor… 

Ace is a twenty-year-old entrepreneur focusing on two things in life: financial security and a life without ties. A life that doesn't risk losing the ones who matter. When Ace is hired to secretly act as a bodyguard for Malerie, he faces an unwanted attraction that threatens to sabotage his heart. Can Ace find the courage to love a girl with a death wish?

Chasing Luck Book Trailer at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOSg3FOC21M

Excerpt:


Ace


“My attraction to you runs fiery hot. It consumes my every waking thought. I burn for you, baby. Don’t stop this attraction, baby.” ~ Jelly Bean Queen

The text from John Toombs directs me to a table near the center of the main room. I enter and can't believe my mixture of good and bad luck. Good because Ms. Smokin' Hot is with Toombs. And bad because Ms. Smokin' Hot is with Toombs.

He looks up at me and nods as he rises. I lean across to shake his hand and I can smell the girl. Something subtle like stuff from the bath shops. A sweet, vanilla scent advertising innocence.

But she can't be innocent hooked up with somebody old enough to be her father. He has money and she's too young to be whoring herself out. My stomach clenches at the thought of them together in bed.

"Ace, I'd like to introduce my niece, Malerie." Toombs waves a hand in her direction.

The scales definitely tip in the direction of bad news. She's not his trophy wife or barely-legal mistress. She’s his niece — the number one spot on the dateable-but-off-limits list. The girl looks at me and her gaze makes a slow run down the length of my body. I'm beyond screwed. Goodbye Miss Innocent, hello Miss Seductress.

The air sparks between us and her eyes say she feels the electricity, too. "Hi, Malerie. Nice to meet you," I say, wishing she'd given me this look earlier instead of the one like I was some psycho perv who hangs out near restrooms.

Malerie has an exotic look that I can't place. Her honey-brown eyes, huge in her pale face, remind me of some hot anime character with bottomless eyes and dangerous curves. The chick probably has guys lining up to take on her rockin' body and the attached load of money.

I tear my gaze away from her and meet the Clint Eastwood glare of John Toombs. With one look, Toombs gives me the hell-no warning. It's a warning that rubs me like running a hand against the fur up a cat's back. I don't like it, but I'm not stupid.

I can almost hear the whomp-whomp of his protective radar. If I were him, I'd bar the door and clean the rifle.

                                                                                              **********

(*New Adult: generally defined as that transitional period from adolescence to adult, roughly 18-25)


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Brinda Berry
: Adventures with Adrenaline-Addled Attraction
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Good morning, booklovers!

The coffee pot is on, and you're invited to join me in book talk with author Angela Myers including her future projects and a unique story scheduled for release in June.

May I pour your coffee, Angela?

ANGELA:  Yes, that would be nice. I like it with lots of cream and a little stevia.

Ally: Coming right up. Please share you bio and an extra little known fact about you.




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BIO:  Angela Parson Myers grew up being called Angel by family and friends, which might explain an early fascination with things somewhat dark and scary.

She read everything she could get her hands on from the age of six or seven, but didn’t realize she wanted to be a writer until she was a junior in high school when math classes convinced her maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a physicist. Her first paid job as a writer was a high school news column for the local newspaper. Later she became a staff writer for a regional newspaper, then a writer/editor for a Fortune 500 corporation.

She started writing “When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing” after having the nightmare that became the first scene in the book. When she retired, she pulled it out of the drawer she’d thrown it into and started revising and submitting. It was accepted by Etopia Press and published as an e-book and trade paperback. She also writes short stories ranging from literary suspense to humor as AH Myers.

She and her high school sweetheart live in Central Illinois, where they fairly successfully masquerade as normal grandparents.


Little known fact:
  I love to furnish my house with repurposed, old things. The buffet in my dining room is made from an old porch rail with about three layers of paint in various stages of chipping off. The coffee table in my living room is made from half a stable door that was painted red. A lamp is made from an old pitcher pump.

Author contact links:

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/angelaparson
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AngelaParsonMyers.author
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Parson-Myers/e/B008NSUV4G/
Blog:
  www.angelaparsonmyers.blogspot.com



Ally: The book of yours I'm familiar with is an urban fantasy, but this recent story sounds a little different. Frankly, I'm intrigue by the short description you gave when we first talked. Exactly where would you shelve it in the bookstore?

ANGELA:  Good question, since pigeonholing When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing was hard enough. (It’s also suspense and a sweet romance with werewolves.) This one, The Will to Love, I call a modern Cinderella story with a fairy godmother who’s a dead billionaire oilman, a handsome prince who’s very much alive, and rattlesnakes. And it’s very short—only a little more than 16,000 words—so a novelette.

Ally:  Do you have another WIP you can tell us about?

ANGELA:  I do have two more. One is a sequel to When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing, but is somewhat darker. The other is a dystopian novel in three parts about a group of people with telekinetic powers. The first part is finished.

Ally:  What book stands out as one of the most entertaining you've ever read? What makes it so memorable? Has it influenced your own writing?

ANGELA:  Only one book? Impossible! I was introduced to fantasy as a child by a combined Alice In Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass that I read over and over until the pages fell out. I still have it in one of my many bookcases, held together with a rubber band. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series might have had more influence on my writing, though, because she took a mythical concept—dragons—and made it scientifically plausible. And the series includes many different kinds of stories, including a love story I found extremely touching. Now, I love the Dresden books by Jim Butcher and would love to be able to write like that.

Ally:  Once you've finished a first draft, what additional steps do you take prior to submitting the manuscript to a publisher or agent?

ANGELA:  I have a wonderful critique group that meets once a week and another that is sharing electronically. They see the first draft, then I make corrections based on their suggestions, add details, and give them the second draft. Again I make corrections based on their suggestions, then I go through my manuscript very carefully at least one more time before I send it off to find a home. If I make any major changes, I’ll run it by them again.

Ally:  What is your favorite social media site? Why? And how much time do you spend there each day?

ANGELA:  I love Facebook, and I spend way too much time on it. But with it, I can keep up with my kids and grandkids, sister, cousins, and friends—some of whom I’ve never met personally. I also have a very neglected blog, www.angelaparsonmyers.blogspot.com, where folks can go read samples from When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing as well as some humorous essays and bunches of bad poetry.

Ally: Quick answer questions on whatever occurs to me. :)
  • a.  favorite color:  blood red (honest :) )
  • b:  last time you read a print book:  I read print books regularly. Right now I’m reading The View From Here by Cindi Myers (no relation). I just finished Worlds Asunder by Kirt Hickman.
  • c.  favorite sport:  Hate all sports equally. Well, that’s not entirely true. I like archery, but haven’t had the opportunity to do it much for many years. I will watch soccer when my grandson plays.
  • d.  a city you'd love to visit (but haven't yet):  Again, just one? OK, then--Edinburgh, Scotland. When I visited Scotland a few years ago, I landed in Glasgow and took a bus up into the Highlands. Never got back to Edinburgh.
  • e.  if you could magically be given any career or position, what would it be?  I already had my dream job for 15 years, including the privilege of working with the best team ever. Now I just want to write stories that people like to read. Of course, I wouldn’t object to being given the position of best-selling author. :)
Ally: Since your novelette hasn't been released yet, do you have something for us to read while we're waiting?

ANGELA: Now would be a good time to read When the Moon is Gibbous and Waxing before the sequel comes out! :)

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Blurb:

Graduate student Natalie Beres can't remember who attacked her that autumn night under the full moon. She can't remember anything between leaving her lab in a secluded building at the south end of campus and arriving at her apartment in the wee hours of the morning. Covered in blood. Not her own. Other than the loss of memory, she's completely unharmed.

Can't say the same for the men who attacked her. Driven by the fear that she might have been responsible for the grisly campus murders, Natalie struggles to remember what happened that night, and what she learns is horrifying. When the police officer investigating the murders starts to show interest, Natalie is caught between her attraction to him and her fear of discovery. But even worse, can she avoid being found by the young man with a similar problem who's on his way from the West coast to find her...leaving a trail of shredded corpses along the way...?


Amazon                       Barnes & Noble                         Kobo

Ally: Thanks, Angela, for visiting the Coffee Chat. I hope all your writing goes well and that you make that best seller list! I'll still be waiting to read The Will to Love! Please let us know when it's available.

Thanks to everyone else for spending a part of your day with us. Come back soon!
 
 
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                             Red The Were Hunter
                                                    by Rebekah Ganiere

Red The Were Hunter is the first in nine fairytale retellings that are all woven together in the same world. When I started out I only had the idea for Red and that was all. But then I started thinking of all the other cool fairytales out there and thought it would be fun to weave them all together in a fairytale land called Fairelle. There's a mythos behind the entire world of how they used to be all humans and united under one banner. But when the king was about to die, his four sons called forth a demon to grant them each a single wish so they would have superiority and be able to rule the kingdom alone. However, the demon twisted their wishes to his own purposes and transformed the four brothers into four different races. Werewolf, vampire, fae and neriad. From there a war broke out dividing and devastating the world. Red The Were Hunter begins many centuries after that war.

In the nineties there was a miniseries called the 10th Kingdom. It did a similar thing, weaving the stories together. I loved that miniseries, but was bummed that the series only followed a few main characters. So I decided that in my series I would make each book about a different couple and their story. The characters weave in and out of each other's books though. They all know each other in one way or another, or are connected through mutual friends. For instance, in Red The Were Hunter you see a vampire named Sage. He is the vampire prince from Snow The Vampire Slayer. And one of Snow's brothers is the hero of the third book, Zelle and the Tower. I found that a fun way to write them

It's hard working in the original fairytales. If you look at what movie companies have done to the original fairytales over the years, you find few similarities. I found, that for me, the best way was to tell my own stories in my own style, and for grown ups. My brothers, in Snow The Vampire Slayer, are not like the seven dwarfs of Snow White done by Disney. My Rapunzelle from Zelle and the Tower, is not like the Rapunzelle of old. My females are take charge women, rarely are they damsels in distress. My men are heroes, but most come with baggage, and they aren't always nice. However I do try and put elements from the original stories in that people will recognize. Things like, Red's cloak. The apple from Snow White. Zelle's long hair. Things like that. But I think the best way to try and do a fairytale retelling is to make the story your own and give it a new twist on an old theme. So what's your favorite fairy tale?


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Blurb:

What if you were the key to an ancient prophecy that would begin to heal your lands, but fulfilling your destiny meant you had to turn your back on everything you'd been taught to believe in?

Redlynn of Volkzene, member of the Sisterhood of Red, is heartbroken to discover another  girl kidnapped and her best friend slain by werewolves. Defying the head of her order, she sets out to kill the beast she believes responsible.  The King of the Weres-- But there are worse things in Wolvenglen Forest than the wolves.

Adrian, reluctant heir to the throne of Wolvenglen, and his band of wolf brothers are bound to protect the humans; especially the Sisterhood. Finding Redlynn unconscious in his woods, awakens in him a passion he's never before experienced and a protective instinct that has him ready to turn on his own men. Problem is, a female is the last thing Adrian needs complicating his life.  

But all is not as it seems in Wolvenglen Forest and to save the missing girls before time runs out, Redlynn and Adrian must move past their inner demons and learn to trust each other. In the search for vengeance however, sometimes you must give up what you desire most.

Red The Were Hunter won 2nd Place in the Hook, Line and Sinker Contest and is a current finalist in the Great Beginnings Contest.


Buy Link:


Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Were-Hunter-Fairelle-Rebekah-Ganiere-ebook/dp/B00K0SEV2A/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/426635


EXCERPT: 

Each step sapped Redlynn of her strength, but she refused to let it show. Her body felt like a rope twisted too tight. Each movement stiff and painful. Slower than she wanted to, she made her way to the bathroom. Stepping up and through the threshold, steam from the water moistened her face. It'd been a long time since she'd felt a hot bath. And she'd never seen a tub in a room of its own before. Breathing in the perfumed water, she relaxed.

            Redlynn turned to find Adrian watching. Hanna slid into the room behind her, and closed the heavy door.           

            “Let me help you out of your clothes, dear.”

            Redlynn opened her mouth, but Hanna raised her hand.

            “Stop right there. You want to be brave for Adrian, wonderful, but not with me. You're hurting, and you have nothing to prove to me. I already know how strong you are. Let me help you.”

            I like her.

            Without waiting for an answer, Hanna undressed Redlynn and eased her into the tub. She couldn’t hold in the sigh that escaped her lips at the warmth of the water.

            Hanna reached into her pouch, pulled out a canister, stepped up to the tub and knelt on the floor. “Let me help cleanse the area of the bite.”

            Redlynn nodded and leaned to the right. The stretching of her neck pained her shoulder and collarbone. Redlynn winced and bit her lip.

            Hanna hummed, gently working the soap into the wound. The tune was familiar but Redlynn couldn't place it. “What is that you are humming?” 

            “An old lullaby my mother used to sing to me. Do you have a family, Red?”

            Redlynn swallowed hard. “Not anymore. My father was driven off by a Were when I was young. It broke my mother's heart. She missed my father every day. She died a few years ago, and the only other person I called family died two nights ago. Killed by the Weres that I was in the process of eradicating when I was brought here.”

            “How do you know it was Weres?” Hanna asked.

            “The Head of my Order confirmed seeing them.”

            “Hmmm,” Hanna mused, rubbing the soap down Redlynn's arms.

            “What?”

            “Oh, it's probably nothing, but I was just thinking. How would wolves grab a girl and carry her away?”

            Redlynn's mind raced. It'd always been the Weres that'd taken the girls, or so they'd been told. But Hanna was right, how'd Weres get the girls out?

            A knock pulled her from her thoughts. “Is everything okay in there?”

            “We're fine,” Hanna called. “But we need some towels.”

            “Of course,” said Adrian.

            Hanna looked at Redlynn and smiled. “He's a good man. He's tough, and scared to let anyone in, but a good man.”

            “You know him well?”

            Hannah nodded. “We all know each other well enough here. But, they're all good men.” Hanna stood and put the soap away.

            “All?”

            “Yes, most of his subjects are men. There are about fifty of them here right now.”

            “No women?”

            “There are a few of us here. But let's be honest,” Hanna laughed. “The forest isn’t the kind of place most women want to live in.”

            It was true. Redlynn loved the woods. She always had. But she couldn't imagine many people did. “Why don't the men leave?”

            “This is their home. They know nothing else.”

            There was another knock. Hanna slid the door open slightly and Adrian passed the towels through the gap to her. Hanna held up the towel like a shield and averted her eyes. Redlynn grasped the right side of the tub with her good hand and got her feet underneath herself. She tried to stand but the tub was slick with soapy water and she slipped, crying out.

            “I can't get up,” she grunted.

            “Here, let me help.” Hanna dropped the towel and wrapped her arm around Redlynn's waist. She tried to lift Redlynn, but Redlynn cried out again.

            This time the knock was loud. “What's going on?”

            “I can't take her out,” Hanna called.

            The door swung inward and Adrian stood at Redlynn's back. She hunched over, letting her hair cover her body. Adrian bent down into the water to draw her up, but she pushed him away. Her body flushed with heat.

            “I'm naked.”

            He took a deep breath and turned away. “I'll close my eyes.”

            “You can still feel me, can't you?”

            Redlynn let out an indignant ‘Hey,’ as he bent down a second time and lifted her.

            She protested and slipped in his grip.

            “Don't do that, or we'll both go down,” he commanded.

            Redlynn swallowed and put her good arm around his neck for support. Their eyes met and she licked her lips involuntarily. His hard muscles flexed around her and her thighs warmed, even though the air chilled her skin. Walking out of the bathing room, Adrian sat her on the end of the bed and turned away.


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About the author:

Rebekah is an award winning author. Her first novel Dead Awakenings, debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, will be published May 1, 2014. Her trilogy The Society will be released in early 2015 by Kensington's Lyrical Press. Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters. In her spare time when she isn't writing you can find her moderating on Savvy Authors.com and in her local SCV Writers group, or hanging out with her husband, four children and dog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, three tortoises and a handful of fish. The escaped snake has yet to be found.

Author contacts:

Website:  http://www.rebekahganiere.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/vampwerezombie
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/VampiresWerewolvesZombies
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21939230
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Rebekah-R.-Ganiere/e/B00HMX1M3C/


Love the concept, Rebekah. Can't wait to read this new release!