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Good Morning, Booklovers!

We're not having the regular Coffee Chat interview today, but we are stop #8 on M.S. Kaye's Blog Tour to promote her new YA paranormal release.

So, I'm just grabbing my usual cup of coffee and sitting back while Melissa takes over...

Thanks for having me, Ally!

Welcome to my Publishing Tips Blog Tour. I’ve put together ten short, easy tips that have been invaluable on my journey to publication. Follow my tour to see them all. Tour stops will be posted on my website:

Stop 8: Have Thick Skin

People are going to tell you your writing is horrible. Accept it now. You are going to be rejected--we all are—but keep writing. This is a subjective pursuit, and everyone will have their own opinion. And that’s all it is—an opinion.

Do you love your story enough that you’d have written it just for yourself, just to see how the story unfolded and resolved? The answer should be yes (or else you haven’t found your story yet); therefore, it doesn’t matter if anyone else likes it.

Hold on to the love of your stories and keep writing.

Strong as Death  (Book one of the Born from Death series)

by M.S. Kaye

Ilona runs from her sheltering mother in order to find the truth, why she’s seeing people who are invisible to everyone else. A mysterious boy named Archer guides her through Brooklyn and introduces her to Hendrick, the man who claims to be her father—though he died in 1890. Ilona must discover not only what she must do to rid the city of Soll, a sadistic and powerful spirit, but also what it means to be half ghost. She proves what her mother told her—love is stronger than death.

Buy Links:

Publisher (all formats):

Barnes and Noble:



Another twenty yards and she’d be out of the darkness of the trees and almost to the sidewalk, within reach of the light from the streetlamps.

A figure stepped out from behind a large oak, directly into Ilona’s path.

Ilona stopped and searched for a way around.

“What are you doing?” a rough voice growled.

Ilona recognized it immediately, even before she registered Archer’s face.

“It’s none of your business what I’m doing,” she said.

He moved closer. “You’re making it goddamned impossible to protect you.”

“You can’t protect me.”

His jaw tightened, and he glared. “What in the hell do you think I’ve been doing?”

“I’m honestly not sure.”

His voice rose. “You’d be lying frozen dead in a gutter right now if it wasn’t for me. You saw what happened in the shelter—you’d have been attacked by now if I hadn’t been around.”

Her tone was quiet, calm. “I know how you scared them away.”

“I told you I have a talent for creating fear. It comes in useful.”

“But you don’t like it.”

He said nothing.

“And I know you’ve been around,” she said.

He raised his eyebrows as if she was being slow.

“Before you asked me if I was lost,” she said. “You were there—when the car hit me.”

His expression sobered.

She waited for a response.

Finally, he said, “I’ve been around.”

“Will you answer one question? And be honest?”

“I give as much honesty as I can.”

Her lips curved a little. That was perhaps the most honest response he had yet given.

She moved closer, and he backed away.

“No,” she said.

He stopped.

“When you turned the corner and asked if I was lost,” she said, “you leaned your shoulder on the wall. How did you do that?”

His eyebrows pulled together.

“You’re really good at it,” she said. “It took me awhile to realize you never actually touch anything, that you stay out of the light, that you don’t get cold, your breath doesn’t come out in puffs in the cold like everyone else’s, you never let anyone close, near enough to realize you have no scent, to feel the static when you get too close.”

He took a step back, as if in self-defense.

“Don’t try to lie anymore,” she said. “I know what you are.”

Author Bio:

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at

Contact M. S. Kaye at:   (Yes, that’s my real last name. See why I use a pen name?)

Thanks for stopping!


In celebration of summer--or just for the fun of it--I'm offering free copies of the new Fire Storm paperback to two lucky winners! Entering is easy, and you can even do it from here or my home page...

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fire Storm by Ally Shields

Fire Storm

by Ally Shields

Giveaway ends July 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Open to residents of US, Canada, UK, and Australia. Good luck! I'd love to send one of these to you.


Cross Keys, a dark elf urban fantasy, is currently in edits and will release soon. Here is a pre-release trailer without book cover. We have to hold something back! :) Hope you enjoy it!

Need a paperback to hold? FIRE STORM (Guardian Witch #5) has been released in print. You can find it here:

Missed the print versions of the others? All five can be found here:

Catch up on the series before WILD FIRE releases later this summer!
Last week I visited Kate Wyland's blog (link is here), and today she is having coffee with me!
Welcome, Kate! How do you take your coffee?

KATE:  I drink it black, but I like it flavored. Nutty Irishman is my favorite right now. Of course a shot of something “extra” is nice in the evenings too.

Ally: Coming right up, and we'll see what we can do about that 'something extra.' As Jimmy B might say, it's got to be evening somewhere. Right?
Let's take a look at your bio, including a unique fact about yourself.

Author Bio:

Kate Wyland is a life-long horse nut who started riding at three years old. She’s taken part in a great variety of equestrian activities with her greatest loves being dressage and trail riding in the mountains. A few years ago, she exchanged her tech writing “bug” hat for a fiction writing Stetson. Suspense, romance, horses and sometimes the paranormal are the themes she likes to explore in her books. And she delights in sharing her love of animals and country living.
Something unique:  I was the mascot for my high school, on my horse. Led the band in parades and at football games.

Contact links:


Ally:  Tell us something about the books you write: the genres, and how you incorporate the paranormal.

KATE:  I mostly write romantic suspense, usually in a horsey setting – ranch, dude ranch – and often with a psychic element. I don’t consider them paranormals, per se, because I believe psychic abilities do exist. Some of my heroines have extra senses that allow them to do things a little out of the norm. Kasey from Forewarning uses energy and intention to help people and animals heal. Lauren, from my short story Images – A Love Story, is an artist who has the uncomfortable gift of seeing images from other people’s minds.

Ally:  How did you start writing about horses? Do you own horses? Ride, race, show or breed them?

KATE:  I’ve had horses most of my life. Started riding when I was three, got the first horse of my very own at 10. I’ve put in lots and lots of miles on trails. Even got caught in quicksand one time. My DH and I love to horse camp in the mountains.

I had a wonderful little Morgan mare when I was a kid and did most everything with her. Showed Western and English, rode in a drill team, and paraded. Also taught her tricks and put on small exhibitions. Later I switched to dressage and quadrille, with a dressage-style drill team. Had lots of fun raising and training a few colts. Even taught one of them his mom’s tricks. Boy he was smart. I’m down to one horse now (lost two last year). Can’t imagine life without them.

Ally:  Describe your writing day: when, where, how long?

KATE:  It varies a lot. Mostly I try to put in an hour, which frequently becomes two or three, first thing in the morning. That used to be the best time for me to write. Lately the mornings have become too busy, so I’ll work in the afternoon instead. I aim for a couple pages a day. Doesn’t always work out that way.

Ally:  What's your next WIP (work in progress)? 

Forearmed is the second in my Horses and Healing series and features a psychologist who uses horses in her work with troubled children. She also has a strong intuitive gift that helps her find answers for her kids. Her life takes a dangerous turn when she finds a dying man in the desert and the thugs that left him for dead worry he may have told her something about them. An attractive park ranger with a very different approach to life both repels and draws her and adds a layer of complication. In the end she must make a difficult choice on how to protect the children in her care.

Ally:  Now for a few quick answer questions:

  • Your favorite accessory: Scarves – have batches of them, large and small.
  • Favorite time of day:  Evening, when the breeze comes up and the air is soft.
  • Last time you were in a brick and mortar bookstore:  About a month ago. Still like to browse through real books.
  • Last book that made you cry:  Not sure. I’ve got enough stress in my life right now so I tend to avoid books I know will be sad.
  • An item on your bucket list:  Spending a few weeks in Italy, visiting the sights and enjoying the ambiance. We were supposed to go in April but that got postponed. Hope we can make it this Fall.
Ally: Kate, thank you for visiting today. It's been a pleasure, but it's time to bring our chat to an end and tell readers about your book, Forewarning.

Book Blurb


Healing is her life. Will it be her death?

Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.

Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble:

Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!

Cross Keys is currently in edit and since this graphic was made release was rescheduled to October 3, 2014. This is a new setting and a different cast of characters than you met in the Guardian Witch series. I've included just a small preview in this story graphic. I hope you enjoy it! :)

But the story isn't confined to Elvenrude. The danger extends across the magical portal to the intoxicating city of New Orleans and affects both worlds...                 (watch for more info to come)

The magical journey begins October 3, 2014...

Good Morning, booklovers!

If you're a SciFi fantasy reader, you need to pay special attention today. Author Dan Levinson is here to talk about writing and his latest release, Fires of Man. I had the opportunity to read the ARC and have included my own review.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Dan, what may I get you to drink?


Ally: Ah, hard core, huh? Coming right up while you show them your bio plus something personal they might not know.


Born and raised on Long Island, NY, Dan grew up immersing himself in fantastical worlds. While other kids dreamed of being astronauts and cowboys, all he ever wanted was to be a novelist. Now, he’s living his dream.

And that additional fact:
I was a drama major in college. I can act, sing, even dance a little. By the time I graduated, I already knew I didn't want to pursue acting, but it's been invaluable in helping me channel the emotions of my characters onto the page.


Ally:  Why did you choose to write science fiction? Was there a certain author who inspired you?

I'm actually more a fantasy buff. One of my primary inspirations when I was younger was Robert Jordan (who penned The Wheel of Time). I've always had a desire to tell epic stories, to follow in the footsteps of writers who've crafted compelling, sweeping series. And things like extraordinary powers, prophecies, and momentous confrontations always stoked my imagination. The world of Fires of Man is one that has existed in my mind for quite some time—about 15 years, in fact. I feel as if I've been able to deliver all the things that excited me about fantasy in a modern sci-fi framework. I think it's a happy marriage!

Ally:  Describe your writing day. Where, when, writing goals?

I tend to write most often in the early afternoon (my mornings are exercise time). I have a 1,000 words/day, six days/week minimum goal for whatever my primary project is at the moment. Sometimes I manage to write more, other times after I meet my quota I'll work on side projects. I write my first drafts longhand, so I definitely enjoy hanging out in bed, writing in my notebook. I've also had a membership at the Paragraph NY writer's workspace, which is a wonderful environment for peace and quiet, while simultaneously being surrounded by other working writers; feeling the energy in that room is a great inspiration.

Ally:  Which character from Fires of Man was the easiest or most fun to write?

Dr. Faith Santia, the archaeologist. As the only POV character in the narrative without special abilities (save, perhaps, her brilliant mind), it was a pleasure to explore this world from her perspective. I've also always been fascinated by ancient civilizations, by new discoveries shifting the narrative of the human history we've told ourselves. It was such fun to delve into that with her. Furthermore, amid all this incredible, superhuman conflict, it was great to address some very real challenges. Being young, Hispanic (or, rather, my world's equivalent), and female, while working in a conservative, patriarchal field—dominated by an "old guard," if you will—she feels a constant need to prove herself, despite the fact that she knows she's the best one for the job, the most qualified. The words "strong female character" get thrown around a lot, and while she certainly could be classified as such, I find the term to be reductive. Faith—like all of my characters, I think (I hope)—is a real, imperfect human being; she is resilient, yet vulnerable; confident, yet at times plagued by self-doubt; logical, pragmatic, but sometimes to a fault. Could she be called a "strong female character"? Absolutely. But I think she's much, much more than that.

Ally:  What do you enjoy doing when your not writing? hobby, sports, etc.

I'm a TV addict, I admit. These days I find there's hardly enough time in the week for me to catch up on all the shows I like. I'd say my favorite show currently airing is HBO's True Detective. Incredible writing, incredible direction, incredible performances. I'm also champing at the bit for the return of Game of Thrones in April. I also love to participate in NYC's wonderful writing community. There are constant readings and events going on. I'd highly recommend anyone in the NYC metropolitan area look into the KGB Bar, on E 4th St., which runs such events every month, all month long. Additionally, I love reading, attending theater, seeing good films, socializing (and enjoying a glass of good scotch), as well as playing video games. I'm not as avid a gamer as I used to be, but there are always a handful of games I have to play each year.

Ally: Now let's tackle a few quick answer, get-to-know-you questions:
  • a. pantser or plotter:   Both. 
  • b. have you or would you bungee jump? sky dive?   No thank you! I'll let my characters do that.
  • c. an item on your bucket list:    Learning Japanese.
  • d. favorite summer drink:   Mojito.
  • e. favorite tv show, past or present:   Too difficult! Call it a cop-out, but it's a three-way tie. Lost, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones.

Ally: It's been terrific having you on the blog, Dan. Good luck with the rest of your book tour.  Please tell us more about the  Fires of Man.
"In a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in a covert war for global superiority. In the heart of Calchis, a powerful young psion named Aaron Waverly is kidnapped, and forcibly conscripted. To the north, in the capital, a plan is hatched to decimate Orion, to be carried out by the ruthless operative known only as “Agent.” 

In Orion, fresh recruit Stockton Finn comes to terms with his new powers, and learns firsthand just how dangerous they can be. Meanwhile, officers Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett navigate the aftermath of their shattered love affair, oblivious to the fact that Calchis draws ever closer to destroying the tenuous peace.

Amid this, Calchan archaeologist Faith Santia unearths a millennia-old ruin in the arctic land of Zenith. This lost temple might hold the hidden history of psionic powers, as well as hints of a deeper mystery that could shake the foundations of all mankind."




Fires of Man is the first book in a scifi war series by Dan Levinson, and I can't wait for him to publish the second. Epic science fiction stories aren't hard to find, but the Psion stories are a worthy and unique addition to the field. The author knows his craft, combining a smooth writing style with a flare for story-telling, an interesting fictional world, and characters you'll care about.

 Two great nations currently in a cold war standoff are on the brink of open warefare. Both have amassed and trained secret specialty units of psions, those humans with the ability to manipulate reality, delivering death and destruction with their minds. Into this landscape are dropped a cast of fascinating characters, including two young men who are both reluctant warriors; a long, lost brother; a woman afraid to fall in love; a soldier who believes there can be a better way, and a robotic-style human killer named Agent. But what I found the most unique is that likable characters are presented from both sides of the conflict, forcing the reader to identify with the characters rather than the cause.

 The only complaint I have is the book ended on a cliff hanger, and I wanted to know immediately what happened to each of the characters!

 Fires of Man is fast paced and reads quickly. Highly recommended. Well worth your time.

 Terrific job, Dan!

Thanks for stopping. Drop in again soon!

Cross Keys, an elven urban fantasy, is undergoing edits and scheduled for release on October 3, 2014, but I spent the last week in May researching settings in New Orleans, where half of the story is based. Below are some of the photos I took of places in and around the Crescent City. Many or perhaps all of these settings will appear in Cross Keys or its potential sequels. The first photo is Bourbon Street at night. The rest are fairly explanatory but for some reason Weebly doesn't want to show the captions. :) Sorry about that. It was a wonderful trip. Maybe someday I'll go back and explore the voodoo shops!
Welcome to everyone!
Author Theresa Crater is visiting today to talk about "visionary" fiction. What's that, you ask? Read on! :)

What may I get you to drink, Theresa?

THERESA:  I drink English Breakfast tea with a little 2%.

Ally: While I pour my black coffee and fix your tea, perhaps you can show readers your bio, including something unusual you wouldn't normally include.

THERESA:  My pleasure.

Bio:  Theresa Crater has published two novels, Beneath the Hallowed Hill & Under the Stone Paw and several short stories, most recently “The Judgment of Osiris” in Tales in Firelight and Shadow and “White Moon” in Ride the Moon. She has published one metaphysical novel God in a Box under the pen name Louise Ryder. Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver. Visit her website at

Something unusual: 
I've been meditating for 43 years, but I'm still grouchy.

Author contact links:

Twitter:  @theresacrater
Facebook:  Author page; other page
Good Reads:
Linked In:

Ally:  Okay, explain what you mean by "visionary fiction."

THERSA:  Visionary fiction explores the possibilities of expanded human consciousness, but since that’s not a well-known genre, I usually say paranormal mystery or urban fantasy.

Ally:   What was your journey to publication? How long? Did you go traditional, small pub , self pub?

THERESA:  It’s been a long and wandering journey, but as Tolkien says, “All who wander are not lost.” I published a couple of short stories and a poem at first, and then much later wrote a first novel. That one was rejected by many places. Then I read Robert McKee’s book Story, and I was suddenly in business. Hampton Roads published my second novel in their visionary fiction category. Under the Stone Paw sold pretty well, but the company got sold. The new CEO cancelled the fiction line just when I’d finished the sequel. Arg!

Self-publishing was still quite rare (and that was really just a few years ago), so I went with a small press. Then a second small press picked up my first book. I put out my third novel, The Star Family, myself because I wasn’t happy with the small presses and didn’t like the other offers I was getting. It’s selling moderately well. I do all the promotion, which is no different from my other two novels that are still with small presses. I’m counting the days to get them back. I love getting to keep all the royalties.

Ally: I assume you have another  work in progress. Can you tell us about it?

THERESA:  In The Sphinx Chamber, a house collapses on the edge of the Giza Plateau. With the Egyptian Antiquities Department in chaos, Michael Levy investigates the scene. The residents dug a shaft that connects to a maze of underground tunnels. Michael finds small gold statues and lapis jewelry littering the path, then a sealed chamber that could be directly beneath the Sphinx. Could this be the famed Hall of Records from legends? And will he survive if he opens it and reveals its secrets?

As Michael tries to find his way through the maze beneath the Sphinx, his new wife, Anne Le Clair begins to hear whisperings in the night. A voice murmurs, “The time has come. Find my heart.” Anne’s doctor thinks her ill or perhaps suffering a breakdown brought on from the stress of facing her last month of pregnancy with her husband called away to Egypt. But the voice continues, more and more urgent. Anne follows clues left by her great grandfather who as an ambassador to Egypt, but will she find the secret in time?

Ally:  I'll be watching for that one. I love stories about Egypt! But back to the questions...What is your favorite way to market your books?

THERESA:  Guest blogs like yours, of course. I also belong to two blogging groups, Mysteristas and Café Otherworld. Cons are fun, too, if you can go in with other people on a table.

Ally: I like to finish with a few quick answer questions.

  • Where did you last go shopping? A local greenhouse to buy plants for the garden.
  • Manicure or pedicure:  Pedicure mostly. Did both for my son’s wedding anniversary party.    color?  Smoky plum
  • An item on your bucket list:  Travel! Go to Angkor Wat and tour the ancient temples of India. Float down the Rhine and look at the castles. Go to Italy and Paris and look at the art, not to mention eat at great restaurants.
  • Home cooking or take out:  More take out than I’d like to admit.
  • Do you have pets?  Cats. A calico queen mouser named Arwen and a Maine Coon sweetheart named Wizzie, an ancient name for Osiris.
Ally: Thanks for visiting today. Please show us the book you brought.


A secret spiritual group

A recurring dream

A 400-year-old ritual that must be completed before it is too late

Jane Frey inherits a Gothic mansion filled with unexpected treasures. A prophecy claims it hides an important artifact – the key to an energy grid laid down by the Founding Fathers themselves. Whoever controls this grid controls the very centers of world power. Except Jane has no idea what they’re looking for.

Buy Links:  Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, Paperback

Thanks for visiting the blog! Please come back soon...


I've been nominated by a fellow writer to participate in the blogger award. Thanks, Ute!

The award rules are simple, well, sort of. First off, post the award banner. Done. Then link up to the site of the person who awarded it to you. Simple. Visit Ute's blog here: Ute Carbone.

Then comes the hard part: list seven things about myself.  So let's see... What to choose...


1. I've hiked the Grand Canyon...but not recently.

PictureAce's Ironside, my favorite horse.

2. Several horses have graced my life over the years—American saddlebreds, quarter horses, and ponies—and I still think they are beautiful, incredible creatures.

PictureMy 15 lbs walking companion, Ranger.

3.  Saylorville Lake, just north of Des Moines, Iowa, is less than five minutes from my home. Ranger, my mini pin, and I love to walk the trails.

PictureYes, he's alive!
4. I just returned from a trip to New Orleans and was fascinated by it all, especially the swamps. Even this baby alligator held by another tourist!

5.  Music is important to me, including participation in vocal solos, chorus and band as I grew up, but I can't listen to music as I write, because I start singing along and lose track of my story! :)
(I did have time to sit in Cafe Du Monde and enjoy this street musician in New Orleans.)


6.  Coffee is an addiction. I should have stock in Starbucks!


7.  I've traveled to 38 of our states and would love to visit each of the rest.

I'm passing the torch to the following bloggers, if they choose to accept. In any case, you should visit their awesome blogs!

A.J. Locke
DL Richardson
Suzanne Adair
Kath Boyd Marsh
Angela Myers

Thanks for spending time on my blog. Come back soon!