Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!
Welcome to this week's Coffee Chat, a chance to meet another author and discover a book you might have missed! This week we're having coffee with Kay LaLone.
Nice to have you here today, Kay. How do you take your coffee?
KAY: Just black, thank you.
Ally: Well, that's easy. I'll grab our mugs while you introduce yourself.
I’m Kay LaLone, author of Ghostly Clues, my first MG novel, and Family Secret is my first YA novel, both published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law and my first grandbaby live nearby) and two dogs. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and things that go bump in the night. I write PB, MG and YA novels. No matter the books I write, I want my readers to feel like they have met a new friend. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book (mystery, paranormal, and ghost stories are my favorites). I do reviews and post them on my website and blog. I love to collect old books, antiques, and collectibles. You can find many of my antiques and collectibles selling on ebay and at fleamarkets.
good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6580388.Kay_LaLone
Ally: The novel you brought with you today is a paranormal called Family Secret. Can you tell us what inspired it?
KAY: Family Secret is not based on a secret from my past or from my family. The idea for Family Secret came from a picture I saw for a writing class. The writing assignment was to look at a picture and develop a story from it. In the picture were a train and a boy and girl.
I asked the question, What if? What if this boy was running away from something? What if he felt like he wasn’t wanted? What if a secret was being kept from him? Asking what if gets the imagination flowing. Over the years (it took fifteen years before Family Secret became published) I just let my imagination run wild and soon it developed into the book it is today.
Ally: This novel is classified as YA or Young Adult fiction. What are some of the elements that separate this category from adult fiction?
KAY: The elements that separate this category from adult fiction is the age of the characters, the theme of the story is geared toward teenage boys, and the language. When I wrote this book, I had the reluctant reader in mind because I have a teenage son who doesn’t like to read.
Ally: Tell us about the most interesting writing or researching experience you've had.
KAY: The most interesting writing experience I’ve had is when the words flow from my mind onto the screen. It is like a wow experience.
Ally: Do you have another writing project underway? Can you describe it?
KAY: I have two writing projects that I am currently working on. One is about a girl with visions and the other is about a girl who finds her name on a gravestone.
Ally: Ready for some short answer questions?
Ally: It was a pleasure visiting with you, Kay. Before you go, please tell us a little bit about your YA novel, Family Secret...
- a. manicure or pedicure: pedicure
- b. a book you'd recommend: I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie books
- c. something you've always wanted to do: open an antique shop
- d. a person you admire: My parents
- e. best movie you've seen in the last year (theater or tv): Grease
Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!
It's time for this week's Coffee Chat and a chance to meet another author. Today's guest is crime writer, Stefania Mattana.
Welcome, Stef! Why don't we start by introducing you to readers?
: Ally: Tell us what type of books you write, your intended audience, and why you chose this genre.
STEF: When at first I started writing Chase’s stories, my goal was to create a series of cozy mystery novels, short stories and novelettes. I grew up idolising Agatha Christie, so it goes without saying that I’d liked to imitate her writing and settings. All went as planned with Cutting Right to the Chase Vol1 and Into the Killer Sphere, which both respect the rules of the cozy mystery.
However, after I wrapped up Cutting Right to the Chase Vol.2 and Vol3, as well as Pull the Trigger (the book No2 of the Chase Williams murder mysteries series) I realised they hadn’t much of the cozy mystery. My character and the plots twisted in a way they can’t be labelled as ‘cozy’ anymore. They went down a thriller road, although I can’t label them as pure thrillers. It’s safe to say that my novels and short stories are detective stories with mystery and suspense.
The reading target remains quite wide; anyone of any age can enjoy my books as there are no gore or sex scenes, nor violence.
Ally: What is your editing and publishing process? From the time you complete your first draft to its appearance at booksellers, what happens to your book?
STEF: The process is pretty much the same for both the fiction (in English and Italian) and non fiction (in Italian only) I’ve written so far.
I normally write a first draft, then leave it alone for a couple of weeks. After some rounds of revisions (usually 2 or 3), I send it to my alpha reader Chiara, who is also the Italian translator of my mystery books. After she leaves her notes, the last draft goes to my editor Steph for the English version (I write in English and she edits what is too Italian). The final writing is pushed then to my beta readers, who read and review it. At this point the book is ready to be officially published and launched.
Ally: When and where do you do the bulk of your writing? Do you have a writer's cave? If not, what would your ideal cave be like?
STEF: I like being quite structured in everything I do, especially when creativity is involved. It may sound like a paradox (and maybe it is) but following a strict process allows me to plan my writing sessions and deliver my drafts in time for their official launch. I find the writing process easier when the plot pillars are in place.
I usually first draft a concept (or two), then develop every scene so to create a storyboard, just like a movie. I use Ginko App for that - it’s spot on and can be used for everyday tasks as well, so I suggest anyone to give it a go ;)
Once everything is ready and storyboarded, I can go banana with my writing.
I don’t have a specific place for writing: my upcoming new mystery novel was drafted during a holiday at Canary Islands. My ‘cave’ is my sofa in my living room, where I like lying with my computer on my lap, plug myself in and get my writing done.
Ally: Give us a few hints about your next writing project.
STEF: I am writing two stories at the moment.
The book No3 of my Chase Williams murder mysteries series which is going to be a long length novel, and a short story about a real event that happened in Tursenia in 1500 in which Raffaello Sanzio painted one of his famous painting.
And now for a few short answer questions:
- a. favorite sport: All of them! If I have to pick some, I’d say athletics, rugby, football, tennis, gymnastics, skating
- b. a book you wish you had written: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- c. a tv program you hate to miss: Gotham & Silicon Valley TV Series
- d. What is the name and breed of your pet? Giuliano is a chihuahua and pinscher mix breed.
- e. an event you'd love to attend: A Gland Slam final
Ally: I looks like our time is up, but it was a delight having you visit the blog. Before you go, show us one of your book covers.
Cutting Right to the Chase
Short stories Vol. I
What if you are an ex Scotland Yard British detective stuck in a stunning medieval Italian city?
Chase Williams's life seems to be filled with crimes and mysteries to solve, even if he is not working at Scotland Yard anymore. In Tursenia, a pretty, Medieval city in the heart of Italy, Chase tries to live a normal life as an import/export executive for an international cashmere firm, but it's not as easy as it appears.
Chase's investigative eye never stops catching glimpses of crimes despite his career change. Throughout these six detective short stories of 1000 words each, Chase deals with a sequence of mainly minor but baffling offences that anyone could stumble upon.
Strange flights, teenagers at the mall, quirky neighbours and a special mission with Chase's childhood friend, Inspector Angelo Alunni, will introduce you to the Tursenian world, where other, nastier crimes can happen.
All links on Author's Website:
CUTTING RIGHT TO THE CHASE VOL.1 CUTTING RIGHT TO THE CHASE VOL.2CUTTING RIGHT TO THE CHASE VOL.3INTO THE KILLER SPHEREPULL THE TRIGGER
Welcome to this Wednesday's Coffee Chat!
My guest is Nancy Raven Smith, an author of mystery/romantic suspense novels.
Nice to have you with us, Nancy. How do you take your coffee?
NANCY: Starbucks’ peppermint mocha frappuccino is a big favorite, and my brother makes a great Cafe Marrakech (a version of Irish coffee) when we visit.
Ally: Yum. I love Irish coffee myself. We'll see what the magic pot whips up. In the meantime, please introduce yourself.
I grew up in Virginia where I ran horse sport events. Later in California, I traded my event experience for film work and went to UCLA for screenwriting. My scripts won numerous awards. Several were optioned. When a mentor suggested I write one idea as a novel, I discovered a passion for writing mysteries. Then I joined Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. There I experienced a deep camaraderie with the other authors who made me feel welcome. I realized that I found my true creative home in writing mysteries/romantic suspense. Land Sharks is my debut novel. I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: I trained as a ballet dancer.
Author contact links
Ally: You've described your book as romantic suspense. How is that different from a traditional mystery? Or are they the same?
NANCY: I think traditional mysteries are structured on discovering the killer who is not revealed until the end of the story. In my case, I chose romantic suspense as a second category because the romantic story has equal weight, structure wise, to the mystery story. Land Sharks is both a romantic suspense and a traditional mystery. I made that decision when I realized that the two major plot lines were equal and entwined.
Ally: How intense are the romantic scenes?
NANCY: Land Sharks doesn’t contain any specific, on the page love scenes, but there is a definite relationship going on. So it would rate low rating on the romantic heat scale. If it were a movie, it would get a P or PG rating. Think “Romancing the Stone.”
Ally: Can you tell readers how the Kindle Scout Program worked to get your book published?
NANCY: The Kindle Scout Program offers entrants a place to be seen and nominated on by the public over a one month period. At the end of that month, Kindle Press reviews the books, and, if they like a book, they offer a contract and advance to the author for the ebook and audio book rights. The author retains all other rights. Land Sharks was offered a contract, and I was thrilled to accept it. The Kindle Scout and Kindle Press people are absolutely lovely to work with. My book received a full edit by Kirkus Editing as part of the package. I would never have been able to afford that on my own. They also run promos and discounts for the ebook on Amazon and are there for me to contact if I have questions. I’ve also been fortunate to become friends with other Kindle Scout competitors, both selected and not. They are a great source of knowledge and support. If any of your readers enter the Scout Program, I recommend they contact people who have been through it. It’s a very intense period if you’re selected.
Ally: Are you a full or part-time writer? If full time, what is your daily schedule? If part-time, when, where, and how do you find time to write?
NANCY: I’m a full time writer and yet, even with a supportive family, it’s difficult to find blocks of time to write. For me, finding the time when I’m doing the first draft is the most critical. As far as my schedule goes, I can’t write until the day’s chores are done, so I do those first and then sit down to write in the mid afternoon and through the early evenings.
Ally: Who or what inspired you to become a published author? How has that influenced your style or genre?
NANCY: I was an avid reader and screenwriter before I wrote my first novel. My mentor at Women in Film suggested that I write one idea as a novel. My take-away from the experience is that I love novel writing. I would guess Elizabeth Peters and Dorothy Gilman influenced me most for their light and warm approach to mysteries.
Ally: Try out these short answer questions:
- a. favorite all time movie: So, so many. Here’s a few – Secondhand Lions (Michael Caine), The Hunger Games (first one, Gary Ross – Director, from a Suzanne Collins’ novel), Absolute Power (Clint Eastwood from a Baldacci novel)), The Con (TV movie with William Macy), Bull Durham (Kevin Costner), and The Client (Susan Sarandon from a Grisham novel). I could name another fifty in a heartbeat.
- b. a tv show you just can't miss: Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Comberbatch.
- c. favorite picnic foods: Fresh fruit such as ripe strawberries, cold chicken and something sweet for desert. You could add hot dogs and hamburgers if there’s a campfire or grill.
- d. last song where you sang along: Hallelujah by Geoff Tate from a live performance version.
- e. most fun polish you've had on your toenails: A pretty pink
Ally: Thank you for spending time with us out of your busy day. Please show us your book before you go.
NANCY: Ally, it’s a pleasure to visit the Coffee Chat. Thank you so much for having me as a guest. It was fun to get together! Now, here's the book info...
An American bank fraud investigator goes undercover in Sumatra to find a young heiress who may or may not be kidnapped. The investigator’s job might be easier if she didn't have to contend with her boss's untrained son who has a crush on her and the unexpected appearance of an ex-boyfriend/con man who has his own secret agenda.
Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1JuIHku
Good Morning, Booklovers!
Instead of the usual Wednesday Coffee Chat, I invited author Michele Drier to talk about the issues of working with characters within a series. She accepted, and without more fanfare, I'm turning the blog over to her! Take if away, Michele.
Not Finished Yet
by Michele Drier
When I began writing The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, I had a trilogy in mind.
Why three? No particular reason it just seemed that I could explore all the characters in these paranormal romances and wrap them up in three books.
Was I wrong! The characters, especially Maxie and Jean-Louis, the passionate but probably ill-matched lovers, grabbed the stories and wouldn’t let go.
“Wait a minute,” they shouted at me. “We’re not finished yet!”
Now, nine books later with probably more to come, I find that they have to grow, become different from their first book, learn things.
What do characters learn and how do they grow in an extended series? They have to remain interesting, tackle new challenges, overcome old barriers and show readers and fans that though they’re still the people you’ve grown to love, there are new complexities. They can develop internal changes—finding new depths or new fears—or react to outside influences—a death threat, a new baby.
This is a bit tricky as the Kandeskys, the vampires, are 500-year-old Hungarians who’ve lived a life of ease in their castles and manors in Eastern Europe. Sure they’ve had some ups and downs…a centuries-long feud with their neighboring vampire family, the Huszars; adaptation to new technology (they bought the first Mercedes in 1903); adaptation to new marketing and businesses…they invested in Hollywood gossip magazines in the 1920s and now own the world’s largest, most extensive celebrity gossip empire with TV shows and slick magazines covering Europe and the Americas.
Beyond the technology and increasing wealth, two of the unmarried male Kandeskys have run up against a formidable wall…twenty-first century women.
Jean-Louis and Nik Kandesky are beyond sexy. They’ve honed their attraction to, and interest in, women for centuries. What are Maxie and Jazz, two modern, L.A. women going to do when these beautiful creatures turn on their Old World charm?
There’s outside tension in the books. Other vampire families, Eastern European terrorists, rival business factions looking to carve a piece of their empire away, terrorists wanting to take down the family. By far, though, the tension is between the lovers.
It’s not enough that they come from different centuries and countries. Manners are different. Relationships are different. Women in nineteenth century Budapest didn’t have jobs. Men didn’t ask them for opinions on business…or much of anything.
Add to that, the men are vampires. A commitment to a vampire puts a whole new meaning on “forever.” As Maxie wrestles with loving Jean-Louis, she realizes that marrying him and becoming a vampire also is an irrevocable thing. As Jean-Louis says to her, “You come from the land of do-overs. Don’t like your situation? Change it. This isn’t my world.”
These characters have all become both closer to me and more independent as the series continues. They’ve all had to grow and change. Jean-Louis and Nik have haltingly, grudgingly, begun to share some of the dangers the Kandeskys face from outside forces. In SNAP: I, Vampire, Maxie is even acquiring the vampire ability to “mind read,” really opening up her mind to the collective unconscious of the Kandeskys and understanding the subtly of their communication.
Maxie and Jazz are losing some of their brittleness and are learning that actions from the men are not designed to take control, but are hard-wired reactions from nature and nurture training them to take care of their women. All of them are learning that it’s not a case of women being incapable, but of men having to take care.
There’s a lot of growing and changing in the future for the Kandeskys…now including some women…but they haven’t told me yet where they plan to go. Just invited me along, so far. It’s gonna be an interesting ride!
About the Author:
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series. In addition to the San Jose Mercury-News, she was the City Editor of the Lodi New-Sentinel, the Executive Editor of the Manteca Bulletin and Assistant Metro Editor for the Modesto Bee.
Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire. A sci-fi thriller, Ashes of Memory, is scheduled for release late summer 2016.
She’s active in the mystery community and also teaches writing classes in Northern California.
Visit her facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier
her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/
her website, www.micheledrier.com
or contact her at email@example.com
Once & Again,
by M.S. Kaye
She was once his secret desire… Will she be again?
Father Aiden, an ex-marine and new priest, falls in love with Maylynn, but he struggles to stay away from her. He’s successful for many years, though he can’t keep her out of his dreams.
Then one day she shows up for a pre-marital counseling session with her fiancé, Davis. Aiden soon realizes Davis isn’t who he says he is, but what does that mean for Maylynn, and for himself?
Will be released August 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Add to your "to-read" on Goodreads.
Amazon Pre-Order: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GIL5MO8
About the Author:
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 www.BooksByMSK.com.
To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.
Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon | TSU | Pinterest | LinkedIn
Will be released July 2, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Her first and also her once.
Jonathan and Rebecca’s paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say.
But Jonathan is three days from entering the priesthood, and Rebecca leaves him to his peace. But he is unable to find peace.
Without each other’s comfort and strength, they must each struggle to forge a new path, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.
But are they able to forget and let go?
Once & Forever,
Will be released December 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? As Eden and Trace grow closer, confessing their pasts to each other, will they be able to resist getting too close?
“You’re studying to be a priest?”
He made himself meet her eyes. “I am a priest.”
She let go of his hand and stepped back.
Her smiled was tight. “I’m glad you found your path.”
He couldn’t quite read her expression. The distance between them felt like a gorge chiseled into the earth.
“Are you all right, Maylynn?” he asked.
“I’m really happy for you.” Then she added, “Father Aiden.”
For some reason, her words stabbed him in the gut. He usually liked when people used his title—it seemed to imply a certain amount of trust.
“I’m sorry, Maylynn.” He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing. He just didn’t like to see her uncomfortable.
“I’m happy for you,” she repeated.
Then he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t anticipated this.
He moved closer. “I’m so sorry.”
Her forced smile finally dropped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“It didn’t occur to me…”
“That I might be attracted to you?”
“Why aren’t you wearing your collar?” Anger prickled the edge of her voice.
“My mother’s last wish was that I find my father. I’ve been following her notes. She was convinced he was somewhere in this area.”
“Wait… Your mother’s name was Adalina?”
He nodded. With the number of times the shelter was mentioned in the notes, he figured his mother and Maylynn had met.
Anger flashed in her eyes. “You still should’ve told me.”
“Why’d you play with me like that?”
“I swear that wasn’t my intent.”
“You knew damn well what was going on. Was it a game—see if you still had it? If you could still get the chicks?”
Under the anger in her eyes, he saw the hurt. He swore he could feel it exactly, as if it was his own.
He shifted even closer, just in front of her. “I’m sorry,” he said again. His voice lowered, quieted. “I didn’t see what you were feeling because I was fighting so hard myself. I still am.”
“What I felt the first time I saw you, what I’m still feeling.”
She waited, glaring at him.
“I’m attracted to you,” he said. “Intensely.”
Welcome to the first summer Coffee Chat, Booklovers!
This week's guest is author Glenn Maynard, who writes romantic paranormals with a twist.
How do you take your coffee, Glenn?
GLENN: I cannot function without my first cup of coffee, or my second or third. I like cream and sugar in the first cup to wake up my mouth and cream and Sweet N Low for the rest so that I don’t get too sweet.
Ally: Since I assume you're already past that first cup, I'll find the Sweet N Low. Meanwhile, please introduce yourself to readers.
Glenn Maynard is the author of “Strapped Into An American Dream” which details his one-year journey through the 48 continental states, Canada and Mexico in an RV. He was a travel correspondent for three newspapers during his travels. He is also the author of “Desert Son” and “Wayward Soul”, which are the first two books of a fiction series that involves out-of-body experiences, past-life-regression hypnosis, and reincarnation. He is currently working on book three of this trilogy.
Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "I write funny poetry and read it at family events. If it’s your birthday and there is a big party, then you better watch out: “To my mom who gave me birth, you sure got your money’s worth.” Contact Links:
Ally: Describe your genre and what intrigues you enough to write about it.
GLENN: My Desert Son series is Paranormal Romance, but more paranormal and light romance. After all, I am a guy.
I like putting new twists on my paranormal books as I describe what it’s like to have an out-of-body experience and walk through heaven. I also thrive on creating the most bizarre scenes during past-life-regression hypnosis sessions. The eerier the better.
Ally: Readers are always interested in process. How do you choose your characters? Are the based on anyone? How much do you know about them before you start writing?
GLENN: My characters are bits and pieces of people I’ve come across during my lifetime with a dash of imagination to make them even more different. In other words, none of my characters are any one person in my life. I usually develop the main characters from the outset, but they are molded during the writing of the story. I also develop additional characters as I move through the story; characters I didn’t even know about in the beginning.
Ally: What's the most interesting feedback you've received from a reader?
GLENN: Many excited reviewers talk about the way I put a new spin on reincarnation and the chills they get while reading the hypnosis sessions.
Ally: What is your current work in progress? More twists and chills? :)
GLENN: I am currently working on book three of my Desert Son series, and the tentative title is “Spiritual Intervention.” You heard it here first.
Ally: Try a few quick answer questions:
- a. type of car you drive vs what you wished you drove: I drive a Ford Focus (my father always said FORD means “found on road dead”). I have no car wishes as long as the car isn’t found on road dead.
- b. favorite non-writing activity: I like playing acoustic guitar and singing. It’s fun and a stress reliever.
- c. favorite TV show(s): American Idol, The Voice, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mike and Molly, King of Queens.
- d. a book you wish you had written: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.
- e. an item on your bucket list: Alaska.
Ally: Thanks for visiting the blog, Glenn. It was a pleasure to have you. Before you go, I'd love to hear more about your book...
While visiting a psychic, Carter Spence and Brenda Raycroft’s reading turns tragic. The psychic touches them, suffers convulsions, and frantically runs into the street into oncoming traffic. Their fate is sealed in a coma and they must use any means possible to reach the psychic in the spirit world as they dodge deadly complications in an attempt for answers.
Racing against time, they pursue the psychic’s message before she dies and takes the answers they need with her. When the spirit of the previous homeowner returns, this haunting soul begins tampering with the comatose psychic.
This eerie sequel to Desert Son takes place four years after Carter and Brenda discover they are a couple reunited beyond the grave. The spirit world becomes intertwined with their own as they attempt to tap into these secrets to uncover disturbing truths about their fate in this paranormal roller coaster that will shake your soul.
Also by Glenn Maynard