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Category: Romantic suspense


When Michael goes on a photographic assignment to Brazil and fails to return, Kristi and her son fly to Rio de Janeiro, desperate to find him. Instead she finds that during the cold New Jersey winter, her husband has spent his time in steamy chat rooms with Nara, a young woman desperate for attention and involved in the Rio drug world.
As she searches for Michael in exotic but crime-ridden Rio, Kristy finds herself way out of her league. She turns to Italian-Brazilian Federal Agent Tony Lamazzo for help. As the harsh truth of her marriage brings a dose of reality to her life, she finds the temptation of getting closer to the strong, capable—and totally hot—Tony difficult to resist. She’s in Brazil on the Day of Dead, a day when Brazilians go wild. Why shouldn’t she go wild with Tony, for just one night, before returning home to start the new life alone she’ll have to learn to make for herself?

But when her son vanishes too, Kristi doesn’t know where to turn. Michael’s affair with drug-dealing Nara has exposed them all to the murderous wrath of a ruthless drug lord, and while she longs to trust Tony, she can’t trust his powerful and politically corrupt family. But in the dangerous slums and rainforests of Brazil, the danger mounts for both Kristi and her son, and a cold-blooded enemy has an agenda of his own. If she trusts Tony, she might save her son. Or it might just get them all killed…

Book Trailer:  

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They wandered along the sand in the honeyed glow of evening, making their way towards the lights of the hotels. As they reached the beach steps, Kristi stumbled and felt Tony’s hand steady her. Poor guy, always saving me, she thought. He makes me feel protected. Some men are like that. She was sure women would love him. Any woman with any sense would want a man like Tony. She wondered if he was married.

Sitting down on the second step, she wiggled her toes in the warm sand.

“Tell me about yourself,” she said. “Have you always lived in Rio?”

He shook his head. “I was born in Sorrento, Italy. My father’s Italian and my mother’s Brazilian/American. They came to Brazil with me and my brother when I was ten. My father’s a rancher in Bahia. It’s a ways from the city. I went to college in Boston.”

“Oh. Why?”

“My mother wanted me to. Her parents live there. It was great, I loved it. Boston is so different from Rio.”

For some silly reason she was delighted to hear he’d been to college in a city she knew. “I grew up in Boston. Which college did you go to?”

He laughed. “You’re not going to believe this. I went to Berklee College of Music. I hoped to be lead guitarist in a famous band.”

She beamed at him. “You studied music! Josh is going to be so impressed! I can picture you. I bet you had long hair. Yeah? Curly, long hair. Did you play Hendrix?”

“Yeah. Voodoo Child. I rocked.”

“You’ll have to jam with Josh. Will you do that? Before we go? Please!”


Almost unconsciously she turned her head to look at him. As he was sitting on the step below her, they were almost eye to eye. His half-smile was sweet. Sexy. It made a shiver run through her. She jerked her gaze away. Suddenly she felt lost. What was she doing on the beach on a tropical night with this good-looking stranger? It would be fun to be single, to be flirting with no worries or complications. Was Michael doing that somewhere close by? Was he having  an affair? Maybe her whole family was about to be shattered, like hers had been when she was not much younger than Josh. Tears filled her eyes. Quickly, she wiped them away. Then without meaning to, she gave a loud sob. You’re not going to cry! She forced herself to stop. She hiccuped. Some tourists passed by, carefully looking the other way. Oh God. What was she doing!

“Kristi,” he said, softly. “Whatever it is, we can figure it out. My brother, Rafael, is working on finding your husband. He is Deputy Chief of Civil Police. He’ll do everything anyone possibly could do. We’ll find your husband.”

Embarrassed, she nodded.

“Come on. Let’s get you back to your hotel,” he said, sounding awkward as he helped her up.

“I’m sorry I cried like that. I didn’t mean to.”

“It’s okay.”

“I got an email yesterday. It was from Michael. It showed him hugging a local girl. They were at the beach right here in Copacabana. Michael had on those horrible little Speedos and the girl was wearing a mini bikini. They looked as if they were having a ball. I don’t know why he sent it to me.” Again, her eyes filled with tears. She blinked hard to hide them. “I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing. How can I ever take him back? I don’t even want him back. I don’t feel the same way about him. But what about Josh and the twins?” Now she’d told him all her problems again. What was wrong with her!

He sighed. “Oh Kristi.”  Reaching out, he took her hand tentatively as if taking hands was not something he normally did. His fingers were hard and his palm callused. She liked hands like that. She felt a hot quiver run through her. She pulled her hand away. Where was she going with this? Was she crazy?

Of its own accord it seemed, her body leaned towards him. She slipped her hand back into his. The feel of his hand felt natural, comforting. Holding hands was underrated. She really, really wanted to hold his hand. She could feel the heat of his body where it touched hers. “You’ve been really nice to Josh and me,” she said. “I feel so strange. What if nothing was the way I thought it was for all these years?”

“Don’t judge anything now.”

“I didn’t know you did marriage counseling.”

He shrugged. “I only know it from the worse case scenario. If anything good happens, don’t consult me.”

“You’re married?”

“I was. She left me. It was my fault.”

She was about to ask what happened, when the first big drops of rain pelted down. “Want to make a dash for it?” he said. Fingers locked, they ran through the drizzle. As they reached the hotel foyer, he let go of her hand. They stood apart in the brightly lit elevator. Without meaning to, she again swayed closer to him, feeling her shoulder touch his warm arm. Self-consciously, she moved away, noticing the muscles of his arms and chest outlined by his damp tee-shirt. Rain pasted her wet tee-shirt to her body. Wondering if he could see her nipples, she pulled the clinging fabric away from her damp bikini top.

She unlocked the door and walked into the room. They were both wet. For a moment they just stood, looking at each. Then Tony laughed. “We’d be better on the balcony,” he said. “We’re dripping on the carpet.”

“Would you like a hot shower?”

“Not much point. I don’t have anything to change into.”

“Well, at least we can dry off a bit.” She grabbed two of the big, white towels and followed him out into the night. The air outside was balmy, much warmer than the air-conditioned room. Steam rose from the wet tiles, but the patio furniture was dry, protected from the rain by the balcony above. Tony crossed over to the railing and stood looking at the view, which Kristi noted was meltingly beautiful: white waves crashing, reflections of car lights shimmering on rain drenched Avenue Atlantica, the glittering lights of the favelas on the slopes of the mountains and hunched above it all, the dark jungle-covered morros.

She handed him a towel and stood watching he pulled off his damp shirt and began to dry himself off. He looked soooo good. He was just so indescribably hot and her husband was such an indescribable jerk. As he turned towards her, she quickly pulled her eyes away from his athletic body and found herself looking at his mouth. He had a beautiful mouth, lips tilted slightly up as if he’d never be able to look really angry. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him. There just seemed to be too much space between them and she had to close it. She moved towards him. His eyes, thick lashes still wet with raindrops, looked into hers. She closed her eyes and turned her face up to his. His lips touched hers. She knew she hadn’t left him much choice. His mouth was gentle, his lips warm and firm. She’d imagined a passionate kiss. She didn’t quite know what to do with a gentle one. His kiss was almost shy. Warmth throbbed through her. She was hot enough to melt. She longed for him to kiss her more.

He pulled away slightly, his hands holding her upper arms. “You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, stroking a tendril of wet hair back from her cheek. “Your husband is an idiot.” His eyes were filled with an emotion that sent a thrill through her. It was so good to feel appreciated, to feel again that someone thought she was beautiful. He looked at her quizzically. “I should leav

About the Author:

Ellie Eden thinks the next best thing to hot romance is reading or writing about it. And she finds it even better to be somewhat scared or totally petrified at the same time. That's why she loves Romantic Suspense/Thrillers. She favors strong, protective alpha heroes, but finds murderous but good-looking bad guys fun too, at least on paper. And she loves to escape into an exotic, preferably crime-ridden, location. In another life, Ellie Eden writes as Ellie Crowe, the best-selling author of two cultural travel books about the Hawaiian Islands and a number of award-winning biographies about mostly alpha heroes such as Surfer of the Century, the Life of Duke Kahanamoku.

Contact Ellie:

Happy Wednesday, booklovers!

We have another great author with us today. As you'll learn, she's a well-traveled lady, but she's here to talk about writing...and murder.

Welcome, Maria. How do you take your coffee?

I drink my America coffee with 2 sugars and a drop of milk.
I drink espresso corretto, sugar and a drop of grappa, only after meals in Italy.

Ally:  Since my magic pot can produce anything, shall we pretend you've just finished a scrumptious meal in Italy? That doctored espresso is coming right up. :) While I work the magic, please tell readers who you are.

BIO:  Best selling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona--but stay tuned for weekly updates of Where in the World is Maria Grazia Swan?

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for--ooh-la-la--haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco--but then, who doesn't?

And there is her latest attempt at conquering the world of readers-who-love-Italy-and-anything- Italian. Yes, she has a new series out thanks to Gemma Halliday Publishing. The Lella York’s series has released 3 books to date:
Murder under the Italian Moon, Death Under the Venice Moon and the newest addition Murder Under The Desert Moon.

Her existing series, Mina’s adventures, has five current titles: #1 Love Thy sister; #2 Bosom Bodies; #3 Italian Summer; #4 Ashes of Autumn; #5 A Cat to Die For.

Something unique about me?  My father was the butler for the Vicomtesse de Walkiers. (Belgium)

Contact the Author:  

Ally:   Tell us what kind of books you write. Do you write in more than one genres or in more than one name?

MARIA:  I write fiction and non fiction.  For years I wrote a relationship column for singles over 50, that’s the non fiction part, it helped me land an agent.  But my passion is fiction. I have 2 series.

The Lella York’s series is published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. It’s romantic suspense, with the main character, Italian born Lella York who is over 50. publisher likes to list the books under cozy. No comment.

My indie series, Mina’s adventure is also romantic suspense, and it’s the one I’m more passionate about it, probably because I can write whatever I want. Maybe I’m a control freak????

Ally:  What was your journey to publication? How did you make the decision of indie vs traditional? Are you happy with the choices you made?

MARIA:  I’ve been writing for so long..when I started out Indie was a dirty word. I was originally published by traditional publishers. At some point I was able to reclaim the rights and self published that series. I guess I’m a hybrid author? One of my series is self published the other one not.

The publisher sells more copies, but self publishing allows me more freedom and I get to keep 100% of the royalties…decision, decision…frankly, I’m still trying to decide. Stay tuned…

Ally:   How do you select names for your characters? Do you look up the meaning, seek a certain ethnic background, use a name associated with the character personality, or pick them out of a hat?

MARIA:  You had to ask me that. Believe it or not, that’s the hardest part of writing fiction. For me. I’m Italian. All my main characters are Italian born women living in the United States. I hate, yes, H A T E parents who stick their kids with foreign or made up names no one can pronounce. It’s terrible for the kids. So I try to find names that are easy to pronounce and remember for people on both sides of the ocean.

Ally:  When you've finished a project, how do you decide what to write next? What influences that selection? And BTW, what is your next project?

MARIA:  Mina’s adventures #5 was released on July 15th. I am working on #6. Why? I tend to get into my character’s head and then I stay there weeks after the book is done. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is more time effective to just write the next book instead of mopping around feeling miserable because every time I attempt to work on the other series, I can’t rid myself of that voice from the book I just completed…it’s an Italian thing, it’s call passion…

Ally:  Let's try a few quick get-to-know-you questions.
  • a. favorite suspense writer:  Daphne Du Maurier
  • b. If you couldn't write, what would you do instead?  Sewing, I have a background in dress designing.
  • c.  An item on your bucket list:  Visit New Zealand
  • d.  Favorite snack food:  yoghurt and nuts
  • e.  A frequent pizza topping you refuse or pick off:  anything spicy.

Ally:  Thanks so much for visiting today! Come back anytime. Please show us a little about your book before you go.

Book Blurb:

Mina Calvi's new Furry Friends Foundation is a dream come true for the formerly footloose young woman. Her no-kill shelter rescues and places dogs and cats into new forever homes, and it gives Mina a purpose in life.

But changes are looming on a perfect Sunday afternoon at the Dana Point Marina where she is minding the adoption booth.

A Greek heiress, young, petite and beautiful, shows up on the arm of the love of Mina's life, Diego Moran. And worse, she wants to adopt Mina's calico cat, Houdini. The spoiled woman will not take no for an answer. Why is she so insistent on getting Houdini when she already owns a look-alike cat?

When Houdini is cat-napped, the cat-sitter murdered, and the ransom demand sent to the heiress, Mina has to keep her wits about her to get her beloved cat home safely, and to keep her heart from getting broken again by Diego, who inexplicably pops up at every turn of the unfolding drama.

Buy Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Have a great week, and come back to visit again!


Welcome, booklovers!
Romantic suspense author Susan Roebuck is visiting with us today.
How do you take your coffee, Sue?

Oh, how you’re going to be sorry you asked me that. Coffee drinking is a serious business here in Portugal. It’s a way of life and such a tradition that coffee is subsidized by the government. Everyone, but everyone, heads out to one of the lovely cafés that are on every street corner for their morning “caffeine hit”. 

You could attend a course on the amount of different coffees that you can have here. Me? I’ll have a “pingado” which is a short expresso with a drop of milk in it. Then I’ll have another at lunchtime and that’s it – it’s so strong that, if I had any more, I’d be shaking in my socks.

Ally: Since I have a magic coffee pot, nothing is too hard for it. I'll have that pingado coming right up.
:) In the meantime, please show readers your bio.


My name’s Susan Roebuck. I was born and educated in the UK but I now live in Portugal with my husband (who’s Portuguese). So now you know where the inspiration for my latest novel, Rising Tide, came from, especially as my office where I write overlooks the glittering Atlantic Ocean. I’ve also traveled widely in the States (inspiration for Perfect Score, my first novel) and I honestly believe that being born in the US is like winning the lottery of life. I adore the country.
Something unique that isn't normally in my bio -
I was a teacher and before I took up writing full time I designed e-learning/long distance courses which I loved because I could teach from home in my pajamas!

Contact the author:


Ally:  How did you choose the name Luminosa for the village in your romantic suspense titled Rising Tide? What does it mean?

SUE:  Luminosa is a Portuguese word for something full of special light, and definitely beautiful. My husband tells me I invented the word! But, you know, the houses of the Alentejo (where Rising Tide is set) are all white – so they reflect the warm sunlight in a bright light.

Ally:  Is it difficult to write in different genres? How do you keep them from spilling over into each other?

SUE:  You know, they’re not so different genres as such. Every book has the same theme running through it – injustice, the weak winning over the bullies. Two of them might be romance/suspense (Perfect Score is also LGBT), and the third is a dark fantasy – but those themes are well to the fore in all of them.

Ally:  How long have you been writing--and how long published? Describe the process and time it took the first time from query to contract.

SUE:  Um…have you got all day? LOL. As most writers I’ve always enjoyed writing – I was the geeky kid at school who whooped when given a composition to write for homework while everyone else in the class groaned. I’m also an avid reader, which helps. But, of course, I had to work for my living until only recently when I stopped (for health reasons) and found I had time for writing. The process? Gallons of sweat and tears: submission after submission; rejection after rejection. Don’t forget that Perfect Score is LGBT and was published in 2010 so I was subbing in 2009 when LGBT wasn’t exactly as popular as it is today – I even got rejections that said, “we can’t publish that subject matter” even though there is just one page of explicit sex (and it’s not erotic, it’s subtle) in the whole book! Mundania Press took a chance on me and I’m so glad they did. Perfect Score was a finalist in the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) 2011 e-book awards in the mainstream category. And Hewhay Hall won their 2013 ebook award for horror, so I have a nice trophy.

Ally:  What is your next project? What genre?

SUE:  It’ll be romance/suspense again with a touch of magic, perhaps paranormal. All my books seem to have a thread of magic in them.


AllyLet's finish today with a few quick answer questions:

  • a. favorite restaurant:  Refugio da Roca in Cabo de Roca (most westerly point of mainland Europe). Try the fresh seabass cooked in a casing of salt (and no, the fish isn’t at all salty, just juicy and fresh). (see photo “refugio”)
  •  b. favorite flower:  fuschia – my brother grew potloads of them. Unfortunately he’s no longer with us and I miss him terribly. In Portuguese they’re calls “brincos de princesa” or princess earrings.
  • c. last book or movie that made you cry:  I don’t seem to cry at books – perhaps I don’t read the right kind – unless I’m sad it’s finished it was so good. I cried at the film “Philadelphia” with Tom Hanks ages ago. Oh and “Terms of Endearment”.
  • d. What is your secret indulgence?  A reflexology session. I love, love my feet being rubbed and it does me good too!
  • e.  Have you secretly based a character on someone you know? If so, are you going to tell us who? :)   No. LOL – but watch out, if anyone’s nasty to me, I might put them in a future book as the baddy who makes everyone cry. :)
Ally:  It's been a pleasure to have you visit, Sue. Before you go, please tell us more about your latest release...

Blurb: A suspense story with romantic overtones and a touch of magic, Rising Tide is set in Luminosa - a small feudal-style fishing village on the east coast of Portugal which time, and most of the world, has forgotten. The villagers quietly go about their business scraping a living off the land and from the sea in the old traditional ways. Their life is largely uncomplicated. Or is it? 

Unbeknown to each other, three strangers turn up on weekend, each with the potential to destroy the village.

Leo Shine, a hardened fisherman immune to the perils of deep-sea fishing in Alaska, is convinced that the culprit for the deaths of his father and brother lives in Luminosa.

Piper Pines, a young artisanal fisherman from the North Norfolk coast in the UK, has arrived to find the villager or villagers who have kept her and her father on the run since she was born.

An American racketeer is the third visitor. He has faux investment plans to develop the village as a tourist resort which could result in Luminosa being destroyed.

There are many questions to be answered, not least of which is just why do these simple Portuguese villagers all speak such good English?


Buy Links:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble UK
Mundania Press 

Thanks for stopping by today. Come back soon...

                               Cover reveal - YA paranormal


By M.S. Kaye

A Sumerian water and sky god myth collides with a modern high school.

Ayanna is a math nerd, logical and rational, even cold, but Calder makes her feel things she never had before. Somehow, she’s able to accept it when she discovers he’s a reincarnated Sumerian water god. Will she be able to accept the full truth, that the story of Enki and Inanna has been reborn in a modern Ohio high school?

Release Date: 9/12/15

Inkspell Publishing

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

To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.

Contact M. S. Kaye at:

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Goodreads  ~  Amazon  ~  TSU  ~  Pinterest  ~  LinkedIn

Welcome to this week's coffee chat where we drink a little coffee, ask a few questions, and spotlight an author and one of his or her books. Joining us is Rosemary Morris, a writer of romantic historicals.

Greetings, Rosemary! What can I get you to drink?

When I’m out and about I enjoy café lattes. At home I drink roibus tea and herb teas many of them made with fresh herbs from my garden.

Ally:  Since I think this qualifies as "out and about," I'll whip up that latte. :) In the meantime, please show readers your bio. 


I was born in Sidcup Kent. As a child, when not making up stories, my head was ‘always in a book.’
While working in a travel agency, I met her Hindu husband.  He encouraged me to continue my education at Westminster College.  In 1961 I and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where I lived from 1961 until 1982.  After an attempted coup d’état, I and four of my children lived in an ashram in France.
Back in England, I wrote historical fiction, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novel Society and Watford Writers and online groups.
To research, I read non-fiction, visits museums and other places of historical interest.
My bookshelves are so crammed with historical non-fiction, which I use to research my novels, that if I buys a new book I have to consider getting rid of one.
I am the author of Sunday’s Child, False Pretences and Monday’s Child, to be published in spring 2016, which are set in the Regency era, Tangled Love, Far Beyond Rubies and The Captain and The Countess set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign – 1702-1714.
At the moment, I am revising a mediaeval novel set in the reign of Edward II of England and writing Tuesday’s Child, a follow on novel from Sunday’s Child and Monday’s Child.
Apart from writing,I enjoy time with my family, classical Indian literature, reading, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts.

And you asked for something unusual -
During the school holidays my family headed to Diani on the Kenya Coast. We stayed in a beach cottage 20 miles from the main road. At that time there were only two hotels and few tourists. We enjoyed time on the beach and swam in the warm Indian Ocean.

Contact the author:

To view book trailers & read extracts from my novels please visit  Thank you, I will be happy to hear from you.  

Ally:  What is the time period setting for the historical romance you brought today, and why did you choose it?

RM:  The Captain and The Countess is set in the reign of Charles II’s niece, Queen Anne Stuart, who reigned from 1702 to 1714. The first reason I chose it is because few novels are set in this interesting era in which the Duke of Marlborough won the War of Spanish Succession. If he had not, the history of the United Kingdom would have been different and the course of world history would have been affected.

Ally:  Do you fill out character sheets and detail the backgrounds of your MCs before you begin writing? How thorough do you get? I've known writers who spend days filling events from birth to adulthood, including school they attended, etc.

RM:  Before I begin a novel I must name the hero and heroine. I then need to get to know them so I complete a detailed character profile which includes things such as family, education, likes, dislikes, religion and ‘what makes them tick’. This means that when I begin the novel I also fill in short character profiles for the other protagonists. I also consult the zodiac to strengthen the character profiles.

Ally:  Have you suffered from Writer's Block or Writer's Procrastination? How did you get beyond it? Any other tips for motivation?

RM:  I have neither suffered from Writer’s Block nor Writer’s Procrastination. I ward off Writer’s Block by planning my next novel before I finish my latest one. To avoid Writer’s Procrastination I adhere to a daily routine unless I am ill or it is Christmas Day.

Ally:  What would you like to try writing that you haven't done? Will that be your next project or are you already working on something else?

RM:  I would like to write fantasy fiction but I am now working on Tuesday’s Child a follow on novel from my Traditional Regency Romances Sunday’s Child and Monday’s Child. (By traditional I mean that I don’t open wide the hero and heroine’s bedroom door.) I am also revising a mediaeval novel set in the reign of Edward II.

Ally: Let's finish up with a few quick answer questions:
  • a. Favorite time of day to write: I usually wake up at 6 a.m and write until 10 a.m. with a break for breakfast.
  • b. Favorite comfort food: I’m partial to dark chocolate.
  • c. If you could live anywhere for the next year, where would it be? Nowhere other than my house because it is close to my family. If it were not, I would live in Woolacombe Bay in Devonshire.
  • d. Would you be more likely to go camping, bar hopping, or visit a museum? Visit a museum.
  • e. What's the most unusual thing in your refrigerator or freezer? Drained cooked turnip greens to which I added a vegetable soup stock cube, waited for it to melt, and then added a tin of drained black eyed beans. Delicious with a squeeze of lemon and flatbread.

Ally:  It was a delight to have a visitor from over the pond. I hope you'll drop by again! Before you go, let's take a peek at your book... 

The Captain and The Countess
By Rosemary Morris

London. 1706

Why does heart-rending pain lurk in the back of the wealthy Countess of Sinclair’s eyes? 

Captain Howard’s life changes forever from the moment he meets Kate, the intriguing Countess and resolves to banish her pain.

Although the air sizzles when widowed Kate, victim of an abusive marriage, meets Edward Howard, a captain in Queen Anne’s navy, she has no intention of ever marrying again.

However, when Kate becomes better acquainted with the Captain, she realises he is the only man who understands her grief and can help her to untangle her past.

Book Trailer:

Buy Links: and

Barnes and Novel, AppleiBookstore, Kobo, Blio, Google Play, Overdrive, Omnilit, All Romance E Books, Bookstrand, Coffee Time Romance, Scribd, Smashwords, Flipcart – India, Tolina

Thanks for spending some time with us ... come back soon!

           Cross Keys #2 is finally here!


If everyone keeps secrets, no one will survive…

Six months after the nightmare in Cross Keys, Kam Ryndel is enjoying her freedom in New Orleans and doesn't miss the constraints of Elven society. She's immersed herself in working missions for the CIA, even if it means less time to spend with her boyfriend, Seth. Seth's not so happy about that. Having shouldered the responsibility of his family's obligations, he's losing patience with Kam's lack of commitment to her own—and to him.

Then a guild worker is attacked by an invisible assailant, and everyone suspects another portal breach by rogues from Elvenrude. As Kam and Seth look for answers, a gang-related CIA mission interrupts the investigation, and Kam is taken to a place she never knew existed—beyond the Louisiana bayou.

Angered by Kam's new mission, Seth enlists the help of his cousin Rhyden to solve the mysterious guild-worker attack. Instead of an assailant, they discover reports of ghost sightings all over town. Not that unusual for New Orleans, but these seem…different. In a mission complicated by gangsters, feuds, failing magic, and old enemies—and the uncertain loyalty of the Elven king—Seth learns something even worse. Kam is missing. And he isn't sure if she's alive or dead…


Buy Links:

Etopia Press:
iBookstore: check here soon:


Swamp water lapped against the small watercraft, rocking it gently. Kam shifted on the hard seat of the airboat’s cramped quarters, pushed a strand of dark hair away from her face, and studied the forty-something man across from her.

Noah Crain, senior agent, CIA. Sweat beaded on his forehead from the unrelenting humidity of the late July night. He wiped it away and squinted at the bundle of American one-hundred-dollar bills in his hand. The single dim lantern barely lit the enclosed cockpit—a rarity on swamp boats—but Crain was a covert operative. He didn’t like doing business in the open.

He flipped through the bills and looked up at her. “Counterfeit. As I expected. They flood our country with drugs to support their terrorist activities and then add to the insult by paying their pipeline with funny money.” With a soft plunk, he dropped the currency next to two identical packets on the extra seat beside him. “Thanks for bringing this. We’ll take it from here. Another great job, Kam. There’ll be the usual deposit to your account.”

She shrugged. The money was immaterial. Born into the wealthy Ryndel family in Elvenrude, she’d never lacked for anything. The CIA missions were merely small challenges for an Elite dark elf, amusing adventures. “I need to go. I’m late.”

“About that…” Crain frowned at her. “Rescuing the girl wasn’t part of your assignment. You could have been caught.”

“But I wasn’t. I either do these missions my way or not at all.” How could he expect her to leave a fourteen-year-old girl in the hands of the Mexican drug lords? Yes, she’d had to deactivate the invisibility magic and reveal her presence in order to lead the girl out of that stinking hole. But it had been worth it. Kam relaxed her shoulders and took the edge off her tone. “I’ll be more careful in the future.”

He sighed and shook his head. “I wish I could believe that.”

Two minutes later, Kam leaped off the boat and sped across the swamplands of southern Louisiana, headed for New Orleans. She was glad to be going home and drew in a deep breath of the moist, earthy air. Her feet skimmed the ground as she watched for alligators or vipers or unstable ground. Even at her magically enhanced speed, a misstep into a watery hole or on the wrong head or tail could lead to disaster.

Kam swung her head toward a dim flash of light, a blurry movement on her left. Alligator hunters? She wound her fingers around the invisibility amulet dangling from her neck and invoked the magic, then paused on a patch of solid ground. Now that she couldn’t be seen, she took her time peering around. Alert for any furtive movements out of sync with normal swamp activity, she had almost given up when something whipped past a few feet away, leaving only the faintest ripple in the marshy grasses.

A chill crept across her neck. A whiff of magical energy. A ghost? A vampire? She’d heard stories of all kinds of strange sightings in and around New Orleans but never seen anything supernatural except her own people. She waited. A minute crawled by. And another. When nothing else occurred, she continued toward the city.

Every sense was on edge, but she reached the outskirts without a repetition of the puzzling magical trace. As the density of buildings increased, Kam used the ancient magic in her silver wristband to leap onto the rooftops and run across the cityscape.


It's Wednesday! Time for book talk!

My guest today is Kathy Otten, a writer of historical romance.
Welcome, Kathy! How do you take your coffee?

Tim Horton’s medium dark roast with two creams, or on special occasions, Starbuck’s mocha frappicino venti with whipped cream and a shot of espresso.

Ally:  Since I always have Starbuck's on hand, that frap will be coming right up. Please tell readers something about yourself.

Brief Bio:

Kathy is the mother of three grown children and lives in the open farm country of western NY with her husband of thirty-two years. She enjoys taking long walks with her German Shepherd Max, through the fields and woods near her home. In the winter she likes to curl up with a good book and one or two of her four cats, while the snow blows outside. In between family, work and animals she can be found at her computer weaving stories of laughter, heartache, and love for the crazy cast of characters swirling around in her head.

Tell me something unique/unusual that isn't in your bio. My husband and I used to dairy farm. My critique group thought it was pretty funny when I explained how to artificially inseminate a cow.

Contact the Author:


Ally:  What inspired you to become a published writer? How did you go about it once you knew that's what you wanted?

KATHY:  I’ve written stories as long as I can remember. My mom said it began when I asked her to buy me a new Little Golden Book. She told me to write my own and I wrote Lucky the Dog. For many years after, I kept my stories in notebooks and though I dreamed about being published I didn’t know how to go about it. When my kids got older I joined Pennwriters, Inc. When I brought my first piece to a critique meeting, I was told my point-of-view was off. I didn’t know what that meant. A book was suggested, I bought it, and began to study craft. I went to regular critique meetings and found my first publisher in the Pennwriters newsletter.

Ally:  Describe your writing day, including when and where you write. Do you have a writer's cave?

KATHY:  I don’t have a cave. I have a corner on the back porch. It’s pretty cramped, but there are lots of windows with nice views, so it doesn’t have that cave feeling. I work 40hrs in three days, Fri-Sun. So that leaves Mon-Thurs to do everything else. What I try to do is work from 10-3:30 including an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to write. The rest of the time is spent marketing, promoting, going through emails and the different social media, writing blogs or workshops, and researching.

Ally:  What does your family think of your writing? You mentioned some of your books are rather spicy. Do they read them?

KATHY:  My mom read everything I wrote, but skipped any of the places that made her uncomfortable. My brother reads everything, but I’m not sure if he too, skips.  I have an aunt and uncle who read all my books, but that’s about it. My dad passed away before I got published, but he probably would have read everything. My kids have never read anything I wrote and neither has my husband. It’s probably a good thing though, since he’s always telling me how to drive, I can’t imagine what he’d tell me about my writing. :)

Ally:  You brought a short story to spotlight today. What period in history did you use for the setting and why?

KATHY:  Since After the Dark is based on the actual event of the Boston Molasses Flood in 1919, I had no choice in setting, weather, or even time of day.

Ally:  Here are five quick answer questions:
  • a. favorite place to shop: Lane Bryant and Barnes and Noble
  • b. favorite fruit: Banana
  • c. what food or drink is on your can't-live-without-it list? Water
  • d. favorite time of day: Sleeping late on Monday mornings.
  • e. Do you have pets? What are their names? Old age is slowly claiming my pets one-by-one. Currently, I have Max, my big German Shepherd, and Buttons, Chester, Wires, and Bobbie my four cats.

Ally:  Thanks for visiting, Kathy. Before you leave to get on with your busy schedule, please show us the cover and blurb for your story...

After the Dark: 
He survived the war, now his reason for living has come down to one last act.

Months in the trenches of France have left Liam Gallagher wondering why he has survived when better men did not. His guilt intensifies when he returns home only to come down with the deadly Spanish Influenza sweeping the country. Once again Liam lives when thousands do not.

Now the only bright spot in his monotonous life is the time he spends each day walking with Rosalie Moretti. Their talks give him hope for the future, a future possibly to include this vibrant, loving woman. Until one dark, catastrophic afternoon, when Liam realizes the reason his life was spared has come down to minutes and his ability to perform one selfless act.
The warmth of Rosalie’s palm pressed against his free hand. Heat rushed to his cheeks, and between their palms, his skin dampened. He laced his fingers with hers. With the pad of his thumb, he traced the top of her hand. Her skin was so smooth. Were all women this soft, or had he just never noticed?
She tugged him forward, and loath to release his hold, he followed her up the steps.
He cast one quick glance over his shoulder toward the city livery and blacksmith shop. He should return to his beat, walk around the tank, and chase away the lads and lasses who’d come with their pails to collect the constantly dripping molasses.
But when he looked back at Rosalie, a secretive smile teased the edges of her full lips, as though she were aware of her own seductive power over him. And like a green lad, fresh off the boat, he allowed her to lead him inside.

Buy Links: 

Thanks for joining us for coffee. Come back soon!

                 How Manuscript Gremlins Breed: 11 Potential Errors
                                                    by Ally Shields 

I've just completed several rounds of edits, copyedits and galleys. If I've learned nothing else, I'm convinced manuscript gremlins, those pesky little errors, creep in and breed when you're not looking. Seriously. There's no other explanation for finding them time...after time...after time.

Or is there?

Could it be that revision/corrections can create their own errors? Heaven forbid.

And yet, think about it. What happens every time you change a word and move text? Did you get rid of all the old text? Is the new punctuation correct? Is the new text consistent with what comes before and after?

In order to minimize introducing new errors in the editing/revision phases, here are eleven things to watch for when deleting, changing, or adding text:

1. orphaned
words and phrases
2. missing words, especially articles like a, an, and the
3. repeated/over-used words (not just in that sentence but look at the rest of the page)
4. misplaced quotation marks or backwards quotation marks
5. text that needs different punctuation than before - maybe a question mark instead of a period
6. consistent capitalization
7. inconsistency in facts: descriptions, etc.
8. time line errors

9. extra spaces or lack of spacing
new misspelled words

11. unintended format changes


I'm not sure we ever get them all -
they're tenacious and elusive creatures -
but we owe it to our publishers, editors, and readers to keep trying!

Is there another type of manuscript gremlin you find especially pesky?
Unmask him in the comments! :)