Welcome to another Coffee Chat!
This week's author is Will Bly, who writes unusual urban fantasies, as you'll see from his short story collection entitled Creatures.
Welcome, Will! What may I get you to drink?
WILL: Ever since I researched J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings for my M.A. thesis, I’ve promoted the collaborative qualities of a local pub and a pint of beer. It’s tough here in the USA because more and more bars are going the way of loud music and more club-like vibes. The smaller and more quiet the dive the better. The more wooden furniture the better. A warm fire during the winter is a huge plus. Pubs, dives, bars, etc. have an ancient history in storytelling and oral traditions. My characters in Ravens in the Sky always find themselves in taverns for this reason. And, oh yes, my coffee comes with 2 sugars and a splash of milk. There seems to be a diminishing need for sugar with age.
Ally: Since it's a little early in the US for a pint of beer, I'll be pouring our coffee. :) Why don't you introduce yourself to readers?
Will is a library manager and instructor of English. He graduated from the University of Auckland, New Zealand with a Master of Arts in English. His extensive work on Tolkien inspires an independent writing career in dark speculative fiction. As an author he is most known for writing the dark fantasy/mystery Ravens in the Sky. He lives with his wife and dog on Long Island, New York.
Something unique that isn't in your usual bio: " I’m more of a natural poet than an author of fiction. Poetry came to me early and often -- fiction I’ve had to work at. Knowing this about me helps my readers identify the abstract shadows lurking behind my prose."
Website - www.willbly.com
Twitter - @Will_Bly
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Willbly/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13928890.Will_Bly
Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/Will-Bly/e/B01A4XT512/
INTERVIEW: Ally: With the release of Creatures, you've published both short stories and novels. Did you find the writing very different? Did you have to consciously change your writing style to fit a different format? Compare the two experiences.
WILL: I never thought I’d write short stories in the fantasy genre, and honestly it is very hard to find good short stories in fantasy. It’s the amount of world-building, characterization, rules, and fantastical concepts that are needed. Fantasy is just so epic in nature I could never wrap my head around condensing it into short stories. Like most things I’m not keen on doing, I forced myself into it. I created a laboratory of writing styles, narrative voices, and diverse creatures. Since this format was new to me, I community-sourced help from my writer and reader friends. Anyone who volunteered to beta-read or proofread these stories are plugged in the opening acknowledgments. This serves as a great model that I suggest other indie authors use -- It really helped my stories get to the point where I am unquestionably confident in their quality.
I love these stories for the same reason I have a healthy respect for YA fiction -- they are high on concept and low on fluff. Great reads for the train commute or sneaking in a bit of quiet time. You can spend 15 minutes reading one of these stories and then head back to work with a fresh line of thought to be pondered.
Ally: Creatures is described as dark, and I read the sample. I thought the beginning would appeal to horror readers. Is the atmosphere similar throughout? Is there a common dark thread that ties the stories together?
WILL: As much as I’ve tried bucking the trend, I’m a dark writer -- it’s in my nature. Every time I write something new it begins with better intentions than the final product shows. However, I strive not to be nihilistic or overly cynical because that’s taking the easy way out. Everything I write, no matter how dark and depressing, I try to embed a grain of hope for the reader (and quite honestly, for myself) to hold onto. Admittedly, sometimes I fail and we’re left with a depressing result that will likely stick with us for some time. But that’s okay, because I’m a big proponent of exercising emotions we don’t necessarily go seeking out -- feelings such as sadness, guilt, and regret. I leave it to the reader to uncover the golden nuggets of hope I hide in my work.
Ally: Okay, you've written "the end" on your manuscript. Now what? Take us through your revision/editing process until you're ready for submission.
WILL: The honor of the first proofread falls upon my wife. She goes through the manuscript and raises questions and issues I don’t address. I go through the manuscript again, then send it through a gauntlet of freelance beta readers and editors. I read it through again and tweak the finer points, and then submit. I keep a running list of anything that may slip through the cracks and submit new fixes annually. So my work keeps getting better year in, year out. None of my pieces are simply left as they are.
The big advantage of writing short stories is the ability to community-source the quality control of the material. A novel is obviously a much larger commitment on the part of the editor / proofreader / beta reader. Since these stories are 15 or so minute reads a piece, it’s asking much less out of people to read little pieces of the whole. I am able to get more people to take little nibbles out of book by reviewing a short story or two. In turn, they still enjoy full experience with less time invested (and they get credit from me for the work they do). Consequently, Creatures is the most finely-tuned product I’ve released.
Ally: What's the next writing project on your agenda?
WILL: I recently finished the first draft of Raven’s Bane, the sequel to Ravens in the Sky, so we are post-processing that. My next project is a YA fantasy novel called Codex of Threya, in which rainbows aren’t arcs but full circles, tying a fantasy world to our own through portals. It’s based on the first story I ever wrote as a child, and yes -- it has leprechauns (though not quite the leprechauns we’ve known -- they are more like naturific fairies with cloaking magic). I’m excited that it has more of a fully-formed love story to buoy my dark tendencies. There are familiar themes of loss and finding oneself, but there is also the excitement of youthful courtship. The main relationship isn’t as complicated as fans of Ravens in the Sky might expect, lol.
Ally: Let's finish up with these short answer questions:
- a. a supernatural power you'd love to have: Immortality
- b. a song on your current playlist: Lost in the Cold - Twiddle
- c. last movie you saw in a theater: Deadpool
- d. favorite Olympic sport (summer or winter games): Curling. (Weird, I know.)
- e. a dream vacation destination: A cabin in the woods. The location doesn’t matter as much as the time. I’d love to have a few months of solitude in nature to tippity type to my heart’s desire.
Ally: It's been a pleasure to chat with you, Will. I hope you'll visit again - maybe when that YA fantasy is written. :) Before you go, please tell us a little more about Creatures...
Book blurb Creatures is a collection of short stories written for the suburban reader. These fantasies take place in our libraries, our backyards, our roads, our wineries, and in our minds.
Dark and whimsical, Creatures is a deeply introspective journey through suburban anxiety.
Creatures includes five urban fantasy shorts:
● “A Conversation in Darkness” is an introduction to a dragon who is hellbent on destroying humanity.
● “All the Right Things” is written from the POV of a human but features a talking raccoon with nothing left to live for.
● “The Book Goblin” follows a librarian as he defends himself from a goblin who is angry about the lack of books being read.
● “Bloody Bagel” takes place from the eyes of a seagull in a Mcdonald’s parking lot who works up the courage to face the big boss holding him down.
● “An Indignant Living” follows a woodchuck who risks everything for a bite of heaven.
I also included an extra bonus which is the first chapter of Raven’s Bane, sequel to Ravens in the Sky.
Rated-R: Although some of the urban fantasies in Creatures are completely clean, there are one or two pieces that make the whole of the book a firm rated R. One story is written from the point of view of an exasperated Long Islander. Long Islanders, uh, tend to swear a lot. Blame the narrator, not me! Buy Links Only available at Amazon:
Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!
Good Morning, Booklovers!
Our chat this week is with Karen McCullough, who writes mystery, fantasy, and romantic suspense. Today she brought her mystery, Wired for Murder. Welcome, Karen! How do you take your coffee?
KAREN: I love, love, love coffee, and I’m a bit of a snob about it. I buy high-quality, fresh-ground coffee and use a slow drip machine. I add a half teaspoon of Splenda and just enough milk to lighten it a bit. Oddly, I don’t like real cream in my coffee. The taste of the cream masks the taste of the coffee itself rather than enhancing it.
Ally: Nothing is beyond my magic pot, so that cup of Joe will be coming right up. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.
Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Daphne, Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "This is hard because I’m so danged ordinary. There’s the fact that I love licorice (black, not the fake red stuff). Most people seem to find this weird, which I totally don’t get. Those black jelly beans are the best! (And I usually get to collect all of them, since no one else wants them.)"
Contact the Author:
Ally: Describe the evolution of your main character in Wired for Murder. What came first? Character or plot? How did you pick the name, physical attributes, personality, etc.?
KAREN: Actually in this case, the setting itself came first. As a former editor at several trade publications, I’ve attended a number of trade shows and talked to probably hundreds of people involved, from the staff of the centers where they're held to exhibitors, attendees, service people and other members of the press covering the event. At the very first trade show I attended I realized it would make a perfect setting for a murder mystery or a series. The contained time period and place; the cast of characters, many of whom know each other and are often friends, competitors, enemies, and sometimes even lovers; and the high stakes, taken together provide the perfect ingredients for a tense story.
Then I knew that the character I needed for my amateur detective would have to be someone who worked at the Market Center and knew how the business ran, who met and talked to the people involved on a daily basis, someone who might have a realistic chance to learn more about the situation than the police could hope to in the short space of time that a trade show takes. So I came up with my heroine, Heather McNeil, assistant to the director of the Market Center, a good listener and a good problem-solver, the kind of person people talk to and spill their guts to on occasion.
Beyond that, I can’t really tell you exactly how I came up with the rest of her attributes. A lot of times it feels like I’m not so much inventing a character as meeting her in my head. I see what she looks like and as the story develops I learn more about who she is by what she says and the way she reacts to events.
Ally: I know you write in several genres. What are the pros and cons of multi-genre writing? Does switching genres require an entire new mindset? Do you ever have more than one book in different genres going at a time?
KAREN: I love writing in multiple genres. It seems that allowing myself that leeway sets my imagination free to roam wherever it will. I think it keeps my brain fresher to be moving around in different types of stories. I don’t think it really requires different mindsets to move from one genre to another, but it does require that you’ve read widely enough in each genre to understand the its conventions. Romance, mysteries, fantasy, and paranormal all come with different sets of reader expectations. You can play with those, sometimes, and stretch the limits, but as a writer you have to know what they are. If you’re going to write a paranormal story that involves vampires, for instance, you need to know what the folklore and tradition say about them. If your vampire can go out in sunlight, you have to be ready to explain why it’s possible for them, when the expectation is that they can’t handle it.
The downside of writing in multiple genres is that it’s a terrible career move. Readers often like one kind of story that you write and may not follow you into a different genre. A reader who likes my mysteries often does not want to read my fantasies or be interested in my paranormal stories. Major publishers don’t like stories that cross genres or authors who don’t write similar stories time and again. And even with independent publishing, success depends very much on building readership for a particular kind of story. If I were a faster writer I might be able to put out two or three stories a year in each genre, but I’m not that quick. So, I’ve pretty much ruled out ever achieving best-seller status.
I almost always have more than one book going at a time, often in different genres. When I get to a sticking point in one book, I can change to another and write on that one for a while. It helps to refresh my brain to think about something different for a bit.
Ally: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a hobby or a special activity you love?
KAREN: I enjoy reading, gardening, travel, and sports on television. I read widely, mostly in the genres I write, but also nonfiction and news stories. It’s only in the last few years, as my children have grown up and moved on that travel has become a real option. My husband isn’t as enthusiastic about it as I am, but he goes along and always enjoys our trips. It helps that my son lives in England, so we get to go there periodically to visit. Last summer we met him and his family in Rome and did some travel around Italy. I love Italy, but I also want to see a lot more of Europe and the rest of the world. There’s a lot of the U.S. I’ve never visited as well. I really want to take one of those European river cruises. And maybe the Alaska cruise. Or one to the Caribbean. The bucket list is long.
Ally: What is your next writing project? When will we see it in the bookstores?
KAREN: I’m working on the third book in the Market Center Mysteries Series, with the possible title of A Perfect Home for Murder. Since the original publisher for the Market Center Mysteries cut their mystery line, I’m self-publishing the rest of the series. That means the next book will release when it’s finished, been beta-read, then edited and copy-edited. I hope within the next year I’ll have the next one done and ready to release but there are no guarantees.
Ally: Try these five short answer questions:
Ally: It's been a pleasure to meet you. Thanks for chatting with us! Before you go, we'd love to hear more about Wired for Murder...
- a. Most unusual thing in your handbag: -- A beautifully carved and polished little wooden perfume dispenser. It was something I gave to my mother for a Christmas present years ago. I found it cleaning out her apartment after she died, and I’ve kept it and use it myself now. It’s a beautiful object in itself, and it reminds me of her every time I pull it out.
- b. Favorite TV show: -- NCIS
- c. Do you listen to music while writing? -- No. Music is too distracting
- d. If you were a color, what would it be? -- Blue – calm, quiet, but elegant
- e. Typical breakfast: -- An omelet or a couple of sausage patties with whatever fruit is available.
Wired for Murder (Market Center Mysteries Book 2)
Heather McNeil, assistant to the director of the Washington DC Market Show Center, handles many of the day-to-day issues that arise during the shows, exhibits, and conferences being held there. The first day of the Business Technology Exposition provides her with plenty of opportunities to demonstrate her skill at settling disputes, refereeing arguments, and even breaking up fights.
When the president of industry-leader MegaComp has a very public argument with a man who accuses the company of stealing an important technical concept, she watches it but doesn’t have to intervene. Later, though, the accuser returns a phone call from Heather, and she becomes an unwilling audience to his murder.
Heather is more than happy to leave the investigation to the police, but she’s the person everyone talks to and she soon learns more than she wanted to know about the victim and all the people who didn’t like him very much, including several who might have motives for murder. Read an Excerpt
Buy Links:Ebook: Amazon Kindle Nook iTunes Kobo Smashwords Trade Paperback
A Gift for Murder (Market Center Mysteries Book 1): Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Murder-Market-Center-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00CGKYNT6
Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!
Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!
Pull up a chair, grab your drinks, and join the chat with Rosalie Redd, a writer of fantasy, paranormal, and scifi, liberally sprinkled with romance...and an 18+ rating. Sorry, young readers, this is a Mom and/or Dad day!
Welcome, Rosalie! What can I get you to drink?
ROSALIE: Lol--I don't drink coffee! Water is my preferred drink, and isn't that sad, but I do like a good hot chocolate now and then.
Ally: Since we have the best hot chocolate, I'll fix that right up while you introduce yourself.
Ally: You've written both short stories and novels. What criteria determine which a story will be? What are the main differences in your writing approach?
ROSALIE: With novels, you have the luxury of delving into sub-plots and expanding on the backstory and/or world building. In short stories, you have to get right into the action. My Love in a Bottle short stories are a spin-off from my Worlds of Lemuria: Earth Colony series. A love potion created on the planet Lemuria falls through a portal and lands on Earth. A human woman finds the bottle and opens it. Each of my Love in a Bottle series is a couple who experience the bottle. I kept these stories short and to the point for each couple, but they all get a happily ever after!
Ally: What is your writing schedule? Full time/part time, morning/night, every day/weekends only? Do you have a special place or a writer's cave?
ROSALIE: I retired from my accounting job a couple of years ago and have the privilege to write full time. I typically read email, post on FB, and check my 'to do' list first thing in the morning. Once done, I head right into writing or editing or brainstorming depending on where I'm at on my current WIP. I have a small desk where I spend most of my time, but if it's nice outside, I'll sit on the deck and try not to get distracted by the hummingbirds!
Ally: Looking back, what things do you wish you'd known when you wrote and published your first manuscript? Were there big surprises along the way?
ROSALIE: Oh, man, these are great questions. When I first published, I had no idea how much time the administrative and marketing side of the business would take. Wow, I felt like a tidal wave had rushed over me. The time commitment can be overwhelming. Plan, plan, plan, that's the best advice I can give. Oh, and have chocolate nearby.
Ally: What's your next writing project?
ROSALIE: My current WIP is Unimaginable Lover, book 3 in my Worlds of Lemuria: Earth Colony series. Here's the back cover blurb: With his pride and honor on the line, Lemurian Council Leader Tanen takes on a solo mission to bring a traitor to justice. Mortally wounded during the hunt, he’s rescued by an enchanting female who nurses him back to health. Despite the passion that burns between them, she’s human…and therefore, forbidden. Distraction is the last thing he needs while on the trail of a dangerous criminal.
Broken promises and ruined love hardened Sheri’s heart, or so she thought, until she finds an injured and extraordinarily sexy man on her property. Pulled into a world she never imagined, she is torn between the lessons she learned from her rough past and the need to seek solace in Tanen’s arms. If only she can trust him, and herself, to let go of her fear.
Ally: Last question is actually five short answer questions:
Ally: Thanks for visiting with us, Rosalie! Before you go, tell us more about your short story, Come to Me.
- a. favorite color of nail polish: Nail polish? What's that?
- b. a favorite author you read (any genre): Nadine Mutas - paranormal romance
- c. high heels, sneakers, or sandals: Sneakers, hands down
- d. favorite after-five drink: margarita
- e. a person you admire (living or dead): Patrick Swayze
A Lemurian god’s love potion falls through a portal and lands in Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park. Once discovered, the alluring liquid can ignite adventure and passion, perhaps leading to a meant-to-be love for those that open it—if they're brave enough to take the risk.
Cassandra Forsyth has a secret crush on a man she believes will never notice her. Adam Harkness doesn’t feel worthy of the tall, beautiful, yet shy, Cassandra. When they find themselves alone on a hike in Forest Park and discover an unusual bottle with a tempting fluid inside, their true passion inflames the hidden desires tucked away in their hearts.
Buy Links: (18+)
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Come back soon!
We've made it to the mid-point of the week again, and it's time for another author interview and book talk! I'd like to welcome Barb Caffrey, author of the Elfy series of YA urban fantasy/romance.
How do you take your coffee, Barb?
BARB: With a little cream, and all poured over ice, in deference to the current heat wave.
Ally: While I get the mugs, please introduce yourself.
Barb Caffrey is the author of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, which together comprise the Elfy duology, and the co-author of several shorter pieces of military SF set in her late husband Michael B. Caffrey's Atlantean Union universe. Shorter works have been published in many places, with the most recent being REALMS OF DARKOVER. She lives and works in Wisconsin, is a huge baseball fan (Go, Brewers, go!), loves dogs (and cats), follows politics, and is recovering from a nasty reality TV addiction.
Hmmm...what's not in my usual bio? Does playing the saxophone and clarinet count?
My blog: Barb Caffrey's Elfyverse http://elfyverse.wordpress.com
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barb.caffrey.1
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbCaffrey
My Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Ally: You're both a writer and an editor. Do you prefer writing your own stories or polishing for others?
BARB: I enjoy both writing and editing, but in some senses it's easier for me to fix someone else's work than it is to fix my own. I can see what someone else is doing -- what's actually on the page, as opposed to what I think is there -- far easier than I can see what I'm doing, most of the time. But there's nothing quite like the rush I get after writing one to two thousand words that exactly fit the mood and story I'm working on...they're not exactly the same skill-set, writing and editing, but the skills for one carry over to the skills of the other. (Though the hardest thing as a writer is to turn Editor Voice off. I'm still working on that one.)
Ally: What was the inspiration for the Elfy books?
BARB: My inspiration comes from three places. One was my late husband Michael, who was one of the most encouraging people I've ever been around. The second was an anthology I read -- I now can't remember the name of it -- where the editor said something to the effect that the stories in that antho wouldn't be "the normal Elfie-welfie stuff." And the third was a dream I had after that, where a short young man dressed all in black came to me and said, "It's not like that!" and proceeded to tell me just what Elfy-welfie stuff was (yes, he insisted on the change from -ie to -y) and why he wanted no part of it, thanks.
I woke up from that dream, not long after my honeymoon, and told Michael about it. Rather than looking at me like I was an idiot, as I would assume most men would do, he said, "Well, then. You have to write about this, and figure out who this guy is, now, don't you?" with a big smile on his face.
And I proceeded to do just that.
Ally: Have you always written for a YA audience?
BARB: Most of what I write does seem inclined toward that YA/NA border, but I'm not quite sure why. Maybe my subconscious figures there are more stories to be told there?
And the main difference between writing stories for a younger audience and an adult audience is more in how you look at things. Kids may feel cynical, but usually their cynicism isn't bone-deep as of yet, so it seems more possible to have adventures. First love, too, is a little more innocent, and deals more with how things actually feel rather than "put slot A into tab B" (as Lois McMaster Bujold's wonderful character Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan once put it).
I see a lot of hope in that.
Ally: What's your next writing project? Do you plan further books for the Elfy characters?
BARB: My next writing project is a New Adult romantic fantasy set in our world, CHANGING FACES. It's about Master's students, both clarinetists, in Nebraska; one is transgender, the other is not, and they are in love. How they manage to learn enough about one another to marry and stay together is the main story; the fantasy element is in how this happens -- how they "change faces," and both become transgender, because they view love as the most important thing. If their bodies have to change in order to stay together and understand each other more, so be it.
Tentatively, CHANGING FACES is due out in September. (I'm still working on it as we speak, so wish me luck with that!)
And yes, I definitely plan more Elfy books. I have a prequel, KEISHA'S VOW, set in 1954, and a sequel trilogy in the works. And I hope to be releasing a stand-alone novelette, "Trouble with Elfs," for Kindle in the not-so-distant future.
Ally: Try a few short answer questions:
a. manicure or pedicure: Pedicure.
b. favorite singer or group: Alice in Chains
c. a dream vacation: Alaskan cruise (in the middle of summer, with lots of stops to see the historic sites)
d. favorite flower: Pink carnation
e. your best reading spot? My best reading spot is curled up in a corner, maybe with a blanket tucked around my legs if it's a bit chilly. There's some coffee (or maybe tea, for variety) at my elbow and a plate of nibbles next to it, in case I get hungry. The best light is there, too, so I never have to strain to read...altogether a perfect place!
Ally: It's been a pleasure to chat with you. Best of luck with your books. Now, let's take a look at A Little Elfy in Big Trouble...
A Little Elfy in Big Trouble
Young Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly-human teenage girlfriend, are in deep trouble. Bruno’s Elfy mentor Roberto the Wise is about to be sacrificed by a Dark Elf, and Sarah’s parents have decided to help the Elf rather than the Elfy. Things look bleak and are getting worse by the minute, but Bruno and Sarah have a number of allies — human, Elfy, and ghosts — that the Dark Elf can’t possibly expect. Can young love, desperation, and great unexpected power win out despite it all?
Bruno took Sarah’s hand and led her back outside. He looked with his mage senses, and felt nothing; no Elfy magic, no Human magic, and as far as he could tell, no Elf magic, Dark or Bright.
He put up a light shield that should help conceal their voices, and decided it was safe enough to talk for a bit.
“Tomorrow is Ba’altinne, Sarah.” Bruno rubbed his fingers through his hair and tried not to look too hard at Sarah. Goddess, she was beautiful. But he had to stay on topic. “That’s your May Day. Tomorrow.” He shook his head and tried not to frown. “How can we get everything together in time to stop Dennis the Dark Elf?”
“I have faith in you,” she said. Her eyes darkened. Bruno felt as if he were falling, before she gently brushed her lips against his.
Links, including link to sample chapters:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-little-elfy-in-big-trouble-barb-caffrey/1123003283?ean=2940157950910
Sample chapters: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ElfyinBigTrouble_ch1.html
(Check here for Barb's prior visit with the first Elfy novel, An Elfy on the Loose .)
Thx for spending time with us! Come back soon.
It's Wednesday again, booklovers!
Bridges DelPonte, author of mystery, fantasy and scifi novels, is joining us for this week's coffee break and book talk.
Welcome, Bridges! What may I pour you to drink?
BRIDGES: The aroma of coffee is great, but I drink tea, caffeinated and black. In the morning, I usually drink Irish or English breakfast. Earl Grey is my favorite for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Ally: While I get our drinks ready, please introduce yourself to readers.
Bridges DelPonte has published two novels and short stories in the fantasy, mystery and science fiction genres and three non-fiction books and numerous articles in the legal, travel and business fields. Her paranormal contemporary fantasy, Bridles of Poseidon - The Last Emissary Series, was a finalist for a Royal Palm Literary Award for Florida writers (unpublished fantasy). Her mystery, Deadly Sacrifices - A Marguerite Montez Mystery, won a Royal Palm Literary Award (2d place – unpublished mystery). When she is not writing, she teaches law courses, creates educational game apps and lives happily in sunny Florida.
Something unique about Bridges that isn't in her regular bio: "One summer, I lived and worked on my own in Australia after a divorce. I didn’t know a single person in Sydney so I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. It was quite an adventure and a personally-transforming experience. Did amazing hikes (“bushwalks”) in the Blue Mountains, Northern Territory and Tasmania (Hobart, TAS ends up as a location in Bridles). Snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef several times, but thankfully never ran into a Great White Shark."
To learn more about Bridges DelPonte and her writing, please visit her
Author web site: http://www.bridgesdelponte.com
Amazon Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/Bridges-DelPonte/e/B00BW7BZYU
Author blog: https://bridgesdelponte.wordpress.com
Author e-mail: email@example.com
Ally: Since you write in so many genres, what type of book did you bring today? Is there romance?
BRIDGES: Bridles of Poseidon is the first book in a paranormal contemporary fantasy series. Our fierce heroine, Aquan, a shape-shifting Triton, faces a growing attraction to a “bad boy” dive boat captain, Dave Cutter. Any romantic attachments to humans (“Surface Dwellers”) are strictly forbidden in her undersea culture at Rapture’s End. Aquan is conflicted between her culture’s taboos and her growing attraction to Cutter. Personally, I prefer romances that leave more up to the imagination so my heat rating is mild/moderate.
Ally: Talk about your main character and her unusual abilities.
BRIDGES: Aquan is a shape-shifting Triton, raised by her aunt and a mentor, Mopsus. Mopsus helped her to develop her ability as an Emissary to shape-shift into real and mythical sea creatures and any living thing, including humans. As the last known Emissary, she thrives on her independence and her ability to travel between land and sea. Although 100 years old, she is a young woman in her world where Tritons live thousands of years. Like any young person, she is impatient with the restrictions of the Elder Council and the demands of being an Emissary. Despite being in her first mating season, she is not interested in any of her peers, preferring to make her own rules and go on her own adventures.
Ally: What came first, your shifter or the setting? How do they complement one another?
BRIDGES: The setting definitely came first. I am an ocean person, having grown up with family vacations on Cape Cod. A couple of years ago, I got lucky and rented a small apartment in Jacksonville Beach, FL, right across the street from the beach. I can’t resist the salty scent of ocean air and the hypnotic roar of the waves—they totally relax me. I’ve always enjoyed the Irish myth about Selkies or Seal Women, but I wanted to update it to an independent, kick-ass mermaid—Jason Bourne with gills.
Ally: Who had the greatest influence on your writing and in what way?
BRIDGES: As a kid, I enjoyed reading Greek and Roman mythology. The intricate world-building, the mysterious powers and the complicated personal relationships always drew me in. I think they fired my young imagination and got me writing both fantasy and mystery stories. Bridles of Poseidon is definitely influenced by those elements of classical mythology. The fact that people across the globe still read them today is a true testament to the power of their story-telling.
Ally: What's your next writing project?
BRIDGES: I like to alternate between projects to keep things fresh and moving along. I’m dabbling in my first children’s picture book about magical little creatures with a friend who is an illustrator. I am also writing the second novel in my Marguerite “Monty” Montez mystery series and scoping out the next volume in Aquan’s Last Emissary series. So I am busy stoking the pipeline while balancing my fiction writing with my teaching job.
Ally: Try your hand at a few short answer questions:
- a. favorite shade of lipstick: Divine Wine is my favorite—red, but understated.
- b. what's at the top of your TBR pile? I like to sample some of the best work in a given field because I learn more about the craft of writing and can discover new authors to seek out. I have a stack of “Best of” anthologies in the fantasy, mystery and science fiction genres calling my name.
- c. a memorable vacation: This year, my husband and I travelled to Mesa Verde and Chimney Rock in southwest Colorado. There is stunning and diverse natural beauty at every turn and the mystical vibes of these ancient places are truly tangible and profound.
- d. favorite holiday: Thanksgiving rules! Sitting around the table with people you love, sharing good food, wine and conversation, can’t be beat.
- e. a guilty pleasure: Getting a big bucket of popcorn and going to the movies in the middle of the week is such a guilty pleasure. I don’t do it enough, but I feel like a kid playing hooky from school when I do.
Ally: What an enjoyable visit! Thank you for coming. Let's finish today with a look at your book, Bridles of Poseidon...
Aquan, a fearless Triton, uses her unique power to transform into real and mythical creatures to police the boundaries of land and sea from rebel forces. When her fellow Tritons are savagely massacred on the eve of her first mating season, Aquan reluctantly teams up with Key West dive boat captain, Dave Cutter, and marine biologist, Jen Ortiz, in a world-wide hunt across the lost sister cities of Atlantis. In this thrilling adventure, Aquan must not only unlock her true power, but confront disturbing revelations about the deaths of her parents and dangerous political intrigue in her once-peaceful society at Rapture's End. Ultimately, this young Triton faces a terrible choice between preventing another Great Deluge or destroying the future survival of her own underwater community, now torn apart by discord and treachery. Set in exotic locales, this paranormal contemporary fantasy is the first installment in The Last Emissary series. Rebooting traditional myths about mermaids, Aquan will intrigue readers with her shifting identities, genders, races, and species—real and mythical—immersing readers in a truly unique and exciting underwater world.
Bridges’s Buy Link: Print and Kindle e-book
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