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Welcome, booklovers!

It's time for our weekly get-together to discuss books and meet another author. MS Kaye, a writer of romantic suspense, is visiting today.

What would you like to drink, Melissa?

Steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Ally:  Sounds yummy on a crisp fall day! While my magic pot gets to work, please introduce yourself.

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
Something unusual about her: She has her motorcycle license.

Contact the Author:

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

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

Ally:  What genre book did you bring to share? Do you always write in the same genre? Why or why not?

YA paranormal. Nope. I cannot be tamed!

Ally:  Does your novel have a villain? What puts him or her in conflict with your main character?

Yes. He wants to blackmail my main characters.

Ally:  Do you use the 3-Act structure for your novels? If not, do you have your own structure? Do you outline your plot?

I don’t diagram my plot structure, but I do outline my books.

Ally:  What is your next writing project?

I just started the final book in my Taken series. Romantic suspense. I don’t have a clear summary of the plot yet, but the first book is about a young woman who’s kidnapped by the son of a mobster. She has to uncover his past in order to understand her own.

Ally:  Quick answer questions:
  • a. favorite shade of lipsick – is Chapstick a shade?
  • b. high heels or sneakers – barefoot
  • c. a favorite childhood story – A Wrinkle in Time
  • d. last meal you cooked – eggs and toast
  • e. most unusual thing in your closet – martial arts uniform

Ally:  Thanks for joining us! Let's take a look at your books before you get back to writing the next one...



by M.S. Kaye

ISBN: 978-1-939590-50-3


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?

Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble:

MS Kaye's Born from Death series:

Strong as Death,
Book 1

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

Publisher (all formats)  ~  Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble  ~   Smashwords

Awaken from Death,
Book 2

The only emotion Ilona can muster is anger for the death of her mother. Barely engaged in life, she focuses all of her energy on finding and punishing her mother’s killer.

Since Ilona can see ghosts, Archer has to find unique ways to hide while watching over her. When Ilona is in danger of being mauled by a dog, he desperately tries something that shouldn’t be possible. And yet he succeeds. This is just the beginning of his discovery of who—what—he truly is.

Lettie continues to interact with Ilona, her one friend, even when a Messenger warns her. Eventually, Lettie remembers the ancient connection Archer and Ilona share, as well as her part in the punishment Archer bore as a result of that connection.

Amazon   ~   Barnes&Noble   ~   Smashwords   ~   Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Come again soon!

Happy Wednesday, booklovers!

The game is afoot today as we welcome mystery author Jane Gorman and her Adam Kaminski series of whodunits!

How do you like your coffee, Jane?

My favorite is a café renversé, like a café au lait, but adding espresso to the milk instead of the other way around. Even with American coffee, I always start with the milk. And no sugar, please!

Ally: That sounds easy enough. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.


Having worked as an anthropologist, a diplomat and a park ranger, I turned to creative writing as yet another way to visit new worlds and meet new people. And perhaps to get the voices out of my head… I worked briefly in academics after completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology, then shifted gears to become a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, representing U.S. interests at international organizations. I have previously published in the field of political anthropology, I have negotiated international instruments on behalf of the U.S. government, and I have appeared on national television through my efforts to support our nation's cultural heritage.

I live in Cherry Hill, NJ, with my husband, who loves traveling even more than I do and has a voracious appetite for life, two cats who are very picky eaters, and a Pointer-Hound mix who wants nothing more out of life than to eat the cats.

Something unique about me:  I am inspired by water – all kinds of water. Crashing ocean waves, a burbling stream, a rhythmic fountain … even taking a shower can get my creative juices flowing! Whenever I’m stuck for words, I seek out the nearest body of water and focus on that instead.

My links: 

Amazon Author Page:

I blog once a month with a group of fabulous mystery writers at


Ally:  You've called your stories "mysteries that take you places." Can you explain? What made you choose that theme?

Where shall I go today? That’s the question I always ask myself when I’m looking for a new book. Reading takes me to a different place, a different time, maybe even a different planet. And that’s why I write, too. Each of my books takes place in a different city or town around the world. I started with places I know the best – Warsaw, Washington and Philadelphia – and I’m moving on from there to Galway, Provence and more. Because sometimes a good mystery can be the best way to see the world!

Ally:   Authors like to debate what's most important: characters, plot or setting. In truth, it's all three, but most of us start with only one of them in mind. Where do you start and why? Does it change from book to book?

JANE:  It really is all three, isn’t it? When I’m ready to develop a plot, I start with the setting. I decide on a location I know well, and build the story around it. I follow the news, the arts, gossip columns. I tie my story in with real stories from that location but add characters and murders that are pure fiction.

But even before that, at the very beginning (starting with the first book, and then again when each succeeding book is just a sparkle in my eye), I started with a character: Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, a man who is smart, well-read, straightforward, simple (in a good way), and driven by guilt. Adam is a man I know well. Even so, he still knows how to surprise me!

Ally:  What is your favorite form of social media? Why?

JANE:  Facebook is such a great way to stay in touch with old friends and even with family when I’m traveling. But if I’m completely honest, I prefer Twitter. I’ve heard it described as a well-attended cocktail party, everyone jumping into and out of conversations. That’s a great description, and since I’ve never met a cocktail party I didn’t like, I guess it makes sense that I’m a Twitterphile. On Twitter, for me it’s less about writing and more about travel. And wine. And sometimes chocolate.

Ally:  Tell us about your next writing project.

JANE:  What She Fears is a traditional mystery set in Galway.  Visiting Galway in an effort to strengthen his struggling romance and explore his family legacy, Detective Adam Kaminski stumbles onto a murder scene. Quite literally. Now he must find the truth behind the grisly murder of a university professor before he becomes a convenient scapegoat – or convenient target.

5. Quick answer questions:
  • a. If you couldn't write any more, what would you be doing? Gardening
  • b. What living author would you like to take to lunch? Elizabeth George
  • c.  High heels or sneakers? High heels (though to be honest, they’re getting lower these days)
  • d.  Most productive time of day to write: Morning. My brain stops around 1pm.
  • e. An item on your bucket list: Sailing up and down the east coast. Or west coast. Or across the Atlantic!

Ally: It has been a pleasure spending time with you, Jane. I hope you'll visit again. In the meantime, let's give readers a peek at your book, A Blind Eye.


It was a quiet death, a young woman falling into the frigid waters of Warsaw’s Wisła River. The police accept it as suicide, the pressures of a political internship too much to handle. Her father knows it was murder. Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, visiting Poland on an official delegation, gets drawn into the investigation over the objections of his superiors back home. For the dead girl was family, her father a cousin Adam had only just met, and Adam was raised to put family first. 

He begins uncovering the clues that point to the killer, clues that lead him inexorably into an investigation of the close-knit community of Polish politics and the legacy of the Secret Police. But the past isn’t always black and white, as Adam is forced to accept as he learns more about the killer and about his own family legacy. Murder can only beget murder, driven by even deeper secrets.

Buy links


Barnes and Noble:

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Come back soon!

He could lose his life, his love…or reclaim it all.


Twenty years ago, Cedric found his mate’s dead body in a heap at the base of a cliff. Ever since, he has dedicated what’s left of his life to serving the Council. But after a lifetime of being their Enforcer, he’s finally had enough and has asked to be released from his duties. One last job, one last innocent to protect, and then he can disappear.

Until a mysterious woman in the woods offers him something he never dreamed he’d get: a chance to reclaim the love he thought he’d lost forever.

Cedric is overjoyed at a chance to have Taryn back and jumps at the offer. But his last assignment won’t leave him alone to rekindle their relationship. With a warning that Taryn’s time could be limited, and with a dangerous stalker on the loose, Cedric must try to unravel the mystery behind Taryn’s accident twenty years ago. If he plays it wrong, he could lose his love, his career, and his life…or reclaim it all.

Buy Links:


Barnes and Noble: 


After Cedric slipped away without so much as a whisper, Taryn tried not to study the room in the glow of the oven clock, but it was impossible. The stench was overpowering. Someone had tossed something dead onto the table and the bar between the kitchen and dining room. She couldn't tell what it was, but it was small. The size of a large purse or book, but too small for a human body. Or a whole human body.

She tried not to gag and instead concentrated on ideas for the next cake she wanted to make. The first birthday cake would not be too difficult, but she wanted it to be absolutely perfect.

A light flipped on down the hall, and Taryn shut her eyes against the gore in the kitchen. She was pretty sure all the hair stuck to whatever had been tossed around the kitchen was not human. Almost definitely not human. But the shadows allowed just enough room for her imagination to run amok.


She squealed and jumped, holding the knife in front of her and snapping her eyes open. Cedric stood in front of her, gripping a black plastic bag full of something large and very dead, judging from the wretched stench. She slapped a hand over her face to hold back her gag reflex.

"What is that?"

"Road kill. Lots of road kill." The knuckles of Cedric's hand where he gripped the bag were white, and barely controlled rage laced his voice.


"Possum, raccoon, and very angry dead skunks." He glanced around the room. "I hadn't meant for you to go to sleep while I searched the house. Not the best self-defense."

About the Author::

Heather M. Sharpe lives on 6 acres in central Kansas with her husband, perfect little boy, and mother-in-law. Being the mother of a 3 year old boy, her house has been overrun with pets—everything from dogs and cats, ducks and chickens, to turtles and fish. And each night it’s a race between the people and the seven 4-legged pets to fight for room on the bed.  

Author Links:

             The Joys and Trials of Writing in Several Genres
                                           By Joan Leotta

This summer I achieved a writer's hat trick  (ice hockey talk for three successive scores by same person in one game).  None of them is self-published. One is a collection of short stories, another is a romance/mystery/YA and the third is a picture book.  Each is out from a different press and each is in a different genre. It was not my plan to have all three come out in one summer. Two were delayed: one due to my problems with plot, the other because of  my small publisher's schedule and health.  Timing is the Lord's. Working in more than one genre is a joy because it allows me to express my creativity in different ways and a trial because I have to establish a series of relationships with editors  and divide my time to market the books in three different directions. My plan for each marketing line was orderly, but this summer, I have had illness and death in the family and am becoming worn out trying to market all three at once while still writing new material.

The short stories in the collection called Simply a Smile were published by Cane Hollow Press. Many of the included tales were written for contests and several were winners, including one international first prize. Two were published by a national print magazine and two or three by small, web zines. Though varied in genre—mystery, romance, women's fiction—they have one thing in common. Each was inspired by an  object, another obsession of mine as a writer. The first place winner is an ekphrastic tale (inspired by a work of art). It is my goal to market these for enjoyment and by teaching others how to draw stories out of art and ordinary objects, including appearing at middle schools.  But I have only written one email so far in this direction.

Secrets of the Heart is the fourth in my Legacy of Honor series, a set that focuses on Italian-American women and their struggles with the backdrop of serving our nation in time of war. The first, Giulia Goes to War, takes place in World War Two, the second, Letters from Korea during that conflict, the third, A Bowl of Rice , deals with the experiences of a nurse in Vietnam , and the fourth takes place in Rome Italy during Desert Storm (with a prequel of Civil War activity!). These are marketed as romance. I belong to a Romance writers marketing site.

WHOOSH!, my picture book, began as a simple tale of going sledding with my dad.
Writing for children is a high calling and one I only dared to attempt because for the past thirty years I have also been a performer for children (story telling in schools, museums, at fairs and festivals). I love to work with children—what is done for them, lasts. It is still that, and thanks to the marvelous illustrator my publisher chose, it should resonate with urban children. I'm a city girl and I wanted this book on sledding in a park to remain urban.

Actually my eclectic nature is even more diverse than these three examples indicate. I'm a journalist (30 years), a poet (just google me), and a playwright—my first work, Pinpoint Wisdom was produced in Boston this year.  When a topic comes to mind, it "tells" me what form it should be—sometimes the form changes and I rewrite in another form. Pinpoint started out as a short story and then became a poem, and finally, a play. In one day, I might work on a poem, finish an article for the paper, work on a novel, and search for possible publishers of my next picture book.  As an omnivore reader, it's great to be able to indulge my love of each genre by contributing to it.

The disadvantage of my multi-faceted approach to writing is in the time it takes to market to varied genres, the number of organizations I have to belong to  in order to find advice for various genres, and the time it takes to target and arrange book signings and appearances. Add to that several family crises this summer and well, my marketing plan for each of the three and the three together has been shredded.

So, am I scattered or eclectic? Am I broadly talented, or skimming the surface of a number of genres? That is a question only my readers can answer, but I can tell you this—I'm having fun. 

                                                              Author has Hat Trick Summer—three books!

Three of this Calabash, NC award winning journalist and performer's books were released this summer. Moreover, each book is in a different genre! Simply a Smile, is a collection of short stories, the middle book is Joan Leotta's first picture book, and the third is romance/women's fiction.
Buy Links:

Simply a Smile:  Amazon

WHOOSH!:  Amazon

Secrets of the Heart (Legacy of Honor Volume Four):  Amazon

Meet the Author:

For as long as I can remember I have been a writer and a performer. The joy of doing what I love as a profession came to be when in 1982 I left my job at the Department of Labor to stay home with my children. At home with them I began my own business as a writer for local papers in Washington, DC , magazines, and more.

After taking Jennie and Joe to see a storytelling show at Wolf Trap I realized I wanted to do that too, so I took a course at the Kennedy Center, read all I could about story performance, joined the local and national professional groups, watched, told tales and learned. After volunteering as a teller, my son’s preschool hired me to tell and so I began my dual career of writing and telling. Each facet is still equally important to me.

In each side of my creativity I seek to serve an audience, produce and present material respectfully, entertain and edify. It is my sincere hope that my performance, whether on stage or on paper, blesses you, my audience.

Contact Joan:

Through her blog.
If you want her to speak to your group, email her at

Welcome, booklovers! This week we're departing from our normal Coffee Chat to post a guest article by author Lian Penn. I hope you enjoy this insight into her writing process. Take it away, Liah!

                            How I Name Characters in My Novels
                                                By Liah Penn

You probably think there is a science to naming characters. Well, there is. Sort of. Names are just as much a characteristic as the color of my character’s hair, or the way they walk.

My hero has to have the name of a hero: Jack, Blane, Hank, Jude. Single syllables. Hard consonants. The heroine must be appealing. When’s the last time you heard of a sultry heroine named Mildred? Or Agatha? Or Bessie? I give her a strong name with just enough uniqueness to show that she is special. Ada. Elizabeth. Grace. Maya. I look at the phone book or steal the name of a friend. In the case of my book “Pure Death”, I used the name of Ina as the name for the heroine. Ina is the name of a street in Tucson that is named after a pioneering woman. It is strong and unique. It seemed to fit my character perfectly.

Sometimes I name characters after friends or family members. My father, my son, my mother-in-law show up in my novels. A friend who has been supportive gets a role. If I can’t find a name among friends, I resort to the internet, or phone books, or a book propped up on my desk. A name on a spine. A publisher. A poster. Does it roll off the tongue? Is the name more suitable for a dog or a turtle or the five fish in your son’s aquarium? I don’t use it.

The villain can’t be Ashley or Bob. I give my readers something to chew on. Does it feel distasteful in my mouth? Damian. Vincent. Vlad. Somehow, without even knowing it, the reader has discovered the bad guy in my story.
Copyright by Laurie Pennison

About the Author:

Liah Penn is an author and attorney who resides with her husband and two sons just outside of New Orleans, LA.  A former prosecutr, she has practiced law on an Indian reservation, on the Mexican border, and in a small Louisiana town.  A former baseball coach, she is also an accomplished visual artist and potter.  Although she lives in Louisiana, she is a die-hard Red Sox fan having watched many games from the bleacher seats at Fenway.

My email is;  I can be found on Twitter @liahpenn and Facebook under Liah Penn.

PURE DEATH (An Ina Stone and Sam Fujimoto Mystery)

An Impure world, a perfect murder...

A murdered society debutante, her body sprinkled with 89 Costa Rican butterflies. A headless, gutted corpse washed up on shore with a beautiful, dead teenager. The case is anything but straightforward, and in an uncertain future, where resources are limited and the genetically defective are banished to a ghetto territory for Impures, Chief Detective Ina Stone and her partner, rookie detective Sam Fujimoto, must cross into Pure Territory to find a killer. An Impure herself, Ina must overcome her defect. And when her life is threatened, she must learn to rely on Sam, whose interest in her seems more than just professional.

Yet the Pures may have created a world in which even they don't want to live anymore. Resources have become too scarce to hide, and a black market for medicine comes to light. When a third murder is discovered, Ina and Sam know there's a connection. With too many suspects and not enough time, they must find that connection before the killer strikes again.

Buy Links:  Amazon           B & N           Etopia Press

It's Wednesday again, booklovers!

Please welcome author Cheryllynn Dyess who brings us her paranormal fantasy,
Born of The Veil!

How do you take your coffee, Cheryllynn?

With coconut sugar and Irish Cream creamer!!!

Ally: Perfect. While I prepare our drinks, why don't you introduce yourself to our readers?


Cheryllynn's vivid imagination comes through in all she does in life. Her writing started in junior high and although she never truly shared her work until recently, she kept them hidden away in an old tattered orange folder. Original works she wrote from 1984 still holding ink on the pages are now being shared. Science Fiction and Fantasy are her favorite genres with mystery and thrillers in close running.

Born in Northwest Florida and raised in Southeast Georgia she gained a love for nature and the outdoors. After almost twenty years in the health care industry and obtaining her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration/Healthcare Information Systems she has returned to her love of writing. Currently living in Central Texas with two of her three children, she has begun a new chapter in life that has opened her heart and soul to many great adventures. Her dreams are to one day return to her native homes and settle in for life with her kids and all her family and to continue writing.

And something unusual: In school I played the trombone, loved it! Not many people think of me playing that instrument.

My links to the World:

Amazon Author Page
Authors Den
Personal Website

Ally: What type of books do you write? Do you write in more than one genre? Or under more than one name?

CD:  Currently I write fantasy / paranormal / ya under the name Cheryllynn Dyess, but I am looking at an adult series that will be under the name Stormy June.

Ally:   What makes your heroine unusual or appealing enough to have a book written about her?

CD:  In Born of The Veil, Tara is a young woman plagued with visions and visits from the dead and demons. She finds out that she is also Immortal. She is strong, funny and determined.

Ally:  What's the best advice you've received as a writer?

CD:  I was told to write what was natural to me, not to force it. I absolutely agree with this advice. Be yourself no matter what.

Ally:  What's your next writing project?

CD:  I have a few pieces in the works that are follow-ups to others I have out already and then one that is a stand-alone called Diamond Diaries. Diamond Diaries will be a journal type book from the view of a diamond through the course of time and its adventures.

Ally: That's a very unusual premise. Sounds really interesting.
Now it's time for a few quick answer questions:
  • a. If you could be any paranormal creature or person, what would it be? Fairy… always loved them.
  • b. A guilty pleasure: Oh my, let's see…Cheezits…
  • c. What's your favorite accessory?  Rings and earrings.
  • d. Favorite nail polish color: Purple
  • e. Favorite after-five drink: Vodka and anything.

Ally: I've loved having you on the blog, and let's end on a high note. Please tell readers a little about your book...

Born of The Veil blurb:

The dead are all around us.

Tara can see them, hear them, and help them. All her life she has battled with this gift...curse.

Only her mother and best friend know the truth. Then she meets a stranger in a historic graveyard and he changes her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Tara was born already a member of a secret society known as The Veil. They are immortal and their mission is to help everyone they can. She is shown how to handle her gifts and discovers even more on her journey.

With the gift of immortality, Tara still battles one curse that has been there her entire life. Demons! Demons have tried to attack her as long as she can remember.

Can she learn to use her gifts?
Can she trust those around her?
Can she conquer her nightmares?
Can she finally be free?

YouTube Book Trailer:

Buy Links:

amazon uk -
amazon au
amazon ca

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