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NaNoWriMo Winner!


I validated my *NaNoWritMo win today with 63,000 words on a first draft of Ghost Walking (A Maggie York Paranormal). Still lots of work to do, but a great start with new characters I really enjoy writing.

Congratulations to all the participants who hung in there and reached their 50K goal this November!

*National Novel Writing Month

Have a wonderful holiday from our house to yours...


It's Wednesday, Booklovers!

You're invited for book talk and a chat with another awesome author! This week's guest is Kayelle Allen, romance author and a great friend to other authors.

Welcome, Kayelle! How do you take your coffee?

I like Starbucks, and want it sweetened with agave and pale with cream.

Ally:  Perfect. While my magic coffee pot gets our mugs filled, please introduce yourself.


Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

And something unique that isn't in her bio? I am a veteran, and served in the US Navy. I met my husband while on active duty. We were assigned to the same base, and met in orientation. We had joined the same day, and ended our enlistment the same time. We are still married (43 years this December). He is the love of my life. (Note from Ally: Thanks for your service, Kayelle. I hope you both had a great Veterans' Day.)

Contact the author:

Unstoppable Heroes Blog

Ally:  What made you decide to write romance novels? Do you stick with one sub-genre or many?

KA:  I love writing, and romance has many readers in multiple genres. Since I write scifi, scifi romance, fantasy, contemporary romance, gay scifi romance, and non-fiction, this is a good fit for me. I can't write just one thing. My imagination is on hyper drive. I'm never at a loss for ideas and have trouble narrowing down what I want to say. I tend to write complex stories with lots of plot and characterization. It's always the people in the stories, isn't it? That's what I like to create, and writing romance allows me to do that. I* make readers a promise. I promise them a great roller coaster ride of a story that brings excitement, fun, and takes them in directions they didn't expect. I can do all of that within a love story.

Ally:  Which part of writing do you enjoy the most: first draft or revision/editing. Has that preference changed over time?

KA:  Oh the editing, probably. I do enjoy worldbuilding, and creating, but the joy of seeing the words become precise is more satisfying. I enjoy seeing comments by beta readers and editors. It's good to know when I've made a difference. Perhaps I started out preferring the creation process, but over time, I've learned to appreciate sharpening the tools.

Ally:   Many writers owe you for helping us connect with each other and with online resources. Please tell readers about Marketing for Romance Writers: what it is, how it got started, and your hopes for its future.

KA:  Thank you. It's gratifying to hear that. When I was a new writer, I learned there were a few friends like me who studied not only the craft of writing but also the craft of marketing. They learned tips and tricks and would share them. We emailed each other. I started noticing that I'd get the same question from different people and would end up writing the answer to all of them. One day, I thought -- there's got to be a better way to do this. I'm repeating myself endlessly.

I had a Yahoo group for myself, as many authors did, so I decided to start one for authors who had marketing questions. Many times over the years I've regretted calling it Marketing for Romance Writers, and wished I had just called it Marketing for Writers. We have members who have never written romance, but they have the same questions. I began the group with about twelve people and remember being excited when we reached a hundred members. Then we reached five hundred. By then, I realized this was going to be huge. The Yahoo group now has over 2300 members, and as I write this, there are 5680 members on our Facebook group. We have blogs, a Pinterest page with 72 boards and over 1000 pins. We're on Goodreads, Twitter, and Triberr. We've done blog hops, and had workshops and seminars. All this with a volunteer staff and no budget. This October 31st, it will 9 years since I created the group. It's been amazing to see what you can do when you work together to help other authors. For anyone who wants to know more, here are our links. We promote for one another at no cost.

MFRW Website
MFRW Yahoo -
Twitter our hashtags are #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #MFRWhooks
Facebook group
Facebook page

Ally:  Thanks for giving readers that overview. Maybe there's someone reading this who's been looking for a support group just like MFRW. Now, getting back to your writing, what is your next work in progress?

KA:  I'm working on a book called Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. It's set in the distant past and shows how my immortal Sempervians came to be the manipulators of humanity. Pietas is their leader, and he is probably the most dangerous person ever created. The tag for the book is "Sempervians never die. Neither does their love. Or their thirst for revenge."

Ally:  I'm overly fond of quick answer questions, so here's a few for you to try:
  • a. favorite tv show -- oooh, tough. I never miss The Flash, Arrow, or Agents of SHIELD
  • b. an item on your bucket list - visit Middle Earth (New Zealand)
  • c. favorite holiday song - Silent Night
  • d. your go-to comfort food - Burger King Whopper, no mayo, no ketchup, or pizza!
  • e. last movie you saw in a theater - Jurassic World, but I have plenty on my go see list for this fall, including Star Wars VII.
Ally:  It's been terrific sharing some time with you. I hope you visit again. What book did you bring for show and tell?

KA:  I brought a free read!
Bro is part of a sweet scifi romance series, but it deals with the relationship of two brothers, before either of them meets his special lady. It's rated PG13 for adult themes. The two books that go with it used to be erotic, but are now sweet, and contain no graphic content or profanity. Bro is the prequel to At the Mercy of Her Pleasure (He's a thief. She's a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!) and For Women Only (His secret truth is her people's darkest lie.) I plan a fourth book that will round out the tale.


Bro - the Story Behind the Antonello Brothers

Senth and Khyff, the Antonello Brothers from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only, did not grow up together. They were separated at Senth's birth. Bro shows how and why, and what event reunited them.

Funny and yet touching, Bro takes you inside the Tarthian Empire and introduces you to three of its major denizens: Senth and Khyff Antonello, and Luc Saint-Cyr. You'll find them in many stories in the Empire. Come and meet them in Bro. It's free.

Get Bro for FREE:


At the Mercy of Her Pleasure:

For Women Only:

Kayelle's entire booklist can be viewed here: Booklist

Or purchased here:  Amazon

Other buy links are listed on her website:

Good Morning, Booklovers!

It's Wednesday and time for book talk!

It's also Veterans' Day and today's author, Colleen S. Myers, is a veteran, so the first thing I want to do is thank her and all our service men and women, present and past, for their dedication.

Welcome, Colleen. We're so pleased to have you with us. How do you take your coffee?

COLLEEN:  Thank you, Ally.
I like coffee with lots of cream and Equal. (My mother was diabetic so I am used to Equal)

Ally: No problem at all. I'll pour while you show readers your bio.


plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antartica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG!
She writes
Sci Fi/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance and published her first novel, MUST REMEMBER, on November 3, 2015.  Look for her at Three Rivers Romance Writers.

Her favoite pasttime
when not writing is cross-stitch. It is so relaxing and mindless, she can do it while watching TV.

Author Contacts:

Google +:

Ally:  Why did you decide to be a writer? Did a book or person inspire you?

There are many ways to answer this.  When I was little, I loved reading. I would spend hours wrapped in books-romances of course.  As I grew up the dreaded Real Life intruded until one day I read one of my favorite authors and hated her ending. Hated it.  So I decided to write my own. There were lots of other things involved, and I am sure my hubby will claim credit but that's the gist.

Ally:  Most of us had preconceived ideas about the publishing business before we got into it. What surprised you the most?

COLLEEN:  I think most people believe 1.) It is easy, which it is NOT, not in this day and age. There is a ton of work maintaining a presence and platform that most people don't anticipate nor wish for.  I think the second preconceived idea is 2.) you make a ton of money writing.  Not that you can't, but a newbie author, writing one book. No, we are not doing it for money! (Comment from Ally: Lol. So true. :) )

Ally:  What are your writing/publishing goals in the next year? Where do you hope your career will be in five years? Twenty?

I honestly love writing fantasy and just hope to keep on, keeping on. Writing and making up new worlds.

Ally:  What are you writing now? Is it a sequel or standalone?

I am working on the third in my Solum Series titled Distant memory. It is the final confrontation between my heroine, Beta, and Xade. It should be juicy!

Ally: Here are your quick answer questions. Ready, set, go...
  • a. favorite seasonal pastime - winter? Curling up with a blanket reading a book.
  • b. favorite shade of nail polish - mauve
  • c. favorite love song - right now I am loving, All of me by John Legend.  You are so Beautiful to me By Joe Cocker was my wedding song.
  • d. a wish on your bucket list - visit Europe.
  • e. last kind of sandwich you ate - PB&J (still a kid at heart.)
Ally: Thanks for having coffee with us today. Happy Veterans' Day! Before you go, let's take a look at your book...


Book Blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Elizabeth ‘Beta’ Camden is a survivor.   When the E’mani—those pale alien freaks—destroy Earth with a plague of madness and scoop up the remains, Beta is one of the ‘lucky’ ones. For years, she endures their tortures, experiments and games. Then one day, she manages to escape their ship with her life, and no memory of her time with them.  

Stranded on their world, Beta wanders the mountains, looking for a way home. She stumbles onto the Fost—the E’mani’s ancient enemy.  Their war with the E’mani is old and rooted in magic that the Fost once had and the E’mani crave. Magic Beta soon discovers she’s developing along with strange tattoos and disturbing glimpses of her past. The Fost take her in and train her in their ways. As she spends more time with them, she falls in love with their culture and with Marin—he of the hot hands and slit eyes. 

But the E’mani took her for a reason and they want her back—dead or alive. If Beta doesn’t remember that reason soon, they’re all going to die.

Buy links:       
Amazon –
Barnes and Nobles –
Kobo –
All Romance/ARE: http://preview.tinyurl.comAREmustremember
Champagne books –


From the Author: 

When I originally blogged about my first rejection in response to a manuscript query, the article drew considerable interest and a few readers asked for details about how I got beyond that point to eventual publication
. So, here's the original post, followed by the rest of the story.

                                                                      Getting Beyond That First "No"

My heart was in my throat as I opened that first email. I'd finally gotten the courage to send  query letters to a handful of literary agents, and this was my first response. Were they dying to read my manuscript? Was it an offer of representation? Did they have the perfect publisher in mind who would snatch up my book?

I clicked, and this is what I read (actual email with names omitted):

Dear Author:

Thank you for querying me about your manuscript. I've read your sample pages and I'm sorry to say that the project        just isn't a perfect fit with my current needs. Although I liked it very much, I just didn't love it. This has less to do with your strengths as a writer and more to do with my goals as an agent and the trends of the current literary marketplace.

 I wish you the best of luck in your search for the right agent and publisher. Keep writing!

 Kindest Regards,

Name  (Assistant to agent)

Wow, what did that mean? Oh, I got it that she wasn't offering to represent me, but what about all the rest? Why didn't she love it? How could a manuscript be against her goals? What were these mysterious market trends?

I read it through again. She said she liked it. Surely agents didn't tell everybody that. And she urged me to keep writing. That was encouragement, if I ever heard it. She must think I have strengths as a writer since she mentioned them. On the other hand—"Dear Author." It was disconcerting that she'd already forgotten my name, and I hadn't failed to notice that my rejection had come at the hands of an assistant.

After all that initial angst, I soon learned that the response I'd gotten was pretty standard for the industry and meant nothing except "no." I licked my wounded ego and on the advice of other writers, I sent out more queries. My skin got tougher, I became more tenacious, and I took the one piece of advice she offered. I kept writing.

Over two years and several re-writes later, I received another first, the first yes from a publisher, followed by a signed contract, a published ebook in September 2012, and a paperback edition in December 2012. I've been fortunate enough to continue writing and publishing with Etopia Press.

And here's the rest of the story...
                                    The Road In Between

Not only did I keep writing after that first rejection, I continued to query.  I was persistent, if nothing else. In fact, queries were sent to more than 150 agents. There were a few yes, if's along the way. One agent wanted me to change it to a story about zombies, another to a novel about angels. I wasn't interested. Another agent suggested I make it a straight mystery and make all the characters human. It might have worked, but it wasn't the story I had written. About two dozen agents read the full manuscript and a similar number requested partials. In the end, I received 72 written rejections, but the remaining queries had no response, the new way that agents say no.

In the meantime, I wrote two more fantasies with the same characters and two espionage thrillers. From time to time I worked on strengthening the first fantasy. By now I realized I had started submitting it long before it was ready, but those bridges were burned and I quit sending it out. During the winter of 2011 I did one more complete rewrite, switching all three fantasies into third person rather than first person, changed some of the character names, changed titles, deleted and added scenes. Then I set them aside because frankly I didn't know where to submit them.

Instead, I concentrated on the thrillers and sent queries for the first one directly to a handful of small presses. I received encouraging responses but no contracts. A couple of those presses suggested I submit something else. In fact, one letter was so encouraging I decided to send the first of the fantasies, Awakening the Fire. I ended up submitting it to three small presses, and I went back to writing. I was working on a series of short stories based on the characters in the thrillers. Six weeks passed, and I hadn't heard from anyone. It seemed like the same old story again.

Then THE email arrived offering a contract! It was the press that had been so encouraging.

After I quit celebrating, I sent the courtesy emails to the other two presses stating that I'd received an offer, and one of them asked me to give them an extra two weeks to firm up an offer of their own. I didn't wait. I didn't hear from the third press, but I've never regretted the decision I made. Etopia Press has a great staff. I was very happy the Guardian Witch series had found a home.

Of course, that isn't really the end of my story. The three Guardian Witch books expanded into a series of seven, and an elven urban fantasy trilogy is with the same publisher. I'm not through writing yet. Who knows what worlds will call me next . . .

Thanks for sharing my journey. Come back soon...


Good Morning, Booklovers!

Happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping to have coffee with us.
Our guest this week is author Neil Plakcy who writes in several genres from romance to mystery, but brought with him an usual paranormal mystery, Genie for Hire.

Welcome, Neil. How do you take your coffee?

NEIL:  Good morning. I like to take my own cup into my local Starbucks (that way they don’t have to cover it with a lid) and get a grande raspberry mocha with whipped cream and a mocha drizzle. The baristas know me and take lots of pleasure in creating a great-looking coffee piled high with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

Ally: I hope you brought your favorite cup, because my magic pot can do anything! While I supervise the creation process, please introduce yourself to readers.


Neil Plakcy lives in South Florida, and if there aren’t genies around there is certainly a lot of crazy activity, which inspires his mystery and romance novels. Additional inspiration is provided by his two golden retrievers, Brody and Griffin, who are always getting into mischief.
You also asked for something unusual:
I was a contestant on Jeopardy! when I was much younger, and flubbed a question about a food item that was “hopping onto restaurant menus.” I guessed kangaroo, when the correct answer was rabbit, and that clip was part of the New York channel’s ads for weeks afterward.


Ally:  What inspired you to write a story about a genie? How does this ability help and hinder him as a PI?

I started to see a lot of paranormal mysteries inspired by Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books, but I didn’t want to do the same old thing. I thought for a long time about what kind of paranormal hadn’t been done to death in mysteries, and came up with a genie. From there it was easy to start listing his abilities and how he can use them as a PI. He can’t transport himself from place to place, so he has to drive, but he can transform briefly into a wisp of smoke—which gets him underneath locked doors. He’s loyal and determined, and contractually obligated to fulfill the wish he’s hired to do.

Ally:  When and where do you do your best writing? Do you write on a schedule or whenever you can catch a few moments?

NEIL:  I have organized my life so that I can get to Starbucks every morning for at least an hour before I have to go to work. My brain is trained that when my butt hits that hard chair and the smell of coffee fills my nostrils, it’s time to get to work. I also will use the voice recorder on my phone to catch details or plot bunnies before they slip away.

Ally:  Describe your route to publication. ie Are you indie or traditional? Whichever route you chose, would you consider the other?

NEIL:  I’m a hybrid author. I started out with traditional (read: small press) publication, and began working my way up the food chain. Because I have a tech background I jumped at the chance to create my own ebooks back when Kindle meant “start a fire” and I’ve been happy to continue on both tracks.

Ally:  What are you working on now?

NEIL:  Right now I’m working on edits for my seventh golden retriever mystery, HONEST TO DOG. Reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan and his crime-sniffing golden, Rochester, begin sniffing out clues when a college classmate of Steve’s drowns in the Delaware Canal,which runs through the center of town. Did he fall in? Or was he pushed? I hope to have it out soon after the new year.

Ally:  I love quick answer questions, so here's a few for you:
  • a. favorite dessert: Reese’s peanut butter cups, or anything that mixes peanut butter and chocolate
  • b. an item on your bucket list: An African safari
  • c. a car you wish you owned: Jaguar convertible
  • d. a book you have reread: Laurie Colwin’s Happy All The Time
  • e. two tv shows you hate to miss: Inspector Lewis on PBS, and Longmire on Netflix

Ally:  I'm not a Netflix user, but Longmire may drive me to it. I loved it on A&E. Neil, it's been a pleasure having you, but I see our time is almost up for today. I've reserved just enough for you to show readers your book! :)

There is real magic in the world, and false magic, and it takes a genie to tell the difference.

The hero of Genie for Hire, Biff Andromeda, is a centuries-old genie in a buff body who can’t use his powers for his own good – he must earn his keep by granting wishes for clients of his private detective agency, located in the Miami suburbs. To solve a series of crimes from theft to murder, he’ll have to go up against members of the Russian Mafia. Biff will need all the help he can get, from his squirrel sidekick Raki, his butterfly operative Sylph, and his lady love Farishta, a marid, or genie whose powers come from water. One problem, though – Biff is allergic to water and can only tolerate it when Farishta’s around.

Buy Links:, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and in print from CreateSpace.

Reviewers have called the book charming and praised its combination of magical elements with a solid mystery.

Other books by Neil Plakcy: