Good Morning, Booklovers!
Mystery writer, Mike Lord, is joining our book chat this week with his novel Chocolates & Cyanide!
Welcome, Mike. What may I get you to drink?
MIKE: I'm a tea drinker and enjoy living in a tea producing country. My wife makes tea from loose black tea leaves every morning, the nectar from which is then stored, minus leaves, in a vacuum flask for use during the day. I drink strong tea with brown sugar, and milk.
Ally: It won't be your wife's blend, but my magic pot makes a good spot of tea. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.
Born in London, traveled around the world and now living in Vietnam since 1997, Mike Lord has worked for over 50 years in what is called “developing economies”. Most of the time Mike’s work has been with the thousands of small scale farmers, who have appreciated sustainable livelihoods, so that they now have enough food to feed themselves, and also some to sell so that they have a cash income. That is why most of Mike’s novels are set in these countries and especially in the remote locations.
Three, nearly four years ago Mike finally retired and started writing, and has now produced 32 fantasy romance/thriller books nine of which have been published, and 23 self-published at Smashwords and Amazon KDP.
Mike Lord is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia.
Something not in your usual bio: "I have been a keen horseman for most of my life, including show jumping as a youth, and polo when older.
See Mike’s author pages:
Ally: What was your journey to publication?
MIKE: I started writing over 20 years ago, but did not publish my first novel until 2014, having had adventures with agents and vanity publishers which I successfully avoided.
Ally: Tell us about your unique writing process. When, where...
MIKE: I tend to think of plots and stories in the middle of the night, and know I will forget everything by the morning, so I get up and make notes. I outline the plot and the characters on a spreadsheet, and then start writing. Usually I write about 3,000 words a day in a loose draft until the story is complete. The revising and editing process takes weeks, and if the novel is accepted by a publisher sometimes months.
Ally: What inspired the book you brought with you today?
MIKE: “Chocolates & Cyanide” was inspired by a traveling experience. One day my bag was temporarily ‘mislaid’ by the airline, and caused me to think what happens to lost luggage, especially when given to or taken by the wrong traveller. The Chocolates and Cyanide came later.
Most of my characters are inspired by people I have met over the years. The names of heroes and heroines are often people I liked, and villains, people I disliked.
Ally: What is the biggest issue you've faced as an author?
MIKE: Book promotion and marketing are my single biggest problem. I run three Twitter names, and operate five email accounts attached to those names. My tweets are also distributed to Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Ally: Do you prefer to write single titles or books in a series?
MIKE: All my books so far are standalones, but I just started to write a series of four books, which I will publish as a Box Set later this month.
Ally: What do you do when you're not being Mike the Author?
MIKE: I have a large roof-top garden just outside the door by my writing area. The weeds in the spring, even in pots, tend to ‘run away’, so I have the daily task to convert weeds into compost.
Ally: Who is your favorite author, living or dead?
MIKE: The author I admire most would be Charles Dickens, and can personally relate to some of those characters, like Mr Micawber – “didn’t sell a single book today, but would like to put a new greenhouse in the garden! In case anything turns up.”
Ally: It was nice to have tea with you, Mike. Good luck with your books. Before you go, please tell us more about Chocolates & Cyanide...
Chocolates & Cyanide
A box of milk chocolates is delivered to a man just before he leaves to fly to work in Botswana. He does not open it and just tucks it into his packed suitcase. His suitcase is delivered in error to a lady passenger in Johannesburg, who helps herself to one of the chocolates and dies of acute cyanide poisoning!
A concerted effort by the police in South Africa and England have to determine who was the intended victim, and who placed the cyanide in the chocolates, but the identities keep them mystified until they find who purchased the chocolates, and who stole the cyanide. The activities of a string quartette throws up several red herrings…
Just as she was getting into bed she decided to open her suitcase. The heavy duty plastic zip fastener was easy, and the top folded back.
The brown paper parcel immediately attracted her, and she didn’t really look at the other items on the top of the suitcase. She didn’t bother to read the name on the label and just opened the brown paper parcel, only to find a box of milk chocolates, wondering who would have given her such a present.
She just had to open the box, and cut the cellophane seal around the edge with a knife from her kitchen. She knew that the chocolates would be laid out nicely, but was surprised to find one slightly larger than the others in the centre of the tray, almost winking at her.
There was no foil wrapping just the chocolate with a design on the top. She could not help herself but picked it up and put it whole into her mouth.
As she bit into it the taste was a bit strange;
“Apples,” she thought, and then “almonds,” came to her mind.
She lay back on her bed to sleep...
Buy Links for Chocolates & Cyanide:
(Adam Mann is Mike’s pen name for his juicier adult books, some of which have been published by Phaze Books, eXtasy Books, and Global Publishing Group LLC.)
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Come back soon!
Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!
This week I'm chatting with supernatural mystery/fantasy author SK Ryder. (Since Susan described her Dark Destinies series as hot/sensual, I'm marking them as 18+ for our younger readers.)
Welcome, Susan! Before we get started, what may I get you to drink?
SUSAN: I gave up caffeine a while ago. But I enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea or decaf Earl Grey.
Ally: We always have tea around. While I fix our drinks, please introduce yourself to readers.
S.K. Ryder is a software developer by day, a scribe by night and answers to Susan any time. She writes the type of stories she loves to read: heart-pounding adventures full of supernatural mysteries and relationships between strong, compelling characters. Though she calls South Florida home, she has also lived in Germany and Canada and has traveled widely, usually in the hot pursuit of wild and scenic nature. When not debugging code, complicating her characters' lives or plotting her next rafting adventure down the Grand Canyon, she can be found beach combing, scuba diving, sailing or just hanging out with a good book. When push comes to shove, she can also bake a halfway decent cake and stand on her head, though not at the same time.
Something not in your regular bio: "In a previous career life, I was a scuba diving instructor."
Ally: Let begin with a writing topic. Describe your writing process. Schedule, goals, etc.
SUSAN: I spend quite a bit of time cooking up a meticulous outline, which ends up being about 10% of the final novel or, as someone once told me “a very skinny first draft.” Then I work off that to expand the story into the blow-by-blow of the action without having to worry about plot holes (too often) or what’s supposed to happen next. I need those guiderails to help me get going quickly during the limited time I have to write, which is mostly in the early mornings and on weekends. Because my personal life can and does frequently interfere on any given day, I don’t drive myself crazy with daily word/page counts. I set weekly goals of how much story I want to flesh out. If the week gets crazy and I can’t get to the writing for a few days, I know I can get caught up on the weekend.
Ally: If you met your favorite author, what would you talk about?
SUSAN: This is not an “if” for me. I actually did meet one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon. This was a few years ago at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in Vancouver, where she makes a regular appearance as both a speaker and workshop presenter. I had the pleasure of having her evaluate the opening pages of an early draft of Dark Heart of the Sun. She was very gracious, and in a mere 10 minutes taught me everything I never knew about where and how to begin a story. I later had lunch with her at that same conference during which she chatted with our group about Scotland, traveling, and writing craft.
I have also met another huge favorite of mine, Anne Rice, but this was long before I was serious about my writing, and it was a total gushing (and slightly embarrassing) fangirl experience. I would love to meet her again and talk about vampires and their deeper meaning as fictional characters.
Ally: How do you spend your non-writing time?
SUSAN: Well, there is the full time day job. I work from my home as a software developer for a Canadian company. The rest of my non-writing/editing time is an eclectic mix of home management, reading, beach walking, yoga, visiting with friends, and planning my next trip. When I can, I also squeeze in some sailing or scuba diving, but in recent years I haven’t had as much time for these as I would have liked.
Ally: Does your real life show up in your books?
SUSAN: It does. To a point. Obviously (sadly) I don’t know any vampires or even anyone remotely like my hero, Dominic. Nor have I ever been in (or would have the courage to face) the more harrowing jams my heroine, Cassidy, finds herself in. (Though the whole broken air conditioner plot line surfaced when the air conditioner in my house decided to die for real.) However, their story is set in places I have either lived in or visited (Florida and the Caribbean in books one and two, and adding Canada to the mix in book three), and some of the most pivotal action is set near or on the ocean, which is a central and very spiritual presence in my life. I also rarely venture into cities in real life or in my writing, preferring to keep both firmly rooted in the natural world.
Ally: Tell us about your next writing project?
SUSAN: My next release, Dark Lord of Night, is coming up fast in May. This is the second in the Dark Destinies series and continues where Dark Heart of the Sun leaves off. Dominic and Cassidy’s journey continues into a perilous new world that will push their new relationship to the brink of shattering.
Short blurb for Book Two: A young vampire has only just come to terms with what he's become when an ancient and powerful nemesis claims his absolute obedience. Now the only thing standing between him and a destiny of eternal torment is the fragile mortal life of the woman who claims his heart.
I’m currently working on book three in this series. No title or release date for this yet, but I imagine mid-2018 or thereabouts. There are also several novellas planned.
Ally: Please answer these short get-to-know-you questions.
- a. book you're currently reading – Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
- b. favorite accessory – Tilley hat
- c. high heels or sneakers – Sandals
- d. hiking or sunbathing – Hiking
- e. Your pets – One cat, Samantha
- f. favorite place to write – The beach
Ally: A pleasure to have you visit, Susan. Good luck with your pending release. Please tell us a little more about book #1 so we can get started on this series.
Dark Heart of the Sun
(Dark Destinies Book One)
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy with Romantic Elements
Heat rating: hot/sensual 18+
His future is already written...in her blood.
After breaking her engagement to a man she can no longer trust, rookie journalist Cassidy Chandler trades life in a South Florida mansion for roughing it in a dilapidated beach house. She also trades one devious man for another in her unexpected new roommate: the darkly enigmatic Dominic Marchant.
As a newborn vampire, Dominic has dangerous enemies, and when the headstrong young woman with an unknown vampire’s mark on her throat invades his lair, he’s sure she’s about to get him killed. Or end up dead herself. Instead, Cassidy helps him rediscover his lost humanity and steals his heart as he fights to protect her from his ancient foes as well as his deadly desire for her.
But when their unlikely relationship draws the attention of her secretive ex, they are all swept up by a dark prophecy where the only way to survive is to risk everything—for each other.
Buy Link: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01JGNEWQY
Thanks for visiting ~ Come back soon!
Welcome to this week's Coffee Chat!
Our guest author is Diane Burton, who writes in several genres, but is with us with her mystery hat on and brought a cozy to share, The Case of the Meddling Mama. Love the title!
Glad to have you, Diane. How do you take your coffee?
DIANE: Black. Love my Keurig.
Ally: I think my magic pot is up to the challenge. :) While I pour, please introduce yourself.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Something unique that isn't in your regular bio: "As the only non-musician, I worked in a flute store that carried flutes and sheet music for flutes. I once talked to Sir James Galway on the phone."
Connect with Diane Burton online:Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf
Ally: Tell us about the main character in the book you're featuring today.
DIANE: For years Alex (Alexandra) O’Hara worked for her dad and his business partner at their investigation agency. When they retired, she took over. She’s tall (5’10”) and sturdy, like the peasants in the Old Country (she thinks), and a klutz. She’s independent but thinks she has to prove herself. She gets into more trouble by falling into (and ultimately solving) major crimes.
Ally: What was your journey to publication, including bumps and missteps?
DIANE: Long and arduous. I started writing with intent to publish in 1993. My first published book was Switched, about twins switching places, in 2001. My publisher didn’t like the heroine in the second book, we parted ways. Family obligations interrupted my writing until 2009. A friend told me about publishing through Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing). I had the rights back to Switched, so I pubbed it in electronic form in 2011, rewrote the sequel and self-pubbed it in 2012. Since then, I’ve published two books a year (except last year), alternating between writing science fiction romance and cozy mysteries. My only romantic suspense was pubbed in 2013 by The Wild Rose Press.
Ally: If you could have a supernatural power, what would it be and why?
DIANE: Teleportation. I live close to two grandchildren and 2,000 miles from the third. If I could teleport, I could visit all of them often. They grow up too fast, so I want to spend as much time as possible with them.
Ally: Tell us about your home. Country or state. Type of residence and general setting. Do you get around mostly by car, subway, etc.
DIANE: After following my husband’s job around the Midwest, we built a ranch house in a Lake Michigan resort town. We’d retired, had no ties to our last town, so we moved close to our daughter and her family (our only grandchildren at the time). I use a smaller version of this town as the basis for Far Haven, Michigan, the fictional resort town in the Alex O’Hara series. Like most Michiganders, I get around by car.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
DIANE: Since it's not released yet, getting The Case of the Meddling Mama launched is next. It is the 3rd book in my PI mystery series. Two routine cases start as an easy-peasy background check on an internet matchup and getting the goods on a philandering spouse. They end with deadly consequences.
Stay in touch with me through my links above for updates on other future releases.
Ally: Let's finish up with these quick answer questions.
- a. an item on your bucket list: an Alaskan cruise
- b. manicure or pedicure: pedicure
- c high heels or sneakers: sneakers
- d. favorite quote: “If I’d known grandchildren were so much fun, I’d have had them first.” ~ unknown (probably a grandparent)
- e. something unique in your handbag (or closet): Epi-pen.
Ally: Thanks for visiting the blog, Diane. Before you go, please show us more of The Case of the Meddling MaMa...
The Case of the Meddling Mama (Alex O'Hara #3)
Genre: cozy mystery
Heat level: 2 of 5
Once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.
Release date: April 17, 2017. Available for pre-order at $1.99. After release, it will go up to $3.99.
Thanks for spending time with us. Come back soon!
Welcome to this week's book talk!
My guest today is children's writer, Kath Boyd Marsh, who also happens to be my critique partner! It's great to have you on the Coffee Chat, Kath! How would you like your coffee?
KATH: If I have really good coffee, I’ll take it black and savor every sip. If it’s hot outside, pour it over ice and give me a splash of milk. WAIT!!! I just bought a bourbon liqueur that tastes like coffee and … maybe not before writing.
Ally: Oh, probably not. I'll pour two cups of black coffee while you introduce yourself to readers.
At seven years old Kath Boyd Marsh self-published her first fantasy on lined notebook paper, stapled together by her grandfather, and starring a creature based on her little sister- the ‘PB.’ Before Kath moved to Richmond, KY to write about dragons, wizards, and other fantastic creatures, she lived in seven states, Panama, and one very haunted house. The Lazy Dr'gon and the Bumblespells Wizard was her debut novel.
Something not in your usual bio: "For five years I volunteered at Alabama Wildlife Rescue in Hoover, AL. I loved every minute of cleaning up after, feeding, and just being around injured and orphaned wildlife. Of all the creatures, I came to love oppossums (the young sneeze to call their mom) and black vultures the best. The vultures in the outdoor ‘flight’ cage had a sharp sense of humor and would untie my boots and steal my refuse garbage bag."
Ally: What genre do you prefer to write?
KATH: My debut book is Middle Grade fantasy fiction for children. I also have a short story that will publish in an anthology this coming summer. That one is Young Adult. I like writing YA. Very PG.
Ally: What is your daily writing process?
KATH: I check my email and get my morning encouragement from my critique partner. Her work ethic drives me onward!!! (Thank you. :) ) If she writes 2000 words, I try to get at least 1500.
Ally: Can you describe your journey to publication, including the bumps?
KATH: Oh, boy. I started the first draft of the book I just published over twenty years ago. It was submitted and revised, and revised, and submitted, and revised for … well over twenty years before it found an editor who believed in it. On the way, I had a publisher send me a note saying they were reading that manuscript and everyone was laughing. And the next day I got a form rejection from the same publisher. No explanation, just Ouch.
On another manuscript- I sent it to an editor who requested it after hearing my pitch at a conference. He wrote back that it wasn’t dark enough, and if I wanted to tackle the darkness issue, I could re-submit. BUT, by the way, He was quitting the publishing industry so I’d have to send it to the other editors at his old publishing company. They would read it. Uh huh. I darkened it, sent it, and got a fast rejection saying it was too dark. Uh huh.
I’ll never forget the agent years ago who sent back my query letter with “no” penciled in on the body of my letter. Ouch!
But during those twenty years I have drafted a lot of other manuscripts, which I continue to revise and hope …
Ally: How do you decide your characters' names?
KATH: I cheat. My parents were heavily into genealogy, so I go to the book and seek an ancestor name or names that I like.
Ally: Since you write fantasy, I assume you've thought about supernatural powers. If you could have one, what would it be?
KATH: I’d want two. Greedy, huh? First would be the ability to protect my family and friends from everything harmful. Keep them safe and healthy.
And even more greedy, I’d want the ability to eat endless amounts of Cheezits and drink Cherry Coke and NOT gain endless amounts of fluffiness/weight.
Ally: Lol. I think we'd all like that one. But getting back to writing, what's the next project?
KATH: I am working on revising my favorite series of manuscripts. Long ago Abdon Mallack, a demon with ambitions, stepped into my writing. I so want her stories published. She has a very dark sense of humor, a clumsy assistant I identify with, and a life that never goes smoothly. If it can go wrong, it will. And in the process of pursuing her goal of establishing her own Hell Colony, her true evilness, well it seems to be changing.
By the way. I did not get her name from my ancestors. Abdon is of course the name of one of the Judges from the Bible- a bit of irony. and Mallack is just evil.
Ally: Quick Answer Questions:
- 1) Favorite Book: Just one? Clowns of God, Podkayne of Mars, and Seventeen.
- 2) Author you'd like to take to lunch: Although I’d be tongue-tied and gob-smacked- Samuel Clemens.
- 3) Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, I have to. That’s what happened when I met my husband. My roommate threatened me if I did not go down and eat dinner with the fraternity invited to our sorority for that night. I went grumbling, and in he walked!
- 4) What would you do, if you couldn't write anymore? Photography. I do love to take photos, even if they are awful and drive my cats and dog crazy.
- 5) Favorite Place to write: If the weather is good, outdoors. If not, wherever I can see outdoors. My office has the essentials, big floor to ceiling windows! I can watch the critters in our yard- turkeys, deer, squirrels, birds, raccoons (who are NOT supposed to be out during the day, but they obviously want a head start on the gingercake I put in the bird feeder. That cranky giant skunk will show up tonight, and no one argues with him.)
- 6) Pets: Rufus-the fox hound who found us three years ago and writes my blog. Nikki Cat- whose mom found us and adopted us ten years ago when her kittens were born. Zoe and Tuck Tuck-cats- who allowed us to adopt them just this fall.
Ally: It was great to have you join us today, Kath. Love the liqueur, by the way. :) I hope readers will check out your book for their young readers. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there's a sequel coming soon!
The Lazy Dragon and the Bumblespells Wizard
Genre: MG fantasy
Book Blurb: Can two misfits help each other? For Cl’rnce, a perfect day would involve a nap, another nap, followed by dinner, and a nap. So what if he’s the only dr’gon his age without a wizard partner or the ability to y? at sounds like work, and Cl’rnce is opposed to all forms of work. Moire Ain, on the other hand, has never known anything except miserable, soul-crushing work. She has lived her whole life as a virtual slave to the evil Hedge-Witch. When Moire Ain overhears Hedge-Witch plot to have Moire Ain kill a king, the girl runs away with only a magic book, her pet raven, and a dream of someday becoming a Great and Mighty Wizard. Moire Ain hasn’t even been gone a full day when she stumbles across an irritated Cl’rnce. Grudgingly, Cl’rnce has accepted a quest, and he now finds himself footsore, hungry, and trapped in a tree by a dr’gon slaying knight. With nothing more than some bumbled spells and a helpful raven, the two set o to complete Cl’rnce’s quest and, just maybe, save a king.
Kirkus Review!!! http://bit.ly/2aZvOQN Buy Links: Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2aFwBpO
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lazy-dragon-and-the-bumblespells-wizard-kath-boyd-marsh/1124568990?ean=9781944821005
Indigo Music and Books at: http://bit.ly/29UX6KY
Thanks for visiting the blog. Come back soon!
Happy Wednesday, booklovers!
We have author CJ Petterson visiting this week with an anthology of eight historical western romances, entitled The Posse.
Welcome, CJ! How do you take your coffee?
CJ: I drink my half-caf coffee (about eight cups a day) black, no sugar.
Ally: A gal after my own heart. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.
BIO: Author “cj petterson” is the pen name of Marilyn A. Johnston whose publication credits include two contemporary romantic suspense novels as well as non-fiction and fiction short stories that have appeared in several anthologies. Retired from corporate life and now living on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, she takes her pen name from her paternal grandmother. She is currently working on a mystery series that features private detective Jannicka A. Konnor…of course there is a touch of romance.
Something unusual not included in your regular bio: "I once out-shot my policeman (now ex-) husband on the police department gun range. Maybe that’s why there are guns in all of my stories." :)
Click on the links below to visit cj petterson: firstname.lastname@example.orgFacebookSimon&Schuster Author PageAmazon Central Author Page blog at: www.lyricalpens.com
Ally: What made you want to be a published writer?
CJ: I started writing creatively after I retired from a job that required a lot of report writing. A couple of years into retirement I was bored and took a university night class called “Storming the Walls of the Publishing Industry.” I wrote my first seven pages, got gobs of positive feedback, and the ball rolled on from there.
Ally: Does your real life show up in your writing? In what ways?
CJ: There is a part of me, real or wished-for, and/or my personal adventures in all of my female protagonists. That’s especially true in one of my romantic suspense novels. I once spent five-and-a-half days white-water rafting in Colorado and also spent two days driving a doors-off, stick-shift Wrangler on a Jeep Jamboree off-road adventure in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The protagonist in my CHOOSING CARTER romantic suspense novel enjoys some of these same adventures.
Ally: Talk about the research you do.
CJ: I love to make deep dives into research rabbit holes and can get lost for hours chasing that Google rabbit. My first book, DEADLY STAR, was great because I learned about nanosatellites, genetically modified foods, DARPA, international politics. The next step was even more challenging and exciting: Using those facts to tell a story, keeping the author speak and info dumps of all my new-found knowledge off the pages. I do most of my research before I start the story, but as I create roadblocks for the characters, I’m always back at Google doing more. Occasionally, I do first-person interviews with law enforcement, or as when I wrote CHOOSING CARTER, with a white-water rafting group in Colorado.
Ally: What's your best marketing tip? What didn't work out for you?
CJ: Get your name, your brand out there. A good story introduces you, but you have to work at keeping your name on the top of someone’s mind when they look for their next story to read. What doesn’t work for me is any marketing tool/method that doesn’t give me a good return on investment. I haven’t found that Facebook “boosts” give me enough bang for my bucks.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
CJ: A final edit on a novella that I finished on Jan 8. A beta reader currently has it. The tentative title is “Ms. Jake Konnor, PI.” Jake Konnor moves from Michigan to Mobile, Alabama, to begin her new career as a private investigator. Her first big case is about a man whose reckless behavior in his teenaged years comes storming back to haunt him thirty years later. When his wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped, Jake realizes she’s working one of the most complicated cases a fledgling PI can have. I’m planning to submit the story to the publisher within the next month and keeping my fingers crossed that they like it. Else, I’ll start working on my self-publishing skills.
Ally: We can't let you get away without trying a few quick answer questions:
- a. favorite book: Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, because it got me hooked on action, adventure, and historical fiction.
- b. favorite accessory: Pierced earrings
- c. Do you believe in love at first sight? Actually, yes…oh wait, maybe that’s lust.
- d. favorite song: “Amazing Grace” especially when played by a bagpiper.
- e. favorite quote: Mark Twain: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Ally: Thanks so much for joining us for coffee, CJ!. Good luck with the anthology. Give us an idea of what we'll find inside the cover...
THE POSSE (8 Historical Western Romances)
Short Story Collection (various authors)
Release date: March 15, 2017
“Bad Day at Round Rock” a historical fiction story is CJ Petterson's latest published work. It is written in overlapping segments about four people—one of whom is based on her maternal grandmother—whose lives are forever changed by a cache of twenty-dollar gold pieces that the outlaw Sam Bass stole in a train robbery. “Bad Day at Round Rock” is chock full of history, mystery, myth, greed, and love…as are the rest of the stories in the anthology.
Seven authors contributed short stories to The Posse. All are human interest tales with all the action you expect in a story about the Wild West.
Lyn Horner: The Schoolmarm's Hero
Frank Kelso: One Way or Another
cj petterson: Bad Day at Round Rock
Charlene Raddon: The Reckoning
Chimp Robertson: Headed for Texas
Jim Stroud: Savage Posse
Chuck Tyrell: Set a Thief
Bonus- Frank Kelso: Tibby's Hideout.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/0oo6YmUWwP499 cent EBOOK bargain!
Pre-Order/Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Posse-Historical-Western-Romances-ebook/dp/B06XCBBCS7
Thanks for visiting the blog. Come back soon!
Welcome to our Wednesday book talk!
Today's guest is mystery writer Jim Jackson, who has a short story in a new anthology, Lowcountry Crime.
Good morning, Jim. What may I get you to drink?
JIM: For years I had no caffeinated drinks. Now I drink Diet Pepsi straight up.
Ally: I'll grab one from the fridge while you introduce yourself to readers.
About the Author: James M. Jackson authors the series featuring Seamus McCree, whose most recent appearances have been in his fourth novel, Doubtful Relations (8/2016), the novella “Low Tide at Tybee” included in Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas (2/2017), and the short story, “And Wine to Make the Heart Glad” cowritten with Tina Whittle for the anthology 50 Shades of Cabernet (3/2017). Jim is currently the president of the 700-member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. He splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome.
Something about you that isn't in your regular bio: "The closest I have been to a live wolf in the wild is fifteen feet." (Ally note: Oooh, that's scary close!)
Author Contact Links:
Ally: Before we get into specific question, give us a brief overview of what type of stories you write.
JIM: My work falls in the mystery/suspense/domestic thriller categories with sex off the page, so the rating depends entirely on your own imagination.
Ally: How do you select the traits and names for your characters?
JIM: I often “sell” a character name or two as part of a charity auction. I’ll use the buyer’s name or the name of the person to whom they are gifting naming rights. In those cases, I make sure the name will work with the sex, age, and ethnicity of the character I choose.
For everyone else, I ask my characters who they’d like to be. I have some rules they must abide by. They can’t have a name that is likely to be confused with another character—unless that confusion is intended. After some experience, I’ve decided I don’t like names that end with an “s” when the possessive will require an extra ’s. As an example, I wouldn’t choose James with the possessive James’s. A name like Hayes is okay since his truck would be written Hayes’ truck.
My main character’s name, Seamus McCree, developed a bit differently. He is in many ways my alter ego, and I chose his first name for two reasons. First, it is the Irish equivalent of James. Second, it is a play on words because Shamus, pronounced the same, is Yiddish slang for a detective or PI, and I planned for my guy to detect things others couldn’t or wouldn’t.
Ally: Tell us about the main character in the book you're featuring today.
JIM: People often ask if Seamus and I are similar. My stock answer is that he’s younger, taller, faster, stronger, smarter, better looking and if that weren't enough, he's independently wealthy. and has all his hair. He should be careful though. With a few keyboard stokes, I can change all of that the next time he appears in print. He and I do think a lot alike and share many of our avocations. He enjoys the outdoors, is a birdwatcher, reads books, and lives in places I have lived.
He’s had a different career path than I. He planned to be a professional soccer player (I played semi-pro), but a severe injury in his rookie year ended that career. He went back to school and earned an MBA (I also have one) and went to Wall Street where he became the top-rated banking stock analyst for an investment bank (neither of which have I done). When a boss changed one of Seamus’s reports because it recommended downgrading a client’s stock, Seamus quit in disgust and ended up consulting with police about financial crimes, which is where we join him in the series.
Seamus is divorced and has a some-time hacker son, Paddy, who in the series has progressed from college kid to young adult.
Ally: What was your journey to publication, developing your style and preferences, including bumps and missteps?
JIM: When I retired early, I gave myself permission to spend six months turning down everyone else’s idea of what I should do and instead figure out what I wanted to do. Writing eventually became the answer to that question. In deciding what to write, I relied on what I like to read. At an early age, I became a fan of the mystery genre and decided to write what I love reading. I allowed my business background to dictate that I should craft a series because each book brings in new readers who, if they like what they read, will go back to book one and read the entire series.
I love reading series because the characters become a part of my alternate-universe family. I feel like I’ve grown up with Lucas Davenport (John Sanford, author) and participated in his maturation from stud to settled family man with an adopted daughter in college. I’ve rooted for Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly, author) as he progressed through and out of police ranks. I’ve been there when V I Warshawski (Sara Paretsky, author) became an insurance investigator and then moved on to be a private eye. And I “know” all the series side characters. When I pick up a book in a favorite series, it’s like comfort food.
A bonus of having series side characters is that different readers have different favorites among the cast. Some promote Seamus’s dart-throwing Mom. Some really like his son, Paddy. Others fall for nonfamily side characters like Owen Lyndstrom or Abigail Hancock.
Yet, I continue to read standalones because I think they often contain an author’s best work. I thoroughly enjoy William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series, but for me, his best book so far is Ordinary Grace, a standalone. The same with Steve Hamilton, whose Alex McKnight series is set in my neck of the Michigan woods: The Lock Artist, a standalone, is his all-time best. Usually those books come later in the writer’s career.
I wrote the first book, went to a local critique group, and discovered that my 140,000-word manuscript, that could double as a doorstop, contained most writing errors known to mankind. I rewrote that novel multiple times, sent it out to agents, received rejections, rewrote, rejected, repeated. And lo! An agent wanted to represent the book. But the agent was new and had a faulty contract (for example, no provision for what happened if the agent became disabled or died), so I decided not to accept the offer.
The agent is now well-known. Still, I don’t regret the decision because, in retrospect, that version of the manuscript really wasn’t good enough to be published.
I wrote the second book and again tried to get an agent before the manuscript was ready. (Of course, I didn’t realize that at the time.) For entertainment, I played a lot of contract bridge and decided to write the how-to book I wished I had read while I was improving from beginner to intermediate. I sent a proposal to the largest bridge-book publishing company and they loved it. I soon had a contract and after a year of rewrites, One Trick at a Time: How to start winning at bridge became my first published work. It received excellent reviews in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Bridge World Magazine.
After my second novel won the Evan Marshall Fiction Makeover Contest (whose criteria were the freshness and commerciality of the story and quality of the writing), a friend I had met in the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime suggested that I try submitting my mystery directly to publishers. Since agents weren’t crawling over each other to sign me, I queried three publishers.
Within a week, two had responded back favorably, and I soon had signed with Barking Rain Press. They published Bad Policy in 2013 and Cabin Fever in 2014. My better half, Jan, suggested I should go back and give the first novel, Ant Farm, one more try. It was a good story and after I did a total rewrite, it won a Kindle Scout contest and Kindle Press contract. It was published in 2015. Determining that a small press couldn’t promote my books as well as I could on my own, I published Doubtful Relations, the fourth Seamus McCree novel in 2016.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
JIM: I consider that to be “Low Tide at Tybee” because I am in the throes of its marketing in the anthology Lowcountry Crime: Four Novellas in which it appears. It released February 7th. “Low Tide at Tybee” brings three of the Seamus McCree series characters (Seamus, his octogenarian, darts-throwing mother, and his now six-year-old granddaughter, Megan) to Tybee Island, Georgia to vacation and escape winter up north. Megan spots a thief going through their beach bags, after which their vacation unravels with a series of twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the end, trying to figure out who done what.
Next up after that will be the fifth Seamus McCree novel, Empty Promises, which takes place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A mining company employee is killed on McCree land near the site of a proposed mine that has brought conflict to the local community. Expected release date is late summer/early fall of 2017.
Ally: Before we get to the anthology, let's try a few short answer questions.
- a. Book you're currently reading: The Death Box by J.A. Kerley. Jack is a friend from Kentucky and is better known abroad than he is in the U.S. He writes excellent dark mystery/suspense.
- b. An author (living or dead) you'd love to take to lunch: I would love the opportunity to break bread with Ben Franklin. I could only hope it was a leisurely meal that gave me time to ask about the past and his thoughts of the present.
- c. An item on your bucket list: I’ve checked off many over the years, but flying in a glider plane during hawk migration is near the top.
- d. What comes to your first - character or plot? When I start a short story or novel, I know the inciting incident and let the characters take it from there. I’m often very surprised how they drive the plot and who the villain turns out to be and why they did what they did.
- e. Typical breakfast: Oatmeal of the five-minute-stovetop-cooking kind. I mix the brown sugar into the water as it heats up and cook the oatmeal in the sugar water.
Ally: Thanks for joining us on the Chat today. Before you go, please tell us more about the anthology, Lowcountry Crime...
Lowcountry Crime: Four Novellas
Lowcountry: That portion of the Southeastern United States characterized by low country, generally flat—whether barrier island, tidal marsh, tidal river valleys, swamps. piney forests, or great cities like Charleston and Savannah.
These four novellas capture the unique aspects of the Lowcountry with stories incorporating Charleston high life and Savannah low life, island vacations and life on a boat. You’ll be treated to thieves doing good and rapscallions doing bad, loves won and loves lost, family relations providing wonderful support and life after divorce. Within the broad range of the crime genre, these tales fit north of cozy and south of noir.
Each novella can be read in a single hour to hour-and-a-half sitting or enjoyed at a more leisurely pace, stopping at white space along the way. Within the broad range of the crime genre, these tales fit north of cozy and south of noir.
“Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming” by Tina Whittle is a prequel to her Tai Randolph Mysteries. Tai is accustomed to murder and mayhem . . . of the fictional variety. As a tour guide in Savannah, Georgia, she’s learned the tips are better when she seasons her stories with a little blood here, a little depravity there. She’s less experienced in real life criminality, however, preferring to spend her days sleeping late and her nights hitting the bars. But when she gets the news that her trouble-making cousin has keeled over while running a marathon, Tai finds herself in a hot mess of treachery and dirty dealings. Worst of all, the clues lead her straight into the moonshine-soaked territory of the most infamous smuggler in Chatham County—her Uncle Boone.
In “Last Heist” by Polly Iyer, Paul Swan, Iyer's character from her novel Indiscretion, travels the world buying exotic automobiles for wealthy clients, but underneath his believable cover is a first-class, never-been-caught diamond thief.
When he sees a picture in the Charleston newspaper of a magnificent diamond necklace on the wife of a visiting South American strongman, he can’t resist the temptation to steal it. Paul doesn’t anticipate what he finds in the hotel room’s safe besides the jewels. Now he has to figure out how to stop a political catastrophe without exposing himself as the thief who stole the diamonds, and he has three people complicating his effort: a sexy TV reporter angling for a story, a suspicious cop eager for an arrest, and a rogue mercenary bent on ending his life.
“Blue Nude,” by Jonathan M. Bryant introduces us to Brad Sharpe, who has problems. Not just the problems you would expect resulting from traumatic injury and a destructive divorce. His ex-wife has gone missing and a priceless Picasso has been stolen. The cops have pegged Brad as a person of interest in both cases. Worse, a violent sociopath might want Brad dead. Only with the help of friends and his knowledge of the Georgia Lowcountry can Brad fight to clear his name and resolve the case of the Blue Nude.
In “Low Tide at Tybee,” James M. Jackson brings three of his Seamus McCree series characters (Seamus, his darts-throwing mother, and his now six-year-old granddaughter, Megan) to Tybee Island, Georgia to vacation and escape winter up north. Megan spots a thief going through their beach bags, after which their vacation unravels with a series of twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the end, trying to figure out who done what.
Kindle (free on Kindle Unlimited)
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It's Wednesday, time for book talk. Meet this week's guest, cozy mystery writer, Amity Allen.
Good morning, Amity. What may I get you to drink?
AMITY: I don’t drink coffee because I don’t like hot liquids – drinks or soups – really anything hot, but I drink a lot of diet coke.
Ally: Then we'll pull you a coke from the fridge. While I collect our drinks, please introduce yourself to readers.
Ally: Before we get into the interview, tell us what kind of book you brought with you today.
AMITY: Poison, My Pretty is a cozy, murder mystery with paranormal elements. Definitely PG-13 with no profanity, no sex, and no graphic violence.
Ally: Do you have a typical writing process?
AMITY: I wish I could be disciplined enough to write every day, but I write more in spurts. Deadlines really help me get things done so I set self-imposed ones for each project. Sometimes I use dictation to get through a rough draft.
Also, I put on calm, peaceful videos on my TV as “background noise” and especially while dictating I watch fireplaces, deserts, underwater scenes, forests, etc. I’m very visual so this inspires me. Netflix has a great series called “Moving Art.” I watch all of those while I write.
Ally: What was your journey to first publication, including bumps and missteps?
AMITY: I’ve written romance for three years under a different pen name, but my road to getting published had some bumps for sure. The first time I sent a manuscript to a publisher, I received an automated “we’ve received your book, and we’ll get back to you” response. So I waited. And waited. And waited.
After the anthology I was submitting for was released, I contacted them and told them I never heard back. Apparently my submission had gotten lost in cyberspace because they said they never received it and invited me to re-submit the book as a stand-alone title. So I did, and then after another long waiting game, I realized their acceptance letter was in my spam email box. Now I always check my spam inbox if I’m expecting an important email.
Ally: Can you walk use through your typical editing methods, from first draft through read- to-buy?
AMITY: After several years of being with small publishers, I branched out on my own last year into self-publishing which I adore. I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my work so I love working with a cover artist and choosing my team.
Each project is a little different, but for Poison My Pretty I used two different editors and a proofreader. The first editor is a tough cookie who has no problem telling me what she thinks and is great at whipping my manuscript into shape. My second editor helps me more with nuances and always has lovely ideas for how to make my words a bit prettier. And my proofreader is a genius at picking up typos and other mistakes.
For this book I also used an interior designer to format it so that the inside is as well-styled as the outside. She incorporated cute little black cats throughout the book which adds a certain charm to the series.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
AMITY: I’m working on the second Poppy Parker mystery right now. It’s called Gunshots, My Girl. Here’s a brief description:
When Aunt Cricket goes on vacation leaving Poppy in charge of the B&B, the situation explodes in a flash of blue police lights after a priceless vase is stolen and the new pool boy turns up dead.
On her quest to find the culprit, Poppy will have to sort through angry exes, casino kings, alligator attack victims, and arrogant personal trainers. But can she uncover a killer, recover the stolen antique, and find a new pool service all before Cricket returns?
Ally: Let's finish with a few short answer questions.
Ally: Thanks for visiting the blog. Before you go, we'd love to hear your blurb for Poison, My Pretty...
- a. color of nail polish you have on – I almost never do my nails, but I love hot pink nail polish on my toenails. This time it’s OPI’s Kiss Me I’m Brazilian.
- b. What comes to you first - character or plot? For me it’s “the big idea” that comes first. Then everything around it starts to fill in. So maybe that’s plot.
- c. Last book that made you laugh – You by Caroline Kepnes.
- d. Your pets – Dogs – Mitzi (Duck tolling retriever), Sebastian, and Delta (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels). Cats – Tabitha (Calico) and JoJo (Siamese). Pig – Petunia (500+ lbs. She’s an outside pig.)
- e. What are your hobbies? I’m a rabid basketball mom. Think stage mom and insert basketball. Momma has #hoopdreams.
POISON, MY PRETTY
When Poppy Parker turns 21, the popular TV witch detective discovers she has supernatural powers off the set as well as on. The show gets canceled and she returns home to figure out how to harness the magic brewing inside her.
Freaked out by these recent paranormal gifts, Poppy just wants to fit in, so when she’s asked to serve as a judge for the annual Bloomin’ Belles youth beauty competition she readily agrees.
But when the pageant’s snooty director drops dead and Poppy’s friend is arrested, the former TV sleuth sets out to uncover the real killer, only to find…
the business of beauty can be deadly.
Giveaway: ($50 Amazon GC and 3 signed print copies of
Poison My Pretty: http://gvwy.io/wtkms3f )
Join me in welcoming author Liese Sherwood-Fabre. In a departure from our usual fiction discussion, Liese has brought a non-fiction collection of essays on Sherlock Holmes. Enjoy it as a terrific peek into history or a companion piece to any Sherlock story.
Good morning, Liese! How do you drink your coffee?
LIESE: I start with a dark roast and add milk/cream and artificial sweetener.
Ally: While I get our mugs ready, please introduce yourself to readers.
BIO: Liese Sherwood-Fabre, PhD
Award-winning author Liese Sherwood-Fabre grew up in Dallas, Texas and knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years. After returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career and has had numerous pieces appear in both print and electronically. She is currently a member of three Sherlockian societies (The Crew of the Barque Lone Star, the Napoleons of Crime, and the Studious Scarlets Society) and contributes regularly to Sherlockian newsletters across the world.
Something unusual not in your regular bio: "I collect pressed pennies. You know, the machines where you put in two quarters and a penny, select an image, and turn a crank to get an elongated penny with an image on it. I started when I would get them for a friend’s daughter and thought, “I should get these for myself as well.” My latest: from Grand Cayman Islands. It has a stingray on it. The oddest: from Buc-ee’s (a Texas-based gas stop with everything you can imagine to want to eat while on the road.)"
You can follow her upcoming releases and other events by joining her newsletter at www.liesesherwoodfabre.com. All new subscribers receive a link for a free short story.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Liese-Sherwood-Fabre/e/B00810INE6/
Ally: Let's start by talking about the book you brought today.
LIESE: It's non-fiction. I have a book with an agent about Sherlock Holmes at age 13. In researching for that book, I realized I had a lot of information that might be interesting to other readers of Sherlock Holmes. I contacted various Sherlock Holmes societies (called scions) and offered to share these essays with them for publication in their newsletters. This has been going on now for more than two years, and I’ve made a great number of friends (not to mention membership in several of these groups). Each essay starts with some aspect of Victorian life from one of the original stories and then explores it more deeply. It’s very G/PG, suitable for all readers.
Ally: What was your journey to publication, including bumps and missteps?
LIESE: I started writing more than twenty years ago. Like many novice writers, I was reading a story in a magazine, and thought “I could do that.” I finished it and sent it off and was quickly rejected (and rightly so). Undetered, I continued my efforts with other works (including novels), took classes at the local community college, joined the Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, and continued to improve and submit. I was nominated for the Golden Heart in 2008, but still haven’t sold that book. I continue to write and submit—as well as indie publish—because there are too many stories in my head begging to be written.
Ally: How did you select your main genre? What about it intrigues you and readers?
LIESE: I’m drawn to mysteries—ever since I read my first Nancy Drew in the fourth grade. I like solving puzzles, and I view the story as a type of puzzle with the clues being pieces of the puzzle.
Ally: What author would you like to meet? What would you say to him or her?
LIESE: I *loved* the Harry Potter series, and would love to know how much JK Rowling knew from the beginning about the overarching plot and how much evolved as she wrote each book. I read every once in a while about something she wished she’d done differently or kept from readers (like Dumbledore’s orientation). When did she get that insight?
Ally: How much research do you do? When? Where?
LIESE: You can’t write historical fiction without research. I have a number of books on Sherlock Holmes, Victorian England, and other aspects of life back then (the police, spies in India, medicine of the day). When those fail me, there’s always the Internet. While I’m writing, if it’s a quick answer (who was the prime minister that year?), I’ll stop and find the name. If it’s more extensive, I’ll make a note and continue on with my writing. There’s nothing that will eat up your writing time than searching on the Internet and winding up down a rabbit hole filled with cat videos or funny baby videos.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
LIESE: My young Sherlock Holmes books. I have one with an agent and a sequel in draft form. In addition, I’m toying with a contemporary young adult sleuth set in west Texas—along the line of Veronica Mars (only younger).
Ally: Let's wind down with a few short answer questions:
- a. Book you're currently reading: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
- b. An item on your bucket list: Seeing the penguins in Antarctica
- c. High heels or sneakers: Sneakers or flats. EVERYTHING hurts my feet these days. The more comfy, the better.
- d. Favorite TV program: Big Bang Theory (I’m a real Sheldon fan)
- e. Your Pets: At the moment, one dog—a border collie mix. He’s not even really ours. He belongs to my son, but when he moved about nine years ago, he left him with us and has yet to return to pick him up.
Ally: It's nice to talk with an author who has put all that extra research to work for them. Before you go, please give us an idea what we'd find in your collection of essays.
The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes: Essays on Victorian England, Volume 1
Genre: Non-Fiction, collection of articles
Step back to London, 1895.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories are full of references to everyday activities and events from Victorian times that make the twenty-first century reader run to the reference shelf. Few, for example, are intimately acquainted with the responsibilities of a country squire, the importance of gentlemen's clubs, or the intricacies of the Victorian monetary system.
These twenty-four short essays explore various aspects of life mentioned in the original tales of Sherlock Holmes, providing modern-day insight into the nineteenth century world. Originally shared with Sherlockians around the world, they are gathered here for the first time and bring deeper meaning and color to the adventures of the world’s most famous consulting detective.
Sherwood-Fabre was a contributor to the following Sherlockian fiction anthology
Curious Incidents (More Improbable Adventures)
Welcome back to Baker Street! Holmes and Watson are here to greet you once more spinning amazing tales of murder, mayhem, and mystery with a supernatural twist. This time the great detective and his stalwart companion will venture into alternate universes, histories, and futures to solve puzzling cases of the paranormal far beyond the bounds of imagination.
An Old West town plagued by a legendary beast, a dystopian future where black snow falls on Baker Street, a cyborg Holmes engaged in a psychological game with an ancient enemy, a world-weary Holmes and Watson who must choose between vampiric immortality and oblivion, and a classic noir with dames to kill for are just a few of the strange adventures that await you in Curious Incidents.
Grab your deerstalker and hold on tight! The game is afoot!
Thanks for joining us for coffee! Come back soon.
Good Morning, booklovers!
Welcome to this week's Coffee Chat with women's fiction writer, Patricia Preston, and her romance novel, Everything His Heart Desires.
What may I offer you to drink, Patricia?
PP: I don’t drink coffee. But I do drink sweet tea every day.
Ally: Tea it is. While I fix our drinks, please introduce yourself to readers.
Patricia Preston loves writing single-title women’s fiction where love matters most. She also writes short stories and historicals. She won William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction, the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, and Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition. She’s a hybrid author who has published traditionally and independently. She’s repped by the Seymour Agency. Besides writing, she’s also worked as a librarian, medical office manager, and in a cosmetic department where she played with makeup all day. Her favorite place to hang out is her writing cave where must-haves are iced tea and epic music. She also enjoys photography, movies, and research trips to New Orleans.
Something unusual not in your regular bio: "I make the Best-Ever Pecan Pie!"
For info on new releases and contests, sign up for her newsletter
Check out her Blog Follow her on Twitter Facebook Amazon Author Page
Ally: What type of book did you bring with you today?
PP: The genre for the Love Heals Alls series is single-title romance/women’s fiction. Heat rating is warm, kinda like cable channel movies, so I’d go with over-18.
Ally: Every writer has their own style and writing process. How would you describe yours?
PP: It is part pantser and plotter. I usually do a bare bones outline to start with and flesh out the characters. Once I’m writing the book, I work all day at the computer and at night, I will sketch out the next day’s scenes and dialogue in longhand. I don’t set word count goals. I think more along the lines of completing a chapter or a scene.
Ally: Did someone or something inspire you to write? If so, what effect did it have and why?
PP: The first person who actually encouraged me to write was my seventh grade English teacher. I never forgot that and I don’t think I would have ever been a writer had it not been for her.
Ally: Do you have a writer's cave? Describe it or tell us where you do most of your writing. Does it have to be quiet or do you write with music or white noise (tv, etc)?
PP: Yes, I do have a writing cave. It’s actually a bedroom that I converted into an office. I do all my writing at a desktop in this room. I have two computers. One for online stuff and the other for writing only. It definitely looks like a working room as I have corkboards on the walls, file cabinets and bookcases. There is a smaller room that is attached to this room and it is sorta my little den area with a recliner, more bookcases and it is where I sketch out plot lines and scenes on art paper. I always listen to music when I write. Never the TV. The only time the TV is on is when I am watching it.
Ally: What is your favorite social media?
PP: Twitter. I like it because tweets are short and easy, plus I love the memes. I go to Twitter for instant news, to find new books, recipes, etc. All you have to do is search by a hashtag like #NewRelease and all the tweets with that hashtag appears in your feed. Also you can create a list and add members, then all you have to do is go to your list to see their tweets. You can find me @pat_preston Also I love my blog where I do a lot of different posts and have guests.
Ally: I love to hear where other writers live. Tell us about your home.
PP: I live in a small town of about 15,000. I do live in an older home in the downtown area which is only a few blocks from the post office, library and downtown area and I like that. I definitely get around in my Honda. There’s no other means of transportation locally, other than a small cab service. At times I wished I lived in a larger city where there would be more things to do but then we don’t have any traffic issues. I can be at restaurant or store in less than 5 minutes. I have been in rush-hour traffic in some major cities and that would drive me nuts.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
PP: The next book is Not Through Loving You, which is due to be released on June 20th by Kensington/Lyrical Press. It’s a single title romance involving a pediatrician, Dr. Aaron Kendall, who is planning to adopt an unwanted preemie when the baby’s aunt, a Nashville songwriter, shows up and complicates things for Aaron. This year I am going to write another book in this series which involves Kayla, who has been in all the other books. Plus I really hope to get to finish the second historical in my Indie series, French Quarter Brides.
Ally: Here's a few get-to-know-you short answer questions:
- a. Favorite tv program: Supernatural
- b. High heels or sneakers: Sneakers
- c. Favorite book boyfriend: Rhett Butler
- d. What are your hobbies? Photography
- e. If you couldn't write anymore, what would you want to do? Die. lol
Ally: Thanks for visiting with us, Patricia. Before you go, please tell us more about your novel, Everything His Heart Desires...
EVERYTHING HIS HEART DESIRES
The man most likely to drive her crazy…
Growing up in Lafayette Falls, senator’s daughter Natalie Layton hid her sorrows behind a bright smile that charmed everyone in high school—except Brett Harris. Hardworking and highly motivated, Brett dismissed Natalie as a slacker. Instead, she’s become an acclaimed photographer. And when Brett, now a successful cardiologist, needs her family’s help to secure a coveted position, Natalie’s more than happy to prescribe a little payback…
Hailing from the wrong side of the tracks, Brett believed he could never win the school’s popular princess. Now he’s intrigued by the complex and compassionate woman Natalie’s become. Gaining her grandmother’s goodwill is the key to becoming chief cardiologist—and Natalie has no intention of making it easy. But as mutual mistrust gives way to pure chemistry, there’s more at stake than either ever expected—and much more to learn about matters of the heart…
Buy Links: Amazon Nook Kobo Google Play iTunes
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Join me in welcoming this week's author guest, Beth Barany, with her YA fantasy, Henrietta and the Battle of Horse Mesa.
How do you take your coffee, Beth?
BETH: I love Starbucks tall cappuccino. At home I make a half-n-half, have strong coffee and half coconut milk with a dash of half-n-half.
Ally: Since we always have Starbucks around here, I'll serve that up right away. In the meantime, please introduce yourself.
Award winning author, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy and fantasy romance. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance and adventure to empower women and girls to jump into life with both feet and be the heroes in their own lives.
In her off hours, Beth enjoys walking her neighborhood, gardening on her patio, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, author Ezra Barany. They live in Oakland, California with their cat named Leo, a piano, and over 1,000 books.
Something unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "I’ve run 4 sprint triathlons (swim, bike, run) and finished each one."
Ally: Let's jump right into the writing process. How do you choose and name your characters?
BETH: My character names come to me all kinds of ways. When Henrietta The Dragon Slayer came to me, I thought it was hilarious to pair an old-fashioned name with a kickass heroine. Jaxter, the jester, came to me because he was inspired by the comical character. Joxer, in Xena, The Warrior Princess TV show. Franc came to me because I wanted a name that sounded masculine and was a short name, to act as a counterpoint to Henrietta’s three-syllable name. I choose Paulette, because like Henrietta’s name, I wanted a female name that could be shortened to a boy’s name. With my heroines’ names, I wanted to play with images and stereotypes of masculine and feminine.
Ally: If you could have a supernatural power, what would it be and why?
BETH: I’ve always wanted to fly and to have telekinesis. The flying part would be a given, like a skill lots of superheroes have. But my wow factor would be the ability to move objects with my mind. Ever since I read a story as a child where the main character learns how to do this, I wanted it. I just thought it was the ultimate in having a powerful mind. (Sorry, I can’t find the title of that book. If I do, I’ll add it to the comments.)
Ally: Have you thought about one of your books being made into a movie? Who would play the parts, if you could choose?
BETH: OMG, of course. From the start, I’ve seen Henrietta The Dragon Slayer as a movie, or even a series of movies. When people see the book cover, they often say they see the story as a movie!
Who wouldn’t want to see another kick ass heroine on screen? As for who would play what… I already have an actress who wants to play Henrietta. That’s under wraps for now.
Here’s my wish list for the other three main characters: Maybe Jaxter could be played by Andrew Garfield or Grant Gustin. He needs to be wiry and funny.
A rough and tough knight, Franc could be played by Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitsch, Armie Hammer, Liam Hemsworth, Lee Byung-hun, John Abraham, or Luke Pasqualino.
The young witch Paulette could be played by Cara Delevingne, Hailee Steinfeld, Dakota Johnson, Shailene Woodley, Alicia Vikander, or Maika Monroe.
Ally: Do you have a writer's cave? Describe it or tell us where you do most of your writing. Does it have to be quiet or do you write with music or white noise (tv, etc)?
BETH: I love writing to pop music, though I edit usually to Baroque or to Celtic music, especially Julie Fowlis. As for my writer’s cave or environment, I write all my first drafts at a café, usually Starbucks, a local bakery called La Farine, or the local diner (Piedmont Café & Diner), at the counter, or at a local co-working space, Oakland’s ImpactHub downtown. I love sitting at the counter or a tall table, perched, like in a treehouse, separate from the world, yet connected. I love the activity of these public environments, the buzz of conversation in the background, music overhead, and the humming of the espresso machine or people chatting.
Ally: Answer these five short answer questions:
- a. an item on your bucket list: Live and travel in Ireland.
- b. favorite movie: The Fifth Element
- c. favorite accessory (jewelry, scarves, shoes, etc.): Pink scarf
- d. What are your hobbies? Watching TV and movies; running; gardening; travelling to new places.
- e. typical breakfast: Two fried eggs and kale with coffee
Ally: Thanks so much for spending time with us today. Before you go, tell us about your latest book.
BETH: I’m excited to announce the third book in my YA fantasy series, Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa.
HENRIETTA AND THE BATTLE OF THE HORSE MESA (Book 3)
Finally, the sweeping conclusion to the Henrietta The Dragon Slayer trilogy! Parted by destiny, the four friends struggle to rejoin forces and face for a final time, the ruthless sorcerer intent on destroying them all.
In the biggest challenge of her life, Henrietta the legendary Dragon Slayer of Bleuve must lead her people into a battle that may end life as they know it. For they face no ordinary army, but the dark forces of a powerful sorcerer bent on overtaking all five kingdoms. And unless she can rescue her dauntless knight Franc, she must do it without his support.
Franc will follow Henrietta anywhere. But on a mission to find allies among the Horse People, he is kidnapped and taken by minions of the evil sorcerer Eyvindir. Will he find the strength and courage to survive, and fight again at Henrietta’s side?
Paulette, the young fire witch, must stand trial for a murder committed out of desperation. In despair at her imprisonment by forces acting against her dearest friend, Jaxter, she escapes and flees to the frigid, forbidden land of Varangia to find a witch powerful enough to help her finally master fire. But what must she give up to gain the power to aid her friends?
Jaxter, now a king, must come to terms with the heavy responsibilities of ruling the Oro Islands, newly emerged from over 75 years of evil rule. This means doing right, even when it means going against ancient customs and protocols. Worse, the marauding Varangians press at his borders. He must find a way to defend his home, or none of them will survive.
Will Henrietta and her friends be able to stop the ruthless sorcerer from obliterating her, claiming the Dragon Stone, and ruling over the Five Kingdoms?
**NOTE** Like many fantasy series, you do need to read the books in order. So start with Henrietta The Dragon Slayer (Book 1) here: http://author.bethbarany.com/books/the-five-kingdom-series/. Link includes a sign-up for a free prequel!
Happy Reading. Please stop by again!