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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.



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Bio:

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."

Author links:

Website: kathboydmarshauthor.com
Blog:  kath-lettersfromearth.blogspot.com
Twitter: @kmarshfen 



INTERVIEW:

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!

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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
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2a4qD1G  
Indigo Music and Books at:  http://bit.ly/29UX6KY 


Thanks for visiting the blog. Come back soon!

 
 
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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.


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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: 

cjpetterson@gmail.com
Facebook
Simon&Schuster Author Page
Amazon Central Author Page 
blog at: www.lyricalpens.com 


INTERVIEW:

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...


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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/0oo6YmUWwP4


99 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!

 
 
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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.



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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:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads



INTERVIEW:

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...


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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.

Buy Links:

Kindle (free on Kindle Unlimited)
Print: Amazon
Print Barnes & Noble 



Thanks for spending time with us. Come back soon!

 
 
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Welcome, Booklovers!
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.



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About the Author:

Amity grew up reading every mystery she could get her hands on, burning through everything by Agatha Christie in record time and wanting to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. After writing books in other genres for the past few years, she's finally come home to her true love - cozy mysteries.

Amity and her husband live in L.A. (lower Alabama) with a houseful of teenagers and a half dozen pets. Besides books, Amity's favorite things are March Madness, needlepoint, fried shrimp, and sweet tea.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio. "My husband and I have two sets of twins, and he has the same birthday as the girl twins. So three members of my family all have their birthday on the same day."

Contacts:
Email signup: http://madmimi.com/signups/388635/join
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amity_Allen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmityAllen/
Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1453632118012687/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amity-Allen/e/B01N95LQK7/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16080362.Amity_Allen
Website: http://www.amityallen.com  
Text MYSTERY to 24587 for new release alerts from Amity Allen.



INTERVIEW:

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.
  • 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.
Ally: Thanks for visiting the blog. Before you go, we'd love to hear your blurb for Poison, My Pretty...

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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.

*Recipes Included* 

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/PoisonZon
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32978338-poison-my-pretty

Giveaway: ($50 Amazon GC and 3 signed print copies of
                            Poison My Pretty: http://gvwy.io/wtkms3f )



 
 
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Welcome, booklovers!

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.



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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.)"

Contacts:

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liese.sherwoodfabre/
Twitter: @lsfabre
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Liese-Sherwood-Fabre/e/B00810INE6/
Email: mailto:liese@liesesherwoodfabre.com



INTERVIEW:

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.


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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.

Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-Sherlock-Holmes-Victorian/dp/0998411205




Sherwood-Fabre was a contributor to the following Sherlockian fiction anthology

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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!

BUY:  https://www.amazon.com/Curious-Incidents-More-Improbable-Adventures-ebook/dp/B01MUEELMA

Thanks for joining us for coffee! Come back soon.

 
 
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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.




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Author Bio:

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



INTERVIEW:

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?

PPTwitter. 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.

PPI 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?

PPThe 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...


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EVERYTHING HIS HEART DESIRES
(Rated R)

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


Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!

 
 
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Hey, booklovers!
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.


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BIO:

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."

Author Contacts:

Site: http://author.bethbarany.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/beth_barany
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethbarany
Instagram: http://instagram.com/bethbarany



INTERVIEW:

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.


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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?

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Henrietta-DragonSlayer-Kindle
B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Henrietta-The-Dragon-Slayer/Beth-Barany/e/2940012228222/
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/henrietta-the-dragon-slayer
iBooks: http://bethb.net/HEN1pg
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/46068
Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780983296041?aff=bethbarany
Bookdepository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Henrietta-Dragon-Slayer-Beth-Barany/9780983296041?b=-3&t=-20

**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!

 
 
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Welcome to the Wednesday Coffee Chat!

This week's guest is paranormal mystery writer, Jordaina Syndney Robinson. It's nice to meet you, Jordaina. What may I get you to drink?

JSR
I drink tea. I make what my mum calls ‘builder’s tea’ which just means it’s really strong. I have two sugars in it but I’m trying to cut down to one.

Ally: Tea it is! We like to indulge our guests, but I don't want to undermine your dietary efforts, so I just won't reveal how many sugars I added. :) While I fix our drinks, please introduce yourself to readers.


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Bio

Jordaina Sydney Robinson grew up and, despite many adventures further afield, still lives in the North West of England. For fun she buys notebooks, gets walked by her husky puppy and sings really loudly and really badly whilst driving her trusty old Seat, Roger.

Something usual that's not in your regular bio: "I have to walk my husky puppy, Mr Wolf, before he lets me write or he sits next to me and howls. I think that means he’s spoiled!"

Author contact links

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter  



INTERVIEW:

Ally: Let's start by talking about what type of books you write.

JSR:  Beyond Dead is a paranormal cosy mystery. As for it’s romantic heat rating, I would say it was cold, maybe tepid at a push! There’s not even any hand holding!

Ally:   So you have your genre and probably a story idea, how do you choose and name your characters?

JSR:  I don’t really know how or if I choose my characters – they just sort of come fully formed and named. That said, Bridget (the heroine in Beyond Dead) is actually named after a (sort-of) ex-boyfriend’s best friend’s ex-girlfriend. She looks like her too though I didn’t actually realise until I was halfway through the second book.

Ally:  We're big on the paranormal and magic around here.  If you could have a supernatural power, what would it be and why?

JSR:  To fly. Which is weird, really, because I get motion sickness on escalators! I always have to take the stairs. But something about flying makes me think of freedom. You could go anywhere you wanted any time you wanted to. You wouldn’t have to spend hours at the airport – totally the best superpower!

Ally:  What is your favorite social media? Why do you like it? How often can readers find you there?

JSR:  Honestly, I’m a bit patchy with social media. I joined Twitter and Instagram not so long ago so I’m still getting to grips with how they work. Facebook is always a trusty favourite, though, so I’m probably more active on there and that’s because more people use that to talk to me. My favourite way to talk to readers, though, is through my email list. I send out an email a month and so many people reply I just find it a much more gratifying way to keep in touch with them.

Ally:  I'm always interested in where authors come from. Can you tell us about your home?

JSR:  I live in a Roman town in the North West of England. It’s classed as a walled city because we still have the walls circling the city that were built by the Romans. There’s a walkway on top of them so you can walk all the way around them. Obviously the city has expanded since Roman times so half the city is inside and half is outside but it’s still pretty cool.

We also have an amphitheatre and there are Roman tours around the city which are lead by guys dressed as Roman soldiers – always an interesting sight!   (Ally Note: Wow, am I envious! You have a home most of us just dream about.)

Ally:  What is your next writing project? Title, short description, anticipated release

JSR:  The third book in the Bridget Sway series, A Little More Dead, will be released for pre-order mid-January. I’m also working on a new series about a reporter called Aurora North who investigates spooky happenings which I’m super excited about. The first book in that series will be available in summer 2017.

Ally: I'd like to wind up the interview with a few short answer questions.
  • a. Favorite tv program:  Genuinely any type of murder mystery.
  • b. High heels or sneakers:  Dr Martens! I’ll slip over on anything and they have the best grip of any boot around! I’m all about comfort (and personal safety!) over fashion.
  • c. Do you believe in love at first sight?  I do!
  • d. Favorite song:  Eye of the Tiger (although I’ve never seen the Rocky films).
  • e. Favorite quote: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”  ― G.K. Chesterton

Ally: Thank you for visiting, Jordaina. I've enjoyed our chat. Before you go, please tell us more about Beyond Dead...


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Blurb

Dead less than twenty-four hours, with a job that doesn’t pay, a fashion disaster for a uniform and more afterlife rules than she can shake a stick at, Bridget Sway thinks it’s as bad as it can get. And then she finds a dead ghost stuffed in her locker.

Since the police are desperate to arrest her for murder, Bridget’s new best friend convinces her the only way to save herself from an eternity in prison is to solve the murder themselves.

With a handsome parole officer watching her every move, an outlaw ghost befriending her and two persistent mediums demanding her attention, solving the murder is not quite as easy as it sounds. And when “murder” turns into “murders” Bridget needs to solve the case … before she becomes the next dead body stuffed in her locker.

Buy link to all formats:

https://www.books2read.com/JordainaSydneyRobinson-BeyondDead



Thanks for visiting my blog. Please come back soon!

 
 
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Good Morning, Booklovers!

Our Coffee Chat author guest this week is Miguelina Perez with her debut novel, The Vicar's Deadly Sin.

Welcome, Lina, What may I get you to drink?

LINA: 
I love coffee with lots of milk. Caffe Latte.

Ally: The magic pot is yours to command. While I pour, please introduce yourself.



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BIO:

Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer, and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Currently, she is working the sequel to the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, “Angel’s Lust” and will start on “A Hero of Her Own” a contemporary romance thriller, about a serial killer terrorizing New York.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Perez resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Something about you that's not in your bio: "I believe in love at first sight...
I also believe love conquers all.

Contact the author:

Website:

Website: miguelinaperezauthor.com
Twitter: @regencyinkwell
Email: mperezauthor@gmail.com



INTERVIEW:

Ally: What type of book is The Vicar's Deadly Sin?

LINA:  It is a regency romance mystery.
PG-13 and up. No sex. Sort of Jane Austen meets Nancy Drew..

Ally: 
How do you choose and name your characters?

LINA
Sometimes I take a name from someone I know and give them the last name of someone else.

Ally:  Do you have a book trailer or will you? Are they worth the time and money?

LINA:  Yes, I have one, and 
I think they are worth it. But if you do not have the money, you can learn to make your own.  I have made my own. And hope to continue to make them. I have even made them for friends.
(Ally note: I've made all but one of mine. It's rather fun if you have the time. I use Movie Maker.)

Ally:  How do you spend your non-writing/editing time?

LINA
I spend my time reading, watching television and knitting. But that is after I know the place is cleaned and all of my chores are done. Lol…

Ally:  Does your real life show up in your writing? In what ways?

LINA: 
In the contemporary romance I hope to write,  I will be adding some real life in it. Lots of it will be the main heroine and her relationship with her family.

Ally:  What is your next writing project?

LINA:  I am almost done with the first draft of the sequel for The Vicar’s Deadly Sin called Angel’s Lust and it is about the lust for youth and beauty and how young maidens are being sacrificed to a fictitious god by an Italian Count. Here is the blurb:

      Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard are back and this time they are out to catch a murderer targeting young maidens for sacrifices.
      Believing that having come close to getting themselves killed in their last investigation, Sir Hugh, now engaged to Lady Jane Bartholomew and Mr Latham, solicitor to Miss Margaret Renard, are distressed to learn that the young ladies are once again up to their old tricks.
      Believing they can solve the murders, the young ladies may well fall prey and become sacrificial lambs, unless Sir Hugh and Mr Latham protect them while trying not to fall victims themselves to the unseen evil walking among them leaving a pile of corpses in its wake?

Ally: Let's finish our chat with a few short answer questions.

  • a. favorite book – Pride and Prejudice
  • b. book you're currently reading – The Houseguest: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary
  • c. favorite tv program – Grimm, sadly it has been canceled.
  • d. favorite quote – In Love I am but a mere reflection – M. Perez
  • e. A guilty pleasure – Vanilla Shake
Ally:  It was a pleasure visiting with you today, Lina. Good luck with your books. Before you go, please show readers more about The Vicar's Deadly Sin...

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The Vicar's Deadly Sin

A Touch of Romance…A Touch of Regency…A Touch of Murder… Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard have been friends since the age of twelve. Together they share their dreams, hopes and a love for reading. However, it is their wild imagination and a penchant for solving mysteries that will test their abilities when the Vicar of Dover is found murdered. The young ladies are joined by two gentlemen, also eager to find the murderer in order to prove to the ladies that detecting is a man's job, though the gentlemen find their beauty, wit, and pride more troublesome than solving a murder. The Vicar's Deadly Sin is a delightful and witty Regency romance mystery about two friends and their love for solving crimes, while keeping society and its rules at bay.

Buy On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iRrA0f

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab4U2lgacqg



Thanks for stopping by. Please come back soon!

 
 
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Welcome to the first Coffee Chat in 2017!

I hope your holiday was wonderful and that you have lots of new books to read! In case you still have a gift card to use, check out my interview with author Christina Hoag and her romantic YA thriller, Girl on the Brink.

Good morning, Christina! What can I get you to drink?

CH: 
I drink café con leche every morning, half espresso, half milk. After travelling and living in countries with real coffee cultures, I can’t drink American-style coffee anymore!

Ally:  No problem. My magic pot can fix anything. Meanwhile, please introduce yourself to readers.


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Bio:
Christina Hoag is the author of Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishers, August 2016) and Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016). She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She lives in Los Angeles.

Something unique not in your usual bio: "
I was almost born in Zambia, which is where my parents met. They left a couple months before my mother was due to give birth and I was born in New Zealand instead."

For more information, see www.christinahoag.com.

https://facebook.com/ChristinaHoagAuthor
https://twitter.com/ChristinaHoag
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7341116.Christina_Hoag 



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  Your write both mature fiction and young adult. Is it hard to switch between the two? Do you set out to write one or the other, or does the heroine tell you what kind of story she prefers?

CH:  Both my novels started out as YA. On “Skin of Tattoos,” I eventually upped the protag’s age by just a few years to make it an adult novel and it made all the difference as far as the scope of what the character could do since teens are limited in their range of actions by their age. However, the book still has some YA elements in that the protag has a lot of issues with his parents and family that he comes to term with by the novel’s end.

I conceived “Girl on the Brink,” however, as a YA, and it stayed as YA, but it was tricky, I confess. It took me a while to firm up the YA voice and perspective. It didn’t come naturally to me. I had to immerse myself in YA books to get the hang of it. I’m more comfortable with the adult voice though I have another YA in mind for down the road. YA readers are very enthusiastic so it’s a rewarding audience.

Ally:  What was your road to publication? How long did it take you? What did you do to find a publisher?

CH:  It was a long and rocky road to publication that took years, even after I finished writing the books, which took years in of itself. I eventually got an agent after sending out about 90 queries, but frankly, she was a lousy agent who gave up quickly. I did not. I rewrote and rewrote and got another agent, who was a real pro. She did not, however, succeed in selling my book (this was Skin of Tattoos). I kept at it. I knew it was good, and I knew Girl on the Brink was good, too. I kept rewriting, but I switched from seeking agents to seeking publishers who took unagented subs. I kept searching the Internet for publishers and submitting. My persistence paid off in the end, but it was a years-long process. I always tell aspiring authors, don’t give up and believe in yourself. Just keep going no matter what anyone tells you.

Ally:  What has been the biggest surprise about the writing/publishing/marketing business? How did you adapt?

CH:  Genre is everything. If you can’t fit your book within the confines of a specified genre, publishers (and agents) can’t market it. A good story just isn’t enough. This was the case with my novel “Skin of Tattoos.” My agent finally labelled it a “literary thriller,” and that seemed to work. “Girl on the Brink” was an easier one to categorize, as it deals with teen dating violence and there is an established contemporary social issue genre in the YA canon.

Ally:  Your next project and potential release date?

CH:  I’m working on two novels, both nearing completion. One is a traditional detective mystery set in Los Angeles and the other is what I’m calling a literary political thriller, set in Caracas, Venezuela, during the 2002 coup attempt. I was living there at the time and I covered the coup as a journalist. It was a very intense time. My goal is to finish both of these next year.

Ally: Try these short answer questions.
  • a. Do you make New Year's resolutions?  I used to but found they didn’t work. Now I just hold myself accountable by writing things on a list. If it’s on the list, I have to do it!
  • b. How many books do you read in a year?  I average about one a week.
  • c. Favorite perfume or lotion:  Lanolin lotion from New Zealand. This is made from natural lanolin from sheep’s wool, which in its raw state is quite oily. It’s a beautiful thick, rich cream.
  • d. A guilty pleasure:  A cream tea. The cream in cream teas ideally comes from Devon, England. It is boiled twice, resulting in a thick, clotted cream. With jam on a scone, and of course a pot of tea, it’s to die for.
  • e. A place (real or fictional) you dream about visiting:  I really want to go to Mongolia. I’d love to roam the steppes with yaks and sleep in a yurt. Kind of weird, I know, but I love remote, isolated places.

Ally:  Thanks for visiting the blog, Christina. Before you go, tell us more about Girl on the Brink...

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Girl on the Brink Blurb:

Sometimes the one you love isn’t the one you’re meant to be with.

The summer before senior year, Chloe starts an internship as a reporter at a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Chloe becomes smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce. But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect. But her efforts backfire, and Kieran turns violent. Chloe breaks up with him, but Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up. Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge.

Girl on the Brink Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aRFsVZ
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/657690
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bFrCGQ 



Have a wonderful New Year! Come back soon...