Find us on Google+

Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!

It's time for this week's Coffee Chat and a chance to meet another author. Today's guest is crime writer, Stefania Mattana.

Welcome, Stef!  Why don't we start by introducing you to readers?


Stefania Mattana is a crime fiction author whose stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, websites and anthologies. Her self-published mystery and detective series, featuring the former MET Police Detective Chase Williams, was first published in 2013 and was welcomed by readers with great acclaim.

Stef works for Automattic, the company behind, and is also very active on open source projects such as She blogs a lot for Chase, in her own DailyPinner and in other webzines.

Contact the Author:

Mailing list
Author website
Facebook: DailyPinner
Twitter @EraniaPinnera
Instagram: eraniapinnera
Snapchat: stefmattana
Chase Williams blog
Twitter Chas2 @ChaseWilliams78
Instagram Chase; britoninitaly


Ally:  Tell us what type of books you write, your intended audience, and why you chose this genre.

STEF:  When at first I started writing Chase’s stories, my goal was to create a series of cozy mystery novels, short stories and novelettes. I grew up idolising Agatha Christie, so it goes without saying that I’d liked to imitate her writing and settings. All went as planned with Cutting Right to the Chase Vol1 and Into the Killer Sphere, which both respect the rules of the cozy mystery.

However, after I wrapped up Cutting Right to the Chase Vol.2 and Vol3, as well as Pull the Trigger (the book No2 of the Chase Williams murder mysteries series) I realised they hadn’t much of the cozy mystery. My character and the plots twisted in a way they can’t be labelled as ‘cozy’ anymore. They went down a thriller road, although I can’t label them as pure thrillers. It’s safe to say that my novels and short stories are detective stories with mystery and suspense.

The reading target remains quite wide; anyone of any age can enjoy my books as there are no gore or sex scenes, nor violence.

Ally:  What is your editing and publishing process? From the time you complete your first draft to its appearance at booksellers, what happens to your book?

STEF:  The process is pretty much the same for both the fiction (in English and Italian) and non fiction (in Italian only) I’ve written so far.

I normally write a first draft, then leave it alone for a couple of weeks. After some rounds of revisions (usually 2 or 3), I send it to my alpha reader Chiara, who is also the Italian translator of my mystery books. After she leaves her notes, the last draft goes to my editor Steph for the English version (I write in English and she edits what is too Italian). The final writing is pushed then to my beta readers, who read and review it. At this point the book is ready to be officially published and launched. 

Ally:  When and where do you do the bulk of your writing? Do you have a writer's cave? If not, what would your ideal cave be like?

STEF:  I like being quite structured in everything I do, especially when creativity is involved. It may sound like a paradox (and maybe it is) but following a strict process allows me to plan my writing sessions and deliver my drafts in time for their official launch. I find the writing process easier when the plot pillars are in place.

I usually first draft a concept (or two), then develop every scene so to create a storyboard, just like a movie. I use Ginko App for that - it’s spot on and can be used for everyday tasks as well, so I suggest anyone to give it a go ;)

Once everything is ready and storyboarded, I can go banana with my writing.

I don’t have a specific place for writing: my upcoming new mystery novel was drafted during a holiday at Canary Islands. My ‘cave’ is my sofa in my living room, where I like lying with my computer on my lap, plug myself in and get my writing done.

Ally:  Give us a few hints about your next writing project.

STEF:  I am writing two stories at the moment.

The book No3 of my Chase Williams murder mysteries series which is going to be a long length novel, and a short story about a real event that happened in Tursenia in 1500 in which Raffaello Sanzio painted one of his famous painting.

And now for a few short answer questions:
  • a. favorite sport: All of them! If I have to pick some, I’d say athletics, rugby, football, tennis, gymnastics, skating
  • b. a book you wish you had written: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • c. a tv program you hate to miss: Gotham & Silicon Valley TV Series
  • d. What is the name and breed of your pet? Giuliano is a chihuahua and pinscher mix breed.
  • e. an event you'd love to attend: A Gland Slam final

Ally: I looks like our time is up, but it was a delight having you visit the blog. Before you go, show us one of your book covers.

Cutting Right to the Chase
Short stories Vol. I

What if you are an ex Scotland Yard British detective stuck in a stunning medieval Italian city?

Chase Williams's life seems to be filled with crimes and mysteries to solve, even if he is not working at Scotland Yard anymore. In Tursenia, a pretty, Medieval city in the heart of Italy, Chase tries to live a normal life as an import/export executive for an international cashmere firm, but it's not as easy as it appears.

Chase's investigative eye never stops catching glimpses of crimes despite his career change. Throughout these six detective short stories of 1000 words each, Chase deals with a sequence of mainly minor but baffling offences that anyone could stumble upon.

Strange flights, teenagers at the mall, quirky neighbours and a special mission with Chase's childhood friend, Inspector Angelo Alunni, will introduce you to the Tursenian world, where other, nastier crimes can happen.

Buy Links:


All links on Author's Website:


Welcome to this Wednesday's Coffee Chat!

My guest is Nancy Raven Smith, an author of mystery/romantic suspense novels.
Nice to have you with us, Nancy. How do you take your coffee?

Starbucks’ peppermint mocha frappuccino is a big favorite, and my brother makes a great Cafe Marrakech (a version of Irish coffee) when we visit.

Ally:  Yum. I love Irish coffee myself. We'll see what the magic pot whips up. In the meantime, please introduce yourself.


I grew up in Virginia where I ran horse sport events. Later in California, I traded my event experience for film work and went to UCLA for screenwriting. My scripts won numerous awards. Several were optioned. When a mentor suggested I write one idea as a novel, I discovered a passion for writing mysteries. Then I joined Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. There I experienced a deep camaraderie with the other authors who made me feel welcome. I realized that I found my true creative home in writing mysteries/romantic suspense. Land Sharks is my debut novel. I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: I trained as a ballet dancer.

Author contact links


Ally:  You've described your book as romantic suspense. How is that different from a traditional mystery? Or are they the same?

NANCY:  I think traditional mysteries are structured on discovering the killer who is not revealed until the end of the story. In my case, I chose romantic suspense as a second category because the romantic story has equal weight, structure wise, to the mystery story. Land Sharks is both a romantic suspense and a traditional mystery. I made that decision when I realized that the two major plot lines were equal and entwined.

Ally:  How intense are the romantic scenes?

NANCY:  Land Sharks doesn’t contain any specific, on the page love scenes, but there is a definite relationship going on. So it would rate low rating on the romantic heat scale. If it were a movie, it would get a P or PG rating. Think “Romancing the Stone.”

Ally:  Can you tell readers how the Kindle Scout Program worked to get your book published?

NANCY:  The Kindle Scout Program offers entrants a place to be seen and nominated on by the public over a one month period. At the end of that month, Kindle Press reviews the books, and, if they like a book, they offer a contract and advance to the author for the ebook and audio book rights. The author retains all other rights. Land Sharks was offered a contract, and I was thrilled to accept it. The Kindle Scout and Kindle Press people are absolutely lovely to work with. My book received a full edit by Kirkus Editing as part of the package. I would never have been able to afford that on my own. They also run promos and discounts for the ebook on Amazon and are there for me to contact if I have questions. I’ve also been fortunate to become friends with other Kindle Scout competitors, both selected and not. They are a great source of knowledge and support. If any of your readers enter the Scout Program, I recommend they contact people who have been through it. It’s a very intense period if you’re selected.

Ally: Are you a full or part-time writer? If full time, what is your daily schedule? If part-time, when, where, and how do you find time to write?

NANCY:  I’m a full time writer and yet, even with a supportive family, it’s difficult to find blocks of time to write. For me, finding the time when I’m doing the first draft is the most critical. As far as my schedule goes, I can’t write until the day’s chores are done, so I do those first and then sit down to write in the mid afternoon and through the early evenings. 

Ally:  Who or what inspired you to become a published author? How has that influenced your style or genre?

NANCY:  I was an avid reader and screenwriter before I wrote my first novel. My mentor at Women in Film suggested that I write one idea as a novel. My take-away from the experience is that I love novel writing. I would guess Elizabeth Peters and Dorothy Gilman influenced me most for their light and warm approach to mysteries.

Ally:  Try out these short answer questions:
  • a. favorite all time movie: So, so many. Here’s a few – Secondhand Lions (Michael Caine), The Hunger Games (first one, Gary Ross – Director, from a Suzanne Collins’ novel), Absolute Power (Clint Eastwood from a Baldacci novel)), The Con (TV movie with William Macy), Bull Durham (Kevin Costner), and The Client (Susan Sarandon from a Grisham novel). I could name another fifty in a heartbeat.
  • b. a tv show you just can't miss: Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Comberbatch.
  • c. favorite picnic foods: Fresh fruit such as ripe strawberries, cold chicken and something sweet for desert. You could add hot dogs and hamburgers if there’s a campfire or grill.
  • d. last song where you sang along: Hallelujah by Geoff Tate from a live performance version.
  • e. most fun polish you've had on your toenails:  A pretty pink

Ally: Thank you for spending time with us out of your busy day. Please show us your book before you go.

NANCY: Ally, it’s a pleasure to visit the Coffee Chat. Thank you so much for having me as a guest. It was fun to get together! Now, here's the book info...


Book blurb:

An American bank fraud investigator goes undercover in Sumatra to find a young heiress who may or may not be kidnapped. The investigator’s job might be easier if she didn't have to contend with her boss's untrained son who has a crush on her and the unexpected appearance of an ex-boyfriend/con man who has his own secret agenda.

Buy Link:

Good Morning, Booklovers!
Instead of the usual Wednesday Coffee Chat, I invited author Michele Drier to talk about the issues of working with characters within a series. She accepted, and without more fanfare, I'm turning the blog over to her! Take if away, Michele.

Not Finished Yet
by Michele Drier

When I began writing The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, I had a trilogy in mind.

Why three? No particular reason it just seemed that I could explore all the characters in these paranormal romances and wrap them up in three books.

Was I wrong! The characters, especially Maxie and Jean-Louis, the passionate but probably ill-matched lovers, grabbed the stories and wouldn’t let go.

“Wait a minute,” they shouted at me. “We’re not finished yet!”

Now, nine books later with probably more to come, I find that they have to grow, become different from their first book, learn things.

What do characters learn and how do they grow in an extended series? They have to remain interesting, tackle new challenges, overcome old barriers and show readers and fans that though they’re still the people you’ve grown to love, there are new complexities. They can develop internal changes—finding new depths or new fears—or react to outside influences—a death threat, a new baby.

This is a bit tricky as the Kandeskys, the vampires, are 500-year-old Hungarians who’ve lived a life of ease in their castles and manors in Eastern Europe. Sure they’ve had some ups and downs…a centuries-long feud with their neighboring vampire family, the Huszars; adaptation to new technology (they bought the first Mercedes in 1903); adaptation to new marketing and businesses…they invested in Hollywood gossip magazines in the 1920s and now own the world’s largest, most extensive celebrity gossip empire with TV shows and slick magazines covering Europe and the Americas.

Beyond the technology and increasing wealth, two of the unmarried male Kandeskys have run up against a formidable wall…twenty-first century women.

Jean-Louis and Nik Kandesky are beyond sexy. They’ve honed their attraction to, and interest in, women for centuries. What are Maxie and Jazz, two modern, L.A. women going to do when these beautiful creatures turn on their Old World charm?

There’s outside tension in the books. Other vampire families, Eastern European terrorists, rival business factions looking to carve a piece of their empire away, terrorists wanting to take down the family.  By far, though, the tension is between the lovers.

It’s not enough that they come from different centuries and countries. Manners are different. Relationships are different. Women in nineteenth century Budapest didn’t have jobs. Men didn’t ask them for opinions on business…or much of anything.

Add to that, the men are vampires. A commitment to a vampire puts a whole new meaning on “forever.”  As Maxie wrestles with loving Jean-Louis, she realizes that marrying him and becoming a vampire also is an irrevocable thing. As Jean-Louis says to her, “You come from the land of do-overs. Don’t like your situation? Change it. This isn’t my world.”

These characters have all become both closer to me and more independent as the series continues. They’ve all had to grow and change. Jean-Louis and Nik have haltingly, grudgingly, begun to share some of the dangers the Kandeskys face from outside forces. In SNAP: I, Vampire, Maxie is even acquiring the vampire ability to “mind read,” really opening up her mind to the collective unconscious of the Kandeskys and understanding the subtly of their communication.

Maxie and Jazz are losing some of their brittleness and are learning that actions from the men are not designed to take control, but are hard-wired reactions from nature and nurture training them to take care of their women. All of them are learning that it’s not a case of women being incapable, but of men having to take care.

There’s a lot of growing and changing in the future for the Kandeskys…now including some women…but they haven’t told me yet where they plan to go. Just invited me along, so far. It’s gonna be an interesting ride!

About the Author:

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series. In addition to the San Jose Mercury-News, she was the City Editor of the Lodi New-Sentinel, the Executive Editor of the Manteca Bulletin and Assistant Metro Editor for the Modesto Bee.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights,  SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire.  A sci-fi thriller, Ashes of Memory, is scheduled for release late summer 2016.

She’s active in the mystery community and also teaches writing classes in Northern California.

Visit her facebook page,
her Amazon author page,
her website,
or contact her at


Once & Again,

book 2

by M.S. Kaye

She was once his secret desire… Will she be again?

Father Aiden, an ex-marine and new priest, falls in love with Maylynn, but he struggles to stay away from her. He’s successful for many years, though he can’t keep her out of his dreams.

Then one day she shows up for a pre-marital counseling session with her fiancé, Davis. Aiden soon realizes Davis isn’t who he says he is, but what does that mean for Maylynn, and for himself?

Will be released August 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Add to your "to-read" on Goodreads.

Amazon Pre-Order:

About the Author:

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at

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

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

book 1

Will be released July 2, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Her first and also her once.

Jonathan and Rebecca’s paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say.

But Jonathan is three days from entering the priesthood, and Rebecca leaves him to his peace. But he is unable to find peace.

Without each other’s comfort and strength, they must each struggle to forge a new path, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.

But are they able to forget and let go?

Once & Forever,
book 3

Will be released December 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? As Eden and Trace grow closer, confessing their pasts to each other, will they be able to resist getting too close?


“You’re studying to be a priest?”

He made himself meet her eyes. “I am a priest.”

She let go of his hand and stepped back.

Her smiled was tight. “I’m glad you found your path.”


He couldn’t quite read her expression. The distance between them felt like a gorge chiseled into the earth.

“Are you all right, Maylynn?” he asked.

“I’m really happy for you.” Then she added, “Father Aiden.”

For some reason, her words stabbed him in the gut. He usually liked when people used his title—it seemed to imply a certain amount of trust.

“I’m sorry, Maylynn.” He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing. He just didn’t like to see her uncomfortable.

“I’m happy for you,” she repeated.

Then he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t anticipated this.

He moved closer. “I’m so sorry.”

Her forced smile finally dropped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“It didn’t occur to me…”

“That I might be attracted to you?”


“Why aren’t you wearing your collar?” Anger prickled the edge of her voice.

“My mother’s last wish was that I find my father. I’ve been following her notes. She was convinced he was somewhere in this area.”

“Wait… Your mother’s name was Adalina?”

He nodded. With the number of times the shelter was mentioned in the notes, he figured his mother and Maylynn had met.

A pause.

Anger flashed in her eyes. “You still should’ve told me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why’d you play with me like that?”

“I swear that wasn’t my intent.”

“You knew damn well what was going on. Was it a game—see if you still had it? If you could still get the chicks?”

Under the anger in her eyes, he saw the hurt. He swore he could feel it exactly, as if it was his own.

He shifted even closer, just in front of her. “I’m sorry,” he said again. His voice lowered, quieted. “I didn’t see what you were feeling because I was fighting so hard myself. I still am.”

“Fighting what?”

“What I felt the first time I saw you, what I’m still feeling.”

She waited, glaring at him.

“I’m attracted to you,” he said. “Intensely.”

Welcome to the first summer Coffee Chat, Booklovers!

This week's guest is author Glenn Maynard, who writes romantic paranormals with a twist.

How do you take your coffee, Glenn?

I cannot function without my first cup of coffee, or my second or third. I like cream and sugar in the first cup to wake up my mouth and cream and Sweet N Low for the rest so that I don’t get too sweet.

Ally: Since I assume you're already past that first cup, I'll find the Sweet N Low. Meanwhile, please introduce yourself to readers.


Glenn Maynard is the author of “Strapped Into An American Dream” which details his one-year journey through the 48 continental states, Canada and Mexico in an RV. He was a travel correspondent for three newspapers during his travels. He is also the author of “Desert Son” and “Wayward Soul”, which are the first two books of a fiction series that involves out-of-body experiences, past-life-regression hypnosis, and reincarnation. He is currently working on book three of this trilogy.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "I write funny poetry and read it at family events. If it’s your birthday and there is a big party, then you better watch out: “To my mom who gave me birth, you sure got your money’s worth.”

Contact Links:



Ally:   Describe your genre and what intrigues you enough to write about it.

GLENN:  My Desert Son series is Paranormal Romance, but more paranormal and light romance. After all, I am a guy.
I like putting new twists on my paranormal books as I describe what it’s like to have an out-of-body experience and walk through heaven. I also thrive on creating the most bizarre scenes during past-life-regression hypnosis sessions. The eerier the better.

Ally:   Readers are always interested in process. How do you choose your characters? Are the based on anyone? How much do you know about them before you start writing?

GLENN:  My characters are bits and pieces of people I’ve come across during my lifetime with a dash of imagination to make them even more different. In other words, none of my characters are any one person in my life. I usually develop the main characters from the outset, but they are molded during the writing of the story. I also develop additional characters as I move through the story; characters I didn’t even know about in the beginning.

Ally:  What's the most interesting feedback you've received from a reader?

GLENN:  Many excited reviewers talk about the way I put a new spin on reincarnation and the chills they get while reading the hypnosis sessions.

Ally:  What is your current work in progress? More twists and chills? :)

GLENN:  I am currently working on book three of my Desert Son series, and the tentative title is “Spiritual Intervention.” You heard it here first.

Ally:  Try a few quick answer questions:
  • a. type of car you drive vs what you wished you drove: I drive a Ford Focus (my father always said FORD means “found on road dead”). I have no car wishes as long as the car isn’t found on road dead.
  • b. favorite non-writing activity: I like playing acoustic guitar and singing. It’s fun and a stress reliever.
  • c. favorite TV show(s): American Idol, The Voice, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mike and Molly, King of Queens.
  • d. a book you wish you had written: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.
  • e.  an item on your bucket list: Alaska.

Ally:  Thanks for visiting the blog, Glenn. It was a pleasure to have you. Before you go, I'd love to hear more about your book...



While visiting a psychic, Carter Spence and Brenda Raycroft’s reading turns tragic. The psychic touches them, suffers convulsions, and frantically runs into the street into oncoming traffic. Their fate is sealed in a coma and they must use any means possible to reach the psychic in the spirit world as they dodge deadly complications in an attempt for answers.

Racing against time, they pursue the psychic’s message before she dies and takes the answers they need with her. When the spirit of the previous homeowner returns, this haunting soul begins tampering with the comatose psychic.

This eerie sequel to Desert Son takes place four years after Carter and Brenda discover they are a couple reunited beyond the grave. The spirit world becomes intertwined with their own as they attempt to tap into these secrets to uncover disturbing truths about their fate in this paranormal roller coaster that will shake your soul.

Buy Link:

Also by Glenn Maynard:

 If You're Reading this:


Welcome to the Wednesday Coffee Chat! Our guest this week is CJ Matthew, author of the Dolphin Shore Shifters series, paranormal romance with elements of suspense.

Nice to meet you, CJ. How do you take your coffee?

In the morning I drink instant coffee with Equal and sugar-free Vanilla creamer.

Ally: Um, I'm not sure I can convince my magic pot to mimic instant coffee, but we'll sure put your chosen sweetener and creamer into a tasty blend. :) Meanwhile, please introduce yourself to readers.

About the Author:

CJ Matthew grew up in an Air Force family traveling and living all over the US and around the world. It proved to be the perfect experience for gathering ideas and material for future books. And for meeting real life heroes and heroines in uniforms and flight-suits. She spent her high school and university years in California, which inspired her love of marine life, and the Pacific Ocean.

Her debut series titled Dolphin Shore Shifters is in the paranormal romance genre. The series features a pod of dolphins living in the Santa Barbara channel off the coast of California, capable of shifting to human form. While posing as real humans, the dolphins work through their oceanic conservation corporation, Save Blue Water, to protect their oceans at any cost.

CJ’s next series, The Paladin Group, launched with Deadly Reboot. The books are romantic suspense, set in a small southern town, and they star wounded air force veterans, men and women warriors turned civilian lawyers and investigators determined to continue their rescue work.

A member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and Kiss of Death, CJ lives and writes near a lake in the woods northeast of Atlanta. When she isn't writing or reading romances, CJ spends time with her two grown children, their spouses, a brilliant grandson and a feisty cat named Max.

Schedule permitting, CJ loves to travel, to discover new favorite places as well as meeting new friends in both the US and around the world. Max flatly refuses to travel.

Connect with CJ:

Amazon author page:
Goodreads author page:


Ally: I'm intrigued to hear about your dolphin shifters. I assume they take human form when they arrive on shore. Are they naked? Or do they shift fully clothed? The clothes issue has always been the hardest part of writing shifters for me.  :)

CJ:  The Shore Shifters are a large pod of bottlenose dolphins living in the Santa Barbara channel. Based on an ancient Native American Chumash origin legend, they were given the ability to transform into humans.

The shift to human usually takes place on a dark night, in the shallow water right at the shore line. It’s dangerous as they crawl ashore weak and naked. An escort is always assigned to help them out of the surf, and to bring clothing and transportation. 

(I’m always interested to see how other writers handle the clothing issue as well.)

Ally: Describe the setting for your book. Is it a contemporary or totally fictional?

CJ:  The beautiful city of Santa Barbara is basically accurate except I’ve added the dolphin’s fictional corporate headquarters, Save Blue Water, and the condo buildings owned by the pod. I made SBW world famous and respected for their ocean conservation work and massive lobbying efforts. The secret field ops team, however, is armed and aggressive. They respond to whistleblowers by traveling to investigate reports of illegal dumping, oil leaks, etc.

In Risky Tide, book 2, I introduce the Exchange Team. Until SBW and the Shore Shifters can convince humans to close down Marine Amusement Parks and free all the dolphin captives, the team travels the US trading out the imprisoned dolphins with volunteers for three years. Extremely dangerous work, but very gratifying for the dolphin returning to their homes in the ocean, and for the team that facilitates the exchanges.

Ally:  What's the best writing advice you've been given? The worst?

CJ:  The best advice is to keep writing. Never stop learning, and keep writing.

The worst was not so much the advice as the delivery: Early on, I was beaten down by a couple of contest judges. I wanted their opinion and advice. But I didn’t need to be buried in an avalanche of harsh criticism. Tough on a new writer (any writer) and completely unnecessary.

Ally:  What are you working on next? Release date?

CJ:  On April 2, 2016, I released Dolphin Shore Shifters Book 4, Lethal Tide. I’m currently writing Toxic Tide, Book 5. I hope to release it in July of this year.

Ally: Try out these short answer questions:
  • a. manicure or pedicure: Manicure. The bottoms of my feet are ticklish.
  • b. favorite after 5 drink: Cherry Coke.
  • c.  favorite TV show: My cabin in the woods has Netflix so I binge on last year’s TV, like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Person of Interest.
  • d. favorite social media site: Facebook
  • e. an item on your bucket list: Top 2: Visit Ireland. Swim with dolphins in the wild.
Ally:  Thanks so much for having coffee with us, CJ. Before you take off for that dolphin swim, tell us more about your book, Risky Tide.

Risky Tide (Dolphin Shore Shifters Book Two):

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Romance rating: Hot but not erotic (Those under 18 may want to let their mothers read it first!)

The Santa Barbara Channel holds a closely guarded secret…

They sent her in unprepared…

Katherine expected more than a welcome handshake and a name badge after surviving a shark attack before she arrived at SBW headquarters. But due to the recent violence she is sent along to join the Exchange Team without training to handle the midnight break-ins at an Orlando marine mammal park. Things turn bad when the memory of almost dying in the mouth of a Great White triggers a panic attack, forcing the team leader to suspend the exchange schedule.

He didn’t need an untrained team…

Peal is a SBW Team Leader with more problems than answers. A polluted lagoon, dead dolphins, and two new team members….one, a trigger-happy transfer he doesn’t trust, one, a dark-haired beauty he can’t stop thinking about. And as if that wasn’t enough, the mob doesn’t like Peal staking-out the lagoon they’ve been dumping medical waste in and sends in their hitman to stop the SBW Team.

Time is running out…

If Peal can manage to keep them alive, he still has to convince Katherine they can have more than just one passionate night together. But SBW might have something to say about that as any minute Katherine could be transferred, pulled out of Peal’s life forever.


Amazon Kindle or trade paperback:
B&N Nook:

             The Bell Witch ghost of Adams, Tennessee

If you've read Ghost Walking (A Maggie York Paranormal Mystery), you'll know Maggie's mystical relatives warned her about The Bell Witch and "nasty" ghosts like her. That warning was based on my book research of this southern legend...or perhaps real events in the early 1800s. It depends on who you ask.

In 1817 the John Bell family of Adams, Tennessee, experienced four years of strange happenings in and around their home and county. Unexplainable noises, moved objects, and even physical attacks on family members, particularly young Betsy.

The perpetrator of this mayhem proclaimed herself to be a local witch, Kate Batts, with whom John had quarreled. The basis for the disagreement may have been a land or slave dispute, or John may have shot at Kate when she appeared on his property in a hybrid-creature form. In any case, Kate was unrelenting for more than four years, tormenting family, friends, and neighbors with cruel and painful pranks, screeching condemnation, and hideous laughter. Her attacks culminated in John's mysterious illness and death in 1820. Local legend reports Kate's ghostly presence appeared at his funeral, laughing and mocking the mourners.

Kate eventually broke off her attacks on the remaining family and disappeared into a cave on the property. Many believe it held an opening to the Beyond. Seven years later Kate appeared again, renewed her attacks, then vanished just as suddenly.

According to area residents, mysterious events are still occurring near the cave two hundred years later, supporting the belief that Kate remains nearby.

If you'd like to read more about The Bell Witch, her torment of this family, and possible reasons for it, check out the following sites: 

Welcome to the Wednesday Coffee Chat!

Bring your favorite beverage and pull up a chair for our weekly book talk. This week's guest is Mary Marvella, a writer
of romantic suspense, woman's fiction, some paranormal romance, and sweet romantic comedy. She describes most of her books as hot, but today we're discussing Cheerleader Dad, which has a PG rating.

Nice to meet you, Mary. What may I get you to drink?

MARY:  I drink herbal teas cold. Sometimes I add lemons or orange slices

Ally: Cold tea coming right up with a slice of orange. While I fix our drinks, please introduce yourself to readers.


Mary has been a storyteller for as long as she can remember.  She made up stories for the other children and created the details for their “play like” or “let’s pretend” games. Sometimes the details were so real they scared Mary. Mary was born in Augusta, Georgia to two eighteen-year olds.  She taught language arts for fifteen years. Now she tutors, teaches writers, and edits. Her inner English teacher loves the editing part. Mary helped her husband photograph hundreds of weddings. Her daughter is her cover artist now.

Something unique or unusual not in your bio: "I actually love to edit. Nothing interesting. Well, maybe that I hiked into the Grand Canyon."

Mary's links:

Facebook: Author/121044561311561
Publishing Website:
Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab
Amazon Author Page:

Ally:  What was the inspiration behind Cheerleader Dad?

Actually, I heard a news piece about a woman who hired someone to  kill a cheerleader because that would open a spot on the squad that had rejected her daughter.  This was a middle school squad.  I love The Parent Trap. Soooo.

Ally:  What traits make the perfect book boyfriend?

MARY:  Thoughtful, protective to a fault, funny without meaning to be and wonderful muscles. I like men who are cut!

Ally:  What made you decide to publish? How did you go about it?

MARY:  After I retired from teaching I started writing the stories my grandmama told us about her teen years. Then I started reading romances. Then I dreamed the beginning of Protective Instincts, but I called it Teacher, Teacher. After many rejections I decided to self-publish. The fabulous Deborah Smith suggested I do that for The Gift.

Ally:  What's your next project? Will it be released in 2016?

MARY:  I am working on a stripper book, The Stripper's revenge, and The Cost of Deception,  a romantic suspense.

Ally: Try your hand at these quick answer questions:
  • a. an item on your bucket list: I don't have one.  I do want to see Gilded Dragonfly Books become big!
  • b. a book you've read more than once: Gone with the Wind. I don't have time to read my to-be-read stacks.  
  • c.  last place you went shopping: Walmart
  • d. favorite clothing accessory: jewelry, necklaces and bracelets and earrings
  • e. an all-time favorite movie:  I watch anything with Reese Witherspoon. Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde.  I loved Highlander the series.
Ally: Thanks for visiting, Mary. Before you go, can you tell us a little more about Cheerleader Dad?

A sweet contemporary romance reminiscent of Parent Trap movies. Single parents raising eleven year old daughters must try to resist the ploys their children use to push them together as well as the growing attraction that sparks between them.
Buy Link:

Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she’s been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was 16.

Now, at 34, she’s still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he’d be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before that’s left her unable to commit.

When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may finally be at an end. Things don’t quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to find the unknown recipient of her letters.  But blind dates, Meetup events and online singles sites have nothing on what fate has in store for her when a co-worker unexpectedly quits and Annabeth finds herself working in close quarters with both Alex and her long ago ex, Nick. Fighting her attraction to one and loathing for the other, Annabeth is forced to face all of her old insecurities while keeping an eye on a scheming frienemy who may derail her hopes and dreams.

Written in the tradition of Bridget Jones' Diary, Kim Gruenfelder’s A Total Waste of Makeup, and Melissa Pimental’s Love By The Book, this romantic comedy shows that love on the sweet side can exist for the modern girl, if only she’s willing to trust herself and search hard enough.

Been Searching for You was the winner of the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

Buy Links:




To Whom It May Concern,

I think I wronged the love goddess in a previous life. How else do you explain that I’ve written you so many letters yet we’ve still not met? Everyone I know is either married or in a committed relationship, and here I am, pen in hand, writing to someone I can’t even prove exists.

There’s an old Chinese folktale that says soul mates are connected from birth by an invisible red thread and that they can feel one another’s emotions, no matter the distance. It is this connection that eventually enables them to find one another. I believe it too.

As I write, I find myself trying to imagine your face, grasping at flashes of memory from dreams, wondering what name to voice in my prayers that you will soon be by my side. The irony is that by the time you read this, the color of your eyes will be second nature to me and your name will roll off my tongue as easily as my sister’s.

So please, my unknown love, hold tight to your red cord and follow it like a lifeline into the safe harbor of my arms.

            “Are you ready yet, birthday girl?” Mia’s impatient voice broke through my romantic reverie, scattering my lovelorn thoughts.

            “Almost,” I yelled back as I scanned what I had written. I wanted to say so much more, but Mia wouldn’t wait. But there was one more thought I couldn’t let go unsaid.

I just want you to know that I haven’t given up on you. I don’t trust easily, but I trust in you. I’m still waiting, though not so patiently anymore.

All my love,


               The note was short compared to other years’ letters, but it would be after midnight when we returned home, so this would have to be enough. My one rule in this long-standing tradition—I’d been writing these letters since I was sixteen—was that the letter to my soul mate had to be written on my actual birthday. I folded the paper, slipped it inside the matching envelope, and licked the flap, then I pressed down to seal it.

             Mia stuck her head in the door just as I drew the big numeral on the front. It matched my age—thirty-four. She shook her head, making her flaming tresses bounce. “You and your letters. If you two don’t meet soon, he’s going to have to buy an extra plane ticket on your honeymoon just for that box.” She nodded toward the big square hatbox that functioned as a hope chest for my letters to my future husband.

             I slipped the newest letter in front, envelope awaiting further decoration. “Yes, but it’s romantic, don’t you think?”

             “For a young girl, maybe, but you’re well past that, hon.” Her tone softened when I made a face. “You’ve got plenty of declarations of love. Maybe this should be the last one. You know, new year, new traditions?” She held up a shot glass filled with golden liquid. “Come on. We need to get this party started.”

             Still scowling, I took the glass and downed the tequila with a small shiver. “If you say so.”

             As I locked up, I cast one last glance at the box on my desk. She had a point about growing up, but I had no intention of giving up my beloved letters. It was only one each year, and it meant something to me. Those weren’t just letters; together, they were my gift to my future husband. Old-fashioned? Maybe, but it was me. Anyone who wanted to marry me would appreciate that. I smiled with a sudden thought. It was good I didn’t want to marry Mia.

                                                                                                         * * * * *

About the Author:

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her upcoming novel, Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year, she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Her website is She can be reached online at: