Find us on Google+
 
Picture

Are you in the mood for romance? An emotional journey?
Our Coffee Chat author this week is romance writer, Claire Gem.
Welcome, Claire! How do you take your coffee?

CLAIRE: 
Black! Until it's 5 o'clock somewhere. Then, it's vodka, baby, all the way.

Ally: Lol. Well, I'm sure it's already five o'clock someplace, but not here. Why don't we start with the coffee and get our eyes open first? While I fill our mugs, please introduce yourself to readers.




Picture
Author Bio:

Claire writes emotional romance. Her heroes are hot, her heroines strong and brave: a combination lighting the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human—they make mistakes, get clumsy sometimes, and they're not too proud to laugh at themselves and each other.

She writes in contemporary and paranormal romance, as well as women’s fiction. Claire's books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it's spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or face-fanning sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio:  "I married my seventh grade math teacher. No, not at 13, but 7 years later when we were reunited after I'd grown up. And gotten over his giving me a "C" in Algebra. I'm still married to him, 38 years later."

Media Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter        
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest 



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  Give readers a general idea of the type of books you write.

CLAIRE:  Contemporary romance, women's fiction. My latest release, The Phoenix Syndrome, has a rating of PG17 (is that a rating? It's not R), but my other novels are R rated.

Ally:  As a writer of romance-and probably a reader too, why do you think the genre is so popular? 

CLAIRE:  Because women want to escape from the doldrums of their daily lives with fantasy. The human brain wants to try out situations it is afraid to explore or doesn't have a chance to experience. Romance provides that release, that escape. It's our happy place.

Ally:  What are the hardest and the easiest parts of writing and publishing a book? 

CLAIRE:  Easiest part? There is none. Writing is hard work, even if the story comes to you fully formed and practically types itself onto the page. There's still the organization, the editing, the re-assimilating the events into a logical, practical sequence. Life doesn't present itself that way to us, but as story tellers, we are obliged to make sure the story we put down on the page IS logical, believable.

The hard part? Hitting "Publish." It's like childbirth. Sending our baby out into the world, losing control over what will happen to it. How it will be received. Losing control over something we've created.

Ally:   What traits makes a character that you want to write about?

CLAIRE:  REAL. There's nothing else to it. I want my characters to reflect real people, in real situations. Otherwise, how will the real people reading my books ever relate?

Ally:   What's next on your writing agenda? 

CLAIRE:  I'm presently working on my second ghostly romance, Spirits of the Heart, set on the grounds of a mental asylum in Middletown, NY, where I grew up (no, I didn't grow up in the asylum, in the town!). But I do have some personal ties to this now-defunct facility: my late father, who was an alcoholic, spent a number of stints at the Middletown Psych Center when they still considered alcoholism a mental illness as opposed to a behavioral problem. My childhood memories fueled the writing of this story. It is turning out to be good therapy for me.

Ally:  Are you ready for a few short answer questions?
  • a. What word do you overuse the most in your writing?  That. That. That. That. That!!!!
  • b. Favorite accessories?  Bracelets. Not much of a jewelry freak, but I do love bracelets, especially the kind that cling to your wrist and don't bobble about (not a big bangle fan). Elastic (in bracelets and in skinny jeans) is my friend!
  • c. Do you have any tattoos?  No, but someday, I might.
  • d. Favorite animal:  Horses, and freshwater angelfish. I was a horse enthusiast for most of my life, until I got too old to climb aboard. Now I raise angel babies, and cry when I take them to the aquarium store to be rehomed. Hint: I've never fallen off one of my angelfish. Not once!
  • e. An item on your bucket list:  Return to Belgium, a place I dreamed about since I was a child, visited once about 12 years ago, and want to go back and take my husband there. Soon. I hope. 

Ally: It's been a pleasure getting to know you, Claire. Before you go, please tell us more about The Phoenix Syndrome.



Picture
The Phoenix Syndrome

Turning forty, for research tech Lannie Marvin, is rough. She discovers her husband is leaving her. Then a crazed lab mouse brutally bites her. So Lannie snaps.

She heads out to chase an old dream—a music career—and a new crush: the drummer of a heavy metal band.

Drummer Tristan Allard holds a benefit every year in memory of his late wife. He’s beginning to doubt his ability to write the band’s music without his wife’s inspiration – she was also his muse. Plus, he’s damn lonely. So when Lannie literally plows into him at the backstage reception, Tristan is ready to learn more about her – and her long-buried interest in musical composition.

The two head off for a wild ride of a weekend, but reality catches up. Tristan is headed back to the UK to audition his next album. And Lannie learns that an elevated libido isn’t the only side-effect of that experimental drug.

To her horror, she discovers the treated mice have gone deaf.


Trailer Link: http://bit.ly/2bpRSqG

Buy Link (PG-17):  
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bIMkHJ

Other Books (Rated R):

A Taming Season: A Love at Lake George Novel
Hearts Unloched (Winner 2016 New York Book Festival)
Phantom Traces

Thanks for having coffee with us. Come back soon!

 
 
Picture
Spirit Song, The Guardians Book Three:
 
The assassin and the angel. Can her song redeem his soul?

Miranda Devalande had long since given up on her dreams of a happy life. Forced to sing at mob boss Slick Sal's seedy nightclub to cover her brother's rising gambling debts, she survives from day to day as a caged bird. With each new bad bet by her wayward brother, her hope of finding a way free of her "contract" fades. Until a mysterious stranger arrives at the club and turns her whole life upside down...

Danger has always swirled around reluctant Guardian Warrior Sebastian Lambert. Trained as an assassin and recruited out of desperation, he now battles the evils of power-hungry Rogues in Chicago. When his friend and fellow Guardian Viktor Arnhart drags him into a nightclub, he would have never imagined to find an angel at the mic.

Caught between his desire to keep Miranda safe and his drive to hold her close, Bastian must walk the line between the light of a beautiful songstress and the dark of his perilous past even as dangerous forces threaten to destroy them both. Will he open his heart to her in time, or will she fall prey to her soulless fate?

Buy links (18+):

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Song-Guardians-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01LA6P458
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirit-song-tessa-mcfionn/1124494972
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-spiritsong-2093937-143.html
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/spirit-song 


Excerpt from Spirit Song:

Sloppy snow crunched under Miranda’s boots and the frosty wind off Lake Michigan bit through her threadbare woolen coat, freezing her breath before it even left her lungs. She managed two steps toward the street before a shadow darkened the dingy white at her feet.

“Boss wants to see you now.” The hulking gorilla in the black trench hovered over her, his short phrase laced with an unspoken threat of violent repercussions. Yet tonight she was in no mood to be ordered into obedience like some well-trained dog.

“I’m off the clock. I will talk to him tomorrow.” Her attempt to sidestep the man did not meet with success. He dug his fingers into the meat of her bicep and yanked her to a sudden stop. Her gaze shot up; the muddied brown eyes above her regarded her with open disdain and no room for debate.

“Boss says now.”

Her heart began to pound as she frantically searched for a way out. “I’ve had a long night. I’m tired and I want to go home.”

Salvation came in the form of a deep and growling voice that flowed over her shoulders and a forceful physical presence at her back. “I believe you have your answer, signore.

She struggled to keep her gaze forward, the urge to sneak a peek behind her powerful and compelling. The voice was harsh and gravelly, drawing to mind images of a giant bear rudely awakened and none too pleased about the prospect. His tone was commanding and undeniable.

Her face stared intently at the goon sent to retrieve her, watching as the snarl grew then melted, repugnance replaced by apprehension. The man’s eyes lost focus, a frown pulling his thick brows together in confusion.

Again, that powerful voice rolled over her shoulders. “I think it would be best if you got back into your car and told your boss that you were unable to catch her before she went home for the night.”

She fully expected a brawl to break out around her. However, what she did see was a thousand times more frightening. Sal’s lackey let go of her arm and turned away, heading toward the black Mercedes on the curb. Her jaw hung agape as the man simply drove away. Just like that.

This time, curiosity outweighed her sense of self-preservation. She had to see what kind of man could order around the meatheads that served as muscle for Francciolli. She spun around, eager to get a better look at her timely shadow.

The fierce scowl aimed at the receding lights softened as he shifted his whiskey eyes to meet hers. His face was cut straight from some ancient battlefield. A strong, square jaw dusted with the day’s stubble supported defined cheekbones chiseled out of the most intriguing shade of sun-kissed marble. A faded scar ringing his throat peeked from under the collar of his expensive-looking black sweater, further cementing her opinion of his true nature. Another jagged pale line trailed from the center of his left eyebrow to terminate somewhere in the thick hair.

“Are you all right?” His voice rumbled low, gravelly and intoxicating.

His amber eyes remained passively attentive as her gaze roamed across his face. Her head bobbed slowly as his words wove their way into her ears between the rapid beats of her heart. He was alpha male all the way, a predator who had seen the deadlier side of life and come out on the winning side. She wondered how many bodies he had crawled over to stand so casually before her on this cold night, one hand tucked into the front pocket of his black slacks.

The more she thought about it, the more she realized she didn’t care.


Picture
About the Author:

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards. 

When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music.

A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.

Social links:

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RM4OGQ6
Website: http://www.tessamcfionn.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Tessa-McFionn-703710772990582
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/tessa.mcfionn
Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/859407434188672/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TessaMcFionn
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/tessamcfionn 



 
 
Picture
It's Coffee Chat time!

Get cozy, booklovers, while I chat with a return author, James DiBenedetto. (If you missed his first visit with one of his paranormal books or would like to read it again, click here.)

Welcome, James! Are you still drinking OJ instead of coffee?

JAMES: 
Can’t stand coffee (although I do like coffee ice cream – go figure!).  It’s a big glass of orange juice in the morning, which is enough sugar to get me through to lunch.

Ally: Sigh. You just don't know what you're missing. I love juice too, but never in lieu of coffee! :) One big glass coming right up. While I'm getting that (and my coffee), please introduce yourself.



Picture
Bio:

J.J. DiBenedetto is the author of the Dream Series.  He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his lovely wife and Danny, a white cat who’s trained them both.  He’s originally from Yonkers, New York.  He loves the New York Giants, fondue, photography, travel, the opera and he’s a huge science-fiction and fantasy geek.

Something unusual/unique about you that isn't in your bio: "I was a DJ at my college radio station.  5 to 7 AM, Friday mornings (new people always got the worst time slots).  It was 1990, and I played mostly New Wave, very typical college radio stuff, for the seven or so people who were actually listening at the time.  And I still have my official FCC radio license, which I think is still actually valid."


Author Links

Website – http://www.writingdreams.net
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JJDiBenedetto
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jjdibenedettoauthor

Amazon Author Page – http://viewauthor.at/JJDiBenedetto
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/349874-j-j-dibenedetto
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/starkllr
Audible - http://www.audible.com/series/ref=a_pd_Romanc_c2__1_sa?asin=B00FL00R70
Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/user-680799288



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  What type of book did you bring to share today?

JAMESFinders Keepers is a suspense thriller with a lighter tone.  Think “Romancing the Stone” – that’s what I was shooting for, and I think/hope I pretty much hit that.  It’s definitely a PG book.

Ally:  Who or what inspired you to become a writer? What would have been your next choice?

JAMES:  I’ve been writing since high school, so I’ve pretty much always been a writer.  But what inspired me to actually publish my work was a friend (Jennifer Povey - http://www.jenniferrpovey.com/).  When she sold her first novel, it made me think, why can’t I do it, too?  So I got down to work, and a year later, I had my first book up on Amazon.

I’m not full time, so I guess you could say my next choice is my current day job, which is in marketing for a major national association.

Ally:   If you could have a supernatural power or be a supernatural being what would you choose and why?

JAMES:  Probably teleportation.  No more commutes, no more waiting on line at the airport – think how much time you’d get back every day!

I considered psychic powers, but I’m not sure I’d actually want to know what everyone around me is thinking, and being able to control other people’s minds is a sure path to becoming an inhuman monster.  There’s no way anyone would be able to resist abusing that power, sooner or later.  So I’ll stick with teleportation.

Ally:  Name two places you'd love to visit, one real, one fictional, and explain why you'd want to go there.

JAMES:  Real :  Rome, because it’s where (some of) my family comes from, and I’ve never properly been there.  I spent one night there about 15 years ago, but that doesn’t really count at all.  I want to go and see it thoroughly, for a couple of weeks at least.

Fictional:  Iain Banks’ Culture.  Your every imaginable need or want is met, you can live more or less forever, and there’s no shortage of things to do if you get bored with all that. 

Ally:   What is your next book project?

JAMES:  I’m working on the next Jane Barnaby Adventure (#3 in the series).  It should be out by the end of the year.  The working title is Her Brother’s Keeper, and Jane will be dealing with jewel thieves, a former Russian spy, and her father getting remarried to someone half his age.  So she’ll be pretty busy!

Ally:  Let's finish the interview portion of our chat with a few short answer questions:
  • a. last movie you saw in a theater: The Secret Life of Pets
  • b. your current favorite author: J.K. Rowling (I’m rereading the Harry Potter books right now)
  • c. How many books do you read in a month? 5-10
  • d. Favorite holiday food: My Mom’s chocolate tarts.  Best dessert ever!
  • e. A guilty pleasure (admit it, guys have them too!):  Lush bath bombs.  Nothing beats spending a relaxing hour in the tub!
Ally:  Thanks so much for visiting with us, James. Now it's time to see your book...


Picture
Book blurb:

Finders Keepers (book one of the Jane Barnaby Adventures)

1,400 miles.  3 countries.  2 men she can’t trust.  What could go wrong?

It should have been a simple job.  All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car.  Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water.  Still, it should have been simple.

And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake.  Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts.  The one that a team of international art thieves is after.

Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves.  And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner.  If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.

Book Links:

http://books2read.com/FindersKeepers - universal link, all retailers
http://viewBook.at/FindersKeepers – Amazon link (works for all individual Amazon country stores)
https://youtu.be/nSETzV0_9LM?list=PLdLeszUG-JujXfj2uPS692TsIm1dfAlWl – Book trailer
https://soundcloud.com/user-680799288/finders-keepers-audiobook-sample - Audiobook sample
http://getBook.at/FindersKeepersAudio - Audiobook



Thanks for spending part of your day with us! Come back soon!

 
 
Picture
We've made it to mid-week, Booklovers!

It time to meet another author, drink our favorite beverage, and indulge in a little book talk. This week's guest is urban fantasy author A. R. Miller.

Welcome, Amy! How do you take your coffee?

A.R.: 
I’ll take it any way I can get it, but usually with a touch of milk. Iced when it’s hot, and hot when it’s cold. Alternatives, would include chai—again iced or hot—and Dr. Pepper, always iced.

Ally: I think we'll stick with the real stuff. :) While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.



Picture
Bio:

A.R. Miller writes urban fantasy for grown-ass women (and men) who are still too young to care.

She lives in Central Iowa with an accommodating husband and their four-footed companions. When not testing the patience of readers with cliffhanger endings, you might find her wielding a makeup brush or curling iron as a freelance stylist.
Something unique that isn't in your bio: "I don’t think there’s anything unique about me, I’m pretty boring and average." (Ally note: Ha. Having met this author, I can assure you that isn't true. Since she writes about supernatural stuff, perhaps there are secrets she can't reveal. :))


Links:

Website: feycreations.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorA.R.Miller/ 
The Meadowlarks reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1673553996227189/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FeyCreations
Amazon page: http://tinyurl.com/glef6hz
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/z2flfs8
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/zabykmp
Ibooks: http://tinyurl.com/juj4vco 



INTERVEW:

Ally:  When readers pick up one of your books, what can they expect?

A.R.: I write contemporary, or what others have labeled, urban fantasy. Almost everything I write is for adults. You’ll find references to days gone by, some spicy scenes of a sexual nature, violence, and some pretty adult language. I won’t say it’s mature, but it’s for a mature audience.

Ally:  Describe the creation of your paranormal world. Did you start with a character, setting, or plot?

A.R.:  The Fey Creations series came about when the main character, Keely Fey, flipped the tables on me. Originally, I was all set to write an epic fantasy, but Keely—her original name escapes me—didn’t want to live in a medieval world and she certainly wasn’t a sword toting warrior. She wanted to live in modern day Iowa and her weapon of choice a pair of shears. She wanted to cut hair not flesh.

Age was another issue, but probably more for me than her. Most characters in contemporary or urban fantasy are twenty or thirty-something, kick-butt heroes. As I matured—I say this very tongue in cheek—I began wondering what an average, middle-aged person would do in the same situations. That’s how middle-aged, hairstylist Keely Fey came into being.

Ally:  Are you a plotter or a pantser? Charts, outlines, character sketches? Do you consciously think about story arcs, rising and falling action, the three acts, the six stages...or do you wing it?

A.R.:  I work best when I’m winging it. I’m primarily a pantser, but have had to do a little more plotting—or paying attention—as the series grows. My ‘outline’ consists of various things that need to happen in no particular order, sandwiched between a beginning and ending, all subject to change at a moment’s notice. I also write in scenes, meaning if something comes to me, I get it down and tuck it away. If it doesn’t fit the current project, I save it for a future project.

Ally:  What's the best writing or marketing advice you ever received? The worst?

A.R.:  The best writing advice? Write the story you want to read. If you enjoy what you’re writing, the reader can sense it and it makes their experience better. If it interests you, chances are someone else will be interested.

For someone who relies on word of mouth, the best marketing advice comes from Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I can’t think of anything that would be considered the worst advice. There are plenty of things I don’t agree with or haven’t worked for me, but it doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.

Ally:  What is your next writing project?

A.R.:  I just finished the fourth book in the FC series, Shadow Play—it will be out at the end of September—and will be starting number five soon. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to tease, not even a working title. But true to form, bad things will happen to Keely.

Ally:  Let's finish with a few quick answer questions.

  • a. the most unusual item in your refrigerator:  Strangest thing in my fridge, unused 35mm film. Yes, I still have a camera that uses film.
  • b. your favorite candle scent:  I haven’t burned candles in years. I abolished them when my birthday cake turned into a flaming torch.
  • c.  a book you'd recommend:  If you like sci-fi, thriller, with a touch of romance, I highly recommend the Traveler Chronicles by Dennis Green.
  • d. a place you'd love to visit:  I’d love to visit Germany, and the Frisian Islands.
  • e. a guilty pleasure:  My biggest guilty pleasure is having a moment to lay around and do nothing. Too bad I don’t have time to indulge.

Ally:  Thanks for visiting the blog, Amy. Before you go, please tell us more about your upcoming release, Shadow Play.


Picture

Shadow Play (Fey Creations Book 4)

Keely Fey’s first assignment, as the Lord’s Shadow, is to spy on Var Royd’s nemesis, Haydn Koehler. She must use her Talents, but with access to Vereinen—the only other schattenkind—denied, and no one with the knowledge to teach her, the mission seems doomed to fail.

A chance meeting with a stranger changes everything. Mr. Mortonson, a student of history and member of the Ahnenerbe Society, claims to be an authority on the schattenkind.

Does Mort have the information needed to complete her assignment and find Vereinen? Or is he another player in the game to control Keely and her Talents?

Available at  Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

Coming to B&N September 30, 2016


Other books by A.R. Miller:

https://www.amazon.com/A.R.-Miller/e/B005KDF5VQ



A.R.:  Thank you, Ally, for inviting me to have coffee with you and your readers!

Ally:  My pleasure!


Have a fantastic week, booklovers, and come back soon!

 
 
Picture
Grab your coffee mug and pull up a chair. It's Coffee Chat time!

This week's guest is Darian Smith and his paranormal romance, Currents of Change (rated PG-13). Welcome, Darian. What can I get you to drink?

DARIAN
I'm actually one of the few people in the world who doesn't like the taste of coffee so I don't generally drink it.  I do, however, drink copious amounts of Coca-cola.  Like enough to hydrate a small country amounts.  That more than satisfies my caffeine requirements.

Ally: No problem. A cold coke is coming right up. While I'm getting that, please introduce yourself to readers.


Picture
BIO:

Darian Smith writes mainly speculative fiction (fantasy) and lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife (who also writes) and their Siamese cat (who doesn't).
He holds two Koru Awards, is the winner of the SpecFicNZ/Steam Press manuscript competition, and has been a finalist for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards several times.
By day, he works with people who have neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy or charcot marie tooth disease. He is also a qualified counsellor/family therapist and can be seen - by those very swift with the pause button - on television shows such as Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus.

Something unique that isn't in my bio: "
I've been a vegetarian my entire life and never eaten meat so I used to find it fascinating to learn about which animal parts people were cooking.  Unfortunately, I soon learned people don't usually want to think about that when they're about to eat so I've had to curb my curiosity!"

For more information about Darian and his upcoming work, please check out...

his website at www.darian-smith.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarianSmithAuthor
Twitter: @DarianWordSmith



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  Describe your paranormal world and what went into its creation. Did you do maps, history charts of events, or did it just flow?

DARIAN:
Currents of Change is set in a fictional town in rural New Zealand.  I'm a New Zealander myself so much of the world is the beautiful country in which I live.  When it comes to the paranormal aspects of the world, however, I blended Irish and Maori mythology into this tale to show a clash of cultures and the lasting impacts of immigration on current day New Zealand - but with a magical twist.  The story of Sara's ancestors coming to live in New Zealand as early settlers plays a big role in the novel and there are secrets from all those years ago that will shape Sara now so there was some research that went into what things were like in that time and how the immigrants and Maori might have interacted around what was happening.

Ally:   What's the best piece of writing/publishing/marketing advice you've been given?

DARIAN:  The best advice I've been given is probably to just write it because you can fix a page of bad writing but you can't edit a blank page.  Procrastination is the bane of any writer and that advice helps me battle that particular demon.  That said, I've gotten lots of other wonderful advice around planning and structuring stories, and also making sure every scene has a purpose and increases tension in some way, and so much more.  Every piece of advice is valuable, even if it's just to learn how to weigh advice and decide whether to keep or discard it!

Ally:   Where do you hope your writing career will go over the next 5 years?

DARIAN:  My plan is to be doing much more writing over the next 5 years.  I'm currently working on a fantasy mystery series, the first of which will be released soon.  I have many more projects in mind so I don't see myself stopping any time soon.

Ally:  What's next on your immediate horizon?

DARIAN:  My fantasy murder mystery series is next.  My hero has to solve a murder, stop a war, and save the world.  So he has his work cut out for him.

Ally: Let's finish up with a few short answer questions:
  • a. best fantasy book ever written:   Such a hard question! There are so many good ones and I think mostly the ones I really love are from my youth.  I really enjoyed The Dark is Rising series from Susan Cooper.
  • b. favorite summer activity:  Walking down the beach with the waves washing in over my feet.  Warm sun, cool water, and soft sand.
  • c. I'd love to own a __________.   TARDIS.  I could go anywhere and any when and always have plenty of storage space.
  • d. favorite dessert:  Strawberry ice cream banana split
  • e. a favorite comic book hero:  Rogue.  The comic book version, not the movie version (much as I love Anna Paquin).

Ally: It's been a pleasure chatting with you. I hope you'll come back with your fantasy murder mystery. In the meantime, please tell us a little more about Currents of Change.

Picture

Currents of Change by Darian Smith

Haunted house. Haunted heart.

When Sara O'Neill goes on the run, she believes the tiny New Zealand town of Kowhiowhio is just the sanctuary she needs. Her family's old colonial house needs repair, but it's safe from the abusive husband she left behind. However, a hostile local holds a grudge, and a dangerous presence haunting her new home threatens Sara's chance at peace. How can she create a new life while dealing with ghosts from the old?
For local electrician, Nate Adams, parenting his young daughter alone has not been easy - particularly in a town where he is still seen as an outsider. When he meets his new neighbour, he sees a chance at a new start for them both. Even with his help, can the house - or Sara's heart - be repaired?
Someone doesn't want an O'Neill in Kowhiowhio. Sara's return is awakening secrets hidden for generations.
Why has the house never had electricity? What was the fate of Sara's ancestors?
Can she discover the ghost's story before it's too late?
The truth will set...something...free.

Winner of two 2016 Koru Awards.

Buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U8Q968I



Have a great week, and come back soon!

 
 
Picture
                                       ***NEW RELEASE***


Endless as the Rain

By MS Kaye

For Adriane Graham, the real question comes down to this: “Am I Alec Kaden’s guest…Or his prisoner?”

If she’s a guest in the Kaden mansion, then it means Alec has freed himself from his family ties to organized crime. It means he’s telling the truth when he says he’s protecting Adriane from dangerous men and they can shake off the shackles of haunted pasts.

…But…

If Adriane Graham is Alec Kaden’s prisoner, it means his tenderness is simply a ruse to keep her under control; his kindness is just poisoned hypocrisy. It means Alec is a cruel liar, and that somehow, by some desperate way, she’s got to get out of this charming man’s well-guarded house before it’s too late.

Is she Alec’s treasured guest? Or merely a pretty bird, trapped in his gilded cage? The troubling questions pour like fountains…flowing…

Endless as the Rain.

Released by InkSpell Publishing 9/4/16.

Order here:   Amazon   |   Kobo

Add to your to-read on Goodreads.

Excerpt:

I looked around to see a black sedan creeping up behind me. I moved to get out of the way, barely on the gravel. I kept walking and vaguely appreciated that the driver didn’t speed by in impatience and kick up dirt and rocks. The car continued at the same careful pace.

Just as the passenger door was at my arm’s length, the car stopped. I guessed the driver must be seeking directions, and waited for a window to roll down. They had to be lost. I’d never seen an unfamiliar car on this road. It was only used or even known about by old residents of the neighborhood.

The back door opened, and a man stepped out.

I caught a glimpse of his tailored suit and overly straight posture as I glanced around, deciding if I should keep walking, walk quickly...or bolt into the trees toward one of the houses.

“It’s getting late,” he said. “Would you care for a ride home before it gets too dark?”

His voice—it sounded vaguely familiar. As I looked at him properly, part of my mind was distracted. His skin was like white marble, sculpting a beautiful face, but hard, unchanging, unyielding. Except his eyes. They were puddles in the stone, the only gentle thing about him.

I stepped back.

He lurched forward and grabbed my arm just above my elbow.



Picture

About the Author:

M.S. Kaye has several awards and 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 www.BooksByMSK.com.


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

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



 
 
Picture
Welcome to another Coffee Chat!

This week's author is Will Bly, who writes unusual urban fantasies, as you'll see from his short story collection entitled Creatures.

Welcome, Will! What may I get you to drink?

WILL: 
Ever since I researched J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings for my M.A. thesis, I’ve promoted the collaborative qualities of a local pub and a pint of beer. It’s tough here in the USA because more and more bars are going the way of loud music and more club-like vibes. The smaller and more quiet the dive the better. The more wooden furniture the better. A warm fire during the winter is a huge plus. Pubs, dives, bars, etc. have an ancient history in storytelling and oral traditions. My characters in Ravens in the Sky always find themselves in taverns for this reason. And, oh yes, my coffee comes with 2 sugars and a splash of milk. There seems to be a diminishing need for sugar with age.

Ally: Since it's a little early in the US for a pint of beer, I'll be pouring our coffee. :) Why don't you introduce yourself to readers?



Picture
BIO:

Will is a library manager and instructor of English. He graduated from the University of Auckland, New Zealand with a Master of Arts in English. His extensive work on Tolkien inspires an independent writing career in dark speculative fiction. As an author he is most known for writing the dark fantasy/mystery Ravens in the Sky. He lives with his wife and dog on Long Island, New York.

Something unique that isn't in your usual bio: "
I’m more of a natural poet than an author of fiction. Poetry came to me early and often -- fiction I’ve had to work at. Knowing this about me helps my readers identify the abstract shadows lurking behind my prose."

Contacts:

Website - www.willbly.com
Twitter - @Will_Bly
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Willbly/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13928890.Will_Bly
Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/Will-Bly/e/B01A4XT512/ 



INTERVIEW:

Ally:   With the release of Creatures, you've published both short stories and novels. Did you find the writing very different? Did you have to consciously change your writing style to fit a different format? Compare the two experiences.

WILL:  I never thought I’d write short stories in the fantasy genre, and honestly it is very hard to find good short stories in fantasy. It’s the amount of world-building, characterization, rules, and fantastical concepts that are needed. Fantasy is just so epic in nature I could never wrap my head around condensing it into short stories. Like most things I’m not keen on doing, I forced myself into it. I created a laboratory of writing styles, narrative voices, and diverse creatures. Since this format was new to me, I community-sourced help from my writer and reader friends. Anyone who volunteered to beta-read or proofread these stories are plugged in the opening acknowledgments. This serves as a great model that I suggest other indie authors use -- It really helped my stories get to the point where I am unquestionably confident in their quality.

I love these stories for the same reason I have a healthy respect for YA fiction -- they are high on concept and low on fluff. Great reads for the train commute or sneaking in a bit of quiet time. You can spend 15 minutes reading one of these stories and then head back to work with a fresh line of thought to be pondered.

Ally:  Creatures is described as dark, and I read the sample. I thought the beginning would appeal to horror readers. Is the atmosphere similar throughout? Is there a common dark thread that ties the stories together?

WILL:  As much as I’ve tried bucking the trend, I’m a dark writer -- it’s in my nature. Every time I write something new it begins with better intentions than the final product shows. However, I strive not to be nihilistic or overly cynical because that’s taking the easy way out. Everything I write, no matter how dark and depressing, I try to embed a grain of hope for the reader (and quite honestly, for myself) to hold onto. Admittedly, sometimes I fail and we’re left with a depressing result that will likely stick with us for some time. But that’s okay, because I’m a big proponent of exercising emotions we don’t necessarily go seeking out -- feelings such as sadness, guilt, and regret. I leave it to the reader to uncover the golden nuggets of hope I hide in my work.

Ally:  Okay, you've written "the end" on your manuscript. Now what? Take us through your revision/editing process until you're ready for submission.

WILL:  The honor of the first proofread falls upon my wife. She goes through the manuscript and raises questions and issues I don’t address. I go through the manuscript again, then send it through a gauntlet of freelance beta readers and editors. I read it through again and tweak the finer points, and then submit. I keep a running list of anything that may slip through the cracks and submit new fixes annually. So my work keeps getting better year in, year out. None of my pieces are simply left as they are. 

The big advantage of writing short stories is the ability to community-source the quality control of the material. A novel is obviously a much larger commitment on the part of the editor / proofreader / beta reader. Since these stories are 15 or so minute reads a piece, it’s asking much less out of people to read little pieces of the whole. I am able to get more people to take little nibbles out of book by reviewing a short story or two. In turn, they still enjoy full experience with less time invested (and they get credit from me for the work they do). Consequently, Creatures is the most finely-tuned product I’ve released.

Ally:  What's the next writing project on your agenda?

WILL:  I recently finished the first draft of Raven’s Bane, the sequel to Ravens in the Sky, so we are post-processing that. My next project is a YA fantasy novel called Codex of Threya, in which rainbows aren’t arcs but full circles, tying a fantasy world to our own through portals. It’s based on the first story I ever wrote as a child, and yes -- it has leprechauns (though not quite the leprechauns we’ve known -- they are more like naturific fairies with cloaking magic). I’m excited that it has more of a fully-formed love story to buoy my dark tendencies. There are familiar themes of loss and finding oneself, but there is also the excitement of youthful courtship. The main relationship isn’t as complicated as fans of Ravens in the Sky might expect, lol.

Ally:  Let's finish up with these short answer questions:
  • a. a supernatural power you'd love to have: Immortality
  • b. a song on your current playlist: Lost in the Cold - Twiddle
  • c. last movie you saw in a theater: Deadpool
  • d. favorite Olympic sport (summer or winter games): Curling. (Weird, I know.)
  • e. a dream vacation destination: A cabin in the woods. The location doesn’t matter as much as the time. I’d love to have a few months of solitude in nature to tippity type to my heart’s desire.

Ally:  It's been a pleasure to chat with you, Will. I hope you'll visit again - maybe when that YA fantasy is written. :) Before you go, please tell us a little more about Creatures...


Picture

Book blurb


Creatures is a collection of short stories written for the suburban reader. These fantasies take place in our libraries, our backyards, our roads, our wineries, and in our minds.

Dark and whimsical, Creatures is a deeply introspective journey through suburban anxiety.

        Creatures includes five urban fantasy shorts:

●      “A Conversation in Darkness” is an introduction to a dragon who is hellbent on destroying humanity.

●      “All the Right Things” is written from the POV of a human but features a talking raccoon with nothing left to live for.

●      “The Book Goblin” follows a librarian as he defends himself from a goblin who is angry about the lack of books being read.

●      “Bloody Bagel” takes place from the eyes of a seagull in a Mcdonald’s parking lot who works up the courage to face the big boss holding him down.

●      “An Indignant Living” follows a woodchuck who risks everything for a bite of heaven.

I also included an extra bonus which is the first chapter of Raven’s Bane, sequel to Ravens in the Sky.

Rated-R: Although some of the urban fantasies in Creatures are completely clean, there are one or two pieces that make the whole of the book a firm rated R. One story is written from the point of view of an exasperated Long Islander. Long Islanders, uh, tend to swear a lot. Blame the narrator, not me!


Buy Links

Only available at Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Creatures-Collection-Stories-Will-Bly-ebook/dp/B01HITRQRA/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8



Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!

 
 
Picture
Good Morning, Booklovers!

Our chat this week is with Karen McCullough, who writes mystery, fantasy, and romantic suspense. Today she brought her mystery, Wired for Murder. Welcome, Karen! How do you take your coffee?

KAREN: 
I love, love, love coffee, and I’m a bit of a snob about it.  I buy high-quality, fresh-ground coffee and use a slow drip machine. I add a half teaspoon of Splenda and just enough milk to lighten it a bit. Oddly, I don’t like real cream in my coffee.  The taste of the cream masks the taste of the coffee itself rather than enhancing it.

Ally: Nothing is beyond my magic pot, so that cup of Joe will be coming right up. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.



Picture
Bio:

Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Daphne, Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "This is hard because I’m so danged ordinary. There’s the fact that I love licorice (black, not the fake red stuff).  Most people seem to find this weird, which I totally don’t get. Those black jelly beans are the best! (And I usually get to collect all of them, since no one else wants them.)"

Contact the Author:

Website: http://www.kmccullough.com
Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMcCulloughAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough 



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  Describe the evolution of your main character in Wired for Murder. What came first? Character or plot? How did you pick the name, physical attributes, personality, etc.?

KAREN:  Actually in this case, the setting itself came first.  As a former editor at several trade publications, I’ve attended a number of trade shows and talked to probably hundreds of people involved, from the staff of the centers where they're held to exhibitors, attendees, service people and other members of the press covering the event.  At the very first trade show I attended I realized it would make a perfect setting for a murder mystery or a series.  The contained time period and place; the cast of characters, many of whom know each other and are often friends, competitors, enemies, and sometimes even lovers; and the high stakes, taken together provide the perfect ingredients for a tense story. 

Then I knew that the character I needed for my amateur detective would have to be someone who worked at the Market Center and knew how the business ran, who met and talked to the people involved on a daily basis, someone who might have a realistic chance to learn more about the situation than the police could hope to in the short space of time that a trade show takes. So I came up with my heroine, Heather McNeil, assistant to the director of the Market Center, a good listener and a good problem-solver, the kind of person people talk to and spill their guts to on occasion.

Beyond that, I can’t really tell you exactly how I came up with the rest of her attributes. A lot of times it feels like I’m not so much inventing a character as meeting her in my head. I see what she looks like and as the story develops I learn more about who she is by what she says and the way she reacts to events.

Ally:  I know you write in several genres. What are the pros and cons of multi-genre writing? Does switching genres require an entire new mindset? Do you ever have more than one book in different genres going at a time?

KAREN:  I love writing in multiple genres. It seems that allowing myself that leeway sets my imagination free to roam wherever it will. I think it keeps my brain fresher to be moving around in different types of stories.  I don’t think it really requires different mindsets to move from one genre to another, but it does require that you’ve read widely enough in each genre to understand the its conventions. Romance, mysteries, fantasy, and paranormal all come with different sets of reader expectations.  You can play with those, sometimes, and stretch the limits, but as a writer you have to know what they are.  If you’re going to write a paranormal story that involves vampires, for instance, you need to know what the folklore and tradition say about them. If your vampire can go out in sunlight, you have to be ready to explain why it’s possible for them, when the expectation is that they can’t handle it.

The downside of writing in multiple genres is that it’s a terrible career move. Readers often like one kind of story that you write and may not follow you into a different genre. A reader who likes my mysteries often does not want to read my fantasies or be interested in my paranormal stories. Major publishers don’t like stories that cross genres or authors who don’t write similar stories time and again. And even with independent publishing, success depends very much on building readership for a particular kind of story. If I were a faster writer I might be able to put out two or three stories a year in each genre, but I’m not that quick. So, I’ve pretty much ruled out ever achieving best-seller status.

I almost always have more than one book going at a time, often in different genres. When I get to a sticking point in one book, I can change to another and write on that one for a while. It helps to refresh my brain to think about something different for a bit.

Ally:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a hobby or a special activity you love?

KAREN:  I enjoy reading, gardening, travel, and sports on television. I read widely, mostly in the genres I write, but also nonfiction and news stories.  It’s only in the last few years, as my children have grown up and moved on that travel has become a real option. My husband isn’t as enthusiastic about it as I am, but he goes along and always enjoys our trips. It helps that my son lives in England, so we get to go there periodically to visit.  Last summer we met him and his family in Rome and did some travel around Italy. I love Italy, but I also want to see a lot more of Europe and the rest of the world. There’s a lot of the U.S. I’ve never visited as well.  I really want to take one of those European river cruises. And maybe the Alaska cruise.  Or one to the Caribbean. The bucket list is long.

Ally:  What is your next writing project? When will we see it in the bookstores?

KAREN:   I’m working on the third book in the Market Center Mysteries Series, with the possible title of A Perfect Home for Murder.  Since the original publisher for the Market Center Mysteries cut their mystery line, I’m self-publishing the rest of the series. That means the next book will release when it’s finished, been beta-read, then edited and copy-edited.  I hope within the next year I’ll have the next one done and ready to release but there are no guarantees.

Ally: Try these five short answer questions:
  • a. Most unusual thing in your handbag:  -- A beautifully carved and polished little wooden perfume dispenser.  It was something I gave to my mother for a Christmas present years ago. I found it cleaning out her apartment after she died, and I’ve kept it and use it myself now. It’s a beautiful object in itself, and it reminds me of her every time I pull it out.
  • b. Favorite TV show:  -- NCIS
  • c. Do you listen to music while writing?  -- No.  Music is too distracting
  • d. If you were a color, what would it be?   -- Blue – calm, quiet, but elegant
  • e. Typical breakfast:  -- An omelet or a couple of sausage patties with whatever fruit is available.
Ally: It's been a pleasure to meet you. Thanks for chatting with us! Before you go, we'd love to hear more about Wired for Murder...

Picture


Wired for Murder (Market Center Mysteries Book 2)

Heather McNeil, assistant to the director of the Washington DC Market Show Center, handles many of the day-to-day issues that arise during the shows, exhibits, and conferences being held there. The first day of the Business Technology Exposition provides her with plenty of opportunities to demonstrate her skill at settling disputes, refereeing arguments, and even breaking up fights.

When the president of industry-leader MegaComp has a very public argument with a man who accuses the company of stealing an important technical concept, she watches it but doesn’t have to intervene. Later, though, the accuser returns a phone call from Heather, and she becomes an unwilling audience to his murder.

Heather is more than happy to leave the investigation to the police, but she’s the person everyone talks to and she soon learns more than she wanted to know about the victim and all the people who didn’t like him very much, including several who might have motives for murder.


Read an Excerpt




Buy Links:


Ebook:  Amazon Kindle     Nook    iTunes     Kobo     Smashwords
Trade Paperback

Check out...

A Gift for Murder (Market Center Mysteries Book 1): Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Murder-Market-Center-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00CGKYNT6



Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!

 
 
Picture

Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!

Pull up a chair, grab your drinks, and join the chat with Rosalie Redd, a writer of fantasy, paranormal, and scifi, liberally sprinkled with romance...and an 18+ rating. Sorry, young readers, this is a Mom an
d/or Dad day!

Welcome, Rosalie! What can I get you to drink?

ROSALIE: 
Lol--I don't drink coffee! Water is my preferred drink, and isn't that sad, but I do like a good hot chocolate now and then.

Ally:  Since we have the best hot chocolate, I'll fix that right up while you introduce yourself.


Picture
Bio:

After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She writes Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction Romance inspired by classics from the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres layered with a good, hot dose of romance.

She lives in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing. When not at her computer, you can find her at Jazzercise, waterfall collecting in the Pacific Northwest, or relaxing with her husband and their pesky cat, Snookums.

Something unique about her? "
I'm high energy and constantly move in fast forward. Good thing I don't like coffee..."

Contact Links:
http://www.rosalieredd.com
https://www.facebook.com/rosaliereddauthor
https://twitter.com/RosalieRedd
https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/34148783-rosalie-redd
https://www.pinterest.com/rosalieredd/



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  You've written both short stories and novels. What criteria determine which a story will be? What are the main differences in your writing approach?

ROSALIE: 
With novels, you have the luxury of delving into sub-plots and expanding on the backstory and/or world building. In short stories, you have to get right into the action. My Love in a Bottle short stories are a spin-off from my Worlds of Lemuria: Earth Colony series. A love potion created on the planet Lemuria falls through a portal and lands on Earth. A human woman finds the bottle and opens it. Each of my Love in a Bottle series is a couple who experience the bottle. I kept these stories short and to the point for each couple, but they all get a happily ever after!

Ally:  What is your writing schedule? Full time/part time, morning/night, every day/weekends only? Do you have a special place or a writer's cave?

ROSALIE:  I retired from my accounting job a couple of years ago and have the privilege to write full time. I typically read email, post on FB, and check my 'to do' list first thing in the morning. Once done, I head right into writing or editing or brainstorming depending on where I'm at on my current WIP. I have a small desk where I spend most of my time, but if it's nice outside, I'll sit on the deck and try not to get distracted by the hummingbirds!

Ally:  Looking back, what things do you wish you'd known when you wrote and published your first manuscript? Were there big surprises along the way?

ROSALIE:  Oh, man, these are great questions. When I first published, I had no idea how much time the administrative and marketing side of the business would take. Wow, I felt like a tidal wave had rushed over me. The time commitment can be overwhelming. Plan, plan, plan, that's the best advice I can give. Oh, and have chocolate nearby. 

Ally:  What's your next writing project?

ROSALIE:  My current WIP is Unimaginable Lover, book 3 in my Worlds of Lemuria: Earth Colony series. Here's the back cover blurb: With his pride and honor on the line, Lemurian Council Leader Tanen takes on a solo mission to bring a traitor to justice. Mortally wounded during the hunt, he’s rescued by an enchanting female who nurses him back to health. Despite the passion that burns between them, she’s human…and therefore, forbidden. Distraction is the last thing he needs while on the trail of a dangerous criminal. 

Broken promises and ruined love hardened Sheri’s heart, or so she thought, until she finds an injured and extraordinarily sexy man on her property. Pulled into a world she never imagined, she is torn between the lessons she learned from her rough past and the need to seek solace in Tanen’s arms. If only she can trust him, and herself, to let go of her fear.

Ally:  Last question is actually five short answer questions:
  • a. favorite color of nail polish: Nail polish? What's that?
  • b. a favorite author you read (any genre): Nadine Mutas - paranormal romance
  • c. high heels, sneakers, or sandals: Sneakers, hands down
  • d. favorite after-five drink: margarita
  • e. a person you admire (living or dead): Patrick Swayze
Ally:  Thanks for visiting with us, Rosalie! Before you go, tell us more about your short story, Come to Me.

Picture
Blurb:

A Lemurian god’s love potion falls through a portal and lands in Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park. Once discovered, the alluring liquid can ignite adventure and passion, perhaps leading to a meant-to-be love for those that open it—if they're brave enough to take the risk.

Cassandra Forsyth has a secret crush on a man she believes will never notice her. Adam Harkness doesn’t feel worthy of the tall, beautiful, yet shy, Cassandra. When they find themselves alone on a hike in Forest Park and discover an unusual bottle with a tempting fluid inside, their true passion inflames the hidden desires tucked away in their hearts.


Buy Links: (18+)

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iTunes



Thanks for stopping by the blog. Come back soon!

 
 
Picture
Hello, Booklovers!

We've made it to the mid-point of the week again, and it's time for another author interview and book talk! I'd like to welcome Barb Caffrey, author of the Elfy series of YA urban fantasy/romance.

How do you take your coffee, Barb?

BARB:
With a little cream, and all poured over ice, in deference to the current heat wave.

Ally: While I get the mugs, please introduce yourself.



Picture
BIO:

Barb Caffrey is the author of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, which together comprise the Elfy duology, and the co-author of several shorter pieces of military SF set in her late husband Michael B. Caffrey's Atlantean Union universe. Shorter works have been published in many places, with the most recent being REALMS OF DARKOVER. She lives and works in Wisconsin, is a huge baseball fan (Go, Brewers, go!), loves dogs (and cats), follows politics, and is recovering from a nasty reality TV addiction.

Hmmm...what's not in my usual bio? Does playing the saxophone and clarinet count?

Author Contacts:

My blog: Barb Caffrey's Elfyverse http://elfyverse.wordpress.com
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barb.caffrey.1
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbCaffrey
My Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1



INTERVIEW:

Ally:  You're both a writer and an editor. Do you prefer writing your own stories or polishing for others?

BARB:  I enjoy both writing and editing, but in some senses it's easier for me to fix someone else's work than it is to fix my own. I can see what someone else is doing -- what's actually on the page, as opposed to what I think is there -- far easier than I can see what I'm doing, most of the time. But there's nothing quite like the rush I get after writing one to two thousand words that exactly fit the mood and story I'm working on...they're not exactly the same skill-set, writing and editing, but the skills for one carry over to the skills of the other. (Though the hardest thing as a writer is to turn Editor Voice off. I'm still working on that one.)

Ally:  What was the inspiration for the Elfy books?

BARB:  My inspiration comes from three places. One was my late husband Michael, who was one of the most encouraging people I've ever been around. The second was an anthology I read -- I now can't remember the name of it -- where the editor said something to the effect that the stories in that antho wouldn't be "the normal Elfie-welfie stuff." And the third was a dream I had after that, where a short young man dressed all in black came to me and said, "It's not like that!" and proceeded to tell me just what Elfy-welfie stuff was (yes, he insisted on the change from -ie to -y) and why he wanted no part of it, thanks.

I woke up from that dream, not long after my honeymoon, and told Michael about it. Rather than looking at me like I was an idiot, as I would assume most men would do, he said, "Well, then. You have to write about this, and figure out who this guy is, now, don't you?" with a big smile on his face.

And I proceeded to do just that.

Ally:  Have you always written for a YA audience?

BARB:  Most of what I write does seem inclined toward that YA/NA border, but I'm not quite sure why. Maybe my subconscious figures there are more stories to be told there?

And the main difference between writing stories for a younger audience and an adult audience is more in how you look at things. Kids may feel cynical, but usually their cynicism isn't bone-deep as of yet, so it seems more possible to have adventures. First love, too, is a little more innocent, and deals more with how things actually feel rather than "put slot A into tab B" (as Lois McMaster Bujold's wonderful character Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan once put it).

I see a lot of hope in that.

Ally:  What's your next writing project? Do you plan further books for the Elfy characters?

BARB:  My next writing project is a New Adult romantic fantasy set in our world, CHANGING FACES. It's about Master's students, both clarinetists, in Nebraska; one is transgender, the other is not, and they are in love. How they manage to learn enough about one another to marry and stay together is the main story; the fantasy element is in how this happens -- how they "change faces," and both become transgender, because they view love as the most important thing. If their bodies have to change in order to stay together and understand each other more, so be it.

Tentatively, CHANGING FACES is due out in September. (I'm still working on it as we speak, so wish me luck with that!)

And yes, I definitely plan more Elfy books. I have a prequel, KEISHA'S VOW, set in 1954, and a sequel trilogy in the works. And I hope to be releasing a stand-alone novelette, "Trouble with Elfs," for Kindle in the not-so-distant future.

Ally: Try a few short answer questions:
a. manicure or pedicure: Pedicure.
b. favorite singer or group: Alice in Chains
c. a dream vacation:  Alaskan cruise (in the middle of summer, with lots of stops to see the historic sites)
d. favorite flower: Pink carnation
e. your best reading spot?  My best reading spot is curled up in a corner, maybe with a blanket tucked around my legs if it's a bit chilly. There's some coffee (or maybe tea, for variety) at my elbow and a plate of nibbles next to it, in case I get hungry. The best light is there, too, so I never have to strain to read...altogether a perfect place!

Ally: It's been a pleasure to chat with you. Best of luck with your books. Now, let's take a look at
A Little Elfy in Big Trouble...

Picture
A Little Elfy in Big Trouble

Young Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly-human teenage girlfriend, are in deep trouble. Bruno’s Elfy mentor Roberto the Wise is about to be sacrificed by a Dark Elf, and Sarah’s parents have decided to help the Elf rather than the Elfy. Things look bleak and are getting worse by the minute, but Bruno and Sarah have a number of allies — human, Elfy, and ghosts — that the Dark Elf can’t possibly expect. Can young love, desperation, and great unexpected power win out despite it all?

Short excerpt:

Bruno took Sarah’s hand and led her back outside. He looked with his mage senses, and felt nothing; no Elfy magic, no Human magic, and as far as he could tell, no Elf magic, Dark or Bright.

He put up a light shield that should help conceal their voices, and decided it was safe enough to talk for a bit.

“Tomorrow is Baaltinne, Sarah.” Bruno rubbed his fingers through his hair and tried not to look too hard at Sarah. Goddess, she was beautiful. But he had to stay on topic. “That’s your May Day. Tomorrow.” He shook his head and tried not to frown. “How can we get everything together in time to stop Dennis the Dark Elf?”

“I have faith in you,” she said. Her eyes darkened. Bruno felt as if he were falling, before she gently brushed her lips against his.

Links, including link to sample chapters:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Elfy-Big-Trouble-ebook/dp/B018B4699W
OmniLit: https://www.omnilit.com/product-alittleelfyinbigtrouble-1935228-234.html
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-little-elfy-in-big-trouble-barb-caffrey/1123003283?ean=2940157950910
Sample chapters: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ElfyinBigTrouble_ch1.html


(Check here for Barb's prior visit with the first Elfy novel, An Elfy on the Loose .)

Thx for spending time with us! Come back soon.