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Happy Wednesday, booklovers!

It hardly seems like another week has gone by, but this is the day we have the pleasure of visiting with another author. Today's guest is James DiBenedetto.

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

JJ:  Orange juice is my usual morning drink (never got the taste for coffee).

Ally:  Well, we won't hold that against you. :) One glass of OJ coming right up. In the meantime, please show readers your bio.


J.J. (James) Dibenedetto's fans would swear he's got a sixth sense when it comes to seeing into the minds of others and often wonder if his stories could possibly be fiction. He enjoys suspending disbelief with suspenseful paranormal tales that are a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy.

His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.

Born in Yonkers, New York, he currently resides in Arlington Virginia with his beautiful wife and a cat he is sure has taken full advantage of its nine lives. When it comes to the cat, he often wonders, but then again it might just be his imagination.

Ally: Tell me something unique/unusual that isn't in your bio:

JJ: I married my wife at Graceland, in the little chapel on Elvis Presley’s estate.

Social Media Links:

My Website
Audiobook Samples
Amazon Author Page 

Ally: What type of paranormal books do you write? What led you to that choice?

JJ:  My books are a combination of paranormal romance and suspense.  It wasn’t really a choice to write that.  The idea that led to the books (my heroine, Sara, can step into other people’s dreams) brought the main characters and the plot right along with it. 

Ally: Lay out your writing day for us: when, where, how long, etc.

JJ:  Whenever I can fit time in.  Usually I try to do an hour at least when I get home from work, but any other spare minutes I can find, I use.  And I’m always thinking about the current or the next book, playing out scenes in my mind when I’m on the bus or out walking or wherever.

I work on my desktop computer (I can’t write using the touchscreen keyboard on my iPad, and I can’t read my own handwriting, so using a notebook to write by hand is out).

Ally:  What is your current work in progress?

JJ:  I’m 10,000 words into the tenth and last Dream Series book, DREAM WEDDING.  It brings the series full circle – at the end of the first book, Sara is about to get engaged to her college sweetheart, and in the new book, her daughter’s doing the same thing.

Ally: It's time for a few quick answer questions:
a. favorite summer sport: Baseball
b. favorite current song: that’s tough.  I listen pretty much exclusively to my iPod, and almost exclusively classical music and opera.
c. What kind of car do you wish you drove?  Before I can answer that, I’d have to learn to drive!
d. How many books do you hope to write/publish in the next five years? 10, two a year, ideally.
e. a word you overuse in your writing: “that”

Ally:  Thanks for visiting today! I've enjoyed chatting with you. Before we wind things up, tell us a little about the Dream Series and show us the book you brought.

What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?  That’s the question Sara has to wrestle with in the Dream Series.  We first meet her as a shy, bookish college student who doesn’t think there’s anything extraordinary about herself.  And then the dreams start…

Over the course of the series, Sara learns to live with these supernatural dreams and all the trouble they plunge her into.  At the same time, she grows from a student to a practicing doctor; and from a single girl to a wife and mother.  But every time she thinks she’s got everything figured out, life – and her extraordinary dreams – teach her that she’s always got more to learn… 

Blurb for new book, FEVER DREAM:

Dr. Sara Alderson isn’t used to her patients dying for no reason. When a young boy succumbs to a mysterious illness that defies all her efforts to treat it, she refuses to accept defeat. 

After two months of questions, Sara has attracted the attention of powerful people who don’t want their secrets uncovered, and will go to any lengths to make sure they stay hidden. 

Now, time is running out for Sara to unravel the mystery before anyone else falls victim to the illness. And before her career, her family, and her freedom are taken from her by enemies she doesn’t even know she has. 

Fever Dream is the ninth book of the Dream Series 

Buy link: (Amazon) (Nook) (Smashwords) (Kobo) (Apple)

Audible audiobook 

Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon...

I Heart Robot
by Suzanne van Rooyen

Published: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books

Genre: YA science fiction


Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won't belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka 'Quinn' lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn's worlds collide when they're accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn's love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

Praise for I Heart Robot:

"The tension between the groups, the obvious attraction between the main characters, the ticking time bomb of Quinn’s real identity and the secrets surrounding Tyri’s birth makes for compelling reading. The world building was exceptional and the characters well developed."~ The Australia Times Books

Book Links:

Goodreads -

Amazon -

B&N -

Kobo -

Trailer - 

About the Author:

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Author Links:

Facebook -
Twitter -
Pinterest -
Website -

Good morning, booklovers! Are you ready for a little book talk?

YA author Kirstin Pulioff is with us this week. We haven't chatted with Kirstin since she visited in February 2014 (click here for that interview) and brought the final book of her Princess Madeline trilogy. I'm eager to know what she's been doing!

Welcome, Kirstin! I know you love your coffee black like I do, so I've already poured. Shall we get started? Let's first remind people who you are.

KIRSTIN: Good idea. Here's my bio... 

Bio: Kirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in Oregon, and enjoys being a stay at home mom. When she's not writing, she is busy with her kids and church.

(Ally Note: I asked her what was the first manuscript she actually completed. Her answer surprised me. Go, Kirstin!)

My first story was completed (1st draft) in 2005, The Escape of Princess Madeline. Written during my lunch breaks, this was the one thing that kept me grounded through the long work days. :) I wrote it for myself, but ended up revisiting it, editing it up and having it published in 2012.


Amazon Author page:

Ally: Let's talk about the writing process. Tell us how you create your characters: choosing names, physical characteristic, personality. Do you use character sheets? Do you work out their complete bio?

KIRSTIN:  That is a great question. Since our stories are built up around our characters and their growth is pivotal to reader’s involvement, it makes sense that developing our characters would be a process. It is a process I could get better at. To be honest, I write my characters as I see them in my mind. A lot of the time their backstory or motivation comes to me while I am writing their story. When a story comes to me, it is usually as a quick movie in my mind. I see my characters, the story or idea, and how it plays out. That helps me decide how a character will look or act. As for their names… that is more of a process. Usually a name pops into my mind right away, other times I name characters after people in my life… and when I’m really stumped, I ask my fans for suggestions.

Ally: What happens to your manuscript between the time you finish the first draft and submission to your editor?

KIRSTIN:  Oh Ally, you’re asking the tough questions this time. The time between when I finish the first draft and final submission is a complicated, yet important time. When I finish the first draft, I generally let the manuscript rest for about a week. I celebrate that huge step by reading and throwing myself a little party. Once my mind has rested, I re-read it and start the editing process. The first read through is adding more details, fixing vague descriptions or stilted dialogue. I make these changes on a paper copy of the manuscript, and then as I go back through and make the changes in the manuscript, I make additional changes or a third round of edits. I generally do four read throughs before I send it off to an editor for a developmental edit. She’ll review the manuscript objectively looking for plot holes, character issues, or any hold ups that might deter a reader. After that evaluation, I’ll hit the drawing board again and make another round of edits based off her suggestions. After that is done, then I’ll send it off to a few beta readers for their opinions. I’ll make some additional changes based off their suggestions… and then I’ll send it back to my editor for the final line/copy edit… and then finally off to a proofreader before final publication. I spend almost as much time editing and revising as I do getting the first draft onto paper.

Ally:  Do you order swag and/or extras for your books? If so, what? Do you have places you recommend? Do you think they're effective?

KIRSTIN:  I do! I went all out for a giveaway to celebrate the release of my newest novel, Dreamscape: Saving Alex. I had custom charm bookmarks, custom charm necklaces, and zipper pulls made. I don’t know whether they are effective or not at bringing new readers to my books, but they certainly make it fun for me. I find all these items on etsy. I think that’s a great site for these custom items as well as helping out small businesses and crafters. If you’re interested, the giveaway actually started on May 11th… click here to enter.

Ally:  What is your current writing project? Tell us a little about it.

KIRSTIN:  I am working on a new novel, Pale Bricks (working title), the follow up to my short story The Ivory Tower. It is a dystopian that follows the life of Simone as she tries to uncover the truth behind their protection camp—and the more she uncovers the more dangerous the truth becomes.

Ally: Try these quick answer questions:
  • a. Your ideal outdoor temperature: 75 degrees… warm enough to be outside in flip flops and shorts, but not too hot to be uncomfortable.
  • b. How many books do you read a month or year? I read on average one novel a month. I’d love for it to be more, but since I’m always writing too, I have to have a compromise of the two.
  • c. Current favorite TV show: Battle Creek, what can I say, I’m a sucker for Josh Duhmel ;)
  • d. Name a favorite memory from high school. (ie teacher, friends, special award, sports, classes, an event such as a dance.) Oh no—no one likes going back to that era…let’s see…okay, pretty easy. My favorite experience was being an exchange student to New Zealand. It was amazing and unforgettable!!!
  • e. a book you recommend: Oh don’t make me choose just one. I’ll play it safe and recommend your series Ally! I LOVED the Guardian Witch series. There’s something for everyone there. (Ally comment: cheater! lol TY)
Ally: I've loved chatting with you, Kirstin, but the time is here for you to tell us about your latest book.

KIRSTIN:  My new release is Dreamscape: Saving Alex, a YA contemporary novel that blends the lines between fantasy and science fiction. In this novel, you’ll experience Alex’s adventure as she fights her way through a video game, discovering how to love and how to let go. Inspired by my own marathon gaming nights of SMB3 and Zelda, this novel is fun, fast-paced, and teeming with elements of gaming, adventure, and romance. But here's the official blurb... 


Dreamscape: Saving Alex
YA Contemporary Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Alexis Stone is used to getting away from life’s frustration with Dreamscape, a video game she’s loved since childhood. As her family prepares to move, a sleepy night of gaming pulls her into the world like never before. Trapped in Dreamscape’s realm, Alex is about to learn that being a hero has consequences… and this time, the stakes are deadly. Will helping the rebellion cost her everything she knows and loves? Or will she betray them to save her own life?

Buy Links:



Thanks for stopping, and come back soon!
Don't forget to check out Kirstin's book!

This special day is to honor all the caregivers in life who makes us feel safe and loved.
Good Morning, booklovers!

I hope you enjoyed last month's Creatures in Paranormal Fiction, but today we return to regular programming. :)

Our guest author this week is Jami Gray, who writes UF/paranormal romantic suspense.
Welcome, Jami! How do you take your coffee?

I help put Starbuck baristas through college, and my addiction of choice is a Skinny Carmel Machiatto.

Ally: Lol. I think I'm paying their rent. One Skinny Carmel Machiatto coming right up. Can you tell our readers something about yourself?


Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.
And you wanted something unique about myself that isn't in my bio: I’m the fifth eldest of thirty-seven (and yes, you read that right) children. Thirty-five were adopted (including me), two were biological. We resemble the United Nations when we gather.  (Ally comment: WOW, talk about unique! what an incredible family!)

Contact the author:

Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page: 

Ally: Who or what inspired you to write in your chosen genre?

JAMI:  When I was in high school, I loved fantasy, Susan Cooper, Katherine Kurtz, Lloyd Alexander, Anne McCafferty, Robin McKinley, and Piers Anthony. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I discovered an emerging genre, Urban Fantasy, through Ilona Andrews, Laurel K. Hamilton, and Patricia Briggs. Now, my mom was a huge Romance fan, and being an avid reader, I didn’t discriminate on what I read. Reading across genres is something I highly recommend. My love of magic, suspense, and romance is why I do UF and Paranormal romantic suspense. 

Ally:  Rank the following in importance from one (most important) to four (least) in your writing: plot, characters, word choice, setting.

JAMI:  Characters would take the top spot. Characters drive my stories, because they’re the reason I tell them. What makes them tick determines how they handle what I throw at them, and what kinds of things I decide to throw at them. You could have two people face the same dilemma, but who they are, because of what they’ve lived through, will result in two very different outcomes. As a reader, I first connect with characters before I even begin to ponder the plot or setting.  As a writer, I want to hook my readers from the get go, so they can’t escape. Complex, multi-faceted characters are great lures.

Plot comes in a close second. You don’t want to write a boring story, so if you’ve managed to create some tricky characters, you have to give them a plot worthy of their time. To do that, it needs to be as complex and driven as they are. My writing group accuses me of loving my sub-plots. In my defense, I did grow up watching daytime soap operas. Still, plots, whether the main or sub, are key in developing your characters and story. Plot forces your characters to grow, and it’s an adventure for your readers. 

Word choice would be third. I love my words. The right word helps to paint the picture or evoke emotion. If your word choice is weak or dull, so is your story. Action scenes require tense, active verbs that kick much butt, those verbs that just walk or talk won’t cut it in an action scene. Words are mental tripwires for readers. Being an avid reader, I can’t tell you how many times the wrong word in a scene just shoves me out of the story. The old adage of “pick your words carefully” are especially true for writers.

Setting would be fourth, but not because its least important, but if you have dynamic characters, and spine-tingling plot, and well crafted words, the setting becomes the cherry on top. It’s like the garnish of a well crafted meal. When beautifully executed, setting will elevate your story from ‘lovely’ to ‘divine’.

Ally:  When and where do you write? Do you have a writer's cave, special hours, goals?

JAMI:  I used to sneak out to the coffee shop and write, but then I got distracted people watching. So now, I stick to my home office, that I share with my hubby. Of course, it helps that I’m at one end and he’s at the other. Those online gaming sessions can get down right rowdy.  I try to write five out of seven days a week. It used to be seven out of seven, but then reality hit and I realized five was much more doable. I do aim for a word count, about 1500 a day. Sometimes I make it, others, not so much. Still, the fact I sit and write consistently, that is what helps me get my books out there.

Ally:  Tell us about your current work in progress.

JAMI:  I just turned in the second book of my Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV (think cypher) Teams to my editor. TOUCHED BY FATE will hit shelves in Spring 2016.

So now I’m in the midst of planning a new series that doesn’t involve any magic but is set in a post-apocalyptic timeframe. I’ve also decided I’m a glutton for punishment, so I’m trying to complete a series of short stories set in the Kyn universe for release in Fall 2015.

Ally: It's time for some quick answer questions.
  • a. favorite cereal:  Grape Nuts (w/yogurt)
  • b. favorite summer activity: Going to the mountains (I live in the desert, cooler climes is a must)
  • c. an item on your bucket list: Take my sons to Europe before they trot off to college, specifically England/Ireland
  • d. a food you hate: Brussel sprouts
  • e. an author you’d love to take to lunch: (I have way too many, but…) Let’s do Patricia Briggs.

JAMI: We've reached that all important moment before you say goodbye, the revelation of the book. What did you bring to show our readers?

SHADOW’S EDGE, Kyn Kronicles #1

Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…

When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.

As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.

Shadow’s Edge Buy Links:




Black Opal Books:





Thank you, Jami, for the wonderful visit and to all of you for joining us!
Come back soon!

Harmony Duprie is back, and so is trouble in Oak Grove.

When a man is murdered in the back yard of the old Victorian house she is remodeling, Harmony is determined to locate his next-of-kin so he can be put to rest properly. But with her ex-boyfriend Jake out of prison, back in town and one of the suspects in the murder, she takes on the challenge of solving the crime.

With Eli, her current love interest, in Florida and Jake close by, old emotions come back to haunt her. Can Harmony clear Jake's name and solve the mystery of her own heart?

Although each book in the series is a complete mystery, (no cliffhangers) the books should be read in order. The first book, the Marquesa's Necklace, is currently on sale for 99¢


My first clue that something was about to happen was the snowplow driving down the street. Oak Grove does a fairly good job of clearing the streets, but naturally, they take care of the main streets first. The fact that Luke and Joe's house sits away from any main traffic route is one of the things that attracted me. So I shouldn't have been surprised when shortly afterward, I spotted a red Mustang headed our way.

            I stuck my shovel into a snow pile and went over to greet Freddie. The grim look on his face told me this was an official visit.

            “Take a deep breath,” I told him. “Jake hasn't done anything wrong.”

            “I'll be the judge of that,” he growled.

            When I turned, I saw Jake watching us. When he started to move, I wondered if he planned to run.

            Instead, Jake carefully placed the shovel on the sidewalk and held his open hands out to his sides.  “Hello, Detective,” he said.  “How have you been?”

            “Move away from the shovel,” Freddie ordered.

            I held my breath.

            “Of course. Do you want me to step closer to you or backwards?”

            Freddie’s eyes widened at Jake's easy acquiescence. “Towards me is fine.”

            Jake took three steps and stopped. “Good?”

            “You got paperwork to show you're out legally?”

            “Yes. Not on me, but I have it. It's stored in a locker over at the Salvation Army.”

            “I’ve got a call in to check your status, so you'd better not be lying.”

            “I understand.” Jake’s shoulders twitched. “Is it okay if I put my arms down now? They're getting tired. Or would you like to search me first?”

            I exhaled loudly and noticed the neighbors across the street watching the spectacle. “Can we move this inside, Freddie? We're drawing a crowd.” He nodded. On an impulse, I walked over and picked up the shovel Jake had dropped, and wrapped my free arm around his waist. Even through the several layers of sweaters I’d made him wear, I felt him shaking.

            “What are you doing?” he asked in a whisper.

            “Proving a point. I don’t like bullies,” I whispered back.

            Luke, Joe, and Freddie were all fuming, but there wasn’t anything they could do. When our procession reached the bottom of my stairs, I hesitated as I considered my options. If we went to my place it would be crowded, which might be uncomfortable for Jake. On the other hand, it was familiar ground to him. And it was my territory and they would be my guests, which would put all four of them under an obligation to behave themselves.

            My decision made, I leaned the shovel against the fence and asked Jake loudly, “You don’t suppose that coffee you made earlier is still hot, do you?”

            His eyes searched my face. “I hope so. I’m freezing.”

            I grabbed his hand. “Only one way to find out.”

            After climbing a few steps, I plastered a bigger smile on my face as I swiveled to face the others. “Are y’all coming?”

Buy Links 

About the Author:

Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she's not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks.


P.J. MacLayne can be reached on: 


Welcome to Letter Z of the A-Z Blog Challenge.

My theme is Creatures in Paranormal Fiction.
To reach other participating sites, click on the blue/gold letter button in the post

or the blog hop badge in the sidebar.

Z is for Zombie.

And last but not least is one of the most popular paranormal creatures in modern fiction. Whether as mindless, undead killing machines feasting on human flesh or...wait for it...yes, romantic protagonists, the zombies have slathered their way through recent movies and books at an unchecked rate. To contrast the wide-ranging presentation of this creature, you might take a look at these links: Top 5 Zombie Apocalypses of all Time (, My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland, and Isaac Marion's sexy zombie romance, Warm Bodies.  If you haven't gotten your fill of zombie books yet, check out this Goodreads list:

We've come to the end of the A-Z blog challenge. If you missed any of the posts, you can scroll through the blog looking for the blue letter buttons or click on blog hops in the sidebar. I hope you enjoyed this tour of fictional (or are they?) creatures...and I hope you can still sleep at night. 

Thanks for visiting. I hope you come back soon!
The author interview Coffee Chats will resume next Wednesday.

Welcome to Letter Y of the A-Z Blog Challenge.

My theme is Creatures in Paranormal Fiction.
To learn more about this blog hop and other participating sites, click on the blue/gold letter button in the post

or the blog hop badge in the sidebar.

Yeti by Philippe Semeria
Y is for Yeti.

The Yeti is an ogre-like, hairy man-beast from the Himalayan Mts also known as the Abominable Snowman. He is often pictured carry a stone club. Similar sightings in North America have been attributed to Bigfoot.  Check out this list of popular Yeti books:

Y is also for Yoda. Who can deny the Otherworldly creature from Star Wars belongs on this list? Psychic abilities and mind control are only a sample of his awesome powers.
Check here for a photo and more on information on the legendary Jedi:

Thanks for stopping!
Come back tomorrow for the end of this blog challenge with the letter Z.
Can you guess what it will be?

Welcome to Letter X of the A-Z Blog Challenge.

My theme is Creatures in Paranormal Fiction.
To learn more about this blog hop and other participating sites, click on the blue/gold letter button in the post

or the blog hop badge in the sidebar.

X is for Xylomancer.

This diviner uses earth magic to draw visions of the past, present, and future from wood twigs. Throughout earth history, the diviners have been objects of both respect and fear. In various forms they populate almost every sub-genre of paranormal fiction. The specific practitioner of xylomancy is pictured here as an exotic, mystical woman. You can read more about xylomancy at this link:

X is also for Xanthus - an immortal horse with the power of speech. Read about Xanthus here: 

Welcome to Letter W of the A-Z Blog Challenge.

My theme is Creatures in Paranormal Fiction.
To learn more about this blog hop and other participating sites, click on the blue/gold letter button in the post

or the blog hop badge in the sidebar.

W is for Witch or Warlock.

A witch is someone who practices witchcraft, typically identified with spells, potions, and magical rituals. Witches have had a predominant place in legends, folklore. and superstition since the Middle Ages.
Although witches are commonly portrayed as women, there are also male witches, often referred to as warlocks.

Like any other folklore there are many variations on the supernatural powers of witches, but conjuring with spells or herbs, powders or potions, is always part of the formula.


The traditional symbol for a witch is an old crone with a pointed black hat,
facial warts, a broom for transportation, and a cauldron to brew her evil potions, but that picture may be a fairly modern conception. Although there are a variety of myths and beliefs that are pointed out as explanations for this stereotype, the connections are murky, and many early depictions of witches show none of these accoutrements. It's likely they were created or at least enhanced and marketed by 19th and 20th century writers and film makers.

In literature, witches first appeared in Halloween or children's stories. In the last twenty to thirty years they've been humanized to allow for both good and bad witches, and they've become extremely popular characters in urban fantasy and paranormal romances.

Take a look at this huge list of popular witch books:,
and this Wikipedia list of fictional witches:

W is also for Wizard.

Unless you've been out of touch for the last few years, you're familiar with wizards from the Harry Potter series, but these conjurers/sorcerers have been around in folklore and legend for centuries. The most famous wizard before Harry Potter was probably Merlin from the Arthurian legends. Other books with wizards can be found here: