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It's Coffee Chat Wednesday!

Grab your coffee mug and pull up a chair. We're getting ready to put  paranormal writer, Tessa McFionn, through the paces. :)

Morning, Tessa. How do you take your coffee?

Love espresso. My two favorite drinks are a triple shot caramel macchiato and this amazing creation called a marocchino from an adorable Italian coffeehouse.

Ally:  Since my magic pot can produce anything, one marocchino coming right up. While I'll do that, please introduce yourself.


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. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music, as well as the regular trip to The Happiest Place on Earth with friends and family.

Something unique about you:   Wow. That could be a lot of things. Well, my first heroine is a dancer and I did pull a little from my own life. I’m more of a tapper than a ballerina and I even performed in a tap show Off-Broadway about 10 years ago.

Contact links:

Amazon Author Central:
Facebook Profile:
Facebook Author Page:

Ally:  Since you write paranormal, I know you had to do world building, but did your book also require research? If so, what was the most unusual research you did?

TESSA:  I did tons of research. I try to be a stickler for details and I do love muscle cars, so I had to be sure that the beast Kai drives had the perfect specs. But for unusual? Well, constantly having to look up Romanian translations for romantic phrases and swear words would rank in the top spot.

Ally:  How do you keep character information consistent? Do you use character sheets? Why or why not? How well do you know your characters and their background?

TESSA:  I have my bizarro version of character sheets on Scrivener, but I found that grabbing pictures that reminded me of my characters was a great start. I had to start organizing all the details somehow without having to continually go back and find out what exactly what shade of blue Eamon’s eyes are. How much do I know about my characters? Wow. Some of them love to tell me everything while others make me drag each bit of info out of them. Malakai tends to keep things close to the chest, while Voni is a bit more open. Also, with Kai being a 14th century Romanian warlord, his education is much different than Voni’s.

Ally:   Where and when do you do most of your writing?

TESSA:  Ugh. I wish I could say my where is a luxurious office with a giant computer. Sadly, my current work space is the left corner of the couch in the middle of the living room. I’m hoping that, with a little bit of reorganization, I can transform one of our spare rooms into a viable office. As to the when, I write whenever I can. I do work a rather demanding day job (I’m a school teacher) so my best writing time is between 5pm and whenever I finally drag myself to bed, which is usually around 11pm. And before you ask, it does make for long work days, but it’s all worth it.

Ally:  What is your work in progress? Is it a sequel, a standalone, a short story?

TESSA:  Right now, I just sent back my edits on my second book in the Guardians series and am about 2/3 through the third installment. Also, since some characters just refuse to wait their turn, I also just finished the first part of a sci-fi trilogy and I’m really excited about this one.

Ally: Try a few quick answer questions:
  • a. favorite flower – Calla lilies
  • b. 3 states you haven't visited – Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Florida
  • c. favorite movie – oh jeez! Just one? For this week, Guardians of the Galaxy
  • d. favorite kind of ice cream – Mint chocolate chip
  • e. an item on your bucket list – To go to all the Disney parks.

Ally:  Since we can't have you playing hooky from school, I'll let you go with a big thanks for spending time with us. Before you run out the door, please show us your book...


After a year-long depression following the murder of her fiancé, Siobhan Whelan stands on a bridge, tormented by unending nightmares, one step away from jumping. Only the kindness of a seductive stranger brings her back down to earth. But the handsome stranger is more than meets the eye, and soon Voni finds herself thrust into a strange new world.

For seven hundred years, Malakai Vadim has shouldered the mantle of Guardian Warrior. But a chance encounter with the tormented beauty brings him face to face with his destiny. His nemesis, Dmitrius Konstantin, has been feeding Voni’s grief through nightmares, wanting her and her untapped powers for his own. As Kai learns of his foe’s deadly interest, he must solve the riddle of Voni’s tortured dreams while holding his growing desire for her at bay.

Too bad the enemy Rogue Warriors have other plans. Now, along with fellow Guardian Eamon McClearon, Kai must venture into the In-Between, the enemy’s powerbase, to save her soul as well as his own. But can his love be strong enough to save them both?

Purchase link: (*under 18 warning: Tessa describes some of her romantic scenes as "steamy")

Thx for sharing coffee with us! Stop back soon.

Welcome, booklovers!

It's time for our weekly get-together to discuss books and meet another author. MS Kaye, a writer of romantic suspense, is visiting today.

What would you like to drink, Melissa?

Steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Ally:  Sounds yummy on a crisp fall day! While my magic pot gets to work, please introduce yourself.

About the Author:

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

Contact the Author:

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

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

Ally:  What genre book did you bring to share? Do you always write in the same genre? Why or why not?

YA paranormal. Nope. I cannot be tamed!

Ally:  Does your novel have a villain? What puts him or her in conflict with your main character?

Yes. He wants to blackmail my main characters.

Ally:  Do you use the 3-Act structure for your novels? If not, do you have your own structure? Do you outline your plot?

I don’t diagram my plot structure, but I do outline my books.

Ally:  What is your next writing project?

I just started the final book in my Taken series. Romantic suspense. I don’t have a clear summary of the plot yet, but the first book is about a young woman who’s kidnapped by the son of a mobster. She has to uncover his past in order to understand her own.

Ally:  Quick answer questions:
  • a. favorite shade of lipsick – is Chapstick a shade?
  • b. high heels or sneakers – barefoot
  • c. a favorite childhood story – A Wrinkle in Time
  • d. last meal you cooked – eggs and toast
  • e. most unusual thing in your closet – martial arts uniform

Ally:  Thanks for joining us! Let's take a look at your books before you get back to writing the next one...



by M.S. Kaye

ISBN: 978-1-939590-50-3


A Sumerian water and sky god myth collides with a modern high school.

Ayanna is a math nerd, logical and rational, even cold, but Calder makes her feel things she never had before. Somehow, she’s able to accept it when she discovers he’s a reincarnated Sumerian water god. Will she be able to accept the full truth, that the story of Enki and Inanna has been reborn in a modern Ohio high school?

Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble:

MS Kaye's Born from Death series:

Strong as Death,
Book 1

Ilona runs from her sheltering mother in order to find the truth, why she’s seeing people who are invisible to everyone else. A mysterious boy named Archer guides her through Brooklyn and introduces her to Hendrick, the man who claims to be her father—though he died in 1890. Ilona must discover not only what she must do to rid the city of Soll, a sadistic and powerful spirit, but also what it means to be half ghost. She proves what her mother told her—love is stronger than death.

Publisher (all formats)  ~  Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble  ~   Smashwords

Awaken from Death,
Book 2

The only emotion Ilona can muster is anger for the death of her mother. Barely engaged in life, she focuses all of her energy on finding and punishing her mother’s killer.

Since Ilona can see ghosts, Archer has to find unique ways to hide while watching over her. When Ilona is in danger of being mauled by a dog, he desperately tries something that shouldn’t be possible. And yet he succeeds. This is just the beginning of his discovery of who—what—he truly is.

Lettie continues to interact with Ilona, her one friend, even when a Messenger warns her. Eventually, Lettie remembers the ancient connection Archer and Ilona share, as well as her part in the punishment Archer bore as a result of that connection.

Amazon   ~   Barnes&Noble   ~   Smashwords   ~   Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Come again soon!

Happy Wednesday, booklovers!

The game is afoot today as we welcome mystery author Jane Gorman and her Adam Kaminski series of whodunits!

How do you like your coffee, Jane?

My favorite is a café renversé, like a café au lait, but adding espresso to the milk instead of the other way around. Even with American coffee, I always start with the milk. And no sugar, please!

Ally: That sounds easy enough. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.


Having worked as an anthropologist, a diplomat and a park ranger, I turned to creative writing as yet another way to visit new worlds and meet new people. And perhaps to get the voices out of my head… I worked briefly in academics after completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology, then shifted gears to become a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, representing U.S. interests at international organizations. I have previously published in the field of political anthropology, I have negotiated international instruments on behalf of the U.S. government, and I have appeared on national television through my efforts to support our nation's cultural heritage.

I live in Cherry Hill, NJ, with my husband, who loves traveling even more than I do and has a voracious appetite for life, two cats who are very picky eaters, and a Pointer-Hound mix who wants nothing more out of life than to eat the cats.

Something unique about me:  I am inspired by water – all kinds of water. Crashing ocean waves, a burbling stream, a rhythmic fountain … even taking a shower can get my creative juices flowing! Whenever I’m stuck for words, I seek out the nearest body of water and focus on that instead.

My links: 

Amazon Author Page:

I blog once a month with a group of fabulous mystery writers at


Ally:  You've called your stories "mysteries that take you places." Can you explain? What made you choose that theme?

Where shall I go today? That’s the question I always ask myself when I’m looking for a new book. Reading takes me to a different place, a different time, maybe even a different planet. And that’s why I write, too. Each of my books takes place in a different city or town around the world. I started with places I know the best – Warsaw, Washington and Philadelphia – and I’m moving on from there to Galway, Provence and more. Because sometimes a good mystery can be the best way to see the world!

Ally:   Authors like to debate what's most important: characters, plot or setting. In truth, it's all three, but most of us start with only one of them in mind. Where do you start and why? Does it change from book to book?

JANE:  It really is all three, isn’t it? When I’m ready to develop a plot, I start with the setting. I decide on a location I know well, and build the story around it. I follow the news, the arts, gossip columns. I tie my story in with real stories from that location but add characters and murders that are pure fiction.

But even before that, at the very beginning (starting with the first book, and then again when each succeeding book is just a sparkle in my eye), I started with a character: Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, a man who is smart, well-read, straightforward, simple (in a good way), and driven by guilt. Adam is a man I know well. Even so, he still knows how to surprise me!

Ally:  What is your favorite form of social media? Why?

JANE:  Facebook is such a great way to stay in touch with old friends and even with family when I’m traveling. But if I’m completely honest, I prefer Twitter. I’ve heard it described as a well-attended cocktail party, everyone jumping into and out of conversations. That’s a great description, and since I’ve never met a cocktail party I didn’t like, I guess it makes sense that I’m a Twitterphile. On Twitter, for me it’s less about writing and more about travel. And wine. And sometimes chocolate.

Ally:  Tell us about your next writing project.

JANE:  What She Fears is a traditional mystery set in Galway.  Visiting Galway in an effort to strengthen his struggling romance and explore his family legacy, Detective Adam Kaminski stumbles onto a murder scene. Quite literally. Now he must find the truth behind the grisly murder of a university professor before he becomes a convenient scapegoat – or convenient target.

5. Quick answer questions:
  • a. If you couldn't write any more, what would you be doing? Gardening
  • b. What living author would you like to take to lunch? Elizabeth George
  • c.  High heels or sneakers? High heels (though to be honest, they’re getting lower these days)
  • d.  Most productive time of day to write: Morning. My brain stops around 1pm.
  • e. An item on your bucket list: Sailing up and down the east coast. Or west coast. Or across the Atlantic!

Ally: It has been a pleasure spending time with you, Jane. I hope you'll visit again. In the meantime, let's give readers a peek at your book, A Blind Eye.


It was a quiet death, a young woman falling into the frigid waters of Warsaw’s Wisła River. The police accept it as suicide, the pressures of a political internship too much to handle. Her father knows it was murder. Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, visiting Poland on an official delegation, gets drawn into the investigation over the objections of his superiors back home. For the dead girl was family, her father a cousin Adam had only just met, and Adam was raised to put family first. 

He begins uncovering the clues that point to the killer, clues that lead him inexorably into an investigation of the close-knit community of Polish politics and the legacy of the Secret Police. But the past isn’t always black and white, as Adam is forced to accept as he learns more about the killer and about his own family legacy. Murder can only beget murder, driven by even deeper secrets.

Buy links


Barnes and Noble:

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Come back soon!

He could lose his life, his love…or reclaim it all.


Twenty years ago, Cedric found his mate’s dead body in a heap at the base of a cliff. Ever since, he has dedicated what’s left of his life to serving the Council. But after a lifetime of being their Enforcer, he’s finally had enough and has asked to be released from his duties. One last job, one last innocent to protect, and then he can disappear.

Until a mysterious woman in the woods offers him something he never dreamed he’d get: a chance to reclaim the love he thought he’d lost forever.

Cedric is overjoyed at a chance to have Taryn back and jumps at the offer. But his last assignment won’t leave him alone to rekindle their relationship. With a warning that Taryn’s time could be limited, and with a dangerous stalker on the loose, Cedric must try to unravel the mystery behind Taryn’s accident twenty years ago. If he plays it wrong, he could lose his love, his career, and his life…or reclaim it all.

Buy Links:


Barnes and Noble: 


After Cedric slipped away without so much as a whisper, Taryn tried not to study the room in the glow of the oven clock, but it was impossible. The stench was overpowering. Someone had tossed something dead onto the table and the bar between the kitchen and dining room. She couldn't tell what it was, but it was small. The size of a large purse or book, but too small for a human body. Or a whole human body.

She tried not to gag and instead concentrated on ideas for the next cake she wanted to make. The first birthday cake would not be too difficult, but she wanted it to be absolutely perfect.

A light flipped on down the hall, and Taryn shut her eyes against the gore in the kitchen. She was pretty sure all the hair stuck to whatever had been tossed around the kitchen was not human. Almost definitely not human. But the shadows allowed just enough room for her imagination to run amok.


She squealed and jumped, holding the knife in front of her and snapping her eyes open. Cedric stood in front of her, gripping a black plastic bag full of something large and very dead, judging from the wretched stench. She slapped a hand over her face to hold back her gag reflex.

"What is that?"

"Road kill. Lots of road kill." The knuckles of Cedric's hand where he gripped the bag were white, and barely controlled rage laced his voice.


"Possum, raccoon, and very angry dead skunks." He glanced around the room. "I hadn't meant for you to go to sleep while I searched the house. Not the best self-defense."

About the Author::

Heather M. Sharpe lives on 6 acres in central Kansas with her husband, perfect little boy, and mother-in-law. Being the mother of a 3 year old boy, her house has been overrun with pets—everything from dogs and cats, ducks and chickens, to turtles and fish. And each night it’s a race between the people and the seven 4-legged pets to fight for room on the bed.  

Author Links:

             The Joys and Trials of Writing in Several Genres
                                           By Joan Leotta

This summer I achieved a writer's hat trick  (ice hockey talk for three successive scores by same person in one game).  None of them is self-published. One is a collection of short stories, another is a romance/mystery/YA and the third is a picture book.  Each is out from a different press and each is in a different genre. It was not my plan to have all three come out in one summer. Two were delayed: one due to my problems with plot, the other because of  my small publisher's schedule and health.  Timing is the Lord's. Working in more than one genre is a joy because it allows me to express my creativity in different ways and a trial because I have to establish a series of relationships with editors  and divide my time to market the books in three different directions. My plan for each marketing line was orderly, but this summer, I have had illness and death in the family and am becoming worn out trying to market all three at once while still writing new material.

The short stories in the collection called Simply a Smile were published by Cane Hollow Press. Many of the included tales were written for contests and several were winners, including one international first prize. Two were published by a national print magazine and two or three by small, web zines. Though varied in genre—mystery, romance, women's fiction—they have one thing in common. Each was inspired by an  object, another obsession of mine as a writer. The first place winner is an ekphrastic tale (inspired by a work of art). It is my goal to market these for enjoyment and by teaching others how to draw stories out of art and ordinary objects, including appearing at middle schools.  But I have only written one email so far in this direction.

Secrets of the Heart is the fourth in my Legacy of Honor series, a set that focuses on Italian-American women and their struggles with the backdrop of serving our nation in time of war. The first, Giulia Goes to War, takes place in World War Two, the second, Letters from Korea during that conflict, the third, A Bowl of Rice , deals with the experiences of a nurse in Vietnam , and the fourth takes place in Rome Italy during Desert Storm (with a prequel of Civil War activity!). These are marketed as romance. I belong to a Romance writers marketing site.

WHOOSH!, my picture book, began as a simple tale of going sledding with my dad.
Writing for children is a high calling and one I only dared to attempt because for the past thirty years I have also been a performer for children (story telling in schools, museums, at fairs and festivals). I love to work with children—what is done for them, lasts. It is still that, and thanks to the marvelous illustrator my publisher chose, it should resonate with urban children. I'm a city girl and I wanted this book on sledding in a park to remain urban.

Actually my eclectic nature is even more diverse than these three examples indicate. I'm a journalist (30 years), a poet (just google me), and a playwright—my first work, Pinpoint Wisdom was produced in Boston this year.  When a topic comes to mind, it "tells" me what form it should be—sometimes the form changes and I rewrite in another form. Pinpoint started out as a short story and then became a poem, and finally, a play. In one day, I might work on a poem, finish an article for the paper, work on a novel, and search for possible publishers of my next picture book.  As an omnivore reader, it's great to be able to indulge my love of each genre by contributing to it.

The disadvantage of my multi-faceted approach to writing is in the time it takes to market to varied genres, the number of organizations I have to belong to  in order to find advice for various genres, and the time it takes to target and arrange book signings and appearances. Add to that several family crises this summer and well, my marketing plan for each of the three and the three together has been shredded.

So, am I scattered or eclectic? Am I broadly talented, or skimming the surface of a number of genres? That is a question only my readers can answer, but I can tell you this—I'm having fun. 

                                                              Author has Hat Trick Summer—three books!

Three of this Calabash, NC award winning journalist and performer's books were released this summer. Moreover, each book is in a different genre! Simply a Smile, is a collection of short stories, the middle book is Joan Leotta's first picture book, and the third is romance/women's fiction.
Buy Links:

Simply a Smile:  Amazon

WHOOSH!:  Amazon

Secrets of the Heart (Legacy of Honor Volume Four):  Amazon

Meet the Author:

For as long as I can remember I have been a writer and a performer. The joy of doing what I love as a profession came to be when in 1982 I left my job at the Department of Labor to stay home with my children. At home with them I began my own business as a writer for local papers in Washington, DC , magazines, and more.

After taking Jennie and Joe to see a storytelling show at Wolf Trap I realized I wanted to do that too, so I took a course at the Kennedy Center, read all I could about story performance, joined the local and national professional groups, watched, told tales and learned. After volunteering as a teller, my son’s preschool hired me to tell and so I began my dual career of writing and telling. Each facet is still equally important to me.

In each side of my creativity I seek to serve an audience, produce and present material respectfully, entertain and edify. It is my sincere hope that my performance, whether on stage or on paper, blesses you, my audience.

Contact Joan:

Through her blog.
If you want her to speak to your group, email her at

Welcome, booklovers! This week we're departing from our normal Coffee Chat to post a guest article by author Lian Penn. I hope you enjoy this insight into her writing process. Take it away, Liah!

                            How I Name Characters in My Novels
                                                By Liah Penn

You probably think there is a science to naming characters. Well, there is. Sort of. Names are just as much a characteristic as the color of my character’s hair, or the way they walk.

My hero has to have the name of a hero: Jack, Blane, Hank, Jude. Single syllables. Hard consonants. The heroine must be appealing. When’s the last time you heard of a sultry heroine named Mildred? Or Agatha? Or Bessie? I give her a strong name with just enough uniqueness to show that she is special. Ada. Elizabeth. Grace. Maya. I look at the phone book or steal the name of a friend. In the case of my book “Pure Death”, I used the name of Ina as the name for the heroine. Ina is the name of a street in Tucson that is named after a pioneering woman. It is strong and unique. It seemed to fit my character perfectly.

Sometimes I name characters after friends or family members. My father, my son, my mother-in-law show up in my novels. A friend who has been supportive gets a role. If I can’t find a name among friends, I resort to the internet, or phone books, or a book propped up on my desk. A name on a spine. A publisher. A poster. Does it roll off the tongue? Is the name more suitable for a dog or a turtle or the five fish in your son’s aquarium? I don’t use it.

The villain can’t be Ashley or Bob. I give my readers something to chew on. Does it feel distasteful in my mouth? Damian. Vincent. Vlad. Somehow, without even knowing it, the reader has discovered the bad guy in my story.
Copyright by Laurie Pennison

About the Author:

Liah Penn is an author and attorney who resides with her husband and two sons just outside of New Orleans, LA.  A former prosecutr, she has practiced law on an Indian reservation, on the Mexican border, and in a small Louisiana town.  A former baseball coach, she is also an accomplished visual artist and potter.  Although she lives in Louisiana, she is a die-hard Red Sox fan having watched many games from the bleacher seats at Fenway.

My email is;  I can be found on Twitter @liahpenn and Facebook under Liah Penn.

PURE DEATH (An Ina Stone and Sam Fujimoto Mystery)

An Impure world, a perfect murder...

A murdered society debutante, her body sprinkled with 89 Costa Rican butterflies. A headless, gutted corpse washed up on shore with a beautiful, dead teenager. The case is anything but straightforward, and in an uncertain future, where resources are limited and the genetically defective are banished to a ghetto territory for Impures, Chief Detective Ina Stone and her partner, rookie detective Sam Fujimoto, must cross into Pure Territory to find a killer. An Impure herself, Ina must overcome her defect. And when her life is threatened, she must learn to rely on Sam, whose interest in her seems more than just professional.

Yet the Pures may have created a world in which even they don't want to live anymore. Resources have become too scarce to hide, and a black market for medicine comes to light. When a third murder is discovered, Ina and Sam know there's a connection. With too many suspects and not enough time, they must find that connection before the killer strikes again.

Buy Links:  Amazon           B & N           Etopia Press

It's Wednesday again, booklovers!

Please welcome author Cheryllynn Dyess who brings us her paranormal fantasy,
Born of The Veil!

How do you take your coffee, Cheryllynn?

With coconut sugar and Irish Cream creamer!!!

Ally: Perfect. While I prepare our drinks, why don't you introduce yourself to our readers?


Cheryllynn's vivid imagination comes through in all she does in life. Her writing started in junior high and although she never truly shared her work until recently, she kept them hidden away in an old tattered orange folder. Original works she wrote from 1984 still holding ink on the pages are now being shared. Science Fiction and Fantasy are her favorite genres with mystery and thrillers in close running.

Born in Northwest Florida and raised in Southeast Georgia she gained a love for nature and the outdoors. After almost twenty years in the health care industry and obtaining her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration/Healthcare Information Systems she has returned to her love of writing. Currently living in Central Texas with two of her three children, she has begun a new chapter in life that has opened her heart and soul to many great adventures. Her dreams are to one day return to her native homes and settle in for life with her kids and all her family and to continue writing.

And something unusual: In school I played the trombone, loved it! Not many people think of me playing that instrument.

My links to the World:

Amazon Author Page
Authors Den
Personal Website

Ally: What type of books do you write? Do you write in more than one genre? Or under more than one name?

CD:  Currently I write fantasy / paranormal / ya under the name Cheryllynn Dyess, but I am looking at an adult series that will be under the name Stormy June.

Ally:   What makes your heroine unusual or appealing enough to have a book written about her?

CD:  In Born of The Veil, Tara is a young woman plagued with visions and visits from the dead and demons. She finds out that she is also Immortal. She is strong, funny and determined.

Ally:  What's the best advice you've received as a writer?

CD:  I was told to write what was natural to me, not to force it. I absolutely agree with this advice. Be yourself no matter what.

Ally:  What's your next writing project?

CD:  I have a few pieces in the works that are follow-ups to others I have out already and then one that is a stand-alone called Diamond Diaries. Diamond Diaries will be a journal type book from the view of a diamond through the course of time and its adventures.

Ally: That's a very unusual premise. Sounds really interesting.
Now it's time for a few quick answer questions:
  • a. If you could be any paranormal creature or person, what would it be? Fairy… always loved them.
  • b. A guilty pleasure: Oh my, let's see…Cheezits…
  • c. What's your favorite accessory?  Rings and earrings.
  • d. Favorite nail polish color: Purple
  • e. Favorite after-five drink: Vodka and anything.

Ally: I've loved having you on the blog, and let's end on a high note. Please tell readers a little about your book...

Born of The Veil blurb:

The dead are all around us.

Tara can see them, hear them, and help them. All her life she has battled with this gift...curse.

Only her mother and best friend know the truth. Then she meets a stranger in a historic graveyard and he changes her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Tara was born already a member of a secret society known as The Veil. They are immortal and their mission is to help everyone they can. She is shown how to handle her gifts and discovers even more on her journey.

With the gift of immortality, Tara still battles one curse that has been there her entire life. Demons! Demons have tried to attack her as long as she can remember.

Can she learn to use her gifts?
Can she trust those around her?
Can she conquer her nightmares?
Can she finally be free?

YouTube Book Trailer:

Buy Links:

amazon uk -
amazon au
amazon ca

Thanks for visiting with us today! Come back soon...

***Need a book to read this weekend? Check out this book spotlight...Ally***

Category: Romantic suspense


When Michael goes on a photographic assignment to Brazil and fails to return, Kristi and her son fly to Rio de Janeiro, desperate to find him. Instead she finds that during the cold New Jersey winter, her husband has spent his time in steamy chat rooms with Nara, a young woman desperate for attention and involved in the Rio drug world.
As she searches for Michael in exotic but crime-ridden Rio, Kristy finds herself way out of her league. She turns to Italian-Brazilian Federal Agent Tony Lamazzo for help. As the harsh truth of her marriage brings a dose of reality to her life, she finds the temptation of getting closer to the strong, capable—and totally hot—Tony difficult to resist. She’s in Brazil on the Day of Dead, a day when Brazilians go wild. Why shouldn’t she go wild with Tony, for just one night, before returning home to start the new life alone she’ll have to learn to make for herself?

But when her son vanishes too, Kristi doesn’t know where to turn. Michael’s affair with drug-dealing Nara has exposed them all to the murderous wrath of a ruthless drug lord, and while she longs to trust Tony, she can’t trust his powerful and politically corrupt family. But in the dangerous slums and rainforests of Brazil, the danger mounts for both Kristi and her son, and a cold-blooded enemy has an agenda of his own. If she trusts Tony, she might save her son. Or it might just get them all killed…

Book Trailer:  

Buy Links:


They wandered along the sand in the honeyed glow of evening, making their way towards the lights of the hotels. As they reached the beach steps, Kristi stumbled and felt Tony’s hand steady her. Poor guy, always saving me, she thought. He makes me feel protected. Some men are like that. She was sure women would love him. Any woman with any sense would want a man like Tony. She wondered if he was married.

Sitting down on the second step, she wiggled her toes in the warm sand.

“Tell me about yourself,” she said. “Have you always lived in Rio?”

He shook his head. “I was born in Sorrento, Italy. My father’s Italian and my mother’s Brazilian/American. They came to Brazil with me and my brother when I was ten. My father’s a rancher in Bahia. It’s a ways from the city. I went to college in Boston.”

“Oh. Why?”

“My mother wanted me to. Her parents live there. It was great, I loved it. Boston is so different from Rio.”

For some silly reason she was delighted to hear he’d been to college in a city she knew. “I grew up in Boston. Which college did you go to?”

He laughed. “You’re not going to believe this. I went to Berklee College of Music. I hoped to be lead guitarist in a famous band.”

She beamed at him. “You studied music! Josh is going to be so impressed! I can picture you. I bet you had long hair. Yeah? Curly, long hair. Did you play Hendrix?”

“Yeah. Voodoo Child. I rocked.”

“You’ll have to jam with Josh. Will you do that? Before we go? Please!”


Almost unconsciously she turned her head to look at him. As he was sitting on the step below her, they were almost eye to eye. His half-smile was sweet. Sexy. It made a shiver run through her. She jerked her gaze away. Suddenly she felt lost. What was she doing on the beach on a tropical night with this good-looking stranger? It would be fun to be single, to be flirting with no worries or complications. Was Michael doing that somewhere close by? Was he having  an affair? Maybe her whole family was about to be shattered, like hers had been when she was not much younger than Josh. Tears filled her eyes. Quickly, she wiped them away. Then without meaning to, she gave a loud sob. You’re not going to cry! She forced herself to stop. She hiccuped. Some tourists passed by, carefully looking the other way. Oh God. What was she doing!

“Kristi,” he said, softly. “Whatever it is, we can figure it out. My brother, Rafael, is working on finding your husband. He is Deputy Chief of Civil Police. He’ll do everything anyone possibly could do. We’ll find your husband.”

Embarrassed, she nodded.

“Come on. Let’s get you back to your hotel,” he said, sounding awkward as he helped her up.

“I’m sorry I cried like that. I didn’t mean to.”

“It’s okay.”

“I got an email yesterday. It was from Michael. It showed him hugging a local girl. They were at the beach right here in Copacabana. Michael had on those horrible little Speedos and the girl was wearing a mini bikini. They looked as if they were having a ball. I don’t know why he sent it to me.” Again, her eyes filled with tears. She blinked hard to hide them. “I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing. How can I ever take him back? I don’t even want him back. I don’t feel the same way about him. But what about Josh and the twins?” Now she’d told him all her problems again. What was wrong with her!

He sighed. “Oh Kristi.”  Reaching out, he took her hand tentatively as if taking hands was not something he normally did. His fingers were hard and his palm callused. She liked hands like that. She felt a hot quiver run through her. She pulled her hand away. Where was she going with this? Was she crazy?

Of its own accord it seemed, her body leaned towards him. She slipped her hand back into his. The feel of his hand felt natural, comforting. Holding hands was underrated. She really, really wanted to hold his hand. She could feel the heat of his body where it touched hers. “You’ve been really nice to Josh and me,” she said. “I feel so strange. What if nothing was the way I thought it was for all these years?”

“Don’t judge anything now.”

“I didn’t know you did marriage counseling.”

He shrugged. “I only know it from the worse case scenario. If anything good happens, don’t consult me.”

“You’re married?”

“I was. She left me. It was my fault.”

She was about to ask what happened, when the first big drops of rain pelted down. “Want to make a dash for it?” he said. Fingers locked, they ran through the drizzle. As they reached the hotel foyer, he let go of her hand. They stood apart in the brightly lit elevator. Without meaning to, she again swayed closer to him, feeling her shoulder touch his warm arm. Self-consciously, she moved away, noticing the muscles of his arms and chest outlined by his damp tee-shirt. Rain pasted her wet tee-shirt to her body. Wondering if he could see her nipples, she pulled the clinging fabric away from her damp bikini top.

She unlocked the door and walked into the room. They were both wet. For a moment they just stood, looking at each. Then Tony laughed. “We’d be better on the balcony,” he said. “We’re dripping on the carpet.”

“Would you like a hot shower?”

“Not much point. I don’t have anything to change into.”

“Well, at least we can dry off a bit.” She grabbed two of the big, white towels and followed him out into the night. The air outside was balmy, much warmer than the air-conditioned room. Steam rose from the wet tiles, but the patio furniture was dry, protected from the rain by the balcony above. Tony crossed over to the railing and stood looking at the view, which Kristi noted was meltingly beautiful: white waves crashing, reflections of car lights shimmering on rain drenched Avenue Atlantica, the glittering lights of the favelas on the slopes of the mountains and hunched above it all, the dark jungle-covered morros.

She handed him a towel and stood watching he pulled off his damp shirt and began to dry himself off. He looked soooo good. He was just so indescribably hot and her husband was such an indescribable jerk. As he turned towards her, she quickly pulled her eyes away from his athletic body and found herself looking at his mouth. He had a beautiful mouth, lips tilted slightly up as if he’d never be able to look really angry. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him. There just seemed to be too much space between them and she had to close it. She moved towards him. His eyes, thick lashes still wet with raindrops, looked into hers. She closed her eyes and turned her face up to his. His lips touched hers. She knew she hadn’t left him much choice. His mouth was gentle, his lips warm and firm. She’d imagined a passionate kiss. She didn’t quite know what to do with a gentle one. His kiss was almost shy. Warmth throbbed through her. She was hot enough to melt. She longed for him to kiss her more.

He pulled away slightly, his hands holding her upper arms. “You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, stroking a tendril of wet hair back from her cheek. “Your husband is an idiot.” His eyes were filled with an emotion that sent a thrill through her. It was so good to feel appreciated, to feel again that someone thought she was beautiful. He looked at her quizzically. “I should leav

About the Author:

Ellie Eden thinks the next best thing to hot romance is reading or writing about it. And she finds it even better to be somewhat scared or totally petrified at the same time. That's why she loves Romantic Suspense/Thrillers. She favors strong, protective alpha heroes, but finds murderous but good-looking bad guys fun too, at least on paper. And she loves to escape into an exotic, preferably crime-ridden, location. In another life, Ellie Eden writes as Ellie Crowe, the best-selling author of two cultural travel books about the Hawaiian Islands and a number of award-winning biographies about mostly alpha heroes such as Surfer of the Century, the Life of Duke Kahanamoku.

Contact Ellie:

Happy Wednesday, booklovers!

We have another great author with us today. As you'll learn, she's a well-traveled lady, but she's here to talk about writing...and murder.

Welcome, Maria. How do you take your coffee?

I drink my America coffee with 2 sugars and a drop of milk.
I drink espresso corretto, sugar and a drop of grappa, only after meals in Italy.

Ally:  Since my magic pot can produce anything, shall we pretend you've just finished a scrumptious meal in Italy? That doctored espresso is coming right up. :) While I work the magic, please tell readers who you are.

BIO:  Best selling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona--but stay tuned for weekly updates of Where in the World is Maria Grazia Swan?

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for--ooh-la-la--haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco--but then, who doesn't?

And there is her latest attempt at conquering the world of readers-who-love-Italy-and-anything- Italian. Yes, she has a new series out thanks to Gemma Halliday Publishing. The Lella York’s series has released 3 books to date:
Murder under the Italian Moon, Death Under the Venice Moon and the newest addition Murder Under The Desert Moon.

Her existing series, Mina’s adventures, has five current titles: #1 Love Thy sister; #2 Bosom Bodies; #3 Italian Summer; #4 Ashes of Autumn; #5 A Cat to Die For.

Something unique about me?  My father was the butler for the Vicomtesse de Walkiers. (Belgium)

Contact the Author:  

Ally:   Tell us what kind of books you write. Do you write in more than one genres or in more than one name?

MARIA:  I write fiction and non fiction.  For years I wrote a relationship column for singles over 50, that’s the non fiction part, it helped me land an agent.  But my passion is fiction. I have 2 series.

The Lella York’s series is published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. It’s romantic suspense, with the main character, Italian born Lella York who is over 50. publisher likes to list the books under cozy. No comment.

My indie series, Mina’s adventure is also romantic suspense, and it’s the one I’m more passionate about it, probably because I can write whatever I want. Maybe I’m a control freak????

Ally:  What was your journey to publication? How did you make the decision of indie vs traditional? Are you happy with the choices you made?

MARIA:  I’ve been writing for so long..when I started out Indie was a dirty word. I was originally published by traditional publishers. At some point I was able to reclaim the rights and self published that series. I guess I’m a hybrid author? One of my series is self published the other one not.

The publisher sells more copies, but self publishing allows me more freedom and I get to keep 100% of the royalties…decision, decision…frankly, I’m still trying to decide. Stay tuned…

Ally:   How do you select names for your characters? Do you look up the meaning, seek a certain ethnic background, use a name associated with the character personality, or pick them out of a hat?

MARIA:  You had to ask me that. Believe it or not, that’s the hardest part of writing fiction. For me. I’m Italian. All my main characters are Italian born women living in the United States. I hate, yes, H A T E parents who stick their kids with foreign or made up names no one can pronounce. It’s terrible for the kids. So I try to find names that are easy to pronounce and remember for people on both sides of the ocean.

Ally:  When you've finished a project, how do you decide what to write next? What influences that selection? And BTW, what is your next project?

MARIA:  Mina’s adventures #5 was released on July 15th. I am working on #6. Why? I tend to get into my character’s head and then I stay there weeks after the book is done. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is more time effective to just write the next book instead of mopping around feeling miserable because every time I attempt to work on the other series, I can’t rid myself of that voice from the book I just completed…it’s an Italian thing, it’s call passion…

Ally:  Let's try a few quick get-to-know-you questions.
  • a. favorite suspense writer:  Daphne Du Maurier
  • b. If you couldn't write, what would you do instead?  Sewing, I have a background in dress designing.
  • c.  An item on your bucket list:  Visit New Zealand
  • d.  Favorite snack food:  yoghurt and nuts
  • e.  A frequent pizza topping you refuse or pick off:  anything spicy.

Ally:  Thanks so much for visiting today! Come back anytime. Please show us a little about your book before you go.

Book Blurb:

Mina Calvi's new Furry Friends Foundation is a dream come true for the formerly footloose young woman. Her no-kill shelter rescues and places dogs and cats into new forever homes, and it gives Mina a purpose in life.

But changes are looming on a perfect Sunday afternoon at the Dana Point Marina where she is minding the adoption booth.

A Greek heiress, young, petite and beautiful, shows up on the arm of the love of Mina's life, Diego Moran. And worse, she wants to adopt Mina's calico cat, Houdini. The spoiled woman will not take no for an answer. Why is she so insistent on getting Houdini when she already owns a look-alike cat?

When Houdini is cat-napped, the cat-sitter murdered, and the ransom demand sent to the heiress, Mina has to keep her wits about her to get her beloved cat home safely, and to keep her heart from getting broken again by Diego, who inexplicably pops up at every turn of the unfolding drama.

Buy Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Have a great week, and come back to visit again!


Welcome, booklovers!
Romantic suspense author Susan Roebuck is visiting with us today.
How do you take your coffee, Sue?

Oh, how you’re going to be sorry you asked me that. Coffee drinking is a serious business here in Portugal. It’s a way of life and such a tradition that coffee is subsidized by the government. Everyone, but everyone, heads out to one of the lovely cafés that are on every street corner for their morning “caffeine hit”. 

You could attend a course on the amount of different coffees that you can have here. Me? I’ll have a “pingado” which is a short expresso with a drop of milk in it. Then I’ll have another at lunchtime and that’s it – it’s so strong that, if I had any more, I’d be shaking in my socks.

Ally: Since I have a magic coffee pot, nothing is too hard for it. I'll have that pingado coming right up.
:) In the meantime, please show readers your bio.


My name’s Susan Roebuck. I was born and educated in the UK but I now live in Portugal with my husband (who’s Portuguese). So now you know where the inspiration for my latest novel, Rising Tide, came from, especially as my office where I write overlooks the glittering Atlantic Ocean. I’ve also traveled widely in the States (inspiration for Perfect Score, my first novel) and I honestly believe that being born in the US is like winning the lottery of life. I adore the country.
Something unique that isn't normally in my bio -
I was a teacher and before I took up writing full time I designed e-learning/long distance courses which I loved because I could teach from home in my pajamas!

Contact the author:


Ally:  How did you choose the name Luminosa for the village in your romantic suspense titled Rising Tide? What does it mean?

SUE:  Luminosa is a Portuguese word for something full of special light, and definitely beautiful. My husband tells me I invented the word! But, you know, the houses of the Alentejo (where Rising Tide is set) are all white – so they reflect the warm sunlight in a bright light.

Ally:  Is it difficult to write in different genres? How do you keep them from spilling over into each other?

SUE:  You know, they’re not so different genres as such. Every book has the same theme running through it – injustice, the weak winning over the bullies. Two of them might be romance/suspense (Perfect Score is also LGBT), and the third is a dark fantasy – but those themes are well to the fore in all of them.

Ally:  How long have you been writing--and how long published? Describe the process and time it took the first time from query to contract.

SUE:  Um…have you got all day? LOL. As most writers I’ve always enjoyed writing – I was the geeky kid at school who whooped when given a composition to write for homework while everyone else in the class groaned. I’m also an avid reader, which helps. But, of course, I had to work for my living until only recently when I stopped (for health reasons) and found I had time for writing. The process? Gallons of sweat and tears: submission after submission; rejection after rejection. Don’t forget that Perfect Score is LGBT and was published in 2010 so I was subbing in 2009 when LGBT wasn’t exactly as popular as it is today – I even got rejections that said, “we can’t publish that subject matter” even though there is just one page of explicit sex (and it’s not erotic, it’s subtle) in the whole book! Mundania Press took a chance on me and I’m so glad they did. Perfect Score was a finalist in the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) 2011 e-book awards in the mainstream category. And Hewhay Hall won their 2013 ebook award for horror, so I have a nice trophy.

Ally:  What is your next project? What genre?

SUE:  It’ll be romance/suspense again with a touch of magic, perhaps paranormal. All my books seem to have a thread of magic in them.


AllyLet's finish today with a few quick answer questions:

  • a. favorite restaurant:  Refugio da Roca in Cabo de Roca (most westerly point of mainland Europe). Try the fresh seabass cooked in a casing of salt (and no, the fish isn’t at all salty, just juicy and fresh). (see photo “refugio”)
  •  b. favorite flower:  fuschia – my brother grew potloads of them. Unfortunately he’s no longer with us and I miss him terribly. In Portuguese they’re calls “brincos de princesa” or princess earrings.
  • c. last book or movie that made you cry:  I don’t seem to cry at books – perhaps I don’t read the right kind – unless I’m sad it’s finished it was so good. I cried at the film “Philadelphia” with Tom Hanks ages ago. Oh and “Terms of Endearment”.
  • d. What is your secret indulgence?  A reflexology session. I love, love my feet being rubbed and it does me good too!
  • e.  Have you secretly based a character on someone you know? If so, are you going to tell us who? :)   No. LOL – but watch out, if anyone’s nasty to me, I might put them in a future book as the baddy who makes everyone cry. :)
Ally:  It's been a pleasure to have you visit, Sue. Before you go, please tell us more about your latest release...

Blurb: A suspense story with romantic overtones and a touch of magic, Rising Tide is set in Luminosa - a small feudal-style fishing village on the east coast of Portugal which time, and most of the world, has forgotten. The villagers quietly go about their business scraping a living off the land and from the sea in the old traditional ways. Their life is largely uncomplicated. Or is it? 

Unbeknown to each other, three strangers turn up on weekend, each with the potential to destroy the village.

Leo Shine, a hardened fisherman immune to the perils of deep-sea fishing in Alaska, is convinced that the culprit for the deaths of his father and brother lives in Luminosa.

Piper Pines, a young artisanal fisherman from the North Norfolk coast in the UK, has arrived to find the villager or villagers who have kept her and her father on the run since she was born.

An American racketeer is the third visitor. He has faux investment plans to develop the village as a tourist resort which could result in Luminosa being destroyed.

There are many questions to be answered, not least of which is just why do these simple Portuguese villagers all speak such good English?


Buy Links:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble UK
Mundania Press 

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