Thanks for joining this week's coffee chat!
My guest is Margay Justice, an eclectic writer, who by her own admission has a myriad of characters running around in her head!
How do you take your coffee, Margay?
MARGAY: Like I say to my daughters, I like it with a pound of sugar and half a cow; in other words - light and sweet!
Ally: No problem. I'll pour. Please show us your bio before we get started on the questions.
Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.
Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter, knitting her way through a stash of yarn that almost rivals her TBR pile!
And something unusual about me: I can read words upside down - I've been doing it since I was two and have the picture (somewhere) to prove it!
Ally: I understand you write in several genres. Do you know which genre you're in when you begin a book? What comes first - characters or plot?
MARGAY: Wow, that's an excellent question! Though I don't always plan to write in a certain genre (I don't do strictly paranormal, for instance), I usually do know what genre I'm writing in when I start a book. It comes down to the characters and the story they want to tell me; that's how genre is decided. As for which comes first - that's like the whole chicken and the egg thing, isn't it? I think for me, most of the time, it's the characters that come first, just popping into my head and demanding to have their story told.
Ally: What inspired you to write The Scent of Humanity?
MARGAY: Actually, true life instances. It was inspired by something that actually happened to me and my family. The core element of the story - the attempted kidnapping of Silvie when she was a girl, then the attempted kidnapping of her niece many years later, in the same town (but by different people) - that is actually true. It really did happen to me and one of my nieces.
Ally: Describe what you do on a typical writing day.
MARGAY: My writing days aren't easy to describe because they don't always follow a pattern. Some times, I write at night (I always try to get some words on paper before I go to bed), other times, I write all day. It depends on what kind of distractions I face during the day and how deep I get into the zone once I start. Just the other day, I had a marathon session that started at around eleven in the morning and lasted until about four the next morning - I can't even remember if I stopped to eat during that time!
Ally: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing by January 2016? By January 2020?
MARGAY: I really hope I can build a solid foundation to live on as a writer and just continue with what I'm doing now, not just with my own writing, but with supporting other authors by showcasing them on my blog. Love paying it forward.
Ally: It's time for a few quick answer questions before we show readers your book.
Ally: Thank you so much for have coffee with me! I hope you'll visit again. Now for the all important book showing...
- a. What's the most unusual item in your clothes closet? Hmm, maybe leg warmers that I knit myself.
- b. What kind of car do you drive? What would you like to drive? I don't have a car at the present, but I'd love to drive a mini Cooper.
- c. favorite evening snack: Chips or cookies
- d. favorite clothes accessory: Don't really have one; my tastes are pretty simple these days
- e. a place you'd love to visit: I'd love to visit the places my ancestors hail from like England, Scotland, Ireland and France (specifically, Paris) and trace my ancestry while I'm there!
Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. In theory. But in one small town, in one family, that theory is put to the test.
Growing up in a rural town in Massachusetts was supposed to be safe, but for SILVIE CHILDS, that safety was shattered by a kidnapping attempt that forever changed her life. Now, nearly twenty years later, that sense of safety is challenged again by the kidnapping attempt on her young niece, and Silvie is left struggling with one question: How can something like this happen twice in one family?
It is a dilemma shared by NICK FAHEY, the detective assigned to the case. Arriving on the scene of the abduction attempt, Nick expects to run a routine investigation. Until he meets the victim, the niece of a woman he once considered a dear friend. Unfortunately, these days Silvie Childs can barely stand the sight of him.
Once there was a time when Silvie Childs worshipped Nick Fahey, believing he could do no wrong. Until the accident that nearly killed her brother; the accident that Nick reportedly caused. Coming on the heels of her own near abduction, the accident skewed Silvie’s ability to trust men – especially Nick. But now, with the attempt on her niece’s safety, Silvie finds herself in the untenable position of having to trust Nick to bring the kidnapper to justice.
That trust is severely tested when, after only two months, the case is closed for lack of new evidence. Feeling betrayed by the system in which she works as a paralegal and by Nick, Silvie takes matters into her own hands. Contacting local news stations to generate interest in the case, allowing herself to be filmed hanging sketches of the suspect on telephone poles, she will risk her own safety to protect that of her niece. When her efforts re-open the wounds of her past, she is once again forced to put her trust in the one man who still has the power to hurt her – Nick
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Title: Destiny Nexus Series
: Shimmer In The Dark Volume: 2
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
1st Edition: eBook
“This man isn’t the exclusive property of the US any longer. He is answerable to the world.”
Major Niall Kearey is the only man capable of bridging space-time to create portals across the known universe. His government and the US military exploit his abilities, a secret society incites global unease in a bid to control him, and the alien refugees he smuggled to Earth revere him as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy.
Under threat of exposure, a potential one-man weapon of mass destruction, Niall and his family are forced back into hiding. Struggling to protect his wife and children, honor his oath to God and country, Kearey discovers he’s attracted the attention of a devourer of worlds – the legendary Balor – an enemy so powerful it enslaves or destroys everyone in its path.
The world needs Niall Kearey and his abilities, but the shady politics and dirty maneuverings of Earth’s power-brokers have tied his hands. Shackled by the unceasing suspicion and assaults on his liberty, Niall desperately seeks a means to protect planet Earth against the ancient predator hunting him down. Whether Balor’s purpose is Apocalypse or invasion, the threat escalates as Niall realizes the answer to the future lies in the past—his past.
How far can one man travel to preserve a world that has turned on him? Niall must accept his destiny as the nexus – a magnet for destructive forces and possibly mankind’s last hope for salvation.
An exploration of love and betrayal with the high-octane pace of a military thriller, Destiny Nexus stretches a man’s moral fiber to the breaking point and changes him forever. This action-packed sequel continues the epic space opera saga introduced in Rogue Genesis.
Book Link: Amazon
Ceri London (pen name) is an author of science fiction / fantasy who has just published the second volume in her Shimmer In The Dark series. She is a member of ASMSG, a league of international writers.
Back on Earth, life is very normal. Ceri lives in the UK, is married, a mother of two girls, and a piano tutor following a fifteen year career in IT within the international financial industry. She holds a BSc Honors degree in Chemistry & Computer Science, but acknowledges that in no way provides her any authority with regards to the science in her fiction writing, relying on research and drawing on the experience of others far more qualified.
Looking forward, Ceri is committed to completing her Shimmer In The Dark series and developing a range of related short stories and spin off novels.
Amazon Author Page
Smashwords Author Page
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Destiny Nexus is the sequel to Rogue Genesis. Rogue Genesis is the first book in Ceri London’s Shimmer In The Dark series and can be read as a standalone novel.
“I've loved developing the characters from Rogue Genesis and have introduced a few more as Niall discovers his heritage and unravels the threat of an alien predator hunting him across the cosmos. I'm now looking forward to developing a cast of new alien characters in Galacticus Elecion, the third book in the series.” Ceri London.
Rogue Genesis Blurb/Synopsis:
One man. Two worlds separated by a universe. Space-time warped by black holes. In the passing of seconds on Earth, Major Niall Kearey has witnessed the birth and death of generations on Astereal. His mind shortcuts light years to visit a fantastical world of floating sky cities populated by telepaths.
Astereal is in decline, the dueling forces of black holes threaten extinction. Ancient prophecy predicts their interstellar visitor brings salvation. As Niall faces the staggering truth – that his alien dream world is real – he and his family are targeted by secret societies, scheming politicians, and the US military.
Time is running out as Astereal races towards annihilation and temporal alignment with Earth. Power brokers vie for control of his capabilities. Niall must act, balancing the needs of Earth, his family, and the alien civilization he has come to know and love. The fate of two worlds rests on Niall Kearey’s shoulders.
Hey, Guardian Witch fans! Exciting news!
Fire Storm (Guardian Witch #5) is nominated in the Urban Fantasy category for favorite of 2014. It's an honor to be competing - along with other nominees - with Cross Keys, my first Elvenrude novel.
But the good news doesn't stop there. The entire Guardian Witch series has been nominated as favorite urban fantasy series!
I'm so thrilled just to be a nominee! If you'd like to see the other contestants or vote for your favorites, here's the link: http://www.paranormalromanceguild.com/2014reviewerschoice.htm
Happy Wednesday, Booklovers!
Romance author Allie Kincheloe is joining us for our weekly book chat. Welcome, Allie, how do you take your coffee?
AK: Strong and sweet. A lovely dark roast with a bit of sugar is what propels me through my day.
Ally: Excellent. I'll pour, while you'll give readers your bio.
Author Bio: As a busy mother of five, Allie sneaks time to write between breakfast and tickles. Always a Kentucky girl at heart, she currently makes her home near Nashville.
And you ask for something unusual...I have such short legs that even petite length pants have to be taken up. My friends and loved ones often poke fun at me over it. :)
Ally: How do you usually begin a novel - characters, setting or plot first? Was that true of your book, Sean's Sweetheart?
AK: It can vary depending on the story. But for me, it's usually the character. With Sean's Sweetheart, it was definitely the character. He lingered in the back of my mind for sometime until the right story line and heroine came along for him. I actually wrote a blog post on it. You can read the full story here: http://www.alliekincheloe.com/seans-sweetheart-the-backstory/
Ally: What is the one characteristic required of a great book boyfriend?
AK: A good sense of humor. It's something I think is most important in all relationships, real or fictional. Without laughter, what is there?
Ally: Author marketing is such a big part of writing/publishing today. What are your favorite ways of communicating with readers and getting out the news about your books?
AK: Ah...marketing. I think this is harder for me than actually writing the books! I've finally figured out Twitter. I could spend hours on Pinterest...does it actually help with marketing? I don't know. I've got a book board for some of the things that helped inspire Sean's Sweetheart.
Ally: What is your next writing project? Can you tell us a little about it?
AK: I'm working on a NA romance right now. It's currently being ripped to shreds by my critique partners. I'm very excited to get it back and start revisions.
Ally: Ripped to shreds, huh? Sounds like a tough crowd. So I'll go easy on you and windup with a few quick answer questions:
Ally: Thanks so much for visiting with us, Allie. Please show us your book before you go...
- love at first sight - fact or fiction? Not sure about love, but I believe in lust at first sight.
- favorite dessert: Derby Pie!
- last movie that made you cry: P.S. I Love You. Even though I've seen it a dozen times, I always cry.
- an item on your bucket list Going to Europe. In particular, Ireland and Scotland.
- favorite music while you're writing: It depends on the scene! Anything from country to rock to pop. Whatever fits the mood of the characters and the scene.
Blurb: Sean has spent five years cleaning up his life. He’s shoved his past behind him and built a profitable business in the town’s most popular dance club. Falling in love with a college sophomore wasn’t in his plans. But, from the moment he rescued Talia, she brings out his every protective instinct. He tries to resist getting involved on a personal level. Talia’s persistence, however, is stronger than his will.
Despite just ending an abusive relationship, Talia finds an instant connection with a man unlike any she’s dated before. Older, tattooed, and totally inappropriate for her, Talia couldn’t keep Sean off her mind, especially once he calls her “sweetheart” in that deep drawl of his.
When Talia is in danger, they discover just how strong their relationship is. Can Sean and his sweetheart make things last when horrors from their pasts come back to haunt them and family seems determined to keep them apart?
With his hand on the small of her back as a guide, he directed her out the back door to the service alley. He led her over to a big black Harley and held a helmet out to her.
“Uh…” A motorcycle? Why couldn’t he have a sports car or a truck? Of course a tattooed bartender would drive a motorcycle.
The smug look on his face made her want to prove his assumptions wrong. Prove to him she wasn’t a goody-goody, scared shitless to climb on top of a motor with wheels and fly down the road under someone else’s control.
“It’s this or you call someone.”
She snatched the helmet from his hand. Talia gave him the address and fiddled with the strap, trying to figure out how to adjust it. His hands came up to tighten it for her and their fingers brushed. She sucked in a deep breath at his touch. His low chuckle took that spark of anger and kindled it into a blaze of desire. With the street lamps behind him, she couldn’t read his expression. His hand closed over hers for a brief second before he jerked it away. He straddled the bike and pulled his own helmet on.
She climbed on behind him and he started the motor. Talia jumped at the sudden roar of the engine and clung tight to his broad back. His chest shook with laughter beneath her hands. Talia relaxed a bit as the bike moved and they didn’t crash. She slid her arms around his waist and started to enjoy the ride, to enjoy the feel of holding a man.
She’d never been on a motorcycle before. Had never wrapped her arms around a complete stranger like this, either. She didn’t know his name, but she knew the strength in his muscles and the rhythm of his breathing. When she hugged him tighter, her fingers slipped through the button placket on his shirt. Instead of removing her hand, she combed through the tangle of hair on his chest, surprising herself with her boldness. His hand dropped back to squeeze hers for a moment, but he didn’t pull her hand away.
The ride ended too soon when he rolled the bike to a stop in front of her house. She stumbled getting off the bike, but he caught her before she face-planted on the sidewalk. He even walked her up to the door and waited behind her on the porch while she tried to unlock it. Her trembling hand dropped the keys and he bent to grab them before she could react.
“My name’s Sean, by the way.” He unlocked the door for her and handed her keys back.
“Sean. That’s a very nice name. It fits you. I’m Talia.” Did he expect to come in? They had just met and she still had a boyfriend, at least until she could find the nerve to dump the jerk. She’d never been the cheating type.
He leaned one broad shoulder against the wall next to the door and stared down at her. Shadows hid part of his face from her, but his eyes glittered in the dim light.
Sean’s chest rumbled with a deep chuckle. “Would you’ve said the same thing if I’d told you that my name was Bruno?”
A giggle snuck out. Bruno? Not a chance Bruno would fit him.
Thanks for joining us for coffee! Come back soon...
Healing Waters, Book Three in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy picks up with sixteen-year-old, genetically enhanced Lily Carmichael and friends in the midst of a daring escape from Las Vegas. In this final installment, Lily faces her ultimate challenge.
After a failed rescue attempt, and with no home to return to, Lily and Will reunite to join with her uncle and his Network of rebels, taking on Vice President Malevich and his army of agents, drones, and Guardians. With Malevich enslaving the city-dwellers who depend on the New Government for their survival—he’s made it clear he will eliminate anyone who stands in his way.
Staying one step ahead of the Industry, Lily, Will, and their friends undertake a harrowing journey from the desert southwest to the new Capitol in Chicago, where they’ll face a fight to the death. But Lily’s greatest gift—her driving instinct to heal and protect—may also be her greatest enemy. As Lily’s abilities grow, can she do what it takes to save humanity, while taking down the madman bent on destroying it?
BUY LINKS: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PCZYXH4Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Healing-Waters-Chronicles-Carmichael-trilogy-ebook/dp/B00PCZYXH4/ Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23549216-healing-watersRead a chapter on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/26392326-healing-waters-book-3-chronicles-of-lily
Try book two in the trilogy for FREE through January 19!
WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, takes off where WANING MOON ends. Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated US in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other. http://www.amazon.com/Western-Desert-Chronicles-Carmichael-ebook/dp/B00DJUHZS8/
About the Author:
PJ Sharon is the award winning author of contemporary young adult novels, including PIECES of LOVE, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and SAVAGE CINDERELLA, winner of the 2013 HOLT Medallion Award and the 2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. She has also completed The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, a YA Dystopian trilogy. WANING MOON, Book One in the trilogy, was a finalist in the 2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and was a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit recipient. Book Two, Western Desert was a finalist in the 2014 Write Touch Readers Contest and placed third in the 2014 Winter Rose Contest. HEALING WATERS, Book Three in the trilogy, released in December, 2014.
Writing young adult fiction since 2007 and following her destiny to write romantic and hopeful stories for teens, PJ is a member of Romance Writers of America, CTRWA, and YARWA. She is mother to two grown sons and lives with her husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA.
Contact the Author:
Amazon’s Author Central page: https://www.amazon.com/author/pjsharon
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+PJSharon/posts
Pinterest @ http://www.pinterest.com/pjsharon/
Also by the Author: NOVELS Contemporary Young Adult: Pieces of Love, Heaven is for Heroes, On Thin Ice, Savage Cinderella. Dystopian Young Adult: Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy
- Book One-Waning Moon
- Book Two- Western Desert
- Book Three-Healing Waters
SHORTS Soul Redemption-15k Short story prequel to WANING MOONSami’s Christmas Wish List-30k novella (Girls of Thompson Lake Box Set) BOX SETS Girls of Thompson Lake-HIFH, OTI, POL, and a novella (SCWL) Book Trailers: http://www.youtube.com/pjsharon64
Give yourself a treat this weekend. Read a book!
Good Morning, Booklovers!
Well, I'm exhausted from breaking all those New Year's Resolutions. How about you? :) Seriously, did you make any? I'm going to ask today's guest that very question.
Welcome, Mona Karel. May I pour you a cup of coffee?
MONA: Ah coffee, the nectar of life. I drink it hot. I drink it cold. In an emergency I would not be surprised if I drank from a pot three days old. I draw the line at old enough to have floating organisms and I just can’t agree with certain brands being the best part of waking up, or good to the last drop. I have a Keurig, a French press, and a drip coffee maker. Oh, and several cones with filters. Just in case I’m isolated by a flood or blizzard.
Ally: ROFL. A woman after my own heart. Coffee coming right up. In the meantime, please tell readers something about yourself.
I started writing in 1985, about the same time as I started my first real job and before my marriage. Prior to that I groomed dogs, cleaned horse stalls, and served food at diners around the country. We retired to the high plains of New Mexico, near Albuquerque, where there is room for the Salukis to run and enough distance around me to keep me relatively sane.
You asked for something unique or unusual. It depends on your definition. I’ve had the same breed of dog since 1972, which sometimes surprises me. I have no desire to use them in my books nor am I ready to write dog show mysteries. When I do, it will no doubt start with someone face down in a full portable toilet. Is that level of wicked at all unusual?
Contact the author:
Ally: Who or what influenced you to become a romance writer?
MONA: In a roundabout fashion, horses brought me to romance books. Because I was entranced by all things equine, once I’d read Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry and Dick Francis and Margaret Cabell Self, I started reading historical novels, since they included horses. I started with Yankee Stranger, by Elswyth Thane, and fell in love with Romance. Mary Stewart, Helen MacInnes, Andre Norton and a few others drew me in. In 1985 I discovered used book stores (such a sheltered life I had led) and category romance books.
Ally: Are any of your characters based on actual people you know? Why or why not?
Mona: Although I have been known to threaten to put people in books so far I have not done so. Snippets, yes. The first line of my upcoming story from Black Opal Books is “She knew that walk.” This came from a conversation with a customer about the man I’d thought would be the love of my life (oh foolish me) He pointed out that one could tell this man was a fighter by the way he walked. Which I knew deep down inside since I’d spent most of my life evaluating movement of horses and dogs.
Ally: Thinking about the heroine of the book you brought today, what is her best quality? And her worst?
MONA: Kendra’s best quality is loyalty: to her forest, to her Gran, to her worthless cousin and eventually to Mykhael. Her worst quality is being loyal far beyond good sense.
Ally: Did you make writing resolutions for 2015? What are they?
MONA: Writing resolutions for 2015 are life resolutions. Write, and cherish the life I’ve been given.
Ally: These questions only need a short, quick answer:
Ally: Thanks for sharing time with us, Mona. It's been fun! Don't forget to show us your book before you go. :)
- a. How many books do you read in a month or year? I can easily read a book a day...no no no don’t look at my house
- b. Favorite color in men's shirts: oooh, depends. I like Mykhael’s wrap around linen shirts but I’d say probably black or gray
- c. last place you went shopping: Amazon! And the grocery store
- d. favorite childhood book: The Black Stallion (Ally comment: I wonder how many of us grew up on Walter Farleys horse books?) and Terhune's Collies
- e. If you could be any character in any book, who would it be? Oh, anyone from Mary Stewart. Actually I’d love to live in the Witch World. Modern book character? I’d like to be Aralorn from Patricia Briggs’ Sianim books. Actually I’d like to be cherished by her Wolf.
Thanks for stopping! May you enjoy a good book (or two or three) this week. :)
Come back soon.
Welcome to the first coffee chat of 2015! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday!
Our guest today is Rebecca Chastain, a writer of paranormal and fantasy. Welcome, Rebecca. Can I pour you a cup of coffee?
REBECCA: Coffee is out of the question for me. I tend to favor white teas and the occasional green tea, since even minimal caffeine can make me jittery and scattered.
Ally: Then white tea it is. I'll fix you a cup while you show readers your bio.
A brief bio:
Rebecca Chastain is the internationally selling author of the urban fantasy novel A FISTFUL OF EVIL and the fantasy novella MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. She has been employed as a VHS sales clerk, bookshelf straightener, government pseudo-employee, professional finder of lost sporting goods, and strategy guide wrangler in the video game industry. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.
Ally: Tell me something unique about yourself that isn't in your regular bio.
REBECCA: Something I don’t advertise to a lot of people: I don’t like apple pie, gummy candy, or hot dogs. My husband says this makes me un-American. Fortunately, no one from Homeland Security has shown up on my doorstep yet.
I love to hear from readers and can be found most frequently here:
Twitter: @Author_Rebecca or https://twitter.com/Author_Rebecca
Ally: Let's start our chat by talking about the urban fantasy world for your book, A Fistful of Evil... the setting and creatures who live there.
REBECCA: A Fistful of Evil is set in my backyard in Roseville, California, a suburban city surrounded on three sides by rural sprawl and on the fourth by an endless city that runs all the way to Sacramento. There are horse ranches just ten minutes away, but the city also boasts the largest mall in 200 miles. Madison Fox, the main character, is tasked with protecting all the people in this region from evil creatures visible only to people like her—illuminant enforcers. These evil creatures come in all shapes and sizes, from adorable chinchilla-like imps to freakish spiky and scaled monkey creatures with scorpion tails. But those are just your everyday evil creatures. Something much larger and more powerful moves into Madison’s region, throwing her world into chaos in this first novel of what I hope will be a long-running series.
Ally: What part does humor play in your book? Why?
REBECCA: I adore lighthearted novels and literature that doesn’t take itself too seriously, like Katie MacAlister and Janet Evanovich novels. My goal is always reader entertainment and to leave readers happier for having read my novel. With this in mind, I gave Madison a lot of go-getter spunk (that often lands her in embarrassing situations), excessive optimism, and the ability to laugh at herself, which hopefully makes her relatable as well as fun to adventure with. I also looked for ways to make her problems humorous even if the action is intense.
Ally: What was your road to publication? (Length of time; route you took)
REBECCA: I started writing when I was eleven. I got serious about it when I was eighteen, and would write every night after work. College got in the way—ahem, I mean college took up a lot of time with valuable learning—but I plodded through an epic fantasy, finishing it shortly after I graduated. It was over 1,000 pages long and not worth doing anything with. Enter the wonder of NaNoWriMo, in which I wrote the first draft of A Fistful of Evil. It took three and a half more novels and a novella before I knew what I was doing and rewrote FOE in its current form. I queried agents for several years, and when I started getting very positive rejects (“I love your story, but it’s not for me” or “You’ve got a great voice, but this story feels like it should have been published five years ago”), I knew I was on the right track. It took another year for me to work up the nerve to jump into the market as an indie author. I’m so glad I did! This has been the best experience ever, and a fulfillment of my lifelong dreams.
Ally: Tell us about your current work in progress.
REBECCA: I’m working on the sequel to A Fistful of Evil. So far, I know I’m going to put Madison through the torture of hunting evil in a mall on Black Friday. (Every time I think it, I get chills. I’m so not a shopper!) We’re also going to get to see a lot more of the behind the scenes of Madison’s organization, meet a few other enforcers, encounter some scary new evil creatures, and of course, there’s that date with Dr. Love promised in FOE…
Ally: Let's try a few quick answer questions:
a. favorite clothes accessory: scarves, especially my knitted scarf with a cat face on one end and the tail on the other
b. last book that made you cry: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
c. spike heels, sneakers or birkies: Sneakers
d. an item on your bucket list: Swim with dolphins
e. a dessert you can't resist: Vegan turtles—half a date stuffed with walnut and drizzled with dark chocolate (I never eat just one)
Ally: Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Rebecca! I've enjoyed our chat.
REBECCA: Thank you for having me on your blog—and for not getting me too caffeinated to sit still!
Ally: My pleasure. We try not to incapacitate our guests! Before you get away, please show us a little more of your book...
Thanks for stopping by! Hope 2015 is a wonderful year for you! Come back soon!
Welcome, booklovers! On this last day of 2014, my guest is Barb Caffrey, a woman who wears many hats, but today we're talking about her writing and her book, An Elfy on the Loose.
Welcome, Barb. What may I fix you to drink?
BARB: When I drink coffee, I take it with three packets of Sweet and Low and two containers of creamer. (I mostly drink tea, and drink it much the same way!)
Ally: Then one cup of tea with Sweet & Low and creamer coming right up. While that's brewing, let's look at your bio.
About the Author:
BARB CAFFREY is a writer, editor, book reviewer and musician from the Midwest. She is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey). Other stories have appeared in HOW BEER SAVED THE WORLD, STARS OF DARKOVER, and BEDLAM'S EDGE. Barb is a huge baseball fan (Go, Brewers!), reviews books at Shiny Book Review, follows politics, is mystified by the Maury show, and wonders when her little dog will ever stop doing "the paw trick."
Something unique that isn't in the regular bio...hm. I am carrying on my late husband Michael's military SF "Atlantean Union" universe. I've written two stories in his universe and finished two others; the latter two are called "The Adventures of Joey Maverick" and are available at Amazon as "A Dark and Stormy Night" and "On Westmount Station." (I'm listed for both as "author, editor," and Michael is listed first.)
I don't know how many people try to do that, especially when their gifts lie in the paranormal/funny fantasy range. But I didn't want my husband's work to die.
Find her at Elfyverse, Facebook, or Twitter;Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2843982.Barb_Caffrey?from_search=true
Amazon author's page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8
Ally: Let's begin by talking about what drew you to the paranormal genre.
BARB: As a reader, I liked stories with ghosts from early on. When I found out vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, etc., were also considered paranormal creatures, that just added to the fun...and as I grew a bit more, I discovered that people were writing stories about all of these different creatures in so many different and fascinating ways. Some were romances; some were straight-up comedic romps; some were suspenseful.
As a writer, I wanted to do a little of all of that. So in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, I have ghost characters who matter; I have a strong, yet age-appropriate romance (with the fantasy flair being that neither Bruno nor Sarah understands much about themselves, even to their proper ages), and I wanted to write a flat-out suspenseful, comedic romp.
To do that, I needed the paranormal aspect. As I said, the ghost characters in the ELFY duology (second book coming soon, as yet untitled) matter. They can and do affect the outcome, and without them, the story wouldn't be half as much fun.
In addition, the haunted house Bruno finds himself in (that's Sarah's family home) is also a paranormal character of sorts. (I mean, this house is something else. It doesn't talk, but considering the ghost that lives there, it may as well!)
So how could I possibly have accomplished all of that without a true love of the paranormal genre on the one hand, and the willingness to explore it in a completely different way on the other?
By the way, I also have a paranormal story in the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology 2014, which is absolutely free and available here (Barnes & Noble) -- it's called "Marja's Victory," and features a female shapeshifter and her Mountain Troll lover as they catch a notorious criminal on Yuletide Eve.
Ally: If you could have one supernatural power, what would it be?
BARB: I'd like to have the power of precognition. It would be nice to know what happens in advance...but then again, if I did, would I have enjoyed things so much as they happened? (One of those eternal questions, I suppose.)
Ally: Every writer has a unique story about their journey to publication. I'd love to hear yours.
BARB: The road to publication was long and torturous, at least with regards to novel publication. I managed to sell a couple of short stories here and there (my first being a co-written story with my late husband back in 2004, our only sale in his lifetime, though two other of our co-written stories eventually sold elsewhere or are up at Amazon), but my novel, ELFY, was just sitting there. I tried to interest publishers and agents in it for several year. Originally, ELFY was billed as Barb Caffrey and Michael B. Caffrey. I wrote it, Michael edited it, we both hashed out the worldbuilding, and I wanted to keep Michael's name on it because I was and am grateful for his influence on me as a writer and person. The story would not have been the same without him, but in 2010 I had to take his name completely off, as he died in 2004 and that was apparently confusing people. (Why, I don't know.) I did a comprehensive edit and acknowledged my husband's contribution in my "Author's Afterward" at the end of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.
It still took me two more years to find Lida Quillen at Twilight Times Books, who appreciated ELFY and thought of a way to split it into two books (as a 240,000-word novel is quite unwieldy, especially for an all-but-unknown author).
Finally, in 2014, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (book 1 of the ELFY duology) came out. So I'd say persistence did pay off.
Ally: From first words, through editing and marketing, what is your favorite part of the process? And least favorite?
BARB: My favorite part is the actual writing, followed by the tightening, editing, and so forth.
The least favorite part of the whole process of being a small press/indie author is the aspect of promotion. Getting the word out about your book when there are so many other books out there being released at the same time, not to mention the books that have been out for years now, is very difficult. It's a long, uphill slog, but I believe the end result is worth it -- and the good part of all the promotional processes, difficult though I've found them to be, is that I've made a few friends along the way that I hadn't expected. (So there's good coming out of this, too.)
Ally: Let's finish up with a few quick answer questions.
1) Will you make New Years Resolutions? Yes, but I'll probably break 'em two weeks in.
2) One thing to accomplish in 2015 -- Bring my third novel, the transgendered romantic contemporary fantasy CHANGING FACES, to market.
3) Favorite veggie: Rutabagas. (Nothing quite like mashed rutabagas with plenty of butter and homemade dark gravy.)
4) Item on your bucket list: I'd like to play some concerts in Europe, especially France and Spain. (I was trained as a classical saxophonist, and they love classical saxophonists over there, I've been told.)
5) Favorite musician: Jazz saxophonist/clarinetist Art Pepper (favorite song being "Las Cuevas De Mario," composed by Pepper in 1950 -- a 5/4 blues)
Ally: Thanks so much for chatting with me today. I've loved having you. Now, please show us your book before you go...
Blurb for AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE:
One Elfy for an entire planet?
He's supposed to be the Watcher for his people, the representative on Earth from his dimension, but the small being known to his enemies as "Jonny-Wonny" wakes up to big trouble -- trapped in a bizarre house in Knightsville, California with humans straight out of reality TV. Jon knows that something has gone dreadfully wrong -- he's starving, lonely and dressed in funny clothes.
Enter the couple's ten-year-old diminutive daughter, who is "Not Daisy!" but is brilliant, sweet...and using high level magic with ease. She's also desperately in need of a friend.
Insisting her name is really Sarah, and christening him Bruno, his new friend asks him how they're going to get out of there.
The only thing that comes to mind is for Bruno to ask his teacher, Roberto the Wise, for help. But Roberto's attempt at help only enmeshes all three of them further in a web of deceit and treachery. Bruno finds out that, unfortunately, most of what he thought he knew about himself was very wrong…and much of what Sarah knows about herself is also wrong, including her age.
Worst of all, a Dark Elf is on the scene and is intent on corrupting the local Humans, including Sarah's parents.
New names, new locations, a new mission--Bruno is going to get to the bottom of all the craziness, and Sarah will be there for him every step of the way.
Watch out, universe--an Elfy is on the loose!
Quotes from authors who've read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE:
- "Barb Caffrey's An Elfy on the Loose is a fresh and unexpected take on the urban fantasy genre with a charming and original protagonist. You'll want to read this one." – Rosemary Edghill, author of Dead Reckoning, Music To My Sorrow and the Bast Mysteries.
- "You will never look at a little person again without wondering..." – Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, author of the popular Night Calls series
- "It took me awhile to categorize this book. Yes, it’s a fantasy, but it’s also something more. Then it hit me: a fantasy/mystery/thriller—that’s what An Elfy on the Loose is! Filled with fascinating characters both good and evil, characters that, because of their strengths...and weaknesses...seem to come to life for the reader, and a riveting conundrum of a mystery with many facets. The further into An Elfy on the Loose I read, the deeper it drew me into the story. And I went eagerly!"– Stephanie Osborn, author of the popular Displaced Detective series.
- “Quick and witty, Caffrey’s An Elfy on the Loose is one of those novels that grabs you and refuses to let go. Straddling a fine line between absurdity and suspense, it’s a story for the ages.” – Jason Cordova, author of Corruptor.
Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JMSPR5Y/
Amazon (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elfy-Loose-Barb-Caffrey-ebook/dp/B00JMSPR5Y
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-elfy-on-the-loose-barb-caffrey/1119190597
Twilight Times Books (sample chapters and links): http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ElfyontheLoose_ch1.html
Have a Happy New Year! See you in 2015!
While I'm taking a break for Christmas with my family, I'm sharing a little something I wrote last year.
As you'll see, it's loosely based on a popular, Christmas story.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Christmas Eve in Olde Town
Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through Olde Town,
Not a creature was stirring nor making a sound.
The werewolves were running all night through the woods,
The demons were hiding their faces in hoods.
The elves all were dancing; the dwarves were so merry,
The nymphs were excited and so very cheery.
With Andreas at the Club, and Ari on patrol,
The town was all settled, snug in the cold.
When out of the sky with a light pure and bright
Came a dragon so bold glowing gold and pure white.
Ari dashed through the park, stopped on a dime,
If the dragon was hostile, she wouldn't be there in time.
The children were gathered in the town square
Singing and dancing, their thoughts without care.
When what did their wondering eyes behold
But the dragon that stories had once foretold.
With scales of pure gold, and eyes oh so green
They knew in a moment it was the Dragon Queen.
She'd come to bring presents, to those old and young,
To recapture the stories that once had been sung.
Of a beautiful princess who had fallen in love
With a handsome dragon from the clouds far above
And every Christmas she brought back her joy
By sharing her gifts with each girl and boy.
When Ari arrived and Andreas stopped by
The queen pulled out a bag and undid the tie.
She dropped all the toys at Ari's feet
So they could surprise every child with a treat.
Then blowing snowflakes out of her nose,
The dragon winked boldly, or so the story goes,
And spreading her wings, she rose to the sky
"Merry Christmas to all, and I bid you Good-Bye!"
Ally Shields (2013)