It is my pleasure to have a guest post from author Ally Shields.
From Fact to Fiction
by Ally Shields
I've always loved books, intrigued by wonderful tales from all over the world, including authors like Sir Walter Scott, Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, and Isak Dinesen. Eventually I discovered fantasy worlds, with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings at the epitome, and that opened a whole new avenue of adventures.
I reached a point in life where I packed my bags, climbed on a plane, and visited some of the real wonders of this world, including those in my own country. For several years, my passport and/or travel bags were in use every vacation or extended weekend I could manage. I had a fantastic time and visited some regions and countries that aren't readily accessible in the current world situation. I carry the richness of those trips in my head, my heart, and in thousands of photos. Literally. In stacks of photo albums. That doesn't include the box of filled thumb drives or the multiple folders of brochures, maps, ticket stubs, and keepsakes.
When I began writing fiction, the advice I heard most often was "write what you know." Instead, I naturally gravitated toward fantasy and loved creating magical worlds in my imagination. But I also found a satisfying outlet for past experiences, a way to relive some of my favorite trips. It's no accident that the Black Forest of Germany, the rolling hills of Tuscany or the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, Egypt, have found their way into my stories, along with the intriguing city of New Orleans, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC., and several caves, castles, and parts of other locations not identified by name. Much of the research involved refreshing and verifying what was already in my own head…and the basement storage boxes.
If you've read any of my books, you've taken both real and fantasy journeys with me. I hope I've created the right descriptions and atmosphere to make the magic of each come alive.
My real travels aren't over…if I can tear myself away from my characters that long. I have a long list of places to visit or re-visit. I bet you do too. What's at the top of your list?
by Ally Shields
GENRE: Paranormal romance (sweet/sensual)/urban fantasy
Cross Keys (Elvenrude Book 1)
When a common elf—forbidden portal travel to the human world—is spotted in New Orleans, Kameo Ryndel is ordered by the king to bring him home. Before she can intervene, he's shot and his body inexplicably stolen. Even more puzzling is Seth Lormarc's appearance at the scene. Although he's an Elite elf from a rival guild and the sexy, arrogant heir to the centuries-old feud between their families, she'd reluctant to believe he's a murderer.
As their paths continue to cross and a deadly plot unfolds, they struggle to set aside the past, deny the growing attraction between them, and root out a conspiracy hidden deep inside Elvenrude…a conspiracy threatening their entire way of life.
Cross Keys #1 Official Trailer
Cross Keys: Revelation (Elvenrude Book 2)
Kam and Seth's romance hasn't been smooth over the past six months. She's been on too many CIA missions; he's had to shoulder more of his clan's duties. Then invisible assailants attack an elven guild worker, and Kam and Seth pull together to track down the intruders. The CIA interrupts again, and she and Seth part on angry words.
Returning from the short CIA mission, Kam is kidnapped by the mysterious intruders and taken to a place she never knew existed—beyond the Louisiana bayou. When she learns a terrible secret and the intruders' deadly plans, she's desperate to get home and warn Seth.
He's searching day and night, not sure whether she's dead or alive…but knowing he has to have her back.
Cross Keys: Revelation book trailer
Cross Keys: Unity (Elvenrude Book 3)
Despite unrest in their Elven homeland, Kam and Seth have scheduled their long-awaited promise ceremony for the night of the Winter Solstice. But once again fate intervenes in the form of an elf captured by human authorities, an escalation of the local rebellion, and a widespread theft of ancient human artifacts that forces the Elven king to break an oath thousands of years old.
When a spirit woman predicts a world-ending catastrophe, Kam and Seth set out on a worldwide hunt to stop an old enemy, while back in Elvenrude, Rhyden (Seth's cousin) and Esty (Kam's sister) have issues of their own. If any of them fail, there may be nothing left…and tomorrow might not come.
Cross Keys: Unity book trailer
Excerpt Two from Cross Keys: Revelation (Elvenrude Book 2):
Seth Lormarc stood on the riverbank above Jackson Square and looked out over the shadowed waters. He checked his phone screen and gave an impatient sigh. Late again. Where was she this time? The night breeze coming off the river cooled his skin from the sweltering heat of New Orleans. It did nothing for his growing restlessness.
He heard soft steps behind him and turned with a sharp sense of relief. Kam walked toward him, a dark, graceful shadow in her black clothes and long, black hair. She hadn’t taken the time to change. She tipped her head, the moonlight illuminated her face, and the look in her vivid blue eyes made his breath catch.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice was soft. She reached up and brushed her lips against his. “It took longer than I anticipated.”
Resisting the temptation to sweep her into his arms and forget everything else, he asked, “Where were you this time?”
“Mexico. Drug cartel was moving drugs and guns into the wrong hands.” “Let me guess. You ran into a problem.”
“Just a small one.”
She looked so tired he finally put an arm around her waist and kissed her. “You take too many chances. I worry that one day you won’t come back.”
“I’ll always come back.” Her voice was light, dismissive of the risks involved in her CIA activities.
“I was never in real danger. It was someone else who needed rescuing.” She stepped back, as if finally sensing his mood, and looked at him. “Are you angry with me?”
Cross Keys (Elvenrude Book 1):
Cross Keys: Unity (Elvenrude Book 3):
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself "a river rat," and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has ten published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields welcomes reader contact through her website and can frequently be found on Twitter.
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