Rufus: Just Saying: Elves are Better than Cookies!

Rufus: Just Saying: Elves are Better than Cookies! 
2 March 2016

I am going on vacation to go play with Rudy while DadPeople has an Co-long-ah-soppy. I’m not sure what that is, but MomPeople keeps laughing about whose turn it is to be filled with gas and  have their innards on TV. I’m not sure I want to be next, even if I get a plain hamburger if I’m good after we go to the Vet’s. 

So I’m letting MomPeople write my blog for this week. MomPeople and I have this discussion about elves. I say they are just like the little chubby guys on TV who sell cookies. Which I would like to taste, except for the chocolate ones. But MomPeople gasped and said I was missing the best elves. The really tough ones. Ones who… well, I’ll let MomPeople interview her AuthorPeople friend who writes all about elves- Ally Shields (more importantly AllyPeople is Ranger’s People. Ranger is a very tough little dawg-dude in Iowa.) .

Kath: Good Morning, Ally. I understand you have coffee chats with your author friends. Since this is Rufus’ blog, I’m afraid all I can offer are dog cookies. Rufus recommends Ranger try the peanut butter cookies. 

Ally: Oh-oh, look at Ranger's ears perk up. He loves peanut butter!

Kath: To get down to our questions, Rufus thinks all elves are like cookie elves. I am going to read him your Elvenrude series to prove to him how exciting non-cookie elves are. But would you please tell him a little about your elves?  
Ally:  Sorry, Rufus, my elves don't make cookies for people or dogs. They aren't even little people. Think more like the elves from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings set into contemporary times. The main character, Kameo Ryndel, is a member of the dark-haired aristocracy in her pastoral, home world of Elvenrude. She lives in a magnificent tree house, has trained as a warrior, carries a crossbow, and is a lieutenant in the King's Guard. Her family owns one of the two major trade guilds who buy and sell goods with the human world via a magic dimensional portal.
The working class in Elvenrude is a pale-haired race of elves descended from the ancient moon elves, and they are not allowed to visit the human world for fear they'll inadvertently reveal that elves exist. 
When Kam goes through the portal to the streets of New Orleans looking for adventure, she witnesses the murder of a pale-haired elf—who shouldn't be there—and the excitement begins. 

Kath:Your first series, The Guardian Witch, deals with witches, vampires, were-creatures. Elves seem like a huge change. What made you decide to write about elves?

Ally: Count me a huge Legolas fan. :) Seriously, that might be part of it, but vampires had been so over-written I wanted to try something different. I created Kam in my head, then started playing "what if" with the idea of two worlds, one totally ignorant of the other. I imagined what it would take to keep humans from discovering elves were living among them, how a dimensional portal would work, and the story took on a life of its own from there.

Kath: The Guardian Witch series is full of mystery, magic, and romance. How about the Elvenrude trilogy?  

Ally: Oh, of course! I write what I love to read, and if I've succeeded, the reader will find love, betrayal, and intrigue in every chapter. Each book I've written—in both series and the new book releasing soon—is built around a mystery framework with a strong romantic line.

Kath: Do the Elvenrude adventures happen at the same I-can’t-put-this-book-down quite-yet speed? 

Ally:  Only the reader can make the final call on that, but I try to keep the pace interesting. I believe in the often-cited rule that everything in your book should propel the story forward.

Kath: Your Elvenrude stories are based both in Elvenrude and New Orleans. What made you choose NOLA? 

Ally: I love New Orleans. It gets under your skin the moment you set foot in the historic French Quarter. Although I've only visited a few times, it's like coming home. What a grand city, filled with history and intrigue…and something you can't quite pinpoint. I can't think of a better setting for the paranormal. If magical or ghostly creatures are going to live anywhere in this world, it would definitely be in New Orleans.

Kath: If Ranger and Rufus went to New Orleans, do you think they’d be able to sniff out where the Elven portals are?

Ally: Good question, but I doubt if they'd be allowed near the wharfs, and I hope they wouldn't be exploring the swamps (where another portal is hidden). Those gators mean business. It's probably a good thing Kam hasn't had any close encounters with dogs. They're very sensitive and would most likely realize she wasn't human!

Kath: How do elves feel about dawgs? 

Ally: The problem might be on the dogs side. Elves love nature and wildlife, so I think they'd be fine with dogs. Besides, I created them, and I love dogs. My miniature pinscher Ranger is my constant companion, and before him came Neisha, Niki, Toby, Lucky, Colonel Jim…

Kath: I told Rufus that you were starting a new series now that the Elvenrude trilogy has wrapped up. Could you tell us about that one? 

Ally: The title of book one is a dead giveaway (no pun intended). Ghost Walking (A Maggie York Paranormal Mystery) is set in—you guessed it—New Orleans. 
Maggie is a homicide detective who was shot in the line of duty, coded, and revived in the ER. But she came back different, seeing and hearing things she shouldn't. The department placed her on medical leave due to PTSD, but Maggie knows the truth is even worse, and she won't recover from her gift. Determined to confront her would-be killer, she sets out to track him down. On a trail strewn with bodies and betrayal, she picks up an angry ghost wanting his own murder solved, and a detective who may want to date her if he can prove she isn't a serial killer.
Ghost Walking is currently in edit and should release as an ebook in a couple of months. While I don't have a cover yet, I've attached a picture of Maggie as I envisioned her during the writing phase.

Kath: Ghosts? Uh oh!  I think Rufus is going to need extra treats! 
Thank you, Ally. We have some exciting books on our list now! 

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