Brief Description of my Writing

A Dell Diamond Debut finalist and a Daphne du Maurier finalist, Dallis writes primarily romantic mysteries and suspense. Here is more from her own perspective:

Yes, I write romances. Or I write mysteries with romantic elements. Some of my books have paranormal and magical elements. Other books (like Cryptic Cove Mysteries and Sweeten the Swindler) hint at magic, although my main characters don’t really believe in magic … although that might change! All of my books have quirky characters and there is usually some level of danger–whether it’s suspense or mystery. Whether I write historical romances or historical mysteries with romantic elements, with or without magic/paranormal, there will always be quirky characters colliding with some kind of danger.

I started out writing Regency Paranormal Romances, which I still love to write. Recently I have delved into Sweet Historical Western Romances. My books are connected, either through my characters (such as relatives or friends who know my characters in other books) or through Cojocaru’s Traveling Carneytown. I hadn’t planned on writing the series of Cryptic Cove Mysteries until I received feedback from several readers wanting more after reading Uma’s Umbrage. I had been working on a new series that was set around contemporary Topsail Island, North Carolina, with a main character being a descendant of Blackbeard. But I put that project aside to plot another series of books that are a spinoff of Uma’s Umbrage.  Stay tuned with updates on Cryptic Cove Mysteries by signing up for my newsletter. To find a more detailed description of my book series, click here.

About Me

I was born on a stormy, fog-ridden night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When I was three, my family moved to southern California. My daddy was an aerospace engineer and was the supervisor on a couple of the Apollos, which got my imagination going at an early age. I’m married and have a daughter and a son. My daughter is married and now I have been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren. My son is in a serious relationship and I’m expecting to hear the announcement of wedding bells any day.

Now I live most of my time in Surf City, North Carolina, which is where my husband and I plan to retire within the next four years. My daughter and her family live with me, and are now in the process of buying a house of their own, which is about two miles down the road (thank goodness!). Since my husband works rotating twelve-hour shifts and he’s built up lots of vacation time, he is able to spend nice hunks of time with me in Surf City throughout the spring, summer and fall months. 

Ever since I was small, I made up stories for my troll dolls, my rubber mermaids and for my Barbie dolls–most of the time they were all together in the same world. We had a dumb waiter and I would imagine traveling to all sorts of planets inside that shoot.

Hiking through the Cotswolds

But when I went to college, advisers and family discouraged me from majoring in journalism or creative writing because they said it would be difficult to make money that way. So, I ended up earning two Bachelors of Science degrees (one in education; the other in accounting) and a Masters of Science degree in instructional technology). But my true calling is writing fiction, especially with fantasy, paranormal or urban fantasy elements–and of course romance, or romantic elements added to the mix.

When I got laid off from my internal auditing job at McDonnell Douglas is when I decided to jump into my life-long desire to write. (In fact, my good college friend reminded me that during our tipsy reveries on the strip at Oklahoma State University that I repeatedly whispered my desire to write stories).

Too, I love history in the British Isles. Amanda Quick and Julie Garwood’s Regency and Scottish books was what I read in high school, along with Terry Brooks Fantasies.

My first book was a 200,000-word Regency monstrosity that kept birthing new subplots and with so many broken threads that I had to throw it out. That was when I enrolled in Deborah Camp’s creative writing class (an author who had 50 books published by Harlequin and Avon Books) at Tulsa Community College and joined Romance Writers of America (RWA). I then was invited to a weekly critique group called the Vicious Circle, which was hands-on, hard-core learning and feedback.

While teaching in an at-risk middle school in Tulsa, I continued to write. My first published book–a 100,000 word sexy Regency–was published in 2001 by Hard Shell Word Factory, a small print-on-demand publishing house. Three years later I was offered a publishing contract by Dorchester Love Spell, and then published two more books after that. A couple of years later Dorchester Publishing went out of business. I submitted proposals to several of the big New York publishers. Several nibbles, but no contracts, which was so disheartening that I quit submitting for a while. The story was excellent, editors would say, but they didn’t have any open slots for my book.

Me & My Husband in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds

Audrey Little, my Talented Graphic Artist & Daughter

Then I saw how self-publishing had taken off. I knew how to write. But I didn’t know how to format, market, etc. So I studied. I learned.

At the Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego Debra Holland invited me to write in her Montana Skies Kindle World. Although I had never written historical western romances, I thought I’d give it a try. Doing so got me going in the indie publishing arena. Now I am self-publishing and absolutely loving the control of the publishing process.

I write character-driven stories. Recently I republished my three Dorchester Love Spell books under the series named Mad Magic. The books have pixies, shapeshifters, and trolls in the first trilogy. Then sometime I will publish Spicer Road, my straight sexy Regencies. Too, I’ll publish two contemporaries–Dangerous Protector, a sweet romantic suspense, and Scandalous Bargain, a sexy contemporary romance.

I love writing~

  • Magic and mystery combined with romance or romantic elements. Or, if my setting isn’t a magical world, there are hints of magic that the characters wonder about but shrug off as something unexplained or in their imagination. But mystery elements are usually in the plot as well as romance.
  • Quirky humor and some snark. Situations and dialogue that (hopefully) entertains, makes you laugh as well as shows what’s driving the character.
  • A hero who takes charge, who seduces. Or a tortured hero who will do anything for the sake of the heroine.
  • A heroine who has spunk to stand up to the hero … or to the world. Or if the hero needs rescuing, she rides toward the confrontation. In other words, whatever or whoever is threatening her loved ones, she defends them head on! She can be shy and innocent, feisty, daring, kick-ass, no-nonsense… or anywhere in between.
  • Intriguing, poignant inner emotional conflicts that’ll wrench your heart.
  • Humor, both in situations, in misunderstandings, a little snark. All fun!

I adore traveling both in America and all over the World, meeting people, immersing myself into all kinds of cultures, visiting cemeteries, old buildings, bridges and exploring the countryside or city on my bicycle. I’ve been all over the Western Caribbean, Spain, and England, (the hiking picture is me in The Cotwolds, which was my favorite trip! The picture on the right is in London). Looking forward to experiencing more of the world!


Thanks for reading.

With my sister at Earth, Wind & Fire concert in Raleigh, North Carolina

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Cheryl A

Uma's Umbrage