Woot. We are on USAToday for our boxed collection: Simply The Best ~ International Digital Award Winners

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Take Five and Meet Author V.S. Kemanis

I'm pleased to bring you another new-to-me author, V.S. Kemanis. A charming women and an author that lives her subject matter-legal, and her passion-writing. 
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, V.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Love and Crime: Stories?
Each story in this collection had a unique source of inspiration. The stories first reveal themselves as small ideas that remain dormant for months or even years in the back of my mind. For example, the opening story, “Rosemary and Reuben,” features characters who are challenged emotionally and physically by their heightened senses of smell and taste. That story was inspired by my own extreme sensitivity to smell and a question: how might two people with sensory challenges interact? The idea developed slowly, acquiring scenes and characters until I woke up one day and said, “I’m ready to write this one!”

If you were not a writer, what vocation would you pursue?
Besides fiction writing (a real passion!), I’m fortunate to have many vocations that are all still part of my life in varying degrees. I’m the mother of two amazing daughters, now young adults. I’ve taught, performed, and choreographed ballet and contemporary dance, and even owned a dancewear shop! But the mainstay has been the law. My experience in criminal law as an assistant district attorney inspired my legal mystery novels, Thursday’s List, Homicide Chart, and Forsaken Oath.

Do you prefer to read in the same genre you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre?  Why?

I read many kinds of fiction, but my favorites include the genres I write: literary (both novels and short stories), and legal thrillers. Much of my writing involves psychological suspense, and this is the kind of story that attracts me. Besides the pure enjoyment of becoming fully immersed in a story, I also pay attention to the techniques other writers use to achieve mood and feeling.

How do you create internal and external conflict in your characters?  I find conflict often the hardest to create when I start planning a book.

In my short stories, each protagonist is battling his or her own demon, whether it’s a subtle internal force or an external event. Self-delusion and moral dilemma are some of my favorite themes. To create suspense, I don’t give the problem away immediately. It creeps up on the reader, just as it creeps up on the protagonist, who isn’t always self-aware. For example, in the story “Journal Entry, Franklin DeWitt,” an aging ballet critic on his death bed comes to terms with a decades-old source of guilt, remembering events that slowly lead to his final admission of betrayal. In the novel format, the conflicts in my legal thrillers tend to be more external, and they’re very easy for me to find. Courtrooms and lawsuits and criminal trials are rife with conflict!

If you could live during any era of history, which one would you choose?

I’m fascinated by so many different eras! It’s enthralling to let the imagination go back in time. But, bottom line, I’m happy to be living now. Change occurs so quickly, both socially and technologically, that our lives might seem to span several eras! Most of all, I’m grateful to be living in a time and a society in which women have the freedom to do and to be whatever they want.

Give us a brief summary of Love and Crime: Stories:
Loves big and small, crimes forgiven or avenged. These are the themes that drive the eleven diverse stories in this new collection of psychological suspense.

Meet the husband and wife team Rosemary and Reuben, master chefs known to sprinkle a dash of magic into every dish. Lucille Steadman, a dazed retiree who can’t explain why she’s left her husband, only to discover, too late, the meaning of love and commitment in the most surprising place. Franklin DeWitt, an esteemed ballet critic who witnesses—or abets?—a bizarre criminal plot to topple a beautiful Soviet ballerina. Rosalyn Bleinstorter, a washed-up defense attorney whose stubborn belief in her own street savvy leads her unwittingly into a romantic and criminal association with an underworld figure.

These are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll get to know in these pages, where all is fair in love and crime. While the endings to these tales are not always sweet or predictable, and self-deception is rarely rewarded, the lessons come down hard and are well learned.

Love and Crime: Stories has received a Starred Review from BlueInk Reviews and a Five-Star rating from Foreword Reviews

Buy Links: 
Available May 1 in paperback and ebook:

V. S. Kemanis grew up in the East Bay Area of California in a family with six amazing siblings and parents passionate about politics, social issues, theater and music. Mealtimes were often raucous, stimulating, intellectual and fun gatherings in a household full of family and interesting guests, musicians, actors, artists, professors and university students.

Ms. Kemanis holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of Colorado, School of Law, at Boulder. In her legal career, she has been a criminal prosecutor of street crime and organized crime for county and state agencies, argued criminal appeals for the prosecution and defense, conducted complex civil litigation, and worked as a court attorney for state appellate courts.

She is also an accomplished dancer of classical ballet, modern jazz and contemporary styles and has performed, taught and choreographed in California, Colorado and New York.

Dozens of short stories by Ms. Kemanis have been published in noted literary journals and award-winning collections. Her three novels in the Dana Hargrove legal mystery series draw on her personal experience in criminal law, juggling the needs of family with a high-powered legal career. Ms. Kemanis is a member of the Mystery Writers of America.

Find V.S.: 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Last Friday of the Month Recipe from Author Joy Smith ~ GLUTEN-FREE Pumpkin Pecan Squares

I love these Last Friday of the Month recipes, I try them and they are truly delicious.  We've had a few GLUTEN-FREE recipes recently, and you all have told me you're so pleased with them. So, here is another and as I love pumpkin, it sounds perfect. 

Hi L.A. Thanks for hosting me today, and for giving me the chance to spend time with my daughter, who has celiac disease. Like the heroine in my book, she loves making desserts and has developed some great gluten free recipes. I chose to make pumpkin squares as they are mentioned in the first chapter of HEAR ME ROAR, plus the fact that I love anything pumpkin. We worked together, enhancing her basic recipe with pecans. I managed to snap these pictures before our tribe wolfed them down. These cake-like squares are lusciously moist and delicious, and you would never guess they are gluten-free. The cream cheese icing compliments the pumpkin, and the sugared pecan provides a nice sweet crunch. S-o-o-o good!


Gluten-free Pumpkin Pecan Squares
Oil spray
1 8-ounce package pecan halves, divided
4 eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Sugared Pecans
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces pecan halves
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound confectioners sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with oil spray. Chop 4 ounces of the pecans, and set aside the rest. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped pecans. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to Cool. Meanwhile, make the sugared pecans and the icing. Sugared pecans: Heat the sugar and remaining pecan halves in a 10-inch skillet until the sugar liquefies and the nuts are coated and shiny. Stir constantly as this happens quickly. Remove nuts from pan and cool in a single layer on a piece of foil or waxed paper. Set aside. Cream Cheese Icing: Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and continue to beat until blended. Frost the cooled cake and decorate with the sugared pecans. Cut into squares and serve.

Blurb for Hear Me Roar
Jan Simmons never expected trouble to move into her quiet Charming Way cul-de-sac. Nor did she expect her husband Jeff’s weakness for fast money to drag their once happy family into danger.

When her husband turns to crime, Jan, a people-pleaser with little self-worth, must release the death grip she has on her failing marriage for the sake of her children and draw on her inner strength.

As Jan fights to free her family from a web of lies and deceit she also battles to save herself.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Wild Rose Press

I've authored a mish mosh of genres. The truth is my nonfiction books have followed my life’s learnings. Thirty-five years ago, when we bought our first boat, I began collecting info that might make cruising easier for other boaters, new and old. When my to-be-married daughter asked for my recipes, I started a cookbook, and then a Lord-help-me book for mom’s going through the wedding planning process.

So fiction writing? How about that? Well, I needed a little fantasy in my life. Did you know writing a novel is more challenging than a how-to book? When I’m not contriving a plot or doing heavy research, you may find me aboard our boat enjoying the salt air or fighting heavy seas with my handsome captain. Oh, and I crochet like mad—prayer shawls to be donated to those in need of a hug—at dock, underway, or at home. I’d love to hear from you! Email me at

Find Joy: