Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Friday of the Month Recipe ~ Sweet & Spicy Chocolate Crinkles from Katya Armock

This recipe is perfect for the Labor Day Weekend! Cayenne powder is the spice, blended with chocolate, it sounds like my kind of cookie

From Katya Armock. Enjoy

I’m a foodie, so you’re going to find that food factors into all of my books. Baking has been a hobby as long as I’ve been writing—which means pretty much my whole life since I could hold a pen and/or measuring cup.

These days, I like my desserts like I like my romance: mostly sweet but with some hot spice to keep things interesting. So today I’m sharing a family favorite recipe that I altered a bit to have some bite.

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Crinkles
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • powdered sugar to coat
Cream shortening, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Add cocoa, oil, cinnamon and cayenne and blend. Alternate flour and baking powder with milk. Form into 1 to 1.5 inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Short Book Blurb:
She just wants to make it through her whirlwind wedding. Too bad life isn’t cooperating.
Chloe thinks her life is just about perfect. She’s finally got her psychic abilities under control, her relationship with her father has never been better, and she’s finally marrying her shape-shifter boyfriend Jorge. But when a teenage shape-shifter in need of help leads Jorge’s rival to their door, Chloe’s perfect life deserts her. 

Chloe’s mother and grandmother find themselves in a psychic feud that leaves Chloe caught in the wake, and a woman with suspect motives insinuates herself into Chloe’s life. Throw in a shocking revelation about the origins of her family’s extrasensory abilities, and she’s not sure she’ll make it down the aisle in one piece, let alone live long enough for a happily ever after…

And she thought meeting her in-laws was tough.

Buy Links:
I like books that are funny and fun to read (and hot!) but also make me think or look at the world in a new way. These days you’ll find me writing, pet sitting, juggling a number of freelance gigs, and reigning as my home’s domestic goddess. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. Alas, I have, as of yet, been unable to teach my husband how to purr. I love to hear from readers. 

Connect with me:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Secrets from Author J. Hughey

Eruption is available as a preorder--.99 cents and .99 cents until 9/27 - releases 9/13   Amazon

Today we learn 5 Secrets from author J. Hughey!  

Bio: J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe. J. Hughey is the alter-ego of historical romance author Jill Hughey.

Hi J., please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Eruption, but will after today!

1) I originally didn’t intend Eruption to be categorized as a romance. I wanted Violet Perch’s relationship with her freshman crush to be important, but not the driving thread. My editor thought I needed to more strongly pick a genre, and since romance is my favorite thing to read and write, it was natural to lean the story a little more heavily in that direction, though Violet’s best friend and family are also important keystones in the series.

2) At first, Violet’s home was set in Pennsylvania. I soon decided to move her west to Indiana to heighten the impacts of a Yellowstone eruption. In a similar vein, Boone Ramer, Violet’s love interest, was going to be a Texan. I realized he also needed to be closer to the action, so I brought him north to Nebraska. I’ve really enjoyed creating this down-to-earth cattle rancher.
3) I’ve actually trademarked the term “Yellowblown.” I guess that isn’t truly a secret since it was published in some national register somewhere, but I haven’t exactly publicized it.

4) I wrote some really cool scenes from the points of view of people across the U.S. as a means to show what is happening across the nation during the eruption. The editor hated them, hated the interruption of flow between chapters. So, after much gnashing of teeth, I pulled them — the scenes, not my teeth. The first deleted scene is actually on my website as an intro to the story. 

5) My husband likes Eruption. I know you’re thinking, “Of course your husband likes your book!” But, he hasn’t even read most of my historical romances, so I can honestly say he doesn’t just humor me where my writing is concerned.

Blurb : With Violet’s perfect college semester underway, obviously the Yellowstone caldera will erupt for the first time in 630,000 years.
Violet Perch savors every minute with her best friend roomie and a freshman crush showing signs of becoming a sophomore boyfriend. When devastation in the west combines with the volcano’s ash to muck up the works all over North America, her deny-deny-deny strategy does the trick…until college closes and the hot guy gives her a ride home.
Buy Links: Eruption will be available on September 13!  Amazon

Find J. Hughey at:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take Five With Author Sydney Holmes

Today we get to meet Sydney Holmes & Her Three Part Romantic Suspense Series

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Sydney. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Escape?

Thanks for having me as your guest today, L.A.

After writing Awakening, I wanted to write romantic suspense. I love the added element of mystery in a love story. It’s never a good time to fall in love when you’re running for your life or protecting secrets, but you can’t stop love can you? Escape has lots of hot scenes as well as a compelling mystery. I love that combination in a book. I also had fun creating a suspenseful ending for each book. One of my all time favorite scenes is in Escape Two – I get goose bumps every time I read it.

Have you been a lifelong reader of fiction?  What are some the first books you remember reading?

I started with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, moved straight to VC Andrews and then Toni Morrison. I love fiction – women’s literature, mysteries, romance, thrillers, hot  hot hot books – those are fun! I came to romance late and just fell in love with the genre. Now I read a lot of romance –the sexier the better!

What do you do to rev your creative juices?

I listen to music, run, or just go hang out at the beach. I also seem to get a lot of great ideas while traveling. Last year while in Rome, my husband and I mapped out an entire book we hope to write together one day. Running is a great way to clear my head and work out road blocks (which I guess makes sense-given that most of the running I do is on roads), but often the magic happens when I’m on trips. I get these great “BOOB”s while traveling. (That’s what I call, “Bolts Out Of the Blue”) Sometimes I even get full books delivered to me that way. The key is writing them down before they float away.

What would be your advice to people who are considering a writing career?

Don’t listen to the monkey on your shoulder telling you, you have something else you need to be doing. I used to write in the car while parked on a quiet street so I wouldn’t be tempted to clean the house or do laundry. That monkey can also be evil and tell you that everything your doing is so bad it’s a joke – just don’t listen to him – he’s wrong. And, read everything you can. When I wanted to write mysteries, I read about 50 of them with a writer’s eye to get a feel for the genre. I’ve read hundreds of romances – they never get old.  Read, read, read!!

You’re having a dinner party.  What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up?     

Colt MacCabe  Why? Colt is a spineless waste of oxygen. Apparently he was a great lover, but has no backbone, no ability to stand up for anything he believes in. I hate people like that. I’d rather meet a person and argue with him all night about pointless topics than meet a person who is void of opinion. Colt tries, bless his heart, but it’s just not in him.

Give us a brief summary of Escape
Escape is a three part romantic suspense series.

Escape Part One:
      When beautiful and mysterious Rowan Baker moves in upstairs from Shane Adams, he is instantly captivated. With every encounter he becomes more intrigued, but as an experienced Private Investigator, he can’t shake the suspicion that Rowan is holding on to some big secrets.
     Rowan has been on the run for years and she’s good at keeping her distance from people. But there’s something about Shane that’s completely tantalizing. Soon, her life becomes more complicated than she ever expected, making her secrets harder and harder to keep. The closer she gets to Shane, the more she fears that he won’t accept her if he learns the truth of her past. 
     When she is forced to let go of one of her secrets, will Shane stay, or will Rowan push him so far away he can’t make his way back?

ESCAPE Part Two:
Just when Rowan is finally feeling cherished enough to admit her feelings for Shane, she’s forced to reveal one of her secrets. Now she’s running scared, and he’s left wondering what else she’s hiding. When a couple, who seems to have secrets of their own, hire his firm to find their missing sister, all of their lives get even more complicated.    
Struggling to save herself and her family from her past, Rowan faces the possibility of losing the new life she’s finally built, with a man she may love. But Shane won’t give up without a fight: a fight to stay in her life, uncover her secrets, and protect her.
Torn between fear and trust, will she succumb to her past and let it swallow her whole, or will she open up to Shane and let him help her?

ESCAPE Part Three:
The worst of Shane’s fears have been realized. Just when he thought they could finally settle down and figure out what this undeniable attraction between them means, Rowan has vanished. Is she running from her future, or has her past finally caught up with her?
With nothing but an empty apartment to guide him, Shane is left wondering if she even wants to be found. But now, he is a man with a mission; he’ll have to muster all of his resources, use all of his skills and experience to solve the most important mystery of his life. Where is Rowan, and is it too late to save her? Does she even want to be saved, or is a hero the last thing she needs?

Buy Links: 
Escape Part Three Coming soon

Bio: Sydney Holmes writes contemporary romance with an erotic flair, or as she likes to say, “Hot and spicy romance that keeps you up at night!” She believes there is nothing more exciting than reading a hot, sexy tale about two people searching for themselves and getting lost in each other. Sydney is married with two children and has an amazing husband. She graduated from The George Washington University with a BS in Political Science and holds a Master’s Degree in Education. She lives near the ocean in California and travels as often as she can.

Social Media Links: 

Monday, August 18, 2014

INTRODUCING A NEW COLUMN By Screenwriter Robert Gosnell

I'm so pleased to bring you Robert Gosnell's opinions, thoughts, and tips on screenwriting.
Novelists will get a great deal of information out of his columns as well, so don't pass up these opportunities to see inside the mind of a multi-produced screenwriter.

Crash On The Information Highway

I love movies, and as politically incorrect as it may be to admit publicly, I love television, too. I can't help it. We grew up together. As a youth, I was enthralled by stories, in any form. I not only watched films and TV and read books incessantly, but I also enjoyed sitting quietly in a room full of adults and listening intently to the stories they told.

So, when I made the somewhat radical decision to abandon my  blue-collar existence and become a screenwriter, it seemed like a logical choice. I had searched for years, as many of us do, to find my "true calling," and now I had found it. But, I had a problem.

I knew the "what," but I didn't know the "how." To echo Hamlet's lament, "there's the rub!"

At that time, writing for the screen was a relatively elite vocation, so the availability of information was, to say the least, limited. Therefore, my first obstacle was a pretty basic one.

What the hell does a script look like?

Since my initial goal was to write situation comedy for TV, I picked one of my favorites, a show called "Barney Miller," and made the acquisition of a script from that show my immediate target. But again, how?

"Simple enough," I decided. "I'll write to the show and ask them to send me a script." Ignorance is bliss.

Astonishingly, I received a reply, although not the one I was hoping for, from the prolific and talented writer/producer Tony Sheehan. It was a rather lengthy letter, explaining in diplomatically phrased detail why my desire to write for "Barney Miller" was an impossible dream. "Barney" was a tough show to get a handle on. "Barney" wasn't soliciting outside writers. In short, I would never write for "Barney Miller."

Mr. Sheehan had missed the point, entirely! So, I wrote him back.

I explained that I chose his show because it represented the quality of programming I was aspiring to write. I never expected an invitation to actually write for "Barney Miller." I just wanted to know what a sitcom script looked like!

To my further astonishment, a couple of weeks later, I received a "Barney Miller" script in the mail, with this brief note from Mr. Sheehan:

"Dear Mr. Gosnell,
I guess, the second time's the charm."

I'm sure that Mr. Sheehan doesn't know, to this day, that his generosity kick-started my career, but I certainly never forgot it.

After churning out some spec scripts and doing some research, I made my trek to Hollywood. Over the years of honing my craft from the trenches, information became more readily available. I learned not only from books, seminars and classes, but most importantly, from mentors and peers who were kind enough to share their knowledge and experience with me. Eventually, I hit pay dirt, and have had the good fortune to write for feature films, independent films, TV and cable. I vowed, way back then, that when I reached a point where I felt confident in my ability to pass that information along, I would do so.

A few years ago, I began teaching a screenwriting class of my own. It was a surprisingly rewarding experience, not only because it gave me a forum to share the information I had garnered, over the years, but because it challenged me to dig deeper and expand my own knowledge of the craft. Soon after, the thought of writing a book on the subject began to creep into the recesses of my brain.

And then came the internet, and suddenly, there became available a flood of information on the subject. There are blogs and posts and websites, online classes and seminars, contests and "script doctors" of every manner. "Experts" are springing up from out of nowhere. I mean, literally, nowhere. For a time, I put my thoughts of writing a book out of my mind. Why jump into the middle of that mess? Why become just another voice in that cacophony?

However, when I started reading and analyzing the information being offered, I was appalled to discover how much of it was  misleading, incomplete or just, plain wrong, and that many of those experts were not experts, at all. So many people who have never written, sold or had produced a screenplay are now out there teaching people how to write screenplays. The blind are leading the blind...and charging money to do so.

Having scraped and clawed my way through the trenches of Hollywood to reach my goal, I found this approach offensive. That, as much as anything, re-ignited my desire to write "The Blue Collar Screenwriter and the Elements of Screenplay." If nothing else, I hoped to set the record straight, at least to some degree. Even at that, I don't consider myself an expert. I don't claim or pretend to have all the answers, or to know the one-and-only secret to success. Perhaps, I could make more money if I had the brass balls necessary to make that claim, but I just can't do it.

However, I have gathered a lot of information on the subject over my thirty-plus years in the business, and I felt compelled to share it. At the least, I've actually done what I teach, and that has to count for something.

In recent years, I have also been enlightened on another perspective that previously had escaped me. Some of my screenwriting students are novelists; many of them successful. Their goal, now, is to adapt their novels for the screen. These dedicated writers opened my eyes to the similarities and the differences between the forms. A story is a story, but a novel is not a screenplay. How to make the "twain" meet?

That is the purpose of today's blog; my first. In an excerpt from my book, I will present an issue which is common to all stories, but approached in a manner which is unique to the screenwriting form. I hope that novelists, screenwriters and those who aspire to either or both will find something of value within it.

So, sit back, relax and allow me to introduce you to "Physical Proxies."

Physical Proxies

Once you have established your character's backstory, you must now find ways to reflect that backstory in a character's actions and words. If you want to reveal a character's inner-workings visually, then you must do so with, guess what? Action.
The internal thought or emotion you want to reveal must be delivered in a manner which is visual, and allows the actor and director to interpret it. For my own edification, I've termed these actions "Physical Proxies."
There's really no mystery to it, or anything new. It's simply a reflection of the old "show, don't tell" rule.
Let's utilize a scene from "Rocky" to examine some physical proxies.
Early in the story, Rocky has been offered the fight with Apollo Creed, for the championship. Mickey, the boxing trainer, wants to be Rocky's manager. The trouble is, the men had an earlier run-in, when Mickey took away Rocky's locker at the gym and gave it to another fighter, whom he deemed a "contender." Rocky, however, was a "tomato," who fought like an ape, and should retire.

Now, here's Mickey, showing up at the door of Rocky's shabby little apartment, hat-in-hand.

Once inside, Mickey follows Rocky around the apartment, making his case. He talks about his experiences and shows Rocky pictures of young Mickey as a boxer.
And, what does Rocky do? He keeps moving away from Mickey. He throws darts at a dart board. He gets a beer from the refrigerator. He walks to his bedroom. Finally, when all else fails, Rocky goes into the bathroom and closes the door.
These are the physical proxies Rocky employs to express what he's feeling. Here's a big, tough, heavyweight fighter, and what is he doing? Avoiding confrontation! He can go toe-to-toe with brutes in the ring, but emotional confrontation makes him uncomfortable.
This scene is just such an emotional confrontation. The more Mickey persists, the more uncomfortable Rocky grows. He's squirming, before our eyes. That's a reveal of a characteristic which is demonstrated throughout the story, not just in this scene.
Rocky keeps telling Mickey that the fight is set, and he doesn't need a manager. That's the text, but we know what's really going on. Mickey gave up on him. Mickey told him to quit. Mickey hurt his feelings. You could see it, churning around inside him. You knew the reason he was saying "no." Nobody had to tell us, because Rocky showed us.
The only time it was really addressed verbally was when Rocky, still trying to avoid the subject, steps into the doorway of his bedroom. Mickey follows him in and there sees a poster of the heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano on the wall. Mickey remarks that Rocky reminds him of Marciano. He moves like the champ. He's got heart. Rocky's deadpan reply:
"Yeah, I got heart. But, I ain't got no locker, do I, Mick?"
There it is, in glorious subtext. It's personal.
Another fine example can be found in "Forrest Gump." In this scene, Forrest and Jenny, the girl he loves, have returned to the house where Jenny grew up, which is now abandoned. Jenny, venting her anger, begins to throw rocks at the house, one after another, with a growing fervor, until she sinks to the ground, weeping.
Forrest moves to her and sits beside her. Then, in Voice Over narration, we hear Forrest say:
"Sometimes, I guess, there just aren't enough rocks."
While it was never stated verbally in this scene, is there any doubt that Jenny was abused in that house? We can only imagine what indignities she suffered, but we certainly know that bad things happened to her, there.
That information, that backstory, was expressed through action. The throwing of rocks became the Physical Proxy to express the anger Jenny was feeling. Talking about it could never have had the same impact as this action.
Think of it as mime, if you like. Think of it in terms of a silent film. Ask yourself:
"What if there is no sound? How can I show what my character is feeling?"
If your character is well developed; well rounded, the right action for that character to express his inner feelings will be there. Rocky was a brute with a soft spot. Tough and crude, yet also sensitive and vulnerable.
Those conflicting traits going on inside him caused him to react to a given situation in his own unique, personal way. When he could no longer control his anger and frustration, he struck out physically, but always at inanimate objects. Never at people, unless he was in the ring. He struggled to conceal his inner feelings, fearing that expressing them would show weakness.
Rocky's Physical Proxies were his, alone. The better developed your characters, the more mannerisms and characteristics you can create to visually express their feelings.

~ ~ ~ 
A professional screenwriter for more than thirty years, Robert Gosnell has produced credits in feature films, network television, syndicated television, basic cable and pay cable, and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of Canada.

Robert began his career writing situation comedy as a staff writer for the ABC series Baby Makes Five. As a freelance writer, he wrote episodes for Too Close for Comfort and the TBS comedies Safe at Home and Rocky Road. In cable, he has scripted numerous projects for the Disney Channel, including Just Perfect, a Disney Channel movie featuring Jennie Garth. In 1998, he wrote the Showtime original movie, Escape from Wildcat Canyon, which starred Dennis Weaver and won the national "Parents Choice Award." Robert's feature credits include the Chuck Norris/Louis Gosset Jr. film Firewalker, an uncredited rewrite on the motion picture Number One With A Bullet starring Robert Carradine and Billy Dee Williams, and the sale of his original screenplay Kick And Kick Back to Cannon Films. Robert was also selected as a judge for the 1990 Cable Ace awards, in the Comedy Special category.

In 1990, Robert left Hollywood for Denver, where he became active in the local independent film community. His screenplay Tiger Street was produced by the Pagoda Group of Denver, and premiered on Showtime Extreme in August of 2003. In 1999, Denver’s Inferno Films produced the action film Dragon and the Hawk from his script. In 2001, Robert co-wrote the screenplay for the independent feature Siren for Las Vegas company Stage Left Productions. His feature script Juncture was produced by Front Range Films in March of 2006.

Robert is a principal member of the Denver production company "Conspiracy Films." He is frequently an invited speaker for local writers organizations, served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference in 2002, and in 2007 was chosen to participate as a panelist for the Aspen Film Festival Short Screenplay Contest. Robert regularly presents his screenwriting class "The Elements of Screenplay," along with advanced classes and workshops, in the Denver area.

Robert's book, "The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay" is currently available at:
Amazon digital and paperback
Barnes & Noble

Find Robert at:
Website (with information on classes)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Take Five With Author Sydney Jane Baily

Today we meet Sydney Jane Baily!

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Sydney.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, An Intriguing Proposition?

Thanks for having me on your blog, L.A.

I had already written Books One, Two, and Three of this series, now dubbed the Defiant Hearts Series. I started Book Four, but couldn't get it going. I was distracted. As it turned out, it was the eldest sister who makes brief appearances in two of the books who was whispering in my ear; she wanted to introduce the series and tell her story before I moved on to the next book. Her story flowed very quickly. An Intriguing Proposition is a novella, 25,000 words, and gives a good idea of my storytelling style, and brings in some of the characters who populate the rest of the series. Now I'm continuing Book Four, An Inconceivable Deception, which I hope to have completed in a couple of months.

What were your experiences as a child that contributed to you becoming a writer?

Easy question. I was rather shy. I stuttered until my K-1 teacher worked with me to understand how my brain was racing a little more quickly than my tongue and showed me how to let my speech catch up. The shyness combined with living in L.A., which is sprawling and meant that everyone seemed to scatter after school, contributed to my spending time alone or with my big sister. I really liked being on my own and creating my own world, so I wrote. A lot. As a child and still, as an adult, I am an introvert. I enjoy the company of my friends and family, but then I recharge by having alone time. And that's the perfect personality for a writer, who needs to be content spending hours in isolation to get her work done.

Do day-to-day life experiences influence your stories?

Not so much since I write 1880s Americana romance. It's the Victorian period but set in various parts of the U.S. Obviously, I can't help but have my own emotions and experiences color my writing, but when I'm immersed in writing a story, it's usually more of an escape from my daily life than something influenced by it.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

Make a cup of tea, strong Irish tea, with milk and honey. Procrastinate. Make more tea. Walk the dog. Write a scene over and over in my head. Eventually, I open a fresh Word doc and begin. The scene that I start with may not end up being the opening of Chapter One, but it's often somewhere near the beginning.

I also often write long hand on lined tablets of paper when I take my son to a lesson. (I am not a laptop person.) I have a few pens that I love. They write smoothly, and I can write more quickly than I can type because I don't stop and reread and edit or need to worry about spellcheck. I just write and scribble and cross out, and the story flows. Then I transcribe later, but the majority of my book is created directly at my desk in Word.

I also do a great deal of research for my time period, but I often don't know what I need to research until I am writing. I'll get to something I don't know about, perhaps a street name or what position a character might have in a shipbuilder's yard, and then I go off on a researching binge. I have a great relationship with my city's librarians, and have reached out to museums and libraries across the nation when I need an answer, such as how much was the fare on a San Francisco streetcar in 1884. (Answer: 5 cents.)

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

I'm sorry. I'm terrible at these types of questions. My mind goes blank. But I wouldn't mind being Drew Barrymore's character opposite Hugh Grant in "Music and Lyrics." Such a sweet film. But there are probably a hundred other characters I would also choose if I could think of them, such as Cinderella or Hermione Granger. Of real life people, I'd like to be Queen Latifah. I think she's awesome. My kids think that's hilarious and weird.

Give us a brief summary of An Intriguing Proposition:
Following her father’s untimely death, eldest daughter Elise Malloy discovers that the family home is collateral for a mysterious loan. With no record of payments made from her father’s accounts, whoever was paying the bank has now stopped, and foreclosure is imminent.

Desperate to keep the news from her grieving, funds-starved family, Elise answers the bank summons and faces Michael Bradley, an old flame who still owns her heart. When Michael extends an unseemly dinner invitation, Elise invents a nameless suitor as an excuse. Now, to save face, she must produce him.

Jonathan Amory, Esquire, seems the perfect choice, until her long-desired relationship with Michael unexpectedly catches fire, and Jonathan makes it clear he will stop at nothing to destroy her family and lock her into a loveless marriage.

Buy Links:
which has buy links for Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and more.


Sydney Jane Baily completed her first novel at the tender age of 17. Thankfully, that manuscript currently resides in an undisclosed, secure location. She went on to get B.A. degrees in English literature and in history, and an M.A. in literature with a concentration in Romanticism. 

During her career while continuing to write stories, she has been a copy editor, cat snuggler, proof reader, production editor, mother of two, developmental editor, indexer, and dog walker, among other things literary and not. Besides writing historical romances, she also writes contemporary women's fiction, and believes in happily-ever-after stories for an already challenging world.

Born and raised in California, she now resides in New England with her family—human, feline, and canine.

Social Media Links:
You can visit Sydney on the Web
on Twitter
or on Facebook

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Take Five and Meet Author Carmen Stefanescu


Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Carmen.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Shadows of the Past?

I read a small article in a Romanian newspaper about a haunted mountain in England. The souls of two sinners, a nun and a priest who break their vows and elope, can’t find their rest. The tourists visiting that area sometimes hear agonizing moans during the night. That was all. The moment I put down the newspaper I felt that I had to write about them. And so The Ballad of the Priest and the Nun came to life, first. Later, I considered it was not enough. I felt Genevieve’s story must be presented in detail. And I wrote Shadows of the Past a paranormal/light romance/light history/light horror novel.

How do you use setting to further your story?

The use of imagery was essential in establishing the tone in order to move ahead and create a vivid world of mystery, suspense and even a bit of horror both in mood and in plot.  Shadows of the Past is, in fact, two stories in one, or story within a story. At the beginning of the present time story, the opening description of the silent, mysterious forest, and the fact that Ann feels, " a chillness surrounding her in ice claws,” that she feels “the night fell over them, thick with the smell of danger, " provides a dark and dreary world in terms of setting. Imagery does indeed help move the plot. Old Bertha’s house, the cursed forest, St. Mary’s Abbey have an important part in moving further the story.

In Shadows of the Past setting is both antagonist and integral, controlling and influencing the characters. Genevieve and Andrew in the past, Anne and Neil in the present must resolve the conflict created by the setting in the novel. They are directly connected and interact with the cursed forest, thus the plot advancing to the climax.  Anyway, for me, settings are more than scenery. They’re the cohesive grounding, the foundation, of the whole story.

How do you construct your characters?

I think that every writer has own ways of creating characters. For me, it’s a mix of things as I take a little bit of me, a little bit of people I know, a little bit of something I’d like to be, a few traits that my character needs in order to act in certain ways or do certain things. I add a fatal flaw that’s going to cause big trouble for my character, and I roll everything together into a unique character who has his or her own personality. The addition of personality traits is a subconscious process. Other times I set out to create a specific behavior quirk for my character and I have to twist things until they fit.

How is your main character completely different than you?

I try to avoid my characters getting too similar to me and I push them away so they can actually grow autonomously. Anne is a smart business woman, dynamic and strong willed. Something I will never be.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

I am addicted to coffee and playing computer games.

Give us a brief summary of Shadows of the Past:
When Anne and Neil leave on a one-week holiday hoping to reconcile after a two-year separation, little do they know that destiny has other plans for them. Their discovery of human bones and a bejeweled cross in the hollow of a tree open the door to the supernatural realm and the anguished life of Genevieve, a nun from medieval England.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve her eternal rest?

The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love. A touching story of loss, grief and the power of endless love and good magic.
Buy Links:
WildChild Publishing

          Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
          Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. 
          She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Social Media Links: