Monday, September 29, 2014

Take Five with Author Jane M. Choate

Take Five is a fast and fun way to learn about authors you're unfamiliar with, 
or new facts from your favorites.

Today I'm so happy to bring you Jane M. Choate,
multi-published author 33 books and over 500 articles.
I'm a lucky girl to be able to call her a friend.  

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Jane.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Keeping Watch?
Keeping Watch has two wounded souls desperately needing love.  I love the idea of wounded people finding love and finding in love healing power.  Healing power comes ultimately from the Savior, who is the greatest healer. 
How do you use setting to further your story?

I believe that setting can be a character.  For Keeping Watch, I chose the genteel setting of Atlanta, contrasting the gracious way of life that the heroine Dani Barclay is accustomed to with the seamy side of life she encounters with her job as a Deputy District Attorney.

How do you construct your characters?

I don’t so much construct my characters as listen to them.  When my characters are “in the groove,” they talk to me and tell me what they should be doing.

How is your main character completely different than you?

My main character Dani is strong enough to fight for justice in the courtroom.  My introverted nature would never allow me to do that.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

I have had a TRO (temporary restraining order) taken out against me when I confronted a woman who took advantage of my elderly father.  My temper got the best of me.

Give us a brief summary of  Keeping Watch :
Atlanta Deputy District Attorney is being stalked.  She confronts the man she believes is the stalker, only to find that he is an ex-Delta soldier whom her father hired to protect her.  Jake Rabb is wounded, in both body and and soul.  He doesn’t want the job of bodyguard, but he is committed to protecting Dani.  Together, they search for the truth and discover that it lies much closer to home than they ever imagined.

Bio:  Jane M. Choate has been reading and writing ever since she can remember.  She used to entertain her friends at lunch time with made-up stories about them.  The stories grew more outlandish as her vocabulary and imagination grew.  Getting paid to write is a dream come true (except when the characters won’t talk to her!).

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Last Friday of the Month Recipe ~ Cherry Balls from Heather Boyd

This sounds delish, served with coffee. Yum. Please welcome, Heather Boyd.

I’m often asked if I have a guilty pleasure – that would be my terrible sweet tooth. A while back I acquired a recipe for one of the most moreish slices ever. But it was a pain to cut up and everyone in my family kept wanting the pieces to be larger. My answer was to make Cherry Balls. Smaller treats that I could dole out one by one and served with coffee or tea.

Cherry Balls

250gms Desiccated Coconut  (8.82 oz 
100gms packet Glace Cherries, chopped finely (3.53 oz)
180gms Copha Vegetable Shortening, melted (6.35 oz)
350gm tinned Sweetened Condensed Milk  (12.35 oz)
Pink Food Coloring
2x 375gm packets of dark cooking chocolate (2x 13.35 oz)

(L.A: I converted from grams to ounces from this site


1. Place coconut and cherries in a large bowl.
2. Add melted vegetable shortening and stir till combined.
3. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly
4. Carefully add a few drops of food coloring and stir until mixture is lightly pink
5. Roll into walnut sized balls (by hand is easiest) and refrigerate (at least one hour) on a large tray.
6. Melt dark chocolate over a low heat.
7. Remove cherry balls from refrigeration and carefully coat each ball with melted chocolate – using a skewer is often the easiest/cleanest way to dip the balls—and return to tray.
8. Refrigerate a further hour before serving.

*All quantities are Australian metric

Short Book Blurb:
When the Marquess of Taverham married at eighteen, he was certain his life would be smooth and well ordered—right up till the moment his exuberant bride ran away on their wedding night, never to be seen again. Ten years later, when Kit is finally prepared to set his rash marriage aside by having his wife declared dead, she makes a shocking return, still beautiful but distrustful, and once more throws his life off-balance by refusing to live with him and resume their marriage.


Despite some lingering attraction, Miranda Reed has no love left for the heartless rogue she married. Older and wiser, she refuses to be a convenient wife for a man who expects everything to be his way with no care for her feelings. Keeping her husband at arm’s length is essential; her secrets will bring him to his knees. But in a battle of wills where hope and trust are both the prize and the casualty of war, the victor isn’t always the winner. Sometimes it takes an act of rebellion to recapture a fragile love.

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Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published over twenty novels and shorter works. Catch her latest news She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fuelled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Take Five and Meet Author Cathy Perkins

Today I'm pleased to bring you author Cathy Perkins.  Sit back, even put up your feet and enjoy Cathy's answers to 5 questions, the blurb on her book and her bio.  A great way to find a new author to read and enjoy.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Cathy. 
Thanks for visiting me to visit!

Tell us, what inspired you to write your book CYPHER?

Most of my stories start with a “what if?” Without giving away the plot and all the twists, my most recent release, CYPHER, starts with, What if a hitman killed the wrong person?

The “whys” line up from there—why was the killer sent to murder the heroine? Why wasn’t she home? Why was her friend there and mistaken for her? The characters grow and become three-dimensional as I think through the implications and how that character will react to events unfolding around him or her. In CYPHER, both Cara and David have to fight for what they really want, and each has to trust the other, something that doesn’t come easily for them.

Because I love tightly plotted stories that twist and turn, I generally outline the major story lines. I’m always surprised when I finish the first draft and find small setups and details that my subconscious added. During edits, I weave these bits into the story to build out a suspect or enhance a theme.

How do you use setting to further your story? 

To me, the setting needs to be more than a description of an item or place. It needs to reflect the characters – choices they’ve made, where they live and how they dress, what they notice about other people—and what is also says about the Point of View character.

Here’s a pair of short excerpts:
First, from the hitman’s perspective after breaking into Cara’s condo:
He closed the door behind him and stood still, absorbing the nuances of the quiet. Hum of a refrigerator. Citrus polish. Fabric surfaces to deaden sound.
Softness that expected safety.
Now, here’s another short description of Cara’s condo when Detective David Morris enters after being called to the crime scene:
Morris gave the living room a quick assessment. “Nice” was his initial impression. Everything matched, like it was supposed to go together, unlike the futon and recliner in his small house. Wainwright’s furniture was the kind of stuff his wife—his ex-wife—wanted while they were married—and got from the guy she married last month.
Can you see both the living room—and know a little more about these characters?

How do you construct your characters? 

I guess the short answer is the characters grow and develop as I write the story. The more I throw at them, the more their “character” shows.

Okay, trying to answer the question ;)

As I mentioned above, I “knew” Cara fairly well before I started writing. She’s a mashup of so many women in their thirties who’re building a career, ready to start putting down some roots and maybe starting to wonder if Mr. Right is even out there. Then this competent person is thrown into circumstances completely outside her experience and way beyond her control. She’s drawing on her core strengths to survive and pushing to learn the truth behind a lot of lies.

I didn’t want David to be a cliché with a badge but I also didn’t want him to have so much baggage that he couldn’t carry his end of the investigation—and be a worthy hero for Cara.

This novel is a little different, though, because Cypher, the Wainwright family business is almost a character in the story. While there are family businesses everywhere, I wanted to layer in the family dynamics that are particular to the South—the expectations and obligations of family ties.

Cypher is at the center of the mystery, but its connections and secrets are as hidden as the buildings in the excerpt. The company provides a tangible symbol of the family relationships and dynamics, which are a key component in the story. Convinced her father knows more than he’s telling, Cara pushes from the inside—both within the family and the business—for answers. Stonewalled by both Cara’s father and other Cypher executives, Detective David Morris pulls on the external forensic evidence. Unsure whether they can trust each other, Cara and David have to join forces to get to the truth and stop the murders.

How is your main character completely different than you?

Cara and I are both Southern women, but over the course of the story, Cara becomes much more outspoken in confronting her father and determined to find the truth. I love seeing this resolute determination in today’s young women!

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

My husband and I are in the process of moving to our place in the mountains. I shared our latest challenge--moving and rebuilding a 100-year old barn—last week on our group blog, Not Your Usual Suspects;

Head over to Facebook or my website – I’ve had fun sharing the crazy stories that go with moving that barn!

Give us a brief summary of  CYPHER :
“A twisty mystery mixed with a compelling romance. An engrossing read I didn’t want to put down.” Rachel Grant, bestselling author of the Evidence Series
Cara Wainwright thinks life can’t get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal—until she returns home from the hospital and finds a courtyard full of police officers and her houseguests dead.

Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. Searching for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation—or real?

While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher—the company her father built and will take any measures to defend.

When the assassin strikes again, Cara and David have to trust each other and work together to stop the killer before he eliminates the entire Wainwright family.

Thanks for letting me play 5 Questions with you today!

It was my pleasure Cathy, thanks again for being my guest!

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble          

An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she's observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters' lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Find Cathy:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five Secrets From Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

Bio: Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese’s gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry, is published by Torquere Press. The first novel, Starling, was released September 2014; its sequel, Doves, is scheduled for January 2015. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller focused on themes of sex, gender, desire and mourning. Erin McRae is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. You can find them on the web.
Hi Erin and Racheline, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Starling or you, but will after today!
1) Every restaurant mentioned in Starling, regardless of city, exists. Although we don't name any of them, at least one of us has been to each one of them. We will confirm or deny to readers who want to take a guess, but in general are keeping them to ourselves.
2) While the characters and events in Starling are entirely fictional and in no way represent anyone living or dead, Starling is filled with pop-culture references. Some are overt, like Paul's love of The West Wing. Many are much sneakier, and we encourage our readers to hunt for the Easter eggs.
3) Much of Starling involves events that happen on the Internet. To that end, several of our characters have Twitter presences and are already tweeting. More are coming soon. For now people can visit @JAlexCook, @PaulMarionKeane, and @TheShowYouHate, but be warned: their language may not be as PG as ours.
4) While Todd, a pet cat in the book, is based on a real cat Beau, a dog also known as Divorce Dog, has no real world analog.
5) Astoundingly, Starling was written and edited in 13 cities and 5 countries, most of which never even appear in the story. They include New York City; Washington, DC; Philadelphia; Zurich; Milan; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Rochester, NY; Columbus, OH; London; Berlin; and Rome.

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.
Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair with a polyamorous co-star and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends -- and even the paparazzi! -- quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.
But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Screenwriter Robert Gosnell on The Art of the "Buy"

I have a confession to make. I watched "Sharknado."

Well, I just had to see what all of the excitement was about. I must admit, I'm still not sure. The phrase, "so bad it's good" seems to be the one most frequently floating around, out there, and I'm not even sure I'm on board with that.

My personal feelings aside, the movie was successful enough to give this low-budget, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, cornier-than-thou effort a large audience, a limited theatrical run and a sequel. However you slice it, that's a home run.

The film took suspension of disbelief to an entirely new level, and got me thinking about a little thing called logic. As I state in my book, The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay, there is a difference between story logic and real-life logic, and that is the subject of this week's excerpt, which follows this commentary.

When I entered the industry and attacked the sitcom world, I was quickly subjected to a number of catch-phrases associated with that form of storytelling. Each "camp" of production companies seemed to spawn its own shorthand. I learned how to give a joke a  "handle," how to "blow off" a character to get him out of a scene and how to reference a previous joke with a "call back." The term for requiring a certain suspension of disbelief was a "buy." In other words, it may defy logic, but will the audience "buy" it? Will they accept it? If so, then "it's a buy" became the operative phrase.

"Sharknado" was a buy from start to finish. That can be credited to the tone of the movie. No one, other than the one-dimensional characters who inhabited the film, took it seriously. We weren't supposed to. It was only intended to be mindless fun; brain candy, and on that level, it exceeded expectations. It reminded me of how diverse our film going tastes can be, in this world. There is, indeed, room for everyone.

Tone is key in determining how much we can expect our audience to buy. There were a number of scenes in "Sharknado" which never would have been acceptable in the classic shark tale "Jaws." That's because "Jaws" not only took itself seriously, but unlike "Sharknado," it required its audience to do so, as well. Points of logic were treated with meticulous care. They wanted us to believe it, so they went to great lengths to justify each unorthodox story moment. But, imagine grizzled shark-hunter Quint, during a somber moment aboard the Orca, relating the story of how a shark fell from the sky and swallowed him in one big gulp, only to have him cut his way out through the shark's belly with a chainsaw. Check, please!

Story logic, unlike real-life logic, can be manipulated, to some extent, in any story, regardless of tone, theme, genre or subject matter. That fact exists because the world of our story is not the real world, nor should it be. It is a world we create. We invite our audience to immerse themselves in our world and to believe what we ask them to believe. And, they want to believe. It's still possible to lose them, of course, but they'll go a long way, before crossing that line in the sand.

If "Sharknado" isn't evidence of that, I don't know what is. 

The Blue Collar Screenwriter
The Elements of Screenplay
Story Logic
On the structural front, you want to make sure you haven't left any holes in logic. But, story logic is not the same as real-life logic. What flies in a movie does not often reflect the logic of reality. In film, artistic license, for the sake of entertainment, takes precedent. Story logic means "acceptable." Will they, the audience, "buy" it? I'll give you an example.
In Alfred Hitchcock's classic "North by Northwest," there exists a rather famous scene wherein Cary Grant, playing our hero, Roger Thornhill, is directed to take a bus to a remote location on a dirt road, surrounded by farmland. He stands there, waiting for the mysterious Mr. Kaplan, who is to meet him there.
Soon, a car approaches, then passes. Another car arrives, and a farmer gets out and stands on the other side of the road. Cary Grant approaches him and asks if he's Kaplan. He isn't.
An old biplane; a crop duster flies overhead. The farmer's bus arrives, and as he boards, he remarks that it's odd that the crop duster is dusting "where there ain't no crops." Then, the bus departs, leaving our hero alone, once more.
That's when the crop duster descends on Cary Grant and there begins a mad chase through a nearby field, as the airplane pursues him, spewing gunfire from the cockpit. Cary Grant evades the airplane and eventually runs to the highway, where a large tanker truck approaches. Ultimately, the airplane crashes into the tanker truck in a humongous explosion!
It's a very exciting scene, but in examining it later, I found myself asking:
"Why a crop duster?"
Really, he was standing there, on the side of the road, way out in the boonies, all alone. All our bad guys had to do was drive up, roll down the window and shoot him dead.
That's the way it probably would have happened, in real life. I mean, that's the way I'd do it, were I prone to do such a thing. But, that wouldn't have been nearly as exciting or visual as an airplane chasing a man through a field, and then crashing into a tanker truck, leading to a fiery explosion. And, this is not real life, this is a motion picture. Thus, story logic prevailed.
Mr. Hitchcock termed these moments "icebox scenes," meaning that these minor flaws in logic surface after one gets home from the theater, opens his "ice box" for a snack and suddenly says to himself:
"Wait...that didn't make sense!"
Of course, by now, it's too late. We've already seen and enjoyed the movie. Had the realization of that flaw hit us while watching the movie, that might have been a problem. But, the scene was too exciting, keeping us on the edge of our seats, for us to think about something trivial like logic.

However, Story Logic has its limits. If we push things too far, we may cross the line of acceptable logic and lose our audience, or, at the least, offend them. Mr. Hitchcock's "ice box" moment may hit us then and there, and not wait for us to get home and reach for a snack.
~ ~ ~
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 andRocky 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, September 10, 2014

Five Secrets from Author Richard Brawer

Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time sailing and exploring local history.  He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife.

Hi Richard, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Love’s Sweet Sorrow or you, but will after today!

1) This is embarrassing, but I did very poorly in college English courses especially creative writing. Writing a novel was the last thing I ever thought I would do. However I was an avid reader of newspapers and mysteries novels.

One day I read a horrendous newspaper story about a baby born with a brain impairment and the father refused to take him home from the hospital. The article quoted the nurses’ outrage.

My imagination took over and I asked: What happened to the baby? Was it murdered? Was it switched for a healthy baby? Thus in 1994 my first mystery book, Secrets Can Be Deadly was born and I was hooked on writing.

2)  All my books have a strong woman as a counter to the protagonist and end up challenging him and making him grow as a character.  Since my protagonist in Love’s Sweet Sorrow is the head of the legal department of America’s largest weapons manufacturer I decided to make his love interest someone completely opposite to him, a Quaker. The book started out as strictly a suspense novel titled The Bishop Committee, but as I wrote it quickly became a romantic suspense. The publisher changed the title to Love’s Sweet Sorrow because it closely resembles the story.

3) Don’t confuse the Quakers with the Amish. The Amish are withdrawn from modern society. Quakers fully participate in the modern world. 

Quakers are Christian. I am Jewish and except for the obvious, I found the Quaker religion very interesting. The general perception of a Quaker is that they are all pacifists. They are not. Some do fight in wars.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. Love’s Sweet Sorrow is not a religious book. There is no preaching. The Quaker religion is used to explain the conflicts between the characters and is presented minimally in dialogue and actions.

4) I had entered this book in the Chesapeake Romance Writers, “Finish That Damn Book” contest. The rules were you could not have a contract to publish. When I entered the contest I did not have a publisher. However I had to withdraw the book because I did get a contract before the winners were announced.

They sent me my scores anyway. I received 137 out of 150 points. That’s 91% like. Everyone who has read Love’s Sweet Sorrow found it fresh and unique. The book had not been professionally proofed when I sent it to the contest and I lost some points because of punctuation and editing. It seems I can spin a good yarn, but those pesky Ds in English still haunt me.

5) Now I would like talk about something not related to this book, but very dear to me. My daughter and son-in-law live in Annapolis within walking distance of the Naval Academy. They volunteer as sponsors for plebes (freshmen). Once approved as a sponsor the academy assigns a plebe to them.

As a sponsor they invite the young man/woman into their home when he/she has time off so they can unwind. They feed him/her with food everyone craves, but is not readily available at the academy―pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and assorted sweets. The first year at the military academies is very intense. Not only is the caliber of education on par with M.I.T., Sanford, U.C. Berkley and the Ivy League, but in addition there is military training. 

Mu daughter  told me two interesting stories about her “charges,” one funny and one serious. The funny one first. Twin girls who live in Maryland within the allowable distance for weekend travel do not go home when they get a pass. They go to her house because that’s where the gathering is.

The serious one is about a young man who was struggling. They encouraged him to keep plugging away and helped him with his studies when they could.  Instead of flunking out, the young man will graduate in 2015.


It is said opposites attract. There can’t be two people more opposite than Ariel and Jason. Ariel is a traditional Quaker with an absolute aversion to war. Jason is the lead council for America's largest weapons manufacturer.

Their budding romance is thrown into turmoil when Jason uncovers evidence linking his employer to international arms deals that could devastate America. His determination to stop the treason puts Ariel in the middle of dangerous territory.

As the chases to retrieve the evidence intensify Ariel is forced to kill to save Jason’s life. She withdraws into a battle raging inside her, unable to reconcile whom she has been to whom she has become. Delving deeply into hers and Jason’s long-held opposing convictions she questions whether they are truly meant to be together.

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