Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Take Five with Author Jill Haymaker

Today you get to meet Jill Haymaker and learn a bit about her new series, Peakview. 
And wait until you read her answer to the last question. 
Don't miss it!!

Jill is offering a sale and don't miss her on.

Welcome Jill, what inspired you to write Breakfast for Two?

I fell in love with both the main characters in this book Violet and Howard, when I wrote the first book in the series, Colorado Sunset.  I just love my little town of Peakview nestled high in the Colorado mountains.  I wanted to write a romance about characters in their sixties, to show that romance is just as real for people our age, that they still have the same feelings, wants and desires as twenty-somethings. But at the same time, I wanted to show the unique issues and dilemmas that older people deal with in a love relationship. I hope that I have been able to portray their unique personalities and sense of humor on facing their senior years. I wanted to give baby boomers a romance they could relate to.

How did you use setting to further your story?

I’ve always believed that setting is almost like another character in any story.  As a reader, I fall in love with the setting and want to continue to read more stories in the same location.  When I started Colorado Sunset I didn’t know Peakview existed. It just happened. But once I had created it, I fell in love with the small town.  Many of the issues my characters face are unique to small-town living.  I think Peakview and its residents allowed for Violet and Howard to fall in love.

How do you construct your characters?

I think my characters construct themselves.  I start out by doing a backstory for each of my characters, I construct as much detail as possible about their entire lives leading up to the beginning of my book (when your characters are in their 60’s that can be a lot of backstory. Then I try to have them conform to how someone with those experiences would react to what’s going on in their lives. I am definitely a Pantser, so I usually don’t know at the beginning of a story where my characters are going to take me. Sometimes they really surprise me.

How is your main character completely different from you?

All of my characters have a part of me in them.  Violet has lived a very different life than I have, so her views are somewhat different than mine, but I think we have the same hopes and dreams.  I made her the town busybody, which being an introvert is not something that I would do. She is way more outgoing than I am.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect.

I was a bartender for almost twenty years before becoming an attorney. You can learn a lot about people by watching and listening to them when they drink. I think I draw many of my characters from people I met in bars. People will give their bartender more personal information than they share with most of their friends and family. I have always been fascinated by the study of people and how they react to others.

The tiny, mountain town of Peakview, Colorado, wouldn’t be the same without Violet’s Café, and its owner, Violet Woods. Widowed in her fifties, she leads a solitary life with only her cat Lucky to keep her warm at night. All thoughts of romance died with Stan. They had a wonderful, long happy marriage, and she’s content to live out the rest of her life with her memories.

Howard Crandall, Peakview’s only mechanic, is a confirmed bachelor and something of a hermit. When Stan died, he took it upon himself to look out for Violet. Over the years, they have become friends, but it isn’t until the past he has hid from for thirty year past suddenly catches up with him, that he opens up to the idea of finding love.

Is there a second chance for these two lonely souls?


Book 1 in the series, Colorado Sunset is Free from October 1-5
Buy Link: Amazon

Jill Haymaker was born and raised in Indiana and Ohio. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado in 1975.  Ms. Haymaker has made her home in Fort Collins ever since except for three years in the 1990’s when she left to attend law school at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has practiced family law in Fort Collins for the past 20 years. She has three grown children, a son and two daughters.  She also has three granddaughters.

Jill has always had a passion for writing.  Colorado Sunset was her first full-length romance novel.  It is the first in a series of novels centered in the small town of Peakview, Colorado. The second book in the series, Breakfast for Two, was released on September 15, 2015. She is working on the third book, a Cabin in the Pines, to be released in early 2016.She also has had several short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her latest story in a book entitled Thanks to My Mom.

When not practicing law or writing, Jill enjoys gardening, long walks with her Shetland Sheepdog, Laddie, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoys their numerous sporting events. She is also an avid football fan and can be found on autumn weekends cheering on the Broncos, the CSU Rams, and the Huskers. She has a passion for working with high school youth- she is a youth group leader at her church, coaches a high school Mock Trial team and is a volunteer for high school Cross Country and Track teams.

Find Jill:
Email | Website/Blog | Twitter | InstagramFacebook

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Contest Information from the Southwest Florida Romance Writers

Dear readers, I'm always happy to post information for Writers Contests.
Note, on this contest you do NOT need to be a member of RWA to enter.

Here is information on the SWFRW (Southwest Florida Romance Writers) annual Joyce Henderson Contest for unpublished authors, indie authors, and traditionally published authors who have not published within the last five years. Entrants need not be Romance Writers of America members. We have had several manuscripts sold through our contests.

The fifteen contest finalists (three each from the five categories) will have an opportunity for their story to be put in front of top industry editors and agents.

The categories and final judges:

Contemporary (including Women’s Fiction)
Dawn Dowdle, Literary Agent for Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

Isabel Farhi, Editor at Penguin/Random House Publishing.

Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy
Susan Brower, Agent for Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Young Adult
Lee Lawless, Editor for Tor/Forge Publishing.

Romantic Suspense
Junessa Viloria, Editor for Random House Publishing.

Submissions: The first twenty pages of an unpublished manuscript which is a romance or features romantic elements, including a one page synopsis that will not be judged. This manuscript should have all rights available.

Deadline: Entries must be submitted and payment received by 11:59 pm on October 1, 2015.

For more information, go to our website:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Five Secrets From Author Donna Wichelman

Bio: Donna Wichelman worked in community and employee relations for ten years. She has authored a number of short stories, essays and articles in various inspirational publications. She now lives her dream writing novels and screenplays. She and her husband live in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Hi Donna, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Light Out of Darkness or you, but will after today!

Hi L.A., thanks for hosting me today, I'm pleased to share a few of my secrets with your readers.

1)    The concept for Light Out of Darkness began with a family vacation to northern Italy in the summer of 2001. The trip was a precursor to my 25th reunion with classmates from the United World College of the Atlantic—an international school in Wales, U.K. We stayed at a lovely little boutique hotel in Varenna on the east shore of Lake Como, and I was so impressed with the spectacular view that I wanted to set a book there. The story and plot came much later in my research.

2)    I knew nothing about the Waldensians before Light Out of Darkness. Though I had a potential setting, I spent many hours on the internet in search of a story that could plausibly be set in northern Italy. When I finally hit on this ancient Christian religious sect from the northern Italian Alps, I had an “Ah-hah!” moment. Their real-life story of valor and enduring faith touched me and seemed to be the makings of an epic adventure. Their emblem, a candlestick with six stars surrounding it, contains the Latin phrase, Lux Lucet in Tenebris—Light shining out of darkness.  That became an appropriate title for the book.

3)    At the time Light Out of Darkness was still in the concept stage, I had inherited a subscription for the Biblical Archaeology Review from my mother after she passed away. As I was conducting research for the novel, an article appeared in the BAR about the nineteenth-century British painter, J.M.W. Turner, whose Bible Lands paintings incited tourists to visit the Holy Land. Turner was also known as “the painter of light” and had many followers, including John Ruskin. Ruskin was so obsessed with Turner’s art that he wanted to emulate him. As it turns out, Ruskin was a Scottish Reformer who had grown up in that tradition. He reports in his own personal diary (Praeterita, Volume III) that he took a trip to the Italian Alps for inspiration. When he couldn’t master Turner’s technique, he walked into a Waldensian Church for solace but found little comfort there and walked out in despair. He lost his faith and became known by colleagues as an eccentric. This true story inspired the fictional tale in Light Out of Darkness.

4)    Two of Jamie’s childhood antics growing up with her brother, Jason, in Cleveland, Ohio came from real-life stories told by my now deceased mother. She used to tell me many stories of a wild childhood, running with friends in Lorain, Ohio during the 1930s and 40s. The story about the ghostly apparition, hanging from a tree in the front of her house at Halloween, did in fact cause their neighbor to crash into the tree and had my mother grounded for quite some time.

5)    Jamie grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where her father is a professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University, and her mother is first violinist for the Cleveland Orchestra. I grew up on the west side of Cleveland and received my bachelor’s degree from CWRU with a minor in music. I know the area well and have some fond memories of places and friends from college days. At the time I attended CWRU in the late 1970s, music students could buy tickets to Severance Hall’s orchestra performances for a mere 50 cents. My friends and I in the music department took great advantage of those tickets. One memory that will always remain with me, however, still causes me to shudder. That memory is of a bus accident involving a student at the corner of Adelbert and Euclid Avenues. I did not know the student, but observing the horror of that day gave me pause to consider the temporal nature of our lives. That’s why the experience made its way into the book.

A prestigious art exhibition turns into a horrific spectacle when a murder sends an art curator and a professor on a hunt for a highly coveted stolen painting.

Jamie Holbrooke’s painful past follows her to Italy when an assailant, who looks like her dead brother, presses a mysterious riddle into her hand. Soon she discovers that her long-time paragon Dr. Alessandro Marianni may be linked to the enigmatic riddle. Intrigued by her questions, Alessandro’s res must wait when their colleague falls prey to an assassin’s bullet. Convinced the riddle, murder and coveted stolen painting are connected, Jamie and Alessandro set out to hunt the person responsible. 

At stake is a two-thousand–year-old drama, unfolding in the contemporary world of the Northern Italian Alps. Will Jamie and Alessandro stop powerful criminal entities before the painting is lost forever and with it a secret more valuable than the prized artwork? Will Jamie find the courage to face her fears? She will need the persevering faith of Dr. Alessandro Marianni to give her the answers to restore her wounded heart.


Find Donna:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Take Five with Author Nancy Haddock

Today it's my extreme pleasure to bring you Nancy Haddock and her new Silver Six Crafting cozy mystery series by Berkley Prime Crime. I've loved her writing before with her vampire series (a must read) and this book continues Nancy's fun & unique voice coupled with unforgettable characters.

And Nancy is giving away a signed copy of Basket Case (paperback mailed to winner) or an e-copy via Amazon or B&N.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Nancy Haddock.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, Basket Case?

Hi, L.A. Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today.  In answer, it's a combination of things inspired the book and series. Having a parent in an independent living center and seeing the interactions of residents was a big factor. Also watching my mom with her friends who still lived in their homes was an eye opener. Many were dealing with their own infirmities or their spouse’s illnesses, yet they were upbeat and funny. I got a real education!

And then there was the something funny that happened when I was in Magnolia, Arkansas. That convinced me to develop the series and write Basket Case.

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

I can’t pinpoint specific experiences, but I’m absolutely certain that being read to as a child helped. My mother once told me I was three when I began asking her to write stories as I dictated them. I have only the vaguest memory of those times, but I do recall having story lines constantly running in my head. The characters were me, my friends, our parents, and pets. The neighbors also figured in my stories. I remember blocking the action scenes as I played. Weird kid, right?

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

Absolutely! As are so many writers, I’m a people-watcher and people-listener. Yes, I eavesdrop. Unashamedly, but with discretion. Body language, voice inflection, quirks, etc. work their ways into my characters. I do use things that happen to me, especially the funny things like what happened in Magnolia on my first visit there. Of course, I did fictionalize and exaggerate the incident. To protect the innocent, naturally. :)  

How do you use setting to further your story?

I love to feel that I can find my way around locations in the books I read, so I pay attention to locale in my own work. I love evoking and enhancing the general sense of time, place, and mood. In my earlier works, I used many real places in the city of St. Augustine, and included bits of its history, its ghosts, etc.

In Basket Case, I went for southern small town ambiance. I based Lilyvale mostly on Magnolia, especially the downtown area, but also on the small towns I lived in or have visited in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. I also love using southern speak to reinforce setting. Not every word from a character’s mouth is strictly a southernism, but shoot fire and save the ashes, they surely do help sharpen sense of setting!

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

I have read mysteries for eons, starting with the good old standards of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden. I’ve logged many hours watching mystery and mystery-romance films and TV shows, too.

One of the first books I recall getting from my school library was The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, a historical mystery-romance set in late 17th century New England. With a witch trial in the mix for good measure, talk about a moody setting! No wonder the book won the 1959 Newbery Medal!

Yes, I found and bought another copy of this book a few years ago, and I did read it again!
Of course, I also found a copy of one of my beloved Little Golden Books, Nurse Nancy. I bought and re-read that one, too. Not a riveting mystery, but a fun, short walk down memory lane. :)

A brief summary of Basket Case:
“Nixy” Nix visits her aunt in Lilyvale, Arkansas, fearing Sherry Mae may have dementia. Instead, Sherry and her five housemates are perfectly competent and battling a real estate developer who wants Sherry Mae’s ancestral home and land. When the developer is found dead in the family cemetery, Nixy must prove Sherry Mae is innocent of murder before the killer strikes again.

Buy Links:
For both paperback and e-book:

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling author of mystery romance who now writes cozy mystery. Basket Case, the first book in the Silver Six Crafting mysteries, will be released in Sept. 2015 with Berkley Prime Crime. Her earlier books, also with Berkley, are La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire, featuring Cesca, aka Gidget with fangs, and are set in Haddock’s current hometown, St. Augustine, FL. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron.

Find Nancy:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Take Five with Author C.K. Alber

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, C.K.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Broken Promises?

Good day everyone.  I’m C.K. Alber and it's great to be here. Thanks L.A. for having me.  My inspiration for finalizing my story came from my three grown daughters.  My computer case was filled with notes taken over the years and the story was a permanent fixation in my head. I just needed to put the notes together and to begin typing. My oldest daughter, a teacher, reminded me that assignments should be completed and she would be pleased to read and edit my finished work. My middle daughter, recovering from a difficult surgery is a day-to-day person and suggested that I commit to a couple hours of writing every day. My youngest daughter, living in Norway at the time, gave me the goal of finishing and submitting before she and her husband returned to the US.  And I followed their direction.
What were your experiences as a child that contributed to you becoming a writer?

My father used to tell me, with humor, I could tell so many believable lies. Today I will swear that it was story-telling, and not lies that I fabricated as a youngster. 
Do day-to-day life experiences influence your stories?

I’m in another world while driving alone and for long distances. I’ve gotten some of my best plot ideas in my car. I’m also a people watcher. So airports, offices, or just long lines give me the opportunity to examine personalities and possible characters for my next story. 
What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

I buy a thick new notebook and write the descriptions for each character, their personalities, backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and I include their birthdays. I cut out eye colors from magazines, paste them on the first page and give them a character’s name. 
If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

Katharine Hepburn because of her fierce independent style and her spirited personality.  The kind of character I like to create.

Give us a brief summary of Broken Promises.
Cassandra Algani’s life is shattered when she learns the secret about the newborn son she buried six years ago. Deceit and underhanded lying by someone she loves. Lawyer Michael Jensen intensifies his search for the truth to clear his name in the suspicious death of his fiancée. 

A witness, a gun, deceptions, and a bold encounter surface at the grimmest moment.  Secrets from the past for both Michael and Cassie intertwine into a tangled relationship of sizzling passion. Distrust swells as danger lurks around every corner, keeping them apart, yet with guarded defenses that very danger brings them together.  
Buy Links: Amazon

Bio: C.K. Alber, author of Broken Promises, was born inIndiana and raised and educated in both Indiana and Illinois. An extended move to Europe brought about the desire to write.  She had gone from the maze of cornfields and town life to historical buildings, famous paintings, the city, and the seaside. As a “people watcher” her stories and characters began to develop, her imagination went wild regarding the settings and dialogues in her head, thus, Romantic Suspense became her preferred genre.

Now she lives in Colorado with her dog Luna, but is still a stateside and worldwide traveler when visiting family or when the occasion arises.

Find C.K.: