Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Five Secrets with Author Mary E. Thompson

Mary E. Thompson was a pretty ordinary person, wife, mom, former engineer, all around boring person... until she turned 35. Within two weeks of her 35th birthday she was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After six months of chemo, Mary came out the other end victorious, for now. She's still under surveillance but she's ready to kick cancer's ass again if need be. For now, she's kicking the asses of the characters who won't stop talking to her. After all, Mary says the only drama she likes is the drama on the pages of a book. She's happy to have her life reflect that again. 

Hi Mary, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Husky & Hot or you, but will after today!

1) Hi, L.A.. Thanks for having me as your guest today.  I fell in love at first sight. My husband and I met in college and if someone had told me that day I’d marry him I would have believed it. The only problem was it took three weeks before I found out his name!

2) Drew, the hero in Husky & Hot, wasn’t originally in any others books in the series except the first one, but I loved him so much I had to keep bringing him back. Now readers are dying for his story!

3) I had to work to rein in the language in Husky & Hot. Drew likes to talk dirty in the bedroom, but some of the words he wanted to use pulled me out of the story. Carrie loved it, but I had to work on them a bit to make sure they weren’t crossing that line!

4) Carrie’s dream is to be a stay at home mom. I felt like we’ve been missing this important career path lately. My mom was a stay at home mom and I know a lot of people who would love to be home with their kids (including my husband!), but most books have women who want a career (like me!). I loved that Carrie wanted to be a mom more than anything, although she wants to make a positive contribution with her career until she has kids.

5) Carrie is named for my great-grandmother, my oldest living grandparent. She passed away when I was 19, the day before she turned 99. She lived the longest a person could live and never see another century, born in 1901 and died in 1999. She lived to take care of everyone around her, towel drying my hair when it was wet in the winter, praying for everyone constantly, and giving anyone who visited her $1 just because she loved to treat those she loved.

Blurb :
Carrie Taylor only wants one thing in life - to be a mom. She knew from an early age that being a parent, especially a stay at home mom, was her #1 goal. But at 27, she feels like she's missing the boat for love, and for babies.

If she can't have a baby, Carrie, at least, wants to enjoy her career, but she hates her job. When a new one presents itself Carrie can't say no. Even if the job is working for the man who makes her insides flip, burn, and ache for more.

Drew Montgomery never expected the woman with the endless legs that he saw across the room at his launch party was his new receptionist. He'd hired her sight unseen at the request of his partner, Xander, and Xander's wife, Mandy. Both insisted Carrie was perfect for the job, but Drew thought she was perfect for helping him get over his ex.

As Carrie and Drew struggle to find a balance between their attraction to each other and their working relationship, Carrie questions if sleeping with her boss, and hiding it from her friends, is really a good idea. She knows he's only in it for the sex, which she's enjoying, but sex isn't going to help make her dreams come true.

Especially if Drew's mom and ex-girlfriend have anything to say about it.

Buy Links: 

Find Mary:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Last Friday of the Month Recipe - Green Chile Stew from Author Kris Bock

When I saw this recipe my mouth literally began to water.  And as I have family in New Mexico I was doubly intrigued with Kris Bock's books!  
Read on but keep a napkin close at hand.

Recipe of the Month
Camie’s New Mexico Green Chile Stew

The recipe and why you love making it:

Hi L.A. thanks for having me as your guest this month. I write novels of adventure and romance, set in the Southwestern United States, that touch on local culture, including food. For my most recent romantic suspense, The Dead Man’s Treasure, I put together a recipe booklet of foods mentioned in the book, including this wonderful stew. It’s great for groups, because everyone gets to adapt their own bowl to their own taste. Love it spicy? Add more green chile! Prefer it soothing and creamy? Pile on the cheese and sour cream. I called this “Camie’s New Mexico Green Chile Stew” because Camie is a character in the treasure hunting series, and the recipe is from a friend who partially inspired her character. 

2 medium onions
1 Tbsp. garlic
2 Tbsp. oil
1 pound ground beef or cubed stew beef
Chopped green chile to taste, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (you might find be able to find canned green chile in the Mexican section of your grocery store)
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Serve with any or all of: 

canned pinto beans or black beans 
cubed, cooked potatoes
shredded cheddar or Jack cheese 
shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cilantro 
extra green chile 
chopped avocados or guacamole 
sour cream

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until golden.
  2. Add beef and stir until browned.
  3. Add chopped green chile and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. You can use it immediately, but it’s even better if it blends for a few hours on very low heat.
  5. Put the beans, hominy, cheese, etc. into individual bowls. Let people build their own blend of stew. Add ingredients such as beans, potatoes, and cheese, and heat each bowl in the microwave. Top with cold ingredients such as sour cream and avocado.
For more New Mexico recipes, download the “The Dead Man’s Treasure Bonus Material” booklet from my website or see the “Recipes” tab on my blog, The Southwest Armchair Traveler.

Rebecca Westin is shocked to learn the grandfather she never knew has left her a bona fide buried treasure – but only if she can decipher a complex series of clues leading to it. The hunt would be challenging enough without interference from her half-siblings, who are determined to find the treasure first and keep it for themselves. Good thing Rebecca has recruited some help.

Sam is determined to show Rebecca that a desert adventure can be sexy and fun. But there’s a treacherous wildcard in the mix, a man willing to do anything to get that treasure – and revenge.

Action and romance combine in this lively Southwestern adventure, complete with riddles the reader is invited to solve to identify historical and cultural sites around New Mexico.

The first book in the Southwest Treasure Hunters series is The Mad Monk’s TreasureThe Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with sweet romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.

Buy Links: 

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

Find Kris:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Five Secrets From Author Anna Durand

Today we learn five of Anna Durand's secrets...even in her first paragraph we learn something about her previous life :) All of these will wow you.  They did me.

Anna Durand is an award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in steamy romances featuring spunky heroines and the hunky heroes who steal their hearts. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.

Hi Anna, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Intuition or you, but will after today!

1) Hi L.A. Thanks for having me backThe hero, David, emerged out of a sexy, spooky dream I had one night over a decade ago. It was one of those dreams that sticks with you after you wake up, and I never forgot the supernatural appeal of the invisible man with blue eyes.

2) I can read and write ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, so if I toast you at a party, it'll be "en ka ek" — for your soul. But my favorite ancient Egyptian saying is peret ankh, meaning life is a cycle. It's the original version of what goes around comes around, but it also means good things will come back around to you.

3) There are zombies in Intuition. Well, zombie-like beings. You'll just have to read the book to find out more! (Yes, I'm mean that way.)

4) I love Dr. Pepper. I usually drink some while I write, for a boost of caffeinated creativity. Yes, that's right, I'm a Pepper — and proud of it!

5) I have a tiny scar just under my left eye where a doctor accidentally stabbed me with a knife while I was trying to be born. I'll spare you the gory details, but I almost died before making it out of the womb. The scar reminds me after surviving a traumatic birth, I'm tough enough to get through the bad stuff in life.

Blurb :
Torn apart by their haunted pasts, Grace Powell and her fiancĂ© David Ransom are struggling to reclaim their passionate bond and build a normal life — one without danger and paranormal powers. But David can't renounce his obsession with hunting down Karl Tesler, who abducts and tortures psychics. David endured Tesler's tactics himself, but despite what Grace believes, he's not out for revenge.

Tesler covets her unprecedented abilities and her mysterious connection to a source of limitless psychic power. David will do anything — even abandon and lie to her — to protect Grace from Tesler.

With a psychic stalker on her trail, Grace charges into a desperate mission to uncover the truth about David's obsession. But Tesler's agents are closing in on her, and a terrifying new enemy is rising…

As events drive Grace and David toward a battle of epic proportions, they must risk everything — their relationship, their lives, and even their souls — to defeat an enemy who wields unspeakable psychic power.

Buy Links: 

Anna Durand is an award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in sexy romances, both paranormal and contemporary, featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.

Find Anna: 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mental Can Openers & Writer's Hash: The Writing Struggle or Don’t Count Your Chickens...

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of owning a few chickens.  I love farm-fresh eggs.  I’d have to build a coop of course.  I can just imagine how flap doors, ramps, pull-out cleaning features...etc., will look.  I see a barn red coop; happy, safe chickens pecking behind coop wire.  Eggs pop out from everywhere with deep golden yolks.  I’m a hit with friends and neighbors giving them away.  Cleaning is always on a sunny, warm day and done in 10 minutes.  (Do I hear laughter?)

 We all know plans can, and do, go wrong.  Building materials are imperfect.  Actual construction requires pounding in lots of nails, cutting wood straight, sanding, gluing, caulking,...   Sawing and pounding nails get repetitive and tiring, then mistakes happen. Wood splits.  Splinters happen (a new bumper sticker?)

Chickens can be loud, uncooperative, dirty.  Disease and predators threaten.  Cleaning the coop and collecting eggs in all weather becomes a drudge.

The above applies to writing a story.  For me, starts are fun.  Great ideas!  Story plotting where the day is saved as time is nicked, cliffs are appropriately hung, love is found, evil is thwarted with a thwack.  I envision excited readers blotting a tender tear, laughing til they snort, excitedly waving others over to read brilliant prose.  Money and offers will roll in like colored eggs on Easter.

Then I start to write it, scene by stubborn scene.  That portion is too short, another too long.  A chapter out of place?  Dull narrative.  Constant sentence length.  Repetitious words pounding like nails.  Or is that my head?  Bright “barn-red” dialogue reads like “grey.” 

Characters run loose; panicked squawking chickens.  Others won’t move at all, and no one’s laying ‘yoked presents’ except the author.  Re-reading, and editing begins to feel like endlessly cleaning the coop of you-know-what.  And rewritten scenes smell like you-know-what. 

It’s been months without a golden yoke.  I’m still gumming cream-o-mush every morning and chasing off weasels of discouragement at night.  Darn, statin-frattin, story-chickens!  Worse, there’s no time clock.  No boss pecking away at me, saying, “Get it done by Friday or else.”  TV beckons.

How is a writer to resolve this?  How do we find Godly motivation?  Where do we find the gentle nudge to continue?

My way to get through this is to take it personally.  Get cranked and repeat...  “I love eggs.  I want eggs.  And I’ll have eggs – even if I have to strangle it out of those stupid, feathered clucks.  My forefathers didn’t struggle up the food chain, plowing the land under a hot sun, so their current progeny, (i.e. me) could be defeated by a flock of flightless fugitives from Chick-fil-a!  NO CHICKEN, NO COOP, IS GOING TO GET THE BEST OF ME!!

Those chapters will line up and salute.  Narrative will be spit-shined and dialogue will sparkle like marine boots on inspection.  Action will be crisp and tension sharp or Character’s heads will roll!  Now, authors fall in at your computers.  (I just love it when the testosterone shots kick in, during a John Wayne movie weekend.)  Sit.  Now write!

How do you stay motivated?

MORE OF BRAD'S BLURB: The Dragon’s Mist Chronicles: The Last Ride in the Moonlight

So how does a boy of fourteen find the female blacksmith, who's half ogre, a willing husband?  Sure, Riddley might acquire a new suit of clothes for a traveling leprechaun who carries his home in a geode, but how does he get the bully-sheriff to pay his tailoring bill?  Or acquire magical wood from a holy tree that’s choking?  Lastly, the fairy queen wants a royal symbol the nasty gremlins can’t copy, and the only male banshee alive needs the tower bell mended.  It seems female banshee’s screaming at him cracked it, and he’s being blamed.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Take Five And Meet Author Courtney J. Hall

Today we are lucky to meet Courtney J. Hall. As you read on, do any of you know what a Coffitivity app is?  I've got to find out.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Courtney.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Some Rise by Sin?

Hi, L.A. Thanks for having me. I’ve been an Anglophile for as long as I can remember, and became interested in the Elizabethan era about twenty years ago when I stole one of my mom’s Bertrice Small romances from her bookshelf. I was way too young for most of the action in that book, but as it turned out, the story hooked me more than the many euphemisms for various body parts that would have fascinated a normal 12-year-old. I then spent years devouring anything I could find – nonfiction, historical fiction, historical romance – and eventually branched out to learning about the royal history of England from the Wars of the Roses straight through to the Regency. 

About eight years ago, the heroine of my novel, Lady Samara Haughton, came knocking and asking me to write about her. At first I envisioned a trilogy about Lady Samara and her two younger sisters coming of age in Elizabethan England. But as it turned out, my hero was actually the one with the story to tell and he had a rather strong connection to Queen Mary I. So I jumped at the chance to write about a period of time that is so often tossed aside in favor of Henry VIII (or any of his wives) or Elizabeth I.

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

Although I was a fan of Little House on the Prairie and am still obsessed with Anne of Green Gables, I don’t really consider them historical fiction because for the most part they were set in times through which their authors actually lived. I got heavily into historical fiction as a teenager, along with historical non-fiction.  As I mentioned, I started out when I found Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley on my mom’s bookshelf. Once I realized it was a 6-book series (with more to come, in time), I just started gobbling those books down like candy. Purple prose and throbbing anatomy aside, that lady made history fun. Once I determined that the Tudor era was my favorite, I started reading Philippa Gregory like it was going out of style.

What do you do to rev your creative juices?

Put on some music (even though once I get down to it, I have to turn it off – I need silence! Or my Coffitivity app). Open up my document and read what I wrote the day, or week, or sometimes month before. I’ve also been trying to get into meditating for a few minutes before settling down to write. I’m finding it hard to shut my mind off, though. But I’ll keep practicing!

What would be your advice to people who are considering a writing career?  And/or what would do differently in your career?

My advice would be to reach for the stars, but try and keep yourself grounded too. It’s a harsh business and you need a thick skin, and most of us don’t go on to become the next J.K. Rowling. Get your enjoyment from telling stories, and don’t get too wrapped up in the business of selling stories. It might happen – anything is possible! – but then again, it might not.

In hindsight, there’s probably not much I would change about my own career. I’m still a newbie, with just one book under my belt, and even though it took me three rewrites, a trip to England, and seven years to complete, I wouldn’t change a thing about the process of writing that book. It was a learning experience and I learned how not to write a book. Because of that, my next one is coming along much more smoothly! The only thing I think I would do differently involves marketing. 

Like many, I was excited to have written a book and sent it off into the world without a clue as to how to have people find it. Given the opportunity to go back in time, I think I’d have studied marketing a bit more before that big launch date.

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

Peter Norris, Lord Waltham. He has a bad habit of chewing with his mouth open and groping the help.

Give us a brief summary of Some Rise by Sin:

When Cade Badgley returns from a diplomatic mission in Rome to discover that his estranged father is dying, he has no choice but to accept an unwanted earldom, a crumbling estate and empty coffers. A kindly neighbor offers aid in return for an escort that will take his daughter to London to find a husband. Though the girl is a tempestuous artist with no marriageable skills, she quickly becomes sought-after by a man Cade has every reason not to trust. As Queen Mary Tudor lies dying, threatening the security of the realm, Cade finds himself in a battle involving his conscience, his heart, and his very life - and that of the woman he's come to love.

Buy Links: 

Born in Philadelphia, Courtney J. Hall’s writing career began when she figured out how much fun it was to make words rhyme. She has since gone on to publish embarrassingly bad poetry, melodramatic short stories and has written beginnings to at least a half-dozen novels. Most recently, her writing has been steadily improving thanks to the best critique group in the world, of which she’s been an active member since June 2008.

Courtney lives with her husband and a stolen cat in suburban Philadelphia and recently published her first novel, Some Rise by Sin, an historical romance that takes place at the tumultuous end of Mary Tudor’s reign. Some Rise by Sin was published through Five Directions Press in March 2015.

Courtney is currently simultaneously trying to plot the companion to Some Rise by Sin, to be titled Some by Virtue Fall, and writing her first contemporary holiday romance. She doesn’t like it when things come too easy.
Find Courtney: 
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Five Secrets From Author Eilis Flynn and the The Sonika Stories

I love Five Secrets blogs. I always wonder when I open my guest's document what I'm going to find.  Eilis has been a treat to work with, wait until you read her opening line and then go on to find out what her book is about.  It's "super".

Hey, L.A. thanks for having me. My middle name is Myrtle. I am determined to make it a popular name again!

Glad you have you, Eilis. Please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about “The Sonika Stories” or you, but will after today!

1) Thanks for having me today. “The Sonika Stories” is the republishing of my super-heroine novel, “Introducing Sonika,” bundled with two Sonika short stories and a World of Sonika glossary. Yes, it’s “re-introducing Sonika,” so to speak.

2) It took a while for me to offer it up again because I also wanted to make sure the second novel in the world of Sonika was ready to go, so that’s going to be available in April!

3) I come from a comic book background (I sold my first comic book story at the tender age of eighteen), so writing a novel about a super-heroine came as second nature. I’m glad that super-heroes and comics are finally hip!

4) The origin story of Sonika’s powers has been truly secret: The idea of manipulating sound came to me as I was slogging away at the gym. I may have blacked out as I started to plot out the story because when I came to, I was about done on the elliptical. After I hopped off, I had to find something to write on and began to scribble madly on the back of the magazine I was reading! The novel itself I wrote in three months, the fastest I have ever done. It just came together.

5) Sonika’s uniform has had numerous redesigns, but no matter how it changes, it’s also yellow.

The Sonika Stories
It’s not easy being a super-heroine
Blurb :
If you had the power to save the world, what would make you give it up?

Trained by her parents to use her abilities to fight criminals, Sonya Penn gave it all up after her parents were killed by their archenemy, Gentlemen Geoffrey, turning away from what would have been her life as a super-heroine.

And yet, when she finds herself drawn to scientist John Arlen, his thirst for revenge against the criminal who murdered his father forces her to confront her choices. She finds herself falling in love with this man, who has secrets he seems unwilling to reveal to her. 

Or she could finally take up the mission her parents intended her to pursue—even if it means his death or hers.

As she fights her way through her first official adventures as a super-heroine with Arlen by her side, she begins to understand the highs and lows that come with the job—and discovers something about the profession: You meet the oddest people!


Find Eilis:

DC Comics
• “The Weak Link” (Action Comics #475) (Lori Lemaris)
• “One of Those Days” (Action Comics #477) (Lex Luthor)
• “Hero for a Day” (Action Comics #486) (Clark Kent)
• “Two-Edged Sword” (Elvira’s House of Mystery #6)
• “Super-Symposium: Should Superman Marry Lois Lane?” (DC Special Series #5)

Writer, Editor
Comics Journal, Entangled Publishing, Foundation for the Future, Global Finance magazine, Institutional Investor magazine, Knight-Ridder Financial News, Macmillan Publishing,  Science Digest, Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities magazine

            • Two years chapter president, Greater Seattle chapter Romance Writers of America
• Moderator coordinator, publicity chair, doorprize coordinator, Emerald City Writers’ Conference (1994–2003)
• “From Wonder Woman to Alias: Those Kickbutt Heroines,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2004)
• “Submissions Bootcamp,” Greater Seattle RWA workshop (November 2004)
• “Heroines in Pop Culture,” Writer’s Weekend 2005 (June 2005)
• “Finding Your Hot Premise,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2005)
• “Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Manga,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2006)
• “Starting Your Writing Career at the E-Pubs,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2007)
• “Faeries Along the Silk Road and Beyond,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2008)
• “Dragons Along the Silk Road and Beyond,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2009)
• “Geeks and Gamers’ Guide to World-Building,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2010)
• “Marketing Your Book with Key Phrases,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2011)
• “Faeries & Dragons Along the Silk Road and Beyond: The Quiz Show,” Sakura-con (April 2012)
• “Getting Started at the E-Pubs,” Savvy Authors (May 2012)
• “Vampires Along the Silk Road,” Savvy Authors (June 2012)
• “How to Build a Super-Heroine,” Geek Girl Con (August 2012)
• “Werewolves and Other Shapeshifters Along the Silk Road,” Savvy Authors (October 2012)
• “Don’t Fear the Copy Editor,” Emerald City Writers’ Conference (October 2012)
• “Angels & Demons Along the Silk Road,” Savvy Authors (January 2013)

Publications, 2007 and beyond
The Sleeper Awakes, 2007 (Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press)
• Festival of Stars, 2007 (Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press)
• Introducing Sonika, 2007 (Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press)
• Echoes of Passion, 2009 (Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press)
• Riddle of Ryu, 2011 (Words & Ideas Press)
• Static Shock, 2012 (Crescent Moon Press) (script, graphic novella), 2008, “Thirty-Day Guarantee”
Scarecrow Publishing
“Two Worlds, United by Anime,” essay, in The Japanification of Popular Culture, 2008, Mark I. West, ed. Scarecrow Publishing, date unknown
Romance Writers of America Writers’ Report, November 2008, “Snappy Comebacks”


The Sleeper Awakes

• First Place, Paranormal Category
1998 Emerald City Opener Contest

 Introducing Sonica

• Finalist, Paranormal Category
2002 Kiss of Death/Daphne DuMaurier Contest
• Finalist, Paranormal Category
2002 Valley Forge Romance Writers Winning Beginnings Contest

 The Fall Of The Hesperus

• Third Place, Paranormal Category
1999 Emerald City Opener Contest