Monday, August 29, 2016

Mental Can Openers and Writer's Hash ~ Driving a Greyhound Bus in the Daytona 500 and Other Writing Insights

 Welcome Brad Leach and his monthly installment of insights, humor and
a sly bit of sarcasm.

      A few kindly people have recently asked some version of: “What’s it like to try and write a novel?”  And initially, my answer was “it’s fun.”  After half a year now, I would add, “It’s atrociously hard work.”  Not that I’m complaining – much.  Here are my findings.
      The plot is the map of the story.  Imagine it’s the road trip on which you intend to take your readers.  It must be scenic, pleasurable, and unique.  It must have thrills, tears, turns, and twists.  It must do this while not being too complicated or confusing.  You want readers exhilarated and intrigued but not car-sick. 

      Putting a story together is like picking out a hidden path through quicksand bogs in the dark, while juggling.  Why?  Today’s readers have been raised on the best of TV, Hollywood movies, and classic books.  Saturated with media, they notice flaws, are easily bored, and are used to being fed the story.  Fail and readers walk away.
      And characters?   They’re the vehicles readers occupy to take this ride.  Characters must be likeable and relatable, or at least watchable.  Yet they need human irritations, flaws, and complexity.  They need to be original, having unique quirks and habits, not contrived or stereotyped.  Readers want characters that are challenged, overcome their flaws, change and grow, while remaining the same person they knew.  But most of all, characters must never be boring or shallow.
      Setting is the scenery the reader sees out of the windows as the trip progresses.  It must entertain and delight, set up the trip’s feel and mood, yet not slow the story down too much or overpower the action or characters.  And it must be interwoven into text as the story moves, not just set in a block at the front.  No one starts a car trip watching all the scenery in a flash, and then has blacked-out windows for the rest of the ride.
      Add to this research and details.  You can’t use a Nehru jacket for antebellum America and the color you mention in chapter two must be the same in chapter thirty.  You might have forgotten some specific written five months ago, but your readers, civil war curators all, read both chapters within a few hours.  They spot lapses.
      Like any tour, the beginning must attract the reader’s attention.  Dialogue must pop and sizzle, while remaining unique to each character.  Back-story must balance action.  Pacing needs slow moments to offset the exhilarating action.  Dialogue must balance narration.  Grammar needs to be correct, yet not formal.  Sense the juggling balls yet?
     And all of this must be done using a unique style of voice.  Readers are looking for fun, quirky, or deeply moving ways of seeing familiar things or having new events and people described.  Old ghosts don’t produce new shivers, so new ghosts must be fashioned.  And today’s shivers are harder to come by.
      The best authors do this with a seeming ease.  But behind the curtain, they are combining the skills of a tour bus driver, an over-the-road trucker, a NASCAR driver, a Hollywood stunt driver, and an English chauffeur.   At the end, the author hopes to collect simple bus fare.  Yet if the author performs well, they know the hurdle for their next book just got a little higher.
      It’s a challenging trip to execute; a daunting course to run.  I’ve tripped a couple of times out of the start.  But I love every challenge and twist, every hill, scrape, and spill.  I’m finally wrestling with driving this bus.

~ Brad 

Friday, August 26, 2016


Yep, it's true, Viking Gold, Book Two in the Carswell Adventure Series, is on sale.
I figured it's still summer and this sounds like a summer read to me. 

Get yours here:
Kindle | iBookstore | Nook | Kobo

But hurry, it's a limited time sale.

Viking Gold was also featured on USAToday here.

And I'm on a blog where you get to meet the hero, Hermann Weiss:
Meet Hermann Weiss from Viking Gold #romance Action Adventure @Lesannsartor #RLFblog

And if you're interested in the book that started the whole series, Stone of Heaven, well, here it is.

Get yours here:
Kindle | iBookstore | Nook | Kobo

I hope you all enjoy the books and if you did, would you kindly leave a short review on the site where you bought the book? We authors live and die by reviews.
Warmest Regards, 
~L.A. Sartor

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take Five and Meet Author Iris Blobel

It's always a pleasure to host a prior guest. Especially one that lives down under :)

Welcome back to An Indie Adventure, Iris. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book NEW BEGINNINGS?

Hi, LA, it's been awhile and I'm so pleased to make a return visit, thank you. The story is set in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, the most southern state in here in Australia. I visited Hobart a few years ago and imagined how it would be to live in this city, how to adapt as a “non-local”, and bit by bit I wrote the story of two sisters moving there, inheriting a house from a stranger. Of course, I added a little bit of romance to the story – that’s where Mark and Zach come in.

This is the second edition of New Beginnings, which is a little sexier than the first. It’s also the first book in the Beginnings series.

How do you use setting to further your story?

IMPORTANT. If the setting isn’t right, the story won’t flow. That’s why most of my stories are set at the beach or places I’ve travelled to.

Fresh Beginnings, book three in the Beginnings series, is set in the U.S. I used our itinerary as the setting for a couple to travel the same route in the motorhome as we did. So much fun to write. I’m currently doing something similar with a story in New Zealand.

How do you construct your characters?

I honestly don’t. Usually I come up with a story, make some notes, and write a small outline. As soon as I get to chapter three or four, my characters hijack the story and wonder off to their own little world. But I like it that way.

How is your main character completely different than you?

Oh, I most certainly hope they are! I’m sure they have something of me in them, or at least something I would’ve liked to have been in my twenties / thirties. I try for my female characters to be strong and determined, but likeable at the same time. I like characters with flaws, because we all have them.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

Tricky one … revealing my most inner secret :) I love romance books, but I’m not much into romantic movies?

Give us a brief summary of NEW BEGINNINGS:

Twenty-two-year-old Sophie Levesque has been guardian to her eight-year-old sister Mia since their mother’s death a few years ago, and it hasn’t been easy. Luck comes their way when they inherit a small house in Hobart. Problem is, though, they don’t know and have never heard of Clara Bellinger, the testator. Settling into their new life, Sophie is still afraid it’s all a mistake.

Mark O’Connor, attorney in Hobart and the bearer of the good news for Sophie and Mia, curses himself for the lack of information about the testator. However, researching the questions gives him an opportunity to see Sophie again, and the more time he spends with the two, the more he realises that his life is missing something. And it’s not his casual lover Linda.

But then there’s Zach, Sophie’s sexy neighbour from across the road… and a very good friend of Clara’s.

Will unravelling the mystery unravel Sophie and Mark’s promise of a future?
Buy Links:

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Find Iris:
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