Friday, December 30, 2016

Class Flash: Listings of Great Writing Courses From Laurie Campbell

Laurie is one of my all favorite writing teachers.

(Jan. 9-20, 2017 for Open Sisters in Crime Guppies only )   There are so many ways for writers to promote their books, nobody should have to do something that feels uncomfortable for the kind of person they are. Looking at the nine personality types, three subtypes, and five birth-order positions shows which best reflects you — and which kinds of promotion will come more naturally, so you won't have to dread all the activity that comes with releasing a new title or building a brand.

(Jan. 31-Feb. 24, 2017
 open to all   Giving likable, plausible characters a compelling conflict is easier with Enneagrams. Counselors and HR managers use this tool to identify the nine personality types: Reformer, Nurturer, Achiever, Romantic, Observer, Guardian, Adventurer, Leader and Peacemaker. Each one has its own uniquely heroic and distinctive traits, plus a troublesome flaw, that naturally bring them into conflict with other people...and with themselves.

(March 6-31 for any kind of fiction writers)   Any of us could write a book in which characters get shipwrecked on an uncharted desert isle. We've seen what seven such characters would do…over and over and over again. But what would YOURS do? If you nail down any character's motivation, it doesn't matter whether the ship capsizes or lands safely three hours laterYour characters will create a plot from whatEVER happens, because you've got their motivation built in from the very beginning. Here's how to do it.

   Which D is your strength, and which needs work? Here's what to do.

(April 3-14 for any kind of fiction writers)   A continuation of the March process open solely to people who've taken PVM online or in person at some point, this no-more-than-30-people group gets you plotting a brand new or already-begun book (using your completed 14-point worksheet) from start to finish. No need to prepare a new story idea, character bios, goal charts or anything else, because you'll see how to plot an entire book -- and actually have it ready to type -- by the end of this hands-on workshop.

   How will your characters overcome weakness for a happy ending?

live in Atlanta, GA
   Not yet sure what this day will include, but will know by April 21!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

This Could Be The Most Important Post of The Year #writing

My Annual Reminder

Nope, it's not a writing tip, it's a career saving tip. 

Several years ago, I read a post by Syndee Rogers-Nuckles about the importance of multiple or redundant backup systems. 

She was kind enough to let me reprint this, with a few additions of my own. 

Take it away Sydney....

Have you ever had your heart sink? Feel the sting of tears streaming down your face as you realized all your files had disappeared?

I have. In a total panic I searched my computer looking for any sign of hope, I shook my head trying to awaken out of what had to be a nightmare.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone reading this, other than LA, her buddy and me? 

Or were you one of the few lucky ones that had backups of all your files on another EHD (external hard drive) or DVD's? 

Or perhaps it's just been another thing on your ‘to do’ list? 

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to backup your files, but it can be so time-consuming and overwhelming. Like so many of you I am stretched to the limits of available time so after trying at least a dozen different strategies for backing up I finally hit upon something that really works for me.

Now, I use the ‘triple threat’, not just having a single backup copy but two so that you have three copies of all your important files. 

For instance, I have the following:

1- Original files: all my business files like documents are kept on my computer's built-in hard drive. My original design files are kept on my main External Hard Drive.

2- Backup 1: I try to make copies of all my important files as I create them to a second EHD that I keep hooked up to my computer. I try to back this up at least once a week.

3- Backup 2: This is where the online backup service comes in. I LOVE this! I use Backblaze which just runs in the background whenever my computer is on saving all my files for me! My files are backed up to a secure offsite server so if something were to happen to my computer I can still get to my files from another computer!

Online Backup Services


This service was easy to install and was backing up my files in minutes! One of the best things about this company is that it features unlimited storage. I was using Mozy before and they changed their pricing structure so much that it priced them right out of my budget. have been so happy with this service, I totally forget it’s running on my computer!

(LA) This is what I use. It took over 45 days to get all my data uploaded and that was several years ago, but it was done every day behind the scenes, I really didn't notice it at all. 2016 note. I also can back up my second hard drive in my tower, just by adding it. No additional cost or difficulty doing so.


I have heard good things about Carbonite. The biggest drawback is that they do not offer backups of your EHD’s, which is something I can’t live without. But if you are not using any EHD’s they are worth looking in to. 


I had trouble installing Mozy on my Mac when I switched over from a PC, and when I contacted customer support and followed the instructions they gave me it still did not work. It was around the same time they changed the pricing structure so I canceled my account and signed up with Backblaze.

(LA) I have friends who swear by Mozy, so check them out.  Things change all the time :)

Keep in mind that these online backup services are not meant to be an addition storage system, if you delete the files off your computer these companies will delete those same files after 30 days. 

Thank you Syndee for your research!!

An additional note by yours truly
Good Sync

This is a lifesaver for me. It allows me to sync my drives to my externals and either do a back up, a one or two sync.  I love this.  There is a slight learning curve, but it's a free program until you get too many files, I think it's 25, then there is a fee, but it's a purchase, not monthly.  

Back up your career, and have a wonderful and hopefully now, a worry free Holiday Season.

If you know of other companies, feel free to post them in the comments section.

Ciao and Happy 2017

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Christmas Series Is On Sale #99¢

My Star Light ~ Star Bright #1 Bestselling and Award-winning Series is on sale for 99¢ for a limited time ... load up an e-reader for gifting, or gift yourself. 

Blurb For Be Mine This Christmas Night
Children’s author Annie Hamilton’s dream of having a family resurfaces when Cole Evans moves next door with his two young boys during the Christmas season. But the lure of happily-ever-after with the brilliant scientist is overshadowed by the risk that revealing her secret will destroy this chance.


Blurb for Forever Your’s This New Year’s Eve
Getting Jennifer Malone to test his new cyber defense system is Major Brice Young’s priority until he discovers she is so much more than the icy cyber geek she portrays to the world. Jen fights to keep her distance, despite Brice's undeniable charm. There is no way she ever mixes business with pleasure, especially with a recently divorced man…or can magic happen on this New Year's Night?


Blurb for Believe In Me This Christmas Morn
It’s the week before Christmas and Belle Grantham has won the best gift ever from famed web guru, Mitchell Thomas—a website makeover she’s certain will save her struggling literacy nonprofit. Mitch is getting the Christmas present he so badly wants, an escape from snowy Boulder, Colorado, and its haunting memories.
Their wishes are threatened after a donor offers Belle financial rescue, but with unwanted strings…and a ticking clock.


And just in case you're not familiar with me...

L.A. Sartor started telling stories before she could write. Her mom patiently wrote them down and L.A. scribbled the illustrations. She still has them. She’s written award-winning screenplays and has had a contracted adaptation.  L.A. will be starting a new Cozy Mystery series in 2017. Writing brings her enormous fulfillment and she truly loves hearing from her readers.

Find L.A.:
Website | Mailing List (Please join for the fun, goodies and gifts)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Take Five With Author Kat Lively

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Kat.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, Finish What You Started?
Thanks for having me :)
I usually have two or three ideas bouncing around in my head at a time. I have written mysteries and thrillers, but I read romance and have wanted to write one. The idea for FINISH happened after seeing a call from a publisher looking for romances with “rich and famous” heroes. I thought a story about a D-list actor working his way back to the A-list might make for an interesting romantic comedy. His relationship with an old girlfriend – currently on a career high – would be explored, along with the circumstances that caused them to split.
Well, once I finished the book the call expired. I shopped it around, and Totally Bound offered me a contract.
If you were not a writer, what vocation would you pursue?
Not a tough question, believe it or not. I’ve worked office jobs and bookstores much of my life, and while I’d love to go back to a bookstore I think a career change-up would appeal to me, too. I’d love to work for a winery or nursery, be outdoors.

Do you prefer to read in the same genre you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre?  Why?

I will read pretty much anything – romance, mystery, biographies, etc. For romance, I tend to gravitate toward historicals and small town settings. I suppose I look for a story I think I’ll enjoy, and when it comes to romance I like to get a feel for the possibilities.

How do you create internal and external conflict in your characters?  I find conflict often the hardest to create when I start planning a book.

I tend to draw on my own memories and observations of others close to me. I don’t necessarily base characters on people I know, but some conflicts I create in stories are those to which I can relate.

If you could live during any era of history, which one would you choose?

I’ve always been drawn to the Tudor era. Not sure I’d want to live in that time, but the Regency era has some appeal.:)

Give us a brief summary of Finish What You Started:
It gets hot under the spotlight…
Once a teen idol, Gabby Randall now spends her time behind the cameras. With her show Danse Macabre scripted and greenlighted for a popular streaming site, she has everything she wants…except her star. Deadlines are looming and she’s desperate to cast the role of a modern-day, motorcycle-riding Grim Reaper. She never thought she’d end up hiring her former co-star, TV’s most beloved geek…and her ex-husband.

Until the day he dies, people will remember Dash Gregory as Freddie “Grody” Grodin, the token geek friend of the cool kids at Wondermancer High. After years of casting agents overlooking him for plum roles, Dash wants to show Hollywood he’s more than a one-note player. He’s ready to break the vicious typecasting cycle, and he’s set his sights on the lead role in a sexy new series too hot for network TV.

When the director yells “Cut!” the star wants to keep up the action behind the scenes. Are Dash and Gabby willing to make ratings history again?

Amazon | ARe | Barnes & Noble


Kathryn Lively is an award-winning writer and editor, Slytherin, Whovian, and Rush (the band) fan. She loves chocolate and British crisps and is still searching for a good US dealer of Japanese Kit Kat bars.

Find Kat:
Newsletter | Website & Blog | Twitter | Facebook Page
Pinterest | Goodreads

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mental Can Openers & Writer's Hash ~ "I'll Not Shut Out The Lessons They Teach" via A Christmas Carol

Dickens has always been a favorite and every year my father would read A Christmas Carol to us over the course of several nights.  See what Brad Leach has gleaned from that venerable story.

I have always struggled with my writing around the holidays. And I blame it all on Charles Dickens. Good luck firing up the muse when your personal high water mark includes A Christmas Carol.

Talk about character arc? A miserly man, alone, who prefers it that way. So nasty he gleefully shoos away crippled children, begrudges the freezing a piece of coal, even argues with the ghost of a former partner, insisting he’s a result of indigestion. 

Then, literally overnight, he changes into London’s St. Nicholas. He gives extravagantly to the poor and needy, sends a prize turkey as a surprise gift, and praises the ghosts and Christmas time.

How’s it measure on the adage, “Show, don’t Tell?” We aren’t told Scrooge hates carolers; he bursts through their ranks grumbling, flushing them out of his way with a walking stick. He doesn’t say he’s frustrated with the ghosts; he extinguishes one, only to find he has his bedding. Declaring he’s changed, he pays a boy for an errand, orders a gift turkey, and pays for a cab.

Dialogue? So many to choose from. But who doesn’t get a shiver when Scrooge declares, “If they would rather die, then they had better do it - and decrease the surplus population.” Or when he asks if Tiny Tim will live and the ghost declares, “I see a vacant seat... in the poor chimney corner. And a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved.... If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”

Tag lines? Try “dead as a doornail,” “Bah humbug,” “God bless us, every one,” “picking a man’s pocket every 25th of December,” and “an old Scrooge.”

Narrative? “Oh, but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.... He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.” So how can I then settle for my, “he was a cold and calculating man...”?

Back story cleverly woven into the text? Just observe the Ghost of Christmas Past. Secondary characters? Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Old Fezziwig. These are memorable characters whose every action play to our heart-strings or moving the story forward. Moral themes? Ignorance and Want. Dickens addresses poverty, social reform, redemption, and second chances. He doesn’t do social commentary, he motivates the heart; all in just under 29,000 words.

So I remember that this special holiday includes centuries of authors and screenplay writers best efforts. Delivered in concentrated form in one single month. Oscar-winning movies, classic stories and poems, sentimental favorites; they all set a high bar. Of course we expect to be moved by poignant emotions as we consider this time of holy redemption. How do you write to top that?

I can’t. Instead, I realize my stories will seem inadequate. I will feel they falter in the light of talent like Dickens, who wrote A Christmas Carol towards the end of his career. Christmas presents some of the greatest stories 2,000 years of Western Civilization has produced.

Instead, I study the great techniques of such stories. I ask if there is some way I can apply that technique? And I cling to my pen and laptop, waiting until January and February, when the magic fades, the measuring stick shortens, and even my bare stories appeal again. And as Scrooge vowed not to shut out the lessons the ghosts taught, let us embrace the classics and the inspiration they give this season.

~ Brad

Friday, December 9, 2016

Author Spotlight With Pamela Trawick's Walking Between The Stones

It is my distinct pleasure to bring you author, Pamela Trawick, and her new novel Walking Between The Stones

Please Pamela, tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this novel.

Thanks, L.A for having me as your spotlight guest. Who would have thought that watching elderly neighbors and their spouses deal with dementia would lead me to write a book where one of the characters suffers memory loss? Who would have thought that I could find humorous aspects to such a heartbreaking subject?  Who would have thought that writing Walking Between the Stones would provide me with lessons I used when my mother was suffering from ALS and that I’m now using as I face serious health problems of my own?

When I first started this book, I had no idea of the path God would put before me, but now I see his hand in everything. Walking Between the Stones is a story of love, family, and God’s healing hand. I hope reading it gives you new perspectives and a renewed faith in our Creator.

Willie Joe exited the Santa Fe church where he’d pleaded again for God’s guidance. He hesitated when he saw the entrance to the circular stone labyrinth nestled on the side of the building. He didn’t believe in New Age hooey, but the spiral path drew him in. A good stretch of his legs couldn’t hurt. Maybe the walk would clear his mind. Maybe God was answering his prayer already. Well, no one was around to see anyway.
He placed one boot onto the gray gravel path. The small rough stones crunched beneath his foot. This wouldn’t take long. The thing wasn’t huge. He’d walk through the stone markings, turn around in the center, then be on his way. A second step—firmer, louder. A few more steps and his body settled into a cadence. Step, step, step.
The keys on his belt loop added a higher note. Crunch, jingle, crunch, jingle. The smell of fresh asphalt burned his nose. The stench started at the nearby intersection where a crew repaired potholes. The aspens beside the labyrinth flung their golden leaves into the wind gusts. He resumed his journey. Crunch, jingle.
Traffic roared on the road while he walked the course marked between worn river rocks planted firmly in the ground—raised into a Braille missive. The varied sizes spoke a message he couldn’t read, but its presence drew him deeper. Was God trying to talk to him? Show him the way in a language he didn’t yet understand?
The longer stretch—a runway—allowed him to increase his pace before the tight turn back toward the center caught him unaware. When he tried to twist his clunky boots through the switchback, he stubbed his toe on a rock and stumbled. “Focus, Willie Joe,” he muttered. “One step at a time.” Was that it? Had he been trying to plan too far ahead? Trying to play God in his own life?
He wove his way through the labyrinth, hands splayed at his sides for balance. He shifted between longer and shorter strides according to the winding path’s demands. When he arrived at the center, seven wooden stumps of varied heights offered respite. Was he supposed to know the significance of seven?
He sagged onto an oak stump and his knees popped. A groan escaped his lips. He hated getting old. The adjacent evergreens danced with a slow metronome beat and his body swayed with them. He closed his eyes and focused on relaxing, but continued groaning words he couldn’t vocalize. Slumped, elbows on his knees, he buried his face in his hands and sobbed. He already missed Dory-Ann. They’d not been apart longer than a night or two during their entire marriage.
How was he going to get out of this mess? When could he go home? Deeper sobs overtook him. Not ever if his fears were true. Would Dory-Ann forgive him? She’d be mad at first, but would she eventually understand his actions were driven by love for her? Or would she hate him forever?
A warm tongue licked his whiskered chin, and he jerked away. “What the—” Heart pounding, he wiped his eyes and peered into the mug of a black and gray Labradoodle. One with wet snarled fur and a vigorous tongue. He rose from the stump and stepped away from the dog, but not soon enough.
The dog shook, flung water with centrifugal force, and doused Willie Joe’s rumpled work clothes.
Willie Joe swiped at his soiled pants. “Go away, you mutt.” He’d asked God for guidance, not a dog.

The Blurb:
They had the perfect marriage.  At least she thought they did…
The day before their fortieth anniversary celebration in their small Arkansas hometown, Willie Joe Lankton tells his wife he must leave. Embarrassed by his disappearance, Dory-Ann makes excuses to her friends and family about her husband’s location. Heartbroken and frightened, she tries to track him down, but Willie Joe doesn’t answer or return her calls.

Willie Joe has a lifetime of experience repairing vehicles; however, he may have made a mistake when a young man is killed in an accident while driving a truck he just repaired. Suffering from memory lapses he believes are signs of Alzheimer’s, Willie Joe flees to the western states so as not to burden Dory-Ann.

A troubled journey, pride, and fear keep them apart until God's plans are revealed.  

Pamela Trawick draws on her years as an attorney specializing in family law and estate planning and her parents’ experience battling cancer and ALS to craft a story of a couple traversing the rocky terrain of emotions and challenges tied to aging. Her books have been finalists in numerous contests, and Walking Between the Stones won the 2014 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Contest for best contemporary novel. Pamela lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and their only slightly spoiled Westie.

Find Pamela:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Five Secrets With Berdie Elliot ~ Enigma Of Fire's Main Character

Wow, today we're in for a different treat, learning five secrets 
from Berdie on :)

Thanks for this opportunity, LA.  I’m afraid Marilyn Leach has her head buried in an edit for an upcoming book.  She suggested that I, Berdie Elliott, her main character from the Berdie Elliott mystery series, share my own 5 secrets.  If you don’t mind, I’ll proceed.  And if you read Enigma of Fire, the mystery in which I relentlessly sleuth to resolve the crime, I’m sure you’ll learn even more about me.  Here goes--- 5 secrets about me, Berdie Elliott.

1) Although I’m an English vicar’s wife, I don’t fit the usual expectations when it comes to the kitchen.  In other words, I’d rather be sniffing out who the guilty party is in a village mishap than sniffing the perfect dinner for twenty I just cooked.  In fact, in Enigma of Fire, I have a special party for my husband’s former military pals, but my best friend, Lillie, and her handsome love-interest, Loren, actually do the lion’s share of preparing the meal.  What wonderful friends they are.

2) I sometimes struggle with living up to the expectations of a village that can put their vicar’s wife on a bit of a pedestal.  I tend to be impatient and I cannot abide falsehood.  To the chagrin of many, I’ll openly call people on it, which can sometimes rock the boat in a small village like Aidan Kirkwood where I live.  Often, my friend, Lillie, or my husband, Hugh, has to remind me to keep my tongue in check which is extremely difficult for me.

3) Although I don’t own a pet myself, I deeply appreciate the many animals that figure into most of the mysteries I solve.  For instance, in Enigma of Fire, there is a dog that’s a visiting nuisance at the vicarage.  But in the end, he’s quite heroic.  He helps save several lives.  And even wounded himself, he fights through his own pain to rescue others.  Where’s the box of tissues?

4) I’m not one to fussy-dress.  I do enjoy an occasional evening out when I can glam up a bit.  Like the time we went to dinner at Bamkingswith Hall as guests of the prestigious Preswood family during the Up from the Grave affair, although I almost went bum-over-end in their gravel driveway.  But I much prefer dressing for comfort.  I mean, how can you chase after the primary suspect in an attempted murder if you’re wearing high heels and pearls?

5) Though I sometimes get weary, as people do at my mature age, I never tire of solving perplexing crime cases.  I was created for adventure, intrigue, and a good giggle, even in distressing situations.  And I hope that I add a touch of inspiration to those around me as well.  I invite any who like to guess who-done-it, laugh, and be uplifted, to come visit with me in the mystery series named after me, Berdie Elliott.  Oh, and I’ll send Marilyn your best regards.  Cheers. 

Enigma of Fire: A Berdie Elliott Pentecost Mystery

When English village, Aidan Kirkwood, experiences an explosive fire, the entire parish is aflame with rumor and innuendo until Berdie Elliott, the scorching sleuth and vicar’s wife, can douse the flames with cold, hard facts that expose the perpetrator. A heroic dog, elusive book, and military champions come together to reveal the enigma of fire.


Marilyn Leach is a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast who lives lakeside near the Colorado foothills.  She enjoys viewing and reading mysteries that originate across the pond.  From the Scottish Boarders to Devon, city buzz to rural church bells, she enjoys excursions throughout the beautiful isle that inspire her writing.  Her dear friends, who have become like family, live in Reading, England.  

Find Marilyn:
Blog | Amazon Author Page |  Facebook