Sunday, June 25, 2017

Screenwriter Robert Gosnell ~ Understanding The Word "No"


Understanding the Word "No"
Rejection.

We all encounter it throughout our careers, and either accept it and keep going or give into it and quit. Simply the fear of rejection is enough to stall, or even prevent a promising writing career.

I have submitted dozens of screenplays and TV scripts to potential producers, film companies and investors over the years. Enough of them hit home to provide me with a career, but they only represent a fraction of my submissions. The vast majority were rejected, and some quite callously.

It's never personal, of course. At least, that's what they tell us, and maybe they actually mean it, but for us, the writers, it's never not personal.

In virtually all of my rejected screenplay submissions, the response went something like this: My agent would call and say, "They liked the writing, but it's not what they're looking for."

That isn't exactly brutal. In fact, it's pretty diplomatic, which may be why so many of them used it. 

"It isn't you, it's us."

First off, they always tell writers that they liked the writing. Maybe, they did, or maybe they didn't, but I've never not been given that note.

"It's not what they're looking for" holds a lot more water. Honestly, that is the most likely scenario.

Perhaps, they determined the budget to be too high and passed on it for economic reasons. Maybe, they're looking for a vehicle for a particular star, and my lead character didn't fit. Maybe, they already have something similar in the pipeline. It's also quite possible that it just isn't something they want to do.

Like every business, a production company sets goals for itself. They have a clear business plan, and it's easy to not fit into it.

The fact is, success relies on getting the right script in front of the right person at the right time. I'm asking them to pay me thousands of dollars to spend millions of dollars and a great deal of time and energy producing my screenplay. It demands a perfect storm of opportunity which is fragile and rare.

That's the good news. It really isn't personal. There are many reasons for rejecting a screenplay that have nothing to do with me. So, I reject the rejection and keep going. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

And, why not? After all, they liked the writing.

~Robert

"The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay" is currently available at:
Amazon digital and paperback
Find Robert at:
Website (with information on classes)
Email





BIO: 
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.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Take Five With Author Mary Vine


Well, it's supposed to be spring here in the Rockies, but after a snow last week and much cooler weather than I'd like, I decided I'm due for some reading.  And guess what, I find a new-to-me author writing a time travel romantic novella.  Perfect.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Mary Vine.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, A Nugget of Time?
Hi, L.A., thank for having me as your guest today. I have been in love with the woods of Northeast Oregon for about twenty years now. My husband likes to pan for gold there, but I am more interested in the history of the mining district during the mid to late 1800s. We bought a couple of lots in the ghost town of Bourne (first named Cracker City) and that is where my story came alive. While wondering what it would have been like to live in this town during its heyday, I brought back heroine Dixie Lea, a 21st-century newspaper reporter, to 1870.

If you were not a writer, what vocation would you pursue?


I was blessed to find two jobs I really enjoy. Writing is one of course, and the other is education. I spent 28 years in the field and then retired last summer as a licensed speech and language pathology assistant, teaching k through 12th grades.

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

I usually prefer happily ever after romances with mystery and/or suspense and that is what I write. I’ve always liked romantic time travel as well.

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 don’t know that I have the answer to that specifically. I am the kind of author that doesn’t plan much on paper but lets the story unfold in my head at the computer. But, I usually start the story knowing the setting and the internal struggle of the heroine and hero and go from there.

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

The 1870s or just after the Civil War. Yet, when I wrote Nugget of Time I had the heroine, Dixie Lea, doing tasks around the house without the use of 21th-century technology and it didn’t seem quite as “romantic” as I once thought. I would like to learn how to wash clothes at the river by hero James Brogan, though.

Give us a brief summary of A Nugget of Time:
A Boise newspaper sends Dixie Lea to interview the owner of the largest gold nugget found in the 21st century. While waiting for him in a mining territory in Northeast Oregon, she walks into a cave. Feeling dizzy, she puts a hand to the wall of the tunnel and wakes up alone on a hill. 

Retired Lieutenant Colonel James Brogan is at a complete loss of what to do with this self-directed woman alone in the woods with no knowledge of how to survive in 1870. His sense of right and wrong gives him no choice but to keep her safe. Yet, someone else is waiting and planning for them to come to a disastrous end.

Buy Links:

Bio:
Mary Vine is the author of contemporary romantic fiction books MAYA’S GOLD, A PLACE TO LAND, SNAKE RIVER RENDEZVOUS and historical novella WANTING MOORE, published by Black Lyon Publishing. 

Through Melland Publishing, LLC, she has published a romantic mystery, A HAUNTING IN TRILLIUM FALLS, a time travel, A NUGGET OF TIME and an inspirational children’s book, THE BIG GUY UPSTAIRS. 

She has also published two children’s books by author Velma Parker, EMMA COMES THROUGH and MOLLY’S MONKEYSHINES. Mary, and her husband can usually be found in Southwest Idaho or Northeast Oregon.

Find Mary:


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Five Secrets From Author B.K. Stevens

I'm telling you, we're a lucky bunch to find all these new-to-us authors.  Please welcome mystery writer, B.K. Stevens. Her secrets are really cool, read on.

B.K. (Bonnie) Stevens has published over fifty short stories, most of them in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Eleven of those stories, including Agatha, Macavity, and Derringer finalists, are collected in Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime. B.K.’s first novel, Interpretation of Murder, is a whodunit offering readers insights into deaf culture. 

Fighting Chance, a martial arts mystery for teens, was an Agatha and Anthony finalist. B.K. blogs at SleuthSayers and also hosts The First Two Pages. She and her husband, Dennis, live in Virginia with their smug cat. They have two amazing daughters, one amazing son-in-law, and four perfect grandchildren.
   
Hi, B.K., please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime or you, but will after today!

1)   Thanks for having me here today as your guest, L.A. I often have fun with naming characters—I sometimes name them after people I know, sometimes after characters from literature and mythology. And sometimes I get out my book on the origins and meanings of names. “Death in Rehab,” first published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and included in Her Infinite Variety, is set at a clinic for people with unusual addictions—for example, a Jeopardy! fanatic who speaks only in the form of questions, a serial plagiarist who always echoes what other characters say, and a compulsive proofreader who can’t stop correcting other characters’ grammar. The meaning of one name turns out to be an important clue in solving the mystery, so I decided to give all the suspects names that reflect something about their personalities or situations. For example, an angry, resentful character is named Martha (“bitter”), a character who’s eccentric but contented is named Felix (“happy”), and a celebrity who checks into the clinic for court-mandated rehabilitation is named Roland (“famous”).

2)    Here’s a secret that will give you a head start at figuring out what’s going on in one of my stories. Once, when I was teaching Shakespeare’s Othello, I got especially fascinated by Iago. I thought it might be interesting to write a mystery story with a character like Iago in it. So I did. The story got published in a magazine and is now in Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime. Which story is it? That’s a secret I’m not sharing—if you read the stories, you’ll know.

3)    Since short story writers don’t have much time to capture the reader’s attention, I always devote special care to my opening sentences. Of all the stories in Her Infinite Variety, I think “Honor among Thieves” has the best opening sentences. Here they are: “The first time it happened, it was just barely a crime. It started as an honest mistake, and she simply didn’t correct it.” Those are the first sentences of “Honor among Thieves.” I think there’s something quietly ominous about those sentences. We don’t know exactly what “she” did (although the title gives us a big hint), but we know it was a crime, even if “just barely.” And “the first time it happened” lets us know it’s going to happen again, and that next time it probably won’t start as “an honest mistake.” So someone who’s generally honest is going to commit a number of crimes. I hope readers will wonder how and why that might happen, and will want to read on.

4)    Sometimes, nasty thoughts can lead to successful stories. For many years, I was an adjunct English professor, following my husband’s career from state to state and patching together any part-time teaching jobs I could find. At one college, the director of the composition program was an unpleasant, obnoxious woman, a gossip and a snoop. She wasn’t qualified for her position, but she’d maneuvered her way into it by playing up to powerful administrators. Adjuncts had no power, so she treated us like dirt. And she found sneaky ways to inflate her paycheck and use college funds for personal purposes. I sometimes fantasized about exposing her and getting her fired, but I never did anything—just fumed. Years later, I decided to write a story called “Adjuncts Anonymous,” about a group of four English adjuncts who fantasize about getting revenge on their despicable director of composition. It starts as a joke, as a way of letting off steam—but then the revenge fantasy seems to be coming true, though none of the four will admit to taking any actions. That story made the cover of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, earned a Derringer nomination, and ended up in Her Infinite Variety. And writing it was good therapy for me.

5)    In “The Shopper,” a young librarian’s house is burglarized while she’s at home, asleep. The police know this burglar’s pattern well: They call him The Shopper because in addition to stealing things with monetary value, he seems to wander through a house picking up anything that appeals to him, whether it can be fenced or not. Then two men the librarian’s never seen before start showing up at the library every day. For various reasons, she suspects one of them is The Shopper, and she fears he’s stalking her. But which man is the one who burglarized her house? Here’s a secret that will help you figure it out. On the second page of the story, a police detective lists all the items stolen from the librarian’s house. Pay careful attention to that list, and keep it in mind as you observe the actions of the two men she suspects. The list offers you valuable insights that should help you zero in on The Shopper. 

Blurb:
Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime includes eleven stories of various lengths, types, and tones, from humorous novella-length whodunits to a dark flash fiction suspense story. Most were first published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The stories include Agatha, Macavity, and Derringer finalists, along with the winner of a national suspense-writing contest judged by Mary Higgins Clark. 

Some of the women featured in these stories are detectives, and some are victims. Some inspire crimes, and some commit them. The women’s ages vary, and so do their professions—librarian, administrative assistant, housewife, trophy wife, personnel director, college professor. Romance is an element in some stories, but never the primary one.

Always, the stories focus sharply on the various entanglements of women and crime. “These finely crafted stories have it all -- psychological heft, suspense, subtle humor -- and the author's notes on each story are especially illuminating. A treat for lovers of the short story form and students of the craft of writing.”--Linda Landrigan, Editor, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
Buy: 
Find BK:



Monday, May 15, 2017

Mental Can Openers and Writer's Hash ~ Don't Mess Around With An Author's Voice


Brad Leach once again brings us his viewpoint that is both fascinating 
and right-on-point.  

Don’t Mess Around with an Author’s Voice!

     “Agents and editors often say they're looking for a fresh writing voice.  The world needs to honor your voice.  Use the words that come naturally to you and write the stories that haunt you.” Natalie Charles
     What is “Voice” when you write?  Is it another word for your story?  Is it the distinctive way each character speaks?  Is it an ongoing message woven in each story or novel?  I’ve heard it billed as “an author’s style.”  But what is that?
     Voice is one of those confusing writer’s terms kicked around by pipe-puffing, cardigan- clad, sophisticate-writers in loafers, chatting up Susan Sontag wannabes in urban writer’s groups.  He’ll toss it out in reference to his Hemmingway experiment.  She’ll talk about how her younger New York experience formed it.  It’s the je ne sais quoi of the writer’s world.  It’s what you say when you don’t know what to say.
     After exploration and drilling that mandated an OSHA permit, I’ve excavated a definition.  It’s how the author chooses to write something. 
     “What?” I hear you ask, teeth grinding.  “All this fuss and it’s simply what words I choose?”  And at its heart, the answer is “yes.”  But remember, how you choose to write something impacts the reader’s images and moods.  It will appeal to some and put off others.
      Take Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s cliché phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night.” That’s how he decided to open his 1830 Victorian novel, Paul Clifford.  But how many ways can someone open a novel with a storm or bad weather?


     “The storm broke.  Hard.”  Or, “Tidal winds poured even amounts of fury and rain across the alien jungles on the planet’s dark side.”  Or, “Rain for her tears and rents of wild wind for her scratched soul, she was as broken as the sky when lightning tore through it.”  How about, “Rains lashed against umbrellas, black as the clouds, while nasty winds threatened to pluck them from the hands of their proper owners.”
     Each of these choices might illustrate authorial style and could open a story.  The first I was thinking of Louis L'Amore’s style.  The next how Alan Dean Foster might open a fantasy.  The next pulls my mind toward a gothic romance voice; the last I envisioned Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  (Authors/estates forgive me if I’ve missed the mark.)
     My point is the author’s “voice” is simply what you choose to say and how you choose to say it.  Some authors are pithy or laconic; some verbose and labored.  Some love description; some loathe it.  Some want to set the scene then hit the dialogue and action.  Others work the setting into the dialogue or action.  It all creates your unique voice or style, like you can recognize a singer by their voice and how they deliver the song.
     You may have had an article or book writer tell you to pick a favorite author and study his or her voice.  Can an author work on “voice” or is it something you’re born with?  Parallel question: Can I sound like Johnny Cash or am I stuck sounding like a braying mule?  The answer is “Yes.”

     I can train my voice, discipline my breathing, adopt pauses, and work on vibrato.  I can study what allows Cash to put a song across. I can improve all those things.  I still won’t sound like Johnny.  But my braying will sound more cultured.  With enough work, it might even merit a nod or two from fellow mules. 
     Now there is a subtle danger to copying anyone’s voice.  In the movie, Ray (based on Ray Charles), Ray is auditioning in a studio, but he’s intentionally sounding like other artists, hoping to get a contract.  A booth producer complains that nobody wants to hear another Nat King Cole or Charles Brown.  Ray’s agent, Ahmet, wanting to save the deal, tells Ray they don’t want a copy-cat.  Ray says that’s what the people want.  Ahmet suggests Ray do a song Ahmet wrote called “Mess Around.”  Ray asks to hear it.  Ahmet asks if he can play stride piano in a “Pete Johnson” style, then he sings it.  Ray listens.  Ray had already learned to play various styles of piano.  He already knew when to breathe or break his voice for emphasis.  In a magical moment, Ray took the song and added his unique style.  It was a hit, and Ray Charles took off.
     This is what we all are trying to do.  Study techniques.  Analyze successful author’s styles, yes.  Not to copy them but to incorporate what they do well into our own words and sentences.  Read, write, absorb techniques; let them inspire us.  We can even practice short snippets.  But then we step back into our own stories and write our own words.  Form our own sentences.  Try writing an opening two or three ways.
     Master literary techniques.  And if some of the ways you say things sounds a bit more like your favorite authors, great.  But ultimately, strive to be the unique voice other authors will hope to incorporate someday.
  








~ Brad

   

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Screenwriter Robert Gosnell ~ Your Belated Easter Egg

Your Belated Easter Egg

I try to keep this blog confined to the subject of screenwriting, but today, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to promote someone who really doesn't need promoting.

The gentleman in question is Chuck Lorre, the writer, producer and creator of numerous situation comedies; my first love in the industry. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Lorre's name, you will certainly be aware of his track record. He is the creator of such shows as "Dharma and Gregg," "Two and a Half Men," "Mom" and "The Big Bang Theory," among a host of other credits. In the world of situation comedy, Mr. Lorre is a show-runners show-runner.

At the end of his currently airing shows "Mom" and "The Big Bang Theory," Mr. Lorre leaves us a gift, called a "vanity card." The object of a vanity card is much the same as that of a blog, in that it serves to express opinions, thoughts or observations about pretty much anything. In Mr. Lorre's case, it might be industry related, personal or political. It runs from a single line of text to several paragraphs. It is sometimes insightful, sometimes ironic but always humorous.

Before I go on, a word of warning. On the political front, Mr. Lorre leans left, so if you're conservative in your politics, you may be rankled by some of his statements. His first vanity card following the election of Donald Trump consisted of one word:

"Uh-oh."

He is never offensive or mean-spirited, but he is not afraid to tell you how he feels. That's what vanity cards are for.

Finding this little Easter egg can be a challenge. It arrives when the show is over. I mean over, after the last frame has faded from the screen, and you're expecting a commercial to pop up, which it will, almost instantly. Before it does, though, Mr. Lorre's vanity card "blips" on the screen for less than a second.

You can only access the vanity card if you have a DVR and can find just the right second to freeze the frame. If you manage, though, you'll likely be rewarded with a smile.

There is an index of past vanity cards, hundreds of them, on his production company website: http://www.chucklorre.com/index.php so this isn't really a big secret. Still, they don't advertise it, either, so I'm sure many people don't know about it. I consider it a rare gem and felt the need to pay it forward.


Enjoy. 
~Robert

 "The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay" is currently available at:
Amazon digital and paperback
Find Robert at:
Website (with information on classes)
Email





BIO: 
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.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Take Five and Meet Author V.S. Kemanis


I'm pleased to bring you another new-to-me author, V.S. Kemanis. A charming women and an author that lives her subject matter-legal, and her passion-writing. 
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, V.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Love and Crime: Stories?
Each story in this collection had a unique source of inspiration. The stories first reveal themselves as small ideas that remain dormant for months or even years in the back of my mind. For example, the opening story, “Rosemary and Reuben,” features characters who are challenged emotionally and physically by their heightened senses of smell and taste. That story was inspired by my own extreme sensitivity to smell and a question: how might two people with sensory challenges interact? The idea developed slowly, acquiring scenes and characters until I woke up one day and said, “I’m ready to write this one!”

If you were not a writer, what vocation would you pursue?
Besides fiction writing (a real passion!), I’m fortunate to have many vocations that are all still part of my life in varying degrees. I’m the mother of two amazing daughters, now young adults. I’ve taught, performed, and choreographed ballet and contemporary dance, and even owned a dancewear shop! But the mainstay has been the law. My experience in criminal law as an assistant district attorney inspired my legal mystery novels, Thursday’s List, Homicide Chart, and Forsaken Oath.

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

I read many kinds of fiction, but my favorites include the genres I write: literary (both novels and short stories), and legal thrillers. Much of my writing involves psychological suspense, and this is the kind of story that attracts me. Besides the pure enjoyment of becoming fully immersed in a story, I also pay attention to the techniques other writers use to achieve mood and feeling.

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.

In my short stories, each protagonist is battling his or her own demon, whether it’s a subtle internal force or an external event. Self-delusion and moral dilemma are some of my favorite themes. To create suspense, I don’t give the problem away immediately. It creeps up on the reader, just as it creeps up on the protagonist, who isn’t always self-aware. For example, in the story “Journal Entry, Franklin DeWitt,” an aging ballet critic on his death bed comes to terms with a decades-old source of guilt, remembering events that slowly lead to his final admission of betrayal. In the novel format, the conflicts in my legal thrillers tend to be more external, and they’re very easy for me to find. Courtrooms and lawsuits and criminal trials are rife with conflict!

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

I’m fascinated by so many different eras! It’s enthralling to let the imagination go back in time. But, bottom line, I’m happy to be living now. Change occurs so quickly, both socially and technologically, that our lives might seem to span several eras! Most of all, I’m grateful to be living in a time and a society in which women have the freedom to do and to be whatever they want.


Give us a brief summary of Love and Crime: Stories:
Loves big and small, crimes forgiven or avenged. These are the themes that drive the eleven diverse stories in this new collection of psychological suspense.

Meet the husband and wife team Rosemary and Reuben, master chefs known to sprinkle a dash of magic into every dish. Lucille Steadman, a dazed retiree who can’t explain why she’s left her husband, only to discover, too late, the meaning of love and commitment in the most surprising place. Franklin DeWitt, an esteemed ballet critic who witnesses—or abets?—a bizarre criminal plot to topple a beautiful Soviet ballerina. Rosalyn Bleinstorter, a washed-up defense attorney whose stubborn belief in her own street savvy leads her unwittingly into a romantic and criminal association with an underworld figure.

These are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll get to know in these pages, where all is fair in love and crime. While the endings to these tales are not always sweet or predictable, and self-deception is rarely rewarded, the lessons come down hard and are well learned.

Love and Crime: Stories has received a Starred Review from BlueInk Reviews and a Five-Star rating from Foreword Reviews

Buy Links: 
Available May 1 in paperback and ebook:


Bio:
V. S. Kemanis grew up in the East Bay Area of California in a family with six amazing siblings and parents passionate about politics, social issues, theater and music. Mealtimes were often raucous, stimulating, intellectual and fun gatherings in a household full of family and interesting guests, musicians, actors, artists, professors and university students.

Ms. Kemanis holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of Colorado, School of Law, at Boulder. In her legal career, she has been a criminal prosecutor of street crime and organized crime for county and state agencies, argued criminal appeals for the prosecution and defense, conducted complex civil litigation, and worked as a court attorney for state appellate courts.

She is also an accomplished dancer of classical ballet, modern jazz and contemporary styles and has performed, taught and choreographed in California, Colorado and New York.

Dozens of short stories by Ms. Kemanis have been published in noted literary journals and award-winning collections. Her three novels in the Dana Hargrove legal mystery series draw on her personal experience in criminal law, juggling the needs of family with a high-powered legal career. Ms. Kemanis is a member of the Mystery Writers of America.

Find V.S.: 


Friday, April 28, 2017

Last Friday of the Month Recipe from Author Joy Smith ~ GLUTEN-FREE Pumpkin Pecan Squares

I love these Last Friday of the Month recipes, I try them and they are truly delicious.  We've had a few GLUTEN-FREE recipes recently, and you all have told me you're so pleased with them. So, here is another and as I love pumpkin, it sounds perfect. 

Hi L.A. Thanks for hosting me today, and for giving me the chance to spend time with my daughter, who has celiac disease. Like the heroine in my book, she loves making desserts and has developed some great gluten free recipes. I chose to make pumpkin squares as they are mentioned in the first chapter of HEAR ME ROAR, plus the fact that I love anything pumpkin. We worked together, enhancing her basic recipe with pecans. I managed to snap these pictures before our tribe wolfed them down. These cake-like squares are lusciously moist and delicious, and you would never guess they are gluten-free. The cream cheese icing compliments the pumpkin, and the sugared pecan provides a nice sweet crunch. S-o-o-o good!

THE RECIPE


Gluten-free Pumpkin Pecan Squares
Ingredients:
Oil spray
1 8-ounce package pecan halves, divided
4 eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Sugared Pecans
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces pecan halves
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound confectioners sugar


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with oil spray. Chop 4 ounces of the pecans, and set aside the rest. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped pecans. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to Cool. Meanwhile, make the sugared pecans and the icing. Sugared pecans: Heat the sugar and remaining pecan halves in a 10-inch skillet until the sugar liquefies and the nuts are coated and shiny. Stir constantly as this happens quickly. Remove nuts from pan and cool in a single layer on a piece of foil or waxed paper. Set aside. Cream Cheese Icing: Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and continue to beat until blended. Frost the cooled cake and decorate with the sugared pecans. Cut into squares and serve.




Blurb for Hear Me Roar
Jan Simmons never expected trouble to move into her quiet Charming Way cul-de-sac. Nor did she expect her husband Jeff’s weakness for fast money to drag their once happy family into danger.

When her husband turns to crime, Jan, a people-pleaser with little self-worth, must release the death grip she has on her failing marriage for the sake of her children and draw on her inner strength.

As Jan fights to free her family from a web of lies and deceit she also battles to save herself.

Buy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Wild Rose Press

Bio:

I've authored a mish mosh of genres. The truth is my nonfiction books have followed my life’s learnings. Thirty-five years ago, when we bought our first boat, I began collecting info that might make cruising easier for other boaters, new and old. When my to-be-married daughter asked for my recipes, I started a cookbook, and then a Lord-help-me book for mom’s going through the wedding planning process.

So fiction writing? How about that? Well, I needed a little fantasy in my life. Did you know writing a novel is more challenging than a how-to book? When I’m not contriving a plot or doing heavy research, you may find me aboard our boat enjoying the salt air or fighting heavy seas with my handsome captain. Oh, and I crochet like mad—prayer shawls to be donated to those in need of a hug—at dock, underway, or at home. I’d love to hear from you! Email me at joywriter1226@gmail.com


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