Monday, July 10, 2017

Take Five With Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts also writers as Donna Schlachter. Leeann is her contemporary suspense writer's nom de plume while Donna writes historical suspense.  How about that for fun. And wait until you read her last answer!

 Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Leeann. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Hidden Assets?

Hi L.A., thank you for having me on your blog as Leeann this time. I actually wanted to make the next book an Alaskan cruise adventure, but I didn’t get to go on the cruise yet, so I had to find another setting. We recently visited eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska, and so I chose to set it there.

How do you use setting to further your story?

The setting should be as obvious as the nose on your face yet as unobtrusive as breathing. Setting, when used properly, doesn’t intrude on the story, but the characters make different choices based on what the setting is. If I had set this one in New York City, for example, it should be a different story because there are more resources available, easier to find people, more difficult to stay focused because of other distractions.

How do you construct your characters?

Carly is very autobiographical, and Mike is fashioned after my husband Patrick, so I tend to incorporate some of the things we say and do. However, Carly is much quicker on the comeback than I am, and Mike is much more likely to give Carly her head and let her run with an idea than my hubby would. Other than that, secondary characters are fashioned after people I know or have met.

How is your main character completely different than you?

Carly is much more bold than I am. She’ll go down in a basement whereas I won’t, and she’ll dig in a place where she’s likely to find a body, where I wouldn’t.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

I once ice skated with an Olympic champion.

Give us a brief summary of Hidden Assets:
Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, responds to a call from her friend, Anne, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and travels to Wyoming to help find assets Anne thinks her husband has stolen. But the mystery begins before Carly even arrives when she sees a man thrown off a train. Except there’s no body. Husband Mike uncovers an illegal scam in a computer program he has been asked to upgrade, and then Anne is arrested for her ex’s murder. 

Can Carly figure out what’s going on, and why a strange couple is digging in Anne’s basement? Or will she disappear along with the artwork, coins, and money?

Buy Links: 

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets releasing the end of June. 

In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft.

Find Leeann:
I publish a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Be Strong and Courageous ~ Happy 4th of July, America

I originally wrote this post about my way to "Kick Discouragement to the Curb"  for the New Year's Celebration onf the amazing Seekerville blog. 
And while it pertained to my writing, I believe the advice I offer is applicable for this celebration of America's birth. 

Be Strong and Courageous. Using my own experience in this crazy world of writing and publishing, either trad or indie, I'm going to give you my suggestion for kicking discouragement to the curb. And believe me, it doesn't matter if you're a best-selling author or a newbie, discouragement is bound to affect you at some point...or at many points. From that white page waiting for your genius or those red lines from your editor, discouragement fills you and you're not sure where to turn.

Re-read the above statement in bold and then take a walk and be surrounded by the beauty of this world, this country. The gifts we've been given. The wonders right in front of you. Think of all who have gone before you, the pioneers, the seafaring folks, the daring, the bold, the oppressed. What would have happened if they stopped because they were discouraged?  

Oh and notice I didn't say read a book. GET OUT and look around you. Admire that tender shoot of grass, that oh-so-blue sky, the child running toward its loved one, the hugs shared by young and the aged, the random acts of kindness.

Let all of this fill you with Strength and Courage until you're nearly bursting with energy. Then go back to whatever task was at hand and see if you can continue. I'll bet you can. 

Happy 4th of July, America. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Class Flash ~ New Classes For You From Laurie Schnebly Campbell

I'm happy to share this list of Laurie's upcoming classes.
I'm a huge Laurie fan and love her method of teaching.
And she has some early 2018 classes listed.  WOW.

live in Columbus: ALL-DAY WORKSHOP
(July 15, 9-4, optional $10 donation)
Alpha Males, Building Characters, Plotting Via Motivation and From Plot To Finish

live in Cincinnati: INFORMAL AFTERNOON
(July 16, 1:15-3:30, free) A casual get-together over Description & Dialogue, followed by The Personality Ladder

(August 2) If anyone reads just the first few words of your book, what happens?


(August 7-Sept. 1)
You've seen online listings that made you buy immediately, knowing you wanted that book for sure. You've seen others that told you "don't want this one" and others that left you lukewarm. While nobody can (or should) write listings that attract readers looking for a whole different type of book, writing blurbs that turn browsers into buyers is easy to do...with the hands-on techniques from this filled-with-feedback class.

(August 8, 7:30pm)
See the description for March

(September 9, 12:30pm)

(August 18)
Your heroine has to transcend limits, but what can those limits be?


(Sept. 4-29)
Christopher Vogler identified 12 steps for daredevil heroes who explore the outside world and return with the elixir. But a character whose emotional journey leads to flowering change instead of physical adventure, as described in Kim Hudson's 13 steps, will embark on a journey filled with other -- more internal -- challenges. For writers whose heroine faces her own less traveled road to discovery, this class offers a fascinating map.

(Oct. 9-20)
This limited-enrollment master class picks up where September's leaves off, focusing on the heroine's journey through everything she needs to overcome from beginning to end. With a choice of homework commentary delivered one-on-one or to the entire class, chart the route she'll use for transcending her weak points -- as well as those of people she cares about -- while avoiding both the false triumph and false disaster of her own story.


(Nov. 5-18)
What makes great dialogue? How can yours become better with each book you write? Writers who've never thought about such questions, because they're naturally skilled with dialogue, won't need to bother with this class. But anyone who's occasionally thought "I wish I could make my dialogue stronger / punchier / more entertaining / more subtle / more revealing" will appreciate the five key tools of dynamic dialogue.


(Nov. 11, 10:30-2)
Not yet sure what this day will include, but will know by Nov. 10!

(As always, there's no class in December.)


(Jan. 2-26, 2018)
Whether it's the first rejection, the 50th-book slump, or just not getting the story you want, frustration is part of every writer's life. For some, it's a nuisance; for others, it's the end of a career. For anyone determined to make 2018 a Better Writing Year, this class offers both practical and psychological techniques for dealing with rejection, writer's block, frustration, motivation, and other issues that keep writers from loving their craft.

(Feb. 5-23, 2018)
It's one thing to write a stand-alone novel. It's another to write a sequel, a trilogy, a box set or an open-ended series that'll continue for as long as you want. While great storytelling is great storytelling no matter what the format, there are techniques to keep in mind when writing a series that will not only keep your readers on board through every story, but keep you from burning out while they're still waiting for more.


(March 5-30)
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 later. Your characters will create a plot from whatEVER happens, because you've got their motivation built in from the very beginning...and here's how to do it.

online: FROM PLOT TO FINISH(April 9-20)
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.

online: ARISTOTLE ON RELATIONSHIPS(May 7-18) Relationships haven’t changed much since the days of ancient Greece. Aristotle identified personality types for different types of people who, even though their descriptive names have changed, still embody those who wind up in your novel. Naturally, each type has intriguing and attractive elements that make readers want to know this person, as well as some problematic issues that’ll keep the conflict coming…and going…and coming…

online: PERFECTING YOUR PITCH(June 7-14)
Are you pitching your work at a conference? In an email? By phone, by letter, by chance if you run into someone browsing for a good book? The techniques will be slightly different for each situation — and while writers tend to feel more anxiety when pitching face-to-face, it’s useful to have a plan of action for every possible scenario. Whether you’re pitching an agent, editor, interviewer, publisher or a regular reader, learn how to make it a good experience for you both!

Laurie's Bio:

Laurie Schnebly Campbell loves giving workshops for writer groups about "Psychology for Creating Characters," "Making Rejection WORK For You," "Building A Happy Relationship For Your Characters (And Yourself)" and other issues that draw on her background as a counseling therapist and romance writer.

In fact, she chose her website ( so people would find it easy to Book Laurie for programs.

But giving workshops -- for students from London and Los Angeles to New Zealand and New York -- is just one of her interests. During weekdays, she writes and produces videos, brochures and commercials (some of which feature her voice) for a Phoenix advertising agency. For several years she would turn off her computer every day at five o'clock, wait thirty seconds, turn it on again and start writing romance.

It finally paid off. Her first novel was nominated by Romantic Times as the year's "Best First Series Romance," and her second beat out Nora Roberts for "Best Special Edition of the Year." But between those two successes came a three-year dry spell, during which Laurie discovered that selling a first book doesn't guarantee ongoing success.

"What got me through that period," she says, "was realizing that the real fun of writing a romance is the actual writing. Selling is wonderful, sure, but nothing compares to the absolute, primal joy of sitting at the computer and making a scene unfold and thinking 'Wow! Yes! This is great!'"

After six books for Special Edition, she turned her attention to writing non-fiction -- using her research into the nine personality types to help writers create plausible, likable people with realistic flaws. Her other favorite activities include playing with her husband and son, recording for the blind, counseling at a mental health center, traveling to Sedona (the Arizona red-rock town named for her great-grandmother, Sedona Schnebly) and working with other writers.

"People ask how I find time to do all that," Laurie says, "and I tell them it's easy. I never clean my house!"

Laurie welcomes email from readers—send her a "Hello!"