Baxter made an appearance in Wolf, book five in the Allison Parker Mystery Series. Now he wants to be featured in Gun and Garden Magazine! It’s the perfect opportunity for the B-Boy - my handsome, charming, too cute, heart-stealing little rascal. Maybe Hollywood will come calling. Who knows? Anyway, you can vote once a day until October 3. Click on the link to vote. http://wshe.es/ny58ODtP
Working on book 6 in the Allison Parker Mystery Series has been challenging. Six different plot lines, several new characters, and then the completely separate call to work with pastels!!! Fingers crossed the Muse will pick up the pace and I can get book 6 titled and finished by the end of the year.
As with all of my work, I never know which character is going to talk to me the most, and I certainly never know about a new character until he or she comes alive on the page. In book 6, as yet untitled, several new characters have made their way from the Cosmos through my fingers to my computer. There’s Carson Parrish, 60’ish, unhappy in her marriage and hating the place her husband has moved them to; there’s J.T. Bagwell, master criminal who is incarcerated with Rice at Kilby and planning a prison escape. Then there’s Teresa Newman, Bagwell’s sister and an informant - Bagwell cuts a deal with Allison to save his sister in return for giving Rice protection in prison. We’ve got a disgruntled prison guard, a new assistant for Sheriff Trowbridge (this one will be a big surprise), and more international intrigue that tests Wolf’s pledge to Allison to stay out of the killing business. For all I know, there will be more characters - I’m only 25,000 words into the tale!
So, bear with me. This book is taking a very long time to be birthed, but I’m sure it will eventually happen. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the first five books, this is a great time to do so. You’ll be more than ready for book 6 when it hits the shelves.
Life is amazing, interesting and full of surprises. First, I never intended to be a writer, but 10 years later I have 7 published books - five Allison Parker Mysteries, a memoir and a collection of essays. Second, I can’t draw a stick, but somehow I have been able to paint numerous pastels in the Folk Art tradition. Now, I’ve decided to set up an Etsy store to sell blank note cards made from various of my pastel paintings. What in the world does the Universe have in store for me next? At any rate, here’s the link to the Etsy store if you are so inclined to browse or buy. I’ll be adding more cards as I continue to paint. Maybe I’ll have a few characters from the mystery series as subjects. https://www.etsy.com/shop/PastelsByAdair
And P.S. - The picture with this blog has nothing to do with the Etsy store. I just love my dogs and thought I’d share a picture of Izzy and Baxter. I thought the picture was appropriate given their expressions. They seem as confused as I am about where my creative career is headed!
This afternoon I joined friend and fellow mystery writer Darryl Bollinger at Brevard’s fabulous indie bookstore, Highland Books. Darryl and I met at the Amelia Island Book Festival last year and were surprised to find we only lived about 40 miles from each other - he in Waynesville, NC and I in Brevard, NC. Collaborating today turned out to be a lot of fun, and happily, we made a great pair presenting in the mystery genre. I expect this will be the first of such endeavors.
It never ceases to amaze me how different we authors are from one another, how we get our inspiration, how we see and feel our characters. Darryl draws on what he hears around him. Maybe a conversation overheard in an airport, or something said by a friend - those innocuous happenings will stir Darryl’s imagination and an idea for his next mystery will arise.
I, on the other hand, “download” dialogue and characters directly from “out there”. Those characters, in turn, dictate the story to me and I transcribe it. I know that sounds really woo-woo, but I don’t have any other explanation for how the creative process works in and for me.
Darryl is also a serious student of the art of writing. John Updike, Stephen King, Michael Creighton - he named three others - each author excelled in some aspect of writing that Darryl found helpful in crafting his own stories. And while I have always enjoyed reading, I can’t say that I studied different writing styles like Darryl did or that I even paid any attention to them. Either the author’s story caught my interest, and held it, or it didn’t.
Our commonality is the fact that we are indie authors. That means we self-publish instead of being picked up by a publishing company. The publishing world has changed, and both Darryl and I like to have more control over the marketing of our books than we would have with a “regular” publishing house. It’s the rare author who is discovered by a publishing house and has a book that hits the best seller list. Writers write because we have to, because the Muse consumes us, because we have no other option. We don’t write for the money - although none of us turn up our nose at sales - we write for the love of the process. And because we become friends with our characters.
Check out our books on Amazon. You won’t be disappointed..
I love speaking events at bookstores, especially independent bookstores which are, unfortunately, becoming a vanishing breed. Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of sharing the stage with a fellow author, Darryl Bollinger, who writes medical mysteries. I think Darryl and I make a great speaking combo - I write legal thrillers and he writes medical thrillers. Although, to be perfectly honest, the Allison Parker Mysteries are a whole lot more than just a “legal” thriller.
We are being hosted by Highland Books in Brevard, North Carolina. The owners of this store are wonderful and are great supporters of local authors. This will be my third or fourth event there, and I am really looking forward to it. If you’re near, I hope to see you there. If you’re too far away to attend, you can find my books on Amazon and at other select independent bookstores.
I must confess - I have gotten fixated on painting my family’s pets. This latest piece, entitled “Christmas Cat”, is of sweet Lucy, a Maine Coon adoptee. Lucy’s first owners booted her after finding out they were going to have a baby. Maybe they believed that old wives’ tale about cats sucking the breath out of babies in their cribs. Maybe they just got tired of cleaning the litter box. Whatever the reason, they decided they didn’t want Lucy, already declawed, and posted her particulars on Craig’s List.
Enter my youngest, a college student at the time and avid cat lover. Two hours after the listing went live, Lucy had a new home. Eight years later, Lucy is a pampered and spoiled house kitty with more toys and “tiny houses” than you can imagine. This painting was inspired by Lucy’s escapades a couple of Christmases ago. She decided she liked to hide in the Christmas tree. And that’s all she did - just perch among the branches, lights and ornaments and peer at us, her subjects. Nothing was destroyed, nothing knocked over, nothing batted into smithereens.
So far I’ve painted my schnauzer Baxter, My rat terrier Izzy, and now Lucy. I think my next animal will be a goat. No, I don’t own one, but I think they’re pretty cool. So, stay tuned…
Last April I was interviewed by Stacey Horan for her podcast, The Bookshop at the End of the Internet. It’s a great podcast where authors and their various works are shared with listeners. Check it out. Yesterday, July 10, my podcast interview went live. When I listened to the podcast - and hearing one’s voice is a little weird - I realized that one big thing I had talked about had changed between the time I was interviewed and when the interview went live on the podcast.
What was that “one big thing”? It was a freakin’ disaster. When I moved my domain from GoDaddy to Squarespace I lost 100% of the content of my website. There was no warning from either GoDaddy or Squarespace about this problem. Only after the fact did I discover that you can’t transfer your website data from Godaddy to Squarespace. So, in one, or two, clicks of the mouse, I lost over 300 essays and eight years of product. Gone forever.
When Stacey interviewed me this disaster had not happened, so in my interview I tell everyone they can go to my website and read all of those essays. Well, sorry, but not anymore. However, one can read some of them - fortunately I had published a collection of my favorites last summer in Out of the Ashes, A Collection of Essays. At least some of my work was not lost.
So, if you are on my website and trying to find those essays, it ain’t happening. But, you can enjoy the blogs I am posting, and you can order a copy of Out of the Ashes from Amazon. Plus, I hope you’ll listen to the podcast - it’s episode 33 and there is a link to it in “My First Podcast Interview” blog - and you’ll start the journey with Allison Parker and the mystery series.
Here’s a link to my first podcast interview. I met Stacey Horan at the Amelia Island Book Festival last February. Stacey hosts a podcast, The Bookshop At The End Of The Internet, where she interviews exciting and sometimes new authors. Stacey was intrigued by the Allison Parker Mysteries and asked if I would be interviewed for her podcast. I had a great time being interviewed, and in listening now to the podcast I think my readers may enjoy hearing more about my writing life and how the characters in my books have come to be. Here’s the link: http://bookshopwithstaceyhoran.libsyn.com/bookshop-interview-with-author-adair-sanders-episode-033
I detest writer’s block. My characters go on a walk-about and leave me stuck - usually in the middle of a tale - only to reappear whenever they decide it’s time to return to the proverbial barn. There’s no use in complaining. I don’t know of any writers who haven’t experienced this dreaded phenomenon. I guess it just goes with the territory, regardless of whether one is writing fiction, short story, bio or anything else that requires input from the Muse. Or Muses.
Two years ago, when I was in the midst of a terrorist plot while writing Suffer the Children, I had my first really tough experience with writer’s block. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t “hear” the story. A friend of mine who is a fabulous artist suggested I try a pastels class, something different but still drawing on the creative part of the brain. Believe me, drawing is not my forte. But, I was desperate and the class sounded fun. To my great surprise, at the end of the 8 week pastels class I clearly heard the Muse calling me back to finish Suffer the Children. So, this summer, when the block hit again in full force I decided to pick up my pastels again and give it a shot.
My style is Folk Art. I’ll never be a Van Gogh or even Grandma Moses, but I am having a hell of a good time. I’ve decided that my “signature” is painting the subject’s aura, and generally using colors that the subject would never sport in real life. So far I’ve painted three dogs, a barn and a church. Above I’ve posted “Maddie Gets Her Wings”, in honor of my daughter’s sweet, one-eyed pup who crossed the rainbow bridge last fall. If you look at my portfolio page you’ll see some of my other work. For those of you who are hooked on Allison Parker, never fear. I’m sure the Muse will return before the summer is over. In the meantime, enjoy the heat and do something fun.
I few days ago, while I was in Pennsylvania to speak to a book club about the Allison Parker Mysteries, I took a side trip to see Gettysburg and the large expanse of farmland, now a National Park, where a huge battle was likely the turning point of the War Between the States - the Civil War for those of you above the Mason-Dixon Line . The number of causalities on both sides was horrendous. For Union troops, 3,155 dead, 14,529 wounded and 5,365 missing. For the Confederates, 3,903 dead, 18,735 wounded and 5,425 missing. Given the difficulty in record-keeping during that time, it’s one’s best guess as to how accurate these numbers actually are. There is no doubt, however, that the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1 to July 3 in 1863 was one of the bloodiest battles of that conflict.
As I listened to a short documentary explaining about the political climate leading up to the war, and then watched the re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge in the Cyclorama display, I wondered what it would have been like if the South had been victorious. How would our lives be different now, some 200 plus years after that first 4th of July when we were a new country, declaring our independence from an overbearing monarchy across the sea? Would there be a 12th of April holiday commemorating the attack on Ft. Sumpter in South Carolina - the shot that started the war that pitted brother against brother?
I have to believe that eventually slavery would have been outlawed in the South, even if secession had been successful. Interestingly, though, according to the documentary at Gettysburg, narrated by Morgan Freeman, the real fight over slavery was whether the new states west of the Mississippi would allow slavery, not whether slavery should be abolished in the states where it already existed. It was only after hostilities commenced, and several years into the war, that President Lincoln decided to issue the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves residing in the United States. Question: if the issue of slavery in the new states had been resolved, would there have even been a war? Slavery might have continued in the agrarian South for many decades, at least until machines could plant and harvest quicker than people.
Those are questions that can never be answered, and I, for one, am glad of it. True, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner, and proud of my heritage. But I am also, and properly so, proud to be an American. I am blessed to live in the greatest country in the world. Yes, we have problems in this country, serious problems, but those problems are solvable and I would rather be a citizen of this country, for all of her bumps, bruises, and bad behavior than anywhere else. On this 4th of July I will make my Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America, a country that survived a most horrendous civil war, and yet emerged from the ashes of that conflagration a greater and more cohesive nation. Let us today remember the lessons of that war, and not make the same mistake again.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking to members of a book club in Mechanicsburg, PA. To my utter delight, these ladies had become “hooked” on the Allison Parker Mysteries and were excited to host me for a luncheon speaking event. As fans of the mystery series know, the action and characters in the Allison Parker books are all “Southern” and I wasn’t sure how well the books would resonate with readers in other geographic areas. Well, I shouldn’t have wondered, or worried - Allison, her partners in crime solving, and the plots of the books are universal! These ladies LOVED Allison, Frank and the rest of the crew, LOVED my writing style, and were so taken by the series that I am pumped to work on the screenplay for Wolf as well as continuing work on the yet-un-named book 6.
About a year ago I decided to make a pitch to production companies via the TV Writers Vault platform for book adaptations for As Sick As Our Secrets, Biologically Bankrupt, and Wolf. To my surprise and great excitement, multiple Hollywood production companies have reviewed one or more of these projects. Just today, for example, I received a notice that Atlas Media Corporation is reviewing the pitch for Biologically Bankrupt. Over the past year the following companies have all taken a gander at the three books: Fox Television, Scream Films out of the UK, CBS Paramount, Jupiter Entertainment, GRB Entertainment, Asylum Entertainment, Alcon Entertainment, Manville Media Ventures, Buck Productions, Starz, and Fox Searchlight. While none have yet “bitten” the amount of interest tells me there is a marketable product here. To that end, I have decided to try my hand at screenwriting. Perhaps having the next step already done will be what makes a sale. And, as before, I continue to put my intentions out to the Universe for fruition.
As you may know, or not if you are new to my website, I live in a beautiful place - the mountains of western North Carolina outside the little town of Brevard. Situated just above 3100 feet elevation, my Appalachian style log home sits atop a ridge and offers stellar views towards Toxaway and Highlands. The fact that I am fortunate enough to actually live here never escapes me. I am grateful. As is true of nature anywhere, the views are ever-changing, never quite the same, always offering a glimpse into the Divine’s handiwork. Last night’s sunset was no exception. After a couple of downpours around 6:00 and 7:00 pm, the remaining clouds were the perfect complement to the palette of colors that preceded the sun’s departure. A friend who was over for dinner captured the above shot which I wanted to share with all of you. I wish I were talented enough to capture these colors in a painting, but that ability is way beyond me.
A couple of years ago a reader asked me if any of my books were in audio format. At the time I thought making an audio book would be way out of my price range, and so I had never really pursued that medium. But, the question got me thinking, and after some investigation I happened upon ACX, a company that matches narrators with authors in a bid process. Now, five Allison Parker Mysteries later, I’ve settled into a great partnership with narrator Kay Nazarchyk. I felt as though I knew Kay because of five years of collaboration, but we had never met. Today that changed. The picture above is of Kay and me at Sierra Nevada Brewery outside Asheville, NC. Kay and a group of her gal-pals were visiting the area and I was able to drive over from Brevard. What a treat!
Last week I experienced a disaster, a literary disaster, from which I am barely recovered. Upon advice from a fellow author, I decided to move my adairsanders domain from another hosting site to this one. Unfortunately, no one - electronic or otherwise - told me that I would have to “cut and paste” the content on my old hosting site to this one PRIOR to moving the domain itself.
And, because I didn’t know about the cut and paste deal, I LOST 100% OF THE CONTENT OF MY WEBSITE!!!!!! Eight years of essays and other posts GONE. It was all I could do not to cry.
But, I am nothing if not resilient, and I also began to have a sneaking feeling as the days passed that perhaps, just perhaps, this gut-wrenching loss might not be as bad as it had originally seemed. When I created my website in 2011, all I intended to do was publish essays which were really blogs. I was prolific in this endeavor for three years, but when I published the first book in the Allison Parker Mystery series I began to lose interest in maintaining my website via new essays. Recently I had been semi-struggling with whether to continue a website presence - and then VOILA - it was all gone. Had the decision been made for me?
As I thought about what happened, my attitude began to change. I don’t write that many essays any longer and I had already published my favorites last summer in Out of the Ashes, A Collection of Essays. With Wolf, the fifth book in the Allison Parker Mystery series being published in the fall of 2018, I felt the series had reached a logical conclusion. Although I had started a sixth book in the series - my fans insisted as did one of the characters - it just wasn’t working.
What was happening was a significant amount of interest by TV and film production companies in Biologically Bankrupt, As Sick As Our Secrets, and Wolf. Two friends with experience in the industry encouraged me to select one of the books and work on a screenplay adaptation. They felt the existence of a screenplay might just be the ticket for an offer.
So, as I write this first blog on my “new and improved” website I also begin the steep learning curve of how to write a screenplay. Wish me luck. Just thinking about it gives me a headache. I’ll post along the way, and share progress reports, angst, and whatever else comes to mind. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.