Archive for the ‘Writing Thursdays’ Category


The Next Chapter

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

behindthescenesLast week we talked about names and how I come up with them for my various characters. You all gave some good suggestions for me to chew on for the Amish women’s fiction #2 synopsis I officially sent off (hurrah!) yesterday.

Today, I thought we’d talk about plots for subsequent books in a series. For me, I’ve always found myself looking at the various characters in a particular series and try to look at where they are in life as each new book opens. Are they fresh off a break-up, mourning a loss, bored in their job, awaiting a child, etc.  Then I look to see if whatever that place is can possibly intersect with a similar or possibly related place another character (s) may be. Very often, a plot idea will stem from that, whether it’s tied to the main plot, or, perhaps, simply a subplot.

Take for example Wedding Duress (the 10th Southern Sewing Circle Mystery).  When I sat down to write that book, I knew Tori and Milo were getting married. What I needed to figure out was how that impacted the other ladies. I knew, right away, that Leona would have issues not being the focal point–something that gave me a jumping off point to explore with her. And since Rose is the one she loves to lash out at, I was able to tie Rose (and her age) into that side story, as well.   And in terms of the main plot, I looked at things Milo and Tori might be doing in the final days leading up to their wedding and–bam!–I had a fun story about deceit and greed.

In terms of my Amish Mysteries, the most recent book (A Churn For the Worse) left off with Esther and Eli awaiting their baby, Ben helping out at the home of a new widow, a guest having shown interest in Diane, and, of course, Claire and Jakob’s building relationship. That’s the flavor and the threads I will pull from for book # 6 in terms of subplots. Chances are, the main plot will tickle those threads as well.

So there you go. That’s how I work with each new book in my respective series. Other authors may do it differently, but that’s my process. And honestly? It’s one of my favorite parts of writing–letting the characters show me the way.

Any questions?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


Hunting For the Perfect Name

Posted under Writing Thursdays 7 Comments

Today is a busy (and exciting) day for me. I’m heading into the city to have lunch with the editor and the publicist for my Amish-based women’s fiction book. With this being a new genre for me, there is lots to talk about in preparation for the June release.  name

Before that, I’m going to spend some time with my notebook and my computer deciding on character names for the 2nd women’s fiction novel I’ll be working on next (at least it’s synopsis, anyway). Since my books are based in Lancaster, I research Amish names (both first and last) that are common in that area. Interestingly enough, those same names are not necessarily “the common” names in other areas of the country where Old Order Amish live.  Once I have the names picked out, I’ll start figuring out the physical characteristics (eye & hair color, height, etc). The more layered aspects of each character (like their quirks) generally comes to me as I start to write them and they become real to me.

If all goes well, I’ll have the synopsis done by the end of next week (that’s my goal).

As for how I name any English characters that might be in the book? I try to avoid names that start with the same letter as other character in the book because, while it may work in real life for siblings to start with the same letter, it can be confusing on the page. I also try to avoid trendy names unless it fits with a particular character’s personality. Last names often come to me from weird places–like the back of a baseball uniform or a high school graduation program. 🙂

That said, I’d sure love you to throw out some last names and some male first names for me…

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


You Ask, I Answer

Posted under Writing Thursdays 6 Comments

I’m opening today’s Writing Thursday post up to questions.

Curious about my writing process?  The story behind a particular book or character? Have a “why did you do that?” you want to ask?

Fire away!

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


A Pinch of This, A Pinch of That

Posted under Writing Thursdays 3 Comments

Today’s post is kind of a potpourri of writing thoughts/ideas and even some questions that are designed to solicit answers I can brainstorm from…

hot cocoa*I’ve been looking ahead a wee bit to my post-hiatus writing time and realizing that I want to take my laptop on the road once a week. I figure the change of scenery will do this reluctant (soon to be) empty nester some good. On my list of remote writing spots is, of course, my local B & N. But I want to try some other spots out, too. So I’ve been eyeballing a few coffee shops as possibilities, too. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I can pull off a 24-48 hour writing blitz in either Lancaster or NYC. 🙂

*I’m wondering about motives lately. In particular, why someone might want to keep their familial connection to someone top secret…  Any knee jerk thoughts on the subject?

*I’m also wondering about the last time you wrote a true letter to someone. What was the purpose/motivation?

*Now that I’m writing this post, I find myself serious about booking a night in Lancaster–partly to research and partly to write. Stay tuned…

That’s it for now. Happy Thursday, everyone!

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


Waiting on the Other Side

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

While I haven’t done any active writing since I turned in Portrait of a Sister to my editor in mid June, my brain is slowing working it’s way through the projects I’ll have ahead of me once this “hiatus of sorts” is over.

*The synopsis proposal for my 2nd Amish based women’s fiction (ideas are starting to form in bits and pieces).

*The 6th book in my Amish Mysteries (I’ve been reading my way through this series to remind myself of subplot possibilities).

*An Amish mystery/romancy novella for an anthology I’ll be doing with two other authors for our publisher.

*Writing the 2nd Amish based women’s fiction.

So that’s what’s up ahead for me in the “immediate,” writing-wise.

Any questions?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


The Pull

Posted under Writing Thursdays 5 Comments

As a reader, I think I pick the books I do because they allow me to escape for a little while.

As a writer, I write the kind of books I do because I want to give my characters the happily ever after that always seems to be just outside my reach.

What is it about the books you gravitate toward that speaks to you?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


Makin’ Lists

Posted under Writing Thursdays 8 Comments

todolistFor Writing Thursday, I’m sitting down and drafting a list of things I hope to do during my time off–day trips I want to take, creative things I’d like to try, and house things I’d like to accomplish. I know myself well enough to know that if things are written down, I’m more likely to actually do them.

Are you a list maker? For what?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


Short and…Sweet?

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

If you were to write a meme or one of those clever signs you see on some outdoor church boards, what would you write?  A life lesson? A funny observation?  Something you have to be really sharp to catch?

Show us.

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


Two of the Most Glorious Words For An Author…

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

First, my apologies for the no-show yesterday.

I had to head out early in the morning for a program I  had to do that was about 3 1/2 hours away (4 1/2 with morning traffic factored in). Then it was to the hotel to write, write, write.

The good news is that as of the moment I’m writing this post (2:50 a.m. on Thursday), I’ve just written “The End” on my Amish women’s fiction. I still have a lot of editing work to do (including another chapter or two I think I’m adding into the middle), but if I keep the pedal to the metal, so to speak, I should be good to go come Monday’s post. We’ll see. Fingers crossed, okay?

My today will be getting in a wee bit of sleep before waking up, tackling some of the easier stuff I need to layer in, and then checking out of the hotel and heading home to print everything up and get at it with a red pen.

So here’s a question for you. If you were to write a book, what kind would you write (genre-wise)?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)


Coming Up

Posted under Writing Thursdays 16 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve given a writing/books-related update, so here we go…

patterned_after_death (smaller)1. PATTERNED AFTER DEATH (Southern Sewing Circle Mystery # 12) will release on Tuesday. It will be the last book in this long running series written under my pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey…a name that will be retired in conjunction with the series.  **Note to my faithful blog readers: we’ll still be doing our thing for a while, so no worries. 🙂


2.  I’m in the last week of my current work-in-progress. This book, due out in Summer 2018, is an Amish-based women’s fiction novel. More to come on this book in the months ahead.


30 second death_ebook3. 30 SECOND DEATH (Tobi Tobias Mystery # 2) written as regular me, Laura Bradford, will be out on July 11th. I’ll be doing some super fun promotion for this with my friend and fellow author, Lynn Cahoon, who will also have a book out in July.  Stay tuned to FB for details on that in the coming weeks. Available for pre-order.


death in advertising




4. Quick side note here:  DEATH IN ADVERTISING (Tobi Tobias Mystery # 1) is on sale for just 99 cents (e-book) version now, making it a great way to be ready for book # 2 in July.  This book is getting great reviews and is really a ton of fun. It was the May book for the Mystery Becomes Us online book club and members loved it! So if you haven’t given it a try, this is a great (and cheap) time to do it. I’m pretty sure these characters will keep you laughing.


5. While my agent and I had been looking to fall for the long awaited release of Amish Mystery # 6, we have pushed that off until Spring 2018 to accommodate a little “time off” (see the volume of books on this list to know why) I’ll be taking this summer. However, the storyline is set and I look forward to jumping in with both feet when I get back to the keyboard to write the next story for Claire, Jakob, and the rest of Heavenly, PA. I will post updates on my website with cover, title, and ordering information as we get closer to this release.

And Death Goes To


6. AND DEATH GOES TO… (Tobi Tobias Mystery # 3) will be out in December.  Available now for pre-order.








7. DIAL M FOR MOUSSE (Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery # 3) will be out in January 2018. It, too, is available for pre-order.


Any questions/comments?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)