There’s No Stopping Her! Meet Laurel Heidtman, an Indie Author With an Attitude of Gratitude

Read on to see why she writes, why she chooses to be an indie author and what she has planned for readers!


1. Who and/or what inspires you to write?

I don’t wait for inspiration. If I did, I’d probably never get anything done. I make myself sit down, start typing, and the words just come. So I guess I could say getting in the routine of writing is what inspires me.


2. Which of your characters do you like the most?

I like Marnie Becker in Bad Girls, because she’s tough and I like strong female characters. I also like Ricki Fontaine, the main character in my new cozy series, Top Shelf Mysteries. Ricki is the first character I’ve written from the first person POV, and I really enjoyed it.

3. What surprises you most about being an indie author?

That people buy my books! Seriously, I’m thrilled about every sale and every time one of my books is read through Kindle Unlimited. And I’m uber-thrilled when someone leaves a good review. It’s rewarding to know my books have entertained someone.

4. What are the advantages of being an indie author?

I’m a control freak (only about my own life, not anyone else’s), so I like having complete ownership of my books and being in control of what I write and when I write.

5. How did you become an indie author?

After having been retired for eight years, I decided in 2014 that I no longer had an excuse to not give fiction writing a serious try. After finishing Catch A Falling Star, I decided to go the indie route, because at my age, I figured I didn’t have the time to endure the years of rejections that most traditionally published authors go through. I began researching it and discovered Smashwords founder Mark Coker’s free ebooks on how to self-publish. I bought a cover from (later changed it), followed Mark’s instructions on formatting, and uploaded my book to Smashwords and Amazon.

6. Tell us about your latest release.


I released Whiteout in March of this year. It’s a thriller set in Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky involving two couples with issues stranded in a blizzard in a remote cabin over Easter weekend. Not far away two U.S. Marshals are transporting two violent federal prisoners when they run off the road in the storm. The prisoners escape and find their way to the cabin. And there’s a twist, but of course, I won’t ruin that by talking about it!

7. How many more books do you plan to publish?

As many as I can write. I hope that will be a lot.


8. Who are some of your favorite indie authors?

One of my very favorites is Hugh Howey, although since he’s been so successful, I’m not sure if he’s still publishing independently. I also loved Blake Crouch’s Whispering Pines series. I interview other less famous indie authors on my websites and have read at least one book that I’ve liked by each of them. That list is very long and continues to grow. I’ve temporarily suspended the interviews while doing a special promo for Indie Author Day on my blog, but the interviews will resume in November, and the previous interviews will still be available then.

9. When will you release your next book?

I’m planning on releasing The Body on the Barstool in early November. It’s my first attempt at writing a cozy, and it’s the first book in my planned Top Shelf series. I’ll be releasing it under my Lolli Powell pseudonym.


10. How can readers learn more about you and your books?

I write mysteries/thrillers as Laurel Heidtman, and romances (and soon cozies) as Lolli Powell. I have a website for each name: and I also have a blog at All my sites are linked to one another.

About Laurel and Lolli

I’m from southwestern Ohio originally and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where I received a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis, an Associate Degree in Nursing, and a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication (fancy way of saying technical writing!). I never could figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up! I’ve been a dancer, a police officer, a registered nurse and a technical writer–and those were just the jobs I spent ten years or more doing. I’ve had even more short term jobs.

I’m retired from all of those now and only work at writing fiction–which really doesn’t seem like work at all. I live with my husband, four dogs, and two cats on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. We have lived through a March blizzard that dumped 22 inches of snow on us, but thankfully, no escaped federal prisoners showed up on our doorstep!

Wow, Laurel! Thank you so much for sharing your answers with us! Join Laurel and I for fun and prizes tomorrow, the first annual Indie Author Day! We’re having a Facebook party where you can talk with us about (probably) anything you want to know about our shared passion for writing as indies.

As always, thank you for reading,


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Dana and Lucy’s Favorite Animal Videos #2

By now you’ve figured out that Lucy* and I** spend time on our phones watching animal videos because they are too good to pass up, and too good not to share.  We don’t plan these things; one of us will just wander into the other’s office and we’ll watch the video together.  When we find one as adorable as this, we have to share it with you guys, too.

Oh, and we don’t think our author would mind that we’re posting videos on our own.  Do you?  So far, she hasn’t said anything.  She’s busy finishing up the third novel in the series.  Wait until you see what happens in that book!

You’ll have to let us know which animals are your favorites.  The bunny has my vote, while the peek-a-boo at the end has Lucy’s.

Thanks for watching!

Dana and Lucy

*Our author has a newsletter, and we’ve seen great stuff there, too.  If you’re not receiving it, you can sign up for it here.

*I’m Dana Carapelli-Jacobs, the main character in the first book of the Natural Gifts series by Gina Briganti.  You can read about how I discover the love of my life, and a whole other plane of existence in my book, The Dreaming.

**Lucy Shannon-Spellman has her own romance in Desert Sunrise, book two of the Natural Gifts series of uplifting paranormal romances by Gina Briganti.  When you read it, you’ll see more and more why this series is called Natural Gifts.

Oh, and feel free to send us links to your favorite animal videos.  We always have time for one more.

Coffee Flour- Yes, That Would be Flour Made From Coffee

Carter* and I** were browsing articles about food, and we found this one about coffee flour.  To say the least, we are intrigued.  We know you’re not surprised that the two of us sit around in our spare time reading about food.

We’d like to know, have any of you used it?  We know a lot of you love to cook as much as we do.

It is gluten-free, and according to, it contains fiber, protein, iron, antioxidants, and potassium.

Suggested uses are to make it into pasta, baked goods, and granola.

We’ll be sure to share the news if we experiment with it.

Dana and Carter

*Carter is now a young chef in the Natural Gifts series of uplifting paranormal romances.  **Dana is technically his stepmother, but practically she is his mother, boss, and mentor.  You can read about how they met in The Dreaming (book one), when she fell in love with his Dad, Joe.

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New Design – LIFT Friends

My dear friend, Cyhndi, and Naomi (365 Days – A Diary Of A Newly Single Mum) are my inspirations for my LIFT Friends design.  Naomi started a magazine called LIFT to support single mothers like herself.  Visit her link to learn more about her wonderful blog and magazine.

This design is dedicated to Cyhndi, who has been there for me for the last ten years.  Thank you for being an awesome friend.

Do you want to see the design now?


Click on the pictures; they will take you directly to my Zazzle store.  Do you have friend you would like to celebrate?

lift_friends_purple_makeup_mirrorMakeup Mirror


lift_friends_gray_notebook-rcc52a28405ec43a0bca92a7ef2e3b34f_ambg4_8byvr_512lift_friends_gray_star_sticker-r95c9600d9a924da888528d7d30dd4685_v9w09_8byvr_512Thank you for taking the time to share my new design!


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Interviews With Inspiring People: Meet Blue of BluedarkArt

I first encountered Blue’s art through a reblog of one of her designs by our blogger in common, Sherri of Palm Springs.  The vibrance, playfulness, and imagination of Blue’s designs drew me in right away.  In time, I discovered that Blue would be the designer who inspired me to start playing with design as more than an easier way around copyright drama in my blog posts.  Blogging has brought many rewards.  My friendship with Blue is one of them.

Blue is also the only designer I have purchased art from to promote my Natural Gifts book series.  Remember these?

Creatures Velvet Meets VectorCreatures Velvet Meets in The Dreaming

Saunders + Velvet with text VectorVelvet and Saunders’ First Kiss

The more I interacted with Blue, the more impressed and curious I became.  That’s why I asked if she would like to answer the ten questions.  She graciously accepted, and now we can all get to know Blue just a little bit better.

Thank you for everything, Blue!

Gina:  How did you become the inspiring person you are today?

Blue: This question is so beautiful, and also very generous, Gina. I have always believed myself to be a lucky and inspired person, rather than inspiring. Or maybe both are connected. I think I’m the person I am today mainly thanks to my parents (both artists: my father a pianist, my mother a singer), to the place where I was born (the colorful and vibrant Brazil), to the various places where I then lived in the World (especially Africa, South America, Caribbean), to the many people I met, and I still meet on the path of life … The incredible connections between all these facts, and even more, have shaped my “being.” That’s why I consider myself to be an inspired person, and the simple idea of transmitting this makes me think of an “exchange” between me and my surroundings, a sort of gratitude for what I had and learned .. .and that I am still having and learning.  😀

Gina: How did you get started in graphic design?

Blue: Since I was a kid I loved drawing.  Growing up I started painting, and about 12 years ago my parents and my brother gave me a computer for my birthday, with a beautiful software for Vector Graphism. I first started learning to use both (never had a computer before!), on my own, fascinated by this new experience! And slowly, time after time, patiently, I started to build what is now my job for a few years now: computer graphics 😀

Gina: What advice do you have for those who are getting started in graphic design today?

Blue: The graphic design world is in constant evolution, and requires not only our skills, our creativity, but also curiosity, enthusiasm, tenacity, perseverance, patience and an inexhaustible desire to learn and discover, every day!

Gina: What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not designing?

Blue: Oh! There are so many things! Walking, swimming, reading, listening or playing music, making little objects with bamboo or palm tree parts, and so many other things! It depends on what part of the world I am in, on the weather, on the opportunity life offers or that the moment offers. 😀

Gina: Please finish this sentence in your own words: The best things in life are?

Blue: Well, it’s almost impossible for me to choose just some among them.  There are a lot of best things in life! But there are two things, in particular, that have the potential to bring us to the best things in life: knowledge and respect.  For ourselves, for others, for nature.  Knowledge, because learning, even every day, is one of the best and important things in life. Respect, because this is the best “passport” for different aspects and pleasures life can give us.

Gina: What advice do you have for those who are struggling right now?

Blue: I know it sounds simplistic, but my advice is to never give up, accept any losses (as we learn to understand our limitations, our weaknesses, and thus strengthen us), never force destiny, but let it guide us through the mental path chosen by ourselves. This means that sometimes we may feel dissatisfied, or even betrayed, and maybe we will be forced to make detours that we would not have wanted to do, but a careful reading of the events will always give the answers, these same answers that will help us to never give up.

Gina: Do you have a muse?

Blue: I’m sure it is Mother Nature, her wonders, her secrets, her incredible beauty. Everything in nature is art and harmony.

Gina: Do you have other creative outlets?

Blue: For a few years I have been working on this strange and fascinating world of graphic design, but I’m also an ex-ballerina, a painter, a musician (pianist, like my Father). Dance is no longer an outlet for me (well, I’m not young enough anymore), but painting and music are still part of my life, even though my work actually is computer graphics, and it takes a lot of time! 😀

Gina: What inspires you most about the world we live in?

Blue: I know I am repeating myself, but the wonders of Mother Nature are for me one of the most valuable sources, inexhaustible, and always surprising, in all its aspects. Our deep roots are there, even if we (human neings) forget it, too often…

Gina: What is something you wish everyone knew?

Blue: I would like everyone to know, they have the awareness of the great, wonderful adventure that gives us life, and how important it is to learn to live in peace with each other, respecting each other, could make us live in a world of harmony. I wish the privileged persons, like me, who live in areas of the world where there are no wars, realize how much luck they have. I would like us to make all aware of the importance of taking “time to live” (“Le Temps de Vivre”): Of course, is not the “amount” of time that counts, but the “quality.” Each of us has preferences, and this “time to live” can be found in admiring the beauty of a flower, or a monument, or being surprised by the shape of a cloud, or listening to the deep vibrations of a melody, and thousands of other things through which we all can find ourselves in the right balance with our surroundings.

Blue’s responses are exactly how I thought they would be – honest, and beautifully inspiring.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Blue better.  I know I did!

Have a look at her wonderful art on her wordpress site:

As always, thank you for spending time with me.


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Enjoy This Funny Animal Video!

Dana* and I** were working (hey, I can hear you laughing!) when we came across this video.  It reminded us so much of Dan**!  This is totally something he would do.

We just had to share.  We hope you like it as much as we do!

Lucy & Dana

*Dana Carapelli-Jacobs is the main character in The Dreaming, the first uplifting paranormal romance in the Natural Gifts series by Gina Briganti.  It’s a story of love on a whole other plane.  Of existence.

**Lucy Shannon-Spellman is the main character in Desert Sunrise, book two of the Natural Gifts series by Gina Briganti  You can read all about how her hopes to find true love came true.  Not to mention meeting her best canine friend,  Dan***.  She’s in for so many surprises!

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Introducing Enriching_Life, My New Store on!

I believe I mentioned before that I started taking pictures, and creating graphics, for this blog, right?  Well, I caught a fever, and I’m loving it!  These are my latest designs, in my brand new Zazzle store.  I’m calling it, Enriching_Life, because my intention is that what I create will add richness to your life.

Here’s what I love about Zazzle:

  1.  They’ve been in business for ten years, so they know what they’re doing.
  2.  Satisfaction is guaranteed!
  3.  Lots and lots of sales.  If you see an item you like, register with them so you know when the item goes on sale.
  4. I love the way they treat new designers like me.  What could be overwhelming has been made simple and inviting.  Thank you, Zazzle!

Click on any item to view it in my Zazzle store.

Surround Yourself note cardsweet_dreaming_greeting_cardpowerful_affirmation_greeting_card


I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to sit down with the laptop and put designs on new products, and create new designs.

Writing novels is also incredibly exciting, but designs come together much faster.  It’s a great compliment to my creative process.

As always, thank you for sharing your time with me!


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