Whew, what a weekend. From Bombogenesis, Bomb Cyclones, to heads up iguanas are coming down. We made out fine in Northern Florida. It was a bit chilly but the sun made a grand appearance and though it went below freezing Saturday night, we were tucked inside. Really quick before we get to today's guest, the Around the Fire newsletter goes out tomorrow. Get first dibs on exciting announcements and two yes two free downloads sign up here at mailchi.mp/1172dfb299fb/d-v-stones-around-the-fire now let's welcome Susan to the fire...
Hi, Susan! I'm so happy to warm you back to my fire. It's been a while. While I pour us a cup, why don't you tell us a bit about you besides the usual bio.
A rose by any other name…
I had a dilemma when I decided to publish my novels. I had been winning contests etc. under the name I use now although there were other authors, already published authors, having the same name. I thought of using my middle initial which is in fact a type of initial (Kay) but I didn’t think that differentiated me enough. So, I thought to use my maiden name – and yep, an author using that name came up, too. So, do I hyphenate? Reid-Payne? Payne-Reid? Neither did much for me.
I had heard a few horror stories from authors, mostly female, where they had picked-up stalkers so I worried using a name they could look-up and find might make me a target. Then I passed a mirror and saw my seventy-year-old self and thought, “what the heck” am I worrying about? I don’t think I’m the type anyone would fixate on. Just not that mesmerizing.
So, I stuck with the name I’ve had for over fifty-five years and will stick with it. It’s not as if I’m hiding from the law or anything. Of course, my kids might have wanted a say in things, but I didn’t ask them. Now they’re stuck with this name, too. Again, no one would put two and two together if they didn’t tell them. If they want their friends to know, it’s up to them. Some of mine know and some would never believe it of me.
Now close friends are different. Some of them have told me they always knew I’d end up here – as a writer in print. Some knew I’d be writing historical, too, so those are the ones who knew me best.
Possibly that’s why I stayed with the name most people know me by. So that when they see one of my books, they’ll wonder if that’s the same Susan Payne they knew back in high-school so many years ago. Nah, that poor old woman would be over seventy-four years old and dead by now…
You're so funny! I know you have to be careful though. I can't tell you how many "shahs" "princes" and "celebrities' follow or ask me to follow them. I'm D. V. Stone because that's how I've signed my name for years. It's the K.I.S.S. system. If they made a movie about your life what would it be?
If they made a movie about my life, it would be titled something along the lines of “Who Would Have Thunk It.” I have travelled more, done more, learned more, lived more than anyone would have thought I would. I had a pretty inauspicious beginning followed by a normal marriage although it seems to be dragging on at 56 years (although I’d never want it different) and trying to keep up with my entrepreneurial husband and five children. I could write a book and no one would believe what I’ve accomplished even before I decided to turn to writing.
Hmm, I'm intrigued. I guess we'll have to head over to social media to find out more. We love game night. Laughing with friends and family. How about you?
I have played board games, but prefer games like Trivial Pursuit or cards. I was taught Canasta at about ten years old and have enjoyed that game, Double Pinochle, Hand & Foot (Canasta on steroids) as well as solitaire and slap-happy, a silly family card game. Anytime you can have free fun with friends and family is a good time in my mind.
What was your first job?
My first job was babysitting for neighbors. I made 25 cents an hour. Wow! I used it to buy clothes for school. I didn’t buy books back then since I read/borrowed books from libraries and family.
Babysitters make a lot more than that now. Have you ever won anything?
I never win anything. In fact, anyone sitting at the same table with me won’t win anything either. I thought of renting myself out as a chiller at poker tables. I could cool-off any hot player. I’m not sure that endears me to friends and family, but it’s the truth.
Susan, thanks so much for popping in today. Any last words before you tell us more about your book?
It’s been nice sharing with you. I appreciate the time you’ve spent with me today and hope you enjoy reading as much as I do. Remember, love abhors a vacuum so stay busy.
In the Sheriff’s Sights ~
Texas Ranger Romance Book One
Sheriff Josie Heinz knew Texas Ranger Ben Crocker would be trouble – just not the kind he turned out to be. He matched her in strength, intelligence and passion. Not a bad combination if she had wanted to trade in her badge for a wedding ring.
Buy links: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R64M35J eBook only Tx Ranger bk1
Released 1/5/2022 by Magnolia Blossom Publishing
About the Author
Susan began her writing when she was still a young mother, trying to find time to type on the old Smith-Corona from hand written notes that she was able to scribble off between children's naps and cleaning. Cleaning always came first, before any amusements; but she has decided that dust can be interesting and shirts don't need to be ironed to be wearable. She now spends her time writing stories as dictated by her new friends so others can enjoy them as much as she does.
I'm On A Rant.
I’m not much of a television person. Oh, I have some favorites. Some of the cooking shows are on the top of my list. Ones like Top Chef on Bravo and Chopped on the Food Network. Say Yes To The Dress on TLC has been a go-to over the years. I mean, who doesn’t like Randy Fenoli btw who now has his own creations. I’m a Big Bang Theory fan. Bazinga. No, really. I could be friends with those people. Even though I’ve seen every episode so man time, I’ll flip TBS on for background noise and leave it there while doing things.
One of my favorite new series on television is PBS-All Creatures Great And Small. Years ago, I devoured all the James Herriot books. There have been other incarnations of the books. But this one? It’s beautiful, sweet, touching, funny.
So, what’s my rant? Scrolling through the news on my phone, I spotted “What’s wrong with PBS’s All Creatures Great and Small.”
Nothing, I thought, then allowed myself to be lured over to some guy’s commentary on the show.
I won’t say who because I choose not to give him any publicity. He believes it’s too nice. Such a mean spirit he had. I wanted to comment on his blog, but there was nowhere to do it. He was probably afraid to after venting his spleen about how unrealistic and pretty the show was. But guess what? I have my own blog, so this is how I would have replied.
What is wrong with us taking sixty minutes of our lives to just escape. The world around us is often brutal and terrifying. The reason I write romance is because of the Happily Ever After. Is that real? Maybe not.
In today’s society, per 2021 statistics of
In the United States, about 50% of married couples divorce, the sixth-highest divorce rate in the world. Subsequent marriages have an even higher divorce rate: 60% of second marriages end in divorce, and 73% of all third marriages end in divorce.
Does that mean I can’t enjoy Jane and John growing old surrounded by loving children and grandchildren?
I’m also a fan of the Avengers. Why? Because good always prevails. At least in the ones I’ve seen. Not so much in the world we live in. I keep waiting for some awful people to get their comeuppance. I’m kind of old fashion that way.
Then my mind went to social media in all it’s forms. My posts avoid controversial subjects. I try to post fun, uplifting, and sometimes off-the-wall things. My adventures in cooking, for instance. Remember no names here, but sorry. My dinner came out delicious despite your comment that’s not the way to do it. I smiled and moved on because I refused to be drawn into the negative drama.
Life is short, people. The world can be mean. There’s a saying that goes
Friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
So Mr. Nameless on your blog, I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry for anyone who can’t be happy themselves and try to steal the joy from others. Am I a Polly Anna? I sure hope so. I want to see the good in others. I want to enjoy lovely stories, movies, and television. Darn it, I like the HEA. I demand it!
When someone follows me on social media, I take the time to scroll through their feeds. I look at their attitude more than their posts. I remember a conversation with my teenage son. We were in the car driving, and he was asking me questions. After a moment, I realized what he was doing and said, “You don’t want to have a discussion. You want to score points. Sorry, I don’t play that game.”
In today’s society, you can voice your opinion as long as it coincides with whatever the other person is saying. Here’s a quote from Miss Manner’s in an interview for the Harvard Business Review in 2003.
Oddly, in today’s social realm, honesty seems to trump every other moral value. Truth has become so overblown in situations of criminal wrongdoing that people will say, “Well, I don’t mind that he did this or that, but then he lied about it”—as if the lie were the worst part, which it is not. I’m not recommending lying, but I am saying that you have to judge a lie within the context of other values. And whether you are in a business or a social setting, it is not valuable to go around all the time spewing your own truths, which are often mere opinions.
Can we please relearn manners, elegance, and kindness? Can we stop staring at the train wreck for a moment and gaze upon things that, though maybe fictional, give us joy and happiness without guilt? Look at art for its face value? Not nitpick stuff to pieces.
Hello, Mr. No Name, All Creatures Great And Small is meant to entertain, not be an encyclopedia of historical events. Yes, it’s based on the life and times of a country vet; however, have you heard of poetic license.
I’m a farm girl. I read this book while living on a dairy farm in Minnesota. I know the calf grows into a cow and what the future may hold. Yes, there was a war brewing and depression when he was penning this book. Geez, if I want those realities, I’ll go to the history channel, which by the way, broadcasts many shows that are dramatized based on history.
I’m leaping (figuratively) off of my soapbox now. Please I implore you find your joy and don’t let any Mr. Nameless steal it from you.
Hugs and kisses from D. who feels so much better know. 😘
Hey everyone I hope you had a great weekend. Twas a bit chilly in Northern Florida. We did manage to get in a nice fire Saturday night. We enjoyed the company of WorkKampers and camp, campers. Coats, gloves, and blankets kept us warm encouraged by stimulating conversations. That's the thing about fires, whether outside in a pit or indoors by the fireplace. A beverage and maybe something tasty and it's a good thing. Before we get to today's guest, fellow Wild Rose Press author Terry Korth Fischer, I have a couple of things to share with you. My Agent Sam Carter Mysteries are on sale for a limited time. Head over to www.amazon.com/D-V-Stone/e/B01N154Y9U and grab a copy while you still have time for only $.99 ea. Now let's toss another log in, grab something to sip on, and get to know Terry.
Welcome, Terry. I'm excited to have you Around The Fire. So while I pour us cups or coffee let's get right to it. We all have official bios. But in front of the fire we like to be nosey. So tell us, who you are other than your bio?
Besides writing, I try to stay active in community affairs such as food drives, clothing collections, and bell ringing. Also, because I have a background in technology, I'm called upon to help with streaming events and supply computer advice and savvy—which is a laugh because things change daily, and a six-year-old knows what I know.
That's so important. We should always, to the best of our abilities, give back to our communities. Please tell us what you like to read?
I read daily, and primarily mysteries. But I had gone through periods when memoirs and epic novels were the only books that piqued my interest.
Some might think being an author is a lonely adventure. And it can be. But most humans need social and professional interactions. Who is your network or support system?
I belong to two critique groups and three writing organizations. The time spent with these talented people is essential to me, not only for their support but for continued encouragement. In addition, being surrounded by the arts and artists is most satisfying, whether writers, poets, or pole-dancers.
That is so true. I enjoy being around creative people. They inspire me and often commiserate. Nosey question coming up. Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
I don’t think you would consider it a talent, but years ago, my ten-year-old step-daughter and I created synchronized swimming routines to entertain my husband, her father. We were pretty good if you didn't consider how ridiculous our lack of skill was—however, we synchronized!
LOL. Two mermaids. Terry, what is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special?
I live in a small subdivision in a large city. My neighborhood was established more than seventy years ago and at one time had many small businesses. Then around the year 1990, all the local shops moved to the mall or went out of business. It was a shame; our boys worked at the local grocery store before it closed. I could walk to the beauty shop to get my hair trimmed, and there was a burger joint, a VFW, and a movie rental. Now there is nothing in our neighborhood except vintage homes and good people.
So sad. That's happened to many communities. The town near me went through that too. Recently they've be revitalizing. New shops and restaurant have opened and there's a lot of construction going on. I have three favorite mugs depending on where I am and what I'm drinking. What is your favorite mug or teacup?
My morning coffee is a single-serving, brewed into a porcelain mug that I love. It’s large enough to hold a 12-ounce cup of coffee yet sufficiently dainty to allow me to feel regal using it.
Well, regal Terry😜 I'll hold your tiara while you dish on your worst household chore?
I can’t lie. Housework is my least favorite chore. Dusting ranks just below window washing, and emptying the dishwasher sits on the bottom of the list. But, a funny thing, I love to iron. Even in a wash and wear society, my ironing board is always up, and I find it calming to nudge those wrinkles out.
Do you play board games? What ones do you like?
I grew up in a large family where we played board games frequently. To this day, I enjoy a game of Parcheesi or Chinese Checkers.
What was your first job?
I worked full-time at Rexall Drugs when I was in high school. The store was in a small town and locally owned; the store had a soda fountain. I can make a cherry phosphate and a banana split with my eyes closed.
Let's chat about your writing. How do you select the names of your characters?
Using a little imagination, I like to name my characters with names that suit their personalities. I use a name based on someone I know when it works out. Other times, I select from a baby name book and look for a suitable name.
Money's tight for many of us, and everyone is clamoring for it. Will you share what was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Two things come to mind as the best money I ever spent as a writer. The first was attending my first writers' conference. Before participating in the conference, I had no idea what being part of the writing community could mean. However, the networking opportunities helped me go from being a lone writer to becoming an author among a family of authors. The second was hiring a professional editor before submitting my first manuscript for publication. Of course, I knew that if I successfully found a publisher or an agent, the manuscript would be professionally edited. Still, the extra polish I received from the independent editor made that possible.
Terry, thank you for sharing my fire. My last question is will you tell us how to find out more about you and your book?
Rory Naysmith Mysteries Book 2
Terry Korth Fischer
A murderer who doesn’t leave a clue. Small-town detective, Rory Naysmith, thought he’d seen it all, but a young woman’s brutal murder is especially hard to stomach. Doubly so, when he recognizes the murder’s MO is identical to that of Tobias Snearl, the killer he put behind bars a decade before. His frustration grows after a series of senseless accidents plague those dearest to him, and a second woman dies. Searching for answers, Rory races against time, plunging deep into the murder investigations, drawing ever closer to becoming a casualty of the dark, angry deeds himself, until he finds no one is who they pretend to be—and none are beyond evil’s reach.
Get your copy today
Find out more about today's guest
Terry Korth Fischer is a Texan, writer of short stories, memoir, and mystery. When she tires of heat and humidity her heart wanders to the heartland. Watch for her new novel, Gone Before, a traditional mystery set in northeastern Nebraska, releasing January 17, 2022 by The Wild Rose Press.
Social Media Links – Terry Korth Fischer
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/terrykorthfischer
BookBub Author: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/terry-korth-fischer
BookGems Author: https://www.bookgems.com/profile/tkfischer/
BLOG Website: https://www.terryiswriting.com
Hello and Happy Saturday. I'm coming to your from the Sunshine State and since it's still January, I feel free to look back at last year and all the happenings. I also wanted to make sure I didn't forget to thank you all for your following, support, and friendship. As a way to say it, I'm going to share one of my go-to recipes. So, grab a chair and a hot cuppa and join me for a few minutes.
Tell me, how often does someone pop by and you have nothing to put on the table? I used to have a ladies' bible study and I'd pull this one out and everyone loved it. I call it Lightning Cake because if you have a few simple ingredients it's done in a flash.
1 Large Egg
1/2 c. Sugar
1 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 c. Milk
3 Tblsp. Melted Butter
1/4 tsp Almond Extract (If you don't have this increase the Vanilla to 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Beat the egg while adding sugar. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the milk, butter, and extract. My favorite pan for baking is a square 8X8 or 9X9 sprayed with no-stick.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 or 25 minutes depending on the size of your pan. I don't frost it but dab some fruit jelly or preserves.
How about some fun factoids?
I was surprised to find this in my inbox! Agent Sam Carter is an influencer favorite.
Here's what they said...
The Mystery of High Pointe Tower is such a fun paranormal adventure. While it’s aimed at middle-grade readers, it’s suitable for YA and even adult readers, too. The characters and the witty banter move the plot as does the mystery. D.V. Stone has a talent for paranormal adventure stories and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot twists are a little predictable but will be appealing to middle-grade readers. Sam is a very relatable character to kids. This wholesome story is the perfect length with a pleasant ending. There’s room for a lot more adventures for Agent Sam Carter and friends and I, for one, can’t wait to read more. Highly recommend
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08NC6XZR9 It's a free read with Kindle Unlimited.
You know Rock House Grill and Jazz House are books about First Responders in all their roles. Jazz House's main male character is Michael Machau a police officer from a small town in fictional Slate Quarry Pa. The folks at The Blue Magazine asked me to write a column for their January issue. I'll send you the link when it hits.
And if you are on Goodreads I'd appreciate any adds to your "want to read" at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57910368-jazz-house
Don't forget to keep your eye out for a special Valentine's Day with Shay and Aden from Rock House Grill. All of you will get a first chance at reading a "Flash Fiction" Story. Those on my mailing list will have first dibs as well as a special announcement so don't miss out sign up here mailchi.mp/1172dfb299fb/d-v-stones-around-the-fire
Some of you may know we are big campers, oh sorry, glampers. We are glamping in Perry Florida at a lovely KOA koa.com/campgrounds/perry/ Brian and Debby are the hosts and such great people. After thoroughly researching, four years ago they purchased a campground that had seen better days. Since then the rehabilitation of this KOA has been amazing. Located on The Great Bend of Florida, this camp is gorgeous and surrounded by gorgeous. Though it's not as warm as you might consider winter in Florida, we love it. It feels like fall in NJ. Here are some pictures...
And lastly, here's a prayer and a thought for the coming year.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
Welcome to my fire, Adriana Kraft.
Happy new week to you all. I hope wherever you are you've been safe and warm. Much of the US has been dealing with some rocky weather. Here in Northern Florida the wind is riding the tail of the storm and let me tell you it's whistling outside. Up home in NJ the temps have reached sub zero. Pete even told me there was a tornado down near Ft. Meyers. Well, it may be chilly, but we are going to heat things up a bit Around The Fire with today's guest, uhm, guests. Here we go...
Welcome to my fire Adreana Kraft. I hear you’ll bring some heat to spice it up. And it’s been cold for quite a bit now. Before we get started, I’d like to give a heads up to those joining us today.
So, to my other guests, if you can’t stand the heat yada yada yada—today’s blog is PG, but my author guest’s book is rated “R.” I read all sorts of genres, and most are welcome here. So, if you like your stories like I like my chili, check out the book. And even if the book is not for you, Adriana Kraft is someone you want to read about.
Grab a warm cuppa and pull your chair a bit closer to the fire. It’s time to dig in.
Adriana, there seems to be more than one person here. This is already a more intriguing visit. Everyone has their own story, one for the cover and then the one we share as friends. Tell us who you are other than your official bio?
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a pair of former academics. A couple decades ago – before we left our day jobs – we decided we might have more fun writing romance together than the dry academic publications on which we sometimes collaborated. Knowing almost nothing, we penned our first manuscript together and started submitting. This was before e-pubs had hit the market, so it meant we printed and shipped multiple first chapters and synopses off to agents and publishers. No one took us up (we quickly learned how flawed our manuscript was), but one agent took the time to send us the comment that we wrote sexual tension well. That sounded like even more fun…
A writing duo. How great that you have each other to bounce things off. And thank goodness for the one person who gave you direction. What interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
First, let me say how much we love the title of your “Around the Campfire” blog – we’ve always loved the outdoors, and we were both avid tent campers before we met. We took my husband’s three boys along on our honeymoon camping trip to the Rockies, and when we later lived in the west, often took advantage of the nearby forested mountains. I’ve attached a photo from one of those trips to the high Uintas.
When we lived in northern Minnesota, we tramped down a mile-long cross-country ski trail with our snowshoes and even skied it by moonlight one frosty night (as in twenty below…). Here in Arizona, we still love hiking, and we especially love exploring the many historic native sites across the state.
It goes without saying we’re both avid readers in a wide range of genres, not just romance. Probably because we both have many UK ancestors (Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland), we’ve recently been reading marvelous UK bios and historical fiction from the fall of Rome through the Tudor era, all the time wondering how and where ours lived at the time.
I used to live in Brainerd, MN. Much of my family history is out of the UK. We have much in common. Knowing now that you write as a duo, you have a built-in support system, but who else do you turn to?
Since there are two of us, we’re each other’s primary writing support network, along with our publisher’s editing team. When we first got started and lived in the Midwest, we joined some author groups and took lots of workshops to hone our skills. I’ve also stayed in close touch with two circles of women, one from my undergraduate years and one from grad school. These women are always an important sounding board for me.
Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
That answer is probably different for each of us. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and have succeeded in converting Mr. Kraft through some excellent movies, especially the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly. Mr. Kraft grew up reading Zane Grey and Willa Cather. Not long after those early rejections started pouring in, we were fortunate to take a two-day workshop with Jennifer Cruise, whose books we both admire greatly.
Jane Austen to Zane Grey, I see how you each bring something different to the table. Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
I suppose our most outrageous talent is that all our lives, we’ve been unafraid to try out new and different talents. I’m classically trained in piano and organ, play guitar and recorder, and attempted the hammered dulcimer until carpal tunnel interfered. I’m a contralto and have sung all my life, sometimes in choirs, sometimes in community choruses. Mr. Kraft has recently taken up the native flute and is quite natural and lovely with it. I’m known (sometimes) as a lethal ping pong player, and I once won a limbo contest. I took up golf four years ago and can sometimes make a par; Mr. Kraft, having golfed at a much younger age, resumed at about the same time and is quite respectable. He has recently taken up drawing. The important thing about all these endeavors is that we enjoy them, and we’re good enough for it to be satisfying (well, golf is sometimes an exception…)
Lol! My DH keeps saying he’ll teach me to golf. He used to be on a team and later enjoyed playing with his family. I, however, am exceptional at Wii Golf. You mentioned living in Minnesota and Arizona more recently; can you tell us what your neighborhood is like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them unique?
We live in a 55+ community in a small town between Phoenix and Tucson. Our immediate community has all the organized activities and opportunities typically found in such places. We get great bands in for our frequent dances, and we learned country/western dance through classes here so we could join in. Our small town may not be much to look at, but it has a few lovely touches – a nice golf course, a couple intriguing restaurants, and a newly opened espresso café that reminds us of our favorite cafés back in the Midwest, featuring local artists on the walls and hosting music events and other community gatherings. We based our most recent release, I Am Not For Sale, on these cafés.
Sounds like a great place to live, work, and play. I have a few short random questions for us to get to know you better. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Bette Midler’s “The Rose.” It captures so much about each of us. When we married, we each wrote our own wedding vows, and I quoted from “The Rose” in mine, the stanza that begins with “It’s the heart, afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.”
Did you ever win something?
The first thing I ever won was a brownie camera, at about age 11 or 12. I’d entered a contest from a TV science show and got the correct answer. My parents made me give it to my younger sister since I already had a camera.
For several years, Mr. Kraft and I raised boxers and participated in dog shows with them. Nothing Westminster-worthy, but we did finish a champion and bred her for two litters. Our Boxer Club always held raffles at our shows to benefit the Boxer Rescue, and two different years we won the largest prize. One was a hand-crafted mosaic garden stone with a beautiful brindle boxer who looked just like our girl. The other was a sitting and free photo with a glamour dog photographer – not something that was ever on my bucket list, but now that she’s gone, we’re glad we have it.
What was your first job?
My very first job was day camp counselor for 8-year-old girls – plus, all counselors drove VW busses on a route to pick up campers. I had to pass the county School Bus Driver’s test to take that job! Mr. Kraft’s first job was stocking shelves at a Wisconsin Piggly-Wiggly—that is, if you don’t count the fact that he started working on the family dairy farm at age 8, driving a tractor.
What’s the most amazing natural occurrence you’ve witnessed?
I was all set to tell you about witnessing a strange cloudy phenomenon and explosion near the Pleiades one evening that turned out to be a SpaceX booster firing, but then I re-read the question and realized you said “natural” occurrence. So I’ll talk instead about standing on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in August of 2015 and watching an intense thunderstorm come towards us. If you’ve never been to the North Rim, you may not realize that its Visitor Center is built on a promontory that juts out into the canyon – with its floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, you feel you are in the canyon itself. We were mesmerized for over an hour, standing safe inside in the middle of the storm. The next morning, we had to take a 100-mile detour because the storm had washed out our major exit route with a giant mudslide.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
We always read our reviews. We’re happy for good news (which most of them are!) and use quotations from them in our social media promos. Bad news? Rare, but of course, it smarts at first. We do take it seriously enough to examine whether we think the criticism is accurate and worth paying attention to or whether it’s merely from someone who prefers a different kind of romance.
I have a couple pet peeves – one is when a reviewer docks us because the book was too short, and we’ve created it as a short story or novella on purpose. The other is when one of our characters gets slut-shamed. We write erotic romance, and we write women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go get it. Readers who dislike such women will probably never like our work.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
This would be a tie between the Jennifer Cruise workshop I mentioned earlier, and the purchase of a $20 book we continue to use as a reference: The Magic of Fiction, by Beth Hill. I highly recommend that book for anyone who’s just getting started or who wants to become more proficient at editing their own work.
It’s been so much fun getting to know you both. The Grand Canyon is on my bucket list. Thank you for stopping by the fire. Before you head off to dancing, golfing, or one of your other activities, would you leave us a bit about where to find you and your books?
I Am Not for Sale
It’s nothing personal…
It all seems simple enough—Ukrainian immigrant Nadja Petrov is determined to hold on to her thriving new coffee shop, Nadja’s Literary Cappuccino, and Java Beans District Rep Kevin Langley is equally determined to move into her North Iowa town with a franchise and run her out of business.
He scopes her out, she keeps a watchful eye on him, and the sparring begins. But there are other players involved, and the web of intrigue soon threatens Nadja, her shop, and her aunt as well as Kevin, his potential franchise, and his son. Within this cauldron simmers a sexual attraction between Nadja and Kevin that catapults them to overcome their fears of intimacy and commitment. Their lovemaking is tender and raw. Their love is nearly lost in tragedy—can it survive doubts, fire, and even a death?
*****Five Stars from N. N. Light: “The romance is so hot, you may have to call the fire department. But it’s the character development throughout I am Not for Sale which makes this such an incredible story.
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Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a husband/wife team writing sizzling romantic suspense and erotic romance. The award-winning pair has published over forty romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews.
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Hi, everyone! I hope you all are staying warm and safe. I'm snow-birding and writing this from Northern Florida. It still gets a bit chilly here but nothing like in NJ. Pete, my DH, and I are loving the life style of seasonal camping. He's enjoying being a KOA Work Kamper. I am settling in and working on several different projects as a stay at home dog mom. Hali is getting more spoiled if that's possible. I know I've said it before but February is coming up and I have several different exciting events in the works. Get first hand information by joining my newsletter at mailchi.mp/1172dfb299fb/d-v-stones-around-the-fire You won't be sorry.
Now without further ado please join me and my lovely guest Around The Fire
Welcome back to the Fire, Alana. While I stoke the fire and pour cups of tea for us, why don’t you start by telling us who you are behind the official bio?
After 30 years as a practicing attorney handling divorces, custody, and adoption, I’ve moved into handling drama, death, and destruction in my fiction. Clearly, it’s an improvement. 😊
A great improvement. Certainly more fun. Is that where you get your inspiration?
I draw on that history for my writing, as well as a life having raised three natural-born children, several step-children, and three adopted children who are on the autism spectrum.
Where do you call home? And what’s it like where you live?
We’ve lived from Ohio to Montana to Florida to Pennsylvania’s famous Snow Belt. In each place, I’ve tried to establish a wonderful home with a garden. I love the process of gardening, especially in the spring. Getting your hands in dirt is holy and healing.
I agree. There’s peace and sense of being part of nature when you are on your knees with your hands in the soil. What else occupies your time?
Another priority I’ve always set is travel. My kids have been all over the country and up into Canada as well. I’ve managed to steer several of those trips into research for my novels, like the 1998 Mardi Gras for Voodoo Dreams, and long weekends in Pittsburgh finding locations for the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers, with a side order of museums and interesting restaurants for the kiddies.
We love traveling in our camper and seeing the sights. I’ve gotten inspiration as well while hiking and exploring. Alana, who is your primary support system?
I’d love to say my family is supportive of my writing. I would. But none of the kids have taken it seriously. My father thought it was a waste of time, although he did read the one Star Trek fanfic novel I wrote and said it was all right. I did have a creative bond with my last ex-husband, and he was a tremendous help in my early writing, reading, and critiquing for me. Now, I belong to two Pennwriters critique groups that are both excellent and a staple of my social life since COVID, as they take place on ZOOM. The Fellowship of the Quill in Erie, PA, has been the single most important contribution to my writing career, and I always find new reasons to be grateful for them.
I understand. Most of my family are supportive of my writing, just not reading my books. I will say my hubby does read and give me input. What about other friendships?
My social life is really limited a lot to online friends these days, as I’ve developed some chronic conditions that have severely impacted my abilities to get out and about, so I’ve cultivated these friendships and appreciate them deeply. It seems a shame to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and not be able to get out and hike like so many do, but I live vicariously through my online friends and also the characters I create for my readers. Each one has a little bit of me, and they venture into the world at my fingertips, discovering all that lies before them.
Online friendships have indeed become important. I have two groups that Zoom and get together to chat not only about all things writing but also living. I’m glad about the technology that helps us to connect with others. Here’s a couple of quick get-to-know-you questions. Do you have a particular object like a piece of jewelry or a keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
When I was in New Mexico, I came across a polished stone that someone had carved a spider into. As the spider is the perfect animal spirit guide for a writer, I bought it and keep it on my desk while I’m writing.
What weird talent do you have?
I can tell when we’re going to encounter a deer in the road. Both times we’ve hit one, minutes before, I’ve said, slow down, there’s deer around without ever seeing them.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
Roast turkey. I know it’s boring. But it’s my favorite.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
Definitely the restaurants. Even here in Asheville, it’s the amazing choices that I feel like I’ll never get to try. Everything from Ethiopian to the usual Asian types, El Salvadoran, meat, cheese, vegetarian, vegan, coffee, tea, sipping chocolate…so many, so little time.
Did you ever win something? What?
I did! We were staying with a friend on the beach in Fort Pierce, Florida, and we went down to Archie’s, which is a lovely little beach bar that has Bingo games, The place was packed, and my card won $1,000!
What was your hardest scene to write?
I have a hard time writing florid sex scenes. I’m not exactly a Puritan, but I’m better at the actual doing it than describing the mechanics of it. I like to trust that my readers can imagine even better than I could describe it.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Traveling to Golden, Colorado, to take a Master Immersion writing class with Margie Lawson. A week-long chance to learn a method of editing and all the tricks and trade of literary devices to improve all forms of writing. It’s applied to every manuscript I’ve written since.
Alana, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s always a pleasure to catch up. I’d love for you to let others know more about your work and where to find you.
A Rose By Any Other Name
Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion in 2005, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.
Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons’ lives. In his Internet wanderings, he’s found feminist blogger named Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. His group of single dad advocates have vowed to take this woman down.
What Russell doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When his group discovers the truth, will their drive for revenge derail any chance the couple have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?
More about the Author
Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years, after working as a pizza maker, a floral designer, a journalist and a family law attorney. Currently a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, the aging hippie loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. She writes romance and suspense as Alana Lorens, and sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal mystery as Lyndi Alexander. One of her novellas, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter on the autism spectrum, who is the youngest of her seven children, and she is ruled by three crotchety old cats, and six kittens of various ages.
Hello! It's the beginning of a new week in the new year. How have you been doing with those pesky resolutions? I don't have any. Not for years. I have hopes. Dreams. Thoughtful considerations. Plans even. But in my life? Nope. Since I am a goal driven person it would be to much pressure. I'd prefer to live each day just doing the best I can with what pops up. Seem like as a writer and a human I'm sort of a Panster. (That's flying by the seat of your pants) I do keep a schedule though and today's includes fellow author Veronica Scott. She's new to my fire and I can't wait for all of us to meet her. So, awaaaaay we go...
Veronica, welcome. I'm so glad you can join us today. I adore your hair and your dragon. It's so chilly in much of the world so while I stoke up the heat can you share a bit about who you are other than your bio?
I’m a mother of two, grandmother of three ranging in age from 19 to 2 years old. I had a very long career on the business side of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (which does Mars rovers and other robotic missions) and worked many projects. I even supervised construction contracts for a time. But fun as all that was, being a full-time author since 2015 is my favorite situation.
Wow! To infinity and beyond. One never thinks of all the behind the scenes things that make NASA what it is. And how wonderful you have a second exciting career as an author. What interests besides writing do you enjoy?
I read voraciously all kinds of books, from Regency romance to nonfiction to science fiction romance (of course). I used to sew and do a lot of crafts, but once my children were grown and gone, I drifted away from all of that. I probably watch way too much cable news for my own good, and I make sure to take a walk every day if I can. Since 2020 I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles one after the other and enjoying that as a relaxing break in between writing sessions.
I'm not a crafty person but do love puzzles. I have an owl puzzle awaiting assembly. Writing as a career can be lonely oftentimes. However we all need a network or support system. Who is yours?
My two daughters are extremely supportive and understand the publishing world. One daughter was actually published before I ever was, and both have worked as freelance editors in the past, so they know the ropes. My younger brother is also a huge fan and gives me the man’s point of view on all my stories, no matter how steamy. (I typically will have 2-3 open door bedroom scenes per novel. I give myself a 3 out of 5 flames for steaminess.)
Ahh, creativity runs in your family. Speaking of writing, what books or authors are your inspiration?
Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey for their science fiction and Nalini Singh for her very long-running Psy-Changeling series. I always wanted to write a series in the vein of how she handles hers, and at 17 books and counting now, I think I’m getting there on my Badari Warriors series. (I have 52+ published books in total and am a three-time USA Today Best Selling Author.)
That's quite an accomplishment. Congratulations on being a best selling author. It's something I dream about. I, too, love Anne McCaffery. I'm reading the Dragon Riders of Pern. Tell me, Veronica, other than being and amazing author, do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
My secret superpower is networking. I have no fear, and while I may not know who can help or who has the answer to a problem, I always know where to start and work from there. Other talents? Um no. Don’t watch my Tiktok dance videos!
Ha, I'm running over to TikTok immediately after our time together. Networking is a great talent to have. Can you give us a peek outside your window? What is your neighborhood like?
Southern California is very much a commuter zone, so I don’t really have a neighborhood as such right now. We lived up in the foothills for many years and enjoyed the rural aspects of that life. The occasional mountain lions, not so much!
Roar! I'd be looking out before venturing out. Do you have a particular object like a piece of jewelry or a keepsake of some sort?
I never take off my Virgin of Guadeloupe medallion. I’ve been to her shrine in Mexico three times, and I’ll never forget the first time I looked into her eyes on the image on the peasant’s cloak. Powerful!
Now for a couple of quick insight questions. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“Fun Fun Fun” by the Beach Boys. It’s been my personal anthem since high school.
Worst household chore?
Dusting. It’s so pointless because the dust just comes back!
If you could time travel, where would you go and when?
I would like to visit the Titanic on April 14th, 1912, although it would, of course, be quite bittersweet and poignant, knowing the eventual fate of the ship. Frustrating, too, since by the rules of time travel, I couldn’t do anything to avert the tragedy. I’d want to explore the ship for myself, see the Grand Staircase, hear the musicians playing, visit Third Class, look at the lifeboats…I’d want to attend the final elegant dinner in First Class, spend time with the famous passengers in their last few carefree hours, so I could preserve some happy memories of them. I’d want to see it ALL, you know? (And I’d sneak a teacup into my voluminous pocket.) I’d leave right after the ship struck the iceberg because I would not feel right about watching all those people go to their deaths in the icy sea, especially since there’s nothing I could do to help in the midst of such tragedy. My first published scifi romance was Wreck of the Nebula Dream, loosely based on the Titanic sinking.
Do you play board games?
I like Scrabble, Monopoly (up to a point), and Risk. Also, Candyland with the grandchildren.
What’s the most amazing natural occurrence you’ve witnessed?
The Northridge earthquake of 1994, which was a 6.7. You could feel the waves of the quake going by underneath the floor, literally like waves in the ocean, and it was impossible to stand up. The sound was incredible – roaring like a train. A huge glass bottle full of pennies in the living room simply burst from the harmonics of the quake. You quickly realize humans are no more than ants when it comes to what Mother Nature is capable of.
What was your hardest scene to write?
There’s a scene in Timtur: The Teacher’s Alien Healer where Lily sits all night beside a man who is dying (not her love interest, not a main character). Writing the scene, I just started weeping. I’m a widow of many years now, and I’ve done that, sitting beside a person for whom there is no hope, so apparently, writing this scene tapped into my emotions from my own night keeping vigil. I certainly didn’t intend to have that happen, but it was powerful.
Oh I'm so sorry for your loss. It's those deep often painful memories that pull great emotions and connect us directly to the readers. Last question. Often authors are working on tight budgets. Please tell us, what is the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Professionally done book covers are essential since the cover is what will initially attract the reader’s eye and hopefully interest them enough to check out the blurb and maybe the sample. I work with Fiona Jayde, who has done all my scifi romance covers and most of my Egyptian paranormal romance covers, and she does a wonderful job. I’m happy to pay the going price for her fantastic covers. Thanks for having me here as your guest!
You are so welcome! I do have one last request. Could you leave us with a bit more about your work and where to locate more about you?
KYDEN: BADARI GLADIATORS SERIES BOOK ONE
Kyden is the top ranked gladiator in the Five Systems but he’s hardly there by choice. Unscrupulous guards faked his death in the lab where he was created and sold him into slavery in the galaxy’s hinterlands. He has no idea where his home is or how many years have passed since he was condemned to a life of endless combat. Kill or be killed is the rule and a Badari never gives up. He’ll fight to stay alive until the Badari goddess sees fit to decree his death.
Elara Vasclavian is the daughter of a senator, as far removed from the life of a gladiator as a noblewoman can be until through the machinations of a political enemy, she ends up in terrible jeopardy. Abducted and given to a group of drunken gladiators for their amusement the night before the games, Elara vows to put up a fight but there’s no real hope of saving herself.
Until Kyden steps in, responding to the goddess’s commandment to protect those who are smaller and weaker.
And discovers she’s his fated mate.
Rescued, Elara returns to her life of privilege but she can’t forget the man who saved her life. The gulf between their places in the Five Systems is unbridgeable, no matter how much Kyden longs for even a glimpse of her in the arena audience. No matter how much she feels the pull to be by his side. As matters stand, they cannot be together…
Or can they?
What others are saying...
Verified Amazon Customer: “5 stars:
I have read every single Badari story and love them all. I'm so excited we now have a new Badari series. And it started out with a bang. Ms Scott writes the perfect combination of science fiction and romance. Wonderful stories and characters and hot romance. I can't wait for the next book. There are very few authors on my automatic buy list and she is on it. I'm never disappointed and have read many of her books multiple times. I hope you give them a chance if you haven't already.”
More about today's guest
USA Today Best Selling Author
Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
Social Media Links:
Happy New Year, my friends! Today's scheduled guest was unable to make it so yours truly is going to take up your time today. So many things are happening and have happened. Today I've set up my new temporary office in 2Hoots. You remember her? My 5th Wheel camper. We had a great adventure while heading to Pete's new job in Northern Florida. Let's begin on New Year's Eve. Anyone who knows me, understands I have to be settled. We'd packed up the house and loaded up the camper. I refused to stay in the house even though it had heat and running water. I can not be running back and forth. It's, well, unsettling. Even during construction I become out of sorts and head to either my bedroom or office and shut the door.
The morning of the first day of the new year we headed south. Instead of waiting for Sunday we decided to cut our travels in half and visit Pete's sister in Virginia. We camped at the Harrisonburg KOA and brought in 2022 with a campfire. It was wonderful. The next morning we met Lori and her hubby Joel at the Waffle House. Have you ever eaten there? The food was yummy and the service excellent. And guess what?
It was a good thing we'd left when we did. Can you guess why? Yep, the snow storm that closed I95 for nearly a full day was right in our path. Lucky for us we'd gotten ahead of it and just missed it in North Carolina. We did hit heavy, wait did I say heavy? No that's not right. Torrential rain. The kind that bounces up off of the road. Oh, and the wind was blowing crazy too. Thought about waiting it out, but concerns of snow kept us creeping down the road.
We overnighted exhausted at the Enfield/Rocky Mountain KOA. Biggest insight? Our cat, Baby, enjoys travel and camping. No, really.
The next day seemed to be smooth sailing. Notice the word seemed? Yeah, well on our way to the next layover on the Florida/Georgia line we things got more rocky than the Rockies. We blew a leaf spring. That piece of equipment my friends is essential. 2Hoots limped off the highway and we happened to be only twelve miles from one of our favorite campgrounds, the Point South Yemassee KOA which happens to have a wine bar. Huzzah!
Then we had to settle in and wait for the repair men. Remember the job Pete was to start? That was on the 5th. Had to call and tell them we'd not make it until we got the camper up and running. They were very gracious.
Finally back on the road, we took a different route to Perry Florida. Turned out to be a great choice. No traffic and let me tell you the road was so much better than jolting down I95.
At last we pulled into the Perry Florida KOA. Let me tell you, it's lovely here. Located on the Great Bend of Northern Florida and 17 miles from the Gulf. Sites are great, heated pool, and even a hot tub. Don't have a camper? Well you should see the cabins.
So, finally I'm settled once more and my office is up and running. I'll keep you posted of my adventures here. Tonight? I think we'll head to the beach and watch the sunset.
Oh! You want to know about books? K.
During the ride down I enjoyed listening to At Home In Mitford. I've mentioned before reading the series. It was so relaxing to revisit Mitford. I laughed and cried alternately with the adventures of Father Tim, Dooley Barlow and his dog Barnabas.
Miss Sadie and Louella are still doing fine and Miss Rose continues to drive Uncle Bill to distraction.
In my own work, while waiting for Jazz House, I'm continuing to work on Kisa and have rediscovered an old manuscript titled The Last Dragon Queen.
Until next time, here are some pictures of our trip so far...
Thanks again popping over. Don't forget to signup for my newsletter. There are some important announcements upcoming. Click here mailchi.mp/1172dfb299fb/d-v-stones-around-the-fire and you even get a free download of Agent Carter.
Happy New Year to you all! Another year under our belts and we made it. Maybe not the way we would have liked. But I truly believe that adversity molds us into the person we are today and continues to shape us for the one tomorrow. 2021 brought major changes to my life. Some good, others? Not so much. I will tell you that my personality is optimistic. I get through by having hope and believing things will get better. That's why in assessing my past blog I've worked on it to bring you the best and the brightest of guests. Today is no exception. Did you ever wonder who the mysterious person is behind the curtain. Well today Around The Fire is pulling that curtain back and giving you a peek into Mrs. N who many of you look to for so many writing and publishing services. N. N. Light's Book Heaven has been one of my go to sites for editing and promotion services and I can't wait for you to meet her.
Welcome to my fire Mrs. N and thank you for letting us into your life. Let's really pull that curtain aside. Tell us, who you are other than your bio?
What a great question to start. Well, let me start by saying my name is Mrs. N and I am one-half of N. N. Light and co-owner of N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. My better half is Mr. N but he’s a little shy when it comes to interviews so it will just be me and D.V., and of course all of you.
Before we started N. N. Light’s Book Heaven, I wore many hats. I was a manager of a large bookstore chain and an unpublished writer. I married the love of my life, Mr. N, in 2004 and found myself a new career, marketing. But I really missed being in the publishing industry so together Mr. N and I started writing and publishing our own works. We started a blog in 2013 which then turned into N. N. Light’s Book Heaven and we’ve been helping authors and publishers succeed ever since.
Oh, a love story! How wonderful you both work together. How about giving us some privy insight?
Something personal about me? Let’s see, I love to bake, walk outside, birdwatching by the lake, and spending time with my hubby. I love listening to music and watching television shows and movies.
How about that other half? What is the Mr. like?
Something personal about Mr. N? He’s a historian, loves history, loves reading and listening to music. He’s an avid heavy metal music fan but also enjoys a variety of other music including classical, jazz, blues, and ragtime. He’s a retired chef and now only cooks gourmet meals for me. Hee, hee, hee.
Such diverse activities and likes but can we delve deeper? Give us a real peek?
I touched on a few interests above but let me expand on a couple. Back in 2020, we were able to retire from our day jobs to a small town near a lake. We love where we live. The weather is beautiful, and we love to be outside as often as we can. The lakeshore is our favorite place to walk, especially in the morning. There’s something so soothing about walking along the water’s edge and breathing in the fresh air.
I live at a lake as well and emphatically agree. Food is also a passion of mine. You mentioned hubby the cook?
Since both of us are food people, we tend to indulge in great food, especially local produce. We live in an area surrounded by farms so it’s easy for us to get local produce. Mr. N is the chef of the house and many of his dishes are truly divine. I may be biased but I get to eat fine dining food in my shorts and flip flops. I handle the baking for our household and truly enjoy creating scrumptious desserts, bread, pastries, and more.
Maybe I'll leave my lake and head to yours. You know, become one of those neighbors who always shows up at dinnertime 😝 I'm so intrigued, what else goes on in the Light's household?
You asked about our reading habits. In addition to reading for our business, I enjoy all things romance and mystery. I also enjoy reading nonfiction, especially anything dealing with the creative arts. For our business, I read via my tablet but in my leisure, there is nothing I like doing more than reading from an old paperback or hardcover. The smell and feel of the paper touches my soul.
Writers tend to be soloists but often have a specific network or support system. I imagine you need some quiet alone time but no man/woman is an island. Who are your go to people who contribute to your career?
I have a large network of industry professionals who I turn to for advice from time to time, but my greatest support system is Mr. N.
Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
I talk to birds by mimicking their songs. Does that count? I also paint landscapes.
Ha, you're a Mockingjay. Other than the lake, what is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special.
We live on a semi-quiet street with two schools not far from the lake. It gets busy in the morning and afternoon when the parents and kids walk/drive/bike to and from the school. It’s fun to see all the little gaffers having fun outside.
Do you have any pets?
No. I’m allergic to dogs.
I couldn't imagine not having a dog. Except for short periods of loss, I've never been
dogless, but we won't dwell. Tell me Mrs. N, do you have a particular object like a piece of jewelry or a keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
I have a necklace of my grandmother’s. It’s silver with a beautiful pale blue stone pendant. I consider it so special, I wear it every day. When I put it on, I feel like she’s with me. She passed away over a decade ago and I miss her a lot.
I'm so glad she left you such a connection to her. Do you have a favorite mug or teacup? Why is it your favorite?
I have a favorite mug that is blue and it’s from the Stratford Festival. It says, “What’s past is prologue. – The Tempest”
Sort of like what I meant in my opening statements. Antonio suggests all that has happened before then is the past, which leads him and Sebastian with the opportunity to do what they are about to do, just not murder😲. Are you a fan of the Bard?
I love Shakespeare and watching his plays acted out.
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
I have several Kodak moments but the one that stands out the most for me is the day I married Mr. N. We got married outside on a beautiful July morning. I will never forget it.
Myself and all our guest probably all went "Awww". If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
A freshly baked croissant from Paris.
Worst household chore?
Cleaning windows, hands down.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met and talked with?
When I was a manager at a bookstore in San Diego, California, I met Sting and his wife. I tried to remain cool on the outside but inside I was jumping up and down with excitement.
Ha I probably would have gone a fangirl. You are a true professional. What made you decide to become an editor and promotion service?
I’ve been in the book industry since the 1990s. I started out as a bookseller and worked my way up to manager of a large bookstore. I worked with publishers and their staff to learn the ins and outs of the business. I was a copy editor for a small publisher, and I found such enjoyment in that. When I moved to be near to Mr. N and to get married, I took some time off from the book/publishing industry. I shifted my focus to marketing and really exceled for my clients.
In 2015, Mr. N and I agreed to start an author promotions business. It was a lot of hard work but over the next six years we worked full-time and worked on building our business. Sure, we made mistakes, but we learned through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. There’s nothing we love more than helping authors and publishers succeed.
I can tell that about you. Your business truly assists me and so many others. But you do much more now.
In 2018, we launched N. N. Light Editing Services and it’s been a huge success. We’re freelance editors who work with authors to make their stories the very best they can be. We don’t embarrass or belittle writers but make suggestions on ways to improve their writing. We consider it a partnership between us and the writer. We keep our prices low so authors can afford to have a professional editor.
How long have you been in this business?
In 2021, we celebrated our sixth year in business.
You bring many talents to the table based on experience. Remind me?
Writer, author, bookseller, bookstore manager, marketer, copy editor, personal assistant, fashion buyer for a dept. store, secret shopper, and even worked at a cinnamon roll shop. Although, I didn’t last long there because I ate too much of my paycheck in cinnamon rolls.
I an ice cream shop for awhile. I get what you mean. You are considered An Influencer. Can you explain what that means?An influencer is someone who has knowledge of a product and/or service and shares their personal thoughts on it. I didn’t think too much about being an influencer until Amazon awarded us a blue check and the title ‘verified influencer’.
What is your educational background? Did you take any specific courses for this endeavor?
I have a bachelor’s degree in literature with a minor in creative writing.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Personally, I love romance. With all the sub-genres nowadays, I get to read romance in a variety of ways.
What excites you about a book?
I know this sounds cliché, but it’s all about the characters. I’m all about a character-driven plot filled with growth, emotion, and a bit of action. I know this will be scary for any author to read but I can usually tell if I’m going to love a book or not within the first chapter I’m reading. I don’t say this lightly but authors, please, grab the reader from the beginning.
What author or book made an impact on your personal life?
There have been several authors and books that have changed my life but the first one that comes to mind is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I read it my first year in university and it changed how I studied, worked, lived from that point forward. I use his habits in all aspects of my life.
What is your most recommended book to children? Teens? Adults?
Oooh, another tough question. Since it’s almost Christmas, here are my holiday-themed recommendations:
Children – The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Teens – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Adults – Christmas in Evergreen by Nancy Naigle
What is the most asked question you get?
Will you review my book for free?
What do you mean giving me four stars? You’re a fraud.
What author would you like to sit and have dinner with?
I would love to have dinner with two people: Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway. Both of these authors have been very influential in my personal and professional life.
What are the biggest challenges of being in the literary community today?
I think the hardest thing for an author is sticking with it for the long haul. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to keep going, keep writing, keep publishing, keep promoting.
The hardest thing for us as editors, influencers, professional reviewers is to convince authors you need to spend money on marketing nowadays. The market is oversaturated and both authors and publishers need to keep publishing and marketing to be relevant.
Do you have anything you would like a patron to know that hasn’t been asked?
We are a family-run small business that has grown so much over the past two years that we now have a small staff and an office. This is huge for us and allows us to really focus on our clients and providing exceptional service. We look forward to seeing what the next six years brings.
Mrs. N, thank you so much for joining me today Around the Fire. You are an inspiration and truly genuine person. To find out more about N. N. Lights Book Heaven and their services look below but first, the food...
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Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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