Now let's settle in. Close your eyes for a moment. Smell the campfire? Hear the snap and crackle? In the distance the murmuring of other campers? Someone is walking their dog past and wave hello. Are you there yet? Now, help me welcome my guest.
Hi, Bree. Welcome to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine?
I prefer coffee in the morning and herbal tea with a spoonful of honey at night.
You've got it. I have both, and since were starting early, the coffee pot is on. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I’ve camped out once in a tent and let’s just say I am not exactly the kind of girl to rough it. When I was a kid, my grandparents would take their RV to the lake every summer. We would go stay with them for a few days. We would basically live in our swim suits, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire at night, and have a really great time.
That sounds about right. I do the same with my grand-kids. I can't tell you how many hot dogs hit the ashes in relation to hitting the tummy. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I’m sort of stuck in-between projects at the moment, actually.
Ouch, that's a tough place to be. I'm in the middle of a book and struggling as well. Maybe someone can share how they get past the bog down. In your other work, How long does it usually take you from conception to publication?
Depending on the length, sometimes it takes a couple of months. Sometimes it takes much longer. Writing is a true labor of love. It takes a lot of time and patience.
It sure does. I can't tell you how many times I hear I could write a book. How hard could it be? I just smile. Many authors have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I always have a huge list of ideas, which can be overwhelming to try to decide on what to do first!
It sure can. And so many things vie for our time. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
Too many to count. So many people have been supportive of me and my writing career. And I appreciate every single one of them!
So many people are part of our successes. Family, friends, other authors, editors. The list goes on. What does literary success look like to you?
Being happy with the finished product, and then maybe having someone say that my words touched their heart in some way.
Nice. I like the idea of touching someones heart. Are you ready for the fun questions?
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? -
I think the title would be along the lines of:
Where Do I Go From Here? And of course, no one could play me as well as Julia Roberts. I could see her being the slightly frazzled, stay-at-home-mom, who is trying to figure out what direction her career and life should take.
What is your favorite mug or teacup?
My favorite mug is one that my husband brought back from Gettysburg. It’s black and has the logo on the front of it. It’s also huge and will hold a bunch of coffee in it. He knows how much I love coffee mugs and brought this one back for me after he returned from being on military orders a few years ago. Funny enough, I broke this mug. I was so upset about it, but he had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg one more time last fall and bought me a replacement. I’m more careful with it now.
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?
Mine would be the night that my husband told me he loved me. He changed my life in many ways, and we have now been married ten years. We have 4 wonderful children.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
Growing up, my absolute favorite book (and it still is) happened to be Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy is my kind of guy. He has his character flaws, but there’ something about a cranky guy with an eye for honesty, that when he falls in love, it changes him. You can’t remove that crankiness, but it’s part of his character, and I find him very endearing.
Worst household chore?
Folding laundry. I don’t know why it’s so awful, but all of those memes on social media about washing laundry, but it’ll be 5-7 business days before they’re folded and put away is true. It’s such a big hassle. It’s my least favorite thing to do.
Thanks for being part of the Campfire, Bree. I know that many others besides me, wish you success. Before you leave please tell us a bit about your book and where to go for more information about you.
When those closest to me stabbed me in the back, I ran away from the city for a chance to heal. Then I met Will, my living, breathing, fantasy man. And the epitome of everything that could break my heart. He might walk away if I tell him the secret I hold so close-if I don't push him away first. Can I trust a man with my heart one more time?
He whispered, “You look very striking tonight.”
Warmth crept up my neck and into my cheeks. I murmured, “Thank you.”
Striking was not what I’d thought he would say. I’ve been called pretty by some and beautiful on
occasion, but never striking. I think I liked that compliment the most. A million beautiful women could
flow through this place and be forgotten tomorrow. But a striking woman was one who was hard to forget. I
wanted to be that woman—unforgettable.
Get Bree's books here
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tinder-heart-bree-pierce/1132647235?ean=2940163151561
To contact Bree or find out more about her...
Movie recommendations in honor of Bree's favorite book
Pride and Prejudice 2005
And though not a movie 1995 British Mini-Series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.
I happily losing weight on a low carbohydrate eating plan. Recently I purchased a mini waffle maker to make 'chaffles'. These will translate well to camping because of a outdoor version of the electric appliance. Now here's my favorite recipe for the indoor one until I can experiment outside over the fire
Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Heat your appliance
1 egg, 1 Tablespoon heavy cream, pinch of salt, dash of pepper, sprinkle with onion and garlic powder and some Italian seasoning. You won't be sorry if you add Parmesan cheese. As Devo would say whip, whip it good. Like your making scrambled eggs. Add 2 Tablespoons of Almond flour and a 1/4 tsp of backing powder. If your using a mini iron add half of mixture, close and cook until it stops steaming. Remove and use up the rest of the batter.
You can make a sandwich or butter it up and enjoy like bread. The variations are endless so have fun with your food.
Even around a campfire there's always a bit of housekeeping. But today is a chore I love. If you haven't heard the Wild Rose Press and its authors are doing a fund raiser for Australian. Here's a link to hear Rhonda Penders on a podcast discussing this ihr.fm/2HjuV6m This is an amazing event and series of books you DO NOT WANT TO MISS.
Now, on to our guest. Hi, Kristal. Welcome to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine?
I’m a chocolate lover, so cocoa covered in a nice layer of marshmallow cream!
I don't have to go far for that. If my 5th Wheel isn't stocked with chocolate and marshmallows I'd be ashamed to show my face in a campground. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
As a child, my family spent every vacation at a campground in either Ohio, Myrtle Beach, or Tennessee. We used a tent until my parents purchased a RV, but by then I was married, so my husband and I continued to use a tent. We owned jet-skis and spent a lot of time on Lake Cumberland, KY. I enjoy water sports because as a disabled woman, the water doesn’t hurt when I take a tumble…lol. Now that my kids are grown, I would like to camp several places in the Pacific Northwest, but not in a tent! Haha. My favorite memories come from bonfires at night, days spent on the water in the sunshine, and my kids having the time of their lives away from social media.
Wow, how great is that. Sometimes, the best thing to give kids are memories. We're heading for Kentucky this spring I cant wait. What a gorgeous state. And bonfires, where friends and family gather, priceless. Maybe we'll cross paths in the Pacific Northwest. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I recently self-published Three Propositions. The book is a contemporary, billionaire romance and full of humor and passion. It’s possible I put too much of my own personality in the heroine’s character. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad! lol
It's good. I think to keep characters real, you have to infuse part of yourself into them. Do you have a tagline?
“What will Jasper do when Nena breaks all of his rules?”
Ah, a the male conundrum. We do torture the fellows in our lives, don't we. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
This book started as a novella, but after editing, it turned into a short novel at 160 pages. It took three months from start to finish to complete. If I’m really into a book, I can crank out the words.
It's amazing how a story takes over. Three months is pretty quick, at least for me. I bet you have more in the writing queue? Anything you’re itching to get to?
Wow, what a question! I have four books going, but I’m itching to finish a paranormal romance I started. It stays on my mind, so that’s a sure sign it will be next.
One of my favorite genres. I'll be looking for it. Tell us, are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series is my all-time favorite, but I enjoy multiple authors. It’s good for a writer to read. It sparks my imagination and helps me see things differently.
Oh, those Carpathians. I cut my paranormal romance teeth on A Dark Prince. What does literary success look like to you?
Publication is its own success, but honestly, I just want readers to enjoy my stories. I don’t focus on monetary gain, although that would be nice, but on the joy from completing a manuscript and readers loving my book.
Well said. Kristal, do you have any tips, tricks or anything you specialize in, that you would share with others. You had mentioned book trailers. I’m excited to learn.
I love book trailers, but after discovering the cost, I learned myself. I use Wondershare Filmora software, but there are others to choose from. You can find tutorials on YouTube or in the software itself. As for music, I have an account with Envato, and look for music with a strong opening then a crescendo somewhere in the piece for those “wow” moments. If I’m doing a trailer for a paranormal book, I search for darker music, if it’s contemporary, something more lighthearted, and so on. In order to keep the trailer under two minutes, I use the blurb to write a poem. It helps me focus and say what is important. If anyone decides to learn themselves, remember not to use highly sexual images or video. Most “selling” platforms won’t allow it now, so save it for the reader’s delight or an ad. Lol. Trailers should entice the reader by suggestion. Just my humble opinion!
One more thing: Social media is your friend, not your life, so use it wisely!
I'm going to go check this out. I've tried a couple of different things but often they just look silly. Thank you for the insight and information. Now, we get to the questions that if I had to answer, any comment would say, Girl, you need help.
Jasper Clark has spent his life building a business and fortune. He’s controlled, intimidating, and does not believe in love or family. When he finds himself in need of a date, he makes a proposition to a member of the cleaning staff at his club. Nena Blake is street-smart, sassy, foul-mouthed, and does not like Jasper. He may be rich and handsome, but he offends her from the first time he opens his rich mouth. She denies his proposition until circumstances, beyond her control, force her to accept Jasper’s help. One proposition turns into three when Jasper can’t let Nena go, while Nena breaks every one of his ridiculous rules in the process. Between bickering and passionate moments, these stubborn souls fall hopelessly in love, but both refuse to accept or admit it. Nena is finally forced to make a choice that leaves them both miserable.
Will Jasper come through in the end? Does a billionaire want love after all?
You can buy Kristal's book here...
And to find out more about her...
Website Twitter Facebook Instagram Goodreads YouTube BookBub Amazon Author Page
I looked for movies that had a mom protecting her child. So many are caricatures of the overprotective crazy woman. I did come up with
Panic Room (2002) with Jody Foster
The Incredibles 2 (2018)
Hi, everyone. Before we get to today's guest, I need to tell you about something. The past few (can you believe it!) months, our brothers, sisters, animals, and land of Australia, has been through so much suffering it's hard to imagine. The following is a bit from fellow Wild Rose Press Author and Australian, Stephen King.
*Recent rains have helped enormously, still there are fires, but not to the same extent as there were, and the focus now is more on recovery and rebuilding. To that end there are advertising campaigns now to stop what’s called the second wave disaster and that is people staying away from tourist areas and business who rely on travelers and visitors to survive. Most of our tourist destinations are unaffected, yet people think the whole country is gone, which of course isn’t true. The problem of course is that if people stop visiting, businesses will go broke, making the overall recovery much harder. With the rains, re-growth has already begun and some burnt out areas have grasses and shrubs recovering already. *
For the full story please visit www.thewildrosepress.com/australia-burns
This 3 volume set is available for purchase with proceeds going to Australian Wildfire relief through the Red Cross.
Today's Campfire Blog is a bit different. Fellow Wild Rose Press Author, Julie Howard is going to share with us about writing Short Stories. I hope to learn somethings because recently I've dipped my toe into the short story world. So without further ado, lets get comfortable. Engage your imagination. Smell the campfire. See the fellow campers in the distance. The sun peaking through the trees? Listen, children's laughter mingles with the Hootey-Hoo of a nearby owl. Are you relaxed now? Good.
Hi Julie. What a beautiful dog! Hali, my girl says, "WOOF." (Translation what's your name and can I sniff your butt). Quiet, Hali, Julie say his name is Patch, and Patch says keep your nose to yourself. Thank you both for visiting us. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Definitely coffee. I’m an early morning person and I love watching the sun rise with my first or second cup of dark roast. I frequently write at cafes, and nurse another cup there while working.
Coffee it is. I can't survive without my cuppa joe. Tell us have you ever camped?
I grew up tent camping and loved being out in the forest. I wanted my kids to have the same experience so we camped as often as possible when they were little. When they wanted more space, we got a camper (nice soft bed for us) and the kids each had their own tent outside. Let’s see, we’ve camped in California, Nevada, Idaho and parts of Mexico and Canada.
Good for you. I'm all about the amenities provide by my 5th Wheel. We get the experience with the comfort. One day I hope to make it out West. Now, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Wild Crime, released in December, is the third and last book in a full-length mystery series. It follows the story of my flawed heroine, Meredith Lowe, as she seeks the answer to long-buried family secrets. She discovers an old letter with the words “I’m a murderer”, and she works to peel apart a mystery that may threaten those she loves most.
Hang on, I have to add it to my To-Be-Read list. Okay, I'm back. Do you have a tagline?
How far will she go to discover the truth?
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
Wild Crime is the last in a three-book series, so I suppose the concept started with the first book, which I wrote in 2016. However, I typically spend a week or two outlining a new project and a full-length novel will take about a year and a half or more until it becomes a product on Amazon and other sites. This varies widely from book to book; I have one book I’ve been writing for close to ten years!
It never ceases to amaze me, how some stories almost write themselves, while others need to be coaxed into existence. Perseverance. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I’m like you, with several more projects underway. My next book, a novella set in Australia’s Outback, is called House of Seven Spirits and comes out next month! I have a short “beach read” mystery that will come out this summer and then am mid-way through another full-length mystery. I have so many books yet to write!
You're a busy lady. And as you can see from my opening blurb, Australia is near and dear to my heart. Can you tell our other guests what literary success look like to you?
I’m not sure, really. My goals change all the time. Initially, I just wanted to get one book published and now I have several. Now, I just want to keep living this life, where I get to spend my time writing and developing new stories.
Goals need to be flexible. Life takes us in many different directions. We definitely need to adapt and change. Here we go. Personal insight questions.
1. Favorite childhood book? “Black Beauty.”
2. If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be? Sushi. Love it!
3. If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why? I’d go to the future, on a different planet, when mankind has made it livable and comfortable. I’d love to see, for a while at least, what a different world could look like and how man could adjust to another place. I can’t imagine the technologies that would exist a hundred or two hundred years from now!
4. Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants? Oh, definitely, the first-class travel.
5. Most campers play board games. What games do you like? I love them all! Recently, we played Exploding Kittens and Code Words. Both are addicting. I really enjoy Trivial Pursuit, although I hardly ever win. For a writer, though, there’s nothing more fun than Scrabble.
6. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met and talked with? In my former life as a newspaper reporter, I’ve interviewed CEOs and celebrities. But I find my kids and my new grandson the most interesting people to talk with. I’m always fascinated by what they are up to and how millennials think. Many baby boomers despair of the next generation, but I’m always hopeful after I spend time with my kids. I think the world is going to be left in very good hands after the baby boomers all retire.
Now, one of the things I asked when looking for interesting people such as yourself to be on my blog, are those with specific ideas and skills to help other writers. You graciously offered to talk about writing Short stories. Thank you for spending the time to put this next section together for us.
And fellow guests, don't forget to continue on to Julie's book blurb and information. Add it to your to-be-read list. And thanks for popping by. Make sure you tell us all about your favorite short story in the comments. Mine? Mrs. Todd's shortcut by Stephen King.
My lifelong dream was to write fiction. I have so many stories in my head and not enough time to write them all down. But I’m trying, day by day. With four published novels behind me, dozens of short stories, and another book set to be published this spring, I truly am living my dream.
My biggest surprise along the way has been the joy in writing short stories and novellas. Just last week, my short story “Three Ghosts” was included in the Australia Burns anthology my publisher published, with all proceeds going to help relief efforts from the devastating fires in that country. Nearly fifty authors are participating in a series of anthologies produced by The Wild Rose Press this month, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross. There’s so much intrinsic satisfaction to know my story will go to this good cause.
But I’m a novelist, right? Why spend my time with a short story? I’m not the only novelist who loves the very different craft involved in developing a smaller piece. Amazon has an entire series they call “short reads,” written by best-selling authors such as Dean Koontz and Alice Hoffman. Steven King wrote a number of short stories early in his career under the pseudonym Richard Bachman (I love them!) and continues to write them today. Readers love something they can consume in a few hours, and they’re great for a plane ride or an afternoon at the beach.
There’s nothing “dumbed down” about shorter novels. John Steinbeck wrote the classic “Grapes of Wrath”, but most of his books including “Of Mice and Men” and “The Pearl” can be considered novellas. Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” are also stories with big ideas in small packages. Hemingway, Henry James, Melville, James Joyce – I could go on and on with examples of great writers who wrote short as well as full-length novels.
On the writing side, there’s an art to writing short. The plot needs to be streamlined, with one subplot at most, and there’s no time to chase any red herrings. The plot can shine more brightly in a short story since there aren’t subplots that distract the reader. For some stories, this makes more sense. If a writer is ‘padding’ a story with too many descriptions, the reader may not be entertained – they may get bored and stop reading!
I’ve written stories as short as three pages and my novellas are about 125 pages. In fact, I have a series made up of novellas, called the Spirited Quest mysteries. The next in this paranormal mystery series, House of Seven Spirits, will be released next month.
Since I write mysteries, a shorter piece creates a quicker pace, fun both for the reader and author. My novellas race forward and are very plot driven. I think there’s a satisfaction to getting to the end of a mystery quicker.
I also love full-length mysteries and their drawn-out suspense, the ability to create a fictional world for the reader. Sometimes, too, I fall in love with my characters and just can’t let them go away too soon. This is the case with my first series. The third and last book in this mystery series, Wild Crime, was released in December, and it was hard to say goodbye to my flawed yet determined main character, Meredith Lowe! She got under my skin.
I have several more books, both short and long, in various stages of development. My Spirited Quest novellas will continue, and I have another small stand-alone story coming this summer. A full-length mystery series will begin next year, fingers crossed. For the near future, I’ll continue to write both short and long.
Do I have a preference? My only hope is that, to paraphrase someone (I can’t recall who!), I only write as many words as is required to tell a good story. If I can do that, I’ve done my job.
How far will she go to discover the truth?
"I'm a murderer. I'm a murderer. I'm a murderer."
Those three repeated words discovered in an old letter propel Meredith Lowe in a cross-country pursuit to unveil her mother's murky past. Danger stalks Meredith back to Hay City, Idaho as she peels apart the mystery: who is her father, and did her mother kill him? In finding the answer, will a growing love slip through her fingers?
Past merges with the present as the story races to its stunning conclusion.
Her hair fell below her waist, ripped free of its ties and weighed down by the warm, lashing rain. The sky-blue dress, so carefully chosen for this night and tried on so many times in her bedroom, was ruined. One strap had torn from her shoulder and dangled down her back. Mud splattered the hem. Sweet Cantaloupe lipstick, a lovely coral that heightened the green in her eyes, was smeared like a bruise on one cheek. She ran.
The high school gym behind her, decorated in crepe paper and curtains, vibrated with electric guitars and teen-aged hormones. Couples gyrated on the dance floor and then disappeared into dark corners. It was late and the Spring Dance was in full throttle. No one would miss her for hours.
Before her, trees dripped moss, barely visible in the darkness. She envisioned the moss brushing her shoulders, low branches snagging in her hair, the possibility of snakes both at her feet and above; this made her hesitate. It would take one scream, one gasp, and he would find her.
About the author:
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.
Buy links for Wild Crime:
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wild-crime-julie-howard/1134112545?ean=9781509228638
Thank you all for stopping by and don't forget next Saturday when Krystal Dawn Harris will be my guest.
Today's quote is taken from a letter from Author Stephen King the Wild Rose Press...
Firstly – and I know I’ve said it before – my heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for participating in whatever way you have. Forty eight stories simply is mind-blowing, and the offers for promotion, trailers, editing, cover design, formatting and of course redirecting the money has been so uplifting I can’t even begin to tell you – and for someone who uses words all the time – that’s saying something. Secondly, if ever you’ve thought about visiting this country, now’s the time. And as Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) once said in some fantastic famous ads in the US and across the world. “Come on down; I’ll throw a shrimp on the barby for you. – Author Stephen King
Today I’m welcoming back Susan Antony to the Campfire. She was such fun last time so if you missed her head to the archives. Susan is also a fellow Wild Rose Press author. We are both blessed to be in such great company and publishing house. The fire is lit and crackling. Smokey goodness is filling the air. We've blankets tucked around us since January is a bit chilly but we're cozy and ready to chat. Last time your preferred beverage was a diet coke. Still?
Blueberry Acai Diet Coke. There is no better.
Hmm, that's new. Let me rummage and see what we can do... Ta-da! Camping is truly magical. Any new camping adventures for you?
I don’t like camping outdoors, but I love camping indoors in The Great Wolf Lodge resort with my son.
Oh that sounds fun. A friend of mine loves going with her family. Last time you were with us, you shared about a book I thoroughly enjoyed titled Cherokee Summer. What are you working on now?
I am currently writing YA paranormal Romance. I am dismantling it and rewriting so it’s a bit of a mess now. The title is up in the air.
I can relate as I bet many authors do. First drafts often need to be reworked and sometimes that's harder than starting from scratch. Is it too early to tell us a little bit more?
Not at present because the plot is changing.
Writing and editing can be quite along process. Can you remind us how long the last book took from conception to publication?
For my last novel, Cherokee Summer, it took about two years. One to write and one to be fortunate enough to be accepted and published by The Wild Rose Press.
We talked about what literary success look like to you? Any changes? New insights?
I’ll let you know when I achieve it.
Ah, still the elusive dream. One of the things I like bringing to the campfire is wisdom and insight for those who are struggling. Do you have anything to share with them?
Learn to take criticism, even the kind that hurts, though never blindly. My harshest critic helped me the most, but that doesn’t mean yours will. Always evaluate the advice and then follow your heart. Never let anyone convince you, you are not good enough.
Excellent insight. Even when it's hard to hear, sometimes if you pick through carefully, there are pearls tucked away. Unfortunately, sometimes, especially when anonymous, people can be harsh either intentionally or carelessly. Artists, which include writers, must develop a thick skin. Okay, now let's have some fun.
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? Jack of Too Many Trades. Not only do I write, I work on a computer helpdesk, and have a degree in Automotive Technology. As far as who would play me, I have been told I look like Steven Tyler (I’ve learned to embrace it), but also Gina Davis so I think it would have to be her.
Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
I have many, but my favorite are vintage Christmas ornaments. I have some from my Grandmother’s tree predating my birth passed on to me. Now that my grandparents and parents have passed they serve as a window into my childhood and many Christmas’ of yore. I do get some of my trinkets from Ebay. This year I hosted Christmas for the family and kids played a counting game and noted I have one-hundred and eleven knee-hugging elves watching from various places in the house.
What is your favorite T-shirt with graphic.
I love my Billy Idol T. He was my eighties wannabe boyfriend.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
It was my dream to become an author as a child, but I couldn’t sit still long enough. My inspiration to actually write came from The Twilight Series. Stephenie Meyer inspired me to read on a regular basis again and eventually share the stories brewing in my head.
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? Runaround Sue by Dion. Having my nickname in a song just feels so personal. Especially in such a cool Rockabilly tune.
Susan, thanks for stopping by. Hanging with old friends around the campfire is such an amazing privileged. I'll be sure I keep Blueberry Acai Diet Coke on hand. And for our guests, in case you missed it last time here's a little bit about Cherokee Summer.
When Ace leaves home to spend the summer in Cherokee, North Carolina the last thing she expects to find is a boyfriend—until she meets Cherokee Tribe member John Spears. As Ace and John's friendship blossoms, they find their life experiences mirror each other and they fall in love. Despite hurdles thrown by well-meaning family members and jealous frenemies, the star-crossed lovers remain committed to their mutual belief that the universe has drawn them together. However, when Ace sends John a strange text and then suddenly disappears, the two must rely on their trust in each other to save both their lives and their love.
Today's Movie Recommendations are chosen in honor of young love and of course, Susan's inspiration...
Twilight Series starting in 2008 and ending in 2012. Can you believe it was that long ago!
And star-crossed lovers like Ace and John...
Romeo and Juliet 1996 with Leonardo DiCaprio and Clair Danes
Today's recipe is based on me going Keto for 2020. And because I have an RV, I can cook and keep stuff cold.
Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
3 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp seasoning (I prefer Montreal Steak Seasoning on almost everything.)
1 stalk of celery
1/2 small red onion
Salt to taste I use Kosher which seems to need less so I just use a pinch.
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
Lettuce (I use iceberg. It wraps very well.)
Season the chicken and bake at 350 until done but tender. Usually about 20-30 minutes. While it bakes mix together mayo, salt, pepper, paprika, vinegar, and mayo. Add diced celery and onion. When chicken is done and cool, add and mix well. Carefully remove the largest leaves of the lettuce. Depending on how big the head is use appropriate amount of filling. Tuck up short sides and then roll like you would a cabbage roll or wrap. Yum.
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”– Will Rogers
Quick notice before we hunker down. Keep an eye open for updates on Aussie Wildfire Relief. I'm privileged to be part of a publishing house who is so generous and willing to pitch in. Wild Rose Press with be publishing several anthologies with short stories donated by the authors of Wild Rose Press. The editors, publishers, cover artists are all donating their time an talents as well with the money going to Aussie relief. This will take a little time to pull together but the need is great. If you are interested in being notified when this becomes available please contact me at
email@example.com and I will send you the information as it becomes available. Also you can check back each Saturday for any updates. We all do what we can, right?
Okay, now lets forge ahead. As you know one of my favorite things to do is sit around the fire. Whether it’s away in a campground or at home in front the chiminea, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame and sparks drifting up into the night sky joining the stars. So, wherever you’re joining us from, relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, if you would like to keep up with Around the Campfire and information, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. Okay, without further delay…
Today I’m welcoming Sydney Winward to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Hot chocolate, or as my husband calls it, “Chot Hocolate”.
Love it! Chot Hocolate it is. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I love camping! I love the fresh mountain air, the burning embers of the campfire, and especially the smores. One cannot camp without smores! Tent all the way. If your feet don’t have at least five layers of grime by the end, you’re not doing it right.
Well we can agree to disagree on that😉. I do love my amenities, but my bestest friend Tina would agree with you all the way. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Bloodborn, a paranormal romance. It’s the first in the Bloodborn series.
One of my favorite genres is the paranormal. Mythical, monsters and mayhem, and maybe a sexy vampire. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
About two years. I wrote it in only a few months, hired an editor to try to make it the best it could be before sending it out to agents and publishers. The publisher that I was crossing my fingers for took a bite, and a year after I signed the contract, it was published!
Congratulations! It's a long and sometime frustrating process but so worth it in the end. I bet you have something else you're itching to get to, don't you?
YES! I’ve been trying SO hard not to think about it until I’m finished with my current project, but every pore in my body is screaming to start it. I’m trying really hard to be patient. It’s the sixth book in my paranormal romance series entitled Blood Heir. It’s about Dracula’s grandson taking the throne, but as a vampire who is not yet tried, many threats rise up to try to overthrow him. To keep the peace, he is forced to take the daughter of his greatest enemy as his mate, but little does he know that she has an agenda. And that agenda is to kill him.
Oh boy, does that sound exciting and intriguing. I can't wait. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I have two absolute favorite authors in the entire world. One is Brandon Sanderson. His world-building is phenomenal. The other is Sarah J Maas. Her A Court of Thorns and Roses series is amazing!
I'll have to check them out. Tell us, Sydney, what does literary success look like to you?
Publishing with a traditional publisher. I have only dreamed about it for years. Now that I have reached my goal, I can make other goals where my writing is concerned.
Good for you. Ticking off the box and setting a new goal is very satisfying. One thing about authors is their willingness to help others. Do you have any Life Hacks for Authors? Tips, tricks or anything you specialize in that you would care to share with others.
Set a daily writing goal for yourself. My goal is 1000 words per day, but I’m at least happy when I’ve made it over 500!
Smart idea. Shoot for the moon and then be happy and satisfied with what works out. I think each day we need a goal of some sort to motivate us to be and do better. Even if it's taking 15 minutes to refresh yourself.
Now the fun questions. Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort?
Whenever I go someplace new, I like to collect dirt or sand or something from there and put it in a jar. My favorite jar is filled with the broken pieces of a clam shell that I found in Ketchikan, Alaska. I have never seen a place more beautiful than that small little city where I worked for a summer.
I love looking up places where my guests have been. When I looked this up it was -20 degrees. But the pictures are pretty. LOL.
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
The first time when my son looked at me with “wubs eyes”. He was about three months old and looked at me as if he’d never loved anyone in the world more than he loved his mommy. I’ll treasure it forever.
So sweet. A mother's heart for her baby. Do you have a favorite childhood book? Or writer that inspired you to become an author.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I was in my early teens and I idolized him. When I grew up, I wanted to be just like him and have his type of success.
Oh, I loved that whole series. I read it as an adult but I can imagine the magical place he transported you to. Now, tell us, what ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing?
Snipe hunting. It was at girl’s camp, and the leaders and some of the older girls tricked me into going snipe hunting. I’d never heard of such a creature, and I thought it was bizarre that I had to put toothpaste on my nose in order to catch one. It’s safe to say that there were a few girls weeping near at end when they found out they’d been duped and humiliated into doing it.
Hah, makes me think of one of my favorite movies, Up. Here, snipe. Here, snipe. Let's dream together. would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
That’s a hard one. I’m such a homebody, but I do love new adventures. I would have to say unlimited international first-class tickets so I can add more sand and dirt to my glass jars.
My answer too. Let's book it together. Thank you Sydney for being such a fantastic guest today. Can you leave us some information and maybe a peak at your book?
Adam Degore's personal need to find a cure for vampirism drives him to ensnare a vampire, but the creature he captures is Dracula's daughter. Worse yet, he's drawn to her-a monster he's vowed to kill.
Despite her father's wishes, Willow chooses to live among humans instead of the vampire conclave where she would be safe. She wants a life filled with more than shadows. Being captured by a human, not to mention falling in love with one, is not part of her plan.
With vampires and blood hunters closing in on their chosen prey, Adam and Willow need to trust one another. But will that trust come in time for them to survive and find a future together?
“How could you?” she gasped, taking another step backward, but to back up much further would result in falling over the edge of the cliff and into the holy waters below. However, he was blocking her escape, a menacing sword close to penetrating her skin. Any false move would result in an iron sword through her heart. “How could you take me here?”
“I couldn’t tell you,” he answered, his voice thick with emotion. “It’s the only way. It’s the last thing I could do. For Zachariah.”
She felt numb. After everything that had happened between them, he still meant to kill her? But he was her mate. Mates were supposed to look after one another.
“Don’t do this,” she whispered, taking yet another step backward but stopping in her tracks when the roaring of the falls crashed into her ears like the loud toll of a bell signaling a vampire getting burned at the stake.
She would meet the same fate, except the only audience she would have was Adam and it was holy water instead of fire. She didn’t know which was worse. “I care for you, Adam. I want you to give me a chance.”
“I don’t have a choice. I need my brother back. He’s the only family I have left.”
This weeks recipe.
I've already posted a recipe for Chot Hocolate in an earlier post but sometime there's a better one out there. I found this on www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50303/best-hot-chocolate-recipe/ and can't wait to try it out.
2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 c. chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream, for serving
Chocolate shavings, for serving
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to simmer. Whisk in sugar and cocoa powder and stir until no lumps remain. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla and cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Turn off heat.
Pour hot chocolate into mugs, then top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
You guessed it! The animated movie UP from 2009. If you never saw it don't think it's only for kids.
The 2000 movie Chocolat.
I think you should make the recipe and then watch both movies on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.
Norman Vincent Peale
2020 is going to be a great year. The Campfire is starting out with a wonderful lady and fellow author and will continue into the year with an assortment of guests. So far, I have only one trip booked, but I’m itching to get started. 2Hoots is winterized but we often driveway camp. I think March will be our first outing. Everything depends on the weather co-operating. I don’t mind it being chilly, that’s why we glamp. But frozen pipes can happen if it gets too cold for too long. So come along and use your imagination. The fire’s lit. Listen, can you hear the popping and crackling? Something is bubbling in the Dutch Oven. Take a deep breath. Can you smell the savory goodness? Sip your beverage of choice and relax. There you go. Now that you are in a happy place help me welcome Peggy Jaeger to the fire.
Hi, Peggy. Thanks for joining us today. Can I offer you a cup of coffee or something stronger?
In all honesty, I drink ice cold water or Diet Mountain Dew. One hydrates me, one keeps me awake!
Cool. I have both. I’m a fan of diet dew myself. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
So the answer is that I’ve camped ONCE in my entire life, and it was enough for the rest of my life! My husband and I were newly married and living in Wisconsin. The head of his clinic put together a get-away weekend for the docs and their wives where we would boat to one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior – where we lived – and camp on the island for the weekend. It was billed as a team building/get to know you event. Well, we got to know one another really well, but not in the spirit of the event. The first night we were there a small hurricane blew across Lake Superior, accompanied by rain and driving winds that never ended for the next three days. The Lake was so choppy we could not take the chance of boating off of it and heading home. We were stuck, in one big tent, for 3 three days. The beer ran out on day two and we played so many rounds of Trivial pursuit, we started getting the same questions again. There was no electricity, the charcoal never got hot so we could cook because of the rain, and there was – obviously – no heat. Having to go outside the tent and walk a quarter mile – in a hurricane – to use the port-o-potty turned me off to camping for a lifetime. Did I mention there was a hurricane????
Oh my. I don’t blame you for being done with it. Maybe once you check out my rig, you’ll change your mind. I’ve been comfortable in weather fair and foul, though I’d pull up the jacks and head away from a hurricane. Tell us about your latest project.
My newest book is my first romantic suspense (lite) titled A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK. Rick is my hero in the first of a three book arc series of brothers who own a private investigations business. He also does bodyguard work and when Abby Laine, the sister-in-law of his best friend, is threatened by a client, Rick goes into protective mode even though he and Abby have an uncomfortable history.
Oh, that sounds wonderful. Do you have a tagline?
He’ll protect her with his life…but can he protect his heart?
I love the protective man. And I’m sure we’ll all cheer for his heart. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
The story took me two months to write and polish and then six months to publication, so a total of 8 months. Since I write full time I have the luxury of being able to devote full days to penning it. Plus, I write fast because I plot and outline every book so I always know where I am going in the story.
Wow! It takes me forever, and I’m a terrible plotter. So what’s next. Anything you’re itching to get to?
I am always in project mode.
Right now I have plotted out books 2 and 3 to A PRIDE OF BROTHERS, plus I’m working on a novella submission for my publisher and next year’s holiday RomCom release. In addition to all that, I write my daily blog and do all my own marketing. It’s a good thing I only sleep 2 hours a night.
Two hours? I don’t know how you can function. I’m an eight-hour girl. We all know writing can be a lonely job, but we also tend to build relationships with others in our profession. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
As far as authors go, some of my favorites are people you haven’t seen on the NYT bestseller list yet but who deserve to be there. Kari Lemor and Marianne Rice are two such writers.
Peggy, you seem to be quite prolific and organized. Would you share what literary success looks like to you?
Honestly, it’s never been about the money or awards or the bestseller lists for me. My idea of success is when a reader comes up to me and tells me how much they related to my heroine, or how my story made them laugh out loud on a day when then they were feeling sad. The best compliment I ever received was when a reader told me at a book signing that she felt as if she knew all the characters in my book personally. They were everyday people she could relate to. That made my week!
Thank you for that. Money and awards are subjective. The relational connection to a reader is amazing. When the person reaches out to share how you’ve touched their life, it changes you. Readers allow us into their heads and hearts. We should never take that for granted. Speaking of sharing, do you have a Life Hacks for Authors.
Wait until the first draft is done before you edit. Get the story on the page, then make it perfect.
That is excellent advice. Now let’s get a peek at who Peggy is with some fun questions…
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? Title: LIFE HAPPENS Lead Actress: Fran Drescher
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. What is yours? The moment I woke up from anesthesia after my C-section and saw my daughter’s face for the first time. She had a perfectly round head, a full head of red hair and was looking at me with her brow furrowed and her nose scrunched as if to say, “Are you the one who’s been talking to me all this time?”
Favorite childhood book? People who know me know that my favorite book is THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. It’s the best and most relatable book about Self Motivation, Self actualization, and self-belief that’s ever been written (in my humble opinion.)
What weird talent do you have? I can whinny like a horse. There’s even a you-tube recording of me doing it, here: YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/0xBPaEUuBqI
Worst household chore? Cleaning the refrigerator
Most campers play board games. What games do you like? Trivial Pursuit is my go-to.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met and talked with? Nora Roberts.
If someone came up to you and said, “Hey, do that thing you do!”, what thing would pop into your head first? See the above You-Tube video!!!
You are so funny! I love the video. Thanks for being with us today at the Campfire. Please leave us some info about where we can find you and your books.
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman's job is to protect. He doesn't get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client's vengeful husband, but refuses Rick's offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.
“Right there.” She aimed her fork at him as if it were a spear. “Perfect example. You know I hate being called Abigail. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of times I’ve told you and you still do it, knowing it pisses me off. And”—she cut him off before he could speak— “your usual response is to lift your hands and say ‘and still’ when you’re called on it. Who does that? What kind of person persistently and purposefully annoys people?”
“So you’re saying I’m intentionally annoying?”
“Persistently, so. Yes. Makes the lawyer in me wonder why.”
Just the lawyer? “Any answers come to mind?”
“Care to share?”
She placed her fork down next to her plate and regarded him across the table. “You really want to hear this? Because if you know anything about me, you know I’m truthful. I don’t hold back.”
Oh, he was sure she didn’t. And wouldn’t. Her tenacity was one of the things he’d first been drawn to.
That and her fabulous ass.
“I’m a big boy,” he said with a grin. “I can take it.
She took a sip of water first, her eyes trained on him the entire time. “Okay. If you really want to hear this.”
He waved his hand for her to continue.
“I think you use your cocky, aren’t-I-simply-too- witty attitude to keep people at a distance.”
Barnes and Nobel
Books a million
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
Keep up with Peggy at the following Social Media links
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
Dutch Oven Casserole
1-pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cans baked beans with pork
1/3 cup bbq sauce
1 package refrigerated biscuit dough
Cook bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until browned.
Drain, and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Add hamburger and onion to the skillet, cook until no longer pink, and the onion is tender. Drain.
Stir bacon, baked beans and bbq sauce into the ground beef, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and place biscuits in a single layer over the top of the mixture.
Cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the biscuits are done.
Serve and Eat
A shout out to protective men... The Bodyguard 1992 with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner
and sorry because I sometimes can't help myself...
A movie about the connection between authors and readers...
wait for it...
Misery 1990 staring Kathy Bates and James Caan.
“I am your number one fan.”
― Stephen King, Misery
One of my favorite things to do, is sit around the fire. Whether it’s away in a campground, or at home in front the chiminea, or fireplace. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame sipping a beverage. Christmas is past and New Year in upon us. I'm wishing you all a happy and blessed one. So, wherever you’re joining us from, relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, if you would like to keep up with Around the Campfire and information, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. Okay, without further delay…
Today I’m welcoming Amber Daulton to the Around the Campfire. Amber is a pretty special guest for me. We are both Wild Rose Press Authors and she has been an amazing help in finalizing Rock House Grill. I've read one of her manuscripts and am now reading the book we're talking about today. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
I drink all the above except for coffee, but I love the scent of roasted coffee beans. Riesling is one of my favorite white wines. Hot cocoa with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon, and mini-marshmallows, are to die for.
I'm a white wine gal myself so cheers. We'll start the morning with your hot chocolate choice which sounds delicious, and pop the cork later. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
My husband and I love going on nature hikes or biking at a park, but I’ve only camped out once. It was for a gym credit back in college over ten years ago. I enjoyed reading while in the tent and exploring the woods, but the instructor was a bit of a drill sergeant while on the hike. He didn’t understand that not everyone could keep up with him and the other fitness nuts in the group, so a lot of people, including myself, were straggling behind. I was so exhausted and honestly frustrated that I stayed in my tent while some of the others were hanging out around the campfire. I regret that, but with the way I was feeling, I couldn’t have been social. Anyway, I would love to go camping again and actually get to enjoy it.
Well, girlfriend, let me know when you're ready. 2Hoots, my RV has a guest room with its own 1/2 bath. No rules. Camping is for fun and relaxation. Reading is one of my favorite things at the campground. Now, tell us about your project. What’s the title and genre?
Arresting Mason is a romantic-suspense novel about a flawed man struggling to right his wrongs and finding love in the most unexpected of ways. I came up with the main plot—a feisty divorcée in a HAWT relationship with a tattooed ex-con—in a little place called dreamland. I’m always the leading lady in my dreams, and I fell head-over-heels in love with a mysterious former gang member. After I awoke from that seriously mouthwatering dream, I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason, his past, and his current problems. His seductive voice kept whispering to me, urging me to write about him, so I wrote out a rough plot line and quickly finished the manuscript I was already working on. I’ve changed quite a bit in the story from what happened in the dream, but the main premise has remained the same.
Sounds exciting! I'm far enough along in Arresting Mason to say the chemistry between Mia and Mason is compelling. I also love a story where the bad boy struggles to do better. Do you have a tagline?
Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
I originally wrote Arresting Mason for a bad boy anthology call about five or six years ago, but I had exceeded the maximum word count and still wanted to add more scenes by the time I finished the first draft. So I forgot all about the submission call and kept revising this story until I was finally happy with it. At long last, the manuscript clocked in at 80,000 words and sparked ideas for more books. It’s now book one in the Arresting Onyx series, a five-book series about five sexy men—brothers in blood and in life—and the stubborn women they can’t live without.
Book two in this series, Arresting Jeremiah, is with my editor at The Wild Rose Press.
I've also had a peek at Arresting Jeremiah, and can tell the readers if you like Arresting Mason, keep an eye out for Jeremiah. What are your challenges as a writer? Did you ever hit the place where you threw your arm up in the air and said nope, this is not going to work? If so, how did you get past it?
Writer’s block is definitely a challenge. Sometimes my characters take over the story, and it’s hard for me to corral them back into my guidelines. When nothing is going right, I step back from the story and read. I always try to read in the sub-genre I’m writing in, in order to find inspiration. Usually, after a few weeks, my creative muse starts flowing, and I can finally get back to work!
Sometimes I write myself into a corner even though I’ve plotted the scene beforehand. To solve that problem, I jump a few chapters ahead and start writing those scenes, leaving a big blank spot in my novel. When the later sections are done, I go back and fill in the blank areas. I really don’t like doing this, but I have in desperate cases.
As an author you have to do what works even if you don't like it. I think it keeps you fresh. Speaking of fresh, anything else in the works we should look out for? Anything you're itching to get to?
I have eleven books published so far, the twelfth book is currently in edits, and there are several more manuscripts collecting digital dust on my computer. Some of those drafts are full manuscripts and others are just a few rough chapters.
I also need to go through the remaining Arresting Onyx books again and get them ready for publication.
I currently have four books completed in the House of Darkain series, an on-going set of unpublished vampire novels. Writing is a learning process, so I’m improving my craft all the time, and I’m very anxious to revise those books again. Hopefully, I’ll have an update on them in the New Year.
Wow! What a busy woman. I love the phrase Digital Dust. Looking over your shoulder into the past, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
Oh, yes. I would tell myself to do more research into grammar and writing style, and not to read so many romance books written in the 1990s and earlier. The writing and publishing guidelines have changed over the years, and what was accepted then is no longer accepted now, as least for beginning writers.
I had modeled my style after what I was reading, only to learn with my first publisher that passive voice and head hopping are now frowned upon. When I think back on those drafts, I shudder. But as I already said, writing is a learning experience. I’m grateful that the publisher saw the merit in my writing and set me straight from then on.
That's great advice. I can appreciate the old-style romances. But as you say things change and you have to change with them. Now on to the fun questions. If they made a movie about your life what would the title be and who would play you?
I have no idea. My life isn’t very interesting, but my stories are. I’d much rather have Arresting Mason or another book made into a movie.
Ha, your book started as a dream so maybe you can star in it. Do you have a tattoo? If yes, what is it? If you feel brave, where? Does it have a story you feel you could tell us?
I have a black-and-blue butterfly on my right shoulder blade and a pinkish-purple fairy on my left hip. I would like to get more (flowery vines up and down my back), but tattoos are so expensive. Unfortunately, I don’t have a story behind them or a reason why I got them. I just wanted them.
Years ago, there was a commercial which talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
I remember the old Kodak Moment commercials, but I don’t think the younger generation will (and I’m only 33). For my unforgettable picture, there’s one of me lying in bed, cuddling with my kitty Ling Ling. My boyfriend-at-the-time, Greg, took the photo (he’s now my hubby). I loved that cat so much, and there’s just a look of pure happiness on my face in the photo. Ling Ling was the first kitty I adopted after I moved out of my mom’s home when I was 18. I found her at the local animal shelter. After three days of no adoption, she was scheduled for euthanasia (don’t get me started on kill shelters). Thank goodness I got there in time to rescue her. I’m not sure if she was a tabby or something more, but she looked like a Birman, which is an exotic Asian cat breed. That’s why I gave her a Chinese name. Ling means beautiful, so I just doubled that because she was extra beautiful to me. Lingy was about 9 months when I got her. She lived for only seven years, having died in 2012. I still miss her and will always treasure my memories of her.
It’s early in the morning, so I’m not looking my best, but here’s the picture…
She's beautiful! My girl, Hali, approves. She woofs, "Don't buy adopt." Is there a book that inspired you to become an author?
I read my first romance book, True Blue by Ingrid Weaver, when I was 12. It's about an ex-convict hero and a schoolteacher heroine. After reading this book, I decided I wanted to write my own stories about two people finding adventure and falling in love. And so I did. I got to work on a romantic suspense novel and finished it within six months. It’s my first attempt at writing, and though I've revised the MS several times over the years, it’s currently not published.
And here you are are years later doing exactly what you wanted. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I read both small-press and traditional published books. Some of my favorites are: Arial Burnz’s Bonded in Blood series (small-press), Tabitha Conall’s Colliding Worlds series (small-press), and Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series (trad-pubbed).
What does literary success look like to you?
Success is different for everyone. For me, I feel accomplished when I read a great review for one of my stories, or a critical review that was instructive but also kind. I enjoy it when readers share my publishing news and talk about my stories. I always feel honored when a blog host (like you) invites me to their site for an interview.
My dream is to make it on a best-seller list. Fingers crossed that it will happen someday.
That's the reason I love this question. Everyone has their own idea of success.Thank you so much, Amber, for joining me around the campfire today. I would appreciate you leaving us a blub and exert from your work. Don’t forget to add where we can purchase your book and how we can find out more about you below.
Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.
Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.
When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?
“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.
“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”
“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”
His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”
“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.
He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.
Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”
He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”
Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”
“Take me to your place and you can have me.”
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2ppcmEJ
Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2uOj90J
iTunes – https://apple.co/2FVAQMP
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arresting-mason
Google Play – https://bit.ly/2Izu3cZ
The Wild Rose Press store – https://bit.ly/2VDUTXI
Books2Read – https://books2read.com/u/m2vvY7
Audio Buy Links
Amazon – https://amzn.to/2Nbwr03
Audible – https://adbl.co/2CV6oVU
iTunes – https://apple.co/2NHwMqA
Official Book Trailer
About the Author
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.
Social Media Links
Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Street Team – https://www.facebook.com/groups/572204316296198/
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/
Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton
Book Gorilla – https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368
The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton
I went looking for a movie about criminal redemption. I'd love to hear from some of you who know of one where the criminal changes his or her life and gets their Happily Ever After. Since I couldn't find one I chose instead one about a man who'd lost everything but never gave up.
The Pursuit of Happiness staring Will Smith.
And in honor of Ling Ling
Born Free 1966 Yes it's about a big cat but all cats think themselves as King of the Jungle (or house).
looking for an easy peasy breakfast for a crowd.
At home or at the campfire breakfast for many
Build a campfire and allow the fire to burn until it has accumulated a bed of coals. Or you can adapt for on the stove.
Cook and stir the sausage, onion, and garlic in a 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with lid, raised over the coals to medium-high heat, until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Stir in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and hash brown potatoes until evenly mixed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the hash browns are hot and the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes.
Pour the beaten eggs evenly over the top of the potatoes, allowing them to sink into the potatoes. Cover the Dutch oven, and place 6 to 9 coals underneath, and 12 to 18 on top. Allow to bake until the eggs are firm, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, cover, and continue cooking until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
There's only a few days left until Christmas. I wish each person a wonderful and blessed season. Welcome to the Campfire only has one more interview after today in 2019. There's an exciting line up for 2020. I'll be asking my guests for quick and easy tips and look forward to learning some life or writing hacks.
There's still time to signup for my newsletter at
Today I’m welcoming, Joan Ramirez writing as J L Regen to the Campfire. I’m excited to here about her adventures as well. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
I do love a cup of hot cocoa on those cold winter days to get my motor running.
Hot cocoa it is. Tell us Joan, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I camped out as a Girl Scout. End of story.
Well camping is not for everyone. So, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre? What inspired you to start it?
My latest project is my psychological suspense where a serial killer coaches his sons to kill from his jail cell. A trip to Sing Sing inspired me.
Do you have a tagline? Or quote you’d like to share
Perseverance is the key to success.
You author short stories as well as articles, how different is that from full length novels? Or is it?
Short stories are more of a challenge because you have encapsulated your outline and mine are always very long.
What challenges have you faced during writing? I.e. Writers block, editing, marketing, time. How did you get through it?
The whole nine yards. I got through it with tons of support from good friends.
I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
My photojournalism book on my travels to places of worship around the globe.
Let’s time travel, is there something you would tell your beginning self? Any advice or encouragement? Warnings?
SLOW down. Disaster comes from rushing a writing project.
Joan, I know you’re a photographer. Do you have a favorite image or one which elicits an emotional response you can share with us?
My photograph of a boy in Thailand holding a monkey. He offered to pose for nothing. I was so upset that he was so poor that I gave him enough for dinner for his whole family.
You’re having a dinner party and invite two people (living, dead, real, fictional). Who are they? Why them?
Cary Grant and Queen Victoria—enthralling conversation
Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book? Or book that inspired you?
Charlotte’s Web. However, I’ve had a love affair with books since I’m three.
What is your favorite piece of jewelry? Does it have a special meaning which you can share?
A sterling silver heart that was a gift from my mother. When I touch it, I think of her. I adored her.
Most writers need support. Are there any mentors or authors you would like to give a shout-out to? Or favorite schoolteacher? How did they make you a better person?
Earl Staggs, one of the best people and finest authors in Texas. Sharon Kohn, a caring beta reader.
Final question. As a writer, what does success look like to you?
It used to be wealth but now that I’ve matured, it is the satisfaction that comes from writing a compelling story.
Margo Simmons is ecstatic when she inherits her uncle’s Manhattan apartment and a handsome sum of money. To her chagrin, there are strings attached. She must be gainfully employed in a job for a year. Everything in Margo’s life has complications. When she meets the man of her dreams, she anguishes over how to fulfill her secret desires for a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife and afraid to open his heart again. To replace her fractured childhood growing up with a distant stepfather, Margo becomes the guardian of an elementary student who longs for connection and closeness. As the story evolves, readers will see how these individuals unite. Secret Desires is a contemporary romance written from the heart and speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.
D. V.'s Quick and Easy Chicken Parm Sliders
This is great if your feeding a lot of people. Whenever we host a party these disappear.
I buy the largest size chicken nuggets
Jar of marinara sauce
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Spay your pan with no stick spray. You'll be glad you did.
Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with a bit of sauce
Layer the nuggets leaving a little space in between
Sprinkle with both cheeses
Top with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with a little more of the cheese.
Cook to nugget package instructions
Serve on small dinner rolls.
Thank you for stopping by today. It's a busy time of year for so many. We've already had the power out at our house for a couple of days. Our camper, 2Hoots saves us often. One pull of the generator and we have lights, heat and water. If you've been here before you know one of my favorite things to do is sit around the fire, and we even have an electric fireplace. It may be cold outside but we're tucked away nice and cozy with today's guest. Whether it’s away in a campground or at home in front the chiminea or fireplace, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame. So, wherever you’re joining us from, relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, if you would like to keep up with Around the Campfire and information, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. Okay, without further delay…
Please join me in welcoming Mageela Troche to the Around the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? I pretty much have it all.
Cocoa. Cocoa with marshmallows would be preferred.
Any self-respecting camper had marshmallows. Oh, and I have fluff too. Tell us Mageela, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I camped when I was very little but have no memory of it. I had to be told about it by my mother and according to her, it was a disaster. And my brother went camping with the Boy Scouts when he was about eight and at the time we lived in Panama so they camped in the jungle. My brother shared a tent with his best friend. My brother returned home then a couple of days later, my mother received a call from his tent mate. She told how her son had a bump on the back of his head, larger than a pimple and it kept on moving but won’t pop no matter how much she squeezed so she took her son to the hospital. The doctor cut it open and a bug laid its egg under his skin. So, camping is not my thing.
Oh, gross! I'm cringing. My camper is totally a bug-free-zone. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
My novella is called The Chieftain’s Secret. It’s a historical romance set in medieval Scotland.
I do love a man in a kilt. Do you have a tagline?
Love sails on unexpected winds.
Love it. It sounds quite poetic. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
The Chieftain’s Secret is the latest in a series of highlander romances. I had decided to write about my hero, Niall MacLean after I first wrote about him as a young boy in my debut novel The Marriage Alliance. But it took about two years and four novels.
Isn't it wonderful how a character calls to the author and tells them they need their own story. You have a few books under your belt and new one but is there anything you’re itching to get to? Another character demanding page time?
Too many. I’m editing a Historical romance in Scotland, writing a Highlander romance, a plotting a Regency romance and just developing a middle-grade novel.
Wow, you're a busy lady. As you know not many authors can do it without support, are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I have to thank RWA/NYC members who shared their knowledge with me and helped me grow as an author and person. Alice Orr who did the same. There have been so many different books that have influenced me that I cannot name them all. We’ll be here all day.
What does literary success look like to you?
I don’t know. That changes all the time. But the most important is to be able to support my life with my writing and to write until the last moments of my life. That sounds good to me for now. Tomorrow that answer might change.
Success can be like a moving target. I think it helps us keep fresh. I've started a new section of the blog and call it Life Hacks for Authors. Do you have any tips, tricks or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
If you read one writing craft book then read The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri.
I'll have to check it out. Now the fun questions. Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort?
I have a name chain that my brother and mother bought me when I was a teenager. It’s special because my name is weird and I could never find my name written on anything so I had wanted to be named Jennifer. But when I got that necklace it felt like I wasn’t so different from everyone else.
I think your name is beautiful. Worst household chore?
Aren’t they all bad? I would say washing dishes, cleaning the oven.
If you could time travel, where would you go and when?
I would love to go to the Scottish court of Mary, Queen of Scots. When I first learned about her, I wept as if she was personally known to me. I still feel immense sadness when I think about her.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
Unlimited first-class tickets every time. I don’t think I would ever be home.
What was your first job?
I was a bus girl at a café here in New York when I was 12 years old. I really liked it and made good money there.
What subjects should be taught in school, but aren’t?
Personal finances should be taught. We certainly need it.
Mageela, thank you for joining me today. Please let us know where we can find out more about you. Also if you'd leave us a sample of your book and where to buy it.
On a windswept Scottish Isle…
Many objects wash up on the shores of the rugged Isle of Mull. The Laird of Lochbuie never expected a pregnant wife to be included in that. Honorable Niall MacLean was wed to his childhood love when she died in childbirth. Now a widower, he struggles to get beyond his grief. Then a dear friend, Ermina Bruce pleaded for his help. His protective instinct came alive and he handfasted with Ermina to save her from an unsuitable marriage and one drunken night has led to forever after and a repeat of his past heartbreak.
The bonds of friendship…
Noble Ermina Bruce has loved Niall MacLean since he first fostered in her uncle’s home. But he loved another so she settled for the deep bonds of friendship. When her family arranged a marriage she didn’t want she knew Niall could save her from that miserable fate.
One night of passion…
That one night in Niall’s arms led to her pregnancy. Ermina has not told Niall of their secret baby. But his reaction isn’t her greatest fear. Her fear is even greater than the brave laird’s wrath. Every woman in her family has died in childbirth and all know the same fate awaits her. Once again, Ermina knows Niall is the only one who can save her. And if he fails, her last days shall be with the man she has loved since childhood.
Will love have a chance to come alive?
THE CHIEFTAIN’S SECRET
The church preached the Lord had a plan for all living creatures. Ermina Bruce wondered about her own divine design. Naturally, marriage, children, and a household of her own were included in the life plan. For Ermina, she would have liked a hint of what else awaited since her life had taken a surprising turn.
“Don’t fall into the fire.”
A scream squeaked from her as she spun around and nearly toppled into the hearth. Niall snatched her back and against his hard chest. She landed with a humph. Her nose and cheek smashed against him. She drew a breath into her empty chest along with the manly scent mixed with wine, leather, and musk. She planted her hands flat on his chest and straightened.
“Niall, you frightened me”—she shoved her palm hard against his chest, not that he wavered from her strike—“Sneaking in here without making nary a sound.”
He shrugged. “The skills of a Highlander.” Niall swayed on his feet.
Ermina grabbed him by his forearm to steady him. “The skill is made more impressive since you are drunk.”
“I am celebrating our handfasting.” He lifted his hand. He frowned as he realized his hand was empty. “I seem to have forgotten my cup.”
Ermina turned away from his empty hand hovering in the air as if it were curled about a cup. He couldn’t see her tears. He would ask her why she cried, and she couldn’t reveal the truth. Worse than her unreasonable emotions for him, she knew his reason for drinking until the world faded to the edges of his awareness. That knowledge never stemmed the roaring need to scream down upon his head. She hated seeing his eyes heavy from drink, his movement sloppy, and hearing his slurred speech.
“There have been enough toasts tonight. From all the warm wishes, if a wedding had occurred we would have had a very blessed lifetime. ”
That sounds wonderful. A lifetime with Niall.
“Your uncle scowled through the ceremony.” His befuddled voice snapped her free from her thoughts. His stance was wide but that failed to stop him from swaying.
She didn’t reach to steady him. Right now, with the dull ache thumping through her, she decided touching him was stupid.
Her uncle, the fourth earl of Annadale, and head of the family, had been snarling and growling since Niall and she informed him of the handfasting. There was no reason for his behavior to change on this day. “Aye, he did raise his cup begrudgingly.” She ambled to the bed and perched on the edge. “At least, we were both screamed upon but our lives were not in too much danger.” She put her feet up.
“I am accustomed to his temper. You were trembling like a new recruit.” Niall joined her and fell back. He threw one arm over his head and rested the other one on the flat of his stomach.
“I rarely witness that side of my uncle.”
“You thawed his plans but he gave in to your wants in the end. At least you will not be teetered to that auld man. I imagine Bruce will have more care in your next match.”
“I pray you are right. I do not wish to be bound to a man who believes a husband should not spare the rod with a wife.” Ermina fell back beside Niall. He peeked out the corner of his eye and stretched out his arm. She scooted over and propped her head on his muscular forearm.
This wasn’t the first instance that Ermina had been this close to Niall. This time, though, felt different. They were handfasted. Not that that knowledge changed anything. That was a falsehood. It changed everything for her. Her yearning for him sharpened.
She could bury her nose in the crook of his neck and breath in his scent. Just one whiff of his singular scent and a rush of warmth and pure happiness filled her. Then the longing came and the knowledge that she would never have his love smothered every ounce of her desire.
He rested his head against hers and let out a wine-scented sigh.
His lips were less than half a finger length from her own. Their breaths mingled. She could kiss him. She could finally feel the texture of his lips and discover if they felt as she had imagined.
That was wrong. They were friends. He had saved her from a marriage to a man she had no desire to be united with. A kiss would ruin their bond. That was one act she refused to allow.
“’Tis the first time we have lain together on a bed.”
“You make it sound sinful.” She hoped she put enough of a sneer into her voice so he couldn’t hear the rush charging through her.
He rolled his head to the side and wiggled his dark brows. “Most sinful.”
His intoxicated gaze flittered over her face and lost the stressed lines that pinched his face. His warm regard changed to one darkening with desire. His gaze slowly traced over the lines of her face then to her mouth where it lingered, tracing the shape. His mouth parted as if he were preparing to kiss her.
She stilled, unwilling to break the bond between them. Not once in her life had she been the focus of his smoldering gaze. She had seen glimpses of it when he spoke of Siobhan. Now, his narrowed eyes centered on her. His desire was meant for her and her alone. She had never been kissed. For Niall to be the first…Her whole body went hot and slowly melted. She went a little dizzy. He would kiss her. She licked her lips in preparation.
He blinked. Niall let out a heavy sigh laced with a groan. She understood its meaning. Siobhan. More than twelve months had passed since his wife’s death. Naturally, she understood the reasons for him losing himself in drink. Niall had loved his Siobhan since their childhood.
When Niall arrived at Annadale to foster at the age of eight, he had already been—as he said handfasted—to her. When he returned to the highlands as a knight, he had wed her. Ermina never met Siobhan, but she had been entertained and jealous of the highland lass as she listened to his countless stories that always centered around Siobhan. With each telling, she had felt the all-encompassing love he possessed for her. Aye, she understood the reasons for his drinking with each raise of his cup, and her heart ached for him.
“If I were to take another wife, I would be pleased to have you.”
He rolled on his side and placed a peck on her cheek. Instead of putting a proper distance between them, he rested his chin upon her shoulder. She leaned her head against the top of his head and listened to his easy breathing.
“I would be pleased to have you for a husband.” She felt that emptiness inside of her that ached to be filled. The sensation that hollowed her whenever she thought of Niall. If she had to name the turmoil within herself, she might have thought it longing. The corner of her eyes began to burn as if tears were forming. She blinked with such rapidness she could have started a storm. There was no reason for them. Niall would not be the man she would spend her life with.
He lifted his head. His nose brushed along her jaw and across her cheek, halting when he buried the tip in her hair. His lips hovered over her ear. His exhales blew across her lobe. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the lulling sensation.
“Ermina, you are a beautiful woman and shall have all the happiness life can give.” He kissed her—a simple peck that sparked goose bumps across her.
He drew back and stared at her. There was softness, nay, tenderness in his eyes. It wasn’t because of the color but the hooded shape that gave him an earnest expression. The hazy gloss dulled the brightness of his dark, burnished eyes.
“This isn’t right but I can’t stop myself. I don’t want to.” He fitted his mouth to hers with the softest of pressure. She should have turned away. Niall did not know what he was doing. She did.
With his top lip, he nudged apart her shocked mouth. The tip of his tongue flicked against her stiff one. She opened to him. Her mouth filled with the taste of wine. The tart flavor jolted her. The hairs on her arms stood as a current race through her.
This was foolish.
’Tis only a kiss…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mageela-Troche/e/B00CHTIRFW/
Mary, Queen of Scots 1971
I haven't seen the 2018 version but remember this one.
And for a movie about camping in the Jungle?
1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup barley
2 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 leek, sliced
In a large pot combine the chicken, carrots, barley, water, bouillon and salt and pepper to taste. Bring all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. Skim broth as needed.
Remove chicken from pot and add leeks. Bring back to a boil; reduce heat, cover and let simmer another 15 minutes or so, until thickened.
Meanwhile, skin and debone the cooked chicken. Return chicken meat to thickened stew and cook for about 5 minutes to heat through. Serve hot.
“To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.”
Hi everyone. Can you believe it's early December already? The sixth was my hubby's birthday which is also Saint Nicholas day. If you could see my house you'd get the connection immediately. We are decorated up to our eyeballs. Check out my Facebook or Instagram. I'll be posting some pictures in the next couple of days.
As you know, one of my favorite things to do, is sit around the fire. Whether it’s away in a campground, or at home in front the chiminea and during the winter months even though it's electric, my fireplace. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame, real and virtual. So, wherever you’re joining us from, open a campfire video, pour yourself a preferred beverage, and relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below.
Now let's get down to business. Do to my own craziness, this weeks Welcome to the Campfire went out on 11/23 instead. Let's not consider the twenty-third a mistake. Instead, we're going to call it a dress rehearsal. As such, this is not a rerun. (My blog. My rules. 😉)
For those of you who missed the November 23 Welcome to the Campfire, I think you'll enjoy today's guest very much.
Today I’m welcoming Romance Author, Debby Grahl, to the Campfire. And any good host is sure to offer a beverage so what can I get you Debby, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Donna, thanks for having me today. I have to say I love coffee and enjoy a glass of red wine.
On your website I spotted a picture of one of my favorite wine companies though I prefer the Merlot to the Cabernet. But I think I have a cab around here somewhere. In the meantime the coffee pot is always on. Can you tell our visitors about any camping experience you've had?
My husband and I met doing Civil War reenacting. We used to sit around a campfire and sing songs from that era. We now have an outdoor fireplace where we drink hot spiked cider with friends.
My husband and I are history buffs. My sister and brother-in-law is also a reenactors. Good for you. Camping in period tents can be rough, I'm impressed. I know they go no matter what the weather. Yum, and grown up hot, count me in. You are a multi-published author. Can you tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I’m working on a Carolina series. The first, Mountain Blaze, a contemporary romance, takes place outside of Ashville, NC and is under consideration from The Wild Rose Press.
I'm a Wild Rose author and think they are fabulous. Best of luck in is signing with them, Mountain Blaze is an intriguing name. By the way, I love, love Ashville. Next year we hope to camp near there and tour the Biltmore Estate during the Christmas season. Do you have a tagline for the novel or motto for you?
Debby Grahl, author of Mystery, Magic, and Romance.
Nice. It's tight and tells exactly who you are and what you do. It's difficult to get that across in a few words. Time keeps ticking. Too much. Too little. How much time did your book take?
I had to do a couple of rewrites, so Mountain Blaze has taken about eight months.
Wow that's great. I'm not a fast writer, and even slower with the editing process. Debby, can you tell us what challenges have you faced during writing. How did you get through it?
I have a disease of the retina called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight, seeing the printed word was always difficult for me. Reading a book would take me twice as long as a person with normal sight. I became frustrated with this and began to make up my own stories. It wasn’t until the invention of computer screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into print.
That's is an inspiration to all of us. I applaud you. You took what you had, and found a way to accomplish your dream. One of my favorite quotes is by Christopher Reeve. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” That's how I see you. I'm hearing impaired, but don't know how I would handle loss of vision. Now, I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
At this point, I’m excited to finish the Carolina series. The other two books are in progress. I also have a short time-travel story, The Silver Slipper, that I’d like to make into a full-length novel.
Busy lady. And by the way, your book covers are gorgeous. Here we go, it's time to get aboard D. V.'s Portal to the past. Is there something you would tell your beginning self? Advice? Encouragement? Warnings?
I would definitely take online writing classes. Like many beginning authors, I thought you just wrote the book and sent it off. I learned quickly there’ are many no-no’s in writing. For example, I sent the first twenty-five pages of my first book to an editor who was offering a free critique. She wrote me back and said I had a good story if I could write it -- ouch! She also said she outlined all my mistakes in red. To my chagrin, most of the pages were in red.
Yup. I did the same thing. I'm still trying to make one of my first books into something readable. Good story. Bad writing. Stupid commas are still the bane of my existence. Okay, fun questions. When you’re not writing, what are your hobbies or passions?
We live on Hilton Head Island, so I enjoy biking, walking on the beach, and beautiful sunsets. I also love to travel, England and New Orleans being my favorite places. My home state is Michigan, and I go home each summer and have fun with my family. We always have a campfire by the lake.
That sounds divine. What a beautiful place to live. Michigan is on my camping bucket list. 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?
Oh my, this is tough. I don’t think I can choose from all the rock, blues, and country songs I love, so I’m going to go with, Let It Snow.
Interesting pick for a beach girl. We're going to talk more after the fire. Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book?
What is your “Kodak Moment.” It’s a time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget.
I can’t describe the joy I felt when I held my first published book.
I bawled like a baby when I received mine. Many don't understand the time, effort, and self an author invests in their books. I would guess with the vision obstacles you've overcome, it was an especially sweet moment. Most writers need support. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’ve had the good fortune to become friends with the author Heather Graham. I was a huge fan of her books and a total groupie. Heather is a wonderful warm person who holds a writers’ conference in New Orleans each year. The proceeds go to organizations in the city that promote reading and literacy.
Giving back to the community is such an important honor. To promote reading and literacy is especially needed. Without reading and writing it's difficult to navigate the world today. Tell us about your body of work and your success as an author.
I’ve been very fortunate in finding publishers who like my stories enough to offer me contracts. I have three romance novels, The Silver Crescent, Rue Toulouse, and His Magic Touch; one mystery cozy, Decorated to Death; and short stories in four anthologies: The Haunted West, Never Fear / Christmas Terrors, and from the Island Writers’ Network: Eb and Flow, and Reflections.
Debby, thank you so much for joining me around the campfire today. I would appreciate you leaving us a blurb and excerpt from your work. Don’t forget to add where we can purchase your book and how we can find out more about you below.
It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. Attending a masquerade ball, wealthy fashion designer Caterine Doucette, dressed as a shimmering ice princess, has her cool façade shattered when she encounters Bayou-born ex-cop Remi Michaud, disguised as the darkly handsome pirate Jean Lafitte. Their true identities hidden, the princess and the pirate come together in an explosion of passion and desire. But when fantasy turns to cold reality, Caterine panics and disappears into the night, unaware this man will soon be sent to rescue her from a killer and will capture her heart.
Orphaned at a young age, Caterine grew up in the home of her beloved grandmother, Miss Dauphine Doucette. Despised by her Doucette relatives for the devotion she received from her grandmère, Caterine suffered years of envy and disdain. The young Caterine learned quickly how easily the love she had to give could be thrown back in her face.
After Miss Dauphine turns over ownership of the century-old fashion house, Ma Chérie, to Caterine, an attempt is made on her life, for there are those in the Doucette family who will stop at nothing to possess what they feel is their rightful inheritance.
Not knowing whom to trust, Caterine goes into hiding. Miss Dauphine, convinced someone in her own family is behind the attack, hires Remi, now working for a private security company, to track her down and unmask her would-be assassin.
Learning that the affluent Caterine Doucette is the beautiful princess he held in his arms at the ball, Remi is torn between his growing desire for her and painful memories of another rich socialite’s betrayal. Caterine finds herself falling in love with Remi, but old embedded pain leaves her afraid to open her heart.
Down in the Big Easy, Caterine and Remi must learn to trust one another if they are to survive in a world of family greed and ruthless revenge.
With a wicked grin, he whispered, “When it comes to pleasing a lovely lady, I try to do everything well.”
Caterine couldn’t hold back a smile. “Oh, I’ll bet you do.”
They had stepped away from the dancers and accepted glasses of water from a passing waiter. “Now, monsieur, shouldn’t you introduce yourself?”
“My apologies for being so remiss.” He stepped back and gave her a gallant bow. “Jean Lafitte at your service.”
She grinned. “A pirate. I should have known.”
“Do you not like pirates?”
“I can’t say I’ve ever met one, but I’ve heard they can be rather dangerous.”
A slow smile spread across his face. “A little danger can be exciting, Princess.”
Again he was standing close, filling her senses with his seductive voice and spicy cologne. The heat from his body had Caterine imagining being held in his arms on a sun-drenched beach while turquoise water lapped around their feet. His mouth was now inches from hers. “Come away with me, and I’ll show you.”
Come away with him. Oh, yes, how she’d love to run away with this pirate. Caterine’s fevered imagination now had them in each others’ arms on the deck of a gently rocking ship under a star-strewn sky. When his lips brushed gently across hers, the image changed to show him lowering her onto a bed of soft down. At the sound of his low chuckle, she blinked rapidly to wipe away the erotic scene.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
He smiled at her as if he could read her mind. “I said you look a little flushed. Would you like to go out onto the gallery where it’s cooler?”
She took a nervous step back and stammered, “It is rather warm in here, isn’t it.”
His knowing smile widened. “Exceedingly so. Shall we?” He took her hand and led her through the nearest open door.
You can find out more about Debby and how to follow her below.
This weeks movie recommendations are...
Pippi Longstocking the original film is 1969 with English dubbed. However there is a 1988 version.
Nights in Rodanthe is a 2008 American Romance filmed in North Carolina. It stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
This weeks recipe is for Hot apple cider with a kick you can do this in a slow cooker and imagine the smell in your house.
Welcome to the Campfire is taking next weekend off. Don't forget to stop by on November 30th with Author, Dee S. Knight