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