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. We were in the Pocono’s a few weeks ago and met a lot of wonderful people. Standing in the pool watching over the grand-kids, I struck up a conversation with a lady from Queens NY. One of her favorite things to do? Camping and reading a good book. Sounds about right to me. So, wherever you’re joining us from, relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, don't forget to sign up for my Newsletter.
Today I’m welcoming C. Becker, author to the Around the Campfire. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Cocoa, thanks, with lots of marshmallows.
Marshmallows are a must have in our camper, whether for s'mores,on a stick or on your cocoa. Now that we’re set tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp. If so, tent, trailer, RV? Where? Did you like it? If not, and no judgment here, would you like to someday? Where?
I’ve never camped in a trailer, but as a kid, I’d help my brothers and sisters throw blankets over the metal jungle gym in our backyard and erect our own tent. We slept outside a lot. Unfortunately, I always got asthma from the cold air. The dust mites in the sleeping bags might have played a part, too. I’d run into the house in the middle of the night and have to take medicine. When my mother saw me, she wouldn’t let me go back outside. (Sad face L) Besides our backyard campground, I’d toast marshmallows and hot dogs after doing yard-work with my family. We lived on a farm so work was plentiful and entertainment was scarce, but we had so much fun!
Improvised camping, I love it. We also did blankets over the furniture inside. So, C. Becker, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
My most recent project is a suspense novel Finding Euphoria. The book is the first of a trilogy. The story centers on an exotic shrub from the Amazon Rain forest and the life of a woman Hailey Langley. Hailey’s current dealings with the shrub stem back to the death of her uncle when he experimented on a deadly chemical from the plant while he was in medical school.
Sounds exciting! Do you have a tagline?
The Search is as deadly as the high
Great line. One of the first questions I get after people find out I’m an author, is the process especially time. If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us how long Finding Euphoria took from conception to fruition?
I don’t mind you asking at all. From start to fruition, the book took six years. LOL. I sure hope the second book comes a lot quicker. I think it will. The learner curve will be logarithmic!
What a fabulous word, logarithmic. It’s a new word for me and I love new words. I had to look it up. Writing and getting a book to market is not a quick process. I’m glad you stuck with it. But, 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?
I haven’t gotten to the place where I give up. Though I get to the place where I wish I could lock myself into a room and write with no distractions. My writer’s group is phenomenal. They keep me on track and I love to discuss my story ideas with them.
Having a supportive group whether in the virtual or non-virtual world is important. Good for you. Next question, I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I’m currently working on book 2—Losing Euphoria; Trust No one. The story takes place six years after the first story. I also write children’s stories under another name and just had one published this spring. Another children’s story is being illustrated as we speak. When I finish the Euphoria Trilogy, I have one story I started last year, but got sidetracked working on the Euphoria series. My youngest daughter and I also have an idea for a Christmas romance I want to write with her. There’s never enough time to do all the writing I long to do. (Sigh!)
Not enough hours in the day. I’m looking into the future and retirement soon. And children’s books must be fun. But, looking over your shoulder into the past, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
I definitely would have joined a writer’s group years earlier.
Excellent advice. Groups give authors support and advice in a sometimes isolated world. Now the fun questions? 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? If not and you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?
No, tattoo. I know, I’m boring. But in my next novel I have a character with a tattoo. I never really thought of what I’d get, because I don’t have a desire to get one. Both of my sons wanted tattoos a few years ago, but I wouldn’t let them get them until they turned twenty-one. Now, that they’ve turned twenty-one, they don’t mention getting one anymore.
I don’t think it makes you boring at all. Personal expression is just that, personal. No ink, but have your traveled? What was the best vacation you ever took? Why?
This summer. Myrtle Beach with my husband and kids. We finally decided to get a house with a pool and it was the best. Instead of seeing shows every afternoon, we just hung out together in the pool, talked, and enjoyed the beach. We are already planning our vacation next year and hope to rent a house with a pool again.
Myrtle Beach is a fabulous place. There’s an all you can eat seafood buffet near there. My friends’ kids and I had a crab leg eating contest. They won. 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?
The best Kodak Moment was a beach picture with my children. My husband photo bombed it to be funny. We still laugh at the picture.
Those are the ones, aren’t they? With family and close friends. I know you spoke of a writing group earlier, are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
My editor was super—ELF! I loved working with her. I’ve had great support with the authors at The Wild Rose Press. Namely, Mona Sedrak, Stephen King, Amber Daulton, CJ Zahner, Madelon Smid, Debbie Grahl, Barbara Bettis, CB Clark, Jean Grant, Tena Stetler, Katie OSullivan. Some have helped hosting me on their blogs and others have been valuable resources in writing and marketing.
Elf is my editor too! I recognize many of these names as well. Wild Rose Press is a fantastic house. Here’s your final question. What does literary success look like to you?
Finding readers who seek out your books to read. I think every writer wants their books to be a best seller.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Finding Euphoria on that best seller list. C. Becker, thank you so much 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.
Thank you for having me today! I enjoyed chatting with everyone tonight. Bring on the S'mores!
S'mores for everyone! And don't forget to stop by next week when Linda Griffin, multi published author and scrabble player joins us Around the Campfire. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to see this week's movie recommendations and recipe.
Until next week Be a Happy Camper!
Hailey Langley refuses to be a victim and has moved on from her traumatic past. But her marriage problems worsen when a deadly illicit drug threatens to draw her into the life she left behind.
Mark Langley has allowed his job to interfere with his marriage, but he never suspected the secrets in Hailey's past might hold the key to solving both of his current investigations.
Together, they must unravel the mystery of the drug called Euphoria and find a way to save not only their marriage, but countless lives, before it's too late.
Read a sample of Finding Euphoria by C. Becker
He turned the bottle around in his hand and set it on the end table. “Don’t put me in this position. You know what would happen. Grace is his mother. She’s the one who needs to stay with him.”
Regret tugged at her heart. “I wouldn’t take any time away from her.”
Parker groaned. “Just you being there would make her feel uncomfortable.”
“You know why.”
“But I’ve stayed away for seventeen years,” she whispered.
“That was the adoption arrangement.”
She bit her lip. “I can’t stay away any longer.”
“You agreed to those terms in the contract. You terminated all parental rights.” Parker stood and paced to the kitchen.
“But it’s not fair!” She put down her water and began wringing her hands.
Straightening his arms, he leaned against the bar. “Hailey, please don’t start. I know how you feel…”
“You couldn’t possibly know how I feel. I need to see him.” She fought to control the bitterness in her voice.
She rose, knocking over the water bottle. “He’s my son!”
“Not anymore, he isn’t.”
The rebuke stung. “He’ll always be my son!”
“When you gave him up, you promised to keep your distance.”
The reminder lanced her heart. “You’re being unfair. He’s dying.”
He slammed his fist on the bar. “Don’t say that. He can’t die.” Parker pushed himself up and stomped near the window, raising his hands to rest on top of his head as he faced the curtain.
A muscle twitched in her hand. Her knees buckled. She sat on the edge of the couch, wringing her hands. “I was young. I couldn’t give Justin the life he deserved. I’m not asking to take him back. I only want to see him.”
Rubbing his jaw, he walked back to the couch and sat. The hard lines on his face softened. “The adoption papers were clear. No contact.” He placed his hands on top of hers and stilled them. “If the decision was mine, I would allow it, but Grace would lose it if she found out you’re Justin’s biological mother.”
Her hands squeezed into tight fists. The urge was unbearable. “I wouldn’t tell her.”
Parker ran a hand through his hair. “Argh! Don’t you understand? She’d take one look at your face and know the truth. Don’t forget, you’re the one who wanted us to protect him.”
She stood. “Well, you did a hell of a fine job, didn’t you? You divorced Grace and deserted him. Parenting takes sacrifice, Parker. You were too busy changing careers, and now he’s messed up with drugs. How did that protect him?”
Standing, he reached for her.
“No. You stay away from me.” She extended her hands and backed up a step. “Justin’s dying! Dying, Parker! And I don’t know him…You won’t let me see my own son.”
He wrapped his arms around her.
She pushed him, pummeling her fists against his chest with all her strength.
He silently took his beating.
To find out more about C. Becker and her book click the links below.
http://cbeckerauthor.com/ or C. Becker website
Twitter C. Becker author
Facebook C.Becker Author
Amazon Author Page C. Becker
You can find her books here...
The Wild Rose Press Finding Euphoria ebook link
Amazon Finding Euphoria ebook link
Amazon Finding Euphoria paperback
Barnes & Noble Finding Euphoria ebook link
Apple itunes Finding Euphoria ebook
And since not everyone can get to the campfire here's an indoor recipe from the Food Channel
Recommended Medical Movies
The Medicine Man (Bonus! Sean Connery is in it plus it's about the Amazon).
Awakenings (Another favorite of D. V. with Robin Williams).
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. ~George Bernard Shaw
I can't believe summer is almost over. But that doesn't mean the Campfire is. The next few weeks I'll be heading to Maryland, Vermont, Cape May, and Pennsylvania. We even have a Driveway Camping date with my sister. Now that's a fire you'd wish you could be around, I never now where our conversation will go. Here's a shout out to all the sisters near and far. Fall campfires are the best. Crisp air with the scent of a wood fire is the ultimate. But before we give up summer, click on the virtual fire and let's welcome today's guest N. Jade Gray. I enjoyed reading her book Raider of Her Heart. Here she is to tell you her happening.
Oops, almost forgot. Signup for my newsletter for a chance to receive an eBook of Agent Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake, my mid-grade paranormal.
N. Jade Gray, welcome to the Campfire. Coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Interviewee All of the above, except the Coffee. And I’m fond of a good Italian Margarita every once in a while.
I never heard of an Italian Margarita. (Dashing to google) Oh my, that looks and sounds delish. I'll post a recipe below. Now, as we settle around the fire tell us if you've had any camping experience.
Growing up, my dad had a side business of renting campers and toppers to people to go camping. We, as a family, spent a lot of time camping, whether it be in toppers, campers, or tents. I had three brothers who were involved in Boy Scouts, so we did a lot of camping activities with that organization as well. Then I caught the Backpacking in Colorado bug when I was in High School. Five summers I went to Durango, Colorado to the San Juan Mountains and would backpack with a youth group from all over Oklahoma. We would backpack in the wilderness for two weeks. We made our tents out of tarps, so there were some wet soggy nights sometimes, but it was an awesome adventure, and I loved it! Nature is one of the best retreats with campfire being the best therapy.
Now that I’m older I would love to try the Glamping, as you call it, in Covered Wagons and other cool ideas they’ve come up with.
Hooray, a fellow camper. That sounds so exciting. You really were in the midst of the outdoor experience and visited some gorgeous places. You should try Glamping, all the comforts of home in the middle of nowhere. Now, tell us about your books. That's a big fire on the cover of Raider. What are you working on now?
My two previous books were Historical Romance Time Travels. I’m deviating in my current project. It is still Romance, but it’s a Christmas Contemporary story. The working title is Tangled in Tinsel.
I think it's fun and stimulates the creative process when you color outside the lines. What a fun title. Do you have a tagline?
Interviewee No. I suppose I need to put this on my to-do list. 😊
For those who are wondering, a tagline is a short usually one sentence or two that sums up the story. They are quite difficult to created. Raider of Her Heart used, History, written in stone or could it be changed given the chance. If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us about the time and process? New authors and readers often don't realize the how long things can take.
My first book, All for the Love of a Cowboy, took years. Umm, over 20, but I was a full-time mother, wife, worked full-time job, and school. But, I kept chipping away at it. With several of those years just trying to get someone to say Yes to the submission. My second book, Raider of Her Heart, didn’t take as long now that the boys are older. Maybe around 4 years from start to publication.
Do you see that folks? Patience and Perseverance. To be successful at most things you need those two ingredients. Did you ever to play with your work in progress, get 'Tangled in the Tinsel' and said nope this is not going to work?
Yes and it’s been recently. Yes, even after getting two books published. I’m not sure self-doubt ever really goes away or it hasn’t for me anyway. The publishing world has so many books/authors and there are so many perimeters you don’t even consider when you decide to “write your book.” I have found it hard to keep up with my full-time day job and my writing. Discouragement creeps in. Then I start to question does my story really matter? And have I gotten past this bump in the road…the verdict is still out, but I continue to plug away slowly at the story clamoring to get out of my head and onto paper.
I'm sure all of us are cheering you on. One of my favorite quotes is -The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places. ~Author Unknown Most authors have bits and pieces of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Are any calling to you for attention?
I have so many stashes of paper, computer files containing words for stories or ideas that I’m not sure I will ever get them all out. Ha. But, there are two that seem to bully me for my time. The Christmas story I’ve mentioned and another contemporary romance that refuses to be put on a back seat.
Okay so I'm adding T the P's above, time. Working, family and school all swallow chunks of Time. You can only do what you can. I retire soon and look forward to having that time to write. You never know. Persevere and you may get a block buster and can write full-time. So lets time travel back to your beginning self. What would you tell N. Jade Gray?
It’s hard, but worth it. There is more to this writing business you won’t understand, but try to learn. You can’t begin to imagine the feeling that sweeps over you when you hold your book baby in your hands for the first time. Dare to keep at it and put your stubbornness to work.
You seem like a pretty adventurous lad. What does your bucket list look like?
Ever evolving. Do I want to jump out of an airplane. Well....no. That is definitely not on any list, no way, no how!
Over the last few years I've been able to knock a few off of the "to do's". Hot air balloon ride, Zip-lining, Water rafting, Hiking a waterfall...I guess I like adventure. My husband and I like to try activities that are available to the area we are visiting, for example Kissing the Blarney Stone (only the clean spot, mind you). It helps when we encourage each others inner child. :) So, something that may be on the bucket list today, may go to the wayside the next for something that I want to experience (within reason)..
Camping is about traveling and you look like you've traveled a bit. What was the best vacation you ever took?
I love vacations, but to pick just one? Oh boy.
I would say our trip to Ireland was spectacular. Both our boys were able to go with us, along with our soon to be daughter-in-law, which our oldest son proposed to at the Cliffs of Moher. We visited so many beautiful sites and places and I’m sure barely scratched the surface. I’d love to go back again some day!
Oh, Ireland. The land of my people. Cover me Kelly Green with envy. And how romantic. I guess you've rubbed off on your oldest. Do you have a “Kodak Moment"?
My family, My husband and my wedding day, the births of our sons. So many a collage in my mind.
A collage in your mind, that's beautiful. Family is one of our most important foundations. Speaking of foundations Who helps you build your books. Are there any mentors, or authors you would like to give a shout-out to?
The mentors in the trenches, Theresa, Melissa, Margret and many family and friends. It does take an army sometimes to encourage and support.
Final question. What does literary success look like to you?
Being a published author in itself is success! That dream has been realized.
But if I’m truthful with myself, there’s a selfish part of me that would love to say my book was made into a movie. Hey, I know we all do it! 😊
Lol, we do! Thank you so much for joining me around the campfire today. It's been a fun time and hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I enjoyed it. 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.
Blurb: Cavalry scout Judson Stone needs to warn Lawrence, Kansas, of the impending threat of Quantrill and his raiders. Shot and left for dead, he awakes in a strange new time and place. Guilt riddles him over his failed mission as the days pass and he struggles to find a way back to his own time –and overcome growing feelings for a woman who doesn't trust him.
Sadie Winters has her hands full juggling a full-time job, a start-up business, and the chore of keeping tabs on her mischievous grandfather. She doesn't need the further complication of caring for the stranger Gramps brought home. Little by little, the mystery surrounding Judson is revealed, and she throws herself into helping him find his way back to his own time. But how can she send him back, knowing she's fallen in love?
You can find more about N. Jade Gray by clicking on the buttons below.
Before you go, since we talked about our books being made into movies, this weeks recommendations are some of my personal favorites
Harry Potter- All of them
Lord of the Rings- All of them
This weeks recipe The Italian Margarita
Don't forget to join me next week when I interview thriller author C. Becker.
And one more perseverance quote
Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. ~Author Unknown
.Welcome back to the Campfire. I think what I enjoy about camping, besides the owlishly good time, is the sense of community. It reminds me of past days sitting on the porch, talking to the passing neighbors. A time when kids weren't afraid to say hello to strangers. So much has changed in our world I for one often unpack the memories. This week I'll be camping with some friends. Our kids grew up together and I'm sure we'll be hauling stories out and laughing, maybe crying, but making new memories as well.
This week's guest is Author Susan Antony. You'll see from her photo she's bright, sparkly and interesting. I've read her book Cherokee Summer and loved it.
So, kick back, click on the virtual campfire and enjoy some conversation. Oh, don't forget to sign-up for my newsletter by clicking on the button.
Me too. If we can’t at a campground the chiminea is next best. So, Susan, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Cherokee Summer. It is a YA Romance with a touch of suspense.
It's a great title. I love Young Adult. Some folks may think YA is for kids, because it focuses on the 12 to 18 year old. But I read a statistic almost half of the readers are adults. Certainly Cherokee Summer has a lot for them as well. Do you have a tagline?
When two peoples lives mirror each other more than oppose, how can they not be together?
Nice. How could someone not want to check it out. Can you tell us how long it took from conception to fruition?
My novel took about a year to write in between working a full-time job and single motherhood and then another to year and a half passed before publication.
It can be a long process and you’re a busy lady. Many writers can hit a "wall" sometimes in writing and sometimes during the editing, have you been there? How do you deal with it?
I’ve hit that place many times, but it usually solved by a good night’s sleep or a few days away from my project. Once I get over my momentary dilemma, I find I'm more determined than ever to achieve my goal.
You have to take care of yourself. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. What else are you working on? Will there be more about Cherokee Summer?
At present I am considering a sequel to Cherokee Summer. I’ve written one chapter. I am also dismantling a YA Paranormal romance I wrote a few years ago to the bare bones. I intend to build it back up with a different story line.
Sometime reworking takes more effort than the first draft. I’ve been tearing one a part too. Speaking of paranormal, pull out your time-machine. What advice do you have for your early self?
Start marketing today. Get your galley copy out for reviews. Being new to the process, I waited until after my novel went into print. I had an online presence prior to this date, but not nearly large enough. Big mistake, but we live and learn.
For those wondering no we're not talking about the galley of a ship, lol. A galley is a rough copy of a book. Not quiet ready for publication. It kind of tests the waters. I think a lot of us make that mistake. So, now to the fun stuff, 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? If not and you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?
I have a tattoo on the inside of my wrist that reads …5,6,7,8—a dance count down. I started out looking for one that represented my book, but changed courses. Dancing has been part of my life since I was eight years old. It is still a passion of mine today. I C&W line dance and partner dance the two-step, salsa, merange, and swing at least twice weekly. I’m open to another, one that represents my book, but I’m still looking. It must be the right one. I will know it when I see it.
Good plan. It’s not easy to get rid of if you change your mind. I love that you dance and so many different styles.My husband and I line-dance years ago. It's a great outlet and exercise. Some of your dances sound so exotic. Have you traveled? What was the best vacation you ever took? Why?
I met up with my husband at the time—a sailor on sea duty—and I backpacked around Italy. I absolutely loved the food, the drink, the people and the atmosphere of the county. Roma is still my favorite city and I don’t do favorites well, so that saying something.
If you could freeze a moment in time, a “Kodak Moment” you never want to forget, what would it be?
I have too many to pick just one. As mentioned in a question above, I am horrible with favorites. Even my favorite color changes due to the circumstances.
I’m glad you have so many happy memories. We're almost out of time, but I'd like to know, are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
My friend Susan Bickford. We met online in a writing class. Not only is she a talented writer she’s been the first responder to my writing crises over the years. And of course, my editor Kinan Werdski who helped me accomplish my dream.
We all need help at times and I think it's nice to acknowledge them. Final question. What does literary success look like to you?
I’ll let you know when I get there.
Great answer Susan. Thank you so much for joining me around the campfire today. I would appreciate you leaving us a blurb 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.
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.
In honor of Susan's favorite city today's movie recommendations are two of my favorites
Letters to Juliette
Under the Tuscan Sun
Dutch Oven Ravioli
Author: Chelsey Janes
Recipe type: Main
Enjoy the the days ahead and we'll see you next week and spend time around the campfire with Author N. Jade Gray
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." ~Erma Bombeck
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. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious conversation go on around our fires. So, wherever you’re joining us from, click on the campfire video below and 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…
Hello, Colleen. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
COFFEE!!!!!! So black and thick even coffee connoisseurs shudder
Lol, no fancy drinks for you. But whether fancy or not, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp. If so, tent, trailer, RV? Where? Did you like it? If not, and no judgment here, would you like to someday? Where?
In a tent – from the massive army tent my grandfather gave us that humiliated us in campgrounds where most families had progressed to the more modern, sleek and colorful, practical tents…to something tiny and pinched, suitable for only one or two that a bear had no respect for, making me yearn for my grandfather’s thick, green canvas I’d been ashamed of as a girl. Camping evolved in location from alongside the tiny creek in the family’s timber, to lake campgrounds, then to the Rocky and Sierra mountains. As a kid, I thought there was nothing like it, but of course it wasn’t me trying to perk coffee with grounds by fire or manage biscuits in a skillet. And smelling like fishing worms or sweat didn’t bother a child who did what she could to avoid daily shower routines anyway. Now I prefer camping as a fond memory, something I refuse to sour by trying it again.
So, Colleen I can tell you’re a writer from your camping description, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Oddly enough, my current WIP (work in progress) carries the title of that creek my family used to camp next to when I was young. Hush Puckena, a tiny branch that doesn’t even make it onto maps. Even though the title is factual, this historical novel is pure fiction, building a romanticized reputation for that creek during the Civil War as a place where the clandestine remained hidden for years.
How interesting. My husband and I are history buffs. He especially Civil War. Do you have a tagline?
My current WIP doesn’t have a tagline yet, but my personal tagline is “Fiction with a heart.” If you look at the taglines of my previous books, you can see why – “My story has been whispered behind doors and hands, always by others. This time it’s Mine to Tell.” Or, “The need for love…to find that someone she is meant for, the one who will stay forever…” Also, “Husband needed. Purely business arrangement, able to take orders without taking over…” And, “She couldn’t love her enemy, because he did…”
Those are great. People often don’t realize how difficult a tagline is to create. If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us how long it took from conception to fruition? It’s the most asked question for me.
My current WIP took a while to conceive and is nowhere near fruition yet. I had just given birth to a finished novel and needed time to transition from it and its characters to something of a whole new personality. That said, in general, most of my books from conception to fruition take a year. One much longer, but a year is my norm.
Each story has its own pace. Did you ever hit the place where you threw your arms up in the air and said, nope this is not going to work? If so, how did you get past it?
I have completely deleted only one full novel in my life. It wasn’t that the storyline was bad, but I wrote it at the wrong time. Reference my answer above about conception. Like a real family, a parent/body takes a breather, long or short, between children. I didn’t rest between books like I needed to, but pushed myself into the next before I was ready. On an even darker note, I also had a ‘throw up my arms’ moment about writing as a whole. It came with a critique that was veiled personal criticism. The damage was done before I discerned the difference between offerings that helped move my writing forward or those that just plain attacked me. It took time for my compulsion to write to surface again. But with the experience I was able to discern more clearly valuable suggestions, painful or not, and make sure when I reviewed or critiqued that my focus was for the good of the writer or reader I addressed.
I’m so glad you shared this. Many writers get discouraged. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
When a story idea strikes me, I make a note of it. I have a jillion of them but I have yet to go back to any of them and follow through. Who knows why…but I keep jotting them down. When I do write, I tackle one project at a time. I write from inner inspiration, a connection to the heart of my character as they suffer through something, and in order to pour that suffering onto a page, I have to remain in touch with it so it can speak to me as I write.
I kind of envy your focus. With several books published and more in the works, looking over your shoulder, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
What I told myself in the beginning has carried me through to today. Again, reference one of my earlier answers, the one about throwing up my arms. Before I ventured into the writing world, I thickened my skin. I faced that not everyone would like my work, and that was okay. Also, that what I thought was brilliant, wouldn’t necessarily be so, and I had to accept that other eyes saw truths about my stories that I didn’t. I reapply that mantra almost daily. It helps me stick to my commitment of learning to write well, and brings good fruit from suggestions that though painful, move my work forward.
Do you hear that folks? Toughen up. Not everyone is going to like you. It’s okay. Now the fun stuff, 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? If not and you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?
Nope, not a tattoo person. Maybe a necklace instead? A book, a pen, something of spiritual significance since I try to listen for the right words in my heart.
I don’t either but often admire them on others and the significance behind them. Your books are from different times and places, what about you. Where was the best vacation you ever took? Why?
Oddly enough, a group trip to New York City. Who would have thought a long bus ride with complete strangers could turn out to be the trip of trips! Somehow, we were all well matched in our interests, our enthusiasm, and our respect for the group. It was marvelous!
I’m originally from Brooklyn. I see New Yorkers as exactly that. 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 was ten, it was my birthday, and I was standing curly-headed and possibly too animated at the edge of a bluff in the timber near the family home. I lost my balance and toppled forward. It was a long drop, but before I went completely over the edge, something grabbed me. It lifted me upright and balanced me on my feet again. I glanced around but no one visible was there. I stood still after that, and the Kodak Moment of what felt like hands saving me has vividly remained.
Wow, your guardian angel was on duty and we are so glad for that. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
As far as other authors and their books, I adore Louise Penny! She writes insight to the human soul in her mysteries, almost turning the genre into literary fiction. I also enjoy Laura Strickland’s fabled characters in her fairy tales retold. I have no direct mentor, but I learn from others’ works whether it be written, told, or acted.
Final question. What does literary success look like to you?
Every single one of my books has a purpose beyond entertainment. There is a reason for each one, and if that reason speaks to the reader and they can identify with it, my work is done and done well. Beyond that heart goal, being accepted by a traditional publishing house also meant success to me. It was an affirmation that I in particular needed.
Colleen L Donnelly, thank you so much 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.
Make sure you keep scrolling for this weeks movie recommendations and recipe. Don't forget to stop by the campfire again next week when we interview YA author and Line-Dancer, Susan Antony
My first book, “Mine to Tell,” was an Amazon #1 Bestseller and has been enjoyed by so many, I will include its blurb and excerpt here.
Annabelle Crouse is determined to reopen her great-grandmother’s boarded-up house—and her shunned life. Many years earlier, after an unexplained absence, Julianne was relegated to a separate home by a rigidly unforgiving husband, and the Crouse women have suffered the disgrace of her assumed guilt ever since.
Despite her family’s strong disapproval, Annabelle is driven to pursue her mission through cobwebs and dust, finding the clues and the coded story left behind by her great-grandmother—Why did she go? And why did she return? Annabelle has to know.
Only one person, a man she grew up with but never noticed, stands with Annabelle as she discovers the parallels between her story and her great-grandmother’s—two women, generations apart, experiencing what love truly is.
“Mine to tell,” Kyle said suddenly. It was a jolt. I was yanked from my mental tumble into a pit of unredemption. Alex looked up too, a quizzical expression on his face. “Julianne left a story behind,” Kyle continued. “Some of it speculation and rumors by people who don’t know, and the rest of it by her own hand. It was a love story. One that was countered with suffering.”
We were all quiet. I looked at him, my heart melting as I heard his masculine voice speak of love and suffering. I wanted to lean across the table and hug him, but I was too afraid.
Alex leaned back in his chair. “What my father went through didn’t feel like love when we were little.”
“But maybe it was,” Kyle persisted, his tone smooth and even. “Does love always turn out the way we want it to?” Then he looked at me. “Julianne Crouse was a fine woman. We haven’t finished her story, but she suffered, and she was fine indeed.”
Tears came to my eyes. “Thank you,” I squeaked. Kyle stood and walked around the table to me. He helped me stand as he thanked them for their time. He retrieved Julianne’s picture, took my hand, and together we went to the door. Alex and his wife following us.
“I hope you’re right,” Alex said, running his hand through his thin, brittle hair as we stepped outside. “My father had some things to come to terms with, but he was a good man. A better man later in life, when he told us he was sorry. I never knew for what.”
Mine to Tell http://amzn.to/1PNJo4S
Asked For http://amzn.to/1TyflEu
Love on a Train http://amzn.to/1m9eYCx
The Lady’s Arrangement http://amzn.to/2qj7DE2
Out of Splinters and Ashes https://amzn.to/2K0WTHt
Movie Recommendations in honor of Guardian Angels
It's a Wonderful Life. I know it's hot but did you know the movie was shot during a heat wave in the summer of 1946
The Preachers Wife. I'm a huge Whitney Houston fan so, yes, another winter movie to cool you off.
Find this weeks recipe here
Have a great week!