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I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. I spent it at my sister's house with other friends and family. DH had to work and so did my son. I have so many projects going on my head is spinning. But let's take some time to slow down and enjoy the fire. As you know, one of my favorite things to do even though at this time of year my fire is electric, I still enjoy the holidays sitting in my library with friends and chatting. 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.
Today I’m welcoming, Romance Author, Dee S. Knight to the Around the Campfire. Hi Dee. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine? I can pretty much conjure up anything.
Coffee, please, black. It doesn’t wake me up in the morning or keep me up at night. I just like the flavor when it’s good and hot. Thanks for having me here!
I wish I could say that. If I have coffee after 6 p.m. no sleep happening for me. Have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I went tenting once with my parents. Wasn’t all that fond of it—a skunk wandered through in the middle of the night! But we did like camping, so my folks bought a pickup camper which we used a lot. After my hubby and I got married, we bought a very small pull behind unit and loved going up into the Virginia mountains with it. A couple of years ago, we rented a Cruise America to hit Yellowstone and travel to see family. I love camping out!
How funny is that, a skunk passing through. It'll clear out a campsite. Virginia is wonderful and one of our go to places It's beautiful. So, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I just finished Book 2 of the Good Man series, One Woman Only. It’s erotic romance, for those who like some spice with their love stories.
Do you have a tagline?
It takes a woman—the right woman—to make Jonah see that a "good man" can always be a better man.
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.
Oh my gosh, I wish you hadn’t asked! Let me start by saying that I have conceived an idea and had a 90,000-word book finished in a month. But this book…? It was a year and a half from start to finish. Don’t know why. I like the characters, I like the story line, I just couldn’t get through it. I’m hoping to have Book 3 done by the end of the year, so we’ll see. Really, writing means keeping one’s posterior in the chair at the keyboard and your mind on the story. I didn’t do that with this book for some reason.
Sometime it's hard. Life gets needy at times. I'm a firm believer in things working out the way they are supposed to, despite our ideas and plans. The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry is a quote tweaked from a Robert Burns story. Writers often have many challenges, how about you?
Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block, or not in the typical way. I almost always know where I want to go in a book, and I always have ideas of how to get there. For me, it’s the mechanics of getting the words to paper—or to hard disk. Another book that took a long time was Passionate Destiny. I started it years ago in January or February and by the beginning of November had to tell myself I would get it done by Thanksgiving or give it up. I finished in time, but just barely. The problem was nothing more than making myself get words down. It’s easier for me to edit than it is sometimes to write fresh. During the time it took me to write Passionate Destiny, I wrote a whole other book and a novella, so maybe it is just plain holding an interest in the current story-line!
Marketing…! Bleh! I think it’s something I would enjoy if I just knew how to do it! But I really don’t, and I feel like I spend a lot of time on it for not much return, you know?
Preaching to the choir, sister. Marketing is the elusive unicorn. Once you think you spotted it, she slips away and you're left wondering what happened. Seems you have a lot of things going on. Anything you’re itching to get to?
Yes! For years I’ve had two other series in mind. They are non-erotic and would be (will be?) written as Anne Krist (who has a book already called Burning Bridges, that will be republished in the next few weeks). All of the books are pretty well-formed in my mind, and one is outlined loosely. But I have to finish the Good Man series first, thus the push to finish Book 3 by the end of the year! Like everyone who writes, I have a few unfinished manuscripts withering away on the hard drive. I might get to them someday. Maybe. Hopefully. lol
I think you'll get there. You seem like a pretty determined lady. Okay, time to load up on D. V.'s portal to the past and. time travel, is there something you would tell your beginning self? Any advice or encouragement? Warnings?
Start writing romance when you get off the road!!!
My husband and I drove a tractor-trailer for years, and when we got off the road I began doing sort of typical jobs. I consulted, I trained, I taught, and did some admin work in between. If I had started writing back then, when there were fewer romance writers maybe the chance to get in the market would have been better. I at least would have discovered much earlier something I love to do!
What an interesting job. You must have met a lot of interesting character out there on the road. I too began writing in later life as well. I guess we all find that place and time eventually. I'm sure your readers are glad you did. Okay, time fun questions. When you’re not writing, what are your hobbies or passions?
Reading. I like cooking, though with just two of us I don’t do it as much as I used to, and I admit to watching a fair amount of TV, especially HGTV and ID channels.
Which superhero would you like to be?
Superman was always my favorite comic book hero because he could fly (even into outer space!), move heavy objects (like furniture!), go fast (vacuuming would pose no problem!), and because he looked sexy as heck as Clark Kent.
Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book?
I read all of the Nancy Drew books and then devoured Hardy Boys. Outside those, I loved Black Beauty.
Black Beauty is one of my top favorites too. What is your favorite mug?
Years ago I made up mugs on Café Press with book covers, and I still use those. They hold 12 oz of my favorite beverage—which isn’t always as innocuous as coffee!
I occasionally enjoy a shot of Kahlua in my mug of coffee too. Most writers need support. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’ve had the support of friends and family all along the way, but I have also made some very special author friends. I think we all support each other, which is a blessing! So for years, I’ve known and enjoyed Cheryl Norman, Leigh Wyndfield, Terri Schaeffer, Jasmine Haynes, and Kayelle Allen—wonderful authors, all. In recent years, I’ve become best buds with Jan Selbourne, who is a wonderful historical writer, and we have a blog and newsletter together, as well as Alice Renaud, Suzanne Smith, Callie Carmen, Gibby Campbell, Patricia Elliott, Carol Schoenig, and well, the whole group at Black Velvet Seductions. We really support each other, and it’s great because writing is typically such a solitary endeavor. Thanks for letting me say a public thanks to these wonderful friends and authors!
You're welcome. I like giving shout outs to special people. You seem like you have and excellent and solid group behind you. Final question. As a writer, what does success look like to you?
I have received letters from readers telling me how much they enjoy my books, and I guess that’s the affirmation we all look for, the note that says, no, we weren’t an idiot to take up this task of writing. Of course, royalties are always good!
When you put your art out there, no matter if writing, painting, or whatever, having acknowledgement is important and gratifying. Oh, and hooray for royalties. Dee, 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 so much for hosting me today!
It's been my pleasure. I enjoyed our time together. Best of Luck!
As one of a set of triplets, Jonah always feels the need to make his individuality known. So where his brother Daniel is serious and completely focused, Jonah shuns commitment. Where his genius brother Mark is hailed in the scientific world, Jonah hides beneath a car, tinkering. Thing is, being different isn't all it’s cracked up to be. It takes a woman—the right woman—to make him see that a "good man" can always be a better man.
Excerpt [This excerpt includes Jonah and his brother Daniel, hero of Book 1, Only a Good Man Will Do, and Daniel’s new stepson]:
Jonah hit Saturday hard. He started with a five-mile run, something he used to do every day but had slacked on over Thanksgiving. He needed to stay in shape so he could enjoy the Christmas feast his mom was known for. No question that the older he got the closer he came to the "done-lop" problem—where his stomach "done lopped" over his belt. Sure, he was only in his mid-thirties, but flab could take over without warning.
After his run and a shower, he checked in with his uncle. The garage was closed on the weekends, but if Zeb had work that needed attention, Jonah would stay in town and help.
When Zeb said nothing was scheduled, Jonah asked, "Want to run up home with me, visit with Mom and Dad? I'm coming back tomorrow, and you know they have plenty of space at the house. You can meet Daniel and his new family."
"Maybe next time. I have some tinkering to do around here, and Clemson is playing this afternoon."
"Okay, then. If you don't need me, I'll see you tomorrow, I guess."
"Drive safe, son. Tell your mama and daddy hello for me."
The day couldn't have been more perfect for driving if Jonah had ordered it up. Slightly cloudy but with some sun. A nice breeze flew in the passenger’s window, which was down a couple of inches, and hurried to the driver’s window, open about the same amount. The air would be chillier the farther into the mountains he drove, but for now, conditions were perfect.
An old Travis Tritt song came on the radio and Jonah added his baritone to Travis' as Ginger opened up and sped through the lowlands and toward the North Carolina mountains surrounding Lucky Strike.
Most people associated the name of his town with the cigarette, but anyone who did so was wrong. The town was named when an eighteenth-century farmer found a large emerald while plowing his field. He promptly gave up on farming and instead dug for precious stones. When North Carolina stopped being a colony and started being a state, the town of Lucky Strike—the "lucky strike" being the emeralds the now wealthy farmer had found—was formed, and consolidated the land where the farm had been.
As a kid Jonah had never given the town's name a thought except to how it had looked as part of the school name on the back of his letter jacket. Now, he liked the quaintness of the place, the way he relaxed once he hit the town limits after being in "the cities," meaning Asheville or Charlotte. As an adult he'd come to appreciate his hometown in a way he never had as a child. And his appreciation was never greater than when he spotted his parents' house.
He pulled in the driveway behind Daniel's old Volvo. Man, that thing had seen better days, but Daniel seemed to love it. At least with Daniel living close, Jonah could help keep the thing in tune and running.
"Speak of the devil," Jonah said, as Daniel exited the house with his son, Timmy.
"Jonah!" Timmy screamed his name and came running for him. Jonah scooped the boy into his arms, laughing.
"What has you so excited, huh?"
The boy’s dark eyes sparkled and his mouth held a wide smile. "My dad got the job you told him about and the school is really cool and we're going up next week to look for a new house for all of us and I might even get a dog."
"A dog? Wow! No wonder you're so excited."
"I know. And right now, we're going to get ice cream for dessert because gramma is making supper and she said she wanted some ice cream. What kind do you like, Jonah?"
"Vanilla for me."
Timmy scrunched his face into a scowl. Vanilla?"
"Well, with lots of chocolate sauce on it."
The boy smiled again. "That's okay, then." Then he twisted to throw a disparaging look at Ginger. "Except Dad says your heap is in the way. What's a heap? I thought you drove a car."
Jonah looked to Daniel who stood laughing softly at Tim's rant. He raised his brows and said meaningfully, "I don't drive a car, Tim. I drive a classic, original 1965 GTO. It's very special. Her name is Ginger. Wanna go for ice cream in Ginger?"
Tim twisted toward Daniel so fast, Jonah almost dropped him. "Can we Dad? Can we take Ginger?"
With a wry smile, Daniel took Tim from Jonah. "Not this time. We have your car seat in our car. But later we can go out if your Uncle Jonah says it's okay."
If possible, Tim's eyes grew even larger. "You're my uncle? I've never had an uncle before."
"Now you have two of them. Me and Mark. Remember Mark from the wedding?"
"Is that the man who kept talking about math and stuff?" Tim asked Daniel.
"That’s him." Daniel held out his hand to shake and Jonah took it firmly. "What brings you home this weekend?"
"Wanted to see Mom and Dad now that all the hoopla is over. Zeb said to tell you hi and that he'll be up with me for Christmas to meet everybody."
"It'll be good to see him."
"So I guess congratulations are due for the new job? When do you start? I thought you had to finish the year up in New Hampshire."
Timmy squirmed to get down, so Daniel set him on his feet. "Don't go near the street."
"Okay, Dad," Tim shouted as he took off across the front yard, arms spread wide like an airplane.
"It seems that while we were here over Thanksgiving, the headmaster filled my spot. They don't acknowledge that Eve and I created a scandal, and they aren't accusing us of creating a scandal—"
"But they want any possible scandal gone far, far away."
"You got it." Daniel shrugged. "Once I spoke with the president of the school down here, I was ready to make the move. We went down to Asheville to meet her and look over the campus the day after we got back, and they offered me the job later that afternoon. We're ready to start our new lives. I have enough money to tide us over, and it’s only a few weeks before I start in Asheville, in the new year."
"Asheville is a good place to live. I'm glad things are working out for you."
"Eve and I will be going after the weekend to find a temporary place to live while we look for a house, and to get Tim enrolled in school. Then we'll be there, getting used to the town and getting a feel for the school."
"You'll do great, Daniel. They're lucky to have you."
"Thanks." Daniel stole a glance over Jonah's left shoulder. "Looks like you might be lucky, too."
Jonah turned to see what Daniel was talking about, just in time to see Kelly's RAV4 turn the corner. His heart rate skipped with that little bit of contact. Damn it. She didn’t even see him. Didn't wave or honk the horn. And still his heart knew her. And wanted her.
Just like other parts of his anatomy.
"Don’t you have to move this heap that's blocking my classic? If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say she was coming from her home and going towards The Emerald. It is lunch time."
"She might not be going to the diner."
"Right. She might not be. But don't you have to move that heap anyway? Check it out, dude. Jeez, do I have to tell you everything?" He turned. "Come on, Son. Let's go get some boring old vanilla ice cream."
Tim came flying across the yard. "Can I have chocolate, Dad?" he shouted.
"You can have anything you want," Daniel said, and gave Tim a big kiss as he lifted him into the air.
Tim wiped it off and scrunched his face again. "Boys don't kiss, Dad."
"Oh, yes they do." And he smothered Tim in kisses until the boy shrieked with giggles.
Jonah had to turn away. He loved that Daniel had found such happiness but seeing him like this filled Jonah with a feeling he'd never known before. Jealousy. And he didn't like it.
"Okay, see you guys soon," he called over his shoulder.
"Good hunting," Daniel called back."
"Is Uncle Jonah going to hunt something? Is it a bear?"
He didn't hear Daniel's reply. Instead his mind zeroed in on one goal. Finding Kelly Shepherd.
Buy link: One Woman Only is on KU: mybook.to/OneWomanOnly
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That's how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she's lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors. Contact Dee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's character is a car guy. And my guest drove truck. So, here's this weeks movie recommendations for you auto enthusiasts and over the road drivers.
1977's Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field.
1992 My Cousin Vinny starring Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Ralph Macchio.
May your walls know joy. May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility. –unattributed