September and October are busy months for me. Almost every weekend is booked. We just returned form camping in Hagerstown, Maryland and Lancaster Pennsylvania. I'll post some pictures in the about me section. Both places have amazing historical significance. I'm also gearing up to go to the NJ Romance Writers annual conference in October.
If you've been following the blog, one of my favorite things to do, is sit around the fire. Camping increases every year. I think people are looking for a place to rest, recover, and restore family balance. According to koa.com of who I'm a member, new records are being reached. Since I can't take you all with me, I'm bringing a part of it to you. So, wherever you’re joining us from, open a campfire video 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.
Now, enough about me. Today I’m welcoming, Emily Heebner author to the Around the Campfire. I love Up-State NY. The wine trails, the mountains, the people, so Seneca Lake is on my growing to-be-read list. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Tea, please. English Breakfast with a splash o' milk.
Ah, another tea drinker. Did you know it's estimated that 25,000 cups of tea are drank every second? My favorites are Earl and Lady Grey. So, Emily, now that we're settled tell me, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
We used to tent camp in Idyllwild when our son was growing up. One year we were up on Black Mountain, very remote. We all gave my husband a hard time about the solar shower he'd brought along. It was a plastic bag that could hold five gallons of water and hang from a tree. After three days in the wilderness, that solar shower felt fabulous! I'd rough-camped before as a college student with my dad and sisters in the Adirondacks, so gorgeous. And as a teen with my friend's church group. We slept under tarps and got rained on. A real mess but it was summer and we were young. We had a blast.
Lol, you don't appreciate the value of a shower until you can't get one. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time. I googled both www.idyllwild.com/ and the Black Mountains; there are a few by that name and all breathtaking. North America has so much to see and experience. So, tell us about your latest project.
Seneca Lake is a YA historical romance novel, just released by The Wild Rose Press. It's my first published book so I'm thrilled. The story involves high school senior Meg Michaels who falls in love with a Seneca Indian farmer. But her grandparents want her to marry into a wealthy family. I researched the bigotry against Native Americans in upstate New York for the story. Local people really did look down on the Senecas and farm workers who were exempted from military duty during WWII. I have family in the region, and have always known that the Iroquois were forced to relocate as far back as the Revolutionary War. After WWII they were pushed around again with the building of highways, parks and dams.
The history of the world is rife with the evil we do to each other. I believe as writers we have a huge responsibility to shine the light onto it, and as much as it is in our power, to do something about it. Edmund Burke once said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” "Sorry," I say leaping from my soap box. Okay so enough serious stuff... Do you have a tagline?
Should Meg choose the attentions of a wealthy GI or defy her family and follow her heart?
You think it would be an easy choice, but things often aren't that simple. It will be interesting to follow her decision making. How she balances the two. One of the most asked question for me. Is when is your book coming out? Even I didn't understand the time frame of publishing. How long has your journey been?
It took about two years to finish writing the book.
Good for you. That may seem long to some, but actually it's quite reasonable in the book world. What challenges have you faced during writing? How did you get through it?
Marketing has been a steep learning curve. I actually hired a marvelous marketing student to get me started with my website and Facebook. Time is the other challenge. Because I teach, it's tough to find long, focused blocks of time. It seems I finally get on a roll writing and it's time to stop and go to work. But I also believe that limitations can be helpful to creativity. The fact that I know I have to stop at a certain time pushes me to get words down on the page. Another help is working with a good writing group. Needing pages to show strong writer/readers every two weeks really pushes me get the work done.
What a fabulous idea! Marketing students. I'll be calling the local community college this week. Thank you for that gem. A lot of authors have many projects at different stages. How about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
Absolutely. I plan to write the sequel to Seneca Lake which is currently in the planning stages. I absolutely love the research phase! I'm also working on a New Adult romance novel that takes place during the AIDS epidemic, a story I began writing prior to Seneca Lake. Coming back to it fresh is exciting. I see new possibilities.
Many times as authors we look to the past for inspiration then into the future for hope. Let’s time travel, is there something you would tell your beginning self? Any advice or encouragement? Warnings?
Honestly, I wish I'd listened to my high school English teacher Mr. Blaisdell and Professor Lamar Herrin who both encouraged me to pursue creative writing over theatre. I wound up seduced by the romantic, social, athletic aspects of acting. But I think a life in writing and English departments might have suited me better. Especially as a parent, writing is something you can fit in at any hour or any place. Whereas theatre locks you into an evenings/weekends performance schedule when the rest of the world is home.
Live and learn, right. But youth is the time to experiment and take risks. Look where you are now. A published author with multiple worlds to revisit for inspiration. So, we know that your a writer and a mom. Who else is Emily when you’re not writing, what are your hobbies or passions?
Reading, walking in the woods, swimming, museum crawls, spending time with family and friends.
Can you describe yourself in three words?
Engaged, proactive, motivated.
Those are great attributes. Not only for a writer but for a person. Do you have a tattoo or special piece of jewelry? What is it and can you tell us the meaning behind it?
My wedding ring is my husband's great grandmother's gold band, on his dad's side. I love the throughline of that, the continuity of the family line. My father-in-law passed away in April, so the ring is more dear to us than ever.
I'm sorry for your loss. What a special connection you have though. Speaking of special connections, what is your “Kodak Moment.” A time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget.
My mother pinning me at our sorority initiation. She had been in that same sorority at the very house where we both ended up living during our college years at Cornell. It was a total surprise. I had no idea she'd be there and do that, all dressed in white. She died early at age 59, so the initiation was a metaphoric and metaphysical moment. I think of her so often and usually it's the picture of her at that exact moment.
Another loss, I'm so sorry. But the memory is amazing. Mothers have a special way of surprising us. Supporting us. That leads to the next question. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to? Or what were childhood books you loved?
So many. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, whose workshop at a library in Glendale brought me back to writing seriously. Lollie Ragana at UCLA Extension. Bernadette Murphy, Sharman Russell, Jackie Stallcup, Rick Mitchell, Kate Haake. Lincoln Blaisdell, Dan McCall, Robert Morgan, Lamar Herrin, Bill Trzeciak.
Final question. As a writer, what does success look like to you?
When a reader is moved, truly engaged, or even challenged by something I've written, that's success for me. In terms of publishing, I'm excited to continue learning and growing. It's amazing to have an audience of readers I've never met before. A great joy. Connecting online with readers or at author events is absolutely rewarding and feels like "success."
Thank you so much for joining me around the campfire today, Emily. 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.
1944 and high school senior Meg Michaels has always obeyed her grandparents' wishes, till now. They're urging her to give up her dream of Cornell University and accept a ring from wealthy Hank Wickham before he deploys overseas. But Meg has studied hard and yearns for something better than life in the rural Finger Lakes. Plus Meg's suddenly fascinated with her childhood friend, Arthur Young, a handsome Seneca Indian farm worker. When Meg and Arthur nurse a sick puppy to health, their friendship transforms into love. But locals look down on "injuns" and resent the fact that Arthur's farm job exempts him from military duty. While the war rages in Europe, Meg and Arthur must fight their own battles at home…
The sky was a silent, black dome specked with glitter and shredded clouds. Arthur stood at the top of the road that led downhill to the lake. His hands were thrust inside his pants pockets. Li’l Pete ran back and forth, sniffing dried weeds in the snow. Meg guessed Arthur’d been watching from the upper barn window for Gramps’ truck to arrive back from Aunt Lizzie’s. His leather collar was turned up under his loose hair. He shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, as if to send stray hairs away from his mouth and eyes. “Happy Harvest Festival,” she told him, rising on her toes to give him a quick kiss on the lips. The taste of his toothpaste made her wish she’d brushed her teeth, too. She felt the warm breath from his nose. “Pumpkin pie, hey?” They giggled. “I saved you one of my apples. The crusts came out just right this year.” She draped Ron’s skates over his shoulder while Li’l Pete pranced in circles around their boots. When he pawed her leg, she reached down to scratch him behind the ears. “Where’s Greta?” “Ate too much, is what she said. I think she thinks it’s too cold out.” He winked. “You aim to catch me when I fall?” “It’s easy, really.” They crossed their arms behind each other’s back, hugging the waist to set up resistance against the sloped, icy road. “It’s like dancing except you cut into the ice with your blades.” Li’l Pete trotted along beside them but slipped on his bottom. He scrambled to stand, but all four legs slid out again and he lay splayed on his belly on the road. Arthur laughed and picked him up and carried him on his hip. “Let’s go, big fella. If we fall and crack the lake, she’ll get mad, you know, and swallow us whole.” He shook his hair again and looked over at Meg. “Then we’ll turn into lake trout. If you catch us one day, you might eat us for supper and not know it.” From out of the fields below, a pickup truck bumped and skidded onto the road, flashing its lights and weaving back and forth up the hill. Arthur and Meg quickly jogged out of the way, into the snowy field. Laughter squealed from the back of Al Wickham’s pickup. The horn honked again and again. “Out of the road, Injun! This ain’t your country! Chicken liver deadbeat!” An empty beer bottle flew out from the back of the flatbed. Arthur ducked in time for it to miss his head. Li’l Pete snarled and barked as the truck swerved on the ice, then shifted to a lower gear and lumbered to the top of the hill.
Movie Recommendations in honor of Up-State NY
About 3 hours from Seneca Lake is
Ballston Spa, NY. A famous scene from The Way We Were was filmed there.
Emma Willard School in Troy NY familiar to those who enjoyed Scent of a Woman.
I scanned the internet looking for a recipe for something NY State and campfire friendly how about NY Salted Potatoes. www.allrecipes.com/recipe/141785/syracuse-salt-potatoes/
Y'all can boil water so we're good to go.
"Love yourself and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done." Lucille Ball. Lucy-Desi Museum and Center for Comedy in her hometown of Jamestown, N.Y. Guess what 3 hours from Seneca Lake. LOL.
And now for someone completely different... Robert Heimall is an artist, writer, producer and all around good guy. We met many years ago and worked together through our church in the mission field. Recently he has a book published from his time as an artist at Arista Records. Oh, the things he's seen and the people he knows. His is a spiritual journey as well as professional. Don't miss this one folks.
Thanks for joining us today. We are a couple of weeks into sharing stories around the campfire and I'm having so much fun. Whether your a city slicker or country folk there's something that pulls us in a fire. My sister and I would go to the Finger Lakes Wine Fest each summer and we were the only ones with a campfire going at night. Two would grow to for would grow to eight. One night we had about fifteen people who started as strangers become friends. Whether it’s away in a campground, or at home in front the chiminea, some of the best conversations have been with a cozy flame and sparks drifting up into the night sky joining the stars. So, wherever you’re joining us from, open the campfire video below and relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. If you would like to keep up with Welcome to the Campfire and information, follow me on any of these social media links. And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. So, without further ado, drum-roll please...
“Light a campfire and everyone’s a storyteller.” – John Geddes
Today I’m welcoming, Linda Griffin, author around the campfire. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine? I'd offer the gorilla something but there's no banana's here tonight.
Coffee or tea is fine, but my first choice would be Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection Dark Chocolate hot cocoa!
Wow! That’s specific. LOL! But it does sound delicious. I don’t have any on hand, but I do make cocoa from scratch. Thanks for braving the wilds and visited. Have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
My only camping experience was at sixth grade camp. I don’t know whether schools still do that, but we spent a week living in cabins and learning about ecology. I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t be a good camper. I like my little luxuries, such as hot water and soft beds (although a two-minute cold shower I had on a train trip was surprisingly refreshing!) Plus I’m decidedly unhandy. I‘m good with words and numbers, but nothing in three dimensions, so I wouldn’t be able to pitch a tent or start a campfire. If I were to take up camping though, I would favor the Pacific Northwest.
I totally understand. I love the outdoors and traveling. You have to check out my rig, though. I'm definitely not roughing it. So, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
The Rebound Effect is romantic suspense. It’s a cautionary tale of love and betrayal and the HEA may not be what the reader expects.
Sounds interesting. For those of you who don’t know, HEA means Happily Ever After. There’s also the HFN, Happy for Now. Do you have a tagline?
Whirlwind romance—cure for a broken heart, or prescription for trouble?
That’s very provocative. The average person often doesn’t understand how hard it is to catch someone’s attention in one or two sentences. I think you nailed it. If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us how long it took from conception to fruition?
I think there were a few weeks from the original trigger until I started writing, but I was jotting notes in my notebook while traveling, and scenes from our visit to the Oregon coast found their way into the story. It took about two months to write, followed by several rounds of revisions.
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?
Not with this one. I did get stuck with Seventeen Days, my first Wild Rose Press romance. It languished for years, and then I read an article in Writer’s Market about writer’s block, which encouraged me to write some scenes out of order and jettison the scene I was stuck on. That worked, but sometimes there’s no solution, or at least hasn’t been yet
I’ve done something similar. Head to the end and wrote backwards. Since I know I want that HEA you spoke of, then I try to figure out how to get there. Many writers have multiple projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I have a lot of beginnings that I may or may not be able to finish, and a lot of finished short stories that haven’t found the right home. I’m also waiting to hear whether Guilty Knowledge, a police procedural/interracial romance will be my next Wild Rose Press publication. It may be a little out of their line, but I would love to work with my wonderful editor, Nan Swanson, on it. Unlike many authors, I really enjoy the editing process. There were a couple of scenes in The Rebound Effect that were definitely overwritten, and she helped me rein them in. Our efforts were rewarded when Kirkus Reviews called one of them “legitimately frightening.”
That’s a fantastic review. Good luck with Guilty Knowledge. So, that’s the future. Let’s look over your shoulder now, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
Richard P. Brickner, in his memoir, My Second Twenty Years, says that a novel is an ocean to its author, but a mere drink of water to a reader. That idea has helped me keep things in perspective. Nobody else is going to care as much as you do about your ocean, and a lot of readers won’t be thirsty for your particular drink of water, but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the swim.
What excellent words. I think we can apply them to more life in general. Okay, since camping is off the list, what do like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read and do research, not always related to my writing. I also enjoy movies, Scrabble, and travel. I’ve been to forty-seven states and three other countries. Hawaii is next on the list, planned for late October.
Forty-seven! I’m jealous. And unfortunately, I can’t take the RV to Hawaii. But good for you. We live in a beautiful world and need to stop sometimes and appreciate it. Can you describe yourself in three words?
Klutzy, independent introvert
I think many writers are introverts. You have to be comfortable in solitude to get your work done. In my mind it goes hand-in-hand with independent. Do you have a “Kodak Moment.” A moment in time you’ll never forget.
There are so many, but one that stands out at the moment is visiting Helen Keller’s home in Alabama. The Miracle Worker is one of my favorite films, so it was a thrill to see the old pump where Helen had her epiphany and stand in the front yard, where Annie Sullivan shouted “Mrs. Keller! Mrs. Keller! She knows!”
I just got goosebumps thinking about that scene. What amazing women. And what an amazing memory. Do you have any Annie Sullivan’s in your life? Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
My sister is also a writer, although she’s never been published, and her stories had a major effect on my writing when I was a teenager. Another early influence was Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series. My novels are nothing like hers, but I still hear a few echoes of her style in mine.
Maybe one day we’ll see a novel co-written by the both of you. Final question. What does literary success look like to you?
I love it when readers say they liked a particular character, scene, line, or plot twist and it’s one of my favorites too. My wildest dream of success would be a TV series starring the detective team from Guilty Knowledge.
Linda, 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.
Here’s a peek into The Rebound Effect
In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.
Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He's handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.
Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn't want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back. And then there's the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…
She reached inside the robe to rub his shoulders. She was feeling something new now, something tender, loving, intimate, possessive. She kissed him. She wanted to give in to this sense of well-being, of the inevitability of a future together, of love, but wasn’t it too soon?
“Teresa,” he said, again as if her name was a special endearment. “I want to sleep with you. I want to hold you all night.”
“It sounds very romantic,” she said, “but what if I snore? What if I need you to let me breathe a little?”
“Breathing is overrated. I never want to let go of you again.” He kissed her, and then he lifted her in his arms. It had never happened to her before—Gene hadn’t even carried her across the threshold on their wedding night.
“Frank!” she cried, laughing, but a little scared—what if he dropped her? He was strong, but she wasn’t very light. He didn’t drop her—or he did, but deliberately, from about an inch above the cool, clean sheets of his bed. They were both laughing, and he started kissing her randomly, here and there. This can be a lot of fun, she told herself. Enjoy it while it lasts. “Remember when you asked if it was too soon for me to date?” she asked.
“Yeah, and you said it depended on the definition.”
“It turns out it was too soon,” she said, “and now it’s too late.”
You can find more about Linda and all her books at
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Griffin/e/B07H5QFRC9
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18396185.Linda_Griffin
Amazon e-book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SS8SGT1
Amazon print https://www.amazon.com/Rebound-Effect-Linda-Griffin/dp/1509226591/
Nook : https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rebound-effect-linda-griffin/1131957492?ean=2940161516799
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rebound-effect-linda-griffin/1131957492?ean=9781509226597
This week's recommended movies
The Miracle Worker 1962 starring Ann Bancroft and Patty Duke
And having a little fun with Linda and not roughing it...
Overboard 1987 with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
And my sort of recipe for Hot Cocoa.
Start with the basic recipe on the box. In my opinion if you're going to do it, go all the way. Instead of straight skim milk I'll add half and half. Vanilla and cinnamon to taste and if you want add some hazelnut instead. I've also used left over coffee to replace part of the dairy.
Do you want the real campfire experience? Make it s'mores. Toast a marshmallow and slip it onto your cup. Crumble some graham cracker crumbs on top and Voila, s'mores hot chocolate.
Thanks again for stopping by. Next week Author Emily Heebner will be joining us around the Campfire.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth
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!
Welcome to our second visit around the Campfire. 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. I hope your enjoyed meeting Daryl last week. I know I did. So, wherever you’re joining us from, click on the campfire video 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…Today I’m welcoming author Leslie Bowes, around the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine, Leslie?
Cocoa it is. Let’s jump right in. 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 have gone camping. It was in NC, and we only had a tent, and I hated it because it was raining the whole time, which made everything wet. So, no, I will never go camping again.
Oh, no. I’m sorry that happened. That’s why it’s only an RV for me. I tent camped with a friend one time, and we ended up sleeping in the car and left at the crack of dawn, so I get it. On a more pleasant note, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
My Book is called Heart Healer, and it’s a Time Travel, Romance, Historical, Contemporary
Wow, that’s exciting. A little bit of everything to interest readers of many genres. Do you have a tagline?
In the darkest hour, can time and love truly to heal all wounds?
Nice! A question many of us wonder. If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us how long it took from conception to fruition?
I started writing Heart Healer in 2012, but it wasn’t called Heart Healer; it was called Rose Hill. But Rose Hill never got published. So I start on A Second Chance at love, but when I was in the middle of that I thought something was missing so I went back to Rose Hill and put those two together and it became Heat Healer, and on June 13, 2018, The Wild Rose Press published Heart Healer
That’s quite a crooked road you had to take, but we’re so glad it worked out for you. 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?
No, I am too stubborn to give up lol.
Stubbornness and perseverance are two of the must haves for an author, I think. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I have started working book 2 of the Heart Healer series called The Choices for Love.
We hope to see it soon. Tell us, looking over your shoulder, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
Yes, writing is more than fun for you.
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 do not have a tattoo and do not really want to get one. They are really not my thing.
I’m don’t either. I do think they are interesting though. What was the best vacation you ever took? Why?
I don’t really have best vacation because they were all the best vacation, I ever took in their own way
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 one my friends and I took after our high school graduation. We know that we all were going our separate ways and when I look at that photo, I always remember the great friendship I had with them
Friendships can transcend the years. I hope one day you get to see them again. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Nicholas Sparks he’s the one that got me into the romance genre.
He’s definitely a wonderful author. Final question. What does literary success look like to you?
Fans reading my book, and hopeful someday, my book becoming a movie
Leslie, 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.
Catherine Andrews is an English woman living in the 1800's. Her father sells her to Blake Von-Clyer to be his wife to pay off debts owed to Mr. Von-Clyer. Catherine soon finds out Blake is a cruel and horrible man. On their wedding night, to escape his cruelty, she throws herself into the river. Death is better than marriage to a beast.
Christopher King is living in 2014 doing his best to raise his young son Ryan after his wife left him. One night, Christopher finds a woman in the river unconscious and barely breathing. She is also wearing old fashioned clothes. Christopher does everything in his power to help the young women. When Catherine regains consciousness, she finds herself in a strange and unbelievable situation. Terrified, she does her best to keep her guard up against Christopher. But as she gets to know him, she can't help but fall for the man who saved her life. When Catherine's dangerous past
comes back to haunt her, it has Catherine and Christopher fighting for each other and their love.
“That’s true, but I don’t need a servant. I need a wife.” Catherine dropped the spoon as her whole body shook. What was her father planning to do? Hard work? A wife? What was going on? She was not her father’s slave to trade as he wished. She was his daughter. Too nervous to turn around, Catherine prayed that she heard wrong. “What did you say?” her father asked, shocked. “You heard me.” Mr. Von-Clyer laughed. “You had no problem selling her to me as a servant Mr. Andrews, but now that I want her for my wife your conscience haunts you. What’s the difference? Either way your debt to me is paid.” “Catherine, get over here now!” her father yelled drunkenly. The longer she stared at the vein in her father’s neck; she realized that she was making him angrier than Catherine had ever seen before. She slowly walked over to the table and stood in front of her father. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she watched him drink his last bit of wine. “You will be Mr. Von-Clyer’s wife to pay off my debt.”
Steel Magnolias because of all the Heart Healing that's needed.
The Notebook to shout out Nicholas Sparks
Bonus Rain Man because of Leslie's ill fated camping trip.
Well, I'v been on many rainy day camping trips. Last summer it seemed we never had a nice weekend. So, what does a camper do? Hobo foil packs. Easy peasy. You take squares of foil. I spray them with non-stick spray. What ever meat you like goes in. What ever veggies, the same. Add a pat of butter or a touch of oil. Twist the foil closed to make them look like a Hershey Kiss. Place them on a grate over the fire (or grill). Cooks for about 45 minutes. Each person gets a bag. No mess. No dishes. What could be better?
Welcome to the Campfire.
One of my favorite things is sitting 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. 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, wherever you’re joining us from, click on the campfire video (from the Pocono's this week) 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…
Today I’m welcoming Daryl Devoré, author to the Around the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Cocoa, please. And can I add that I am female. Most people think of Daryl as a male. But it is also a female name – old Celtic. When it rhymes with Karl, then it is female. When it rhymes with Carol, then it is male.
One cocoa coming up. I thought you were male at first. It's so interesting about your name. I Iove the history and etymology of words and names. Tell me, 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 my third year of my phys.ed degree, we did an outdoor education course. We went camping – in February – in northern Ontario. It was -40. We camped outdoors for 8 days. Luckily, my cousin is in the Canadian Armed Forces, and he had a military grade Arctic sleeping bag. The class had been divided into groups of 9 or 10. One night, it was so cold that all 9 of us slept in a 3-man tent. It was an experience.
Now when I go camping, it is with my parents and family, and we camp in their RV, which is nicknamed Harvey. After my winter camping experience, I prefer a built-in bathroom, shower, kitchen, and comfy beds.
I understand. This girl doesn't sleep on the ground anymore. I do like my comforts. So, Daryl, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Love My Fate is a reboot of a book that I received my rights back for. I created a new cover and added back in a couple of scenes that the publisher wanted deleted.
It is a hot romance about a business woman who meets the man of her dreams, except he isn’t real.
Sounds very interesting. I'm glad you got your rights back. That's big for an author. I'm curious, do you have a tagline?
What's a woman to do when a voice follows her home and makes mad, passionate love to her?
That will definitely pull readers in. 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.
Only a couple of months. This was a fun, easy write.
Isn't it great when you get to do what you love and things flow, but 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?
When I realized that I had to write a sex scene between a physical human being and voice, I knew I’d written myself into a tight corner. I do love a challenge.
When we challenge ourselves that's when things get interesting. Tell us. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I have one more book from the five that I got my rights back for. I have gone through it and adjusted and rewrote some little bits. Now I am making the cover.
I have several that are sitting on my hard drive waiting for their moment.
Also, I wrote a fantasy complete with dragons then sent it off to my beta. She’s fabulous. She came up with an idea of stretching the one book into an epic three. I am itching to get to that, but summer came along, and it is short and cherished, so I’ve been picking strawberries, weeding my garden and sitting on the dock eating ice cream instead.
Good for you. You have to take time to enjoy and participate in life. Looking over your shoulder, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
Write your stories for you. There are a lot of people who will tell you how you are supposed to write. They will pontificate that this is the only way or never do that or that won’t sell, so don’t waste your time.
Ignore them. Write what you want to write. Every story is real.
There's a lesson for everyone in that statement. Now, on a more personal note. 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?
LOL – no tattoos. My friend and neighbour is a fantastic tattoo artist, and she is always saying – ooh – that spot (on my arm, my thigh, my back) I have the perfect tattoo for you. It’d be stunning.
So I don’t have one and have gotten really good at changing the subject. But I do have a henna tattoo at the moment. It is on the inside of my left wrist, and it is the word Shanti, which means peace. I love yoga. I attend several classes a week, and the Shanti is honouring a moment in my yoga practice.
At the end of each class, there is savasana – a moment of total relaxation. The music for this particular day created the vision in my head of a woman standing on the shore, and the wind is blowing her hair. She was looking for something. I became that person. At the end of the song, still in my head, I looked at my wrist and the word Shanti was there. I told my yoga instructor, and she got excited saying – you’re getting a tattoo. I laughed and said – nope! (Kinda scared of needles.)
But every so often, I have gotten a henna one, and it has been the simple word Shanti.
Very cool. I wouldn't do needles either, but Henna would be a fun way to temporarily express yourself. Next question. What was the best vacation you ever took? Why?
Oh, wow. Too many to choose from. My family has always vacationed together. But if I have to choose one, it would be the Cayman Islands a long time ago. I was snuggled down in a hammock strung between two palm trees, on the shore. I had a Diet Coke and journal and was happily writing. That’s when I decided that was my perfect place and I needed to be next to the sea.
I visited Grand Cayman on my honeymoon. I know exactly what you experienced. Along those lines, 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?
Again, it would be a family moment after a vacation. We were all lined up outside the condo in the Caymans, and we are tanned and happy except my 6 yr old daughter. She is pouting. The vacation is over, and we have to go back to a cold Canadian winter.
A beautiful memory. I lived in Minnesota on a dairy farm for a couple of years. Not a lot of people understand that kind of cold. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’d tell you who my fabulous beta is – she is also an amazing author – but then you would all want her to beta for you. So, I am greedily going to keep her name secret and keep her all to myself. But she knows who she is.
Girl's got to have her secrets. Okay, final question. What does literary success look like to you?
Actually having a fan chat with me. I have corresponded with and am FB friends with several who are fans of my work. To have someone like your work so much that they want to chat with you – wow – that makes you feel pretty special.
How great is that! I'm sure you have many more of those experiences in your future. Daryl, 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.
Daryl's book is erotic romance and meant for 18+.
Corporate businesswoman, Capricious Gray, is dragged to a sex toy convention by her best friend. After a mysterious disembodied voice helps her with her purchases, it follows her home. Passion ensues, leaving Capri torn between lust for her fantasy lover and the desperate need for reality in her life.
Thall, son of one of the Fates, harbours the irrepressible need to be with the woman he's desired from afar for years. In order to make her his, once and for all, he must help Capri get past her fears, including the fear of what he represents - a fantasy.
Can fantasy become a reality for these two lovers?
Note: This book was previously published by New Dawning Bookfair under the title Capri’s Fate. The edition has a new title, new cover and has restored previously deleted scenes.
My erotic adventure began the moment he whispered, "Do you happen to own a pair of red, fuzzy handcuffs?"
~ * * ~
Well okay, it didn't exactly start there. If I'm going to be perfectly honest, I think it started with Kat's text: "Meet me at - insert name of five-star restaurant here."
Kat’s always getting me to take her out for expensive dinners. I don't mind, I'm a highly-paid executive, in a large global corporation, while she's a receptionist in a small dental office. Besides, I like good food and her company.
Kat and I have been BFFs since third grade. We were in each other's wedding parties and cried on each other's shoulders at our subsequent divorces. Now, we're each other's go-to person whenever the mood strikes. Obviously, the mood struck and it involved my credit card. I texted back a reply –"Xavier's. 6 pm."
~ * * ~
Kat waited outside the restaurant when my cab pulled up to the curb. "Timing or what? I just got here."
After the requisite cheek kiss, we stepped up to the Maitre D'. He smiled his I-must-be-friendly-because-they're-guests smile and escorted us to our table. We ordered drinks and chatted. We talked about the weather, her new dress, my job—you know, just old—no, scratch old, put long-time—girlfriend stuff.
After a diet conscious meal, followed by a calorie-loaded dessert, we waited outside for a taxi.
"Do you trust me?" With a goofy grin on her face, Kat's dark chocolate mellowed-from-too-much-wine, eyes gazed at me.
Having seen that innocent demeanour before; it meant nothing but trouble, I was a bit wary. Okay, a lot wary! The last time she'd gawked at me like that and asked the same brainless question, we ended up at a frat house beer slosh during Homecoming and I wasn't in college anymore.
A cab pulled up and stopped. She grabbed my arm and dragged me into it. "Convention Centre."
I slid next to her and shut the car door. "What's at the convention centre?"
"That's the trust me bit." She raised her hands and flicked two fingers up and down at the words trust me.
You have to love air quotes.
I checked my cell for messages then glanced at her. "Is this going to get me arrested? Again?"
She shook her head.
"Is it going to get me hit on—again—by horny, beer-soaked, college drunks?"
"Is that a yes or a no?"
"Nope. Not going to tell you. You need to trust me."
Blog - Romance - Sweet to Heat
Amazon Author Page
GoodReads Author Page
Amazon US - ebook
Amazon US- print
Amazon Canada - ebook
Amazon Canada - print
Amazon UK – link coming later
Amazon UK - print
Amazon Australia - ebook
Amazon Australia - print
Pinterest page for Love My Fate
In the spirit of invisible voices this weeks recommended movies are
Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Jean Tierney and Rex Harrison
And in honor of our Canadian guest today's Recipe
Thanks for stopping by. Starting on July 20th I'll be introducing a new format for my blog. Some weeks you will still get Saturday's Adventures, with yours truly, but I have an exciting line up of guests over the next couple of months.
Since I'm pretty new at this, it's been trial and error finding away to have fun. Honestly, I can blah, blah,blah myself to death. Not that I don't have things to say, but really every Saturday? Some of you may wonder how all this happens and I'm happy to share my journey with you. Hopefully you get some good take-away, Otherwise known as don't try this.
So, what can you look forward too?
Mostly authors, who I invite to sit around the campfire and be real. Yes, we all have books we'd like you to buy and review, but come on, how about some questions that are fun and give you insight into the person across the fire. These folks will have unique beliefs and personalities. Genres will be varied. I hope you will find our talks enlightening, enjoyable and informative.
I encourage you to ask questions and leave comments. I expect good manners like your mama taught you. Everything will be PG rated. We all come from different places but I believe that we can all come around the campfire, sip a beverage, and reinstate the long lost art of conversation.
I'm also going to add a Campfire Recipe like this one, but next time I promise I'll write it down. I usually just start tossing things in the pot. I love open fire cooking. The tripod with a chain makes it easy for a must have Dutch Oven. I haven't baked in it yet but I've cooked a lot of things in it. The tripod also has a grate. Unfortunately, I tend to drop quite a few things from it, so an over the fire-pit grate works best for me.
There is still some open spots to be a guest blogger. The rules are PG, nothing to violent, and extra points for making us laugh. I write multiple genres and welcome them as well. So, if your interested, push the black button below. If you've never blogged, fear not, I've made it simple.
Turn up your volume and enjoy one of my own campfires. The grand-kids call it magic fire. I think it's pretty magical too. One little pack burns and changes the colors for hours. I'll try to get better videos on our future trips and label them as well.
We have a couple of Glamping trips planned. In the next couple of weeks we'll be hitting the Delaware Water Gap/Pocono KOA where I hope the grands will join us for day-camp. After that hubby and I will be traveling to Maryland and staying at Hagerstown / Antietam Battlefield KOA. We love history and believe only by studying it, will the past mistakes be avoided. I remember visiting Gettysburg, Pa years ago. Standing in the field where so many died brought me to tears. All I could do was stare at the ground where so much blood had been spilled.
On a more fun note we will pull out after four days and head to Lancaster, Pa. It's one of our favorite places. Antiquing and flea markets will fill our days.
On the author front, I recently got back what's called a first pass on Rock House. My editor at Wild Rose Press also worked with me on my back-cover. Once that's done, the book will go for cover development. I'm very excited about seeing what they come up with.
Check out my new Facebook page Romance and Recipes where we talk about our favorite foods and recipes. Romantic dinners and treats, and the books where love and food come together in the perfect dish.
Welcome back to Saturday's Adventure story. I mentioned last month we planned a trip to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. We made it. Despite every pothole and traffic jam, we arrived unscathed, but for a few jarred nerves. May 14th was our 25th wedding anniversary. In the past, we've taken trips to celebrate, and this year was no exception. Jamestown NY is located in Upstate, NY near Lake Erie. Bonus, I've never seen a Great Lake and looked forward to my first experience with it.
One of the things we love is history. Architectural, American, the things that make us the great country including the bad parts such as war. One of the biggest impacts of our modern American culture is the arts. Especially, the mediums of television and movies. From the beginning these have captivated and touched our imagination and emotions. Humor is subjective. Often inspiring. It eases tension and brings people together if done well. Tasteful, tacky, slap-dash or sophisticated some comedians transcend it all. One of my hero's is Lucille Ball and not only for her talent in front of the cameras. She was a wife, mother, savvy business woman. Strong and unwilling to compromise on what she knew was right for her. Of coarse there were ups and downs. She was human as are we, but can we take a look at this icon of Americana?
The museum opened in 1996, but I didn't read about it until last year. From that time on, it was one of the top trips we planned. I definitely love Lucy, and always watched her show growing up. That said I really didn't know much about her. She had her disappointments and victories. Imagine if she listened to the person who said this to her...
My own story becoming an author is also one of persistence. Since putting fingers to the keyboard my first manuscript nine years ago, Aimhirghin, Kingdom at a Crossroad, is still a work in progress. I struggle to get Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar, in the hands of readers. Recently, I discovered that Rock House Grill could take six months to a year to become available. But like Lucy, I'm not willing to give up. Years ago, I was tested for personality type. The results were task and goal oriented. My editor at Wild Rose Press mentioned early on, I was efficient at getting things back to her. In that way, I'm kind of like Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang Theory when he can't get the third knock it. Tis a blessing and a curse.
Anyone remember this episode? There was undoubtedly disappointment in most of Lucy's schemes. She and her sidekick Ethel were always cooking up something. Trying to break into show business or make a couple of bucks. Somehow it never seemed to work out for her on the show.
Talking about disappointment, do you recall above when I mentioned never seeing the Great Lakes? Here's the best photo I could get of beautiful Lake Erie...
Could have been a pond for all I could see. The fog was more persistent than I was. We plan to return up to this area soon. I've never seen Niagara Falls either. Life can be full of disappointments. Rejection of query letters is a big one for writers. I just lost a competition for Cover Wars with my book cover, Felice. But, our regular lives can be full of disappointments too. We don't get the raise or promotion. Kids lose the big game. Family members do something to bring you down. Quitting is not an option. I work in a medical office. You know who does the best after getting a terrible diagnosis? I'll tell you. It's those who refuse to give up. Who has the Dory chant now going through their head? "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."
I saw a sign the other day. Don't let yesterday take up to much of today. Good words. Sometimes hard to do.
Here's a slide of some pictures I took.
Oh, by-the-way, this was a camping trip after all. Here are some photos of the lovely place and areas nearby we stayed.
This was our set-up and each night we were treated to the sunset through the trees. In the mornings Hali needed her coffee before anyone spoke to her. Okay so I anthropomorphize a bit. Notice the Owlie mug. I loved walking through the mists at Erie State Park. Couldn't you imagine stepping into one of these scenes and entering Middle-Earth?
Pursuit of Happiness
Quote of the month
Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. C. S. Lewis