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. But in this time of Covid 19, I find myself distancing close to home. Our first official camping trip is cancelled. Most likely our May trip as well. Instead I've set up my office in 2HOOTS and I'm driveway camping. Lemons and lemon-aid, right. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, if you would like to keep up with Welcome to the Campfire and other information, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. Okay, without further delay, let's set the mood. I've got some smooth jazz playing in the background. Since I'm inside we have the fireplace going. When it's a bit warmer we'll move this party outside. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Hi Charlotte. Thank you for joining me today at the campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Coffee till we reach a non-judgmental time to open the wine.
I'll let you in on a secret. Happy hour starts earlier when you're camping. But in keeping with social conventions the coffee pot is always on. Now, tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
Hard no to regular camping though I love to travel via car or train. My life of outdoor adventures so far has consisted of getting lost in snowy woods with my best friend when we were ten, numerous nature walks and hikes resulting in numerous incidents of hornet, wasp and bee stings and allergic mosquito bite reactions. Even the beach, which I adore, has its dangers. I came home from Jones Beach as a teenager with not only sunburn but poison ivy. Who knew a New York girl could be such a fragile flower? I do have a plan to drive along the east coast to favorite coastal towns from Maine through Key West staying in B & B’s along the way. Wish me luck with the wildlife I’ll encounter.
Hey NY girl, I'm a Brooklyn native. But wow. You and the outside need to foster a better relationship. We actually are planning on doing the Maine to Connecticut coast this fall. Maybe I'll see you. Can you tell us about your latest project? What’s the title and genre?
It will be my first indie so I’m on quite the learning curve at the moment. It’s called My Only One and it’s romantic suspense.
Do you have a tagline for your book?
Time’s running out for Esme to pay her father’s debt to the cartel
My author tagline is Happily ever after in the City of Dreams
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
I have four books published right now and two with my editor at The Wild Rose Press.
You're quite prolific so I'd suppose you have something you're itching to get to.
I’m so excited about my indie series. The first book of a projected seven book series is a romantic suspense but the theme of the series is a NYC family of nine (including parents) and how they live life and find love. I plan to self-pub the first title My Only One this year.
I'm looking forward now to adding them to my TBR list. Often writing can feel like a solo affair but sometime we need others. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I read voraciously and am constantly inspired by the talented authors I encounter through their work. A few clunkers here and there give me the idea of what not to do. I have read and reread Stephen King’s On Writing as well as every craft book I can get my hands on. One of my favorite things about this business is that I’m always learning.
Charlotte, what does literary success look like to you?
I’m living it. The idea that a complete stranger will read a book of mine and be entertained is the ultimate.
Life Hacks for Authors. Do you have any tips, tricks or anything you specialize in that you would like to share with us?
Though I’m published, I consider myself a student more than a teacher of anything. I strive to read, write and meditate every day.
Now for the fun insight questions
Their No-Strings Affair
Honey packs everything she owns and heads to NYC to jumpstart her art career. Her cheating boyfriend is history, and she finally acknowledges the truth of her mother's mantra: Careers are forever and happily ever after isn't in their DNA.
All she needs is a job and a place to live. What she doesn't need is a taciturn, sexy, ballbuster but she's woman enough to know the difference between need and want. Isn't she?
Jake's childhood was marred by tragedy and his future hijacked to a promise born of guilt. His failure drove him to a career as a SEAL and a security expert.
But it's not enough. Now he'll give up his freedom in reparation for the life he lost. Honey may be the last sweet stop on the road to a joyless future. If it's what they both want, where's the harm in a no-strings affair?
About the Author
Author Charlotte O’Shay was born in New York City into big family and then married into another big family.
Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law.
But after four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters in the City of Dreams.
Charlotte loves to challenge her heroines and heroes with a crisis and watch them figure out who they are while they fall in love.
Social Media Links:
Recipe for the Campfire
Quick and Tasty Shrimp (feeds 3-4 ppl I usually add a salad and another veg option to complete the meal)
1 bag frozen, raw shrimp (I use Trader Joe’s)
1 bottle Beer (anything with some bite, not sweet)
Old Bay seasoning
1 can cannellini or white beans
Fresh, rinsed spinach as much as you like because it cooks down.
Heat griddle, cast iron or shallow pan. Add Old Bay and olive oil.
When pan is hot add partially thawed shrimp. Season shrimp again with Old Bay.
Stir it around and about five minutes in add half bottle beer.
Add drained cannellini beans and the rest of the beer. Continue cooking and stirring another five minutes.
Add spinach which will start wilting right away. Continue to stir when liquid is absorbed and shrimp is well cooked remove from heat— about three minutes.
I have to tell you, I'm excited. Today's guest and I go way back in our writing careers. Rosalie and I met through the RWA author critique program. We hit it off and then began not only became regular critique partners but pen-pals. She lives on one coast and I on the other, but virtually we're only an internet connection away. I can't wait for you all to meet her. So, let's set the mood. Grab a cuppa something delicious. Light a candle or use the ambient noise app on your phone to dial up a campfire. Take a deep breath. Let your worries go for a few moments. It's all okay at the campfire. This is what camping is all about. Connecting on a different level. Now, doesn't that feel better?
This is campfire is going to be a little different. Today I’m welcoming a special character Beaumont Laroche as well as Author, Rosalie, to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Beaumont leans forward in the chair, places his elbows on his knees, and smiles. A lock of his dark hair caresses his chin and the fire reflects in his deep brown eyes. “A good, dark cup of coffee, the hotter the better.”
Rosalie clears her throat then holds up her mug. “I prefer herbal tea and an occasional glass of red wine.”
Both beverages coming up. Now, I know Rosalie is a camper. How about you Beaumont? Ever spend the night outside for fun?
“Camping?” Beaumont wipes his palm over the stubble on his chin and leans back in his chair. His gaze tracks to the fire, and lines form in his handsome features. “I live at the University of Chicago. As a Gargoyle Night Guardian, I don’t have time for camping. My days are spent locked away in my stone form atop Stuart Hall. At night,” his gaze flicks to Donna, “I roam the streets, protecting humans from dark fae.”
A smile curls his lip, and a soft chuckle eases from him. “But, I remember many a time from my youth, back in the twelfth century, when my brother and I would sneak out of the castle at night to lay in the open grass and stare at the stars. Is that close enough?”
“Twelfth century… Uh, about that.” Rosalie glances at Donna, a chagrinned smile on her face. “Beaumont has a questionable soul and Rhiannon, a goddess of the Otherworld, thought he deserved a second chance. So upon his death, she threw his soul into a gargoyle. He’s one of her warriors and a fine one at that, I might add.”
Beaumont sits up, his shoulders straight, a gleam in his dark eyes. “I have the best fae kill record around. Ask any of my partners.”
“Well, as far as camping goes,” Rosalie takes a sip of tea. “I love to camp. A trailer is a must because I need a comfy bed at night. I’ve spent a lot of nights camping in the beautiful mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Love the large evergreens, but even more so, the waterfalls. There’s just something about the beautiful cascade, the roar of the water, and the cool spray on your skin. If you haven’t been there, yet, Donna, come out and visit me sometime.”
I have a retirement countdown in my phone. In a little over a year and two months. Our plan is to do a coast to coast. Don't be surprised if I show up on your doorstep. Tell us about your story. What’s the title and genre?
Beaumont’s story is titled Heart Bandit, book 1 in the Gargoyle Night Guardians series. It’s a steamy paranormal romance featuring a crafty and swift pickpocket who steals Beaumont’s spirit stone, sending them on an epic journey of life and death.
Sounds so intriguing. I can't wait to read it. Do you have a tagline?
Never steal from a gargoyle…or challenge him to seduce you.
I'll make a note of that. What not to do. Rosalie, where did you get the idea for Heart Bandit?
“Good question, Donna.” Rosalie laughs. “The idea came to me about writing a gargoyle book because I wanted to create a series with a different kind of mythology. One that’s a bit unique and different. After some research, the story evolved into an enemies to lovers story featuring a tough gargoyle and a feisty pickpocket. Needless to say, the sparks flew from the moment they met.”
Beaumont, did you evolve from Rosalie’s initial plan? How did you reveal yourself.
Beaumont rubs his chin, a delightful smile playing on his lips. “I spoke to her in French. Seems she has a thing for French men. After that, she claimed me as her first hero, and I’m ever so happy she did.”
Tell us about the first reactions to the lead counterpart. Rosalie, where did he/she come from? Is it a previous character that needed a story?
Rosalie shakes her head. “Sadie is a streetwise thief who learned from the best mentor ever—need. She came from a broken family and ended up on the streets in her teens. She’s a new character that just kind of pushed her way into the story. Sassy and full of spunk, she’s tough to handle, as Beaumont can attest.”
Beaumont nods. “Qui, Sadie is spunky and a whole lot more.”
Beaumont what was you first impression of Sadie?
Beaumont exhales long and slow. “Zut Alors. From the moment I saw her traipse down the alley, she caught my eye. The light played along her short, silken hair, the color of the midnight sky without stars, painting them with a touch of fire. My hand twitched with the desire to run my fingers through the soft tresses, feel the silkiness between my fingertips.”
Rosalie slaps her palm to her forehead. “Forgive him, Donna. He can be a bit dramatic at times.”
Il est français. LOL. Tell us, do either of you believe in Soul Mates?
Beaumont glances at Rosalie. Both shrug. Neither offer up an answer, but the glimmer in Beaumont’s eyes and the smile on Rosalie’s face is explanation enough.
Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Rosalie nods. “Ooh, so many, I’m not sure where to start. Some of my favorite authors include Laura Thalassa, Tasha Black, C.P. Ryder, Anna Lowe, Michelle Fox, and a whole lot more!”
Success means different things to different people and characters. What does it mean to both of you?
Beaumont lifts his palm to Rosalie. “Please, Rosalie, you first.”
Rosalie rolls her eyes. “All right, Beaumont, if you insist. To me, success means sharing my stories of hope with other readers. Maybe even wrenching a tear or two from them. Since I write romance, the books are all about happily ever afters. What’s not to like about that? Okay, Beaumont, your turn.”
A wide smile blooms on Beaumont’s face, accentuating the dimple in his chin. “Killing fae, oh, and winning Sadie’s heart.”
Now the fun questions Since this is a dual interview I’d like to see you both answer.
4. Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours? Beaumont – When Sadie agreed to become my wife. Rosalie – When I saw my daughter for the first time.
5. Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author. Beaumont – It’s been eight hundred years. Sorry, got nothing for you. Rosalie – Tolkien.
6. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be? Beaumont – Bad to the Bone. Rosalie – Roam by the B-52s.
7. What weird talent do you have? Beaumont – I can turn my skin to stone. Rosalie – I can make up characters that can turn their skin to stone.
Hah, you guys crack me up. Thanks for being part of the Campfire. Please leave us information about where we can find out more about you both.
Never steal from a gargoyle…or challenge him to seduce you.
Beaumont prides himself on his stellar fae kill record, but his life is upended when a feisty, human female challenges him to seduce her and steals his spirit-embedded stone. He’s on a quest to save his soul, yet this woman makes him harder than a rock, and for a guy who spends his days encased in granite, that’s saying something.
Crafty and swift, Sadie learned to pickpocket from the best mentor ever—need. After she runs across a tall, sexy gargoyle and steals his most valuable possession, she’s up against more than can she handle. As he hunts her down to retrieve his precious stone, he stirs a passion she didn’t know existed…and can’t resist.
Gargoyle Night Guardians protect human souls from the evil clutches of dark fae. Be careful, though, gargoyles aren’t your average hero for within each guardian rests a questionable soul, one ripe for redemption and eager to become worthy of what we all crave—love.
“Quiet now. I won’t hurt you.” The man’s whispered words caressed the back of her ear, the deep timbre all too familiar. He was the gargoyle from last night, the one she’d stolen from.
Sadie raked her nails down his arm, scoring the flesh.
“Stop struggling. You’ll only injure yourself.”
Adrenaline gave her that extra shot of energy, and she continued kicking, scratching, and fighting until she couldn’t catch her breath. Unable to keep up the fight any longer, the tension drained from her like a weak battery. She stilled against him.
“That’s better. Like I said, I’m not going to hurt you.”
True to his word, he hadn’t harmed her. Her back was pressed against his muscular chest, and his powerful arms held her in his firm embrace.
“We need to talk about what you stole from me. If I release you, do you promise not to scream?” The rumble in his voice tracked from her sensitive ear all the way down her spine to her bottom, tickling her.
Fat chance, Mr. Muscles. She nodded in agreement.
He removed his hand from her mouth.
On a quick inhale, she started to scream.
Only to have him clamp his palm over her lips and muffle it. With a quick flick of his wrist, he turned her around, pinning one of her arms behind her back, the other trapped between their chests. If she wanted to, she could reach the scrub on his chin.
Hand still pressed to her mouth, he glared at her. “Merde. Somehow, I knew you wouldn’t cooperate. You really are a feisty little thing, aren’t you?”
Those dark brown eyes of his glowed with an eerie green iridescence. She was drawn to their unnatural beauty. He raised one eyebrow, the scar at the edge pulling taut, and when he smiled and revealed his dimples, she just about melted. He was a gorgeous, glorious, good-looking gargoyle, and she hated him for it.
Give him half a chance, he’d use her and abandon her. Forget that. She’d never let him get that close. Helpless in his grasp, she hated the control he had over her. If she could spit in his face, she would.
“Okay, we’re going for round two, pickpocket. When I remove my hand, don’t scream. You won’t like me much if you try that again.” He slowly removed his hand.
She held her tongue for all of two seconds. “I don’t like you much now, and did you cuss at me in French?”
“Oui.” He chuckled, the sound rumbled from his chest into hers.
Against her will, her body responded to him. His nose flared, and the brown of his eyes darkened. With a quick flick, his gaze travelled to her lips.
Oh God, it was if he sensed her arousal.
She drew her tongue over her bottom lip, moistening it.
A needful groan erupted from him, and his grip tightened, tugging her even closer.
To find out more about Rosalie, Beaumont and her other wonderful stories here are the links.
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/heart-bandit/id1488649143
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081S85H9D
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B081S85H9D
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B081S85H9D
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081S85H9D
Facebook author: https://www.facebook.com/rosaliereddauthor
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/rosalieredd
Happy Saturday and welcome to the campfire. Despite the issues going on around us, let's take a few minutes away from all the craziness and relax. That's what a campfire is for. Turn off the news, silence your phone for a few minutes and step into my world. Grab a beverage of choice. Light a candle and pretend it's your own campfire. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself in the woods. There's a stream bubbling nearby. Smell the smoke and maybe something cooking over the fire. Hear the birds calling to each other. Are you there yet? Good. Now, lift your cup, mug, or glass and help me welcome today's guest, fellow Wild Rose Press author Claire Corvey.
Hi Claire, welcome and thank you for joining us today. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
In the morning, I love coffee, made over the campfire, of course. Evening is for wine!
You're my kind of girl. The coffee is always on at the Campfire. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I’ve camped so many times and have such great memories. Almost always in a tent. I’ve camped with my family in the mountains of Wyoming, Colorado, Montana…and there are bears there! One of my favorite memories is an afternoon in the Snowy Range outside Laramie, Wyoming. I hiked with my children and our dog along a river, not another person in sight. So beautiful. Until the kids pushed each other in the freezing cold water. Let’s just say glamping is starting to look very attractive to me!
Ha! I'll bet it is. Heat and hot showers can never be oversold to me. Now, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I’m working on the second installment of my “High School is Hell” trilogy. It’s a young adult contemporary, with a dollop of romance and a side order of the paranormal.
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
With High School is Hell it was about a year and a half between when I started the first draft and when I was accepted for publication by the Wild Rose Press.
Not bad. It takes me a bit longer to have a finished product. I also have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I always have way too many ideas, and I find it’s more fun to start a project than to slog all the way through! But currently, I’m also working on a collection of my short stories, as well as my novel. And I’ve started a third project, a post-apocalypse story, and I have no idea what that is going to end up being. A novella? A novel? Who knows?
I agree! Starting and meeting new characters and places is exciting. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
One of my critique partners, Liz Roadifer (and the whole gang at CAWG—our secret acronym), has been a great mentor and helped my writing grow. And there are so many authors I love…I find Nora Roberts and Stephen King, inspiring. They both put their butts in the chair and write and tell great stories while doing it. Charlaine Harris has an amazing imagination and a way with her words. Kurt Vonnegut has made me a better person. And my secret vice—or pleasure—is poetry. Nizar Qabbani, Rilke. Such beautiful words and images.
Tsk, I'm jealous. I want to belong to a secret society, too. They are amazing authors. I'm a Stephen King fan. Claire, tell us, what does literary success look like to you?
Wow—that’s a hard one. I think every author wants respect for one’s body of work, but really, I think success is having someone tell me that my stories have entertained them or brought them the happiness I’ve found in books.
You nailed it. I think most artists hope for the same thing. Now the fun questions,
Seventeen-year-old Lauren Baker is in a bind. In addition to trying out her cleavage-enhancing bra for the first time, she has to figure out how to expose the new high school principal as evil incarnate.
Lauren has enough on her hands. Her best friend is being bullied, she's the newly installed editor of the school newspaper, and to top it all off, she has a secret, massive crush on an older boy. Yet all of this seems like small potatoes when mutilated animals, vandalism, and Lauren's bizarrely realistic dreams indicate something—or someone—is rotten in Rushton.
When Lauren connects the dots between the new principal and the freakish occurrences, she has to act...before she and everyone she loves fall victim to a centuries-old evil.
Recommended Movies base on High School and Horror.
Of course, you knew it had to be here...
Carrie by Stephen King 1976. I recently watched this one. It hasn't lost a bit in the years.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1992
This weeks recipe is courtesy of Claire's Blog. I bet it would work over the fire on a backing sheet as well. I've done this in a non-stick pan on the stove as well.
Did you know that if one places cheese on parchment paper and microwaves it for one minute, delicious cheese crisps result?
Hi everyone. Happy Saturday. I'm so glad you could join us. Before we get started, I just want to remind you about the Show Australia Some Love anthologies. Australia Burns is a three book set of short stories donated by Wild Rose Press Authors and published by Wild Rose Press. The proceeds from the books go to wildfire relief. The fires may be out but that's when the rebuilding starts. So, if you want to get some great reads and at the same time do something positive in our world, check them out here... www.amazon.com/Australia-Burns-Show-Some-Love-ebook/dp/B0848W2HQT/
Now, let's get in the mood. I'm going camping next month and already imaging the first day. It's going to be cool out I think, so I'm in my favorite hoodie and warm boots. The campfire is merrily burning in the fire-pit. Other campers are passing by and saying hey. Kids are riding their bikes and jumping on the bounce-pad. It's like old neighborhoods used to be. Can you picture it with me? Good.
Now, help me welcome today's guest. Hi Annette. As Sheldon Cooper would ask, "Can I offer you a warm beverage?"
What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa?
I’m a tea drinker, my favorite being any type of mint tea.
I think I can accommodate that. Peppermint it is. Now that we're settled in, tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I’ve never camped out, being a city girl and all. I would like to go to a place with rustic log cabins and lots of trees. I love the woods as long as I can have indoor plumbing.
I'm all about the indoor plumbing. My 5th Wheel has a bath and a half. BIG selling point. Many campgrounds these days offer cabins with all the modern conveniences, and fireplaces to boot. So, what's your latest project?
My fourth book just came out last November. It called Angel in Shadow and it’s a paranormal romance. It’s part of my Angel Haven series. All the books are individual stories, so you don’t have to read them in order. The series is filled with superheroes, wizards, cyborgs, and mythical beings. I like to have unusual characters.
I love paranormal and fantasy. It's so nice to step away from the real world and be immersed in magical adventures. Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
When magic and science work together, sparks fly.
That sounds wonderful. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
This book gave me no end of trouble. It took two years to complete. By the time it was done, the only thing that hadn’t changed was the heroine’s name.
It never ceases to amaze me how books morph and change. Before I became an author I thought How hard could it be? LOL! Now that you have it resolved, is there anything you’re itching to get to?
I just submitted a novella to my editor for their new summer line. I finished the rough draft of my fifth book, also part of the Angel Haven series. I had to plot out several future books because once an idea hits, my fingers need to get it down.
Busy lady. Good luck with the submission. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
Shirley Hailstock of the New Jersey Romance Writers. She’s an awesome, supportive lady. Carolyn McSparren and Patricia Potter here in Memphis, TN, who always take time to give great advice. (and they are bestselling authors.)
I've met Shirley. She is an amazing woman. The writing community is such a supportive one for the most part. Tell us, what does literary success look like to you?
Well, I’d like to have the monetary success of some of the big name authors. My personal success story is when someone tells me how much they love my books. There’s nothing like a reader who enjoys your work and tells you. I had a lady bring me a copy of my first book to sign and it looked like it had been through several wars. She said she couldn’t stop reading it. That is a real success story.
It truly is. Being able to make money is important, but the recognition and appreciation of the hours and heart authors put into their work is priceless. Now for some fun questions where we get to peek behind the author's mask...
Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you? I actually have two. My youngest son gave me a Christmas tree necklace when he was in kindergarten. My oldest gave me a really awesome pillow for Mother’s Day that resembled WWE Hall of Famer Brett Hart’s logo.
What is your favorite T-shirt with graphic? I bought a T-shirt that says “Keep clam and proofread. Spell check is not enough”
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author. My favorite childhood book is The Oddity by Peggy Bacon. It’s a wonderful fantasy story with beautiful black and white illustrations.
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be? When Legends Rise by Godsmack
What weird talent do you have? I can find anything people lose.
Most campers play board games. What games do you like? I love Scrabble and Parcheesi. I’m also pretty good at Risk, Clue, and Sorry.
Thank you, Annette. What great answers. I'm going to keep your talent in mind next time I lose my keys. Before you go, can you leave us some information about your book and where we can find both you and your work?
When Kristin Mentor's friend never gets off the plane from England, she knows something is terribly wrong. A stranger confirms her fears Jack McClennan has been kidnapped. Reluctantly agreeing to let the stranger help her, she knows he's dangerous, not only to the bad guys, but to her as well.
Grayson Styles is given the assignment to find Jack, but he doesn't want it. To take the job will bring him face to face with his past and the painful secret he keeps. When he meets Kirstin, he has a feeling this woman will challenge his past and possibly, his heart.
This week's recommendations are about Angels. These are my favorites.
City of Angels 1998 American starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.
Heaven Can Wait 1978 starring Warren Beatty. But if your into the classics-- Here Comes Mr. Jordan 1941 starred Robert Montgomery and Claude Rains.
I mentioned last week that I am following a low carb eating lifestyle. Honestly, it is easy to co-ordinate with camping for me. Luckily I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I'd much rather have good old fashioned comfort food. Sometimes finding substitutes can be hard but the discovery of riced cauliflower, zoodles and Parmesan cheese as "breading" has made it much easier.
Now let's talk chicken wings. Fair warning these have a tendency to stick so make sure you use lots of non-stick spray whether cooking inside or out. If you've been following the Welcome to the Campfire Blog you may have noticed I'm no much of a follow a recipe girl. Mostly, I wing it. Ha Ha Ha.
Give the wings a quick bath in Ranch dressing (My favorite is Ken's).
Let them set a minute or two to let excess drip off before tossing them into a mixture of Parmesan cheese, seasoning of choice (I prefer Montreal Steak on almost anything), and smoked paprika. Here's where you use what you have. I've done these in an air-fryer, on the grill (both preferred) or baked in the oven on a rack over a baking pan. Cook them until done. You want them crispy on the outside. These don't even need sauce.
Lip smacking good.
Now let's settle in. Close your eyes for a moment. Smell the campfire? Hear the snap and crackle? In the distance the murmuring of other campers? Someone is walking their dog past and wave hello. Are you there yet? Now, help me welcome my guest.
Hi, Bree. Welcome to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine?
I prefer coffee in the morning and herbal tea with a spoonful of honey at night.
You've got it. I have both, and since were starting early, the coffee pot is on. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I’ve camped out once in a tent and let’s just say I am not exactly the kind of girl to rough it. When I was a kid, my grandparents would take their RV to the lake every summer. We would go stay with them for a few days. We would basically live in our swim suits, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire at night, and have a really great time.
That sounds about right. I do the same with my grand-kids. I can't tell you how many hot dogs hit the ashes in relation to hitting the tummy. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I’m sort of stuck in-between projects at the moment, actually.
Ouch, that's a tough place to be. I'm in the middle of a book and struggling as well. Maybe someone can share how they get past the bog down. In your other work, How long does it usually take you from conception to publication?
Depending on the length, sometimes it takes a couple of months. Sometimes it takes much longer. Writing is a true labor of love. It takes a lot of time and patience.
It sure does. I can't tell you how many times I hear I could write a book. How hard could it be? I just smile. Many authors have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I always have a huge list of ideas, which can be overwhelming to try to decide on what to do first!
It sure can. And so many things vie for our time. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
Too many to count. So many people have been supportive of me and my writing career. And I appreciate every single one of them!
So many people are part of our successes. Family, friends, other authors, editors. The list goes on. What does literary success look like to you?
Being happy with the finished product, and then maybe having someone say that my words touched their heart in some way.
Nice. I like the idea of touching someones heart. Are you ready for the fun questions?
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? -
I think the title would be along the lines of:
Where Do I Go From Here? And of course, no one could play me as well as Julia Roberts. I could see her being the slightly frazzled, stay-at-home-mom, who is trying to figure out what direction her career and life should take.
What is your favorite mug or teacup?
My favorite mug is one that my husband brought back from Gettysburg. It’s black and has the logo on the front of it. It’s also huge and will hold a bunch of coffee in it. He knows how much I love coffee mugs and brought this one back for me after he returned from being on military orders a few years ago. Funny enough, I broke this mug. I was so upset about it, but he had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg one more time last fall and bought me a replacement. I’m more careful with it now.
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
Mine would be the night that my husband told me he loved me. He changed my life in many ways, and we have now been married ten years. We have 4 wonderful children.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
Growing up, my absolute favorite book (and it still is) happened to be Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy is my kind of guy. He has his character flaws, but there’ something about a cranky guy with an eye for honesty, that when he falls in love, it changes him. You can’t remove that crankiness, but it’s part of his character, and I find him very endearing.
Worst household chore?
Folding laundry. I don’t know why it’s so awful, but all of those memes on social media about washing laundry, but it’ll be 5-7 business days before they’re folded and put away is true. It’s such a big hassle. It’s my least favorite thing to do.
Thanks for being part of the Campfire, Bree. I know that many others besides me, wish you success. Before you leave please tell us a bit about your book and where to go for more information about you.
When those closest to me stabbed me in the back, I ran away from the city for a chance to heal. Then I met Will, my living, breathing, fantasy man. And the epitome of everything that could break my heart. He might walk away if I tell him the secret I hold so close-if I don't push him away first. Can I trust a man with my heart one more time?
He whispered, “You look very striking tonight.”
Warmth crept up my neck and into my cheeks. I murmured, “Thank you.”
Striking was not what I’d thought he would say. I’ve been called pretty by some and beautiful on
occasion, but never striking. I think I liked that compliment the most. A million beautiful women could
flow through this place and be forgotten tomorrow. But a striking woman was one who was hard to forget. I
wanted to be that woman—unforgettable.
Get Bree's books here
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tinder-heart-bree-pierce/1132647235?ean=2940163151561
To contact Bree or find out more about her...
Movie recommendations in honor of Bree's favorite book
Pride and Prejudice 2005
And though not a movie 1995 British Mini-Series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.
I happily losing weight on a low carbohydrate eating plan. Recently I purchased a mini waffle maker to make 'chaffles'. These will translate well to camping because of a outdoor version of the electric appliance. Now here's my favorite recipe for the indoor one until I can experiment outside over the fire
Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Heat your appliance
1 egg, 1 Tablespoon heavy cream, pinch of salt, dash of pepper, sprinkle with onion and garlic powder and some Italian seasoning. You won't be sorry if you add Parmesan cheese. As Devo would say whip, whip it good. Like your making scrambled eggs. Add 2 Tablespoons of Almond flour and a 1/4 tsp of backing powder. If your using a mini iron add half of mixture, close and cook until it stops steaming. Remove and use up the rest of the batter.
You can make a sandwich or butter it up and enjoy like bread. The variations are endless so have fun with your food.
Even around a campfire there's always a bit of housekeeping. But today is a chore I love. If you haven't heard the Wild Rose Press and its authors are doing a fund raiser for Australian. Here's a link to hear Rhonda Penders on a podcast discussing this ihr.fm/2HjuV6m This is an amazing event and series of books you DO NOT WANT TO MISS.
Now, on to our guest. Hi, Kristal. Welcome to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine?
I’m a chocolate lover, so cocoa covered in a nice layer of marshmallow cream!
I don't have to go far for that. If my 5th Wheel isn't stocked with chocolate and marshmallows I'd be ashamed to show my face in a campground. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
As a child, my family spent every vacation at a campground in either Ohio, Myrtle Beach, or Tennessee. We used a tent until my parents purchased a RV, but by then I was married, so my husband and I continued to use a tent. We owned jet-skis and spent a lot of time on Lake Cumberland, KY. I enjoy water sports because as a disabled woman, the water doesn’t hurt when I take a tumble…lol. Now that my kids are grown, I would like to camp several places in the Pacific Northwest, but not in a tent! Haha. My favorite memories come from bonfires at night, days spent on the water in the sunshine, and my kids having the time of their lives away from social media.
Wow, how great is that. Sometimes, the best thing to give kids are memories. We're heading for Kentucky this spring I cant wait. What a gorgeous state. And bonfires, where friends and family gather, priceless. Maybe we'll cross paths in the Pacific Northwest. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I recently self-published Three Propositions. The book is a contemporary, billionaire romance and full of humor and passion. It’s possible I put too much of my own personality in the heroine’s character. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad! lol
It's good. I think to keep characters real, you have to infuse part of yourself into them. Do you have a tagline?
“What will Jasper do when Nena breaks all of his rules?”
Ah, a the male conundrum. We do torture the fellows in our lives, don't we. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
This book started as a novella, but after editing, it turned into a short novel at 160 pages. It took three months from start to finish to complete. If I’m really into a book, I can crank out the words.
It's amazing how a story takes over. Three months is pretty quick, at least for me. I bet you have more in the writing queue? Anything you’re itching to get to?
Wow, what a question! I have four books going, but I’m itching to finish a paranormal romance I started. It stays on my mind, so that’s a sure sign it will be next.
One of my favorite genres. I'll be looking for it. Tell us, are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series is my all-time favorite, but I enjoy multiple authors. It’s good for a writer to read. It sparks my imagination and helps me see things differently.
Oh, those Carpathians. I cut my paranormal romance teeth on A Dark Prince. What does literary success look like to you?
Publication is its own success, but honestly, I just want readers to enjoy my stories. I don’t focus on monetary gain, although that would be nice, but on the joy from completing a manuscript and readers loving my book.
Well said. Kristal, do you have any tips, tricks or anything you specialize in, that you would share with others. You had mentioned book trailers. I’m excited to learn.
I love book trailers, but after discovering the cost, I learned myself. I use Wondershare Filmora software, but there are others to choose from. You can find tutorials on YouTube or in the software itself. As for music, I have an account with Envato, and look for music with a strong opening then a crescendo somewhere in the piece for those “wow” moments. If I’m doing a trailer for a paranormal book, I search for darker music, if it’s contemporary, something more lighthearted, and so on. In order to keep the trailer under two minutes, I use the blurb to write a poem. It helps me focus and say what is important. If anyone decides to learn themselves, remember not to use highly sexual images or video. Most “selling” platforms won’t allow it now, so save it for the reader’s delight or an ad. Lol. Trailers should entice the reader by suggestion. Just my humble opinion!
One more thing: Social media is your friend, not your life, so use it wisely!
I'm going to go check this out. I've tried a couple of different things but often they just look silly. Thank you for the insight and information. Now, we get to the questions that if I had to answer, any comment would say, Girl, you need help.
Jasper Clark has spent his life building a business and fortune. He’s controlled, intimidating, and does not believe in love or family. When he finds himself in need of a date, he makes a proposition to a member of the cleaning staff at his club. Nena Blake is street-smart, sassy, foul-mouthed, and does not like Jasper. He may be rich and handsome, but he offends her from the first time he opens his rich mouth. She denies his proposition until circumstances, beyond her control, force her to accept Jasper’s help. One proposition turns into three when Jasper can’t let Nena go, while Nena breaks every one of his ridiculous rules in the process. Between bickering and passionate moments, these stubborn souls fall hopelessly in love, but both refuse to accept or admit it. Nena is finally forced to make a choice that leaves them both miserable.
Will Jasper come through in the end? Does a billionaire want love after all?
You can buy Kristal's book here...
And to find out more about her...
Website Twitter Facebook Instagram Goodreads YouTube BookBub Amazon Author Page
I looked for movies that had a mom protecting her child. So many are caricatures of the overprotective crazy woman. I did come up with
Panic Room (2002) with Jody Foster
The Incredibles 2 (2018)
Hi, everyone. Before we get to today's guest, I need to tell you about something. The past few (can you believe it!) months, our brothers, sisters, animals, and land of Australia, has been through so much suffering it's hard to imagine. The following is a bit from fellow Wild Rose Press Author and Australian, Stephen King.
*Recent rains have helped enormously, still there are fires, but not to the same extent as there were, and the focus now is more on recovery and rebuilding. To that end there are advertising campaigns now to stop what’s called the second wave disaster and that is people staying away from tourist areas and business who rely on travelers and visitors to survive. Most of our tourist destinations are unaffected, yet people think the whole country is gone, which of course isn’t true. The problem of course is that if people stop visiting, businesses will go broke, making the overall recovery much harder. With the rains, re-growth has already begun and some burnt out areas have grasses and shrubs recovering already. *
For the full story please visit www.thewildrosepress.com/australia-burns
This 3 volume set is available for purchase with proceeds going to Australian Wildfire relief through the Red Cross.
Today's Campfire Blog is a bit different. Fellow Wild Rose Press Author, Julie Howard is going to share with us about writing Short Stories. I hope to learn somethings because recently I've dipped my toe into the short story world. So without further ado, lets get comfortable. Engage your imagination. Smell the campfire. See the fellow campers in the distance. The sun peaking through the trees? Listen, children's laughter mingles with the Hootey-Hoo of a nearby owl. Are you relaxed now? Good.
Hi Julie. What a beautiful dog! Hali, my girl says, "WOOF." (Translation what's your name and can I sniff your butt). Quiet, Hali, Julie say his name is Patch, and Patch says keep your nose to yourself. Thank you both for visiting us. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Definitely coffee. I’m an early morning person and I love watching the sun rise with my first or second cup of dark roast. I frequently write at cafes, and nurse another cup there while working.
Coffee it is. I can't survive without my cuppa joe. Tell us have you ever camped?
I grew up tent camping and loved being out in the forest. I wanted my kids to have the same experience so we camped as often as possible when they were little. When they wanted more space, we got a camper (nice soft bed for us) and the kids each had their own tent outside. Let’s see, we’ve camped in California, Nevada, Idaho and parts of Mexico and Canada.
Good for you. I'm all about the amenities provide by my 5th Wheel. We get the experience with the comfort. One day I hope to make it out West. Now, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Wild Crime, released in December, is the third and last book in a full-length mystery series. It follows the story of my flawed heroine, Meredith Lowe, as she seeks the answer to long-buried family secrets. She discovers an old letter with the words “I’m a murderer”, and she works to peel apart a mystery that may threaten those she loves most.
Hang on, I have to add it to my To-Be-Read list. Okay, I'm back. Do you have a tagline?
How far will she go to discover the truth?
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
Wild Crime is the last in a three-book series, so I suppose the concept started with the first book, which I wrote in 2016. However, I typically spend a week or two outlining a new project and a full-length novel will take about a year and a half or more until it becomes a product on Amazon and other sites. This varies widely from book to book; I have one book I’ve been writing for close to ten years!
It never ceases to amaze me, how some stories almost write themselves, while others need to be coaxed into existence. Perseverance. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
I’m like you, with several more projects underway. My next book, a novella set in Australia’s Outback, is called House of Seven Spirits and comes out next month! I have a short “beach read” mystery that will come out this summer and then am mid-way through another full-length mystery. I have so many books yet to write!
You're a busy lady. And as you can see from my opening blurb, Australia is near and dear to my heart. Can you tell our other guests what literary success look like to you?
I’m not sure, really. My goals change all the time. Initially, I just wanted to get one book published and now I have several. Now, I just want to keep living this life, where I get to spend my time writing and developing new stories.
Goals need to be flexible. Life takes us in many different directions. We definitely need to adapt and change. Here we go. Personal insight questions.
1. Favorite childhood book? “Black Beauty.”
2. If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be? Sushi. Love it!
3. If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why? I’d go to the future, on a different planet, when mankind has made it livable and comfortable. I’d love to see, for a while at least, what a different world could look like and how man could adjust to another place. I can’t imagine the technologies that would exist a hundred or two hundred years from now!
4. Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants? Oh, definitely, the first-class travel.
5. Most campers play board games. What games do you like? I love them all! Recently, we played Exploding Kittens and Code Words. Both are addicting. I really enjoy Trivial Pursuit, although I hardly ever win. For a writer, though, there’s nothing more fun than Scrabble.
6. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met and talked with? In my former life as a newspaper reporter, I’ve interviewed CEOs and celebrities. But I find my kids and my new grandson the most interesting people to talk with. I’m always fascinated by what they are up to and how millennials think. Many baby boomers despair of the next generation, but I’m always hopeful after I spend time with my kids. I think the world is going to be left in very good hands after the baby boomers all retire.
Now, one of the things I asked when looking for interesting people such as yourself to be on my blog, are those with specific ideas and skills to help other writers. You graciously offered to talk about writing Short stories. Thank you for spending the time to put this next section together for us.
And fellow guests, don't forget to continue on to Julie's book blurb and information. Add it to your to-be-read list. And thanks for popping by. Make sure you tell us all about your favorite short story in the comments. Mine? Mrs. Todd's shortcut by Stephen King.
My lifelong dream was to write fiction. I have so many stories in my head and not enough time to write them all down. But I’m trying, day by day. With four published novels behind me, dozens of short stories, and another book set to be published this spring, I truly am living my dream.
My biggest surprise along the way has been the joy in writing short stories and novellas. Just last week, my short story “Three Ghosts” was included in the Australia Burns anthology my publisher published, with all proceeds going to help relief efforts from the devastating fires in that country. Nearly fifty authors are participating in a series of anthologies produced by The Wild Rose Press this month, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross. There’s so much intrinsic satisfaction to know my story will go to this good cause.
But I’m a novelist, right? Why spend my time with a short story? I’m not the only novelist who loves the very different craft involved in developing a smaller piece. Amazon has an entire series they call “short reads,” written by best-selling authors such as Dean Koontz and Alice Hoffman. Steven King wrote a number of short stories early in his career under the pseudonym Richard Bachman (I love them!) and continues to write them today. Readers love something they can consume in a few hours, and they’re great for a plane ride or an afternoon at the beach.
There’s nothing “dumbed down” about shorter novels. John Steinbeck wrote the classic “Grapes of Wrath”, but most of his books including “Of Mice and Men” and “The Pearl” can be considered novellas. Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” are also stories with big ideas in small packages. Hemingway, Henry James, Melville, James Joyce – I could go on and on with examples of great writers who wrote short as well as full-length novels.
On the writing side, there’s an art to writing short. The plot needs to be streamlined, with one subplot at most, and there’s no time to chase any red herrings. The plot can shine more brightly in a short story since there aren’t subplots that distract the reader. For some stories, this makes more sense. If a writer is ‘padding’ a story with too many descriptions, the reader may not be entertained – they may get bored and stop reading!
I’ve written stories as short as three pages and my novellas are about 125 pages. In fact, I have a series made up of novellas, called the Spirited Quest mysteries. The next in this paranormal mystery series, House of Seven Spirits, will be released next month.
Since I write mysteries, a shorter piece creates a quicker pace, fun both for the reader and author. My novellas race forward and are very plot driven. I think there’s a satisfaction to getting to the end of a mystery quicker.
I also love full-length mysteries and their drawn-out suspense, the ability to create a fictional world for the reader. Sometimes, too, I fall in love with my characters and just can’t let them go away too soon. This is the case with my first series. The third and last book in this mystery series, Wild Crime, was released in December, and it was hard to say goodbye to my flawed yet determined main character, Meredith Lowe! She got under my skin.
I have several more books, both short and long, in various stages of development. My Spirited Quest novellas will continue, and I have another small stand-alone story coming this summer. A full-length mystery series will begin next year, fingers crossed. For the near future, I’ll continue to write both short and long.
Do I have a preference? My only hope is that, to paraphrase someone (I can’t recall who!), I only write as many words as is required to tell a good story. If I can do that, I’ve done my job.
How far will she go to discover the truth?
"I'm a murderer. I'm a murderer. I'm a murderer."
Those three repeated words discovered in an old letter propel Meredith Lowe in a cross-country pursuit to unveil her mother's murky past. Danger stalks Meredith back to Hay City, Idaho as she peels apart the mystery: who is her father, and did her mother kill him? In finding the answer, will a growing love slip through her fingers?
Past merges with the present as the story races to its stunning conclusion.
Her hair fell below her waist, ripped free of its ties and weighed down by the warm, lashing rain. The sky-blue dress, so carefully chosen for this night and tried on so many times in her bedroom, was ruined. One strap had torn from her shoulder and dangled down her back. Mud splattered the hem. Sweet Cantaloupe lipstick, a lovely coral that heightened the green in her eyes, was smeared like a bruise on one cheek. She ran.
The high school gym behind her, decorated in crepe paper and curtains, vibrated with electric guitars and teen-aged hormones. Couples gyrated on the dance floor and then disappeared into dark corners. It was late and the Spring Dance was in full throttle. No one would miss her for hours.
Before her, trees dripped moss, barely visible in the darkness. She envisioned the moss brushing her shoulders, low branches snagging in her hair, the possibility of snakes both at her feet and above; this made her hesitate. It would take one scream, one gasp, and he would find her.
About the author:
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.
Buy links for Wild Crime:
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wild-crime-julie-howard/1134112545?ean=9781509228638
Thank you all for stopping by and don't forget next Saturday when Krystal Dawn Harris will be my guest.
Today's quote is taken from a letter from Author Stephen King the Wild Rose Press...
Firstly – and I know I’ve said it before – my heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for participating in whatever way you have. Forty eight stories simply is mind-blowing, and the offers for promotion, trailers, editing, cover design, formatting and of course redirecting the money has been so uplifting I can’t even begin to tell you – and for someone who uses words all the time – that’s saying something. Secondly, if ever you’ve thought about visiting this country, now’s the time. And as Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) once said in some fantastic famous ads in the US and across the world. “Come on down; I’ll throw a shrimp on the barby for you. – Author Stephen King
Today I’m welcoming back Susan Antony to the Campfire. She was such fun last time so if you missed her head to the archives. Susan is also a fellow Wild Rose Press author. We are both blessed to be in such great company and publishing house. The fire is lit and crackling. Smokey goodness is filling the air. We've blankets tucked around us since January is a bit chilly but we're cozy and ready to chat. Last time your preferred beverage was a diet coke. Still?
Blueberry Acai Diet Coke. There is no better.
Hmm, that's new. Let me rummage and see what we can do... Ta-da! Camping is truly magical. Any new camping adventures for you?
I don’t like camping outdoors, but I love camping indoors in The Great Wolf Lodge resort with my son.
Oh that sounds fun. A friend of mine loves going with her family. Last time you were with us, you shared about a book I thoroughly enjoyed titled Cherokee Summer. What are you working on now?
I am currently writing YA paranormal Romance. I am dismantling it and rewriting so it’s a bit of a mess now. The title is up in the air.
I can relate as I bet many authors do. First drafts often need to be reworked and sometimes that's harder than starting from scratch. Is it too early to tell us a little bit more?
Not at present because the plot is changing.
Writing and editing can be quite along process. Can you remind us how long the last book took from conception to publication?
For my last novel, Cherokee Summer, it took about two years. One to write and one to be fortunate enough to be accepted and published by The Wild Rose Press.
We talked about what literary success look like to you? Any changes? New insights?
I’ll let you know when I achieve it.
Ah, still the elusive dream. One of the things I like bringing to the campfire is wisdom and insight for those who are struggling. Do you have anything to share with them?
Learn to take criticism, even the kind that hurts, though never blindly. My harshest critic helped me the most, but that doesn’t mean yours will. Always evaluate the advice and then follow your heart. Never let anyone convince you, you are not good enough.
Excellent insight. Even when it's hard to hear, sometimes if you pick through carefully, there are pearls tucked away. Unfortunately, sometimes, especially when anonymous, people can be harsh either intentionally or carelessly. Artists, which include writers, must develop a thick skin. Okay, now let's have some fun.
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? Jack of Too Many Trades. Not only do I write, I work on a computer helpdesk, and have a degree in Automotive Technology. As far as who would play me, I have been told I look like Steven Tyler (I’ve learned to embrace it), but also Gina Davis so I think it would have to be her.
Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
I have many, but my favorite are vintage Christmas ornaments. I have some from my Grandmother’s tree predating my birth passed on to me. Now that my grandparents and parents have passed they serve as a window into my childhood and many Christmas’ of yore. I do get some of my trinkets from Ebay. This year I hosted Christmas for the family and kids played a counting game and noted I have one-hundred and eleven knee-hugging elves watching from various places in the house.
What is your favorite T-shirt with graphic.
I love my Billy Idol T. He was my eighties wannabe boyfriend.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
It was my dream to become an author as a child, but I couldn’t sit still long enough. My inspiration to actually write came from The Twilight Series. Stephenie Meyer inspired me to read on a regular basis again and eventually share the stories brewing in my head.
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be? Runaround Sue by Dion. Having my nickname in a song just feels so personal. Especially in such a cool Rockabilly tune.
Susan, thanks for stopping by. Hanging with old friends around the campfire is such an amazing privileged. I'll be sure I keep Blueberry Acai Diet Coke on hand. And for our guests, in case you missed it last time here's a little bit about Cherokee Summer.
When Ace leaves home to spend the summer in Cherokee, North Carolina the last thing she expects to find is a boyfriend—until she meets Cherokee Tribe member John Spears. As Ace and John's friendship blossoms, they find their life experiences mirror each other and they fall in love. Despite hurdles thrown by well-meaning family members and jealous frenemies, the star-crossed lovers remain committed to their mutual belief that the universe has drawn them together. However, when Ace sends John a strange text and then suddenly disappears, the two must rely on their trust in each other to save both their lives and their love.
Today's Movie Recommendations are chosen in honor of young love and of course, Susan's inspiration...
Twilight Series starting in 2008 and ending in 2012. Can you believe it was that long ago!
And star-crossed lovers like Ace and John...
Romeo and Juliet 1996 with Leonardo DiCaprio and Clair Danes
Today's recipe is based on me going Keto for 2020. And because I have an RV, I can cook and keep stuff cold.
Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
3 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp seasoning (I prefer Montreal Steak Seasoning on almost everything.)
1 stalk of celery
1/2 small red onion
Salt to taste I use Kosher which seems to need less so I just use a pinch.
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
Lettuce (I use iceberg. It wraps very well.)
Season the chicken and bake at 350 until done but tender. Usually about 20-30 minutes. While it bakes mix together mayo, salt, pepper, paprika, vinegar, and mayo. Add diced celery and onion. When chicken is done and cool, add and mix well. Carefully remove the largest leaves of the lettuce. Depending on how big the head is use appropriate amount of filling. Tuck up short sides and then roll like you would a cabbage roll or wrap. Yum.
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”– Will Rogers
Quick notice before we hunker down. Keep an eye open for updates on Aussie Wildfire Relief. I'm privileged to be part of a publishing house who is so generous and willing to pitch in. Wild Rose Press with be publishing several anthologies with short stories donated by the authors of Wild Rose Press. The editors, publishers, cover artists are all donating their time an talents as well with the money going to Aussie relief. This will take a little time to pull together but the need is great. If you are interested in being notified when this becomes available please contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the information as it becomes available. Also you can check back each Saturday for any updates. We all do what we can, right?
Okay, now lets forge ahead. As you know one of my favorite things to do is sit around the fire. Whether it’s away in a campground or at home in front the chiminea, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame and sparks drifting up into the night sky joining the stars. So, wherever you’re joining us from, relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, if you would like to keep up with Around the Campfire and information, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. Okay, without further delay…
Today I’m welcoming Sydney Winward to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Hot chocolate, or as my husband calls it, “Chot Hocolate”.
Love it! Chot Hocolate it is. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I love camping! I love the fresh mountain air, the burning embers of the campfire, and especially the smores. One cannot camp without smores! Tent all the way. If your feet don’t have at least five layers of grime by the end, you’re not doing it right.
Well we can agree to disagree on that😉. I do love my amenities, but my bestest friend Tina would agree with you all the way. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Bloodborn, a paranormal romance. It’s the first in the Bloodborn series.
One of my favorite genres is the paranormal. Mythical, monsters and mayhem, and maybe a sexy vampire. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
About two years. I wrote it in only a few months, hired an editor to try to make it the best it could be before sending it out to agents and publishers. The publisher that I was crossing my fingers for took a bite, and a year after I signed the contract, it was published!
Congratulations! It's a long and sometime frustrating process but so worth it in the end. I bet you have something else you're itching to get to, don't you?
YES! I’ve been trying SO hard not to think about it until I’m finished with my current project, but every pore in my body is screaming to start it. I’m trying really hard to be patient. It’s the sixth book in my paranormal romance series entitled Blood Heir. It’s about Dracula’s grandson taking the throne, but as a vampire who is not yet tried, many threats rise up to try to overthrow him. To keep the peace, he is forced to take the daughter of his greatest enemy as his mate, but little does he know that she has an agenda. And that agenda is to kill him.
Oh boy, does that sound exciting and intriguing. I can't wait. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I have two absolute favorite authors in the entire world. One is Brandon Sanderson. His world-building is phenomenal. The other is Sarah J Maas. Her A Court of Thorns and Roses series is amazing!
I'll have to check them out. Tell us, Sydney, what does literary success look like to you?
Publishing with a traditional publisher. I have only dreamed about it for years. Now that I have reached my goal, I can make other goals where my writing is concerned.
Good for you. Ticking off the box and setting a new goal is very satisfying. One thing about authors is their willingness to help others. Do you have any Life Hacks for Authors? Tips, tricks or anything you specialize in that you would care to share with others.
Set a daily writing goal for yourself. My goal is 1000 words per day, but I’m at least happy when I’ve made it over 500!
Smart idea. Shoot for the moon and then be happy and satisfied with what works out. I think each day we need a goal of some sort to motivate us to be and do better. Even if it's taking 15 minutes to refresh yourself.
Now the fun questions. Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort?
Whenever I go someplace new, I like to collect dirt or sand or something from there and put it in a jar. My favorite jar is filled with the broken pieces of a clam shell that I found in Ketchikan, Alaska. I have never seen a place more beautiful than that small little city where I worked for a summer.
I love looking up places where my guests have been. When I looked this up it was -20 degrees. But the pictures are pretty. LOL.
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a
moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is
The first time when my son looked at me with “wubs eyes”. He was about three months old and looked at me as if he’d never loved anyone in the world more than he loved his mommy. I’ll treasure it forever.
So sweet. A mother's heart for her baby. Do you have a favorite childhood book? Or writer that inspired you to become an author.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I was in my early teens and I idolized him. When I grew up, I wanted to be just like him and have his type of success.
Oh, I loved that whole series. I read it as an adult but I can imagine the magical place he transported you to. Now, tell us, what ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing?
Snipe hunting. It was at girl’s camp, and the leaders and some of the older girls tricked me into going snipe hunting. I’d never heard of such a creature, and I thought it was bizarre that I had to put toothpaste on my nose in order to catch one. It’s safe to say that there were a few girls weeping near at end when they found out they’d been duped and humiliated into doing it.
Hah, makes me think of one of my favorite movies, Up. Here, snipe. Here, snipe. Let's dream together. would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
That’s a hard one. I’m such a homebody, but I do love new adventures. I would have to say unlimited international first-class tickets so I can add more sand and dirt to my glass jars.
My answer too. Let's book it together. Thank you Sydney for being such a fantastic guest today. Can you leave us some information and maybe a peak at your book?
Adam Degore's personal need to find a cure for vampirism drives him to ensnare a vampire, but the creature he captures is Dracula's daughter. Worse yet, he's drawn to her-a monster he's vowed to kill.
Despite her father's wishes, Willow chooses to live among humans instead of the vampire conclave where she would be safe. She wants a life filled with more than shadows. Being captured by a human, not to mention falling in love with one, is not part of her plan.
With vampires and blood hunters closing in on their chosen prey, Adam and Willow need to trust one another. But will that trust come in time for them to survive and find a future together?
“How could you?” she gasped, taking another step backward, but to back up much further would result in falling over the edge of the cliff and into the holy waters below. However, he was blocking her escape, a menacing sword close to penetrating her skin. Any false move would result in an iron sword through her heart. “How could you take me here?”
“I couldn’t tell you,” he answered, his voice thick with emotion. “It’s the only way. It’s the last thing I could do. For Zachariah.”
She felt numb. After everything that had happened between them, he still meant to kill her? But he was her mate. Mates were supposed to look after one another.
“Don’t do this,” she whispered, taking yet another step backward but stopping in her tracks when the roaring of the falls crashed into her ears like the loud toll of a bell signaling a vampire getting burned at the stake.
She would meet the same fate, except the only audience she would have was Adam and it was holy water instead of fire. She didn’t know which was worse. “I care for you, Adam. I want you to give me a chance.”
“I don’t have a choice. I need my brother back. He’s the only family I have left.”
This weeks recipe.
I've already posted a recipe for Chot Hocolate in an earlier post but sometime there's a better one out there. I found this on www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50303/best-hot-chocolate-recipe/ and can't wait to try it out.
2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 c. chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream, for serving
Chocolate shavings, for serving
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to simmer. Whisk in sugar and cocoa powder and stir until no lumps remain. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla and cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Turn off heat.
Pour hot chocolate into mugs, then top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
You guessed it! The animated movie UP from 2009. If you never saw it don't think it's only for kids.
The 2000 movie Chocolat.
I think you should make the recipe and then watch both movies on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.
Norman Vincent Peale
2020 is going to be a great year. The Campfire is starting out with a wonderful lady and fellow author and will continue into the year with an assortment of guests. So far, I have only one trip booked, but I’m itching to get started. 2Hoots is winterized but we often driveway camp. I think March will be our first outing. Everything depends on the weather co-operating. I don’t mind it being chilly, that’s why we glamp. But frozen pipes can happen if it gets too cold for too long. So come along and use your imagination. The fire’s lit. Listen, can you hear the popping and crackling? Something is bubbling in the Dutch Oven. Take a deep breath. Can you smell the savory goodness? Sip your beverage of choice and relax. There you go. Now that you are in a happy place help me welcome Peggy Jaeger to the fire.
Hi, Peggy. Thanks for joining us today. Can I offer you a cup of coffee or something stronger?
In all honesty, I drink ice cold water or Diet Mountain Dew. One hydrates me, one keeps me awake!
Cool. I have both. I’m a fan of diet dew myself. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
So the answer is that I’ve camped ONCE in my entire life, and it was enough for the rest of my life! My husband and I were newly married and living in Wisconsin. The head of his clinic put together a get-away weekend for the docs and their wives where we would boat to one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior – where we lived – and camp on the island for the weekend. It was billed as a team building/get to know you event. Well, we got to know one another really well, but not in the spirit of the event. The first night we were there a small hurricane blew across Lake Superior, accompanied by rain and driving winds that never ended for the next three days. The Lake was so choppy we could not take the chance of boating off of it and heading home. We were stuck, in one big tent, for 3 three days. The beer ran out on day two and we played so many rounds of Trivial pursuit, we started getting the same questions again. There was no electricity, the charcoal never got hot so we could cook because of the rain, and there was – obviously – no heat. Having to go outside the tent and walk a quarter mile – in a hurricane – to use the port-o-potty turned me off to camping for a lifetime. Did I mention there was a hurricane????
Oh my. I don’t blame you for being done with it. Maybe once you check out my rig, you’ll change your mind. I’ve been comfortable in weather fair and foul, though I’d pull up the jacks and head away from a hurricane. Tell us about your latest project.
My newest book is my first romantic suspense (lite) titled A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK. Rick is my hero in the first of a three book arc series of brothers who own a private investigations business. He also does bodyguard work and when Abby Laine, the sister-in-law of his best friend, is threatened by a client, Rick goes into protective mode even though he and Abby have an uncomfortable history.
Oh, that sounds wonderful. Do you have a tagline?
He’ll protect her with his life…but can he protect his heart?
I love the protective man. And I’m sure we’ll all cheer for his heart. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
The story took me two months to write and polish and then six months to publication, so a total of 8 months. Since I write full time I have the luxury of being able to devote full days to penning it. Plus, I write fast because I plot and outline every book so I always know where I am going in the story.
Wow! It takes me forever, and I’m a terrible plotter. So what’s next. Anything you’re itching to get to?
I am always in project mode.
Right now I have plotted out books 2 and 3 to A PRIDE OF BROTHERS, plus I’m working on a novella submission for my publisher and next year’s holiday RomCom release. In addition to all that, I write my daily blog and do all my own marketing. It’s a good thing I only sleep 2 hours a night.
Two hours? I don’t know how you can function. I’m an eight-hour girl. We all know writing can be a lonely job, but we also tend to build relationships with others in our profession. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
As far as authors go, some of my favorites are people you haven’t seen on the NYT bestseller list yet but who deserve to be there. Kari Lemor and Marianne Rice are two such writers.
Peggy, you seem to be quite prolific and organized. Would you share what literary success looks like to you?
Honestly, it’s never been about the money or awards or the bestseller lists for me. My idea of success is when a reader comes up to me and tells me how much they related to my heroine, or how my story made them laugh out loud on a day when then they were feeling sad. The best compliment I ever received was when a reader told me at a book signing that she felt as if she knew all the characters in my book personally. They were everyday people she could relate to. That made my week!
Thank you for that. Money and awards are subjective. The relational connection to a reader is amazing. When the person reaches out to share how you’ve touched their life, it changes you. Readers allow us into their heads and hearts. We should never take that for granted. Speaking of sharing, do you have a Life Hacks for Authors.
Wait until the first draft is done before you edit. Get the story on the page, then make it perfect.
That is excellent advice. Now let’s get a peek at who Peggy is with some fun questions…
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? Title: LIFE HAPPENS Lead Actress: Fran Drescher
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. What is yours? The moment I woke up from anesthesia after my C-section and saw my daughter’s face for the first time. She had a perfectly round head, a full head of red hair and was looking at me with her brow furrowed and her nose scrunched as if to say, “Are you the one who’s been talking to me all this time?”
Favorite childhood book? People who know me know that my favorite book is THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. It’s the best and most relatable book about Self Motivation, Self actualization, and self-belief that’s ever been written (in my humble opinion.)
What weird talent do you have? I can whinny like a horse. There’s even a you-tube recording of me doing it, here: YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/0xBPaEUuBqI
Worst household chore? Cleaning the refrigerator
Most campers play board games. What games do you like? Trivial Pursuit is my go-to.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met and talked with? Nora Roberts.
If someone came up to you and said, “Hey, do that thing you do!”, what thing would pop into your head first? See the above You-Tube video!!!
You are so funny! I love the video. Thanks for being with us today at the Campfire. Please leave us some info about where we can find you and your books.
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman's job is to protect. He doesn't get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client's vengeful husband, but refuses Rick's offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.
“Right there.” She aimed her fork at him as if it were a spear. “Perfect example. You know I hate being called Abigail. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of times I’ve told you and you still do it, knowing it pisses me off. And”—she cut him off before he could speak— “your usual response is to lift your hands and say ‘and still’ when you’re called on it. Who does that? What kind of person persistently and purposefully annoys people?”
“So you’re saying I’m intentionally annoying?”
“Persistently, so. Yes. Makes the lawyer in me wonder why.”
Just the lawyer? “Any answers come to mind?”
“Care to share?”
She placed her fork down next to her plate and regarded him across the table. “You really want to hear this? Because if you know anything about me, you know I’m truthful. I don’t hold back.”
Oh, he was sure she didn’t. And wouldn’t. Her tenacity was one of the things he’d first been drawn to.
That and her fabulous ass.
“I’m a big boy,” he said with a grin. “I can take it.
She took a sip of water first, her eyes trained on him the entire time. “Okay. If you really want to hear this.”
He waved his hand for her to continue.
“I think you use your cocky, aren’t-I-simply-too- witty attitude to keep people at a distance.”
Barnes and Nobel
Books a million
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
Keep up with Peggy at the following Social Media links
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
Dutch Oven Casserole
1-pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cans baked beans with pork
1/3 cup bbq sauce
1 package refrigerated biscuit dough
Cook bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until browned.
Drain, and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Add hamburger and onion to the skillet, cook until no longer pink, and the onion is tender. Drain.
Stir bacon, baked beans and bbq sauce into the ground beef, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and place biscuits in a single layer over the top of the mixture.
Cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the biscuits are done.
Serve and Eat
A shout out to protective men... The Bodyguard 1992 with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner
and sorry because I sometimes can't help myself...
A movie about the connection between authors and readers...
wait for it...
Misery 1990 staring Kathy Bates and James Caan.
“I am your number one fan.”
― Stephen King, Misery