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