Thank you for stopping by. I know you will enjoy today's guest but before we light the fire, I have some exciting information about my own camping trips. Yes I said trips. We are scheduled for a few things in spring. Honesdale Pa, KOA is one of our go-to places where my grandkids join us. And as I type this I hear hubby on the phone scheduling a site in Lancaster, PA. May 30th is the first day of retirement for me. Huzzah! We head out to Tampa for a conference then a leisurely trip up the southeast coast stopping in each state. There's a map on 2HOOTs door and every time we drop the landing gear we get to fill in another state. One of my most anticipated stops will be Chincoteague in Virginia. One of my most treasured books from childhood are the Misty series. I'll be posting lots of pictures and sharing so much in my newsletter you won't want to miss it. So sign up here mailchi.mp/37b945511a50/dvstoneauthor and make sure you read to the end. I have a special offer.
Now without further ado, please help me welcome today's guest Gayle Irwin
Hi Gayle, and welcome to the fire. Seasons change and so do refreshments. What can I get for you? 2HOOTS is like Aladdin's lamp. Make a wish and it appears.
Pinot Noir, please.
I have a nice bottle from Sonoma County Cali right here. Tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
As a child growing up in Iowa, camping was a family adventure. We started with a tent when I was four and graduated a few years later to an over-the-cab pickup camper. My husband and I have camped in a tent a few times, but now our outdoor adventures take place in our 12x35-foot cabin, which sets on 6 acres of land in a peaceful setting in the woods of Wyoming.
Ohhhh, I adore cabins in the woods. There's a couple of television shows I watch and Log Cabin Living is one of them. Of course some of those cabins are over the top, but then I glamp more than I camp. Tell us about your latest project and, what’s on the horizon?
Rhiann’s Rescue released in December, and although there is no camping that happens in the story, my primary female character travels to bring dogs into rescue or get them to their forever homes. The descriptions of my settings (eastern Washington/northern Idaho and southern Arizona) will hopefully inspire others to get their travel mojo revved up again as we head into springtime! Additionally, I’ll be releasing a new book, My Montana Love, next month, which takes place in western Montana – another beautiful place to visit (and camp, if you enjoy doing that!)
Those places are certainly on my map to visit. I'm also a huge proponent of rescue. Hali, my latest rescue has been with us for two years now. Gayle Do you have a tagline? Life Motto? The tagline for my Pet Rescue Romance series is “Where romance and rescue meet.”
I love it! How long did it take you from conception to publication?
Last summer I envisioned writing a Christmas story as part of my Pet Rescue Romance series. However, I wasn’t able to complete it and now that book is set for release in November of this year. I had started what I thought would be a short story as a prequel to the series – that became a novella (Rhiann’s Rescue) that spans from December through February. Rhiann’s Rescue took me about four months from idea to publication. I am indie published.
Our stories do take over sometimes, don't they? Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’m enjoying several different authors right now who write in the contemporary, clean romance genre: Casey Peeler, who writes YA contemporary romance; Eliza Boyd, who has started a line like mine called the Animal Sanctuary series; Linda O. Johnston, who weaves mystery into her romance stories that feature pets (the Barkery and Biscuits series); and Annie Rains, whose Sweetwater Springs series includes covers featuring cute dogs!
Those sound great. I'll have to check them out. What does literary success look like to you?
I love the idea of writing for a living, including creating new books and upping the game of my freelance writing career. I want to travel more – I so enjoy visiting America’s national parks and wildlife refuges! – and I’d like to become a snowbird in the next five years. A successful writing career for me means freedom, and one day I hope that becomes my reality.
We could be twins with that. Those things are just like my hopes and dreams. Gayle, do you have any Life Hacks for Authors?
Last year I learned about a book promotion site called BookSweeps. I joined two promotion opportunities for romance writers and gained more than 500 people for my email list. I also joined All Authors, which promotes books and BookFunnel.com. Additionally, I’m a speaker with the March 2021 Women in Publishing Conference, a virtual writing and book marketing conference for women authors. I’m enjoying discovering new outlets to reach potential readers and help other authors. (Here's the link folks, it looks wonderful womeninpublishingsummit.com/ )
Now the fun questions
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme? A friend of mine gave me a coffee mug for Christmas a few years ago that says “Rescue Mom” and has pawprints on it. I use that mug often!
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? I visited Vancouver, British Columbia once and went to the aquarium. As I watched the beluga whales swim, one came over to me and seemed to look me in the eye. As I walked around the tank and enclosure, it followed and watched me. I felt a connection with that creature. I’d love to have a photo of that encounter; the memory remains in my heart.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences. Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters in the U.S. every year; about 3.2 million are adopted and many others (strays) are reunited with their owners. However, nearly 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized, therefore, we have a long way to go to eliminate the number of healthy, adoptable animals killed in America’s shelters.
Favorite childhood book? I enjoyed all the Little House books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite though is Those Happy Golden Years.
What’s your go-to coffee order? Raspberry mocha!
Gayle, thank you so much for joining me around the fire today and sharing so much wonderful information about rescues and writing tips. Would you please leave us with some more about your book?
by Gayle M. Irwin
Rhiann Kelly dreams of starting an animal rescue sanctuary, and her beloved grandmother desires to see her achieve that dream. However, they don't agree on when or where. Because of the older woman's health, Rhiann thinks it best they stay near large cities; Grams wants to return to Montana, where she was born and raised. During their annual winter trip to Arizona, the two women clash once again over relocating ... as well as about Rhiann's lack of desire to date and potentially end up with another broken heart. However, when art gallery owner and nature photographer Elias Griffin steps into her life, Rhiann reconsiders. Can she maintain her decision to not become romantically involved with someone again and keep her eyes fixed on helping animals and caring for her grandmother? Or will she decide Elias is worth the risk of possible heartbreak?
Rhiann’s Rescue is available in e-book and print format from Amazon. The e-book is only .99 cents! https://bit.ly/38tehAf_RhiannRescue
This novella is also available as an e-book on other platforms, such as Barnes & Noble and Kobo: https://books2read.com/u/3yzgYJ
More about the Author
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for both children and adults. Her clean, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, and a prequel novella, Rhiann’s Rescue. Another book in the series, My Montana Love, releases in March 2021, and a holiday story, In the Shadow of Mount Moran, is scheduled for release in November 2021. An animal advocate, Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups.
Find Gayle on the Web:
Author Website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/gayleirwin
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/GayleMIrwin
Pinterest (under Waggin' Tales): www.pinterest.com/gaylemirwin
As homage to my childhood favorite, anyone who comments on either their own rescue companion or favorite childhood story, will be entered to win in a drawing for an Amazon gift certificate. So comment away! And once more thank you for joining us at the Campfire.
Ugh, February. In case you didn't know we've had about three feet of snow this month. Now, I like a snowstorm. But it just keeps piling up. Pete had to rent a machine to take away the snow to make room for more. Oh, and I didn't mention the ice storm. Yep we had one of those tucked in there too. What's a girl to do? Well if you camp in a lot of different places you come to find out not all campgrounds have firepits. To me, it's not camping without a fire. So we bought a propane one. One day with snow in the background we broke it out. The pile of snow on top of the gazebo melted and created a shower but, I got my fire. Enjoy!
What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like a shooting star you get to wish on. You speak it, you get it.
If we’re glamping, I’d love a mimosa. If we’re camping, all the coffee you have please.
Oh, we are glamping all the way. Heat, running water, flushing toilets (times 2). We can even watch some movies later on my outside kitchen television. I have a funny story about Mimosas. If you want to know, ask in the comments. Here you go one fluted glass. Tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
My first camping experience was during childhood in a sleeping bag in a tent in the Badlands. While I’m not much into roughing it, I had fun. My mom, my brother, and I met up with my three cousins and my aunt. We drove through the Dakotas, visiting Wall Drug, the Badlands, and Mount Rushmore. It wasn’t glamorous but very memorable. As an adult, I’ve taken my sons glamping four times. In the summer at our local pool, we participate in the family campout. We head over after closing, set up our tent, swim, eat s’mores, watch a movie on the inflatable screen, and sleep outside. The next morning a full breakfast is served, I pack up the tent, and head home. We are exactly a mile from the house so if anything goes wrong, it’s easy to pack up and head home. The 2020 campout was cancelled. Instead, we’ve started setting the tent up in the basement for the kids on long weekends to break the monotony of staying at home.
I love that you're teaching your children what fun camping is! Often we've done driveway camping with the grandchildren. Rachel, tell us about your latest project and what’s on the horizon.
Love Overboard is the perfect escape right now. Set on a dream Alaskan cruise vacation, Caitlyn Moore jumps on a misunderstanding with her ex to stay onboard. Falling for the cruise director is a complication neither can allow. On the horizon, I’m editing the sequels to my small-town showbiz trilogy and am in the early plotting stages for two new stories.
That sounds like a fun story. Cruises are one of my favorites things after camping. I can't wait to read this. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
The book’s tag line is Can a tiny lie sink destiny? My other tag for this book is Fake amnesia has real consequences. I was inspired by While You Were Sleeping (the best romcom) and how a simple lie, told for an arguably good purpose, can snowball into drama.
It sure can. How long did it take you from conception to publication? From first draft to publication, the novel took exactly two years. I was editing my first project with The Wild Rose Press when I started. By the time I finished, I’d signed a contract for my next project (a three-book series starting with Holidays, Inc.).
Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’ve been blessed to connect with so many amazing writers along my journey. The Wild Rose Press community has been especially welcoming and encouraging. Shout out to fellow sweet-heart rose author Laurie Winter, her Warriors of the Heart books are wonderful.
Rachelle, please tell us, what does literary success look like to you?
I would love to have a book hit the Wall Street Journal’s list because then my dad would open his paper and see my name. That would be the ultimate to me.
Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
During this challenging year, I focus on one day at a time. Looking too far ahead is overwhelming. As a planner, this has been an absolute life upheaval but I’m leaning into it.
Good for you. Now on to some fun questions.
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme—My favorite mug is from Disney Cruise Line and I bought it after a trip with my husband, kids, and parents. We had a wonderful trip I think about all the time.
What’s your favorite fairy tale? Cinderella
Favorite childhood book? Anne of Green Gables
What’s your favorite ‘90s jam? Return of the Mack
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be? Pizza, always pizza
Pizza definitely. Before you go, can you tell up a little more about you and your book ?
by Rachelle Paige Campbell
Forced to share a stateroom with her ex-fiancé, Caitlyn fakes amnesia to stay on board her dream Alaskan cruise. Torn over deciding his future, Cruise Director Gregory tumbles into helping her. As they grow closer, unspoken secrets threaten to rip them apart, for good.
A little more about Rachelle
Rachelle stumbled into the world of romance novels in college; as a way to help speed up her reading to make it through Art History textbooks. After years in the professional world writing very dry grant proposals and auction descriptions, she started writing the contemporary romance stories she wanted to read. Setting her books in some of her favorite destinations was her inspired way to require plenty of research trips every year with her family.
Welcome to today's campfire! I'm so glad you joined us. Before we get to today's campfire guest I'm excited to tell you I've booked my first trip of the up coming season. The day I retire in May, Pete and I are, Lord willing, heading south to the www.fwcwriters.com/ignite-your-imagination/ Then to celebrate the new stage in life taking our time heading up the east coast. We plan to drop the landing gear in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia (where we'll be near Chincoteague. The Misty books are from there.) Delaware, and then home. I'll keep you posted with any developments and a photo journal. Now let's light this fire and greet my guest.
Hi, Julie, welcome to my campfire. I'm so glad you could join me today though it's pretty cold out. What can I offer you? The camper is like a shooting star with refreshments. You wish it, you get it.
Dark, strong coffee at 5:45 a.m., light cream. I like to be fully awake and at my writing desk by the time the sun rises.
Oh, your one of those morning people. Well I roll out of bed anywhere between seven and eight, even at camp. Which by the way have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp. If you’re not the camping type. Tell us about your favorite adventure or vacation. What made it special to you?
My favorite vacation (this sounds like a school essay) was a trip to the Cinque Terre region of Italy. There’s a narrow trail high above the sea that connects five villages that I hiked with my daughter several years ago. We stayed in one village, took a train to the farthest point in the trail and hiked back. The views were stunning (!) and it was so much fun saying hello to people from all over the world in different languages. No matter where people were from, everyone had a huge smile on their face.
Well then, ciao, oh and yI'el. (Who knows what language that is?) It sounds lovely. I would love to visit Italy one day. Problem is getting 2HOOTS across the pond. Tell us about your latest project and what’s on the horizon.
Spirit in Time, which released this week, is the third in my Spirited Quest mystery series. The main character is a ghost hunter, and in this book she is kidnapped back in time to 1872 by a mysterious spirit.
A ghost story with time travel! It sounds wonderful. Do you have a Life Motto?
If you get knocked down, get up and fight a little harder.
Yep, that's a good one. We can't let circumstances rule our life without kicking back. And your motto speaks to an author trait, perseverance, and lead to my next question. How long did it take you from conception to publication? How did you do it so quickly, or what circumstances drew the process out.
Each book takes about a year and half from conception to publication. The writing part takes a little under a year and the rest is editing and publishing details (that magic a publisher does behind the scenes). I write nearly every day, at least for an hour and often for several hours, so the chapters stack up quickly.
Julie, what does literary success look like to you? I love this question. It’s different for everyone.
This is such a difficult question because the answer changes over time. At first, my goal was simply to finish a manuscript I was proud of. Then, it was to get published, and next to see it read. Spirit in Time is my seventh novel, and the third in a series, and I get the most enjoyment when I see people read all the books in the series; this means, they like the characters and my writing. I feel I’ve done my job well.
Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
There’s a silver lining in most difficult situations and I suppose the upside to Covid is it keeps me focused on my writing. Covid, of course, is distracting but if I’m limited in many other things, like shopping or traveling or getting together with friends, then I may as well work on my next book. I’m always surprised how much I can get done if I take the first step, which is sitting down in front of my laptop.
Now the fun questions
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 an azure blue Swarovski crystal pendant that is a lucky charm for me. I had it on when one of my books was accepted by my publisher and it continues to bring me good fortune.
What is your favorite T-shirt? It’s a T-shirt that says: Every Word Matters.
What’s your favorite candy, cookie, pasta? Oh, molten lava chocolate cake or mudslide cake. The key is the chocolate.
Favorite childhood book? Grimm’s Fairy Tales – the real one, where the stories are pretty dark. I checked this out from the library over and over again when I was a child. I loved that not all stories had happy endings.
Last movie you saw? The last movie I watched in the theater was the remake of The Lion King (loved it). The last movie I watched at home was Testament of Youth, a true story set during WWI.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be? A four-course meal inside a fine restaurant with friends. I haven’t been in a restaurant in nearly a year because of Covid. I’d dine slowly, enjoying some good wine along the way. I don’t really care what I eat – it’s the experience I crave.
Last thing you googled? Why?
I looked up how to train a race horse for my work-in-progress. This next book, The Three Widows of Wylder, is a historical fiction/women’s fiction story about three women who each are running from their past. Their stories collide and their lies are exposed. I hope to have this book completed in late spring.
Julie, thank you so much for being my guest at the fire. Before you go will you leave us a tease about about Spirit In Time and where we can find out more about you?
Time is not on her side.
Time travel isn't real. It can't be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding.
Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?
Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.
But will time be her friend or foe?
A peek inside
“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity.
The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still.
The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight.
The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt.
“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?”
“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.”
Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes.
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3qaFAF5
More about Julie
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.
Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward