Sometimes we all need to escape for a while. It's why I love to read. It's why I love to camp. These days taking off for the campgrounds are not in the cards but we can enjoy this virtual time around the fire. Today's guest has been with us before but she's got a brand new book out. But before we get to the interview how about setting the mood.
Are you wearing comfy clothes? I have my favorite hoodie on. It smells like the campfire. Do you hear the snap and pop of the flames? Spring peepers are out filling the air with their singing and chirping. Poke the fire. Let's add another log and may be some magic. Take a deep breath and push the worries of the week into the background. It's been tough, but you're tougher. We're all country around the fire. No, I don't care you're city. This is my fire and you are temporarily anointed country. Grab a cuppa something comforting. Deep breath again. Good I see you relaxing.
Now, let's all say "Hey" to Karen. I'm pleased to have her back and I know you will be too. What can I offer you to drink?
Today, I feel like a cup of steaming coffee.
We always have the pot on at camp. Today's brew is Sumatra Mandheling. Remind us, have you ever camped, or Glamped? I know your characters spent some time sleeping on the ground.
Once, when I was thirteen, my parents and I camped in a pup tent along the Mississippi. I hated it – never saw so many HUGE bugs and spiders in my life. I love the outdoors, but only until the sun goes down. Then I want a hot shower, clean sheets, and a soft bed.
Ugh, spiders. I hate them. I have a can of Spider/Scorpion spray in my house and in my camper. Tell us about your new project. What’s the title and genre?
WILD ROSE PASS was just released this month by Wild Rose Press. It’s a Historical Romance set in 1880s Texas.
Do you have a tagline?
I do. Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
Three and a half years. This “baby” has taken a long time to birth.
I've read Wild Rose Pass. I can imagine the time spent in research alone must have been daunting. Can you elaborate a bit on research?
Writing Wild Rose Pass was a stretch for me. Not only is this frontier romance devoid of ghosts / the paranormal, it’s set a hundred and forty years in the past. Every reference had to be made from the perspective of that era: language, dress, food, roles, and social structure. Slang had to be researched for authenticity. (Words I wanted to use, for instance, sometimes were not coined until the Twentieth Century.) Ladies’ fashions and the officers’ uniforms of that time period had to be researched. (Following the Civil War, the Army had a surplus of uniforms, but only in extra-large or extra small sizes. As a result, soldiers often improvised, and uniforms did not live up to their name.) Food availability on the frontier differed from food availability on the East coast. (Canned foods were available, I learned, but fresh vegetables and fruit were in short supply.)
Women of military families often married career officers. Fraternization among the enlisted men and the officers’ families was frowned upon if not penalized. I researched dusty quartermaster reports in the library at Fort Davis, Texas, and books dating from the mid-1800s about manners and correct comportment. I’ll tell ya’, writing Wild Rose Pass was not only a stretch, it was an education😊
That's amazing. I probably would not have done well back then. What's next for you? I'm sure you have something planned.
Yes, I have one manuscript with my editor at Wild Rose Press that I’m waiting to hear back on—KYOTO: TALE OF THE FOX, and I’m currently in the early stages of writing the sequel to WILD ROSE PASS, with the time-frame mostly in the 1880s-1920s.
How exciting! I can't wait. Karen, tell us, what does literary success look like to you?
Literary success, to me, is a solid income, a please-Lord, prosper-my-hands, pay-the-bills income.
Life Hacks for Authors. Can you share any Tips, tricks or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
I call it playing dolls. I like to bounce off ideas (usually with girlfriends, but not always) the way we used to play dolls. First, they go here. Then, they do that. You remember!
What a fabulous idea. I bet that can get the creative juices going.
Fun questions time.
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you?
LOL – the title would be “And She Tried,” and Sandra Bullock would play me.
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?
Yes, my husband bought me a Journey Necklace to celebrate when I earned my PhD at age 59. From Kindergarten to earning my post-graduate degree had been a long journey.
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme
I live and sleep in t-shirts, but my current favorite is one, picturing wild horses.
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?
The night I met my husband is my favorite moment. It was in a packed college bar, and he was sitting alone at a huge table, while my friends I sat cramped at a table the size of an LP record. I suggested we switch tables, but instead he joined our group, and one thing led to another.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales – I loved the imagery those stories evoked.
Karen, thanks so much for hanging with me around the fire. Please leave us some information about your book and where we can find it and more about you too. And visitors make sure you scroll down, Karen has left us a recipe.
Wild Rose Pass by Karen Hulene Bartell
Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.
Orphaned, Comanche-raised, and always the outsider looking in, Ben Williams yearns to belong. Cadence embodies everything he craves, but as a battlefield-commissioned officer with the Buffalo Soldiers instead of a West Point graduate, he is neither accepted into military society nor considered marriageable.
Can two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs, flout society and forge a life together on the frontier?
Reining his horse between catclaw and prickly-pear cactus, Ben Williams squinted at the late summer sun’s low angle. Though still midafternoon, shadows lengthened in the mountains. He clicked his tongue, urging his mare up the incline. “Show a little enthusiasm, Althea. If we’re not in Fort Davis by sunset, we’ll be bedding down with scorpions and rattlesnakes.”
As his detachment’s horses clambered up Wild Rose Pass, the only gap through west Texas’ rugged Davis Mountains, Ben kept alert for loose rocks or hidden roots, anything that might trip his mount. A thick layer of fallen leaves created a pastiche of color shrouding the trail from view. He glanced up at the lithe cottonwood trees lining the route, their limbs dancing in the breeze. More amber and persimmon leaves loosened, fell, and settled near the Indian pictographs on their tree trunks. When he saw the red- and yellow-ochre drawings, he smiled, recalling the canyon’s name—Painted Comanche Camp.
“How far to Fort Davis, lieutenant?” called McCurry, one of his recruits.
“Three hours.” If we keep a steady pace.
Without warning, the soldier’s horse whinnied. Spooking, it reared on its hind legs, threw its rider, and galloped off.
As he sat up, the man groaned, caught his breath, and stared into the eyes of a coiled rattler, poised to strike. “What the…?”
Flicking its tongue, hissing, tail rattling, the pit viper was inches from the man’s face.
A sheen of sweat appeared above the man’s lip. “Lieutenant—”
Barnes & Noble NOOK Book
Barnes & Noble Paperback
About the Author:
Author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Westerns spurred her to write (pun intended). Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.
Connect with Karen:
Amazon Author Page
Ingredients 3/4 cup cornmeal 3/4 cup white flour 1/2 cup mesquite meal 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 2 large eggs, beaten 1-1/2 cups milk 3 tablespoons honey (or agave syrup) 6 tablespoons melted butter or corn oil In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, mesquite meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, honey, and butter or oil. Fold the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir for one minute. Note—the batter will be lumpy.
Pour the batter evenly into a cast-iron skillet and cover. Place the pan directly on top of the hot coals. Place more hot coals on top its flat lid. Bake twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until just barely cooked through and beginning to brown. Remove from heat and remove cover.
To bake in an oven: Preheat to 425 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a greased, eight-inch baking pan. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Serves eight to twelve.
D.V. Stone rated it 5-stars. It was amazing
Copy of book provided by request via Netgalley
From the opening line to the end, the author paints a vivid picture of the old west. I appreciate the time and effort that must have gone into the research for this book. And while historical, Wild Rose Pass brings the characters alive.
Read the full review here www.goodreads.com/user/show/66610371-d-v-stone
Welcome to the Campfire. One of my favorite things to do is sit around the fire. Whether it’s away in a campground or at home in front the chiminea, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame, and sparks drifting up into the night sky to join the stars. In these days of isolation, distancing, and worry, give yourself a break. Whether you’re city or country. Whether you camp or are an indoor kinda person. Join me and my guest around our virtual campfire.
Take a minute. Deep breath in, hold, release. Now do it again, but this time imagine the smell of wood from the campfire. Hear the crackle and watch the sparks float up. Can you smell that? Someone is cooking and it's your favorite thing. Maybe barbecue ribs or aromatic onions and garlic. Marshmallows and chocolate. The people a the next camper are listening respectfully to some classic rock. Kids on bikes ride past laughing. Are you there yet? Good.
Please help me welcome DARCY CARSON to the Campfire. Darcy is a fellow Wild Rose Press author and I'm excited to have her. She writes about one of my favorite kind of fantasy creature, dragons. May I offer you a beverage?
My go-to drink is water, then diet soda.
I have water in the water cooler. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp. If so, tent, trailer, RV?
As a kid, we always camped in a tent.
All over Washington state. that’s what people did for vacations when i was a kid.
I know quite a few people for there. It's a beautiful state. Did you like it?
Heck no! rattlesnakes, sand in my food, and almost being blown off a cliff sort of ruined the idea of camping being fun. The being blown off a cliff was probably the worst two hours of my life. The rangers kept the park open and watched the car’s head lights weave along the mountain side. They expected to recover the bodies the next morning. I shudder just thinking about that trip.
Oh boy, not fun. We're glad you survived. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I’m working on the third book in the dragons’ return series, entitled She wakes the night that I’ll be submitting to my publisher in the next week or so. it’s a paranormal romance, and there is a big, bad black dragon.
I love dragons and follow your Facebook Dragon information. Do you have a tagline?
Not really. but let’s see if i can come up with one right here and now…Once a tree, now a healer, Trell Langois has no intention of staying in one place.
Good job! I like it. Taglines blurbs and synopsis' are some of the hardest things to write. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
That depends on the story. mine run between 80-90k and take six months to a year to write.
Darcy, I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
We’re writers. ideas are always popping into our heads. I'm also writing historical romance fiction. I have one out about Ireland in the 1660s. I’m working on a regency and two anthologies.
Wow, busy lady. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Probably the people who deserve a shout-out is my critique group and critique partner. They’ve stood by me and put up with the bad writing for years. so to: Lisa Wanttaja, Melanie Macdonald, Marcella Burnard, Lynn Price, Deeanna Galbraith, Melinda Rucker Haynes and Pam Binder.
Hooray for critique partners and group. What does literary success look like to you?
Being able to have my books published.
Life Hacks for Authors.
My favorite tip is never give up. Persistence pays off. And don’t be afraid to cut during the editing process.
Now the fun questions pick 5 or if you like more but no more than 7.
Warrior woman, Becca d’Firn, has a problem. People in her village are dying from a mysterious plague. She needs a wizard to save them. Cress, a wizard, has a quandary of his own—he needs to free his sister from a thousand year old spell. Becca doesn’t trust men, but what choice does she have? She knows nothing about the art of healing or dragons the size of fireflies.
Darcy is an award winning author, who was a born reader. Having a mother who worked in a library helped. She didn’t know that there were fines attached to books she kept reading over and over for decades. She won The Emerald City Keeper award for romantic comedy. She penned five novellas with Amazon’s Kindle Worlds the first one winning Rivers of Ink first place. She has been nominated for numerous RWA chapter writing contests, winning and placing in several. She went on to self-publish a paranormal romance, MAGIC IN THE AIR, set in Seattle about the magic police. She is currently writing for The Wild Rose Press. Her first book, HE WALKS IN DREAMS, is a fantasy romance and the first in the Dragons Return series. WOMAN IN THE WOODS is the second book in the series. Dragons come naturally to Darcy as she had a childhood friend named Pepper-Piper, who was a dragon. She also writes historical romance.
Prior to publishing, Darcy worked for a major airline manufacturer as an executive secretary. But don’t ask to identity an airplane. They all look the same to her. Darcy’s hobbies include jewelry making. Stringing beads is very relaxing, zen-like. No thought required. She loves reading, traveling, shopping and going to the casino to give her money away. She lives in Renton with her husband, Bill, and a pampered prince of poodle named Bandit.
This weeks recipe is for one of my most requested. Ribs. Low and slow.
This never fails me except to run out. It's easy but does take ahead of time thought.
Whatever your favorite ribs are. I tend to get what's on sale
Pat dry your rib. Then I rub them with grape seed oil. Season them liberally with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge with weight on top. I like to do this overnight
To cook them. I sear the ribs over a high heat on the BBQ. Get them a little brown but be careful not to cook them. No you have a choice. They do well in a dutch oven, wrapped in foil over the fire, or even wrapped and leave them on the grill. Turn the heat way down. Around 300 degrees. Check them in about 3 hours. They want to fall off the bone.
This is a picture from one of our camping trips last year. It had rained all day but just before the sun went down it peeked through the trees.
Man proposes. God disposes.
Have you ever heard that saying? It is attributed to a translation of the Latin phrase Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit from of The Imitation of Christ, a 15th-century book by Thomas à Kempis.
What does all this have to do with Welcome to the Campfire? Earlier this year my husband and I sat down and began to plan our camping trips for 2020. The first one was to be this weekend. Reservation cancelled. That said, I'm driveway camping. My mom is staying with us since she broke her arm in March. She's high risk, I'm high risk. Husband still needs to go to work. So we are social distancing at home. She's upstairs in the house and I'm for the most part downstairs in the camper. Good practice for when we retire.
Man proposes. God disposes.
The other big thing we were going to celebrate this weekend was the release of Rock House Grill. My sister and her significant other were joining us on Sunday night at the campground to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly. The celebration will have to wait, as will a book signing at Brook Hollow Winery with a host of other authors. That has been postponed until maybe August.
Man proposes. God disposes.
Pete was supposed to retire in July this year. Since I'm laid off from my day job for a indeterminate time, he may have to work longer. We need to cover my loss of steady income. It's okay. We can be flexible.
Man proposes. God disposes.
Back to camping. As of today were still holding on to our hope for Indiana and Kentucky. We'll have to see what happens. Then we'd planned his retirement trip in the fall. Niagara, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut. A tour of New England. Who knows. Will things get better by then? I'm counting on it. Like the Ant and the Rubber Tree Plant, I have high hopes.
That's the thing about this whole ordeal. It tough. One of my co-workers had a baby and they are in isolation. Can't visit with the Grandparents. Breaks their heart. Another friend is getting married. She keeps optimistic about it. "Leave it to me to get married during a pandemic."
You to may have had plans. Weddings, graduations, birthdays. Hang in there. There will be celebrations. We'll get through it. Together with our family and friends, no matter what happens, life will go on for most of us. There have been terrible losses. We will mourn those, but in that mourning we will also celebrate their life.
Today is Saturday the fourth of April, 2020. I had plans. You had plans. Plans change and so do we. One of my favorite shows was the Big Bang Theory. Say what you want, but there were some real good nuggets in the show. One scene that stands out to me is from the last episode is where Penny and Sheldon talk about change...
Penny: "So I guess the only thing that actually stays the same is that things are always changing."
Sheldon: "Interesting. So you’re saying the inevitability of change might be a universal constant."
I'm blessed. My husband has a job. My family so far is doing well. I hope and pray for the same with you and yours.
I'm going to leave you with a special Psalm from Ecclesiastes. Some of you may be familiar with it as a Byrds song. Read it first then I've provided a link. On a personal note, this was the verse I read when my dear brother-in-law passed away. He was much to young. My sister's whole world changed. She and her two sons needed to adapt and overcome. It was a horrible day many years ago. They are doing okay.
I wonder what's going to happen when this is all over. I hope we as a society are changed for the better. That we do okay too.
Ecclesiastes 3There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.