Thank you readers for stopping by the campfire. This is a fun place to learn about new people, chat, and share books. If you're like me then every camping trip has time spent reading around the fire. I'm so sad I have only one trip remaining for this season. That said, the campfire blog will continue to burn merrily. I hope you enjoy today's chat with award-winning author Carol Van Den Hende
Before we get started I want to let our other visitors know I read the book Carol is sharing with us. Here's the link to the Goodreads review if you would like to read it.
Hi, Carol. Thank you for joining us today. Can I offer you a refreshment? Coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like Aladdin's lamp, you rub it, you get it.
Since I’ve launched and managed some of the biggest chocolate brands in the world, I’d definitely like Cocoa, thanks!
Oh, my! I hope our visitors ask about that gig and how you got it. There goes my attention, let me get my focus back. Tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
A confession: when my husband first took me camping in our 20’s, I was enthusiastic to try it. But pretty soon, I found that sleeping on the ground amidst insects, and showering in communal stalls was not for me lol.
And that's where the glamping comes in. King size bed and hot and cold running water. Priceless. So tell us about your latest project. I'm excited for you sharing Goodbye, Orchid today, and also what’s on the horizon.
Goodbye, Orchid launched a few weeks ago. I’m thrilled that it’s been named one of the most anticipated 2020 fall reads: Buzzfeed l Parade l Travel+Leisure, and Winner: 2020 American Fiction Award l Pinnacle Achievement Award.
This beautiful novel asks “Can love blossom after life changes in an instant?” Inspired by combat-wounded veterans, a portion of profits will be donated to The Heather Abbott Foundation and USA Cares, who support post-911 veterans and their families.
It’s especially heartwarming to hear how the story has touched military vets:
“Be the change you want to see” and “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” – Bill Gates
Those are both great sayings. One of the most asked questions I get is "How long did it take you from conception to publication?" What about you?
7 years, so the fact that’s it’s been well-received says that it’s a topic with longevity. That’s a quality I aim for, one that Ryan Holiday espouses in his book “Perennial Seller”
Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
Publishing is a team sport so there’s too many to name. I will say that NJRW is acknowledged in Goodbye, Orchid for so many members’ generosity and camaraderie, including yours for hosting authors around your campfire!
Thank you. I don't know what I would do without the support of my local chapter and my "Rose Garden" authors. What does literary success look like to you?
My personal why is to inspire hope and empathy for people and planet, so when my work can do that, then I’ve done my job well. It’s heartening to hear that readers feel more optimistic after reading Goodbye, Orchid, including combat-wounded veterans who inspired the story, and “there are many lessons in this book, one that stands out is not prejudging others.” (Credit: InD’Tale Magazine, from their 5-star Crowned Heart review October 2020)
Life Hacks for Authors. Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
As a career marketer and strategist, my main advice is start with your broader purpose, what makes your brand unique, and clarity of your goals and strategies before jumping to tactics.
Once you get into execution, stay nimble, strengthen networks, and remember that marketing is an act of creativity!
That's an interesting perspective, one that makes sense. It is creativity.
Now the fun questions
Rising from ashes is hard.
Giving up the one you love is harder.
Thirty-two year-old Phoenix Walker is an entrepreneur who has built an agency with a heart almost as big as his own. To add to his good fortune, he’s falling for Orchid Paige, the beautiful half-Asian marketer who’s collaborated with him on a winning military campaign.
They’ve grown close after months working and traveling together. She’s even divulged the trauma in her past that makes her panic over images of injured vets. He’s trying not to cross their professional boundary.
Their relationship is at a precipice.
Until an accident changes him forever.
Now, he’s faced with the hardest decision of his life. Does he burden the woman whose traumatic childhood makes him feel protective of her? Or does true love mean leaving her without explaining why?
What people are saying
A richly detailed story of star-crossed lovers...all told with unforgettable heart and insight.
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You, Cruel Beautiful World and With or Without You
A book full of soul and heart about love, loss and redefining oneself. I adored this modern, important take on the power of love.
—Karin Tanabe, author of A Hundred Suns
Free chapter one by entering your email here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/sdw0qzrf7q
One of my favorite fellow Wild Rose authors is back today. We've Peeked through her window but now she's on my turf. So, my friend, what’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Hi, Donna, thanks so much for having me today. I have two favorites, coffee and wine. But these are also the two beverages I spill most often. I was thrilled when I discovered wine-away. This looks like a small bottle of wine, but is actually a spray that removes wine stains!
Ha, I have wine sippy cups with lids and it's always 5:00 somewhere. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I love both sitting around a campfire or having a fire in the fireplace, but my idea of camping is a nice camper or log cabin to stay in. My husband and I actually met at a campfire. It began to rain and he placed his hat on my head. That was thirty-two years ago.
That's a great campfire story. And if the weather gets bad, we can go inside and light the fireplace. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
Mountain Blaze, a contemporary romance, will be released on November 2nd. This is the first in my Carolina series.
That's so exciting. Not only a new book, but a new series. Do you have a tagline?
Can Dillon and Diana elude a killer while their newfound love grows?
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
This book took almost a year. Dillon McCoy is a rodeo rider. I did a lot of research on rodeo riders and had what I thought a great prologue introducing Dillon and giving the reader a glimpse into why he leaves Texas and heads home to North Carolina only to have my editor tell me it wasn’t relevant to the story and to cut it.
Ouch. But that's what we have editors for. I had a chapter in Rock House I had to delete. I made it a bonus. So you can offer it as a gift to your fans. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
The second in the Carolina series, Island Heat, is underway. I also have a work in progress that takes place in England during the twenties that I’d like to finish.
Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I belong to the First Coast Romance Writers. We just finished an anthology, Romancing the Holidays, which is a collection of twelve stories. A part of the proceeds from the sales will be going to Feed America.
That's so wonderful! Good for you and First Coast Romance Writers. What does literary success look like to you?
Hitting the best seller list!
Life Hacks for Authors. If you’re a beginner writer, take online writing classes.
Now the fun questions If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you?
The title would be, Fight On, 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?
I have jewelry that belonged to my grandmother and mother, but I have a doll my grandmother made for all the girls in my family. They were all named Marcia and she can still make me smile.
What is your favorite mug or teacup. If neither, T-shirt with graphic or Meme?
This would have to be a sign I have hung up. It depicts a woman from the fifties holding a drink and a cigarette. She’s saying, “I’m one drink away from proving his mother right.”
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 have a number of family moments, but for me personally, it would be the day I held my first published book.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
I loved the Nancy Drew books. In all of my romances, there’s some kind of mystery.
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?
Center Field. It makes me want to dance.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
The lasagna I had in Verona, Italy.
Worst household chore?
I’m a neat freak, but I don’t like cleaning the bathroom.
If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why?
This is a hard one for me, because I’d love to time travel. There’re so many places, time periods, and historical people I’d like to meet. I suppose if I had to choose, it would be England in the twenties, and I’d like to meet Agatha Christie.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
Definitely the first class tickets. My sister-in-law used to work for the airlines, and my husband and I flew first class often. Talk about spoiled!
Did you ever win something? What?
I won a $500 shopping spree at a department store and a $250 certificate at Talbots. It didn’t take me long to spend both.
Most campers play board games. What games do you like?
Sorry, Harry Potter trivia, Monopoly, Clue.
Disillusioned by his wife’s betrayal, rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds. When he agrees to take over the family ranch, the Lazy M, he’s unaware danger waits.
Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. She agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at the Lazy M. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships while fighting their growing desire.
After Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch, attempts are made on his life. When a body is found, Dillon sets out to discover who wants the McCoy land enough to commit murder.
Dillon smiled and Diana thought it the sexiest smile she’d ever seen. There was a slight cleft in his chin, and fine lines formed at the corners of his eyes. Diana inwardly groaned. The butterflies were back.
“I’d hold onto you. I wouldn’t let you fall,” he softly said.
With his slow southern accent, the words sounded like warm honey rolling off his tongue. The depth of his eyes and the sound of his voice mesmerized her.
The horses stood side by side. Her and Dillon’s legs touched. He leaned toward her, and the light aroma of wood smoke, hay, and his spicy cologne filled her nostrils. Diana knew what he was about to do but had no willpower to stop him. He cupped her cheek and their lips met.
Gentle at first, his lips glided over hers. He increased the pressure until she opened her mouth and his tongue slipped in. Diana moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. His arms around her waist, he deepened the kiss. Before she realized what he was doing, without breaking their kiss Dillon lifted her from Flora and placed her across his lap.
Cradled in his arms, Diana clung to him, delicious sensations filling her. Her body came alive in a way that surprised her. The only thing that mattered was this man and this moment.
Flame moved, bringing her back to reality. Diana’s eyes fluttered open, and she stared into Dillon’s, deep with passion and need.
Amazon Author Page -- https://www.amazon.com/Debby-Grahl/e/B00B34HM26
Award winning author, Debby Grahl, lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. His Magic Touch, a paranormal romance, was released by Wild Rose Press December 5, 2018. Her latest book, Mountain Blaze, will be released November 2.
You can find more about Debby at the following:
Website -- www.debbygrahl.com
Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/debbygrahlauthor?ref=br_rs
Bookbub -- https://www.bookbub.com/search/authors?search=debby%20grahl
Twitter -- https://twitter.com/DebbyGrahl
Welcome to the campfire everyone. I'm so glad you joined us today. Before we get to today's amazing guest let me fill you in on our trip post the debacle of a lost axel. Head over to https://www.dvstoneauthor.com/d-vs-guest-blogs-reviews-and-so-much-more.html if you're intersted on the before. We finally got 2Hoots (my camper) back and were able to get to Mystic Connecticut for the final days. Oh my goodness it's so beautiful there. We met fabulous fellow campers, toured ships and the museums. We visited the Mystic Aquarium www.mysticaquarium.org/ and Pete got doused by a Beluga Whale and even squeezed in a winery stoningtonvineyards.com/ . This weekend we're "driveway camping" with my grands. We'll sleep in the camper, have a fire in the chiminea and spend some time playing games. Now with out further delay let's get a beverage and hunker down around the fire with today's guest. Today I’m welcoming to the Campfire Mark Rosendorf, author of The Witches of Vegas.
Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to join you at the campfire.
So Mark, what’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it.
Hmm…I’m up for an experiment, how about we mix all four of these up and see what we get?
Ha, adventurous but ah- No. Let's leave the mixing up to me. We'll have mochas. Mix the coffee with the hot chocolate. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I camped a few times back when I was a kid (around 13 and 14). My father used to take me camping along with my uncle and two friends. We went two years in a row to camping grounds…but being honest, in both cases, the grounds were near civilization and showers. Today, I prefer an actual bed when I sleep.
As do I. Hence the Glamping. You have some news about a recent release. Can you tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon
“The Witches of Vegas” is the story of teen witch, Isis Rivera, her family of witches and their vampire mentor who use their powers openly on the Vegas stage as magicians. Isis had a rough life until the age of nine when The Witches of Vegas found her and saved her from a foster family who tried to kill her out of fear of supernatural abilities they just didn’t understand. They’ve trained her in the use of her powers so she can join them on the stage in front of their sold-out audiences.
It is also the story of Zack Galloway, a fifteen-year-old magician’s assistant to his uncle after the witches’ show dominates Las Vegas and inadvertently runs most of magic out of Las Vegas due to an inability to compete. Zack’s uncle can’t afford to pack up and leave, but if his show keeps having weak attendance, they could end up living in the streets.
Neither Isis nor Zack are the evil of this story, they’re just on opposing sides. But the evil is coming in the form of Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a grudge against humanity. Isis and Zack will need to bring their families together before its too late. In fact, it may already be too late.
Ah, a Romeo/Julietesque starcrossed love. I love the twist. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
My favorite classic tagline: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”
My new life motto: “Everyone should check out ‘The Witches of Vegas,’ whether you’re a teenager or simply one at heart.”
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
“The Witches of Vegas” hit me one night, at about 2 in the morning, as if the voices of the characters were speaking to me. They told me their story so I could share it with the world. For several nights, I was taking notes with a pen, notepad and flashlight, trying hard not to wake my wife (I was successful at this…mostly). Soon, the story came together, a lot faster than any other story I’ve written. As always, the editing process takes about as long as the writing process.
Publication-wise, as any author will tell you, it’s a long and daunting task. It was especially for me because it had been a few years since I wrote professionally. I thought that life was behind me. But, like the mafia, “Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In.” With “The Witches of Vegas,” it’s an entirely new genre and audience (young adult fantasy). So, it was literally like starting over. But I do believe it is my best work, by far.
Good for you. Never give up. Never surrender. I think people are born with the need for creativity. It would be a shame if we gave it up because it might be daunting. Tell us, are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
The first book that really made me want to be a writer was “The Time Ships” by Stephen Baxter. It was a direct sequel to HG Wells’ “The Time Machine.” Every chapter was short, but ended on a cliffhanger that kept me turning pages. It was the kind of story I fell in love with and wish I wrote. I knew then that, someday, I’d write a story that would make others feel the way this one made me feel.
I read his Time Odyssey series which he wrote with Arthur C. Clarke. Loved it. I'm going to have to go back and revisit Stephen and his works. Now with The Witches of Vegas out and I hear getting fabulous reviews, what does literary success look like to you?
I’ll let you know when I achieve it. Ha ha. In all seriousness, literary success is hard to judge. An author wants everyone to read our work, but no matter how many do, there’s always an audience out there that hasn’t. So, we keep promoting, trying to reach as many people as possible. We can have the greatest story ever, but it doesn’t matter if people just aren’t aware it exists.
Life Hacks for Authors. 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.
As far as writing, the best advice I give is to read your work out loud. Just like in a song, a story flows, and if it any point sounds awkward, it’s not structurally correct.
Regarding COVID-19, I’ve been lucky that no one in my family contracted the virus. However, the need to quarantine has actually given me more time to write. I am working at home and my work hours haven’t changed, except when my day ends, I can start writing (no pesky drive home from the office). Plus, being unable to go out on my free time has also provided additional time to write. This is the same situation with my editors, so “The Witches of Vegas” came out ahead of schedule.
Lemonade from lemons, good for you. Now the fun questions. What is your favorite mug?
For Valentine’s Day, I bought my wife a mug that reads “Those who fart together, stay together.” We both found that one hysterical and it’s now her go-to mug for hot cocoa.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences.
It’s impossible to hum while holding your nose. You just tried it, didn’t you?
What do you think the headlines will read 40 years from now?
Based on the direction our news media has gone, I would expect in forty years, there won’t even be news in the headlines, just a notification on why you have to be angry or upset today. By then, they won’t even bother telling you “why.” We can see with each passing day the news becomes less detailed and more emotional manipulation. And that’s on all sides of the political spectrum. There was a time when the news would report the facts and we would ask ourselves how we feel about it. Today, they tell us how we feel, and we ask ourselves if what they’re reporting is actually what happened.
Favorite childhood book?
When I was four years old, my mother wanted to give me a head start on my reading before going to school. She tried to teach me how to read, but I just wouldn’t sit down long enough for her to finish a lesson. So, she came up with another idea. My mother took construction paper and made books for me about a fat cat named Pat who sat on a hat. After I learned the “at” words, the books moved onto “it” words. Once I mastered those, the words became more complex. I would wake up each morning to find one of those books scotch taped to my wall. They had pictures of Pat the fat cat. The last page always read “The End, Mark’s Book.” I guess her strategy to get a wild kid to sit down and learn to read worked. Because now he’s a published author.
(awwwwwww, I love your mom) What weird talent do you have?
I used to be a professional magician (which would be noticeable to anyone who reads “The Witches of Vegas.” I performed in college and now, as a guidance counselor for special needs high school students, I teach magic as part of our performing arts program.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
I’m a meat and potatoes man. Any type of meat and potatoes…but my favorite meat is rib eye…or any meat that’s on the bone.
What's the last thing you really geeked out about?
On random chance, I sent a copy of “The Witches of Vegas” to Penn Jillette (from the world famous magician team, Penn and Teller). Frankly, I was amazed and a bit disturbed about how easily his home address came up on google, but I figured I had nothing to lose by sending it. The worst case scenario was he wouldn’t receive it.
Penn sent me an e-mail thanking me for the book, telling me how great it looks in concept and cover design…and since it’s young adult, he’s giving it to his teenage daughter, who is a magician herself, to read first. I was so excited about this, I barely slept that night. I certainly hope that they, and everyone else around the world enjoys “The Witches of Vegas”…it is geared towards teens and anyone who enjoys witches, vampires and magic.
That's an amazing story, Mark. Good for you in taking the initiative to send it. I'll bet she'll love it. If you could leave us with a bit about the book and yourself and where readers can find more, I'd appreciate it.
Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?
By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip--a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians--who can't possibly keep pace.
Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.
But can the combined witches' powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?
Mark Rosendorf 's writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild "if only I could do that" imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.
Born November, 25th, 1974, and raised in Queens New York, Mark holds a Master's Degree from Long Island University's Human Development and Leadership program. He is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education's special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry.
Mark has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence.
Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark's brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas was born.
This is Mark's first young adult novel