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, or fireplace. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame sipping a beverage. Christmas is past and New Year in upon us. I'm wishing you all a happy and blessed one. 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 Amber Daulton to the Around the Campfire. Amber is a pretty special guest for me. We are both Wild Rose Press Authors and she has been an amazing help in finalizing Rock House Grill. I've read one of her manuscripts and am now reading the book we're talking about today. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
I drink all the above except for coffee, but I love the scent of roasted coffee beans. Riesling is one of my favorite white wines. Hot cocoa with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon, and mini-marshmallows, are to die for.
I'm a white wine gal myself so cheers. We'll start the morning with your hot chocolate choice which sounds delicious, and pop the cork later. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
My husband and I love going on nature hikes or biking at a park, but I’ve only camped out once. It was for a gym credit back in college over ten years ago. I enjoyed reading while in the tent and exploring the woods, but the instructor was a bit of a drill sergeant while on the hike. He didn’t understand that not everyone could keep up with him and the other fitness nuts in the group, so a lot of people, including myself, were straggling behind. I was so exhausted and honestly frustrated that I stayed in my tent while some of the others were hanging out around the campfire. I regret that, but with the way I was feeling, I couldn’t have been social. Anyway, I would love to go camping again and actually get to enjoy it.
Well, girlfriend, let me know when you're ready. 2Hoots, my RV has a guest room with its own 1/2 bath. No rules. Camping is for fun and relaxation. Reading is one of my favorite things at the campground. Now, tell us about your project. What’s the title and genre?
Arresting Mason is a romantic-suspense novel about a flawed man struggling to right his wrongs and finding love in the most unexpected of ways. I came up with the main plot—a feisty divorcée in a HAWT relationship with a tattooed ex-con—in a little place called dreamland. I’m always the leading lady in my dreams, and I fell head-over-heels in love with a mysterious former gang member. After I awoke from that seriously mouthwatering dream, I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason, his past, and his current problems. His seductive voice kept whispering to me, urging me to write about him, so I wrote out a rough plot line and quickly finished the manuscript I was already working on. I’ve changed quite a bit in the story from what happened in the dream, but the main premise has remained the same.
Sounds exciting! I'm far enough along in Arresting Mason to say the chemistry between Mia and Mason is compelling. I also love a story where the bad boy struggles to do better. Do you have a tagline?
Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
I originally wrote Arresting Mason for a bad boy anthology call about five or six years ago, but I had exceeded the maximum word count and still wanted to add more scenes by the time I finished the first draft. So I forgot all about the submission call and kept revising this story until I was finally happy with it. At long last, the manuscript clocked in at 80,000 words and sparked ideas for more books. It’s now book one in the Arresting Onyx series, a five-book series about five sexy men—brothers in blood and in life—and the stubborn women they can’t live without.
Book two in this series, Arresting Jeremiah, is with my editor at The Wild Rose Press.
I've also had a peek at Arresting Jeremiah, and can tell the readers if you like Arresting Mason, keep an eye out for Jeremiah. What are your challenges as a writer? Did you ever hit the place where you threw your arm up in the air and said nope, this is not going to work? If so, how did you get past it?
Writer’s block is definitely a challenge. Sometimes my characters take over the story, and it’s hard for me to corral them back into my guidelines. When nothing is going right, I step back from the story and read. I always try to read in the sub-genre I’m writing in, in order to find inspiration. Usually, after a few weeks, my creative muse starts flowing, and I can finally get back to work!
Sometimes I write myself into a corner even though I’ve plotted the scene beforehand. To solve that problem, I jump a few chapters ahead and start writing those scenes, leaving a big blank spot in my novel. When the later sections are done, I go back and fill in the blank areas. I really don’t like doing this, but I have in desperate cases.
As an author you have to do what works even if you don't like it. I think it keeps you fresh. Speaking of fresh, anything else in the works we should look out for? Anything you're itching to get to?
I have eleven books published so far, the twelfth book is currently in edits, and there are several more manuscripts collecting digital dust on my computer. Some of those drafts are full manuscripts and others are just a few rough chapters.
I also need to go through the remaining Arresting Onyx books again and get them ready for publication.
I currently have four books completed in the House of Darkain series, an on-going set of unpublished vampire novels. Writing is a learning process, so I’m improving my craft all the time, and I’m very anxious to revise those books again. Hopefully, I’ll have an update on them in the New Year.
Wow! What a busy woman. I love the phrase Digital Dust. Looking over your shoulder into the past, is there something you would tell your beginning self?
Oh, yes. I would tell myself to do more research into grammar and writing style, and not to read so many romance books written in the 1990s and earlier. The writing and publishing guidelines have changed over the years, and what was accepted then is no longer accepted now, as least for beginning writers.
I had modeled my style after what I was reading, only to learn with my first publisher that passive voice and head hopping are now frowned upon. When I think back on those drafts, I shudder. But as I already said, writing is a learning experience. I’m grateful that the publisher saw the merit in my writing and set me straight from then on.
That's great advice. I can appreciate the old-style romances. But as you say things change and you have to change with them. Now on to the fun questions. If they made a movie about your life what would the title be and who would play you?
I have no idea. My life isn’t very interesting, but my stories are. I’d much rather have Arresting Mason or another book made into a movie.
Ha, your book started as a dream so maybe you can star in it. Do you have a tattoo? If yes, what is it? If you feel brave, where? Does it have a story you feel you could tell us?
I have a black-and-blue butterfly on my right shoulder blade and a pinkish-purple fairy on my left hip. I would like to get more (flowery vines up and down my back), but tattoos are so expensive. Unfortunately, I don’t have a story behind them or a reason why I got them. I just wanted them.
Years ago, there was a commercial which talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
I remember the old Kodak Moment commercials, but I don’t think the younger generation will (and I’m only 33). For my unforgettable picture, there’s one of me lying in bed, cuddling with my kitty Ling Ling. My boyfriend-at-the-time, Greg, took the photo (he’s now my hubby). I loved that cat so much, and there’s just a look of pure happiness on my face in the photo. Ling Ling was the first kitty I adopted after I moved out of my mom’s home when I was 18. I found her at the local animal shelter. After three days of no adoption, she was scheduled for euthanasia (don’t get me started on kill shelters). Thank goodness I got there in time to rescue her. I’m not sure if she was a tabby or something more, but she looked like a Birman, which is an exotic Asian cat breed. That’s why I gave her a Chinese name. Ling means beautiful, so I just doubled that because she was extra beautiful to me. Lingy was about 9 months when I got her. She lived for only seven years, having died in 2012. I still miss her and will always treasure my memories of her.
It’s early in the morning, so I’m not looking my best, but here’s the picture…
She's beautiful! My girl, Hali, approves. She woofs, "Don't buy adopt." Is there a book that inspired you to become an author?
I read my first romance book, True Blue by Ingrid Weaver, when I was 12. It's about an ex-convict hero and a schoolteacher heroine. After reading this book, I decided I wanted to write my own stories about two people finding adventure and falling in love. And so I did. I got to work on a romantic suspense novel and finished it within six months. It’s my first attempt at writing, and though I've revised the MS several times over the years, it’s currently not published.
And here you are are years later doing exactly what you wanted. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I read both small-press and traditional published books. Some of my favorites are: Arial Burnz’s Bonded in Blood series (small-press), Tabitha Conall’s Colliding Worlds series (small-press), and Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series (trad-pubbed).
What does literary success look like to you?
Success is different for everyone. For me, I feel accomplished when I read a great review for one of my stories, or a critical review that was instructive but also kind. I enjoy it when readers share my publishing news and talk about my stories. I always feel honored when a blog host (like you) invites me to their site for an interview.
My dream is to make it on a best-seller list. Fingers crossed that it will happen someday.
That's the reason I love this question. Everyone has their own idea of success.Thank you so much, Amber, for joining me around the campfire today. I would appreciate you leaving us a blub and exert from your work. Don’t forget to add where we can purchase your book and how we can find out more about you below.
Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.
Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.
When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?
“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.
“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”
“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”
His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”
“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.
He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.
Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”
He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”
Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”
“Take me to your place and you can have me.”
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2ppcmEJ
Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2uOj90J
iTunes – https://apple.co/2FVAQMP
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arresting-mason
Google Play – https://bit.ly/2Izu3cZ
The Wild Rose Press store – https://bit.ly/2VDUTXI
Books2Read – https://books2read.com/u/m2vvY7
Audio Buy Links
Amazon – https://amzn.to/2Nbwr03
Audible – https://adbl.co/2CV6oVU
iTunes – https://apple.co/2NHwMqA
Official Book Trailer
About the Author
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.
Social Media Links
Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Street Team – https://www.facebook.com/groups/572204316296198/
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/
Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton
Book Gorilla – https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368
The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton
I went looking for a movie about criminal redemption. I'd love to hear from some of you who know of one where the criminal changes his or her life and gets their Happily Ever After. Since I couldn't find one I chose instead one about a man who'd lost everything but never gave up.
The Pursuit of Happiness staring Will Smith.
And in honor of Ling Ling
Born Free 1966 Yes it's about a big cat but all cats think themselves as King of the Jungle (or house).
looking for an easy peasy breakfast for a crowd.
At home or at the campfire breakfast for many
Build a campfire and allow the fire to burn until it has accumulated a bed of coals. Or you can adapt for on the stove.
Cook and stir the sausage, onion, and garlic in a 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with lid, raised over the coals to medium-high heat, until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Stir in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and hash brown potatoes until evenly mixed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the hash browns are hot and the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes.
Pour the beaten eggs evenly over the top of the potatoes, allowing them to sink into the potatoes. Cover the Dutch oven, and place 6 to 9 coals underneath, and 12 to 18 on top. Allow to bake until the eggs are firm, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, cover, and continue cooking until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
There's only a few days left until Christmas. I wish each person a wonderful and blessed season. Welcome to the Campfire only has one more interview after today in 2019. There's an exciting line up for 2020. I'll be asking my guests for quick and easy tips and look forward to learning some life or writing hacks.
There's still time to signup for my newsletter at
Today I’m welcoming, Joan Ramirez writing as J L Regen to the Campfire. I’m excited to here about her adventures as well. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
I do love a cup of hot cocoa on those cold winter days to get my motor running.
Hot cocoa it is. Tell us Joan, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I camped out as a Girl Scout. End of story.
Well camping is not for everyone. So, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre? What inspired you to start it?
My latest project is my psychological suspense where a serial killer coaches his sons to kill from his jail cell. A trip to Sing Sing inspired me.
Do you have a tagline? Or quote you’d like to share
Perseverance is the key to success.
You author short stories as well as articles, how different is that from full length novels? Or is it?
Short stories are more of a challenge because you have encapsulated your outline and mine are always very long.
What challenges have you faced during writing? I.e. Writers block, editing, marketing, time. How did you get through it?
The whole nine yards. I got through it with tons of support from good friends.
I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
My photojournalism book on my travels to places of worship around the globe.
Let’s time travel, is there something you would tell your beginning self? Any advice or encouragement? Warnings?
SLOW down. Disaster comes from rushing a writing project.
Joan, I know you’re a photographer. Do you have a favorite image or one which elicits an emotional response you can share with us?
My photograph of a boy in Thailand holding a monkey. He offered to pose for nothing. I was so upset that he was so poor that I gave him enough for dinner for his whole family.
You’re having a dinner party and invite two people (living, dead, real, fictional). Who are they? Why them?
Cary Grant and Queen Victoria—enthralling conversation
Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book? Or book that inspired you?
Charlotte’s Web. However, I’ve had a love affair with books since I’m three.
What is your favorite piece of jewelry? Does it have a special meaning which you can share?
A sterling silver heart that was a gift from my mother. When I touch it, I think of her. I adored her.
Most writers need support. Are there any mentors or authors you would like to give a shout-out to? Or favorite schoolteacher? How did they make you a better person?
Earl Staggs, one of the best people and finest authors in Texas. Sharon Kohn, a caring beta reader.
Final question. As a writer, what does success look like to you?
It used to be wealth but now that I’ve matured, it is the satisfaction that comes from writing a compelling story.
Margo Simmons is ecstatic when she inherits her uncle’s Manhattan apartment and a handsome sum of money. To her chagrin, there are strings attached. She must be gainfully employed in a job for a year. Everything in Margo’s life has complications. When she meets the man of her dreams, she anguishes over how to fulfill her secret desires for a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife and afraid to open his heart again. To replace her fractured childhood growing up with a distant stepfather, Margo becomes the guardian of an elementary student who longs for connection and closeness. As the story evolves, readers will see how these individuals unite. Secret Desires is a contemporary romance written from the heart and speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.
D. V.'s Quick and Easy Chicken Parm Sliders
This is great if your feeding a lot of people. Whenever we host a party these disappear.
I buy the largest size chicken nuggets
Jar of marinara sauce
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Spay your pan with no stick spray. You'll be glad you did.
Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with a bit of sauce
Layer the nuggets leaving a little space in between
Sprinkle with both cheeses
Top with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with a little more of the cheese.
Cook to nugget package instructions
Serve on small dinner rolls.
Thank you for stopping by today. It's a busy time of year for so many. We've already had the power out at our house for a couple of days. Our camper, 2Hoots saves us often. One pull of the generator and we have lights, heat and water. If you've been here before you know one of my favorite things to do is sit around the fire, and we even have an electric fireplace. It may be cold outside but we're tucked away nice and cozy with today's guest. Whether it’s away in a campground or at home in front the chiminea or fireplace, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame. 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…
Please join me in welcoming Mageela Troche to the Around the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? I pretty much have it all.
Cocoa. Cocoa with marshmallows would be preferred.
Any self-respecting camper had marshmallows. Oh, and I have fluff too. Tell us Mageela, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp?
I camped when I was very little but have no memory of it. I had to be told about it by my mother and according to her, it was a disaster. And my brother went camping with the Boy Scouts when he was about eight and at the time we lived in Panama so they camped in the jungle. My brother shared a tent with his best friend. My brother returned home then a couple of days later, my mother received a call from his tent mate. She told how her son had a bump on the back of his head, larger than a pimple and it kept on moving but won’t pop no matter how much she squeezed so she took her son to the hospital. The doctor cut it open and a bug laid its egg under his skin. So, camping is not my thing.
Oh, gross! I'm cringing. My camper is totally a bug-free-zone. Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
My novella is called The Chieftain’s Secret. It’s a historical romance set in medieval Scotland.
I do love a man in a kilt. Do you have a tagline?
Love sails on unexpected winds.
Love it. It sounds quite poetic. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
The Chieftain’s Secret is the latest in a series of highlander romances. I had decided to write about my hero, Niall MacLean after I first wrote about him as a young boy in my debut novel The Marriage Alliance. But it took about two years and four novels.
Isn't it wonderful how a character calls to the author and tells them they need their own story. You have a few books under your belt and new one but is there anything you’re itching to get to? Another character demanding page time?
Too many. I’m editing a Historical romance in Scotland, writing a Highlander romance, a plotting a Regency romance and just developing a middle-grade novel.
Wow, you're a busy lady. As you know not many authors can do it without support, are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I have to thank RWA/NYC members who shared their knowledge with me and helped me grow as an author and person. Alice Orr who did the same. There have been so many different books that have influenced me that I cannot name them all. We’ll be here all day.
What does literary success look like to you?
I don’t know. That changes all the time. But the most important is to be able to support my life with my writing and to write until the last moments of my life. That sounds good to me for now. Tomorrow that answer might change.
Success can be like a moving target. I think it helps us keep fresh. I've started a new section of the blog and call it Life Hacks for Authors. Do you have any tips, tricks or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
If you read one writing craft book then read The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri.
I'll have to check it out. Now the fun questions. Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort?
I have a name chain that my brother and mother bought me when I was a teenager. It’s special because my name is weird and I could never find my name written on anything so I had wanted to be named Jennifer. But when I got that necklace it felt like I wasn’t so different from everyone else.
I think your name is beautiful. Worst household chore?
Aren’t they all bad? I would say washing dishes, cleaning the oven.
If you could time travel, where would you go and when?
I would love to go to the Scottish court of Mary, Queen of Scots. When I first learned about her, I wept as if she was personally known to me. I still feel immense sadness when I think about her.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
Unlimited first-class tickets every time. I don’t think I would ever be home.
What was your first job?
I was a bus girl at a café here in New York when I was 12 years old. I really liked it and made good money there.
What subjects should be taught in school, but aren’t?
Personal finances should be taught. We certainly need it.
Mageela, thank you for joining me today. Please let us know where we can find out more about you. Also if you'd leave us a sample of your book and where to buy it.
On a windswept Scottish Isle…
Many objects wash up on the shores of the rugged Isle of Mull. The Laird of Lochbuie never expected a pregnant wife to be included in that. Honorable Niall MacLean was wed to his childhood love when she died in childbirth. Now a widower, he struggles to get beyond his grief. Then a dear friend, Ermina Bruce pleaded for his help. His protective instinct came alive and he handfasted with Ermina to save her from an unsuitable marriage and one drunken night has led to forever after and a repeat of his past heartbreak.
The bonds of friendship…
Noble Ermina Bruce has loved Niall MacLean since he first fostered in her uncle’s home. But he loved another so she settled for the deep bonds of friendship. When her family arranged a marriage she didn’t want she knew Niall could save her from that miserable fate.
One night of passion…
That one night in Niall’s arms led to her pregnancy. Ermina has not told Niall of their secret baby. But his reaction isn’t her greatest fear. Her fear is even greater than the brave laird’s wrath. Every woman in her family has died in childbirth and all know the same fate awaits her. Once again, Ermina knows Niall is the only one who can save her. And if he fails, her last days shall be with the man she has loved since childhood.
Will love have a chance to come alive?
THE CHIEFTAIN’S SECRET
The church preached the Lord had a plan for all living creatures. Ermina Bruce wondered about her own divine design. Naturally, marriage, children, and a household of her own were included in the life plan. For Ermina, she would have liked a hint of what else awaited since her life had taken a surprising turn.
“Don’t fall into the fire.”
A scream squeaked from her as she spun around and nearly toppled into the hearth. Niall snatched her back and against his hard chest. She landed with a humph. Her nose and cheek smashed against him. She drew a breath into her empty chest along with the manly scent mixed with wine, leather, and musk. She planted her hands flat on his chest and straightened.
“Niall, you frightened me”—she shoved her palm hard against his chest, not that he wavered from her strike—“Sneaking in here without making nary a sound.”
He shrugged. “The skills of a Highlander.” Niall swayed on his feet.
Ermina grabbed him by his forearm to steady him. “The skill is made more impressive since you are drunk.”
“I am celebrating our handfasting.” He lifted his hand. He frowned as he realized his hand was empty. “I seem to have forgotten my cup.”
Ermina turned away from his empty hand hovering in the air as if it were curled about a cup. He couldn’t see her tears. He would ask her why she cried, and she couldn’t reveal the truth. Worse than her unreasonable emotions for him, she knew his reason for drinking until the world faded to the edges of his awareness. That knowledge never stemmed the roaring need to scream down upon his head. She hated seeing his eyes heavy from drink, his movement sloppy, and hearing his slurred speech.
“There have been enough toasts tonight. From all the warm wishes, if a wedding had occurred we would have had a very blessed lifetime. ”
That sounds wonderful. A lifetime with Niall.
“Your uncle scowled through the ceremony.” His befuddled voice snapped her free from her thoughts. His stance was wide but that failed to stop him from swaying.
She didn’t reach to steady him. Right now, with the dull ache thumping through her, she decided touching him was stupid.
Her uncle, the fourth earl of Annadale, and head of the family, had been snarling and growling since Niall and she informed him of the handfasting. There was no reason for his behavior to change on this day. “Aye, he did raise his cup begrudgingly.” She ambled to the bed and perched on the edge. “At least, we were both screamed upon but our lives were not in too much danger.” She put her feet up.
“I am accustomed to his temper. You were trembling like a new recruit.” Niall joined her and fell back. He threw one arm over his head and rested the other one on the flat of his stomach.
“I rarely witness that side of my uncle.”
“You thawed his plans but he gave in to your wants in the end. At least you will not be teetered to that auld man. I imagine Bruce will have more care in your next match.”
“I pray you are right. I do not wish to be bound to a man who believes a husband should not spare the rod with a wife.” Ermina fell back beside Niall. He peeked out the corner of his eye and stretched out his arm. She scooted over and propped her head on his muscular forearm.
This wasn’t the first instance that Ermina had been this close to Niall. This time, though, felt different. They were handfasted. Not that that knowledge changed anything. That was a falsehood. It changed everything for her. Her yearning for him sharpened.
She could bury her nose in the crook of his neck and breath in his scent. Just one whiff of his singular scent and a rush of warmth and pure happiness filled her. Then the longing came and the knowledge that she would never have his love smothered every ounce of her desire.
He rested his head against hers and let out a wine-scented sigh.
His lips were less than half a finger length from her own. Their breaths mingled. She could kiss him. She could finally feel the texture of his lips and discover if they felt as she had imagined.
That was wrong. They were friends. He had saved her from a marriage to a man she had no desire to be united with. A kiss would ruin their bond. That was one act she refused to allow.
“’Tis the first time we have lain together on a bed.”
“You make it sound sinful.” She hoped she put enough of a sneer into her voice so he couldn’t hear the rush charging through her.
He rolled his head to the side and wiggled his dark brows. “Most sinful.”
His intoxicated gaze flittered over her face and lost the stressed lines that pinched his face. His warm regard changed to one darkening with desire. His gaze slowly traced over the lines of her face then to her mouth where it lingered, tracing the shape. His mouth parted as if he were preparing to kiss her.
She stilled, unwilling to break the bond between them. Not once in her life had she been the focus of his smoldering gaze. She had seen glimpses of it when he spoke of Siobhan. Now, his narrowed eyes centered on her. His desire was meant for her and her alone. She had never been kissed. For Niall to be the first…Her whole body went hot and slowly melted. She went a little dizzy. He would kiss her. She licked her lips in preparation.
He blinked. Niall let out a heavy sigh laced with a groan. She understood its meaning. Siobhan. More than twelve months had passed since his wife’s death. Naturally, she understood the reasons for him losing himself in drink. Niall had loved his Siobhan since their childhood.
When Niall arrived at Annadale to foster at the age of eight, he had already been—as he said handfasted—to her. When he returned to the highlands as a knight, he had wed her. Ermina never met Siobhan, but she had been entertained and jealous of the highland lass as she listened to his countless stories that always centered around Siobhan. With each telling, she had felt the all-encompassing love he possessed for her. Aye, she understood the reasons for his drinking with each raise of his cup, and her heart ached for him.
“If I were to take another wife, I would be pleased to have you.”
He rolled on his side and placed a peck on her cheek. Instead of putting a proper distance between them, he rested his chin upon her shoulder. She leaned her head against the top of his head and listened to his easy breathing.
“I would be pleased to have you for a husband.” She felt that emptiness inside of her that ached to be filled. The sensation that hollowed her whenever she thought of Niall. If she had to name the turmoil within herself, she might have thought it longing. The corner of her eyes began to burn as if tears were forming. She blinked with such rapidness she could have started a storm. There was no reason for them. Niall would not be the man she would spend her life with.
He lifted his head. His nose brushed along her jaw and across her cheek, halting when he buried the tip in her hair. His lips hovered over her ear. His exhales blew across her lobe. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the lulling sensation.
“Ermina, you are a beautiful woman and shall have all the happiness life can give.” He kissed her—a simple peck that sparked goose bumps across her.
He drew back and stared at her. There was softness, nay, tenderness in his eyes. It wasn’t because of the color but the hooded shape that gave him an earnest expression. The hazy gloss dulled the brightness of his dark, burnished eyes.
“This isn’t right but I can’t stop myself. I don’t want to.” He fitted his mouth to hers with the softest of pressure. She should have turned away. Niall did not know what he was doing. She did.
With his top lip, he nudged apart her shocked mouth. The tip of his tongue flicked against her stiff one. She opened to him. Her mouth filled with the taste of wine. The tart flavor jolted her. The hairs on her arms stood as a current race through her.
This was foolish.
’Tis only a kiss…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mageela-Troche/e/B00CHTIRFW/
Mary, Queen of Scots 1971
I haven't seen the 2018 version but remember this one.
And for a movie about camping in the Jungle?
1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup barley
2 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 leek, sliced
In a large pot combine the chicken, carrots, barley, water, bouillon and salt and pepper to taste. Bring all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. Skim broth as needed.
Remove chicken from pot and add leeks. Bring back to a boil; reduce heat, cover and let simmer another 15 minutes or so, until thickened.
Meanwhile, skin and debone the cooked chicken. Return chicken meat to thickened stew and cook for about 5 minutes to heat through. Serve hot.
“To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.”
Hi everyone. Can you believe it's early December already? The sixth was my hubby's birthday which is also Saint Nicholas day. If you could see my house you'd get the connection immediately. We are decorated up to our eyeballs. Check out my Facebook or Instagram. I'll be posting some pictures in the next couple of days.
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 and during the winter months even though it's electric, my fireplace. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame, real and virtual. So, wherever you’re joining us from, open a campfire video, pour yourself a preferred beverage, and relax. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below.
Now let's get down to business. Do to my own craziness, this weeks Welcome to the Campfire went out on 11/23 instead. Let's not consider the twenty-third a mistake. Instead, we're going to call it a dress rehearsal. As such, this is not a rerun. (My blog. My rules. 😉)
For those of you who missed the November 23 Welcome to the Campfire, I think you'll enjoy today's guest very much.
Today I’m welcoming Romance Author, Debby Grahl, to the Campfire. And any good host is sure to offer a beverage so what can I get you Debby, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
Donna, thanks for having me today. I have to say I love coffee and enjoy a glass of red wine.
On your website I spotted a picture of one of my favorite wine companies though I prefer the Merlot to the Cabernet. But I think I have a cab around here somewhere. In the meantime the coffee pot is always on. Can you tell our visitors about any camping experience you've had?
My husband and I met doing Civil War reenacting. We used to sit around a campfire and sing songs from that era. We now have an outdoor fireplace where we drink hot spiked cider with friends.
My husband and I are history buffs. My sister and brother-in-law is also a reenactors. Good for you. Camping in period tents can be rough, I'm impressed. I know they go no matter what the weather. Yum, and grown up hot, count me in. You are a multi-published author. Can you tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I’m working on a Carolina series. The first, Mountain Blaze, a contemporary romance, takes place outside of Ashville, NC and is under consideration from The Wild Rose Press.
I'm a Wild Rose author and think they are fabulous. Best of luck in is signing with them, Mountain Blaze is an intriguing name. By the way, I love, love Ashville. Next year we hope to camp near there and tour the Biltmore Estate during the Christmas season. Do you have a tagline for the novel or motto for you?
Debby Grahl, author of Mystery, Magic, and Romance.
Nice. It's tight and tells exactly who you are and what you do. It's difficult to get that across in a few words. Time keeps ticking. Too much. Too little. How much time did your book take?
I had to do a couple of rewrites, so Mountain Blaze has taken about eight months.
Wow that's great. I'm not a fast writer, and even slower with the editing process. Debby, can you tell us what challenges have you faced during writing. How did you get through it?
I have a disease of the retina called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight, seeing the printed word was always difficult for me. Reading a book would take me twice as long as a person with normal sight. I became frustrated with this and began to make up my own stories. It wasn’t until the invention of computer screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into print.
That's is an inspiration to all of us. I applaud you. You took what you had, and found a way to accomplish your dream. One of my favorite quotes is by Christopher Reeve. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” That's how I see you. I'm hearing impaired, but don't know how I would handle loss of vision. Now, I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
At this point, I’m excited to finish the Carolina series. The other two books are in progress. I also have a short time-travel story, The Silver Slipper, that I’d like to make into a full-length novel.
Busy lady. And by the way, your book covers are gorgeous. Here we go, it's time to get aboard D. V.'s Portal to the past. Is there something you would tell your beginning self? Advice? Encouragement? Warnings?
I would definitely take online writing classes. Like many beginning authors, I thought you just wrote the book and sent it off. I learned quickly there’ are many no-no’s in writing. For example, I sent the first twenty-five pages of my first book to an editor who was offering a free critique. She wrote me back and said I had a good story if I could write it -- ouch! She also said she outlined all my mistakes in red. To my chagrin, most of the pages were in red.
Yup. I did the same thing. I'm still trying to make one of my first books into something readable. Good story. Bad writing. Stupid commas are still the bane of my existence. Okay, fun questions. When you’re not writing, what are your hobbies or passions?
We live on Hilton Head Island, so I enjoy biking, walking on the beach, and beautiful sunsets. I also love to travel, England and New Orleans being my favorite places. My home state is Michigan, and I go home each summer and have fun with my family. We always have a campfire by the lake.
That sounds divine. What a beautiful place to live. Michigan is on my camping bucket list. 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?
Oh my, this is tough. I don’t think I can choose from all the rock, blues, and country songs I love, so I’m going to go with, Let It Snow.
Interesting pick for a beach girl. We're going to talk more after the fire. Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book?
What is your “Kodak Moment.” It’s a time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget.
I can’t describe the joy I felt when I held my first published book.
I bawled like a baby when I received mine. Many don't understand the time, effort, and self an author invests in their books. I would guess with the vision obstacles you've overcome, it was an especially sweet moment. Most writers need support. Are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’ve had the good fortune to become friends with the author Heather Graham. I was a huge fan of her books and a total groupie. Heather is a wonderful warm person who holds a writers’ conference in New Orleans each year. The proceeds go to organizations in the city that promote reading and literacy.
Giving back to the community is such an important honor. To promote reading and literacy is especially needed. Without reading and writing it's difficult to navigate the world today. Tell us about your body of work and your success as an author.
I’ve been very fortunate in finding publishers who like my stories enough to offer me contracts. I have three romance novels, The Silver Crescent, Rue Toulouse, and His Magic Touch; one mystery cozy, Decorated to Death; and short stories in four anthologies: The Haunted West, Never Fear / Christmas Terrors, and from the Island Writers’ Network: Eb and Flow, and Reflections.
Debby, thank you so much for joining me around the campfire today. I would appreciate you leaving us a blurb and excerpt from your work. Don’t forget to add where we can purchase your book and how we can find out more about you below.
It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. Attending a masquerade ball, wealthy fashion designer Caterine Doucette, dressed as a shimmering ice princess, has her cool façade shattered when she encounters Bayou-born ex-cop Remi Michaud, disguised as the darkly handsome pirate Jean Lafitte. Their true identities hidden, the princess and the pirate come together in an explosion of passion and desire. But when fantasy turns to cold reality, Caterine panics and disappears into the night, unaware this man will soon be sent to rescue her from a killer and will capture her heart.
Orphaned at a young age, Caterine grew up in the home of her beloved grandmother, Miss Dauphine Doucette. Despised by her Doucette relatives for the devotion she received from her grandmère, Caterine suffered years of envy and disdain. The young Caterine learned quickly how easily the love she had to give could be thrown back in her face.
After Miss Dauphine turns over ownership of the century-old fashion house, Ma Chérie, to Caterine, an attempt is made on her life, for there are those in the Doucette family who will stop at nothing to possess what they feel is their rightful inheritance.
Not knowing whom to trust, Caterine goes into hiding. Miss Dauphine, convinced someone in her own family is behind the attack, hires Remi, now working for a private security company, to track her down and unmask her would-be assassin.
Learning that the affluent Caterine Doucette is the beautiful princess he held in his arms at the ball, Remi is torn between his growing desire for her and painful memories of another rich socialite’s betrayal. Caterine finds herself falling in love with Remi, but old embedded pain leaves her afraid to open her heart.
Down in the Big Easy, Caterine and Remi must learn to trust one another if they are to survive in a world of family greed and ruthless revenge.
With a wicked grin, he whispered, “When it comes to pleasing a lovely lady, I try to do everything well.”
Caterine couldn’t hold back a smile. “Oh, I’ll bet you do.”
They had stepped away from the dancers and accepted glasses of water from a passing waiter. “Now, monsieur, shouldn’t you introduce yourself?”
“My apologies for being so remiss.” He stepped back and gave her a gallant bow. “Jean Lafitte at your service.”
She grinned. “A pirate. I should have known.”
“Do you not like pirates?”
“I can’t say I’ve ever met one, but I’ve heard they can be rather dangerous.”
A slow smile spread across his face. “A little danger can be exciting, Princess.”
Again he was standing close, filling her senses with his seductive voice and spicy cologne. The heat from his body had Caterine imagining being held in his arms on a sun-drenched beach while turquoise water lapped around their feet. His mouth was now inches from hers. “Come away with me, and I’ll show you.”
Come away with him. Oh, yes, how she’d love to run away with this pirate. Caterine’s fevered imagination now had them in each others’ arms on the deck of a gently rocking ship under a star-strewn sky. When his lips brushed gently across hers, the image changed to show him lowering her onto a bed of soft down. At the sound of his low chuckle, she blinked rapidly to wipe away the erotic scene.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
He smiled at her as if he could read her mind. “I said you look a little flushed. Would you like to go out onto the gallery where it’s cooler?”
She took a nervous step back and stammered, “It is rather warm in here, isn’t it.”
His knowing smile widened. “Exceedingly so. Shall we?” He took her hand and led her through the nearest open door.
You can find out more about Debby and how to follow her below.
This weeks movie recommendations are...
Pippi Longstocking the original film is 1969 with English dubbed. However there is a 1988 version.
Nights in Rodanthe is a 2008 American Romance filmed in North Carolina. It stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
This weeks recipe is for Hot apple cider with a kick you can do this in a slow cooker and imagine the smell in your house.
Welcome to the Campfire is taking next weekend off. Don't forget to stop by on November 30th with Author, Dee S. Knight