Hey Pamela I'm so glad to welcome you to the Campfire. What can I offer you? The campfire fridge is like Mary Poppins' bag, it has everything. And my recommendation today is pumpkin spice coffee.
Hi Donna! Thanks for having me at the camp. Hey...my favorite campfire beverage is coffee in the morning and a wine cooler or homemade margarita in the evening so...depends on what time of day we're chatting LOL!
Well time is relative at camp so we'll start with coffee and see where it takes us. While I'm filling the cups, can you tell us about your favorite camping memory?
Favorite camping story.... oh my.... I have SO many to tell! Most of my 'camping' trips are actually vacations. Sometimes long ones. For instance in 2017 we took a West Coast trip.... 15 states and 15 National Parks in 7 weeks. That was a fantastic trip but I love the long weekends up at Toledo Bend Lake or Sam Raybur when we can do some fishing too, especially when my cousin and her husband join us. Those are the weekends we laugh the most - a lifetime of memories in a weekend. :-)
And how about any new adventures?
My latest adventure was travelling to Troy, Alabama for the Dixie Majors World Series baseball tournament. My travelling partner’s grandson played for North Charleston who actually won the series last year in Monroe, Louisiana!
How have you been handling events of the recent pandemic? Has you writing been affected? To what extent? Oh, this pandemic is a crazy thing isn’t it? I’ve handled things pretty well. The hardest part was back when this all started in March and not being able to attend my granddaughter’s 16th birthday party. My daughter face-timed us though, so that helped. The second hardest thing is this virus has impacted my weekly nights out on the dance floor – it has been way-too-long since we’ve done that although we have danced a few on the carport LOL! My writing has flourished though that’s probably not due to the pandemic, but to the fact that I’ve finally found my groove again after years-over a decade really-of not being able to focus on writing. Since getting My Heart Weeps files up for pre-order, I’ve completed another novella which is in the editing stage and am working on yet another.
Sorry about missing the sweet 16 but we're glad your writing again. Please tell us a little about your latest project. Title, Genre, Inspiration
My Heart Weeps is an inspirational women’s fiction novel that follows one woman’s journey through grief into new life and parallels my own. This book actually took eight (8!) years to compete! It was way too up-close and personal to get through all at once.
Sometimes writing can be so hard but also cathartic. I happy you worked through it. Do you have a tagline or life motto?
My tagline is “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and I try to live my life by my own motto which is a combination of common sense and scripture: Don’t mock what you don’t understand and judge not lest ye be judged.
Good words. I remember a line from the Narnia Chronicles. Safe?" said Mr. Beaver "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. and life isn't safe. But we try to make it good.
Are there and tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
You know, I’ve never really thought about this… Tips and tricks – zilch LOL! I just live life as it comes along. I guess one piece of advice I would share is: Take a Breath! I’ve been on a spiritual journey for years and one thing I’ve found that helps in the stickiest situation is to simply take one or several deep breaths. Stress is a byproduct of a busy mind – you heard that right, a busy MIND not a busy life. Peace is an internal thing and begins with having peaceful thoughts. When my mind starts circling around a subject or the many things on my ‘to do’ list for the day/week/month, I tell myself all-the-time… Just take a breath, Pam, you’ve (or God’s) got this. Breath in PEACE to the slow count of four, hold for a 4 count, then breathe out STRESS to the slow count of five. This simple technique has helped me be calmer and more peaceful in some very trying circumstances. Try it sometime!
There used to be a poster in my office that said "The faster I work, the Behinder I get." I'm also familiar with the breathing technique similar to what you describe called four square breathing. Now the fun questions.
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme.. .
I have a huge mug that says…. Coffee smells like freshly ground heaven.
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?
Visiting Churchill Downs in 2018 would certainly be on the top of my list (after birth of grandchildren of course) and visiting Boonsboro, MD (Nora Roberts’ town) would be #2.
Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
My favorite childhood books were the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. What inspired me to become a writer was reading one-too-many insipid little romances. I love the romance genre but at the time I was pregnant and after throwing more than one book across the room in disgust figured I could do better. A might arrogant to say the least, LOL! But that’s what got me started. I’ve since found writing and writing well are two different things.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
Oh, this is easy! International first-class tickets because I LOVE to travel and dream of going to Italy, Ireland and Jerusalem someday.
Did you ever win something? What?
I’m sure I’ve won a few things in my life but what stands out the most is winning $2000 at a casino. I’m not a huge gambler and I actually won with “free play” money. What’s so amazing about it is that I wanted to attend a spiritual workshop with a few friends, and I mentioned to God that I’d love to be able to pay their way. “That’d take about two-thousand dollars though….” Well, guess what? Yep, I won that money shortly afterward and was able to treat three of my friends to the workshop. The fourth couldn’t make it so I sent her the money. God never ceases to amaze me.
If someone came up to you and said, “Hey, do that thing you do!”, what thing would pop into your head, first? DANCE! I love music and I love to be out on the dancefloor…. Waltz, two-step, jitterbug, line dancing. Regardless how tired I am or stressful my day, I always get my second wind when it comes to dancing.
What subjects should be taught in school, but aren’t?
Oh my, I think one of the most important subjects should be Budgeting and Balancing a Checkbook and perhaps Wise Saving/Investing. In this day and age when every penny is tracked online, and credit card debt is beyond belief, young people have no idea how to balance a checkbook or budget their income and these life skills are imperative with the way our economy fluctuates and the future of Social Security always hanging in the balance.
Thanks for being part of the Campfire, Pam. It's so wonderful getting to know you better. Would you leave us information about your book and how to find out more? There's also some exciting news about a giveaway at the end of this post.
Title: My Heart Weeps
Blurb: After thirty years married to the man of her dreams, Melena Rhyker is devastated by her husband's death. Relief comes in the form of an artist's retreat at the Crossed Penn ranch in Utopia, TX. She rediscovers a forgotten dream as her artistic talent flourishes into that of a gallery-worthy artist. Will she have the courage to follow the path she was destined to travel?
Garrett Saunders has been on the run most of his life. Abused and abandoned as a child, he escapes the clutches of a past filled with pain and shame, and hides from his calling as a Native American healer. His years as a CIA agent aid in overcoming his childhood and honing his talent and skill as a fine art photographer.
Follow their journey as two people who come from totally different backgrounds, but share gifts of gigantic proportions, find meaning and purpose in the Texas Hill Country.
My Heart Weeps is on sale for a limited time @ 99cents and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!
Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/MyHeartWeeps
Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU
Pam is giving away 1 Ebook, 1 Autographed Print Book, 1 Audio Book, a $15 Amazon Gift Card, a 1-month Audible membership and a SURPRISE Giftpack to 6 lucky people! (1 prize per winner) Names will be collected throughout the tour which ends Sept. 30th. Winners will be notified, and prizes awarded by October 10th so be sure to leave your EMAIL Address!
Blog Tour Dates/Stops:
8/11 Gail Pallotta’s Peering Through Life’s Window
8/13 Liz Flaherty’ Word Wranglers Blog
8/15 Clare Revell’s The Word Can Wait Blog
8/18 Southern Writers Suite T Blog
8/18 Alina K Field’s Simply Romance Blog
8/20 Penelope Marzec’s Bookish Thoughts Blog
8/25 Jana Richards’ Romance Story Board Blog
8/27 Beverly Bateman’s BLOG
9/1 Valarie Goree’s Facebook Page
9/5 D. V. Stone’s Campfire Blog
9/9 Jacqueline Seewald’s BLOG
9/11 Linda Rondeau’s Snark & Sensibility Blog
9/14 Patricia Kioyno’s Four Foxes, One Hound Blog
9/18 Diane Burton’s BLOG
9/22 Alicia Dean’s BLOG
9/25 Jeny Hickman’s BLOG
9/30 Linda Nightingale’s Author…Musings Blog
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
God Bless you Pam.
And before we go, remember summers not over and it's never to late for ice cream. The One Scoop Or Two Series is still going strong. Even when the chill of fall and winter is upon us, you can always escape to the beach or the lake with one of these tasty treats. Check them out at www.amazon.com/s?k=one+scoop+or+two+wild+rose+press&i=digital-text&crid=2KJT8J0VT82EZ
Happy Saturday, campers! I'm so glad you could join us today. With so much going on in the world it's nice to be able to step back for a few minutes and enjoy the simple things in life. Things like friends, old and new. Things like a fire in the pit and conversation. Sharing refreshments and laughs. We'll be hunkering down this weekend at home. Maybe play a game of dominoes with friends Saturday. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the storms and fires. I know next week's guest has been evacuated to higher ground. My husband and I will be out in 2Hoots next weekend and also looking forward to his retirement trip in the Northeast. I hope to keep the ability to post pictures and share my trips with you, internet can be sketchy when camping. However if you sign up form my http://bit.ly/2YtI1XO_newsletter you'll get a monthly update and chances to win prizes.
Now, without any further ado...
Today I’m welcoming Linda O'Connor to the Campfire. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it.
I’d love a hot chocolate – with a dollop of decadent whipped cream.
Excellent choice. Here you go. Now we all want to know if you"ve ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I love camping in a tent – especially wrapped in a warm sleeping bag on a cool night, listening to the sounds of the crickets and the wind through the trees, out in the fresh air. When the kids were really little – like 6 - 8 months old, we would bring one of those low-sided Rubbermaid containers for them to sleep in (without the lid, of course :D). Otherwise, they would wiggle around too much and end up on the other side of the tent, with all the blankets, by morning.
You nailed the filling of sight, sound, and feeling. LOL! I'm imagining the containers with little ones in it. Tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon.
This month, I’m celebrating the release of the third book of the Dr. Brogan Corkie Matchmaking Doctor series, Don’t Unravel the Past. Dr.Corkie is semi-retired and has upgraded her M.D. from medical doctor to matchmaking doctor. The doctor-turned-chef is cooking up romance and love.
Congratulations! That's a wonderful accomplishment. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
Laugh every day. Love every minute.
I love it. One of the first things someone asks me about writing is "How long did it take you from conception to publication?" What about you?
9 months (but it wasn’t as arduous as birthing a child)
Ha! Literally a book baby👶 Linda, so many opinions differ on my next question, what does literary success look like to you?
Lots of sales. :D The thing that really keeps me writing is feedback from readers. Readers who leave a review or write to tell me how much the story meant to them – how they related to it, how it made them laugh, how it helped them escape reality for a bit – and that they’re looking forward to the next book – that’s what defines literary success to me.
What a great answer. Success is measured by more than on thing. Do you have any Life Hacks for Authors. Tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others?
I write medical romance. A tip for others who want to write about doctors: they cannot/wouldn’t ever date their patients – unless they want to lose their licence to practice medicine. I know that readers are sometimes asked to suspend reality when reading fiction, but a doctor hooking up with their patient makes me cringe. It’s so unprofessional. Something else I’m often asked about – outside of a clinic or medical facility, doctors can pretty much only do First Aid and CPR like any other bystander. Not many doctors carry around a stethoscope, medical equipment, or urgently needed drugs on a date!
Here that medical writers. Big no-no patient dating the doc. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
How did I cope with COVID-19? I embraced change. Deep down, I don’t think this will be a permanent change (after all, life went back to some semblance of normal after the Spanish flu), but for now, it really helped to accept that I needed to do things differently or be left in the dust (or end up in a casket). I was already wearing a mask at work when I saw patients because inevitably they would cough just as I was taking a throat swab, and wearing a mask saved me from getting infected, but now I wear a mask whenever I go out. I was also a frequent hand washer, but now I actually do sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” twice while lathering. Also new was all the protective gear I had to wear at work, interacting with patients virtually instead of in-person, limiting who I saw and where I went, and grocery shopping every 7 - 10 days (no popping out for one ingredient). I focused on what I could do – go for walks, spend quiet time writing and reading, interact with others on Zoom or on the phone, make larger meals so there would be leftovers, so I didn’t have to cook every day. I’m very grateful that I have a lovely, peaceful home that I enjoy spending time in, and I’m at a stage in life with my job and children that makes it easier to cope.
Great insight. I remember working medical during the HIV/AIDS situation in the early mid 80's. We learned more about universal precautions. Now I guess it will be universal precaution add respiratory protection. 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 love miniature knick-knacks. When I was about nine years old, on one of my family’s annual road trips – hitting KOA campgrounds all around Ontario – we stopped at a museum. I can tell you, my parents never bought souvenirs, in fact, we rarely went into gift shops. With four kids, it just wasn’t in the budget. But that day we did, and I fell in love with a little key chain. Attached to the ring was a tiny clear rectangular box with a little “fish” swimming inside. I didn’t ask for it, but from the amount of time I spent making the little fish swim, it was obvious that I was enamoured with it. My mom shepherded us back into the car, and my dad lingered and came out with a small paper bag. He slipped it to me through the window before getting in the driver’s seat. When I opened it, it was the keychain delicately wrapped in tissue paper. My dad passed away of cancer when I was sixteen. That keychain has gone everywhere with me, and I still have it in a place of honour on a little picture shelf in my study.
Oh my! That is such a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme?
I have a mug that my husband had made with a picture of me and our two oldest sons, when they were three and four years old, out on a walk at a local conservation area. It’s the cutest thing ever.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences.
When you send away your spit in a direct-to-consumer genetic testing kit, the information can be sold to a third party including pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. The labs aren’t necessarily accredited, the results aren’t standardized, and because of a host of factors, even if the test is positive for a disease, it doesn’t mean that you have it (or that we can treat it) – are you really sure you want to know about it?
WHAT! Geez, nothing is private anymore. Duly noted. Do you have a favorite cartoon and why?
Zits. I swear the creators have a secret camera in our house – it’s so realistically funny about raising a teenager.
My hubby and I love Zits even though our son is long gone and onto a family of his own. What's your favorite candy, cookie, pasta?
Skittles (although a Crunchie bar is a close second), warm chocolate chip cookie, penne with a lemon infused oil and light balsamic vinegar dressing tossed with red peppers, fried zucchini, mushrooms, and capers.
Linda, thank you again for coming and spending time around the campfire. Your interview has been very enlightening. But before you go, can you leave a bit more about your book (s) and where interested readers can learn more?
Don’t Unravel the Past
Dr. Brogan Corkie is happily semi-retired from medicine and now has time for other hobbies. Her passion for food is second only to her skill at matchmaking!
Years ago, Dr. Jay Landon kissed a sexy stranger with violet eyes. He was instantly enamoured – until he saw the engagement ring on her finger and the angry-looking dude by her side. She walked away with a piece of his heart.
Dr. Brenna Locket is in Mapleton for a conference and plans to stay for a six-month sabbatical to write a book. Her colourful past has prepared her well for a job she loves as an obstetrician-gynecologist with a special focus on sexual health. If her vivacious personality, natural empathy, and expert knowledge didn’t set her apart, her violet eyes and curly black hair certainly would.
Brogan doesn’t know their history, but the spark between Jay and Brenna is undeniable. She’s intrigued…and a matchmaking scheme is hatched. Now, if only Brenna could leave her past behind. Because unravelling the past might just derail the future.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Unravel-Brogan-Corkie-Matchmaking-Doctor-ebook/dp/B08C8MHGYL
The doorbell rang and Brenna tugged on her T-shirt and ran a hand through her hair to subdue some of the wayward curls before opening the door. She stilled and her smile froze in place. Her recollection was swift – steel blue eyes glinting behind a goalie mask, a stolen moment, a fleeting kiss. He hadn’t changed much in seven years, although his eyes seemed bluer and his shoulders broader. He certainly hadn’t lost that cocky smile.
Jay stiffened and then his smile slowly widened. “Well, if it isn’t Doctor Sniper/Cheater.”
“It was a good goal, Doctor Sore Loser. I couldn’t help it if I was more talented than you.” Brenna leaned against the door frame. “It’s been a while.”
“Indeed it has.” But he’d recognize those violet eyes and curly hair anywhere. If truth be told, he was a complete sucker for them. They’d haunted his dreams since the moment he’d met her, even if she had just scored the winning goal. She’d robbed his hockey team of a spot in the final and stolen his heart in one fell swoop.
Award-winning author Linda O’Connor started writing romantic comedies when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at a local home décor store. Her books have enjoyed bestseller status. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic. She shares her medical knowledge in fast-paced, well-written, sexy romances – with an unexpected twist. Her favourite prescription to write? Laugh every day. Love every minute.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA
Since joining RWA one of the people who has been a solid cheerleader, mentor, friend to Anna Taylor is a person who has been a solid cheerleader, mentor, friend to many of us in the writing community and is today's guest. Personally she has reached out with great information to help me with my writing career. I'm so happy she'd joined us at camp today. Always supportive and kind, I know you'll her interview.
Anna, welcome to the campfire. What can I get you? At camp the pantry and fridge are like Aladdin's lamp. Your wish is our command.
Tea for me. Red Raspberry Zinger is always in stock. Lately I’ve been experimenting with my own version of iced peach green tea lemonade.
Red Raspberry Zinger it is. Let me know how the experiment goes. Green tea is healthy but in my opinion yuck without other flavors. I've found that Constant Comment green as well as Earl Green are pretty good. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
Camped, not glamped. With a guy I was dating in seminary I hiked a trail in the Adirondacks and camped in old WPA lean-tos. Next with my husband I camped again in the Adirondack State Park, this time in a campground using a tent, cooking on a Coleman stove and reading by LED lamps.
Oh, the Adirondacks are beautiful. Can you tell us about your latest project?
Right now I’m working on several, especially a WIP I entered into a fall back category of the Great Expectations contest on the last day since the one I wanted to enter was closed. Who knew I’d win the category and the final round judge would request the full?! It’s called Kwanzaa to the Rescue and is about a woman recently separated from her husband, trying to recapture what’s important in her life. She helped in her journey throughout the story as she relearns the meaning and power of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. I'm also working on the second novella in my Haunted Harlem series entitled A Little In Love With Death. It already has a cover designed by my fabulous cover designer Dawne Dominique. I'm still revising it but I'm going to post excerpts of it on Goodreads as part of my pre-order strategy.
That sounds quite interesting. I love reading about different celebrations especially ones that help us find our way in this crazy world. I have to admit I don't know much about Kwanzaa so I look forward to reading it. Can you share a bit about what you're working on and what's on the horizon?
Today I’m talking about my first self-published novella, Haunted Serenade. I wrote it back in 2011 as part of a series with several other authors from my RWA gothic romance chapter. Nine years later I’ve improved it, had a beautiful new cover designed and released it on June 17th. It’s now the first of my Haunted Harlem series which are psychological and parapsychological ghost stories.
Wonderful! I will tell our guests today that I have read Haunted Serenade and its not only a spine-tingling ghost story but a fabulous character study about the things the character's experienced in lift that brought them to the crisis of the haunting. I highly recommend it. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
Life motto: Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly before God. Micah 6:8
Amen. That is one of my favorite verses. Can you imagine how much better our earthly journey would be if more people followed that? Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Shout out to Mary Buckham, mentor extraordinaire. Years ago she asked me to be on a panel she was proposing for an RWA national meeting. When I said “but I’m not published” she shot back, “you’re an author whether you’re published or not.” Thank you Mary for making me take myself seriously as a writer.
She sounds amazing. And along those lines, what does literary success look like to you?
Selling books whose stories enlighten, encourage, educate and entertain. And hopefully make me a little spending money. : D
I'd like to give a second amen to that. Speaking of mentoring do you have any Life Hacks for Authors. Tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
Make appointments to organize your time. Get a dollar store weekly pocket planner. Block out days that are for you and family and your day job (if applicable) and leave those blocks inviolate. Then make appointments with yourself in the unclaimed spaces to write, to revise, do marketing, network. No more than two appointments per day. That’s how I’ve been using all the time sheltering-in-place has put at my disposal.
Time is something I struggle to conquer this sounds like a good way to wrangle it. Now the fun questions...
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 hug I shared with my then groom after the minister declared us husband and wife.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences.
Here’s how to count to ten in Swahili: Moja, wili, tatu, nne, tano, sita, saba, nane, tisa, kumi
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt?
My favorite mug and T-shirt carry a copy of the “Thank You Mitch” advertisement a number of us Mitch Pileggi X-Files fans ran in Variety to thank him for playing our favorite X-Files character , Assistant Director Walter Skinner. It’s his name plate and the wire rim glasses the character. We donated what was left over after paying for the ad to his favorite charity.
What’s your favorite fairy tale? The Bremen Town Musicians
Favorite childhood book? The Borrowers.
Last thing you googled? Why?
The last thing I googled was Beverly Jenkins guest podcasts. It was an assignment from a book marketing webinar to find where our ideal readers hang out.
Anna, thank you so much for being such and interesting and fun guest at the campfire. I know others would like to know more about you and your books. Can you leave us some information?
All the women in Anora Madison's family have lived haunted by the curse of becoming Poor Butterflies: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, not only severing her ties with her mother Angela, but also ending her relationship with Winston Emerson, her lover and the father of her child.
Six years later, Anora comes home to make peace, but an unseen evil manifests itself during the homecoming and targets not only Anora, but her little girl Cammie.
With nowhere to run, Anora must confront the evil now trying to destroy her life. She vows to protect her daughter at all costs, but if that protection can only be found with Winston back in her life, how will Anora protect her heart?
Get a copy here
“I never understood how you and Elizabeth could stay here after Diana...” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word. My mother didn’t finish my sentence for me. Apparently she couldn’t say the word either.
We waited in the shared silence, unable more than unwilling to offer terms of peace.
“A person can will themselves to die,” my mother said. Her gaze drifted to the album cover in my hands. “It’s not so hard where unforgiving spirits reign.”
My gut clenched. “Do you really believe you’re dying, Ma?”
“According to my doctor I’m sound as a dollar. But when you’ve got more days behind you than in front of you, that’s not saying much.” She directed her gaze to me. “That’s why Cammie is so important. She’s the future. I feel better just having been in her presence a little while.”
“I should have known.” I gripped the album cover with fingers trembling with anger and disappointment. “All that display of affection...you’re only using her to make you feel better.”
“No, Anora.” My mother came over and grabbed my arm with an earnestness that surprised me. “It’s not like that. I—I want the ghosts keeping us apart to die. Don’t you?”
I wanted it so much it hurt. I grimaced, but nodded.
“Cammie took one look at this house and asked if it was haunted.”
My mother snorted. “Out of the mouths of babes.”
“Exactly what I thought.” I returned the album cover to its resting place.
The term troubled my mind. Can the spirit of anyone who dies the way my aunt died ever rest?
The question went unanswered, interrupted by my daughter’s screams.
Anna M. Taylor website: https://annamtaylor.webs.com
Anna M. Taylor FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/annamtaylorAuthor
Anna M. Taylor Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anna-M.-Taylor/e/B0894LFCTV?author-follow=B0894LFCTV&
Hi, Jessica! Thanks for stopping by the campfire today. I love your hat😍 What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it.
Cocoa. Not today though – it’s way too hot!
Have you ever had a frozen hot chocolate? I've posted a recipe below. But here's some ice water. Have to stay hydrated in this weather. Tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I’ve never camped but my husband and I are talking about doing it later this summer, perhaps even before this post goes live. We love the outdoors—hiking, swimming, cookouts, and seeing as how this is a rather unusual summer, we were thinking it might be the perfect time to try it. We think we’ve scouted out the perfect place for it, too, in the Poconos.
The Pocono's are one of our go-to places for weekend trips. We usually stay in the KOAs. You should also check out Camp Taylor right on the border but the Jersey side in Columbia. It's a little more rustic but again one of our favorites. Tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon?
I’ve just released the 4th story in the Rabourn Theater Series, An Intoxicating Interlude. In this series two rival families battles for control of the world they love and 5 unlikely couples come together and discover a different sort of passion. An Intoxicating Interlude is a second-chance romance with a twist—Dani and Ryder were never a couple and in fact, Ryder wants revenge on Dani for sending him to prison. He’s hatched the perfect plan only, being married to the woman he’s wanted since the day he first set foot in Rabourn Theater isn’t as simple as he wanted to believe. Dani is a temptress, warm and sensual and capable of turning his world on its head. As a series of dangerous accidents befall the people of Rabourn Theater, Ryder prays the end won’t come sooner than he’s prepared for.
I’m currently writing the final story in the series, An Enchanting Song. Ryder’s diabolical brother Sebastian is back in Briarcliff Manor and he wants what he has since the beginning, Rabourn Theater. But a beautiful, mysterious woman may put a serious kink in his plans…
Wow! It sounds like a great story. I've read your Passionate Play from this series and was enthralled by it. I'll have to add the rest to my TBR (to be read) list. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
Be who you are. Do what you love. Find the person who completes you and never let them go.
Yep, you nailed it. Let's talk about writing. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
I generally write 1 book a year but I often outline them years in advance, since I like to write series. I need to have a strong sense of where the series is going before I begin writing the first book, so that I don’t lock myself out of any potential great ideas later on. That said, I created the initial outline for An Intoxicating Interlude a couple of years ago and polished it up earlier this year.
I never knew how difficult series are until I started writing one. Good for you planning ahead. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
I’m proud to be a member of New Jersey Romance Writers for over a decade, and I’ve met some of the most amazing authors in this group, (some who are still members, some who are not) who write the greatest stories! Roni Denholtz, Emma Kaye, Jennifer Wilck, Deborah Garland, Nancy Herkness, Tina Gabrielle, Maria K. Alexander, Jenna Victoria and most recently, you (D.V. Stone), just to name a few!
Thank you, Jessica. I'm humbled to be added to such an illustrious group. Different people have different ideas about my next question. What does literary success look like to you?
Success, in any profession, is doing what you love and sticking with it even when the chips are down. Every profession has its difficult days, yes, even the ones we love. A writer who chooses to write, and does it regularly, is infinitely further ahead of the game than one who says they want to write and never does. I consider just being in this game, and staying in it, to be a degree of literary success.
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.
Before the pandemic, I gave a talk on Editing and Pacing at the Easton Book Festival, sharing interesting and useful tips I’ve picked up on these topics over the years. You can see the video with all of the slides I used on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPOmR5rfkPw&t=255s
As for my life and writing afterward, for me, being home more has actually been a good thing. I’m a writer who can write in the midst of minor distraction and when you cut out the commuting time each day, I’m good at taking that extra hour and turning it into writing time. I don’t watch the news, so I’m only distracted by negativity when someone tells me what is going on, which is not exactly the same and those closest to me know I’d rather talk about something else. Do I want to get back to the old normal, you betcha, like, yesterday. But I play the cards I’m dealt and do what I can to turn lemons into lemonade. A little more time to myself is never a bad problem to have, IMO.
Thank you for sharing the link. I know I'll be able to glean great information from it. And yep, I agree. Life isn't fair or easy. You do the best you can and roll with it. Now the fun questions...
What's your favorite candy, cookie, pasta?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Double Chocolate Chip, Any kind as long as it’s covered in delicious sauce!
What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?
Too many to pick from – Wilson Phillips Hold On For One More Day, The Cranberries Dreams, Go West King of Wishful Thinking, Selena Dreaming of You…
If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would play you?
I’d call the movie Somerset (where I grew up.) Anne Hathway would play me. Several people have told me I look like her. I’m eagerly awaiting the day that someone walks up to her and tells her she looks like Romance Novelist Jessica Lauryn!
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?
On my wedding day I was given a beautiful bell, which belonged to my grandmother who passed away a few years before, and which she’d intended to give to her first grandchild who got married. Right before she died, she told me she would always give me something. She’s given me so many things that I will treasure forever. This one was extra-special.
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Beauty & the Beast. Perhaps that has something to do with why I’m obsessed with tortured heroes and reforming former villains?
Jessica, you're a riot! Thank you for being such a fun and interesting guest. Please leave us some more information about where to find you as well as more about your books.
An Intoxicating Interlude Blurb:
Will the monster who almost ruined Dani’s life make all her dreams come true?
Former exotic dancer Dani Talbert is determined to leave Briarcliff Manor and raise her son in a place where he won’t be branded by her mistakes. She’s dreamed of being a star on Rabourn Theater’s stage all her life and it’s time she put the dreams that have cost her everything behind her. But when Ryder Nathanson, the conniving man who once blackmailed her, comes back to town and arranges for Dani to have the lead role in her favorite play, her plans of starting a new life are brought to a halt. Ryder may be a monster, but he intrigues her a lot more than she realized.
An Intoxicating Interlude Excerpt:
Ryder shut the door. He sat beside her, on her bed. Drawing a breath, as though he was the one who was anxious, he asked, “What do you want to talk about?”
“Oh”—Dani thought quickly—“well I told you a lot about myself earlier, about my life growing up. But you didn’t tell me anything about yours.”
Ryder’s eyes darkened. He walked to the window and stood there a long moment before saying, “There isn’t exactly a lot to tell. My past is legendary at Rabourn Theater.”
“Well, yes and no. All of us who participated in the secret society believed Augustus Nathanson was a good man. I know he was your father, but I don’t really know anything else.”
“What more could there be to say?”
Dani studied his expression. Ryder was there with her, but it was like he wasn’t there, as though he was someplace else. It was as though his mind was in another time—when exactly had she become so curious? Yes, Ryder had gotten her to open up to him, something she still couldn’t believe she’d done, but the fact that he was unwilling to talk about himself made her wonder. Was it possible their pasts had been similar? Had Ryder been betrayed by the people he’d loved the most, like she had?
She rambled, “Something, I’d imagine. Everyone has a story, I mean, it isn’t as though you were born on another planet.”
Ryder glared at her. Dani met his stare.
He lifted an eyebrow. “You seem awfully curious about me all of a sudden.”
“You are my husband.” She shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I want to know more about you?”
“I don’t doubt you do.” Ryder crossed his arms. “Though I can’t imagine how I spent my adolescence is very high on the list.”
Unsure of how to respond to that, Dani stammered, “When I said let’s talk, I did mean talk. I wasn’t trying to…that isn’t why I…”
“You know, it’s amazing to me how a woman who used to take her clothes off in a room full of drunken men could be so guarded. Unless it’s an act. I have always believed your acting skills were uncanny.”
“How dare you! I told you that—”
“You were forced into exotic dancing because you had an unfair shake in life? Maybe that’s how it started, but you were at home on the stage. There were other ways you could have supported yourself, even under the worst of circumstances. You chose dancing because it’s in your blood, because it’s running through your veins, pumping through your heart with every beat.”
“So, I enjoy dancing,” Dani said, unable to believe how flawlessly he’d been able to turn the focus back onto her, or what a wild shift in topic had come of it. “It isn’t as though that was ever a secret. I have a skill and I used it to support myself. I did what I had to, to survive.”
Ryder sat beside her. Looking into her eyes, asked, “Were you doing what you had to do earlier tonight, when you were kissing me?”
Dani’s heart came into her mouth. She backed up, attempting to hide her burning face. “I see what you’re trying to do. It’s the same thing you were doing earlier. You want me to let my guard down.”
“What if I do?” Her husband inched closer. “You asked me not to leave, which I can only assume you did because you want me to stay.”
Dani wanted to move away. She needed to move away, but her body refused to do anything besides remain in place, tingles rushing through her, her body shuddering as though she’d been caught against an electric socket.
“You don’t really want to talk.” Ryder grazed her cheek. “Do you Dani?”
Dani’s throat was so dry she couldn’t speak. She inclined her head, intending to move it up and down. It seemed to be locked in place.
“You have so much passion inside of you. I saw it when you were on the stage. You’re dying to let it out, but you bottle it up inside because you’re afraid.”
“I’m not afraid,” she insisted.
Ryder smiled. “Prove it.”
Ryder Nathanson wants revenge on everyone who has wronged him, and the woman responsible for sending him to prison is at the top of his list. He’s hatched the perfect plan only, being married to Dani Talbert, the woman he’s wanted since the day he first set foot in Rabourn Theater, isn’t as simple as he wanted to believe. Dani is a temptress, warm and sensual and capable of turning his world on its head. As a series of dangerous accidents befall the people of Rabourn Theater, Ryder prays the end won’t come sooner than he’s prepared for.
An Intoxicating Interlude Buy Links:
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CJH42ZW
I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I live to this day. There are a lot of people living in the area where I reside and I love being part of a very active community – coming back from a vacation, NJ always feels like home. I’m a big antique collector and I love hitting up the local (and sometimes not so local!) antique stores in search of pretty, Victorian treasures. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, where I’ve met a number of interesting people, several of whom have found their way into my stories. I am obsessed with 80’s music but I try to stick with classical while I’m reading and writing. I find it less distracting, and also, greatly inspiring!
Author Social Media
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A Passionate Play - Available Now!
Frozen Hot Chocolate
I love to go camping. Every day in camp you meet knew people and dogs. This morning my husband head nearly blew off when two basset hounds walked past. Bassetts are his favorite. The thing that is not so much fun is sketchy wifi and cell signal. That said I'm appologizing to my guest for the technical difficulties we are experiencing. So before I lose my signal please welcome todays's guest and make sure you get to the end. Wendy has a campfire recipe for us.
Welcome to the Campfire with Today's Guest Wendy Kendall.8/8/2020
Hey, Wendy. What’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine? My go-to drink is chai tea, the more caffeine the better. A steaming mug, that spicy scent, oh yes that suits me to a T.
One of my favorites is Dragon Spiced Chai. I usually have some around so here you go. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
It's been awhile since my last camping, which is why I'm so happy to be invited to your campfire today. I've enjoyed tent camping in the past, especially at the beach but also in the mountains. After moving to the Seattle area where rain even in the summer is common, we finally got tired of coming home soaked to the skin and bought a used camper. That was fun too. Nowadays my idea of roughing it is a cabin with no wifi.
Tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
I write cozy mysteries and the first of my In Purse-Suit Mysteries series is Kat Out of the Bag. That's Kat with a K for Katherine Watson, international purse designer and amateur sleuth.
And I’m so excited to break the news here - the prequel is available beginning September 2nd. Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash is the title and it’s part of The Wild Rose Press’ One Scoop Or Two series. In this prequel Katherine Watson makes a chilling discovery about a cold case involving a missing girl.
Congratulations! I'm a recent fan of the Cozy Mystery and the One Scoop or Two series is amazing. Do you have a tagline?
From designer bags to body bags
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
Kat Out of the Bag took me a very exciting 5 years. I have a passion for mysteries, books, and purses so the writing and the research was all a lot of fun. I immersed myself in the writing community in the Pacific Northwest and have made so many wonderful friends. I’ve learned so much that has improved my writing.
As part of my research I interviewed local police, especially those with K-9 partners because Jason Holmes is a character who is a local cop in my series, with his four-pawed partner Hobbs. I also did a ride along with a K-9 patrol in the Seattle area and got to see them in action. What an exciting research assignment I gave myself there. I’ve used this experience in the book, and plan on continuing to include more throughout the series. I’m writing the sequel now.
Another highlight of my research was a visit to the Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. What a fabulous visit for someone like me who has a passion for purses, and for history. This wonderful place tells women’s history and uses women’s purses as accessories to tell the stories of the decades. So inspiring! The tales of extraordinary efforts and accomplishments by everyday women are so beautiful. And seeing all the purses is a delight. It’s created and run by Anita Davis, who is an incredible woman herself, and her fabulous staff.
I was thrilled when The Wild Rose Press decided in August 2019 they would publish Kat Out of the Bag. They’ve been fantastic to work with. My book has been available since April of this year.
I have to admit my purse is a phone case and my "bag" is a backpack. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
If you’re a cozy mystery fan, my absolute favorite author, queen of the genre in my eyes, is Laura Childs. She has several series, but my favorite is her Tea Shop mysteries.
For other book recommendations, I have a Recommended Reads column you can visit whenever your to-be-read pile gets low - https://myedmondsnews.com/category/columns/recommended-reads/
Tell us, what does literary success look like to you?
So many readers have contacted me and said how very much they’ve enjoyed reading Kat Out of the Bag. That warms my heart. I want to continue to increase the visibility of my books in order to entertain more readers as a best seller, to provide delightful characters and puzzling mysteries to all amateur sleuths.
As I looked at the prequel Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash, a thrill ran through me as I saw the page - Other books by Wendy Kendall. That’s literary success for me, telling more and more stories for readers to savor.
Store your handbags on a shelf & stuff them when not in use in order to maintain their shape. When you carry, let your purse-onality shine bright.
Now the fun questions pick 5 or if you like more but no more than 7.
When I got older, the whole Anne of Green Gables series, and of course all the Nancy Drew books.
Wendy, thanks for being part of the Campfire. Please tell us a bit about your books and where we can find more information.
Kat Out of the Bag (excerpt)
by Wendy Kendall
“There's an officer nearby. We'll alert him. Hold the line.”
Katherine was worried by the operator's monotone. Did she understand the urgency? Katherine watched in disbelief as the shadow figure moved toward the shed attached to the waterwheel. Too late, she thought to get a picture after the person disappeared inside the shed.
“Oh no,” Katherine muttered. She spoke into the phone, “Hurry, I think it's the killer, maybe looking for something left behind? Hello?” Had the operator hung up?
“Yes, the officer is on the way. Please stay on the line.” The operator's voice now sounded bored.
A sharp ray of light from inside the shed cut through the darkness. The light jumped around. Sweat collected on Katherine's upper lip as she imagined the killer looking through her things for something, maybe critical evidence. Fear gave way to irritation at the invations. Irritation gave way to anger. Someone had to stop that killer from removing whatever incriminating thing was so critical it had driven a return to the scene of the crime. Katherine wanted to scream. Where were the police? Maybe MJ was right about them. She pressed against the French doors. The light in the shed went out. Her breath caught in her throat. The silhouette walked out of the shed toward the alley leading to the maze that burrowed throughout Bayside and beyond.
Katherine spoke gruffly and fast, “Hello. Where's your officer? The suspect is getting away.”
“Ma'am, please stay calm and hang on the line. They're on the way.”
Katherine unlocked the door to the yard and whispered to the 911 operator, “I'm in pursuit.”
Website - https://sites.google.com/site/wendywriteshere/
Kat Out of the Bag
A Passion For Purses Blogspot - https://apassionforpurses.blogspot.com/
Email - email@example.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pg/WendyKendallMysteries/about/?ref=page_internal
Twitter - https://twitter.com/WendyWrites1
Instagram - wendyekendallMy links:
Website - https://sites.google.com/site/wendywriteshere/
Kat's Out of the Bag Stake Out Sandwich
3 cold brisket steak slices
2 ciabatta bread slices
aioli sauce horseradish, to taste
2-3 tsp roasted red peppers
3 tomato slices
3 red onion slices
Directions: Put steak slices on one slice of bread. Spread aioli sauce and horseradish on the other slice of bread. Put on top of the steak all other ingredients. Put the bread slice with aioli sauce on top of the rest Kat's Out of the Bag Stake Out Sandwich
Good morning campers! Hope you had a great week. I'm coming to you from a wonderful campground in Columbia New Jersey called Camp Taylor. Later today I'm expecting my sister and Nick, as well as Rich and Kelly good friends. The ribs will be cooking low and slow all day and I hope to hear the wolves from the Lakota Wolf Preserve periodically. Hali is channeling her inner wolf in case a howl goes up. I had an amazing week with blogs and Facebook takeovers. If you want to check it out, head over to my about and guest blog page. But today isn't about me it's about my lovely guest. So let's shake off the dust of the week. Grab a beverage and enjoy our discussion.
Today I’m welcoming to the Campfire Marilyn Barr. She is a fellow Wild Rose Press Author and I'm excited to have her at the campfire. Thanks for coming by Marilyn, what’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it. Ginger tea please, after my morning coffee I rely on green or ginger tea to keep my internal fire going.
Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
My family glamps every November in the Smokey Mountains. We rent a cabin with an indoor pool and shut out the rest of the world. We hibernate like the three bears. In my paranormal romance series, the Strawberry shifters are in an alliance with a North Carolina mountain pack. This pack is nestled in the Smokey Mountains, and I use my glamping adventures to describe living there. The Smokey Mountains will be the travel destination for one of the Paulino boys when he’s old enough to be looking for love. I’m so excited to write about them.
How wonderful. I love when a location inspires a story and the Smokey Mountains are gorgeous. Tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon?
On June 3rd, the first Strawberry Shifters novel, Bear with Me was released. Readers are now able to visit Strawberry, KY with the pack’s newest residents: the Luther family. Grant, Alison, and their son Henrik have relocated to the tiny town to follow Grant’s career dreams. He is the new Director of Regulatory Affairs at Bergan Pharma. While a more cautious person may question why an upstart pharmaceutical company is located in the middle of nowhere, Grant is just happy to have the chance to drive the company to stardom.
The second Strawberry Shifters novel has already been submitted to The Wild Rose Press. The loveable jokesters who run Bergan Pharma’s IT department are the main characters in Strawberry Shifters Book 2: Round of Applause. However, Round of Applause is a Yuletide book so its release date will not be until this holiday season.
I'm excited! Shifter stories are so much fun. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
On social media look for #Strawberryshifters as my tagline, but my personal life motto is “Dum Spiro, Spero”. Cicero’s famous quote means “Whilst I breathe, I hope”. My son and I battle a genetic autoimmune disease as well as neuro-diverse challenges just like our #ownvoices characters in the Strawberry shifters series. I hope to show the strengths and challenges of living with sensory processing disorder (SPD) through Alison Luther. I gave her the same flavor of SPD as myself with heightened hearing, taste, and smell but with muted touch, vestibular stability, and visual acuity. When she experiences the terror of an unidentified foreign food texture when she eats, it is from my experiences when eating mixtures. No s’ mores for me, thank you though. Combined with my ulcerative colitis, eating any meal is like being a contestant on Fear Factor.
Oh, my. That's a tough row to hoe. I'm shoving the s'mores back in the cabinet. Using your life experiences make stories so much deeper. I'm sure not only myself, but all the reader wish you both the best. How long did it take you from conception to publication?
In December of 2018, my husband dared me to write a paranormal romance novel. I hadn’t written fiction since high school but have background experience in technical writing. At the time I was reading 300 to 500 pages of paranormal romance a day and I believe he was trying to get out of buying another bookshelf.
I wrote Bear with Me, Round of Applause, and was almost finished writing Go Scorch Yourself in four months. My spouse learned never to dare me to do anything and I learned I loved writing paranormal romance as much as I love reading it. My friends were kind enough to let our book club read Bear with Me and loved it enough to also read Round of Applause and Go Scorch Yourself. They convinced me to try the query process, so I sent out one query and waited for a reply.
By June of 2019, I was losing hope on my one query attempt and started to scout out where to send my next letter. I was very naïve about the query process. I met my favorite author Lora Leigh at a reader to author meet up. I decided to wear a self-designed Strawberry Shifters t-shirt with a plea for an agent on the back. I got more laughs from my shameless self-promotion than agent attention, but I did get career-launching advice from Lora Leigh. She told me to query a small press directly and enjoy being an author, instead of waiting on an agent. I was a fan of a couple of Wild Rose Press authors and decided to query them. Bear with Me went into contract November of 2019.
I appreciate your bold gesture. And congratulations on landing in the Wild Rose Press Garden. It's a great publishing house and the authors in the garden are amazing. Tell us, are there any mentors, authors, or books you would like to give a shout-out to?
I would like to give a special shout out to my adopted hometown neighbor, JR Ward. While I was editing Bear with Me, I went to her presentation at our local library and was lucky enough to meet her. By having the speediest dialing, I was one of the first 30 participants to RSVP, winning a ticket to the pre-lecture reception. She talked about having the courage to write how the story in your head instead of the story desired by the market, the publisher, or the haters.
She autographed my idea book with the advice “only listen to your rice crispies”. She gave me the courage to keep the spice level of the Strawberry Shifters at the hot level of the books I like to read. One of the themes of Bear with Me is the balance of power in a marriage needs to be equal in all areas: emotional, financial, intellectual, and sexual. Taking the naughty scenes out or cooling them down would diminish the journey. I had to develop the courage to share them for which I credit JR Ward.
Good advice and an amazing thrill for you. Now that your published, what does literary success look like to you?
I have to admit, I am in it for fans. I can’t wait to sell books at a convention booth, signing autographs, and talking about Strawberry with readers. The ultimate sign of literary success for me would be fan art! I have zero artistic talents and in awe of anyone who does. The first fan to approach me with their rendition of Grant or Alison will probably be met with gushing happy tears. Be warned!
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.
My son was diagnosed as immunocompromised and too sick for school in 2013, so we have had years to adjust to social distancing. My best tips involve using space and technology to work for you instead of against you. First, we have UV sterilizers for phones and tablets to avoid smearing them with disinfecting wipes several times per day. Putting the phones in the sterilizer for an hour at night not only keeps them from passing germs but gives us an hour of alone time…
Secondly, summer in Kentucky means farm-fresh produce, meat, and dairy which we prefer. After soaking produce in very dilute white vinegar to decontaminate them, I freeze, can, and pickle enough to last the winter. Lastly, but also concerning food, we have a grocery wiping station set up in the garage with wipes, gloves, paper towels, indoor-only cloth grocery bags, and new plastic bags if some of the packaging falls apart during decontamination. The equipment stays in a bin in the garage waiting to be used to avoid having to find everything when you get home from the grocery.
Before COVID, we evaluated immunity risks based on crowd level, air quality, cleanliness, food, and activity. The zoo is a better choice than a movie theater just because of the ability to spread out, minimal eating so you can wear a mask, and fresh air with the sun’s UV rays. Letting Mother Nature help keep you safe with her air-purifying plants and sunlight is an excuse to reconnect with the green spaces in your area. While my family does not rough it, we love an isola-cation like glamping here with you.
Wow you really were prepared for this. Thank you for sharing it. And now the fun questions
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt with graphic or Meme
My husband travels overseas for work several times per year. I asked that he brings back a mug from each destination. In a few years, I have amassed a collection of mugs from around the world. My favorite is my Canada mug because my spouse was able to purchase on our vacation without my knowledge. While we were suffering through security on the way home, he vanished. I struggled through the line with my nine-year-old and our gear. My husband reappeared when it was our turn to go through the scanners. The rogue let me gripe about it to him the whole trip home and throughout our first days back. It wasn’t until I unloaded the dishwasher that I found the mug and pieced together what he did. He had been laughing internally for nearly a week while I nagged him.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences.
The oldest myths of people shifting completely into animals are stories about dolphin shifters. The Indus wrote about Ganga and Makara, the Olmecs wrote about Boto Encantado’s many lovers, and next summer Smoother Than Spumoni will introduce readers to Suzie Larkin and her mystery mate.
What’s your favorite cartoon and why?
Growing up in the 1980s, I was a major fan of the Smurfs. Watching Smurfette navigate being the only -ette in the village helped me navigate being the only girl in my engineering classes. My son is a huge smurfs fan as well. We watch the Lost Village from a blanket fort most weekends.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
I brought pizza dough and foil so we could fire pizzas over the campfire if you don’t mind. Even though I am mildly allergic to tomatoes, I could live on pizza. I make pesto sauces of every green leafy herb and veggie imaginable to substitute for marinara. I freeze it to make pizzas all winter long. No extravagant toppings are necessary although I do love piling on fresh herbs from my garden atop a cheese pizza.
What's the last thing you really geeked out about?
I was reading about Kirlian photography and how it captures the energetic discharges differently from healthy organs and cancer infected organs. As much as I love reading about shifters and vampires, the strange behavior of subatomic particles in the body is more bizarre. I have a master’s degree in Particle Physics and still geeked out over medical testing and interventions based on sub-molecular principles. I write about pharma nerds because I am a pharma nerd married to another pharma nerd.
LOL! Marilyn, it's be not only fun but educational to have you here today. I wish you and your family a safe and healthy future. Please leave us some information about where we can learn more about you and your books.
Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog. As a new author, extra exposure means the world to me. I appreciate this opportunity and want to make the experience working with me the best possible. If you need additional information, please ask.
Blue eyes, dimples, and silky brown hair; Grant Luther has all of Alison's
When he asks for one last chance to save their marriage, she agrees to relocate their family to isolated Strawberry, Kentucky in pursuit of his career dreams. Grant views Alison's sensory issues as limitations and protects her from outside threats. When he finds his new job includes changing him into a shifter in a war against the soul-sucking Sluagh he vows to keep the changes a secret. What he doesn't know is Alison has been hiding a magical secret of her own. One that makes her a target of the Sluagh.
Will Alison emerge from Grant's shadow to protect her family? And can Grant learn that being different can be a strength not a weakness?
Book Excerpt: “You look perfect. I mean perfectly healthy. I mean mostly uninjured,” she stammers. She places her tiny hand over her eyes. Feeling braver than ever, I walk right up to her. I gently remove the hand from her face and hold it to my own. “See, I’m fine,” I whisper as I gently rub my thumb over her tiny knuckles. Her eyes lift to mine and lock our gazes. I have always found the golden color of her eyes fascinating but never studied them up close. They are light brown with a golden star in the middle. I am literally star gazing as she takes in the injuries to my face. We stand there for about a minute, lost in time. I wonder if she is thinking about when we first started dating, the hard times that followed, the present, or the future. I search her face for clues but don’t want to break the spell by opening my mouth. I decide to put said mouth to better use by lowering my head toward hers.
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Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, biodefense microbiologist, high school science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, and advocate for the autistic community.
She would love to hear from readers via her website: www.marilynbarr.com.
Amazon author profile
Good morning, campers! Today's guest is also a friend and local to my area author. Last week Judy helped me celebrate my book releases. I've also read her A Timeless Kiss which has much of the history of my local area combined with a wonderful romance. So please help me welcome Judy with a hearty Huzzah. What can I get you?
A cup of tea and cookies, my favorite snack food.
I'm sure to have those things around. You know my 5th Wheel is like the replicator on Star Trek's Enterprise. One up of Earl Grey, Hot and some shortbread cookies coming up. So, Judy, tell us have you ever camped.
My husband and I had a motor-home and we crossed the country twice and have visited 44 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. One of the most moving experiences we had was when we visited Mount Rushmore and they honored all the service men and women in the audience and asked them to come up on stage.
We started out camping with our children when they were young. My daughter was three months old. We had a 27 foot trailer in a campground and we went there every weekend. We took them tent camping to Cape Cod and Providence. Both of them became Scouts so they learned about making S’mores at an early age.
Wonderful! How exciting to see this great country of ours and honoring our service men and woman outstanding. How have you been handling events of the recent pandemic? Has you writing been affected? To what extent?
We had plans to do some traveling this summer, a fun trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan, but plans were cancelled. AS for writing, I’ve gotten a lot done since we’re all kind of homebound. Someone asked if I plan to incorporate Covid 19 into a story. At this point. I don’t think people should have to be reminded about the tragedy going on in the world.
Sorry about your trip, we're holding our breath regarding an upcoming New England trip. It's great you've hung on to your muse. I get you about the Covid story line. I'm working on a manuscript that had the flu in it before the pandemic and I'm chewing on how to handle it. Can you please tell us a little about your project. Title, Genre, Inspiration
My books are contemporary romance, romantic suspense and seasoned romance. My inspiration is what goes on around me. Since I’ve traveled so much, I’ve incorporated places I’ve visited. I’ve a US Park Ranger series that takes place in National parks since I’ve visited quite a few. My son manages a hotel in Florida and I’ve set a series in his hotel. I also love to write about mature characters, 35 and older. I’ve a four book romantic suspense series about four couples who are 50 years old. The series is based on Cape May, NJ, but I created my own town, Beacon Pointe. I created another small town, Laurel Heights, based on the Pennsylvania Highlands just outside of Pittsburgh.
Do you have a tagline or life motto?
My tagline and motto is: Love Never Dies After all, I married my high school sweetheart and I never had another boyfriend. We met in the 9th grade.
That's so sweet. It's rare these days for couples to stay together so long. I wonder if there are others reading today who will tell us how long they've been together and any pieces of advice. Speaking of advice do you have any Life Hacks for Authors? Tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
Since I’m an Indie author, I feel one of the most important things you should have is a great editor and proof reader. I have both. Don’t skimp. Readers are very intelligent and you will be called out if a book is full of errors.
Excellent advice! Now the fun questions
(Cracked me up)
Foil Wrapped Dinner – Girl Scout Style
Cut up chicken breasts, potatoes, carrots, peppers and onions. Sprinkle with BBQ sauce. Divide into individual servings. Place on the grill and cook for about a half hour, or until veggies are tender. Flip once or twice to make sure veggies aren’t sticking. I usually spray the foil before filling. Fast and easy.
Yum and easey-peasey. Thanks for being part of the Campfire today Judy, and before you leave can you tell us more about your books and where to find you.
New Release – Pre Order https://amzn.to/3fCiwu0
How do you open your heart for a new love when it’s frozen? That’s the dilemma Margaret Taylor has been facing since losing her beloved husband. Demands as a Judge and the Mayor of Laurel Heights, has left very little time for being just Margaret. She signs up with a tour group to take the dream vacation she and her husband planned to go on, a land and sea tour of Alaska.
Over the year’s she’s received threats and has recognized them as all part of the job. When she receives three life-threatening notes, her family urges her to cancel her vacation. She refuses.
Her much needed vacation takes an unexpected turn when she recognizes one of the other people in the tour group. Why is Brent Saeger walking around free? He was sentenced to life in prison for murder.
Brent Saeger believes that life was guided by fate and one should never do a “favor” because it came with unexpected consequences. His favor for the CIA landed him in prison for murder. Fate had another undercover operative in the right time and place that proved Brent’s innocence.
Working for Adams Security and Investigations, he gets a special assignment. He’s to go undercover and protect the owner’s mother-in-law, Margaret Taylor. She’d be more receptive to meeting an old friend. He can’t tell her his real purpose for being there.
Fate once again sucker punched him. Protect his Maggie May. That shouldn’t be a problem since his heart has been frozen since she fell in love with his best friend.
A romantic suspense with twists and turns that will keep you turning pages to the very end.
Judy Kentrus, Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense.
I’ve always been a romantic at heart and married my high school sweetheart. I make my home in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. After raising our two children, I followed my dream to publish my books. I also love to travel and many of my stories incorporate where I’ve been. When I’m not at my computer giving couples their happily-ever-after, you can find me in the kitchen, baking, especially cookies. I’ve been dubbed the cookie queen by my family and friends. My stories are fun, sexy, romances that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love.
Hi, Susan thanks for being such a trooper and jumping in at the last minute. Being flexable is definitely part of the campers personality. As Sheldon Cooper would say, "May I offer you a beverage?"
Cocoa and only cocoa!
Great choice. There's nothing better than sitting around the fire with a cup of liquid heaven. I even make my own. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
When our boys were little we camped with my in-laws, first in a pop-up and later in a RV.
That's how many begin. I spoke with my son last night to firm up a trip with the Grands. Tell us about your latest project.
By Promise Made should have an official publication date within two or three weeks. It is set when Mary, Queen of Scots was four years old and many in power threatened her life. Hugh Cullane and Katherine Payne are pledged to protect her. Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen's guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.
Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.
Sounds intriguing! How long did it take you from conception to publication? It takes me about a year to complete the book to send to the publisher. Publisher editing takes several months more.
It can be a long process that many are unaware of Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to? This may sound hokey, but since working with Wild Rose Press, I am so impressed by the many other authors at Wild Rose and the quality of what they write.
I don't think it's hokey at all. Since becoming a member of the Garden, I am amazed at the supportive authors, editors and Rhonda, R.J. and Lisa. I'm also blessed with my own editor, Elf Felder. Please share with us what you thing literary success looks like.
It may not be on the best seller list, but to hear that people I don’t even know enjoyed what I wrote makes my day like no other.
Amen to that. Do you have any Life Hacks for Authors? Also the pandemic is at the front of most peoples minds what's helped get you through?
None of us have enjoyed this recent pandemic and subsequent quarantine, but we’ve endured as best we could. Some days went well. Others truly sucked. I think I would have gone over to the dark side, if I didn’t have some 400-year-old friends to keep me company.
Hugh Cullane and Kit Payne in my second novel, By Promise Made, got me through the lock down of March and April. Working on the edits was at times tedious, but I got to watch Hugh and Kit fall deeper into their adventure and their romance. It’s hard to explain to non-writers how much I actually love them! The book should be out very soon, and I can hardly wait to share their story in print.
It's astounding how an author can get so immersed in their story and characters. And I think, especially in the romance genre we can help our reader a bit of escape, entertainment and hope when they read our books.
Now onto our fun questions
By Promise Made isn't avialable yet but if the blurb above intrigued you maybe you can whet your whistle with
Vicious gangs of reivers roam Scotland during the tumultuous reign of James V, and one of these gangs, led by a man with a red stain on his face, threatens all that Robin holds dear. The man steals Robin's ear and then nearly steals his life, but Robin will not let him take anything else, not his home, not his family, and not the woman he loves. Even when accused of murder and facing the hangman's noose, Robin will remain steadfast above all else.
As long as she lives, Suannoch will carry her half of the shilling she and Robin split when they pledged their devotion to each other. Even after she is forced into an unwanted betrothal, their unwavering love is stronger than anything trying to keep them apart. After Robin's arrest, Suannoch vows to rescue him or bring his body back, because where they have chosen, steadfast will they be.
Susan Leigh Furlong is a lifelong writer about people who were so busy living their lives they didn’t know they were living history. With research and imagination her favorite thing is to drop her hero and heroine in the middle of true historical event. She has written two non-fiction books about her hometown and co-authored a play about the twelve disciples at the Last Supper. Her first book from Wild Rose Press, Steadfast Will I Be, was published in June 2019. The second book, By Promise Made, has a coming-soon publication date.
Although raised a big city girl, she now lives in small town Ohio with her husband and two cats, Calvin and Hobbes.
Happy 4th of July Saturday, Campers! So crack open the beverage of choice, mine is coffee right now, and sit for a spell. This is not your usual Welcome To The Campfire blog. This is my first Saturday of the month take over. So heeeeere's Donna. Thank you Ed McMahon. If you don't get the reference, google is your friend. If you do, then comment below. Don't cheat. If you comment with the correct answer, I'll draw a name and the winner will get an Ebook of Rainbow Sprinkles.
On the camping front as you may have read, we visited the beautiful state of Kentucky in May. June we were dry docked because 2Hoots, my 5th Wheel was in the shop. July is here and I've been doing some driveway camping. Yes I love my trailer that much. I'm hosting a party in her this week, but more of that later. Near the end of July we're heading to one of my favorite campgrounds, http://www.camptaylor.com/ One of the best parts of it is the Lakota Wolf Preserve https://www.lakotawolf.com/ at night you can hear the howls.
Then stars a whirlwind of trips. We'll be hosting friends at another close by camp https://koa.com/campgrounds/delaware-water-gap/ Then visiting with the Grands at https://koa.com/campgrounds/honesdale-pocono/ You know then September is right around the corner and so is https://campthegreatdivide.com/ and that's where you find the Fork in the Road. Literally.
If you've been keeping up with me, you may already know my sweet husband, Pete, retired in June. We're celebrating with a 2 week road trip, including Niagara Falls and then down along the coast of New England. I can't wait! Keep an eye out for my RV Bunch flag. Here's a couple of pictures from last years trips including the Fork.
So, as I mentioned I'm hosting a party in the camper. It's Rainbow Sprinkles RELEASE DAY on July 8th. And since COVID-19 shut me down for Rock House Grill's release We'll be celebrating both live and virtually on Facebook. Don't worry we'll be careful with face covering and distancing. I hope you can join me. There will be prizes, games, and giveaways. My inspiration for Rock House Grill's character John has agreed to join us and be interviewed around the campfire. Here's a fun video invitation I created https://youtu.be/VwXbA5aq1eU If you're interested in joining us for the party click here
If you like camping, I'm happy to report that fans of Agent Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake will get more of Agent Sam, Sheriff Holly, Uncle Martin, and now Aunt Dee. The group is now in New Jersey. Their camping vacation takes a turn into another G.A.S.P. case to solve. So stay tuned for a Fall release of Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery of High Pointe Tower.
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Welcome to the Campfire Blog Peek Through the Window
Other Books by
D. V. Stone
Rock House Grill
One man’s choices. One woman’s Impact
Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar
One foolish thought. One brutal act. Instead of a peaceful alliance––war.
Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake
A Mid-grade paranormal
I'm excited about today's guest. However, before we settle around the campfire, I have some news for you. Rainbow Sprinkles release is right around the corner. Since I didn't have a release party for Rock House I'm planning on celebrating the two. So, on July 8th at 7 pm I am having a real at my house, as well as a virtual party on Facebook. I would love for you to join us. There will be giveaways, games, and a special guest interview with my friend Andy who was the inspirations for John, a character in Rock House Grill, as well as my sister to who Rainbow Sprinkles is dedicated. I hope you can join me and my friends. Here's the linkhttps://www.facebook.com/375747643036438 I hope to see you there.
Now, let go of what's distracting you. Deep breath in. Smell the fire? Let go of your worries and troubles for a bit. Let your imagination go. Remember summers as a kid? Outside cooking? The sounds of children playing? Splash! Someone just canon-balled into the lake. Hear the birds? Come on. Have a seat around the fire and relax. That's what the campfire is for.
Today I’m welcoming Sadira Stone to the Campfire. Sadira and I are both in the Rose Garden of Wild Rose Press. We jokingly call each other cousin. (Stone and Stone, you get it) What can I get you? The campfire pantry and fridge is like Hemione Grangers bag, it has everything.
I’d love a coffee laced with Kahlua and a S’more!
I love Kahlua! So, tada! Here you go. Tell us have you ever camped. Where and what was your experience? Tent, camper, RV? Or if not, what’s your greatest outdoor adventures? This could be a good or bad experience.
I did lots of camping in France during the twenty-seven years I lived in Germany. French camping is a very civilized affair: grass plots separated by hedges, with a camp shop and café where you can get an adult beverage and crispy pommes frîtes (fries) while watching the kids play mini-golf or splash in the pool. My favorite camping trips were in the Loire Valley, where everyone who was anyone built a château during the Renaissance. Lots of wineries there, and the best farmers’ markets!
Ahh, that sounds wonderful. We are not rustic campers any longer. Wineries are usually in our itinerary wherever we travel. Let's talk about something a bit serious for a moment. How have you been handling events of the recent pandemic? Has you writing been affected? To what extent?
I’m finding it hard to concentrate. Whereas B.C. (before Covid-19) I could write 2,000 to 3,000 words on a good day, now it’s a good day if I pass 1,000 words.
Many of us are struggling with the same issue. Often I feel like Doug from the movie Up. Squirrel! It's good to have others to talk and commiserate with. Please tell us a little about your project.
My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, put out a call for beachy summer reads involving ice cream. I immediately remembered a scene from Würzburg, Germany. There’s a lovely formal garden behind the Baroque palace, and in summer an older Italian gentleman sold gelato there. He’d always greet my daughter and me with a hearty “Ciao, bella!”
That was the genesis for Gelato Surprise, a steamy contemporary romance novella about a divorced mom who must spend her annual beach vacation alone for the first time—after her dastardly ex whisks the kids away on a Disneyland trip, leaving her stuck with the full cost of their rental in a (fictional) kitschy Washington State beach town. In her favorite gelato shop, she meets the owner’s Bellissimo nephew, and…Mamma mia! The trouble is, she’s 42 and must return to her suburban drudgery. He’s 31 and has only two weeks to convince her that their age difference doesn’t matter, and the spark they share is so much more than a summer fling.
The One Scoop or Two is a wonderful series. I'm a firm believer in age doesn't matter as long a both are adults and there is a connection. My hubby is a younger than me. Do you have a tagline or life motto?
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we might as well dance.
One of my favorite songs is by John Michael Montgomery called Life's a Dance. You've several titles under your belt. What kind of tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others?
When it’s time for your final edit/proofread, print out your manuscript, grab some pencils, and go read it aloud in a totally different setting from where you usually work. I like to proofread outdoors, and the neighbors or park-goers get to listen to me reading dramatically, with different voices for each character. Doing this, I find problems I never would have noticed on my computer screen. It’s fun too!
That's great advice. Every time I get my manuscript back from my editor Elf, she tells me READ IT OUT LOUD.
Now the fun questions.
Chicken Shwarma on the grill:
Marinate boneless, skinless chicken thighs for at least a few hours in lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, ground cumin, paprika, a little turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon, and red pepper flakes to taste. Throw in some thickly-sliced red onion too. Grill, then slice and serve with the usual kebab fixings: pita bread, tahini sauce or yogurt-garlic sauce, chopped cucumber & tomato, olives, chopped parsley, feta cheese, hummus, harissa, etc. Also good on rice.
My goodness, that sounds wonderful. You know I've never cooked with tumeric and hear wonderful things about it. I'll have to add it to my spice rack. Sadira, thanks for being part of the Campfire. Please leave us some information about you and you book.
Forty-two-year-old divorcée Danielle Peters ends up alone on her family's annual beach vacation. Maybe time to herself is exactly what she needs. That and gelato from her favorite ice cream shop. But when the owner's intoxicating, young nephew offers more than sweet treats, she's tempted to indulge in a hot, summer fling before returning home.
Thirty-one-year-old Matteo Verducci craved a fresh start to mend his broken heart, and he's found almost perfection in Ocean View, where he scoops gelato by day and crafts furniture by night. But when a sexy older woman stops to sample his wares—Mamma mia! He only has two weeks to convince her their passion is more than a delicious surprise.
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Ever since her first kiss, Sadira's been spinning steamy tales in her head. But it wasn't until 2017 that she tried her hand at writing one. Now she's a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books.