Hi everyone. 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. ;)
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.
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