One of my favorite things to do, is sit around the fire. Whether it’s away in a campground, or at home in front the chiminea, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, have been with a cozy flame and sparks drifting up into the night sky joining the stars. This week will probably be the last one away at a campground since we'll be winterizing the RV and getting ready for the Holidays. I do have a driveway camp planned with relatives in early November. We'll cook out around the fire and pretend we're at a faraway location. Imagination is a wonderful thing. So, wherever you’re joining us from relax let your imagination go and I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Also, if you would like to keep up with Around the Campfire and information, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.
Today the Campfire is welcoming Keta, an award-winning and best-selling author who writes in several genres: Western Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
I have always loved coffee; can’t imagine life without it. That’s kind of sad, huh? I think a lot of writers drink plenty of coffee to keep their minds stimulated and help them contend with all the late-night writing binges.
Coffee it is. I'm a coffee in the morning person and tea in the afternoon and evening. Since we are sitting around the virtual campfire tell us, have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I haven’t camped as an adult. I’m not much for sleeping in a tent or on the ground, and I must have my hot shower every morning. Not much fun, am I? lol. When I was about 12, my family took a camping vacation to Yellowstone National Park. One night a bear came snuffling around our tent (on the ground). I heard him and the next thing I knew, he took a swipe at the side of the tent. I have no idea why he did that, but I was terrified. We followed all the rules, put our garbage in the proper place away from the camp site, our food too, but for some reason those bears were still snooping around. I don’t believe I’ve camped since, and I confess, I’ve never liked bears—don’t even like to watch them on T.V. or a movie.
Camping is not for everyone and I can imagine how scary that must have been. Many national parks no longer allow camping without hard sides anymore because of this. One night I remember rural camping in Minnesota. My friend and I ended up sleeping in the men's room. LOL, turned out it the noise was only raccoons. You are a multi-published author and have won awards for your writing, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
My latest project is an Urban Fantasy anthology with 8 other marvelous authors. A Darker Shade of Evil: A Demon and Devil anthology released on September 24. You can download from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TK6LLCP/ (Also available from Kindle Unlimited)
Scary stuff. Perfect for the coming weeks. Do you have a tagline?
Devils, demons and their lethal hunters will draw you into their conquests, twisted deceptions, scorching heat, and yes, even love.
If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us how long it took from conception to fruition? It’s the most asked question for me.
My story in the anthology is titled I Spy A Demon. I think it’s about 36,000 words and took me 4 months to write it. I did have a few interruptions in between because I also edit for some other authors. So I wrote most of the novella and then stopped for a week or two for an editing job, went back to the story and then took one more break for an editing job. In total, about 4 months.
I've heard writing short stories and Novellas are more difficult than full novels. They have to be quicker and more intense compared to a novel which can build both world and character development. What challenges have you faced during writing. How did you get through it?
I don’t usually fall prey to writer’s block, but marketing is another matter. I lost my author assistant who had been with me for two years not long ago. Unfortunately, she passed away very unexpectedly and did so much for me I’m lost without her. She was not only a good friend but an awesome assistant. I’m not very good at technical stuff, so I relied heavily on her for many, many tasks. Right now, I’m kind of floundering, looking for a new assistant, and will be thrilled if she’s as talented as Babs Hightower.
I've heard of her. She was a great person and resource to so many and will be missed by them. I'm sorry for your loss of a friend. I have a myriad of projects at various stages of development, how about you? Anything you’re itching to get to?
Yes, I do! Don’t all authors? I have a western series I started some time ago and only completed the first book in the series, Chasing The Dead. I need to get back to the Bannister Brothers’ books since readers have been asking when the next book will be published. I also stuck in one or two contemporary romances after that first book in the series, so that put me off schedule for a time. And then the anthology came along. I do plan to write book two in the western romance above, and then possibly a follow-up to I Spy A Demon.
You're author with a great history and future, so let's time-travel. Is there something you would tell your beginning self? Any advice or encouragement? Warnings?
Are we talking about writing here? Or just life in general?
For writing, I would just say learn everything you can about the craft, whether that’s through classes or reading many books about writing. With all the books released every day, competition is stiff. Writers who take the time to learn the craft, the basic rules, have a leg up, I think.
Great advice either way. Knowledge is key to all our endeavors whether writing or life. Okay, fun questions
When you’re not writing, what are your hobbies or passions?
I’m an animal lover so I donate both my time and support to a local animal shelter. Ten years ago, I rescued Emma LaPounce, my furry companion from the shelter. It seems her family moved out of town and left her behind. When I visited her at the shelter several times, she was so upset and depressed, and she didn’t want much to do with me or anyone. I finally had a talk with her. I said, “Listen, you’re coming home with me, and I’ll take very good care of you so you better find a way to like me.” The talk must have worked because we’ve been best friends ever since. I can’t imagine how people can just abandon these helpless creatures because it really does affect them. And they have so much love to give back. Emma has had a very good life with me and is a wonderful cat. She’s now 17 years old and still going strong.
Good for you. My rescue Hali sends you and Emma LaPounce a hale and hearty woof. The door opens waiting for you to enter. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room what would it be?
Can I choose two? I have very eclectic taste in music (books too). I listen to many different eras and styles. The first one I’d choose is a fun, little song by Trisha Yearwood – She’s In Love With The Boy, and the second one I’d choose is I Will Wait For You by Mumford and Sons. But…as I said, I listen to a lot of different music – love anything from Phantom of the Opera, Andre Bocelli, Sara Borellis and the soundtracks from movies.
You can. And I'm with you. The only music I can't stand, is screaming or screeching the lyrics. Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book?
Most definitely To Kill A Mockingbird. I love everything about it; the writing, the setting, the characters, the lessons we learn…just everything. I read it every year.
A true classic. If we peeked into your life what weird talent do you have?
I can carry a tune if I have too. I don’t think that’s so weird, but it is an unusual talent.
As a writer, what does success look like to you?
Success is being happy with the end product of whatever it is you’re writing. Success is accomplishing a big task—writing a book. Success is having a reader email you and tell you they loved your book or that it changed their life in some way. That’s all the success I need.
What a wonderful and thoughtful answer. Keta, thank you so much for joining me around the campfire today. I would appreciate you leaving us a blub and exert from your work. Don’t forget to add where we can purchase your book and how we can find out more about you below.
Thank you so much for hosting me. I really enjoyed your questions!
About I Spy A Demon
When twins Cecily and Calder Sizemore’s parents are killed in a car accident, they’re adopted by the Frost family—Gus, Mae and their sons, Marcel and Elliott. Over the years, Cecily’s love for Marcel evolves into anything but sisterly.
Cecily always knew something was amiss in the Frost household. Little things belied the calm, peaceful ambiance Mae did her best to portray. Calder tried to warn her things were not as they appeared, but she didn’t want to believe him. When Calder begs her to leave Des Moines, start a new life away from the secrets, away from the Frosts and away from Marcel, she takes his advice and her shattered heart and moves to Minnesota.
Now she’s been called home for her beloved brother's funeral. There's more to the story than meets the eye. Discrepancies in how her twin died lead her back to Des Moines, and back to Marcel―the boy who stole her heart, the man whose very presence turns her blood to liquid fire. Marcel has always kept dangerous secrets, but this time, Cecily is determined to uncover the truth about the Frosts… and the truth about how Calder really died.
She’ll find out what really happened to her brother, even if it’s her last act in life.
* * *
"We therefore commit Calder Sizemore's body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust...."
The cloying scents of damp earth and lilies spiraled up Cecily's nose. Overhead, a pitiless sun bore down on the mourners gathered around her brother's casket—familiar faces she’d known forever, lived with and loved. She fought back the bile rising in her throat and prayed the minister would come to the end of the service before her knees buckled.
To her left, stood Mae Frost, her mother's best friend and the woman who had raised her and Calder after their parents died. As if Mae could read her thoughts, the woman squeezed her hand, an unspoken sign of moral support and unconditional love. She would expect nothing less from Mae, and had received nothing less for the past twenty years. If Mae's husband, Gus, were here, she would receive the same outpouring of love from him. In essence, Gus was in attendance, not above the ground but below. And now Calder would rest beside the man through all eternity.
"And so, shall we ever be with the Lord."
Dear God, when will he say 'Amen?
She stared at the burgundy coffin with its hideous spray of red roses, yellow lilies and white orchids while a thousand questions tore through her brain. How could she go on without Calder, the other half of her soul, her womb mate, the one person who had always been there through the highs and lows of her life? What was he doing in St. Louis when he died and who was with him at the end? She had to know what kind of an accident had taken his life.
That's the word Mae used—accident—when she called her in Minnesota to deliver the dreadful news. 'We've booked a morning flight to Des Moines,' she'd said. 'The ticket is in your name and waiting for you at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Delta Airlines ticket counter.' Numb with shock and grief, Cecily had pressed Mae for details but the woman circumvented her question. Why should she be surprised? The entire Frost family held Masters’ Degrees when it came to dodging and ducking topics they didn’t wish to discuss. ‘We’ll be waiting for you at the airport when you arrive,” she’d said and then ended their conversation.
This time, she wouldn't allow them to circumvent her questions. She'd find out how her brother really died, with her last breath if need be.
★ Author Blog: http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com
★Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/KetaDiablo.Author/
★Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Keta-Diablo/e/B002BODURI/
★Goodreads Page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2620426.Keta_Diablo
Rumor has it Keta is also a lover of Owls. So today's movie recommendations are Owlishly good salutes to our feathered friends.
Harry Potter of course had Hedwig and others, hoo delivered mail.
Blade Runner (really, you say) Yes. the Book on which the movie was based referred to the owl as one of the first creatures to go extinct. Tyrell had a robot one and a statue in his office.
Last weekend I missed my Dutch Oven. I went out to the 2Hoots, the name of my RV and dug it out. Here's the magic of what ended up in our bowls. When asked I call it Gumbo-ish.
Make a roux with 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Whisk until caramel brown. Add 1 medium diced onion and bell pepper along with 2 stalks of chopped celery. Salt and pepper to taste and cook until the veggies are softened. Add chunks of sausage. I used Italian turkey. A 14 oz can of diced peppers an then added 4 cups of beef broth. I would have used chicken but didn't have any. A tablespoon of Cajun spice. My husband doesn't like rice so I added small chunks of potato. If you skip the taters you can serve over rice. Simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half. 10 minutes before serving add peeled and de-veined shrimp. I made biscuits to go with. Served 6.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.