It's hard to believe October is here. For many campers it's nearing the end of the season. RV's are being winterized. Campgrounds closing for the winter. Here at Welcome to the Campfire we are going to gleefully go into the winter months. One time, while living in Minnesota, a friend and I went camping in the dead of winter. The temperature neared -10 degrees Fahrenheit. We did have a camper but no heat. Sleeping bags, thermoses, and conversation kept us awake and warm. This past week we camped in Vermont with friends and the temps dropped into the 30's. The campfire roared and we had our RV. Cozy and comfortable. No matter where you are I hope you'll join in the spirit of camping. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter and be the first to receive information on up coming releases, contests and signups for the 2020 Campfire blog opening.
Today I'm welcoming Viviana Mackade a multi published author of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Fantasy.
Hi, and thank you for having me! It’s been so long since I did a campfire!
What’s your preference coffee, tea, cocoa, or wine?
All of them, depending of the circumstance. Morning is for coffee, and it’s a no-brainer. Tea, earl grey, is for the afternoon, around 3 pm, for a gentler kick that will keep me until bed time. Cocoa is for Sunday evenings, to fortify for the coming week. And wine, white or rose, is for a hard day’s dinner. Wait… Where are the Margaritas????
LOL, I'm sure we can mix up a pitcher or Margarita's for us. And I'm with you about the rest. Don't even talk to me until I've drained my first cup of coffee in the morning. Since I've had my second cup let's get down to it. Have you ever camped?
My husband and I used to camp a lot. Tent, in the Italian alps. It was always cold, it was always uncomfortable, and I loved every and any minute of it. We’d like to go back to camping and doing it down here in Florida. Maybe this winter, when the heat is not trying to kill us.
The Italian Alps! How exciting and beautiful that must have been. We have friends that work at the https://www.floridastateparks.org/Alafia. You should check it out. It appeals to me and we may go the following year in March. So, tell us about your latest project. What’s the title and genre?
My latest book is Guns For Angels, a romantic suspense that I re-released after I got the rights back from the publisher.
I love romantic suspense and it's great you have your rights back. According to https://www.authorsalliance.org/ "A right of reversion is a contractual provision that permits authors to work with their publishers to regain some or all of the rights in their books when certain conditions are met." Many authors are working on this. I love the description on Guns for Angels. From NY to sunny Miami, Ann and Mark run into a maze of lie, betrayal, and death, where love is the only, terrifying certainty. And when truth unravels, they will have to risk all to survive. 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.
It took me a while, I’d say a year. Four months for writing it, and then the critiques, and then finding the publisher, and then the editor’s edits.
What challenges have you faced during writing. How did you get through it?
Ann and Mark have to find out what happened to Ann’s sister, and why there are people out to kill her and destroy Mark’s Team. It was very detail-oriented story, where they had to find clues. Keeping track of those details, and let the story unfold in a logical way was a challenge.
I can imagine. Some authors have spread sheets or book bibles to keep track. I'm trying to start one for myself. Now you have the rights back, and several other published works, is there anything you’re itching to get to?
Oh, gosh… so many. Aside all the barely-there plots that wait, I’m currently writing a fantasy, which is the piece I’m focusing on the most. Then an urban fantasy, or a contemporary with dash of paranormal. And a big-a$$ed quartet, a fantasy with a main couple in each book, but a main storyline that spans 4 books. I’m itching to finish the fantasy to get to it. I’m itching so bad.
I'm the same. To many ideas to little time. And speaking of time I'd love to time travel with you. Is there something you would tell your beginning self? Any advice or encouragement? Warnings?
It takes time, tears, stubbornness. There will be a lot of self-doubt and discouragement. Just keep going, because the only way to fail is to stop.
My favorite Dory quote is Just keep swimming. Words of wisdom for anyone getting started, as well as "seasoned" writers. It's not an easy road but so very worth the travel. Okay, fun questions. When you’re not writing, what are your hobbies or passions?
Reading. And then, um, reading. Uh, and reading. Yeah. That’s all me. Wild and crazy with all these many daredevil things I love to do.
It's smart. Author's need to read. It keeps you current, engaged and gives you a break. 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?
The Outsiders by Eric Church. It’s a reminder of many, many things (about me, about life) and there’s little I can’t do after hearing that song.
Love it. Talk the talk and walk the walk. Most Authors have a love of books from an early age. What is your Favorite childhood book?
Robinson Crusoe. I read it when I was ten in the backseat of my parent’s car on our way to Croatia for our summer vacation. It was roughly a 12 hours journey, and I spent it all reading that book. Then I re-read it throughout the entire vacation, and a couple more times afterward.
And here you are writing about adventure. It's wonderful the impression a classic like that will make on a child. Confession time. What weird talent do you have?
I remember songs’ lyrics, poetry, lists (like the 7 Kings of Rome, the Popes, presidents, regions). When I hear a song, and I can sing it word by word the next time I hear it, it drives my husband insane.
I want that talent. I can listen to a song for years, singing along then read the lyrics. Not even close. Support is important to writers. Are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to? Or what were childhood books you loved?
Besides my husband, there’s a Yahoo group called The Critters. It’s made by author in various stages in their careers, and we’re all there to give each other a hand. There are critiques, advice, help in advertisement, or just an ear for when you need to vent. It was the first group I was part of when I decided writing was not going to be simply a different past-time but something more, and I wouldn’t be here without their support. Shout out to you, Daryl, and all the Critter out there.
The internet can be a force for good or evil. I'm the beneficiary of several on line groups. Final question. As a writer, what does success look like to you?
Success is when the readers give you their trust and their time, and chose your story to get lost in.
Viviana, 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.
My sister was all the family I had. She was taken from me and now, someone wants me dead, too. Not sure why.
I’m sure I’m not going to give my life up, though. I’m not going to let them get away with my sister’s murder.
The new me will try, anyway.
You see, when she was alive I could live in brightness and peace. Now I have to accept the darkness within me. After all, isn’t life about balance? Ironically, the man who can teach me how to embrace the shadows is broken, hopeless, and angry. Mark is also the only one I trust to lead me through my heart’s night, and back into the light.
The one I trust to keep us alive.
A favor to a teammate: pick up two girls in trouble, take them to the Team’s safehouse. Should have been easy. It was not.
Then someone killed one of my team, one of my brothers. Now it’s personal.
They want me, too. I can deal with that. But they want Ann. The only person who cut through me, who woke me, who grabbed my hand and guided me back into life one smile at the time.
I’ll be damned if I let them have anything.
Not. One. Damned. Thing.
Ann swallowed hard as stench scraped her throat.
In truth, the real issue was the absence of any pleasant smell, like clean breeze from an open window, lemony traces of cleanser or, at least, the fake ocean fragrance of an air freshener. Instead, the room was stifling, filled with heavy, stale air and old, cheap perfume that hanged around in sickly sweet clouds. The hotel room didn’t stink though, so she blamed her strong reaction to stress.
Whatever the reason, she pressed a hand on her twisted stomach and stepped closer to the man. He might be huge, too physical, and unmoved by normal human-to-human interactions, but he smelled just fine. It was either retching or keeping close to him and his soapy scent–the first good thing in a horrific night.
Maybe the Universe was getting on her side again.
Nice try, Ann conceded, but way not enough and badly executed. For as good as his scent was, she couldn’t spend the night with her nose pressed against his shirt. “Hey, can we open a window?” she asked.
“Of course not. Will you bite my head off if I ask why?”
“You wanna people sneaking in and cutting your throat?”
His lips curved into a sardonic smile. “There’s your answer.”
He marched to the window, checked the derelict locks. “It’s not gonna stop them,” he said more to himself than to her. “But it’ll give me time.”
“What do I do if they come?” Ann asked, forgetting her trouble with the room for a moment.
“Stay close to me and out of my way.”
“That’s… that’s tricky.”
“Make it work.”
From the middle of the room, she followed his inspection feeling more relieved each time he nodded. Even his cursing someone called Mouse was, somehow, reassuring. “If that stupid ass doesn’t call, I’ll throttle his skinny neck with my bare hands.”
His long, violent mumbled monolog went on, but its soothing quality disappeared when she realized she needed a restroom. She eyed the stains on the once beige, now dirt-brown walls–a real touch of class.
Okay, she needed the toilet, but what if Mr. Cholera was using it? It seemed like the place for it. Or even worse, ugly, hairy, dark spiders, creeping down the ceiling as she was sitting on the toilet. She would pass out, and the man would find her with her panties around her ankles, her eyes rolled back, and a rivulet of drool from her mouth. So cool.
She tried to focus on the bed and not on spiders, but the headboard leaned on the left and the blanket sported stains impossible to define. The perfect breeding ground for bed bugs.
Ann felt her eyes sting furiously. She wanted to go home, to her clean, spider free home, and call her sister. She wanted to hear Mary saying something, anything.
Mark’s voice, mockingly reassuring, reached her a split second before tears did. “If you’re worried about sharing the bed you can relax, angel. I’m not in the mood.”
“I wasn’t… never mind. I need to use the bathroom.”
She had opened the bathroom door when the meaning of his words emerged from the fog and wiped away her attempt not to lose it.
Remaining in the bedroom, she slammed the bathroom door in front of her with all her strength. She had the deep satisfaction of seeing him snap into action, gun in his hand and fire in his eyes. He was ready to fight, but she charged first. “Do you really think I would be in the mood? Let’s put aside for a second what happened to my sis… what happened tonight. Even on my best day I wouldn’t be in the mood with a jackass like you. I don’t like angry men. I need the toilet.”
This weeks movie recommendations
In honor of Viviana's instant memorization of song lyrics
The Soloist with Jamie Foxx
Rain Man with Tom Cruise
Viviana shared with me her son's love of marshmallows. So here's a recipe from one of my favorite tv chefs Alton Brown
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” — Stephen King
For some more magic, join me next week around the Campfire with award-winning and best-selling author, Keta Diablo who writes in several genres, Western Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance