Who: Hi Everyone! I’m Elizabeth John and excited to be here today! I pen tender romances and cozy, romantic suspense books. By day, I’m an elementary school teacher. This year, I’m teaching second grade, but I’ve taught all grades kindergarten through third. Since finding time to create my stories is always a challenge, I write at sunrise before I get ready for work. My publishing credits include numerous articles in newspapers and magazines and short stories.
Forever Keep Your Secret is my third book with Soul Mate Publishing and the second book in The Becker Sisters Bridal Series. The series revolves around the lives of three sisters who inherited the family bridal shop and each sister has her own book. In Forever Hold Your Piece, the first book in the series, Lily Becker runs a successful family bridal shop until the day her ex-fiancé turns up dead. When Private investigator Jake Ward tracks the same guy to the small coastal town, he goes undercover and leases the vacant bait and tackle shop next door. In book two, Forever Keep Your Secret, four years after Rose must give her baby up for adoption, she discovers her son’s an orphan, she’s falling in love with his uncle, and the three of them are targets of a killer. You’ll meet the youngest sister, Chrissy, in the third book, Forever Bury Your Heart, which is the working title.
Let’s see, what else can I tell you about myself? I have two grown children, am an empty-nester (mostly), and have two rescue dogs and one rescue grand cat.
Interests: I buy more books than I can read and have piles all over my house. They are my treasures! I read different genres, but mostly romance, mystery and suspense. Admittedly, I watch too much TV, which includes binge-watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, Bravo reality shows, true crime episodes on a variety of channels, and I’m a sucker for all the Hallmark Mystery Movies.
I practice yoga and try to walk with my dogs as much as possible. I’m a huge animal lover and big proponent of rescue shelters. When I retire in a few years, I plan on devoting time to these wonderful places.
Let’s see, what else? I grew up with gardeners on both sides of my family, so I have lots of flowers and tend a vegetable garden. Oh, and I recently started knitting again. Before I had children, I crocheted and knitted baby sweaters and hats, scarfs, and blankets. During the pandemic, to keep my hands from opening the refrigerator at night while I binge-watch TV, I started to knit again.
Network: I belong to a number of writers groups, including New Jersey Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, Liberty States Fiction Writers, and Sisters in Crime. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I love to hear from readers, authors, and anyone who enjoys books! Please reach out to me on social media or contact me through my website www.elizabethjohn.com.
Desk: Right now, I am without an office and a real desk. Long story, so here’s the short version. I made a spare bedroom into an office, and a family member loved the space so much, he took it over. Now, my daughter, who moved back temporarily, also uses the room. So my writing area changes daily. I use the kitchen table, the dining room table, and as a last resort, my grandmother’s old secretary desk that’s shoved into a corner of the family room. None are ideal, but soon, I shall reclaim my beautiful office!
Outrageous Talent: I’ve developed an affinity for my family’s ancestry. Sometimes I get lost in research and forget the time. Family history is so interesting to me. I’ve developed a passion for compiling our tree and have corresponded with long-lost relatives and some I had never met!
Window: I enjoy looking out my kitchen window when I write. My soon-to-be-claimed-back office has the same view. Birds flock to the bird bath and the pool’s blue water calls to me. I’ve included a picture of my dogs Max and Bailey relaxing by the pool.
Thanks so much to D.V. Stone for hosting me today! I’m always happy to hear from readers and I’ve included contact and buy links. Please reach out to me! I’d love to hear from you!
The Becker Sisters Bridal Series:
A fatal car accident threatens to expose Rose Becker’s secret. Four years earlier, she promised her dying mother that she would keep her unplanned pregnancy and her son’s adoption a secret, even from her sisters. When her son’s adoptive parents perish in the car crash, Rose agonizes over her child’s future and yearns to get involved in his life. Fear consumes her when she learns he might be in danger.
Mark Winters believes the hit-and-run collision that caused the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law was no mistake. The police investigation turns up no witnesses and no suspects. When his nephew’s biological mother shows up demanding answers, he is confused about her motives. Does she really want what’s best for the child she gave up?
As they spend time together, searching for the truth about the accident, Rose develops feelings for him, and Mark finds himself falling in love with the beautiful bridal shop owner. But someone wants them to stop asking questions and attempts to kill them. When they become targets, they must not only protect Rose’s son, but each other.
Forever Hold Your Piece
Ways to connect with me:
Who: Hi, everyone! My name is Gayle Irwin, and I am the author of inspirational pet books for children and adults (my small company is called Waggin’ Tales Inspirational Pet Stories). I write books, short stories (including seven Chicken Soup for the Soul stories) and pet and nature stories for Creation Illustrated Magazine and The Prairie Times, a monthly publication in Colorado). I also blog about pets and books on my website. I’ve written pet books for children that weave important life lessons into the story; Christian devotions for dog-lovers, and last year I started a clean, contemporary romance collection known as the Pet Rescue Romance Series. The second book in that series, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, released in May, and I’m currently finishing a holiday-themed book for release in November.
Interests: I’m passionate about pet rescue and adoption! I’ve worked for two different humane societies, and I continue to support such organizations. I volunteer, and I donate a percentage of book sales to various organizations. I help transport dogs into rescue as well as to their new homes; my first pet rescue romance novel, Rescue Road, talks about transporting as well as rescue and adoption. The second book, which I mentioned above, also weaves pet rescue and adoption into the story. I also enjoy traveling and nature photography; I am blessed to live in an area near thousands of acres of public lands, places that my husband and I explore with our dogs.
Network: I am a member of Wyoming Writers, Inc., Northern Colorado Writers, and Marketing for Romance Writers.
Desk: My office space is the sunroom of our home in Wyoming. The numerous windows bring in dazzling sunlight (which is wonderful in the morning, no matter what season of the year!), but often becomes too warm on summer afternoons; I then retreat to the livingroom couch and balance my laptop between my knees. My office desk sits next to a bookshelf filled with writing craft and marketing books. A lovely beige chair and footstool waits across the room; it was purchased as a reading chair but is usually occupied by my rescued Shih Tzu.
Outrageous: Nothing really, except last week I received a kiss on the cheek from an alpaca!
Window #1: From my home office window, I watch chickadees and house finches flit around two bird feeders near a shrub that contains orange berries. A squirrel hops from the bush onto the redwood gate that connects the front yard with the back; the bushy-tailed creature peers back at me through the window. Some people might find that annoying, but I smile. Nothing like being stared at by a squirrel that likes to raid the bird feeders – except being kissed by an alpaca!
Window #2: I’m blessed to have a mountain getaway. My husband and I own six acres of forested property a 20-minute drive from our home. On weekends between May and October, we spend time at this location, tucked amid ponderosa pine and aspen trees. Our one-bedroom cabin sits in the middle of the property, down a ½-mile dirt road. Tranquil and solitary, this area helps us relax and prompts my creativity. From the cabin’s picture window, I gaze upon mule deer grazing in nearby grassy spots, watch hummingbirds zip around the structure as they seek wildflower nectar, and observe various types of butterflies seeking the same. With no cell service, street noise, or nearby neighbors, few things distract me from creating chapters, short stories, or articles – except the landscape that surrounds us. For me, though, nature and creativity blend, and the muse spills forth.
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch
By Gayle M. Irwin
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch
A ranch like no other … Erin Christiansen is still adjusting to life as a widow. She seeks additional healing by volunteering at Compassion Ranch, a sanctuary for former research animals. Upon arrival at the majestic and unique northwestern Wyoming ranch, she meets Mike, a man she knew in high school, whose compassion for animals and people might be the balm Erin needs. Retired veterinarian Mike Jacobs is no stranger to loss. Five years after the accidental death of his wife, he now serves as ranch manager of Compassion Ranch. He not only fixes fence and provides tours, but he applies his veterinary skills and his heart for animals to his work. Upon recognizing Erin from high school, he can barely believe his first love will spend a few weeks at the sanctuary. Can Erin and Mike span the years since they have seen each other or do they, like many of the rescued animals, have wounds that run too deep to trust and love again?
Barnes & Noble:
Who I am Stephen King, no, not THE Stephen King, I am Australian and I write thrillers under the name Stephen B King (which is my real name BTW). I have eleven novels published, all set in my home state of Western Australia, mostly psychological thrillers, showcasing my morbid fascination with serial killers and why they do what they do. My sincere thanks to D.V. Stone for having me here to talk a little about me, my passion, and my latest release, which is called Winter at the Light. I’ve been writing all my life, it seems, starting with my schooldays where my English teacher loved my stories. I progressed to writing poetry and had thirteen published in various anthologies before learning guitar and putting those poems to music. Thus began my musical sojourn and the next few years were a blur of living my life like the famous cliché of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Of course, eventually I grew up and settled down, but I always yearned to write books until my wife bought me a laptop, and said stop talking about it, and do it, and so I did.
Interests Other than my wife and children, who have all grown up and flown the coup now, as mentioned above, my literary interests lie with serial killers. I think most people share my fascination. Why do some people become monsters, what sets them apart, were they created evil, or did they become that way? I have a series of novels exploring just that called The Deadly Glimpses. All that said, Winter at the Light, my latest book, is not about a serial killer, and the hunt to catch him, it is a romantic thriller set on a remote lighthouse in 1952, where twenty-year-old Molly learns on a lighthouse, there is nowhere to hide.
Network I like to network with other authors, and I offer free advice to people who want to write, but just don’t know how. I think everyone has a story to tell, especially the more elderly among us, and if they don’t write it down, those stories will be lost forever, so if I can help anyone…
Desk My desk is my dining table, not in an office. Writing is a particularly selfish pastime, and as much as I’d like to lock myself away in a room and bang away on a keyboard, I don’t think it would be good for my marriage. I work for a living, but write for a passion, so like most things in life it’s about balance. By having my computer on the dining table in the family/living area of our home, I can hold conversations with my better half, while she has our dog on her lap and watches TV. You know that old saying right? Happy wife, happy life.
Outrageous fact about me. Remember when I said that I thought everyone has a story to tell? Well some stories can’t be told, well, not straight away anyway. When I met the woman who was to become my first wife, she was trying to get away from her ex; a drug dealing biker, well known for violence. On our first date, he burst into her apartment and found me there, and made threats. Later that night, the police pulled his car over and lucky for me they did. Inside were four men, all armed and they were on their way to my home. The next year or more, we lived in hiding. There is a book in that period of my life, especially the eventual confrontation between us, but it can’t be told, not yet.
Window My favorite window is actually double sliding French doors. Through them, from the family room and breakfast bar area, you can see our rear garden, with swimming pool and majestic Gum trees behind it. The trees attract native birds, and in the evening, just before dark, they make a lot of noise to accompany the sun going down. We are blessed with wonderful weather in sunny Western Australia, and the pool gets a lot of use from mid-Spring through to mid-Autumn.
Winter at the Light
Forbes Lighthouse is a dangerous place. Twenty-year-old Molly McLaren agrees to tend the light when her father breaks his leg, so she leaves behind the city and her nursing career. Molly dreads the thought of three months as the sole inhabitant on the tiny island, nineteen nautical miles off the rugged coastline of Augusta in Western Australia.
Molly discovers she enjoys the solitude, and when a massive storm arrives bringing a life raft, Molly risks her life to save the unconscious man inside. On waking, he says he has lost his memory but as Molly nurses him back to health she wonders if he has. When the storm finally clears, Molly has fallen for the man she's nicknamed John, but still has doubts about his honesty.
The real danger arrives with two men who are searching for her mystery man. They want to kill him and anyone else who can identify them, and Molly quickly learns; on a lighthouse, there is nowhere to hide.
Molly reached the rocky shore, where waves as tall as she was crashed at its edge and shot up shards of white foam spray to be flung in her face by the wind. The life raft ducked and dived only a few yards away and was coming closer by the minute. She propped the medical bag between two large boulders, determined to keep it from being washed away in the angry surf, then wondered what she could do next.
The dinghy’s opening in the tent-like awning faced away from her, no doubt acting as a wind tunnel, which helped drive the boat ahead of it, but that meant she still had no idea if anyone was inside or not. She cupped her hands around her mouth. “Hello, is anyone there?” she screamed, trying to be heard above the howling wind, but she feared she wasn’t.
There was nothing, no sound or movement from within, but the boat was coming closer, and she had to decide what she would do when it hit the rocks at her feet. Try to grab it and pull it ashore, I suppose, then look inside the damn thing.
“C’mon little boat, you’ve made it this far, don’t fail me now,” Molly murmured.
The next moment the rounded bow hit a protruding rock, and the wind driving from the rear nearly tipped it end over end. Without a thought for herself, Molly took five steps into the icy cold waves and grabbed the ropes strung along the side. She tried to pull it into safety. “If anyone is in there, get out, I can’t hold this forever,” she screamed, as loudly as she had ever shouted in her life.
Buy link: Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ie7gG2
Thank you for having me here and chatting about Winter at the Light. I hope everyone enjoys Molly’s story and I didn’t bore you too much.
Stephen B King
To Find out more about Stephen and his books and life:
Website: www.stephen-b-king.comook: @
Today I’m welcoming Wendy Kendall to the Around the Campfire. 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.
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/
Who: I’m an award-winning author of historical and contemporary romances. I tell people I live on an island in the Pacific, but it’s really the Pacific Northwest on the west coast of Canada.
Interests: I love anything outdoors, from hikes to picnics to kayaking. I live near the beach, where I walk almost every day. I am passionate about visiting wineries and discovering new and exciting wines. My sweetie and I are confirmed foodies and really like to travel so we’re looking forward to the time when it’s safe to travel again. We’ve been cooking together a lot during the lockdown; a local chef does Zoom classes, and I’ve gotten back into baking bread.
Network: I’m a member of the Vancouver Island Romance Authors, VIRA, and a proud member of Romance Gems where I blog every month. I also really appreciate my non-writing friends. They keep me grounded.
Desk: I try to be organized (a loosing battle) and my desk is always littered with scribbled-on pieces of paper. On a really good day I put information on an index card so I can find it more easily.
Outrageous: I love to skinny dip every chance I get, here and in the tropics.
Window: I have a really interesting yard with lots of greenery and blooming plants right outside my window. And a hummingbird feeder. I love to watch those little guys. They flutter up to the window and let me know if the juice level is dipping too low.
As a self-confessed beach freak, I was delighted to be one of the authors of a new summer collection of romance stories that released yesterday, LAST CHANCE BEACH, SUMMER’S END. My story, Blue Sky Summer contains a rescue scene that has been imbedded in my memory since I was a youngster and watched my mother save a boy from drowning.
Here is an excerpt from my second chance romance:
To Alisha, the town looked different with Mark by her side, as he entertained her with a running monologue of the town’s history that she expected was at least half made up. The sun shone brightly in a sky so blue it almost hurt her eyes. Seated next to Mark, her heart overflowed with contentment. The whole island looked different. Brighter. Special.
She shifted to study Mark’s profile as he drove. She’d always managed on her own, but she’d managed better with Mark. He’d been the first one to truly believe in her.
Tentatively, she put a hand on Mark’s leg, feeling the warmth of his skin beneath his board shorts and the pull of his quad muscle as he accelerated.
“I’m sorry I hurt you,” she said in a small voice.
She saw his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed thickly. No quick grin this time. No denial of the fact that she hurt him.
“We were good together,” he said finally.
She nodded, blinking away the unwelcome sheen of tears behind her sunglasses.
“Was that the problem? You couldn’t handle good?”
“I knew you would never leave me to attend med school, even after you’d been accepted,” she said finally, feeling it was time for the truth.
He stomped on the brake and threw the Jeep into park so suddenly she was grateful for her seatbelt. He turned to face her. “That’s why you dumped me?”
“So it was all a crock. What you said about needing to concentrate on your career without the distraction of a boyfriend?”
“I thought, if you weren’t feeling responsible for me, or committed to me, you’d look after yourself first. Chase your dream.”
“You never thought, maybe this was something we should have a conversation about? Possibly even reach some sort of mutual agreement?”
She pleated the hem of her shorts between her fingers. “I see that now. I see a lot of things I didn’t see back then.”
Mark exhaled a long, pained sigh, put the Jeep back into drive and soon they left the town behind, following a narrow coastal roadway. Alisha rested her head against the seatback. She’d been sure she’d feel better after apologizing to Mark. So why did she feel worse?
More about Kathleen
Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her alpha male heroes. One of her heroes, Steele, is a modern-day cowboy, so when she was wooed by a man called Steel— while he’s not a cowboy, he is an Alpha male and her forever hero. Which is why all of her stories end Happily Ever After.
Not that she can ever stick to just one genre. So many stories to tell—never enough time.
With close to 30 published novels to her credit, she enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance into historical romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and stories for young adults.
Sign up for Kathleen’s VIP Reader Group to receive a free book, updates, special giveaways and fan-priced offers. http://eepurl.com/bV0sb1
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Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Rock House Grill, a contemporary romance released April 6th, 2020. Rainbow Sprinkles a second chance romance is now available.