Many thanks to the generous and gifted Morgan Wyatt for organizing this event, and welcome to my little corner of the Welcome Summer Romance Blog Hop. You have a chance to win the fabulous Grand Prize, an Amazon gift certificate worth $100. To be eligible to win, click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link at the bottom of this post! On top of that fabulous prize, I’m offering a bonus prize of a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter on this blog! As my contribution, I’m posting about a very special summertime place: Red Pine Camp.
How a Family Camp Influenced my Book
Affectionately known as RPC, Red Pine Camp houses its inmates, oops, I mean campers, in rustic (downright primitive) cabins where someone forgot to install plumbing or HVAC. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years, initially with my first husband and two sons, then with my younger son, and now by myself due to the fact that my second husband is not an avid camper. Believe it or not, he prefers accommodation with indoor plumbing and air conditioning.
The ‘flushies’ are an essential part of the RPC experience, along with the sound of loons over Golden Lake, the scent of pine trees, a Tuck Shop across The Grove, the Campers’ Night talent show, long conversations on the bluff overlooking the waterfront, campfires that last until 3:00 am, porch and bench sitting (at which I am an acknowledged expert), crafts, sports tournaments for all ages, card and board games, kiddie and teen programs, and what must be termed a unique dining experience.
Changeover Chicken is Saturday night dinner. Always. Like death and taxes, only somewhat better, Saturday being changeover day, when one group of campers leaves, and the new batch arrives. Although dreaded by many, I think this chicken pretty good, especially when accompanied by a rousing rendition of There Ain’t no Flies on Us, and paired with a refreshing pitcher of Mung. Mung comes with every meal, whether you want it or not. It’s like Kool-Aid, only worse because (a) the water at RPC is filled with sulphur, (b) the mixture is either too watery or too strong, and (c) the kitchen staff often combines flavors, turning it a muddy brown.
Yes, meals at RPC are unforgettable.
So are the cabins. One tiny room no bigger than an average storage shed, and furnished with multiple bunk beds houses an entire family in elegant comfort. Closets? Surely you jest. A pole with dozens of hangers, a few shelves, and several nails hammered into strategic spots on the walls work fine. To enhance the sleeping experience the cabin is generally attached to one or more others. And no description of RPC is complete without touching very delicately upon the privacy factor. To cut to the chase, RPC ain’t known as Camp Lackanookie for nothing.
By now, any non-RPC-er is probably saying, “Why would ANYONE do this?”
Here’s the thing. My annual time at RPC is my very own ‘me-week’—seven entire days where I get to do exactly what I want, where I want, and when I want (except for meal-times, which are cast in concrete). This is the place I re-group, ground myself, and connect with my spiritual side, all in a beautiful setting and accompanied by amazing friends.
I love RPC so much, I incorporated a modified version into my paranormal romantic suspense, THE JAGUAR LEGACY. Scottish archaeologist, Alistair Kincaid, has set up a remote camp in the middle of the Mexican jungle. The layout and setup are loosely based on Red Pine Camp, with one notable exception: in the book, lackanookie is NOT one of the camp downsides.
Excerpt from THE JAGUAR LEGACY: The Camp
Kincaid watched intently as Charley, breathing hard, stumbled into camp ahead of him. She stood stock still at the edge of the area known as The Grove. Tawny wisps of hair straggled around her face as she scanned every inch of his camp. For some strange reason her approval mattered. He reminded himself that a description of his camp would probably appear in the damned article she was determined to write. The alternative was to keep her locked up in solitary confinement for the next week.
Other than a faint panting, she remained silent.
He looked over his camp, this time through a newcomer’s eyes. Objectively speaking the place looked well-organized and comfortable. A double row of tents and wooden cabins, all linked by a raised wooden walkway, lined the lagoon.
Slightly sheepish about his inhospitable reception, he waited for her to catch her breath. Normally, he wouldn’t dream of treating a guest that way, reporter or not. It was her bad luck she’d caught him at a vulnerable moment.
Hoping to make amends for his boorish behavior he pushed his financial woes aside and smiled his welcome-to-my-camp smile. “It’s siesta time. Most of my team’s relaxing.” He indicated four students playing cards beside one of the cabins while an intertwined couple swung in a hammock slung between two palms.
Charley waved away a cloud of mosquitoes and gave him a baffled stare, as if assessing his miraculous about-face in attitude. “Amazing,” she said. “You’ve created a complete community in the middle of the jungle.”
“Aye. Larger cabins sleep six, but most accommodate only two. A few of us have our own personal living quarters. Overall, we’re very comfortable. Raised platforms keep the floor dry and rodent-free.”
Her eyebrows shot up to her hairline. “Tell me you didn’t mention rodents.”
She had an amazing voice, low and musical, even when she was complaining. He could listen to her for hours. “This is the jungle,” he explained patiently. “Animals live in jungles.”
She shuddered. “Tropical rodents are probably the size of Rottweilers.”
His grin broadened. “A few harmless wee mice shouldn’t bother an intrepid reporter like yourself.”
They strolled across The Grove. A radio blasted salsa music into the freshening breeze. A pair of students danced under an overhanging tree, grinding their hips together in time to the music.
Kincaid noticed that Charley averted her gaze and picked up her pace. “Makes me feel like a voyeur,” she muttered.
“Aye. Young love abounds,” he said. “There’s not much else to keep them occupied in the middle of the jungle. Cards, games, books, the occasional party night, and sex. Lots of sex. We’ve already had one marriage, multiple break-ups, and two pregnancies.”
Her eyes clouded. “How sad.”
He shook his head. “There’s no excuse for pregnancy here. We’re proactive.”
She halted and looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “Good to know.”
He felt compelled to explain. “Affairs and romances are so common on archaeological digs that condoms are considered a staple.”
“Is that a fact?”
Bloody hell. Shifting the duffel bag to his other shoulder he tried explaining again. “Oh, aye. We hand out condoms to the team like Aspirin. You wouldn’t believe the quantities we go through. There’s a whole carton in the corner of the dining area and more coming in with the next shipment.”
Her face turned pink. “Um, well.” She scuffed her feet. “Very interesting. How considerate of you.”
He groaned inwardly. Had he actually discussed condoms? He must be daft. She likely thought he was coming on to her. Not that the thought hadn’t crossed his mind.
The beat of Hot, Hot, Hot by Los Rios filled the uncomfortable silence.
He leaned in closer. “I hope you’ll be comfortable in your tent tonight.”
“I’m sure I will, thank you,” she said in a prim voice.
He smiled. “Ah, good. I aim to please. We may be only a small establishment, and we may not have all the frills of a Hilton, but there are a few advantages and amenities.” He paused for emphasis. “Me for example. I’m a terrific guide.”
Her eyes widened. “I’d prefer air conditioning.”
He spread his arms wide in an expansive gesture. “Air conditioning? You can’t mean that. Air conditioning is run-of-the-mill. Air conditioning is banal.”
“Air conditioning is essential,” she argued. “How about an ensuite bathroom then?”
“Same thing. Boring, boring, boring. No sense of adventure with an ensuite. You’d never encounter the sights and sounds of the jungle at night or enjoy the freedom of the fresh air experience.”
“Treats I could happily live without.”
THE JAGUAR LEGACY (Hot Paranormal Romance, Hot Jungle Love)
With her reputation in tatters, acclaimed journalist Charley Underhill invades a remote archaeological dig, determined to unravel rumors of an ancient curse. If it means avoiding hairy, hungry predators or lying to a charismatic archaeologist with a sexy Scottish accent, brilliant scientific mind, and gaudy Hawaiian shirts, she’s up for the challenge.
Hell-bent on guarding the secret of his latest discovery, a ruined Olmec city hidden deep in the Mexican jungle, Dr. Alistair Kincaid fears a premature press leak will destroy his last chance at success. He won’t let a snoopy reporter, even one with a quirky sense of humor, smarts, and a heartwarming smile, ruin his career. Or steal his heart.
But ancient danger stalks the jungle on velvet paws. Secrets collide as strands from past lives intertwine with the present, drawing Charley and Kincaid into a legacy of danger and murder, shape-shifting and mysticism, romance and redemption. Is history doomed to repeat itself or is a new path possible?
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/MscwTW
Universal Amazon URL (all countries): http://amzn.to/13PIvaQ
FUR BALL FEVER (A Romantic Crime Mystery that Tickles the Funny Bone)
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/QqYdOC
Universal Amazon URL (all countries): http://amzn.to/150fiHb
Click below to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. a Rafflecopter giveaway
For your chance to win an additional $10 Amazon gift card, this time from me, simply leave a comment below telling me about your favorite summer getaway. I’ll pick one lucky winner on May 31. And if you want to, please follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AuthorMaureen
In closing, my wish for you is that you have a wonderful summer, filled with love, peace, and joy.
Click the badge below to return to the main Welcome Summer Romance Blog Hop post, and select another author.
Loved the excerpt!! Adding it to my TBR! 😉
I don’t think that I could go to RPC. While I understand the spiritual connection, the food alone would probably deter me unless I could bring my own. Lol.
I would say that my perfect summer spot is the beach, but since I live in SW Florida, I get to see it whenever I want now. I now like to visit The Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. I get to see my family and enjoy the lake.
Thank you for the wonderful hop and giveaway!
trb0917 at gmail dot com
Trust me, Tina. You’re not alone on your assessment of the food. At least, they’ve added a decent salad bar, so there’s always fresh fruit and veggies.
I am really liking your book and blog hop idea, what a treat. I am an aspiring author, much different than being a writer, I write all day as a ghostwriter and I am thrilled by your success in the romance genre. My first and only book is just sitting on the digital Amazon shelf for ghostly erotica, perhaps a strange subject but we are all a little strange!
I hope we can become friends and you can add more pointers for success as an author and keep us up to date on the twist of your next venture.
Blessings of a Good Day
Great giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity to win! I simply just love to visit the beach during the summer. No major vaca spots, just the beach with a book! 🙂
We like the beach. Good luck with the books,hope to read some of them .
In the summer I love spending time at the beach. The Jaguar Legacy sounds exciting. Thanks for sharing the great excerpt.
Naturally, I gravitate towards your Furball Fever book. In fact, I’m going to buy it right now.
Thank you so much, Liza. I hope you enjoy the book.
Have a fab time! All the best!
I will. Thanks for commenting, Nas.
Good luck with everything past, present, and future. 🙂
Thanks for the lovely message, Dana.
My favorite getaway is to the lake for some camping with the family.
The only family vacations I’ve had were when I was a child. My whole family would gather at least once a summer and usually we would go to a popular place her in Missouri called the Johnson Shut Ins(sp). My uncle, my aunt and her entire family w/5 kids, and my grandmother would all go together; my grandmother even made a family flag for our campground it took the first 2 letters from each families names. Since my family started it, then my grandmother started going, then my aunt, and then my uncle the ducky/platypus looking animal had a banner over his head that read HUBANAHA and when my one cousin and her family and kids starting going it read HUBANAHANA. There was never anything fancy about this trip but we were all together and that at the time was great.
Sounds like it was a lot of fun, Kathleen.
I love to get away to the beach during the summer.
sstrode at scrtc dot com
Thanks for commenting, Sherry. I love the beach too.
My all time favorite summer time getaways have always been from my childhood, going to my grandparents house in the country.
Love the country air, fresh fruits & vegetables. Being able to go fishing, all that was awesome times.
L_Laws38 at yahoo dot com
That is so sweet, LaTanya. There’s something about grandparents. They are so special.
Thank you for the chance!!!
Thanks for commenting, Terri.
My favorite summer getaway is being able to be near a beach and sitting outside on the beach at night.
Thanks for commenting, Chelsey. Yes, the beach, night, stars …. Heavenly!
Thanks so much for being part of the hop! Love the excerpt and covers.
My favorite Summer getaway–It would have to be our last trip to Tennessee. Surrounded by nature–nothing can get you down. It’s nice to let the real world slip away once in awhile, pretend you’re in a bubble and just breathe <3
Hope you had a great holiday weekend and thank you for the chance to check out your books 🙂
Thanks for commenting, Madison. I’m with you about being in nature.
Like the beach
bn100candg at hotmail dot com
Thanks for commenting.
I live near the beach and summer is the worst time–mosquitos, tourists, traffic, heat, humidity, crowded restaurants. I’m happy when summer is OVER so I can go back to the beach again and get into restaurants and the tourists GO HOME. SO, I usually prefer winter getaways or I’ll head to the mountains in the summer.
I totally understand, Catherine. Thanks for commenting.
I hope I win and Thanks for giving us a chance to win this amazing prize,
Thanks for commenting, Sonya.
Thanks for the chance 🙂
Thanks for commenting, Amy.
My favorite getaway is mini vacations with my husband and we love to go antiquing. One of favorite areas is in Alabama around Decatur/Hartsel area. I came home with an antique drop leaf gate-leg table a few years back that we paid $95 for. It is beautiful and just what I was looking for.
That sounds like fun, Kathy. A getaway with a purpose, and with someone you love. What could possibly be better? Excluding Red Pine, of course.
I have to agree with your second husband, I NEED plumbing and air conditioning is nice in summer. My husband takes our kids to his camp throughout the summer but it has TV, air conditioning, and many amenities including a camping community with other families and kids….Me? I stay at home for that day and enjoy the peace and quiet (catch up on household chores, reading and TV series). As a stay at home mom of 2, this time is my “sanity” saving time.
susanmplatt AT Hotmail DOT com
My husband would think that you are the sane one, Susan. He doesn’t understand my passion for Red Pine Camp. It’s all about the people, the camaraderie, and the beauty of Nature, definitely not the accommodations. But the strangest thing is that when the camp polled us about what we would like to see changed, none of us wanted anything major.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Thanks for commenting, Jenn. I must Google Jackson Hole. I love hearing about places I’ve never seen.
My favorite summer getaway is anywhere spent with loved ones. Nothing beats enjoying the sun with friends and family.
Absolutely true, Pamela. It’s always about the people.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for commenting, Gretchen.
One of my favorite vacations is visiting Washington DC, but I’m very happy to just spend time relaxing in the sun with a good book and cold drink.
Thanks for commenting Beverly. We drove to Washington for cherry blossom season 2 years ago. Arrived just in time for the last day of blossoms, absolutely beautiful. There was a rain storm that smae night, they were gone the next day. I’m grateful we saw them.
My favorite summer giveaway is at the beach, just relaxing and reading. We use to go to Myrtle Beach but we haven’t been there in years. We can’t afford to go any more.
Thanks for commenting, Virginia. I’ve never been to Myrtle Beach, but I hear it’s wonderful.
RPC sounds like a delightful place that I’d enjoy! Like you, I have a husband who is not interested in camping. His favorite saying — ‘Roughing it’ is a slow bellhop. My favorite summer getaway (so far!) has been to Lake Quinault Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State.
I enjoyed your excerpt from THE JAGUAR LEGACY and look forward to reading the story.
A fellow camper! Thank you, Sandra. I have visited the Olympic Peninsula, absolutely beautiful. I don’t think the lodge you mention resembles RPC, except that it’s on a lake.
My favorite getaway is to the beach to enjoy sun and reading. Thanks for the chance.
koala571 at msn dot com
Beach, sun, reading–how could that not be wonderful? Thanks for commenting, Kathy
The best wishes to you on all of your writing endeavors. Have a GREAT WEEKEND with your family !!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Thanks for commenting, Robin.