Hi! My name is Denisea Kampe and I’m a recovering pen name user. (It’s okay to laugh at this point!)
When I first approached Jennifer about hosting me for my little release blast party, I asked if there was anything she’d like me to blog about for her and brought up the subject of who I was, who I became, and who I am now. We first met working through a small press in Wyoming a couple of years ago and I introduced myself as Lila Munro. That was pen name. I’ve always been Denisea, but when I first aspired to publish a few years ago, I was asked what pen name I’d be using and without much thought, I came up with Lila Munro on the fly and so it was who I became. It wasn’t until a bit later Jennifer actually found out what my real name is and not long after that I was faced with several decisions about my career at once.
I’ve written as long as I can remember, and when I wasn’t writing I was making stories up. I loved books long before I could spell and I can’t remember a time I didn’t know I’d be published someday. There was even a point during my college days I was a journalism major. Just think, I could have been anchoring the evening news somewhere, but news wasn’t my bag and after many years of trying to figure out what was through writing and shredding, writing and shredding, I figured out romance was. And that’s where I started out, in contemporary adult romance. Then things took a turn and before I could say, “That’s all from Denisea Kampe this evening, tune in tomorrow for highlights…” Lila Munro decided she’d bend to a trend and go from contemporary to erotic. Then from erotic to something just shy of erotica.
The problem was, even though I was pretty darn good at it, I became quite discontent because I knew in my heart it that genre wasn’t really where I belonged. I’ll leave my blog address with my links and if you’d like to know more about why I was so discontent, please come by for a much lengthier talk on that. But for here, we’ll go with my heart was quite discontent. And while I was trying to ignore the feeling in my heart which was giving me such problems, my nieces started wondering what their aunty was writing—they’re eleven and thirteen. Uh, yeah, when faced with the stark reality what you already know you’re not happy writing is out there and your precious nieces could find it, let me tell you, it’s just shy of sickening really. Then the final blow…
My best friend came clean, I found out she was also unhappy writing erotic/erotica, and she went a full 360 and landed in the inspirational scene.
Gee…how much more guilt does one person need before they give?
I guess about that much because it was around that point I decided enough was enough and my entire career shifted left. I took down all my erotic/erotica titles and started cleaning up my website and getting rid of several social outlets that weren’t doing me a bit of good and were in fact making things much harder for me. But it still didn’t seem like enough. I knew the only way to hold myself accountable and be true to me was to BE ME.
What was left of my once long list of back titles amounted to six stories. My editor and publisher’s graphic arts department worked their butts off making all the necessary changes and I am forever grateful for that. I’m now Denisea Kampe, Contemporary Romance Writer and I have six back titles that reflect that and the most exciting thing has happened.
My first title to come out solely under my real name just debuted!
I’ll leave you with a bit of an excerpt below and where you can find For His Country. For now, I’d like to thank each of you for spending part of your day with me, and thank you Jennifer for hosting me and letting me tell my story.
Have a realmantic day!
Twenty-seven years, more than a dozen deployments, five kids…and one missing wife.
After twenty-seven years of marriage and service to his country, Gavin McIntyre returns from what he hopes will be his last deployment before either reaching the highest attainable enlisted rank in the Marine Corps or retiring. But what he returns to leaves him flat aback with a busted mast and broken rudder. His wife is a no show for the homecoming. Using the ages old adage of improvise, adapt, and overcome, he makes his way home only to discover, she hasn’t simply forgotten to pick him up from the bus, she’s gone. In her wake, Gavin finds his home set up boot camp style and twenty dollars in the cookie jar, but any evidence he’s ever had a wife or five children with her is deplete.
Pregnant at sixteen and married to a marine in a less than romantic ceremony courtesy of the local Justice, Raylyn McIntyre has spent almost three decades playing the dutiful patriotic wife, catering to the whims of the military. She’s lost track of how many places she’s lived, how many deployments she’s endured, and how many tears she’s shed. But most of all, she’s lost track of herself. With a husband who’s so wrapped up in saving the world he can’t see he’s losing his family, Ray resorts to the one tactic he might understand…a full frontal attack with extreme prejudice, which proves to get Gavin’s waning attention.
Nothing good ever comes easy, though, and just when her choice of battle plan seems to be working, tragedy befalls their family. As Ray and Gavin struggle to find center, they also struggle with the notion that forgiveness of self is often the only path to forgiveness of another, and that path is not only bumpy but filled with pitfalls.
“Meatloaf? Dear God,” Ray mumbled, buckling up.
No wonder Gavin looked at her like she’d sprouted an additional head. Meatloaf. Good grief. If she’d have been herself this morning instead of some woman she hadn’t recognized since the first of the year, she’d have skipped the meatloaf, had the curtains hemmed by noon, and would have had one of Gavin’s favorite meals ready and waiting at five o’clock on the dot with a card, a box of cigars, and a bottle of wine. And all the cookies and cards and candies would have been mailed days ago.
But Ray wasn’t herself. Hell, she wasn’t even the woman she was almost a year ago when she went on a tirade and decided enough was enough and she had to find herself. Who she’d become since the rift between her and Gavin had widened was an empty shell of middle-aged flesh who couldn’t remember what she’d gone to the grocery for without two detailed lists in case she lost one in the process of getting to the store.
“Forget about the damn meatloaf,” Gavin said, merging into traffic and heading for the front gate. “Forget about the meatloaf, the pizza, the movie, the cookies and the damn cards. Forget about my cigars. Tonight we’re taking care of us. Period. We, I, should have been doing that more often all along. My fault…”
“So this has everything to do with making yourself feel better? Not me?” Ray accused, happy for the reprieve of wallowing in her own guilt and even happier to be able to poke at someone else’s. “To ease your own guilt because you’ve missed so many special occasions? You think one nice dinner out is supposed to fix years of forgetfulness?”
“If it makes you feel better to yell at me, go ahead,” Gavin said. “It beats the dead silence that’s hung over us ever since the first of the year. My fault? You bet your sweet ass, woman, but I’m not going to sit and stew in the guilt I could lay on myself. I’m going to fix it. And you’re going to stop feeling guilty, too. We deserve a life and damn it, we’re going to start living it.”
“You think it’s that easy?” Ray shot at him. “You think we can just decide one day okay, let’s just forget the last twenty-seven years and pow, everything is just hunky-dory?”
“No, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy, but it could be easier if you’d let it.”
“Now I’m the one being difficult?” Ray huffed and crossed her arms under her breasts. “Let me tell you, mister, you’re the one who’s been difficult.”
“Yes, I know that,” Gavin agreed.
“Oh, that’s great,” Ray snipped, steam building. “Now you think to take the wind out of my sails by being agreeable and stealing my reasons for being angry? Stop agreeing with me, it makes it difficult for me to stay pissed off!”
Born and raised in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Denisea Kampe was spinning tales before she could even spell and once her sixth grade creative writing teacher encouraged her by leaving a most prophetic comment on one of her assignments, the wheels of destiny were set in motion. But those wheels would need greased again and again as her writing would take a back seat to life and her jobs of mom and wife many times over before she’d finally see her dream of becoming a published writer come to fruition in 2010. Denisea is a military wife who’s traveled the world over. She’s lived in four states and Okinawa Japan and held more drivers’ licenses than she can count. Her nest is empty save one furry and quite mischievous Siberian Husky and one spoiled rotten Rat Terrier mix. Denisea takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around since marrying her very own fairy tale prince in dusty cammies. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum, taking field research trips, crafting, and sewing. Her works include One Tear, The Executive Officer’s Wife, Private Pirouette, and the Slower Lower series. Denisea loves to hear from her readers and can be found at deniseakampe.blogspot.com
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