Within the Candle’s Glow by Karen Campbell Prough

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016 | 4 comments

Within the Candle’s Glow by Karen Campbell Prough

Within the Candle’s Glow by Karen Campbell Prough is a book I couldn’t put down. Karen was a guest of mine when her first book, The Girl Called Ella Dessa debuted. I have been fascinated by both and I know you will be as well. I hope you’ll take time to get acquainted with Karen and the unique southern historical fiction she writes! Your comment will enter you to win a book. Signing in on the Rafflecopter at the bottom will increase your chance to win. Karen has generously offered to giveaway two print copies, reader’s choice of which book, and one Kindle copy of Within the Candle’s Glow. Don’t miss out!


Fabulous Fridays

Within the Candle’s Glow by Karen Campbell Prough

Welcome back, Karen! The last time you were here we talked about your debut novel, The Girl Called Ella Dessa. Now you have a sequel out, Within the Candle’s Glow. Tell us a little about yourself and how these two books came about.

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother! I am not a woman in her twenties, so having books published seems unreal to me. Years ago I thought the possibility had passed me by. From the time I learned to read, I wanted to write. As a child, I entertained my brothers with wild stories I made up. Actually, I was their only source of entertainment. We didn’t have a television! The urge to be a storyteller never went away. As soon as I could print—I was writing stories. I eventually had short stories published, but never a book accepted. The Girl Called Ella Dessa and Within the Candle’s Glow were once just one book. Actually, there was a third book stuffed in with them! So, one book was divided into three, because I tend to write and write! Two books have been published, and book three is in the stages leading up to publication! All three are about Ella Dessa’s life.

What is your target audience? How do you keep the readers involved while you’re writing the next book?

I think the target audience would probably be middle to older adult women, but I know younger women are reading my books and some men. I have women coming up to me in person or asking me on Facebook, “When is the next one coming out! I can’t wait! I’m going back to read them again.” That really makes a writer feel good, but it lays on the pressure. And I have to say, I guess I’m not good at keeping the readers involved. That’s being honest. I do connect with them on Facebook and give them updates when they ask. I am setting up pictures and hints to be posted very soon about the coming book. I did a couple speaking events, and I gave what information I had about the future publication and where Ella Dessa’s story might be headed. I asked one group of women if they wanted to see a third book, even if it might not take the path they wished for her. I got a great response. They said all that mattered was the fact that Ella Dessa’s story continued. One woman came to me and asked me to please put Ella Dessa in a fourth book—even if she has become an older woman by that time!

Both Within the Candle’s Glow and The Girl Called Ella Dessa are historical fiction set in the 1840’s. Explain to my readers a little bit about Southern fiction, which has become a genre all its own, and about this time period in the south. 

We have many books written about earlier periods of history. I think Southern fiction has an appeal all its own, especially as writers produce more books about this time period. The old west was once the place to write about. There are many books with that vein running through them. I believe Southern fiction starts where those books left off. There is a softer feel. For my writing, it’s Georgia and down into Florida, during the 1800’s and wilder, remote areas. That can really pull on a writer and urge them to tell the stories whispered through accounts recorded by mountain people or the early southern settlers. Southern fiction is also a great background for romance. And I believe the time period for these types of books stretches into the nineteen-fifties.  Before that, you had tragic events going on in the nation, which led up to the Civil War, but Southern fiction can bring forward the softer stories. It’s amazing when you get into reading accounts of life in just Florida alone, during the early 1800’s. There were ranches and wealthy people settling there before the Seminoles were pushed out. They sometimes lived side by side. I know someone else could probably explain it all in a better way, but this is part of what I feel about Southern fiction.


What is your favorite period in history and why?

I would say I like the time period I’m writing about—leading up to the Civil War. I guess my interest in mountain life pulls me toward the stories coming from that period. I can still take a mountain hike and feel like I’m stepping back in time. I can walk up to an old grave stone with the date set in the early 1800’s. I can stand there and gaze at it and feel the need to know the story behind the name. So many story lines go through my head! My imagination runs away when I read the names of infants or a young person. My husband will tell you that I take pictures of random grave stones—especially really old ones! They tell a story.   

If you could spend a day with a historical figure, who would it be and what would you do?

Abraham Lincoln. I’ve visited the place he lived before he was known to the people of the United States. I’d like for him to take me back to his teen years and tell me his thoughts about his future. Would anything he said connect with the man he grew to be? What stories could he tell me about his childhood?

How did you go about researching and creating Beckler’s Cove, the setting for both The Girl Called Ella Dessa and Within the Candle’s Glow?

My husband and I quite often vacation up in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. We were in Dahlonega, Georgia and visited the building that housed the gold mined from the mountains in that area. It was a very rich vein of gold, almost pure. My book was already written in the longer version. But I knew there was more I had to tell about Ella Dessa.

We drove into the mountains just above the town, and I had my husband taking all kinds of back roads. And then we got into the right area, and I told him, “This is it! This is where my book will be set.” We got the mileage written down—how far it was from the gold mint in Dahlonega. The date on the building in 1836, the date my first book starts. I made up the name for the cove. It’s not actually there, but I found where it could have been.

I purchased books about the time period and with actual accounts of the times, dates of events, etc. That helped me stay within the correct years by knowing the details. I read about mining and how it was done around there. I hiked to a spot in a state park where men did mining. The depressions are still in the rocky ground, but the voices from the past are silent. I wish I could have talked to a person who lived through that era.

I walked along creeks where both black and white men panned for gold. I learned where they usually found it and what type of bend in the stream might hold glints of gold, etc. I picked blueberries right where I place Ella Dessa and Samuel in the book. I’ve come upon bears in the woods and found paths to go around them!

What, in your mind, distinguishes your books from other books out there in the same genre?

I might say that it is the nitty gritty bits of life I put in my writing? I try to write true to life, but not get into details that would offend. People die in my books. Bad things might happen. My books aren’t light and totally about romance, etc. I like some mystery. I try to write true to the time period. I put true facts in my stories, but also use my wild imagination! My husband says, “How do you come up with this stuff?” I just smile and say, “It’s in my head.”

What was the greatest problem/challenge you faced in writing Within the Candle’s Glow?

I would say it was deleting parts I didn’t want to take out! I was saving all the discard paragraphs, etc. But I finally gave up and went to slashing. My books have all been too long, and part of that problem is my love of description. Ask me about the creek Ella Dessa and another character crossed on horseback.  I can probably describe the color of the pebbles in the creek.

Book Blurb:

When a stranger executes a devious plan to make Ella Dessa his wife, she is propelled into a forced hike through the Georgia Mountains. Only two people will realize she has vanished, and one of them is the man she loves. Will he search for her and reach her in time?

Please share a favorite passage from Within the Candle’s Glow with us.within-the-candles-glow


Ella moved past people clustered in Inez’s kitchen and slipped out to the covered dogtrot between the buildings. She paused at the top of the worn steps.

It was close to twilight, and the unusual heat of the day had cooled. The sky glowed with a blush of gold and pink. It feathered out along the visible tops of the mountains. With gasp of appreciation, she felt drawn to the gorgeous sight.

She made her way to the corral. Three workhorses occupied a rocky pasture and chewed at a pile of fresh-cut grass. Behind her were eight or ten wagons, some with mules or horses still in their harnesses. Their outlines faded into the dusky light dipping between the mountains.

Attending Ephraim’s wake had brought back raw memories of her mama’s death.

She leaned against the top rail of a fence. Lord, why must death be a part of life?

“Are you all right?” A familiar voice spoke from the shadows.


Jim’s brother stepped away from the open door of the dark barn. His eyes were still the cool green she remembered from childhood. A full, red beard concealed much of his lower face, and he was hatless. His wild red hair hung long about his ears.

“I startled you.”

“No.” She tried to smile.

“That’s good to hear.” He smoothed the wooly texture of his hair.

“You weren’t inside.” She had not seen him in years. He no longer resembled a slight-built teenage boy. Hefty muscles showed where his homespun shirt tightened on his upper body and arms.

Duncan rested his elbows on the top rail and stared at the shadowed horses milling around the feed. “I couldn’t stand the sad voices and repeated condolences. I’m sick of staring at Papa’s body and eating food at the same time. I felt I’d gag.”

“I hated that part of Mama’s wake.” Ella found it strange she’d actually grasp an instant connection to his private feelings.

He cleared his throat. “Years ago, I never said I was sorry for your suffering—at the time of your mother’s death.” He spoke without looking at her.

“No. You didn’t.” She raised her eyebrows and waited.

“Well, I’m saying it, now.” He laced his fingers together on top of the rail fence. “I’m clearing my conscience, asking for forgiveness. I was callus.”

Her fingers tightened on the rough railing. “I still miss her.”

Beyond the rail fence, somewhere in the dusky edges of the field, a whip-poor-will sent out its signature call—its name. She knew the mottled brown and elusive nighthawk would call during the first part of the evening and then go silent for the night. Ella loved its special call at dusk. But it would soon fly away and disappear for the winter.

Up on the porch, someone coughed. An arm hung a lantern, and the shadowed person went back inside.

Duncan bowed his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “Papa thought of you as part of our family.”

“I’ll miss him.”

He took a deep breath. “I will, too. But Jim doesn’t believe it.” The shadows of the coming night darkened his features.

“Hmm, ‘cause you’re gone from the homestead so much?” She saw his eyes skitter away. The lantern’s beam highlighted their muted green color.

“Yup.” He swatted at an invisible mosquito. “There seems to be no one who understands me. I’m alone. I muddle through life, and yes, I’m gone for a year or more at a time. But don’t ever think I forget my family. I loved Papa. I’m glad I got back in time to talk to him before … before this. He was good. He stood by his strict beliefs.”

“He loved God.”

Hmm. I chafed under his strictness, but it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. God created the uncharted wildernesses I travel through and places I get lost in—for months at a time. I feel close to God when I walk alone on a trail made by Indians or wild animals.” He paused. “Is that crazy?”

“Crazy?” She blinked and turned. His figure was a mere shadow in the fading light, but she could sense his proximity. “I su’pose I understand. If I were a man, I’d run away and see the world.”

“That true? Did Jim or Samuel tell you I went west—where mountains dwarf these?”

“No, I heard you were in the south, helpin’ with surveys.”

“Only one winter and spring with a survey team. When the mosquitoes got bad, I scurried back to Georgia. I worked at a mine in Lumpkin County. I hated it and despised the greedy breed fighting for a piece of momentary wealth. The camp followers are skilled in fleecing the ragtag bunch of what gold is dug out of the mountains or panned in the creeks.”

“Well, I heard your name spoken durin’ talks of Florida.”

“Hmm, the Florida territory does fascinate me. It’s a challenge to those who try to explore or settle the swamps, piney woods, and flats. The warm waters and coastal areas surroundin’ it—Ella Dessa, I can’t begin to describe them. The tepid caress of its waters, the flocks of colorful birds, and extensive wildlife are too wonderful for mere words. A person needs to see it and touch it. I hoped to talk Papa into moving there, but the dream’s gone.” He shifted his weight and faced the last reddish-gold hint of the sun, vanishing near the mountain’s peak.

She heard the pure exhilaration in his voice die to deep remorse. “Death doesn’t wait.”

“I know that full well.” He cleared his throat. “Can I call you, ‘Ella’?”

“If you wish. Some do. Samuel always calls me ‘Ella Dessa’.”

Darkness enclosed them, with only the lantern’s faint beam reaching where they stood. The promised radiance of the rising moon lit the mountaintop on the other side of the cove, and she could make out filmy clouds drifting near it. Nearby insects began their night trills.

“The moon will be beautiful,” she said and sensed he came closer in the cool shadows. She heard the intake of his breath.

“Ella, I want to say something for your ears only. I need you to understand me as what I am—a changed man.”

“Why me?”

“It’s something of our shared past. The day of your mother’s wake, I hiked up to your place, without my family knowin’. They were all sick in bed. A girl I was madly in love with was at your place. I was young—not like now. I feel ancient.”

“I know who you’re talkin’ about. You hurt her,” she whispered. “Don’t you know that? How is that love?”

“You fail to understand the way of a man … a boy, when the sight of a girl steals his heart and mind. Breaking her heart wasn’t my intention that day.”

“But you did.” Her eyes adjusted to the lantern’s yellow light and the new silver light inching its way above the rugged heights.

“She promised to kiss me when we met. When she resisted—said, ‘no’, it made me crazy. I had thought of kissing her for weeks. It was in my head she would, so I took the kiss she refused to give. I ruined everything with her. I lost her. You saw me force her to kiss me.” He went silent and then muttered, “Why am I standing here talking of this?”

“To ease your mind?”

“No, it’s to erase your dislike of me.”

“Duncan, I’ve no feelin’s either way. God’s the one you must talk to—if it’s guilt you feel. I hold nothin’ ag’inst you. It’s the past. Yes, you were relentless in gettin’ what you wanted—a kiss. It don’t matter today.” She changed the sticky subject by asking, “How long will you stay home this time?”

“Ahh—me, the constant wanderer?” He gave a low chuckle. “It’s the big question on Jim’s mind. Ella, I want to leave now. There’s a full moon rising over that mountain. I can see to travel through the cove and out of this country. I want to go—”


“Who knows.”

“Don’t do it. Think of your mother. She needs all her children nearby … for a short time, at least.” The moon’s silver light inched its way above the rugged heights.

He faced her. “You’ve grown to be a charming young lady.”

A strange tingly feeling passed over her. She was shocked to realize his words pleased her. With a self-conscious laugh, she said, “Thank you. Everyone changes when a person stays away as long you always have. You saw a difference in little Phillip?”

“Yes. He didn’t even know me. That hurt, but it’s my fault.”

Someone—the solid figure of a young man—stepped out on the porch.

“Ella Dessa?”


Samuel came to the steps. “Why are you out in the dark?”

She faced him. “I’m talkin’ with Duncan.”


Duncan moved into the lantern’s dull light. “Yes, Sam, I’m here with her.” He hooked his thumbs in his belt and waited.

“How ‘bout helping me start a fire in the cooking pit? Got to have some nice coals. We’re roasting a pig for tomorrow afternoon.” A tight note of agitation laced his voice.

“What pig? We butchering one tonight?”

“No, Sophie’s father slaughtered one and brought it up from his place.”

Duncan’s hand touched Ella’s right shoulder and slowly slid to her elbow. “I’ll walk you to the steps. Thanks for listening.”

“It was nice talkin’ to you.”

They moved to the porch. Samuel waited with arms crossed. At his feet was an iron pot with glowing coals nestled within its blackened sides. Ella lifted her skirt free of the steps and climbed them.

“Samuel, come on. I’ll stack the wood.” Duncan headed for the fire pit, where their mother did outdoor cooking during the summer.

“Ella Dessa?”

She paused and looked over her shoulder at Samuel. “Yes?” The rising moon lit his face. His eyes appeared light gray—not bluish green—in the slivery illumination.

“Will you sit with me later, when Leigh says a few words?”

“Yes, of course.”


“Here’s the coals,” Samuel muttered. He grabbed the cloth-wrapped handle to the iron pot and made his way to the dark fire pit. His brother’s shadow crouched before a wide stack of cut wood. “Got lighter knot?”

“Yes. I placed it.” Duncan’s bearded face showed in the lantern’s light. He crammed a wad of dried grass and moss under slivers of pine. “Give me the coals.” With one quick movement, he dumped them against the grass, and bent forward to blow on them. He wedged more tinder and grass close to the coals and flames shot up, accompanied by a twirl of smoke. There was a muffled, poof, and orange blades of fire caught on twigs nestled within the mixture.

Duncan sat back on his heels and gazed up at him. “Whatcha think?”

“You haven’t lost your touch,” he reluctantly admitted.

“Can’t afford to lose it—I’d die out there in the wilds. Fire gives needed warmth, Keeps wild animals at bay.” He laid a skinny pine limb over the crackling flames.

“What were you and her talking about?”

Duncan rose to his feet. “Hmm, do I hear some jealousy in your voice, little brother?”

“Shocked me to find her out here with you.”

“Ahh, Sam. You’re thinking of my flawed past? Only an idiot repeats his mistakes.”

Samuel’s instincts told him something was afoot—his redheaded brother had decided to kindle a fire, but it wasn’t the fire blazing in front of them. Jealousy made him say, “You need to stay away from her.”

“Oh?” Duncan leaned a little closer. “Sam, I never heard there was a match made ‘tween you and Ella. Is there?”

Samuel gritted his teeth. “We are more than friends.”

“Is that so?”


“Well, little brother, I don’t intend to take what you long for. I saw your eyes watching her earlier today. I think you’ve loved her since we first saw that dirty-faced child on the mountain.” He laid a hand on Samuel’s shoulder. “Yes, she has turned into a stunning young woman. Tempting. Just keep this in mind, the man she falls in love with—is the only man she should marry.” He stepped away. “See you inside.”

Samuel’s gut twisted and smoke blew in his eyes. He had the impression there was a twanging rope vibrating inside his body. He wanted to run after Duncan, tackle him, and prevent him from going up the steps into the large room where their papa’s body was on display. He knew Ella Dessa would be in the same room.

Why’d he come home? Why? He didn’t care nothing about Papa.

Samuel kicked dirt at the fire. Somewhere in the dark, he heard the high-pitched squeal of a rabbit. His heart skipped a beat at the agonized sound. A predator had seized its supper and ended a life. Tears coursed his cheeks as his thoughts jumped back to his papa. The yoke of their family was gone—the wide piece of wood, shaped for durance. Their male parent had kept them together as a team. Now, Papa had passed into eternity. Life wouldn’t be the same.

Deep, awful sobs rose in his chest, but the sound of running feet and the rustle of a skirt made him turn. Familiar arms came around his neck and hugged him.

“Oh, Samuel, my friend, I knew you were hurtin’. I had to come back.” Ella Dessa laid her warm cheek against his.

karen-campbell-prough-2About the author:

Award-winning author Karen Campbell Prough and her husband live in central Florida, close to their children and seven grandchildren. She writes historical fiction and a broad range of short stories. Her published short stories quite often have romance or mysteries with a special twist.

Connect with Karen:

Website: www.karencampbellprough.com

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/Karen.c.prough

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karencampbellprough

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Karenprough

AOL: kepro01@aol.com

Google+: https://www.google.com/+karencampbellproughauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9879195.Karen-Campbell-Prough

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KCampbellPrough

Links to Books:


Within the Candle’s Glow: https://www.amazon.com/Within-Candles-Karen-Campbell-Prough-ebook/dp/B01BX707PG/

The Girl Called Ella Dessa: https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Called-Ella-Dessa-cherished-ebook/dp/B00UGIB8YI/

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I would love to win Within the Candle’s Glow because I love historical romance with suspense. While the other book sounds interesting and I have it on my TBR list, I would very much prefer Within the Candle’s Glow. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone.

  2. Thank you, Debbie, for stopping in at Norma’s website! I know what you mean about romance and suspense. I love to read that type of book. 🙂 Wishing you luck with the giveaway!

  3. I would be happy with either book. Within the Candles Glow sounds amazing as I love historical fiction. TY for the chance. Blessings

    • Lucy, my grandparents had the last name of Reynolds. 🙂 Lived in Michigan. Thanks for leaving a comment!

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