Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Joanna Waugh

Once again it’s guest blogger day at the Tiki Hut. Joining us beneath the palm leaves is Regency author, Joanna Waugh. Joanna’s debut novel, BLIND FORTUNE, released in July from Cerridwen Press.

Welcome to the Tiki Hut, Joanna!

Thanks, DeNita! It’s great to be here. Author Island is a terrific place for authors and readers to connect and the Tiki Hut is an especially inspired idea! I’m grateful to be among the first authors invited here.

A little about me: I live in Northwest Indiana, just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan and the beautiful Indiana Dunes. BLIND FORTUNE is my first published novel, although I did a lot of non-fiction writing prior to it; mostly political op eds, white papers and articles for specialty magazines. In the late 1990s, however, I returned to my first love—romantic fiction.

BLIND FORTUNE is based on my personal experience with my late husband. He lost his sight to diabetes and often misinterpreted conversations because he couldn’t see the speaker’s face or read his/her body language. It’s this kind of misunderstanding that lies at the heart of the relationship between sightless Lady Fortuna and arrogant Charles Lowden, the Marquess of Granville.

Here’s the blurb:

They say love is blind, but Lady Fortuna Morley doesn’t believe it. Sightless since birth, she can think of only one reason a gentleman would wed her—for the dowry and three thousand pounds a year her father will provide. She’s in London the spring of 1814 to help launch her younger cousin into society, but prefers living quietly in the country with her music. The last thing Fortuna wishes is to cross swords with the arrogant Marquess of Granville.

Charles Lowden, Lord Granville, has decided to take a wife. The bride he’s chosen is thirteen years his junior, but meets all criteria. What he won’t abide is interference from the girl’s impertinent cousin, the outspoken and opinionated Lady Fortuna Morley. The woman is determined to thwart the match. Charles is just as determined to charm Fortuna out of her disdain for him.

What neither expects in the ensuing battle of wills is to fall in love.

The book has been getting fantastic reviews. Here are just a few:

"...some of the best dialogue between hero and heroine that I have ever read. Dialogue bursting with intelligence and witticism with an aim beyond simply being that one last riposte."
All About Romance Reviews

"With skillful scripting, Joanna Waugh exposes the depth and personality of each of her characters...This is definitely a wonderfully detailed Regency romance that will woo historical enthusiasts…”
Romance Junkies Blue Ribbon Reviews

"BLIND FORTUNE is a wonderful historical romance...In one word, exciting. Ms. Waugh has a winner on her hands."
The Romance Readers Connection

To read an excerpt:

Purchase Link:

Be sure to stop by my website and check out my resources for Regency readers and writers: http://www.joannawaugh.com/ and my blog about British customs and holidays: (I’m currently doing a ten-part series about Regency Christmas traditions): http://www.joannawaugh.blogspot.com/

Don’t forget to “friend” me on Myspace: www.myspace.com/joannawaugh

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Buffi BeCraft-Woodall

Buffi BeCraft-Woodall, thirty-something mother of two, says that growing up watching marathon sessions of Star Trek and Dr. Who with her dad at night and daytime soaps with her mom pretty much clinched her style of writing. She started writing her first novel during sixth grade math until plummeting grades forced her to set it aside or be grounded from her favorite place, the library. But, hey the novel was going along good until then.

In 2000-2001, Buffi made a conscious decision to seriously pursue writing during a brief period in which she tried home schooling her children. "Kudos to teachers everywhere. They deserve more than a pat on the back. Try a standing ovation at the Super Bowl and it might come close." The kids, John and Angelique, who eventually returned to the capable hands of the Public School System, are her first and most loyal fans.
Thanks for being our guest today, Buffi, and sharing this great post about monsters and why we love them!

What kind of monster do you like?

By Buffi BeCraft-Woodall

Are you a fan of the original ‘pure evil’ Vampires, wolfmen, and swamp thing monsters? Soulless creatures that jump out from behind the tree, chomping on hapless victims. The true hero being the human who kills the evil and returns light and happiness to the beleaguered townsfolk?

Or is there another story? The poor misunderstood monster who was just defending himself from the torch and pitchfork bearing mob. Haters of anything not like themselves. The hero is the guy who’s different on the outside, but just as human on the inside as you and me. He could be furry, scaly, need some serious orthodontia for that fangy problem he’s got going on there, but when it comes down to it, Mr. Monster is just a sensitive guy who wants to be loved and appreciated for himself.

I’ve heard it from both sides. Moans from my friends on how the new ‘more sensitive’ monsters as heroes outlook has ruined the story. I’ve heard cheers that the monsters have been liberated from the evil stereotypes of the past. You know…they both work.

Me, I like an even stranger version. Think outside the box, or coffin as it were. Why make the story about simple good and evil when you have so many shades of gray to play with? When you have, love, lust, greed, jealousy, and every other demented emotion to explore? Daytime television does it all the time. Why not combine it all? Yes, my family thinks I’m weird too. I don’t disagree. I just smile and nod, folks. It pays to keep them guessing. Besides, I love The Soap Monster stories.

What? You don’t think that monsters and soap operas could work together. Bwhahahha! Trust me, it can and does. I’m hooked on several by some big name authors. After years of growing up, watching black and white Dracula, Werewolf, Godzilla, don’t forget Mothra. I loved Star Trek, Dr. Who, Days of Our Lives, Guiding Light. (True soap fans have these things timed so that they can watch the first half of one, then don’t miss out when they channel flip over to the second half of the show on another story.)

Growing up, I always wondered why we couldn’t we have the best of both. Okay, Star Trek doesn’t count since Kirk slept with anything female, whatever the species, then wound up with the secret kid who died. And Mr. Spock came back from the dead at least once. Remember V? The human/alien lizard love triangle did get a little icky. But, yay! A breakthrough! Not all the aliens were bad guys.

See, the monsters don’t have to be evil all the time. I wanted to know what would happen if were known that the vampire was really a good guy, working to take down the evil vamps. What if the evil vamp were the only evil vamp and the disgrace of the vampire world? What if Darth Vader was really Luke’s secret father? Oops. That one was a point for our side. I have to admit, I only saw the last movie (or was that the third?) a couple of weeks ago. I already knew the ending. Duh! Plus, George Lucas did such a good job making us love Anakin that I really didn’t want to see him fall.

So yes, is it any wonder that when I started to seriously write, I kind of went a little overboard on the werewolf thing? Weremones, PMSing, and Making Tracks, became sort of Werewolf Soap. Officially, that’s paranormal or fantasy romance. Depends on who you ask. But in the end a Soap is a Soap.

It’s the big, What If…

What if a werewolf suddenly inherited a Pack he didn’t want? What if his whole Pack consisted of a bunch of teenagers? What do you do about male horemones and a teen werewolf dating your girlfriend’s human teenage daughter? That was fun for my first book, Weremones like the rest of my werewolf books are from New Concepts Publishing. (http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/)

Then I got to thinking, what if you had identical twins, one with Alpha potential and one the former Omega. What if the Omega guy after years of being gone, decided he was tired of it all and wanted the girl after all? What if the girl is his adopted stepmom’s daughter he secretly loves? What if the daughter got herself into some real trouble and decided come home to hide out? The best part was bringing all the people back, years later. The book PMSing ended up as Monster Soapfest II.
Then my son and I started talking about what to do for book three. Hmmm. Yeah. Of my two kids, my son is the reader and the Para/SciFi fan. My daughter is the social outgoing one. So my son starts telling me what he’d like to see out of his favorite character, Mark the ADHD werewolf. O-kay. Before it’s all over with, Making Tracks had an insecure, colorblind hero who’s head over paws with a girl terrified of anything supernatural. We had a Fairy uprising, the evil dude from the past, and a seriously P.O.’d dragon.

And after a short break messing with Arthurian Legend, in a very Christmas themed Conjuring Cal, I’m back to writing about the werewolves. I heard you sword and swashbuckler fans perk up on that. Conjuring Cal is another fun what if…. What if Excalibur became human? Sound like fun? I had a blast writing it. And the Christmas theme allowed me to play with more than just Arthur and his gang.

With Mordred on the loose, Cal (Excalibur) is placed in Gennie Pendragon’s safekeeping. Unfortunately, his humanness comes with an expiration date.
What could Gennie possibly want for Christmas? Why Cal, of course. Good thing she’s friends with the guy in the red suit. Don’t forget a slightly forgetful Merlin, a houseful of sweet if overgrown wards, and her overprotective many great-somethings ‘Uncle Art’. (Head by Total-e-Bound to download a copy of this one. http://www.total-e-bound.com/)

What up next? Well… Lets’ see what we’ve got to work with this time,
Tank and Chase, the dynamic duo of the werewolf world, have a mysterious past. Bradley is working for the Fairies since the last book. Can we say ‘Conflict of Interest’ boys and girls? And then there’s the Van Helsing style Psychic Hunter who knows he’s saving the world from the supernatural scourge of the evil. Is the Hunter the hero or the villain? I mean, all monsters are evil, right? All his conditioning and all the traditional books and movies portray it that way.I’m a traditionalist only in that I like a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a Cinderella story. Bad monsters, good monsters, who’s sleeping with who, or even who’s staking who. I only fall on the ‘new and sensitive’ side when I write. For sheer reading escapism, it’s all good, so long as the story is worth hanging around for.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Shirley Tallman

Even as a small child, Shirley Tallman, dreamed of being a writer. Now, this multi published, award-winning author dreams of having more time to write!

Shirley, who has ten contemporary romances published under the pseudonym Erin Ross and several television and movie scripts sold and in production with her screenwriting partner Nancy Hersage, is currently hard at work on her new historical mystery series for St. Martin's Press.

The Sarah Woolson Mysteries, which started with MURDER ON NOB HILL, have all the charm of a nineteenth-century Legally Blonde and have earned Shirley a good deal of acclaim. The second book in the series, THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS, sold out its first hardcover printing in just seven weeks and the third book, THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGLER, has been chosen as a July 2007 selection by The Mystery Guild Book Club.

Welcome to the Tiki Hut, Shirley!

Hi Everyone!

What a thrill it is to join you here today in the Tiki Hut. Author Island is one of my favorite websites! DeNita does such a super job of taking care of her readers, as well as her authors. There are always fun things to do and exciting places to explore on the Author Island website.

Today, I have exciting news! The first two books in my Sarah Woolson historical mystery series – MURDER ON NOB HILL and THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS – have been released as Trade Paperbacks. For those of you who are still confused about the difference between mass paperbacks and trade paperbacks, mass paperbacks are small, pocket-size books, while trade paperbacks are the very popular soft-cover versions of standard-size hardcover books.

But before I go any further, maybe I should tell you a little bit about myself. I started writing over twenty-five years ago with a weekly newspaper column titled, PENNY PINCHERS. It featured articles on how to feed your family well – and nutritiously – on a budget. After that came a hardcover book – written with a good friend of mine, Nancy Hersage – titled, PLEASE STAND BY – YOUR MOTHER’S MISSING.

While Nancy went on to write stage plays, I wrote ten Harlequin/Silhouette contemporary “Desire” romances, set all over the world. Then came yet another change as Nancy and I once again teamed up to write TV movies. Blithely unaware of how difficult (read impossible) this was to achieve, we sold movies to NBC, CBS, ABC and HBO. Our movie, THE BABYSITTER’S SEDUCTION, starring Keri Russell, Stephen Collins and Phylicia Rashad, did extremely well at NBC, and still continues to play regularly on the Lifetime Network.

As I said earlier, I now write the Sarah Woolson historical murder mysteries set in 1880s San Francisco: MURDER ON NOB HILL, THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS and THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGLER. My heroine is a lovely and intelligent young woman who has always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. The trouble is, everyone believes women belong in the home, that it is against God’s will for them to seek a career. But Sarah is undeterred by the all-male legal establishment and their blatant chauvinism.

In MURDER ON NOB HILL – the first book in the series – Sarah finagles her way into one of the most prestigious law firms in San Francisco, only to find herself embroiled in shady legal maneuvers, multiple murders, a daring Chinatown raid, and a secret and very scandalous sex club. In THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS, Sarah manages to become only the second woman in the city’s history to defend a man accused of murder in a court of law. No one, including the judge and prosecuting attorneys, are the least bit happy to see her there, and she ends up very nearly losing her life! THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGER finds Sarah attending a séance at San Francisco’s famous Cliff House, only to discover at the end of the session that one of the participants has been strangled. Pressured into defending the accused murderer, Sarah becomes involved in a complicated murder plot involving ghosts, gypsies and City Hall.

All three books in the Sarah Woolson series have sold out their first two hardcover printings, and as I mentioned earlier, MURDER ON NOB HILL and THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS are now out in paperback. Yay!! To celebrate this great news, today I’ll be giving away a signed copy of MURDER ON NOB HILL or THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS. Your choice.

While I’m here in the Tiki Hut, I’d love to hear from as many readers – and would-be writers – as possible. My interests are varied – novels, mysteries, movies, newspaper journalism, publicity, and tips on how to get your writing career up and going. So please log on and let’s get a good discussion going!

Best wishes,


PS Don’t forget to visit my website for more fun contests, and an opportunity to purchase SIGNED copies of my new trade paperback books at a great discount! You’ll also find special sale prices for the award-winning hardcover third book in the Sarah Woolson series, THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGLER.