Monday, January 19, 2009

This Tuesday At The AuthorIsland Tiki Hut - Author Dianne Miley

Today's special guest is author Dianne Miley.

Dianne grew up in northeastern Ohio as the oldest of four children. Growing up, she always loved to write. She began writing poetry in second grade. During high school, she wrote for the yearbook and school paper. Now she flexes her imagination through inspiring tales of romance and mystery. Best of all, she's found a way to share her faith through fictional characters in a fun romance.

In her spare time - ha! - she enjoys gardening, flower arranging, decorating, cooking, baking, and entertaining. She also loves visiting tea rooms and quaint little shops like the ones in Crystal Falls, the fictional town where her series of books is set. See the FUN PAGE on her website for the favorite tea party recipes of one of the characters in the Crystal Falls series. The recipes will change often, so be sure to check back!

Visit Dianne's Website *** Visit Dianne's Myspace *** Get Dianne's Newsletter

Thanks for being our guest today Dianne!

Hello everyone,

I’m so glad my writing journey has brought me here to the Island. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about writing and about myself. While this is a tough way to make a living, it’s also lots of fun and very rewarding.

Many years ago, I started out with some perfect characters and a small town I loved. But I didn’t have a story. Then I found out I had to make bad things happen to them in order to create “conflict.” I don’t like conflict. Really, who does? Yet once I got started, my poor characters didn’t know what they were in for.

So why did I choose to write inspirational romantic mysteries? I couldn’t choose just one. Kidding! Since I’m a romantic at heart, what more interesting conflict than between a man and a woman? That part came naturally. The same thing happened with the inspiration. Being a Christian is such a huge part of who I am, it came through without my realizing. I actually tried once to write “mainstream.” A critique partner suggested I market it as inspirational. It’s my natural voice, so why fight it?

Writing not only allows me to flex my wild imagination by creating wonderful characters, places, and plots, but I can also share a message of God’s love and forgiveness. In my stories, morals are a standard to live up to, cussing is not allowed, and each story makes it clear that every human being is God’s child and He loves us no matter how badly we mess up. If we only ask Him, God happily forgives us.

With this in mind, don’t be surprised to find some seedy characters in my inspirational romances. Alcoholics, cheaters, and even a stripper might show up. In real life, Christians share the world with unsavory people who can be neighbors, coworkers, or even family members. While moral standards remain paramount in my stories, I write about the real world, and Christians mess up too.

After all, not meeting the goal is what makes an interesting story. Faltering Christians are so much more fascinating… and so much more like me!

Which brings me to another fascination of mine - an intriguing mystery. I love trying to figure out whodunit – whatever it is. When writing my first novel, Lilacs for Laura, the storyline stumbled into a murder. While I certainly didn’t want to make my heroine the murderer, the question of who would be had me spellbound. Mystery is the most captivating part of the writing for me. However, it’s also the most challenging. I have to keep my poker face intact until the end of the book. And in a series, I don’t want the second book to reveal whodunit in the first book – just in case someone hasn’t read that one yet. This can be tricky, but so far I’ve managed.

I hope you’ll take a look at The Crystal Falls Series and let me know what you think. Lilacs for Laura and the sequel, Roses for Rachel, are both available from I’m currently revising the next book in the series.

To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website: For bi-monthly updates, sign up for my newsletter by emailing me at:

Happy Reading and God Bless!


My hubby and me on Christmas

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Carolina Valdez

Today's special guest at the Tiki Hut is Carolina Valdez. Carol warns not to be fooled by the photo. "Even if you walk most of the race, you want to be sure to break into a run for the camera." Although most of her running days have morphed into walking days, she's completed over a hundred distance races - six of them marathons. Her short story about a murder on the streets she's actually competed on, in the Los Angeles Marathon, appears in a Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles anthology.

After a varied career as a registered nurse while winning awards and making sales writing freelance, she decided to retire to finish her first novel. Now she writes about searing passions and the sweetly explosive ecstasies of love.

Thanks so much for being our guest today!

Thanks, DeNita, for this opportunity to talk, once again, about writing. Right now I’m jogging in sunlight because HOLE IN ONE, my second gay story, hit the Amber Quill/Allure December Best Seller list almost as soon as it was released.

I think any artistic person, be it musician, artist, writer, choreographer, designer or whatever, can look back and see signs of those interests early in life. I can smell newly sharpened pencils, feel a fat yellow pencil in my hand and a tingle of anticipation as my teacher slides a lined piece of cheap paper in front of me. Using my newly acquired cursive skills, I wrote in small, cramped letters—no doubt because I thought small and cramped meant I was grown up--as I spun stories on that page.

She was my third grade teacher, and I fell in love with her because she let me use my imagination and write stories. Now Amber Quill Press lets me use my imagination and write stories. I love them, too! I’ve never worked with or been associated with nicer people.

People ask me what I write, expecting me to answer with a single word, such as Regency, paranormal, mystery, science fiction or something. It’s not that simple. I write non-fiction as Dee Ann Palmer, and all my Amber Quill Press stories are sizzling erotic romances. As for subgenres, I’ve tried contemporary, historical, time travel, fantasy, paranormal and gay.

Every story, no matter the subgenre, requires research. Earnest, time consuming research. HANGIN’ WITH MY WINDOW MAN, to be released this February, is a sequel to TIE ‘EM UP, HOLD ‘EM DOWN, and Bear and Dane will return in this new episode.

For the first book, I’d observed in a fire department when I was in training to become a mobile intensive care nurse, I’d seen a Bloodhound and learned about other search dogs through a program in my Sisters in Crime chapter, and the men in my family had played recreation department baseball. Still, that wasn’t enough. I had to expand on what I knew. Writing the sequel used most of those elements from the original story, but now I had to find out about high rises in Los Angeles, how the windows are cleaned and what can go wrong, and the administrative inside workings of a film studio.

Coming up with and developing new ideas may be challenging, demanding and often exhausting, but it’s always fascinating. I think I’ll hang in there.

Best wishes for a great and prosperous 2009!

Look for OTHER REALMS, OTHER LOVES, my next paperback release. It’s available now on, but Author Island will be featuring it in March.

All of Carolina’s books are available at Amber Quill Press. Some can be found at ARe, FictionWise, and