Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Renee Reeves

Today's special guest at the Tiki Hut is Renee Reeves.

Renee Reeves was born in Stuttgart, Germany but raised in the US. On her mother's side, she is Irish and English and on her father's side, she is German and Irish. Ever since she was a little girl she has loved to read. Her mother, always supportive, made it a point to take her to the library as often as she wished and to get her to each and every school book fair. She would come home with bags of books and would gobble them up in only a few days. She would sit against her pony’s stomach when she was lying down in the pasture and read a book while her pony napped.

Reading, along with horses, was and still is one of the great loves in her life and that love turned into a desire to write. Renee is now married and her husband told her if she wanted to write a book then do it. So she did and is now a published author.

Her first book, NIGHT ANGEL, was just recently released. It is a contemporary about an ex-con, Nick Evanoff, who has turned his life around and now owns a horse sanctuary. He meets Morgan, an abused widow, who has moved to Montana for seclusion and things go from there....;) Renee is now working on 2 paranormals.

Leave Renee a comment today and your name goes in the hat for a copy of NIGHT ANGEL!


Motivation…Finding it and keeping it.

By Renee Reeves

I don’t know about anyone else but I can find story motivation just about anywhere. A walk out to the barn can spark scenes and images galore. A day trip can immerse me in my own imaginative world, or motivation can hit me when I’m doing nothing more than sitting in a chair gazing out of the window. Most of the time that motivation comes from me wondering, ‘what would I like to be doing now if I were someone else?’

A day trip to a SC church ruin (yes, I know Night Angel is set in Montana!) and staring at a boring hotel wall was how the characters in Night Angel came about. The scene in Night Angel when Nick first sees Morgan is very quiet and peaceful—straight from the SC church ruins. But after that scene I wondered, ‘what now? Now that he’s seen her and wants her, what should their story be?’ I decided both Nick and Morgan just had to have extremely traumatic and horrific previous lives in order to fit together and it took me a while to decide on what those lives should be.

So, finding motivation is simple for me, but keeping it is another matter entirely. I am one of those highly emotional people. My emotions dictate how I am going to feel every single day and right now my emotions are in an uproar because my mother is fighting advanced cervical cancer. Being her fulltime caregiver is physically and emotionally exhausting, not to mention extremely stressful, and really leaves no time for me to manage those characters and scenes bouncing around in my head. At times I am even too tired, or, if I really want to be honest, too depressed to get on the computer and type. During those times I find the storylines in my head to be an annoyance because I know I have to get them out and on paper, or the computer, before they disappear…and, at times, the motivation to do that is NOT there. But, if I ignore them and do nothing I give nasty ole guilt the ability to worm it’s way into me because I know I am wasting not only time, but also talent, scenes, imagery, and what may be a story and characters that some reader out there might really love.

So, how do I handle difficult writing/motivation times like those? I guess I can say at times I get mad and take it out on my characters, putting forth my own depth of emotions in their fictional lives. At times it works and at other times I read over what I wrote and think, ‘ugh…what in the world was I doing to them? They don’t deserve this!’ I also try to use writing as an escape and handle it little by little, maybe one word or one line at a time, and eventually, for a short period of time, I am able to lose myself in the lives of my characters, or at least use them for an emotional outlet.

So, my question to readers is, how do you handle stress or lack of motivation in your own life?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Tuesday and Wednesday At The Tiki Hut - C. Fern Cook

Joining us at the Tiki Hut today is author C. Fern Cook. Fern started out as a freelance writer in the late 90's doing articles for how-to and inspirational markets. Followed by a few short stories and poem published in 2002. "Wild Evolution" is her second novel, "South Dakota Way", an inspirational romance, was published in 2008. Fern worked as a police officer for many years, something that has helped her a great deal in her writing, and she stopped by the Tiki Hut today to tell us a bit about it.

Anyone leaving Fern a comment or a question today (4/15/09) will be put in a drawing for an autographed copy of her first novel - SOUTH DAKOTA WAY.

A Cop Story.
C. Fern Cook

When I became a cop, I was the first in the department to have a husband and kids. Back then there was a push to hire females. So no matter how good I was, some of my fellow officers believed I was only hired because I was a female not because I deserved the job.

That didn't stop me. I received several commendations for a job well done. One arrest for a crime in progress was particularly funny. Two high school kids set out to steal x-rated movies from a movie rental place to sell at school.

The girl friend was waiting in the car a few stores down with the parking lights on eating potato chips in the driver's seat. It was past midnight and all the stores were closed. So I stopped to see what she was doing there. About then the alarm went off for the movie rental store. I handcuffed the girl to the steering wheel and told her not to leave.

The boyfriend came running around the corner from the back of the stores with an arm load of videos. He saw the cop car, dropped the videos and ran. I simply chased him with cop car until he was too tired to run anymore. When I came back to store, the girlfriend was still waiting in the car handcuffed to the steering wheel. I was amazed she didn't drive away.

The thing I liked most about being a cop was the stuff you would run into a daily basis. There is no way you could make up the stories people told you for excuses for the crimes they had done.

There are many reasons people become cops. Mine was because when I was arrested as a juvenile I felt the officer really cared about what would happen to me. You can't change the world, but you can help one person at a time. That is what I tried to do when I was a cop.

After seven years on the force I started to get burnout. I was angry because I would arrest people for burglary or breaking into cars or assault and they would get probation. But if I wrote someone a traffic ticket for speeding they would be fined and have their car insurance go up or maybe even lose their license. The people getting traffic tickets usually received more punishment than real criminals. I decided that was not justice and no longer wanted to be a part of that system. I don't regret quitting, but I do wish the system worked better.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Catherine Stang

Today's special guest is Catherine Stang. Catherine is a hopeless romantic, who has been reading and writing romances for as long as she can remember. She writes romantic suspense, historical romance, paranormal romance and mainstream romance.

Cathy lives in a small town in Kansas with her husband, teenage son and three very active Papillons, and a tiny Yorkie who are therapy dogs. She and the dogs enjoy their weekly visits to the nursing home.


When I began working on the background for The Bargain I soon knew that I had too much story for one book. Although Cassandra’s brothers were gone during most of story, I could image what would happen to them when the war was over. So I pitched the series to Debra at Whiskey Creek and was thrilled when she liked the idea and gave the go ahead to write it.

I had written connected books before, but I had written each one as a single, hoping they would be picked up together. It has been freeing creatively to know to be able to plot these books together.

The series starts out during the war with Cassandra, her sister-in-law and younger sister, who are trying to hold things together while the men are gone.

Here’s a blurb about The Bargain:

In the midst of war two enemies will make a bargain that will change their lives forever.

Major Joel Bradshaw is the Chief Medical Officer in charge of setting up a new front line hospital for the Union Army. Unfortunately, his first task is to evict the women who live in the big plantation house he must commandeer.

Strong-willed Cassandra Beaumont is determined not to allow the Yankees take her home. But when her sister-in-law develops complications during labor, Cassie is forced to swallow her pride and ask the Yankee doctor she just threatened for his help. All she has to barter with are her nursing skills and so she proposes a trade that will bring her loyalties into question.

Joel, however, soon finds himself wanting much more than a business arrangement. Torn between his orders as an officer and his desire to protect Cassie, Joel finds a way to ensure the safety of all the Beaumont women – if only Cassie will say yes!

It’s available now in print & e book from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/ Visit my website for excerpts http://www.catherinestang.com/

The second book in my Finding Home Series, Dare To Love, was just released.

Here’s a blurb: Be careful what you wish for….

Jessica Monroe is up to her neck in problems when her father dies leaving her with a house full of orphans, a widow and her twins, and an ex-madam, plus a horse farm to run. She wants her brother, Caleb, to come home from the war to help her. She should have been careful for what she wished for because Caleb didn’t come back alone. With him is his band of ex-raiders turned mercenary.

Now they expect her to look the other way while they use the edge of her land as a base to commit their crimes. Well, she won’t do it. While trying to help a neighbor fend off the raiders, she ends up bringing home a wounded stranger who appeared out of nowhere to help them. Just her luck, handsome Tyler Beaumont is a marshal intent on bringing down her brother and his outlaw friends.

Finding Home Series, Book 2
Sometimes home is where you least expect it.

I have excerpts on my website http://www.catherinestang.com/ DARE TO LOVE is the book of the day over at Author Island, so be sure to comment today for your chance to win a copy.

Have a great week!

Dare To Love - in print & ebook from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/
The Bargain – in print & e book from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/
More Than A Wife – Regency – available from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/
Secret Wishes – paranormal regency – available from http://www.cobblestone-press.com/