Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Nina Pierce

Today's special guest at the Tiki Hut is author Nina Pierce. Nina grew up in a house of readers. So falling in love with books was only natural. In her teen years she found her mother's romance books and became forever hooked on the journey of finding one's true love. Now, if you throw in a dead body and some mayhem, Nina is in reader nirvana.

A few years ago, reading about love wasn't enough. She is now driven to write stories of alpha-males with a chink in their armor and the kick-ass women who fall in love with them. And true to what she loves, more often than not, you'll find some suspense thread running through her plots, hopefully with enough twists to keep her readers turning the pages, staying up late, and burning dinner.

A native of Maine, Nina lives in what she affectionately calls "the great white North". She is fortunate to have married her high school sweetheart and true love twenty-five years ago. They share their lives with three grown children and a menagerie of pets.
To learn how you can win a free download of Nina's BLIND LOVE, head to AuthorIsland.com today and check out today's Book of the Day!


Say That Again
by Nina Pierce

Like most authors, I was a voracious reader long before I decided to write my first novel. There is nothing I enjoy more than losing myself in a great story. Sometimes the writing is so vivid and the journey of the characters so compelling that I hate to get to the last page. I don’t want to read those two little words “The End”. NOOO! Tell me more! I want to find out what happens to the hero’s brother and the pregnant wife who left him for all the wrong reasons.

Enter series writing.

The first series I remember losing myself in was the science fiction Freedom series by Anne McCaffrey. I love those books. I picked up the first one at the local library, not knowing it was a series until I was half way through. I immediately went to the library and signed out the second, only to discover (argh!) the library didn’t have the third. I drove to the local bookstore and picked up the third book in the series that day! Anne McCaffrey had pulled me into her world and I had no desire to leave until everyone got their happy-ever-after!

James Patterson also hooked me into his “Alex Cross” series. I diligently read each book as they came out, excited to find out what Mr. Patterson would do next to this poor man. Then of course, there were all the families Nora Roberts wrote about, each brother, sister, and grandparent with their own journeys of love to catalogue and enjoy. So many authors I love to read have wonderful series. I can’t name them all, but suffice it to say … I just love series books!

Hmmm … maybe there’s something to this.

When I sat down to write my first novel I decided I too would like to eventually hook readers into a world and keep them there. My first erotic suspense book “The Healer’s Garden” (published by Liquid Silver Books in December 2007) stands alone, but it is purposefully open-ended and I already have outlines for books two and three.

There are many types of series writing, but the one I enjoy reading and writing the most are trilogies. There is a major plot running through the series, but the hero and heroine of each novel resolve a minor plot and find their happy-ever-after and the major plot isn’t resolved until the end of the third book. Usually the characters in this type of series are related in some way, either by friendship, a curse, location or blood bonds. (Nora Roberts’ “Three Sisters Island Trilogy” or Michelle Bardsley’s “Broken Heart” series) It is a challenge to keep the major plot line woven into the minor plot of each book, but the payoff is worth the work! I can’t put this type of series down until I’ve read all three books and I can’t stop writing them until I’ve given each character their happy ending.

But trilogies aren’t the only type of series available to a reader or an author. There are also the series where the author uses the same hero/ine in each novel. Each story resolves a major plot, but the arc of the main character is a slow progression. At the end of these books, you understand our hero/ine has much to learn and there is still so much more growth potential. (Janet Evanovich’s “Stephanie Plum” stories or Tess Gerritsen’s “Jane Rizzoli” series) In that same vein are the series where each book highlights a different character, the major plot is resolved, but new and old characters continue to pop up. (Sally MacKenzie’s “Naked” series or Suzanne Brockman’s “Troubleshooter” series)

These authors have all figured out how to hook their readers and keep them waiting on tenterhooks until the next book is released.

So, when you sit down to plot your next novel--consider writing a series. Your readers could be just one book away from falling in love with a whole new world of characters and waiting with baited breath for your next book!

Nina Pierce writes erotic suspense novels. Blind Love, the first novella in her Tilling Passions series was a liquid erotic release in April 2008 from Liquid Silver Books (http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/). The second and third books released in the summer of 2008. Visit her on the web at http://www.ninapierce.com/.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Joanna Waugh


Once again it’s guest blogger day at the Tiki Hut. Joining us beneath the beach umbrella is Regency author, Joanna Waugh. Her debut novel, BLIND FORTUNE, released last July from Cerridwen Press and is now in trade paperback. It was chosen as one of Romance Lists’ top ten notable historical romance debuts for 2008 http://romancelists.com/lists/notable-romance-debuts-2008-pirates-blind-ladies-and-more , and the music room love scene from it won Midnight Seductions’ 2008 Endless Romance Contest http://midnightseductionsauthors.wordpress.com/winners-of-the-endless-romance-contest/.
For a chance to win an autographed copy of her debut, head to AuthorIsland.com today and check out the Book of the Day!

Welcome to the Tiki Hut, Joanna!

Thanks for inviting me to your island, DeNita! It’s great to lounge in the warm sun while everyone back home is shivering.

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. Here 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 question I’m most often asked about BLIND FORTUNE is -- why a blind heroine? As many readers already know, I wrote the story based on personal experience with my husband who lost his sight to diabetes. But I also was fascinated by pre-21st century attitudes about people with disabilities.

During the Regency, the principle cause of blindness was conjunctivitis contracted by newborns. Remember, this was a time before the concept of germs and sterilization. In addition, people lost their vision to small pox, scarlet fever, measles, and whooping cough. By 1851, one person out of every 979 was blind in England and Wales.

Some folks believed physical disabilities were a mark of the devil or God’s punishment. Sightless people were thought to be mentally inhibited and uneducable. Blind women especially were vulnerable to unscrupulous men. In BLIND FORTUNE, Lady Fortuna fears that if she marries, her husband will lock her away in an asylum once he gets his hands on her money.

Not until the late eighteenth century did notions about the blind begin to change. In 1784, the first European school for the blind was founded in Paris. Once a week students enjoyed an outing to the local botanical gardens. Their teacher led them there by a rope onto which each of them held. I used this idea in BLIND FORTUNE when Lord Granville creates a ropewalk on his estate for Lady Fortuna.

A young boy named Louis Braille attended the Paris school. In 1824, at the age of fifteen, he invented a system of six raised dots that, when arranged in combination, represented letters of the alphabet. Unfortunately this revolutionary reading method came too late for Lady Fortuna. But, by the middle of the nineteenth century, it was the world-wide standard.

So what are some of the things you are passionate about as a reader or writer? What life experiences have effected the way you view the world?

To read excerpts from and reviews about BLIND FORTUNE, go to my website at http://www.joannawaugh.com/

Be sure to friend me on Myspace http://www.myspace.com/joannawaugh
and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/people/Joanna-Waugh/1355015961
and check out my blog about British customs and holidays at
http://www.joannawaugh.blogspot.com/

BLIND FORTUNE is available in ebook format and trade paperback at http://www.cerridwenpress.com/
Look for it soon at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Cornelia Amiri


Today in honor of St Patty's Day, I'd like to welcome the Celtic Queen herself, Cornelia Amiri. Cornelia draws on her love of history and fifteen years worth of research on the ancient Celts to write her romantic tales of long swords, hot heroes and warrior women. Ms. Amiri is the author of six Celtic/Fantasy/Romance books: A FINE CAULDRON OF FISH, DRUID QUEST, THE FOX PRINCE, THE VIXEN PRINCESS, DANGER IS SWEET and ONE HEART ONE WAY. The latter of which was a finalist in the 2004 EPPIE Awards. And has stories included in two anthologies: SLEEPING WITH THE UNDEAD and A DEATH IN TEXAS.

Over a hundred of her short stories and articles have appeared in both print and on-line magazines. Her next Celtic romance novel will be released in the fall of 2008.
She lives in Houston, Texas with her wonderful son.


The King of Green
by Cornelia Amiri

On St. Patrick’s Day, at least in the United States, anyone who doesn’t wear green gets pinched. So this St. Patrick’s Day, when you don your green to honor Ireland, give a thought or two to old King Tighernmas (Teernmas) of Tara, who brought the color green to the emerald Isle.

Through trade with the Phoenicians, he obtained dyes to create green, yellow, and blue and introduced those colors to Ireland between 900 – 1534 BC, as his reign fell somewhere in that timeline. He also enacted sumptuary laws on the numbers of colors worn by the different classes. Six colors to the highest of society, kings, queens, druids, five for the chieftains, four for land owners who offered hospitality, three for warriors, two for peasants and one for slaves. By using plaid the Irish and other Celts wore multi-colors, three to six, at one time. So under Tighernmas’s law slaves or servants wore solid colors, peasants wore checkered patterns, and plaid for higher classes.

Also, speaking of Celtic apparel, the legend is the first smelting of gold in Ireland occurred during Tighernmas’s reign. The King’s wright, Iuchad├ín, worked gold found near the Liffey, the river that runs through Dublin. So the Irish could pin their plaid cloaks to their tunics with gold broaches and band their necks with gold torques. Torques, neck rings, open-ended at the front, are the most recognized ornaments of the Celtic world. Worn from 1200 BC to 600 AD, by Kings, Queens, and Druids, as emblems of royalty like a crown. Not only did they serve as symbols of power, but also held power. An example is a story passed through time of a Roman solider, Manlius Torquatus, who earned his name after taking a torque from a fallen warrior. By stealing the torque, Torquatus captured the warrior’s strength, conferring it onto himself. Torques weren’t the only thing Tighernmas ordered from Iuchadan, he gave gold drinking horns to each of his followers.

Tighernmas is known for introducing the worship of Crom Cruach a harvest or solar god and a main deity of Ireland until St. Patrick brought Christianity to the isle in 5th century AD. Crom Cruach isn’t included in St. Patrick’s writings, but it’s believed the deity referenced as Cenn Cruach in the Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick, written in the 9th century, is Crom Cruach. When Patrick approached the idol of Cenn Cruach and raised his staff, the stone image fell face-down, with an imprint of St. Patrick’s staff left on it. Then, the god appeared and St. Patrick cursed him, casting him to hell.

The idol of Crom Cruach stood on Moyslaught (The Plain of Adoration), in a circle with twelve smaller standing stones. An old reference to Crom in ogham translates, “In it Cruach was and twelve idols of stone around him and himself of gold.” It’s alleged that he demanded sacrifices of children at Samhian. But Crom Cruach cannot be identified among the Danaan divinities. Classical Roman writers described the idol as a rectangular stone with no carvings. Even in that time period, when ancient Romans wrote of Crom Cruach, the idol was so old only the tops of the twelve stones remained visible above ground and the main idol had slanted or toppled over.

Tighernmas has a reputation of introducing the worship of an evil god, but we know little to nothing of Crom Cruach. What his worship entailed, if there were sacrifices or not is a total mystery. However, a king who gave Ireland the color green and gifted all his followers with gold drinking horns can’t be all bad. So when you honor Ireland and St. Patrick, don’t forget those who came before, such as Tighernmas of Tara.

I dedicate this article to Tara or Teamhair, currently under threat. It is the sacred and ancient seat of kings where Tighernmas and so many others ruled and where they are most likely buried. Please see these links for further information:
Protest Song for Tara - http://www.myspace.com/songfortara Save Tara petition - http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=195681174
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vliZK6pwI8w
Tara Watch - http://www.tarawatch.org/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - Marie Nicole Ryan


Award-winning romantic suspense author Marie-Nicole Ryan has four books published with Samhain Publishing. The sensuality levels range from mild to “scorcher”. One book is a mystery/suspense, One Too Many—that’s the milder one. She’s a 2008 EPPIE winner for her erotic romantic suspense, Too Good to be True. This year, One Too Many is up for a 2009 EPPIE in the mystery suspense category and Marie-Nicole should know if she won by the time you read this. She has two other romantic suspense novels with Samhain, Love on the Run and Holding Her Own and is almost finished with a historical western novella.

What ever possessed her to write a mystery/suspense when her previous books were all romantic suspense? Here’s what she said.

I just had to write a follow-up story to Love on the Run. One Too Many starts right where LOTR left off: David and Randi’s honeymoon. They are two of my favorite characters and I just had to let readers know how American musician Miranda (Randi) Raines adjusts to being the wife of one of Scotland Yard’s detective chief inspectors, as well as being Lady Middlebury. Plus, I had so much fun researching the beautiful East Anglia countryside, weather, tide tables, train schedules, et cetera. I even corresponded by e-mail with a sergeant of the Metropolitan Police, Firearms Policy Unit. I’ve always been a fan of British mysteries, both in books and on TV and movies, so this book was a joy to write.

Randi is an impulsive gal, but she’s also the mother of a young boy by her first disastrous marriage. How she and David came together and formed this brand new family is told in LOTR (not The Lord of the Rings one). I hope to continue their journey in the future, but since my current publisher isn’t publishing mainstream novels, I’ll be on the lookout for a new publisher for that possible series.

Marie loves to hear from readers at marie@marienicoleryan.com You can read excerpts from her books at http://marienicoleryan.com/. She also maintains MySpace and Facebook pages. She posts regularly at Marie Blogs About Writing and Shades of Suspense. And if you have any desire to hear about her boring daily life, you can follow her on Twitter, too.

Marie-Nicole loves living in Nashville, Tennessee where her favorite activities when not plunked down in front of her computer are checking out the local antique shops (like Randi does in OTM) and meeting friends for lunch, especially writer friends. She’s addicted to entirely too many TV shows: NCIS; Bones; The Closer; Burn Notice; and The Mentalist. These shows all have one thing in common—great characters and touches of humor. She hopes you’ll find the same in each of her books.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This Tuesday At The Tiki Hut - LuAnn McLane


Joining us at the Tiki Hut today to celebrate her new release, REDNECK CINDERELLA and her 50th birthday is our favorite redneck romance writer, LuAnn McLane.

LuAnn writes for Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library. Although she still enjoys penning sensual contemporary trade-sized romances, she now also writes romantic comedy in mass market including DARK ROOTS AND COWBOY BOOTS, DANCING SHOES AND HONKY TONK BLUES, A LITTLE LESS TALK AND A LOT MORE ACTION, and her most recent REDNECK CINDERELLA.

Raised by her widowed father, Jolie Russell could keep up with any man - that is, until wealthy and sexy land developer Cody Dean struts into her life.Cody buys the Russell farm with an impossible-to-refuse multimillion-dollar offer, then relocates Jolie and her dad to the Copper Creek Estates. But the country club atmosphere isn't ready for Jolie's kind of country. As her two worlds collide, Jolie wonders how she can ever hope to capture Cody's heart without giving up her grits.

LuAnn lives in Florence, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. When she takes breaks from writing, she enjoys long walks, watching chick flicks with her daughter and tries to keep track of her three active sons. She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at luann@luannmclane.com.

Visit LuAnn's Myspace for excerpts of the new book!

Welcome LuAnn and a super happy birthday to you!!!

****
Dark (okay gray) Roots and Red Boots!

I’ve been whining about it for a few weeks and on March 3rd it will be official: I turn 50! Yes 50! I’m old enough for AARP and to join The Red Hat Society… both wonderful organizations mind you but for those of you who know me, well, I like to do things a little differently. So, instead of a red hat I bought red cowboy boots and I plan to go down kicking and screaming! I don’t mind turning 50… if fact I am proud of my age but it is a wake up call that I need to make my bucket list and start checking it off! There are just a few things (okay a lot of things) I’ve always wanted to do and places I’ve always wanted to see. As of March 3rd, 2009 I will have the list ready and I will make every effort to accomplish each and every one! So, here are a few things I want to do and or see. Oh and if any of you want to join me or have connections with people who can help me accomplish any of my goals send me an e-mail and we will hook up. I am also open to suggestions of unforgettable things you all have seen or done that should be on my list. So here is just a sample in no particular order:

1. A ride on the back of a Harley (hopefully with a hot guy driving)
2. White water rafting on the Gauley River
3. A trip to Australia (Aussie men are so sexy… not that it has anything to do with it. (Okay maybe a little)
4. A trip to Tuscany, Italy (to eat the food and drink Chianti)
5. An Alaskan Cruise
6. Swimming with dolphins
7. Making the New York Times (you all can help me with that one!)
8. Attending CMA Fan Fair
9. A sunset cruise in Hawaii
10. A Hot Air Balloon Ride in California Wine Country

Okay any other suggestions? Anyone want to join me? Jump on in!