Monday, February 22, 2010

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Jean Hart Stewart

This week's special guest at the Tiki Hut is magical romance author Jean Hart Stewart.

Jean feels she’s very much a Californian although she was born in Ohio. California has been home for a good many years. Life changed drastically for her when she was six and her father died incredibly from an errant golf ball. A dishonest insurance agent forced her sheltered mother to seek work, and she became a teacher. Her hours required Jean to be alone in the house in the afternoon, and since she was forbidden to leave till her mother got home, she became an avid reader. The local library supplied most of the books and she developed early her two of main interests, Jane Austen and King Arthur.

Reading is still one of her favorite activities, although she sometimes has to push it aside to make room for her enduring love of writing. Her journalism degree was used infrequently until recently. Marriage and raising two children pleasantly got in the way. After twenty years of being a real estate broker and with the kids raised she finally could devote her time to writing, her first love.

Jean's enchantment with the lore and legends of Druids and, therefore, delving into their history led to fascinating research that inspired her popular Garland of Druids Series for Cerridwen Press. She now enjoys writing stories filled with magic and romance for her Songs of the Mages Series, also for Cerridwen Press.

Few things in her life have been so satisfying, especially when all her books have a happy ending. Wonderful to make happen. It only gets more interesting when a secondary character demands his very own book. Who would want to deny him? Not Jean!
Decisions, decisions, decisions !!

Do you remember the decisions that shaped your life? The decisions you yourself made, not the ones fate forced on you? Sometimes they stick in your memory forever, and often you don’t even notice their importance at the time.

I made one when I was sixteen, in high school and thrilled to pieces when a handsome hunk (hereafter known as HH) asked me to a school dance. You don’t really want to know how long ago that was, do you? I’d secretly drooled for weeks over this guy, and could hardly believe my good luck. Then, only a week before the big dance, my very favorite aunt died suddenly. She’d always been the mainstay of our small, fatherless family, coming to visit whenever her teaching job allowed her to help out. I quite simply adored her.

On top of the sorrow of her death, I learned her funeral would be the weekend of the prom. Services were to be in another part of the state, and in order to attend, you guessed it, I would miss the dance. My mother, bless her, left it entirely up to me. So I had to decide on my own what to do.

You can imagine how I was pulled in opposite directions. Finally, after much agonizing, I chose to attend the last services for Aunt Ella. HH took the news with polite acceptance, and you guessed it, I never heard from him again, except to pass him in the school corridors.

Was I surprised? No. Was I devastated? Pretty much. Although even underneath my regret I was proud I’d made the right and hard decision. Ella had changed my life for the better in so many small ways. I do think that decision helped shape me for the better. I’m so glad I didn’t go the selfish route, although at the time it was hard, hard, hard.

Now I’d love to have you tell me if you can remember your first difficult decision. How you responded? How old were you? Did you make the same choice you’d make today?

Come on, I’ve told all, now you tell me about yourself.

WIN - This week, we'll have two winners - leave Jean a comment today about your first difficult decision and your name goes in the hat to win either a free download of GARETH'S GAMBIT or JENNIVERE'S JOURNEY. Be sure to leave your email address, so we can get contact you if you're one of this week's winners!

Heidi Betts' Tiki Hut Winners

A special thanks to Heidi for being such a great guest and for such a fun interview with her characters from her new release, KNOCK ME FOR A LOOP! And thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit Heidi and keep her company last week.

Heidi pulled two winners from the hat....drumroll please....LULU and KAREN!!

Congrats winners, and please email me at AuthorIsland at with your mailing address and your choice from either book one or book two from Heidi's Chicks with Sticks Trilogy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting Knocked for a Loop with Heidi Betts

This week's guest blogger at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut is bestselling author Heidi Betts!

Bestselling, award-winning author Heidi Betts began her love affair with the romance genre in junior high school, where she used to sneak romance novels into study hall when she should have been doing her homework. It didn't take long to decide she wanted to write a few romances of her own, so she set out to do just that.

Her first book was released by Dorchester Publishing in 2000, with five more to follow. From there, Heidi moved into the contemporary arena by writing numerous category titles for Silhouette Desire, and recently she signed with St. Martin's Press to begin writing funny, sexy single titles.

With each new book, Heidi asks herself how she can bring to life endearing heroes and heroines whom readers will believe are meant for each other. And with each new novel to hit the stands, readers and reviewers alike declare she knows how to create a story that sizzles, charms, and delights from the first page to the last. Her first title for Silhouette Desire landed at #1 on the Waldenbooks/Borders Series Romance Bestseller List, where her books have continued to make an appearance ever since.

Heidi loves to read, write, watch movies (and just a little too much television), and surround herself with furry, four-legged friends in her home in the beautiful hills of Central Pennsylvania.


Getting Knocked for a Loop with Heidi Betts

Good morning, everyone! Thank you so much for joining me today at AuthorIsland.

After a very long, not-so-patient wait (at least on my part *g*), I am happy to report that the third book in my sexy, funny “Chicks with Sticks” knitting trilogy is finally be here! And although it wasn’t easy to get the hero and heroine of KNOCK ME FOR A LOOP into the same room together—those of you who have read TANGLED UP IN LOVE and LOVES ME, LOVES ME KNOT know what I’m talking about ;)—I managed to arrange a short interview with the stars of our story.

First, a little background information:

Grace Fisher is the lovely and talented host of one of Cleveland's most popular daytime talk shows, Amazing Grace. And judging by her accomplishments both on and off the air, she truly is amazing. From (allegedly) knitting her own wedding gown to changing the spark plugs in her former fiance's Hummer, Grace can do it all...and wants to show you how to do it all, too.

Zack "Hot Legs" Hoolihan is one of the NHL's most popular hockey stars. As goalie for the Cleveland Rockets, Zack has let his team to the Playoffs and helped to bring home the Stanley Cup for the past three years in a row, proving beyond a doubt that legs are not the only thing about this guy that are hot, hot, hot!

Bruiser Hoolihan is Zack's beloved Saint Bernard. Rescued from a local animal shelter, he's been living the good life ever since. He's got his own corner in Zack's spacious apartment, complete with a blue and red Rockets blanket, and more chew toys than he can find the time to...well, chew. (Of course, he kind of prefers his daddy's big, leather couch, but he pretends to like the blanket best.) And he can eat whatever he, spaghetti, Cheetos, even the occasional beer.

Yes, life was good. Until daddy got in trouble with Bruiser's almost-mommy, and she took him from his daddy's big, messy apartment with its basketball hoop on the door and foosball table in the middle of the room to her own much neater apartment with its white carpeting and furniture he wasn't allowed to sleep on. Then she took him to the vet. And put him on a diet. And started dressing him in fuzzy pink sweaters she knit just for him. And, yes, painting his nails. Now, Bruiser just kind of wishes his daddy and almost-mommy would patch things up so he could get back to lying around on that leather sofa and snitching pizza straight from the box.

Together, Grace Fisher and Zack Hoolihan are one of the East Coast's most talked-about couples.

Apart... Well, you'll have to read the book to find out about that. ;)

And now for the interview:

What's your favorite pastime?

Grace: Knitting.

Zack: Hockey, of course.

Grace: [with a snort] Yeah, because you're obviously so very good at it.

Zack: [scowling] Hey, I am good at it. Star goalie, remember? Stanley Cup three years in a row, thankyouverymuch.

Grace: Well, now that you've messed up your knee, the only cup you'll be scoring this season is a Big Gulp from the local Seven-Eleven.

Favorite sport?

Zack: [still scowling] Hockey.

Grace: [smirking] Baseball.

Favorite song?

Grace: "He Had it Comin'" from the Broadway musical Chicago. "The Thunder Rolls" by Garth Brooks—the long version, of course. "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" by Funky Divas. Oh, and "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood.

Zack: [crossing his arms over his chest and slumping in his seat, muttering] “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne.

Tell us about Bruiser, the adorable Saint Bernard you rescued from a local animal shelter.

Grace: Actually, it's Muffin now.

Zack: Oh, no, it's not. His name is Bruiser.

Grace: [with a smile] It's Muffin. Really.

Zack: His name is Bruiser, not Muffin. No male dog of mine is going to walk around with a name like Muffin, for God's sake.

Grace: Good thing he's not your dog anymore, then, hm?

Okay, okay, I see that's a touchy subject. Let's move on.

Grace, you mentioned that you like to knit. When did you learn, and what are you working on at the moment?

Grace: My grandmother taught me after I came to live with her. I was probably eleven or twelve. And I'm not working on much of anything at the moment. More like... [shifts uncomfortably] unraveling a project I started a while back.

Zack, we hear a couple of your male friends have recently learned to knit. Have you ever given the yarn and needles a shot?

Zack: No.

Really? Not even—

Zack: No. Next question.

I know this is another sensitive topic, but after a very public and longstanding romance, the two of you recently broke up. Can you tell us why?

Zack: It's kind of personal and complicated, but—

Grace: It's not complicated. It's actually quite simple. He's a cheating bastard who couldn't keep it in his pants, but did think I'd never find out as long as he stuck to screwing puck bunnies while the Rockets were on the road.

Zack: [grinding his teeth] I've told you a million times, I did not sleep with that woman.

Grace: Right. She was naked in your bed because that's what hotels leave on the pillows these days instead of mints.

Um... Is there any chance you'll be getting back together?

Zack and Grace: [together, emphatically] No.

All right. Well. That was very...enlightening. Will you stick around for a while to answer some questions from readers?

Grace: Of course.

Zack: [with a shrug] Whatever.

All right, guys! Now that we’ve got them on the ice, so to speak, slap shot a few questions our way. We’re all happy to chat about KNOCK ME FOR A LOOP, the other two books/couples in the “Chicks with Sticks” series, or…well, just about anything. :D

Oh, and I’ll happily give away copies TANGLED UP IN LOVE and LOVES ME, LOVES ME KNOT at the end of the week---one each to two different commentors!

Happy chatting!