Monday, November 22, 2010

Erin Nicholas' Winner

The winner from Erin Nicholas' blog tour is...Chelsea B.!! Check out the details on Erin's Website.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Week's Special Guest Erin Nicholas

This week's special guest at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut is Erin Nicholas. We're a stop on your blog tour to celebrate the anniversary of her first published novel NO MATTER WHAT, which btw, is a finalist for an EPPIE, along with her novel JUST RIGHT!

Erin has been reading romance since her mom first let her into her book cupboard when Erin was about fourteen. LaVyrle Spencer, Julie Garwood, Debbie Macomber... they took Erin's 'happily ever after' ideas from animated princesses to real people in the real world.

She's been writing romance almost as long. Many a family car trip was spent with her head bent over a spiral notebook in the back seat. She'll confess that her very first attempts at fiction were fantasy and paranormals, influenced by her father's love of the Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the original Alice in Wonderland. If Harry Potter had been around, Erin's sure he would have been on the bedtime story shelf as well.

But it wasn't long until Erin started writing about true love and that's where she's been ever since.

She's so thrilled to be able to share these stories with you and hopes that they make you smile, sigh, maybe even choke up a little. Most of all, She hopes that they help you believe in magical things like first kisses, the spark of passion, and the power of true love.

Erin loves to hear from readers! Please write her at

Visit Erin at her Cyber Home

Welcome Erin!

Since November is the anniversary month of my first published book, I decided to go on a tour and chat and give stuff away!

The “theme” (I use the term loosely) is Writing Romance Is Like…
And every blog stop has a different comparison that will give you some insight into who I am, how I write and my slightly weird sense of humor. Oh, and you can win stuff! Every commenter gets entered for a chance at a book from my backlist. And if you really want to have some fun: follow me around to all the stops on the schedule (on my website) get the answers to the questions (on the form on my site) and then e-mail them to me by December 15th to get entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to, or Come join the fun!!

And now, the 6th stop on the tour:
Writing Romance is Like… Dieting

Dieting. Yuck. I’m actually one of those people who have been convinced that terms like “lifestyle change” or “food intake moderation” are better. “Diet” conjures all kinds of bad images for me (and makes me want to run, not walk, to the nearest Twinkie!)

I’m dieting right now for the umpteenth time in my life (seriously, umpteen is the number I’m up to). Losing weight isn’t really the problem. Though I have noticed that as I get older it definitely gets harder (not to mention that I pretty much despise exercise. I like walking, playing with my kids, shooting hoops, even a rec game of volleyball. And dancing! But I hate exercise—so I never call it that g). Anyway, I’ve lost weight. A number of times.

The problem is—all together now—keeping it off.

That’s right. Keeping the weight off is the challenge. Because initially it’s super fun to see the numbers going down, discovering new lighter recipes that actually don’t suck, and buying new clothes. Oh, and seeing someone you haven’t seen in awhile—“Wow, you look amazing!” are four words I’ll never tire of hearing, how about you? ;)

But then a plateau. You’re doing everything the same but the scale isn’t moving. You’re tired of yogurt. If you have to walk one more minute on the treadmill you’re going to die of boredom. While you feel so much better and buying that smaller size jeans is really always fun, it’s hard to get back to that “this is gonna be great” phase.

Writing is like that for me sometimes. Finishing a book is wonderful, getting an acceptance from an editor is awesome, talking about the new book, getting reader comments, seeing the cover… all of these things are fun! Exciting! Easy to get up about!

Then, inevitably, I once again have to face the computer screen. And it always starts out blank. It’s not always easy to be up knowing I have 250-some pages to go. Knowing that my characters need depth and my plot can’t be contrived and making it fresh and entertaining and maybe even a little meaningful can be daunting.

But I have to just start typing. There’s no other way for the story to get there. You can’t end if you don’t begin. You can’t expect the scales to go down if you don’t start paying attention to what goes into your mouth. And you can’t expect words and characters and chapters to just magically appear—you have to push the keys on your keyboard.

It’s always about choices: fruit or candy bar? Sofa or treadmill? Writing or checking Twitter?

It’s tough to keep up sometimes. It’s tough to think “this is gonna be great” every minute. But it’s also about goals. It’s about knowing where you’re trying to get to—just like dieting. And it’s about appreciating where you are and the fact that writing is as important to my health (my mental and spiritual health for sure) as eating well and being at a healthy weight. Steady. Every day. Focus. Commitment. Those are things that make dieting and writing work.

Join me at the next stop on my blog tour: Samantha Sommersby’s blog: on November 18th!

And now a little blurb, from Just Like That, (the brownie discussion -- perfect for a dieting post, yes?

Danika frowned at that. “They have not been duds.” They’d all been nice, sweet guys. Unassuming, undemanding…un-lots of things. Just the way she liked them.

“Maybe not duds,” Abi said, gently. “But they’re…vanilla cupcakes.”
“What?” Maybe it was the tequila. The conversation just kept getting crazier.

“You love fudge brownies,” Abi said. “But you’re dating vanilla cupcakes. They’re not bad, but you don’t crave cupcakes.”

Carmen’s grin was huge and Danika groaned.

“That’s a perfect analogy, Dani,” she said. “You’ve got to find a fudge brownie.”

The thing was, it was a good analogy. It was scary how close her sisters had just come to the truth. It wasn’t like she was picking cupcakes on accident. She knew her weakness was fudge brownies. And therefore trouble. A great brownie could make her throw all her discipline away, forget her goals and plans. Even a not-so-great brownie—because, after all, even a bad brownie was still a brownie—could make her lose control, decide the pleasure was worth the consequences.

“So I’m supposed to only date men who make me think of food?”

Abi grinned. “Men who make you think about indulgence and devouring and…licking all over.”
“Exactly,” Carmen said, her eyes twinkling. “It’s like your life is a bakery and you have everything to choose from. But you go for the vanilla cupcakes, even though you could have a brownie and that’s what you’d really like and what would completely satisfy you.”

Her life was a bakery. Terrific.

“I like cupcakes.” Danika knew she sounded grumpy, but she was feeling grumpy. And judged. And criticized.

She hated when her sisters were right. Her boyfriends were no more exciting than cupcakes. They were good, just not…worth not fitting into her favorite jeans for.

“Cupcakes are fine,” Carmen agreed. “And for some people that’s it. Their favorite thing. The thing they go crazy for. But not for you.”

“You have to find a fudge brownie,” Abi agreed. “A big one.”


More on Erin

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Duane Simolke's Winner

Thanks to all who stopped by to visit with Duane Simolke and congrats to Valerie! You win a copy of Duane's sci fi adventure - DEGRANON!

Monday, November 8, 2010

This Week At The TIki Hut - Duane Simolke

This week we welcome author Duane Simolke to the Tiki Hut to talk about his science fiction novel DEGRANON: A Science Fiction Adventure.

Majoring in English, Duane Simolke received degrees from Belmont University (B.A., 1989), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., 1991), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 1996). His doctoral dissertation was on Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.

StoneWall Society gave Pride in the Arts literary awards to The Acorn Stories, Degranon, and Holding Me Together. AllBooks Reviews gave The Return of Innocence a Reviewers Choice Award.

Simolke also edited and co-wrote a fundraiser, The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.


Revisiting Diversity in Science Fiction
By Duane Simolke

Now that I’ve completed a draft to the sequel of Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure, I still find myself surprised by the slow but steadily growing audience Degranon finds. It’s been almost ten years since the first edition appeared. I rewrote the book two years after its publication, following an earlier idea of making some of the major characters gay.

Those changes, and some others, made the novel even more memorable to me, and it remains my favorite out of everything I’ve written. Dealing with themes of discrimination, religious turmoil, and oppression added emotional layers, but I mostly wanted to create interesting characters and exciting scenes of adventure. That revised, second edition immediately gained attention.

In Worried, the upcoming sequel to Degranon, the characters still wrestle with some of the same problems, though they have overcome weight discrimination, censorship, and some of the other specific issues they struggled with before. However, some past failings haunt the citizens of Valchondria, the human home world. Dark secrets haunt the Valchondrians even more.

Also, the first book spanned generations on two planets. Worried takes place over five weeks. Most of the action happens on the capital city of the home world, except for a few scenes set in outer space. Still, the epic scope of the first book gave me a universe, and that entire universe still affects the characters and events of the second book. I think Degranon’s new and old readers will enjoy the journey back; I’m certainly enjoying it and look forward to the next few months of revision.

Warning, mild spoilers lurk ahead. Some hints about what to expect in Worried follow.

The wedding of two male characters from the first book.

The rumors of a dangerous alien race weren’t exaggerated.

The balance of power on Valchondria remains in question.

The effects of past addiction linger.

Enemies might need each other.

(Read reviews of Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure at Rainbow Reviews and I Must Be Dreaming.)

WIN - Leave Duane a comment or question this week, here at the Tiki Hut and your name goes in the hat for a free ebook of DEGRANON. Please leave your email address, so we can contact you if you are this week's winner - Good Luck!