Monday, May 30, 2011

This Week's Special Guest - Betty Gordon

This week at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut, we welcome mystery author Betty Gordon as she talks about Egypt and her new novel VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS.

Betty Gordon, a native Texan, moved from Dallas to Houston in search of her destiny. After careers as a dance instructor, sculptor, and legal assistant, she followed her dream to write books that would entertain and challenge readers.

Betty graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a B.S. in Professional Writing and from U of H-Clear Lake with an M.A. in Literature (Creative Writing), and an M.A. in Visual Arts. She attended law school for a year before leaving for the world of art and writing. She continues her education with on-line writing workshops and conferences.

A supportive husband, three grown sons, and a Maltese who thinks he's another son complete her family.

Publishing credentials: Murder in the Third Person, Deceptive Clarity, The Magic of Christmas (a mini-ebook collection of short stories for all seasons), Valley of Obsessions (Coming Soon), and The Common Thread (co-authored with CC Smith) Release date 2011. Numerous short stories in L&L Dreamspell's anthologies, Dead and Breakfast, A Death in Texas, A Box of Texas Chocolates, and Twisted Tales of Texas Landmarks.

Betty is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Writers' League of Texas, The Final Twist, Houston Writers' Guild, and Bay Area Writers' League.


by Betty Gordon

VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS and the delights of exploring ancient Egypt were just mustard seeds when I was trying to convince my husband to make San Antonio, Texas, our vacation spot some years ago. Beautiful scenery, festive restaurants, and shops await visitors as they follow the Riverwalk that borders the San Antonio River. We had been to San Antonio more times than you could count on one hand, but I enjoyed it every time.

My husband acted interested and said he would check on travel details. I was happy and began the imaginary journey during the days that followed. A few days passed. He hadn’t said anything about the trip and I couldn’t stand it one more minute. So, trying not to sound plaintive, I asked how plans for the trip were coming. He smiled but didn’t say anything. I’m not known for my patience, so this time – not caring if I sounded plaintive or not – I started in on him.

“If you don’t want to go, just say so.”

He hugged me and let me in on a secret he managed to keep from me. I’ll never forget his next words as they made a dream of a lifetime come true.

“How would you like to take a journey down the Nile?”

The rest is history. We went to Egypt and had the experience of our lives. I only wish I could go again and experience more, but with the unrest in that part of the world, I doubt it will happen. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. I was there, I saw as much of Cairo and the monuments as possible., I made a voyage down the Nile via a boat that allowed passengers to disembark at historical sites, I saw King Tutankhamen’s Tomb, and I relived it all in VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS.

The concept for the story and characters began when I made this trip to Egypt some years ago. The pharaohs, the monuments – everything about the country intrigued me and had done so since childhood when I could only look at pyramids in picture books. I decided during this memorable trip to write about my adventures although the actual words wouldn’t come to life until much later. Many unbelievable things happened during my journey to this impressive country and these happenings are woven into the story. Of course, not ALL occurrences are real and even those that are have been fictionalized to a certain extent. Sketches of prominent story sites are included as well as one photo I took while in Egypt. I had numerous photographs, of course, but sadly they failed to transfer well. The history of this country, the majestic and memorable pyramids, and monuments wrapped themselves around me impatiently waiting to see print.

My characters usually evolve from my imagination when I first enter the twilight zone at night. Unfortunately, oftentimes these thoughts keep me from sleep and I end up at the computer describing a character or creating a budding plot. Desiree Roberts, the protagonist in Valley of Obsessions, is a natural for me as I wore a hat as a paralegal/legal assistant for many years. So, I understand this woman who searches for ways to unite with a fascinating country in a special way and find love at the same time.

Most of the time I am what one would call a “pantster.” I develop the story as I write, but this novel evolved in a way that required some outlining. Even though I write down the characters’ traits when I begin the story, their personality quirks develop much later and are capable of changing the direction of the story. My Muse usually takes over at this point and uses the personality quirks to create numerous tantalizing threads in the cast of characters. I think, and hope, that these tantalizing threads lead to a conclusion that is both challenging and surprising for readers.


Desiree's passion for ancient Egyptian culture leads her on a dangerous trip down the Nile.

Can Desiree Roberts leave her law career in Texas and become a 1980's Egyptian?

Will the country that has captivated her since childhood embrace her, or will it lead her down dangerous paths fraught with deception and betrayal?

As Desiree follows her dreams and treks through shifting sands, she enters portals of pharaohs long since entombed. Her obsessions lure her into alien territory filled with suspicious characters - where someone wants to end her fantasies.

How far will he go?


WIN - Leave Betty a question this week at the Tiki Hut because TWO lucky readers will receive their choice from Betty's book list check out her website for your choices! Please leave your email address so we can contact you if you are one of this week's TWO winners!! Good luck!

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Week's Special Guest - John Nelson

This week at the Tiki Hut, we welcome John Nelson, an author with Wild Child Publishing as he talks about his new thriller - AGAINST NATURE.


The U.S. is ground-zero for a mysterious global pandemic. The disease is highly infectious and kills its victims within two weeks of exposure. It’s neither bacteria nor a virus and all traditional treatment regiments have failed.

Serena Salus, a radical scientist, discovers the organism is an extraterrestrial dust mite brought to earth by a shuttle astronaut.

The government contends it’s a genetically-engineered organism created on earth by enemies of freedom.

Dr. Salus uncovers a vile plan for distributing her experimental antitoxin and finds herself in a deadly confrontation with powerful forces that’ll stop at nothing to control the distribution of her vaccine.


Welcome to the Tiki Hut John, could you tell us a little bit about your novel?

It’s a dystopian thriller. The U.S. is ground-zero for a mysterious global pandemic. The disease is highly infectious and kills it’s victims within two weeks of exposure. It’s neither bacteria nor a virus and all traditional treatment regimens have failed.

Serena Salus, a radical scientist, discovers the organism is an extraterrestrial dust mite brought to earth by a shuttle astronaut. The government contends it’s a genetically-engineered organism created on earth by enemies of freedom.

Dr. Salus uncovers a vile plan for distributing her experimental vaccine and finds herself in a deadly confrontation with powerful forces that’ll stop at nothing to control the distribution of her vaccine.

What led you to write this book?

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. In our proverbial rearview mirror we see things like Abu Ghraib, secret prisons, torture, wars built on lies and before us we see Social Darwinists rising to power in Washington. Scary stuff! I wondered what would happen if we had a great catastrophic event like a global pandemic; a disease without a cure. I used some past events and superimposed them on my fictitious event and what came out the other end was a pretty frightening dystopian thriller.

What do you believe is the key to good fiction?

I think a good novel blends facts with fiction and if successful, blurs the lines between them. The story should be plausible enough to pull the reader in and keep them turning pages.

The Dystopian genre seems to be popular again.

Yes, I think that’s true in young adult fiction, especially with the success of the Hunger Games series. Against Nature is geared for the adult reader, but that doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to young adults too. I think Against Nature is infused with a larger dose of social criticism in the spirit of Orwell or Huxley. I’m glad to see more dystopian novels hitting the shelf (or e-reader.)

What do you want your readers to get out of your book?

Any good dystopian novel should make you think. That’s my goal with Against Nature.

Was the story compelling and entertaining and did it make you think? If so, then I succeeded.

WIN - Leave John a comment or question this week here at the Tiki Hut and your name goes in the hat for a copy of his new book!  Please leave your email address, so we can contact you if you are today's winner!  Good Luck!

Ashley Blade's Tiki Hut Winner

Thanks to all those who stopped by the Tiki Hut to visit with Ashley and congrats to Stacie DM - your name was drawn as our winner!

Be looking for an email from Ashley with your free copy of ONCE BITTEN - enjoy it and be sure to let us know what you thought of it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

This Week's Special Guest - Ashley Blade

This week at our AuthorIsland Tiki Hut we welcome author Ashley Blade as she celebrates her brand new release ONCE BITTEN and tells us a bit about herself and how she feels about being published.

As a single mom working as a car sales person, Ashley manages her time between her passion for books, writing and her family. When she is not surfing the web or writing, you can find her rooting her daughter toward certain victory in a soccer match or curled up with her better half and a good book.


ONCE BITTEN by Ashley Blade

Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug.

Luka was beginning to feel like both. With a raging hard on and death surrounding him, he couldn’t see the killer right in front of him. He was blind unwilling to see the truth. At least that’s what he told himself.

Flora, was the self appointed protector of Luka. A vampire who was under the spell of his creator; Kira. Now with the help of her sisters she must face the killer of innocent humans and the woman who was standing between her and the object of her affection.

Flora's only hope; She could save Luka in time and not lose him to a fate worse than death…his maker.


I don’t really talk about myself. Sure I answer questions when given, but I mean I could tell you I live on Mars, my hair is blue and I have a three-toed Sloth as a pet. Would the reader believe me? Maybe two of the three things I listed but mostly likely no. So when I asked for a spot here at the Tiki Hut, I really had to think about what I wanted to say. Oh I know I need to promote my just released book, ONCE BITTEN, but I wanted to do a little more than just promote, because let’s face it, readers love promotion. But, they also want to get to know the author too, right?

So here goes. My real name is Amanda. I am from the sunny Southern California beaches and I now live in the tiny town of Roanoke, Alabama. I have always loved the idea of writing, but never thought I was good enough to actually get published. I wrote my first published short on a dare from my good friend, Dakota Trace and I haven’t looked back. In the very beginning I thought, oh no, what if I run out of characters or plots to write about? I feared it every day, especially when I was writing a story and it was almost done. So far it hasn’t happened. If anything, I am overwhelmed with characters at the moment.

I am totally green when it comes to the publishing industry. I am slowly learning with the help of my publisher and my editor. I am sure I have given them plenty of gray hairs with all of my questions or, “huh?” responses. But in the year I have been doing this, I can’t imagine not wanting to continue down this path. I am having a blast. I have met some amazing people, including some of my favorite authors. I experienced my first Cyber Monday and my first Black Friday this year. Yes people I did do a little giddy dance at the prospect that someone might have bought my books those two days.

Every time I am in a book store, and I see someone pick up a Nook or an e-reader I introduce myself and say, guess what you can purchase my books on there. Then I have that surreal, oh wow, you really can buy my books on there, moment. I know this is not typically what authors say, but this is me. I get excited over the little things. I’m not used to it, I may never get used to it. Heck, I hope I never do. I have gone so far as to tell my boss lady, if I get to the point where I am like ehh, it’s another release day, remind me of who I used to be or shut me down. The reason is simple, I am not doing it anymore because it is fun, and I’m doing it because it’s what is expected of me.

Writing is fun for me. It brings me out of my shell and makes me happy. I am not in this for the money. I will never be a millionaire. I know this and have made peace with it. I have no expectation of the industry other than the fact e-books are a thing of the present and the future. We are changing as a society. Instant gratification is common place and if I can grab my Kindle, I can download a book. It’s simpler that way.

That is the other thing that makes me excited about being an e-book author. I am now running with the big dogs. Slowly but surely NYC publishers are putting their books into digital format. Right now my books are alongside Nora Roberts and Hannah Howell in Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Crazy right? I still can’t grasp that concept. I don’t think I ever will. It was the chance I was given that brought me here. If my boss lady would have come to me ten years ago and said see you soon, you’re going to be one of my authors, I would have scoffed at her. My mom and I were homeless. I couldn’t even imagine having a computer, much less a hot meal at night. My imagination was just as broke as we were. Here I am though, an author. It amazes me how much my life has changed in such a short amount of time.

Before I close this little ditty, I have to one last thing to say. If you have a wicked imagination where dragons and elves or vampires and zombies run free, write it down. Then mold it, create a world and keep going. If you have that itch to have it published, try. We all get told no, but the first yes is all it takes. That is your toe in the door, use it to your advantage, learn from your publisher and keep going. Always remember who you are and always remember what it felt like when your first story was available for download or purchase. It’s the best feeling ever!

Ashley Blade.

WIN - Leave Ashley a comment or question this week at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut and your name goes in the hat for a free ebook or her ONCE BITTEN!! Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you are this week's winner - Good Luck!

Stacey Kennedy's Tiki Hut Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit with Stacey last week and thanks to Stacey for a great post and for offering up a great prize!

Congrats to June M - your name was drawn as our winner!  Stacey will be sending you out a copy of BLESS THE BEAUTY, so keep an eye on your inbox and enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

This Week's Special Guest - Stacey Kennedy

This week on our AuthorIsland Tiki Hut Blog, we welcome Urban Fantasy author Stacey Kennedy as she stops by to talk about why she loves writing series.

Stacey's novels are light-hearted fantasy with heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again.

Her journey as a writer began as a way to keep her brain alive since being a stay at home mom can sometimes be a little...let's say numbing. It was an escape from screaming kids, dirty diapers and plain old mom duty.

It started as a hobby, but as the stories progressed it became a passion. Now, Stacey indulges at nap time, especially the juicy bits! Every mom needs a good thrill!

Series, love 'em or hate 'em?

A question I’m asked all the time is, “why do you write series?” The answer is simple, cause I love them! I’m not a huge fan of single titles and rarely read them. Mainly because after I’m done the book I’m left wanting more and frustrated that it ends there.

So, when I started writing it was pretty clear cut that I would write series. I enjoy the exploration of the characters and the way that it’s not just a single adventure but a few that makes up their life. For me, what makes a story great is the attachment received from the characters. You want to cry with them, cheer them on, and swoon over their growing love. And that, for me, just isn’t possible in a single title. I’m always left saying, “but what happened after...”

I suppose I get emotionally attached to the characters I write as well as read. I live their journey with them and I want to feel fulfilled that I’ve watched them grow, go through hardships, but in the end, succeed. I need to see all of the events that have brought them happiness, because as we all know, life is forever changing. And I want to experience that process with them.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you like me who just can’t let go after one story or are you satisfied with single titles?

If you like series like I do...danger, love, supernatural creatures and men that make you swoon, The Magical Sword, might be right up your alley.

~ Stacey

THE WILLOW - The Magical Sword Series - Book One by Stacey Kennedy

A past of secrets, a life broken by death - awakens to a world of promise and love, but lurking danger threatens to destroy it all.

In Carson City, Nevada a tragic car accident has claimed the lives of Nexi Jones' adoptive parents. Now, without them, her reason to live has vanished and she is determined to end her pain.

The problem with that, it's not heaven she wakes up to, it's the Otherworld. Nexi must reconcile the truth about her past, and her heritage as part guardian/part witch, while she begins to train to join the Council's guard. But it's not the combat training that has her worried, it's attempting to keep her cool around the luscious guardian, Kyden that's her biggest concern.

Before long, Nexi's skills are put to the test as she begins to fight against the supernatural who have taken a human life. But nothing can prepare her for the journey ahead. Soon, she will find herself lost in a mystery and fighting to keep all she's gained, as Lazarus, a vampire, threatens to take it all away.


WIN - Leave Stacey a comment or question this week at the Tiki Hut and your name goes in the hat for the first book of any of her series - head over to her website to check them out and be sure to let us know which one you want along with your email address so we can contact you in case you are this week's winner - Good Luck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sandra Marshall's Tiki Hut Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by last week to visit with Sandra and keep her company!  And thanks to Sandra for being a great "special" guest and for the great prize - iTunes Cash!

Congrats to Western Lovin!!  - your name was drawn as our winner!  Sandra will contact you soon with your prize, so keep your eyes open!