Monday, January 16, 2012

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Ryder Islington

This week at the Tiki Hut, we welcome mystery and suspense author Ryder Islington as she pops in during her blog tour! The full list of Ryder's blog tour stops can be found at LL Publications and Ryder's Blog.

A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriff’s department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. She can be contacted at or visit her blog at

Writing Mystery and Crime

Mystery and crime are not mutually exclusive, but they are very different beasts. Mystery is all about keeping the truth from the reader until the right time while giving them plenty of truth, along with a few red herrings. I love a good mystery. The best advice I ever got regarding mystery was to make the truth of the matter so plain that the reader would be saying, “Naw, it can’t be that easy.” To do that, you have to make sure there is a logical explanation for why it can’t possibly be that easy. Supplying just enough information, and creating characters the readers trust and believe in, can really divert the truth. As readers, we want the good guys to win, the bad guys to suffer, and the truth to be our own truth.

Writing crime is all about making the reader understand what really happened to the victim, and the truth behind the criminal’s motivations. First, you have to understand the nature of the crime. Kidnapping may be defined differently in one state than in another, so you have to do your homework regarding the definition and elements of the crime you’ll be writing about. If you have characters who work in law enforcement, you have to learn some of the codes they use, which again, vary from state to state.

Then there is the victim. Who is she? Why was she there? Why was she chosen? What was she thinking? What did she go through? How many times does she get close to getting away? Does she even try, or is she too afraid to move?

And finally, the criminal. Is the kidnapper the father of the victim? Or a boyfriend? Or a crazed maniac looking for fast cash? Is he big enough to overpower the victim? Or did he have to compensate with a weapon? Is he a coward at heart? Was he once a good guy that had terrible things happen, things he couldn’t cope with? Is he smart enough to plan the crime, or does he have someone else pulling his strings?

I personally like to write about the psychology of the victim and criminal. I like to get into their heads and make the reader feel some compassion for the bad guy, and some negative feelings about the victim.

And then you have to decide about the gore factor. If you’re writing a cozy, the crime is over with and the scene scrubbed. But I like the gritty stuff, so when a young boy sticks a hunting knife into the gut of a pervert, I want the reader to feel the knife going in, the blood running over his fist. And when the boy smiles and says, “Ooo, warm. Velvety,” I want the reader’s face to scrunch up as if she’d just bitten into a dill pickle.

While revising Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, I kept returning to the gory scenes, upping the ante, spilling the guts, and then going to the psychological response to the gore, trying to make it disgusting but at the same time, believable. This is the stuff of real life. This is what officers all over the country face regularly. It’s not all tickets, and hauling drunks in to sleep it off. Every day there are murders, kidnappings, rapes and other violent crimes occurring. I’m hoping that reading my book will give you a glimpse into what can shape people into psychopaths, and how ‘normal’ the bad guy can seem.


ULTIMATE JUSTICE by Ryder Islington

A Trey Fontaine Mystery

Special Agent Trey Fontaine has his hands full as he tries to juggle three different sets of cases in his hometown. While healing from a bullet wound, and on limited duty, he is charged with helping find out what's happening to young women who are disappearing without a trace. But that's just the beginning. Someone is beating and raping women in town, women who are related to his godfather, Detective Russell Coleman. And then the bodies of men start showing up, eviscerated. Are the crimes related? Or are has the town become a haven for all sorts of criminals?

Wile, Rocky, and Drew, three children from a violent home, take matters into their own hands and soon the small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana is brimming with dead bodies. But the only victims are those whose background proves them to be deserving of such justice.

Can Special Agent Trey Fontaine stop the violence? Or will he only figure out the truth after someone he loves is dead?


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Sam Cheever

This week's guest at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut is Sam Cheever and she stops in to talk about what she's looking forward to in 2012.

Sam writes fast paced fantasy and romantic fiction with feisty characters who deal with life's little challenges in unique and often hilarious ways. As a reader Sam is very impatient. She quickly loses interest if a story doesn't have a good pace and snappy dialogue. Sam's inability to focus in a backwash of human angst and subtleties works out well for her readers, since she writes the way she likes to read.

In her real life, Sam lives on a hobby farm in Indiana with 10 dogs, 4 horses, 2 barn cats, 2 daughters, and one husband. Not necessarily in that order.

Find out how you can get free goodies and many even your name in one of her books by joining her Fan Club!


Best of 2011? Not a chance!

Nothing makes me change stations faster on a radio or TV than those hated words, “And now for a look back over the year…”. I’m one of those people who hates repetition and rehashing things. I thrive on change, and once I’ve set off in a new direction, I rarely look back.

I never reread books, rarely see a movie more than one time, and can’t stand eating the same thing over and over again. Unlike my husband, who could eat the same thing three meals a day for a month before even starting to get tired of it. LOL. My oldest daughter reads her favorite books several times and watches movies and fave TV shows multiple times. And my youngest daughter HATES change. I mean…she gets heart palpitations if something changes.

So am I odd? Well…of course I’m odd. #:0) But, I mean, is my resistance to looking backward at all the key events and accomplishments of the previous year unique? Maybe, I don’t know. I’d love to hear from some of you. Are any of you the same way?

Don’t get me wrong, I love history and I think it’s vitally important. Despite the fact that every generation believes it’s smarter than and different from every generation that came before, the human race has stayed basically the same since its inception. Which means, though the clothes and music might change, we basically live through the same things and are capable of making the mistakes over and over again throughout history. If we don’t know what the earlier versions of us screwed up, we can’t avoid making the same mistakes. So knowing our history is very important. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the human animal’s love of rehashing recent history.

My motto is, if I can still remember it clearly, I don’t want to go over it again. Yawn. And trust me, with my memory, the list of things I remember clearly is short. LOL!

So you won’t get a list of key 2011 events from me. But I will give you my list for the year coming up. Looking forward is a much more exciting proposition than rehashing where I’ve already been. Mind, this isn’t a list of resolutions, consider it my personal plan for the year. So what’s on my list for 2012?

World Peace…okay, just kidding…world peace would be GREAT but it’s just a tad unrealistic. Besides, I’m so NOT doing the swimsuit competition. Hehehe

Here’s the real list:

• Launching a totally new and exciting genre/theme under a new alias. Nope, not gonna spill the beans just yet. #:0)

• Writing/publishing 5 to 6 full length books and several shorter works.

• Finally losing those last, pesky pounds. Not a resolution, just a lifestyle change.

• Weaning myself completely off Corporate America so I can focus full time on my writing.

• Becoming more self sufficient, growing some of my own food, learning to can the food I grow, and finding ways to do with less.

• Reaching out to help others who are struggling.

• Taking the time to enjoy my family, my critters, and my life.

• And, kind of tied to the last one, forcing myself to relax about the writing enough to enjoy the successes and not focus on the sour points.

There you have it. I’m looking forward…not back. Isn’t that much more fun?

Have a great 2012, everybody! I know I plan to.


WIN - p.s. Send me your own “Plan for 2012” at samcheever at samcheever dot com, and I’ll drop your name into my gardening hat for a chance to win the book of your choice from my backlist. I’ll pick the winner on January 9th. Good luck!

My next release is a sexy Cupid story in Musa Publishing’s Love Notes Anthology, January 27th!

Cupid Only Rings Twice – Fantasy, IR/MC, Romance

Rori Foster overhears the Neanderthals at the bank where she works betting on one man’s ability to seduce her with a love note. She schemes to embarrass them at their own game, but she won’t stand a chance against a Love Demon’s spell. Lucky for her she has Cupid Damios Persis on her side. Damios is willing to go undercover, Super Cupid to save her from her office mates’ scheming.

But what happens when he starts to fall for her himself? Will he write her a love note of his own?

Stay tuned!