Monday, March 31, 2014

Something for Everyone ... A 3-Ring Circus!

Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of FUN STUFF in this week's post. So let's get to it.

Blog Break
Yes, I'm taking another blog break for the month of April. I'll also be spending less time on Facebook and Twitter, but I'll still be at each a couple of times a week. You may also see me pop up with a comment on a few of the A-Z blogs every once in a while. Some of them sound too cool to miss!

Why am I taking a break? Read on!

The top ten reasons I'm taking a blog break in April:
10. Edit...Edit...Edit
  9. I'm too lazy to participate in A-Z this year
  8. We're hosting a crawfish boil thingie mid month
  7. I need a vacation
  6. Edit...Edit...Edit
  5. My current manuscript is due to my editor by May 1
  4. My dogs told me we need more play time
  3. So did Live-In Handyman
  2. We're going to the beach for a week
And the #1 reason I'm taking a blog break in April:
  1. Did I mention Edit...Edit...Edit!
      You can see for yourself.

Melissa Maygrove's Cover Reveal for COME BACK
I'm so thrilled to be participating in my friend's cover reveal for her debut novel. I know just how excited she is, and I'm sending her loads of good wishes for a huge success!

Sometimes a single choice alters the course of a person's life forever.

Left behind by everyone she loves...
Rebecca Garvey had the promise of a California future dreams are made of, until the wagon train her family was traveling with left her behind. Now she’s slowly dying in the wilderness, abandoned and stripped of her self-worth. Once the shock of her desertion turns to embittered despair, she doesn't want to be found. Then a handsome stranger challenges her convictions and changes her mind.

Headed for Texas, chased by the demons of his past...
Seth Emerson knows exactly what he wants. Working to save for a cattle ranch of his own keeps him busy and keeps his pain buried. Rescuing a stubborn woman from the hills of New Mexico Territory isn't part of his plan—but she’s exactly what he needs.

Making greater sacrifices than either of them could foresee...
Seth and Rebecca set off on a risky journey and a quest for truth, each healing the other’s love-starved soul along the way. Will they give in to their growing attraction?  Or will they honor their commitments when Seth returns Rebecca to civilization... and her betrothed?

Title: Come Back
Author: Melissa Maygrove
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Category: Adult / New Adult
Publisher: Truelove Press
Expected release: May 12, 2014

Cover credit:

Cover design by Carrie Butler, Forward Authority Design Services

Native Texan Melissa Maygrove is a wife, mother, nurse, freelance editor, and romance writer. When she's not busy caring for her tiny nursery patients or shuttling teenagers back and forth to after-school activities, she's hunched over her laptop, complicating the lives of her imaginary friends and playing matchmaker. Melissa loves books with unpretentious characters and unforgettable romance, and she strives to create those same kinds of stories for her readers.

Twitter @MelissaMaygrove:
Goodreads author page:

Guest Bloggers Wanted
I have guest spots beginning late May, and I would love to host you here at the Tiki Hut. Drop me an email at tikihuttime AT gmail DOT com and we'll chat. Or message me on Facebook or Twitter.

Stay Tuned
Depending on when I finish my portion of the edits, you may notice a little cleanup around the old Tiki Hut. No major rehab, just a little spring cleaning. BUT ... my website is undergoing a complete renovation. When I come back, I'll have news of a new contest going on over there starting in May. The site will have the same tired look for a little while before the new one goes live.
No Peeking!!!

An Invitation for My Cover Reveal
If you would like to sign up to participate in the June cover reveal for my new novel, you can find all the details here. Once there, please scroll down for the signup sheet.

Huge thank yous to everyone who has already signed up!

See you on Monday, May 5!
Blog Break Officially Begins . . . NOW!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jump that Genre

This week Jay Noel is here visiting at the tiki hut. For any of you who don't know Jay, he's the author of Dragonfly Warrior, a steampunk novel - which just happens to be on sale this week! More on this at the end of his post.

Following Jay's post is another cool surprise :)

So let's get started.

Ahhhhh...feels great to be here Under the Tiki Hut. My island blood is very at home. So TIRED of winter, so thanks so much for having me. I think we can all agree with Jay on this. I know I'm SO ready to break up with Old Man Winter I could scream!

The other day, I was in the middle of a very interesting debate among my fellow writers. Our discussion revolved around the practice of writers going into different genres. We're not talking a YA author "moving up" to NA or anything so subtle. What if a science fiction writer decided to try her hand at writing contemporary fiction? Or how about a fantasy writer delving into romance?

I had a mentor tell me that dipping your feet into different genres was career suicide. He told me that I would piss off my loyal audience. This is an industry that seems OCD about putting all its writers and their books into nice and neat little categories. I've heard from many successful writers who were pressured by their agents and publishers to stick with what's working. Write what sells. This is a business after all.

But my argument was that the world of publishing was evolving so rapidly, and that there was plenty of room for writers to experiment and go into a different direction with their work. Genres are being blurred more these days than ever before. I've read several books that didn't fall so clearly into one defined genre. With the blurring and combining of all these genres, I think the flexibility exists for writers to stretch themselves and try different things.

For authors that gain a massive following, there are ways around not angering your loyal readers. The best example of this I can think of is J.K. Rowling. She will forever be linked with Harry Potter. It's like George Lucas and Star Wars. The two are inseparable. So J.K. Rowling wrote a detective novel, The Cuckoo's Calling. The book was well received by critics, but it was so far removed from Harry Potter. She even used the pen name, Robert Galbraith, to keep her Harry Potter fans happy and not have readers/critics prejudge her new work because it had nothing to do with wizardry or magic.

My final answer to this question is simple: if an author has the ability to write in multiple genres, she should do it. On the other side, don't write in multiple genres poorly. I guess I'm in the "master one genre first" category. Gain some recognition and street cred first. Then you can try another genre. I think indie authors and those with smaller houses are able to do this a little easier. Most of us don't have to worry about having millions of diehard fans wanting us to stay in one specific genre. There would be very little outrage if I went from writing steampunk/science fiction to historical fiction. 

I'll tell you what, though....having such a huge and passionate readership wouldn't really be a bad problem to have.

# # # #

Jay Noel is the Amazon Bestselling Author of the Asian-inspired steampunk novel, Dragonfly Warrior, which happens to only be 99 cents until March 31st. You can pick up the ebook at:

Barnes and Noble:

The second book in The Mechanica Wars series, Shadow Warrior, is scheduled for publication in June of 2014.

He's been blogging since 2005, and enjoys forging friendships with his fellow bloggers.

Jay often tells people that he was born on an uncharted island in the Pacific and was raised by elves and faries, but the truth is that he was born in the Bronx and lives in St. Louis with his family. When he's not banging away on his laptop late at night, he can be found either reading a book or playing tennis...but never both at the same time.

He's also a recovering cookie-holic, but is currently in detox for his addiction.

Author website:
Twitter: jnoelwriter

Next week, adult and NA author Melissa Maygrove will be revealing the cover to her new book, Come Back, a historical western romance set in the 1850s. This week, she's running a contest on her blog. You can find all the information on her blog.

If you would like to sign up to participate in the June cover reveal for my new novel, you can find all the details here. And scroll down for the signup sheet.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick and the Dragons

And all this time you thought it was snakes.

Actually, you're right. But I had to get the dragons in here some way on this day of everything Irish Green.


Because I received the Dragon's Loyalty Award from two of my favorite bloggers: C. Lee McKenzie and Bish Denham. Thank you, ladies! You're so cool to think of me. I'll do my best to come up with seven interesting things about myself.

And the Rules Are:
  1. Display the Award on your Blog. 
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you. 
  3. Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award
  4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded. 
  5. Write seven interesting things about you.
Since I received this award from two bloggers, I'll try to think of fourteen things about myself that aren't too boring. Let's see how I do:

  1. I smile a lot.

  2. I love to dance.

  3. I love to laugh.

  4. I love stupid jokes.

  5. I distinctly dislike beets.

  6. Snorkeling freaks me out.

  7. I love large shore birds.

  8. Especially pink ones.

  9. I don't know how to surf.

10. Or ski.

11. I sometimes make weird connections.

12. I used to make up stories and tell them to my mother.

13. Only I used the names of kids I knew instead of characters.

14. I always got in trouble.


I'm giving the Dragon's Loyalty Award to anyone who wants it. Have fun with it.

If you would like to sign up to participate in the June cover reveal for my new novel, you can find all the details and the signup sheet here.

And if you should pass any leprechauns on the way home tonight ...
it means you drank way too much green beer!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Friend Me - A Whole 'Nother Meaning

I'm excited to tell you about my guest today. She's sweet, funny, talented, and gets into some crazy messes. Her name is Becky Povich, and she blogs at Becky Lewellen Povich: Writer, Humorist, Bliss Follower.

Carol, thanks so much for having me as your guest today! Under the Tiki Hut is somewhere I definitely yearn to be at this stage of winter in St. Louis. Ugh. I keep promising myself, and others, that I will not complain about the heat and humidity when the dog days of summer arrive. (I’ll let you know if I kept that promise in about four months!)

I’m here today to talk about my memoir, From Pigtails to Chin Hairs: A Memoir & More. The other posts I've written have been more about what prompted me to write a memoir, how many years it took to complete, all the ups & downs from start to finish, etc.

This time, though, I’d like to share something different. How I found and rekindled a couple of really old friendships. Every person and every incident in my memoir is real. There are other people I would have loved to include, but I couldn't find them to ask permission to use their real names. Those people are important enough to me that I didn't want to use fictitious names, either. (I have plans, though, to find them so I can add them to the sequel, due out 2015. (No title as of yet.)

I wasn’t much of a facebook person until I began looking for past neighbors & friends in 2010. Obviously, it’s difficult, too, to find women if their page doesn’t include their maiden name. Fortunately, most of my searches could also be found by including men’s last names, so the treasure hunt began. This is where having a fantastic long-term memory is especially useful. I most likely wouldn’t be able to tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can tell you the names of those long ago childhood friends, their parents’ names, and sometimes their street addresses.

One of the women I searched for, Diane, had been my next door neighbor in the 1950s. Through the years I’d heard she had gotten married and at one time still lived in the area. I couldn’t find her because either her maiden name wasn’t posted or she wasn’t on Facebook. I did find her brother, Earl, though. He was alive and well, living in the South, and amazed me with some of the details he remembered, such as the month, date, and year of my brother’s birthday! It was close to his, he said, and that’s why he remembered it…..but, still!

(They are the Diane and Earl in the first chapter, “Paradise on Preston Lane,” and to show how special our friendship was, my family moved to Nebraska when I was eight years old, and we hadn’t seen each other in all these years.) He said Diane lived only about 20 miles from where I live, gave me her e-mail address, and she and I made a lunch date. I brought along some old, black and white photos, and we talked and laughed as if we’d been getting together for years. It was amazing.

About a year later, Earl was able to make the trip home, to the St. Louis area, and I drove the three of us around the Old Neighborhood. Talk about reminiscing! 

We drove past the schools and churches we’d attended, up and down streets of old acquaintances, and of course “our” street…Preston Lane. They remarked how much it hadn’t changed, and yet the ways in which it had. We all viewed it the same. The houses and yards were so much smaller than our young eyes and minds had perceived all those years ago, and the trees had obviously flourished, growing tall and wide. The day was a bittersweet fragment of the story of our lives.

P.S. Diane and I continue to get together for lunch as often as we can. I haven’t seen Earl since that visit in 2011, but he promises to visit sometime this year.


“What can ever equal the memory of being young together?” – Michael Stein, In the Age of Love

Note: I am in no way endorsing Facebook. There are many things I don’t like about it, but it seems to be a “must” for authors to promote their books these days. It’s just one of the places I used to search for people. I also looked at school alumni websites and

Becky Povich didn't begin writing until she was 48 years old. She’s had stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, plus other anthologies, small newspapers, and magazines. Her memoir, From Pigtails to Chin Hairs: A Memoir & More is her first book. She’s busy promoting her memoir, blogging, and working on the sequel.

Her memoir has received remarkable praise from bestselling authors, and also terrific reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Library Thing.

Print copies can be purchased directly from Becky at, on and (The e-book will be available very soon.)

In Other News
Stephen Tremp is releasing his new novel, Escalation, today.

Together, BreakthroughOpening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, action, and horror.

Purchase Escalation here.

And in Other, Other News
Me, again. If you would like to sign up to participate in the cover reveal for my new novel, you can find all the details and the signup sheet here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cover Me!

Can you believe it's March already?

I can't. Why didn't time go so fast in places like algebra class? The dentist's chair? Ya know?

In a couple of week's it will be St. Patrick's Day.
Color me GREEN!

And then it will be April. The month for Arlee Bird's A-Z Blog Challenge. How many of you will be participating this year? Oooh, I see lots of raised hands :)

If you haven't participated before, I urge you to do so. Yes, it's a lot of work. But the rewards are huge. I met many wonderful new bloggers and learned many new things. It's a great community to be part of.

Last year was my first year to be a part of this fun annual event. This year, however, I'm taking a blog break instead for the full month of April. More about that in a later post.

Now I would like to enlist your help.

Who wants to participate in the cover reveal for my new book, SECRETS OF HONOR?

A couple of weeks ago, I shared this little bit about the story:
He's hot.
And she's a doozy.
They've known each other for years.
But on this one particular night . . . .

And now I'll share this:
Sometimes, a woman has to do what a woman has to do . . . even when she knows she shouldn't.

I'm posting a linky list below for you to sign up. The more the merrier!

The awesome cover, designed by Linda Kage of Kage Covers, will be revealed here on my blog on Monday, June 2.

You're invited to post the information on your blog anytime during June, as long as it is on June 2 or later. I will provide all the necessary details and information to you on the Thursday or Friday prior to the reveal date. The last day the cover reveal signup will be open is Friday, May 23.

Much thanks and appreciation to all who participate!

Monday, February 24, 2014

So You Think You've Had an Exotic Vacation

I have a real treat for y'all this week. It's something a little different from the usual Tiki Hut fare.

My guest is Sean McLachlan. He's the handsome hunk sitting in that comfy wicker chair near the Margarita machine, so drop by and say hi.

Somaliland and other post-apocalyptic vacations
By Sean McLachlan

Like a lot of full-time writers, I wear many hats. A friend recently asked me if my adventure travel writing informed my post-apocalyptic novel  Radio Hope. I've written series about Somaliland and Iraq, after all, and both of those places have been through their own apocalypses.

Iraq we're all familiar with, but Somaliland doesn't get into the news much. Somalia descended into a terrible civil war in 1991 that still keeps much of the country in chaos. Much, but not all. The northern third of the old Somalia is now the independent but unrecognized state of Somaliland. There's a functioning government, a growing economy, and enough rule of law that tourists can visit, although they still have to hire bodyguards if they want to leave the capital Hargeisa.

Before I was a writer I spent ten years working as an archaeologist and it was a combination of the ancient sites and modern political situation that drew me to these countries. Iraq is famous for its ancient civilizations, and there are some fine ancient sites in Somaliland as well. It was there that I got to see Laas Geel, an amazing group of painted rock shelters. Vivid images of animals and people are almost as fresh as when they were painted thousands of years ago thanks to the paint the ancient Somalis used—a mineral-based substance that has the thickness and durability of nail polish.

In Iraq I was in an archaeological wonderland. Grand minarets, ziggurats, and the wonders of Babylon all view for my attention. Centuries of weathering have worn them down some, but they’re still impressive. One of the oddest sights I saw was just outside the gates of Babylon, where a long ceremonial road made of asphalt is still clearly visible. Built in the 7th century BC, it’s the oldest asphalt road in the world, and it looks better than some of the roads I've driven over in rural Missouri!

Iraq and Somaliland taught me that what endures most after the fall of civilization is what that civilization put the most effort into—the grand monuments, the protected art, the large-scale infrastructure. I wasn't thinking about it consciously when I wrote Radio Hope, but in my world, less than a century after the final crash, what remains are what our current society puts the most effort into creating—weapons and toxic waste. The denizens of my futuristic world carefully preserve the weapons of our fallen civilization, and live short, unhealthy lives thanks to the toxins we’ve spewed into the air and water supply.

Let’s be kind to our descendents and build a few ziggurats instead.

Sean McLachlan is an archaeologist turned writer who is the author of several books of fiction and history. Check him out on his blog Midlist Writer.

1: Many buildings in Somaliland still bear the scars of war.

2: Construction in Hargeisa and other Somaliland cities is booming, and many new buildings are cropping up.

3: One of the paintings at Laas Geel.

4: Ancient road at Babylon.

5: More ziggurats, please!

 All photos by Sean McLachlan

In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . .
A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son.
A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump.
The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command.
One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.

Purchase RADIO HOPE here:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love. Always.

I hope everyone had a Happy Valentine's Weekend.

Live-In Handyman is much more romantic than I am. And I love how that is :)

This year he surprised me with donuts for breakfast, beautiful flowers, and a box of scrumptious chocolates.

I gave him a card.
But shared the chocolates.
And the donuts.

The plan had been for dinner. But then - dun, dun, dun - he pulled a muscle in his back while moving a heavy chest. Men. What are you gonna do? You guys know I'm messing with you. Right?

So I brought home Chinese from our favorite little spot and we had a quiet evening at home. After a day of rest, and hot, pounding showers, his back is somewhat better, but he tires easily.

Earlier in our relationship, I tried to outdo him on Valentine's Day. It never worked. I can rarely ever surprise him. Then I tried to at least be creative. But we won't go there. Now I just enjoy the wonderful things he does and reciprocate in my own way. Like bringing home Chinese.

How about you? Are you and your Valentine mismatched in the romance department?

And speaking of romance . . .

Once upon a time (More like last week) I reached the halfway point of the first editing pass on my current project. You'll be hearing more about this in the weeks to come. For now I'll just say that my critique partner thinks there's much more romance in this story than in the previous ones.

Which came as a surprise to me because I thought this story was more thriller-ish.

However, upon thinking more about it, I think it's both. It's just that the hero and heroine meet and interact earlier in the story.

Plus, he's hot.
And she's a doozy.
They've known each other for years.
But on this one particular night . . . .

Openings for guest blogging spots are filling fast. I'd love to share space with you here at the Tiki Hut. If you're interested, please email me at tikihuttime AT gmail DOT com The first available dates I have are mid May.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tiki Top Ten: Will Spring Ever Arrive?

The top ten reasons why writers are ready for spring:

10. We're sick to death of dark and stormy nights.

  9. If there's one more snow day, we may not be responsible
     for our actions.

  8. Hot chocolate is beginning to lose it's appeal.

  7. The kids ate all the marshmallows on the last snow day.

  6. Sunshine! Singing birds! Real? Or fiction?

  5. We need the warm breath of spring to recharge
      our imaginations.

  4. The wine cellar is almost empty.

  3. We're starting to believe the cat actually likes us.

  2. Winter: the best of times, the worst of times.
      Now it's time for winter to go.

And the #1 reason why writers are ready for spring:

  1. The cabana boys are tired of making Irish Coffee.
      They've ordered an entire case of little paper umbrellas.

This Tiki Top Ten brought to you by
Icy Raindrops