Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Between the Goal Posts

Happy New Year!

We kicked that old year out and locked the door behind it. The next morning, it was nowhere to be found, so I guess it took the hint.

Here's a toast that 2017 will be a great year for all of us. Raise your glass, mug, paper cup, can, or bottle. Cheers!

How did you do on your goals last year?

Did you remember you had goals? :)

I did fair. I doubled my reading goal, but I did not create a newsletter. I came up short with my writing goal. I'm still editing, but I'm on the final pass of Book #3. The entire trilogy should be (saying a prayer, knocking on wood, etc.) to my editor around the end of February. She's been warned, LOL.

This year, my reading goal is the number of books I read in 2016. I doubt I will be doubling it again this year.

I'm so late to the newsletter game that it may be passe before I get started. But I will be getting the wheels in motion this spring. I have no idea what I'm doing here, so if you're a newsletter pro or know someone who is, I'd much appreciate your advice, suggestions, help, or your go-to person's name. Many thanks in advance.

My writing and publishing goals...complicated.

At minimum, Book #1 of the trilogy will see the light of day this year. Possibly Book #2, as well, but the timing of Book #2 depends on when the first book actually gets out there.

I also want to draft a new book. One book sounds like a piece of cake after writing this trilogy. Although I know that's not true at all. I have options here.

Option One is to expand the trilogy into a series, although each additional book would be a standalone. Several possible stories are there just waiting to be told. I know which of these stories should be told first, but I actually know more about the story that should come after it. So this will require a little thinking.

Option Two is a standalone that is already plotted.

Option Three is to revisit the plotted story to see if it could work as a series story - if I decide to go that way. If so, could it possibly fit with the story that needs to come next.

Too many choices!

So I have as much thinking and analyzing to do as I do writing. Almost. It's going to be difficult - I'm not the analytical type. Usually I operate by what feels right. It's time, perhaps, for more thinking than feeling before making this decision.

Have ideas or suggestions as to the best path?

Did you make goals this year?

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Wishing you the best rocking January ever!

I'll be back here on Monday, February 6.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Insert Title Here*

*Need a title
One that pops
Not one that just
Sags and drops

One that sizzles
Dances, shines
Makes you smell those
Wintry pines

All I have is
Drab and gray
No 50 Shades
Or word play

So here's my post
It's a guess
This one may stay


Those who have been following me for a while may remember that while all you writers are focusing on NaNo, I'm having my own mini-freakout. To those of you who are participating - in NaNo, not my freakout :) - I wish you much success!

Whats my freakout? A dozen birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's - all between late October and January 1.

Think about that for a second. Think about the food. Slap a slice of birthday cake all around my body. Add pumpkin pie, coconut cake, apple cake, tamales, dressing, potatoes, gravy, blackeyed peas, and lots more. Don't forget the turkey. Roll it all in Halloween candy.

After writing that, I'm stuffed and hungry at the same time.

Plus gifts. Tape. Ribbon. Thank God for gift bags and tissue! And online shopping

Let's change the subject. AKA plot twist.

A few months ago, I showed you photos of my office. Not long after, I changed things around. Yeah, I'm one of those.

So I thought I'd share my new look with you.

Now I get to look straight out of my windows, except for straight ahead. There I see my monitor.

If I raise up enough to look straight over my monitor, I see this.

Back inside, one of two dogs-in-residence.

I love my new, more compact space. Maybe I'm a little more productive. Jury's still out on that.

My trilogy is still in progress, but I'm moving along on the edit. I'm now on Book #2. Books two and three should take much less time than the first book - both are shorter and require fewer story adjustments than the first one.

This project has taken me more time that I thought, but it's still an amazing journey. And I'm still in love with the characters. I'm looking forward to introducing them to you in the spring (I hope spring, LOL. We'll see what my editor has to say before I commit.)

In other news, remember the blooming bird of paradise last year? It's blooming again! As of just last week. I'm thrilled :) So far? One bloom and one bud.

I took these photos on Friday, 10/28. It was 85F and sunny. Autumn in San Antonio is awesome, but usually a little cooler than 85. Although when summer days are often 105F, 85's not bad.

That's about it from my real life world.

Blog world is different.

The Tiki Hut will be closed in December so all employees can enjoy the holidays with their families. So remember all those food events I mentioned above? I wish you a happy and a merry every single one.

Since the first Monday in January is the New Year holiday, I'll be back here on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

See you next year!

Love and hugs,

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Bowl and the Stone...and Jumbies

I'm still editing, but the good news is I'm on the last pass before sending my triplets off to the editor. Of course, I'm only about 25% through Book #1, so there's a way to go yet. Sigh. But I'm getting there!

Bish Denham is visiting the Tiki Hut this month to tell us about her new book, THE BOWL AND THE STONE, a Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands. How perfect is that for October - the month of Halloween!

It's just out, so go buy it today!

Bish is also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of her new book. Some of you may recall that Rafflecopter refuses to acknowledge my existence, so I'm unable to post the signup link here. If you wish to participate, just zip over to Bish's blog, and you can enter the drawing from there.

If you buy the book AND win the Rafflecopter giveaway, you have one to keep and one to donate or give to your favorite library or child. Win/Win!

Hold onto your laptops! The jumbies are coming. . . .

Thanks for hosting me today Carol!

Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about jumbies.

A jumbie, jumbee, or jumby is a mythological spirit or demon in Caribbean folklore which has its roots in Africa. It is a generic name given to all malevolent entities. Different islands have different concepts of what jumbies are. Generally it is thought that people who were evil in life will become instruments of evil after death. Unlike ghosts that are wispy, fog-like beings, jumbies are dark and shadowy.

Traditional sayings
In the old days some parents would tell misbehaving children to watch out or, “the Jumbies will get you!”

Ways to avoid a Jumbie
You can confuse a Jumbie by wearing your clothes backwards or inside out.

Leaving a heap of sand, salt, or rice outside the door compels the Jumbie to count every grain before sunrise. You can also place 99 grains of rice, sand, or salt around your house and the Jumbie will spend the night looking for the 100th grain.

Leave a rope or thread tied with many knots outside your door. Jumbies love to untie knots and will be so busy untying the knots they’ll forget about coming into your home.

Jumbie beads, Abrus precatorius, is a plant native to India. The seeds were believed to ward off Jumbies. Because they are small and hard they were also used in percussion instruments and in jewelry. The seeds are quite poisonous. One well chewed seed can kill an adult or child.

Jumbies are mentioned in my book, The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands. In it, Sam and her best friend Nick, are being haunted but they don’t know if it’s a mischievous jumbie or tormented ghost. In this excerpt they encounter the mysterious man for the first time.

We turn at the same moment, staring down the porch which is shrouded in the deepening gloom of dusk. A huge black man is there in the blocked doorway. His body fills the space. In the darkness I can barely make out the tattered pants that are tied at his waist with a rope. His face is in shadow. As one, without a word, Nick and I slowly walk towards him. As we approach, he backs up into the thorny tangle of lime trees and disappears. We race to the blocked entrance, but we can’t get through the trees, so how could a person of his size manage it?

“Did you see that?” Nick runs back to the main entrance and the front steps, red cape flapping.

I follow, almost stepping on his heels. “None of the branches were moving!”

We race outside and around the front of the house to the lime trees, searching for whoever disappeared into them, but no one’s there.

We go back to the front steps and sit.

“How weird….” My heart is pounding. “But we both saw it, didn’t we? So it has to be real, right? This isn’t a game, is it?”

“No, it’s not a game. Maybe it was a jumbie. OOoooooOOooooo.”

I slap Nick’s arm. “Stop it, that’s not funny.”

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Purchase your copy today
and enter the ghostly tale of the Jumbies. 

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/
She can also be found on Facebook:
Twitter @BishDenham

In order to avoid posting on Election Eve,
I'll be back here on Wednesday, November 2. See you then!

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Pair of Aces

It's Labor Day here in the U.S. I hope you're all having a great holiday!

The summer sales of my books are now history. Thanks to those of you who helped give each of them a social media boost. I appreciate it very much.

So now it's my turn to help a couple of writing buddies, Mark Noce and Lynda R. Young. You'll read about each of their books below. But first, think about their two titles.

Mark's: Between Two Fires
Lynda's: Cling to God

Now put those titles together:
Between Two Fires, Cling to God
Between Two Fires? Cling to God
Cling to God Between Two Fires

I love the things that happen while playing with words.

I'm still editing, so read about these two books below and enjoy!

My friend Mark Noce has a new book out called BETWEEN TWO FIRES. I'm reading it now - about 100 pages to go. I love it! The story is great and the writing wonderful. I wish Mark all the best with his debut novel!

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.

But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – 
Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.

His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Next up is Lynda R. Young. CLING TO GOD is a daily devotional. Think about how perfect this is for a gift. Birthday, Christmas, graduation. It's multi-functional. Better yet, it will never go out of date. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Lynda R. Young, a Christian first, writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband.

You can find her here:  BlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Links in full:

I will be back here on Monday, October 3. See you then!