Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten things about 2010:

10. The economy didn't get too much worse

  9. Celebrity of the Month

  8. The Russian Spy Scandal

  7. Volcanoes - yes, plural

  6. Vancouver Winter Olympics

  5. WikiLeaks

  4. iPad and Nook Color

  3. Gulf Oil Spill

  2. Haiti Earthquake

And the #1 thing about 2010:

  1. Rescued Miners

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Santa left me a note that said he'd be sunning his buns on a tropical island and I better not bother him for at least eleven months. I hope he was as good to you as he was to me before he cut out for that warm sunny beach.

But I guess that means I have to get to work. For real. Sweating off the cookies :)

I'm also working on writing goals for 2011. Last month on Patricia Stoltey's blog, I was a lucky winner of the 2011 Writing Planner created by Kerrie L. Flanagan.

I have a tendency to overload, and I hope I'm not doing so here as I fill in the blanks. I know I'll need to stretch and work hard to reach all the goals I listed, but I'd rather stretch than have it be too easy.

On the very first page, I have to fill in four writing goals for the year. Not only the goal, but also how I will reward myself for successfully completing it. I don't think eating a full bag of chips counts as a reward, so I need to think seriously about what's appropriate. Times four.

Next we go month by month, breaking down the goals and listing what we plan to do to achieve them. Then week by week and day by day, with plenty of space to right daily items and other boxes for queries, follow-ups, and other projects. Plus notes.And an all important little box that says I will write for ___ minutes a day ___ days a week.

This is for real. Once I write it down, it means I have to do it.

I think I'll be doing a lot of sitting on dog leashes. Their reward will be a good romp in the yard. While I munch chips? Together we can do this.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten things about Santa Claus:

10. Red suit and hat

  9. Rosy cheeks

  8. Round little belly

  7. White beard

  6. Sleigh full of toys

  5. Reindeer

  4. Loves cookies

  3. Ho-Ho-Ho!

  2. Mrs. Claus

And the #1 thing about Santa Claus:

  1. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Tiki Christmas

With Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, I'm dreaming of a White Christmas. But It's Christmastime in Texas, so since I live in San Antonio, there's not much chance of that.

Even with no snow, it won't stop kids and grown-ups alike from searching the sky on Christmas Eve for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

Do You Hear What I Hear? Every once in a while I think I hear Jingle Bells, but it keeps turning out to be Jingles, my neighbor's cute little cat, coming around to torment Arf and Woof.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, so while you Deck the Halls, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

As for me, Santa Baby is waiting :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Can You Eat Too Many Cookies?

Things around the Tiki Hut may be a little wild and crazy this week, what with Christmas on the horizon. And maybe a little sugar high by both readers and me :)

I am happy to report, however, that gifts are wrapped - with the exception of two last-minute ones Live-In Handyman ordered, which have not yet arrived but are on the UPS truck. Somewhere.

Since I'm not hosting Christmas dinner this year, I don't have major housecleaning to do. Yea! Even so, there are still plenty of Christmas-related items on my agenda. But not so many that I can't find a few little chunks of time here and there to work on my manuscript. At least that's the plan.

I've indulged in some heavy thinking about my manuscript while I've struggled with ribbon and tape. One of my goals for this round of revisions was to make my heroine more in charge of her destiny at the climax.

As it was written, she did take charge of the situation, but only after the villain surprised her. Yesterday, I finally figured out a way for her to initiate the events that lead to the climax and be in control of the same ending without those events being planned by the villain. In the new version, it will be the protagonist - and the plan she makes - who outsmarts the villain. The genre is romantic suspense.

I'm pumped!

Of course I'm not at the climax yet revision-wise, but now that I have an outline for how to handle it, getting there should be fairly clear sailing with no major storms in the forecast.

After this draft, I'll be ready to start on regular manuscript clean-up and polishing. Yes! Finally.

This has been the manuscript from hell. Part of the reason has been LIFE. But another part is everything I've learned about putting a novel together while I've been writing this one. I've basically started over and redone major portions of it more than once.

So as happy as I am to have learned all that I have, I'll be equally as happy to say "I'm done!" when I finally do finish.

Well ... done except for the synopsis.

And the query.

But you knew that. Right?

I think I may have eaten too many cookies :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten things kids love at Christmastime:

10. Advent calendars

  9. Christmas pageants

  8. Caroling

  7. Christmas lights

  6. Surprises

  5. Cookies

  4. No School

  3. Decorating the Christmas tree

  2. Christmas Eve

And the #1 thing kids love at Christmastime:

  1. Santa

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Grab Bag

Now is a special time of year to remember shelter pets. Not only do animals generally eat a little more in winter, but during the holiday season, we're so wrapped up in our lives that we sometimes forget about people and animals who need our help.

A lot of groups and organizations see to it that we do remember other people. Not so many remind us of animals in need.

The top item in the right sidebar is a button for the Animal Rescue Site. Please click through and click again at the site to give about half a bowl of food for shelter animals. Two clicks, that's all it takes. It's free.You can click every day.

Somewhere, a shelter pet will say thank you.


If a tree fell in the forest . . . who would write the book?

Which came first . . . Chicken Little or Eggplant Parmigiana?

Duck, Duck, Goose . . . will one be your Christmas dinner?

What's Santa's favorite cookie?


I'm taking a Tiki Survey.

What is the title and author of the favorite novel you've read this year?

It doesn't need to be a new book. It can be a classic, brand new, or anywhere in between.

UPDATE: I realized I neglected to tell you my favorite book of the year. It was one from my TBR shelf. Breaking Point by Suzanne Brockmann from 2006.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Help . . . I'm Losing My Stripes!

I used to have a sign with a drawing of a zebra. His black stripes were unwinding and landing in puddles at his feet.

Underneath or to the side - I forget - were these words:
"I'm so stressed my stripes are falling off."

In one move or another the sign landed on the Missing in Action list.

I NEED that sign because that's how I feel today. It lets me know I'm not the only one who's ever felt this way. Someone else made it through the stress and lived to laugh about it.

To top it off, we're having some work done INSIDE our house. Less than two weeks before Christmas! What moron scheduled that?

Ummm . . . the moron in question shall remain nameless unless I decide to fess up.

Anyway, there's not much writing going on around here. Mostly I'm keeping dogs away from men at work. And freaking because I've not yet wrapped the first gift. Not. One. Freaking. Gift.

At least the gifts are bought. The cards are mailed. The tree is up - along with the lights and other decorations. But it's bare and lonely beneath our beautiful tree.

As soon as the workers are done, I'm raiding the closet in the guestroom and beginning a marathon wrapping session.

In the meantime, I'll continue to spend a little bit of time on my WiP. One page at a time.

I might be a turtle, but I'm a Christmas turtle. I've rigged a stem of mistletoe over my head.

Hey...a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten things that didn't make today's list:

10. Reasons I freak out this time of year

  9. Most outlandish celebrities of 2010

  8. Favorite Christmas songs

  7. Items on my wish list

  6. Favorite Christmas movies

  5. Unexplainable events

  4. Favorite Christmas cookies

  3. Dumbest things I've ever done

  2. Useless Christmas gifts

And the #1 thing that didn't make today's list:

  1. What I did on my summer vacation!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Summer or Winter?

Laura Eno at A Shift in Dimensions is a fantastic blogger. And an even better writer. I'm sure most of you visit her blog regularly. If you haven't met her yet, head over there - after you finish reading here, of course :)

Hint: On Fridays she posts great flash stories.

Laura also is the author of several novels. The most recent is Don't Fall Asleep. I've only read an excerpt so far, but I'm looking forward to reading it soon. It's set in the 27th Century and is about Dream Assassins. How cool is that! Well . . . unless you meet one on a dark, starless night.

I'm honored that Laura has presented me with the Summer Blogger Award. And I especially love I received it in the winter! I love coloring outside the lines - if you hadn't already guessed.

Isn't it the most appropriate award ever for Under the Tiki Hut? I think so. After all, no matter what time of year you visit, it's always summer here.

Laura passed the award to three bloggers, so I'll do the same:

Alex J. Cavanaugh

The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

VR Barkowski

Enjoy visiting all of these wonderful blogs!

Monday, December 6, 2010


A friend of mine is a prolific poet (Hi, David!). Every day he sends me a new poem.

Most are short; a few are longer.
Most are rhyming; a few are not.
Every once in a while, I receive a long prose poem.

Everything he sends evokes an emotional reaction.

Sometimes it's a smile; other times I laugh out loud.
Sometimes I want to cry.
Sometimes goosebumps pop out; other times it's so hauntingly beautiful and bittersweet that I sit in awe.

He inspires me every day to stretch my writing muscles so that my words can be as effective as his.

The other day the title was "Asparagus."

David ranted and raved about that luscious veggie. It was clear that asparagus didn't make his top ten list of favorite green things.

I wrote him back that I loved asparagus and that some kids I may or may not know called it little trees, and they loved it, too.

He wrote back, and I almost fell out of my chair.

David loves asparagus!

Point of view and character voice and selling your emotional story all rolled into one short poem about skinny green stalks that look like little trees. Inspiration comes in all forms.

Happy Monday :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten things about winter:

10. Wind

  9. Icy Roads

  8. Snow

  7. Long Nights

  6. Frosty Air

  5. Skiing

  4. Ice Skating

  3. Tummy-Warming Food

  2. Snuggling in Front of a Warm Fire

And the #1 thing about December:

  1. Lots of Holidays

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Party Time!

The Official Under the Tiki Hut NaNo After Party

Come on in - the party is in full swing.

Chocolate abounds.

Beverage of your choice - everything from umbrella drinks to coffee and more.

Munchies - sweet, savory, salty, veggies, you name it - including Stephen Tremp's taquitos!

Kick off your shoes and join us! 

Unofficial NaNo Poll
Did you participate in NaNo?
Did you reach your goal - whether or not your goal was 50,000 words?
How do you feel about NaNo now that you've done it?
Do you still like your NaNo project?

All of you who committed to NaNo have my admiration. Kudos to you.  So if you participated in NaNo and would like to post the Leaping Tiki on your sidebar, here it is, in honor of participating in NaNoWriMo 2010 and in being a guest at the Tiki Hut after party.

The party's still going on, so hang around as long as you like.

And in keeping with the party spirit . . .

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end? finally arrived.

Talli's Kindle release day has finally arrived. Go to Amazon TODAY and order The Hating Game to help boost her sales ranking.

Yea, Talli. You rock!