Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Blogger: Pam Asberry

Thank you, Carol, for inviting me be Under the Tiki Hut today. When I left my hometown of Dacula, (pronounced Da-CUE-la), Georgia – a suburb of Atlanta – summer was drawing its last breath. It’s hard to believe that Friday will be the first day of autumn; scarecrows, pumpkins and caramel apples seem a world away away as I sit here watching the ocean gently lapping on the warm, white sand under a cloudless blue sky. I spent the morning stretched out on a chaise lounge with a stack of beach reads and bottomless mimosas; now, fortified by a lunch of fish tacos, chips and salsa, I am happy to be in the shade, laptop in front of me, a big basket of chips and salsa by side and a frosty mug of local beer within reach. Finally, I am ready to get back to my work-in-progress after a several-week hiatus.

Peace and quiet reigns – it’s the perfect atmosphere for writing. Long minutes pass; I am interrupted only by the hunky bartender, who keeps both my basket and my mug filled. I wonder if he’s single, like me? Focus, Pam. There, that’s better. Again, the words are flowing; ah, if only life could be like this every day…

My reverie is interrupted by the roaring engine of a small plane overhead. I look up and can just barely make out the words on the aerial banner: “KARAOKE TONIGHT. CRAZY ED’S.” Karaoke, eh? There’s an experience that’s been on my bucket list forever. On my last birthday, I vowed to try something new every day and blog about it. Click HERE to see what I have done so far. I wonder where Crazy Ed’s is? I’ll find out later. That might be the perfect reward at the end of the day – I do a mean rendition of I Will Survive – but only IF I make my word count. Which I’m not going to do if I sit here daydreaming about karaoke. Time to get back to work.

Author: Pam Asberry

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guest Blogger: Christi Barth

Can an unexplained breakup and ten years of heartache be cured by the romance – and endless buffets – of a tropical cruise? When her sister is left at the altar, small town librarian Zoe Balis jumps at the chance to take the bride’s unused ticket for the honeymoon cruise. But she didn't count on sharing a cabin with the man who broke her heart ten years ago!

Army medic Nate Hyatt never told Zoe goodbye when he enlisted - or the real reason why he dumped her on prom night after a year as high school sweethearts. And he never stopped dreaming about the girl he left behind. Could this voyage be his chance to fix the worst mistake he ever made? After all, a Caribbean cruise should be romantic… if he can convince her to move past ten years of bitterness and hurt.

Once aboard the luxury liner, Zoe befriends a bored Internet mogul with more heart than tact. Nate vents his problems to a ship’s photographer battling PTSD. The four team up on an island hopping treasure hunt. The stakes grow higher with each of Zoe’s mysterious brushes with death. They race to discover why she's a target and who's behind it, while still competing in the treasure hunt.

Zoe’s never gotten over her first love, and is tempted to let Nate back into her life. But she already lost him once. She’s not willing to risk loving a man whose career keeps him in a combat zone. Can Nate breach her defenses and suture her broken heart? Grab a deck chair and see if they survive the stormy relationship seas as they cruise toward love!


Ahhh, I’m so happy to be under the Tiki Hut. Mostly because I just burned the heck out of my legs at the beach a few weeks ago. When it rains almost every day of vacation, the one day it is sunny, the lure of the unshaded towel is too strong to resist. Anyone else out there peeling from an end of summer beach extravaganza?

When I took my cruise, the same thing happened (sans sunburn). Here’s a picture of our day on the beautiful island paradise of Tortola.  Who knew a day spent hiking a Caribbean rain forest would actually be grey, cloudy and rainy?  The minute we were back on the boat I wrapped myself in layers of towels on a deck chair for warmth…but ordered a piña colada for fun.

Yes, I adore the beach.  No, not because I grew up in Southern California, since I only went to the beach about a total of five times before graduating from high school.  Something about the water just calls to me, hypnotically.  It’s my favorite vacation spot.  However, I only venture out beneath a hat, SPF 50, and an umbrella. (Gosh, I hope my husband never finds out I shared this picture of him with the entire world!).  See my protective sun shirt hanging over the back of the chair?  I tend to go from pale to searingly red in about ten minutes. 

For me, the beach is more of an excuse to read for 8 hours straight.  Right?  Who’s with me?  Which is exactly why I love cruises – they are a built in excuse to read for 7 days straight.  When I decided to write an entire book set on a cruise ship, I sure put my characters through a lot more activity than I’d ever do!  Every once in a while, we deserve to be sloth-like and revel in doing nothing…guilt-free.  Which is exactly why I’m at the Tiki Hut today, where lifting a glass is the sum total of physical activity for me.  So slap on that sunscreen and let me know if you actually do anything at the beach besides reading, eating, and yes, drinking one too many cocktails.  In fact…waiter…I think my glass needs to be topped off…..

Christi is hosting a giveaway of one digital copy of Cruising Toward Love to a lucky commenter.  For more information on Christi’s funny, sexy books, please visit

Monday, September 12, 2011

Going to the Dogs

Remember these famous dogs?
Old Yeller

Wonder where this post is going?

I know there are a lot of others, but these are the names that popped in my head. And then we have two very unfamous dogs, except in their own neighborhood - Wrangler and Shiner Kilgore:

Figured out my intent yet? Keep reading.

I haven't shared a photo of them in a while, and today seemed like a good time to do so because last week Julie Flanders at What Else Is Possible shared the Seriously Cute Blogger award with me:

Ta-Da! See, I did have a plan :)

Now seriously ... isn't he the cutest puppy?

If you haven't visited Julie's blog yet, link over and see what she's writing about today. She's an eclectic blogger, and you won't ever be bored. Every once in a while she talks about her Travels with Clancy, her own seriously cute dog.

In addition to passing this award on to five other bloggers, I have to recommend a book. I've been catching up on some older books written by my all-time favorite authors over the summer, and right now I'm reading (almost finished) RUNNING FROM THE LAW by Lisa Scottoline, published in 1996. It's a book I highly recommend.

It's my pleasure to pass the Seriously Cute Blogger award to:
Jennifer at Me, My Muse and I
Lydia at The Word Is My Oyster
Manzanita at Wanna Buy a Duck
RaShelle at A No. 2 Pencil, Stat!
Summer at My Inner Fairy

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten signs you really want to be a Texan:

10. You love jeans and boots

  9. You drive a truck

  8. You understand the whole Hook 'em Horns/Gig 'em Aggies thingie

  7. You love ranch dressing

  6. And jalapenos

  5. You know about Pat Green

  4. And Gruene Hall

  3. You like Shiner Bock

  2. You think temps under 70F are a little chilly

And the #1 sign you really want to be a Texan:

  1. These are your dream seasons:
         Almost Summer
         Still Summer
         Hunting Season

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: J.L. Campbell

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Carol for letting me crash here at the Tiki Hut. I finished a marathon round of editing last week and took some well-deserved time off. Today, I’ll get moving on the gazillionth edit.

I throw my monster handbag in the next chair. On the table, I plunk a tall glass of lime squash - sweat beads and all - and a bowl of cashew. Then I set up my laptop, open the file and get to work. A few paragraphs in, I make a change to a not-so-clear sentence. While I ponder whether or not to keep the next paragraph, I take a sip of the cool, tangy brew and chew a few nuts.

A smudge on the endless blue waves catches my eye.

I squint at the object that’s now much closer. It’s one of those glass-bottom boats. As it draws near, I make out a woman wearing a sundress, her hair in a semi-tamed afro puff. The guy she’s with is leaning toward her, casting a glance around him, as though expecting the unexpected. The way she’s gazing at the bottom of the boat, you’d think her life depends on it. The fish underneath must feel like they’re in a glass bowl under a spotlight. The man stares at her, his head cocked to one side.

But wait, I know this couple. Where from? I think for a bit and it dawns on me. They’re Phillip and Corra, from Grudge, the novel I haven’t looked at for something like six months. I blink, and they disappear, but not before sending me a reproachful look. They’re lonely and getting an attitude. I can tell.

Time to get back to the novel on the screen. The sooner I concentrate on this WiP, the faster I’ll get back to my neglected couple. Next thing I know something terrible will happen to them and I’m not there, fingers whipping over the keyboard, to get them out of danger.

Focus, I tell myself. Corra and Phillip will wait.


Campbell is the author of Contraband and Dissolution.

J.L. Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material. She loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at Her website is at Twitter handle is @JL_Campbell.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten ways to celebrate the last holiday weekend of summer with as little Labor in your Day as possible:

10. Volunteer to provide the drinks for your neighbor's backyard barbeque

  9. Float in the pool

  8. Visit the planetarium

  7. Read in the hammock

  6. Learn to juggle

  5. Order pizza delivery

  4. Take your dog for a walk

  3. Play a game with your family

  2. Relax in a movie

And the #1 way to celebrate the last holiday weekend of summer with as little Labor in your Day as possible:

  1. Have a water balloon fight OR a pillow fight - not both at the same time