Monday, October 31, 2011

A Post in Three Parts

Part One - An Award

Last week the amazingly wonderful - or maybe it should be wonderfully amazing - Lyn Sofras at Manic Scribbler presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award:

I'm raising the trophy cup to Lyn in a toast of thank-yous and hugs. You see, I've known Lyn for a while. And through all the years, we've managed to stay in touch. She's a fantastic writer, but she's just starting her own blog. So visit and make a new friend.

To accept this award, I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself. Well, you know how I rattle on. And I'm here three days a week. How could you possibly not know everything about me? So I tried to think of seven new things.

1. I hate clutter.
2. Live-In Handyman bought me a can of Pumpkin Spice Almonds. OMG! To. Die. For.
3. I have a shoe thing - especially for sandals. Sigh.
4. My mind tends to make strange connections - hence, the top ten lists on Fridays.
5. I'm really excited about what will be my new WIP :)
6. The sign taped on my monitor says Just Write the Damn Thing!
7. I'm having a really hard time getting involved in the whole Facebook and Twitter scenes because I can't figure out what to talk about. It still feels awkward. Does anybody else have this problem? Suggestions?

I'm also supposed to pass the award on to recently discovered blogs. I've discovered several over the past few months, but I'm choosing three:

Julie at Empty Nest Insider
Julie at Gypsy in my Soul
Julie at The Pet Parent Diaries
   Note: I did a very bad thing. So I'll just blame it on my brain still not being fully functional yet. When I went over to get the link for The Pet Parent Diaries I didn't read the most recent post. Julie is putting this blog on hiatus. However ... I'm transferring the award to her other blog, the one most of you here are more familiar with - What Else Is Possible?

Get the connection?

Part Two - A Thank You

Thanks so much to all of you for sticking by me and commenting for the past two months while I've been otherwise occupied with my editing deadline. It's finished! So I should be out and about a little more visiting all of you on a much more regular schedule. Feels good :)

Part Three

It's finally Trick or Treat time.


Happy Halloween!

Photo by Hannah Horwarth
Licensed under Creative Commons

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten Halloween Party themes:

10. Candy Corny Clowns

  9. Midnight Madness

  8. Salty or Sweet

  7. Hauntings

  6. Broomsticks and Cauldrons

  5. Mummies and Monsters

  4. Zombie Zoo

  3. Monster MashUp

  2. Cool Cats and Dirty Dogs

And the #1 Halloween Party theme:

  1. Naughty or Nice

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Tami Brothers and Marianne

The beach, Halloween and Marianne.

Who woulda thunk it? Especially since the three elements didn’t normally mix.

Marianne dug her bare toes into the sand as a cool breeze ruffled her hair. Goosebumps dotted her skin as she watched the sun rise over the swell of the ocean waves. After wrapping the blanket tighter around her shoulders, she glanced down at her watch. The mere idea of five a.m. would have most people screaming at the injustice of being awake so early. Especially while on vacation. For her, though, it was three hours past the time she normally arrived at work. “Time to make the donuts.” Although meant to be funny, that line from the old 80’s commercials was her life. But she loved it.

A muffled laugh echoed across the empty beach. Marianne couldn’t help but smile. Had to be Jasmine. Even though the two couples weren’t the only guests in the small Tybee Island, Georgia resort, Marianne knew immediately it belonged to the bubbly brunette she’d met the day before. Her boyfriend Lucien was a bit intimidating at first glance, but she’d seen the way he looked at Jasmine. A man who looked at woman with that much love couldn’t be bad.

A movement up the beach caught her attention. Oh my. Tall, muscular, ripped. God he was gorgeous. And he was all hers. Even after spending most of the night exploring every inch of his body, she couldn’t stop the shiver slithering up her spine in anticipation as she watched her husband finish up the last leg of his morning run.

A year earlier she’d been building a new business and baking the cake for his sister’s wedding. With her bakery being the go-to spot in town, she’d watched as the crème de la crème of Georgia threw themselves at him. The rich boy who’d left the small, quiet town in the dust years earlier had come home and his arrival had attracted women from miles around. The blatant passes and resulting rejections had been entertaining for everyone, Marianne included. Thankfully, there’d been one girl he was interested in.

The past year had been overwhelming with both of them managing their new businesses and then adding the whole dating thing on top of that. But it had been well worth the efforts. This was the second day of her new life as Mrs. Alexander and she couldn’t think of anything she wanted more than to get her husband back into bed.

As Jason drew closer, a wicked thought crossed her mind. With a glance up the beach, she confirmed her brazen idea was doable. Knowing it was way too early for beach combers; she turned and shot a come-hither look over her shoulder. When she caught her husband’s eye, she strolled across the sand toward the empty Tiki Hut knowing full well he’d follow.


I hope you enjoyed this small peek into Marianne and Jason’s honeymoon. You can read about how they met in Drool Worthy, a short read and free download at Smashwords

If you’re interested in finding out more about Jasmine and Lucien and discovering why the New York couple is in South Georgia, check out their story coming this Thanksgiving in Jasmine’s Quest.


Thank you, thank you, thank you Carol and all those here at Under the Tiki Hut. This is my first venture into the indie publishing market and I couldn’t think of a better group of people (than all of you) to share my debut. You guys rock!

About the author: Tami Brothers always wanted to live a fun, sexy and exciting life. But when her clumsiness left her with an aversion to high heels, her fear of wardrobe malfunctions cut out those plunging necklines, and her skydiving instructor politely suggested she take up golf; she decided the only way to keep from breaking her neck would be to write about such a life. To read more about Tami’s journey to publication check out her Live, Love, Write blog at or you can also find her hanging out with a great group of writers at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Once again I didn't make it to everyone's blog. But I hope I've reached most of you by now during the past two weeks. This should be the last really crazy week for me. I'm more than 75% finished, with eighty pages to go. Next week my blog visiting and commenting should return to a more rhythmic schedule with no more midnight comments :)

= = = = =

The other night I was watching a Chopped rerun on the Food Network. I love this show. Four chefs have to make an appetizer, entree, and dessert with four different items in their baskets for each course. Each round is timed and judged on taste, presentation, and creativity. At the end of each round, the cook with the lowest score gets chopped from the line-up. Last chef standing is the winner.

It's like every cook's nightmare. It's time to make dinner. You haven't been shopping in a week, and dinner will be whatever is in the fridge. You pull open the door, and the only four items inside don't go together. At all. And there isn't enough of any one thing to make a meal of.

As I watched, I wondered why I'd never before thought the whole making a meal thing is a bit like writing a novel. We combine things that, on the surface, don't really fit together, add herbs and spices, some TLC, and produce a finished piece.

The Appetizer is the Hook
Full of zing and just enough to make the reader turn the page.

The Protein is the Protagonist
Seasoned well, maybe a little spicy, with layer after layer of flavors.

The Vegetables are the Secondary Characters
These add more texture and taste to your story while complementing the protagonist.

The Starch is the Main Sub-Plot
You know the one I mean ... the one readers have to follow because it's so yummy.

The Sauce is the Antagonist
Concentrated and rich. A little goes a long way.

The Dessert is the Denouement
Everything comes together and the story, like the meal, feels complete.

The next time you prepare dinner, think about how the steps work in your manuscript. Maybe you'll get a new idea or two.

Or maybe you'll just be happy you enjoyed a good meal.

Either way, win-win.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten ways to bake a brownie:

10. In the Oven

  9. Plain

  8. Dark Chocolate

  7. German Chocolate

  6. Frosted

  5. With Peanut Butter

  4. With Sour Cream

  3. With Cherries

  2. With Nuts

And the #1 way to bake a brownie:

  1. In the Nude

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: Jan Morrison aka Kitty MacDonald

Thank you, Carol, for inviting me to share a whiskey sour under The Tiki Hut. I’m Corporal Kitty MacDonald, and I don’t often get time off from my busy existence as an officer with the RCMP in Nova Scotia. We have beaches but sometimes it seems like I only see them when there is a body on them – not a sun-bathing body – but a dead one. I love my work though.

My first real murder case was after a baby was found on the rocks at scenic Peggy’s Cove – no beach there – but huge boulders. The baby, named Pearl by the young woman who found her, was alive, but alas, her mother, a notorious party-girl from Halifax, was not. She was found at the Dorey Motel – deader than the summer is now. Hopefully you’ll be able to read about it soon in the book my writer has written about the story – The Rock Walker.

I’d like to talk a bit about Thanksgiving. In Canada, Thanksgiving is held the 2nd Monday of October – a good month before it is celebrated in the States. Makes sense when you think of it – our harvest is earlier, as is our winter. 

A few years back I was called to the small town of Annapolis Royal. One of the gardeners at the Historic Gardens had been found pegged out on a heather bed. It was just before Thanksgiving and the town of Annapolis Royal was busy rolling up its sidewalks. A place that is over-run with B&B’s, wonderful historic sites and glorious scenery, it becomes a bit of a ghost town after the last turkey sandwich is eaten. 

The locals really get down to fun when all the tourists and summer folk have left. They are a very cultured bunch, into fine art, philosophy and in this case, murder. I had my hands full with this case, which Jan has named Earth Bound. I won’t tell you how it all came out – not even Jan knows that – but Thanksgiving in small town Nova Scotia can be more complicated than you might imagine. 

For you who like gardening – I learned a lot hanging around the crew at The Historic Gardens. One of the perks of this job is finding out how different people live and work. I also learned quite a bit about Buddhist statues and what people will do for lust and greed!

When I’m not working I am busy with my own home. I’m single now, my husband and I split up a few years ago. I have two teen-aged sons who keep me on my toes. I like walking and my mum is always trying to get me back to the social whirl of Chester, a drinking town with a sailing problem on the South Shore. I stay put in my home close to Peggy’s Cove. It is quiet and just what I need after days out in the world of murder, chicanery and drug dealing. Or is it?

Oh, my cell is ringing. Must be my boss, D’Entremont. He is always on my butt, but I adore him – just don’t tell him that. We have to pretend animosity to keep the others wondering! And in case you’re speculating, we have no romantic interest in each other.

See you later, Carol. Thanks for having me on your beach. Come on up to Nova Scotia some day and I’ll show you a murderous good time!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ready, Set ... Work!

You might have noticed I didn't bounce around blogs too much this week. I made it to most of your blogs; sadly I didn't make it to all. Most I didn't visit as often as I usually do. I'm missing all of your stories, thoughts, and ideas.

I'm still poorly sporadic on all the social network sites as well.

In other blog news, my photo is back to a more normal size after a little fiddling. And after a little more fiddling, the Tiki Hut poem found color but still not correct formatting. Maybe next weekend I'll figure out how to do that.

The most important thing I took away from all I learned and absorbed from all the successful authors at MWA-U was that it's fine to blog and be social; but decide how much you need to write every day, and  blog and otherwise socialize online after you get your words in.

Photo by Alex Eylar/Licensed
Under Creative Commons
Let me repeat that message from six successful authors:
WRITE FIRST. Blog, Facebook, Twitter second.

If not, you'll have a really hard time reaching the end.

If you couldn't tell, I'm a little OCD about finishing on time. When I do, I'll be around visiting more often.

Photo by Timo/Licensed under
Creative Commons

The second most important thing I learned is BE YOURSELF. Don't try to write like someone else. If you do, you'll always be a second-rate version of the other author. What's really bad is if the other author is a second-rate author. Then you'll be a second-rate version of a second-rate author. Nobody wants that.

So now back to your regular programming.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

The top ten guilty pleasures for your soul:

10. Long Bubble Baths

  9. Ice Cream Sundaes

  8. ManiPedi Time

  7. PB&J

  6. Massages

  5. Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

  4. Watching the Opposite Sex

  3. Extra Glass of Wine

  2. Reading All Day

And the #1 guilty pleasure for your soul:

  1. Chocolate!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Blogger: Madison J. Edwards

Before we get started, I know Carole was expecting Madison J. Edwards here Under the Tiki Hut, but Madison’s from Canada and its Thanksgiving there, so I came in her place.

Oh, excuse me. Where are my manners? I’m Paulina Sophia Walker. My best friend is Shelby Stewart, and together we run Stewart Investigations. In reality, I run the business. Shelby would be lost without me because she doesn’t know an invoice from a paper hanger.

I manage the office while she works as a Private Investigator, and this year has been awful busy. Normally we’re quieter than mice peein’ in cotton, but Tank¾ he’s Shelby’s ex-boyfriend¾ showed up looking for Harrison Grant and pretty soon we had fireworks.

Harrison apparently murdered some girl in L.A. ¾that would be a great place to holiday¾ what was I talking about…. oh, yeah. Harrison murdered some girl in L.A. and Tank was trying to track him down for questioning. I thought it seemed kinda fishy that Shelby had been hired by Harrison’s daddy to find him as well. When Tank showed up at Shelby’s office, it’s a wonder those two didn’t start fires with the looks they were throwing at each other.

Anyway, where was I? Right, Canadian Thanksgiving. Shelby’s from Canada, and she’s celebrating this week with family from her daddy’s side. She says it’s still warm in Edmonton, where they all live. I’m not sure about that. October… Northern Alberta… close to Eskimo’s… she’s probably colder than my grandma’s feet in bed.

I’m looking forward to our Thanksgiving in November because it’s extra special this year. My cousin is overseas with the military, and we pray every day he returns safe and sound. And Daddy’s cancer scare was just that, a scare, but it made him realize he’s got to start taking care of himself.

I am also thankful to be here, Under the Tiki Hut. Carol has graciously supplied me with a few cabana boys who’ve been waiting on me hand and foot. In fact, here comes Ramon with my rum. Awwww. He also brought me a piece of pumpkin pie. Oh my stars. From the glint in his eye, he has more on his mind than using the whip cream for the dessert.

Girls, let me give you a visual of Ramon and his partner, JoJo. Have you ever seen a man, with stomach muscles so well defined, they bracket his abs and head south where nice girls aren’t supposed to look? Well, I’m not a nice girl…. Mmmm, hmmmm. I think you’re pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down.

After this vacation, Shelby and I are back at work. All my fingers and toes are crossed, praying next year there won’t be any attempted kidnappings, bombs or death threats. One year full of them was enough for me.

This rum is hitting the spot, and the sun feels good on my face. A light breeze has come up from the west, carrying the scent of salt water, and cools my skin. I like watching the waves chase the sandpipers. They make me think of Christmas shoppers, the way they scurry on the beach. In a few minutes, the sun will touch the horizon, and I’m waiting to hear the sizzle when that hot, glowing ball hits the water.

Tssssss… Did you hear it?

Mmmm, that pie was good. Gotta go. Jojo has brought out the coconut oil, and I do believe I’m getting a massage. If you want to know what Shelby and I did last year, check out According to Plan. The nosey author, the one from Canada, Madison J Edwards, showed up at Shelby’s house, and wrote down everything that happened, and then wrote a book about Shelby and Tank.

I don’t mind so much, but she didn’t ask me once what I thought, and I’m Shelby’s best friend. Oh well, I told Shelby I’d be nice, and treat her good. Blah, blah, blah. The things I do for her.

Madison told me, if anyone wants to check out her book, According to Plan, they could visit her website:

Well lah-de-dah. Must be nice to have your own website.

Hey, that gives me an idea. We should create a web page for Stewart Investigations. Maybe that would drum up some more business. But not now, all that can wait until after my vacation.

I’m coming, Jojo darlin’. Such an impatient man. Bye y’all. See you between the pages.

About the author:

From the age of four Madison has been an avid reader. Many fond memories are of walking to the local library, reading everything she could find. In high school she penned quirky stories for English assignments, and often was called upon to read them. No one was spared her caustic wit – not even the dreaded English teacher, Mr. Cooney. She still graduated with her class….

According to Plan is Madison’s debut full length novel. Since contracting her book with Turquoise Morning Press, three steamy, erotic short stories have been released through her publisher’s erotic imprint Sapphire Nights Books, including her ARe Bestseller, The Perfect Secretary.  You can find out more about Madison and her other books at

Buy links:

Note: Madison will be around in the afternoons and evenings to respond to comments. Real life is like that :)  ~Carol

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Cat in the Blog

I'm so glad to be back here again Under the Tiki Hut. I've missed the ocean breezes, the drinks, and the cabana boys :)

And, of course, I've missed all of you!

Tell me what you've been doing while I was playing hard at work. Any important news I missed?

My goal while I was away was to immerse myself in my writing project. I did. And when I finish the chapter I'm currently working on, I will have accomplished what to me is an amazing 104 pages. I'm pretty sure I'll complete it on schedule now.

But that's not all I did. I may not have been chatting away with all of you, but I've been busy.

First, I've done a little blog work. I updated my profile and moved things around in the sidebar.

You may - or may not - recall me talking here a while back about my poet friend who sends me a new poem every day. I know . . . I find it totally amazing, too. Anyway, right before I went on break he sent me one about the Tiki Hut. I asked if I could permanently post it in the sidebar, and he said Yes! So you can read it, too. It's over to the right, at the top. It didn't format out as he wrote it - not sure what's going on between my fingers and the screen, but the words and the spirit are there.

Speaking of not formatting correctly ... not sure what happened with my photo either. I'll continue trying to get it to normal size. Maybe I forgot everything I knew about Blogger while I was away.

Wednesday we start a new round of guest bloggers. This time it will be their characters who visit Under the Tiki Hut. I'm looking forward to all these guest posts. I've read the first one. You'll like it!

And lest you're thinking all I did was keep my derriere glued to the chair ... not so. In the middle of my blog break - which turned into pretty much a break from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, too, I attended MWA-U in New Orleans.

If one comes to your area - even if you don't write in the overall mystery genre - I highly recommend attending. Presentations are geared toward newer writers, but even if you're published, I guarantee your money won't be wasted. Presenting authors change depending on location. Ours were Jess Lourey, Vicki Stiefel, David Morrell, Julie Smith, Reed Farrel Coleman, and Hank Phillippi Ryan. The day offered a lot of interaction and great feedback.

Live-In Handyman tagged along and we took an extra day to enjoy The Big Easy.

This art gallery with Posing Cat was a block from our hotel:

It's good to be back!

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Forgot to say that I'll be straggling around to your blogs at odd times for the next month or so. Gotta stay on top of my manuscript. So if you see posts from me at midnight, that's why.