Tsunami Alert and what happens

Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been on the blog. I thought I would tell you a bit about what happens when we have a tsunami alert here. This was my first real one although the alarms are tested every month on the first Monday, so if you are in the Islands and hear them, keep that in mind.
I had a news flash on my phone that the tsunami alert had been triggered so I went downstairs since I live in a high rise building to verify. Fortunately for me, I live across the street from the end of the evacuation zone which includes all of Waikiki. In my case, that meant “vertical evacuation” since I live on a high floor.
The first thing to do is turn on the news and pay attention. For people who have to evacuate, it’s time to get out and not wait We had about an hour and half warning which is enough time. Supermarkets got jammed up as did gas stations, traffic snarled unbelievably. Shelters open immediately but they don’t supply food so you have to have a bag of food and medications, pet food, etc. if you are heading to a shelter.
For me, this was all pretty easy. My building sandbagged the lobby only because there is a canal behind the building which could in theory flood. I dug out flashlights and had them ready in every room in case of a power failure, filled up water in sinks, etc. and took the dog for a walk. Dogs don’t care about tsunamis, they still need to walk! And, I noticed everyone with a dog doing the same. While we went walking, I charged up anything that needed to be charged, like my phone.
People with small boats are asked to take them out on the ocean which is better than sitting in the marina. I could see lights out over the water at this point. About half an hour before the expected first wave, rescuers clear out of the evacuation zone so if you were counting on help once it hits, forget it. I saw the fire engines in my area heading away.After that, the roadblocks went up and it was eerie. Saturday night and no traffic on the streets at all. Back to sitting in front of the news, watching and waiting.
In my area, this was not bad at all which is a relief, but I did hear that on the Big Island, boats were on the sand, pushed in by the waves.
I think, compared, to the people bracing on the East Coast for Hurricane Sandy, we got off easy and we are all grateful.
I can say, since tsunami is a year round possibility here, people don’t panic and seen to know exactly what to do and do it. I also had phone calls from friends very early asking if they needed to come and get me to evacuate which was very thoughtful of them.
I felt complete confidence in the tsunami plan and how things work although I’d still rather not find out what a really bad one is like.

Half price sale on Animal Crackers

Just letting you know if you still haven’t read Animal Crackers,for a short time,it is on sale at half price now at MuseItUpPublishing so grab a copy now! The sale won’t last.


Us Amazonians! Join the Party!

What the heck is pee dating? Not what you think! Delighted to announce The Life of The Party, (Book 2 the Liberty Heights series) is now available at Amazon. Join the party and see what’s going on in Liberty Heights! That town surprises me all the time and I write the series!



Life of the Party

I’ve been away trying to have some time with my son, but happy to announce that The Life of the Party (Book 2 The Liberty Heights series) is now out at
It will be at Amazon and Barnes and Noble when they decide to get it up there but you can save a bit by buying direct at Muse.
Book 3 Hanky Panky is in production and scheduled for December release. You wouldn’t believe the things that go on in Liberty Heights so check them out. Yes, Book 4 Light My Fire has been submitted. No word yet but I am hopeful and I guess I will hear back soon.
Enjoy the long weekend if you are in the US!


“Entertaining, humorous, and the romance is spot on”–Yep, The Life of the Party is officially on sale August 31 direct from Muse
You can still pre-order and save big so head on over and party on!.

Bon Voyage!

Rather than writing or books, I thought I would devote this entry to travel advice, tips and things I’ve learned over many years of travel all over the world. Wherever you’re going or hoping to go or planning to go, I hope your trip is fabulous and these tips might help keep things smooth.
Travel safe tips from an inveterate traveler
I know there are lots of sites and people offering travel tips to stay safe. Some of them are common sense which seems to be anything but common, others are specific, like making sure your travel insurance covers the things you expect to be doing. Just for example, if you are planning extreme sports, better make sure your policy covers it because many don’t. I’m not going to deal with those issues but pass on some of the things I always keep in mind. I’ve traveled all over the world, had more than a few adventures and hiccups along the way, with and without kids. Travel with kids is a whole different ball game so I’m going to confine myself to adults this time.
Well in advance of your trip, start making lists. I make loads of them. The lists might be what is essential to pack and where to pack it (carry-on or suitcase), contact phone numbers, all the things you need to do before you leave, like arrange mail pick up, pet boarding, etc. It’s also a good idea to spend a bit of time to figure out the security restrictions in any airport you will be using because they are anything but uniform. Some allow liquids, some do not, including sealed duty free purchases that might be taken away, particularly in Europe, much to your annoyance. Better to check and pack items accordingly.
Another list should be what you really want to see and do. Once you’re sure of the absolute must-sees, check opening hours and days. Many museums in Europe close one day a week and if that’s the day you planned on the Uffizi to see Michaelangelo’s David (DON’T MISS THAT!) or any other museum, you could be out of luck. Depending on the season, many castles in Great Britain close down in the winter and sometimes, most of the rest of the year, other than summer, so make sure they’re open before you make the trek only to be disappointed at the gate. If you plan on using ferries, check the schedule and season because they change from summer to the rest of the year. Ferry travel can be fun. I’ve used them and thoroughly enjoyed the trip, especially to Skye.
If you’re travelling with a friend, companion, partner or anyone else, decide in advance if you’re going to divide your time rather than quarrel over what you’re going to see or do. Nothing wrong with splitting up during the day so each of you can do what you really want and arrange to meet up for dinner. It will save a lot of heartache and aggravation if you set ground rules before you hop on that plane. On the other hand, if you are travelling solo, don’t worry. I’ve done it plenty of times and always find people to talk to or have lunch with. If you wait for someone else to get their act together to be able to travel, you might still be waiting. (I’m still waiting on a few friends planning trips with me while I’ve already been to wherever and back).
Before you leave, try to get the name of a doctor and dentist who speaks English if you are traveling to non-English speaking countries. The last thing you want is to deal with illness and play charades. Yes, I have had to call a doctor out at midnight for my son. Fortunately, I spoke the language in that country well, but I would not like to think what could happen, wasting time trying to explain to a doctor who didn’t understand me. You can call your embassy and they should be able to give you names of these professionals and then hope you don’t need them but better to be prepared.
Check the weather and pack accordingly. I’ve left summer climates looking like an idiot dragging a winter coat on the plane but believe me, you won’t be happy if you arrive in a cold climate and your suitcase is lost. It’s happened to me so I always make sure to pack those garments in my carry-on bag or, if too heavy and bulky, wear clothes for the destination climate. You might feel silly at the start but you won’t at arrival. If it’s the height of summer, put the winter clothes in a shopping bag, change in the airport where you won’t roast alive thanks to air-conditioning and toss the summer gear in your suitcase for arrival back home before you wave good-by to your luggage. You won’t regret that, believe me, and make sure your shoes will be appropriate too. I arrived in Denmark in the middle of a snowstorm and was really happy after leaving a hot Sydney summer, to have my heavy winter coat, sweater, jeans, boots, hat and gloves. I might have looked silly in Sydney but I sure was nice and warm in Copenhagen. Plus, if you wear those heavy clothes and carry the coat, you won’t weigh down the luggage with more bulky garments.
If you can afford to travel business class, that’s great. I have a few times, but most of the time I’ve had to travel economy, packed in on full flights. Don’t count on empty seats to stretch out. Nice if it happens but not a given. I recommend an aisle seat for several reasons but primarily because I get up and walk every hour or so to prevent DVT. I also stretch as much as I can. Usually while everyone is sleeping, I head to the back of the plane, where there’s space and completely extend and stretch my legs and arms. It will help enormously if you do that every hour or two. If you do yoga, Pilates, or dance, some of those moves will come in handy if you’ve got room. I always manage to find the space when others are asleep. It’s also a good idea to carry a small flashlight in case you need it for any reason when lighting is off during flights. (Hint: Very helpful if you have dropped something and can’t find it. You won’t get dirty looks from everyone if you try to put on those hopelessly small overhead lights and you’ll avoid tripping over all sorts of stuff that has rolled into the aisle while everyone is dozing.)
Hydrate. This is a trick I’ve been using for years and never fails. Check the number of time zones you will cross. Ensure that you have a full glass of liquid for each time zone as minimum fluids during the flight. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine. I do have a coffee if I’m arriving in the morning since that would be normal for me. I’ve done 24 hour flights and been able to get off the plane and go to work. Honestly. I stay awake and get on the right time zone instead of hitting the bed. I might go to bed early that night, but more or less, this takes care of the jetlag so don’t forget the fluids.
It’s pretty much a given that you will need something to pass the time. Most flights have a load of movies in personal screens, but not all of them do. Definitely take your i-pad or e-reader fully charged. Make sure you’ve got adaptor plugs for wherever you are traveling. I have a small, multi-use adaptor; just press on the size you want and it pops out. Very handy and you will be charging your phone, ipad, etc. along the way.
For those who knit, check the security precautions but as far as I know, bamboo needles are allowed, and I have a set of plastic needles that have a light on the tips so they don’t bother anyone but provide sufficient light for knitting. Very handy! You can buy them online or probably at some knitting stores.
Slather on face cream throughout flights and keep applying it with a good balm for the lips. Make sure you’ve packed sunscreen and insect repellent, depending on where you are traveling or you could be very sorry and it’s better to take a product you’ve already tried rather than have to purchase on arrival. Despite all these tips, I’ve often said, long haul flights are nature’s way of making us look like our dreaded passport pictures.
If you are stuck with connecting flights for any length of time, check out the airport in advance and see if they have a hotel service within the airport. More and more airports, especially in Europe and Asia do. They range in quality. Tokyo’s Narita has rooms and beds that are so small and narrow, they must be designed for midgets and unless you know where to find the “hotel” you might miss it. The signage is less than ideal. Singapore, on the other hand, has a proper hotel room with television, etc. like any hotel. It also has a swimming pool and gym all located within the airport.
If you have shorter connecting time but a few hours, you’ll find that most of these airport hotels often have a shower service. For a reasonable cost, you can have a shower, change your clothes and feel heaps better between flights. Some of these services book out very quickly. If you can book in advance, it might be worthwhile. You can also try to turn up and take your luck. I’ve done both, so it’s up to you and the time between flights but I highly recommend it. Some of these rooms rent for a full day only (Hong Kong, for example) but others rent for blocks of hours (4 hours or 8 hours) and again, they are really well worth using.
Look alert and carry as little as possible on the street. You’re a tourist and there’s nothing wrong with that but locals can tell. Pay attention to what’s going on instead of gawking. Carry your bag strap across your chest and hold onto it. If you have pockets, divide anything important you’re carrying between your bag and pockets and keep your hands stuffed into your pockets so any unwelcome hands will have a hard time. Make sure you’ve photocopied any travel documents in case they are stolen. It will help expedite their replacement which will be a pain in the neck no matter what. Of course, keep your passport, credit cards and other documents as safe as possible. Many European countries will not accept a credit card unless you use a PIN irrespective of signature so make sure you know it. I had a friend who was stuck because he had no idea of the PIN and ended up having to borrow money from some of us. Pretty embarrassing, although it could have been worse.
Pay attention to your instincts. I was in a part of Krakow that wasn’t exactly the best area. While my friends and the guide were busy talking and looking around, I noticed a gang coming in our direction. I wasn’t going to wait around and see what happened. I got into the street and frantically flagged down a taxi, getting worried as the gang got closer because there were no other people around. I stopped a cruising taxi by standing in the middle of the street just as the gang arrived. Only them did my friends realize what was about to happen but by then we were scrambling into the taxi and the driver slammed the gas. We had no doubt what would have happened if that taxi hadn’t come by or if I hadn’t been paying attention.
Don’t give out your name or room number or hotel to anyone. It sounds dumb, but people do and the next thing they know, there’s trouble. People trying to get into their rooms, people using their names, all sorts of stuff. Not everyone is nice and really interested in you although of course, some are and I’ve made great friends through travels but exercise caution.
Remember you can claim VAT return on departure from many countries so make sure you keep receipts and allow enough time at the airport to get your refund—you’ll be happy you did it.
Take your own medications, clearly labelled and in your carry on. If you get sick in flight, you cannot count on flight attendants to have much available and yes, this has happened to me. I carry anything I think I might need; something for headache or temperature, eye drops for dry eyes on planes, (you should remove your contact lenses and use glasses in flight; eyes can dry out and lead to all sorts of problems), anti-nausea pills, anti-histamines for any allergy. Anything you might need for tummy upset is worth carrying. I don’t take sleeping pills; they make me dopey and I want to be alert in the event of an emergency. I always have Bandaids of various sizes as well and hand sanitizer is a good idea. To be blunt, you don’t know who’s touching what and you won’t go wrong by using the sanitizer more rather than less.
Depending on the country, you will or will not be willing to replenish your stock. No problem in parts of Europe but when I traveled in India, Indonesia, China, etc. I went to see my doctor in advance and together we worked out anything and everything I might need including antibiotics because I did not want to have get them there. It’s a good idea to make sure all your immunizations are up to date and check any health issues for the areas of travel. For example, you may need cholera immunization or to update Hepatitis A or B and all that takes time and needs to be spaced over several weeks. Same applies for anti-malarial medications which must be started on time and continued after arrival home.
I could say a lot more, but this is enough to think about until another time. Travel well, travel safe and have a great trip!

Marguerite Arotin Is My Guest

My guest blogger is Marguerite Arotin, not only a fantasy and historical romance writer but also my webmistress. Despite knowing her for a few years, I’ve learned new things from her responses to questions, so I’m delighted to have her as my guest blogger.

How long does it take for you to write a book?
When I am dedicated to completing it, usually about 6 months. When life, my evil day job, or my son’s life gets away, it tends to be longer
Do you do a lot of research for your books and if so, how do you do that? I’m a research junkie so yes. Internet, books, if there’s someplace local that I can visit to do hands on research, I’m all for that.

Do you have a favorite author?
Several but in different genres. For romance it would have to be Linda Lael Miller, Horror and anything else he dives into- The masterful Stephen King. Fantasy- J.K. Rowling because I love the world she created with Hogwarts, and just recently in Science Fiction I fell in love with the writing style of Douglas Adams. I love the way all his rambles end in punch line
Was there any one thing that particularly inspired you to write?
I had been writing off on on since the third grade when I wrote a Halloween Fairytale of sorts for a class project. When I finally decided to send out the stuff I was writing to publishers, it was because my husband had just lost his job and I wanted to help provide for our little family. By the time he found another job, I was hooked on the writing lifestyle.

What’s the best and worst part about being a writer?
Best part- creating a world and populating that world with characters you adore. Worst part- Deadlines and critics.
How do you balance a personal life with a writing life?
It’s easier now that my son is older and hangs out in his room a lot of the time. When he was younger, I had to watch writing the sex scenes while he was around because he’s nosy and will read over my shoulder.
What do you consider the most important elements of a great book? Characters, Characters, Characters ! You can create a great plot but it means nothing without creating characters everyone can relate to.
What are you writing/reading now?
Currently alternating between writing a vampire romance with a twist, and a civil war time-travel romance inspired by a Gettysburg visit.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
my website- http://www.ohioromance.net/

If you could be a character in one of your books, which one would you choose to be? Probably Janet, my heroine from The Last Sorceress. It would be fun to step into a new fantasy realm with sorceress power

Do you have a favourite character from your books?
Dazzart the Bold. He’s an ogre but a lot sexier than Shrek

For series writers only: What do you especially enjoy about writing a series as compared to a stand alone book? When I wrote Return of the Prodigal Daughter for The Wayback Texas series, it was fun to help create a small Texas town and work with already established characters.

What do you do to unwind, put aside the hard work of writing, or otherwise enjoy life?
Summer time, without a doubt, the beach. I had been taking my son to our local beach since he was two years old. We make a day out of it and have a lot of fun. Fall ,winter, or inclement weather I love to go to the movies with my family

My guest and fellow writer Betty Ann Harris on writing and all things Betty Ann

I’m delighted to welcome BettyAnn Harris as my guest. BettyAnn writes romantic suspense, is generous in her advice and support of other writers and I’m grateful she could spare the time to answer a few questions about her work and the writing life.

How would you describe your books?
I think my books would best be described as romantic suspense thrillers. I love to write a fast-paced plot to keep the reader interested, as well as using lots of mystery and suspense to keep them turning those pages to find out what happens next.

How long does it take for you to write a book?
It really depends on the story. I’ve written a book in four months, but have also been writing a book for almost two years. I also write multiple stories at the same time.

Do you do a lot of research for your books and if so, how do you do that? Yes, I need to do some research for most of my books. I’ve interviewed people such as FBI agents and pilots. I also do a lot of reseach online often goggling people, places and history.

Do you have a favorite author?
Yes, I love James Patterson, considering him the King of crime mystery and suspense. He’s so prolific. I also like Patricia Gaffney and Nora Roberts.

Was there any one thing that particularly inspired you to write?
I always loved writing, even as a youngster. I like to communicate my emotions and find it easier to write things rather than talking about something sometimes.

What’s the best and worst part about being a writer?
The best part about being a writer is having friends and fans tell me they really enjoyed reading one of my books. I also love talking with people who ask me questions about my books and writing. The worst part is the dreaded writer’s block, when I’m going through a difficult time personally.

How do you balance a personal life with a writing life?
It’s difficult. But I’ve learned as I get older to let some things slide so I can spend more time writing. I may not have the cleanest house, but that’s okay. If I’m writing, I’m a much happier camper.

What do you consider the most important elements of a great book?
Great characters and an interesting plot make for a great book. I also think dialogue should be realistic and well-written. I love writing dialogue. You can learn a lot about a character just by what they say and how they say it.

Is there any particular advice you have been given or heard given to a writer that you feel is particularly important?
Try to dedicate time each day to your craft. Even if you’re not writing on paper or on the computer, be writing in your mind. What I mean is, you can be figuring out what should happen next in your story, deciding to change some things or figuring out a problem that has you stumped.

What are you writing/reading now?
I’m actually not reading anything at the moment, but I did finish reading “Now You See Her” by James Patterson a few weeks ago. It was fantastic!

I’m writing a romantic paranormal at that moment, about a spirit who comes back to haunt (in a nice way) her great, great, great niece to avenge her being falsely accused of murder back in 1897. I’m finishing it up and hope it will be published early next year.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?
I have a website, which I have to admit is a bit unattended to. The website address is: http://www.bettyannharris.com You can find out more about my books on my Special Agent Series Blog: http://specialagentseries.blogspot.com

If you could be a character in one of your books, which one would you choose to be?
I think I’d love to be Ruby Stone from Ruby Stone in Danger in Paradise. She’s the first sexy, female Special Agent in the series. She’s smart, beautiful and a good agent.

Do you have a favourite character from your books?
Yes, I love Tom from Eureka Point and Beyond the Point. He’s my hero!

For series writers only: What do you especially enjoy about writing a series as compared to a stand alone book?
I like being able to continue a story, especially if people really like the characters. It’s like you can keep them alive forever, well almost.

What do you do to unwind, put aside the hard work of writing, or otherwise enjoy life?
I love music, gardening and interior design. I also love to get together with friends for lunch and shoot the breeze.

Where can we find your books and more about you? http://specialagentseries.blogspot.com and also at Red Rose Publishing. My book page is: http://redrosepublishing.com/books/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Betty+Ann+Harris&osCsid=idnrdrgae31hgb23lc4euloan7&search.x=11&search.y=19
You can also see my Author page at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Ann-Harris/e/B004HSM2D4/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1344454409&sr=1-2-ent

Excerpt: The LIfe of The Party

Excerpt: The Life of The Party–Book 2, The Liberty Heights series
Copyright: Elle Druskin 2012

The thought of a cool shower and shave after the long haul flight from Mumbai seemed like heaven.
He snagged a towel from the linen closet and headed to the bathroom. The handle stuck, and he yanked a little too hard so the door slammed against the wall.
“Hey, what’s the big idea?”
His jaw dropped wide enough for a truck to drive through. The most gorgeous backside he’d ever seen was bending over the bathtub. Perfectly shaped firm legs that seemed to go on forever and ended in a tight, luscious ass. He gulped, and his groin reacted involuntarily.
The door slammed in his face. Zach stood as if rooted to the floor. Jake didn’t mention any other guests. And it definitely wasn’t Ed borrowing the shower because of his plumbing problems. Hell, he might be a trifle jetlagged, but all his hormones had gone on Red Alert because that had to be the sexiest woman on the planet.
He headed downstairs to Jake and Hayley in the living room who looked up at him.
“Didn’t you find the towels?” Hayley asked.
Zach nodded. “Yeah. I found something else. That’s some cleaning lady, you’ve got.”
Jake frowned. “We don’t have a cleaning lady.”
Before he could explain, feet pounded down the stairs. Zach turned over his shoulder and staggered. A brunette with flashing green eyes glared at him. Wrapped in a pink satin robe that clung to her body but did nothing to hide her perfect curves, she planted her feet in a vee with her hands on her hips.
“Can’t a person get any privacy around here?” she hollered.
Jake’s eyes widened. “What are you doing here?”
The woman flashed a familiar grin at Jake, and Zach wracked his brain for a name. There was something about her, but he couldn’t recall meeting a woman this hot. Even with the damp hair that curled around her face, she was dynamite.
“Surprise! You’ll never believe it. The cruise ship had to shut down. An outbreak of a gastro bug on the last two sailings; the whole thing has to be cleaned out. Plumbing, air conditioning, the works, so the entire crew has a few weeks off. I figured I’d better head right here what with Hayley having another baby. I bet you didn’t even have a baby shower yet.”
Hayley tried to rise from the sofa and plopped back down again, but that didn’t deter the woman.
“You sit right down. Pretty big, no offense. How long to go? Not twins again, is it?”
She didn’t bother to wait for an answer but kept up the rapid fire chatter. “I figured you could use some help, so leave everything to me. You know how terrific I am with organizing stuff. This is going to be fun, only I didn’t count on some pervert walking in on me in the bathroom.”
She whirled around and glared at Zach. Her eyes narrowed. Without warning, she punched his arm.
“Hey. What gives?” he snapped.
An arch smile lit her face. She glanced at Jake and Hayley who hadn’t recovered from the shock of the surprise guest.
“That’s for walking in on me upstairs naked.”
Before Zach could apologize, although it hadn’t been his fault, she punched him again.
“Cut it out!”
The woman sniffed and shot a superior look at Zach. “That’s for not letting me in the tree house. The Junior Detectives Club. Boys only.”
Tree house? What the heck was this woman talking about?
“You shoved me right off the top of the ladder, and I fractured my wrist. Boy, were my parents mad, but nothing compared with yours.”
Zach swallowed hard. “Ellie? Little Ellie Marx?”
This couldn’t be that pain in the neck bratty cousin of Jake’s who followed them all over town.
She poked a finger at his chest and glowered. “You got it wise guy, and guess what? Little Ellie grew up.”
She sure did. Zach studied Ellie from the top of the damp curls to the red painted toes. That naked image flashed through his brain like a rerun of an old TV Show, only this one was x-rated. This was Little Ellie? The skinny kid with the glasses, and banged up knees. Holy cow. She was hotter than Texas chili.

Liberty Heights series, Life of the Party

Counting down the days to the release of the next Liberty Heights Book. You can pre-order and save:
The Love Boat just docked in Liberty Heights! Life of the Party-Book 2 The Liberty Heights series. https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=560&category_id=231&manufacturer_id=138&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1 … …

And yes, in case you were wondering, Book 3 is coming late this year and I know, just know, you will love Hanky Panky. I’ll get an excerpt up from Life of the Party shortly.