Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunshine, Lollipops, and A Promise of Rain

We have a guest!

And you're gonna love this woman. This amazing writer.

She's Rula Sinara, and she writes at a fantastic blog called A Writer's Rush. Rula and I have been blog buddies for a few years, and I'm thrilled over her writing debut: THE PROMISE OF RAIN - about a woman raising her daughter alone.

Read what Rula has to say.

Oh . . . a surprise awaits at the end, too :)

Carol, thanks so much for having me as a guest at the Tiki Hut! Visiting the Tiki Hut has become a right of passage in authordom, you know ;). Wow. This place looks even better in person. The colors, the palms…and I can smell enchiladas cooking J. You’re such a great hostess, Carol!

Mmmm. The salty tang in the air and sifting of silky sand between my toes takes me back to some of the most memorable years of my childhood, when my family spent a few years living in North Africa, right on the Mediterranean Sea. Experiencing a different culture and learning a different language as a child was a phenomenal gift. But in addition to opening my mind and heart to the world, living in a developing country nurtured my imagination and creativity. You see, we only had one TV channel and it only worked after 4pm…and only 30 minutes was dedicated to a kid show (I think it was Felix the Cat). I spent my childhood immersed in creative play with dolls, jumping rope with friends, exploring the sand dunes, collecting sea shells and rocks (I still collect both), reading books and writing poetry. The beach brings all of those precious memories back.

In my debut, The Promise of Rain, my heroine, Dr. Anna Bekker, is raising her daughter on a remote, rustic camp in Kenya’s Serengeti. And when Anna took me aside—after the girl’s father threatened to take little Pippa away—and insisted Pippa was experiencing the richest of childhoods and learning to appreciate and respect people, animals and the environment…I understood.

Times have changed. Kids are always ‘plugged in’, even for schoolwork. I think parents have to make an extra effort these days—through camping trips, hikes or other means—to get their kids, and themselves, to stop and sift through all the gadgets and conveniences until they can see the bottom. The basics. All we really need to be happy and whole.

Do you remember a time—even if it was a vacation adventure or a power outage—when you felt truly in touch with nature and/or had to use your imagination for entertainment?

Leave a comment and be entered in a random drawing for a chance to win a $15 Amazon.com gift card.

Thanks again for having me at the Tiki Hut, Carol! I bet your guests never want to leave... ;).



The Promise of Rain
He wants to take her child out of Africa… 

The Busara elephant research and rescue camp on Kenya's Serengeti is Anna Bekker's life's work. And it's the last place she thought she'd run into Dr. Jackson Harper. As soon as he sets eyes on her four-year-old, Pippa, Anna knows he'll never leave…without his daughter. 
Furious doesn't begin to describe how Jack feels. How could Anna keep this from him? He has to get his child back to the States. Yet as angry as he is with Anna, they still have a bond. But can it endure, despite the ocean—and the little girl—between them?

Buy Links:

Find Rula at:
Twitter: @RulaSinara


After a childhood enriched with exotic travels and adventures (both in books and real life), Rula Sinara is now settled in rural Virginia with her husband, three boys and crazy but endearing pets. When she's not writing, she's busy attracting wildlife to her yard, watching romantic movies (despite male protests) or researching trees on her garden wish list. According to her kids, she's obsessed with anything that grows, including the seed of a story idea and the love between unlikely characters. 

Rula also enjoys interviewing fellow authors and is a Special Contributor for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog. Find links to her interviews and discover more about Rula at 
www.rulasinara.com or www.awritersrush.blogspot.com.



Rula is very generous!
She's giving away a $15 Amazon gift card.
All who comment here prior to the deadline will be entered to win.
Comment Deadline: 10 p.m. Central Time, Sunday, January 19
I will announce the winner on next Monday's blog.

Good luck!





94 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I spent some of my childhood living in Japan and it truly is a gift to experience a different culture like that.
Congratulations on the book, Rula!

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Alex! You're right, it really is a gift. I think if more people (especially as impressionable kids) could experience different cultures first hand, there would be more acceptance of others in the world...and less prejudice and judgement.

You're so lucky to have lived in Japan! What a fascinating culture. I studied Japanese marital arts and have a great deal of respect for the culture and people.

Rula Sinara said...

Carol, your intro made me blush. Thanks for your kind words and for having me here today!!! :)

Michelle Wallace said...

Ah, the Serengeti... I've heard so much about it... a beautiful place... maybe I'll get the opportunity to visit one day.
And the story sounds wonderful. Congratulations Rula!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Living in Africa - wow!

We used to visit a lot of natural places when we lived in ABQ. Going up to the top of the Sandias was always my favorite.

Carol Kilgore said...

Rula - The pleasure is all mine. Have fun! The bar will be open in a few minutes - including coffee and hot chocolate. The cabana boys show up at noon :)

Julie Luek said...

Always so fun to meet new authors and read about enticing new reads. Thank you.

Slamdunk said...

Enchiladas are cooking and a special guest? I picked a great time to stop over. I have always been fascinated with Kenya. Best wishes with your writing Rula.

Julie Flanders said...

It;s great to meet you, Rula! Your book sounds wonderful, congratulations and best of luck with it. And I agree, I never want to leave the Tiki Hut once I'm here. :D

Rula Sinara said...

Michelle, to me, an African Safari would be the ultimate vacation destination ;). Thanks for the congrats!

Rula Sinara said...

Diane, the view from the top of the Sandias must be phenomenal. That's one place I'd love to visit!

Rula Sinara said...

Julie Luek, great to 'meet' you! Thanks for stopping by!

Rula Sinara said...

Slamdunk, thank you! And I hear Carol's special today is enchiladas verdes :).

Rula Sinara said...

Julie Flanders, it's great to meet you too and thanks! This is the ultimate hangout, isn't it? :)

Rula Sinara said...

Carol, you ARE a fantastic hostess :).

Elephant's Child said...

Carol, you are a mistress of temptation and you have done it again.
Rula, welcome. Your book looks fascinating. And I hear you on the 'unplugged' learning. I am pretty certain that my best discoveries have been made without the benefit of technology. And outside.

Shelly said...

Your book sounds terrific, and can I just say, I love your name? We have all kinds of wildlife that visit our yard. We're pretty welcoming except for the skunks and the snakes.

Helena said...

This sounds like a wonderful book, and I'm so jealous that you got to grow up in a foreign place like a near wild child. You're so right about kids now being too plugged into artificial things!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm so excited for Rula!!!

My family needs to get stranded on a remote island so they can appreciate the ability to entertain themselves without electronics. I guess that's my fault for letting them have said devices.

David Oliver said...

I have always been interested in Africa. And I love elephants! Love 'em. Would even take a white one.

I'm not sure I agree with you about electronics but I certainly will not argue that you a gifted writer so if being mostly deprived of TV when you were a child got you here, then you are points up on the argument.

Good luck with the book. I'll keep it in mind.

Medeia Sharif said...

What a surprise for him. This sounds intense.

Janie Junebug said...

The books sounds very good. If I should happen to win the gift card, then I'll use it to buy the book.

Love,
Janie

Rula Sinara said...

Elephant's Child, thanks :). We definitely need that balance between technology and nature. BTW, I visited you blog and it's a wonderful place! Love your posts and pics!

Rula Sinara said...

Shelly, thanks! On my name too ;). We have quite a lot of wildlife in our backyard too. I actually don't mind snakes (most of ours are grass snakes...no rattlers like when I lived in TX)...but skunks...oh boy do I hate that smell! And we do have them around.

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Helena :). I work hard at making sure my kids don't stay stuck inside with hand-held electronics. Keeping a balance is a constant battle though.

Rula Sinara said...

Hey Stina! My January release buddy :). A remote island sounds awesome LOL. You know, January of last year I woke up to 2 ft of water in our basement. The damage resulted in no water, power or internet for about a week. It was a pretty miserable situation, but my younger two kids camped out in my room playing board games by flashlight. Just this week my youngest said that that was the most fun he has ever had LOL. I'd rather take him camping and not deal with a flooded basement lol.

Kittie Howard said...

Sooooo happy I dropped by. Since my hub and I lived in Kenya for three years, it only took a nano second to buy Rula's book. Can't wait to dive into it!!!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi David :). That's so nice of you to refer to me as a gifted writer (blushing). I'm not totally against electronics. My kids have them. I have them. I even believe that certain games are great for developing hand-eye coordination and speedy reflexes. I simply advocate balance. I think it's important for the next generation to have a hands on appreciation for nature...for future the sake of those elephants (and other critters) we love :)!

Rula Sinara said...

And that should have said 'for the future sake...'

Those typing reflexes...

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Medeia :). Jack and Anna are both hit pretty hard by things and they do have a lot to deal with. But there is an HEA ;). Thanks for stopping by!

Rula Sinara said...

Janie Junebug...am I allowed to say that name is adorable? :). Love it! Thanks so much for your interest in the book! Best wishes!

Rula Sinara said...

Kitty! Gosh, you made my evening! Thank you so much. I'd love to hear what you think of it...especially with your experience living in Kenya.

I just visited your blog. It's incredible and I think everyone should read your latest post on the 'sick' auction to kill a black rhino. Wow. I did a lot of research in writing my book, and the info and pictures I saw with respect to elephant poaching was really hard to take. Thanks for posting! And thanks in advance for reading my book!!! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

This book sounds right up my alley! Definitely off to check it out!

My kids are in their early 20s now and even when they were kids the tech was becoming powerful. We managed to avoid game systems completely and thankfully they both love sports so we managed to keep play alive and well in our house!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Jemi and thanks!

You make a great point about sports. Kids need that structured, exercise outlet and team sports also teach them how to interact with others...face to face, rather than via a screen. Plus, the exercise itself is important. Unfortunately, the more kids are on electronics, the more sedentary they are...unless perhaps they're playing something like Wii sports...but that's not the same as running across a soccer field or basketball court. Kudos to you for steering your kids toward sports!

Raquel Somatra said...

Hello Carol! Hope your holidays have been fabulous. The book looks phenomenal, Rula! Your childhood sounds magical.

Carol Kilgore said...

Hi, to all! Thanks for dropping by.

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Raquel! Oh, magical is such a great way to put it :). Thanks on the book...and btw I visited your blog and your artwork is so beautiful!

Rula Sinara said...

Carol, I'll take a stroll down the beach...maybe sleep on the cool sand...and come back. The fabulous friends and food are addictive ;). Thanks, girlfriend!!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Carol. Hi, Rula.

Yes, Rula, I do remember simpler times. Growing up in the 70's and not very rich we had an old black and white tv. NO AC. just the beautiful park across the street from our building.

Snow days were spent outside on the pond ice skating or sled riding down suicide hill... That was it's nickname. It was the biggest hill we had about a quarter mile from our building.

Half the time the landlord never paid the oil bill so my borders and I would stand by the gas stove in the early morning hours to get dressed for school. Times were DEFINITELY different. But through it all there was love, family, and simple living. There was always delicious food on the table from my mom and Italian grand mother. All i needed the were my crayons, markers, pencils, and paper... and I could create any world I wanted.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Growing up in Africa must have been quite an adventure! Your book sounds wonderful, and I wish you the best of luck! Carol, thanks for hosting Rula!

Julie

Val Poore said...

This sounds just like my kind of novel - a must have!! Thanks, Carol!

Shelley Munro said...

Congratulations on the book, Rula.
We didn't have a TV for ages when I was a kid and lived out in the country. We used to explore, make huts and play outside all day, every day. Those were the days :)

Rula Sinara said...

Michael, simpler times and rich memories. Suicide hill made me chuckle :). I think we had one of those. You made the perfect point in that you 'could create any world I wanted'. An environment that nurtures creativity and imagination in kids is so important. Thanks for sharing!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Julie! Thanks so much. Best to you too!

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Val! Best to you :).

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Shelley! Exploring was the best, wasn't it? We used to explore, climb sand dunes, make forts...there was no end to the outdoor fun and imagination. I'd love to go back in time for a childhood visit :).

Optimistic Existentialist said...

So nice to meet you Ms. Sinara!

Rula Sinara said...

Nice to meet you too, Optimistic Existentialist! I just followed your blog. With an awesome blogger name like that, I couldn't resist :). Have a great day!

Robin said...

Rula, you make an excellent point about kids being so "plugged in" that they are completely tuned out. My ex's kids visited just after Christmas for a week. It was nearly impossible to separate them from the cell phones. They spent nearly all of their time on Instagram. After hearing about it relentlessly, I decided that the number of Friends and Likes you have on Instagram is the new way to determine how popular you are. Instagram now determines a teen's self worth. It was heartbreaking (for me). They seemed cool with it.

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Robin! I hear you. It really is heartbreaking. Sometimes I stop and look at the 'tech' and lifestyle difference between my parents and me and wonder if it's all about the cycle of generation gaps. But even if that's a factor...I still think kids have to unplug sometimes and appreciate the simple things in life. I even know adults who go to a cabin for a weekend and leave their gadgets behind so that they're not tempted ;). Sigh. Balance.

Ava Quinn said...

Hi Rula! What great experiences you've had! Your book sounds fantastic!

I hear you on getting kids out and unplugged. I developed two outdoor science education days for my daughter's elementary schools and held them at the local state park last year. (I'm in the midst of researching and writing the curricula for this year's right now.) Most of the students were receptive to being outdoors for the whole day, but there were those few recalcitrant ones who wanted their electronics by lunch.

Carol, I'm so glad you hosted Rula. That was so kind of you!!

VR Barkowski said...

THE PROMISE OF RAIN sounds amazing, Rula. Congratulations!

These days, I think we're all too plugged in (she says typing on her computer using cable internet, a wifi keyboard, with her smartphone beside her). It's easy to take nature for granted, both its beauty and the lessons it offers.

VR Barkowski

Rula Sinara said...

Aw, thanks, Ava! What you're doing for kids is awesome. I agree that the vast majority enjoy the outdoors...especially if someone shows them how much fun it can be...and how interesting! Those kids are lucky to have you around!

Rula Sinara said...

VR, you made me laugh (she says typing at her computer and complaining to her son that the internet is acting slow ;). LOL. You said it perfectly. I just don't want kids taking nature for granted. I love technology (in fact, I love Star Trek and all its cool stuff), but I also love unplugging and appreciating the natural world around me. I want my kids to value it too. And varied exposure influences brain development and wiring early on.

Thanks, VR :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Your book sounds fantastic, Rula. If I don't win a copy on Goodreads, I reckon I'll just have to buy one. (If it isn't your book I entered to win, it's one with an uncannily similar plot!)

Here's to much success.

Thanks for playing hostess, Carol. (You do such a super job helping other writers!)

Mary Horner said...

Sounds like a great book! I'll be sure and check it out.

Tracy Jo said...

Congratulations, Rula! I love your name. :-) Being connected to nature is what I love about my photography. When I look through my camera, I see the world in so many new ways.

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Susan! Thanks so much for your kind words and wishes :). My GR contest ended 12/24...hmmm...

Agreed - Carol is awesome :)

Rula Sinara said...

Good morning, Mary! Thanks so much. I really appreciate it :)

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Tracy Jo! I love the photos on your blog. I love photography (no expert here), but one of my kids is really into it and has a great eye for composition. A camera is an excellent way to get kids outside and connecting with nature. Even if it's an inexpensive disposable camera...for fun or to spark a hobby. I've never seen a kid turn one down ;).

Carol Kilgore said...

Susan - I love hosting other writers here :)

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations, Rula! I was always lost to my imagination as a child... and now! My family went camping often, and my brother and I were always going on adventures out in the woods.

Rula Sinara said...

I went on outdoor adventures and explored the woods with my brother too! Imagination is a magical place.

Rula Sinara said...

Christine, thanks :). And of course, I was responding to you in the last comment but forgot to add your name. I'm still brain frazzled and recovering from one of my dogs disappearing yesterday afternoon for 6 hours. We searched the whole time and when we finally gave up, she showed up at the back door, well after dark. And from the tail wagging and mud coating...guess who'd been having fun exploring the woods? LOL.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome. It's so true. We've almost forgotten the value of rolling down a grassy hill or climbing a tree. I think back to my childhood and all the exploring/running up and down the street with friends, and it kills me that it's no longer "safe" for my own children to experience that kind of freedom.

Bish Denham said...

Wow. I love the premise of this book. As for remembering a time when I felt truly in touch with nature and having to use my imagination to entertain myself... My whole childhood. And that gave me the ability to enjoy nature wherever I am.

Melissa said...

Agree, Rula. Kids today are too plugged in. We all are. Sounds like a great book. Congratulations.

Love the new header, Carol. Very nice. :)

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Crystal! I hear you...we finally moved away from the city just so our kids could experience the freedom of running around outside. I used to watch them like a hawk, even on our own deck. Now they have real hawks flying overhead ;).

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Bish! (Great name:) Sounds like you had a great childhood. I believe the earlier you can instill an appreciation for things, the better.

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Melissa!

And ditto on Carol's header. I love it!

cleemckenzie said...

The book does sound intriguing. I'm in love with the title.

We live in a place that used to have power outages all the time. We kept candles at the ready and kerosene heaters for those cold times. If the outages happened in the evening, we'd tell stories--mostly ghostly ones to scare ourselves--but I remember those times as the best. So connected with each other and very aware of that howling wind through the trees outside.

Linda G. said...

Sounds like a fantastic book, Rula. Best of luck with it!

I agree that kids are too plugged in these days. A little more contact with the real world--one not viewed via a screen--would definitely benefit most of us. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I just realized I owe Rula a huge apology for saying in here that the title of her book is A Promise of Rain.

The correct title is THE PROMISE OF RAIN.

Mea Culpa.

Rula Sinara said...

Cleemckenzie, your description brings back memories. It's like we shared the same moments lol. We used kerosene lamps too, when I lived in Africa. And thanks about the title :).

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Linda! I totally agree with you!

Rula Sinara said...

LOL, Carol. I didn't even notice. No problem at all...but if it makes you feel better, you can make me some nachos grande and we'll pretend it never happened ;). Heh.

TRIVIA: Did you know The Promise of Rain was my working title? Yep. It's the only title this book has known. My editor loved it and it fit the book so well, it got to stay:).

Cathrina Constantine said...

Rula's book sounds amazing, and I love the cover.

Rula Sinara said...

Aw, thank, Cathrina! I was thrilled when I saw it for the first time. Total excitement :). Thanks!

LD Masterson said...

I've always wanted to visit Africa so I especially love story that take place there.

I was lucky enough to grew up before the "plugged in" generation. Nature and our imagination was our primary entertainment and it was wonderful.

Rula Sinara said...

Hi LD! Those definitely were wonderful times. I've really taken a trip down memory lane while talking to everyone here. I'm having the best time!

And btw...you have the most adorable animal pics on your blog!

Tara said...

Hi Rula, nice to meet you. The book sounds fabulous--it just went on my TBR pile!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Tara! Nice to meet you too, and thanks so much!! :)

klahanie said...

Hi Carol and Rula,

Wow and this does entice. The Promise of Rain does seem to be an intriguing read. Congrats, Rula, on your writing debut. As a single father, I believe I could relate to this in my own way.

Gary

Emily R. King said...

What a wonderful setting! I love animals in books. I wish more writers used them. Congrats, Rula!

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks, Gary! All three books in this series will be dealing in some way with single parenthood...including single fatherhood. Parenthood is tough. I have great respect for anyone handling it on their own!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Emily! Thanks, so much. I love animals so much I think I'd have a tough time leaving them out :). Have a great day!

Milo James Fowler said...

Harlequin? Very nice -- how did you like working with them?

Lynda R Young said...

wow, spending your childhood in Africa must have been truly amazing. The book sounds fabulous.

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Milo,

Harlequin has been fabulous to work with. Top notch editors too!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Lynda! Thanks :). And yes, I had amazing experiences as a child :).

Rula Sinara said...

Thanks again for having me at the Tiki Hut, Carol! Everyone here is so wonderful and I've had such a great time! Best to you all :)

Carol Kilgore said...

It was great hosting you, Rula. The door is always open for you to return anytime.

Johanna Garth said...

I think summer camp with no electronics allowed is a perfect time for kids to relearn what it means to be outside, get dirty and play until they're physically exhausted.

Great post and Carol, your blog looks so pretty! Love the new header.

Carol Kilgore said...

Johanna - I'm wondering about the possibility of one weekend day with no electronics allowed. For the whole family. Couldn't be a bad thing.

I'm glad you like the new header!