Monthly Archives: May 2011

Only a Few More Days to Win

Memorial Day Flags

Image by eddiecoyote via Flickr

Happy Memorial Day

So many have fallen in the name of freedom. Thank you to those who’ve given everything, and to those who continue to give in our armed services. One day isn’t enough to say thank you!

In addition to remembrance ceremonies today, Memorial day is the unofficial start to the American Summer. Grills all across the country will be fired up today, cooking everything from hamburgers to fish, vegetables to watermelon (we’re going to try that today). We probably won’t eat outside, but are planning a picnic-style spread, nonetheless.

Another Memorial Day tradition is, of course, a sale. And All Romance eBooks is doing just that. Through the end of today, they’re offering a 50% rebate on ALL PURCHASES. This means that when you purchase Whirlwind at, you’ll get 50% of the purchase price returned in the form of a rebate! Half price…who doesn’t love that?

But FREE is Better!

Only a few more hours are left in the Share the Wealth Giveaway! Winner gets their pick of 5 books from the following list, one runner up gets 2 (along with signed copies of Whirlwind for both winners). US addresses only.

Which would you pick? Remember, a comment on this, or any of my May posts, counts as an entry. Winners will be selected on June first.

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives by Justin Gustainis
This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
Skinny-Dipping by Connie Brockway
Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard
The Guy Next Door by Lori Foster
Malice (New Orleans #6) by Lisa Jackson
Mad about the Duke (Bachelor Chronicles, #7) by Elizabeth Boyle
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #3) by Sabrina Jeffries
Brimstone Kiss (Delilah Street #2) by Carole Nelson Douglas
Healing Dr. Fortune by Judy Duarte
Poisoned Kisses (Harlequin Nocturne, #98) by Stephanie Draven
Knight of Passion (All the King’s Men #3) by Margaret Mallory
Nowhere Near Respectable (Lost Lords, #3) by Mary Jo Putney
Senseless by Mary Burton
Eve of Chaos (Marked, Book 3) by S.J. Day
Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon, #1) by Ann Aguirre
Face of Danger (The Guardian Angelinos, #3) by Roxanne St. Claire
Killer Heat by Brenda Novak
The Panic Zone by Rick Mofina
The Vampire Voss (Regency Draculia #1) by Colleen Gleason
Coming Undone (Brown Siblings, #2) by Lauren Dane
Murder in Vein (Fang-in-Cheek Mystery, #1) by Sue Ann Jaffarian
It’s Hotter In Hawaii (Men of Hawaii #2) by HelenKay Dimon
Southern Comfort by Fern Michaels
No One Heard Her Scream by Jordan Dane
Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8) by J.R. Ward
A Little Bit Wicked (Last Man Standing, #1) by Victoria Alexander
Weddings Can Be Murder by Christie Craig
Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann
Bitten (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong

Both winners also receive an autographed copy of Whirlwind.

Watch for many more giveaways coming in June during the Whirlwind Blog Tour.

Meet an Author Monday

Check out what other authors are chatting about today. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, there’s a lot of great stories out there!

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop


Filed under giveaway, Holidays

Photo Friday: The Golden State

Today’s photo is a blast from way past, and a preview of my upcoming blog tour:

Cal Poly, the inspiration for Santa Lucia Polytechnic in Whirlwind

Located on the Central Coast of California, Cal Poly is on the edge of the city, San Luis Obispo. This photo was taken a LONG time ago (1988), and the campus has grown a lot since then. One thing that hasn’t changed is the brown hills. This is the color of most of California in the summer and fall.

If you look close, you can see the white “P” on the hillside (for Poly). On the left side is the “back forty.” Whirlwind fans will remember what happened out there…

Be sure and check out the Whirlwind Blog Tour, starting June 6th, for even more photos, outtakes, an interview with hero Jason McAlister, and other goodies! The tour runs through June 17th, followed by a live chat with me on the 18th. Hosted by the fantastic Missie of The Unread Reader!

Whirlwind Blog Tour

Time’s Running Out

Only a few days left to enter to win a box of books from me! Which would you choose?

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Tour, giveaway, Photo Friday

Combining Characters

Cover of "Water for Elephants: A Novel"

Cover of Water for Elephants: A Novel

I have a confession: As I work on the draft of my next book, I’m finding there’s just too many characters. I love them all, don’t get me wrong, but the last thing I want is a reader who has to make a set of crib notes to keep track of all the people who jump in and out of the story. Many in this cast are bit players – they come in, move the plot along, then exit, never to be seen again. So how do I thin down the cast?

One way is to combine similar characters into one persona. This happens a lot when books are converted to movies, and can be a very effective way of keeping the plot elements, and even character traits, but streamline the story. A very recent example of combining characters can be found in the screen adaptation of the book, Water for Elephants. I’ve seen the movie, read the book (loved it), and am now a even bigger fan of the movie. No, the movie is not identical, but it’s very true to the book. But two prominent characters in the book became one in the movie – in what I think was a stroke of genius.

Water for Elephants is primarily a story about a train circus in 1931. There’s danger, love, betrayal, and one fantastic elephant named Rosie. In the book, the main character, Jacob, jumps a circus train and becomes their vet, and eventually their elephant handler. The circus is run by two powerful and evil men, August and Uncle Al. Jacob falls for August’s wife, Marlena, but you’ll have to either read the book or see the movie to hear that part of the story.  It’s August and Uncle Al I want to talk about.

In the book, Uncle Al owns the circus and has a habit of throwing men off his moving train who cross him or are unproductive. His solitary motivation is the dollar. His role is important, but he’s a relatively minor character. August, on the other, is key to the story, the violent, schizophrenic equestrian director. One second he’s kind, the next vicious. Jacob encounters both throughout the book, but it’s August’s wife Jacob falls for.

Now, to the movie. In the movie, there is no Uncle Al (or I didn’t notice him, if he was there). August is both the psychopath and the owner – which blends into a character even more frightening than the two in the book. Is it the same? No. But it is extremely effective, and wow does it convey how dangerous a world Jacob has entered.

So back to my conundrum. Seeing how well the combining was done in Water for Elephants gives me hope that I can thin down my cast a little but keep all the key elements I need in the story. In some cases, it doesn’t matter quite so much who threatens the protagonist, just that they are threatened. I hope to take this to heart, and tighten up my story a bit more.

Readers: If you’ve seen the movie, what do you think? Do you agree that the movie August is as good as the August/Uncle Al in the book? Or did combining those characters compromise the story?

Writers: Have you had to combine characters before? How difficult was it? Were you happy with the results?

Click here to read the interview

Around the Internet: Bookish

The wonderful Evie at Bookish interviewed me over the weekend. She’s also giving away an e-copy of Whirlwind, so be sure and check it out. Thank you, Evie, you’re a sweetheart!

Share the Wealth Giveaway

Can you believe May is almost over? Let me know what you think about this or any of my posts in May and you’re entered to win. Click below for details.

Meet an Author Monday

Check out what other authors are chatting about today. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, there’s a lot of great stories out there!

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop


Filed under giveaway, Writing Craft

Photo Friday: Candy Edition

365.125 - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Image by nettsu via Flickr

I may be showing my age, but do you remember the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials from the seventies (I think)? The husband and his chocolate bar run into the wife and her peanut butter in the hall, and two flavors become a best selling candy. Never mind that the couple was walking through the house eating, and the only consequence of their violent collision was the mixing of their snacks – it was the idea of mixing two things together by accident and finding something wonderful that caught people’s attention.

Well, I found another taste collision this week (and took a picture of it) – but the jury is still out on how much of a sensation it is:

For those of you that don’t know, Hot Tamales are a spicy, cinnamon-flavored, jelly-bean-like candy. If you know what Mike & Ikes are, they’re the same, but red and cinnamon flavored. Chewy and hot.

Cotton candy is fluffy and sweet. Opposites…but do they attract?

I had to try it. And it’s…interesting. Definitely cotton candy, but it kind of burns my tongue. At first. In the end, it’s more cotton candy than Hot Tamale, and not really any more strange than any other flavor of cotton candy.

By now, you’re probably thinking, “And the point is?” I don’t really have one, I guess, but was struck by the original pairing of two disparate candies. So, what odd pairings have you encountered? Not just food, anything. But if you’ve found something yummy, I’d love to hear it!

Happy Friday!

Comment on this or any post in May and you're entered to win!


Filed under Photo Friday

Whirlwind is Going on Tour!

I’m super-excited to announce the Whirlwind Blog Tour!

Thank you to Missie at The Unread Reader for hosting my first blog tour. During two weeks in June, Whirlwind will be visiting some great blogs all around the net (Click on the graphic to see a detailed schedule). You’ll find excerpts, reviews, interviews, outtakes, and other goodies along the way. COPIES OF WHIRLWIND WILL BE GIVEN AWAY AT EVERY TOUR STOP. Visit them all to increase your chances of winning!

Thank you to all the blog stops on the tour:

A Tale of Many Reviews

Share the Wealth Giveaway

You know you want free books. Comment on any of my blog posts in May, and you’re entered! Click on the graphic to see which books the winners will get to choose from.

Meet an Author Monday

Be sure and check out Meet an Author Monday, hosted on the lovely Lisa Sanchez’s blog. Just click on the photo below to check out what other authors are blogging about. Are you an author? Join the hop with us and meet new readers!

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop


Filed under Blog Tour, giveaway