Tag Archives: books

Secondary Characters Get Their Say in Outtakes

Today’s Whirlwind Blog Tour stop is at A Trail of Books Left Behind.

Megan was kind enough to allow me to guest post on her blog today and discuss some of the minor characters in Whirlwind. Too often, minor characters have stories all their own, but there just isn’t space in the book to tell them all. So, in addition to peeking into some of the back story involving characters like Mitch and Linda, I’ve also posted two outtakes from Whirlwind. Strap on your chaps and find your cowboy hat because we’re going to the rodeo!

Check out how Melissa’s first assignment for the Mission Daily in Meeting Mitch, and then the aftermath of her…um…misunderstanding with him in The Apology. You can also find these and other goodies under the “Extras” tab above.

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY on A Trail of Books Left Behind to win a free e-Copy of Whirlwind! Every stop on the tour will give away a copy.

And also check out Megan’s review of Whirlwind HERE.

Past Blog Tour stops:

Tomorrow’s stop:

For What It’s Worth

Blog Tour Extra – Helloooo Mitch!

After seeing yummy photos of Jason on The Unread Reader last week, readers asked for Missie to show us who she’d pick for Mitch, and she has! Check out Melissa’s steer-wrestling best friend on today’s edition of My Book Boyfriend (CLICK HERE).

Be warned: You might want to pour yourself a cool drink and pick up a fan first…


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Which First? The Book or the Movie?

With the release of the movie, Water for Elephants, I was faced with the new-age chicken-and-egg question: Do I read the book or watch the movie first?

Over the years, I’ve seen many movies made from books I’ve read. The first one I think I can remember is Shirley Temple’s version of The Little Princess. I’d read the book, and I remember picking out the differences, especially the ending. There have been many more books I’d read made into movies since then – Patriot Games, The Bourne Identity, The Da Vinci Code and Twilight, just to name a few. What I’ve learned is that movie versions of books can be very entertaining, but should be viewed as separate entities. They are not, nor can they be, twins. In some cases, a book and its movie counterpart can be seen as siblings, in others, it’s hard to tell if the two are related at all. But that doesn’t mean each isn’t entertaining.

There have been cases where I saw the movie before reading the book – most notably for me, the first three Harry Potter movies. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading the HP books at first (probably because my kids were too young to appreciate them at the time), but I did enjoy the movies. After seeing the third movie (which I loved – don’t hate me), I read the fourth book. I then went back and read the first three, and have picked up the remaining books of the series when they came out – before the movies. Again, I enjoyed both print and film versions, even though they were different, and am looking forward to the movie conclusion to that series.

So, what to do about Water for Elephants? I had the book (thanks, Jenn!), but didn’t have a lot of time to read it before our family movie night on Saturday. I did get a few chapters in, though, and got a feel for the voice and the story, which I liked. When faced with seeing Prom or Water for Elephants, I opted for the later.  And I loved it.

There are those that have critiqued the acting, but I have to say, the movie was lovely. I especially liked the way the violence implicit in the story was handled. Yes, it was PG-13, but considering some of the horror flicks with that rating, it wasn’t that bad. Even though I’d only read a bit of the book before seeing the movie, I could see where some changes had been made, but I also recognized some dialog lifted directly from the manuscript. It was a very good blend, from what I could see.

I do intend to finish the book, by the way – it’s my “carrot” for finishing my next chapter’s worth of writing. I’ll be looking for that part of the story I didn’t see in the movie, including more about present-day Jacob. But I’m glad I got to see it when I did.

What do you think? Do you always read the book first? Does that set your expectations for the movie? What about vice versa? If you’ve seen the movie first, does the book disappoint, or give you more story than you expected? Remember, your comment gets you entered in the Share the Wealth Giveaway.

And whether you’ve read Water for Elephants or not, I highly recommend the movie.

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 giveaway, Reading

Tomorrow is the Day!

I can’t believe Release Day is tomorrow!  There were many times in the past few years that I was sure this day was never coming…but now it’s only a few hours away.  Suffice to say that I’ll be a jumpy mess today!

How about one last excerpt from Whirlwind to pass the time? This is a long one, I hope you enjoy it!

My stomach lurched when the wrinkled suit of the eighties guy I’d bumped into outside stalked toward me. Not surprised or angry—thank goodness—he had a confident, almost predatory walk. His smile didn’t convey excitement or happiness but voracious greed, his lips rising to fully expose his canines in a wolf-like grin. He was, in a word, creepy.

That’s it. Gotta go. I reached for my purse, but the strap caught on something. I’d just untangled it when I felt a heavy hand on the back of my chair.

“Hi. Would you like to dance?” he asked in an oily voice.

“No, thank you. I don’t dance.” Still.

“How about I join you then?” he asked and promptly sat in the chair closest to me. “I was rude when we ran into each other earlier. I’m Ron.”

Was that supposed to be an apology or a pick-up?

“What’s your name?” he asked, ignoring the fact he hadn’t let me answer his previous question.

Showing him the same level of courtesy, I scanned the crowd, searching for a lifeline. Chase and Linda were busy talking to his parents several tables away. Beth and Todd were dancing; Mitch and Ann were across the room, laughing; and neither Tricia nor Jason had reappeared. Welcome to wedding reception hell.

I picked up my water glass and considered dumping it in Ron-the-creep’s lap, but that would mean getting closer to him and his smelly suit. Instead, I took a long drink and inspected the five-tiered wedding cake in the far corner, avoiding his eerie stare. Would he get the hint if I refused to acknowledge his existence?

“So, are you a friend of the bride or the groom?” he asked, unfazed.

“Groom,” I nearly shouted, hoping this guy was as intimidated by Mitch as the Trojans were. “Close friends.” None too subtly I clutched my purse, thankful I’d remembered to slip my pepper spray in the tiny bag. “I should probably go congratulate him.” I tried to inch my chair away, but Ron held it fast.

“He’s busy with the other guests.” His head turned slightly, toward the newlyweds I assumed. “I’m a friend of a friend of the bride. She’s quite beautiful, isn’t she?” The covetous smile reappeared.

“Yes, she is,” I said. Coldness enveloped me when I realized all the tables around us were empty.

Options…I need options. The door closest to me was marked WOMEN—that’d do nicely. I tensed, planning to make a dash for the bathroom should Ron’s hold on my chair loosen even for a second.

He scrutinized me with hungry eyes. “Hey, let’s get out of here and take a walk in the garden. There’s a trail that goes down to the beach. I doubt a little hike would wear you out.” A cold finger grazed my back. Was he touching the ends of my hair?

I jerked forward, away from his hand, still unable to budge my chair. Ron was exceptionally bold, quickly moving from creepy to frightening. My thoughts turned from flight to fight.

“No thanks. I wouldn’t want to miss the action here.” I repositioned my purse in my lap so I could reach the zipper. As I did, the table moved—and another path appeared: tip the table and make a scene. Could I ruin Mitch’s celebration? What if I was misinterpreting Ron’s eagerness?

“Aw, come on, this stuff is boring anyway. It doesn’t look like anyone will miss us,” he pressed. “It’ll be a treat.”

A treat? I had to get away from this guy! Like a song stuck on repeat, the possibilities raced around my brain, along with an adrenaline-enhanced list of Ron’s weaknesses. Run, scream, fight, spray. Ribs, eyes, knees, groin.

Summoning all my courage, I gripped the edge of the table. Thankfully, Chase materialized beside me before I tipped it over.

“Hi. I’ve been looking for you.” He carefully avoided using my name, somehow sensing the fear surging through me. “We’re dancing as a group over in the corner. Come join us.”

I didn’t hesitate. “Okay.” Without a second glance at Ron, I pushed myself away from the table, catching my captor off guard.

In a flash, Ron wrapped his clammy hand around mine and squeezed it hard—too hard. I flinched, still trapped in my chair.

“She doesn’t dance,” he said, his nostrils flaring. I tried to free myself, but his fingers became a vise, tightening as I struggled against them.

“Get your hands off her!” someone snarled. Ron’s head whipped around, looking for the new speaker.

I took advantage of the distraction and ripped my hand out of his, jumping up so fast I slammed into Chase. He caught me, automatically wrapping a protective arm around my shoulders.

Ron rose to face him, his hands bunched into fists. My new savior intervened, equally incensed: Jason McAlister.

In less than 12 hours you can read the rest! Omnific Publishing even has a sale going for the holidays:

Holiday Ebook Coupon

Check out Meet an Author Monday for More Book Suggestions

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop


Authors! Have a book out? Are you under contract for publication? Make sure you join in the hop. This is a great way to network your blog and let readers know who you are!

And We Have a Winner

Congratulations to Britney in Texas – she won the autographed copy of Whirlwind on goodreads.com! More giveaways are coming, so stay tuned.

Quick Gift Ideas

Looking for something quick and easy to give?  Here’s a couple quick gift ideas:

  • Restaurant gift cards – great for the person who has everything!  Many are on sale now…pick some up for your favorite restaurant, too?
  • Movie tickets – kids especially love these. I’ve found that Costco has great deals on movie tickets; I always have a couple passes in my wallet.
  • LED Keychain light – a great stocking stuffer, but SO useful.
  • Movies at home kit – Great for people who can’t get out (like parents of young kids). Include a pack of microwave popcorn, some Raisinets and Hot Tamales, and either a DVD or movie rental gift card. Put them in an inexpensive bowl or popcorn containers (available at places like Target).

Have a great day, and see you TOMORROW!


Filed under excerpt, Great News, Publishing, Tips and Tricks

Review of Mockingjay

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mockingjay proved to be the book that delivered on the promise of revolution, but the carnage and games continue.

Of the three books, this one started the slowest, I think. There’s a lot of anticipation, both of the battles to come and of who’s going to die. After reading the first two books, I was expecting the worst, so was kind of surprised at who ended up surviving. Don’t get your hopes up, though, there’s no happy ending here either.

Many have spoken of the triangle between Katniss, Gale, and Peeta, but I really didn’t feel like it was much of a LOVE triangle. Maybe a LOYALTY triangle, but I’m not sure Katniss ever will understand or feel love for anyone but her sister, Prim. The resolution between Katniss and her two beaus is believable, though, and felt right to me.

As far as the story goes, I’m reminded of a quote from a TV show (a Star Trek episode, I think, but I can’t remember): Everybody dies. No, this isn’t a spoiler…but as is true in any war, everyone dies in some way, be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Including Katniss. I think that’s the saddest part about the end of this series, is that the Katniss I loved in book one is gone.

There’s two decisions that Katniss makes at the end of this book that I don’t understand. Well, one I understand but would have liked to know that SHE understood it, and the other didn’t really make sense to me. If you’re curious which ones, drop me a line. And the consequences from those decisions seemed a little contrived, but that’s probably because we’re stuck in Katniss’ point of view and really don’t know what happens behind the scenes.

The one criticism I have is the epilogue. I really feel it was unnecessary. Perhaps it was an attempt to give the reader (or the editor) some kind of happy ending, but I don’t think it was in character. After everything the characters went through and the thorough destruction of their trust in EVERYTHING, what is described in the epilogue is not really believable, no matter how much time has passed. Again, if you’d like specifics, message me.

This series is not a love story, it’s the story of the ravages of war and the corruption of power. I think we’ll be seeing the first book, The Hunger Games, being added to high school curricula in the future, and rightly so. And after reading all three books, I have a much greater respect for our soldiers returning from war, and the demons they have to carry for the rest of their lives.

View all my reviews

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Filed under book review, Reading

How Much is Too Much?

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This question is one I ask myself almost every day.  Sometimes innocently: How much is too much in the washing machine?  Sometimes guiltily: How much is too much when scooping ice cream?  But sometimes seriously: How much is too much when it comes to sex in a book?

As a romance novelist, it’s not a question I worry too much about.  “Too much” is usually more of a marketing concern – who am I trying to sell my book to, and how much detail do they want.  But as a mom, the question takes on an entirely different meaning—especially when it comes to what to allow my children to read.

I’m not a fan of banning books, far from it.  But when told my daughter would be reading Like Water for Chocolate this year, that it was, in the teacher’s words “a little racy,” and that we’d have the option of substituting a different book, I paused.  What was she being asked to read?

Now, my daughter’s teacher is wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  He immediately sent home a copy of the book for me to read, and assured everyone that there would be no repercussions, should we decide it wasn’t the book for our kids.  The decision was up to us as parents:  How much is too much?

Well, I read it.  It’s a fascinating book, built like one of the many dishes featured in its pages.  Mexican folklore is layered on top of a classic Cinderella-like story, mixed in with a love of food and a sensual romance.  It’s the “how sensual” part I worried about.

As far as romance novels (including mine) go, the sexual aspects could be considered a little on the tame side, I think.  The interludes were short, and not explored as emotionally as they could have been. There was the occasional explicit reference to a woman’s physical response and some intimate touching.  But is it too much?

Every situation is different, and considering my daughter, her experiences—and even my experiences and reading in high school—I’ve decided that no, it’s not too much.  Based on the “family life” classes she’s had (aka sex ed), the discussions we’ve shared about a variety of topics, and her level of maturity, I’m okay with her reading it.  But it’s not the kind of book I’d give to just anyone her age.  And honestly, I’m not sure how the boys in her class will react to it.

The story does lend itself to discussions about physical attraction vs. “true love.”  I’ll be curious to hear if that comes up in my daughter’s class discussions.  But there are also themes of familial responsibility vs. independence, accepting the consequences of one’s actions, and finding one’s self.  Taken as a whole, it’s a very thought-provoking book.

The most important thing is that the teacher asked us the question in the first place, and I thank him for giving us the opportunity to answer it.

As for my book?  It’s definitely too much for her.  But you have to love her:  She’s counting the days until she heads off to college so she can read it then.  Talk about loyalty!


Filed under Parenting, Reading