Tag Archives: giveaway

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?

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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

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Filed under giveaway, Writing Craft

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

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Photo Friday

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I have to embarrass my children. Here’s a shot from long ago…DANGER! CUTENESS ALERT!

Okay, even I went, “Awwwwww.” 😀 My babies are both teenagers now, so there won’t be any cuddling like this (unless they’re wrestling). But, babies or not, I’m blessed to call them mine.

This Sunday’s holiday may be about mothers, but I celebrate my children every day. I love you guys!

Are you planning anything for Mother’s Day? Do you celebrate it where you live? Comment on the blog and Share the Wealth!

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Filed under Holidays

Share the Wealth Giveaway

After having such a great time at the RT Booklovers Convention and scoring a TON of new books, I’m sharing the wealth and giving some away!

Here’s how it works:

1. To enter, comment on any of my blog posts that go up in May (starting with this one!). I want to hear from you! And yes, more comments equals more entries! Note: comments are moderated, so spammers are not eligible to win.

2. Due to postage costs, this contest is open to US addresses only. 8( Sorry!

3. Winner will be picked at random on June 1, 2011.

WHAT DO I WIN??!

The grand prize winner will get their pick of FIVE books from the following list (you can see them all in one place HERE on Goodreads):

Bitten
Body Language
Weddings Can Be Murder
A Little Bit Wicked
Lover Mine
No One Heard Her Scream
Southern Comfort
It's Hotter In Hawaii
Murder in Vein
Coming Undone
The Vampire Voss
Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives
The Panic Zone
Killer Heat
Face of Danger
Blue Diablo
Eve of Chaos
Senseless
Nowhere Near Respectable
Knight of Passion
This Charming Man
Skinny-Dipping
Up Close and Dangerous
The Guy Next Door
Malice
Mad about the Duke
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady
Brimstone Kiss
Healing Dr. Fortune
Poisoned Kisses

The runner-up gets their pick of TWO of the remaining books.

What? You DON’T have a copy of Whirlwind yet? Each winner will also get an autographed copy!

So if you like to read, be sure and check out my blog entries this May and leave a comment or two. You may win a box of books to take to the beach this summer!

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Filed under giveaway, Reading