Contest Author Interview – Liz Adair

(NOTE: If you haven’t yet heard about the contest I’m running through September 24th, go here to see all the prizes and details and please think about entering. After all, there’s no limit on number of entries and there are many ways to enter. If you’ve already entered, remember that leaving a comment about this interview earns you another entry!)

Full disclosure: Liz and I have become very good friends since we got together to form a small critique group a couple of years ago, so if I come off as a bit irreverent during this interview, please understand that I can’t help myself. That’s why I’m grateful to have Liz in my life. She is always a lady and sets the example I try to follow. She has led a varied and interesting life, as you will learn below.

Liz has been writing seriously since 1989–mostly mysteries and romantic suspense–but we’re all grateful that she heeded the inner call to pursue a story from her own family history and penned COUNTING THE COST (more about that later). Not only did it win her the 2009 Whitney Award for Romance, but it was a finalist for the Willa Award and Arizona Publisher Association’s Glyph Award! She recently became chair of the board of directors for LDStorymakers. Her latest novel, COLD RIVER, is on our prize list.

Me:  Of all the places you’ve lived–New Mexico, Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Arizona, Washington, etc.–which do you return to most in your dreams? Or are your dreams in entirely different places? Or do you even remember your dreams?

Liz:  I don’t remember my dreams, much. I dream in narrative, though, and sometimes I’ll wake up after a particularly riveting story and think, “Dang, I’m good.”

Me:  I happen to know you’ve held a variety of jobs throughout your life. Could you give us a quick rundown? And which provided the best fodder for your writing?

Liz:  My first job was in Alaska when I was 14. I worked at the Knik Drive In, Home of the Huskyburger. Later, I did the clerk-typist thing for the Bureau of Reclamation and kept books at an auto parts store during college, and then taught school for several years. I had a small wholesale bakery that the kids and I ran, and I’ve worked in construction management for the last fifteen years. It’s all fodder. I used my teaching experience for COLD RIVER, but my construction experience informed Spider Latham’s character. He was a man who worked with his hands.

Me:  Tell us about your writing process in the voice of either Heck Benham, the handsome cowhand, or Ruth Reynolds, beautiful city girl, in your Whitney Award-winning novel COUNTING THE COST. (I’m just trying to help you along in your current writing…consider this a writing prompt.)

Liz:  Well, my writin’ process is kinda like punchin’ cows. You gotta stick in that saddle, and rope and hog tie those phrases that come trottin’ outa your imagination. It’s long, lonely, dusty work, and sometimes at the end of the day you’ve just got a hole in your jeans where your backside hit the chair to show for your work. But you keep on, ’cause that’s what you do.

(Well done, Heck!)

Me:  Tell us which moniker you prefer privately–Just Liz, Mother Earth, Business Mogul, or Literary Lady–and why. (I’m not making this easy for you, am I? But hey, I left out Storymakers Queen Bee, so you should feel fortunate.)

Liz:  I guess ‘Just Tudy’ would suit me fine. It’s a nickname, the name I grew up with and preferred. (Elizabeth was soooo stuffy.) But in college we had 2 Judys in our apartment, and adding a Tudy made for more confusion. My roommates declared that I MUST become Liz. So I did. I have to admit that once I finally grew up, I kinda liked my given name.

Me:  Of all the characters in your books, which most closely resembles the love of your life, your husband, Derrill? Details please. (You may never want to do an interview with me again. LOL.)

Liz:  Oh, I freely admit that Spider Latham is Derrill. I’ve had men that read the book wonder how I could write so convincingly from the male point of view, and I can’t count the women who have said to me, “I just love Spider latham.” I had one say so just the other night. How are they alike? Hmmm. Derrill is a problem solver. So is Spider. Spider’s a deep thinker–so is Derrill, but both can poke fun at themselves. Growing up in a small town where generations of family have been reared has grounded them both. They know who they are, and it gives them an inner strength.

Me:  I’d ask about your writing space, but that wouldn’t be fair since you’ve only just moved into a new house in Southern Utah. So, instead, please describe your car and how well it might serve (or not) as a temporary office. (Also, please provide a picture, because if you don’t, I’ll post the one of you on the ATV.)

Liz:  My car is hugely impractical, I know. I drive a Mazda Miata and love it. It keeps my life interesting and helps on the budget because my Costco trips are limited to what I can carry home. As far as using it as an office–I do carry my Alphasmart with me in my purse in case I find time to write.

Liz, or “Tudy,” in her bright red Miata

Me:  What are you working on now in terms of your writing (whether in the house, your car, an internet café, or on the ATV)?

Liz:  I’m rewriting COUNTING THE COST. Christine Thackeray worked with me on a screenplay for it and said that it wasn’t really Heck’s story, it was Ruth’s, and it needed to start with Ruth, before she came to New Mexico. So that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I’m also working on a romantic suspense that has illegal aliens, flying cars, dynamite, and a terrific car chase.

(Hmmm. No doubt she’s conducting some actual research on the car chase in her Miata. I wonder how tough the cops are there in Kanab?)

Me:  Finally, as the new chair of LDStorymakers, how would you describe the organization and your vision for its future?

Liz:  I am so excited about LDStorymakers and what is happening there. The organization is peopled with writers dedicated to helping those who have a literary bent learn the craft. I believe that as we help good writers become better, more and more LDS writers will find themselves in the national–and world–market. My vision is that LDS writers will tip the scales towards good in the eternal ‘good vs evil’ scenario.

I tend to agree. If you want to learn more about Liz and her books, please check out her blog. And if you’re down around Kanab, Utah, watch out for a bright red Mazda Miata. ZOOM, ZOOM!

Originally posted 2012-08-27 06:00:29.

Contest Author Interview – Margaret Turley

(NOTE: If you haven’t yet heard about the contest I’m running through September 24th, go here to see all the prizes and details and please think about entering. After all, there’s no limit on number of entries and there are many ways to enter. If you’ve already entered, remember that leaving a comment about this interview earns you another entry!)

Along with writing and nursing, Margaret Turley is an activist of the best kind–always trying to find ways to serve and help–and in that role she helped to co-found Writers Unite to Fight Cancer two years ago. This is a cause that certainly touches every family in some way, and I was excited to give her an opportunity to tell a little more about the organization during my interview.

ALSO: As a special offer from Margaret, starting today for five days, readers may download a free Kindle version of SAVE THE CHILD. After August 28th, the ebook will revert to its normal price of $2.99 per copy.

Me:  Tell us about your first experiences with nursing, and whether or not you wrote a story about it.

Margaret:  I grew up on a farm and so I had the opportunity to nurse many animals. One of the more memorable experiences was when our mother sow had 13 piglets, and 4 runts were too tiny and weak to get the food they needed. I lined a cardboard box and put it in my bedroom and fed them with a doll bottle every hour around the clock. Only one made it out of the four. What helped the most was after he was a week old my dad encouraged me to take him outside and introduce him to Betsy, our old Holstein cow. Her udder was so low that her teats dragged the ground and were very tough. She stood very still and let the piglet suckle from her teat until he had his fill, and then he would trot behind her like a calf. It was delightful to watch. I’ve written down many stories about my pets and farm animals in the past. Some have been lost between moves. Others are lost due to change in technology — with irretrievable data bases. Some of my favorite books to read are the James Herriot series.

Me:  What made you choose nursing as a career, and do you see any similarities between being a nurse and being a writer?

Margaret:  I’ve always loved helping others and caring for people and animals and plants since I was a small child. Science fascinated me in school. If I had endless time and resources, I would be an eternal student and do research. In that way, nursing (a scientifically based art of healing) and writing (a creative art) share the common need for research in order to produce the best outcome. One of my favorite parts of nursing is educating patients about what to do to take care of themselves to enjoy a healthy and happy life. As a writer, I continue to practice that educational part of my nursing with my blog on the Save the Child website. There, I share information about cancer, healthcare, children’s health, parents’ rights and other related issues.

Me:  What made you write SAVE THE CHILD?


While I was traveling to work one day, the news broadcast a story about a mother who was refusing chemotherapy treatment for her son. Because I am a nurse, I asked myself, “Why would a mother decide against the best that medicine could offer for her offspring?” The story unfolded over the next few weeks. The doctors insisted the boy had a virulent cancer that needed immediate attention. Even when threatened with jail and loss of custody, the parents were unrelenting in their premise that they felt their child did not have cancer, and they did not want him to receive chemotherapy. After they were charged with kidnapping their own child because they crossed state lines, a judge listened to the parents and halted the medical community and government forces.

What the parents wanted was an independent, out-of-state medical work-up for their son. The judge allowed them to seek this consultation. The child was discovered to be free of cancer! I sighed with relief. The judge saved this boy from the horrible side-effects of chemotherapy, which include nausea, pain, sores, compromised immune systems, sterility, major organ damage, secondary cancers, and even death.

One of the most important roles of a nurse is to be a patient advocate. During my thirty-four-year career, I have observed more than one situation where a patient and/or their family were not listened to. This can cause grave problems and errors, not the least of which is that patients and families must endure procedures they don’t understand or agree with. It’s my hope that the medical community and the law can come together to serve the best interest of the child and family.

In the U.S., parents do not have the right to make medical decisions for their children from the time they are born until they reach the age of majority. Doctors and hospitals need to respect the different backgrounds, cultures, religious beliefs, and preferred approaches to healthcare that individuals and families have. In SAVE THE CHILD I have explored a few of these options.

Me:  Tell us about your organization Writers Unite to Fight Cancer and how other authors can join the cause.


WUFC was founded in June of 2010. Our mission is to raise community awareness about cancer and raise money for cancer research, while supporting authors with venues and encouragement. The money we raise supports the American Association for Cancer Research, because we believe in their comprehensive and innovative approach.

Today’s cancer researchers are on the verge of life-saving discoveries. But what scientists desperately need are the funds required to mount an all-out assault against cancer. One in three people will develop cancer during their life. This year, 1,529,560 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer, and more than 7.6 million people around the world will die from it.

Authors who would like to join our efforts should contact me, Margaret L. Turley, Administrator, using the link on this web page. Writers may participate in local events, and they can help by listing a link on their website to generate contributions to the AACR.

Me:  I understand the submission period just closed for the WUFC First Annual Charity Writing Contest. When do you expect the anthology of winning stories to be published, and will there be a contest again next year?

Margaret:  People can start ordering copies of the anthology at the Awards Ceremony that will be held in Changing Hands Book Store on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. We hope it will be ready by the first of the year. We have received some great submissions that are in the process of being judged at this time. We will hold the annual contest every year and choose a beneficiary that promotes community awareness, assistance and cancer research.

Me:  What are you working on now in terms of writing?

Margaret:  I’m working on a mystery suspense thriller that also involves a heart transplant (can’t leave out the medical/nursing side of my brain).

Me:  Describe your writing process.

Margaret:  I write down ideas as they come to me. I keep notebooks with me everywhere–purse, car, by the bed, in the living room. I will use paper towels and napkins, if necessary. I’ll let them mull around for a while. Then I’ll write out a page or so of narrative outline. Then I start researching and writing scenes. Then more scenes to connect the other scenes and set up other scenes and resolve other scenes and so forth until we reach the end (we, meaning the characters and I together).

Me:  Finally, how important, in your view, is the role of a writer in today’s society?

Margaret:  No matter what genre the writer chooses to direct their pen or stroke their keys, they reflect the mores of the society they are in–their hopes, dreams, and desires, as well as their fears and dark thoughts. I feel it is our honor and duty to leave a legacy for future generations that they can learn from, be entertained by, and find inspiration in.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to take advantage of her free SAVE THE CHILD Kindle offer…and I can’t wait for her medical thriller. After all, I’m very taken with thrillers these days (I’m currently reading Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD as part of my “Thriller Thursday” challenge) and I can count on hers being well researched! 

Originally posted 2012-08-24 06:00:54.

Contest Author Interview – Tristi Pinkston

(NOTE: If you haven’t yet heard about the contest I’m running through September 24th, go here to see all the prizes and details and enter. If you’ve already entered, remember that leaving a comment about this interview earns you another entry!)

Tristi Pinkston has written historical fiction, nonfiction, even a cookbook…but lately she’s best known for her mystery series involving an older group of female sleuths led by Ida Mae Babbitt. Think Miss Marple with more than a dash of humor. In fact, it’s the first book in this series that she’s offering as a prize in my contest. She’s also a terrific editor and it shows in her clean writing style.

Me:  Tell us about your first masterpiece, “Sue the Dog.” And please feel free to embellish, since writers can never quite seem to stop editing.

Tristi:  Sue was a little doggie with big dreams – she wanted to be a ballerina on the big stage. That’s actually all I remember about the plot. My inspiration? My sister drew these really cute mice in ballerina outfits, and I blatantly stole her idea, stuck a dog in a tutu instead, and went from there. She wasn’t very happy with me.

Me:  What happened in your teens to cause your poetry to turn dark?

Tristi:  My poetry wasn’t so much dark as it was depressing–even at my lowest, I don’t go too dark. But there were two causes. First, my parents divorced when I was in my early teens. Second, I thought all good poetry had to be depressing. It’s the whole teenage angst/suffering for one’s art thing.

Me:  How do you think being home schooled affected you as a writer?

Tristi:  Being home schooled allowed me a lot of freedom to explore who I was and what I wanted to pursue. I can’t say that it did that more so than a public school education – I can’t compare, because I’ve never attended public school. I can say that I’m the kind of person who likes to figure things out for herself, and I appreciate my homeschool background for giving me that personal space.

Me:  Where does Ida Mae Babbitt’s voice in the Secret Sisters series come from? In other words, is it based, loosely or not, on any particular woman in your life?

Tristi:  Ida Mae (and Tansy, and Arlette) popped into my head fully formed and started talking. I never had to “create” them or construct a back story for them or anything – they showed up, they started talking, and I just wrote down what they said. They frequently surprised me with their revelations – I didn’t know Ida Mae’s husband was an alcoholic until she told me.

Me:  What does it take to get a story going in your brain, and which story took you most by surprise?

Tristi:  It takes no provocation whatsoever to get a story going in my brain. I’ve got one percolating in there almost all the time, whether I want one or not. I would have to say that Secret Sisters took me most by surprise because I hadn’t been thinking about writing cozy mysteries, and the characters were so fully formed when they showed up in my brain. It has been a delightful journey with those three little ladies.

Me:  What are you working on at present in terms of your writing?

Tristi:  Right now, I’m writing the first novel in a series that will spin off Secret Sisters. It’s about two FBI agents who come to my fictional town of Omni, Utah, and need to pose as Mormons in order to blend in. They don’t know how to act like Mormons, so they call in the Secret Sisters to give them Mormon lessons. This series still has the comedy I’ve become known for, but the peril and the mystery are a little edgier. The book is called Tulips and Treason.

(Sounds fun, doesn’t it?)

Me:  I’m into writers’ offices. Please describe yours as it looks right now as if you were describing it for a novel.


My office consists of a nightstand right now. There’s a story behind this.

The corner of my bedroom is set up with a desk and chair, with a computer, printer/scanner, pen cup–the whole bit. But last fall, I broke my foot and had to spend a month in bed. At that time, I moved my operations over to my bed and worked from there. My papers and books became stacked on my nightstand. After the foot got better, I had the gall to leave my house, and I was in a car accident with a semi. I spent another few months mostly in bed. I had the whole nightstand thing kind of down to a science by this point. Then, in March, I had even more gall and broke my foot again, this time getting a cast. So, yeah . . . I have a little office in the corner of my room, but I do most everything from my bed while my back is still healing enough to return to a desk chair.

It’s pretty cool, though – I have all my editing clients and writing projects up on Post-It Notes over my nightstand so I can track everything at a glance, and I have my papers on a clipboard, and I basically rock the whole “office in a bed” thing.

I’ll say! In fact, I think someone ought to suggest that Tristi give a presentation at the next LDStorymakers Conference. She could call it “Office in a Bed: Making Your Disability Work for Your Writing.”

Tristi’s latest release, by the way, is Turning Pages, available for order from Amazon here. For more fun details about her life and writing, please visit her website.

And be sure to leave a comment here to earn another entry in my contest. 

(On Friday, I’ll be interviewing Margaret Turley and she’s promised a special deal to go along with her interview, so don’t forget to check back!)

Originally posted 2012-08-22 06:00:14.

“Moleskine Monday” – A Contest!

Since this is my “N” for “Networking” day, let’s test the power of social networking in a contest to spread the word on my soon-to-be-released novel, A NIGHT ON MOON HILL.

Back Cover Copy:

Swimming is Daphne’s one refuge–until the night she finds a body in her pool.

University professor and renowned author Daphne Lessing has never felt at ease in society. But a disturbing occurrence in her once calm and controlled existence suddenly unearths events from her past and thrusts an unusual child into her life.

Ten-year-old Eric has Asperger’s syndrome and is obsessed with fishing and angels. Soon, Daphne finds herself attached to him–and faced with a choice: Does she leave him and return to her solitary, ordered life, trusting others to do right by him, or does she allow this bright child to draw her into the world she has tried to shun? And what about the man that came into Daphne’s life with Eric? Will she be able to shut him out as well?

Details: (Note: Entry details are at the bottom of the post)

The contest will run from August 20th to September 24th (the day before my launch party). This being “Moleskine Monday,” prizes have to include Moleskine products, right? What writer doesn’t love Moleskine notebooks? What reader doesn’t love Moleskine journals in which to jot their favorite passages? And what artist doesn’t love Moleskine sketch notebooks?

Also, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I will feature an interview with an author who has donated his/her own fiction as a prize.

Prizes Include:

  •  1 Sony 7″ Digital Photo Frame (Again, only those who’ve subscribed to my newsletter AND “liked” my new FB page for A NIGHT ON MOON HILL are eligible for this prize)
  • 1 Moleskine Writing Gift Set

  • 1 Moleskine Rechargeable USB Book Light

  • 3 Moleskine Passions Book Journals (I have one…they’re great!)

  • 4 Moleskine Classic Ruled Extra-Small Notebooks (like the kind Daphne has in the story…only hers is black…these are green, violet, orange yellow, and magenta)

And books…lots of books!

  • A free copy of Margaret Turley’s SAVE THE CHILD, a fictional story of one family’s struggle to save a child from cancer

  • A free PDF of Tristi Pinkston’s amusing mystery, SECRET SISTERS
  • A free copy of Liz Adair’s latest mystery, COLD RIVER, her Whitney Winner, COUNTING THE COST, or a set of her SPIDER LATHAM mysteries


  • 2 paperback copies and 3 ebooks of my first book, THE RECKONING

  • A copy of Julie Coulter Bellon’s soon-to-be released (in September) novel, ALL FALL DOWN

  • 3 ebooks of THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A GINNIE WEST ADVENTURE by Monique Bucheger
  • A paperback copy of H.B. Moore’s DAUGHTERS OF JARED
  • Three different ebooks from medieval romance author Joyce DiPastena: LOYALTY’S WEB (for Kindle), ILLUMINATIONS OF THE HEART (for Kindle), and DANGEROUS FAVOR (for Kindle or Nook)
  • One paperback (U.S. only) and 2 ebooks of Cindy M. Hogan’s suspense thriller, WATCHED

  • One copy of Adam Glendon Sidwell’s popular MG novel, EVERTASTER

  • Two of Ali Cross’s YA Paranormals, BECOME (3 ebooks and 1 print) and DESOLATE (3 ebooks and 1 print)
  • One copy (either print or ebook) of Danyelle Ferguson’s and Lynn Parson’s award-winning (dis)ABILITIES AND THE GOSPEL
  • One copy each of Patricia G. Stevenson’s Professor Del Channing’s murder mystery series: THE DILAPIDATED MAN, THE JEZEBEL BRIDE, and THE SHAMROCK CONSPIRACY

  • One copy of THE UNWILLING, the first volume in C. David Belt’s “The Children of Lilith” trilogy

  • And last, but not least, 2 ebooks from Annette Lyon: LOST WITHOUT YOU and AT THE WATER’S EDGE

Other Details:

  • No limit on number of entries
  • No limit on how many prizes can be won by any one person
  • Winners will be drawn using on September 26th
  • Prizes will be shipped (or emailed) anywhere in the U.S. and Canada (where possible, books will be signed)


How to Enter:

  • Join my new newsletter list here on my home page (look for it in the sidebar on the home page) for three entries and a shot at the top two prizes (as long as you also “like” my new book’s FB page)
  • Leave a comment here for another entry (be sure and include your full name) and you get an entry for each comment you make on my author interviews during the contest period (one per author)
  • Blog about the contest and coming book release, including the book cover image and back cover copy posted above in italics (email with the blog link) for two more entries
  • Read the First Chapter here and tell me what clued Daphne in to the body’s identity (email for three entries
  • “Like” my new Facebook page for A NIGHT ON MOON HILL for another entry and a shot at the top two prizes (as long as you also subscribe to the newsletter)
  • Facebook about the contest and release (email–one FB entry per person)
  • Tweet about the contest and release (email–one Twitter entry per person)

I hope all of this is clear, but if you have any questions, please ask.

Originally posted 2012-08-20 05:00:04.

Check out the Contest for Josi Kilpack’s Latest Book!

Josi Kilpack’s Tres Leches Cupcakes is being released the first week of September and to kick it all off, she’s announced a contest.

In conjunction with the release of Tres Leches Cupcakes the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for free books. To enter, leave a comment in the comment section of this blog before September 16th, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified September 17th 2012.

For additional ways to enter, go to, or keep reading below.

Josi’s a terrific writer and if you haven’t yet tasted her culinary mystery series (or Daisy, her contribution to the Newport Ladies Book Club series), you’ve been skipping more than dessert!


For Sadie Hoffmiller, going undercover as an informant for the Bureau of Land Management on an archeological site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, seems like the perfect way to stay safe and busy while a threat against her life remains unresolved. Sadie’s days are spent digging up artifacts in the middle of nowhere while also digging up information on her fellow “dirt geeks.” With the help of her baking prowess—no one can resist those amazing dulce de leche bars—and Pete’s cousin, Caro, who takes to the detective work wholeheartedly, Sadie is finding herself again.

But the bright Southwestern sunshine only serves to illuminate the danger that lurks in the shadows. When recent burials are found on an ancient site, Sadie finds herself in the middle of an unexpected—and unwanted—investigation. The more she digs for the truth, the more secrets she uncovers—secrets that people would kill to keep hidden.

Before Sadie knows it, she’s arrested for starting a bar fight (which was totally not her fault), her new friend is missing, and she’s worn out her welcome in Santa Fe in more ways than one. A trip to the annual hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque is supposed to give her a break, but before long, she learns that when you’re dealing with the black market antiquity trade, you’re not really safe anywhere you go.

Contest Details

  • Three books are up for grabs to start the contest.
  • For every 50 entries (not including existing newsletter recipients) another book will be added to the pot.
  • No limit on number of entries.
  • No limit on how many books can be won by any one person.
  • The winner can choose any book in the Sadie Hoffmiller series, including Tres Leches Cupcakes.
  • Winners will be drawn via on September 17th.
  • Books will be signed and shipped anywhere in the US and Canada.

How to Enter (multiple entries encouraged!)

I’m too far away to attend a live event (unless she happens to come up here…hint, hint), but the rest should be a piece of cake…that is to say…cupcake!

Originally posted 2012-08-17 13:36:38.

Cover Reveal!

Amy Orton at Walnut Springs has bent over backward and I’m now pleased to announce my cover for “A Night on Moon Hill”:

What do you think?

I’m happy and excited, and to celebrate I’m going to announce a special contest beginning on “Moleskine Monday” in which many of the prizes are…you guessed it…Moleskine products! (Any of my writer friends who would like to donate copies of their own books for the contest are also more than welcome!)

I was supposed to blog about networking this past Monday, but I just didn’t get around to it because I was so stressed about the cover. So this next Monday, I’m launching this contest to test the powers of social networking in spreading the word about my book.

Check back Monday for more details about the book and all the prizes.

Originally posted 2012-08-16 17:20:12.

“Thriller Thursdays” – Suspense of “The Bourne Identity” More Complex

Present word count of WIP:  60,234 (Yes, I’ve been dead in the water when it comes to writing…somewhat like Ludlum’s protagonist in the beginning.)

Between the Olympics, gearing up for a book launch and being held in suspense over the final cover of my next novel, it was all I could do to get my reading in, but I did! I actually finished Robert Ludlum’s classic spy thriller, “The Bourne Identity” last Thursday…at about 11:27 pm. Too late to blog about it.

But it gave me time to watch the two movies based on the story. You see, I had thought I’d read this before, but I didn’t remember half of the plot in the book, mainly due to the more recent film version with Matt Damon. The film with Damon was so terrific that it effectively supplanted the plot of the novel in my mind.

Confused, I did a little investigating and came to discover there was a film version put out for television back in the 80’s starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. While it was much truer to the book, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much…and it wasn’t just because of the acting (Jaclyn Smith made me cringe).

 Is that a reflection on Ludlum’s novel? I think so, yes. While his plot is more complex and the writing is tightly-paced (I’ve never seen so many sentence fragments), I began to grow tired of the hero’s struggles to regain his memory. The book was very tied in to current headlines and, having lived through the 80’s, I remember the terrorist/assassin named “Carlos” and how the newspapers bandied about his name every time there was some high-profile attack.

(Spoiler Alert): While the book makes Jason Bourne struggle to come to terms with the possibility that he is this “Carlos,” it eventually clarifies that he isn’t, that he was a good guy working for the U.S. all along, not killing but faking kills in order to draw out the competitive Carlos. While Ludlum writes short sentences, he writes an awful lot of them and, at a certain point, the material just seemed too dense, the psychological struggling too repetitive.

I found the approach taken by Tony Gilroy in the Matt Damon film to be much more compelling: There was no Carlos, or if so, then Jason Bourne (and others like him) filled that role. Bourne was, indeed, a bad guy who did bad things (even if he was brainwashed to do them) and, once he realizes it, he has to find a way to live with himself and try to change his life.

I’m giving it 3.5 stars.

Favorite quote:

“Nothing makes a man more nationalistic than to think his country’s owned by foreigners. He can adjust in time to losing a war–that only means the enemy was stronger–but to lose his economy means the enemy was smarter.”

Next up: Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood…and from what I’ve read so far, I think this will be a 5-star read!

And stay tuned tomorrow. I believe I’ll be unveiling my cover!

Originally posted 2012-08-16 15:21:49.

Annette Lyon’s “Paige” Set to Launch

Present word count of WIP:  60,234

If you haven’t yet heard of The Newport Ladies Book Club, check the series out now with the third installment, “Paige” by Annette Lyon, launching this Saturday. If you click on the link now you can get into the “Spread the Love” contest and win some great books (paperback and ebook) or maybe even chocolate!

The Newport Ladies Book Club series is unique in that each Newport book is written from the point of view of a different woman in the book club. The first 4 books cover the same time period and the same book club meetings. But only with reading all 4 books, will you learn the whole story of each of the women and her full character journey. Think of it as a parallel series, not as a forward-moving series.

I read the first, “Olivia” by Julie Wright, and really liked it. I’ve still got “Daisy” by Josi Kilpack in my Kindle waiting to be read and now it will be joined by “Paige.” A few months from now the fourth member of the book club will get her turn in “Athena” by Heather Moore.

Can’t wait! (In fact, I need a break from all these murder mysteries and thrillers…”Daisy” coming up!)

Originally posted 2012-08-08 11:38:35.

“Moleskine Mondays” – “I” is for “iPad App” (Penultimate)

Present word count of WIP:  59,347

A peek at a few of my apps

I have several iPad apps that help in my writing, but the one I love best is Penultimate.

That one there in the middle

First, any time you want to start a new project, you simply add a new notebook and dive in. For example, here’s my notebook for my current WIP, “School of Guardians”:

If I tap on it, it will open to the page I was working on last, but you can also get a menu type view of all the pages:

If I’m working on a particular scene, such as the Luncheon scene with the parents before the Memorial Service, and need to keep in mind where each character is at the table, I can quickly sketch it out:

Or if you’re dealing with a fantastic kind of setting and it helps you to sketch it out on paper (or tablet in this case) until you get it to match the image in your mind, it’s easy to do with this app (and you can erase to your heart’s content without wasting paper):

You can even fool around with possible cover ideas for your novels, and while none of these images show it, you can write or draw in different colors (as you’ll see from their website). My publisher is preparing a cover for A Night on Moon Hill as I’m posting this, but I sent along a couple of suggestions, based partly on this sketch:

As you can see, I’m no artist but I can still visualize some concepts in basic form. What about you? Do you ever try to draw mockups of possible covers? Have you had any experience with this particular app, good or bad? I’d love to hear about it.

Originally posted 2012-08-06 15:21:14.

“Moleskine Mondays” – “K” is for “Knowledge”

Present word count of WIP:  59,347

(At some point this next month, my word count will begin regularly changing. I promise. I’ve been busy proofing my book that’s coming out in a few weeks!)

Any writer worth his or her salt needs a variety of resources to do the research and gain the knowledge necessary to hone craft and write with authority. Having a background in journalism, I make it a point to read the newspaper every day. I can’t help it. It’s a habit, and a good one, I think. As you can see from the picture below, my son is beginning to follow in my footsteps.

First of all, it gives me plenty of story ideas. Within the pages of any daily newspaper you can find enough kernels of drama to fuel a hundred different stories.

Second, it educates me. I don’t care how many college degrees you have, you can never stop learning because the database in this world keeps growing. And I always make it a point to make my novels not only entertaining but informative and world expanding. I want my readers to feel that reading my books is time well spent, not wasted.

So research is key.

I came across an article yesterday in Parade Magazine (which comes with my Sunday paper) by Jennifer Kahn that should be required reading, in my opinion, for all writers.

Entitled “What Your Nose Knows and Other Amazing Facts About Your Senses,” the piece contains all kinds of nuggets that should inform our storytelling. After all, the best fiction doesn’t ignore any of the senses.

What about you? Do you make a regular habit of reading the paper? If so, when was the last time you were helped on a story or in your writing by something in the newspaper?

Originally posted 2012-07-30 11:58:58.