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Guest Post and $25 Giftcard (of your choosing!-comment entry) Giveaway by Author Kalen Cap

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kalen will award a $25 Green Gift Card from -- redeemable for GCs from hundreds of your favorite merchants to one randomly drawn commenter and the host with the most comments (excluding his and the hosts) will win a $10 Amazon GC. Please leave a comment to enter with your email address!


A pregnant manatee is rare at any zoo, and a first for the Grove City Zoo in Ohio. Ankh is a delight to zoo patrons, a concern to its staff, and the unintentional victim of two con men. She has no idea how many human relationships, problems, and dreams tangle around her.

Jerry is a young developmentally disabled man who happily follows Ankh's pregnancy on the zoo's webcam. He has a shy crush on Janelle, a pretty college student who volunteers for his group home’s outings to the zoo.

Jerry's Aunt Vera also loves nature and runs an environmental retreat center. But all is not well, with Vera or the center. The center needs money and is under investigation as a cult.

Amid their college studies, Janelle and her friend Cecily try to help. Instead, Janelle re-awakens an old obsession in Vera when an innocent tarot reading hints at how the center might be saved.

Two bumbling con men are attempting to sabotage the region’s electrical grid as part of a lucrative scheme. But Jerry accidentally gets in their way and becomes their captive.

When the con men surprisingly succeed in bringing the grid down, it spells danger for Ankh, her unborn pup, and the many people tied to them both. With investigations of their own, Cecily and Janelle try to untangle it all to find Jerry, save a manatee’s life, and rescue Vera from herself.
Tangled Ties to a Manatee is a humorous crime thriller with environmental themes that is revealed through multiple points of view. The novel emphasizes college-aged characters, though not all, such as the developmentally disabled ones, are in college.



“What we gonna do with him?” Craig asked.

Stan held the door open, motioning for Craig to carry their intruder inside. I’m glad we’re at this site.

Another retired hub station was a few miles away. That station’s maintenance was scheduled for Monday and Thursday, and Stan originally planned to use that location. But, with the forecasted weather, the current station, with its maintenance on Wednesday and Friday, was proving the better choice. Particularly now, since it had a second building where they could stow their intruder. The retired grid hub station was used for remote relayed processing, so there wouldn’t likely be any surprise visits by the electric company before Wednesday. Stan figured they’d be long gone by then.

Craig took the load inside and turned back to Stan.

“We’ll put him in the basement,” Stan said.

“There’s a basement?”

“No, I’m going to dig one while you hold him. Of course, there’s a basement.” Stan flipped the light switch and led the way down the steps inside. The basement had a storage area and what had been a break room, complete with a cot, and adjoining bathroom. Craig followed him into the break room, and Stan motioned to the cot. Craig let the guy fall there with a thump.

“Easy! Let’s get the sack off him,” Stan said. The two men pulled the burlap off their surprise guest. They both leaned over, peering at him.

“I know him,“ Craig said.

“You think you know everybody.”

“No, really. Can’t remember where I saw him, though.”

Stan handed his partner a couple lengths of cord. Craig set the intruder upright and proceeded to bind his hands and feet.

My process for writing in this genre and developing characters

“Tangled Ties to a Manatee” is a humorous crime thriller with environmental themes. The reason I chose the genre is that it provides suspense for the reader while allowing me to explore serious subjects in a lighthearted way. Also, crime thrillers usually have specific events that the storyline hinges on, so the structure appealed to me. I prefer using humor to engage readers. I want folks to have fun while reading my work.

For my debut novel, I started with a few firm characters and some supporting characters linking them. This let the writing process flesh them out more over time. Some characters were rather fully developed early on. Cecily’s personality and storyline stayed consistent from the first draft, for example. Other characters, such as Maureen, began as minor, supporting characters. Maureen is an example of a character that gradually took on a more important role during progressive rewrites to tighten and further lighten the novel.

For “Tangled Ties to a Manatee,” I had a rough outline that hinged on a small number of key events and the specific entanglements and interweaving of the storyline threads took form as I wrote. For a new work-in-progress of mine, I have a more detailed and structured outline developed ahead of the writing. While I feel that a given story idea might naturally need more or less outlining, I find a good routine keeps me more productive and that outlines are an important part of a good routine.

One concern that’s important for the quality of my writing is self-care. Though I see some attention to this in writers’ forums, I’m surprised that I don’t see much written about how integral it is to the quality of a writer’s work. While I can push myself late into the night when a specific goal is nearly completed, late nights are usually a losing proposition for my writing productivity. When I do that, I’m more apt to write dead-end tangents while tired and be burned out for days afterward. When I force myself to stop and get a reasonable amount of rest, I make better, regular progress. It’s not just sleep. Eating right, exercising, spending time with friends, and other forms of self-care take time, but then the hours that remain during each week for the writing are more productive.

So, when I treat myself well, it is easier to remain flexible, adapt my approach to the piece, fully develop characters and plan storylines, and make steady progress writing from there. My writing process for “Tangled Ties to a Manatee” differed from the new work-in-progress, but I believe it worked well for this humorous crime thriller.

Author Bio:

Kalen Cap is a writer living in Columbus, Ohio. Active in a variety of causes, particularly with regard to the environment, he often brings such concerns into his fiction writing.

Tangled Ties to a Manatee is his debut novel.

He has had poetry published and several plays, both one act and full-length, produced locally. Two short stories have been published as well. "Feral" is a short story published in Off the Rocks, v. 14, ed Allison Fradkin, NewTown Writers Chicago, 2010, pp. 119-126. "Transforming Oracle" is a self-published short story available at

Kalen’s website is

He can be readily connected with through the following social media profiles –
Twitter: @kalencap
Google+ :


  1. Rebecca Hipworth said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds really good! :)

  1. Lili said...:

    This sounds really interesting. There's a diversity of characters--a pregnant manatee and a shy man with a crush for one, but it also has a unique plot: a cult that evolves around working with animals? Who ever heard of that?

    Interesting book!

    My e-mail is Thank you for the awesome giveaway. (:

  1. Thank you for hosting Kalen today.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thank you for hosting me today during the book tour. Good to hear from folks already this morning.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Rebecca, Thank you for your post. I also have a couple special days for the kindle version coming up later in the month.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Lili I'm glad you find the book interesting. I'm glad that word about the book is getting out to folks.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    I have to head into work, but will check comments periodically today.

    My power being out at the house following weekend storms is keeping me succinct as I work from my smart phone this morning.

  1. Thanks for the excerpt! The book sounds awesome! ^_^

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thanks Nikki. I'm glad you liked the excerpt.

  1. Thanks for the giveaway! I am always looking for new books for my class and for my middle school child to read.

  1. V. Ramsey said...:

    Fun summer reading-

  1. This sounds like a great book- I love Manatees so that got my attention and I enjoy humorous books lately! Sounds great!!

    jill (dot) watkins (at) gmail (dot) com

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I've always been curious about manatees, and the excerpt looks great!


  1. Rayray said...:

    awesome giveaway! Thank you!

  1. Anne said...:

    Congrats on your first novel. It sounds like a fun read and we need mor crime caper novelists now that Donald Westlake has died.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thanks Kelly b, Several reviewers have thought it would be good for YA readers.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Appreciate the vote of confidence V Ramsey.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thanks Jill. Yes, manatees are great animals.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    I'm glad you like the excerpt Anonymous.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thanks for participating Rayray.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thanks. All new authors owe a debt of gratitude to those that have paid the way. I wouldn't be a writer if I hadn't benefitted from the great work of those who have passed.

  1. JC said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway, have a great one!
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  1. This book sounds really really cool! :) Can't wait to check it out! Thanks for the giveaway.


  1. MomJane said...:

    I think the story has a lot of sweetness in it, along with the mystery. It really sounds fun.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    JC, thank you for participating.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    MomJane, thank you for your comment. I hope it is fun and different for readers.

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    maniacal bookworm, I hope you do check it out. On Amazon, the Look Inside feature is activated for both the paperback and kindle ebook versions.

  1. Julie S said...:

    Sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for the post and giveaway.


  1. I'm really interested in checking out this book. I love mysteries and animals and of course love humor! I also work in school psychology, so work with children and adolescents with exceptionalities. Because of this, I always love to see how different authors interpret different disabilities.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. Thank you for the giveaway! The book sounds awesome. Please enter me:

    Best Regards,
    Ley Mesina

  1. And my email if you need it!

    snhoveln AT gmail DOT com

  1. Lmbrunken said...:

    This sounds like a great read.
    Lmbrunken at gmail dot com

  1. Thanks for the Giveaway!


  1. Nancy said...:

    Sounds like a amusingly tangled web. I'd like to win it. Thanks for the chance.

  1. Nedraw said...:

    Sounds awesome. I think my granddaughter would really enjoy this one.

  1. mil said...:

    thanks for the giveaway

  1. The book sounds very interesting. My son will enjoy it tremendously!

  1. Shanna Roberson said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love the name Ankh btw. :)


  1. Anything with manatees in it, i'm checking out!

    volta2173 at sbcglobal dot net

  1. I would love to read Tangled Ties to a Manatee. Sounds like a lot of intrigue involved along with the manatee.

  1. angeljenn said...:

    thanks for the giveaway and thorough reviews

  1. Kalen Cap said...:

    Thanks for the interest in the novel and the giveaway. I appreciate it.

  1. Katsura said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  1. This story actually sounds really interesting!

  1. Loved the excerpt. Looks like I found another great book to read.


  1. Thanks for the excerpt, it sounds like a great book!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.
  1. Thanks for the great giveaway!! The book sounds great!


  1. Anonymous said...:

    This book is very different, but interesting. I'd love to enter your contest. I love giftcards. Thanks!
    Maxie ( )

  1. Great Excerpt and great giveaway!!!

  1. Thanks!
    holliister at gmail dot com

  1. samantha said...:

    this book sounds interesting, thanks for the post. And giveaway

  1. donnas said...:

    Thanks for sharing!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  1. thanks for giveaway

  1. Suz said...:

    I don't see that many "humorous crime thrillers" so Tangled Ties to a Manatee sounds great! I had never heard of this book so thank you for sharing the info!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  1. Merry said...:

    Interesting concept. I can't wait to read more!
    Lisa H.
    yankssssrule08 at yahoo dot com

  1. Evelyn said...:

    Thank you for the contest!

  1. Sena said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    sena.sagani at gmail dot com

  1. Kristall said...:

    Interesting book...
    thanks fot the giveaway

  1. Stephanie said...:

    Thanks for the chance :)

  1. Chris said...:

    Thank you for the chance to win! zzfoxfire@msn DOT com

  1. Interesting!
    Here's my email:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. I love reading debut authors. You can find some real gems that way. This book looks great. Going on my TBR list for sure!

    megnate at telus dot net

  1. Sounds delectable! it's a must-read!!

  1. Thanks for the excerpt i enjoyed what I've read so far i had to add it to my summer read list

  1. Nice excerpt. An author must be relaxed to write, self-care works perfect for you!


  1. Thansk for a giveaway! Nice excerpt, sounds interesting.

  1. Anash said...:

    this book sounds like a winner for me Thanks for a super giveaway!
    My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  1. Kris-10 said...:

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! :))


  1. First off, I must thank my 2nd grade teacher for giving me a love of manatees! Second, I have never heard of a book like this, and I admit it sounds very interesting!

  1. A book about a Manatee, that is interesting already. I've never thought there would be a book center around a Manatee. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  1. interesting book!
    thanks for the giveaway!


  1. Anonymous said...:


  1. This sounds like a really interesting book! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  1. after reading this review I am for sure that my daughter and possibly my son will love this book. thanks for the giveaway. Gale

  1. ♣ Terri said...:

    Thank you for the guest post!

    niteofblu at gmail dot com

  1. Midu Hadi said...:

    thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  1. Great guest post! And thank you for the amazing giveaway! :)


  1. Joie said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds really interesting! :)


  1. Cyn said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  1. Caroline said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. Daniel M said...:

    thanks for the giveaway! - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  1. I'd love to read this book about a manatee with my grandson!

  1. Cayce said...:

    I've seen manatees at a zoo once. They are so huge and beautiful :) The way they floated up and down...*sigh*
    This book sounds unique and very interesting.

    cayce006 at yahoo dot com

  1. Thanks for the giveaway!

    bookfanatics at rocketmail dot com

  1. Emily M said...:

    Thanks for this giveaway; hope I win!


  1. katayoun said...:

    sounds interesting and fun.

  1. Sounds great I love Crime thrillers anything with suspense

  1. Wow I really Cant Wait to Read This I Have It On My Wish List. Thanks For The Giveaway. butterfli262002(at)yahoo(dot)com

  1. :D I love manatees. I have a stuffed manatee and I named her Barbara manatee. just throwing that out there.

  1. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  1. thanks for the giveaway!

  1. slehan said...:

    Sounds intriguing.
    Thanks for the contest.

  1. Maija said...:

    Thanks for this giveaway :)

  1. Daniel M said...:

    liked the summary, sounds good - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com



  1. Liviania said...:

    Sounds like an original novel.

    inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com

  1. Erika said...:

    This sounds very interesting! Thanks for sharing!
    saltsnmore at yahoo dot com

  1. Sounds like a really interesting read. I got to spend the night in the manatee exhibit at the Lowery Park Zoo once. It was cool to camp out by the glow of the aquarium and watch them swim. Sad they can't be free ... but even sadder what happens to them due to irresponsible boaters.

    rasberryswrlgirl at hotmail dot com

  1. Adriane said...:

    Sounds like a great story!

    Adriane dot marshall at gmail dot com

  1. Think said...:

    Howdy Howdy!
    Great giveaway.

    think.think.80 at gmail dot com

  1. Steph said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds intriguing.


  1. Kasee said...:

    I enjoyed reading the summary, excerpt, and interview. I cannot wait to read the book! It sounds like I will be able to share it with my daughter. Thank you!

  1. The excerpt is intriguing. I've never heard about this book before. Sounds neat, though! Thanks for the info.


  1. Rebecca Hipworth said...:

    Sounds like a great read. :)


  1. Thank you for the awesome giveaway :)

  1. katja9_10 said...:

    The book sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    katja9_10 at hotmail dot com

  1. bn100 said...:

    Very nice excerpt.