Monday, May 21, 2012

Before/after: "Tangled Ties to a Manatee"

Today's before/after is Kalen Capp's "Tangled Ties to a Manatee," and boy, this was a toughie! Kalen and I really worked hard on this one. His novel is from multiple points of view, and when he says "tangled," he means it. We're talking cast of thousands and intersecting plot lines, all of it coming back to that manatee. (Sounds like one of my books, except for the manatee part.)

Anyway, here's what we came up with together:


Though having little in common, Cecily and Janelle, two college coeds, become fast friends while negotiating teacher crushes, exams, working, and dealing with Vera, a tarot-reading obsessed nonprofit executive. Vera’s more worried about her Environmental Retreat Center, which is being secretly investigated as a cult, than she is about her missing nephew, Jerry, a developmentally disabled young man who works at a coffee shop the coeds frequent.

After stumbling upon two con men’s headquarters, Jerry is held captive by them. They are working on the biggest scam of their lives. The scam impacts everyone nearby, including Jerry’s favorite animal at Grove City zoo, Ankh, the lone pregnant manatee in Ohio.

By helping Vera, have Cecily and Janelle become involved in the goings on of a cult, or is there something more explosive involved in the electrical grid’s sabotaging scheme Jerry’s captors have initiated? Either way, the girls and their friends all find they have tangled ties to a pregnant manatee in danger.

Tangled Ties to a Manatee is a multiple-POV General Fiction work of 106,000 words. The frequent reader who appreciates an interwoven storyline will enjoy this eco-themed novel. A small number of protagonists interact among friends, family, and acquaintances within a metropolitan community. The crisp dialogue provides for a down-to-earth interplay of new adults and other characters as relationships begin, deepen, and shatter over an extended weekend. This quick-paced read unfolds with a choreographed ensemble of characters while story threads stretch and interweave to a denouement that ultimately connects all involved.


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.

I'd love to help you with your blurb!

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