Resistance is futile!

Resistance.

It’s one of those painful things that artists in all areas know too well.

You want to write, you have an idea, you block out the time, you sit down at your keyboard and . . .

You can end that sentence with whatever your avoidance-of-choice may be at the moment. Mine rotates between getting busy managing my businesses and my family or going the complete opposite direction and vegging out in front of British dramas all day. Either way, the result is the same. No words on the page. No writing. No progress. Steven Pressfield talks about this extensively in the War of Art. keep-calm-resistance-is-futile-2

My accountability partner and I have talked about this a lot lately. She is the queen bee of getting those words in. While lately I, well, I just haven’t been. Granted, I’ve been dealing with mono for over a year and that will seriously put a crimp in any girl’s style. But the sheer truth is that I have been afraid. It’s not like once you’re published the fear goes away. For me, it’s only gotten worse. It’s kind of like when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I was more stressed out about childbirth than I’d been with any of my other kids. I knew what I was in for. I knew how hard it was.

That’s where I’ve been lately. Stalled isn’t a strong enough word to describe it. I’ve been positively rebellious at times.

BUT

(yes, there is a but)

After attending Writing for Charity and LDS Storymakers conferences, I’ve been inspired enough that I’m ready to tackle this resistance monster. And win. It’s not going to happen all at once, but I will get past this. That’s just part of the equation if you want to live a creative life. It’s not all muses and rainbows and unicorns (depending on the genre you write). There is an inner battle that must be fought and won on a daily basis.

And the one thing I do know is that every day I win the battle against resistance it will be just that much easier to win it again the next day.

I’m up for it.

Cover Reveal for Newtimber: Fractured

Everyone is coming out with awesome new books and I’m excited to be part of another cover reveal. This time it’s for Karen Hoover’s long awaited Newtimber: Fractured!

Karen is awesome and her books are awesome and this one is no exception!

NewtimberFractured Cover

Introducing Newtimber: Fractured, an exciting YA urban fantasy novel by Karen E. Hoover, author of The Wolfchild Saga and others.

There was absolutely no way a black dragon hovered outside of Newtimber. Sianna rubbed her eyes, but the dragon was still there, clutching a round object that looked like a spotted egg. And then the egg fell, hitting the ground like an atomic bomb, sending out waves of a slow-moving fog that distorted everything it touched.

The citizens of Newtimber change. The old man down the street stretches into a screaming tree. Sianna’s skateboarding friend, Matt, transforms into a giant green dragon. Pegasus. Sirens. Griffins. Vampires. Zombies. Creatures from the myths of every culture come to life through the people.

Even Sianna changes, her skin becoming stone hard, and she gains the ability to travel from the human realm into the dimension of the fae, using it to free her father from prison and enlist his aid in battling the evil bent on taking over the world.

One person to heal a family, a town, and save the world. It seems an impossible task, but with the help of her new friends, it could happen.

Right?

Newtimber: Fractured will be released early summer 2014 by Trifecta Books. Visit www.trifectabooks.com for exciting updates about this great new series!

Ring Around the Rosie Cover Reveal

I’m so excited to be part of Julie Coulter Bellon’s cover reveal for her new novel, Ring Around the Rosie, the fourth in her Hostage Negotiation Team series. Isn’t it awesome?

RosiesCvr_500

 

I’ve loved reading the other books in this series, both in our critique group and later, and I can’t wait for this concluding installment!! Ring Around the Rosie will be released in May, and if you want to see a sneak peek of the first chapter you can head over to Julie’s blog at http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com.

 

Life, the Universe, and Everything.

This weekend I’ll be attending Life, the Universe, and Everything – a science fiction/fantasy symposium. This conference has such a fun and relaxed atmosphere. In the past I’ve tried to attend a class in every session of all three days. But this year I’m going to take the opportunity to spend lots of time writing. I’ll attend a class now and then, especially if I get feeling stuck or uninspired. What great energy of writerly minds to get one going again. Plus, Orson Scott Card will be there!

I’m excited to see friends and to learn new things/be reminded of the things I already know. But even more than that, I’m looking forward to a weekend with my newly developing characters and settings.

If you’d like more info on the symposium, you can check out www.LTUE.net. It’s really inexpensive and great for teens, as well as adults. You don’t have to be a sci-fi or fantasy writer to benefit. There are so many great lectures and panels on the writing craft in general that any writer can benefit. Oh, and did I mention that Orson Scott Card, is the keynote speaker?!?!?

Hope to see you there!

Announcing Spy, Noon by Jordan McCollum

Spy Noon, a prequel novella to I, Spy, is coming February 3, 2014!
Already know you’re going to read it? Add Spy Noon on Goodreads.

Today, we’re especially excited to reveal the cover and give away an ARC! But first, a little more about the book.

About the Book

Canada’s the last place you’d expect to find an American spy, but CIA operative Talia Reynolds has problems piling up higher than a Canadian snowbank. When Elliott Monteith, her ridiculously handsome new coworker, shows up (and shows her up), Talia decides it’s game on. She’ll be the first to track down a dangerous counter-spy, and she’ll give Elliott an unforgettable souvenir of his time in Ottawa: some humble pie.

Her plans don’t work as well as she expects, though. Elliott’s over-the-top flirting dredges up too many painful memories for Talia and undermines the confidence she’s worked hard to regain. To do her job and keep her integrity intact, she’ll have to keep her personal feelings at bay. Now Talia must find a way to work alongside Elliott—and maybe even trust him—to outsmart the enemy.

And now for the cover!

The Spy Another Day series

I, Spy
Book One
Spy for a Spy
Book Two
Mr. Nice Spy
FREE Prequel novella
To save her secrets and her country, CIA operative Talia Reynolds must sacrifice the man she loves. Talia’s new boss is her ex-boyfriend. And that’s the just beginning of her problems. Elliott Monteith must choose between his fiancée and his fellow spy. Cake.
Chronologically, Spy Noon is the first in the series.

Praise for the series

A fast-paced, crisply written story with entertaining plot twists, told in a first person, wryly self-deprecating narrative voice. . . . I, Spy is a well-crafted romantic suspense with humor, heart, and a uniquely engaging heroine.

I knew by the first page that I was going to love [I, Spy]. I absolutely loved Talia’s inner voice. . . . The plot is enjoyable and I loved the action! I really could not guess what was going to happen next. There were so many surprises at the turn of each page, especially during the climax, it didn’t matter what time it was, I had to finish.

The series has this great combination of sarcasm and wit in the MC, great chemistry and dialogue between her and her love interest, and then a whole slue of spying, deception, intrigue, and danger. Especially of that last one. . . .

 

I thoroughly enjoyed [Spy for a Spy]! I would definitely read it again and I am highly anticipating the next book that Jordan McCollum writes! If you enjoy action-adventure, suspense, or books about characters who are spies and some romance, then I would definitely recommend this.

Win an Advance Reader Copy!

Enter to win an electronic Advance Reader Copy of Spy Noon!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author


An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Email newsletter 

Add Spy Noon on Goodreads today!

I’m Part of the Problem

I’ve really tried to keep this a writing-subject only blog. I’ve not posted about religion or politics or anything else possibly inflammatory. But today I just can’t keep quiet.

A couple of days ago I saw a rant on Facebook that has festered inside of me. It went something like this (in my own words):

Dear Horrible People of the World,
Who on earth invented the idea of plus size clothes for kids? What kind of losers would ever buy such an atrocity? Childhood obesity is an epidemic and if you are a parent who purchases such a horrible item for your children then you are part of the problem. Get off your fat butt and get your kids healthy so they don’t need plus size clothes. What’s the matter with this world?!? Kids should never need plus size clothes and if they do then you suck as a parent.
Sincerely,
Jerk-with-no-children-of-his-own

This person, as I mentioned in the signature, has no children. And, therefore, no idea what he is talking about. BUT I do admit he had one (and only one) valid point.

Childhood obesity is an epidemic. It is spreading as far and as fast as adult obesity. It does have health risks associated with it and it can be a very frightening thing to see in your child.

That’s as far as his valid points go.

Let me ask you, Mr. Jerk, exactly what should an overweight child wear? Let’s say you have a darling little boy who struggles with his weight and he already feels bad about himself. He has a hard time playing the sports that other kids play, although, he wants to try. He is made fun of by other kids and never feels like he fits in. Now, lets figure out how this child is going to be dressed. Should he, perhaps, wear a tarp to school activities? Should he dress in his dad’s too-long shirts and teenager jeans, cut off because they are too long? Oh, yes. For sure. Let’s make him stand out even more, be ridiculed even more. Let’s, by all means, make him feel even less of a person and more of an outsider.

Now, imagine that little boy is a little girl instead. Multiply all the hurtful, heartbreaking challenges by 10 and you have the makings for a lifetime of feelings of worthlessness.

Yes, obesity is an epidemic. But even worse than that, is the disease of bullying that is spreading like wildfire on the internet and in schools.

I am a parent of an overweight child. He is the sweetest, kindest, most creative, hilarious child I know. He is talented and intelligent and active. He also thinks of himself as less-than, not good enough, not fitting in. And people like you, Mr. Jerk, are a big part of the reason. You look at him with eyes that judge instead of eyes that accept. You wonder what is wrong with him, instead of what is right. You ask, “Why don’t those parents make him lose weight?” instead of “How on earth are those parents going to be able to fill him with enough love to block out the world that hates him?”

I buy my son “husky” sized clothes. I sew for him. I alter for him. I do everything within my power to make him feel comfortable and attractive in his own skin. I want him to walk around thinking, “I’m a stud! I look awesome!” Not, “I’m too fat for any normal clothes.” Which one of those thought patterns do you think is more likely to motivate any person, let a lone a child, to want to better himself?

So, Mr. Jerk, if that makes me part of the problem, so be it. I don’t want to live in whatever “right” world you would create.

 

Because I Say So

For years I’ve wanted to be a writer. Always waiting for that moment when someone else was going to tell me I’ve arrived.

When I finish my first book . . .

When I get an agent . . .

When I get published . . .

When I get my first royalty check .  . .

When I win an award . . .

When I’m asked to be a speaker/presenter . . .

 

But there is no “when.” I’m a writer because I write words and create stories and characters and because, well, because I say so.

So far I have accomplished some of those items on that list. And others, I have not. The thing is, as soon as I cross something off I’m sure I’ll want to add something on. Another “when” to prove to myself.

Nope. Not going there.

I am a writer. And if you say so, then so are you.

That is all.

Blog Tour – Spy For A Spy

We’re celebrating the launch of Spy for a Spy, sequel to I, Spy! Read on to get a cool spy tip for your daily life, free & discounted reads, and enter to win some great prizes! You can also find Spy for a Spy at the special $3.99 launch discount on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and JordanMcCollum.com!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. And it was the last place CIA operative Talia Reynolds expected to run into fellow operative Brand Copley. AKA her new boss. AKA her ex-boyfriend.

Just the guy every woman wants to face in the middle of planning her wedding. Once again, Talia’s lying to the man she loves, but this time, to protect his heart.

After Brand takes over Talia’s latest case and steals her newest agent, he assigns her to spy on her old boss—who’s suddenly giving her every reason not to trust him. With only weeks until the big day, planning falls by the wayside as she goes into damage control mode. But when Talia discovers Brand’s real motives, fighting him is the only option, no matter what the personal and professional cost.

More about Spy for a Spy | Add Spy for a Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

My Review

Spy For A Spy is the best kind of romantic suspense. We get the danger, the tension of not knowing whether Talia is really safe or not. We don’t know who to trust or where to turn and it really feels like hope might actually be lost. There were several points where I felt like there was really no way out of this terrifying situation. Brandt is really the worst possible boss/ex-boyfriend . . . I mean. Seriously. On top of that, we have Danny, the very best fiancé/boyfriend Talia could ever wish for. I kept hoping Talia wouldn’t blow this, wouldn’t lose her chance at real happiness all in an effort to keep him safe. Obviously I’m not going to spoil the ending for you on either account. I’ll only say that I was surprised by the ending in the best possible way. Jordan McCollum is a master storyteller who manages to wrap you up in a page turning experience not to be forgotten. Loved it!

Hone your spy skills

Spy skills can come in handy in the most unusual situations, like this one . . .

Further hone your spy skills by reading Spy for a Spy!

About the author


An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Join the party & enter to win!

As part of the debut of Spy for a Spy, Jordan is co-hosting a launch party with Julie Coulter Bellon, author of Pocket Full of Posies. Join us November 12 on Facebook (Jordan’s and Julie’s pages) and Twitter (follow Julie and Jordan) for drawings throughout the day, and enter to win more fabulous prizes here!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special deals!

Spy for a Spy is a sequel to the novel I, Spy, available for 99¢ at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Jordan’s site this week only!

To save her country and her secrets, CIA operative Talia Reynolds will have to sacrifice the man she loves. More about I, Spy.

Also, as a free gift this week, Jordan is giving out free e-copies of a prequel novella, Mr. Nice Spy, on Amazon and her site!

A NaNo State of Mind

nanowrimo-DR1smThis has been a really strange November so far. For the first time in years I am not doing NaNoWriMo and it’s been an interesting experience.

I’ve had some health issues including a surgery and nasty virus following it up that left me flat in bed for over a month. I decided several weeks ago that I was going to take a couple months off from serious writing. I’m still dabbling (I can’t help it, can I?) but I’m not giving myself deadlines and pressure. I just physically can’t handle it.

But now it’s November and I see everyone’s posts online about their word counts and their writing sprints and writing retreats and I kind of miss it. No, I really miss it. There is a camaraderie about November in the writing world. We’re all in it together, working toward a goal. It feels really great to be involved in something that big.

On the other hand, something that J. Scott Savage said on Facebook has really stayed with me.

“I always have mixed feelings about NaNoWriMo. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see people writing. On the other hand, I can’t imagine Shakespeare going, “Ha, wrote 9500 words today!” Or Monet saying, “300 lily pads down. 400 to go.” It just seems to be turning art into an accounting exercise.”

He later followed it up with this:

“Okay, so I have thought a little bit more about why seeing the word count numbers posted everywhere makes me uncomfortable. To repeat, I am not against NaNoWriMo at all. This is not a diatribe against people taking part. Many of my best friends are doing it this year, and at least half of my awesome critique group. I LOVE seeing people writing who have been stuck for a while break out of their slumps, seeing people who haven’t written at all finally take the leap, and seeing people who had felt burned out regain their enthusiasm for writing. I would never belittle that or look down in any way on people taking part in this event. I also don’t look down on cranking out numbers. I’ve had deadlines where I wrote all night, powered by heavily caffeinated beverages to finish a story.

I think what makes me uncomfortable is that I am used to having conversations with my writer friends where we talk about a really great character that took over a story, a plot point that was totally hanging them up, but finally worked itself out in an unexpected and magical way, a voice that came clear, or a scene that just blew them away. We talk about our stories like our good friends, and it’s such a kick to see books grow from an idea to a couple of pages, and finally a completed book with a cover, page numbers, and that cool formatting.

Seeing nothing but page counts takes all of that away. It’s like for one month instead of talking about the funny things our kids did, the times they threw up on the living room floor, how well they did in their play, their sporting event, or their church talk, their scrapes, bumps, and bruises, defeats and triumphs, that all gets replaced with some statistic–like how many vegetables they ate, how much weight they gained, or the number of minutes they slept at night. The magic is gone.

So carry on. Write like crazy. Post the incredible word counts you’re hitting. But when it’s all said and done, I want to hear about the stories, the funny scenes, the plot twists, the awesome characters, the blood, guts, tears, and every other thing that makes a story a story and not just a number of words.”

Forgive me for all the quoting. It was just a surprising thing for me to realize how much I had lost the spark of creativity over the last couple of years. Even when it wasn’t November I was constantly in a NaNo state of mind. And that was one of deadlines and word counts and sales figures without remembering my love of the beauty of creating. Now all of those numbers are important and part of the package of being a writer, but I’m realizing just how much I want to get back to the joy of creating because it’s beautiful and painful and stimulating and not like anything else in this world. It’s why I became a writer in the first place.

So for that reason alone, I’m glad to not be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I’m just going to try to unearth some beautiful words, be they 100 or 100,000.

Let’s create something.

A great review

Things to Mindy Holt for posting a review of A Way Back To You! It’s always a wonderful feeling when someone else enjoys what you have written and, even better, shares it with others.

It’s been interesting lately to be back to drafting. I find that I’ve learned so much since I wrote A Way Back To You. I think that’s just part of being a writer (and I’ve finished three books since then). There are pros and cons to that. The pros are that I have a great knowledge of good writing. The cons, I’ve lost my innocence as a writer in that I know how hard it’s going to be. I know just how much work it will take. When I started A Way Back To You (my second book) I was so in love with the story that it flowed easily from me. It was in revision that it actually worked, though. Now I catch myself trying to fit everything into my first draft.

Time to get back to the love of writing that I had with AWBTY. Because I still LOVE this book!

Thanks again, Mindy!

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My Published Books

Click HERE for the print book. Click HERE for the ebook.

 

Click HERE for the print book. Click HERE for the ebook.

 

Of Great Value: Book 2
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Of Great Value: Book 1

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Click HERE for Kindle.

Emily Gray Clawson

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