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!

Sneak Peek at my new book!

My friend and critique partner, Julie Bellon, asked if I’d like to submit a page to the her First Page Friday on her blog. That meant it would get read and critiqued by a national editor. The conversation went something like this.

Julie: Would you like to submit a page for this week?
Me: *terrified silence*
Julie: Hello? Are you still there?
Me: *gulps* um, okay. Maybe. I mean yes.

Yeah, it might have been something like that. The thing is, just because you have a book or two under your belt and out in public doesn’t mean that you’re not still freaked out by having your stuff read. And, after all, this is a brand new baby project. It hasn’t even learned to roll over or sit up by itself yet. It’s still in the stage of drooling and getting it’s diapers changed.


Today Ms. Shreditor gave it a read . . . and she liked it! Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from her critique.

“The author of this week’s first page fired on all cylinders.”

“It was good, campy fun.”

“(She) indicates a really sophisticated understanding of what does and doesn’t work in a story.”

She got what I was going for and I’m thrilled to see that the idea that I’m trying to get across is doing just that, coming across.

So, is your interest piqued yet? I hope so.

Get on over and get your first look at my new book, Better Than Fiction, on Julie’s site. 

Go on.

It’s okay. You can leave now.

Yep, you. I’m talking to you.



Book Launch – A Light In Dark Places!

Who knew when I started this book fourteen months ago, that I would be so totally changed as an author in the process? Certainly not me. I had such misguided preconceptions about what the process would look like. After all, I’m a fiction author. This should be easy, right? I should be able to take someone else’s already “written” story and put it down on paper fairly easily, right?

As soon as I started in on the project, though, it became clear that this was a far bigger undertaking than I had ever imagined possible. The more I talked to my co-author, the fabulous Jennifer Graves, and heard the details of her life – her triumphs, heartbreaks, trials and victories – the more I knew that I had to get this right. My task became not to just write down her story, but to try, in some small way, to do it justice.

I hope I have done that. I hope I have been able to share the miraculous woman that Jennifer is with you. And now we are celebrating and sending our baby, A Light In Dark Places, out into the world. I believe in this book. I believe it has power to touch hearts, open eyes and change lives.

Please join us for a book launch event this Monday, June 24, from 7-9:30pm at Paradigm High School. A portion of the proceeds from book sales that night will be donated to the Susan Cox Powell Foundation and to ChainBreakers Foundation. Both are excellent organizations that help in the battle against domestic violence.

In addition, the Wendy’s location in West Jordan, Utah (4114 W. 9000 S.) will be donating a portion of ALL SALES from 5-11pm that same evening to the Susan Cox Powell Foundation. So have dinner, then come share this occasion with us and I’ll provide the dessert! 😉

For more details about the book, please visit www.ALightInDarkPlacesBook.com.

Details about the launch event:



Hone your spy skills with a great read!

I’m so happy to be sharing this awesome new release by Jordan McCollum (who just so happens to be my friend and a member of my critique group)!

We’re celebrating the launch of Mr. Nice Spy, a prequel novella to the novel I, Spy! Read on to find out more about the book, get a cool spy tip for your daily life and download a free copy! You can also find Mr. Nice Spy on Amazon, Kobo, and JordanMcCollum.com!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. CIA operative Elliott Monteith has made it work, just like he’s made things work with his longtime fiancée Shanna. Until Shanna lays out an ultimatum: move forward or move on. Meanwhile, Elliott and his best friend and fellow operative, Talia Reynolds, try to track an elusive leak at the American embassy.

But something changes between Elliott and Talia as they close in on the man selling out his country. Professional and personal lines blur and Elliott has to choose—his fiancée or his best friend.

More about Mr. Nice Spy | Add Mr. Nice Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

I, Spy

Mr. Nice Spy is a prequel to the novel I, Spy, available now. To save her country and her secrets, CIA operative Talia Reynolds will have to sacrifice the man she loves.

More about I, 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.

Hone your spy skills

How does a spy figure out who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

Further hone your spy skills by reading Mr. Nice Spy!

The clue!

As part of the debut of Mr. Nice Spy, Jordan is hosting a contest to figure out the “theme” song for the story. Collect clues at each blog stop and use your spy skills to piece together the clues to win a $25 Amazon gift card! How to enter

The clue for this stop is:

The Mr. Nice Spy song was nominated for a 2013 Grammy for Best Rock Song.

The freebie!

Thanks for participating in this launch tour! As a free gift this week, Jordan is giving out free copies of Mr. Nice Spy! Simply to go http://JordanMcCollum.com/store/. You can also get 40% off I, Spy!

A Way Back to You – Blog Tour is here!

I feel like I’ve been on this amazing book roller coaster for the past few months. A Way Back to You came out on May 1st and so far has had some great response. It’s all tingly-wonderful to know that others are staying up late reading about Annie, Sam and Mitch and (hopefully) falling as much in love with them as I have been. Ah, sigh. I get all sorts of happy feelings just thinking about those lovely men.

(Don’t worry Honey. You’re still THE man!)

And now you can have a chance to learn more about me, about A Way Back To You and enter to win a great prize! Please visit the sites below to show us some book-love and participate.


June 5th

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – This to That

My Book A Day – Review

I Love to Read & Review Books – Review

Maria Hoagland, LDS Novelist – Review

Pink Fluffy Hearts: Diary of a Coffee Addict – Spotlight

Book Flame – Spotlight

The Serious Reader – Spotlight

Author Cindy Bennett – Spotlight


June 6th

Moonshine Art Spot – Review

Emmly Jane – Spotlight

Libby’s Library – Spotlight


June 7th

Gamila’s Review – Review

LDS & Lovin’ It – Review

Literary Time Out – Review

Beck Valley Books – Spotlight

readalot – Review


June 8th

Mythical Books – Spotlight

Cuzinlogic – Interview


June 9th

Romance with a Book – Review

Promiscuous Diva – Spotlight


June 10th

LDS Women’s Book Review – Review

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Review

Living, Learning and Loving Life – Spotlight


June 11th

Taking Time for Mommy – Interview

Deal Sharing Aunt – Review

Spiced Latte Reads – Review


June 12th

Bookworm Family – Review

A Casual Reader’s Blog – Review

Curling Up with A Good Book – Interview


June 13th

Karey White – Review

Blkosiner’s Book Blog – Tens List

Sweeping Me – Spotlight


June 14th

Jinky is Reading – Review

Brooklyn Berry Designs – Review

Vamp and Stuff – Spotlight

Lori’s Reading Corner – Spotlight

How I fell in, and out, of love with Ebooks

We all know that Ebooks are huge and here to stay. We all know that print books will always have a certain allure that us true bookies will always desire. So what happens when a book-lover/author reads only Ebooks for two straight years?

When I first got a smart phone with that beautiful thing called a Kindle App I was, let’s say, cautiously curious. Being a dyed-in-the-wool book lover my family library was a big deal to me. My husband and I have invested lots of time, money and TONS of space in our home to creating a book-rich environment. We filled it with only the best titles to speak to our children’s hearts and inform their characters as well as their imaginations. Eight large bookcases filled (and overfilled) with books has been the result – so far. And we read like crazy in our home. Our children had access to scads of titles and our library trips brought even more pretty, paper visitors in.

I couldn’t help wonder what this emerging Ebook wave would mean for my children’s reading future.

But my reading habits were the ones that changed the fastest. That tiny Kindle screen on my phone beckoned me with instant gratification and constant access. My Ebook library quickly grew and within less than six months I found myself doing almost all my reading on that Kindle app, my printed books laying forgotten to the side.

I still read to my children but it was almost exclusively from books we already had on the shelves. For two years this reading change progressed until I woke up one morning and realized that I was feeling more disconnected from the world than I ever had wanted to be.

There is something about reading on a screen that changes the way your brain interacts with the content. I’m not a scientist or doctor so I can’t explain the change but I can feel it. My attention span decreased, making it harder and harder for me to stay engaged in the book I was reading. On the flip side, sometimes I was so focused on that screen that I actually felt withdrawal symptoms (headaches, depression, etc) when NOT reading.

But come on! It wasn’t like I was playing that Furious Fowls game for three hours a day. I was reading! I’d always read that much (or more). This was something noble, right? Why should I feel like I was so distanced from my family. Words on a page and words on a screen were still just words. It was still just a book. Right?

 Well, here are some of the negative effects I experienced from reading exclusively on a screen:

                – eyestrain was a big one. Even though I got a tablet (increasing the screen size) a year and a half ago, there is something different about that screen.

– we no longer went to the library regularly. Need a book? Sure! I can download that for you in thirty seconds or less. No more browsing through bookshelves and being drawn in by a cover or a tantalizing blurb.

– depression. This is by no means a direct result of Ebook reading. But I do believe that the time on a screen, the disconnect that I experienced, was at least a contributor in this issue for me.

– shortened attention span. I mentioned this already. I think. Or maybe . . . oh, look! A chicken!

– an increased habit of checking my phone with increasing regularity. I spent so much time with my phone or my tablet doing all that reading, that I became completely dependent on it.

– lack of sharing what I was reading with my children. With my print books, I would always be one to say, “Listen to this line.” Sometimes it was just a laugh-out-loud reading moment that would prompt my children to ask what I was reading and why it was funny. That would lead to great sharing moments. For some reason, that diminished with Ebooks.

– lack of the book-virus effect. Many times a print book would be enjoyed by one member of the family and then passed from person to person as we each read and enjoyed it, then discussed it at length. And on to the extended family and friends, creating a great community feeling of sharing a common love for a story. I wasn’t able to pass my Ebooks around like that and my recommendations didn’t always do the job.

– less note-taking. I’m a conversational reader who writes in almost all of my books. Questions about the story, ideas that strike me as applicable, favorite quotes underlined, references to other books I’ve read that have a link. One of the reasons that my friends and family have liked borrowing books from me (so they’ve said) is the notes in the margins. Yes, you can create notes in an ebook, but it’s such a dry, clinical setting.

– a general dissatisfaction with reading. This was something I had never experienced since I first read The Little Princess at age 8. I’ve always been a book lover but now I was desperately unsatisfied with the experience I was having. I chalked most of it up to the fact that I was spending so much time learning the skills of quality writing – it was natural I should be more critical. Right? Whatever the reason, I was having a harder and harder time truly loving anything new I read.

So, with these negatives why did I stick it out so long? Oh, that instant gratification! Oh, the convenience! How wonderful to hear about a book from a friend, get online right there and download a sample! That was how I started managing my to-be-read list. Samples were amazing. And I always had a book with me – in my pocket (or my other “girls-only” pocket) or purse. Not just one book, but dozens and dozens of books. And when I finished one book in a series, thirty seconds later I could download the next one and be on my way. It’s a beautiful, tempting thing.

Finally, a couple of months ago, I made a decision to take a break from Ebook reading for a time. I had recently purchased a couple of wonderful new print books (Shannon Hale and Carol Lynch Williams titles) and I dug into the tactile pages with relish!

What a difference! I connected with those books in a way I hadn’t for years and I suddenly found myself more in love with reading than I’ve been in a long, long time. In that simple experiment I found that I am no longer a passionate lover of the Ebook movement.

I still read occasionally on my tablet. Some books are only available in that format and when I’m traveling it’s just too convenient. But our library trips have resumed, the stacks on my nightstand are back and those delicious pages with their special bookish smell feel oh-so good under my fingers as I turn each one with breathless anticipation.

I fell out of love with Ebooks and rekindled my love for the written word. I’m sure that over time I will figure out a nice hybrid between the two formats – convenience and cost vs a whole-reading experience. But for now, I’m back in the world of living, breathing, amazing physical books.


Those Perfect Moments

Yesterday afternoon I stood in a quiet bookstore and stared at the same spot for ten minutes. People coming by probably thought I was a little slow in the head but no one said anything or bothered me or called the police or anything.

This is what I was staring at.

Yes, my book is on the shelves (faced out and everything!) and I had to take a moment to enjoy the fact that I did it. I wrote a book and a publisher wanted it and now it’s out there for the world to read and (hopefully) love as much as I do.

It was one of those perfect moments in the life of a writer. And I can only hope that it is the first in a long line of other moments just as sweet.

I, Spy

One of my critique partners, Jordan McCollum, has an awesome book coming up very soon. (Actually, Julie Bellon does, too and you should TOTALLY check it out here!)

I got to read this book through it’s first deep critique and absolutely loved it! I can’t wait for you to see what a stellar talent Jordan is! And today she is revealing her cover. You have to check it out!

I, Spy has non-stop action, a sigh-worthy romance, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments all laced through with a spine-tingling mystery that will keep you turning the pages at lightening speed.
I, Spy by Jordan McCollum—Coming June 5, 2013!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too—until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn’t the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Add I, Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

Advance praise

The edge-of-my-seat undercover operations kept me turning pages, and just when I thought the story would go one way, plot twists sent it down another path. Thrilling, adventurous, and romantic, this book has it all for an Alias fan.

Jami Gold, award-winning author

Jordan McCollum’s debut novel is a delightful combination of mystery, action, and romance. Talia’s CIA training and almost OCD caution feed her quirky humor while exposing her very human fears and insecurities. Add in her boyfriend Danny, and it’s enough to twist your heart.

Donna K. Weaver, author of A Change of Plans

Clever, suspenseful, and charged with political intrigue and romance, I, Spy is the perfect combination for a fun and captivating read!

Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of Monarch

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.

Follow Jordan on Twitter, like Jordan on Facebook and add I, Spy on Goodreads today!

Winner and ANOTHER cover!

Wow, what a crazy couple of months. It was only in my last post that I revealed my cover for A Way Back To You, coming on May 1st with Deseret Book. I just realized that I neglected to announce the winner of that giveaway (bad author!). The winner is . . .

Nichole Giles! Yay! I’m excited (and nervous) for you to read it!

Now, I have more good news. I am revealing the cover for A Divine Inheritance, book two in the Of Great Value Series! Two books out less than 1 month apart is crazy awesome!

Here it is!

Available April 16th, 2013!

I absolutely love it! Tamra Hyde of Modern Expressions Photography designed it (as well as my others in the series). She does an amazing job!

Here’s the back cover copy:

For Dani Rodrìguez, growing up without a father has been hard, but her mom’s new boyfriend, Anthony, is even worse. Now her mom has moved them to a new town to be close to Anthony and Dani is more lonely and isolated than ever. The only thing that makes her feel better is running track. It would be the perfect outlet if it weren’t for Ethan, the obnoxiously happy and persistent senior. Ethan is constantly trying to get to know her, never taking no for an answer. But if he knew what her life was really like, would he still want to be her friend?

It will take a leap of faith for Dani to trust Ethan, but with things spiraling out of control at home, she may not have a choice. Their growing friendship starts her down a road she never thought possible and helps her to learn the divine nature within her. If only she could use this new knowledge to help her mother . . . before Anthony pushes things too far.

A Divine Inheritance is the second book in the Of Great Value series and focuses on Divine Nature. Each book in the series takes a young woman on a journey as she discovers her testimony of one of the Young Women values. For more information, please visit www.ofgreatvalue.com.

Want to win your very own copy of A Divine Inheritance? Just post a comment here and share on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for celebrating with me!




A Way Back To You cover revealed ~ And a giveaway!

This is it, my cover for A Way Back To You is here and it’s beautiful and I CAN’T WAIT to show it to you. Here’s a reminder of the back cover copy:

For two-and-a-half years, Annabelle, a young widow with three small children, has been stuck in the past. Numbed by grief and overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising her three small children alone, she agrees to let them spend the weekend with a friend while she tries to get some much-needed rest at her parents’ home. But the next morning, Annabelle is suddenly sixteen again—and it just happens to be the worst day of her teenage years. As she relives the drama of high school life, Annabelle realizes that her future husband, Mitch, has just returned from a mission and is living on the other side of town. While getting Mitch’s attention is more complicated than she imagined, Annabelle discovers that she is stronger than she has been willing to admit, and there just might be a future for her after all.


And now . . . (drumroll) . . .


Isn’t it lovely? You get the time travel element as well as the wistful longing for family . . . it’s just perfect.

I want to celebrate. The book comes out on May 1st but you can win an advance copy before you can buy it!

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

#1 – Facebook or Tweet a link to this post. Make sure to tag me.

Facebook – Emily Gray Clawson

Twitter – @egclawson

#2 – Post about A Way Back to You on your own blog with a link back to this post. (worth two entries)

#3 – Change your profile photo on Facebook or Twitter to my cover image (worth two entries)

#4 – Leave a comment on this post (make sure to tell me what of the above you did)

You’ll be entered once for each item you complete. I’ll randomly select a name on Friday to receive a free copy. There just may be a secret treat included . . . I guess you’ll have to win to find out!

Thanks for helping me to spread the word!




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

Of Great Value: Book 1

Click HERE for the print book.
Click HERE for Kindle.

Emily Gray Clawson

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