Announcing Saints & Spies!

It’s here! After SEVEN! LONG! YEARS!, I’m finally ready to share this story, and on its actual seventh birthday, no less:


SaintsSpies_CVR_MEDWhen she finds her priest murdered, Molly Malone, secretary of their Catholic parish, vows to never let it happen again. She’ll use the full force of her Irish will, and her previous stint on the Irish police force, to protect the new priest from the congregation’s rumors of criminal activity.

Falling in love wasn’t part of her plan. However, young, handsome and — dare she even think it? — flirtatious, Father Tim O’Rourke is nothing she expected. But Father Tim is also nothing like he seems to Molly: he’s Special Agent Zach Saint, an LDS FBI agent undercover to root out the mob that’s hiding in the parish.

And Molly isn’t helping: every time Zach gets close to the mob, Molly manages to get in the way. Falling for her is the last thing he needs. Now Zach must find the murderer and catch the mobsters before his feelings for Molly blow his cover and add another murder or two to the mobsters’ docket.

Buy now | About the book | Excerpt

And if you buy Saints & Spies this week, your ebook will include over 80 pages of bonus features, from recipes to character profiles to deleted scenes & alternate versions!

But you MUST purchase the book by Saturday to get this exclusive content. Some of these features will NEVER be shared again!

To celebrate the release of Saints & Spies (can I say that again?!), I’m giving away a reader prize pack!


In the pack, one lucky winner will get to curl up with hot cocoa (don’t worry, I’ll ship it as powder), a reading-themed mug (I like “Reading is my super power”), ALL SIX BOOKS OF THE SPY ANOTHER DAY SERIES (Kindle or ePub format), and cozy handknit socks (women’s mediumish, ankle height, reversible, knit by yours truly!).

Okay, I’m crazy excited about these socks. The name of the yarn color is “Molly.” AND the sock pattern’s designer was actually my Irish consultant on the novel. She’s awesome! And I decided to make them ankle high, and then I remembered this scene:


Even if he could cover his gun before she found him, Zach would look really suspect—and really stupid—hiding under her desk. He tried to force himself further into the shadows. Good thing she had a deep desk, and she hadn’t bothered to switch on the lights, either.

But wouldn’t any normal person with a legitimate reason to be in their own office after hours switch on the lights first thing? Was she here for something illegal? . . .

In the silence, Molly shifted her weight from one attractive ankle to the other—he’d never realized ankles could be pretty. . . .

He waited until he was sure Molly would be gone before he returned to the parish house. As he walked through the parking lot, he took note of the maroon sedan parked across the street. But he was more worried about the owner of a pair of pretty ankles.

Okay, I love these things. And cocoa. And reading mugs. And my books. And I’m giving them to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Physical prizes shipped to US addresses only. Entries must be received by October 24, 2015. No purchase necessary.

Hot cocoa photo by meg

Join me this week!

Hey! I’ve got two awesome events this week, and I hope you’ll join me:

Meet SIX local authors!

Even if you couldn’t come for the murder mystery dinner, we do have fun FREE events tomorrow:

6 PM – 7 PM
Meet & greet with authors Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore, Sarah M. Eden, Jordan McCollum, Lisa Mangum, & Josi S. Kilpack

And, oh yeah, this will be your first chance to get a print copy of my next book!

Northampton House
198 W 300 N
American Fork, Utah

And then . . .

Hone your writing craft!

I’ll also be teaching THIS SATURDAY at a FREE writers conference. YES, FREE!

Saturday, October 24
Writers Building Community Conference, presented by the United Authors Association with the Springville Library
Classes 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Author signing 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

I’ll be teaching on approaching POV problems through character voice (and “voice” versa).

Read more & register!

And yes, I will have copies of my new novel there, too (unless I sell out first!).

Springville Public Library
45 South Main Street
Springville, UT 84663

Multi-Author Murder Mystery Dinner Coming Up!

So last month, I had a novella come out in a Timeless Romance Anthology. Next month, we’re celebrating at the scene where one of the stories is set!

Come hang out with SIX awesome authors! Enjoy a fabulous dinner! . . . Solve a murder? YOU BET!

And, oh yeah, this will be your first chance to get a print copy of my next book!

Buy tickets now!


Vital stats

Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore, Sarah M. Eden, Jordan McCollum, Lisa Mangum, Josi S. Kilpack

Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 6-8 PM
Gorgeous, historic Northampton House
198 W 300 N American Fork, Utah

Author Meet & Greet (free admission!)
Bookstore (free admission!)
Delicious Dinner (ticket required)
Live Murder Mystery to Solve! (ticket required)

Tickets: $28 per person

View the menu

Buy tickets now!

New online class coming up next week!

Want some hands-on help understanding how structure will help your story and crafting your revision plan? Sign up for my next online class, starting Sunday!

Structural Self-Editing: GPS for Your Story Jordan McCollum

28 September – 25 October 2015
taught at

Sign up today!
After a first draft, do you have a solid story or . . . not quite? A structural edit enables you to refine your individual scenes and guide your work on the highest level. Discover how to build strong narrative structure, create a resonant theme, and craft an unputdownable story through the structural self-editing process.

This hands-on class will give you the tools and guidance necessary to understand good story structure and apply it to your story. Before you start polishing your prose, tap into the power of these vital editing tools to get your whole novel on the right course.


Level: Mixed/Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced
Where: The Savvy Forums
Cost: Premium Savvy Author Members $30 / Basic Members $40


Week 1: Crafting your character arc & thinking about theme
Week 2: Strong story structure & solid scene structure
Week 3: Common pitfalls of story and scene structure
Week 4: The Scene Chart–find weak spots & craft your revision plan

Sign up today!

#TackleYourTBR Read-a-thon: Spy challenge!

Who doesn’t love a good spy novel? (Put your hands down!) I love to read them and write them. What’s not to love about fun, love, lies, secrets and spies? The main characters in my next spy novel, coming out next month, love spy fiction and movies, too, so I’ve had to read (and watch) even more spy fiction.

Today as part of the #TackleYourTBR Read-a-thon, we’ve got a fun spy challenge. Can you match up these literary spies with their authors in the form below?

Character Author
Jason Bourne Robert Ludlum
Cammie Morgan Dorothy Gilman
Talia Reynolds John Le Carré
James Bond Ally Carter
George Smiley Jordan McCollum (yes, me!)
Jack Ryan Ian Fleming
Mrs. Pollifax Tom Clancy

Deadline: Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 11:59 PM PDT

The complete Spy Another Day series in Kindle, nook or PDF format!

Winner will be chosen at random from correct entries received through the form by the deadline! If no correct entries are received, I’ll be super sad. And the prize will go to the person with the most correct answers. Entrants do not have to be part of the #TackleYourTBR Read-a-thon. The winner will be contacted via email.


Coming July 7: Gesture Crutches Webinar

Do you want to make your characters unique and avoid empty repetition and clichés? Sign up for my Gesture Crutches webinar, coming up JULY 7 at 8 PM MDT/5 PM PDT. The presentation will be followed by a live chat Q&A. The cost is $10.

gesture crutchesSmiling, nodding, laughing, sighing, frowning–they’re all the little gestures we use every day to convey meaning, and they can creep into every page of our writing. These overused actions quickly become flat clichés, sapping your story’s power. Come learn how to find these common “gesture crutches,” discover new strategies to fix them, and use the smallest gestures to personalize your characters.

To sign up, visit my online courses page!

Character Depth is here!

If you’ve joined my mailing list, you already know this is coming, but now it’s here! Book 3 in the Writing Craft series: Character Depth!


Buy it now!

The print version is coming to Amazon as soon as it gets processed, but you can order it directly from CreateSpace now!

For the first 90 days, the Character Depth ebook will be available exclusively through Amazon.

About the book


CHARACTER DEPTH brings your character to life, making her real for your reader.

Does your character come to life, bounding off the page and into your readers’ hearts and minds? Or is he flatter than a paper pancake? A well-rounded character is more than a puppet to the whims of the plot. She moves her story forward through her actions and motivations. For a character to truly come to life for your readers, first she must come to life for you as the writer.

Even a well-rounded character can fall flat if we fail to convey her well. Deep point-of-view plays a vital role in showing our character’s depth to readers. Both well-rounded character development and effective writing are necessary to make our character truly come to life for readers.

CHARACTER DEPTH will help you:

  • Create a three-dimensional character from the ground up.
  • Dig into your character to find what makes him tick, and use that to make him come to life.
  • Discover your character’s vital backstory and convey it effectively.
  • Effectively portray your character’s emotions to keep your readers invested in her and her story.
  • Take advantage of deep point-of-view, the most popular POV mode.

Character depth is a fundamental feature of engaging fiction to keep your readers riveted to this book and eagerly anticipating your next.

Make your characters really come to life!

More about Character Depth

Should authors blog?

I’ve asked this question for a long time, and over time, my answer has evolved.

Simon and Schuster is supposed to have told their authors that they must blog . . . in 2010. It’s been five years. Internet marketing isn’t on a different plane five years later—basically on a different planet now. I’ve been blogging since 2006. Two. Thousand. Six. Blogging’s simply not as effective as it used to be—not for getting traffic, not for bringing in search engine users, and especially not for sales.

However, you might still want to blog as an author. Why?

The advantages of a blog

A blog still gives you a chance to “own” or “host” the conversation with your fans—if you can get them there. They are already on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but remember that the content you post and the fanbase you build there could go away in an instant.

A blog gives you a quick and easy website. You might not even use the blog functionality if you’re just using the pages, but it’s good to have the place to stick your latest news as well as the usual, static information you’d want on a website.

Along with that, a blog gives you a place to promote. It’s your homebase where people are less likely to be annoyed or feel like you’re getting in their face to sell to them (versus social media).

HUGE caveat

There is one HUGE caveat: if you are a nonfiction writer, you probably need to blog. It’s the cheapest and perhaps the fastest to way to start your platform, which is super important for publishing whether you’re going indie or traditional. This helps to build your authority and your writing.

Also, it’s way more likely that people will be searching for a nonfiction topic than for “clean spy romance,” so it can be more effective with search engines as well as social media—because which would you rather share: a post with an interview with a character/list of fun facts about an author/pretty pictures of a book’s setting OR an informative post on a topic you’re interested in and that helps you with your life?

The effectiveness of a blog

Have you EVER bought a novel because you read the author’s blog? I don’t mean, “I went to an author’s blog because I liked her other books and there discovered that she has another book out so I bought this book because I was already a fan.” I mean, “I discovered this author through her blog and have purchased novels (or fiction of any length) by her.”

[click through for poll]

I’m a nonfiction author, too, so I’ll keep blogging, mostly focused on that side. I’ll still have announcements about new releases and promotions on the fiction side, and I’ll be using the pages of my site just like any other author would—to highlight good reviews, to share deleted scenes and bonus features, to be the “center” of my promotions—but when it comes to blogging about your fiction? I just don’t see it making a difference to your search engine traffic or your sales. Your mileage may vary—and if it does, great! Come share your story!