Friday, June 28, 2013

First Page Friday & An Announcement

Today we have an announcement from Eschler Editing to kick off our First Page Friday.

Greetings, Writerly Friends!

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the new and improved Eschler Editing! We’ve added some exciting features to our website and made good on our plans for bringing you fantastic content when it comes to everything writing, editing, and publishing related.
Every week we’ll be bringing you a brand-spanking-new blog post on critical topics to get you ready for publishing. Here’s a sneak peak at upcoming content:

·         Writing Craft help for fiction and nonfiction

·         Industry Insights to help you successfully navigate through the confusing and often frustrating world of publishing

·         Thursday Therapy posts to keep you inspired, motivated, and de-stressed when it comes to your writing goals

·         Editor’s Nightstand posts to share what our team recommends in terms of resources, breakthrough reads, and insightful publications

·         Effective + Efficient marketing tips, because we know that while promoting will demand some of your attention, it’s not why you write

Craving insight on something specific? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line here with your requests and recommendations.

Loving our style and have something to contribute? Even better! We’re always on the hunt for guest bloggers on anything and everything writing related. Send us a message here with your post pitch and background info.

And last but not least: We’re kicking off an exciting raffle, just for you. When you join our mailing list, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free hour of editorial help from our team of experts--be it brainstorming feedback, help with your hook or query, or just some free editing!

So be sure to head on over to the new site and sign up for our weekly newsletter (  to get stellar tips and a chance to win!

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Angela and the Team

That sounds so great, doesn't it? I love Eschler Editing and I'm so grateful for the help they give our authors every First Page Friday. Today we have a wonderful entry and I learned a lot about tweaking just a little to really bring a first page up to potential. As always, thank you to our author, JT Spell and to Eschler Editing for all their hard work. See you next week!

The Entry
Silver Mine
by JT Spell

Silver reached for the blaring klaxon of her cell phone going off at 11:30 p.m. These calls are never good. She took a deep breath then answered it.

“Silver here.” She tried to make it sound like she hadn’t just been asleep.

“Good. We have a driver on his way to pick you up from your house. He will probably arrive at oh-one-hundred hours.”

The Chief omitting his opening banter meant a tense situation.

“I guess that means I don’t get a choice on this one? What should I pack, Chief?” She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and rolled gracefully out of bed, an art she had plenty of practice with. She turned on the light and went to the closet. She pulled out her carry-on pack and opened it up on the rumpled bed.

“You know I can’t give you the details over the phone, but I’d suggest picking out some cool weather gear. Also, your passport.”

Passport? I hardly ever travel internationally. What’s going on?

“Chief, I’m putting you on speaker so I can prep while we talk. There’s no one else here.”

She looked over at her golden lab, rolling over and opening one sleepy eye at her.

“Except JJ,” she added. The mature dog whined and complained in a long monologue before standing on the covers, turning around and around and settling back in.

Comments from Eschler Editing

What’s working:
  • You’ve got a cool name for your character. It’s definitely unique. It catches your attention, makes you wonder if it’s a given, nick, or surname. Silver conjures images of metal, knives, quicksilver. This character could be law enforcement, military, or even a supernatural crime-fighter (think silver bullet). At this point, I don’t know anything about what genre I’m in, but your choice of name has me thinking. That’s what you want.
  • I also like your choice of syntax. You’ve got a nice mix of attention getting words (klaxon), words that convey texture and energy (banter, prep), and words used in an unexpected fashion (the dog’s monologue).
  • Finally, you’ve given some interesting hints and clues about the setting and character. We’re guessing at this point, but it seems possible that she’s an officer or agent of some kind, although we don’t know for sure. That’s part of the fun of a story – using little details and clues to build up a theory of what is happening, who the character is, what the problem is going to be. A good writer can give enough clues that the reader can accurately predict some events, and at the same time, keep enough mystery that there’s room for surprise.

Things that need tweaking:
  • The Chief omitting his opening banter meant a tense situation. The first assumption is that this is a direct thought because it is in italics. However, this does not sound like Silver’s thought. First off, the wording is in the wrong tense. Even in a past tense narrative, italicized thought is generally in present tense: The Chief omitting his opening banter means a tense situation.

    If you don’t italicize, this would work fine because readers will recognize that it’s what she’s thinking. But by putting it into italics, there’s an unspoken assumption that we are getting her thoughts in real time, and that is best done in present tense. Secondly, she wouldn’t think like that. It’s too formal. It’s more likely she would think something like: Something’s wrong. The chief never starts a conversation without joking. Or Crap, the Chief sounds tense.

  • Passport? I hardly ever travel internationally. What’s going on? Again, this is not what a person would think. We wouldn’t need to remind ourselves that we never travel internationally, as we would know that. Passport? What’s going on? is enough to give us a sense that she usually doesn’t need it. The whole I hardly ever travel internationally sounds like you are feeding us information (which you are) because we won’t get it if you don’t, but we do. Give your reader the benefit of the doubt wherever you can. It cuts down wordy explanation, and makes the reader think. At the same time, it keeps the opening moving along briskly. Don’t put in any unnecessary verbiage that will bog the reader down.

  • Chief, I’m putting you on speaker so I can prep while we talk. There’s no one else here. This sounds like she is saying it is okay for him to give her information, but he just said it wasn’t. At this point I am thinking she is a spy of some type and I wouldn’t be worried about someone in the room hearing them talk, but actually that the phone was tapped. If she’s a professional, she should be thinking along these lines, and wouldn’t make an amateur move like that. The point of this dialogue is a little lost on me—how does it contribute to plot or character development?

  • She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and rolled gracefully out of bed, an art she had plenty of practice with. She turned on the light and went to the closet. She pulled out her carry-on pack and opened it up on the rumpled bed. She rubbed, she turned, she pulled. This is a trap every writer falls into occasionally. I call it a laundry list—just a list of activities or events, recounted without sentence variation. The good news is that this is an easy writing problem to solve. Just be sure to vary your sentences as you write—using different beginnings, lengths, and structure. Intersperse short, snappy sentences with longer compound sentences. Keep on the active side of the fence, but throw in an occasional passive phrase to keep things interesting. Mix dialogue with action, internal monologue with narrative exposition. Make one sentence lean and mean and fill the next with piquant details. There is a cadence and rhythm to writing, and you’ll add your own style and flair, but once you master this skill, you’ll be able to do it almost subconsciously. And even if you have to think about it from time to time, it will still result in a more interesting, dynamic telling of your story.

  • The mature dog whined and complained in a long monologue before standing on the covers, turning around and around and settling back in.A car is on its way to get Silver and she needs to pack fast. This line made me think that she is watching the dog do all this, but she doesn’t have time. I like the detail in this line, but it contradicts the feeling you’re trying to impress on the reader—that something dicey is about to go down, that time is of the essence, that intrigue is lurking around the corner. This line will be great—after you’ve got the reader under your spell. First you need to focus on increasing the tension, the sense of danger, of something wrong in the universe that must be set right.

  • There is some tension and conflict in this first scene, but it seems more told than shown. Silver doesn’t seem too concerned about this assignment. Even though her first thought is that it’s a tense situation, nothing that follows is tense. It’s great that you are trying to create a sense that something is wrong. Go ahead and crank that up. Be more direct. Give us more usable information. Is she already on a case? If so, maybe she has an inkling of what the chief is going to say. That could be shown in her thoughts.

Another option would be to start with the crime scenario. This story feels like it’s going to be a murder mystery, a thriller, or a spy novel. Start with the crime, the terrorist act, the body, the victim’s last minutes. They all move your story from zero to sixty in three seconds. If you start here with Silver, tell less and show more. Find something besides direct thought to reveal her. How does her body react, or not react in expected ways (involuntary physiology), what are her expectations, can the dialogue reveal more hints at what’s going on without spelling it out?

Your next steps:

You’ve got the potential for an interesting beginning. Little changes can make a big difference at the start of any story. Consider ways to wrap internal thought into the narrative. The best way to do this is simply as past tense statements of fact. When done correctly, this comes across smoothly as internal dialogue without the necessity of using italics every time you want to show what the character thinks or feels about something. For example: “The Chief never started a conversation without at least five minutes of banter—something was definitely wrong.” Statements like this imply what the character is thinking or feeling, without interrupting the flow of the story. Use direct italicized thoughts more to show personality rather than just convey information: use them to show that a character is witty, sardonic, arrogant, funny, or has very unique insights on life. You can slip information in there, but if you aren’t disguising it with more interesting character development and prose, it tends to put up a flag to the reader that you’re using it to sneak info it. Which has the opposite effect of being sneaky.

Next, be sure you are starting the story at the right place. When in doubt, start with murder and mayhem (then the next scene/chapter can be where the protagonist gets his/her mission to save the world—or at least catch the killer); or start with very interesting character development while conveying what’s at stake with saving the world. Your character currently has the potential to be interesting, but her thoughts/actions aren’t yet super unique and intriguing, so this scene isn’t pulling me out of my chair just yet. (If she were to pull a swimsuit from her closet, put on a wig and put in false teeth, and was thinking about whether she could handle plane food so soon after ingesting poison, this character-focused scene would be a great place to start.)

Make sure your characters act logically within the context of the story. (For instance, if they are spies, they need to follow protocol. Silver’s actions demonstrate her awareness of possible surveillance and why important info can’t be shared over the phone.) Be sure not to give unnecessary information that the readers can deduce on their own (such as letting the passport speak for itself), and at the same time, give enough that the story heats up fast (like what profession Silver is in and what the story-worthy problem is going to be).

Finally, become aware of your sentence structure and aim for lots of variety to avoid repetition and keeping things interesting. These steps will help you create an intriguing beginning and keep your readers hooked from start to finish. Best of luck and happy writing!

*Julie's note:  For some reason I was having formatting issues today and I couldn't fix it.  Please don't let that take away from Eschler Editing's great critique.  Hopefully I'll have this figured out . . . soon.  Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Conference Presentation--How To Write Kick Butt Conflict

Well, as most of you know, I'm presenting at the Utah Valley Writers Lecture Series tomorrow on How to Write Kick Butt Conflict Using Action and Suspense.

As I've been prepping, there's several parts that are screaming for audience participation.  The only problem is, I'm worried that people might think I'm weird.  Or a few croutons short of a salad if you get my drift.  I mean, if someone is teaching you about building suspense and anticipation and has a large pin in their hand, would you be scared to be asked to come up and be an "assistant?"  Or, if we're talking about fight scenes, wouldn't it be more fun to "act" things out?  Oh man, my imagination is running away with me.

I even made a handout for my class. Want to see it?

Creating Kick-Butt Conflict Using Action and Suspense
by Julie Coulter Bellon

Conflict and suspense are two of the reasons we get lost in a book.  No matter what genre it is, we want to see what’s going to happen and how these characters will overcome the obstacles facing them.  Yet, sometimes writers don’t focus enough on keeping the tension taut and their readers in suspense.  These conflict techniques will make your writing compelling to any reader, draw them in, and keep them reading.

The Whole Point of the Story
            Main Conflict

What’s Your Problem?

Raise The Stakes¾As Kenny Rogers Would Say Know When to Hold ‘Em
            Reader Expectation

The Clock is Ticking¾Have You Created Suspense and Anticipation?
            Scene Pacing

Is It Over? Resolution or Twist? Tips on What to Do and What to Avoid
            Deus ex machina

Writing Nuts and Bolts¾Choose Your Words
            Sentence Length
            Story Pacing
            The Tension Chart
            Character Goals and POV

Tips for Writing Action Scenes

The Domino Effect

Juggling the Action

True to Life



As you can see above, I even used my Kenny Rogers reference! I am so excited about this class. I wish you all could come. I mean, if you read that handout, wouldn't you want to come to it? Maybe I should have jazzed it up and put a graphic of a bomb under the table or something. Hopefully it's as fun and interesting in real life as it has been to prepare for it. And that people think it's helpful. Cross your fingers for me, okay? And maybe send good thoughts to the people I rope into being my "assistants." *evil grin*

What are you going to do this weekend? Anything fun?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

Well, I walked just under fourteen miles this week and added almost fourteen hundred words.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I love the feeling of accomplishment though.

And I am totally loving my new heroine.  Bart's having a few issues so we're on a break right now.  Haha.

How did you do this week word-wise?  Are you still loving your story?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three Things That Motivate Me To Write In The Summer

Summertime is usually a difficult time for writing, especially writers who are moms.  Somehow having all those kids home isn't really conducive to the writing process.  As you all know I'm in the middle of drafting the third book in my Hostage Negotiation series and so I have to motivate myself to write this summer.  I've been analyzing what's working for me lately and thought I'd share.

1.  The Notebook

The computer isn't available to me on a regular basis during the summer because 1. kids need my attention during the day and 2. because I'm not willing to get up early and use it like some other highly motivated (read: crazy in my book!) writer moms I know.  And sometimes when I do have the computer time, I get in the zone only to be interrupted to referee an argument, answer questions, or help someone with something.  So, in order to get something done, I've been going old school.  I take my notebook everywhere---to the pool while I watch swim lessons, to the table while the kids are coloring or writing letters, and I've even read some of what I've written for storytime.  (My poor kids!  No, I'm at a really exciting part so the boys love it.)  Then, when I have the computer, I just type in the scenes I've written (and add, revise, and edit at the same time so win/win!)

2.  Walking

There are studies that prove that exercise increases synapses to the creative side of your brain and I believe that to be true because whenever I get on my treadmill, the ideas really flow.  So, this summer I have started walking a couple miles a day to work out plots, characters, and dialogue.  It really does work, and although I have to carve out the time, it's so worth it for both my waistline and my storyline!

3.  Accountability

I have to have you guys on my blog every Wednesday and my critique group twice a month check in on my progress.  If I know I'm going to have to report to someone, I'm much more likely to get down to the nitty gritty and get my goals for the day/week accomplished.  Very motivational.  And then when I achieve my goals, I've given myself little rewards like buying a new book or something like that.

What's keeping you motivated this summer?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: Be Mine

I apologize for the late posting.  Mondays are the great and terrible day for me now.  Great because I get to hear from my missionary son, terrible because it's hard for me to wait for that email and I can't really concentrate or do anything else until I get that email.

Today I want to tell you about the book Be Mine by Sandra Flynn Norton.  It's a suspense, with a crazy stalker, and frankly, it reminded me a lot of Michaelbrent Collings book,  Blood Relations.  The plots are very similar with the stalker theme and the twists at the end.  And they are both enjoyable books.

Be Mine introduces us to a fashion designer named Erin Lewis.  She has a practically perfect life, a great job, an incredible marriage, everything is going her way.  Until she starts to feel like she's being watched and the great things in her life disappear one by one.  I bet you can guess where that leads.

There are two points of view in the story, Erin and the stalker.  I enjoyed Erin's POV, and liked how layered her character was.  Sometimes her dialogue was a bit stilted, but overall she was a great character and very relatable.  The stalker's POV seemed cliched at times and a bit predictable, but most stalker stories have that issue.  I thought the author did well at hitting all the tension and suspense beats and I was pulled into the story because of that.  There was a twist at the end that surprised me and left me unsettled because of the way the story had been written, but I don't think that's a bad thing.  I would definitely read another book by this author because of her talent at suspense.

Here's the back copy:

He knows where she works.

He knows where she lives.

And soon, they’ll come face-to-face.

Erin Lewis is an up-and-coming fashion designer building up her career in New York City. With a loving husband, a great assistant, and working in the field of her dreams, she couldn’t be happier.

But perfection can’t last forever.

When a long string of tragedies shakes Erin to her core, she doesn’t know how to keep moving forward day by day. And when she is targeted by a brutal serial killer, she must find the inner strength she never knew she had just to survive.

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Page Friday

I'm so glad it's Friday.  I look forward to seeing the First Page Friday segment every week.  Today we're talking a bit about inner dialogue and strong openings.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

If you would like your first page critiqued by a national editor, submit your double-spaced, 12 pt. font first page in a Word document to  We have openings in July!

Thank you so much to Alison and Ms. Shreditor for their time and effort.  It is greatly appreciated.  See you next week!

The Entry
The Agreement
by Alison Love

Church was just letting out. Here are there you could see children chasing each other down the sidewalk, sometimes dragging an older sibling along. The brilliant sun beat down on parents and children alike as they chatted outside with friends. It was a happy scene to behold, with one exception.

In the shade of an oak tree a boy sat sullenly in a parked minivan. The doors were slid open in an attempt to catch a breeze. With arms crossed tightly and eyebrows drawn in anger; Bruce Beans was not happy. How could she? Why would she ever do this to him? What had he done to deserve this? Squinting up at the sky Bruce noticed a small grey cloud drift over. Bruce imagined filling the cloud with all his feelings of anger and frustration until it grew large enough to dominate the sky. He closed his eyes and willed the wind to blow. He could just see the gale force currents ripping through and sending down hail! Torrents of rain would flood down, soaking his mother…

“Boos!” a small voice called.

“Huh?!?” Bruce was shaken from his daydream . He had been concentrating so hard on his vision of meteorological terror that he hadn’t even noticed that he was not alone in the van anymore. Across from him Booker, his 3 year old brother had climbed into his car seat.

“Boos seep?” Booker asked.

“No, I wasn’t sleeping.” Bruce grumbled. “I just want to go home.”

Ms. Shreditor's Comments

The most effective part of the first paragraph is the last part of the last sentence. The author sets an idyllic scene and then dismantles it with just three words: “with one exception.” It’s a nice literary fake-out. However, I found myself distracted by the obvious error in the second sentence (“here are there”). There are a few proofreading errors on this page, mainly at the punctuation level, that should be addressed before submitting to an editor or agent.

There are some intriguing elements in play here. Bruce has been betrayed by his mother in some way, as evidenced by his internal monologue in the second paragraph. Be careful with italicized inner thoughts; these should be phrased exactly as they would occur in the person’s head. You generally want to avoid third-person perspective and the past perfect tense. Bruce would likely think, How could she do this to me? What did I do to deserve this?

The reader can sense Bruce’s pain as he fantasizes about channeling his pain into the cloud so that it expands and then rains down upon the person who has betrayed him. It’s poignant. My only caveat here would be to avoid exclamation points in descriptive text. For the most part, there should be enough cues in a non-dialogue sentence to convey urgency without the exclamation point. I’d generally advise saving the exclamation points for dialogue—and, even then, I’d recommend using them sparingly.

There are some clues on this first page that indicate where this might be going. I imagine the story will zero in on Bruce’s conflict with his mother. The reader is left wondering what happened between them to make Bruce so angry, which is the right kind of question to be asking after a first page—a page-turning question. My instinct, however, is that this first page would be better served if the inner thoughts moved to the beginning. Church letting out doesn’t seem like a strong enough opening detail, but Bruce’s anger at his mother does. Making this move would necessitate some reworking of the first page, but I think it would go a long way in fortifying the opening and snaring reader interest right off the bat.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

IB Nosey Gets Nosy With Me

I have to tell you I had one of the most entertaining and well, um, strange interviews ever by crack reporter IB Nosey.  I wasn't sure how things were going to go because the questions were so . . . It's just . . . I can't describe it.  You're going to have to go read it yourself.  Click here

As a former journalist myself I've never seen anyone quite like IB Nosey.  Definitely an interview I will print out and read again and again.  Save for posterity.  You know, put in my personal funny papers to bring out when the writing isn't making me laugh anymore.

Thank you for the interview IB.  It was unforgettable!

What kind of author interviews are your favorite?  Crazy or serious?  Fun or factual?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

Well, I didn't quite reach my goal of five pages per day.  I did do about five scenes so I'm counting that as a success, especially since yesterday I was starting to hate my story, hate my main character, and want to throw the whole thing in the pool.  So, to have a breakthrough with the story and finding the will to go on is a big deal for me.  I know, I know, the life of a writer is so dramatic.

How did you do with your writing goals this week?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are You a To-Do List Person?

I am a fan of to-do lists.  I like seeing the little checks next to them because it makes me feel like I've accomplished something.  Since I've been trying to motivate myself to write five pages a day this summer, this is what my to-do list has looked like.

  • Look at my outline to see what's coming up in the scene.

  • Take kids to swimming lessons

  • Jot down scene notes and dialogue bits while watching kids swim

  • Help kids change out of swimsuits

  • Run to computer

  • Write the scene I imagined while at the pool

And hopefully it all ends up at about five pages.  So far, it's been kind of working.  I always get checks for taking the kids to swim lessons and helping kids change out of swimsuits.

Are you a check list kind of person?

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Summer of A Million Gifts

Deseret Book Kicks-off a Summer of a Million Gifts
Prizes include an 8-day cruise, a missionary wardrobe, a wedding reception, and daily gifts

Deseret Book is looking to give back this summer with its Summer of a Million Gifts. The store’s customers can anticipate random daily in-store gifts and an opportunity to win one of three grand prizes.

In June, one lucky customer will win an 8-day Caribbean Cruise with Alex Boye, British-born LDS singer and songwriter, courtesy of Morris Murdock Travel. In July, another will win a missionary wardrobe courtesy of Mr. Mac. And in August, one couple will win a wedding reception courtesy of Temple Square Hospitality.

The giving will take place online and in person at every store throughout the summer months. Each day on Deseret Book’s official Facebook page and in Deseret Book stores, an associate will give a gift to at least one customer a free pass to Lagoon theme park, double Platinum points, a free book at check-out, an act of service, or some other free prize.

More information about the Summer of a Million Gifts can be found online at, on Facebook at, or in any of Deseret Book’s retail locations.

For a chance to win a $50 Deseret Book gift card, click on the rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Sworn Enemy

Sworn Enemy is the second historical suspense put out by A.L. Sowards.  I really enjoyed the first one and the second one was just as good.

We continue with the adventures of Peter and Genevieve, who we met in the first book, although Sworn Enemy is a stand alone novel.  (I was glad I'd read the first one so I knew the background of Peter and Genevieve though.)  This time, Peter is part of an elite group that is trying to stop a communist takeover and that's not easy.  I loved his part of the book because it's full of spies and traitors and awesome action. And, well, I love Peter.

Genevieve's story is also good, but a little more sedate if we're comparing the two. (Can you compare action heroes and heroines?  On a scale of Alias to Jack Bauer to Mission Impossible?  I don't know.)  Anyway, Genevieve's one tough cookie with all she goes through.  I was definitely drawn in from the beginning with the connection between Genevieve and Peter and the danger they face.  The opening chapters were seriously ones I couldn't put down and told myself I'd just read one more page, one more page, until I was on chapter five!  It's a great opening.

Sowards strength is how accurate her setting is and how she draws her characters within the time period. (I learned some facts about the war in Romania I didn't know.)  She has obviously done her research and makes it feel real to the reader.  There were a few pacing issues where the details did bog down the story a bit, but overall I thought the author worked it and really added to the authenticity of the story.  I love the suspense aspect and how the author ramps up the tension in each succeeding chapter.  I'm interested to see where she takes her story next. I definitely recommend this story to any historical fiction lover.

Here is the back copy:

June 1944. As World War II rages, the people of Eastern Europe are hopelessly trapped between two formidable forces: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. In their midst, a band of heroes works to defend against the inevitable Communist takeover.

After narrowly escaping her Nazi captors, French Resistance worker Genevieve Olivier has fled to Allied territory with the help of American Lieutenant Peter Eddy. Their connection is undeniable, forged in the crucible of danger. But despite their blossoming feelings for each other, they must both finish the work they began . . .

In the safety of England, Genevieve hopes to find purpose as a nurse—all the while unaware that the Gestapo still seeks the woman who slipped through their grasp. When she is called upon to resume a life of danger as a French spy, will her desire to prove herself be her downfall?

Recruited by an elite special-ops team intent on thwarting the Nazis, Peter finds himself engaged in a personal battle as well—there is a traitor among his comrades. Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, Peter combats an unknown foe. The stakes are high as he fights to save the lives of his teammates.

They are miles apart, yet as Genevieve and Peter fight for their own survival, they find a common well of strength in their faith—and their determination to be reunited.

Friday, June 14, 2013

First Page Friday

This is probably one of the most glowing First Page Friday critiques I've ever seen from Ms. Shreditor.  Congratulations to the author!  And thank you to Ms. Shreditor for all her hard work on our behalf.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  See you next week!

The Entry
by Z.Z. Ali

I suppose I could let it kill me. I don’t think it would make a difference either way, whether it’s me or the lizard abomination in front of me that dies. Maybe it would be better, even, if I died. Then, at least, I wouldn’t have to deal with these sorts of decisions anymore.

But as the scaly humanoid form moves closer, unblinking eyes fixed on me in a dead yellow stare, I know I won’t let it. I’ve been through this same argument a hundred times, and a hundred times it’s ended the same way. Already, Jem is rising from his hiding place in the bushes, raising his crossbow, sighting down the bolt.

His blue eyes flash me a message. Keep it distracted, Col.

I know my part. I’ve done it so many times now that it’s sickeningly easy.

As the lizard thing scuttles forward, awkward angles of legs and arms—not quite human and not quite lizard—working in a bizarre symphony of movement, I catch its gaze with my own and hold it there, raising my hands ever so slightly. I’ve always been good at this, being the Lure, capturing an abomination’s attention with nothing but my eyes while the Hunter prepares a killing blow.

My charm works as expected and the abomination pauses, tilting its yellow-scaled head to the side, assessing. Its forked tongue flicks out to taste the air, clawed fingers digging into the ground.

I press my mind towards it, forcing thoughts of stasis and immobility through the air between us. It’s pure fancy, of course, but it helps me hold that stare, helps me keep it from striking with the lightning speed I know it’s capable of, so that Jem can have a chance to get a clean shot.

So we stand there, suspended in time, a beast and a boy who share more than they ought in ancestry, and perhaps even intelligence. And then there’s a snick! and a whistle and a bolt buries itself in the base of the thing’s skull, severing its spinal cord in a single shot. It doesn’t even have time to scream, which I’m grateful for, before it twitches and goes limp, dead.

I turn away, stomach roiling, as Jem steps out of the bushes, beaming, and retrieves the bolt.

Ms. Shreditor's Comments

My work here is done. Truly. I’ve read this first page several times, and I cannot imagine an agent or editor not pouncing on this manuscript. I try to avoid discussion of “natural talent” in my columns because it undermines what we’re trying to accomplish with First Page Friday. However, this author deserves to hear that he or she has some serious natural ability with the written word.

Manuscripts that an editor can kick back and enjoy with minimal intervention are few and far between. Let’s explore some of the things that make this first page so exemplary:

The Hook

Right off the bat, the reader is drawn into the face-off between Col and the lizard-like creature. The suspense is at a high right out of the gate, and it continues as Jem and Col set up the creature for the kill.


Although suspense plays an important role on this first page, the author is skilled enough to work in some character development. We feel the closeness between Col and Jem right off the bat with just a simple look and unspoken message that passes between them. We can deduce from the text that this isn’t the first such confrontation that Col has faced, and his resignation and hopelessness permeate the narrative.


If you struggle with rhythm in your writing, read this sample out loud. Rhythm is a key component of good prose because it lulls the reader into a certain page-turning momentum. The keys are varied sentence length and strategically placed clauses.


In this particular instance, “fluency” refers to the author’s facility with language and syntax. The story manages to be vivid without any word count waste. There’s very little, if any, literary “fat” to cut here. There are also certain turns of phrase that an editor couldn’t coax out of many authors with ten rounds of edits, such as “a beast and a boy who share more than they ought in ancestry.” This level of narrative insight is difficult, if not impossible, to teach.


Honestly, I have read published books that aren’t as clean as this first page. My only complaint is that there a lot of participial verb phrases (e.g., “raising his crossbow,” “tilting its yellow-scaled head,” “clawed fingers digging into the ground,” etc.). The author might want to recast sentences here and there to eliminate a few of these, but I wouldn't go overboard. As I mentioned above, the writing flows really beautifully overall.

There’s really only one item of note for me to critique here: this first page did run a bit longer than one page when I plugged it into Word and formatted it per the guidelines. Please pay close attention to submission guidelines so that this manuscript lands on the right person's desk and gets the attention it deserves.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Meridian Magazine Reviewed Ashes Ashes! & Let's Talk About Writing Goals

Meridian Magazine reviewed my book today!  *happy dance*  The reviewer had a lot of good things to say like,

"The plot is full of action and keeps a fast pace. The author demonstrates a good understanding of police procedure and of world affairs in both the background and action of the story. The details are graphic in places, but put in a perspective that keeps them from being offensive. Bellon uses an interesting writing device in setting up the ending to almost mirror the beginning. Fans of action novels will enjoy reading Ashes Ashes."

So you can see why I'm so happy.  She said a lot of other things, too, and you can go here to see the full review.

Yesterday we were talking about getting motivated to write in the summertime.  The more I've thought about this, the more I think it's related to goals whether it's word count goals, chapter goals, scene goals, whatever.  When I have a goal, I make plans to meet that goal and that's what I need right now--a little summertime structure if you will.

Since a goal is just a wish until it's written down, today I am writing down that I would like to finish drafting Bart's story by July 31st.  That's a pretty big goal for me, but I know if I break it down into small pieces I can do it.

When I calculate everything, that means my daily goal is to write at least five pages per day.  I'm really going to try to stay accountable and on top of this.  Goals = Motivation = Accomplishment.  I can do this.

I hope you'll join with me in making some goals for the summer.  Write them in the comment section and we'll check in with each other, keep ourselves accountable.

What would you like to accomplish by the end of July?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

I'm drafting away like a good little writer.  It's been a good week for me.  At least 4000 words.  (Considering it's summer, all the kids home, yada yada, that's a good count.)  The thing I like about drafting is even though I've outlined, the story is taking a twisty direction and I like where it's going.  Bart is a very gray character with a past, so I like the discovery part of it.  And my heroine?  Yeah, love her so far.  We'll see how long the good feelings last.  Usually by revisions, I hate them.  Haha.

How did you do this week?  Doing anything fun for the summer?  Writing every day?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Upcoming Conferences and Book Signings

Well, I'm knuckle-deep in drafting Bart's story, so today I just want to tell you about two upcoming events that I will be presenting and signing books at.

Utah Valley Writers Lecture Series

This is a two day conference, open to the public.  It's $50 for both days and that includes lunch.  It's being held in American Fork Utah, and has some really great speakers (besides me).  You can find more details on classes being offered and keynotes, as well as registration information here

I'm also appearing at a free fun family night event on July 1st (Canada Day, woohoo!) with fellow author Jordan McCollum

Here are the details:

The Great White North Comes To Pleasant Grove
July 1st
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Pleasant Grove Library

Come Celebrate Canada Day with Your Family at the Pleasant Grove Library!

There will be:

  • door prizes and drawings
  • displays on fun facts of Canada
  • coloring pages
  • tasting tables of Canadian treats
  • storytime about Canada
  • and much more . . .

It's the perfect family night to learn about our Canadian neighbors.

Canadian author Julie Coulter Bellon will also be signing her books at the event along with Jordan McCollum, whose CIA titles are set in Canada.  Their books will be available for purchase that evening.

I hope you can come to one or both of these events.  I think it will be a blast.  Come introduce yourself to me if you do come.  I'd love to meet you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Triple Whammy---Three Book Reviews!

I got my own review today by Lindzee Armstrong that's had me smiling all morning long.  Go here to read what she said about Ashes Ashes.

So, I had a weekend of reading and it was wonderful and relaxing.  I hope you got some in, too.

The first book I want to tell you about today, is True by Erin McCarthy.  It's a New Adult novel about a tall nerdy girl named Rory who just doesn't seem to fit in.  She has two hot college roommates who take her along to parties and such, but Rory is just socially awkward.  While she is waiting on the couch for her roommates, there's an incident with a guy trying to force Rory to do something she doesn't want to do and Tyler Mann, a sexy bad boy steps in to protect her.  The story goes from there about how these two very different people find love with each other even though there are some pretty big odds stacked against them.

I liked the characters a lot.  The author writes three dimensional characters so well that it's easy to come to love them all, even the secondary cast.  Tyler's brothers stole the show in some places.  I liked the idea of Tyler trying to do what's best all the time, even when it was hurtful and hard, and that underneath his outer layer of tattoos and attitude was a really caring person who saw Rory for what she really was inside.  I had a hard time with all the swearing, and graphic sex scenes, however.  It really took away from the story for me because I think the writer didn't need it to get anything across. Not my cup of tea I guess.  But the characters were compelling and the story was good.

Here's the back copy:

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

Home to Whiskey Creek

The second book I read is the fourth in Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series.  I did a book signing with Brenda once so I read her books occasionally.  This one reminded me a bit of her book Dead Silence when a successful woman comes home to her small town to face her demons and solve a mystery.  But Home to Whiskey Creek has Adelaide Davies in the lead role.

Adelaide comes home to Whiskey Creek to help her grandmother, and during her first few days there she's kidnapped and thrown down an old mine shaft---the exact place the event happened that changed her life and forced her to run away.  Thankfully, Noah Rackham is riding his bike near the mine that night and hears her cries for help.  He's stunned to hear anyone in the area, since the mine was closed off after his twin brother's death on graduation night, but he goes to help her. He's even more surprised and intrigued when she doesn't want anything to do with him.

Home to Whiskey Creek is a romantic mystery that had me turning pages to see if they would find out who was threatening Adelaide and when she would tell him what really happened that night.  Great suspense.  I loved the characters and how broken and flawed they were and the townspeople are realistic as well.  I felt like the end was a bit rushed and I wanted more out of the epilogue since there were a few storyline threads still dangling.  There was also a few fairly graphic sex scenes and some swearing.  Overall, though, these were easy to skip and I thought the story was well done.  Ms. Novak is a master at characterization and sympathetic characters.

Here's the back copy:

Sometimes home is the refuge you need — and sometimes it isn’t.

Adelaide Davies, who’s been living in Sacramento, returns to Whiskey Creek, the place she once called home. She’s there to take care of her aging grandmother and to help with Gran’s restaurant, Just Like Mom’s. But Adelaide’s not happy to be back. There are too many people here she’d rather avoid, people who were involved in that terrible June night fifteen years ago.

Ever since the graduation party that changed her life, she’s wanted to go to the police and make sure the boys responsible — men now — are punished. But she can’t, not without revealing an even darker secret.

So it’s better to pretend. . .

Noah Rackham, popular, attractive, successful, is shocked when Adelaide won’t have anything to do with him. He has no idea that his very presence reminds her of something she’d rather forget. Neither does he know she’s the reason his twin brother didn’t survive that party at the old mine.

A Timeless Romance Anthology---Summer Wedding Collection

This was an anthology that I loved.  There were some of my favorite authors with sweet, clean romances that I heartily recommend to anyone who loves the first butterflies of love.  Each story had great characters with chemistry and I finished reading with a smile on my face, although there were a couple that I wished went on longer, just because the characters were so great.  There was also one that was very poorly edited with words missing and tenses wrong, which made it feel out of place to me since the others were so well done, but if you can overlook that, it was an anthology that belongs on my rainy day shelf to read again.  I thought I would put which one was my favorite, but honestly, I can't choose.  There really were some great bite-sized romantic stories that made me sigh like a schoolgirl.

Here's the back copy:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer Wedding Collection. Readers will love this collection of six sweet contemporary romance novellas, centered on a Summer Wedding, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In Melanie Jacobson’s charming novella, Love Bytes, Bree is the maid-of-honor and Dallen is the best-man. Living across the country from each other, they commiserate over their prospective best friends’ unrealistic wedding demands. While they plan and plot over email and texting, Bree realizes that the best part about the Maui wedding might be meeting Dallen. She just hopes that he’ll feel the same way.

Romeo and Julie-ex is a sweet romance by Julie Wright. “Romeo” turns out to be a two-timing jerk, and when Juliet Moore’s pre-ordered wedding dress arrives from UPS, Juliet curses everything male. In a stubborn streak, she decides to keep the bridal photography appointment—if only because the money isn’t refundable and it was the one thing that her ex-fiance actually paid for. Plus, she has the perfect wedding dress. When Juliet shows up for the appointment and meets photographer Jack Montague, she might have to take back some of her curses on men.

In Rachael Anderson’s enchanting novella, The Meltdown Match, Courtney spends each summer in her hometown of Heimel, Alaska, to find inspiration for her next novel. Her writing method has become a pattern—outline a novel in Heimel, then move to the place her novel is set to finish writing it. But when she runs into former high school friend, Mitch Winters, and they both win the Meltdown Match—a traditional dating contest—Courtney discovers that leaving her hometown at the end of the summer might not be so easy this time.

In Golden Sunrise, an engaging romance by Annette Lyon, Natalie takes time out of her crazy schedule to fly to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. Sierra and Jason, high-school sweethearts, are finally getting married. Fortunately for Natalie, her old high-school flame, Adam, has a work commitment and can’t be there as best man. But when she arrives at the wedding rehearsal—late and ragged—Adam is there. Memories from the past—and all her old feelings—come flooding back. When Adam makes a wild suggestion, Natalie just may take him up on it, even though she knows he’s moved on. A single choice may mean Natalie is taking a shot at reclaiming the past—or that she's putting her heart in harm’s way a second time.

Tide Pools is a captivating story by Heather B. Moore. When Lexi makes a quick trip to Hawaii to attend her friend’s wedding, she discovers that the engaged couple, Sydney and Apelu, are still trying to match-make for her. Lexi laughs because not only does their friend David have a serious girlfriend, but he owns a restaurant on the island. Lexi has too many plans that don’t include a long-distance relationship or coming between a guy and his girlfriend. But when Lexi meets David, she has a hard time remembering why all of her plans were so important.

In Sarah M. Eden’s delightful novella, A Regular Bloke from Stanmore, Abby is helping her sister, Caroline, plan her British wedding. That’s right, Caroline is obsessed with all things British and insists on an authentic wedding in . . . Oregon. When they arrive at Sainsbury House reception hall, it has everything Caroline loves, and the host, Matthew Carlton, even has a British accent. Yet Abby isn’t buying the whole good-looking-British man with impeccable manners thing; she’s determined to expose him as a fake. But the more Abby gets to know Matthew, the more she realizes how wrong she really is.

Friday, June 7, 2013

First Page Friday

So excited it's Friday.  I'm hoping for a long relaxing weekend with my new novel.  I'm glad Ms. Shreditor talked about dialogue today since that's something I'm working on in Bart's story.

As always, if you would like your first page critiqued please follow the guidelines in the sidebar.  Thank you to Kara and Ms. Shreditor for their time and effort.

See you next week!

The Entry
A Gate Called Beautiful
by Kara McKenzie

Claudia pushed a tangled mass of dark hair behind her shoulders, eyes fixed on the road leading to Capernaum, the small fishing town on the Sea of Galilee miles north of Jerusalem. Leaning against a large boulder in a rock-strewn area, she gripped her cup tighter, while people walked past toward the synagogue for afternoon prayer. Her voice rang out from sunken cheeks.

“Alms! For the poor! Alms! For the poor!” she cried. When she received no response, she smiled at the people on the clay-packed trail, a yearning in her eyes.

Her smile drew wider despite the hot, muggy day. Could one of them look this way? An ache struck deep within her eager for a smile, or to hear a soft-spoken word. She touched the twisted foot that made her unclean and smoothed out the folds in her wrinkled tunic and frowned.

Hearing a familiar voice from behind, she smiled and spun around expectantly. Baruch? She thought it was her friend by the sound of his voice, his enlarged chest making it difficult for him to breathe.

“How much in coins this day, Claudia?”

The beat of camels hoofs clomping along the road, sheep bleating on their way to the temple for sacrifice and the soft jingle of coins dropping into beggar’s cups half-drowned out his voice. “Not many, Baruch. And yet I’m hoping Adonai, the Lord, will provide. Although I wasn’t expecting much, after fifteen years of living on the streets and knowing how it is. They seem to take little notice of us.”

She averted her eyes from Baruch’s misshapen body covered in muddy, ragged clothes and a frown drew across her brow when she noticed the cloth tied to his feet with a piece of rope for sandals.

Ms. Shreditor's Comments

This sample’s greatest strength is its descriptiveness. The author taps into multiple senses to craft a vivid opening scene. There are hooves clomping, coins jingling, and masses of dark hair. However, I think that the first paragraph could be stronger. The first sentence is a jumble of details; in one breath, we’re meeting Claudia and getting a quick geography lesson about the area. The most compelling detail we get in the first paragraph is Claudia’s sunken cheeks. I’d suggest moving this character-defining detail to the beginning, as it will pique reader curiosity right off the bat.

While we’re on the subject of the first paragraph, I want to point out how important it is that descriptions be to scale. The first sentence indicates that Capernaum is “miles north” of Jerusalem. This doesn’t accurately depict the distance between the two—Capernaum is roughly 120 miles north of Jerusalem, which would have made for a very long journey back when this story takes place. As I’ve mentioned in past columns, you never want to leave your reader with the impression that you’re unfamiliar with the location of your story, so make sure to fact-check even the smallest geographical details.

Another detail in the story confused me. The fourth paragraph says, “She thought it was her friend by the sound of his voice, his enlarged chest making it difficult for him to breathe.” Why is Baruch’s chest enlarged? Why exactly is he having trouble breathing? This isn’t immediately apparent, so consider revising for clarity. Similarly, the “ache” in the third paragraph needs to be tweaked. As the sentence currently reads, the ache feels eager for a smile, which isn’t possible. You might say, Eager for a smile or a soft-spoken word, she felt an ache deep inside.

A note about dialogue: Sometimes, knowing when to cut off dialogue can mean the difference between speech that sounds realistic and speech that sounds like a veiled information dump. In the sixth paragraph, Claudia talks to Baruch about how she wasn’t expecting much from the passersby after fifteen years of living on the streets. If the narrative is any indication, Baruch is a close friend she sees on a regular basis. So the last two sentences feel a bit superfluous here. You might try recasting like this: “Not many, Baruch. And yet I’m hoping Adonai, the Lord, will provide, although I wasn’t expecting much.” Claudia had lived on the street for fifteen years and knew how it was. Passersby rarely noticed her and Baruch. This tweaked version conveys the same information as the original without bogging down the dialogue with background information that close friends wouldn’t bring up in passing conversation.

There are some compelling elements on this first page. Claudia appears to be the classic underdog heroine, the kind of character that will always resonate with readers. I’m not certain where this story is headed, so I think it’s important to lay down a strong hook in the first paragraph. Readers don’t have to know exactly where they’re going on the first page, but it helps if they’re emotionally invested in the person who’s going to lead them there.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

To Bookmark or Not To Bookmark

I am in a quandary and need your opinion.  So many of my author friends order bookmarks to give out at signings and such, but I haven't.  My publisher gave me bookmarks when I first published and whenever I did signings I handed them out.  But now that I'm independently published, I'm wondering if it's worth the expense.  I mean, I occasionally do booksignings, I speak at conferences and such, but do I really need bookmarks for people to remember me by?

For me, when I receive bookmarks from people I set them in a drawer at home and use them when I'm in a bind, but I have a Kindle so I don't use them a whole lot and I generally don't look at them for info.  So here's what I want to know:

Do you actually look at and potentially purchase books from info on a bookmark?  Do you think bookmarks are worth the money with all the ereaders nowadays?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Word Count Wednesday & Character Inspiration Photos

I just have to tell you, my first author interview for Ashes Ashes was posted today.  You can read all about my inspiration for the book here.

Well, I had a bit of inspiration and motivation this week.  I found a picture of the man who closely resembles (in my mind) Bart, my main character in my new book.  Here he is:

(No infringement is intended by posting these photos, this is just my wish list if my book were ever made into a movie.)

His name is Eduardo Verastegui.  He was raised in a little village in Northern Mexico and is the son of a sugar cane farmer. He can sing and he can act.  And he would be my perfect Bart in my new novel Pocket Full of Posies.  What do you think?

As for word count, I'm finishing up the first chapter and boy, this one has been intense to write.  So far, though, I still love Bart, Colby, Claire and the Captain, so we're good.  I've written about 5000 words on this manuscript so far.

How did you do this week?

And do you ever look at pictures of people that inspire your imagination for your characters?  Why or why not?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Three Wonderful Things

Today I'm having a little celebration for myself and I think I'm going to break out my good chocolate.  Three wonderful things have happened to me and I'm excited to share.  So come to the party!

First of all, I was notified yesterday that my book All Fall Down won the reader preference round for suspense/thriller, which means it's now a finalist for the RONE awards.  The winners will be announced in Las Vegas in August.  Yay!

The second thing was that I got a five star review for my new book Ashes Ashes!  Mel's Shelves said, "if you enjoy a fast-paced, clean romantic suspense novel you must read this book!"  To read the whole review of what she thought of my characters and dialogue click here

And the third thing is that I also got a review from A Book A Day who said, "I loved the level of action and suspense, waiting for a man with a gun to jump out at any moment. You won't regret reading this book!"  You can read the whole review here

*throws confetti*  So there you have it, my three reasons to celebrate.

Anything good happening in your life lately?

Monday, June 3, 2013

I, Spy Blog Tour Answers My Spy Question

I am participating in the blog tour of I, Spy, and Mr. Nice Spy by Jordan McCollum.  I am so excited about these books.  If you want a fun and sassy heroine who's juggling her spy life with real life, then this is the series for you.  I love the voice of the main character Talia in I, Spy, because she feels so real and yet someone that I could be friends with.  You all know how I loved the TV series, Alias, and this reminds me a bit of that.  It's also set in Canada and since I'm Canadian, well, it's like two perfect worlds have collided for me.

Her partner, Elliott, is also trying to juggle real life with his spy life and I was pleasantly surprised to find out what makes him tick and how his partnership with Talia figures into his life in the prequel novella, Mr. Nice Spy.  (I read the book, I Spy, first.)  Ms. McCollum has created a cast of characters that are memorable and make me anxious to see the series continue just so I can find out what happens to them!

And, on the spur of the moment side, I submitted a question for a spy tip and it was, "How can a mom enjoy candy without her kids noticing and wanting her to share?" which spy novelist, Jordan McCollum answered below in the video.  So fun!

Point of this story?  If you're looking for the perfect summer read, then this is it.  I loved these books and highly recommend them to anyone.  You can read more about the blog tour and launch, get a cool spy tip for your daily life and download a free copy below!  (For the launch, you can also find Mr. Nice Spy on Amazon, Kobo, and!)

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

Want to enjoy candy without having to give it all to your kids? Find out how to use spy skills to get away with it! 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!! Click here to enter.

The clue for this stop is:

The single-word name of the Mr. Nice Spy song appears in Chapter 2 of the novella.

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 You can also get 40% off I, Spy!