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Behind the Scenes: My Writing Life

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millwdgraphicfindoutGoing From Word One to a Career as a Novelist

To help celebrate National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Webucator (a national training company) asked me to answer some questions on my writing life. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, it isn’t too late to try it this year, sign up with NaNoWriMo and give it a whirl.
What were my goals when I started writing?
I started writing very young. I wrote plays for my sisters and I to perform, and I had a sixth grade teacher encourage me after I submitted an essay on a disastrous bread baking episode (the dough bubbled and leaked from under the bowl while it was supposed to be rising). Mostly, I just wanted to share my stories with others. Even when I wrote for my high school newspaper, and took creative writing in college, I didn’t think about actually being the kind of writer with books on the library shelf. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I decided I wanted to see a story of mine published, but I never even considered giving up for more than twenty minutes after a particularly stinging rejection. My very first published (not written) novel, The Fairy Tale Bride, is free on all platforms, to thank the universe for letting me share my work with readers.… Read the rest
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Posted in Crazy or Genius?, Lesson From the Backlist, Million Word Adventure, My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

New Cover for License to Shop is Ready!

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Million Word Adventure Paying Off

The draft of License to Shop, the second Secret Shopper Mom Mystery is almost done. Pushing myself to write a millions words is paying off, even though I’ve had a lot of obstacles, and am behind in my overall goal.

My hope was that pushing myself would also push me to be more creative, take a few more chances, and avoid my tendency to be a safe and rule-oriented writer. I think it’s working. I absolutely love License to Shop. Who better understands identity theft than woman who is a mom, a wife, a mystery shopper, and an amateur sleuth? Figuring out who she is under all those labels is a full time job for Molly Harbison.

A special thanks goes to Margaret Rushton, who lent her pooch Jasmine to be the model for Molly’s new puppy. Having a real dog to use made it easy to turn the puppy into a member of the Harbison family.

I love the new cover that Hanna Sandvig made. What do you think?


The book will be up for pre-order next week, and on-sale December 1st.

Sign up to my newsletter for giveaways. I’ll be doing several over the next few months.… Read the rest

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Posted in Mystery Shopping Mom

New Cover Reveal: Blood Angel

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Finding the Perfect Cover is One Part Persistence and Two Parts Luck

I’ve been meaning to get a new cover for my YA dark fantasy Blood Angel for a few months, but there have been so many other things on the to-do list….

The last two weeks I’ve been in cover-creation mode (stay tuned for a sneak peek at the cover for License to Shop, the second Secret Shopper Mom Mystery, and the gorgeous cover for my soon-to-be released short story, “Maiden Ash”).

While looking at covers to get ideas, I stumbled across one that was perfect for Blood Angel (I think).


What do you think?

Just in case you didn’t know, Blood Angel is available for free in the Kindle Unlimited program, and is free for anyone on October 31st as a Halloween present. A chilling tale perfect for a dark autumn evening, if I do say so myself.

Kelly McClymer Fast Facts Kelly McClymer

Kelly is a writer, a mom, and a reading tutor for children with dyslexia. Plus, she is totally addicted to her iPad. Curse you, Steve Jobs.

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Posted in Blood Angel

Week 4 of the The Million Word Adventure

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Week 4: Celebrating a Birthday and a Milestone

So this is week 4 of the The Million Word Adventure. Wow. I have learned a lot about how much I have let interfere with the writing the last few years.

Lessons (re)learned:

  • When you show up to the office, work gets done (duh, but I always need reminders of this one)
  • Sometimes when I make myself write a scene I’m not sure of, something wonderful happens and it turns out to be the key to the whole book (turns out the identity theft crime in License to Shop is absolutely perfect for a university town, in multiple ways).
  • When one story starts to stall, there’s always another one waiting in the wings to work on.
  • A little research goes a long way. I learned the color of silkworm eggs, how the FBI handles identity theft, and the nutshell history of human warfare, and used what I learned to deepen/improve three different stories.
  • I drink too much coffee.
  • It takes time to create a new habit, especially a “write 10,000 words a day” habit.
picture of various objects, million word adventure

Can I do it? Can I? Will you help?


Monday was my birthday, and the first day of tutoring for the semester, so I did a little less writing than a typical Monday.… Read the rest

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Posted in Million Word Adventure

Failure is Not an Option

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Writer’s Block Is More Like A Kinked Hose Than a Brick

kinked hose

I knew setting myself a big goal like The Million Word Adventure (write a million words in 4 months) was going to stir up the Doubt Dragons big time. The DDs this week are about the size of wasps, but there are thousands of them, with the same clouding, stinging effect of a disturbed hornet’s nest.

I have done many unnecessary things, while listening to a running narrative of “I have to write 10,000 words today. I have to.”

In the first two weeks, I have not hit my daily word goal even once, and I missed my first weekly goal. Some people might see failure looming and give up, but I’m not one of them.

I was blessed with a gigantic helping of optimism in the face of reality, but also the ability to recognize reality (yes, leads for a very interesting internal debate whenever I try something new like this).

 Reality Bites

Going in, I knew the reality was that I have been actively avoiding the actual writing for several years. I’m telling the stories over and over in my mind — in the grocery line, driving, fixing dinner.… Read the rest

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Posted in Million Word Adventure

Home is Where the Adventure Begins

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doublerainbowHome At Last!

I am home, at last, after an entire summer away, having a big adventure. My husband and I drove across the country, from Maine to California, and back again.

We stopped to see sights both iconic (the Petrified Forest) and ironic (The Jolly Green Giant statue). I have pictures to prove it, and I will share them soon.

I even got to travel the Trans-Canada highway for the first time ever (highly recommended; there are many places where you can stop and just take a break by the water).

We managed to help one son transition from East Coast to West Coast into a long-coveted job, and spent quality time with our grandson.

We had a blast living in San Francisco in a furnished sublet, able to walk to the ocean/bay in any direction we wished.

Unfortunately, I did not get nearly enough work done, especially not writing work.

I have so many travel stories to share with you on the blog, in addition to continuing the Secret Shopper Mom Mystery series with License to Shop, the next Molly Harbison mystery shopper novel. Not to mention the new YA fantasy serialization I have been outlining and working on for a couple of years now.… Read the rest

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed, Uncategorized

My New Shop and Let Die Trailer

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SALDe-bookhighresMy cover designer, Hanna Sandvig designed another great trailer for me. If you thought secret shopping was a scam job, you should meet Molly and find out what secret shoppers really do.


Kelly McClymer Fast Facts Kelly McClymer

Kelly is a writer, a mom, and a reading tutor for children with dyslexia. Plus, she is totally addicted to her iPad. Curse you, Steve Jobs.

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Posted in Shop and Let Die

Meet Illustrator Hanna Sandvig

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The Ex-Files book cover

 Illustrator Hanna Sandvig Talks Drawing and Cover Design

I’m so excited to feature the talented Hanna Sandvig, of Book Cover Bakery, on the blog today. A few months ago, when I wanted to re-do the cover of The Ex Files to match my new Secret Shopper series, I had to find an illustrator. Luckily, I came across a reference to Hanna, who has now designed two covers and two trailers for me, with two more covers yet to do. I debuted the trailer for The Ex Files yesterday, and if you want to be the first to see the trailer for Shop and Let Die, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get a sneak peek on Friday.

Kelly McClymer Fast Facts Kelly McClymer

Kelly is a writer, a mom, and a reading tutor for children with dyslexia. Plus, she is totally addicted to her iPad. Curse you, Steve Jobs.

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Posted in The Ex-Files

New The Ex-Files Has a Trailer

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Every new cover needs a trailer

I’ve already revealed the new The Ex Files cover, but now it is time to reveal the trailer that talented artist Hanna Sandvig did for me.

Isn’t it cute?

I’ve never been able to draw anything other than princesses (circle faces, bell-shaped skirts), so I’m always envious when I see someone else’s artistic talent. But this time, I got to help create it.

Later this week, I’ll share an interview with Hanna, and maybe give you a sneak peek into our working process.


Kelly McClymer Fast Facts Kelly McClymer

Kelly is a writer, a mom, and a reading tutor for children with dyslexia. Plus, she is totally addicted to her iPad. Curse you, Steve Jobs.

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Posted in The Ex-Files

Mother Nature’s Storytelling Prompts

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Devil’s Rock and the Giant Bear

devilstower picture

One of the most frequent questions that writers get is “Where do you get your ideas.” Most writers I know scoff at that question. I don’t. I am as interested in that question as any reader.

My ideas have come from overhearing a conversation, mishearing a phrase (The Salem Witch Tryouts, for example), watching a movie and wondering would what have happened if the a plot choice had gone a different way….in short, there are story prompts for writers everywhere I look. I have notebooks full of them, and I’d need to write for a thousand years to write them all.

I visited one of Mother Nature’s story prompts in Wyoming on my most recent trip out to visit The Best Grandbaby In the World™ in the Bay Area. Devil’s Tower has been inspiring stories for ages. The Arapaho have one, the Cheyenne have one, the Crow, the Kiowa, and the Lakota. They all feature a big bear, making scratches on the rock. And, like most storytellers, every tribe’s story is just a little different.

Me, I wondered why this particular natural wonder inspired so many stories. My trips out west have taught me that there are so many wondrous formations ready to inspire story in travelers.… Read the rest

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Posted in Travel
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1MWordAdv Progress

I'm planning to write a million words in four months. If you want to help cheer me on, The Million Word Adventure will tell you how.

Novels (60,000 - 100,000 words):

Short Stories (10,000 - 15,000 words)

Serialization (300,000 completed serial)

Non-Fiction, Blogs & Stuff (only counting up to 250,000)

Writing a million words takes a lot of time. I'm not going to be cooking. If you want to donate to help buy me coffee or a take out meal, you can do so through Paypal.



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