The Genie Inside

Need a little inspiration this morning? Watch Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, talk about creativity and where it — may or may not — come from.

[wpvideo 8ChgjMTM]

New Kindle Books!

Actually only one new one: PAINTED TRUTH but The Bluejay Shaman is also cheaper for the Kindle. Check it out: 99 Cents for The Bluejay Shaman. They won’t let me sell it for any less than 99 cents, folks! Find out what started Alix Thorssen on her path of detective work, in Missoula and on the Flathead Indian Reservation. A slightly strange new age women’s group, a very cute policeman, and an archeological find in the wilds of Montana: all lead to an adventure that bestselling mystery writer James Crumley called, A delightful read: compellingly twisted… reminiscent of Tony Hillerman at his best.

Painted Truth is the second book in the series, the first one set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Alix’s home. Kirkus Reviews said:  Wyoming painter Ray Tantro was a has-been at 30, but now, ten years later, he’s getting ready for a comeback. Then Timberwolf Arts burns to the ground with Ray and his paintings inside. … Will leave you gasping with admiration for the killer’s imagination and industry. McClendon knits detective work together with domestic betrayals in a satisfyingly intricate tangle.
The Armchair Detective said of PAINTED TRUTH: “Writing in a lyrical, often humorous style McClendon brings the surrounding Wyoming territories to life, and her insight into the art world is intriguing. Alix Thorssen is a charming, grouchy, quirky, and even harder on herself than she is on the people around her. The plot is a treat.”

All this and more at my website.

You heard it here first: Novel Workshop in Jackson Hole

On Wednesday, June 23rd, the day before the start of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, my colleague in crime, Deborah Turrell Atkinson, and I are presenting a day-long fiction workshop in Writing the Novel. It’s called TRULY RICHLY DEEPLY: Structure & Depth in the Novel. We’ve been working feverishly to offer some innovative and positive ways for writers to improve their long-form fiction, through plotting, pace, and a myriad of techniques. We’re very excited to offer this workshop for the first time to writers both local and coming from out of state to attend the Writers Conference over the weekend.

The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a box lunch, all for $150. More details soon! If you want more information please contact me at info at

"The Ark" by Boyd Morrison

The author of this thriller was handing out Advanced Readers Copies at Left Coast Crime in LA last month, and I snagged one after he gave me this pitch: “In eight days the hero must find Noah’s Ark or the world will be destroyed.” How to resist? All the makings of a good thriller, a tight time-line, coded messages, ancient secrets, and … a boy and a girl too beautiful for words! Boyd sold the book after many rejections, he told us at a panel, then offering it on his website and Amazon Kindle. It became a big seller on Kindle, attracting the attention of a publisher, and the rest, as they say, is history — and sales in eighteen foreign countries.

The plot is a potboiler, full of attacks on the manliest man you can imagine, an engineer with a Ph.D. (like the author), ex-Army Ranger (I didn’t ask the author but he does have a flat-top hairdo) and grieving widower. His sidekick is a beautiful archeologist whose father searched his whole life for Noah’s Ark. The writing, and plotting, suffers from some common first-time novelists problems like protagonists that are just too perfect and slow patches that should be exciting. Morrison has some work to do on his action sequences if he wants to write novels, not screenplays. Or maybe I’m just not that excited about the descriptions of gunplay, gadgets, and gargantuan trucks. There was one point where the hero goes down into a dark, dank cave and I thought to myself: He left out the snakes… and the fear of snakes! Not sure if I’d read a novel about Indiana Jones but at least he had flaws.

That said, it was intriguing and kept my interest up, much like The DaVinci Code. Sort of a cross between DaVinci, Dirk Pitt, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, right down to the melting flesh. “The Ark” comes out in May, just in time for the beach.

Random thoughts and mutterings

In an attempt to spew more opinions on unsuspecting readers, and suspecting nay suspicious ones, here goes nothing. As they say.