Cover Reveal – Zombies in the Grass

My cover artist appointment is this Friday. Zombies in the Grass is up for preorder at Amazon and soon all other vendors via Smashwords.

My newsletter subscribers always get the First Look! at new covers. So if you want to see the cover for Zombies in the Grass, subscribe to Jill James News!

Release Day will be March 9, 2021!!

Jill James, romance author

Upload Day is Stressful

Every time I upload a new book I stress out. Did I format it right? Are the backlinks working? Is it the right edited version?

This week was double stressful, because I uploaded the ready-to-go version of Time of Zombies, books 1-3 boxed set and set a preorder for book #4 in the series, Zombies in the Grass. It doesn’t have a cover yet, but it is up for preorder with a release date of March 9th. Yay!! Cover artist and I have a working date next week.

Zombies in the Grass (working blurb)

Before the zombie apocalypse, Danny Lopez was the drummer for a rock band. Now, he’s the leader of a band of children living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Captain Willa Zara is in charge of soldiers and civilians at Camp Natomas, near Sacramento. Orders from the capital have her conscripting teenagers into the war against the undead. Will demanding children fight an unwinnable war be the last order she follows?

Becoming a thief in the night, Danny raids the camp for much-needed supplies for the kids in his care. His activities place the woman he once loved in a tenuous position. Will she capture him and have him executed or will she finally do more than just take orders?

When danger surrounds them on all sides, will their love be enough in the time of zombies?

Preorder HERE!

Jill James, romance writer and constant worrier.

Current Projects – Fall/Winter

Finished and turned in Christmas book for 2020 Christmas boxed set with the Authors of Main Street group. My Mistletoe Hero will be in this year’s set.

Started working on Christmas book for 2021 Christmas boxed set. Working title is Stuck in Mistletoe Valley, but that will probably change.

Time of Zombies, books 1-3 are in a boxed set and on preorder. Release Day is October 6, 2020.

Working on book 4, Zombies in the Grass, next book in the Time of Zombies series.

Working on books 2 and 3 in the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series.

Working on book 2 in the Shifters of San Laura series.

Have an idea for another horror short story for the J. James penname.

Playing with a tickle of an idea for another Rogue Vantage story, taking place 20 years in the future with the boys of Rogue Vantage all grown up and living in the zombie apocalypse as leaders of the group and finding love amid the ruins of what the world used to be.

Jill James, romance writer

Zombies in the Grass – WIP

Since I finished up my Christmas story I’m now working on book #4 in the Time of Zombies series. Entitled Zombies in the Grass. A play on the title, Splendor in the Grass and most of it takes place in the Sierra foothills with long, golden grasses in the summer and into autumn. Books 1-3 are in a boxed set that releases October 6th!

The main characters for book #4 are Captain Willa Zara and Danny Lopez. Willa has been in the army a few years and is great at following and giving orders. Danny is the Robin Hood of the foothills, stealing from the army base to feed the orphaned kids in his care. When disaster strikes, Willa will have to decide if she should follow orders or do the right thing.

There are some appearances from characters from the first three books, especially the boys of Rogue Vantage. I love those kids! Especially Dylan!!



Here is a snippet…

Chapter Two


Hearing the telltale groan of the undead, I whipped around the corner of the building, my gun out of the holster and at my side. A zombie inside the walls would become a massacre. One bite and it cascaded into another and another and another before it was discovered.

Was there a breach in the walls? No zombs had been in the camp since the first days. Skidding to a stop, I stared in disbelief at the toddlers playing in the garden.

I spotted their mother, Emily, as she turned at my skidding noise. Or Miss Emily, as the big man named Teddy called her. The woman had made the garden her own in short order. Her green thumb already creating miracles.

“Captain,” she said, wiping her hand on her jeans. She stood and stretched, smiling at her children. “Did you need something?”

At her raised eyebrow and smirk, I shoved my gun back in the holster. The twins stared at me, with I swear, the same smirk. I would have wagered money, if it were still worth anything, I’d heard the noise of a zombie in the area. Scanning quickly, I was forced to acknowledge no one and nothing other than the woman and her small children occupied the small space.

“I thought I heard a zombie.”

Her eyes widened for a second and then the look she shot her kids was gone, but I’d seen it. “No skinbags here. The kids are copycats at this age. Unfortunately, they’ve seen and heard too much in their short lives. Soon, they’ll be as bad as Rogue Vantage.”

I winced. The boys of Rogue Vantage were a thorn in my side in just the short time they’d been at the camp. What had started as four small boys had grown into a gang of mischief-makers. They treated the zombies as a small nuisance in their day of having everlasting fun. Since they’d arrived, I’d found dirt in my coffee, worms in my bed, and rats in my boots.

Gazing at the petite twins, I smiled. “I think you have awhile before they are running rampant over the camp.”

As if to contradict my words, the girl grabbed a stick and started poking her brother in the stomach. “Kill the ‘ombie,” she said, and then laughed as the boy fell to the ground and lay as still as dead.

Hoping to release Zombies in the Grass before the end of the year! When I have an exact date, I’ll let you know here and in my newsletter.

Jill James, romance writer

Another Birthday Over

Yesterday was my 57th birthday. Where has the time gone? As my MIL called it, my “Coronavirus” birthday, which means I only got to celebrate with my husband. We are still distancing as much as possible from the rest of the family to keep everyone healthy. (fingers crossed)

Still, I had presents, and a nice dinner out, and cheesecake for dessert.

Another happy birthday to me!!

Jill James, the birthday girl

Time of Zombies now available for preorder

Release Day – October 6, 2020

Time of Zombies, books 1-3 will now be available in a boxed set. This set includes all 3 full-length novels; Love in the Time of Zombies, The Zombie Hunter’s Wife, and A Time to Kill Zombies.

If you can find love and happiness in the zombie apocalypse, anything is possible.



Over the years of your life, people, places, and things will resonate with you. Will leave an impression on you.

This last week was a hard one in the celebrity world. So many deaths. So many people gone. The one that made the biggest impression on me was John Saxon.

Most people remember him as Nancy’s father in A Nightmare on Elm Street, but Saxon had a long, varied career with movies and television shows for decades. The work of his that made the biggest impression on me was Planet Earth.

Planet Earth was low budget on special effects, but amazing in plot and dialogue. I did not know until I searched for the picture for the movie that it was written by Gene Roddenberry. I should have known with that great plot and dialogue. I haven’t seen it in more years than I care to count, but the movie has stayed with me for decades.

Saxon and a group of men are cryogenically frozen and awake to find themselves in the 22nd century. A world very different from their own and with women as the leaders of a community and men as slaves. Parts of it are funny, like thinking women could make babies without men. Parts of it are serious, of men being slaves and thought of as just brutes for labor and only good for making war. Since a great war must have happened between the time Saxon and men were frozen and they awoke, the women keep their men docile with a drugged wine to be compliant and not aggressive.

Intelligent science fiction that makes you think, my favorite kind.

Do you have a movie that is not necessarily great,

but it made an impression on you?

Jill James, romance writer and lover of science fiction movies

The Black Moment

Image by Greg Bierer from Pixabay

Just like that famous saying, ‘always darkest before the dawn’ so is the Black Moment. The time in a story when all hope is gone. The couple has broken up, the killer got away, or the thing you hoped and dreamed for is now impossibly out of your reach. These are the times that try men’s souls or in the case of romance writers, build characters. 

It is easy to do great things when things are going along swimmingly, but what about when things aren’t going along so smoothly. In Tempting Adam my heroine is accused of embezzlement, loses her job, and knows the hero will never forgive the lies she told. Does she cry and wallow in Ben & Jerry’s? Okay, for a short time she does just that. But after that, she does what all good heroes and heroines do after the Black Moment; she makes a plan to win it all back.

Making the plan, deciding how to put it into action, the steps needed. These are all the things that lead out of the Black Moment and show your hero/heroine in action. Taking charge of their lives. Just like after the death of Obi-wan, Luke wallows until he is needed to save the ship from the bad guys with lasers and weapons. He steps up and does what is needed even though he is in mourning. A true hero in the making.

The Blacker the Moment, the Greater the Payoff. Torment your characters. Drag them through the muck. They will thank you later, and so will your readers.

Jill James, romance writer

Comfort Reads

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

The other day on the internet I saw a post about watching shows that you know the ending–a comfort watch. In this time of uncertainty, people are turning to television and movies and stories they know the ending to.

Comfort reads. A book you’ve reread a dozen times, but you know the good guy wins in the end, gets the girl, lives happily ever after. There is no stress wondering if it all turns out in the end–you know it does.

I’ve been doing some of that myself. Binge-watching CSI-NY and The Newsroom. Rereading the Plantagenet books by Phillipa Gregory; The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Kingmaker’s Daughter, and The White Princess. Watching movies I’ve seen a hundred times and can recite the dialogue word for word.

There is a warm, comfortable feeling to know how the story goes and go along for the ride anyway.

Stay safe. Enjoy the comfort of your favorite things…..Jill James

Devolution by Max Brooks – book review

I loved World War Z. This book was different. The characters are not likable, but you are left with wondering what would you do in their situation. I’ve thought often that a generation is dying that still knows how to do things, make things. What will the next generations do if they can’t Google it?


The vision I got from this book was who are the humans and who are the beasts? When a person or an animal is pushed too far, what will they do to survive?

As I was reading Devolution I kept thinking of Jurassic Park. Dr. Sattler (played by Laura Dern) talks about nature and how it will fight back. Even plants will fight back to survive. A bear or a mountain lion is beautiful on a television show or in a zoo. Not so much when you are facing it on a mountain hike. When you go deep into the forest, you are in their world. You are the trespasser. Never forget that.

1/2  4.5 stars

Jill James, voracious reader

Work In Progress — My Mistletoe Hero

I’m currently working on my story for the Authors of Main Street Christmas 2020 boxed set, Christmas Heroes on Main Street. My story is My Mistletoe Hero.

Tara Early is a frazzled, stay-at-home mom of two rambunctious boys. Her husband, Brent is a world away with Doctors Behind the Lines. All she wants for Christmas is her husband home by Christmas Day so he can be the town’s Mistletoe Hero this year. When he is reported missing, will all her hopes and dreams disappear like melting snow?

Chapter 1

“If only I could bottle that energy,” Tara Early muttered to herself as her sons sped through the living room for the hundredth time in the past hour. A yelp and a clatter of toys announced enough was enough.



Their crestfallen faces let her know her voice had ratcheted up an octave too far. A deep breath brought her heart rate down and the heat leaving her face. It wasn’t their fault school was out for vacation and Christmas was just a week away. And their father was away on the other side of the world. How did single mothers do it?

She glanced at their anxious faces and sighed. Eight and four years old was too young to spend a gorgeous winter day inside. Tara bit her lip. She had to get this letter done, but her children were only children for a short while. A blink and their childhood would be over.

Staring out the window, she made up her mind. “Let mommy finish this letter to the mayor and we will go get the Christmas tree. Joel, help Robby with his snowsuit and I’ll be all done.”

“What are you writing, Mommy?” Joel asked.

She smiled at his eager grin and Robby hopping up and down in anticipation. “A letter to the city council to have your daddy be the Mistletoe Hero this year.”

“You’re a hero, too, Mommy,” Joel intoned sincerely. Robby nodded.

Her cheeks heated with a blush as she swept her hair out of her face. “I’m just a mother and a wife. Your dad is across the world, saving lives. Now, let’s get ready to go.”

My Mistletoe Hero will be part of the Christmas Heroes on Main Street boxed set from the Authors of Main Street.

Jill James, romance author

Dead Moon – book review

Frank will do anything to find his wife, Jill. Even traverse a New York City full of murderous creatures and the end of the world as we know it.

I read a lot of apocalyptic fiction, usually with zombies. But, once in a while, a story grabs me from the very first page. Dead Moon by Matt James is one of those books. I was holding my breath, gripping the ereader, as Frank raced across the city, fighting creatures intent on killing him, eating him, maybe both.

Matt James did not create the typical zombie. These humans are alive, intelligent, and learning to fight, plan, and trap. The addition of a meteorite as the catalyst was unique and amazing.

Even as I turned the last page, I was off looking for book 2 in the series.

A+++++ read!!

Jill James, romance writer and reader of massive amounts of books


Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

I refuse to use the term “The New Normal.” Maybe I’m naive or overly optimistic, but I won’t believe we will be wearing masks for the rest of our lives, sports will be no more, and the simple pleasure of dining out will be such a chore of what to do and not to do to eat a meal with friends.

I want to believe that this is an ‘in-between’ stage. A time of not quarantined in our homes, but not back to regular either. That watching my nephew and grandson graduate on the television and computer screen will be a fluke, a memory to look back at in the future thinking about what 2020 was like, not the new way of doing things.

I want the grocery store to have the things I need, that you need, that everyone needs. A trip to the store shouldn’t be a roll of the dice if they have bread, cereal, rice, or beans today.

I know these are first-world problems and small in the face of what is going on in our world today, but small comforts can go a long way in making each day just that little bit better. Although, going through all of this has made me appreciate my life a whole lot more.

Seeing family. Seeing friends. A break at a coffee shop. Going to a music event or amusement park. Enjoying a day at a park.

I don’t think I will ever take any of them for granted again.

Jill James, romance writer
author of the upcoming My Mistletoe Hero

Graduate Grandson

In 2020, graduation is just not the same. But I thought the grandson’s school did a pretty good job. It was a drive-thru ceremony. Kids were dropped off on one side of the stage, gave their card with their name, heard their name and got photographed and cheered, walked down the other side, and got picked up by family.

Congratulations, Alex!!

Jill James, proud Nana.

The Graduation That Wasn’t

To the class of 2020, I am so sorry. Sorry you missed your prom. Sorry you missed a class trip. Sorry your graduation isn’t all it should be. We have three graduations in our family today. Our grandson, nephew, and goddaughter.

Know that we are there in spirit and thoughts. We applaud your accomplishments and yell them out to the world.

So proud of Alexander Crouse, Ed Fernandez, and Briana Larsh. Love you all!!

Congrats, Jill James

Cover Art Appointment

Discussing a new cover with my cover artist is always an exciting day. I love how I can give Elaina Lee a general idea of what I’m looking for and she sends me the most amazing cover.

Sometimes it is just as I imagined and sometimes it is nothing like I imagined yet it is just perfect for the story (as if she read my mind). LOL

Soon I will have a cover for my Christmas novella for the next Authors of Main Street boxed set for Christmas 2020.

If you want to see it before everyone else, sign up for my newsletter and get to see it first.

Jill James, romance writer

How I Accidentally Read a Book.

And fell in love with it!!

Back in the 1980s I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club. You know the one, where you got 12 books for a penny to get started and got selections to pick from each month. I loved it! So, I must have transposed a number when I ordered, because in with historical romances I had Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I had never heard of it. I didn’t read westerns at all.

Since it was too much trouble to return I just put it on a bookshelf and forgot about it. Time passed and I read and read and read. One day, I had nothing to read so I pulled Lonesome Dove off the shelf and decided to give it a try. Hey, I could always donate it if I didn’t like it.

Oh my goodness! I was thrust into a world of the last days of the wild west, cattle rustling, and soiled doves. It was amazing. I loved it. It was the first time I learned to never say never. Sometimes you think you don’t like something, but you’ll never know until you try.

Try something new today!!

Jill James, romance writer and mostly romance reader