Christmas in July

For writers, the saying of ‘Christmas in July’ holds very true. In July, we are working on our stories for the winter holiday season. While it is sweltering outside, we are listening to Christmas carols to get into the mood to pen a tale of winter, snowy storms, glistening ornaments of silver and gold, and lovers hoping for a Christmas miracle to find their way to happily ever after.

A couple of years ago I wrote a hot little short story to include in a Christmas boxed set with the Authors of Main Street. The Christmas Con is my take on the Robin Hood legend, with jewel thieves doing good and Santa helping two lovers find their way back together. You can get if for free if you sign up for my newsletter or get it for just 99¢ this month on Amazon.

 

Get The Christmas Con HERE!

 

 

The latest boxed set with the Authors of Main Street, Christmas at the Inn on Main Street includes my novella, Waking Up For Christmas and is still available for just 99¢ for five exquisite holiday tales of true love and happily ever after.

 

Get Christmas at the Inn on Main Street HERE!

 

Enjoy Christmas in July!!


Jill James, working on her latest Christmas novella for this year’s Authors of Main Street boxed set.

Time of Zombies

Yay, Summer!! Yay, move is done for now!!

It has been a busy summer for me so far. I’m no longer a Cali girl. 😦 I’m now in an apartment in Reno, Nevada waiting for a house to be built. (adventure)

So, I thought I would do a little something with my zombies series. Love in the Time of Zombies is FREE right now at Smashwords!! They are having their Summer/Winter sale, because summer here is winter elsewhere, but a sale is a sale.

Get Love in the Time of Zombies here!

 

 

 

Then you can go to Bookfunnel and get Time of Zombies 1.5 for FREE! Rogue Vantage is a standalone book that can be read between Love in the Time of Zombies and The Zombie Hunter’s Wife to enhance the Time of Zombies series. It is the story of four little boys left on their own in the zombie apocalypse and how they become brothers of the ZA.

You can get Rogue Vantage here!

Hope you enjoy a good start to the Time of Zombies by Jill James!!


What are you doing this summer? Big vacation plans? A staycation? Or something else fun?


Jill James, writer of romance

Jump into The Lake

Lake Willowbee, that is. I have several books set in my fictional town of Lake Willowbee in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They are contemporary romance, set in a small town.

Click on the covers to go to the eBooks!

Divorce, InterruptedDivorce, Interrupted is Book 1 in the Lake Willowbee series. Todd and Lisa are a newly-divorced couple forced to clean out the memories of a lifetime at their mountain cabin. When a devastating flood hits, they must rely on the one person they don’t trust. Will love and memories be enough to help them survive?

 

Dare to Trust is Book 2 in the Lake Willowbee series. Evie is a domestic abuse survivor who doesn’t know if she can ever trust a man again, until Brady is accused of a murder the whole town thinks he committed. Can Evie trust her instincts and her heart, can she dare to trust in love?

 

Defend My Love is Book 3 in the Lake Willowbee series. Megan is falsely accused of embezzlement and sent to prison for 4 long years. That time with her husband and newborn child can never be replaced. Once free, can Daniel make up for lost time to rebuild his family and defend the woman he loves against new charges?

 

The Lake Willowbee Series is the 3 stories in one book!

 

 

The Reluctant Bride takes place in the Lake Willowbee world. Claire and Jimmy have been high-school sweethearts for 10 long years and no closer to the altar since a prom night proposal. With divorces and remarriages running rampant in her family, Claire isn’t willing to risk the good thing they have, but Jimmy wants more. Will an ambush wedding work or will Claire run away from the man she loves?

Waking Up For Christmas partly takes place in the Lake Willowbee world. The story is one of five holiday tales in the Christmas at the Inn on Main Street boxed set. Chase needs one thing for Christmas. For his comatose wife to awaken and remember all the love they shared before a separation and a near fatal car accident drove them apart. Can Chase and Darcy get their happily-ever-after holiday wish?

Enjoy the summer! Jump into the Lake Willowbee world for FREE! Divorce, Interrupted, Book 1 is always FREE!


Jill James, contemporary romance writer

Zombies in the Grass – Work In Progress

Zombies in the Grass will be Book 4, Time of Zombies series. Although it will have many familiar faces I’m introducing two new characters; Captain Willa Zara knows the army is wrong with using forced soldiers, but the army is all she’s ever wanted and known. Danny Lopez is a woodland Robin Hood with his band of children who he will do anything to keep out of the army and the senseless deaths of fighting hordes of the undead who just don’t stop.

Chapter One (unedited)

Captain’s Log
Summer 0002 A.Z. (After Zombies)
Camp Natomas, California

1300 hours. Last circuit of camp done for morning rounds. Three altercations stopped. One over water rations and two over fraternization with camp population. Pvt. Williams sent to Isolation bunker.

Willa threw her pen down. Why couldn’t they call it what it was—rape. The men were using the holding camp as their own personal brothel. Reports to the higher-ups were being ignored, or she feared, the behavior condoned to keep the men in the service.

“Captain Zara?” a voice whispered at her open door. “There are new arrivals at the gates.”

She turned in her chair. “Orders are to turn all refugees away, send them to Sacramento.”

“This group is being escorted by our guys.”

Slamming her chair under her desk, she grabbed her cap and followed the soldier to the front gates. Her eyes widened. These weren’t refugees. They were too well-fed and clean for one, even the small children. For the other, defiance shone in their eyes. They hadn’t been brought willingly to the camp. These were holdouts, defying the Governor’s Orders.

A tall man in army-issue stood in the front of the group. Anyone could get camo gear these days from army surplus and sporting goods stores, but this man wore his like a badge of honor. Along with the buzz-cut and ramrod stance, his whole appearance screamed career army.

Willa sighed deeply. They could use someone like him, but they were being brought in as prisoners. The delta region had been swept and only Ryde had managed to fend off the radio orders for over a year to join the army or die. Her heart fell to the pit of her stomach. Too much killing. Too much everything. They had to make him and his group fall in line. With the lack of grown soldiers under her command, she didn’t have a choice.

“Commander Jack Canida,” the man barked as a line formed to process them in.

“Honorary title or real,” she said, writing on a pad in front of her.

“I served in Iraq and Afghanistan before the zombs. General Richard Stone gave me the field promotion before the army deserted us in Brentwood.”

The man stared straight ahead, not even bothering to look at her. She added a check beside his name in the military experience column. If they could get through his anger issues he could be an asset to the camp. She glanced at the group as they crowded around the man and watched his every move. Their eyes said they’d followed him to hell and back and would continue to do so. She allowed herself a small smile. This didn’t have to be any more difficult than it was. If he went with the program, the others would follow.

“Any dependents?”

He pulled two females forward and wrapped arms around them. “My wife, Lila and our daughter, Selena.”

Willa couldn’t prevent another small smile. The young daughter glared down at her with her father’s attitude.

In mere minutes, they had the small group processed in and handed tent assignments and maps of the camp.

“Is this all of your group, or can we expect more to show up later?”

Tears formed in the wife’s eyes as the commander’s jaw tightened with a crack and a vein pulsed in his temple.

“This is all that’s left once your boys got done attacking us. We had over forty people at the Ryde Hotel. Eighteen is all I have left and most of them are children.”

She stood. “I’m sorry, sir, but the governor’s orders are clear. Join or die. Be thankful the army needs soldiers or you all would already be in front of a beheading squad and the children trained to go to war.”

The wife grabbed his arm as he tried to step into Willa’s space. “Jack, don’t,” she whispered.

“What about the children and the mothers with small children?”

“We have quite a few children and a need for teachers and babysitters.”

He smirked at her but the smile didn’t reach his bloodshot eyes. “And what counts as a child these days?”

Wincing, she caught her breath. “Fifteen is the conscription age these days, but it may be fourteen by the end of summer.”

***

Zombies in the Grass should be available by late summer/early fall.


Jill James, romance writer

Cover Reveal

So, I mentioned last week that I had a new cover coming for an upcoming project, but I wanted my newsletter subscribers to see it first. That newsletter was sent out last Thursday, so now everyone can check it out. This is for a work in progress (60% done) that I hope to submit to Kindle Scout.

Isn’t that gorgeous? Elaina Lee of For The Muse Design has done it again. I usually get a cover ordered for when I’m about halfway through a first draft to get me excited again in a story and to keep going. Definitely excited about this one!!


Jill James, romance writer

Cover Reveal – coming soon!

Cover Not AvailableI’ve been working on a book to try with Kindle Scout, the reader nominating program via Amazon. My cover artist just finished the cover and the first look will go to my readers on my newsletter list! If you want to see it first, sign up for the newsletter — the first look edition of the newsletter will go out later this week!!

Click here to sign up today!

 

Ghostly Intentions is a paranormal romance with Megan Trent and Jack O’Malley.

Megan Trent is haunted by her deceased husband. His ghostly form comes to her in the dark of night and makes passionate love to her. When the spectral visitations turn rough and dark, Megan knows she needs help. She turns to Ghost Releasers, Inc. and its strong leader, Jack O’Malley.

Jack has faced everything in the paranormal world, but nothing prepares him for the viciousness of the entity tormenting his client, Megan Trent. When he falls in love with her, he will do anything to protect her from the otherworldly danger she is in. But will he realize in time that another danger stalks her much closer to home?


Jill James, romance author and ghost story lover.

First Sentences

A few years ago my friend, Karin Tabke, author of The Chronicles of Katrina*, had a First Sentences contest on her website. You put a first sentence. If you made the cut, the next week you put up a second sentence with the first, and so on, until a winner was picked. It really showcased the need for a compelling first sentence and to make every sentence count. Especially when I was trying to get an agent or editor and you heard they would read 2-3 paragraphs and they knew whether they wanted a manuscript or not. You have to hook them and keep them hooked.

I’m working on a book right now that I’m hoping to submit to Kindle Scout, a program within Amazon. Things sometimes change in revising and editing but this is my first sentence right now. Ghostly Intentions is a paranormal romance with Megan, a haunted widow and Jack, the man in charge of Ghost Releasers, Inc.

Megan Trent jerked out of a deep sleep to the cacophony of her clock radio turning on and off in a rapid beat of white noise and eerie silence.

Submit your first sentences in the comments and a link to your book if it is published, or to your website if not.

Let’s see those first sentences!!


Jill James, romance author

*The Chronicles of Katrina and all of Karin Tabke’s books are uber-hot and sexy, with strong women and the bad boys they love.

On Opening Day We Are All in First Place

This is the new advertising tagline for Major League Baseball and the new 2017 season. I love it! It is so optimistic. The world is full of endless possibilities. On the first day of a new season every team has the opportunity to go to the World Series in October.

I love Opening Day/Night at baseball. We’ve gone 4 or 5 years now for our Oakland A’s. You look for the familiar faces of last year’s favorites, the newbies you don’t know yet, the changes at the stadium, the season-ticket holders you’ve grown to know year after year. The excitement is contagious. Anything is possible on opening day!!

I want to add that feeling to my books. To the whole world of publishing. Every release is a best-seller! It’s true. You don’t know which book will be THE ONE, so it could be this one, or the next one, or the one after that. Hold on to that feeling–this could be the book that people love, that they tell their friends about, that they can’t wait to get and read! Put every book you write out there with optimism and your hopes and dreams. Let it fly.

Make every Release Day, Opening Day!!


Jill James, a glass is always full kind of gal.

Taking A Break

I have a friend who takes electronic breaks on vacation. I could never understand how she could do that. Until this last vacation! Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe I’m getting electronic burnout. But I spent a week with no writing on the computer.

I had a blast with my husband. We went to Los Angeles and went to Universal Studios. It was our first trip to a theme park with no kids! What fun! We went at our own pace. We stroll through shops. We rode the rides we wanted to, sometimes twice!!

Then we had 3 baseball games for the World Baseball Classic. Dodger dogs, popcorn, and baseball! We had the time of our lives.

I didn’t think about writing at all. I took pictures. I ate whatever I wanted with no thought to calories. (that came later when we got back 😮 ) I enjoyed myself.

Now that I’m back the brain is back in writing-mode and I feel rejuvenated.

What do you do to recharge the creative batteries?


Jill James, refreshed romance writer

The Zombie Hunter’s Wife – now in audiobook

The Zombie Hunter’s Wife

Book 2 – Time of Zombies series

Now available in audio book!!

 

 

 


Michelle Greggs wanted to die the day her husband returned from work as the undead and she was forced to kill him. Now, all she wants is peace and safety. But both of those are in short supply in the zombie apocalypse.

Teddy Ridgewood lives for today. The smile on his face hides the pain within. The old world is gone and they only have today. There are no guarantees of a bright tomorrow when the dead walk the earth.

When a toxic preacher lusts for Michelle she will have to use all of her inner strength and seize onto Teddy’s live-for-today attitude to defeat the mad man and claim Teddy as her mate. She will have to break out of the cement walls she’s hidden behind to become the zombie hunter’s wife.

AMAZON     AUDIBLE     iBOOKS


Book 3, A Time to Kill Zombies is now in production!!

Again narrated by the talented, Maxwell Zener

 

 

Read an Ebook Week

 

ebookweekbanner2017Join me for Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords.

My Time of Zombies series is heavily discounted to celebrate the week!

Go HERE to get Love in the Time of Zombies for FREE and Books 2 and 3 for only $1.00 each!!

Time of Zombies series includes:

Book 1 – Love in the Time of Zombies
Book 2 – The Zombies Hunter’s Wife
Book 3 – A Time to Kill Zombies
Book 4 – Zombies in the Grasscoming Summer 2017

Enjoy the week!! Read an Ebook!!


Jill James, romance author

Writing Prompts

The recent Oscars reminded me of a writing prompt we used to use to get the creative juices flowing in one of my RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapters. During the Oscars they showed three short films based on Walmart receipts. The ultimate What if? game. So let’s see how you do with a writing exercise. Put your work in the comments.

Take the seven words below and use them in a paragraph or two. For bonus points use them in order.

thezombiehunterswifeaudio-500x500I’ll randomly pick a writing prompt attempt from the comments to win an audio book copy of Love in the Time of Zombies, my zompoc romance. Book 2 is almost done being recorded and checked and Book 3 is just getting started. All should be available soon as audio books!


 

alligator
beans
Colorado
doctor
elegant
falling
go-cart


Have fun. Be inventive. Enjoy!

Jill James, romance author

Guest Blog Post – Mia Jo Celeste

otherthanpromo_Please welcome Mia Jo Celeste to the blog. She writes zombies too!!

Like Zombies? Take the Quiz and See What Kind You’ll Become

Are you a fan of The Walking Dead? Or Warm Bodies? Are you into zombies? Jill and I are. That’s partly how we connected. She’s written the Time of Zombies series and my novel Other Than has just been released. Both feature zombies. Jill’s protagonists hunt them, while my heroine has died and awoken somewhere between life and death. She’s a zombie. You can find the blurb at www. miaceleste.com, but currently, I’d like to talk those brain-craving, walking dead in general.

There are a lot of books about them right now and if you’re like me, you might be looking for a different take on the monsters. Here are a couple of interesting and unique zombie concepts. In The Forest of Hands and Teeth the cannibalistic undead can either be walkers or runners. My understanding is that the number of other zombies in the area when the human dies determines its speed after death. In the Zom-B series, the risen dead must file down their teeth to be able to speak clearly. Apparently, their teeth grow into thick fangs while their finger and toe bones poke out from digits to become claws. These once-living creatures divide themselves into two groups: the mindless dead and the Revitalized. The Reviveds, as the main character B. Smith labels herself, are teens who’ve been vaccinated against the plague in a secret government program. If fed enough brain matter, they can regain their pre-death intelligence.

Other Than has a unique spin on the human-stalking undead thing, too.

Although death is certain once an individual drinks the Waters of Immortality aka the Forever Bane waters, what kind of zombie a person will become is up for grabs. There are four possibilities. Often the personality and the habitual responses a person has when she was alive influence which zombie type she ‘ll become.

Would you like to take the quiz to determine which undead type you’d become? Grab a pencil and some paper, please. I wanted to make a quiz online, and I will soon, but for now, this is what I have. Write down your answer to these multiple-choice questions. After each question, I’ll give you the name of the zombie type most likely to choose that answer. Write down that name. At the end of the quiz, you’ll look at your responses and the names you’ve written. The name you’ve written the most is the type you’ll become.

Do you have your paper and pencils? Are you ready? Here we go.

You’re at a restaurant with your boss and you both want the special cheesecake dessert. Sadly, the waitress informs you they only have one piece left. She holds it out over the table and declares she’ll let you all decide who should have it. Your boss reaches for it.

You____________

  1. Stab her hand with your fork and grab the plate.
  2. Remind her she invited you and as the host should she should let you have it.
  3. Let your boss take it. After all, it’s extra pounds she’s adding. Better her figure expands than yours.
  4. What?

Response a= Howler, Response b= Sneak, Response c=Stitch, Response d= Shambler.)

You’re an American employee and the date is February 1st and your employer hasn’t mailed your 1099 forms for filing your taxes.

You ________

  1. Send a gently-worded e-mail reminder to your employer’s human resources department along with a brochure from your lawyer.
  2. Work? Taxes? Duh.
  3. Ambush the head of the human resources department after hours in the parking lot after determining the one area where the surveillance cameras don’t record.
  4. You map out the head of the human resources department’s route home. Someday soon, you’ll run him down. You buy a beater car, partly because you want to escape prosecution, but mostly because your current car has a too-die-for paint job and it would be a shame to mar that.

Response a =Sneak, Response b= Shambler, Response c= Howler, Response d= Stitch.)

You’re an avid gardener. You love growing tomatoes. The problem is the chipmunks, squirrels or rabbits chew on your plants.

You_______

  1. Huh?
  2. Construct a fence around your tomatoes.
  3. Decide to buy organic vegetables at the store instead. Who needs dirt under your nails? And too much sun on your skin isn’t good.
  4. Hide near the plants, hoping to snatch the next critter and bite its little head off.

Response a= Shambler, Response b= Sneak, Response c=Stitch, Response d =Howler.)

Your friend’s wealthy and eccentric great aunt dies, leaving him an old mansion in the middle of nowhere. He invites you to explore it. You’ve been there a few hours when an eerie howl comes from the cellar.

You ________

  1. Have just gotten your nails done. Volunteer to wait upstairs where the cell signal is strong to punch in 911 if he needs it.
  2. Put on the samurai armor and grab the antique katana you found earlier and follow him down.
  3. Cellar???
  4. Let out a battle cry and charge down the steps, confident that you can take whatever is down there.

Response a= Stitch, Response b= Sneak, Response c= Shambler, Response d= Howler.)

Reports of people biting others and a zombie plague fill the news reports. Your mom comes home from the store. She complains the woman at the deli nipped her finger.

You___

  1. Hurry her into the kitchen where you cut off her finger. You may be able to save her.
  2. Wow, you could get infected or worse, Mom could bite you and that would mar your skin. Lock her in the neighbor’s bathroom. Just for a while. If she doesn’t turn, they’ll let her out, right?
  3. Get the ax and end things for your mom. Better safe than sorry.
  4. Hmm.

Response a= Sneak, Response b= Stitch, Response c =Howler =, Response d= Shambler.)

Okay, count the number of times you wrote each name. Hopefully you wrote one more than the others. There are four zombie types.

Stitches lose body parts, but their minds function normally. They are often preoccupied with their deteriorating appearance.

Shamblers’ brains decay long before the rest of them. They lose their speech. Their mental processing is flawed at best and they like to perform repetitive tasks. If you speak to them they’ll usually give you a vacant stare or ignore you completely.

Sneaks resemble living humans. They can think and act as they did before drinking the Bane. If you must become a zombie, this is the best category to fall into. Unfortunately, it’s temporary. Before long, you’ll degenerate and become one of the other three undead types.

Howlers are the alpha predators. They hunger for flesh to sustain their rotting bodies. The more human or even zombie prey they’re able to eat, the more cunning and intelligent they become.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the quiz. If you post, your result in the comments along with an e-mail address, I’ll send you the badge that corresponds with the zombie you’re likely to become.

If you’d like to find out more about Mia Jo or her novel Other Than, here are her links.

Facebook fb.me/ Mia.Jo.Celeste

Website http://www.miaceleste.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/MiajoCeleste

http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4817-other-than.html

other-than-cover

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Other-Than-Mia-Jo-Celeste-ebook/dp/B01N7ANXUQ

 

 

 

 

You can find Jill today at Mia’s blog


Enjoy walking with the dead!

Writing Space

Authors love their writing spaces. Some like organized chaos and some just like organized.

I love going to Barnes & Noble and writing. There is something about getting out of the house and sitting there among the thousands of books. It is inspiring to know somewhere a writer sat and pounded out words and they got published and now their books are on the shelves for me to look at and choose. I love being an Indie author but you can’t really sit around a website. LOL

Where is your favorite place to write and read?


Jill James, romance writer and reader

Review of Let’s Play Make-Believe

letsplaymakebelieve-james-pattersonI’m really enjoying the BookShots from James Patterson and various other authors. This one is co-authored by James O. Born – a new-to-me author.

The story is great, the twists are unexpected and surprising, the writing is fast-paced and fun.

Definitely a 5 star read. I’m enjoying the BookShots. Sometimes you just want a quick story to read, enjoy, and move on.


Jill James, reader

Hidden Figures – movie review

A few years ago I wrote a blog post that talked about Looking Forward By Looking Back. it was about seeing where you are by looking at where you’ve been. That post was about writing and seeing your growth that you might not notice every day as you are writing and trying to get your books out there and noticed. But when the husband and I went this past weekend to see this movie on date night I thought the same thing. In our current world it may seem like we are at the same place we used to always be as a society, but when we look back to a sad and ugly time in our history we may see we have come further than we think.

hidden-figuresHidden Figures showed a history that people under a certain age in this country may not remember, but we should. Not only minorities, but women, were treated as second-class citizens. Yes, we have a far way to go to total equality, but maybe we should take a moment and appreciate how far we have come. The movie was rated PG so the true violence of the time was downplayed, but they still got the point across admirably.

There was laughter, tears, and applause. Definitely a movie I will see again and again. One that everyone should see at least once.

Jill James, romance writer

Trying Something New

I love trying new things but I always go kicking and screaming along the way. LOL I don’t know why I do that, but since 2017 is my year of doing MORE, I tried something new–writing wise.

A crime story. No romance, just crime. It all came about because of serendipity, which is how lots of things work in a writer’s world. First, I took a class.

Write More. Write Now by Cindy Carroll. The first lesson was ‘what is holding you back?’ I dug deep and realized I was letting fear of the unknown hold me back from trying something different from what I normally write. Second, I read a book.

how-to-write-short-storiesHow to Write a Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career by James Scott Bell. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I should try my hand at something new, make it a short story, and just publish it on Amazon. So, I did.  Click on the book cover to check out Mr. Bell’s book.

 

I wrote for 3 hours with breaks every hour, finished up, cleaned it up, and published it. The story poured out of me. It was fun to just write for writing’s sake. Make a nice little story and see it up at Amazon. Here it is.

amazon-coverKiller Personality: A Killer Short Story by J. James

Harry Beecher hadn’t planned to become a serial killer, but sometimes life doesn’t go as you plan.

 

 


What is something you did and surprised yourself with how it turned out?

Jill James, author