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.

“Joel.”

“Robby.”

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

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. http://eepurl.com/hvtn-/


Jill James, romance writer

Retrospection

Originally published in the Black Diamonds of RWA chapter newsletter

Edited to update.

*********************************************

Looking Forward by Looking Back by Jill James

Sometimes it seems in the writing world everyone is looking forward. Deadlines for manuscripts written, asking what your next project will be, asking where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. We are trained to say, “When I get published, not if I get published”. Always looking forward to the prize on the horizon.

Day by day, if we are serious about our craft, we will see improvement. But, will we recognize how far we have come if we don’t take time to look back at our beginnings? I’m sure everyone has heard a writer, maybe even you yourself, talk about that first awful manuscript, the one gathering dust bunnies under the bed, or languishing on a hard drive never to be seen. The question to ask is, are they as awful as you remember and are you brave enough to dig it out and compare it to today’s work?

Several years ago, I did just that. I dug out the then, ten-year-old children’s story I wrote for my son’s then-2nd grade class.  “The Story of Sammy Bootlebutt”.  I wrote and illustrated a story of Sammy the frog finding his place in the world. Even though my RWA chaptermates’s comments were encouraging, that wasn’t why I dragged it out of the closet. I wanted to show myself how far I’ve come. Sammy is an okay story, but simple. It was fun to write, but so are my stories I write today. Everything I’ve learned along the way goes into each story I write. Everything I’ve become along the way goes into each story I write.

All the classes, workshops, critiques, and conferences add up to where my writing is today. I’ve learned POV, GMC, layering, subtext, using back story to build characters, being organized, how to plot, using astrology for characters, world-building, and a dozen more workshops I’m sure I forgot.  I’ve now published with a small press and by myself as a self-published author. Sometimes when I glance back I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. Take a few moments and take a trip down the ‘memory lane’ of your hidden stories and you might find a gem, you might find a dud, or you might be amazed too, at how far you’ve come.

So, we all need to “look forward” to where our writing will be in the future so we can “look back” to today and marvel how far we’ve come.

Happy New Year and may your 2020 be happy and prolific!!

*

Jill James, writer of contemporary, paranormal, and zompoc romance*

2020 – Happy New Year

For years I would do New Year’s Resolution. About February they were dust in the wind. Then my friend gave me a Wishing Pot. Each New Year’s Eve I sit down and open it up and read what my wishes were for the year. Some come true, some don’t, and some happened that weren’t in the Wishing Pot at all.

wish pot

Another year, another opening of the Wishing Pot. What did I accomplish? What did I forget? What did I not write down but I did anyway?

What will I put in there for next New Year’s Eve? What are my hopes and dreams for 2020?

 

1 writing-related, 1 health-related, and 1 personal. It is funny how I won’t think about those wishes until it is time to check them next New Year’s Eve. Happy wishes to everyone for 2020 to be all you want and need it to be.

What is your wish for 2020?

and how did it become 2020???!!!


Jill James, romance writer

Rogue Vantage – a Time of Zombies short story

For a while I’ve been sending newsletter subscribers to Bookfunnel to get some free reads. But I realized that people who purchase the Time of Zombies series should be able to read the short story Rogue Vantage: a Time of Zombies short story easier. So this week I’m working on putting the link to Rogue Vantage inside the books; Book 1-Love in the Time of Zombies, Book 2-The Zombie Hunter’s Wife, and Book 3-A Time to Kill Zombies.

Rogue Vantage is the tale of four little boys who start out as friends and become brothers at the end of the world as we know it. It is a short read that can be read between books 1 and 2 or a standalone story of children growing up in the zombie apocalypse. Download HERE!


Jill James, romance writer

My writing has stalled

I’m a linear writer. I start a new manuscript with Chapter One and write straight through to The End.

Image by Steve Johnson from Pixabay

I decided to start a new story for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and I knew the beginning and I knew the Black Moment and I knew The End, but I was a little unclear about the events in the rest of the book. So, once I got through the beginning I stalled. In the past, if this happened I just gave up and moved on.

But, since this was Nanowrimo, I decided to work on some other manuscripts I’ve been working on and counting that word count. It’s working. I’ve worked on zombie book #4 and ghost books #2 and #3 and even shapeshifter book #2.

Guess I’m not as stalled as I thought. Maybe it just isn’t time to work on That Moment yet.


Jill James, writer of words.

Nanowrimo – Day 14

After the news of a good friend’s death I fell off the Nanowrimo wagon. Usually if something like this happened I would call it quits for this year, but this year I’m determined to soldier forward. Each new word is another word toward The End. This story is important to me and I mean to finish this book, maybe even by November 30th. We shall see.


Jill James, write or else!!!

What is an auto-buy author?

It is an author who you buy their next book without reading the blurb, without caring what the story is about. They promise a great read and deliver.

I have some authors I buy as soon as they come out in hardcover: Tess Gerritsen, Allison Brennan, Philippa Gregory, and Robin Cook. I have some authors I auto-buy: Lisa Gardner, Tessa Dare, Cindy Gerard, Carol Ericson, Lynsay Sands, and a few others. I also auto-buy James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club.

I have a brand-new auto-buy author: Jacqueline Druga. Thanks to her book 10:37 I have a new auto-buy author that I’ve been binge-buying. Her writing drags you into the story. I could imagine sitting around the campfire listening to her weave a tale. This one had amazing characters and the storyline was unique enough to keep me turning pages long after bedtime. I already had read some of her stories, but this one has made me a fan. If I weren’t already a fan, We Who Remain would have sealed the deal. Her books just keep getting more exciting and unputdownable.

Who are your auto-buy authors?


Jill James, romance author

Sugar Sprinkled Memories coming soon in the Christmas Cookies and Kisses on Main Street boxed set.

The Writing Community

My plotting board

It never fails to astound me how much fun it is to be with a group of writers. The ideas fly as one person mentions something and another goes with that idea and adds to it. And another. And another. It is amazing where group brainstorming can take you.

This week I went to the Nano-Reno Preptober meeting. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a group of writers, in person. The air is electric as you discuss your genres and subgenres and genre-blending. Find out who is a plotter and who is an pantser. Hear who is writing what for the upcoming Nanowrimo event.

I love the excitement of starting a new book and that was exploding in the room tenfold as everyone talked about their new book or even just the idea for a new book.

Several of the writers the other night were talking about writing their FIRST book. They were excited, and scared, and excited again, all in the course of one meeting.

At the beginning, anything is possible. If you win or not, just remember–no matter your word count, those words are words you didn’t have on October 31st.


Happy Nanowrimo to all!!!

Nanowrimo 2019

Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay

from Dictionary.com

Wordie      noun (wur-dee)
a person with an enthusiastic interest in words and language.
(in other words, a writer)

 

 

Just a couple of weeks until Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month. November 1-30, 50,000 words.

This year I’m trying something a little different. Usually I write romance, even the zombie books are romance novels set in the zombie apocalypse. But I’m going to try a women’s fiction/time-travel novel.

That Moment is a story of the ripples we put into play every time we make a decision. Some are small and just ripple through the rest of our day or so. Some are monumental and ripple through time and space to affect our entire lives. If not, the lives of everyone around us. If you could go back to a moment in time and set things right, would you? More important, should you?

Do you Nanowrimo? Find me at https://nanowrimo.org/participants/jill-james


Jill James, writer of tales

Anticipation

Do you remember the old ketchup commercial with the forever waiting for the ketchup to pour onto the hamburger or fries?

That’s how I feel waiting for the results of contests I’ve entered. The date is circled on the calendar, your heart beats a little faster, you check your email a bazillion times or maybe not at all, doing other things to forgot; oh, right, that was today. As if you can fool yourself. LOL

Win, place, or show. Doesn’t matter. It is great to win, don’t get me wrong. But getting eyes on your writing and seeing how it stacks up is its own reward.

How do you wait for news?


Jill James, romance writer

Ghostly Deceptions – work in progress

Thanks to everyone who took the poll. Ghosts it is. So I’m back to work on Ghostly Deceptions and Ghostly Perceptions, books 2 and 3 in the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series.

If you’ve read book 1, Ghostly Intentions, you know Megan’s sister, Andrea and Jack’s business partner, Luke. They are the leads in book 2. Here is a snippet of their story.

************************

Andrea Martin-Stovall didn’t feel like herself this morning. Hadn’t felt like herself for weeks. An unknown voice rattled around in her head. Something hummed through her veins and crawled over her skin. Her body felt crowded and not her own.

She stared at herself in the bathroom mirror and wondered when she had become a frumpy old hag. Her hair was long and heavy. With a smile, she picked up the scissors and started cutting her hair off in handfuls. Chunk after chunk fell to the counter top and the floor at her feet.

When she placed the scissors on the vanity top two feet of glossy dark hair lay in piles and her airy-light strands swung at chin length. For the first time since she’d been a child, straight bangs sat on her forehead above dark brows.

Her eyes twinkled as she gazed into the mirror. “There you are Andi,” she whispered as she slicked on bright red lipstick across her lips.

She slid on the red silk dress she’d found buried in the back of her closet. The fabric clung to every curve like it had been sewn on her. No panty lines. She laughed. No panties.

Sitting on a bench at the foot of her bed, she placed red high-heeled shoes on her feet and stood. Her full-length mirror showed a woman ready to party. Perfect.

Andrea grabbed a small clutch purse off the dresser, knocking a framed picture to the floor. Sparing it a glance, she wondered who the two little girls were in the photo behind the shattered glass.

Megan, my sister. A voice whimpered from the depths of her mind.

She shook her head and ignored it. Andi controlled this body. Andrea had her chance. Now it was time for Andi to live.

Again.


I’ll be working on the two books simultaneously so I can release them close together. I’m thinking with a three month preorder for one and a two month preorder for the other.

Happy hauntings, Jill

The Lull Between Projects

I just finished turning in Sugar Sprinkled Memories for the boxed set with the Authors of Main Street. Now comes the lull as I rest a little when I finish a book. Refill the well. Rejuvenate the creative juices. Get to know the characters in the next book.

Then I piddle around a little bit deciding what to work on next. I have 3 books I will work on this fall/winter; Zombies in the Grass, Book 4 of the Time of Zombies series, Ghostly Deceptions, Book 2 of the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series, Ghostly Perceptions, Book 3 of the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series.

I also have some other stories I’m percolating. An erotic romance with a sex android. A horror with spree killers. A romantic suspense with an FBI team. And many more. Ideas I have plenty. The ability to put butt in chair, hands on keyboard–not as much. But I’m getting better at it.

So, I’ll enjoy the lull and put 1,000 words on this story and 2,000 on that story until my mind settles on one and I get into the zone. (fingers crossed)

Coming Soon! Christmas boxed set with the Authors of Main Street, including Sugar Sprinkled Memories.


Jill James, romance writer