RWA Nationals 2016

I’m in San Diego this week for the National Conference. I’m going to try to tweet and Facebook with the hashtag #RWA16 so I’ll let you know what’s happening with that. I’ll post pictures when I’m back.

Keep writing, keep reading, Jill James

R.I.P. Bertrice Small

Anyone who knows me, knows I will go on and on about Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small. Ms. Small wrote of a heroine who took on Elizabeth I and won. She was my first view of what it meant to write a kickass heroine. And hot?! Her books gave new meaning for me of what a romance novel could be.

Unfortunately, this week the romance world, no, the world as a whole, lost Bertrice Small. At last year’s RWA National in Texas she was awarded the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. You can view it here on YouTube.

God Bless you, Ms. Small and thank you for so many hours of historical romance enjoyment.

Jill James, writer and lover of the romance novel


New Tricks — Jill James

You know the saying about new tricks for old dogs? So true.

Saturday I attended a workshop at Silicon Valley RWA. The workshop was Before You Hit Send with Angela James. I had taken the workshop online a couple of years ago or so but I was thrilled at the chance to take the class in person. Amazing!

Although I’d taken the class before I learned some new stuff, had some stuff I was already doing validated, and got some ideas for new stuff to try.

And I watched a pro in action. Angela James knows how to present a workshop, keep the group engaged, when to be funny to break the tension, and when to do something wacky as we were falling asleep in a post-lunch, stuffy room.

She does the workshop online as well. If you get a chance, take the class. Whether you are editing for yourself or just want to send your best to an agent or editor, the class works.

Jill James, author of paranormal romantic suspense Dangerous Shift, in eBook and print.

Blog The Book – The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!

Arlene Miller was the guest speaker at our Black Diamonds RWA chapter meeting. I’ve never had such an easy class to understand grammar.

This book is written in Arlene’s easy style of speaking. Each chapter starts with a simple test. See how well you do and then you will know if you need that chapter or not.

She not only tells you what the rules of grammar are, but why and makes it all make sense.

This a book every writer should have on their desk with a dictionary, thesaurus, and flip dictionary.

Jill James.

How much do you want it?

This is a question writers have to ask themselves a lot. Are we willing to lock ourselves away from others in order to write? Can we give up our favorite TV shows to find time to put words to paper? How much do we want it and what are we willing to give up to get it?

At one time I followed the entire line-up of soap operas in a day. Started with All My Children, segued into One Life to Live, followed by General Hospital, wrapping up with Days of Our Lives. I knew the doings of Blair and Todd and Bo and Hope better than I knew the doings of my own family.

In 2004 I decided to get serious about my writing and gave up all daytime television. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve completed 4 manuscripts, several short stories, and I’m getting published by The Wild Rose Press this year. I would not have done any of those things watching TV all day.

Writing also got me out of the house. I joined RWA National and my local chapter, I have friends, I go to conferences, retreats, and events. I go to my writer friend’s book signings and get out and enjoy life. I meet a friend for coffee each week where we plot our stories and brainstorm new ideas. Things I have time for because no TV.

To some people it wouldn’t seem a hardship to give up the soaps, but those people were my friends, my window on the world, and good practice for storytelling. But like the voice says, “…like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.” I want to spend mine telling stories, writing books, seeing my name on a book cover, and living.

What do you want enough to give up something very important for? How much do you want something?

Jill James

Before I Was A Writer…

Thanks to a prompt at The Naked Hero I’m posting this on my blog.

Before I was a Writer…

Before I was a writer I heard voices in my head that no one else did. I had imaginary friends more real than the kids on the neighborhood block. I had movies running through my dreams. Whole stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.

Before I was a writer I didn’t know there were others out there just like me. I didn’t know others heard voices in their heads. That others had voices screaming “write my story”.

Before I was a writer I was alone with the voices in my head. Now I have others to help me put the voices into a book and to rest.

Jill James

Win or Lose

By nature, I’m a very competitive person. I’m a poor winner and an even more poor loser. I’m well aware of this fact and I’ve been fighting it my entire life. I’ve gotten much better. I still love the thrill of winning but I’m much more gracious in defeat and genuinely happy for the winner.

Yesterday the Golden Heart announcement calls went out from RWA. Now, I was hoping to final because I believe in the story I entered. I think it is good, unique, and original. No call. When I receive my scores in 4 to 6 weeks we’ll see what the judges think. LOL

So, I did spend some time at home yesterday hoping the phone would ring. But it didn’t. Yes, I was bummed. Everyone is allowed their moment of a pity party. But for the first time, I didn’t feel like I didn’t final. My story didn’t final. I refuse to be defined by one story I wrote. I am more than that. I have plenty of stories inside me to tell and maybe next time it will be the story that finals.

So, congratulations to all the GH and Rita finalists. This is your year. Enjoy every moment of it.

How do you deal with a setback or defeat?

Jill James

My Golden Heart Adventure

I haven’t entered RWA’s Golden Heart contest for unpublished authors for a couple of years because my last scores were so bad I was sure I sucked as a writer. No — just that story.

So I decided to enter this year. Did really well getting the money and entry in on time. No problem.

I knew I needed to rewrite chapter 1 because it just wasn’t working. I waited…and waited…and waited to do it. Until I noticed Thanksgiving fast approaching. Plunk myself down, shut office door, put on earphones and didn’t come out until chapter was done. So far so good.

Sent GH entry to CP to look over. She was nice and fast and very, very helpful. Thank you Keri.

Noticed with rewrite of chapter 1 a whole lot of other stuff needed to be changed too. Oops!! Got it all edited and pulled together Thanksgiving morning. Yeah! Ahead of personal schedule.

Today I print out the 6 copies of partials, 6 copies of synopsis, and burn CD of full (All by myself, no son help). Put synopsis with partial, read directions at RWA National, pull sysnopsis from back of entry and put in front, add binder clips.

Go to UPS store. Give them address, they box it all nice for me and everything.

Celebrate with Starbuck’s, go home to check email and see CD in case on desk. Oh Sh@t!!! Run back to UPS store and pray it hasn’t been picked up yet, it hadn’t, UPS guy having lunch first, get them to open box and put CD inside, reseal box and thank them very, very, very much.

My getting-the-GH-entry-in adventure  Jill James

Disaster Rubbernecking

You know the people, you might even be an unwilling participant. The ones who slow down at an accident scene, drive as slow as possible, and crane their necks until you just know they will need a chiropractor tomorrow, to gaze at the scene.

The past few days have been like that for RWA members. I won’t go into details on my own blog because their is more than enough all over the blogosphere. Just Google RWA and Harlequin Horizons and BLAM! it will hit you upside the head.

This post is more about the fascination we seem to have about watching the disaster unfold. Unlike a real accident scene the blood and gore of this fiasco is only of the ‘word’ kind. Never forget though, that real people are behind the scenes of this Titanic. For all the ‘unrecognizing’ and ‘rescinding’ involved, those words represent real people, authors who are confused right now about ‘what it all means’.

I have spent the last two  days ‘rubbernecking’ the whole RWA/Harlequin Horizons event in the mistaken belief that I need to be informed about these things. I do need to know, but I also need to write, which is something I haven’t done for two days as this all unfolded.

So, I’m pulling my head back into the car, staring straight ahead, knowing my organization will let me know what is being decided while I do what I’m supposed to be doing — writing.

Jill James

Psychic Readings

edward carrionAt a recent RWA chapter meeting we had a psychic come and talk to us.  I was a skeptic but wanted to believe.  Edward Carrion is an amazing man and an amazing psychic.  His tales of his childhood were sad and inspiring at the same time.  He explained a lot about his belief system and what he believes to be true about the other side.

He also talked about spotting frauds and fakes and scam artists just after your money and that was great information to receive.

After the talk and lunch I got to have a reading.  I figured ‘what the hell’.  I thought it would be fun and informative for my writing.  I was blown away.  I can’t go into details because some of the secrets he spilled are not mine to tell, but he told me things that only selected people in our family know.

The one thing I can tell is: I was a devilish child. In my father’s eyes I could do no wrong. So, I would do bad things, let my brother take the blame, and enjoy that he was the one in trouble.  No one but my brother and I know that.

If you get a chance, find a reputable psychic and get a reading. You might be surprised.

Do you believe in psychics and mediums?

Check out Edward Carrion at  

Jill James


Change doesn’t come easy or cheap.  Many resist change just for hardheadiness sake.  Many are afraid of change.

PrintMembers of RWA (Romance Writers of America) have united to bring education and awareness of digital publishing to the organization.  E-books are here and they are here to stay.  Governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has called on the state to produce e-format for textbooks to lower school costs.

Education of print published and the unpublished of RWA about the realities and pitfalls and benefits of e-publishing must come from within. We are not trying to tear down RWA but build it up.  Add e-publishing to making a writer a published author in the eyes of her peers.  To have a representative on the board knowledgeable about the digital publishing world.  To make all writers in RWA published or unpublished, no more no-man’s land, double standard for the electronically published.

It is a brave new world and we invite RWA to embrace the change.

RWAchange on Twitter or follow with #rwachange or

Jill James, unpublished member in good standing with RWA

Writer’s World


Not specific scams, per se, but the idea of scams.  Especially those directed towards writers.  Wanting to be a published author is a burning need.  Like any other artistic endeavor, writers want to see their name on their work and see their work purchased by others who appreciate it.

This is where scam artists come in.  With the current economy I’m afraid we’ll see even more crop up.  Any person can hang a shingle (start a website) and say they are an agent or an e-publisher.  Knowledge is an author’s best defense. Talk to other writers on loops.  Join organizations like RWA.  Do research.  Not knowing is not an excuse.  Google is your best friend.

POD (Print On Demand) is not a scam.  Just know what you are getting into.  There is no marketing except whatever you do.  But, again with the current economy, sometimes this is true with other publishers as well.  The plus of the big publishers is distribution.  Sometimes what you write is a small niche and going POD makes sense.  Some people do a book just for family and friends and POD is for them too.

As you are checking out agents; big and small, and publishers; NY-based, small press, e-publishers, and POD, ask yourself what you want for this book and for yourself and your career.  Don’t get taken for a ride.  Know what you want and how to get it.

Jill James