Summer reading

I love the hot, lazy days of summer. Lots of reading and writing done. Next week I’m planning a trip to Barnes & Noble. I have a long list of wants and I hope they have at least some of them.

My list: The Betrayed Wife by Kevin O’Brien–get every book he writes. Season of the Witch by David Golemon–love the Event Group. Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose–another of my auto-buy authors. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness–I’ve fallen in long with this series. The 18th Abduction by James Patterson–I wait for trade paperback for this series since the rest is in trade paperback. (fingers crossed I get some of these)

What is on your to-get list from the bookstore?


Jill James, romance writer and voracious reader

Plotter or Pantser

The age old question for writers. Do you plot? Or do you pants? Which is basically write into the mist.

I’m a plotter. I’m also a linear writer. I start with Chapter 1 and finish with The End. I don’t write chapters or scenes out of order. I don’t write a piece of dialogue because it just comes to me. I know how the story starts with the characters in place. I know some of the things that will happen to them on the journey. I know how it will all wrap up at the end.

Still, surprises do happen. Characters I never dreamed of make an appearance. Things will happen that make me wonder if the end will happen how I think it will. Ah, the joys of being a writer.

My best tool for plotting is posterboard, Post-Its, and a brainstorming buddy.

I love seeing the colors in my office. Blue for hero POV, Green for heroine’s POV, Purple for antagonist POV, Yellow for locations or details of scene, and Hot Pink for passion moments.

This plotting board was for Dangerous Shift, a shapeshifter paranormal romance that is still one of my favorite books I’ve written.


Jill James, romance writer

Participating in Kindle Scout

What is Kindle Scout, you may ask? KS is part of Amazon. It is reader fueled publishing. Authors put their books into the program, readers nominated their favorite books, and if the book gets picked for a Kindle Scout publishing deal the reader gets a free book!

I just got approved for my paranormal romance, Ghostly Intentions, Book 1 of the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series.

Megan Trent misses her deceased husband every day, until he returns as a sexy, ghostly visitor every night. When the visitations turn twisted and dark, she knows she’s in too deep to stop the madness on her own. Jack O’Malley, founder of Ghost Releasers, Inc. is her only hope. Sparks fly from the moment the two meet, but Jack isn’t willing to compete with a ghost. Even with her dead husband’s final release, a dark danger remains to torment her. Jack and Megan must fight evil intentions in this world and ghostly intentions in the next to save their lives and their love.

A Ghost Can’t Compete With a Real Man!

Please check out my submission and nominate me if you enjoy the excerpt and want a chance to get Ghostly Intentions for FREE!

http://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/D4UWV0OHU0HZ

Thank you, Jill James, romance author

Authors Love Reviews

Yes, even 1 and 2 stars ones.

Why?

Because it means someone is reading our books. Even if they didn’t like them, they read them. We can’t operate in a vacuum. We need to know what is resonating with the readers. What was confusing. What fell flat. We don’t know until the readers tell us so.

We love reviews!!! So if you’ve read Christmas Babies on Main Street, the latest boxed set from the Authors of Main Street, we would love to hear from you on Amazon!!

As always, thank you for reading!!


Jill James, author of Baby Steps and Snowflakes

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

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

RWA Nationals San Diego 2016

San_Diego_HarborI’m all registered and have a hotel room. This will be a mini-vacation with the conference and visiting brother and his family.

So excited! I haven’t been for a few years. I love the workshops, the fellow writers, seeing and meeting the superstars in our industry. Fun times!!

Will I see you this year in San Diego???

Jill James, romance author

eBooks are changing the way we read.

typingOr so the article says. I have noticed that I have trouble remembering authors names when I read an eBook. I believe it is because the title and name aren’t staring me in the eye from every page I read like in a paperback. I wish there was a way to change that; for my own reading and for the books I write.

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/08/2015/ebooks-are-changing-the-way-we-read-and-the-way-novelists-write/


Jill James, writer of romance
The Zombie Hunter’s Wife available for preorder at most online vendors!

I want to just write the book.

Writers say that a lot. A LOT. We wish there wasn’t a need for promotion. For social media. For the myriad of things that are needed for selling books that aren’t writing the book. Whoever told us that writing the book was the hard part–lied!

As young (or not so young) aspiring authors we dreamed of writing an awesome book, selling to a big name publisher, getting a giant advance to write, and for the publisher to do all those mysterious promo things so we could just write. LOL

Well, it seems that self-published authors aren’t the only ones now realizing that even with a publisher, the author is still responsible for the major portion of promotion to sell the book.

http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/67710-hamilton-ends-deal-with-smp-claiming-lack-of-support.html

Writers, what writing ‘myth’ did you debunk?


Jill James, writer of romance

 

Everyone has baggage.

You had a great childhood and expect a great adulthood. You were the homecoming queen or the captain of the football team. You had a crappy childhood and you want a good adulthood. You were teased about being small and puny but you’ve outgrown your awkward years. You had a crappy childhood and expect a crappy adulthood. Life sucked then and it sucks now.

luggageEvery event in your life to this point has added items to the baggage you carry. Good things. Bad things. The people we love. The people we hate. The people who love or hate us. Everyone has baggage. Some is good and some is bad. From Dr. Phil to Dr. Oz to every TV doctor and self-help book tells you to ‘let the baggage go.’

Except…

if you are a writer you are expected to not only hold on to that baggage, but to use it in your writing. To pop open your baggage and throw your dirty laundry onto the page. It is the same as asking us to open a vein and bleed onto the page.

We can choose to not use every event that has made us who we are, but you risk not having that deep emotion in your story telling.

Were you dumped, humiliated, had your heart ripped out? Hey, I can use that in my women’s fiction book.

Were you traumatized as a child? Haunted by ghosts; real and imagined? Come from a hostile home? Think what a great romantic suspense or horror novel you could write.

Were you teased mercilessly? Taunted and picked on? Kill them in your book. LOL 🙂

It is as hard as opening up your soul for the world to see. And as simple.

Write from your heart and the reader will take it into their heart as well.

Write on! Jill James

 

Why You Must Read The Fine Print

Gravity coverand how sometimes even that doesn’t work.

Contracts are designed to be beneficial to both parties, they aren’t supposed to screw over one party or the other. Most of the time. But sometimes things don’t work out how we would like them to do so.

http://www.tessgerritsen.com/gravity-lawsuit-affects-every-writer-sells-hollywood/

Every writer should read this and follow the story because it has implications for all of us. I read Gravity by Tess Gerritsen years ago and always thought it would make an awesome movie. It is a very intense story along with being very romantic.

Jill James, writer of romance (reader of Gravity by Tess Gerritsen)

 

My Happy Box

I don’t write erotic romance–yet, so get your minds out of the gutter. 🙂

happy boxMy Happy Box is a photograph box I bought at Michael’s. I put happy thoughts into it–photos of friends at writing retreats, awards for myself or my books, ‘good’ rejection letters, and copies of emails from fans. Whenever I feel down or wonder why I’m doing this, I get down the happy box and flip through the contents. Oh, here is the email from The Wild Rose Press saying they want to publish Tempting Adam, I guess I do know how to write a little. Here is the photo of the Black Diamond chapter retreat at Lake Shasta, didn’t we have fun and learn so much? Or an email for a contest win when I was doing the contest circuit. Or an award for volunteering in my online chapter. They are like hugs from friends saying, yes, you are doing okay. Writing is sometimes a very solitary endeavor and I’ll take all the hugs I can get.

Do you have a happy box? What would be in yours?

Jill James, writer of romance and lover of happy!!!

 

National Novel Writing Month

Are you ready to Nano?!!!

November 1 – 30 is National Novel Writing Month or Nano as it is called. Every year thousands of writers gather electronically and locally for a month of seeing how much they can write. The aim is to do 50,000 words to ‘win’. Although I and most writers feel any amount of words is a cause for celebration.

My first published novel, Tempting Adam was a Nano project. As was Dangerous Shift and most of Love in the Time of Zombies. See, even if you don’t ‘win’ you do win by having more words than you started out with.

Who’s ready for Nano?   www.nanowrimo.org

I’m there as Jill James and I’ll be working on two novellas to reach the 50,000 words.

Banned Book Week 2014

banned book week 2014Some of the best selling books are banned someplace in the world. Writers sometimes joke they would like to get banned, because then they would get noticed. It is only a joke, because banning books is no laughing matter. I can still picture the book-burning scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It sends chills up my spine to see an author’s heart and soul burned or banned.

They are only words, but words have power. Or why would some choose to ban them, or burn them, or destroy them? Or in the case of Huckleberry Finn, change them. The author said what they wanted to say; embrace it!

Some kids may not be ready to read a specific book. If they do or don’t is the parent’s responsibility. But don’t make that choice for every kid, for every school, for every community.

Support Banned Book Week and go read a banned book!

Jill James, contemporary and paranormal romance writer

Unexpected Surprises

Hi, my name is Jill and I’m a plotter. There. I’ve made my confession. I’m a major, anal-retentive plotter of books. I love Excel spreadsheets, white boards, post-it notes, and outlines.

LoveintheTimeofZombies 200x300Now, I know that you pantsers won’t understand, but plotters can be surprised by their story just like you. We can outline to our hearts’ content and still have a surprise jump up and grab us by the throat in a story. I haven’t had it happen in a long time so it was a feel-good moment when it happened in my current WIP, Love in the Time of Zombies.

I was just cruising along, with two of my characters going to the library hoping to find some ‘how-to’ books to help in the ZA (zombie apocalypse). But wait, I’ll show you what I mean…

**Unedited WIP**

An intense ten minutes later, and they reached the library with limited killing. Seth used a machete and she used a small pick-axe she’d picked up at a hardware store. The door to the building stood open, with darkness as far as she could see inside.

Turning, she checked out the street as Seth made his way through the entrance with her following. Miranda held her breath as he snapped a Glo stick and rolled it across the floor. It came to rest against a pile of papers. Her heartbeat sped up at the familiar smell of books and the graham crackers of story time.

An exhaled breath left her as silence filled the building. No moans, no shambling footsteps, no voices telling them to put their hands up. She took a chance. Although it seemed wrong for a library, she breathed in and called, “hello” in a loud voice.

“Well, you couldn’t have come for food, since there isn’t any. And I’m pretty sure there isn’t anyone  left to help you check out a book anymore.”

Her breath caught in her throat.

**And so did mine. Wait, there wasn’t supposed to be anyone in the library. This was definitely a search and retrieve mission. Maybe a conversation of moving on to another town, another area. Then I was left with the dilemma; is it a man or a woman in the library? Or maybe a child? An epiphany came to me. I knew who was in the library and what it would mean for Seth and Miranda. You will have to read the book to find out.

Coming Soon!! I really, really promise.

Jill James, contemporary and paranormal romance writer