Camp Nanowrimo 2021

April is the beginning of Camp Nanowrimo. It is a little looser than regular Nanowrimo which happens in November. In April, you set your own word count goal, you work on something already started, or work on several projects at the same time.

This month I’m working on finishing Ghostly Deceptions, book 2 in the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series. If I finish the first draft before the end of the month I’ll also work on Ghostly Perceptions, book 3 in the series.

I made a practice cover to keep me inspired during the month. This will not be the actual cover, I have a cover artist for that.

Do you do Nanowrimo or do you have any plans for April?

Jill James, author of the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series

Deadline Indecision

Today is the last day I’m able to make changes to my latest release. For better or worse, Zombies in the Grass is ready to go. I have this indecision with every release. Do I have any last minute check to do? Did I spell zombies right? Do I want to go over it one more time? NO! It is time to move on to the next story.

No more indecision. Start plotting Ghostly Deceptions and Ghostly Perceptions!

Zombies in the Grass releases March 9th, 2021! Enjoy!!

Jill James, author of the Ghost Releasers, Inc. series

Edit, Format, Upload, Oh, my!

There is a lot more to being a writer these days, or at least, a self-published author. A book is edited. Then it is formatted for ebook and paperback. Then it is uploaded to the vendors.

Once it is up (live) it is a constant watching to make sure it is the price you set, the blurb you wrote (also formatted right), and a myriad of other things, all while writing the next book.

Most days, I’m happy I’m doing this. This has been my dream for a long time, but on days I’m formatting for paperback books; not so much.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Off to format some more!!

Jill James, romance author and self-published entrepreneur

Zombies in the Grass

She follows every rule. He breaks them as much as possible. Will they get on the same page to defeat the zombie horde?

The army is Willa Zara’s whole life. It has given her structure, discipline, and a family. When Danny Lopez has received one order too far, he deserts and takes the conscripted children with him. When danger strikes too close to the army base, Willa and Danny will have to decide which side they are on.

Opposites attract, or so the saying goes. What Willa and Danny have flashes like lightning starting a wildfire. Will it burn all in its path or lead to love in the time of zombies?

Zombies in the Grass is book 4 in the Time of Zombies series. Now available to preorder.


Release Day is March 9, 2021!!

Jill James, author of the Time of Zombies series

The End?

I was hoping to put The End on another book for this blog post, but I’ve got another chapter and a half or so to go. Then I can write The End on Zombies in the Grass, book 4 in the Time of Zombies series.

I was doing the Amazon Ads Challenge and although I learned a whole bunch, I only wrote 10k this week. So another day or so and the book will be done.

Zombies in the Grass is available on preorder and releases March 9th!!

She follows all the rules. He breaks as many as possible. Can they get on the same page in time to stop the zombie horde?

Zombies in the Grass


Jill James, author of the Time of Zombies series

Winter Writing

Winter is my favorite writing time. It’s cold and windy outside. Not as much to do but hunker down, get cozy, and write. January to March is my most productive time.

This year I’m finishing up Zombies in the Grass – book 4 – Time of Zombies series, Ghostly Deceptions – book 2 – Ghost Releasers, Inc. series, Ghostly Perceptions – book 3 – Ghost Releasers, Inc. series, and Stolen Shift – book 2 – Shifters of San Laura series.

Do you enjoy the slower pace in the winter? Do you get more stuff done?

Jill James, romance writer

End of the Year

Sorry, no “2020 is the year from hell” jokes. I was just thinking about my personal and writing end of the year chores.

Years ago my husband made me Excel files to track sales, word count, and other stuff. I still use them. At the end of each year, I have to update and copy them to make new ones for the new year.

About this time of year, I contemplate. What did I finish? What did I not finish? What do I want to accomplish next year? I lay out what books I want to write for the new year. Are some in the process? Are some plotted? Are some just in the thinking stage?

My husband does end of the year stuff too, for the household. He cleans out his desk drawers. He puts some stuff in folders to save for tax stuff and some gets shredded. He grumbles, but by the time the new year rolls around, he is very happy with his clean desk and office.

Me too.

Do you do any end of the year stuff?

Jill James, romance writer

Nanowrimo 2020

Another year of Nanowrimo!!! I love doing Nano. This will be my 9th year, I think. 50k of words in 30 days.

I’m a little behind this year. I did editing on Sunday and other author stuff on Monday so I’m starting with 345 words.

But it doesn’t matter how many words you get. Not really. Just have more words at the end of the month than at the beginning of the month.

Onward and upward.

If you Nano, find me at

Jill James, writer

Nanowrimo 2020

November is here again. Time for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), where writers try for 50,000 words in one month. This will be, I think, my eighth year. I’ve won a few years, missed a few years, but always have more words on November 30th than I had on November 1st.

This year I’m working on my Christmas 2021 book, Trapped in Christmas. Can’t wait to write about Laura and Andy and the traditions that make Christmas so special.

This week I’m plotting with the help of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. Excellent writing book.

If you Nano too, find me at

Jill James, romance writer

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

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


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

December? What?!!

Okay, where did the year go? It was summer and now it is the end of the year. How did that happen? It must really be true that time goes faster as you get older.

Did you accomplish what you wanted to this year? Nope, me neither. LOL But I did realize I couldn’t accomplish it all so that is a learning moment for me. I have a great start to a bunch of new books for next year. I finished my Christmas book for the boxed set group on time!! I worked on eating better and exercising better. So, overall, 2019 wasn’t too bad.

How was your 2019? 

Jill James, writer