My One Word and a Winner!

My One Word And A Winner!

Who is ready for Christmas? (No one?? Ha!) Well, guess what? You’ve got another day, so no worries. You’ve got this!

In between wrapping presents, buying presents I forgot about, and all the other holiday craziness, I’ve been taking time out to reflect and pray. Every year I skip the resolutions, choosing to meditate on one word instead. How do I choose the word? Well…I  don’t. I pray about it until a word shows up.

Last year’s word was Victory. I remember thinking, really? Can that be my word or am I wishful thinking? But looking back, I see the big ways Victory truly fit 2015.

  1. I was blessed with peace after a season of mom anxiety about my kids growing up. (Example: my daughter graduates this year, and I fretted about what college she would decide on, getting senior pictures, planning her graduation party, and so on!) I consider peace a major victory!
  2. My writing career launched with drop-to-your-knees blessings. Author events orchestrated by family and friends, newspaper articles, additional contracts offered–even a television interview! Victory, indeed!
  3. Acceptance of my dad’s health deterioration. I see the ways God took something terrible and worked aspects of it to provide for my mom and to give my sister and I worry-free hearts over his care. Sometimes we think Victory means complete healing, but I’m content with God’s provision as it is.

This year’s word showed up on a recent walk. I love the word because every time I think of it, I smile.

 

My One Word for 2016

 

My One Word

 

I spent an hour in scripture finding Bible passages to help me focus on the word. I like the One Word concept, because when nothing seems to be going right or I’m frustrated, it grounds me, reminding me that God is in charge. What a relief!

On a different note, I have a winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card chosen via random number generator from my newsletter subscription list! Congratulations to Aerykah!! Thank you to ALL my subscribers! I appreciate each and every one of you!

Well, I’m off to make fudge. I’m taking a blog break until the new year. I hope your holidays are filled with delight, surprises and the knowledge you are loved by God. Merry Christmas!!

Do you focus on One Word? What is yours?

See you in January!!

Coming to the Blog in 2016

I’ve been looking ahead to the new year, and I’m excited. 2016 will mark my 9th year of blogging! Can you believe it? Nine years! Wow!

 

Jill Kemerer

 

I still really enjoy blogging, and I’ll be continuing my twice a week schedule in 2016. Wednesday will be writing-related. Expect writing tips and author interviews–yep, I’m starting a new interview series! Fridays will be a grab bag. I’m bringing back vlogs (hello iMovie and my iPhone!) and just chatting about whatever.

Is there anything you’d like to see on my blog? Feel free to leave a comment–I’m always open to suggestions!

On to unimportant news…I’m definitely doing some Christmas baking soon. I used to bake dozens and dozens of various cookies, but I’m all about keeping it simple these days. Here’s my cookie lineup:

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Fudge
  • Peanut Butter Blossoms

My Christmas prep is going much better than it usually does, probably because I did 90% of my shopping online. Sure, I had to shop in REAL stores several times, but I only had one instance where I almost cried, which is a win for me. What wasn’t a win? Buying wrapping paper that rips easily. Yeah, I’m still using it–at $5.99 a roll, I’m too cheap not to–but I should have buckled down and bought my paper from Hallmark. They have sturdy paper. Mental note: Buy Hallmark wrapping paper at after Christmas sales.

The lure of Christmas vacation has been motivating me to meet my writing goals. I’m almost finished plotting my fifth book with Love Inspired. I’m also writing a few chapters of an upcoming nonfiction book I plan on releasing later next year. As soon as I cross these tasks off my list, I’m splurging with a day all for me! A trip to the art museum, lunch at a yummy cafe, and a stop at the bookstore are on the agenda. I can’t wait!

How is your Christmas prep going? Have you cried in any stores (or is that just me)? Are you baking?

Have a great day!

There are two days left to sign up for my newsletter if you want to be added in the drawing for the $10 Amazon Gift Card! Sign up is easy–click HERE to sign up!

The Value of Brainstorming

I spent most of the week at our local junior high. The eighth grade social studies classes are writing children’s books based on the revolutionary war, and I was blessed to help. Most of Wednesday and Thursday were spent brainstorming with individual groups each period. Sometimes it’s hard to take a big concept and narrow it down to a specific story, so I helped them focus their plots. These teens are so smart! They all had clever ideas.

 

The Value of Brainstorming

 

The exercise reminded me how valuable brainstorming is to writers. Bouncing ideas off other people helps you refine your premise. It might reveal holes in your plot you weren’t aware of. It forces you to see that some factors of your story just aren’t believable. Then you find ways to make it believable.

Brainstorming almost always produces a stronger story.

I always joke that it took a village to get me published, but it’s true. I’ve learned everything about publishing, plotting, writing, editing and marketing from other people. They generously shared their knowledge with me. My books also require help from others. I recently interviewed a local firefighter for an upcoming book (thanks, Steven!). I could not write a believable story about a firefighter without this kind of help. And, naturally, my agent and editor play huge roles for my books.

Brainstorming can work for any aspect of life. Every year I join a dozen or so other local writers for a brainstorming weekend. We rent a cabin on a lake and spend the entire weekend taking turns brainstorming story ideas, scenes, titles–anything! I was unable to attend this year, but I was able to spend a weekend with a different set of friends to career plan. We ran ideas by each other about the business side of writing. I came away from the weekend feeling so much better about my plans.

The value of brainstorming? Priceless!

Do you bounce ideas off other people? Do you like helping other people solve problems?

If you’d like to be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, just sign up for my newsletter HERE. I’ll be drawing a winner  from my subscription list using a random generator on December 18! Winner will be notified via email!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Do You Buy Yourself Stuff in December?

Do You Buy Yourself Stuff In December?

I’m not much of a shopper, but every December I end up buying things for myself while Christmas shopping. Oopsies! For instance, I recently purchased the latest CD by Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color, a new medium-sized casserole dish since my favorite one had a huge chip in the handle, a boatload of Post-It notes, and a 4-pack of gel pens.

I don’t regret a single purchase.

 

Do you buy yourself stuff in December?

 

Maybe it’s my reward for stressing out about what to buy everyone else. Maybe it’s a natural reaction to not buying much the rest of the year. I don’t know, but I refuse to feel guilty about it.

I’ll be shopping more this week. Will a box of Hershey’s Pot Of Gold land in my cart? Absolutely! Will this be given to a friend or relative? NO! It’s mine!!

Okay, I could share it with my family.

Or, I could buy two boxes and let them share one but keep the other for myself. Now this sounds like a plan.

Is that bad?

Don’t answer!!

Do you buy yourself stuff in December?

 

Merry Christmas!

 

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one of my newsletter subscribers. If you haven’t signed up, what are you waiting for? If you’re already a subscriber, you’re automatically entered! Here’s the easy sign-up form!

 

Have a fantastic day!

December Giveaway and Cover Reveal!

December Giveaway And Cover Reveal!

It’s Friday! Yay! And it’s December. I love it!

So it’s a busy month. You know it. I know it. We have to grab hold of the bitty moments when we can. Are you stressed? Go buy that decadent coffee, sit at a table, inhale the aroma and rest for five minutes. Make that ten. Dream about the fantasy vacation in Hawaii until the tension releases. Whatever it takes–enjoy this month!

I have some fun things to share. Numero uno? I got the cover for Her Small-Town Romance, book three in the Lake Endwell series through Harlequin Love Inspired. Paperbacks will be in stores starting on March 22, 2016, and the digital book will be available April 1, 2016!

Cover Reveal (I adore it! The cover artists are amazing!!)

 

Her Small-Town Romance

 

The second thing I’m sharing? A giveaway!

I appreciate my newsletter subscribers, so I’m giving one subscriber a $10 Amazon gift card. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can enter your email address HERE! I’ll never share your address, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The bottom of every page in my website has an easy sign-up form, too. The winner will be randomly selected on December 18, 2015 from my newsletter subscription list, so if you’re already a subscriber, you’re automatically entered. I will notify the winner via email.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Lastly, newsletter subscribers just received the above information AS WELL AS the third installment to my serial short romance, “Love and Other Obstacles.” Parts 1 and 2 are permanently linked on my For Readers page, and Part 3 will be added there on December 11, 2015.

 

Phew! What are you doing this weekend?

 

Have a great day!

Ten Truths About Writing Year In and Year Out

Ten Truths About Writing?

I’ve been writing full time for, let’s see, eight years. The first year was FUN! Sure, I was nervous, but I was doing it–writing while my kids were in school the way I’d dreamed when they were toddlers. I couldn’t wait to sit down and type my pages for the day. The books I wrote the first few years weren’t good, but I enjoyed writing them.

 

Ten Truths About Writing Year In and Year Out

 

Then reality set in. I realized the old adage, practice makes perfect, wasn’t accurate. I wrote every day, but my craft wasn’t improving. Critiques and contest results proved what I suspected–I had a long way to go if I wanted to write quality books. On top of that, I dipped my toes in the social media waters. Getting published? Seemed way more complicated than I imagined.

But I stuck with it, and over the years I learned ten truths about writing long term.

  1. Writing isn’t always fun.
  2. You’ll like some books more than others.
  3. There’s NEVER enough time.
  4. Promotion is something done on a daily basis.
  5. When you pay attention to other writers, agents and editors, you become a better writer.
  6. The longer you write, the more you’ll embrace your process.
  7. You’ll get a good idea of how long it takes you to write a book. Ditto on revising.
  8. You never run out of ideas. Your brain is like a sticky magnet for them.
  9. Writing is still fun.
  10. You have the best job in the world.

I’m sure I could add ten or twenty more to the list, but that sums up the important ones for me.

 

Any surprises on the list? What have you learned about your job over the years?

Have a terrific day!