April Giveaway!

April Giveaway!

Game On: The Christian Parents’ Sports Survival Guide officially releases April 4, and I’m hosting a month-long giveaway to celebrate. Game On is my first nonfiction book, and I’m praying it blesses parents like myself who spend a big chunk of time, money, and emotional support on their kids’ sports. I figured out how to keep sports in perspective when I asked myself a few key questions.

  1. Why do I have my kids playing?
  2. What kind of adults do I want them to become?

Whether you’re new to youth sports or knee-deep in them, you most likely feel the pressure. It’s easy to get caught up in the extreme competitiveness of other parents or be tempted to play politics to help your child. But I’m convinced this hurts our kids, and I share the reasons why as well as strategies to keep your composure.

 

Game On: The Christian Parents' Sports Survival Guide

 

A GAME PLAN FOR CHRISTIAN PARENTS

For years I couldn’t escape the anxiety that came with my children’s sports. The competitive atmosphere prevalent among parents often left me anxious, upset—even  bitter. But all that changed when I defined why I wanted my kids playing. Instead of fretting about their performance, I saw opportunities for them to grow. Now I enjoy watching them play without letting politics, other parents, or my own unrealistic expectations get in the way.

Join me in exploring the realities of sports, the reasons parents get caught up in unhealthy competition, and strategies to keep the big picture in mind when we’re too close to the game. We can be composed and confident while our kids are in sports.

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April Giveaway!

Woohoo! Giveaway time! The prize package includes an autographed copy of Game On, an insulated bag for game day, a motivational plaque, and a tin of candies. You can enter below or on my Home page anytime between April 1 at 5:00am (EST) through April 30 at 9:00pm (EST). US residents 18+ only. See Terms and Conditions in giveaway.

Game On Prize Package!

Come back April 1st to enter! (Runs April 1, 2017 through April 30, 2017)

 

 

Thanks for celebrating with me! Please share this with your friends, and have a lovely weekend!

Why Research Changes My Stories {Writer Wednesday}

I just started writing the second book in the upcoming Wyoming Cowboys series. I had a strong grasp on the general plot before typing the opening line, but there were many things I didn’t know (and still don’t!) about the story.

As I brainstormed possible scenes and reasons for them to happen, I kept Google open and researched questions as they came up. I always do this when starting a draft. Each article I find gives me insight into the issue and it usually changes my story.

 

The reason? I’m not an expert on anything. I have limited knowledge of many of the themes and situations I tackle in my books. One thing I love when I’m spiraling into research is when I realize I was wrong about something, but the article/book gives me an even better idea. For instance, the plot in my work-in-progress has a church youth mentoring program. My initial thoughts on how this would play into the story weren’t feasible due to the age of the little girl involved, but it allowed me to have the characters agree to a private arrangement, which serves the story better.

This type of thing happens all the time when I’m writing. It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy researching. You’ve probably read the advice to push yourself to come up with unique ideas by coming up with a list and using one of the final ideas you write. I’ve tried this method, but I don’t always find it to be logical. I want the story to be believable! Research helps me push the limits to find believable situations.

Whether you’re a writer or not, how do you feel about research? I love it!

Have a terrific day!

Expense Reports, Plotting Flow Chart, and Project Tips {Writer Wednesday}

Expense Reports, Plotting Flow Chart, And Project Tips {Writer Wednesday}

I recently revisited my For Writers page, and I realized I continue to use many of the writing tools I’ve written about in the past. That’s why I’m sharing a few posts from the archives. I hope they help you with different aspects of your writing, too.

Expense Reports and more #ww

 

Since it’s officially tax season, you might be frustrated trying to figure out your business expenses but having no clue where to begin. The following article will help you create a simple system that works for you. No, expense reports aren’t glamorous, but saving money at tax-time is!

Writing as a Business: Tracking Expenses

Just yesterday I created a new flow chart template to use when plotting a new book. And then I remembered I’d blogged about a similar one a few years ago. If you’re interested in trying something new before you type the opening to your next book, check it out.

Using Flow Charts to Plot

Next up is a topic I’ve learned to master. It has NOT been easy for this one-track-mind lady, but it’s necessary. Every week I juggle at least two projects, usually three.

Tips to Successfully Switch Between Projects

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What writing problem has been on your mind lately? I’d love to hear how you solve it!

 

Have a terrific day!

Are You Picky About T-Shirts?

It’s March, which means soon I’ll be living in T-shirts again. For a few years I’ve struggled to find comfortable tees that fit me well and are reasonably priced. This means the majority of my tees have been worn out. They’re destined for the trash bin.

 

Are You Picky About T-Shirts?

 

If a T-shirt is too baggy, it swallows me up and gives me no shape. If it’s too form-fitting, I look like a stuffed sausage.  Some are too short–please, let me find some that don’t expose skin at my waist. And I love soft material, but not if it’s see-through! When I add my price limit, finding new shirts feels like mission impossible.

I can’t resist T-shirts with cute sayings or references to cats, bunnies and mini-dachshunds–unless they’re not in my price range. Then I sadly put them back on the rack with a sigh and tell myself they’ll go on sale.

Where do you buy T-shirts? Are you as picky as I am? If you know of a good resource for shapely, not too short tees, please let me know!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Coming Soon} Game On

{Coming Soon} Game On

In April 2015, I sat down in a Panera with a coffee and ginormous triple-chocolate cookie. I was exhausted. But I knew it was time to start the project I couldn’t get off my mind.

As many of my ideas begin, this one started while I’d been trying to fall asleep. Two words had been seared in my brain.

Surviving Sports.

I’d been a sports mom for years at that point. If you’re not familiar with having kids in sports, it’s not all happiness and sunshine. Sure, it’s great having athletic kids, but the competitiveness and insecurities among parents can be contagious. I didn’t always like what the games did to me, and I often prayed for help. I wanted to be the calm mom, the one who brushed off bragging, politics, rough games and all the other anxiety-inducing elements of being a sports parent.

My prayers were answered, just not in the way I expected. When surviving sports flashed in my brain, I knew it was a book I needed to write. But how could I? I’m not an expert. I don’t write nonfiction. I write Christian romance novels! All I could think was I’m not qualified.

Back to the beginning of this post. Me. Panera. Coffee. Thousands of calories in that cookie. I had to answer this call. Had to write the book. I couldn’t drop everything and start writing, though. I had deadlines to meet. Instead, I decided to chip away at it even if only in ten minute increments stolen at odd times. I took a big bite of the cookie, created a new Google Doc and started to type on my phone’s teeny-tiny keypad.

Minutes turned into pages. Weeks went. The book grew. With each new section, another idea popped up. I found myself researching and gaining a better understanding of why I get so wrapped up in my children’s sports. Slowly, I changed. I couldn’t help it. As a Christian, I try to live my life according to Biblical principles, and one of them is raising my kids to be moral adults. I changed because my kids needed me to be a better role model, and I wanted to be one, too.

I still have my moments. I’m not perfect. Never will be. But I love being a sports mom, I love my kids, and I can keep the game in perspective. If you’re curious about the book, click on Game On for more information. I have a few spots open for digital advance review copies. Leave a comment or email me at jill(at)jillkemerer(dot)com if you’re interested.

Coming Soon!!

 

Game On: The Christian Parents' Sports Survival Guide

 

A GAME PLAN FOR CHRISTIAN PARENTS

For years I couldn’t escape the anxiety that came with my children’s sports. The competitive atmosphere prevalent among parents often left me anxious, upset—even bitter. But all that changed when I defined why I wanted my kids playing. Instead of fretting about their performance, I saw opportunities for them to grow. Now I enjoy watching them play without letting politics, other parents, or my own unrealistic expectations get in the way.

Join me in exploring the realities of sports, the reasons parents get caught up in unhealthy competition, and strategies to keep the big picture in mind when we’re too close to the game. We can be composed and confident while our kids are in sports.

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Game On: The Christian Parents’ Sports Survival Guide will be available in paperback and digital books online at major retailers in early April. And I’ll be hosting a Game On giveaway next month on my home page, so be sure to check back!

Do you have children or grandchildren in sports? What do they play?

Have a terrific weekend!

 

Messy Desk {Writer Wednesday}

I’ve been quiet on the blog. Last week I was sick, and I’m playing catch-up. With all the tasks piling up, I’ve let my desk get VERY messy. *sigh*

Here’s a picture of my work space. I think it’s funny my Bible promise book fell on top of the chaos. Maybe God is trying to tell me something!

 

Messy Desk

 

What you don’t see is the mug of tea, scratch paper with scribbled notes, cell phone, pens, ponytail holders and who-knows-what-else. The trash can is overflowing. Much like my brain and day-planner entries for this week.

This morning  I’ll spend ten minutes organizing and tidying. I’ll push the papers into a neat stack. Throw away the baggies of pretzels and Chex Mix. Light a candle. Empty the trash.

And then I’ll mess it up all over again because that’s the kind of week this is!

Does your work space get messy when you’re busy? Or do you keep it tidy at all times?

Have a terrific day!

Spring Pinterest Board

I am itching for spring! Itching for it, I tell you. We’ve had a gloriously mild winter. But…winter is still gloomy. Overcast skies, chilly temperatures, dead grass, no leaves or pretty flowers or any color to look at. So I’m sharing my Pinterest board with all things spring today.

 

Spring Pinterest Board

 


 

If the board doesn’t show up, here’s the link to it. http://www.pinterest.com/jillkemerer/spring/
 
I can’t wait to walk outside without wearing gloves, a hat or a winter coat. And I love it when our grass turns green. And when our flowers start to bloom. Well, you get the idea. I am DONE with winter!

What says spring to you?

Have a terrific day!

{Movie Romance} Inferno

My husband and I have been watching a lot of movies at home lately. Last weekend we watched Inferno, the third installment of the Robert Langdon film series, loosely based on Dan Brown’s books. I haven’t read the books, so I can’t tell you how the movies compare, and I’m not reviewing the movie. Instead, I’m focusing on the romance elements in the film.

SPOILER ALERT!! If you haven’t watched Inferno but plan on doing so, do NOT read further! I give away several key plot points in this post!!

 

Dr. Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) is the main character, and he interacts with two women throughout the movie. One is the ER doctor, Dr. Sienna Brooks (played by Felicity Jones), who looks to be in her late twenties and is thrust into a dangerous situation when she treats Langdon for a head wound. She’s a prodigy, a former child genius, and knows Dr. Langdon (he’s a professor) from reading his books and attending one of his lectures. The movie takes place in Italy. After a police officer tries to kill them in the hospital, they’re forced to go on the run, searching for clues to prevent a deadly plague from being released.

They are being hunted by several government agencies, and they don’t know who to trust. Langdon has few memories of the previous three days due to his head wound. He recalls meeting a mysterious woman but he doesn’t remember if he can trust her or not. Later, he remembers the woman was Elizabeth Sinskey, a World Health Organization agent and former girlfriend.

As the movie progresses, Sienna double-crosses Langdon, and we learn she was the lover of the man who invented the deadly plague. We also learn that Langdon and Elizabeth were in love when they were younger, but neither wanted the other to give up their life’s work to be together.

While the movie was action-packed and not a romance by any means, I was struck by the fact the writers never gave in to the temptation of letting an attraction blossom between Langdon and the much-younger Sienna. A decade ago, these two would most likely have made googly eyes at each other and possibly shared a kiss or, at the minimum, an embrace. Personally, I’m glad we were spared that. The only time a romantic connection was hinted at was by another character, and Langdon seemed appalled at the thought. It was very refreshing to have the older-man/younger-woman element off the table.

On the other hand, Langdon does  have a romantic past with Elizabeth, and the race to find the plague draws them closer together. Elizabeth is played by the talented actress, Sidse Babett Knudsen, whom you might have seen on the new HBO series, Westworld. She’s a fantastic actress–and get this–she’s in her late forties. Yes, Tom Hanks just turned sixty and that is still a sizable age gap, but the romance felt spot on. These are two mature people who shared a past and deeply cared about each other. It was very believable, and one of the reasons was because they shared common goals. They were both dedicated to helping others and willing to sacrifice their personal lives to achieve this.

The movie was entertaining and action-packed, if confusing at times, but the romance element was my favorite part. 

What movie have you watched recently? Was there anything about it that struck you as inspiring?

Have a terrific weekend!

{printable} Weekly Progress Spreadsheet

{printable} Weekly Progress Spreadsheet

2017 has been a year of changes for me. Most of the changes have been little, but hey, small steps equal steady progress. One of the things I’m doing is tracking my progress in two areas. I created a year-at-a-glance spreadsheet that can be used for any goal. I’m tracking my exercise habits and how many hours of “important work” I accomplish each day.

Below is a snapshot of it. Notice there are spaces for each day of the week as well as notes. For my health spreadsheet, I use my own code. FY stands for Foundation Yoga. BC stands for Boot Camp. GS stands for Green Smoothie. 2W stands for two miles I walked. Obviously, the number changes with the miles. This allows me to see my consistency over the course of an entire year. It’s been motivating!

 

Weekly Progress Spreadsheet

For my Important Work spreadsheet, I printed the exact same form, but each day I simply jot a number in the slot. The number represents the amount of hours I spent doing things on my Important Work list. (You can see my list below.)

By important work, I mean tasks that directly contribute to my income, which is based on writing and selling books. I got this concept from Cal Newport’s excellent book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. I don’t track my “deep work” hours because some of the things I consider important do not fit the Deep Work philosophy.

Your list will look different than mine. We all have our own concept of the most valuable tasks in regards to our work. The things I don’t include on my Important Work list are necessary parts of my job, but I place less value on the because they don’t directly contribute to my income based on writing and selling books.

Things I track as Important Work:

  • Doing research for a book
  • Plotting a novel
  • Outlining a nonfiction book
  • Creating a synopsis
  • Writing the actual book
  • Revising a manuscript
  • Any editorial tasks required
  • If Indie publishing, any cover research, formatting, uploading
  • Setting up promotion for a new release

What I don’t track as  Important Work:

  • Reading and responding to emails
  • Being active on social media sites
  • Administrative tasks (income/expense report, etc…)
  • Volunteering to judge contests, help writers, etc…
  • Writing blog posts

Again, the things I don’t track are necessary to my job, but I don’t log the hours I spend doing them.

If you’re interested in tracking any aspect of your life, feel free to print your own Weekly Progress Sheets. Just click on the link below! I’m also including this pdf file on my For Writers page if you’d like to print more out in the future.

Click for the printable PDF Weekly Progress Spreadsheet.

I find this especially helpful for reluctant writers. If you find yourself going days on end without writing, try this. It’s evidence of how much or how little time you actually spend working on a manuscript.

If you’d like to track your Important Work hours, spend a little time determining what equals important work to you. Enjoy!

Does charting your progress motivate you? Have you ever tried a year-at-a-glance weekly spreadsheet?

Have a terrific day!

Cover Reveal! Hometown Hero’s Redemption

Cover Reveal! Hometown Hero’s Redemption

Happy Friday! It’s an extra exciting day for me because I get to share the cover of my fifth book!

Hometown Hero’s Redemption is the final book in the Lake Endwell series. I’ve loved this fictional Michigan town so much. It’s hard to say goodbye! This story is dear to me, and I hope you love it as much as I do. It will be available June 2017!

Without further ado…

 

Hometown Hero's Redemption

A Temporary Father 

When he becomes guardian to his friend’s troubled ten-year-old boy, firefighter Drew Gannon knows he needs help. But before he can get former social worker Lauren Pierce to agree, he’s got to prove he’s changed from the sports jock who gave her a hard time back in high school. Returning home, Lauren wants no part of her old profession. She only wants to forget the unspeakable tragedy she left behind. She can’t take responsibility for another child. Or a reunion with Drew—no matter how generous he’s become. But a desperate boy and his handsome guardian may be more than Lauren can resist…

 

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What are your weekend plans?

Have a great day!