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Paperback Release of The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride!

Guess what just hit store shelves? The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride–the first in my brand new series, Wyoming Cowboys! Aaaahhhh!!!



I’m super excited about this one. I’ve never written about cowboys before, and, let’s face it, I live in northern Ohio, which isn’t exactly out west. With loads of research and help from social media friends who live in Wyoming, I was able to create a fictional town–Sweet Dreams–where all four books will be set.

I’ll be guest posting around the blog-osphere in the upcoming weeks and giving away copies of The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride. Save these dates!

I’m hosting two giveaways right now! I’m giving away a prize package with a copy of the book, a super cute memo pad, a cowboy-ish mug, candy and biscuits!

Go to “The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride Giveaway,” (linked) and scroll down for the easy entry options. US only.

I’m also giving away four copies of The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride on Goodreads! The entry form is in the sidebar of my blog, or you can find it on my Home page. This contest is open to both US and Canada.

If you’re looking for the ebook, it will release on October 1, 2017. You can preorder through any of the major sites. Purchase links can be found at The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride. (linked)


Game On Fall Sale!



One more thing. Fall sports are here, and my book, Game On: The Christian Parents’ Sports Survival Guide is on sale! The ebook’s list price is $7.99, but it’s on sale for only $3.99 until October 31, 2017! That’s 50% off! If you have kids in sports and you wrestle with anxiety, struggle to brush off other parents’ competitiveness, need help figuring out how to get multiple kids at different practices, have no idea where to begin with fundraising or any other number of common sports worries, this book is for you!

Purchase links:



Are you watching football this fall? Yay? Nay?


Have a great week!

The Right Character to Open Your Story #WW

The right character to open your story #ww

Last night I opened a novel I’d borrowed from the library. It didn’t have a prologue, so I dove right into the first chapter. Within one page I knew who the main character would be (at least I assumed he was the main character), and I had a basic understanding of the setting and tone of the story.

The book is Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I’ve only read one or two short stories by Mr. Bradbury, but I’d recently come across an interview of an author who rereads this book every couple of years. I figured why not?

I’ve only read a few chapters, but my initial expectations were correct. The main character is a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding, and the story is set in an American town during the summer of 1928. I’m not sure if the town is in New England or the Midwest, but the descriptions make me believe the region must be one of those two.

Douglas is an imaginative kid, very intense, and he’s throbbing with anticipation over what a great summer it will be. There are sour apples and peaches and plums to be picked, meals to be baked with Grandma, and the town habits are so familiar to Douglas that he pretends to orchestrate the movements of the morning. It’s a delightful opening.

It made me think about a common mistake inexperienced writers often make. They open their story in a secondary character’s point of view.


The right character to open your story #ww


Who is the right character to open a story?

The main character.

Readers are taking a chance when they start a book, especially if the author is unfamiliar to them. I have certain expectations for the first chapter. One of those expectations is that the character I’m getting invested in will carry the book. If it becomes clear in the next chapters that the viewpoint character from chapter one isn’t the main character, I am much more likely to stop reading.

What if you have more than one main character?

Romance novels have two: the hero and the heroine. I’m fine with either beginning the story. What I’m not okay with is reading from the heroine’s sister’s point of view in the opening pages. Or the hero’s funny best friend’s or the sweet old aunt’s. If it’s not their story, don’t let them open it.

What about a book with multiple points of view?  You know, the one following the lives of three best friends?

Ask yourself which character has the strongest arc. Which one has the biggest journey? If you’re convinced they all have equal arcs, pick the one who has the most to lose when your story begins. And make sure she carries the book all the way to the very end. If she doesn’t? Rewrite your opening in the point of view of the character who does.

Are there any rules of thumb about characters and story openings?

I, personally, love books where the opening scene and closing scene are in the same character’s point of view.  I’ve been with him or her throughout the ups and downs of the book, and I get all emotional when the story comes full circle. Since I write romance, I have to determine which of my main two characters has the most to lose when the book opens. Who will have the bigger journey? The hero or the heroine? When I figure this out, I know which character will begin and end the book.

Secondary characters should never take over your story. The reader wants to find out what happens to the main characters. If you write too many scenes from other viewpoints, the reader will care less and less about your hero or heroine. I’m not saying the plot won’t be furthered by utilizing other viewpoints, but be careful. Readers can’t care equally about every character you introduce. Let the main ones do the heavy hitting.

To recap: the character who begins your story should be a main character, the one with the biggest journey, the one the reader will get most invested in. Wait until the main characters are established before switching to a secondary character’s point of view. And think hard before allowing a secondary character to take over a scene. Ask yourself if it will further the main plot? Or is it taking precious time away from the hero or heroine?

How do you determine which character will open your story?

There is still time to enter my gift package giveaway! Click on “The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride Giveaway” and scroll down for the easy entry options!

The Rancher's Mistletoe Bride Giveaway

Have a great day!

The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride Giveaway!

The Rancher's Mistletoe Bride Giveaway

In just a few short weeks my sixth novel, The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride, will be in stores! Aaahhh!! It’s also the first book in my brand new series, Wyoming Cowboys. I love this book. I loved writing this book. I loved researching this book.

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited about this one!

To make matters even better, it’s a Christmas book! I love Christmas books. I love writing Christmas books…

Okay, you get the idea.

The Rancher's Mistletoe Bride

Coming Home for Christmas 

Wedding planner Lexi Harrington needs a manager for her inherited Wyoming ranch. Clint Romine is the perfect man for the job, but the ruggedly handsome cowboy soon presents a new dilemma—distraction. Lexi can’t fall for a small-town rancher when she’s planning to return to her big-city career after the holidays. Home has always been elusive for former foster kid Clint. Working alongside Lexi at Rock Step Ranch feels too cozy—and too risky. Opening up to her means revealing a secret about his past that could jeopardize everything he holds dear. This Christmas, can Clint learn to trust Lexi with the truth…and with his heart?

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  | iBooks

To celebrate I’m giving away a prize package to one blessed reader!

The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride Giveaway includes:

  • One true large print signed copy of The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride
  • A cowboy-ish coffee mug
  • The most adorable typewriter memo pad I’ve ever seen
  • A bag of chocolates–yum!
  • A super cute tin of biscuits

Entry options are really easy. Just use the entry form below! The giveaway starts on September 8, 2017 at 5am EST and ends on September 30, 2017 at 9pm EST. Full rules are in the entry form. US Residents 18+


The Rancher's Mistletoe Bride Giveaway





Thank you for entering! Feel free to share this with your friends!

Pitch Prep #WW

Pitch Prep!

You know what season it is? Yes, football…duh. It’s also conference season. Yay!

Writers attending conferences usually sign up for pitch sessions. *Just got a shiver down my spine.* Pitch sessions are basically “here’s my project, you’re going to love it,” sessions. Writers are trying to woo an agent or editor into requesting a partial or full of their manuscript. Maybe woo is too strong a word. Perhaps entice is better.

Whatever you call it, you don’t have much time to get to the meat of your book. Pitch sessions are typically short. Ten to fifteen minutes. Rambling is never a good thing.

Full disclosure: I’ve had lousy pitch sessions. I’ve gotten too cutesy. Focused on the this is why my book is unique aspect over the this is why readers will buy it and love it aspect. But I never let a bad pitch stop me. I took what I learned and got better. As a result, I’ve had awesome pitch sessions.

There is no magic formula for pitching, and I’m glad! Don’t worry about doing it wrong. Agents and editors are there because they want to find new clients and books. That being said, you’re not going to sell your book in a pitch session, and you’re also not going to be offered representation. You’re simply giving the agent/editor an overall impression of you and what you write. Best case scenario? They want to read your work. Worst case? They don’t. Either way, you’ll survive!


Pitch Prep!

So how do you prepare for pitch sessions?


1. Introduce yourself, share what you write and any relevant experience you have.

Example: Hello, I’m Jill Kemerer. I write contemporary romance novels for the Christian market. I’ve been writing for several years, and the book I’m pitching is a finalist in X contest.

2. Chit chat if appropriate. If it feels uncomfortable, dive right into your pitch.

3. State the name of the book, the genre, how long it is and if it’s finished. Also mention if it’s part of a series.

Example: Chasing the Agent is book one in a three book series. It’s an inspirational romantic suspense. It’s 95,000 words and is complete.

4. Condense the story into 50-75 words.

This is like the back copy of a book. Include the main characters, what they want, why they want it and why can’t they have it. Don’t give everything away at this point. It’s the teaser.

Example: Neil Delaware knows his book is destined to be a bestseller, but no agent will take a chance on him. Desperate, he flies to New York to convince top agent, Babs McCoy, to listen to his pitch. But when a deranged writer with one too many rejections holds Babs hostage, Neil must choose what is more important–his book or the life of the woman who captivates him.

5. Be prepared to mention your other books if asked.

At this point the agent or editor will either give a reason or two why the book doesn’t work for them, or they will ask you for a partial/sample chapters/proposal or the full manuscript. If they’re criticizing your idea, your heart may be pooling into a devastated puddle on the floor, but prop a smile on, thank them for their time, and later, ask yourself if they have a valid point. Maybe you focused on the wrong aspects of your story in an effort to stand out. Maybe they simply didn’t connect with your idea. That’s okay.

If they ask for a partial, send them the first fifty pages of your book along with a synopsis. Ditto with sample chapters. If they ask for a proposal, check their agency’s website for further direction. At the least, a proposal includes a cover letter, sample chapters and a synopsis. It may also include a marketing plan, books for competition and a biography. If they ask for the full, send the synopsis with it.

6. Thank them for their time.

The publishing industry is a very small world. Be professional. Be friendly. Be courteous.

No matter how well you hit it off, you are not their new best friend. It’s fine to be friendly throughout a conference, but be mindful of their time. They likely have meetings scheduled with their current clients. If you didn’t hit it off at all, don’t get a chip on your shoulder or spout off to the people around you what a jerk the agent or editor was. You might end up working with them someday.

The final step–and this is important–send whatever they requested!!

You’d be shocked at how many writers get cold feet about actually sending requested material. If agents or editors request your work, it means they actually want to see it. So send it already!

I really recommend practicing your pitch at home. Use the voice recorder on your phone or practice on a friend. This will give you a much needed boost of confidence when you sit down at your session. Jot down the important details and review it before your pitch, too.

And hang in there. It’s not easy putting yourself and your work out there. It takes guts. I’m applauding you!!

Have you ever pitched your story to an agent or editor? Were you nervous? What tips do you have?

Have a terrific day!

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