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Current Obsessions {September 2019}

Current Obsessions September 2019 Jillkemerer.com/blog

It’s funny how things sneak up on you. Like catching Gilmore Girls fever a few years ago before Netflix released Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Or panicking because you have Bath & Body Works coupons about to expire! (The horror!)

My current obsessions are similar. I didn’t see them sneak up on me, but sneak up on me they did.

My current obsessions:

1.Leon Bridges Radio on Spotify. One day I turned on this mellow station…and I keep going back to it. I can’t stop! Maybe I have a problem…

2. Elizabeth Holmes. To be fair, I’ve been reading about this woman and her company, Theranos, for two years. I finally ordered Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou, and it was gripping.

3. Fiber One cereal. I know–this isn’t on your obsession list. It’s not on anyone’s. I get it. But, hey, it’s really hard to get the recommended amount of fiber in my diet, and Fiber One has remedied this for me!

4. Making my office as ergonomic as possible. These joints need all the help they can get. I broke down and bought a new office chair with adjustable settings for the seat height, tilt, lumbar and arm height. I also ordered an ergonomic wireless keyboard.

5. My new Apple Spice candle by DW Home. Smells like fall!

6. Football! My favorite time of the year! Saturdays are for college football (I’m a Michigan Wolverines fan), and Sundays are for NFL games. I’ll be the first to admit I skip Sunday football a LOT. My teams (Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns) usually let me down, so I feel no guilt napping while they play.

As you can see, pumpkin spice did NOT make the list. Why? Because apple spice edged it out this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some pumpkin, but I’m all about the apples right now! In fact, it’s high time I made an apple pie…

What are you currently obsessed with? I’d love to hear–leave a comment!

Eighteen Years Ago…

#neverforget911

I didn’t intend to end my summer blogging hiatus on 9/11, but I did. Sometimes it feels like forever ago, but my memories are still as fresh as if it happened last week.

My heart is always heavy when I remember. But it’s important to honor the victims, the heroes, and everyone affected. I will never forget.

My son wasn’t quite three days old when the World Trade Center was attacked. Every year I think of the children his age who lost parents. Soon, they will all be adults. I pray God will comfort each one of them today.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we may comfort those in any trouble with the comfort which we ourselves receive from God.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum website is an excellent resource for learning how the events unfolded eighteen years ago.

May we never forget. And may God bless you this week.

*Next week, I’ll be back to my normal blog schedule. Monthly goals will resume the first week of October.*

May 2019 Goals!

April was a doozy! Wow, it was busy. And cold. And rainy. But who cares? Because May is here and I really hope it brings much warmer weather!

I have a lot of goals this month. Do you have anything you’d like to finish before summer unofficially arrives?

Let’s get to it. Here are last month’s goals.

Jill’s April 2019 Goals

  • Finish writing, revising and polishing the proposal for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series.
  • Promote His Wyoming Baby Blessing, releasing April 16!
  • Prep for speaking engagement: I’m giving an Exquisite Planning workshop to Central Ohio Fiction Writers!
  • Health: Meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week.

How did I do?

  • Finish writing, revising and polishing the proposal for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series. CHECK. Yes, indeedy, this got done!
  • Promote His Wyoming Baby Blessing, releasing April 16! CHECK. Love seeing my books out in the world!
  • Prep for speaking engagement: I’m giving an Exquisite Planning workshop to Central Ohio Fiction Writers! CHECK. Delightful meeting other writers.
  • Health: Meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week. NO CHECK. In fact, I gained five pounds, so there’s that. 🙁

Jill’s May 2019 Goals

  • Final edits of Her Cowboy Till Christmas, Book 1 in Wyoming Sweethearts series.
  • Draft rest of manuscript of Book 2 in Wyoming Sweethearts series.
  • Continue plotting another book.
  • Health: Meet fiber and calorie goals, exercise 5 days/week.

How did you do?

I spent a few hours by the river plotting and planning yesterday. And I buckled down and committed to my health plan again. Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves we’re doing it. No excuses. I hope you have a wonderful month and get a lot done!

In Stores Now:

His Wyoming Baby Blessing Jill Kemerer

She’s pregnant on his doorstep…

Saddle up for this Wyoming Cowboys novel

When his childhood friend Kit McAllistor shows up, widowed and pregnant, rancher Wade Croft offers her a place to stay…but he can’t offer her his heart. As old feelings begin to surface, past tragedies force Wade to ignore them. But on the brink of losing his ranch, will he also risk losing the woman he’s beginning to love…or can he cowboy up in time?

For Purchase Links Click HERE!

Have a delightful day!

His Wyoming Baby Blessing Releases Today!

His Wyoming Baby Blessing Releases Today Jillkemerer.com/blog

The fourth, and final (*sob*) Wyoming Cowboys book is hitting store shelves today! I love this book. Wade and Kit burrowed right into my heart. Their story touched me, and I hope it touches you, too.

His Wyoming Baby Blessing by Jill Kemerer

She’s pregnant on his doorstep…
Saddle up for this Wyoming Cowboys novel

When his childhood friend Kit McAllistor shows up, widowed and pregnant, rancher Wade Croft offers her a place to stay…but he can’t offer her his heart. As old feelings begin to surface, past tragedies force Wade to ignore them. But on the brink of losing his ranch, will he also risk losing the woman he’s beginning to love…or can he cowboy up in time?

Click Here for Purchase Links and Sneak Preview!

What Readers are Saying:

” Love love and love this story!! Sometimes it takes nearly losing everything to truly appreciate all that we have been given. Whether we realize it or not there are blessings all around us if we’d only take the time to stop and look…” Goodreads Review

” Jill Kemerer brings us the fourth book in her Wyoming Cowboys series and it’s a good one. There is a strong spiritual message here for her readers as well. Fear is not from God and He wants His children to walk in peace and mercy, not in fear. Watch as these characters figure this truth out from a loving heavenly Father. ” SimplySusan

Check out these interviews!

Thank you to Inkwell Inspirations for the lovely interview! You can access it HERE!

I was also blessed to be interviewed by NFReads! You can check it out HERE!

HIS WYOMING BABY BLESSING Pinterest Board!

Curious about what the characters look like and the setting I envisioned them in? Click “4WF-His Wyoming Baby Blessing” to see the Pinterest Board!

Finally, another fabulous Resort to Romance novella released today! Buy Jennifer Shirk’s A Match for Mr. Write for only $0.99!

What is going on in your life? Please share in the comments!

April 2019 Goals!

April 2019 Goals! Jill Kemerer

Spring is almost here! Northern Ohio is notoriously fickle with weather throughout April. We might have a sixty-degree day, or we might have snow. You never know!

But the promise of warmer weather is here, and soon we’ll see yellow daffodils, bright tulips, and flowers on the trees. I’m excited!

It’s time to review and set our goals. March felt like a whirlwind to me. I’m kind of glad. It’s always so dreary and cold–I’m glad it’s over.

Jill’s March 2019 Goals

  • Copy edits for Christmas novella
  • Expand plot for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series
  • Draft proposal for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series
  • Set up promo for His Wyoming Baby Blessing
  • Health: Track calories, meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week

How did I do?

  • Copy edits for Christmas novella: CHECK
  • Expand plot for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series: CHECK (I still have some synopsis work to do for this, though.)
  • Draft proposal for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series: NO CHECK. I’m still shy two scenes. Then the entire thing will need to be revised and polished.
  • Set up promo for His Wyoming Baby Blessing. CHECK
  • Health: Track calories, meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week. NO CHECK. I stopped tracking calories, and I’m maintaining my weight.

Jill’s April 2019 Goals

  • Finish writing, revising and polishing the proposal for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series.
  • Promote His Wyoming Baby Blessing, releasing April 16!
  • Prep for speaking engagement: I’m giving an Exquisite Planning workshop to Central Ohio Fiction Writers!
  • Health: Meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week.

What are your April 2019 goals? I’d love to hear them!

The RESORT TO ROMANCE SERIES is still going strong! Yesterday, Match Me If You Can by Krista Phillips released! It’s only $0.99 until next Tuesday!

Links to all the books can be found at my RESORT TO ROMANCE page. Have a terrific week!

Why Our Characters Must Fail

Why Our Characters Must Fail By Jill Kemerer

This post was originally published on November 28, 2011 at https://jillkemerer.blogspot.com/.

I recently read a novel but struggled to get into the story. Each time I put it down, I had no desire to pick it back up. Tempted to stop reading, I decided to forge ahead and figure out why it wasn’t grabbing me. I made a list of its strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths:

– Excellent writing. The author balances dialogue, thoughts, action, and narrative with ease.
– Modern, relatable characters. The hero and heroine (it’s a contemporary romance) are realistic and have believable conflicts and goals. Plus, I liked both of them.
– Logical progression of plot. The story arc made sense and proceeded in a way I would expect.

Weaknesses:

– Too many characters introduced in first chapters. This book is the second or third in a series, so extra characters should be involved, but too many too soon only confuses the reader.
– Sunday drive pacing. While the plot progresses logically, it does not progress quickly. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency.
– The hero and heroine do not share enough scenes in the first half. They are in scenes together, but they rarely interact. How are they supposed to fall in love if they don’t talk to each other?

Not every book is perfect, and the strengths in this one more than offset the weaknesses. However, I pinpointed one major area that needed work.

Each scene had a point, but the stakes were never high enough for me to want to read the next scene. 

Jack M. Bickham discusses what an effective scene accomplishes in his excellent book, Scene & Structure. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically each scene should be told from one character’s viewpoint, and the character must have a clear goal, which is obvious from the beginning of the scene. The character will then experience conflict in reaching that goal until the scene ends with the characterfailing to meet the goal.

Summary of Scene Essentials:
1. Introduction of the viewpoint character’s scene goal.
2. Conflict threatening the character’s ability to reach goal.
3. Failure of character to meet goal.

But…the character has to win sometimes, right? Yes. This is why it’s important to be clear about the character’s scene goal. If the book requires your heroine to convince her coworker to attend a wedding with her, you might choose to split the section into two scenes. The first scene will be told from her viewpoint. She gets the courage to ask him, he puts up a fight, and the scene ends with him refusing.

1. She asks coworker to be her date for wedding. (Goal)
2. He gives lame excuses. (Conflict)
3. He refuses. (Failure)

But…he has to agree. It’s a vital plot point. Okay, no problem. The next scene will be in his point of view, and his scene goal will be to get out of the wedding invitation. But the heroine is very convincing, and he finds himself saying yes when he wants to say no.

1. He must not agree to this wedding invitation. (Goal)
2. She has lawyer-like convincing skills. (Conflict)
3. He accepts. (Failure)
If we ignore the scene essential of the character failing, we waste an opportunity to keep the reader on edge. We could have written the previous scene in the heroine’s point of view and had her ask the hero to the wedding. He could still put up a fight, but in the end he agrees. The problem with this is that the heroine wins. 

As readers, we like to watch our heroes and heroines suffer. We love that gnawing feeling in our gut when things go wrong. We need the hero and heroine to fail repeatedly for us to keep turning the pages. If they only win, what’s the point of reading more? Our goal as writers should be to provide a sense of urgency–regardless what genre we write–and have the reader constantly ask, what comes next? How is the main character going to handle this? I’ve got to find out more!

How do you keep readers on edge? Share your tips!

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

I’ve been eagerly anticipating Cal Newport’s new book–Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. I finished reading it over the weekend, and it lived up to my expectations.

Learn more about DIGITAL MINIMALISM at calnewport.com.

Basically, the book underscored what I already know to be true–social media, various phone apps, online browsing and being available 24/7 have decreased the quality of my life.

The instant I feel a twinge of boredom, I reach for my phone.

Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and various news sites often eat up precious evening hours. And I couldn’t tell you what I’ve gotten out of all the mindless scrolling!

Another problem I have? If I’m working on my laptop and check in on Facebook, I feel anxiety over unanswered private messages (I don’t use Facebook Messenger on my phone and only get private messages from my laptop). Ditto for unanswered emails–even if I get them at 10pm!

What happened to my free time? I willingly give it away and get nothing in return.

In chapter one, Cal Newport spells out how the technologies we rely on (texting, social media apps, online news sites, etc…) are designed to trigger our addictive behavior. Yes, he cites studies and sources. And it all makes sense. The longer we’re “on” or using a site, the more ad-revenue the site can potentially make. These sites/apps are designed to keep us there.

Scrolling through Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram feels harmless, but it isn’t. Our phones and apps have an addictive pull, keeping us from exerting the energy to do activities we deeply value and enjoy.

We signed up for these services and bought these devices for minor reasons–to look up friends’ relationship statuses or eliminate the need to carry a separate iPod and phone–and then found ourselves, years later, increasingly dominated by their influence, allowing them to control more and more of how we spend our time, how we feel, and how we behave. – Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism

The book provides a solution, and it makes sense.

Basically, we can choose to minimize our digital life.

  • The first step is to do a 30-day digital detox where you cut out all non-essential apps/sites/services and set rules around the ones you consider essential.
  • At the end of the experiment, you decide which of these you want to keep and set rules for how you’ll use them.
  • During the detox, you commit to aggressively fill your time with high-value activities. Think hands-on projects, actually being social (coffee dates, visiting friends), reading, returning to a hobby or starting a new one, even watching television or movies is fine as long as you’re enjoying them and not just zoning out.

Why is this important?

We only have one life. Our time is valuable. Using technology to relieve boredom can drag us into an unsatisfying cycle where we no longer have the “time or energy” to do things that add meaning to our lives. When we invest in activities that are meaningful to us, we’re less likely to feel unsatisfied with our lives.

What am I doing about it?

I haven’t started the 30-day detox, yet. But I already set rules around my cell phone usage.

  • I deleted about half the apps on my phone–many of them were there by default anyhow.
  • I also set times (and limits) when I could check in on my favorite sites.
  • I have an auto-reply set up in Facebook Messenger to let people know I don’t check my messages after 5pm or on weekends. They’re welcome to email me, though.

I also jotted down a list of activities I can replace my scrolling with. This will be the hardest part for me–sticking to things that require more effort than a quick swipe of the phone. One particular chapter in the book really stood out to me, and it was about physical work. It’s convinced me to add 30 minutes of cleaning, baking or organizing on weeknights. I hope I get the satisfaction promised!

If you’re at all conflicted about your digital life, I urge you to buy the book. It’s terrific and timely and needed.

Have you gotten sucked into the digital life? Are you conflicted about the way it’s changed your free time?

By the way, the fourth novella in the RESORT TO ROMANCE SERIES launched yesterday!! Try Moonlight Match by Kristina Knight!

Our mega-giveaway is still going strong! If you haven’t entered yet, go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options!

What Are Your March 2019 Goals?

March Goals 2019 Jill Kemerer #ww

March is here! Does this mean spring is coming soon? I hope so! It regularly snows here through mid-April, so I won’t hold my breath! In the meantime, I’ve been busy writing. Let’s review and set goals.

Jill’s February 2019 Goals

  • Revise and submit Wyoming Twins Christmas Reunion
  • Promote A Meddled Match
  • Health: Track calories, meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week

How did I do last month?

  • Revise and submit Wyoming Twins Christmas Reunion – CHECK!
  • Promote A Meddled Match – CHECK!
  • Health: Track calories, meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week -NOPE–NO CHECK.

In addition to my goals, I revised a novella and worked on art sheets for a cover. It was a very productive month! I let my health goals slide (again), but I still exercised three days a week, added fiber, and kept my calories in line.

Jill’s March 2019 Goals

  • Copy edits for Christmas novella
  • Expand plot for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series
  • Draft proposal for book 2 in the Love Inspired cowboy series
  • Set up promo for His Wyoming Baby Blessing
  • Health: Track calories, meet fiber goals, exercise 5 days/week

How did you do last month? Do you work well this time of year? I usually get a lot done in these cold/rainy/snowy months.

What are your March goals?

The 10 Weeks of Romance Giveaway is still going strong! A winner is selected each week, and the prizes accumulate. The grand prize is all ten Resort to Romance novellas and a $150 Amazon gift card! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the entry options!

Encouragement from the Blogosphere

Encouragement From The Blogosphere, Jill Kemerer Blog

My brain is covered in a thick fog as I do the final polish of my manuscript. I apologize to everyone in my life. I’m scattered and self-absorbed. I will be myself again soon–I promise!

Writers, you know what I’m talking about. It’s very difficult to turn off the world we’ve spent months building. As my deadline looms, I worry I’ve missed key themes the book needs. Little things ping me.

Did I overstate his conflict? Is hers clear? What word/phrase did I overuse but have no clue I did?

Anyway, I scrolled through blogs on Feedly this evening, and my breathing slowed. My heart stopped racing. My brain relaxed.

I was encouraged.

Encouragement from the Blogosphere, Jill Kemerer blog
  1. “A Letter for D” by Wendy Paine Miller. I love this beautiful post. Wendy and I have been friends for years. She’s an amazing person, a brilliant writer, and her words always ring true.
  2. “The Importance of Alone Time” by Mary Manners via Seriously Write. Mary acknowledges the time-consuming aspects of the writing life that aren’t actual writing, and she makes no apologies for shutting the office door and getting things done. Love that attitude!
  3. “My Book is Being Made into a Movie!” by Belle Calhoune via Love Inspired: A Story for Every Reader. Have you read Belle’s Love Inspired novels? They are brimming with romantic optimism! One of her books, An Alaskan Christmas, is being made into a movie! Congratulations, Belle!
  4. “It’s Monday. What are You Reading?” by Cheryl C. Malandrinos via The Book Connection. Recommendations? Lists? Covers? YES! I’m always encouraged when I see what other people are reading.

Blogs make me feel connected in a way social media sites don’t. I think it’s a combination of focusing on one thing at a time and knowing the title of the post before I read it–I know what I’m getting.

As soon as this book is turned in, I’m treating myself to a long library visit where I’ll check out a towering stack of books. Oh yes…I’m ready!

What has encouraged you this week?

***

RESORT TO ROMANCE WEEK 2!

A Messed-Up Match by Jessica R. Patch released yesterday! It’s the second installment of the Resort to Romance Series. It will be only $0.99 until next Monday–then the price goes up!

You can pre-order weeks 3-10 of the series for $0.99 each–click RESORT TO ROMANCE SERIES for all the links!

If you missed the first release, my novella, A Meddled Match, is $2.99!

Have you entered our mega-giveaway? Go to my HOMEPAGE and scroll down for the entry options!

Enjoy your week!

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