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What Are Your August 2018 Goals?

August 2018 Goals - Jillkemerer.com/blog

It’s that time again! It’s been a busy summer, and I haven’t been blogging much, but I LOVE seeing your goals! You all motivate me. I’ll review my plan for last month, share how I did, then state my new goals! Please share yours in the comments.

Jill’s July 2018 Goals:

  • Content edit, revise and polish the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book.
  • Revise and polish the three-book proposal drafted in June.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range.

How Did I Do?

  • Content edit, revise and polish the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book. CHECK! It felt GREAT to submit it!
  • Revise and polish the three-book proposal drafted in June. CHECK! Woohoo!
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range. NO CHECK. Wah-wah. For two weeks, I stopped tracking calories, and I averaged only 3 exercise days per week all month. *sad face*

Jill’s August 2018 Goals:

  • Set up promotion for Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, releasing September 18, 2018.
  • Plot and begin writing a novella–part of a fun collection releasing in February 2019.
  • Relax and enjoy time off with my family!
  • Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week. Track calories every weekday and stay within calorie range.

What were your goals? How did you do? What would you like to accomplish this August?

Enjoy!

What Are Your July 2018 Goals?

Jill Kemerer's July 2018 Goals

I hope you had a fun-filled first week of July! It’s time to share our goals. I’ll start it off by reviewing what my June goals were, how I did, and what I’m aiming for in July.

Jill’s June 2018 Goals:

  • Finish plotting three books and write short synopses for each.
  • Write sample chapters for book one.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories using MyFitnessPal app and stay within calorie range.

How did I do?

  • Finish plotting 3 books and write short synopses for each? CHECK! I was thrilled to finish them up.
  • Write sample chapters for book one? CHECK. Drafted. Needs to be revised–yay!
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range? HALF CHECK. I did okay on the exercising, but the calorie tracking went bye-bye a few times!

Jill’s July 2018 Goals:

  • Content edit, revise and polish the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book.
  • Revise and polish the three-book proposal drafted in June.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range.

My writing goals have been heavy for months, so I’m looking forward to posting lighter goals in August!

How did you do last month?

What do you want to accomplish in July?

If you’re heading to the RWA conference in Denver, check out my article at Pink Heart Society for some tips! It’s linked HERE, “RWA Conference Trip Tips.”

Have a terrific day!

Writing Links: Plotting, Rest and More

Writing Links: Plotting, Rest And More Jillkemerer.com/blog

It’s been a tad busy here with summer baseball still going strong and a few deadlines I’m hurtling toward, so I’m keeping this short.

Last Saturday at writer’s group, we discussed various three-act plotting beat sheets. I thought you might enjoy them, too.

Michael Hauge has a fantastic Structure Chart to print out and keep handy.

Download Michael Hauge’s Six-Stage Structure Chart here.

If you need help understanding the terminology in the structure chart, Janice Hardy broke down the stages in this excellent post.

Read Janice Hardy’s “Plotting with Michael Hague’s Six-Stage Plot Structure” here.

 

 

Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has a fantastic take on the three-act plotting structure. I’m a big fan of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat beat sheet. I’ve found two terrific resources about it.

  1. Read Tim Stout’s “The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (aka BS2)” here.
  2. Find Jami Gold’s take on Blake Snyder’s beat sheet (with scene and page breakdowns) in her Worksheets for Writers section here.

 

 

Finally, it’s easy to burn out as a writer. I loved this practical article by Beth Wangler (via Hannah Heath’s blog) with nine ways to avoid it.

Read “Don’t Write Every Day: 9 Ways to Rest and Rejuvenate” by Beth Wangler via Hannah Heath’s blog here.

 

How is your June going? What advice have you gotten lately that resonated with you?

Have a great weekend!

Discussing Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

Discussing Wonderbook, Jillkemerer.com/blog

I was at the library last week–shocking, I know–and came across a delightful book in the new nonfiction section. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer has an engaging, whimsical cover, and I had to pick it up. With stunning graphics, author essays, and entertaining chapter subheadings, Wonderbook was sure to be right up my alley.

I haven’t had a chance to dive into it in depth, but I’ll be taking it chapter-by-chapter until I finish. I have a feeling this will be one I buy for my writing-craft shelf. One of my goals this year is to consistently study and apply writing craft techniques. This spring I brushed up on several chapters of Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fictiona book I’ve read more than once. It’s really good. And I’m excited to find other craft books to return to again and again.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that more nonfiction books are being printed on thicker, glossier paper with ample photographs and illustrations. I’m drawn to these books. Visual aids always help me! Anything that breaks up the text keeps me engaged–bullet points, subheadings, graphics, charts, you name it. Wonderbook is full of them.

Here’s the cover of Wonderbook.

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer, jillkemerer.com/blog

This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.

Purchase a paperback copy of Wonderbook: Amazon

 

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Since my laziness factor can get REALLY high, especially in the summer when beach reads are calling my name, I schedule study time. If a craft book has long chapters, I will tackle a portion of a chapter per session (I aim for three sessions a week). If the chapters are short, I study a chapter at a time. I write out notes on paper then type them into a digital notebook (I use OneNote) for easy access. Sometimes a book doesn’t grab me, and I give up on it, but most of the time, I get a lot out of the craft books I read.

One nice thing about Wonderbook is that it has a dedicated website with gobs of extras. You can find out more at www.wonderbooknow.com.

How do you study the writing craft? What are your favorite resources? Please share!

Have a terrific day!

Jill Kemerer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

What Are Your June 2018 Goals?

Jill Kemerer's June 2018 Goals! Jillkemerer.com/blog

June!! This year is flying by. It’s time to check our progress and post new goals. Who’s with me?

First, I’ll update you on how I did in May.

Jill’s May 2018 Goals:

  • Finish drafting the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book.
  • Finalize all promo for Reunited with the Bull Rider. This means writing guest posts, creating graphics, contacting media, etc…
  • Begin plotting new series.
  • Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week AND stay at low end of calorie range to lose a few pounds.

HOW DID I DO?

Well….

  • Finish drafting the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book–yes! I squeezed it out a week later than I’d hoped, but I did complete it in May. Check!
  • Finalize promo–almost. I put some of my graphics and posts together the first week of June, but it all got done. Not quite check.
  • Begin plotting new series. Nope. A meeting was scheduled for early June which might have impacted the plot directions, so I decided to wait until after the meeting to plot. No check!
  • Health. Total fail. TOTAL FAIL!! Not only did I completely drop the ball exercising, I stopped tracking calories too. Ugh. NO CHECK!! 

Jill’s June 2018 Goals:

Although May looks like a lot of “no checks,” I regrouped and am mentally back in the game. That’s the key to goals–when you don’t meet them, you move forward. It’s okay to have setbacks. Just get back in it!

  • Finish plotting three books and write short synopses for each.
  • Write sample chapters for book one.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories using MyFitnessPal app and stay within calorie range.

That’s it!

How did YOU do last month?

What are your June goals?

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Paperback Release Day Reunited with the Bull Rider!

Whoop! Whoop! And Yeehaw!!

My new book, Reunited with the Bull Rider is in stores now!

Believe it or not, the original idea that sparked this book was really lame. I knew the characters were exes brought together in Sweet Dreams, but I had no idea why! Unfortunately, the first brainstorming sessions were duds. But a few long walks down by the river gave me better options, and one day I knew I’d hit the right story. In fact, I cried as I walked home because I felt so bad for Amy!

Needless to say, I had to write her story. Nash, Amy and Ruby all stole my heart. This is the second book in the Wyoming Cowboys series. The third book, Marshall’s story is Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets and will be available in October. The fourth book will be out next spring.

Here’s a little about the book:

Reunited with the Bull Rider. Wyoming Cowboys Book 2 by Jill Kemerer. June 2018

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Reunited with the Bull Rider is in stores now. You can find it at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, most major supermarkets and other book retailers. The ebook will be available on June 1, 2018.

For purchase links, click HERE!

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Upcoming Online Events and Giveaway Opportunities!

May 23, 2018: Guest on Faithfully Bookish Blog (w/Giveaway!)

May 25, 2018: Interview on Just Commonly Blog (w/Giveaway!)

June 1, 2018: Guest on Reading is My Superpower Blog (w/Giveaway!)

Week of June 4: Author host with Heidi McCahan on the Love Inspired Authors and Readers Facebook Group (If you haven’t joined this amazing group, please do! Every week different authors host! There are multiple giveaways!)

June 5, 2018: Seventh Book Release Extravaganza Facebook Event with Jessica R. Patch! (Lots of giveaways!)

June 6, 2018: Friendship Chat with Mindy Obenhaus on Seekerville  (w/Giveaway!)

June 8, 2018: Book Spotlight on Leslie McKee’s Blog (w/Giveaway!)

 

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Still Time to Enter the Gift Package Giveaway!

The Reunited with the Bull Rider Giveaway prize package includes:

  • Autographed copy of Reunited with the Bull Rider (Wyoming Cowboys Book 2)
  • Autographed copy of The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride (Wyoming Cowboys Book 1)
  • Set of two inspirational dishtowels
  • Adorable notebook
  • Tin of toffee candies
The giveaway runs from May 2, 2018 at 6:00 am EST to June 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm EST. US only. 18+. See complete rules on the entry form.

Click HERE and scroll down for the easy entry form!

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Do you have fun plans for this weekend? (I get to see my sister and her family for Memorial Day weekend!)

What are Your May 2018 Goals?

Sharing May 2018 Goals! Jillkemerer.com/blog

Every month I share my new goals and let you know on how I did with my previous month’s goals. Here’s my update!

Jill’s April 2018 Goals:

  • Revise, polish and submit the proposal due later this month.
  • Prep and speak at Researching the Romance symposium sponsored by BGSU’s Browne Pop Culture Library.
  • Type background materials for a side project.
  • Continue preparing for June release by sending advance reader copies to street team.
  • Draft a short story that’s been running around in my head.
  • Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week and stay in calorie range most days by tracking food via MyFitnessPal.

How did I do?

  • I revised, polished and submitted the proposal. Check!
  • Prepped and spoke at Researching the Romance. Check!
  • Typed background materials. Check!
  • Sent advance reader copies out. Check!
  • Draft the short story. Not even close. NO check!
  • Health. I had some serious stress last month. While I stayed steady with exercising, I didn’t log my calories for over a week. No check!

Jill’s May 2018 Goals:

  • Finish drafting the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book.
  • Finalize all promo for Reunited with the Bull Rider. This means writing guest posts, creating graphics, contacting media, etc…
  • Begin plotting new series.
  • Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week AND stay at low end of calorie range to lose a few pounds.

 

How did YOU do?

Leave a comment! I love reading your goals. You inspire me!

Have you entered my giveaway? Go to my Reunited with the Bull Rider Giveaway BLOG post (linked) and scroll down for the easy entry options!

 

Reunited with the Bull Rider Giveaway!

Reunited With The Bull Rider Giveaway Package! Jillkemerer.com/blog May 2018

Twenty days! That’s how long it will be until my seventh novel, Reunited with the Bull Rider, starts showing up on store shelves! WHEEE!!!

To celebrate, I’m hosting a month-long giveaway. Here’s what one blessed person will win:

  • Autographed copy of Reunited with the Bull Rider (Wyoming Cowboys Book 2)
  • Autographed copy of The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride (Wyoming Cowboys Book 1)
  • Set of two inspirational dishtowels
  • Adorable notebook
  • Tin of toffee candies
The giveaway runs from May 2, 2018 at 6:00 am EST to June 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm EST. US only. 18+. See complete rules on the entry form.

 

 

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

 

Reunited with the Bull Rider. Wyoming Cowboys Book 2 by Jill Kemerer. June 2018

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Preorder today!

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I loved writing this book. Full confession: I cried many times while I wrote and revised it. Amy, Nash, and little Ruby stole my heart, and I’m so thankful I was able to write their story. Amy runs a successful quilt shop, Nash just retired from the professional bull riding circuit, and Ruby has been severely neglected. Oh, and by the way, Nash broke Amy’s heart years ago. You’ll have to read it to find out how it all plays out, but every time I think of it, I smile!

What is making YOU happy this month?

Thanks for stopping by!

Goofy First Draft Stuff #WW

Goofy First Draft Stuff #ww Jillkemerer.com/blog

Writing a first draft for me is up and down. It involves wasted minutes (okay, hours) staring at the screen and having no idea what comes next. Then it’s manic typing when something so delicious happens I can’t get it on the page fast enough. Since first drafts are all over the place for me, I thought I’d share some goofy stuff I do to survive them.

Give secondary characters silly temporary names instead of taking the time to come up with a usable one. For instance, a few weeks ago I named a real estate agent Dexter Leatherface. Don’t ask why. I have no reason.

Binge on sugary candy. Right now there’s a box of little Gobstoppers on my desk. I also love hard candies and Bottlecaps. Chocolate is my first love, but I have to watch the calories!

Mangle Silly-Putty when I have no idea what to write next. Years ago my sweet friend and fellow author, Liz Johnson, sent me a care package with a plastic egg of Silly-Putty in it, and I’ve been having fun with it ever since.

Mentally berate myself. How could I have only written 257 words in one hour? Seriously, Jill? What’s your prob?

Blink several times when I’ve written far more than I thought. Can the word count be correct? Did I miscalculate? I’m always amazed when words pour onto the paper.

Sit there. And sit there. And sit some more until I get something on the page!

The big thing I MUST do when writing a first draft? Keep my buns in the chair! If I get up for any “good” reason like laundry, dishes, fixing the hole in my shirt that’s been there for months, organizing my pantry, going to the library to get research books (which aren’t for research in any way, shape or form–they are distractions!!), I might as well throw my goals out the window and light them on fire. The book will NEVER get done.

Now you know my weird habits. I’d love to hear if you do anything goofy while you’re writing a first draft!

How do you get yourself to stick with a project when it doesn’t always go as planned?

Have a terrific day!

Only one more month and REUNITED WITH THE BULL RIDER (Wyoming Cowboys 2) will be in stores! Eeeeekkk!!! 

Reunited with the Bull Rider. Wyoming Cowboys Book 2 by Jill Kemerer. June 2018

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Researching Contemporary Settings Without Traveling #WW

Researching Settings Without Traveling, Jillkemerer.com/blog

On Saturday I gave a presentation at the Researching the Romance academic conference (#BGSURomCon18) hosted by the Browne Pop Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, which happens to be the official repository for Romance Writers of America (RWA). It was an amazing conference. I learned so much from professors, university librarians, archivists, grad students and others who traveled from all over the country. And, guys, Beverly Jenkins was the guest of honor. She blessed everyone with her insight, wisdom, graciousness and humor.

Since researching settings can be difficult, I thought I’d share my topic with you. Here it is!

Researching Contemporary Settings Without Traveling

A novel’s setting is important because it shapes the story and influences the characters’ thoughts and actions. Ideally, a writer will be able to visit an area before writing about it, but there are two big reasons why authors don’t always travel to research a setting. Time and money. We don’t always have time to jet off to Paris or drive to Georgia, and traveling can be expensive. But with the right tools, we can be confident we’re getting the setting right for our readers.

I take a three-pronged approach to researching setting–Internet, Print, People.  This method goes from big picture to small details.

 I usually have a general area or town in mind when I’m deciding where to set a new novel. The first thing I do is spend time on the internet and start gathering basic material.

1.Internet

  1. Print out a map of the area.
  2. “See” it through Google Earth/Google Images. Verify the images have been tagged correctly. Some images are clearly not what they say they are.
  3. Gather and print a year’s worth of weather data. It’s important to know typical highs/lows and precipitation.
  4. Find out what economics drive the area. Is it a dying town? Thriving? What are the demographics? What are the typical jobs? How much does it cost to live there?
  5. Read a brief history. Who settled it? What interesting facts emerge?
  6. Browse through travel guides/visitors info. What are the local attractions? These might trigger plot ideas.
  7. Check out homes through Realtor.com. What are the preferred styles? How much do they cost? Can I use this information as an area of conflict for a character?
  8. Search for blogs set there. For instance, when researching my Wyoming Cowboys series, I searched for “Wyoming ranch life” and found several blogs, full of pictures and rich details.
  9. “See” the area by searching YouTube—people GoPro everything!

 

At this point I have a good idea of the setting basics. I’m ready to narrow my research down to get “the flavor” of a place. So I move to print materials.

 

2. Print (Purchase or borrow from library)

  1. Memoirs set in the area (or general vicinity) will give you a more complete picture and plenty of details to make your setting come to life.
  2. Magazines. Regional magazines (Midwest Living, Alaska, Sunset, etc…) will give you fun facts and pictures.
  3. Ask librarian for help. Librarians know where to look beyond the travel section for information on specific places. Ask them!
  4. DVDs–documentaries and travel specials can be fun to watch!

 

Now I’m getting ready to write, but I usually have a list of picky questions I can’t find answers to. Example: How young is too young for a child to start riding a horse in Wyoming? Answer: Many children ride as soon as they can walk! How did I find this out? I asked people who live there (Thanks, Bree!!). How did I find these people? Social media.

 

3. People (Ask questions)

  1. Social Media. Get on Facebook, Twitter or even Google+ (there are communities for just about anything on G+) and ask specific questions “Hey, is anyone from X? I’m writing a book, and I’m wondering about Y.
  2. Put the word out to friends that you’re trying to find information about your setting. Chances are someone you know has a cousin/best friend/uncle’s first wife’s boss who lived there. Find out if they would be willing to answer a few questions. You can set up an interview (email, video, or phone) to pick their brains about the area.

 

Researching in person is ideal, but when finances are strained and you have no time, you CAN accurately reflect a setting if you work hard and DO sweat the details.

What are your secrets for researching a setting without traveling? Please share!

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