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Internal Conflict: Digging Deeper #WW

Internal Conflict: Digging Deeper #WW

One thing I love about internal conflict is that a character recognizes she is emotionally protecting herself from something and thinks she knows why, but as the story progresses, she realizes the reason goes deeper. Until she’s willing to be vulnerable and admit the emotional walls she’s erected are stifling her, she won’t be able to emotionally grow.

Does it matter if she grows?

YES! When I’m reading a book, I fall in love with characters. I WANT to see them succeed. I want them to become their best selves and live full lives. If a character ultimately stays the same and shows no growth, I’ll be disappointed.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the character starts off with massive flaws that turn everyone off. No one will stick around long enough to read about her growth!

Internal conflict starts with a deep emotional need. This need has been complicated by previous experiences. The character has convinced herself the need will not be met because of the past complications. Throughout the story, this belief is challenged until she chooses to be vulnerable enough to have the ultimate need met.

Here are some questions to dig deeper with internal conflict:

  1. What happened in the character’s past that caused him to erect emotional walls?
  2. What reason does he give himself to emotionally protect himself?
  3. What deeper fear underlies this explanation?
  4. How can the plot further challenge and develop his conflict?
  5. How do other characters force him to question if he needs to continue to protect himself?
  6. What will be the catalyst for him to acknowledge the deep fear keeping him from living his best life?
  7. What decision will the character make to tear down the emotional wall for good?

Let’s take an example. We’ll look at Lauren’s internal conflict in my book, Hometown Hero’s Redemption.

  1. A former social worker, Lauren feels she failed to protect the two boys she’d been assigned.
  2. She can’t forgive herself and doesn’t want to work with troubled kids ever again, lest she repeat her failure.
  3. As a former foster child, she was shuffled to different homes and as a result, grew a false belief that she had to be perfect to be loved.
  4. She is asked, refuses, and is finally convinced to babysit a kid who has been emotionally devastated. Being around Wyatt challenges her beliefs–at times she feels like she’s failing him, other times she knows she’s helping–and it confuses her.
  5. Drew, Wyatt’s guardian, thinks she’s amazing. And as they grow closer, she opens up to him about her regrets. He helps her see herself in a more accurate light, and as she spends time with him, she starts to realize her emotional walls aren’t just because she failed the boys. She unpacks her childhood and sees how she’s equated being perfect with being worthy of love.
  6. Wyatt vanishes. In Lauren’s mind this proves she was right–she should never have worked with a troubled child. And it reinforces her fears that this is the proof that will drive Drew away. He’ll see she’s not perfect. She failed him and Wyatt and is not worthy of their love. She pushes Drew out of her life.
  7. Lauren comes to terms with the fact she’s not perfect, never will be, and doesn’t have to earn anyone’s love.

Internal conflict is rooted in fear. The character doesn’t want to face this fear and often tells herself a half-truth to explain it. But as the plot progresses and her beliefs are directly challenged, she is forced to acknowledge the real fear holding her back. And ultimately, she chooses to be vulnerable, allowing this deep emotional need to be met.

How do you deepen internal conflict? I’d love to hear YOUR best tips!

Have a terrific day!

What Are Your March 2018 Goals?

March 2018 Goals,

March is here! Yay! March is always cold here, but at least we’re on the tail-end of winter. It’s good for one thing–I get a lot of writing tasks accomplished!


March 2018 goals,


On the first Wednesday of each month, I share my monthly goals and encourage you to in the comments. Before I list my March 2018 goals, I’m reviewing last month’s progress.

Last Month: Jill’s February 2018 Goals

  1. Finish drafting my work-in-progress.
  2. Start content edits when the draft is complete.
  3. Side writing project: meet weekly goals.
  4. *Possible* Final edits for my third Wyoming Cowboy book might arrive this month. In that case, I would move #2 (content edits) to March.
  5. Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week for 3o minutes, log calories in MyFitnessPal and stay withing calorie range most days (I don’t mind going over my range one day a week).

How did I do?

  1. Yes! Finished drafting my WIP! Check.
  2. Yes, started content edits. Check.
  3. Met 2 out of 3 goals on side writing project. Kind of check.
  4. Yes, I received and completed final edits for Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets (releasing October 2018!). Check.
  5. No. Just no. I had extra responsibilities this month, and I’m not proud of this, but my health goals were the first to go. NO check.

Next month: Jill’s March 2018 Goals

  1. Start putting promo together for June release.
  2. Expand ideas for new series.
  3. Expand synopsis for next proposal.
  4. Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week and stay in calorie range most days by tracking food via MyFitnessPal.


February brought some exciting challenges, and I’m more than ready to take a brief breather and focus on different aspects of writing this month. Oh, and I need to get my momentum going again on my health!

*Party Time!! Join Jessica R. Patch, me, and several other authors on Thursday, March 8, 2018 to celebrate Jessica’s new release, Secret Service Setup, with a Facebook Party!! The party runs from 7-9 pm Central time (that’s 8-10 pm Eastern time!). We’d love to have you join us, and, yes, there will be prizes and giggling!

Click HERE for the party link. Just click the “Going” button and you’ll be all set!

How did you do last month? What would you like to accomplish this month? I’d love to hear–share in the comments!


Twitter Advice 2018

Twitter Advice 2018 Jill Kemerer

I used to spend a few hours every day on social media sites, but a while back, I found myself wondering if it was all worth it. I wasn’t engaging with people as much, and I drastically cut back on sharing content. The majority of my time was spent merely scrolling through my feeds.

I wasted a lot of time. The problem wasn’t social media. It was me.

In the back of my mind, I knew I needed to make more of an effort. It felt daunting. Plus, I no longer had a few hours each day to spend on social media. As I’ve mentioned here before, last year I decided to push myself to reach higher annual writing goals, which meant doing the bare minimum on social media.

My default has become putting in a consistent effort on my fave sites–Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter–for a month or two, but inevitably, a deadline or a persnickety manuscript will keep me offline for days at a time.

Twitter, especially, used to be my favorite site to hang out on. Then it got overwhelming trying to keep up with my lists. And when I stopped keeping up with them, I no longer “got” Twitter.

But I want to get it.

I’m working on ways to be more consistent there, which led me back to a few blogs I’d bookmarked. If you’re interested in reviving (or starting) your Twitter engagement, here are the articles I thought you might enjoy. The first two are over a year old, but they’re worth reading.

Twitter Advice 2018



I used to schedule tweets using Buffer, and it worked well for me. On the days I was too busy to post, Buffer did it for me. Bottom line: I’m going to start doing that again.

One of the reason I enjoy using Buffer is that it kicks me in the pants to read industry blogs and retweet them. I follow a lot of blogs, but rarely read them.  Enter Feedly. By going to Feedly, I can scroll through the titles and quickly read/share the ones I find useful.

As far as apps to use Twitter, I’ve gone back and forth using Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, and I always fall back on Tweetdeck. It’s a personal preference. I recommend finding the app that will make Twitter most engaging for you and sticking with it. Hootsuite does allow you to share one post across multiple platforms. I know Tweetdeck used to allow you to automatically share tweets to your Facebook timeline, but I don’t know if that feature is still available. A quick internet search didn’t provide answers, either.

In my opinion, the key to Twitter is responding to mentions, sharing engaging content, and following back when someone follows you. I realize Twitter and Facebook are increasingly becoming pay to play sites, but they’re still worth it for me to spend time there now.

My plan:

  1. Schedule tweets in advance using Buffer.
  2. Aim to interact on Twitter for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoons on most weekdays.
  3. Once or twice a month, read through Feedly to find blog posts to share.

That’s it. Pretty simple. 🙂

Do you use Twitter? What do you like about it? What are your best tips?

If you don’t use it, why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Enjoy your day!

Teasing the Reader to Continue Your Book #ww

Teasing The Reader To Continue Your Book Jill Kemerer

Last Thursday was a bad writing day. After lunch, I threw my hands in the air and suppressed a scream. I knew where the story needed to go, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. I had several scenes to write before my next “sure” scene. Everything inside me wanted to open a browser and get lost in Pinterest or Facebook or my Twitter feed, but that’s a no-no during my writing time.

I sat there. My eyes glazed over looking at the blinking cursor.

I will NOT have a soggy middle. I’m not going to write something boring just to meet my word count goal.

Soggy middles…I shuddered.

What could I do to tease the reader to continue reading?


What story questions remained unanswered?

I swiped a piece of scrap paper and jotted down all the story threads I hadn’t wrapped up at that point in the manuscript. There were a LOT of loose ends, but I couldn’t tie them up yet or the end of the book would be ruined.

So I popped a butterscotch candy in my mouth and thought for a while.

Real life is messy. We don’t always get neat answers tied up in a bow. Instead we make impressions based on information we gather. Why shouldn’t it be the same for my characters?

I quickly brainstormed ways to provide the characters with answers that weren’t necessarily true. Two scenes jumped in my head to introduce misinformation to one character while conflicting information was presented to the other one.

Not only were the scenes fun to write, they make the book more fun for readers. They know two different answers exist for the same story question, and they can come to their own conclusion. This teases them to keep reading…to find out if they were right.

If you’re slogging through the middle of a story and not sure how to get from one major plot point to another, think about the story questions you’ve introduced.

  • Can you make the characters think they have a problem figured out while giving the reader clues the characters are wrong?
  • If you answer one story question, can you introduce another immediately?
  • If you’re not ready to answer a story question, can you lead the characters to believe they’re close to having the problem solved even if they aren’t?


How do you tease readers to continue your book? And how do you combat the dreaded soggy middle? I’d love to hear your strategies!

Happy Valentines Day!!



What Are Your February 2018 Goals?

What Are Your February 2018 Goals?

On the first Wednesday of each month, I share my monthly goals and encourage you to in the comments. Before I list my February 2018 goals, I’m reviewing last month’s progress.

Last Month: Jill’s January 2018 Goals

  1. Finish revising and polishing third book in Wyoming Cowboys series. Submit as soon as finished.
  2. After manuscript is turned in, dedicate time each weekday on side project.
  3. After manuscript is turned in, continue writing work-in-progress novel.
  4. Continue health plan (exercise for 30 minutes 4-5 days per week, log calories in MyFitnessPal and stay within calorie range).

How did I do?

  1. Yep. Finished book 3 and submitted it. Check!
  2. Yes, I dedicated time each weekday, plus I spent an entire Saturday and a few weeknights on the side project. Check!
  3. While I did continue working on my work-in-progress novel, I came up short on my weekly goals. Kind of check. 🙂
  4. My health plan is going well, but two of the weeks I only exercised three times. I did log my calories and stayed within my calorie range all but 3 days. Close, but no check 🙁

This Month: Jill’s February 2018 Goals

  1. Finish drafting my work-in-progress.
  2. Start content edits when the draft is complete.
  3. Side writing project: meet weekly goals.
  4. *Possible* Final edits for my third Wyoming Cowboy book might arrive this month. In that case, I would move #2 (content edits) to March.
  5. Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week for 3o minutes, log calories in MyFitnessPal and stay withing calorie range most days (I don’t mind going over my range one day a week).

How did you do last month? Want to share your February goals? Leave a comment!

Have a fabulous week!

Using Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies to Meet Writing Goals

Meet Your Writing Goals Using Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies

Last weekend I was blessed to speak at Maumee Valley Romance Writers, Inc. Every January we have our annual goals discussion. The first half of my talk was about basic goal-setting: taking time to think about professional, health, emotional and personal goals for the year and deciding how and when to achieve them.

During the second half I shared how we can use Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies to meet our writing goals.

We had a frank discussion, and I was thrilled to learn we had writers ranging in all four tendencies. I was surprised to learn some of the solutions I thought would work for one type clearly wouldn’t. And I loved hearing these writers share what would work for them.


Meet Your Writing Goals using Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies


If you’re not familiar with Gretchen Rubin’s new book The Four Tendencies, you can read about it HERE. Basically, Ms. Rubin studies human nature (she’s the author of several New York Times best-selling books, including The Happiness Project), and she divides people into four groups according to how they respond to expectations.

  • Upholders meet inner and outer expectations readily.
  • Questioners meet inner expectations easier than they do outer ones.
  • Obligers meet outer expectations more readily than inner ones.
  • Rebels struggle against both inner and outer expectations.

In other words, Upholders tend to get things done that are important to them personally as well as what others expect them to do.

Questioners tend to get things done that make sense to them. If someone expects them to do something they don’t agree with or see the value in, it won’t get done.

Obligers tend to get things done when someone is depending on them. They find it difficult to meet personal goals.

Rebels want to do things in their way and in their time. Standard advice for meeting goals does not work for this tendency!


*If you’re not sure what tendency you fit in, take the QUIZ (linked). It’s short and sweet.*


Here’s what I loved about having this discussion with fellow writers.

Upholders are planner geeks, and we (yes, I’m an Upholder!) love time management tools. We can be rigid and too-rule-follow-y, but we get things done and that’s good. Setting daily/weekly/monthly writing goals works for Upholders.

Questioners who struggle to meet their writing goals need to keep asking questions about the goal until an answer clicks in that makes sense to them. For example: I’m going to write for one hour every weekday morning before work. You might then ask, why the morning? and you’d remember your nighttime routine is exhausting. But what if I wrote right after dinner? But you already decided to walk on the treadmill at that time. Face it, my creative energy is gone by 8pm.

At that point, you see the value in dedicating an hour in the morning. But you might have to keep questioning why writing every weekday is important until you get to your gold.

Obligers don’t want to let people down. If you fall into this category, you might put off writing until a hard deadline looms. Sure, you know you need to write or you’ll struggle to finish the book, but you struggle to feel the urgency. In this case, an accountability partner or group can make a difference. If you decide to physically meet someone at the library or a coffee shop to write for two hours, you’re much more likely to actually write at that time then if you marked those hours on your calendar to write at home.

As far as the Rebels out there, I urge you to throw out all the “expert” advice about planning and goal setting and do your own thing. Experiment. Get creative. And keep trying new methods of getting and keeping your butt in the chair until you find what works!

I’d love to hear how you find success in meeting your writing goals! Please leave a comment!

Have a terrific day!

Author Platform: Newsletter Providers

Author Platform: Newsletter Providers


One of the essentials of an author platform is establishing a mailing list. The easiest way to do this is to sign up with one of the numerous newsletter providers.

I confess I resisted starting a newsletter list for a long time.

When I was an aspiring writer:

  • I felt I had little to offer. Why would anyone want my newsletter?
  • There were so many newsletter providers to choose from. How would I know which one to pick?
  • I feared the entire process would be time consuming and nerve wracking.

I was wrong.

With so many great providers to choose from, there’s no reason not to start building an email list today–no matter how far along you are on your publishing path. Most newsletter services offer free, limited accounts. They also have easy-to-use templates, scheduling options, sign-up widgets for your website, ways to import or export subscriber lists, and segmenting capabilities.

I recommend looking ahead before signing up with a provider. Hopefully, at some point, you’ll have enough subscribers to move out of the free account. That’s why it’s important to research the costs involved when you’re just starting out.

Be aware that most providers fall into one of two camps.

  1. They charge you based on your subscriber list and allow unlimited emails.
  2. They charge you based on how many emails you send per month.

If you only send newsletters once or twice a year, you’re probably better off paying per email.

Check out Sendinblue or YMLP.

If you send newsletters out often, you’re probably better off paying based on the size of your list.

Check out MailChimp, MailerLite, or Constant Contact.


If you’re looking for a thorough list of possible providers, go to “Top 25 Free or Low-Cost Email Marketing Web Applications (linked).”


Full disclosure: I started out using Mailchimp, and I currently use Mailerlite because they offer a substantial discount if you pay annually. I’ve been very happy with both.

Do you have any questions about newsletter providers? I’ll do my best to answer!

Have a wonderful day!


Weak Areas in Your Writing? Website Essentials? Answers Here

Weak Areas In Writing? Website Essentials? Answers Here! Jill Kemerer

I’ve been going through the archives of my old blog ( and came across a few articles I’m going to share here. They are still relevant and may help you.

The first is “Strengthen Weak Areas in Your Writing” (linked).

Here is a snippet:

I’m writing a first draft. I’m not a fast drafter, and I’m not a revise-as-you-go writer either. I’m somewhere in between.

There are days when I have to glue myself to the chair in order to achieve my word count goal. I should have invested in superglue this week. Yikes. The first fifty pages are slow and torturous for me.

Each writing session starts with a review of the previous scene. Weaknesses glare at me. I tidy up the details before writing a new scene.

Here are the weaknesses I’m fighting in this book:


Next up is “14 Blog or Website Essentials for Writers” (linked).

I could write this post today with no changes. These are still my essentials for author websites.

Here is a snippet:

Often I’ll see writers commenting on blogs, and I’ll click through their profile to check out their blog/website, leave a comment, or e-mail them. I add them to my social networks too.

That’s why I’m surprised when I see very basic “musts” (in my humble opinion, at least) overlooked. You’d be shocked at how many writers don’t include an e-mail address anywhere on their site. Agents and editors DO occasionally contact authors from websites. contact writers from their websites. No e-mail? Missed opportunity. With the countless free e-mail services out there, I don’t understand why a writer would omit this.

What about failing to engage readers? I’ve wanted to respond to blogs where comments were either turned off or only allowed by team members. Again, this doesn’t make sense to me. If you want readers to connect with you, you have to provide them ways to do this.

Another problem? No spelled out reason for me to be on the site. If you’re a writer and you’re trying to build a platform, you need to be bold and tell everyone you’re a writer and what you write. Don’t make them guess!



What are your weak areas in writing? What essentials for author websites did I miss?

Have a terrific day!

What Are Your January 2018 Goals?

January 2018 goals! Welcome to another year. Sure, 2018 is already ten days in, but it’s still pretty fresh. I’ve been using my new planner for over a week, and I love it. I decided to try the Day Designer this year. It really works with the way my brain is wired.

Here’s a peek at the monthly and weekly layouts.

Day Designer


It has a pretty cover, too!


Day Designer Cover


I also use Microsoft OneNote to keep track of social media stats (important for author platform) and setting monthly goals. I thought I’d share my goals with you on the first Wednesday of each month, and feel free to share yours in the comments.

Jill’s January 2018 Goals:

  1. Finish revising and polishing third book in Wyoming Cowboys series. Submit as soon as finished.
  2. After manuscript is turned in, dedicate time each weekday on side project.
  3. After manuscript is turned in, continue writing work-in-progress novel.
  4. Continue health plan (exercise for 30 minutes 4-5 days per week, log calories in MyFitnessPal and stay within calorie range).

After I set my monthly goal, I take time to figure out how I can actually accomplish it.

Last Sunday I looked ahead and decided how I would finish revising and polishing book 3 in Wyoming Cowboys to turn it in on Friday, January 12.

This coming Sunday, I will figure out what time block to dedicate to my side project (it will be roughly one hour per day) and how many words I can write on the work-in-progress novel.

My daily word count goals depend on several factors. What other obligations do I have that week? Do I have any other deadlines or editor requests that take priority?

As far as my health goals, every day I log my calories, so no planning is needed there. However, I decide in advance what my exercise plan will be for the week and when I will do it. For instance, Tuesday and Thursday I have a Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD planned for 8:30 am. Wednesday and Friday I have a yoga DVD planned for 9 am. It works for me.

I also plan coffee or breakfast dates with local friends in between my busiest times. Face time with people I care about is vital to my well-being.

Okay, I’ve shared my goals. What do YOU want to accomplish in January?

Thanks so much for stopping by!

The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway ~ Day 2

12 Days Of Christmas 2017

Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!


12 Days of Christmas FB 2017


Ten authors of Christian fiction joined together to shower twelve winners with gifts. In true twelve days of Christmas style, the prizes accumulate as time progresses. Yesterday, Liz Johnson kicked things off by giving a copy of her new release, Christmas Captive. I’m a huge fan of Liz’s Love Inspired Suspense novels–and every winner gets a copy! From today on, every winner will also receive a copy of my latest Love Inspired, The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride! It’s the first book in my new Wyoming Cowboys series. Yay!

The prizes are building, and each day a different author will share the day’s prizes, so keep stopping back! The entry is below–super easy options!

Enter in the Rafflecopter giveaway below by following some of your favorite authors on social media and signing up for their newsletters. We draw a new winner every day, and on December 12th, we’ll give away a Kindle Fire HD 8.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don’t forget to stop by Gabrielle Meyer‘s blog tomorrow to see the new prize!

Where are you at on the Christmas shopping? I have not begun. *biting nails*

Have a terrific day!!

*Our best-selling novella collection, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is still available for a limited time for only 99 cents! Click HERE for more info and purchase link!*

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