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This Writer’s Inner Care

This Writer's Inner Care. Jill Kemerer Blog

In December we had several unseasonably warm days, and I took advantage of them by walking at a local park. I even took a long walk on a seasonably cold day–it was 19 degrees out! Every time I was out, I breathed in the cool air and noticed the bare branches. My mind kept circling around something I didn’t want to deal with, but finally, I admitted it. I’d been neglecting my inner care.

For two years I’ve followed a health plan that works for me. Sure, I get off track sometimes, but for the most part logging my food using MyFitnessPal six days a week and doing workout DVDs at home on weekdays has kept the weight off and added energy to my life.

But I’m not always great at the inner stuff–taking time to just sit and think. Using my off hours to recharge instead of scrolling on my phone or tackling a house project.

I love to read and always make time for it–there is that. I’ve also maintained a daily Bible reading habit for almost fifteen years. Reading the Bible is a must for inner care. But the silence I crave, the sitting and thinking about nothing? Feels so indulgent!

Inner care isn’t indulgent, though. It’s necessary.

My inner care involves:

  • Silent time to think.
  • Journaling or making lists
  • Long walks outside in every season
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Puttering/tidying my office
  • Chatting with friends
  • Reading
  • Bible reading/prayer
  • Dreaming about vacations
  • Making a wish list

The things I crave might be the exact opposite of what you crave. We all have different personalities. This means what recharges me might give you the heebie-jeebies, and your go-to recharger might make me dry heave. That’s okay! The important thing is to figure out what your soul needs–and make time for it.

Are you good about inner care? What have you been craving? Is there any way to make it happen?

On a side note: I’ve found some great blogs that feature monthly Christian fiction releases, so I’m retiring my monthly roundup and will share the other blogs’ links as I come across them! Check out Batya’s Bits: January Book Releases!

Have a lovely week!

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas! From Jill Kemerer

Christmas is almost here–yay! I’m enjoying the season. It’s been flying by! A few years ago I pared down my Christmas prep and festivities, and it’s been good for me. So far this December I’ve watched a few Christmas movies, read a few holiday novels, baked some cookies, wrapped some presents, and stared at twinkle lights.

I’ve been reflecting on 2019 and looking forward to 2020. I’m making a “20 for 2020” list of things I want to do. In the meantime, check out my fun stuff of 2019 video below!

I’m taking a blog break until January 8. I plan on continuing our monthly goals. Mine are never glamorous, often repetitive, but that’s what progress is–consistent steps. Thanks for keeping me accountable.

Have a very merry Christmas! What “fun stuff” from 2019 makes you smile?

See you in 2020!

Jill Kemerer’s Year in Review {2019}

Jill Kemerer's Year In Review 2019

Every December I try to look back and remember what I’ve accomplished. Usually, it involves some head-scratching. Sometimes I give up because I don’t feel like going through my planner to figure out what I did. But this year, it was pretty easy.

I have yet to meet a writer who is 100% satisfied with what they’ve accomplished for the year. I’ll admit, I’m hard on myself, too. I always overestimate how much time I have and underestimate how long things actually take me. By things I mean writing, revising, and promo. Definitely promo!

When I reviewed 2019, I was pleasantly surprised.

Jill Kemerer’s 2019 Year in Review

Books Written:

  1. Her Cowboy Till Christmas
  2. The Cowboy’s Secret
  3. The Cowboy’s Christmas Triplets

Books Released:

  1. A Meddled Match
  2. His Wyoming Baby Blessing
  3. Western Christmas Wishes (w/Brenda Minton)
  4. Her Cowboy Till Christmas

Books Plotted:

  1. Book one in an untitled series
  2. Book two in an untitled series
  3. Book three in an untitled series
  4. The Cowboy’s Christmas Triplets

Speaking Engagements:

  1. January: Exquisite Planning
  2. April: Exquisite Planning
  3. June: Secrets of Writing for Harlequin
  4. November: Creativity Workshop

Other:

  • President of Maumee Valley Romance Authors, Inc.
  • First romance story published in Woman’s World Magazine
  • Wrote the proposal for book one in untitled series

These three pictures sum up my writing life! The commute, the coffee, and the writing buddy.

I’m gearing up to plan 2020. I bought a new planner (!!), and I have a date planned with two close writer friends to discuss and set our goals for next year. I can’t wait!

The year-in-review exercise? I highly recommend looking back at what you accomplished. It’s easy to forget all the things we did!

Do you review your accomplishments for the year? Care to share them? Leave a comment!

And bless you during these final days leading up to Christmas!

What Are Your Goals? {December 2019}

What Are Your Goals? December 2019. Jill Kemerer Blog

I haven’t counted down the days until Christmas yet (and I don’t want to!), but I know they’re dwindling. Am I ready for the holidays? Of course not!

We had a really nice Thanksgiving. Delicious food. Good times with family. Even some Black Friday shopping. Not bad! But the party is over, and I want to finish this month, year, AND decade strong. Let’s look at how I did with last month’s goals, and then I’ll share my December goals!

Jill’s November 2019 Goals: How Did I Do?

  • WRITING:
  • Revise/polish proposal and send to agent. NO CHECK. Not even close!
  • Promote Her Cowboy Till Christmasreleasing November 19! CHECK. YES! YAY!
  • Content edit the draft I wrote in October. Check!
  • HEALTH:
  • Exercise 5 days/week. Check! I’ve found that creating a simple graph to X off each day helps a lot.
  • Log calories using MyFitnessPal. Check! For whatever reason, tracking my food works.
  • Eat more produce! Check!
  • OTHER:
  • Make a Christmas list. NO CHECK.
  • Start buying presents. NO Check. This stresses me out!
  • Read one novel. Check! YES!
  • Check out the newly remodeled Main Library in downtown Toledo. Check! Loved it!!

Jill’s December 2019 Goals:

  • WRITING:
  • Polish the third book in the Wyoming Sweethearts series and send it to my editor.
  • Revise/polish proposal and send to agent.
  • HEALTH:
  • Exercise 5 days/week.
  • Log calories using MyFitnessPal.
  • Attempt to implement homemade chia pudding as a snack.
  • OTHER:
  • Christmas shopping!!
  • Check out Christmas lights somewhere. The Toledo Zoo has an amazing display, but the crowds and traffic make me iffy!
  • Watch Hallmark Christmas movies and read the Christmas novels I bought!

Looking ahead to 2020…

Two of my local writer friends and I are getting together soon to discuss our goals for the next year. I’m excited about this. By setting several hours aside and meeting at a casual restaurant, we’re making goal-planning a priority. All too often, I’m guilty of putting off formal planning until the last minute. When I devote a chunk of time to plan in advance, I get more done throughout the year.

Also, it’s great to discuss my goals with I trust. They’ll tell me if I’m being ridiculously overambitious or not ambitious enough. And they often have ideas I never considered. It’s a win all around.

Next week’s blog will be early–Sunday, December 8, because I’m part of a HUGE Christmas giveaway! You don’t want to miss it!

***

How did you do with your goals? Want to set new ones? Leave a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s turkey time! I have to admit, I look forward to my sister’s stuffing even more than the actual turkey. It’s full of fresh herbs. So good! I love the whole meal. There’s nothing better than a table full of food, surrounded by loved ones.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I’m thankful for YOU!

***

My 10th Love Inspired novel is in stores now! Grab a copy of Her Cowboy Till Christmas and enjoy all the Christmas feels!

Her Cowboy Till Christmas Review Jill Kemerer

What Are Your Goals? {Nov 2019}

November 2019 Goals. Jill Kemerer. Blog

November is here! Only two months left of 2019–and I am ready to crush them. October was good. I pushed myself to finish the draft of my current project. Whenever I felt like stopping early, I’d think of Thanksgiving and Christmas and how much I want to enjoy the holidays. It motivated me!

Sometimes having a reason to finish early makes all the difference.

Let’s take a look at my October goals and how I did. Then I’ll share my November goals. Please leave YOUR goals in the comments!

Jill’s October 2019 Goals: How Did I Do?

  • WRITING:
  • Draft 50 pages of a new story. Check.
  • Continue drafting current project. Double check–I finished the draft!
  • Set up promo for December release, Her Cowboy Till Christmas. Check.
  • Promote Western Christmas Wishes, in stores October 15! Check. This was easy. I love having a new book in stores.
  • HEALTH: (Long-term goal – Lose 10 pounds)
  • Track calories 6 days/week with MyFitnessPal. Check, but my weight fluctuated all month.
  • Exercise 5 days/week. Check. I’m enjoying this routine. I do five different workouts each week.
  • Eat more high protein and high fiber foods. Half Check. Three weeks into the month I got really frustrated and decided to ignore the fiber. I’ve been a much nicer person ever since. 🙂
  • OTHER:
  • Check out a local park I’ve never been to. No check, but I did go to two other parks to see the fall colors!
  • Read the Jody Hedlund novel I ordered. No check. The book didn’t come in. 🙁 I’ve reordered it.
  • Watch Halloween Baking Championship (because it makes me happy!). Check!

Jill’s November 2019 Goals:

  • WRITING:
  • Revise/polish proposal and send to agent.
  • Promote Her Cowboy Till Christmas, releasing November 19!
  • Content edit the draft I wrote in October.
  • HEALTH:
  • Exercise 5 days/week.
  • Log calories using MyFitnessPal.
  • Eat more produce!
  • OTHER:
  • Make a Christmas list.
  • Start buying presents.
  • Read one novel.
  • Check out the newly remodeled Main Library in downtown Toledo.

November is a shorter month for me since we celebrate Thanksgiving with family over a long weekend. I will be following VERY detailed weekly plans all month.

I’m cheering you on! Let’s make the most of this month!

What are your November goals? Leave a comment!

Stop back next month to see how I did and what I plan to do next. Have a fabulous day!

New Contemporary Christian Romance {Nov 2019}

New Contemporary Christian Romance Releases November 2019. Jill Kemerer Blog

Monthly roundup time! Scroll through to see the latest contemporary Christian romance novels.

I can’t guarantee I’ve included every book, but I’m doing my best. You’ll find the occasional indie novel on here, too. Since many books are incorrectly tagged as Christian romance on Amazon, I’m only including authors I can vouch for, and even those I occasionally miss!

What’s not included? Historical romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction or other romance genres. This is for contemporary inspirational romance novels only.

First up you’ll find the latest Love Inspired novels (in no particular order). Other new releases are listed below. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, the Amazon link is included. I am an affiliate member of Amazon and get a small commission with each purchase that in no way raises your price.

New Contemporary Christian Romance Novels – November 2019

The Texan’s Surprise Return by Jolene Navarro

His greatest Christmas gifts…

“Is that you? You’re…you’re alive.”An unforgettable family reunion for the holidays.

For three years, Xavier De La Rosa’s family thought he was dead. Now Xavier is back home in Texas for Christmas, and finds a wife he can’t remember and adorable triplets he never knew existed. Can Xavier reclaim his memories and the love he left behind…before he returns to the job that nearly killed him?

To purchase, click on The Texan’s Surprise Return!

Western Christmas Wishes by Brenda Minton and Jill Kemerer

Western Christmas Wishes by Brenda Minton and Jill Kemerer

Two tales of holiday homecoming.

Spend the holidays with family in these two Western novellas!


Home is where the heart is in His Christmas Family when Laurel Adams comes home and discovers a foster kid and a seriously charming horse trainer living on her grandmother’s ranch. And in A Merry Wyoming Christmas, single mom Leann Bowden is starting over when she and her daughter are rescued from a snowstorm. Might the dashing cowboy be the Christmas gift they’re dreaming of?

To purchase, click on Western Christmas Wishes!

The Christmas Courtship by Emma Miller

An unexpected perfect match…

An Amish single mother with a secret past…Searching for a fresh start at Christmastime.


Caught up in a scandal in her Amish community, Phoebe Miller moves to her cousin’s farm in Delaware hoping for forgiveness and a second chance. The last thing Phoebe expects is to slowly fall for bachelor Joshua Miller. But Joshua doesn’t know the secret that made her leave her old life behind. Can their blossoming love survive the truth?

To purchase, click on The Christmas Courtship!

Hometown Christmas Gift by Kat Brookes

A second chance for a first love.

Her little family needs healing…Could he be the answer to her Christmas wish?


Home for the holidays, widow Lainie Michaels never would have thought to ask old love Jackson Wade to help her troubled child. But when her still-grieving son forms a bond with the handsome rancher, ignoring Jackson goes from challenging to impossible. Jackson let his first love go once before, but this Christmas, he’ll hold on to Lainie with all his heart.

To purchase, click on Hometown Christmas Gift!

His Christmas Redemption by Danica Favorite

Making peace with the past…

’Tis the season for forgiveness…Is this the first step to their second chance?


Lance Drummond doesn’t do Christmas…not after the tragic loss of his daughter or the painful divorce that followed. But when his ex-wife, Erin, is injured, Lance moves in temporarily to help her make the holidays perfect for her nephews. Amid all the merrymaking, Lance realizes he’s falling for Erin again. After so much heartache, can love bring them back together?

To purchase, click on His Christmas Redemption!

Her Amish Christmas Choice by Leigh Bale

A forbidden love…

Can Englischer and Amish make a forever match?

For Englischer Julia Rose, starting her first handmade-soap store almost makes up for her lost dreams of marriage and children. With patience and care, Amish carpenter Martin Hostetler renovates the dilapidated building Julia inherited—and sparks her interest in his community’s peaceful ways. But their families’ objections make romance between them impossible…unless faith and love can light their holiday way home.

To purchase, click on Her Amish Christmas Choice!

*** OTHER RELEASES ***

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Winter Hill, Washington, is basically Christmasville, USA. Unfortunately the new city manager, Krista, is not a fan of Christmas, and the annual town-wide Christmas celebration is not optional. She wonders if this move was a mistake for her and her daughter.

To purchase, click on Christmas in Winter Hill!

The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachel Hauck

December comes to quaint Hearts Bend, Tennessee, with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there is no place like home. Her onetime love of adventure ended when her life in the big city came crashing down. Now that she’s home, she never wants to leave again.

Country music sensation Buck Mathews has charmed the world with his smile and his music. However, news of his mother’s illness brought him home to Hearts Bend for the holiday season.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. But when her high school crush returns to town, her buried feelings surface.

Busy with his career, Buck hasn’t had time for family and friends, much less love. Seeing JoJo in The Wedding Shop reminds him there are things more important than his career.

But JoJo and Buck have opposing life goals, and there’s no middle ground. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmas, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

With the help of a very special wedding dress, there just might a Christmas miracle.

To purchase, click on The Wedding Dress Christmas!

What did I miss? If you know any contemporary Christian romance novels releasing in November that I didn’t list, let me know in the comments!

What I’m Loving {October 2019}

What I'm Loving October 2019. Jill Kemerer Blog

October is a long month, but it sure feels short this year! The weather has been amazing. It’s been so warm and sunny, I haven’t even thought about wearing a winter coat. We’ve had trick-or-treaters come to the door in snowsuits before, so I hope the weather lasts a couple more weeks.

With the holidays coming, I decided to cram a lot of writing-related tasks into this month. Since cramming meant something else had to give, I temporarily paused my beloved block schedule. *waahh!!* This means no notebook hour at the coffee shop or park. No time each day to work on my “heart” projects. A lot of days with extra word count goals. I’m also doing my best to stay on top of my other commitments.

Do I sound cranky? I hope not. I don’t mind mixing up my schedule once in a while to get big results. As long as I go back to my favorite work routine by November 1, I’ll be happy.

Even with the surplus work, I’ve found lots of things to love this month! Here they are in no particular order.

What I’m loving this month!

  1. Stacy’s Simply Naked Bagel Chips

Oh my word, I could snack on these all day, which is very dangerous, but for real, I love bread and bagels and sea salt and chippy-type foods. Mmm! It’s great because the calories fit into snack range. Do they have much nutritional value? Don’t be silly! But I don’t care–I love them!

2. Thelonius Monk Radio on Spotify

Just feels happy and like fall. I’ll take some of that, please!

3. 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz

I found this Christian living book inspiring from page one to the end. Nicki has an engaging, self-deprecating style I fell in love with. Full of biblical truths about commitment and using the book of Ruth for inspiration, this book hit all the right notes for me.

4. Taking fall pictures.

My husband bought me a good camera for Mother’s Day this year. I spent time in the spring learning about the features (I’m a point and shoot girl with my phone!), but weeks went by with it sitting in the closet. Last weekend the weather invited me out, and I had a lovely time snapping pictures. Here are some of the better ones.

Northern Ohio, October 2019. Jill Kemerer.
Northern Ohio. October 2019. Jill Kemerer
Northern Ohio. October 2019. Jill Kemerer. Downy Woodpecker
Cute little Downy Woodpecker
Northern Ohio. October 2019. Great Egret. Jill Kemerer
A Great Egret patiently waiting…
Northern Ohio. October 2019. Jill Kemerer

5. Aladdin

We rented this remake of the 1992 Disney cartoon and loved it! I’m a big fan of the original, too.

What are you loving this month?

Leave a comment with your recommendations, and have a terrific week!

***

Western Christmas Wishes in stores now!

WESTERN CHRISTMAS WISHES is in stores now! Grab your copy of this 2-in-1 Christmas novella bundle!

For more info, my Pinterest board, links and a free sample chapter, click on Western Christmas Wishes!

Why Starting a New Story is Hard for Me

Why Starting A Story Is Hard For Me Jillkemerer.com/blog

Three hours. I spent three hours writing 1066 words (but who’s counting?) on Monday last week. After I quit for the day, I was so frustrated I went off my health plan and snacked on my emergency M&Ms.

I’d barely gotten into my new story, and it already felt impossible.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love writing a new book. It’s exciting to form the story I’ve been mulling in my head. I get to know the characters. They surprise me every time! And the setting begins to breathe. Each scene builds on the next, and it gets easier each time I sit to write.

But…the first pages. First 50 pages? (100? The entire thing…? Haha!) They are HARD for me!

Here are some reasons why:

  • My first draft is where I research the setting details. While I know the main stuff–the town, the season, the exact spot where the particular scene takes place–I don’t always know the terrain or what the characters would see. Details matters to me, so when I’m unsure about something, I turn to the internet.
  • I don’t know the characters all that well when I begin the book. The things they say, the emotions they’re feeling, and little things like what they’re wearing all come to me as I type. Sometimes I have to stare in space and contemplate it all before I can move forward.
  • Chapter 1, especially, puts pressure on me. I have a LOT of things to get across in these pages, and I try to find a way to make them all come together organically. I rarely succeed on the first try. And often I have a nagging feeling until it’s smoothed out.
  • While I always have a strong synopsis written before I begin a story, the page by page points aren’t always obvious to me. Sometimes deciding how to start a scene is the easiest thing in the world, and other times it’s torture.

The bottom line is that the choices I make in the opening pages affect the rest of the story. One wrong turn, and I’m rewriting for hours. Who has time for that? I’d rather spend time figuring out the best course right away than have to fix it all later.

My goal is always to grab the reader from page one and to not let them go.

When was the last time a book grabbed you from page one and didn’t let go? I’m always on the hunt for book recommendations, so please share in the comments!

By the way, in one week my Christmas novella will be in stores! It’s part of a 2-in-1 bundle titled Western Christmas Wishes with Brenda Minton! More info and purchase links can be found by clicking on Western Christmas Wishes. Have a fabulous day!

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.*

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