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Day 2 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

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

I’m so excited to be participating in our third annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway. If you love Christian romance novels, this is the giveaway for you! I’m thrilled to join Liz Johnson and ten other fabulous authors of inspirational fiction to give away prizes galore, including eleven books.

Here’s how it works. The prizes accumulate, and you only have to enter once! A winner will be selected each day. Woohoo!!

 

Day 2 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Jill Kemerer

 

Today’s winner will receive:

A copy of my latest release, Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets and…


 

Christmas with the Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe plus a jingle bell necklace!!

Here’s how to enter:

Enter 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 $150 Amazon Gift Card OR a 1-Year Audible Gold Subscription (winner’s choice) in addition to all the other great prizes!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Stop by Jessica R. Patch’s blog tomorrow to see what prize is added then!

Thanks so much!

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My Christmas novella, Sugarplums and Second Chancesis only $0.99 on Kindle! Why not give it a try? It’s a companion to my Lake Endwell romance, Hometown Hero’s Redemption.

Buy it HERE for $0.99! It’s also available for paperback on Amazon.

 

Sugarplums and Second Chances by Jill Kemerer

Are some mistakes beyond redemption?

When former NFL star, Chase McGill, invites Courtney Trudesta, the widow of his former teammate, to spend Christmas with him and his son in Lake Endwell, he simply wants to repay her for the weekly letters she sent while he was in prison.

He didn’t expect to fall for her.

Chase regrets his past and knows it will take more than sugarplums and wishful thinking to heal Courtney’s lonely heart. But with a dose of small-town charm and plenty of Christmas cheer, they might have a second chance at happiness…with each other.

 

Buy it HERE for $0.99! It’s also available for paperback on Amazon.

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.

 

4 Tips to Start and End a Scene #WW

Scenes build stories. How you begin and end them can mean the difference between a reader finishing your novel or tossing it aside.

When you’re writing, it’s fine to put down whatever comes to mind so your brain can push through and get the draft on paper. But when you’re revising, it’s wise to analyze each scene’s hook and ending to make sure they’re pulling their weight.

Here are my “rules” for how to start and end a scene.

1. Don’t bore the reader.

Madeline slathered butter on the bagel. Stan had really crossed a line.

Whoop-dee-doo. Does any reader care if Madeline has butter on her bagel or not? I don’t think so. And while the second sentence gets more to the heart of the matter, the first sentence is what counts.

Try this:

She wanted to chuck her bagel at Stan’s head. The nerve of him, treating her like a five-year-old in front of her boss.

2. Give transition details early in the scene.

Readers need to know how long it’s been since the previous scene, whose point of view we’re in, the location, and any other pertinent setting information. Don’t make them guess!

She wanted to chuck her bagel at Stan’s head. The nerve of him, treating her like a five-year-old in front of her boss. Madeline peeked out of the break room but saw no sign of him. Good. After this morning’s humiliating meeting, she hoped he crawled back to corporate headquarters where he belonged.

3. Tease the reader at the end of a scene.

Stan handed her the report. “Verify your numbers with this.”

Stimulating. I, for one, don’t get excited over a hero handing a heroine a report and telling her to verify her numbers. YAWN…

How about:

“Verify your numbers with this.” Stan’s tone was as icy as his blue eyes. She snatched the report out of his hand.

 She’d verify them all right. And if he questioned her expertise again, she was taking the other job offer, even if it meant a cut in pay. No job was worth this.

4. Check scene hooks and endings.

A quick and easy way to make sure these openings and closings are doing their job is to copy/paste the first and last sentence in each scene in a separate file. When you have them pasted one after the other, it’s easy to spot the duds. Try it! I always find a few that need punching up.

What are you tricks to start and end scenes? I’d love to hear them!

Have a great week!

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Sugarplums and Second Chances by Jill Kemerer

Are some mistakes beyond redemption?

When former NFL star, Chase McGill, invites Courtney Trudesta, the widow of his former teammate, to spend Christmas with him and his son in Lake Endwell, he simply wants to repay her for the weekly letters she sent while he was in prison. He didn’t expect to fall for her.

Chase regrets his past and knows it will take more than sugarplums and wishful thinking to heal Courtney’s lonely heart. But with a dose of small-town charm and plenty of Christmas cheer, they might have a second chance at happiness…with each other.

Sugarplums and Second Chances is only $0.99 on Kindle. Purchase HERE!

 

Friday Extra! First Peek at Natalie Walter’s Cover!

I know I don’t usually post on Friday, but I’m so excited to share with you the cover of Living Lies, the debut novel of Natalie Walters! I had to do a Friday extra. 🙂

Here’s a little about the book, an inspirational romantic suspense (available for preorder now, releases May 21, 2019)!!

LIVING LIES

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name–but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.

Are you ready to see the cover? *rubs hands together*
Living Lies by Natalie Walters May 21, 2019
Ooh-la-la!! Looks creepy and good!! I know I wouldn’t want to be on that dark path!
Check out Natalie Walter’s website (linked) for more information about her and her book!

What are you doing this weekend?

I’ll going to writer’s group tomorrow! If you’re in the Toledo, Ohio area, check out www.MVRAI.com!

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets Giveaway

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets Giveaway By Jill Kemerer

*Please stop back at 2pm EST to enter the giveaway!*

It’s giveaway time again! Yay!!

I hope you had a lovely summer. Mine was busy writing! Nothing wrong with that. And I’m very excited for my upcoming release–Wyoming Christmas QuadrupletsThis is book three in the Wyoming Cowboys series and follows Marshall’s bumpy road to love. The babies on the cover are his sister’s, and he and the new baby nurse are helping out with the infants. Needless to say, this holiday season will be memorable for them all.

 

Here’s the back cover description:

Six weeks on a ranch caring for quadruplets—aspiring nurse Ainsley Draper’s prepared for a busy Christmas. When the children’s handsome uncle opens the door, her task gets extra complicated. Marshall Graham is upholding his promise to look after his twin sister, the babies’ mom. But as family loyalty clashes with new love, will the perfect present include a future with Ainsley?

 

Purchase links and extras HERE!

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The book will be in stores starting September 18, 2018! The ebooks will be available on October 1, 2018. To celebrate, I’m giving away a gift package! One winner will receive large print copies of Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, Reunited with the Bull Rider, and The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride. The package also includes three Christmas ornaments, a cute picture frame, candy sticks, and a ten dollar Starbucks gift card. The easy entry options are below!

*US Residents only. 18+. Giveaway is open from September 04, 2018 at 2pm EST through September 30, 2018 at 9pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. See entry form for complete rules.*

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What are you looking forward to this month?

Have a terrific day!!

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!

Internal Conflict: Digging Deeper #WW

Internal Conflict: Digging Deeper #WW Jillkemerer.com/blog

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, Jillkemerer.com/blog

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, jillkemerer.com/blog

 

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.

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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!

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!

2 Tricks for Pacing #WW

2 Tricks For Pacing #WW

You’re nearing the end of a writing session, and you’re in the zone. The words are hopping onto the page–it’s as if they’re writing themselves. Isn’t that the best feeling? Zone writing is fast and delicious. But it often lacks layers, and these layers affect the pace.

When I write fast, I’m typically writing action and dialogue, but scenes need more than words and actions. The reader needs the subtle clues in between to propel them to turn the page. Pacing that’s too fast will leave the reader unconnected to the characters. Pacing that’s too slow will make them stop reading the book.

Pacing isn’t easy to identify. If you want to check your manuscript for pacing, here are my top two tricks.

 

2 Tricks for Pacing #WW

 

1. Do the sight test. Skim a few chapters (or more) of your manuscript.

Are there long paragraphs with no dialogue for pages on end?

If the scene only features one character, make sure you’re breaking up her thoughts with movement. What is she doing in this scene? Show her doing it. And make sure the actions are furthering the story. Showing her brush her teeth will not rivet the reader.

If you’re writing any genre of romance, make sure the dialogue is interspersed with action beats, internal thoughts and sensory details to help the reader flesh out what is happening and feel connected to the characters.

If the scene seems dialogue heavy, how can you dot in sensory details, reactions and thoughts to make the story come alive for the reader? Just don’t overdo it, or the dialogue will fall flat.

Here is stripped down dialogue (which can be effective in small doses).

“I can’t believe you did that.”

“Why not?” Jane said. “You drove me to it.”

“Next you’ll be telling me I drove you to steal from me, too,” Sam said.

“You said it. Not me.”

Here is fleshed out dialogue (sorry it’s cheesy!).

“I can’t believe you did that.” Sam slammed the door of his truck and stood, legs wide, facing her. How could he have ever loved this psychopath?

“Why not?” Jane got up in his face. “You drove me to it.”

“Next you’ll be telling me I drove you to steal from me, too.” Snow flurries carried the scent of winter, reminding him he had better things to do than argue with the woman responsible for his frozen heart and empty bank account.

“You said it. Not me.”

Every scene has a rhythm, whether fast or slow. But scenes also need balance. Readers get bored with pages of a character thinking about a problem. And, unless they’re reading a genre such as suspense or thriller, they get whiplash with chapter after chapter of nonstop dialogue.

2. Are your scenes starting and ending with a hook?

  • When you begin and end a scene with a hook (something that entices the reader to keep reading), you automatically help the pace.
  • To check for hooks, copy and paste the first line and the last line of each scene into a new document. Read through them. If you were a reader would you keep reading based on these sentences? If not, rewrite them to give them more oomph.

I still review the opening and closing lines of each scene before submitting my work. I almost always change at least three lines. It keeps me from getting lazy.

I’ve  only touched on two aspects of pacing. If you’d like a more in-depth discussion, go to “7 Tools for Pacing A Novel & Keeping Your Story Moving at the Right Pace” by Courtney Carpenter at Writer’s Digest.

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Have you ever read a book you’d describe as slow? Chime in!

Yesterday I was the guest blogger on Seekerville. Check out “10 Ways to Balance Your Writing Life” (Linked) to learn how I’ve lost weight, increased my writing output and reclaimed time for things I enjoy!

Happy November!!

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