Please Welcome

This year the authors on Main Street decided to invite Nan O’Berry to join our Christmas boxed set. If you are a western reader, you probably know about her. Nan is local to me and has been a published author for years. She writes both obe-ad-smhistorical and contemporary romances, mostly in the western genre. Her “backyard” is filled with chickens, cattle, and horses. She’s probably more at home on a horse than anyplace else. Between working and caring for her family, she manages to squeeze in writing romances. Her latest release Road to Redemption remained on Kindle Worlds’ #1 and #2 slot for historical for two months after release and she’s still in the top 10!

Yeah, I’m the one who kept trading places with her and that was so much fun! She mentored me when I first started writing in the romance genre, so it was student and teacher trading places, sometimes as often as four times during a day.

Everyone on Main Street is excited to have her join us this year because Nan is the epitome of a Main Street author. She’s that small town gal who writes with the values that she has lived and raised her children to cherish.

I’ve already read her story, Candi Cain Kisses, and I can promise that you will love it! (Just don’t read the ending in public if you don’t want people to see you cry!)  Please welcome Nan O’Berry.

The holidays are just around the corner.

There’s nothing better than writing a story set about the norman-rockwellholidays. Holidays bring people home. We recall the Norman Rockwell painting depicting Thanksgiving dinner. The warmth and desire to belong transcends paint and canvas to nurture the deep need among us to go home again, to feel a part of something, to become again an innocent in a world of uncertainty. That being said, I am thrilled to have been asked by the Authors on Main Street to join their Christmas box set.

Each of our stories features an Inn. In Candi Cain Kisses, ‘my Inn’ is the Candy Cane Inn, an old Victorian on Main Street inebook-candi-cain-4x6-xsm Mistletoe, Texas. This building serves as the small town hotel. One of the parlors on the main floor has been transformed into a tearoom. Here, the citizens of Mistletoe can come at the end of a hard days shopping and enjoy a homemade pastry, a slice of cake¸ or cookie decorated for the season. It is here, where my heroine, Candi Cain meets Jonathan Barlow and his adorable daughter, Felicia.

One of my favorite movies is To Kill a Mockingbird. My hero, Jonathan Barlow is Atticus Finch without his glasses. He’s come to Mistletoe for a ‘do-over’. Losing his wife¸ he feels labeled “the widower”. Coming to Mistletoe, will allow him a fresh start with his precious daughter Felicia. No longer will he be, Tiffany Barlow’s husband.

northern-girlHis daughter, Felicia is a heart stopper. Picture her as the little dark-haired sweetheart from the Northern Bath Tissue. She is drawn to Candi and Candi’s intuition senses the lost waif and understands her issues. Candi’s own mother returned to Mistletoe and her family after Candi’s father’s death.

Of course, love blossoms. However as we know, true love never takes the easy path. I hope you all will take a peek at Candi Cane Kisses and enjoy the journey toward true love for Candi and Jonathan.

Nan O’Berry

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Becoming an Orphan

I lost my parents within 11 months of one another. Both required care before their deaths and refused all but family assistance – mostly from me and my family. I am the oldest of three children and the only daughter, so in some respects this is understandable for children my age.

 Oddly enough, it wasn’t my parent’s deaths that consumed and nearly devastated me, it was the unmitigated and unrelenting estate issues I had with my brothers.

 I can write about them in a somewhat detailed and somewhat less visceral way now that my mother’s estate is closed. My father’s estate was formally closed before that, but was, and is, complicated by the fact that he put his real estate assets in all three of our names as joint tenants. I still own one piece of what appears to be non-saleable hunting land in common with my brothers, in Northern Wisconsin.

 Once that tie is severed, I will effectively be an orphan; something I had nightmares of as a child.

 It is the torture of being linked to people whose purpose is to control and demoralize that did not allow me to grieve properly for my parents.

 It’s hard to grieve when you’re treading water.

 I was the Personal Representative and Power of Attorney for my father. In an attempt at fairness, my mother named the elder of my brothers as her P.R. and P.O.A. That was a decision I know she lived long enough to regret.

 My brother tried and failed to keep me out of the hospital – he succeeded, though, in keeping me out until my mother could no longer communicate verbally. He tried to keep her from saying goodbye to me, her eldest grandchild, and only grandson.

 He refused to tell me of the funeral arrangements until two days before.

 He would not tell me where my mother’s ashes were for 64 days – I had to appear before a probate judge who threatened to have my brother incarcerated, to find out.

 Throughout subsequent court appearances, the judge repeated his threat to jail my brother – calling out his behavior as the most despicably obscene he’d seen in all his decades on the bench, including criminal and children’s court. Having been a child and elder advocate for over twenty years, it was the second worst behavior I’ve seen as well.

 Suffice it to say, the totality of what occurred on a personal level was ugly and without merit or cause.

 Without that judge’s order, I may never have known where my mother’s remains were ultimately laid to rest. That kind of torture was exactly what was intended by my brothers.

 I am now thankful to be an orphan. Hopefully, an orphan who writes.

 I have just now begun to write again and I’m finishing a torture scene that has new legitimacy.

 Sometimes as we grow we change. Not always for the better, as in the case of my brothers. I am choosing a path that leads toward the better. I haven’t left the past behind, but I am actively relegating the waste of it to the garbage can.

 One doesn’t need to experience pain to write about it – all we need to do is write it and perhaps empathize with those undergoing it.

 Funny, now that it’s over – mostly because I don’t give two hoots about the land – it’s almost anticlimactic. It’s also a huge relief. I simply no longer fear having no family of birth. I welcome it. I’m also gaining a devilish glee from writing despicable characters based on personal experience.

 I am thankful I can find joy in that, no matter how twisted that may be.

 Moving forward – gratefully,



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Love Christmas Release


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My Love Affair With Conferences

njrw-pyhiabTomorrow night, I’ll head to New Jersey for NJRWA’s annual Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. For me,this conference is like coming home. After another year of workshops, booksignings, and reader/author get-togethers, my hectic schedule tends to end in October – and usually, at my home chapter, New Jersey. While there, I’ll catch up with friends, host writing sessions in my hotel room (complete with wine), attend workshops, cheer on winners of their annual Golden Leaf (an honor I received last year for REUNION IN OCTOBER) and Put Your Heart in a Book contests, and host my workshop, Sole Deep: Using Actors’ Exercises to Strengthen Characterization and Deepen Point-of-View.

I love conference season.

Put a hundred (or more) creative minds in a hotel, and you can’t help but absorb a ton of energy. I often wind up carrying my laptop or a notebook to restaurants, lobbies, and empty ballrooms so I can jot down the ideas zipping through my brain at any given moment.

There are so many friends I only get to see at conferences, writers and readers alike. We catch up on books, other friends, our lives. We hug a lot, laugh too loudly, drink a little too much, eat a lot of chocolate, and squeeze every minute we can together because we know it will have to last us another year.

We connect with writing professionals. Agents, editors, cover artists, and marketers will all be around to offer services and contracts to authors. In fact, NJRWA will host their first Trade Expo at this event, where the professionals can meet one-on-one with authors seeking their type of service.

And the workshops! No matter where you are in your writing career, an author can always glean a new bit of information at one of the many workshops provided at a conference. Conferences are exciting, rejuvenating, exhausting, and I love every one of them.

Once I come home from New Jersey, conference season for 2016 is ended. What’s a writer to do? Start planning next year’s conference schedule, of course! Keep your eyes open; I could be coming to a city near you.



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Waking Up For Christmas

We are all in the home stretch of readying our Christmas stories for an Authors of Main Street boxed set.

I have always found The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks a very romantic book but some will disagree, so in the way of writers, I thought what if?!

My story for the set, Waking Up For Christmas is my version of The Notebook with a happy, happy ending. LOL

Darcy Bennett Thanos is in a coma after a car accident. Her soon-to-be ex-husband, Chase Thanos sits by her side, desperate for her to wake up. In his grief of their failed marriage he stays by her hospital bed telling her of all the milestones of their love, from their first meeting to their last argument, begging her to wake up for Christmas, even if it to divorce him.

wakingupforchristmas-200x300I can’t wait for all the stories to be done and in a boxed set for readers!

Here’s to love and the holidays!!

Jill James, romance writer

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Twitter Party!

I’m a Twitter Twit, meaning that I’m not sure what to do with it. I usually tweet about my blog posts, book releases, etc, but to me it seems about as effective as driving down the freeway and throwing fliers out the window at passing cars. So, I did some online snooping and came up with some helpful twitter tips.

Go to Twitter and log on to your account.

In the Search box at the top of your screen, type in the name of an author who writes similar to you.

When that person’s name comes up you will see in the upper left hand screen, Followers, click on that.

All the followers will come up, they will have a blue following button if you already follow that person, or a white button with Follow, click on all those white buttons.

After that, click on the Following button in that upper left hand box.  Follow all those as well.

Try to add fifty to one hundred per day.  You can do this in a few minutes.

Then go to the next author and the next and the next.  You want your reach to be far and wide.

Later on, unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you back.  Be sure you follow back anyone who follows you.

If you have any Twitter tips, please share. Here are some related articles:

This Week On Twitter: 5 Retweet Tips, Top 50 Most Retweeted, 120 Marketing Tips For Blogs

10 Top Accounts To Follow On Twitter For Breaking News

5 Quick And Easy Twitter Tips To Get More Retweets

This Week On Twitter: 25 Awesome Social Media Tools, Classic Vs Social Marketing, Twitter Stats

Now, for the Authors Main Street TWEET PARTY !!! Everyone is invited. Tell your friends, because the more the merrier! (No erotica, please.)

Go to Twitter and create a tweet and include hashtags ‪#‎authorsofmainstreet ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬#contemporaryromance

Once your tweet has been posted. Click on the … (three dots) in the right-hand corner. This will give you the option to COPY LINK TO TWEET. Copy this link and paste it in the comment section of this post.

Please post your tweet here BEFORE 11:59 pm EDT on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20th so the list is ready for tweeters on Friday (especially for those in other countries).

On Friday, OCTOBER 21th, go through the list, click on each URL and retweet the tweet.

Happy Tweeting!

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Awaiting Hurricane Matthew

About half of the authors here on Main Street are preparing for Hurricane Matthew.  Mona, Carol, E., Gina, Stephanie, and Susan all live on the Atlantic coastline. Susan is the least apt to see more than maybe some rain as she’s our most northern author. Mona probably is already feeling the effects of the storm because she’s in Florida. She’s been very quiet so she’s probably super busy.

East coast folks know what to do. If we are told to get out, we do. Otherwise we keep lots of batteries on hand, a heavy stack of paper books to keep us company, a few candles, etc. They are all part of being prepared for such a storm. I have the pet papers on one spot, you know those papers that say they’ve had their rabies shots, etc. I know where the car title is and my insurance papers. I might even go to the bank and grab a little cash. I have plastic but real money is important. My gas tank is full.

Preparation over the years has changed somewhat. Yet in many ways it hasn’t. I won’t bore you with the details because just about every TV station on the east coast has a hurricane preparedness guideline and lists. I might get stuck in my house. The rivers and roads around me might flood. But unless something terrible happens like that big old pecan tree in the yard behind me, falls on my house, probably the most I will cope with is lack of electricity and being stuck in the house. But I’m too close to the coast to ignore, yet far enough inland to feel somewhat secure. My biggest problem is that I’m in the middle of a set of edits and I need to get this ms to the next editor. That editor is also in Matthew’s path.

But I think hurricanes are easier to face than tornadoes, tidal waves, and earthquakes. We track hurricanes and watch them. We prepare for them.

A few years back, we lost a car during a hurricane when a tree fell on it. We were one of about a dozen people in my area who lost a car to a falling tree. If you drew a one mile circle around that car, there were plenty of limbs that had come down and a few trees that had fallen, but we were the only family to lose a car. Although a neighbor did wind up with a very large tree in his large in-ground swimming pool. (Do you know how to swim while using a chain saw? It’s a very handy skill!)

Maybe I’m lucky because I don’t have to worry about the river overflowing its banks and flooding my house. I don’t live close enough to the beach to be flooded by high tides. I’m not going to have a destructive mud slide. But I do have that overly large pecan tree that is home to a half dozen squirrels. And as many times as I’ve worried about it, it’s has also provided plenty of  pecans for homemade pies and been the perfect acrobatic playground for the squirrels, and home to a variety of birds. It’s been a food source not just to humans who love pecan pies or pecan anything, but also to quite a few small animals that you might not expect to see in in town as well as a source of bugs to a few woodpeckers. It also provides plenty of shade to keep my back yard cooler in the summer.  Furthermore, it’s not my tree so I couldn’t cut it down even if I wanted it gone.

The newest predictions for this storm is that after wrecking havoc clear up the coast of Florida, it will turn out to sea and go away. Hmm! I remember a little too well the storm that had downgraded into a tropical storm as it stalled off the coast of NC and VA. It wobbled and slowed and finally all the local weathermen said, it’s over. Some high system had moved into our area and the rain would come to an end. A few hours later, that storm picked up speed, turned, and slammed into us.

There is beauty in these storms when you see satellite images of them. And for some odd reason humans are fascinated with Nature’s wrath. We watch images of these natural events with total awe. We are rightfully appalled at the destruction they cause and we are saddened at the loss of homes and people in their wake. But we are humans and we persevere. We clean up and keep going.  Sometimes it’s with heavy hearts, but most of us are thankful that we have survived often with nothing more than a few twigs and some leaves in the yard.

Thank you, NOAA, for providing all the wonderful images and keeping us informed.

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