Getting In The Mood – Jill James

christmas bellsHow do you get in the mood to write a Christmas novella in the middle of August? In my case it takes apple cinnamon air freshener, Celtic Christmas on the Pandora radio, and lots of imagining snowy winter days in the middle of sweltering summer days. Thinking of comfy sweaters and cuddling on the couch while my sweaty legs are sticking to my leather office chair. Picturing dreamy Christmas trees and pine decorations with the scent of a barbecue grill wafting through the open window.

The Authors of Main Street are doing another boxed set and I’m writing an original, never published before novella for the set. Mine is titled Waking Up For Christmas. It will be sweeter than my usual stories. It reminds me of when I first started writing romance and it was very much on the tamer side. I wanted a story that dug into ‘how’ and ‘why’ we fall in love. A kind of reminiscing of the joy and angst of falling.

What is that precise moment when a buzz goes off in your head and you realize you just might be falling, that this is ‘the one’? And what does it take to fall out of love. Is it one thing or a lifetime of things? Do you wake up one day and realize you aren’t in love anymore or do you wake up and face that you haven’t been in love for a while?

And the most important question of all; what would you do to get the love back?

What would you do for love?

Jill James, writer of romance, hopeless romantic


About Jill James

Jill is a self-published author with The Lake Willowbee Series and numerous other books in paranormal romance and zompoc romance. She enjoys reading just as much as writing. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @jill_james
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21 Responses to Getting In The Mood – Jill James

  1. E. Ayers says:

    Jill, I had to laugh. My still untitled Xmas novella is a draft that I’m working to finish for this same boxed set. Mine takes place in Mariner’s Cove, a little lobster town in New England. The story starts in Oct and goes through Xmas.

    I think one of the most difficult things we do as authors is write out of season. At least my AC is working in this old house. Fortunately I love Oct and Nov, and conjuring up a few snowflakes isn’t too difficult. And so far this story is rather sweet. Maybe Xmas stories are supposed to be sweeter? Or maybe it’s just my characters.

    And when we are all freezing this winter, we’ll be writing our summer novels. Such is an author’s life. Okay, I’m going back to New England and some cold weather!

    Liked by 2 people

    • E. Ayers says:

      BTW, I never had to get love back. It was always there no matter what …that total unconditional love that withstood every storm and there were plenty of storms. But the story I’m writing had that love at first sight, except several things went very wrong. It’s a little convoluted, and now they are faced with starting over. Life is never easy and love doesn’t make it any easier.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jill James says:

      Kind of reminds me of stores being ahead of us with the holiday stuff. LOL

      Liked by 3 people

  2. MRS N, the Author says:

    I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of the year, and I never need any help transporting me to Christmastime. Now, don’t laugh ladies. MR N and I are watching Christmas specials/movies and listening to Christmas music already. I know, I know, many eyes are rolling but let me explain why. We lead extremely busy lives and in order to see 115 Christmas shows/movies and listen to 100 Christmas CDs we need to start early. Last night, we saw Christmas at the Clampett’s (Beverly Hillbillies). 😀

    Good luck with your Christmas box set. Love at Christmastime is extra special and I’m sure it’ll be a best-seller.

    Jill, in answer to your question, I’d do anything for love. It took me thirty years to find MR N and we’re in it forever (and in Heaven with a transfer). We made a commitment to each other and amazingly enough, we’re more in love today than we were when we said I do. We’ve gone through deaths, financial strain, family drama and new careers. With each trial, we’ve grown closer and our love is stronger than ever. 🙂

    I’ve never grown out of love but I know friends who have. It’s a tough situation to be in and I don’t envy people who have to deal with that. My hard-lined philosophy is if you don’t love someone anymore and don’t want to be with them, then it’s time to leave. Breaking up is hard to do but living a lie is even worse. 😦

    Jill, your story reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from the movie, Love Actually. A middle-grade boy is trying to explain to his step-father why he’s depressed.

    “You really want to know, even though there’s nothing you can do about it?”


    “Well, the truth is… I’m in love.”

    “What? In love? I have to say, I’m a little relieved.”

    The boy looks confused. “Why?”

    “Well, I thought it was worse than that.”

    The boy looks serious. “Worse than the total agony of being in love?”

    The step-father looks off into the distance. “Well… oh… yes… the total agony.”

    🙂 Love that scene!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jo Grafford says:

    Is there any better time of year? The music, the lights, the snow, the smell of gingerbread… I wildly adore the Christmas season! But you made me laugh at your description of writing about it during the summertime with sweaty legs and the AC pumped up. Too funny, gal! A few things that help pull me back into the Christmas spirit is Hallmark’s Christmas in July sale when all their new holiday ornaments premiere. Yes, I’m one of those nutso holiday junkies who stands in hour-long lines, listening to Christmas music while holding a plate of munchies in one hand and Christmas punch in the other to purchase the next ornaments in all of my sets. It also helps that the local schools and hospitals start asking for volunteers in August for their various holiday outreaches. Sometimes I’m planning Christmas parties and charity benefits by late August.

    Back to your questions about love. Heck, the honeymoon just ends after a while. Life happens. Kids, mortgages, jobs, health issues, inlaws, outlaws, and other laws. I suspect a lot of people fall in and out of love a gazillion times with their special someone over a lifetime. Things that tend to rekindle the flame (in my experience because that’s all I know) are when I make an effort to set the other distractions aside and focus on my hubs. The anniversary weekend getaways to both Atlanta and Savannah meant the world to him. It’s doing the unexpected, planning surprises, going the extra mile, I think.

    In his case, it’s coming up behind me in the kitchen while I’m cooking and spinning me around for a flour-y kiss. Coming home early from a business trip so he can take me out to dinner.

    I’ve known too many people who give up too easily (been guilty of this, too), which takes me to my green thumb analogy. I’m forever yanking out weeds from my roses and shrubs, deadheading wilted petals, and experimenting with all sorts of plant foods and voila! I end up with the most amazing beds some seasons. I think successful relationships take effort, too. You have to find balance between spending enough time together and knowing when to give them space. Supporting without crowding. Having their back without turning critical. Somedays I fail miserably, and other times I get it right.

    I think your questions set the scene for a wonderful Christmas novel. Getting the love back… Wishing you much success in Waking Up For Christmas!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jill James says:

      Jo, your post reminded me of a book reading I went to. The author mentioned love taking work and one of the ladies commented if it took work it wasn’t true love. I call bull****. Real love does take work, lots of hard work, especially as you said, the honeymoon is long over. But it is work that is well worth it too.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jo Grafford says:

        Interesting thought, but we’re conditioned growing up to think it’s magical and effortless. Some of our most beloved stories end with the first kiss or shortly after the first kiss. Boy gets the girl, and they ride off into the sunset. Cinderella. Snow White. Beauty and the Beast. In real life, the kiss is only the beginning. The ride into the sunset simply transitions us into the next chapter. Ain’t it fun being a romance writer? Drawing out the kisses, upping the angst, and dropping the HEA on our readers at more and more surprising junctures? I’m loving all the new sub-genres that keep emerging, too.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Jo Grafford says:

    Reblogged this on Jo Grafford and commented:
    Getting the love back… How do you fall back in love after you’ve fallen out of love? Enjoy the post and fabulous reader comments! –Jo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. susanrhughes says:

    I look forward to reading your Christmas novella when it’s done.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Carol says:

    Loving all the replies. I really like the movie Love Actually also. Great one.

    Keeping love fresh and strong in any marriage or relationship definitely takes a lot of commitment, not just from one, but both parties involved. It takes a lot of consistent work, and yes often hard work to keep the channels open.

    I’m the first one at the sofa when Christmas in July plays the wonderful holiday movies, even though I’ve seen a good percentage of them. They set the mood for months before Christmas.

    My new novella for our Christmas box set is Christmas at Apple Lake. Most of the story takes place in the mountain town of Apple Lake, Georgia. The Christmas story is a sweet romance of finding love again. When a lonely widow and widower meet, the widow’s children are stunned that “Mom” actually contemplates dating again. Unhappy children can wreak havoc on a new relationship. We’ll see how Matt and Gage cope. It’s going to be a fun ride!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. stephaniequeen says:

    Jill, I love your dedication to setting the mood for Christmas! I love that time of year for all the glitter, but for the spirit too–all that giving and getting together with people far and wide–it’s a perfect setting, time and place for a sweet romance. Can’t wait to read them all!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. leighmorgan1 says:

    Can’t wait to read all the Christmas stories, Jill. Hopefully we’ll get to do it again in 2016—can’t even think about Christmas right now, but come November–the day after Thanksgiving to be precise–I’ll be all over this box set!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jill James says:

      Leigh, I have trouble thinking of Christmas in August too, but it is like being in retail and decorating the stores months before the actual holidays. My daughter worked for Michael’s and because you want to do the crafts way before the holidays, they had Christmas stuff up in June.


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