I Love Fall. How about you?

Fall is finally here!

Except our days are still in the 90’s, but the evenings are cool and so refreshing. It is relaxing to sit on the deck and watch the squirrels scamper around and hide their food for upcoming winter.

The other day our community cat gave the squirrels a run for their money! Such is nature. Just so you know, all the squirrels were safe.

After a time, the cat stretched across the shaded grass and licked his paws. He was done. At least for the moment.

 

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Fall has an energizing influence on me. I always wonder what’s around the next bend, so I’m anxious to get started. Place your coffee cup on one of the posts beside mine, button up your sweater, and jog down the lane with me. Breathe in crisp, cool air and enjoy a peaceful jog or a walk in the woods.

Perhaps we’ll run across a rock-laden stream to dip our toes into. I’m definitely reminded of The Smoky Mountains. One of my favorite places to unwind. One of my books is A Smoky Mountain Christmas, of course set in the Smokies.

 

Cornucopia

Isn’t this Cornucopia beautiful? They make such delightful decorations. Which reminds me, it’s time for a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. Warm and spicy from the oven, and the entire house has an incredible aroma. Maybe I’ll bake one or the other today. Who knows?

Our Authors of Main Street latest anthology, tentatively entitled Christmas Cookies, is scheduled for release some time in October, 2019. We’ll post when the book releases.

My contribution for the set is CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS. – which is the fourth and last book in the APPLE LAKE series. 

I hope you enjoy Luke and Ellie’s journey!

Christmas Blessings (small)

 

 

On another note, Stone of Truth is FREE at Amazon, until
Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 11:59 PM PDT.

1561056117 DIY for FB & Twitter

Stone of Truth will be FREE (at Amazon) for five (5) days. (NOTE: ONLY THREE MORE DAYS LEFT IN THE PROMOTION) Please grab a copy!
See promotion dates below.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SSK9BL7/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_GlrIDbA40C4NP
Free Book Promotion
My gift to you for my birthday. Enjoy!
Monday, September 23, 2019, 12:00 AM PDT
Friday, September 27, 2019, 11:59 PM PDT

 

What are your favorite things to do through Fall?

I wish you Music, Butterflies and most of all Love. 

In (Out) My Comfort Zone

I’m most comfy in my sweats and at the computer. But every once in a while I have to step out of my comfort zone and do stuff that is on the top of my non-comfort list.

Like flying on an airplane! By myself! So not my favorite thing to do. I get an anxiety attack. What gate am I supposed to be at? What time is my flight? What are the rules for security?

I had to do this once before so I’m getting better. But still, not my favorite thing to do. When I was a little kid, flying on an airplane was exciting, adventurous, and fun. The seats were wide and the legroom was enormous. The food was served on china and the salt and pepper were tiny little crystal containers. Flying somewhere was an event with ladies in hats and gloves and shiny shoes. Men in suits. Now, we’re packed in like cattle and told not to complain while we remove everything just to check in.

But, I will step out of my comfort zone and fly in an airplane to see my high school friend I haven’t seen in 30 years, give or take.

By the time you are reading this post I will be back from my journey to Seattle!


What is outside your comfort zone?


Jill James, romance writer and reluctant traveler.

Retelling my author story

Conferences rock. There I am in the purple Regency duchess outfit, complete with ostrich feathers, holding the certificate for one of the 4th places I won in the Koru Awards at the Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference. The Awards dinner, and all the other socialising, was great. I had a fabulous time. But the real gold of the weekend was in the workshops, and I’ll be mining it for months, if not years.

One workshop set me retelling my author origin story in a way that tells more of a universal tale, harnessing the tropes my life has followed. Mine is a reinvention story. What’s yours?

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Have you ever wanted something so much you were afraid to even try? That was me ten years ago.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a novelist. I even started dozens of stories, over the years.

But life kept getting in the way. A seriously ill child who required years of therapy; a rising mortgage that led to a full-time job; six children, my own chronic illness… the writing took a back seat.

As the years passed, the fear grew. If I didn’t put my stories out there in the market, I wouldn’t risk making a fool of myself. I could keep the dream alive if I never put it to the test.

Then my mother died. That great lady had waited her whole life to read a novel of mine, and now it would never happen.

So I faced my fear and changed it–told everyone I knew I was writing a novel. Now I’d make a fool of myself for certain if I didn’t finish.

My first book came out to excellent reviews in December 2014, and the rest is history. Many books, lots of positive reviews, and a few awards later, I feel foolish for not starting earlier.

I write historical fiction with a large helping of romance, a splash of Regency, and a twist of suspense. I then try to figure out how to slot the story into a genre category. I’m mad keen on history, enjoy what happens to people in the crucible of a passionate relationship, and love to use a good mystery and some real danger as mechanisms to torture my characters.

Dip your toe into my world with one of my lunch-time reads collections or a novella, or dive into a novel. And let me know what you think.

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I have an origin story for my imprint, too.

I wanted to call my imprint Olive Press, since my mum’s name was Olive. But a bit of research convinced me it was a bad idea: already used, and all for Christian self-help books and Bible study guides. I don’t want to go misleading readers!

So I named it after my mother’s childhood home, which in turn was named after her family’s ancestral village, and I chose an olive tree for the symbol.

 

Watch Me Write a Novel in a Week

I’m setting a lofty goal. I’m attempting to write a 50k word romantic comedy in six days. I’ll post my daily output here on my blog, and social media. I’ll set daily goals and write the outline for the next day every night before I go to bed.

My goal: to write 2k words in a 60 minute sprint.

Monday, 10-5

Tuesday, 9-4

Wednesday 9-5 (unless my husband takes the day off–it’s his birthday)

Thursday 9-5 (A group of friends and I are starting a podcast practice, and we talked of practicing on this day. Not sure if that’s still happening.)

Friday 11-3

Saturday

Life will get in the way. I’m expecting it to do that, but even if it takes me two weeks, that’s still amazing. (As a matter of fact, shortly after I wrote this, I learned my 98 year old dad is in the hospital with pneumonia. He lives in Washington and I’m in California. Part of my wants to run up there. Another part argues I should stay put until he’s home. I’m currently involved in an internal debate, which is always bad for writing.)book in a week

My friend Greta Boris introduced me to what I’m calling the stone and sand method. It harkens back to an analogy on time management that I’m sure everyone is familiar with where you have a jar, large rocks, and sand. The large rocks are your priorities and the sand is the frivolous. If you put in the sand first, your rocks won’t fit in the jar, but if the rocks go in first, you can pour in the sand and because it can fill all the empty spaces, everything fits.

What does that have to do with writing a novel? You write the basic plot points first, then you go back and fill in the descriptions. That’s what you’ll be seeing. The first draft will be rough. Also, when I come to a brain-fart moment or I write a clunky sentence I don’t stop and try to fix it, I simply mark it with a @. By the end of the first draft, I typically have about 75 @s littered throughout the manuscript. I usually will need a day to clean them up before I attempt a rewrite.

I’ll also be posting visuals on Pinterest.

So Much Excitement

Wow! It’s Labor Day. That’s the big end of summer celebration for Canada and the USA. Mexico celebrates Labor Day May 1. But for most of us in North America, it’s the last big picnic, BBQ, or vacation before the school year starts.

Unfortunately, some places have decided to start school earlier. That just fouls up vacation times for many families who have timeshares or long-standing vacation plans. Personally, I’m glad that my area doesn’t participate in earlier school starting dates. Tidewater, Virginia is a tourist area. That means many families have thirteen weeks to make a living. It’s an odd way to live, but so many people are dependent on summer vacationers. I’ve got an upcoming book set in an island town that depends on summer tourists.

In 114 days, it will be Christmas. Yikes! I’m not certain where this summer went or how it is possible that Christmas is around the corner. That also means that the Authors of Main Street will be putting out another Christmas boxed set. Most of us are putting the final edits on our books for that set.

I’ve written quite a few books for those boxed sets. In fact I’d have a difficult time deciding which books I like best. I guess my readers like A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming as it has sold over 100K and is still popular.

The other book that stands out is A Sister’s Christmas Gift. It will be released this fall as a single title. Both those books contain toddlers. Babies and Christmas just seem to go together.

What doesn’t seem normal is writing a Christmas story when it’s hot outside. So I try to imagine I’m sitting in front of the fireplace snuggled under a warm blanket. I might even listen to a little Christmas music. Every job as its idiosyncrasies. Writing Christmas stories in the summer is part of my job.

This year’s Christmas boxed set, Christmas Cookies on Main Street, features cookies and we’re including favorite cookie recipes.

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Loving Arabelle, a historical western, will be coming out this month. Cynthia Woolf’s book the first in this series, Thorpe’s Mail Order Bride, was just released.

Thorpe's Mail-Order Bride (The Brides of Homestead Canyon Book 1)

One more thing! (Yes, I’m liberally using exclamation points because all of it is exciting.) I’m getting a new website. I can’t wait. I’ve turned it over to an agency. Meeting with them was almost overwhelming as the number of things they say they will do makes my head spin. I’m sitting there thinking huh? I am the most techno-challenged person alive. Yet this company swears it will be a cakewalk for me when they are finished. I hope so.

My little website was fine in 2008. Eleven years later, it’s 2019, and it totally sucks. The website has been in severe need of updating for quite a few years. So I’m excited and hopeful. I can’t wait to see what this company will do to it.

Here’s the way it looks now. http://www.ayersbooks.com/ Before the end of the year, it should be spectacular.

With luck, I’ll being putting out the newsletter for the Authors of Main Street. I’m going to learn how to do that and tie it to Facebook. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsofMainStreet/