Once Upon a Time…in Serendipity

Happy_Birthday_Taylor_smSince last time I wrote a blog here, a “book birthday” has come and gone.

Taylor Kincaid’s story, Once Upon a Time, released on June 8th. Most of this year’s deadlines have been related to group projects, and Taylor’s story got sidelined several times. So I was super excited to get this book out into the world for readers.

Taylor and her twin sister, Hannah, were introduced in Serendipity, Indiana Book Two–Emily’s Dreams. Emily wasn’t the most lovable chick on the planet at the beginning of that story, but her teenage sisters were beyond obnoxious!

A few years later (in Serendipity time), Taylor and Hannah have grown up a little bit. In fact, they’re out of college! But as you might expect, Taylor has some emotional growing up to do.

OnceUponaTime-MagdalenaScott-MediumHere’s the blurb for Once Upon a Time:

From the USA Today Bestselling author of Small Town Christmas, another heartwarming romance set in the beautiful, rolling hills of Southern Indiana. Follow your heart, and believe in the powerful magic of Love…

Taylor Kincaid has big plans for her life. Falling in love with the mysterious new shop owner in town isn’t one of them.

Taylor and her twin, Hannah, have graduated from college and are ready to leave Serendipity forever. The only problem is an absence of jobs in their fields.

They decide to move back home temporarily, living with their parents again, and taking a little sabbatical from all the hard work (and partying) of college.

But Marcus Kincaid has different expectations of his daughters. The free ride is at an end, and they have to find work in Serendipity if they expect to live at home.

Hannah accidentally volunteers to work at the Standish Family Christmas Tree Farm with their sister Emily (Kincaid) Standish. But Taylor will float resumes in the little town, and find a job that will pad her bank account, and be easy to leave when the right employment opportunity comes along.

It’s a great plan, until she steps into the antiques shop on the town square, and meets its handsome, enigmatic new owner. Now leaving may be more complicated than staying.

Sweet romance, “coincidences” that might be more than that, and a love that survives the unthinkable come together in this new Serendipity, Indiana tale.


Writing Once Upon a Time was a joyful experience, and I hope that reading it is, too.

Hannah will get her own romance this autumn. In Once Upon a Time, you’ll get some hints as to where Hannah finds her guy. But if you’ve read any of the Serendipity books, you know there are surprises in store for her.

A reviewer touched my heart recently when she said that reading the Serendipity, Indiana series makes her happy. These days, that’s some pretty awesome validation.

Happy summer reading to you!


Destination Planes, Trains & …

It’s field trip Friday!


Although I live in Chicagoland, we are not heading toward the city!

Say what? Aren’t all the best attractions located somewhere close to the Chicago city limits?Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 9.19.50 AM.png


So slam on the brakes, lay down a strip of rubber, and reset your Navi system because we’re headed out to Volo, Illinois. And for a good reason.

If you followed my last post, you know my one and only son is about to fly the coop. Here’s how I see this spreading-of-the-wings thing going down: Destination Iowa State. Destination any-Formula-One-engineering internship/co-op. Destination…video chat with Mom and Dad…

IMG_5634.JPGSo, this summer we’re making the most of our time together before University move-in day comes. If you’ve figured out that my son loves fast vehicles, well anything with an engine really, then this day of fun will come as no surprise. And it is a full day, with pole barn after pole barn filled with cars. Vintage cars. Muscle cars. Fast cars. Cars for sale.

There is so much to see—planes, snowmobiles, bikes, submarines, just to name a few. With a thirty minute guided train tour, plenty of food and drink, and antique shopping also on site, there’s a little something for everyone at the Volo Auto Museum.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our visit…


Are these photos bringing back any memories?


No museum would be complete without a Star Wars exhibit!


You should definitely visit the Batmobile in honor of Adam West!


For more information you can check out the museum’s website Volo Car Museum. I am not affiliated in any way with this museum. I just enjoyed our day and wanted to share.

Got a favorite destination you like to visit when you’re not writing? Post it below. I’d love to hear about it.



I admit it. I’m going to need therapy.


I’ve prepared for this moment for eighteen years now. But in these last few hours as a mom with a senior in high school, come Saturday, I know I’m going to completely fall apart.

Sure, after twenty-four weeks of puking my guts out and an emergency C-section, I cut the cord to my only son. Really. I did.

  • Who sent their five-year-old to Wisconsin for camp? I did.
  • Who sent their eight-year-old 700 miles away to summer camp where he’s going to learn to identify bear scat and sleep in the woods? I did.
  • Who handed over the key fob on that very first day the driver’s permit was issued and taught him how to drive all over Chicagoland? I did.
  • Who dropped their sixteen-year-old off at O’Hare Airport so he can board a flight to Boston and experience a three-week engineering adventure? I did.
  • Who got exceptionally nervous when she received a picture text from her I’m-way-too-busy-to-keep-in-touch son who captioned said photo: Literally lost at MIT? I did.



Who taught him how to make pancakes? Admittedly, I did NOT do this; apparently, he can read the box and follow directions. YES!! But wait! I taught him how to read. Therefore, I must have also taught him how to make pancakes. Booyeah!


So why am I going to fall apart this Saturday at the graduation ceremony and do it again when I drop him off this August so he can begin the next adventure of his life? Because…

  • Who’s going to point out what’s wrong with commercials X, Y & Z?
  • Who’s going to have a conversation with me about the plot of the latest show we’re addicted to, and how he’s über confident the plot is following Vivaldi’s Four Seasons because, to him, “It’s soo obvi.”
  • Who’s going to destroy the upstairs bathroom and have no clue it’s disgusting?
  • Who’s going to insist the 80’s music I grew up listening to isn’t in any way too loud and should, therefore, be cranked up even more?
  • Who’s going to beat me in Family Game Night?
  • Who’s going to tell me he loves me each morning before heading out the door?

The list could go on. After all, a lot has gone on during the short eighteen years from the moment he took his first breath to now. And it has been short, seemingly flying by like a next-generation fighter jet that is obliterating supersonic speeds well above Mach 6.72, which is 6.72 times the speed of sound, or 4520 miles per hour. Fast. No wonder everyone keeps saying, “Don’t blink, you’ll miss it.”

Yes, there is so much to look forward to in life. And ultimately this is exactly what hubby and I have prepared our son for. But, among many things, I sure am going to miss our evening mealtime, which turns into thirty minutes of Wheel-watching and a focused attempt at being the first to blurt out the answer to the puzzle.


Thankfully, I’ve got hubby at my side to help me solve the puzzles I can’t, friends who insist on four-hour lunches at Portillos, and my Main Street sisters to keep me busy. Now, where did I put that number so I can make an appointment for my first therapy session? Might it be 1-800-Disney?

#MarchMadness Through the Eyes of a Writer #amreading #books

Hello & Welcome!

Three things come to mind when I think about the month of March: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, Spring Break at the beach, and March Madness—the road to the Final Four!

Growing up in Southern Indiana, March was all about basketball. So I thought I’d have a little fun and fill out my brackets using a book to go along with each team. I put this together before the tournament started. These books have something to do with the state or region the basketball team is from. If watching college basketball isn’t really your thing, you can always dig into a good book. Here are a few of my favorites.


March Madness.jpg

Let’s take a closer look at each bracket…

Continue reading

Simple Pleasures in Life

dandelionDo you remember doing simple things as a kid that brought such an abundance of joy? Picking dandelions, making a wish, and blowing the fluff to the bright, blue sky. Finding a refrigerator box and making a puppet theater, a castle, a rocket ship. Lying on the ground and imagining clouds into fire-breathing dragons and playful puppies romping across the sky. Rolling down a grassy knoll until you were too dizzy to walk. When every day of summer was a new adventure.

As writers we get to retain that wonder of a new story living in our heads, coming out to play, and bringing delight to others. Each story is a new day and each day can bring a new story.

Writers block is your muse telling you you’ve lost that wonder, that you’re telling the story wrong. Your muse is the fun kid on the block who always knew a thousand ways to have fun on a hot summer day with a box and some imagination. Go! Chase after him. Summer is only so long. Don’t lose the wonder!!

Jill James, writer of romance, kid at heart
The Zombie Hunter’s Wife is coming soon! Book 2 – Time of Zombies series

Summertime Movies

I love movies almost as much as I love books and reading. Summer is a great time to see movies with your kids or without. 🙂 It is the time of the summer blockbuster film. I started my love affair with movies when I was a kid going to the movies with my dad who was a movie-holic. The first movie I remember seeing at the movie theatre as a kid was Diamonds are Forever/James Bond.

I was 10 years old when my parents divorced and my brother was five. My dad got us every other weekend and he had not a clue what to do with us. He had worked swing shift for all the years I could remember and we got to see more of him once the parents divorced than we had when they were married. His answer to the dilemma was all-you-can-eat buffets and movies. Unlike today, movies were usually the cheapest entertainment around.

dawn potaOne of my fondest summer memories was the movie marathons–at the movies, not on television. Today I’m going to see the newest Planet of the Apes movie and it has caused a wonderful flashback to seeing all five POTA movies at a theatre in Berkeley with my dad and brother one hot summer day in the ’70s. We sat and ate popcorn and hot dogs and watched the movies with my dad telling us all about the meaning behind the movies, how well or not well the costumes were made, and how they did special effects and sounds back then. I don’t remember all he told us, just how neat it was to spend all that time with dad doing what we all loved to do.

My dad even made it so I could watch horror movies and not scream like a girl. LOL We would watch Creature Features (local horror movie show) late at night and he would tell me all the secrets of how they made a movie scary when it really wasn’t. Tip: watch a scary movie without sound and see how not scary it is!!

Next to books, movies are my second favorite entertainment thing!

Jill James, contemporary and paranormal romance writer
Another great thing for summer! Our Weddings on Main Street boxed set is still 99¢

Lazy Summer Days? Not! by Jill James

This was supposed to be a lazy summer. No kids. No grandchild. Just lazy fun for Mr. and Mrs. James. A trip to Vegas. Some day trips to the Wine Country. Nope. Didn’t happen.

It started when we realized this was a milestone year. My husband would turn 50 in June. Our 25th anniversary was in June. He would retire after 29 years as a police officer in July. I would turn 50 in August. So the DH (dear husband) decided we needed to celebrate big. So we sent out postcards and invited 50 of our nearest and dearest to a luxury box at the Oakland Coliseum. Of course, it is now O.co park but I refuse to call it that. LOL

ballgame 1So, we picked a game that was during the day, was against another of DH’s favorite teams (the Angels) and we set the date. July 28th. My brother even made it up from San Diego with his family for the game and to help celebrate.

It was an amazing day at the park. Not too hot. Not too cold. In a luxury box with tons of hot dogs, sliders, popcorn, peanuts, Caesar salad, and cookies. Yum!

ballgame 2Icing on the cake? The A’s won!shed for blog

Then we decided we needed a shed in the backyard for all the extra stuff with DIL (daughter-in-law) living with us. That has become a big project too. It is almost done. But it needed a cement pad first. Oh wait! First, the old swing set had to go. Then the pad. Then (finally!!!!) delivery of shed parts. (It is build it yourself) Then two days for DH and me to build floor and two days plus for DH and buddies to build the rest. It is still not done, but it is close. It is enormous in our yard. 10′ x 12′ and 8 feet tall.

So that has been my summer vacation so far. How about you? 🙂

Jill James, writer of contemporary and paranormal romance
Coming Soon! Love in the Time of Zombies. (what else I’ve been doing this summer)