Looking Forward to 2020

back yard

I’m sitting here in my dining room in the aftermath of a snowstorm, realizing as I look out at the thick layer of snow outside that there’s something like 10 weeks until I’ll see grass again. It’s bleak. But that’s okay – instead of letting the weather get me down, I’m thinking about the things I’m looking forward to this year. Simple things, mostly; I don’t have any grand plans or life-changing goals.

Writing: I’ve plotted out a Christmas story that I might be able to get done for the fall if I can find the time to do it.

Editing: It’s work, but I enjoy it. I’m lucky because the authors I work with are awesome, and I look forward to working on the new stories they come up with.

My dad’s 80th birthday: Don’t tell him, but I’m already working on my speech for his party in March. I hate giving speeches, but I love my dad to bits, and he deserves to be celebrated.

My fave TV shows returning: Outlander, Stranger Things, Killing Eve, The Crown, Dead to Me… After reading all day in my day job and then doing freelance work in the evening, I love to lose myself in the next chapters of these stories I’ve been following – especially if I’ve had a bad day and I need to just veg out.

Summer vacation: It’s not Disney World, but we might take the kids to Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto this year. I think they’ll go crazy for the rides and the water park. I always enjoy creating special memories for my girls, and we don’t have to go far away or spend a ton of money to do that.

What simple things are you looking forward to in 2020?

 

A New Year A New Decade

Wow, it’s 2020, and it’s a new decade. As a little child, I tried to imagine myself far into the upcoming century like in the year 2020 and thinking I’d be really old. No idea why I chose that date. But it’s arrived – I’m looking at the calendar. It’s here and so am I. And I’m not that old.

Last year was a good year. Every year has its ups and downs. The year 2019 wasn’t marred with anything super horrible and actually it was filled with lots of good things that offset the sad things, such as losing a good friend. Unfortunately, it came with some frustrations and disappointments, but all of that is quite normal. Life isn’t a bowl of cherries. But when the lemons hit, I prefer to make lemon meringue pies or at least a good glass of iced tea with lemon.

I’m already looking forward to my trip to Texas in March to the national convention of the Association of Writers in San Antonio. After the convention, I’ll spend time with family who lives near there. Vacation! Yippee! Spending time with the people I love…I don’t think it gets much better than that.

My newest book,  A Sister’s Christmas Gift finally went live on Amazon on Christmas. It got hung-up in their system and didn’t publish when it was supposed to, but that’s fixed. Originally the book was in the boxed set Christmas Babies on Main Street.

My historical novel, Loving Matilda, is coming out this month. Then Loving Ellen will follow that in March. Loving Arabelle was published this past fall. Cynthia Woolf also has books set in Homestead Canyon, Thorpe’s Mail Order Bride, Kissed by a Stranger, and A Family for Christmas. Kissed by a Stranger is scheduled to release in February. We’ve had fun combining the stories of these early pioneers and placing them in Homestead Canyon.

I have a contemporary book with an older hero and heroine, Waverley Beach’s Bookstore, which will soon be available. I loved writing about these two people because they weren’t young, not that they are old, but they both have full lives. Plus they had young adult children. The heroine lived with her mom and grandmother. The multigenerational family, and the townspeople made for some interesting situations in the very small island town where everyone knows when you sneeze.

And I have another Wedding Vow book in my Montgomery family saga series. That will release this spring.

There’s a local group boxed set of beach reads that will be coming out before summer, and I have a book in that. Yes, it’s been a busy year. Isn’t that wonderful?

I took some time off this fall to do a few other things. I still don’t have those projects completed, but I am back to writing. I should have several more books finished and ready for release before the year is through.

People ask how long it takes me to write. I really don’t know. It depends on how much research goes into the book, how much time I actually spend typing, and the length of the book. That’s the simple easy part. Then it goes to editors who also have other commitments and often don’t get the book back to me for a few weeks. The editing process is the longest. I’m picky enough to want everything perfect so it takes extra time. Plus I’m not a speed demon on the keyboard! Actually I’m slow – three fingers on one hand and two on the other.

I’m very excited because my website might be live in the next week. You’ll be able to click on the book and read a chapter. How’s that for nifty? I’ll post a notice on this site and on Facebook when it goes live.

To some extent I feel as though life is tossing things at me at the speed of light. Then another part of me feels as though it’s all very normal. I think everyone goes through phases where life tosses the ball at them faster than they can react. Other times life just keeps moving in its normal pace. Maybe age says that I must keep up. I’ve started the New Year, healthy and happy. Maybe that’s all that really matters.

Please read the sample provided. In fact take a moment and read the sample that Amazon provides before you buy any book.

A Sister’s Christmas Gift

FREE SAMPLE

If you haven’t bought this year’s boxed set by the Authors of Main Street, you’re missing out on some great stories, and it’s only 99c.

Small Goals

To Do ListIt’s a brand new year, a time when people traditionally make resolutions to do things better. But how many people actually keep their resolutions? It’s too easy to slip back into old habits. And maybe January isn’t the best time to try, for instance, cutting back on junk food – especially up here in Canada, where, let’s face it, it takes a lot of chocolate to get through the three months of frigid weather, windshield scraping and snow shoveling ahead!

For me, the key to reaching my goals is small steps. Large goals like “lose ten pounds” or “write a novel in three months” are too much. I break my goals into manageable chucks, write them down and consult my list as I go. I might only be able to write two chapters of my novel per month, but if I keep that modest target in mind, by the end of the year I’ll have a completed manuscript. Since I have so little free time during the week and have to make up for it on weekends, it helps to break those days into hours and plan what I need to get done. I don’t usually achieve everything on my list, and I beat myself up when tasks are left over at the end of the day (or week).

I suppose my New Year’s resolution should be to sit back and look at my list of accomplishments, small as they may be, and give myself a pat on the back for doing the best I can.

May 2019 bring you peace, happiness and wonderful surprises.

My Year of More

Before Christmas there were a bunch of memes on Facebook about your word for the year. A power word that would define your year to come. I chose mine.

More!!

More writing. More reading. More exercise. More healthy eating. More activities that get me outdoors. More taking chances. More looking for opportunities and seizing them.

I’m already taking some marketing classes to up my game. I love my books but it doesn’t do me any good to write them if no one reads them. I need to make them discoverable. I need to do ads, and giveaways, and get them seen by actual eyeballs. 🙂

I’m going to start the Buns, Guns, and Abs Challenge. Every day is a fresh day to start anew. I don’t have to wait for the beginning of the week or the beginning of the month. Every day is a new possibility.

I’m going to try new-to-me authors in genres I don’t normally read. I’m going to get back to doing genealogy. I love writing, but it doesn’t have to be all I do. I can multi-task every aspect of my life.

So, I’m going to work on 3 books this year (at least to start the year) plus one for the Authors of Main Street boxed set and one for myself. Not sure what it will be yet, but it will be just for me. I might not even publish it. But it will be MORE. More deep, more intense, more me. Might be time for that memoir I always threatened to write. LOL

My MORE year will have zombies (book 4), ghosts (books 2 & 3), and self-growth (exercise and good food). I can’t wait.

What will your year be? Leave a comment and your power word for 2019 and I will pick a comment to win a free book from me.  Jill

New Year Goal – Read More!

new_years_resolutions_listWhen it comes to resolutions, I generally make a list and spend the rest of the year beating myself up for not achieving them or achieving marginally. NOT QUITE UP TO PAR.

Well NOT this year. I have more modest expectations. I’ll write them down as they come, so far I have only one.

READ MORE. (Keep track, write a review).

51Ox2y5cwOL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_So far, I’ve finished Lee Child’s, “The Midnight Line” and Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris’s, “The Lost Words”.

Two completely different books. If you haven’t read Lee Child before, start with an earlier book. If you’re a Reacher fan, wait for the next one.

As for “The Lost Words”, it’s a beautiful book in every way. Meant to put the magic back into language of nature, it does so, beautifully.412tLlnwukL._SX357_BO1,204,203,200_

It’s a children’s book, and I loved it. Not as much as “Wind in the Willows”, but more than “Charlotte’s Web”, which sits on my desk. Well worth the read. Written in response to words like ACORN, OTTER, LARK, and BLUEBELL being struck from children’s dictionaries.

517C-UTkNAL._AC_US218_I’m currently reading “Benjamin Franklin, an American Life” by Walter Isaacson, which about 1/8 in is enlightening and well written – we’ll see how it finishes.

I’m only a few pages into, “Magpie Murders” by Anthony Horowitz. Can’t really say much besides I’m intrigued, confused, and hooked. I’m thinking I’m going to love it.41TDQZ5XDsL._AC_US218_

I’m re-watching all of the “Inspector Lewis” episodes from Masterpiece Mystery – so well written and acted.

I’m loving the new TV show, “Lethal Weapon” as well. It’s funny. Sometimes poignant. Always entertaining. If you haven’t seen Season One – do – the arc is so satisfying.

Simple things on my list for this New Year. READ MORE, TAKE NOTE OF GREAT STORIES, written or on the screen, WRITE A REVIEW. Adding one more, TRY TO EMULATE WHAT I ENJOY.

What are you reading or watching?

What keeps you reading or watching?

Happy New Year – May great stories find you.

Leigh

Happy Holidays, and Size Does Count

We hope that no matter what you celebrate that the season has been kind to you.

I think the Authors of Main Street took a few days off from posting this month.  The holidays sort of all come together in December. Except we on Main Street forgot to warn each other and to warn you, our faithful blog readers, that we were going to be busy. Like wayward children we hope in the spirit of the holidays that we’re forgiven.

This Christmas came a day early for me. My youngest daughter couldn’t be with the family this year. She spent most of the day in the hospital’s ER. Don’t feel sorry for her; she’s ducky fine. She’s one of people who gave up a day at home with family to be there for others who need her more. She’s an RN. She was on her regular work schedule.

As a family, we had to celebrate without her. But we didn’t forget about her.  Like so many people, we lacked one of our loved ones. At least we knew she was alive and well, and only a few miles away providing comfort and care to those who needed it. Many families aren’t that lucky.

Christmas Eve was our family dinner. Just immediate family, my oldest daughter, the men that my girls love and my two granddaughters plus, one granddaughter’s boyfriend were at my oldest daughter’s house. (My granddaughter is allowed to have a boyfriend, she’s over 21. The question is – am I allowed to call him a boyfriend?)  Dinner was delicious! And I didn’t have to cook any of it!

My gift from the family was a beautiful computer monitor that is huge! Just in time for another set of edits! I  love the monitor and I love my girls for giving it to me! Even the granddaughters chipped into it. Don’t ask if it’s HD or any variety of letter combinations.  I’m the least techno-oriented author you know. It’s BIG! That’s all that matters.

See, size does count! I learned that when I was little. The bigger the tires, the easier it was to get through the snow. The larger the bank account, the better. And now it’s the large flash drives that count. And let’s not forget the large hard drives. It’s large and hard – oh yeah!

There’s a lot of things I can laugh about as this year comes to a close. It hasn’t been a bad year, if you stack it all together. There’s been worse years and there’s been better. I lost a good friend this year.  He was a few years older than I am. He taught me things about a camera that I never knew. After seeing my granddaughter’s photography when she was four years old, he taught my granddaughter even more about using a camera and encouraged her to continue with her photography. He called me one day and said he had something for me. I thought he was joking when he asked me to stop by his house. When I got there and he handed me one of his cameras and a super-duper lens, I broke into tears. I’d used that camera so many times when we worked on projects together, and he knew I couldn’t afford one for myself. He had bought a new one and decided that owning what he did was a bit much.  So he gave me one.  It seems like every year the grim reaper claims another friend a little too soon.

But on the brighter side, I have a book getting ready to release this spring. It’s undergoing some scrutiny within the Deaf community. It’s contemporary and a wee bit different from my other contemporary romances. The romance (love) is never in question, the relationship has a long path to travel. Why? He’s Deaf. She has her hearing and doesn’t know sign language. Her mother is dead-set against her marrying a disabled man. And like most Deaf, he doesn’t consider himself disabled. He thinks those with hearing have the problem because we don’t understand him. He understands us, so why can’t we understand him.

I’ve not created a super hero, I’ve merely presented a man who is Deaf, Deaf of Deaf, an average, young Deaf man. That might come as a shock. Most are well educated, underpaid but educated, many with advanced degrees.

Being deaf is considered legally a disability. It is difficult especially for those who have lost their hearing. But the Deaf of Deaf, those born deaf with deaf parents don’t consider themselves disabled at all unless they do have another problem. But deafness alone, no. That is not a disability. But if a person has lost their hearing, it is disabling.

I don’t know more than a few words in ASL, American Sign Language, and I can barely do the alphabet. I keep plugging away at it.  So it took lots of help to write this book and I’ve gotten involved with the Deaf community here in Tidewater, Virginia. Some look at me with suspicion because I seriously need to learn their language. Others are so friendly and welcoming. But every time I’ve gone to an event with them, I’ve had fun and learned something new.

So watch for my book Silent Journey to be published this Spring.  And yes, I’ll be back here on New Year’s Day.  May the year 2018 bring us all lots of wonderful things. And here on Main Street, we are planning a very exciting year for our readers. How about another boxed set this summer, plus our usual Xmas holiday one? That’s two in one year!

Here’s a little something for everyone.  Click on it for the link to download a full-sized version from Freepik. I use this company all the time! Mine is getting printed by month for my desk.  Yes, I have a calendar in my mobile phone. I just transfer all those appointments to the calendar by my computer. All I have to do is look up!

 

Calendar 2018. Vintage decorative elements Oriental pattern, vector illustration Vector       FREEPIX

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018

2017 – The Year of More

I am proclaiming 2017 my year of More. I’m grabbing for the brass ring, climbing to the top of the mountain, aiming for the moon, kicking butt, and taking names.

wish-potMy best friend gave me a Wish Pot one Christmas a few years back. You write your wishes for the new year and put them in the pot and next New Year’s Eve you take them out and see how you did. This New Year’s Eve I took them out and I had achieved 3 out of 4 and the fourth one was thisclose!!

Then you write the new wishes and put them in for the coming year. I have decided that 2017 is my year of MORE! More exercise. More healthy eating. More writing. More joy. More happiness. More of everything that is great in life. For too long I’ve been trying so hard to get somewhere in my writing instead of just enjoying the process. I’m opening my hands and letting that go. This year I will seize opportunities that come my way. I will stretch my horizons and try new things, more things.

Who is with me in this year of more?!!!


Jill James, romance writer and seizer of the day!!