Here are the ‘lost’ two opening chapters of FALLEN COMRADE – these were cut after the first round of querying was not successful, so many years ago! Feedback suggested that, while good, the first two chapters delayed the “meet-cute” too long and the book would be better off without them. I’m still darn proud of these two chapters – they were the source of some contest wins along the way!
Happy reading! – Jillian
Nothing good came from a knock on the front door after 9 p.m.
Kiera McNeill froze, halfway down the vacuous hallway of her suburban Atlanta home. She shivered, and not from the cool March air or lower house temperature required ‘to keep equipment running at optimal levels.’ Before she stepped onto the cut stone pavers of the spacious foyer, her pretend husband for this undercover operation, Mateo, bolted out of a back room, flipped off the hall lights, and grabbed her wrist, yanking her back.
“Stop,” he hissed. “The silent alarm triggered a few seconds ago. Damn it.” He pressed the side of a fist next to a fake photo hanging on the cream-colored wall. “We’re technically still in the field. Not yet sure who’s out there. Or how many.”
True. She hadn’t heard any car doors close. Whoever knocked was either quiet or had left the vehicle doors open.
The fact that whoever was outside the house must be a threat? Testimony to how bizarre her sheltered world had become.
An imaginary hand tightened around her neck. On instinct, she brushed her fingers over her swollen belly, and the nudge in response from Little Bit made her palm jump. This baby always surprised her. Figured. Then again, being pregnant hadn’t been part of Kiera’s plans.
Nor had she planned on Mateo, her partner in this unofficial mission, pretending to be the baby’s father.
Low voices filtered through the front door.
Her mouth went dry.
“Wait,” he whispered, stepping past her. He inched down the wall to the end of the hallway and eased the bottom of a fake picture frame to the side, revealing small screens that relayed images from the front stoop and around the house. “Too many of them. Shit. One is at the back door.” He pushed the frame back over the monitor with a secure click.
She jumped at a louder bang on the front door.
A few quick updates for my readers.
Hidden Comrade, book #2 of my Project Morpheus series, has a release date of 1/20/23! Watch this space for more details!
I have a new social media presence on Mastodon. Feel free to follow me there, just in case the little bird app flies away...
10th BOOK (to be) PUBLISHED!
Yesterday at 3:45 pm, I submitted my 2nd book in the Project Morpheus romantic suspense series! That will be the 10th book I've had published. What a milestone. It still feels like a big relief and weight off to finally get the book out the door. No less a relief than on the first book published in 2015!
That's not to say it's the 10th book I've ever written. My very first book will stay buried under the bed forever, it was so bad. I have one more book in Project Morpheus drafted, 3 books in a Chicago FBI series drafted, and a medical romance series where the first book is partly drafted. So, really it's 15 1/2 books written. That's a decent accomplishment!
I'm trying out a new website format/theme. Don't love it yet, and I might play around with some tabs and categories. Unfortunately, I'm no graphic design guru, so it's trial and error (heavy on the "error") when it comes to websites.
UPCOMING RELEASE NEWS!
You all -- I am so excited to have a new book coming out 7/26/22!
FALLEN COMRADE, book #1 in the Project Morpheus romantic suspense series, is being published by Evernight and I cannot squee enough about how much I love this book!
This is the book that has been in the ether for about 6 years. In the book, I took some big-time writing risks and tackle challenging topics and situations. Quite frankly I allow things to get very uncomfortable and scary (spoiler alert, it's a happily-ever-after -- no worries -- I've got you!). It was emotionally difficult for me to write and even harder to execute with appropriate sensitivity and, also ... application of the laws of physics (you'll see what I mean when you read it).
So basically I'm using this blog post to expand on some mentoring activities I might be doing later this year. They said "100 word bio" and I basically used 5 words to say "more mentoring info at: my website"
That's not cheating. That's using resources effectively and working within parameters! :)
Over the past several years I've done varying levels of mentoring. You'll see me supporting great causes like Romance for Reproductive Justice with my usual offering of a 3 chapter critique. I've done some volunteer mentoring for Tessera Editorial clients and had a fun time working with folks there! I'm proud to say that I've had a small role to play in teaching craft and spiffing up the first 3 chapters for several terrific new authors. Some of whom have gotten book deals with television rights. Looking at you, Yas! (I'd love to take credit for any of it, but that was all due to her amazing story.)
So I am admittedly a smidge reclusive -- er, reluctant -- to do videos that go out on the interwebs. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sit down with Shay Baby of Brown Book Series at the recent Chicago Spring Fling Conference and boy was it a hoot!
Shay is the loveliest person and made the live interview mostly painless.
I did my best to name drop other authors and indepedent bookstores, but honestly I ended up saying whatever hit my brain and BOY OH BOY IS THAT DANGEROUS!
Anyway, feel free to check out yours truly in live action in all her awkward, ghost-like glory FULL YOUTUBE INTERVIEW HERE
If you want the highlights, here you go:
1) breaking news at 2:16
2) editing while waiting for a patient to dilate 4:11
Oh my gosh, it's been so long since I did a blog post. You all know about my work in rural medicine. To say that it's been a wild and exhausting few years is a massive understatement. The things I've seen ... yikes. Fair to say, I can't wait for everyone to be vaccinated and for COVID to be in the rearview mirror.
So I was reminiscing on Twitter about my one brush with brief, viral fame. I unwittingly did THE POST. You know. The one that captures the imagination of the Twitter masses! And funny enough, all I had done was repost a picture I'd seen over on Facebook to Twitter, because my brain immediately went OMG IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS?
I flippantly posted in the morning at breakfast and then went to do rounds at the hospital. That was back in the day when Twitter would notify you via email if there was a comment or a retweet. Welp. Apparently after like a few tens of thousand of these, Twitter basically gets pissed and stops sending email notifications. News to me. But before that occurred, my phone blew up in between patients with c-diff colitis, community-acquired pneumonia, and urosepsis.
It wasn't until over lunch hour that I could get away and look at my computer (because I don't have Twitter on my phone -- I really don't like mixing Doctor Job and Writing Job). By then, I had something like 500K impressions. It was happening so quickly in real time that you could see the numbers increasing every few seconds. Likes, retweets, impressions, profile views.
Interview with LaQuette!
In another of my first forays into interviewing, I chatted with the fabulous LaQuette about her upcoming release.
Hi, LaQuette! Thanks for taking time to give an interview for your upcoming steamy contemporary book, Jackson, about a Texas Ranger and the amazing and smart woman with a heart of gold who teaches him to trust again.
Hey Jillian! It’s so good to connect with you again. As soon as outside opens back up, I’ve got a monster-sized hug waiting for you.
Right back at you! I can’t wait for the world to recover. Okay. So, I remember reading your fabulous St. Jared's Memorial series, based around a hospital in New York City. This new book’s Texas setting is quite a departure from the big city. Tell me how you picked Texas and developed your background for this setting.
Goodness, no! I’m a concrete princess to my heart. Lol I have family and friends all over the south who’ve given me a few occasions to visit the Lone Star State. Although I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I grew up with my Southern Baptist grandmother in the house with us. Many of the traditions she taught me have helped shape who I am. So I wanted to write a story that kind of hearkened back to those days spent at my grandmothers knee soaking up everything she taught me.
Interview with Adele Buck!
Hi Adele, thanks for taking time to chat about your debut novel, Acting Up. It's a really fun read! Have to say that community theater has never been my personal bailiwick, but it's a fascinating world I never knew much about before picking up this book!
My pleasure! Also, LOL. Community theater is actually a different thing - that's amateur theater (which can be VERY good, I'm far from knocking it! But it's not a career.). Acting Up is set in the professional regional theater system that I really hope still exists when we're beyond this pandemic.
Yikes, my bad -- regional theater. Thank you for clarifying! What prompted you to write about a theater-based novel?
Well, my first career was in theater. I started acting at 10 and have a BFA in theatre from Syracuse University. In addition to being an actress, I also worked as a stage manager (fun fact: one of my college roommates is a professional stage manager for Broadway and Broadway tours). Just about every romance I've ever read that was set in the theater featured actors as protagonists. I wanted to show readers what happened beyond the performance - to feature the rest of the crew who works so hard to make the magic.
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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