Hi de ho de, friends! I'm at the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Georgia, having a terrific time and meeting so many nice folks!
I sent out a speaker's poll to the people attending my class, and this one particular question had so many responses that were too involved to answer in a quick way in the class. So I decided to answer them in long-form. Here we go!:
Never since my first book was published in 2013 have I ever missed a publisher's deadline.
Despite things like: solo call coverage of an entire practice for years, leading a rural hospital during the biggest wave of the COVID pandemic in 2020-2021, giving writing talks, travel, moving a few times, book signings, drafting more books -- I still somehow managed to meet all of the hard deadlines and stayed calm doing it. From 2013 through the present.
Until this month.
A while back, someone had asked how I'd met my husband. It's a bit of a story, so kick back and enjoy. Here's my "meet cute"!!
However many years ago, I was working in a tiny rural mountain town west of the Mississippi. One of the perks of this particular location was a local ski area nearby. It was so close, that I could ski and take hospital call at the same time. #winning
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Baker County Tourism Travel Baker County www.flickr.com/photos/travelbakercounty/ 1/12/2019
As you may know, when it comes to chairlifts, there is a line for groups of 2 or 3 or 4 (depending on lift size and group sizes), and then there is the 'singles line' for -- you guessed it -- people skiing/snowboarding solo. (Side note: if you want to cut down on waiting in line, even if you're with friends, the singles line is usually quickest.) Anyway, as I'd done with many days, I got into the singles line and a dude joined me on the lift. I said my obligatory "How it's going" and apparently that was all it took. The conversation floodgates opened.
Finally have my head above water in the writing world, enough to write a quick blog post. Hi >waves at everyone<, hope all is well. I haven’t chatted a ton lately. Actually, if you get my newsletter, you’re getting more frequent updates and news.
I just finished a top secret medical romance manuscript. You all will be the first to know if anything comes of it in the publishing world, but it’s what you’ve come to expect in terms of pulse-pounding (yes, with a pulse requiring epi and a defibrillator) as well as hot and steamy scenes. The logline of this book is “Gray’s Anatomy meets Northern Exposure” or “General Hospital meets Life Below Zero.” (take your pick) I can’t wait to show it to you!
(photo credit: BLM Winter Bucket List #11: White Mountains National Recreation Area, Alaska, for Trails Surrounded by Rugged Beauty and Northern Lightshow" by mypubliclands is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)
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.
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.
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.)
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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