Jill Weatherholt

Pursuing a Passion for Writing


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Unplugged

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

In September, I celebrated my two year blogging anniversary. I remember my first post and hitting the publish tab. Later that evening, I was anxious to see if anyone commented.

Initially, I posted every day, but soon I realized that wasn’t going to  work with my schedule. During those early posts, the excitement of a comment or a ‘like’ kept me going on those days when there were no comments.

As 2014 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the wonderful connections I’ve made through blogging. For non-bloggers, they might not understand. For the rest of us, we understand that even though we are separated by state lines and oceans, it doesn’t diminish the strength of the connection. So thank you all for being there, some from the start. You’ve all made my world a little brighter in your own unique way.

For the first time in over two years, I plan to step away from blogging in order to spend the holiday season with my family. In fact, I plan to completely unplug in order to meet some self-imposed deadlines and give a certain someone my undivided attention, especially during our Jeopardy competitions. I want to wish all of you a safe and joyous holiday season. See you in 2015!

xo
Jill


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Welcome Author Jolyse Barnett

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Today, I’m so happy to welcome friend–and gifted writer, Jolyse Barnett. She’s not only taking over my blog, but she’s also generously giving away her Christmas novella to a lucky winner. Take it from me; this story will warm your heart on a cold winter day.

 

Thanks so much to Jill for allowing me to take over her blog today. I always enjoy her perspective on the writer’s life. Like Jill and many of you, I work hard each day to hone my craft and learn as much as I can about the business of writing while still enjoying the art of it.

It’s a juggling act, to say the least.

I recently joined the ranks of published authors with my debut release a month ago, but I’ll talk more about that in a bit. First, I’d like to take you on a little journey…my version of “The Call.” Or more aptly, “The Call AFTER the Call.”

Back in October 2013, I was on top of the world. After four years in pursuit of a writing career, my romantic suspense/magic novel received an offer of contract, a mere five months after submission and an easy Revise & Resubmit.

I’d made it.

Or so I thought.

I’ve learned a lot about the publishing since then. Like life, an author’s status with a publisher can change on a dime. Editors leave, marketing strategies change, publishers file for bankruptcy, merge with another publisher, or a host of other unforeseen events. In my case, the editorial director left AND the marketing strategy for my series’ line changed. The bad? The book I’d sold was once again in search of a home. The good? I was asked by the publisher to write for another of their imprints.

During those months of waiting for a firm release date, I listened to my more seasoned author friends and continued to write, attend conferences, and network. I completed the second story in the romantic suspense/magic series as well as the synopsis for the third.

You know how I mentioned networking in the last paragraph? Well, my author friendships are what ultimately led to the “call AFTER the call.” One day my girl friend, Jeannie Moon, called to ask if I’d be interested in writing a Christmas romance should we garner interest from a publisher for a related series.  Without a drop of hesitation, I replied, “Of course!” Within twenty-four hours, we received word that Tule Publishing wanted our synopses for the four stories. Oh my! I wrote that synopsis in four days, emailed it with crossed fingers to Jane Porter, and within minutes learned that she loved it. I was ecstatic. The contract followed shortly after and the writing gig was on.

Writing a 40K contemporary romance in nine weeks was a challenging endeavor, but worth all the sleep-deprivation to share my world of imagination—giving others the joy I’ve known as a reader myself. I’m proud of my debut novella, A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, part of the Christmas in New York series about four life-long girlfriends who each find love during the holidays.

So I guess my story is about keeping an open mind while working toward your goals. Be receptive to new opportunities that may be a different path than you’d planned but achieve the same end. Don’t let the negative nuances of the business get you down—the rejections, the changes of heart, the less-than-stellar reviews. Just keep working toward your dream. Listen to the constructive criticism, heed what resonates with you, and ignore that which doesn’t. Most of all enjoy the relationships you build and the journey you take.

Because that’s what writing, like life, is really all about.

Love Christmas? I invite you to get in the spirit with a heart-warming, holiday read. Comment below for a chance to win my ebook, A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, Book 3 of the Christmas in New York series. (The stories can be read independently of each other, but forgive my bias…I highly recommend reading them all!) The winner will be announced at https://www.jolysebarnett.com on Tuesday, December 16th. I also love to connect with other readers and writers on Facebook at www.facebook.com.JolyseBarnettAuthor and Twitter @jolysebarnett. If you’re interested in a sneak peek, here’s an excerpt.

 

JO_HeadShot1Jolyse Barnett may not be able to cook to save her life, but she can whip up a delicious romantic tale. She discovered the joy of playing with words at a young age, filling notebooks with poetry and stacks of pink diaries with her teenage angst and dreams. After she graduated from high school, she developed a more practical side. She earned her degree in Writing (Of course!), fell in love with her best friend (Yes!), and now lives her own happily-ever-after (Yay!). She is the author of A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, a Christmas romance novella (TULE Publishing). Along with writing romance, she enjoys a fulfilling day job and explores the world one vacation at a time with her two children and real-life hero.


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Back in the Nook

006As the cold air settles in, I find myself gravitating to certain areas in the house. On sunny weekend afternoons, it’s my writing nook. I’ve mentioned this space in a previous post, but this year it feels extra warm and toasty.

Last year at this time, we were dealing with the aftermath of a burst pipe and the water damage left behind. Workmen, ladders, dust and ripped up flooring invaded some of my favorite writing spots, including my nook. I was forced to write in tiny areas outside of the construction zone.

Recently as I entered the nook, the warmth from the late autumn sun greeted me and I felt at home. After months of writing on the patio, when the weather cooperated, on the dining room table, or at my larger desk in my office, everything felt right, back in my nook.

The winter sun fills this room.

The winter sun fills this room.

I’m not a fan of winter, so I seek comfort in this cozy little corner of our home. I did a quick dusting and went to work. Several hours later, I emerged from the nook. I had written two blog posts and a rough draft of a short story I plan to submit, but not until I spend several more hours in the nook editing.

Is there a place in your home where you gravitate to at certain times of the year?


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That Old Feeling

007I’m not ashamed to admit I still own my first VCR player. Many of you probably have children or grandchildren who would have no idea what to do with this machine. Perhaps some of you reading are scratching your head.

In the day of Blu-ray, Netflix and streaming, I still long to pull the clunky, hard rectangular piece of plastic from the cardboard case to watch “When Harry Met Sally”, “Grease” or “A Rebel Without a Cause.” I get that sentimental longing for the past, known as nostalgia. When I look at this outdated piece of technology, so many wonderful memories flood my mind I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

I remember crying with my best friend as we watched “Terms of Endearment”. At Christmas time, my sister and I would pop some corn and watch “White Christmas.” On this old machine, I’ve watched “Good Fellas” and “The Shawshank Redemption” with that special someone so many times, we’ve lost count.
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I have many of these movies on DVD and I could upgrade the other cassettes to modern technology, but nostalgia is a powerful emotion and one I can’t control. For now, the VCR player will remain in our guestroom for those cold winter days or rainy summer evenings when I’m in need of that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Is there something in your house you can’t part with because of the feeling it ignites?


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Refueling the Tank

001Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

Yes, I did all of these puzzles over the past couple of weeks. You might wonder why someone would waste her time puzzling. I’ll tell you why…I was procrastinating or so I thought.

My goal at the start of November was to enter two writing contests this month. I knew the two contests I wanted to target and I had familiarized myself with the guidelines. I had plenty of time…no problem.

Turned out, there was a problem. Each evening I planned to write, like a hummingbird to the sweet nectar, I was drawn to the puzzle. With my iPod set to shuffle, I searched for connecting pieces. Eventually my mind and body relaxed and in what seemed like a few minutes, an hour had passed.

This continued night after night until it dawned on me the month of November was half over. That’s when I panicked. What about my goals? Why had I wasted time working those puzzles when I had goals to reach? I should have been connecting words to create a story, not pieces of cardboard.
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In the end, I submitted my contest entries. I discovered what I thought was time wasted puzzling was actually feeding my writing tank. Few activities work both sides of your brain simultaneously.puzz When puzzling, the creative side works to see the finished product, while the logical side works to fit the pieces. Relaxing and listening to the music allowed my stories to come to life in my mind. By procrastinating, the stories traveled with ease from my mind onto my computer screen.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?


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Plan B

005When a glorious autumn weekend goes from this,007 sunny with temperatures in the low 70’s, to this,004 a cold rain with falling temperatures into the 40’s, you need a back up plan.

Here’s my plan. First, make a big crock pot of chili, without following a recipe.001

While Derek does a little of this,006
I’ll do a whole lot of this.
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It’s always good to have a Plan B. What’s your go to back up plan on a raw and cold day?


108 Comments

Holy Smokes!

Image Courtesy of morguefile.com

Image Courtesy of morguefile.com

In the movies and on television, things happen in parking garages. They’re the perfect place for the bad guy to hide. However, sometimes, the most obvious setting for a scene is often the least interesting this wasn’t the case for me.

Recently, after an uneventful day at work, I walked through the dimly lit parking garage. I spied my car and hit the button to pop the lock. As I sat onto the seat, I fell back with a hard slam. This happens when I take my car for an oil change and the mechanic moves the seat back.

Something felt different. I glanced toward the passenger seat, it was farther back than usual. Someone had been in my car, but why? How? A chill ran down my spine. I was in the Twilight Zone. I had to get out of this dark garage. I needed daylight.

I slid the key into the ignition, but the steering wheel was locked. I jiggled the key to release the wheel but it wouldn’t move. Panic set in…what was happening? What once felt comfortable, getting into my car to go home, now felt completely foreign.

My hand shook as I turned on the overhead light. I had to get the steering wheel unlocked. I had to get out of here. I glanced down and that’s when I saw it. Lying on the console was a box of Marlboro Lights. What? I don’t smoke…that’s when it dawned on me…holy smokes I’m in the wrong car. The car was the same color, make and model, but definitely not mine.

I jumped from the car as fast as I could and raced two spots over to my car. I slid into my seat and breathed again. As I exited the parking garage, I hoped Big Brother hadn’t captured it all on camera.

Have you ever found yourself in the wrong place?

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