Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Jill Kemerer


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

 You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

by Jill Kemerer

It’s been five weeks since your book released. The months leading up to it were exciting and, yes, chaotic. You did whatever you could to get the word about that bad boy out there. You poured time and energy into making the launch as impactful as possible, and yet, you wonder was it enough? Reviews trickle in—some good, some not-so-good. You can’t seem to shake this deflated feeling.

Everyone’s moved on from your book. Everyone except you.

Now you’re sitting on your couch, sipping tea, trying to figure out what to do next. You mentally tick through what you should be doing.

Writing, duh. But the thought of getting back into that manuscript sends a cold shiver down your spine. You have forty-three pages written.

They are not good pages.

The urge to post on your social media sites hits you strong. You need to stay relevant, right? But what would you even post about? You’ve spent so much time and effort promoting the book, it feels weird to go back to normal.

Maybe that’s the problem. You don’t want to go back to normal. Can’t every day be launch day? Can’t every day be special and exciting and full of celebrating a book you wrote?

Unfortunately, no.

You wish there was some way to check your numbers. Or, if you self-published the book, you check your numbers. All. The. Time.

Are my sales good? Bad? How do they compare to other authors in my genre?

You don’t know. You won’t know. You will never truly know how your sales compare to your peers.

Did I earn out my advance? What happens if I didn’t? Will this contract be my last?

Frowning, you take another sip of tea. And lunge for the nearby muffin.

Slowly it hits you that this is it. You’re back to the same you before you had a book launch to plan. You splashed in the happy waters of a book-release summer, then slid into the autumn of ongoing promotion, and now you’re staring down the writer’s winter.

Work lies ahead, and this winter is cold.

As you sit there, you force yourself to block all those pesky thoughts about sales. You ignore Facebook. And you breathe. A sense of relief tickles the edges of your funk. For it is a funk.

But it’s one that can end at any time.

After brushing off the muffin crumbs from your fingers, you finish your tea and turn on your laptop. You open a file containing that dreadful draft, all forty-three pages of it. For a moment, you close your eyes and say a prayer. Then you start to read.

It’s bad.

But ten pages in, you’re kind of digging it. You clean up a few paragraphs. Jot down some notes.

And there you have it. You’re writing again.

You start thinking ahead to when this book will release. Then you chuckle and shake your head. You have to write it first. And it hits you. This is the fun part, too.

Do you struggle with the feeling of letdown after a book release? How do you deal with it?

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Jill's new release, The Prodigal's Holiday Hope (paperback for US, ebook for international)

You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

He’s learned from his mistakes…

But can he prove he’s changed?


When Sawyer Roth is hired to work on his childhood ranch, he knows he has a damaged reputation to repair. Tess Malone, the new ranch owner’s daughter, is the hardest to win over. But as Christmas approaches, Tess and her toddler son find a way into Sawyer’s heart. He lost everything the last time he put his trust in love. Can he risk it all again?


Click HERE for Purchase Links and More


You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. Over half a million of her books have sold worldwide. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,


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How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer


How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer

by Jill Kemerer

You’re sitting at your desk in front of your laptop, and every word you write takes a lifetime. We’re talking two, maybe three, words per minute. You hate those words. Delete them. And you’re right back where you started. This might last an hour, a day, a week, a month. Who knows? But when you’re in a struggle session to figure out the next sentence, your daily word count suffers.

Whenever this happens to me, I procrastinate. Then panic.

And all I can think is that I hate writing.

The longer I stay away from the manuscript, the more I loathe the thought of returning to it.

Call it writer’s block or just another day as a writer, but it’s not fun. How can we meet our goals if we’re staring at a laptop screen, scarfing down M&Ms, and the only thing coming to mind is duhhhh…

The book will not be written. Goals will not be met.

This happened to me regularly until about three years ago. I managed to finish all my projects on time, but I wasn’t looking forward to writing the way I used to. In fact, I dreaded actually writing the first draft.

I decided to come up with a strategy to eliminate as many of those struggle sessions as possible. How? By reading how other writers overcame them and by experimenting to see what would work for me.

I needed to be able to consistently stay in the groove when writing a draft. So I read productivity books written by authors. The two below really stuck with me.

First of all, I highly recommend the book 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. The Kindle version is only $2.99. It’s a short, informational book full of personal insights and tips. It helped motivate me to increase my daily word count.

I also recommend Allie Pleiter’s The Chunky Method Handbook: Your Step-by-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the Way. For $4.99, the Kindle version is full of great advice.

After studying the above books, I realized my momentum in a draft stopped when I didn’t know what would happen next. Now, I’m a plotter, so I know where the story is headed. But I don’t know every scene in advance. It was those in-between scenes that were stalling me out.

Pantsers, I imagine, have the same problem. They’re discovering the story as it’s being written, and when you aren’t certain what direction to take, it’s hard to move forward.

This was an easy fix for me. After each writing session, I simply brainstorm the next scene. I decide whose point of view it needs to be in, where it is taking place, the basic idea of what is happening and how the scene will further the story. Then I think ahead to the following scene and sketch out its details.

Brainstorming the next 1-2 scenes at the end of a writing session takes me less than ten minutes. I’m no longer floundering around trying to figure out what happens next. Now I quickly jump into my draft every day because I know what I’ll be writing.

This step alone helped me increase my daily word count because I wasn’t wasting time.
I didn’t stop there. I was intrigued by the premise of Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K book (see above). I’m a math girl. Before I read her book, I typically wrote between 2000-2500 words a day. I know this because I keep a log of every writing session.

I keep three logs for every book.One is for plotting, one is for writing, and one is for revising. For the writing log, I note the date, number of pages added, number of words added and the total word count to that point. This gives me an overview of how long it reallytakes for me to write a book.

It wasn’t hard to see that if I could write more each day, the book would be finished in less time.

Since I’d figured out how to ACTUALLY WRITE and not stare off into space wondering what comes next, I began to experiment with word count. And I realized something that wasn’t flattering.

Every day I started too late, and I quit too early.

Now, I’m blessed to write full time. I know many of you are fitting your writing in around full-time jobs, children, spouses, hobbies, and other important things. We all have demands on our time. But I had to take a hard look at how I was spending my work days, and when I did, I made some changes.

I organized carpools for my kids’ practices. I exercised earlier. Planned my chores around my writing times. I cut back—way back—on interacting on social media sites. I still check in a few times a week, still blog, still send out a monthly newsletter, still promote my books. For me, social media is a low-energy task, an easy distraction, and it was hindering me from meeting my true goals.

Before you can sell copies of your book, you have to write it. It’s just the way it is.
I created blocks of time for writing. I also set aside a block each weekday (for me, late afternoon is ideal) for all the other stuff writers do, like writing this post! And I pushed myself to get more words on the page every day.

I realized writing 10,000 words a day isn’t something I aspire to, but 5000 words a day is doable. I also realized I needed to schedule a day to review what I’d written so far about midway through a draft. This helps me keep all the threads straight in my mind.

Writing is my job. I treat it like one.And because I treat it like one, I stay ahead of my deadlines. This allows me to meet friends for coffee once in a while or play hooky to visit a museum or the library. I love having the freedom to make my own schedule, but I never allow it to become a free-for-all.

If you want to increase your daily word count, start by jotting down what has to happen in the next 1-2 scenes at the end of each writing session. Log your word count and the time you spend writing EVERY SESSION. Then push yourself to meet bigger goals until you find the number that seems to fit your life best.

You CAN increase your daily word count. And when you do, don’t be surprised when you experience a renewed love of writing. I’ve fallen in love with the process all over again. And you can to!
Mindy here. Jill is giving away a copy of her brand new release, The Cowboy's Christmas Blessings. (Paperback for US, ebook for International) Simply leave a comment to be entered.

How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer

The Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings


Will welcoming them for Christmas have him wishing for more?


Judd Wilson lives a solitary life…until he learns Nicole Taylor and her infant triplets need somewhere to stay. The cabin on his ranch is the perfect solution, but now his quiet Christmas alone feels a lot more crowded. Recently widowed, Nicole questions her swiftly developing feelings for Judd, even if the older man is wonderful with her babies. Is she ready to take that leap again?


Purchase The Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings

How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of inspirational romance novels for Harlequin Love Inspired. Her essentials include coffee, M&Ms, a stack of books, her mini-dachshund, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. Please visit her website,


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10 Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Write with Guest Jill Kemerer

10 Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Write with Guest Jill Kemerer

Your manuscript taunts you. It’s there unfinished on your laptop or in a half-filled notebook. Sure, you want to keep working on it. In fact, you can’t wait for it to be done so you can move on with your life and start developing the new idea calling to you!

Maybe you already have a few unfinished manuscripts tucked away. Maybe this is your first. Either way, the excitement about your current work-in-progress faded long ago, and you’re frustrated that you just can’t seem to motivate yourself to keep working on it.

I have some experience with this. Believe it or not, I just finished writing my 23thnovel. Now before you throw darts at me, I want you to know that of the 23, three are contracted for future release, ten are published and ten aren’t.

Yes, a solid ten unpublished books linger on my laptop. I wrote them with no guarantee they would ever be published, but I finished each and every one of them, and I’m glad I did.

For me the act of writing is a contract with myself. When a story is in my head and I decide to write it, I write a complete draft no matter what. This helps me avoid the distractions of wondering if an editor will like it, if the book is any good, and if I’m going in the right direction career-wise.

If I only wrote when I believed an editor would like it, when I thought the book was good, or if I was convinced it would be good for my career, I would quit every four days! I have little control over those things, and they’re all based on feelings anyhow. Who knows if anyone will like the book or if it’s any good or if it will hurt my career?

That’s not why I write. It’s not why you write either.

The writing merely stalled. Let’s figure out why.

Why isn’t the book already done?
  • The opening scenes came easily. Now you’re not sure where the story is going.
  • You’re in the middle. The saggy, terrible, total-waste of a middle. And you have no idea how to get out of it.
  • You’re closing in on the end of the book—but you don’t want it to end. The characters are part of you. You’ll miss them!
  • You haven’t touched the manuscript in over three days (or three months), and it feels daunting to get back into it.
  • You don’t have time to write.
  • Your loved ones aren’t supportive of your writing.
  • You’ve been trying to get published for a while, and you worry you’ll never get a yes.
  • The day job, laundry, bills, Hallmark movies, children, spouse, hunting season, donuts…

We all have excuses as to why we’re not writing. And some of them are legitimate (like donuts—yum!). The thing is, though, when we’re not working on our stories, we feel guilty and icky and bad.

First, it’s important to remind yourself there’s a reason you’re writing. Not everyone feels compelled to write even if they have ideas for stories. The fact you took the plunge to write a book is a big deal! It doesn’t matter if it’s your first, fourth, or seventy-fifth. Books don’t exist until the writer commits to getting it on the page.

Second, whatever your “why” is that’s been keeping you from writing, pray to move past it. The following verse helps me.

Psalm 90:17 (NIV) “May the favor of the Lord rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Third, you’re far from alone. We all have ways to push past the slumps in order to finish our books.

10 Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Keep Writing
1.  If you don’t have a deadline, make a deadline.
Set it for 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months from now, but create a firm date when you will have the book completed. Write it down.

2.  “Gold Star” it until it’s done. When I was a kid, teachers sometimes gave us gold stars for reading a certain number of books or getting all the words correct on a spelling test. Create a chart for yourself to put an X (or a gold star) for every thousand words you write.

3.  Track your page count, word count, or both.
Create a simple chart on paper or in a program like OneNote and track your progress. Make a column with the date, page/word count, and total pages/words. It’s motivating to watch your progress add up.

4.  Get out of the house.
If you find a million-and-one excuses not to write when you’re at home, go to a coffee shop, library, or anywhere you can write without distractions. 

5.  Rewards!
Create mini-goals and reward yourself when you meet them. Example: If you write for one hour every weekday, at the end of the week treat yourself to an hour at the bookstore. Or every time you add 10,000 words to your manuscript, buy a small item you’ve been too cheap to get.

6.  Fall in love with the story all over again.
Read through what you’ve written. Spend time thinking about why you initially set out to write the book. My finished books rarely resemble my initial idea, and that’s okay. The story that needs to be told always comes out. Fall in love with it!

7.  Use your creativity to gain insight into your story.
Our local writing group recently had a guest speaker, Alyssa Alexander, who encouraged us to write down any impressions that came to mind when we thought about our works-in-progress. They could be colors, seasons, objects, feelings—anything really. When we went through our lists, things stood out that we hadn’t expected. For instance, I saw wheat fields and blue skies, telling me the book would be set in the summer. I really enjoyed this exercise!

8.  Consider your personality. What motivates me might not motivate you.
Gretchen Rubin wrote a fabulous book, The Four Tendencies, where she groups people into four types. You can take the quiz HERE to find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or Rebel. The book gives detailed advice on motivating yourself according to your tendency.

9.  Think about how you’ll feel if the book NEVER gets written.
The thought makes me sad. I’ve spent hours, days, maybe months thinking about these characters. I want to know how it ends for them!

10. Write for ten minutes.
Everyone can squeeze out ten measly minutes to write. I don’t care if you get one sentence down or two paragraphs, writing fuels writing. Stop overthinking it! Open your manuscript and start.

Still not ready? Try these.

“I Almost Quit Yesterday—Again”Excellent blog post by Carol Sparks.

The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win Fascinating book by Jeff Haden. One of my favorite quotes:

“You’ll stay motivated when you find a process you trust and commit to working that process for as little as a week.”

I found this to be true. My trusted process involves creating a schedule for my writing with set dates and times, engaging in a little ritual before I begin and end each session, and tracking my progress. It made a world of difference in my attitude and my writing output.

“The Best Motivation Apps of 2019” via

Please share YOUR tricks on how to stay motivated! I’d love to hear them!

Thank you, Seekerville, for hosting me today!

My tenth Love Inspired novel releases in a few days! Her Cowboy Till Christmas is the first book in my new series, WYOMING SWEETHEARTS, in stores November 19, 2019! I’m hosting a cozy giveaway on my website. Stop by and enter—click on “Her Cowboy Till Christmas Giveaway”and scroll down for the easy entry options. (US only, 18+)

10 Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Write with Guest Jill Kemerer


Can a Christmastime reunion become forever?

She’s only home for the holidays…Can he convince her to stay?

The last person rancher Mason Fanning ever expects to see again is the girl who once broke his heart. Brittany Green is in town for Christmas and trying to convince her ailing grandmother—the only maternal figure the widower’s little boy has left—to move away. Can Mason show her all she really needs to fulfill her dreams is right here in Wyoming?

For purchase links and more, click HERE!

Seekerville peeps, if you'd like a chance to win a copy of Jill's latest release, Her Cowboy Till Christmas, simply leave a comment for a chance to be entered. Paperback for US, ebook for international readers.  

10 Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Write with Guest Jill KemererJill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of inspirational romance novels for Harlequin Love Inspired. Her essentials include coffee, M&Ms, a stack of books, her mini-dachshund, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. Please visit her website,

Is This Idea Book Worthy?

by guest blogger @jillkemerer
Is This Idea Book Worthy?
You have a great idea—it probably came to you last night as you were falling asleep or yesterday afternoon while driving home from soccer practice. The hyped-up feeling running through your veins proves the concept is awesome, and you’re itching to start writing the story.

This is it! My best idea yet! No editor will be able to turn it down. Readers will rave. It will hit bestseller lists. I have to write it immediately.

Who cares that you’re halfway through a slower-than-molasses draft you actually dread opening every time you sit down to write? Or that you have seven or eight other stories clamoring for attention in your head? This idea must be put front and center. Now!

Whoa-ho-ho there. Hold up, Lassie. I’ve been there. Really, I have. And before you open your laptop and start pouring the story onto the page, take a big step back. It’s time to be really honest with yourself and ask yourself a key question.

Is this idea book worthy?

Duh! Of course it is. Didn’t you just hear me say bestseller lists??

I heard you. Loud and clear. I’m guessing at one time you were equally as enthusiastic about the idea for the story you’re currently working on. So why abandon it?

I’m not abandoning it. I’m setting it aside for now and will finish it after this one.

Bad move. It’s all too easy to end up with a dozen unfinished manuscripts because we’ve chased a new idea.

In order to be a successful author, you need to finish books. This means you have to write the entire manuscript, look at the plot with a critical eye, make necessary story changes, revise it, and edit it. If you get in the habit of quitting a work-in-progress (WIP) whenever a “better” idea comes along, you’re not developing the skills you need.

There’s a rhythm to a book. The more complete manuscripts you draft, the more natural it becomes to tell a compelling story. And you’ll gain skills to help you develop future ideas, because you’ll remember the spots where you floundered in the past. You’ll be on the lookout to avoid those flimsy areas in the future.

Finish the current book before you dive into the new one. Let this new idea breathe and grow legs. If it’s book worthy, it will.

At Helping Writers Become Authors, K.M. Weiland wrote an excellent article, “4 Steps for How to Turn an Idea Into a Story that Rocks.” She talks about giving the idea a safe place to incubate.

“If you want to see an idea develop, make space for it within your life. If you stuff it way back in some dusty corner of your brain, your subconscious might occasionally bat it back at you. But if you want it to grow, hold it in your mind’s eye. Don’t force it. Don’t dictate what it must or must not do. But watch it.
Deep-dive into the dream zone and just let the idea roll around. See what it has to offer. Sometimes you’ll come to what seems the end of its potential, only to have a new fragment of a new idea glom onto the first one and evolve into something new. If that happens often enough, presto-chango, you’ve got yourself a butterfly.” ~K.M. Weiland
While you’re working on your current project, allow time for the new idea’s story elements to come to you. If you’re taking a walk or in line for coffee, let your mind wander. Jot down any details that come to you.

When you have enough details, you’ll be ready to explore the following questions.

What genre do you think the idea will fit into?

If it’s a romance, do you know who the hero and heroine will be? If it’s not a romance, who is the main character?

Genre is important because readers have expectations when they purchase your book. If you’re writing a romantic suspense, you need to make sure you have plenty of danger. If you’re writing women’s fiction, you need secondary characters to challenge the heroine’s beliefs. It’s easier to brainstorm possible ways to ramp these up before your start writing.

What’s the story about?

Can you wrap it up with a one-sentence summary? Example: When an unemployed actress gets custody of her niece, she takes a job preparing taxes and must choose between the accountant she’s falling for and her dreams of Broadway.

If you can’t summarize it, that’s okay. You might not know enough about the story yet, but at some point, you’ll need to be able to clarify it.

Are the stakes high enough?

Why can’t she have both the Broadway career AND the accountant? Is raising the niece only possible in the current setting? What’s really keeping her and the accountant apart? What does he want? How can these things directly oppose her dreams? And most importantly, what do these characters have to lose?

These types of questions deepen the conflicts and produce more nuanced, page-turning books for readers.

Will readers care about this story?

This is a tough question to be objective about. We automatically assume readers will care because we’re excited, but it’s not always the case. The story must have tension for the reader to keep turning the page. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, continuously find ways to raise the stakes!

When a new idea seems to be growing in my mind over the course of time, I know it’s book worthy. My initial concept always changes as I answer the above questions, and it should. My imagination finds ways to expand the initial idea into a higher stakes novel that will have a better chance at grabbing a reader’s attention and holding it until the end.

How do you determine if an idea is book worthy? I’d love to hear your tips!

I’m giving away one copy (paperback for US residents, ebook for international) of Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets. Leave a comment!

Next week I’m taking over the Love Inspired Readers and Authors Facebook group. I’d love to have you join us! I’m giving away books, and we’re talking about our favorite things from Monday through Friday. Click on Love Inspired Readers and Authors (linked) and “Join Group.”

Is This Idea Book Worthy?
A nanny at Christmastime…

Will she find love in this Wyoming Cowboys novel?

Six weeks on a ranch caring for quadruplets—aspiring nurse Ainsley Draper’s prepared for a busy Christmas. When the children’s handsome uncle opens the door, her task gets extra complicated. Marshall Graham is upholding his promise to look after his twin sister, the babies’ mom. But as family loyalty clashes with new love, will the perfect present include a future with Ainsley?

***Mindy butting in here with news that Jill's latest release, Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, has hit Publisher's Weekly Best Seller list! Congratulations, Jill!***

Is This Idea Book Worthy?
Jill Kemerer is a multi-published author of Christian romance novels. Her essentials include coffee, fluffy animals, a stack of books and taking long nature walks. Jill resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. She loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website,, and sign up for her newsletter.

Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?

by Mindy Obenhaus

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s August 1st, but as I’m typing this it’s still July, so humor me. Besides, I’m fresh off the heels of the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July, so I thought this would be the perfect time to discuss Christmas stories.

We all love a good romance, but build it around the holiday season and it’s like adding whipped cream to a hot fudge sundae. It’s sweeter and more indulgent.

So what makes a good Christmas story?

Just like any other story, the hero and heroine still need a goal, motivation and conflict. Yet now Christmas can be part of that conflict.

In my book The Deputy’s Holiday Family, the heroine is raising her 5 yo niece whose mother passed away earlier in the year and she wants nothing more than to give the little girl the best Christmas ever. Except our heroine recently lost her job and is forced to return to her hometown to stay with her mother for the holidays. Her Christmas-averse mother who forbids anything Christmas in her house. No tree, no lights, no music, nothing.
Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?
While many of the ingredients that go into a good Christmas story are the same as any other story, they’re elevated. Like the difference between custard and crème brulee (I’m obviously hooked on desserts today and crème brulee is one of my faves). 

Let’s take a look at some of those necessary components.


What is the story about? Good vs. evil, forgiveness, letting go of the past… 

Since I’ve only written one Christmas story, I thought I’d ask someone with more experience about some of her favorite holiday themes.

Ruth Logan Herne, known to most of us as Ruthy, says she likes to use, “Overcoming. Finding truth and faith. Trust. Forgiveness.... and all around the faith of that young couple, and that baby in the manger. Everything you do in that story should stem from those emotions.”
Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?
Even if you’re not writing for the Christian market, you can still incorporate the true meaning of Christmas. Why do we celebrate and what makes it so special?


There’s something about the holidays that we all react to, good or bad. The sights, sounds and smells trigger memories that can make us smile or want to withdraw from the world. 

Ruthy says, “A Christmas story should be rife with emotion. Loss or poverty or longing or guilt or sorrow.... these are the things that come to light in the Christmas season."
Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?
"When we anticipate Christmas it's with either joy or trepidation.... and people of faith have either a deeper reason to welcome the joy of the holidays or a deeper anger that life and/or love hasn't gone their way even if they're people of faith. It's not that a holiday story needs a faith conversion, it's more that a holiday story helps inspire a return to the faithful, loving person we were before either life or loss messed us over. So those emotions are always a part of my Christmas stories, including the sweet historical novella collection I've got coming out this fall... and a beautiful novel for Shepherd's Crossing that comes out in mid-November from Love Inspired.”

Visuals and other heart-tugging stuff

When I asked my friend and fellow Love Inspired author, Jill Kemerer, what makes a good Christmas book, she said, “Think Hallmark Channel. They’re fun with all the feels. Plenty of heartwarming moments and visual happy places.”
Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?
All the feels. I love that. And she’s right. Ever notice how many Hallmark Christmas movies center around towns with extravagant Christmas celebrations.

Ruthy had this to say about the other elements of a good holiday story. “Joy, peace, twinkle lights, carols (they either love 'em or hate 'em!!!) faith either shared or born again, realization of the true Christmas story, the real nativity... sacrifice works beautifully in Christmas stories, think "Gift of the Magi", "Little Women" and Jo sacrificing her hair, the things we do from heart... that have little to do with pocketbook. And I love to show "simple Christmas" when folks are low on money. Money doesn't make Christmas. Love does. So paper angels, glittered snowflakes, a single strand of lights, bush trimmings to decorate the manger scene, cutting up old Christmas cards to make new ones... Sugar cookies. Pumpkin bread or cake. When we make the simple seem sacrificial it absolutely paints the best picture for the reader.”
Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?
How do you feel about Christmas stories? Do you love them or feel like they’re over done? Have you ever written or wanted to write one? What elements do you feel are crucial? What can you do without?

Oh, and since we’re talking Christmas, let’s giveaway some presents. I’m going to give one copy of my book, The Deputy’s Holiday Family, to THREE lucky commenters. Good luck!

Christmas in July – What Makes a Good Christmas Story?
Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at

Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer

by Mindy Obenhaus

Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer
I’m thrilled to welcome Jill Kemerer back to Seekerville. Not only is she one of my favorite authors, she’s also one of my very best friends. And she has a brand-new book out, Reunited with the Bull Rider. (Stay tuned for a book giveaway!)

Jill and I met online in 2015 when she made a comment on an email loop referencing a particular place in Michigan. I emailed her privately, curious if she was from the Great Lakes State, since that’s where I grew up. Well, she was, and as it turns out, we didn’t live that far apart, right, Jill?

Jill: You grew up about half an hour from where I grew up in mid-Michigan. When we met you were living near Dallas, Texas and I was living in my current home southwest of Toledo, Ohio. How in the world did we find each other? And do you think we really could be long-lost sisters?

Mindy:  Well, we’ve shared clothes and we are both blonde, so we might be able to pull off the sister thing. But as for how we found each other, that was only by the grace of God. I mean, I probably scared you with all of my emails.

Jill: It feels like we’ve been friends since birth. And, no you didn’t scare me! I was very flattered that you would go out of your way to nurture a friendship with me. Since then, you’ve become a dear friend, someone I rely on for emotional support, writing encouragement and lots of giggles.
Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer
Mindy:  One thing I find interesting about our relationship is that, while we’re both authors, we rarely talk about our writing, other than stating “I’m working on this today.” We’ve never critiqued each other’s work, we’ve only been together in person once, yet we talk weekly, if not daily, thanks to Voxer, texts, emails and the occasional phone call. We discuss aging parents, teenager and college age woes... You let me whine and listen patiently as I ramble about who knows what. Then give me honest feedback or advice.

Jill: I appreciate you. One of my most vivid memories is of driving home after a tough day visiting my dad at the nursing home, stopping at Arby’s and calling you. I could not stop crying. You said exactly what I needed to hear, and you lent the shoulder I desperately needed to soak with my tears. What is one of your “big” memories of our friendship?

Mindy:  Oh, great. You get me all choked up, then ask me a question. Hand me the tissues. Sniff, sniff. So, this isn’t necessarily a “big” thing, but a lot of little things that are “big” to me. You always call/Vox to check on me when you know I’ve had a particularly rough day or am going through a difficult time. And somehow, we always end up laughing, which, as we know, is the best medicine.

Jill: Laughing makes just about anything better! We’ve talked about a girl’s weekend in Ouray, Colorado where all of your books are set. You’ve got me hooked on the quaint town. Since you’ve been there, where would we go and what would we do?

Mindy: First of all, we would need much more than just a weekend. And it would depend what time of year. But let’s say summer. I’d take you Jeeping in the mountains to some of the most beautiful places you could imagine. Then we’d grab some chocolate at Mouse’s, visit Cascade Falls, get more chocolate…
Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer
Enough about that, though. I want to talk about your new book. Reunited with the Bull Rider is the second book your Wyoming Cowboys series, right?

Jill: Yes. The Rancher's Mistletoe Bride was the first one.

Mindy: I read that book, and I have to say, I really like the premise for this series. Four cowboys who met as kids when they ended up in the same foster home. All bearing wounds from their past. How did you come up with the idea?

Jill: I’m not sure! I’d read several memoirs of men who had grown up in dysfunctional and abusive families. Each one had spent time in foster care, and some had lived in group homes. The idea of four strangers whose friendships developed into a brotherly bond through a group foster home really appealed to me. All of the heroes start out thinking they’ll never get married or have families, but I think we all know how that will turn out!

The third book in the series, Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, releases in October!

Mindy:  Quadruplets? Wow! You’ll have to come back later and tell us about that one, but I want to hear about Reunited with the Bull Rider.

Jill: Sure! Reunited with the Bull Riderbegins ten years after Nash Bolton left his girlfriend, Amy Deerson, without a goodbye or explanation. Amy was heartbroken, and she found solace in quilting, eventually owning her own quilt shop. Now Nash is back with his much younger sister, Ruby, whom Amy was paired with to mentor through the church mentoring program. Nash and Amy have a lot of emotional baggage to deal with, and severely neglected Ruby provides the key for them to forgive each other. But will forgiveness be enough for them to try again?

Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer
Reunited with the Bull Rider

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Mindy:  I have to admit, I started reading this book Friday and you had me hooked from page one. I have to force myself to put it down and do things like, oh, work and sleep.

Thank you so much for joining us here at Seekerville, Jill, and for being my friend. Oh, and you brought breakfast, right?

Jill: As long as you’re okay with bagels, donuts, and blueberry breakfast cake, then yes, breakfast is on me! Thanks for having me. Sending you a big hug for putting this together, Mindy!
Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Reunited with the Bull Rider, be sure to leave a comment. Jill will give away a paperback copy to a U.S. winner OR, if you live outside of the United States, an ebook version. 

Friends and Writers: One-on-One with Jill Kemerer
Jill Kemerer is an author and freelance writer. A multi-published inspirational romance novelist with Harlequin Love Inspired, Jill also writes nonfiction books, blogs, and articles. Her essentials include coffee, M&Ms, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. Please visit her website,, and sign up for her newsletter.

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