Monday, January 29, 2018

Call for Submissions: FIRST KISS

Hey, everyone!  Today's the day!  Submissions open at noon Eastern for our First Kiss critique session.

  • Send your 250-words-or-less FIRST KISS scene, preceded by a 50-words-or-less LEAD-IN.
  • THE LEAD-IN IS IMPORTANT - it lets us know where we are in the story (*see below).
  • All genres EXCEPT erotica or erotic romance will be included.
  • Submit your entry HERE.
  • Submissions will open on MONDAY, JANUARY 29 at NOON EST.
  • Submissions will remain open until MIDNIGHT (12 hours).
  • The bot will choose FIFTEEN ENTRIES at random to be posted on the blog.
  • Winning entries will post for public critique on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1

Tina and Blane have been trapped in the elevator for four hours.  He's been reading a novel in the corner while she's been trying to find a way out.  Finally, she can't take it any more.

And remember:

Authors PIPER DRAKE and HOLLY BODGER, who are both very good at (writing) kisses, will be on hand to offer their critique.  You don't want to miss this opportunity!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Fricassee

I have a lovely story to tell.

I've recently become enamored of Instagram (and I hope you'll take a moment to FOLLOW ME THERE).  Amid my daily perusing, I noticed that a recent follower's account was a collection of lovely handmade jewelry that she sold.  One necklace in particular caught my eye--a glorious collection of keys on an antique-finished chain.  I hastened to her Etsy store, only to discover that the necklace had already sold.

Undaunted, I messaged her on Instagram and asked her if she intended to make another necklace like it.  She told me that that would be easy to do, and that I should let her know.  No pressure--all graciousness.

A couple days later, a message awaited me on Facebook--she had made another necklace, and if I liked it, I could buy it.  No obligation, no worries.  The necklace was gorgeous, except the chain was shiny instead of the antique-finished look I had so admired on the original.

"No problem," she said.  "I can change that."

Now, as soon as I'd opened the Messenger box, I discovered, to my surprise, that I'd chatted with this gal a number of years ago.  Hmm, thought I, this must be someone I'm already connected to.

So I said something to her.

"Yes," she replied, "we were already connected; we are friends on FB and Twitter.  I have been following the famous 'Red Hat' since the beginning."

How fun, right? Except I felt bad for not remembering her name.  So while we continued to chat about slight changes to the necklace, I sneaked over to my inbox and searched for her name there.

And I discovered something wonderful.

Way back in 2010, a kindhearted reader sent me a $50 donation and told me to use it to buy myself a box of Teuscher truffles--my favorite chocolate in the world.

Yep.  Same gal.  Her name is Tammy Archambeau, and I knew her as "RubyRed0" on the blog.

(See THIS POST, which mentions Tammy and the chocolate.)

So I shrieked and squealed at her, and she couldn't believe I remembered.

Well, I hadn't.  I mean, of course I remembered the gift, but I had no idea I was talking with the same person!  And I was overcome with a beautiful sense of full circle--as in, she blessed me with such a generous gift all those years ago, and now I was able to, in a small way, give a little back by buying one of her necklaces.


Keys on necklaces mean a lot to me because of a novel I wrote quite a few years ago.  The story is dear to my heart (and I intend to resurrect it at some point), and one of the main characters wears a large key on a chain around his neck.  For months, I wore a single key on a chain, in honor of my character (and in the hope that the novel would sell, which it didn't), but it wasn't beautiful and it kept getting caught on everything.


After I took it out of the envelope, I reached in again to remove any shipping papers.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered there was another jewelry bag in there, containing these:

Yep.  More teary eyes.  A note on the back of her business card read, "A little something extra."

This woman cannot be outdone!  I don't even have words to describe how much I love these earrings.  It's an intense, I-should-have-been-born-wearing-these sort of love.

This has been the highlight of my week.

It's not unusual for writers to also have "other artsy talents", and I'm so delighted to be able to share Tammy's work with you.  You'll find her on Instagram HERE, and on Etsy HERE.

Thank you, Tammy, for your huge heart and remarkable talent.  I'm honored to be on this journey with you, and I'm so excited to wear my new jewelry!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

WHAT ARE THEY UP TO NOW? Featuring Angela Ackerman

Today's author: ANGELA ACKERMAN

Here is Angela's SUCCESS STORY PAGE.



1. What role did your participation in a Miss Snark's First Victim contest or critique round play in your ultimate success as an author?

I'm probably a bit different than the average success story simply because I haven't sold a single novel to date, including this book (and the series to which it belongs). Instead I went the non-fiction route. However, putting work up for feedback gave me the confidence to continue with this novel, and my agent tried valiantly to sell it. It's a great book and I still believe in it. At some point I'll pull it out and rework it, and then publish it.

2. Tell us what your journey has looked like from your MSFV Success Story until now.

Oh, boy. This contest entry was back in *yanks cobwebs off brain* The cliff note version is I tried very hard to traditionally publish: I had an agent (then another agent), I made it to acquisitions several times and even had the same editor try to acquire a book at different publishing houses. But stars didn't align. Unfortunately, this is a big part of traditional publishing--finding the right editor on the right day who is acquiring the exact project you have...and the publisher they work for doesn't already have another book that will compete with yours. That's quite a maze to navigate.

It's easy to get jaded in our industry. I did what you're supposed to do: I kept writing books. I also focused on what I could control about the process, which was my brand and pursuing strong writing craft. Becca Puglisi (my co-author) thought the same way and so we teamed up to do something tangible for writers that would help them master difficult areas of writing. We self-published The Emotion Thesaurus, a resource that is part writing advice, part list. The thesaurus resonated so much people kept asking us to write more of these books. So, we did. To date we have six thesaurus guides in six languages which have sold well over 250,000 copies. One book (The Setting Thesaurus) went viral in Japan, and hit the #1 spot out of all book sold on Amazon. Crazy, right?

As our readership grew, more people began asking me to speak. Despite my terror of public speaking I pushed myself to do it as I love travel, and I've had so many great opportunities come about, like teaching on a cruise ship writing retreat and being asked to come to Australia to teach. Becca and I also realized that we could help people in other ways if we moved beyond books, and so we partnered with Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows and Linux, and we have a site that is an arsenal of writing resources and custom tools for writers called One Stop for Writers. Now my next project is finding a I can get back to doing some fiction writing. :)

3. What has been the best part of your experience as an author? What has been most difficult/challenging?

I think the best part has been hearing from people who have found our work helpful and hearing them talk about how they have grown their craft, or how they have signed their first deal...that's just the best. I love helping people--this is a core part of who I am, so being able to do so is very rewarding. The most challenging aspect is trying to keep up. I am blessed to have so many different opportunities come my way, and I love the people I meet and want to help them all. But trying to juggle all of it, and more books, and all the marketing (in multiple languages) is leaving my writing on the back burner. I'd like to make more room for that and other things so I need to learn how to better manage everything.

4. What's your latest offering, and where can we find it?

Becca and I released The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma on October 25th. This book looks deeply at the very thing that generates the fear that holds your protagonist back from greatness: his (or her) past unresolved emotional trauma. You can find it, and all our books, here.

5. Please leave us with some words of wisdom for all aspiring authors.

Publishing is not a race. Take your time, honor the incredible amount of work you will need to put into this career by only being satisfied with your best efforts, and please, above all, take some risks. Greatness, both for you and your manuscript, lies outside the comfort zone. Explore and see where your passion will take you. :)

Monday, January 22, 2018

In-house Critique Coming Up: FIRST KISSES!

We've done it before, and we're doing it again!  In honor of Valentine's Day (a mere 3 weeks away), we're going to have another FIRST KISS critique round.

A first kiss scene is self-explanatory--it's the scene in which your lead romantic couple finally kisses--or almost kisses (which can be just as delectable!).  Now, just because most of us have experienced a smooch or two doesn't mean our kiss scenes are flawless.  So here's your chance to get your characters' first kiss before some critic eyes to make sure it's sizzling just the way you want it to.

(Or not sizzling.  Because let's face it--some first kisses are disasters.)

Here's the deal:

  • Send your 250-words-or-less FIRST SCENE scene, preceded by a 50-words-or-less LEAD-IN.
  • THE LEAD-IN IS IMPORTANT - it lets us know where we are in the story (*see below).
  • All genres EXCEPT erotica or erotic romance will be included.
  • Submissions will open on MONDAY, JANUARY 29 at NOON EST.
  • Submissions will remain open until MIDNIGHT (12 hours).
  • The bot will choose FIFTEEN ENTRIES at random to be posted on the blog.
  • Winning entries will post for public critique on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1

Tina and Blane have been trapped in the elevator for four hours.  He's been reading a novel in the corner while she's been trying to find a way out.  Finally, she can't take it any more.

To sweeten the pot:

Authors PIPER DRAKE and HOLLY BODGER, who are both very good at (writing) kisses, will be on hand to offer their critique.  You don't want to miss this opportunity!

Post your questions below--and get your smooches ready!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Fricassee

Happy Friday, dear hearts!

So I keep having all these wondrous plans for the blog, to offer you at the very least an in-house critique round, and at best another Secret Agent contest (in the works!).  But I've been in my revision hut, so the blog is one thing I need to set aside while writing.

Of course, it's all very exciting, because this is my first deadline!  My editor has asked for this revision by February 1, and so far I'm tracking well.  (I think I must be one of those weird people who likes deadlines.) Admittedly, I was a bit tense when I first learned I'd have only 5 weeks to finish.

But I found my stride.  And I'm actually fairly close to being finished.

I've had help, though!  I was blessed to meet Peter Salomon for coffee the day after Christmas, and he uttered words of writerly wisdom to me:  "Just finish one little piece at a time.  Don't look at the whole thing."  Yeah, that sounds logical and apparent, right?  But I NEEDED TO HEAR IT.  Because I was on the brink of freak mode, and I'd lost sight of the proverbial forest.

Peter rescued me.  Thank you, Peter.

Also, my sister has been COOKING MEALS FOR ME.  I can't even.  Twice each week, she's brought me yummy food so I wouldn't have to cook every day.  She knows I hate cooking and she knows that I have to focus on getting these revisions done.  I've thanked her a hundred times, but probably she doesn't realize just how deeply thankful I am--how much her kindness has freed me to write without excess angst (a.k.a. cooking angst CAN I HAVE AN AMEN?).

I'd be remiss not to also mention that my dear husband bought me a new MacBook Air for Christmas.  I've named her Olivia, after the main character in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and she has made my life easier!  Genevieve, my retired Air, was on her way out.  Aside from my only-working-half-the-time E key, I was having serious memory issues.  I planned on running her into the ground, but Eric decided I needed a new laptop as I embarked on my first official revisions.  He calls it a "business expense", but I call it a thoughtful gift.

So, that's me, really!

Thanks and hugs to those who have subscribed to my author newsletter.  If you haven't taken a peek at my new website, please stop by!

And, yes, when you subscribe, you'll receive a FREE AUDIOBOOK, which I wrote and narrated.  (Yes, I love being married to a guy with a recording studio.)

THE WISHING SEED is a fairytale-in-verse for the young and young at heart.  Here are the opening verses:

THE WISHING SEED by Jillian Boehme

In the once-upon-a-time-ness of a land you’ve never seen, 
Where the streams were clear and bubbling and the forests thick and green, 
Stood a cottage in a clearing at the bottom of a knoll, 
With three shabby little windows and a roof that had a hole. 

 ‘Twas the home of Ethan Trowler and his family as well – 
Papa, Mama, seven brothers, and a baby, Annabelle. 
It was crowded, it was noisy, and the furniture was spare, 
But the Trowlers kept on smiling – they had love enough to share. 

Every morning, little Ethan, while he waited to be fed, 
Dreamed of eating cheese and oatmeal with his one, thin slice of bread. 
But the pantry shelves were empty and the flour bin was low; 
“When it’s gone,” thought Ethan, “What will we eat then?” He didn’t know.

And, finally (whew!), I'd also like to invite you to FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM.  Because PHOTOS!  (And not just pictures of books.  I mean, there are those.  And I love books and pictures of books.  But it's much more interesting to look at other things, too.)

So keep your eyes open for an in-house crit SOON, as well as an announcement for Secret Agent submissions (not quite as soon--you have time to get ready!).  And have a glorious weekend!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Encouragement From The Past

So Facebook can be annoying sometime with its "one year ago" reminders, but it can also be delightfully helpful.

Today, a link I posted 4 years ago showed up, leading readers to that day's Friday Fricassee--an offering of encouragement.

It struck me, because there I was, talking heartily about NEVER GIVING UP, with no idea how many years still stood between me and my first published book.  The words are timeless, though, and meant for all aspiring authors.  So I'm reposting them here for you.

Because you know that I am never going to stop saying DON'T GIVE UP!


FRIDAY FRICASSEE, January 10, 2014

To encourage you today:

I am the poster child of Things Don't Always Happen Quickly.  An example of what is far more often the case with agented authors--it sometimes takes longer than you would have imagined for your dreams to come true.

Don't give up.

It took bestselling author Jim Butcher 5 years (yes, 5) to finally sell, after he'd finished his third book  (yes, his third).

C.J. Redwine went through 2 unsold manuscripts with her agent before the third one finally sold (Defiance).

{Fill in the blank} had to wait {fill in the blank} years before {fill in the blank} sold.

You get the idea.

So, yeah.  Don't give up.

Don't give up if you're still trying to get an agent.  It took me 5 years.

Don't give up if you're agented and you still haven't sold anything.  I'm still doing that thing.

Look, I've got a great agent.  I love him.  And he and I now share a history of "bad timing" and "saturated market" and  "editor fatigue" and "her writing is wonderful, but..." and "send me anything else she has written" and, simply, "this isn't for me".  Selling a book is about so much more than having a great story.  Naturally, that's frustrating.  But that's the way it is.

So we press on.

If I'm honest with myself, I like where this has brought me.  I like feeling like an experienced warhorse.   I like that I am able, in a way I wasn't able 3 years ago, to disentangle myself from my work.  Not that I don't have bad days; not that I don't feel the frustration sometimes.  But something is different now.  I am--dare I say it?--sanguine.

I'm more excited about my current project that I've been since I first signed with Josh.  It's hard to explain the feeling of "rightness" this one has.  The feeling that I've taken everything I've walked through and produced something that has transcended it all.

And I'm working on a final edit right now.  Final, as in final-edit-before-going-on-sub.  (Well, unless darling Josh wants to nitpick again.  He's a crazy-good editor, but I may have to throw a little hissy fit at some point.  Maybe.)

Of course, I have NO IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.  But that's not the point.  The point is, I'm here, and the journey continues.  And I'm not giving up.

Not giving up.

I love my craft.  More than ever--in fact, probably for the first time in my life--I am intensely aware of how STORIES live inside me.  How I think in stories.  Share myself in stories.  Perceive things as stories.

I like this about myself.  I like that my journey has brought me to this place of self-discovery.

So you see, there's more to this journey than just getting published.  So much more.

Don't give up.

Continue to be teachable.  Continue to grow.  Continue to write.  At some point, if you feel like you're going down the wrong path, then, by all means, turn left at the crossroads.  Or turn right.

But if your vision remains the same, then keep going.  There are no promises of quick success.  There is no sense of fairness in how quickly the author next to you sells, while you pine away.  There is no easy road, except for the (very) select few.  And I'm not sure the easy road is always best, anyway.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep trying.

Don't give up.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Introducing the Jillian Boehme Web Site

I'm a little excited about this, everyone!

Thanks to my darling husband's many hours of work, my author web site is up and running and ready for your eyeballs!

You can now click on my author pic to the right, or click on the Jillian Boehme tab above, and you'll arrive at

Naturally, I've got a newsletter for you to sign up for.  And I'm SUPER excited to let you know that I'm giving away a FREE AUDIOBOOK to everyone who signs up for my newsletter!

I wrote THE WISHING SEED a number of years ago, and there is, of course, a story behind it.  At the time, I was an avid reader of editor Cheryl Klein's blog, and one day I left a rhyming comment beneath one of her posts.  She liked it so much that she told me she'd love to read any submission of mine that was a rhyming children's book.

Piece of cake, thought I.  For whatever reason, verse has always come easily to me, so I thought I could whip out a little story in no time.

I couldn't have been more wrong!  It was painstaking to both create a solid story arc and write it in perfect meter and rhyme.  Lesson learned!  But I did it, and I sent it to Cheryl, as she had requested.  It wasn't for her, but she was kind enough to send along the names of two other publishers she thought might be interested in it.

They both passed, and THE WISHING SEED was tucked lovingly away among my other works.  After a while, I sort of forgot about it.

Then, when I was trying to come up with a special gift to offer my newsletter subscribers, I came upon THE WISHING SEED, and I was struck with the idea of creating an audiobook--just for you!

Fortunately, my multifaceted husband has an entire recording studio upstairs, so he was happy to make the recording for me.  (He gets so much credit!)

So, yes, THE WISHING SEED is written by me and narrated by me.  It was a lot of fun, and I hope you enjoy the fruit of my (our) labor.

(Also, speaking into a microphone in front of a pile of pillows and trying not to make a single mistake is fairly anxiety-producing.  I don't know how people do this for a living!  Though probably they don't have piles of pillows in professional studios.)