Category Archives: Author Posts

Guest post by Feral Sephrian

Beyond Billionaires and Barkeepers: Choosing a Career for Your Character

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question most people hear when they’re younger, but chances are you meet your characters after they’ve already made that choice. Whether they’re in college studying towards their dream career or they’ve been stuck in the same deadbeat job for years and they’re aching for something new in their lives, they still have to earn money somehow. But how do you, their creator, decide what job to give them?

First, consider the location. If your character lives in a major city they’re going to need a job that can pay their rent, or possibly two jobs. A part time job as a cashier won’t cut it. Likewise if they live in a small town they aren’t going to work in a high rise office building unless they’ve got one hell of a commute. If they live where it snows they might have a job trimming trees so their branches don’t knock out power lines during storms, or if they live where it’s hot they might install and repair air conditioners.

Next, what job fits your characters’ personalities? Are they good with their hands and like working with tools? Then they might be an electrician, or a mechanic, or they hand-carve custom furniture. Are they kind and patient and like helping people? Then they might be a social worker or a caretaker at a nursing home. Or maybe they’re looking to turn their favorite hobby into a career, and it just so happens that their love interest can help them do that.

Speaking of which, another factor is plot convenience. Your characters could work in similar fields and that’s how they meet, or one or both partners could work irregular hours that make scheduling date night nearly impossible so they have to get creative, or on the other hand one or both of them could work from home so they spend almost too much time with each other. Or maybe one of the characters is embarrassed about what kind of work they do so they lie to their love interest and the dishonesty exacerbates or creates conflict.

If you’re still stumped, look around you for inspiration. Think about, not just the places you go like the grocery store or the DMV, but those quirky shops you always pass but never visit. Someone has to work at the lamp store or the furniture rental place. The other day I saw a work van from a company that does nothing but install and repair billiard tables. Could that be the ideal job for your character? How did they get into that line of work? And how can it help them meet the love of their life?

I guess you’ll have to be the one to tell that story.

Save 40% off all my ebooks today only!

We’re giving away a free ebook every day this month! Starting tomorrow, one winner will be drawn daily. So enter to win today!

Guest post by A.L. Lester

Hello there! Firstly, happy anniversary to JMS Books! I’m so pleased I found the company in 2017 and I’m even happier that I was given the opportunity to publish with them. I have four novels out now, all with JMS, the most recent of which is The Flowers of Time. Like all my books so far, Flowers is a historical-paranormal-romantic-suspense. It follows the relationship between Edie, a plucky lady botanical artist and Jones, a non-binary, possibly grey-ace explorer. It takes place in England and India in the 1780s.

Flowers is the first #ownvoices novel I have written and in retrospect, I think I used it to work through some of my own feelings about being non-binary. I was really pleased that JMS took a chance and accepted it, as so many publishing houses still won’t consider books with trans protagonists. It felt very close to my heart when I submitted it and it was a relief in a way to know that other people felt it was good enough to put out there.

Jones and Edie are going to be around for a while I think—I have another couple of books coming to the boil as I work down my to-be-written list. I can see them becoming paranormal-trouble-shooting detectives, traveling the world. The 1780s was a new period for me to write in and the historical research is fascinating. Before I get to that point I have a release in September (Taking Stock, another #ownvoices book, but this time the #ownvoices is chronic disability) and currently I am in the middle of the third in the 1920s Lost in Time cycle, following Will and Fenn. After that I might need to tackle the story of Edie’s brother Hugh and his friend Bennett, who accompanied Edie and Jones across the Himalayas. But then … I should be able to write more Edie and Jones.

Continue reading Guest post by A.L. Lester

Guest post by Ellie Thomas

As I write mainly historical romance, I am compelled by the forbidden love aspect of LGBT stories set in past centuries. Relationships between those of the same gender were not only disapproved of, but for gay men, were against the law and could have consequences of draconian punishment. I find it so moving that people suffered simply because they were attracted to the same sex.

In my stories, the pressure of my main characters to hide their sexuality from their family and even deny relationships is something I feel drawn to explore. The ‘guilty secret’ aspect of the emotional dilemma for so many generations of LGBT people really touches me. Thank goodness times have changed.

In this short extract from Another Chance For Love, my latest story with JMS Books (released on July 4th), set in 1920, my main character Adam, having failed in the past, tries to resist his mother’s pressure to marry him off.

Continue reading Guest post by Ellie Thomas

Guest post by Sarah Hadley Brook

Writing Through the Chaos

If there’s a word to describe the first half of 2020, it’s chaos. Depressing, scary, frustrating, also spring to mind, but I’ve begun personally referring to this period as “Life in Chaos.”

I’m usually a glass half-full kind of gal, but it’s been a daily struggle to find that optimistic outlook. Of course, that inevitably leads to setting aside the writing. I know a lot of great authors wrote masterpieces during times of great sadness, but I’m a “happily-ever-after” writer. I love to write about soul-mates, true love, and finding your forever!

But when I stopped writing, giving in to everything, I found that only made things worse. What happens when we give up something we love? Well, I found out I felt like a part of me was missing! And then, as I began writing again — just a little bit every day — I realized my outlook was changing. I was seeing things in a different light.

Yes, there was chaos swirling around us, but there was also hope. In the middle of a pandemic, we’re seeing people march for change — demanding our country do better. We get knocked down, but humanity certainly gets back up!

2020 still has a long way to go, and I expect there will be a lot more dips, but I’m no longer going to hide from it. I’ve got a laptop, free time, and lots of pent-up creative energy — and three stories to finish. Chaos be damned!

Save 40% off all my ebooks today only!

We’re giving away a free ebook every day this month! Starting tomorrow, one winner will be drawn daily. So enter to win today!

Guest post by Drew Hunt

Back in 2003 I was bored. Not saying I wasn’t bored prior to that date or after it. But in 2003 I decided to tackle my boredom by writing a story and sending it to a free online site. I got plenty of feedback, most of it positive. Looking back on that story later, it was pretty amateurish, but it was a beginning. I wrote several more stories for that website and got varying amounts of feedback, but I was beginning to get a bit disillusioned. It took a lot of effort to write these stories and I wasn’t receiving any financial recompense.

Then, ten years ago this month, my friend JM decided to start JMS Books and asked if I wanted to take my stories down from the net, polish them up, and publish them with her. I agreed. Gosh, what a lot of polishing some of them needed. One thing I’ve learned from writing these past 17 years is that you never stop learning. I’m always picking up new ideas, new ways to hone my craft.

An example of a new (to me) idea is my current work in progress. Although superheroes are certainly not new, I’d never tackled the subject personally. I’m also adding in MPREG, which is a more modern trope. I got the idea from talking with my friend Tami. I would joke with her that her brother, Troy, is something of a hero.

It took me a few months to think up a suitable opening, but when I began writing, I started sharing the story each week with Tami.

Tami has become a valued beta reader. That’s another thing I’ve learned as a writer, you need honest beta readers who aren’t afraid to tell you if something doesn’t work.

Some of the antics I’ve had my Troy do has made Tami laugh, and probably blush, too. I’ve found adding humour to a story helps make it more readable. My Troy is gay, Tami’s brother is not. And my Troy can fly, I’m assuming hers cannot. But it’s amazing how many real life events one can alter slightly and work into a story. Again, adding in real events makes a story more believable. If you can suspend disbelief enough to accept a man being able to fly and shoot bursts of energy from his fingertips. I did worry that anyone who read the story and who knows the real Troy might be able to make the connection. Tami told me not to worry. The real Troy does know I’m writing a story very loosely based on him. However, it’s highly doubtful he’ll read it. Which is probably for the best. You, dear blog reader, can see a sneak peek below.

Continue reading Guest post by Drew Hunt