Pre-Orders Will Be the Death of Me

Pre-Orders Will Be the Death of Me

Just a short time ago, my income steadied enough to where I could seriously consider buying an ebook right when I heard of it. (As long as it was still pretty inexpensive. Let’s not go crazy. 😉)

And then I tried my first pre-order and experienced the magic of it just appearing on the Kindle. It’s even more magical when you forget the release date so a random Tuesday becomes a new favorite book day. 😉

Unfortunately (but really quite fortunately), my authors spent their quarantine well and the closer it gets to Christmas, the more new releases there are. 😬😬😉

A Very Bookish Thanksgiving (by various authors) is the next installment in the anthology series I was part of last year. I’m so excited to read it, especially since quite a few of my favorite indie authors have contributed something. 😉

This one is being delivered in just under a week. 😁👏

YES, YES, YES! More Bremily, I mean, mystery. 😁😁 I’ve been reading Fair in War in installments as she posted it for Patrons, but I’ve saved the end for when I can inhale it in one sitting with my Kindle. 

*does some quick math* That’s only three weeks from now… Ahhhh! 😊

An Unlikely Proposal is actually pretty far out (alllll the way in next February 😱), but when my new favorite author gets such a cool book deal, I gotta support. 😁 Really can’t wait to read this one. ❤️

While I was thinking about this post, one of my pre-orders slid into my Kindle, but I thought I’d include it anyway. 

Isn’t the cover gorgeous?! 😍 Two authors whose work I know and love + two authors I get to try for the first time? Sign me up. 👏

We’ll see how well I do at ignoring all the other amazing releases that come up, but for now these are the ones I’m super excited about. 😉

A Very Bookish Christmas: Meet and Greet!

A Very Bookish Christmas: Meet and Greet!

Yesterday I did a very cool author-y thing. I hit “publish” on the paperback version of Sincerely, Jem. 😁🤩

^^ A.k.a. the most exciting pop-up message of an author’s life. 😆

And today… IT’S AVAILABLE, Y’ALL!!

I’m extra excited because this is the first paperback book I’ve formatted myself. 😉 #authorgoals

As are three other pretty cool books–the same ones that originally appeared in the A Very Bookish Christmas anthology. Would you like to meet them?

Sylvie of Amber Apartments by J. Grace Pennington is inspired by Anne of Green Gables, and I super excited to see how Grace mixes her characteristically deep themes with a slice-of-life storyline. 😉 I’ve heard fantastic things about this story, and I’m a huge fan of The Firmament series and Implant also by this author, so… 😀

Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones (#exceedinglycutecover) is inspired by a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and it DEFINITELY gave me those vibes. If you’re a fan of mysteries with a slight historical feel, you’re definitely going to love this one.

Molly and Anna by Sarah Holman (Pollyanna-inspired) is a fantastic mixture of pretty cute and sweet while wrestling with a really hard topic. I appreciate the author’s willingness to bring up the topic of racism and do her best to address it.

In celebration of our new releases, we’re giving away a $15 Amazon giftcard! 😀 Find the giveaway HERE.

Merry Christmas in July!

Have you read any of these books? Or which one(s) are you looking forward to reading?

Upcoming and Exciting

Upcoming and Exciting

I’m excited about two word-related things right now…

#1? The other day, I printed off draft one of “Imperfect”. You probably heard me cackling in excitement. 😆 Then I stapled it together in segments of a chapter or two, located my red pen, and got to work. 😉

I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it, but I’m already to chapter six and suuuppppper excited.

Aesthetically messy ^^

I posted this on Facebook, and it’s painfully true…

#2 on word-related things I’m excited about…

Paperbacks will be available this upcoming weekend in connection with a very special blog party. 😍😍

My fellow A Very Bookish Christmas authors and I are releasing our books separately, and I can’t wait for you to see the full amazingness. 😀

Stay tuned for a giveaway and some pretty fun blog posts! See you then. 😀

10 Random Facts About Sincerely, Jem

10 Random Facts About Sincerely, Jem

1. It’s a quadruplet. This novella is one of four originally published in the limited edition anthology A Very Bookish Christmas last year. (Thanks so much to Sarah Holman for coordinating this! ❤ This book exists because of you.) 

2. It’s loosely inspired by a classic. The pen pal relationship, Jessie’s aspiring writer-ness, and their pen names are inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. 

3. There are two Doctor Who references–one was intentional. See if you can spot them. 😀

4. Did I mention cheesecake? I feel like I mention this everywhere, but cheesecake is in the book a lot. Not just any cheesecake, though–mini cheesecakes. (Which I can confirm are superior because MORE CRUST.)

5. It’s not a romance. XD

6. It’s slightly inspired by real life. I won’t spoil all of the anecdotes for you, but when Jessie accidentally burns Snickerdoodles then grates them for ice cream topping? We did that once. XD 

7. I called in backup for Longfellow’s letters in the form of guy beta-readers. I wanted his “voice” to sound authentic, so I had them particularly check that for me. (Thanks, guys!)

8. I designed the cover for this one. O.o. First time ever. 

9. Jessie is an introvert (like myself), and while she has some growing to do, she stays an introvert.

10. It released today!! Check it out on Amazon in Kindle. 😀

Christmas Cards for My Characters

Christmas Cards for My Characters

My characters mean a lot to me. I love creating them and I love sharing them with you all. 😉 Just for fun, I decided to “write” Christmas cards to my characters. 😉 Most of them are from published stories, except the last one…


Dear Kiera

Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you and the baby are doing well, and give Jade a hug for me, please. I think of you all often! ❤



Dear Drewin and Ryla,

Happy Christmastide! I hope you all have a lovely holiday! Enjoy the absolutely decked castle and some fantastic pies.



Dear Gavynn

Happy Christmastide! Enjoy being together with your family, and send my greetings to Farren. 😉



(Card made by Emma)

Dear Jem,

Meeerrrrry CHRISTMAS!!! ❤ We just met this year, but it’s been so fun and I feel like I’ve known you forever. Eat some cheesecake for me. 😀



(Card made by Pearl)

Dear Kylee, 

Merry Christmas, friend! Also, happy painting and Happy New Year! 😉



And dear readers of my blog and my books, Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to you! ❤ I’ll be back here for New Years… 😉

A Stray Chapter for You

A Stray Chapter for You

Hello, and how is your month going, aaaaaand I’m literally blanking on a good introduction to this blog post. 😉 #honesttogoodnesstruth

Basically, I thought it would be fun to share another chapter of my new novella Sincerely, Jem.

(If you haven’t read chapter one yet, catch it here.)

Chapter Two: Between the Tree and the Wall

There were garlands everywhere. Swagged across doorways, trailing down window trim, looping around and around the stair railing. Tinsel and bows, twinkling lights and ribbon decorated the garlands, making each one unique yet still coordinated with the others. In the kitchen, there was even a garland hanging from the edge of the island, which Jessie got a good view of every time she braved the crowd in the dining room to get a mini cheesecake.

Ember had done a perfect job making them, Jessie decided. They were creamy white with a crust that was crunchy moments before it melted in her mouth. She took another cheesecake, her last one for a while, and leaned against the kitchen counter to eat it.

As she peeled back the baking wrapper and began to nibble at the heavenly cheesecake, she let herself study the people crowded into the dining room. People of all ages, types, shapes, sizes, levels of noisiness, and levels of nosiness were happy to be there and around each other. Owen had found some other young teenage boys his age to play a board game with, and others of her family were fitting in seamlessly. 

She sighed and threw away her empty wrapper, then drifted out to the quietly welcoming living room to see what was happening there.

Only a few people were in this room. Dad sat on the couch holding Baby Noel and talking to Mr. Donovan, their host. He was an older man straight from a storybook just like his house, and his sky-blue eyes twinkled as he spoke. Jessie recognized him from church choir where he stood between Dad and Owen in the tenor section. 

Ember and her guy, Ben, had found each other immediately, and now they shared the piano seat and some pretty cute smiles. Jessie giggled to herself and shook her head. 

She leaned in the doorway, not exactly welcome in one room and not exactly interested in being in the other.

The shimmering Christmas tree began a staring contest with her, and if she hadn’t been so bored, it would have beaten her sooner. She drifted toward it, finding the numerous ornaments fascinating. Here, a little horse, carved out of wood and handpainted with vibrant red reins and a little face. Next, a crystal star that shone in the light and danced as it hung from a branch. 

Jessie moved from one ornament to the next, never touching them but soaking in their stories with her eyes. She reached out to touch one of the tree branches and rubbed it between her fingers. The strong, wonderful smell of pine met her nose. Definitely real.

She’d bumped from one slightly gossipy conversation to another awkward one, and it had left her feeling exhausted and out of place. 

She was being unfair, she knew. Strangers weren’t usually comfortable diving right into esoteric or quirky conversations. Which reminded her… she still had last night’s weird dream to write about in her inspiration book. 

Glancing around the room like an introverted spy, she tiptoed past Dad and Mr. Donovan to the coat rack. She fished around in her coat pocket and pulled out the notebook. The library receipt she’d found fluttered to the ground, so she stooped to pick it up. The words were too faded to read, but at least it would make a nice bookmark. 

She slid it between the pages and returned to inspecting the Christmas tree. The space between it and the wall practically invited her to enter it, and she sank down on the carpet.

Her black shoes she’d changed into just peeked out from under the edge of her skirt, and she reached out to rub a scuffed spot on one toe. She had done well being a normal socializing person for the first three hours of the party, but conversationally tiptoeing around small talk and trying not to eat too many cheesecakes around strangers got tiring quickly. 

Jessie leaned her head against the wall and pulled the bobby pins out of her hair, letting it fall loose around her shoulders. Now for the dream. She flipped to the sheet labeled “Dreams” and scrawled out her frightening and surprisingly humorous nightmare of that morning. 

Apparently a rhinoceros had been wearing heels and began to tap dance all over the dress she’d ironed specifically for the party. Jessie giggled to herself, imagining the picture she would draw if she could, then shut her mouth quickly.

It would be awkward if someone found her laughing behind the Christmas tree. 

She looked up just in time to see the first guests trickling from the overcrowded dining room into this one to grab their coats and say goodbye. Time to make her reappearance. Another cheesecake was a good excuse. Standing up, she hid her inspiration book by the side of her skirt and slipped out into the room. 

Mr. Donovan was just turning away from shutting the door behind his guests, and his eyes lit in amusement when he saw her. “Enjoying the party, Jessica?”

Jessie flushed. “Mostly. I really like your Christmas tree.”

“Yes, it’s lovely, isn’t it?” He moved toward the tree, clasping his hands behind his back. “My wife takes great delight in decorating the tree for Christmas. She told me, none of this nonsense of perfectly matching ornaments, memories matter more to her. We even left that space between it and the wall so she can read behind it sometimes.”

Jessie looked at the tree in surprise and tried to picture Mrs. Donovan, always so elegant at the church piano, sitting in the same place she’d just been. So Judy wasn’t the only person who would understand her, after all! What a shame the most inspiring person she’d just discovered couldn’t have come to the party. 

She turned to Mr. Donovan. “You both did a lovely job. I’m sorry she couldn’t be here today, or I would tell her myself.”

Mr. Donovan chuckled. “You and me both, though I think she’s quite happy where she is right now. Visiting a sick grandchild. That’s another thing that is important to her.”

Jessie smiled. 

“But you’ll get your chance to see her again sometime, and maybe then you can tell her.”

Copyright 2019 Kate Willis

You can read more in the A Very Bookish Christmas anthology. 😉

(Also, my Christmas tree looks so pretty right now, I’m tempted to go sit behind it.)

A Very Bookish Christmas Is Out!!! (+free chapter)

A Very Bookish Christmas Is Out!!! (+free chapter)

Somewhere between turkey and Black Friday sales, A Very Bookish Christmas released! ❤ I’m so excited to be sharing this anthology with some of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait for you all to read it. ❤ (I think I’ve said all that before, but it’s true. XD)

Buy on Amazon

Add on Goodreads

But first, introductions.

The first story in the anthology is by Rebekah Jones. It’s called “Gingerbread Treasures”, and it’s inspired by the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s pretty brilliant fun. Here’s a quote I like…

Next is “Molly and Anna” by Sarah Holman (inspired by Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter). I read an early version of the story, and I loooooved the theme of reconciliation. It was also super Christmas-y and adorable. ❤

I haven’t gotten to read J. Grace Pennington‘s story “Sylvie of Amber Apartments” yet, but that it’s inspired by Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and this quote below makes me want to read it. 😉

Last in the anthology is my story “Sincerely, Jem”, inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, chock full of cheesecake, and a little bit quirky with a theme that is close to my heart.

In honor of our anthology release, here is Chapter One of “Sincerely, Jem”! Enjoy! 😉

Chapter One: Christmas Dresses

The only problem with Christmas dresses, Jessie decided, was that they didn’t have pockets. How was she supposed to carry her inspiration book with her? She spun in a circle, admiring the sparkly plaid skirt again, then leaned on the edge of the dresser and stared down at her little book. 

It was perfectly pocket-sized, barely larger than her hand, and the hardbound red cover would be sturdy enough for all the weird places she intended to take it. Only a few pages had been filled so far, but she was sure a party like tonight would be the perfect place to collect more inspiration.

She traced the word “Inspire” splashed across the cover in gold, then opened it. There were still a few minutes until it was time to leave, and she was proud of the way she’d lettered a favorite quote from Daddy-Long-Legs on the first page. “I saw a street car conductor today with one brown eye and one blue. Wouldn’t he make a nice villain for a detective story?”

She felt as if Judy, the character who had penned these words, might have been the only person who could understand exactly how satisfying it was to walk through life seeing a story in every face. If she were going to be an author someday, she had to find inspiration somewhere. With such an excitingly varied thing as a Christmas party that evening, it felt wrong to leave the book home.

She would bring it. Maybe it would fit into her coat pocket or her older sister, Ember, would have room in her clutch.

“Mom just sounded the five-minute warning,” Ember said from behind her and stabbed one last bobby pin into her hair.

Jessie jumped and moved aside to share the mirror with her sister. “Thanks. Did Ben say he was coming?”

“Yeah, he texted me a minute ago to say he was.”

Jessie smirked at her in the mirror and fluttered her eyelashes. 

Ember laughed and swatted at her. “I’ll remember this when it’s your turn.”

“Well, you better have a good memory because I have the tail end of high school and six billion books to write before then,” Jessie declared, smoothing a dark strand of hair back from her face. Her half-updo had become the unfortunate casualty of taking off her apron and searching under the couch for shoes. It remained to be seen what cramming into the minivan in snow gear would do to it.

Ember noticed her frowning and jumped into action. “Let me help you with that,” she said, quickly pushing her in front of the mirror and releasing her bobby pins. 

“Two minutes!” Mom called from the kitchen and the hall light shut off.

Ember’s hands moved quickly over Jessie’s hair, transforming it into a pollyanna that twisted slightly back from her ears. She nodded at their reflections in satisfaction, and the girls ducked from the room together.

“Right on time,” Mom said, holding out plastic-wrapped plates of cheesecake to them. “Dad’s warming up the van, and Amy and Owen are already out there with him.”

They stepped out into the snow-adorned world and shuffled their way across the driveway. Jessie’s nose and cheeks were flushed with cold by the time Owen slid open the side door and vaulted to the back seat to make room for them. 

“Thanks, bro,” Jessie said, setting her plate down on the seat and hoisting herself up into the van. Sitting down between her younger siblings, she strapped in and set both plates of cheesecake on her lap so Ember could climb in. 

“Now all we need are Mom and Baby Noel,” Amy said, tracing a smiley face on the foggy window. She added pigtails to match her own. 

Jessie smiled to herself and wondered why fog plus waiting always equaled pictures. It almost sounded like the perfect subject for a poem. She hadn’t officially started a poetry section in her inspiration book yet, but now was as good a time as any. Reaching into her coat pocket, she came up empty except for an ancient library receipt. 

“Here, take these. I forgot something.” She shoved the plates of cheesecake toward her siblings and rocketed out of the van.

Walking as quickly as possible across the driveway, she passed Mom coming out of the house with the baby bundled up in her carseat.

“Forgot something. Be back in just a sec,” Jessie called over her shoulder as she slipped off her snow boots and wove her way down the dark hallway to her room. 

She ran her hand along the top of the dresser, feeling the hairbrush, a random necklace, and nearly knocking over a decorative candle before finding the small flat book. She picked it up and shoved it into her coat pocket, then ran back down the hall and took her place in the van moments later.

“Sorry about that,” she said, breathlessly, as Dad backed the van out of the driveway.

“What did you forget?” he asked, looking at her in the rearview mirror.

Jessie held up her red notebook with a sheepish grin. 

He winked.

“What are you bringing that for?” Ember asked, turning slightly in her seat. Her light-brown curls smushed against the seat, and she gently moved them over her shoulder to protect their shape. 

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe there will be interesting people there.”

Ember grinned and shook her head, turning back around. She held out a finger to the baby in the seat next to her, and Noel closed her little fist around it. 

It was times like these, Jessie decided, that she really wished she could draw. Words and doodles came more easily to her than lifelike pictures. She twisted a curl that had escaped her half-updo and tried to remember the all-important reason she’d run inside for her book. Ah, yes, window fog and waiting. 

In her scrawly mixture of print and cursive, Jessie wrote the title to a new poem: “Window Fog and Waiting Wanderings”. Hmmm… maybe the alliteration was cheesy. She crossed it out and tried again. “Foggy Wanderings”? 

Amy leaned against her shoulder and watched as words formed from the tip of her pen. “Did I inspire that?”

Jessie nodded, her thoughts worlds away. She didn’t usually write poetry, but something about the sparkly winter scenery sliding past them and the excitement of the coming party felt particularly inspiring. 

“Somewhere between the window and the world, warmth and cold meet, to form a wintery canvas there, and pictures bright and sweet.”

She began to murmur the next verse. “Waiting opens up our hearts, and our imaginations, to share the images inside our minds, in the form of…” She couldn’t think of a word that fit.

Owen read over her shoulder and made a suggestion. “In the form of goofy faces.” He turned away and swiped his finger across the window. “Like this one.”

His sisters leaned around him to look and burst into giggles.

Ember put her free finger to her lips and nodded toward the baby. She had fallen asleep, sunny curls against the side of her carseat. Jessie smiled and turned back to her poem. How did one fit in a goofy face and still keep a peaceful, poetic tone? That was definitely something to think about. 

The poem morphed and changed, restarted and morphed again as the trees grew thinner and the houses grew thicker as they drove further into town. 

“I think it’s perfect, Jesster,” Owen said when Jessie showed him the fresh page and tidy verses she’d copied over. He nodded with conviction and pulled shyly at his curly hair. 

“Thanks, bro. I might change the last line sometime, but I think it’s done enough for now.” She grinned at Amy. “Now will you two sign it as my helpers and inspiration?”

Owen held out his hands for the book, and she bit back a smile as he carved his name with his best attempt at tidy handwriting. Amy’s turn was next, and she added a little heart after her name. 

The rest of the ride passed in the quiet stillness of daydreams and keeping the baby asleep. Jessie glanced at her fondly and reached out to tweak her little sock. The age gap between Amy and Noel was over seven years long, so she’d been a nice, big surprise just in time for Christmas last year.

Maybe she would write a poem, or at least a poetic essay, about that sometime.

“We’re there!” Dad announced, and she shut her book quickly, slipping it into her coat pocket and sitting up to see their surroundings.

Her jaw dropped.

The house was saltbox style with a red door and more strands of Christmas lights than Jessie had seen in her life. Wreaths decorated every window and the posts of the porch were wrapped with red ribbon. A shimmering Christmas tree filled an entire downstairs window, and she secretly hoped she’d be allowed to inspect it. 

“It’s like something from a storybook!” she breathed, stepping out of the van behind Ember.

The cold air of winter filled her lungs and her whole body with excitement, and it was all she could do to not rush toward the door. This was going to be a beautiful and inspiring party.

Copyright 2019 Kate Willis

Merry Christmas season! ❤

(Cover by Jessica Greyson, graphics by Rebekah Jones.)