Jill Williamson’s Blog

The New Recruit by Jill Williamson

Posted by on Dec 19th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 0 comments

by Rachelle Rea

This review of The New Recruit first appeared on Rachelle’s blog.

The New Recruit is a young adult supernatural/suspense novel about a guy who gets recruited into a spy organization that fights the supernatural. It’s book one in the four-book Mission League series.

What I Loved

The voice.

I could pretty much sum up the entirety of what I loved about this book with those two words.

Yes, the plot was amazing. Yes, the fact that Spencer was iffy about what all was going on helped me really believe in what was going on (with a Christian spy organization, there has to be a teensy-weensy ounce of doubt in the beginning, right? Aesthetic distance, maybe?).

Yes, this book totally made me laugh and come home from a long day of school, school, and more school, excited about seeing what Spencer’s next adventure was.

But, really, what kept me reading to discover that the plot twisted and turned was the way Spencer looked at the world.

I remember saying something along a similar vein about Martyr in Replication, but Jill Williamson definitely has her male main characters pegged. She’s awesome at them. And take it from someone who is very much a girl: when an author can get me excited about what’s happening in the life of a fifteen-year-old basketball rebel (with me only wanting to throw something at him once during the whole novel), that’s a sign of true talent.

What I Didn’t Like As Much

So you’re dying to know about that one moment I wanted to throw something at Spencer, aren’t you? Well, you see, Spencer isn’t a Christian, but he’s part of this spy organization (unwillingly, anyway). He makes a great spy, and I really like how his not-yet-faith-but-totally-now-spy-work is handled. Completely believable. (And on the subject of believable, I did mention Spencer’s skepticism of the whole spy gig at first. That was played extremely well, so that when he finally believed in the existence of the whole thing, so did I.)

Anyway, Spencer looks at life in an interesting manner as an unbeliever, and there was one line where he basically calls a girl unattractive, and I was ready to wring his neck. But it passed and he ended up respecting that same girl, which elevated him again in my book.

Why I Recommend This Book

For those looking for an adventure read, here’s your answer. For those looking for a great birthday or Christmas gift for a guy or little brother, The New Recruit would be an excellent choice. The ending, especially, is handled with great tact. I love it, but I won’t give anything away. You’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Age Range: 12 and up
Genre: mystery/suspense/supernatural
Part of a Series: Book one in the Mission League Series
Pages: 422
Publisher: Marcher Lord Press
Released: 2012


A Special Charity Project for an Adoption

Posted by on Dec 12th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 7 comments

by Jill Williamson 

I recently learned that some dear friends of mine were trying to adopt a girl from Eastern Europe. Adoption is expensive, and until they raise over $40,000, little Sydney can’t come home. Just learning about their desire to adopt put tears in my eyes. I wanted to help. But I don’t have much money right now. Plus it’s Christmastime, and we wrecked our van hitting a cow. (We live in Free Range territory.)

Sydneysoon to beHaydon

But I am a writer. And I came up with a way to try and raise money to bring Sydney to her new family. I self-published an enovella. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo will keep their cut, but 100% of my proceeds from this book will go toward Sydney’s adoption.

This 120-page story takes place after book one in The Mission League series and before book two. Many things had to fall into place for this to happen, and many have given to Sydney’s cause already. Jeff Gerke gave me permission to do this project when Marcher Lord Press holds the rights to my storyworld. In doing so, he also gave up his right to make money off the story. Kirk DouPonce donated a cover, and teens from his church volunteered to model. Becky Miller, the freelance editor I hired, gave me a big discount on editing. As did Kerry Nietz on ebook design. And Chris Kolmorgen had an hour-long, (midnight for me, 2:00 a.m. for him) brainstorming session with me, helping with some last-minute content editing, though that might not have been a sacrifice of sleep on Chris’s part, as he is an insomniac, anyway. 😉

The result is my first self-published project. It released this week. To celebrate that, Jeff allowed me to put book one on sale. So, for the month of December, The New Recruit is $2.99 on ebook. And Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 is also $2.99.

I’m so excited to be able to experiment as a writer and try new things. And nothing is more exciting to me that discovering a new way of giving back. So, please help spread the word about this project. Tell your friends and family, who like to read. And if they don’t like to read, they can still donate to Sydney’s fund. My friends have a very long way to go.

And now, I’m proud to introduce Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5.


Chokepoint_by_Jill Williamson
Ever since I returned from Moscow, life is a full court press. Mission League field agents are everywhere. All the time. Watching. Waiting for me to fulfill a sixty-year-old prophecy. When some baddies try to guy-nap me, the field agents threaten to move me and Grandma Alice to some random hick town, to give us new fake identities until the prophecy is fulfilled.

Not going to happen.

I’ve got one chance to stay in Pilot Point. I have to prove to the agents that I can stay safe. Have to make this work. For basketball. For Kip. For Beth.

So, bring it, baddies. It’s game on.



To recap, The New Recruit, book 1, is $2.99 for the month of December, and Chokepoint, always $2.99, is now on sale and all the proceeds go to Sydney’s adoption.
Click here to view The New Recruit: Mission 1, Moscow on Amazon Kindle
Click here to view The New Recruit: Mission 1, Moscow on B&N Nook
Click here to view The New Recruit: Mission 1, Moscow on Kobo

Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on Amazon Kindle
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on B&N Nook
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on Kobo

You can also donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/1hrn54?utm_medium=wdgt

Or learn of other ways through Kevin and Wendy’s blog Haydon Family Growing’s Onhttp://haydonfamilygrowing.blogspot.com/


How do you give back in your place of work or your life? Please share.

The Memorial Tree-Lego Style

Posted by on Dec 7th, 2012 in Adventures in Life, Jill Williamson's Blog | 2 comments

Check out this Lego version of the memorial tree in Allowntown (from my Blood of Kings trilogy). It was created by the talented Jarren Harkema. Thanks for sharing your talents with me, Jarren!

Cities Under Fire: Lukewarm Love- CD Giveaway!

Posted by on Nov 16th, 2012 in Adventures in Life, Jill Williamson's Blog | 4 comments

Cities Under Fire is a dynamic, melodic alternative rock band. The guys have two albums, “Lukewarm Love” and “Bright Lights.” This past summer they toured through Oregon and I got to meet them! Sweet! Their concert was amazing! And I am now a total Firehead (a term I just made up).

They’re visiting with me on my blog today. I’m so excited. But first, check out this video of one of their songs called “Stay.”

YouTube Preview Image

Hey, guys. Thanks for stopping by. Can you introduce yourselves and tell me what instrument you play or if you sing?

Bronson plays bass, Jardeth plays guitars and adds some Vocals, David sings lead and plays guitar, and Andrew plays drums.

Cities Under Fire

Andrew, David, and Jardeth

Where are you guys from?

Andrew: We’re based out of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada.  We all live in the area.

How did you guys meet?

Jardeth: The three brothers in the band (Andrew, Bronson, and Jardeth) have grown up playing in a family band called Double Portion. We were traveling in Iowa where David’s family was living and we became friends. David moved to North Battleford where my family lived, and the rest is history. 

When did you start the band?

Andrew: It started out with David and I jamming about six years ago when he first moved up to Sask.  We started jamming with Jardeth about a year later and started writing songs.  We released our first album (a 7 song EP) in 2009 followed by our first full length album in 2010.

Bronson Hemmerling

Bronson Hemmerling

Bronson? Are you new to the band? Because I was watching the YouTube video of “Stay,” and that bass player was blond. 🙂 Can you tell me when you joined up?

Bronson: I joined up as their full time bass player last summer.

Awesome. Guys, when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

J: I’ve always wanted to be a musician. But for a short while I wanted to play basketball.  

A: Growing up in a musical family I always knew that music is where I wanted to be.  Of course going through high school I was very interested in sports, and I always tried to be involved in any that I could.

D: A professional baseball player. 

B: A musician.

I love it! Sports or music. Your tastes are very similar. Do any of you still play with your family band?

J: Jardeth and Bronson still play with the band.

I adore that family picture, so I have to post it. Here is Canada’s Double Portion. I want to come to Christmas at your house. So fun!

Canada's Double Portion

Canada’s Double Portion

What do you guys feel is the purpose of Cities Under Fire?

D: To create music that impacts people’s lives and for them to encounter the love of God through our music and our lives.

J: I feel the purpose of CUF is to spread the joy and message of Jesus Christ through a incredibly tangible way. To break the mind set that Christianity is boring and stagnant, and that Jesus wants us to have life MORE abundantly. 

I’m always hearing about how tough it is for bands to go one tour and face all the temptations that come with that. How do you stay spiritually grounded?

D: Having parents that have been in ministry and back me up. As well as having several people in my life that encourage me spiritually.  

A: When we’re out on the road we take time each day to have band devotions. 

What do you consider one of your biggest life adventures? 

D: Living in Hawaii for three months. (Jill is jealous.)

A: Marrying my wife Cheilon a little over 3 years ago.  Also, this band has been a big one as well. (Jill agrees that marriage is a great adventure.)

B: Travelling in a van with five guys for weeks on end is always an adventure. (LOL I can imagine. If you ever need someone to write your story, I’m in!)

J: Traveling across Japan last summer. (Love Japan! When I was in high school, I got to go to school in Okinawa for a month.)

Bright Lights Cities Under FireCan you tell us a bit about your new album “Bright Lights”?

J: Sure. “Bright Lights” is our latest album recorded with Darryl Swart (Tree 63) at red tree studios in Calgary, Alberta. We’re all very proud of this project. We feel it’s a very sonically and lyrically progressive follow-up to “Lukewarm Love”. It is really packed full of Cities Under Fire’s heart and passion. 

D: We put a lot more time into each song and feel it is our strongest album all around. 

Readers, Cities Under Fire has a new song called “Release” that they’re really excited about. Check it out here:


Can you tell me what the song “Release” is all about?

D: It can relate to a lot of different people about needing and wanting more than this life has to offer, no matter where they are in life.  

Jardeth, where did you learn that trick of singing into your guitar? That was so cool!

J: Ha ha, thanks. It started when I was writing and recording a song in my basement, and all I had was my guitar. I had this idea for a haunting, delayed vocal-thing. So I just tried singing into the pickups and it worked. So we decided to try it on stage and it seems to be something people like. 

Smart thinking, Jardeth. It was sweet. Any tours planned in the future?

A: We’ve just finished up two tours this fall. The first took us west through Oregon and Washington and ended in British Columbia.  The second tour took us to eastern Canada, mostly in Ontario.  We’re working on a tour right now that will take us to the mid-west US as well as the prairie provinces in the spring.

Where can people go to hear your music?

Website: http://www.citiesunderfire.com/

“Like” the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/citiesunderfire

iTunes: www.itunes.com/citiesunderfire

Online store: www.citiesunderfire.com/store

So nice talking with you guys again! I’m telling everyone I know about you guys. You rock!

And, Readers, I have an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Cities Under Fire’s “Lukewarm Love” CD and a cool poster to give away today. Just in time for Christmas! Three easy peasy ways to enter: Follow Cities Under Fire on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or leave a comment or question for the band. Enter on the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Hobbit Devotional by Ed Strauss

Posted by on Nov 14th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 1 comment

Hobbit DevotionalHere is a book that’s fun for the whole family—if you’ve read The Hobbit, of course. Each of the 60 devotionals are about 2-3 pages long and take a scene from the book and relates it to an every-day-life situation. A Hobbit Devotional gives readers a fresh way to enjoy Tolkien’s classic tale and practice spiritual growth. If you’re looking for a fun devotional book, what a way to start the day.

Age Range: 12 and up
Genre: devotional, nonfiction
Part of a Series: no
Pages: 320
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Write Now Relief: help the victims of Sandy and also get a little first aid for your novel!

Posted by on Nov 9th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog | 41 comments

This is where you bid if you want to bid on a critique from me (Jill Williamson). Leave your bid in the comments section. If you’re interested in another author, check out the full list of participating authors here.

WHAT: Bid on a 50-page critique of your novel, I don’t care what genre it is. Highest bidder will send their amount to Samaritans Purse for their relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

WHEN: Begins Friday, November 9, ends Friday midnight EST November 16.

HOW: Place your bid in the comments section of this post. Monitor it closely so that you can re-bid if needed. Check back on this Facebook page for updates on all the bids. If you are the high bidder at the end of the week, make your donation and email a copy of your receipt to the author with your 50 pages. It’s that easy.

How much is a 50-page critique worth?

Most authors and editors can easily charge $35 an hour and a fifty-page critique is well over three hours of labor. But this labor of love is for victims who have lost everything. Their need is huge. One blogger who hosted a similar campaign last week had a top donation bid of $1,000 for a 50-page critique!

What will the critique entail?

I will read your fifty pages with an eye to giving you insights and feedback on all aspects of your story excerpt, including plot, character, story arc, mechanics, pacing, and reader appeal. If you also send me a one-page synopsis of your full story, I can give overall story feedback as well.

What is Samaritan’s Purse?

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Here is a video from Samaritans Purse on their efforts to help Sandy’s victims.

YouTube Preview Image

How do I donate to Samaritans Purse?

You can head to the Samaritan’s Purse webpage on Hurricane Sandy http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/hurricane_sandy/

and click on the GIVE link imbedded on the page. Whether you are the highest bidder or not, do consider donating to this effort.

How do I bid?

Leave your bid in the comments section below. Thanks for your generosity in helping those in need.

An Interview and Giveaway with Eddie Jones

Posted by on Nov 8th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 29 comments

Today I’m talking with Eddie Jones. He is the author of the new teen mystery novel Dead Man’s Hand, which I reviewed here. His YA novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult Fiction. When he’s not writing or teaching at writers’ conferences, Eddie can be found surfing in Costa Rica or some other tropical locale.

Hi, Eddie! How did you start writing?

I started my sophomore year of high school and told my English teacher I wanted to write for Cat Talk, Millbrook High School’s newspaper. Mrs. Hough said, “Eddie, you can’t spell and you’re a terrible grammarian.” But I wrote a couple of articles. She seemed to like the way I could put words together, so I won a spot on staff.

My senior year Mrs. Pollard begged not to major in English. In fact, she was shocked I would even consider going to college because I’d never be accepted. She was right. NC State rejected my application. A few days later I made an appointment with the admissions office. The day of my interview I wore a pair of red and white checkered polyester pants my mom made me, white shirt, and a red tie. State admitted me into Industrial Arts, which I thought would be pretty cool since I though Industrial Arts meant I’d get to paint buildings. I flunked English 101 twice before passing with a D. I graduated from N.C. State four years later with a degree in English/Journalism and four years of writing experience for the Technician. I’m still a lousy proof-editor but I learned long ago storytelling trumps grammar.

LOL Wow, that’s quite a story. I hope you sent Mrs. Pollard a copy of one of your books. Tell us about your new release, Dead Man’s Hand.

First, it’s a fun, fast read aimed for middle school boys, but we’re also getting nice reviews on Goodreads from teachers and mothers. But my aim is to give boys a book they can enjoy, one taps into today’s fascination with the occult. This is the first book in the Caden Chronicles series and each story involves one element of the supernatural. Book one explores the concept of ghosts, spirits and what happens to our souls when we die.

You’re passionate about getting boys interested in books. Why do you feel it’s so important to get boys reading fiction at an early age?

Dead Man's Hand by Eddie Jones

Click to read my review.

I fear we’re on the verge of losing the male reader. I don’t mean men and boys won’t learn to read: they will. But the percentage male who read for leisure continues to shrink, and this could be devastating for our country. We can’t lose half our population and expect America to compete on a global level. Reading forces the mind to create. With video the scene and characters are received passively by the brain. There is very little interaction; it’s all virtual stimulation, which is different from creation. When you read, you add your furniture to the scene, dress the characters, add elements not mentioned by the author. This is why readers so often complain, “the movie was nothing like the book.” It’s not, because the book is your book. The author crafted the outline of the set but each reader brings their emotions and expectations to that book, changing it forever.

In general, boys would rather get their information and entertainment visually. This is one reason books have such a tough time competing for male readers. It can take weeks to read a book, even one as short as Dead Man’s Hand. Meantime, that same story can be shown as a movie in under two hours. So in one sense the allure of visual gratification is robbing future generations of our ability to solve problems.

I believe Americans only posses one true gift, creativity, and it’s a gift from God. Other nations build things cheaper and with fewer flaws. They work longer hours for less pay. But the thing that has always set America apart is our Yankee ingenuity. We have always been able to solve our way out of problems. That comes directly from our ability to create solutions to problems we didn’t anticipate. If we lose male readers and fail to develop that creative connections necessary for the brain to conceive of alternatives, then we will lose our position as the world’s leader. 

Interesting, Eddie. What advice would you offer to parents to get their children interested in reading at a young age?

Watch for clues. If your child shows any interest in reading, reward the activity with trips to book fairs. I remember in grade school how excited I got when we were allowed to order books. All we had to do was check a box, (or so I thought) and wham! A few weeks later boxes of books showed up and the teacher began dealing them to the students. I didn’t learn until later my parents had mailed the school money for those books. I still have most of them.

But not all children like reading and you can create an anti-reading environment if you push too hard. An alternative for boys are comic books, graphic novels, or simply cartoon books. I read a lot of Charlie Brown cartoon books and still remember the plot: Lucy has the football. Charlie wants to kick the ball. Lucy promises she will hold the ball in place, but at the last moment… We know this story because it’s repeated, not in a novel, but in a cartoon.

You’re writing for children right now with Zondervan. Besides the upcoming Cadence Chronicles Series, what are your dreams for your writing future?

Each day I walk around my yard reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This is my conversational time with God. Part of that prayer time is me putting on the armor of God. When I’m about halfway fitted out I say, “Lord place across my chest your breastplate of righteousness that my thought may be pure, honorable, and good and my dreams secure: my dreams of sailing around the Caribbean, writing a best selling novel, and surfing reef breaks.” Beyond that I don’t have any grand writing goals.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write devotions, don’t focus on the praise, book sales, and reviews. Forget about trying to find an agent and editor. Once you’re successful, they’ll find you. Explore the wounds in your life and minister to others through your writing. If God allowed you to be hurt, you can speak to that with authority. The rest of us, cannot. Ask yourself where your passions lie. I love surfing. If I could do anything, be anywhere, I’d be in a hut on a beach surfing a point break alone. I love playing and hate work. This is reflected in the types of books I write. I love pulling for the underdog. This comes out in the ministry God gave me. Only you can write the stories God dropped in your lap, and if you do not, they will die.

Thanks for taking with me, Eddie! Where can we find out more about you?

Please come find me on www.Eddiejones.org.

I’m giving away one copy of Dead Man’s Hand. Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dead Man’s Hand by Eddie Jones

Posted by on Nov 7th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 0 comments

Dead Man's Hand by Eddie JonesNick Caden and his family travel to Montana for a family vacation at Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town, where they’re entertained by such characters as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Annie Oakley. Nick would rather be in Las Vegas for a video game convention. But then Nick stumbles onto a dead body, and once he brings the sheriff back to the scene of the crime, the body is gone. Now no one will believe him. So it’s up to Nick to solve the crime himself—which is a hobby of his anyway. His parents want him to stay out of trouble, but Nick won’t stop until he solves the murder.

I don’t think there are enough mystery books or boy books for young readers that are written from a Christian worldview, so I’m excited about this book. And it reminded me of the Hardy Boy books I read as a kid. Nick and his family are not Christians, though, and there is a point where he asks his mom about the Bible and she makes it clear that she doesn’t believe the book is true. But Nick finds a Bible with highlighted passages that make him curious.

Nick was determined to solve the case. At first I was a little confused. I couldn’t tell if there really had been a dead body or if it was part of the Ghost Town’s act. And I wasn’t certain until the very end, which was kind of fun, to be kept guessing. Everyone is a suspect in Nick’s eyes, including his new friend Annie. He gathers his clues and processes them based on his “training” as a Cyber Sleuth, something he and his friends do in their spare time to solve cold cases. I’m still not sure how the highlighted Bible fit in to the mystery, but Nick figures it out and saves the day. This is a clean and fun story. Check it out.

*I received this book from Zondervan in return for an honest review of my opinions.

Age Range: 9 and up
Genre: mystery
Part of a Series: Book one in the Caden Chronicles
Pages: 224
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: 2012

The Winners of the Go Undercover Scavenger Hunt Are…

Posted by on Oct 30th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog | 5 comments

The Go Undercover Scavenger Hunt has ended!

Congratulations to the winner of the $100 Barnes and Noble gift card, Matthew Schroll!

And the ten runners up who will receive spy kits are:


Congrats to all the winners, and thanks to all who entered!

The Winners of the Early Captives Giveaway are…

Posted by on Oct 29th, 2012 in Jill Williamson's Blog | 0 comments

Captives The Safe Lands

Thanks to everyone who entered my Bonus Contest on the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt. It was great to meet all you guys! I hope you all discovered many new authors to read.

I gave away five copies of Captives, my upcoming dystopian novel, which isn’t out until February. So, winners, the books won’t come in the mail until then.

And the winners are:

Kathleen E. Belongia
Melissa Jagears
Joanna Stricker
Elizabeth Libby Riggs, and
Andrea Munn

Thanks again to all who entered! 🙂