Keeping It Real

I love, love, love this time of year in the South. The pollen has just about run its course, leaving us with the many glorious tints of green in the trees, an abundance of colorful blooms and warm sunshine. One can look out their window or experience the outdoors to face the reality of the season. Unlike many types of reality facing, this is a pleasant one. I find myself feeling better, looking better, and even grabbing hold of extremely better moods. What about you?

Do you like to read books about characters who face reality? Or ones who hide from it? Do you enjoy stories with a protagonist who lets others in allowing them to see who she really is? Or does the protagonist keep so many secrets that other characters in the story don’t have a clue, and only the reader knows?

When I read a good book, I usually want to identify with at least one main character even if it’s only in a small way. If it’s the protagonist, even better. Therefore, I like my protagonist flawed like me, making stupid mistakes like me, and ultimately facing reality or even suffering the consequences of her actions. Though a story is fiction, the characters should ring true.

A strong female protagonist isn’t always doing the right thing; she isn’t always making the best decisions. However, yet she continues to do her best, eventually attaining a goal or surviving in today’s world.


Jessica James is an award-winning author of historical fiction and military suspense/thrillers. Her first Civil War novel, Shades of Gray, re-released as a trilogy, has been called “the greatest love story ever told.” In addition to writing books, Jessica loves sharing her passion for history and travel on her blog Past Lane Travels, which was named the #1 History and Travel Blog in the U.S. You can learn more about her books on her Author website,


When readers think of “romance novels,” they often picture tough, musclebound men who swoop in and save the day. But, don’t you just love strong women who push through no matter the odds and sometimes even take on the hero? Even though I didn’t really set out to do it, I realized when writing this post that all of the women I create as main characters are strong-willed, and inevitably bump heads with their male counterparts.

Perhaps my strongest female character was the first one I wrote, which was Andrea Monroe in the Civil War novel Shades of Gray – Civil War. What could show more courage and strength than dressing as a man during the Civil War and carrying messages for officers in the Union Army? As if that wasn’t enough, this heroine audaciously taunted the most revered—and feared—Confederate cavalry officer in the region whenever she could.

That slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers novel has received more than 1,000 positive reviews and was even called “the greatest love story ever told.” I truly believe that the strong female character is what makes the book so memorable.

I loved writing the character of Andrea, but I also enjoyed developing the heroine in the novel, Lacewood. This dual-era novel contains two complete love stories—one contemporary and one set during the Civil War. Since I’m a “pantser,” (meaning I write by the seat of my pants with no preconceived notions about where the story is going), I started writing Lacewood only with the knowledge that the main character was hurting. I didn’t know how strong she would end up being until I wrote “the end.”

For a little background, the story begins when New York socialite Katie McCain stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion while searching for her grandmother’s house in Virginia. Enthralled by the beauty of the neglected estate, she purchases the property on a whim. As Katie attempts to heal her broken spirit by working on the house, she also tries to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood,” whose haunting portrait hangs on the wall in the stately home.

Enter another broken spirit, hometown hero Will Durham, who returns from war with no obvious wounds, but plenty of ones below the surface. With his help, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about love and loss, roots and belonging, and spirits of the past that refuse to be quieted.

I hope that readers not only enjoy Katie’s story and her strength in dealing with her life issues, but how her story connects the past with the present and the present with eternity.

Connect with Jessica here:



Happy Women’s Fiction Day! Did you know this genre of books routinely tops best-seller lists? Check out some other Women’s Fiction Writers and their books! #womensfictionday2023 #womensfictionwriters #womensfictionwritersassociation #womensupportingwomen #womensfictionbooks #womensfiction #womensfictionrocks

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of my novel, Relative Consequences during this promotion, please go ahead and sign up on my website,
Just look for the logo and the special signup section. I will draw a winner on June 8.


On April 17, 2023, I had so much fun being interviewed by Maggie Smith on her Podcast, Hear Us Roar! which she hosts for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. If you’d like to check out these podcasts, they are available on Apple and YouTube.

And by the way, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES is available on the following:

BookShop –
Amazon –
Barnes & Noble –
Kobo –
BooksAMillion –

See you next month when my guest author will be Pamdiana Jones.


Published by jodywritessouthern

Jody Herpin writes with a southern accent. Re-discovering her love of writing in the last ten years, she has completed her second novel, "Relative Consequences," and is currently researching her third. In 2015, Jody received First Place for Novel Submission at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop for "Weather Permitting." In 2014, she received Third Place for the Microcosm Award at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop for her piece, "View of a Lifetime." She's constantly reading, researching and soaking up knowledge about her craft. Born in Savannah, Georgia, she has lived most of her life in the South, attending Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia and living in Alabama, Georgia and North and South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. If she's not writing, she is decorating her home, attempting to paint with watercolors, reading, rediscovering the guitar, walking her Mini-Australian Shepherd, Bella, or cheering for her beloved Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Jody married the love of her life in 2014, and she and her husband, Mike Boggioni, a professional musician, live north of Atlanta, Georgia. She has two grown children and six amazing grandchildren all of whom live close enough "to holler at."

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