Prompt to Publication | Jessica Brimer

Today we are celebrating Jessica Brimer. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.

I hope these interviews will help you and teach you how to use Deadlines for Writers to build your author platform.

Author feature: I’d like to introduce Jessica Brimer.

Jessica completed the 12 Short Stories Challenge in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The link for the video interview is at the end of this post. 

What have you published?

Jessica Brimer: I have three short stories in anthologies.

  • Writing My Heart Out Publications with Paul Slater and Maria Delaney, called When Opportunity Strikes.
  • 2021 Indie Authors’ Short Story Anthology, I Killed Henry
  • Clues and Culprits An Anthology by the Indie Authors’ Group, Secrets Beyond the Grave.

Recently, my first novel was published through Next Chapter Publishing called, A Binding Chance.

Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?

Jessica Brimer: Yes! I wrote a novel before joining the group. Long story short, agents rejected it. I wanted to write another story, but was worried about making the same mistakes. So I went online to find a writers’ group and that’s how I found Deadlines for Writers. I learned something new with every month. Everyone’s feedback on my stories helped me improve. Without their feedback, I know I would not be a published author.

I learned that deadlines are not evil. lol. Mostly 12SS helped me to be more creative. Some prompts were really hard, and I almost threw in the towel. But I kept writing, refusing to give up because something was too hard. Those prompts turned out to be some of my favorite stories.

What did you learn that you applied to your novel?

Jessica Brimer: The short word count forced me to get to the action. Telling the reader about the character’s backstory is not important. Get to the point and explain what the reader needs to know. Explain backstory when needed, if at all.

What is your favourite story you wrote for 12SS?

Jessica Brimer: I loved Who Killed Henry so much that I turned it into a short story in my first anthology.  It’s still one my favorites I wrote for 12SS.


Jessica BrimerJessica Brimer is a Tennessee native who spends most of her time writing and far more time browsing the bookshelves at her local library. Growing up Jessica was fascinated with the mystery genre, which sparked her desire to write them. If she isn’t spending time with her two kids and husband, you can almost always find her dabbling with essential oils while reading something mysterious.

Visit Jessica’s Facebook page.

Read an excerpt from Jessica‘s story.

Chapter 1 

Jane Jackson, my new boss, stood before me. The moment she walked through Teresa’s Bookstore, I knew Jane would be trouble. She wore a gray suit that was too hot for a Tennessee summer with a white shirt, snuggled tight against her neckline. Jane’s brown hair wrapped into a tight bun, which made me wonder if it gave her headaches. Those high stilettos were a better match for women who sat in office chairs all day and attended swanky lunches, rather than spending a day opening heavy boxes or restocking bookshelves. My new boss looked as if she stepped out of Vogue magazine.

“Fired!” I cried.

“Fired is a strong word. But yes, Garnet,” said Jane, nonchalantly. “After today, my aunt’s bookstore will be permanently closed.” Her bland brown eyes studied the sales floor. I knew Jane noticed the tower of books that needed a home on the shelf rather than being pushed against the wall to be dealt with later. The longer she absorbed the store’s clutter, the worse her grimace became.

I wanted to say something. Anything to change her mind, but the shock of the store closing took my voice.

Finally, she turned her attention to me and said, “As I said in my email, I’ll pay you for the work you’ve done.” Jane paused, reading my face. “It’s nothing personal.”

“Nothing personal?” I snapped. “The bookstore means everything to me. I’ve worked here for six years and ran the store on my own for an entire month.”

Jane gave me a blank stare. It felt like she was the school’s principal listening to a trivial complaint from a student. While Jane believed closing the bookstore was strictly business, my heart shattered. Teresa’s Bookstore was my life and passion.

My career.

Princess, a black and white cat who lives here, jumped onto the counter next to the boxy computer the store used as the register. Jane stepped back as if the tuxedo feline was a ferocious panther. Princess sat up straight, waiting to be acknowledged.

Jane gasped. “I didn’t know Aunt Teresa kept animals inside her store.”

I stroked Princess from her head to her back. She turned to me, purring. I admired the dotted black line along Princess’s neckline which entitled her to a name-bearing royalty.

How dare Jane call Princess a mere animal. Your Grace would have been more fitting.

“Your aunt loved cats.” I debated if I should warn her about the other cat, Butterscotch, but quickly dismissed the thought. Jane would find out soon enough.

Jane sneered at Princess and turned her attention to her surroundings. “This place is a mess. You should have cleaned it before I arrived.”

Stacks of books for online orders filled one side of the L-shaped counter while others were being held for customers. Plastic bags remained inside a cardboard box rather than being hung on a hook near the register. Bookmarkers laid in a large coffee mug free to anyone who wanted one. Thankfully, Jane couldn’t see the mess in the cubbies under the counter. With one foot, I pushed the Windex and paper towels deeper inside the space. They didn’t move far.

From the large bay window, the morning light peaked between the four rows of bookshelves. The smallest of the four at shoulder height held notebooks donated by the schools and were free to anyone. Most of the papers had been torn out, but locals knew Teresa was not one who threw things away because some, or half, of the pages were missing. They were perfect treasures for children who loved to doodle. The other three bookshelves were filled with fiction books from various authors that had been published in the last five years or maintained popularity. If I had the time and an extra set of hands, I would have reorganized novels by genre.

Boxes filled with extra copies that were already on the shelves, towered at the end of each row. I wanted to put them upstairs, but never got around to it since there were bigger things that needed to be done before Jane’s arrival. The room to my right housed romance and horror books. Occasionally customers put an unwanted book in the wrong place, an ongoing battle that I refused to surrender. While in general fiction, the books were often crammed in sections. The novels needed to be spaced out better and alphabetized. Once I recycle the half-filled notebooks, I would have the space.

I cringed when Jane looked up. The globe string lights cast a magical glow even though some of the bulbs had burnt out. Time got away from me, and I hadn’t had a chance to replace them, or better yet, asked someone who was over five-two to help me.

One employee could only do so much.

Jane failed to see what I had accomplished. Other than run the business, I donated children’s books to churches and libraries, I operated a weekend-long sidewalk sale, which was a huge success, and once stayed after hours, moving the ladder around the store with a Swiffer duster. Mentally, I patted myself on my back for all my hard work.

I probably needed to warn Jane about upstairs. If she thought the bookstore was in dire need of TLC, just wait until she saw the office. Teresa was known for many things, but tidiness wasn’t one of them.

As I watched Jane brush cat hair away, I wished she had seen the place before I cleaned. If she had, then she would appreciate the countless hours I had spent trying to get the bookshop in order. After stocking, re-organizing books, ringing up customers, answering the phone, office work, and tending to two cats, some days I didn’t have the energy to do anything else.

Buy the book.

Jessica BRimer

Everyone loves Teresa’s Bookstore, a cozy little store in East Tennessee.

Garnet Stone loves working there just as much as reading books. She works hard to keep the store’s nosy cat out of trouble while tidying the sales floor. But when the owner of the bookstore, Teresa, unexpectedly passes away, Garnet learns that she left everything to her niece, Jane.

Pushing aside her bitterness, Garnet busts a move to clean the store’s clutter to impress her new boss. After Jane arrives to announce the store’s closure, things take a turn for the worse and another dead body is found in the bookstore.

The new sheriff believes Jane is the killer, but Garnet knows her new boss isn’t to blame. Her roots in a law enforcement family give her confidence in solving the murder, but she quickly discovers it won’t be an open-and-shut case like she had hoped.

Unusual clues point to multiple people, yet the suspects have concrete alibis. If Garnet cannot solve the perfect crime, Teresa’s Bookstore will be gone.

Watch the interview


Well done, Jessica!

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