Thursday, October 8, 2015

Back-and-Forth Drama With Ruthy

I am a practical person.

I have an analytical nature.

I am a people pleaser.

These things are at odds most of the time. I'm telling you this because I H-A-T-E DRAMA.

And I write fiction.

It's a conundrum of the highest order, it's a Rubik's Cube with missing colored tabs, it's mass confusion, and if it's that way for me, I have to believe it's that way for most of us!

Ruthy here, so excited to be celebrating another birthday in Seekerville!!! Cue the lights! Start the confetti drop! Hit the music!!!!


Our theme is #nolimits.

No limits means that you must be willing to come crawling out of your self-imposed shells and see the light of day to a certain degree to be successful in this business. It means you have to be willing to s-t-r-e-t-c-h to achieve goals.

It doesn't mean that you can't pace yourself.

It doesn't mean you can't do things your way, in your time. That whole tortoise and rabbit moral?

I'm a tortoise, but I'm a tortoise who crawls ahead every day... and that helps ace the goal!


But you do have to work. And you have to work knowing you can go as far as you want and do as much as you want which equals: No Limits.

Lots of writers/authors are introverts.

If I asked for a show of hands, how many of you would call yourself an introvert?

How many would say "I'm shy." or "I'm not good with people." Or "I'm reserved. I like the sanctity and anonymity of my writing cave, leave me the heck alone, Ruthy!!!"

Honestly, you've come to the right place, because despite the whole social media push these days, and the fact that you can connect with people and other authors in wonderful places like Seekerville, writing is a solitary job. You write it. You fix it. And these days, you can even publish it!

Times have changed my friends, and in light of our NO LIMITS theme, I want to celebrate our 8th birthday with you by doing something I haven't done in a couple of years here... Instant Editing With The Ruthinator!

You haven't lived until you've survived a day with the Ruthinator in the house, with the back-and-forth of this and that as we work to polish an idea, a line, a paragraph or a page... And then you take the advice given by me (and anyone else who wants to chime in, EEEEK!!!!!) and you can take it...

Or leave it!

And don't let this happy Grammy-face fool you! When it comes to critiquing and editing...

The gloves are off.

The gauntlet has been THROWN. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


So here's what we do. You post an excerpt, and we'll talk about it.

And I'll be here all day, all evening, with youse, (except when I have to get my hair trimmed) and we'll talk about the strengths and limitations of that page.

Now you don't have to agree with what I say or with what anyone says, but this will give you an idea of what's working for me and what I'd like to see polished.

"Now, Ruthy," you say. "Why do I care what you think? Why would I do this and risk embarrassment in front of thousands of people?"

To which the Ruthinator responds, "Go big or stay home, Cupcake!" :)

We don't have to be extroverts to be successful authors, but you do have to be willing to take some brave moves. There is risk involved. Your delicate little feelings are likely to get hurt from time to time (okay, TRAMPLED is more accurate, but I don't want to scare anyone! Too much.)  and you know what I'm going to say to you, don't you???

It's time to take those forward steps you hear about all the time. So today, I want you to take that forward step here, with me, and any other Seekerville friends that wander by. I want you to be brave enough to post something, courageous enough to take a chance, and then you can see what folks say and either take the advice or don't! No harm, no foul.

Easy peasy, right?

You don't have to be brave to be an author, but you do have to have the courage to try and fail, because that's the most common scenario... and those who end up succeeding are not the best! No, sir!

They're the ones who DID NOT QUIT.

Eventually, the cream rises to the top.

So that's our birthday mission today, my gift to you. I will critique with you for the entire day, and I brought along some very tempting morsels to go with our theme!

Limitless Coffee!

Dark chocolate frosted homemade cupcakes, with or without sprinkles!

Hot tea, sweet tea and Snapple for my tea-lovers!

Chicken Salad sandwiches for lunch, with lettuce on toasted, fresh, Manhattan bagels.

Hey, I know how to party, and this is all quick, pick-up food, because when I'm editing or revising, I don't worry about the kitchen... I worry about the page.

And that's what we're going to do today, in honor of this 8th birthday. A day of critiquing with the Ruthinator...

And we'll see who lives when the day is done!

And in honor of blatant self-promotion which I excel at because yes, it's part of the job!!!! Today I want to turn your attention to our newest collections, releasing in TWO DAYS as part of our holiday gift of faith, hope, love and sweet romance!

"A Heart Full of Christmas", a collection of sweet and inspirational romances that assure us we can go home again... and might find a little angelic help along the way! This collection was so much fun to work on that I can't even begin to tell you! So yes, you should run, not walk (well, button push, actually) over to Amazon and grab this one... and while you're at it, grab the historical, too, because I had so much fun being in that one as well!


AND CLICK HERE FOR "HOME FOR CHRISTMAS" a delightful group of old-time Christmas stories from me, Janet, Pam and Julie! So much fun!!! Old-style fun, and there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

I love this, Tina thought I'd forgotten to add the birthday meme in (AS IF, RADCLIFFE!!!!) so she tucked this here for me....

Thank you, Tina!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

8 Tips for Making Your Heroine Unforgettable

with guest blogger Raela Schoenherr.

Hi everyone! I wanted to start off by giving Seekerville a big thank you for having me on the blog today. Happy 8th birthday, Seekerville folks!

In a crowded market where readers often say their biggest problem is having too many good books in their TBR piles, it can be hard to create a heroine who stands out. As an acquisitions editor, I see a lot of proposals and manuscripts and can attest to the number of stories where the heroine is fine but not particularly memorable.  So, based on what I’ve learned from the manuscripts that cross my desk as well as my own reading, I’ve put together some tips for making your heroine one of the hard-to-forget ones!

1. Real flaws

The rest of this list is in no particular order, but I had to put this tip at number one. I’ve said elsewhere that likability is important in main characters, but I think we can do a disservice when we push this too hard. There’s a balance between making your heroine someone a reader wants to spend her reading hours with and making her someone who’s so perfect the reader leaves the story discouraged at how imperfect she herself is in comparison. And, if we’re being honest, that type of heroine can be just plain uninteresting to read about. Also, the journey a heroine takes throughout the course of a book has nowhere to go if she starts out almost perfect on page 1.

And frankly, some of the most memorable heroines are either solidly in the unlikeable camp (Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara) or at least start out that way (Redeeming Love’s Angel).

Crafting a multi-dimensional heroine isn’t like answering the job interview question “What is your greatest weakness?” Don’t be afraid to give her room to grow! Here are some examples where a heroine’s “flaw” doesn’t feel very flawed:

Clumsiness (You wouldn’t believe how often this is the heroine’s primary defect!)
Caring too much

That being said, there are times when a talented author has taken one of these character traits and made it feel unique and fresh. But consider yourself forewarned that these can often feel clich├ęd to avid readers. 

2. Proactive rather than reactive

Another way to phrase this would be to make sure that your heroine is not just a victim of circumstances and other people. One thing I see more often than I’d like is a heroine whose conflicts all stem from other people’s actions. A heroine who merely reacts instead of acting and causing things to happen is much less compelling and can even feel superfluous to the plot. Readers want a heroine who has agency, and her actions should at least play a part in the twists and turns of the story.

3. Complicated emotions

If I asked any men to chime in on this, they’d swiftly agree that women and their emotions can be impossible to understand. And I think most women would agree that we have a hard time understanding our own emotions sometimes! However, it’s surprising how black and white the emotions of fictional women can be in some stories. I don’t think I’m alone in preferring to read about characters who struggle with and are torn between varying emotions. 

As the author, it’s easy to have such a clear understanding of how the character is feeling and why at any given time that this shows up on the page in a way that doesn’t feel true to life. In reality, people often aren’t able to instantly and clearly articulate what they are feeling, why they feel that way, and what needs to happen for them to feel differently. It’s good for the author to know, but be aware of how realistic it is for your heroine to have the same clear understanding at that point in your story.

4. Compelling platonic relationships

As I was thinking through some of my favorite books and heroines, I found myself noticing how many of the heroines were equally memorable for their relationships with their friends, family, or antagonists as for their romances. In stories that are primarily a romance, there are times I find myself continually wondering where the heroine’s friends and family are because there’s hardly any attention paid to relationships other than the one with the hero. Not all heroines are going to have lots of friends and family—maybe her conflict is that she’s mostly on her own in the world—but hopefully at some point in the course of the story she’ll develop more than just one relationship that helps to flesh out the world of the story and add color to her personal arc. Some of the most interesting heroines to read about are the ones whose lives are multi-layered and who are juggling more than one kind of relationship.  

This remains true with books that aren’t a romance, as well. Whatever the heroine’s primary relationship in the story is, make sure to give her meaningful relationships beyond that main one.

5. Sense of humor

Although the overall tone of many books is not supposed to be funny, a heroine with a sense of humor can go a long way in making her unforgettable to readers. And a sense of humor can manifest itself in a heroine in many different ways. Some authors love writing slapstick, but others are great at creating heroines who deliver killer one-liners. Some heroines have the driest of wits and other heroines have a self-awareness of either themselves or the situation they’re in that can crack readers up. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to humor, but giving your heroine a sense of humor that fits her character, her story, and your writing style is one way to keep her in your readers’ top ten list.

6. More than just skin-deep characterization

Sometimes an author can rely too heavily on superficial descriptors to give readers an idea of what type of person the heroine is. 

Some examples:

Hair color

These are important details to determine, obviously, and they do go a long way in painting the picture of what a heroine is like. However, authors should be careful not to use superficial details as a crutch. For example, I often see red hair as a fallback way of showing a heroine is feisty or not caring about fashion to show that a heroine is a tomboy. Since these are stereotypes, they’re inherently going to make a character less memorable. If you do decide to match a character’s description to a traditional stereotype, you’ll need to be creative in making the heroine stand out from, for example, all the other British-accented female characters out there who are also stuffy and proper. If you really want to make a character unforgettable, flip a stereotype on its head and make the heroine contradict what readers are conditioned to expect. 

7. Failure 

Don’t be afraid to let the heroine fail. A heroine who makes a decision that creates conflict for her that doesn’t work out perfectly will certainly stand out in the slush pile. It’s a hard balance because most of us want to close the last page of the book and feel happy about where we left the heroine. However, there are too many times when a heroine makes a mistake or is experiencing conflict that never truly jeopardizes her ultimate goal and she ends the story still getting everything she wanted all along. There are ways to make happy endings that aren’t predictable if you are willing to get creative and put in the time to develop a story that takes some surprising but more fulfilling turns. And even if you’re writing the kind of book where the ending is non-negotiable (the mystery is solved, the characters fall in love, the villain is defeated), you can get your readers to that pre-determined end in an unpredictable way that leaves them remembering your book long after they’ve finished.

8. Go for the unexpected

My last tip is simply to go for the unexpected! Perhaps this is a cop out tip because this has pretty much been the theme of all of my other tips. But when you’re brainstorming your next story, I encourage you to think about the rules of your genre and the common denominators in the books you loved and the books you didn’t love. Where can you take those rules and commonalities and spin them in a new way when it comes to your heroine? 

In the type of story you write, who would normally be the typical heroine? Instead of writing that character’s story, choose someone else in that world whose story wouldn’t usually be the focus. For example, in the book Longbourn, the author tells the story of a servant in the house of Pride and Prejudice’s Bennets rather than telling Lizzie’s story.

Have your heroine make a big sacrifice for something or someone and have it backfire on her rather than magically work out the way she wanted. 

Give her a goal or a purpose that is unique. Use the setting and the time period in a way that is integrally tied to that goal or purpose. If your heroine’s motivation is love or saving her business or protecting her family, how could you approach it in a way that would make it different from other heroines with the same motivation?

Have your heroine choose or do the exact opposite of what the readers will want at that point in the story. Or rather, what the readers think they want. I think we’ve all had a moment in a story where a character does precisely what we didn’t want them to do and yet the author skillfully manages to completely change our minds by the end of the book. 

This was a fun post to brainstorm since it gave me a chance to think through my favorite reads and heroines! Who are some of your favorite heroines and why? Which of these tips do you agree or disagree with?

Raela Schoenherr is a fiction acquisitions editor and has been with Bethany House Publishers since 2008. She grew up reading Christian fiction and enjoys being able to work with the kinds of books she always loved. When she’s not reading (or listening to audiobooks!), she’s probably cheering on the Green Bay Packers, running, or spending time with her wonderful family and friends. A graduate of Bethel University, she makes her home in Minneapolis, MN and is active on Twitter at @raelaschoenherr. 

Today Raela is generously bringing with her two wonderful birthday presents!! Leave a comment for a chance to win any 2015 Bethany House Publishing  FICTION book. Two winners. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Defying Gravity

with guest blogger Sara Ella.

 “If you don’t finish college, you’ll never amount to anything.”

“You need to get a real job, something you can fall back on.”

“Why are you wasting time writing fantasy? 

You should be writing about things that matter.”

This is just a sampling of things people have said to me over the years as I pursued a career in writing. I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of two. I don’t have a degree. My writing background lacks some serious credentials. The odds were definitely NOT in my favor. (Can you tell I write YA?)

So I had to make a choice. Writing a novel meant late nights. It wasn’t going to be easy. Not even close. I had to ask myself, “Do I really want this?”

I couldn’t answer that question right away, but then some things happened that caused me to take a serious look at my life. I decided I wouldn’t put it off anymore, I WOULD write a novel. Because despite what so many people said, I COULD write a novel.

And. I. Did.

It didn’t happen overnight, and I didn’t do it alone. It took about twenty versions of my first chapter, countless revisions, awesome critique partners, contest feedback, a mentor who loves red ink, and a no-nonsense freelance editor to get my story into shape. That was over a period of about two years. Surrounding myself with the right kind of people made all the difference. Once my manuscript was ready, the time came to put it to the ultimate test. Despite the odds, I WOULD get an agent.

And. I. Did.

He (my agent) knew he was taking a risk. My story would be a hard sell, but he liked it and stood by it. He believed in me, despite the more likely outcome that he’d never see a return on all his hard work. Having an advocate, once again, made all the difference. So I prayed. And waited. Despite the odds, I WOULD get a contract before I turned thirty.

And. I. Did.

Here’s the clincher: the offer from Thomas Nelson/ HarperCollins for my YA romantic fantasy trilogy came three days before my thirtieth birthday. Isn’t it funny how life works? So many people tried to limit me. Went out of their way to tell me I couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t do it. But when I changed direction and surrounded myself with the right kind of people, my life changed. I defied gravity. The world tried to bring me down, but the right people showed me “everyone deserves to chance to fly.”

Maybe you’re in a similar situation. You’re struggling and wondering if pursuing the author life is even worth it. To that I say, YES! If you are passionate about writing, if you find yourself tapping out dialogue in the Notes App on your phone or perusing Spotify for the perfect theme song for your story, don’t give up. College degree or not, your future is unlimited, but it’s up to you to grab it.

There’s no formula for getting published, whether you follow the indie or traditional route. I can’t tell you that following my suggestions will get you an agent or a contract or on the New York Times Bestseller List. But I can say that one major thing helped me become a better writer. If you’re in it because you love it, paycheck or not, then read on. 

“…if I only had a brain.”—Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz

[Writer’s think differently from the rest of the world. If you don’t have other writers you can connect with in real life, fear not! I don’t either. The online writing community has been a huge encouragement to me. Joining organizations like ACFW or attending a writer’s conference or even just lurking here on Seekerville has made all the difference. I Skype with my critique partners every week. They think the way I do. Surround yourselves with like-minded people, whether you join a critique group where you live or connect with one online.

“…a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

 Your work is a reflection of you. So write what you love. Don’t write to the trends. This industry is constantly changing, and no one can predict what will be hot or not next year. Find writers who have a passion for the same things you do. Whatever your genre, it makes a huge difference to have people you can talk to about it, because they’re the ones who will understand and listen without judgement. Ultimately, they’re the ones who will see your heart, the ones who will love your story most.

“Come on, get up and fight…”—Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz

Whether you’re an emotional sap like me or have super thick skin, rejection is never easy to take. But it does make you stronger. Don’t let rejection stop you from pursuing your dream. Have the courage to keep going, and surround yourself with people who can en-courage you (See what I did there?). Fight for what you want, and find others (writers or non-writers) who can fight alongside you.

You’ve probably noticed an ongoing theme here. Dorothy didn’t make it to Oz on her own. She had help. Her story ended with “acknowledgements” to the friends she made and what they taught her. And those friends ended up being her “home” all along. You may feel isolated and alone in this writing thing. But you don’t have to look far to find your people. If you’re reading this blog, they’re closer than you think. 

Not sure where to begin? Connect with me in the comments! I’d be happy to try and answer any questions you have about starting a critique group or finding your own writing community. Thanks to Seekerville for having me on the blog today!

 Once upon a time, SARA ELLA dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle (aka The Plaza Hotel). Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, she did work for Disney—that was an enchanted moment of its own. Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Oh, and her husband is far more swoony than any cartoon character could ever be. She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings. Sara Ella is all over social media, but her favorite places to connect are on Twitter @SaraEllaWrites or on her YouTube channel. 

Seekerville is giving away the winner's choice of any ecopy of any  2015 ACFW Carol Award winning book. Leave a comment to be entered. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Plot-Characters-Faith-The Cord of Three Strands

By Mary Connealy
We are celebrating our BIRTHDAY MONTH!
In addition to these weekly prizes and the iPad Mini grand prize, I'm doing some giveaways too!

A signed copy of my newly released Fire and Ice, also a signed copy of the novella collection (released last year as 12 separate books, so you might have read some of them) The 12 Brides of Christmas, and an Amazon Gift Certificate in the amount of $28 (get it, 28? To celebrate our 8th birthday???)
This is a Bible verse we hear a lot at weddings.
But when you think of the most fundamental building blocks of a story, in the Christian market, you realize our novels are built with a cord of three strands.

Plot. Character. Faith.

Now I’ve had those conversations before—Is your book plot driven or character driven. And I get the difference between the two a little.
But I think, fundamentally, there really is no such thing.
Plot vs Character is just one of those things authors talk about while they struggle to put into words things that are just plain HARD to put into words.
I think of Jack Reacher. Now those stories are all about plot, but the character of Jack Reacher and how he responds to the plot are what make them unique.
How do you separate the two halves of this book. Without Jack Reacher the story would be completely different. But if someone didn’t start killing people right in front of him, I think Jack would honestly be a peaceable guy. I mean it’s not like he actually goes LOOKING for trouble, right? (well, maybe he’s a bit too eager when he finds any little bit of trouble, but still…)
I've you've read a Jack Reacher book, tell me, which are those books. Honestly, bottom line, the plot and character are so intertwined that the book doesn't exist without both.

The Wilde at Heart Series with women disguised as men, now that’s honestly character isn’t it? Their reasons behind it go to backstory, motivation, why they are there, so setting. All of these character traits are so fundamental to the plot -- how do you separate the two?

I don't blame you for worrying,
sometimes, it is said, Mary never really has a point!
This leads me to the point of the day!

I think Christian fiction can be so much more powerful than secular fiction. And it’s that third strand—Faith—that strengthens it. 
Back in the olden days, like 1970—you know the ancient times—romance novels, even without saying so, were guided by Christian principles. Heroines were virgins. Heroes were upstanding and honorable by Christian standards (they rarely even said cuss words).

Those were foundational parts of any book.

I often say that Gone with the Wind couldn’t be published today as a secular book because for all the madness swirling around in GWTG, there’s too much God in it.

The underpinning of faith gives the entire Christian book a depth. The hero is called to save the day, sure, but he has to do it with honor—as opposed to Jack Reacher making himself judge, jury and executioner—which I admit is extremely efficient.

Click to Buy
The heroine can be any type of character, a damsel in distress, a feisty lady rancher, a hard working business woman, a sweet, shy widow trying to raise two kids and hold down a stressful job, but she needs to do whatever she does with her Christian values in place (or if it’s a redemption story for either hero or heroine then they need to be moving toward their faith).
Click to Buy

And to me, the best of all is that the attraction, the sexual (<<< sorry!) tension still has power.
Remember Moonlighting? Will they/won't they? Remington Steele? Of course Christian fiction ask will they/won't they end up married so that's a little different, but still. As opposed to many books where the tension is 'will they/won't they' wait until the second date!
And you know what? Let's be honest here. There’s a huge market for secular books, I know it. I also know that many of those books have gone too far and that has created a fiction line for us.
Mary Connealy 
Who is holding off getting a 
new professional photo taken
she is thinner and younger 
and maybe a little bit smarter looking
Work for people who write books about faith. Books for people who prefer to read books that don’t go against our beliefs…in case our mothers would read it, you know? Or our children?

We write a cord of three strands

And it makes for stories that are not easily broken.
Let’s talk about the faith of our characters and how that shapes your book. How would your book be different, weaker, without the faith of your characters.

Because we are giving away a RIDICULOUS number of prizes, to the point almost everyone will win at least one, I hesitate to overdo it, HOWEVER if ever there was a time to overdo things, it’s during SEEKERVILLE BIRTHDAY MONTH!
So today if you leave a comment, you’ll get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Fire and Ice, and a signed copy of The 12 Brides of Christmas. And, I'll toss in a $28 Amazon gift card. Three prizes, three winners.

Let’s talk about the faith of our characters.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Weekend Edition: Birthday Week 2

Happy Birthday Seekerville, and welcome to our birthday bash. 
We're celebrating our 8th year, 2630 blog posts
 and nearing 2 MILLION page views. 
We couldn't have done it without YOU!

We Have Birthday Winners!

Giveaway rules can be found here. Please drop us a line to claim your giveaway at All prizes not claimed in 8 weeks go back into the prize vault. We wish we could contact all our winners individually, but we'd rather write books! And P.S. - if we forget to send  your prize DO let us know after 8 weeks per our rules

Did you claim your giveaway from last week? Check it out here.

The Birthday Bash Week One winner of a $50 Amazon gift card is Marsha Bernabe.

Monday Sandra Leesmith talked about using characters from different ethnic cultures than your own.  Patti Jo is the winner of her choice of print or ebook copy of Love's Dream Song and the handcrafted kindle tote. Walt is winner of his choice of print or ebook of Love's Dream Song. 

Tuesday we welcomed guest Lynne Gentry with her post, "In Search of Verisimilitude. "  Did you learn how to spell it?  Stephanie Triesch is the winner of Valley of Decision from her Carthage Chronicles series. 

Wednesday  Kristen Ethridge returned to Seekerville  and shared more of her Port Provident series with her post, "Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a Book (or two or three)."  Loves To Read is the winner of a Kindle copy of The Doctor’s Unexpected Family and a pre-order copy of Shelter from the Storm (you’ll get it when it releases in early October). Winners of Storm Surge are Sandy Smith, Becky Dempsey, Caryl Cane, Kathryn Barker and Cate Nolan.

Thursday we kicked off our birthday month with "The #NoLimits Way to Infuse Your Novel with Color and Sound,"  with multipublished best-selling novelist and writing coach, C. S. Lakin.    Shoot Your Novel: Cinematic Techique to Supercharge Your Story , is our birthday prize today. An ecopy goes to Vince and a print copy to Christina Lorenzen.

On Friday Seekerville was delighted to welcome Bethany House fiction publicist, Amy Green to the party, with her post, "Following Through After a Conference." Winners of Mary Connealy's Fire & Ice are Eva Marie Hamilton, Valri, and Janet Ferguson.

This month we have TWO contest diva's, and Saturday you got to meet the first! Rhonda Starnes. Tracey Hagwood is the winner of  Fairy Tale Birthday Brownies
Next Week In Seekerville

Monday: Mary Connealy shares, "A Cord of Three Strands," how weaving faith into our plot and characters makes our books strong. Mary will be giving away a copy of Fire and Ice, 12 Brides of Christmas and an Amazon Gift Card.

Tuesday: From Seekerville March 2014 Diva Sara E Larson to ....drumrolll here... Sara Ella, YA author of a three book series that sold to Harper Collins. Check out this cute and informative Vlog on her advance. Sara will be with us to share her post, "Defying Gravity." Seekerville will be giving away an ecopy of winner's choice of any the 2015 Carol Award Winner books today, in Sara's honor.

We're excited to welcome Bethany House Acquisitions Editor, Raela Schoenherr to our little town with "8 Tips for Making Your Heroine Unforgettable."  Don't miss the opportunity to chat with Raela, and she's bringing birthday presents! Two commenters will win their choice of any 2015 Bethany House Publishing  release.  

Thursday: Let's celebrate our birthday in grand style with a full day of Ruth Logan Herne critiques! Yes, the Ruthinator is back, and she's spending the day working with you, one-by-painstaking-one to see if we can spit-shine those words! Why, you ask? Well, because it's fun. And she loves working. And she's a know-it-all Yankee, take your pick. Bring an excerpt and an appetite because we won't be stoppin' to cook. The giveaway today is a whole day of Ruthy advice/critique with Connealy making fun of her! If you play nice, she might sweeten the pot with a $20 Amazon Gift Card to one winner and two winners of Ribbons & Roses, her duo release with Mia Ross! 

Friday: Lest we get comfortable in our writerly dreamer world, Bethany House author and Villager, Melissa Jagears brings us her post, "8 Reasons Why ‘No Limits’ is Bad for You." Stop by to see what's she is up to and you could win an ecopy of one of her Unexpected Brides series books that Seekerville is giving away in her honor.

Saturday: Seeker Tina Radcliffe gives you "8 Ways to Turn Insomnia into Your #NoLimits Writer Super Power." Bring your pillow and blanket and we'll have a drawing for sheep. Two sheep to two lucky commenters.

Seeker Sightings

Releasing October 10, 2015.  Raise your hand if you'd like to have your name entered in a birthday drawing for a set that includes both collections, Heart Full of Christmas and Home for Christmas. Two winners announced next Sunday. 

Local Authors are Sweet on Their Readers!
Nine Atlanta area authors will host a Sweet on Our Readers luncheon on Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Sugar Hill Community Center, located at 1166 Church St., Sugar Hill, GA 30518. 
New York Times Bestselling author Haywood Smith is the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Participating authors are: Patty Smith Hall, Kristi Ann Hunter, Ane Mulligan, Bryan Powell, Horton Prather, Haywood Smith, Brandy Steffensen, Missy Tippens, and Ruth Trippy. 
Several prizes will be given away, including a Samsung Galaxy tab 4 with case, baskets of books, and of course always chocolate, and more. A bookstore will be available to purchase books and the authors will be glad to sign them. 
Tickets are $30.00. For more information, contact: anelmulligan [at] or pattywrites [at] Or contact Missy Tippens directly at missytippens [at] Hope to see you there!

 On October 6th Love's Dream Song by Sandra Leesmith will be reviewed by Sherida Stewart on her blog Tuesday Tea. Please stop by and join Sherida on her delightful blog. There will be a drawing from commenters for a copy of Love's Dream Song .

Blog tour for Myra Johnson's The Sweetest Rain continues this week!

PREORDER SALE & CONTEST for Julie Lessman's new contemporary novel, Isle of Hope! 

How would you like to have a character named after you in Julie Lessman’s next book or novella, a signed copy, and your choice of another of Julie’s books? 

Well, you can! Simply help Julie celebrate and promote her new contemporary release, Isle of Hope, by entering the contest on her website. And BONUS — the preorder price for Isle of Hope is almost 50% less than what the November 1st release price will be, so take advantage at: 

Julie's Isle of Hope Contest.

From Debby Giusti, Seeker Sightings at the Moonlight & Magnolia's Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, going on this weekend.

Front-Maureen Hardagree, Missy Tippens, Lindi Peterson, and Emily Sewell . Top row, Debby Giusti, Kristi Ann Hunter and Darlene Buchholtz. 

Villager/DivaTanya Agler & Seeker Debby Giusti

Debby Giusti and Missy Tippens

Villager Walt Mussell and Debby Giusti

Darlene Bucholtz, Debby Giusti, Walt Mussell and Haywood Smith

We have four more gift cards and an iPad mini to give away this month!

Random News & Information

Thank you to Villagers & Seekers for sharing links. 

In September, Seekerville lost a wonderful Villager, Eileen Barnes to cancer. Eileen was a diva in Seekerville and a 2015 RWA Golden Heart finalist. We'll be honoring her in the future with a special giveaway. For now, we'd like you to consider  downloading her Golden Heart finaling book, Rescuing Mr. Gracey, which is free on Amazon and add her family to your prayers. 

The September Calendar is UP! Check it out here.

Publishing Startup Pronoun Looks for Path Around Amazon (The Passive Voice)

Why Do People Share What they Do? (BufferSocial)

Insights Into the Dreaded First Page (KillZone)

After Oyster, What's Next for E-book Subscriptions? (PW)

Sticks And Stones? They Hurt. Words? They Can Kill Me. (Novel Rocket)

Simple Instagram Tips for Authors (BookBaby Blog)

Writing Discipline And Mindset For Authors With James Scott Bell (The Creative Penn)

New author sells 80K books in 1 year. Here’s how (The Book Deal)

Spotlight on Sourcebooks (Cindi Myers Market News's Blog)

Don't forget! We're reimbursing two contest entries. Details here.

That's money you can put aside for a conference.

RWA 2016 Conference: San Diego, CA, July 13-16

Writer's Police Academy 2016: Appleton, WI  August 11-14 

ACFW 2016 Conference: Nashville, TN.  August 25-28

NINC 2016 Conference :  St. Pete Beach, FL., September 21-25

It's that time of year when we ask you to please consider nominating Seekerville for the 18th Annual Writer’s Digest 101 Best Website for Writer’s Award. Send an email to with “101 Websites” in the subject line. We are an Inspirational Romance Writing Community. 

Many thanks from your Seeker friends!

Have a great Sunday!