Saturday, February 24, 2018

Weekend Edition

   If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to

The following folks have bingo-ed their way into our hearts by 
loving Christian fiction, Christian fiction authors and
Seekers and Seekervillagers! 
E-mail us at and we'll 
send you the recipe book file! 

Beth Jamison
Sally Shupe
Tracey Hagwood
Cindy Regnier (BLACKOUT BINGO!)
Sherida Stewart
Jeanne T
Sandy Smith
Caryl Kane
Julia Buzard
Sabrina Templin

Congratulations ladies, and thank you from all of us in Seekerville! 

Monday: Jan Drexler gave us interesting insight as she discussed Redeeming Darth Vader. Sharee Stover is the winner of copies of "The Prodigal Son Returns" and "An Amish Courtship."

Tuesday: DiAnn Mills joined us with a discussion on Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Wednesday: Debby Giusti hosted Villager Walt Mussell. Walt shared his experience with Kindle Scout in a blog post titled, "The Opportunity of Kindle Scout."  Walt is giving away four copies of his historical romance, The Samurai’s Heart. The lucky winners are Chill N (Nancy C), Anna Taylor Sweringen, Carolyn Astfalk, and Connie ( Congrats!

Thursday: Cara Grandle shared the Newest in Writing Tools with an assortment of craft books she likes... winner of "Write with Excellence" by Joyce Ellis is Anne Carol! 

Monday:  You don't want to miss Erica Vetsch today with "How Writing a Book is Like Making a Quilt."

Wednesday:  Melanie Dickerson will be continuing her fantastic blog series with "Conflict & Tension Part 2!"

Friday: Amanda Cabot joins us and offers A Conference Quiz! 

Don't miss this amazing sale on Ruth Logan Herne's "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" going on for four more days! $2.00 KINDLE EDITION for this wonderful 4-Star rated story of how an old pledge between three girls in foster care becomes the kept promise in a snow-filled Western New York town a dozen years later. If you love faith and friendship and have a heart for romance... this book's for you!

Join Seeker Pam Hillman and 29 other authors on the
Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!
March 1st through March 4th
For more Details, Click Here!

Jan Drexler is taking part in a reader event in June in Deadwood, SD! There will be some other familiar names attending! Click here for more information. This is a great vacation destination spot for readers, and there are still a few open spaces for authors!

Jan Drexler will also be visiting some blogs to talk about "The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart." Be sure to stop by!
Amish Fiction Authors
The Yankee-Belle Cafe

The third book in Debby Giusti's Amish Protectors Series, entitled AMISH RESCUE, will be out in April. Here's a sneak peek!

Amish Rescue
By Debby Giusti

Hiding with the Amish
Englischer Sarah Miller escapes her captor by hiding in the buggy of an Amish carpenter. Joachim Burkholder is her only hope—and donning Plain clothing is the only way to keep safe and find her missing sister. But for Joachim, who’s just returning to the Amish, the forbidden Englischer is trouble. Trapping her kidnapper risks his life, but losing Sarah risks his heart.

Pre-Order HERE!

Thanks for the link love!

The Difference Between a Revision, a Rewrite, and a Redraft by Janice Hardy at Fiction University

How I Boosted Print Sales by Discounting My Ebooks by Beth Revis at Bookbub Partners Blog

Emotion Commotion: Getting Emotion Right on the Page by Margie Lawson, Writers In The Storm

4 Tips to Declutter Your Writing  featured at Books and Such

What Should Be In Your Files another great tip from Books and Such!

Published contests open for entries are ACFW's Carol Awards (deadline March 15th) and FHL's Reader's Choice Awards (deadline March 1st).

The ACFW Genesis Contest (deadline March 15th) for unpublished authors is also accepting entries.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't

Do you all remember that game? They featured it in "The Santa Clause", starring Tim Allen. It was his ex-wife's Christmas wish and she realized that there was no Santa Claus because she never, ever got the game... And she was CRUSHED....


Well today we're not crushing anybody's spirits. We are not stomping on anyone's dreams. Today we're going to have fun.

How, you ask?

By working together.

Today is all about you. About your work. Your thoughts. Your prayers. Your goals.

Tell us what we can pray for. Tell us where you see yourself in two years. Five years.

Years ago I was at an ACFW conference and I had signed up for a fifteen minute slot with a big author. She asked me about goals and dreams and said "Ruth, where do you see yourself in five years?"

And I said "I'll be like you, a multi-published, award-winning author, living my dream."

She looked startled and said, "Let's pray."

I felt like I wasn't supposed to have the audacity to say that in the presence of greatness. Now maybe I caught her off guard, maybe it came out wrong and she didn't mean that I'd need a boatload of prayer to get there... BUT THAT'S HOW IT FELT. :) So I hope I've been careful not to squash or quash dreams, hopes and aspirations.


So here's the scoop: You are my mystery dates. 

If you want to post a short excerpt about your hero or heroine or story, post it and I'll tell you what I think... and I'll advise... but you don't have to take the advice, because you know your story best!

Are you feeling brave?

Are you feeling confident?

Doesn't matter.

Like Nike says:  Just Do It.

And we'll play. I've got most of the day at home today, so it's the perfect time for you to be my Mystery Date!!!!

Coffee is here.... and fresh Cronuts from NYC because you might need sustenance.

And the other gals may stop in and offer wisdom.... So where else can you get a published audience, looking at your work... and praying for your success? Just like we prayed for one another's!

Grab a cuppa and let's have some fun!

Multi-published, award-winning and sometimes bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves to cheer others on to success, sometimes by helping them, often by browbeating them. She smiles when she does it to lessen the pain (or so she thinks). Make her feel good about herself today by jumping in and having some fun with her... She did bring you pretend food, after all! :) And she didn't add ONE BOOK LINK to this post. Right there you know it's all about you!!!! Although there might be a surprise drawing at the end of the day... you never can tell when Ruthy's in the house.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Newest in Writing Tools

Welcome all you wonderful writers, 

Cara Grandle here.

If you would like to listen to this post instead of reading it, here is my podcast link with a little more information and some sass. Life Caraphrased.


Today’s Seekerville post will add to your resource pile. I would like to introduce you to several up and coming or newly-released craft tools. Some are books and some are moooooore than books.

If you don't have access to the podcast through iTunes above, here is a link. Life Caraphrased-Seekerville Edition. 

First of all, hats off to Julie Lessman who let me blog in her place. To say thank you, I’d like to give a shout out to her Non-fiction book, Romance-ology 101.


Julie will teach you how to keep the careful balance between the gas pedal and the brakes when writing the passion in your romance.

And now on to our next introduction.

Did you know that Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young have put their heads and experience together and wrote a new non-fiction series? The first short book in the series, Finding and Working with an Editor will release on March 15, 2018. Available for pre-order now. Here is a blurb:

Finding the right editor can be daunting. And the wrong editor? Devastating! How do you know who (or whom) to trust? Easy. Use the insider information, tested tips, and wealth of worksheets shared by a seasoned editor to guide you.

And for a straight up grammar, punctuation, usage craft book, how about checking our Joyce K Ellis’s Writing with Excellence 201



She adds a clever charm to all the gritty craft layers. Joyce has kindly offered to provide a GIVE AWAY!!!  ANYONE who leaves a comment will be added into the drawing.

And if you soak up all you can from those, then you will love adding Melissa Jagears’s new writers life hack.

Seriously, this non-fiction tool is a must. If you haven’t met Melissa yet, let me tell you she is one sharp cookie. She’s managed to use some of the engineering-math-y type tools that are hidden behind the scenes inside both WORD, OPEN OFFICE and SCRIVENER to make a search-and-destroy-weasel-words cheat that will save you loads of time in your editing process. 


Seekerville people can download the templates or macro code for free using coupon "SEEKERVILLE" until the end of February. Here is a blurb about her craft tool and a link:
Weasel Words
Self-edit better with software you already own!
Whether you’re a writer editing your first novel or a seasoned author wanting to provide your editor with cleaner copy, searching out particular words in your manuscript can help you self-edit with confidence. Weasel words aren’t just words that have weaseled their way into your writing and need to be tossed back out; many can alert you to places where rewriting will help keep readers enthralled.
If you don’t have the luxury of having a writing expert point out your mistakes, Word, Open Office, and Scrivener can be taught to highlight your weasel words with just one click of a button. And with the clear instructions and examples in this book, you’ll know what to do with each and every weasel word you encounter.
Inside this self-editing mini-workshop for novelists, you’ll learn how to set up your writing software to catch everything from grammar flubs to writing craft problems. You’ll be certain you’ve never used a single your or you’re incorrectly, you’ll find places where you’ve told instead of shown, and much more.
Understanding weasel words can help writers at every stage improve their writing without the hefty cost of extra editing.

And after all that goodness I want to make sure you've heard about The Christian Writers Institute.

CWI is an online resource for writers. Think conference caliber teachers and speakers at your fingertips, in your preferred style of learning. Video courses, Audio classes, PDFs, and a place to find all there is on writing craft books. The best-of-the-best teaching you in the comfort of your own home, on your own terms.

If you sign up for the newsletter you can receive a free ebook on how to write a proposal written by Steve Laube of the Steve Laube Agency himself. Talk about learning from the source of proposal wisdom.


Yes. There is more. I hope I don’t sound to used-car sales-ish, but I can’t help it. These new tools are cool.

Did you notice that The Christian Writer’s Market Guide has been revised for 2018.


This is the book for you, if you are looking for where to send short stories and articles for possible publication.

Childrens stories, poems, interviews and soul-enriching real stories are all being requested. If you want to see who-is-who for publishing houses, editors, and agents, the CWMG is a staple.

Annnnnnd, they now have a continuously updated subscription version that you can pay for monthly ($5.99 per month), Semi-annually ($3.00 per month), or Annually ($2.09 per month.) You pay for this and no more dead leads. How cool is that? Thank you Steve Laube! Here is the link.

It’s always easier if you have the write tools for the job. Haha. Yes, a corny joke. I couldn’t help myself.

Craft tools can help stir the pot on the sticky parts of your WIP. You can never have too many.

Thank you for letting me show you what’s new. Never stop learning, my Seekerville friends, never stop learning.

Have you heard of these? Are any of these interesting to you? What is your favorite craft help? Any new craft helps or hacks that you want to let the Seekerville crew know about? Don’t forget all commenters will be added into the giveaway, a copy of Joyce's "Write With Excellence 201".

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

I'm so happy to welcome fellow Georgia Romance Writer and Seeker Villager, Walt Mussell, to Seekerville today. Walt's going to explain an amazing opportunity for writers and readers. Walt, thanks for being with us!

Debby, thank you for having me. I’m ecstatic to be back in Seekerville!

I still remember back in March 2017 when I received an email from Amazon notifying me that my novel, The Samurai’s Heart, had been selected for publication through the Kindle Scout program. I think the word “finally” accompanied the relief that flowed through me. I showed the email to my wife and then sat down and let it sink in. . .I was going to be a published author.

So I’m here today to talk about Kindle Scout and the opportunity it provides not only unpublished authors, but ANYONE who wishes to submit their novel for consideration.

Kindle Scout is an ongoing, reader-driven competition. It can be found at Authors submit an unpublished work to Amazon, along with their bio, a blurb, a tagline, and the answers to a few author-type questions. Amazon will review your submission, and then create a campaign page with an excerpt, posting it on the Kindle Scout website. Submissions are never removed from the site, so I’ve posted a screenshot of mine below.

The excerpt will be posted for 30 days, along with 150-200 other hopefuls. Readers will vote on the submissions. After the 30-day period expires, Amazon reviews the campaign and notifies you of their decision. The whole process, from submission to notification, lasts no longer than 45 days.

For readers, aka Scouters, it’s a great opportunity. If you vote for a book that’s selected by Amazon, you receive a free copy prior to the publish date. Scouters can have only three active votes at one time, so avid Scouters review books that are soon to expire and then choose new ones when their votes open up again.

For authors, though, it’s nail biting…and only 3% are chosen.

So would I recommend it? The answer is yes. The whys are below.

1)    Before you submit to Amazon, you must polish your book. Had I not been selected, I would have self-published my book. It was ready to go.   

2)    If you self-publish your book, Amazon sends out an e-mail blast to everyone who voted for you, providing instant traction.

3)    During your Kindle Scout campaign, you receive a lot of stats from Amazon on things like where your traffic is coming from, how many page views you have, and your time in the “Hot and Trending” category (the top 20 books on the site). The only thing you don’t know is the number of nominations you have.  I’ve posted a picture of my page view stats below.

So what does it take to be selected? I wish I had a straight answer. The Kindle Scout Winners don’t know for certain either. Is it the “Hot and Trending” list? Is it the number of page views or nominations? Amazon will not comment. My personal thought on the subject is traffic. Kindle Scout is a bit like a literary Netflix. If selected, your e-book becomes exclusive to Amazon. Books that expand traffic to new readers grow the reader base. Books that get readers to spend a lot of time on a selection get noticed by Amazon.

In other words, the most important thing remains the same. . .the book.

I have asked some of my fellow Kindle Scouters for their suggestions on what authors should concentrate on. Two comments are below:

“Focus on the story and learning how to hook readers. First impressions matter a lot for newcomers.”
-          Lincoln Cole, author of Kindle Scout winner Raven’s Peak and the Kindle Scout Guide (a primer for authors planning to submit)

“Kindle Scout readers and publishers are looking for well-written, marketable books. So, focus on having a spectacular one line and blurb, a good cover, and a well-written, well-edited book, not on the campaign itself. That's your free ticket to a contract.”
-          Cristiane Serruya, USA Today bestselling author and Kindle Scout winner with her book Love Painted in Red

One thing more to mention. Your submission is the signing of a contract. When you submit, you give a 45-day exclusive to Amazon and you’re committed if Amazon says yes. But the benefits make it worth it:

1)    A $1,500 advance
2)    Retention of paperback rights. Easy reversion of other rights.
3)    Amazon’s marketing

Seekerville, thank you again for having me. Please ask any questions you have about Kindle Scout. I’m giving away four e-copies of my book. I can send these pretty much anywhere in the world. (e.g. I’ve sent books as gifts from the U.S. and people have been able to download them in other countries.) For anyone interested, Amazon has my e-book on sale for $1.99 in the U.S. (link: ) and Canada (link:

Also, I have a new website at It just went live this month and I would love visitors, as well as people to sign up for my newsletter. (I was at a conference last November and one of the publishers told me I would need a newsletter of 7000 for them to consider a book like mine. This will take time. 😊) Thank you.

Walt Mussell lives in an Atlanta-area suburb with his wife and their two boys. He works for a non-bank finance company and writes in his spare time. Walt primarily writes historicals, with a particular focus on Japan, an interest he gained during the four years he lived there. He refers to his work as “Like Shogun, but the heroine survives.”

Walt is a member of Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. He is a 2017 Kindle Scout winner, which led to the contract for his first novel, The Samurai's Heart. 

The Samurai's Heart
Imagine you're in medieval Japan where your duty to faith can get you killed...or worse.
With the death of her older sister and sole sibling, Sen must return home and find a husband to marry into the family swordsmith business. Failure ensures her family's craft, honed through generations, will die. Her father's handsome apprentice, Nobuhiro, would seem the ideal choice for a husband and her parents press the issue.  Sen rejects this offer as she wants a Christian husband, difficult as the religion is banned. Eschewing her parents' advice, Sen decides to seek out local Christians to find a suitable match.

The prodigal third son of a high-level samurai, Nobuhiro seeks to prove his worth to his harsh father by becoming a great swordsmith. But when his master's daughter begins seeking local Christians, he finds he must protect her from the group of anti-Christians that killed her sister. Despite his growing attraction to her, he believes her devotion to her faith reckless. Yet failure to protect her dooms the family he serves. And falling for a Christian dooms reconciliation with his own father, who must enforce the ban.

Will faith forge love or will it forge death?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Guest Blogger DiAnn Mills

A successful writer builds her marketing and promotion platform long before a single word is written. When a story idea settles into the writer’s heart and mind, she considers how the story content can draw in readers. This doesn’t mean the writer looks to the latest trends to mine book topics, but it does mean she actively seeks opportunities to share her story in ways that provide inspiration and encouragement for her readers.

The focus on marketing and promotion doesn’t divert from creating a quality project. It adds value with fresh writing and enhances the ability to propel the project into the reader’s hands.
When developing a marketing and promotion program, consider all that drives a book to the retailer’s shelf: readers’ specific needs, dreams, strengths, challenges, and desires.
How can story content meet those criteria? Develop blog themes, contests, memes, book signings, speaking events, hashtags, giveaways, podcasts, Pinterest board(s), posting tips, videos, speaking topics, and whatever other social media platforms that will fit into the writer’s brand.

Agents and editors are attracted to writers who embrace a can-do attitude to marketing and promotion. The following are a few items to consider in proactive marketing and promotion.

        When a writer has a grasp on how to approach readers with a targeted topic or genre, every thought has value.
        Each scene or section of a book has potential. Look to the subject matter for distinct possibilities to draw attention to the writing project.
        At the completion of the book, the writer is able to compose and calendar blogs, contests, memes, hashtags, tweetables, giveaways, and events.
        The writer can request guest blogs months in advance, ensuring the exact date of the book release corresponds with the blog post.
        Promotion events can be scheduled, planned, and perfected months ahead of the designated time.
        A successful writer who has mastered marketing and promotion is eager to begin the next project.

For example: Bonnie Bestseller is writing a novel about a heroine who works as a coffee barista in Telluride, Colorado. The story takes place in January when the town is filled with skiing enthusiasts. Business is booming, and the coffee shop centers as a conversation spot. Bonnie has sworn off dating and refuses any of the male flirting tactics.

In the midst of keeping customers happy, the coffee shop is sold to a single man who knows nothing about roasting coffee beans, making delicious drinks, or keeping patrons happy. He’s shy, extremely good looking, knows nothing about snow or skiing, doesn’t drink coffee, and requires the heroine’s help to make the coffee shop a continued success. The thought of working for her boss is detestable, but she has no choice.

The writer creates a spreadsheet titled: Marketing and Promotion. She lists the ideas that pop into her head with the understanding some will be tossed and others will be valuable. For example:
       Skiing Tips the First Day on the Slopes
       Coffee Addicts are Fun
       Memes or Instagram:
       A photo of someone reading your book and drinking coffee - “Common          Grounds is the best romance ever!”
       In my new novel Common Grounds, my heroine is a barista who works for a man who hates coffee or tea. What is your favorite go-to beverage when it’s cold outside?

       Love #coffee and #romance? Common Grounds @BonnieBestseller will thrill you. (click to tweet)
       A humorous video on grinding coffee.
       Contest Giveaways:
       Gift card to Starbucks
       Speaking Topics:
       Coffee Research
       Board about coffee roasting, brewing, etc.
       Board about skiing tips
       Board about what to see and do in Telluride
       Where I find story ideas.

Re-visit and complete this process when the story is in the galley stage while the contents are fresh on your mind. The technique saves time and is filled with numerous ways to promote your next book.

Click on this link where you’ll find a spreadsheet titled Proactive Marketing and Promotion to assist in the process of marketing and promotion during the writing phase. 

With a little forethought, traditional and Independent publishing efforts become enjoyable and simplified.

Are you ready to accept the challenge?
High Treason

When someone attempts to assassinate a Saudi Prince on U.S. soil, FBI Agent Kord Davidson and CIA Operative Monica Alden head up a task force to keep the Prince safe and find those responsible to avoid an international incident that could have devastating consequences.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at