Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Weekend Edition

Welcome to the Weekend Edition
and our tenth year!
"Look How Far We've Come!"












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. Send to Seekers@Seekerville.net

Winner of a $25 Amazon gift card is Wilani.

Monday: Janet Dean chatted about story openings in her post "Hook Readers with Strong Inciting Incident Openings." Vince Mooney won the eBook How to Charm a Beekeeper's Heart and Sandy Smith won the eBook The Substitute Bride. 

Thursday: Josee Telfer was our special guest with "I am a Writer. Now What?" Kathy Bailey and Barbara Scott are winners of their choice of either Proverbs 31 or "The Lords Prayer," done in pointed pen calligraphy. Printed on thick cardstock, they are ready for framing.

Monday: Rachelle Dekker returns to Seekerville with her post,"How Not to Get Caught Up in the Past." Stop by for a chance to win her latest release, The Returning (The Seer  Series Finale)

Tuesday: Sandra Leesmith will join us and show us how to "Show Don't Tell." Writers -comment and show us an example from your WIP(work-in-progress) of a show instead of tell and be eligible for a ten-page critique of your current WIP. Readers can comment and give an example of something they've read that shows instead of tells and win an available Seeker ebook. 

Wednesday: Tina Radcliffe brings you Asked & Answered Part 4." What is Christian Inspirational Romance?" Stop by and give your opinion and you might win a fantastic giveaway!

Friday: Best of the Archives by Tina Radcliffe: "Overcoming Goldilocks Syndrome." Comments are closed on Fridays so we all can focus on writing and reading!













Tina Radcliffe is visiting Just Commonly's blog to talk about humor in her post, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Becoming a Writer." Stop by for a double giveaway and a good joke or two! January 25th! 













2-BOOK GIVEAWAY! Win two signed paperback books in a Facebook Flash Giveaway on Tuesday, January 24 at Julie’s FB Author Page. 

Have you read any of Becky Wade's award-winning Porter Family series?  Here's your chance to grab one for free ALONG WITH your choice of a paperback or e-book of any of Julie's Isle of Hope series.  To enter, simply leave a comment on Julie’s FB author page under the Becky/Julie pic. Sorry, U.S residents only.














Thanks for the link love!

Using a Calendar to Storyboard Your Novel (The Write Conversation)

Have You Seen Kinder Guides? - Early Learning Guides to Culture Classics (Kinder Guides)

How to describe: Writing clear places and characters (Now Novel)

The Most Common Manuscript Malfunctions (and How to Avoid Them) (Helping Writers Become Authors)

Ditch the Pitch (Books & Such Literary Management)




Coming in February, get a peek at the Seekers’ writing spaces! Are we neatniks, messies, or somewhere in between? Do we write at a desk, in a recliner, on the porch, or on the road? Computer or longhand? Mac or PC? 

And if you’re really brave, you’re invited to share photos of your own writing spaces! Submit your pix to seekers@seekerville.net no later than January 31. As space permits, we may include a few of them on the blog. Others will be posted on the Seekerville Facebook page—yes, for all the world to see!!! 


No fair sprucing up your writing space just for the photo—this is strictly “come as you are”!



That's it! Have a great writing and reading weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Best of the Archives: Eroticism & Evocatism: Two "E's" at Odds

A version of this post was originally published on March 11, 2010

Erotic…

HAH! Got your attention, didn’t I???

Oh my stars, the very thought of Ruthy doing a column on eroticism vs. evocatism should have drawn hordes to the port harbor buyin’ tickets for the fast ferry, all fired up wonderin’ what Seekerville’s got going on today!!!

Two “E’s” at odds, that’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby.

Let’s talk evocative first. Come on, humor me. Save the hotsy-totsy stuff for last,  a typical bait and switch tactic.

Evoking emotion…


I love doing this, or attempting to do this. When you read great novels, very few must detail explicit scenes of war, brutality, sex, deprivation or torture to make you ‘feel’ the protagonist’s experience. Why is that?

Because the author is skilled at evoking the feelings tweaking the five senses. By doing that, the author builds the image in your mind like a well-made tiramisu. On its own, each layer is good but not great. Used together to form a multi-layered dessert, the result is oh-my-goodness-gracious-sakes-to-Betsy wonderful. Too delicious for words. Crème brulee is another example. If anyone told you that burnt caramel covered custard would be to-die-for wonderful, would you have believed them?

Puhlease.

But one taste of those melded flavors slipping over the lips, awakening a sleepy palate, teasing a tired tongue and you understand the subtleties of evoking an inborn feeling.

Link to Home on the Range on Amazon

Sex is great. What an amazingly wonderful, totally human gift from God and I’m going out on a limb here and thanking him for it right now because (as my friend Jules examples and believes) passion for love, romance and God are not at odds. God designed us, created us, and gifted us with a wonderful means of loving procreation that we refer to as sex.

Only it’s so much more than that and that’s where the difference lies between the two “E’s”.

Sex just is. And in that simplistic meaning, it’s everywhere, a virtual explosion of sexuality and sensuality that hit mid-sixties and hasn’t abated.

Can you say: BORING!!!!

For the most part.

But romance….

Awww……

I love it. Breathe it. Drink it in. And when you’ve experienced true romance, true love, true communion of spirits, that “Aw….” moment is magnified beyond belief.

Now lots of people can’t buy into this readily. I get that. I also get that different strokes for different folks is real. One author does not a library make, it takes a village and all that.

But if we flip to the word erotic, the images that come to mind are not the warm, romantic, sensitive and sensual things I look for in a romance. Regardless of how good the author is, if they get too graphic or make sex too common, I’m disillusioned because a good plot line doesn’t need that much gratuity.

The more a writer needs to explain, the less important the explanation and that goes for sex, war, violence, etc. Now I know not everyone will agree with this, and that’s okay. But when I look at the feelings evoked by Harper Lee, I see, taste and feel that Southern community, the bonds of family, the scourge of racism, the heat of the moment, the time, the place.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER HERE!!!

When I re-read Christy, I see a young woman’s quest for maturity and love grow hand-in-hand without a naked body in sight. Catherine Marshall embraces me with her story, her characters, her grace and hope, totally investing me in Christy and Fairlight, the good doctor and Miss Alice…

I don’t get those same warm fuzzies when I see a billboard for Debbie Does Dallas. Just doesn’t cut it.

Julie wondered out loud if I’d be comparing her work to mine today. Good gracious, no. Love, desire and passion are part of romance, they’re intricately interwoven, they’re a package deal. Without that internal desire to create an external bond, we ladies might never catch us a man…

Menfolk are tricky creatures and when you finally get a moth to hang around your flame, it’s important that the moth be really, truly fired up and fireproof. Julie takes her characters and readers by the heart and throat and invests the reader in their lives by having her heroes and heroines jump off the page with emotion. Ah, to be loved like that! Desired like that! Doesn’t every woman want a man who is strong enough to stand by her but entrenched enough to be that moth to her flame?

Have you seen Lord of the Dance? (Take a moment for a silent, communal "YUM" here for Michael Flatley in a leotard... I'm just sayin'...) The dance where Michael is tempted by the gorgeous strumpet in black as she does her come hither dance for him, wanting to woo him away from the gal in… (of course!!!) white…

And as the raven-haired tart struts her stuff, he realizes that while her moves tempt, his heart is bonded to another, a woman whose pure grace shows from within, the kind that bears the light of his children in her eyes. If Flatley can wordlessly impart that story in three short minutes using nothing but body language, how much easier it should be for us to weave those words into an embracing, evocative story of love and grace.

And as always, I talk too much!!!! Coffee’s on! I nipped some of Sandra’s chocolate velvet yesterday while she was hiking some old prospector’s trail with the dog and I have Tim Horton’s manning the cappuccino bar and supplying us with donuts, tarts, bagels, cream cheese, eggs and ham. The guys and gals at Tim’s totally rock the big Kahuna.

This excerpt is from one of my first Love Inspireds, a great story titled "Waiting Out the Storm"... it got 4 1/2 Stars from Romantic Times (I miss their reviews!) and it's still a reader favorite...

Waiting Out the Storm, a Hatfield/McCoy type romance set in the North Country… There's a criminal history between the two families and that only gets magnified in small towns...


They reached the gate. Craig watched as Sarah maneuvered the hooked handle to allow their exit, then affixed the closures to reconnect the circuit. Free of the fence, Skeeter launched herself at him. He swept her up and planted a kiss on her soft cheek. “You smell good.”

“Aunt Sarah let me use her special lotion. We smell just the same,” the child bragged.

Craig leaned forward until his face brushed Sarah’s hair. He drew a long, slow breath. Stepping back, he smiled at her nonplussed expression. “You both smell wonderful.”

“Thank you.” The child dimpled and squirmed at the compliment. Sarah didn’t, but she didn’t look combative, either. An improvement, perhaps?

“It has a pretty name, too,” Skeeter prattled on. “What was it, Aunt Sarah?” Turning, the child offered her question with no trace of guile.

Sarah blushed. He smiled to see it, watching deeper tones canvas her tawny cheeks once more. Her discomfort made her seem younger. Less secure. Watching her, he decided it wasn’t a feeling she’d had much experience with. “Spill it, Sarah. What’s it called?”

She bit her lip and glanced away, then drew an exasperated breath. Turning back, she met his gaze, reluctant. “Meadow Romance.”

He grinned and softened his expression. “Really?” Surveying her, he stayed silent, allowing the seconds to mount. Her hands tugged the side seams of her jeans as he bent, inhaling deeply. “Perfect.”

“Well.” She stepped back, clasping her hands. “I’ve got work.”

He nodded, still holding Skeeter. “I’ll walk you to the door.”

“It’s right there.” Her look indicated the short distance between them and the house. Her tone said she wanted to be rid of him.

“We can’t let it be said that the prince left the princesses unprotected with dragons about, can we?”

“Oh, no.” Skeeter’s pigtails danced. “The ground could be,” she paused, searching for words. “Fraught with danger. Hidden traps, destined to foil the bravest knight.”

“Arthurian?” He hiked a brow to Sarah, indicating he was pretty certain the first grader hadn’t come up with that line on her own. “I would have expected Three Sisters. Brother Eagle.”

“Legends and fairy tales cross cultural boundaries,” Sarah informed him, her gaze flicking up to his. When it did, he felt a surge of warmth. Delicious. Delightful. Wonderfully surprising.

“Tell me more.”

She made it up the first step, putting her almost at eye level. Looking startled by his sudden proximity, she advanced another stair, lengthening the distance. “I have to go.”

“Of course.” Still smiling, he set Skeeter down. “Thanks for walking with me, girls.”

“We didn’t,” Sarah protested, her brow knit. “We—”

“Yes?” He angled his head, holding her gaze, keeping his look aimed at her.

She was bothered, that was plain enough. Frustrated, maybe? Aggravated, annoyed, perturbed? Absolutely.

Interested?

A good possibility. But wishing she weren’t. Stepping back, he knew he’d hit the nail on the head but hadn’t a clue what to do about it. Slocums and Macklins were fire and water, oil and vinegar. Not a good mix.


I've been blessed to write a lot of books... and I'm amazed at how the market jumps and dives, but I find there is no big secret to this job... there's just good old-fashioned hard work... Write a great book. Then keep on doing it. With so many options available to today's author, the only thing standing between you and success is... you.

Go get 'em.

Multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne loves her job, she's having the time of her life, and if she's not creating a delightfully fun and poignant new story, she's thinking about doing it... because she loves her job! Find her on facebook at Ruth Logan Herne, visit her website and check her out @Twitter as @RuthLoganHerne.... She loves God, her family, coffee, chocolate, cute kids, puppies and kittens and writing sweet stories that make people laugh... and cry.

As a reminder, comments are closed today so we can focus on writing... and it's mid-January, my friends! ONLY TWO MORE MONTHS OF WINTER!!!! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I Am a Writer! Now What?

with guest Josee Telfer.


This past May, I turned to my husband as he drove our family to Costco and said, very matter-of-factly, “I’m going to write a book.” He nodded and replied, “Sounds good. Should we get cheese?”

My husband’s response was appropriate, given my history. You see, the dreamer in me thinks up new businesses to start every month. I’ve held job titles ranging from “high school Spanish teacher,” and “Realtor,” to “Interior Designer,” and “Calligrapher.” I’ve blogged, owned an Etsy shop, and written for a bridal magazine. I enjoyed every job, though some more than others. Still, I knew…I hadn’t found “the one.”

Sure, I sometimes declared, “One day, I’m going to write a book!” But who hasn’t said that? Reading was always a favorite pastime, but after having kids, books became reserved for vacations. When I was pregnant with my third baby, I didn’t sleep well and read to combat the insomnia. Then my husband bought me a Kindle. 

I read voraciously, typically three to four novels per week. Especially appealing were inspirational romance, historical romance, and women’s fiction with a heavy dose of romance. The more I read, the more I discerned what I enjoyed in a novel. I found myself often thinking “I wish there was a book like this…” and would imagine a story. I’d pick up a new book, hoping it would match what was in my head, but couldn’t find it anywhere. That was my first clue, though I didn’t know it at the time.
It wasn’t long before I had a unique cast of characters living in my head. I knew what they looked like, what their quirks were, even the sounds of their voices. I had detailed scenes, and dialogue for days. The voices were getting louder and were demanding something…but what? Clue number two, but still, I was clueless.

It was like a bolt of lightning hit me that day in the car with my husband. My “Aha!” moment, to quote Oprah. After we came home and unloaded the groceries, I sat down at my desk and started typing. I worked right through dinner while my family feasted on rotisserie chicken and continued writing late into the night. The next morning, I woke up before dawn and began again. Every spare minute I had, I wrote. It felt SO GOOD to get the story down on paper.

A few days later, after I had written a particularly moving scene, I stared at my laptop and whispered, “I’m a writer.” I looked around the room to see if anyone had heard me. Could it be true? If it was, then what was my next step? I prayed, asking God for direction.  The next day I stumbled upon Seekerville and met some amazing women who mentored and guided me.

By Labor Day, I had finished my first novel, Grasping Hope, coming in around 60,000 words. I entered a few contests, became a finalist in two of them, and as of today, won first place in one. 

People hear you’re a writer and the first thing they ask is “Ooooh, where can I buy your book?” Funny you should ask, I’m working on that. 

There is just so much to say on this topic but my advice can be summed up in five words: Write, Read, Educate, Engage, Pray. W.R.E.E.P. You WREEP what you sow. These aren’t listed in any particular order of importance, though I found that extensive reading and prayer were the catalysts for my writing to flourish.



*Write. In order to be a writer, you must write. Your writing time is sacred. Set a goal for a number of words to write per day and stick to it at least five, if not six days a week. Get a room with a door. Close the door. Write. Repeat.

*Read. Just as I wouldn’t trust a chef who didn’t enjoy food, I’m wary of a writer who never reads. Read all kinds of books, especially in your genre. We typically write what we love to read so what’s on your bookshelf?

*Educate yourself. Study books on the writing craft, analyze best-selling and award-winning books, read blogs, enter contests for feedback, study the publishing market. There’s so much to learn and always room to improve.

*Engage. No one is an island. Connect with writers, authors, bloggers, editors, and agents. Leave a comment. Say “Hi.” Introduce yourself. It’s never been easier. Social media may have its downside, but it’s an incredible resource for putting your name out there and seeking advice. You also need to start building your audience, even if you’re not yet published. Put up a website, pick one or two social media outlets that you enjoy and use them. 

*Pray. I no longer say “God, how am I going to do this?” Now, I tell him “I can’t wait to see how you’re going to do this!” Seek his guidance and praise him with a humble and grateful heart. 

I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. But, I decided, I don’t need to. Who knows what they’re doing when they’re starting something brand new? We all learn as we go. We stumble, fall, get back up and try again. 

There is much I need to learn but this I know: I am a writer. There’s a fire burning in my belly and at the risk of sounding cliché, I feel like a butterfly popped out of her cocoon. It’s humbling and exciting to be doing what I know I was born to do. I’m pounding the pavement toward publication and with determination and God’s grace, I’ll get there.

I’d LOVE to know, what was your “aha” moment, when you knew you were a writer? 


Josee Telfer is an award-winning, contemporary romance author. Those words still feel surreal to her but she loves them! She hails from Québec, Canada and immigrated to the United States where she grew up in southern Connecticut. Today, Josee makes her home in Vermont with her husband and their three children. She spends her time at hockey rinks cheering on her boys, feeding her teenager and playing Barbies with her daughter. Admittedly, she doesn’t know much except this: God is good. All the time. You can find her at her website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



Josee has a very special giveaway! Two winners will get their choice of either Proverbs 31 or "The Lords Prayer," done in pointed pen calligraphy. Printed on thick cardstock and ready for framing. Leave a comment to get entered in this giveaway. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Never Ending Story – The Sequel


By guest blogger Mary Alford


Have you ever reached the end of a great book and thought, “No! That can’t be it. I’m not ready for it to end...”

I think most of us have had that type of reaction to a book that drew us in from page one and held us captive until the end. I know I certainly have on many occasions.  



This is the very reason the sequel is so appealing to us. The story we fell in love with goes on, just in a different way. We can still catch up with our favorite characters, but in addition, we’re introduced to a whole new story that will hopefully make us fall in love all over again.  

Still, not every book is destined to be a sequel.

So what makes a book sequel worthy? Well, at the core of every sequel you have great characters:  


For this blog post, I enlisted the help of some lovely ladies from my street team. I wanted their expert opinion on what makes a good sequel for them. As always, they were more than willing to offer their thoughts.

Jaquelyn S. - “My favorite type of sequel is when a secondary character from one book, gets their own book. I love when you get to know a family more through each book, and get to hear how the previous main characters from another book are doing.”

Susan M. - “The fun of series or sequels is you get to see and read about the characters you fell in love with in the first book. Kind of like keeping up with family and seeing how their lives are coming along.”

Cheryl B. – “I love getting to read more about characters that played a role in a previous book. Children and grandchildren that came along. Someone that helped others but didn't get noticed.”


Obviously, a key ingredient in creating any great sequel is having an array of interesting secondary characters to complement the hero and heroine and make the reader want to know what happens to them as well.

But there has to be more to a good sequel than its characters. You need a fresh storyline that’s different from the first book and one that will set it apart and make the reader want to read it.  


Katrina E. - “I have read series where the characters are part of a community, work related and family. I can't really say what exactly draws me, but I do enjoy finding out where characters' lives have taken them since their book. I think I'm searching for the answer to if it was really a HEA. While I have enjoyed all types of series I think my favorite is the ones that revolve around a community. I think the author has more leeway with this.”


So, we have a great set of characters and a storyline that is intriguing. What’s next?

Location, location, location.

This past year, I wrote a series of contemporary inspirational romances that take place in a fictional town called Second Chance, Montana. It’s a small town with warm and welcoming characters that make you want to come in and stay for a while. The town is true to its name, offering everyone who visits a second chance. I so much enjoyed writing these books because they took place in the same location. I got to come home to Second Chance with each new book I wrote.  


Ann E. – “I enjoy sequels especially when it picks up an existing character and tells more of their story.”

So, we have great characters, and intriguing storyline and the perfect location. Now comes the end?

Surprise! – The Perfect Ending.

I think what makes for a great sequel is that the ending both surprises and satisfies us. The story ends, but there’s still room for more.



I asked the ladies from my street team to weigh in on some of their favorite sequels. Here’s what they had to say.

Mary L. – “I enjoy Janie Crouch's series, B.J. Daniels series, Julie Miller's series. These are just a few.”

Renee S. – “Lori Wick English Garden series, Rachel Dylan's new series, Kimberly Rae Jordan's Blackthorpe Security series which ties into the McKinley and Callaghan and McFadden series. That is just a few!”

Angel M. – “I love sequels! The Baxter series from Karen Kingsbury and there are several more I just can't think of them right now.”

Jaquelyn S. - “My favorite series is The Christiansen series by Susan May Warren.”
Melissa H. - “I enjoy sequels and standalone novels. The Mitford Series by Jan Karon is a good series.”

Suzanne C. – “I think my favorite series was by Nancy Rue. It was about a lady who bought a Harley, and started listening to God's direction and doing his will.”

Susan M. - “My favorite series are the ones by Ronie Kendig - Discarded Heroes, Quiet Professionals, A Breed Apart.”


So, what about you? What are some of your favorite sequels and why did they make you love them so much? I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of Valentine Matchmaker, a collection of nine romantic novellas. My book, Marry Me set in Second Chance, Montana, is part of this collection as well. 

A Little About Me.


I grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than my brothers and sister, I had plenty of time to entertain myself. Making up stories seemed to come natural to me. As a pre-teen, I discovered Christian romance novels and knew instinctively that was what I wanted to do with my over-active imagination. I wrote my first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued my writing career seriously until 2012 when I entered the Love Inspired Speed Dating contest and sold my first Love Inspired Suspense, Forgotten Past.

You can connect with me on my website: http://www.maryalford.net or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mary.alford.1272

A Little About Valentine Matchmaker:


This delightful collection of historical and contemporary romances contains couples not looking for romance, but with the help of a loved one find love on Valentine's Day. Each story is titled from an actual candy heart and plays a major role in the romance. Sit down, relax, and experience love by these authors. Mary Alford, Brandi Boddie,   Jennifer Collins Johnson, Gail Gaymer Martin, Debra E. Marvin, Martha Rogers, Sherri Stewart, Niki Turner, and Jennifer Vander Klipp.      

Thank you all so much for letting me stop by today. I’ve had a blast as always.

All the best…

Mary Alford

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Five Ways Writing is Like Dieting

Pam here. How many of us have set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight at some point or another? Or simply started a new health plan just to feel better in general? Well, I’ve been on a “diet” for over a year, but it’s not really a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. I love it, and I don’t feel like I’m dieting. I’m eating healthier than ever before and enjoying my food and my life.

But enough about my specific diet plan… let’s talk writing!


It’s amazing how much writing can be like dieting. And I’ve come up with FIVE ways the two are similar. Let’s compare…

1) Make Healthy Choices - We know that certain foods are more healthy than others, and even some healthy choices don’t agree with everyone. Find out what works for your writing. Are you a pantster or a plotter? Do you prefer writing all the way through or polishing as you go? Do you write one thousand words a day or throw everything but the contents of your fridge on the page in a month-long marathon writing session? Once you figure out the plan that works for you and the writing plan that you can see yourself sticking to for life, you’re on your way to a healthy writing career.


2) Start Over Every Three Hours - One of the selling points of a healthy lifestyle is not to beat yourself up if you cheat or go off your eating plan once or twice. The problem comes when you throw in the towel and one or two slip-ups become a month-long binge of unhealthy eating. It’s the same with writing. You slip up. You get behind. The story isn’t working. It happens to all of us. But don’t beat yourself up and let that slip-up turn in to long-term failure. Start over. I don’t necessarily mean start your project over, but start your PLAN over. Tired? Discouraged? The writing is like slogging through quicksand? You’ve hit a brick wall? Everything will look better in three hours, or after a good night’s sleep. Sometimes all it takes is a quick power walk to reset everything. Don’t give up. Take a deep breath and put Tip #1 into action.

And this leads directly into comparison #3….

3) Plan Ahead - The biggest mistake and what usually leads to going off-track is not keeping on-plan staples to prepare healthy meals and snacks on hand. I confess that I put off grocery shopping as long as possible, and this has sabotaged my healthy eating kick more than once. Eventually, with not a single fresh vegetable in the house, I’ll give in and do the marathon 3-5 hour shopping trip to restock the fridge, freezer, and pantry. The same is true in our writing. The more prepared we are, the better our writing sessions will flow. For some, this might mean a 20 page synopsis, detailed character charts complete with photos; for others, just reading what you wrote the day before and honing in on the emotions and moving forward works. Regardless, there is some planning taking place, whether it’s in your head or on paper. Stick to the plan.

4) Exercise - A bit of exercise is healthy for our bodies and our brain. It gets the heart pumping, increases our metabolism, and clears the brain. My exercise the last few months has been bending and lifting weights (20+ lb grand baby), as well as sweeping, moping, and vacuuming twice a week since she started crawling. Now that she’s walking, so I’m about to increase my exercise regimen to chasing after her all day twice a week. I call that a win-win. As far as writing, we get a two-fer here. Physical exercise is good for both our health and to get our brain cells pumping. No brainer there!

5) Seasons of Stress - One of the biggest pitfalls of any diet plan seems to be stress. A dedicated stress-eater can devour an entire carton of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream in one sitting. Me? Give me a large (the biggest they make, baby!) bag of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips and a container of French Onion dip and I can kick stress to the curb big time. This is the reason chips and dip are banned at my house. Sigh.


Recognize that there will be seasons that stress your writing plan to the max. Just like the “Calgon Take Me Away” commercials from yesteryear, we’re bombarded with life on a daily basis. Kids, spouses, elder care, day jobs in addition to writing, housework, shopping, cooking, (should I dare mention that April 15th is looming?). Add in a winter cold or flu that lingers for six weeks, or a sick child, an audit, a wedding, or car wreck, or any number of life-altering but totally unexpected stress inducing events and suddenly your well-planned writing schedule has gone the way of the empty Ben & Jerry’s ice cream container.

Don’t let a season of stress completely do you in. Deal with what you have to deal with even if you have to put writing on the back burner for a while. But when the dust settles, when the sick child is all better, when the audit is done, take a deep breath and start over.

Make healthy choices. Start over. Plan ahead. Exercise. Don't Stress.

And that, my Seeker friends, is a recipe for success whether you're writing or dieting.


Natchez, MS; 1791

Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.

The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.

Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?


CLAIMING MARIAH $1.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME





Visit Pam at www.pamhillman.com