Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Writer's Perfect Resource

with guest Mary Vee.

Thank you for inviting me to Seekerville today. I’m so excited to be here with you all. 

As an author of Never Give Up Stories, I’ve spent years learning about the writing craft from classes, conferences, and resources books and benefitting from many hours honing my skills.

Like you, God has blessed me with experienced writers who’ve helped me throughout my writing journey, each contributing a golden nugget that opened the door to the next step. 

But there is one who was there when I started. He was there when you started too. His book has numerous new editions, has been translated into almost every language, and is a global bestseller. I believe you have a copy too. 

Because of his writing expertise, his compassion, and willingness to help, his book has become an invaluable tool. A writer’s perfect resource with helps to meet our calling. And the author, well, he is available to everyone and anyone who asks.

Photo Adam Burden Unsplash

The one I am referring to is God, and his book is the Bible.

Yeah, really! Let me show you how the Bible is your perfect writing resource. For this discussion, we are going to focus on the basic model of storytelling since the Bible is the perfect resource for every aspect of our lives.




Consider the opening sentence. Genesis 1:1 states: In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. These words tell readers the setting, who the story is about, and leaves them a great hook: “What happened next?” and “Who is this God who created everything we know?” Aren’t you bursting to know more about the one who created everything and is completely interested in you? Me too!

So, in the opening pages, the Master Author develops setting and continues to show the people involved by taking us to the garden. He shows us what it looks like-- including the tree with the forbidden fruit in the middle--and he explains the basic rules for this new world formed by his spoken word. 

Soon sin, the epic problem, begins a story in need of redemption only a great God could provide.

This opening follows the rules we’ve been taught in writing classes and texts. 

  • Lead with a hook. 
  • Familiarize the reader with the setting.
  • Introduce the characters.
  • Open the reader’s eyes to the character’s epic problem.
  • Begin the journey seeking the solution.


The journey is long with many bumps in the road, components found in books.

 Layers. Depth. Passion. Villains. Hero.

The Bible moves forward using events to expand and deepen the journey: Noah and the terrible flood, David facing Goliaths, God’s Son sent as the only means of salvation, the call for disciples to go into all the world and tell the Good News. The news spreads to the ends of the known earth. Trials and troubles bleed into the ages. Heartache and miracles. Deception vs. Truth.

The climax is yet in our future. The book of Revelation tells us what will happen, but if you’re like me, we don’t fully understand the meanings presented. What we do know is: for those who follow The Way, the happily ever after will be eternity with God in heaven.

You see? Before writing instructors or books taught the principles of writing, God used them in his book, written just for us. 

He is available to stir your mind to generate great ideas. He will listen to your thoughts and provide clues to your story’s direction. He will laugh with you, cry with you, and love you every day. He is faithful to turn any story into a Never Give Up Story. One that will truly end in a happily ever after…with no end. Because we have an eternal God.



Never Give Up your calling as a writer. God, the great mentor is here for you whenever you need. He loves you.

You may wonder why I use these words: Never Give Up. This is my brand. All my stories fall into this realm, from mystery and suspense, to travel and holiday celebrations. God has rescued me from numerous pickle problems, some simple like a flat tire, some huge, like cancer’s ugly visit three times. In each case, God asked me to trust him by Never Giving Up. This was the only way I survived.

No matter the depth of the valley or the height of the mountain peak, he’ll ask the same of you. 

What one writing principle have you discovered in the Bible? How has God blessed you on your writing journey? Sometimes writers hear from readers that our story/words/characters have touched their heart. Would you be willing to share one today?



My debut book, Anders’ Redemption-released this holiday season--tells of one man’s heartache the night an accident robs him of a promising career. Forced to survive on cheap noodles for a year, Brice Anders finally receives the letter. The one that promises a second hope for his dream-until an intruder breaks into his new home and steals his work. With days left ‘til Christmas, his job on the line, his memory not helping, only hope can deliver redemption. 


Anders’ Redemption is on sale for the holidays. Both paperback and ebooks are available from:

Amazon   
Barnes and Noble  

One commenter will receive their own ecopy of Ander's Redemption. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!~



Rock climbing, white-water rafting, zip lining, and hiking top Mary Vee's list of ways to enjoy a day. For some crazy reason, her mystery/suspense fiction characters don’t always appreciate the dangerous and often scary side of her favorite activities. Unbelievable. Mary writes travel books. Come take an amazing trip. She also pens retellings of Bible stories on the blog, God Loves Kids. She has been a finalist in several writing contests.

Mary’s newsletter takes readers on virtual trips and tells her recent works. Sail on a pirate ship, zip-line through redwoods. Join the fun. Sign up at her website listed below.


Twitter: @MaryVeeWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryVeeNeverGiveUpStories/  
Website: http://www.maryveewriter.com  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Facebook: Turning Friends into Fans

Facebook is all about making friends, interacting with them, sharing everything from recipes to the latest escapade at Walmart. Or as Facebook likes to ask, “What’s on your mind?” It’s a lot of fun, and you can keep up with family and friends, local and not so local.

As authors, we end up with lots of friend requests from people we don't know personally, so we need to step outside the box to separate fans from our real family and friends, but to stay in touch with them as well.

I mentioned a few of my techniques to some of the Seekers, and they wanted to know more about how I turn friends into fans.

Accepting Friend Requests


These Friend Requests are fictional. Do you recognize any of them?

Let's start at the beginning. You have a bunch of friend requests waiting for you to Confirm or Decline. My policy is never to accept friend requests immediately. I wait several days in case someone's account has been hacked. I search for their name in the Facebook search box to try to determine if it looks like the profile has been hacked. If I don't see anything suspicious, I take a quick look at their profile, looking at what they talk about, and look to see if we have mutual friends. If all looks well, I Confirm/Accept the friend request.


As I worked on this post, I accepted a friend request that's been pending for several weeks, simply because I've been busy writing and haven't had time to check them all off. This person--we'll call her Sue--and I have mutual friends. Sue lives in my home state, but over a hundred miles from me. Also, one of our mutual friends is one of my biggest fans, so I can only assume she found me through our mutual friend.


Add to Another List

Now that I know Sue lives in my home state, I'm going to add her to a couple of special lists that I've created. You'll find the "Add to another List" option under the Friends tab. What kind of lists do you want or need? I have several, but if you're an author (or an aspiring author) start with Fans, Local, State (mine is Mississippi), your High School, or College, etc. Other ideas might be Best Friends, Editors/Agents, Media, Bloggers.



Check all that apply. If you don’t know the person at all, assume they are a FAN. Fan is your friend. If you don’t know them, but all their friends are local to you, and you see on their profile that they are within 20-30 miles of you, check Fan & Local.

Now that Sue and I are friends, I Stop. :) Well, not literally. I can be friendly with her, chat it up. Post on her wall, maybe invite her to visit my webpage or like my Facebook page. After all, she did send me a friend request, so I can only assume our connection is books. My books, hopefully.

Second Reminder to Like Facebook Page


Every few months I invite my new friends to like my Facebook page. But not ALL my friends, just the ones I've marked as Fans. If another author sends me a friend request, I don't message them asking them to like my page. Although, I have goofed up and sent those messages out, either not recognizing someone as an author, or by accident, but I try not to bombard my writer friends.

Note: To toggle between your profile and any pages you own, use the inverted triangle in the far right hand corner at the top of your Facebook profile.


We're several steps into our Turning Friends into Fans post, and I doubt I’ve told you anything you didn’t already know, so let’s step it up a little bit. :) 

Remember the new categories under "Add to Another List" you created? Specifically, the "Fans" list where you didn't include other authors, editors, and agents and known industry professionals? While on your author page, not your profile, click on the "Invite your friends to like this Page", then chose "Fans" and send everyone an invitation to like your page. You can review the list and select/deselect manually, or you can just send to all.


Don’t assume all your friends know you're an author. You can include a simple message like, “We're friends on Facebook, but did you know that I'm an author? I'd love it if you'd like my FB page so you can stay informed about my latest books.”

What else can you do with your specialized Lists... Well, you can invite Locals to Book Signings as I did for this event recently. Sebastopolooza Booksigning & Giveaway 2017. I invited about 500 people to the festival because I knew they were local. And I had a LIST and I knew how to use it. Sure, some couldn't attend, but some could. And they knew I'd be there with my books because they got an invitation. 

And, for fun, I created a Seekerville Event last night and invited some of you. Give us a shout out if you got an invitation to join us today via the Facebook: Turning Friends into Fans Event

So, there ya go. Two ways you can create lists in Facebook and use them as needed. Maybe there are other great ways you can think of to use these lists. Other than Local, State, Fans, what other categories can you think of that would make turning friends into fans a worthwhile endeavor?



Enter for a chance to win an e-copy of my latest novel,
The Promise of Breeze Hill. Enter now on Goodreads!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tips for Writing with Emotion

Janet here. Writers all know how important emotion is in our stories. Emotion draws readers in and makes them care about the characters. Once they do, they'll keep reading to find out what happens on their journey. 

The hard part is getting that emotion on the page. Some writers study craft books and posts and attend workshops on writing emotion. Others have torn a well-loved book apart, examining how the writer brought them to tears or laughter. With all these resources available to us, why is writing strong emotion difficult? At least it is for me.  

Perhaps it's because there's no quick and easy way to get it done. To write an emotional story that will elicit emotion in ourselves, in our characters and in our readers takes time and effort. 




To prime the pump and keep the emotion flowing, I need to dig deep into myself, into my story and into my characters.     
  • Dig deep into our characters. We have to figure out who the characters are and what makes them tick. To do that, we need to know what has wounded them and what they desperately want and why. Fleshed-out characters, just like real people, come with emotional baggage. That baggage skews their view of themselves, of others and of their world. When we know our characters inside and out, we can take them on an emotional journey that will heal their hurts and allow them to move on with their lives. Sometimes I have to write the first chapter, even the first three chapters, before I figure out who my characters are. Once I know them really well, I may have to go back and rework the opening to make it fit how they would react and why.  
  • Dig deep into ourselves. We may not have experienced what our characters have, but most of us have experienced grief, disappointments and hardships and can use the feelings those things brought us when writing our stories. To do this requires being vulnerable and that's scary, even painful. But when we tap into our wounds, our concerns, our relationship with others and with God, all those things that have impacted or hurt us, we can use that emotion when writing our stories. The closer story events come to our real lives, the more uncomfortable the writing may be. I wrote a scene in The Bride Wore Spurs where the heroine's father died. My father had died seven years earlier. Perhaps I hadn't dealt with my grief, but I found myself weeping as I wrote the scene and every time I read or revised it. My editor's comment proved that I'd allowed myself to bleed on the page and the emotion was real.
  • Dig deep into our story. We want to write stories that matters. The story should have a takeaway or truth that lingers long after our readers closed the book. When we have a strong passion for our the theme or takeaway, we'll find writing with emotion is easier. Gripping stories with high stakes and characters experiencing universal fears make readers identify with the characters, even become them. If we aren't emotionally involved in our stories, our readers probably won't be either.   
Once the pump is primed, we can utilize craft techniques to help produce emotion. Unless stated otherwise, all excerpts are from The Bounty Hunter's Redemption.  

I believe some writers are intuitive about how to elicit emotion. If you're one of those, you may want to skip to the end of the post. The rest of us may need to study craft for ways to produce emotion in the reader. Telling the emotion is often the first attempt at getting emotion on the page. She felt afraid doesn't create that emotion of fear in the reader. The snake of fear slithered along her spine is a bit more eerie, but still telling the emotion. The character whose head we're in needs to show the fear she's feeling through her thoughts, descriptions, actions and reactions. Other characters may see that emotion in another character and describe it. Vivid, pertinent details are the building blocks of storytelling. Vivid details of the setting and of the characters bring scenes alive and connect readers emotionally to the story.



  • Physical Reactions: One of these techniques is describing the characters' physical reactions (things like clenched fists and racing hearts) either through their own eyes or the eyes of another. Overdo these descriptions and we risk annoying the reader. On the flip side, we can have our characters suppress physical reactions, such as refusing to cry. When we know our characters, we know how they'll react in a given situation. We can make physical reactions like laughing and crying feel fresh by adding a few select words as in this excerpt from my novella "A Daddy for Christmas": Miss Mae tried to trap a snicker behind a gloved hand and failed. We can add emotion by embellishing as in this excerpt with Carly describing Anna's physical reactions on the witness stand: Tears brimmed then spilled down Anna’s cheeks, the anguish of reliving that nightmare plain on her face. The room was so quiet Carly could hear each ragged breath Anna took. 


  • Descriptions: When a character describes another character, instead of just giving hair and eye color, for instance, use the opportunity to show the character's emotional state, as in this excerpt: A woman stood between Nate Sergeant and a young boy like a petite, beautiful fortress. Pink lips, flushed cheeks, her fair complexion in sharp contrast to her coal-black hair, the delicate female couldn't outweigh a hundred-pound bag of grain. Under slashing brows, dazzling blue eyes met his, sizing him up, her expression wary, alert.
  • Introspection/Thoughts: Characters can remember painful or joyful events, have emotionally-charged flashbacks, react emotionally in their thoughts to what's going on around them and make decisions for what action they'll take next. We need to be careful when writing introspection not to tell, saying things like, he felt angry. It's easier to show emotion when we Intersperse action, reaction and introspection. If we overdo the length and frequency of introspection, we'll slow the pace. In this scene from "A Daddy for Christmas" Rafe decides his course of action: 
    As he tramped to the livery in the moonlight, Rafe thought about his daughter, an innocent in all this. Too young to understand what had transpired. But one day she’d grow up, and when she did, she’d wonder why her father hadn’t cared enough to stick around, hadn’t cared enough to risk loving her. 
    For the grownup Josie’s sake, he would take this chance and try to be a good dad to his daughter. Anyone planning to stop him had better move aside. 
       
  • Action: Select actions for your characters to take that will elicit emotion in the characters and in readers, as in this excerpt from "A Daddy for Christmas", Rafe has just left an encounter with his father: 
    Rafe forced his fisted hand to turn the knob and stepped outside, softly closing the door behind him. He leaned against it, gulping the cold December air like a drowning man. 
     
    Tense action scenes with high stakes keep emotion running high. This is not the time for lengthy introspection. Instead use short sentences with strong verbs, as in this excerpt: Stogsdill whirled, slamming into the muzzle of the gun. The motion jerked her backward. Her finger slipped in a reflexive squeeze on the trigger. With a deafening boom, the Smith and Wesson fired
    .  
  • Dialogue: When characters say harsh things, surprising things, shocking things, their words carry an emotional wallop. In "A Daddy for Christmas" these are Tess's words to a guilt-ridden Rafe: He ambled toward them, scanning the store, and then stopped before her father. “I’m sorry about your loss, sir. So sorry about Vi.” His Adam’s apple convulsed. “I’m to blame for her death.”                                                                            “Easy enough to apologize,” Tess said. “You didn’t sit at her bedside and watch her draw her last breath.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Better yet, we can reveal truth and fuel emotion by having the character's words clash with their thoughts or actions.  

  • Setting:  We want the setting to feel real, to ground the story in place and time, but it's how the characters see the setting and the emotion it triggers that makes setting a powerful tool for emotional writing. The setting is not just location and time period, it's anything tangible in the story. In this excerpt, I used elements of the setting to show Carly's feelings about her dead husband.: Though the air carried the scent of mowed grass, spring flowers and fresh-turned dirt, the vile odors that had clung to Max filled her nostrils still, as if he stood at her side, not laid out at her feet. Setting can also be used as an analogy or metaphor, as in this excerpt: Gnaw Bone Christian Church cast a morning shadow, the steeple’s silhouette pointing right at Nate like the finger of God.       
  • Symbols: A cowboy hat Nate gave Henry is used to show Henry's feelings toward Nate, as in this excerpt: Nate stared at Henry’s Stetson lying there in the mud. Discarded, soiled, unwanted.    
These tips are tools, not a magical formula. Writers usually combine these techniques, as in this excerpt inside Carly's head that gives Henry's description, dialogue, action, reaction, and ends with her introspection:


Henry, his dark brown hair lifting in the gentle breeze, pointed to the hole in the ground. “Is Pa staying in there?”

Carly met his troubled eyes; eyes far too old for one so young. “Yes. Your pa’s passed on.”

“Like our old hound dog? Pa ain’t coming back?”

“That’s right.”

Her son gave a nod then stepped to the dirt piled at the edge of the grave and stomped the soil with his scuff-toed shoe.

Once. Twice. Three times.

Henry pivoted back to her, lips quivering, eyes welling with tears. “He can’t hurt you now, Mama.”

The heartbreaking truth sank to Carly’s belly like a stone. Henry had not forgotten the last time his father had returned home. The first time Max had slapped her with more than words. The force of the blow had knocked her to the floor, terrifying her son.



If you're feeling brave, share a one-two sentence excerpt from a manuscript or book you've written or have read that triggered an emotional response in you. One person leaving a comment will win a $10 Amazon gift card and an eCopy of "A Daddy for Christmas."

For breakfast, I brought coffee and tea, apple fritters, hard-boiled eggs and oatmeal. 


Janet Dean grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. Janet is a two-time Golden Heart finalist, Genesis and Carol finalist and a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. Her Love Inspired Historical novels are also Golden Quill, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Booksellers Best, Inspirational Readers Choice Award and Holt Medallion finalists. 



When Rafe Rafferty discovers he’s a father, he returns to Bountiful, Indiana, to marry the mother, only to learn she died after childbirth and her sister Tess is raising his child. Rafe falls head over heels for his daughter and for Tess Russo, a woman who doesn’t trust easily. Especially the man she thinks abandoned her sister. Can Rafe prove he’s worthy and conquer the protective walls she’s built around her heart?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The 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. Send to Seekers@Seekerville.net

 Please note that December 29th, 2017, our email address changes to seekerville2@gmail.com. Update your address books!

Monday: Winner of the throwback copy of Missy Tippens' first book, Her Unlikely Family, is Kelly Blackwell!

Tuesday: Myra Johnson shared "Survival Tips for Writers (and Readers)." Melanie Pike is the winner of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.

Wednesday: Debby Giusti blogged about that for which she is most thankful concerning the writing life in, "A Writer Gives Thanks!" The winner of the first two Publishers Weekly bestsellers in Debby's Amish Protectors series, Amish Refuge and Undercover Amish, is Cynthia Herron! Congrats, Cynthia! Happy reading!

Thursday:  Lizzie Poteetformer editorial assistant with St. Martin's Press and now an agent with The Seymour Literary Agency, was our very special guest today. Trixi Oberembt is the winner of an Amazon gift in honor of her visit!




Monday:  Janet Dean will be chatting about craft in her post "Tips for Writing with Emotion." Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and an eBook of her novella "A Daddy for Christmas."

Tuesday:  Pam Hillman blogs today!

Wednesday:  Seekerville is delighted to welcome Mary Vee with her post, "The Writer's Perfect Resource." Stop by to chat with Mary and you could win an ecopy of Anders' Redemption: A Christmas Novella Mystery.

Thursday:  Seekerville is closed to give thanks. We give thanks for you!

Friday: The Best of the Archives featuring a classic post from our ten years of blogging. Comments are closed on Fridays to catch up on reading and writing.











Ruth Logan Herne is giving away a paperback or Kindle copy of this beautiful story to one weekend visitor! Leave a comment and yes, tell her you want to win "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" and Ruthy will tuck your name right into her wishing well!
Celebrating the official release of Ruth Logan Herne's newest 4 Star novel "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" from Waterfall Press. Set in the hills of Western New York, Kelsey McCleary never meant to stop in the quaint village her miscreant mother mentioned decades before, but when fate has other ideas, or maybe destiny, or it could always be God's perfect timing. Kelsey finds herself in a place where prayers, wishes, and dreams just might come true. Kindle, paperback and audio copies available! And that has the happy author dancing in the Western New York snowflakes!
Tina Radcliffe has teamed up with over 50 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of inspirational romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! And you'll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering. Inspirational romance authors in this sweep include Susan May Warren, Stacy Henrie, Barbara Scott, Bethany Turner, Kara Isaac, Mary Connealy, and of course, Tina Radcliffe. For a total of over 50 books. Enter the giveaway by clicking here: https://goo.gl/iJ3xej

Send yourself a reminder to check out Thankful for Books Winter Stock Up with Melissa Wardell! Under the Mistletoe will be featured Thanksgiving weekend along with other holiday sale reads. Under the Mistletoe is free Wednesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 26. 

Wrap your heart around a cozy little romance that starts with a red wool scarf, an angel or two, and ends with Ben Logan and Lucy Fielding under the mistletoe. An uplifting tale of romance and faith for the holidays. 

  
Just in time for the holidays, a sweet novella about family, love, and letting go.
He offered her his past.
All he wanted was her future.
The Christmas Angel is available at a holiday price reduction of $.99 on Amazon.
Buy link is here.



TICK ... TICK ... TICK ... only 6 more days to save a $1.00 off on Julie Lessman's prequel novel to her brand-new Western series, 
Silver Lining Ranch. So pre-order For Love of Liberty NOW
before the release date of November 24!
PRE-ORDER HERE!









Thanks for the link love!

Congratulations to the ACFW First Impressions Finalists

Why Your Favorite Author Probably Can’t Give You a Free Book (Bethany House Fiction)

Behind the Wizard's Curtain (Writer Unboxed)

Author Blogging 103: Guest Blogging, or How to Write for Exposure (The Digital Reader)

3 Ways to Boost Your Word Count Every Writing Session (Fiction University)

Supplying Breadcrumbs: How to Hint at a Character’s Emotional Wound (Romance University)

Maintaining Writing Accountability (WITS)

Pronoun Is Dead: The Ebook Retail Universe Redux (The Book Designer)

How to Talk About Your Book (Bad Redhead Media)

Getting the Green Light: Notes from an SCBWI Agents Panel (PW)

What Is a High Concept, and Do You Need One? (Pub Rants)



6 Weekend Editions Until Christmas.
 We're doing a countdown of gifts for readers and writers!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Best of the Archives: A Business Chat With Ben Franklin!

This topic is PERFECT for fall (this was published a few years ago, and I know it's November now, but humor me, okay???) the month of resolve, one-words, plans and goals!

Here's a Franklinism to start us off:

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

Now that might appear negative, but I think Ben was referring to the human tendency to want more... In Isaiah 56 the prophet laments how the lack of satisfaction prevails, and that's such a good lesson for us to grasp. I think it came through to me in that quote from Charles Ingalls: "Enough is as good as a feast!" I can't read or hear that quote and not smile! And having a competitive nature, I've learned to run roughshod over ambition. As long as I control ambition, we're okay... but when I let it control me, well... trouble starts!


"1776" is one of my all-time favorite movies... I love it THIS MUCH!!!!
An author is a small-business owner. 



As a business owner/professional/manager, we get bombarded with decisions that affect our annual bottom line. Dozens of little decisions can add up to costly business expenses, so January is a good time to examine costs vs. effectiveness. We've got the "books" out, doing taxes and we've got clear vision of the balance sheets.

When I was first offered contracts, another author laughed when I estimated my projected earnings. I wasn't offended, I was puzzled.... and then she told me my financial outline was impossible, that writing little books would barely break even. Even when I showed her my estimated figures of sales x royalties x #of books she scoffed.





Real numbers don't lie. (Darlings, this truism is not to be confused with statistics which can be twisted, shaped, referenced in multiple ways to build a case for or against just about anything these days!) But math is still math, addition still works and I knew I was right. My goal to make a solid living writing delightfully affordable category romances is blossoming daily.


Can still be found on shelves nationwide or on shelves at our friend Mr. Amazon! 


And yes, you can still get your copy HERE!!!!!

No matter how beautiful your work/your story(ies), publishers need to cover a bottom line or lines fold. And while I was sad to see lovely Christian lines fold, I have to say that working with Summerside editors and Anna Schmidt on "Love Finds You in the City at Christmas" (Come on, you knew I'd get a shameless plug in here, didn't you????? Really, it's me, it's to be expected!!!!) was an absolutely wonderful experience. Guideposts and Summerside had/have a great staff and marvelous insight. I was truly blessed to have that chance. (Current note: And now I'm moonlighting writing mysteries for Guideposts "Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard" series... and I love it! Who ever thought of Ruthy & Mystery in the same sentence?? Not me!!!)


You Can Order This FIRST Martha's Vineyard mystery HERE!!!!




Now here's the thing, chickie-chickie babies!!!! We're all different. God has modeled us from various cloth and life has wielded our sculpture with its own hand, therefore none of this is written in stone. It can't be because our business and our cause-and-effect are individual.

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. (Ben Franklin)

Certain expenses are a given for most of us:

Computer (and maybe a back-up in case one is down for repairs?)

Internet service (minimize this by working in a library/coffee shop/mall, etc. As long as you don't spend money there, which may or may not be considered downright rude in the coffee shop!)

Internet Back-up (Mozy, Norton, etc. in case a worm/bug/virus wipes your files clean)

Website (Hosting and domain name can go from minimal cost right up to hiring professionals to build/maintain your website, this can be a several thousand dollar differential)

Blog (Hosting, possibly free i.e. "Blogger")

Internet presence  FREE... (You can find this by "Googling" your name... if other things come up on that first page, you should heighten your internet presence by writing more books, blogging, guesting on blogs, did I mention writing more books???? Oh, yes! I see that I did! )  BIG GRIN HERE, and a reminder to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!!!

Paper (Most of us catch more repetitiveness and issues on hard copy, but that might be my age talking)

Ink (To use with aforementioned paper)

Postage (For contests/editors/agents who request hard copy)

Envelopes (I use free ones from Post Office and send via Priority Mail)

Food/Drink of choice:  (For me it's coffee and broccoli slaw!!! But you're fooling yourself if you think you can work effectively and be longing for a Diet Coke and none is in the house... or that you're hungry and decide you need Oreos and must go to the store. Those are stall methods, and you're better than that!!!!)

Ongoing courses, either online or via craft books, to stretch your knowledge and application. This can be a small price or crazy over-expensive. Choose wisely! Please note how easy I made that to see! You're welcome!  (BIG GRIN!!!)

Janet Dean reminded me that business cards are a good thing.... Which means I should order new ones because mine are ancient. (updated note, Beth Jamison designed new business cards and bookmarks for me so that I appear far more organized than I am...)

Books to readMary Connealy wants you to know that this can done through purchasing or library borrowing... and that it is ESSENTIAL that she read so much!!!! To keep up with the market!!!! :)

Also from Mary: 
"Fan for summer--Space heater for winter--my office (enclosed porch) seems to have faulty duct work. Grrrrrrrr....... I've proposed selecting a different office, My Cowboy seems to think I'll be messy and turn a tidy guest room into a war zone. He thinks this BASED ON NOTHING."

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.  (Ben Franklin)

Specific to unpublished authors:
(non-expense items listed first):

Knowledge of who's publishing what, this is your homework. This helps your focus and drive. There might not be much expense in learning this, if you use an up-to-date library... or it can be the cost of books X number of books. I did the Good Will Hunting library route and incurred very little book expenditure because money was tight. And it worked. I love Will Hunting. And I love "Edward" from Pretty Woman because he taught me that sleep is not as essential as we make out.... and I BELIEVED him, LOL! And of course there's Ben's take on that subject, a real-life man that I love beyond belief:  "Plenty of time for rest in the grave!"

I love that Franklinism!!!!

Self-discipline even though unpaid AS YET!!!! (Gotta trust in God, in the future and go for the gold at your pace. It will all come together, but like the Polar Express, ya' gotta "B-E-L-I-E-V-E"!)

Increase that web presence

Items requiring expense for unpublished (as yet!) authors:


Writing contests sponsored by publishers and/or writing groups: (some of these have costs, many are now online with electronic entries, cutting your cost substantially). These provide opinion/critique from numerous sources, an invaluable tool if you truly want to improve your craft AND a chance to final and win a spot on a targeted editorial desk. This is what brought the Seekers together, a mode and method (note the mathematics I'm throwing your way!!!!) proven true.... and we're all grateful for the outcome!

Conferences (National, local, regional, genre specific) (Writing classes, industry information, networking, agent and editor appointments.)

College classes or local classes focusing on writing/publication/website-building, etc.

For the published author:


Contests for published books (fees/cost of books/shipping)

Conferences (National, local, regional, genre specific, these prices can range from a few hundred to an easy $2,000. Choose wisely. Deb Giusti did the best blog I've ever seen on this here in Seekerville:  LINK TO DEB'S BLOG ABOUT CONFERENCES!!!!

Ongoing classes 

Promotion of books (Newsletters, Facebook ads, Book launch services, books purchased for give-aways, bookmarks)

Gifts for agents/editors 

Amazon Prime Account (this is optional, but I love mine. It gives me perks I use as an author and as a person.... Hey, you know what I mean!!!)

And from the wisdom of Connealy again:

Gas for trips to booksignings/writer gatherings

Lap Desk...second lap desk...third lap desk...My laptop was hot. Now it's winter, plus my hot flashes seem to have eased and I quit using a lap desk and just use my lap. Money wasted, closet full of lightly used lap desks! (Ruthy note:  SIGH..... 'Sall I'm sayin'..... SIGH!!!!)

Tetley's Earl Grey Tea with draw string bags. (Hey, it's an indulgence!) Ruthy note: (This is a delicious tea and a worthy indulgence, must go order some because the drawstring bags are that cute, although I'll do Mandarin Orange Spice if they have it. I like Z-I-N-G with my tea.)

Camera bought on a whim because I was going to a cool museum and I forgot my camera. And everybody has a camera on their phone now (except me) so no one wants my camera. Does anyone need a camera?  (Ruthy note: I will bet dollars to donuts she has a camera on her phone and has NO CLUE HOW TO FIND IT OR USE IT.... But that's just a guess, of course!!!)  :)

Elliptical machine.......it makes a nice luggage rack. (On this topic we totally concur, only mine is a treadmill... Do you know how many cute shirts and unmentionables you can DRY on a treadmill??? Mind-boggling!!!! 

Well done is better than well said.  (Ben Franklin)

Here's your homework: Your task is to be a good money steward. A good money steward doesn't throw money away recklessly and a good business person weighs cost vs. reward for everything they do. Remember, being frugal is not the same as being "Scrooge".

If money is tight, look at the must-haves and deal with those. (I did that for many years and I have no regrets, zero, zilch, nada, nil).

And even if money isn't tight, examine the reasons behind your choices. If a $1500-$2000 conference isn't affordable, why do it? What is in it for you? If there is no professional advantage to it, is there a better way to use those funds? Depending on which stage of writing you're at right now, your internal response to that should vary.

I view published author contests very carefully as well. My nature prefers to give away books to lots of readers than to worry about winning/placing in contests. Remember my unpublished contest goal wasn't to win, it was to get a spot on an editor's desk. That mission has been accomplished multiple times, and I could not be happier. Here's an amazing story that helps keep things in perspective for me:

If you need your laptop upgraded, do you buy the $400 HP or the $1250 Mac because you heard it's better? And then when a kid spills soda on it (happened here, I can testify to the fact that DIET SIERRA MIST and laptops are not a good mix!!!) you might let them live.

Note: MIGHT.  :)

Choices surround us. Being frugal becomes easier every teeny, tiny step we take. Wisdom and courage should be part of the prayerful process of setting/keeping/polishing a budget. Wisdom to recognize the necessary and the courage to take charge of our business and personal lives.

Of course you should never be so frugal as to not order the newest Ruthy book... which today is this just released Women's Fiction from Waterfall Press!


Available here from Amazon.com and Waterfall Press!

Best of the Archives is brought to you by the crazy fun authors of Seekerville... and comments are closed today to give us all a chance to focus on writing.

Ruth Logan Herne lives in upstate New York where lake effect snow likes to bury her and a house full of munchkins on a regular basis. Every now and again she pokes her head up to check the weather, then retreats to her writing hole where she writes sweet, evocative books that make folks smile and sometimes cry... and she's okay with both!  Visit her at http://ruthloganherne.com, here in Seekerville or on Facebook at Ruth Logan Herne.