Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DO IT NOW - Post Conference To Do List.

Sandra here and nice and relaxed because I didn’t go to the conference.

So how are you conference attendees doing?

Has your brain turned to mush? Do you feel like bells are ringing in your head? You can’t stop yawning and you’d give a small fortune for a nap? Yep, you were operating in overload.

And maybe some of you who stayed home feel the same way.  LOL  I mean life can be just as much of an overload as a conference.

So let’s talk how we can organize so we don’t lose all of that information. Conference attendees, you have a huge canvas bag full of information. Those of us at home, I bet you have a pile of the same types of things somewhere on your desk or shoved in a drawer in your office.

Well now what do you do with all of that information? How do you organize it so you can remember what you gleaned, learned, who you met, etc.  And for non-conference attendees, you can use these same skills for that pile in your office.
(Admit it. You have one. I know you do. Smile)

Business Cards:

I hope you collected business cards. Right now. First thing to do is go through those now and write on the back as much information as you can remember about that person.
If you don’t write down this information you will wonder who these people are when you come across the cards next month or next year. It may already be too late. Most important are the networking contacts. If an editor gave you his/her card and wants you to submit a manuscript, then be sure you write down as much info about that person as you can remember. It will come in handy if you start working with that person.

As you do this, make piles to organize:
Piles such as:
Authors that write in your Genre
Authors you met
Professional services ( you may want to divide this further with line edits, graphic arts, formatting, publicity, etc.)

I bought a box that fits business cards like a mini file drawer and have tabs with those titles. Then when I need to find an editor I met, I go right to that tab. I have boxes for each year so I can find them by year. Sometimes I file them by event, i.e. RWA 2015 conference or ACFW 2014 conference.

 I have a friend who puts her cards in a 3 hole plastic business card holder that displays them like photos. She puts them in a binder with tab pages that divide the categories listed above. This is very easy to use and see.

If you’re tech savvy you can use one of those cool machines that file your business cards and receipts electronically. You can find those at Staples, Office Max or Office Depot or online.

If you did not attend the conference, I bet you do have a collection of business cards you have collected at author signings, workshops, or visits to a publishing house. Feel free to mention in comments other ways you’ve collected them.

If you don’t have many business cards yet, be prepared and one step ahead of the game. Get yourself set up with a system because these are some of the best networking contacts you will make. You don’t want them ending up in a corner of a drawer or in a shoebox under the bed, forgotten and unused.

Expenses and Receipts

Your conference expenses are tax deductible. Please don’t wait until next April to grab all your receipts and then try and remember what they are for. This definitely applies to all writers whether at a conference or not.  Anytime you incur an expense that can be deducted for your writing career, keep good records.


File those receipts in an organized fashion.  Whether you use a spreadsheet, an account page, a three ring binder.  Just do it. Write down expenses for everything and organize them by the categories on your tax return. Such as:

Conference Fee
Clothing bought for the conference
Books purchased

Workshop Notes

Organize those right away before you forget what you heard. File your notes and put the workshops in order of preference.


Which workshops helped you with craft skills?

Which workshops gave you insights into editors and publishers? Or Agents?

Which workshops introduced you to fellow writers?

Nowadays, most conferences offer CD’s of the workshops. Even if you don’t attend the conference, you can obtain a conference CD and listen to the workshops. I highly recommend this. Some local RWA chapters buy the CD for their chapter library and members who were not able to attend can check out the CD. Some authors get together with writer friends and split the cost of a CD.

I always bought the CD’s even when I went to the conference. Then I could sit back in the quiet of my office, when my brain isn’t in overload and really get something out of those workshops. During the conference, I was too busy networking and meeting with writer friends that we normally only talked to online. Those CD’s were lifesavers.


Yep, even organize these. If you’re like me, you mailed home boxes of books. Now the trick is to sort them. Put them in order of preference. Place those you aren’t really interested in a box to take to your next RWA meeting. They will make great raffle prizes.

First order of preference:

Stack the books by the publishing house you are targeting in the first pile. Surely you obtained books from that publisher. If you didn’t go to the conference, you should have a pile of books you’ve purchased that are published by the publisher you are targeting. These should be on the top of the TBR pile.


Anyone want to tell us why???  You get your name in the book bag twice if you tell us a good reason we do this.

Bookmarks and other Swag:

I’m always amazed at how many bookmarks there are. I look all of them over and place them in piles as samples of artwork, layout, what worked for me, what didn’t work.

And of course use the bookmarks of your favorite authors to mark your place in their books.  Smiling.

Go through the swag that you liked.  What swag seemed popular?

Categorize the swag in order of preference for future reference when you want to produce some swag of our own.


Write thank you notes or letters:

This is becoming a lost art, but think of all the work that has been going on to provide this wonderful conference.

Editors and agents have donated their time to meet you and listen to your pitch. Please write a thank you note to every editor and agent with whom you had an appointment . This courtesy will not only be greatly appreciated, but will help them remember who you are among the multitude of people they have just met.

Write a thank you letter to the chairperson and the staff of whatever organization put on the conference. The work they do behind the scenes is awesome. Let them know you appreciate it.

Last but not least, please take a nap. 

You need to kick back for a day or two and let your body, mind and spirit stabilize.

Meditate and let all you learned sink in.

Bet I don’t have to tell you to do this one now.  LOL

Please share with us other helpful things to do after the conference. I get some of my best ideas from your comments, so please share.

Those who comment will be put in the drawing for an ebook copy of  COFFEE SHOP ROMANCES 


our Christmas In July Special  HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  If you already have copies, the winner can send us the kindle addie of a friend and they will get the prize.

I’ve been helping my cousin in San Diego and she has tomato plants and her own avacado trees. Look at this yummy snack I’m laying out for you.  I call it my special BLTA  (Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avacado)  The fixings are on a platter so add what you want and DO IT NOW.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Shelf Life, Books, and Oreos

Stealing Jake releases in print in just FIVE DAYS -  August 1st!!! I'm so excited, probably even more than normal because my debutwhich has only been available as ebookis now in print!

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post in a strange, round-about way.

My cowboys are sticklers about the dates on food--which is odd, if you think about it. I thought rough-and-tough cowboys would eat anything! If the date is expired on a can of vegetables, they won’t eat them. Expired ketchup? Fuh-get-about-it! But don’t expect them to actually search out and open the oldest ketchup bottle first. Oh no! That would be way too much trouble. Salsa? Chips? Canned goods? If I don’t want to throw it out, I make every effort to arrange the pantry with the oldest dates to the front. Or at the very least dispose of the can/jar without their knowledge. Ahem.

And don't even get me started on the expiration date on the milk.

Big ticket items like cars and homes kinda have a shelf life. I mean it’s not stamped on your house, “will expire in 40 years”, but eventually these material things will become run-down, decay, and wear out.

But books are the topic here, so let’s narrow our focus to books. Print books can have a long, healthy shelf life if properly taken care of, but they do age after time. The pages become brittle, the binding loose, the spines stiff. Hardback books have a longer shelf life than paperbacks, but still they don’t last for ever. So, yeah, sad to say, but print books do have a shelf life.

Ebooks have burst on the scene in the last few years, so it will be interesting to see how long of a shelf life they have. They won’t face the same decaying forces of humidity, or dry air, or neglect that cause print books to decay, but they will encounter changes in software and hardware that might make them obsolete over time. Looking at it from this side of the fence, it looks like ebooks will have a long and productive shelf life.

It’s exciting to know that our stories can continue to thrive and draw new readers even after the new release excitement of our print books has waned. Because, let’s face it—it’s a lot easier for an online retailer to “stock” ebook inventory for an extended amount of time than it is to warehouse thousands of copies of an author’s backlist.

And even more exciting is how a story can morph from one format to another, kind of like Oreos. Did you know there are over FORTY different kinds of Oreos? Who knew??? Watermelon Oreos? Ewww! Gingerbread Oreos. Pumpkin Spice Oreos. Personally, I’m a plain, original, traditional Oreos kind of gal. But Cookie Dough Oreos does sound pretty good, though..

However, a story is the same story—has the same ingredients, if you will—regardless of the format it’s in. So, the shelf life of a story is … is… just …infinite.

Whoa! That’s what I’m talking about!

So, there you go. Stealing Jake released as an ebook in July 2011. FOUR years later, it’s getting a new lease on life in print form, plus the ebook version is still happily clicking along entertaining readers.

Conclusion #1: I submit that stories – unlike Oreos – do not have a shelf life.

Conclusion #2: Come to think of it, Oreos don’t have much of a shelf life at my house either. Just sayin’

Are you an Oreo fan? Classic or one of those newfangled flavors?

In honor of milk and cookies and fresh off the press books everywhere, I'm giving away a copy of Stealing Jake today. So, throw your name in the hat if you want to be included in the drawing. And... to increase your odds of winning, hop over to Goodreads and sign up for a chance to win one of the TWO copies there as well. Ends Sunday! :)

STEALING JAKE by Pam Hillman. When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-Fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy―literally while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town―as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off―Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com

Saturday, July 25, 2015


This week we're giving away swag from the RWA conference in New York City. Tell us you want your name entered! Winner announced next weekend!

More Harlequin Signing Pictures
Annie Rains

Regina Scott & Rene Ryan

Tanya Agler & Lisa Jordon

Shelley Shepard Gray & Tina Radcliffe

Editor Emily Rodmell & Tina Radcliffe

Editor Emily Rodmell & Executive Editor Tina James

L-R Emily Rodmell, Tina Radcliffe, Tina James & Missy Tippens

SYTYCW Winner Tanya Wright

Associate Editor Shana Asaro

Assistant Editor Giselle Regus & Tina Radcliffe

Teri Wilson

Tina & Rose Ross Zediker

We Have Winners

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

Winners from the last Weekend Edition of an autographed by the authors copy of The Homestead Brides Collection are Artist Librarian, Lyndee H and Sandy Smith.  

Vince Mooney, friend of Seekerville and our resident philosopher, gave tips on Monday, for writing crystal clear prose in his post entitled “How to Recognize, Edit and Compose ‘Crystal Clear’ Prose.“ Kat  is the winner of one of the Seeker novella sets: With This Spark, a collection of historical romances or Coffee Shop Romances, a contemporary collection. Winner’s choice. 

Tuesday we were delighted to welcome back, Sarah Ladd, with her post,"Getting Unstuck: How to Keep Writing When Writer's Block Strikes."  Jill Weatherholt is the winner of her amazing new release,The Curiosity Keeper.  

Wednesday Thomas Nelson author Laura McNeill was our special guest with her post, "On Writing: Interruptions, Blessings, & Minions."  Danielle Hull is the winner of an ecopy of Laura's suspense novel, Center of Gravity, that Seekerville is giving away in her honor.

Thursday we welcomed award-winning author Sandi Rog to share her incredible writer’s journey that took her from the depths of a troubled marriage, MS, and cancer to the heights of God’s love, sure to encourage and inspire you with “Blessings in Disguise.”  Winner of Out of the Ashes is Jeanne T.

On Friday, Seekerville was Live from NYC for the 35th Annual Romance Writers of America Conference. Cindy W is the winner of conference swag!

Sandra Leesmith is happy to announce that Ruth Ann Dell won the 2012 conference CD and Amanda Barratt won the collection of conference cassettes.
Arriving at the Waldorf Astoria for the Harlequin Black & White Ball

Next Week in Seekerville

Monday: Pam Hillman is our hostess with "Shelf Life, Books, and Oreos." Everything in this world has a shelf life. Or does it? You be the judge. Come celebrate with Pam as she celebrates the release of Stealing Jake. Oreos and books will be served. 

Tuesday: "Networking in the Writing Business." Sandra Leesmith will talk about what to do after the conference. (Besides get some rest of course) She will provide helpful suggestions to organize all that information and make the best use of contacts made at the grand affair.  This information can be applied to those not attending as well. 

Wednesday: Glynna Kaye will be bringing us "Jump-Start Your Story With an Art Fact Sheet" -- tips she's learned from using a Love Inspired AFS before she writes the book. She'll be doing a drawing to give away a copy of her upcoming release, "Rekindling the Widower's Heart."

Thursday: Seeker Tina Radcliffe brings you "The Secret Life of the Inspirational Romance Writer." What goes on behind those closed doors. Bring your cameras and notepads. The prize vault will be open.

Friday: 2015 Christy Award, Carol Award and RITA Award finalist, Kate Breslin is our special guest. We are thrilled to welcome her back with her post, “Good Story Comes From Writing What We Know." Don't miss a chance to chat with Kate!
Love Inspired authors Top to Bottom L-R
Susan May Warren, Lenora Worth, Mindy Obenhaus, Tina Radcliffe, Janet Dean
Missy Tippens, Mia Ross, Sandra Orchard, Mary Curry
Lisa Carter, Merrillee Whren, Lee Tobin McClain, Sandra Orchard, Debby Giusti, Deb Kastner

Seeker Sightings

Yes, it's a .99 sale, because Christmas in July should always begin and end with romance from your favorite authors!  Find both collections on sale here starting TODAY!

Teri Wilson
RWA President Cindy Kirk and Lenora Worth
Senior Editor Melissa Endlich & Editor Emily Rodmell
Tina Radcliffe & Assistant Editor Giselle Regus

Editor Charles Griemsman and Tina Radcliffe

Janet Dean, Rose Ross Zediker, and Lenora Worth
Janet Dean, Missy Tippens and Debby Giusti
Back row-Tina Radcliffe & Laura Scott
Front row-Mary Curry & Mia Ross
Info from the workshop: The Experts Share The Hottest New Trends in Romance Publishing with PJ Ausdenore, Nancy Berland, John Charles, Bette-Lee Fox, Joyce Lamb, Kim Miller, Kristin Ramsdell and Sarah Wendell.

  • Romantic Suspense is on the upswing!
  • The secret micro trend is Gothic
  • Contemporary books as ebooks are hot especially motorcycle guys and sports books
  • Small town contemporary series are hot
  • Historicals are steady
  • Seeing more diversity in books
  • Audio books are big on the west coast
  • Editors are looking for hockey heroes
  • Paranomals are trending down

Breakfast Club!

Irene Hannon, Tina Radcliffe and Kate Breslin

Tina Radcliffe & Tanya Agler

Live Streaming! 8:00 p.m.  – 10:00 p.m. 2015 RITA & Golden Heart Awards Ceremony with Emcee Lisa Kleypas. 

Julie Hilton Steele, Mary Connealy, Merrillee Whren

Merrillee Whren, Tina Radcliffe, Mary Connealy & Julie Hilton Steele

Irene Hannon & RITA!

Editors Giselle Regus & Rachel Burkot

So long New York!

See you for #RWA 2016 San Diego!