Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hanging Tough on the Island

Ruthy here.


The bossy one. The snark. The tough-mom type who made her kids finish the game, the season, the commitment and didn’t want to hear:

1. Complaining
2. Whining
3. Griping
4. Or any combination of the above

Not much has changed. Well. That’s not exactly true. Since I started this writing endeavor, a few things have changed:

I buy skin firming cream with the regularity of a drug addict.
My L’Oreal application needs retouching every three-and-a-half weeks.
Crest White Strips have replaced certain other things in my bathroom cabinet.
The soccer-playing high school junior is now getting his MBA in Boston.
I’ve buried some people and rejoiced the birth of others.
I’ve learned how to do ceramic tile floors and walls.
I’ve gained and lost the same eight pounds on a seasonal basis.
Snakes fear me.

Mary did a great teaching post this week, wonderfully out-lined, touching on the major points of clean, good writing, offering straightforward instruction on the ins and outs of POV (I love well-written head hopping stories, and I live to see that methodology come back with abandon), setting, dialogue, etc.

Myra captured your hearts by revealing the secret whereabouts of Unpubbed Island, a South Pacific enclave of empathy, warmth, tough love and understanding with a seemingly never-ending supply of various fish and one ostrich which could become barbecue at any time….

Pam, you listenin’, girlfriend? I’ve got the campfire and I know how to use it

Julie stirred your souls with her lovely piece on Divine Connections, the wondrous, magical bends in the road that lead us to the here and now through the hand of God.


I want you to thicken your skin, point your chin in the air, plant your feet firmly on the ground, remembering Tina’s quote from Calvin Coolidge, about persistence vs. talent, and go for the goal. The gold ring. The prize worth taking.

“Nevah, nevah, nevah give up.”

This quote, credited to Winston Churchill, came in a short speech he made to the Harrow School, his alma mater. A man of quick, strong and concise words, Churchill never belabored a point, but got right to the essence of what he wanted to say. It’s a lesson we unpublished authors can learn from.

Katherine, I thought of you when I read this next part. I hope that’s okay.

“Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days--the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”

Katherine was gutsy enough this week to speak of envy, an emotion we all abhor and experience, even if we pretend not to.

Um, raise your hand if you NEVER feel envious.

Liar, liar, pants on fire. Put those hands down, ‘cause I’m not buying it. We live in a gracious and generous land, ripe with opportunities, and it’s hard, if not downright impossible to not envy what others have from time to time. Having the guts to admit it?

Wow. Pretty cool.

So we’re on Unpubbed Island. Think of it as on-campus housing. I mean it. Do college kids whine and cry because they can’t live in graduate buildings as underclassmen?

Maybe, but no one cares, so eventually they buckle down, close their mouths, get the hitch out of their drawers and get on with the focus of the day: achieving a degree.

For us the degree is a contract, and not just any old contract, but one that says other industry professionals find our work pleasing, palatable, and marketable, offering payment for work completed.

Yup. The real thing.

And if we can provide you a bit of fun, camaraderie, sisterhood, understanding, empathy and the occasional smackdown, then we’ve accomplished our purpose. In what other profession do people go out of their way to willingly train their replacements?

So thanks for coming by, snacking with us, chatting it up, laughing, crying, getting all ver klempt.

I’ve got the coffee bar ready for you early risers, and I know that Janet ordered an Italian cookie tray for mid-day (with some of those chocolate-drizzled macaroons, oh-my-goodness-gracious-sakes-to-Betsy, those things are TO DIE FOR), but I also heard rumors of Mary bringing a proper Nebraskan lunch around noon, so if nothing else there should be good eats on hand.

(And for those of you who were here last week when Myra offered her one and only Girl Scout cookie, I apologize. I mean, come on, Johnson!!!! You can’t even PRETEND to make food? What’s up with that????)

Big Ruthy grin here.

So we’ve elected Myra to be the official April cook on the island.

Translation: We’ll all starve, but we can afford to shed a few pounds. And even if we do, one rule of the Island abounds:

No bikinis allowed. You dress in muumuus like the rest of us overage heifers or stay on the mainland.


Like we haven’t got enough to deal with on a day to day basis.

(Unless you’re an editor. Then we don’t care what you wear, you’re more than welcome at any time, in any mode of dress, mi casa es su casa, and all that. For you guys, we’ll actually buy REAL FOOD!!!!! Worth coming to visit us, right there!)


Wishing each and every one of you a Celtic blessing, that your road rises gently, the sun warms your face, and God holds you in the palm of his hand.


  1. I have left over easter eggs for all they are 75% off so I had to buy.
    Also been thinking ok I know its scary is there a readers delight island near unpub island? cos I just need to be on an island and if I cant I will get distressed! now you dont want that.

    Fun post to day and yes I have been envious. Im evious of the people on the biggest loser being in Hawaii this week.
    (Im also exhausted so if i dont make sense its the exhaustion talking hense the need for a readers island near the unpub so we can share food. i have pineapples to share)

  2. Grin. Ruthy, thanks for the Irish Mama talkin'-to -- I guess you know how MUCH I needed it too ... Fun post, as always when you blog, my friend.

    Okay, Jenny, these leftover Easter eggs -- are we talkin'real chicken-laid Easter eggs or are they the chocolate ones ... makes a difference, you know ... especially to Ruthy. :)

    And I personally think "Readers' Delight Island" is a terrific idea!! Spread your blanket and pop the umbrella, girl. BBQed ostrich at six ...


  3. Imaginary food tastes like chicken.

  4. Thank you to everyone who took the time to prop me up. Words of wisdom, encouragement, and admonition. I needed all of it. This really is a divine connection. I stand corrected! and glad to rejoice in the discovery of the error of my ways.
    Furthermore, as yesterday progressed, a dear friend, who truly is a divine connection, wrote me specific encouraging words, along the line of "Nevah, Nevah, Nevah give up." And at church, preaching on Genesis 18, the pastor seemed to be speaking to me when she said, "Let this be a reminder to us all that God's time is not our time. Do not lose faith in his promises."
    So today, I'm hanging tough on the island. I'm bringing chicken curry and raita to share with a crowd. It's easy to make lots of these dishes. In the Christian tradition of sharing our faith around a meal, I thank all of you for sharing your faith with me.

  5. Ruthy harangue. Perfect.

    Let's's quote from the bulletin board.

    "I am NOT in my happy place."

    oh, no not THAT one...

    Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those I had to kill because they pissed me off.

    Because we are about being real, here in Seekerville.

  6. That's Australian version of Biggest Loser. In the American version they were in Australia last week.

  7. Jenny, if they're chocolate, bring 'em on, Cupcake. I'll come visit the Reader's Delight Island a little later today. Shoot, I'll bring graham crackers and marshmallows that Sandra brought to the island and we'll make s'mores.

    Any dress code on that island? Will my great-fitting Ann Taylor poet's shirt and a-line skirt do? Want to look my best for the readership, you understand, dahling.

    Wouldn't be right to overdress or underdress, LOL!

    Jules, we are such old school Irish Catholic girls that we're bound to lock arms in friendship and bump heads in stubborness regularly, which is probably why we love each other, because we're smart enough to recognize that and deal with it when it happens. What I love is that I can say ANYTHING to you guys, and you know that I love you and you love me, even when I'm having a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day and need a shoulder or a kick in the butt.

    Jules isn't afraid to let me have it as needed.

    And, yeah, you guessed it...

    Not much scares me, so I dish it out on a regular basis. Luckily Jules rarely needs my rants.

    But occasionally.... :)

    That's what friends are for, right?

    And Gina, if my incredibly amazing cream puffs (just took the shells from the oven and made the custard earlier, I'll fill them this P.M.) taste like chicken, we're in serious trouble...

    But I get ya', girlfriend. I've never figured out why people EAT exotic things that taste like chicken...

    Why not just eat chicken?

    And boneless, skinless chicken breasts????

    Stroke of genius right there. God bless the marketing guru that realized how easy that would make my life.

    Just sayin'.

    And Katherine, you've just experienced a full frontal onslaught by the Holy Spirit, no stranger to any of us here, both islanders and mainlanders. When God sends you a "Dolby" message (get it??? Surround sound??? All speakers going???), it's because he's really, truly trying to get your attention.

    And he knows how to do it, LOL!

    Tina, stroke of genius....

    Meet me offline so we can plan the demise of millions in a most fictional fashion, of course.


  8. Yes, I'm envious sometimes, especially when I read in someone's published book where the author thanks their neighbor/cousin/step-great-aunt for introducing them to their agent as soon as they finished writing their very first novel, who then sold it for them to the first editor who looked at it.

    But that doesn't happen very often, so I'm not often envious, thank goodness, cause I hate that emotion. (I keep thinking in Junie B. Jones' voice when I write my comments on this blog, I don't know why. And if you don't know who Junie B. Jones is, it's because you don't have a girl between the ages of 5 and 9. That snarky little girl is funny, I tell you. Barbara Park, her creator, is a comic genius.)

    Anyway, it takes time to build up those divine connections (unless of course you have a relative who's an agent or editor). But it happens, and volunteering is a great way to help it along.

    I love all the Seekers. You girls are great. And I'd never even know you all if I hadn't gone to my first conference in 2005, and if God hadn't put me with Mary as my mentor. God's doing, not mine. So, Mary, you can blame it on God! I hope I can give back as much as I've been given.

  9. Kimberli grabs the broken frond of a palm tree felled in the Genesis aftermath and pulls her raisined body from the mire she treaded for two days. She bites her lips to suppress her groans as her skin, blistered from the scorching glare of the judges' feedback, scrapes over the burnished sands of Glass Beach.

    She pulls a bit of seaweed from her muumuu, raises her head, and focuses on the gals of Seekerville lounging on Unpubbled Island. She finds her target lifting a coconut cup in a toast to Bali Ha'i.

    "Thanks, Ruthy. I'll nevah give…."

    Her words fade as her head plops on the sand. Whitecaps pummel her carcass, but she can only stare across the beach to the place where a bright light shines on the horizon under a M&M blue sky. But no, she can't move toward the light, though she can see the comfort of hours sitting on the couch watching television and unwatched movies inside it. She must continue. Clay, Vicky, Erge, Nick—dear Nick who is still an unbeliever!—Adam, Kristen, Lorelei, Mark, Miss Aida, Shannon, and Mason's happiness depends on her. She must persevere.

    She rolls on her back in the warm sand and closes her eyes. But first, a nap. "Just a short one," she tells an apple-shaped cloud floating past. "I'll persevere tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day."

  10. Ruthy, thank you for being so much fun and for encouraging everyone in your delightful post! Whether we are writing, reading, blogging, or taking care of the bosses demands, we need to trust God and keep on keeping on!

    This is the third time in less than 24 hours that I've received this same message!! So, another diving appointment delivered as only Ruthy could deliver it!

    Oh, and I make some outstanding Peanut Butter Oatie cookies - these oatmeal,chocolate,peanut butter creations that are terrific warm out of the oven with a glass of milk! I'll bring some by!

  11. She closes her eyes and then talks to a passing cloud? Egads. As Yoda would say, "that is why you fail."

    Guess it's time to find my knitting needles. Can anyone show me how to bind off?

  12. oughta be a writer.

    Kim? Are you the Kim who won my book? Has it shown up yet? already said it but it bears repeating. The reason you hear those ghastly stories about people who sell their first book on their first try is because it almost never happens.
    I hate those stories.

    ausjenny, is the Easter Eggs are real, and they've been boiled, colored and sitting on the countertop since Easter which, in America at least, was about a month ago...step away from them.

    I'm trying to work the word whinger into my book, btw, I love it.

    And Ruthy, that is MY Calvin Coolidge quote. Not Tina's. I am a huge fan of Calvin Coolidge. The president of his fan club in fact.

    A small group so far. Only me.
    He was a president, right???

    And I don't watch The Biggest Loser. I am just horrified by a constand mental image of myself on the show standing there in my underwear for all the world to see.

    Hello, nightmare scenario now a weekly television show!!!!!!!!

    Next we'll be feeding Christians to the Lions on ESPN.

    And I must have missed the memo about imaginary food. When did we decide that?
    I'm on a diet. Imaginary food is all I've got.

  13. Ruthy, your post is wonderful, but what I truly love about Seekerville is the back-and-forth comments that come with every post. The sisterhood you have is inspirational. It makes me want to attend some writing conference just so that I can meet more of you!

    Tina, I e-mailed your version of the serenity prayer to a friend of mine. It's perfect!

    I wish you all a very short stay on Unpubbed Island!

  14. I don't do muu muus (or bikinis, for that matter) so I guess I can't come to Unpubbed Island. Although you may need someone there to hunt and gather (I'll bring my wife...).

    Ruthy -- come back and write for me. Good gosh golly, I miss that snarkyness.

    By the way, I didn't raise my hand ...

    But I also haven't written in FOREVER (more than a year, probably...[hangs head]) so ...

  15. Katherine, I am soooo glad you are back -- I thought I scared you off!! Leave it to Ruthy to give it to us straight from time to time. Bless her ... and bless you! Thrilled to hear of the "divine connections" that God reminded you of with your dear friend and your pastor. That is sooo God, isn't it???

    Tina, GRIN, LOVE your version of the Serenity Prayer, girlfriend!

    And, Ruthy, YES, we do know you love us ... no matter how much you dish out ... and vice-versa, my friend.

    Mel, soooo glad that God hooked you and Mary up, thereby "connecting" all of us on this loop! You are a blessing!

    Kimberli!! Your island spiel had me grinning from ear to ear. And I agree with Mary -- you oughta be a writer!!! :)


  16. Did I miss lunch??? Dang, Ruthy, you KNOW I hate to cook. If it doesn't come in a box, plastic wrapper, or to-go bag, I'm just doomed.

    However, I am doing quite will with my Flat Belly Diet regimen. Dropped 6 or 8 pounds in the past couple of months. Highly recommend it. No imaginary food involved.

    Okay, totally OFF the writing subject. Sorry. Envy? That's my middle name. That's why I am in competition with Ruthy for Whingerer of the Month. (Yes, I learned that word this morning, thanks to Mary's instruction.)

    And Kimberli, naps are permitted on Unpubbed Island. Naps are when we get our best ideas. Naps are also when we recover from scorching contest judges' comments. And believe me, we ALL get them.

    I'll flip you for the last Girl Scout cookie!

  17. Ah, my Beth comes on board to save her mother from looking grossly unpopular, LOL!

    Good job, Beth, and I'm not a bit surprised that the daughter of a snark has some snarky tendencies of her own and likes that version of the Serenity Prayer.

    We're naughty people.

    Or real.

    Take your pick.

    And Kimberli, I love seeing clouds with my eyes closed. I think they call that LSD, right, honey-kins???

    But you missed the best part of that story, Kimberli, where the Seekers send the hunky Orlando Bloom pirate to rescue you, the fair maiden, bringing you to safety (as long as your muumuu is a genuine article, and not some cute, hotsy-totsy beach wrap covering a 2008 VS super swimsuit complete with Wonder bra)...

    We only let Orlando rescue people who don't look better than us. You understand.

    And Mel, my buddy, my pal, you know that story ranks right up there with rich diner customers leaving their waitress a house, or a condo, or a huge tip....

    Uh, huh.

    I waitressed for eleven years and I actually contemplated the demise of some of my more lovable, affluent customers, in hope that their will mentioned my years of meritorious service, but alas.

    Zip. Zilch. Nada.

    Although I did get more than one proposal, illicit and otherwise over the years, LOL!

    So you and me, babe, we'll keep on working with the other inhabitants and visitors to Unpubbed Island on our quest for the Hidden Treasure marked with an X...

    Oh, wait, that's Mary's signature on her contracts. She's from Nebraska, you know.

    (hahahahahahaha Mary)

    And KIM!!!!

    Bring on the cookies, girlfriend! Here's a clean plate, it's amazing what sand and salt water will do, better'n Comet cleanser, you know...

    Anyone with cookies is welcome on our island, in our tiki huts, at our table.

    And speaking of tables, I loved last Sunday's readings, the two friends on a journey to Emmaus, running into the risen Lord, then breaking bread with the stranger when their eyes were opened.

    Life can change just that quickly. Believe and be quick.


  18. Mike, I will slap you, right now in a public forum.

    What the heck?

    One of the most talented, gentle men writers I know, and YOU'VE STOPPED????


    We don't stop.

    We don't quit.

    Like Yoda said, (thanks for the reminder, Kim) "There is no try. There is only do or do not."

    Mikey, Mikey, Mikey!

    I'd write for you in a heartbeat if I could. You know that.

    So, kid, the urge is there or you wouldn't have shown up today, and don't ever hang your head in shame around the likes of us. We've been up, we've been down, we smack each other around on a regular basis.

    Send your wife to me. She'll talk some sense into you.

    Good golly, Miss Molly, what do I have to do?????

    Talk to us, Mikey. Tell us what's going on.

    Don't make me hop a plane when one of my favorite ACFWers goes belly up.


  19. Beth is your daughter, Ruthy??? How brave she is to visit you in Seekerville! My girls are staying far, far away. Post-traumatic schlock, I imagine, ever since the time 20 years ago when I freaked over a rejection and got a little wild with a butcher knife while fixing supper.

  20. I'll take my public flogging. I deserve it. But mostly I have not been writing because of getting over-committed to other, very good yet 'off-message' things.

    For instance, I taught two courses at a local college on writing for newspapers. Good stuff. Part of the writing career. But sucked way more time than I expected -- and I have little writing time as it is.

    And I'm doing more reviewing of books and CDs than before. Again, good stuff, but ... and, of course, Afictionado. Which I love and won't give up, but it does take time.

    So, yeah, I'll take the flogging. ANd I will hope to get back in my groove soon. But I have also reached the point with Novel #1 (and so far only) that I feel like my skill has taken it as far as it can go. I need more skill or another idea. Not sure which.

    I'm flopping about on the beach a bit like a carp out of water, but each flop is getting me closer to the tide.

  21. Mike, really? You're not writing?

    How can you stop?

    Honestly, I think if you can, maybe it's okay, because I can't.

    When you want to start up again, then do it.

  22. Imaginary food still tastes like chicken no matter what fancy name you call it.

    And I only post on this site in hopes of winning a prize.


    Bwaaaak. Bwwwak.

    Oooh, my word verification says qweela. Sorta. In the phonetic kind of way.

    Mike, I empathize with your dilemma. Think of some things that have sparked your imagination in the past. Sermons work for me. Oh, nothing spiritual mind you.

    Pastor mentions Adam and Eve being nekked in the garden, and I'm thinking why would a man and woman who don't know each other suddenly show up naked at the same place. But since I am in church, I know I can't think of nekked scenarios because...well, that's not a thing CBA writers should do. So I clothe my couple both in chicken suits for a costume party at work that they attend, altough it's not their work but the place their dates work at.

    So even though they're dressed alike, they can't like each other (because this is a romance after all) any more than a physical attraction or awarenes, which is rather difficult at this point in the sermon...umm, story because they're both clad in yellow feathery chicken suits.

    So the chicken suits are out and they're both dressed as a strand in the DNA chain. You know, form fitting lycra bodysuits. But this is a CBA story (and I am in church). I amend the clingy, figure- and muscle-revealing lycra to him dressed as a bumblebee and she's a flower. Drat. Symbolic fertility. Doesn't work either.

    Pastor's making us turn in our Bibles to Matthew. That's it! He could be dressed as a fish and she's a loaf of bread. And they're the only ones at the party who find the oddity in them standing together at the drink table wondering if the punch is spiked (and it won't be because this is a CBA story).

    Now we need to work on some plot.

    Drat! The pastor's praying. Okay, next Sunday I'll work on plot. I hope he's preaching from Revelation or I Kings. I could use some drama.

  23. Gina, You can win a signed copy of Golden Days by sending me your mailing address and sending $15 for shipping and handling.

  24. Einstein, (Mikey) you had a whole cast of characters in that book.

    There's like NO ONE you could use for another novel?

    You have no other creative ideas???

    Gag me now.

    Oops, public forum. Let me re-phrase: (putting on nice, floral-adorned church-chat hat)

    Michael, perhaps if you sit quietly at a writers' meeting and brainstorm with your friends (Read: get a clue and talk this out or take an idea out of thin air, or grab a story line and put your own, amazing twist on it... oops, back to church-chat hat...)
    you'll conceive a way to grasp a novel thread and run with it.

    Mikey, you've done nothing different than what most of us have done: Take on more than you bargained for.

    (Any Seekers out there who know exactly what I'm talking about PAM????)

    So you streamline. Cut some stuff, examine your possibilities.

    I know it's tough, and I've been where you are. Still am. My theory is that if you want it badly enough, sleep is a habit I can diminish. Like Ben Franklin said: "Plenty of time for rest in the grave."

    Wish I was kidding, but I'm not.

    Succinct. Accurate.

    It comes back to dreams and goals. IF it's your dream, THEN you set the goal.

    Mary quoted Calvin Coolidge yesterday, his take on persistence, and how persistence outweighs talent.

    True words.

    Come hang out here. We'll get you fired up. Promise.

    We can't manufacture more time (God's job) but we can help you to better utilize the moments you have.

    And when you write as beautifully as you do, it's a shame to let it slip-slide away.


  25. Gina, LOL!!!!!!

    In church!

    I thought I was the only one, dear heavens, girl....

    I have a family from church that's going in a book because they're hysterical to watch.

    And a choir member who's 85 and thinks she's a spry 60 and didn't want to admit she was a great-grandmother because the 'boys' in the choir might figure out her age, LOL!!!

    Like they don't know????

    Chicken suits, definitely out.

    Good advice there.

    And Mary, you're absolutely right, if Mike CAN stop, maybe he should.

    Someone smarter and richer than me said that at a conference I couldn't afford to attend, and I got it second hand, but the essence of her speech was:

    "If you can stop, then do."

    But I've waited this long, what's a few more months, years, or decades???

    I don't really mean that last. Seriously.

    But then I think of how Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing at 60 and I think, "Whew! Lots of time yet!"

    And more L'Oreal.

    And wrinkle cream.

    Dang this is an expensive habit.



  26. Man, you got slaughtered in the Genesis, didn't you Kimberli. If you get desperate for a cold read I am willing to read a chapter.

    But warning, ask Gina. I'm a level 2 critiquer. Ruth and Mary being a Mach III. So I am not quite as mean as they are.

  27. I don't how I got tagged with this 'mean' label. I am NOT mean.

    It is so unfair to call me mean that I could just smack someone.

  28. Ruthy, The problem is not a cast of characters or a lack of ideas -- I have gobs of both. Everything is an idea, dahling.

    No, the problem [hangs head] is that this is HARD (stop, hold off, I've already flogged myself [pointing finger---don't EVEN go there!!!]).

    And "hard" has never been my strongpoint.

    Perseverance and I are only nodding acquaintences, at best.



    it is still calling me and I am still listening.


  29. "(as long as your muumuu is a genuine article, and not some cute, hotsy-totsy beach wrap covering a 2008 VS super swimsuit complete with Wonder bra).."

    LOL! *wipes laughter tears from eyes* No, I'm not hotsy-totsy, and I'm almost sure three super models could fit in my swimsuit with room to spare so no worries (and no Orlando. He'll get injured while trying to pick me up.)

    Thanks for the encouragement, though those, "you should be a writer" lines are the canoes that stranded me on this island in the first place, lol (BTW, y'all need to secure the rear perimeter. I've been hanging out in the back lagoon for years.)

    Thanks for the offer, Tina, but that thing went through three crit groups and one professional critique group. It's critted out. I appreciate the offer and may take you up on it for another ms I'm considering revising.

    Ack, I can't stop writing!

    So, hmm, what should I do...Someone toss me a cookie. I think I'll watch a bit of television while I ponder the future. Is Pinkie and the Brain still on the air?

  30. Oh, Kimberli, I know that feeling--having a manuscript that has already been critiqued to death and still languishing.

    See, the thing is, there are as many opinions out there as there are judges and critiquers. It's all utterly and completely subjective.

    So maybe what you need isn't another critique but just a fresh eye (like Tina's--she got GREAT eyes) to tell you the idea does or doesn't work. I'll just bet you've studied POV and dialogue and scene structure till you could write your own books on the subjects. (Haven't we all???)

  31. I utterly and abjectly refuse to respond to Myra's statement about everyone studying books, because that would make me seem like the unpublished, opinionated, slightly moronic person I work so hard to be.

    And Kimberli, I don't think you're bigger than a 1.8 supermodel, and maybe that's too generous. Could be a 1.7. Certainly not 3.0. No way.


    And Orlando's stronger than he looks, God love him.

    I'm not a big studyer, I'm big on practice and persistence, two qualities which Mike needs to be flogged for, but I'm not going to do it here.


    I just won't.

    He's a big boy, and if he were one of the Seekers I'd shrug my shoulders and say, "Okay, Ms. Whiny-pants, let me know when you're ready to pull your big girl panties up and get back to work. I'll be waiting."

    So for my buddy and wonderful cohort Mike, it's 'big boy boxers or briefs', but the context remains the same.

    The whole Nike thing: Just do it.

    And Mary, you are mean, don't try and weasel your way out of it. Land sakes, woman, the entire mainland knows it.

    Golly gee whillikers, I'm only half as mean as you and I admit it.

    (big cheesy grin here)

    But I prefer the tags 'tough' and 'honest'....

    And I'm SO GLAD I didn't judge Kimberli's story in Genesis.

    Oh, Mylanta, that would have been bad, to sit her yakking platitudes at her when I was the cause of her ruin and damnation.

    Her collapse on Glass Beach, those sharp shards scraping her delicate, muu-muu-clad skin....

    Oh, the pain.



  32. Mike -- can you set yourself down for 5 minutes a day? 10 or 15? And get black ink on white paper as one of my profs said way back when.

    Set a timer if you have to. We can do anything for 15 minutes, even housework. Writing rates above housework in my book.

    Or, can you break your story/road block down into little pieces and tackle them one at a time?

    I still can't log onto this site. Not trying to be the Unknown Poster Child.


  33. Oh. I thought maybe "Ann" was short for "Anonymous."

    She's right, Mike. How do you eat an elephant? C'mon, c'mon . . . ONE BITE AT A TIME.

  34. Hey Mary!
    Yes, I'm the Kim that won the book! If the book is here, it arrived in today's mail and I don't know it yet! I'll let you know!

    Have another cookie and we'll wait together!!

    Ruthy and Gina, you guys ought to have your own comedy show! There is so much creativity and hilarity between you two!!! I love Seekerville!

  35. Studied and studied, but there's always room for improvement, of course. That's why I decided to make a few changes in my writing life if I failed to achieve certain objectives this year. It seemed wise to me to cut back on money I'm spending for my spot on Unpubbed Island (hear that girls? No more olives on the pizza), and redivert a portion of those funds for additional training.

    Note: I now live between the middle of nowhere and a herd of cows, so training won't be easy to find... lol

    That's why the Genesis results floored me. Not only because the results were worse than I expected, but because the sabbatical, as I call it, is growing nearer. But I'll glean what I can from the judges feedback and then figure out what I should do next. Y'all pray for me as I work this out!

    Bless you, Ruthy. Okay, two super models.

  36. Kimberli,
    Don't let one contest get you down. There are plenty of people (Jill Eileen Smith comes to mind) who have signed publishing contracts with major publishers who never did well in the Genesis. Enter other contests, trust your own instincts, and trust what your crit partners have told you. Don't let one contest destroy your confidence.

    If you know God set you on this course, if you know he wants you to write, you have to believe that it isn't a mistake.

  37. No, no, no, I'm NOT listening, Ruthy. I'm writing.

    So there.

    How DO you blow a raspberry, anyway?

  38. Gina, EVERYTHING tastes like chicken to you, girl! lol

  39. Here's a thought, Ruthy. Copy all of your comments here today and save them somewhere because each of them is long enough to be it's own post.

    There, I just did your posting work for you for the next six months.

    Not that you went on too long or nuthin'

  40. The weirdest thing...I got sent home early from work today because the heat went off in my building.


  41. Nah, my confidence was shot before I received the results ;o)

    Seriously, this is a result of a series of setbacks, and that after a life-shifting year. I believe I'm meant to write. Over the years and twice today, lol, I've been told I should write. My crit partners have publically stated I'm a strong writer, so I'm going to believe I'm in this for reasons other than personal desire, and will trust God to take me through this period and to give me some direction. And the good news: there's a story in there somewhere!

    Oops, I didn't realize it was this late. I have to attend a dinner tonight. Gotta run. Thanks for the encouragement and the laughs!

  42. Myra said: Dropped 6 or 8 pounds in the past couple of months.

    Okay, I suggest we BBQ Myra instead of moi. Grrr!

  43. But why??? I have no meat left on my bones! No, no, no, ostrich is much tastier.

  44. Kimberli,
    I grew up in the middle of nowhere. It won't kill ya, it'll just make you stronger. Or cynical. I forget which.

    God will carry you through the setbacks. Pray. Pray hard.

    And you always have us! I'm not a Seeker, but they don't know how to get rid of me, so I'm here for ya!

  45. How can Mary go from being "Mary" to "Anonymous" in one minute?

    Confused in Mississippi....

  46. Bye guys. Heading home to write. Okay, I'll have to COOK something too, but I'll let you guys know.

    Come on, Mike, we can do it!

  47. oh they are chocolate easter eggs going fast.

    There is no dress code for readers delight island only that you do dress in something. The monkeys have been trained to do the hunting and gathering so we dont have to do to much work.
    and the bbq is going well.

    Yes it was the Australian biggest loser and theya re looking amazing.

  48. Oh, I feel like I've missed the party between yesterday and today. Julie, I loved the "divine connections" post and thank you for reminding me to thank God for those people both online and in person He has placed in my life.

    Ruthie, what can I say? That was great. Your attitude with you kids reminded me of a song I sing to mine. It goes to the Mickey Mouse Club theme.
    B-A-D A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
    Bad Attitude
    Bad Attitude
    Forever we will whine and stamp our feet
    Waa Waa Waa

    That usually gets their attention. Now that their teens, they dont' seem to laugh at it so much anymore.

    Tina, loved your adaptation of the serenity prayer.

    Mary, did I miss the Nebraska lunch? I know it had to be steak, because Omaha has the best steakhouses. I just live across the river.

  49. Myra, elephant tastes like chicken.

    Pam, chocolate doesn't taste like chicken. Unless it's chocolate-covered ostrich.

    Wow, Mary, a free book for only $15 S&H?! I don't know why anyone around her says you are mean. I'd say you are the epitome of generosity. I want to be like you when I grow up.

    Ruthy, I'm not the only person who takes creative writing commericial breaks during the pastor's sermon. I'm just the only one stupid enough to admit to it.

    Kimberli, take Tina up on her offer. She's brutel but she sees things that expert editors can miss. Just don't expect platitudes for the sake of platituding. She says what she means, and that's worth it's weight in fried ostrich.

    I'm overwhelmed with TBL stuff. Someone tell me why I volunteered to do this? :-)

  50. Good night nurse!!

    50 comments!?! I must not be the ONLY one not writing.

    Big boy briefs indeed! The day I wear briefs, well, I just never! Harumpf! Why waste perfectly good drawer space on ... on drawers!

    Unpubbed Island have a dress code? [wink]

    Dearest darling Ruthy, it's not from a lack of gumption, child. But, like anything else we do too often, 'not writing' becomes a habit. But it is one I fully intend to break.

    I'm just not yet sure which road to take -- something new or more work on my something old. And actually writing is much much easier than putting the stuff out there for one person after another to reject. [I can relate Kimberli, but child, do not think finaling in the Genesis is the be all end all. I did it twice in a row with the same work and still couldn't get anyone to give it a decent chance.

    So, yeah, the funk from that CONTRIBUTED to my writing malaise (don't tell Ruthy), but way down on the list of contributing factors.

    Oh dear...I'm getting to be like Ruthy...I'm rambling.

  51. Thanks, Lorna, and yeah, it's been a real party here today for sure ... lots of food, fun and frivolity!!

    But I think Michael was right when he said he's not the only one not writing!!The amazing thing is that overachievers like Mary and Ruthy can hang out at a blog all day and STILL get tons of stuff done ... unlike moi!

    Gina, so glad to hear you plot in church too! One of the best scenes I ever wrote was plotted during a funeral (for a distant relative who I'm sure wouldn't mind since he was resting in peace). Makes me want to go pay my respects, you know?

  52. one thousand words...fresh words, not revisions...unless they lengthen the wip by 1000 words...per excuses.

    that's the rule.

    I used to have 300 words, just because it seemed like getting started with the trick. Once I opened the Word document and wrote the first sentence...1000 words. But I set 300 because it seemed so managable.

    That's a 90,000 word book every 4 months or so. Nice.

  53. I've nothing notable to say, except that I'm reading your posts and comments to try and win a book!
    I might accidently learn something along the way, too.

  54. So, Gina-kins, how about it????]

    Ready for vaudeville, kid?

    How about SNL???

    It's not all that funny any more and I can be a really good Roseanne Rosannadanna.

    Loved Gilda Radner and the crew. Ah, my age is showing!

    And Kim, remember that judges view things somewhat differently than others at times.

    If your work in inspy is very traditional and you got a judge who likes a gentler faith thread, that's going to cost you, not because you were wrong but because you and the judge aren't on the same page. And vice versa, if you use a gentle faith thread and your judge wants at least one Biblical verse/page, you're not going to impress her, either.

    On the other hand, you might just suck. I'm not sure.


    But I'm willing to bet that's not the case after reading your dramatic entrance today, glass shards and all.

    Poor baby. :(

    And Pam, yeah, I saw Myra wavin' the brag flag around about her new slim belly.

    Like, hello? What's up with that? Did we suddenly sign Richard Simmons as our new blog guest????

    Muu-muus don't show bellies, Cupcake, so don't be flaunting your single digit jeans to the likes of us. All are equal in the muu-muu set. One size fits all. We order them from Omar the Tentmaker.

    I think Abe Lincoln actually put that in a speech. Not Omar, but the all are equal stuff.

    Wonderful man.

    So, okay, we barbecue skinny Myra but that won't be all that satisfying because, well, for obvious reasons, or...

    We could roast anonymous who mentioned getting sent home because there was no heat in her building. Here's a joke for everyone, see who gets the right answer first:

    How many Nebraskans does it take to fix a furnace?????

    Answer: No one knows because they've been trying unsuccessfully to fix Mary's all winter.

    I want that job.

    I want that job.

    I want that job.

    Okay. Enough ranting. Take a breath.

    Whoosh it out.

    Phew. Better. And I think Mikey's gone into hiding, God love him. Such a good, gentle guy. It was kind of fun to throw him to the wolves.

    Did I say that out loud?



    There you are. I had to leave and go to the night job, (part of the reason I don't listen to excuses all that well) and I was delighted to see how much company we had while I was making the world a better place by making fancy cakes for my adoring public.

    Real cakes this time.

    And one of my daycare mothers stopped back to drop me off carrot cake. For real. I missed Mary's lunch, but I heard it WAS steak, and quite wonderful, so I'm feasting on this carrot cake. It's not quite as good as Mary's, but then hers isn't quite as good as mine.


    So, Mikey, yeah, I understand how it works, but babycakes, there just ain't no instant gratification in this business, and you're too good to quit.

    So, if you've got the gumption, go for it, but for heaven's sake, go for something new. New work re-energizes you, gives you a whole new focus and direction. Our old stuff will still be there when the new stuff sells. Shoot, Mary has three years worth of sales on her hard drive, and I'm not kidding, nor am I exaggerating. If anything, I'm under-estimating.

    Write, write, write, then write some more.

    Remember Clive Cussler? Five full years and his agent couldn't sell him. 17,000,000 books later, I guess you could call him a success.

    Five years of no sales WITH an agent.


    And Jenny, yes the Easter eggs were a HUGE success! Thanks so much for bringing them. Wonderful Aussie chocolate.

    It's 10:30 here on the East coast, and there's no Yankees game on (rain out???), so I must go to bed and get up early to write.

    I'll check back in in the wee smalls.

    Hey, Mary, turn the lights off when everyone's gone, will you?



  55. Mary, that's a great point. Four pages/day.

    Sweet. Reachable. Very reachable.

    Lorna, we'd get along just fine, my dear. The more crazy songs I sang to my kids, the quicker they sought gainful employment.

    Whatever works.

    And Jeannelle, welcome aboard! Mary, quick grab her a Fresca or a sweet tea, it's way too late for coffee.

    Jeannelle, there are some Italian cookies left from earlier, you, too, Lorna...

    They might be a mite stale because Cara was supposed to wrap them, and I haven't seen hide nor hair of HER today, so they've been sitting out, but they're still yummy.

    I think.

    Any digestive upsets can be reported to Cara Slaughter...

    That's C... A... R... A...


  56. Hmm, Ruthy, tempting offer.

    Right now, though, I don't feel too witty or clever. Can't even think of a dumb blonde joke.

    Putting together my TBL judging packets is emotional draining. Why is that? Umm, that's a rhetorical question. All I know is I feel soooooooooooooooooooo much appreciation right now for all the work Camy did for the Genesis and anyone else who has ever or is currently coordinating a contest or a category of a contest.

    My eyes are beginning to cross, and I'm seeing double. The only time I want that happening is if Brad Pitt is standing before me. Ai yi yi. And I'm not done yet. Short contemporary unpubbed judges packets are calling my name.

    Will someone turn off the heater in my house?

    Ooh, my word verification kinda looks like xanedu...except with a Z instead of an X, and a EA instead of an NE, and an O instead of an A. See, kinda looks like it.

    I wish they wouldn't give me such phoneticly-like words.

  57. Well you got your 1000 words in today, Ruthy, in one blog comment.

    And the only part of it I remember is Omar the Tentmaker.

    And, fyi, you wouldn't last a WEEK at my job.

    The Iron Maiden of Nebraska speaks.

  58. Hi, Jeanelle, you've wandered into a bad neighborhood. Save yourself.

  59. And, Gina, honey, you are sooooooo young.

    When I check out hot young guys, I'm checking them out for my daughters.

    Brad Pitt isn't half good enough, even if I was seeing double.

  60. I think I lost my cookies, those Italian chocolate drizzled macaroons I told Ruthy I'd bring. If not the cookies, then certainly my mind. I forgot to come to Seekerville today. I'm away from the Internet for two days and the shock of it must've exploded my brain. I apologize for the late arrival, Ruthy, but the cookies are warm, gooy and delicious for anyone playing at this hour.


  61. True, Mary. But he is nice on the eyes.

    Too bad his character wasn't as pleasing as his looks. Then again, how many hot guys who have strong moral fiber are there in Hollywood?

    Gee, I wonder if this blog can hit 75 posts before the night is out.

    Ooh. Ymeke. Now there's a great word verification. Kinda sounds like a gimicky.

  62. Oh I forgot to mention I sent out all but two of my TBL e-mail judging packets.

    And before midnight.

    Word verification this time looks like the phonetic version of You is a dog.

    Good thing we don't have to answer inksplots to post.

  63. Thanks for the cookies, Janet. But it's midnight. Can't be snacking right before I go to be.

    Word veri is holepotter.

    What is a holepotter?

    And why do I get such weird word verifications? Okay, it the phonetic holepotter, but still...

  64. Well, I didn't get here until after 1 am, so I missed everyone, I think. I guess I'll have to eat this whole pan of brownies I brought all by myself. (Said as if I haven't done that before.)

    No time to comment on all the gazillion comments, but Kimberli, I needed a spew alert on yours! I'm afraid I woke up my family laughing.

    Ditto when "Anonymous" commented about getting sent home with no heat. Please, people, give me a bit of warning so I don't spew Diet Dr. Pepper on my screen!

    (Ruthy, I want Mary's job too! However, I might not trade after all. She's sent home for lack of heat in her building while we grilled steaks and ate outside tonight because it was in the high 70's. Hmm. Maybe not something I'd trade after all.) :)

    Great to see some new faces on here today! Welcome to Seekerville!


  65. Missy Learnt not to eat liquid food (my breakfast) when reading Seekers!
    think it was a Gina comment a few weeks back. Im still around readers delight island was getting lonely so i visited unpub island must say i like my muu muu.
    Mary Yes Ruths post was long but remember the thanks for the chocolate easter eggs.
    Jeannelle you are welcome on my island anytime.

    On a side note mum is home tomorrow so i guess i better do some dishes!

    oh Gina i cant seem to get the word thingy right at all. third time luckey

  66. Gina, you need sleep. Badly.

    "Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee.
    All through the night...
    Guardian angels, God will send thee,
    All through the night..."

    Just thought that might help. :)

    Mary, you do wondrous things in your work. Remember, I spent nine years in an E.D. classroom with 10-12 year olds who hated the world.

    Oh, listen to one more thing:

    Great story.

    I stopped into the bagel shop in a neighboring town a few weeks ago and this great-looking, tall young man looked at me and said:

    "Know who I am?"

    I looked, then looked again. "Mark!"

    He laughed, came around the counter and gave me a big hug. "Yup, it's me. How are you?"

    We had a great exchange, I found out he'd done a stint in Afganistan last year and was now honorably discharged.

    Mark was one of my early students. Rough life, real rough circumstances. Smart. Funny, but very angry.

    I loved that kid. I wasn't afraid to whisper hope in his ear, chuck him behind the head, call him a dork, hug him when he cried. He loved rodeos, so my daughter went out to watch him in a local rodeo. If he'd been released from his family, I'd have grabbed him in a heartbeat.

    Mark didn't cry often. Kids like Mark don't cry unless they're really, really mad, and then watch out. Things fly.

    But it was great to see him, all grown up and working hard. And that we still had that connection, that respect for one another.

    Missy, I can't believe that you ate that entire pan of brownies yourself. Are ya' kiddin' me, girlfriend?????

    And Janet, I had the cookies delivered, honey, and charged to your bank account. The Internet is a wonderful thing!


    We had lots of company today, and thanks to all you guys who posted, chattin' it up with us. Thanks to you lurkers, too, who maybe haven't gotten friendly with the system. You know we love to have you stop by, make fun of us, allow us to smack you just a smidge.

    Nicely, of course.

    Well. Except Meany-pants Mary.


    When we first started this blog, I opened a g-mail account and used that password and name for this. Now I can get into any blogger I stop by because Google recognizes me.


    Who doesn't???

    Before that, without the Google connection, I couldn't post on a lot of blogs, so you guys who are having trouble signing in, try that. Head to Google, click on gmail, open an account (free) and use that as your password/name to get in here.

    'Cause we love, love, love the company.

    And tomorrow being Friday, we're having a big, ol', Western New York fish fry tomorrow evening. Fresh haddock, crispy fries, cole slaw with just a hint of tang....


    Stop by, have some 'fish and chips' with us. Up here, that's a huge Friday thing.


  67. ick. fish. unless it comes in three inch long rectangles, with lost of tartar sauce, lemon, and salt, count me out.

    Oh, one more thing. Mary? Mean? How can you say such a thing?

    (I am loyal to "my" writers.)

  68. I don't like fish, either. Or sea food. Anything that looks like bait, I'm not eatin'

    Did someone mention a goal of so many words per day? How is that working out for you all? Words, or time (like 15 minutes or an hour...?)

    I think I'm here with a real name, now but the word verification looks like a sneeze. *atfztuh*

  69. 1000 words a day, Ann. That's my goal every day...well, five days a week.

    And when Janet said she lost her cookies...I thought we might be dealing with the stomach flu... but no.

    And Ruthy, you might last a week after all. I take that back. But Missy would cave. Guaranteed.

  70. Ah, Missy.

    I don't know, Mare. Just when you think they're nothin' but a whiff of dandelion fluff, those Southern gals kick our collective northern and midwestern butts.

    Didja see the Tennessee women's basketball team? And their coach???

    I take comfort in knowing some of them are Northern girls, they just play for TN.

    And Mikey, if you write, I won't make you eat fish. Promise. Or you either, Annie-Banannie.

    1,000 words/day.

    Four pages, +/-...

    We can do this.


  71. Not quite 1000 words last night, but almost. I was fleshing out a scene, and the words don't seem to add up as fast as a totally new scene does.

    Ewww...Gina, my veri today looks like "bug guts"!

  72. What does that mean exactly?


    Is that code for something???

    I've already got my 1000 today, but I'm going for another 1000. I just introduced my BAD GUY.

    Which is good because, up to now, I think my hero was coming off as the bad guy.

  73. Pam, that's awesome, though. I know how tired and long your days are.

    Keep it up.

    At least that will keep me off your back.

    For now.


  74. Mary, did you see how nice I just was to Pam????

    I get a gold star, I get a gold star.

    And stop bragging. You probably have either:

    No students OR
    No heat

    In which case you have the entire day, but I'm glad the bad guy is on scene, taking some pressure off the hero.