Thursday, October 9, 2008

Steeple Hill Books

women’s fiction that inspires…
Morning, all! Ruthy here with a splendorific, stupendous, over-the-top, worthy of birthday month announcement!!!

Yes, for once I’m not scolding, nagging, chastising or being bossy. (I call those posts inspirational… it just SOUNDS like scolding. You understand.)

No, today I’m here to announce that Melissa Endlich, Senior Editor of Steeple Hill Books will be joining us on November 13th, 2008.

Most of you are aware that Steeple Hill, under the overall direction of Joan Marlow Golan, has opened their doors, hearts and desk space to new authors countless times, including our own Deb Giusti, Missy Tippens, Janet Dean and Cheryl Wyatt. The Seekers are proud of their strong relationship with the editors at Steeple Hill. Furthermore, Melissa and her editorial staff have been gracious about committing precious time to contest judging, which means they’re always on the lookout for that new voice, fresh appeal and great story. And in these times of economic slowdowns, when other houses have either folded their fiction lines or downsized the number of books/year, Steeple Hill is actually increasing their popular Love Inspired line to six books per month.

Yup, you heard right. Month, not year.

They've also initiated Love Inspired Historicals, a savvy chick-lit line in Steeple Hill Cafe', and suspense-filled novels in Love Inspired Suspense.

Now I need your help. What do you want to know? What would you like me to ask Melissa? (She’s a sweetheart, by the way…)

Weight and age are totally off the table, just so you know.


Post your questions here today, or e-mail me if you want anonymity. (I’m not calling you a chicken but I might be thinking it.)

Mosey on in, help yourself to the cappuccino bar and grab a slice of breakfast pizza. I made it with crumbled sausage this morning. Fluffy, golden scrambled egg, country sausage, cheese… a breakfast lover’s delight. Definitely not Atkins-friendly.

Big grin here.

Give me advice. (You might want to mark the day and time on your calendars… Ruthy asking for advice… Who knew????) Do you want to know if changes are in store for Steeple Hill with their recent editorial movement? The do’s and don’ts of Steeple Hill? The oft-mentioned ‘list’ of taboos?

Melissa’s coming to chat with everyone throughout the day on 11/13, so give me some great baseline questions to ask her. Let’s lay the groundwork for a great day in Seekerville.
And someone remember to bring chocolate!




  1. Wonderful news, Ruthy! I know everyone is looking forward to Melissa's upcoming visit to Seekervile! What a treat!

  2. Great job with lining up Melissa!

    I would like to know the Steeple Hill philosophy on having a spiritual thread/message versus simply having a Christian worldview. Do you know what I mean? Hey, maybe a Seekerville author could tackle this.

    Also, do different Steeple Hill lines have different expectations in this area. Yes, I've read the guidelines, but I'd like more insight in this area.



  3. Cathy,

    I think it depends on how it comes across. They definitely don't want preachyness. But at least one character should have a faith element to work through is what I understand. I've had deep themes and light ones. It varies. I think as long as something doesn't come across as agenda-driven, it'll be fine.

    I do know what you mean about writing from a Christian worldview. I've seen books with lighter faith elements or elements that were more deeply embedded. Debby Macomber writes from a Christian worldview in my opinion. But she's also marketed as more of a secular author.

    Since Steeple Hill is marketed as Inspirational, I think the faith element has to be a little more prevalent. Hope this makes sense.

    I also think it just depends on the story. But I do think at least one of the characters needs to have a faith struggle to work through.

    That'd be a great question to ask Melissa when she's here though.



  4. Kudos to you, Ruthy, for landing Melissa for a blog -- WONDERFUL IDEA!!

    Uh, could you ask her if they plan to lighten up anytime soon on Irish-Catholic families? :)


  5. Hello Ruthy and Seekers! I'm a "lurker" but read your posts almost everyday (I haven't gotten bold enough to partake of the food yet, though....maybe one day-LOL!). I've read the Steeple Hill guidelines and was wondering about the synopsis: Do they want an overall synopsis, or chapter-by-chapter? Thanks! Patti Jo

  6. Your breakfast pizza is VERY Atkins friendly, except for the crust. Otherwise, sausage, egg and cheese is fundamental to Atkins.

    I should know, I was on it once or twice. Lost quite a bit of weight too. Until I climbed into a bag of doritos and didn't come out for two months, but that's my own problem.

    When is SH making the change to six books a month. I love that.
    So ask her, will the books all come to subscribers. Are their readers really in need of two more a month? Or will there be more selection for a subscriber. Or will these books go to stores more than to subscribers.
    I'm having trouble picturing that package coming with six books in it. Just as far as reading that many every month.

  7. How far out are they from sign to publication date? Are they a year or more?

  8. Hey, guys, welcome aboard.

    Great questions. Cheryl, thanks so much for taking a stab at Cathy's question. I know what she means too, so it's a valid point. And I've read some LI's with deeper faith threads than others.

    And I agree about Deb Macomber's work. The bulk of it that I've read keeps the characters in a faith thread with lighter elements. Kind of like Bud-Lite only different.


    I love these questions and I'm keeping track of them as we go today. Keep 'em coming, and PattiJo, what's up with you not trying our food????


    Calorie-free, woman!! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!



  9. Patti Jo, if Ruthy goes to the trouble of making pretend food, the least you can do is pretend to eat it.

    Simple good manners, darlin'.


  10. Wow, this is very exciting! I've heard so many nice things about her. Can't wait to see the questions asked.
    Mine would be how many Love Inspired authors need agents?
    Because all of my manuscripts are targeted to Love Inspired and I've been querying agents, but I've also heard their contract is pretty airtight and I'm wondering if I'm wasting time.
    I guess an editor can't answer that. Okay, so I'm rambling now.
    Ruthy, would you come to my house and cook?
    I have troubles in the kitchen.

    Hehe, thanks for lining this up. Very exciting!

  11. How fun! I look forward to her visit. Ruthy, good for you for asking her! Some great questions already.

    Welcome, Patti Jo! Feel free to jump in anytime. (And ignore Mary.) :)


  12. We're having a special on hot carmel-apple cider at the restaurant.

    Apples are a fruit, so it's healthy.

    I don't have any specific questions because I figure the brain trust will come up with really good ones.

    But I am looking forward to the chat. Good job lining that up!

    What an educational place -- and the food's good, too!

  13. Wonderful pizza, Ruthy! So I'm eating it for lunch, it's still tasty : )

    I know Harl requires exclusive rights to the mss until they turn it down. Is there then a time limit? Will it color their opinion of the author if said author inquires within 6 months of submission?

    Ruthy, go ahead and make the wording of that as politically correct as it needs to be : )

    Thanks for banging down doors for us!!!!

  14. Thanks for the welcome comment, Missy! And Ruthy and apologies for not trying any food yet...I was only trying to be polite, I promise!*grin* I was raised to have nice Southern manners, so I honestly didn't mean to offend anyone....Okay, there's a slice of the breakfast pizza left...Mmmmmm!! I LOVE it, Ruthy! Thanks so much, Patti Jo :)

  15. Yay! How exciting to have a Steeple Hill editor drop by for a chat.

    I don't have a specific question, but will be reading the discussion avidly.

    Seekerville has become one of my favorite blogs to visit. Always a treat to read the posts, and the comments are guaranteed to bring a smile.

    The virtual food is playing havoc with my virtual diet though. ;)

  16. I would like to ask Melissa Endlich exactly which line she's working with now. Also, who is heading up the LI Historical line now? And what eras are they interested in?

    Thanks, Ruthy!

  17. Patti Jo!! It just now hit me who you are! We met on the shuttle from the airport to the hotel at ACFW. :) I'm so glad we ran into each other!!

    I'm also glad you spoke up here on the blog. Now that we know you're here, you have to keep it up. :)


  18. Wahoo!! I'm delighted Melissa will visit Seekerville Nov. 13! We'll roll out the red carpet for her.

    I'm waving my hand, eager to answer questions, but Ruthy's threatening to hurt me.

    Melissa likes Starbucks, not so sure about chocolate, but the rest of us will want it. I'll bring a box of DeBrand truffles. Yummy!


  19. Yes Missy!! That's me (my red-haired daughter was with me on the shuttle too---we were admiring those lovely (huge) hanging baskets on the lampposts in MN!). ~ It was wonderful meeting you then, and "seeing" you again with the Seekers! (Now that I've tried some food, it really is yummy!*grin*) Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  20. Oh my stars, we'll need her for a week, poor girl!

    Seriously between you guys and the private e-mails I've gotten, we've got some wonderful questions to line up for Melissa.

    Thank you so much. Remember, 11/13/08...

    Just in time to check things over and plan your work for pre- and post-holidays.


  21. totally asking this as a reader, but are there going to be any more Steeple Hill Cafe books, and will they ever go back to the trade size PB?

  22. How exciting to have the Steeple Hill editor blogging here! I will have to circle the date on my calendar.

  23. Dear Ruthy,

    Having Melissa from Steeple Hill blog on 11/13 is really exciting news. My birthday is 11/12 so this is a wonderful birthday treat for me.
    I love the Love Inspired line. A few years back when I was living in New York, I took a class with Ann Leslie Tuttle, a wonderful editor from Steeple Hill, (who has since moved on in the company).
    I sent a query and a synopsis to the Love Inspired Romantic Suspense line and they want to see the finished manuscript. I'm putting the finishing touches on it. I am very excited by the response. I want to write steadily for thar particular line. They are great books.
    I am marking my calendar for 11/13 and thanks for getting her.

    Linda C.