Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Call....

Fourteen thousand and two things have been spinning through my mind the last few weeks, and one of them was this blog post.

Should it focus on the CALL?????

The road that led to the CALL?????

The work, the choices, the contest elements that led to the CALL?????

In the end, I decided to work backwards because I’m already long-winded and no one needs THAT much Ruthy!

So we’ll start with the CALL because I love those stories. My boys (four of ‘em, think there isn’t some story fodder THERE????) were runners, a gift from their distance-running father not their chocoholic mother. Before each big race, Matt would canvas the other runners, shaking each hand in a gesture of respect because he knew what it took to get to that level. Win or lose, to make it into elite races in high school, college and beyond, he understood the work involved.

That’s how I feel about the CALL!!!!!! This time it was me, but each time someone gets the call, I understand the work, the sacrifice, the effort, the choices involved. So we’ll start with the call, step forward, and then look back over the next two months to the very stupid things I’ve done that no one should ever, ever, ever, ever do again. Learn from me. Please.

Story setting: (One of the few writing terms I’m familiar with because I don’t read writing books. Ever. This is a fact, not necessarily a GOOD THING. Just sayin’…) I’m in Pennsylvania to watch my beautiful granddaughter because my daughter and son-in-law are heading to Ethiopia to pick up my new grandson Nathan. He wasn’t Nathan then, but that’s another story. We spend a day of hustle and bustle, checklists everywhere, suitcases, etc. Finally get them out the door. I know where their insurance policies are, their wills…. Oh my stars, that’s a fun thing to contemplate, right???? But it is what it is and better to be prepared.

The phone rings an hour later. My other daughter in Rochester, NY. (Are you counting? Six kids. Six. What was I thinking? Why didn’t we buy a TV sooner??????)

Digressing again.

Beth says, “Jon just got a phone call for you. From Harlequin.”

Heart stops beating. Harlequin only calls for one thing. ONE.

I look around. I have no Internet on my computer because no one remembers the code for their network, my daughter’s computer is slower than a lumbering brontosaurus in swampland because it’s older than dirt and due to be replaced next month, and HARLEQUIN called.

But which Harlequin???

Yes, that’s right. Somehow in the craziness of the past 18 months, I managed to have the same book catch the eye of two dream editors, thereby reeling me into a whirlwind of edits, changes, plot variations, etc. on the same cast of characters geared toward two separate houses. And it was an ACCIDENT. My bad. I forgot to send an SASE with a partial in early ’08 as a result of the Peninsula Pitch contest, didn’t hear anything and figured I was dead in the water until January ’09 when I got a lovely e-mail saying Supers liked elements of this story, would I be willing to change a few things, what a nice concept, etc.

Be still my heart. Another nice letter from the gals at Supers, Paula Eykelhof, Wanda Ottewell, Megan Long and Victoria Curran. These ladies have been encouraging me for the last year, with contest wins, advice, etc. Will I make the changes???

You bet I will.

But I have to explain to Paula that I entered the same book in Finally a Bride late fall and finaled. No results, but I don’t want to mess up and leave her out of the loop. FAB got the inspy version of the book. Melissa Endlich of Steeple Hill and Rebecca Germany of Barbour are final round judges.

FAB results come out eight days later. I tied myself for first. Three requests, two from Melissa, one from Becky Germany.

Oh. My. Stars.

Are ya’ kiddin’ me?

The dance begins, meeting the requests as quick as possible. Coffee addiction hikes. Sleep becomes an occasional friend. I’m SO OKAY with that, because I have multiple chances to shine on the board. How often does that happen?


Fast forward. (All right Seekers, I know it’s too late to Fast Forward because I’ve already talked too much, but pretend, ‘kay????)

Melissa rejects the first manuscript because it’s too Single-titleish. I understand that because I’d actually written that series as ST's for the Steeple Hill fiction line before they closed it. Loved that line. Loved it. Digressing again. Oops.

She still wants to see Seeking the Garden, if it’s more romancy. It is. I tweak it, shorten A LOT OF WORDS (big surprise there, right???) and send it in. In the meantime, Supers rejects Detecting Delia, offers advice on how to change it, and likes the new partial on Seeking the Garden, would I send them a full?

Oh. My. Stars.

Both editors caught up with the same story. How on earth did this happen? I tweak the re-write I did for Supers, put it all together and send it in, which brings us back to The Call…

Beth reads me the number. The area code tells me it’s New York City.


I peek in my In-box on Sarah’s s-l-ooooooo-w computer.

“Greetings from Steeple Hill”…

Oh. My. Stars.

I plug in Katie’s new fave movie, Mary Poppins, and e-mail Melissa explaining where I am and give her the number.

The phone rings seconds later. Literally. NYC calling… Harlequin…


Melissa is a darling. Seriously. She knows what’s gone on, she knows about Supers interests, she knows that I’ve been working hard to fit one branch of my writing into their niche because I love the extended humor and the feel of single title books. We make a good fit.

BUT… I also love books with a stronger inspirational thread and a heartfelt voice that makes people say “Awwwwww……..”

She offers a contract on Seeking the Garden, now Winter’s End, due out from Steeple Hill in March of ’10.

But I can’t say yes right away because I’ve also got this manuscript on another dream editor’s desk, and you DON’T DISS EDITORS. Seriously. Don’t do it. EVER.

Melissa understands that I need to contact Supers.

I head home for the weekend. My family hosts this beautiful dinner for me, all of my favorites, my kids, my grandkids, my husband, my dogs….

Sparkling grape juice and champagne. Mallo Cups!!!! A whole bunch of them!!!!. Ghirardelli caramel squares. Flowers. A Gloria Jean’s gift card.

FOOD!!!!!!! Seth makes Artichoke French and Chicken French, my favorites. Mandy makes a beautiful cake, congratulating me. Karen and Matt bring ice cream cake, my favorite!

A big sign that Lacey made saying “Congratulations”, strung across the bay window. And all of this on top of the fact that they all worked all day and gathered at night, after work.

Tina agrees to announce my good news on Saturday, only by Friday I still have no clue who I’m signing with. Doh! No word from Supers. Melissa’s out of her office.


I send Tina an e-mail to hold the celebration until this is settled.
She doesn’t get it, but I don’t KNOW she doesn’t get it because I’m working hard and don’t think to double check.

Announcement comes out on Saturday… Ruthy sold to Steeple Hill. Which THRILLS me no end, but I don’t want to make the gals in Toronto mad because like Oliver in the orphanage, I want some more, please. I want to work for both.


I have no agent. I talk to my friend Andrea.



“At this moment you have the power to open up the manual of romance agents and take your pick. There isn’t anyone who won’t want you with this kind of interest. Go for your dream agent today.”


I write a THREE PAGE e-mail to Wendy Lawton. Wendy’s a cool dude. She knows both sides of the street, ABA and CBA. This woman has run her own mega-successful business, has inroads I can only dream of, and walks with movers and shakers in the publishing industry. It was no accident that I requested to interview her for Seekerville. I wanted her to know me, yes, like me, if this occasion ever arose. Paving the road for success is never a bad thing.

I get an Out of Office reply.


The next morning, though, there’s a Wendy e-mail waiting… She’s in Alaska on vacation, but she’ll call me.

Hope returns.

Wendy calls. I can’t hear her. She can’t hear me. Oh. My. Stars.

I head back to PA with beautiful granddaughter. On the road all day.

Melissa calls. My son leaves me a message.


Wendy e-mails me that she’s got no phone access, but she’ll be accessible the next morning and she’ll call. God bless her for letting me interrupt a well-deserved vacation. I mean, seriously, that goes beyond grace.

I e-mail Melissa (by now it’s evening) to keep her in the loop.

Wendy calls next morning. We can hear. She asks to see some pages.

Oh, THAT’S RIGHT!!! Wendy has never seen my work. Ever. I am that audacious that I approached an agent who had never seen a Ruthy-story.


Umm, back to no Internet for my computer. Oh. My. Stars.

I grab the cute kid, pile the laptop and kid into the car, and head to Starbucks where I can upload opening chapters to an e-mail for Wendy. Hit send.

Wendy calls. I’m in.

Strains of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus run through my mind in “SCRUBS” fashion.

I now have a dream agent and a contract, with hope for more.

Seven years. Seven years of making stupid mistakes and hanging on. Helping others and hanging on. Moving forward despite life’s ups and downs (hey, they hit everyone, right? That’s why they call it life…)

Seven years of wanting the dream, working toward the dream, being uplifted in some contests and smacked down in others. Those years brought so much, but that’s another post. Or five.

And now a new page. A new beginning.

But my happiness is not complete until we get the last five Seekers off that dagblasted Island. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the Island ambiance. The shore, the waves, the peace and quiet. But the food sucks. I’m sooooooooo sick of fish. And clams. And mussels. And seaweed salad. Thank God for mainlanders who weren’t afraid to send us regular supply boats.

Big grin.

So, yes, this is outrageously long. And it’s only a part of the story. Because I talk too much. We know that. Hence the slicing and dicing of aforementioned books to bring them down to current word counts.

I brought coffee. And cappuccino. And whipped cream/strawberry croissants. And chocolate. And cyber hugs.

So jump in and celebrate with me. I’m not taking anyone to the woodshed today, Julie’s or anyone else’s. (Still loving that post, Jules. )

Today we celebrate. Bring on the chocolate and caffeine, Ruthy’s in the house.



  1. Well, this may be hormonal, but I have to admit this lovely post brought tears to my eyes. Ruthy, you can tell a story. Here AND for Harlequin. Anywhere. What a great post. Thanks for sharing. I loved every detail. Who doesn't love a "the call" story, right? You so deserve it. What a ride.

    May God bless this one as the first of many for you!

    My word verification is Stattia,which I think is a 'sign' that I've been static too long. I'm inspired today to get down to business.

  2. Deb, good morning, dear heart!!!

    Aw, thanks, kiddo, and don't get me weepy so early in the day. At my age skin isn't nearly as elastic and resilient as it used to be and I stay baggy and red for hours. Who wants that????


    I had a 'herns' as my verification yesterday. Think Blogger's trying to identify with us? Some new Microsoft program, perhaps?

    What a great idea for a sci fi novel. Computer programs with the ability to sympathize and interact. Mind control. Power of suggestion.

    Who writes Sci Fi stuff??? This could work!


  3. Congratulations Ruthy! What a fun and exciting story. I found myself on the edge of my seat.

    And congrats on WENDY LAWTON!! She's definitely my dream agent. Her and one other gal - my twin dream agents. :)

    I love reading stories like these. They are so inspirational.

    Now... I'm off to go find that interview you were talking about. :)

  4. YEAH!!!!!!

    I am so freakin' proud of you Ru!!!! :)

    Deb is right - you can tell a story. I have loved all of your books, including that cute one about the soccer coach that you wrote back when I was in junior high.

    You have a gift and I am so thrilled that the publishing world has FINALLY realized it!

    Congratulations! I love you more than you know! :)


  5. Ruth, you are the joie de verve of Seekerville. Thank you for bringing us your unbridled joy and congratulations on the call.

    I toast my mocha java Dazbog coffee in a salute to you today.

  6. RUTHY!!!! What a joy to read this post, and yes, you even brought tears to my eyes (admittedly not a hard thing to do for a post-menopausal drama queen). :) I think I was on a giddy high for about a week after you told us, so I can only imagine the wonderful high you're still floating on!

    What a great story!! What a great call! As far as I'm concerned you were "called" by God long ago to be a writer, but His time table sure doesn't look like ours, does it?

    And you, long-winded??? Grin ... that's a little like calling the Pope Catholic, isn't it? Or saying that I write long books?

    Huge hugs,

  7. Awww, Ruthy, you will always hold a special place in my heart from the first time you told me to whine for five minutes, then pull up my big girl pants and get over it. You were an awesome mentor through FHL. You taught me so much, babe, and I love you for it. I remember crying when I met you for the first time at the 2005 ACFW conference. Ahhh, good times! :-)

    You deserve this so much!!! I was on vacation in Sanibel Island, Florida when I read your exciting news. I did a happy dance for you and my family thought I was nuts, but that's nothing new. So proud of you!!!

    I want to interview you for Afictionado's My First Sale column, if you've returned to the ACFW fold. Drop me an e-mail in your spare (ha!) time!

    Huge hugs!

  8. Wow... what a great story, and how encouraging for those of us still waiting for 'The Call'! Congratulations...!!! I'm sure there will be many more 'calls' to come :)

  9. Katie, sorry, I should have posted the link to Wendy's interview.

    You can find it as the first offering under blogposts: 10 Near Fatal Mistakes.

    Great interview. Sorry, that sounds self-serving, but Wendy is delightfully honest and upfront to work with.

    And she assured me she's bossy, so how much fun will THAT be??? Two bossy middle-aged women taking the publishing world by storm?


    Beth, good morning! Thanks for the support, kid. Love you back. My kids have been a wonderful support group for my efforts, overlooking the dust, the science-project bowls in the fridge, the Currier and Ives ambiance of a well-worn farm home. The problem with that is, THE SNOW MELTS and all that snow-covered stuff just looks like yard clutter.

    Still love Currier and Ives, though. Propaganda? Yeah, but it works for me!

    And Tina.

    Right back at ya', kid. Can't wait to do the Snoopy Dance for you and my Island buds. I'm more than willing to order up a wrecking ball to turn Unpubbed Island into the Writer's Retreat we've been planning.

    I'm sooooooo there!

    I'm doing a mocha/caramel blend, with no whip. And a Mallo Cup.



  10. Oh, Ruthy, I loved reliving every word of your Call and agent stories!! What a roller coaster ride! I'm thrilled for you and delighted you're part of the Steeple Hill team! Hoping one day you, Missy, Camy, Debby, Cheryl and I will hang out at the Harlequin party. We'll have a blast!

    I'm toasting you with a mug of coffee!

    Hugs, Janet

  11. Julie, you were right (as so often is the case!) about the early call.

    Someday I'll tell you about Sr. Mariel, now deceased, who inspired me as a high school kid. And Sr. Mary Cordis. Sister Diane.

    Mariel's belief stayed with me throughout. What a wonderful blessing a good teacher is to a kid, you know?

    But like we were saying offline, God's timing can be preparatory if we use it that way. If I'd gotten this call three years ago, would I have kept stretching? Growing? Seeking?

    Would I be the same writer?


    So those extra years of mistakes and experience become the basis for future books and workshops.

    Thanks, kiddo. Hey, it's early for wine, honey, but I've got sweet tea with your name on it!

    And no woodsheds today. :)

  12. Lisa, my pet, you made me cry too.



    So nice to share this news with so many friends and family. And Lisa has a heart of gold and a great work ethic.

    And a recent graduate WITH a recent graduate kid!

    Good job, all around, Lisa!

    So I interrupted more than one vacation, huh? Go, me!


  13. Eleventh Commandment -- Thou shalt not make me laugh and leave me so breathless this early in the morning!!

    Ruthy babe, it couldn't have happened to a more loving, giving, joyful Seeker!!! You've been an inspiration and kick-in-the-rear to so many writers, I rejoice with your accomplishment!!!

    Gotta love ya, Ruth!

    Can we pre-order already??

  14. WOW! Reading this exciting tale of two potential editors is like trying to follow that classic Abbott & Costello "who's on first" clip!!

    Congrats again, Ruthy! Welcome to Steeple Hill!

  15. Oh. My. Stars.

    Ruthy! Ruthy! Ruthy! I am going to eat an entire chocolate cake in celebration today! What a fabulous story -- and it was NOT too long, I gobbled every single word.

    And what a joy and encouragement. I may have to write again. I may.

    How do i get this book? (Don't tell anyone, though, since I'm a guy and it's Steeple Hill, and all that ... romance-y stuff.)

    God's blessings, my old homey. (and no it's not an age crack!)

  16. Ruthy, you're amazing! Your posts are aways full of inspiration but this one takes the cake. Thank you for sharing. And congratulations on your AMAZING accomplishment! I toast you with a half full mug of cinnamon vanilla nut coffee!!


  17. Hi Ruth:

    Wonderful post as always! Now the long wait for the book. Well, there is still the creativity of your posts to enjoy!


  18. Wow, how cool is that!

    I think I would have pulled all my hair out with all that going on plus international travel for some of the family -- but it sounds like you were still patient and gracious. You rock.

    Mallo Cups are very good after being in the freezer awhile, IMHO.

  19. Congrats Mom!!!

    All your hard work is finally being rewarded. I remember when you first started writing on that old computer in the attic. I remember you getting up at 4am to find time to write because you worked so much to provide for your family. You always put your dreams on hold because you were so dedicated to your family and now the time has come for you to realize those dreams.

    We are all so proud of our mom and we know you will have a successful career in writing.

    Lacey and I will cook you chicken french and artichoke french any time you want it :)

    Love you mom,
    Seth, Lacey and little Logan

  20. What a wonderful story! And so entertaining. :-) Congratulations!!! You deserve all this.
    So, you ended up picking Steeple Hill, right?

  21. I'm singing the Hallelujah Chorus right now in my own head.

    YAY! RUTHY!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Faith, from your lips to God's ears, darling!

    And right back to you.

    AND I love your name, Faith. Love it.

    And Pepper.

    I gotta put Pepper in a book. Just have to. But that's probably going to be a Super book because I can think of alllllll kinds of fun ways to tweak a girl named Pepper.



  23. Janet, ol' buddy, ol' pal, do you remember the concentration camp mantra Herman Wouk made famous in War and Remembrance? "Next year in Israel."

    The Jews used that to keep hopes alive.

    So honey, with not quite the SAME CLOUT, I'm going to say "Next year in Nashville..."

    Just picture it.

    Opryland Hotel. Gorgeous hanging gardens. Indoor river... Yes, you read that right...

    Fountains. Sightseeing. Ruthy getting stopped by yet another cop.

    And they're always yummy, right Sandra? Audra? :)

    And did I mention country singers? Brad Paisley? Craig Morgan? Jason Aldean? Jimmy Wayne????

    Are ya' kiddin' me?

    Oh mylanta, darling, Next Year in Nashville.


    I'm Soooooooooooooo buying Dave a cowboy hat.



  24. Ruthy,

    Congratulations on your sale. You give this middle-aged gal HOPE!

    Wonderful, crazy story! Can't wait to pick up your book!


    Sue Mason

  25. Audra, where the heck's that story???

    In the mail yet, darling???

    And if not, why not???

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Bossy friends are so much fun.

    Some days, LOL!

    Honey, get tweakin' them thar cowboys and join me on this side of the widewaters.

    They've got beaches here too, ya' know. Just sayin'!

    Hey, can you grab more coffee???? We're running low.


    Love you.


  26. Oh Ruthy! What a wonderful family you have! I hope you give super big hugs to each and every one!!

  27. Glynna....

    We are the blessing of Tina's Plan B.

    Tina jumpstarted the unpubbed Seekers 18 months ago with Einstein's wonderful quote:

    "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results."

    The remaining Seekers formed Plan B that helped us to look outside the perameters we'd confined ourselves in. Jump start our writing and creativity.

    God love her, Tina was the impetus behind the success of the recent Seekers, that thrust of forward momentum. Big coffee hoisted in your honor, Teenster.


  28. I'm so very happy for you.Hard work, and generosity sometimes do pay off!!! Bask in your glory, and then start writing again......for those of us toiling in the writing fields, a story like yours makes those sore tushes, and chocloate stained keyboards worthwhile.


  29. Yay, Ruthy! I'm so, so, so happy for you! And happy to celebrate with you. Bring on the chocolate! I can actually eat it since it's virtual. Can't wait to meet you in Denver and give you a big hug!

    Here's a toast. To Ruthy, who has worked hard and deserves her success! Praise the Lord for keeping her going through the tough times! May all the Seekers and those who love them (me) also get The Call this year!!! LOL!

  30. Mike Ehret, if you're not writing, shame on you.

    What a gifted, wonderful, heartfelt man you are and that depth of feeling bleeds onto your pages. Love your work. Are ya' kiddin' me???? And what a blessing as a friend.

    So get your butt in gear, take the hard knocks that come way too often, MAN UP, and write.

    Love you too.

    Get moving.


    God's not a fan of wimps. Just sayin'.



    Hey, can you grab me a Starbucks, Mikey???? Pretty please????


  31. Ann!

    Frozen Mallo Cups Rock!!!!


    And so do Snickers, Milky Ways and Three Musketeers. :)

    Girlfriend, thanks for stopping by and glad I fooled you about the gracious stuff.



    Remember it's VERY EASY to fool people on the Internet. Brad Paisley's song "Online", about the guy who pretends to be a foot taller and thirty pounds lighter?

    Oh, yeah, honey, don't trust everything you read, LOL!

    Thank you, Ann. All kidding aside, I'm blessed to have you guys in my corner.


  32. Oh, Jennifer, share. Please. Cinnamon vanilla nut. Are you kidding me? How wonderful that sounds!!!!

    Thanks, kiddo. You guys are the blessing though, visiting us, letting us into your lives when things are up AND when things are down.


  33. Vince.

    Love you, Dude. Seriously.

    Hey, Vince, you know there is a market for cool guys writing romance...

    Meet my friend Mikey.

    How about it, guys? It doesn't have to be JUST romance, but a little thread of romances draws the female audience.

    Just a thought.



  34. Oh, Sether!!! Don't get me all ver klempt, making me cry.

    Andrea reminded me of that old computer, a hand-off from Dave's cousins because their son Adam knew I wanted to write. He brought me this old computer and I got my first taste on Internet on a dial-up SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW connection in the unheated attic.

    Andrea was remembering the week we moved my office downstairs to a now-empty bedroom. Heat. A room of my own. No bed!!!

    How funny! And I worked an extra shift at the restaurant (head waitress back then, always BOSSY!!!!) to pay for a new computer.

    Sether, God bless you guys, you always believed. Advised. Helped. Seth comes over and takes over the daycare on his days off so I can hide someplace and write. Edit. Blog. Whatever it takes. He and Lacey jump in as needed, and haven't been scared away.

    YET. :)

    Love you kid. Thanks for everything. And about that Chicken French????

    I've got Sunday night open!!!!



  35. Wowowowowow, what a wild ride!

    I'm so happy for you, Ruthy.

    It's so wonderful to be able to celebrate with you, and that your family celebrated too. Isn't that the best? Sharing your joy with others who share it too.

  36. Jess, yes, this one is with Steeple Hill.


    And I've got some fun stuff working for the crew in Toronto that I hope they love. If not, I'll tweak 'em and re-submit because I'm a hearth-and-home writer at heart. I love strong inspirationals but I love light inspy/sweet romance threads as well.

    And I'd love to go Single Title some day, if I can build the kind of readership that launches that aspect of my career.

    Dream big. Always.


  37. Congratulations Ruthy! I missed the original announcement, but I'm excited for you. My only question is whether pubbed authors provide even better snacks than the already delicious fare served on Unpubbed Island?

  38. Mary, Do You Really Know The Words To The Hallelujah Chorus???

    Does anyone who isn't in a really big choir????


    Thanks, Sweetums. Just got my copy of Montana Rose, my FAVORITE Mary Connealy book.

    Buy it as soon as you are able.

    Love these characters.

    Love 'em.


  39. Ruthy,

    congratulations again, and love the post.

    It's good that things were so CALM when that CALL came through.
    Otherwise you could have been seriously frazzled

    And you handled it all with such coolness and finesse.

    Too Funny.

  40. Ruthy, Ruthy! What a roller-coaster ride! Of all the call stories I've ever heard, I think yours wins the prize for drama, excitement, nerves, AND happy endings! Way to go, girl!

  41. Sue, hope is where it's at, dearheart.

    And perseverance.

    Andrea shared this quote from National once... I don't remember who she heard it from, but its simplicity hits home.

    "If you can quit, do."

    I think it just goes to staying the course. Winston Churchill...

    "Nevah, nevah, nevah give up."


    I love Churchill.


  42. Audra, I'll hug 'em all for you.


    About that book????


    Ruthy (grinning in WNY)

  43. Mom,

    I'm so proud of you. I've had the pleasure of being apart of this wonderful (yet crazy at times) family for 9 years now and the one thing that has always been apparent to me is your love and dedication to every member of your family. You have always sacrificed, encouraged, and educated everyone and it just shows your undying love and support for all of us.

    This is a dream that you have been chasing for so long now, and your determination and stick-to-itiveness is yet another lesson for all of us. It is nice for us to be there to sacrifice, encourage and educate you to not give up on your dreams. This is just evidence that when you want something you just have to go for it. No matter how long it takes, or how many people may tell you to stop, that you can’t give up on the things that matter most to you. And I think that is a message that everyone needs to be taught or reminded of every now and then. So thanks for yet another lesson!

    “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~Gail Devers*

    *Note – running quotes always seem to transcend into any area of life; and if you’ll notice it’s a sprinter/hurdler – not one of those boring long distance runners ;)

    Love you so much!

  44. Mareva, Amen, Sistah!

    We don't give up. It's unheard of.

    As long as God sends chocolate and little kid kisses. :)


  45. Erica, yes, that is the best, sharing with family and friends.

    But you know what???

    My kids eat a lot. I mean seriously, all these grown-ups hanging about????

    They like food!!! :)

    Thanks for stopping by, kiddo and for the congrats.


  46. Okay, right now (I love my laptop, thanks Zach!!!!) I'm outside with a gazillion small children playing around me. I'm kind of watching them. Baby is sound asleep, monitor is on, and the pukey kid (sorry, Cole!) got picked up by Grandma.

    So my little Dudes are very excited to see me on the WEB...

    They think I'M COOL...

    Little do they know. It's so easy to fool children. Even smart ones.

    And we're doing a God/planet/mankind discussion. Little did their sweet parents know what I'd fill their suggestible little minds with!


    Ruthy (posting from her picnic table under the big old Maple tree)

  47. Melanie!

    Good morning, Sweet Thang!

    Listen, girl, you just hang in there, tough it out, punch up the jam, do what it takes.

    I've got faith in you. And I remember the first time I saw your work in a contest. Loved it.

    And I was FAIRLY nice about how to make it better.

    I think.

    Or were you the gal that I advised to run away from her computer, as fast as she could, and never, ever, ever enter a contest again?

    No. That was Mary!!!!


    Love you, kid.

    Ruthy (posting from her picnic table beneath the big old Maple tree)

  48. Patricia, there will always be good food in Seekerville. Are ya' kidding me?

    Food is essential. Christ is the bread of life but chocolate is a gift from God.

    And I'm no dummy. I LOVE gifts, LOL!

    Yeah, the food will continue. And the fun. And the sharing.

    So glad you're here today!


  49. Tina Pinson...

    Finesse, huh?

    Or ball of quivering jelly, LOL! Again, it's EASY to appear calm on the Web...


    Just as long as the toaster doesn't start talking, LOL! :)

    Sorry. Simpsons. Four boys. You understand.

    Tina P, thanks, honey. So grateful. And now to get those next Five Launched.

    Let's go Seekers!!!!


  50. Lace!!!!

    Thank you for marrying my son! Keeping him off the streets!!!!


    Lace, now I'm all teary again. Thank you, honey, for the gift you are to this family. Your warmth, humor, integrity and fierce sense of fashion (Sorely Needed Here in Hilton) has blessed us from the beginning.

    AND... NEWSFLASH.... Lacey and i are going to her stylist on Wednesday for a new Ruthy "do"...

    Seriously. I've worn my hair the same way (with a couple of momentary lapses) since high school. I've got the yearbook pics to prove it. How Pleasantville is THAT????

    So Wednesday we're attempting another step into the new millenium. Pray for me. :)

    And I love the runners' quotes, Lace! Matt and Seth both married wonderful runner/hurdlers. You moms know that this means their kids will probably be destined to love BASEBALL since their parents are runners.

    Too funny.

    I love you too, Lace. And thanks for Logan. My mom smiles in heaven every time she hears his name.



  51. Myra, ain't it the truth???

    And while I love a good roller coaster ride, I'm not a big fan of drama.

    Much more Nike: Just Do It.


    But this was a great roller coaster ride and I'm having so much fun learning the ins and outs, the steps...

    Glynna and Cheryl jumped in to help me there. Love that about Seekers. Always someone that's got your back.

    And we were just discussing yesterday how last year at this time Myra-kins was on the Island and now has FOUR books contracted.

    Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.

    Ruthy (posting from the picnic table beneath the big old Maple tree)

  52. Ruth,

    First congratulations on your big acceptance! Second, you lived what every "writer" dreams of...more than one editor wanting their manuscript!

    Very interesting and entertaining post and just the right length!


  53. Uh...the words to the Hallelujah Chorus??? Aren't they just Hallelujah over and over again.

    If not, then NO I don't know them.

    And I don't remember you advising me to find a new line of work.

    Althought, didn't we talk about being Welders for a while. Especially if we could get in a union. Not a bad living.

  54. Rose, bless you for that right length comment!!!

    I'm such a yacker. So Irish. Always telling tales.

    (Note I didn't say 'fibs'... Fibs would be wrong and drive me to the confessional. All depending on context, you know.) :)

    And you know what, I should have given a big ol' shout out to the OKRWA's contest Finally a Bride and their coordinator Alice Clary. What a doll she is to work with. So nice. So enthusiastic. Alice, I wish I could be there this year to grab that first place in person, especially now!


  55. Okay, I don't know the words either. The choir did it before I joined... Then we all got older...

    They don't even attempt it anymore, LOL!

    And of COURSE I didn't really tell you to find another line of work. I was being facetious.

    That means I was kidding. :)

    But the Arc Welding thing? I think, actually I was planning to attend the Arc-welding School Bus driver course offered locally. There was a looooooooooong stretch where that was looking GOOD!



  56. Okay, now I'm tearing up what with Seth and Lacey's posts.

    Sniff, sniff!

    Congrats all over again, Ruthy!

  57. Yes, Ruthy, you were really nice with your comments about my book. You won my undying love with your comments, because it was probably the first contest I submitted that book to, and the other judges were not so nice! As in, they didn't like it all! But I've improved it a lot since then. That was 2 1/2 years ago, I think! Ages and ages during which I've grown--become a giant, really--in writing expertise.


    Are Irish people huggers? Southerners are! So get ready. I'm gonna hug you, you and Mary and Julie!!! And Missy and Debby!!! And Tina!!!!! And Janet!!! And everybody else who doesn't run away!

  58. Ruthy said: Oh, yeah, honey, don't trust everything you read, LOL!

    Aha, so that REALLY isn't Beth and Seth posting?

  59. OK, longest blog EVER! Though it is a wonderful story and I'm glad to have been part of it and reading about it since it is the answer to one of my prayers (the other being my absolute hunk of a fiancee), goodness woman! Shorten it up! :O)

    I am sitting in my dearest
    Aunt's kitchen on "blogging day" reading the saga of that which we have lived the last few weeks. It was a pleasure to throw a "Call Party" for one of the most wonderful, inspirational, hard-working women I know.

    And now before everyone starts wretching on the lovey-dovey crap- raise your glasses for a toast- Congratulation Ru!

    Love ya



    That's cool. That's what a good writer does, right? The gamut of emotions????

    Run 'em up, bring 'em down, push 'em back up. We're back to the roller coaster analogy, aren't we?

    Thanks, sweetie. And yeah, that is Seth, Beth and Lacey.

    We may have others stop in too. Ya' just never know around here.

    Thanks, kid. Now could you get your bags packed and ready for the boat? That Island's aching to become a retreat. A writing spa.


  61. Mel, I was NICE to you???

    And you mentioned this in public?

    Please, woman! I have a reputation to uphold here. Once a snark, always a snark!


    Thanks, sweetie, and I'm a wicked hugger. Beyond reason. And a sap. I just hide it well.

    And Mandy!!!

    I know you posted because you stopped by (with the fiance, THAT story is on my dog website )with Paul and I MADE you post to help me look popular. I'm sooo not afraid to pimp my blog.


    Thank you so much for all you do for us. The time and effort you put in to keep me somewhat sane and normal. By societal standards, anyway!


    Love you, kid. Mandy's not only my niece but Goddaughter, dropped at my sister's house by a directionally challenged angel because we all know she was supposed to be MINE!!!!

    She's even doing a research trip with me this weekend, delving into a Southern Tier location that keeps tweaking my brain. What a crazy area of NYS that is, believe me! Talk about extreme NOT New York City... Come play in the Southern Tier along the PA border.




  62. I'm so glad editors are seeing what we've all seen for years. You're a fabulous storyteller! I hope your success inspires everyone here to keep trying, because you hung in there and broke through.

    You truly deserve all the success you can handle. And we know that will be A LOT ;)


  63. Andrea!

    Andrea was one of the LCRW gals who sat through that ominous first meeting where I READ TWELVE PAGES OUT LOUD to them without a word of dialogue.

    Thought I was Dickens or something.

    And they were STILL nice to me. To this day, I'm not sure why.

    God love her, Andrea has been super kind, supportive, laughing, crying, meeting, working together on contests, on writing, on girl stuff.

    Girlfriend, thanks for stopping!!!

    And if you noted I quote you often, there's a good reason for that.


  64. Hey Ruthy, What a fun post. I am laughing so hard because the whole "Call" story sounds so much like you--your life of on the go caring for family and little ones and here you are in the midst of all that trying to nail "The Call". How funny and delightful is that????

    Yes, Ruthy girl, all the hard work. I can remember way back when we were sending manuscripts across the prairies, dreaming big. And it has paid off for you.

    How fun to hear from your kids too. I'm sure they are celebrating with you and will continue to support you through the whole whirlwind of the publishing business. We know at least that you will be able to handle that. Piece of cake. LOL You are the master of multi-tasking.

    Congrats. I'm so delighted and happy for you. Enjoy and keep on inspiring the rest of us.

  65. Woo hoo!!!!!!! Still so tickled for you!!


  66. congrats, ruthy! thrilled for your success. the Lord is good...SO good. :)

  67. Congratulations, Ruthy! Welcome to the Steeple Hill team. They are a great company to write for... and they reach so many people with their great distribution!

    It was wonderful to hear your story!

  68. Oh, Ruth, you're just amazing. That's why I love you to pieces. BTW, the new title is awesome. Winter's End is romantic, metaphoric and hopeful...perfect :)


  69. CONGRATULATIONS RUTHY! (Throws confetti) God bless! And now take a DEEP breath after all that running around!!

  70. Ruthy,
    Sorry I'm late on the draw, but congratulations!..and what a great story of encouragement. You are energetic, aren't you? :-) I guess you'd have to be with 6 kids.
    Congrats again, and many blessings on your further writing.

  71. Melanie,
    You're a southerner! Good for you. AND I"m a hugger. I warn people in advance. Good for you. :-)

    Wow, you are blessed with a sweetie for an DIL.

  72. Ruthy

    A certain writers group wants, needs, you back. Good gravy, wavy, the loop's a bore without you! No one takes chances anymore. LOL.

    I shall, indeed, MAN UP and start in again. After all, now that I'm 50 (yes, believe it or don't) how much time do I have left to become rich and famous for my Ruthy-endorsed writing?

    And, I don't know about Vince, but my petulant little MS has quite a lot of romance in it, but I suppose it is NOT a "romance." (But, I consider it one ... )

  73. Great story, Ruthy! And congratulations again. I can't wait to read your book and many more to come.

  74. Loved this, Ruth! So encouraging to those of us a few years behind you.

    Congratulations on the sale. You may think this was wordy and too long, but it was just fun reading. Give us more. :)

  75. Sandra!

    Sandra was the ONLY person in FH&L brave enough to answer my critiqe partner post.

    I'm not even HALF kidding. And the first thing she did was smack me around and say, "So, you said you had all this stuff... I've seen nothing. Put up or shut up."

    Or words to that effect.


    "Hey, I'm retired, I've got time and I need something to keep me busy. SEND ME STUFF."

    That began a wonderful sisterhood and friendship.

    Okay, Sandy-pants, let's get a move on here. Off the Island... Let's do this!!!

    Love you, girlfriend.


  76. Carrie, thanks so much for stopping by!!! And I'm thrilled to pieces to be part of Steeple Hill. And I promised Melissa I'd be good.

    She laughed out loud.

    But I'll TRY, Carrie, and the Lord loves a good, sincere effort.


    So nice to have you in Seekerville. Come often, bring that pretty smile.


  77. Missy, thanks for stopping in! I know your week is a little crazy.

    You have fun, relax, and work hard. If that makes any sense at all.

    And I'll practice my Southernisms and the accent before Denver.



  78. Jeannie, thank you!

    And yes, God is good.

    We had this very cool Nigerian priest at our parish and he would interject that phrase into Mass, services, homilies, etc.

    "The Lord is good"

    And we'd respond, "All the time."

    And he'd say, "And all the time,"

    And we'd respond "The Lord is good.

    So simple but so heartfelt. And he'd talk about how God is good even in the hard times, the down times, the trials of life, birth, death, illness, finances. That life happens, but God is good.

    I believe that with all my heart, so you hit the nail on the head, dear girl!

    Thanks for being here. Did you get food? Hope so. Had to work at the bakery tonight. The town of Greece NY has WONDERFUL desserts at Tops because I went to work.

    God is good!



  79. EC, welcome aboard!

    Thanks so much for hanging out with us!!! Grab some sweet tea, oh, wait, I see that Sandra brough punch.

    Yay, Sandy! I love punch!!! Does it have sherbet in it? I love punch with sherbet in it!!!


    Hey, there's confetti in my punch. No worries, though. Extra fiber!!!

    Thanks for the cheers, kiddo. Glad to have you here.

  80. EC, welcome aboard!

    Thanks so much for hanging out with us!!! Grab some sweet tea, oh, wait, I see that Sandra brough punch.

    Yay, Sandy! I love punch!!! Does it have sherbet in it? I love punch with sherbet in it!!!


    Hey, there's confetti in my punch. No worries, though. Extra fiber!!!

    Thanks for the cheers, kiddo. Glad to have you here.

  81. Mikey.

    Do you mean it?


    Get back to it. I've never meant anything more in my life. If you need a real kick in the pants, e-mail me. I'm soooooo not afraid of hurting your feelings. Talent like yours is a gift from God and none of us should go home to God without doing our best with the talents he gives us.

    So we get slapped around a little. Big whoop.

    The trick is to stay in the game. We raise no quitters. Where's the Gipper when we need him?


    And Mikey, you are perfectly capable of spicing up that loop on your own!!! Go for it, bud!


    I will dance all night to think you're really back on track. That would make my day.


  82. Pepper!!!

    Did you see about 75 posts above yours that I have every intention of using YOUR NAME in a book because it's just too much fun to not use.

    Gotta go for it.

    Thanks for stopping in and there's plenty of eats left. Mary, can you fill Pepper's cup while I take her to the buffet line????


    Energy, yes. Which can make me a little obnoxious around others who don't do everything in a New York minute.

    Then my Southern friends do their best to CALM ME DOWN...

    Or shut me up. Whatever works at the time.

    Bless you, girl. And great hair, BTW.



  83. Okay...okay, Ruthy, since you are having so much fun, let me share. I'm toying with the idea of getting my PhD....Dr. Pepper ;-)
    How's that for a character in a book :-)
    My mom's name is Ginger, so I guess I'm from a spicy bunch back here in the Blue Ridge Mtns.
    A buffet sounds great. I'm feeling a bit hungry, especially since I'm in the middle of drawing giant peanut butter jars to advertise which food item to bring for VBS.
    I've just pulled some homemade chocolate-oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies out of the oven

  84. Pepper. Dr. Pepper.

    I love it. Gimme cookies and I'll put the entire spiced family in a book!!!

    Ginger and Pepper. You guys are either a dated girl-band or an episode of Blue's Clues. You know. Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper, with baby Cinnamon and Paprika!


    Obviously having small children underfoot keeps me in tune with PBS and Nickelodean.

    Having older children about keeps me in tune with Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers. Oh, and High School Musical. Who doesn't love, love, love Zac Efron????

    Having grown up children about keeps me in tune with cool TV shows about dancing, singing, baseball, track.

    VBS? Ah, yes, wonderful memories! You go, Spice Girl. But don't forget to leave some cookies.


  85. Ruthy, you can have the cookies! :-) Today, I'm drawing juice boxes. I know...I'm such a talented artist. I think I should stick to writing ;-)
    I wanted to name one of my daughters, Sage, to keep the family tradition going, but my hubby wasn't going for it :-( and my poor brother was called Salt his entire life. He took it well, though. He's sweet as sugar & spice and everything nice...for a boy, anyway ;-)

  86. Pepper, I knew a girl in college named Cinnamon. She went by Cindy.


    Just sayin'.