Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome Author Maureen Hardegree!

Missy, here. I'd like to introduce my good friend (and my go-to person for grammar questions!), Maureen Hardegree. Though Maureen has published several short stories with BelleBooks, her first full length novel, Haint Misbehavin' (a YA paranormal) was released from Belle Bridge Books in June. I'll be attending her book signing later this month, so today I'm offering one SIGNED copy to a lucky winner from among commenters. To enter, please tell me you want to be entered and leave contact info. We'll announce a winner this weekend, and I'll send the book at the end of the month.

Welcome, Maureen! We look forward to hearing from you.

Can You Hear Me Now?
By Maureen Hardegree
You’re probably wondering what that Verizon catchphrase has to do with writing and the Seekerville blog. Easy. After years in the trench of almost selling, I had an epiphany about why I’d been in there so long. I’d worked hard to learn the craft of mass market fiction. I took comfort in understanding that for many writers selling was often about having the right manuscript at the right publishing house at the right time. I knew perseverance was important, and I hadn’t given up. But had I really been listening to what editors wanted? Or had I been so focused on a particular path to full-length publication that I wasn’t hearing the message inherent in the sales I had made in the short story market?

Listening, I discovered, is a multi-faceted task. While I heeded some good advice and followed some editorial guidelines, I wasn’t hearing the feedback I should have been paying the closest attention to.

Sure, I made changes to my work based on contest judge comments (as long as it didn’t mess up my voice). I looked for publishing houses that I thought might be a good fit for me while I kept writing what I wanted. My theory? If the story and the writing were good enough, some editor might overlook the setting. For years, I wrote historical romance set in a time period that few houses were interested in—19th century Louisiana. I loved writing these stories, which, once my novels became polished enough, finaled in a few contests. Ultimately they never sold because I didn’t listen to what the publishing houses wanted—a different setting, more romance, less extraneous plot. Believe me, I thought I was writing historical romance. I wasn’t. My stories evolved, or devolved, into something I now call paranormal historical women’s fiction.

When I realized the disconnect, I decided the time had come to analyze what I was doing right with the short stories I’d sold to BelleBooks and perhaps try to emulate that success in a longer format. One difference between the short stories and the historicals was that I I gave the BelleBooks editors exactly what they wanted for the Mossy Creek series and the Southern story collections—humor, Southern small town contemporary settings, family relationships and conflicts, first person protagonists. My next novel would be a first person, humorous, contemporary novel that centered on family relationships with a little paranormal thrown in because with me it always creeps in. Since my daughter had suggested for years that I write something for her, I finally listened to her, too. I had nothing to lose. The YA market was fine with first person and humor, and paranormal was getting hot. I wasn’t through listening though.

Contest Judges
Because I listened, I was able to better develop my ghost character, which enriched my story. A contest judge rightly pointed out in an earlier version of Haint that ghost Amy needed a more distinctive speech pattern than the protagonist Heather. I read through the chapters and agreed. As much as I wanted to believe I’d developed Amy to the fullest extent, I hadn’t. This character needed to sound more country. Luckily, I have a close
relationship with my husband’s ninety-five-year-old grandmother and modeled Amy’s speech after hers. Another contest judge suggested I change the title because the first title didn’t fit the story, even though it was cute. Originally, Haint Misbehavin’ was A Ghoul Just Wants to Have Fun. But Amy wasn’t a ghoul; she was a ghost. After some pondering, I came up with Haint Misbehavin’, which fits the book so much better due to the Southern setting. Haint, by the way, is Southern for ghost.

Critique Partners
My critique partners know my strengths and weaknesses, and your critique partners should know yours. If not, you need to pow-wow with them and figure it out, then heed their advice. When my critique partners tell me they need to see an emotional reaction on such and such a page, I don’t argue. I add it. When they find a misplaced modifier, I fix it. When I use language a teenager wouldn’t, I change it. I recently turned in a chapter with the word “soupçon,” and was immediately informed that Heather wasn’t the kind of kid who would use that word. Why did it even get in my chapter? I don’t know. Sometimes I just write and words like soupçon come out. Bless my critique partners for calling me on it.

Thanks to contests and to submitting on query after finishing the first and second drafts of the book, I received helpful feedback from a few editors that ultimately led to the sale of the third draft of Haint Misbehavin’. One editor suggested I develop the sister relationships more, and I listened. A different editor suggested I pare the book down because it was too long and the pace was too slow. So I revised and cut before I queried Bell Bridge.

Should you listen to every bit of criticism? It depends. Here’s the formula I use. I always listen to editors. I always listen to critique partners but I might fix the problem in a different way than they suggest. I weigh critiques from contests. If more than one person mentions something being problematic, I fix it. If the criticism immediately resonates with me (I have an “Oh, yeah, I should have done that” moment), I fix it. If the criticism makes my inner writer shout NO, then I give it time and return to the criticism later. Sometimes those inner writers are needlessly defensive; sometimes they know certain changes will hurt the work, and we should listen to them.

It seems pretty simple—listen. I know you think you are. But are you really?

When has listening helped you improve your writing? What aspect of your writing could benefit from you listening more intently?

When she’s not all ears, author Maureen Hardegree is polishing the next installment in the Ghost Handler series Hainted Love. Visit Maureen at or better yet chat with her in person at Eagle Eye Bookstore in Decatur, Georgia on Saturday, August 21st from 1:30-2:30 p.m. or at the Marietta Farmer’s Market on the square in Marietta, Georgia on Saturday, August 28th from 9 a.m. to noon. She’ll be signing Haint Misbehavin’ at both venues.


  1. Maureen, I am so glad that I listened to what you were talking about regarding listening! Your book would be fun to read, and I know I would enjoy it. I'm just starting out in this business of writing, and lending an ear to all the authors I can meet to find out the best and most practical way I can learn to make words into pictures in the imagination. Thanks for the chance to win your book.

    Sharing God's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  2. Hmmm, listening, huh? A skill we should have developed in grade school or at momma's knee but...

    I'm still learning how important it is in writing. More so, which voices to listen to.

    Thanks Missy and Maureen. I hope you have a very successful book signing!

  3. Barb,
    Glad you're here today. I wish you great success on your own journey.

  4. Debra,
    It's amazing how some people, including me, become experts at tuning out what we don't want to hear. :)

    Thanks for listening to me. Good luck with your writing!

  5. Welcome to Seekerville, Maureen!!

    Coffee is on. Bagels are fresh.

    Listening and kicking oneself in the pants go hand in hand. However do you know how hard it is to kick yourself in the keester?

    Just as difficult as listening. We spend so much time ready to defend ourselves and ready to answer that we don't digest what we are hearing.


  6. Welcome, Maureen
    What a great post. "Haint Misbehavin'" sounds like a great read.

    With so many suggestions coming in from so many different directions, it's really hard for me to sift through the good, the bad, and the unwanted. Thanks for the step-by-step and rationale.

    HAve you given up writing your historicals or are they just on 'hold'? :-)

  7. Tina,
    I figure you have Ruthy around. You don't have to kick yourself. I'm sure she'd volunteer ;-)

  8. Tina,
    Thanks for the warm welcome! Glad the post resonated with you.

  9. Pepper,
    I'm glad you found the post helpful.

    I have put the historicals in that mythical box under the bed for now. I'm enjoying writing the Ghost Handler series and would be happy to stay in that world for awhile. Maybe one day I'll write another historical.

  10. Maureen!! Hi there. Great post with great advice. We have to be in that place where we can listen. And I like what you said about the voice. We can't edit our voice out of our stories. It is a fine balance that we must achieve.
    Good to see you here.

  11. Lindi!
    Here's someone I listen to all the time. Making sure you don't edit your voice out of your writing is so important. That's probably another post altogether. :) However, I'd say that often when you're starting out that's easy to do because you aren't sure how to characterize your voice or you haven't developed it yet.

  12. Maureen, you said "Bless my critique partners for calling me on it." How many times have I thought that? Indeed--God bless my crit partners! They certainly deserve it. Thanks for the reminder to listen. It isn't always easy to do.

    April Gardner
    aprilmarieg (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. Good morning, all! My oldest is packing his truck to return to college this morning. :( So I'll be away for a bit. Meanwhile, I've brought some nice extra bold coffee (Green Mountain Coffee's Double Black Diamond) and some Hazelnut Biscotti creamer. So get your caffeine fix and I'll be back in a bit (feeling sorry for myself, I'm sure).


  14. Morning Maureen, Welcome to Seekerville and the great post.

    Listening. Oh my. God's been after me on that one for quite awhile.

    And Ruthy.

    And hubby.

    Okay, I'm listening.

    And having some of Tina's coffee and a bagel.

  15. Maureen, I love the concept behind your book and the catchy title. In fact, I was so intrigued after reading about it in the Seekerville lineup a while back that I've ordered it. I love the YA genre.

    Wise counsel about listening. It's an important quality for a writer to have. I'm just starting out -- no crit partner, no editor or even contest feedback yet -- but I'll definitely remember this and keep my ears tuned.

  16. Forgot to congratulate you and wish you the best on your booksigning.

    What bookstore and does it have a phone number? I'd love to order a copy of Haint Misbehavin for a young lady I know.

  17. Good morning, Maureen, and welcome to Seekerville -- great post!!

    AND ... an incredibly important one, too, because it drives home the fact that we DO need to sharpen listening skills when it comes to our own work because sometimes we have a blind eye (and a deaf ear) to something that would really make our story sing.

    I learned this the hard way several times throughout the five books I've written, but particularly in the ms. I just finished when my agent pointed out some major flaws ... one month before deadline!! I went shock deaf for about a day while I cried and railed before I got my act together and really LISTENED to what she said. Today the book is SO much better and, ironically, the moment I added what she suggested (no small feat one month out from deadline!), it was SO weird how everything -- plot, characters, motivation, ties with previous books -- suddenly glommed together like epoxy.

    In this competitive business, really LISTENING is key, but I've also learned that it's never more crucial than with the Holy Spirit after you pray for His guidance. I'm not always real good at that either, unfortunately, but I'm learning. But I knew I was in trouble last week when my Joyce Meyer devotional said: "You have one mouth and two ears, so that means God wants you to listen twice as much as you talk."

    Sigh ... not easy for a gal who writes 500-page books and comments longer than the blog ...


  18. Welcome to Seekerville, Maureen! Congratulations on the release of
    Haint Misbehavin'. Your advice is right on! You're not the only one who thought she was listening, but had trouble letting go of her pre-conceived ideas. My cp suggested category when I was writing single title or trying to. After heeding her advice and revising, I sold to Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical.

    I brought apple fritters this morning. Crunchy on the outside, melt in your mouth gooey in the middle.


  19. Hello, Maureen! Nice to meet another YA writer!

    You made LOTS of GREAT points, Maureen! Listening is very important! I definitely listen to critiques and contest judges, and especially editors! I learned early on that I could learn a lot from those who had more experience than me. But being an Inspy writer, I also learned to listen to God! When people told me I would never sell a historical YA romance to a Christian publisher, I'm glad I believed what I felt God was telling me--that it WOULD sell some day. And it did! To Zondervan. Woohoo!

    I also write Southern historical romance set in 1880 Alabama. Gotta love those Southern gentlemen with their slow drawl and big muscles! LOL! (Sorry. I digressed.)

  20. But it IS hard to listen sometimes. I relate so much to what Julie said. My editor wanted me to make some changes in my second book, but she's so wonderful, she made them sound more like "suggestions." I made some rather minor changes, hoping that would suffice, then my agent pointed out, hey, this isn't exactly what your editor wanted. I was going to have to make more DRASTIC changes if I really wanted to do what she was asking. Ouch. But they were both right, of course! I realized that once I was able to wrap my brain around how the story would change once I made those changes. Of course, I did it and it's much better this way! But it's HARD when you have preconceived ideas about your story, it's hard to think of it differently sometimes.

    So yes, listening is important and NOT EASY!

  21. I'm back. Have seen my son drive off. Won't see him again until October parents' weekend. So of course, I've cried--making my poor dog go crazy. He can't stand it when I cry! He kept bringing me his toys, trying to cheer me up. Bless his heart, it worked.

    Goodness, my son is 20, you'd think I'd be over this by now! :)

    Barb, thanks for stopping by so early this morning! :)

    Debra, that's a good point about learning which voices to listen to. I think when we start out, we may listen to too many. I like how Maureen lined out how she discerns.

  22. Tina, thanks for bringing bagels this morning!

    Hey, Pepper! I was waiting to see what Maureen said about the historicals. She writes beautiful historicals! But her contemporary humor is also great, too. Maureen, maybe one day you'll be publishing both!

  23. Lindi, girl! Glad you got to stop by before work. Has Ruthy been pestering you yet to finish the book?? :)

    (Pssst...Ruthy... Lindi had a brainstorming question this past weekend, so I think she was working!)

  24. April, I agree! Bless my critique partners' hearts! :) I try to go over my work a couple of times before I send it, but gosh, they sometimes get a really rough version.

    And poor Maureen got some of my very first manuscripts! She probably deserves a medal. :)

  25. Okay, Sandra, you do realize you'll make Ruthy's head swell up, don't you? You mentioned her in the same company as God and your hubby. ;)

  26. Kav, I'm glad you ordered Maureen's book! I can't wait to read it. I got to read the first chapter on the Lipsmacker Lounge website (Bonne Bell's website for girls) but was waiting to buy a signed copy this month. :)

    Okay, Kav, so when are you going to enter your first contest?? Are you ready to send your baby out there yet? :)

  27. Julie, I'm so glad the book and series came together so well!! I know that was a relief (after the panic). :)

    Janet, Shirley sure knows what she's talking about. I took that online class with her and it was GREAT!

  28. Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for this helpful lesson and one that's very timely for me. I was just going over some feedback from judges this weekend and trying to decide if I should make the changes they've suggested. Basically rewrite the whole opening! UGH. But I think they have a point.

    Like you said, it's hard to change pre-conceived ideas on how your story should go. But many times the changes are necessary!

    Thanks to all you pubbed ladies for sharing your own stories. It's nice to know that even you guys have the same issues we do!

    Congratulations on your book, Maureen. It sounds fun!

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

  29. Melanie, I'm so glad you didn't listen and kept at it with your story!! I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it! :)

  30. Susan, I know how hard it is to change those openings. I've had it suggested in contests before as well.

    One thing I've learned is having someone objective tell me something is VERY helpful. I'm so close to a story that sometimes I can't make wise decisions. I need someone who can see the big picture. But I do think it's really important to have someone you trust give the feedback. That's why contests are difficult! Most of the time the judging is anonymous.

    So weigh it carefully. And like Maureen said, if more than one judge says something, then definitely give it some consideration.

  31. April,
    Glad you have critique partners who are blessings in your life as well. :)

  32. Missy,
    I know you'll miss him. Hugs, and I have some Starbuck's French Roast if you need some extra-bold to get through the day!

  33. Sandra,
    Sometimes listening is the hardest thing to do--especially when it's your husband! :)

  34. Kav,
    I'm honored that you've ordered Haint and that the premise intrigued you.

    When you're ready for a critique partner, I'd suggest joining a local RWA chapter--if you're writing romance--or ACFW--if you're writing inspirational fiction. Both organizations have chapters where writers, both newbies and veterans, can meet, learn, and possibly find other writers to critique with.

    Georgia Romance Writers is where I found my first critique partners.

  35. OOOOOOOHHHHHH! Thanks for the tip, Missy. I went to the Bonne Bell lipsmacker sight and ferreted out the sneak peak of Haint Misbehavin'. Love it. That's one snappy opening! Love the first person POV. And she's got attitude -- I like a heroine with attitude. Can't wait until my copy comes in now.

    First contest? Gulp -- my baby is currently missing some appendages but I'm working on it! Have to fine tune my doctoring skills though. Listening being one of them. :-)

  36. Sandra,
    I'll be signing at Eagle Eye bookstore in Decatur, Georgia on August 21st from 1:30-2:30 p.m. However, you can order Haint from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble or directly from Bell Bridge. I'll also sign at the Moonlight and Magnolias conference multi-author booksigning on October 1st. I'm giving away temporary tatoos of the Ghost Handler logo at M&M.

  37. Julie,
    I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who needs a little reminder to listen. Thanks for sharing your own story, too! :)

  38. Janet,
    Thanks for having me as a guest. Thanks also for sharing your Listening story.

    Those apple fritters sound really good!

  39. Thanks, Maureen. Maybe another cup will help.

    BTW, I'll be a happy camper if Starbucks would make K-cups! I've had a really hard time finding anything strong enough to use in my Keurig. I even bought a little k-cup to fill with my own beans, but it's not the same.

  40. LOL, Kav! Sounds like you need to go to medical school. ;)

  41. Melanie,
    I'm so glad you stuck to your instincts and kept writing inspy historicals. :)

    You're so right about listening being hard especially when it comes to revising our work.

  42. For those of you who haven't already guessed, Missy, Lindi, and I were critique partners back in the day.

  43. Missy,
    No medal necessary! :)

  44. Yep, Maureen, Lindi and I (as well as Meg Moseley) had a weekly in-person critique group. We met for hours and usually drank 1-2 pots of coffee. :)

    And you know, only after they critiqued my manuscript did I final in (and win!)my first contest. I give them the credit for that!

  45. Sue,
    First, congratulations for entering a contest. It takes courage to send our work out there.

    Secondly, take some time to let those judges' comments sink in. While you're getting some distance for perspective, start something new or write the next chapter. Once you do that, re-writing the whole opening won't seem so daunting--I hope!

    I like to think of contests as on-line classes. If you enter them with the goal of learning how to do something better, you never lose.

  46. Great post, Maureen! At the beginning of the summer, my agent asked me to revise my medieval. The same one that a year earlier I tightened from 94k down to 73k. This time I had to beef the word count back to 95-100k. We figured "just add back in what was deleted."

    Only in the year between the first cut and the beginning add, I began "listening" more.

    Actually, the listening was a multi-pronged effort which entailed me deciding to LISTEN, HEAR, CONSIDER, EVALUATE, and APPLY what I'd I was begin taught. the words going in.

    Hear....what those words say to the point of understanding exactly what those words was being said.

    Consider...previous thoughts, beliefs, habits, and "rules" might be wrong or, at the least, stifling.

    Evaluate...what *should* I change because X wasn't working, what *could* I change to see if the change was better then the existing.

    Apply...what I learned.

    The Seeker ladies do a great job teaching craft (and the art of contesting) in a manner that's easy-to-understand. I have several "go to" articles, such as one on GMC by Missy, characterization by Cheryl, empowering kissing scenes by Julie, writing tight by Ruthy, etc.

    Myra has a set of grids that are amazing. I didn't realize how important the one on keeping a list of names of characters. Well, when I filled one out, I realized I had a slew of "C" names so I spent several hours researching to find suitalbe alternate names.

    Laurie Alice Eakes told me I needed to read Patricia Veryan's entire Golden Chronicles series and focus on characterization and narration. I a week. Boy, did I do a lot of "considering" as I read, and I realized how (and I do kinda blame contest judging for this) I'd been viewing fiction through "the writing rules"-focused glasses.

  47. I remember so many times when I didn't KNOW ENOUGH to really listen. For me it was like I had to learn each step to writing, before I could advance to the next step.
    Or better yet, picture an onion. I always had that tiny bulb of an onion in me, but each layer had to be added IN THE RIGHT ORDER.

    If someone taught me a layer that wasn't next, it made no sense to me. So I'd have this knowledge but not really know how to apply it because I didn't have the underlying layers in place yet. But then I'd GET the right layers and sometimes things would pop fast, layers would add fast, because I knew them, they just didn't make sense.

    Okay, this comment also makes no sense.

    I have a feeling this is a problem that can only be solved by cheesecake and plenty of it.

  48. I also probably smell like an onion so my comment is particularly apt.

  49. i will add that I don't think I'm a good listener. I spend too much of my life daydreaming.

  50. Kav,
    Glad you liked the opening! If you want to read the second chapter as well, chapters 1 & 2 are up on

  51. Missy,
    I don't understand the concept of one cup at a time. Give me a pot of extremely strong coffee, or give me nothing (which will lead to a headache from lack of caffeine)! :)

  52. Gina,
    I feel for you. Cutting a 95,000 word ms to 74,000 and now beefing it back up to 95,000. You can do it!

    So glad you found the Seekerville blog and were able to take away from it so many lessons that helped you become a better writer. These ladies are wonderful.

  53. Mary,
    Your comment did make sense! Sometimes we don't listen because we don't have the skill set to understand yet. I, however, never pass up the opportunity to have cheesecake, so please share!

  54. Great post! I'd love to read your book. It sounds awesome. :)


  55. In one of my oddest listening endeavors, I looked at the opening to my completed, yet still unpublished, manuscript and scrapped the opening. Given that this opening had provided me my only contest placement ever, I did it with reluctance.

    However, the reason I did it was because I kept hearing voices that said, it may be good enough to place in a contest, but it's not good enough to be published.

    Writing-wise, it was hardest thing I've ever done to date.


  56. Hi, Walt!
    That's a great point to make. Some openings may be good enough to final in a contest, but they need more work to earn a contract. And, as we've seen from some other authors here, even with a contract in hand, you may be making more changes on top of those you already made.

  57. Listening is so hard. It's much easier to think the judge/reader just doesn't have enough sense to "get" my wonderous writing.

    Normally, I apply about half of the advice I'm given. Then 6 months later when I drag out the comments again, I'm able to see more clearly and apply about 90% of the suggestions. I'm stubborn and don't like change.

    Your book sounds delightful and I know my teenager daughter would love it.

    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

  58. Connie,
    Time does wonders for our listening skills, doesn't it?

    I hope your daughter enjoys Haint!

  59. Great advice, Maureen.

    When I first began writing, I thought my stories were awesome. They weren't.

    As I progressed in my journey, I entered contests and received less than hoped for results. I wondered if the judges knew what they were saying. They did.

    I'm several years into my journey now, and I'm learning that feedback from knowledgeable sources is vital. I can be blind to my weaknesses, and others can open my eyes. Do I listen to others more readily these days? I do.

  60. Keli,
    I think many of us learn the listening lesson the hard way. But the good news is that we eventually do learn it!

    Glad the post resonated with you.

  61. I'm the ultimate newbie here, haven't ever entered contests or anything, so I can't speak for that type of feedback.

    This weekend I had some feedback from another writer and professor. He suggested what if you go in this direction. While taking that home and plotting it out a bit more I decided he was completely RIGHT but that I would need to totally start it over to go in that direction. I'm glad I did though. Its all such a learning process, one I'm enjoying tremendously for the most part.

  62. gina,

    I never thought of a name chart either until I took an online course with Susan Wiggs. She provided one, and it's been a huge help! Especially when I'm doing more than one story in the same town.

  63. Peeewww, Mary! I do believe I smell onions.


    By the way, I think you're a good listener. You may daydream, but you're never ditzy or distracted.

  64. Angela, I've got you entered. Thanks for stopping by.

  65. Julia,
    Glad that listening to your professor led to an epiphany of your own. Good luck on the revisions!

  66. Walt, I'm sure that was difficult. But I think what helped you final in that contest is your great writing and voice. And even if you cut off your opening and start later in your story, you still have that great writing. So enter that new version, and I bet it'll do great in a contest as well!

  67. Connie, you're so right! If we have the time, one of the best things we can do is get some distance from a story. Then we can read it more objectively.

    Stephen King recommends it in On Writing.

  68. Maureen, it's wonderful to have you visit with us in Seekerville today! Sage advice, truly!!! I am right there with Julie (literally, as we have the same agent!) about the importance of trusting the advice of a really knowledgeable and experienced agent. (Not prejudiced here AT ALL, but ours is OUTSTANDING!)

    Gina, thanks for the kind words about my novel planning Excel spreadsheets. For anyone who's interested, the file is available for download at my Web site.

  69. Keli said: I can be blind to my weaknesses

    And I say, I know! I am, too. I wrote a post on that last year (I think it was)--about seeing the speck in someone else's eye when we have a log in our own. :)

    That's one reason I like to judge contests. I learn so much! And then I can look at my own work more clearly and use what I've learned.

  70. Julia, welcome! I'm glad you stopped by!

    Isn't it fun when someone gives you a great idea for a story? In one of my earlier manuscripts (the first book I sold), my cp, Lindi, tossed out an idea while we were brainstorming, and I went with it. I think it made the story so much better.

  71. Hey, Myra. Thanks for sharing the link! I still haven't had success doing links in posts and am feeling very inadequate! :)

  72. LOL, Missy! I learned this trick from Mary!

    GO FIGURE!!!!!

  73. That ol' onion Mary tried to teach me as well. But I couldn't get it right. I'd see a link, but it wouldn't send to the right place. {sigh}

  74. I love young adult paranormal, so I'm glad to learn of another author!

  75. Sending you a hug, Missy. So sorry you had to see your bird fly away this morning! I am going to cry buckets when that happens to me!

  76. Your book sounds like a blast! Thanks for guestblogging with us.


  77. a great posting...thanks for the chance to read maureen's novel...

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  78. Thanks Myra and KarenK.
    And thank you, Seekerville! I'm heading to critique group to listen to what needs fixing in my chapters!

  79. Bluerose and Karen, thanks for stopping by. I've got you entered.

    Melanie, thanks for the hugs. He's a junior this year, so I should be a pro at this. But this year was harder than last year. Of course, nothing compares to that freshman year! :)

  80. Hey, Cheryl! It's good to see you!

  81. Hey Maureen!!! I'm still excited for you and your first book! Sorry I won't be able to make it on the 21st (gotta work), but I know you're still going to have a great turn out.

    Thanks for the advice. I have to remind myself often to lay down my ego and listen to the instruction God's put in my path.

  82. Hey, Dianna! Thanks for stopping by!

  83. Hi Maureen!

    LOVE your listening tale. I found myself nodding a lot as I read. Does this count as visual listening?

    You did, in fact, encourage me. I hired a writing coach and we worked together in July. Since then I HAVE listened to her coaching and she says I'm on the right track. Still working on the complete rewrite in first person. (It's a middle grade adventure.)

    I'd rather wanted to do it in first person, but ended up copping out. So - now I'm doing what I SHOULD have done in the first place. Sigh.

    It's exciting to anticipate what will happen and if they will "hear me NOOOWWWWW".

    The SCBWI Mid-South conference is end of September. Perhaps will find out something then. Also submitted tomorrow (!) to 3 folks I met at the SCBWI Houston conference in Feb. They gave us 6 months to submit and GASP - I realised - that's THIS WEEK. Yee gads.

    Thanks for sharing. Very much enjoyed!

    Thanks Missy, for inviting her - superbly wonderful info here.

    would love to win - may at maythek9spy dot com

  84. I think everyone's already left the party here, but even though I'm a late-comer, I had to say that I'm glad I read todays post because (among other things) I learned a new word. Soupcon.

    I guess everybody else knew it, but it was new to me. I looked it up.

    Hope you don't mind me coming in so late. (I was writing, so I did have a good excuse.)

  85. Missy, meant to ask, how ya doin'? Hope not too sorry for yourself. (((hugs)))

    Several FB friends have been commenting on this very thing...

  86. KC, good luck with your submissions!! I'm glad you noticed the deadline! :)

    You know, I really enjoy writing in first person. So have fun with it!

  87. Teri, good for you for writing first! We're still here. :)

    And pssst...don't tell...I didn't know what the word meant either.


  88. KC, thanks for asking. I'm doing better. But I had a tough grocery store trip. Almost bought an avocado just for him (he was on a guacamole kick this summer). Then realized I probably wouldn't use it.

    sniff sniff

  89. awhhhh...
    well - dang...

    you know - avocados are GREAT for the complexion and soooo tasty!
    we definitely speak "guac" around here. :)

    and thanks! It was a blessing for sure - just found my notes from the conference so am working on getting a line or 2 in the short and sweet cover letter, plus synopsis and 3 chapters is what they all want so - that's what they'll get.

    we'll see! thanks so much. it's been such a help to have others who have walked this path before. thank you one and all. you've been a real encouragement and frankly, i've learned so much here. appreciate that you let me "lurk" though i'm not a romance writer. ;D

    looking forward to reading YOUR work Missy. I won I won I won!!!

  90. First, I'm sorry I couldn't get here yesterday Maureen because:

    Work had me hopping...

    I love Belle Books

    I love Deb Smith

    And this sounds absolutely wonderful from beginning to end.

    Since I wasn't here yesterday, I missed food, camaraderie, fun and frolic.

    I'm bummed. Because if anyone in Seekerville needs advice on 'listening' it would be...


    Me. So I'm going to take this reminder to heart because that whole 'Be still' scripture was probably directed at yours truly and I need to embrace it more often.

    Bless you and thank you for coming to Seekerville!

    And do you pick on Missy as much as I do, just because it's fun? Because if you don't, I think you should.

    Just sayin'...

  91. Please enter me - sounds like a good book.

  92. Dianna,
    I appreciate your support. You'll be there with me in spirit!

  93. KC,
    Glad you enjoyed the blog! I'm sure you'll get a lot out of the SCWBI conference. Fingers crossed that your rewrite goes well and you get an offer.

  94. Teri,
    No worries about arriving late, okay? :) Glad I could add to your vocabulary!

  95. Ruth,
    I love BelleBooks and Deb Smith, too! She's my editor.

    As to picking on Missy, I don't see her enough these days to get much good teasing in. But I promise I'll do my best next time we get together! :)

  96. Thanks for stopping by, Wendy!

  97. Thank you, Seekerville, for being such gracious hosts.

  98. Maureen, thanks for joining us! It's been fun.

    And all y'all who've entered for the book, I'll draw a name, and we'll post the winner in the weekend edition. Then I'll purchase the book and get it signed on the 21st. Will mail it to you then!