Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walkin' the Wild Side of Writin' with Ruthy...

You know how some things sound really good in theory, then nosedive into
unbelievably bad when reality strikes?

That's kind of what went down with the whole 'let's show 'em how we write' birthday extravaganza, giving everyone a glimpse of writing methods, styles, and formats.

I'm fairly sure as of this moment that despite what my new BFF Bob Mayer might say, I'm obviously a total fake, fraud and failure because there is no way in this world that the little girl that dwells inside me, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, the kid who wasn't allowed to play with half the neighborhood because she/her house/her family was unacceptable, the kid whose parents never came to anything, ever, not once...

Is now a respected published author with interviews, book signings, book club invites, multi-book contracts, three 4 1/2 Star novels out of the gate, and an amazing sisterhood/brotherhood of awesome writers and readers to play with.

What's changed?

Real fur is IN, haven't you heard?

So much.  As you can see, I still have my quirks. Yes, this is me at 4:00 A.M., and I don't generally allow side-shots because I have a BIG nose, but it is four in the morning and right about then I didn't care.

And I was holding the camera off to the side, trying to look normal and snap the shot, without disturbing the kitten, so it took SEVERAL ATTEMPTS to get me and the cat looking something better than downright frightening.

The kitten is "Dora"  (this is what happens when you allow small children to name pets: the kitten likes to explore so she quickly became "Dora the Explorer". Find me a kitten that DOESN'T like to explore...) my little friend, the newest in a LONG line of farm cats, isn't she adorable? And just think of what people spend on those microwave neck-warmer thingies? I get the warmth AND the purr at no extra cost.

Since we're talking methodology today, let's do a cram course:  I write my books in my head first.

Did you get that?

I write my books in my head first. I saw from comments these past few weeks that some of you can relate to that, others will simply twitch their lips and frown, while others will throw writing books at me the next time they see me.

I don't plot, I feel. I don't plan, I equate. I 'see' a book, the arc, the characters, oh, the characters!!! They're what move my books, their thoughts, their doubts, their memories, their past, their present. So when I sit down to actually write a book (or a paper, or a letter, or a newspaper article) it's already there, in my head. I just need to coax it to paper. Finesse it. Comb it. (See, if this writing gig doesn't pan out, I could turn into a dog groomer. Westminster Kennel Club, here I come!)

I jump out of bed, literally, around four A.M. (This is almost always true.)

I love to write. Because I work full time, my writing hours are sacred, sacrosanct, special... No one bothers me. (Okay, I totally get that no one WANTS to bother me at that hour, but that's a moot point: the point is, it works. You've gotta find what works, no matter what your schedule, right? Find something that fits in, that can be wiggled around, that can be woven into the framework of your day, your night and not instigate divorce proceedings.)

Here's the beginning to my day, and no, I'm not going to show you brushing my teeth... Or how Kramer-like my hair looks first thing in the morning. Here's the haze-laser:

Yes, this is the secret ingredient to jump-starting the day: my Keurig, flavored coffee (this is Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee, oh mylanta, wonderful!!!), Italian Sweet Cream creamer by Coffeemate and whipped topping.

And here is the finished product, approximately 8 carbs of amazing goodness:

Now we're ready. We've got the cat, the coffee, the Keurig, the laptop.
(Like Janet, I thought I'd hate a laptop. I was wrong. I love this machine, I love the feel, the speed, the mobility. Totally awesome.)
Now we write.

I don't read craft books.
I don't plot.
I don't plot-storm.
No, not even for series. For series I plant characters and if they've got a story to tell,
it will come out. It is useless for them to try and hide from the Ruthinator.
I don't write notes usually, but if I'm revising something I'll jot things on a sheet of paper alongside the computer to keep my timeline correct because when you re-write something in your head, your head doesn't always differentiate between editions.
Pencil and paper do.

And so I write. Once I have a book in my head, I start it whereever I want to start it.
This is rarely the way the book will start later...
Usually I'll hack out most of this when I edit/re-write, etc., but this is how the story
cements and ferments in my head, by actually writing it, getting it down. By BEGINNING...

After the first chapters, most of what gets written stay with the book. It gets tweaked, primped, pimped and primed, but the story does not generally change.

The first chapters ALWAYS DO.  I realize that this is my way of preparing
myself for the book, for the characters, getting to know them.
And it works, so I keep at it.

I write for two hours every morning, +/- a bit. Yes, I am disciplined. I don't have extra time, or a lot of choices, so I make use of the time I have. I don't take time off, I don't have to push myself
to the chair because writing is the first thing I do, every single day. My goal is to write 3-4 books/year.
This schedule keeps me producing the way I want to while keeping my day job.
For me, writing isn't something I do, or something I play at.
It's a career. My first career. The one I've waited a long, long time for.
I hate stopping.
Just hate it.
But I must because people depend on me for other things:

Two wayward orphan children that wandered onto our farm, very Grapes of Wrath.
They were INSULTED that I made them hose off before coming in for baths.
Even I have some standards, LOL!

Yes, small urchins arrive and must be tended, otherwise they wind up looking like those above.
God has blessed me with young parents who think mud is a good thing.

But I digress.

I work at night as well, editing, e-mails, blogs, making contacts, cleaning occasionally. (Read: Christmas and Easter...)

I write on weekends and allow myself a few extra hours of writing time on Saturday mornings as my reward for not killing anyone M-F.
Little rewards like that keep me going.
I write on Sunday mornings before church.

I love writing. I love what I do. I love creating. I love that Steeple Hill and Harlequin have been fooled into paying me and I keep thinking they're going to wake up someday, recognize the error of their ways,
and cut me loose.

But you know what I would do if that happened?

I would keep writing, because writing is what I do. It's a big part of who I am. It's the reward I waited for while raising six kids, seeing them through record-setting high school sports, college, seeing them go on to wondrous degrees, watching them get married, baking wedding cakes, dessert bars, fixing dresses, sewing in bra cups, changing diapers, greeting grandchildren, scrubbing sticky handprints off walls,
scraping up Play Doh from the carpet...

Like the mini-reward system of a handful of M+M's if I stayed on my diet all day, or a ten minute walk
if I got 1200 words done,
or a small Milky Way Dark bar for not torturing a living creature (spiders and snakes excepted)... 

Being a writer is my reward for waiting until the time was right, until my first priorities were accomplished.

This little guy is part of the reason I'm NOT showing you my office.
Not after Myra and Janet's pics, both in contention for
Better Homes and Gardens "Congenial Workspace of the Year."
Oh, no.
This little fellow was in my bathroom, tucked into the towels on the floor last Sunday morning.
Oh mylanta....

This was a present from my beautiful daughter-in-law Lacey because I'm always jotting things on
Krispy Kreme sacks in the car. Sometimes I'm at a stoplight. Sometimes I'm not.
I've used receipts.
I've used the backsides of grocery lists.

These were last week's notes. See, the trick is you have to be able to FIND the nice journal...

Which was in a safe place last week when I needed it.

But if the nice journal isn't available, a thank-you note from a grateful bride will do.

This moment proves that it pays to be nice and generous with your time.
What if I HADN'T helped at that wedding?
I might have had NOTHING to write on when I realized what Cameron's problem was, why his
mother did what she did and why Meredith came home.

Thank God for envelopes and messy purses. And by the way, it's always good to get paper grocery bags. Did you ever try to write a book on a plastic sack?
It's tedious.

This is a current example of how we roll here in upstate NY.
Notice the lack of a wheelbarrow.

So we used a plastic sled to haul wood chips.

And we couldn't find the twine to give it a rope handle, so the boys carried the sled full of
wood chips out front where they:

raked them into place.

See, it's not about the method. Or the office. Or the neatness.

It's about the finished product, the end result.

As long as the end result is what you wanted, hoped and dreamed,
you're doing all right.

We all have different ways we attack writing, different methods, different styles, varying time-lines.

But if the outcome-based reality is a really good book, then we're doing fine despite our differences.
This is what I keep telling myself, anyway, in very "I'm Okay, You're Okay" style. It comforts
me to imagine myself as some small degree of normal.

So tell me where you are in your journey. What worries you, troubles you, bothers you.
I might laugh.
But I might not. I might be really nice and give you a big ol' cyber hug, because I've
been there. Done that. I get it.

And then watch the Weekend Edition on SUNDAY for the name of one lucky winner who
will get a $20 Starbucks OR Barnes and Noble card for stopping in and commenting.
(Note to self: stock up on cards. Sheesh.)

The above line was changed about 5:15 A.M. when I saw how many of my friends don't have
Starbucks nearby or don't drink coffee, so I'm using the rights of eminent domain and putting your names
in the drawing ANYWAY, because I have the power of the 'edit blog' button.
I love power.
And that way you can grab a couple of books from B&N.... Because I love you guys
that much!

And of course, each day that you comment, we'll drop a ticket in the Kindle drawing for the end of this month.

I'll meet you guys inside. Coffee's on, and we've got apple-stuffed croissants on the  menu.
Dig in.



  1. Hahaha okay wow I think if I were a writer I would be most like you! I get ideas in my head at night and I'm like "where is the paper?!" Alas I'm too lazy to get up and get it, plus I don't want to wake the house by fumbling around in the dark and risk the rath of a dad and brother who get up at the crack of dawn to go to work and school. :-P

    I love your Dora she's the most adorable neckwarmer I've ever seen and looks like an excellent writing companion.

    Thanks for sharing Ruthy!I gotta buckle down and read those 4 1/2 star books. :-P

    XOXO~ Renee

  2. OK, lemme see if I got this right. You write for 2+ hours every weekday between 4-6 a.m and a few hours on the weekend, producing 3-4 books per year without plotting them in advance? Egads! Do I ever feel like a slacker.

    You are AMAZING, Ruthy! If I didn't love you so much, I'd be so totally jealous. As it is, I'm inspired.

    You rock. Seriously!!

    And, no, I'm not saying nice things just so I can win the drawing. I don't even drink/like coffee, so a Starbucks card isn't much of an incentive to me, oddball that I am.

    I love the kitten curled around your neck. My cats wouldn't deign to do such a thing. It's beneath their dignity, I guess. They both have hefty cattitudes.

    Thanks for the fun post and the peek into your world. =)

  3. Coffee pot's taken care of.

    I'm a long way from where I started on this journey. But...there's a long way yet to go.

    What worries me?
    Shoot, I'm scared to death of being published. I want it, yes. Have chased the dream for years. But the stories about all you have to do AFTER publication scares the stuffings out of me.

    I post on a blog. I don't think, for the life of me, I could ever keep one of my own going. I've gone so far as to sit down and design a web site (from scratch with basic HTML), but I haven't shared the URL with anyone but my kids. The list goes on.


    Oh, if my name happens to get drawn, give the Starbucks card to someone who drinks coffee and has some idea where in the world to find a Starbucks.

  4. You had me at Einstein, then added Dora...

    My oh my!

    The Ruthinator is just awesome. Seems like The Seekers have a book about the Seekers ready to jump into a binding. Just look who the Lord brought together!

    Since you asked, I'm agonizing (not really but it sounds good) about self-pub still. When I complete the revision/first dog rewrite, then perhaps I'll "know"...

    Until then, here's the whipped cream, and a variety of teas, along with some hazelnut coffee.

    And a made-to-order omelette station with a bit of Mexican flair. I ate at Tulum's in Estes Park on Monday. oh my. Think Mexican version of Subway. Yum!

    Thanks for sharing. Cyber hugs to ya!

    And thank you Lord for the miners in Chile.

  5. Hey Helen. When I. First looked, you'd not posted.

    I think God will give you what you need when the time comes!! I look forward to reading your work too!

  6. What scares me? Failing. Or everyone realizing I am a failure and a fraud [and I don't have the publishing creds to prove them wrong. Yet. Maybe someday]. That post the other day totally resonated with me. I'm working on it.

    I have a new theme song which helps a bit [actually it's my first ever theme song; not an actually new one]. Kutless. That's What Faith Can Do.

    It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
    Impossible is not a word
    It’s just a reason
    For someone not to try

    And then:

    Overcome the odds
    You don’t have a chance
    (That’s what faith can do)
    When the world says you can’t
    It’ll tell you that you can!

    Yeah - I'm working on it. I'm not there yet. Not even close.

    Personally, I'd like to hear more about what's in your head before you write it down. I think that may be how I am [though I try my darnedest to get it in some sort of outline form]. I could sit and tell you the whole stinking thing and see it acted out in my head long before I get it on 'paper'.

    Oh - and I'm allergic to cats, but I've got a very, very tired three year old who won't sleep in his room because he's scared of tickle monsters [and doesn't believe me when I tell him they're scared of his Pat the Hammer so if he sleeps with Pat, they'll leave him alone] helping keep me warm at the moment. [Was that a run on of some kind? I think so...] I may fall asleep long before he does and that's bad, very bad, for the house.

  7. Hey Ruthy!

    Delightful blog as always!

    You capture the characters so beautifully in your stories and deserve every one of the 4 1/2 stars you've received!!!

    Love the kitty and the kids.

    The mouse you can keep, but playin' in the mud looks like fun. I bet everyone loves coming to Miz Ruthy's house!

    Heading to bed but I'll be back for coffee in the morning. Thanks, Helen, for plugging in the pot.

  8. Hi Ruth:

    "Since we're talking methodology today, let's do a cram course: I write my books in my head first.

    Did you get that?"

    That’s the same technique that Michelangelo said he used to create his sculptures: he created the statue in his head first and then all he had to do was chip away the marble that was in the way.

    It’s actually a very simple technique, if you’re a genius. : )


  9. Ruthy,

    I just love your honesty! You are such a fun, great person, and I'm so glad we could be friends in the cyber world! :)

    Also, love the cat, love the pictures, and love the way you write! I think I'm similar in that I've done a lot of planning/thinking in my head about my story, and I've written parts of it in journals (and at the beginning a sort of synopsis that has changed...), but I haven't really written out an outline or anything like that. I have main ideas of where I want the story to go, but it's such a wonderful experience to just think about it and write about it as it goes, too. :)

    Anyway, I guess what might be bothering me right now is the fact that I've hardly done any work on my manuscript! ;) OK, maybe not forever, but I've been so occupied with school and blogging, etc., that I haven't been writing like I want to. So my hope is that that will change, because my fear is that I'll never finish writing the story! But I know I can trust God that if this is indeed a story He wants me to tell, it will get finished in His timing, and I need to be willing to be patient but also to make good use of my time. :)

    Thanks for a great post, Ruthy! :D



  10. I love this post! It's a great reminder that for all of you authors who make a success of what you do, heart is the key! And, also, I see why you are so well-loved here at Seekerville! . . . reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com . . . (I'm in upstate New York, too.)

  11. That was awesome to read, Ruthy. Inspiring!
    Where I'm at: I think I'm sorting out my priorities at the moment. I have two young children and perhaps use that as my excuse?
    I have had a dream to write since I was 11. It re-emerged about the time I got married 8 years ago. I've talked about ideas for books off and on since then. Last Feb I decided it was time to start. That lasted a few weeks before something else took all my attention for a while. In January this year my hubby and a friend encouraged me to start. I did a couple of writing courses and realized that yes, I could do it. Then life happened again-hubby had an accident which took us about 3 months to recover some semblance of normal. Then a 7.1 earthquake 30kms from where we live. Then school holidays. Now I've been hanging around Seekerville and getting re-inspired.
    I know God wants me to write. I'm just not sure as to timing? Is it now. Is it in the future?
    I've started a blog, but haven't actually sat down to do fiction since the writing course. I have ideas. But something is stopping me from just diving in. Not sure what. I think I need to just start writing.
    Hmm....any suggestions, encouragement would be most welcome!
    Whoops, that got long. Thanks for 'reading'! And please just enter me for the kindle draw.

  12. Oh got to say Dora is adorable.

    You can keep the mouse.

    Wow 4am start!

    thanks for sharing your writing style. I have lots of stories in my head but there is no way I could get them down on paper.

    Hey Elizabeth my brother and family are in NZ for a year living in Darfield they felt there first earthquake.

    dont enter me for the starbucks voucher. I dont drink coffee and afraid to say dont like the taste.

  13. Ah, Ruthy. The pics are marvelous. Mud moppets, flowers, mouse, kitty. Thanks for not showing the kitty going after the mouse.

    I have always written in the morning but also in the afternoon when I want to avoid a nap. Writing is like a cup of coffee for me. I can't drink coffee so I have to have something to keep me going.

    My fear is not getting "it" right. Sigh, I am a perfectionist. But I was relieved to hear you plot in your head. I have always written in my head and then put the product down on paper but not to the extent you do. You have a real God-given gift to see those stories and have them make it from your brain through your fingers to the page.

    Oh,I read "I hate stopping" as "I hate shopping" at first. Huh? I do believe that was a slip on my part based on my own recent experiences.

    Save the Starbucks for someone who is allowed to drink coffee, sigh. I looked at your coffee creation and almost wept. Okay, I licked the screen. Thank goodness Helen makes virtual coffee.

    Peace, Julie

  14. Good morning Ruthie! I thoroughly enjoyed your blog this morning. I always enjoy hearing or reading about people who are so disciplined. Just what I aspire to be some day. :)

    Have a blessed day.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.



    I have changed the gift card to either STARBUCKS OR BARNES & NOBLE so you are all entered.

    So there.

    And just so you know, it is OKEY-DOKEY to win the Starbucks card, choose it, and send it back to me as a little present for all my hard work.

    Figure it as a 'pay it forward'... And I still get the tax write-off.

    A win/win. ;)

    Renee, yes, that's it exactly, and for people like you and me, we're not quite smart enough to put paper and a pencil on the nightstand before we got to bed.

    What a pair of dweebs. And shame on you not reading any of them yet, oh my stars, you should be running to the nearest library and making them carry my books and then you and everyone else may read them at no cost to you. Except in tax dollars, but what a good way to spend tax dollars, not like that 35 MILLION DOLLAR Medicare racketeering ring yesterday.

    Oh mylanta....

  16. Keli:

    Notice the no home pics, except for the mouse and garden.... That's the same garden that made someone think I was DEAD last year because it got so bad. She figured I was either DEAD or in chemo...

    And was relieved to see that no, I was just now published... ;) What a wild ride. Keep working, I'm already planning food for your first sale party. Yum.

    HELEN: Of course it's scary. The unknown is always scary because it's unknown, but then I see what pioneers did, what missionaries did, and what astronauts have done and I realize THIS IS NOTHING but jogging me a little out of my comfort zone, and that's good for me.

    You will be fine. And you know I'll help, so no worries, my friend. I teach the muddy little ones to be "Big and brave and bold..." in all things.

    I have every confidence in you. First step: Get it done, get it out there.

    Second step: Enjoy the ride with your friends aboard. Great coffee for a non-coffee drinker, btw!


    You know, I got a phone call with a small-press and or self-pub question this week....

    We each have to find our own way and I respect that. I had to wait, I had to hold out for the dream, a full-fledged, yeah-she-doesn't-suck royalty-paying publisher because that's what I put on hold for decades. But that's not everyone's mantra, and whatever you decide, I just want it to work for you. That's clutch, kiddo.

    And for May, of course! ;)

  17. These apple stuffed croissants are so yummy....

    Just sayin'.

  18. Ahhhhaaahhaaaaa! Love this! My lips are definitely twitching!
    I'm not disciplined like you, but I want to be. I guess that's one thing that worries me, that I won't live up to expectations. I'm going to try though.

    Also, I'm so glad you don't plot storm or read craft books. You're making me feel better about myself. LOL

    Cutie kiddos!

  19. CAROL!!!: I've locked the cat up so she won't be an issue. And I've got Puffs Plus tissues, kind to your nose.

    Fear: fear of failing, of falling, of succeeding.

    We've all felt that, even big, brave, bold people like me because of that fraudulent character residing within, BUT...

    Other than instinctive fear that keeps us out of danger, away from Mary's basement and my mice, and makes us obey traffic rules to maintain life-breathing status, fear is not of God.

    So how do we conquer it?

    Like your 3 year old with the tickle monster. (and did you know that tickle monsters fly down south in September because they're not indigenous to your region, so they've actually all left the state and with tighter border patrols, they probably won't be allowed back in next spring. Gone. Poof!)

    We either challenge fear with baby steps, inch by inch (and there is nothing wrong with that method) OR we dive in, test the water, realize we were being a big whiny pants and that the water was actually fine long before we took the dive.

    Face the fears by embracing them. 'Member what I said about the first chapters? The story is in my head, but those critical first chapters never stay the same, so just jump in ANYWHERE and write those opening chapters.

    From that diving in point, you create the rest of the story.

    An example:

    Made to Order Family (I love this book!!!!)

    Original story: Brooks was still angry at his family for past transgressions, he had built himself a great business but remained a quintessential loner with no ties to anyone.

    Published version: Brooks is angry at himself for letting the bad feelings with his family go on for so long, he feels like he missed the window of opportunity and that it was his fault for being stubborn and contentious.

    So where I started isn't where I ended up, but I like the improved version better because it shows our quiet, alpha, Delta hero as the self-appraising man of God he wants to be, even though it's HARD to make amends. To go back.

    First drafts are supposed to be awful. That's why computers are SO amazing. Can you imagine all these edits and re-writes in PEN????

    Oh my stars.

    We're spoiled, plain and simple. Jump in. The water's fine. Promise. And no one fails in Seekerville. It's simply not allowed.

  20. Deb, didja note how I cleverly got that 4 1/2 star rating line in there????

    I'm so sneaky. ;)

    Coffee's fresh. Pumpkin spice latte this morning, and regular joe.

    Come on down.



    Love you back, Dude!!!!


  22. Amber, right now you just keep soaking up all the wonderfulness of college, of life, of times, of gathering experience.

    I see your path as that of a healer of old... You're busy now gathering the leaves and roots and oils that will bring Balm to Gilead in the future, so think of your path as gleaning.


    And then it will all come together when you have time and inclination and the path will unwind before you.

    And if it takes awhile, that's SO OKAY.

    And can you have your mother bake for us? We miss her.

  23. I'm with Keli Gwyn...4 books in a year? Wowsers!

    And I have to know...what time do you go to bed to get up that early? I work full time too and considered getting up at 4, but I don't do well with little sleep. (My Cranky Pants slink out of the closet when I do) I'm just curious!

  24. 22 comments already? It's 6:15 - oops time to get to work.

    But since I'm here, Ruth, I loved your post. Your Dora and the picture of mud covered children...

    My worries? What if my friends are just being nice and I can't write my way out of paper bag? (good tip by the way...)

    What if I stopped at effort 42 and it was 43 that got me the contract

    What if I just don't know as much as I need to?

    Coffee or books, put me into the drawing...

  25. Renee, another upstater!!!!


    We upstart upstaters have got to stick together. And despite today's cool rain, the changing leaves, the gorgeous views, the general lack of hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes....

    'sall good!

  26. Stopping by for coffee...yum!...and I have to comment back to Lynn...

    Friends don't read your work in progress. Critique partners do or contest judges. Then you get an impartial read. And good advice, hopefully!

    Also, you never stop writing. That proves you ARE a writer. Other people stop. Writers can't!

  27. Ruthy, since you ARE a genius, which Vince mentioned, tell us what made the difference on the book that sold.

    Did you finally write THE story that captured the editor's heart?

    Had you polished it until it gleamed?

    Did you change the opening yet again?

    Any tips for Seeker friends about how to break out of the rejection pile?

  28. Crazy me! Of course, Waiting Out the Storm was THE book. Loved it!!! It remains at my bedside so I can absorb some of your genius while I sleep. Hasn't worked yet, but I keep trying! :)

  29. Elizabeth, huge hugs for sharing that because recognizing you've got a problem is the first step...

    oops, wait, wrong blog. ;)

    No, seriously, you're where I was a generation ago.

    And it's a two-edged sword. Variables stepped in that put my writing on hold because I felt that was the right thing to do at the time, but then I look at the amazing younger writers out there and realize that it works well for some.

    Kids come first.

    That's the no-brainer.

    But if you take writing time out of YOUR time, not theirs, out of TV time, reading time, R&R time, then it doesn't loom quite as formidable. We feel guilty about writing. I wish I'd realized a long time ago that feeling guilty was just plain silly, because several of my young mothers (including my daughter-in-law) are working moms who got their masters while working and raising children.

    That's a full time job and a master's degree while raising children.

    I think the guilt comes from not having a degree at the end of the two-years, or a paycheck, but since I equate my pre-published time as my 'college years' and my tuition was paid in paper, a computer and ink and contest entry fees, it's really no different.

    We just have to convince ourselves that the 'writing degree' is just as worthy.

    And since every one in the world is starting a school, I think we might start a Seekerville School where people can 'attend' courses (watch out for Mary's, they're KILLERS!!!!) and then get a bona fide degree from the Mayor of Seekerville/Dean of the School: Tina Radcliffe.


    Elizabeth, play with your schedule. Your path sounds so much like mine, but I let guilt hold me back.

    And if you need to me to beat anyone up for you, I'm scrappy. And Irish.

    (I won't fight Tina. She's tough. And I think she's got people.)

  30. I need some of your energy too!

    Now, back to my rewrites...

  31. Ruthy, love the 4am picture with kitty. ugh! I don't think I want anyone seeing me at 4am. Also love you coffee picture. That's how I like to wake up too.

  32. Thanks, Ruth! Your posts are always so inspiring! I want to dig right into my new wip! It’s such a relief to hear that you don’t plot or plan or mull over every detail of your stories, because I don’t either, and I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t doing something right. I have scraps of notes all over, too! In fact, digging through my purse yesterday I found a scene I’d written for an ms I just finished. I read it and thought: “Huh, that was pretty good stuff.” But I’d already gone a different direction. I’ll save it for another day. I really don’t have any doubts or fears today, at least about my writing. Since I started to write I feel like I’m finally doing what I should have been doing for years.

    Dora is adorable! And you deserve every star and then some! Your stories are priceless!


  33. Bless you, Ruthy for this:

    I don't plot, I feel. I don't plan, I equate. I 'see' a book, the arc, the characters, oh, the characters!!!


    I don't read craft books.
    I don't plot.
    I don't plot-storm.

    Where am I on my writing journey? Sabatoging myself, I think. :-) I believe in my choice to write but I have a hard time believing that anyone else could believe in me.

    I think I need a Dora nestled on my shoulder purring encouragement in my ear. LOL. But my sheltie would likely ruin the moment with a game of chase.

    Thanks for the encouraging post, Ruthy. You brought sunshine on a rainy day!

  34. And another upstate New York perk: apple orchards. We're in apple season where I am (south of Albany, overlooking the Hudson River)

    There's nothing like sipping a nice hot cup of coffee--maybe one that a Seekerville gift certificate paid for--while the scent of baking apple pie fills the air!

    Well, I guess adding to that a book--maybe by Ruth Logan Herne--would make it even better!

    (I forgot to use Renee Ann, but you picked up on the difference anyway!)

  35. Ah, the wit and wisdom of Ruth. Thanks for starting my day out with a huge grin :)

  36. Ruth,

    Great pictures! What lucky little children to get to play in the mud all day! (note the use of !!! just for you!!!)

    How fun it is to see everyone's writing methods. I've just recently start trying (emphasis on THAT word) to write a chapter synopsis to guide me while I'm writing the book. The jury is still out on that one.

    So, if you write for 2 hours a morning, are you shooting for a certain word count like Mary C or are you trying to write "x" number of pages?

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  37. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 14, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    Thanks for sharing your writing method. Dora is so cute and I totally understand about kittens always exploring. I found one around the 4th of July and she likes to tear around the house attacking anything or anyone including the other cat and dog we have. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy day to share with us!

    fantum2004 AT sbcglobal DOT net

  38. Lynn said: My worries? What if my friends are just being nice and I can't write my way out of paper bag? (good tip by the way...)

    Oh my yes! That too!

    And thank you for putting up the cat but as long as she minds her own business, I'll be fine ;). Only if she's in my face or if I relent and pet her anyway [because I do love petting kitties] then forget to wash my hands will I have problems. By the way - don't leave the Puffs with Lotion in the garage when it's hot. They'll turn to powder and explode. Don't ask how I know this.

    Sadly, my DS seems to think that tickle monsters are indigenous to our area :(. We told him they moved to California but he insists they live in the trees across the field during the day and under his bed at night. He finally fell asleep on my lap but moved to the couch sometime during the night.

    Thank you for further sharing :). I appreciate it.

    And I forgot this:

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

    I'll take either card - BN for me or Starbucks would take care of a Christmas present... ;)

  39. Ruth
    I am inspired by the talent God has given you and how you use it for His glory! He blesses you with the love for writing and the stories flow from within. How exciting! May He hover over you and bless you supremely today!
    God bless

  40. Morning Ruthy, I have admired your schedule, discipline and drive for years. You are amazing.

    Now don't let that go to your head--unless its for one of your characters. smile

    Loved the photos. Dora reminds me of Suz, my poodle that insists on warming my lap while I write.

    I'm glad you didn't show your office. Mine is probably like yours so now I have an excuse not to show mine. hooray. I thought I was going to have to spend hours straightening.

    I'll take a cup of that coffee. Have fun today.

  41. Jenny, good morning! Or good night as the case may be...

    New Zealand. Ah, to visit there, go down under, check out Adelaide. Melbourne. Roos.

    Have I ever mentioned that A Town Like Alice is one of my all time favorite movies/books? What a great piece of work.

    Love it.

    Of course Bryan Brown didn't HURT the situation, did he???

  42. Julie, I personally KNOW that you read books, so I'm putting you in the drawing and figuring B&N would be your choice of cards!

    (Note change on blog as of 5:17 A.M., when I saw your comment)

    You fear not getting 'it' right.

    It's never right. Don't fear that, really, nothing's ever quite there, totally, irreversibly.

    If it's MOSTLY there, that's a good thing. Solid. If it's NEARLY there, that's just a step away from mostly there.

    If it's mostly dead, there's nothing to do but go through his pockets and search for loose change.

    Hahahahaha.... The Princess Bride... and my poetic license...

    My sweet Wesley... I'm ver klempt thinking of it.

    So we don't aim for perfect, first, we aim to get it down. Many a battle's been lost by waiting for the perfect set-up.

    So we arrange the set up as perfectly as we can and we attack from there and try our best.

    Put the perfectionist inside you to bed, and release the dragons.

    (Okay, they don't have to be dragons, but you get the drift, LOL!!! Release that inner Julie that doesn't need perfection, that just needs a chance.)

  43. Cindy, sigh....

    I am disciplined. More of necessity than anything else, because there is no other window of time and if you want the dream, you gotta reach for the dream, right?

    Discipline.... I figured it worked with kids, (most of the time), it would work with writing.

    But don't forget that other part:


    I never have to make myself sit down and write, it's a privilege, a gift from God. When I see it that way, it doesn't take much discipline to do it, you know?

  44. RUTHY SAID: "As long as the end result is what you wanted, hoped and dreamed, you're doing all right."

    Oh, honey, thank you SOOO much for saying that!! I tend to beat myself up A LOT because I am not as disciplined at writing as you and Mary with your umpteen books a year, but the truth is that I am happy with the "end result," which is a book I love and time devoted to the people who read them.

    Could I write 3-4 books a year? No, but I know I could write 2 because I have done it, but then life gets in the way at times ... and publishers with yearly schedules ... :)

    You are SO right when you say, "We all have different ways we attack writing, different methods, different styles, varying time-lines."

    We do. And when I bemoan the fact that I wished I could write more books in a year, Keith always says something like, "Would you change anything, Julie? The way you write, what you write, your anal personality that compels you to revise, revise, revise before you move on to the next chapter?" I always stare at him and mutter, "no." He very wisely pats my hand and smiles, as if the matter is completely settled for us both. "Then you're where you want to be, so enjoy it."

    Wherever we are in the journey ... however we journey ... the key is to enjoy it, which is ... sometimes ... harder than the journey itself.


  45. Ruthy, do you consider yourself a "pantster" then? Perhaps you're a happy hybrid? :)

    Know what you mean about royalty-paying v. self-pub.

    But I'm not talking vanity press, I'm talking real, true self-pub - where I write, hire editor/coach, illustrator for cover and possibly internal artwork, prepare the file, send to a book manufacturer, receive books, do the marketing, sell books.

    It seems to me traditionally pubbed folks do quite a bit of that now.

    It will be more complicated than that but let's say the books are manufactured and delivered for $2.60 each (at 1K copies, paperback, 160 pages) - that leaves a lot of "room" to do the rest and pay myself... I sell 1K copies and get 2nd printing going.

    Much like a building contractor would do. And I maintain control over my story.

    I don't want it positioned in the "Christian" market, but I'm concerned that secular publishers will demand removal of the God and moral references (oblique or otherwise)...

    **This is borderline heresy I know, but the more I talk to people in the business, the more I wonder about it.

    YOU ASKED!!!!!! ;(

    Yes, I'm hard-headed... Anyway - just wanted to further explain that concept. Poorly, but I'm sleep-deprived from travel. (That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.)

    How YOU do it, don't know, but the genius factor (Waving Vince!) is definitely there!!!

  46. The cup of coffee looks yummy. I really like your flowers. Very pretty.

  47. What a way to start my day, Ruthy-babe! And hey, that mouse in your bathroom has relatives living in MY bathroom!! LOL! Ah the price we pay for living the country life.

    I'm sure we've all read your 4 and a half star books and we all know that Ruthy wrote them because all of them sound like we're listening in on a conversation you're having with friends...or enemies...or vagrants...or any one of a host of characters we encounter in real life.

    You keep cranking out those keepers and I'll start stocking your Keurig machine so 4 am is always a joyful time for you, LOL!

    Me? I've got stock in Folgers with a sprinkle of freshly ground Southern Pecan (waving to the belles of Seekerville).

    Muddy kids, adventurous kittens, loyal canines, happy family and multi-book contracts. What else can anyone want??

    And oh yeah. Love these apple croissant things! Yumbola!!

  48. Hi, Ruthy! Thank you for sharing! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. It makes me feel so much better.

    I try to do planning and somethings I can plan, but for the most part, I don't always know where the story is heading, the specific scenes, until I'm at my computer typing. I know the way I want the story to begin and how I want it to end and a few blurry details in between.

    But, I've been finding as I've plugged away at my book the last three weeks that I figure out the beginning of the next scene and then let the story unfold. It's fun. It's like reading a book and last night at 10:10 and after writing all day I didn't want to stop. My mind was still cranking, but I still have motherly duties to attend.

    Thanks for all the encouragement you Seekers are!


    lr. mullin at live. com

  49. Jessica, aren't those urchins adorable????

    I turned them over to CPS right away, of course, because who would let children get so stinkin' muddy on the last hot day of the summer???


    Yeah, no writing books. I've read Donald Maass and I liked Writing the Breakout Novel very much, but so much of that is common sense. Great speaker, though, totally cool dude.

    I think practice works better for me. Read. Write. Write more. And then write more.

    And bit by bit I saw things improve.

    This is not where we discuss HOW LONG IT TOOK to get those first contracts, 'kay?

    Because I'm a sensitive soul.

  50. Sherrinda, I go to bed by 10.

    I'd love 9, but that's not realistic.

    10 works. And then up by 4, 4:15 if I'm being pokey. ;)

    And the only TV I do is NCIS on the DVR.

    That way I can watch it when I have 44 minutes, and I don't have to waste my 16 minutes on commercials.

    Great things, those DVRs!!!

  51. Ruthy, when do you sleep? Or don't you?

  52. What a fun post, Ruthy! And that kitten of yours is SO cute!


  53. Hi Ruth:

    Years ago there was a motivational speaker who made a career giving a single speech over and over.

    He said the key to success could be boiled down to just two words: “Gotta Wanna”.

    I jump out of bed, literally, around four A.M. (This is almost always true.)

    You’ve got the ‘Gotta Wanna’. That’s something that is not found in books. It’s more of a 'divine obsession'.


    P.S. I am fine with Starbucks. vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  54. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!!!!!?????


  55. In all other ways this was a charming offering, Ruthy honey. But ick.

    Shame on you.

    If there is ANY DOUBT that Ruthy included that RAT because she fully relishes terrifying me, do NOT BE DECEIVED.

    Yes, it's all about me. As always.


  56. Good morning, Ruthy! 4 am???? There is such a time?? EEEK!

    Your no-plotting-just-feel-it ways...oh, I wish I could return to that. I used to do that, live and breathe a story before I started writing it. Then I turned to the dark side and began plotting.

    This morning I'm headed to my church to use the big whiteboards so I can get this story in my head all plotted out because I wrote the first two chapters without a detailed plot and I'm drowning!

    ericavetsch at gmail dot com

  57. And TINA is NOT the Mayor of Seekerville. She is the Queen of Seekerville.

    That whole Off With Their Heads thing she does, keeps the rest of us in line.


  58. I'll join you with my Keurig and Butter Toffee coffee. What a great invention. But my husband HATES the smell of the Butter Toffee (really!) so I have had to curb my usage when he's around. He is dull and only drinks Caribou Daybreak. Never deviates to something more exciting. I never go to Starbucks, btw.

    Thanks for sharing your routine (un-routine?) because it makes me feel better that I am somewhat similar. And around us I let over-18-years-old guys name the cats--let's see: Dead Eye, Inky-Doo, Cat-with-No-Name (Clint Eastwood)--Dora would be nice.

    I don't think I can voice in a public forum what bothers me, worries me and troubles me in this journey.

    Anyway. crystalATcrystallainemillerDOTcom

  59. Good morning, Ruthy. You are a bright start to my morning. I just finished a bagel and cream cheese.
    I enjoy your post. The pics are great.

  60. If it's Ruthy's turn to blog, does the word "wild" become superfluous?

    Animals in your bathroom. The worst I've ever had to deal with was a salamander. (When I lived in Japan, I did have a centipede get in the apartment. Apparently that's a common problem. )

    I also stand amazed at four books a year and your schedule (and you know I'm a plotter).

  61. And either the Starbuck's card or the B&N card works for me.


  62. Mary, what are you saying, my dear girl???

    Tina is QUEEN of SEEKERVILLE????

    And, pray tell, what does that make moi????

  63. Oh, I love, love, love this post! Seeing writers with such an overwhelming passion for writing makes me smile. Big.

    It tickles and amazes me how many different ways we writers get our words on paper. Plan, plot, dawdle dream, scribble, 1st chapters last and last chapters first. I love that we're all so different.

    I used to write my stories sort of similar to how you do, Ruthy. I'd plan it all out in my head and spend hours with my characters but then I'd get so much going on up there that I'd forget half of it. And the stuff I usually did write down was in the night, when I was supposed to be sleeping but ended up playing more of the story through my mind. And...due to lack of sleep and too many scribbled notes and far too many hours spent walking around in a daze, I decided to get a little more organized :)

    Thanks for the post!

  64. ruthy, i loved this posting...and i love your books, too.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  65. What---you don't read craft books?! You shall be flogged for such a crime!

    Seriously, Ruthy, this was a fun look inside your unique writer's life.

    I started reading "Winter's End" last night and I am loving it so far!


  66. Ruthy, I think you should just hire me as your secretary, mouse-killer, gardener, & IT tech & then you'd have MUCH more time to write. I might even watch a few mud-covered kids from time-to-time.

    But you'd still have to provide the food. I'm not cooking or baking no matter how much you might offer to pay me. ;)

    And I would love a Starbucks giftcard, because as your secretary/personal assistant, I know you'll be sending ME to Starbucks when you have a craving. Oh wait, you already do that - and without a giftcard. :)

    BUT I do want in on the Kindle drawing.

    blodgett12 [at] gmail [dot] com


  67. You guys are such a lively bunch early in the AM. I love it. Where's that coffee???? :)

    Very interesting hearing how you get-er-dun, Ruth. Different from how I work, which aside from the hours I work each day seems to evolve a bit with each novel because I try new things to help speed my very slow process. I'd have a hard time describing How I Write because of that. I could probably write something on How I Write This Month.


  68. There is nothing like Ruthy's stream of consciousness blogging.

    Ruthy, you should write all your blogposts at 4 am. (You probably do, which is why along with treats we also get a little big of sourpuss. That's said with love, Ruthy.)

    BTW, go Yankees!


  70. Not a coffee drinker, but love books! :)

    Thanks for the candor Ruthy. What a relief to know I'm not the only one that thinks a novel in her head. I admit, I put a little bit down on paper. But I find whenever I sit down to write, my characters change what I had planned on paper, and go off in their own directions. Am I weird or what. I fell like I'm sitting back while they tell their story and I'm wondering what will happen next. That doesn't sound very authorish does it? Sigh.

    Jodie Wolfe

  71. Okay, sorry had to get that out of my system and I will just blame it on Ruthy, because for some reasons her posts just do that to me. ;)

    First, I WISH I WERE YOU.

    No. Not really.

    But it sounded good, didn't it?

    Seriously 3/4 books a year???? I need some of the caffiene! And thank goodness you did give that gift or you wouldn't have had anything to write your notes on! Just think of what that bride contributed to your cause!

    Am I ending every sentence with an !! point? I so need to go back to grammar. Sigh.

    Anywho, loved the post-minus the mouse *shiver* Can't abide those little things. *another shiver*

    My writing life is unfortunatly not as organized as I probably should make it, but I crave a system, so I try to maintain at least a bare portrait of one. Spend 4 hours a day actually writing +/- and about another 2 studying +/-, think any of it will sink in? It is what to exactly DO during those 4 hours when all I want to do is bash my head into the computer keyboard that is the scary and challenging part on certain days.

    I think I need to go away now... I see the crowd with the rail headed toward me...


    *running fast*

  72. And EEK the Grammar Queen is here!

    *running faster*

  73. Wow! All I can say is that is both inspiring and frightening at the same time! Which pretty much sums up where I am in this whole process – inspired to write but scared to death. Wait, that’s my life in a nutshell. But, as Martina McBride sings so beautifully – you “do it anyway” and that’s when the wonderfulness of God and life and friends and family happens to you. So, I come here to learn and to be reminded to breathe.

    Thank you, Ruthy. The more I know about you the more I’m inspired by you to grab hold of the boot straps and pull myself up again.

    Many blessings,

  74. Lynn, that's the Edison quandary:

    It took him 5,000 times to get a light bulb that worked, they say.

    His thought on that?

    "What if I stopped at 4,999?"

    "Stay the course."

    "Nevah give up!"


    Erma Bombeck's quote about standing before God is one of my mantras....

    "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".

    "Is it better to hurry to get where you think you need to be, or be truly present where you are?"

    Whatever the goal, giving it our best is clutch, key, crucial. So that when we do stand before God, we can give a nod Erma's way and say "What she said..."

  75. Deb, genius talk....

    (polishing my halo/tiara, every genius needs one...)

    Oh pshaw. :)


    Waiting Out the Storm needed a major story re-structuring for Love Inspired because it was based on book one of the North Country series, the book that didn't sell.

    So that one had a huge re-write, but the initial story framework is the same.

    Winter's End came to me with very few elements, just the heroine's neediness, hidden beneath a savvy exterior and the hero's anger, stuffed away because he never had time to just pop someone in the jaw and move beyond his mother's desertion.

    The published story is a shortened version of the original, but the story is intact and had no revisions. That's not genius, it was me just telling the story with no left turns.

    Left turns are killers and I've had to learn to stop taking them when I'm doing shorter books. A good lesson of that is that they're often not as necessary as I would have thought three years ago. Live and learn, right?

  76. Great post. :-)


  77. Ruthy, what a fun peek into your world! Wow, we have more in common than I thought! I TOTALLY relate to:

    "I don't plot, I feel. I don't plan, I equate. I 'see' a book, the arc, the characters, oh, the characters!!!"

    I don't see individual scenes so much as the shape of the story, the ebb and flow and rise and fall and--oh, lots of angst!

    Except I get in trouble with angst.

    And I've all but sworn off craft books. I read a lot of them in my "formative years." Not that I've stopped "forming." But if the basics aren't ingrained in me by now, I doubt another book is going to help. Now it's just a matter of practice, practice, practice.

  78. And I'm telling you!!! If it weren't for the fact that I have to keep my house (and therefore office) ready for the random Realtor call, you wouldn't be nearly so likely to nominate me for a Better Homes & Gardens photo shoot.

    However, I might get the award for most eclectic furniture collection. As in NOTHING MATCHES!!!!

  79. Dear Casey, Grammar Queen is happy to forgive an overabundance of exclamation points since you correctly used the subjunctive mood in stating:


    Although one wonders what the world would do with more than one Ruthy.

  80. Wow. I give you credit for all the time you devote to your writing. I sacrifice sleep to get mine done, not that I put in nearly as much time as I should.

  81. I love that you write your books in your head, Ruthy.

    I truly do.

    I try to emulate it as much as possible.

    Here’s how:

    1)I write it in my head

    2)Then I write the idea down because I don’t have the time to actually sit down and write the scene. This is all that plotting / spreadsheet nonsense I talk about! lol

    3)Then I write the scene when I can actually sit down and write.

    The only difference between you and me is that little #2 that you skip.

    Wow, we’re practically twins!!!

    Except for the fact that I do NOT jump out of bed a 4AM.

    I don’t even CRAWL out of bed at that hour.


  82. I used to attack my writing like a knight on crusade or something like that.

    I'd wake up, get the family off to their proper avenues and I would fix myself some toast and tea and sit down in my office and type.

    I could get 1000's of words in a day.

    Fast forward a few years, office is now a storage room because son and granddaughter moved in.

    I help run two businesses now, doing paperwork and billing. I watch grandkids several times a week, and I think there is no method to the madness I am feeling.

    Now, I pull out a laptop,which I sit on a pillow so I don't get burned and I try to get typing done.

    I even manage to do so sometimes.

    I long for my office back at times, and I wish we were only doing one business, but the way of the world has snuck into mine and I'm caught in this cycle. I just hope we don't have to be here too long.


    Tina P. alias Tina the 2nd

  83. Hey Ruthie!! Love the post:) You seem so impulsive. Can't imagine how you do it but I love your books. And I would also love a gift card to Starbucks:) I don't know who out there doesn't like coffee, but pleeaasse! Especially Starbucks:D


  84. KAV:

    It's not sabotage, it's a learning curve, one we're all familiar with.

    Just like we need to be still and know that he is God...

    We need to give ourselves the time and grace to develop this talent until they nail the coffin shut.

    (For you greenaholics, I'll gladly substitute a recyclable bag of already recycled ashes... Whatever it takes.)

    Patsy: Oh, I hear you about the 4:00 AM photo shoot, but that's the only time Dora does her neck wrap. After that she's a wild, crazy, chasing-her-tail typical kitten until she drops into a death-sleep mid-morning.

    And if you'd SEEEEEEEN the ones I deleted, while my daughter struggled to make me NOT delete them, but she was totally thinking: blackmail!!!! so I didn't let her win, and she has beady eyes when she's plotting my financial demise... Basically I saved her from herself and the moral of the story is: the horrible, terrible, reallllly bad photos got dumped.

    KIRSTEN: Aw, thank you, honey! I'm glad it touched home with you. And when you said: "Since I started to write I feel like I'm doing what I've been meant to do for years..."

    You brought tears to my eyes, real ones, not the fake eye-drop ones like Connealy uses.

    (had to get a Mary-shot in here someplace, it's been hours and hours of peace and quiet...)

    Hugs to you. That's where it begins, like Debby said above: Writers can't stop. And since it's not an easy biz in so many ways, if you can stop: Do it.

    Whether you can or can't, cozy up with some of this apple pie (thanks Renee!!!) and some more pumpkin spice or butter toffee latte.

    Oh so good!

    And I've tea and diet soda for the rest o' youse.

  85. ANDREA!!! The mouse and the wood chip methodology were totally with you and Mary in mind...

    Reality, Ruthy-style... ;)

    ROSIE-POSIE!!!! (back at ya'...)

    I write about 1000 words/day, more on the weekends, and I watch the word count, but I think it's more scene/chapter. Some days an entire chapter will unfold because once I KNOW these characters, they're going to do what they want based on their arch-type (whatever that is) and I just guide them through it with snappy dialogue, gut-wrenching emotion and sometimes just a quiet breath of Holy Spirit reasoning because he does all of the above with me, so it's only FAIR that I can get away with it in a book, right?

    What's good for the HS, is good for the Ruthinator.

  86. Laura, we find animals too.

    We need to stop doing that.

    Because when you do that, somehow or other (read: soft touch) they find you right back.

    We have one farm cat who hunts voraciously for her kittens, training them. What a natural process it is, but I could do nicely without the chronic blood stains and feathers/fur on my side porch.

    But hunting vermin is her job, although WHAT HAPPENED LAST SUNDAY, HUH, CAT????? HUH???? WHEN I HAD TO TAKE DOWN THE TWO-INCH MOUSE BAREHANDED?????

    Sorry. A little mouse-emotion there.

  87. Oh, thank you Grammar Queen! ;)

    And no, I don't know what the world would do with two Ruthys. Hmm, do you think we would implode?

  88. Carol, we instituted a Swamp Monster when we moved to the farm twenty years ago. Big old house, creaky floors, plaster walls, LOTS OF SPOOKY TREES....

    But the Swamp Monster was my ingenious way of showing that monster is a misnomer and while silly people think of monsters as bad, the Swamp Monster actually watched out for little children. If they stayed away from the road and the pond, he left Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on the porch with a NOTE signed by the Swamp Monster.

    And they began to LOVE monsters. Because monsters bring candy.

    Yes, I lied to my children and I'm proud of it because they all SURVIVED my lame attempts at parenting.

    The end.

  89. Charlotte Kay, first I love your name, I love it THIS much and I am now making you one of my BFFs becaue that was just a lovely thing to say.

    Hugs, girlfriend.

    SANDRA, my friend!!!

    Yes, I have broken the cycle of show-all, tell-all. Didn't some circuit court judge just rule about that yesterday????

    Let me check with the prez, see if they're going to challenge, but until then, I am NOT showing my office to anyone.

    Remember that wasp problem last year??? (Deb Marvin will remember because she's the one who pointed out they weren't bees, they were wasps, and I KNEW that but mis-spoke because they TALK ABOUT that in Sweet Hush, one of my fave books of all time, so....

    Let me just say there is still evidentiary proof of those wasps (shouldn't they turn to dust eventually????) on the floor.

    So no one is seeing that office.

  90. LOL Ruthy I have 2 out of 3 of your books but it's just me finding the time to get to read them! Gotta buckle down!!!!!

    XOXO~ Renee

    p.s. where's that late night comments editor? I need him/her! LOL

  91. Did Ruth ever say when she went to bed????

  92. Ruthy,

    Love your energy and enthusiasm! God bless you getting up at 4 in the morning. I can barely drag myself out at 7 am!

    I love your writing process. Whatever works for you is good. Still trying to figure out MY process! It's different every time.

    I get all befuddled between editing older manuscripts (that still have potential) and working on the new one! As long as I'm doing something, it's all good.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  93. Just got my Simply Books magazine from Harlequin and what to my wondering eyes do I see, but the gals of Seekerville! (With a lead line on the cover!)Ruthy wrote an article about the Seekers (complete with photos) in one of my favorite magazines! It's awesome!

    Great job, and we all are proud to be a part of your community. Write on, girls!


  94. I've phoned an exterminator, Ruthy. He should be at your house momentarily.

    I will pay his bill.

    I've just asked him to exterminate the rat from the blog. As for your house, well, I'm trying to find peace with knowing the SNAKES in my basement are keeping down the MICE.

    This is a grim bit of good news. :(

  95. CRYSTAL!!!!!!!!!!!

    I want to see that so badly!!!!

    Ruthy won't let me though.

    I'm afraid she's said unfortunate things about me. Why else would she be hiding the article, huh? HUH????

  96. Hahaha Casey you can blame the after midnight comment today on my little brother. I had to help him write his very first research paper for his 9th grade freshman seminar class and we were up till 1145pm! I didn't get to check any of my blogs out until that time hence my 12:09am comment!

    Wow my poor brother I blame everything on him. Wonder what my excuse will be next time?

    XOXO~ Renee

  97. that cute little kitty should've gotten that mouse for you! My grandma had a cat that looked like that - named Candy. She wasn't too friendly but she had some cute kitties to play with.
    *yawn* torn between wanting to snooze (been on night shift so it's allowed during the day!) and trying to get the doggies in the car for the dog park since it's such a beautiful day. the lab doesn't want to get in the car after her knee surgery back in January..the last 2 times I tried she flatout refused - even with me saying'dog park'which they're both supersmart and know! it's bad having dogs smarter than I am..they learned key words early on..I could probably say them in spanish and butchered french and they'd translate!

  98. Weeeellll, in this case I might believe you Renee. ;) And hey, isn't that what little brothers are for?? I have one myself. :)

  99. Ruthy,

    You are one of my favorite people on the planet. We have a lot in common... are you skeered??

    I'm printing out this post. Love love love your transparency.

    If you get up at 4 a.m., what time do you go to bed? 8? I try to drag my butt out of bed at 5, but it's such a chore.

    This isn't really a worry, but after an email glitch and a false wait, my novel is now sitting in Tina James' inbox, waiting for her to say yes. I'm elbow-deep with the second book, which I love just as much. Oh, those characters have such a way of burrowing into your heart, don't they.

    Oh, and speaking of characters...I finished Made to Order Family. Little Skeeter redeemed herself. My heart broke for the lie she believed about herself. Sigh...saw a little of myself in the little darling. ;)

    Love you, friend!!

  100. Ruthy, loved getting a glimpse into your writing life, seeing the pics and hearing your wit. It's a matter of different strokes for different folks even in how we go about getting our words on the page. Keep up the hard work (did you say
    4 AM?)and never lose your fantastic sense of humor. You're an inspiration.

  101. Ruthy, just wanted to say thanks heaps for your wonderful reply. I've copied it into a document so that I can mull on in. :)
    And I'd LOVE to be in the draw for the B&N voucher (I'm assuming they will deliver to NZ!). Definitely love books over coffee!! ;D

  102. Oh, Ruthy, we are sooooooo much alike! Except the jumping out of bed at 4 a.m. part. LOL! We're practically soul sisters, separated at birth.

    I love seeing the story in my head. How do people write before they've worked it all out in their heads first? I have no idea.

  103. LOve, love, LOVE this post
    And you, Ruthy!!
    And all your adorable pictures, including human mud-daubers and breathing fur stoles. WONDERFUL

    I write my books in my head too.
    AHHHH! So glad to know, that if I'm crazy, I'm not alone.
    And stoplights are a writers best friend - next to the laptop and assortment of notebooks in a purse.
    And chocolate - of course.

    I had a friend give me the strangest look two days ago when I told her I was on chapter 3 of the first book in a series. She asked, "How many books in the series?" I answered, "Three" and continued to give her a mini-synopsis of each one. All in my head. There's plenty of room in my head, though (grin)

    But I can't make myself get up at 4. Not happenin'. I'll stick with staying up until 11 or 12. 6am is early enough as it is :-)

  104. Oh, Ruthy
    You are using my favorite type of labor.
    The pay is pretty cheap until they get about 12
    then they realize you can buy a whole lot more with money than with peanut m & ms

  105. Aha, now I know the secret for how you're so productive in those few hours at the keyboard, Ruthy! Thanks for sharing your process and the darling pictures of the kids. I refuse to mention that furry thing. Ewwk.

    Seriously, I'm proud of you for all you've accomplished and I don't just mean producing wonderful books.


  106. Wow, Ruthy! You clearly rock! I can't imagine getting so much done in a day! What an inspiration you are to all of us ;) Congrats!

  107. What a wonderful post, Ruthy! Your humor and perspective resonate with a lot of your readers, I'm sure! :-)

    "So tell me where you are in your journey. What worries you, troubles you, bothers you."

    I'm glad you wrote about fear, because that's a huge barrier for me; probably my biggest. I feel more intimidated by my self-doubt than anything else at the moment, and it isn't doing me any favors.

    I have exactly 2.5 months of free time before I return to school full-time. It's a gift, and if I weren't so intimidated I'd be writing my novel like crazy from morning to evening. But I'm not.

    I mean, I've pretty much written the whole thing in my head, but instead of getting it on paper I procrastinate. I've just entered my dog in a pet contest online, and I watch her progress all day long. I'm too afraid of coming face to face with my inadequacy to move forward with my writing.

    However, if I've learned anything from the Seekerville writers, it's that successful writers feel the same way I do, and they don't use fear as an excuse to prevent them from working hard at what they love to do. Thanks so much, Ruthy, for driving this message home today. :)

  108. Just about forgot to leave my email address. Here it is. :-)


    Thanks again!

  109. Cara-mia, I cannot WAIT to see that new book of yours "Love on Assignment" coming out in January, the same month we celebrate Tina's and Audra's debut releases....

    OH YAY!!!!!

    :) laughing in upstate, twirling, too!

    I love to twirl.

    HOLLY!!! Glad you like the kitten, she's the current in a long line...

    And so cute!


    You rock, my friend. Talk about genius, half the time, no make that MOST of the time I have no idea what you're saying, but you say it so well that I just smile, nod and agree because I want to be smart like you.

    Kind of like that whole scarecrow thing, you know??? "If I only had a brain!"

    (Picture me quick stepping down that yellow brick road. The afternoon coffee is kicking in!)

  110. The tiny, itsy bitsy baby mouse pic was totally for my friend Mary's benefit.

    Note that I DID NOT publish it to her when she was in Minnesota this week.

    Because I'm sensitive to her needs.


  111. Ah, Crystal, I love the cat-names and you made me miss my boys (who are in Europe right now!!!!) who loved to come up with quaint cat names.





    We are a totally unimaginative crew.

    Can't post it here, huh??? Well if you ever need a shoulder, e-mail me. I love to talk writing, and even though you're stinkin' young and beautiful, I'll chat it up with you anytime.

    And I'll be mostly nice!!!


    I got your back on this one, huh? Different strokes, and all that. I mean how bad would it be if we all wrote the same, same style, same viewpoint, same pov's....

    How Stepford.

    Variety is good. Readers vary and so should we.

    And I wouldn't trade you for anyone on the planet unless it was Jeter.

    That goes without saying.

  112. Ruthy, You are one of the first to put Adelaide first when mentioning downunder. When I was over in Canada and Washington state when they knew i was from Australia and they would say do you live near Sydney.
    At times I would say yes if you call about 16 hours of driving close. I am actually south east of Adelaide in the same state and going there in a couple of weeks.
    (its my state capital)
    Its now morning but I really would like to still be in bed. Oh and raining yet again.

  113. I loved reading your post Ruthy! It's great to see a successful writer who figures things out in her head! Gives me hope :)

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  114. My novels all start from a mental image... a scene I see in my head and wonder about until a story emerges. Do you ever wonder why God dishes out ideas like that? I wouldn't mind being able to plan them, but nothing flows from the pen/keyboard until the vision is nicely developed.

    Your Dora is darling although my 90 lb. Lab does an equally good job of keeping me warm while I write (except he lays on my feet until the circulation stops).

    I'm glad you have your quirks... you're still *you*, regardless of whether you view that as a positive thing or not. I love your posts! :)

  115. Rebekah, I love flowers.

    But do remember that what I showed you was a VERY SMALL corner of the yard, a corner that was decked out with all the porch flowers while the rotting porch beams were being replaced last week.

    Do I know how to squash a mood or what????

  116. Erica.


    Go wash your mouth out with soap, woman.

    Geez, Louise.... :)

    Okay, you whiteboard away. And just so you know your whiteboarding isn't allowed at Gitmo anymore. I heard that on the news, chica.


    I like that. Wild becomes either superfluous or redundant, perhaps.


    And yes, I know you plot and I totally respect that. I do to: in my head.

    Mostly because I'm that environmentally concerned that I don't want to mess things up by over-utilization of, um, er....

    Writing stuff. Pens. Paper. Memory bytes.

  117. Congratulations on never giving up on your dream! Your readers are grateful. And yes, Dora The Explorer looks adorable. She makes me want a kitten to play with too:)

    Mary M

  118. Cindy, we're supposed to sleep???

    Oh mylanta, I knew something was amiss. Hence the bags beneath the eyes. S I G H.....

    Glad to see you here today! Always a pleasure, kiddo.

    And the Grammar Queen deigns to grace us with her presence.

    Another sigh....

    I break the grammar rules regularly.

    Worse: they let me.

    Which delights me, but probably plagues my poor readers. And yet, no one has mailed me a Chicago Manual as yet. Probably they know how I feel about writing books and they're saving themselves a useless outlay of cold, hard cash.

  119. Where am I in my journey? Trying like crazy to finish my revision before one of the three agents that requested--and got--partials/proposals actually wants to see the full.

    Why yes, I'm procrastinating at the moment.

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  120. Karen, thank you, dear one!!!! And Mary Bailey (did I ever mention that we named our farm Bedford Falls Farm because we LOVE THAT MOVIE so much.

    We're ridiculous.

    And if you've started Winter's End, what are you doing here???? Shouldn't you be off drooling over Marc????

    Wanting to help Kayla?

    Easing Pete's pain?????

    Woman, this is no time for lollygagging. Get a move on!

    BETH J!!!!

    Your pay is the occasional meal, darling, and that's as good as it gets on the rare night that I cook anymore.

    But I'll be glad to send you on Starbucks and Gloria Jeans missions, covert trips for high-calorie, legally addictive drinks.

    Oh, yum!!!

  121. Lori, I love what you said! It's all about the evolving, the change, the growth, right?

    And whatever you're doing is good as long as it works....

    And sometimes I'll try new and different things because I think I should.

    And then I realize how dumb that was and I go back to my old ways.

    And do I see Casey's head popping up????

    I'm pretty sure I do!

    And Jodie, too! Jodie, do not think I've forgotten you, I haven't, I will make it a point to get to Starbucks and get more cards this weekend. Promise.

    Where's Beth with that offer of secretarial work when I NEED her???

    Casey, the head banging, very new age rock.

    Whoa. Solid. And a little weird, so if you're spending 4 hours a day working and then two hours studying....

    I'm dizzy already.

    perhaps a mite ill.

    Maybe more than a mite.

    So: If you don't mind my asking...

    What are you studying? And, if this studying isn't doing 'it' for you, might I suggest reading instead?

    Find your fave authors, a cross-section of them and read voraciously. Read, read, read.

    Write, write, write.

    Play with timing, sentence structure, delivery, emotion.

    I can't write for 4 hours straight. Maybe that's part of your hitch... Try two hours, then doing something totally unrelated, then coming back and re-attacking.

    I can do 2 to 2 1/2 hours, then I need to cleanse my head, re-plan my non-plot.

    And then I can jump back in, but there are PEOPLE here.

    Insidious creatures.

    And they want food. Drink.

    The nerve of them.


  122. Ruthy, ADORABLE cat!

    Loved this glimpse into your process.

    Hugs all!


  123. Ruthy, ADORABLE cat!

    Loved this glimpse into your process.

    Hugs all!


  124. Ruthy, ADORABLE cat!

    Loved this glimpse into your process.

    Hugs all!


  125. A little bit of Ruthy-World.

    I love it.

    Thanks for sharing, Rufus.

  126. I like the whole Queen thing. Thank you Mary.

  127. WOW! It posted my comment THREE times. LOL.

    Blogger must REALLY like that neckwarmer, Ruthkins.


  128. Now that I JUST found out I am Queen. I want to know why you waited so long to tell me..and who has been collecting my Queen paycheck all this time??

  129. Boy, Ruthy, you're schedule sounds as grueling as mine. However, I could never adjust to writing early in the morning. I may be at work by 8am, but my brain is never awake until around noon! I do carve time out of my evenings though. My biggest problem is that the evening is not as reliable because family schedules cannot always be put aside. But, I write whenever I can.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing writing style. I've not really ever been able to use charts either. I do outline, but as soon as the storyline veers, the outline is usually not efficient. Rereading the last few pages I wrote earlier is what helps me get back in the story, and I have a really good memory when it comes to my plotlines and events.


  130. What a great post! And I love the neckwarmer!
    You asked what's bothering us, troubling us, etc. Even though I've taken and continue to take classes and read "how-to-write" books on different subjects, I don't know if I'll ever feel that I have a book that's great enough to print. And I struggle with discipline to write. I get up at 4 also, with all good intentions of writing till 6 - and somehow those 2 hours are gone before I know it.

  131. Ruthy-your motivation and work ethic are inspirational. Writing for me is a constant companion. There are so many stories burgeoning in my head, waiting to be unleashed. After raising five successful children, it is my turn to pursue my lifelong dream. I am finishing the last chapter of my fifth novel, a historical, taking place during the reign of King James, late 16th century England. Like yourself, Ruthy, I begin by brainstorming in my head the entire plot. After that, I get really specific. I flesh out my characters with lists of character and physical traits. They have secrets, goals,fears, motivations and conflicts. I do follow character arcs. We learn from as far back as the ancient Greeks, and later by Carl Jung that we are all hardwired a certain way. We will react to a given stimulus in a certain way within the realm of our character arc. So, birth, happenstance and experience do make us empirical. I then proceed with extensive research to make sure the history is correct. I plot two outlines---one for the story and one for the romance. I've studied many fairytales, myths, etc. I do find it helpful to follow the feminine journey as an additional roadmap. Like a master weaver, I intertwine all these elements until I'm satisfied.

  132. I'm racing toward a November 1 deadline, so I'm late to today's party. Feel like a major slacker, though, in comparison to Ruthy--I don't start writing until 4:30 each morning. SIGH. BUT let it be known right now that when I post MY "how I write" blog later this month, you will NOT being seeing what I look like huddled in front of my computer at that hour of the day! :)

  133. ROFL Tina!

    Queen Radcliffe DOES have a nice ring to it.

    Um, I'm pretty sure we spent your Queen paycheck on the Kindle...

    But I also suspect Capn Jack Sparrow swindled some of it...probably to support his little "habit" of imbibe-ation...

    Well, is that a word?

    You're Queen, so you can deem it one. LOL.

  134. Cindy-of-the-girls, you got it.

    Grab those bootstraps, sweet thaaaang, but don't ever feel like you're in this alone.

    No, ma'am.

    That's the beauty of working together, networking, laughing and chatting. And drinking great coffee, of course!

    Angela, thanks for stopping in! Smiling in upstate just knowing you dropped by!!!

    MYRA.... MYRA.... MYRA....

    Honey, you still aren't getting it. See, you're busy with keeping your house straightened up for the Realtor... Missy and I need a BULLDOZER first, I mean, we're so far from the straighten up stage that it's grown meaningless.

    This is not apples and apples, dear heart.

    It's apples and squalor. (and why would you want the world to think you're NOT like that???? Golly gee whillikers, I thought your pics were to die for wonderful. I was kind of hoping there was room for me!)

  135. Nicole, we're all hit and miss at times. I started, stopped, started, stopped off and on for years, but when the right time finally came along (and remember I was one of those guilt-ridden moms) I just knew I had to give it my best shot.

    Go for the gold, you know?

  136. Pammers, we're more alike than you know.

    Remember the envelope pic?

    That was to fill in a blank in the story in my head so I wouldn't forget it, a little backstory stuff to show motivation. If I don't jot those little brainstorms down, I often forget them.

    But once I write them down, they tend to lock into my brain better and I remember to include them more readily.

    And the 4:00 thing is really okay for a morning person. You guys who stay up to all hours....

    I'm a witch at night. Not even kidding. I annoy myself.

    TINA P.: I getcha. Totally. Remember last year??? I had daughter and son-in-law living with us, my niece living with us, I was working full time with the daycare and doing 20 hours a week decorating cakes and making fancy desserts for a local store.

    God will give you time. Promise.

    Charity, you're adorable!!! Thank you for liking my work (which is really my fun...) And I'm noticing a plethora of exclamation points in today's comments and I just want you to know that I overuse them HERE!!!!! so that I know not to use them in books...

    If you find one in a Ruthy book (that isn't there to purposely show over-the-top kid-speak or old-lady-excited speak) trust me...

    It snuck in! (there's another one!!!)

  137. Susan, I think you're doing just fine. I still have a few oldies but goodies hanging around.

    I call 'em: Money in the bank.

    The good ones, anyway. The early ones, the NOT SO GOOD ones????

    They need to be buried.

    Push the new, but don't forget the old. A little spit and polish is all some of them need.

    And then there are others that need dynamite. A boatload of dynamite.

    CRYSTAL!!!! You got the Simply Books magazine from Harlequin???


    We were thrilled that they wanted to include us, totally over the top delighted to work with them and talk about why we do what we do.

    Monetary gain, of course...

    But MORE than the monetary gain, it was a way to work together toward our success and the success of others. This is why I love Seekerville so much. I love sisterhoods. Brotherhoods. 's wonderful!

  138. Susanna, I love calicos. Dark ones, light ones...

    and her Mama keeps bringing her mice. Birds. Chipmunks. And yes...

    a baby rat....


    From over by the chicken coop.


    LISA JORDAN!!!! Thank you for dropping by, girlfriend! And honey-lamb, if I'm one of your faves, you need to get out more.

    Shop around.

    What're ya' thinkin'????

    I'm praying for a yes for you. And so glad to hear you're working hard, moving on.

    That's as it should be. FInish one, start another. No lollygagging.

    Hugs to you, girlfriend.

  139. Pat Jeanne, yes, you hit the nail on the head!

    We're different.

    We work differently.

    We write differently.

    But that amazing gift, that talent, that skill... from God, of course, with love. And I don't think he gives a hoot about the whens and wheres, it's about the whys and the end result.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow... ;)

    And ELIZABETH.... Glad you printed it out. Something to mull on, think over.

    Prayers. Time. Thoughtfulness. But a part of me realizes it took me a mite long to get over the 'guilt' as if I was doing something frivolous.

    Pshaw. I'm just a slow learner.

  140. Hi Ruthy! Popping in very late to say I loved learning about your coffee--I mean, your *process*. Seriously, that coffee looks so good.

    Thanks for sharing. Your dedication and thoughtfulness are amazing!

  141. WOW, Ruthy! I wished I could think the entire story through in my head but it would hurt just too much!

    And I'm all for mud baths--good for the skin, you know~

    Where am I at? Excited, yes! Who wouldn't be thrilled to finally be getting published? And a bit teary eyed thinking about my book sharing a shelf with you guys at the bookstore. But there are times when the nerves get the best of me, when I wonder if I'll sell the next book? So I just keep writing because that's what writers do and try to leave it in God's hands(though I've got to be honest and say that I take it back from Him several times a day.)


  142. Hey Ruthy!!!
    Sorry I didn't get here sooner...then Blogger ate my comment, so I'm starting OVER : / grrrrr.....basically I read your post last night but I had to be up by 6am so I decided not to comment then.

    I also said that it's really cool that you added the choice of the Barnes and Noble card. THAT I would be able to use online, since we don't have a B&N either, but online is great!!

    Then I was saying that I loved seeing your lives this week. All of you! Did you guys plan to all do it?! I have to ask because you ALL did it *grin*

    I especially loved the coffee routine. It looks very tasty! I chillaxed in the dining hall mid-day today and ate Corn Chowder then had Boston Cream Pie Cake and Hot Chocolate Coffee!!! YUM-O!

    Actually all the pictures were so fun. Some were really cute like the little orphans that wandered into your yard *wink* And I loved the end message. You have beautiful flowers, Ruthy!!

    Okay, I'm going to maybe watch the season finale to the 2nd season of Lost!! Then I can start the 3rd season this weekend!!! I have Monday and Tuesday off....YAY!!!

    Okay I'll talk to you later, thanks so much!

  143. Pepper and Mel:

    Yes, great minds think alike.

    Or drown together.

    One way or another it's so nice to know I'm not alone in my methods!!!

    And Pep, YES!!!! Life is cheaper when I can pay the kids in candy. Cookies. Now I have to fork over cash to the older ones...


  144. Aw, Janet, you're so nice to me.

    But I still want to come and sit on your beautiful white wicker.

    Sip tea.

    Talk about lovely things.

    Maybe embroider something. Doesn't that setting just invite embroidery???

    And a really cute hat.

  145. Widsith, I love that you've adopted that name...

    I have a sister who writes with a much more wide-reaching pen than mine...

    Her name is Sweet Grass, a born philosopher!

    Life has challenged you with so many things, and when I was at that stage the urge to write the darkness loomed, but I realized that seeing the funny side of things made me search out warmth and humor.

    Writers are needy creatures, we're artsy enough to be weird but we mostly look normal. This can be quite deceiving to those who ARE normal. Silly beings.

    I'd love to see you writing some kind of fantasy, some kind of ethereal, Green Mansions type thing. There's a haunting quality to your prose that comes through so delightfully.

    Forget the pet contest and go back to my very sensitive (okay, not sensitive at all, more like REALLY BOSSY) word:

    Begin. Jump in. Test the water.

    I promise, there is nothing to fear but fear itself and you've got a room full of cheerleaders here.

    Love the pic on the home page of your website, too, how it's nestled in the valley.

    Put the life preservers in the back shed and swim, woman. And let me know how it's going, if you need a nudge. A thrust. A kick.

    (I don't REALLY kick anyone, you know. Mostly)

    But the fun thing is, no one knows for sure if I might start at any point in time. ;)

  146. Eva Maria, if only you saw what I DON'T figure out in my head.

    Mind-boggling and frightening, LOL!

    Thanks, chica.

    And Carol, I love dogs. Love 'em. And I love being me most times, except for when I realize that I'm truly a simmering mass of should-a-beens, could-a-beens, but that's rare.

    Like three-times-a-day rare. :)

    In sales they teach you to fake it 'til you make it.

    Not bad advice.

    Laugh and the world laughs with you is also great advice, so I tweaked that and figured out how to make people laugh and sometimes cry.

    And then feel better when all is said and done. It's a great trick.

    Huge hugs and thanks to you!

  147. Oh, Valerie, PRAYING!!!!

    That God covers those revisions with your wit and wisdom and his grace and that you get multiple requests and we have to clear the entire Financial District of Lower Manhattan the day they hold your book auction, chickie!!! :)

  148. Cheryl, three times....

    Blogger wanted to be sure I got your message, sweetness!

    And Teenster, about that Queenly paycheck...


    You know those shoes I told you about????

    Just call me Imelda, sweet thing.

  149. Dianna, your schedule is a tough one. At your end, you have to be either willing to give something up at the beginning or end of the day because you've got family, and that's what I faced too.

    So I did the pre-dawn hours because school, work, adventures, mothering, all that stuff wouldn't be affected by the early start.

    I know writers that do the late-night thing and that works, too.

    And I know weekend "Jammy" girls who dedicate their weekends to staying in jammies and writing.

    And no one says we have to hurry, right?

    And Edwina, those two hours DO DISAPPEAR!!!!

    Oh mylanta,, they motor like the last hour of tv before bedtime when you're a kid.

    I use the trick that Dianna and Julie and others have mentioned. I go back and re-read (and do my first 'tweak') of whatever I wrote last so that I have the feeling of continuity.

    Because I'm not always at a good stopping point when I must stop, I'll sometimes leave myself a note at the end of what I've accomplished:

    Have Brooks be stymied by the dog once again, a little hammer home that life often sends you things beyond your control and that control is really a myth perpetuated by pain reliever companies....

    That way when I pick up the next day or that night, I can see where I was and where I intended to head before little muddy children looking like waifs need TLC.

    Which I DO NOT give them, of course, because people would then percieve me as soft, which I am not.


  150. Is this new Elizabeth my old pal Betsy?????

    Did you really get up nerve enough to step in, brave the blog?

    Oh my stars, everyone, cheer if this is her because I've only been making fun of her for like THREE years since she found me on the web and we realized we'd gone to school together.

    And she's a solid writer. Strong. And a recent contest winner!


    And Glynna is ANOTHER EARLY BIRD, but she lives in AZ which has it's own time frame.

    And I can never keep it straight. Something about mountain curvature and leeward and windward and ancient Navajo culture.

    Or just plain stubborness. More likely.

    Work on that deadline, girl. I love deadlines. It sounds so "Superman", Jimmy Olson, cub reporter!

  151. Anne, waving to you!

    And I loved, loved, loved finally meeting you and the Kellinator in Orlando.


  152. Thanks Ruthy--I thought I was a bit nutz because I didn't plot in advance and because I totally love a cat draped over the shoulder or lap. Plus I'm also an early riser, although not 4 am, usually.
    I'm thinking I'm-a-like you! (Like as in enjoy you, not like as in world-famous author-type person)

  153. Ruthy, girl, you are a hoot!
    I enjoyed reading how your day of writing comes together for you.
    I'm glad for similarities and differences in writing styles, because that means anyone with a story can accomplish great writing if just seek the willingness, time, effort, and tears.
    That coffee looks mighty good. I may need to run to the store and get me some of that whipping cream.
    Your writing on anything makes me wonder if you thought of writing on those adorable "mudbabies" with your fingertip, lol! shalom236 at
    yahoo dot com is where you'll find me. Yes, I could just see you asking those little ones to hold still why you typed it up on your laptop. That might be hard on second thought; kids are wiggly.
    Dora is not only a neck warmer, but when she purrs she must be like getting a small massage.
    Upstate NY? I've been up there. It's beautiful esp. around Lake Oneida. It was wonderful meeting you, Ruthy!
    God bless,

  154. I'm somewhere between Dodge and Motivation Highway in my writing journey . . . I've got every thing I need to get back on track . . .except I'm sitting here. Ta-da-ta-da-tee-dum.
    The pit stop happened due to an out-of-state move after selling our ranch home where we lived for over 20 years, and after raising three full-time kids, two part-timers and a multitude of animals, and classmates. A legion of details have contributed to my now having the time, the equipment, and the energy, but not the motivation to do what I always promised myself I would do. I'm mid-way in my 3rd manuscript and starting over from page one after letting the baby sleep for almost five months.
    I think I can, I think I can, I think I can needs to become I am, I will, and I did.
    Jane wells
    (Loved the coffee pics and the mud balls and the kitty)

  155. Hate to admit it but I've "met" you until today. Love this post!! I've read it three times. Will print it off and send it to my mother. We're both writers--she doesn't use a computer. She'll love this too!


  156. Loved, loved, loved your post! The pictures were hilarious ie. Grapes of Wrath! Like you, I work full time and must squeeze in the time. It's worth it though. Have a great weekend Ruth!

  157. Ruthy, I'm seeing this late but I just had to *wave* and comment that I LOVED your post (even though I almost always plot my stories like a deranged woman) and that I have great respect for you and your writing process because I've seen the awesome results! I may just have to try your method sometime, just because you're so cool...but I can tell ya now, it won't be at 4am :).

  158. Hello, Ann Baxter! I think-a-I-like you right back.

    MIRIAM!!! We used to camp by Oneida Lake, back in the day.

    Not often, mind you. Camping is work for women. I figured that out early and decided staying home made more sense, seriously depriving my children of necessary wilderness skills training. They haven't forgiven me yet, but I'm hoping a couple of nice pumpkin and apple pies will even the score. :)

  159. Jane, I think you're a teensy, weensy bit scared.

    Or scared to death, outright. Sometimes NOT being able to write seems safe...

    And when we start, we start the inevitable comparison with other people, other writers, other authors and we fall short so we put it away.

    Grab it out. Have fun with it. Play.

    This biz is not for the faint of heart, but if your heart is in a book, then jump back in, both feet.

    Don't hesitate. Don't worry if it doesn't sound good the first time through. Oh my stars, woman, if you SAW our stuff the first time through...

    'Nuf said.

    But then we play doctor. Splice. Slice. Dice.

    And we're always here in Seekerville to chat with. Talk it up. Hammer it out.

    Beware of Mary.
    'Sall I'm sayin'.

  160. Julie, welcome aboard!

    I love that you're printing this and sharing it with Mom. That totally rocks the big Kahuna, girlfriend.

    And give that Mom a hug, too. Moms deserve lots of hugs.

    And JILL!!!!

    Yeah, that gainful employment thing makes the timing tricky, but once you work out a plan (one you can stick with, you know???? That doesn't start the engine on the guilt train), then it works well. and Margaret Daley (I LOVE HER!!!) has the kind of work ethic that I find inspirational. She only just this year retired from teaching, but has published several books/year while working full time, with typical family stuff going on.

    I'm just stubborn enough that if SHE can do it, so can I...

    But I'm not the least bit competitive, LOL!!! :)

    Okay, maybe a little bit... Just a little.

  161. Marilyn, girlfriend, so nice to 'see' you here! And huge hugs and thank yous for your compliments.

    I'm honored. Touched. Maybe even a little overwhelmed, but so happy that you enjoyed Winter's End....

    I'm back here late, too, because I was doing revisions and my rooster had a benefit appearance this weekend.

    Yes, you read that right.

    The bird is more famous than the author/owner, but I'm not afraid to ride the rooster coat-tails to fame and fortune.

    Hugs to you and thanks for stopping by!

    A plotter, huh????

    Oh mylanta, we'd have a ball making fun of each other and TEEEEENA to boot. Just for the fun of it.