Thursday, May 26, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger New York Times Bestelling Author Lenora Worth

Lenora with Winnie Griggs and Betsy St Armant

Hello, everyone out there in Seekerville! Was it too much that I was escorted onto the island by four cabana boys carrying my lounge chair? Elnora is nothing if not over the top!

I’m so happy to be here. You girls are more fun than a BoGo sale at Payless! I pondered what to talk about today and since I know this is the place for writers to hang out and hold on until they make that important step to being published (and beyond), I decided I’d go over some of the things I’ve learned in my almost twenty years in this business.

First, life is short. Buy the shoes. I still have the first pair of fancy shoes I bought right after I sold a couple of books. I think I wore those shoes to every Harlequin party for years. I’ve just now retired them. They were black patent Life Strides. And they helped me with my life strides, let me tell you. I wore them out. But this is not about the shoes, my darlings. This is about always putting your best foot forward. This is about putting one foot in front of the other, or in this case, putting your fingers on the keys and writing, or taking up that pen and writing. Keep at it.

Second, don’t look back. Do NOT compare yourself with everyone else. If you do, you’ll start to doubt and this is a writer’s worst enemy. Doubt creeps in each time you read a review that tears your work to shreds. Doubt takes over each time a friend or a writer you don’t even know wins the award you covet or makes it onto a list where your name should be. Don’t give in to doubt and don’t look around and compare yourself to others. Keep your eye on the prize. The prize is to write the best books possible and see them in the bookstores. The ultimate prize is to touch the lives of others with your words.

Which brings me to number three. Cherish your readers. Respect your readers. They might not always agree with you, but always answer their letters, e-mails, facebook posts and notes. Be gracious, even when you are criticized. Use the rule I always gave to my children when they were going out of the house—Be sweet, be smart, be safe. Just be kind, no matter how much you want to lash out. Lashing out will come back to haunt you. Kindness will reflect you in a good light.

Now, number four—Give back as much as you can, but don’t give away yourself. You can’t do it all. You must stop and think—Why am I here? You are here because you want to write books. If everything else is crowding around to the point that writing has become second (in your job area), stop and reconsider saying NO to some things. This doesn’t mean you have to sell off your children and lock your doors to friends. This just means you need to guard the writing. I call this “going underground.” Sometimes you have to push everything out of the way in order to meet the obligation of your craft.

Flower when Lenora made the NYT Bestseller list
And finally, number five. Have fun. Enjoy this gift from God. Make the most of the words your write. Don’t give up. It’s so true that when a door closes, a window opens. Embrace that window and look out into the possibilities of life. I’ve often thought what would happen if I suddenly couldn’t sell another book. I’d be sad. I’d cry and stomp my feet. But I’d survive. I’m so blessed to have this wonderful career where I get to sit in my little room and write books. I don’t take it for granted. But … I have other dreams. I could work in a shoe store or a bookstore. I could become a baker! I have options. This life isn’t over until we go to meet our maker.

So, my darlings, stay strong, shout for joy, embrace life and always wear fabulous shoes.

Now where are those cabana boys? I have gumbo, crawfish and white chocolate bread pudding for everyone. And shoe coupons, of course!!!

January 2011--Because of Jane

Feb 2011--Body of Evidence (NY Times Bestseller!!! Mass Market Paperbacks)

May 2011--Hometown Sweetheart

Sept 2011--The Doctor's Family


KC Frantzen said...

Oh yum, cute shoes, gumbo and bread pudding too?

Hee hah!

Helen, better make strong coffee to go with!

Thanks Lenora, for the super advice. Gracious you're prolific. Thanks for being here today!

Vince said...

Hi Lenora:

I was just wondering how Elnora fits into the picture.


Lenora said...

Hello Seekerville People!! Vince, it's good to see you here. KC, nice to meet you. You two are either out late or up very early. I'm happy to be here!!

Ausjenny said...

Hi Lenora, I like your advice about readers seeing as I am one.
As you know I'm an aussie its afternoon here.
Love what you wrote. (now back to my report)

Helen Gray said...

Yep, KC, plenty of strong coffee.

My husband calls me Imelda because of my shoe collection.

He's one of those guys who thinks if he has two pair he's in tall cotton.

He just doesn't get it!!!


Camy Tang said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Lenora! And congrats on your recent NYT bestseller a month or two ago!

Such good advice! Thanks so much! I really respect you for your perseverance and your years of experience in this tough business!


Kirsten Arnold said...

Hi Lenora,

Thank you so much for your great advice, especially about not comparing yourself to other writers. It's so easy to fall into that trap.

Now I'm off to buy those shoes. Cowboy boots preferably. :o)


Pepper said...

Coming out of vacation for some cake...and did Lenora see the cabana boys?!?
Hmm...maybe I should stick around a while. :-)

Thanks for the encouragement, Lenora - and what a great reminder to put things into perspective. Needed that today.

Btw, if you were a shoe, which kind would you be? Flashy & fancy? Confortable yet cute? Daring and strappy? :-)_

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome, Lenora! So glad you could join us today and share your encouraging words. And CONGRATULATIONS on making the NY Times list! Awesome!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Hey girls and guys! Having my tea and pineapple cream cheese smothered bagel before I head out the door for errands that I dread. Hope to pop in later this afternoon.

Lenora, welcome and thanks for visiting us today. I'll read your post which I'm sure is fabulous upon return. For now I need to finish my tea and head out the door!

Thanks all for your prayers for my family. No other losses (that I know of) through the storms yesterday. God is good!

Hugs, Linnette

Andrea Chermak said...

Great advice, not just for writing but for living. Thanks, Lenora!

Andrea Chermak said...

I liked your question, Pepper. If I said I'd be bare feet, what does that mean? ;)

Shari Barr said...

Thanks, Lenora. I've needed this encouragement lots of times.

Jackie S. said...

Congrats, Lenora! Love your books, blogs, posts....after all, we have a GA connection!

Missy Tippens said...

Lenora/Elnora, Welcome!! I'm so glad you're here today!

So what shoe size do you wear? I bet your castoffs would be nicer than my nicest clunky shoes! ;)

Thanks for the great post. I love what you said.

Jan Drexler said...

Thanks for your post, Lenora! Very good advice, plus food - a great combination.

I can see myself in #4 - I already find it hard to make time for writing, blogging, reading, and, oh yeah, family! What will it be like once I'm published? I have a feeling this busy life is just the calm before the storm...

Back to putting those fingers on the keyboard!

Joanne Sher said...

Oh - I needed each and every one of these reminders, Lenora. THANK YOU. Super post. Thanks!

Lorna said...

Good morning Lenora! Congrats on you NYT bestseller. That's wonderful. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I feel so blessed to learn from your experience. It's hard to keep your eye on the right goals.

Julie Lessman said...


And oh my, I am SO ashamed to say that although your name is a household word in this biz, I still haven't had the pleasure of reading your books. But THAT, my dear lady, is going to change -- this post was WONDERFUL!!! If you write books like you wrote this blog, with humor, heart and hope, I will be a fan for life.

Thank you for the encouragement today, Lenora, it hit the mark.


Lenora said...

Hello!! Sorry. I was getting some beauty sleep. Didn't help much. Cabana boy, I'll take some coffee-- shaken not stirred. Thanks for all the kind comments. Pepper, as for what shoe I'd be-- a pump with kitten heels and pointy toes. I love classic shoes but I do have a kicking pair of gladiator sandals with three inch heels. Sometimes the warrior does come out, right girls!!! Missy I wear a size seven. Since Big Daddy and I are retiring to Florida next year I fear I must have a shoe sale. Come on by!!!

CarolM said...

/waves to Lenora/

Great advice!

Especially about being kind.

Now I just need to find some time to write. :p

Susan Anne Mason said...


Wow, you are one busy lady! Love Inspired, LI Suspense and SuperRomance! That's a lot of books.

I can't remember off-hand which books of yours I've read, but I know I liked them, because I remember your name! That's always a GOOD sign!

Thanks for the great advice. I love the part about not comparing yourself to others and not letting doubt take over! So easy to do sometimes.

Have a great day everyone!

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Nancy Kimball said...

Great advice, especially about not comparing yourself to others. It's very encouraging =)

(I loved your black and tan heeled mary janes, SO CUTE!)

May I ask if the compulsion to compare yourself to your peers diminishes as your publishing credits increase? I'm wondering if it's a constant battle or a single hurdle.

Mary Connealy said...

Life is short, buy the shoes?

Lenora, honey, baaaaaad advice on a blog with Ruthy as a member. She needs to be strongly discouraged to buy anymore shoes.

Me, yeah, I probably oughta buy a new pair. But the broken zipper on my boots is under my jeans. No one can SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

New York Times Bestseller List....whoa, how sweet it is, huh?

Good for you, Lenora.

Andrea Strong said...

Lenora~ I still have one of your books from 1997, way back in the early days of Love Inspired.

The Wedding Quilt was one of the two free books when I subscribed. I loved it! It has survived several "purges" when I've had to trim down the collection.

I think I need to read it again, in fact.

Great to have you here. Wonderful advice all around.

Missy Tippens said...

Lenora, I'm an 8. But I can always play one of the evil step sisters and try to squeeze into your Cinderella shoes! :)

Lenora said...

I'm waving to all the new arrivals. Nancy, I think it's human nature to compare ourselves to other in all of life. So no, it doesn't go away. But I try not to let it take over. I have a saying-- envy is blue. You are happy for the other person but sad for yourself. Jealosy, however, is green and mean and only makes you bitter. It's okay to feel envy but we have to handle it with grace and move on. Thanks everyone for mentioning that you remember my books.

Lenora said...

Andrea, that is so sweet that you rememberThe Wedding Quilt. That was the story if my heart.

Mary Connealy said...

Lenora, what's it like being on the NYT Bestseller List. How did you find out? Do you get a call? Do you just read the list? Does LI get on the list much?
I think it's an amazing achievement, I'm so brought to see a Christian romance novel on that list. Good for you, girl.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Yay, Lenora! NYT bestseller list!!! Congrats!
Thanks for the advice. You have to be happy, even when things don't go your way in this business, because it's so unlikely that things will go your way! LOL! But yes, we are blessed with the gift of writing. God is good.
God bless!

Mary Connealy said...

Mary again.
I said: I'm so brought to see a Christian romance novel on that list.

I MEANT I'm so PROUD to see a Christian romance novel on that list.

I just washed my hands and I can't do a THING with them.

Nancy Kimball said...

Envy is blue. I like it!
Thank you Lenora, and congrats on making the New York Times Bestseller List. (I forgot to say that earlier.)

I'm yellow there, purely happy for all the authors who have that achievement. I can't be sad because I'm still at work on the debut novel =)

Lenora said...

OH, the list! I was cleaning house and got a call from my editor. Since I already had a new contract(for seven books!!!) I figured I was in trouble. Which happens a lot. She asked if I'd heard the news. What news? Had I read my e-mail? No I'm cleaning for a Cabi party (clothes). She said "Body of Evidence made the New York Times List." I said, "Huh?" I figured they'd mixed me up with someone else. (Patricia Cornwell's latest has the same title.) I couldn't believe it. Then flowers started arriving. Then my agent called. Through all of this, I kept cleaning house. Elnora needs a maid!

Lenora said...

Nancy, I'm glad to hear you're working on your first novel. I love is when writers WRITE!!!

I believe that if you don't write it and send it out, someone out there might miss the very story that can change their life. Our words are powerful. We like to use them for good instead of evil!!!!

CatMom said...

Welcome Lenora! Great post today--definitely a keeper. ~ Congratulations on your writing success--especially making the NY Times Bestsellers List - - WOW!!! :) I had to laugh at your shoe comments--so cute (says the lady who wears flip-flops at home all the time!). Hmmm...maybe it is time for some new shoes. ~ I've brought Georgia Pecan Praline cookies to share today--Enjoy!
Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Patsy said...

Thanks for all the great advice. I'm all up for some bread pudding. I'll take those shoe coupons too!


Vince said...

Hi Lenora:

I see you have an interesting package on the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction.

Southern Flair SuperRomance Basket from Author Lenora Worth

This is for a great cause and I think the items are actually below their retail cost right now. It’s a bargain! There are hundreds of interesting items at auction. It’s fun just looking at them.

There’s actually a basket of shoes! What a great excuse to buy more shoes!


Use the search engine to find specific items.

BTW: I’m 'holding' Lyn Cote’s basket right now. Do you feel in competition! : )



PatriciaW said...

Stopped in to wave to one of my favorite (non-Seeker) LI authors. Hi Lenora! Congrats on your success. Gumbo and bread pudding? That's a combo I could live with, if I weren't trying very hard to stay away from the bread. Might you have any super tiny ramekins to serve that luscious dessert in?

Lenora said...

Vince, thanks for the plug about my basket on the Brenda Novak Auction. I appreciate it.

Patricia, I think a bite or two of white chocolate bread pudding is okay. I'm watching what I eat these days, too. (So I can fit into my party dress for RWA in New York later in June.) But Elnora has a rule--a bite or two will do. And dessert makes us happy!

I'm enjoying chatting with y'all. That Georgia pie sounds divine!!! I love me some Georgia pecans. We had trees on the farm where I grew up in South GA. I had to pick them up by hand back then!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Lenora, I knew you were going to sneak some shoes into your post, but didn't think it'd be the theme. :D

And a great post it is, too. Just what I needed to hear. Very wise words to keep in mind.

It's neat how I heard your voice when I read it - almost as if you were speaking right to me. Probably because I've actually heard you speak before, huh? :)

I've said it before, but I want to say it again... congrats on hitting that best seller's list.

Hope to see you at the conference.

Anita Mae.

travelingstacey said...

What a motivating and encouraging post! Every time I think to myself...what am I thinking trying to do this writing thing?...I feel like a word of encouragement like yours comes in my path. Pretty neat! Congrats on your accomplishments! How exciting! Blessings~Stacey

Linnette R Mullin said...

I'm back! Great post, Lenora! Thanks for sharing such fabulous advice! I'm intrigued and hoping one of your books comes in next month's book box. :D

Sandy Ardoin said...

Such an upbeat post! New York Times list? Practically a book a month? Wow! (Not comparing, mind you.) Congratulations!

I'm having a yard sale next month and can sell a couple of pairs of old shoes. BOGO!!

Cathy Shouse said...


I really liked "Because of Jane." Would you mind sharing how you came up with the premise of a psychologist helping a sports star down on his luck? Did you have to research for the psychology aspects?

Also, I've heard HQ doesn't like stories about rock stars and sports stars. Do you think that's changing? I'm thinking you had a very unique take on it and that's why it sold. It has a great cover, too.

Anything else in the works for Superromance?

I fell like we're friends since meeting at Indy ACFW conference. :)

Thanks for a down-to-earth post.

Carrie Turansky said...

I loved reading your thoughts, Lenora! You have such wonderful wisdom and an inspiring attitude. Thanks for sharing with us!

Lenora said...

Thank you, Carrie. You are one of my favorite people! And Cathy, so good to see you here. I'm so happy that you liked "Because of Jane." It was a bit different. When I agreed to write for Super, it was with the understanding that I'd still write as me. (PG 13-rated with no graphic scenes.) I'm thankful that my editors have allowed that. I did a lot of research on being a life coach and I tried to be very careful with that fine line between "coach" and "client." (I got a couple of not too good reviews on that, by the way.) But for the most part, readers seem to like my Jane Harper, the uptight life coach who learns a few pointers from Lenny Paxton. I think sports stars are okay as heroes if (like Lenny) they are retired or have moved on. But in this story, I was able to show all of Lenny's flaws and also show his healing and redemption at the end. I enjoy writing longer, more complex books for Super. I'm proofing my second one now--A Southern Reunion--due in December of this year. It's a story I've had in my head a long time. A kind of Southern Gothic tale. Thanks for asking about that! I had such a good time at the OWF conference!

Nancy Kimball said...

Lenora, thank you so much! I have had three books that honestly and truly changed my life.
So has the one I'm writing, in a special way. When I made the decision to pursue publication with it, I became part of such a wonderful community of writers, readers, and publishers.

I'm blessed by how encouraging, supportive, and knowledgeable the community is to newcomers.
I have a friend in the music industry, and it's dramatically different, to his misfortune.

Lenora said...

Jan asked what it's like to try and do everything after you're published. It's not easy, darling. But in today's fast-paced world, we are encouraged to use all social media to promote ourselves. I just try to remember what got me here--writing. That is my first responsibility. When something else seems to be taking over my time, I stop and try to declutter my office, my brain, and my time. Deadlines are my life! So, after my family and church time, writing comes first. Then socializing. Readers are in that group, of course. I love hearing from readers and I try to respond to all e-mails and letters. My website e-mail wasn't working for a year and I didn't even know it. But a fellow LI writer told me she'd tried to e-mail me there and never heard from me. We got that problem fixed right away. Now I know when I get an e-mail through my web. I'd hate for readers to think I'm ignoring them. Elnora is not rude to her readers. It's a delicate balance to keep up with every obligation, however. Especially this last year, since I signed on to write so many books. Another lesson--be careful what you ask for. But I'm holding my own. The Dust Bunnies are my friends now.

Michelle Stark Kurns said...


Thank you for your great advice...your #3 reminds me of a quote that I heard about how a person always regrets not being able to see or help someone but that you never regret being too kind to people. (sorry I don't know it word for word)

BTW - I enjoy reading your books!

Lenora said...

Julie Lessman, thanks for your kind comments. I love your books! I'm behind on my To Read pile, but I have one of yours in there right now!

Lenora said...

Thanks, Michelle. I agree. Kindness doesn't cost a thing. Even though I've been known to throw a good old hissy fit, I do try to be kind to people. The world is a hurting place. I have a saying that I refer to often. It says "Be kind to everyone you meet for we are all fighting our own battle." We never know how much a kind word or an expression of forgiveness can help another person. (But if you snatch my shoes out of my hand at a clearance sale, all bets are off!)

Lenora said...

I was following up on Mary's question about being on the NY times list and my post disappeared! So here it is again. I was on the list for one week, but it did change my life. My minister announced it in church and called my talent a gift from God. That made me cry. But it was funny how people I've know for 25 years suddenly realized I was a real writer. After that crazy week, and after all the flowers and phone calls and chocolate and celebrating, I got back down to earth and got back to work. Our editors keep up with the list and they told me mine was the first LI book to make it to the Times list. So that was kind of cool! It was a big deal and I am so honored but I'm still a bit mystified by the whole thing. And I still have to clean house!

Lenora said...

Anita Mae, it's good to see you here. And yes, you probably have heard my Southern drawl more times than you've wanted!

karenk said...

a great posting...looking forward to reading your novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...


As a huge fan I can gush and tell you what a thrill this is. And I found an unsecure wireless network out in the country and got into Seekerville!!! HURRAHHH!!

Did Ruthy mention your suspense books were on display at BEA???

Tina Radcliffe

Cara Lynn James said...

Lenora, I love your wisdom especially about shoes and having fun in your writing career. It's easy to forget that when you're bogged down in deadlines etc. Writing is supposed to be enjoyable. It's more than just a business!

Rose said...

You are a gal after my own heart, loving shoes!

Congratulations on the New York Times Bestseller List. What an awesome achievement for you and a great boon to Christian romance novels.

Debby Giusti said...

How tacky of me to be so late to say hello! Thrilled you're in Seekerville talking shoes. And other things, of course.

But really, you have the cutest shoes. And so many of them. And you pack them all whenever you go to a conference.

I am so impressed. And a bit envious, I might add.

Great advice today. Thank you. No looking back or checking out someone elses shoe size. No, no, no. Everyone in Seekerville is working hard for the next book or sale or contest or...well, you get the point.

The gumbo is yummy! Love the crawfish too.

Hugs! And buy more shoes!

Stacie Carver said...

Fantastic Advise Lenora! Your comments brighten my day.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I am so glad to be at this party, better late than never!

Chickie Lenora!!!!

Oh my stars, a woman who can "Bless Her Heart" with the best of 'em and look good doing it! Thank you so much for being in Seekerville today!

And I haven't even looked at comments, not a ONE as yet, but I did find some crumbs of carrot cake...

With a few ants for protein....

Unwrapped on the counter.

Does not matter! I'm starving!

Honey, thanks for being here, havin' fun and hangin' out!

Not comparing...

Being nice...

Keep moving forward....

Sage words from sage and beautiful you. Bless you.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Did Camy call you old, Elnora?????

Years of experience???



Get the walker, ready, woman!

Bless your heart.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Teenster, I think I did NOT mention that, but YAY!!!!!

Lenora's book was on display at BEA!

Wait, Tina already told you guys.

Hey, the whole SHOE thing, Mary Connealy?


REALLY???? Lenora and I understand one another on the subject of shoes.

Shoes are part of proper attire and as such should enhance the outfit. And make legs look longer, skinnier and younger.

Oh, wait, that's lypo-suction.


Dianna Shuford said...

Thanks for the great advice, Lenora. Your wisdom is very much appreciated.

Pam Hillman said...

Lenora! It was so great to have you here today. And congrats again on that NYT slot!


Loves 2 Read Romance - Laura said...

Thanks for sharing Lenora!! I love using facebook and seekerville to connect with the authors I read. I am always so thrilled when I get an e-mail back from them.

I'm late again but I brought some M&Ms to share!


Lenora said...

Thanks do much to all of you. Ruthie and Tina, thanks for telling me about the book at BEA. I sure wish I could have been there. I'm sure y'all had fun.

While I didn't get to respond to each post, I did read all if them. If anyone has other questions please email me at my website This is a wonderful caring group. I had a blast. Now it's time for me to pack up and head back to Louisiana. Where are those cabana boys!!!

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi Lenora,
I knew we were kindred spirits. Payless is my favorite store and I recently invested in a pair of black Life Strides for conferences.

Great advice. You had me nodding in agreement, laughing, and tearful all at the same time.

Cindy W. said...

Hi Lenora. Thank you so much for this wonderful post of insightful information. Since I am just testing the waters it's always wonderful to learn things for people who have taken the plunge and succeeded.

Many Blessings to you.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


authorkathyeberly said...

Hi Lenora,
Excellent post! Thank you for the words of wisdom.