Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tell Me a Story with Guest Blogger Mia Ross

Good morning, Seekerville! Mia here. Ruthy’s in St. Louis schmoozing, so she asked me to come by and have breakfast with you today. I brought barista Jack and a virtual chef named Claude with me, so you can have anything you want. But there’s a catch.

You have to tell me a story. More specifically, what—or who—got you started writing? To break the ice, I’ll go first. Then I’ll step aside and let everyone else take over. I’ve got no problem sharing the stage.

One day when I was about 8, I checked Little Women out of the school library. From the very first page, I was hooked. The March girls felt completely real to me and when I was done, I devoured Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Sadly, there were no more books in the series, and I was bummed. Then I had a great idea.

I wrote my own story. It was very short and probably not very good, but I LOVED it. Figuring out which words best described the pictures in my head was so much fun. It still is, actually, and I’m grateful to Louisa May Alcott for showing me the way.

So what’s your story? If you’ll share it, you’ll be entered in a drawing for Ruth Logan Herne’s fabulous new release Mended Hearts. Generous as she is, she’s donated 2 of them, and you can have your pick of print or e-book.

Mia Ross’s contemporary inspirational romance Hometown Family will be released by Love Inspired in May 2012. Set in North Carolina, it’s the story of a disillusioned lawyer who returns to her hometown and finds love in the very last place she expected. To read an excerpt, stop by


  1. Hey Mia,

    Congrats on YOUR release coming soon to a bookshelf near us!!! :)

    That Ruthy, always slackin'...

    Thanks for sharing your story. Do you work with the Christian Writers Guild? That's the name of their apprentice level course I believe.

    I've always written it seems. I won a contest in 5th grade with a story on deep sea fishing. When younger, I illustrated as much as I wrote though. Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry books were my favorites. (Do I detect a theme here?)

    Thanks for bringing the gentlemen too. I'll have a bit of coffee with a whole lotta mocha please. Thanks Capt Jack!

    Have fun at the conference all you attendees!!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

  2. Hi Mia:

    Actually I was writing stories before I could read. I had a brother five years older than me who could write so I imitated him by scribbling in a notebook. Then my mother would pretend to read my stories back to me.

    But I was really into comedy. I would always get the Saturday Evening Post first from the mailbox and under each cartoon I’d write three or four better gag lines than the cartoonist used. I did this all through school and was very sorry when the Post ceased publication. I still write and even sell comedy.

    I have all of Ruth’s books so please let someone else discover the enjoyment of reading “Mended Hearts”.

    Can you tell us about how you came to write "Hometown Family"?


  3. Okay, the coffee pot's on the beverage bar, all set.

    I learned about the library at school real young and read, read, read.

    As an adult I had a teacher friend/colleague who also was a book work, and we did a lot of book swapping. One day we had a conversation--don't remember who started it--and we each ended up agreeing that we could write one as good as what we had just read, or something along those lines. We challenged one another to write a book.

    She never got beyond a few pages. I cranked out a full manuscript, then another,and another....and was hooked.


  4. I didn't really know I had a writer caged inside me until the Midnight Sun debacle from the Twilight Series. I was so crushed the scene I most wanted to read hadn't been written and now never would be. I decided I would write it myself. (I see a theme there!)

    So I did, and actually had to research, get critique partners, and revise and polish, though I didn't know that's what those things were called back then. A contest popped up that was a good fit and I placed third out of sixty entries. It felt good, but the next few years were a little crazy until I decided to really write again, this time for my first NaNoWriMo. And now, here we are, one full manuscript and the beginnings of a new one later.

  5. I always loved reading, ever since I can remember. I grew up on Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree books - I just loved getting lost in that magical world! But it wasn't until I was a little older - like 9-10 years old - when I moved onto Enid Blyton's school series' - Naughtiest Girl, Mallory Towers and St. Clares that I started dreaming up my own stories.

    So typical of me though, I always got bogged down in the detail - I have all these index cards of characters and their traits, drawings of settings and story plots - all planned out by a 10 year old (I still have them!). I have started writing lots of books, but never finished one. I am seriously attempting to rectify that now!


  6. Wow--you all are up early!

    May, I remember those books so well. There's just something about horses, y'know? I'm not a member of the CW Guild, but any group that brings writers together to support each other sounds good to me!

  7. Vince, that story is adorable. Kudos to your mom for encouraging your creativity! I'm not good at comedy, but I really enjoy it. Thanks for giving us all things to laugh about.

    As for the inspiration for Hometown Family, some of you may not like my answer. A story popped into my head, and I started writing. Yeah, I'm one of THOSE kind of writers. Following my gut has worked so far, so I just keep on doing it :)

  8. Hi Mia,

    Like most, probably all, posting today I’ve always loved reading. My college roommate also loved reading romances and sometimes we’d make up our own if dissatisfied with a certain book, or just for fun (you can tell I wasn’t in the party crowd). The summer I graduated I tried writing one of the stories down and it was horrible. I mean really bad. I don’t think I left out a cliché. So, I tucked that away and decided to leave writing romance to others and went on to grad school.

    Then a couple years ago a friend told me she intended to start writing. I started looking at books and things to give as gifts to help her in this new pursuit and got hooked myself. Now I wish I would have kept at it years ago for all the joy it’s given me.

    Oh! And I already have MENDED HEARTS so please don't put my name in the hat.

  9. Helen, congrats to you for finishing that first MS--and then the others too. Creative people make the world a better place for all of us :)

  10. WHOA--Nancy, 3rd out of 60? That's amazing! Contests are tough, because you have to impress several people with the same story. As for NaNO, I tried it once and failed miserably. But a good friend of mine has done a few of them and gotten a workable draft every time. Good luck with yours!

  11. Welcome to Seekerville, Mia!

    I grew up with an extended family that loved to gather and share stories about their own growing up and young adult years, so a love of "storytelling" originally had its roots in those verbal stories I loved to listen to. By the time I could hold a pencil and write words, I was writing poetry and short stories, so writing has almost always been a part of my life.

    VINCE -- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette still has those cartoon captioning contests! Each week, I think, but can't remember the day they first post them. Check 'em out on line!

  12. KC -- When you wrote the story about deep sea fishing, had you ever BEEN deep sea fishing?

    I loved those Black Stallion and "Misty" books, too!

  13. Helen W, I know from my own kids that 10-year-olds have lots of great ideas. Some of those cards might come in handy very soon.

    It sounds like you're a visual person, which is a real plus for a writer. Vivid characters and descriptions grab readers and drag them into your story. That way they're not just reading, they're experiencing things along with the characters.

    I used to be a start-not-finish person, too, so I can relate. For me, the remedy was to force an ending, even though it was awful. That might work for you. You can always revise the stinky ending later.

    Then reward yourself with a nice little treat--and start writing something new!

  14. WOW, Helen, when your friend gave you a challenge, you took it SERIOUSLY!!

  15. Good morning, Kirsten! You and your roomie must have had a blast plotting romances together. I can only imagine what you came up with! I'm so glad you're having fun since you've gotten back into writing. That's really what it's all about :)

  16. KIM--that Twilight thing was so disappointing. :( I'm glad, though, that it challenged YOU to start writing the scenes you'd never get to read by the author. And to even place in a contest with it!!

  17. Hi again, Glynna! Jack missed you, so he begged to come back. Be sure to blow him a kiss.

    It sounds like your family has the coveted storytelling gene. You're certainly making the most of it in your own work :)

  18. HELEN W - I'm not famliar with Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree books. Are they still in print?

    I still have notes and such from my early (unfinished) stories, too. Tons of research on an historical that I was writing in high school, but didn't have a clue how to turn it into a book at that time. Maybe someday I can use the notes/research for a REAL story.

  19. KIRSTEN--Seems a love of reading is the source of most of our writing motivations!

  20. Welcome back, MIA!!

    Helen, how's the conference going??

    I wrote my first full length romance at 14 on my birthday present, a Smith Corona portable typewriter.

    I was emulating my favorite author Rosamund Du Jordan. My hero was Steve and my heroine was Jeanne. It was a YA romance.

  21. Great lesson for all of us, Glynna. NEVER toss anything! A couple of years (more sometimes) can give you new perspective on something you thought wasn't working. Or your skills improve and you can do the story justice.

    Or the market changes and now EVERYONE wants books about the Amish. Go ahead and look--a few years ago, there were almost none. Today at Amazon, type in "Amish fiction", you get a list of 545. I'm just saying...

  22. Hey, Tina! Thanks for coming by. Yes, Jack, you can kiss her, too. Sheesh!

    14, huh? So that was, like, a couple years ago, right? ;) Sorry, Ruthy told me to needle you just a little. She didn't want you missing her too much. Seriously, writing a novel on a typewriter took serious commitment. Bowing in respect...

  23. Good morning Mia!

    I fell in love with books when I was very young. In the sixth grade the teacher had us write and illustrate a book. We then made covers and the books were added to the school's library. I wrote about a lost bird looking for his mommy. (Not too original)

    Anyhow, I realized I could write books not just read them. It changed everything. I was always the kid staring out the window daydreaming, but now I could put those dreams down for others to read.

  24. Super fun this morning! We're in festive moods! :)

    Glynna, oh yes... (you asked if I'd been deep sea fishing.) My dad and some buddies had a used steel hull boat that in its former life ran oil crews out to the rigs.

    The story was about tying up to one of the rigs, and then moving on to troll and landing a jackfish bigger than me (at the time). I was just writing what I knew! :)

    Have a marvelous morning!

  25. Keep dreaming, Jamie! It inspires the rest of us :)

  26. LOL. Well it SEEMS like just yesterday. That's what counts, right?

  27. Writing what we know makes our stories live and breathe, May. Readers pick up on that genuine-ness and appreciate it.

  28. LOL right along with you, Tina. The day I feel my age, I'll start to worry :D

  29. Welcome Mia. Congratulations on your soon to be released book. How exciting. :)

    I can't tell you who or what got me started writing...all I know is I can't remember not writing. I started at an early age writing poems and stories, and even my first novel while in high school. When I wasn't writing, I was journaling. I guess I can't get the bug out of my system. :)

    Jodie Wolfe

  30. Congratulations on your book, Mia.

    I remember reading, See Jane run. See Dick run. See spot run. Or something along those lines and the words came to life on the page.

    So, I wrote my first story (Are We There Yet?) in the first grade. Thirty years later, I still remember the joy I felt as my characters lived through a long, long road trip.

    I’ve written tons of stories for my children and a few novels for myself. Most are stuffed in a box somewhere or lost on an outdated compute drive.

    Only in the past three years, have I written with the intent to publish, but I can’t wait to finish my latest novel so I can read it. Lol!

  31. When did I start writing? I don't know - I just know that every time I did I wowed my teachers enough to make me want to do it more.

    In jr. high I wrote a diary of a fictional member of the Roanoke colony. I used paper that I had distressed by soaking it in lemon juice and then ironing it. Then I bound the paper into a book using a piece of an old leather jacket for the cover. Then I copied the diary into this journal using an ancient fountain pen... The teachers passed it around the school, and I was hooked.

    So much fun to think about again! I love reading everyone else's stories!

    I've already read and loved Ruthy's book, so don't put me in the drawing.

  32. Jodie, that's great! That's one bug you should share with others :)

  33. Bridgett, with any luck at all, the rest of us will be reading it, too :)

  34. Whew! I'm glad you all are enjoying this. It was kind of a leap for me, and I had visions of my post sitting there alone for a l-o-o-n-g time. That's why I brought Jack with me. At least that way I'd be entertained :D

  35. Jan, that's serious commitment to historical detail. And at such a young age, too. No wonder everyone was so impressed.

  36. I had a very unusual childhood. Every summer, I was shipped off to stay with my spinster aunt in Michigan. She lived in a mansion on a resort lake. To fill her loneliness, she endured as a hoarder and the things she collected cultivated a kid's imagination. Stacked floor to ceiling were comic books for the neighborhood kids to feast. Archies, Superman, Spiderman, but my favorites remain the Classics, vivid fairy tales, carrying me faraway. At sixteen, my aunt introduced me to Georgette Heyer's, "The Black Moth" and I was immediately hooked into the world of romance. Of course, there existed plenty of fodder for me to choose for the marketing department at Harlequin exercised Herculean muscle. Like a dog with a bone, my aunt procured every mailing Harlequin offered. Mind boggling how her home didn't collapse from the sheer weight of Harlequins. After she died, we filled three dumpsters to be given away. Today, I have two contemporaries and three historicals written. The joy and pleasure my aunt gave me remain treasured gifts. If you hear me from up above Aunt Marian--THANK YOU!

  37. Elizabeth, what a great story! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm sure your aunt very proudly looks down at you writing and cheers you on :)

  38. Hi Mia,

    I love hearing everyone's stories about how they began writing!

    I always loved to read, and I remember writing a story about a rainbow (fully illustrated by my trusty Crayola marker set!) and giving it to my parents when I was about 6. Stories about the family dog followed every holiday ("Domino's Mother's Day, Domino's Christmas," etc.) when I was a kid. Later, I was always the weird kid in class who enjoyed writing assignments and was always asking teachers if I could turn an essay into a story.

    When I was 14, I began writing a murder mystery and got about 40 pages in until I realized I didn't know who the killer was (I THINK I have it figured out now...)

    Later in college, I took several creative writing classes and learned that other people enjoyed my stuff too (my parents' feedback was always suspect, since they're, you know, my parents). I've continued to write since.

    Please enter me in the drawing for Ruthie's book. Reading is always my best inspiration for more story ideas!


  39. Mia,
    Thanks so much for coming by.

    I can honestly say what got me into writing was my penchant for telling stories and my day dreams.

    I was always in trouble Becayse if my imagination, which I used to it's full capacity whenever I was in trouble.

    And even from a young age I loved to day dream about places and build worlds and characters. I would dream story straight through.

    I decided I had thus imagination for a reason. It wasn't to be used just to torment my parents and my sisters. So I began to write down my dreams and focus my energies and imagination to write stories that my mom wouldn't't tan my hide for.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    While Ruthy is away tormenting... I mean schmoozing it has been a relief... I mean nice that you came to visit. we await Ruthy's return with mind numbing fear I mean anticipation, (love ya, Ruthy)

    You've been most pleasant, Mia.

  40. I'm glad you're enjoying this, Flash. Seekerville is a great place to pick up new info :)

  41. Hi Mia:

    I need your help:

    “…it’s the story of a disillusioned lawyer who returns to her hometown and finds love in the very last place she expected.”

    I went to your site to read the “Hometown Family” excerpt and I’m a little confused: is the lawyer the hero or heroine? The excerpt reads like the lawyer is the hero. Isn’t the heroine the school teacher?

    Also, what’s the story on your “Family Portrait” excerpt? It’s just there with no explanation. I really liked this as the start to a story.

    BTW: How can you stand to wait until May 2012 to hold your book in your hands? Are you so busy on your next book that you don’t think about it? I don’t think I could wait that long! : )


    P.S. is there some reason you picked the name Ruth for a major character?

    P.S.S. Don’t worry: pantsers rule here. : )

  42. Jan, your story about the Roanoke colony diary reminds me of something I did as a kid. I saw a Highlights article about crumpling a piece of paper and then soaking it in tea to give it a distressed, old look. Then tear the edges and singe them. It really does make the paper look old.

    I never wrote a story on it, but instead my brother and I drew on it and wrote riddles. We pretended it was an ancient map full of clues that we had to solve to find the buried treasure.

  43. The adventures of Domino the dog--I love it! Stephanie, it's great to hear how someone took a creative writing class in college and their classmates actually liked their work. I dropped my CW class and never took another.

    'nuff said ;)

  44. Aw, Tina P--thank you! I'm doing my best to fill Ruthy's cute shoes, but you're all giving me great material to work with.

    I'm a dreamer myself, and I'm a big fan of letting them run to see where they take us. Keep it up!

  45. Oooh shades of Unpublished Island, Elizabeth. Love that treasure map idea.

  46. Congratulations Mia on your book release coming out soon:) Thanks for sharing your story. My story is a little different. I've always devoured books from young. I loved the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, then later of course Gone with the Wind. I actually didn't start writing until about 8 years ago when after someone prayed for me and released the gift of writing songs/books that I really started writing. I first wrote songs and released my 1st CD in 2008. Since then I've been working on my first MS...a historical romance. Having a little trouble finishing it...need something...I don't know what:(
    Thanks for sharing...appreciate you coming to Seekerville:)

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  47. Vince, the heroine in Hometown Family is the lawyer. The teacher is the heroine in book #2, An Unexpected Family. I'm proud to say it just went into Melissa Endlich this morning, so we'll see what she thinks of it.

    I'm glad you liked the opening for Family Portrait. It's book #3, which kind of answers your question about me waiting for May. I'M NOT!

    It'd drive me completely bonkers, so in the meantime, I'm writing. There are 4 books in the Sawyers series, and I've got a concept for the next series besides. I'm not patient by nature, but working with new characters and stories helps distract me. Mostly ;)

    The character Ruth Benton is a not-so-subtle tribute to my very own Irish fairy godmother. If you read Hometown Family, I'm sure you'd recognize her even if she was named Hilda Jones :D

  48. btw-I cleared that with Ruthy first :)

  49. Lorna, you have my sympathy on that ending thing. I've written a few historicals, and they're so hard to finish. I'd put so much work in, fall in love with everybody, and I didn't WANT it to end.

    If that's not it for you, you could try killing someone off. In the book, I mean ;)

  50. Well hello Miss Radcliffe.

    How lovely to see your smiley faced picture throughout the postings. It's nice to see other familiar faces as well.(don't want to leave anyone out)

    I'm putting in for the last critique. Pick me pick me pick pick me...


    No really pick me. ;-)

  51. Ah the ol kill someone off ploy. I am, sadly to say, going to do that. and have before. Tough call when it's a major player but sometimes it just has to be done. To move the story along and drive the readers crazy of course.

  52. Mia, congratulations on your debut novel. I enjoyed learning about you. I've been a reader for a long time. When a girl I loved Little Women, too, and felt inspired to be like the writing March sister Jo. But not until I started homeschooling and spending many hours in stories with my sons did I consider actually writing one. I began with true short stories, then short fiction and now have a completed novel and working on another. Happy to be here sharing my journey with others today.

  53. I love your "voice", Mia. It's been fun to read everyone's stories of how they got started writing. I've always been a voracious reader. When I was 13, I read a forbidden book, and something in me yearned to write (not about those things in the book, though!)

    I never, ever thought I would try my hand at writing fiction, though. In junior high and high school, I wrote poetry to express feelings andto process through the things going on in my teenage heart. I've also journaled for years, always writing as descriptively as I could (and trying not to use too much passive voice). A little over a year ago, while sitting in a couple's retreat with my husband, this story idea popped into my head, along with the name of the heroine. I shared the crazy idea with a writer friend of mine, and she encouraged me to write the book. So, after starting over three times, I am working on learning craft and writing my first fiction. It's all in God's hands as to what He does with it. :)

    BTW, TINA R, I've never seen a character in a book with my name in it (Jeanne). How fun. :)

  54. Thanks for coming to share your story, Pat. Grab a treat while you're here!

    It's amazing how many of us were inspired by books we read as children. Then when our own kids come along, they unconsciously give us so much good writing material!

  55. Aw, Jeanne, that's sweet. Thank you! As for you, it sounds like listening to your muse is leading you places you never expected to go. When you take us with you, that's fun for everyone :)

  56. Heading out to my daughter's tennis match, fingers crossed for the rain to hold off just a little longer. I'll check back in later, though, so keep those comments coming!

  57. Ahh, Jack has brought my special dark hot chocolate (He's such a dear, isn't he? Not at all snarky when Ruthy's gone).

    Is Claude taking orders for supper? I'm thinking something seafood-ish...

  58. I have not been writing since I could hold a pencil like some. In fact I was always pretty miserable at creative writing. I was good at analysis and compare/contrast kind of assignments, good enough that it landed me in the Writing Center as a tutor in college.

    Who/what brought me into writing fiction. Johnny Cash, and Moses. And God, of course. An interesting combination, I know. I'll try to keep the explanation brief.

    My WIP Give My Love to Rose was inspired by a Johnny Cash song of the same name, something like 6 or 7 years ago. I jotted down some ideas in a notebook occasionally for years, but was never very serious about it.

    Then one Sunday about 2 years ago, I think, my husband preached about Moses and his stick. All Moses had on him that fateful day in the desert was a stick. But he dedicated it to God, and together they did some pretty amazing things with that stick. What's your stick? Will you give it to God and let him do amazing things? So I said, in my head of course, "Okay, God, what's my stick?" God said, "Give My Love to Rose." I said, "Really?" I was surprised, but ultimately convinced.

    Since that day I've started and restarted writing that story it has slowly taken shape in my mind, and more slowly yet in my computer. I'm on chapter 4 of my 3rd start, I think. I've determined not to start again until I've finished it once. When I get it done I'll move on to the second and third stories.

    I hope to have it in Genesis in '12 and pitch it at ACFW in Dallas. From my fingertips to God's ears.

    I would absolutely love to win Mended Hearts.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. Hello Mia,
    When I was 9 years old I checked a book out of the Catholic church library. The cover depicted a young woman in a blue dress lying on steps with a black silhouette of a young man holding a knife over her. The name of the book was Maria Goretti. She was declared a saint. From then on I became impassioned with true crime. I got a Criminology Masters degree and now write Crime Thrillers.
    Thanks for asking,
    Jan K.

  61. Mia, welcome!! And thanks for this great topic!

    I always read like crazy. But after being put on bed rest while pregnant, a friend brought me a whole bag of romance novels. So I plowed through them and got inspired to write on myself. I wrote my first novel, typing with one hand, while nursing my son! :)

  62. Elizabeth, what a great story about your aunt!

  63. Mia! Great blog and I can't wait for your release next year! Just wanted to stop by and say hello. And Claude the virtual chef better whip Me up something great for breakfast tomorrow or I'm going to be one jealous mommy!

  64. Congrats on your upcoming release, Mia. We share a love of all things Little Women. I loved Little Men and Jo's Boys. My mother purchased these with three other Alcott books in a set when I was about ten. A birthday gift. Maybe the best one ever.

    I always related to Jo, but it wasn't until many years later, when I read an LI by Margaret Daley while I was home recuperating from a stillbirth that I wanted to write. Something about her novel made my skin prickle. I loved the idea of contemporary romance with a faith thread, especially in the short, category format. It was so uplifting at a time when I most needed that.

  65. Oh fun!! =]
    In second or third grade the teacher gave everyone a piece of construction paper with a picture glued to it. We were to write about the picture. She thought she had given me simply a robin, glued to an orange piece of paper, but actually, she gave me a free, lifetime pass to the best amusement park available. My imagination.

    SO FUN reading others' stories here! =] And congrats on your book in May. =]

  66. I got interested in writing in 3rd grade. I loved writing short stories when my teacher allowed us to do some creative writing. I loved being able to publish my little book when we got to print it on accordion books and illustrated it. That got the whole writing thing going in my life.

  67. Thank you for your post today Mia! It brings back wonderful memories. Loved reading everyone's stories!

    When I was eight or nine, My mom dug a copy of Love Comes Softly out of storage and assigned 3 pages a day for my reading lessons (I was homeschooled). I felt like she'd gifted me with a lost treasure. I've been devouring literature in varied genres ever since, but Nancy Drew was my BFF growing up. :)

    My first attempted story was about a baby horse and a skunk. LOL. I was around ten and I never finished it. The second, a historical romance trilogy actually, I started when I was fourteen and it's stashed somewhere in my computer files, unfinished. (It was hard, getting that from an old floppy disk to a new laptop!) The story I'm working on now was inspired about two years ago after listening to some 1990's writer's conference tapes where Francine Rivers did a workshop. I had less than 1,000 words until this past June. Now I've got 37,000 and counting and I'm getting it ready for my first contest! The writing has come a lot faster since I realized it's okay for the first draft to be imperfect, as long as I get the story down. :D Thanks Seekerville for all the encouragement and information!

    Congrats on your new release Mia!

  68. Whew! The girls won their match and now I'm back. Good thing, too. It sounds like the boys have been slacking a bit.

    Claude, you heard Jan. Seafood, and keep it coming!

  69. Hi Mia:

    Now I think I have it. But it is a little strange getting mixed up with book II and III when book I is months away from publication. One thing: does the teacher/heroine in book II get her hero from the same law firm where the heroine in book I works?

    Also, did you pick a law firm because of legal experience (writing about what you know) or do you have a lawyer in the family? And is there something special about North Carolina for the story? Upstate New York is quite interesting as well. Do you know if Love Inspired encourages geographical diversity? (That is, where you told they already have an upstate NY series?)


  70. Way to go, Andrea S. Keep believing in yourself, and good things will happen. Best of luck in the Genesis!

  71. Hi Gina:

    Thanks for the cartoon heads-up. I already have three captions ready to send but I am going to wait and see if I come up with even better ones. This is fun.

    If anyone else wants to enter the contest here is the address:

    Thanks again.


  72. Janet, I LOVE crime thrillers. I can never seem to solve the cases, so I'm just along for the ride. They're very complicated, with so many moving parts and plot twists. Writing them must be a blast :)

  73. Elaine, for you Claude is always on call :)

  74. Patricia, I'm glad you found something to help you through such a difficult time. I think that's why so many of us enjoy writing inspirationals. We never know who our stories will touch.

  75. Thanks for the congrats, Mary, and what a great writing story! Your teacher must have been thrilled that a student took that assignment and ran so far with it.

    The best thing is, even as an adult, you're keeping your imagination in shape. Good for u!

  76. Hi Mia!
    Great question!
    I think my fascination with writing started with Highlights for Children :) I loved those magazines!

  77. Cynthia, someone had a nice idea to publish your stories. To have such good memories of it shows just how important those touches are to kids.

  78. Vince, the hero in book 2 is a pilot, so he's about as far from a lawyer as you can get. I worked for a lawyer for awhile, and she's since become a good friend, so she was my inspiration for Caty.

    As for North Carolina, I just love the area around Charlotte. We visited there and it's beautiful, with tons of golf courses and--of course--Charlotte Speedway. Upstate NY is gorgeous also, but I REALLY hate winter. I shivered all the way through Ruthy's first book Winter's End :)

  79. Glynna - yes, they are still in print. In fact, I bought a new set recently for my own children, since mine were so worn! There are three books - The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, and The Folk of the Faraway Tree. I know Amazon have a 3-1 hardback available called "The Faraway Tree Collection".

  80. I missed one of your questions, Vince. I never asked directly, but I think Love Inspired is interested in GOOD stories set pretty much anywhere. You'll find the guidelines online at, and they also have podcasts with the editors. They tell you what they are--and are not--looking for.

  81. How very coordinated of you, Missy. That's what I call dedication!

  82. Wow, Natalie, you've come a long way! It's very liberating to realize that you can edit whatever you don't like, but you can't edit something that doesn't exist.

    Good luck in your contest :)

  83. Eva, it's great to see you! You must have been working hard on Highland Governess, so have Claude whip you up something special. You deserve it :)

  84. I've written "off and on" again all my life. A friend of mine recently found the original copy - in pencil - of one of my first stories written as a teenager. Iwas your typical teenage love story - except I was dating Mark Lindsay (is anyone besides me old enough to remember Paul Revere and the Raiders) and she was dating Ringo Starr. How pathetically sad.

  85. Edwina, I think that's sweet! I'll bet both those guys would get a huge kick out of knowing you thought so much of them!

  86. Well, I guess when I was about 7 or eight I had a really hard time finding books that I liked and that my mother approved of, so I decided that there needed to be more books that I liked. So I made some up!

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  87. Good for you, Faye. If you want something done right, sometimes you just have to do it yourself!

  88. Hi Mia,

    I was in my 30's before I really began reading. I read one of Catherine Coulter's historicals and loved it. I then checked out several more.
    That's when I began to get frustrated w/the virgin and the rake stories. Did the woman have to be perfect? And why did the man have to sleep w/100 women before he met the innocent herione? (This is what I get for reading secular books.)

    I wrote my first story, Little Lady, opposite of these characters. It was the funniest and easiest book I've ever written.

    Please enter me into the drawing.

  89. I enjoyed Catherine Coulter's historicals, too, Connie. So much detail, and the historical eras were fascinating. It's great that there's such a broad spectrum in romance to have room for LOTS of different styles.

    Good luck in the drawing!

  90. Well, Seekerville, I've had a blast visiting with you all today. I hope you had fun remembering why you started writing--and that those fond memories will inspire you to keep up the good work :)

    Jack and Claude will hold the buffet open as long as you want, so please help yourselves.

    Good night!

  91. Actually was my inspiration was a very good friend of mine. We use to brainstorm "what ifs" and then we would right little stories, poems, make up songs etc. together. It was such a wonderful time and I'm still brainstorming "what ifs" only she's in another part of the country so we don't do it together anymore. :(

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  92. Super post, Mia, with lots of interesting comments.

    The Katy books by Susan Coolidge inspired me to write as Katy and other characters in the books had such fun writing poems and stories. These magical books were published more or less at the same time as Louisa M Alcott's "Little Women" - another inspiring book.

    And Helen, I also love "The Magic Faraway Tree" books.

    Please enter me in the drawing for an ecopy of Ruthy's book.

    Many thanks

    Ruth Ann
    ruthdell {at} mweb {dot} co {dot} za