Friday, October 7, 2011

A Day in the Life of Love Inspired Senior Editor Melissa Endlich!

Greetings, Seekers!

I'm thrilled to be back visiting Seekerville to give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a senior editor at Love Inspired Books. You might think publishing is a glamorous profession. I’m here to give you the hard truth. Being an editor is hard work!

In New York City, most people use public transportation to get to work, and I'm no different.

It takes me about 50 minutes on the subway to travel from my apartment in Queens to Lower Manhattan, where the Love Inspired offices are located. What do I do with my commuting time? Generally I listen to music on my Ipod (my taste runs from country to pop to classic rock to showtunes), but I've been known to write back cover copy or brainstorm titles while on the train. I always carry a pen and a little notebook in my bag for that reason. You never know when you might have to write something down.

Once I enter the office (we are located in the gorgeous, historic Woolworth Building), I turn on my computer, put my bag away, water my plants. (my mini rosebush is doing very well; the African violet is on its last legs.), then fill up my water bottle (our office is really dry; must stay hydrated!). Now I'm ready to tackle the day.

My first hour at work is reserved for checking email, prioritizing projects, and chatting with my co-workers, especially on Monday morning. After 12 years working for Harlequin/Love Inspired, my fellow editors are not just colleagues, they’re friends, and there's always something juicy that happened over the weekend that I have to know about!

See the wall of books behind the reception area desk? We've had books there! ;)
Ok, after I've checked email and chatted, I doublecheck my calendar: do I have any meetings today?
Yup, looks like at 11am I have an art meeting with my creative team, which is just a fancy way to say editorial, marketing and art meet to decide what scenes would make the best covers for the books in a specific month. We talk via conference call, because the marketing and art departments are located in our headquarters in Toronto, Canada. We look over the documents known as art fact sheets, which the authors have created, and talk. Is this book a western? I might suggest a cute cowboy standing next to his horse on the cover.

Is the book a family story? Let's put the hero and heroine along with two adorable little girls sitting at a picnic table. It's an amazing collaboration between editorial, marketing and art. And it starts with a detailed art fact sheet from our authors. We always ask for at least 3 scene suggestions, if not more, and lots of great pictures to help us visualize what you're thinking. Our authors do a great job creating these documents. We couldn’t do it without them.

(Ruthy note: The fact that Mended Hearts is pictured on this shelf had NO BEARING on my decision to use it.:)
After the meeting’s over, I walk down the hall to check in with Senior Editor Tina James. She runs the other two lines in the LI group, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical. I tell her how great the briefing went, talk about my weekend with her, ask her advice on some problem I'm having, etc. etc. Tina is yin to my yang, Bert to my Ernie. Sometimes I can be a bit emotional and quick to react to situations. Tina is cool as a cucumber. We make a great team.

Today, Tina mentions me that the Love Inspired Historical program could use some new authors. We have lots of room on the schedule, but not enough projects. I tell her Elizabeth Mazer and I got the word out at the recent American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis. Also, I remind her that Emily Rodmell is doing a blog tour in October and will be looking for historical writers. I tell her not to worry. I just know that the Lord will provide!

After chatting with Tina, I see it’s 12 noon. Time for lunch! I run downstairs to the Bits and Bites deli
to grab a turkey sandwich and a Diet Pepsi, then sit in the kitchen with some coworkers. This is my hour to get away from my desk and my emails and chat (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a very chatty person. ;)

After lunch, I’ve hit the jackpot. No meetings.

So I decide to finish typing up some revision notes on a manuscript I read the other day, and approve some back cover copy. That’s just today. Every day is different, and I could have just as easily read a manuscript, called an agent to offer a new contract, called an author to talk about revisions, approved front matter or art fact sheets, read contracted proposals, and so on.

Come 5pm, I'm still here at my desk working hard on finishing up the revision letter. I don't usually leave the office until 6-ish. When I finally decide I’m done for the day, I pack up and take the train back home.
That’s it! The exciting life of a senior editor.

Got any questions for me about what I do? About Love Inspired or publishing in general? I’ll try to answer ‘em as best I can.

Ruthy here! Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to celebrate our 4th Birthday of Seekerville!!! You rock! And lucky for us, Bits Bites and Baguettes has kindly offered to cater the day!

Okay, food's taken care of, let's get down to the brass tacks of important stuff:

1. Melissa will be popping in and out to answer questions!

2. We will be giving away over two dozen Love Inspired books today, so each time you comment, your name gets put in the hat. (there really isn't a "hat" per se, but I could wear one if you like. Let me know.)

3. At the end of the week we'll draw the name for the winner of the HP 4500 Printer which is the same model I have and love!

4. AND.... Per the contest rules you'll see above (thank you, Tina!!!), Seekerville and Love Inspired are offering a QUERY LETTER CONTEST!!!! Yes, Melissa has graciously offered to judge a query letter contest for us! Read the rules located on the contest tab, make sure you COMMENT today (no drive-by contesting!!!!) and then send us your query letter and the last page of your manuscript targeted at Love Inspired!

No fee... Because we've got nothin' but love for ya'!!! ;)

And some awesome birthday cake!


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Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Hi Melissa! It sounds like you are never bored at your job. It would be a dream job for me, working with books all day! The most interesting is the bit about the covers for the books. I gotta say LI has some really good ones. My question is can you please give some tips on caring for mini roses? I have two that I transplanted into pots and they died within a week. Boohoo.


Carol Moncado said...



I'm not targeting LI, BUT I did manage to find a Debby Guisti book and the one about a Princess I've been waiting on at Walmart tonight! They, uh, jumped in the cart.

My cart does that you know...

Ruthy - took a few minutes to find your book. First I found Janet Dean's Wanted: A Family and AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAA's Rocky Mountain Hero.

But my eyes started crossing and just as I clicked the 'back' button I saw Mended Hearts :D.

Feeling a bit better tonight than I was this morning. Headache FINALLY went away about 10. And now it's back. Though, thanks to a spice who shall remain nameless, I had ice cream for lunch today. Maybe that had something to do with it... ;)

Put me in the drawing for the books!

carolmoncado at gmail dot com

Audra Harders said...

I can't believe Renee beat me! Wow.

Welcome to Seekerville, Melissa! We so love having you here. Thanks for the great pics of your work life. Some of us lived vicariously through Ruthy and Tina's adventure in NYC, including the whole subway adventure earlier this summer.

Nice to see you in St.Louis, too. You and Elizabeth gave a great talk. I'm definitely proud to be a Love Inspired author!!

Jamie Adams said...

Melissa thank you for sharing your day with us. It was very interesting to read. Like Renee I believe you have the perfect job. I'm targeting LIH and will be paying close attention to all the questions and answers posted.

Carol Moncado said...

And Glynna Kaye has two books in the other pic [At Home in His Heart, Second Chance Courtship]. Plus Tina's The Rancher's Reunion.

So is The Sheriff's Runaway Bride by Arlene James. This doesn't mean much to Seekerville perhaps but she does live not TOOOOOOO far from me and we've emailed some :D. And I've not managed to pick up one of hers yet. Almost did, but summer finances of teachers you know... next time I see one :D.

Audra Harders said...

Glad you're feeling better, Carol. Was worried about you. But since you had ice cream for lunch, I guess the worst is over, right?

I found all sorts of familiar titles and authors-had to squint-including Tina and Glynna!

Glad books jump into your cart, LOL!

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Melissa! Thanks for joining us today and for the peek into a day in your life.

And Ruthy, thanks for sharing the photos. I hope to visit the offices someday, but will, as Audra said, live vicariously for now.

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Hey Melissa...

How far IS Seekerville from NYC? Thanks so much for stopping in for the birthday month. That's a lotta b'day cake. YUMMO!

Yes Ruthy, please. Now what kind of hat should it be??? Hmmm... I'm thinking fall colors and warm, like knitted with mittens to match for drawing names.

Yes, in fall mood.

Carol, so glad you're better! My d/h ate some curry overseas recently and I don't think he's quite recovered yet...

Good to see everyone up and partying already. It's FRIDAY! :)

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

OOH - yes - I see those familiar names on the shelves. SUPER!! :)


Helen Gray said...

I'm running a little late here, but never fear. I have the coffee pot set!!

Thanks for sharing, Mellissa. Appreciate you coming by.


travelingstacey said...

Hi Melissa~I've really just discovered Love Inspired novels this year...and have really enjoyed them! I don't think I've even seen any in our small town Walmart so I'm thankful for the Seekers! I've visited New York City once...but it's still hard to imagine what life must be like there (especially when you're from south GA!), but it was fun to read about your day. God bless~Stacey

Helen Gray said...

Ruthie, I just had a thought. Since my own birthday is this week, and I REALLY, REALLY need that printer, I'd better make more comments than usual.

Melissa, I don't doubt that being an editor is hard work. But I'm sure most of those of us who haunt this place would love to give it a try!


Janet Kerr said...

Hello Melissa,
Your job sounds interesting. I especially like the part where you get so many books passing through your hands!

Janet Kerr said...

Oh....& your bookshelves look fantastic Melissa!

Keli Gwyn said...

Hi, Melissa. What fun to get a glimpse into your life as an editor. I think it's great how the LI staff works so well together.

Love the pictures--especially the one with Ruthy's book in it. =)

Patty Smith Hall said...

Melissa, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know you at the ACFW conference in St. Lous. I've been a big fan of the LI line for years and feel honored to be a new author for LIH.

And great interview! I've often thought I'd love to be an editor and discover new talent. But for the moment, I think I'll just work at writing!

Have a great day here on Seekerville!

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Melissa!

Thanks for the peek into your day. Your rose looks wonderful.

(Don't water your African Violet too much, and it shouldn't have direct sun.)

I enjoy all of the LI books - especially the ones written by my favorite authors (hmmm, I wonder who those dear ladies could be?). I have several on my TBR shelf as we speak. I'm like Carol, they just jump into my cart at Wal-Mart!

Enjoy your day here!

mary bailey said...

Melissa, thanks for the fascinating "Day in the Life of". You may think it's mundane but your big city life really is fascinating to this writer/dreamer/reader in the rural South! My question is...Is this the job you always dreamed of ever since you were little? Thanks!

Melissa Jagears said...

hmmm, it's been jarring to read these comments because I keep thinking everyone is talking about me and welcoming me thoguh I haven't made a comment yet! Welcome Melissa, from another Melissa, but you can call me Izzy so we don't get confused. :)

Melissa Jagears said...

My crit partner, a new author in your line, has been trying forever to get me to send you one of my historicals, might try out the contest. Hmmmmmm...

Melissa Jagears said...

And I wanted to be an editor ever since 6th grade, your job description sounds like heaven. But back in 6th grade, I knew myself well enough to know I would never want to live in a big city, so I decided I'd have to be an English teacher instead. Too bad sixth grade me couldn't predict the internet. I might just one day do freelance editing on the side so I can live my dream out here in the middle of nowhere. But critting for crit partners fulfills the dream for now. :)

Melissa Jagears said...

And Ruthy, I'd say you should wear Princess Beatrice's hat from the royal wedding. Not sure where you would toss in our names, but it sure would make me laugh! :D

Virginia said...

What a fun post! How we have the whole picture, even what you eat for lunch, we could be stalkers, hahaha! Do we get points if we send you a turkey sandwich and a Diet Pepsi with our submissions??
And the giveaways... Wow, Seekerville. You know I love you guys, but books and a printer? Above and beyond!

Virginia said...

The query letter contest makes me thrill with excitement and feel faint with nerves at the same time. How scary! But as some Seeker says, No pain, no gain, no guts, no glory. Will have to bite the bullet and send one in...

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks for coming today, Melissa! I've often pondered what an editor's job would be like. Your post is delightful.

I've been reading Love Inspired since I was in pigtails (13-ish). The historical line has to be my favorite, as that is what I write.

I won't be entering the query contest (my manuscript is only half-finished :/), but I pray the Lord will send the right authors your way! :)

Cathy Shouse said...


I enjoyed seeing how you spend your day. What is your favorite part?

I love a contest, but I don't write historical. :(
I'd like to know if you are sneaking a peek at any entries on New Voices? I'm guessing you are not, since it is not inspirational. However, some inspirational publishers seem to be allowing for using only the world view and not having much of a spiritual thread. Do you think that will be the case for LI?

Also, are the LI suspense and contemporary romance lines in need of new authors? How do those lines compare to the situation and the historical line?



Natalie Monk said...

Ruthy, I think you need a Dr. Seuss hat. You know, the tall, stripey one? It'd be perfect to draw all those names from.

On second thought, Melissa J. has a pretty good idea with the Princess Beatrice hat.

Goodness only knows what would happen if one of her hats was worn in my hometown. Somebody'd probably take a wild shot at it, thinking it was a game bird. Big hunters around here. Not for trophies as much as eating. LOL

Tina Pinson said...

Hey, Melissa,

Your day doesn't sound busy at all.


Can't put in a query for the contest. But am interested to know if 70,000 to 75,000 words for LI historical is written in stone. Can they run longer?

Thanks for taking time out of your day to stop by.


Tina Pinson
tpins313 at

Nancy Kimball said...


Does Love Inspired currently have any authors who write for both LI and LI Historical? Or who have in the past?

My contemporary (Yes Ruthy, that silver spoon playboy and the beautiful girl he put in a wheelchair =) is written specifically for LI but my first completed MS is a historical and my next WIP will be a LI historical so I'm curious to know if I should focus my effort there since I gravitate to historical.

Any thoughts you could share would be appreciated.

P.S. Natalie, I actually own a red and white horizontal striped stovepipe hat. AKA... the Dr. Suess =)

Cindy W. said...

Hi Melissa. Wow! What a busy, busy fun day! I find it interesting that the authors have so much input for the covers. Awesome!

Thank you for your post today. It's great to know that LI Historicals is looking for new voices.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Helen W said...

Hi Melissa, thanks for sharing your day, it was very interesting. Sounds like fun too :) Maybe more attractive than writing ... lol...oh but I don't envy your commute. Reminds me that I'm thankful I left the rat race!

Ruth Logan Herne said...


First of all... !!!!

Can you just see me wearing Princess Beatrice's fascinator???? In upstate NY? A Seuss hat would garner me fewer looks of disbelief, but hey. These people KNOW ME and they've seen me Snoopy dancin' in the streets each time one of you wins a contest or gets THE CALL.

Love it!

I fixed a tiny error in the original post... the contest guidelines are actually in THE VILLAGE (every time I say that a catchy little tune about Florida hits my brain and I see seniors golfing... swimming... doing something that may or may not resemble swing dancing...I submit they do NOT have the 'friendliest home town!' We do.) On the Village sidebar ( there's a link that takes you to the rules.

And I love that we've brought a few historical gals out of hiding this week!


You rock.

Christy LaShea said...

Hi Melissa! I enjoyed reading about your day & the pictures you shared! I'm one of those who lived vicariously through Ruthy & Tina's NYC trip. I love to visit the city, but I'm a small town girl at heart.

I thought I would share about African Violets - My grandmother had a green thumb with these. They seemed to thrive in natural light. After my granny died, I adopted her violets. I learned they do best in a self-watering pot. I hope you have one of these because they water themselves. A simple process, but better for the plants. I also found - after i killed some of mine :( that the violets love a humid/moist atmosphere like a bathroom. Of course, that's hard to achieve in an office. Good luck with them, as they are so pretty and delicate when they bloom ;)

Thanks Seekers for all you do!

christylashea at gmail dot com

Annie Rains said...

Hi Melissa! I'm so excited that you're here. Sounds like you're a very busy person, glad you took the time to talk to us.

I have a LI question. I have a LI targeted manuscript that I've circulated to several agents. The last agent liked it and asked for revisions, which I eagerly did. She ultimately rejected it and one of her reasons was that she was worried a part of my plot wouldn't work. My heroine is someone from the hero's past, and for much of the book she doesn't reveal the tie that binds them because she's afraid he'll run and she'll never see him again. Soooooo, I guess that's omission of truth. Is that a huge problem in a LI book? Do I just need to shelf the book because this plot line could be seen as deception?...I'll completely understand if your answer is yes.


Ausjenny said...

Love the look of all the books and pick many I have read and authors I know (from cyberspace).
I have an african violet which is doing really well its in a warm spot in the kitchen in the window so it gets the morning sun.
Your job must be interesting not sure I would like that long a commute. but then I can be down town in 10 mins walking from my front door.

Ausjenny said...

I just noticed the LIH have the brown spine and didn't pick that up before and I have read quite a few lately. Is that to help distinguish them as LIH?

MaryC said...

Good morning, Seekerville.

Just checking in quickly before work. Sounds like a terrific day ahead. I look forward to reading all the great conversations later.

Melissa, I use my iPod onn the subway each morning too, but it's usually on my Nook app reading a LI book. Subway time is my uninterrupted reading time.

Have a great day everyone!

Mary Curry

karenk said...

Melissa, I loved reading about your 'job.' Thanks for sharing :)

Happy Birthday Seekers!!

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Patsy said...

Melissa, you do have busy days! But I bet you love it!

I know you're in that big tall building but what floor is your office on? Are their other businesses in the same building? Do ya'll let people tour the offices? I would love to see that building. I think I've asked too many questions!

Mary Connealy said...

Good morning and rats! good-bye.
I'm off soon for Rochester MN to do a booksigning tonight with Erica Vetsch. Then tomorrow Erica and I storm Minneapolis for two book signings. (details on my blog)

So I'm going to miss the party of the DECADE.

It's so great to have you here Melissa, thanks for the great contest.

Dianna Shuford said...

Hi, Melissa! You have a very full day. I'm glad you enjoy your job, otherwise, you might be miserable.

I know LI is looking for historicals, but what about other lines? I write RS so what would be the procedure for me to submit my story to LI?

Ruthy, thanks for the great post. I'm definitely up for drawings. :) You guys here at Seekerville are great!

Gotta get to work now, but I'll check back later tonight to read all of Melissa's great advice.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, you brave woman!

The most surprising thing I saw in Melissa's office when I visited, was how clean it was.

I assumed everyone has a cluttered office with piles of paperwork everywhere. Nope, apparently not.

OR..this is the studio set for the offices and the REAL offices are located in a top secret building. Hmmm..

Kirsten Arnold said...

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit about the life of a Senior Editor. Ahh, the commute on public trans. I live in DC and used to Metro, but now I drive. It was such a pain if anything happened to slow the trains, or heaven forbid stop them.

Anyway, I wondered what the wait time is for an author between submitting their query and hearing back from Harlequin? Also, and I think this might have been asked but I'll ask again, how firm are the word limits? Is the absolute maximum 75,000 or if it's a longer, but you like the story, are there exceptions?



Lindi said...

Ruthy-- I have this really cool pink fuzzy hat if you ever want to borrow it. It can hold a LOT of names!! :)

Great interview. We know the editors work hard and work hard for their authors. It's a great job in the aspect of how every day is different.
Thanks for the insight, Melissa.

Mia Ross said...

Good morning, Melissa! It was neat to see how one of your days might run and some of the people involved in producing LI's great books. Thanks for the peek!

I'm not here for the drawing, just wanted to say hi.

Mia Ross said...

Had to respond to Helen. I love writing, but I wouldn't be an editor for anything. Melissa's job is WAYYY harder than mine ;)

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Melissa, the first thing I noticed was how tidy your office is. I expected to see piles and piles of manuscripts lining the walls. Does it look like that all the time, or did you clean for the pic?
So nice to meet you in St. Louis. And I really was not following you:-)
Ruthy, you need a cowboy hat. Perhaps the ten-gallon variety.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Hmm.. Well, I don't have a completed manuscript aimed at LI. Rats! But thanks for the offer, gals! But, books? I'm always game for books! :D And the printer looks amazingly awesome!

Questions, questions, questions... I know I have some. Let me get my brain awake and I'll be back, Melissa. Thanks for sharing your day with us. Sounds intriguing to me!!! I think I'd love nearly every aspect of your job. Not only do I love to write, I love to read and look at cover art and brainstorm ideas... Yep. Sounds busy, but nice! :D

Ruthy, I'm getting my cup of hot tea as we speak. Mmm...

Linnette R Mullin said...

PS - Ruthy. No Drive-by Contesting? Definition please? I chuckled when I saw that. You have such a way with words! Love Ruthy voice! ;-)

Janet Dean said...

Great to have you back in Seekerville, Melissa! As the editor who bought my debut, you have a special place in my heart.

Thanks for the peek at your day and the great photos. I loved my tour of the LI offices. The Woolsworth building is gorgeous!

Thanks also for the query letter contest! I encourage writers of historical romances to submit to Love Inspired Historical. The LIH covers are fabulous! The editors make our books stronger. Distribution is great. Just a wonderful home for your stories.


CatMom said...

Welcome Melissa! Thanks for this fun look into your day---you stay busy! I had to chuckle at your comment about your plants (I've found that my African Violets do better without much water, and I learned that lesson the "hard way" LOL). ~ It was wonderful meeting with you recently at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis, and I appreciated your kindness and smiles (seeing nice, smiling faces always puts me at ease). And...I'm hard at work polishing my manuscript, so I'll get back at it! Thank you again for taking the time to share with us today. Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo Moore :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

10 gallon Stetson hat???


Waving furiously at you all and adding more food as we speak... Tea sounds good!!!

Okay, fyi... Mindy Obenhaus, LOVE YOU!!!! :)

Mindy caught my Carol Entry FAUX PAS.... I didn't send the right number of books... And she got a hold of me ASAP and overnighted the books to her...

And became a finalist. I owe that to Mindy for notifying me that I was STUPID and Melissa for loving Winter's End.


Re-stocking coffee. Bits and Bites is thrilled to be feeding us. Lox... onions... cream cheese... turkey.... sweet ham.... AND THEY HAVE CAKE. BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!


Carol Moncado said...

This is one time I wished I lived in Minnesota!

Erica AND Mary?!?!?!?!

That's quite fun!

Ah well. I shall have to 'settle' for Mary and Tina in a few weeks.

[BTW - already read Tina's new LI... loved it!]

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Melissa, I think it is awesome that you take the time to chat with us. We love that you're chatty. smile

We appreciate all you do and thanks for celebrating our birthday with us.

Have a fun day. Sandra

Whitney said...

Welcome, Melissa! I love reading about any aspect of the publishing industry. As a graphic design student, the art part (I love book covers!) fascinates me. As an aspiring author, the editorial part is highly intriguing. I want to do it all! Thanks for a glimpse into a typical busy, though totally fun, day as the Senior Editor for Love Inspired! As friends of Seekerville, we love our LI authors and hosts!

The prizes sound great! Any LI book is a great win! I wish I had a historical manuscript ready for LI Historical, but alas, the honor will have to fall into someone else’s lap for now.

The printer! What a blessing that would be! We just moved across country, VERY bare-bones, having left all of our stuff locked up in storage until further notice (or rather, until we have the funds to retrieve it). I love the sound and smell of a MS “hot off the press!”


Walt Mussell said...

Welcome, Melissa. Great to see you. I have fond memories of a previous visit of yours to Seekerville. It was a day I'll never forget.

I'm ecstatic to hear that LIH is seeking new authors. I submitted my full last week. I know it's too early for a response. However, I eagerly await the day it arrives.

I do have one question about your office. You said it was dry. You do not in any way seem like a cactus person, but a cactus would do well in a dry office, wouldn’t it? Have you considered that possibility or perhaps other plants that handle dry situations?

Walt Mussell said...

Note to Ruthy, I hope you've recovered this morning from last night's heartbreak. I thought of you as the last out was recorded.

Melanie Dickerson said...

It is nice to see into the life of an editor! Thanks, Melissa.

Renee, my agent, Rachel Kent, sent me a mini rosebush called "Sleeping Beauty" when The Healer's Apprentice finaled in the Christy! :-) I do not have a green thumb at all, but it is thriving in a pot in the front flower bed. It seems to like a lot of sun and a lot of water.

Jeanne T said...

Hi Melissa,

Being new to the writing world, I loved reading about what you do. Like Keli said, I think it's great that you have a team you work well with. It's interesting to get a glimpse into the world of publishing.

I have a question for you, what recommendations do you have for new writers?

Carol Moncado said...

Like Walt, my thoughts turned to you Ruthy, dear.

Now if my Cards can avoid the same fate, I'll be a happy camper. Otherwise, we can commiserate.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Ten-gallon hat? I think Ruthy should wear the Cat-in-the-hat hat! She can toss all our names in there. :D

Linnette R Mullin said...


What are three things you look for in a LI story? (...and it is 60K words, right?)


Jeanne T said...

Ruthy, I was going to suggest a Cat in the Hat hat, but someone beat me to it. So, what about a fedora? :) You guys are wonderful.

Linnette R Mullin said...


Another question:

If I were to write a story for LI, what advice would you give me on querying you?


Linnette R Mullin said...


Okay, here's another:
Do LI writers come up with their own story-lines or are they assigned once you're a LI author?


Debby Giusti said...

Hi Melissa!

Love the pics of your office, especially the one of you and Tina!

Bert and Ernie! LOL!

You're the Dynamic Duo, in my opinion.

I saw the musical, WICKED, last night at the Fox in Atlanta. Felt like I was back on Broadway!

Such a fun time this summer at RWA. One of the highlights was touring the Love Inspired offices. The Woolworth Building is a must see for anyone who goes to the Big Apple. What a beautiful environment in which to work!

Thanks for sharing your day with us! When you pass Emily's office, tell her I said hi!

Christina said...

I don't have any questions, but I just wanted to say that I absolutely love LI!!

Christina Renee

Connie Queen said...

Good morning Melissa.

I've got a question. Through a contest, I received a request for the first 3 chapters of my ms once it's complete from an LI editor. What's the time frame for submitting. How long is too long?

Debby Giusti said...

Stepping in to answer Linnette's question...

Usually I come up with my own story ideas, but last year, Emily mentioned LI was interested in doing some type of a military investigation series. Because of my ties to the army, she thought of me.

Of course, I jumped at the chance and submitted a proposal for two stories initially. THE OFFICER'S SECRET, came out in May, and THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION, is an October release. Since then I've contracted two more books in the series and am currently working on THE COLONEL'S DAUGTHER, scheduled for August 2012.

Debby Giusti said...

Ruthy, thanks for hosting Melissa and for the yummy bagels.

Refilling my coffee and heading back to my WIP...

I'll stop back later!

Bridgett Henson said...

Welcome, Melissa,

I love reading LI Historicals, but I write long contemporary.

Ruthy, from the number of comments I predict…(drum roll please)…you’re gonna need more than one hat.
Enter me for the books.
Great fun here today!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, "drive-by contesting..."

Totally stole this from TEEEEENA.

Gotta give credit where credit is due, right????

So you have to leave a comment at some point before the contest's end next week.

And remember: I LOVE CONTESTS....

It was a query letter contest that drew initial attention to Winter's End...

And Melissa read it in FINALLY A BRIDE OKRWA and gave it the win and the contract.

So pitch and query contests are GOOD for sharpening/honing your skills. And in my opinion, a query should reflect your genre/brand/voice...

So mine have a hint of humor with a dash of snark and I always note the current guidelines of LI.

Because it pays to do your homework and trim accordingly.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


I'm trying not to think of it, but thank you SO MUCH FOR BRINGING UP MY HEARTBREAK ON WHAT HAD BEEN A NICE, NICE DAY!!!!

For those of you who don't bleed pinstripe blue, the Yankees were beaten by DETROIT....

Yes. You heard that right...

3-2 in the final game of the American League Championship series.



I'm crushed.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey. Just so you know:


It's about the only hat I do look good in, but it fits my nature, don't you think????

Detective Ruthy, at your service!

Erica Vetsch said...

Thank you for this look into one of your busy days. As a small-town girl, I can't imagine nearly two hours a day on a train to get to work -- in the same city!

Loved seeing so many friends' names on those bookshelves.

Erica Vetsch said...

I'll have to try to make it up to Mary for missing this party...hope we don't make the newspapers. :D

Ruthy, you look great in anything!

Carol, I LOVE your shopping cart. Books just fly off the shelf and land in that buggy. :D

Amanda said...

Hi Melissa,

I was so excited to read this post! Being an editor sounds like a busy job, but oh so fun!

Looking forward to reading your answers to some of the questions!


Melissa said...

Hey ladies, glad to see you all today! And pleased you like my blog. I'll try to check in a couple times a day to say hi and answer a few questions.

First, thanks for all the hints and tips for African violets. I think mine is a lost cause, however. I might get a new one in the spring.

LI and LIS are always looking for new projects. If you've got one, send 'em in!

The LIH word count is 75,000 words max. But dont' be discouraged if you have a longer manuscript. If you're willing to trim, we are willing to work with you.

What are the 3 things I look for in an LI story? Frankly, I look for these things in any story: 1. Characters I can connect with on an emotional level and really care about. 2. A plot that will keep me interested and reading til the end. 3. The hero and heroine meeting in the first chapter or very beginning of chapter 2.

See you later!

Donna said...

Welcome Melissa! I was wondering how many manuscripts you would normally read a week. Thanks for sharing your day with us!

Mary Ellis said...

Hi Melissa! You were my first editor appt. ever back in 2001 in Washington, DC at the RWA conference. I was green as guacamole, but you were so incredibly kind to me. My ms was a CW historical set in Gettysburg. You said you had fond memories of family vacations there. Despite H-historicals wasn't buying any CW books, your encouragement bolstered my confidence and changed my life. thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Rose said...

Good Morning, Melissa!

Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your day and the inside scoope on what the LI needs!

I talked to Elizabeth at the ACFW conference and she stressed the fact that you need historicals. So my New Year's Resolution is to write one of the ideas I pitched to her.

I also want to say how glad I am to see that Harlequin still looks at unagented submissions.


Connie Queen said...


Finished reading Winter's End last night. Terrific story. I like how you slowly filtered in her childhood trauma to build conflict. Although, my shoulders are tight this morning and I'm pretty sure it because of all Marc and Kayla's troubles.

Patty Wysong said...

Woot! Great day in Seekerville!!
(except I'm pouting that my ms isn't done and I can't enter the contest. waaaah!) And after I pout I'll gnash my teeth. Majorly. sigh.

Guess what I found in my cart when I went grocery shopping this week? Oklahoma Reunion. That lil book flew into my cart. ;-) Amazing how they do that. Is there special training you guys do so the books know which carts to fly into?

Patty Wysong said...

Melissa, thanks for sharing your day with us. I loved your Bert to Ernie comparison. LoL. I think everyone needs a Bert or Ernie in their lives! =]

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Melissa! I love hearing about your work day and seeing the office/NY photos. I've never been to NY, but hope someday to get there and tour the Harlequin office!

All: Melissa is a FABULOUS editor. She lets you keep your "voice" and encourages you and gently guides you on how to strengthen your story. (Or at least that's how she works with me. She may be cracking the whip and breaking chairs over Ruthy's head for all I know.)

I'm at home today making serious headway on my due-in-December continuity series book, with ideas for the next 2 or 3 stories set in Canyon Springs, Arizona bubbling in the background. So once this one is delivered to Emily in December, I'll be in touch!

As I look out my window at the huge ponderosa pines, I can see SNOW on the rooftops. And the mountains are blanketed in white. So this is a cozy-in-and-write day! I fully intend to indulge in a cup of hot cocoa topped with cinnamon and whipped cream (fat free, of course...)!

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to join us, Melissa!

Naomi Rawlings said...

Hey Melissa, great to see where you and Elizabeth and everybody else works.

I've never been to NYC. I'd love to visit one day, especially as a "writer." :-)

Hi Ruthy, thanks for hosting Melissa today.

Happy writing, everybody!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rose, I can totally see you writing for LIH... Get on it, girlfriend!!!

And Connie, thank you so much! I love Winter's End... It was truly a healing story. And Kayla looked so doggone good in cute shoes... and polished nails... and great hair! ;)

I'm thrilled that Melissa loved it, too!

Connie Queen said...

Ruthy, yeah, I love Kaya's shoes too. I can so relate to her. And I laughed out loud when you mentioned Derek Jeter.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hello everyone and thank you for having Melissa here! I loved the peek into an editor's life.

Melissa, I have a confession to make. About two years ago you sent me a lovely rejection letter - only at the time, I didn't know the difference between a form rejection and a two page rejection with suggestions. (I know, I know! Hangs head).

Since then I have revised said manuscript and hope to re-submit. Is this a big no-no?

An agent (who shall remain nameless) told me at St. Louis to march up to your table and tell you to expect my submission. LOL. This girl is WAY to reserved for that. Though I would have liked to meet you!

Thanks for sharing your insider knowledge with us hopefuls.

Walt, good luck with your LIH submission!

Thanks for all the wonderful prize opportunities, ladies! It's a beautiful day here! Love Indian summer!

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Elizabeth B. said...

Thank you Melissa for visiting with Seekerville today and hosting this forum. Presently, I have five novels written, two contemporaries and three historicals and have won numerous writing awards. As a historical enthusiast, I am rabid about facts, dates and cultures. Most importantly, I would find extreme pleasure in writing for Harlequin Historical Love Inspired. The book covers, the sentimentality, the aura of sprituality and the love triumphed, all touch my heart.

Christina said...

Okay, so, I do have a question. I thought of it as I was watering my bamboo plant.

What is LIH's stance on Biblicals? Are you interested in stories set before the birth of Jesus?

Tina Radcliffe said...

Now you did it, Melissa. You are about to get 100 African Violets sent to you.

Have you considered a second career as a horticulturist?

Anita Mae Draper said...

Melissa, I enjoyed your post. So ... normal.

It was fun meeting you in St Louis. You're always smiling. :)

I was worried our internet wouldn't be back in time for your visit. As per the news coverage, our net provider's satellite over northern Canada was knocked out of alignment for over 24 hrs and there was a chance they couldn't get it working again. I mean, who takes a whack out at a communication satellite?

Wait - Ruthy! What were you doing yesterday around 2 am Mtn time?

And yes, I think you should wear a hat. Perhaps the straw hat you use to feed your chickens? Or perhaps a Mario or Luigi one? Such a tough decision.

Anita Mae.

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Yikes Glynna you said the "s" word! I don't even want to think about that right now. I live in PA and thank goodness it's been in the 70s all week and by the weekend it could be 80! Woohoo! Good luck on your writing!

p.s. Audra sorry I beat you with my first comment. :-P


Cara Lynn James said...

Melissa, believe me, your day is way more glamorous than mine! At least you live and work in New York. I was so glad to meet you at ACFW!

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

That was a great day in the life post! Thanks Melissa!

Good luck to everyone entering the query contest!

And Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada!

Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, Melissa, what a FUN glimpse into the day of an editor -- SOOOO cool!!

And THANK YOU for humanizing editors for us. I know when I was brand new in this biz, editors seemed like the Wizards of Oz to me -- all powerful and knowing and able to put the fear of God in you. It's taken me several years, but I now have a whole new perspective on you guys as warm and caring human beings who sometimes (okay, most of the time!) are on overload with all the work you have to do. Your blog today goes a LONG way to support the perspective that editors are people, too, which SO helps to dispel the barriers between author and editor.

Thanks SO much for your incredible support of Seekerville AND for a great blog today.


Melissa said...

Can't keep up with all your great questions and comments! Bear with me!

Susan-- I don't remember your project, but if I sent you suggested revisions and mentioned I'd take another look at it, then YES, definitely resubmit. And I may be a Senior Editor, but I'm also a lovely person. :) You would have been more than welcome to stop by my table at ACFW and say hi. I know, it's not easy talking to strangers, editors at that. But next time, take a deep breath and jump into the pool!

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Melissa! Thanks for sharing your workday with us. I currently don't write romance, but your information is great to carry over into other genres. I'm curious: what made you want to be an editor, and how did you get into the field?


Elizabeth B. said...

Harlequin exercises its muscle in numerous countries. A Wall Street Journal piece reported Harlequin Senior Manager, Andrew Go opened and office in Mumbai, India. Great idea-since India is an emerging economy with 1.3 billion people. According to India Times (tantamount to our NY Times), educated Indian men read Harlequins more than Indian women. That is not to say Indian women don't crave Harlequins. They gobble up Harlequins left in hostels by American women traveling abroad. Harlequin has vision, cultivating a growing middle class in India. I'd like to be a part of that vision, writing LI Historicals.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Debby, thanks for answering that! I always wondered. I've seen in some series where there will be different authors writing books within the same series so I was curious. That's awesome she thought of you for the military stories! :D

Linnette R Mullin said...

Melissa, thanks for answering the three things question! :D You said LIH is 75,000 words. What about LI? And do you have anymore tips for writing for LI? What's something that sets LI apart from the rest other than their brevity?

Linnette R Mullin said...

Ruthy, a Fedora? Oh, yeah! I can SO see you in that! :D

Linnette R Mullin said...

Happy Birthday, Helen! I vote that you get an extra name entry in the hat for the printer! :D

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melissa, Patsy COULD BE A STALKER!!!


They're on the 10th floor. It's in the address so it's not a secret. But I AM laughing in upstate...

PatriciaW said...

Hi Melissa! I'd enjoyed the glimpse into a day in your life. Lots going on there. You make me wistful for my long-gone commute from LI to NYC. And I really wanted to be an editor but by the time I figured that out, I was three years into an engineering degree. Too late to make that change.

In those cover art meetings, does Harlequin seek to depict a scene from the book or only use the scenes to inspire something related but perhaps a bit more universal for the cover (like the cowboy next to the horse)?

In contemporary LI, aside from small towns, are there any trends you can share? And do they have to be set in small towns?

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Tina, OR... the REAL offices are located in a top secret building. Hmmm..

Sounds like a job for May. ;D

YAY! I saw posts from Walt! I've just probably missed them previously... Hi Walt!

Pooor Ruthy... sorry 'bout the heartbreak... :(

OOOH - Mary and Erica - y'all have FUN!

Thanks again Melissa. Looks like you've got your work cut out for you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, dudes and dudettes, Melissa's internet is being uncooperative. It's spotty. So she's trying to answer quickly but might have to mess with internet issues to post...

Stay tuned.

Film at eleven.


In the meantime... we'll talk books and LI!

Jill Kemerer said...

Melissa, I LOVE this peek into your day, and not just because I'm super-nosy! It's fun to see pictures of NYC and the Harlequin offices. My view usually consists of trees and fields.

I've long said Love Inspired covers are the best. They always lure me into reading the back cover, which forces me to open to the first page, and, well, I'm sure you can guess the rest... :) Let's just say I have a basket of Love Inspired's next to me as we speak.

Thanks so much for giving us this slice of your daily life!

Jamie Adams said...

Melissa, my wip is not far enough along to enter this contest but I do have a question. The manuscript I submitted this past summer (part of an editor pitch contest) came back with constructive suggestions and an invite to submit another project.

Since unpublished writers are to submit a query or proposal I'm wondering which you prefer? Do any of the other editor's, like say Ms. James, have a preference? :)

Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. I'm sure you have a couple other things you could be doing instead.

Virginia said...

Ruthy, you can always just let her know we're all concerned about her plant situation! Haha! We grow our African violets above the sink. Since we do't have a dishwasher, it gets nice and steamy there!

Patty Smith Hall said...

I'll second the fact that Melissa is a very nice person--I butchered her name introducing her at the ACFW conference and she laughed it off. Maybe because I warned her beforehand I would mess up!

And she likes to bake too--I keep thinking I should send you the recipe for my grandma's juicy chocolate cake--people drove for MILES just for a piece, it was that good.

Maybe I should bring some to the party tomorrow. . .

Glynna Kaye said...

While Melissa's missing in action as she does battle with the internet, go to, then scroll WAY TO THE BOTTOM where under "Write for Us" there's a link to the guidelines for all Harlequin lines.

Then on that linked page there are all sorts of goodies like how to format your manuscript and submit it. If you scroll to the bottom of that page you'll find the Love Inspired links. These will tell you the word length (LIH 70-75K, LI 55-60K, LIS 55-60K) and other info about what Melissa & Company are looking for.

When you're done checking it out, don't forget to pop back over to Seekerville to see what's been happening while you were gone!

Carol Moncado said...

I'm making cookies for a family gathering tomorrow [right after our MozArks ACFW meeting]. Do I dare leave some here or will they be all gone and my poor family will go cookie less?

I DID see the cover for my first publication today!!!! Okay - so it's a short little 500 word thing in a much larger compilation and my name's nowhere near the cover, but I still think it's pretty cool ;).

Christina said...

Baking! Did someone say baking? I would love some monster cookies and maybe a coconut cream pie.


Regina Merrick said...

It's so great to see you here, Melissa! I was blessed to sit at your table on Saturday of the conference, and had a great time talking to you and the LI authors at the table. Question (and it may have been asked, but there were 115 comments ahead of me!): What is the timeline for a submitted manuscript?

Thanks for the time you give to new and aspiring authors!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Melissa and all the Seeker ladies! So fun to see the office pics. Melissa, I used to have a whole African Violet collection (my only attempt at live plants)but didn't know to quarantine new plants from the established population. Lost all my plants and have never had the heart to try again. Hmm, maybe since I have a new office space it's time to try again.

CDeesBooks said...

Wow! A query letter contest! I need a moment to contain my excitement....

This summer, I finished writing an historical romance targeted for Love Inspired Historicals and have been letting my family read it for initial thoughts and to catch glaring errors while I work on creating a query letter (which I've never done before...gulp).

And today, I read this post.
Oh, oh, oh, oh...I'm speechless.
A chance to have someone outside my family read my query letter...maybe, just maybe, eventually my story?! (Did I mention it was my birthday this week?) What better gift could you ask for? A chance!

Thank you!
I REALLY enjoyed reading this post and getting a glimpse into the inner workings of LI, and I will be submitting my Query Letter per the contest rules!

(And now, I'll swallow my excitement, nerves, hopes and go back to helping my library patrons.)

Thank you, Ladies!
( I snatch a piece of B-Day cake and stuff my mouth ;-)

Virginia said...

Hi Melissa, I can see your day is very busy! My days are busy but now quite like yours. I think I would love working around books all day no matter how busy I was. Sounds like a perfect job.

Melissa said...

Happy Afternoon! Ruthy was kind enough to bundle some of your questions to me. Here are the answers:

Renee--Sorry, but I don't really know much about gardening. How I haven't killed off my mini roses by now is a mystery only God knows!

Is this the job you always dreamed of since you were little?--Yep! I've always been a voracious reader, and when I learned about editing in high school or college, I knew publishing was for me!

Is the word count absolute?--yep! 55-60k words for LI and LIS, 70-75k for LIH.

Are you looking for new authors in all lines?--Definitely! Come all ye new authors!

Virginia -- I don't take bribes, but tokens of your affection are appreciated. :)

Nancy--we prefer new authors to focus on writing for 1 line in the beginning, to build their name recognition with readers. Then if they want to branch out to another line, that's a discussion to have with your agent/editor,etc.

Walt--thanks for the cactus suggestion. I might look into that!

All our authors come up with their own book ideas. We do have special projects that come up from time to time, and sometimes we might offer up ideas, but for regular books, authors are the stars of the show.

Connie--if your manuscript has been requested, send it in. It doesn't matter how long it's been. There's no expiration date on talent. ;)

Ok, gotta get back to my day job!

Melissa said...

Patty--ooee! Definitely send me your grandma's juicy chocolate cake recipe! I'm intrigued just hearing about it!

I make the chocolate zucchini bread recipe from Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook and I always get raves for it.


Cindy R. Wilson said...

Sounds like quite a full day--and so interesting! (I did poor with my African violets, too, and unfortunately had to throw them away.) Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa and I've already seen posts and such about how LI is seeking historicals so the word is already getting out :)

I'm so excited about the query contest and think you've all cooked up a fabulous contest. I'm ready to send it, just waiting for the right time :) Thanks!

Virginia said...

Carol, that's so exciting! I've never had anything published longer than magazine articles. It would be so neat to see something 'bound' and on a shelf. :)

Patty Wysong said...

One thing I can grow is violets. But only in one spot in my house and it's the same spot my mother grows her collection of violets. It's on the kitchen window sill, right above my kitchen sink. Mom says (thank God for moms!! Where else would we learn some things from?!) anyway, Mom says the violets like the warm, moist air from doing the dishes.

One time I rebelled. I moved my violet to the living room. It promptly grew ugly then died. Mom just shook her head and reminded me of the direct sunlight rule. So, I tried again and have had almost constant blooms since then. =] Makes doing dishes a little nicer. =]

Anita Mae Draper said...

This is going out to anyone wondering if they should enter the query letter contest.. Do It!

Happy Birthday, CDeesBooks. This is the perfect opportunity for you. As soon as you can, send in your query.

Anita Mae

Trinity Rose said...

Sounds like you have a fantastic job.
Really enjoyed hearing about your day. No questions right now, just wanted to send you encouragement and blessings,
Trinity Rose
wandaelaine at gmail dot com

Myra Johnson said...

Wow, a busy day in Seekerville! And what fun to read about your typical "day in the life," Melissa!

I realize it's a way of life for so many 8-to-5ers, but I cannot imagine a 50-minute commute to and from work every day. I would definitely have to find a way to work on something productive (like maybe a nap) during that time.

Good to know all the LI lines are thriving! Though we haven't connected on anything yet, maybe someday . . .

Did I mention how envious I get when the Seeker LI authors start talking about all the fun they have working with you and the other LI editors?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I have a question for Patty Smith Hall:

What in the Sam Hill are you waiting for, woman??? Bring on the cake and the recipe!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Anita Mae, I confess, that while researching a suspense novel plot line I inadvertently BLEW THE WORLD WIDE WEB to smithereens.

Do you think there really is a web? Or is that a virtual thing? Someone call Al Gore and ask, okay???

Need cake... and coffee!!!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

LOL Melissa thanks for answering my question. I really don't have any luck when it comes to roses of any kind not even the fake ones so next time I might try my hand at growing a fern or cactus.

XOXO~ Renee C.

Jeanne T said...

That's why I suggested a fedora, Ruthy. :) You can share humor, snark and be creatively sneaky wearing a hat like that. :)

runner10 said...

WOW!! Looks like it has been a fun-filled day. I wish I could have made it earlier.


Patsy said...

Melissa sorry you were having internet problems. I feel your pain! Sometimes our internet just goes off. It may be off a few minutes or all night - we never know. It's not funny when you're right in the middle of something and it just goes off. It's been okay lately though.

Pepper said...

Wow Melissa,
What a quick look at a day-in-the-life.

Ruth Logan Herne turned me on to LI - and now I'm actually trying my hand at a story or two. One for the contemp line and one for the historical. I love the way you guys have created deeper themes within the line.

Btw, I just bought Tina Radcliffe's Oklahoma Reunion AND Karen Kirst's historical, The Reluctant Outlaw (cause it's set in the Smokies and my setting is the Blue Ridge Mountains- nice compsrable ;-)

How many projects do you try to have in place at a time? There are SOOOOO many books coming out. Every time I visit Wal-Mart I check to see what's new with LI (and if a Seeker has something new out). There are so many more to choose from!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Carol M, I rediscovered the art of making French Toast while on vacation. Now I crave the stuff! I just made four for lunch and froze two of them. :D

Maybe tomorrow I'll make French Toast for Seekerville!!! :D

Pepper said...

I have a Mad Hatter hat you can borrow!

Be forwarned - you might start talking like Johnny Depp in Scottish brogue.

Pam Hillman said...

Whoo-hoo!!! Welcome to Seekerville, Melissa! Loved this little peek into your day. And it was great to see your smiling face in St. Louis!

BTW, did you you know the Seekers just refer to you as ME in private?

Everybody knows who ME is.

You're THAT famous!

Now, who knows you TJ, RB & ER are? Hmmm???? If you don't, you SHOULD!!!

Busy day at work for me too, but now I'm catching up on all the juicy gossip in the comments section.

Debby Giusti said...

The 6 books in a series written by different authors is called a continuity. Yes, the editors ask certain authors to be part of that type of project. I had the good fortune of being in the Protecting the Witnesses continuity and loved working with Emily, my editor, and five other LIS authors.

Pam Hillman said...

Lord have mercy, Natalie is just a kid if she started reading LI's at age 13.

I won't tell you how old I was when I read my first LI....

Natalie Monk said...

Oh, Pepper! That's my favorite part in the whole movie!!! 'Learning the Scottish accent as well as Johnny Depp' is on my bucket list. Seriously. Where did you get the hat??? I gotta get me one of those.

Natalie Monk said...

Pam, I'm guessing on that. 13-15 Wasn't sure when Harlequin started their Inspirational line. I'm just over the legal drinking age. That's all I'm sayin'. :D

Um... Not that I drink. Oh, dear me. Haha! You know what I mean. :)

Pam Hillman said...

ME said: There's no expiration date on talent. ;)

This gave me the warm fuzzies!

Pam Hillman said...

Good save, Nat! lol

Christina said...

Pepper, are those new books on the shelf? Our Walmart doesn't stock real well.


Elizabeth B. said...

I am feverishly working on a historical romance for Love Inspired, taking place at the end of the Tudor Period. I believe the work-in-progress has global appeal.

Elizabeth B. said...

I will definitely forward a query and last page as required in the Seekerville Query Contest. My historicals are fun and adventurous. I drag my characters through horrendous conflicts, but they keep on fighting through all their struggles because they are made for each other.

Helen Gray said...

Here's more coffee, since there are already well over a hundred comments, and Ruthie's in need of coffee.

Mended Hearts was gone from the shelves when I was last at a Wal Mart (50 miles away), so I thought I'd buy a copy at conference. But I didn't find it there either. I have to get that book WITH ME IN IT.

My last two years of teaching I drove 56 miles each way to school and back--over the kind of Ozark roads that you DON'T make good time on. So I spent over two hours a day on the road. TIRING!

No advice on plants from here. I have a black thumb.

Back to the WIP now.

CatMom said...

Just stopping back by to drop off some freshly-baked Georgia Peach muffins and cobbler (ya'll are probably sick of all my "Georgia Peach" desserts by now, but in case anyone needs a snack....). Helen, I need COFFEE!! This time of the afternoon I always need coffee, and Helen's is some of the best! ~ One more note: I went to my Walmart a few hours ago, and found Tina's LI and Debby G.'s LIS (so of course I bought several copies---which I squeezed into my cart alongside numerous cans of cat food and bags of Halloween candy, LOL). ~ Thanks again for visiting today, Melissa, and have a wonderful weekend. ~ Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

Dianna Shuford said...

Hey, Ruthie, my hubby was bummed NY lost too. He's from Brooklyn so he and his brother both pull for the NY baseball teams. (Don't ask me how he wound up married to a Southerner...just lucky I guess. LOL)

Pepper said...

There are 5 shelves of ONLY Love Inspired in one of the Wal-Marts nearby (the one I usually shop)
And they're ALWAYS full, except on one day each week. So that must be stocking day :-)

Pepper said...

Hi Natalie,
There is this WONDERFUL costume shop in the town where I work. I plan to stop by there next week. I want to pick up a PIRATE hat next time (if they're not too expensive). The Mad Hatter hat is an exact replica of the one in the new Alice movie.
SO. MUCH. FUN!!! It's my think-outside-the-box hat

Ausjenny said...

I go to bed everyone parties.

I was looking at my pile of LI (all genres) last night to pick one to read. I am trying to read a book from every state of the US and have 17 to go. I found I picked Wisconsin by accident but great book. I am finding so many books set in Oklahoma, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, California, Texas, Arizona and Florida at present. I really need a Kansas, Utah, Nevanda, and a few others I am struggling to find this year.

Do some states seem to be more popular for Authors to write about? I also like when a state is mention either in the blurb or first page or two. (love how LIH say a location at the top of the first chapter).

Jan Drexler said...

I see I'm not the only one with internet problems today - but at least I'm in good company!

And this was the day I was planning to spend researching for an article I'm working on. Oh well. Went to Walmart instead (the boys were rebelling at nothing in the house to eat but fruits and veggies - they're carnivores, you know) and picked up Anna Schmidt's new LIH.

Now, if I only had some time to read...

Patty Jo - I never get tired of Geogia Peach anything!

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Ruthy, if the Tigers hadn't beaten your Yanks, it would have been up to my Rangers. Now you can cheer for my Rangers to beat the Tigers who beat your Yanks. So you see, it's all good :-)

Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo,

Love your peachy desserts! And you! Thanks for adding THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION to your shopping cart!


MaryC said...

Catmom, can never be sick of anything with Georgia peaches so bring on the cobbler.

Or the French Toast, Linnette.

Can you tell I'm hungry?

Okay - so you all are asking about the plants, but has anyone asked about the pictures on her walls - behind the computer. The hmm hmmm men?

If you double click on the picture, you'd have a nice view - except for the monitor in the way :)

Just asking. :)

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Yay Carol... WAHOOOO!

And yes, you KNOW what would happen if you left cookies...

Fedora... Yes... ruthy, I can see it.

What color??

Or are you going for Pepper's look?! :)

Christina said...

Jenny, there were some really good Kansas LIH's a while back. I'm from Kansas so I tend to write Kansas. One day soon (positive thinking) I'll be published.


Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Enjoyed hearing about your day, Melissa. Thank you for filling us in on what LIH is looking to publish and answering some of the questions that I had, too. This is such a great opportunity for anyone targeting LI.
Sorry about the loss of your team last night, Ruthy. Well, Carol, it's the Cards and the Phillies here tonight. So exciting!

Natalie Monk said...

Pepper, that is AWESOME. I must be part Cheshire, 'cause I do love that 'sweet' hat. And a pirate one? Oh, yes.

Nancy, I've only seen one of those in real life and it was a drab black and white. Yours sounds amazing!

I think I'm beginning to see where you ladies get your creative genius from. Note to self: invest in a cool hat.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Aw - thanks Melissa. I'm sure you are a very nice person. All the LI Seekers say it's true and I believe them!

Back to work! Revise, revise, revise!

And thanks Eva! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! We have the most gorgeous weather for our Thanksgiving weekend! Lots of outside chores to get finished up - like raking!! Can't wait for the pumpkin pie, though!


Christina said...

Pepper, I'm green! I wish our Wal-Mart stocked better. They have a tiny book section and don't always have LIHs. Last night I found three of them but they only had two copies of one and three of another. It can be frustrating.

Helen W said...

Melissa I'm wondering if LI publishes international authors with settings outside of the US?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Texas...Detroit...Philly...Milwaukee...Arizona... St. Louis...

I cannot believe there's no NEW YORK left in the fray.


Mindy, I'll cheer for your Texas Rangers BECAUSE you saved me... And I love Josh Hamilton's story. That sets them apart.

But boy, St. Louis... They're scrappers!

Hey, that coffee is hitting the spot, Helen!

And I'm coming back once I feed the thronging masses at my door and we'll play. I might even make fun of some o' youse. Just because I can.

Pepper, that hat would be a hoot. I would wear a silly hat just because I can.

I love being eccentric. That sounds so much better than crazy, doesn't it? But the meds are similar.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, not for nothin' but did you guys know I can do a brogue? A great one. I practiced it as a kid and I polished it when my mother was dying. She liked to hear me use it. It's a peasant brogue, so stronger. Think hill and dale, not Dublin. So fun!

I'll do it for you next year. REASON ENOUGH TO COME, I'D SAY, LOL!

(luckily Mary is not here to shoot me down. Phew.)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Elizabeth, aka: Betsy....

Take a breath, honey...

But I can honestly say Elizabeth's work is wonderful.

And her intensity is ADORABLE... :)

Wanda Elaine, bless you right back! I accept your blessings on behalf of the village. You guys make us look good. And that's a huge blessing to all of us.

Dianna, tell your hubby that there are about 145 days... long days... until Yankee spring training.


And Natalie Monk is adorable. And Jeanne T. is too. I critiqued both of them last week and they're STILL TALKING to me.

Unless it's Melissa....

But they're HERE, they came BACK, so either they're forgiving or they want something...


And baby, we've got stuff today!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Cool, Debby! Thanks for answering that for me. I wondered how those happned. :D

Tina Pinson said...


Are you talking about football....


I'm sorry your team lost.

It must be just horrible. Sounds worse than my dual root canal.

I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Virginia said...

Our Wal Mart doesn't have much to offer, either, but I've seen their YA section grow HUGELY in the last year, so that was an intersting surprise. Ya is getting so hot!
Ruthy, I majored in linguistics and studied 6 languages and lived in 4 countries... and can't fake an accent to save my life. Honestly. It's English, or the actual language, not much in between. I wonder what part of the brain an 'accent' uses?? My brother does a crazy good Boston accent and a hilarious imitation of my Spanish-speaking husband.
"I a-sitteeng heeeer, a-sippeeng my waterrrr." *snort*

Kathy said...

I just finished reading a LIH. So good. I'd love to be a part of the writing/published world and have so much to learn. For example, I don't know even know what a query letter is. Guess that's okay for know as my characters haven't told me all of the story yet. Would love to be a part of the drawing also. Thanks so much for offering such good stuff.


Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy said...

I just finished reading a LIH. So good. I'd love to be a part of the writing/published world and have so much to learn. For example, I don't know even know what a query letter is. Guess that's okay for know as my characters haven't told me all of the story yet. Would love to be a part of the drawing also. Thanks so much for offering such good stuff.


Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aly Logan said...

Melissa, thanks so much for demystifying the life of a New York editor. I always wondered what your life was like. I live in Phoenix, and even your comments about riding the subway were fascinating. How cool that your co-workers are friends.


Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing about your work day. It's always interesting to see what kinds of covers books have. It's neat to see the kind of influence you have on it.
cynthiakchow (at)earthlink (dot) net

Loves 2 Read Romance - Laura said...

Hey everyone it's been a busy day. Thanks for sharing with us Melissa. I just have to say that all the work that you do is so appreciated. The covers each month just seem better and better. I got my books for December yesterday and the covers were just gorgeous. I love how this year all the Christmas themed books have frosted ornaments around the Love Inspired Banner. I don't have any questions just wanted to stop by and say thanks for all the hard work you do!!


Tina Pinson said...

Hi Ann

I live around Phoenix too. Have we met.


Cindy W. said...

Oh my stars! The party has been bubbling all day long and I've missed most of it.

Mindy, I'll be rooting for your Rangers too! I have always been a Nolan Ryan fan and since he owns the Rangers I just have to root for them. Nolie came to visit me in the hospital when he was still a pitcher for the California Angels... must say I gained a lot of attention from all the medical staff. My brother and nephew live just outside of Dallas too so I have to root for the Rangers.

Smiles & Blessngs,
Cindy W.


Mindy Obenhaus said...

Cindy W, that's a great Nolan Ryan story. He really is a neat guy. He's got a few of them on the team too, even besides Josh Hamilton. We'll be cheering together.

Elizabeth B. said...

Why not any more Civil War Historicals? It has been two decades since we've seen them. Regencies are prolific. Civil War offers a fresh alternative, so let's cycle them through again.

A side note:
In an airport, 1500 miles inland China, I observed a Chinese businessman buying an American Civil War novel about a widow. I asked him why he would be interested in that topic. He said, "I like American Civil War!"

Nancy Kimball said...

Natalie, the hat is awesome. I
m going to see if I can locate a photo, LOL.

I just got home from the book release party for Love Inspired Historical author Noelle Marchand. Wow what a blast, and at the Southern History Museum on the campus of my old alma mater no less. I just fixed a glass of tea and fluffed the couch pillows. Can't wait to see what's in store for Unlawfully Wedded Bride.

Carol Moncado said...

Ruthy - I think your cheering helped, dear one!




[no there's not cheering and clapping at my house ;)]

Valri said...

Melissa, you really do have a crazy busy day! I guess you are never bored but I hope you take time to smell the roses too! Thanks from all us readers for staying on top of all the "business side" of it so we have these great books to read! I have to admit that the first thing I do when I go into a "Target, Walmart, etc." is head to the book section and pick out my books and THEN do the rest of my shopping! All those LI, LIH and LIS books have to be picked out first!


Tina Radcliffe said...

A little stunned at all these comments. WOWZA!!

Janet Kerr said...

Your day sounds so full. It sounds like a great job! And, you make it sound like fun...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina Pinson... thank you for your sympathy. You make my heart... sing.

Brat. ;)

I love how Mary C's mind works. And that's all I'm sayin' 'bout that!

Fedora: slate gray or black. They shouldn't even make them in other colors.

SUSAN!!! Yes, get to work. Do it. It will make me so happy to have you on board with us!

Kathy... Don't you hate when blogger does that???? Happens to us all the time. And I have a sample query letter over in the "RULES FOR THE CONTEST" at

If you go to the right sidebar, a little blurb says go HERE for more info. Click on HERE and it will take you to the rules and you can read the query letter that got me some SWEET!!!! attention.

And there will be more contests. More advice. More hugs. This is what we're about: taking you on that journey from where you're standing on Unpubbed Island to where we're standing on the Mainland of Publishing... IT IS NOT AN EASY JOURNEY, BUT SO WORTH IT!!!! Glad to have you on board, kiddo! And you're in on the other drawings!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

The Cardinals do not give up. Like I said, they're scrappers. And their coach???? There's a reason LaRussa's won more post season games than anyone else... ever, I think. The guy knows his stuff.

Dave has a theory that titles and wins follow Lance Berkman. So glad to see the Cards just gave him a nice one-year deal. The guys a gentleman and a great player. HOOT HOOT HOOT for the Cards!!!!

Christy LaShea said...

I'm just wondering if anyone sleeps in this town?

Ruthy, I tried to make a comment on your chocolate chip cookies at the Yankee Bell Cafe, but no go. Yum, those sure look good! Missy cracks me up with her boxed stuff... although, I can't laugh too hard as I'll bet she's cooking more than I am!

Ben and Phyllis said...

Thank you for sharing your day with us Melissa. I really enjoyed reading your article. May God bless you!

Lisa Jordan said...

Melissa, loved the inside peek into your day, especially after meeting you at ACFW!! I also loved knowing more about the collaboration between the editor and the art department for creating covers. LI covers are so beautiful, but then I'm a little biased because I think mine is so spectacular!

Jackie S. said...

I love "taking a peek into your day".....sounds like a great life. I can't believe I forgot to visit here yesterday; I NEVER do that....oh well, hope it is not too late to get my name in. Love those LI books! Have read 11 recently. Great weekend to all!

Crystal Laine said...

Melissa, is the LIH line interested in regency-type historicals? Is there a certain time period or setting you look for when choosing LIH?

As to the African violet--my Tennessee 97-yr-old grandmother was the master of African violets before her death this year. I don't think she knew anything about hours of light, fertilizers, or pH of soil--just had the right conditions and knew how to talk to them. :) With that said, I heard that you should "wick" the moisture to the plant. Get some baby acrylic yarn or pantyhose and saturate to stick into the soil. Or put in dry if the soil is already soaked. They can get root rot from too much moisture.

But they are tricky plants, for sure. I've never gotten the hang of them. So many variables.

Thanks so much for showing us your day!


Linda Cacaci said...

Thank you, Melissa. Great interview!I have been targeting Love Inspired Suspense for a while and I have 2 rejections so far. I am continually learning, so I hope to work with you guys soon!
Linda Cacaci

Elva Cobb Martin, Anderson, SC said...

I really enjoyed reading about your day, Melissa!
One question, I have a completed romance laced with suspense
but it is longer than your stated length. Should I go ahead and enter the contest with the idea of cutting it back if asked?
Elva Cobb Martin, Anderson, SC

Lady DragonKeeper said...

A neat look into the publishing industry --I'd be also be interested in hearing about what a day in the art department is like ... someday. =)

Jack Horn said...

Wow, we always wondered how things worked. Since we have a full ms in with LI contemporary and now one for LIH, this was very timely. Thanks Melissa for your comments. We are looking forward to the contest!!

Writing You Can Trust! said...

One thing that I absolutely love about Harlequin and specifically the Love Inspired line is how open the staff are.

They have managed to take the mystery out of editors and publishers and I have grown to be comfortable with the people and the process.

Thanks for the candid view of your life. I have done a great deal of research and I know that Love Inspired is where I want my books published.

Thank you also for making yourself available to the contest. I am looking forward to the results.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Pam Hillman said...

The days are beginning to run together. What day was ME here, anyway??? lol

Christy LaShea, Ruthy would throw us ALL out of the kitchen if she knew how much boxed stuff we use. Hey, Ruthy, can I be a guest chef at the Yankee-Belle Cafe? I make a MEAN peach cobbler. I slave over that thing for HOURS. Can I? Please? I bet Missy would invite me...

Pam Hillman said...

Phyllis, thank you for stopping by! Hope you entered pitch contest!

Lisa, so glad you dropped by Seekerville. Wasn't ACFW a blast? I wish it lasted longer, but I don't think we could stand many more days without sleep, could we?

Pam Hillman said...

Crystal, I'm the same way. Just couldn't keep my African Violets alive. But my husband's 92 yo grandmother's is beautiful. Go figure!

I don't know if LIH is looking for Regencies, but I love them. I would think it couldn't hurt to try!

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