Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Why My First Manuscript Didn't Sell!

I don't get a chance to see humorous top ten lists often.
Most comedians are up late.
I'm not.
Some of them are inappropriate for Seekerville.
'Sup with that???
But here, for you today, in light of our celebration of FIRSTS is a Ruthy-generated top ten list of what not to do as an author.

(the list could be MUCH LONGER, but we'll suffice with ten. Hush, Connealy.)

10: It's not considered good form to unintentionally insult your targeted line on an on-line loop. Oddly enough, loops are not your living room. Who knew???

9.   Unless your name is Diana Gabaldon, it's probably not in your best interests to try to market a 160K book to a 70K publishing house.

8.  Four sub-plots might be one or two too many. I'm just sayin'...

Subplot (also called counterplot) - a secondary or minor plot within a play or other literary work which may contrast with the principal plot, highlight it, or be unrelated. It involves characters of lesser importance than those involved in the major plot.

7.  Edgy Christian fiction does not include bedroom scenes.

6.  Following that, having church services and prayers in a book with bedroom scenes doesn't make it a Christian book. You'd have thought I knew that, right????

5.  One sub-plot pitted a Republican hero vs. a Democratic heroine.

I thought it was brilliant, of course. Embracing all. What it would successfully do is guarantee that 50% of any possible audience will HATE YOUR BOOK.  Editors really want and deserve better odds than that, right?

4.   Whiny, traumatized heroine.  (Yes, I know, I get it. The kind of book you throw across the room because she's "TSTL" (too stupid to love) 

3.   Too many characters to possibly keep track of and every one of them had a point of view, most of them self-deprecating. Really, this family needed more heavy duty psycho-therapy than any fictional family should ever qualify for.  

This is a "Herne" family in the U.K.  I figured they wouldn't mind being an example of many POV's, LOL!
In my experience, Herne's like to hear themselves talk. I am no exception, so it makes things interesting.
2.   Way more arched brows, angled looks, furrowed brows, sweet, tender lips, rugged stances, brawny arms, clenched jaws. We might have actually chewed off a lip or two... Oh my stars, if it was cliche, I used it. BECAUSE IT SOUNDED SO GOOD, LOL!

1.   And the number one reason my first novel will never see the light of day because smart editors everywhere cringed and cried:

A fifteen page opening chapter of telling, telling, telling, all in the hero's problem-solving head. NOT ONE WORD OF DIALOGUE.


But all is not lost, LOL!

Because the premise for this book is in the works for a totally new book I'm proposing to Love Inspired for my next series. Julie Hilton Steele won the New Year's Eve contest for naming this "Hot Cop" hero, and he will be Sheriff's Deputy Alexander Steele,  a tough-as-nails hard-working guy who moves his family to Allegany County for a fresh start. New beginnings. Only to find that past grief trods the heels of the present. I can't wait to segue into the totally awesome fun of delving into the lives of the sheriffs of Allegany County.

Ruth Logan Herne is an upstate New York author, mother of six and a seventh somewhat stolen "daughter of her heart". She's a grandmother to eleven really cute and sometimes snarky kids, several of which bear the "Logan" or "Ruthy" names, which means they most likely get more in the will, right? She's the author of seven Love Inspired novels available HERE  with three more on the way! She blesses the editorial crew of Love Inspired for their constant love and support of her work.
She loves God, chocolate and cappuccinos and thanks God that her husband is a very patient if long-suffering man. And she's serving coffee and Danish from Wegman's inside because she's too busy writing to cook this morning. Stop in, make a comment and she'll toss your name in a hat for a copy of her opening novel of her North Country series: "Waiting Out the Storm"...


  1. Oh my stars!

    A Ruthy day!

    How fun!

    I don't see top 10s very often even though I'm up late. I'll be sound asleep by the time you're up issuing your 'anybody awake yet' calls on 1k1hr at some ungodly hour.

    I may already have Waiting Out the Storm. I'll check and get back to you :).

    And Ruthy darlin' - here's a hug for you my friend!

    Love you!

  2. This is the way to start a Seekerville day - plenty of examples of what NOT to do (mea culpa - I've done most of them) and a sneak peek at the new Ruthy book!

    BTW - I love the name, Julie Hilton Steele!

  3. You know...

    I think I might want to know more about that whole 'accidentally insult' thing...

  4. Hi, Ruthy. God bless you for trimming the list from your original Top 100.

    You were repeating yourself. A little.

  5. Good things to know. :)

    Haven't we all done some (if not all) of them?

    The coffee pot's ready.


    P.S. My daily word count has plummeted this week.

  6. Hi Ruth:

    I just love Top Ten Reason posts.

    I think it would also be helpful to have the top ten reasons why your first book sold. This is the month of firsts, right?

    Top 10 Reasons Why "Winter's End" Sold

    1. it opened with the death of an animal.
    2. the most likeable character is dying.
    3. the heroine is a hospice nurse.
    4. life is made hard for the hero and then it gets harder with each page.
    5. the writing is as cheerful and realistic as Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neil.
    6. the story is so sad that even other romance writers report they cried three times while reading the book!
    7. the suffering is almost unending.
    8. it has a unique ‘sadness-driven-situational romance.’ style.
    9. it story never panders to the reader just to make the reader feel good.
    10. “Winter’s End” is like no other romance any one has ever read.

    For documentation for all the above, see my review of “Winter’s End”:

    Perhaps I should add:

    “Don’t Try This At Home”.

    BTW: TSTL means, "Too Stupid To Live" to a man. I’m not sure any beautiful blonde is too stupid to love! : )


  7. HAHAHAHA!!! Ruthy, I'm gonna make you come put this baby back to sleep, since I snorted so loud he woke up...

    I LOVE this list! I have done so many of these it's rediculous! And mostly in one BAD book. 8 outta 10, at least, in one book. But it was a good learning experience, right?

    P.S. I was over at Yankee Belle Cafe. Where's the diet food? Huh? It's allllllll yummy and chock full of calories! That simmering chicken had me drooling on the keyboard.

  8. I feel so bad that you miss out on Top Ten Lists that I grabbed this one from the Timothy McSweeney's Internet tendency site....



    - - - -
    1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

    2. A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave.

    3. A question mark walks into a bar?

    4. Two quotation marks “walk into” a bar.

    5. A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.

    6. The bar was walked into by the passive voice.

    7. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.

  9. Too funny, Ruthy! You know I had to go through the list twice to make sure I hadn't done any of this stuff, lol! I did try to query a 140K manuscript... (Thankfully I got smart before sending out too many queries and split it into two 80K books. ;-)

  10. I catch quite a few 'Top Tens' but they are not usually any thing I can learn from. Thanks Ruthy, also Vince and Virginia.

  11. Great post! Though I'm not a writer, I enjoyed reading it! :)

    frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com
    Christian Bookshelf Reviews

  12. That's quite the list Ruthy. It sounds like I could use some of those reminders.
    Thank you,


  13. fun post enjoyed reading this list.
    I have actually read some books where I wanted to know some sense into the heroine.
    am thinking a book with two opposing sides in of the political debate may actually get readers from both sides wanting to see which one change there view or if they can learn to live with it.

  14. Excellent! When I saw the title of the post, I was afraid to read it. Now I'm intrigued. You might have a market for that first manuscript, as is!

    Thanks for the bright start to our morning :)

  15. Carol, love you back! ;) 1680 this morning... And worked with Helen over there.

    Oh my stars, I love getting to know all these people! Do you think I should take a break tonight and take down my Christmas tree??? (laughing... but honest!)

    Jan, can you believe how dumb I was??? It makes me look positively brilliant now by comparison, LOL!

    Carol, that is the height of embarrassment in my past. I called out a Steeple Hill policy (thinking I was being funny, but not yet experienced with how to make it SOUND FUNNY in print. Know what I mean? My snark-fun was not properly developed for prime-time. Silence is golden, would have been so much better) Anyway, someone cued Joan Marlow Golan and she popped into the loop (Gulp. Gulp. Gulp.) and explained things nicely.

    What a schmo I was.

    She is now my boss and I can't tell you how good she is to me. Thank God she lives her faith and is a forgiving person... And I learned a very valuable "new to the Internet" lesson.

    Shut Up.

    (okay, this lesson might need a bit of polish. ;)

    Mary, anything for you, honey!


  16. I'm still fighting my #2. Facial expressions. Showing emotion. I'm quirking one brow at you for acting like you don't do it. Wipe that smirk off your face.

    Vince's list is very insightful.
    Virginia's is just too delightful!

  17. VINCE, I LOVE YOU!!!!!

    What a great list, my friend. Although reading it makes you wonder, doesn't it????

    God bless Melissa Endlich for taking a chance on the "death" book that contest judges assured me would never sell... Side note: Mary Connealy read Winter's End when it was first written and her sweet words were: "I can't imagine what editors are looking for that's any better than this."

    And I did not pay her to say that. ;)

    Thank you, Vince!

  18. Hi Ruthy,
    I enjoyed your list. You made me pause and wonder about how many "raised eyebrows" I'm using.
    One thing I've passed on your list is only 2 POVs per book, whew!
    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Laughing right along with you, Ruthy! I'm just glad you persevered through those early days to give us the fantastic stories we're enjoying now :)

  20. Ah, Virginia. Yankee-Belle diet food is in the archives.... Did French Toast bake for today.

    Here's the link, folks:

    Yankee Belle Cafe

    See, I thought I was teaching you guys something so you didn't have to walk the rocky path, but I guess we're all newbies at some time or another.

    Oh my stars. I can't believe how bad that was. And how GOOD I thought it was.

    Talk about a learning curve!

  21. Ah, telling. A lesson we all must suffer through.

  22. So funny, Ruthy. Now, of course, after you've become a huge name it's funny.

    I've actually been afraid to go back and look at my first manuscript. I'm sure it's epic worthy (NOT!). But I am sure there's enough eyes darting, narrowing, and turning heavenward to keep my characters dizzy.

    And great name choice by Julie Hilton Steele!

  23. Helen, ouch. Is it because of your surgery?

    Or are you discouraged?

    If it's the first one, time will heal. (no pun intended, almost)

    If it's the second one, here's a Ruthy-hug followed by a firm nudge forward. (Tina would call it a butt-kick but I prefer the gentility of "firm nudge" because I'm that subtle. And polite. Ask Mary)

    Go get 'em, Tiger. If you're stuck in the middle of a story, shoot someone. That always ups the ante.

    If you're Connealy, that is. Her contemps vary by means of BLOWING PEOPLE UP...

    Amazing how a call to arms can make such a difference, right? ;)

  24. Love your list, Ruthy!

    I still have a show, not tell problem although I don't always see it. And I'm so repetitious. Well, I could go on and on, but I don't think I will.

    Sometimes the books I read are guilty of the same things and I don't dislike them. Older books have what we now consider errors. But they were fine when they were published. Styles in writing change a lot.

  25. Gwendolyn, YES!!!! Let us save you from making gross Ruthy-errors-of-judgment!


    And what a smart move, breaking that book up. I learned that about year three...


  26. Janet Kerr, grrr....

    You don't know the half of it.

    (insert overdone melodramatic sigh here...)


    Hey, if I can inspire someone to not mess up like I did, it's worth a full confession. Almost.

  27. Aus Jenny, the funny thing is I saw other people do so many of these things when I've judged unpubbed contests, and maybe it makes me more alert to them having messed up myself.

    I am a walking testimony to "time heals all wounds"...

    Thank you, God! (in utmost sincerity.)

    Renee, hahahahaha! :) Believe me when I say I was SO EARNEST AS TO BE CERTIFIABLE....

    Or possibly shot, but my friends saved me from total humiliation. Sandra took me on as a critique partner and we focused on WRITING SMARTER.... It helped!

  28. Virginia, that list is hysterical.

    When Wendy Lawton first took me on she told me, "Of course I'll represent you, you've got a mitt full of contracts in your hand. And if you didn't, I'd tell you that your writing is heavy on gerunds"

    (mental note, look up gerund and see what it means)

    "But since the editor doesn't mind, neither does the agent."

    (insert big Ruthy grin here...)

    And yes, I had to look up gerund. I write off my lack of knowledge as intrinsic writing skill...

    Not to be confused with someone who actually has a clue what they're doing technically.

    Who's got chocolate? I'm getting tired of rabbit food.

  29. Oh Ruthy, I did laugh reading this.

    And love Vince's list too. So true.

    Virginia, those lines are a riot.

    Yes, the firsts are always there for all of us. And the reasons we didn't sell that first manuscript.

    btw I read that manuscript Ruthy and loved all those characters. I'm glad you're revising and going to use it.

  30. Oh, no, Deb, I still do it. It's like a nervous tick...


    Lip chewing.

    Clenched hands.


    I do it LESS than I did, so just imagine how bad it was then.

    Oy! ;)

  31. Jackie, good girl but those raised and arched and waggling brows are a killer, aren't they?

    Mia... Who lived through the early Ruthy-days and still loves me. Obviously she's a very special person. Or deranged.

    Naw, I'll go with special. :)


    Good morning, sunshine! ;)

  32. Kirsten just called me a "huge name"...

    Where do I send the check, honey???


    And yes, those early works are laughable LATER....

    Cara, I'm the same way with repetition. I'm so glad there are editors to catch those things because I don't always see it in my own work but I nail it in other people's books.

    Why is that? Are we too close? Or (and this is likely when you've revised and re-written or re-edited books) you're not exactly sure how many times you've said or implied something.

  33. My wip in progress.........heroine's name RUTHY (at least until I come to my senses) Ruthy is caught in a raging flood.

    All may be lost....and on page two, too. Sad.

    What am I doing typing at 7 a.m.

    I'm about to write a Top Ten List of reasons Insomniacs go out of their ever lovin' minds.

  34. I really like squared shoulders.

    Her chin came up. Her shoulders squared. Her eyes flashed blue fire.

    He got ready to dodge a pretty little fist.

  35. Sandra, yes you did! And you are too kind...

    And let me add, by the time we were done with it, it was wayyyy better.

    But what I didn't know back then could fill a vault at Fort Knox.

    Sandra, thank you for the help, my friend!

  36. LOL!!! Uh-oh, I'm already in infractions on #'s 9, 8, 7, 3 and 2!!!!!! How in the world did I get published?????

    Seriously, LOVED this post, Ruthy, and it really is very true. Your next series sounds WONDERFUL, and of course I know it will be!!

    LOVE the name Alexander Steele -- kudos to Julie Hilton Steele for lending her name!!


  37. Ah, Ruthy,

    Your list made me laugh so hard my children thought I'd lost my mind. And chocolate? I'm so proud of you.

    What's not so funny? During my edits, which I'm doing now, I "find and replace" all my furrowed brows, clenched jaws and simple smiles. And every other cliche known to man. :)

  38. Um...did anyone tell Julie about #7?

    And what if I like my heroes with angled looks (don't forget chiseled features) and if while he's angling he happens to furrow his brow, well be still my wildly-beating heart. And then, if maybe perchance he folds those brawny arms as he braces himself in a rugged stance, well I might just slither to the floor. And if he throws a clenched jaw into the works, well, that's it, I'm done and all that will be left of me is a puddle of goo on the floor! You've just ruined all my fun, Ruthy!

    #8 is my downfall. How do you subdue those wayward sub-plots? And those pushy secondary characters (#3) that keep leaping out from behind the bushes? Somebody make them stop!!!!!

    This was fun, Ruthy, but please to toss me into the hat. I already have ALL your books to date! When is the next one due out??????

  39. Hunt online for a picture of Tim Tebow when he's throwing and look at his arms.

    Yikes. Muscles. We need to describe that boys arms in a book.

    He's too young for any of my daughters, RATS!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Okay, gotta clarify that RUTHY picked the last name and asked if it was okay. I am just fortunate that I married a man with a strong surname. Did you all know Alexander means "defender of mankind"? I had tremendous fun picking out a name. But it was work as well as fun so kudos to all of you who have to pick ten to twenty names of characters for every book. I picked a first name and then asked Ruthy if I "had" to pick a last name too.

    Ruthy,love this top ten list. In particular, #5 because my mother was a Republican and my dad a Democrat. They grew up in the same part of the country. My mom's dad was one of the few Republicans in the area and someone tried to stop her from registering as a Republican. It took several tries for her to do so. I think my dad married her in part because of her gumption. But I can see where that wouldn't play well with certain readers.

    The inspirational book my friends want me to write involves "the other woman" who comes to her senses. They swear if anyone is going to make her likeable it is going to be me. But we shall see what happens. As Vince points out, sometimes things do need to be different.

    Helen, I am saying an extra prayer for you.

    Peace, Julie

  41. Ruthy,

    This list made my day! It's so nice to know there is hope after endless editing transgressions! lol

    So when did you get a Love Inspired revision letter letting you know there was hope? I suppose you have shared this at some point.

    As far as food, does anyone have Eggbeaters. Just found out mine are expired. Dying for some scrambled eggs here. Might have to go for the real deal.

    Would love to win the book!

  42. Good morning, Ruthy! Ah, those first books! Thankfully, my first historical romance (started in high school) never graced an editor's desk. I now flip through the pages (all handwritten or typed on a standard typewriter) and the dialogue is so wooden you could build a house with it. :)

  43. It's SNOWING!

    Coming down really good right now too. Means the 4yo is staying home. No sense in getting out on yucky roads to take him to [the already paid for to hold his place for when I got back to work] day care when I don't HAVE to go anywhere.

    Supposed to get about an inch total.

    Think the fire has caught. I hope so. I'm cold!

    Right. Ruthy top 10.

    I don't THINK I've made too many egregious errors. At least not by the time it made it to the query stage.

    Except MAYBE the telling v. showing. My first completed MS [a story and characters I ADORE] has flashbacks - because it's SHOWING her get engaged to the wrong guy instead of just telling that she had been. I had one editor interested in it though that didn't pan out and another of an indie house who said she's not opposed on principle. Need to get that proposal out... Andrea Strong has read it and the [still-very-much-a-rough-draft] sequel and I love both stories so much that I hope I can do something with them someday.

    Plus book 5 in the series, their little sister gets her own castle.

    I gotta write that.

    It's the only way I can write off my trip to Switzerland.

    Did have a good day yesterday [YAY! for your word count this morning Ruthy!] but not AS GOOD as I like to have for spending 4 hours at Panera. Gonna see what I can belt out today.

    And Mary - Tebow is too OLD for my daughters... /sigh/ But what a guy!

  44. Ruthy, you are one brave chica for actually going back and READING your first novel! I haven't looked at mine in many years. And that doesn't include the ones I wrote in high school.

    At least you learned, Ruthy. You improved. Some people just write a book, think someone should publish it, and then never put forth the effort to learn how to make it better. Or how to write a better book. So I salute you. And we all did things that we now cringe about, both in life and in writing. So I'm proud of you. You're not afraid to take ownership of your mistakes.

    :-) And you've come a long way, girly! Award winning author! Multi-published! Woohoo!

  45. These made me LOL! I'm not a late night show gal either. :)

  46. Simple, brilliant and hilarious! Thanks for sharing!!! :)

  47. RAJ!!!!

    Were you at conference? I think I have a pic of you [yes, I've stared at your Blogger pic and the pic I have and determined I'm fairly certain they're the same person - but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong!] from the gala.

    Sittin' at Ruthy's table.

    Where she wasn't ;).

  48. Ruthy,LOVE your sense of humor! So, I guess you're saying that my 200K book needs to be trimmed down? :) Just kidding. I guess we all learn some things the hard way. On a more serious note, do you have books/resources you can recommend to help describing body language?

    Virginia, your punctuation bar jokes made me laugh! Sorry about the baby. Hopefully he did go back to sleep?

    Gotta read more comments later. Kids are calling..... :)

  49. Reading through that top ten list again...oh my. Wouldn't writing be so much easier if all ten of these were standard procedure?

    But then who would read our books? {shudder}

    One thing I've noticed about pushing that "send" button to submit my manuscript - whether to a contest or a publisher - is that all the cliches jump off the pages immediately after. It's like they hide, waiting until it's too late.

    And then they mock me.

    I tell them to be quiet and leave me alone.

    And no, insanity does not run in my family. Why do you ask?

    Helen, hang in there! Let the story cook until you can spend time at the computer again. After the second surgery you won't have the same kind of down time - you'll already have one good eye!

    Mary, my daughter IS young enough for Tebow, but I hear he works weekends...

  50. Ooooh Ruthy. LOVE it! My first submission was MUCH better than yours (yeahright LOL) - but I know OTHERS can learn from ya ;)

    Just kidding, of course. Enter me, please!

  51. ....don't forget the dreaded: Nothing happens! (Which technically, I suppose, falls under number 1.) But I've seen plenty of dialogue-laden openers....where...nothing happens!

  52. Good morning, Ruthy! :) I love your top ten list, and with only a couple of exceptions, you described my first novel perfectly.

    Love the name Alexander Steele. Very manly!

  53. Leave it up to Ruthy to come up with a top ten list like this. :)


  54. i just recently dug my very first book out of a drawer and started reading it.
    It is so badly written. I still like that story but wow have I gotten better. So better in fact that it's humiliating to wonder what kind of garbage I sent off to editors in those dark, early days. May God Have Mercy on My Soul!

  55. SHERRI! LOL on Nothing Happens. Oh so true.

    I just got my copy of In Too Deep, my first 'hold in my hands' copy of it. It releases next month and you know what? SOMETHNG IS ALWAYS HAPPENING!!!!!!

    I just kept reading, knowing what was coming next and just could NOT put it down. That book is just full of stuff HAPPENING. LOL

  56. Mary, most of the world sees 7:00 AM as normal. But then most of us sleep...

    I like squared-shoulders, too. And square jaws. And clefts. And clenched chins.

    I'm doomed.

  57. Oh, Bridget...

    "simple smile"... ;)

    She gave him a simple smile....

    It was a smile. Her smile. A simple smile that dragged him under when he should be kicking and writhing his way back to the top of the virtual drowning pool.

    Oh, honey, those simple smiles will get them every time. :)

    JULIE!!!!! Oh, shoot, honey, we're all guilty. It is romance after all, right????

    There must be a few shivering timbers in romance. That's just a given.

    How did you get published? Because you're wonderful and I knew that the first time I read your work in the Barclay and knew I held something way beyond the realm of simple romance.

    Of course the twenty (plus or minus) points-of-view had something to do with that, LOL!

  58. Hi Virginia:

    I love your list as a teaching tool. What if you gave the class a funny list of mistakes and then had them devise the grammatical rule that gives the joke its humor?

    When students derive the rules on their own, they are much more likely to understand and remember them.

    Very interesting.


  59. Oh man, I so wish I could hang out today with you all. Starting with a Top 10 List of How the Day Job interferes with my writing!!!

  60. Hi Ruth:

    I think your top ten list is very informative but I would like to add to #3:

    “3. Too many characters to possibly keep track of”, all of them introduced in the first chapter with most of them having first names that begin with the same letter.

    BTW: I also think 'Alexander Steele' is a strong name but what about his nickname? How do you like ‘Axe’? (Now that would be a cutting edge name.)*

    What mental image do you get when you hear someone say, “Come over here, Axe” ?


    *Two puns walk into a bar and one says to the other; 'the cover charge here is shocking!'

  61. Kav, I turned those wayward subplots into series books... that satisfies my continuing need to keep the story rolling AND....

    I love creating towns as "external characters", places that feel alive. That feel like home. So once I do that, the people in the town just tackle life as it comes along. Sometimes at each other's throats... Sometimes struggling to put broken towns back together.

    (yes, that's a hint for the new series.... if they contract it, of course!)

    Ah. Tim Tebow. He's a cutie, isn't he???? And you know who else I like for an older hero type? Scott Patterson that played Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls. Now that's some 5 o'clock shadow wearing, blue eyes-smilin' kinda hunka hunka love, right? See his pic HERE

    What a cutie. And I loved that character. He was so small town normal.

  62. Vince, I'm working on a new book and realized this morning that I have three characters whose names start with E - it's time to do some editing.

  63. Ruthy, after having a migraine yesterday and being in bed all day, I sure needed your humor today to make me smile - THANKS! Good points, all of them, and I enjoyed reading them! Although not a writer, I sure enjoyed seeing the thought process of a writer and what all of you go through! Thanks for starting out my day this way - with a smile!

  64. Hi Ruth:

    Great Minds Alert!

    ”Mary Connealy read ‘Winter's End’ when it was first written and her sweet words were: "I can't imagine what editors are looking for that's any better than this."

    I thought the same thing. I thought that college professors would love ‘Winter’s End’ as an example of an important and serious romance. I think it could just as easily be sold as a mainstream book that has a romance in it. I’d love to see it released as a mainstream Kindle book. Hospice, death and dying are universal and timeless themes.

    It’s just too bad the book had to go up against one of the happiest, feel good, books of the year! : (


  65. Julie, the minute I read your "the other woman" line, I saw Reba McIntyre's Does He Love You...

    And Sugarland's "Stay"... Jennifer Nettles did a great job of emoting the "other woman's" feelings in the video.

    I love those kind of stories. Go get 'em, tiger!

    Cathy, when the OKRWA Finally a Bride contest was short on inspirational entries, i sent two in... They both finaled. They went to Melissa who had just taken over Love Inspired as Senior Editor. She gave me a "tie" for first and requested both fulls.

    The first one (which is a great book that will sell some day, I know because it's just beautiful... And you know I don't say that lightly) she rejected but she sent me a letter explaining why... While she read that one, I'd been working on trimming Winter's End. It had started at 75K for Steeple Hill's longer fiction line. So I cut, trimmed, sliced and diced...

    She read it and loved it. What if Tina had never sent me that e-mail telling me that FAB was low on entries? What if I was stubborn and pigheaded (guilty, guilty, guilty sometimes) because they'd rejected me multiple times?

    But you can't do that in this biz. You gotta stick it out, ride the waves. hang ten. (Who is this surfer that took over my body????)

    She bought Winter's End, and has contracted nine books since that day. I owe them a great deal for a second chance at NOT BEING STUPID. ;)

  66. A day for firsts! I first knew Ruthy 37 years ago...

    Ruthy's beautiful writing has grown exponentially. Her gifted storytelling depicts her own personal triumphs as mirrored in the success of her family. She has grown to be a beautiful woman inside and out, her charisma, her sense of humor and loving nature infectious.

  67. Ruthie and Jan:

    It's the surgery that's knocked out my word count this week. I finished a chapter Monday. Nothing since.

    Have had no pain whatsoever, but I just couldn't stay awake yesterday. Slept most of it away.

    I'm hoping to get in some work today.
    I feel much more normal, whatever that means.


  68. And Cathy, I think eggbeaters are like Twinkies... They can survive nuclear holocaust.


    Glynna, good morning!

    I love that you were born to write! Go, you! And yes, there are things I've never sent out. And I'm grateful for that discretion...

    But I did get an essay published in high school and it's still beautiful. That makes me feel good, thinking of that. And Sister Mariel, the nun who encouraged me so often. She was a true blessing to me.

  69. Ruthy, thank you for the great laugh this morning! I do believe the heroine of my first story was a bit like Gina Davis in Cutthroat Island with a strong dose of Olivia Newton John's Sandy. Talk about split personalities!

  70. I love the name Alexander Steele.

    Alexander denotes strength as exemplified by Alexander the Great, the boy conqueror, and St. Alexander, a bishop, an intellectual who remained steadfast his faith.

    In terms of marketing, many companies will put an "X" in their company names as the letter attracts attention. Think Haloid renamed as "Xerox" or "Paychex" or "XCEL".

  71. Great list, thanks for starting my day with a laugh. Still wondering what's wrong with number 2 ;)

  72. You're such a hoot, Ruthy!!! Thanks for that fun (?) top 10!!!

  73. I'd love to Wait Out the Storm with you, Ruthy! That's quite a top ten list! What is edgy Christian fiction?

  74. Carol...


    Did we run out of Ambien?


    I'll check the chocolate shelf and get back to you.

    No egregious errors.

    Oh, I love the sound of that. I'm chalking my numerous ones up to experiential learning. No college costs involved.

    (gotta spin positive rather than was negative, right?

    You're a hoot. It's snowing = one inch.

    But that's an inch more than I've seen in weeks, LOL! You go girl. Wax the sled runners. It's gonna be a winter fun day with the cute kiddo.

    (he is really cute, btw. Adorable)

    Hey, I want to see Switzerland. I hear they have snow.

    Take me. Please.

  75. I have a pic of him on Facebook.

    He simply HAD to wear his new snow boots that Santa brought him.

    He wanted to put them on to play yesterday afternoon since it was GOING to snow last night.

    You know. When they didn't need coats to be outside.

    Yes. Yesterday afternoon = no coats.

    Today = snow, varying from flurries to fairly heavy at times

    Me and Ruthy take on southern Switzerland...

    Sounds like fun to me, chica, and DH won't want to go, so I need company.

    Jan - yes, Tebow does work weekends. But only part of the year. And you know he's financially secure and would take good care of his girl. A good Christian boy. Seems like a fair trade to me...

  76. Loved your list, Ruthy! I laughed along with you. But I noticed you missed headhopping, so you did something right, right?

    And I like arched eyebrows, squared shoulders, and sighs. I have to watch using them all the time.

  77. Wow, I can't believe you're from upstate NY and write about Allegany county...we lived for 6 years in Allegany county, upstate NY (my husband's family is from there!). Lovely country.

    Also, I laughed SO HARD at this entire post. "EDGY Christian fiction does not include bedroom scenes!" and the 15-page chapter of telling, no dialogue, cracks me up.

    I'm still not published yet--finished my second novel, but thank the Lord we learn from these mistakes and make each successive book stronger!

    Thanks for the laughs today!

  78. HEATHER!!! It's so nice of you to stop in.
    Yesterday Heather posted the nicest book review in the world for Montana Rose on her Book In A Month Mom blog.

    It's right HERE

  79. Melanie, I think you made a great point. Willingness to change, to improve, to listen, to self-edit and accept edits.... And just write, write, write...

    Ya gotta be willing to accept change in this biz, right? Grow?

    Can't wait to read The Merchant's Daughter....

  80. Jessica, hey there! Welcome, kiddo and I'm glad it made you laugh.

    If only every bit of it wasn't TRUE times like... Can we go exponentially? Or simple factorization?


    RAJ, welcome to Seekerville! So nice to see you here! And was that you at my table???? Where I wasn't because I was sucking up to my beautiful new BFF's (they do not know this, and shh... don't tell them, you know how I hate to brag!) Irene Hannon and Linda Goodnight and Melissa Endlich.... But it was some pretty good seating, right???? And who knows if I will ever (yes, cheap ploy for reassurance here) get nominated for a Carol award again????

    What a fun night.

  81. VIRGINIA!!!! Grammar Queen is simply giddy over your charming list of grammar jokes!

  82. Tsk, tsk, Ruthy. You do not know what a gerund is? My dear, it is a verb form functioning as a noun, usually the -ing form, as in, "Writing often proves much harder than many Seekervillagers realize."

  83. JAN, I keep a character name chart with rows for each letter of the alphabet. Every time I name a new character, I enter his or her name twice--once for the first name and once for the last name. It really helps ensure variety.

  84. HELEN, I'm so glad your surgery went well. You deserved a day to nap all you wanted to!

  85. This is such a funny post. I have done most of this and still have problems w/several.

    I don't try to put in bedroom scenes, but I will have something happen to the herione that might be too far out there. What's bad, it the 2 scenes that come to mind actually happened to me. "My most embarrassing moment."

    Furrowing eyebrows are a biggie for me too.

  86. Oh my.

    I didn't know the grammar queen had arrived.

    Several mistakes in my lost post.

  87. Thanks for sharing with us! I'm so excited to be returning to Allegany County in the future :) I'm pretty sure that I'm guilty of alot of those things!

  88. Jeanne, books on using body parts to describe or accent emotion...

    What a great idea. We should do that!


    I don't know of any but (surprise!) I don't read writing books. They are a great help to lots of people, I know that, but I feel like someone is turning my eyelids inside out and possibly trimming my toenails with a chainsaw at the same time...

    How's that for innovative body part descriptors??? ;)

    So Jan, a weekend worker is off limits for the girl, huh??? Okay, we'll scratch Tim off the list of potentials. ;)

  89. Joanne, you made me laugh out loud. Brat. I might have woken a kid. Shhh.....


    Sherri, oh, you are so right. Where you read and scratch your head wondering why they're talking at all. And note to everyone: IF YOUR HEROINE HAS TIME FOR A CUP OF TEA (yes, mine had several, she was genteel, you see. When she wasn't whining) then she has time for the reader to sleep.

    I'm just sayin'...

    Erica Vetsch whose very name someone else stole while stealing my picture! What a hoot! Love you,girl, and thank you for making me feel better by lining up with me. Because I'm sure yours was much better... But I'd like to believe it wasn't and false security is the name of the game, right? ;)

    And I love Alexander Steele, too! Oh my stars, it's got hot cop written all over it! And I sent Julie my mini-synop of the book, the feelings I needed to evoke with the name and the off chance that they might change the name. (They did that once, but the hero's name was Boog after John "Boog" Powell, the great Baltimor Oriole slugger)

    But yeah, our Alexander will be a defender of mankind. And womenkind. When he's not running three kids around. Doing laundry. Creating science experiments on the kitchen table. You know. You get it. He's a hero in so many ways.

  90. JODIE.... HAHAHAHAHAHA! ;) Thank you. I think.

    But at least you recognized the style, right? So that's a good thing???? (laughing in the upstate rain...)

  91. Mary, I've already alienated my older daughter by telling her I hope she marries Tim Tebow. She is so NOT a football fan and I've discovered she greatly dislikes for her mother to pick out her future husband for her. Who knew? But I can still hope quietly. ;-)

  92. CONNEALY!!!! Did you pay for that commercial message you just spewed about how amazing and wonderful "In Too Deep" is?


    ON MY DAY???? Like you can't bear to have a few simple souls come on down to play with ME.... Oh, no, we've got to drag out your first book to segue into your current bestseller....

    And it's sequel.

    Really???? REALLY?????

    (sighing here... Deeply. With furrowed brow and a possible pouting lower lip...I wonder if it's deliciously kissable like they are in the books??? I do not think Dave would agree with pouting wives being all that kissable but what does he know????)

  93. Thank you, Mary, I'm still having fun reading your book!

    And I'm a member here, but I don't even have a book published yet, so I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be a member! But I always enjoy the Seekerville posts!

  94. Nancy, you should come and blog on that! Because it's true, right? I'll e-mail you right now...

  95. Heather - lots of us aren't published. And there's a few around here who don't write at all but read and encourage.

    All are welcome.

    You just have to jab at Mary whenever the opportunity arises.

    Or Ruthy.

    It depends on which one you talk to. And which day you talk to them.

  96. Vince, LOL! You've got me, totally. Brat.

    And just so you know, Beth (my daughter) is putting together name and character charts for me, plotlines, illnesses, etc. because if we stay in Allegany County for a while, I have to be able to remember which version of who, what, when, where and why actually made it into print, right?

    So funny. She told me I used an astronomical number of names, but I just smiled and patted her on the head. And ignored her. But the "M" column???? OH MY STARS.

    I'm ridiculous.

    Axe, huh? Oh, NYC would love that. I think Alex... He's not a "Zander"...

    But Alex??? Yeah, that works. Tough. Strong. Defensive. Steady. Did I add outrageously good looking? ;)

  97. Vince... I don't get the joke.

    The pun joke.

    What is the matter with me????

  98. Heather you are absolutely supposed to be a member whether published or not. whether a writer or not.
    It's just too much fun to deny anyone membership.

  99. I probably shouldn't have mentioned how much I enjoyed In Too Deep, releasing February 1st in fine stores everywhere, available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and as a book or, I shouldn't have mentioned it and I won't.

    It would be wrong.

    In my defense, however, I will tell you that I wrote a

    But I decided not to post it in the comments.

    It seemed rude.

  100. Vince, you know my take on contests... I'm so honored to final because they're really subjective and there are so many good stories told each year...

    But I do love to final. It's a nod of achievement. But...

    I don't care about winning. Finalling is a huge award in and of itself.

    (My son would say that's what all the LOSERS say...)

    He's a brat, but he's cute.

    (And any rumors that Irene Hannon spread about Linda Goodnight and me HOLDING HER BACK from that award are grossly over-stated. 'Sall I'm sayin'...)

  101. Jan, you want a copy of the character name chart that Glynna sent me??? Because as Vince points out, I'm in dire need, LOL!

    What is it with "M" and "J" names?

    Valri, you're welcome! ;) Isn't it a hoot? Probably not as funny from the editorial end, right???

  102. Elizabeth has just been hired as my PR person.


    Honey, I didn't even promise to pay you to be nice to me!

    And Elizabeth is right, we found each other online a few years back, but we went to high school together here in Hilton... After I transferred from Nazareth Academy where Sr. Mariel was my writing mentor. God has a special spot for teachers, doesn't he?

    Love you, Bets!

  103. Tim Tebow? Can't blame you for trying, Mel. If I had a daughter about his age, I'd be right there with you! :D

  104. Ruthy, how could you forget the eyes gazing?

    As far as #5, I know of at least one author who actually pulled that one off in such a way that would offend neither Democrat nor Republican. (She upped the ante by making one Black and one white, too.) Karyn Langhorne's Unfinished Business. 'Course, it wasn't her first book.

  105. Thanks for the hilarious post, Ruthy!! Are you telling me all this stuff took place in one manuscript? LOL Nothing more fun than to poke fun at ourselves cause haven't we all been there?


  106. Someone pointed out to me recently, like just a few weeks ago, that I had named THREE bad guys Sidney.

    She was right.

    Mandy's husband was sidney of course but the other two escaped me.
    Parrish, the bad guy in Calico Canyon was Sid Parrish. I think I might've only said his first name ONCE.

    Now I can't remember the other one.


    Oh yeah, one of the bad guys in Wildflower Bride.

    I must have a problem with thinking 'sidney' sounds like a bad guy.

    The only Sidney I know in real life is the cutest little two year old girl......

  107. Ruthy, Vince's pun needs explanation?

    Imagine sticking your finger in a light socket. The "charge" would be "shocking" - get it?

  108. Helen says she feels much more normal, whatever that means...

    I'd say normal for Helen is just plain delightful! Glad the recovery is going well, sweet cheeks. Can't wait to see your eyes shining like limpid pools in the moonlight.

    (Oh, I love limpid pools! Don't you????) ;)


    Elizabeth, you're right! That "X" is a symbol of power and the 'cks' sound works for people.

    Who studies that stuff? But I remember reading it.

    Which obviously means dorks like me READ it. Oy.

  109. Jamie, you're right. There's nothing wrong with #2 and I'm so glad to have you on my side, honey! ;)

    KC, you're welcome! ;) You're pawsome!

    Linnette, the edgy Christian fiction? That would be my buddy Jules... Ridin' the edge of what's allowed in a most delightful way, of course! That Mitch.... Luke... Conor... It's not for lack of trying that Julie and Ruth's class at ACFW (about upping the romance ante big time when a kiss ISN'T just a kiss!) was the most broadly (pun firmly intended!) attended.

    Of course I sat near a bunch o' youse and Seekers and made fun of her, but she did not even notice. Totally in the zone!

  110. My poor daughter...she's such a trooper. I've tried to fix her up with so many eligible guys...

  111. I agree with Carol (which is often the case...) that Tebow is worth giving up a few Sunday dinners and Saturday matinees.

    It's Tebow, for heaven's sake.

  112. Oh, Lorna. Lorna. Lorna.

    How did I forget that???? I love head-hopping. I love the way LaVyrle Spencer and Nora Roberts do it!

    Of course I head-hopped!!! Oh, thank you for pushing the list to ELEVEN!!!! How did I forget that????

  113. The comments are flying today and I'm way behind!

    My previous comment was in reference to the Tim Tebow conversation earlier...

    And Helen, I slept all day after my first surgery, too, but I didn't after the second surgery.

    And I was so looking forward to it. Drat.

  114. Julie - I was sitting next to Ruthy during the kissing class. I had my mp3 recorder dealie going if you ever want to hear what she had to say!

    Ruthy - I will accept bribes for keeping it to myself.

    Really, I'm just avoiding writing. Maybe because Ruthie hasn't shown up in this book yet. She's the heroine in book 1 and made the briefest of appearances so far in book 3 and didn't actually say a thing [which means she's probably been taken over by the pod people].

  115. Heather Day Gilbert has one of the most delightful blogs I've seen!

    Of course I couldn't believe she LIKED MARY'S WORK, but I had to go over there and tell her how surprised I was.

    HEATHER!!!! Lovely job, honey, and super mega congrats to you for having two books done! And yes, you hit the nail on the head: Our job here is to help you guys NOT LOOK STUPID....

    Of course, we'll have more to laugh about....

    Mary, especially.


    But honey, so nice to have you here! You guys head over there and see the nice things she said about Mary's "Montana Rose" one of my favorite Connealy novels from back when it was "China Doll"...

    Heather's blog is <a href=">HERE</a>

  116. Oh, dagnabbit, Mary I so copied you. I didn't notice that you gave Heather's blog a link.


    Now she's got TWO LINKS which means we like her. And Mary only likes, well... say... five people on the planet. And I'm one of them. ;)

  117. Julie, Love how you explained the name Alexander Steele. Sounds great and congrats on winning the opportunity to name Ruthy's character.

    Hi Grammar Queen. That list was hysterical wasn't it?

    Mary, you sure you don't want to tell us all about IN TOO DEEP? After all its Ruthy's post and you KNOW she would do the same for you. LOL

    Ruthy, you are too funny. I can hardly wait to read the next book.

  118. The queen has arrived.. To make fun of me, clearly.

    Hey, GQ.... I owned it, okay? I admitted it RIGHT HERE.... that I was somewhat dense when it comes to specifying parts of speech.

    But I can still diagram a sentence. That's gotta be worth something, right? Please say yes. You scare me.

  119. I love the name Alexander Steele, and Wegmans! I've battled the flu since Sunday night (thanks for your help, flu shot!) and Ruthy, this morning you revived me from my rumpled sheets to enjoy a good laugh. Thanks for the reminder that good ideas can be salvaged.

    So, now I'm behind on my WIP, the laundry, the cooking, and cooing to my two new grandbabies. Glad for the first snow of the season here in Chicago, as it's keeping me home to accomplish all. Feeling very blessed and glad to be back! Write on!

  120. Connie, no worries. I will protect you from the queen. I'm running interference. She FEARS ME....

    (She fears no one, but it sounded good, didn't it?)

    Faye, we're all guilty, sweet thaaang, and I'm glad you're anxiously waiting for "A Family to Cherish" due out in July... And do I love it???

    Oh, yes. Cam Calhoun... Meredith Brennan... Sophie and Rachel, his two little girls.... Oh my stars, I just love 'em. So fun!

    Melanie, I think arranged marriages are the coming thing. Keep pushing, honey. And, umm... good luck with that! ;)

    Heather, you adorable goof, there are no requirements to be part of Seekerville. All we want is your success. (I'm actually being serious, for JUST THIS MOMENT...)

    Yes, hang here often. You're young and beautiful. You bring our median age down to oh.... Seventy-two, perhaps????


  121. Vince,

    I've always avoided philosphy until I read 'Plato and platypus Walk into a Bar'. It's philosophy in joke form- and what the concept is!

    Jokes are a great treaching tool.

    And it's not my list! I'm not that good with grammar...

    Helen, prayers going your way!

  122. *snort* Mary Connealy, I want to see that top ten list in the comments!

    In all CAPS, with a photo of the book. :D

    Then I want to hear what Ruthy has to say!

    Gonna be good, I better go make popcorn...

  123. Yeah, Alexander Steele, is fine, I suppose, if you like the image of a hot cop, protecting his woman and some defenseless kids and maybe some puppies.

    But I think Alexander MUNOZ, is wayyy cooler. Makes people think, "How the FLIP do I even say that??"

    And that's handy in a character, dontcha think?

  124. Oh, that's my last name, btw. :) Married name. Carmichael is my maiden name.... Now THAT'S a nice name. Should have picked my husband by his last name. I should have looked for someone named Steele!

  125. I like Carol's formula, but I think we need a Pick On Julie Day...

    Not Teeeena.

    She's tough.

    I do not pick on The Teenster.

    And Missy's too nice.

    And Debby's too classy.

    Myra... Oh, yeah, you can pick on her! ;)

  126. Forgot to mention that Alexander Steele is a great name. I can't wait to see how you portray him.


  127. Mary, Mary, Mary....

    I'm waiting with bated or baited breath for In Too Deep to be on the market. I've pre-ordered it. Twice.


    Patricia, I love bi-racial romances! Here in the north they're so normal. And Waiting Out the Storm is a bi-racial romance... The heroine is Native American, African American and Caucasian... and the hero is a totally hot stud-muffin nice guy veterinarian.


    I still love Craig. ;)

    And yeah, when it's a poorly written first book, no one's gonna want it much less let you push the edge.

    Nice to see you, my friend!

  128. Mary, Beth is still glowering at me for the "Mary's" and "M-names" in Small Town Hearts. Now I meant the Mary's and derivatives on purpose...

    But the "M's??? Prenamed in previous books. Oops.

    And was it my fault that I used more Hard C names in A Family to Cherish than Carter's has little liver pills?

    Or a porcupine has quills???

    An accident, pure and simple. And four John's or Jon so far.

    And they're all old.

    I needed those name charts a year ago. I blame Beth for being slow, right???

  129. Jan, I did that too.

    And then God sent us Jon.

    God is so much better at picking mates than I am. I just love Jon. And he puts up with me. This is not an easy task, as you can well imagine! ;)

    Okay, I get it... the joke. I think. Maybe. (Shh... let's let it ride so that people don't know how dense I really am, okay? I want them to think I'm funny. Smart. Light-hearted. Basically, we lie.)

    Carol, it's okay to fun here today. I'm Catholic... I'll give you dispensation which is our fancy way of saying you can take a day off.

    And am I really a heroine???? In your book AND Mary's????

    Because I already used Mary's name like 4 billion times, it seems.

    I love being a heroine, but watch out for me in book 3. I am greedy and I infiltrate scenes and take over. I blame my childhood. (for everything, of course.)

    Hey, Mia put me in Hometown Family (May 2012 Love Inspired) too. I am more seriously honored than you guys could ever know. I'm not a jerk, right? Because that would make me sad.

    And I eat more when I'm sad but I don't think that's possible this week. I have not stopped eating. It's frightening.

  130. Janet, yes. Oh my stars, thinking back...

    No, sometimes it's better NOT TO!

    But there are a few of those manuscripts that I think will see binding someday.

    But not this one. EVER....

  131. WOOHOO!!!! I just got my prize pack from Audra!

    A book and a silver package I'm a little afraid to open.

    Except it's from Audra. Not Ruthy. So it's probably safe.


    [And Ruthy. I just sent you an email. I didn't sign it. I hope you know it's from me anyway because my 'voice' will be on full display. :D]

  132. Sandra, oh, that's right I HAVE BOOKS TOO, CONNEALY!!!!

    Thank you for reminding us, Sandra. Although my next one is six months away (doesn't that seem LONG????) so I guess we can give other people their shout-outs.

    Like Janet, whose got a lovely book out this month! And Deb Giusti, whose Captain's Mission is a December release and still delighting readers everywhere!

    (see? I can be nice.)

  133. Lyndee, I had so much fun writing with you on 1K1HR! Glad you're feeling better, sweetie! And yes, we'll catch up on the writing. And the laundry (ever present, isn't it? Crazy. Can dirty clothes reproduce??? No, I DO NOT want to go there.)

    Grandbabies. Oh, I'm lovin' me some grandbabies. I have tonight free, though, so writing. Seekerville. And maybe take down the tree????

    Aw, heck, it's only mid-January.

  134. But Mary's got you freezing in a river or something. I gave you your high school crush to marry. After he advertises on Craigslist for a bride...


    They could actually use a good dose of Ruthie but so far, they're getting the sage neighbors who helped Ruthy and Andrew Carpenter and Brandon and Casey Parker.

    But now I must get kiddos ready to go to Chick-fil-A for dinner. Because the windchill is 4 above and there's 2+" of snow and so we MUST go out. Right?

    For new grilled chicken nugget kids meals.

    Chick-fil-A is the only place that could get me to do this.

  135. Ah, Munoz... Should I put an "N-yay" over the the 'n', Virginia?

    To make it official. And hey, hot Hispanic cops....

    I'm down with that.

    (Don't I sound really cool when I say things like "I'm down with that"? I've been practicing.)

    Christina, I think you'll fall in love with him on the spot. I did already, and I haven't even started his book yet. But he's one of the good guys... And God's handed him a lot of challenges. And little towns aren't the same as being a cop in a big city. The word anonymity does not exist in Allegany County.

    For real. (The locals assured me of this. They are correct!)

  136. Carol, honey, my "inbox" does a ringtone for you when you e-mail me. My computer plays the Hallelujah Chorus in all its glory because I'm that proud to be your friend.

    Tina gets Frank Sinatra's New York, New York in hopes that she'll move back upstate, to her ROOTS...(not hair. Her hair is totally natural, of course)

    Mary??? Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" in honor of her farm life and simple needs.

  137. mmm....

    Chick fil A.

    Tina got me my first Chick Fil A.

    My ONLY Chick Fil A to date.

    I love her.

  138. Mmmm, I with you on the Chick-fil-A, Carol. One of the downsides of moving around the country is leaving favorite restaurants behind...Chick-fil-A, Panera, Hu-Hot...

    But the local places more than make up for it! If you want a place with good restaurants, move to a tourist town.

    And the wind chill? Snow? You need to move north, girl! Thicken up that blood!

    Ruthy, I had to cut your character...but I'm saving her for her own story - youngest daughter marrying the hunky boy next door and producing four stair-step boys (so far)...does that sound about right?

  139. Yeah, Ruthy, you don't want to do EVERYTHING in just one day! The tree can wait. Spread it out and we won't tell on you. Laundry not only reproduces here, but it relocates. How else to explain the sock that's wedged behind my credenza? I'll trade Chick Fil for a Timmy's BTL with cup of soup and hot choc to go. Those were the days...

  140. What do you mean it's OKAY to pick on Myra?????

    Watch it, girl, or I'll sic Grammar Queen on you!!!

  141. Thank you Ruthy for sharing. I think I've covered most of those too, except #10 and politics - though possibly have not yet put two and two together and figured out who I've insulted... So #10 is debatable. Plus my first novel opening was thirty pages sans dialogue and 250,000 words... And I punctuated old school and made up new words. I was enjoying my writerliness. :)

  142. Hi Linnette:

    You asked what edgy Christian fiction was. Here’s a sample I just love!

    From “A Hope Undaunted”. The grandfather (Patrick) and grandmother (Marcy) have just had a big fight about a foster child Marcy ‘needs’ to alleviate her impending ‘empty nest’ angst.

    Location: Bedroom.

    * * *

    "She nodded and sniffed again.

    With a tight squeeze, he buried his head in her neck before pulling away with a lift of his brow. He stared at her new satin gown, then slowly fanned his hands down the sides of her waist. “And speaking of a price to pay – so you’ve taken to wearing perfume to bed, have you, Mrs. O’Connor?” He bent to caress the curve of her throat while his fingers grazed the strap of her gown. “And a new satin gown, surely not just for sleep.” With a slow sweep of his thumb, the strap slithered from her shoulder. “Oh, I’m afraid this is going to cost you, darlin’.”

    He kissed her full on the mouth, and heat shivered through her. “I suppose this isn’t one of those times when I need to say no,” she whispered, her breathing ragged against his jaw.

    “No, darlin’, it’s not.” And clutching her close, he fisted the satin gown and moved in to deepen the kiss, his husky words melting in her mouth. “For all the good it would do.”

    WOW! And this is Christian fiction!

    "Edgy" Christian fiction as the author likes to say.


  143. Hi Ruth:

    I’ve been working so hard on edits for my real estate courses that I guess my pun wasn’t punny enough. Bah!

    The joke:

    *Two puns walk into a bar and one says to the other; 'the cover charge here is shocking!'

    1. The word ‘charge’ is meant in the sense of an electrical charge.
    2. The word ‘shocking’ is meant in the electrical sense.

    I guess my example makes too much sense as it is written.


  144. Jan. You cut me??? For real?

    That's like a knife to my heart.

    Get it???? Cut? A knife????

    (Vince is just too darn smart. I need simple.)

    Jan, you can cut me whenever necessary as long as the promise of my own book looms. Love being the heroine, LOL!

    Lyndee, yes, laundry has a mind of its own. Stupid stuff. And half the tree lights are unwired... And Dave fed me. These are two good things.

    My needs are simple.

  145. Myra...

    You'd have been hurt if I didn't include you, honey. Really. I did it for you.

    Because I care.

    Stephanie...I love you. Except that you're young and beautiful, we could be twins.

    Isn't it hysterical when you look back on it? So did you cut the book? Shelve the book and move on? Slice it into three parts? How'd you solve the problem?

  146. Vince, Jan explained it. While she laughed at me. So now my wounded feelings are making doe eyes while my hands fist at my sides. Emotions mount, traces of memories best left forgotten grabbing hold. Twisting... Turning. Jabbing.

    (there are those gerunds we talked about, LOL!)

    Ah, Vince. I get it now. And do not blame yourself. Totally moi.

    But it gave Jan a chance to make fun of me, right? And that's always good.

  147. Oh Ruthy! You always put a smile on my face! :) Enjoyed your top ten. Does anyone have an eraser I can borrow...or an extra delete key?

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  148. Peach upside down cake coming your way, Ruthy!

    A peace offering, okay? Unclench the fists...take a deep breath...

    And it's virtual cake. Zero carbs, zero calories.

    Now that you're calm...I would never make fun of you, would I?

    /heh, heh/

  149. Vince, my dear deceased father-in- law was a master of puns that needed explaining. That's probably a back-handed way of saying, you make me laugh.

  150. Oh, Ruthy! You made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!

    Way more arched brows, angled looks, furrowed brows, sweet, tender lips, rugged stances, brawny arms, clenched jaws. We might have actually chewed off a lip or two...

    My mom said, “What are doing?!” Haha!

    Anyway, I both loved and feared this post. I kept going, “Is this me? Do I do that? There aren’t enough words to exchange for “smiled”! (By the way, if anyone has some good, DIFFERENT words for “smile”, let me know! I know “grinned”, “smirked”, etc., but what if you want a good, tender, wholesome smile, but you’ve used that word 300 times already?)

    I gotta say—These two caught my attention as there are really four main players in my WIP… Oh, dear…

    8. Four sub-plots might be one or two too many. I'm just sayin'...

    Subplot (also called counterplot) - a secondary or minor plot within a play or other literary work which may contrast with the principal plot, highlight it, or be unrelated. It involves characters of lesser importance than those involved in the major plot.

    3. Too many characters to possibly keep track of and every one of them had a point of view, most of them self-deprecating. Really, this family needed more heavy duty psycho-therapy than any fictional family should ever qualify for.

    However, their plots and stories are interwoven. Is that savvy, Captain Jack?

    Thanks for sharing, Ruthy! : )


  151. Ah Ruthy! A whole day of what not to put in a novel - and all areas surrounding - and I'm just getting in on the tail end!

    Bummer, dudette!

    Hate to say it, but a lot of this happened in and around my first novel(s). I think you forgot to add "being so eager to do it right, you incorporate every suggestion and opinion offered by your critique group of 10."

    Yep, that sums up my first 5 years of writing in one awful sentence.

    Ruthy doll, you have as distinctive a voice as they come. Keep on writing 'em, and we'll keep reading 'em!!!

  152. I should join Nancy in a Top Ten only mine would be the Top Ten things that keep me from getting to Seekerville before everyone else has left the island for the day.

    The upside is I don't have to admit how many disastrous mistakes I made in my first book because there's no one left around to read. :)

    I will admit to making the worst mistake of all - writing the same book over and over and over again in the hope I could "fix" it.
    I'm not even sure what the first version was because there have been so many incarnations of it.

    Thanks for sharing the what-not-to do-if-you-want-to-succeed list, but giving it a been-there-survived-even-this-to-become-a-household-name, Ruthy.

  153. Okay, I LOVE #2. Yup. I can do that. all. day. long. If cliches won you publication, I'd be a New York Times Bestseller, baby!

  154. Cindy, I hear you! An extra delete key... except for those times when I deleted the WRONG STUFF...


    Gulp. ;)

    And I lived. Barely!

    Mary Cline, I'm here to make fun of you because what would my day be without throwing a little fun your way????

    Peach upside down cake, Jan? I must be on some kind of internal surge, because I could not stay away from little bits of sugar this week. So I'll eat your cake, only I want a REAL ONE. And I'm not sharing! ;)

    Whitney, thank you for making me feel somewhat normal. (As if!) But knowing that we all do these things (Tina is probably narrowing her eyes and scowling at the computer screen, thinking, "Ruthy, don't tell them that Internet story when you made a fool of yourself in public!!!!"

    Tina is smart enough to NOT SAY ANYTHING....

    Except when necessary.

    My filter is broken. ;) Which tends to be a downfall. Or absolutely charming, right???

    Glad you laughed loud enough to make Mom wonder aloud!

  155. I feel totally loved over here! Thanks for linking to my blog, TWICE!

    Have you heard of Olean, in upstate NY (Allegany county?), Ruth? My husband's actually started a book set near there.

  156. Audra, the life of a working girl! I had Beth here to offset my work so that I could chat...

    And I know you can identify with some of this, but at least you're more subtle...

    But that's a good one, the incorporating 17 various critique people's advice into your new work.

    You know what I learned eventually? If I didn't admire their writing, I didn't listen to their advice.

    That's not conceited, that's just good business. If someone is technically adept but can't or doesn't write well for various reasons, unless they have "EDITOR" after their name, why would you listen to them?

    I know a lot of smart people. Some of them don't have a clue.

    Learning to trust our instincts by being our own private investigators helps waylay some of these kinds of mistakes... The kinds that evolve from letting the wrong people or negative people trip you up.

    That's another newbie mistake that bears repeating: Seek out positive influences on your private and professional life. You will be so glad you did!

  157. Heather, of course! Great small city and Elizabeth B (posted a couple of times today) is from Olean now.

    Do you guys come up to the Southern Tier ever? Or is it "over" for you? Or "down"?

    It's so beautiful. And I found it quite by accident, by going to a Little League State Championship series in 2007... A friend's son was playing and they're from Long Island so Dave (husband) and I drove down to Wellsville for four nights to see the games.

    I fell in love with it and promised God that I'd set books there once I got published. I fully believe it was a Holy Spirit thing. That tug to do something special for that lovely area.

    I just received a packet of newspapers from Jean Richmond, a reader from Allegany County and she had a handful of newspaper articles about the books, about the series, about my story. How fun that these small towns are getting behind this and having fun with it, right?

    I love Allegany County!

  158. Yes, Ruthy, yes -

    You said "Seek out positive influences on your private and professional life. You will be so glad you did!"

    That's Seekerville in a nutshell!

  159. Ruthy, YOU DID NOT!!!! Oh my gosh. I hadn't heard all this before. I'm totally cracking up!! :)

    Gosh, now the first rejection I'm blogging about on Monday feels so boring. I may have to...uh, fictionalize it a bit. :)

  160. Ruth, I love your books! I can hear you reading them to me, they are so you. And that's a scary thought that I have your voice in my head! If I ever decide to write a book, I'll keep your tips in mind!

  161. Ruthy, bless you for always keeping us laughing! :)

  162. Wow, looks likes great day in Seekerville. Ruthy, loved your top ten reasons.

    Any food left?

    We had pancakes and sausage for supper tonight. We love breakfast for dinner...or supper as it's called around here.


    It was good! lol

  163. Dear Ruthy - I now love you bigger - not that I'm shallow like that. I lovingly placed that book aside, took one character from that world (I'm spec fic remember, which is just another way of saying romance writer forced to work in the high-tech industry all her life) and wrote that character's story. It is only 88,466 words, but I have a knife too.

  164. A very entertaining list of 10. The list made for great reading, even if the book did not.


  165. Missy... Yes. I did. I'd just joined FHL and I didn't realize the far-reaching effects of a LOOP...

    Oh my stars. And it didn't come across as funny, it came across as snippy.

    Huh? AS IF!!!!! ;)

    A rough lesson learned, but hey, I took one for the team!

    Meg, is that you? I love that you came over here, welcome to Seekerville!!!! Meg has been my buddy for a lovely long time, not to be confused with folks who you've KNOWN FOREVER and make you scowl, just a little bit, making worry lines. I have no worry lines with MEG!!!!

    Eva Maria, back at you! The blessings, I mean. I try not to laugh at you unless you want me to. Then I'll do it. Promise...

    Steph, that's the perfect way to attack those pesky Three-Books-In-One...

    Slice and dice.

    And I love speculative stuff. And I haven't read any lately. Must do that because it makes my brain work wider... See the bigger what-if picture. Who's got good stuff out there, Steph? And if you feel funny naming names here, e-mail me.

    PAMMERS!!!!! Breakfast for dinner, love it! And yes, a delightfully busy day here and I did see some crumbs of something over by that mouse-hole in the wall. Wasn't Mary going to get rid of that little beastie???? What's she been doing?

  166. Ruthy,
    I swear (in the southern way) how did you get ahold of my first book? Why, it sounds just like you read it and made your Top Ten List after it. But...since you got so much humor out of it and taught us all so much, I reckon it's okay. :)

  167. Hahahaa! Great list. I had something to say when I was reading it but now I forgot. Go figure. lol

  168. This is a great top ten - I could come up with a completely different list for mine but it wouldnt be nearly as entertaining as yours

  169. Ruthy, that was hilarious. It reminded me that I have a "preachy" heroine in one of my WIPs and she needs to chill a bit.

    Sorry so late to say anything. Also, please don't include me in the drawing.

  170. Please don't include me as I have the book already. :-)

  171. Very entertaining! I'm glad you never gave up and kept on writing!

  172. Please enter me into this giveaway!