Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Seekerville Effect by Seeker Fan Keli Gwyn



What? You haven’t heard about the Seekerville Effect?

That may be, but I have a hunch you’ve experienced it.

And just what is the Seekerville Effect?

I worked hard to come up with a definition that adequately explains this amazing effect, but it wasn’t easy. Following is my feeble attempt to encapsulate this fantastic phenomenon. I’m sure many of you fans of Seekerville could help me edit, enhance, and expand the definition so it more fully reflects the wonderful effects a visitor experiences when spending time with other devoted Seekervillians and with the delightful Seekers themselves here in Seekerville—or even in person, as some of us have been privileged to do. Here goes…

Seekerville Effect (seek-ur-vill eh-fekt) noun: the almost euphoric state that comes over one when having been blessed beyond belief by the benevolence, competence, excellence, experience, influence, intelligence, magnificence, patience, and supereminence of a member of the Seekers or a Seekervillian.

Since my debut novel released this month, Seeker Supreme, Tina Radcliffe, offered me a guest spot. Because the Seekerville Effect played a pivotal role on my path to publication, I zapped Tina my reply even faster than Helen’s coffee appears each morning.

This post is my opportunity to shine the spotlight on some super people and to convey some heartfelt gratitude. I’m sure you have many such stories of your own, which I invite you to share after you read mine, so it’s a good thing there’s no limit on the number of comments allowed on a single post.

Here are but a few of my experiences with the Seekerville Effect

On January 1, 2006, I embarked on my writing journey. Fast-forward two years, two months, and twenty-five days to March 25, 2008. My phone rang. The call was from RWA board member Terri Reed telling me I was a Golden Heart finalist. Since I’d written in isolation, I didn’t even know that was the day of the GH calls or what a big deal it was to final, but I was happy nonetheless.

A few days later, I got an email from the editor of our local car club’s newsletter. She told me she’d received an email from someone named Tina about “some Golden Heart thing,” and wasn’t sure if she should send to me or label it as “junk” and delete it. I told her it was legit and asked her to send it my way.

That email from Tina, who found me via the member profiles I’d written for the car club—my only Google hits at that time—was an invitation to be a blog guest at Seekerville. Even though I’d lived in a cave and honestly didn’t know what a blog was, I replied. As you’ve no doubt guessed, I said yes. “The 2008 Golden Heart Inspirational Finalist-----Part 2” appeared on April 30. Thanks to Tina, I was no longer destined to live out my writerly existence in obscurity.

When that post went live, I experienced the Seekerville Effect in full force. Talk about a warm welcome. I was blown away by the love. The fact that Orlando Bloom accepted Ruthy’s invitation to serve as the Seekerville barista that day was way cool, too.

~ ~ ~

July 2008 arrived, and I braved RWA® Nationals. Thanks to Tina, I’d met lots of wonderful writers online, many of whom were attending as well. Even so, I was still kinda scared. I’d been to two small writing conferences, but the thought of being at a hotel with 2,000 other writers—lots of them bestselling published authors, gave me the heebie jeebies.

When I prepared to walk into the first event—the Faith, Hope, and Love mini retreat—my knees were doing a good impression of castanets. I stood in the doorway, gulped, and with a hammering heart, took my first shaky steps into RWA territory.

And what happened next? Aw, c’mon. Take a guess. Uh huh. You got it! I experienced the Seekerville Effect.

I caught Janet Dean’s eye. Since I’d scheduled her as a guest on my brand new blog and had received her author photo, I recognized her. She recognized me, too, welcomed me, and helped me over that I’m-so-scared-I-just-might-pass-out feeling that had me in its grip. I’ll be forever grateful to her for that.
Janet Dean & Keli, FHL Meeting 2008 RWA Conference

                                                          
In May 2009, Seekervillian Amy of My Friend Amy held a contest. One of the prizes was a critique from none other than Seeker Julie Lessman. I wanted to win. Badly! So badly in fact that I did everything I could to earn bonus points in the drawing. My efforts paid off!

A couple of months later, I received a hard copy critique of the first chapter of what was then Violets & Violins—along with a very encouraging letter from Julie, one that hangs on my office wall to this day. She told me she had no doubt she’d be reading the rest of the story…in paperback.

Well, Jules, you were right! And what’s especially exciting is that the opening chapter of the story you read, which became my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, bears your literary fingerprints. Your support, encouragement, generosity, and excellent feedback are just one more example of the Seekerville Effect at work. Thank you from the bottom of my giddy newbie author heart.

                                                              
~ ~ ~

I know the triad is an excellent literary device and that my post would be most pleasing if I were to stop here, but try as I might, I just can’t. So brace yourselves, because there’s another triad coming at’cha. I’ll be nice and keep these recollections brief.

~ ~ ~
                                                              

In October 2009, Seekers Missy Tippens and Debby Guisti attended the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolias conference and sat with Seekervillian Walt Mussell during the awards ceremony when the Maggie winners were announced. To my utter amazement, my entry, Violets & Violins—as my debut novel was called back then—took first place in the inspirational category, a thrill Walt experienced two years later.

Walt had called me on his cell so I could hear the announcements. I heard the whoops and hollers and congratulations from Missy and Debby and then Walt, great guy that he is, took his phone to the mic, so I could deliver my acceptance speech live, so to speak. That was quite a high—and another excellent example of the Seekerville Effect in action.
                                                                     

On January 17, 2010, my awesome critique partner and loyal Seekervillian, Anne Barton, hijacked my blog and published a post: Of Cupcakes, Cats, and THE CALL. Seekers and Seekervillians showed up in droves to help me celebrate. Gotta love the Seekerville Effect.

 ~ ~ ~    
                                                               

I can’t end this post without mentioning Ruthy. Dear, sweet, lovable Ruthy. And yes, I am talking about Seeker Ruth Logan Herne. I know she hides it well, but she has a heart of gold behind all her sass.

I’ll probably get an earful from Ruthy for saying such things in public, since she swore me to secrecy, but I can take it. Why? Because she gathered this uptight newbie writer under her wing and has put me through her own personal version of How to Lighten Up 101. Thanks to Ruthy and her wit, wisecracks, and wisdom, I’m tougher than I used to be—and better able to laugh at myself. Another testimony to the Seekerville Effect.

                                                               
~ ~ ~

These are but a few of many stories I could tell about the ways I’ve benefited from the Seekerville Effect. I’m sure you have tonz of stories, too. I’d love to hear one or two of your favorites in the comments.

Because I’m so grateful to the Seekers and the Seekerville faithful, I’m offering an autographed copy of my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, to TWO people who leave a comment on this post.



Seekerville would like to thank, Keli and wish her a very happy birthday. In honor of her birthday, which really is today, we're giving away a digital copy of  A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. As usual all winners announced in the Weekend Ed. But you have to post to win. So let's give Keli a great Seekerville welcome AND birthday wishes.



Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives, will be released in July 2012.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.



More Keli/Seeker Photos!


Anne Barton, Debby Giusti, Keli. RWA 2010





Sandra Leesmith, Keli, Janet & Ann. RWA 2010



FHL Meeting at RWA 2010. Sandra, Myra Johnson, Janet, Keli, Ruth, Missy Tippens.





Keli, Anne & Mary Connealy after Anne's 2011 GH WIN!


Keli snaps Missy, Tina, Janet & Mary at an RWA 2011 PAN workshop.

Keli snapped this photo of Missy and Cara Lynne James at the RWA 2011 Awards.

151 comments:

Tina Radcliffe said...

If you all get a chance go to Keli's new and gorgeous web page. The photo's of her are just gorgeous.

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!!(East coast time).

Walt Mussell said...

Keli, it was my pleasure to carry the phone to the mic so you could make your speech. (By the way, did I ever tell you that people walked up to me on Sunday morning and said, "That was such a sweet thing you did for your wife last night.")

No drawings for me as I already have a copy. I read it in less than two days and lost a lot of sleep.

Clari Dees said...

I love your explanation of the Seekerville effect, Keli. This is such a cool place and a testament to the verse..."By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Jn 13:35

Seekers show their love by sharing their knowledge and skills everyday. I am very grateful for them, and grateful to you, Keli, for shining the spot light on them.

Congratulations on the deput book. The story sounds wonderful and the cover is beautiful.

Clari Dees said...

Oh. I forgot.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Helen Gray said...

Howdeee! Keli.

Happy, happy birthday!!!

Here's the coffee pot so you can have a cuppa with your cake.

I sat near you at a publisher spotlight session in St. Louis last year. Thrilled for you.

I've experienced some of those Seekerville Effects of which you speak. I've won a couple of critiques, several books, and met all but one of the seekers at ACFW the past two years. Their encouragement is wonderful!!!

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Happy Birthday Keli!!!

And mega-dittos!

You have outdone yourself. I'm grinning just like y'all in the fab photos you've included!

The Seekers truly TRULY have a special place in my heart, each and every one.

I'm so so blessed to have found them. It was celebrating another birthday - Dave Fessenden's. His wife sent out an email and said this blog called Seekerville was hosting a surprise for Dave.

And the rest they say is history.

I continue to say Seekerville is like a master's course in writing. Toss up virtual vacations, food and fun - it just doesn't get much better... Unless it'd be a writer's retreat or conference with everyone there.

Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

And congratulations to you on your success, and all those who finalled and won the Christy Awards too!

Connie Queen said...

Keli, What an inspiring post!

First of all, I love the cover and the time period of your book. Can't wait to read it.

The best Seekerville Effect for me? And this won't sound earth shattering, but it really is...To have encouraging posts about the writing world w/out the complaining we see much today. Everyone has a great outlook and it just really makes a person feel good. Seekerville is a great way to start off the day.

Connie

Nancy Kimball said...

Kelli, congrats and happy birthday!
Seekerville made all the difference in my writing. Anytime I got a "growing pain" in my rhino hide or author journey, I would think back to an encouraging word from Tina, Mary, Julie or Ruthy and remind myself "I CAN write!" Just keep writing. Keep contesting. Keep giving back and investing forward.
So tell me, how amazing is it to hold your first published book in your hands?

Carol Moncado said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

I've met most [all? I'd have to go check but maybe...?] of the Seekers now - Julie was the first [surprising since she lives closest no?]

Plus the Seeker effect extends far beyond too. Andrea Strong lives close enough [though not CLOSE ENOUGH] to me that she recognized something I said about where hubby works and emailed me promising she 'wasn't a crazy internet person'. She's also part of the reason why I'm friends with Melissa [they were college roomies, doncha know? I would have been anyway but Andrea sped things up a bit ;)].

Clari Dees and I met at a Tracey Bateman workshop.

I really met Pepper through a link on here and discovered she is my long lost twin [who really came through with some serious encouragement tonight and so many other times when I needed it].

Andrea and I road tripped to meet Tina, Mary and Ruthy in Tulsa, where we also got to know Vince!

And I'm sure there's a dozen more stories I could tell!

And of course there's the contests. I never would have known about many of them if it weren't for dear Tina!

If I never, ever, ever get published, this writing journey [definitely including the Seeker part] has been so worth it for the free books I've won... er, wait, for the friends I've made ;).

I've already read Keli's book! So no need to enter me in the drawing!

Loved it [though I was wondering what the previous title was and now I know ;)].

Keli Gwyn said...

Tina, thanks for inviting me back to Seekerville. I love this place! Thanks, too, for the compliments on my website. Jason Walker of Website Ministries outdid himself. He's über talented and great to work with.

Walt, you did tell me about the comments. I'm so glad your fellow Georgia Romance Writers got to meet your lovely wife and that she was there when you won your Maggie.

Clari, that's a great verse. The message is so important and is one played out over and over here in Seekerville.

Keli Gwyn said...

Helen, how cool that we were in a spotlight together at ACFW last year. Here's hoping I see you at this year's conference.

KC - Wow! Wouldn't a Seekerville Retreat be awesome? I'm sure Tina could plan one in her spare time. She accomplishes more in a day than I do in a week. She must have a Super Woman cape in her closest, don'tcha think?

Connie, I'm with you. The positive vibes flow freely in Seekerville. That's one of many reasons I love this place.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Happy Birthday, Keli. No need to put me in the drawing...I am reading your book right now!

I am on my second critique from a Seekerville author. Who knew I would get that brave? Seekerville rocks!

And then there are the critique partners, Virginia and Mary, I have gained. The chats with Ruthy. The FB friends.

Happy Birthday yet again. And many thanks for shining the light on this special place.

Peace, Julie

Keli Gwyn said...

Nancy, encouragement abounds in Seekerville. I think the Seekers oughtta consider designing their own pom pons, since they're such great cheerleaders. And to answer your question, holding my book for the first time was pretty awesome. Gwynly caught that milestone moment on tape. The video is on my website. See The Latest News page in The Press Room.

Carol, I love all the connections you've made through Seekerville. The webs of friendship woven here are many.

I appreciate all the birthday wishes. This is a great place to spend my special day.

Keli Gwyn said...

Julie H.S., I hear you on the value of Seeker critiques. They really know their stuff and offer such helpful feedback. Missy was one of my contest judges at one point and gave me a great idea for how to increase the tension in my story. I'm grateful to her, because her idea worked well and helped make one of the chapters in my debut novel much better.

Melissa Jagears said...

Happy bday, Keli!

And Walt, that was such a sweet thing to do!

I'm a hoarder of critiques. I've won a few, been offered by authors to take a look, won one here, even bought a few in ACFWs silent auctions, but I never use them, I never know what I want to send. Well, I did one once and they did nothing but point out typos or a misused word and then said nothing else--I'm harder with myself! But I'm filling out my proposal stuff and getting asked "what authors have read your work and might want to endorse it?" and realize that sitting on my books give me a big goose egg for that one. Well, except my published crit partner.

Sorry for getting off on that rabbit trail, gotta get back to my proposal questionnaire, which also has "what books are like yours?" and I can't ask anybody to help me figure out that one one either! Gah!

I loved meeting the seekers last year at conference. Once they figured out the strange, creeping lady who stood silently at the edge of the group staring at them had a name, they acted like I wasn't totally weird and made me sit down until I got over the "Melissa is the awkwardest person to meet in the whole universe until she unfreezes" problem.

Ausjenny said...

Happy Birthday Keli, Hope you have a wonderful day. I am about 40% into your book really loving it. Its been great reading about your journey.

Ausjenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Cline said...

Happy Birthday Keli!

Thank you for putting in to words (we love words don't we) what I have been thinking for several months now.

I would love to read your book, please enter me. Thanks!

Mary Cline said...

Happy Birthday Keli!

Thank you for putting in to words (we love words don't we) what I have been thinking for several months now.

I would love to read your book, please enter me. Thanks!

Carol J. Garvin said...

No doubt about it, this is the best writer's support group in cyberspace! And while you were praising all the great Seekers, Keli, I was nodding in agreement. I've also won books here and a synopsis critique from Julie Lessman. I appreciate all the encouragement and the sharing of information, the news and the kibitzing.

Some of us could justifiably bounce a little of the praise back at you, however, because you've given a great deal to the writing community yourself. Remember all those interviews on your "Romance Writers on the Journey" blog before you brought it to an end last summer? The notes of encouragement, and little gifts?

But you really do have to stop calling the folks around here 'Seekervillians' because I keep reading it as 'Seekervillains'!!!

Happy Birthday, Keli! :)

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Keli, YOU have a special place in my heart.

Funny how you mentioned having a paper near your writing place from an encourager because I have YOUR comments from my Golden Pen 2011Final in the Inspirational taped about 8 inches from my keyboard.

That historical ahs never sold and maybe never will since it looks like I'm writing contemporaries...
But those kind words changed the way I viewed my writing. It wasn't just some pie-in-the-sky. It was real and I could put every ounce of strength into it I could muster.

THANK YOU.

I think what I remember the most from your comments was the point I called my sister and read them to her over the PHONE. Ha!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

P.S.

Don't get me started on Seekerville. Well, maybe just one little thought...

But this is about the least cliquish place I've ever 'been'. No matter if you started writing yesterday, or have 20 books published, your warm welcome is waiting.

I love that. Because being 'unpubbed' or 'pubbed' is like the Sneeches with stars in the Dr. Seuss story. We're all here for each other on the journey.

Helen W said...

Happy Birthday Keli, and congratulations on your book release :) You have had an exciting journey, thank you for sharing it with us! And I agree ... the Seekers are awesome :) I've learnt so much from them, and I'm only just getting started.

Clari - that verse definitely sums up Seekerville! Thanks for highlighting that!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KELLSTER!!!!!!

Oh my stars, oh happy day, oh joyous night of amazement, how much fun is this to have you here, PUBLISHED!!!!! and with one of the books that you KICKED MY BUTT with in that GH, the only GH I ever entered and I entered...

sigh....confession time....

THREE BOOKS.

THREE.

And Keli kicked me in the nether regions resoundingly and I had to pick my Ruthy-ego up, off the floor, dust the thing off and play nice. But .... but....

Keli is about one of the nicest, sweetest, least egotistical people in the world (which is why we get along, my inflated ego and sense of self-worth has plenty of room to balloon in her presence...) and you can't help but love her even if she womps you in a contest.

SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!! GRINNING EAR-TO-EAR IN UPSTATE!!!!

And I love that I feel TALL when I stand next to the Gwynster. Because I am not tall, I am short with thick legs, like French Pony legs, but next to Kel... I'm tall! :)

Keli, I can't wait to read this in print. And I do believe I made drastic fun of you way back when, something about making changes, embracing change, loving change... :)

Life and writing are all about change, but I could not be happier for someone than I am for the Gwyninator's well-deserved success. She's an inspiration of gentleness and gentility and her calming effect should be in a bottle and sold in Bath and Body...

She's that nice.

Hey, food. I've messed up the past few days on food because I'm caught up mornings in THE STORY.... which is a delightful thing to be, so today I'm doing smoothies with veggie infusion a la Mindy Obenhaus' post at Yankee Belle today... AND....

Sausage, bacon, eggs, cheese. No bread, no carbs, it's a BYOC day in Seekerville.

You get way too many in the Smoothie, anyway. Don't fuss!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Walt and Keli, sittin' in a tree.

K-i-s-s-i-....

Whoops. Not his wife. Friend. Friend. Friend.

:)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I am hugging Connie Queen to death right now because, well...

What she said.

I love the serenity prayer... If you can change something do it.

But if you can't, it doesn't hurt to be quiet and not whine, LOL!

Okay, that's a Ruthy-version of pull your big girl panties up and get to work.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, crap.

Munoz made me cry.

Dagnabbit.

I hate the lot o' youse.

Rose said...

Keli-

I'm SO excited for with the release of your book!

Happy Birthday!

Two WONDERFUL reasons to celebrate!

Kav said...

Happy Birthday Keli! And congratulations on your debut novel. I LOVED the video on your website of you receiving your novels from the publisher. Loved the bracing deep breath you took before opening the box for your first glimpse at your baby!

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California isn't on the shelves up here yet but I'm assured by the longsuffering salesclerk at my bookstore that it won't be long now. :-) I've had it on my hit list since I found out the release date.

Amen to all you and everyone else has said about Seekerville. I too have been blessed with encouraging critiques, books and even The Hero's 2 Journeys audio seminar (which I listen to over and over and over again.)

While I appreciate them all I would say that Seekerville's strength lies with the authors who selflessly give up time (think Ruthy and all those critiques last week!) to consistently (have they ever missed a post?)encourage writers.

I stumbled upon Seekerville at a time when I was wrestling with believing in myself and my dreams. I was battling a lifetime of relationships with naysayers who had all but convinced me that my dreams were fiction. Seekerville helped me realize that fiction could come out of my dreams. That didn't happen overnight -- the change in me came from daily visits to this blog and over months the positive speak here has all but drowned out the negative speak I had stuck in my mind. God bless Seekerville!

cynthia said...

Congratulations on the publication of your first book. What an exciting time. I hope to be blessed someday that way too. :)

Seekerville is a wonderful place for learning and for blessings on how God is working in the writing world. I'm glad to see how God works in the lives of these different authors.

Missy Tippens said...

Keli, you sweetie! What a generous post! But we have to thank you and all the others for hanging out with us here! You're what makes the place so special.

Congrats again on your release!! I read your entry in a contest (I think it was the Maggie that year it won) and absolutely loved it! Like Julie, I knew it would get published!

btw HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Happy Birthday Keli,

What a kick to help celebrate your debut. Congratulations again.

I loved meeting you. It is the same thrill to meet our friends as it is for you to meet us. So fun.

I also enjoyed being featured on your blog before I sailed off the island. Thanks for that. You have a lovely blog.

Have fun today. Hugs, Sandra

Missy Tippens said...

Keli, yes, Tina is definitely Super Woman! We'll put her on the task of a retreat immediately. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Keli! What a nice post.
THANK YOU. I'm so glad Seekerville is a fun and helpful place to hang out online.
I wish there'd been something like this when I was starting out.

Of course the internet hadn't been invented yet when I was starting out, so I suppose no blogs were available.

AND

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ganise said...

Oh my Lord in heaven have mercy! I'm so happy about this post, that I feel like my heart could burst!!
I've heard that you, Keli Gwyn are one of the nicest people anyone could ever meet and this post sure proves that. So many hugs, many blessings and HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweet lady!! God bless your beautiful heart.
And don't even get me started about Seekerville. I love this so much, it's been such a blessing, there are no words... so I'm gonna thank you for this post!

This is fun, I can't wait to read the comment. It's amazing what you can get here!

Missy Tippens said...

Well, Ruthy cried. And now Kav made me cry!!! Kav, what a beautiful thing to say. You've been an amazing supporter and have brought your positiveness to the table for all of us!

Piper said...

I agree, wholeheartedly with this wonderful post! Thank you Keli for providing the opportunity via this blog to say thank you to the Seekers. It has been a ritual of mine to check in on the blog shortly after it is posted. It is the proverbial elbow in my ribs for my writing day. Thank you for all you do Seekers!

Keli, your book sounds so good! I would like to be in the cat dish, or whatever is being used for the drawing, for a copy.

I am also headed over to your beautiful website to post and hopefully, increase my chances! Have a wonderful birthday!

Piper

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Connealy, were there even computers when you started writing???

HA! Couldn't resist. :)

Ganise said...

Oh, I want to read your book badly!! It sounds so good so CONGRATS!

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Keli!! I also meant to say that I'm also a huge fan (okay, my daughter would call it my addiction!) of the Coach Outlet Store near me! Gotta love the clearance section! We'll compare handbags at the next conference, okay? :)

Glynna Kaye said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KELI!!

I can't say enough GOOD THINGS about Keli and "The Keli Effect." You see, it was Keli who was a judge in the 2008 Golden Pen Contest (before I knew her) and she provided such a wonderful, critique and encouragement that I was able to "clean up" my entry before submission to the final round that went to an editor. And the editor asked for a full manuscript, I got the call...and the rest is history. THANK YOU, KELI!!

Julie Lessman said...

Okay, if this post made Ruthy cry, can you imagine what it did to me??? Makeup running ALL over the freakin' place, so thanks a lot, Kel!!

I mean it -- THANKS A LOT, Kel, for a post that not only made be blubber, but drives home the importance of community when you are a writer. It's such a solitary career and yet needs SO much encouragement and prayer that connecting and networking with like-minded loons is ESSENTIAL if we are not going to go crazier than we already are (an important warning to heed for people like Ruthy and me!).

I am SO glad I can say, "I told you so," because one chapter told me I was right, and now I am DYING to get to the rest!!! Soon, very, very soon, God willing ...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the sweetest gals out there -- no, seriously, one of the absolute sweetest, God's truth!! I am SO glad you were born, darlin' and thrilled we are Seeker sisters!!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Jeanne T said...

Keli--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Just this morning, I was wondering whose birthday it is. Now I know. It's yours! Hope your day is wonderful!

I loved your post and your lived-out definition of the Seekerville Effect. I've been visiting here for ten months, and I've loved getting to know the people who write and comment here. And, they've taught me so much about writing craft/life. The kindness and encouragement here is a one-of-a-kind experience.

RUTHY, I think I need to take that course, How to Lighten Up 101. When do you offer it again? :)

MELISSA J--for what it's worth, I can hardly wait to meet you at ACFW. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Awwwwww!!!! What an awesome, beautiful, TRUE post. :-) Seekerville was one of the first writer spots I found and when I met the Seeker clan at ACFW for the first time, I was incredibly blessed. They're warm and loving....anyway, just know, Keli, that you have Seeker heart too and that you've also been a blessing and joy to other writers. Happy Birthday Sweet Lady!!!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Happy birthday Keli! I LOVE this post because it's so true! The Seekerville ladies are awesome. I've gotten critiques before and encouraging words and they're just a never ending well of support and helpfulness.

So...I'm glad you get to celebrate your birthday and the release of your new book here today, Keli! Congratulations again.

And please don't enter me in the drawing. I've read Keli's book already and it was amazing :)

Christina said...

Gosh, is there a Kleenex box available?

Keli, I've watched you (lurking) since 2008. I remember cheering you on for GH. You are the kindest, sweetest. . . . I could go on, but I won't. Super congratulations.

Christina

Ganise said...

I've just seen the video on your web. Oh...oh...!
How sweet that your hubby was here to support you.

This is fabulous. You ladies - everyone of you- are fabulous!

(Okay, please tell me that somebody brought the Kleenex!)

Tina Radcliffe said...

You know, Keli, you never did explain the whole car club thing.

What kind of car club?

BTW I love you in your vintage clothing and your new profile pix!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Connealy is correct. The internet didn't appear until she had written THE END on book 42. She was breaking in her new bike with the training wheels and streamers.

CaraG said...

So many beautiful thoughts here today expressed so well. I'd like to repeat Kav's words because they could be mine, if I wrote as well. :-)

"That didn't happen overnight -- the change in me came from daily visits to this blog and over months the positive speak here has all but drowned out the negative speak I had stuck in my mind. God bless Seekerville!"

All the good effects coming from Keli's post today is a joy to experience. Thank you, all.

Congratulations and Happy Birthday. Your website is awesome. Please don't include me in your drawing. I'm buying your book.

Erica Vetsch said...

Wahoo! Happy Birthday!

I've been a recipient of the Seekerville Effect too many times to count! You describe it beautifully!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hey Keli! Happy, Happy Birthday! This must be such a special one - right after your Ice Cream Social party to launch your baby!

Keli and I share a similar beginning. Being a 2008 Golden Heart Finalist - and not knowing a thing about it! Had no idea the importance of the contest or how prestigious it was to final! And like Keli, Tina hunted me down for a Guest Blog here. That's how I found Seekerville and I am SO THANKFUL I did!

I never would be where I am today without the wonderful, generous women here - and without all the amazing information they provide. So thank you, thank you dear friends!

And super congrats, Keli, on your book. I started it last night and have it right here with me at work! LOL. I can tell I am going to LOVE IT! I am so, so happy for your success and seeing your dream come true. Does my heart good! I am thankful every day for being part of the 2008 GH Pixie sisters. Their support also has been life-changing.

God bless all the Seekers (that's what I call them) and Seeker friends. What an amazing group!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Cheers,
Sue

Pepper said...

OH HOW WONDERFUL!!!
Keli - you described it perfectly!
I will NEVER forget my first glimpse of Mary Connealy. It was an AMAZING blessing to get to give her a big ol' hug.

And spending time chatting with her and Myra for an entire HOUR at ACFW 2010?!? What a swell of gratitude and thanksgiving.

It's the double-blessed connection of having people who LOVE Jesus and LOVE writing. WOW!

Then last year getting to spend time with Ruthy, Pam, Audra, and Cara in the hotel room brainstorming? Goodness - As Ruthy was say - I feel all verklempt :-)

And sitting at breakfast with Janet, Missy, and Debby?!?
There's such a wonderful comfort when you look across a crowded room of strangers and see those familiar faces cheering you on!

Last year's ACFW was REMARKABLE! The Seeker table was very close to mine and I was not only surrounded by my remarkable AlleyCats, but could feel the amazing support and love from the Seekers.
Yep - I know the Effect and LOVE IT!
(obviously, because I'm rambling now)

GREAT way to describe it, Keli

Pepper said...

And Happy Birthday, Keli
What a way to celebrate!

Pepper said...

AMEN, Virginia!

Myra Johnson said...

Keli!!!!! How sweet!!! You know, Glynna is right--we could just as easily talk about the "Keli Effect." Your generosity in spotlighting authors on your blog gave a boost to innumerable writing careers!

Congratulations on your success, and have a very happy birthday!

Myra Johnson said...

Pepper! I'd gladly spend an hour (or more!) chatting with you and Mary anytime!

Pepper said...

Ditto, Myra.
IT was so wonderful!

Pepper said...

And Keli -
I don't think there are too many people in the world as sweet as you.
Maybe there is a Keli-Effect too.
Your notes and cards of encouragement certainly have all sorts of feelings of gratitude happen in me.

PatriciaW said...

Happy birthday, Keli and congratulations on your debut. Seekerville effect. I'd say you summed that one up royally. My experiences have been different but no less invaluable. The Seekers a special, fabulous bunch of writers.

Can we turn this into a verb, like Google? Seekervilled? Seekered? As in, "I've been Seekered and you can too." I see buttons, t-shirts, posters...

Emily C. Reynolds said...

Happy birthday, Keli! May it be an extra special one!

Congrats on your novel's release--such an awesome thing! Your story sounds like a blast and I look forward to reading it.

Thanks to Seekerville! I, too, have been marvelously blessed over the last few years and learned a TON here. What a great support!

Debby Giusti said...

I've been blessed by receiving Keli notes, too! So sweet. So thoughtful. So Keli!

Rejoicing for the gift of you on your birthday. We always tell our birth stories...care to share yours?

Doesn't your debut look yummy!!! Can't wait to get my own copy. Congrats on all your hard work paying off.

Lovely how so many of our lives weave together. The world is small, and with God in control, well, great things happen. This blog would be nothing without all of you. The only reason we blog is to share what we've learned and pass it on. In turn, we learn so much from everyone who leaves a comment or guest blogs. Plus, we covet your friendship and want all of you to have brilliant writing careers. Then we can brag that we knew you when! :)

You're a special lady, Keli. Your blog today proves it, although none of us needs proof. Enjoy your special day!

I've brought helium balloons and make-your-own ice cream sundaes to add to the celebration.

Sending birthday hugs and lots of love!

Susan Hollaway said...

Great post, Keli! I LOVED hearing about your journey. You're such an encouragement to others!

Happy Birthday, friend! Happy Birthday!

Clari Dees said...

Ooohh, PatriciaW. Seekerville T-shirts! I want one. Two. Three...

Kav, I love this..."I was battling a lifetime of relationships with naysayers who had all but convinced me that my dreams were fiction. Seekerville helped me realize that fiction could come out of my dreams." That would make a great T-shirt slogan or button or screen saver... Something like... "My dreams aren't fiction. Fiction comes from my dreams."

Can we steal this? Pretty please? :-)

Susan Hollaway said...

Great post, Keli! I LOVED hearing about your journey. You're such an encouragement to others!

Happy Birthday, friend! Happy Birthday!

Digging for Pearls said...

Happy Birthday Keli! I loved reading your post today. Congratulations on the book debut. Whoo! Hoo! So excited for you. Can't wait to read your book.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Helen Gray said...

I got to thinking today--a dangerous thing.

I don't remember how I found the Seekerville site. It was years ago. I was bumbling around by my lonesome and somehow found it--and said, "Hey, they're dishing out the kind of inside info I'm looking for." So I kept going back.

At the time I logged in as Anonymous because I didn't know how to set up a profile.

I got so addicted to hanging around that I asked someone how to do it, and I became a person. And, you know something? The Seekers all treated me like a PERSON when I landed at the conference in Indy--and then St. Louis.

They've been a great source of genuine writing tips as well as encouragement. So I hear you, Keli.

The Seekerville Effect is alive and well!!!

Helen

Walt Mussell said...

Keli, I said "Happy Birthday" to you on FB, but I'm saying it here as well. Hope it's a great day.

One of these days, I hope to meet all of the Seekers. (Granted, I don't get out that much.) Maybe when RWA comes to Atlanta next year.

Melissa, never hoard a Seekerville critique. Use them when you can. They're a great gift to receive.

Jamie Adams said...

Happy birthday Keli! Congratulations on your book!! Great post, Seekerville has been a strong positive influence on my writing journey.

If not for Tina's encouragement I never would have taken that first major step that put me on this wonderful path I'm on.

And then there's JANET DEAN (I can't help it, if the woman came over and ironed all my clothes I'd still be star struck)

I won a critique from her Janet. She put so much time and wisdom into helping me become a better writer that my critique partners all mentioned how much I'd improved.

Then there's wonderful Ruthy who tells it like it is but still makes you laugh.

They're all wonderful but there isn't enough space to mention how they've all made a difference.

Although I am thankful Mary hasn't shot me yet. Every time she responds to my post I know she's either forgotten or forgiven me for the pen vs book incident.

Debra E. Marvin said...

What a nice way to spend your birthday!

I am so glad you got up on our local soapbox and rallied the troops. The Seekerville effect is real. I am sure all the regulars would echo your words. I'd love to list the ways the ladies of Seekerville have encouraged my writing career and my faith!

Thanks Keli. Loved the photos! (I really need to get your book ASAP!)

Donna said...

Wow, what a beautiful, heartfelt and true description of Seekerville! I was brought to tears with it and my own gratitude for these sweet Godly women who open their hearts to all of us.
I know God led me to Seekerville. I didn't know what a blog was or how the worked, so I first signed up through email. I did not realize for some time I was receiving them a day after the fact. So I didn't know why no matter what time I got on my remarks was always at the end. lol I was greeeen (dumb). I have learned a lot about writing and graciousness from you ladies.

Happy Birthday Keli!

Mary Connealy said...

Just in case anyone feels bad, it's not that tough to make Ruthy cry.
Though when I've done it there has been Mace involved.

Mary Connealy said...

Missy, I started my first book on an Apple 2e, discarded by the local school.

IT DID NOT HAVE MEMORY.
Do you get that? ZERO memory. When you shut it down you lost everything and it went back to NOTHING.
I had to save my books ONE CHAPTER AT A TIME on 5 inch floppy disks. I saw one chapter at a time because one chapter filled a whole disk.
And if the lights blinked you lost EVERYTHING back to the last time you'd saved.
I had a whole box of disks for ONE BOOK.
Do any of you even remember computers like that?

Mary Connealy said...

INFANTS!

Helen Gray said...

I hear you, Connealy. INFANTS!

I had a whole classroom of those donated machines to deal with.

Explains why I'm so paranoid about printing a hard copy every time I finish a chapter.

Janet Dean said...

Keli!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Congratulations on your wonderful story!!! Wishing you much success with it.

You've blessed us with your lovely post! Another example of what a thoughtful person you are! Thank you.

Hugs, Janet

DebH said...

hi mary
i remember computers like that. still have one (collecting dust bunnies - but it's still here. ugh, can you say pack-rat?)

been more of a lurker and occasional commenter. won a free book eons ago - but have "won" excellent writing tips (and a Ruthy public crit last week) worth more than Gold.

as a graphic artist, i must see about designing that t-shirt. give me an official slogan and i'll heave to (hubby's a retired NAVY man...)

been UBER blessed here

Mary Connealy said...

PEPPER that's so sweet, but what none of you understands is we are(or maybe just I am) a troubled loner.
You're thrilled to talk to ME???
I'm stunned that anyone wants to. Your biggest problem is to ESCAPE once you've started talking.

Janet Dean said...

Jamie, bless your heart! You'll let me iron and still respect me. :-) I'm relieved my critique wasn't overwhelming.

Hugs,
Janet

DebH said...

p.s.
Thanks Keli, for putting to words what a whole minion load of Seekerville peeps feel.

Happy Birthday and CONGRATS!!!!

would like to be in the running for your book.

Keli Gwyn said...

Good morning, Seekerville! Yes, it's still morning in California. Since it's my birthday, and since I'm still recovering from the sleep I lost while preparing for my Launch Party this past Sunday, I caught some extra Zzzs.

When the covers and I parted company, Gwynly gave me my birthday present. I'd told him all I really wanted was to have the cover flat of my book professionally mounted and framed. He gave me the finished product this morning, and I spent a bit of time oohing and aahing. It's real purty. (I shared it on FB.)

Gwynly's out doing battle with a stubborn tree root, poor guy, while I get to party with you. I told him this is "work," and I think he bought it. Yeah, he's indulgent that way. See why I love him so much? :-)

Mary Connealy said...

Book 42, huh, Tina?
What she doesnt' mention is, I rode a bike with training wheels until I was 35. they're so TIPPY!!!!!!

Janet Dean said...

Patricia W, I love the T-shirt idea! You rock!

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

Helen, now when the lights blink MAYBE you lose two sentences. Back then......the AGONY of it. Sometimes a whole days work.
Or heaven help you if your file got a scratch on it (or was just in a bad mood)
Everything gone!!!!!!!!
I just threw the last of those away a while back. There just is NO WAY to get the stuff off of them. (and I probably don't want to) but I probably threw away.....oh, at least five books, none of which I count when I say I had twenty finished books on my computer.
I wrote three books of a series called Whiz Kids, about a group of kid geniuses.
I love those kids.
My big problem though was, I'm not smart enough to pull off a kid genius story.

Keli Gwyn said...

Melissa, Walt is a great guy. I was so excited when he won his Maggie. I'm glad you got to meet some of the Seekers in person. Aren't they the best ever?

Aus Jenny, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Looking forward to being a guest on your blog this coming Thursday.

Mary, I had a hunch there were oodles of us who are as crazy about the Seekers and Seekerville faithful as I am. :-)

Lane Hill House said...

Pick me! Pick me! I'd love to win!!! Kathleen
lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

♪♫♪ Happy Birthday to you!♪♫♪

Keli Gwyn said...

Carol, Seekerville is a super supportive place. Glad you reaped the benefits of a Julie Lessman critique, too. Your comment about Seekervillains cracked me up. Perhaps Seekerville Fans would work better. Or Seekerville Faithful. I'm open to ideas. :-)

Virginia, I remember that story well. You have a great voice, and I'm sure it comes through in your contemporaries nicely. I still hold out hope you'll sell that historical, though. I was left hanging. And I hear you on the inclusiveness here in Seekerville. That's one of the many things I like about this place. The Seekers welcomed this slightly uptight, totally scared, very green newbie writer with open arms.

Helen W., like you, I've learned heaps from the Seekers and their many awesome guest bloggers. Not only is Seekerville a fun place to hang out, but it's an enlightening and educational one as well.

Joanne Sher said...

Happy, HAPPY birthday, Keli! YOur book looks WONDERFUL - would love to win it (ebook preferably. I'm a new addict LOL).

And i LOVE the Seekers, and have definitely had the Seekervile Effect. ONE of these days I will meet at least ONE of them! Hopefully! You guys are ALL awesome

Mary Curry said...

I'm so bad being late to come celebrate with you, Keli.

CONGRATULATIONS on your debut. It's so fun to come celebrate with someone who has spent so much of her time celebrating the success of others!

When I saw your topic was the Seekerville Effect, I totally thought it was going to be the magic in the air here that seems to run off on others and help them get published. I can think of at least 3 people who can attribute their sales to opportunities offered by Seekerville this year and I'm sure there are a whole bunch more.

Forget Disney, Seekerville has to be the Happiest Place on Earth!

Keli Gwyn said...

Ruthy, your kind heart is showing, dear friend. Better up the sass factor or people are going to wonder if you're ailing.

Oh, just saw your other comments. Nice to know you're A-OK. :-)

Rose, thanks for sharing in my excitement and in the celebration. It's not every day one can celebrate with sausage, bacon, eggs, and cheese a la Ruthy.

Kav, oh yes. The video where I cried on camera and ended up with a nose that rivaled Rudolph's. A kindhearted friend eager to encourage me said it was OK, because I looked "real." Yup, real splotchy. When the Lord gave me the Weepy Woman gene it would have been nice if He'd coupled it with the Pretty When Tearful one, but He didn't. Not to worry, though. I make sure my heroines look lovely when their eyes grow misty.

In all seriousness, I'm glad you appreciated the video. That was a milestone moment that deserved to be recorded, red nose and all.

I'm glad the Seekers have encouraged you and that you're feeling better about yourself and your writing. Here's to joy and fun and creativity and contest finals and other good stuff.

Keli Gwyn said...

Cynthia, I would love for you to experience the blessings of publication. Keep writing. Keep studying craft. Keep hanging out in Seekerville. And above all, keep having fun.

Missy, yes it was the Maggie. You gave me a great idea for how to change a plot point for the better. I used it, so your literary fingerprints are in my story along with those of Anne and Julie. I love that!!!

Sandra, it was a privilege to host several of the Seekers on my former blog. You are such great people. I love you all.

Vince said...

Hi Keli:

Happy Birthday!

What a wonderful way to share it with everyone by being a guest blogger!

To me the Seeker effect is in the amazing way everyone takes joy in celebrating the success of others. This is almost contrary to human nature. And it didn’t happen by accident.

I did my research and found where Ruth revealed the recipe for the Seeker's success:

“They blended equal parts of work ethic, competitiveness, and desire, then mixed it with a good dose of the Holy Spirit and Ghirardelli chocolate, and formed a bond – a sacred pledge – to work together for everyone’s success. From that pledge came “The Seekers and Seekerville.”


The Secret is Out! And that’s almost poetic!


When the divas turned in their tiaras
and vowed to live on God’s time
God’s grace reversed each diva
causing an avid change of mind:
from competition to cooperation
came blessings and inspiration.



***


Seekerville is a place in time
located in each seeker’s mind
a place to seek and also tell
a place to show and do it well.


***

Vince

P.S. I’d love to win an electronic copy of your new book. vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

MARY You had disks? I had to use a recording cassette. Disks were a major upgrade!

Keli Gwyn said...

Mary, it's hard to think of life before the Internet, isn't it? There are young people who have never seen a manual typewriter and wouldn't have a clue how to start a new line of type. They don't know what they missed. I mean, really. Tapping a key isn't nearly as fun as hearing the tinkle of the little bell, palming that shiny silver lever, and sliding a carriage to the right with that satisfying wham.

Ganise, what a lovely name you have. Bea-u-ti-ful! I get the heart-filled-to-overflowing feeling that comes over one when thinking about the many blessings to be found in Seekerville. You shoulda seen me when I was writing this post. Then again, since I've mentioned what a mess I am when I go all fountain-faced, it's probably better that you didn't.

Piper, what a fun name you have. Love it! Thanks for taking time to visit my website. While you're there, be sure to visit the Contests & Giveaways page in The Press Room. I've got two fun drawings going. One is my Bushels of Fun drawings for a copy of my book and five fun items from the story in--get this--a bushel basket. The other drawing is Elenora's Extravaganza. The prize package, valued at $200, is a collection of Victorian-themed items such as Elenora would sell in her shop. I combed the Internet for lovely things, and according to those who've entered so far, I succeeded.

Keli Gwyn said...

Ganise, aw gee, thanks for the kind words about my book. I hope you enjoy it.

Missy, nice to know I'm not alone in my Coach bag addiction. If I visit the outlet mall and make it past the Coach store without going in, Gwynly gives me a gold star. :-)

Glynna, I knew that story would sell. It's sooo good. I love that I was right and got to read the rest of it in print.

Pepper said...

Mary,
Escape?
Gee whiz, I was pretty sure YOU were the one who would want to escape from ME!

Besides - I deal with people who prefer social isolation as a profession. I can handle loners :-)

LOL

Keli Gwyn said...

Julie, golly gee willikers. Now I'm crying. Time to break out the cute little packages of Garfield tissues I stocked up on. I have a hunch I'm going to sog up several before this day is done. Yes, you told me so, and am I ever glad you were right! 'Course, you played an important part in making that happen, my friend. Thank you again and again!

Jeanne T, so glad you discovered Seekerville and are experiencing the Seekerville Effect. I highly recommend Ruthy's course. Not only has it taught me to take myself less seriously, but it's great preparation for dealing with the less-than-stellar comments we sometimes get from contest judges and publishing pros. If we can take Ruthy's instruction full force, we're prepared for anything the writing world throws at us. Why, I was even able to loosen up and have a great time at my launch party this past Sunday thanks to my enrollment in Ruthy's course. =)

Jessie, I'm so glad you're here cuz I wanted to tell you I finished your book night before last and loved it. Trevor is dreamy!!! I've been a wee bit busy and slightly overwhelmed the past few weeks (in a very good way) due to the deluge of well wishes and offers of help from my many awesome friends that have been flooding my inbox. At the end of a full day, I'd crawl into my Calgon-scented tub and savor several chapters of your story. Looking forward to that reward at the end of the day really helped. So, thank you for that.

Tina Pinson said...

I started my first novel on a Remington typewriter, with a sticky a key. Just saying...

Loved the post, Keli and Happy Birthday and congrats on the book.

You explain the Seekerville Effect very well. I might even get a taste of it someday. LOL

Seekerville is a wonderful place to be, to meet people, to learn, to grow, to get a swift kick... I mean incentive to move ahead.

:-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Cindy, thanks for the kind words. And, no, I didn't bribe her to say nice things about my book. Cindy's just a very nice person. I know, cuz I got to meet her at the ACFW conference in Indy. And she's way cool, too. She plays violin just like my heroine, Elenora. Love that!

Christina, golly gee. I'm moved by your kind words. It's a good thing I have plenty of those Garfield tissues handy.

Ganise, I'm glad you enjoyed the video. Gwynly is THE BEST!! He deserves the Most Supportive Spouse award. Truly. (I've got plenty of tissues and will gladly share.)

Keli Gwyn said...

Tina, Gwynly owns a 1968 MGB roadster. He's had "Midge" since 1970, long before I entered his life. She's pale primrose, which is a soft yellow. She was his first love. I've been know to refer to her as "the other woman." She's his blonde, and I'm his brunette. :-)

We belong to the Sacramento Valley MG Car Club. Our newsletter editor was the one you emailed all those years ago.

Thanks for the compliments on my Victorian gown. I hired a local seamstress to make it, and she outdid herself. Patti also made Gwynly's frock coat and silver brocade waistcoat. I posted pics of my first signing on my FB page, and you can see us in our finery there, along with our daughter, who surprised me by renting a costume to wear to the signing and launch party.

Keli Gwyn said...

Cara G, I'm glad you've been so blessed by the outpouring of love and support in Seekerville. May your cup continued to be filled.

Erica, love you!!! I included the other Bride books on the display table at my launch party so my friends could see how my book fits into the line. Dear, sweet Lacie Nezbeth was there overseeing the ice cream buffet, along with several of her family members. Her mother was so excited to see your Bride book and gushed about you and all you've done to support and encourage Lacie. I told her mom you have a heart of gold. It's true. You do. :-)

Sue, my dear Pixie pal, I was so excited to finally get to meet you in person at the ACFW conference last fall. I love how the Lord put us next to one another on the shuttle to the hotel. He knew how eager I was to see you. I'm sooo looking forward to your First Sale. Having read your work in contests, I know it's just a matter of time before a savvy agent and editor snap you up. And when that day comes, I have hunch you'll hear my whooping and hollering all the way up there in Canada.

Keli Gwyn said...

Pepper, I know how special the Seekers are to you. And I know how special you are to them, as well. I love hearing just a few of the many ways they've blessed you.

Myra, hosting Seekers on my blog was a real privilege. You. Are. The. Best!

Patricia W, I love the way you think. I'd gladly sport an "I've been Seekered" t-shirt.

CatMom said...

YAY KELI!!! Great post, sweet friend! And as you already know....I am SUPER proud of you and LOVE your debut book. Can't wait for many more Keli Gwyn books to be released! ~ And I completely agree about the Seekers---aren't they wonderful?! Last year at ACFW, I was thrilled to see a small group of them (along with author Cheryl St. John) and wanted to snap a photo. Precious Ruthy grabbed me and insisted I be part of the photo too. They make us feel *so special*! ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY also---and in honor of your special day (AND your awesome post today) I've brought along a Georgia Pecan Pie with whipped cream, Georgia Peach Punch, and some fudge brownies straight from the oven---gooey and sweet. Enjoy! Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Emily, thanks for the kind words and well wishes. I hear you on being able to learn so much here. Seekerville is THE place to be if one is serious about writing and wants to be bathed in support and encouragement.

Debby, you asked for my birth story. Well, I'll start by saying that when Julie said in her comment today, "I am SO glad you were born" I burst into tears. Why? Because I'm a baby that almost wasn't, one of those oopsie babies relatives advise the mother to "get rid of." But my mom, young as she was, refused, and am I ever grateful for her strength under pressure. Being "unwanted" isn't an easy way to start life, but once I arrived, I was loved. God blessed me with a dad who chose me, marrying my mom when I was one-year-old, and loves me to this day.

Thanks for the ice cream sundaes. What a yummy treat for a summer's day.

Susie, thanks for sharing in the celebration. Be sure to grab one of Debby's sundaes.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jodie, thanks for the well wishes and for sharing in my excitement.

Helen, you aren't just a "person." You are SOMEONE SPECIAL. I can't imagine Seekerville without you.

Walt, you just gave me a great idea. I could enter the RITA and humbly ask God for a final just so I can justify coming to Atlanta for Nationals and meet you in person. I don't mean to sound greedy or anything, but that's the only way I'd be able to spring for two conferences in one year. And I really want to meet you and hang out with Debby and Missy on your home turf. Plus, I have to see for myself if Georgia peaches are better than California peaches. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Jamie, I loved hearing some of the ways you've been blessed by the Seekers, but I really wanna hear about the "pen vs book incident." Sounds interesting.

Debra, I'd love to hear how the Seekers have encouraged you. Care to share one or two examples of the Seeker Effect from your perspective?

Donna, I get being totally green and having to ask about the basics. I was even greener than Kermit. Tina had to tell me how to leave a comment on a blog post when she invited me to be a guest back in 2008. When it comes to welcoming newbies and making us feel at home, the Seekers have it down pat.

Keli Gwyn said...

Mary, I used an Apple IIe years on my job ago and remember those floppy discs well. I remember taking a college course where I wrote a program on punched cards. Heck, I'm so old I remember life without computers. :-)

Helen, I still feel better when I have a hard copy of my stories.

Thanks for the well wishes, Janet! Be sure to grab a sundae. Debby is scooping.

Keli Gwyn said...

Deb H, yes! A t-shirt designer! Awesome. Can't wait to see what you come up with. :-) Got ya down for the drawing.

Mary, wowzers! You "threw away" five books? There are some of us who haven't even written many more than that--if that many. You. Are. Amazing!

Kathleen, I see your waving hand. You're entered, my friend.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Keli - I've had personal messages of encouragement as well as critiques and 'judges' from Seekerville--a helpful nudge forward just when I've needed it. And the opportunities to win books, critiques, and interaction with editors and agents has been amazing. Plus...when I need some inspiration for adding just the right details to my writing, and I can't seem to make lemonade out of my lemons, I often go to Seeker books to re-read spots where they've made magic.

Two of my contest finals came out of winning contest entries --and oh, a little thing called a KINDLE!!!
It's not just the Seekers but the Village...the groupies...where else can you meet such a great group of writers and readers?

Hey, I met you on here, Keli! and some of my blog mates. Playing the Seekerville Treasure Hunt in Denver pulled this introvert into the action. okay, I should stop now and save it for future reference when I visit to discuss my debut novel,right? :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Joanne, I hope you get to meet many of the Seekers. They are awesomeness personified.

Mary Curry, I'm sure there are many who would say that Seekerville helped them get where they are today. I certainly do. And, yes, Seekerville is certainly on par with Disneyland.

Vince, your poem is great. It really embodies the generous spirit here in Seekerville. Love it!

Keli Gwyn said...

Tina P, nice to know I'm not the only one who admits to having used a manual typewriter. I remember how excited I was when my high school typing teacher picked me for a special group who got to learn to use the Smith Corona memory typewriters with the "floating ball." They called them "word processors." We thought we were co cutting edge.

Patti Jo, you're making me blush, my sweet friend. You talk about the Seekers making us feel special. It's true, of course, but you make me feel special all the time, too. You are a gem! I'd love a glass of that Georgia Peach Punch.

Wow, Debra! What wonderful stories you have about your experience with the Seekerville Effect. Thanks for sharing a few of them with us today. Glad you saved some for the BIG day when you're here celebrating the release of YOUR debut novel. It's coming!

Ausjenny said...

Keli, really loving the book but this tiredness I have is the pits I basically fell asleep again last night reading. oh to stay up past 8.30pm! which I guess is an improvement on 8,pm. Its taking a week to read a book at present. just on 50%. I may also lose one cleaning job due to not being able to do the work at present.
one person is getting to the point they cant wait, but at the same time cant seem to realise how serious my situation was and how its taking time to recover.

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, get all the sleep and rest you need. I'm sure someone else will snap you up if you lose the cleaning job.

Janet

Keli Gwyn said...

Jenny, I'm sorry you're battling fatigue and that it's affecting your work schedule. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Hugs to you, my friend.

Janet Dean said...

I love that Seekerville has our own Poet Laureate in Vince!!!

Janet

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Keli, congrats on the new book! It sounds like a lot of fun and you deserve every bit of success with it.

As for the Seekerville Effect, I have only met a few Seekers in person, but just reading about everyone's experiences, seeing the encouragement they give each other and their readers, and bond of sisterhood in Christ is so unique and amazing. You hit the nail on the head.

Please include me in your drawing!
stephludwig at hotmail dot com

Ganise said...

Thank you for kindly taking the time to reply, Mrs Gwyn. It's always appreciated. And Keli is also a gorgeous name. =)

Lyndee said...

Hi Keli,

Happy Birthday!
Terrific post and I love the new book jacket. Congrats on seeing your dream come true. And I know exactly what you mean about the Seeker Effect.

Reading your post and perusing the photos has made me very anxious to get to Anaheim in hopes of meeting some of the Seekers and the Seeking. I am sure I was in the room with some last year, but had no idea - I was such a newbie. I've felt that same support and encouragement by so many on here. What a special place!

Jackie said...

Keli,

Congratulations AND happy birthday.

Your story sounds great and the cover is beautiful. I hope lots of people look at your book and buy it.

Congrats again.
Jackie L.

(Please enter me in contest. Thanks!)
joyfuljelatgmaildotcom

Clari Dees said...

Another Seekerville effect...
Winning Valerie Comer's and Cara Putman's, etc., Rainbow's End. I love the fact that it is set in my home state. I just finished it last night. In the words of Tony the Tiger..."Grrreat!"

Cindy W. said...

Happy Birthday Keli! Woo! Hoo! Hope you're having a fantastic day! Also, congratulations on your debut novel. I love reading debut author's novels and my eye has been on yours! It's on my wish list.

I truly enjoyed your post today too! Thank you so much for sharing!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ausjenny said...

Thanks Janet, I actually thought that if shes upset I am easing back at a different place (where I do two mornings every week)and not with her where I am only one and a half hours every 2 weeks. I figure maybe its better for her to find someone else. I woke early today trying to work out if I could go there this week etc. but I know thats pushing it and I know they probably will not give me a ride and no way can I walk or even ride (bike) that far at present. I will ring her today and see whats what.

Mary Curry said...

HUGS Jenny. I wish I was closer and could do that cleaning job for you until you were better. If she can't understand, it's her loss. You just take care of yourself. That was a scary thing and you need tome to recover at your pace, not hers.

I'll be praying it will all work out for you.

Cara Lynn James said...

Happy birthday, Keli! I'm so glad to see you at Seekerville today.

As I'm writing this, I can see the statue of a girl carrying a Golden Heart. It's right next to pictures of my first three book covers. Every time I see that statue I smile. So thank you so much for sending it to me when I was a finalist in 2009. I didn't win, but I get a contract because of that contest.

Melanie Dickerson said...

So happy about your new book, Keli! Great post! Seekerville is awesome. God bless!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Boy have you guys been busy birthday partyers!!!!

Woot! Save me some cake please.

Audra Harders said...

Arrggggghhhhh! Blogger keeps eating my comments!

No way can I recreate all the lovely sentiments I penned, Keli. Yes, I got really sloppy. You are such a great friend and writer, the world would be a sadder place without you.

Your blog, your smile and just all around YOU are such a blessing, I pray the good Lord showers you with lots of books and a readership that passes all understanding.

Happy Birthday, Keli!!

Julie Lessman said...

OMIGOSH, KELI ... now I'm crying again too!! What a story, my friend, about your birth!! So glad your mom married such a great dad for you, girl!!

Hugs,
Julie

Keli Gwyn said...

Stephanie, the sister/brotherhood in Christ here in Seekerville is awesome. It's one of many things I love about this place.

Ganise, thanks for the compliment on my name. I like it, too. My mom didn't want it to look like a boy's name. Back in the Dark Ages when I was born (think black and white TV days), lots of boys were named Kelly. I love the unique spelling of Keli. And then I married a man with Welsh heritage and a Welsh name with a unique spelling. Put them together, and I am the only person with my name spelled my way in all of cyberspace. =)

Lyndee, I hope you have a blast in Anaheim and get to meet lots of Seekers. I wish I were going. I'd love to see them as well as my dear friend and critique partner, Anne Barton.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jackie, thanks for your kind words. My publisher's design team did a nice job on the cover, didn't they?

Clari, the Seekers are so generous aren't they? I've won a number of drawings here. My favorite prize of all--one that sits on the top my writing desk's hutch--is a bottle of sand from Unpubbed Island. Although Seekers no longer inhabit the island, there were many special memories made there.

Cindy W, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I loved writing it and sharing a small portion of the love and appreciation I feel for the Seekers and Seeker Faithful.

Keli Gwyn said...

Cara Lynn, I've enjoyed watching your career take off and you soar to stardom. I'm soooo happy for you.

Melanie, speaking of careers taking off. I love seeing how yours is doing. Congratulations on your Carol Award final!!!

Audra, I love your warm heart. Thanks for the kind words. I could say a whole host of wonderful things about you, too. Thanks for being such a blessing in my life.

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks, Julie! God has blessed me in so many ways. I've always appreciated the fact that our dear Lord was presumed to be an "oopsie" baby, even though He was anything but. I know He can understand what I've been through.

Keli Gwyn said...

Yikes! I misspelled your last name in the post, Debby. I'm so sorry. Maybe a kind Seeker will take pity on me and fix it? Pretty please with a whole bag of sugar on top. =)

DebbieLynne said...

Belated Happy Birthday! I have got to talk with feedburner. I never get your posts til the following day. So now here I am a day late and a dollar short! (love that cliche. heehee) Keli, I am sooooooo glad your mom listened to her heart and did the write thing. What a blessing you are to so many people. Happy Belated Birthday.

Anonymous said...

I have to take a minute to write, b/c several of these Seekerville Sweeties have taken precious time for me and my work, too. They know who they are, and I'm so grateful. I'm not quite THERE yet, Keli, but am possibly on the very PRECIPICE of publication w/my fiction. I have only met Ruthie in an elevator once, BUT these ladies are very real to me and very encouraging.

Thanks again, Seekerville friends, KUTGW (Keep up the good work!)

Gail Kittleson

Andrea Strong said...

Keli~

I LOVE this post. I have experienced much of the Seekerville effect.

Carol already mentioned me, I must mention her. She's become a dear friend, one I wouldn't have if not for Seekerville.

Our trip to Tulsa was a highlight of my 2011.

I joined ACFW in 2011 due in great part to Seekerville.

And Keli is right about Ruthy. A sweeter, more encouraging snark has never been born.

Julie introduced me to the perfect description of me (CDQ), and makes me feel like I'm not the only one.

That's not even mentioning books I've won and critiques I've won. I could go on and on...but I have laundry to do, so I won't.

I absolutely want to win this book!

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

Wendy Newcomb said...

Happy Birthday Keli! July is a great month for a birthday, I should know because my birthday is very soon too, lol!

This sounds like a great book, looking forward to reading it.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

beckydoughty said...

Wow - what a wonderful post. So often authors are asked to write about themselves... but Keli, you were TOTALLY Keli just because you wrote about how wonderful the ladies on Seekerville are. THAT alone tells us so much about you as a person.

Totally blessed by you all today,
Becky

Keli Gwyn said...

Debbie Lynne, thanks for the birthday wishes. I had a lovely day. One of the best parts was spending part of it here in Seekerville.

Gail, how exciting that you're so close to realizing your dream. Here's hoping you're shouting BIG news from the cyber rooftops soon.

Andrea, I love that you and Carol connected right here in Seekerville. And I loved your description of Ruthy, "A sweeter, more encouraging snark has never been born." So true!

Keli Gwyn said...

Wendy, let me be one of the first to wish you a very happy birthday. I hope you have oodles of fun celebrating when the actual day arrives.

Becky, thanks for your kind words. I was so honored to be invited back to Seekerville and so grateful to have this opportunity to tell these wonderful ladies how much they mean to me. The Seekers and the Friends of Seekerville rock!!!

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday Keli!!!
I would love to win this book!!
Enter me!
Sarah Richmond
Blanch,N.C.
sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com

Keli Gwyn said...

Sarah, thanks for the birthday wishes. You're entered. =)

Rachelle said...

Oh, my, what an amazing post!! It's so wonderful to hear from someone who went from the wings to the stage...and of all the encouragement along the way. I look forward to the day when I can write a post like this. Names of authors who have taken me under *their* wing and made this journey easier are flitting through my mind.

Congratulations, Keli, and a very happy birthday!

Valerie Comer said...

I agree! Although I like to call it SeekerVillains instead. It's my brand of humor...

Congrats, Keli, on your debut!

Keli Gwyn said...

Rachelle, I hope you're writing a post very soon in which you get to shine the spotlight on some of the awesome people who supported and encouraged you as you traveled the path to publication.

Valerie, you and Carol Garvin crack me up. I wouldn't have noticed the connection unless the two of you pointed it out. =)

Jillian said...

You've come a long way, baby!!! :) I'm so happy for you!!!

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks, Jillian!

Shelia Hall said...

Happy Birthday Kelli and hope you first book is a great success and you have many happy years to write books for all of us to read!

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Shelia.

Patty said...

Congratulations on your first novel Keli! Very exciting... What a wonderful post about all of the great people here in Seekerville.

Patty

Keli Gwyn said...

Patty, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Gushing about the Seekers comes easily to me--and to many others, as the comment trail proves. =)

Janet Kerr said...

Happy Birthday Keli!
& congratulations on your debut novel.
Please enter me in your draw.
Jan

janet_kerr(at)msn.com