Thursday, August 9, 2012

Please Take The Summer Off So I Get More Contracts by Ruth Logan Herne

I promised to berate... regale... scold... I do believe I even used the word "insult" to shake people off their lawn chairs and back to the computer keyboard, and then I realized:

What Am I Doing?????? Why am I looking for more competition in a competitive market????  Why don't I just be quiet?????? 


So if you're comfy-cozy in your hammock, rest easy my friend. Take some time off. Chill-lax... Breathe in, breathe out.  Because contracts come in a finite number and I'm always willing to take my fair share...

And then some!  

 "Portrait of Tentative"

Hey, if Renaissance artists can title their work, so can I. Ruthy here, as promised, ready to walk you through an analogical series of shots on why you need to work to succeed. I promised I would berate, regale, insult and possibly humiliate you to show you the error of your ways. And the pressure on me clearly INCREASED when Connealy was nice to the lot o' youse this week.

I mean, 'sup wi' dat? Is that fair? Is that what a friend does, lets moi take it on the chin for the good of mankind and writers at large????

Apparently!!! So in this scenario, she's the good cop, I'm the bad cop, like that's a SURPRISE TO ANYONE.


Please draw your attention to the above photo. Study it. Analyze the mood. The lighting. The slightly triangular and possibly alien-esque shape of the little boy's head. (I can say that because I'm his grandmother and every alien movie uses triangle-shaped heads. Clearly there's a connection.)  Note the BIG PEN OF TURKEYS in the background... 'Lijah is clearly uncertain of his role in this "let's go to see the farm" excursion.

We went to buy more chickens, long story, let's just call them fox food for the sake of argument and be done with that side of this lesson. I have never been called a 'quick study'  in my life.

This is you, the writer, unsure, uncertain, spreading your wings, cautiously making your way through the jungle of writers' groups, newsletters, conferences, How-to-Write books, meetings, online classes, critiques... It's scary at first. Or you're amazingly sure of yourself and jump in both feet, only to then discover it's scary, at first.

It may or may not STAY scary, I'm not going there today, first you have to move beyond TENTATIVE and end up on Nike's square... "Just Do It".

"Looking For Reassurance"

Also known as the "glance back" or "pat on the back", this shot shows the slightly alienesque but adorable boy wishing he had the nerve to move forward. Wondering what it would be like to go in that pen and visit those HUGE BIRDS WITH LONG, HANGING WADDLES!
We all get to this stage fairly early if we're doing anything at all, which, by the way is the point of this post: Work. Work. Work. Write. Write. Write.  I like simple lessons. They work best for me.

No one hands you anything in this business, and I've come to discover that if writers get handed too much, too soon, they tend to fall apart because they go into publication thinking "Wow. That wasn't so bad!!!!"  


Sorry. Had to get that out of the way. Because writing is work, it is self-discipline, it is forging ahead, it is embracing change (editors change, lines change, publishers get swallowed up left and right, then management changes, and the new management may have a whole new vision and if you're not actively working and selling, Oopsies! You may not be part of that vision.) That takes us back to self-discipline. Pushing yourself. Think Olympiad. Think Gold. think scoring a goal in the 123rd minute of a soccer match to put your team into the gold medal round... because you NEVER GAVE UP BELIEVING YOU COULD DO IT.

Sigh. What a game!!!!! (If you don't understand this reference, the American Women's soccer team with my hometown grown girl Abby Wambach edged out a very well organized athletic Canadian team by scoring a last-30 second goal to win, 4-3 on Monday. Hats off to those Canadian girls, I've never seen a better soccer game in my life. I hated to see either team lose.)


Do not linger at this stage. Lingering here is a useless enterprise and puts you in the 98% of people who start a book and never finish it. Longing is good for musing and mental plot development and chocolate gazing, but it is NOT GOOD FOR AUTHORS.  (repeat that 3 X please and thank you.)

The Thrust Forward!!!!


Check the expression. The body language. The hinted smile and the more take charge stance! This is all augmented by little brother's tongue sticking out, which clearly means he thinks big brother may or may not be a WUSS and has decided he'll go in and visit the chickens if big brother tarries too much longer.....

This is us as we watch others succeed... and wish it was us. As we watch others face the dragons of agent and editor appointments, entering contests, letting people critique our work... Why on Earth would you let others gain the edge by taking summers off? Taking extended holidays? Sitting back,  chillin'... Relaxin'....  

"I'm In!!!"

Spurred by his brother's slightly mocking stance and face (either that or the baby's teething, your pick!!!) the cute kid has gone into the pen. He surveys the chickens... What's he thinking? What's he planning? Does he know that chickens poop and he may be walking in it???  HE DOESN'T CARE, HE'S GOING FOR THE GOLD!!!! 

And that's our best lesson, that after the tip-toes, the wade-in's, the practice shots, the only thing that matters is what happens IN THE GAME!!!!

And here is yet another amazing video (a little more famous, but hey... the kid above is YOUNG and has conquered fear!!!!  Who knows what his future will bring????

Go HERE!!!!! to see the closing 3 minutes of the Women's soccer game...

I love writing. I just love it, love it, love it...  And I love encouraging others to do their best, be their best. That's the inherent teacher in me.

But I will never pretend to you that taking oodles of time off, making excuses, being too busy, will ever get the job done. Mostly 'cause it won't!

Hey, coffee's inside... And I did breakfast pizza this morning!!!  Where's the LOVE button for breakfast pizza, a carb-counters nightmare... But oh, so good! And I'm giving away your choice of a Ruthy-book to two lucky commenters... Please note that Waiting Out the Storm and Winter's End are only available in e-format... All other books you have your choice of autographed hard copy or e-format.

Ruth Logan Herne writes delightfully engaging hearth and home books for Love Inspired Books. Her latest book "A Family to Cherish" is available HERE!!!! and it makes her smile every time you buy one of her books because they are that sweet... that warm... that nice!  :) She lives on a small farm with more chickens than she used to have after visiting Washburn Farms in Honeoye this past week (until the fox gets them, of course...), she loves God, her family, her country and chocolate, she refuses to write in a cave when her Keurig is in the kitchen, and she doesn't cook for her nice, long-suffering husband and kids nearly as much as she used to and she's okay with that! She'd rather write and someone has to keep the pizza shops in business, right?


  1. Wow, Ruthie! Are you serious when you say that 98% of people who start a book never finish it?

    I knew the figure was likely high, but not that high.

    I'm not taking the summer off, but I'm not on a hard and fast schedule either. I tend to write a book every winter just because the bad weather is such a good time to hibernate and write. Summers are good for revising, editing, etc.

    But I have just started a new book!!!
    I'm a little over half through the first chapter--that I will then go over and over and probably totally rewrite. THEN I will get on a schedule.

    There'll be coffee to go with your breakfast eats first thing in the morning.


  2. My chickens are often coyote food (50 picked off all at once about a year ago between hanging out 2 loads of laundry--that day, it was lucky nobody showed up at the front door because I was ticked and carrying around my shotgun trying to find all my chickens and counting how many I had left), But a few months ago a stray dog showed up and he actually doesn't eat chickens...yet. So they've been freed from their coop for the day now instead of just when we plan to be outside, yay for free-ranging chickens.

    But we did lose two this past week because it is SO. STINKING. HOT. 111 degrees several days in a row is just not good and THEN we had a storm, you would think this is good, but it left only about an inch of rain and knocked down all the dead leaves, which are many since triple digits for almost the entirety of July means everything is dead. SO now the tree that shades the chicken coop is divested of most of its leaves which means the yard/coop is no longer shaded which means, I sure hope weather people are right and most triple digits are over otherwise we're going to have some more naturally rotisseried chickens. Sad. I have an acquaintance that actually brings all her chickens into her house when it's hot or, so not going there.

    Ok, I'm sure a ramble on chicken demise was not what you were hoping for in the comment section.

    Now what were we talking about...

  3. Hi Ruth:

    It is not any harder to write well than it is hard to speak Italian well. It just takes many years to learn out to do it.

    Sometimes many, many years.

    If you want to write fine, you have to put in the time.

    Did you see the clip of the Canadian girl kick the American girl in the head when she was down? I’ve never been happier to see a team lose.

    BTW: If you got everyone else’s contracts, you still couldn’t write any more books than you can actually write.

    The kids are too cute. You’re too sweet. A bad cop should be made of sterner stuff.

    I have all your books. Whence shall come another?


  4. Ruthy, your blog speaks to the same reason I received awards in real estate. While everyone else took off summer vacation or Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, I sold houses. I get what you're saying. Writers, like entrepreneurs, have to be self-starters. That means working when no one else knows you're working - doing it for the love of the work. I hear you. I'm writing. :)

  5. Wait.

    I missed Mary being nice?!

    I'm gonna have to go back and read that one... :D

    I'm writing. Sort of. I'm working on it. Really. I'm overwhelmed and wondering what I got myself into. Tomorrow and the couple days after that I'm letting it percolate and working on something else - finishing an addition then edits already applied to the hard copy moved to the computer and then printing the sucker out again and reading through it again.

    But I'm also trying to enjoy the last week of summer vacay with my kids and then get buckled down when they go back next Thursday.

    Anyone else feel like they bit off more than they can chew?

  6. I was nice this week was long overdue.
    Now that I've returned to my fundamental niceness, you must return to your bossiness.
    We have the universe all tilt-y and it must be set right!!!!

    Perhaps if you opened the gate and turned those viscious turkeys (I had a neighbor who raised turkeys. Trust me on the VISCIOUS thing) loose on the Seekervillagers, though would remember who they are.
    (read that last sentence in MUFASA's VOICE)

  7. I WAS EXTREMELY NICE, CAROL!!! And I'll slap anyone who says I wasn't!

  8. VINCE not enough manys.
    You said, Sometimes many, many years

    I think it's more like Sometimes many, many, many, many, many years

  9. Ruthie, your story with the turkeys (which I cant say I want to get close to) made me need to share my chicken story.
    I clean over the road (they are also friends, neighbours and landlords and the ones who broke in when I collapsed to help me)
    Well they ran out of matches so I said I will go get some for you says I. I went and the chooks were out front. one looked at me and made a move so I walked fast there was a car coming but I knew I could cross. I heard it slow down turned around and there is one of the chooks starting to cross the road to follow me. there was a car coming the other way so I am trying to shoo it home and both cars slowed. It did turn round and one left the first car the guy is laughing and said well thats not something I see every day. It really made my day he said. I have to say I still laugh at the sight. When I went back I got them back in the back yard. I have had cats and dogs follow me but never a chook before.
    thought you may like a laugh.

    Mary I wonder if turkeys are like swans nice to look at but if you have food swans are mean! In Perth they have black one on one of the lakes. My friend took me there and had food for them and they mobbed her and were attacking her for it. I meanwhile with her other friend was cowering in the car.

  10. Helen, thank you for the coffee, and LOOK AT YOU!!!! Startin' a new book in the off-season! That's totally Major League of you, my friend!

    And yes, the stat says that 98% of people who start a book, don't finish it.

    Just finishing a book body slams you into the top 2% my dear, so there you are! You are at the top of a very cool heap!

  11. Melissa, first, THAT WAS A GREAT STORY!!!!!

    Penning chickens in intense heat is a killer, for sure... dagnabbit, we're darned in multiple directions! Come to the Northeast honey. Trees and shade abound. Bring your birds. We'll have a chicken fest!

    Hey, I'm installing a woman-friendly electric mesh fencing around our chicken pen. I saw it at the farm (so see, I do take time off guys! Just not a whole SEASON... Moderation. Moderation.) we visited and what a great rotational grazing idea... and I'm using it in an upcoming book! Therefore it should be deductible, right?

    Of course right!

    I love that pooch doesn't eat chickens. Good dog!

    For the moment.

    Melissa, I'm grinning here. I love your country stories. They rock.

  12. Vince, agree, agreed, and agree some more! :)

    True about the number of workable contracts being finite as well. Darn it.

    BUT... it might get some folks off their lounge chairs and back in the game. (I was using reverse psychology. Do you think it worked???)

    His Mistletoe Family is coming out on November 19th.... And Vince, it's just the sweetest darn thing! No cover yet, but I loved what they did with Virginia's Christmas cover. Absolutely gorgeous!

    And hey, bad cops need time off for good behavior now and again, LOL! Aren't the boys adorable? And we hit a whopper of a storm system driving back home. Beth did a great job of driving through intense stuff. Baby slept. 'Lijah and I talked about the seven chickens riding in somewhat stinky cages in the back of their mini-van.

    Gotta love a vehicle with a hatch!!!

  13. Lyndee, that's my girl! My sister-in-law Linda Herne did the same thing. She's a top real estate seller up here and that woman has worked so hard for years. Her work ethic is amazing...

    But she didn't neglect her family. She made them help refurbish houses to re-sell long before flipping became a thing! A self-made woman story, like you. Love it!!!

  14. Carol, I use a similar method. I know we've talked about that! I catch more in hard copy and have a better feel for the book than if I'm cold-reading from the gray screen.

    You're not floundering. You're mulling. Good books require some mull.

    It's just how it's done. Here, have some breakfast pizza... How is your pretty face doing? I'm asking publically because you talked about it openly.

    And I'm still praying for the family from Panera. You bless people in more ways than you could possibly know. Hang in there. Mull. Enjoy the kids for this week, for heaven's sake. Mull while you enjoy them.

    Do they really go away in a week????

    Oh my stars.

    Girlfriend, there's your window of time right there!

  15. Connealy, these turkeys were tame, tame, tame. Their kids (and the kids she watches during the week) handle them from little up and they were totally non-aggressive. You're right, they can be stinkin' territorial but these guys were mellow.

    She had a Black-Something-Big Turkey. That might not be his technical name. Anyway, she was selling him because they breed the turkeys for show and decided to go with a different kind, a rosy-pink turkey like in the pics...

    This is writing related, possibly. Call it research, loosely! Anyway, this big old bird had a baby with another turkey... It looked like a baby vulture! Oh, so ugly it was cute! Very T-Rex look in its eye, LOL!

  16. Jenny, I love the chicken story! We had a chicken-dog... a chicken that followed me around like a pet dog. So funny.

    But the fox got her last week.


    Hence ordering the new electric fencing!

    But I have very pricey fresh eggs, LOL!

    And I can totally see you huddling in the car. Bawk!!!! Baaaawwwwk!!!!


    The trick is you have to have enough food for all, and spread it around. That way they're diverted. It's very technical! (laughing in upstate!)

    Jenny, you sound better! That makes my day!

  17. Ruthie we had plenty of food but they came at my friend when she ran out.

    Oh the chooks over the road lay eggs only problem is no one besides Albert their daughters dog can find them and he doesn't visit that often but he finds them and gets sick cos they have gone off.

    I am feeling better than I did. Its now 6 weeks since it all started. I still tired easy and I will be in bed by 8pm but I know I am doing better.

  18. Ruthy, I have to admit I can't wait for the fall when I have a schedule again.

    I had one of those whiney "Why didn't I start this book two decades ago when I was younger?" moments last night. Your post helped with that.

    And that little guy running around with the chickens? I have watched that video several times now. Tell the little guy he has a fan!

    Peace, Julie

  19. 98%??? Wow!

    I've been writing, but right now I'm focusing on my synopsis. I'll write it and see somebody else wants one longer or shorter. One page to six pages. So I question myself, what if nobody likes my story enough to ask for a synopsis? So I've been trying to get my heart into it.

    Thanks for the encouragement today Ruthie!

    Jackie L.

  20. Loved your "bad cop" words, Ruthy. So needed. As far as chicken a city girl, I don't have many. Well, except for the one where I learned where the phrase, "running around like a chicken with its head cut off," but I won't share that here.

    Your grands are cute, cute, cute! Loved the video of him being all boy and chasing those chickies. You must have a ball with them.

    I am revising, actually like Carol. It's in hard copy, and I'm working on making the changes on the computer, only to re-print at a later date. With kiddos home for summer, time has been sparse, but I get up almost every morning to work for an hour. My honey has been giving me evenings too, so that's helping.

    I'm rambling, so I'm signing off for now.

    Having fun reading the happy-ending chicken stories. Looking forward to checking back later. :)

  21. Dessert pizza two days in a row?
    Love it.
    Chance at an autographed Ruthy book?
    Yes, please!
    Melissa, I'm glad no body came to the door too. =)

  22. Ruthy,

    You are so SPOT ON with advise to develope disciplined habits BEFORE you are published. Because once you are published everything changes...deadlines fall during busy holiday seasons, revisions come during summer vacation....

    Moral of the story: Publishing calendars run all year long!

  23. So Albert the dog eats the bad eggs, Jenny????

    Oh, what a hoot! Poor dog!


    Swans are aggressive. So are geese. They say if you have a barnyard full of BIG ANIMALS and a goose, the goose runs the show. I do not doubt it!

  24. Julie, I'll tell 'Lijah! :) He's adorable, isn't he? And it took raw courage for a little guy (just two years old) to brave those birds...

    But he did it! :)

    Julie, you know we all have those moments, right honey? Then we give ourselves a butt kick and forge on.

    Oh my stars, every time I see these beautiful Melissas and Carols and Andreas.... so young and smart and savvy... :) I want to kick 'em...

    (Not really, call that an over-dramatization for the populace at large, girls!!!)

    But then I remember Laura Ingalls Wilder beginning her writing career at age 60... Clive Cussler, James Michener, Herman Wouk, writing for decades...

    We're not too late, honey. We're right on time!

  25. Jackie, yes, write that sucker. Then re-write it again and again. Make it tight. Concise.

    Come up with a one=line blurb. Then a one-two paragraph "back cover" blurb.

    Then a one-page synop.

    Then a full snyop.

    That way not only are you ahead of the game, you're READY when that request comes. And I cannot tell you how important it is to be ready when that phone call comes. Or that e-mail. That request...

    Good girl!

  26. Love the pics, Ruthy. That cutie has a right be cautious of those birds. Had a big tom turkey when I was his size that took after me one day and flogged me really bad. But I have a momma who doesn't take that kind of behavior from her fowl. She shot the bird. Killed it. Dead. (hee, hee, hee)

    And in spite of your scolding, I'm taking the day off from work and writing. I'm doing my civic duty today. I've been summoned for jury duty. Eek!

    But oddly enough, I'm one of those people who think it'd be really cool to serve on a jury, so I'm hoping I get picked instead of sent home. We shall see...

  27. Jeanne, working every day is just the ticket!!! :)

    I love that phrase. It's so stinkin' homey.

    Gotta be lovin' on those babies... and writing.

    And God Bless your hubby for being supportive. You hug him for me!!!

    Keep it up, kid. You're doing awesome!

  28. CLARI!!!! I loved jury duty! I got picked and then got chosen as forewoman/person!!!

    (I know, big shock there, right???)

    SO STINKIN' AMAZING TO BE PART OF THAT PROCESS!!! Talk about story research. Suhweet!!!

    It was a civil trial... No dead bodies, thank you Jesus. And the next time they waived me because I was friends with the CSI tech that took the fingerprints. She'd actually come and talked to our local writers' group about the real version of CSI... Not TV fare.

    Enjoy! Learn!

  29. Love your precious grandboys, Ruthy! Thanks for sharing their bravery in Seekerville.

    Fun to read the chicken, turkey, geese, swan comments. Who knew poultry could be so intimidating.

    Nancy, Ruthy's pizza is breakfast pizza. I'd like to know what makes a breakfast pizza different than a regular pizza.


  30. Nancy, I should be bringing healthy stuff, right?

    The way I struggled into my blue jeans this morning, I should be serving WATER FOR A WEEK.

    Oh my stars, I'm ridiculous. Really.

    And Rose, EXACTAMENTE, my friend! Because staying disciplined is so much easier than becoming disciplined.

    I think that's why some writers fall apart a book or two into it. Because you can't just wind your way along your path at your own pace anymore... and don't get me wrong, they give us plenty of time to finish books! But you have to work continuously so the story isn't choppy-hoppy and thin...

    We've all read THIN stories.


    We want Plump Stories. Meat. Muscle. A little junk-in-the-trunk.

    Right on, Rose!

  31. While my new printer (YAY!) installs its software, I popped over here to see what Ruthy had to say this morning. Wow--this post brings back memories. Like from dinner a couple weeks ago ;) But even more from 3 years ago, almost to the day, when I'd just met the Seekers at RWA-Disney and finally got up the courage to start a new book.

    Slowly, steadily, content with as many words as I could finish each day. But not questioning, and determined to end up with something an editor might actually be able to read without gagging.

    There's a saying I really like that I kept in mind all that time: A pro is an amateur who didn't give up.

    Well, that, and always listen to Ruthy :D

  32. Loved the video, Ruthy! 'Lijah can now overcome anything, LOL!

    Vacation? What's that? Too much to get done to lay around in a hammack...though that sounds mighty tempting.

    Although summertime reading of any Seeker book is always welcome in the shade of a tree lounging on said hammack : )

  33. OMIGOSH, those kids -- and that video -- are SO STINKIN' CUTE!!!!

    What a WONDERFUL kick-in-the-butt, Ruthy -- I'm revved up!!!

    Of course, you already kicked me in the butt several times in the last year, so I give you FULL credit for the fact that I am currently working on my FOURTH book THIS YEAR -- three out in five months time!!!! WHOO-HOO!!!! WOW, so THIS is what you and Mary feel like, eh???!!! (Puffs out chest here.) :)

    I am SOOO glad that the Seekers and all of the Seekervillians (aptly titled because they are "villains" to the rest of the writing world that want to be in that 2%!!) are either in the 2% or on their way, so get busting, everybody -- that 98% is breathing down your neck, and they had garlic spaghetti last night slow-cooked in a Crockpot!!


  34. Ruthy, your grandsons are adorable--just like grandma!

    I didn't exactly take the summer off, but I could've been more focused. Since I wasn't, I didn't accomplish a lot. Time to get back to work!

  35. Your grandsons are adorable. I believe the alien-esque shaped head is a sign if superior intelligence.

    I can't afford to take the summer off. MS #1 just got its 4th rejection but it was a detailed R&R!Thing is I put that baby to rest months ago chalking it up as a lost cause.

  36. Hey Ruthy girl. I so love the "just do it" lecture because then I know its YOU. LOL And your grandbabies are STINKIN ADORABLE.

    Great analogy by the way to jumping into the writing/publishing fray. It is daunting but those of us in Seekervile are made of stern stuff. right?

    And I'm with Janet. What is in a breakfast pizza? I'll bring some fresh blueberries and cherries. The crop this year in the Pacific Northwest is bountiful and yummy.

  37. Ahhh, Ruthy! I LOVE watching Elijah venture out, gather courage, and take those first steps into the unknown.

    Summer is my BEST writing time because there's more daylight and I'm totally solar-powered. So you're not getting MY contract, Ruthy! :)

    I've heard that same thing--that a huge number of people who start a book never finish it. And there's an even bigger bunch who say they WANT to write a book and never even start! So those of you who are starting and those of you who finished are to be commended!

    BUT don't forget...a BIG number of those who get an editor or agent request for a full proposal or completed manuscript NEVER send it in...don't be one of those! You're Seekerville's toughest and most courageous! Go for the gold!

  38. Audra, isn't he so stinkin' cute??? He has a face that TELLS IT ALL... No poker face on this guy. But when he decides to overcome his cautious nature, he's so empowered!

    That video shows how happy he was to jump in the game. Conquer the fear. I loved it!!!

    Oh, video credit to Beth Jamison, the kid's mother.

    Dagnabbit, I'm going to be in BIG TROUBLE for not acknowledging her part in this. Oy. Oy. Oy!!!


  39. Cara, hey, the summer's only half over, chickie-chickie baby! Go for it!

    And Julie, I'm so stinkin' proud of you I could burst... look at you, grabbin' the bull by the horns and hangin' on tight.


    Go girl! Go!


  40. Janet, good point on pizza differentiation!

    (Note the use of great SAT word!!!)

    Breakfast pizza:

    Ruthy's awesome pizza crust made with Betty Crocker's White Bread recipe...

    Let rise once.

    Punch down, grease fingers and roll out (or stretch with hands) 1/2 of the dough onto greased pizza sheet. I use a big round one (extra-large pizza size with tiny holes all through it, and I dust the greased pan with corn meal...great texture!)

    Mix up a bunch of eggs like you were making scrambled eggs. Pour onto top of pizza dough. Add chopped bacon, sausage, cheese, peppers, onions, more cheese, hash browns... Anything you'd put in a fritatta, you can put on breakfast pizza.

    Bake at 425 degrees until crust is golden and eggs/meat are cooked.


  41. Mia, congrats on the new printer!!! Yayayayayay!!!!

    And hey, a little birdie told me youse are comin' over here next week to help folks prep for conference.

    SUHWEET!!! :)

    Mia and I take turns bossing each other around. But she always APOLOGIZES when she bosses me...

    Oh, please, how funny is that??? Connealy never apologizes. Neither does Teeeeeeena. They're so sure they're right that they wait for my thank you notes in the mail.


    Mia, I love that pro definition.

    Yes, yes, and more yes!

  42. JAMIE!!!

    Revise and re-submit!!!!



    Happiest of happy dancing, my friend! Yeeeeeehaaaaawwwww!

    Remember that my first three books published had been rejected often... And sometimes got close... so close.... but then FAIL!!!!!

    So we never give them up, we just consider them money in the bank for someday!

    Clearly they're seeing the genius behind the thises and thats.

    Go for it, chickie!

  43. Sandra, I knew you'd love this because you're a born Nike girl:

    Just do it.


    And hey, check the explanation for breakfast pizza above and thanks for the fruit!!! Yummmmy!

  44. Glynna, all right. All right. I won't eyeball YOUR contracts...

    But I'm watching....

    (Picture lioness from Animal Planet...)


    (She's watching a hapless gazelle...)

    And eating too much chocolate...

    (Okay, that's me, not the lioness)...


    And that's me whining when the pants don't fit.


  45. I hear ya, Ruthy, I hear ya.

    Nothing helps a book come together like time spent on it. Daily. Regular hours. Habit. Routine.

    It only looks like work from the outside, though. Once you're doing it, it's like summer vacation every day! I love this job.

    I love getting paid for this job.

    Which means I spend time working on it.

    You know, I wouldn't have known all this if it wasn't for Seekerville...

    You guys rock.

    Now pass the pizza.

  46. Hi Ruth:

    When I came to the first picture of 'Lijah this morning, it just hit me: that’s a young Hamlet! “To go or not to go. That is the question. To walk among the chickens or to be a chicken,”… You need to work with him some, however. That pose is a little ‘hammy’. Of course, you might have a philosopher on your hands. Then the pose is perfectly apropos. In fact, that looks a whole lot like my childhood pictures right down to the blond hair. Oy.

    You asked:

    (I was using reverse psychology. Do you think it worked???)

    The problem with reverse psychology is that it has a high tendency to backfire.

    Once the kids figure it out, it’s like giving them matches to play with. I’m not sure reversed psychology has worked well ever since Tom Sawyer got all those kids to whitewash his fence.

    Hey, 98% of people not finishing their books – that’s not bad. Not when you consider the percentage of finished books that actually get published. That number is smaller than the margin of error. Once you figure out that it takes almost forever to learn to write well, you can stop blaming yourself and just get to work, work, work and hope you live long enough. : )

    Or as King George said to Ben Franklin after the revolution: “How do you like taxation with representation?”


  47. O Lord!!!
    This is too much cuteness to handle!!
    I actually laughed out loud during your post, Ruthy! Hugs to (both) of your sweet little boys!

    I just read a post by Jody Hedlund about not giving up on our dreams and this just crowns it perfectly. God bless you Ruthy, thanks for combining humour and precious advices for hopeful writers!

    Much appreciation! You Rock!

    Gonna read comments, now :-)

  48. Hi Ruthy,

    Just what we all needed today. I've been revising manuscripts for weeks now and feeling antsy. Why? Because I'm not writing anything new!!

    How do you guys handle the juggling between editing and writing new material?

    I've got to get some new ideas percolating before I go crazy!

    Oh, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely daughter who turns 19 today!!! Do not want to think what I was doing at this moment 19 years ago! HA HA.

    Btw - I have all your books so don't enter me! LOVED your latest!! Best one yet - although I wanted that spa to be finished and in use by the end!


  49. Nothing like stopping a video in the middle of the story. Did the alien-esque but adorable boy go back for the escapees? Looks like he had more fun with the chickens than i ever did! i loved how you used it to express yourself. Great post, even for me, not a writer, but a readaholic. i loved it.


  50. Jan, you and I are in total agreement!

    Here's the pizza.

    Enjoy! And I love that you're getting paid now, too!


  51. Happy Birthday to your daughter, Sue! 19 years is quite something and here's to many happy more!

    Cheers right back!

  52. Busyness stinks! I want to read and thoroughly enjoy a Seekerville post, and all its comments--even if Ruthy is a bad cop. But too, too many things to do, and not enough hours to do them all.

    First, I'll say Melissa's dog is a good dog. And possibly the prettiest little mutt you ever did see. My Erika even almost came to like him, and she DOESN'T LIKE DOGS! To put it mildly. She tries to climb me like a tree when there's a dog nearby.

    So far I'm still in the 98%, but I'm working slowly toward the 2%.

    Mia Ross~ I read Hometown Family last week...or was it this week? I don't know. The days are a blur, but the book is not. It's wonderful. Then I saw your next on on the Harlequin app on my phone. Just when we've reached our absolutely broke time of the year. Not cool because I really want to buy that book! Is there a giveaway going on anywhere?

    With that I must go. Except...

    I really want to win an autographed print copy of a Ruthy book! I know I don't have several, but I'll have to look and see which they are. Waiting Out the Storm is one /grrr/. I'll just have to scour the used bookstore next time I have some extra $$$.

    Okay I'm gone now.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  53. Vince, the last shall be first:

    My Libertarian heart says let me be, Washington, and leave me funds to pave my own golden road...

    Ditto: State of New York!


    Hamlet, yes, I can see 'Lijah playing the part... He can winsomely dramatic at times. And woefully pathetic. And righteously angry.

    Perfect. Oscar awaits!

    Tom Sawyer. LOVE HIM. The dude knew how to butter bread, 'sall I'm sayin'. Mark Twain... awesome.

    I have used this methodology upon the man who lives here with mixed results. I shall (mayhap) do a treatise on this one day to the delight of crazy wives everywhere.


    Seven eggs from the coop this morning.



  54. Ganise, thank you!!! I'm glad they made you smile, it's like cuteness to the nth degree, right????

    And I own all those photos, just in case anyone thinks I robbed the cute kid from Google Pics or some such.

    I actually feed them 50% of the time, so do I get squatters' rights? I think I should. But when they're cranky, I'm glad to hand them back to Mom and Dad. :)

    Isn't amazing how separate thoughts can be brought together in our minds to cement a concept? I love how the Holy Spirit does that! The guy grooves, big time.

    Susan, I hear you!!! I use the thought of the NEXT BOOK to push me through the work of editing the current book. Getting to the next book is my reward.

    And I'll research it, and maybe start it for my proposal, but I won't let myself really write it until the current one is DONE... because I think that would be a bad habit for me.

    Avoiding bad habits: Smart thing for writers to do!!!

  55. Do not make this Canadian relive those last three minutes of the game...puleeeze! But the Canadians are playing France right now for the bronze medal. Crossing my fingers for them!

    Why do I feel like crowing or gobbling after reading this Ruthyesque pep talk???? I have to restrain myself since I'm reading this in the public library. Argh!

    I made super good use of my time this summer writing wise but then my laptop died and I am relegated to two hours of public library computer time a day. That's taken the wind out of my sails, let me tell you. But I'm soldiering on -- back to handwriting again, which is a bit messy and confusing when I want to add notes or edit. I think I'm going to make a wall chart today before I go any further.

    Oh -- and don't enter me in the draw because I have all your books, Ruthy!!!!!! :-)

  56. Marianne, welcome to Seekerville! We love readers here, you are the reason someone pays us to work!


    Overcoming fear is the theme for the book I'm currently revising. Fear can be helpful. It can stir our intuition to move us out of a dangerous situation...

    But it's also crippling sometimes, so we AVOID FEAR... Grab that bull... Pull those reins.... Ride that horse again!

    Elijah did a very nice job of not posing while he was posing, LOL!

  57. Kav, how can we help you get a computer?????

    This is crucial. I love that you're keepin' on, keepin on, but you need a computer.

    Criminy, we must solve this problem ASAP. I knew you were working in the library, but I didn't know you were relegated to writing there.

    Oy. Oy. Oy.

    Andrea, you're in and yes, Mia is coming next week to chat about being ready for conference, preparing your product, (your work!) and she's giving away 3 copies of Circle of Family!!!! Suhweeeeet!

    We all have those money times. They come, they go. Family is family, cling tight. Enjoy. And I love that Erika loves Melissa's dog.

    I love my dogs. They're a little put out right now because my friend Lisa's puppy is here for the week. They like the puppy, her mother (Libby the Poodle) recognized her right off and a happy mother/daughter reunion was had by all...

    But puppy is taking up their happy, happy special space. And it's hot. And the puppy loves to play even though it's been hot.


    Sound familiar?

  58. Hi Ruthie,

    I'd like a chance at a book. And I can't take the summer off because the fall semester starts Monday. Summer's bout done here in Georgia!

    I'd like to find myself in that 2% someday...

  59. And YES Ruthy! Your new book sounds interesting!

  60. My face is just fine darlin'. I'd show you next month, but YOU WON'T BE THERE!

    The 'procedure' Monday got canceled once the doc saw my nose because the other doc did such a great job lasering it [anyone remember the pics with Kathleen Y'Barbo a couple months ago on my FB page? eek!]

    IIRC, Ruthy, dear, you do a lot more editing as you go. My rough drafts are a hot mess. I'm getting ready to print out the historical [thanks for your weasel words Melissa!] and mull over it ;).

    I do think the wasps have added a... subplot [or something] to one of my other WIPs.

    Back to work. Or something ;).

    Tuesday we went to the pool. Yesterday we went to Walmart, local Christian book store and Sam's. Today is Kindergarten orientation for my little guy :D.

  61. Leave it to Ruthy to find one of her take-no-prisoners writing lessons/encouragement(?) posts in a farm visit.

    How precious are those two boys!

    Been reading a lot (LOT) of LIs as I finish up my proposal submission. There's a certain styling to LI writing that comes shining through when one is immersed in them.

    Mia, enjoyed Hometown Family. Most recently loved Kathryn Springer's The Promise of Hope. Reading Irene Hannon's latest now.

    And have given up on finding Cheryl's The Doctor's Devotion. Chased that thing all over town only to find big holes where it should have been shelved. Now, it's gone, replaced by the next month's books. Definitely going to order, only trying to decide whether I want a physical book or an e-book.

  62. Susan, you're in! And I hear you... Schools down south start weeks sooner than we do up here.

    Remember the 1000 words/day mentality... If you write 1K/day you will have written over 300K in a year. Even if you take Sundays off and miss a day here or there.

    300K is 4 long books... 5 shorter books.

    2 of Julie Lessman's books, LOL!


    Love you, Jules!!!

    Hang in there Susan... and I love the pic!

  63. Ganise, sigh....

    It's stinkin' lovely. If I do say so myself...

    Cam Calhoun. A tortured hero, with rimless glasses...

    Meredith Brennan, from the Helen Walker/Brennan clan that owns Walker Electronics... Daughter of a man who broke every vow he could think of and made up a few more, no doubt.

    High school sweethearts, gone their separate ways.

    And now they're back together. ;)

    LOVE IT!!!!!

  64. Carol, YAY!!!! Aren't MOHS surgeons amazing????

    Good for you!

    You mull... and think... and let the scenes come into your head.

    (I'm either used to having that happen or on medication. Your pick.)

    Patricia, what a great selection to read from! Mia's book was wonderful, wasn't it???

    And I love Irene to pieces. I studied her and Linda Goodnight when I was studying LIs... Kathryn... Just lovely!

    You know what I would grab, though? Get yourself a copy of Tina's "Oklahoma Reunion" online. Tina wove that story with such beautiful simplicity that it cannot be overlooked. And Missy's 4.5 STAR A House Full of Hope... Just loved it!

    But you're doing the right thing. Find what they're publishing now and weave accordingly! You go, girl!

  65. Great suggestions, Ruthy. I've got Tina's book. I loved that the hero didn't have a suitcase full of issues beyond convincing the heroine to give him a chance. Sometimes all the drama is draining. Oklahoma Reunion was refreshing.

    Missy's on the TBR list.

  66. Patricia, you'll love Missy's book.

    My copy of Tina's book was lost - or temporarily misplaced - with the painting of my office last winter, but then found when we moved my office this summer (children moved home - so my office is now a corner of the family room). So now it's proudly sitting at the top of my TBR pile!

  67. Very cute pictures. I've been avoiding writing lately by doing outlines of my stories and trying to get them in order. I had four unfinished WIPs and I realized (granted, with the help of a workshop), that the reason they weren't finished is that I had holes in them. Will plug the holes and plug away. Two of the four WIPs have now been outlined. Working on the third one.

  68. WOW! Thank you for the reminder and call to action, Ruthy. Loved the grandkids' pictures and the points you made using them. I hear some say writing is a journey. I always thought of it as being a race where training and determination is necessary. And patience, of course. Not taking the summer off. Too much writing and revising before my break in Sept. Please include me in the drawing. Hope this goes through this time.

  69. LOVE the pictures. And the lessons.AND Ruthie! I'm working - not writing currently, but learning and editing and researching. Everything but, I suppose ;)

  70. Oh, I love it!!! What precious pictures. And they even teach us a lesson about going for gold! Nice job, Ruthy. And you did it all without mentioning big girl panties! :)


  71. Ruthy, you crack me up!!!!

    And can I just say that I LOVE being in the top 2%? Look at all of us special people hanging out in Seekerville.


    Which is almost as much fun as telling my husband to go buy a frozen pizza because I'M WRITING AND CANNOT BE BOTHERED TO COOK DINNER!

  72. Gold!!!!!

    And right now the Yankees are beating Detroit but there's a half-inning to go....


    Have I mentioned today how much I love pinstripes????

    Okay, let's see 'sup...

    WALT... What a great idea. Anything that helps you to fill in those blanks and finish the tome/book/work is key. Work on, my friend and then tell us if that helped. Everyone works on a different personal performance curve...

    Oops, Detroit has two runners on base. Bottom of 9th... no outs.


  73. Yes!!! Gold in women's soccer!!! Very exciting!

  74. Yes Albert is a dog a huge giant of a dog. I think its part retriever but a gentle giant. (I am a fear of dogs but Albert is ok). The chooks have a yard they are meant to stay in but they get out. Dont ask how cos we think every hole is plugged but they still get out. so when Albert isn't visiting they roam only no one can find where they lay eggs.

  75. Hi Missy:

    You asked:


    You want more summer? Come to Tulsa. You can have summer all the way into October. You can even have lots of 110 plus degree days. Around here winter makes us happy it’s not summer! Around here “Summer’s End” is a good thing and “Winter’s End” is a sad, sad, story.


  76. Forgot to say dont enter me I have all Ruthy's books.

    Missy I think you are right about summer it seems to go so quick and winter drags although this year I lost July! Its been a cold winter this year. (looking forward to warmer weather)

  77. Wow, I'm late to this party...

    I took the day off Seekerville!!! HAHA!

    This is so true. So right. It's a journey and you never ARRIVE.

    Unless you had one goal and moved on to something else.

    But if this is your lifestyle... welcome to the hamster wheel. In a good way. Lots of company. Squeaks. Bad food. Tepid water.

    Every now and then they let you out to play in thee grass, then back in the cage you go.

  78. P.S. Carol, I feel that way every single day of my life.

    But there's not much to do except carry on, I guess. :) I suppose we could curl up in a ball and give up, but we're just not that type, are we?

    No. Not an option. Things ebb and flow, rise and fall, feast and famine.

    I wish I could stand in the gap a bit. Just think, in a week all your kids will be in school!

    Holy smokes! It'll be like empty nester's syndrome! Just a little... for a few hours... then they'll be back. :)

  79. I don't take holidays from my writing, I take holidays to get away from all the regular distractions so I can write MORE. I'm heading out in our trailer later this month... planning to sit in that lounge chair with my laptop, mull word choices while staring at the lake, and finish a contest entry.

    And now I know why we don't have chickens (or turkeys)! I have coyotes enough around here without added attractions.

  80. Oh, and I watched that soccer game, too. Sure did hate for our team to lose to yours, but it *was* a great game, and in the end we both made it onto the podium. Congratulations to Team USA for gold, and later to Canada for bronze. :)

  81. Love your grandkids, Ruthy. So cute! So brave! They get their courage from their Grammy, no doubt!

    But what about the chickens? Will they ever lay eggs again?

    Good lessons. Keep forging ahead and you'll finally get into the coop with the chickens...ah, published writers. Does that mean swimming off the island?

    It's late and I've got postcards to send out for my upcoming booksigning. Must get back to work. Did someone mention pizza?


    BTW, Kelley O'Hara on the USA soccer team is from my hometown and church! YAY, Kelley!

  82. Thanks, Ruthy. I needed the encouragement ... and the chicken stories. Life is never too busy for a good chicken story :-)

    Nancy C

  83. Thanks for the nod to the Canadian women's soccer team.

    I'm working hard this summer, wading through chicken poop and all. Sometimes literally. But writing 10K a week isn't for sissies.

    I'd love another Ruthy book.

  84. Great Post. Cute pics. I can see myself standing outside that fence. There are a bunch of turkeys in there.

    I could be writing more about now... I blame the weather. But truly I thought of all those poor writers who needed contracts. Oh wait that's me.


  85. Shame on me, Ruthy. I hear ya. I did take the first two months of summer off from anything writer-ish. I'm in a bit of a rut, but I promise to get back in the game. Tomorrow will be the first in an embarrassingly long time to open my manuscript. It's a nightmare, but I will reread it and get to work! I love how I can always count on your posts to get me pumped and going again. :)

  86. Valerie, it's not for sissies!!!! You get an award of some sort. I'm not sure what...

    Tenacious Author Award!!!! (Um, this is a virtual award with no monetary value until the recipient hits the NYT bestseller charts!!! But clearly you are on your way!)


    Natalie, ugh. Been there. Done that. Not pretty.

    So how do we examine this? Or do we take the original idea and totally re-write it? So much depends on how your brain works. Sometimes I just scrap things, knowing that I can do better. But your writing, what you've done, is never a bad thing even if it's not as strong as you'd like because it's practice.

    So glad you're jumping back in. Shoot I took 40 years off and the world still turned. Imagine that.


    Tina, you're so funny. That humor, dry and cool is hysterical.

    Now off with you! Go write another book, woman!

  87. 98% is incredibly high. Sad too.


  88. Ruthie,

    What a delightful post, as always! You are such an encouragement!

    I'm working hard on my non-fiction, which is why you don't see me much at ACFW sites. Still love my Seekerville friends!


  89. I love breakfast pizza and would love to have one of your books to read while eating my pizza!

  90. Thanks for the I mean slight push, Ruthy. I needed it.

    ginger dot solomon at gmail dot com

  91. I'll take that Tenacious Author Award, Ruthy! With a Ruthy book as the cherry on top. Thanks much!