Thursday, October 11, 2012

Embracing the Reader, Enticing the Editor, Let's Sell Those "Series"!


Good morning, Seekerville! Ruthy here, ready to work! Okay, we're here to do Part "B" of the "series post", the post I wrote twice for September... as if boring you to tears once wasn't bad enough, ooops. SORRY!!!!  :)

And I had to delete all the fun stuff I had in here about pretending to MISS the conference-goers.... and we did, right??? We missed them while eating RED VELVET CAKE with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING, recipe HERE!!!

And... here is an amazingly great TRUE STORY that happened to  me in the past few weeks... Hit the link, travel to Ruthy's Place and then come back... You might need tissues. I'm just sayin'...

Back to series. When I knew the time was right for me to study this craft and try writing, I grabbed every Nora Roberts and Linda Howard book I could find from the library. Why them? Because they were the best-sellers, the people pleasers, the sought-afters. Learn from the best when at all possible...

'Member "Good Will Hunting"? Will's line about "...yeah but you dropped 150 grand on an education you coulda got for a buck-fifty in late charges at the public library."

I had no money so that library became my educational mecca!  And I realized I LOVED series.... Nora's "Stanislaskis"???? Loved 'em!!!!  The MacGregors, the whole stinkin' clan??? Over the top enamored!  Linda's MacKenzie series????  Who didn't fall in love with every one of those heroes?????

Jan Karon's "Mitford" series with Father Tim? Oh my stars, I love Father Tim and Cynthia. The antics of the town. The pacing, the laughter, the tears. Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness series, the Bonner family? Oh take me back a few centuries... Please!!!  :) And remember, Christian fiction hadn't started burgeoning as yet, and our library had nothing like that, so I went to the best-selling romance authors and fed my writer's brain.

And what about suspense series? Marta Perry has made an art form of developing successful suspense series. And Mary Connealy's romantic/comedy/suspense books are the rage all over the country because those series create a niche of family, setting, friends, neighbors. She captures that intrinsic "something" that makes a series sing.

But how does a pantser write a series? How would a plotter plan a series? Those are the first things you should ask yourself. Plotter? Pantser? Because your methods will vary and what works for one won't work for the other. (and for the life of me I haven't figured out what fun there is in writing for those plotter folks, but they say... sigh... they're having fun with all their trimmin's and trappin's, and glue boards or cork boards or notebook/notepad/ipad/ibook thingamajiggies.)

Series can be linked by many things and we chatted about some of this in September HERE...  And we talked about the over-reaching SERIES ARC that allows each book to form its own arc within.  Picture a bridge as the series arc.....

And the "pass-throughs" (supports) are the individual books.

Each support could stand on it's own. They're built strong and balanced and tough. But the bridge can't span the water with one support.... And that's how a series is. Stand-alone books co-existing in a solid framework.

Here are a few of those "links" that tie a series together.

1. Setting  (all books take place in a region or town or city or neighborhood) In this case the setting can actually become strong enough to become a "character" in the books. Karon's "Mitford" series is an excellent example of that. I used this framework for my Men of Allegany County series, interconnecting the men and their romances through a geographic region. A larger setting like that allows more room for expansion because counties are BIG. Setting usually allows the author more leeway with less chance of "sound alike" books, a bane to any author's existence.

2. Plot  (all books linked by similar plot lines/genre)  The Cat Who... series by Lilian Braun are genre linked books. Mystery series follow this formula and mystery readers LOVE THEM.  Some thrillers (think of how Dan Brown bought the book on Writing Thrillers for Morons or some such thing, and then WROTE HIS BOOKS based on that outline. There is a reason successful authors employ similar modes, because it resonates with a readership. Remember, throughout everything, a publisher wants your heart, he/she longs for you to bleed red on your manuscript, but mostly???  They want/need sales. Without sales, we go nowhere, and sales/selling/being paid is not a dirty word. It's part of the balance.

3.  Siblings (Julie Lessman's series are a perfect example here, where Julie has taken each unique sibling and created a story line for them) Dee Henderson did that with her "O'Malley" series, too. Connealy has employed that in the Sophie's Daughters series, and also in her current hot-selling Kincaid Brides group of books from Bethany House. It's a family saga type book broken into increments and very reader-friendly.

4.  Number  (Three sisters, three friends, Four brothers, etc. Many series are set on a number like that. Usually in a friend/sibling series, three is the suggested number, maybe four. There are exceptions to that. Sagas are prone to developing more books about each individual character)

5.  Crime/Genre/Suspense  J. D. Robb's "DEATH" series is indicative of this. Classic work using the same main characters through multiple books but delivering individualized crime stories as presented to these characters. These series can go on for a long time. Mysteries, crime, suspense are often seen with this twist. Think television series like "Castle", "NCIS", "Jag", etc.

6.  Time progression (these series may start in the 1800's with early settlers going west and then develop generationally. Mary Connealy has touched on this with her  Lassoed in Texas series  and Montana Marriages series which morphed into Sophie's Daughters series, three books that tied the previous series together in the next generation. Skillfully done this is a great tactic to bind the reader to the books and the author.

So that's our re-cap.... and now we're into Part "B":

1. Plan the series
2. Write the opening book
3. Plant seeds of upcoming books
4. Leave folks longing for more books, more closure.

We talked about double arcs, an overhanging series arc.... And individual book arcs.

I actually have to PLAN now. Or my bosses will laugh me out of the room when I ask for money, kind of like that Oliver kid, wanting more food, right???  "Please, sir? Might I have some more???"

As if, kid.

So once I figured that out, I played with pre-developing a series. My 2013/2014 "Kirkwood Lake" series is set between Chautauqua and Cattaraugus and Allegany counties in southwestern NY, the Enchanted Mountains region, along the Northern PA border.


How much do you LOVE the sign tree????? It leads down the narrow road to the lakefront, a true riparian thing that you might also see atop a mountain... Translate: Access limited!!!

And how pretty is this view of the opposite shore? This is Rushford Lake, New York, in Allegany County.

That gives me space to grow and develop the stories. I knew I wanted varied law enforcement agencies involved to reflect reality. Current economic woes have towns and villages giving up all kinds of duplicate services... police and fire are among those. So what happens when a town drops its police service? The sheriffs and state police step in to pick up the slack.

Now we have automatic conflict. People are overworked. Job security in the bigger forces is heightened, but so are expectations. And what happens when law enforcement gets spread too thin?

Crime increases.

I noticed a HUGE DRUG BUST in this region that linked the Buffalo Police Department, the NYS police and local sheriffs to bring down a big drug ring. And they did it, too!

But it took a lot of quiet work, cooperation, and involvement to get the job done because there are lots of places to hide in the mountains and back roads of these rural, rolling counties.

Bad cops. The papers are full of them, reports of law enforcement abusing their badges in numerous ways. While that's the minority, it's real, so adding that in helps the layering process. Bad cop = BAD.

Good cop = HERO or HEROINE

Simple, right??? (big grin)

So we've got big geographic area, work-related stress for those who lost their jobs and those who have more expected of them....

And life, of course. Whose life doesn't smack them upside the head now and again???

Now we needed a town. "Kirkwood Lake" is our quaint town bordering the lake of the same name, and having the town on the shoreline of a fairly large lake makes it a gathering spot and a seasonal place. For June, July and August, Kirkwood Lake will be different than in the other nine months, because the summer folk go home.

BIG DIFFERENCE, MORE CONFLICT... money, space, empty places, vandalism....

And the small city of Clearwater lies just south of the lake... A setting similar to Jamestown, NY at the lower edge of Chautauqua Lake, which gives the stories another dose of latitude and realism.

So we've set up for ongoing stress surrounding these heroes and heroines in law enforcement...

Now we add LIFE:

Oy. Life. Smackdowns.

He stripped his father's dream away, and now must pay the price... Her dream was her father's nightmare, and now everyone is pushing her to give it up, sell out and she might, because hanging on might just cost her the hero. Which does she want more? Her centennial family farm or the hero's love?

He and his little boy had been abandoned already...and lame excuses hold scant appeal.  She abandoned her pretty babies to avoid going back to prison... to get them back, she might have to do just that.  

She'd lost her love, her life when her cop husband became a hero... He lost his heart when his wife left with another man's child, a boy he loved as his own. When she comes to town, pregnant and alone, he knows he can't face that again. Ever. No matter how much she needs him.

Once a prisoner, he makes a difference now, physically and emotionally. A cop, she does it right,  proving illicit activities don't run in the family. But his present plants her past into the line of fire, and she just can't forgive him for that.

I already have a glimmer of the fifth book.... A book that ties our two lost children who turn up in "The Lawman's Second Chance" (due out May, 2013)... and gives these lost babies a chance at the normal life they've been denied. That's a seed planter, it helps instill in the reader a longing to find out what happens. I work hard to invest the reader in the people, the town, the children, the romance, and yes... the DOGS!!!

This is Derringer, he's the retired military hero's Red Coon Hound in "His Mistletoe Family" available HERE!!!!


And here he is on the cover of this delightful Christmas tale, with our two orphaned boys, Tyler and Todd. I am continually blessed by the work of the art team at Harlequin. I want to jump into this picture and take care of these boys, these precious gifts of God! And they're just what our wounded hero needs to give him a new lease on life.  Oh.... that God!!!!  :)

I strove to give this new series mobility and space. It's set across a three-county mountainous region. I picked a riparian setting for the town (bordering a beautiful lake) because that gives me room for story development geographically and seasonally. And riparian land owners are sometimes WEIRD... If you don't believe me, try walking along a quiet, lake-dwelling road as a stranger... and see what happens.

I've developed SMOKIN' HOT HEROES!!!!  and the women they need to help them complete God's circle for their lives.

I've made fun of a few people in the process.  :)

But just a few!

Here's a pic of the fun basket you're vying for today if your name is picked:

This delightful basket holds Cuba Sharp Cheddar from Cuba, NY, Webb's Candy bars from Mayville, New York, a couple of RUTHY BOOKS!!!! and a delightful surprise book by a Carol-award finalist who shall go un-named at present... Lindt truffles... A COOL Seekerville jar opener, the famous Seekerville Pink Pen to sign your contracts with, a copy of the original "Simply Books" which has our first shout-out article about Seekerville from the nice folks at Harlequin, harvest colored M&M's (my favorite to have at Thanksgiving!!!) and anything else I don't scrape out of the cat dish!
Stop in. Let's talk story/series development and feel free to share your favorite series titles with us because studying... reading.... writing.... well they're the best way this author knows of getting it right.

Remembering always that the LIBRARY IS A FREE REFERENCE SITE FOR A REASON!!! Oh, how I love Ben Franklin!!!


Coffee's on!
Don't forget to check out those presents!


  1. Series. Oh I love love LOVE series. Because the saddest thing is when a book you love ends. But with a series you get to keep reading the characters and their happily-ever-afters.

    Loved Nora's MacGregors (and let's face it, every other family or set of friends she's written)

    Another fabulous series I just finished (because I won 2 of the books here on Seekerville) is Linda Goodnight's series about the Grace bothers. Picture three brothers separated into foster care as children seeking to. Be reunited as adults and the very special women who bring God and love into their lives. Amazing!

    Yes, I love series. :)

  2. Red velvet cake...not so much. SMOKIN' HOT HEROEs? Please ma'am, can I have some more? ;-) Hehehe. Seriously thought Duncan Hines does have the best cake mixes, they're dark chocolate with cooked icing is to die for. I might have to give that cream cheese frosting a try b/c even though I'm not a red velvet fan, cream cheese is a weakness!!

  3. Their dark chocolate, I meant their dark chocolate. Seriously I shouldn't be allowed up past 9pm or my brain gets wonky.

  4. Ack iPad = lots of typos. But corrections get Ruthy the page views and comments she's seeking.

    All good.

    So, they're brothers, not bothers.

    And seeking to be reunited. No period in the middle.

    How embarrassing.

    Especially being the first comment. Will just curl up and go to bed.

  5. tina, IE still does work correctly, all your labels etc are missing. I sent you an email on when a co-author on a group blog of mine crashed it very similarly and what fixed it for me.

  6. Yeah, exactly where IE messes up is where all that source code gobbledegook shows up in your page source code, right after Julie's title, so I bet that's your problem.

  7. Hi Ruthy. I love, love, love my library. Especially when they hold a used book sale or sell random books for a quarter in the rack at the front entry. Those gems are hard to find otherwise. Found you and Audra, Janet, Glenna and Missy there, too!

    Since your last post in Sept, I have worked on the series concept and widened my WIP to include that proposition. Baby steps, but I can see it happening. Thanks for the road map.

    Looking forward to SERIOUS, solid hours of writing TH and FRI. Can hardly wait! But right now, it's time to put the head on the pillow. Night!

  8. Hi Ruth

    Here are four series ideas that I would love to read. Perhaps someone will write them:

    Small town airport. Maybe on a lake in Alaska. Flight instruction, tours, parachuting, glider flying, charter operations, air rescue, air mail, and so on. Airport would function as a small town. High danger potential.

    Adventure Tours travel agency: tours go to remote areas of the earth for adventurous people who have seen all the ‘must see’ tourists spots. Each trip is to an exotic location with highly quirky and interesting people. High danger potential.

    The White House Presidents series : Each book covers the next president. All characters have to do with White House backdrop but the presidents can be mostly in the background. High conflict.

    Frontier Hospitals 1870’s. Could be in Canada. Western Forts. All the typical problems: wagon trains, cattle drives, range wars, diseases, battles, babies, and so on. High conflict.

    I’m happy you have many new books coming out. I just wish you had one available that I haven’t already read. I’ll just have to wait.


  9. <3 series. Love. Love. Love.

    Because you do get to see what happens next. Julie's a master at that with her gazillion POVs in each book so you don't just get to see from the outside in the happy[ish ;)] couple but you also see the inside. If that makes sense.

    So far, I've planned all of my pitches etc around a series. One of the ones I pitched this year is three writer friends. Another I'm working to get ready to pitch is 3 couples for whom 9/11 holds significance [besides what it does for the rest of us, though not the same as those who lived through it] and at least one of each couple works at the local high school. I'm working on short synops for another three book series [book 1 for NaNo] set partially here and partially elsewhere about three well-to-do siblings.

    Another is set in the same county in the late 1800s.

    Actually, come to think of it... the ideas tend to come to me like that. Another series percolating around has members of the same band.

    The way they're written now, the contemps all take place in the same medium sized town [near a medium sized city] and they all attend [or know people who attend] the same church. The mentor couple hops through all of them and they pop in and out of each other's serieses like Mary's three series arc did. Janice Thompson has done this with her Weddings by Bella and Backstage Pass serieses too. Her next series [ugh - forget the series title but the first book is Picture Perfect] is set in that 'universe' too and the Weddings by Bella folks will be back [and I hope some of the Backstage Pass folks will be too].

    Of course how they'll end up getting published etc is a whole other story.

    Or series of stories.

    We'll see.

    There was supposed to be a super cute now-5yo on that cover but... well... someone decided to go 'a different direction' ;).

    Speaking of series... you know Karen Witemeyer's next book is a series? Yep. Follows another of the brothers from Short Straw Bride. I've read it twice since it came out and am feeling the urge to read it again...

    Except I should be in bed. Laid down for an hour. Couldn't sleep. Came to read Ruthy's post. Now gonna go try again... ;)

    Read into that whatever you want, Ruthy dear.

  10. I just wrote a series proposal based on an overarching theme .... we'll see if it flies....

    I think you can learn a lot more from books than a 4 year college....just saying. But sometimes you have to pay for the paper (like a teaching certificate) if you want to go into a certain profession.

    Good thing a degree isn't required for writing, eh?

  11. Um... it's late.

    "the cover" referred to in the last comment has to do with Ruthy's new cover.

    And the order they get published in has to do with my manuscripts. Not Janice's or Mary's. I'm not sure if that was clear...

    And Mary - your next series ties to the Kincaids doesn't it? I still want to find out what happens with the little sister and little brother ;).

    And now I really should go to bed...

  12. I love series. I love reading them and writing them.

    How in the world do y'all come up with town names? I'm at a loss. I didn't want to use a real place, so I came up with Riverbelle, KS. For a suspense, too! Not sure it will work.

    Anyway, guess what? Our house is scheduled to have a change in our Internet tomorrow. Guess what that means? No, Internet! At least for a few hours.

    I'm trying to wrap these kissing scenes and series all into a neat little package. Y'all make it sound doable, possible. 'I think I can, I think I can'

    The dyes from the textiles may be getting to my brain.

    Don't kick me off the island but I've never read Nora. I devoured Catherine Coulter (I loved they mysteries she added and the cat races) and Stephanie Laurens, Julie Garwood. Many Highlander series.

    What does Red Velvet cake taste like?

  13. May the K9 Spy here...
    Is Derringer spoken for?

  14. Super post, Ruthy!!!

    Love that bridge analogy with photo. I totally get what you are saying now. Obviously, I'm visual.

    I'm working on a series now, and must say the readers who enjoyed the first are panting for book 2. It's COMING SOON!!! But that just goes to show they are enjoying May's world and want more of it.

    I wonder if it could be somewhat of a time factor too. Everyone is short on it, it seems. And once you know characters and the world, then you can go on and enjoy another story there. Maybe?

    Where's Vince when you need him?

  15. I've been remiss in bringing something so check out the tea assortment and the TWO pots of yummy coffee - one decaf for those who want a cup before bed and the other for serious night owls. :)

    Helen will be along soon, no doubt.

    Looking forward to reading more of the previous comments in the morning. Gotta git! 'Night!

  16. Wow. I was skimming along, nodding my head... and then I got to your pitches (log lines? Whatever they're called). Wow.

    Then I'm flipping into my WIP, checking premise, conflict, distilling into two sentences or less.

    *whew* You're making us work here. I'm sweating...

  17. P.S.

    Love, love, love 'Goodwill Hunting'. I've seen it about ten times, but the last time, for soem reason the language really hit me hard.

    I must be getting old.

    How you like THEM apples??

  18. Sorry, keep thinking of something else to say/ We just got back from our library. We have 5 cards in the family, limit of 35 a card. We usually max out 3 of them...

    I have three Lands' End giant totes we use to haul them abck and forth. We use the stroller because I don't want to cripple myself getting the totes out of the van and through the library door.

    Tonight we brought in 157 books and checked out 139. Only about 35 were mine. We use our libraries inter lirbary loan system to order books that we can't get here, and it's linked to 28 Oregon libraries, all the way to Portland.

    One more thing... I used to work there and I don't feel so bad about dumping that many books on the cart because we shelve our own. :) Keeps the librarians happy.

    My happy book for the night's haul? "Vintage Cakes"!!! Mmmm, can't wait.

  19. Just fyi, anyone who wants to be a guest on Seekerville, we don't pay by the foot. Ruthy and Julie both just had a LOT to say (shocker)


  20. I'd like to do a series set around a cattle auction barn. Seriously strange, interesting, differnet world.
    A dinosaur/archeological dig, there's a really cool one near my house (well, two hours away)

    Hmmmm what else?

    I wrote a series of YA books once about a group of kid geniuses, but I wasn't smart enough to write it.


  21. I'm all about smoking hot heroes! I like series books a lot but don't like it when it's not made clear on the cover it's part of a series because I've accidentally read books out of order that way.

  22. I really like the MITFORD series, and SISTERS OF THE QUILT, Cindy Woodsmall's trilogy. The secular mysteries by C.J. Box are favourites, too. He really makes good use of setting.

    This is a great column today, Ruthy. So much good information to tuck away for future use.

    And my heart went pitty-pat at mention of the Seekerville pink pen. I'm a sucker for new pens, but a Seekerville one??? I know coveting is a sin, but..... ;)

  23. P.S. I hope you realize I meant I like those series IN ADDITION TO yours and Mary's. I figured that went without saying, but then thought maybe I'd better pop back here and say it after all. :)


    Have you read the Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart? (MG series)

    Great book about kid geniuses. I still can't figure it out.

    But my all time favorite is 'I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be Your Class President' by Josh Lieb. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants.

    Which the evil hero does in front of his whole school, to keep his secret identity from being blown.

    Now THAT'S genius.

  25. Mary!!! I'm putting Linda's series on my Amazon list right now! Don't know how I missed that, but I feel the exact same way. If I don't want something to end, I'm sure I'm not alone!

    Renee, I'm sure that's it! The frosting, LOL!

    I didn't like red velvet cake either. I tried and tried to like it because they're selling it like crazy everywhere! The cupcake shops in NYC are like DRIVEN to make red velvet cake. BUT.... this mix from DH is delicious and easy and I'm converted. Not away from God, mind you. But I actually loved this cake. (we will not say how much of said cake I ate myself!!!!)

  26. Everyone: I'm embracing the BLOGGER DON'T BUG ME rule today to see if Mr. Blog behaves himself.

    Irksome thing. We'll see.

  27. Lyndee!!! Congratulations on those big steps, chickie!!!! That's exactly where you start, is allowing room/openings for the series to grow.

    Characters that might need their own book!!!

    I'm so proud of you!!!! Huzzah!!!! :)

  28. VINCE! You haven't read His Mistletoe Family yet.....


    And I love your ideas! Do I get to fly into Alaska next summer and do research? Because I have a young friend there, remember the Alaska wedding cake I did? With the Alaskan terrain? They're stationed there until next January.... :) BIG ROAD TRIP!!!!


    Julie's beautiful books go beyond romance because they're family saga/single titles. So yes, you get to "see" a whole panoramic vision of the family. It's the difference between a wide-angle lens and a tele-photo shot.

    Wide angle gives you a broad image with the happy couple in the middle...

    Straight romance gives you a close-up view of the happy couple.

    And from there you branch off into all kinds of other sub-genre types, but that's the basic difference.

  30. Carol: I love the premises for your series work.

    My mind thinks in series mode. I don't know if that's a gift... or that I trained myself by reading so many series, but I'm sure the latter helped. I see the series mode more clearly and then I create books to fit the series arc.

    But it can go either way, because my first series (unpublished and HORRID!!!!) I went step by step, family members, OH, THE DRAMA!!!!

    Really funny, in retrospect.

    The North Country books started as a single book, but I knew I wanted more and built in the links to stories as I edited the rough draft of Running on Empty (unpublished).

    You know they're stand alone books when the FIRST STORY doesn't get published but the rest do... Because that's how it should be. Stand alone stories, linked by a commonality.

  31. Melissa!!!!!

    Your words are wisdom beyond your years. A long time ago, when I was a young mother, I heard someone speak about the careers you didn't need a college education for... He touted writing and broadcasting. He said if you've got the talent and put in the work, you've got an equal shot at making it.

    I spent a lot of time praying he was right!!! And he was.

    Having said that, I encouraged (that's a NICE term for it) my kids to all get degrees... some of them took that to the extreme and that's just been a joy to watch! But I always believed that my talent/gift/God's grace was enough once I got the time. I knew my work ethic had what it took... Then it becomes a test of perseverance AND... willingness to change things to fit the market as needed.

    Some folks call that a sell-out.


    They're just plain silly. :)

  32. Christina: I love Riverbelle!

    Or Riverdale.... Riverland... River's Edge...

    Riverbelle is sweet and bucolic sounding. Pastoral. So that means you are creating suspense and angst in a place it doesn't normally exist, the antipathy of how the name sounds.

    I love it!!!

  33. K.C.! May's world rocks! Kind of like Wayne's World, right?

    (big SNL grin here!)

    I'm glad the bridge view helped. I'm visual too, and those things help to cement stuff in my colander-like brain. If I can "see" it, I'm more likely to remember it.

    Oh, Christina, Red Velvet cakes tastes like milk chocolate cake. So the chocolate flavor is mild. Now see, that's the PROBLEM... who wants mild chocolate????

    VERY FEW PEOPLE BUT.... it holds a bunch of cream cheese frosting and that's huge.



    Testing, testing, seeing if the double code works. I feel so empowered. I might go build a house or something. I'm that self-confident right now!!!

  35. Ginny-Lou-Who!!!

    You like 'em????? (BIG GRIN!!!) Thank you!

    You've made me smile and sigh because I liked 'em too.

    What made me really happy was that Natasha and Melissa liked them and worked out a contract that keeps me in business.


    I cannot tell you how sincere I am when I write those words. :)

  36. Connealy, LOL!!!

    "I wrote a YA series about a bunch of genius kids one time, but I wasn't smart enough to write it! Bummer."

    ROF, LOL!!!!

    Spew alert needed!

  37. Nancy! Oh my stars, there are loads of people like you!

    Me? I can read out of order and it doesn't bother me that couple A from book one are happily married and expecting in book four if that's the first one I get, because then I...


    Don't have to wait for their story, tra la!!!!!

    Oh, happy dance!!! :) I love that! And it's not like I don't know that they're going to have a happy ending...

    But so many readers wrote to me and said "How many books are in this series because I'm going to WAIT AND READ THEM ALL..."

    OOPS. See the problem with that is that we added to the original series and so my answer was a BIG FAT LIE because we expanded.

    I'm hoping no one is mad at me.

    Ducking, as I speak. :)

  38. Carol!!! You stinkin' cutie, you! Those pink pens are somethin', aren't they????

    And we won't even call it 'covetous'...

    We'll go with "When you wish upon a star! Makes no difference who you are!"

    Wishing and hoping are allowed and encouraged, my friend!

  39. Ah, Ruthy. You've inspired me. I'm up early working on my series (well, at least one book in it).

    Happy Thursday.

  40. oh and since we're allowed - make that required - to talk food here, I'm also eating the last of my homemade apple cider donuts with my coffee. Yum! Inspiring.

  41. Great post, full of energy and smart advice many things. Thanks for starting my day out with a :D

  42. I love the picture where you come out of the woods and see the lake. Wish I was there.

    I created a town for my first story that I loved so much I keep setting stories there. Plus I'm unpublished so why waste all the time to create another setting?

    But I did create another story and set it in Lexington, KY.

    I figured I could change the setting if one of my stories got published, but now maybe I can keep it.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Jackie L.

  43. I love the series written by Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis.
    What a fun and interesting post, Ruthy!

  44. My first series was the Lord of the Rings. I think I was 8 or 9, and I fell in love. Then when I was older I read most of the Jerry Jenkins series starting with the Rapture...again I was hooked. I've read many series and always enjoyed the continuing themes. If I can be successful with my current work, I'd like to try a series. By the way, my husband's groom's cake was red velvet with chocolate icing. Set the tone for the next 23 years! Would love to win that great prize offered today -- I might even share it with him!

  45. loving your posts Ruthy. they are NEVER boring.

    i grew up with Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books, the Great Brain series, and then any other series i could get my mitts on. i also need to return to using/abusing the library. when i moved from Colorado to Virginia, my library usage dropped. i've got a toddler now who should learn early on what a wonderful world the library is - and how it opens up so many other worlds/universes.

    right now, i am so behind on reading series of Seeker authors, it's a cryin' shame. put me in the running for any giveaway here and color me happy. (what color is happy anyway..?)

    i learn something new (and valuable) every day here. how AWESOME is that?????

  46. Forty six comments at 8AM? Ack! Yes, put me in for the drawing with the rest of humanity.

    Now, back to the important stuff. I am in love with a secondary a secondary character in my first book. I am trying not to think about the second book while working on the first. But he is there, lurking.

    I am just back from Moonlight and Magnolias and realized this panster CAN plot. But here is my question: How do you make sure you aren't too heavy handed with the secondaries in a series. I have read books that automatically read like, "oh, this is a set-up for another book." That is one of my pet peeves.

    You do not do this! The other Seekers do not. But I am afraid I will! Fear. Nasty thing.

    Oh, and I had an organic apple from Upstate New York this morning in your honor. Marvelous!

    Peace, Julie

  47. Sigh. Two secondaries in one sentence. I promise that guy is not secondary.

    Peace and fumbles, Julie

  48. Ruthy!

    Thanks for the tissue alert. I needed one. What a special situation to treasure.


    PS Great writing advice too!

  49. Mary,

    The book I just turned in is set on a ranch with an archeological dig!


  50. Ruthy, I'm back on the 'net just in time for your Seekerville post. Yay!

    I love series. Love 'em. Do you remember when a series would have 20 or 40 books in it? Now it seems that publishers are a bit more circumspect with a series of 3 or 4 books - maybe even multiples of trilogies or quartets that are linked together.

    And yes, I tend to write with a series mentality. I'm one of those people who has to see what's around the next corner - but if you do that too many time you'll have an epic on your hands. So I take those enticing rabbit trails and turn them into their own stories.

    This job is so much fun :)

    I'd love to stay and play more, but today is a research day for me. We're spending the day along the back roads of LaGrange and Elkhart Counties in Indiana.

    Absorbing the settings, searching out cemeteries, taking photos, eating pie, enjoying the fall colors...

    Have I ever said how much I love this job?

  51. Good morning Ruth and Seekerville friends, I loved the story of the wedding Ruth, you are an amazing woman....and never boring. I love stopping by and seeing all the gals and their wonderful comments each day. Good food-fellowship and books to talk about, what a combination. WOW a whole basket full of books to win today fantastic. Loved reading your post today and learning more about ya.
    Paula O(

  52. ROSE, it's not the Ashfall Fossil Beds is it? That's the one I've always wanted to do. Of course the handome, tyrannical-but-sweet man who finds it is a rancher who can't be bothered with a stupid dinosaur skull...he's got cattle to take care of.
    And the slender-brilliant-bookish woman archeologist who comes out from the University intents to block him off his prime grazing land...and she's got a court order to do it.

  53. Hmmm... so question for those of us still languishing on the island...

    Is it better to write book 1 of a series, plan the rest and then write book 1 of another series, plan the rest and so on?

    Or is it better to write all of the books in a series then move on?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  54. Growing up, I loved books in a series--the same Nancy Drew's my mom read! Walter Farley's "The Black Stallion" series, the "Little House" books, and Marguerite Henry's "Misty of Chincoteague" series. "Anne of Green Gables," "Emily of New Moon," and the Hobbit & Lord of the Rings! I'm a "Mitford" fan, too, Ruthy. I think I have them all. When authors create worlds and characters that are real in our imaginations, its so wonderful to pick up the next book and "come home," isn't it?

  55. Mia!!! Hey your book is in my photos today at Yankee Belle Cafe

    It jumped on the table and said "Photograph me, please!!!"


    Jackie, I love working a setting to the max, striving to make the setting an extra character in the book.... Town, village, neighborhood, church folk, whatever. I love a great setting!

  56. Okay, I must go get a library card today. I love that line in Good Will Hunting.

    I'm reading a series by Nora Roberts right now (on the 2nd book), but I can't for the life of me think of the title. It's pretty new and each book follows one of three brothers as they re-build a hotel and fall in love.

  57. Oh, and Ruthy, if you haven't read the two "Fairacre" and "Thrush Green" series by "Miss Read," a British author, be sure to do so! They're like Mitford only set in English villages. Utterly charming!

  58. I cannot believe it has been five years since Seekerville started. Was there when you gals were out on that island--and look where you are now!!! Great post on series. Thanks so much Ruth. I have two series I have out on submission but am working on a solo right now. could be reworked into either of the series because the characters way way back story. Don't enter me for the contest because I can't eat that yummy stuff! But it looks great!

  59. YAY!!! Oh wow, Ruthy what a fantastic series.
    I'm the middle of reading kid series right now - to stay 'connected' to my kids. Just finished the Harry Potter series (AGAIN) and the Rick Riordan series. But I love them. Every book I write is the first in a series - and I mostly use 'family' or 'friends' series.

    Although I have one that words two ways - Family AND Plot. (It's about siblings but each story is a modernized 'classic')

    And Mary's, Julie's, them all. Love how their connected. Dee Henderson.
    Okay..okay...back to work :-)

  60. Pepper -

    I love how [since I talked to you the other day] I can totally hear your accent in there. Just love that.

    And now, to avoid getting the rest of y'all sick, I'm skipping school and going back to bed. Really.

  61. Wonderful post, Ruthy! Studying the biggies is brilliant. Lots of great info here to write series. No idea why I skip around like a hopscotch player on steroids.

    Your giveaway basket is fabulous! I must get some fall colored M&Ms.

    Mary, you are smart enough to write genius kids. Just saying.


  62. Smoking hot heroes are great, but DERRINGER ~ he has stolen my heart...look at that face! Fantastic post, Ruthy!

  63. Okay, Ruthy, first of all, I didn't plan to cry at 6:15 a.m. reading your other beautiful post at your blog. Thanks though, for the reminder that we can touch the lives and hearts of others. Sometimes, we just need to reach out a little. :)

    I loved all that you've shared today. Such great wisdom, and I've read some of the series you mentioned (Dee Henderson's was one of my first). Another one I loved a few years back was Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series--couldn't wait to see what happened in the lives of Clark and Marty's family. :) Seeing her take it to the next generation was great.

    I haven't seriously considered writing a series. Yet. Maybe when I get my writing legs a little stronger under me. :) You share so many great considerations for a series though. This was such a helpful post!

    Oh, and I really liked what you said when talking about bleeding your heart onto the page. You added: "Without sales, we go nowhere, and sales/selling/being paid is not a dirty word. It's part of the balance."
    Such wise words!

  64. Mary Curry--I'm so glad you mentioned that Linda Goodnight series. I hadn't heard of it. I'll have to see if I can find it.

  65. Love, Love, Love. (Makes me sing along with Sidewalk Prophets)

    I love smokin hot hero series. Partly because I'm a fast reader and like to spend a much time with the characters as I can.

    I don't mind reading a series out of order, but don't give me the first book in a trilogy without the other two being available.

    Ruthy, love the setting you've chosen. Can't wait to read your new series. I recently read "Waiting Out the Storm." Loved it.

  66. Ruthy--Laughing out loud at your bold and italics--you're like a kid swinging from a tree swing into a river on a summer's day. :)

  67. The first series that I ever read by a Christian author was Beverly Lewis' books for young girls. I loved them!


  68. RUTHY ... no eye drops needed this morning, my friend -- that true story just flushed the tears from my eyes BIG TIME!! I encourage everyone to read it and rejoice in the profound effect of Christian fiction and AMAZING authors like Ruth Logan Herne.

    As a woman without a college degree, LOVE the quote from Good Will Hunting!! And LOVE this blog -- EXCELLENT information, my friend, as always!!


  69. love the sign tree...what a great idea :)

    amazing posting, always.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com


    I cut 100 pages out of my new release per my editor's dictates, so there!! Now my blogs??? Not a chance ... ;)


  71. DEB H--we read the same series as girls! I loved the Great Brain series and shared it with my boys, who also love them. And probably got some mischievous ideas from them.

    I also loved Trixie Belden and Beverly Gray. I was a mystery/fantasy reader as a girl. What happened to me becoming a women's fiction writer?! :)

  72. Always loved series. Once I knew an author was good and the characters interesting, I wanted more.

    Early favorites: Sherlock Holmes, the Agatha Christie detectives (not so much Tommy & Tuppence), Anne of Green Gables, Rumpole of the Bailey. Dick Francis seemed like a series writer because all his heroes were Sid Halley at heart. Damon Runyon was a master of intertwining characters in his chosen setting.

    I still gravitate to mystery series: Spenser, Jane Whitefield, Stephanie Plum, lots more.

    However--not naming any names, but it annoys me when a character-based series grows stale in the plot department. Either give me a fresh premise or show progress in the romance department, willya?

    Mmm ... I love chocolate ...


  73. CAROL SAID: "Julie's a master at that with her gazillion POVs."

    Is that a backhanded compliment??? Come on, girl ... a "gazillion"??? Have you ever considered that it's a medical problem on my part with split personalities???



  74. My favorite series is the one I'm currently reading when asked! How can you pick just one when you authors have so many great ones out there.


  75. I love series and when the last one is done I want more!

  76. Thanks, Ruthy! Great information. I missed the September series, which made this awesome first time information. Repetition is always appreciated by slackers like me.

    Since I'm focusing on proposing a series to editors/agents, I'll really be able to use this information when I look at my overall arc for the three books.

    I especially enjoyed the bridge metaphor. I've never thought of a series that way so a light bulb went on for me.

  77. Ruthy, I'm loving your series, and I'm really excited about the new series. Love me some hot troopers! =D

    Maybe I'm weird (I know I am), but I'm just as happy with stand-alones as I am with series. That being said, I read LOTS of series growing up. The obligatory Nancy Drew, the awesome Gilbert Morris and Janette Oke. So maybe I'm more into series than I realized. :-)

    At the moment, my all-time favorite series is Dee Henderson's O'Malley series. But that may just be because I finally got my copy of Full Disclosure this week and am LOVING IT! After six years of waiting for another book from her, I'm in heaven. Which doesn't bode well for my plans of editing the hard copy of my WIP today. :-/

    Vince, your series idea/wish for hospitals in the 1870s sounds intriguing. I think there'd have to be some heavy-duty medical research, though. :-) Hmmm...

    We've been working up apples at our house and have fresh applesauce, glazed apple cake, and apple turnovers for you apple lovers out there. Enjoy.

  78. CAROL, I think you should write the whole series. But you might also want to write those books to really stand alone, too.
    So you can sell them both ways.

    Not sure exactly how to do that, but I'm sure it can be done.

    Don't you write a book every few weeks? You can do different versions of them.

  79. I love short series, like 4-6 books, any more than that is a little over whelming. By the way, I really think writers are my heroes. I have tried writing and I always get to a place where my stupid characters, just won't act right! lol
    So I take my journeys in books others have written.

  80. Thanks so much for this post. I am planning a series, and am a pantster. Well, mostly. :) Congrats to Seekerville for 5 happy years!

  81. Julie sorry about slamming you and Ruthy........I had some spare time.


  82. JANET about my genius kids, my thoughts were...the people reading them won't be geniuses either (I mean what are the chances?) so I just FAKED genius-ness.

  83. Great post Ruthy.
    Where did you get the Seekerville jar opener? How did I miss that?

    I"m not fond of series myself because I get annoyed if I miss one or can't find one. Because I simply MUST read them all. I'm compulsive that way. So I usually wait until the whole series is out before I buy them.

    Seeker series are exceptions because I know I will be able to hunt you all down for a missing link.

    Thanks for the tips though. And btw Ruthy dear. Plotters rock!

  84. Ruthy, you're a big BOLD italics kinda girl, right!

    Getting back here, just to check in! Ready to take on the day. The cover designer is almost there, the illustrator is hard at work at his easel and the book formatter is almost finished, waiting to plug in the last of the artwork. We just might make it!!

    Looking forward to learning more from commentary today, on this excellent post.

    Happy Birthmonth, Seekers!!!

    (We're all waiting to see the house you've concocted with this bold italicized empowerment. Must have those painted-like-a-book stair risers, and a slide coming down the other side is a must.)

    Y'all have a happy day!

    If anyone is near Dalton, GA this weekend, May will be "in dog" at the Prater's Mill Craft Fair pawographing. C'mon by and see us!!!

  85. AMY!!! I love Amish stories too! My kids used to call me a stalker because I loved buggy sightings... What do kids know???? :)

    Susan: Red Velvet with dark chocolate icing... Yes, that's my alternative deliciousness, LOL! The dark chocolate wraps the lighter chocolate and it's like eating a truffle!

    Speaking of that, how about a pineapple filled white cake with dark chocolate frosting?

    Maybe with sliced strawberry or banana? Banana split style? Clearly I am starving.

  86. A Proverbs 31 Wife ~

    I'm laughing at your comment "because I get to the point where my characters won't act right."

    Heckfire lady, that's when the book is just getting started!

    GO 4 IT!!!

    I was perusing Kathy Herman's post on FB yesterday. (She is working on a series now.) She posted "My characters just found a body."

    See what I mean?

    Seriously, get one of those manuscripts out and see where those wayward characters take you!

    Sounds like FUN!

  87. Havin' coffee as i read this! i loved the story at Ruthie's Place. Heart touching, true. i love series, and my Mom has got so she doesn't want to start a book in a series unless she has the whole set to read in a row! i just finished Shannon Vannetter's Rodeo series. You just get a broader picture with series! Thanks for the chance to win.

  88. Cake for b'fast.
    Works for me!
    Thanks Ruthy...
    And no mild chocolate - we need BOLD today, with our BOLD coffee!

  89. DEB H.: Oh, sweet thing, we are all in that same boat! You know what I do sometimes, though?

    I cheat.

    Instead of my TBR pile (just finished Glynna Kaye's Look Alike Lawman and LOVED IT!!!! I'm over the top in love with that hero myself!) I cheat and go to an old favorite, something from the keeper shelf, and let myself just be whisked away to another place, maybe another time.

    It's refreshing.

    So don't feel guilty about your pile. We're all in the same boat. And I don't give up writing time (it's so stinkin' precious around here) for anything other than family emergency. Occasionally those emergencies include a trip to the ice cream store. Our local definition of "emergency" is not universally accepted. :)

  90. Julie
    gazillion or not, you're wonderful just as you are!
    Ok - gotta go immerse myself...
    Y'all have FUN!

  91. Julie - nothing backhanded about it :D. Just a compliment.

    Mary - LOL! Not every few weeks. I wish! I think that's you. Or Janice Thompson. I've gotten FIVE books from her already this year! I *have* written 3 manuscripts since last November. One is done [okay - I do have a few tweaks to make to it, that just came to me recently - it's out on query now], one is nearly done [and ready for CPs] and the other is still about 12K words short though the first draft is done.

    Figured out why I'm not feeling well [though I'm still not feeling well; just know why now...] New medicine I'm supposed to take with food. Today was the first day I took it without food [just incidentally].

    So I'm gonna take it easy. Do a bit of writing. A bit of reading. And probably a nap.

  92. Julie, that is my pet peeve too so I strive not to do it. Sometimes I got to extremes the other way and it's a bit player...

    So here's my advice: Look at your series set up. I leave mine open on purpose. I've left people dangling, sideline characters who GET NO STORY in each series because that helps keep the reader avoiding the "I'm being set up" feeling.

    So not everyone that appears gets a book. That's a good trick...

    The other thing that I did in the upcoming series is to use similar professions... Law Enforcement links the stories. But it's only incidental contact that links the people. They're all serving and protecting the greater area around Kirkwood Lake.

    But there's a big bicentennial year-long celebration being planned for the town so that brings people into the mix for different reasons.

    It's tricky, isn't it?

  93. PAULA!!!! Thank you for going over to Ruthy's Place" and reading that story! Oh my stars, that mother had me in tears when she shared that with me...

    Total God moment. And I tend to be a very strident "Martha" type so simmering down and letting that sweet old gal talk was coming straight from the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt of that.

    I was blessed that day, then again when I heard the story of the book.


    Isn't that basket fun???? And His Mistletoe Family is SUCH A BEAUTIFUL STORY of new chances. Beginning anew. Starting over. In my experience, heroes rarely see themselves as heroic.

    Silly men.

    ROSE!!! Thank you for traveling over there, too! Isn't it amazing what a few minutes of our time and a sweet book will do? I will treasure that story forever. Thank you so much for coming over... here. Have a Snickerdoodle!

  94. Hi Ruthy and all, I love to read (and write!) series also! Thanks for letting me inside your head--your post gave me a couple ideas for amping my series proposals up. And your basket would be great to win and read more of your books while eating the chocolate!

    I'm a big proponent of libraries, too. As a child I walked to my public library each week and checked out the 5 books I was limited to! And even then I loved series since I started in the A's and read all the LM Alcott books!

  95. I didn't even know Mayville makes candy bars! I've seen their main street, my husband's grandpa was the principal at the high school for many, many years. Count me in.

    I love series,because much more time to get acquainted with the wonderful characters. Like the O'Connor family in Julie's series who I'm going to be very disappointed to bid goodbye, too. So they're just going to have to have a reunion every once in a while or something.


  96. Me again. Ruthy, I went to read your blog post about the couple you met at the wedding. Yes, that is the reason we write! Loved it, but had to take a break and go blow my nose before i could type this in!

  97. Ruthy, first order of business, is that your dog? If so I am envious! He is gorgeous!

    Secondly, I have a villain who's back story of how they went from being a sweet innocent victim of circumstance to the mean nasty trouble maker of my wip, could be a story all it's own. I can make it short and (not so) sweet back story. But it seems like a waste of a good story. How do you know if something is interesting back story or fuel for another book?

    Other than Seeker's books, I would say my favorite series is Nora Robert's Chesapeake Bay. It had such sweet characters and lots of hearts that needed mending. I remember them all even though I read them about ten years ago!

  98. Hey, Ruthy!!! I need to pay close attention to this, as I have a couple of series I want to sell. My fairy tale retellings have turned into a series. They are a series of retellings of fairy tales, but now they are becoming a real series, as my third book's hero is the son of my first book's hero and heroine. And my fourth book's hero is another of their sons, and is a sequel to the third one. (Still with me?) And I have plans for my fifth book's hero to be the grandson of The Merchant's Daughter's hero and heroine, and the heroine to be the daughter of my first book's hero and heroine.

    It all works out, trust me.

    I used to think I didn't like series, but I have changed my mind. I think it was Mary Connealy and Julie Lessman who originally changed my mind.

  99. Ruthy, thank you for sharing about the sweet lady you met at the wedding. I can tell it meant more to you than all of the awards (treasure)you've collected here on earth.

  100. I missed the instructions on how to do the bold and italics. Ruthy, can you teach me???

  101. Hi again Ruthy! My entire family doesn't care for Red Velvet aka Red Devil's Food cake but if you love it that much maybe we'll have to give it a try...WITH the frosting of course. ;-)

  102. I love series. Can't get enough of a good thing.

    Melanie said "I missed the instructions on how to do the bold and italics. Ruthy, can you teach me???

    Me too!

  103. KC!!! BLESS YOU, GIRL!! Now, Carol??? Not so much ... ;) (just teasing!)

    CAROL ... trust me, I even take slams as compliments when I can because God knows I need ALL the encouragement I can get ... ;)

    JULIA!!! A reunion ... why didn't I think of that!! ;) Seriously, I could write an update novella every year, couldn't I??


  104. MELANIE SAID: "I used to think I didn't like series, but I have changed my mind. I think it was Mary Connealy and Julie Lessman who originally changed my mind."

    That Mary always was a bad influence, and I just followed her lead ... ;)


  105. Hi Ruth:

    “His Mistletoe Family” will be released on December 1st for the Kindle. Even if you sent an ARC, I still couldn’t read it. I need the nice big Kindle type. I think you are so far ahead into the future with your books, you may have lost touch with the common reader’s reality. : O


  106. Caveat On Writing a Genius

    You can fake being a genius just like you can fake being a great opera singer; however, it would be best never to try and demonstrate it.

    Also: If anyone is going to write about a genius kid who needs a genius mentor who can understand him, then never have the genius mentor say this to the heroine/widowed/mother:

    “I could explain it, but you wouldn’t understand it.”

    No real genius would ever say this!!!

    If a genius really understands something, then he or she can explain whatever it is in terms anyone can understand. That’s the real genius in being a genius. If you can’t explain it so anyone can understand it, then you’re just pretending to be smarter than you are and you really don’t understand it.

    I just love “Beauty and the Genius” theme romances but I’ve only seen three of them in the last fifteen years. We need more! The heroine is a widow. Her son is a maladjusted genius with no one to relate to. The father was a world class intellect. However, the heroine is a lot smarter than she realizes. The hero is a reclusive genius who works at home. Heroine/neighbor just insists that he help her son adjust since he went through the same problems as a kid. Hero’s real objective is to help the heroine blossom into the beautifully intelligent woman she actually is. Helping the kid opens all the wounds he has tried to cover over. This hurt is a major reason why he has become a recluse.

    BTW: Every time the hero tries to object to the heroine’s plans, she out-smarts him. That’s the fun. He may be a genius but she is way smarter in dealing with other people.

    This is a great theme. I’d love for someone to write another one.


  107. The Plain Jane Gang

    This is a group of self-identified Plain Janes who form a support group to capture all the best bachelors in the city. Their meeting place is like a police operations room with stats, photos, and news clippings. Each attracts her hero in a different way. Each has some virtue that makes her beautiful in her hero’s eyes by the end of the story.

    After the hero gets to know the real heroine, things change for him When he sees his old beauties, he does not see their outer beauty, but rather he sees the unique virtues they are lacking. Moral Premise: quality and virtue attracts quality and virtue.

    This would best be a comedy and the real fun is in giving the heroine one little victory over the beauties, after little victory right to the end of the story.

    Has anyone done a Plain Jane series?


  108. I love series. Your Kirkwood Lake series sounds fantastic.

    I always wonder whether authors plan them in advance or they sort of happen organically based on reader interest. I'm guessing some favorite series have happened both ways.

    What I don't like is when the series comes to an end. That's all she wrote and there is no more, but I'm not quite done with the characters. The worst!

  109. I love to read series. I remember reading the Little House Books and loved them. They still live in my heart today. I am hoping to win a series of books. Now would that not be nice...
    Thank you for sharing. This is great info....


  110. I'm still trying to conquer writing a good full length book but definitely aspire to a series!

    My favorite series are
    The French twist series by sandra Byrd
    Sisterhood of the traveling pants series by Anne Brashares
    Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella

    And once I finish the book I'm currently reading I'm planning on going back to read & study them more closely :)

  111. Fun post, Ruthy! I've really gotten into the whole series writing thing. I had a blast creating continuing character arcs in my "Horseman" books, and now I'm working on the second book in my post-WWI romantic series for Abingdon.

    Did someone mention red velvet cake? That was dessert at our church supper last night. Hubby got some, but I missed it. Drat!!!

  112. thanks Ruthy. i do agree, the occasional emergency DOES involve the nearest ice cream place.

    and i forgot to tell you i read about your true story. had my eyes tearing up. affecting someone in that manner: isn't that why we write in the first place?

    must return later to read other comments (to see what havoc Mary is attempting *heh*)

  113. Wait!!!

    Mellie - you DID decide to connect the daughter from the first one [who is sister in the third/fourth] to the son from the second?!?!?!?!

    I remember talking about it/brainstorming it with you but didn't remember hearing what you actually decided.

    YAY! That makes me happy :D.

  114. Vince, how about Inner Beauty Babes ??

  115. MARY????
    EXCUSE ME????

    Does something really upsetting ever happen to you and then in the chaos of the day you FORGET what upset you but you're still upset?

    That happens to me all the time. I'll say to My Cowboy, "I'm not sure why but I'm really freaked out right now."

    He just nods.
    Then I think about it, sort around through the sturm and drang of the day and remember and you know what? It doesn't help to remember!!!

    Thanks for letting me share.

  116. MELANIE!!! Wow, girl, you've got a bunch of new books contracted! I can't keep up! (how sweet is that?)

  117. Ruthy...

    SELL OUT?? What is this new series?

    FIFTY SHADES OF RUTHY? I'm worried now.

    Don't break my heart and sell out..


    Disregard of you already knew this. I did not see it announced. If you missed it yesterday, be sure to check it out. Like today’s blog there is a lot of great information for writers and readers.

  119. Wow, I should have left my message when there were only 39 comments.

    I have a series I've been toying with From the mixed up files of Bartholomew T. Angel extraordinary. Taken off the thought of entertaining angels unaware. Kinda like Roma Downey only every sees him differently. More for kids.

  120. Okay, working this afternoon, but I've got a break right now... baby's sleeping... toddlers picked up!


  121. Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to Win Thank you !

  122. Jan, I noticed that about you right off. That you're always delving farther, looking beyond.

    Of course that just makes us both CRAZY, most likely. But crazy with a paycheck is not a bad thing!!!

    Mary, you need to do that book/series. You've mentioned that to me a few times. I bet it would be fun. And who would give up important creekbed/etc. for a few old bones????

    That's crazy talk, right there!!!

    CAROL: Your question about writing or not writing the series is a good one... my answer is it's a crap shoot, do what you'd like...

    A big name editor once told a group I was in that you should never, ever ever finish the series because if she didn't like the first book, she'd never buy the rest.

    I didn't listen.

    Good thing. Because when Melissa got my first one and it wasn't what they were looking for, WHAT IF I HADN'T WRITTEN THE OTHER THREE????

    They bought those books because they were written... and they liked 'em... So if I'd listened to that first editor, I'd have been unprepared.

    And you know me: FINISH THE BOOK is my mantra. Finish multiple books. Finish everything you start. That's a huge lesson in self-discipline right there.

  123. Glynna!!! You and I read the same books!!!! :) I also devoured the Janet Lambert series (Debbie Giusti reminds me of the very cool and wonderful military mom in those books, just an amazing woman)

    Carrie! LOL!!! What a difference in five years, right? We started the blog with SIX of us published.... and by year four, all of the Seekers were published...

    My husband still tells people about that, about defying the odds by believing in ourselves and grabbing hold of others to bring them along.

    Publishing may be a small ocean, but we're ridin' a big ship. Plenty of room! I love that you've got things out on request. Hang in there to the MAX... In all honesty, things can get kind of dark before that phone call/e-mail finally comes... but you hang in there. Believe. Always believe!

  124. I cut my reading/writing/historical teeth on the family saga series by John Jakes back in the 80's and still love the idea of following a family through generations of American history.
    I love all the references to NY, as a fellow upstater myself. What a fun post and lively giveaway1

  125. Pep! I always read everything my kids did... unless it was a classic I'd already read. And we'd have long talks about the values of good writing (they heard: BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH vs. the current not-so-great series of the moment...

    Ah, mothers.

    We're bossy!!!!

    JANET DEAN CALLED ME BRILLIANT!!! LOL!!! Thanks, my friend! You know, necessity is the mother of invention and it just makes sense, right? Study the folks you long to emulate... if not in content, in numbers.

    It's all mathetmatical! :)

    DERRINGER/Jill Weatherholt Isn't he gorgeous??? He used to belong to the older couple in the book, and then they moved to housing that didn't allow BIG DOGS... but my hero... Colonel Brett Stanton, U.S. Army retired... he needed that dog way more than the dog needed him. And when those two little boys come into his life, Derringer's years fade into oblivion because those kids gave dog and man a new lease on life. :)


  126. RUTHY (nice work on the BOLD font, btw) are you saying I'm REPEATING MYSELF?
    Or I'm Echoing my earlier statements?
    Or perhaps you mean I'm going over identical ground?
    Or I have a tendency to rehash the same subject?
    Or do you mean I'm saying the same thing over and over?
    Or maybe your point is I have told you similar things several times?

    It's one of those, right?

  127. I was ready for a "CAT-nap" this afternoon, but after reading Ruthy's post I'm energized and ready to write! LOVE series too, so this will be a post I re-read again and again, I'm sure. Jan Karon's Mitford series has to be at the top of my list--have loved them for years. (and I had the honor of meeting Jan and visiting with her several years ago--a lovely lady!). ~ Ruthy, YOU do a great job with series, and I can't wait to read your Kirkland Lake series. And even though I'm basically a CAT person, I do love dogs too--and that photo you shared is precious. ~ And the gift basket....WOW (cheese!! More gift baskets should include CHEESE, LOL!). ~ I brought a late-afternoon snack to share: Warm peach muffins, Peanut butter kiss cookies, and Georgia Peach tea--ENJOY!! Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  128. It would be fun. The Ashfall Fossil Beds is near my house (well, 1 1/2 hour drive) but still, it's near my home.

    I love the place. It's one of those places that really capture my imagination. I can't really do the whole ASHFALL event in real time since it's supposed to be before PEOPLE, but I could do a contemporary romance around it.
    Maybe someday.
    It could be a Christmas novella except the fossils would be under two feet of snow, beside the ash.

  129. Annie! Yes, read all you can of the big guns. Not that our voices need to mimic them, but the cadence and rhythm of a well-told story is a great thing to COPY!!! And I blend my reading with ABA and CBA talent because I want to know who's selling what... and I don't want to lock myself into one train of thought because I think that constrains you as a writer.

    Tina (excuse me, Queen Tina once wrote something about being open-minded concerning your personal library... and that's true in so many ways. Expanding your mind and writing style/education is never a bad thing.

    Jeanne T !!! First, thank you for stopping over to the blog and CRYING!!! It's a tear jerker for sure. And an honor. Truly an honor.

    You know the money thing... sometimes I hear published authors tell aspiring authors that they shouldn't worry about getting paid if they're writing for God's honor...

    Well, I got paid for waitressing. And I worked hard, became head waitress and took good care of folks, which I think is a Godly command, right? To earn your money fairly? Workers of the fields?

    So the idea of telling people that longing to be paid for a job well done isn't right because we're writing Christian fiction is... well.. silly, right?


    Every time I hear someone say that, I remember that Homer Simpson line:

    "Money. Money can be exchanged for goods and services!!!"


    Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote: Ambition is a good servant but a bad master. I concur. Knowing our limits is huge. But wanting to do a good job should never be considered self-serving.

  130. ohhhh this sounds wonderful, please enter me also

  131. Bridgett! Thank you for the shout out for "Waiting Out the Storm"!!! I loved that story...

    The dogs...(oh, there I go with dogs again!)

    The sheep!!!! (baby lambs)... Awww....

    And a hot hero veterinarian named Craig. I love Craig!!!

  132. Ruthy, you always make me laugh!

    "...Trimmin's and trappin's, and glue boards or cork boards or notebook/notepad/ipad/ibook thingamajiggies..."

  133. Hi Ruthy! Love the Redbone Coon dog. I've grown up with them my whole life. My dad loves them and loves coon huntin'. Ever see the first movie made of "Where The Red Fern Grows?" For a while we owned the grandpuppies of the dog "Jan." Anyway. I'm gushing, but I just love those dogs.

    Wonderful guide to writing a series! I'm working on a family series, two brothers and a sister. My favorite series writers so far just happen to be Seekers! Ya'll write them so well. :) I've learned so much about writing just from reading them.

    Question: do publishers prefer a series written as a dependent set or stand-alone novels whose characters intermingle? Would there be less risk for both publisher and author if the series was written and published separately? I've seen it done both ways and wondered about the reasons, pros and cons.

  134. Ah, I'm always so entertained when I stop by--and red velvet cake, too!

    Mary, I love Ashfall, too. Great place to visit and just wander around.

    I didn't plan on writing a series when I wrote my first book. But, they had kids, siblings, and what turns out to be a huge family. The trilogy turned into 6 books (Hence the Double Keltic Triad) And now those folks have had kids that want their own tales.

    Even the fantasy world of my series has expanded to include other races. And gee, they have their tales to tell as well.

    I love connecting books and almost everything I've written has at least a minute connection to another book. That's way too much fun!

  135. Ruthy, I'm back from my research day, and you would have loved to be with me! We had so many buggy sightings even you would be satisfied :)

    And we ate pie. Check out facebook for pictures :)

    And Glynna! Yes! I love, love, love the Miss Read books. I read them over and over. But you know, she breaks every rule we've learned about reading, and yet, I can't put her books down. Someday, when I'm famous enough to be able to break the rules, I'm going to try out her style...

  136. Im late posting my brain was mush last night (its just tired this morning) I have to say one of my all time favourite series is The House of Winslow by Gilbert Morris closely followed by the appomattox series also by Gilbert Morris.

  137. I love you Aunt Ruthie! Thanks for the story, it made me cry but it put my crappy day into perspective. Thank you for being an inspiration to do what you love! Wende J, loving niece from Buffalo

  138. Marissa: There's a reason Bev's books have transcended generations. Strong, simple stories of complex personalities. Wonderful stuff, isn't it???

    JULIE, MY BUD!!! Are we the only two Seekers who don't have that sheepskin????

    I bet we are.

    Do you remember how Johnny Carson, as successful as he was, always longed for a college degree because he didn't attend?

    I'm thrilled about my kids' educations, but I don't regret my choices... I'd be richer, because I wouldn't have THREE of the kids, but hey... :) They turned out all right!

    And yes, Connealy body-slammed us because we talk too much.


    I say we talk just enough, LOL!

  139. Karen K, I made Dave pull over so I could get a shot of that tree!!! That was the best one, but all of the single lane paths are marked like that because getting cars up and down the thin lake roads is tricky... Can you imagine how tricky it is for the folks that live there year-round???


    Linda! That's every author's nightmare, and you named it... that we're too close to our work to see the repetitiveness, or too stubborn to change things... Oy, authors are a stubborn lot!!!

    I've always thought it helped teachers be better to be forced to change grade levels every few years.

    I think it can help us as authors to expand our repertoire by writing outside the box sometimes because you need to refresh your credentials... But having said that, I can name a slew of authors who have never or rarely bored me, so maybe (heaven forbid!!) they're just SMART.


    Wendy Newcomb!!! How did you know that I'm a closet Raggedy Ann and Andy fan? I love those rag dolls!

    And you're right, when I'm engrossed (as opposed to being just GROSS!) I'm a huge fan. Totally immersed.

    Debbie, welcome to Seekerville!!! I'm glad you love series... here. Have some chocolate. Zach (lawyer boy in NYC) sent me a humongous bag of Lindt Truffles the other day...

    Color me happy!!! :) Plenty to share.

    Dianna, isn't it amazing how something so simple as a visual helps??? I have those light bulb moments and wonder "DUH. WHY DIDN'T YOU SEE THIS BEFORE, EINSTEIN???"

    But as long as I see it eventually, right???? Glad it helped you to see the series you're working on in a different light.

  140. I love a good series. (My favorite is actually a trilogy: Lord of the Rings.) Outside of that, Mary's "Petticoats" series is hilarious (and I still have a crush on the sharpshooter).

    My samurai series (hopefully published someday) is a lot of fun and I have an idea for a missing kids series that I have logged away. (I'm under orders from Ruthy to finish the four WIPS I already have in process before I start anything else.)

    The idea of sharp cheddar and chocolate as a potential gift is driving me nuts.

  141. CLARI!!! Lovin on the apples, my friend! Thank you!

    Hey, lookee... plenty to go around! :)

    I think it's that inner longing for "more" when we finish a regular book... and knowing there isn't any. Because we all know that we don't fall in love with everything an author writes... but a series, that we're already invested in???

    Now that's something!

    Proverbs 31 Wife!! You know, all readers have a writers heart... but not all of them have the time or mentality to like the smackdown side... but READERS ARE SO HUGE TO US!!!... Where would we be without readers?

    Broke? Unemployed? In Greenland???? (The Princess Bride)


    Thanks for coming over today!

    Karen Lange! A pantser series!!! That's my girl! You'll be fine... Just keep ibuprofen on hand... and sinus pills... and tummy soothers.... ginger ale... Oh, and chocolate... and nuts... and more chocolate... and a phone to phone a friend... if you have any.... and come to Seekerville often where the Plotters and Pantsers will totally commiserate with all you do.

    Because we understand!!! :) Lindt truffle, dear????

    I'm ignoring Connealy's comment about having enough spare time to be mean to her friends....

    Whereas I use my extra time to share my thoughts at GREAT LENGTH... :) More's the pity, right????

    SANDRA!!! PLOTTERS DO ROCK!!! :) I love my plotting buds...

    I love how quirky we all are....

    And you know I used to write myself into the occasional CORNER when I was young and stupid (er)....

    But I'm stickin' with the "general outline in my head" theory....

    Because it's so much fun! So many surprises... Like those two little children, lost... alone... disheveled...

    I just have to fix them. Poor babies...

    Marianne!!!! Aw, thank you. Totally a God thing. I'm just glad I got my goofy gotta-be-in-charge head out of the oven and took the time to talk to those nice folks...

    And now I wonder how many opportunities I've missed being a Martha???

    But then again, how many folks go hungry livin' with a Mary???

    :) (kidding, kidding all you Mary-types. Really. Truly. )

  142. Love the whole concept of series. It's awesome when you fall in love with characters and then get to follow them (or their family members) into their next adventure.

    Someday I will write a series!

    Thanks for all the fun on Seekerville.

  143. Rose McCauley I'm so glad it helped! Sometimes we just need a brain jog, right?

    And thank you for going over to my blog and reading that wedding story. I just love the whole thing... God bless that sweet grandma... and Grandpa. He's got some tough, long days ahead this winter. So hard to say goodbye after six decades of life together.

    Julia!!! so nice to see you! The O'Connors are one of those families that stick with you long after you're done turning the page... Although I still have the urge to throttle Charity... But I love how distinctively Julie has created each character, their personalities and their stories. And in the proper time frame/setting... And her Cardinals are playing on my TV right now... Tie score, I think??? Must check... (pads off to living room to check baseball scores, notes we have over an hour before our Derek Jeter sighting of the day...)

    Yup, still 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth. I wonder what that Julie girl is thinking to work on next...

    JULIE LESSMAN... you out there? Any clues on what's coming after the O'Connors???? Your avid fans are longing to know!!!

  144. I miss that area! I recently moved from Olean, NY to Wyoming and miss the trees this time of the year! Thanks for the post.

    luvsherfam @ gmail dot com

  145. Donna, what a great question!!!

    First, no, not my dog, but isn't he beautiful??? I have a red Golden Retriever... and a chocolate brown standard poodle... I breed them to make pretty puppies and that means during puppy time, I'm certifiable.

    But I'm featuring a new red Golden Doodle named "Charley" in my spring book, and he's one of the prettiest doodles I've ever seen! Adorable!

    Now, back to important and awesome writing question: you wanted to know how you "know" when a character deserves a story of their own....

    Hmmm.... That answer will vary by writer. Some will say the character speaks to them... touches a nerve and they must tell their story.

    I'm more pragmatic... if the story fits the series, it should be told. IF I can weave a happy ending and a plausible conflict.... that's a big "if" because I widen my eyes and yawn every time some grown up girl sleuth does amazing things in a tiny town where bodies keep showing up... or horrid people keep threatening the life and limb of the innocent.

    That stretches my believability and I can't buy into it. BUT MANY DO... so the author should write it because the appeal is there, it's just not my gig.

    And that's what gets me about mean/slamming contest judges and reviewers. Sometimes they just don't realize it's not the writing that's bad, it's that the story doesn't appeal to THEM...

    But that's not necessarily the story's problem, right? Especially if an agent and editor have already given the nod... Some stories just aren't our cup of tea, but in my experience, some folks must have their say...

    Sometimes their silence is a better choice. I've learned to bite my tongue because it was necessary to discern my taste from my profession... and that's a big difference!

    So should you write it? Well, if the person is redeemable (and Mary did a great job of that with Wade in her early series and I never thought she'd convince me that he was hero material.. but I was sadly mistaken. It was brilliant.

    So lay it out. See what you think. Write a half-dozen chapters. Play.

    I think by then you'll know, and there is no such thing as too much practice. Really. Truly!

  146. Ruthy said: "JULIE, MY BUD!!! Are we the only two Seekers who don't have that sheepskin???? I bet we are."

    You lose that bet. Lots of classes but no diploma. Unless you count my secretarial college degree. I used to think a lot about going for "the real thing," but marriage, kids, and life in general continually intervened.

    Now I am content with my "degree" from the School of Life.

  147. Ah, the bold and italics, courtesy of Vince, Helen and others earlier this week!!!


    Use before the word/words you want bolded and then use at the end....

    Same for italics, except your "B" is an "I"... HOW COOL IS THAT????


  148. Melanie I'm so stinkin' proud of your success!!!

    And it's coupled by so many big action-packed success stories with fairy-tale twists.




    How could we possibly think otherwise???

    And actually, I follow that lineage of your sequels/series quite well! Although you know what I'm loving about Once Upon a Time???? Is that they're incorporating all kinds of fantasy tales into the story line... not just the old fairy tales... imagine a twist with Tolkien? Ents? Hobbits? Oh my stars, there is so much out there in the way of possibility for you.

    Don't be afraid to stretch because your talent is rare and delightful.

    Love it!

  149. I love reading series. I love writing series. Its the only way I can think of to not tell my characters goodbye. Goodbye requires lots of chocolate and coffee. Right now Mary Connealy's series is in the number one spot for reading. Halfway home on that one. Only problem with reading series is waiting for the next one to come out

  150. Julie Lessman, you're here!!!

    Yes, isn't that the wonder of the Internet and e-readers???

    Even if a novella or "follow up" book doesn't go with the publisher, it's a great way to keep readers enjoying a series long after it ends!

    Of course, for Julie and I the word Novella doesn't necessarily equate "SHORT"... we are works in progress ourselves!!!

    Renee!!! I'm glad you've got an open mind, chickie!!! But hey, why ruin a good thing? Go chocolate... or go carrot cake. Oy, I could do with a piece of that right now... Instead there's a bag of BROCCOLI SLAW with my name on it.

    :) Good thing I like broccoli slaw!!! (dreaming of cream cheese frosting as I type...)

    Jamie!!!! Did you see the instructions above for "bold" and "italics"... I'm so glad (obviously!) someone explained it to me!

  151. Vince! You're the genius!!!

    Actually, though, I think you almost just described some of the elements of "Monk"... but I love the idea.

    It's kind of "Finding Forrester" meets "Monk"....

    And I agree, real geniuses are generally low-key... not the engineer typecast that can see nothing beyond their expertise and plays weird video games all the time.

    I can't stand those kind of non-heroes, but again... that's probably simply my preference showing and not the writer's lack of expertise.

    But I love the misguided genius mode. Although I didn't like Monk at all because he annoyed me.

    Do youse think I annoy easily????


    Now the Plain Jane Gang... Oh, I could get into that. I could actually fit a couple of already written manuscripts into that.

    Vince, what a great idea! Love it!

  152. Patricia W I expect you're right... some start as planned and some evolve.

    And as the Men of Allegany County continued to sell well, Love Inspired bought three more (than the original four-book series) over the past year...

    And we used the last book of that series to "LINK" the two series together by using a cop hero in the last book... and then evolving into the Kirkwood Lake setting.

    That part was done as combined planning by editor and writer. Melissa is great about wanting to be in on the planning and implementation stages of series work and that's a huge help to me. It keeps my mind cleared for focusing on where the story starts and where it should go. While that sounds easy for a category, I'm chronically tempted to SAY TOO MUCH.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Who'd a thunk it? :)

    Melinda.... aw, that's exactly how I feel about the books I love. I can still quote from them. Sense those characters. Their arcs speak to me. Sometimes that's great writing.... and sometimes it's just that the writer touched our emotional buttons.

    What a great way of putting that! Thank you!

    Myra, you missed the cake???? :) I should miss a little more cake. Then my pants would fit, LOL!

    Virginia???? Sell out? What am I selling out? I'm totally confused now, not a nice thing to do to a woman on the East Coast, STARVING TO DEATH and in need of broccoli slaw....

    (everybody say YUM!!! together!!!)

    Now I'm worried about myself... I'm forgetful...

    Did I sell out?

    (scratching head, puzzling)

    Tell me more. Please. After you eat snickerdoodles.

  153. Totally random.

    But Ruthy will sympathize.



    Big, huge, long story, but my domain name was owned by my webmistress who has been pretty MIA. It lapsed in July and FINALLY is available again!

    And this is the part Ruthy will sympathize with...



    Now to figure out what I need to do.

    And get my new webmaster to get the new site up and running.

    It's gonna be cool :D.

  154. Hey Ruthy,
    I'm currently working on the galleys of the final book in my very first series. I'm going to miss my imaginary family in Regency England. Sometimes I think I might have to talk my publisher into letting me keep going with this family. So now I've got to create another series, which is already in my head. Love what you have to say here. I'm going to study it all closely as I work on proposals. Thanks! Jill

  155. Tonya, great idea!!! Read the first time for enjoyment...

    Then pull it apart mentally the second time through for learning.

    I actually made notes on Nora...

    Hey, that's quite alliterative:

    "Notes on Nora!" :)

    Whatever it takes to have that light bulb moment, that's what we do, right? Thanks for stopping by today!

    Aw... Deb H that's such a great story, right????

    Shoot, I'm getting tired and I'll cry just re-thinking it.


    An honor and a blessing. Totally.

    God puts folks in our paths for a reason. I'm usually too busy MOWING THEM OVER to notice.

    I'm so glad he made me slow down that day.

    I love God.



    (Poor thing probably has no idea what that is....)

    Kathleen! We upstaters... and upstarts... must stick together! :)

    Patti Jo!!! I'm so into peach everything after my mother-in-law came up with that pie recipe I shared at the Yankee Belle Cafe... Oh my stars, bring it!!! :)

    Mitford, yes, one of my faves too because it's so different. Just delightful. I'm so glad to see we have Mitford fans here!!!

    And Connealy Really???? REALLY?????????? You take a simple statement from a FRIEND!!!! and turn it into heaven knows what...

    All I know is that you've mentioned the fossil beds... YAWN.... like maybe two dozen .... YAWN.... times... or more...YAWN...YAWN...YAWN.... and who doesn't just fall all over themselves to read about 20 million year old rock?

    I know I do!!! :)

  156. Eva Maria!!! LOL!!!!

    Cindy! You're in!!!

    Natalie, hey!!! Agreed on the dog, 110%!!!! Isn't he gorgeous?

    And "Where the Red Fern Grows" is such a love story... "The Yearling"... "Always Reddy"... I love stories of kids/stages/animals/growth.

    Yes, I love that early version. Love that story. I get teary thinking of it.

    You know, I would always strive to make my books stand alone JUST IN CASE they don't like one or two...

    You can always re-package and sell elsewhere, right? But if they're all inter-dependent, then if you don't sell everything, you sell nothing.


    I'm Celtic and I never play bad odds. :)

    Lizzie Starr!!! So nice to see you back here!!! You know, when you're writing fantasy, you have a certain amount of STRANGE LEEWAY that allows you to expand exponentially, LOL! I'm glad you're having so much fun with your work... your family... your series! That rocks!

  157. Hi Ruthy,

    Sorry I'm so late today! Had to take mom to the cardiologist. Will go back and read all the comments later.

    Love series! I'm ruminating on a new 4 part one about 4 siblings.

    Nora Roberts' series about the Stanislaski brothers was what got me interested in writing! So happy to hear you mention them!

    I have a question for you wise writers: how do you divide your time between editing/polishing finished manuscripts and writing new ones? Having trouble here. I have 3 books to fix up but new ideas are blossoming....

    P.S. can you share how to do the bold thing?

    Thanks, Ruthy!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  158. WENDE!!!! MY BEAUTIFUL NIECE!!! This is her first time in Seekerville, brave enough to comment!!! :)

    I'm so glad you liked that story! And of course Mandy (Wende's sister-in-law) was with me... and did a great job of keeping everything moving, as always... I'm so glad you're here, honey!!! Grinning, ear to ear! And I'm glad it put a different spin on your day.

    Move closer.

    I'll boss you around and you'll wish you were 90 minutes away again. (this is sad, but true!!!)

    Love you!

  159. Yes!
    I finally figured out the HTML tags.

    You gotta use the < > signs and stick the letter b between it at the first of the text you want to bold and then use the < > signs again with a slash and a so... < /b > (but no spaces in there) at the end of the text.(Use an i instead of a b for italics.) And when you do it right...Voila! Or Voila!

    And now maybe I'll remember this little trick. :-)

  160. Jan.... Pie. My downfall. Oh my stars... on my research trip two weeks ago I had to go twenty minutes south of my destination to eat at the Texas Hot.... chocolate Pepsi... and homemade pie... and a burger to die for.

    Pie. Pie. Pie. :)

    You had me at hello.

    Jenny!!!! Good morning, Mate!!! Hey, I've never read that series. Would I love it????

    I've gotta give it a look-see while I'm checking out that Linda Goodnight's series about brothers....

    Glad you're just tired and not mush, honey!!!

    WALT... Yes, Walt and I have come to an agreement... FINISH THE BOOK(S)!!! :)

    Only Walt knows I'm not kidding. He understands that I may be coming his way, look him up and tie him to a chair....

    Nicely, of course.

    But no food or water until he finishes because clearly he needs a little BIG BAD RUTHY to get 'er done!!!

    Hey, my friend, how's it coming? Progress????? YES would be the correct answer, LOL!

  161. Ruthy, I love your book cover, your dog, your red velvet cake recipe and especially the frosting, your books, and your tips for writing a series! I'd like to write a romantic suspense series. Maybe I will.

  162. I'm back home after a fall break trip! So much to catch up on. It looks like you've all been busy!

    Nice post, Ruthy!! Lots of great info and a fancy gift basket to boot. :)

  163. You are so sweet to me, Ruthy!!! I always feel really special when Ruthy says something nice to me. :-) :-) :-)

    I actually only have two more books coming out, officially, but hope for a whole lot more, very soon! :-)

  164. This comment has been removed by the author.

  165. I love series as it gives us, the reader, the opportunity to continue on with the lives of characters we have fallen in love with between the pages of each book.

    I'd like to ask for prayer for my little four-footed baby. Peppi, my 11 year old poodle has already had two surgeries to remove tumors off his chest. The last was about six months ago. When I told him good bye this morning he had a little soft spot where the tumor was previously. Less then 10 hours later we came home and my mom (she is Peppi's daytime companion) was upset and said the thing on his chest had doubled in size during the day. I checked and 'freaked' out. It was the size of a softball and really hard. My husband called the vet who is less than a mile away and we were told to rush him in. Peppi is running a slight temperature but the vet was totally stumped. He gave Peppi an anti-imflamatory shot (and pills for 10 days) and an antibiotic shot with 10 pills as well. He said he has never seen something enlarge that quickly and be hard not fluid. He said for now he just wants to make Peppi comfortable and hope that the drugs will help by shrinking the 'thing'. I know this is off subject, but my husband adopted Peppi two months after we were married and he is our little boy. We've been praying over Peppi and would appreciate any prayers you all would consider offering up for him. Thank you so much.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  166. I can tell I'm concerned about Peppi, I said my husband adopted him but actually we both did.

    Cindy W.

  167. Thank you for your thoughts, Ruthy!
    I treasure your opinions (in spite of what Mary says)!

    I've had a blast reading the comments today!!

  168. Ruthy, on my first choice of my four unfinished WIPs, I have just surpassed 50k words on the first draft. (It was about 35k when you "theatened" (sorry "prodded") me.) Another 35k or so to go. (Unless I start channeling Julie, which would mean I'm not even half done.)

    Yes, I'm working on the first century India story.

  169. Cindy, prayers going up for Peppi. Family is family no matter how many legs they may have.

  170. Ooooo now carrot cake or spice cake I LOVE!! Is there a recipe that you recommend for either? Over the summer we had zucchinis and my mother made wonderful cake out of those that everyone raved about. Cake is the only way I get my veggies LOL!

  171. Oh gosh Cindy! That's so terrible, hugs and prayers to Peppi and you all from Coco (doggie in my profile pic) and me! xoxo

  172. I love a series UNLESS the other books aren't available. My new rule of thumb is to not start one unless all the books have been written! I doubt I follow that rule but I made it anyway!

  173. VIRGINIA SAID: "FIFTY SHADES OF RUTHY? I'm worried now."

    ROTFLOL!!! Fifty Shades of Snarky, maybe ... ;)

    THANKS, VINCE, for the announcement about the Kiss-ology blog working on IE, but NOTHING will help me catch up to Ruthy now ... :|

    YES, RUTHY ... you and me, kiddo, the only two flunkies in the group, I guess. Just means we have to be tougher, louder and more verbose, which I think we have covered ... ;)

    And we're bumming in the Lessman household because the Cards lost, but thank God there's still one more game ...

    What's next for the O'Connors??? Well, I hope to write trilogies on each of the cousins during WWII -- starting with Faith and Collin's three girls, then Mitch and Charity's twins (I cannot WAIT to write about Henry!!) and then Gabe in that trilogy, etc. BUT ... since A Love Surrendered came out two weeks ago, I have been getting a number of e-mails asking me to write a story for Gabe because she is SUCH a hoot in ALS that people really want to know what happens to her, so I'm toying with the idea of doing a separate book for her or including her in with Henry and Hope. Not sure.

    Lively bunch here today, Ruthy, but then look at the hostess ...


  174. RUTHY SAID: "Of course, for Julie and I the word Novella doesn't necessarily equate "SHORT"... we are works in progress ourselves!!"

    LOL, truer words ... Don't know if I mentioned this before or not, but A Light in the Window was originally supposed to be a novella ... it is now a full-fledged novel because I truly think I may be incapable of writing a novella ... Heck ... that would be like publishing a chapter for me ... ;)

    WALT SAID: "Ruthy, on my first choice of my four unfinished WIPs, I have just surpassed 50k words on the first draft. (It was about 35k when you "theatened" (sorry "prodded") me.) Another 35k or so to go. (Unless I start channeling Julie, which would mean I'm not even half done.)"

    LOL ... you start "channeling" me, bud, and you'll end up as a wired CDQ wearing lip gloss and flip-flops while you write hot love scenes in 40+ degree weather ... ;)



  175. DEB H - So glad you enjoyed "Look-Alike Lawman!"

    JAN D - At last! Someone who's read "Miss Read!" Most people have never heard of her. I love discovering "obscure" writers--and have always LOVED British authors.

  176. Ruthy both series are historical. The house of winslow starts back with the pilgims and goes though the years.
    the second one is on the civil war.

    the brains turning as the day goes on! I am on bookshop duty this afternoon and think it will be a long afternoon. when I am this tired its hard to concentrate to read and if its like Wed it could be very quiet.

  177. Mary C -- I have a contemporary about a ranch that is being subdivided for development ... then the architect's sons discover fossils and that brings all the work to a halt. The inspiration came from reading the Cook books about the 04 Ranch and the news story of a local boy who discovered a dinosaur fossil on a nearby ranch. Of course there was also the time flooding ate away a creek bank and exposed dimosaur bones ... Maybe a fossil series is in order :-)

    Nancy C

  178. Ruthy that is a beautiful story you shared! Isn't it wonderful how your words touched that woman's life.

    I love series. It's fun to see how the different characters interact and grow from one book to the next. Also interesting to find out what happens to the locale. I love series where the characters affect the locale and the locale shapes them.

    Thanks for a "read again several times" post.

    Nancy C

  179. I love series, especially yours.

    Sorry I'm stopping in so late. Spent the afternoon with my cp, working on my series. The day was productive. Came home with new ideas for my next hero and heroine, which is always exciting.

    I'm STILL catching up from M&M. What's wrong with me? The slow tortoise for sure.

    Love your energy, Ruthy. Send me some, okay?


  180. Thanks for your encouraging words, Ruth! Seekerville's success is such an encouragement to others, too! To see that kind of change in a (reasonably) short time! Am looking forward to reading sweetie Elizabeth Mazer's post tomorrow, too!

  181. Playing with bold
    Mary Connealy in BOLD

  182. Ruthy, I adore you. The picture you posted on FB today was too funny, all those guys lined up on the couch. :D

    Mary, you're always BOLD except when you're italics

  183. Oh, FINALLY a fellow writer who wonders what plotters do to find enjoyment in their writing. After over plotting myself a couple months ago, I again have realized I am NOT a plotter.

    Awesome to "spend time" with you as always, Ruthy. I take my hat off to you. ;)

  184. Ruthy, it's ok to be "high school" about this competition We, from the class of 19?? are all in this together, girl!

  185. Anonymous said...
    Ruthy, it's ok to be "high school" about this competition We, from the class of 19?? are all in this together, girl!
    (sorry if this posts twice. I'm still trying to figure this out. You know what school I went to haha)

  186. Susan!!! I was just in Olean as I was researching the new series! I love your corner of our state. It's got to be about the prettiest rolling green mountain region with crazy fun weather.


    I'm so glad you stopped in today! Thank you!

    Jan I have no doubts about you writing a series. And you will totally enjoy doing it!

    Myra.... Well, you beat me, you got classes in! But I didn't realize that... So... THREE of us? Hey, that's actually pretty darn sweet, don't you think?????

    If we can do it.... :) Go for it, Peeps!!!

    Cindy I hear you! That's why so many folks e-mail authors to find out how many books are in a series... Because they want to read them all at once. And what a huge compliment that is to the author.

    HUGE!!!! I'll thank you for Mary because she's out somewhere bothering the innocent and down-on-their-luck.

    Shameless, really. :)

  187. Jillian!!!! Oh, congrats on getting to the final book... but then yes, it's a little nervy to move on, right????

    But so fun to branch out and shape new stories. I'm always working the next group of books in my head while typing the current ones on my laptop... So glad you stopped by!

  188. Okay, my ranch/fossil story is pitched into the 'maybe I can save it by changing it' file ... I would much rather read Rose and Mary's writing :-)

    Nancy C

  189. Susan, better late than never!

    So glad you made it, dear, here... have some apple bread pudding from the cafe! You'll love it!

    I work a book in shifts... I write it. I might be researching others while I'm working on it... and then when I finish it, I try to put it aside for a week or two... I start a new project. That clears my brain. Then a week or so later, I go back to the finished book to polish... add/subtract, etc. I make sure the opening is the way I want it... and then I go back to the new book and write.

    If someone requests it, you can send them the proposal, right? And then take a few weeks to re-polish. But I always work better with two projects going, but at different stages.

    Hey, wanna Coke????

  190. Awww, Derringer looks SO serious. He's one of the GOOD guys, isn't he?

  191. You're all still here??? I just came back to snitch a bit of that apple bread pudding and a cup of coffee (no dessert around my house tonight except stale cookies) and I can't believe the conversation's still going! I might have to stick around to watch the numbers top 200. :)

  192. Wow, y'all took over the comments. Almost 200! Wish I wouldn't have missed the party.

  193. Ruthy,
    First, thanks for the Kleenex hint for your blog. You're right - no award could measure up to the honor that grandmother paid to you.
    Once my eyes cleared, came back to this post - I adore series. It's such fun to get to kmow the characters in depth - the reader becomes part of the characters' family.

  194. When you fall in love with characters & their world you don't want to let them go. Series help you hold on just a little longer.


  195. Cindy! Sending up morning prayers for Peppi...

    I tell my puppy people (we breed Golden Doodles and Golden Retrievers) that you have to go into this purchase knowing you'll say goodbye some day...

    But it's a hard day when it comes to pass. Hoping Peppi has many fun years to go, but so glad you guys found him when you did!!! That's the beautiful side of this story!


    And hey, I had a spare electrified cattle prod around...

    and used it....

    so sue me, Dude when the first contract gets signed!!!! Laughing in upstate!

  197. Melody, you're not alone!

    So many folks do the same thing...

    And then there are annoying writers like me...




    Who can't stop writing about the same area/family/town/line of work...

    Does that drive you crazy or do we snag you quick enough on the first few books that you forgive us????

    I love the face painting!!!