Monday, November 5, 2012

Why We Love Being Seekerville

As we wrap up our
Fifth Birthday Bash
we've got great news.

The kind of news that makes us all LOVE BEING SEEKERVILLE. Love being involved with this blog and getting to share the ups and downs of writing with other authors.

Today we will devote a day to celebrate
Melissa Jagears 1st sale!!!!

And it's great sale.

A three book deal plus a novella to Bethany House Publishing!

YAY! Melissa is joining me at Bethany House!!!!!!

Here's a little bit from Melissa about her book and her journey!

A Bride For Keeps
Book One in the Mail-Order Trouble Series:

A desperate homesteader longs for a wife to share his burdens, but three failed attempts at mail order brides lead him to believe God wants him single. When the prettiest woman he's ever seen agrees to marry him, his joy turns to distress when her past keeps her from desiring anything but a marriage in name only. When a near-fatal wound drives them closer together than either one can handle, will his bride cave to love or will fear keep her armored against his affections?

But keep your eye out for the novella, Love by the Letter, which will debut before then!

By the way, shout out to Myra Johnson for helping with my novel’s pitch many years ago when I was some pregnant stranger that showed up for a meeting in Tulsa.
My writing journey?? You do know I write novels, right? Even in blog comments…Okay, okay, only a few paragraphs….

I wanted to be a book editor in the 6th grade but knew I wouldn’t want to live in a big city like New York, and unfortunately, I didn’t predict the invention of the internet. So I decided to teach English. No “writing since I could hold a crayon and staple little paper books together” stories for me.

Then I had a screaming baby and got bored of washing diapers and reading Bear in the Big Blue House Likes to Eat. (How come toddlers pick the WORST written books to have you read a hundred times over?) After I started writing so my brain wouldn’t atrophy, I found an excellent group of writers through ACFW Scribes. I grew very quickly because Diana Sharples, Anne Greene, Glenn Haggerty, and Naomi Rawlings told me everywhere my writing sucked without worrying about sandwiching every critical comment between a positive. 

After three years of writing, I decided I wasn’t entering contests in 2012. But as a Seekerville Junky, I read through the contest updates and noticed a contest I’d finaled in the year before was low on Inspirational Entries….so I just had to click over. I read through the final judges and prizes and noticed the prizes were gift certificates for next year’s contest, and I realized I had one of those! Well, of course I had to throw something in ten minutes before the buzzer, and I only had one manuscript ready—the one I had decided to give up on. Then it finaled, won, and the editor requested it. I said, “Hold on, I want to try for my dream agent again, maybe she’ll feel better about this novel.” And she did! Five months after winning Fool for Love, Bethany buys a novella and three book series from me. And that’s the beginning of my story.

MARY Again: Whenever one of our Seekervillagers sell it causes a RIOT because we are so happy for you.

Everyone leave a message saying 

And when one of you gets bad news we have ALL been there and feel such empathy for you and so much pride in the hard work you've done and the courage it takes to persevere.

Writing is a lonely business. The hours spent behind the keyboard can't be put in by anyone else. We LOVE BEING SEEKERVILLE because a community of LONERS is honestly an amazing and precious thing!

WE LOVE BEING SEEKERVILLE, knowing all of you, watching you strive and learn and fail and pick yourselves up and strive some more is inspiring and we love coming along for the ride and ANY bit of help we can give you is just a blessing to each of us.

I think one thing that makes us LOVE BEING SEEKERVILLE is that none of The SEEKERS came to being published easily. One of the reasons the Seekers all get along so well is because we took years to get published. We endured countless rejections. We had to get tough. We had to work hard. It's a bond that just has taught us all to roll with the punches and not sweat the small stuff and to TREASURE friends who support us when the going gets tough.

We spent all last month partying because we LOVE BEING SEEKERVILLE and we just can’t come all the way down in one day.

So, today we are extending the party to celebrate
Melissa's 1st sale!

(And just fyi, I've already read Melissa's book Neener, neener, neener!
And it's WONDERFUL.)
And we'd also love to hear your thoughts about the birthday bash. We are wide open to comments and suggestions for how we can make it better. Sound off with any ideas you've got for next year because YES we are planning to be around to celebrate SIX years and a whole bunch more FIRST SALES!!!!
To celebrate I am giving away an ebook copy of my Christmas novella Candlelight Christmas
(I'd give away Melissa's book but it doesn't release until next year!!!)

Candlelight Christmas contains two novella’s The Outlaw’s Gift by Linda Goodnight and The Christmas Candle by Mary Connealy. Candlelight Christmas is available on Amazon only as a Kindle ebook for $2.99.

If you do NOT have a Kindle you can still get a free Kindle app to download to your computer, your smart phone or whatever whiz bang digital device you own.

Click To Buy for $2.99
Any comment gets your name in the drawing for an ecopy of Candlelight Christmas. AND I would really love it if, anyone who reads Candlelight Christmas would go put a review up on Amazon. These ebooks are tricky to know how to promote! I makes me adore the marketing department at Bethany, God bless them!

Candlelight Christmas
Two Inspirational Christmas Stories ...

1. The Outlaw’s Gift by Linda Goodnight
1880s Oklahoma Territory
When drifter Seth Blackstone shows up at Raven Patterson’s homestead, Raven thinks this may be the solution to all her problems. But Seth’s mysterious past is about to catch up with him and could mean disaster for them both.

2. The Christmas Candle by Mary Connealy

Arkansas Ozarks 1883
Gabe Wagner, has left his hectic city life and moved onto Rose Palmer’s mountain. His plans to build a house will tear the heart out of her Ozark Mountain home. Rose learns that what she calls peace and quiet has evolved into isolation and loneliness. As Christmas approaches and she searches for the perfect way to honor the Savior’s birth, she realizes she wants to let Gabe into her life. But to do it, she may have to face a larger world that frightens her while she gives up the safe life she has always known.
Can the search for the perfect Christmas candle and the broken hearts of two little boys bring a solitary woman and a grieving man together?


  1. Congratulations to Melissa!!!!!

    I read Andrea Strong's post on the loop and suspected who your mystery first sale guest would be. :)

    The coffee pot's set.


  2. Wow Melissa! When you sold you really sold! Three books and a novella! You go girl!

    Definitely party worthy news!!

  3. Oh, Helen, there's another surprise first sale coming....she was much sneakier than me.



    Go, baby, go!!

    And this... "I grew very quickly because Diana Sharples, Anne Greene, Glenn Haggerty, and Naomi Rawlings told me everywhere my writing sucked without worrying about sandwiching every critical comment between a positive."

    Uh, no. You must always couch criticisms between two positives and a UPS delivery of the finest chocolate. I don't care if it gets you a three book deal + novella... At least the chocolate must be in the equation there.

    And I don't think I've ever seen the full picture of you there! Just the small profile pic.

    Loving all of this. A month to be thankful!!

  6. Not liking that inspirational poster of the tornado vs small car.

    *turns right around and heads for safety*

  7. P.S. I'm bringing devil's food cupcakes with fudge frosting, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and croissants au chocolat. :)

  8. Thanks for throwing the party Mary!!!!!

  9. Well, Virginia, I'll keep my to-the-point critters, BUT maybe I'll send them the chocolate suggestion, or coconut cream pie or strawberry shortcake or any glazed pastry will do actually.....

    SO I shall bring coconut cream pie and strawberry shortcake to the party. And a dump truck full of chocolate (my 2 year old is very fond of dump trucks at the moment and he'll always eat chocolate, he'll clean up whatever's left.)

  10. So it will be a DOUBLE DAY of first sale parties!!!

  11. Congratulations, Melissa! What a great publication story - with one of my favorite Publishers. :) Looking forward to your series!!

  12. yay!!!! Squee, do you feel the ground shaking my Kansas sister! What an awesome deal. I can't wait to read your books.

    V, I want you for a cp. I can handle chocolate, lots of chocolate, especially since I haven't had any for a while.

    Great party, Mary, and you're right you can't come down in just one day.

    Gluten free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies for every one, fresh out of the oven.

  13. Christina, I would be the worst kind of CP for you... I know zipparooni about Biblical times. :)

    But then, I do have lots and lots of chocolate. We can just exchange pages for squeeing and chocolate.

    Thinking of giving up critiquing and just being an 'encourager' a la Julie H. Steel. :)

    Mary Curry also manages to make crits so painless you don't even know it's happening. :D

  14. Got to love those encouragers, and, I guess the blunt ones too. *g*

  15. Wow, Melissa, BIG TIME CONGRATS to you!!!!! That's fantastic, woo hoo!!!! I'm SOOO happy for you and thank you Seekerville for sharing such EXCITING news with us, LOVE it :) Please don't enter me in today's giveaway, just wanted to extend hugs and blessings Melissa's way *smiling big*

    At Virginia: LOL to your comment about that poster :) I want to persevere, but I'm also heading to safety with that photo!
    Blessings everyone!

  16. Congrats Melissa this is so exciting.

    I loved the party and the different posts. Maybe next year you could have interview some of the readers of the blog who love to read the books but are not authors or aspiring authors to see what they love about seekerville or what they love in a book etc.

    Please dont enter me I bought this book when it first came out and hope to read it soon.

  17. Love the idea Jenny, interviewing the reader-onlies of Seekerville on what makes them love a book/author. I love hearing reader only perspectives, I stalk a particular romance reader forum just because they talk about that kind of thing and since there's no authors in the group, I think they talk freer. It's enlightening.

  18. Congratulations Melissa! I'm so happy for you. =) Bethany House. WOW! Your book sounds really great and I'll look forward to reading it.

  19. Blessings, Melissa! And you keep on plugging on 1HR1K or is it 1K1HR. Monday and need for caffeine.

    Anyway, thanks for your tale of perserverance on a Monday. We all needed it!

    Mary, no need to put me in the drawing. I am about to start your story and will get it read to review. It is tricky about ebooks but not as tricky when it is two great stories!

    Peace and extra heap of blessings, Julie

  20. MELISSA!!! Congrats!!!

    So happy for you and wishing you a zillion sales when A Bride for Keeps releases (and the best reviews ever up around the web).

    As for today, I think I'll bring some strawberries, especially for Melissa as she loves them so much. ;-)

    Now as for crits so painless you don't know what's happening . . . Are you listening, Melissa? I want my next crit to be that way.

    "Insanity." That's what I'd dub that poster of the car and the twister.


    Dream agent too?! WAWZAH!!!!
    (GREAT photo of you by the way... Wonderful!)

    Well Mary, you know how to do it.
    I can't imagine the birthday bash being any better. Truly.

    The guests you lined up, the food, the comraderie, the PRIZES...

    What a blessing y'all continue to be. SO glad the Lord led me to you.

    I've made some good friends here and know that it will be pawmazing to meet you in person, which will hopefully happen while we're still on the planet. HA!

    Onward and upward!

    Helen, thanks for the coffee. I'm up berry berry early. Just had some things to do. Had to check in with my peeps!

  22. Virginia,

    YUMMO. Thanks.

    I'm bringing some freshly made, quasi-healthy oatmeal cookies with Freia 70% dark chocolate mint chunks and almonds. There are a few left after I got them into the container. *where's another napkin?*

    Jenny - super idea for next year. I was at a show this weekend and a Mom came up to the booth to tell me that she bought May's book to read a bedtime chapter to her 11 yr old son and 8 yr old daughter. AND... that it's the only one where they have begged to read just one more chapter.

    That type of feedback does make an author's heart sing!

    I can say that about the Seeker books I've read too. Just one more chapter please!!! :)

  23. Fabulous news, Melissa! Congratulations :)


    Way to go! Three books and a novella. It sounds like God outdid himself delighting you!

    Jackie L.

  25. "a community of loners"

    I LOVE that, Mary.

    Congratulations again, Melissa. You just know a sale off a contest win is extra sweet here on Seekerville. Many, many good wishes.

    And now it's back to work. First day school is open since Sandy.

  26. WHOOO HOOOO, MELISSA!! Congratulations on the multiple book/novella contract!!! Another Seekervillager sets sail for the Mainland!!! LOVE IT!

  27. Congrats Melissa!!!! The party has definitely gotten better with this news.

  28. Mega-congratulations, Melissa!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so happy for you!

    Thanks for the coffee, Helen. I always need my morning coffee.

    And Virginia, those are fantastic chocolate cupcakes? May I have another? Please?

  29. Isn't that just like Seekerville to end a month long party by starting another one?! :-)

    CONGRATULATIONS MELISSA! Any idea of release dates yet? This reader likes to plan ahead.

    As to your question about the birthday bash, Mary. I honestly don't think you could possibly do anything more! Your generosity knew no bounds and you offered such a variety and wealth of subjects and guest bloggers. Seriously, how could you top that?

    And for me, every day can be a Seekerville birthday bash just by stopping by here. Love y'all for sharing the inside scoop of writing and publishing with us. Plus, all your wisdom about writing can be applied to any aspect of life as well!

  30. Fantastic news, Melissa! Huge congratulations on that whole wonderful package of deals and a dream agent! So well deserved with all the work you've done.
    Sappy encourager that I can be, I love your writing! ☺ Can't wait to read the polished product.



    Oh yes Mary, it is soooooooo exciting to be a Seekerville resident. Such TERRIFIC NEWS!.

    And you're saying tomorrow is another surprise.

    Oh my, be still my heart.

    Virginia the cupcakes sound great. I'm bringing pies. Lots of pies with whipped cream and ice cream and oh boy a party.

    Hey get the bonfire started on unpubbed island and lets sail Melissa off in STYLE

    I think if we start a now we'll have plenty of coals to roast hot dogs, grill steaks, and ribs.

    I'm wrapping potatoes now in foil so they can cook in the coals. I have ears of corn too.

    Oh boy oh boy A party.

    And we'll just keep the fire burning through tomorrow. Yippeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Melissa-

    I'm happy dancing with you.


  33. Good Morning, Mary!

    Is your book available on Nook?

  34. Oh my goodness!!! This is the first I've heard of Melissa selling....WOOOOHOOOOOO!!! That is awesome! Congrats to her. :-)

    Happy birthday, ladies!

  35. Huge Congratulations!!!!

    So happy to hear your news. :)

  36. What a great day--and there is more coming! Congrats Melissa! Somehow, I knew this would happen for you when you announced that you had your dream agent, but what a deal! That is super awesome. I am looking forward to the books--it seems an intriguing twist on the mail-order bride hook!

    Celebrate, you deserve it!


  37. YAYAYAYAYAYAY, Melissa!! And to think you were so calm and hush-hush at conference. You'd make an excellent double agent -- or poker player, LOLOL!!

    So proud of you, kiddo. A 3 book sale plus a novella. What a great start for your future.

  38. I am all for keeping the party going! Congratulations Melissa. How we LOVE these stories. Perseverance is its own kind of talent, I think.

    I'm so happy for you !!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks Mary! I've got pumpkin muffins on the way.

    wow, this fall flew by. Partied the month of October away...

  39. CONGRATULATIONS MELISSA!!! I couldn't be happier for you, and I'll look forward to reading your book and telling people, "I knew her when...." Okay, it doesn't go back that far, but I'm so excited for you!

    Mary and all the Seekers, thank you so much for your encouragments and your wisdom. The reminder that you all struggled and "persevered" (loved that terrifying pic by the way), gives me the courage to move forward out of discouragement into productivity.

  40. YAY Melissa!! CONGRATULATIONS on this BIG first sale--WOW!! ~ And I cannot think of any way the Seekerville Birthday month could be improved--it was beyond AWESOME!!! You ladies have really outdone yourselves, and not only the amazing prizes you offer, but most of all the encouragement and support--You can't put a price tag on that! (that may sound cheesy, but it comes from my heart---I promise!). ~ For anyone who needs breakfast have some Georgia Peach OR Pecan pancakes, with real butter and warm maple syrup. Enjoy! ~ And again, CONGRATS to Melissa!! ~ Hugs, Patti Jo

  41. it is still early and look at all the comments, Mary thanks for introducing Melissa and her wonderful achievment with Bethany, "Congratulations Melissa" your stories sound just like the ones I like to read.
    Yes of course Seekerville will be around for 6 and even more years I am sure...
    This group is fantastic and I love to read your stories of each helping one another to move forward.thanks for being there.

    Paula O(

  42. Congratulations Melissa! Awesome news and it sounds like a jewel of a deal.

  43. MELISSA! I am so, so, so thrilled for you!!! Honestly, I cannot wait to hold your book in my hands!!!!

  44. Congratulations to Melissa!! I'm doing a happy dance for you!
    Amy C
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    as a mommy of a three year old, i'm triple impressed with your WONDERFUL news of three books plus novella. (how did you do it? are you stay at home mom, or working mom? either way i am SO impressed)

    i am looking forward to the party that will occur when the book hits the market as well. in the meantime... snoopy dancing with happiness for you.

    i would love to be in the drawing for Mary's gift. i've been meaning to purchase it, but winning it would be cool too.

    Mary, you throw an awesome party.

    As my three year old likes to yell whenever someone does something good: "HOORAY FOR MELISSA!!!!"

  46. Yay Melissa!

    And Mary, we love that you all love being Seekerville!

    Audra, you're right about Melissa being so calm at conference - except, as her roommate, I could sense a bit of tension under that calm demeanor.

    Of course, that could have just been all the coffee...

    And Melissa, as I said at the time, if I had to come in second to anyone in the Fool For Love contest, I'd want it to be you!

    Such a wonderful happy beginning to a stellar career! :)

  47. Congratulations Melissa!!! I met Melissa last year at "Called to Write Conference" we sat across from each other at dinner. What a fun time we had visiting. Way to go girl!!


  48. p.s.
    I think your promo pic is BEAUTIFUL. Forgot to put that in my comment before. It's very lovely.

  49. Congratulations, Melissa.

    What a great success story. You inspire me to keep writing.

  50. Snoopy Dancin' in Missouri for you, Melissa! So, so, so happy for you. Isn't God amazing how he opens doors just when we think a particular avenue is closed? Can't wait to read your stories. They sound great.

    Awesome birthday month in Seekerville, ladies. It got me revved up for NaNoWriMo and I kicked of the first weekend with 10,109 words. I'll keep persevering through my work schedule, although if there is a tornado, I'm taking my laptop to the storm cellar. :-)

    Happy Birthday to you November babies and First Sale ladies. Can't wait to see who's next. I'm ready with my party hat and noise makers.

  51. Don't you love it when good things happen to nice people who also have a great sense of humor? This is right up there with winning the map of Kansas, right, Melissa??

  52. Christina and Melissa are both from Kansas? I didn't realize that? How far from Omaha? We have a great group of ACFW members who gather in Omaha now and then. Not quite big enough to be official but we're there and sometimes Judy Miller comes up from Kansas and joins us.

    YOU SHOULD COME!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know Kansas and Nebraska are BIG STATES!!!!!!!!

  53. Jenny that's a great idea. A READER day on SEEKERVILLE!!!!!

    Tina? Are you getting this down???


  54. I read Melissa's book and it's beautiful and fun to read. She's very talented. So many parts of it lingered for me, Melissa and I still think of it now. Scenes will pop into my head.
    To me I really mark a great book by how it stays with me.

  55. Julie and Jenny both, thanks for getting the book. And I'd really appreciate the reviews. God bless you.

  56. KC Congrats on that mom saying she's reading chapters to her kids. That is such a fun compliment.
    I hope she bought more books!!!!

  57. KAV I'm so glad you enjoyed the party. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

  58. ROSE my book is published through Amazon. No Nook. Amazon dangled some nice lures out if we went exclusively with them.
    You can get Kindle apps free on your computer though so not having a Kindle doesn't mean you can't have my book.

  59. TAMMY TRAIL hi. Thanks for stopping in at Seekerville. :)

  60. CONGRATULATIONS, MELISSA!!!!!!!! I'm tickled for you! So thrilled!!

  61. I agree, Virginia! It's a great photo of Melissa!

  62. Whoo-hoo, MELISSA!

    3 books and and novella to BETHANY HOUSE????

    You, girl, roared out of the gate!!!!

    Mega congratulations on your first sale and wishing for more to come...well, after you get all this done. :)

  63. YEA MELISSA!!!

    So happy for you, my friend :)

  64. Congratulations, Melissa! What wonderful news!

    Mary, we're awfully glad you're Seekerville, too. What a beautiful testimony to the power of godly women praying and working together.

  65. YAY!!!!!!!

    You know I'm thrilled for you!!!!!

  66. Wow, Melissa!!! Congratulations!!! That is HUGE! When you sell, you sell BIG! :-)

  67. Kinda like a really great meal and the dribbles on the front of my shirt, eh, Mary?

  68. A Reader's Day.

    Yes indeedy I am on it.

    That's item 3412 on my To Do List.

  69. MELISSA!!! What fantastic news!!! I do remember sitting around the table at our ACFW chapter meeting and hammering out pitches! I remember, too, that you regularly made the effort to drive a really long way to attend those meetings--a tribute to your determination!

    Mary is so right--We love being Seekerville! Where else do we get to celebrate with so many wonderful friends while we support each other on our writing journeys? Bless you all for being a part of Seekerville!

  70. Yay, Melissa!!! Congratulations on getting published, and wow, just wow on a 3 book deal & a novella!!! Who is your agent lol Congratulations, again!!!

  71. Congratulations, Melissa!!!! How exciting!

  72. Still have a big grin on my face at Melissa's news. Or it could be that I actually slept in my own bed for the first time in over a week and not the recliner meant for a person under five foot. :)

    Mary, I live less than ten miles from Judy Miller, along with two others in Topeka and about three hours from Melissa. There are a bunch more of us in KC, like Sally Bradley (Hi, Sally!)Omaha would be fun.

  73. Melissa!! I am so happy for you! And very impressed. A 3-book deal and a novella!! Wow!! Awesome.

    Your book sounds like something I will love! Can't wait for it.

    Now I'm really curious as to the other first sale!! So much fun!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  74. Soooo happy for you, Melissa! Can't wait to read all those books! ;)

  75. Wow! I was excited that Melissa sold...but to find out it was a 3-book deal and a novella...wowzer!

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

  76. Is Melissa coming to her party??
    Bringing more cupcakes to tide us over...

    Probably dropping kids off at school.

    Hey, melissa, tell us a bit about your series. Did you write all of these at the same time? I know you were working on the novella recently, but when did you write these three? Did you know they'd be a series when you started them?

    What about those sell sheets? Did you hand them out to the Bethany House publishers at conference? How about your blog? Do you think it had much to do with landing a contract? Isn't it the Historical Fiction Index?

    Enough questions? I can come up with more!

    We all want to know how you and Natasha pulled this off! :D

  77. You ladies should make a field trip of it.

    I will definitely let you know next time we meet and you can contact the group and carpool up here. It makes a long, long day though.
    We met in nebraska city once and Judy Miller came to that one, it cuts about an hour off her drive (each way!)

  78. Naomi, I made sure my dessert offerings included strawberries since I was pretty sure you'd show up today. ;P

    And um, the painless crit...I'll try. :) How bout heaps of chocolate???

    Kav, they're vague seasonal release dates at the moment. Fall 2013 is the debut novel.

    Sally, I'll take the encouragement! I'm not saying I don't like encouragement, just that I grew fast because we were focused on making our writing the best. :)

    Sarah, I get to hold your book in my hands before mine, that makes me happy.

  79. DebH, I stay home, I do the finances for my church but that's something I can do from home or in spurts after a church meeting, but otherwise it's stay-at-home. My writing happens after the house is asleep and then I stay up waaaayyy too late! I take a short nap while they are watching their one movie a day (we don't have TV) because I lost my nap with the 2 year old since I'm homeschooling the 6 year old now. And hubby is supportive, he lets me sleep in on the weekend days when he has no obligations because as he said "You're working night shift."

  80. Jan, I think that tension began when I saw that line of Bethany author photos on the Bethany table and thought "I don't belong on this table with all these great authors. But my photo could be there next year." Scary!

    Clari Dees, go Nano, that's a great number for a weekend!

    AND my bday is Wednesday, so it's kind of a fun birthday gift too. Especially the promise of no more robot election calls!!! That's a sweet bday gift indeed.

  81. Oh, no, Tina. The Kansas map by far wins hands down.....or not. LOL. I still like it though!

    Mary, I live on the Oklahoma border of KS so, yeah, Omaha is a touch out of the way.

    And Mary! You are way too sweet with the praise for the book! And a book where scenes and characters live on, that's the greatest praise I can give a book too. They're the ones I keep on my shelf and reread.

  82. Yay for Melissa!!!!!!!! I'm very happy for you!

    And please keep me out of the drawing as I have Candeleight Christmas already. Thanks.

  83. Eva marie, my agent is Natasha Kern--aka super agent! :)

    Virginia, the editor just asked for my one book, right? But Natasha made me make a series proposal pitch. If I hadn't have had an agent I would have just sent in the book asked for, but instead I let her know I had a bit more work to do on the proposal before I could send it in. Well, none of my other books really had any theme tie in to this book besides Kansas. So, I came up with two different series and pitched them to Natasha, and decided to continue with the one she had the least problems with. :) So then I worked really fast at uniting them with a theme and fleshing out their storylines until Natasha was happy.(I'm a plotter, so I normally do a synopsis type thing before I write them anyway.)

    So they aren't even written. I'm going to be a very busy girl!!!! Thankfully, I've written 5 books so I know I can do it, it would have been too scary if I'd only maybe written one other.

    At the conference, I'd already been told that my acquisition editor was moving forward at the publisher to get more opinions. I gave sell sheets to Natasha who was visiting with the other Bethany editors looking at the book so when she talked to them, she had something physical to give them to remind them of her talk with them about the book. Then I skipped my scheduled spotlight to go to Bethany's spotlight so I could introduce myself to those editors after the class since I hadn't gotten appointments with them. And well, one was jumping up and down excited about the book, THAT's when I figured I had a pretty good shot!

    I don't think my platform/blog had much to do with it, but I've yet been talked about for marketing stuff besides them asking me to come up with a novella for marketing purposes, so I don't know.

  84. Congratulations Melissa!!! That is so exciting! I'll be watching for your books, I'm looking forward to reading them.

    Mary, your story takes place in the Arkansas Ozarks! Like, that's where I live :) It's on my 'can't wait to read' list.

  85. Yay, Melissa! So excited for your good news. It's ALWAYS awesome to hear success stories of newly launched writers---a reminder in the tough times that it does, indeed, happen! ;)

    Mary, please enter me in your book giveaway! I'd love to win a copy. You are both such great writers!


  86. So, it really sounds like Natasha, the conferences, one sheets, and a contest had the most impact.

    I was told that you just couldn't sell a series out of the gate like on proposal, without having the books in hand. Now I know that's not true!

    Get your pens, aspiring authors! We're all taking notes on this!

  87. A HUGE congrats, Melissa!!! So VERY excited for you. What a WONDERFUL story of God's plan and YOUR hard work.

  88. Jamie Adams, uh oh. I've got an Ozark woman here. I hope I got things right!!!!

  89. Congratulations Melissa

    I agree with an earlier comment about interviewing the readers of Seekerville for next year’s birthday bash, I think that is a great Idea.

  90. Mary when I read the book I will add a review. I am behind and have 4 review books to read in the next couple of weeks but thankfully I am reading a little more at present. Sleeping a little more too although could have done without the thunderstorm at 3am which just about shook the house.

  91. Oh Melissa !!! What a HUGE accomplishment! Eager to read your stories. Wishing wonderful things for your writing career.

    Nancy C

  92. Forgot to say I now know why I love seekerville so much I am a loner. Have been all my life. (I have so many more online friends than 3d as my friend calls them.)

  93. Oh, don't put me in the drawing I happily already have the book on my Kindle, i haven't read it yet but when I do I will send in a review.

    Again, so excited and happy for you Melissa.

  94. Congratulations, Melissa! And you got Natasha Kern? Double congrats.

    We should have a Seekerville appreciation day. Guess you can't really have that here on this blog, might seem self-serving, but maybe we could have a blog calvacade. (Thinking out loud here. Jump in anyone who might be interested.) We can share what we've learned and how Seekerville has helped us.

  95. Congratulations, Melissa! I look forward to reading your books. I enjoyed the birthday celebration month (partly because October is my birthday month as well). As a reader, not a writer, I say a big thank you to all of you at Seekerville who keep on writing the books I love to read.

  96. Melissa, I saw those strawberries and wondered if they were especially for me. ;-)

    Bouncing up and down editors are always a good thing, aren't they?

    And Ginny, I think selling a series out of the gate depends on the publisher. Our publisher won't take them on proposal until the third novel.

  97. Maybe us Seeker Stalkers should take over for a month, readers and writers a like. *g*


    I LOVE first book sale stories. I'm so happy for you.

    Connie Queen

  99. Congratulations Melissa! Woot! Woot! That is so very, very AWESOME!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  100. melissa
    that is so neat that your husband is so supportive. i'm impressed with you homeschooling your 6 year old too. that's a definite gift and calling. i'm still learning how to budget time wisely with my little guy. i think part of the problem is feeling guilty because i'm at work all day while his daddy takes care of him (daddy works the night shift @ home depot). according to hubby, he becomes chopped liver once mommy comes home.

    i'm inspired by your success. there's hope for me yet.

  101. Thanks everyone for celebrating with me!

    DebH - It works the other way too, I'm chopped liver when Daddy gets home, but then, I kind of agree with them, he's much more fun, and it is SOOO cute to watch them perk up at the sound of the car and run to the door chanting "dadda, dadda"

    And there's always hope as long as we're still alive and working toward the goal. I have had to drop things though, volunteer things at church and um dusting (not that I did that before :) and the house is never spit spot unless I'm having guests and spend a day or two strictly cleaning, and there are other things of course, but I make sacrifices for it!

  102. Oh, I'm late to this party but SO STINKIN' EXCITED TO BE CELEBRATING THIS SALE!!!!

    Melissa, we're so proud of you! This is just joyous, wondrous, raucous news!!!!


    And I'm totally in with Mary's mantra: We love being Seekerville...

    And that idea that it didn't come easy....

    And the notion that it's good to help others openly and honestly and stretch a hand out. Isn't that how the pioneers survived and succeeded? By helping one another and banding together?

    And ethnic groups did the same thing, in a new land, a new country, with a new language!

    Publishing is a lot like that and I just love that we get to be a part of your story... and joy.... and grins!!!!

    Kudos to you!

    I'm bringing apple crisp, fresh and warm, with REAL WHIPPED CREAM so stinkin' delicious as to make you jump for joy!!!!

    Because that's what I'm doing in upstate NY, Melissa.

    I'm happy dancin'in the streets!!!

  103. I'm loving the novella thrown in on top of three books....


    Oh mylanta, that's like sprinkles on the icing on the cake, honey!

  104. Oh Melissa,
    I am sooooo thrilled, overjoyed, over the moon excited for you! Oh my goodness, this is HUGE, MAGNIFICENT, STupendous


  105. oh....and I love Seekerville.
    You all have made such a different in my writing journey.
    Thank you!
    Mary sent me here 4 years ago after I emailed her a crazy-fan message and I've been so encouraged ever since.

  106. Oh dear, was I supposed to also add CONGRATULATIONS MELISSA!!!!

    Just wanted to make sure I was clear

  107. Congratulations Melissa!!! So happy for you!!!
    Jackie S.

    Please count me in the drawing!

  108. CONGRATS to MELISSA!!! That is so awesome! I am so happy for you! Couldn't have happened to a nicer person. May God bless you richly in your writing journey!

  109. Melissa, I couldn't be happier, girl! You have been such a blessing to us girls at CROWN marketing and this is just terrific news! A hearty Congratulations, my friend! woot!

  110. Congratulations, Melissa! I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to read your books!

  111. Congratulations, Melissa! So happy for you!!! You go girl.

  112. So happy for you Melissa! This is wonderful news and Bethany is a great company. : )

  113. Yay, Melissa! That's awesome. And not just one book, but 3. And a novella. What a year!

  114. Melissa!! You get em! PRAISE the Lord! I remember reading an excerpt from a WIP of yours in one Julie's post,I believe. Goodness, I just HAVE to get my hands on one of your books!



  115. Melissa,
    Congrats! Oh my gosh, such wonderful news. I'm thrilled for you and for Bethany House. Aren't they super smart to sign you! Such a wonderful partnership. Can't wait to read your series.

    YAY! Dancing in Georgia!

    Hugs and love!

  116. WOOOHOOOO!!!! Congrats, Melissa! I'm so excited for you!! :) I've been DYING to read your story since I first started following Seekerville and saw some snippets in comments. I'm so jealous of Mary for having already read it, lol! Can't wait for it to come out!!! God bless you in this exciting new chapter of your life! :)

  117. Congratulations Melissa on your sales!! Your book sounds terrific and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I'm a Bethany House reviewer so I will DEFINITELY be watching for it. :-)

  118. congratulations Melissa! I don't usually read historical but this sounds like a good one! just hope I can remember the title - amazon doesn't even have it listed for preorder yet! I'm sure someone will mention reading it though and that will remind me! :-)

  119. Congratulations Melissa!!

    It must be the most amazing feeling.


  120. Three books and a novella? Incredible! A huge congratulations to you, Melissa. I'm happy dancing for you.

    Seekers, your birthday bash was loads of fun and I learned of many fabulous authors and books. I have no suggestions for next year. This one was chock-ful of information, encouragement, inspiration and celebratory confetti! :) What more could I ask for?

    Both of the stories in Candlelight Christmas sound great. Only 49 days until Christmas Day and I'm ready to dive into stories of the season and spirit.

    Please enter me in the contest. :)
    nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com

    Vote! Vote! Vote!

  121. Congrads Melissa on your 1st book! Love to win your book Mary!

  122. Congratulations, Melissa. So happy for you. Well deserved.

  123. Congratulations to Melissa. And no matter what anyone says to the contrary, my humble opinion is that Bethany Publishers buys only the best, together with a very few other publishers. YAY Melissa!

  124. Congratulations, Melissa! What an auspicious beginning to a promising career. Blessings!

  125. I'm so sorry I missed this party on Monday. :(

    I'm not a crit partner, only a beta reader, but I've read it twice, and loved it both times.

    My opinion is only slightly biased by the fact that Melissa is my dearest friend.

    I also, unfortunately, missed all but maybe one day of the Birthday bash. :( Life just totally took over in October.

  126. Congratulations Melissa! I love the story line. Can't wait to read it!