Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Make Your Chicken Cross the Road: A Reminder About the Power of Perseverance with Guest Kristen Ethridge

Thanks so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here in Seekerville with you all! I’ve been an admirer of the Seekerville community for years, and when I got the email inviting me to come hang out with you, well, it was like being nominated for a Golden Globe! (Yeah, I know, you’re wondering…why didn’t I say the Oscars? Because the Golden Globes have better dresses, and we all know that’s the really important stuff.)

My debut book, Saving Gracie, was officially released from Love Inspired last month. And having a debut book on real, actual shelves is not something that would have happened without what we’re going to talk about today—probably the single most powerful tool in your arsenal as a writer—the power of perseverance.

Why do I say perseverance is the single most powerful tool in your arsenal as a writer? You probably thought it was your voice, or your amazing ability to pull together a GMC chart, or something as technical as your laptop that you write on.
But while all those things are important, it’s your persistence that you’ll have to go back to time and time again to get it done.

Your ability to keep on keepin’ on.

Because there will come a time when you want to stand still. There will be a time when you want to throw your hands up in the air and say “that’s it, I quit” or even worse “Why did I ever think I could do this?”

And while I may not know you personally, I do know you’ll reach these times in your life. 

Because everyone does.

Work with me for bit here.

You can’t climb the mountain until you go through the ____________? Valley.

When life hands you lemons, make _________________? Lemonade.

Why did the chicken cross the road? ______________. To get to the other side.

I know, I know…what kind of writer uses this many clichés? But the reason you all were able to answer these questions instantly, the reason we all know clichés is because at their heart, there’s truth.

But did you notice something else about these clichés? There’s truth, but there’s also action.

To get to the top of the mountain, you’ve gotta go.

To take a lemon from sour to sweet, you’ve gotta make.

To get a chicken from a bad situation to a good one, he’s gotta move.

None of these things just occur organically. They are made to happen. And it’s usually more than one thing. The hiker puts one foot in front of the other to cross the valley has to keep doing the same to reach the top of the mountain. The chef both squeezes and stirs. And the poultry? He’s gotta look both ways and get to prancing.

And if a storm comes up in your life, you’ve got to get the umbrella and move to someplace dry.
And sometimes it’s literal.

In September 2008, I was just minding my own business, living on Galveston Island, Texas, when this mess of clouds in the Gulf of Mexico started spinning faster and kept wobbling to the west. Before we had time to take it in, we had to get out of town. We had a small business on the beach and a six-month old baby at home. 

Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island on September 13, 2008 at 2:10 a.m. I’d evacuated to my parents’ house and  gone to bed the night before visualizing what I’d left behind in my house as a scene from Titanic, everything floating up and turning over at the water spilled in through windows and doors and any place else it could gain entry.

When we were finally able to return home, a week later, the water had receded and left behind a mess that pretty much confirmed my Titanic-style dream. The study in our house had once been a porch, and a previous owner had enclosed it. This meant it was less architecturally-sound than the rest of the house. In hurricane terms, it was a total loss. My computer. All my books. 

Every article or handout on writing I’d collected over the years. Every word I’d ever written.

Soggy. Mildewed. Stuck together. 


After almost fifteen years of writing, I was completely back at square one. And in all honesty, I couldn’t even think about writing then. I had a business to rebuild, a home to put back together, and a six month old who celebrated her first birthday the week after we moved back home.
One of the worst feelings of my life was watching the things I’d treasured—I know they’re just things, but they were MY things, you know?—be taken to the curb and pushed down the street by a front end loader. When they took my Grandpa’s chair, the gift he’d been given when he retired, the one thing that symbolized all the good times we’d had together eating peanuts and watching TV before he died when I was seven—they pushed it down the street, breaking it apart as it went, treating it as though it had never mattered. I ran back into our house and out the back door and cried for what seemed like forever as Brian told the contractor out on the street in that loader that he needed to keep his comments to himself and respect people’s feelings.

Into every life, they say, comes a storm. Well, mine was named Ike, and he wasn’t satisfied with just coming into my life. He tried to destroy it.

I’m proud to say that I’m a native Galvestonian. I’m a BOI—Born on the Island—and although I didn’t grow up there, I enjoyed returning there to open our store. The one thing about Galvestonians is they possess a legacy of perseverance. Ike wasn’t the first storm to try and take out Galveston. In 1900, the largest natural disaster in American history hit Galveston Island. They call it the Great Storm, and it reduced Galveston to matchsticks. Six thousand people died. And overnight, “the Wall Street of the South,” the most prosperous city west of the Mississippi, was almost completely gone.

Fifty years before, another hurricane had hit nearby in a town called Indianola. The remaining residents abandoned Indianola and it is no more. The residents of Galveston refused to do that. They built a 15 foot Seawall. They raised every single home, every street, every inch of the habited part of the island more than eight feet. They built a monument to their ability to come back—the Hotel Galvez, the grand lady of the Seawall. 

They persevered. And that’s what we did after Ike.

And that’s what you have to do when you’re in the valley, when life hands you those lemons, when you’re stuck on the side of the street and you can see where you want to be, but you don’t know how to get there. You’ve got to persevere.

The challenges and setbacks are often very real, but you need to find a way to get around them. I often tell my five-year-old to be a problem solver. When something’s not working right for her, even now in preschool, I want her to think of a solution instead of whining to me about the problem.

I finally did finish Saving Gracie, which I’d started just before Hurricane Ike. Of course, I had to scrap it and start over. (And then start over again, actually because it needed some very serious rewriting once I finished the first draft of it.) And then I submitted it out. Thirty five times. And got a rejection every single time. Some were form rejections, some were longer and came after an editor or agent had read the full manuscript. But they were all rejections.

Finally, I told my husband I was throwing it into two more contests and if they didn’t work, I was done. I’d eventually move on to something else, but I was done with Saving Gracie.  I put it in RWA’s Golden Heart contest and Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. And improbably, the manuscript that had received 35 rejections of all kinds became a finalist in the Golden Heart and sold to Love Inspired through So You Think You Can Write.

So, what happens when you’re there—after 35 rejections and you just want to throw your hands in the air and quit?  How do you motivate yourself to take action? Because action, as we discussed earlier, is the key to getting out of these situations.

Well, to quote Nike, you just do it. D.O.I.T.

  • Delegate.
  • Overcome.  
  • Inspire.
  • Timeline.

Delegate: What can you set aside or get help with for a set period of time in order to get this done?

Overcome: What is holding you back?

Inspire: What is waiting for you when you finish?

Timeline: If you truly commit yourself, how long do you need to just get it done?

So, it’s true confession time. And just in time for SpeedBo, I have to admit to you that I’m not quite where I want to be on the goal I set for having Gloria’s story done. I mean, hey, it’s not like I didn’t just give birth a few months ago after months of bed rest, right? But that doesn’t matter. I would like to continue my career with Love Inspired and somehow I doubt they’re going to print 270 consecutive blank pages.

A few weeks ago, I was almost beside myself thinking about it. I’ve finally climbed the mountain—I have a real book on the shelf in a store! There’s new book smell with MY name on it!—and if I look out ahead of me, there’s another freakin’ valley. I finally sell a book and then I have to go expand my family. What WAS I thinking?

And then you know what I told myself? Suck it up, buttercup. Life happens. So, I put together a new plan.

Delegate: I’m blessed to have an in-home child care provider for my baby since I work from home. So I’ve extended her schedule by a couple of hours a day. One of those hours I now spend writing is my lunch break, and I can reasonably flex my schedule to work an hour more in the evenings by checking email during bathtime and things like that so that I have a dedicated two hour block three times a week.

Overcome:  Plain and simple, time. I’m also a pantser, so I need to get rolling to really get writing. Having two hour chunks of time will help with that.

Inspire: Our family goal with my writing is to pay for both girls to attend college with cash. So it’s a long time coming, but it will be well worth it. We also plan to use a portion of the money, along with my annual bonus from the Day Job, to take a family vacation. I may have already looked at a Disney cruise in the Mediterranean next year. It stops in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. Now THAT’S inspirational.

Timeline: I can write about 1,000 words an hour. If I get 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, that’s 6,000 words a week. I need to write 55,000 words or so total. I’m going to round down, because I know I won’t always get that second hour, but I should be able to get in a little more time here and there. But because I’m not a math person, let’s just say 5,000 words a week divided into 55,000 words total… that’s 11 weeks. So again…round number… three months. Can I commit to delegating, overcoming, and staying inspired for the next 11 weeks? Sure I can.

Can you? Let’s take a minute. Think about something in your life that you’re not where you want to be on—and it may not be writing. Write down DO IT on a piece of paper. What can you delegate or postpone to achieve your goal?  Remember, you’re only postponing for a set period of time. What do you need to overcome—what do you need to mentally psych yourself up for? What inspires you? When you achieve your goal, what can you do? And what’s your timeline—if you commit yourself and look at your priorities a little different for a period of time, what is that reasonable period of time?

 Now, Seekers, in the spirit of SpeedBo, who wants to share their DO IT goals?

Cliches are popular because they’re simple ways to express more complicated truths. And the simple truth is that we all know that some times it will be tougher to write than others. But you have to just do it. Cross the valley and climb the mountain. Squeeze the lemons and stir in some sugar so you can drink a tall, cool glass of lemonade.  

Make your chicken cross the road.

Kristen Ethridge began writing as soon as she placed a Husky pencil on a Big Chief Tablet. Saving Gracie, her debut book from Harlequin’s Love Inspired line, was a February 2013 release and is still available online.  When she’s not creating stories of Happily Ever After combined with the Greatest Happily Ever After, a relationship with Jesus, she’s creating memories in the Lone Star State with her husband, two adorable red-headed children, and two self-important poodles. A Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, Kristen talks about life lessons learned while trying to balance being a wife, mother, day job employee, and author over at Real Time Mama, her blog at www.kristenethridge.com, unless she finds herself out of Real Time…which happens, as any mama and writer can attest. She can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kristenethridgebooks and on Twitter @kristenethridge.

Saving Gracie

Running an ESL school is hard work, but helping immigrants has always been a dream of Gracie Garcia's. When her school is threatened by real-estate developer Jake Peoples, Gracie hopes that getting him to attend a class will change his mind. But a lesson in love was something neither one signed up for. Learning about Gracie's work reminds Jake what family is really about. But just as he's starting to come around, a revelation about his past threatens his future with Gracie. When things look their bleakest, can Jake save her dream...and his place in her heart?

Tina Radcliffe here. 

Thank you so much to Kristen for sharing her story. I needed tissues for this one.

Today Kristen is giving away one copy of Saving Gracie to a commenter. And to honor Kristen and her P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E, Seekerville is giving away a 20 page, first chapter critique to one commenter. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Speedbo Prizes Listed Here


  1. Hey Kristen,
    I loved your post. What grit you have!

    Perseverance is my ONE word for the year so here's hoping it works as well for me as it did for you.

    Welcome to Seekerville!

  2. Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your story with us. Loved it!

    There's coffee set to brew for early morning consumption.


  3. Kristen,

    Wow, I'll say it backwards. Wow. And here I am thinking every time my chickens starts across the road it gets hit by a truck, but I've never lost everything in a storm. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    I've been working on my story and my weight. Trying to take small chunks of life at a time and not discourage myself to tears.

    I have a total gym set up in my garage and have been diligently using it every day. I started this journey a few months back and was on par and starting to get in better shape, when I pulled my back and was literally put out of commission for exercising and even walking and sitting for over two months.

    Now I'm back... literally, and am able to work out more and actually sit for longer periods of time to work on the computer.

    blessing on your new release.

    thank you again

    Tina P.

  4. Isn't that a marvelous, marvelous witness to all of us!!! Welcome to Seekerville Kristen!@!!!

    Thank you for sharing your heart!

    And chickens.

  5. Hi Kristen:

    I just love “Saving Gracie” because every word carries the aura of authenticity. It’s obvious that you’ve lived the island life.

    As much as I enjoyed “Saving Gracie”, I’ll enjoy “Gloria” even more. That is, if you can find a hero strong enough to deal with her. Maybe you can be inspired by watching the "The Taming of the Screw”. The stage is set. You have the characters, the location, the life experience, the track record, and plenty of persistence. You just need a hero who will capture the Glory!

    Nothing builds persistence faster than a worthy challenge. As Capt. Kirk would say, “Make it so.”


    P.S. You gave a wonderful talk in Tulsa. Thanks again.

  6. Wow, wiping my eyes!!

    I love Galveston. Iw ent there when I was 18 and swam in the ocean. SHOCKING. Like bathwater. So weird for this Oregonian.

    And Kristen helped me with my math the other day, so I'm thanking her double, hahahaha!

    Seriously, I have some major tasks ahead of me and I need your DO IT plan.

    Have you looked 529 plans? Our state also has a plan where you purchase the tuition for four years at TODAY'S tuition and fees, and it's gauranteed when your child gets to college. Works with any schools accredited and able to accept federal tuition plans. Sort of like the forever stamps.

    My grandparents were very lovely and did this for my four kids who were already here (before my grandparents passed away).

    We joke the last two are going to have to be geniuses or win the lottery. :)

  7. Kristen, What an amazing testimony you have! Your post was fantastic and has encouraged me to make a schedule to write. I have a book proposal at an agent for consideration for representation and I want to be able to say that the first draft of my nonfiction is ready when she calls with good news!! (faith thinking and speaking!)
    Blessings on all your endeavors!

  8. Thank you for the inspiring post today Kristen and congratulations on your debut novel!

    I would love to be entered to win a copy of your novel.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  9. Oh, Kristen, what a wonderful story you shared with us... I'm so delighted with it, with you, with the images you gave us of keeping on... perseverance... faith, hope, goals.

    Kristen, you are spot on and I'm so happy you're here! And BABIES.... Oh, I am lovin' me some babies here in upstate!!!! :)

    Bless you! Here, have some chocolate.

    Keep writing.

    This is just delightfully awesomely inspirational.

    Now I want to come visit Galveston.

  10. Hi Kristen,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I read every word and some parts twice. I'm pretty sure I'll be back here for a pep talk after work today.

    Thanks so much! Please toss my name in the pot. PERSEVERANCE! Thanks!

    Jackie L.

  11. What a fabulous post. I have read books about all the storms you mention. When they write books about them, you know they are life changing. Says the girl who has weathered North Carolina hurricanes.

    I started Speedbo at the same time as my screen porch contruction began. Today the porch will be finished but I am still working on the book. If I can write with drills and hammers going, I can get the book done by the end of Speedbo in the silence.

    Blessings to you!

    Peace, Julie

  12. Definitely toss my name in for the book and/or critique.

    Peace again, Julie

  13. Wow Kristen! I can't imagine what you went through, but you personify perseverance. Thanks for sharing and after your story I've got no excuse for not sucking it up and getting it done.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Wow, I repeat so many other wows. Kristen what a testimony you have given us here in Seekerville. Thanks for coming and sharing.

    It always amazes me how people come back after a tragedy hits. I think they make you realize what truly matters and material things aren't it. Hurricane Ike featured in Current of Love so I am familiar (only at a research level) with what you dealt with. Again, I say WOW

    And what an inspiration for us to persevere. Thanks again.

  15. D.O.I.T.





    This is going to be a poster.

  16. What an inspirational post! Thank you for sharing your story. I live near the gulf in Alabama and I've had several near misses with hurricanes, but I've never lost everything. A few weeks without power seems such an inconvenience, until you think of those in the direct path of the storm.

    So we have two choices...Give up? or Start over? Sounds like you made the right choice. Saving Gracie is on my TBR list. I'm hoping to read it after Speedbo.

    Enter me for the book and the critique.

  17. Kristen, I loved this post. The call to action two-fold really challenged me. In a good way. Thanks for sharing a part of your story with us. So inspiring! I'm definitely going to remember this post and the necessity of action.

    Congratulations on the newest baby, and on your book release!

  18. Hi Kristen
    Your story was what I needed to get revved up. We were under a tornado watch last night and I had to remind myself that I'd emailed my last chapter to myself and daughter in case everything got blown away.

    Here's what I'll do:

    D - delegate hubby to run to the store for me.

    O - overcome that internal editor

    I - proving I can do this will inspire me

    T - With 12 days left, if I write 2000 words a day, I'll make it.

    You're right - perseverance is the key.

  19. Thank you Kristen. Congratulations on your debut. It sounds wonderful! I love what you're doing to hit your goal and I hope to hear about your next sale, soon!

  20. Congratulations on your book, Kristen!

    What a powerful post and great testimony. I remember Ike. We were vacationing at Gulf Shores and watched the storm make it's way to Texas. The surge filled the hotel's pool to the top with sand.

    Do you know why the chicken crossed the playground?
    To get to the other slide

  21. Perseverance!!! The most important thing for any writer to have!!! So true, Kristen! And I love that chicken thing. So hilarious! But we must examine those chickens' motives, their Goals, Motivations and Conflict!!! It's our job. Sorry, chicken. If a writer doesn't do it, who else will?

  22. I absolutely love this post. So inspiring. I love the D.O.I.T. list!

    Congratulations on your debut release! I love the cover, too.

  23. Great post - thank you for sharing your story!

    I'm in one of those 'want to quit' weeks, though nothing so awful as a hurricane, but I'm pushing through.

    Today - a bit of editing is on the agenda. Then teaching. Then more editing. I'd like to have this MS gone through at least once by the end of the week :).

  24. Good morning & thanks for the much needed coffee this morning! I love how the posts for Speedbo are also posts for life, which is what keeps me coming back even though I am not a writer! Going out to look for your debut novel now, Kristen. I hope you all have as fantastic a day as you are.


  25. Welcome, Kristen! As a former Houston resident (13 years!), I'm familiar with Galveston and have walked the seawall many times. We'd already moved to Oklahoma by the time Ike hit, but the scares from Katrina and Rita, and of course the repeat flooding from earlier tropical storm Allison, were enough. I can't even imagine the devastation of losing everything as you did. Heartbreaking!

    So congratulations on persevering! I'm well acquainted with that subject as well, seeing as how it took me 25 years, more than a dozen book mss., and over 200 rejections before I finally received a contract! During that time there were a lot of "close calls," so I have to believe the delay was all about God's perfect timing. We don't always recognize how He's preparing us or why until we're looking in the rear-view mirror.

  26. Welcome to Seekerville, Kristen! Your story of perserverence in the valley touched me deeply. If you can handle the devastation of Hurricane Ike and regroup, we can surely protect time to write, to keep on keeping on. Thanks for sharing!!

    Congrats on your debut! And that Golden Heart final! And that precious new baby!


  27. Wow, Kristen, a hurricane is such a great reason to not get a book finished.
    I think it may be the best reason ever.

    Way To Go!!!!

  28. A Hurricane and a baby.

    (which some may say are the same think...metaphorically)

  29. Chickens GMC

    Goal: To Get To The Other Side
    Motivation: Plead the Fifth
    Conflict: ???

  30. I was thinking of Perseverence for some reason the other night.
    You know, I look back on those ten years I spent writing without getting published and I don't remember a single time wanting to quit.
    I'm not sure why? Honestly, in some ways, I think I'm a little abnormal. I just loved to write. Sure I wanted to get published, I wanted it BADLY. But to me the two weren't necessarily connected.

    I just always loved writing. I loved all of it and if I never got published I don't think I'd have ever stopped, and doubt I ever will.

    Is that how others feel?
    I suppose in a way my outlook was almost hopeless. To me getting published was just such a wild fantasy...it ranked up there with having some Hollywood producer come up to me in my small Nebraska town and saying, "I want to make you a star!"

    Aren't most writings compulsive writers? Can any of you stop, really?

  31. BTW, I always figured the chicken was just stupid. They probably wanted to get to the other side because it was in front of them and they lacked the sense to just stay where they are.
    I've worked with chickens.
    They're dumb.

  32. DOIT
    in French
    Means “Must”!

    It’s not an option.
    It’s an imperative!
    It’s not a goal.
    It’s in the same category of those things you must do like breathing and wearing clothes.


    We always make time for those things we must do.

  33. The chicken was taught in school that the grass is always greener on the other side of the road. His teacher, Chicken Little, was unfortunately killed by a meteorite and probably would have been safer on the other side of the road had he followed his own advice.

  34. He he he, Vince. The perfect chicken tale.

  35. Then the chicken who persevered. But it took a great storm in his life to get him across the rode. Okay so it wasn't quite a storm, they chopped his head off, left him blind, but after that the headless chicken became famous and traveled the world for a year or so.
    True story.


    Perhaps the great peril the chicken went through taught him to trust and showed him how blind we truly are and the best way to get across the road was in the arms of the one who could see the future.

    Put me in for the giveaway


  36. You forgot the Little Red Hen, who is holding a TERRIBLE grudge against everyone, even those worthless chicks she spend her life feeding.

  37. What do you mean, true story????

    Headless chicken true story????

  38. Now Mary's IS a true story.

    Those thankless chicks. They never call. They never write.

    All I get for Mother's Day is a bag of seed.

    I mean all SHE gets for Mother's Day.

    1. I will gladly send you some seed, Tina. I'm very kind like that.

  39. http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/story.php

    Read about him here. Names Mike

  40. Great post. I am a big fan of perseverance AKA act like a bulldog and don't let go of it till it is done. My dad was big on that virtue and I learned it well. Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  41. Kristen,

    I needed to read your words today. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. I recieved an email yesterday and at the end of it said. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming - Dora from Nemo. I'll remember those words when I think it will never happen. Just keep swimming.

  42. Mary -

    I should clarify the "I want to quit" has to do more with seeking publication that quitting writing. Don't think I could do that.

    But I did read through several chapters of that MS this morning... and a few more on the agenda for tonight [along with laundry...]

  43. Oh my goodness, Seekerville! You're blowing me away (hurricane humor!). I love all the comments. I have had conference calls for the day job all morning and have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off (see, I could do this all day!) and then I come over here and see all the inspiration and awesomeness.

    I love it! Ok, I have to find a good way to respond to all of you. Give me a second. Whew!

    And thanks again for having me here in Seekerville today. AND for sharing your chocolate. (Obviously you've heard about me...)

  44. Kristen, what an inspirational post!! And so well written, I can totally understand how you sold.

    Thanks so much for sharing your tips for persevering! I think I need a little more of the "I." I'll be making some plans for my income. :)

  45. Tina P., good for you for working on getting healthy! You inspire me.

  46. Kristen, your post hit home for me so much that I'm printing it out and putting it up on the board above my monitor. I can always count on Seekerville for inspiration and camaraderie! I just finished Saving Gracie a week or so ago and loved it!
    Blessings to you and your family and continued success on your path as a LI author!
    Christina Lorenzen

  47. Kristen, I had tears reading about your grandfather's chair.

    Such a tug at my heartstrings!

    I stood on the boardwalk in Sandestin, FL, as Ike washed ashore with huge waves and pounding surf. Amazing and it was only the fallout. Nothing like the actual hit. So tragic for Galveston Island.

    So courageous and patriotic to rebuild. That is the American spirit at work.

    Wishing you blue skies and sunshine and lots of success with your stories. Saving Gracie looks wonderful.

  48. Kristen,

    Thank you for your post on Perseverance! I was there, in the valley when I read it. Now I'm ready to get back on schedule with my writing. You make it so simple.

    Thank You,

  49. Mary—I love it. I think perseverance is one of those words that can apply to so many areas of our lives. It is a great word to have for the year! Here’s hoping 2013 is AWESOME for you!

    Helen—Thanks for putting the coffee on.  I don’t actually drink coffee—it stunts my growth—but I know there are lots of others who will be glad to join in. As for me, green smoothie or coconut water kefir, anyone?

    Tina P—I’m totally proud of you! I have been on PT since the baby was born because she messed up my back even more than it already was. Last night I finally was able to start doing a workout again. It’s time to get some of this baby fluff to move on outta here. Rolls are cute on her, not so much on me. Great job on your dedication and perseverance to your Total Gym! I love that it is paying off!

    Tina—Thank you for hosting me!

    Vince—You’re so awesome. Thank you for being such a great cheerleader. And thank you for recommending me to the Seekers. I’m so stoked to be here today! Just wait until you see what I have in store for Gloria. Oh my!

  50. Virginia—LOL! I have said that my girls can major in anything they want as long as it’s in the school of business at Baylor. My husband and I are both Baylor grads and my great-aunt left her entire estate to Baylor for a series of scholarships in the Hankamer School of Business. I must find a way to make this work out for the girls. :) And BTW…it wasn’t really my math. It was my husband’s. I just took credit.

    Edwina—Thank you for your sweet words. I’m so excited to see you’re committing to that schedule and I am cheering for you all the way! We can do this together. :)

    Cindy W—Thank you for stopping by! I’m so glad you want to enter to win Gracie’s story. Good luck!

    Ruth—First off, THANK YOU for the chocolate. My reputation obviously precedes me. It was almost 85* yesterday and sunny in Galveston, so come on down. I’m actually not there anymore, so drive through Dallas on your way down and we’ll hang out. The baby just turned 6 months yesterday, so she’ll be happy to give you a big gummy grin on your way through. Thanks for your comment—and that chocolate!

    Jackie—Thanks for reading…and re-reading! Good luck in the drawing and best of luck to you on persevering with your own goals!

  51. Julie—Now that your porch is finished, you need to take advantage of it and finish your book out there! I’m totally cheering for you to finish your Speedbo challenge (and to avoid any future hurricanes that blow your way)!

    Terri—If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that EVERYONE has their own hurricanes. They’re different for all of us, but everyone gets distracted and disrupted from time to time. It’s all about the comeback. I’m cheering for you as you persevere to meet your goals!

    Sandra—Thanks for reading. It’s such a privilege to be able to share with the Seekers today. There are inspirational stories all over the place as the folks here are all pursuing their dreams. It’s great to be in a place with such a big heart and such determination—now THAT’S inspirational!

    Tina—I love the poster idea! Dear Nike, just look the other way please… :)

    Bridgett—THANK YOU for putting Gracie on your TBR list! I hope you enjoy her story! Gracie and Jake both have the choice to give up or keep going as well. If you like perseverance, I think you’ll like the book. Keep dodging those hurricanes…seriously, they’re just no fun! And good luck with Speedbo—you can D.O.I.T.!

  52. Jeanne T—Thanks for the congrats—the baby is definitely a keeper—and for clicking with the post. I love that you were inspired by it on more than one level. I’m definitely cheering for you and your writing goals!

    Elaine—AWESOME!!! THANK YOU for sharing your D.O.I.T. goals. It takes a lot of courage to put them out there for everyone to see. You are SO RIGHT. You CAN do this and you WILL be so inspired once you see what you can do. I am totally cheering for you and can’t wait to happy dance with you when you reach the goal!
    True story: I had both of my kids out of the hospital, without so much as a Tylenol. Getting through the experience successfully showed me I can do ANYTHING and I remember it often when I need to remind myself that I’m stronger than I think I am. (But that’s a whole ‘nuther blog post).

    Debra—Thank you! I will definitely keep the Seekerville crew posted on what’s coming next. :)

    Jamie—LOL! That’s a good one! Love it. Isn’t it kind of weird to be on a vacation not far from where a news story is happening? A few weeks ago, we were on a Disney cruise at the same time as the stalled Carnival boat. I kept looking around our nice boat with great meals and working toilets, feeling so badly for the people not too far away whose vacations were not going as planned (and as it turns out, a friend of ours from Galveston was on there…for his honeymoon!)

    Melanie—Yes! I think you’re totally right. It’s either us or poultry psychologists.

  53. Erica—Thank you! And yes, a definite salute to the Harlequin art department. I love this cover. I think they did such a great job.

    Carol—You can do it! I know your manuscript is going to look great by the end of the week. :)

    Marianne—Isn’t that the truth? One of the things I love about writing is that the tools to be successful as a writer are the same basic tools to be successful in life. Thank you for picking up Saving Gracie! I hope you enjoy the story. :)

    Myra—You are totally right. God’s timing is perfect. We don’t always understand while we’re waiting, but when the plan comes together, it’s always great to look back and see how yes, it couldn’t have worked out any other way.

    Janet—Thanks! It was definitely a big year last year. But I sure enjoyed every minute of it. :)

  54. Mary—The five year old reminds me far more of the hurricane than the 6 month old.  And I think you’re right. I started writing in elementary school, long before I knew anything about the “business” of writing. I just wrote because I loved it and because it’s a great way to get stuff out of my head. Imaginary people talk to me. And this is the only place I can say that safely without getting committed on some kind of psych eval.

    Tina—CHICKEN GMC!!! YES! I love it!

    Vince—Great way of looking at it. And I love that after writing a book with all kinds of Spanish in it, I now have a reason to bring French into the discussion.

    Carrie—I think that’s one of the greatest lessons parents can teach their kids. I think my kiddo is going to have “be a problem solver” inscribed on my headstone because I say it to her so often. I want her to know she can do anything as long as she isn’t afraid to try and try and try again in order to achieve her goal. Right now, it’s reminding her that she CAN turn the light on in the bathroom if she remembers to bring her stool. Twenty years from now, it’s going to be something much bigger, but it’s never too early to start trying to try.

    LaShaunda—I think Dory was very wise. Sometimes, all you can do is ‘just keep swimming.’ The good news is that swimming is different than treading water. Treading water keeps your head above water, but it keeps you in one place. But if you keep swimming, eventually you’ll get where you’re going—swimming is about motion and direction.

  55. Missy—I’m a total Dave Ramsey fan and the reason I knew I needed to put some structure around the “I” for me. I keep hearing him say that if you don’t have a plan for your money, it will have a plan of its own.

    Christina—THANK YOU for reading Saving Gracie and for your sweet words! And I’m so glad the post resonated with you. I’m totally cheering you on from that printout above your monitor!

    Debby—It’s taken me literally years to work through my feelings on that 10 minutes with the chair. The good news is that God is gracious and that I will see my Grandpa again—not just a recliner worn out from lots of love. And the second bit of good news is that there is definitely sunshine and blue skies out today! I love this time of year.

    Nichole—I’m so excited to hear you say you’re ready to climb back up the mountain. You can D.O.I.T.! I’m cheering you on and can’t wait to hear that you’ve achieved your goals!

  56. Kristen, this is great stuff! You powered through, no matter what happened.

    Loved the caption for the chicken about not having their motives questioned. Too funny!

  57. Pam, the minute I saw that picture, I knew THAT was the photo which must accompany this post.

  58. Too late. I already created the poster and put it on Facebook.


  59. Kristen, is Gloria a secondary character from Gracie's book?

    Two G's, did you notice? Any significance to these heroine names?

  60. How do you maintain boundaries, while working from home? I am new to the work at home gig.

    How do you ignore a household chore screaming in your face during writing time?

    How do you ignore a writing need during non writing time?

    And of course the most pressing question is...how do you avoid writing butt. The phenomena that occurs by thinking you must be in that chair 24/7 unless in your case, babies call?

  61. Tina-

    1) L.O.V.E.I.T.

    2) Their names were specific. They are really Graciela and Gloriana. However, in English, that basically is Grace and Glory--two really important attributes of God, so that's how they got picked. :)

    3) Well, I confess, I have a nanny. I actually just got a new one this week who is full-time, as opposed to the part-time one I've had for the past 3 months. She helps me with stuff around the house and childcare. However, I am VERY good at ignoring household chores. Ask my mother.

    If something strikes me during non-writing time, I either email it to myself or make a note on my phone, which is with me at all times because I am an iPhone addict. My mother has plenty to say about THAT too.

    I got put on bedrest in month 4 of pregnancy when baby threatened to jailbreak way too early. May will be a year...and I haven't moved off my bed. So fluffy and comfy. And it's an adjustable foundation--it's a bed! It's a chair! But I do stay here a lot just because I have a full time job as well.

    As for your boundaries question, well, my answer to that is that I don't have any. That's how I (at least try to) get done what I have to get done...I'm blessed to be able to flex some things with my job here and there. So like I said, I'll write on my lunch break while the nanny is here and then catch up on emails during bathtime in the evenings. I tend to use my time creatively, so I don't have hard and fast boundaries. That works for me, but probably wouldn't for someone who is very type A or really needs a schedule.

    Does that make sense, Tina?

  62. Wonderful post, Kristen - and congrats on your perseverance and BOOK in PRINT!!! WOOHOOO!!

    My goal for the next 30 days is to finish my historical romance.
    I have 60k of 90K done.
    I WILL get there!

    I'm Determined.
    And I totally get the flexible brain/time thing!!
    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!

  63. Thanks for the inspirational post today! Amazing!

    Had two fun things happen today! I got home and my Harlequin order had arrived. I got Tina's, Missy's and Janet's books! So thrilling to know the women behind the books.

    And then... I found out I won a book from Julie!! How wonderful is that! A little pick me up in the middle of more grayness and snow!!

    While I'm on a roll, I'll put my name in the hat today. Gracie sounds like a wonderful character.


  64. Pepper-That is an awesome goal. You can totally do 1,000 words a day. Try the 1K1HR challenge. Thanks for putting your goal out there so everyone can cheer with you!

  65. Sue--You are set for some GREAT reading from some GREAT ladies! Awesome! :)

    You ARE on a roll!

  66. Great motivator, Kristen. One thing that has been lacking is my health. A few weeks back I pretty much told myself I just need to do it. I wanted to run. Me, run! Kind of laughable. I went to the gym, started on the elliptical because I was determined to defeat that baby, which meant lasting longer than two minutes. After five minutes I got on the treadmill and amped up the pace to a fast walk. Then I heard Just Run, Just do it. Try it.

    I did.

    I told my mom that no matter what is going on in my life I find the time to write. Sometimes it takes me a few days to adjust to a new schedule, but I get there. In a little over three weeks time I'm up to 15 minutes on the elliptical and on Saturday I ran for ten minutes out of my fifty minute power walk. My goal is to run a 5k by fall.

    To make things a challenge on the writing front is that the first quarter of the year is always tough on me because of business stuff. The last few weeks have been absolutely hectic. Yesterday, I determined I would find some time to write each, even if it was only ten words. This morning, with only a few minutes, I typed out 84 words. I'm proud of those words.

    Thank you for the encouraging words they'll be helpful as I go through the soreness of reshaping my body.

  67. Wait a minute. Are you still on bed rest?

  68. Ohhh, Sue Mason you sweet thing.

    Today is release date for our April release books. Thanks for the mention. Swak.

  69. Welcome Kristen! Love your post--wow! I'm sure you have inspired many other writers (and moms) with your experiences. I'm so sorry you had to deal with Ike, but thank the Lord you and your family were safe and you're stronger for enduring that time. ~ Congrats on your debut book (love that cover!). And I'm thrilled you have REDheads *smile*. My 3 kiddos are all redheads (which still amazes our families) and they are blessings. ~ Please put me in the drawing for your book, and enjoy the Georgia Peach Cobbler I baked when I took a break from my SpeedBo WIP. ~ Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  70. Christina--I'm so proud of you! That's awesome. Maybe we can virtually run together? My husband runs a website dedicated to Baylor sports and one of their members posted something a while back about raising money for a hand cycle. He has a form of muscular dystrophy but he's not content to let it define him. He wants to get this hand cycle and get out there and 'run' the Bearathon back at Baylor this next year. I told my husband that if Mitch could run a marathon on a hand cycle, I needed to get my lazy tail going and at least be ready to join him for the 10K. What was my excuse?

  71. Tina--No, now I'm just too comfy. And my study/office was repurposed into the baby's room. So until my writing brings me enough change to buy a new house with an office, I think I'm going to keep writing from my nice, adjustable, king-sized bed. (If I adjust the foundation right, it's like a big chair. I'm totally like those people you used to see in the commercials on daytime TV for the Craftmatic adjustable bed...)

  72. Patti Jo--How did you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE peach cobbler? If it's ok with you, I'm going to throw some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla (you Texans know what I'm talkin' about!) ice cream on top.

    And I might be making a stop at this BBQ place near my house to get some of their absolutely incredible cobbler tonight--you can taste the butter in the dough--just because I know I will not be able to stop thinking about it!

    So excited to meet a fellow redhead mom in here! Seekerville has everything! :)

  73. Kristen, your words are so powerful! Thank you for sharing in Seekerville today.

    I have tears in my eyes as I read of your grandfather's chair, while I sit here at the secretary desk my grandmother gave me because we were both teachers. We understand those are just things, but I empathize with your feelings.

    I will remember to keep my focus on the ACTION--"gotta go, gotta make, gotta move!" And D.O.I.T.!

    Congratulations on your writing success and your precious family! I'm cheering you on towards MANY future books!

  74. 10 K.


    In your spare time.

  75. Thanks, Sherida! How fun that you have grandparent furniture too! I actually inherited most of my first apartment's worth of furniture from my great-aunt...most of that was of necessity, not sentimentality, though. Ha.

    Definitely keep your eyes on the prize--action is the only way to get through to the goal of results! :)

  76. Tina, let's say it's a stretch goal. At the rate I'm going, I'll be walking and I'll make it 1K.

  77. Yay, Christine! We're all proud of you!

    Off to walk...

  78. 1 K is still an honorable goal. This is how you prevent writer's butt. It's all good.

  79. great post today. i love D.O.I.T. worth the price of admission and then some. a very wonderful testimony to perseverance too.

    thank you so much for sharing!!! (although i feel wimpy because i barely get words written with only one three year old in the house and no hurricanes knocking my house down...)

  80. oh, forgot to add - i like the fact that all the cliches had a call to action. sorta like the keep swimming (and not treading water).

    action and direction. good to remember. like my pastor used to say, it's easier to re-direct a moving car over a parked one (just in case one is worried they are moving in the wrong direction... God can fix that).

  81. Kristen, thank you for sharing your remarkable, inspiring story!
    I heard a preacher last night speak on ministering out of brokenness. And you have certainly used your heart-shredding experience to help us in overcoming our own obstacles! Thank you so much! God bless you in your writing!

  82. Kristen, I think you said it. I see miracles almost every day of people not letting things define them, so there should be no excuse for me either.

  83. Welcome to Seekerville, Kristen! The key to success in writing is certainly perseverance. It's not always easy, but it's necessary.

  84. Oh, DebH...my heart goes out to you, trying to write with a toddler. I think we need a writers-with-little-kids support group! It's so hard to go to the bathroom by yourself, much less finding time to actually write! I am right there with you.

    I'd never realized the "action" thread in all those cliches until I started writing my talk on perseverance from ACFW Tulsa. It was a real eye-opener for me once I started to connect the dots!

  85. Natalie and Cara Lynn, thank you. :) It has been such a thrill to be here in Seekerville today. Believe me, I have been equally inspired by all of you. I have so enjoyed our time together today!

    Please don't be strangers! I promise to be around here chatting with y'all more often if you'll promise to come visit me on my Kristen Ethridge Books Facebook page and my kristenethridge.com blog!

  86. Wow. Just wow.

    I've been absent a few days. I babysat my granddaughters over the weekend and then came home to a bestest friend who had her heart broken. So I've been letting her cry on my shoulder via telephone and it's kinda hard to type and do that too. But you have to take care of your friends. She was a rock during my divorce so I owe her.

    However, I'm back in the saddle tonight and have 600 words toward my 1000/day goal. And since my overall goal is to enter a contest with a May 31 deadline, I'm still in very good shape since it's a novella and I'm at 24125 words right now with a chapter or maybe two left to write.

    Thanks, Kristen, for sharing your story. I know it must have been difficult to re-live that time. We had major tornadoes go through here in April 2011 and just devastate the area. People are still putting their lives back together here and in several other parts of the state that were affected as well. Mother Nature can be a real bear when she gets riled up.


  87. Marilyn--Go get those 600 words! I'm cheering you on--that's awesome that you're so close. Good luck in your contest.

    And no matter what else we have to do in life, I think we always have to make time for those who need to lean on us. We never know when we'll need to lean on them. Hugs to your friend.

  88. Oh Kristen, what an inspirational post! I must confess, when you started talking about the heartache of cleaning up after Ike, my heart went out to you!!

    Perserverance? I'd say you've got it in droves. Thank you for sharing your journey and challenging us to just D-O-I-T!

    Thanks for the kick in the butt!!!

  89. Thanks, Audra! I think I needed the kick just as much as all of the Speedbo folks. I'm totally pumped and ready to knock out my writing goal list!

  90. Kristen, thank you so much for spending the day with us. What a gracious guest you've been.

    Wishing you continued success and that you come and spend the day again soon with Gloria's story!

  91. Got 'em. And 35 more too. 1035 today and 12048 for the month. Yay me!


  92. Yeah, Marilyn!!! Seriously. Way to go!!!!

  93. Congrats on your debut. You did indeed do it!!

  94. Seriously one of THE most inspirational things I've ever read!! Thank you, Kristen!

  95. Wow, Kristen...you know how to start someone's day!! Your perseverance will inspire a lot of folks, and I'm happy to say I AM persevering this month...am going through now on another edit of my WIP. And it feels great! And I would love to win a critique...any size, from an illustrious Seekerville-ite!

    Gail Kittleson

  96. Wow Kristen! Thanks. My chickens are absolutely refusing to cross the road right now but thanks to your encouragement I'm going to get out there one more time and MAKE them do it? What chance does a poor little chicken have against someone chasing her with computer in hand, fingers poised over keyboard?

  97. If you think she's great at writing, she's an even better wife and mother.

    Love you

  98. I would love to win,Enter me!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond

  99. I think we just had a husband drive by. LOL.

  100. Saving Gracie sounds good. If I win I don't need the critique because I don't plan on being a published writer.

  101. Mary, thank you! Walking in Walmart to get paper towels and seeing Gracie there on the shelf by the door is definitely a day I will never forget!

  102. Karen, thank you. I'm really glad that it resonated with you. :)

    It's nice to have something good come out of jet fuel and toxic sludge in your life!

  103. Gail, I love it! You can D.O.I.T.! I'm cheering you on and can't wait to hear that you've achieved your goal!

  104. Cindy, your chickens don't stand a chance! :) Great job on making the commitment to D.O.I.T. I am cheering you on!

  105. Aww, thanks, Brian. :)

    And Tina, you're right. Is this the first time Seekerville has been husband-bombed?

    (And we have seriously got to get him a new gravatar photo!)

  106. Sarah-Thank you for stopping by! Good luck! :)

  107. Michelle--Thank you. :) I hope you're able to get a copy and that you enjoy Gracie's story.

  108. We rarely get husbands. Mine stops by on occasion. Like twice in six years. But we always like husbands. LOL.

  109. We rarely get husbands. Mine stops by on occasion. Like twice in six years. But we always like husbands. LOL.