Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How Writing a New Genre is Like Jumping Rope, Guest Blogger Valerie Comer, Take It Away!!!!

I think one of the biggest challenges for un- or under-published authors is trying to figure out what genre to write in. What will be hot when we're ready to publish? Remember jumping rope during recess back in your school days?

Maybe I'm dating myself here! But there'd be a long rope and a girl in pigtails at each end, turning it. Sometimes they'd even have two ropes going in opposite directions. Cool kids could jump both at once! You're poised there like a runner with feet on the starting blocks, rocking, one foot in front of the other, pulsing with the revolving rope to get the timing, and then you leap in and start jumping. Successfully. Or else you trip and get tangled up and have to try again or, even worse, stumble away in humiliation.

That's like a writer trying to jump into writing a hot genre. Someone else is swinging the rope. You have no idea whether they'll speed up or slow down or drop the handles and walk away altogether. You have no idea if you'll be able to hop in and stay in sync, or trip and fall smack on your face. For a long time, I felt like I was doing the latter. I started out writing speculative fiction twelve years ago, but as I got better at the writing craft, I began to realize that my stories wouldn't likely ever find a publishing home. Very few fantasy novels were appearing from CBA houses. Odds have changed. . . slightly. . but not for the stories I was writing back then.

I wasn't into paranormal speculative. I wasn't into dystopian. I still don't get the whole werewolf/vampire/zombie thing. But I'd begun to check out the other skipping ropes around the schoolyard. Historical romance? Contemporary romance? Historical sounded like too much work to get right. Mary Connealy makes it look easy, but I'm pretty sure it's not. So that left contemporary, only I wasn't into high heels, designer purses, and the height of fashion. I'll pause for a moment while you envision Ruthy jumping rope in her stilettos. While swinging a Prada handbag. In skinny jeans. You're welcome for the visual. (Ruthy note: she's pretty sure she could do this AND write seventeen books/year while working full time, so she likes this Prada-swinging visual!!!)

What could I write on that playground—which rope could I jump—that stayed true to me? I began writing Farm Lit three years ago, long before I'd heard the term. The skipping rope for that was way over in a weed-infested corner of the playground—or maybe it was my vegetable garden, but I digress—with one handle tied to a picket fence and the other lying in the oregano. Oregano wants to take over the world, by the way. A more invasive herb you'll never find. Oh, am I getting sidetracked again? Nobody was turning the rope. That made jumping it easy. I could hop from one side to the other without missing a beat. Nobody was watching. But still, you know, I wanted a viable rope. I wanted to be one of the cool kids, with expert handle-turners and others queued up, wanting a turn.

I wrote about what I know. I've lived on a farm for most of my adult life. I'm into the whole gardening, bread-making, beekeeping, and canning thing. We're dedicated local-food lovers at our place. It seemed eventually other kids would wander over. After all, local food was (is) a hot topic in the media. Farmers' markets are springing up all over North America like dandelions after a spring rain. Heirloom tomatoes are as popular as Lululemon. Everyone loves to hate Monsanto and genetically-modified "foods." Eventually the rope began to twitch. Barbara Kingsolver picked up the handle that had been buried in the oregano when she wrote her memoir Animals Vegetables Miracles. A while later, Ree Drummond untied the handle from the fence and gave The Pioneer Woman a rotation.

A few people began to notice. "Hey, we can READ about farm life, not just buy eggplant at the farmers' market!" And the Farm Lit genre skipping rope began to revolve. Was I the first kid to jump in from the inspirational side and (hopefully) not trip? I have no idea. I do know that three years of practicing—of honing my craft, of writing several local-food-based romances—is paying off.

In unrelated timing, The Atlantic posted Chick Lit is Dead; Long Live Farm Lit only a few days before I signed a contract with Choose NOW Publishing for a 3-book series we're calling A Farm Fresh Romance. It leads off with Raspberries and Vinegar, which finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty. The other two books, featuring Jo's roommates, release in 2014. What about you? Where on the playground are you hanging out? Are you standing in line watching Mary Connealy line dance while jumping three ropes at once and wondering how you could ever compete? Are you standing over at the contemporary line, where Ruthy juggles adorable toddlers and chases chickens and never misses a beat? Are you in the line where Julie smooches while doing the jitterbug and keeps right on jumping? Or where Debby can skip rope while shooting at a target—and get a bulls-eye every time? Maybe you're trying to hop the Amish rope or the mystery rope or the spec fic rope. Are you in the right line for you?

You might well be, but think about it. Pray about it. Maybe God wants you to go find a different rope, even if one end is tied to a fencepost in the back forty. Maybe He plans to put the right people on the handles at the right time and give that rope a good workout. And if you've been practicing hopping over it while it lies lifeless on the ground, you'll be ready to skip like a pro when the rope starts turning. No jump rope is dead if God holds the hands of those who hold the handles. What part of the playground are you going to check out today?

To celebrate the release of Raspberries and Vinegar, I'd like to give a copy to one Seekerville commenter (or a digital version in your choice of format if the winner lives outside the USA as I do). But all of you are winners! My publisher and I have put together a Book Blast package for anyone who orders a paperback copy of Raspberries and Vinegar from August 6-9. Order a paperback and email your receipt, and you'll receive not only the digital formats of the novel but a whole bunch of other fun downloads as well. Check out the graphic for details.

I know Seekerville is all about the food. I knew that even before the Virtual Retreat in June, but wow! That brought it home. In honor of Raspberries and Vinegar I've brought Raspberry Vinegar which just happens to be a punch-like summer drink featured in the book, and one that's a regular summertime staple at our place. I've also brought a virtual pan of Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. What do you have for the sideboard that's made from raspberries? Feel free to add something tart as well! Let's share some recipes.

And while we're visiting over the buffet, I'd like to invite you to a Facebook party at 9:00 p.m. EST tonight, hosted by my publisher, Nicole O'Dell. You'll need to like my author page then stop by for a visit, bringing a (virtual) item of food that is local to you. Everyone who joins the food fest will receive a custom menu by email tomorrow with all the ingredients in use. Should be fun! Bring something unique and make it a challenge for me. You know you want to, for poking fun at Ruthy. Half an hour in we'll be switching to a webcast, where you can ask questions about local food, about books and genres, about beekeeping—whatever you want to know—and put me on the spot. I really hope you can join us. We'll be giving away copies of the novel there, too.

Wow. So much information! Hope to see you at that other party tonight but, for now, let's talk skipping into genres while we sip Raspberry Vinegar out on the veranda. The ceiling fan is lazily rotating and there are plenty of porch swings, wicker rockers, and Adirondack chairs for everyone. Sweetpeas and morning glories climb the trellis, wafting a gentle floral scent. Flies and mosquitoes have been banished. Let's talk. Which jump rope line are you in? How is it working out for you?


  1. Welcome, Valerie.

    After writing contemporary romances for years, I decided to try my hand at a historical--and sold it--along with two more.

    Here's a big pot of coffee to go with all those edibles you're furnished.


  2. I'm first? Really? (Unless someone else posts while I'm writing, of course...)

    I used to write historical--a long long time ago. And then I wrote a combo--it was a novel of reincarnation (they were big in the 70s when I started mine in 9th grade, LOL) so included both contemporary and historical. Wrote that one several times. The shredder bit it a couple years after I became a Christian. Now I'm strictly Christian contemporary. When I write, that is. *cough*

    You KNOW I've been looking forward to this book ever since I first heard about it, Valerie! And I want to win a print copy of it BADLY (goodly? Hey, it's after midnight so forgive any goofs on my part, please!) so am throwing my name into the pail of raspberries *grin* through here and I still hope to "see" you tonight at the party!

    I bring no food along because I'm sugar-free (for the most part) and gluten-free. However, there might be some blueberries in the freezer and/or the fridge (our son and dilaw belong to a CSA) and maybe some strawberries in the freezer. Contributions for a cold smoothie? :)

    Looking forward to getting my hands on your book and then to sharing it with our daughter and dilaw after I devour it.

    Getting punchy so getting off. ;-)

    Blessings, dear lady!

  3. Aw, look, the post is up before us west-coasters head off to bed! Thanks for turning on the coffee pot, Helen! Congrats on the genre jumping. Looks like it paid off for you. :)

    And thanks for the smoothie fixin's Melanie. I like a good raspberry smoothie myself. Or cherry. Or peach. Or plum/pumpkin.

    Wait, I'm going to BED not having breakfast! Looking forward to chatting with commenters when I hop out of bed in the morning!

  4. Thanks for the coffee, Helen. I need it to wash down this very rich raspberry cheesecake (which I really did have for dessert tonight!). SO many calories, but oh, so good! I *love* raspberries! Yesterday's dessert was fresh raspberries and blueberries served over vanilla ice cream. Mmmm!

    I started out writing women's contemporary, then moved to suspense which morphed into romantic suspense. I don't remember exactly when that turned into inspirational romantic suspense, but the professional dog show world took over as a setting and that's where I seem to have settled.

  5. I'd love some raspberry sherbert to help beat this heat. Or a sip of raspberry lemonaide. So refreshing, and talk about refreshing...what a great post. You book sounds like a breath of fresh air! I never heard of farm lit, until you and I wish you well, Val! I've been jumping to colonial jump ropes and so far I'm loving it although I did try my hand at a western, yahoo! I keep coming back to early America, east coast so I think I'll stick with it and see where it takes me for now. Excellent post with a super analogy.

  6. Hi Valerie I love the visual of Ruthy had to laugh thanks.
    Love the idea of farm lit (wasn't into chick lit much) But i know country life having living in a country town all my life living on a farm my first 8 and a half years.
    I hope to get to the party but not sure if I will be able to make it but will try.
    would love to win a digital copy of your book.

  7. Hi, Valerie!

    This is very exciting. Love the cover and the book looks wonderful.

    I'm delighted about your genre and your new publisher!!

  8. Thanks for the great post! The book looks great! Until today, I'd never heard of Farm Lit, so looking forward to reading about it! It's great when you can find your niche. Would love to win a copy of your book to start my experience!

  9. Good morning, Valerie.

    I love your playground description. I think I've spent too much time trying out all the different games because I love some part of each of them. Guess it's time to choose one and let training commence.

    I used to make a fabulous raspberry tea loaf from a friend's cookbook. Bringing some to share. Congrats on the book.

  10. Welcome to Seekerville post side, Valerie! I was never agile enough to hop into a turning jump rope. Or perhaps the issue was fear of failure.

    I love reading and writing Americana historicals with small town and farm settings. Not that far from your Farm Lit.

    Congratulations on your series. Raspberries and Vinegar looks like fun!


  11. Hi Valerie,

    Welcome to Seekerville and congrats on your new book!

  12. VALERIE!!! I close my eyes for one second, and BOOM!! Farm-Lit is buzzin' along with the bees!!

    I am SO excited for you -- getting in on the ground floor (or rope) on what sounds like a really fun and timely genre!!

    You said, "where Julie smooches while doing the jitterbug and keeps right on jumping"

    LOL ... well, you got the smooches right, but I'm afraid I'd tangle the ropes with my rendition of jitterbug!! Thank God writing romance does not require rhythm in one's feet -- only one's fingers! ;)

    GREAT post, my friend, and I wish I had a raspberry recipe to share, but the only thing raspberry I've ever made is a raspberry coulis in which to set a a 3-chocolate, toasted-almond-encrusted bird's-nest basket which held white-chocolate mousse with fresh berries, whipped cream, and cookie straws. And trust me, NOBODY would want the recipe for that unless they have three days they don't know what to do with!!


  13. Wow, Valerie, I learned so much in this post. Thank you. :)

    I always thought mint would rule the world, if we let it. But now I know it's oregano, I'll be on the look out.

    Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Farm Lit, either. It makes my heart glad to know there's such a thing, 'cause I'm skipping to an Aussie rhythm with an historical rope that's been dragged through red farm dirt.

    Congratulations for Raspberries and Vinegar. It's on my Kindle, and I'm so keen to sink into it.

    Dotti :)

  14. Valerie, I enjoyed your post, and while I'm still jumping the genre rope, it gives me something to think about.

    Good luck with your new book.

    I love to win a copy of it!

  15. Farm Lit? Learn something new every day.
    I'm writing historicals because that's where God is leading, and it's mostly what I read. I like the richness of the settings and the fact that people had to cope not only with their own emotions and search for God, but with escaping cruel governments and overlords (American Revolution and just about anyone Irish), crossing the ocean in steerage (anyone Irish), crossing an untamed land in nothing but a covered wagon (OREGON TRAIL, yay), taming that same prairie, standing up to Hitler (why I love the English in spite of what they did to Ireland, Scotland, India and the Colonies, see Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"), and lifting immigrants up out of poverty before there was such a thing as Welfare (one of mine, a New York settlement house just after World War I). A contemporary has to be really good to grab me, such as Angela Hunt's "The Offering," where she takes on reproductive technology, or Terri Blackstock's post-apocalyptic "Restoration" series. Except for sweet romances, which I eat like fresh berries off the vine. (FARM LIT!) It's all good. Oh, let us keep writing Inspy, whatever our rope tricks and abilities, to give people an alternative and strengthen their faith. The day draws near.
    Going off to make a living,
    Kathy Bailey

  16. What did I just say, anyway? I need a second cup of coffee. Except coffee makes me mean, so I'll have a strong tea. Have a good day, Seeks.

  17. OH, I made a blackberry cobbler with blackberries off my own bush. I used Splenda instead of sugar, loaded the Corning ware dish with berries after spraying with cooking spray, made a quick Bisquick topping and baked it. We eat it with frozen yogurt, yum. Help yourselves, especially anyone who can't have sugar.

  18. Hi VALERIE, Welcome to Seekerville. Love the Farm Lit idea. Will let readers know its sweet romance I bet.

    Sorry I can't make it to your facebook event as our Internet is limited. We do have tons of raspberries here in Oregon and they are perfect right now. Lots of blackberries too.

    Best wishes on your debut and have fun today.

  19. Oh btw- the visual of RUTHY in stilettos still has me rolling on the floor.

    Loved the analogy of jumping rope also.

  20. Great post, Valerie. And great encouragement for all of us to write what we know. It's easy to get caught up in trying to write what's "in" but that doesn't work for most of us.
    BIG congrats on your new release. Praying it reaches a wide and varied audience!

  21. Good morning, Seekerville! I'm here. Yawning, but here...

    Virginia, thanks for the great review on Goodreads and Amazon. Now THAT's a gal who knows what an author needs! Reviews!

    I guest posted over at her place talking about my cover.

  22. Carol, I'm glad the process worked for you as you found which genre to skip with. Now I'm envisioning puppies turning jump rope handles for your dog show romantic suspenses. Better look out if its Border collies like Domino on my cover! They've got more energy than you can shake a stick at. Never mind, they'll grab that stick and run.

  23. Raspberry sherbet, Carla? Don't mind if I do. Yum!

    Though here in south-eastern British Columbia we've had a few days of rain and the heat has definitely been turned down.

    I think your genre decision is a good one for you. Your novella in Colonial Courtships was the raspberry on top.

  24. Jenny, great to see you here and I hope you can make it to tonight's party. I'm sure any time that's been selected for North American audiences is much less suitable for those down under.

    I lived on a farm for the first seven years of my life, then in rural communities for years. In my adult life, well over half has been on the farm. Love it!

  25. Well, Seekerville is the learning place...Farm lit? Hadn't heard of it till now, but I'm sure I would love it, as I've basically lived on a farm all my life, and call myself a farmerette! Would live to read this!

  26. Thank you, Tina and Sally. I love my cover and publisher, too. (And story. Mustn't forget the story!)

    Mary, I know a few people who can excel at all kinds of jumping rope. Maybe you can. :) But most of us need to focus on one (at a time, anyway) to get our dancin' moves just right. I meant skipping. That's right, skipping.

  27. Janet, early Americana certainly does have resemblances to Farm Lit, as does Amish, actually.

    Maybe that's why I needed to add a twist and focus on today's farm issues, like local food and sustainability—so it wouldn't be simply a modern-day historical.

    Hmm. A modern-day historical? I think I need a mocha.

  28. Valerie! So excited for you and also for Raspberries and Vinegar. I mostly like historical fiction (and maybe this isnt really another jumping rope) but I love to go dyslexic (from 1890) and write in the 1980s. Not a popular era as far as readers but is it ever fun! And farm lit! Throw that in too, 1890 or 1980 See you at the FB party tonight!

  29. Julie, you have my mouth watering with that raspberry coulis description! YUM.

    Not so sure about the jitterbug, friend. I totally think you could pull it off. The visual was SO clear in my head.

  30. Hi Valerie

    Congratulations on your series. I write historical. Though I like modern conveniences, I don't like modern culture, but farm lit might be different.

    My only beef with farmers (just the big farmers) is bio-engineering food. They've finally succeeded in ruining watermelons by taking the seeds out. They're sweet, but texture is tough and unappealing. Hope they don't mess with berries.

    Please put me in the drawing. Your books sounds like a contemporary I'd like.

  31. Jackie, thanks for the 'grats!

    Dorothy, mint would also like to rule the world (as would dill, but that's another story). The reason oregano can out-muscle mint is that mint needs water. You can kill it with drought. Oregano? Keeps right on ticking.

    By the way, Book 2 is called Wild Mint Tea, so I'll be learning more about THAT over the next few months!

    Can't wait to see your Aussie Farm Lit dance. I hear it's called Chook Lit down under.

  32. Valerie, what a fun post. Thanks for introducing me to Farm Lit. I didn't know it was a genre, and I loved reading your foray into it. :o)

    I loved the analogy of jumping rope. We did that in our neighborhood. I was pretty good jumping one rope, but never got the hang of jumping two ropes simultaneously. :) On the playground I played kick ball or hung on monkey bars more than jumping rope. But I did wear pig tails. :)

    I'm hanging out in the contemporary jump rope area right now, enjoying the jumping and the company. Even this is breaking into sub genres. Who knows, maybe for my next book, I'll try one of those.

  33. Thanks for the congrats, Mary H. Which genre rope you jump isn't important. Jump the one God puts in front of you, learn its rhythms, and PUT ON THE MOVES!

  34. Well said, Kathy!! "Oh, let us keep writing Inspy, whatever our rope tricks and abilities, to give people an alternative and strengthen their faith. The day draws near."

    And the blackberry cobbler sounds delish. :)

  35. Sorry you can't make the Facebook event, Sandra.

    In the thick of raspberries here, too, though the rain the past few days has kept me from picking. I bet they're totally waterlogged out on the bushes. Hopefully today will be dry enough to pick.

    Ruthy looks cute dancing in stilettos, no?

  36. Welcome, Stacy! We don't always need to write what we know, but we sure have to WANT to know it. If we're not interested, it's a total waste of time.

    Thanks so much for walking the journey with me.

  37. WooHoo! Marianne, the farmerette! Love it. Thanks for coming by.

    Cindy, love that dyslexicness (is that a word? It is now) of writing 1890/1980. 1980s is not very popular yet, but I'm sure it's coming. I was married in 1980 and my kids were born in 1981 and 1984, so it's a decade filled with wonderful memories for me.

    See you at the party tonight!

  38. Elaine, bio-engineered food makes my skin crawl. So many people have so little knowledge or even interest in the huge issues facing food production today (and that's putting it mildly). I think that's why God called me to Farm Lit. To help shed a light in a very dark place.

    I hope you can make the party tonight.

  39. Jeanne, now you've got me wondering if writing a subgenre is like jumping two ropes at once. Do you suppose one could take this analogy too far?


    I don't think?

  40. Valerie, I love your skipping rope analogy :) Congrats on your book release and I'm so excited to hear more about farm lit. Yes, chook lit and contemporary rural/farm romance stories have been big in the Aussie market for a few years - it's great to see the rest of the world is catching up! Enjoy your book launch :)

  41. Hi, Valerie! Sierra and Claire have their own stories--yay! Reading Raspberries and Vinegar takes me back to summers at my aunt and uncle's Kansas farm....and makes me miss my Colorado CSA even more!

    I'll be baking your Raspberry/Chocolate coffee cake for next week's Tuesday Tea---thanks for the recipe!

    I've found my jump rope group--the Inspirational Writers--but may hop around Contemporary, Historical and Suspense sub-genres.

    Sorry that I'll miss your FB party tonight, but thanks for your post and your refreshing book! (I'll get reviews done as soon as I finish reading!)

  42. Hi Valerie,

    When I first heard your cute title, it took me back to my wedding where the dressing on the salad was Raspberry Vinaigrette. I looking forward to hearing about a sweet drink with this name.

    And as for jump roping genres....let's just say I'm a "whew--officially. I jump all over the place--and I'm still uncertain as to whether or not that it a plus or a minus! Looking forward to the FB party tonight!


  43. Narelle, I'd be excited to read some Aussie Chook Lit. Can you recommend a title or two?

  44. Sorry you'll miss tonight's party, Sherida, but thanks for the thumbs-up. Excited to share Claire and Sierra's story, too, so thank you for being thrilled they're coming. :)

    Guaranteed you'll make that Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake more than once (unless raspberries are prohibitively expensive where you live.)

  45. Piper, whether or not it's a plus to hop all over the place is something only you can determine with God's help. He hasn't called everyone to be loyal to one jump rope!

    Raspberry Vinaigrette is a delicious dressing. I'm glad I "sent" you back to a good memory!

  46. I haven't ever heard of Farm Lit, but it sounds like my kind of story. I'm a Southern country girl, and I am with you about not being a fan of the "high maintenance heroines" with their designer clothes. While I do read those books occasionally, it'd be difficult to write one. I'm really curious about your book--love the title!
    Please enter me:)

  47. Valerie, I'm into SpecFic. Just got back from Realm Makers in St. Louis. We're set to take over the world...kind of like your oregano. Boy do I know about oregano.

    Anywho, I am also writing small town fiction as well. I know small towns. I have a YA finished and being critiqued, and an adult contemporary pouring onto the pages. But fantasy is really my heart. We'll see which one gets picked up.

    Just for the cause, I have loads of freshly podded peas and snapped green beans. Please take whatever you need. Until we get our canner back up and rolling I'm up to my armpits in veggies the Jolly Green Giant would be proud of.

  48. "High maintenance heroines!" Well said, Courtney. Hope you'll join my Facebook party tonight and enjoy my novel.

    Dawn, kudoes on the spec fic. I've been hearing about the conference from a bunch of friends.

    My garden peas are done and my green beans will be starting soon. Nothing better than green beans sauteed with some garlic. Yum.

  49. I was blessed to be a reader for one of Valerie's books. LOVE that she is breaking new ground.

    Did you mention, Valerie, the wonderful book cover illustrator? I am reading while skipping so may have missed it!

    Peace, Julie

  50. Valerie,
    Congrats on your success. Love the idea of farm lit. Yum! Fresh tomatoes, corn on the cob, cukes, green onions, lettuce that's so, so sweet....

    I need a snack! :)

    I smiled at your mention of jumping rope, which I loved to do as a girl. Double dutch? Wasn't that with two ropes? As I recall it took a lot of stamina and timing.

    I've always loved suspense so never had to juggle genres. I do, however, have two loves within suspense: medical suspense and military stories. I call them my two M&Ms!

    I started with the medical and moved to military at my editor's request. Would love to combine both Ms in a medical-military series. Perhaps some day.

    Pass the berries, please.

    Waving to Ruthy in the stiletos. Is she wearing fishnet stockings? Really? :)

  51. The title of your book instantly brings warm memories for some of us.

    Although my family didn't live on a farm, my mom grew lots of veggies and fruit. We had raspberries every summer. My job was to gather them--carefully avoiding those little thorns, of course. Mom served the raspberries with a little fresh cream from the local dairy that still delivered to our door. This is one of the most lasting, sweet memories I have of summer and family and all that is dear to me.

    I'm glad to hear farm lit is resonating with readers. People are drawn to books that illustrate lasting values and empathy.

    Congratulations, Valerie!

  52. Farm Lit? Who knew? This business just keeps surprising me!

    Congrats, Valerie. Good for you for sticking to what your heart was telling you. God worked it all out for you! Awesome.

    I'm another contemporary/historical writer. Fun to change things up.


  53. Thanks for coming by and for your kind words, Julie! I didn't talk about my cover designer in this post (who just happens to be my daughter—long story!)

    Love that you're reading while skipping. That seems so apropos.

  54. Hi Debby! If Ruthy is wearing fishnet stockings, I'm not the one who is going to 'out' her.

    I love your m&m's. Cute! Here, have some raspberries. Fresh picked this afternoon, but the season is wearing down while the BOOK's season is just starting. Yay! Raspberries year 'round!

  55. Susan, congrats on being another double jumper. Maybe I just write too slowly for that? Or focus too hard? Dunno.

    At any rate, this is working for me. Thanks for stopping in. :)

  56. LOL Valerie. You wrote:
    "Jackie, thanks for the 'grats!"

    And I read it as thanks for the gNats.

    Farm lit bugs and all. ;)

  57. Currently I'm learning the Science Fiction/Fantasy rope. I'm pretty new though, and there are more that I'd like to try some time.

  58. Two hours until the Facebook party begins! I hope you'll join me. You'll need to LIKE my author page to participate. Here's the event invitation.

    Bring some local food! Maybe gNats would be good, Mary!

    Have fun with the speculative fiction jump rope, Joy :) It will give your imagination a good workout.

  59. VAL!!! Good grief! Chook Lit? Please tell me you made that up.

    Farm Lit is so romantic! As someone who's had chickens in the back yard for years, Chook Lit... does not cut it.

    I'll have to hunt around for more information now, but I'm sticking with Farm Lit, whatever I find. :)

  60. LOL Dorothy! To my mind, Chook Lit sounds like Chocolate, so it couldn't be much better!

    However, for reading purposes (rather than snacking—er, getting antioxidants...) I'll take Farm Lit, too!

  61. Good evening, Ms. Comer! :)

    This is my first post on *Seekerville* past the New Year's Party, and I am ever so thankful to notice that the discussion is about being a locovore! Mid-way down my sidebar or thereabouts, I composed a bit of a blurb all about the benefits of *low tech* living, and I mentioned how keen I am about being a *locovore!* Wicked sweet!! :)

    My hours have been mad-crazy and I'm needing to nosh on more fuel to help me re-ignite my energies,...I'll return lateron to comment properly, but I wanted to say that any story that speaks of this sort of living is one that I am very keen on seeking out to read!!

    Blessings to you!

  62. Thanks so much, Jorie! If you can make the Facebook party, we're giving away books! (Also one here...) I'd love to meet you and chat with you. :)

  63. BTW, I cheated and you can too.

    I went over to Virginia Carmichael Munoz's blog and saw the development of this great cover.

    The Things That Last

  64. Ms. Comer,

    I'm only active on the blogosphere, so I must turn down your offer to chat with you on FB! I am in-between dinner & relaxing after such a hard push to get everything situated on my blog! I oft ask myself today how I am functioning! Laughs. I'll return in a few hours,.. I simply wanted to thank you for asking me to join you! I'll check to see if you have a blog/website as well! I could always interact with you through those means! :)

    *fingers crossed then!* for the bookaway through Seekerville! I always find it so very generous that authors give away their books through blog tours & appearances!

  65. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Radcliffe!!

    It's good to be back! I've been hopeful that once I made my blog *live!* it would kick in OpenID! This site & the Society were the ones I wanted to return to the most! Happy to be here, truly!!

  66. PS. The raspberry chocolate chip coffee cake is a keeper. Thanks.

  67. Thanks Jorie. My website and blog are situated at valeriecomer.com.

    Tina—you said it. It is scrumptious!

  68. Hi Valerie! I would have been here sooner but I got distracted by that amazing raspberry chocolate chip coffee cake. And it looks so easy to make -- but I'd sure have to do a lot of jumping rope to burn off the calories.

    I have three and a half contemporaries I wrote after I wrote the first historical. But I went right back to historicals and now have three more. Somehow I don't seem to be able to accomplish the 'richness' in contemporaries that I can in historicals.

    A fun post! Wishing you the best with your books.

    Nancy C

  69. Hi Nancy! It *is* easy to make, and you're right, it's not precisely low calorie! But hey, if it's all made from real ingredients that counts for something!

    Having done a bit of experimenting, now you know where you fit. That's awesome! Thanks for your well-wishes.

  70. Ms. Comer,

    Thank you for the link to your site! :) I scoped it out before I continued to read your post! Honestly, that's part of my problem too! I just cannot get jazzed up about Dsytopian books! I always hold a small candle out that I simply haven't stumbled across the 'right' book that would illume my eyes,... but let's face it, I'm not losing sleep! :)

    Mind you, I do appreciate a good vampire story, but not in the more traditionally minded versions that are cult classics! Aside from Buffy, of course! Laughs. Zombies - I draw the line! No. Not. Ever!

    I like your turns of phrase, "...like dandolions after a spring rain." You paint well with your words! And, of course, the type of living your book is based on is one I advocate for myself,... smiles.

    I know! The Pioneer Woman I think opened up a heap of doors for writers of all types and as an inspiration of what is possible even outside the margin of what is known/expected.

    Ooh, this has "Under the Tuscan Sun" all over it! I love it when people purchase properties to renovate and end up past their chins in repairs and the crazyness that ensues after they have the deed! :)

    I write between genres, as I write both fiction and poetry. I never worry about what is hot in the moment, as my writing comes from my heart and my imagination! Half the fun is not knowing where a story will jettison me off too!

    Hmm,... now I need to see if my library is going to order this lovely book OR I'll wait for the ILLs! Eek. It's a brilliant premise!

    PS: I would have loved to have ordered your book, as those extras made me swoon with excitement, but its not in the cards! I hope others' take advantage, because I was esp keen on the mp3 of "When Food Meets Faith", 101 Ways to be a Locovore, & "7 Days to Simple". Do you think those will be posted on your website after the offer expires!?

  71. I hadn't heard the term Farm Lit, but I love it! I enjoy sweet stories with a small-town setting, and I often visited family on a farm in the north Georgia mountains when I was growing up, so I'd love to read your book, Valerie. Best wishes on your continued writing.

  72. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Jorie! I checked out your site—wow you have a LOT going on there! I couldn't find a contact spot so, if you'd like to continue the discussion, why don't you drop me a note through the contact form on my site?

    As for the bonus goodies from the Book Blitz, some of them will be showing up in some place or another over the next few months.

    Odds of your library (or any library) ordering the book are slim unless you request them to do so. CNP is a small new publisher, and we're not on anyone's radar YET!!

  73. Thanks, Carole! I've always loved rural books, too. Grew up on James Herriot. :)

  74. I believe this book is a terrific book. I grew up in a small town on a farm. Would love to win this book. Thank you for sharing and please enter me in the giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

  75. Well, I missed this party, but was away that day... Valerie, what a great post and great responses!!!!

    Piper, I'm a huge raspberry vinaigrette fan, too... and the first time I had a fancy dinner in Philly at the City Tavern (down in Independence Park) I ordered a Raspberry Shrub which is similar to this!!! The vinegar was to keep it fresh... There weren't canning and preserving methods back then, not like there were a hundred years later. What an innovation that must have been, right????

    Valerie, thank you for being here!!! I love the concept... and as an author of small town/farm romances... I love the popularity of the genre.

    Everybody loves a country boy!


  76. Valerie, I loved your post! (Getting to it a day late because I'm on digest.) Your book sounds wonderful. I think it's fabulous that interest is growing in farms and farmers markets. (Just went to my local one yesterday, as a matter of fact.) Farms are so vital and yet one often feels they don't get the respect they deserve. Glad to hear "farm lit" is taking off.

    Your writing journey is the perfect example of my favorite piece of advice for writers: write the book YOU want to read. My path writing historical romance was similar, where I ended up writing a book with strong Christian elements that was still picked up by a mainstream publisher. When I was writing it, I had no idea the publisher was in fact looking for just such a book. So I hope everyone who is not published yet will take heart, write what they love, and believe that God is working in them to write something wonderful -- and publishable!

  77. Thanks, Ruthy, for aiding and abetting my invasion of Seekerville. Kind of like a Trojan horse. ;)

    I love your version(s) of farm lit, too.

  78. Thanks for coming to the party, Jennifer! I'm so happy that you enjoy your farmers' market and helping to make your local farmers happy.

    Congrats on your titles too. I went to Amazon to have a peek. Nice covers!

    It's SO important to love what we write.

    Thank you, God, for the opportunity to do so. Woot!