Thursday, October 17, 2013

Five Things I'm Thankful I Knew Before I Left The Island with Guest Clari Dees

Hello, everyone! Happy Birthday to Seekerville and all you lovely October-birthday readers! I’ve brought hot chocolate, fresh pumpkin bread with a light glaze on top, and some of my mom’s awesome whole-wheat cinnamon rolls. Pumpkin, whole-wheat, and cocoa beans. Sounds like healthy food to me! 

It’s fun to be on this side of the blog today. When Tina invited me to guest blog during Seekerville’s Birthday Celebration (thank you for inviting me back, by the way), I jumped at the chance and said yes. And then I started thinking. What is my topic going to be? What do I have to say? The things I know about writing could fill a thimble. Ack! And then Tina came to the rescue with another email. She said the overall theme for October’s party was going to be What I’ve Learned Since I Left the Island. And that gave me an idea.

    But before I get started, let me backtrack for just a second. There is one thing I learned before I ever reached the Island.

You cannot leave Unpubbed Island if you never arrive on the island.

I know. This should be obvious, but sometimes, the Old Tempter whispers to our hearts that it’s easier not to try at all then to try and fail and make a fool of ourselves in the process. But you can’t chase a dream by standing still. And you can’t hang out with Captain Jack on Unpubbed Island if you’re content to dog-paddle in the waters of the Someday-I’d-like-to-be-an-author Sea. So for those of you who, like me, found those first sandy steps onto the beach daunting… Congratulations! And Welcome!

And now back to my topic. I think I left it around here somewhere.

Oh, here it is.

    Five things I’m thankful I knew before I left the island.

1.    That list of revisions from my editor will not kill me.

When I opened that first revision email from my editor after selling my book, I nearly had a heart attack. There were so many! How had I even managed to sell it in the first place? How was I ever going to fix everything that was wrong without losing my story? Or my mind? Suddenly, a calm, rational voice filtered through the panic. Authors face revisions. It’s inevitable. It’s part of the process. It’s doable. Step back, take a deep breath, and work through them. One. At. A. Time.

What do you know?! My story and I actually survived the revision process.

2.    Publishing a book includes a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. It does not mean your editor forgot about your book. Or you.

Knowing this in advance saved me a lot of worry and panic and kept my editor from being the recipient of frequent “Is it done yet?” emails. That would probably have gotten embarrassing.

3.    Those one star reviews will come.

 Yep. That’s right. When you write a book and it gets published for more people than just your mother to read, some of those readers aren’t going to like your story. A huge shock. Right?! But when that first one-star review appeared, it didn’t cause a meltdown. I’m not saying it didn’t sting. It did. But being prepared meant that when I stumbled across it while at work, I didn’t cry in front of my coworkers.

And then I was even able to sort of smile at it. The reviewer said I must never have ridden a horse bareback or I would know the heroine’s rear would have been covered in horse hair.  My horse and I had a big laugh over that the next time I jumped on him and rode him around the pasture. Bareback. Our favorite way to take a quick jaunt. Horse hair on my rear. Uh, yeah. So? That’s not a big deal and not worth mentioning when you’re a horse lover. Besides, it goes along with the dog and cat hair. I just remember to brush it off before I go sit on any nice furniture.

And that’s how I try to handle other one-star reviews. Make note of anything that might have merit for future writing, then brush the rest aside and move on.

 Okay. Sorry. Got a little distracted there. Back to my list.

4.    Being a published author doesn’t mean you’ll be the next brilliant contest winner. Or even a finalist.

Nope. Not even a finalist. But that’s okay. Because those wildly varying scores might mean I’d sparked emotion in the readers/judges. And that was a positive thing. Now it was time to take a step back, get my initial reaction under control, and start mining the judges’ comments for ways to improve my story. That doesn’t mean it was easy, and it doesn’t mean I didn’t avoid those comments for several weeks after the first read-through, but knowing that better writers than I experienced these same things made setting aside my emotions doable. 


 5.    Just because you sold one book doesn’t mean you’ll sell the next one.

I’ll admit. That one brought a few tears. Rejection is not fun. It’s downright painful. It could almost be enough to make you want to quit. Crawl back in your cave and never voluntarily submit yourself to rejection again. But then I thought about Glynna, Julie, Missy, Ruthy, Cara Lynn, Mary, Janet, Tina, Pam, Myra, Debby, Sandra, and Audra -- The Fabulous Founding Ladies of Seekerville. I thought of all the stories they’ve shared about how rejection is part and parcel of being a writer. They are living proof that rejection letters are not the end of the road.

So I dried my tears, got up, dusted off my britches, and as I went back to my keyboard, I realized something. I had now experienced these writer’s trials firsthand, but they weren’t devastating.


Not because I am emotionally strong or brilliant or better than anybody else (I am, in fact, none of those things). I just had advance warning. I knew they could/would come, and I was as prepared as I could be without ever having experienced them before.


Because other writers had shared their trials and triumphs, their ups and downs, their knowledge and experience.


Seekerville, of course. A place that is welcoming to everyone, be they self-assured, gregarious types or timid introverts; established authors or struggling wannabes.  
I am so very, very grateful for these wonderful ladies who generously give of their time, resources, and experience to teach, inspire, and encourage others, like me, on this wonderfully crazy journey called writing.

You Rock, Ladies!

Happy Birthday, Seekerville! 

I’m giving away a signed paperback copy or a Kindle version (winner’s choice) of my book The Marshal Meets His Match.

Just mention in the comments if you want your name in the cowboy hat for the drawing, and thanks for stopping by today.

Clari Dees comes from a large preacher’s family that spent their vacations doing mission work. She has visited almost every state in the US, helped teach VBS on a Navajo reservation, assisted with free medical clinics in Mexico, laid concrete tile on a church roof in Rapid City, SD, and laid brick on a church in Kentucky. When she’s not busy saving the world as a librarian—okay, so maybe it’s only a school student with an overdue paper—or tracking down an elusive genealogy question, she can be found at her computer plotting incriminating evidence for hapless fictional characters or enjoying her family and menagerie of animals in the country. She can be found online at or

Seekerville 6th Birthday Details Can Be Found Here


  1. Well said, Clari,

    Numbers 1 and 2 I've covered. The others are yet to come.

    Our church had a dinner tonight to honor us for pastor appreciation month. They also gave me a birthday card and check, even though my birthday isn't until Sunday. Lovely people.

    The coffee pot is set.

  2. Ahh...Hello? (Kicking dust off the floor). Where is everyone? Night owls, unite already!

    I've got buckets and buckets of Trader Joe Pumpkin biscotti to share. Would be a same to have to eat it myself. Ha!

    Clari, enjoyed the post! Congrats on the book (which I have on my TBR pile, BTW) and I'm looking forward to reading it. I appreciate your insights. Thanks for reminding us that this isn't easy, but this too shall pass.

  3. Thank you, Helen. Happy Pastor Appreciation Month and Happy Birthday! Pastor's wives are awesome! I know. My mom is one. :-) And her birthday is Saturday.

  4. That was 'would be a shame' not would be a same. Typos. Must be bedtime.

    Hey, Helen. Happy Birthday coming up. How nice to be recognized by the congregation. Lovely.

  5. Hey, Lyndee! I'll have some biscotti. Yum!
    You mentioned one of my favorite verses in the Bible -- And it came to pass...

  6. I just gasped. Did you hear it???

    Trader Joe's sells Pumpkin Biscotti.

    For the first time in my life I live near one.

    OMG. Field trip tomorrow.

  7. Note to self: Find a Trader Joe's someday and see what everyone is talking about.

  8. Tina, which Trader Joe's do you visit? Clari, just want you to know that Seekervillagers are so awesome they even welcome those of us (or I might be the only one) that is not even a wannabe. I just come for the company (oh, and the books)! Happy Birthday Helen. My sil is not a pastor's wife, but her birthday is on Sunday, mine is the following Saturday. Yes, Clari, I'd love it if you put my name in the Cowboy hat! Thanks

  9. Hi Clari...great tips! I'm a pastor's wife, too ; ). I loved the idea that was mentioned in your bio about taking mission trips as vacations. I love that idea! I was a missionary overseas for a while before I got married and can't wait til my kiddos get a little older so we can go over and visit (hopefully!) one day. I'm sort of a write here and there kind of person right now...not very committed. But I love the way I feel when I can write something and it just comes together...and I can tell a story the way I like it! : ) I have the feeling that one day I'll be more committed and maybe I'll make it to Unpubbed Island! I'd love my name in the hat for your book. God bless~Stacey

  10. Whew, glad you're here, Clari! (Shoving the stack of containers in your direction, quick, before I break into them. I had four biscotti's earlier-6 point plus, ugh-and I could get used to them.

    It's so interesting that the phrase 'this too shall pass' has entered the lexicon, yet it's not biblical in that exact form. Frankly, I think the first time I heard it used it was from the mouth of former Bears coach Mike Ditka after a tough loss. Ha!

  11. Marianne, you're so right. Seekerville is a wonderful place to hang out for writers and readers alike. After all, it does take both to make books work. :-) Thanks for stopping by and I've put you're name in the hat!

  12. Hey, Stacey! Just tossed your name in the Stetson! Thank you for your service as a pastor's wife! When my dad first mentioned the idea of working mission/vacation trip, we weren't too keen on the idea, but after the first one, we were hooked. As PKs we had to be at church, but somehow, those missions trips were our we-get-to-service for the Lord. Not to mention, it's pretty cool to climb through the trusses nailing stringers or climb around on a roof slinging shingles and nailing them down. Especially when you're 15 or 16. :-)

  13. Seekerville is a great place to hang out and get all those warnings ahead of time. Yep, I knew that one star would come, so I decided to make it fun and anticipate one and threw a party with cake and candles and stars!...nowhere near as bad to endure when you make it a party!

  14. One-star parties! Now that's the way to go, Melissa! I'll bring the confetti and the chocolate, 'cause it's just not a party without 'em. :-)

  15. This is a great post!

    All good and true! And I have some favorite one stars. I say favorite because... I don't just have a few. I have a lot. A few on every book equals a lot... to me.

    Anyway, one of my favorites says the book was 'disgusting' and she had to turn the page to get her eyes from the offending part. Ouch. I never thought I'd write something disgusting. :)

    It was alarming the first time I read it, but 've learned to sort of giggle at it. I mean... DISGUSTING is for vomit and diaper leaks and moldy food.

    But that's just me. :D

    Anyway, great post and glad to se you back in Seekerville! (Be sure to post those red boots as your profile pic again, love those!!)

  16. What a great post Clari. The Ladies at Seekerville do rock!

    I would love to have my name tossed into the cowboy hat.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  17. Oh, I love this, Clari!!!! First, thank you for being here and for all your nice words. You made my day, but in truth if you guys had any idea how you bless US in return, you'd know that we have such good reason to throw this party! We love youse!!!

    There are "stings" in this business. I've had a couple of books outright dumped.... But I had the next one ready to go in for proposal, so I'm never without a back-up plan. Me and MacGyver. In football terms? Go deep!!!!

    And study the playbook.

    Reviews, now this is interesting. The indie books are being regularly reviewed. Amazon sends out little reminders to customers to leave a review and makes it easy for them to do that. A part of me wonders if that's good or bad and I'm going straight to bad because there's no "cooling off" time.

    I've never given a book a bad review. Ever. Mostly because contests show me how subjective this business is, how varied the audience is. So if you have HSP Suzie Q reading a kick-butt heroine, (Hush Thackery in Deb Smith's "Sweet Hush") she's probably not going to identify and it won't make her Keeper Shelf of Awesomeness.

    But if HSP reads a book reflective of her struggles, a heroine who finds life and love overwhelming, SHE'S GOING TO LOVE IT.


    I'd throw it across the room and hit NEXT on the TBR pile. But it doesn't mean that book was bad, it's just it didn't fit my know-it-all, pull-your-big-girl-panties-up-and-get-on-with-it mentality.

    So my reaction isn't review worthy... and yet, today? There's a lot of folks who are almost anxious to smack an author down.

    "You put the good in this hand and the bad in that hand and you say "well, then" to both of them." Aunt Eller, Oklahoma

    That single line of sensibility is awesome!

  18. Oh, and can I confess something? (looks down, clearly embarrassed but knows she's among friends...)

    I don't like biscotti.

    I should, like it. I love the name!!! I love the way it rolls off the tongue! Yay!

    But it ranks with scones for me. I think they need caramel dip.


  19. Thank you for sharing what you've learned, and congrats on getting off the island. It's not an easy island to get off of. I'm glad I have you Seekers to feed us information to prepare us on how to get off and what to do once we do. Because we all will get off, right? As long as we don't give up.

    Happy Thursday, Seekerville!

  20. Hi Clari,

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I'm on the island and soaking up as much as I can while I continue to write.

    I'd appreciate you tossing my name in the hat for your book.


  21. I appreciate all the knowledge I've gained here and with my Inkie sisters over all these years. When I sent my first submission mumblemumble years ago, I THOUGHT I was ready. Oh dear, how can we be so naive? I am glad I haven't been published yet. Seriously. I know what I needed to learn first and these are just super examples, Clari!

    Happy Birthday Seekerville. It can't be said enough because it's really more about the LOVING ON YOU all that's important. You give so much and then you find a reason to give double portion!

  22. Great Advice Clari! I wish I'd been more aware of how long it would take to hear back from my editor on a couple of subsequent novels. However, not all publishers function that way. Some authors get 3 book deals right from the get-go and don't put up with that long of a wait time for their next three book contract either. I think that depends more on who your publisher is and how they operate than anything else.

    And for the record, I absolutely did not attend Melissa's one-star review party. When I get my first one star review--which is bound to come with one of my following books since my debut novel somehow managed to avoid a one-star--I will probably cry a little, and let myself cry, and not feel guilty for crying. Because when someone who's never written a book in his/her life decides to publicly attack your income stream, it deserves a few tears in my opinion. (Even if it is something all authors have to face).

  23. Thanks for the great post! I would have to say the one star-review would be the hardest to deal with I would think. But thanks for the advice of only taking away what could really be helpful in the next book. I would love to be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Marshal Meets His Match. Sounds like a nice, headstrong kind of lady!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

    Just mention in the comments if you want your name in the cowboy hat for the drawing, and thanks for stopping by today. - See more at:

  24. Great post, Clari! You're so right about a positive attitude smoothing out some of the bumps in the writing road. Well, that and chocolate :)

  25. It's always a good thing to be forewarned. Much better than waiting for the shoe to drop! And it helps to know others have already been there. :-) And they can laugh and talk about it. Great!
    The Seekerville ladies are wonderful examples to follow. So glad their willing to share their experience with us seeklings. Kinda like 'big sisters'.

    Thank you, Clari, for a wonderful post!

    I don't much care for biscotti. But I agree with RUTHY, I like the way the word rolls off the tongue! :-D

    Wish I lived close to a Trader Joe's. A friend buys everything from there. I love their rice baggie things!

  26. Clari,

    I enjoyed your post and it's great advice, especially on the reviews!

    I had a reviewer say they enjoyed one of my books, but the things that happened wasn't believable for South Dakota....ummm....I live in South Dakota....and I'm pretty sure it snows....bunches!!!! HA!

    Like you I laughed it off.

    Good luck with your book.

  27. Well good morning,
    Thank you for this post, Clari. One of the best things Seekerville has done for me is to show me that life OFF the island has a different set of problems, hassles and rewards. I don't think any regular visitors will have too many unpleasant surprises, thanks to you. I wish I'd gotten in the mix six years ago.
    Reviews? I don't review anything I don't love or at least like. I see my reviewing as a service, and if I review something, it means I think it can help the potential reader, in a "You gotta read this" kind of way. I don't see any point in reviewing something I DON'T like. I get most of my Christian books from my local library (my librarian has amazing taste), so there are no strings attached. I review on my Web site,, and in the Christianity section of And on Facebook, but I don't have an author page yet.
    If something isn't worth my time to read, it isn't worth my time to review.
    I will probably get a one-star but will comfort myself with the fact that somebody thought enough of it to publish it in the first place, and I like Melissa's Party idea. That shows a lot of confidence in herself, that she is doing what God wants her to do.
    Biscotti is okay. I have to be in the mood.
    It is raining here.
    Kathy Bailey

  28. Hi Clari,
    Great wisdom in your look back. All so true! I could relate to each statement.

    The "revisions will not kill me" had me laughing. I gulp when I read the revision letters from my editor. Then I nod my head and start thinking of ways to follow her suggestions, which are always what the story needs. Yet, each time I have that moment of hesitation.

    Thanks for mentioning the need to get On the Island before you can get Off the Island. It's kind of like fishing. You can't catch anything if you never throw your net.

    Great bio! You've touched so many in your ministry over the years. God is smiling, I'm sure!

    The pumpkin bread is yummy. Coffee's hot. It's all so, so good!

    Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

  29. Hi, Clari! You hit the nail on the head. I never anticipated how extensive revisions could be -- after all, they bought my book!

  30. Good morning, Clari! Wonderful post! I, too, am thankful that I'd had the opportunity to "hang around" published writers and writers in the early stages of being published so I (somewhat) had an idea of what to expect when I finally sailed off the island!

    But, as you so aptly put it, you can't sail OFF the island until you've paddled TO the island. You have to reach a point where daydreaming and wishful thinking aren't enough and you're ready to do what needs to be done and trust God with the rest. THEN you're truly ON Unpubbed Island, no longer floating out in the sea of millions of others who 'want to write a book.'

    Congratulations on your sale!

  31. Please put my name in the cowboy hat. Don't know how I've missed reading this thus far.
    Loved the story about horsehair on the rear. If you REALLY know about riding horses bareback you know a little horsehair doesn'
    It matter enough to warrant mentioning it in the book. SIlly reviewer!
    Ok - I admit it. I don't like Rule #5. I'm still on the island and desperately want to get off but my dream big wish list includes selling all 8 of the books I have finished, not just one. Could I let one of my babies out into the big wide world to a would-be editor and keep the rest at home in my sheltered little computer forever? I suppose I could but not without a few tears for the left-behinds.
    Thank you Clari! VERY encouraging post. And Yep. . . I have made it to the island. Next step is rescue!

  32. HELEN, Happy almost Birthday. I hope it's a wonderful day for you. I'm so glad your church honored you and your husband for Pastor Appreciation Month.

    LYNDEE, thanks for sharing the pumpkin biscotti!!! LOVE, LOVE Trader Joes. That was one of the things I missed the most when we moved to Colorado. :)

  33. CLARI--I loved your post. I have learned so much here about writing life, both from the wonderful Seeker ladies and all the villagers. I chuckled at the one about being patient with the editors and publishing houses. One thing I'm learning here on the Island is the virtue of patience. If I could only learn it RIGHT. NOW. :)

    It's fun to hear your voice through your post. Please put me in the drawing!

  34. Clari, welcome back!! What a great post. Plus, I'm laughing so hard over you and your horse laughing together!! :) :)

    So funny. And I love the attitude. You've done well toughening up your writer hide and pushing on. It's what we have to do to make it in this business.

    Thanks for celebrating our birthday with us!

  35. Hi Clari! Please put my name in the cowboy hat for The Marshal Meets His Match. Thank you!

  36. Good morning, everybody! It's a chilly, gray morning outside my window, but I'm hanging out in sunny Seekerville so it's all good! :-)

    Virginia, disgusting should definitely be used for things like maggots. Not book reviews. In the voice of the little girl off the old Full House show... "How Rude!" :-)
    (And those red boots will be back.)

  37. Cindy W, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Your name's in the Stetson. :-)

  38. Your book sounds wonderful! And your observations were perfect. This is definitely a hurry-up-and-wait business.

    Personally, I don't read reviews. It's not like I can change the book at that point! I concentrate on things that are within my control --and reviews are definitely NOT under my control :)

  39. Good morning, Ruthy!
    You've got me singing O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A this morning. :-) Love Aunt Eller's wisdom.

    I agree with you on writing reviews. There was a children's book-on-tape that my sister and I loved when we were young and the little ditty at the end sang, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all!" That's my motto on book reviews. :-) Because, as a librarian, I see how subjective book tastes are. Someone will return a book and rave about how wonderful it was, but the next person that returns it gripes about it being the awfullest book they've read. (True story. Happened just a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, it wasn't my book. ☺ )

  40. You can't chase a dream by standing still.
    Wow, Clari! I LOVE THAT!

  41. Oh, oh, oh, Ruthy! Come over here. I've got caramel dip. And it's homemade! It goes with the homemade pumpkin cake. So if you don't want the biscotti, come try a slice of cake with warm caramel sauce drizzled over it. It's delish!

  42. Annie, (love your name, by the way) thanks for stopping in. It can be a real struggle to get a boat built that will take one off the island to the mainland, but the nice thing is... it's not a deserted island. It has some of the nicest people on it. And they all hang out at Seekerville, of course. :-) And they'll cheer the loudest when you set sail.
    Keep on writing and submitting, girl. We're cheering you on!

  43. Jackie, thank you for the kind words. Enjoy that island sunshine, the sand between your toes, and the sound of waves against the shore. It's the best writing music there is. :0) Your name's in the hat!

  44. Debra, it is nice to not be on this journey alone, isn't it? Having people like these lovely ladies encouraging us on, sharing their wisdom... They help me past some naive assumption on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. :-)

  45. Naomi someone said, "tears clean the windows of the soul." So don't feel guilty for crying. It helps unload tension and emotions. Don't bottle it up like I tend to do because when it explodes it's usually not very pretty. :-/

    And yeah, that waiting. LeSigh. I don't like waiting. Or patience. (grumble, grumble, grumble) :-)

  46. Great post, Clari! Thanks for sharing. I'd love to have my name in the drawing for your book.

  47. I would love to be entered into the giveaway! Please put my name in:)

  48. Sally, One and two star reviews are definitely a bit of a kick in the stomach when they first appear, but if I consider them an exercise to build emotional fitness, then they're a good thing.

    Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to remember that, but eventually I get there. :-)

    And you're entered in the drawing, girlfriend. :-)

  49. Mia, chocolate is a definite help in smoothing out the bumps in the road and my attitude. :-)

  50. Mary H.
    Forewarned is undeniably forearmed!

    Seeklings. I like that term. :-) Makes me think of fuzzy, yellow chickies or duckies. So cute and cuddly. And not gangly or awkward like I feel most of the time.

  51. I am so impressed with you bolding the names, Clari.

    Love the new hairdo as well.

    Reviews. I don't read them nor do I look at stats.

    I know they mess with my head so I refuse to do it.

  52. Rose! Oh my goodness! You made me choke on my drink. LOL! Clearly, your living in South Dakota does not qualify you to write about South Dakota weather. I mean you should leave things like that to the experts. :-) ha, ha, ha!

  53. Good morning, Kathy B. Thanks for stopping to chat.
    I think Melissa's really hit on something. One-Star Parties. They'll be a sensation. People that don't get one-star reviews will be pouting that they missed out on the awesome party. I see a gigantic chocolate fountain with all kinds of delicious treats for dipping. A brass band (Helen, you're in charge of the trumpet section), Fireworks... Oh, it'll be fantastic!

  54. Debby the editor's fresh eyes on my story and her suggestions made my story stronger, there is no doubt about that. But boy! Were they ever a shock to this green-as-grass-newbie! :-)

    Yep. Just like the gentleman fishing on the beach in your lovely post, yesterday. That net might come up empty 9 times out of 10, but he kept throwing it. And my dad might not catch anything but nibbles for three or four trips to the river, but it's not always about the catching, is it.?

  55. Cara, that's what I finally reminded myself after opening that first revision email. "They bought my book, they bought my book, they bought my book. So that mean's there's a story in here worth revising. Breath!" :-)

  56. Thank you, Glynna.

    Sometimes, taking those first strokes toward the island was as scary as Peter stepping out of the boat. It takes courage and faith to try, but God is waiting to give us what we need. We just have to start.

  57. Cindy R, to tell you the truth, I don't much care for #5, either. (grumble, grumble) But you've made it to the island!
    Eight Books written!
    You go, girl!
    There might be a little horse hair on the Stetson, too (as well as a few dog and cat hairs, but who's counting...), but your name is in there. :-)

  58. When I'm published I probably won't read reviews either. Too much else to do. Too much extra angst. If there's one thing I've learned from this blog, life doesn't get EASIER when you have a contract.
    I like the bold type too, I may go to that instead of caps when addressing Seekers. It's still shouting, even if it's a friendly shout.

  59. Jeanne T, I often ask myself why patience takes so long. Since it's something we all need, don't you think it would be delivered really fast? But, no. Mine always seems to wind up lost in the mail. Maybe they're sending it to the wrong address. :-D

    You're in the drawing, girlfriend.

  60. Clari,

    There is some great information here from the "other side." Thank you for sharing it. I enjoyed your book very much.

    Lyndee, so happy to hear you went to Trader Joe's. Please pass the Pumpkin Biscotti. I'll have a little cup of caramel glaze to dip it in before the coffee (or after?)...


  61. Thank you, Missy. I'm thrilled to be here today.
    I wish you could see my horse laugh. :-D He looks like Mr. Ed when he does. He stretches his nose out, tips his head to the side, pulls back his lips and just flat-out grins. It's hilarious. And he thinks I look better with a layer of horse hair, dust, and a smear of muddy snot across some portion of my anatomy.

  62. Hi, Amy C. I just tossed your name in the hat. Thanks for stopping in. :-)

  63. Welcome Clari - - and thank you for this insightful post! As someone who currently resides on unpubbed island (what can I say? I think Capt. Jack is cute, LOL) I found your list very helpful to keep in mind as I work (and work...and work). *smile*

    Congratulations on your book---what a great cover! Please toss me in the cowboy hat for your drawing, and thanks again for sharing your wisdom today.

    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo (who is constantly brushing off cat hair)

  64. Sherri, I like your attitude. Good or bad, once the book's out, we can't change anything. Paul said to leave the past behind and press on. And since resting on our laurels (good reviews) is just as damaging as letting bad reviews derail us, we must Write On! :-)

  65. great post Clari. i think i'm in the shallows, almost getting on Unpubbed Island. you are so right though, can't get off the island if you're not there in the first place.

    i'm with you on what a blessing Seekerville is. i have learned so much and cherish the kindess and support the ladies of Seekerville provide. i am definitely a "seekling".

    thanks for sharing what you have learned. would love my name to be thrown into that Stetson.

    oh, and i only write good reviews. my usual thought with one star peeps is "um... bitter much?" i wonder if those people are the kind who aren't happy unless they are being mean, and then i pray. mostly for the Lord to change my heart so I don't write some snide comment back at them.

  66. Good morning, Jamie and Salyna! You've been thrown into the Stetson. Your names, that is. I don't think I could physically pick you up and throw you anywhere. Nor do I want to throw you anywhere. Hmmm...I think I got lost down a rabbit trail. :0)

  67. Thanks, Tina. It's the one itsy-bit of HTML that I've figured out. The rest... not a clue.

    And that hair-do is kind of like the stars. It comes out at night after a day in curlers. :-) It's my fancy do for fancy outings. I call them my Shirley Temple curls. They're so fun.

    You're so right! Reviews mess with my head! So why am I wasting my time with them? Must. Do. Better!

  68. Thank you, Piper. Glad you enjoyed my post and my story. :-D

  69. Thank you, Patti Jo. Island living is not bad at all when you have Captian Jack around. :-)
    You're in the hat, too, and I'm a firm believer that cat hair goes well with horse hair!

  70. Holy moly cannoli...


    Maybe I'm part Italian after all because cannolis... cannnoli cream cake.... oh. to. die. for.

    Clari, 70 comments at 11:42 on a Thursday, you rock the big kahuna girlfriend!!!!!

    Lovin' the Stetson. #lovecowboys

  71. DebH, Oh, that temptation to be snide... I deal with that frequently. And not just with reviews. It's a pretty grim reminder that I'm not any holier than anybody else. Praise the Lord, He's in the business of changing hearts, 'cause mine needs it daily!

    Your name's in the hat, and keep paddling, girl. You'll make it to the island. :-)

  72. Clari! What a great post. You really hit the nail on the head - and what a great tribute to the Seekers.

    (Seekers, stop reading now. Just go on to the next comment. This is for the Seekervillagers!)

    Because, really, where would we be without them? Paddling around in some boat somewhere? No direction, no map to help us reach our goals. Maybe an occasional "How are you doing?" if we happen to cross paths with another poor soul in a boat.

    But once we reach Unpubbed Such warm encouragement and practical tips!

    Oh, and I agree with every one of your five points! I'm so glad I was prepared for those things!

  73. I'm all over the pumpkin cake and caramel dip!!!!

    I must be a soft-texture girl. (It goes hand in hand with my GENTLE Heart)


    So you have me at cake, and Debby Giusti won my heart with her Red Velvet cake the other day and oh.... why is it so easy to eat and so hard to not eat?????

    Well, Clari Dees, what are you working on now??? Besides fun library stories and I can totally see a librarian in my future as a heroine because you feed me so much good material!

    Can you just see it??????

  74. Oooooh!
    I'll take a cannoli!

    Funny story: My sister, we're of Scottish descent, just married an Italian. She introduced him to Cannoli. hee, hee, hee.

  75. Jan, you are 100% correct-a-mondo! These ladies provide so much direction. They're like this wonderful light house that keeps us from crashing into the jagged rocks of discouragement and giving-up.

  76. Ruthy, I'm waiting to hear back about a story I turned into my editor(who happened to be Tina James) right before Joan retired (so this could take a while ☺).

    But while I wait, I'm working on a story about a Pinkerton detective who despises cons and deceptions of any kind and a circus performer used to living behind the make-up and costumes of the Big-Top. :-D They're not getting along very well at the moment. hee, hee, hee

    And in my humble opinion, I think a librarian would make an excellent heroine. :-) (insert cheesy grin here)

  77. Since it is fall and pumpkin is the flavor of the moment, I'll share the pumpkin cake and caramel sauce recipe that we love at my house. It's a Taste of Home recipe which means it's easy, peasy. :0)

    Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Sauce

  78. Hi Clari:

    Your heroine still stands out as my favorite in romance. What are you going to do for an encore?

    You wrote:

    “You cannot leave Unpubbed Island if you never arrive on the island.”

    That is my #1 problem. I’ve been on Nonfiction Unpubbed Island, got off, and find it hard to take a trip back to Fiction Unpubbed Island. I just have not fully committed to go back and live on Unpubbed Island. That is a problem. It is so much easier under stress to just work on my nonfiction.

    I have a few things I’ve learned about nonfiction that may or may not apply to fiction.

    1. The reason why writers don’t believe that revisions can kill them is because when it does kill them, doctors always list ‘heart attack’ as the cause of death.

    2. There is what happens to us and then there is how we choose to react it. The first we often cannot control. The second we can and should endeavor to control.

    3. The number of stars a reviewer gives is often a measure of the intelligence of the reviewer and not the quality of the work. A reader demonstrates approximately 30 IQ points for each star given. Gifted reviewers often want to award six and seven starts. (You gifted reviewers out there, isn’t that true?)

    4. If you chase a dream you may scare it away like a frighten sparrow but if you attract a dream it may come to you and eat out of your hand.

    How much of what happens is our attitude attracting into our lives?


  79. Good morning, Vince! I love #1! It made me literally laugh out loud. :-)
    #2 very true. So much of how things effect us is in direct relation to our reaction!
    #3... I like your take on this. :-)
    #4... What a lovely thought! I envisioned a pretty little hummingbird coming to eat out of the feeder in my hand and it made me smile. :-)

  80. Hi Clari and Missy:

    My #4 is a moral premise! A whole book could be written about it.

    4. If you chase a dream you may scare it away like a frighten sparrow but if you attract a dream it may come to you and eat out of your hand.

    A heroine chases love all her life only to scare away all her beaus. (She was after what she wanted) But when she finds inner peach and becomes loveable, (she offers what others find of value) she attracts the love of her life.

    I just love Seekerville!

    (I think Missy is our biggest Moral Premise fan.)

    Now I have to get down to business and revise a lot of nonfiction. : (

  81. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It's quite a journey you writers go on. As I read posts like yours here on Seekerville it makes me appreciate the craft of authors even more :) Please put my name in the hat for the drawing! Thanks!

  82. Your name is in the hat, Heidi. And thank you for taking time to drop by and chat a while. :-) Readers always make writers happy!

  83. All great points CLARI, Thanks for joining us today in Seekerville.

  84. Wow. Seekerville just hit a million viewers.

    Congratulations Seekers and Seeker Villagers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Please put me in the cowboy hat for your book. January I've got to get back to my western series and need some reading to put me in the mood.

    I never leave a 1 or 2 star review. I don't even finish reading and how could I review it if I didn't read it. Never understood why anyone would read a book they didn't like.

    Your advice is great. Thanks.

  85. Thrilled to be here, Sandra! Have fun in Spain! :-)

  86. Your name's in the Stetson, Elaine. And I agree. Why spend time reading something you don't enjoy when there are so many other great books out there?

  87. I forgot to say "put me in the hat"!

    So please, put me in the hat :)

  88. 1,000,000 views!
    I'm snoopy-dancin' on my way up and down the stairs to the washer and dryer.

  89. You guys are such a great resource for aspiring authors. As a reader it has really given me insight to what I read. Personally I will not give a bad review. If I don't like a book I keep it to myself, just because I didn't like it does not mean someone else will like it. However of I read a book and feel I can offer constructive criticism then I will do that. Please add me to the cowboy hat

  90. Thank you for sharing, Clari! I'm dreading my first one star. I'm praying that I'll have a few four and five stars to balance it out. ;)

  91. Of course, Jan, you're in the hat, too! It's gonna be a regular party in there. But don't worry. It's the ten-gallon size, so there's plenty of room. :-D

  92. Hilleary (love that spelling, by the way), you're joining the party in the Stetson. :0) And thanks for being a reader that reviews!

    Authors might cringe at low-star reviews, but the fact that people take time to review books should not be slighted. Those reviews are a tremendous help in getting our books in front of potential readers.
    So, thank you to everyone that takes time to write a review and post it!

  93. Hey, Christina! I've seen those writing excerpts you post on FB. Of course you're going to get good reviews! And I for one, can't wait to get my hands on your upcoming release! I love the back cover blurb. Can't wait to see the cover, either! So excited for you!

  94. Welcome Clari! Wow, your positive attitude and warm heart shine in this post. Maybe I'm emotional about hitting a million views in Seekerville, but the end of your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your sweet words.

    Hope you know how much you and all the villagers mean to us. We feel like family. Family that cares and understands the ups and downs of being a writer.

    Big hugs of gratitude, Clari, from me to you.


  95. A gigantic hug right-back-atcha, Janet! A million views just goes to prove how wonderful you gals have made this spot!

  96. Hello Clari,

    I'm not published yet, but I love hearing the trials and disappointments of other writers. No, I'm not really mean, I just love to know that I'm normal and it's doesn't mean I'm a failure when I receive bad contest scores.
    I wish for everything to be rainbows and gumdrops, but I prepared for reality. I think.

  97. Clari, thank you for the reminders of what is to come.

    I completely agree with everything you said about the Seekerville ladies. They are the best!

    Please enter me.


  98. Love it, Clari--"You cannot leave Unpubbed Island if you never arrive on the island."

    Just think how far each of us has come from the land of the Wannabes! We took the risk. We braved rejection, wildly divergent contest scores, and one-star reviews.

    Thank you, Clari, for sharing these important reminders about what it takes to survive and thrive as writers, not only during our time on Unpubbed Island but after our long-awaited ship finally comes in.

  99. Oh, and please throw my name in the Stetson. I love LI westerns.

  100. DID WE HIT IT????



    WE HIT A MILLION!!!! LAST I LOOKED IT WAS 1,000,128!!!!!!





  101. Connie, I love the fact that the Seekers don't hide the hard stuff. We get to see the bumps and bruises as well as the rewards of all that persistent hard work. Knowing they survived the punches encourages me that I will to. Especially if, in the oh-so-wise-words of Ruthy, I pull up my big girl pants and keep going. :-)

    Besides, the rainy days make for rainbows, and the bitter pills make the gumdrops that much sweeter. :-D

    Love me some western lovers! Your name's in the Stetson.

  102. Donna, thank you dropping in and visiting with me! I tossed your name toward the Stetson, and by jingo, I got it in there the first try. I'm getting better :-)

    Ain't it grand? One Million views! That tells you how special this place is right there!

  103. Thank you for paving the way, Myra! It's comforting to have such awesome cheerleaders like you and the rest of the Seeker ladies rooting for us!

  104. A MILLION!!! YAY!!!

    I'm tootin' my horn for you!!!

    And I never think to say put me in the hat. So dump me in there.


  105. You're in the hat, too, Helen. And what's a party without a brass band?! Bring on the horns!

  106. I'm still trying to get the confetti out of my hair.

    Congrats, Seekerville.

    Clairi, thanks for a great post. So true.

    Critiques don't kill you. Bad reviews won't kill you.

    And won't you've put up something for the world to see on the internet, you can be fearless.

    Loved your book so no need for the drawing.

    Peace, Julie

  107. Helen's blowing her horn!!!!

    I'm more psyched than ever!!!!

    We need more cake!!!!

  108. Love the post, Clari! And, uh, um, where do I get one of those Writer Revision Towels?

  109. Clari, thank you so much for being on today. What a great list.

    And thanks so much for all the nice words for Seekerville.

    You know Seekerville is great because of all the great people who hang around here and MAKE it great. It takes a Seekerville VILLAGE to raise a blog.

    (if that's not a saying, it should be!!!)

  110. I think I probably chased my dream like....with a rolling pin, with curlers in my hair and cold cream on my face.

    I could swear it ran away from me like it was TERRIFIED!!!!

    But I finally caught up to that sucker and beat it into submission.

    That may not be the correct way to do it, but it was my way!!!!!!!!!

  111. Julie H.S. I'm glad you enjoyed my book! :-D

    Confetti is so much fun! Unless it's blue bio-degradable confetti and it gets in the ruching of your sister's wedding dress and won't come out. But, hey! The confetti was her idea... :-)

  112. Isn't that towel a hoot, Leola? I don't know if you can read the fine print at the bottom of it, but it says "with spit, can be used to clean computer screens." I laugh every time I see it.

    You're only the second person I've ever met with the name Leola. My grandmother was the first. :-)

  113. Mary, I am rolling on the floor with that mental picture. Hilarious!
    You crack me up. :-D
    I've lost track of the times I take advantage of a slow moment at work to check the comments on a Seekerville post and nearly choke to death because I'm trying not to laugh out loud at one of your remarks.
    One of these days they're gonna have to call 911 to resuscitate me and it'll be all your fault.

  114. Great lessons. . .

    I think the biggest thing I'm learning right now is to set goals. But not enormous ones.
    First, mine was write 40,000 words, then 65,000, then 80,000.
    My new goal now is to read through the entire story once and make notes, etc.
    And so on and so on. . .

    It doesn't seem nearly so impossible when I break it up.
    At least I'm on Unpubbed Island, like you said!

  115. Congratulations on reaching the one million mark. I'm thankful for all the help including those critiques freely given by Seekers along with the reality checks and warnings. It seems life after publication has its own peculiar difficulties. Being aware of what to expect won't be quite a shock when we know what to expect beforehand. Thank you, Clari, for this inside look. I hope that becoming more patient as an unpubbed writer will prepare me for what the Lord might later have in mind.
    Happy pastor appreciation month to the wives and daughters of pastors here. And congratulations on your novel, Clari.

  116. Good point, Courtney. Bite-sized goals make even the biggest task doable. As they say, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. (Of course, you do have to like the taste of elephant.) :-D
    Thanks for stopping by and welcome to Unpubbed Island!

  117. Thank you, Pat. There's that patient word again. :-) So much of this writing journey involves that, doesn't it? :-)

    May God bless all of you unpubbed writers and open doors of opportunity for you this month!

  118. I will add here that 'just because you sold one book does not mean you'll sell another.'

    Is NOT true.

    Not if you keep working, just as long, just as hard, with just as much determination. You WILL sell another one. YOU WILL!!!!!!!!!!

    BELIEVE IT!!!!

  119. Oh, Good point, Mary! I should have qualified that statement. -- Just because I sell one book, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll sell the very next manuscript I write.
    It might take two or three more tries to figure out what I did right the first time. :-)
    But I ain't quittin'!
    No sirree, bob!

  120. Yippy for Clari! Because you persevered with your writing, I get to read another western. It's a win-win.

    About those 'one star' reviews. They reflect on the reviewer and not on the book. Time is better spent writing that next book for all the people who loved the previous book than allowing someone who didn't have a positive thing to say intrude in your life. They only have as much power as we give them. Ya know?

    Thanks for every word of your post today.

    Nancy C

  121. You're welcome, Nancy C. :-) And I'm tossing your name in the Stetson, too. (Unless you already have a copy?)

    You said, "About those 'one star' reviews. They reflect on the reviewer and not on the book. Time is better spent writing that next book for all the people who loved the previous book than allowing someone who didn't have a positive thing to say intrude in your life. They only have as much power as we give them. Ya know?"

    Absolutely! So I'm gonna' be productive and write! :-D

  122. Clari Dees! My author friend of the awesome shoes! So glad I made it to the party today. LOVED your post. Was nodding and laughing through all of it. =)
    No need to enter me in the drawing. I already have your book and really enjoyed it. =)
    My favorite part of the post was Someday-I’d-like-to-be-an-author Sea.
    It's easier to want to than to do.
    Which I have to remind myself often as I pretty much hate writing manuscripts. I love editing and revising them, and I adore having written manuscripts, but the actual first draft? Ugh. Which I'm taking on by the horns in Nano next month. =D

  123. I'm speaking tonight and will have to explain the confetti that's still drifting from my hair. Or I could just spray it in place. ;-)

    Clari, when you said we must go to the island before we can sail off I thought of the Isrealites standing at the flooded Jordan River. God told them they were to cross into the Promised Land but it wasn't until the priests stepped into the river that the water backed up. A miracle but also a reminder that to reach our goal we must take that step of faith.


  124. Hey! It's Nancy of the awesome Sword! :-) I'm so happy to see you, and very glad I made you laugh. :-D

    Those rough drafts! ugh! Sometimes I feel like they leave my brain bleeding. It's so much easier and more fun to work with words that are already on paper. I just need to figure out how to get that rough draft written down quicker so I can get on to the polishing part! And then for my next trick, I'll make my bathroom clean itself. LOL!

  125. Amen, Janet!
    How many times have I missed God's provision because I was too scared to take that first step?
    Too many, I'm afraid.
    I've heard preachers talk about Peter's lack of faith when he took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink, but let's not forget that he had enough faith to step out onto water! And when his faith faltered, Jesus caught him. Just like He'll catch me. But I have to take those first steps.

  126. Vince, I am a Moral Premise fan! :)

  127. LOL, Clari! I can just see your horse (and you covered in snotty mud--or was it muddy snot??). :)

  128. Definitely muddy snot, Missy. Jack snuffled around in the dirt Sunday looking for the bit of apple he'd dropped, then he lifted his head and snorted. Left me with brown mud splatters all over my pink sweat shirt. The little booger. :-) But what was funny was, Dandy (a white and yellow paint horse) was standing right next to him and wound up with snot all over his white face. He looked so offended. =D

  129. Clari, I love that reference to Peter. Sure he doubted. I can relate!

    But he took that step and believed...

    How big and wonderful is that first step????

    And hey, don't those reviewers know you can't brush horse hair off your bootie in LI????

    Besides horse lovers don't care. Silly people!

  130. First steps. Aren't they wonderful?! Although, sometimes I hear Lou Costello shouting to Bud Abbot, "Watch that first step! It's a doozy!" after he'd taken a prat fall. =D

    Not to mention, Ruthy, my heroine went from riding bareback to landing on her rump in the paddock dirt. So she had more on the backside of her skirt than just horse hair. hee, hee, hee!

  131. Personally, I like Trader Joe's for their frozen food, those cinnamon flavored alphabet cookies, and the dark chocolate covered espresso beans...

    Without Seekerville I wouldn't have met Gina and wouldn't be an Inky. We all know that the support and push we've all received has come from THE FAMILY you've created for us here.

    Happy Millionth and please, now, stop talking about DESSERTS!

    I'm trying to get serious here. Lose Weight.
    Finish Edits.
    Meet Mia Ross.

  132. Clari Dees said...
    You're welcome, Nancy C. :-) And I'm tossing your name in the Stetson, too. (Unless you already have a copy?)

    I don't have the book (yet) so would love to have my name tossed in the Stetson. Thanks, Clari!

    Nancy C

  133. Debra, you mean we can gain weight from all these desserts?!?! I thought they were virtual calories! Agh! I will now be avoiding the bathroom scale like the plague!

  134. Thank you, everybody, for a wonderful day! It's been so fun visiting with all of you, and I'm thrilled to have gotten to be around when Seekerville broke the 1,000,000 mark!


  135. Nancy of the awesome sword. HAHA. Thank you!!! If you learn how to make the bathroom clean itself that would be so cool. I plan to one day celebrate my first one star review with cake like Melissa Jagears did. I was inspired by it, truly. I celebrated my first rejection letter too. Because you don't get those when you're still in someday sea. =)

  136. Nope. You don't.
    And those one-star reviews means you're not on unpubbed island anymore, too. :-D So I'll start planning for that first one-star party (but it'll only come after you've received multiple 5 stars of course). What kind of cake do you prefer?

  137. Clari,
    I loved your posting today!

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  138. Clair, this was a great post! I'm printing it to read at least once a week.
    Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge. :-)

  139. Thank you, KarenK
    I'll put your name in the hat, too. :-)

  140. :-) Thanks, Mary H., and you're welcome.

  141. Wow Clari, this is such an awesome post. I'm just paddling away from the Island (translates my novella isn't released yet) and reviews terrify me! Along with sales. I figure I'll sell at least 3, sisters and a niece.

    Great advice and I'm so thankful for you and everyone else who shares their knowledge.

    I'd love to read your book do please throw my name in the Stetson?

  142. Congratulations, Terri! What's the name of your novella and when's it going to release? Details, please. :-)
    I understand that feeling of terror completely. Putting your writing where other people outside your family can read it is scary! But you've got this! You're on your way! :-) Woo Hoo!

    Thanks for taking time to drop by. Your name's been tossed in the Stetson!

    1. Thanks Clari, my novella is Mistletoe Magic and I don't have the exact date yet. Trust me, you guys will hear the second I do!

  143. CLARI!!! Cannot believe it took me THIS LONG to get over here today, but BOY, OH, BOY, girlfriend, was it worth it!!

    I SOOO needed this today, which just goes to prove we are never too old (ahem) or have too many 1-star reviews (double ahem) to learn this valuable lesson!

    I am SOOO proud of you with your great attitude on those 1-stars, Clari!! Now, I just need to learn to apply it ... :|


  144. Thanks, Julie. :-)
    Hugs right back atcha!
    And (ahem) a lady who writes stories like Love at Any Cost will never be old.
    Just ain't possible!
    You're too young at heart!

  145. Clari, that was an excellent post! I agreed with every point! And what a great post to come when Seekerville is celebrating 1 million :) Good luck with you next book!

  146. Thank you, Eva. I'm still grinning about the One Million! So Kewl!

    Terri, I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for news about it. :-)

  147. Great food, Clari - excellent points and I love love love the graphics. :)

    So so true.

    Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom, and congratulations yourself!! OH - and thanks for sharing the yummies. :)

  148. Seriously, I won't be the next brilliant contest winner? Good grief. That's why I started writing in the first place.

    I learned that one well. Perhaps too well.

    I also learned I wouldn't become a billionaire too quickly anyway.

    First people have to know you're a writer.


    Thanks for sharing, Clari

  149. Knowing these things beforehand must help in some small measure.

    Please count me in for a copy of "The Marshal Meets His Match" thank you.

  150. Great post Clari! Your book sounds great and right up my alley. Please put my name in the hat. :)

    Wanda Barefoot

  151. LOL, Tina P.!

    Mary P and Wanda, your names are in the hat as well. Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  152. Wonderful post. I would love for my name to be entered in the drawing for her book. Thank you!!
    Barbara Thompson

  153. Please drop my name in the hat! Congratulations. :)
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

  154. Yay! I'm so excited to be a winner! Thanks! And thanks for the comment, Clari! ~Stacey

  155. I brought pumpkin muffins to the ideas and so appreciate the wonderful way you shared them.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books