Saturday, October 19, 2013

Keeping Calm and Carrying On with Guest Jan Drexler

Get in your time machine! We’re going back to my first appearance in the comments of Seekerville:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Boy oh boy....I'm a newbie here, and I'm wondering just what I've stumbled upon!
...but, you know, NCIS and Clint and chocolate, all in one place in one morning? I think I found my new favorite hang out!

If I promise to share my hot chocolate (no marshmallows - we don't want to dilute the pleasure), may I leave a comment? 

Thanks so much, Ruthie, for sharing your contest journey! My big writing goal this winter is to enter at least one contest, and your post was an inspiration. I've had my pride knocked in a few times, so I think I can get over poor scoring - but I really want the critiques! So on with the entries!

Ruthy’s response:

Jan, YES!!! So nice to see you/meet you and chocolate is a bribe right along with cowboys, writing tips, great stories and WONDERFUL if somewhat bossy buds. and contests brought the Seekers together and WE HAVEN'T KILLED ANYONE YET.

But leave the tiaras alone, dear. :)

And good luck on those entries. Gotta get it out there, take a hit now and again.
A little ouch. Like a needle stick to prevent GRAVE ILLNESS.

That was my first Seekerville visit. I was such a newbie! But I was thrilled that Ruthy welcomed me to the island so graciously. And the welcome spread quickly among the Seekers – all fifteen of them made me feel part of the community! Before long I was reading their books, cheering for new contracts, sitting teary-eyed with joy as we celebrated Pam Hillman’s first contract on May 23, 2011….

All fifteen Seekers were now off the island, and the place was left to the Seeker-villagers.

How many remember cleaning out those huts after the Seekers left? You’d think they couldn’t wait to leave, the way they just threw stuff in their luggage and jumped on the ferry! I think I even found a piece of chocolate in Audra’s hut – can you imagine?

But the Seekers didn’t leave us behind. They started a regular ferry service between the island and Seekerville on the mainland, and they show up regularly when one of us has a first sale party.

And there have been a lot of those parties. More and more of the villagers are publishing their debut novels, or their second or third books. We’re landing contracts, agents, placing in and winning contests, attending conferences…and who do we have to thank? The Seekers. Those gracious ladies who had the vision of reaching out to help struggling authors – just like they were at one time – and offering help, advice and encouragement. Where would we be without them?

Enough of the speeches, this is a party! My assignment was to share the things I’ve learned since leaving Unpubbed Island, so here goes.

1)    Keep celebrating.

Getting a book contract is just as exciting as it sounds – and your first one only comes once. It should be a big deal! Go out to celebrate with the people closest to you! Hug your children! Buy your dog a new chewie! Enjoy the experience!

But don’t stop there – celebrate every milestone. Every contest win, every contract, every positive review deserves at least a minute for you to sit back and praise God for what He’s done and is doing with your writing.

2)    Keep working.

One thing you hope for is that once people read your precious debut novel, they will want to read more from you. That means you need to reach back into your files (or into your head) and pull out that next story. Keep writing. Every day.

3)    Keep reaching toward that next goal

No one – I mean no one – is an expert writer with their first novel. Keep learning, working on your craft, developing your voice. Work toward excellence, and never be content to rest along the trail. 

4)    Keep in touch with your readers.  

No matter who they are or what kind of a review they’ve written, they are your readers. Treat them graciously. Make friends with them through social media. Accept their praise humbly, and thank them for reading your book.

I am taking my own advice – I’m keeping calm and carrying on! I just sent my third story to my agent, and I now have a second contract with Love Inspired…and…(drumroll)…

I’d like to announce that we now have a release date for my second book: August, 2014! 

The working title is “Her Redeeming Grace,” and it is the winner of the 2013 TARA contest, inspirational category.

When Ruth Mummert accepted the job as housekeeper for a widower and his daughter in faraway LaGrange County, Indiana to avoid the constant reminder of her intended’s faithlessness and her best friend’s betrayal, she’s looking forward to a useful life of service. But her new employer is nothing like the fatherly man she had envisioned.

 Levi Zook, desperate to keep his brood of motherless children from being farmed out to relatives, is ready to welcome a middle aged spinster into his home to help with the housekeeping. But the woman who steps off the train is not what he was expecting. 

When she realizes he never told her she’d be caring for ten children, will this beautiful young woman leave on the next train?

If you read my first book, The Prodigal Son Returns, you’ll recognize the hero – yes, it’s the same Levi Zook that Ellie was determined not to marry.
And the heroine in this story? Why, Ruthy, of course!

And we have a prize for chocolate lovers – one commenter will receive a French Coffee Press and a bag of ground cocoa beans as described  over at the Yankee-Belle Café last month.

  Plus a copy of my debut novel, The Prodigal Son Returns.

 Plus a copy of my debut novel, The Prodigal Son Returns.

Let us know in your comment if you want to be included in the drawing or not! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Jan Drexler grew up surrounded by books and storytellers. With Pastors and Teachers populating both sides of her extended family, we aren't surprised that she wanted to be a first-class storyteller herself.

Born and raised in Michigan, Jan is the descendant of Amish, Mennonite and Brethren immigrants who settled in Berks, Somerset and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700's. The descendants of these immigrants pioneered in Maryland, Ohio, and finally Elkhart and LaGrange Counties in Northern Indiana in the 1850's.

During the years when Jan was raising and homeschooling their children, she and her husband moved nine times in thirty years, finally landing in South Dakota where they enjoy incredibly Michigan-like weather. A northerner is always a northerner!

The ideas for Jan's books come from the stories told by her parents and grandparents, seasoned with a lot of research and imagination.


Fun blog:

Twitter: @JanDrexler

Facebook: Jan Drexler (author)


  1. Howdy! I'm just so proud to be here!

    And no need to put me in for the drawing. I have the book (a great read), and I don't drink coffee.

    But the coffee pot is on for those who do. I know my duty.

    Carrying on.



    So what sort of Amish virtual food should we serve today?????

    Congratulations on your latest sale!!!!!

  3. BTW, I just discovered a French Press.

    Love it!!!

  4. Yes, Jan. Dumb ole me forgot to shout a CONGRATULATIONS on your latest sale. Keep cranking them out.

  5. Helen! The beauty of this is that it isn't coffee!

    It's CHOCOLATE!!!!

    But I'm glad you enjoyed the book :)

    Carry on.

  6. Tina!

    You're a fabulous blog-whiz :)

    I think we'll start with cinnamon rolls...sticky, gooey, fresh out of the oven sweetness.

    That should tide us over until breakfast, right?

  7. I would love to win the book and coffee. I am so happy to find you and your book, Your new to me. So loved your FB page as well and to see you included some NY amish links.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

  8. Oh, that's right. You make chocolate in your French Press.

  9. Congratulations, Jan! Your blurb really drew me in. August seems so far away!!! I can't wait to read it.

    Thank you for the advice. As I was reading your post I had an image of me 'not' reading reviews. Probably not a good thing. ;)

    Glad I was able to meet you in person before your brood settled north.

  10. Wait wait wait. Hubby is the french press evangelist and we probably have 5 or 6 of them around here...he just bought another last week at a starbucks, a one serving travel one or something AND I hate coffee,

    But you make chocolate per Tina comment? Must go look up the cafe link now .........

  11. Okay, I'm game for the cocoa beans! I don't like tea or coffee but I'm sure Ross would love to experiment with me. (Don't put me in for the book, I already bought it. :)

    And I don't have an official release time, but I think my next book will be the month after you, so I'll be marketing frantic with you. So happy for another one of your books out. Yay!

  12. Yay on book one, Jan and YAY on book two!!!!!!!!!

    I'm a little confused on how coffee becomes chocolate but since this is all pretend I'm not sure it even matters.'s bedtime!!! LOL

    Great cover, Jan. The bonnet! Way to go, girl.

  13. Starbucks has a one person French Press? Thanks for the heads up.

    I learn so much around here.

  14. Congratulations on your second sale Jan! Woo Hoo! I'm throwing some of yesterday's leftover confetti your way.

    And since I'm not a coffee drinker either, I'm very intrigued with your cocoa beans/chocolate drink. Must look into this!

  15. Hi Jan! I think I landed on the island about the same time as you did and it has been a joy watching you blossom as a writer. I still need to read your book and I promise I will soon. I love the blurb on your second book. What fun to see how it all works out ten kids and all.
    Congratulations and thanks for writing and writing.

  16. love the cat on the computer. love what you said about readers too.
    Congrats on the new contract.
    I do have to say chocolate sounds great.

  17. Congratulations on your latest contract! And did you say Cocoa beans and Chocolate Press??? Wow! Please include me in that drawing! I LOVE chocolate...but then I've heard a lot of people who hang out here at Seekerville love the stuff!

    Thank you for the post and reprinting your first time here. That was fun to read.

    May everyone have a wonderful day celebrating Seekerville's birthday!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  18. Oh my stars, I love that Ruthy is in a book!!!!


    And I'm quietly congratulating you and Tina on a wonderful blog post (I'm not saying another word, not one more word, my contrite expression is clearly evident, right?????)

    Have I mentioned in public how much I love Tina?? Even though I hassle her about the drill sergeant stuff? I am loving that commander-in-chief in her right now!

    Jan, super congrats on the new book. I loved the first one, I think your warmth and grace comes through your writing and that makes me smile. I'm in on the chocolate... I'll bring more for PENANCE.

    Catholics just love doing penance!!!

  19. Oops! I forgot to say I would love to win a copy of your book too!

    Cindy W.

  20. Congratulations on leaving the island, Jan! And on your second book :)

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful wisdom about the journey.

  21. loved your first posting :)

    please add my name to your drawing, too

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  22. I'm thrilled to hear you have a second release date, Jan! Congratulations. Dying to see how a widower with ten children romances Ruthy! LOL. I did feel kinda sorry for Levi in The Prodigal son returns.

    As to virtual Amish food -- can we have whoopie pie? I've read about them but never had one.

  23. Love this post, Jan. How did you find the comments? Isn't it great to be able to see where you've been?

    Can't wait for the second book.

    I loved your book but put me in for the coffee stuff for sure!

    And folks need to check out your blizzard post in Yankee Belle! Look at all the ways your writing world has expanded!

    YAY, Jan.

    Peace, Julie

  24. Jan,

    So glad you stumbled upon Seekerville. It's a fabulous place for a writer to be.

    Congratulations on your success with Love Inspired historicals! Wishing you many more.

    Although I LOVE coffee, you can leave out of the drawing...I can't give up the convenience of my Keurig...just call me spoiled or lazy.

    Great post, btw.

  25. Good morning, Jan. This is a fun post! I enjoyed the look back with you. And thanks for the encouraging words.
    This group is truly one of the most helpful and entertaining writer sites I keep a watch on. :-)

    Congratulations on your new book!

    I have a Starbucks coffee press. :-)

  26. Wonderful post Jan! (and of course I especially loved the picture of the kitten on the keyboard). :)

    CONGRATULATIONS on your second sale--YIPPEE!!! SO excited for you!

    Even though there are already goodies here, I couldn't resist making some Georgia pecan waffles this morning (it's rainy here--a great morning for warm waffles).

    Hugs from the South (but not Dakota!), Patti Jo :)

  27. These stories sound wonderful. I am going to have to check them out. I would love to be included in the drawing. Persevering is the key. You just never know when your work will pay off. If you give up, you'll never know. Congratulations!!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  28. Jan, congratulations on both your books! Isn't it great to get off the island?

  29. Wow, Jan! Just love your early memories of Seekerville!! Isn't it fabulous to look back and see the journey from the perspective of a mainlander? Congratulations on your second sale!! The story sounds like great fun, especially with a heroine named Ruthy!

    The cinnamon rolls are delicious!


  30. Linda!

    Thank you, and thanks for stopping by Seekerville!

    I'll be looking for your books, too :)

  31. Hi, Christina I'm glad we could meet in person, too - it was a fun breakfast, wasn't it?

  32. Hi, Melissa Our books can be birthday buddies!

    A Bride for Keeps is waiting on my TBR pile, right at the top. :)

  33. Congrats, Jan! That sounds like a fun premise for a book. So happy for you!

    No need to enter me in the draw, as I'm international.

  34. Mary,

    Let me explain it this way....

    If you grind up a coffee bean and brew it, you get coffee.

    BUT, if you grind up a cocoa bean and brew it - what do you get? Chocolate for adults. 20 calories. High in antioxidants. Fabulous.

  35. Hi, Clari!

    I was a little skeptical about the chocolate, too, but my friend Jill sent me a sample to try. All I had to do was breathe in the aroma of the ground cocoa beans, and I was hooked!

  36. Hey all,

    It's breakfast time in the west, and I've brought a good, old fashioned Amish breakfast to share.

    Help yourselves to oatmeal, sausage, scrambled eggs, pancakes and (for those of you who have done your choring already this morning), apple pie and pumpkin pie.

    Help yourselves! There's more on the stove to take up!

  37. Hi, Mary Cline!

    I think we did arrive on the island about the same time. It's been a hoot, hasn't it?

  38. Hi, Jenny!

    You know, I think that chocolate drink would go a long way toward curing lingering aches and pains.... Or, at least it's worth a try!

    And yes, I liked that cat, too. A cutie.

  39. Hi, Cindy W.

    Yes, cocoa beans. A chocolate lover's dream!

    And thanks for the congratulations. Remember the other day when Clari Dees said "Just because you sold one book doesn't mean you'll sell the next one"?

    That was me...wondering if I'd ever get the next book finished, never mind selling it!

    But the story worked out, and it found a home :)

  40. Annie!

    Thank you, and glad you stopped by!

    Be sure to stop by the buffet for breakfast :)

  41. So good to see you here today, Jan--and thanks for the reminders about these important areas of a writer's life! Congratulations on your book news!!!

  42. Ruthy!

    We won't mention last night. Ever. But Tina is a genius. Fabulous. I'm so glad she's on my team :)

    And yes! This is your book! I hope you love this version of Ruthy - I really patterned her after my husband's grandmother.

    I never knew this woman, but I have a picture of her - two of her boys were obviously acting up as the photographer was trying to take the family picture, and the expression on her face built the Ruthy character in the book.

    You'd have loved her too. Strong Catholic mother, raising her children, supporting her mother-in-law (who had emigrated from Austria as a young woman), and putting up with a man whose last name was Drexler.

    That, by itself, makes her a saint in my book :)

  43. Thanks, KarenK

    From that first comment I made on Seekerville, I haven't looked back. I love hanging out here!

    And you're in the drawing :)

  44. Oooh, Kav!

    What a great idea! Whoopie pies for lunch!

    Well, the dessert part of lunch....

    I'll have my minions start whipping them up right now. We'll have chocolate, of course, and since it's autumn, we'll make some pumpkin ones, too.

  45. Hey, JulieHS!

    How did I find the comments? Well, I knew about when I went to Seekerville for the first time - I had stumbled on the blog while searching for information on writing for Woman's World and found Tina's post on the subject - and then looked for my name in the comments!

    By the way, Tina's blog post worked - my first sale was a story to Woman's World!

    And that Yankee-Belle blog post from last Monday keeps astounding me with the number of people who have read it...

    For those who don't know what Julie and I are talking about, our area was hit by a huge blizzard on October 4th and 5th - you can read about my experience here:

    (Sorry, I can't do a live link. You'll have to copy and paste!)

  46. There's a book to be won? Count me in, please. CONGRATULATIONS on all contracts. That means another book for me to read and shout out about! Great post! Thanks


  47. I'm so glad I've gotten to know you through Seekerville. Your debut book was the first drawing I ever won on the blog!

    That's another great thing about this blog, isn't it? The people we meet and become friends with!

    I hated that I was out of town when you were in Deadwood for the South Dakota Festival of Books....

    Did everyone know Rose was a speaker there? Talk about growing as a writer!

  48. That last comment was for Rose!. Not sure why her name didn't go through...

  49. Hi, Mary Hicks

    Don't you love Seekerville? There's always something going on here.

    And chocolate. There's always chocolate :)

  50. Hi, Patti Jo

    Thanks for the waffles!

    I met a woman last night who was originally from Columbus, Georgia (they moved away maybe 30 years ago), and her accent was so...Georgian! As we were talking, all I could think about were my Georgian friends - you, Debby, Missy, etc. etc.

  51. Hi, Sally

    You're right - perseverance is the key. And what's behind that perseverance? God's call. When we're sure of His call to write, it's easier to sit at the keyboard every day, isn't it?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  52. Hi, Cara Lynn!

    As much as I enjoyed snoozing in my hammock, yes, it is great to be off the Island :)

  53. Hello Jan, I am so glad I stopped in today and read your comments of then and now...I like reading your books and would love to be in the drawing for this one, story sounds like a good one and love that title.
    I as a reader have had so much fun stopping in from time to time on this wonderful site and meeting so many really nice people here.
    Tina wants an amish virtual food, how about whoopie pies....
    Have a great weekend all

    Paula O

  54. Hi, Janet!

    I did have so much fun writing this story!

    Ten children was a challenge, but not as difficult as I thought it would be at first.

    But the most fun was taking Levi's character - who I had made into kind of a bumbling man in the first book (think of the Skipper from Gilligan's Island) - and turning him into a caring family man and romantic hero.

    But it was the Ruthy character that brought it all together.

    I can hardly wait to get my copy edits so I can read it again :)

  55. Hi, Valerie!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Have fun with those grandbabies of yours today!

  56. Hi, Marianne

    Yes, there's a book to be won!

    And isn't that one thing we love about Seekerville? I've met more new authors because I've heard about their books here :)

  57. Hi, Paula!

    So glad you stopped by! This IS the place to be :)

  58. It's time to start shifting the buffet over to lunch - Haystacks for everybody! And whoopie pies for dessert!

    If you don't know what a haystack is, you'll have to stop by the cafe -

  59. I don't remember my first time on Seekerville, but I know I was scared. I'm still uncomfortable commenting on blogs/facebook. Always think I sound stupid. In real life, I have a sarcastic nature and love to talk. Everything comes different online.

    My critique partner was the one who suggested this Seekerville to me. (I don't know if she even gets it anymore.)

    Congratulations on the new book. Toss my name in the hat please. Your book sounds wonderful. I'm trying to build my library of LIH, especially westerns. Sometimes our local Walmart hides them.

  60. And 10 kids sounds like it would be a challenge to write, keeping all the names and ages straight.

    Just tell me they all didn't start with the same letter like some siblings groups.

  61. Hi, Connie!

    Seekerville scary?

    Let me tell you a secret...

    I still preview all my comments before I publish them.

    But "faint hearts never won"...wait, "fair lady" doesn't fit here....

    Let's try a different quote -

    "No guts, no glory!"

    Now THAT'S a quote we can all live by!

    It takes guts to put yourself out there...but if you don't, who will ever read your story?

    But you're right - sarcasm doesn't translate into the written word well. We need to have some special punctuation for it.

  62. Good morning, JAN! I love the sound of your new book and enjoyed the walk down memory lane to your first visit to Seekerville! Truly, the more the merrier here! :)

  63. Jan, I'm so excited to hear of your release date!! Great title!

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I got all misty eyed looking back at your first comment. :) So cool to see how we've all grown to know each other over the years!

  64. Jan, Skipper was my favorite character on Gilligans Island. Will love this story!


  65. Connie, you're not alone. I was scared silly to post and reply to comments. I kept thinking, who am I to tell anyone how to write. Over time I learned that we all use different methods and I can only share what works for me. Now with that sense of community here in Seekerville, post days are a delight.


  66. I know that I found #3 to be so helpful. Even Charlotte Bronte's first book isn't very good. Which gives us all hope that we will improve. Unless your Margaret Michell who's only book is a great success. I can't imagine what she would have done if she had lived. Moral of the story is that epic novels take too long to write:) Thankfully I can't imagine writing a book that long.

  67. Jan! Congratulations on your second book coming out in August!!! Hallelujah and praise God for second contracts! :-) And third and fourth. :-)
    That was awesome that you still remember your first comment and Ruthy's reply! How fun! And wasn't Ruthy's reply a classic, and wonderful advice? Gotta love that Ruthy!
    This is a sweet post, Jan! Thank you for giving me permission to celebrate every little thing! I need that! :-)
    Hugs! And here's to many more future contracts!

  68. Jan!!! Congratulations!!! I'm so happy to hear about your second book release date!!! Happy dancing for you.

    I became a part of Seekerville in Sept 2011. I've learned so much and been encouraged immeasurably by these ladies, and other Villagers. :) So glad I met YOU through here too.

  69. CONGRATULATIONS JAN! How exciting!!!

    I too am very grateful for the Seekers and the wonderful seekerville community. I've been a follower for probably three years now, and it's been a huge part of my writing journey.

    I too am a member of the Ruthy fan club. ;)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEEKERVILLE! Six wonderful years of rescuing cast-aways from unpubbed island. If you haven't been rescued yet, hang in there, keep learning and visiting here, and you'll make it off someday.

  70. Thanks, Glynna!

    It's always fun here on Seekerville - thanks to you gracious ladies :)

  71. Hi, Missy!

    That first visit to Seekerville wasn't all that long ago, was it? What a difference 2 1/2 years makes :)

    So glad I've gotten to know you - here, at the cafe, and in person :)

  72. Hi, Elizabeth!

    I think the only one who wouldn't agree with you about the epic novels is Julie Lessman.

    Man, that lady puts down the words! And they're all good!

    I don't know how she does it...

    Wait, yes I do. We've learned it here on Seekerville - perseverance.

  73. Thanks, Melanie

    That reply to my first comment was pure Ruthy, wasn't it? And she had no idea what she was starting.

    We've all been there...making our first comment...putting our toe in the water...and one of the Seekers welcomed us with open arms. No wonder this is such a fun place!

    Of course, Captain Jack's visits don't hurt, either :)

  74. Hi, Jeanne!

    This has turned out to be a great place to meet friends, hasn't it?

    So glad we were able to get to know each other even better in Dallas!

  75. Yay, Amber!

    A great encouragement - "If you haven't been rescued yet, hang in there, keep learning and visiting here, and you'll make it off someday".

    It reminds me of the Seekerville motto: Leave no woman (or man) behind!

  76. Hey peeps,

    I'm going out bird watching this afternoon - we're hoping there will be some at the National Wildlife Refuge just north of us.

    Of course, with the weather we've had, they could all be south already....

    But I'll be back later!

  77. Great post Jan. Enjoy your day in Seekerville. I love hearing from our friends.

  78. Hi Jan,
    Great post! I didn't realize this was your day to post when I selected your book out of my wicker basket for reading while I travel this week. How about that coincidence?
    Congrats on the next release date! Looking forward to it. I have both a French Press and your book, so share your wonderful gifts with others.

    Happy weekend, Seekerville. I'm headed to WI Sunday, so will try to check in. This is my form of the writer's cave - escaping North! Will spend evenings with a dear girlfriend, but the rest of the time I will be huddled with the WIP. Prayers to all.

  79. Jan,

    My profile says I've been here since November, 2009. But I posted anonymously before I learned what I needed to do to create a profile.

    The funny thing is, I can't remember exactly what led me to find the blog. I think I was just surfing, looking for writing sites, and came across it.

    Anyhow, I've never looked back.

  80. It was good taking a trip back in time with your first comment here. You achieved success rapidly. Thanks for wisdom on the writing journey. Excited for you on the newest contract. I'm a tea drinker and have a British tea cosy that reminds me to keep calm and carry on many times during my day. As I have a large TBR pile, don't put me in for The Prodigal Son Returns.

  81. JAN, congrats on the TARA and a second book due to hit the stands soon!! That blurb has me eager to read.

    Thank you for sharing this encouragement: "No one – I mean no one – is an expert writer with their first novel. Keep learning, working on your craft, developing your voice. Work toward excellence, and never be content to rest along the trail."

    Hope you had a good bird-watching day.

    Don't enter me in the drawing :-)

    Nancy C

  82. Whoopie pies are Amish food? Seriously? Or are you joshing me, Paula??

  83. Oh, Jan, I'm so thrilled about your success.

    I have such wonderful memories of meeting you at the Grapevine/Dallas ACFW conference. I'll never forget that you told me about Pinecraft! Huge hugs for that bit of Amish info!!!

    Can't wait for your next book!

    Love your mention of your grandmother with Austrian roots. Mine was from German of ten children.

    How thoughtful of you to include your first comment on Seekerville. Makes me want to look up the first time I posted...hmmm, or maybe not.

    Sorry I'm stopping by late. We spent the day at the grandchildren's soccer and baseball games. So much fun!!!

    I'd love some delicious Amish bread slathered with hand-churned butter and strawberry preserves. Maybe a slice of pie too!

    Is there any hot chocolate left?

  84. Hey, Sandra...

    Aren't you in SPAIN????

    You are one faithful Seeker!!!!

    Have fun on your trip :)

  85. Hi, Lyndee!

    That sounds like a great writer's retreat! Best wishes on your WIP.

  86. Helen,

    However you got here, I sure am glad you made it! I think many of us can count coming to Seekerville as the beginning of our publishing journey :)

  87. Hi, Pat!

    I did publish very quickly after starting on this journey...but what doesn't show are the years of preparation.

    Think of my writing life as an iceberg...many non-writing years under the surface (but years of reading many, many books!).

  88. Hi, Nancy (Chill N)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    We saw very few birds on our trip - the weather has sent them all south, I guess - but we drove through the prairies on the way up there and through the Hills on the way home. Beautiful scenery all around :)

  89. Tina,

    We need to educate you on Amish food. The Amish are famous for their whoopie pies!

    Oh, and it's nearly suppertime!

    Amish fare on the buffet again - Chicken and Noodle casserole, mashed potatoes, pickled beets and 3-bean salad. Homemade rolls, of course, with Amish peanut butter.

    And pie, pie, pie and more pie for dessert.

    I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

  90. Hi, Debby!

    There's always hot chocolate when I'm here! Help yourself.

    I hope your weather was as perfect for football and soccer as our was today - we had 60° and sunny! We hardly noticed the piles of snow still hanging around :)

  91. Seriously? I HAD NO IDEA.

    Amish Whoopie pies.

    You guys are so smart.

  92. wow Jan
    I'm impressed you found your first comments on Seekerville. I'm not sure when I found Seekerville, but I think a couple of the ladies were still on Unpubbed Island. Now I'm curious what my first comments were since I was a bit intimidated by the ladies here - they seemed so SMART and uber savvy (which I found out is exactly what they are but also so humble and loving as well).

    I'm also impressed that you've joined the folks migrating off Unpubbed Island. It's really cool to see that (YAY!!!!) Congrats on the second book too.

    I'd love to be in the drawing for book or press. I never knew you could brew chocolate - wowza. I definitely learn something new here daily. Thanks for posting about your journey.

    *wandering off to see if i can figure out when i first braved the comment section, i know i was a long time lurker...*

  93. Hi Jan

    Congrats on your second book and please put me in the drawing for the first. I've never read an Amish book. We have Mennonites around here and they are known for good cooking too.

  94. Oh Jan! Congrats!!!
    May's bringing her favorite toy to play today to celebrate.

    And May wants to be in on the celebration next time too if she could. New chewy? You betcha! :)

    Great advice today. And funny, I think I remember Ruthy's comment about the tiaras. HA!

    Congrats again - keep writing! See you at 1K1H!!!

  95. Jan, congratulations on your second book!!

    Please enter me. I don't know how to work a French press, but coffee is coffee, right?

  96. It's late Saturday evening, but I'm drinking coffee. My son is at a marching band competition. HIs band made it to the finals, so he'll be home in a few hours.

    And I'll be exhausted when i go to get him.

    Yes, I'm in for the prizes.

    But I'm really into getting my writing goal completed for the day.

  97. Jan, mega-congrats on your second book!!!

  98. We passed through Amish country on our way up here last night. It was raining and a family with three little ones were in their buggy riding alongside the highway. I felt terrible for them, I hope they didn't have far to go.

  99. Jan, I cannot wait for the next book.

    I read your post earlier but not the details of the next book.

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!

    I can't wait to read it. I'd preorder it this second if it was up already!!!!!

  100. I'm late to the party, but CONGRATS on the sale, Jan!! That's terrific :D

    I must say, your memory of your first visit to Seekerville left me a little teary-eyed in remembrance of MY first time! It was on one Cheryl's days. There was a picture of a train up on the top at the time....I felt overwhelmed and wasn't quite sure if I really fit in. However, I did feel welcomed once I just kinda threw myself in the deep end. I love this place, I love ALL of the people here, and I feel blessed that I was brought here. I tend to wander away for long (very long lol) periods of time, but I always find my way back (probably by way of doggy paddle? :P).

    Much love, my friends,

  101. Oh by the way, I LOVE the book cover! Me + Amish stories = love lol ;)and I'm in for prizes if you're still taking....takers!

  102. Hi Jan,
    Congrats on your new books! I'd love to be in the drawing...although I've never used a french press before! : ) I think I'm getting a good word from many of you who write for've got to write, write, write! Makes a lot of sense. : ) I know I'm glad all of you who are producing such wonderful books are doing a good job at being disciplined to write daily. Keep up the good work and God bless!

  103. LOL to Elizabeth's comment that "moral of the story is that epic novels take too long to write:)"

    Uh ... I totally agree, except for my 2nd book, A Passion Redeemed, which only took me ... are you ready for this??? ... TWO MONTHS to write, and that's with a part-time job!! Yes, that's right, 481 pages in basically ONE MONTH if you cut out my 30 hours a week I worked at the time. :) My family joked I was in the zombie zone at the time because I would write till 5:00 AM, sleep till 9:00 AM or so and start all over again. Of course, I haven't been able to do that since, but then Mitch Dennehy has a way of quickening my pulse and my pace ... ;)

    Thanks, Jan, for your kind comment -- SO appreciate that, my friend. :)


  104. HANNAH!!! Soooo good to see you back here, my friend, and WOW, you look FANTASTIC, girlfriend!!


  105. HANNAH!!! Soooo good to see you back here, my friend, and WOW, you look FANTASTIC, girlfriend!!


  106. JAN!!! I remember the crazy excitement when you sold your first book, and now we have a SECOND arriving in 2014???

    WHOO-HOO, girlfriend, and I'm with Mary -- LOVE the premise of Her Redeeming Grace!!!

    Sooooo fun to have you here, and you go, girl!!


  107. Congrats, Jan! I'm so excited for you! Please drop my name in the hat... Love me some coffee! XD

    And I couldn't agree with you more about the sweet and gracious peeps here at Seekerville. Their kindness and heart for helping newbie writers has kept me checking back almost every week. You can't fake the feeling of family that I've found here. Thanks for all you do, ladies! :)

  108. Hi, Deb H!

    It sounds like you've been around about as long as I have - I remember a couple first sale parties for Seekers.

    Did you ever find when you first commented?

  109. Hi, Elaine!

    The Amish and Mennonites are very closely related, but parted ways early on in their history. The main thing is that they both have roots in the same part of similar cooking styles :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  110. Thanks, Kc (and May)!

    Have a great weekend, and we'll see you in the trenches at 1K1Hr!

  111. Donna,

    Are you sure you don't want to be entered? It isn't coffee - it's chocolate :)

  112. Thanks, Walt!

    Marching band competitions are killers for parents, aren't they?

    The closest we got were orchestra competitions - same late night pick ups at the school, but only once a year, not week after week like the band parents.

    Thanks for the congrats, and keep working on that writing goal :)

  113. Hi, Jamie,

    I'm sure that family had a warm fire for their little ones when they got home - but the dad probably took the time to dry off his horse before taking advantage of it!

  114. Thanks, Mary!

    It was so much fun putting those ten children in the story. Everywhere Ruthy or Levi turn, there's a child there!

    Could anyone fall in love in that environment?

  115. Hannah!

    You're not late until midnight EDT!

    The welcome these ladies give us is fabulous, isn't it? So glad you make your way back when you drift away :)

  116. Hi, Stacey,

    You're right - nothing can replace sitting your bottom in the chair and putting those words down on paper (or up on the computer screen, in my case!).

    Consistency is one of the most important things I've learned here.

  117. Oh, Julie!

    Thanks for stopping by! It seems so long ago that you graciously and patiently talked with me on the phone - giving me all kinds of good advice. Do you think I took it? You betcha!

  118. Hi, Anna!

    You're right - this is a genuine place, isn't it? And every Seeker I've met in person is exactly the way they are on-line.

  119. You must feel so blessed looking back. You have come far. Well done.

    I would love a copy of THE PRODIGAL SON RETURNS thank you.

  120. Yep but fun to stay in touch with friends when I can get wifi

  121. Oh I am ecstatic, I won the coffee press and cocoa beans and your book Jan... I am so excited I let out a scream and once again my family thinks I am nuts.... I cannot wait to get your book and the coffee to enjoy with it, so much fun..Thank you so much, now I can read and reveiw your book ! What a blessing!
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

  122. Late to the party--congratulations on the books :)

  123. Awww I must have missed it. :( but I enjoyed your post anyway, Miss Jan! Great tips. :)

    Wanda Barefoot