Friday, December 6, 2013

The Myth of the Lonely Author Debunked! Writing is a Team Sport

and a Fabulous Giveaway, with Guest Julie Cantrell


Thank you all for welcoming me to Seekerville today. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am amazed at how many devoted book lovers you have gathered here. It’s a BIG honor to join you.

Before I became a published novelist, I had heard all the tales about drunk, lonely writers going off the deep end as they sat in a cold room with nothing but imaginary friends to comfort them. Writers were supposed to be dark, moody, and anti-social. Some went as far as becoming hermits.


My, how that has changed! Today, I don’t know a single author friend who is an introvert. If they aren’t comfortable getting out and mingling with readers, they won’t be happy in this business for long.


Authors are expected to have a heavy presence in social media as well as to chat with readers at author events. Add to that the media interviews and public speaking gigs, and there’s no chance a writer will drink himself into oblivion in the basement. There simply isn’t time for that!


What I’ve learned in my two-year journey as a published novelist is that I actually love the interaction between writer and reader. When I took the leap of faith and signed the contract that would lead to my story being placed on shelves, I opened myself up to the mutual exchange that takes place every time a reader enters my imaginary world. And I love to hear what they learned while there.


There are many people who help foster this exchange: bloggers, reviewers, church leaders, book club leaders, etc. Let’s discuss librarians and booksellers, for example. To me, they do more to cure ailments than the best physician in town.


Why? Consider this.


A person walks into the library or bookstore. The visitor has a need, a problem to solve. Maybe she needs information about buying a car, or a self-help book on addiction, or a novel that will help her process the emotions of real life domestic violence. Maybe her child needs homework support, or she needs adult literacy classes so she can get a better job. Maybe she just needs a fun fantasy that allows her to escape the stress and anxiety of her hectic life. Whatever these people need...they are coming into that bookstore or library for a fix. The librarian or bookseller then has the opportunity to prescribe a story...the perfect cure for whatever ails them.


I receive letters every day from readers who tell me they found hope by reading my books, or that these stories made them realize they were not alone in their struggles, or that they gained a renewed faith, or that they now know they can survive the worst of what life deals them. Other say they have examined what it really means to be a Christian and that they are more aware of the people around them who need to receive unconditional love.


As authors, we can write countless stories, but if librarians, booksellers, bloggers, book club leaders, church leaders, teachers, and reviewers don’t pass these stories to the right readers...they get lost on shelves. We cannot do this without you, and we thank each of you who help our stories land in the right hands. 



I thank you for daring to choose my stories from those crowded shelves. And I thank every reader who takes a chance by entering the world of my main character, Millie Reynolds. 




As a gesture of our appreciation, my publisher, David C. Cook, is offering a very special holiday prize...a gift bag filled to the brim with 14 different Cook titles. If you are the lucky winner, we hope this selection of stories will bring you a little peace and quiet this hectic holiday season. Perhaps you can use these books as gifts and save yourself a little time and money as well!


The bag will include my two novels, Into the Free and When Mountains Move, as well as books by Lisa T. Bergren, Miralee Ferrell, Ginger Garrett, Harry Kraus, Michael Landon Jr., Kate Lloyd, Creston Mapes, Jim Stovall, Travis Thasher, and MORE! It’s a mixed bag of Mystery, Amish, Contemporary, Inspirational and Historical Fiction worth more than $240.00!

 
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! 

Now let’s chat. I love to hear how my stories have impacted a reader’s life. It’s nearly miraculous really, to think that a little story left my brain, landed in your hands, and brought you to a new place spiritually, emotionally, or cognitively. It’s an honor to be your tour guide through the land of imagination.

•    What are some of the best author/reader interactions you’ve had?


•    As a reader, what suggestions do you have for your favorite authors...things you’d like to see on our websites? In the back sections of the books? On social media outlets?


•    And if you are an author...what do you like best about interacting with readers?


•    Share all your fabulous ideas, and who knows...you might be having tea with your favorite author very soon.


Good Luck and Happy Reading!


julie

It is the spring of 1943. With a wedding and a cross-country move, Millie’s world is about to change forever.

If only her past could change with it.

Soon after the break of day, Bump will become Millie’s husband. And then, if all goes as planned, they will leave the rain-soaked fields of Mississippi and head for the wilds of the Colorado Rockies. As Millie tries to forget a dark secret, she hasn’t yet realized how drastically those past experiences will impact the coming days. 


For most of Millie’s life, being free felt about as unlikely as the mountains moving. But she’s about to discover that sometimes in life, we are given second chances, and that the only thing bigger than her past … is her future.


 Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is the author of two children’s books as well as Into the Free, which received Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and Book of the Year 2013 as well as the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, released September 2013 and continues the story of Millie Reynolds (from Into the Free).

Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

269 comments :

  1. Welcome, Julie! Booksellers and librarians? I guess I have been both. Now I am a book reviewer and have a blog I post on, besides all the regular ones. Anytime I have personally met an author, and yes, when I was a bookseller I was privileged to, it was an awesome experience. Now with the internet, meeting authors virtually is almost as high a high as that. Authors are my heroes, because they bring the outside world into my life.
    Thanks for coming, and thanks to The publisher for the extravagant gift. I would be so honored to win!

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  2. WELCOME JULIE!!!

    You know what. One of the best interactions I ever had was a Nora Roberts talk and signing at Tattered Cover in Denver. She gave readers eye contact and talked to you as a real person.

    One of the worst was at an RWA Literacy signing.

    Cranky, cranky author. I will never buy another book from her. She was snide. I was shocked.

    Hey and another great one from RWA was Australian Cherry Adair. She nearly jumped over the table in her enthusiasm to get in the picture I was taking of her with me.

    These interactions stay with you and word of mouth is POWERFUL!!!

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  3. I've had some similar experiences, Tina. People who were just so nice, who I would have thought were too 'big' to be nice.
    And others who made me feel like I was waaaaay out of line to dare to approach them.

    I try and give people who act like that credit for maybe being introverts, but man, get a game face people. Get an act going. learn some social niceties. Because I remember and it made me feel really like I'd overstepped and been a jerk to go up and compliment her, this happened more than once, though not an awful lot of times.

    And it was so confusing, because then you think, wow, what are the rules, am I supposed to never bother these people?

    And what I try to do is always remember that when it's my turn. But the difference is, I just can't imagine the day when someone would come up to me and say they loved my work and I wouldn't just be so HONORED that they wanted to tell me that.

    I can't imagine thinking I was too busy or too important to talk with them. Maybe it helps that it took me a long time to get published and that helped me learn a whole lotta humility.

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  4. Sometimes it shocks me that readers contact me since I never would have dreamed to contact an author to tell them what I thought of their book, since I don't know....mainly just because I'm truly introverted.

    The best reader encounter so far was Diana who visits seekerville who came to a book signing of mine and I realized she drove OVER AN HOUR for ME! That deserved going out to lunch or something, not a few minutes at the signing table. Most of my family won't even drive an hour to see me!

    But I do socializing so wrong. I mean last weekend I saw our best man for the first time in like 12 years and I'm pretty sure I gave him the death glare as I exited my van because he was coming at me like he was going to give me a hug. I'm not a hugger! I have to be prepared for those things!!

    Picture Mr. Darcy in that first dance scene where they accuse him of owning the "miserable half" of Derbyshire...that's me. I feel for him, I know how hard it was to just be there and then to hear yourself say stupid stuff and look the wrong way at people because "I do not have the talent of conversing easily with people I have never met before."

    And if I ever go to someone I barely know on purpose, I probably stalked you for a bit debating whether I should or shouldn't say howdy and probably ran away a few times before actually doing it.

    Okay, did I just plop myself down on a nonexistent seekerville shrink couch and start a therapy session all on my own or what?

    Um, Hi, My name is Melissa, and I really truly am an introverted author.

    Thank the Lord for the internet. I can talk on the internet....obviously.

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  5. I'm an introvert too, but if you make yourself available as an other you have to, in the words of MARY CONNEALY, put on your game face.

    Play or go home.

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  6. I would call myself an introvert to a degree Im the one standing on the outside looking in when there is a crowd but have found the internet takes that away and I have formed some really great friendships with Authors. Mary Connealy was my very first interview on my blog which really made me happy. Cheryl Wyatt became and instant favourite when she mentioned cricket and we formed a really nice friendship. Jillian Hart was the same. We clicked and have since meet and feel like we have known each other forever.

    One thing I find frustrating is when an author doesn't have a website or blog so there is no way to contact them and tell them what there book had meant to me.

    Tina I know what you mean about cranky authors. I have been on the blunt end of an authors tirade about how my opinion of a subject was wrong it just happened to be cussing and how I dont like it in a book and she told me if she wants to swear in a book she will cos its her choice and that I had no right to not read a book cos of it. Needless to say I do not buy or read her books anymore and I did enjoy them.

    The very first author I contacted was Gilbert Morris by snail mail and he replied with a photo and a lovely letter. I was blown away. We shared a few letters and he was just the nicest.

    I am a blogger who loves to promote authors. Some of my best friends are authors :) Meeting some this year was a dream come true.

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  7. Hi Julie! I have only met one author in person, but it, I believe, was totally a God thing. I have been a reader all my life, but about 15 years ago, maybe a little longer, while I still bought books, they sat gathering dust on my shelves. One day about four years ago, I heard an author talking on local radio about her books. I was hooked on what she was saying so on the way home I stopped at the library and checked out every book they had of hers at that time, went home and devoured them. When I met her at my husband's company picnic (her daughter-in-law worked there and we didn't know it)she was so gracious and friendly and oh my...I walked on air for a week.

    I have been visiting Seekerville for several years now too and everyone here is so genuine and offers advice so freely. They are just good people and I appreciate them all.

    I would love to be entered into your giveaway. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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  8. OH MY GOSH.

    OH MY GOSH.

    One of my favorite books of this last year. I called people over this book. I made my sister go out and buy it ASAP. I talked to writer friends about 'voice' and children as protags and how much violence is too much and whether a reader will stay with you to the sweetest end even if the middle is bitter, bitter, bitter.

    Ok, deep breaths. Trying not to be such a fan girl here.

    Random question: your published is a small, independent publisher, correct? How is it different from the larger publishers, in your opinion (if you have one)? How did you decide to work with them? How much time went into choosing your editor? I'm assuming a lot, because this book needed to be edited by someone who loved it and 'got it'.

    Anyway, I'm a huge fan of your writing and now I'll go back and see what we were really supposed to be talking about.

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  9. HAHA!

    Oh, this is fun. Introverted authors.

    At my book signing last week, someone asked if I was having any more, maybe on the other side of the state where all the people live (ha) and I said, "oooo, not really, I stay close to home, I'm sort of an introvert. Two or three times a year is good for me."
    And the woman said, "Impossible! You're so chatty!"

    Well, yes. It's called chocolate and coffee and Mary's 'game face' and the fact I was in a book store. I was bathing in residual happiness vibes from all the beautiful books.

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  10. Morning JULIE, Welcome to Seekerville. Great post. Thanks for sharing with us today. Have fun.

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  11. PS. Its really too bad I'm not an introvert. I would get more writing done. LOL

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  12. Welcome to Seekerville, Julie!

    Some of my best interactions with authors have been here at Seekerville. The ladies here are gracious to share their time and knowledge with us.

    Brandilyn Collins has always been super to me. Every time I've met her, she's been kind and caring.

    ACFW loops have also been a good place to meet other authors/aspiring authors.

    If anybody ever does a signing around Lexington, KY let me know. Maybe I can host you down in my small town of Wilmore. Or at least meet your for dinner.

    Thanks for sharing with us Julie. Please toss my name into the drawing!

    Have a great weekend!

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  13. Julie, you have a sweet, pretty and friendly face! I think anyone would be happy to meet you anywhere!

    I can't imagine any of the Seekerville ladies not being gracious when meeting their readers.

    MaryC, I loved every word you said. Right on!
    Tina, how could anyone be rude to you? I won't buy their books either!

    I've got to have another cup of coffee!

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  14. I feel like I should have something important to contribute to this conversation, except I don't. I'm a klutz at reader interaction. If someone approaches me online and says something nice about my writing, I do okay. If someone says something like that in person, my cheeks get all read and I mumble a thank you. And I am grateful, really, that they liked my book (that and wondering if they're lying because they happen to know me). Anyway, I can put a game face on if I have warning, but I can't exactly conjure up a game face on the fly.

    Does that make sense?

    And as far as social media, goes you can forget it. That's why I always say rude, klutzy things on Seekerville, because I'm social media challenged. Okay, shutting up now.

    But really Julie, I like the idea of an author existing in a hole. Seems way easier. And if someone shares with me that one of my books meant something, I tend to not believe them because I don't know what to do with the praise.

    And I pretty much just joined Melissa on the shrink couch, didn't I? Maybe that's why we're such good friends. We should both be in therapy.

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  15. Oh, and Melissa, I wasn't a hugger either until I married. My husband and his family were great huggers, and after a couple of years, I realized I had become a hugger too! :-)

    I Love your bride books! If I ever meet you, I'm gonna' hug you—be warned!:-D

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  16. Hi Marianne, Nice to "meet" you! Thanks for all you do to support authors. It sounds like you have been involved at every level. And best of luck winning that fabulous gift basket David C. Cook has offered. Wouldn't that be a wonderful holiday grab? Cheers, julie

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  17. Hi Tina, It's so nice of you to write the names of those authors who interacted so positively with you. You're absolutely right ... word of mouth really does matter. I'm sorry about the cranky, snide author interaction, and it was nice of you not to mention her name here...even though that impression will stay with you forever. Thanks for all you do to support authors and to help us connect with readers! Cheers, Julie

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  18. Mary, you said it best --- HUMILITY! I do believe there's no better human quality than to be humble. You sound like you've already achieved that. Thanks for joining the chat today. Happy Friday! julie

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  19. Hi Melissa, I'm so glad you can talk on the internet because your post gives us wonderful insight into how if feels to be an introvert. As an extrovert, I have learned a lot from observing my daughter who is an introvert. You describe it so perfectly and help communicators understand the challenges in conversing with strangers, etc.
    The hugging thing is big too. I am fascinated by how different people have such varied comfort zones.
    But you also nailed something else -- the guilt. I feel SO guilty when a reader takes time to attend an event or write to me. I always feel so honored and worry that I may be letting them down. I mean, it's hard to believe I'm someone they would want to come hear or to write. I always feel like I should take them all to lunch, as you mentioned, or that I owe them for the rest of my life for giving my stories a chance. I wish I could give back to my readers as much as they have given to me.
    Thanks for giving us so many wonderful points to consider today, Melissa.
    Cheers,
    julie

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  20. Hi Jenny, First of all, BIG Thanks to you for operating your blog to help connect authors to readers. Your work is greatly appreciated by all.
    Secondly, I'm glad you've had so many positive interactions with authors. A few years ago, I didn't know any authors. Now, I realize we're all just normal folks who happen to have a job a lot of people find interesting...but that doesn't necessarily make US interesting :) Most of us really do love hearing from readers and meeting readers, and we're always grateful and humbled when someone tells us they enjoyed our work.
    Thanks for joining the conversation this morning.
    Cheers,
    julie

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  21. Hi Cindy, You've got me curious now...who is the author?! If you loved all her books, I bet I would too. I'm thrilled to hear that her radio interview inspired you to give her stories a chance...and that your paths crossed at just the right time in your life. I love those kind of happy stories and am glad the interaction was so meaningful and positive for you. I am willing to bet she feels the same way.
    Good luck in the drawing. I'm blown away by the generous prize my publisher offered (David C. COok).
    Cheers,
    julie

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  22. Hi Virginia,
    You've got me smiling BIG over here. I'm wrapped up on my sofa as an ice storm moves in, and your kind words have warmed my heart. Seriously. Thank you!

    First of all, I do totally get the desire to stay close to home and not schedule too many events. I love visiting libraries, book clubs, and school groups who have real interest in the story but with two kiddos still at home, my favorite place to be is with my family. I'm lucky I usually get to bring my kids with me to events. They've learned to hang out at the bookstore or library for an hour or so and then we'll go find something in the area that they will enjoy (even though they love books so they're always happy just hanging out there and reading.)

    Now, to answer your questions about the publishing aspects.

    David C. Cook is a large publisher who has been in existence for more than 100 years. However, they are known for publishing primarily nonfiction, curriculum materials, audio and video, etc. They have a VERY small fiction department. This season they only released three novels.

    I love working with Cook and can't imagine a better fit anywhere. Maybe because they are so selective with their fiction titles, they really seem to commit to helping me as an author. I have enjoyed working with every person on their team and have been incredibly impressed from top to bottom with their company.

    Cook hired my editor, Nicci Jordan Hubert. I worked with her for both books. I also hire a local editor, Mary Ann Bowen, here in my town who helps me a lot as well. A good editor is KEY, and I am grateful for their help -- beyond description.

    Those are the content editors, but the copyeditors are just as important. Renada Arens is a fabulous copyeditor at Cook, but sadly her title has changed. She was wonderfully detailed and caught tons of little oopsies in both books (whew!)

    Hope that gives you some of the information you're seeking, and thanks again for your tremendous support of my work. I truly am honored and incredibly grateful.

    Cheers,
    julie

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  23. Hi Sandra... I totally know what you mean. I get so distracted trying to reply to emails and social media that I can spend an entire day interacting and end up with nothing down on paper for the book. I have to be careful about that...so I feel your pain :)
    Thanks for chiming in!
    julie

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  24. Hi Jackie, Thanks for joining us today and for the kind invitation to visit you in Ky. That's an area I have never visited for an event. Maybe I'll get lucky and end up there someday.
    I agree that Brandilyn Collins is always so kind and joyful. She is one of those champion authors who really made an impression with me at ACFW as being so approachable and genuinely interested in other people.
    Good luck with the drawing. I would LOVE to win that amazing basket of books. So nice of Cook to offer such a generous holiday drawing.
    Cheers,
    julie

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  25. Hi Mary,
    You are so sweet. And I agree with you about the Seekerville Gals...what a WONDERFUL group of girls y'all have here! I'm having so much fun.
    Cheers,
    julie

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  26. Hi Naomi, What you have added is extremely important and helpful, too! It's great to express to extroverts how it really feels to be an introvert. And guess what...even though I love communicating with people and am one who never meets a stranger...I too become all awkward when someone offers me praise. I just don't believe I deserve it and never quite know how to react. I appreciate their kind words so much, I get all fumbly. (See, I also make up words when there aren't any I find to be appropriate.)
    Thanks for your willingness to be so open and honest about the struggles of human interaction. It's not always as easy as it seems, and even for the most extroverted of us...our flaw is frequently talking with too much ease, so that I put my foot in my mouth more often than I'd like.
    Thanks for joining the chat!
    Cheers,
    julie

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  27. Ooohhhh...best author interactions happen at Seekerville!

    Best real life one was when I invited Janet Lunn, a well-known Canadian children's author to my school library as a reward to a class who won a contest I'd been running. I contacted Mrs. Lunn knowing full well that she'd stopped doing school visits due to her age and some health issues but one of the girls in the class adored her books and begged me to try. Well not only did Janet Lunn graciously accept my invitation, she refused to be paid for her visit -- asked me instead to put the money towards buying new books for the library. The biggest reward of the event was the eleven year-old's reaction. Awestruck doesn't begin to describe it.

    Something I'd like authors to keep on top of is updating their book section of their websites. I routinely cruise my favourite authors' websites looking for new release dates and am always surprised when I hit the bookstore and find new material on the shelves that wasn't posted on their website. Gah! Very hard for a determined cyberstalking fan to keep on top of things!

    And if I ever make it to an ACFW conference you will all know it's me because I'll be screaming like a rock star groupie every time I spot an author I 'know'. It will be very embarrassing and probably why I've never gone to an ACFW conference before. :-)

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  28. One of my favorite author interactions was with Jillian Hunter and Suzanne Brockman at my first RWA. I was unpublished at the time and they treated me like, 'Well, we'll see you on the other side of the table soon.' I was blown away. I saw Jillian at the RWA signing a few years later and she gave me the 'I told you so' wink. What an amazing moment!

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  29. Oh, and I'm definitely introverted! Like Naomi, online encounters with readers are hit and miss. I have a few cringe-worthy moments I'd like to forget.

    Introverted and faking it. That's me.

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  30. Oh, put me on the extrovert's couch in the psyche office, but most of the writers I know are actually more Dickinson-style gals who'd really rather be left alone...

    Of course that could be them avoiding ME, LOL!

    Julie, thanks for being here! Like Virginia I think of Cook as smaller because of their limited numbers, but small and choosy in fiction isn't a bad thing at all. What a wonderful thing to have your first book shine and soar! Cheering you on from the sidelines!

    I love interacting with people, but I know lots of folks have to push themselves to do that... And Sandra, I'm laughing at you... I think you just have so much fun enjoying retirement that writing seems like work....

    For me???

    It is truly my reward, my play time, my jump in and have fun time.

    So I love people.... but I'd rather write because I've waited my whole life to do this!!!

    I love that Cook is donating that bag of books, oh, Julie!!!! SUHWEEEEEET!

    Bless them, one and all!

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  31. I forgot to say a big THANK YOU to DAVID CCOOK PUBLISHING FOR THE GIVEAWAY!! THANK YOU!!

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  32. Well, one more great author comment. One of my kids, a NON READER had to do an author interview. Snail mail the author.

    Frank Peretti had a kids suspense line in the old days. He wrote Frank.

    Frank wrote back himself. Not his publicist. Answered the questions and sent goodies.

    What a good vibe that was!!

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  33. I am an extrovert by nature, so I get you SANDY! But, in new situations, I am more of an introvert. I study and step into new situations slowly. I guess if/when I ever get published, I'll have to step in a lot faster than I do now. :)

    I'm with JACKIE, I've been blessed by the interactions of you ladies here at Seekerville. I've also had great interactions with the gals at My Book Therapy. They are very "real," and I appreciate that.

    I think the biggest surprise author interaction came for me this year after ACFW. I was seated next to Robin Jones Gunn from Indy to Denver. I tried so hard not to go fan-girl on her. :) She was very real and personable, genuine. I'll never forget the conversations. :)

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  34. Julie, a quick off topic question. What is this sustainable farmer thing??

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  35. I forgot to say, put me in for the drawing—how could I forget that???

    And I second a BIG WOW to David Cook! Talk about makin' Christmas sweet!! :-D

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  36. Sandra, sorry, not everyone can bean introvert, and if you were, I'd never have had the game face to actually walk further into your wonderful meeting last winter!

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  37. MELISSA JAGEARS......DEATH GLARE? Really? LOL..was that nice, now?

    It made me laugh this morning though, so too bad for him.

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  38. I am truly an introvert. However, I constantly place myself in a position to meet people and do book signings because I know it's important to what I do.

    It's fascinating to me when people contact me or come to see me. I had never attended any kind of book signing or written an author before. I guess I just never had the courage.

    I have seen the difference in extroverts and introverts at book signings, and because it doesn't come naturally to me, I try to mimic what I see others doing so openly and gracefully. I'm not positive I pull it off, but I do give an effort - lol.

    Hallee

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  39. NAOMI, you probably do better than you think.

    All the mumbling you think you do is probably not so bad.

    Poor baby.

    I know what you mean though, after you've talked with someone, I mean AFTER, like that night, you start thinking, "What did I say? Was I rude? Did I dump hot coffee on them? Did I say there baby was ugly?"

    Oh, I can torture myself forever on stuff like that.

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  40. Julie Cantrell and where better in the world than to learn humility than in the ego bashing world of publishing???

    Ten Years of rejection is extremely humbling.

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  41. Julie, I have only ever met in person those authors who write those books that I can family values (clean) books, and each one of them was very loveable and became part of me, if you know what I mean. And once I've met them, of course I absolutely NEED their books. I was afraid of missing one, which is why I didn't name them.

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  42. Welcome to Seekerville, Julie! I love talking to readers!! My favorite interaction is at book clubs. I enjoy the range of opinions about my story and how much of themselves readers put into the reading experience.

    I'm thankful for librarians, reviewers, booksellers--all those who share their love of books with readers. Hadn't thought of them as dispensing the cure for what ails a reader, but it's so true!

    I wish I was eligible for your fantastic giveaway! Wow!

    Janet

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  43. Hi Julie

    I'm definitely an introvert until those rare occasions when someone gets me started, then it's hard to shut me up. I've gotten those glassy, "What did I get myself into" looks.

    I'm not much into celebrity. I'd just as soon sit down with a group of fellow avid readers as with the bestselling authors.

    I relate to introverts but we're blessed to have extroverts around to keep things moving. Still solitude isn't the same thing as loneliness.

    I like author's blogs to be kept up to date and also like those research tidbits about the books.

    Thank you and your publisher for the great give-away. I'd like to be in the drawing.

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  44. Hi Julie,

    I'm drooling over that bag of books!

    I'm social media introverted, but I can put on my game face and have a great time at conference.

    Now I've got to get my hands on your books.

    I'm late with the coffee, but here's a big pot of it. Have a cuppa.

    We have 7 inches of snow over a thin layer of ice, and it's still coming down.

    Helen

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  45. Hi Kav, I love that the author donated her payment to the library. I have to admit, my favorite thing to do as an author is to visit with school kids. I am a teacher (and SLP) by trade so it's my favorite audience. How sweet of Janet Lunn to visit...especially since she had stopped doing school visits due to age and health issues. I'm glad you all had that wonderful experience.
    I also hope to see you at ACFW someday!
    Cheers,
    julie

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  46. Hi Sherri, "Introverted and faking it." That describes a lot of folks. Glad you are able to enjoy seeing your books on shelves now and that those authors at RWA inspired you to follow your calling. Love stories with a happy ending like that one.
    Cheers!
    julie

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  47. Welcome Julie! Great Post!
    As a reader, I love for the author to interact with their readers, tell a little about themselves.

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  48. Hi Ruth, Thank you for your cheers! I love your enthusiasm, and yes...just like you...I find writing to be a joy. Something I've waited so long for in my life. I sure do appreciate the opportunity to publish and never tire of this kind of "work."
    Happy Friday!
    j

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  49. Hi Tina, Thanks for adding the sweet comment about Cook. They really are a very generous and mission-minded company. Sounds like Frank made your son feel very special --- I love those kind of author/reader interactions and appreciate you sharing that with us today.
    Have a fabulous Friday!
    j

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  50. 34 degrees in Arizona. All you Midwesterners sent it to me didn't you??

    Must go out and put a sweater on the orange tree.

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  51. Hi Jeanne, Not IF but WHEN you become published...it WILL happen, and I'll be looking for your books on shelves very soon. I promise you.
    I'm glad you're working with the gals at My Book Therapy. I have been fortunate to get to know Rachel Hauck this year as I now blog with her each week at Southern Belle View. I know those gals work hard to help folks shape their stories, and I am glad you've had such wonderful interactions both there and here at Seekerville.
    I am super impressed with you Seekers. I think I'll have to spin by here more often as a reader. This discussion is wonderful.
    Cheers!
    ulie

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  52. Julie, also curious about your path to publication.

    The ACFW First impression finalists were announced! Go Leigh, Courtney, Natalie. Pegg, Gabrielle and Sara!

    Were you a contest diva? How did your first sale happen?

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  53. Welcome, Julie!

    And I'm so relieved to see I'm not the only confirmed introvert raising my hand. But, as Mary said, sometimes I just have to put on my "socializing" game face and get out there and talk to people.

    It isn't easy, believe me. I am the queen of social klutziness!!! What really helps is hanging out with more extroverted authors. They initiate conversations and I kind of ride in on their coattails. (And smile and nod a lot.)

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  54. Hi Julie, some of my best author interactions have come as the result of being a writer myself and getting to hang out with other writers at writers groups and conferences, etc. So much fun!

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  55. Tina...sustainable farming...well, we have a small organic operation here at Valley House Farms where we live in Oxford, MS. We milk Nubian dairy goats and use that raw milk for most of our dairy throughout the year (yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream, etc.). We raise chickens for eggs. We raise sheep for meat. We have raised beds for veggies and herbs. And we have some fruits such as blueberries, pears, apples, peaches, figs. And we have bees for honey (although those have not been successful yet.) We are part of the Mississippi Sustainable Ag Network, a group of farmers who strive to use sustainable practices to reduce waste and negative environmental impact. We mostly do this to feed our family, but we do sell surplus to local restaurants.
    It's a lot of work, especially during milking season, but we all enjoy it...except on days like today when it's too cold and icy for anything outdoors to be called fun.
    Do you farm?
    j

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  56. Hi Hallee, I understand you completely. I never knew people really wrote authors...but after becoming an author, I LOVE hearing from readers and sure do appreciate their courage and willingness to reach out and let me know how my stories impacted them. For me, the awkward icky part is when I feel like I'm selling something or expecting folks to buy from me. I have never liked asking anyone for anything, especially when it comes to money, so I try to attend each event as if I am there simply to meet people and not think one bit about the business side of it. If I start to think about the icky parts, that's when I stop having fun.
    Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts!
    j

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  57. Mary, you're right...publishing work will snap an ego right into bits...so no choice but to be thick-skinned and very humble.

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  58. Mary, I would do the same as you. I'm always afraid I will forget someone or forget a name. In fact, I'm SO terrible at recognizing people and remembering names...it's my greatest flaw (one of many). It's what really causes me anxiety when I have author events. I'm always so worried I will hurt someone's feelings by not remembering their name or recognizing them. I feel so horrible every time it happens, but I just have a lot of difficulty recognizing people ... even those I know very, very well. It's terrible!
    Enjoy your Friday!
    j

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  59. Hi Janet, I know what you mean...I wish I was eligible for the giveaway too :)
    And just like you, I LOVE interacting with bookclubs. You said it best: "I enjoy the range of opinions about my story and how much of themselves readers put into the reading experience."
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    j

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  60. Ahh...Marianne...see...I messed up and called you Mary in my last reply. Such irony in that!
    I'm very sorry.
    j

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  61. Hi Elaine, ooh...now I'm busted. I need to update my blog. Sorry. Now that I blog with Southern Belle View each week, I am not very good at keeping up my personal blog. So many things to do in a day, the hours can get away from me! Glad you mentioned that b/c I really should try to focus on that a little more.
    Happy Friday!
    j

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  62. Hi Helen, Brrrr...Stay warm and enjoy that pot of coffee. Best of luck with the contest. Would be a nice collection to get you through the winter.
    Cheers,
    j

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  63. I love inter-acting with authors on Facebook. I don't have a lot of time to surf blogs, but I enjoy that means of communication as well. I am very willing to write reviews and give feed back on just about every book I read; Goodreads is wonderful! This year I surpassed my goal of reading 100 books, so I am definitely a reader!

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  64. Thanks for the warm welcome, Amy C. I'm enjoying my visits with y'all today.
    Cheers,
    j

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  65. Tina...my path to publication was kind of different than most. I had become a freelance writer to stay home with my babies. I never studied writing but fell into that career after entering the MOPS writing contest on a dare from a friend. I won and began writing for MOPS, eventually becoming their Activities Editor for MOMSense Magazine and writing a lot of content for their outreach arm...articles that were all about parenting, faith, education, child development...all the things I knew and lived. It was a perfect fit. As the years passed, I took every writing job I could find...some for no pay, many for low pay, and loved learning to write in the trenches, thanks to some very patient editors who were willing to show me the ropes. Slowly, I contributed to books or served as a reader. Then I became editor in chief for Southern Literary Review and learned about the publishing world from that side of the curtain. I never intended to publish a novel. I had published two children's books in 2009 (God is with me through the Day and God is with me through the Night) also on a whim. They had been written to help my daughter overcome her fears of sleeping in her own room (and separation anxiety during the day). I dared to publish them only after other moms told me how much their kids loved the "Emily book" and wanted their own copy.
    Long story short...I wrote Into the Free as a bucket list item, just to see if I could write a complete novel. I never intended to show anyone and no one knew I was writing it. When it was done, I felt compelled to share it. I felt as if the story wasn't mine to keep...it was bigger than me. Millie had given it to me and she wanted me to share it.
    I had kept in touch with Greg Johnson, the agent who helped me publish those children's books in 2009 (even though I never planned to publish more books). He was able to sell Into the Free to Cook thanks to John Blase and the rest is history.
    I owe my entire career to Greg and John...two extraordinary men who dared take a chance on this unknown author. I'm very grateful!
    And believe me when I say...if I can do it, anyone can.
    j

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  66. Julie, how wonderful to help your readers examine their faith and grow stronger, and for those without faith to find it. This should be a goal for all Christian fiction along with providing a great reading adventure. It is certainly mine.
    May the Lord continue to richly bless your work for Him and for Christian writers.

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  67. Hi Myra, I admire you so much. You don't know how many times I wish I could STOP talking and just smile and nod a lot. I am getting better at it...but my brain always has so much it wants to say :)

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  68. Hi Cheryl...YES! I have LOVED getting to know other authors and feel like it's been one of the best parts of the entire journey. Glad you feel the same way.
    Happy Friday,
    j

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  69. Secret Squirrel...you make me smile.
    j

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  70. Hi Rebecca --- 100 books this year? AWESOME! I know those authors sure do appreciate your enthusiastic support. THANK YOU!
    j

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  71. Hi Elva,
    Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts on Christian fiction. I am not a minister so I never try to claim my role is to guide people on a spiritual path, but I am grateful every time my stories help someone develop a deeper faith. If a reader feels less alone in the world after reading my stories, or finds a way to heal from past hurts, or feels the ability to finally forgive some who have harmed them, or comes to peace with their rocky relationship with God, then I feel incredibly honored to have played some small part in that journey. I don't take credit for it...but I also don't take that gift for granted.
    Thanks for joining our conversation and have a fabulous Friday!
    j

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  72. Hi Julie,

    I'm new to Seekerville. Thanks for such a great blog, ladies, and let me say first of all that I LOVE the header. I think your beach is my new favorite "go to". Thanks to David C.Cook, also, for their generous gift! Please count me in. Your post hit me right between the eyes, Julie's. I'm an introverted author, painfully so, but people rarely believe that about me. The internet only added to my angst. We moved to a cottage in the woods where I pursued my writing after many years, only discover the rules have changed! Game face; I get it, but it's not been easy. What a blessing to have the encouragement of so many amazing ACFW authors and gifted writers in writing group, at conferences, and now all of you here at Seekerville. I think my most awesome life changing encounter with an author was when I met Jim Stovell after a workshop. What a servant of God, and one of the reasons I've returned to my keyboard. I strive to be as gracious to my readers as he was to me that day.

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  73. Hi Julia, I'm so glad you returned to your keyboard. Here's how I reason it...I am not the best speaker or writer...but I show up to speak and I sit down to produce books. Why? Because...I have been given the chance to do just that. And for me, I may never understand exactly why, but I believe we are here for a reason, and maybe that's somehow my reason for this life. I mean it not in a crass sense at all, but instead I mean...well...even on my worst days, even when I am certain I have bored everyone in the room and was a complete failure, someone ends up coming up to me or contacting me later to say how much my words meant to them. I've learned that it never fails...somehow the right person will hear my words at the right time...and whether that's one person or more than I can count does not matter to me. It only matters that I followed my calling and maybe, just maybe, on that one day to that one person, it made a difference. I hope that makes sense and brings it all into clarity for you a bit...as I know your words will find the right person at the right time.
    Hugs,
    j

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  74. Wow, thanks, Julia!!! And welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of Seekerville.

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  75. WOW@@@ Julie! What a story. Greg Johnson. Lives in Highlands Ranch. Just left there for Arizona.

    Kudos for you. What a God thing story!!

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  76. Wow! So interesting to learn more about you as a person!

    First, we're locavores... most of the time. I know that's a cop out but our garden failed this year so we're back to grocery shopping, since our personal canning/freezing stores are nil.

    And you live in Oxford! Squee! I have a series set near there (Austen Takes the South) and I've had people mention what a weird town I chose because isn't Oxford in England?

    (Random: you've been to Tupelo, right? Right? me, too.)

    So, David C. Cook hired your editor just for your books? How much talking did you do before you started? I've had 4 editors now and I'm fascinated by the whole process. I think it takes a really, really special person to be a great editor. Or maybe it's the fact you have to mesh, in a literary way.

    Anyway, in Oct I saw something about Gerald Duff joining Southern Literary Review and I had a little fan girl moment there, too. Did you get to hang out with him? In a cyber way? I can't imagine how cool it was to be editor in chief over there. Any favorite authors you got to 'know'?

    One last thing: I have a horrible problem recognizing people (even those I know well), too. My brother has it, also. It's called 'facial blindness' and it's a real condition. So, just pull out the medical terminology if someone gets their feelings hurt! (And Melissa J can pretend she has it so she can adjust a bit before the hugging starts.)

    Anyway, thanks so much for chatting with us. Millie's story (and her voice) stayed with me for months after I read it.



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  77. Good morning Julia.

    I don't look at author blogs or websites so I'd just like a really good read.

    Now, I know authors are just real, everyday people. But when I first started writing and had met my first author or two, I put them high on a pedestal and thought they were the coolest thing. Like some of the others have mentioned, don't burst my bubble by being snotty or rude.

    This last year, I got to watching an old western called The Virginian w/James Drury. Fell in love with him. He's 79 years old now. Found out he was going to be at a local event and I paid $100 each for me and my mom to go see him at a VIP dinner and a few other celebrities. He was the nicest, coolest guy. At first, he thought I worked there and kept trying to tell what a good meal and good job I had done. Okay, that was a little embarrassing, but the fact is, I walked away believing he was even better than I originally thought. A true hero.

    That's what fans what.

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  78. Ok, actually ONE more thing. I love browsing books. I read a few pages, then some of the middle, the back page, look at the author page, the publisher, etc. I like to be really sure I want it if I think I can't find it at the library.

    But every now and then I'll open a book and read the first few lines and SLAM IT CLOSED. I know I'm going to buy it and I want to be somewhere quiet, with my tea, when I read it. I need to be able to hear everything that's happening in the story.

    A few times it's happened in the last few years. Little Bee by Chris Cleave, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Mudbound, The Blue Notebook, Olive Kitteridge, ummm, can't think of any more.

    Your debut book was one of those. I read the first paragraph and slammed it closed. I didn't want to read it in the bookstore. I had to have it somewhere ALONE and QUIET.

    Awesome job.

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  79. Welcome Julie! Congratulations on your books--and I really enjoyed your post.
    It's funny, because growing up I was painfully SHY---well, I certainly outgrew that, LOL. My husband says I'll talk to anyone who's breathing. But when I'm around my author friends, I still have a certain "awe" of them--even though they're all SUPER nice! (waving at many Seekerville friends).
    Anyway, all of this to say I think an author's pleasant personality goes a loooong way in influencing readers (of course, writing a great book helps too).
    Thank you again for being with us today, and please enjoy some goodies I baked and brought to the Seekerville table: Pecan Pie, Fudge brownies, and Peach pie.
    Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo :)

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  80. Hi Virginia, You could probably teach me a lot about canning and preserving. I have tried but have a lot to learn. I don't have a lot of storage space in our little farmhouse...and no cellar or basement here in the south. So...we do what we can. My kids still love to swing through for pizza or fast food though, so we just figure every little thing we do is better than nothing...and we don't go nuts with any of it.
    Now...tell me more about this series you wrote in Oxford, Ms?! I don't know about it. Fascinating. Yes, that's where I call home, and it's a fabulous little university town filled with tons of authors and colorful characters. We love it here. But today I'm wishing I lived somewhere it NEVER gets cold :)
    CHeers,
    julie

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  81. As a reader it is so much fun to follow authors on social media and see how you interact with and support each other. I think being a good person is the best kind of publicity.

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  82. Oh, and Virginia...Cook hires editors for all their projects, at least the fiction ones are contracted out of house like that. I think they have a few they work with consistently.
    And thanks for confirming I'm not as awful as I feel for not recognizing folks. I have heard it's a real condition. I have always thought it might be due to the fact that my eyesight was so bad as a child before I realized it in 6th grade and got contacts...maybe my visual skills never really developed correctly.
    It's an awful thing though...always makes me feel terrible when I don't recognize people.
    Cheers, j

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  83. Hi Connie, Oh I love that story. What a fantastic experience for you...and he sure did make that $100 ticket price well worth the splurge. I still have my stalker fan moments when I am starstruck by my favorite authors. I cried when I heard the author of The Samurai's Garden speak (Gail Tsukiyama). And I would probably cry more if I got to meet Barbara Kingsolver or Jane Goodall. It's surreal to me when a reader feels the same about my little books as I do about my favorite authors's works. Nearly too good to be true. Always an honor. Thanks for joining our chat here today and I hope you have a FABULOUS Friday.
    j

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  84. Virginia...you just made me so very happy and honored. Wow. You should know...Chris Cleave and Hillary Jordan are among my faves and their books Little Bee and Mudbound are on my favorites shelf. Olive Kitteridge is there too. I can't tell you what it means to me for you to have listed my little book among such wonderful literary greats. THANK YOU! I sure hope you weren't disappointed when you got home and got past that first page :)
    Big hugs to you!
    j

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  85. Hi Patti Jo, I can tell you are a true southerner...you didn't show up empty handed and have already added calories to my day :) I love it!
    Thanks for making me feel right at home here with all you Seekers today. Such a fabulous group!
    Cheers,
    julie

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  86. Hi Heidi -- I'm glad you've noticed how much authors love to support each other. It's absolutely fabulous. I feel like it's especially true in the CBA. We have a very special group. I am always amazed at how everyone is so happy for one another's success. I love that people really and truly want to see other books do well. A wonderful supportive gang to call friends...no doubt.
    Happy Friday!
    j

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  87. Please sign me up. Julie I love your books I read them both over a weekend. I look forward to your future novels.

    sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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  88. Welcome, Julie! It's good to see you here!

    We met in Dallas, didn't we? I was new to WordServe and met so many people that weekend, but I'm sure you were one of them.

    My first book just came out last May, and the reader interaction was one part of the process that surprised me.

    I love getting emails from readers and comments on Facebook (and I try to respond to them all), and I had a lot of fun skypeing with a reader's group who were discussing my book one evening, but the one that really blew me away was a handwritten note from a reader who made comments (positive ones!) with page numbers. It was so much fun to read :)

    But in person, things can be daunting. I put on my "game face"...but mostly, I think I just need to take our pastor's wife along with me wherever I go. She isn't shy at all, and will drag people over to me and say, "You have to meet Jan Drexler. She's a published author!"

    Every writer needs someone like her. :)

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  89. Julie, what a wonderful post!

    How can you remain an introvert in this day of social media? Advances in social media today help authors (like me) connect with readers through email, blogs, review sites -- the list goes on and on.

    I love mingling with readers and authors, I just don't like crowds. So if I'm at conferences, you'll find me talking one on one with someone or off chatting with folks in small groups.

    The wonders of social media make it easy for blogs like Seekerville to offer a party atmosphere with your friends across the world every day.

    It's all about promotion and promotion has never offered such easy access!!

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  90. What a wonderful gift giveaway! Your publisher is so generous!!

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  91. Julie, welcome!! What a great post about author and reader interaction. As an author, my favorite things is the mail and emails I get from readers. Truly touching letters (sharing about what's going on in their lives, telling how my book touched them in some way--even if it's only for a few hours of respite). Most recently, a reader thanked me for my story. She said she cried through the whole thing, the first time she'd cried since her mother died. That moved me to tears to read that.

    As a reader, I think my favorite moment was my first Georgia Romance Writers meeting where I met published authors for the first time. I had a true fan girl moment. I was blown away that I could spend time with them and learn from them. That I got to sit and eat lunch with them! :) That was a really cool moment.

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  92. Mary Hicks, I married into a family of huggers too! Took my husband 3 months (he counted) to get me to answer more than a one word reply to him, so he knew my problems and he warned me meeting his parents for the first time that I HAD to hug them, I had the hour drive to prepare.....but they still hug me, once when I arrive and once when I leave, they've even called to apologize if they missed hugging me which I'm like "that's totally okay, I promise"

    SO, just come at me and say "Hi, I'm Mary Hicks, I hang out in Seekerville and I said I was going to hug you" and I'll be totally fine. If you grab onto me FIRST you're not going to get a very good hug and maybe even a tiny bit of a death glare.

    Oh Mary C, that death glare when I was younger was such a defensive mechanism, it's highly ingrained and now that I know I shouldn't use it, sometimes it escapes anyway, I FELT SO BAD, and used the babe's car seat as an excuse shield but I so botched it. I did hug him before he left, I think.

    But people talking to me that I don't have a set appointment to talk to feel like someone jumping out of the bushes and I know it takes me way too long to reorient that some probably get turned off by me.

    BUT I PROMISE if you can get past that few minutes of total weird vibes and I figure out who you are or what your purpose is etc. I get better. And then some people make it inside this weird personality wall I have which I can't describe and then I turn CHATTY CATHY and then I go back home/to my room and just regret that I talked that much.

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  93. LOL, Melissa!! I'll try my best not to run up and hug you when I see you. :) Because, yes, I'm a hugger. But I'm also an introvert. So I'll understand your pain. :)

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  94. Julie, you know I think that part of the blessing of the Internet (I invented it, btw....) is how the shyer/introverted folks can feel safe talking, chatting, giving things away and built a rapport without having to leave their homes or offices...

    And I think it really helps draw them out so when they do have to do face-to-face functions, they've got a baseline.

    ROBINSON CANO IS SIGNING WITH THE MARINERS????? ARE YOU SERIOUS???? ARE YOU REALLY, TRULY, SERIOUS, ROBBIE?????

    (Ruthy risked losing all of her North West readers with ONE RANT!!!)

    Oh my stars, who will play second base in pinstripes.... sorry, Julie, sorry!

    (breathing deep, calming... calming...)

    Okay, I'm good, I blame Yahoo for flashing that before my eyes!!!

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  95. If I know I'm supposed to have my game face on, I'm capable of doing so. It's really easy if I have a role to play and prepared. If I'm there as an author signing, it's much easier than if you find me walking to the bathroom and stop me to talk. I was in walking to the bathroom mode, not author game face mode. :)

    I'm so much better on the internet because an out of the blue email gives me a chance to orient unlike immediate face to face interactions. At least I think I am.

    I wish I could use Virginia's facial blindness excuse, but once I see you in real life I remember you, maybe not your name too.....the name and face match up is my problem.

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  96. Jeanne T, I bet that was so fun to sit by Robin like that! I don't know here personally, but when she was speaking at the conference, I kept thinking, man, I'd love to be her friend! :) She just seems like someone who'd be so great to know.

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  97. Ruth, you are SO RIGHT! The internet is a blessing. I'm out of my shell here, so if I've chatted with you here and remind me, I feel so much more at ease. Not that it still isn't awkward to begin with on that first first meeting, I told my crit partner, whom I had been working with for a year, that when I met her at the airport I was probably going to act weird for a little bit, but I'd be good within the hour.

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  98. Boos Mum, WOW! Thank you so much! I love hearing that you read both books in a single weekend and are watching for more. My gratitude cannot be expressed...seriously. Thank you!
    Happy Friday,
    j

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  99. Hi Jan, YES! I met you in Dallas...at my first and only ACFW...so I was a newbie and just as overwhelmed as you were, I assure you. I LOVE our WordServe group and feel honored to be a part of such a wonderful writing family. Now...if you ever want to let me borrow your pastor's wife, I'd LOVE to have her tag along with me :) You're right...we could all use such a vibrant sidekick. Congrats on your new book and I look forward to the continued journey with you.
    Cheers,
    j

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  100. Hi Audra, Thanks for joining our conversation today and for sharing such great points. Indeed, I too prefer talking one on one or in small groups...those HUGE conferences can seem overwhelming. But the energy is contagious and I have come home from them feeling so inspired to jump right back into writing. I love that.
    Also, thanks for recognizing David C. Cook's generosity. They really are an incredible publishing company and I can't wait to see who wins this fabulous price package. I wish I could enter :)
    Cheers,
    j

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  101. Hi Missy, Thanks for your warm welcome and for your honest insights into being both a reader and a writer. I think I always still feel more like a reader than a writer, and when I'm at conferences I always feel like I should be on the other side of the table where the readers are :)
    I'm glad you shared that beautiful fan letter with us, too. What an emotional moment that must have been for you. I admit, I keep a few special emails and notes for those days when I need to be reminded why I write. Some bring me to tears every time I read them. I'm thankful those readers took the time to write me such honest and raw emotions, and I rely on those to get me back to the computer when I run out of steam.
    Have a fabulous weekend,
    j

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  102. Melissa, Missy, and Ruth --- Y'all have me laughing today. I love it! Melissa, you have described my daughter to a T! She's got that death glare down pat. And Ruth...I totally get the sports thing. I'm not that into baseball, but don't get me started on SEC football (and that incredible Auburn last second win over Bama last week!!!!) or you'll never get me to stop. (I am an LSU alum...geaux Tigers!)
    Cheers,
    j

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  103. Hi, Julie!

    I just Googled your Valley House Farm and realized I only live about 30 mins from there! Are you a part of any local writer's groups? I've heard there is one in Byhalia and am planning to attend soon. They actually meet tomorrow, but I had an appointment I couldn't cancel.

    Your book blurb is so intriguing! I'm going to have to read about this Millie who marries Bump and moves from MS to CO!!

    As a reader, I'm a total movie junkie, too. So I love when an author shares their "casting" for their novel. And especially when they share their favorite movies or stories that had a part in inspiring their own work.

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  104. Hi Natalie --- We're neighbors! Where do you live? That's awesome...see how fabulous the internet is? I love when these kind of chance encounters take place. Fantastic!
    I didn't know about a writer's group in Byhalia and I'm not a member of any writer's groups around here. I don't think we have one in Oxford, although I do believe someone recently started one with the public library. It has always surprised me that we don't have one here with so many writers in this area.
    As for film talk...I'm working on the screen play edits today for Into the Free. A production company is trying to make it into a film, which is SO much fun to be a part of. We have a million things that would have to fall into place before it actually hits a screen...and even then it may not be a big screen production...but it is a hoot having these kind of discussions with folks and hearing what readers want to see when it comes to casting and locations.
    Keep your fingers crossed for us!
    Cheers,
    j

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  105. DO I FARM?? No. But I come from a line of Italian dairy farmers on my Dad's side and my mom's side raised grapes. Picking grapes every September is what I remember. Grampa gave us .5 a crate.

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  106. Screenplay too!!! Wow. Congratulations on these success.

    Love overnight success stories. (wink)

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  107. Hey, in case Tina didn't mention it (I didn't see it but may have missed it), don't forget she's sharing about her lemon bars at the Cafe today! (link in side bar) :)

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  108. Been on a conference call and just now getting to stop by here.

    Julie, it's so great to have another MISSISSIPPI girl in Seekerville.

    Go GRITS! :)

    (Uh, if you weren't raised in the South, let's just keep that between the two of us for now!)

    One of these days we're going to have to get together!

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  109. Tina said: She nearly jumped over the table in her enthusiasm to get in the picture I was taking of her with me.

    Tip #1: Attack the fans!

    Got it! lol

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  110. Pam....yes...we must get together soon! And I would jump over the table to meet you :)
    Cheers,
    j

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  111. As a reader, I love to simply tweet a quote from a book that I've enjoyed. Sometimes I'll tweet something that particularly hit home with me. By sharing that simple quote (and always tagging the author), I can bring a little encouragement to my friends and followers and also show a little free publicity love to my favorite authors.

    I've been retweeted by authors quite a bit; it's nice to know that the appreciate the love.

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  112. Emily, as an author who sometimes gets my quotes tweeted...I dare say we certainly DO appreciate the love. And I love to retweet those sweet tweets.
    Thank you!!
    j

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  113. Tina...we are trying to grow our first grapes and muscadines this year. I have this fantasy of owning a vineyard in Italy. Sounds like you had an idyllic childhood.
    j

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  114. Thank you, Julie, for words timely spoken again. I look forward to reading your work! By the way, I enjoy reading about your farm. Sounds wonderful,and Oxford is so beautiful! We lived near Grenada for many years. Stay warm and safe when the snow flies. Bless you!

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  115. Okay Mary Connealy, I'm totally imagining that first time we met at ACFW and then the conversations each of us had in our heads after we walked away. Mine was probably something like Oh no! I forgot to kiss her feet. And I totally told her I was going to kiss her feet for introducing me to Natasha. And since I didn't kiss her feet, I wonder if she'll ever talk to me again. Was I too loud? Too quiet? Too weird? Too short? And wow? She was really tall. I wonder if she felt like she was talking to a midget . . .

    You were probably thinking something like Wow, I'm so glad I finally got that annoying girl to stop talking to me. And how tall is she, anyway? She has to break some record for shortest person at ACFW . . .

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  116. Hi Julie,
    I always have a bunch of questions for authors I meet, but when I finally get a face-to-face, I often forget all that stuff because the author asks me questions about myself! That always throws me off.

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  117. Hi Julia....Grenada? No way?! You'll have to let me know if you're ever back in our neck of the woods. I went to the Methodist Church in Grenada to meet with their bookclub for Into the Free. What a wonderful group of women. I really enjoyed getting to know them.
    Cheers,
    j

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  118. Lyndee...how funny. I think you've shown a perfect description of how we as authors don't find ourselves to be worth talking about. I assure you, my readers are MUCH more interesting that I will ever be.
    Thanks for joining our chat today.
    Stay warm...I'm freezing!
    Cheers,
    j

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  119. Oh, Naomi...don't we all have those insecurities. I hope you know your own worth and never hesitate to shine your light. Short girls rule, by the way.
    I grew up in Louisiana where everyone is short like me. I remember moving to Illinois and feeling like I had entered the land of the Vikings. All those tall, blonde, gorgeous Midwestern women...sigh...
    j

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  120. Melissa, I too am NOT a hugger infact I find it rather intimidating and scary. I am ok with certain people but on a whole come to hug my you may not survive.
    I was like this as a baby put me in the stroller I was content pick me up at your own peril as I would scream the place down.
    When mum passed away every man and his dog wanted to hug me. Some I would say please dont and they would be ok with that others just said oh you will let me to which I said please dont but they did anyway. I got to the point I had a melt down in public when one lady tried to hug me with the rubbing your back at the same time. 3 times I said dont the third I kinded yelled and got stares but those around said I was ok I had told her no and she didn't listen.
    So I know what you are saying.

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  121. Maybe it's time we break for a group hug :)
    j

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  122. Julie, we raise beef cattle, and I was raised on a dairy farm.

    Have you seen the cost of milk these days??????

    I always declared I would NOT ever have a dairy farm as an adult, but a couple of Holsteins is looking pretty good about now...

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  123. Pam...you're right about the price of milk...and eggs, too. I haven't paid for eggs in a store in years. And sadly, we just ran out of our storage of goat milk, so we've had to go back to buying regular milk. My kids refuse to drink it...they think it tastes awful. Some people frown at us using raw goat milk, but it's never been a problem and you can really taste the difference in fresh milk and store options. Now, breaking to milk twice a day is not always easy...but...it's not bad work by any means. Time is the tricky part b/c we don't farm for a living...so our "real" jobs come first.
    Cheers,
    j

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  124. someone said they are freezing it is meant to finally be a nice summers day after what has felt like winter the past two. Will be able to wear a dress again (although due to my dizzy issues and wearing tubular bandages on my legs that means stockings which I hate. how ever anyone is meant to get dressed gracefully with them beats me)

    I have to say most of my interaction with authors has been positive. The negative comes from a very small group outside America which is so sad. I don't even think they realise what they are saying and that by telling a reader they are wrong or ill informed, or its there fault there books are not selling is not a way to make fans.

    My first author I met in person was as a 10 year old and it was an Aussie called Colin Thiele (sp) He wrote Storm Boy which became a film and many others. Our teacher was reading one of his books to the class when he visited. He was meant to only see the Grade 7's but cos of our teacher reading his books he came and talked to us for about 30 mins and read some of his book. I dont remember alot about the visit except how awesome it was to have him in our class.

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  125. someone said they are freezing it is meant to finally be a nice summers day after what has felt like winter the past two. Will be able to wear a dress again (although due to my dizzy issues and wearing tubular bandages on my legs that means stockings which I hate. how ever anyone is meant to get dressed gracefully with them beats me)

    I have to say most of my interaction with authors has been positive. The negative comes from a very small group outside America which is so sad. I don't even think they realise what they are saying and that by telling a reader they are wrong or ill informed, or its there fault there books are not selling is not a way to make fans.

    My first author I met in person was as a 10 year old and it was an Aussie called Colin Thiele (sp) He wrote Storm Boy which became a film and many others. Our teacher was reading one of his books to the class when he visited. He was meant to only see the Grade 7's but cos of our teacher reading his books he came and talked to us for about 30 mins and read some of his book. I dont remember alot about the visit except how awesome it was to have him in our class.

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  126. Great post, Julie! As you know, I'm one of those who dearly loves chatting with my readers. Bless their hearts, I think the larger problem for them is how to get away from should they strike up a conversation. Alas, Papa always said I could talk to a sign post. Thanks for inviting me over for the discussion. I've read through many of the comments and I feel like I've had a therapy session. :) Merry Christmas, y'all! (Julie, I'm not leaving my comment as an entry to give other folks a better chance at winning this author giveaway!!)

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  127. Jenny...take me to Australia! It's freezing rain here, on the brink of an ice storm, and BRRRRRery cold. I'm not a cold-weather kind of gal. I've never been to AussieLand, but it sure looks beautiful. I have been incredibly honored to hear from Australian readers who have discovered Millie's story. A great group of CBA readers y'all have Down Under. And I'm glad you had that childhood interaction with a nice author. I wish I had been able to meet an author as a kid...maybe then I would have believed being a writer was a real option.
    CHeers,
    julie

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  128. I'm an introvert, but I do love meeting with other authors and soaking up their stories and information.

    On to some of your questions at the end of your blog. As far as social media sites, I like it when authors interact and talk about what's going on with them, not just push their books all the time. I've had mostly positive reader experiences with authors. Two of my favorite mystery writers were so encouraging and took time to talk to me despite heavy crowds. The romance authors I've met have been equally nice. I hope someday to have readers as I'm now writing.
    Merry Christmas.

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  129. Look who swung by to meet y'all...it's Shellie Rushing Tomlinson...one of the funniest people I've ever known. Her humor even earned her a blurb from Jeff Foxworthy for her humorous books that are southern favorites. She's also a fellow Southern Belle on our porch each week (Y'all should join us there for daily chats as well). And I guarantee y'all, Shellie would be as lovely a person as you could ever meet if you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak or meet her at an event. You'll leave with tears in your eyes...from laughing so hard. That's a promise.
    Hugs, sweet Shellie...and thanks for swinging by today!
    j

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  130. Tanya...I look forward to standing in line someday soon to ask you to sign your book for me. And Merry Christmas to you too!
    Happy Writing!
    j

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  131. Naomi, too funny! So you have those convos in your head after you walk away from someone too? ha

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  132. Well, now-- I'm going have to settle up with you later for all of those kind words, Julie. Let me go to the bank first! :)))
    Seriously, y'all are definitely invited to my place at http://www.allthingssouthern.com AND to the lovely site Julie and I write for along with Lisa Wingate, Rachel Hauck, and Jolina Petersheim, it's http://www.southernbelleview.com

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  133. Pam, I grew up on a dairy too. Probably why I could talk to a stump.When extroverts like me are called to write, it can be painful to sit in front of a computer ... unless you do like I do and cheat and get online and post comments on blogs! :)Shout out to Julie: girl, I bow in your literary presence!!!!!

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  134. Pam, I grew up on a dairy too. Probably why I could talk to a stump.When extroverts like me are called to write, it can be painful to sit in front of a computer ... unless you do like I do and cheat and get online and post comments on blogs! :)Shout out to Julie: girl, I bow in your literary presence!!!!!

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  135. Oooh...I have witnesses...Shellie owe me money, y'all :)
    I might be able to use this in my favor someday ... think, think, think.... (devious grin).
    j

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  136. I have had the honor of reading both of Julie's books. I can honestly say that she is now my favorite author.
    Her story telling ability is extraordinary.

    I hope that I win this prize package so that I can give her two books to friends, as I will never part with my copies. Ü

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  137. Shellie, Tanya, it's so great to see y'all in Seekerville today!

    Cozy up to the fire and enjoy your visit. I think a round of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea is in order about now. :)

    I'm having a homemade English toffee and French vanilla cappucino.

    Lord, I just now realized I've been mixing English and French ingredients.

    Yikes!

    Hope my microwave doesn't explode!

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  138. Oh, Lynne...I bow to you daily. Do y'all know Lynne Gentry? She writes about modern women being thrown into exciting ancient adventures. Supercool plots and storylines. And even better than that...she's a supercool person. Lynne, I am probably a lot like you and tend to get myself in way too much trouble getting sidetracked chatting most of the day and end up with very little work being done...sigh...we should just get together and share an office somewhere WARM!!!
    Thanks for swinging by to chat today.
    CHeers,
    j

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  139. Cindi...you are WAY too kind. What an honor to hear that I am your favorite author...WOW! Leaves me speechless.
    I hope you win that basket, too. There are a ton of wonderful books in there and I'm betting you'll love them all.
    Merry Christmas (love that horse in your profile pic, by the way!)
    j

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  140. Julie, I live close to New Albany.

    That is so exciting about working on a screenplay!! I've always wondered how much say an author has when their book is made into a movie. Does it depend on the director? You can see I know nothing about the film industry. Haha! :)

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  141. This "to hug or not to hug" conversation is interesting. I'm usually a hugger, but now knowing how hard it is on introverts I'll think twice before giving hugs.

    As a teenager our older daughter was uncomfortable with hugging. To tease her, my friend gave her a hug from behind. The girl she hugged was our daughter's lookalike girlfriend, who thankfully didn't mind being hugged. My friend was redfaced, probably what she deserved. LOL

    Janet

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  142. Natalie...I know nothing about it either but am learning by the day. I'm lucky to have some say in this process but I do hear that is very rare. I'm enjoying getting to work on the screenplay and discuss the plans with the producer. Only time will tell what will become of the work, but I figure there's benefit to learning even if it ends up in a desk drawer. Who knows...maybe I'll see you at a red carpet premiere someday. (fingers crossed!)
    j

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  143. Janet...I also think that discussion has given me a lot to consider. My daughter does not like to be touched at all by strangers. I try to be sensitive to that, but I tend to want to wrap the whole world in a great big hug and just make everybody feel loved. Much to my daughter's dismay :) I know from working so much lately with sex abuse victims...it can be incredibly intrusive and even hurtful (and scary) for them to be touched, hugged, etc. by strangers. Anything can be a trigger for the panic attack or feelings of trauma to surface. So, I try now to always be very aware of a person's comfort zone.
    Thanks for bringing up these important issues.
    j

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  144. Natalie...you live near New Albany??? You'll be happy to know my Fourth Book is going to be based on New Albany (if I ever get this third one off to the press.) I LOVE that town!
    j

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  145. Thanks for the warm welcome, Pam. I'd love to stay and chat more but I'm supposed to be pounding out next week's radio segments. Oh, the joy of perpetual deadlines. (And no, she did not say that with a sarcastic laugh. Really, she didn't...Okay, you'r right. She did. ) Y'all have a great big God day. I'll be back~

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  146. So sorry for all you folks in the Midwest ice storms. We're enjoying mid-70s in the Carolinas today. Just gorgeous!

    Of course, this introvert is enjoying the pleasant weather from inside my upstairs office while pounding away on my wip. Hubby is out for the afternoon, so it's just me and the doggies--PERFECT!

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  147. I loved, Into the Free, and my mouth is watering to start, When Mountains Move. Just finished writing my next book proposal, so now I'm ready to jump in. Julie, you are one of my writing heroes.

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  148. Anita, you are so kind to say such thoughtful things to me. I feel the same about you! I actually just read your post on the WordServe Watercooler today about preparing for a radio interview. It's the second part of a two part post that I've bookmarked b/c it had SO much wonderful info. in it. I wish I had read that two years ago when I was first beginning to give interviews. I still have a lot of improvement room, but I dread hearing those earlier ones. If any of y'all are planning interviews as authors or for any other reason...you should check out Anita's post about it http://wordservewatercooler.com/2013/12/06/preparing-for-a-radio-or-podcast-interview-pt-2/
    Good stuff!
    Cheers,
    j

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  149. Thanks for the blog invite, Shellie! We'll be at your door for tea soon. And welcome to Seekerville.

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  150. Hi, Shellie! My best integration was with Seekerville's Glynna Kate. I had never heard of this wonderful site until she responded to a fan letter I sent. And I'm so glad she directed me here!

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  151. Hi Annie, Thanks for welcoming us to Seekerville tonight. I first heard of it by a fellow author friend, Jordyn Redwood. Since then, I have loved sneaking peeks at what y'all chat about over here. I have really enjoyed my day in your realm and am so impressed with the continuing discussion. Have a fabulous weekend! We're about to warm up some homemade chicken noodle soup and yeast rolls, snuggle by the fire, and settle in for family movie night. We're all bailing on our plans to go out tonight and have decided warm blankets and popcorn are just what we need as the winter sets in.
    Cheers,
    julie

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  152. Thanks for the blog contest offer Julie and David Cook. Would love to have 14 new books to read and share with friends! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Blessings of comfort, quiet and peace during the holiday season. Love, cousin Connie!

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  153. Janet, several months ago (maybe about a year or so), my family and my in-laws were on a trip and stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat.

    My mother-in-law sashayed into the store and headed to the hostess stand to get us on the list to be seated.

    Well, you know that in Cracker Barrel, you don't just walk in the door and make a bee-line to the hostess stand. You have to weave your way through the maze of amazing stuff first! lol

    She walked up behind this tall, broad-shouldered dark-haired young man wearing a tee-shirt and a ball cap and scratched her fingers up and down his back, thinking it was one of her grandsons!!!

    She was SO embarrassed.

    But he said it felt pretty good! lol

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  154. I am lucky to know you personally Julie :) I am not sure about winning the prize but being friend with you is a big prize!

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  155. Awww...y'all say hi to my sweet cousin Connie who has dropped in from Colorado tonight to meet the Seekers. Waving and blowing kisses from down here in good ol' Mississippi, sweet Connie. Good luck on the drawing. Not sure if there's a rule against relatives winning :)
    Bet we're colder than y'all are tonight!
    Cheers,
    j

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  156. Ibrahim --- what a very kind thing to say. I consider YOUR and Nur's friendship the real gift. Thanks for swinging by. You may find yourself with a basket full of books for the holidays :) Cheers!
    j

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  157. Hahaha, MELISSA, fair enough, I'll warn you! :-)

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  158. Hi Julie, the author I encountered at my husband's company picnic was Colleen Coble. She was so very gracious and inspiring.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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  159. Janet love the story glad your daughters friend was ok with it all.

    cos of bullying if someone comes up behind me and touches me they are more than likely to be hit. My first reaction is to hit backwards and I have actually done it a couple of times. We have a person who tends to get a little to friendly when he touches women he always makes my skin crawl and came up behind he got hit and the don't you ever do that to me again. It was in the bakery, he apologized. I did say I dont like to be touched as well so he understood the one time he accidentally touched me in church he quickly said sorry. Had a few others having lunch in the bakery who told me late good for you about time someone told him off.
    I steeled myself for hugs in America not that I minded from most I met.

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  160. Good to see you on Seekerville, Julie! I "see" you each day on your blog SBV, which I really enjoy. Also, I enjoyed Into the Free and can't wait to read your newest!
    Thanks to for David C. for the great basket of books....I've read 154 this year and plan to read more!

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  161. Julie, you've been wonderful to spend so much time with us today when you have goats waiting on you!!!

    Thank you again, and thank you to David C Cook Publishing.

    Merry Christmas.

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  162. Connie Masson! Seeker Audra Harders is from your part of the world.

    Welcome to Seekerville!!

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  163. Hi Julie, I enjoyed your article and reading all the comments from other authors.
    I guess as a reader I have never thought how difficult it would be to be an introvert. I am a very quiet person and I find it difficult to interact in person. I enjoy the blogs as I can be by myself and still feel like I'm talking to someone.
    I appreciate when an author will answer a question or a comment .
    Thank you and thank the publisher for giveaway.
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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  164. Julie, I haven't had time to read the comments so hope I'm not repeating what someone else has posted. When you hear from readers that because of reading your stories they have found hope or realized they are not alone ... that must be the most awesome and humbling experience. Amazing how powerful words are :-)

    Lovely book covers!

    Nancy C

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  165. Hello Julie, It is so exciting to know that one of our own has turned into being one of the best writers I know. I am so proud of you. I have read "Into the Free" but I don't have a copy of your new book yet!!!!I hope to be geting one really soon.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  166. Hi Julie! The only author I have met face to face is Tracey Bateman. She was very friendly and sat and talked with the group that attended her workshop during her breaks. I am an introvert and felt right at home. Same goes whenever I visit Seekerville :))))

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  167. Hi, Julie!

    Really enjoyed your post,& love hearing that you enjoy interacting with readers! I am a reader that immensely enjoys interacting with the Christian fiction authors I have met thru the magic of the internet.

    I am a relatively, new convert to fiction, having, previously, read primarily non-fiction. I had no idea what I had been missing out on!

    For a number of months, I have been reading, & learning, about all that is involved in plotting, researching, writing, publishing, & promoting, etc. - a book. I have to say that I am astounded at the time, patience, hard work, & all that is required, & have a whole new respect for writers/authors. This deepens my love for the books I read, & I have felt led to encourage, & support, their authors - every day, & in any way, possible.

    Learning more about the authors whose books I read - also, increases my interest in reading more of their books, & leads to a deeper connection between the author, & myself. I have been inspired by so many of the books that I have read, & also by the author's comments, & online interactions with her/his readers.

    I'd like to thank each of you, & hope that the things I say online, & any other support I give - are a help, & encouragement to each of you!

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  168. I always thoroughly enjoy reading about a writers journey. For themselves & their works.

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  169. Hi Jackie, Thanks for joining us at Southern Belle View each day. We have such a wonderful, loyal group of readers on the porch and we appreciate y'all SO very much.
    154 books?! You're incredible! I love to read and am an avid reader...which is what led me to become a writer. Have you ever closed a book and wondered if you too have a story in you? That's kind of what happened to me.
    Thanks for sharing with us and stay warm this weekend!
    julie

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  170. Hi Jackie S., You've made such a great point. I am thankful the internet has made introverts feel so comfortable with social interaction. I have met so many wonderful people through the internet that I would have never met otherwise. And from all around the world! I'm glad you dropped in to chat with us today. Have a wonderful weekend.
    j

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  171. Ooops...that last one was for Jackie M. not Jackie S. ... and I double-checked too :) Must need to stop and drink my tea this morning to wake up a bit more.
    Sorry!
    j

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  172. Hi Nancy (Chill N!) You're absolutely right...there is nothing about this job that means more to me than hearing that my little stories have had a positive impact on someone's life. It is indeed very humbling and usually makes me cry. I never imagined how far these stories would reach around the world and how much they would connect with readers. I'm honored beyond description and feel blessed to play some small part in their journey.
    Thanks for sharing with us today and have a terrific Saturday.
    j

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  173. Hi Kay! (Mrs. Kay, to me.) It's so fun to see you here with us. Y'all should know, Mrs. Kay gave me my very first real hair cut. I was entering 7th grade. Her daughter was a dear friend of mine through childhood and I still feel tremendous regret about getting into a wreck with her daughter in my passenger seat. Thankfully God kept us both safe that night and no one was hurt in either vehicle. Still one of the worst experiences of my life. Mrs. Kay, I hope y'all have forgiven me, and I'm thrilled to hear you read my book and are eager to continue Millie's story as she travels to Colorado. Thanks so much for your lifetime family friendship and for dropping by Seekerville! Good luck on the drawing!
    julie

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  174. Hi Pat, I can see why you feel right at home here with all these wonderful Seekerville folks. Such a great group! Thanks for welcoming me here with y'all. It's been so much fun!
    Cheers,
    j

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  175. Hi Bonton - I'm SO glad you've recently discovered your love for fiction! I love to read nonfiction and memoirs too, but there is something fun about seeing where an author's imagination can take him/her. And you're absolutely correct ... writing is fun, but publishing a novel really does take a ton of hard work, time, dedication, and willpower. I have tremendous respect for all authors now that I know how hard they work.
    We love what we do, but it's nice to hear that people recognize the work that goes into it.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    j

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  176. Hi Mary Preston -- Me too! I've found there are no two authors who have had the same journey to publication. There are a million paths to publishing and there is no right or wrong way. I respect anyone who is brave enough and determined enough to get a book published, and I salute everyone who has found a way to follow a dream.
    Thanks for chatting with us and stay warm!
    j

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  177. Thanks to everyone for welcoming me to Seekerville! I'm not sure how often I'll swing back through now to check for comments b/c it's family time now...but I'll do my best to check at a couple times throughout the weekend. Good luck to all of you who have entered the contest...and even if I don't reply directly to each comment after this one...you'll still be entered by posting a comment.
    You can always catch up with me at www.southernbelleviewdaily.com where I blog each Wednesday, or visit www.juliecantrell.com for more info.
    Thanks again and Happy Reading!
    julie

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  178. Julie, thanks for telling us about this site. I've learned that most people want to help authors. Sometimes they just don't know what to do.

    I wish I could share specifics but I don't think I better. One person, who had nothing to do with my book, got it back on the radar. There is simply no explanation for what she did but she's a powerful force in the industry and I'm so grateful.

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  179. Hey Lisa I want to tell you that your an awesome writer and I would love to read your two books that your giving away!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond
    Thanks for the awesome box of books I think would be a wonderful Christmas present!!!

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  180. This was an interesting post. I guess the way an author has impacted me is giving me the right books at the right time. Right after my dad and brother died, it was easier for me to deal with my grief by reading books where the character was dealing with the same circumstances. So thanks to all of those authors and their books.
    And thanks for having this wonderful giveaway.

    Rose
    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  181. I am the author of "Forgetting the Fairy Tale" (and an introvert) and I love to hear from my readers about how my book has helped them see the Bible in a new light or how it has helped them in their spiritual walk. It is so encouraging to hear how God uses the obedience of writing to minister.

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  182. Honestly, the best author interaction I ever had still remains the one with Peggy Parish, the author of the Amelia Bedelia books, when I was in second grade. She came to visit our school and we were allowed to ask her questions. She answered mine. I still remember it and how wonderful it was to get into the mind of someone who did what I wanted to do. Even now, I get excited when authors visit my children's schools because I want them to have the same magical experience.

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  183. In the past, you read a book and had little chance of interaction with the author unless you actually wrote a letter and posted it and then you did not know if they actually got it or not.

    It is so exciting now to not only enjoy many more books than you could in the past due to online distribution of books, but I love that you can get to know your favorite authors a little bit through their blogs, facebook pages, websites.

    In the case where you don't really know an author, you get to enter free giveaways so that you can test out their books.

    And the fact that there are groups of authors that work together to promote each others work brings the reader exposure to authors and books that they normally would never have heard about!

    I personally would never have found Julie if it were not for the fact that I saw her online, learned about her award and then read more about her book. Downloaded the book and I was hooked! Now I am a great Fan and not only do I read her books, I tell everyone I know about them!

    In addition to all this, aspiring writers learn from those ahead of them and that is a good thing!

    I have not met many authors face to face, but I have met more online and have shared tweets, comments and messages with them.

    For those authors who give away advanced copies in exchange for an honest review, I would say that I always love reading ARC copies and posting reviews.

    I also love hearing about what other readers thought, particularly when they are talking about the characters that you have also fallen in love with as you read the book. It is like another world.

    Reading is my escape! And it is for so many out there. Thank you for writing and thank you publishers and distributors for keeping this very important past time alive!

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  184. I love interacting with authors via their websites. I am also a member of The Book Club Network where we occasionally have chats with authors about their newest releases.
    I really love hearing about an author's writing process, learning about the publishing process and hearing the "stories" behind the story.
    This package of books would be such a treat to have!

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  185. I was blessed to meet Madeleine L'Engle several times, and she was warm and gracious.

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  186. I like to read a lot and have been looking for some new ones to read!

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  187. • What are some of the best author/reader interactions you’ve had?

    I have participated in Author Facebook Chats for new book releases and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the authors and about the books they write. It's a ton of fun :D

    • As a reader, what suggestions do you have for your favorite authors...things you’d like to see on our websites? In the back sections of the books? On social media outlets?

    I like to see info about the author, where they write, about the families, pets and hobbies, and what books they have written. It is especially nice to see a list of books categorized by series and/or publishing date. I think one of my favorite things to see on a writers website is a bit about the writing process and what inspiration leads to each story.

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  188. I never get in on these sites. I have a hard getting my thoughts across. But here goes, I read mostly older books because I can't afford new. I have been so happy to get the free book offers from David C Cook. One of my favorite was by Kate Lloyd.I felt like I was back in Pa.I have never met an author. My daughter is an artist and the post sound just like her, very introvert. I would love to win the books.It's been years since I had a new real book.

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  189. I believe in praising talent so I like to contact authors and let them know how much I loved their book. I also like to leave reviews because I know it helps.
    I don't have the chance to go out to in person book signings, but I've had some great interactions with authors on Facebook. I haven't met anyone who is not gracious and helpful and grateful for the praise.

    Cindy Whitney

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  190. What would I be interested to see? Easter eggs in books, perhaps, transcripts of actual conversations with fans that show up as part of the plot.

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  191. I love when there are character spotlights on authors pages or on bloggers pages of the book I am reading or one I am interested in. I usually form my own idea of what a character looks like, however it is really fun to see the authors idea!

    I would love to win! I really enjoy reading some of the authors that were mentioned and would love this chance to read a book by some of the others for the first time.

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  192. Thank you for sharing your post! The idea of "lonely authors" certainly has changed with all the social media opportunities!

    I would love to see tips from current authors to aspiring authors like myself. I'd love to have answers to questions like: Where does your inspiration come from? How long does it take for you to write a book? What do you do when you hit that wall while writing? What can I as a writer do to improve my writing?

    Thanks again for sharing, and thank you for offering such a cool prize!

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  193. Hey Julie you are so right! Authors are more extrovert than previous years in their interactions with their readers! I am an extrovert but love to get lost in books and allow my mind create pictures in my mind what I am reading. I love the fact that I can interact with my favorite authors through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc. And, they even respond! Books are one of the best interactions of stories and information to others and we never know how many people are blessed by the writings of that author. Welcome to being an author and much success in your career in being an author! Many blessings!

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  194. What a fabulous giveaway! I love good, clean books with morals. Thank you for the chance to win an awesome basket of books!

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  195. I love to be able to read a book that not only gives me enjoyment but makes me think deeply about my commitment to God. The best interaction was with Lisa Harper. She spoke at our women's conference and was dynamite! I look forward to meeting other authors. I have been reading since I was 4 and got my first library card when I was 5.

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  196. My favourite author interactions are always with Ted Dekker. I have met him five times over the past five years, and been a very involved part of his online community over the past seven years. Ted has always impressed me as being incredibly gracious and loving to his fans. He always remembers me and tells me how much he loves seeing me. That warms my heart so deeply.

    I've only met Tosca Lee once (she coauthored the Books of Mortals with Ted and has also released several of her own novels, most recently Iscariot), but I had been very active on her FB page before that, and SHE IMMEDIATELY RECOGNISED ME AND CALLED ME BY NAME. I was very impressed, and my absolute loyalty was won. I've since messaged her several times with questions about her books or to offer support in some area, and she always responds promptly and thoroughly.

    Moral of the story: Authors, ENGAGE WITH YOUR FANS. Make an effort to get to know as many as you can, and develop a strong, interactive online presence. Comment on your own statuses and blogs! Ted and Tosca have won my deep personal affection and my loyalty for life.

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  197. My favourite author interactions are always with Ted Dekker. I have met him five times over the past five years, and been a very involved part of his online community over the past seven years. Ted has always impressed me as being incredibly gracious and loving to his fans. He always remembers me and tells me how much he loves seeing me. That warms my heart so deeply.

    I've only met Tosca Lee once (she coauthored the Books of Mortals with Ted and has also released several of her own novels, most recently Iscariot), but I had been very active on her FB page before that, and SHE IMMEDIATELY RECOGNISED ME AND CALLED ME BY NAME. I was very impressed, and my absolute loyalty was won. I've since messaged her several times with questions about her books or to offer support in some area, and she always responds promptly and thoroughly.

    Moral of the story: Authors, ENGAGE WITH YOUR FANS. Make an effort to get to know as many as you can, and develop a strong, interactive online presence. Comment on your own statuses and blogs! Ted and Tosca have won my deep personal affection and my loyalty for life.

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  198. One of my best was getting to hang out with Neil Cole (Organic Church) and Felicity Dale (The Rabbit and the Elephant) at a house church conference. Learned a lot.

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