Thursday, July 10, 2014

Return on Investment: What We Stay At Homes Can Do!!!!

Bummed because you're not going to RWA???

Sad because you're going to be home washing your tights like "Batman" in one of the 214 Batman movies???

Dismayed because all the BEST EDITORS AND AGENTS will no doubt be swallowed-up by dashingly darling newbies while you're home slogging away on your laptop in front of a fan with a frayed cord?


I promise you, I've been where you are, I've been where the rest are going, and if you're serious about your writing career, your productivity, your chance to hitch a ride on the westbound train of publication??? Do not overly fret about being home...


How do I know this? Well, because I'm right here with you, and happy to be here because anything major that comes up in life.... Illness, death, divorce, taxes, holidays, kids' schedules, parents' health, jobs, lack of money, two jobs!!!!! (raise your hand if like me, you've had to work two jobs to make ends meet!!!), etc. tends to put me behind the 8-ball if I'm not ahead of the game.  And so...


I love seeing folks at conferences. And I know that when you're new and aspiring there's a lure that says "This is where you need to be... Yes, it's expensive, but it's your career we're talking about!"

Return on investment is a measure of what are you getting out of what you're putting in? What's your return?

Now, this isn't meant to disparage conferences, they're fun, they're exciting, and there's a bang for your buck, but should you go into debt to go to a conference?

I'll let you answer that.

Does going away for a week affect your productivity?


Is it worth it sometimes?

Again: Yes. But that's where good money stewards examine their choices, pull up their big kid panties and make wise assessments. So if you (like me) have decided that life, work, finances, family, etc. have closed the door on conferences this year, THAT'S OKAY!!!!!!

You know what? There's nothin' at all wrong with spending that time devoted to WORKING HARD. You wanna feel better about bein' a wallflower with me?

Here's a quick list of things we can do while the crews gather in San Antonio (GORGEOUS!!!) and St. Louis this fall (I LOVE THAT ARCH!!!):

Ruthy's Stay-At-Home-Without-Pouting-Worklist:

1. Raise your word count each day, double it. That will make you feel like you've really accomplished something.

2. Update your website/blog/facebook page, anything you've been putting off, do it that week! Now you're feeling ahead of the game!

3. Do your homework and decide which editor/publisher/agent you're targeting, then polish your proposal for them until it shines like a new copper penny... Okay, pennies don't shine like all that much anymore, so make it shine like the... like the.... Oh, hang it, just polish it up, okay?????

4. Order three books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or that will either inspire you or teach you how to improve your timing, your skills, your work ethic or your salsa dancing.  (Hey, writers need to stay in shape, right????? Me and Bruno Mars, baby!!!!)

5. If you don't know who Bruno Mars is, you should. Go HERE!!!!!

6. Take yourself for ice cream or a pedicure or a walk with the dog and get a hot dog or bagel from the street vendors... Because it's good to use the famous Ruthy-Mini-Reward-System to get you through the thoughts of the cool people at the HARLEQUIN PARTY.... (sigh.... I do love the Harlequin party... dancing... Eating.... dancing.... Eating.... )  :)

Mmm... Abbott's Frozen Custard... that reminds me, I must go see if they've listed
today's flavors on FACEBOOK!!!!!

7. Edit your work, this takes us back to smoothing that proposal. Examine the arc of the story, the flow of the words. Don't be afraid to Cut, Cut, Cut... and then paste back together. Layering is part of storytelling, my darlings!!!!

8. Push yourself through to the END.... I don't care if you're bored 2/3 of the way through, or if you've got dishes to wash, or if you've really got to weed the gardens because the house looks like the setting for a horror movie... Push yourself each day, 1,000 words, maybe 2,000 words, closing in on that magical ENDING.... To say you did it. You finished a book. Just finishing puts you instantly into a very small minority of writers... And I'll be so stinkin' proud of you!!!!! I WILL HAPPY DANCE IN UPSTATE FOR YOU!!!!

9. You know, I love people. I'm not an introvert, I love getting together with folks, I love teaching, talking (DUH....Right?????) and working with others. I'm a people person. But I also love being ahead of the curve when it comes to my work... and I often look 3 and 6 months ahead to estimate where I need to be vs. where I want to be... and that planning ahead attitude helps me realistically see what I need to do and where I need to be.

10. Accept that we're all different. We're meant to be that way, God's got a fun mix and we're part of it! And if you are going to conferences, report back to us wallflowers and tell us all about it! We want to hear details!!!!   But if you're sittin' home, tending the home fires like me (or the day job in this case!) know that you're not alone. That of the tens of thousands of authors/writers out there, only a small fraction of them will be at conferences, so we've got company, coast to coast!



And come to Seekerville!!!! We'll be here each day (I'm reporting into Seekerville from Manhattan a couple of those days, COME ON, YANKEES!!!!)

Oh. Jeter.  Smile.....  :)

And we'll be holding down the fort for all o' youse who are doing the homebody thing that week... And honestly, I'm okay with that. We can share ideas, ice cream, stories, (there will be a NO WHINING ALLOWED sign that goes into effect that week, and youse know I'm not one bit afraid to CALL YOU ON IT....

(polishes nails on shirt because she's rough and tough!!!!)

AND... to make this more fun and a little less bossy ... what's that??? Too late, you say???? MY BAD!!!!

Okay, I've got 15 (FIFTEEN) copies of "His Montana Sweetheart" to give away to lucky commentors today! AND.... I'm caught up on all my contracts so you won't have to wait as long as the last winners did...

Book 2 of the Big Sky Centennial Continuity is being released in mid-July, but you can WIN IT BEFORE YOU CAN BUY IT!!!!

Romantic Times gave it a lovely 4-Star review, and this cute couple have dealt with a lot of mistakes, past and present... But with God's precious love, a smack-upside-the-head of common sense and a spritz of down home cowboy...

Oh, mylanta!!!!  SO FUN!!!!

Coffee's on.... and I've got fresh strawberries-and-cream croissants for youse!!!! A delightful nod to summer and berries and cute guys on horseback.... ISN'T HE JUST THE CUTEST THING????


Come on in, and let's plan what your stay-at-home goals are... and if you're not staying at home, then tell me what your conference goals are!!!  AND HAVE FUN WITH SEEKERS AT THE CONFERENCE....

San Antonio, the River Walk, the music, the lights, the food.... oh be still my heart! Cowboys and great food, I might be tempted to book a flight after all!  :)


  1. Conferences are so expensive that I can't justify going. Not yet anyway. Especially since I. Do. Not. Fly.
    And San Antonio is much too far away. I'm a finalist in the Touched By Love Contest, from what I understand, the winners will be announced at RWA. Still, I must stay home and hope to get some positive responses from agents. :)
    Your post was a real encouragement! In God's timing, everything will work anyway.

  2. I'm sleepy and my phone likes to delete words, so please forgive the typos.

  3. I'm home. I'm working. Just finished "hump" chapter in the wip. Always feels good, and starts moving faster, when I reach that mid-point.

    Hot tea brewing.

  4. Ruthy, I would so love to win a copy of your book. I have already read Montana Reunion and Her Montana Cowboy and I have fallen in love with this series.

  5. I'm in for the croissants.

    And your cover is GORGEOUS!!!!

  6. I'm not going to make RWA. I hate that because I love San Antonio. Ok, Ruthy, I'm whining so I'll quit.

    I'm going to spend some time working on my plotting skills.

    I will be in St. Louis!

  7. I'll be home reading lots of good books. Please enter me in the drawing for your book !

  8. Wonderful post! I'm heading for San Antonio in the morning but will be back before the conference. I'm visiting my daughter (station at Lackland Air Force Base) but on the day of the conference I will be trying to I mean teach a new batch of kindergarteners, so no conference for me. I can't wait to start your "no pouting" list!

  9. Courtney you're young and gorgeous and I'm so glad your phone does that because mine does too (I finally shut off the auto-correct feature) because the silly thing thought it was smarter than me.


    AS IF!!!! :) We'll stay at home and work doubly hard TOGETHER, sweet thing!!!!

  10. I'll be studying, reading and studying some more. San Antonio is a place I've always wanted to go. It's on my bucket list.

    I love the cover of "His Montana Sweetheart" and would love to win a copy. Thank you for your generosity.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  11. Helen, I love getting past that mid-point too. Because then you know you've built the mountain and it's time to sliiiiiide down the other side, like a skier who climbs one side without benefit of a lift!!!

    Mmmm.... I'm grabbing tea later, I've got coffee right now. But tea sounds PERFECT mid-day!!!

  12. TINA....

    Thus began my love of cowboys in print......

    Sigh........ :)

    They did a marvelous job on these covers and the cover designer Tania Peary is coming to Seekerville the end of the month to talk about how they do this... I can't wait to see the breakdown process!!!!


    The way I see it is if there's time and money enough, it's a great gathering.

    But then, (shhhh......don't tell) I haven't gone to classes at a conference in years. When I was new I did, and RWA has a SLEW of great classes this year, so that was tempting... But again, balancing what we're trying to do with this ollllllld house that we neglected for years, time to see my kids (3 out of town kids I like to visit) time with Dave (we're both still working full time and I'm writing full time, so that's a time-drain...) so when I add up time + money - lost productivity...

    And am I the only woman who frets over what she'll wear and how she'll look at a conference????

    That's embarrassing to admit.


  14. Loves to Read, you're in darling!

    I loves me some good readers!!!!!!


  15. LeAnne!!!!! Yes, it's tough when you use the time off to visit kids, or fix things, right??????

    God bless your daughter for serving, oh hug her for all of us in Seekerville!!!!! That's wonderful!

    I'd love to see the River Walk someday, so maybe I'll drag Dave down there some winter, depending on how many God gives us!

    And a new batch of kindergartners in late July???? Does school start that early for you or is this a summer session??????

  16. CINDY W., ME TOO!!!!! On the San Antonio thing!

    We should all meet there when the weather isn't 105 (I wonder what the best time of year is????) and hang out and write. That would work for me, that's my kind of getaway!!!!

  17. And Courtney....

    Yes, God's timing.... so vitally important for all of us.

    You're one smart chickie.

  18. Such an encouraging post! And it has nothing to do with conferences.
    I'll go to one when I get paid to go. Not just because of the time lost and the productivity drain and sleeping on a hard bed and eating weird food and making plane connections and losing my room key (because I will), but because I really, truly do not like to be social. It's exhausting. A small group of people? Bring it on! Party hardy, baby!
    Giant hotel filled with people I should recognize from their facebook profile pictures or from their names on book jackets but who I will not until they've already been offended? Nooooo....

    When I first started writing, I was encouraged by many people to go to conferences. Everyone was doing elevator pitches (for that moment you get stuck in an actual elevator with some exhausted editor or agent who is up to HERE with pitches and just wants to take off those heels and watch some TV). People had their head shots ready, their bookmarks, their websites, their newly formed platforms, and their one-sheets. They spent hours perfecting and shining their approaches to agents for the appointments and the possibility of getting seated next to someone who might JUST get them a contract.
    Maybe I'm inherently lazy, but it seemed way too much work. I'd rather just write the book and query when I have to. Anything else... meh.
    I do like looking at all the dress talk from Julie HS and Piper. (Which shoes? Pearls or diamonds?) But it's much more fun when someone else has to fit into that gorgeous ball gown than me. Plus, I'd have to remove my red converse and comb my hair. Like I said, way too much trouble.

  19. Oh, continuing that first sentence into a complete thought: encouraging post! I'm five days from a deadline and am sinking under the "this is a steaming pile of poo" feeling. I know it's not, the book is fine, but somehow my deadline-hating brain is manufacturing extreme levels of pessimism.
    So this post was a lovely kick in the pants (if a kick in the pants can be lovely). I feel inspired to KEEP ON GOING even though I'd rather throw my hands in the air and be a total dramavore.
    Back to the book. Which is not poo. And no whining or Ruthy will come and kick my heiney.

  20. Virginia - your comment made me LOL. And I'm reading Shelby at the moment and loving her :)

    No conferences for me this year. A new baby and living on the other side of the world means, short of someone else paying for a really long plane trip and someone to move in to our house to mind the little people, it just ain't happening.

    Conferences are amazing but, whether you can go or not, God's got your path already covered :)

  21. *waves to Shelby*

    Oooh, new babies are SO MUCH BETTER than a conference! Lucky you!

  22. I love new babies!!!!

    Oh, Kara Isaac, when I'm snuggling little Ayden or Finn here, it is the Best Feeling Ever... Go you!!!!!

  23. Virginia!!!!!

    I hear you!!!

    Well said, from every angle.

    I love mobs of people, it's a genetic flaw, no doubt, and some of my kids inherited it and the others think we're WHACKED, seriously sick on multiple levels, but as I look ahead, I can see that next year, when I go down to part-time work, is a smarter time to take a week off here and there.

    And I bet there are lots of folks in that boat, that need to think twice about this stuff... and then make decisions that aren't always (PICK ONE):

    What We Want
    All of the Above!!!!

    But I'm looking forward to partying with all of youse here in Seekerville! And I'm hoping RWA get's the RITA straightened out, OY VEY.....

    And that's all I'm sayin' on that, but it didn't hurt their conference numbers any, they maxed out.

    Of course the cost for the conference is very reasonable and the classes are wide-reaching topics... (cowboy classes, with real riders and wranglers, now that's a class I'd attend!!!!)

    And I think that's a huge part of bang-for-your-buck, strong, varied classes for writers who are always, always, always on the move!

  24. And Shelby.... :)

    I LOVE HER. "Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits", SO STINKIN' DELIGHTFUL!!!!!!!

    And if the name Shelby wasn't enough to grab me (being a Steel Magnolia's lover!!!!) then Flea Bite Creek would take me by storm, LOL, welcoming me to Karen White's world of Falling Home and Southern traditions! Love it!!!!

  25. Ruthy, love the cover of your newest almost release!! I read that number of giveaways twice. Fifteen copies, wow! You rock!

    I love conferences, but they are not essential. Writing is!

    Hmm, the ice cream looks wonderful so I'll be having ice cream for breakfast. Who can stop me? Rubbing nails on the sleeve of my robe. LOL


  26. Thanks for the no-pouting list. So many nuggets here.

    Great book cover!

    I'm glad to be keeping you company, or vice versa, during the RWA conference.

  27. Well, honestly, I'd love to go to a conference and attend classes. I can't believe how many people confess to skipping the classes! I'd soak it all up and be ever so studious! But it's a pipe dream for me so I don't fuss over it. Wouldn't it be great if they did a virtual conference some time?

    Thanks for the pep talk, Ruthy. I needed it.

    You may be able to win it before you buy it but I ordered it before trying to win it or buy it so I'm ahead of the game. Does that make sense? In other words, don't enter me in the draw because I have His Montana Sweetheart in the mail...hopefully delivered today thanks to buying direct from Harlequin.

    Just finished Her Montana Cowboy and loved it. Loved how it set things up for the rest of the books too.

  28. You did say it was okay to whine BEFORE the conference, right? I NEVER get to attend the RWA conference because of conflict with my work schedule. I mean really -- why are the RWA conferences always in JULY?? Don't they know I have have a county fair to prepare??

    I'll have to contact RWA and ask them to mix it up a little...

    Okay, done with whining...

  29. Now, let's talk about the excellent point you brought up in this post :)

    To soothe my ragged spirit over not being able to attend the conference, I will finish my novella for the Seeker collection. Yes, the end is in sight. Who knew writing 15-20K words could be so mind boggling??

    And yes, Ruthy, I've got my eye on a special strawberry creation offered at IHOP this month. I just love pancakes for dessert!!!

    Great rah-rah job, kiddo. I don't feel so badly about not going to San Antonio.

  30. Go Courtney! Can't wait to hear the results of Touched By Love!

    Love your cover, Ruthy. LI covers just keep getting better and better.

    I'm with you Virginia. Crowds exhaust me! I'd rather do the small group I hear Seekerville reteat...maybe to Ruthy's place??

  31. Ruthy,
    You know I have a crush on your writing so PLEASE include me in the giveaway drawing for the beautifully illustrated, His Montana Sweetheart!

    Like you and Cindy, I've always wanted to go to San Antonio so if a trip ever materializes count me in. I'm volunteering to be the errand girl for all the writers out by the pool, or coordinate tours, or carry your laptops or ipads, or...whatever, you get the picture :)

    I'll have tea with you later along with some of those grilled veggies over at Yankee Bellle Cafe.

  32. I have set high hopes on attending the Mount Hermon Christian writer's conference in the spring, I wouldn't be able to make it to the Harlequin party though. At least not this year, but one day!

  33. An encouraging post, Ruthy! I'd thought about going to the conference but decided I wasn't far enough along in my writing to really gain anything—another time!:-)

    And I've spent many happy evenings having dinner on the river walk—it's hot, crowded and fun!

    Ruthy, you generous girl! Like Janet, I had to read the numbers twice! Would love to win a copy.:-)

  34. morning tea with a fun Ruthy post!!!! And to get a look at that new, love it.
    And hoping to win a copy!! Thanks, Ruthy, for your great books and for always being such an inspiration to all.

  35. Ruthy, this was the 'kick in the pants' motivation I needed to keep me from whining about not getting to go to the conference. I know there's much to learn at a conference, but honestly I can't justify the expense until I'm published. Fingers crossed and prayers said, if I get 'The Call' for my Killer Voices entry I may be able to swing the conference in St. Lewis. Until then, I will heed your advice and be productive at home.

    Please enter me in the drawing! You know I love your books, and I especially love being able to get a copy before they are available in a store. I never have been very good at waiting. ;)

  36. COURTNEY just so you know, I never was on an airplane in my life until my first writer's conference. I'd never gone on a trip without my husband either.

    It wasn't like...a PLAN...a rule I lived had just never happened.

    So just because You. Do. Not. Fly. doesn't mean that maybe won't fly.

    I'm living proof.

  37. Janet, I'm having ice cream right beside you!!!!

    I've got Black Raspberry with hot fudge topping....


    And I love that cover, too! Jack and Livvie... home, at last.


  38. Hi Ruthy,

    You ought to get the crown for the most generous. 15 giveaways, wow.

    I went to San Antonio on a business trip. Lovely city. I remember the River Walk, the Alamo, and a restaurant with waiters dressed like pirates.

    I used to go to every writer's conference and hid in a corner until I realized that was stupid. I'll wait for the right time.

  39. Jackie, you and me and a cast of thousands, baby! The Usual Suspects... :)

    We'll be here, cavorting, carousing and writing while sipping sweet tea, caramel coffees or chocolate malts from the soda fountain.

    I love an old-fashioned soda fountain, like in "It's a Wonderful Life".... A pharmacy with a soda fountain.

    Nostalgia reigns.

  40. Kav.... I went to classes back in the day... But I've only had the pleasure of one RWA and I did go to classes there. And they had SO MANY publisher spotlights that I made all of them that I could.

    So there's a lot of benefit especially for newbies. Not that oldbies can't learn, but we are a stubborn bunch of coconuts!

    Selfishly I'm glad you'll be hanging around with us, waiting for ALL THE NEWS FROM TINA AND THE GANG!!!!!

    And huge thank yous, thank yous, thank yous for buying His Montana Sweetheart... I do hope you love it, your opinion means the world to me!

  41. On the topic of conferences, do you think the world would come to a screeching halt if I wore Pants to the big final party. NICE PANTS.
    Hauling a dress along is a lot of work.

  42. Audra, you can whine today... and then the shut-off valve is installed...

    And when you and I get to go to a conference together, we'll skip-hop-happy dance!!!!


    Although I will most likely stay on the sidelines and just chat with folks, a lobby-level-greeter of the lowest form, but fun to sit with!!!!

  43. Ruthy - I always fret about what to wear. So you aren't the only one. Fall in San Antonio is beautiful. Much better temps. You gals need to host a Seekerville Conference.

    Courtney - give flying a try. It is great.

  44. Seekerville retreat here would be awesome!!!! I hear Disney themed birds and little forest creatures singing, LOL!

    Audra, what a hoot! And my novella is just done, I'm working out contract details with wonderful people and I can't wait to get started on my new projects... so maybe that's part of the ????

    Because I can see months of writing ahead and I love it more than breathing almost. :)

  45. Grilled Veggies!!!!!

    Tracey Hagwood, you're cordially invited if we ever do the cooler weather San Antonio trip and we can carry our own stuff... you'll just be there as a good friend!

    The veggies are here at YANKEE BELLE CAFE

    First of the season in upstate!!! So yummy!!!!

  46. Margaret, you found us!!! Welcome to Seekerville!!!!!

    Oh my stars, you keep aiming for those sweet editors at Love Inspired and someday we'll dance together at the Harlequin party...

    It is an affair to remember, for sure!

  47. Mary Hicks, you're in!!!

    And you've made a well-thought decision which is all any of us can do.

    Honestly, I went to my first conference and wasn't ready for publication and met the Seekers... so totally over the top worthwhile just to meet these gals and form this group, right?

    But having done that, and as we all move along in our publishing career, I've discovered that's the part I love about conferences ...

    Talking with people.

    Because (clearly!!!!) I love that.


  48. Good Morning Seekerville!

    Yes, I'm going to San Antonio and yes it is for the RWA conference. I don't want to disappoint you Ruthy, but I don't have any conference plans. However, I do look forward to reviewing this great list when ACFW comes in Sept!

    I may not have any interesting plans because the trip will also be my family vacation, so I will be with them some of the time. The time that I'm not with them is filled with required things, like my pitch appointments. I'm not really sweating those either. Maybe because I know that any requests they make will be because they don't want to hurt my feelings. I know the score by now.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the people that I know or ones that I'm looking forward to meeting. And when they are sick of me, I can just go back to the family.

    (And Virginia, apparently, there is a whole conference thing that goes on when people are surprised that you actually do look like your FB avatar.) As far as I'm concerned, I've already met my goals for the conference, so I can just relax. A very welcome and different feeling from last year.

  49. I haven't been to a conference yet, but I'll be staying home and writing just the same. Really trying to finish this first draft by the end of the month. :)

  50. I'll be staying at home this year. Must remember to come back to your list, Ruthy! Except instead of polishing a proposal, I plan to be polishing at least fourteen entries for the First Impressions.

    Please... Please do me a favor, Ruthy. Stop talking about ice cream!!! You see, it's hot here in Texas, and when it gets hot I want ice cream. The only problem is that my van is in the shop for going on two weeks now and I can't go get any.

    Please enter me in the giveaway!!! I so need to read this book!!!

  51. Oh, I would LOVE to go to San Antonio ... only been there one time, but absolutely FELL IN LOVE!! Although I was pretty shocked at how tiny the Alamo is ...

    I have attended ll conferences (1 RWA and the rest ACFW)and absolutely enjoyed aspects of every one, but am now slowing down on my conference attendances. I will be at ACFW in St. Louis -- in the lobby only, not at the conference -- because I live in St. Loo and it would be crazy for me NOT to visit with Seekers and friends. And when everyone else is in seminars??? I'll be writing, God willing ...

    As Virginia said, Ruthy, GREAT KICK IN THE PANTS, which I need right now too. My daughter is in town for the week, so I'm not sure I can double my word count, but I will give it all I have, I promise. Am at 71,000 words of my contemp, but in Julie Land, that's only halfway or less, but even so, I'm trying to finish before I tackle the Seeker novella, which is due WHEN again??


  52. Morning Ruthy, I"ll be home also. First time in ages I haven't gone to RWA Nationals. And they are fun. Remember Orlando? My favorite day of that trip was touring the beach with you and looking for a Dunkin Donuts so youse could have your cup of coffee.

    Trust me, Ruthy without coffee is not pretty. chuckle.

    Sometimes, family and other things come first. sigh

    And great list of things to do instead. Hmmm why do the rewards sound the best????

  53. VIRGINIA SAID: "I'm five days from a deadline and am sinking under the "this is a steaming pile of poo" feeling."

    Thank you, girl, for sharing that because I am halfway through my WIP and thinking it is "poo" as well, which is not good since I am an emotional writer who has to feel it before I write it -- NOT GOOD!! You, Mary, and Ruthy inspire me to get it down on the computer no matter how I feel about it and GET HER DONE!! Keith claims I hate everything I write until I proof the galleys anyway, and then I say to him, "Wow ... did I write???" ;)


  54. Aw, thanks for this post! I LOVE going to conferences, and I wish I could go to every single one...I have a toddler, and I often DON'T have the budget for conferences. I make one every several years or so, but it's not as often as I'd like. Thanks for reminding us we can make productive use of our time no matter where we are!

  55. Wow, RUTHY, you're almost making me with I wasn't going to RWA! Look what all I could accomplish by just staying home!!!

    Since I am a genuine wallflower and confirmed introvert, conferences are definitely hard for me. They're made much more bearable by hanging out with my Seeker sisters and other dear writer friends I usually only see at conferences.

    Also, I lived in Texas the first (mumble, mumble) years of my life (a lot, okay?), and San Antonio is my husband's hometown, so it's a chance to see some family and old (yes, very old) friends.

  56. Haha thanks Ruthy!
    And about the flying...I would probably have sedated. LOL! I'm a teeny bit scared of heights. Bawled my eyes out climbing the winding staircase of a lighthouse. I made it to the top, but let's just say I didn't appreciate the view...

  57. LOVE Ruthy posts - - and the encouragement you always offer (not to mention your humor and Jeter pics). ;)

    This is my first time visiting Seekerville all week because I have been very busy finishing a proposal - - and I hit SEND yesterday *whew*.

    Please toss my name in the drawing for the Ruthy book! :)

    Setting out a freshly-baked Georgia Peach cobbler---Enjoy!

    Hugs, Patti Jo

  58. Thanks for those wonderful tips. Sometimes I feel born and am 29. I do work and don't work from home but I cannot stand repetition.Really need to find a job that has a different task everyday.

  59. COURTNEY, those lighthouse stairways are intimidating! Especially the ones made of iron where you can see through them all the way to the bottom. And they seem to go up and up forever!

    Around . . . and around . . . and around . . .

    I'm making myself dizzy.

  60. What great advice!! I'm glad I'm going this year to RWA. But I've been at home feeling sorry for myself before. I'll be doing that for ACFW this year. Now, instead, I'll be doing the Ruthy checklist!

  61. Courtney, you should brave flying sometime! I don't relish it. But it sure is nice to arrive so quickly. :)

  62. LeAnne, enjoy seeing your daughter!

  63. Jackie Smith, you're welcome!!!!

    I think 15 is just an awesome number.... and if I'm filling out ten, why not 15????? :)

    Rhonda Starnes, I'm so psyched for you Killer Voice entry-peeps!!!! What a great, great, great contest and they went yard to find great new voices...

    And for any of youse still waiting, even if you get a revise and resubmit letter, CONSIDER IT A VICTORY... because they really, truly mean it.

    Jump on board the Love Inspired train! There's coal for the fire and we're movin'!!!!

  64. Mary + Plane + Independence.

    You've come a long way, baby.

    Laughing out loud, you can probably hear me in Nebraska.


  65. My mom is coming to visit for 3 weeks from Vermont! Going to be nice to spend some time with her.



  66. Mary!!

    I'm with you on the pants for the final party. I've been having the same thoughts.

  67. Oh, goodness... I will be honest with you, Ruthy: I came in here because of your FB post about giving away copies of your book.

    However, just last night I was agonizing over life and what I am supposed to be doing (is it genealogy? Is it writing? Is it going out and finding a job, despite not having a vehicle? (My van is used by son and DIL, so...)) and feeling that ol' pull to writing. And realizing that I hadn't been on Seekerville in a while.

    So...I need to find a way of tucking myself away into a spot in the house to go through my writing. Maybe it's finally locating a door to put on this room (there used to be one here, along with a latch to keep people out) because there is a certain almost-3-year-old who continually comes back here, asking, "Yaya, would you play with me?" or "Yaya, would you read to me?" or "Yaya, where's Poppa [when he knows darn well that my hubby is at work]?" I don't know how multi-generational homes do it...

    Anyhoo, please toss my name into the cat dish for a copy of the book. :) And I will sits and thinks some more about how to make this work...


  68. I love Ruthy days at Seekerville!

    I'm a quiet person. (The dog trainer says I'm too gentle with the puppy. I need to give him some "religion.")

    But that means I need a boost of Ruthy snarkiness and excitement every once in a while!

    I'm staying home from RWA - Vacation Bible School is looming, and I've done nothing to get ready for it. Planning is all down on paper, and volunteers have stepped up, but nothing concrete. However, I'm the fearless leader, so for two weeks my writing career is on hold.

    Conference or not.

    But I AM going to ACFW in September. I made the decision a couple years ago that I would go every other year IF I sold enough books to pay for it without dipping into family goals.

    There's nothing like a little face time with people you normally only interact with on the internet: friends, agents, editors....

    So this year: St. Louis!

    But during RWA? I'm painting backdrops and decorating classrooms :)

  69. Mary and Helen -

    I'm doing a dress for the final formal party. I bought one last fall that is packable. I was sure the saleslady was selling me the Brooklyn Bridge, but she was right! I've taken it on a couple trips, and it comes out of the suitcase looking perfect.

  70. RUTHY,
    Very positive post. I am economically challenged so I am not going this year but am planning on 2015.

  71. Cat dish please. Always enjoy a Ruthy book.

  72. I too have a full-time job (and a very part-time part-time one), so time for "my" writing is precious. It's not a "have to," it's a "get to." I've been productive the past few weeks because the day job slows down in summer and also because I have more energy, so I'm getting more done on "Town" and my other WIP. Doing an edit on "Town" based on what I learned in Jill's Deep POV class and also some scene/sequel tutoring from my crit partner. Also working on a WIP sequel to my post-World War I story, and sketching out what I want to happen in my NANO novella. I am thrilled whenever I can write.
    It's always God's timing.

  73. i'm not even close to being ready to visit an RWA conference. this post on how to be productive is useful for ANY stinkin' TIME, imho.

    please put my name in the cat dish for a book by Ruthy op. that and a box of kleenex, because a Ruthy book inevitably pulls on my heartstrings and I end up boo-hoo-ing. they're emotionally cathartic for me (this is a good thing, btw).

  74. Love you, Ruthy!
    (If I missed this advice in the comments, I apologize...but don't forget taking a look at smaller, cheaper conferences like Emerald City, Moonlight & Magnolias, Spring Fling, etc.)

  75. Terri, that's a GREAT IDEA....

    A Seekerville Conference....

    I LOVE IT!!!!

    Not crazy prices, food on your own (AS IF ANYONE OF US CAN'T FIND FOOD, OH GOD HIMSELF WOULD LAUGH AT THAT NOTION!!!!!)

    Gatherings, writing time, some classes....


  76. Elaine Manders, it wasn't a bit stupid, honey....

    Think of what we'd pay for a college education to teach us the ins and outs (and 1/2 of that would be incorrect, right????)

    So the cost of a couple of conferences is just chalking it up to experiential learning.

    And honestly, I wouldn't trade my conference experiences for anything. I got to meet great folks, I got to know editors, I got to know agents, I was SCARED TO DEATH of my agent when I saw her at conferences and now I know she's the most big-hearted, hard-working woman in the business... So that's funny!!! Like I Knew So Much!!!! What a Dork.

    So yeah, we learn as we go and we can have a special corner for wallflowers.



    We do.

    It's called SEEKERVILLE!!!!!! :)

  77. Hi Ruthy,
    Still might pout a little bit, ;)

    Last year I attended FOUR conferences including RWA so it's hard not to be content sticking around home and following Dr's orders AND your survival list!

    Already ordered your book and Harlequin just sent me a note saying it's in the mail! WHOOOHOOO for me!

  78. Mary Connealy

    Pants will be lovely.

    Dress pants.

    Although a dress and hosiery is my preference....

    But I SHALL NOT BE THERE TO LOOK ASKANCE AT YOUR CHOICES so you're fine, sweetums.

  79. Piper!!!!!

    I love that attitude!!!!

    Although I know a lot of folks who never, ever got asked to send in a proposal or complete. And I'm being absolutely serious about that.

    So don't be so sure they're handing out lollipop invites... unless editors are a whole lot softer than they used to be, and I don't think they are, Schnookums!!!!

    But I'm so excited about you and that Golden Heart and the dress and the fun and the goals.

    See I tried to BUY a GH nomination and I crashed and burned 5 times over....

    Not one.

    FIVE in one contest.

    Two of those books sold and I've self-pubbed the other two and they've sold beautifully....

    But I really wanted to be able to say I was a GH finalist and then....



    So I'm prouder than heck of you!!!!

  80. Anna, me too!!!! We'll work on finishing TOGETHER!!!!!!

    Twenty-two days to go... I'm giving myself til 8/1.

    Let's do this, Newlywed Cutie!!!!

  81. Crystal, my beautiful friend, my compadre, I'll stop talkin' bout ice cream, I promise!!!!

    And one day you will look back on this (think J.K. Rowling, darling) and remember a time of NO ICE CREAM and you'll hop on the computer and make donations all over the place because you knew what it was like to go without... and deal with it.

    When this time passes, you'll always have the character it builds within you and it will be marvelous. I promise.

  82. Julie, I wish I could be in that lobby with you!!!!! I'd do it in a heartbeat but we keep looking at our little ones, it's their last year with us and September is so hard for others to step in...


    But if I can't be in St. Loo in body, oh, I'll be there in spirit!!!! Laughing and writing!!!!!!

  83. Oh, Sandra, you know me well.... I need my coffee.

    Hi, my name is Ruthy and I'm a caffeinated queen (I axed the "drama" part because I hate drama...)

    But yes, addicted. And it doesn't have to be Dunkin but Florida is fairly lax in their coffee availability. I cannot hope to resettle there without a Keurig and a back-up Keurig.

    Just in case. :)

  84. This looks like a great book to read and love learning about what is going on.

  85. Good news, Ruthy!!! The mechanic just called, my van is done! Talk about ice cream all you like!

  86. Jennifer Smith I hear you!!!!

    You know I love going too....

    but I hate that folks feel So Stinkin' Bad about not being there.

    I've seen grown women cry over a conference.

    Now a sick baby???? A husband on life support??? A parent with Alzheimer's????

    I get that, but crying over a conference?????

    Well, that breaks my heart because the heart of the writer isn't in the glitz and glitter....

    It's in the words, the emotion, the keyboard, the transference from our heads to readers' hearts.

    And the best place for that to happen... God-inspired prose... is right there at home.

    WITH COFFEE OF COURSE!!! (Laughing at Sandra!)

  87. p.s. Meant to add that due to a relative's wedding the same time as RWA, I won't be attending this year. But WILL BE (Lord willing) at ACFW in St. Louis!

    Have to say that last year was my very first RWA, and because it was held in Atlanta (my home) I attended. And I absolutely LOVED IT!!!! Not only learning so much, but people were SO nice! (Of course the Seekers who were there were nice - - you all are ALWAYS nice, hehehe! I'm referring to strangers being nice - - or it might've been pity, due to a dazed and confused look I had on my face, LOL). Anyway, my one and only RWA experience (so far) was awesome, and I would love to be going this year.
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  88. Aw, Myra, you know you'll have fun.

    I'm just at a different time of life, and leaving work to mess up my work...

    Well, it's not sensible.

    If there was more time, maybe....????

    Right, when time isn't a huge issue? But look at Virginia with six kids, kick-starting her own career, working night and day to make a name for herself....

    I love the power God puts smack dab into our very own hands and that's one of my fave things in life. To write.

    Now I did love seein' all o' youse, though!!!! And going to Tulsa to surprise Tina for her book signing and meeting Vince Mooney and Carol Moncado and Andrea Kirklin Strong????

    LOVED IT!!!!

    I'm glad you get to visit family and friends.

    Even if they're OLD friends, LOL!

  89. I love your idea of planning stay at home goals. They don't involve sulking, do they??? Doubling my word count sounds good, although it's probably too ambitious right now. But I'll think of something productive! Thanks, Ruthy.

  90. So laughing here! I shared this on facebook even before I knew Ruthy had included a pic of Jeter.

    Ruthy, you have no secrets, my dear.

  91. Wonderful interview! Wonderful ideas!
    God bless u as you accomplish

    Chris Granville

  92. Ruthy, how generous of you to offer all those books! I, however, would like my name thrown in the cat dish for the cowboy. Just sayin'

    I treated myself to a fantastic local writers' conference earlier this year so that, family commitments, and I-WILL-FINISH-THIS-EDIT will keep me plenty busy while others are at RWA. Looking forward to my daily treat of a visit to Seekerville, where I hope there will be lots of pix of smiling faces at RWA (like last year).

    Wishing all the best to everyone going to San Antonio!

    Nancy C

  93. Hi Ruthy! Thanks for the encouraging post. I'm not bummed about RWA, since I don't write romance, but I AM bummed about not going to ACF. I've only been once and LOVED it (and my awesome roommates!), but it it not in the cards this year. However, buying a new house is, so I'm writing, writing, writing like crazy so when the big move comes, I won't feel like I've lost tons of writing time!

    I'll keep this handy when I'm mooning over my friends's pictures from ACF as I sit among a pile of boxes at my new home. Have a great day!

  94. P.S. Someone mentioned the workshops at RWA ... after the conference, you can order the CD for any or all workshops. You can't ask questions -- well, you can but no one will answer -- but you do get the info.

    Nancy C

  95. HI Ruthy,

    Your post needed to be written. A time for everything, right?

    I never attended a national conference until just a few days before I sold. I knew I was close and thought it was time. Before that I had gone to M&M, which is my local chapter conference and learned so much there, but the expense and time away from children was too demanding for me to attend RWA.

    Now I can, so I do, which doesn't mean I always will.

  96. I have a sparkly top (Mother of the bride) I'll bring black pants and that top (in a plastic bag to deter glitter on all my other clothes)

    I'm doing it!
    The dress just requires a whole nuther hanging bag and it's annoying.

  97. Thank you Ruthy!!!!

    I'll go with a little more optimism in mind now that you've said that!!


  98. Courtney, I'd fly with you and I'd talk so stinkin' much that you'd never realize you were off the ground...


    And I'd hog the window seat and I'd never ever let you look out!


  99. Mary, the sparkly top will only be out-shined by your sparkling and witty personality.

    And I mean that sincerely.


  100. Patti Jo, I'm so stinkin' proud of you!!!!!!!!!!


    This is wonderful, marvelous, (did I say wonderful??????) news!!!!


  101. Hi Ruthy,

    Great post as usual! I have never been to an RWA conference, but I am going to St. Louis in September! Love that one!

    I'd love to be in the draw for one of your books. Got the prequel on my Kindle. Love those ranchers!


  102. Oh, Piper darling, I meant every single word. :)

    And you know me, I'm not known for being Little Miss Sunshine.

    And I'm kind of proud of that, of course! Laughing!

  103. It's possible you mean that sincerely, Ruthy.

    But I seem to recall you shaming me for never wearing a dress.

    Not shaming me enough to make me to it, but so so so close.

    Keep at it, girl!

  104. Oh, Missy, I'll miss seeing you at ACFW!

  105. Ruthy! I love your attitude and enthusiasm! Thanks for this:

    I'm not going to RWA, but will appreciate all the reports and photos from San Antonio!

    I'll be working on my short story project, then rewarding myself with a craft book when I finish! And maybe some ice cream!

    Please put my name in for His Montana Sweetheart! Thank you!

  106. I stopped by a few times today, but feel kinda unwelcome since I AM going. Guess I'll just have to play in my own sandbox today. ;)

    Seriously, National is my reward to myself for working 2 jobs all year. Fortunately hubby agrees that I should get some play money out of all that after-school tutoring.

    Funny thing is, the years that I don't go, I feel badly for all of a day or so when everyone is rushing off, then I'm glad to not have to deal with the travel.

    Call me indecisive. ;)

    Love that you're being so generous with Montana cowboys though, Ruthy.

  107. Can't afford conferences either, but I find ways to have my own. There are some At-Home Conferences offered that are free to members of organizations. With the info learned right here on Seekerville, you could make strides in improving your writing. creating your own conference. As they say in my neck of the woods, there's more than one way to skin a cat! Love to win and review your book!

  108. Central East 2, welcome to Seekerville! You're in the drawing and it is a great book!!! :)

  109. Mary Connealy I tried shaming folks into PANTYHOSE last year too, because who thinks that wearing a gorgeous dress with old-lady-legs is attractive????

    For younger women, I totally get it.

    But geezka meeshka, even my totally inept non-fashionista heart broke a little at that!

    You'll look mahvelous, dahlink. I know it.

    pass the chocolate...

  110. Crystal Ridgeway, I want a double scoop!!!!

    Yay for your van being done, and praying for wonderful news for you this year.... So proud of all your hard work!!!!


  111. Cara Lynn James, it doesn't have to be real ambitious... I find that those tasks I put off are the best ones to latch onto because then I get that wonderful satisfaction that I'm not a complete goof!!!!

    We'll do this step by step, Cara-mia!!!

  112. Ruthy,

    I love conference so I can catch up with old friends. However for newbies, I'd recommend a smaller conference like M/M. The regional conferences offer the same advantages, they tend to be more affordable, and they aren't so overwhelming.

    Love that your book comes in larger print.

  113. I love, love, love this cover! Sounds like a great book. I went to my first conference last fall (ACFW). I had a blast but was a ball of crazy nerves the whole time. A little overwhelming. But I'm looking forward to the next one!

  114. Ruthy you talk a lot of sense (and I mean that in the most sincere way). Im not a writer but I can equate to other things. I was a consultant for a home business at one stage (never made money!) but I went to one conference met people got inspired for a short time but when it came to the next conference I knew logistically I could not afford it or justify it. I still got the info from others who went but I didn't get the debt. (I still have about $3,000 of stock in my cupboards!).

    This year I have given up a hotel membership cos when I added up the benefits in the coming year it would be costing way more than I would save. This year my health is more important than what the membership offered. (sure you get a free breakfast and credit to food but I only used them cos I got them so it wasn't really a saving). I can see the physio 5 times for the cost of the membership. (every time I get ahead this year I break a tooth, lose a filling or get toothache!)

    would love to go in the cat bowl. well my name would I wouldn't.

  115. PS love the icecream idea although an Iced Chocolate sounds good to me (well it does when I am not reacting to new meds!)

    that's chocolate milkshake with icecream and cream on top

  116. Ruthy, please enter me into the drawing for your book. I hope to go to a conference someday. Right now I am just trying to get myself back into writing after being away from it awhile. So far not doing so well. I will use your suggestions to get me motivated. Thanks.

  117. Last year's RWA conference was my only writing conference and the only reason I could do it was because it was in Atlanta. I've yet to be able to acquire the ability to tell my wife that I'm going to spend a week at a conference with 2,000+ women.

    And, no, she doesn't want to go, though that may change when the conference is in New York.

  118. I just love reading your posts, Ruthy! They are fantastic and certainly worth reading on a Thurs. to push me through the rest of the week when I'm so tired! It almost makes me WANT to be a writer so I can follow your advice! Maybe I'll just apply it to my life somehow! :)


  119. I loved that post, Ruthy! They ROCK!!! I'm not a writer, so instead I drool over the book release parties, instead, even though I've never been to one. So, instead, I'll stay at home and comment on authors posts to encourage them!

  120. Oh, golly. I've been looking at the comments and I'm one of the few who are headed to San Antonio. (And I would appreciate prayers for the two flights).

    First, Piper is being very modest. Piper is a talented writer and a Golden Heart nominee (Go, Piper!).

    Second, until today's post, I hadn't really considered goals for the conference. I went last year to RWA located a mere thirty miles from my house. This year will be a lot farther for me. I hope to attend many seminars and learn more about the craft of writing.

    I am an introvert so the challenge for me will be talking to people. I remember the thrill of having lunch at a great table with people from Australia and published authors.

    (Sorry for the long comment). It sounds as though everyone has some great advice from the blog about how to keep busy writing no matter where they are in July. Thanks.

  121. I'm not a writer, but I do love to read. And the cowboy in your boom cover is swoop worthy! I can't wait to read this one!!

  122. Stephanie Queen Ludwig, you're working ahead of the curve!!!! That's my girl!!!!! I love that you're seeing the obstacle of moving up ahead and being proactive...

    That's the best skill a writer can have, well, that and turning down the occasional MUFFIN and CUPCAKE...

    sigh.... :)

  123. Pam! Thank you for sharing!!!! What on earth will I do when Jeter's farewell tour is over?????


    He DID just open a publishing company. :)

  124. Susan, you're in!!!

    And hooray for you, going in September! You'll get to meet your editors!!!!

    I love seeing my editors face-to-face and chatting with them. Reason enough to go right there!!!!

    Yay for you!

    And ranchers.... cowboys.... :)

    Oh, yeah.

  125. Candice, you're delightfully normal!!!

    I think we're all like that the first time, kind of star-gazing, trying to soak in nuggets.

    And I honestly discovered that a lot of the wisdom is done outside the classrooms, because I love one-on-one or group convos with normal people.

    Very "Ruthy Herne, Girl Spy" friendly!!!!

  126. Becke and Sherri (WAVING!!!!!) recommended the idea of smaller conferences.

    They are absolutely right. THANK YOU, LADIES!!!!!

    Smaller conferences are less expensive, some are one-day, some are 2-3 days, and they often have many of the amenities of larger conferences and half the egos!!!

    (You think I'm kidding?????? Hahahahahahaha!) :)

    This is a great idea, yes!!!!

  127. Tanya, that wasn't a long comment.... It was perfect.

    You are the perfect attendee. You are at the drink up the info like a sponge conferee and that's really perfect.

    You will learn so much.

    And a smile can do so much because you'll have other nervous people all around you. Honestly, one smile can lighten a lot of hearts.

    HAVE FUN!!!! And Tanya, go hang out with the Seekers in the lobby when there's down time. They usually gather late in the day (although different Seekers have various nighttime functions while there, like HARLEQUIN PARTY!!!!)

    But they will love to meet you, sit and chat, laugh and commiserate.

    Bless you!!!

  128. Tonja, thank you!!!! I have developed a proper appreciation for all things Western since researching this book and watching "The Last American Cowboy" on Netflix, a documentary series that was televised a couple of years ago...

    Oh my stars, GREAT SHOW!!!!

  129. Marianne Barkman A Release Party, just like on Castle!!!!


    Me and John Grisham, releasing and signing in Manhattan!!!!

    GO US!!!! (laughing, I'll fly you in special!)

  130. Walt Mussell, one of these days I'm coming to Atlanta... maybe for M&M????? And we'll have coffee, wife is cordially invited!

    NYC. I love just going there, it's so stinkin' fun.

    The city that never sleeps.

    For real.

  131. JENNY!!!!!! First, you sound better!!!!!!

    Second, get me an Iced Chocolate, ASAP!!!!!


    Oh my stars, that sounds decadent and wonderful, honey!

    Getting ahead is one of those oft-heard fallacies. The minute you get $10 in the bank, you break something that costs $15.

    This is akin to Murphy's Law "Anything that can go wrong will, and at the worst possible time."

    So nice to see you, and yes, this advice works across the board, doesn't it? Think ahead, work hard, and don't be afraid to take chances and work harder!

    No matter what hairnet or nametag job I've had, I believe in doing your best... because that's what we should do.

    Same with writing, and the no-whining rule is CLUTCH in trying to keep an even keel and a peaceful life.

    Whining leads to drama and who needs more drama????

    No one.

    It's a strength-stealer.

    So glad you came by, my Aussie friend!!!!

  132. Valri, thank you!!!!

    Take this advice and apply generously to all walks of life, three times/day, LOL!

  133. Sandy Smith, don't get discouraged. Give yourself time, and then learn to discipline the time.

    Remember the jet story? A jet uses way more fuel and energy to get OFF THE GROUND... Once it's flying, the energy use goes way down.

    Writing is the same way. We practice, gingerly at first, and with great effort expended, but then, once we've developed the habit of writing (and not being too self-critical because that is self-defeating) it's so much easier.

    Give yourself time. But don't quit! Published authors aren't necessarily the most talented among us... they're the ones who DIDN'T QUIT. :)

    Nora said something like that but I didn't go look up the quote.

    It's true.

  134. You certainly are a people person. You made me sit up & take notice & I don't even write.

  135. Mary Curry, LOL! I love that I made you feel guilty for going because (of course!!!) that was my goal'!!!!

    You goof, I'm so glad you're going, I'm so proud of you, I'm so happy that you spread your wings to fly this year, you little write-a-holic, you!!!!

    Honestly, I couldn't be happier for you and you get TINA!!!!!!


    Tina micro-manages me when we're at a conference together. This is not a BAD THING... Tina knows I need managing.

    And I'm not afraid to go find her wherever she's HIDING when the crazy gets too much, so we make a good pair!!! You'll have so much fun together.

    Yes, you've worked hard... and made a great judgment call. Well done, Mary Curry!!!! But I'll miss you in NYC!!!!

    Maybe I can sneak back with Mia this fall. Before the weather turns and after the crazy of summer passes.

  136. Mary Preston, LOL!!! My kids would just call that Bossy!!!!

    And sadly they would be correct.

    But hey, it kept them out of jail!!!!


    Good morning to you!