Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Seven Secrets of Success from Three Successful Authors!!!!!!!

Debby Giusti here!

Let’s start by doing math…

3 authors + 3 stories + 1 Christmas Anthology = 7

The numbers add up to 7 years of success for Seekerville thanks to all the wonderful folks who visit each day and support us in so many ways. To celebrate, I’ve invited fellow authors, Susan Sleeman and Jodie Bailey, to join me in sharing Seven Secrets of Success.

In case you haven’t heard, our Love Inspired Suspense Anthology, Holiday Defenders, was released this month and features three novellas with a military theme. You’ll find my story, "Mission: Christmas Rescue," along with "Special Ops Christmas," by Susan Sleeman, and Jodie Bailey's "Homefront Holiday Hero."  We hope you’ll enjoy not only the “secrets” we’ve shared but also leave a comment to be included in three drawings. You’ll find more about the giveaways at the end of the blog.

Debby Giusti’s Seven Secrets of Success

1. Put God First
Everything goes more smoothly, including the writing, when I start my day with prayer.  I think of it as giving Him my “first fruits” before the hustle and bustle begins.  Similarly, I “bookend” my day by spending time in prayer before I fall asleep. Often I may be struggling with a character or plot point, but when I make time for God, the problems resolve and the story gets written.

2. Know why you write
For financial gain, notoriety, fame? (Are you laughing?) Maybe your goal is to bring joy to your readers’ lives or spread God’s message of love or show how good can triumph over evil. Whatever the reason, it should be important to you, important enough to keep you writing when you’re tired or sick or frustrated with the story. Once you determine the why, you can accept projects that advance that vision and reject those that don’t.

3. Learn How to Say No
This dovetails with knowing why you write. Say no to the things that don’t fit into your plan or your reason for writing. For me that includes social functions that keep me from my computer, such as lunch dates or shopping sprees. I still have a life, but I don’t over schedule my week with events that keep me from working. 

4. Study Story
Learning to see the big picture is important. Often we focus on the bits and pieces--the plot, the characters, the conflict—instead of the story as a whole. We need to know how the parts fit together into a seamless tale that transports readers to another world. Studying the greats who “get” story helps me. Some of my favorite gurus include Christopher Vogler, author of The Writer’s Journey, Michael Hauge, who wrote Writing Screenplays that Sell, or Donald Maass with his Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook.

5. The Synopsis is Your Friend
I’ve never known anyone who enjoys writing synopses, but I have learned to use them as a tool. If I can’t get the synopsis to work, my story won’t work either. Finding the flaw—the weak plot point, the limp conflict, the lack of motivation, or even the right villain—in that early story overview saves times and keeps me from writing two hundred pages that head in the wrong direction. Embrace the synopsis as a friend and an important first step in your writing process.  

6. Guard your Health
Sitting at a computer for long periods of time is detrimental to your health. Take frequent breaks. Exercise daily. Get adequate rest. Drink lots of water. Health is one of our most important assets. Take care of yourself so you can enjoy the long writing career God has planned for your future.

7. Ignore the Negative Voice
You know what I’m talking about—that small internal voice that says hateful things about you and your writing. My negative voice can be very vocal…and very mean. “You can’t write,” she often taunts. “This story stinks. Give up now!” Early on, I waged an almost endless battle to squelch the negative and focus, instead, on what I got right. These days, my internal voice is a bit more subdued, although when I’m tired or overworked, she frequently makes herself known. My advice? Turn down the volume and don’t let her sap your confidence. Remember you are a writer. Ignore the criticism and just write!

Susan Sleeman’s Seven Secrets of Success

1. See yourself as a Professional Writer
Attitude is critical for success. If you believe you are a writer, you will do the things necessary to become a published writer. Think of your writing as a small business. The only way a business gets off the ground is with a lot of work, determination, and dedication. The success to your new business is setting aside regular time where you commit to write no matter what. So set aside that time and write, write, write.

2. Accept Constructive Criticism and Grow from It
Don’t be unteachable. Evaluate the comments and opinions offered on your WIP with an unbiased outlook. Use the comments that will make your WIP better and let the other ones go. After all, not only will it help you grow as a writer, but it will prepare you for edits and negative reviews once you’re published.

3. Set a Goal and Stick to It
Set word goals for the time you committed to write. To keep up my publishing pace, I must write at least 3000 words 5 days a week. Do I always want to write 3000 words each day. “No,” I scream loudly, but by setting this goal, it forces me to stay on target for my deadlines.

4. Along the same lines, Set a Book Deadline
Any published author will tell you that an impending deadline makes you do super human things to complete a book on time. But you don’t have to have a contracted novel to do the same thing. Give yourself a deadline. Treat it as if an editor is waiting for your manuscript and stick to it. This will not only enable you to write more words, but it will be great practice for when you begin contracting novels.

5. Read in the Genre You’re Hoping to Publish
Look for best-sellers in you genre and read them. You certainly don’t want to copy the books you read, but reading will give you a flavor for what sells and what a publisher is looking for. Analyze the book. Look for pacing, structure, and an overall feel of the book.

Susan and hubby!

6. Persevere
Don’t quit. If you haven’t already wanted to quit, you will. Even when you’re published, there are days when you ask if this is all worth it. But if you REALLY want to be a writer, you have to work through these emotions and keep writing.

7. Know When to Move On
There are times when the WIP that you dearly love, just isn’t going to be picked up by a traditional publisher, yet you keep trying to perfect it in hopes it will sell. You edit it more, polish the proposal more and so on. This takes up your writing time and your focus, but more importantly, it keeps you from writing something new. Know when to put this book aside (or self-publish it), but stop trying to perfect the book. It’s okay to let go and move on.

Jodie Bailey’s Seven Secrets of Success

1. Coffee 
I kid you not.  And I know it’s a cliché.  But there’s something about a good cup of sugared and creamed coffee warming in my hands that sets my muse to spinning.  It’s like my brain says, “Oh!  Hi! It’s creativity time!”

2. Beta Readers 
I have four people who read my book when I’ve done as much as I believe I can. Sometimes my brain is over it, and I’ve looked at it so long that my edits are doing more harm than good.  That’s when these four amazing women swoop in and read with a fresh view. Never underestimate the power of someone else’s eyes on your work.

3. The “Off” Button on Your Wi-Fi
Sometimes, you really need to be able to shut down the internet so you can focus on something other than Facebook.  (Or is that just me?)  My desktop computer has no wireless card and is not wired to anything other than power.  When I’m in my office, I have no choice but to write.

Jodie (R) with  special friends--Donna Moor, Christina 
Nelson and Kimberly Buckner--who love and support her!

4. Cheerleaders and Prayer Partners
I have friends who have committed to pray specifically for my writing journey.  I have others who tell me different when I start to think I’m a no-talent hack.  I even have one friend who could moonlight as a marketing genius, she’s so good at getting the word out there. You need those people in your life.  Be good to them. Give them chocolate.

5. A Good View
Really, don’t you want to look at something besides the screen every once in a while?  I’ve been blessed with wonderful windows in each of our houses since I started writing.  There’s just something about looking up and seeing part of God’s amazing world right there.

The view from Jodie's window.

6. Exercise
I go to the gym three days a week.  It’s not just because writing involves a lot of sitting.  It’s also because, at the gym, all I can do is count reps and laps.  My brain has to turn off in order to focus on those things.  As a writer, your brain needs a break or all you do is think about the story until you hate it.  And nothing feels better than muscles worked after a long session of sitting in a chair.

7. Jesus.
‘Nuff said.

Thanks, Susan and Jodie! We’ve shared a total of 21 “secrets,” but I know many of you have tips as well. Leave a comment or your own “secret to success” to be entered in the three drawings for a copy of Holiday Defenders. Each winner will also receive a $7 Starbucks’ gift card so you can enjoy your favorite brew as you read our novellas.

To celebrate Seekerville’s birthday, I’ve brought seven cakes: German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Sponge, Carrot, Black Forest, Pound and Spice. An assortment of ice cream is also available.

The coffee and tea are hot. Colas are chilled. There’s iced tea, sweet or unsweetened. Help yourself.

I’ve asked Captain Nick Fontaine, the hero in my novella, Mission: Christmas Rescue, to serve the cake. Grab a slice, pile on the ice cream and let’s share some more secrets.

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Mission: Christmas Rescue, by Debby Giusti
On the run from a killer, Elizabeth Tate must accept U.S. Army Captain Nick Fontaine’s protection for the sake of her young niece and nephew. Now her life is in the hands of the very man who broke her heart years ago.
Special Ops Christmas, by Susan Sleeman
Researcher Claire Reed’s top secret project is stolen, putting her at risk of being kidnapped to unlock it. Her undercover bodyguard—her former love, Green Beret Travis Chapman—is on his most dangerous mission yet.
Homefront Holiday Hero, by Jodie Bailey
When someone tries to kill the daughter of a military official, U.S. Army major Tyler Rainey must keep Kelly Walters from harm…while guarding his own heart against very unexpected feelings.
DEBBY GIUSTI is a medical technologist who loves working with test tubes and petri dishes almost as much as she loves to write.  Growing up as an Army Brat, Debby met and married her husband--then a Captain in the Army--at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Together they traveled the world, raised three Army Brats of their own and have now settled in Atlanta, Georgia where Debby spins tales of suspense that touch the heart and soul.  Her stories have won numerous awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award for Inspirational Suspense, the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Golden Quill, the Beacon, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Write Touch.  In addition to full-length fiction, Debby has written magazine articles for Southern Lady, Woman’s World, Our Sunday Visitor, Army and Family, and served for over twelve years on the editorial advisory board of ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory.

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. Awards include Thread of Suspicion-2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Book Award, No Way Out and The Christmas Witness both Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence finalists.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website She currently lives in Oregon with her husband, but has lived in nine states. They have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
Connect with Susan at:
Her Website -
Twitter -  

JODIE BAILEY writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it.  Her novels include Freefall and Crossfire, from Love Inspired Suspense, as well as Quilted by Christmas, from Abingdon Press.  Her devotions have appeared in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs.



    I promise to come back and chat more. Just got home from work. Must eat.


    C O F F E E !!! Love it.

  2. Seven pots of coffee brewing!

    Thanks for sharing your secrets, ladies. The one that I need to work on right now is the health one, getting off the computer and exercising. Don't do enough of that.

  3. Great advice. I need to work on learn when to say no.

    I'm so looking forward to reading your novellas. I love Christmas stories. I have the book, but am waiting closer to Thanksgiving to read it.

  4. A great list of tips, ladies thank you! Much luck with your wonderful novella series and thank you for sharing your insights!

    So glad Helen's brought the coffee. Please pass the spice cake....

  5. Great post Ladies! I see a lot of similarities between each of you. Getting up and exercising or at least moving is a big one for me. My day job plants me in a chair all day so to come home and do it some more is tough. We bought a cornergroup this year with a chaise attached so I could sit with my legs up and have my laptop on my lap desk on my lap. It does make a difference but getting up and moving makes a bigger difference.

    Have a blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  6. Thank you, Debby, Susan, and Jodie - for those 21 fabulous secrets of success!! Although I can't think of any to add - I certainly enjoyed reading yours, and agree with some of the other commenters in that my goal is to exercise more, also!!

    Congrats on the novellas, and thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!!


  7. Welcome. Guarding you health is important in many areas. Many who have what they think I have started from sitting to long at the computer without breaks. It starts with head and neck pain. Believe me you don't want this! Make sure you watch your posture and protect your neck.
    I can understand beta readers being a great help. when I was doing reports for study I had others look at them and they would find errors I didn't see.

    Of to the city tomorrow to see the neurologist Friday. at present the meds are keeping the pain down but they may be affecting other areas (still not feeling 100%).

  8. Mmm, cake ... ;-)

    Wonderful tips --I especially liked the ones about dealing with critism ... I know I'm often my worst critic when looking at my artwork and such.

  9. Coffee and Jesus

    My first two and not in that order!

    This is wonderful, and I'm going to make Beth let me borrow my Kindle so I can read these stories while traveling this weekend!

    The long drive to NC to play with cute kids is Ruthy-Reading-Time!


  10. Jenny, I hope you get answers, my friend!

    Praying for you!

    And we need a great recipe for spice cake to do at Yankee Belle Cafe.

    I love great spice cake!

  11. Tina, aren't you sweet to stop by Seekerville first!!!

    Hope you got the coffee you needed.

  12. Helen, seven pots of coffee?
    My cup runneth over! LOL! Thanks!!!

    Health is always an issue...I walk, but not far enough. Our city pool has a bubble over it during the winter. I plan to swim this year. The "indoor" setup opened Monday. Haven't gotten there yet. What's stopping me?

  13. Terri, I'm smiling at your mention of "saving" Holiday Defenders until Thanksgiving. Thanks for including us in your to-be read pile!

    I had to learn to say no...some years ago. It's liberating.

  14. Piper,
    I made the spice cake just for you! Enjoy.

  15. Cindy,
    Sorry you have to sit at your day job too! The recliner sounds like a perfect solution.

    I often write on my AlphaSmart, which allows me to relax in a comfy chair away from my desk.

    Must start setting a timer for 30 minute breaks when I'm at the computer. Anything to remind me to change positions and move!

  16. Hi Bonnie,
    You're in the drawings!!!

    Exercise seems to be the issue with which most writers struggle. After a day at the computer, my body needs a long walk. My mind does as well. Love breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the beauty of God's creation. A win-win on all fronts.

  17. Jenny, you've fought a long battle with your health. Continued prayers for your well-being.

    Sending hugs and love!

  18. The Artist Librarian...

    Artists, no matter their medium, always have a mental picture of the to-be-done work that far exceeds how they view the finished product. Perhaps that's the inner drive to always do better. The trick is to use that desire for perfection as a positive force instead of something negative.

  19. Ruthy,
    Have fun on your NC trip! I've got family there too. Lovely state. Great people.

    Bet the leaves will be pretty.

    Safe travel!

  20. Yum, spice cake and coffee! It's cool where I live this morning, the cake and coffee sounds perfect!

    Good tips, girls. Two of your books are my favorites too, Debbie.:-)

  21. Thank you, Mary, for your mention of my stories. Sending hugs and love along with the Spice Cake! :)

    Georgia turned cool yesterday afternoon. Feels a bit more like fall.

  22. Hi Debby,
    I just stopped by to say hello and let you know I finished my copy of Holiday Defenders I won in one of your recent giveaways last night. I really enjoyed all three stories. I had read both you and Jodie before, but Susan was a new author for me, always happy to discover new talent.

    Please tell Captain Nick while he's serving this morning, I'll have the german chocolate cake with my coffee ;)

    Happy Birthday Seekerville, we're already half way through October, where is the time going?!

  23. Yes, Debby, it does feel a bit more like fall in GA this it!!

    I am so anxious to read your book....sounds great. I enjoyed the authors' posts/pics, and want to be in for the drawing, please!!

    Safe travel for Ruthy to NC!

  24. I forgot to mention how blessed we are to have THREE of the strongest suspense authors I know here on one day! Clearly I needed more coffee!!!

    Susan and Jodie, a hearty and heartfelt Seekerville welcome to you!!!

  25. Welcome Susan and jodie!

    Debby, Thank you for this post. I loved all the secrets. I have just a couple chapters left to finish Holiday Defenders. It is so awesome. I have loved it so much.

    I would love a slice of Red Velvet Cake.

  26. Jesus, coffee, perseverance--yep! Thanks for the encouragement today, ladies!

  27. DEBBY, I agree about putting God first. That is the only way.
    I also like "know why you write," "say no" and guard your health. This fall I'm reevaluating the things that keep me from writing (HELLO TV) and skimming off the fat from my lifestyle.
    My main form of exercise is the aerobic walk which I try to do daily. I also try to eat healthy as I am a diabetic. It all comes down to being our best for God.
    SUSAN, I like "setting a book deadline." My schedule is so crazy I can't always even make a word goal, but I can set longer-term goals and make them work. For example, I'm rewriting my WIP in October and hope to have it done by November so I can spend NANO revisiting an old work and seeing if I can make it work with what I know now. I have a goal for Dec. and one for Jan.-Feb. before I try Speedbo again.
    I like the idea of being blanketed in prayer. Satan will try to keep us from being Christian writers. Sometimes it's us (laziness, overscheduling), but sometimes it's him and we have to recognize that.
    Thanks for a great post.
    Kathy Bailey

  28. Enter me in the drawing, I LOVE Christmas Suspense.

  29. How beautiful are all of these comments? I love seeing how we are all similar and different, not only in our Seven Secrets but down here in the comments as well. God's so awesomely creative and yet He is the same at the core of each of us. Love that! Thanks for having me, Debby! And thanks for the comments, everyone!

  30. JODIE, like the mention of coffee. My thing is tea -- black, steaming, strong tea steeped in a teapot and drunk from a china cup. Earl Grey or English/Irish Breakfast. Sometimes Lapsang Souchong. A steaming beverage helps me think.

  31. What great secrets! Love the coffee one, and the one that resounds with me--Debby's reminder to dial down the doubting voices that sound a lot like our own. Yay for a holiday anthology!

  32. So great! Jodie I love everything you write, and am so excited to read TWO Christmas books by you this year! Thanks ladies, for all the insights!

  33. Debby,Susan, and Jodie...
    Thanks for the awesome secrets you've learned.
    Debby: God first and knowing WHY I write really resonated with me.
    Susan: the SET goals and STICK with it along with setting that DEADLINE hit me as my present weakest point that I need to discipline myself to move forward
    Jodie: Jesus, coffee and cheeleaders... smiling at that.

    The exercise thought for taking care of oneself is a big take-away for me as well.

    I'm adding birthday cookies to the coffees, cakes, etc. for today. The Gupster is 5 today - he is so excited that he now can play at the BIG KIDS playground at school.

    Should you need a rest-stop break during your drive to and from NC, say... like near the Virginia Beach area... I would love to provide a quick hug and meet to ya.

  34. Hi Debby, Jodie and Susan,

    Such very good advice! I try to incorporate all of your 'secrets' into my writing life.

    I am lucky on the exercise factor. My husband and I are walkers so even when I don't want to walk I have an encourager to get me up and moving.

    Your book sounds terrific. I've only bought one Christmas 'read' and that is the Advent Bride by Mary. I'll look for your book.

  35. 3 great authors X 7 fantastic tips = 21 pieces of advice every writer should heed!

    Thanks, ladies!

    (See, I can do the math!)

  36. I'm not adding up the calories on those 7 cakes, however, Miss Debby! Even just thinking about them is liable to add 7 pounds!

  37. Excellent "tips," ladies! Thank you! And I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into "Holiday Defenders." (Love the cover, by the way!)

  38. Welcome to Seekerville, Jodie and Susan! So glad Debby brought you here. Thanks all for sharing your seven secrets of success! All excellent tips.

    Your anthology is on my night stand. Can't wait to read your Christmas novellas!

    Debby, thanks for the buffet of seven cakes. Wow, I'm loving the party! I'm going to sample them all. Tiny slivers, I promise.


  39. Good morning ladies! Thanks for sharing your seven tips. I appreciate the great advice.

    I loved Holiday Defenders. Great stories by all of you.

  40. Such a great combination of advice. I especially like the prayer and coffee!

    Congratulations, ladies, on your novellas!!

  41. I'm having serious issues with Blogger today. I have tried umpteen times to post, and you still can't see it. Anyways, just wanted to say I enjoyed the post and would love to win the book! Have a great Wednesday, or what's left of it

  42. I'm on West Coast time so late to the party. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by and left a comment. I, too, loved reading Debby and Jodie's suggestions. No matter how many books we have published we can always learn and I'm glad to learn from these two fine writers.

  43. Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for your kind words about the stories. I am so honored to have my novella featured with Jodie and Susan's stories. They're such good writers!

    Captain Nick is cutting the German chocolate cake and piling ice cream on the side. Enjoy!

  44. You're in the drawing, Jackie Smith!

    Enjoy this cool weather...and the wonderful sunshine!

  45. Thanks, Ruthy, for your warm welcome for Susan and Jodie! Aren't they great!

  46. Wilani,

    Red Velvet heading your way. Hope you survived the storms without harm.

    Glad you like the stories! I'm sure Susan and Jodie would agree that the military novellas were fun to write. Love having a Christmas theme coupled with suspense. Makes for a great happily ever after!

  47. Debby, Susan and Jodie, my family always loved the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard movies, of course chock full of suspense and CHRISTMAS!!!!!

    We want peace on Earth and we want the good guys to win at Christmas time. Then celebrating the holy day is so perfect!

    This is a great coupling of good triumphing over evil. Love it!

  48. Melanie,

    Congrats on your Carol. Are you still flying high? Well deserved, for sure!!!

  49. That boils it down to the three important items, Jill!

    Thanks for stopping by Seekerville. Did you get some cake?

  50. Hi Debby, Loved all those tips in sevens. Thanks to Jodie and Susan also.

    Your novellas sound great.

    Happy writing and yes, I'll take some carrot cake, although spice is a favorite also. I know, I'll have one of each. Thank you.

  51. Kathy B...

    I loved Jodie's mention of having prayer support and cheerleaders! Whenever I speak, I ask my prayer warriors to cover me. Their prayers calm my jitters and bring peace.

    Glad you've set deadlines for your work. So important to keep moving forward.

    Fighting procrastination is a constant battle unless I have a deadline looming.

    You're in the drawings!

  52. Hi Jodie!

    The Seekers and Seeker Villagers are so supportive. They're my cheerleaders!

    Agreeing with you about God. Isn't he wonderful!

  53. Waving to my wonderful cp, Anna Adams!

    We're meeting tomorrow at Panera's for lunch, critiquing and brainstorming.

    Can't wait!

  54. Hi Kimberly!

    So glad you could stop by Seekerville today. Did you get cake?

  55. DebH, so glad you found the "secrets" useful!

    Thanks for the cookies. Your little guy is 5 years old! Oh my gosh. So big and so cute!

  56. Wow! What a great list of tips. I love to read secrets from successful writers. The tip on making the synopsis your friend is definitely one I should focus on. :)

  57. Hi Rose!

    Hubby and I walk too. It does help to have an exercise partner. Plus, if I hit a snag in my writing, we'll discuss my WIP and brainstorm solutions.

  58. Myra, I'm impressed with your math! LOL!

    3+3+1=7 is about the limit of my math skills these days. Other than my checkbook, I rarely work with numbers.

  59. Glynna, isn't the cover great! The Love Inspired Art Department always gets it right!

  60. Janet, get some cake for hubby too!

  61. Thanks, Jackie!

    So good seeing you at ACFW! Enjoyed our chat SAT night!

  62. 3 x 7 ! A wonderful list of tips, ladies!

    I'll add two of mine:

    1. When I'm writing the first draft, the story is mine. I can dream, play, experiment and own that story as much as I want. But once I send it off to my editor, it's no longer mine - it's public. Any suggestions (aka orders!) from my editor are golden, and I take each one as an opportunity to strengthen the story. That keeps me from holding on to my first drafts as if they're something special - the finished product is what's important!

    2. Schedule writing time. It won't happen if I start the day thinking I'll "fit it in" somewhere!

    Speaking of my schedule, I have a deadline at the end of the month! See you all later!

  63. Hi Rebecca...the prayer and coffee resonates with a lot of folks!

    So good to see you today.

  64. Marianne,
    Sorry you're having trouble with Blogger! Hate when that happens.

    Glad you persevered! You're in the drawings.

    Get some cake! Ice cream too!

  65. Thanks for this helpful post, Debby, and WELCOME to Susan and Jodie!!

    Another post for my KEEPER FILE - - great reminders that I need daily. :)

    Sooo glad that Helen prepared SEVEN pots of coffee, because I think one of them has my initials on it (thanks, Helen!). ;)

    No need to enter me in the drawing, as I already have your book and will begin reading it SOON!! (and know I'll love it!)

    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  66. Hi Susan,

    Everyone needs to visit your wonderful blog...The Suspense Zone!

    Susan is always on top of the latest suspense releases, and her site is the go-to place for anyone who loves murder and mayhem.

  67. p.s. In keeping with the "Seven" theme of celebrating Seekerville's 7th Birthday, I was at my local gas station a few days ago, and had my choice of any gas pump (which is rare--usually that station is super busy). Without giving it a second thought, I headed to pump #7 !! ;)

    Yes, I even think of Seekerville at the GAS STATION, LOL!!! ;) PJ

  68. You're so right, Ruthy. Mixing Christmas with good conquering evil makes for a satisfying holiday read, IMHO!

    Of course, I consider you the Queen of Christmas Romance...your stories always touch my heart!

  69. Waving to Sandra...another person from the other side of the country!

    Heaping spice cake and carrot--my all-time favorite--on your plate!

    I'm surprised at the number of folks who have mentioned Spice Cake today. Who else likes it best?

  70. Jill Weatherholt...

    Glad the synopsis mention was of interest to you. I always hated writing them until I realized they were such a valuable tool.

  71. Jan, thanks for sharing your "secrets!" Both so good.

    Glad you're still having fun with that first draft. Sometimes the excitement wanes. Keeping it fresh is half the battle.

    I'm nodding at your mention of scheduling writing time. So important!

  72. Patti Jo...

    Love that you're keeping Seekerville front and center...even when you pump gas!!!

    This year is special, for sure. I'm so grateful for you and for each person I've gotten to know over the years through this blog.

    Hugs and love to all!

  73. PS: Patti Jo, are you baking anything peachy today? If so, will you share?

    Hope so! LOL!

  74. Oh, DEB, this is a virtual GOLDMINE, girlfriend -- WOW!!!
    GREAT tips all the way around and then some, so THANK YOU!!


  75. I lovet his post, Debby! Thanks for sharing from Susan and Jodie too. Such great words here.

    I especially appreciate the exhortation to know why I write. What great advice. I never thought about saying no to a project (not that anyone's knocking down my door begging me to write anything for them! ;) ) if it doesn't line up with my reasons for writing.

    Super advice today!

  76. Well, Debby...since you asked (LOL) I did get a little carried away with my Peach desserts today. ;) In keeping with the "7 Theme" I've prepared 7 Peach items (with apologies to those who don't care for peaches). :(

    1. My classic Georgia Peach Cobbler
    2. Peach Crisp (a personal favorite) ;)
    3. Peach Shortcake
    4. Peach Upside-down cake
    5. Peach Pinwheels (made with Pillsbury Crescents)
    6. Sliced peaches with Cool whip
    7. Peach Punch (a refreshing drink that's good year-round)

    ENJOY!!! :) Hugs, Patti Jo

  77. Great advice. I need to learn to say now and push that off button more often. I would have posted sooner but our internet was down this morning.

    NO need to put me in the drawing. I'm reading Holiday Defenders right now. Debby's Mission: Christmas Rescue has me flipping pages as fast as I can read them. I'm sure Susan and Jodie's will as well.

    Now to find Nick and the cakes....

  78. Thanks for your encouragement Debby. Your message was just what I needed today. I'm working on my first novel, and resonating with several of the things you mention.

    Like the nagging voice that says, forget it you can't write. And the deadline thing, how long have I been at this again??? Also the encouraging voices, like yours. And the Lord, reminding me why I'm writing in the first place, and who's message it is that I'm speaking out.

    Will press on. Thanks again !

  79. That inner editor is a beast sometimes! Turning it off can be hard, and it's something I need to do. Jan, I like how you talked about the first draft being yours and you can wander in it. I say that all of the time. It's a mess when I'm done, but it all comes together in the end!

    And the coffee thing... It's so true. I really do wonder what it is about writers and coffee that seem to go together. KB, I'm a tea girl too. I love my chai and my peppermint! I recently got into white chai. Yum...

    Coffee does go good with cake. Hm. I'm perusing Debby's choices and thinking I need to call my cupcake dealer... er... I mean the lady who lives down the street and bakes yummy cupcakes that I PROMISE I do not eat too many of... most days.

  80. lunch time. grabbing a piece of the German chocolate cake, plus adding in to put my name in the draw for the book. would love to learn more from excellence.

    enjoying all the commentary from folks too. gems abound.

  81. What a great list!

    The one that jumped out at me was The Synopsis is Your mind did a 360 (or is it 180?). I've never thought of it as a timesaver/problem spot lighter!

    The only thing I could possibly add to the list is Chocolate! Please enter me.

  82. Glad you like the "secrets," Julie!

  83. Jeanne...

    I can be pulled off track. Sometimes I think there's something I should do, then realize it doesn't work into my vision. Accepting the "wrong" assignment would pull me off course.

    It's all a learning curve, isn't it!

  84. Patti Jo...

    You've answered by call for something peachy and multiplied it by 7!!!!!!!

    That deserves 7 exclamation marks!!!!!!!

    Love all the treats you've prepared for us. May I have one of each, please, and a glass of the peach punch?

  85. Sending Nick your way, Jamie!

    Thanks for your mention of my story! You'll love Jodie and Susan's stories!!!

    We all need to practice saying, "No!" Nicely, of course. LOL!

  86. I should mention that we don't say "NO!" to an editor.

    That's a given, right?

  87. Do press on, Mark!

    Seekers and Seeker Villagers do not give up!


    You ARE a writer! You CAN write! You can also sell! Turn off the negative voice and persevere!

  88. Laughing at your cupcake source, Jodie!

    We have a Gigi's Cupcake Shop in my town. So yummy!

    Perhaps I'll bring some the next time I blog.

    I drink two cups of coffee in the morning but rarely after that. My go-to drink during the day is water...and more water...and more water...

    Which is good for health, right?

    I use a glass with a straw that helps me drink more and more and more...

    If I start floating away, please catch me! LOL!

  89. You're in the drawing, DebH!

    Have a nice lunch.

  90. Hi Debby

    Since deciding to write a suspense I've been reading lots of romantic suspense to get in the mood. You and Susan Sleeman and Jodie Bailey are three of the best.

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. I admit I'm a little scared since I've signed up for NaNoWriMo. Although I have everything outlined and characters raring to go, I'll have to write 2K a day. I've been struggling to get out 1K a day lately. Susan's # 3&4 are the ones I'll have to work on.

  91. Hi, Debby! Hi, Susan! Hi, Jodie! Great tips!!!

    I love a good suspense thread and one usually comes out when I'm writing.

    Thank you ladies so much for sharing with us!

  92. Thank you Debby, Susan, and Jodie! ALL your secrets sound simply PERFECT to me. Thank you for sharing!

    I appreciate Nick serving the SEVEN cakes today. I just started his story (THANK YOU, DEBBY!) and WOW, what an opening!!!

  93. Elaine,

    You're so sweet to mention our stories.

    Susan's "secrets" about goals and deadlines are spot on! I have total confidence in your writing and ability to make your NaNoWriMo goal, Elaine!

    So good seeing you at M&M! Wasn't the conference wonderful!

  94. Hope the "secrets" help, Natalie! We all need support and encouragement. I'm so thankful for Seekerville and those who visit the blog.

    You're in the drawing!

  95. Hi Sherida!

    Can you read and eat cake at the same time? LOL!

    I always appreciate your kind words about my writing.


  96. Oh, my! Just stopped in and saw PATTI JO's dessert list!!!

    I think it's time for my afternoon snack!

  97. I just had my broccoli slaw salad...

    I am IMMUNE to Patti Jo's temptation!

    And pushing on with today's revisions!

    Drexler, I feel the same way. When the first draft is complete.... even if the editors want it revised.... I know it's DONE and anything else is frosting on the cake!


  98. I just finished reading this book and loved it! I love all 3 of these authors! This book really put me in the mood for Christmas! Not that I want suspense for Christmas, just that it was written for the season! Thanks for the post, ladies!

  99. Broccoli salad . . . peachy-sweet dessert . . .

    Sure, RUTHY, go with the salad. That leaves more dessert for me!

  100. Myra, repeat after me:

    Seekerville food is calorie free.
    Seekerville food is calorie free.
    Seekerville food is calorie free.

  101. Ruthy,

    Broccoli slaw or peach cobbler?


    Tough decision...NOT!

  102. Valri, you've made my heart smile!

    Thank you!

    Sending hugs and extra cake! :)

  103. Myra, you and I think alike.

    We'll let Ruthy have her broccoli slaw. I'm reaching for Patti Jo's peach delights...all of them! LOL!

  104. Hi Debbie, Susan, and Jodie! I can't really share any secrets to my success, as I am not published yet, but I know when I was looking for a new job a few years ago, it came down to persistence. That is true for the writing world as well. Persist in telling that story! It must be told! YOU. MUST. WRITE. IT.

    Have a great day!

  105. Stephanie,
    Thanks for reminding us of the importance of PERSISTENCE!!!!!!!

    Which deserves 7 exclamation marks!!!!!!!

  106. What a great post! Thanks all of you for sharing. I'm still smiling about the coffee. And I agree! It works!

    I know I've said this before, but I just LOVE that cover. One of my very favorites.

  107. GREAT list, ladies.

    I personally liked the "Great View." That helps me as well, along with the quiet that comes with it.

    Good ones here and agree with Helen about the exercise. VERY true!

    Thanks for being here today. Know the anthology was fun to do. May it bring you much success!

  108. Raising my cup of coffee to you, Missy! Thanks for the mention of our cover. I love it too.

  109. Thanks, KC!

    A nice view is...well, nice!

    I see tall trees and a lake in the distance, which always calms my spirit!

  110. Susan regretted not being able to comment throughout the day. She's in the air...somewhere...flying to a relative's 65th Wedding Anniversary!

    A special celebration, for sure!

  111. Thanks Debby. I hope I don't eat his before he gets a chance. LOL


  112. Thank you for the tips. I enjoyed reading them.

  113. Great tips, ladies! I don't especially like the idea of exercising, but that's one I really need to follow.

  114. Janet, you're too funny!!!

    Jacqui, thanks for stopping by today.

    Cara, exercise is fun when it's over! LOL!

  115. Oh my goodness, 7 pots of coffee and 7 batches of peachy goodness from Catmom. I am in heaven!

    Great post ladies! It's fun to think that next October I'll be mixing up Christmas and mayhem for LIS.

    Off to grab some coffee and treats before I hit the keyboard.

  116. Debby, Jodie and Susan, Thank you for your 21 tips of success. It's always a great reminder to take care of oneself so you can take care of your characters.

    I'm in for a slice of the red velvet-good frosting is one of my absolute weaknesses, but I laughed at Debby's wonderful comment about Seekerville's food being calorie free.

    This was a great break for me, and now I'm back to editing. Thanks for this post.

  117. Mary Curry, isn't it exciting! Your debut will be released before you can say, "I did it!" Congrats!

  118. Waving to Tanya as she heads back to her computer. Good luck with the edits!

    Glad there was some Red Velvet left! Enjoy!

  119. Thanks for the great post, my friend! We really, really appreciate you! And your cute, smiling profile pic!

    I love the "Great View"! Sunshine gives Endorphins! :)

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  120. I saw that someone said "coffee."

    I wholeheartedly agree. :-)

  121. Sorry I am so late today. I'm not even going to have time to read all the comments. But these were lots of great tips. I would love to win the book. Please enter me in the drawing.

  122. Hi Debby,
    I'm SO late commenting, but I've been here three times today, reading each segment and trying to catch up!
    Thank you and the new book looks great.

    And nice to meet you Jodie and Susan! I look forward to reading your work!

  123. A great post. A beautiful vista can make all the difference.

  124. Jana, love your comment:

    Sunshine gives Endorphins!

    So true! Love to turn my face to the sun and feel the warmth...always think of God's love pouring down upon his children.

  125. good seeing you at M&M!

    Sandy Smith, so glad you could stop by!

    Lyndee, I know you've had a busy day. Thanks for being a faithful and faith-filled friend!

    Mary P, isn't God's creation beautiful, whether seascape, lush forest or blue sky!

  126. Great and helpful thoughts here. I am working on saying "no" to time drags or things that aren't strategic to the main goal. Thanks for encouraging me to stay on target!