Thursday, July 9, 2015

Writing Anthologies Without Murdering Anyone

I know what you're saying:

Murder sells!

It sure does, when it's packaged right, and the preponderance of crime shows on network and cable show it's true, but when producing an anthology, and working with fellow authors, murder is frowned upon.

UNFAIR! you shout, but hush... really, you can do this without bloodshed! As exhibited by our just released "With This Spark" historical collection!!!! (Yes, Shameless Plug Spotted!!!!)

Here is your BUY BUTTON!!! Feel free to jump over to Amazon, pop this sweet baby into your cart and then come back... I'll make us some apple fry pies while we wait for you, no worries!!!

Homemade hand-held fry pies, to die for!!!
So murder may sell books, but is not recommended for your friends.

So far, so good with the Seekers! We have put together not one, not two, but SIX collections of Seeker stories in the past 8 months and we're working on our Christmas collections right now!!!!


Hi, I'm Ruthy and I'm a write-a-holic.

Disclaimer: I am safe to drive with, but I do miss occasional exits because I'm plotting... not someone's demise, more's the pity! But new books, new stories, new ways to make people laugh... and cry.

Another disclaimer: Writing is a legal, addictive stimulant in this case. No laws have been broken in the making of this blog or the collections!

So if you've thought of writing your own collections, more power to you! Here's a list of practical advice, things to think about as you begin...

First: Goal?

What's your goal? Not just yours, but the groups' goal?

To make money? To spread your name around? To offer new readers a sampling of your style, your voice? Set your goal or goals first, and make sure the people working with you AGREE TO THE END GAME.

I've heard from other authors that folks in their collections had migraines, hissy fits, facebook breakdowns, major-league whining, etc. Let me just say here:

This would not work for us. We don't do drama, we don't do whining, we don't do trouble. It's downright annoying when folks' egos get in the way of good business sense, and I just shake my head when I hear those things. (mostly because they really, probably, almost always should have seen it coming... but that's another blog!)

Second: Timeline

Once you've set your goal, set a timeline. Authors vary. Some work fast, some work slower, some need two sets of revisions, others need little. All of this works out just fine, but you need a time limit or half the folks are ready and the other half are kinda, sorta thinking about starting.

(This situation could be homicidal grounds right there, and I can't say I'm in disagreement, so set your timeline at the beginning. Establish an end date. A smart person (naming no names!) builds in a WEEK of grace because a smart person knows the writing biz and understands that life gets busy... and it takes time to put your best foot forward. :)

Third: Theme

Pick a theme that everyone can weave into their story. Thise adds continuity to the volume. Our first theme was "Hope" and they were Christmas-centered stories, so we used "Hope for the Holidays" to tie it all together in one beautiful, freshly-tied holiday bow!

Our second theme was "second chances", so every story in the "With This Kiss" collections has a new beginnings or second chance plot or sub-plot in it, because who doesn't need a second chance? For these we carried the theme similarity and cover ideas through both collections, they were coming out in spring, so the rebirth of orchards was a sweet pull toward softer times after a long (can I say CRAZY LONG????) winter.

The third theme "With This Spark" (historical) and "Coffee Shop Romances" (contemporary) is "Americana", all-American type stories, with love of country offering a supporting role. "Coffee Shop Romances" (releasing this week!) is filled with contemporary all-American romance, sweet, funny, suspenseful (DEBBY GIUSTI!) and inspirational... So the addition of Debby's masterful, suspenseful mind is a total bonus!

The theme is important to us because it keeps us on the same page. And it's so good for the reader, because even though each author is unique, the reader gets a sense of continuity.  Barbour, Zondervan and many other publishers figured this formula out. It's okay to not re-invent the wheel! Use what works, in many cases it's the best business practice.

Fourth: Covers (Warning! Controversy ALERT!!!)

We've done well with our covers, but on the QT? On the 'down low'? At the grapevine? Rumor has it that authors can get positively snippy about covers.


Imagine that!!!!

Here's what we do, and if you follow these guidelines, you're sure to be successful!

Wait until you come out of your writing fugue, gaze dumbstruck at the calendar, e-mail the list of authors and shout: WE NEED A COVER!!! WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO?????

This might incite panic, but I find that panic breeds creativity, so then the authors gather what they can, throw it all on the table, point rapidly to this, this, and that, and send the kit and kaboodle to Kim Killion and Jennifer at The Killion Group and they make us great covers.

Yes, that is exactly how we do it, and I love our covers, and who has time to waste? Not this chickie, I'm in the book-writing and bookselling biz, and if I can make 4, 5 or 6 women happy, I consider it a good day!

Fifth: Price

Price and goal go hand-in-hand.

You can sell lots of .99 collections, and that's absolutely fine, a-okay, wonderful! I get that part of the goal (or maybe your whole goal!) is to get your name out there...

To harvest new readers, to give out samples of your work and hope it catches on with folks.

We all want that. But... and this is a big but.... Too much quality work put out at .99 lessens the overall consumer value of our work as a whole.

I like bargains. I will keep "Running on Empty" at .99 forever because it's an important book and should be available to anyone with a buck in their pocket.... It helps people heal, and that's a good thing.

But for our anthologies, we collectively decided that the $2.99 price tag works. Think of it this way, a 100,000 word book.... or an 80,000 word book.... or a 110,000 word book....

For $2.99.

It's a fair price and that's why we chose it. Reader gets a bargain, we make a little bit that we then break down among the authors. And as the number of collections grows, we can reduce prices, run sales, etc. Marketing and merchandising are part of our business profile, so it's critical to develop a body of work, just like any other retail business. These are good things, and how cool that the power is in our hands! SUHWEEEET!

Everybody's happy. But pricing can be a bone of contention between authors, so this is a very important thing to settle on before you begin the project and have Susie, Jane and Callie dropping out.




Sixth: Unbundling or Staying Put?

Well, this is interesting. Some authors disband their collections after a certain sales' time. Some set a prescribed time (six months, for example) while others just decide to remove the collections and re-package them individually. This isn't a bad thing.... publishers do it, too.

But it can lead to problems if you have readers buying the very same book under several "umbrellas": Your anthology with others, then either your own personal anthology, or as individual novellas. If you do this, make sure you make it clear that your now-single book was "previously published as" so readers don't feel cheated.

Your goal is to entice readers, to give them an inexpensive sampling of amazing wonderfulness, so it's important to make sure that you make consideration for the reader's enjoyment as your top priority each step of the way.

That's clutch in any successful business mode!

Seventh: Contract

We looked at contracts other authors used, and then wrote our own, basically agreeing to having things in on time, agreeing on price, agreeing on not being jerks, agreeing to reassess every six months, and that I would actually send them money.

All of which has worked!

Now my lawyer son would probably shudder... naw, he wouldn't, he looked at it and we covered the basics and the basic reasoning behind being contracted. Since raising a lawyer and a couple of finance dudes, they're big on making sure we put stuff in writing. And again, in business... and we all know I like to treat my writing like a business, bottom-line, assets, contracts, marketing, etc... it's vitally important to dot your 'i's' and cross your 't's.

I'm okay with that!

Hey, I've opened the prize vault, and GUESS WHAT I SEE????

Two copies of "With This Spark"!!!

And two copies of "Coffee Shop Romances" due out later this week! Absolutely no obligation, but if you want to give us your honest review on Amazon, we'd be grateful! Leave a comment, join in the chatter to have your name thrown in the plastic cat dish because the other one disappeared!

Coffee is on, fresh fry pies alongside, so come on in, let's talk novellas, writing short, working with others and all the things you learned in kindergarten!

Ruthy Logan Herne loves to write sweet, heartwarming stories for several publishers and the indie market. When she's not writing, she's thinking about writing. And when she's sleeping she's dreaming about writing. In short, she's ridiculous, and she admits it! Talk to her on facebook (where she's cleverly disguised herself as Ruth Logan Herne!) or her website or over at the cafe on Thursdays (today!!!!) or here in Seekerville!


  1. And did she mention that it's fun to do something different? FUN. FUN. FUN! No filters! Crazy writers.

  2. Tina, it's you and me today!!!! I brought coffee and fried apple pies! Let the party begin!

  3. I love it when authors put together anthologies. Especially all of you here at Seekerville. I ove being able to go from one story to the next.

    Ruthy those pies look absolutely heavenly. Thank you.

    May you all have a wonderful blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  4. What a lovely post! I love anthologies, getting several stories in one package. Have often thought it would be fun to take part in one, but wondered..."how on earth would you do that?" And it's Ruthy to the rescue....da-da-da-DA-DA-da.

    Don't mind me. Its 4:30 in the morning and I have already had caffeine. Kinda scary, but no one else is up to see me.

    Would love to have my name thrown in the plastic cat dish.

  5. The collections look as delicious as the pies.

    Count me in thank you.

  6. Cindy, me too! Sometimes life just lends itself to a sweet, fun, quick read. I don't always want my head to have to work too hard!!!!

  7. DANA!!!! We got to work together this morning at 1K/1HR!!!! Go us! Yay!

    And there's more coffee here, darling, and those early morning writing sessions are awesome!!!!! A great way to start the day!

  8. Mary Preston, you're most assuredly in! The plastic cat dish is TACKY... but the ceramic one disappeared, and that means someone probably broke it, but at least they swept up the evidence! YES!!!! It is rare to have someone around here see a mess... then do something about it. Something that doesn't include calling my name, LOL!

  9. I really do have to come back to Bpogland. Had no idea the Seekers were doing compilatiOns. Nice. Coffee Shop sounds like a fun read.

  10. It sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing, Ruthy!

  11. Good morning, Seekerville. Welcome back, Patricia W.

    Ruthy, my hero.

    I love anthologies for many reasons, but the one that comes to mind at the moment is that each story is the perfect length for our busy lives.

    Once upon a time I loved nothing more than to lose myself in a good, LOOOONG, book, War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, all those 1000+ page books.

    But now, I have neither the time nor the attention span for that. Novellas I can read without feeling guilty for time away from my own writing!

    Put me in the cat dish. I have an extra ceramic one now since the cat moved to Maine with my daughter. Now the dog drinks out of it. The funny looking cat in the bottom doesn't seem to bother him.

  12. Oops, I was still logged in as Cate. Same things go double as me. :)

  13. I bought With This Spark the minute I saw it on FB yesterday and jumped right in. I would be happy to win the coffee shop collection to add to it, Chickie :)

    Thanks for putting out all these novellas for your followers, we're already all winners getting such good fiction for a price that can't possibly do much for your bottom line.

    Wish I could step right into this blog and get a fruit pie for real, but virtual with a coffee will do.

  14. Patricia, so good to see you in blogland! I love working on these projects with the gals, and we're just scratching our heads wondering what took us so long???? Good to see you here, my friend!

  15. FYI: I just did a drive-by over on Amazon and With This Spark is #73 on hot new releases in Christian Romance! I'm happy it's doing so well in less than 24 hours out!

  16. TGIR (Thank God It's Ruthy). I live for your posts. Well, not really, but they are some of my favorites.

  17. Mary, Cate, I love both of you!!!! And yes, we've found that the popularity of these collections is two-fold. Quick, fun reads that don't make the reader feel guilty... and the art of short-story telling had kind of gotten lost in the 90's and early oughts.... So this is way fun to bring it back. I love seeing lots of collections out there!


  18. Tracey Hagwood, thanks for the drive-by!!! :)

    That is great for day one, I hope folks love it. I actually am using With This Spark to launch a new Ruthy novella series "The Sewing Sisters Society", set in the fictional South Dakota town of "Second Chance".

    It's so much fun to set up this series within the collections! And I'm having so much fun getting my toes wet in historic waters!

  19. KayBee!!!!

    LOL! You're a hoot, but doesn't this look way fun????

  20. Jackie, you're welcome, but I've heard via the grapevine that not every group has THIS MUCH FUN!

    I think the fact that we've known each other for years, we've worked together, and we set similar goals for the collections, none of which include Total and Complete World Domination.

    That's clutch!

  21. Ruthy! Good morning!

    Thank you thank you for spilling the details of how to successfully produce a collection or anthology with other authors! :) I've wondered about that process, and now I have a well-thought-out idea of how to do it.

    Ooh I would love to be added to the plastic cat dish drawing for a Seeker collection! Count me in, Ruthy dear!

  22. I am about halfway through the Julia/Tanner story and I am liking it. With the pregnant girl and the underclass, it's showing a different side of Kirkwood Lake and I love the compassion with which your "regular" characters respond. I also love the body image thing you're doing with Julia. She's obviously an attractive woman, especially to Tanner, and she has to at some point accept the fact that she's had two children, she still looks good and it's time to move on from the unrealistic expectations of her ex-husband. Whew. Ruthy, you have packed a lot in here.

  23. Thanks for the pies Ruthy! Throw my name in that cat dish. I've read all the Seeker anthologies so far and loved every one of them. I won't miss this one! And that coffee shop thing? Why is this the first time I've heard of it? Probably because I've had my head stuck in the proverbial sand, which is really a polite way of saying I have been too busy with my family's annual firework stand and display to pay attention to the important things like Seeker anthologies! Off to amazon. Seekers do it perfect every time!!

  24. It looks like fun and I would love to do it some time.

  25. The Seeker collections are wonderful to read! I'm not bias here or anything, but being part of a Seeker collection is ONE of the greatest thrills ever.

    Don't you just love it when creative minds play well together? LOL, thanks for plug, Ruthy!

  26. Sarah, my pretty, I've tossed you into tacky cat dish! :) And yes, it's fun to have a inside look at how to put things together... and working with great folks makes it easier!

  27. Kaybee, I love that story. I have received more messages and e-mails on "Healing the Lawman's Heart" than any other book except "Running on Empty".

    And it's not one story or the other that grabs people, it seems to be both, so that's kind of amazing. And Melissa Endlich helped me tweak the first draft to show more of the sweet side of romance, and her advice worked perfectly.

    I'm so glad you're liking it! I hope you love the whole thing, Kathy!

  28. RUTHY,
    I read Macy and Will's story and I can see how you're setting up "The Sewing Sisters Society" for the future, endless possibilities! I didn't think you would be able "to get to me", you know to that emotional place with such a short story, but wonder of wonders, you did! (Actually, not a wonder at all, you do it every time, awesome!)

  29. Ruthy, I am AMAZED at how well the ladies of Seekerville collaborate on these wonderful collections. Well done!

  30. Tracey, thank you for buying it!!!! I'm happy dancing, and hope you love it to pieces!

    You know, we adopted the two-fold goal: Make a little money (that's never a bad thing) and give each other's readers a taste of new voices/stories. It's working beautifully, I'm stealing readers LEFT AND RIGHT!!!

    Just kidding, but it is working and when the reader wins, the author wins by default. I love that the most!

  31. I LOVE! LOVE! the Seeker Anthologies. I have With this Spark and have already started reading it. I am also still reading With this Kiss and must say I LOVE them. You all rock!

    Please enter me for the Coffee Shop collection

  32. Hi Ruth:

    Is 'fried pies' carnie talk? They sure look like apple turnovers to me. They also look just as delicious.

    As a marketing person I like the 2.99 price. It's not too high even if you only want to read one of the authors. It's also not so low as to give the reader little incentive to actually read the stories. I'm most likely to read a 9.99 book (that I actually paid for) but least likely to buy it. You just have to strike a happy medium. (But not a fortune teller as that would be mean.)

    Love your covers. They are the best in the business. They are well dressed for success.

    Please be sure to have a table of contents with links. At least one of your collations does not and it is very hard to jump to a given story without a link if it is not the first one in the book. Can you believe that given all the excellent quality provided in these collections that sometimes I don't want to read them in order! Sometimes I just want to watch the eagle fly first! : )

    Got to go. I have another doctor to entertain this morning.


  33. I'm a total sucker for a good cover. YES. I judge books by their covers. And all of these are so lovely!

    But you know what's lovelier? PIE! Mmmm.

  34. I really enjoyed your behind the scenes peek at creating your collaborated collections. I'm an avid reader of anthologies. I'm also one of those who have felt cheated when something I've read before appears in a collection. To prevent the disappointment I've taught myself to always look for copyright dates in front covers. Please throw my name in the dish for one of the newest collections. Thanks.

  35. Ruthy, the pies look wonderful!!! Yum.:-)

    And so do the covers. I love pretty covers.

    You Seeker girls do a great job when you put your heads together. I agree with Vince about the price—it strikes a happy balance.

  36. I'll start with this:

    Ruthy Quote:
    Disclaimer: I am safe to drive with, but I do miss occasional exits because I'm plotting.

    I should have this carved into my tombstone. It explains so much!!!!!!!

  37. Vince we have links, as in, click on each title and go there.

    Is there more to it than that? Cuz We (Ruthy) will be glad to do it!

  38. I love anthologies. It's a great way to get to know "new" authors. You all do a great job with them, too :D

    Please throw my name in the dish

  39. I love anthologies. It's a great way to get to know "new" authors. You all do a great job with them, too :D

    Please throw my name in the dish

  40. Thanks Ruthy for your secrets to putting together anthologies! I agree with Vince that the $2.99 price point is good. If circumstances change you can always change the price. I like the flexibility to indy.

  41. I've been in 3 box sets. The only one that didn't sell well was...

    ...wait for it...

    ....the murder box set. Seriously. It was so odd. We mixed Christian murder mystery authors with secular authors and we think that was why.

    My only goal with them was to expand my reader base, and I saw really good results with the other two.

  42. Ruthy, your excellent tips show you for the savvy businesswoman you are! I'm impressed and always excited by every collection the Seekers release!

    The pies look delicious. You're not only a storyteller, you're creative in the kitchen.

    Haven't gotten my collections yet. Off to Amazon!


  43. You said it all, Ruthy! You can be a hard taskmaster (taskmistress??? taskmrs.ness?) at times, but you keep us producing and you keep those anthologies rolling out season after season!

    What's great about doing this with 13 Seekers is that we can still put out collections of 3-5 stories each without anyone feeling so crammed with writing deadlines that she can't keep up. If we need to excuse ourselves from one anthology, there's always next time.

  44. I really enjoy anthologies. Please throw my name in the dish!

    Thanks for explaining what goes on "behind the scenes" when putting together an anthology.

  45. I love your anthologies! I have been a fortunate winner of both the holidays anthologies and With this Kiss. Please put my name in for either of the new ones! I really like that if I am riding in the car after dark and want to read my kindle, I can open up to the next story in the anthology and start reading. They are short enough that it doesn't matter if I am in the middle of reading another book in the daylight! I have started reading With this Kiss and enjoy it a lot. I plan to finish those stories soon. I started the holiday collection at Christmas and plan to finish it next Christmas.

    The writing is excellent as well. My problem with reading a collection of novellas sometimes is they seem like they aren't very complete because they are short. Your stories always satisfy. When I finish I will leave a good review!

    Good job ladies!

  46. By the way, I meant to say that the $2.99 price is very nice. You can't beat that for all those stories.

  47. Hi Mary:

    "Hope for the Holidays -- Contemporary" does not have story or author links. The historical version does have them. Check your copy. I seem to always get the first downloads the day they are released. Maybe the links were added later.


  48. Before I was an avid writer I was, and still am, an avid reader. You can't get enough of these stories. One story at a setting. My fav is historical. Keep them coming, please.

  49. Hi Mary:

    "With This Spark -- Historical" has links.

  50. !YAY!
    I LOVE ME SOME SEEKERVILLE ANTHOLOGIES! Keep 'em coming and as long as they stay around $2.99, I'll be buying them too (if I'm not fortunate to WIN them first. Is that wrong to do?) I can justify $2.99 or lower for my discretionary budget, anything higher? Not so much. I have to save up and big extra good for those books.

    The covers are always awesome and I'm awed at how clock-work like the new anthologies are being made available. My new favorite way to buy books for my Kindle is the bundle boxes. Of course, I get exposed to all kinds of authors here that makes my wish list grow for those individual books.(so many books, so little time *wahhhhh*)

    I owe you Seekers some reviews on the other anthologies. I need to glance at how to do that because I've never reviewed anthologies before. I want to help promo Seeker anthologies 'cuz they've been so awesome!

    *snoopy dancing over new Seeker anthology set*

    (someday when I grow up, I wanna be a writer like the Seekers...)

  51. Writing anthologies with my Seeker sisters is wonderful. Our theme is loose enough that we can all write our own brand as long as we stick to the theme. And we know our target date and shoot for that.

    We spend more time discussing titles and covers than our actual stories, because we've all been at this awhile and know and love each others' work--and work ethic. By trial and error, though, we did streamline the titling/cover process on the last collections by only having the contemporary group discuss their title/cover and the historical group discuss theirs.

    Poor Ruthy, though, she got to be the referee for both groups. But somehow she managed to keep both of them separate! Go Ruthy! :)

  52. Ruthy, you are so smart! (One can never hear that too many times....right?) This advice is all great. Interesting to learn covers can be controversial among you. I think all have been stunning.

    I submitted to an anthology, but don't know if my story was accepted or if the project will be completed. The idea of a theme sparked my creativity and flexibility. I took an old summer story and switched it up to make it fit the theme of winter. Allowing a week of grace time is important. I rushed my story to meet the deadline.....and it's not as polished as it could have been. Submitting with others was a fun experience.

    Please don't enter me in your giveaway. God, country, and favorite authors?!?! Of course I picked up With This Spark!!! Helping myself to hand-held fried pies....before I visit the cafe for that beautiful pie....hubby thought it looked yummy!

  53. Audra, I agree! It's a great opportunity to spread our wings and try things... and our Christmas collection is WAY FUN... I won't say anymore about it, but WAY FUN is the best descriptor!!!!! Laughing and spreading Christmas cheer is a wonderful thing!

  54. Tracey!!!! DID YOU LOVE IT TO PIECES?????? Aren't they just adorable and don't you just picture this town, a place of hope, just a little rough around the edges???

    But a town with room for future seamstress help!!! :) I'm so glad you liked it! That just made my day!!!!!!!!


  55. Caryl Kane, I love it when you stop by!!!! Don't be amazed, I'm really gilding the lily, they're all a bunch of B-R-A-T-S. :)


    We love it. We love working together. And they're such a wonderful group of God-loving, love-the-reader ladies, they make it easy. And we love that we can be in some (as time and contracts allow) and not in others.

    Best of both worlds!

  56. Wilani, I've just tossed your name into the cat dish. The cats are annoyed, but they were happy it was YOU!!!!

    Thank you for your kind words!!!! That makes us all happy and I can speak for everyone involved when I say we love youse!!!

  57. Vince, darling, go entertain the doc, and you're right, it's one of the holiday ones that somehow we missed the TOC.

    We'll fix it!

    And fried pies are pure South + Carnie + delicious! So they're like turnovers but not baked... and then glazed.

    But we could call them turnovers. If we wanted to. But fry pies just sounds so down home decadent!!!!!

    MMMMMMMMMM......... :)

  58. Cindy, Coffee Shop Romances is NEW!!!! It's not even quite on the market, we're dotting i's and crossing t's!

    But it will be out soon and I'm throwing your name in!

  59. Kristen, I love what Kim does with our covers. We send her the panicked brainstorm and she makes it all work. And she just got ENGAGED, I saw it on facebook, so I hope that new husband understands the role: Seeker books first...


    Hubby second.

    I may or may not say that to Kim. :)

  60. Bettie, you're in!

    And that's the problem with breaking down anthologies, or re-publishing. I think if folks do it with real care, you can avoid most conflicts, and I know I've gotten things in the past that were actually out under different names or packaging... but no author wants that to happen.

    I love happy readers!

  61. Mary and Vince, thank you for your comments about the price. That's huge to us because we want to be fair... and we want to be a good deal. Your words are great to hear. They mean a great deal.

  62. Connealy, I distinctly remember PHOTOGRAPHING ROAD KILL FOR A DIFFERENT SEEKER.

    I believe I am one of the normal ones!!!!!

    "Tina Stops For Deceased Turtles"

  63. Vince is right. Someone remind me to put those links in and update later today. Vince, e-mail me later when the kids are gone and I maybe won't forget.... I knew it was missing them because you mentioned it before... and Missy mentioned it.... and I still forgot!

    Aye caramba!

  64. Becky Dempsey, thank you! You've made my day, sweet thing! I love playing with these shorter works, it kind of clears my head for the longer books.

    Everyone I know will tell you that is a GOOD THING.

  65. Cara, me too! The flexibility is fun and we can kind of bend and stretch around other responsibilities. And it's nice to "meet" new readers through this! It's like opening a boundary, broad and wide!

  66. Leslie McKee, you're in! I'm so glad you love them! Your job has you seeing all kinds of things, short and long, and it's not easy to make that leap. But I'm not a bit surprised that you can do it... Your name is in and I love it when you come visit us here.

    Try a fried pie. I think you'll love them!

  67. Amen to Tina's comment! And also to Ruthy's post. It's been a GREAT experience!!

  68. I did have to laugh about the covers, though. I bet we looked at a gazillion photos on the With This Kiss covers. :)

  69. Mary Cate, I agree. I really enjoy a short read sometimes. Easily finished in one day!

  70. Hallee, that's so interesting. Maybe the mix was the problem. I've wondered about trying to mix contemporary and historical. I've seen other boxed sets do that.

  71. You summed up the process Ruthy girl. Good job. And Ruthy is the spark behind us when we write these anthologies. Thank you and Yay Ruthy.

    I am so excited about the new anthology. I'm hoping over to Amazon right now to buy both. YAY. Happy reading to me. Happy reading to me.

    I'm with my high school girlfriends this week and will gift them a copy also. Yay. Seeker books make terrific gifts. They are favorites among my friends.

    Yay. I'm exciting.

  72. LOL, Ruthy. I'll email you right now about getting the TOC added! :)

  73. EXCELLENT breakdown of the process, Ruthy, and nobody knows it better than you, so GREAT post!!

    I do have to admit that every single time I see the With This Spark cover, a sharp pang of regret surfaces that I had to drop out due to time constraints in moving across state in such a short period of time. Partially because I really miss being a part of the Seeker novellas and partially because my whole novella is centered around 4th of July and fireworks and a girl named Liberty. How perfect would that have been???? And has hard as I tried to switch it to a Christmas story so I could use it for the Christmas novella, the patriotic 4th of July theme is SO strong and SO necessary time-wise, that I just couldn't do it. BUT ... the good news is that I have my Seeker spring novella almost done ... ;)

    Can't wait to read both of these novellas, so you go, girls!


  74. PATRICIA W!!!! WOW, girl, it's great to see you again, and YES, you really DO need to come back to Blogland, at least to Seekerville upon occasion, alright??

    TINA SAID: "And did she mention that it's fun to do something different? FUN. FUN. FUN! No filters! Crazy writers." I SOOOO agree, and I wasn't all that sure I would, mostly because I didn't think it was possible for me to a write a novella (you saw how well I did on making my blog on brevity brief ... sigh!). But Tina is RIGHT (as usual)!! These novellas are SO much fun and such a blast to work together on that I am trying to be a part of each of the three historicals we're shooting for pubbing a year, so wish me luck!

    CATE NOLAN SAID: "But now, I have neither the time nor the attention span for that. Novellas I can read without feeling guilty for time away from my own writing!"

    EXCELLENT point, Cate, which is exactly why I seldom read blogs or magazines because I just don't have the time, but unfortunately, I also shy away from novellas because I like LONG, DEEP, COMPLICATED love stories, but I will admit that the Seeker anthologies are making a believer out of me! :)


  75. RUTHY!!! LOVE your "The Sewing Sisters Society" concept and kick-starting it with the With This Spark novella is soooooooo smart. That's what I'm doing with my novella too, kicking off a series I'm pitching to my publisher, so that's exciting for both of us!


  76. I'm lovin' y'all's covers!

    Going to buy them at Amazon now...

  77. Some great books listed! I do enjoy Castle, he's my favorite :) I would give up any other show first LOL
    Tossing these in my wanted list..

  78. You know, i can get along with almost anyone if you keep the fried pies coming.

  79. Mary Curry/Cate Nolen I thought maybe you were going to permanently change to your author alter ego.

  80. You're setting a new series in South Dakota, Ruthy? Although we are dealing with seriously HUGE states when you're talking South Dakota and Nebraska, I WOULD FIND YOU!!!!!!!!!
    Come for a research trip.
    I could pick you up at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Airport.

  81. Don't forget about the Badlands. A south dakota wonder.

  82. It's funny I came across this today because my critique buddies and I were kicking around ideas for an anthology haphazardly yesterday. These tips are a great way to give our talks some focus and help us decide if we can do this for real. Question? Do you ever attempt to link any of the stories, and how does that change the dynamic and so forth? We were thinking of telling the stories of linked characters, and I was curious about that.

  83. Mary Connealy, in your research, what's the youngest textile mill workers' documented age? SMH

  84. Oh, and please enter me in the drawing.

  85. VINCE I think we learned that on that one collection.

  86. Ruthy, we're lucky to have you running the anthology collections! You handle can handle us! :)

    No, really, thanks for all you do!

    And I didn't kill anyone in my newest novella. At least, I don't think I did. It's actually suspense lite! :) But a fun story to write. So thrilled to finally have time to be part of a Seeker collection!

    Any fry pies left? They look yummy!

  87. Hallee, hey, girl!!! That's a great goal. In this day and age I hope readers know how much they're appreciated! Expanding the reader base is an awesome thing. I'm still a firm believer that word of mouth, even just the old fashioned water cooler chat, is our best friend, but gosh, this works, too. And you know how nice those notes and e-mails are!

  88. Missy, would we have thought this would be this much fun originally???? I love it so much. And it all started with chatting that we'd like to be in an LI novella collection together... but that didn't happen and we thought, heck... Let's just do it! ♥♥♥♥♥

  89. PAM HILLMAN! That's the most exciting opening chapter I've read in I don't know when, you totally rocked it!

  90. A fried apple pie? Yes, please!! Have you tried Coconut Cream fried pie? Best EVER in Dallas. Yummmmo! I'd go back to Dallas just for that.

    An anthology sounds like so much fun and appears to be the rage right now. Love the covers and I especially like the themes. Great post, Ruthie!

  91. Hi Ruth:

    Since you all are knocking out novella collections like Joe Lewis used to knock out the bum of the month, I have a few collection requests.

    Love Takes a Vacation

    Heroes and heroines who are getting away from a recent break-up find true love on vacation. (Take us to some really neat places.)

    Love on the Edge

    Hero and heroine meet in the midst of a very dangerous situation. Hostage, train wreck, tomato fight, flood -- give us something really exciting.

    The Mysteries of Love

    Cozy type mysteries where hero and heroine work together solve a mystery and find true love.

    Competing for Love

    Hero and heroine start out as competitors -- pickleball, same job, swimmers, office of mayor, you name it.

    Prescription for Love

    Each story involves a hero or heroine or both in the medical profession. I prefer EMTs and midwives.

    Love in Uniform

    Heroes and heroines wear uniforms, police, fire, military, bellhops, pilots -- a hero in uniform is twice as handsome.

    Gambling on Love

    Heroes and heroines take great risks to win the one they love. Physical, economic, emotional -- pick your risks.

    Love on the Menu

    Heroes or heroines are into baking or cooking -- serve up something delicious.

    Misunderstanding Love

    Each of the hero/heroine first encounters are the result of some kind of misunderstanding. Should be romantic comedy. (Surely you can stretch.)

    Love's Sweet Revenge

    Each hero or heroine in an attempt to get revenge, learns that to forgive and find happiness is the best revenge. Lots of conflict here.

    Beauty and the Brain

    Beautiful/handsome heroes and heroines find true love with a genius who finds it hard to communicate in terms anyone else can understand.

    That's just a few ideas to prime the pump.

    Back to work.


  92. Myra made a very good point. We have to have certain rules, timelines, etc. and one of those rules is to have an editor read over our work, and I think that's been a good thing all around.

    We're all talented, all gifted, but any author can miss things. Hiring an editor to read our stories keeps them that cut above. And that's important to us.

    And I rarely have to lower the boom... and half the time it's my own fault!

  93. Sandy Smith, you made such a good, wonderful, articulate point. You said that you weren't sure shorter stories could satisfy, and that's an art, to learn how to curve the story's plot, the "arc" so it makes sense and strikes a real note with the reader. Not all authors can do that, and that's part of the reason we've got free-lance editors because they have better vision. Authors are notorious for mentally filling in the blanks, and not always saying what we need to tell the reader for the strongest story. Hey, it's in our head, that's good enough, right? So that final step is H-U-G-E and your kind words underscore that! Go you!!!!

  94. With This Kiss cover.... Julie deserves a MEDAL..... I'm laughing because we were combo-ing and we learned that 9 women will have at least 8.5 ideas!

    This one we separated out and that was so smooth! Seriously, we had it done in a day or so, and we loved the ideas.

    YES! And Christmas is already shaping up to be most fun ever, but more about that later!!!!

  95. VINCE!!!!! Such great ideas! Copying and pasting as we speak!!!! And then I'll send them to MISSY who might not lose it!


    That just sounds so stinkin' good! And I'm glad the collections are hitting a note all over, and there are a bunch of 'em out there!

    Reason enough to be happy readers and authors right there!!!!

  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. I love these short stories in anthologies and so happy the Seekers have written so many. Having an uplifting story to read that doesn't require hours is attractive to many lovers of fiction. Thank you, Ruthy, for your expert guidance here. I hope you continue to write more.

  99. Vince, I just sent Hope for the Holidays to have the table of contents added! Sorry for the oversight!!!!!

    And I sent your list of ideas to Missy so it's all her fault if we lose them!!!!


  100. I love Pat Jeanne Davis THIS MUCH. You're welcome!!!! And I hope we do, too, I think we're having a rollicking good time.

    And Pat, that means so much to hear strong writers/readers telling us they're enjoying them. Our goal was to put out quality work like we were seeing in the beautiful Barbour anthologies, and I think we've done it!

    But the praise on this goes to God, first, because I'm pretty sure he paved the way with the ideas, the timing, and all.

    Oh, that God!

  101. I don't suppose there are any of those cute apple pies things left??

    (Reading Ruthy's last comment...I thought the idea was just to have fun. Well I had fun.)

  102. On the floor laughing.


  103. Wow, I was afraid Love on the Menu was romance set in a tribe of cannibals. (Phew!)


  104. VINCE Beauty and the Brain. I tried to write a book about a bunch of Kid geniuses once. It was way to hard because I'm not smart enough to figure out how a genius would think!

  105. Ruthy, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your posts! They make me smile every time!!!! I would love to win this anthology! They both look fantastic! The authors and books look amazing! I loved your post too! I love crime shows - Castle, NCIS, etc.! Fun, Fun, Fun!!!! Thanks for making my day!

  106. Ruthy! I LOVE stopping by Seekerville for a dose of encouragement and lively banter! You ladies are the BEST!

  107. Big Bang Theory/kid geniuses Am I the only non-fan? I'm clearly a curmudgeon.

    Tina, I'm glad you're having fun! If nothing else, this should be fun, so much fun because we waited so long for it to happen....

    And I love dabbling!


    Hey, we got our first review from Kimberly!!!! I love Kimberly!!!! :) And that just made my evening, I could hug her!

  108. Right back atcha, Caryl. So seriously!

  109. Tina, I saved you some fried pies!!!! With cider frosting glaze, oh my stars, you will love them!

  110. VALRI!!!!! I'm so glad I make you smile, my children are no longer affected in quite the same way!

    You are my bonus! :)

  111. Tina, we have filed Vince's ideas in Missy's computer and mine. I have filed them in my cloud....

    You should copy and paste them, too, because Missy and I are known to be clueless.

    Nicely, of course.

  112. Coconut Cream Fried Pies??????????? Dora are you sure?
    I thought that was an urban myth.

  113. I am so glad to hear the Seeker collections are going to keep coming! I have loved them all!

  114. Ruthy, I hear ya about your children are no longer affected "in quite the same way"!!!!! My children are the same! They are all college graduates, living in different states now, "doing their own thing", but I remember when I used to be so funny to them....ha ha, not anymore! At least my 3 yr. old granddaughter thinks I'm funny! She tells me all the time!!!! I just spent 6 weeks with her and she was always saying "you are so silly, Grammy"!!!! I ROCK!!!!

  115. The fried apple pies were delicious! Can we have more tomorrow??? Puh-leeze????

  116. Ruthy, Thanks for this post. Having a child who has a genetic disease means I'm in and out of doctors' offices a lot. Novellas, especially humorous ones, can go a long way in making the time in some waiting rooms go by a lot faster.

    Thanks for the insight. I love hearing stories of writers coming together and working together.

  117. Tanya Agler, that is an amazing reason right there. Sandwiching in those short reads can make us feel like we've still got some choices, even when circumstances make those choices shorter or different. These are the perfect length for these times! Thank you!!!!

  118. Pam, I'm making fresh ones for the WE!!!!!

  119. Zey Zey, that is a great question. We decided that we would only use the theme to link them so far because when a team of authors links stories, it's a lot of work and editing to get it right. We hate mistakes!!!! So we don't link them yet, but I'm linking some of mine from collection to collection. The Karralis cousins (hot Greek guys, contemp, set in Eastern Pennsylvania, outside of Philly) are in Hope for the Holidays, With This Kiss and the third one will be in our contemp Christmas collection. And in the historicals, I'll have a running group of Sewing Society Sisters stories set in the west.... I think for your first one with the group, go with Keep It Simple, Sweetie! (KISS!!!!) :)

  120. Courtney, I'm glad you like them! We did too, so fun, right? Tina was the brains behind the Coffee Shop and it was Myra who found the winner for With This Spark.


  121. Julie, it's amazing how we bend and turn with the flow. We are the rivers, finding our path to the warm lakes below. And if a river doesn't bend and weave, it disappears, into the ground.

    Good luck with your new series and the novella!!!!! You have the greatest fan base on the face of the planet, you'll do great!

  122. Sherida!!!! Thank you, what a wonderful thing to say! I don't know how I missed you yesterday, but your sweet words made my morning!

    And I no more than threw your name in the cat dish, mixed things up, and pulled one out and it was you! Hahahahaha. What were the odds of that?????



  123. Thanks for making me smile with your post.
    I really enjoy the Seekerville collections.
    I would love to win a copy of either.