Thursday, September 17, 2015

Shine with a Steady Light

with guest Piper Huguley.

My mother’s favorite spiritual out of the many she knew was: “This Little Light O’ Mine.” It was a song that she learned as a child, but was her love of the song was no doubt reinforced by her participation in the Civil Rights Movement.  It’s a song that’s meant to reflect God’s purpose for us in the world as we serve him according to his will.  So, I meant to choose “SHINE” as my word this year, to reflect what I would hope would happen for me in calendar year 2015—when I released of my three “Migrations of the Heart” novels in a row, two months apart. The journey to this “hat trick,” as it might be called, was not an easy one. 


I have thought about where I might fit in the publishing world for a long time.  After my mother-in-law died a few years ago, my family went through some difficult times in the aftermath.  That’s when I decided to revisit my writing—something that I missed doing while I was raising my son. I had long thought of the historical as a possibility. I always wondered why there were few stories on the market that told the truth as I knew it. I wanted to read stories like those of my great-aunts as modern-day super heroines who had faith enough in God and themselves to seek opportunities for themselves and their families in another place. Their stories resonated with me like Christian immigrant narratives like Siri Mitchell’s A Heart Most Worthy or of women who went west despite marriage difficulties like Serena B. Mitchell’s The Measure of Katie Calloway. I knew my five great-aunties to be women of faith. Was I up to the task of telling their stories as Christian women?  

When I looked back on the path of my life with my education and historical interests already in place because of my job, I knew that I was. I felt that I might have something unique to bring to a larger audience who might also be ready to hear these stories of strength and courage and so the “Migrations of the Heart” series was born. 


I didn’t understand that within the publishing industry, that when something is not there on the market, there is a reason why it is not there.  I tried to trace down the truth of why there was, in effect, only one inspirational historical romance like mine that had been published way back in 2001 with African American characters.  It had been received with great critical claim and attention that made me think that there should have been others, but no one could tell why there wasn’t.  I thought of this as an error. Someone in some marketing department was mistaken and that surely they would see reason, if I would but provide the means. 


I knew I would have to find the way to seek my audience.  Social media performed that function.  I became comfortable with two platforms: Facebook and Twitter. I also decided to develop a blog that traced my writing journey and also sought to have interested readers learn about the history that I hoped to feature in my stories.  I knew that the reach of my audience would be one that liked to learn new things. Coming to my blog, which I first called “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes” in honor of my migrating aunties, would be fine with them. The blog also served the function of having a home place on the Internet where publishing officials could be in touch with me—just in case they were seized with the need to publish my story at any instant.   I used to blog every week, but then I saw how that frequency cut into my writing energy, and I cut back to twice a month on the second and fourth Sundays. This schedule has worked well for me. 

On Facebook I targeted groups I thought might be interested in my stories: Christian reading groups, genealogy groups, history buffs and other writers.  Some of this targeting was rather hit or miss, which I’ll get to in a minute, but this start allowed me to have a meaningful number of followers and friends. Such a list might help in spreading the word about my publishing endeavor.  Let me make clear, that at any time, I never formed what some call, “a street team.”  These individuals are my friends and followers.  I am not anywhere near ready for a street team just yet.  

With these I had these social mechanisms in place, I felt confident enough in my writing to enter contests.  I was able to get some attention with a contest win, my two Golden Heart nominations, and my quarter final placement in the Amazon Breakthrough contest. What I never expected was that it was because of social media that the next part fell into place. 


The changing nature of the publishing business meant that when I found a publisher (as I needed to because of my job), it was my connections on social media that put me in the right place and the right time. 

Facebook and Twitter.

Not the query letters, conferences, pitches, or any of that.  Social media. 

This is one of the ways that I believe the publishing industry will have to come to a new understanding of how people relate to one another and find book titles and information.  
There were three publishers who were all at the starting gate with my work in February, 2014. One was a recently started secular company.

One was a recently started Christian company.

The other was an established secular publishing house. 

I selected the established secular publisher because they knew how to conduct business and had a presence in the publishing industry.  Experience mattered for me at this point.  They also promised to get my titles out in a time frame that meant that I could capitalize on the publishing credits that I needed for my job. 

I made the right decision. God was by my side because shortly after I made my decision, the editor who loved my work at the small Christian publishing house?  She left. 

The editors from the new secular publishing house? They didn’t contact me until a year and some later. 

So the audience changed from one I thought I was to have to the one I was meant to have. I am grateful for them.  They look forward to my releases and connect with the points I’m seeking to make with the history.  Some in my audience also say that they have never read an inspirational romance—and they enjoyed it.  Mission accomplished.


I’ve only been with my publisher for two months, so I don’t know what they think of my books, but I’ve been pleased.  I nearly sold out of A Virtuous Ruby at the Decatur Book Festival, but one copy. People are contemplating teaching in my Migrations of the Heart series.  I don’t really know what’s ahead for me in terms of my series or for my indie published series. I’ve chosen to believe that it’s my purpose to present my stories of faith featuring characters who pulled through difficult circumstances by relying on God’s hand.  That sounds like a lot of inspirational fiction to me, but maybe not to others not so much. 

Warning: Do not dim the light!

The disadvantage of social media is that we can hang on to friends and followers even when they become less useful and supportive.  I’ve prayed about these moves that I’ve made. Even though I’ve had to make certain moves in times of duress, there are still some who have not been supportive.  There are some who will respond to the shine in you as if it burns them.  

If that happens, it’s best to move away from all of that. Those who would seek to dampen your shine are not friends and may need to tend to their own inner light.  I’ve learned the hard way to protect the light for myself.  It is my sacred duty to shine for Him. And only Him. 

Does dimming your light help to fulfill your purpose? 

Piper Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American sisters who move from Georgia to Pennsylvania during The Great Migration. Book one, A Virtuous Ruby was published in July 2015. The second book in the series, A Most Precious Pearl, was published in September 2015. The third, A Treasure of Gold, will be published in November 2015.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book one in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins.  

She blogs about the history behind her novels at She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son. 

Today Seekerville is giving away an ecopy of any one of Piper's Migration of the Heart releases to one commenter.  (A Virtuous Ruby, A Most Precious Pearl, or a preorder of her November release, A Treasure of Gold.) Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

And look!  Piper's release, A Virtuous Ruby is featured on the cover of the November RT Book Reviews that just arrived in subscriber's inbox.



Piper Huguley said...

Ahh, I'm the first one here due to my middle of the night insomnia! Well, I'll be in and out all day long. I know that Helen is probably having a blast at ACFW, so I have the coffee pot on, with apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin ones as well.

Thank you for featuring the cover. I did not know that was going to happen.....that was a complete surprise to me. And the arrow helps too!

Mary Preston said...

I have no doubt that you did your great-aunties proud. These stories promise to be marvellous reading.

Cindy W. said...

CONGRATULATIONS PIPER! Awesome that your books are releasing so close together too. When I read a 'series' I would really like it if the books released sooner than later. My sister who lives in Acworth, GA refuses to start reading a series until she has all the books in the series. I don't think I could do that but I understand why she does it.

Thank you so much for your great post. I'll be back to revisit it when I have more time to read it slowly and ingest it.

Have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Piper, your post is beautiful, and I love the tenacity behind it. Sometimes we create our own roads through the underbrush when none exist... otherwise how on earth do we ever achieve the watering hole?

Years ago when we had an RWA chapter here, Alice Wootson and Marilyn Tyner (published sisters from Philadelphia area) would come and chat with us. I met both ladies a couple of times, and they were also old friends of one of the gals in our choir, so I got plenty of Alice and Marilyn stories. They wrote for Arabesque at the time, but their words of wisdom about how to write for the market were marvelous. Two smart women, strong and assertive. I learned a lot from them.

We live and write in the best of times. We have the ability to self-publish our indie work, and let the readers decide. Honestly, that can be harsh or wonderful, and of course the trick is to indie-publish regularly to build the readership, but it's a super viable process.

And who knows what publishers are looking for? Some take chances, some don't. There's a reason that a manuscript that gets rejected 30 times and then gets picked up by Publisher 31... They liked it or saw its potential and the others didn't. It's a subjective business but it all comes down to numbers... and numbers potential. If they don't think they'll make money on a project, they won't publish it, but that's no longer the end of the road. I figure if it's something I know is good, and no one else wants it, I've got options with the press of a button and that's a wonderful new turn of events!

Congratulations on your growing success! Keep up the good work!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cindy, a lot of my readers do that! They hoard the series and then binge read! I'd never thought of that until I was publishing, but your sister is not alone, LOL!

Jessica Nelson said...

I love those covers!!! You sound really savvy about the! I agree that this publishing business is changing. But then I guess it always is? Thanks for sharing about your journey!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Piper and thanks for firing up the coffee pot. What a long way you have come, kiddo. I remember your first hello in Seekerville. Then you worked your butt off to learn your craft and now there is nothing stopping you!



Tina Radcliffe said...

Did I mention I brought cheese grits and eggs in your honor?

So what's next for you?

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much Mary Preston! I appreciate that sentiment--I certainly hope they would be proud. They did me proud too!

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Cindy W! I have heard of folk like your sister. There was a lady who kept contacting me about the Milford books and wanted to know how and when I was going to release them. I couldn't make her the promises she wanted so I guess she's opted not to read them. Maybe she'll come back in 2017 when I hope to be all done. :)

Mary Curry said...

Good morning, Piper.

Thank you for the apple cider donuts. I've had a craving. I'm going to be more careful today. Yesterday I put a donut down on my dresser with my coffee and went into the hallway. When I got back, the dog was sitting on my bed looking very smug and the donut was gone. He managed to get it without knocking over the coffee.

This is a wonderful post. I knew some of your journey, but it's inspiring to see it told in a narrative like this. It has been so amazing to watch you live your word SHINE this year. I hope (and predict) a wonderful future for you in publishing!

Piper Huguley said...

Hey Ruthy! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I'm glad that you liked my post and that you emphasized the tenacity behind it. That's a necessary part of this business, and it's pioneers like Alice Wootson (although I don't know her personally) who have had to show that when publishing doors have closed. Yes, it is all a business, but the days of Charles Dickens have long gone. I'm not sure when publishing will begin to understand that.

But as you say, in the meantime, there are other options. I'm glad they are there. I wish that for a number it wasn't a question of affordability in terms of getting an attention grabbing cover or great editing. A lot of people say there are too many people publishing, but I always wonder if there aren't voices being silenced by those limitations.

I brought the cider doughnuts just for you, but now I am moving on to more substantial fare now that Tina has brought the cheese grits and eggs!

Piper Huguley said...

Jessica Nelson, you have made my morning saying I sounded savvy about business! I have felt that a lot of this has been me bumbling! I did luck out by having the wonderful artist, Kanaxa, do my covers. I was blessed for sure! Thank you so much for stopping by Seekerville today!

The Artist Librarian said...

Of course blogger would eat up my nice long comment I had going ... =P

Thanks for sharing your story, Piper!

You wrote: "I tried to trace down the truth of why there was, in effect, only one inspirational historical romance like mine that had been published way back in 2001 with African American characters. It had been received with great critical claim and attention that made me think that there should have been others, but no one could tell why there wasn’t."

I don't suppose you have hypothesis on why now? Is there just not (enough) of an audience?

As a reader, I do think connection to the characters is more important than (and doesn't matter what) ethnicity they are, but being Asian American, I admit I get excited when I see Asian characters in Christian fiction. Like it's showing that we're all God's people: Christians come from many different backgrounds and we're all united through Christ ... But other than Camy Tang's Sushi series, I've only found a few titles that featured Asian protagonists (e.g. Sarah Sundin's "With Every Breath" has a half-Filipino heroine).

I have mixed feelings about it, but do you think the (secular) #weneeddiversebooks social media campaign will interest Christian publishers in seeking out titles that feature ... "minority" protagonists?

Congrats on your books! One of the few Christian historicals I remember seeing with African American protagonists was set in the Civil War (not my favorite time period to read about) but your series sounds intriguing! Going with a secular publishing house, did you feel like you had to lighten any spiritual threads in your books or was there more leeway since they are historical novels?

Piper Huguley said...

You remember when I first said hi Tina? And that I had lurked for quite a bit before that too....ah yes, those were the days. And there's always a lot to learn craft wise to try to pull off making characters seem human. It's an awesome thing though! So I thank you very much for bringing the real food!

Next? Well, a lot of my Milford folk are getting kind antsy so a lot of 2016 will be devoted to catching them up on that. I may be continuing the sisters, and we will see what my publisher has to say about that. Also, I have a request from a big pub for a special Project X that I'm working on. I hope something will come of that. I long to be like Jane Kirkpatrick. But if not, like Ruthy said, there are options! Thank you for having me here!

Piper Huguley said...

Ahh, Mary. We warred about getting a dog in this house for DS and your post reminds me about why we don't have one....

Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. It has been very gratifying to see you enjoy success on your journey as well. Kudos, my friend. :)

Kav said...

Honestly, I really don't like publishers thinking they know what readers want. It's not forward thinking at all because they are making decisions based on what has sold best in the past. But readers can only buy what's being offered so, really, how can that be a valid prediction of what would sell in the future? It just doesn't make sense.

Excited to get started reading this series, Piper. I've had a hard time getting A Virtuous Ruby up here in Canada. only promises delivery in 5 weeks!!!! Got tired of waiting so canceled that order and tried another Canadian online store. No luck. But Book Depository has it and says it can ship within 4 days so that's where I'm going next. Kind of ironic that a UK store can get it to me faster than a Canadian one.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Piper. Talk about shining your! I love when a traditionally published author takes bold steps into the Indie world. Wishing you all the best. And your covers...fabulous!

J. Hilton Steele said...

Marvelous post my friend. Love how you took the spark and nurtured it, through a lot of hardship, hard work and perseverance.

I dare say publishers think they know who will read their books, who won't. But I am glad to see your "orphan" Ruby on the cover of RWR. That's God's way of saying, "you can't stop My plan."

Peace and love, Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

PIPER -- I'm so excited and happy that your stories of strong women of faith are being shared with the world! Such beautiful covers -- and I can't help but think coming out one after another so quickly will create some "buzz." Your faith and hard work are paying off. Thank you for the reminder that we need to hold on to the dream God gave us--that He can find a way when WE don't see a way.

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you for visiting, The Artist Librarian! So glad to hear from you today! One of the reasons I went with post Civil war for my indie series is because it seemed that everytime there was an inspy historical romance with an African American it would be set during the Civil War. So I changed things up a bit. :) The one that I'm referring to, Passing By Samaria is set in the early 20th century, as my Migrations series is.

To your point about "the numbers"-- I've heard that a lot about the audience being too small. However,what I've learned that means is: we don't know how to market this book beyond what we know. And that is okay if pubs are comfortable marketing to who they know. However, I also hear alot about stores closing and pubs closing. And it seems to me that some people should try to get a lot more comfortable marketing in new places. They should notice things like the Pew study that said the most likely reader is a college-educated African American woman. (

There should be some thought about those studies and publishers, if they expect to exist, should adjust. I love Camy Tang's books and I would love to see more authors and stories like hers. I honestly don't know if the Christian world is listening to the whole #weneeddiversebooks campaign, but yeah, get some new numbers already.

Thanks for commenting!

Connie Gillam said...

Wow, Piper. You're a busy woman and so focused.Congratulations on your contract with Sanhaim. I understand your journey since I'm on it with you. I need to turn my light up a little brighter.

Sally Shupe said...

Wow. Piper. What a story! Thanks for sharing. I love genealogy and these stories are resonating with me. I cannot wait to read them! Congratulations on your writing journey and the way God has moved and worked for you. We don't know from one day to the next what will happen, but God does. Everything is in His time when we wait on Him. Will be praying for Project X!

Connie Queen said...

Piper, I remember reading an excerpt from one of your Milford College books, I think, in a Harlequin contest. Loved it!

I'd think in an untested market, there'd be greater possibility for making a big slash.
What a wonderful opportunity.

Sounds like you're moving in the right direction and have many things headed your way.

Deanna Stevens said...

Enjoyed meeting you Piper! I do enjoy stories of strong women of faith..
Wishing you much success :)

Janet Dean said...

Piper, Welcome to Seekerville! I enjoyed learning more about your writing journey. Congratulations on your success. And for the prayer, tenacity and hard work that got you there. What a joy it must be for you and your family to see your great aunties' stories in print.

Love that your book is on the RT cover. Go you!


BelleC said...

Hi Piper. What a fantastic post. I am thoroughly enjoying your Migrations series. Your writing has such authenticity. And you are sparkling and glimmering and shining. Don't let anyone ever put that light out! What a wonderful message.


Piper Huguley said...


I get your point entirely. I don't get what makes them so sure. It would have been cool to work in publishing, but I needed money...:)

I'm so sorry you've had to go through so much to get to Ruby. I thought Samhain had wider distribution than I did! But I hope you enjoy it when you get it. Thanks for commenting!

Piper Huguley said...


Congrats on all of your success lately! And the indie thing did come first for me, although interestingly enough, that is not what convinced my publisher to take me on. As always, who knows what the Lord has in store for us? Thank you so much for stopping by!

S. Trietsch said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your light shining through your article!! I'm sad I'll miss hearing you speak at GRW Saturday ;-( but look forward to another opportunity soon!!

I'd LOVE to read once of your books so please enter me in your drawing!!



Julie Lessman said...

PIPER!!! SUPER CONGRATS on the literary “hat trick,” my friend, which I think is an incredibly smart move if one can do it since not many people can, so MAJOR KUDOS!!

LOVE your covers and LOVE the premise of five sisters based on your five aunts -- VERY cool. And to have your cover on the cover of RT??? SCORE!!!

I'm curious, Piper -- are these stories loosely based on your aunts or are they firmly biographical of each of their lives including the romance?

May your light (and success) ever shine and the "buzz" grow to deafening decibels!!


Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Piper, and congratulations on getting those stories out there! Yes, Ruthy hit the nail on the head--tenacity is what this business is all about. The publishing world is rocking some big changes, and it can be hard to keep up and find our own best way through the maze.

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Piper,

How fun to find you here at Seekerville. I'm as thrilled as you to see these stories receive the acclaim they deserve. Thanks for all the help and inspiration you've been as a cp. Though we've moved on to beta readers and editors, it's not the same. I really admire the energy you put into social media. Maybe someday I'll get there.

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much for stopping by J Hilton Steele. Your friendship and support has meant so much to me on this journey. And I love the way that you put it too--that's a quote for me to hold onto!

Piper Huguley said...


Thank you so much for stopping by and giving your message of uplift. It's mighty hard sometimes when we get those rejections and we don't know what is in His plan. That's where faith comes in. Thank you for your kind words!

Barbara Scott said...

Piper, Glynna hit the nail on the head when she wrote, "He can find a way when WE don't see a way." That's what you affirmed in your post. God has been with you through your entire writing journey, even when you couldn't see a way forward. I applaud authors who publish outside of the normal CBA market. You're reaching people who might never read an inspirational romance otherwise.



Jackie said...

Oh Piper, congratulations! Those are some impressive honors you've received, but I'm sure you're more pleased by honoring God through your writing. I'm so happy for you!

Mary Connealy said...

Piper, I love this blog. I love those covers and titles and YAY on getting on the cover of RT, great promo opportunity!!!!!!


Tina Radcliffe said...

Will you be in San Diego next year for RWA? I gotta say I am blown away at how you are so prolific with books that require much research..and you have another job!!!

Piper Huguley said...


You know I will make sure you do not dim your light! (And yes, Seekerville, I guess I can be!) Thank you for stopping by!

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you Sally for coming back! And I appreciate all prayers on Project X!

Piper Huguley said...

Connie Queen, you are awesome for remembering The Preacher's Promise from SYTYCW 2 years ago! Thank you for that! I appreciate the encouragement and that you left a comment today. :)

Piper Huguley said...


I look at it as the stories of women of faith help us to hold on to our own. We need them! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Piper Huguley said...


Please know that your historical examples helped me in thinking about how to do approach my stories. Thank you for commenting today!

Piper Huguley said...


It's with the example of friends like you that I have learned to grow and take chances. Thank you so much for leading the way with your light!

Piper Huguley said...


Just by leaving your comment, you are in! Thanks for saying that though about GRW--maybe we'll meet at a future meeting. Thank you for your kind words!

Piper Huguley said...

Julie Lessman!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! And for your example as a historical romance author!

Yes, you are right, my stories are more inspired by my great-aunties and not as much based exactly on. For instance, they came northward in the second wave of The Great Migration, during World War II. My Bledsoe sisters are in that first wave, during and just after World War I. But there were some things that I had to leave for other kinds of stories... Those ladies were something else!

Piper Huguley said...


You are so right. We have to rock with those changes. May I say I love the cover of your newest and I look forward to reading it as a 20th century historical? Thank you so much for coming by!

Piper Huguley said...


Thank you so much for stopping by. I never thought of it as energy, but you are right. I just saw it as widening the tent, I suppose. Congrats on your releases, and I look forward to your new ones, even as I might not have gotten the opportunity to read them first....:)

Piper Huguley said...


You are so right. When I was disappointed with what I perceived as my lack of success in the CBA, that's what got me through: that I was reaching a new audience. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!

Piper Huguley said...


From my perspective, I see the awards as turning up the light and reaching those who might not have thought of my work as a possible. To me, it's part of His plan in seeing us all as His children. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Piper Huguley said...

Hey Mary,

Thank you so much for commenting and for being an example for folk like me who write inspy historical romance! I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I am not eating cheese grits.

But I will eat Fried Green Tomatoes. I love them.

And fried eggplant.

The loving fried foods part of me is Southern, but mostly I'm pure Yank.

Piper, it is a different journey for too many professions if you're a person of color. Now, that doesn't mean achievement isn't possible, but I've never, ever, ever understood reading lines for white and black.

I love stories. I don't give a hoot what color the people are, I actually care more about what kind of dog they own because that says way more about a person than their color.

Now maybe that's because we've got a bunch of bi-racial family members, but even before that happened, I don't remember ever seeing color. I see smiles. Smirks. Rude glances. Joy, peace, angst, pathos, love, anger... but it's the emotion I see, not the skin tone. So for me, blending story lines is the perfect answer.

If I pick up a Piper book or a Bell Calhoune book and the characters are African American, I wouldn't even notice unless the cover reveals it.

But I also love that in historicals we give pure justice to what black Americans endured. So that's different, because that's a walk in another sister's moccasins.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, and I had a tri-racial heroine in my second Love Inspired, "Waiting Out the Storm". Sarah was African-American, Native American and Caucasian mixed. And no one said a thing.

Not one reader even cared.

I loved that.

Her race wasn't part of the conflict, so maybe that was the difference. And she was in the North Country where folks only care that you get the job done and do it right.

Life and writing are so very interesting.

Piper Huguley said...

Hey Tina,

The plan is to have the family trip in San Diego next year. DS has known RWA is coming there for quite a few years and as an animal lover, he's eager to go. So I'm thinking of a panel to propose and looking forward to attending!

The research is all part of my day job, so it does double duty. I'm not trying to diminish it, but it does make it a bit easier. Still,thank you for your kind words anyway!

Piper Huguley said...

Ahh Ruthy and that they are...

I love your lunch suggestion...Fried Green Tomatoes. They are so good. Everyone have a sandwich made of Fried Green Tomatoes. That is some love right there....

I'm glad you feel that way. See, I've always thought that the point of reading fiction was to walk in someone else's proverbial moccasins for a while, so it's been a bit disarming that not everyone feels that way.

As for your Sarah, yes, that probably was the difference in that her multi-racial heritage were not part of the conflict. It's a bit different, as you say, when you have the visible marker that makes you appear as a different race. This is crucial to the conflict, for instance in my A Virtuous Ruby, because Ruby doesn't understand why the hero would want to pass as white in the world. So her attitude toward him is crucial to the conflict there....and to how she seeks to win him over to her point of view on the whole passing issue.

Very interesting indeed. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Piper, I'm going to share two thoughts about indie pubbing. You mentioned that the cost of editing and covers can be prohibitive....

Editing can be very costly, but sometimes that's because the person isn't really ready and they're pushing a lower quality work. Now usually we don't know we're doing that! When I first entered contests, I was sure I was ready. I wasn't, but it wasn't until I got that feedback and worked with a big variety of folks that I was able to discern the difference. So starting too soon puts folks in a "going nowhere" spin, and that's discouraging, but those slight variances are huge.

Covers aren't really too bad. I've used Killion for mine, and remember I worked three jobs to afford ink/laptop/paper/contests. I didn't leave my third job until I had three books out, so I'm convinced that if you want it badly enough... and you're really ready... you can make it happen.

I don't mean that to sound discouraging, but I've seen so many folks rush to publish and they really haven't gotten to that point of knowing they're ready or just thinking they're ready.

If it needs a huge amount of editing, maybe the author needs more practice.

Let me be the first to say that NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR THAT. :)

Mary Hicks said...

Piper, all of your books have lovely covers—I love them!!

I enjoyed a quick read of your post and plan to re-read it after I get back from the dentist. :-)

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much Mary Hicks!

I hope all goes well at the dentist for you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I saw a genealogy episode last year and I will write this story someday.... the daughter realized her mother was black, from New Orleans and had passed as French/Italian all these years and the mother made her swear to never tell until she was dead because she couldn't face living a lie for over fifty years.

I have a twist in "Refuge of the Heart", I can't mention it here, but what a post-Holocaust woman did to protect people here in America.

We are so formed by our experiences... until we examine those around us and see better. Sometimes that's like the world's greatest eye-opener, a total Holy Spirit thing.

I've never made Fried Green Tomato sandwich.

I'm helping unload pumpkins for our big pumpkin display and it's 85 degrees and I'm about as hot as a woman can get, LOL! Time for a SNAPPLE!!!!

Piper Huguley said...


Yes, that is true. No one wants to hear that. As for the editing thing, that is also true, but I still feel the need for at least a proofreader. They do tend to come a little less expensively that the copy/line editors though.

And then the cover. Well, I guess it depends on what you want. I was insistent on having people on my covers. There are fewer covers out there with African Americans on them, and the ones with historical ones are....practically non-existent. So then the cost goes up. I was fortunate to go with where I was still able to get my cover at a very reasonable cost, but I bankrolled that cover with the insurance money I received after my mother died--knowing that's what she would want me to do.

The other solution is to have stock covers with images on them, rather than people. They say they sell more than the ones with people on it. I might look to try that someday, but I'm pretty satisfied with how my covers have worked out thus far. I need some pretty strong images to make me reconsider. Those do have the plus of being less expensive.

Piper Huguley said...

I saw that episode!!! I love those shows. So awesome.

I love the pumpkins. I saw some of your picture on FB.

The bright orange color of pumpkins never fails to lift my spirits.....

Pumpkin cookies anyone?

Sherida Stewart said...

Piper, this is inspiring to read about your journey...and your "bright" future ahead. Yes, God is by your side! Congratulations on your well deserved success. Thankfully you were confident in your direction, and your hard work is being rewarded. Cheering for you!!!

Piper Huguley said...

Awww, thank you so much for your kind comments Sherida! I certainly hope that I'm doing Him honor in all I do. I so appreciate your kind words--you've always been wonderfully supportive. Thank you!

J. Hilton Steele said...

I'll have one. I've cracked a tooth and have grandkidlets but have been watching the conversation. One of the things I've learned from watching Piper and others struggle to find a place in Christian fiction is that people do care about what the hero and heroine's make up is. People want to see people who reflect themselves, their friends, their neighbors. They want the real world, abet a better one.

And that I think has been one of the worst failings of Christian fiction as I have seen it over the past decade.

Thank goodness for all those who have gone indie to publish so many books like Piper had to do in the beginning and Belle Calhoune did with great success.

Okay, now I'll have a pumpkin cookie and maybe some pumpkin ice cream with it.

Myra Johnson said...


Honey, you don't know what's good!

However, I do agree with what you said: "I've seen so many folks rush to publish and they really haven't gotten to that point of knowing they're ready or just thinking they're ready."

That's my one big beef with indie publishing. There really are no gatekeepers except the reading public, and by then an author's reputation is out there and there's not much to be done about it.

Debby Giusti said...

So proud of your success, Piper! Congrats! Look at all those books!!!

And you sold out at the Decatur Book Festival! Fantastic!

Love how your light shines! Your stories touch so many. I know your Mama is proud...she's looking down and beaming, no doubt!

Sorry I won't be at the GRW meeting this weekend when you're presenting! I've got the crud...fever and sore throat, so I need to stay home and keep my germs to myself! :) I know you'll have great things to say.

Hugs and love!

Janet Dean said...

Piper, tickled my stories helped in some small way! I'm sure your books are helping other writers see ways to approach their venture into the past.

Can you share what you do for your day job?


Janet Dean said...

Debby, so sorry you're sick! Take care of you.

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Myra, is it just me or do others think grits doesn't sound like something that should be edible?


Missy Tippens said...

Piper, what a great post! Thanks so much for sharing your story. It's exciting to see your stunning covers for these new books. I'm glad you followed through and wrote these stories.

Missy Tippens said...

Piper, I was up last night with insomnia, too. I should have stopped by then! :) I didn't fall asleep until almost 5 am. Ugh. Now I'm about to drop.

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Connie Gillam! It's great to see you here!

Missy Tippens said...

Tina brought grits!! Yum! (But do you know how to make them???)


DebH said...

Hi Piper
Huge, huge, huge congrats on your writing success and getting such wonderful sounding stories published. I've been watching your progress through your interaction with Seekerville (about as social media as I get) and so thrilled with how far you've progressed. It's quite inspiring.

I love how you have taken the stories of your aunts and are giving the reading public true women to look up to. That is so cool! I'd love to be in the draw for one of your books and will have to add the others to my "to buy" list - which, because of budget reasons is getting way too long. *sigh*

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! It's a celebrate Piper day. I also love your post about keeping the Shine on. A Keeper.

Debby Giusti said...

Waving to Connie Gillam! :)

And Belle!

Hugs to both of you! :)

Chill N said...

"People are contemplating teaching in my Migrations of the Heart series."

Oh, Piper, look how many lives your writing has the potential to reach -- how fantastic! Congratulations on all your accomplishments. This is a lovely, inspiring post. Thank you.

Nancy C

CatMom said...

Hello Piper!! Just got home from being on the go today, and saw you're in Seekerville - - sooo glad you shared this post with us. And I was smiling as I read the beginning, because I remember my precious Mama also singing "This Little Light" when I was growing up, and then to my kiddos. :)
CONGRATS on your writing success!!
Hugs, Patti Jo

Rhonda Starnes said...

Piper, thank you for such an inspiring post! Congratulations on your success!!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Loved your beautiful and inspiring post, Piper. I share your passion for genealogy and history. Congratulations on taking the step you took and your success.

Marianne Barkman said...

Hi great to see you here, and to hear your fantastic story. I'm looking forward to reading about your great aunts.

Piper Huguley said...

J Hilton Steele,

I know that's one of the biggies I always get critiqued is on the "too real" part. I think that's an ongoing part of the romance world. Christian romance, being part of that, will also be part of that potentially different approach. I guess it's in what people prefer.

I'm so glad you got to see the dentist and thank you for the recommendation of pumpkin ice cream with the cookies. I love that stuff!

Myra Johnson said...

JANET, if you ever tasted shrimp & grits, you'd never say such a thing!

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much Debby! I appreciate that you were able to come by today and say hello! I'm sorry that you are sick. Please take care of yourself and get better soon! Hugs from over by the airport!

Piper Huguley said...


I am a professor of United States Literature and African American Studies. And like Myra said, you really need to eat some grits. With shrimp or cheese is good, but yeah, eat some....:)

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you for your kind words Missy! Here's to a good night's sleep tonight for both of us......:)

Missy Tippens said...

Debby, I hope you feel better!!

Piper Huguley said...

Hi DebH! Thank you for your kind words too. I've seen all of your posts in Seekerville over the years too and I know you are working on it. I took a hiatus when my son was small and I didn't do anything in terms of my writing. There was a time when Beverly Jenkins came to the library just down the street and I didn't go because I thought my son was too small and he would make a whole lot of noise. That was a low day for me, although when I told her my sad little story, she told me I should have brought him anyway....) I admire you mothers with small children who can get something done. It will happen. Stay with it! You are in the drawing! Thank you for stopping by!

Bettie said...

Congratulations Piper on your well won victory. May your light keep shining. I would be happy to win a copy of one of your books.

Piper Huguley said...

Chill N,

I couldn't believe that when I saw that in the "Teach Me Tonight" blogpost. I've always been an academic fan and it blew me away when I saw that. I also thought it was cool when I got to be in a wiki. I'm so glad you enjoyed my post and commented today! Thank you!

Piper Huguley said...


Thank you so much for stopping by on your busy day! I appreciate your kind words! I'm feeling kind of something peachy for dessert today--just in your honor. :)

Piper Huguley said...

Rhonda Starnes,

Thank you so much and return congrats to you on your accomplishment as well!

Piper Huguley said...

Pat Jeanne Davis,

Such fascinating ways history can be revealed to us. I feel blessed to bear witness to it. Thank you for stopping by today!

Piper Huguley said...


Thank you so much for your kind words and I hope you enjoy my stories! Happy reading!

Piper Huguley said...


You have given me a new perspective on this publishing journey. I never thought of it that way, so thank you and thank you so much for leaving a comment today! You are in the drawing!

beverly said...

Let that light shine! You're lighting up the world.

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment, beverly! Thank you for stopping by!

Walt Mussell said...

Piper, I'm so looking forward to your presentation this weekend at the GRW meeting.

Also, very inspiring post. And, as I'm already a fan of your work, I will let someone else win the drawing.

Tanya Agler said...

Piper, I'm so glad I stopped by Seekerville tonight. I'm especially looking forward to hearing you at GRW on Saturday. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and letting your light shine. I've read The Lawyer's Luck, The Mayor's Mission, and The Preacher's Promise, and I can truthfully say each of them touched me. I especially like March and look forward to more Milford books.

Thanks for sharing so much of your writing journey, and thank you for sharing your talent.

Edwina said...

Your post was very inspiring! Thanks for sharing with us today!


Piper Huguley said...

Aww, thank you so much for stopping by Walt! I'm looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Piper Huguley said...


You've been there all along, and it's awesome that you even like my stories on top of sticking by me! Tomorrow will be fun. Thanks for commenting!

Piper Huguley said...

I appreciate your kind words! Thank you for stopping by, Edwina!

Suzanne Baginskie said...

I loved reading about your journey and dedication to achieve publication. Releasing three novels a month a part, oh my. What a great accomplishment and so exciting. Keep on writing and inspiring others. The process of writing can be lonely and dark as you know when you face that blank page. God shines his light to lift our spirits and hearts, we are not alone. We need to trust ourselves and type away. Lots of luck wished for your future endeavors.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HiPIPER, I am sorry I missed your lovely post yesterday. I hope you check back and see that I have responded because I want you to know how much I enjoyed the post and learning of your journey. Isn't it amazing all the ways God works with us? What a blessing your writing is to allof us. I'm delighted you are providing a slice of history we don't normally see. So interesting.

Best wishes and thanks for joining us again.

Chris Bailey said...

Thank you, Piper. What beautiful covers! And what a lot of truth to ponder. My second novel attempt was inspirational historical, based on my great-great-great grandparents emigration from Scotland to America. Years later, I understand why some of the rejections said the writing wasn't strong enough. (I still wonder why my agent at the time didn't suggest changes.) But some rejections said historical fiction about ordinary people--non-aristocrats--wouldn't sell. What you've said about your aunties gives me hope that my stories might one day shine. I wish you all the best with your publishing journey.

Gail Hart said...

Very good advice, Piper. None of us writers should let anyone else convince us to dim our own lights. There are enough people and forces trying to dim our lights; we shouldn't help them!

Congrats on the success of your series with the secular publisher, as well as of your self-published series. :-)


Piper Huguley said...


Thank you so much for your words of truth. It is a matter of trusting, isn't it? And the releases were my publisher's idea. I hope it all works out as they hope! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you so much for stopping by! It is amazing and I feel blessed to be able to do the work of bringing this part of history to light. You know I love my time in Seekerville! It was a pleasure!

Piper Huguley said...


I would read that story in a heartbeat! And I recall hearing that on the wind about ordinary people. It's just not true anymore. I hope you don't give up on your story....thank you for commenting and speaking about it!

Piper Huguley said...


My lovely Lucky! Thank you so much for lifting me up and stopping by Seekerville! I so appreciate your kind words of support!