Wednesday, October 14, 2015


with guest Shelley Shepard Gray.

 It happened yesterday. Just after I finished speaking on a panel at the Ohio Library Council Convention, a gal asked how I was able to keep doing what I do.


“You know,” she said. “You’ve had such a long career. How do you keep from burning out? What keeps you wanting to write?”

Well, I’d like to tell you that I replied with something noteworthy. Something impressive. Instead, I think I’m pretty sure I mumbled a couple of sentences about enjoying the writing process. 

Yeah, I don’t think she was too excited about my answer, either.

I have a good excuse, though. She caught me off guard. Until that moment I had never really thought that I had a long career. I had simply been glad that I had one. 

Maybe some of y’all can relate?

The truth is that somewhere in between the deadlines and the blog tours, in between phone calls and critique meetings. Revisions and research…I’ve been a published writer for 16 years.  During this time, I’ve published close to 60 books.  30 have been for Avon Inspire. 12 were for Harlequin American Romance. 8 were for Avalon Romance, 3 for Abingdon, 4 for Zondervan/Thomas Nelson. I had a couple other publishing houses mixed in there…and probably that many rejections for proposals and full manuscripts that nobody ever wanted. 

That’s a lot of books. 

But now, looking back, I don’t think I ever paused to think about what an achievement it’s been. Instead, I’ve only let myself think about what had to be done that week. Or, if I’m feeling really productive…that month. 

I’ve spent most of my writing career living by the calendar. When I was unpublished, I was counting days that my agent and/or editor had proposals. Now I’m counting days until something is due. Or planning for the next RT or RWA or ACFW Convention.  I have a feeling some of you are doing the same thing. By the nature of our jobs, we have to look forward. It’s virtually impossible (for me, at least) to write a book otherwise. 

All this explanation isn’t to say that I’m not grateful. I am and I always have been! I love being a writer, and I think that getting paid to make stuff up in my basement is amazing. I have the best job in the world. 

But somehow, in between my first sale to yesterday’s question…a career happened that I wasn’t truly aware of.

There’s a song called Don’t Blink by country artist Kenny Chesney. In it, he sings about life passing by in an instant. I think my twenty-year-old self would have doubted that things ever happen that fast. But now that I’m almost fifty, I must admit Kenny knows what he’s talking about. Life does happen, and sometimes it does feel like it goes by in the blink of an eye.

Now, almost twenty-four hours later, I finally have an answer to that gal’s question. 

How do I keep doing what I do?

I just do. Because to stop writing would be harder than meeting my next deadline.  Because to not have something to look forward to would just about kill me. And because I love what I do. 

Wherever you are in your career, I hope you take a moment to flip that calendar back a page or two. Pause to think about where you’ve been. Even if it wasn’t all hearts and flowers, it was worthwhile because it’s going to get you where you need to go. 

And that, of course, is forward. 

Shelley Shepard Gray writes Amish romances for Harper Collins inspirational line, Avon Inspire and historical romances as Shelley Gray for Zondervan. Her novels have been Holt Medallion winners and Inspirational Readers Choice and Carol finalists. Shelley’s novels have appeared on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.   

To date, Shelley’s novels have been highlighted in the Philadelphia Enquirer,  Washington Post, Time Magazine, and USA Today. She has also been interviewed on NPR as well as numerous regional radio stations. 

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s degree in English literature and elementary education and later obtained her master’s degree in educational administration. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two young adults, and is an active member of her church. Shelley is active on Facebook and Twitter. She also has a website,

Shelley's latest release is a  an RT Book Reviews 4 1/2 Star TOP PICK!  A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft released yesterday and Seekerville has tucked away print copy for one blog visitor who comments today!  


 When Beverly Overholt’s beloved Orange Blossom Inn is broken into, she’s shaken to her core. After all, the inn has been her whole life since her fiancé left her for her best friend. In the face of repairing what’s been lost, Beverly calls Eric Wagler, the inn’s handsome owner. To her surprise, he promises to be on the next flight out to Sarasota. Beverly’s been closed off to love for years, but with Eric, she can’t help seeing a glimmer of hope—even if they’re from different worlds.

From the moment Eric met Beverly, he’s tried to fight his attraction to her. Though now Mennonite, Beverly was raised Amish, but Eric grew up in Philadelphia and got into his fair share of trouble as a young man. Though he’s worked to overcome his earlier mistakes, with Beverly’s security scare, Eric’s sure she’s not going to want anything more to do with him. And considering how he might just want a future with her…that’s a tough pill to swallow.

But as Beverly and Eric put the inn back together, prepare for Christmas, and even witness a new love blossoming for another couple, the trust…and love…between them grows. Will Christmas bring a second chance at love for Beverly? And if it does, will she be brave enough to take it?


Additionally, because it's the middle of our birthday celebration, we've got an Amazon gift card to share as well. All winners announced in the Weekend Edition. 


Jackie said...

I love that Kenny Chesney song. Life does go by fast, and we need to find moments to enjoy and appreciate all we have. It sounds like you got the opportunity to do just that.

Thanks for sharing!

Tina Radcliffe said...

What a total treat to have Shelley here with us. Let's put on some Christmas music, spray some fir and spice air freshener and bring out my Grandmother's Italian Spice Christmas cookies in her honor.

Welcome, Shelley and congratulations on your RT Top Pick!!!!

Marianne Barkman said...

I've got fresh cinnamon rolls, coffee and Earl Grey Tea...where's Helen? She usually has it all set up. Shelley, I. Love. Your. Books. And I love that you are joining me (well, Seekerville, and others, too) for the birthday month party. Oops, GQ I know that's not said right, but that's why I'm not a writer, and you are. So glad to have you Shelley. I'll check in later to see if more cinnamon rolls are needed.

Marsha Bernabe said...

Thank you for sharing. Remembering how time flies helps difficult times pass by. :-)

Tina Radcliffe said...

OOOOH!! Marianne's Cinnamon rolls are the best!!! Thank you, Ms. Barkman!

Carol Garvin said...

With each passing year I've been shocked at how much faster the weeks and months kept slipping away. I thought there would come a point when the speed would level out, BUT IT NEVER HAS! It still goes faster every year! That gives an urgency to my writing. Given my age, I may never have an official career ahead of me, but there are still goals I want to achieve. Thank you for this post. It helps me acknowledge the legitimacy of my daily writing routine and what I'm trying to accomplish. Maybe I'll have to give some thought to having an answer ready for the next time someone asks me why I write. :)

Terri said...

Good morning Shelley, I'm so excited you've started writing historical suspense as Shelley Gray.

Janet Kerr said...

Thank you for such a heart warming story!

Melissa Jagears said...

There are some days I wonder where my little ones have gone and some days I wish they'd just be grown up already! There's always that dichotomy of life going too slow and life going too fast.

Mary Preston said...

The years just fly by don't they? Gives me pause some days.

Cindy W. said...

I love Don't Blink by Kenny Chesney because it has such a message. I can remember when I was young, summer seemed to drag by and I could hardly wait for the new school year because it brought new opportunities, new friendships and the holidays. I loved school. Now that I am in my early sixties time flies by. It seems just yesterday my husband and I were married and it has been 15 years.Wonderful years, but they have flown by. But the funny thing is, I can talk with young people now and they too are telling me time has sped up and is moving too fast for them.

Thank you for your post today Shelley and Happy Birthday Seekerville!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Shelley, thank you so much for donating a book to give away to our readers! They'll love it!

And thanks for sharing your amazing career with us. Congratulations on all of your success, and the RT Top Pick. God bless you with continued good work in many directions.

And I'm totally excited over Marianne's cinnamon rolls. With caramel coffee, that I've brought along!

The Artist Librarian said...

Wow, 60 books! That's awesome, Shelley!

Was there something in particular that drew you to writing about the Amish? How much research do you have to do? =)

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome, Shelley! Wow! Sixty books...I can't imagine. I love that you mentioned Don't Blink by Kenny Chesney's song. It's such a beautiful and poignant song for our life and how the days and years pass in a blink of an eye.
Having received my first contract one month after turning fifty, I can relate to counting the days until a deadline. I'm trying hard to slow down and enjoy each step of the journey, but as you know, sometimes it can be difficult.
Congratulations on all of your achievements!

Evelyn said...

You're awesome, Shelley!
Sometimes we just realized that we work without realising the sense of accomplishment. I'm not an author but if I am, an author should feel happy since they make an adventure themselves. Writing is one of the most profound kind of art so it's amazing to make such an impact in other people's lives. Some people even become a Christian through the work of an author. It's truly an outstanding achievement.
Thank you for such a lovely post.

Kate said...

Shelley, I appreciate how you keep looking forward and taking one step at a time. Stopping to enjoy those steps is a skill I need to practice more!!! Thanks for sharing!

Jackie said...

Hi Shelley,

I just left Goodreads, and the advertisement box on the right is flipping through your books. How exciting for you!

Have a great day everybody!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good morning Shelley, Thank you for joining us here in Seekerville with your inspiring post. So funny that you had been writing all this time and just realized it was a career. And a wonderful one from the sounds of it. smile Thanks for sharing as we all need that poke of inspiration.

Have fun today.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Marianne, I love your cinnamon rolls. Thanks for bringing them by and making tea. Yay.

And Ruthy, I'll try the caramel coffee. Sounds yummy. Although I've already had some Chocolate Velvet. I have more to share if anyone wants to try it.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, SHELLEY, and welcome to Seekerville! Time DOES fly. It seems like only yesterday I was dreaming of "some day" being published and beginning to take prayerful steps to move in that direction. But it seems totally impossible that my first book came out about this time in 2009 -- SIX YEARS and 10 books ago? NO WAY.(Finishing up #11 now). As you mentioned, you keep your eyes on the NEXT book!

I'm going to have to find your latest Christmas book--I love reading heartwarming stories as that special season approaches. Having grown up in small-town Iowa and Missouri not far from Amish communities, the gentle stories of similar communities. are especially appealing in the hub bub of today's world and especially at the holidays.

Could you tell us, please, a bit about how you became drawn to and knowledgeable about the Amish way of life? How you made the decision to write in that genre? What ups and downs did you encounter along the way breaking into that specialized genre?

Caryl Kane said...

Hello SHELLEY! Congratulations on your successful career. Thank you for the reminder that we need to LIVE in the Present moment.

Please put me in the drawing for the GC.

Sally Shupe said...

Great post, Shelley. It's good to sit back and evaluate why you do what you do. Makes you realize what you like about it and appreciate it. Thanks for sharing!

JILL, congratulations on your first contract! Cant' wait to read your book!

Loves To Read said...

What an interesting post. I love your books so please enter me in the drawing.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Shelley,
You're about the age I was ten years ago when I started taking personal inventory of the chapters of my life completed and what I'd like the next chapters to look like. Like it says in the Word, our lives are "living epistles read of all men". Taking stock of what our "epistle" will read like is a good thing, it helps us set our compass in the right direction.

Thank you for sharing your story today, many blessings as you write toward your own happy-ever-after!

Shelley Sabga said...

Good morning, Seekerville!
I must confess that I have been giddy ever since Tina invited me to take part in your birthday celebration. It's been an honor to join y'all!
Some of you asked about researching the Amish. I not only live an hour away from an Amish community (they also have cinnamon rolls!) but a lady in my church has a best friend who is old order Amish up in Sugarcreek. Since I think we all know things like that just don't 'happen', I knew I was meant to write romances featuring the Amish.
A few years ago, I was up in Sugarcreek attending an Amish wedding, and the girls all asked if I was going to put them in a book. : )
I've been having so much fun reading everyone's comments. I have to tell you that I know adore caramel coffee! Thank you for the warm welcome!

Wilani Wahl said...

Shelley, It is so awesome to see you here today. I will never forget my trip to Pinecraft to meet you and others from the Buggy Bunch. Your writing is what encourages me to be a better writer.

I am half way through Whispers in the Reading Room and it is so good. I am finding it hard to put down my kindle. I will have to discipline myself to finish the lesson and visuals for Cubbies tonight first and then it will be back to reading.

Thank you for writing such wonderful stories.

karenk said...

HI Shelley,
A GREAT posting.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Christina said...

Hi Shelley,
So great to have you here on Seekerville. Though I've only had one book published as of today, I can relate to your post. We get so caught up in the daily 'to do's' we often forget to just stop and look at what all we've accomplished so far. At 50+ I have a few things I could share with my 20 year old self now.
I am in awe of all you have accomplished. I so enjoy your books. Thanks for being here and sharing with us all.


Candee Fick said...

Such a great question to answer about why we keep on doing this. I say it's because the stories just keep appearing and new characters start talking and somebody has to get them out of my head. :-) I'm with you on the counting days forward thing since I'm launching my debut in under three weeks ... But as I write guest blog posts for marketing, I'm reminded how far I've come. Wasn't it just yesterday that I sat down to write my first (will-never-see-the-light-of-day) manuscript?

And thanks for the cinnamon rolls! Seekerville breakfast is the best, especially since I can sneak seconds without worrying about calories.

Becky Dempsey said...

One step at a time. That's good advice. Thank you for being here.

Vanessa said...

I can't wait to add this book to me Christmas collection. Guess I'll be going shopping this weekend!

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Shelley! Yes, time sure does fly by. I was just whining about this to the Seekers last night after taking my college freshman daughter back to campus after fall break. How did the nest empty so quickly?!

Missy Tippens said...

Candee, congrats on your upcoming debut!!

Sarah Claucherty said...

Shelley! How lovely to see you here today. I used to spend family vacations in Sugar Creek and Walnut Creek, Ohio, so I'm thrilled to hear a Seekerville guest reference that area :) try the Carlilse in Walnut Creek for a lovely place to stay!

What inspires you to keep writing Amish and historical stories?

I would love to hop into the giveaway! Your book would be a perfect gift for my sister for Christmas, or I'd love the gift card to buy either books or Christmas gifts :)

Myra Johnson said...

Shelley, this is such an important reminder. We do get so busy trying to "make it" that we too seldom look back and appreciate the journey. Thank you for the encouraging words today!

Sarah Claucherty said...

Missy, as a college senior about to graduate in December, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE TIME HAS GONE!

Missy Tippens said...

Melissa, I agree. I look at cute toddlers and wish for my kids to be little again. Then if I'm realistic, I remember how exhausted I was back then, I remember thinking that if I could just get them out of diapers life would be good. :) Plus, back then, I had to write from 11 pm to 3 am!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Such a great post, Shelley. Thank you for sharing with us today. Oh the things I could tell my twenty-year-old self. The sad thing is I probably wouldn't have believed myself. :D

So, the only thing my fifty-year-old self can do is to realize time goes fast and life is short. Enjoy every moment and take time to do the things you love.

Missy Tippens said...

Sarah, I know how quickly those four years fly by! But that's so exciting!! Are you looking for a job now or going on to graduate school?

Vince said...

Hi Shelly:

Thanks, I went back and watched "Don't Blink" again on YouTube. If you think time goes fast between 20 and 50, let me tell you this: between 50 and 70 life's afterburners kick in!

But then life flows at the same time in many different streams. Some fast, some slow, and some even flow backwards. It helps to be in the present moment of the most important stream at any given time.

This takes me back many years when I always checked the new Harlequin American releases hoping for heroes who were baseball players. If you wrote one of those, I read it!

My answer about why I write is always this:

"I write because I cannot not write and when I can not not write, I surely will not write."

I love the bride on your cover! Is she one of the very rare heroines over the age of 40? I really like a heroine who is mature enough to appreciate what love is all about. (Of course what romance fan wants to be vicariously old when she can be young and beautiful at her current age?)

BTW: How do you get away with it?

Ruth has to go to Franciscan Media to mention Catholics in a romance. Also most inspirational guidelines prohibit the mention of specific denominations in Christian fiction: there's never a Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostal; and yet, you get to have a romance where the heroine switches from Amish to Mennonite! Isn't that a little like changing from Southern Baptist to Free Will Baptist?

This all does not seem to be very ecumenically equitable.

I've read and enjoyed many Amish romances. We have Amish living and farming very near to Tulsa. I'm very light on Mennonite romances however. Please include me in the drawing for "A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft." (A Kindle edition if possible.)


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, I've often wondered the same thing, and I think I have the answer: The Amish don't read our books. In many Amish homes they would be forbidden, so the possibility of backlash from angry Amish or Mennonites is diminished.

In this particular instance, the subjects of the books almost NEVER read the books.

Now that's something to think about.

If we were to write about any other denomination in such detail, there would be a firestorm, unless you're Jan Karon and Mitford which was absolutely delightful, so who can get mad at that?

Interesting when you go to that perspective, isn't it?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jackie, I love "Don't Blink", too! :) It's a book in a song.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Christina, that one book is a wonderful accomplishment! I'm smiling, just thinking about it!

Wendy Newcomb said...

I love Shelley's books and this one sounds like it will be another winner and what a great cover!

wfnren at aol dot com

Myra Johnson said...

VINCE, just a reminder, most of JULIE's characters in her Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series (Revell) are from Catholic families. I also had a Catholic character in my Till We Meet Again series (Abingdon). So it really depends on the publisher.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks for this food for thought, Shelley!
I'm such a ruminator! I guess that's why I'm always thinking about what's ahead AND what I've left behind. It can be a bad thing, though, too much ruminating, but I do pause to think about what I've accomplished, and to thank God that I have been blessed with this fledgling career as an author. And I think I keep doing it, and WANT to keep doing it, not only because I need the money (sorry, it's true!) but because I feel like it's a ministry and it's what I'm meant to do, and I believe God uses it for His purposes. That makes it worthwhile when I'm stressed over the next deadline.
Okay, I have to get back to work and stop ruminating! Ha! And I do think you have had a wonderful career, Shelley! You should ruminate about that every once in a while!

Melanie Dickerson said...

P.S. All my characters are Catholic! Ha! But I've been told I get away with it because they're set in Medieval times. :-)

Sarah Claucherty said...

Missy, I'm looking for a job now rather than graduate school. I've considered graduate school, but I think I want to wait awhile to go.

Now, to find a job within the next two months...

How is your freshman enjoying college?

cathyann40 said...

I love Shelley's books. I'd love to win a gift card to preorder her next one.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Candee Fick, three weeks??? So excited for you!!!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love that Melanie is ruminating over here! Take some cinnamon rolls with you, darling!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, that's true! I'd forgotten that!

You know, I love writing ecumenically, I absolutely love it because it's the way I see Christ's love... not written on the stone of a building of a particular denomination, but on our hearts! True love!!!

But I do love being able to use multiple denominations in my Franciscan books, and creating a very "real" feel to the neighborhoods or the setting, because America is such a wonderful mix!

Melanie, go back home and get those medieval princesses off to church!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cathyann, tossing your name into Shelly's dish!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Shelley. Thanks for the reminder to turn around and see where we've come from in order to see the progress we've made. Each one of our journeys is unique and should be celebrated.

Congrats on the RT 4 1/2 Star Top Pick! A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft sounds great. I'm aware of the Pinecraft area in Florida. A terrific setting for a book.


Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, the caramel coffee is the perfect accompaniment for Marianne's cinnamon rolls and Tina's Italian Christmas Spice cookies.


Kav said...

Yum, cinnamon rolls. I may hunker down and stay all day! Shelley -- I love your books...I have 23 so I guess I have some catching up to do!!!! I am so grateful that you feel this calling to write and that you are still loving it. Selfishly praying you continue to enjoy this journey 'cause I want to keep enjoying the reading part.

Sharee Stover said...

I loved this post! I agree, my 20 year old self would not believe it all goes by so fast but my 40 something self totally gets that.

Tracey Hagwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Ellen Ashenfelder said...

Enjoyed reading this interview very much, I am a fan of Shelley's work and I love the song "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney. I would love to add Shelley's new book to my collection. Thank you for this giveaway.

Jeanne T said...

Shelley, I so appreciate this perspective. I've been writing for five years, and a lot of life has happened in that five years. Of course, I was in my forties when I began, so a lot of life happened before that too. Being in the pre-pub stage and having two almost-teen boys at home, writing time is a gift, and a choice. I'm learning to balance real life with writing life because I don't want to miss the moments with my boys. They'll be gone in no time. And, I want to keep writing, because I love, love it. thinking about this makes me wonder what life will look like in another 5-10 years. :)

Loved your post today!

Rose said...


Thank you for the reminder to look back at our accomplishments. You are so right, as authors, we always look forward to the next project.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Backtracking comments, RUTHY said it better,

"it's not written on the stone of a building of a particular denomination, but on our hearts", that's why she's the writer and I'm the reader!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I thought ruminating was for bovines. Ducking!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Shelley, are there any other areas of fiction you'd like to dabble in down the road?

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Shelley! It's good to see you here!

I feel like my career is just starting - my first book was published in 2013 - but it's already going so fast I can hardly keep up. Maybe it has something to do with spending our time with an eye on the calendar? I'm in the middle of my sixth book, due to come out in 2017, so in many ways I'm living my life eighteen months in the future! There's no way to slow down at that speed :)

And since I started writing at a - ahem - more advanced age, I'm just starting my career when my husband's is winding down. I tell him that he had better have a time consuming hobby when he retires, because I'll still be working full time!

But as we often say around here, I'm living the dream and loving it! What can be better?

Andrea Woodard said...

Hi Shelley, I loved reading your comment about your long career. It really doesn't seem like a career if you really like what you are doing. I work as a cashier and usually I can't wait till summer comes, as I get a week off for vacation. But this year, before summer had arrived, I had a small stroke. I ended up being out of work for 3 months. I really missed not working, sitting at home, trying to relax and not worry only made me worry more, like how can I pay my bills with no money coming in. Am I missing seeing all my customers that I have talked to over the years, yes, I did miss them. I did miss working. I am glad that I am now back at work. I missed meeting new people, praying for them when their needs were greater than mine.
Although I complain about going to work. I found that I do miss alot when I am out even for my days off.
Thank you for sharing about your career and thank you for all the books you have written and those that are yet to be written. Love them all.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina's MYSTERIOUS, SECRET RECIPE spice cookies.

The brat.

Her mother makes them, and they are melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

I love Italian cookies!!!

Missy Tippens said...

Andrea W, I'm glad you're back at work. I've had times like that where I learned to appreciate things and people around me. I hope you're totally recovered!

Missy Tippens said...

Sarah, good luck with the job search! My daughter is loving college. She's made some great new friends. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, I'm a ruminator, too!! Don't let Tina tell us we're bovines! LOL

Myra Johnson said...

JAN said: "I'm just starting my career when my husband's is winding down."

Exactly how it's been at my house! My husband is semi-retired and underfoot pretty much all the time, unless he's subbing at the Christian school nearby (which averages out to about one day a week). He's very much a "project guy," though, thank goodness.

Hmm, maybe that will be my new nickname for him, like Mary's "My Cowboy."

Anyway, My Project Guy is pretty good at keeping himself busy, unless he just really needs my expert opinion about something. :) Which is usually more often than I'd like.

DebH said...

hi Shelly
I love this post. I'll have to check out that Kenny Chesney song. Sounds like my life. My problem is I keep forgetting how old I am and still think I'm thirty-something. Btw, your picture is wonderful and you do not look old enough to have sixteen years of publishing behind you.

It's always good to stop and take stock of one's accomplishments. I know when I'm feeling a bit down and wanting to throw a temper tantrum at God, if I stop and remind myself of all I have accomplished and my blessings, I suddenly lose that urge to whine or get depressed.

Talk about time flying. It seems like only yesterday my little guy was born. Tomorrow he turns six. Yikes!

Thanks again for this post. Seekerville is so awesome.

Lyndee H said...

HI Shelley,
What a terrific reminder. For me, some years are a blur. It's good to stop and look at the markers in the past that moved me to where I am now. I love your books, Amish and otherwise! Congrats on all you've accomplished.

Julie Lessman said...


And, oh honey, are you singing my song!! At 65, I'm WAY older than you, so I totally relate to the "blink of an eye" passage of time and then some. My hubby and I joke that for us, there's only one day in a week -- Friday. Because every time we blink, it's Friday, and we're sitting there wondering where the week went. The months. The years.

LOVED this post, Shelly, and WOW, amost 60 books under your belt! What age did you start writing/getting published? With 12 books and 3 novellas under my belt, I feel like a newbie next to you ... although those twelve books were so long they could be two normal novels a piece or almost three Heartsong or LIs!! Mmmm ... definitely doing something wrong here ... ;)

Your new Christmas novel sounds delightful, so the best to you with it and all the many wonderful books ahead.


Kathryn Barker said...


Congratulations on your amazing career! Looking forward to many, many more of your books!! Happy is the day when we can write, write, write!!

Katie the Lady said...

All your books sound so interesting that I wish I could just read day and night! LOL Of course that not being possible I hope to read lots more! Would be nice to win!

Shelley Sabga said...

I just got home from coordinating a church luncheon. Oh, the many hats we all wear during the day!
Julie Lessman, you are right! Some historicals are probably double the length of my Avon Inspire novels. I'm so glad that there are books of all sizes! I like to read shorter books, which is probably why I like to write shorter ones, too!

Tina asked if I have plans to write in other genres. I currently write one or two historicals a year. Next month, Whispers in the Reading room will be published, and it takes place in Chicago, 1893. Next year, I'll venture back to Texas. A Loyal Heart begins a trilogy set in Texas right after the Civil War.

Missy, those years with kids, sure do go by fast! My daughter is now engaged! Time moves on whether we are ready or not!

Thank you all for making me feel so welcome!


Chill N said...

Wow! What a timely post! Thank you.

And congrats on ALL your writing accomplishments, Shelley. Another 'Wow!'

Nancy C

Valri said...

I agree that times goes very fast! We just took our granddaughter to Disneyland last week for the first time - she's 3 1/2 and although we thought she was a little young for it (our son planned the trip), we still can't believe she's almost 4 !!! Her little sister is 4 months old already and it seems like she was just born! Time is moving too fast!
Congrats on all your accomplishments, Shelley! Happy Birthday yet again, Seekerville!

Sandy Smith said...

Very good post for reflection. My problem is that I wish I would have done more in past years as I am now pushing 60 and haven't written a book yet.

Please enter me in the drawing for the book and/or Amazon card.

Debby Giusti said...

Shelley, thanks for being with us today! I had Bible Study this morning and then a bit of house cleaning...just a bit, mind you! :)

You're so right about always thinking of the next deadline and not taking time to smell the roses, as they say. I like to find peace in my life, and if I'm too rushed, I lose that sense of calm and right living. That's when I try to take a few breaths and enjoy what God has created. Nature is so beautiful this time of year...huge yellow mums on the back deck, trees just starting to change colors, blue skies, gentle breezes, a bit of coolness in the morning. It's all good and refreshes my soul, especially in the midst of deadlines.

Congrats on your success!

I'm a Buckeye. Care to share where you're calling home these days?

I've brought pumpkin cookies and sweet tea for an afternoon pick-me-up! Enjoy!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandy, think of Laura Ingalls Wilder... she was 60 when she started!

Every time those what if monsters grab hold of me, I remember this "Dear Abby" answer from a very, very long time ago. A person wrote to Abby and expressed their wish/desire to become a doctor, a life-long dream, and then showed all the reasons why he/she shouldn't do it because it would take 5 years and in five years he'd be forty!

Abby asked him, "How old will you be in five years if you don't go to medical school?"

Age is a simple fact, but we don't have to let it rule us.

You set your goals and live your life as if the whole thing's in front of you, Sandy!!!

Christina said...

Thank you, Ruthy! You've made my day :)

Heidi Robbins said...

I'm feeling the same way about my career in motherhood right now- how did my baby get to be almost 9? And I know my toddler will be there too in the blink of an eye... which means her sister will then be a teenager... It's too stressful to look that far forward so I'm just enjoying each day as it comes :)

Vince said...

Hi Ruth :

The possibility that the Amish do not read Amish romances might have something to do with it. On the other hand, the editors might think the books are time travel paranormal romances.

Tony Hillerman, who grew up in Oklahoma among the Pottawatomie and Seminole Indians thought the Navajo would not read his mysteries -- especially since he wrote about a Navajo police force which did not yet exist. But when he went to the Navajo reservation, everyone was reading his books. When he asked them why? They said, "Because you make the People look good."

I think the Amish are reading lots of Amish romances (but by candlelight, of course.)

About Jan Karon: I love her too. I consider her work to be literary mainstream. Besides I don't think Father Tim's church is going to have any very divisive schisms over political trends.


Jamie Adams said...

Shelley, I enjoyed reading your post. I'm glad you love what you're doing, cause I really like your books.

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

You know, I had Julie in mind when I was thinking about the Catholic Church (and I did mention that only 'most' publishers have such a prohibition) however there is the possibility that Julie's books are long enough that the editor overlooks his objection given how excellent the story is. It could also be when the book is a historical over 50 years old that the rules are less significant. "That was then. This is now."

I must say that I am behind on the "Till We Meet Again" series, thought I have them all. This is because I am saving them to go along with my next big push into reading WWI books. Along with my normal reading habits, I'll go on single subject binges from time to time. For example: the roaring twenties, the depression, WWI, WWII, Roman and Greek History, History of Venice, The Viking, and the Byzantium Empire.

In a way, when I leave a topic, it is "Til We Meet Again".


Sandra Leesmith said...

You young folk are cracking me up. Wait until you get in your seventies. Like Vince said. Time skyrockets when the afterburners kick in. LOL

My mother used to tell me that time flies faster when you get older and I used to tease her and say you must be in the super sonic age Mom.

But I just read a scientific study that proved what we are saying is true and there is a scientific reason for it You don't want to hear it because its depressing as all heck. Just think of your computer hard drive getting filled up. Similar concept. Yikes.

Interesting comments about denomination mentions. I agree with you Ruthy. Would be fun to discuss with an agent or editor.

CatMom said...

Welcome, Shelley! Thanks for sharing with us today, and congratulations on your successful writing career.
I loved your novella AN OUTLAW'S HEART in the AMONG THE FAIR MAGNOLIAS collection! And a while back I ordered your book HOPEFUL and it's next on my TBR stack - - looking forward to reading it. :)
Yes, time goes much too quickly - - and seems to fly as we grow older. Another reason to make the most of each day. celebrate this day, please enjoy the Georgia Peach cobbler I just baked! ;)
Blessings, Patti Jo

Bettie said...

Time does fly.... happy birthday Seekers. Please enter me in the drawings. Interesting comments about may not be obvious but if you read closely many writers do express their denominational beliefs both overtly and covertly. I read with thankfulness that the books are Christian and do not take offense to differences. That being said, I do enjoy spotting my specific beliefs and the authors who had the courage to weave them into the story.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, I'm laughing! I loved Father Tim's church, all the normal church back-and-forths and mini-political struggles, but also some soul-searching things... Dooley's mother's alcoholism. The Baptist secretary. :) The guy who was cheating on his depressed wife.

She did a really good job of pigeonholing sin in the ranks, and the greater power of God's love.

And how could anyone not love CYNTHIA???????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Bettie, darling, you're in!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Christina, my friend, we're all in this together. When we walk this walk, we never have to walk it alone in Seekerville. We get it!


Sally D said...

I loved your blog today about your long career. I can tell, believe it or not, that you love writing. It shows in your books! You have been blessed in many ways but especially in your creative writing, the gift of words, ideas, stories and adventure.

Jackie Smith said...

Great post, Shelley. I am way behind in reading your books. I need to correct that and perhaps I can if I win the A. card!!!! Keep up the great writing.

Suzanne Baginskie said...

I always look at age as only a number. You should be proud of your perseverance and how far you have come. No one can stop the hands of Father Time, so enjoy each stage of life and your career. Didn't Grandma Moses start to paint late in life? I wish you continued success in your writing. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey.

Just Commonly said...

Wow! Awesome! My first time here in Seekerville. I just couldn't believe that I've not heard of this place. Love it so far! And Shelley, love your stories and I can't wait to read A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft!

Trixi said...

Shelley, I've only read a few of your books, but I absolutely adore your stories! You have a wonderful writing voice that reflects in your characters. I'm so glad that you enjoy writing those stories, and bring us wonderful tales of places we can only wish to visit through your books! I think I may have one or two of those "Brides of Pinecraft" Amish series on my shelf, so this new one would be a great addition!
And I do agree with "Don't blink", seems like that's what has happened to my life too! I was just 20 something yesterday wasn't I? I've never heard the song by Kenny (please no tomato throwing!), maybe I'll have to bring up the video on Youtube. I guess the point of what you were saying is this, let's make our time here on earth count for something with the years God has given us! I totally agree, I get so caught up in non-essential "stuff" that I feel I've wasted my time on what I THOUGHT was important! :-) I love that saying "don't blink", I just may make that my new motto!
Thanks for the post today, Shelley! I surely got something out of it, perhaps a deeper meaning to a simple saying :-) Blessings to you, my dear, and on your writing as you long to reflect His grace, mercy & love!

Walt Mussell said...

Speaking of questions that one doesn't know how to answer, I was on a business trip recently and I got asked the question of how I write by a manager from another company. I was surprised as I had never met him before the trip and was unaware that he knew I was a writer. (We'd worked together only recently and only by phone.)

Speaking of things I don't believe, there's no way Julie Lessman is even close to being 65 yet.

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

Oh Shelley you are such a wonderful encourager! What a blessing it is to read your work and your story. Thank you so much!

Edwina said...

Thanks for the reminder to slow down and look at where we've come from even as we plan on where we're going. Great post!

ohiohomeschool said...

It was great to read your post. I needed the reminder to not blink, and celebrate life. I would love to be in the drawing for Shelley's book and the gift card. Thank you.

Deanna Stevens said...

I try to find something to rejoice in each day. Enjoyed your thoughts..
toss me into the hat please :)

Julie Lessman said...

WOW!!! What a bonus post for me today!!

First Shelley inspires me, then Vince and Walt compliment me, and finally my ebook formatter blesses me with a few extra days to edit Isle of Hope -- a banner day all around. :)

Thank you, Shelley, Vince and Walt, for helping to MAKE MY DAY!!


Deanne Patterson said...

Shelley, what a pleasure to have you visit with us at Seekerville. Years ago a neighbor said to me before you know it you'll be 25 then 30 then 35 and 40. I thought to myself, yeah right. Well yeah right is true. It feels like just yesterday I was 22 and newly married. I try to live my life to the fullest and find God's blessings in every day. I have enjoyed many of, Shelley's books over the years. I have very much enjoyed your thoughts. Please enter me for the drawings.

Deanne Patterson
Book1lovingmomma at gmail dot com

Sierra Faith said...

I must be too much of a whovian and saw the title and thought of Doctor Who :) Lol!
Nice blog post today! Love the cover of your newest book!


Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Just Commonly!!!

Just Commonly said...

Thanks Tina!

bonton said...

Thanks for your inspiring post, Shelley, and thanks for those 60 books you've written to inspire us - what an incredible accomplishment!!

Please enter my name in the drawing for Shelley's book, also the gift card - thank you!!

Kara Isaac said...

Wow. Almost sixty books. I'm still trying to come to get my head around that. I've written five and I'm trying to imagine another 55 more. Nope. Can't quite get there. I'd love to be in the drawing for the gift card :)