Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Godly Professionalism

Sandra here welcoming you to Seekerville today to talk about being a godly professional in this crazy business.

You are thinking of your writing as a career, aren’t you?  Writing a novel is a lot of work and I’m assuming you are doing so because you want to get it published and make money as a published author.  And many of you are already published authors.

If this is the case, then you are aspiring or already are a professional writer.  Congratulations!

With that title comes a degree of responsibility to present yourself as a professional writer. As a Christian, you want to present yourself as a godly professional writer.

So what does that look like?  Let’s grab a cup of tea since its National Hot Tea month. I have a delicious assortment of Teavana Teas, so please help yourself.  (We are cyber dreaming of course because I can’t really afford those exorbitant prices ha ha) And if you really need coffee (raising my hand) then I also have a pot of Chocolate Velvet. Since it is chilly most evenings and mornings, we also have hot chocolate with whipped cream.

bigstock photo

Now back to the topic at hand. And readers, we need your input also. After all, you are the people we need to impress. Smile

What are the activities and/or things we want to do to be professional in our business?

A. Develop Your Craft
B. Network and share knowledge with other writers.
C. Meet and engage with your readers
D. Encourage and motivate your fellow authors
E. Celebrate publication and success
F. Join and stay active in professional organizations.

This sounds like a tall order, but it can be accomplished by joining Romance Writers of America. Within its parameters, you find all the elements listed above.

Most professionals belong to associations that act to keep track of the interests of their members. Romance Writers of America has been doing that for the romance genre since 1979. You can read about how it came about on their webpage here.

The added benefit included in the philosophy of Romance Writers of America is their stated goal to help others. This quote is from their webpage:

RWA's founders instilled in the organization the value of sharing of knowledge and openness and encouragement that romance writers are hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

This is so true. I have belonged to other writing organizations in other genres and there is not the camaraderie and focus on helping other writers. They act more in competition with each other. I remember it being said at a conference years ago that the precepts of RWA to help writers, raises the bar of their craft. By raising the bar, they write better novels and by doing that, the romance genre becomes more in demand so publishers need more writers to supply the demand.

The American Christian Fiction Writers accomplished this very same phenomenon when they started their organization. Most of the founding members belonged to RWA and they followed their example to educate and inform their upcoming authors.  When they started, there were very few publishers publishing Christian fiction. By raising the bar and growing up all these authors, the market has boomed. There are hundreds of Christian fiction options out there now and really great Christian fiction to read.

Before the Internet, these organizations were the only means of communication and information sharing open to writers. The Internet has broadened the knowledge base and accessibility so you might be wondering why do you need to pay for an organization when you can get so much information for free.

RWA  has been a strong advocate for the rights of authors. They are watchdogs that keep their eye out for legal issues, contract issues, and keep you informed as to what is happening in the business end of the publishing market.  They provide fabulous workshops, articles and promote local chapters. The national conference is a venue where authors can meet other professionals in the writing business. Editors, Publishers, agents, librarians and many other important people in the industry come together to network and fellowship.

There are over 10,000 members worldwide and over 145 chapters. This means that in most major metropolitan areas there are local chapters of RWA. These chapters usually have monthly meetings that provide fellowship with other writers. Many conduct workshops at each meeting and/or have speakers talking about different aspects of being an author. Most chapters allow two non-member visits per year. So you can go to a couple meetings to see if you think the group will benefit you as a writer.

Local chapters often put on local conferences and at these they invite editors, agents and speakers from out of the area. My local chapter, Desert Rose RWA is having their bi-annual Desert Dreams Conference this April 7-10th.

From Desert Rose Website

You’ve heard Debby and Missy talk about the Moonlight and Magnolia  Conference.

From Georgia Romance Writers website

If you look at the conference offered by your local RWA, you will see how all the editors and agents attend and it is a marvelous opportunity to meet these people face to face.

Local chapters also sponsor contests.  And we all know the importance of these contests. Most editors and agents know the power of RWA and they respect the professionalism offered by these groups. Because of this, we have accessibility to editors and agents through conferences and contests.

There are also special interest groups within RWA.  Because these cut across the general membership, they are mostly online communities.  Faith, Hope and Love is the Christian Inspirational chapter.  (I am treasurer this year. Our Missy has been the president in the past) Faith Hope and Love sponsor the Inspirational Readers Choice Award for published authors.  And they sponsor the Touched By Love contest for unpublished authors.
Both of those contests are accepting submissions at this time so check it out.

Besides local and special interest conferences, RWA holds a national conference in a different city each year. This year’s national conference is in San Diego, July 13-16th.  Anyone else besides me, heading for the California coast? What a fabulous place to be. I hope some of you are coming and will let me know. I grew up in Southern California so know it well. I’d be happy to show you around town.  (The beaches are the best part-smile) Come in time for the FHL meeting on Wednesday and we can arrange some sightseeing before the conference begins.

From Marriott San Diego Hotel Photo Gallery

Most publishers want to know their members belong to RWA. It shows them that you are a professional, are interested in developing craft and knowledgeable about professional guidelines. If you are with a traditional publisher, your name is associated with their house. They want to know that they are contracting with a person who is knowledgeable about the business and pursues his/her craft.

As Christian authors, we need to also represent our Christian values in the marketplace. There are many elements that conflict with our values and we don’t want them to predominate in our profession. If we drop out because of those elements, we are taking Christ out of the organization.

I am delighted to see that the inspirational category remained in the contests. I love that we have a wonderful Christian chapter in Faith, Hope and Love. It pleases me to know that we can impact the romance genre by the professionalism we show.

To show how important I think it is to belong to a professional organization like RWA, I am offering a commenter reimbursement for membership. It costs $99 for dues. It costs an additional $25 for a new member set up fee so I will pay that also. If the winner is already a member and simply renewing, I will put the $25.00 toward FHL membership which is $24.00 per year. Just to clarify, reimbursement means you will have to show proof of RWA and /or FHL membership. So be certain you want to join before stating you want in the drawing.

Readers, we welcome your comments also so I will draw a name of a reader for a surprise treat from See's Candy to enjoy while you are reading a book.  (A Seeker book of course- smile)

Deep Dark Chocolate Truffle from See's Candy website

Be sure and mention in the comment if you are interested in being in the drawing and specify which drawing you want to be in.  Writer prize or reader prize.  The photos with writer friends were taken at the RWA National Conference in Anaheim in 2012 (the last time they were on the west coast). Do you recognize anyone?  smile

Our orange trees are loaded so I filled a bowl of sliced navels. For a festive flair, I added chopped pecans and coconut. You will love this combo.  Its my way of sharing a bit of Arizona sunshine with all of you.

Sandra Leesmith writes sweet romances to warm the heart. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. She is based in Arizona, but she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome and enjoy the outdoors. You can find Sandra's books here on Amazon. Three of Sandra's most popular books are also audio books at Audible. You can read more of Sandra's posts here.


Marianne Barkman said...

I'm thrilled at the caliber of the inspirational novels out there,. Most of them have a high standard that I am proud to review and put my name on. There are some that are not so great, and I know they are not Seeker writers, but I don't know if they are members of RWA. I just got 4 books to judge for National Readers Choice Awards sponsored BT Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. One of them is our very own TINA's!!!!!
Yes, I'd love to be entered for the readers prize!

Terri said...

Hey Sandra, I'm a member of RWANDA, FHL, and ACFW. All fantastic organizations. Over the years I've met some terrific people through these groups. I'd like vet tech be put in the drawing. Oh, and. I recognize numerous faces, but I'll give a shout out to Linda Goodnight since she is a fellow Okie.

Terri said...

RWA! I think auto correct is evil. LOL

Tina Radcliffe said...

I've been a member of RWA since 1994. I've met so many amazing writers and industry professionals through this organization. Gosh and I was there for the first organizational meeting of FHL at RWA. I think it was Vince Brach, and and Jane Orcutt and others who started the chapter. That was 1997.

OKRWA is a wonderful chapter Terri. I belonged to it for a long time. Colorado Romance Writers, myself and Rogenna Brewer and a handful of others founded The Heart of Denver Romance Writers.

Good stuff!

Tina Radcliffe said...

RWA is how most of the Seekers met. Through their contests. In 2005, Julie, Myra and Janet and I were the four inspirational Golden Heart finalists. Myra won!!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Thank you for this thought-provoking post, SANDRA! You said: "If we drop out because of those elements, we are taking Christ out of the organization." You are right, and I had honestly never thought of it that way.

I finished my first work of inspirational fiction recently, and wish I had discovered Seekerville before I even started. I'm learning so much here! Please enter me in the drawing for the writer prize.

TINA - I'm still going through the boot camp links (some more than once) and learning something new every day -- thank you!

Mary Preston said...

An interesting post thank you.

Thanks for the oranges too.

Reader prize thanks.

Jan Christiansen said...

What a great post. I've often wondered about RWA. Two things have held me back from joining RWA - the initial cost and not knowing they have a Christian Inspirational Chapter. Would love to have my name put in the hat for a paid registration. Oh, and if you need to get rid of some of those oranges - I'll take some off your hands. :)

cathyann40 said...

I'd love to be entered for the reader's prize.

Kara Isaac said...

Thanks for the great informative post, Sandra! I've been contemplating RWA membership recently so would love to be in the draw for the writer prize :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Marianne Thank you so much for being a judge. Our contests wouldn't make it without good judges.

I know that FHL's Ispirational Readers Choice Awards is always looking for judges also. They prefer judges who aren't also writers, so you would be perfect. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send the information.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Thanks, Laura Conner Kestner!. I'm glad you find it helpful.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Terri I have had so many problems with the auto correct also. Some of the places allow me to turn it off. That is too funny.

And congrats on being a member of all of these organizations. Aren't they amazing? I wouldn't be where I am today without RWA. Like Tina said, the Seekers met through RWA.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Tina Yes, we all started through RWA and look where it has led us? And what a blessing you have been to so many. Including me. I have learned so much from you so especially am thankful for the encouraging environment we have in the romance genre.

Thanks Tina. Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you Laura C K , You have been a blessing to us as well. We learn so much from our friends.

I feel strongly about keeping Christ in RWA. Jesus didn't just hang with the disciples you know. He worked in many places and with many people. That is how His light shines and spreads. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Mary P , You are in the candy dish.

I'm using the candy dish this morning for names. Hopefully that will keep the candy out. smile

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jan If I were in Tempe, I would definitely bring some over to you. The trees are loaded. But I'm down at an RV resort in Tucson. Only Palm trees here. smile

I'm glad you are interested in RWA now. It is an amazing organization. They send out a magazine every month with tons of info. Also have a lot of online sources of info.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Kara , I'm delighted you have been contemplating the membership. It is really worth the expense. I know it seems like a lot, but that amount pays for many things. It also allows you to join in your local group which is really fun.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Your name is in CathyAnne Sees are my favorite chocolates.

Walt Mussell said...

See's Candy. You're giving away See's Candy. One of the things I miss most from my days on the west coast is See's Candy. A lot of See's product line can't be obtained where I live as See's refuses to set up full-blown locations if the shipping distance is too great. I miss it as much as I miss the freshness of fruits and vegetables in west coast grocery stores.

Yes, I'm a member of RWA as well. I absolutely love my local chapter (special GRW wave to Debby and Missy). I just wish I could go to more of the meetings. However, as my kids have gotten older and begun participating in more weekend-related activities, I've seen the need to be home. I've learned so much from GRW.

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Thank you, Sandra. I am a member of ACFW, but like other writers have said, the cost has kept me away from becoming a member of RWA. Thank you for the generous opportunity to become part of a great organization. Go ahead and enter me in for the reimbursement for the RWA membership. :)

Jill Weatherholt said...

Great stuff here, Sandra! Late last year, I joined RWA for the first time. The website alone is packed with opportunities to grow as a writer. I've taken a few courses,some were a little overwhelming with the emails, but others were quite informative.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Walt You are cracking me up. Yes, Sees candy would be a terrible thing to be without. And I'm delighted to know you are a member of RWA. It was so fun seeing you at the national conference in Atlanta. And I know you must love GRW.

Okay, so all that talk about Sees, Do you want to be in the writer drawing or the reader drawing? You are too funny.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Kelly Yes, it is costly, but as you see, it pays for a lot of wonderful things. I really like belonging to the local chapters which you can't do without being a member, Do you live near any local chapters. You can find chapters listed on their webpage.

Link for list of local and special chapters

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jill How wonderful that you are taking advantage of the classes. RWA is a wonderful resource. Are you able to join a local chapter as well?

Happy writing.

Rose said...

I am a member of ACFW and RWA. There isn't a close regional chapter of RWA near me, but the Dakotas just established a regional chapter of ACFW of which I'm a member. I used to also belong to SCBWI, but I have went in active on that membership. Sandy, are you a member of SCBWI since you write some children's books too?

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Sandra! In addition to GOD, of course, I credit my getting published to several main things--supportive family, my Seeker Sisters, and RWA. Through RWA I learned so much, back in the day when there was no such thing as on-line networking, few close or affordable writers conferences, etc. I was like a sponge absorbing each issue of Romance Writers Report, soaking up info at regional RWA meetings, entering RWA contests for feedback and, eventually with the dawn of internet, taking on-line classes. I'm a member of ACFW as well.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Rose Wow, that is nice that you have a local ACFW. Not too many of those around. I used to belong to SCBWI but I don't belong anymore. They don't have the same encouraging philosophy that RWA has. At least my experience for several years was that way. Also, I haven't been writing children's books lately. I am led to stick with the romance.

Do you still write children's books?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Glynna And yes, we met through RWA didn't we? I'm like you. I was a sponge back in the day. Still am because the more I learn, the more I know that I don't know. lol

You are blessed to have a supportive family also. Me too. That makes a big difference.

Happy writing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ruthy is staying moot on this subject.

Ruthy does not play well with others.

Ruthy is a prude.

Ruthy is a captain your own ship, anchors away! kind of girl.

She is okay with that. :)

But she does bake marvelous cookies and she writes lots of books, so her formula isn't necessarily flawed!

LeAnne Bristow said...

Good morning Sandra! What a great post! I'm a member of the RWA and the ACFW. I love the support and resources I've found through the RWA. I'm a member of a local RWA chapter but online chapters are a great option for people who live in rural areas, like me. I've belonged to an online chapter (From the Heart) for several years and they offer free monthly workshops for their members, a critique group, beta-reading group and an accountability group. And even though they are a general chapter and not a Christian chapter, many of their members write inspirational romance. I attended the FHL chapter meeting at RWA last summer and found the ladies to be very encouraging and supportive. I just joined the FHL last month. :)

I encourage all romance writers to join the RWA. It's been invaluable to me as a writer....almost as invaluable as Seekerville!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Ruthy But we did meet through RWA. smile It was good for you at one point. You entered the contests. But I respect your view now. And I'm proud of your silence. I know how tough that is for you. lol

And I don't think you necessarily need to be silent. We all have different views and experiences. Some local groups aren't that inspiring and some members do not follow the precepts of the organization. Just like church. Some people go, but they don't necessarily act like a Christian.

Even though you don't belong, you do follow the precepts of a professional. You are encouraging, you impart knowledge and you produce and work with your publishers in a professional manner.

I do agree though that you are a captain. chuckle. And we do love our captains. Can't sail anywhere without them.

Hugs and pass some of those cookies.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Sandra,
As a reader I can only imagine the benefits of banding together with others who have the same goals, but I feel it here at Seekerville. The positive reinforcement and encouragement spills over onto readers too.

I've enjoyed getting to "know" everyone here and happy I haven't been booted off the island for being a tag-along. Having a front row seat at all that goes on in the discipline of writing makes me appreciate a good read even more.

I can't help but laugh at Ruthy's "I did it my way" attitude. Time is more the issue (or the lack thereof) than not playing well with others. We all know that's not true, but she puts up a good front.

Please throw my name in the dish for the readers drawing. I keep hearing about See's, but have yet to experience them myself. I looked them up the last time they were mentioned, but they're not on the east coast except in military exchanges.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww LeAnne You are sweet. I am happy to hear how much RWA has meant to you. There are many wonderful people involved in the groups. I'm glad you found a good one. And it really helps to have online chapters for rural writers.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Tracey Are you kidding? Do you think we would really boot you out? Readers are our FAVORITE people. We couldn't be writers if there weren't readers. smile

We love having you here to encourage us as well.

And yes, Miss Ruthy is a hoot. We love her except when she is kicking us to shape up and pull up our big girl panties. Of course we need to listen but shhhh don't tell her that.

J Baugh said...

Thank you for this post. I am learning so much! Please enter me for the writer prize.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I'm pretty sure I should get a prize for being able to label all those pictures. I prefer dark chocolate btw.

Deb Giusti, Lyndee H and Sandra

Lyndee, Anita Mae, Suzie Dietz, Sandra, Suzie Johnson and Debby

Nancy Farrier and Sandra

Terri Reed and Melissa Endlich

Linda Goodnight

Winnie Griggs and Sandra

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, I belong to RWA and ACFW. I joined RWA in 1997 and read the RWR magazine from cover to cover. I found a local chapter and met my critique partner there. The workshops at conferences just blew me away. The Golden Heart contest brought Tina, Myra and Julie into my life and through them all the Seekers and this wonderful village Seekerville. Which proves professional organizations bring a lot into our lives. ACFW brought more writer friends into my life, more workshops and contests. Professional organizations have enriched my life and helped me see books with my name on the cover on store shelves.


Janet Dean said...

Tina, if there were a recognition prize, you'd win!!


Sandra Leesmith said...

You are entered, J Baugh

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Tina Congrats. You did name all the ladies. Yes, you should certainly get a prize. Maybe some Sees might drop by. chuckle

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Janet Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for by belonging to these organizations. It is through RWA that I met you. Yay!!!

Are you going to San Diego? I sure hope so.

Cindy Regnier said...

Thanks Sandra - I am a member of RWA and FHL, coming up for renewal soon. Please include me in the drawing. What a great prize!

Julie Lessman said...


LOVE to see writer's organizations promoted, especially RWA (where I got my start), FHL (of which I am a member), and ACFW (the BEST tool (and blessing) for Christian authors, bar none!).

You said: "As Christian authors, we need to also represent our Christian values in the marketplace. There are many elements that conflict with our values and we don’t want them to predominate in our profession. If we drop out because of those elements, we are taking Christ out of the organization."

PREACH IT, my friend, because you are DEAD ON!! Kind of a paraphrase of what Edmund Burke once said: "“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”

I agree with Marianne -- the "caliber of the inspirational novels out there" is absolutely AMAZING, and it's only getting better and better!

And, Terri, I couldn't agree with you more -- "auto correct IS evil"!!!!

SOOOO true, Tina -- that GH and meeting you, Janet, and Myra was one of the best times of my writing life!!!

See's Chocolate??? I can hear Tina salivating right now ... (that IS your favorite, Teenster, right?)

Great post, Sandra!


Myra Johnson said...

Excellent advice, Sandra! Professional memberships are definitely worthwhile career investments. Beginning writers can benefit from the learning and mentoring opportunities. As we advance in our careers, the networking and friendships become even more important.

And the best thing about attending conferences is getting to spend in-person time with all our writer friends we otherwise only "see" online!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cindy Thanks for joining us. Your name is in the candy dish.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Julie Yep, RWA did bring us all together. You girls did it as finalists. That had to be sooooo exciting.

I always do preach that. I know we don't like associating with some elements of our culture, but if we don't go out there, His light doesn't shine.

Thanks for always being there.

Hugs (and yes, poor Tina is wishing for some of that Sees) Me too.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Myra I have so enjoyed our times together at conferences. Are you going to San Diego? Sure would be fun to see you again.

Happy writing and hugs

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cookies are ready. They are delicious. I made them extra chocolate-y because even I can't be grumpy when there is extra chocolate.

I brought two plates.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tracey, you are too nice to me!!!! :)

And hey, I sent in a change to Franciscan for that Amazon blurb, thank you so much for alerting me, Tracey!!! I didn't realize the original hadn't been adjusted once we went through edits, and you caught it! I love that!!!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Sandra, I did join the local chapter, but I haven't attended a meeting yet. I plan to soon.

Seekers - Yesterday, I received a beautiful written by Debby on behalf of all of the Seekers...it made me cry...but a good cry. Thank you all! xo

Missy Tippens said...

Sandra, I love the things you mentioned about being professional in the business. I cringe sometimes when I see people vent online or talk about publishers and agents and editors.

I have to also add my praise of RWA! I joined around 1996 or 97 and often say that just about everything I learned about writing came from RWA and GRW (Georgia Romance Writers). The workshops at the national conference and monthly meetings of GRW were very formative for me. Plus all of the RWA chapter contests.

I've loved being a part of the FHL chapter for many years. I think I joined a couple of years after I joined RWA (and finally figured out I was writing inspirational fiction). :)

I came to ACFW a good bit later but have really loved my local chapter as well!

Whether we join these organizations or not, we need support in the industry. This job would be nearly impossible without other writers to share the journey with. (Grammar Queen, please don't look how I ended that sentence! LOL)

Missy Tippens said...

Myra, that's so true about seeing writer friends in person. The first time I walked into an FHL meeting at annual conference and saw the faces of people I had only known online, I burst into tears! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Tina, I believe you did get all the photos correct!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Those cookies are delicious. Thanks Ruthy

They go well with the oranges.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Jill That is so sweet. Hugs

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww Missy That is so sweet that you cried. I so know how you feel. I felt that way when I met Ruthy in person after we had been critiquing for ages. Then I've met so many other writers. And all the Seekers. And Seeker friends. That alone makes the price of joining worth it.

Shhh I won't wake up Grammar Queen. Although I make that same mistake all the time. LOL

Shall we send Tina some Sees also? I think I better. chuckle.

DebH said...

Hi Sandra
I'm not good at joining professional organizations because they usually cost money I don't have to spend (there's a reason the proverbial artist is starving...). I'm also leery of joining when writing is not my main focus in my life right now. I do see all the benefits of joining though. I think I'm just a bit of a recluse because crowds of people scare me.

I'm very thankful for RWA bringing together the Grand Dames of Seekerville. FOREVER grateful.

May I please be in the candy dish for the reader prize? Dark chocolate is my favorite (like Tina).

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Deb H You are being very wise. We must listen to our guidance from the Holy Spirit and focus on what He wants. Speaking of your main focus, is that a photo of the Gupster? Isn't he absolutely adorable.

You are in the candy dish for the Sees.

DebH said...

Yep Sandra
That's the latest of Gupster. Six years old already and loving Kindergarten. He wasn't yet a twinkle in mommy or daddy's eyes when I found Seekerville. I couldn't find my other profile pic on my computer, so I thought I'd show him off a little. I'm most certainly biased on his level of adorable. *smile*

Thanks again for today's post. It's good to know how to be a professional even though right now I'm still in learning my craft in the minor leagues (double or triple A level, pulling out a baseball reference for Ruthy's benefit)

Walt Mussell said...

Ah, Sandra, hard to say. Both are valuable.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww Deb H. He really is adorable. I love that age. I taught kindergarten for twenty years. Then I couldn't bend down and tie shoes any more so moved up to junior high. chuckle. The kindergartners were so much fun. There was never a dull day. smile Enjoy him now because they grow up way too fast.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Walt You are way too funny.

Sharee Stover said...

Sandra, this was such a great reminder about the importance of memberships with writer's groups. Just this month, I was able to participate in the RAH group from RWA at a writer's retreat in Omaha with Mary Connealy. Although I'm not a member of RAH/RWA, the group was amazing and so encouraging.

I also belong to ACFW and find the group to be helpful in questions, encouragement and advice. I would love to be included in the writer's prize package as I've been hoping to join RWA but have had to hold off simply due to the money side of things. Ah, if only I could sell these books I'm writing! All in God's timing though.

Thank you for the opportunity to throw my hat in the ring.

kaybee said...

Thank you, Sandra. I am a member of AFCW. Can't afford RWA right now but it is on my wish list. I believe in networking, on-line, physical when I have the time, and critiquing with my crit partner. Iron sharpens iron and all that. I would love to eat your oranges with the coconut, this time of year I'm starved for anything fresh and citrusy.

kaybee said...

I think I'm going to enter "Touched By Love."

kaybee said...

I can agree with RUTHY too. I usually do. You have to find what works for you and she has definitely found it.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

KayBee, I think these organizations are super duper valuable for unpublished authors. I can't say that enough, that's how we learn, meet people, see what's successful...

So before I was published I belonged to RWA, FH&L, ACFW and our local RWA group that folded years ago.

But now the landscape is different from my perspective and theirs.

Margaret Daley is coming tomorrow to talk about NINC (Novelists,Inc.) which is geared toward published authors because the needs vary then.... So it's not that I'm against organizations, I'm more focused on the return on investment. I can help other authors here (for no money, right????) and via facebook....

And I love getting together with readers...... and aspiring authors....

Different strokes, I guess.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Sharee How fun that you were at the retreat. I'm jealous. Mary is so fun to be around. I imagine you all are and it must have been a wonderful time.

That is what I love about staying in touch with other writers. Those opportunities don't come often, but when they do it is totally amazing.

Your name is in the drawing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks KayBee Yes, we all have to do what works for us. I am delighted that you are going to enter Touched By Love. You will get some great feedback.

Best wishes on that.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Ruthy I am so excited to hear about NINC. I've heard of it, and keep meaning to go check it out. So this will be a perfect follow up of today. And Margaret is another one of those writers who has helped others in many ways, me included.

Thanks for reminding me.

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, I've been to San Diego and would love to go again, but I can't make RWA this year.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Sob sob, Janet I will miss you and your hubby. It is always fun to see you both.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Btw: when I was sending my feedback for More Than a Promise to Netgalley, I noticed they still had the old NFL blurb. Probably not as important there, but still :) You can see my review on goodreads if you're interested and I'll post it again when it releases on Amazon. You keep upping the ante in the hero department, now I've moved on to Matt. Sorry Colt, lol. Oh yes, reminder to self, must right that review as well.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Uh oh, I meant write, not right, sorry Grammar Queen :)

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:


This is the kind of post that I welcome and would love to see more often. Sometimes I think the Christianity gets lost in the Inspirational.

I would define a godly writer slightly differently as:

"A godly writer is a godly person. Her fruits reveal a life of prayer, joy in the Word, love for her readers as expressed in subtext on each page of her work, her willful sharing of the truth and her inspirational adherence to God's plan."

I pay special attention to the dedication, acknowledgements, and bible quote that serve as an overture to a romance. Message and massager are part of the total experience.

Indeed, Seekerville is blessed with 'writer's prayers', prayer groups, and feisty yet Christian camaraderie. Even those who don't play well with others, do pray well with others.

Today's Unity Bible quote: "Pray for one another, so that you may be healed." James 5:16


Please put me in for a shot at the See's Candy!

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

I have found, in my travels, that there are two cities in the world that elicit the same response when I mention to someone, who has been there, that I am also going there.

"Whatever you do, don't miss going to the Zoo."

Will you be going to the San Diego Zoo?


Cate Nolan said...

Hi Sandra.

From reading the comments, I think I may take the prize here for longest membership in RWA. I joined in March of 1988.

My first Golden Heart final and national conference was in San Francisco in 1990.

I'm also a member of ACFW and FHL.

Thanks for promoting them today!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Vince I love the quotes. Thanks for sharing those. And your definition of a godly writer is spot on. Thanks for adding that also.

We do ray well together and we play well too. Its always a blessing to have such fun friends who can tease each other. And speaking of teasing, I am going to have to tease you. I know how much you love Sees. chuckle.

And of course we're going to the zoo. Want to come along? Bring your sweetie and lets go.

Caryl Kane said...

HELLO SANDRA! I so appreciate authors that glorify the Lord in their writing and lifestyle. Authors have a big responsibility to represent Him well in the platform they have been given.

Please put me in the drawing.....

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cate Have to tell you that I have the prize so far. I joined in 1982. I think I was at the San Francisco conference. How funny. We probably ran into each other. My first conference after being published by Harlequin was in Seattle. I went to the grand Harlequin party which was really spectacular in those days. It was so fun.

And wow, a Golden Heart finalist. Way to go.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Caryl , I'm assuming you want in the writer drawing??? And we always have that same responsibility no matter what walk of life we are in. That is the tough part. Right? For me anyway.

Thanks for joining us.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tracey, I'm so glad you loved "More Than a Promise"! Matt Wilmot is such a funny guy, and those boys....

Oh mylanta.

Years ago I posted the church scene with those boys on a not-to-be-named loop.... It was a sharing day, or some such thing. I wasn't published yet, and you would not believe the authors who slammed that scene... one said it actually made her cry that kids could be that naughty in church.

I need you all to assure me that three naughty little boys are not only a CATHOLIC thing. :) Although, maybe it is!!!


I love that book, I love that story, and having raised six kids, yup... we had a few interesting times in church, LOL!

Of course I KILLED them later. (advantage of living on a farm is extra burial room)

I had the wonderful marketing folks at Franciscan check all the online spots, and I expect it will take them a few days to replace the old blurb with the new one.

So Matt budged COLT???????

I'll have to tell my two sons, because they were based on them. It's always a contest around here to see which son is the hottest romance hero.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cate Nolan, 1988???

As in: 1988?????

Oh my stars........


I think that's a prize, isn't it, Sandra????

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yep, Ruthy 1988 sounds like it should be. We're garnering all kinds of prizes here today. Yippee. Love it.

And btw what you said to Tracey--I can so see your boys as the basis for those heroes. smile

Tracey Hagwood said...

No, it's not just a Catholic thing, kids are kids, I don't thing they come pre-programed ecumenically speaking, lol. I've seen and heard worse, believe me.

I do love a guy in a suit that can go all cowboy on you like Colt, but I guess I'm a push-over for a needy underdog like Matt,oh heck they both make the list either way so don't make me choose :)

Mark Abel said...

Hi Sandra!
Great post today, you are an encouragement to so many!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Mark Great to hear from you. Long time my friend. How is your novel coming?

You would know about encouragement as that is definitely your role also. smile

Happy writing.

Lyndee H said...

Hi Sandra,
HA! It was so freaky to check in to Seekerville today and see my photo there TWICE! That was a fun conference and I met a lot of Seekers and Seeker friends there for the first time.

I belong to RWA and ACFW. I am a member of FHL, too. Thanks for the post!

Marianne Barkman said...

Sandra, I emailed you. I would LOVE the info FHL readers review!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Lyndee I was hoping some of you would be surprised when you saw yourselves. chuckle. The photos brought back so many fun memories for me too.

I guess I should have warned you but did the photos at the last minute. sigh.

Anyway, I'm so glad you are enjoying your memberships. I love all the contact with other writers.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Marianne, Your email isn't here yet. Sometimes Verizon is sooooo slow. Anyway, I'll give your info to Nancy, the coordinator. And THANK YOU.

Missy Tippens said...

DebH, I love the photo of the Gupster! So cute!

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, I loved your church scene in the story! The naughty boys felt perfectly realistic! Of course, any time my kids misbehaved in church it was when I was in the choir loft and had to try to glare at them to get their attention! LOL Thank goodness for children's church, which prevented the trouble. Most of the glaring actually happened later, once they were teenagers. :)

Jeanne T said...

Sandra, I loved this post. I joined ACFW a few years ago, shortly after I began writing. I JUST joined RWA this month, in part so I could enter the Golden Heart, but also because I've been hearing about how helpful they are. So YES, please put me in that drawing!! :) I'm looking forward to learning more about romance writing through RWA.

I loved how you emphasized the importance of professionalism as Christian writers. If anything, I think we need to be especially professional, since we represent Jesus to fellow writers and to readers.

Heidi Robbins said...

I live in San Diego but will be on vacation during the RWA conference! I am so bummed! I was looking forward to meeting some authors but forgot to tell my husband the dates when he made our plans. I'll be camping in Northern CA, Oregon and Washington with my favorite cousin and her family so I'll catch up on everyone's facebook posts and the Seekerville post about the conference when I get back. It always looks like you ladies have a blast :)
Please enter me in the reader giveaway!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Missy I am so chuckling. I can just picture you in the choir trying to get that eye on those boys. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jeanne T Congrats on joining RWA and on entering the Golden Heart. It takes a lot of courage to enter those contests. I'm so happy for you.

And you're so wise about our professionalism. Its amazing how the Lord has used me when I didn't even know He was doing it. So humbling. And makes me really want to be careful out there on how I act.

Sandra Leesmith said...

OH Heidi Bummer is right. Would have loved to get together. Maybe sometime when I'm over there we can get together. Hubby's family lives in San Diego area. And how funny because I will be flying down from Oregon to attend the conference. I'll wave when I see the highway. We might be passing by each other.

You're in the candy dish.

Julie Lessman said...

Ruthy said: "Ruthy is a prude."

LOL ... and Julie is not! ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist!


Richard Mabry said...

Sandra, Great job in detailing the benefits of RWA membership. I joined primarily to be connected with the FHL chapter, but I had to weigh the benefits carefully after reading so much about the erotica that RWA had in it. Either that's gone by the boards, or--more likely--you and many others have been able to ignore it. Since I'm a member of both the parent organization and a local one, no need to put me in the drawing for your generous prize.
Thanks for the post.

Cate Nolan said...

Yes, Ruthy. 1988.

I'm a lesson in persistence. :0

Mark Abel said...

Yes way too long. Just coming out of a five month writers block but back on track with the story. After letting is sit so long I was reluctant to re-engage but once I did the flow was still there. Think my subconscious was working on the mental road blocks as I now feel like all is falling into place.

Took your recommendation and had a cup of Earl Grey with a friend this afternoon. Meeting with Dave has been on my to do list as he drowned and went to heaven before returning. Wanted to get his experience which will integrate into one of my final scenes. Dave had me on the edge of my seat with tears filling my eyes. Amazing story but you will need to read mine in order to get his. Hope I can come close to conveying Dave's experience.

God is Good and Glorious !

Sandra Leesmith said...

Julie You're too funny.

AndCate I love it. You are the Queen of Persistence. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

I've been a member of RWA® for ten years and have reaped many benefits. In addition to meeting the Seekers and Seekervillagers as a result of the Golden Heart® contest, I also got my offer of representation when Rachelle Gardner served as a final-round judge in an RWA chapter-level contest. I've attended Nationals three times, where I did some valuable networking and got to meet online writer friends in person. The very first writer I met in person was none other than Seeker Janet Dean at Nationals in San Francisco back in 2008!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Richard Thanks for the compliment. And that's wonderful that you enjoy FHL.

The erotica is there, but remember that Jesus befriended Mary Magdalene and brought her salvation.

When I started writing in the 1980's, it was BC (before Christ in my life). I was writing erotic scenes for Harlequin Temptation and the first conference I went to was in Oklahoma the woman next to me was signing Christian fiction. She looked me in the eye and smiled and said "My dear, you have a beautiful smile and sweet spirit." She tapped my book and said, "Don't worry about this. I started out writing confessions and am now writing this." She tapped her book and then continued. "You watch where the Lord will take you." Well at that time I had no intention of going anywhere with the Lord, but I just chuckle when I think of that time because look where I am now. And I am sure that that woman had said a prayer for me. chuckle

And the prize is reimbursement so you are eligible for that. Are you sure you don't want to be put in the drawing?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow, Mark Now you have me on the edge of my seat. And you are going to tease us like that???

Sounds like a wonderful experience and timely too. Don't you just love those God moments?

Happy writing and hurry up and finish that novel.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Keli That was a great conference in San Francisco, wasn't it? I am really going to miss Janet this year. I just love the Bay area.

I am glad RWA has worked out for you also. And to meet your agent through RWA, what a thrill.

Are you attending San Diego since it is out west again? Sure would love to see you.

Marianne Barkman said...

Sandra, I sentthe email through your website, is that the correct address?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Marianne That will work. But sometimes it is slow to deliver. I'll keep looking.

Phyllis Wheeler said...

What an awesome prize. Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter! I'd like to be entered for the writer prize, please. And thank you for the article. I hadn't thought about joining RWA until I had a novel ready to publish but now I see that it would be helpful beforehand too. May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

Preslaysa Williams said...

Great post, Sandra! Maintaining our Christian values in the marketplace is so very important. I love that you emphasized the importance of this in today's post. I'd love to be entered in the drawing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Phyllis Yes, you are right, there are many advantages to being involved in writing organizations to help develop your craft, network with other writers and learn the ins and outs of this business.

Best wishes and happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Preslaysa You are a delightful example of our Christian values yourself. smile. Your name is in for the drawing.

Happy writing.

Tanya Agler said...

Sandra, Thank you so much for the great post on how valuable writing organizations can be. And a special thank you for posting the Moonlight and Magnolias banner as I am a member of Georgia Romance Writers. I have recently joined ACFW and have been a member of RWA for a while. I have loved the fellowship of other writers and learning more about the craft of writing.

I didn't read all the comments, but I did read some of them. Cate, you are such an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing how long you have been in RWA and now you're published with the Love Inspired line.

Thanks for the post. In the October RWR magazine, one article (written by two of my fellow GRW members) discusses the importance of creating the team around you to help your writing. Writing groups are one valuable way to find a part of your team, and I love the inspiration and writing hints I learn from the Seekers and the Villagers.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Tanya Yes, a writing team is definitely an advantage. It really helps to overcome discouragement, look at those rejections with valor and then they all help you overcome that negativity and help you persist and succeed. This is a very difficult endeavor, but oh so worth the effort. We all appreciate the help we get on the way.

Thanks for joining us today.

You have been a blessing to us as well.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Well folks, its past my bedtime. I know. Silly me, but in my defense, I was up at 4:00 am. smile

If you come aboard later tonight, please comment. I will come in the morning and add you into the drawing if you indicated you wanted to be in.

Thanks again to all of you for a wonderful and rewarding day.

Best wishes, happy reading and writing.

Edwina said...


A great and encouraging post. I was a member of ACFW when I returned to writing, but when I started writing nonfiction, I let my membership lapse. My nonfiction book is now at the publishers and I'm researching for my fiction - romance - novel. YEAH!!

I'm not quite ready to join RWA so would you please enter me in the book drawing?


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tracey, Matt calls out to the fixer in us, the helper/the nurturer...

Colt calls out to the stand-your-ground woman, the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps type... tough but would love someone equally tough to love.

And I'm glad that it's not just little Catholic boys that are naughty, LOL! I just remember being astounded.... literally astounded.... by the several CBA authors who thought that scene was bad to set in church.

It was a "welcome to my life" kind of moment!!!!

Kate said...

Ooh, candy! Put me in for a reader prize!!!!!!!! (o:

ohiohomeschool said...

I love chocolate! I would love to be in for the reader prize. Thanks for your post.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Edwina Congrats on your non fiction at the publishers. woo hooo. That is so exciting. Tell us about it.

Yes, you are in the candy dish.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Kate, You are in the candy dish.

Happy reading and thanks for dropping byi.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Becky Great to see you again. Your name is in the candy dish.

Happy reading.

Barbara Fox said...

Hi Sandra,

Thanks for the article speaking about RWA. I keep going to their web site, trying to decide if I'm ready for membership. I keep putting it off. Last fall I joined ACFW on the advice of Sara Ella via her Seekerville post. It was one of the best things I have done. I'm learning so much and the people are wonderful. It's almost overload.

If the drawing for writers/reimbursement for RWA membership is still open, please add my name. If God blesses me through you(again), I'll nervously take the plunge.:-)

BTW- need I say how much I'm enjoying my New Year's Eve prize from you and Glynna? Thank you again.

I love Seekerville and look forward to reading it every day.

Just Commonly said...

I love inspirational novels and am thoroughly impressed by the caliber of books out there. Until I was introduced a couple of years ago, I didn't know there's so much and an ever increasing popular genre. Thank you to all the authors!

I think these organizations are a great way to introduce and help aspiring Christian writers.

Love See's chocolate. Thanks for the giveaway!

Keli Gwyn said...

Sandra, my hubby retired at the end of the last school year, so we're learning to live on less. Between that and two unexpected trips to visit our daughter, who has been working in Europe the past three years, our travel funds are mighty low. As much as I'd love to attend Nationals, it's not looking like I can swing it. =(

Angela K Couch said...

Thanks for the great information. I've been a member of ACFW for a couple years now, but have been eyeing up RWA for just as long. Hopefully soon I'll get there. :)

Loraine Nunley said...

I know I'm late to this conversation, but I wanted to enter into the writer drawing for the RWA membership. I do not belong to any organizations yet because I need to get the funds together for it, but I would love to be a member of both the RWA and the ACFW. Thanks for the great information and giveaway!

Beth Schwarzlose said...

So many writer organizations, how do you all choose? I'd love to be entered into the reader drawing for chocolates, yummy! Thanks for sharing!

bonton said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Sandra!!

I'm not a writer, but always enjoy learning more about the writing industry - it does benefit me as a reader. As a member of the work force for 46 years, before retiring - I can appreciate the benefits and necessity of learning/doing all one can to improve his/her craft. I especially appreciated your comment re: taking Christ out of the organization.

Please enter my name in the reader drawing, I'd love to experience See's candy - for the first time!! Thank you!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Barbara As it happens things came up and I haven't drawn names yet, so your name is in. I'm so tickled to hear you are enjoying the Kindle. I love mine.

Happy reading.

And btw I think you wouldreally get a lot out of RWA also. AS Ruthy mentioned, these organizations are a wonderful resource for the aspiring author.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Just Commonly Thanks for stopping by. Yes, these organizations are wonderful.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Aww Keli I will miss seeing you. Best wishes and btw less money is worth retirement. smile You don't need as much when you aren't working. sounds silly but it is very true.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Loraine As luck would have it, I haven't drawn names yet, so your name is in the dish.

Happy writing. And if you don't win, try and save funds for one of them. It is really a cheap education when you think of all the information that becomes available to you. THink of it like a college degree or the education a doctor goes through. Writing is a profession and there are no courses for romance writing in a college. It is all right here in RWA. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Beth Thanks for joining us and yes, your name is in the candy dish.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Bonton Your name sounds like it should be a box of Sees candy. chuckle. I love it.

And yes, I will put your name in the dish.

Happy reading.