Monday, February 22, 2016

Focus on Love Inspired Historical-Inside Tips from the Authors

We've been counting down until today. This is the day the editors at Harlequin Love Inspired reveal a big, editor pitch opportunity for the historical romance line.

We have inside tips from many of your favorite Love Inspired Historical authors, and we also have a short Q & A with Editor, Emily Rodmell, to assist writers who are submitting to the line. 

There's also a giveaway of thirteen Love Inspired Historical Romances for commenters. A few are IOUs for upcoming releases! Let us know if you want your name entered, and feel free to shout out the name of the book you'd love to win! Winners are announced in the Weekend Edition.


Author Tips:

The hero and heroine should meet in the opening pages. Use both points of view so the reader can crawl inside both heads. Janet Dean. The Bounty Hunter's Redemption.

While other authors are great resources, when in doubt, ask your editor directly. Different editors may have different answers to the same question. You're not bothering them, you're saving them time. Sherri Shackelford. The Rancher's Christmas Proposal. 


Collect pictures of your characters, setting, clothing of the era, even furniture--anything you can send to the art department for your cover. It gives them a taste for the time period and helps them when it comes time to design your cover. Patty Smith Hall. The Baby Barter.


Be flexible! Realize that if an editor wants a change, there are ways to incorporate that change and still keep your voice, your story. Respect the editor's advice. Jessica Nelson. The Matchmaker's Match.


I like to draw ideas from historical books. In researching my setting, the Smoky Mountains, I learned that chestnuts used to be an important commodity for settlers. I decided to portray my characters going camping high in the mountains for their annual supply. Adding authentic details enriches your story and gives readers a greater understanding of the world you've created. Karen Kirst. Reclaiming His Past.




  •  Investigate and know which editor to submit to. Different editors have different likes and dislikes and those can make or break an acceptance.
  •  Be original, but don't be too original. Tried and true works, so put a twist on a trope that editors and readers love.
  •  Have a series planned. LIH is hungry for series and readers eat them up.
  •  Save all your research. You'll get called on it in the line edit.
  •  Save inspiration photos and scene ideas as you're writing. It will save pain and heartache at the art fact sheet stage.
  •  Search for marriage license records or passenger lists in your year and choose realistic names.

Coming up with titles for a LIH became easier when I learned to use keywords that let readers know they’re going to enjoy a story that fits one of LIH’s tried and true themes, such as cowboys, family or home. Other themes that work well are fake courtships/engagements, mail-order brides and marriages of convenience. To ensure that the titles I suggest are LIH-friendly and haven’t been used on a previous LIH, I refer to a list of all the LIH books that I’ve added to my website, which you’ll find here. (http://keligwyn.com/library/all-love-inspired-historicals). That’s my top title tip. I hope you find it helpful.  Keli Gwyn. A Home of Her Own.


In my experience, Love Inspired Historical editors love when you put a new spin on a tried and true hook, plot or character element. To do so, ask yourself what is the worst, most interesting or most unexpected thing that can happen in your story to your characters and do that. It will make your writing, story and chance at publication better. Noelle MarchandThe Texan's Engagement Agreement. 




Don't let your favorite historical details overwhelm the romance. As with any other Love Inspired line, romance needs to be front and center in an historical. Let your hero and heroine fall in love during a cattle drive, but make sure they fall in love! Jan Drexler. A Home for His Family. 







Trust your editor to know what readers want. Don't take edits or requests for rewrites personally. It's all about turning out the best product possible in order to meet reader expectations. Erica Vetsch. His Prairie Sweetheart.


I am convinced that the reason I sold to LIH is because I forgot about the “rules” of writing, and just wrote a book for the fun of it. I wrote my first LIH because my agent dared me to. I wrote the book I wanted to write, not what I thought would sell. That’s not to say that I ignored the rules and didn’t adhere to LIH guidelines. I had read almost every single LIH out there, and the line was so familiar to me that rather than going by a checklist of what writers are or aren’t supposed to do, I followed my instinct for the story, and I let it be what it needed to be. So don’t obsess over details or worry about conflicting writing advice about your book. Let it be the book it needs to be (while following the LIH guidelines, of course!) and trust yourself where it needs to go. If you’re familiar with the books, you probably already know deep down, what you’ve got to do. So trust that instinct! When you doubt yourself, ask yourself if it violates the guidelines. If it doesn’t, then stop doubting and just go for it! You can do this!  Danica Favorite. Shotgun Marriage.


The Love Inspired line is all about the romance! Make the romance the central focus of the book and include a lot of romantic conflict. From the very beginning, show us why the hero and heroine cannot fall in love—and then prove us wrong.  Gabrielle Meyer. A Mother in the Making.


My first editor told me about etymonline.com. I was amazed to discover how important the origin of words can be to a story. Often I've missed being able to use a word because its first origin came five years after the setting of my story. I keep it open on my desk while I'm writing. You never know when a word just won't do. Angel MooreThe Marriage Bargain.





Question & Answer with Love Inspired Editor, Emily Rodmell. Keep updated on the Love Inspired Historical Editor Pitch Opportunity by following Emily on Twitter. @EmilyRodmell

 1. What are you looking for in Love Inspired Historical?

We are on the hunt for great stories with strong hooks and great internal and external conflicts. Stories should be 70k words, focus on the romance and be inspirational in content. Our readers respond well to Westerns settings, and we’d love to see more Amish, but we’re open to anything. If you want the inside info on exactly what plotlines make us sit up and pay attention, tune into our big announcement this afternoon for a list of the specific hooks we are looking for.

2.     Why should I submit to Love Inspired Historical?

We have a great opportunity launching around noon eastern time today. I can’t share all the exciting details yet, but if you are an inspirational historical romance writer or even if you just have thought you’d like to try your hand at writing historical, keep your eyes peeled. The Love Inspired Historical editors want to find new authors for the line, and we are willing to work with authors to make your books shine. Being a Love Inspired author makes you part of a big family of fabulous authors who are super supportive. And you’ll have an editor who’s excited about your work and a whole team of marketers, artists, sales people and more working to make your book the best that it can be and to get it in the hands of readers through numerous channels (retail, direct mail, ebook). We don’t require an agent and are open to published and unpublished authors alike.

3.     When do you like to see the hero and heroine's first meet in a Love Inspired Historical?

As soon as possible. Don’t make the readers wait to see the sparks fly. Resist the urge to spend your first chapter setting up the backstory. Instead jump right in with the story.

4.     Does a Love Inspired Historical typically have any other POV besides the hero and heroine?

We prefer to keep the focus on the romance and the hero and heroine. Readers don’t need to see what Great Aunt Edna thinks of their relationship. So avoid secondary points of view.

5.     Should both the hero and heroine have a fully developed internal and external conflict? Or can one have more at stake? 

Both should have internal and external conflict.

6.     How can I learn more about Love Inspired Historical?


The best way to learn what works for the line is to read the books we publish. If you’ve never read an LIH, I’d recommend binge reading at least a couple before entering. This month, we’ve got great options including Reclaiming His Past by Karen Kirst and The Texan’s Engagement Agreement by Noelle Marchand. You can also follow the editors on social media and join the Harlequin.com message boards to interact with other authors. But most importantly, stay tuned for our big announcement this afternoon. The Seekerville ladies will post a link once it’s live.   

                                                             ~~~

Okay, Villagers, the clock is ticking down. If you have any other questions about LIH, leave them in the comments and we'll be sure to get an editor or an author to answer your question.



It's LIVE!!    Manuscript Matchmakers!









And if you have words to go on your novel targeted for LIH, don't forget to enter Seekerville's fifth annual book-in-a-month program. Speedbo starts March 1. Details here.

192 comments :

  1. Great post! I have quite a few of the books, so will come later to specify which ones I have. Thanks...as I read a lot of LI books, and my Mom devours them(not literally, lol) it was fun

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  2. Awesome post! Informative for sure. Though I'm not a writer, I'm still intrigue by how one gets published. I'm surprised that one should research the likes and dislikes of editors to submit to. I understand certain publishing houses will have genre preferences, but editors too? For Love Inspired, I thought it only breaks down to contemporary, suspense, Amish and historical. Wouldn't that be enough to submit to those departments?

    I'm looking forward to all of these! Gabrielle's A Mother in the Making definitely is on my list. The title alone had me interested.

    Thanks again! Annie

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    1. O, please enter my name in the giveaway. Thanks!

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  3. Great post! Please enter my name in the giveaway. I love LIH books! Thanks!

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  4. Great post. Good luck to all the historical authors in Seekerville!

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  5. HA! I know the feeling Marianne. I have to check to see which I already have!

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  6. Welcome to Seekerville, Michelle! You are entered.

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  7. An exciting day for sure, Terri! I hope I can hold out until the big announcement!

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  8. Annie, I just saw your question. Sometimes it can be in your favor to submit to an editor who has a particular interest in what you write. So why not do your homework if it can mean the difference between a sale and a pass?

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  9. I will be taking advantage of this opportunity. Thank you Seekerville and Tina for letting us know about it. My question is about conflict most LI books I read have what I would call a secondary conflict, something going on besides the romance and the conflict associated with that. For instance Janet Dean has the sewing shop ownership and catching Shifty in the Bounty Hunters Redemption. How important is this secondary conflict. In a marriage of convenience or mail order bride situation, does the romance have enough conflict within itself to carry the storyline?
    Please enter me. I love LI!

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  10. Thank you, Seekerville. Here I go again...

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  11. Cindy and Lyndee, you are in! I will let a Love Inspired Historical author answer your question in the a.m. Cindy!

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  12. Interesting ... I adore historicals, but westerns and Amish are ones I usually avoid (unless they have really unique sounding plots or characters). I read so much prairie/western settings when I first started reading Christian fiction, LOL ... I'm more interested in other time periods now. ;-)

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  13. I am so excited about this opportunity - thanks for sharing the tips and q and a - really helpful. Can't wait to see the full announcement! :)

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  14. Lyndee!! Another day, another pitch opportunity!!! Hurrah for open doors.

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  15. Jennifer! I hear you. I overdosed on historicals years ago, so read them sparingly now. Must learn to be balanced.

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  16. Hello to Rachel in the UK! are you going to pitch?? WOOT!

    Hey, did your package arrive??

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  17. Good morning Seekerville! What a great post! Looking forward to the announcement later today.

    I would love any of the books but the two by Janet Dean (have them) :) I would especially loe to win the book by Noelle Marchand as "Marchand" is my maiden name.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  18. Wow, Exciting news. Go Seeker friends. This is always a super great time to get noticed. They are looking. Go Go Go

    Thanks Tina for sharing this.

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  19. I can't wait for the full announcement! This post is really great. Please put my name in for LI H books that aren't out yet since I have most of the others. Thanks. Have a great day!

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  20. Good morning, Seekerville.

    I don't have any questions, just tons of excitement about today's announcement. As someone who sold from one of these LI opportunities, I'm over the moon excited for historical writers to have this great chance. GO FOR IT!

    The LI editors are amazing to work with. If you're even considering it, DO IT!

    If you're not, why not?

    Can't wait for noon.

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  21. Thank you all for the terrific advice. Good luck to all who pitch!

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  22. I love surprises and reveals and announcements! And I love working for Love Inspired... What a pleasure to have them here with us today!

    Tina, thanks so much for taking lead on this.

    I brought cookies..... and coffee.

    Coffee rocked the prairie!

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  23. I love historicals. I love delving into the depths of lives of those who didn't have today's instant pleasures, and see how devoted they were to family and faith.

    The original colonists, who made dangerous passages for the religious freedom we kind of take for granted today! OH MY STARS.... How brave!

    The courage of the pioneer....

    The Irish, bunked in steerage, hoping and praying for food and a chance at a new tomorrow.

    And they found it, here!!!

    I love historicals!!!!

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  24. I had to pop in and say, "Good morning, Seekerville."

    Very informative post. I'm cheering on all who decide to take advantage of the LIH pitch opportunity. Sadly, I'll be sitting out this round as I don't write historical. Having entered the last three Love Inspired pitch opportunities, it will be a bittersweet day for me to sit on the sidelines and not participate. I feel the excitement in the air, and I know we'll soon be celebrating some first sale call stories.

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  25. What a great post! Thanks for sharing the tips, and I'll be cheering on everybody writing historicals!

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  26. I like DANICA's comment. I too have read thousands of words of LIH and inspirational historicals from other lines. It is my genre of choice, both for writing and reading. So, in a sense,I "knew" how to put one together, and I let the story flow. But I also had to make sure it worked according to the "rules" of craft. I have something now and am excited about the LIH pitch opportunity. I would like to be entered into the drawing and I'll make it easy: any book by a Seeker or a Villager.
    Kathy Bailey

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  27. I also agree with RUTHY, but then I usually do. I like to read and write historicals because whatever we are going through today, they have (or had) it worse because they didn't have modern medicine, modern means of transportation and communication, etc. I do Oregon Trail and those poor devils didn't even have land lines, sigh. I also like historicals because there's usually a built-in external conflict -- the Pilgrims coming to a harsh new land, the Oregon Trail, homesteading in a dugout, surviving a war, COMING BACK FROM A WAR which Myra did so well in her post-World-War-I series. Oh, and lest we forget, MAIL ORDER BRIDE and orphan trains, which work because people in those times really didn't have a lot of options.
    I am Looking Forward To This and will check in later.
    Best,
    KB

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  28. And I like Ruthy's comment about the Irish. Somehow, Irish characters have made it into every book I've written. They know about suffering -- and overcoming.
    KB

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  29. Looks like an exciting opportunity awaits for those of you who are historical romance writers! Can hardly wait to see what the announcement entails!

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  30. Welcome to Seekerville, Emily. Thanks for sharing your tips for writing for Love Inspired Historical. I'm eager to see the great opportunity reveal this afternoon.

    I love writing for Love Inspired Historical where I get to weave romance, faith and history into an emotional story loaded with conflict. If that appeals to you, stay tuned.

    Janet

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  31. Love LI opportunities! Can't wait to learn all the details.

    Must research more on LIH titles. I'm starting a new ms and trying to name by baby.
    Thanks Keli for the tips.

    Please toss my name in the Angel Moore's The Marriage Bargain or Karen Kirst's Reclaiming His Past.

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  32. @Tina (sorry I can't figure out how to reply directly) YES my parcel arrived and was a lovely surprise as I totally wasn't expecting it! I mentioned it on twitter and did send an email (though having some problems with my email so it may have gone astray..)

    I'll say it here too :) Thank you!

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  33. Cindy R, I've written two marriage of convenience/mail order bride stories. The conflict in both revolves around the characters' goals, not just the romance. Those goals create your plot.

    For example, in The Substitute Bride, Elizabeth's goal is to give her little brother a home, which is why she married Ted. Ted's goal is to get a mother for his two young children. But, Elizabeth has switched places with the woman he thought he was marrying and this one is a debutante with no skills for homemaking or taking care of children. Elizabeth is living a lie, keeping secrets, as well as failing in her role as Ted's wife and the mother of his children. Their attraction/the romance complicates things for them both, i.e., complicates the plot.

    Look at your story. Do the hero and heroine have a goal they're strongly motivated to pursue and these goals create conflict between them?

    Janet

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  34. Thanks to all the LIH authors who gave tips on writing for the line! Waving to all of you!

    Janet

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  35. Cindy Marchand W! Great to see you back in Seekerville post op!! You are in !

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  36. Great opportunity for a ready writer! Which is why Sandra, Ruthy, Rhonda, Cate Nolan and Janet and I are so excited! Someone is about to knock the doors down. Someone/s!!!!!

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  37. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica.

    Jessica has another release coming in August, A Hasty Betrothal!

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  38. This is do exciting! Thanks, Emily, for providing so much great information. I hope all our historical writers take part. Writing for LI is a dream come true!

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  39. Glynna, didn't see you there. Good morning to you from the Valley! Glynna is in the AZ mountains.!

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  40. Thanks for answering that question, Janet. I knew you would be "in the know."

    :)

    Morning Debby Giusti!! Exciting day, isn't it??

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  41. Kathy Baily, and Connie Queen!!! Jumping up and down cheering for you historical writers this a.m.

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  42. Hey, Rachel! So glad it arrived. That's what counts!! Do you write historical or contemporary??

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  43. What a fun day at Seekerville! Eight thirty in the morning and there's already 37 comments. It sounds like big news is coming for historical writers today.

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing and would especially like Sherri Shackleford's, The Ranchers Christmas Proposal. I love Christmas books, that beautiful cover and her writing as well.

    Thanks to Harlequin and Seekerville for the giveaway.

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  44. GOOD MORNING! As a reader, I find the behind the scenes of an author's world so fascinating. I appreciate the fact that you strive for excellence in your writing!

    Have a wonderful week!

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  45. Loving this! I'm jumping in with both feet. And hands!

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  46. Tracey Hagwood - send me an email at sherrishackelford @ gmail. com -- I have an opportunity for you!

    Annie (Tina is right! She's always right.) Lots of times an editor will post in their bio what stories they're specifically looking for. I used to read all the dedication pages of the LIH books - authors are always dedicating their books to their editor. That gave me an idea of what stories certain editors gravitated toward.

    Remember - it's not just what an editor 'likes' --it's about an editor knowing what 'sells'! And we like sales :)

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  47. Ooh exciting day here in Seekerville! Best wishes to all you who are planning to take advantage of this pitch opportunity :)

    I'd love any of the giveaway titles! I used to read a lot of LI (all the lines), but then I read so many I kind of burnt out on them LOL. I think Jen mentioned something similar. Happily, I got back into them when I found Seekerville and the lovely authors here who write them! :)

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  48. Good morning, Tracey. This was a great day to have insomnia. I had peeps to chat with during the night, LOLOL.

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  49. Super exciting opportunity and what a fabulous post. I think a lot of this advice is great no matter what genre you write. I'd love to write a historical at some point. Although, I'm more obsessed with the medieval time period than westerns. I think I remember one of the LIH editors comment (a long time ago) that they would love an inspirational pirate story. Hmmm...anyone up for that challenge??? Good luck to everyone who'll be tossing their hat in the ring this round.

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  50. Morning to Carly and Sarah C. You're names are in for the books!!

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  51. This post is full of great advice for anyone who writes historicals, or even just anyone who writes because you could adapt the tips to your chosen setting and style.

    This type of post makes me think perhaps I could write a book one day for LIH...can't say I haven't considered it before..

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  52. Why do the LIH guidelines cut it off at WWII?

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  53. Good morning, historical author, Davalynn! How's ranch life this morning?

    Hope to see more published author's interest piqued by the upcoming opportunity!

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  54. You are so correct, LeAnne. Great advice these authors shared, period.

    Sarah, I will leave your question for a LIH author to answer.

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  55. Jackie Layton and Jill Weatherholt! Good morning ladies. Happy Monday!

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  56. Thanks for all the support, Seekerville. We can't wait to share the exciting news with you later today. If you've ever even thought of writing inspirational historical romance, we encourage you to take a look this afternoon.

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  57. Wow, what a fantastic compendium of insider tips! Thanks to all the Love Inspired historical authors who contributed!

    And thanks also to EMILY for offering the editor's perspective! This is great stuff here under any circumstances, a definite keeper post.

    Can't wait for the big announcement!

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  58. Rachel, surprises are the best, aren't they????

    And these kinds of announcements always make us happy. I love what I do, I love my publishers, and sharing these opportunities rocks.

    Hey, I did manage to find a tray of CANNOLIS from Ferrara Cafe!!!!! I love Little Italy!

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  59. Thank you for stopping by, Emily. We're just going to have to eat while we anxiously wait! Thanks for the cannoli, Ruthy!!!

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  60. What a wonderful post. Love all the insight on what goes into a Love Inspired Historical book.

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  61. THANK YOU to Emily and all the authors who gave advice and tips.
    LIH books have been my favorite (in addition to LI books!) for a looong time - - love them (except now I need more bookshelves to hold them all, LOL).
    Since today is such a special day, I've brought lots of "Georgia goodies" to share: Pecan pie, Pecan praline cake, Peach muffins, and Peach tea - - Enjoy! :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  62. p.s. Oh my!! Just saw the CANNOLIS that Ruthy brought - - YUM!! :)

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  63. Connie, good luck with naming your book! Keli's list of previous titles on her website should be a huge help.

    Janet

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  64. Cannolis, cookies, peach muffins, pecan pie...I'm loading up a plate with these luscious goodies. Thanks, Ruthy and Patti Jo!

    Janet

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  65. **Why is WWII a cutoff for historical books**

    I can't answer this specifically from a publisher's standpoint, but *I* can say that it's basically an industry standard. (And, again, I'm sure someone will point out the exception from a different publisher) But, yes, WWII has been the cutoff for decades --at least that's what it feels like! The publishers want to sell books, and I'm assuming they haven't opened that market yet in the historical publishing world.

    Until there's a breakout movement of 50s, 60s, 70s in the Indie world, I think that'll be the standard for a bit.

    If anyone has a more insightful answer, I'd be interested as well!?

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  66. Lyndee, you go, girl! Excited for you and all those grabbing the opportunity to write for LIH.

    Janet

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  67. Sarah, the periods after WWII are considered too recent to fit the historical image for readers. As time marches on, the time periods will do the same.

    Janet

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  68. I don't know which I'm more excited about - the pitch opportunity itself or the idea it is for LIH. Historicals were my first reading and writing love. There are stories in my brain just waiting to be told, #notenoughhoursintheday. #someday

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  69. Here's an example of my 'ask your editor' advice. I know my editor likes ranches, families, cowboys, etc. I want to do a proposal that's a little different. I've tried to think of ways I can fit my idea into a more 'family friendly' package. I have some thoughts, and sometime this week I'll call my editor and pitch the idea, and see what she thinks.

    She wants to protect her brand *and* my brand, and she's crazy smart about works in the business. In the professional writing world, it's better to ask for forgiveness first, otherwise an author and an editor can spend a lot of time and effort on a proposal that may get rejected.

    I'd rather be open and upfront now, rather than be frustrated later. (And, yes, I absolutely learned that the hard way. After my first book sold, I had *nothing*. The book was my first attempt at a western. I wrote a proposal for an edgy idea thinking, "Surely once she sees how amazingly I've presented the edgy idea, she'll be sold. Um. No.)

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  70. Hello, everyone! Just stopping into wish you all a good morning!

    Cindy W, it's so great to meet another Marchand! My family originated in Louisiana. What about yours?

    Leanne Bristow, I have a definite weakness for pirates stories. I'm bound to write one day. As a fellow reader, I'd love to see more of them in the LIH line.

    As for timer periods, I've started to see a few books set in the 50s. I think we just have to wait for that feeling of nostalgia to reach our collective consciousness about those time periods.

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  71. Great Post!! Thank you so much! I can't wait to see the announcement today, I am writing my favorite era and the heroes I've always wanted to see. Fingers crossed for everyone who wants to write for LIH!

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  72. I'm trying to write a Love Inspired contemporary right now. Any advice on those? And I'd love to be entered in the drawing.

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  73. What an exciting day! I'm looking forward to seeing the big announcement. Having Emily as my editor has been a wonderful experience. :) She has great instincts and has never steered me wrong.
    Great author tips! Angel Moore, how have I not heard of etymonline.com?? I will be using that from now on.
    Good luck to all those who are thinking of submitting to LIH! Writing historical romance is a fun,rewarding challenge.

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  74. Can't wait for the details about the Love Inspired Historical event! I sold my first book through a contest. My life changed forever that day. There are a lot of great tips here today. I wish I'd known Patty Smith Hall's tip about collecting pics along the way. My first book was challenging when I had to give sample pics of the characters. Now I find a pic and work from that. It saves a lot of time.

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  75. Loved reading all the authors' tips today! I write contemporary, BUT love reading historicals, and who knows? May try my hand at them one day. I'm impressed with how receptive the Harlequin editors are to new authors, and it's wonderful that the authors are so encouraging.

    Would love to win Patty Smith Hall's The Baby Barter, but I know they are all great stories!

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  76. WOW, WOW, WOW -- for anyone looking to write for LI, this is a virtual GOLDMINE!!

    Incredible post, Tina, and a true LI WIB -- workshop in a blog!!

    Going to share the wealth right now because this is TOO GOOD not to share!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  77. A great day on Seekerville! What a way to start the writing week. :)

    Whenever a LI has a pitch opportunity like this, it reminds me to always be prepared! Then you can jump on a chance to shine for the editors.

    And I love writing historicals. I would be lost trying to write a contemporary! And I'm always thankful to LIH for giving me the opportunity to write my heart out.

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  78. KAYBEE, I'm so glad my comment resonated with you! Definitely go for it and don't second guess yourself. You can do it!

    Re: Conflicts. What Janet said. :) Remember in LIH, you have 70,000 words, which gives you room to deepen those conflicts. So really think about how those internal and external goals make for a great big romantic conflict between the hero and heroine.

    Re: Time period. Sherri is right, it's pretty much an industry standard. I know some folks who tried to write nostalgic books, which are after WWII, and they did not sell well. I think 90% of the time, when you ask the question, "why don't people publish this," it all boils down to sales. Harlequin has some of the best data out there in terms of what does or doesn't sell. For all the years they've been in business and books they've published, they know what works. So, even if I have a fabulous idea that I super love, I really trust my editor in terms of taking her advice on things that aren't going to work.

    Re: advice on contemporary: Most of the advice we've given can be applied to contemporary. Good writing is still good writing. Read, read, read, and then write!!

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  79. We're glad to have Emily Rodmell back today! I look forward to hearing how many of y'all are going to jump in and try your hand at LIH!

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  80. Lots of good advice from the generous authors who shared!

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  81. Shared this on my social media because all the tips are too great not to share. Another hit, Seekers!

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  82. Thanks, Cheryl, St. John. Love Inspired Historical authors are the best!!

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  83. Welcome, Cheryl Baranski! Your name is in the giveaway!

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  84. Patti Jo, put us all out of our misery and do some guest posts in Yankee Belle Cafe so we can see those great pecan treats. I'm especially interested in the Pecan Praline Cake.

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  85. Melinda L! Welcome to Seekerville and good luck if you pitch!! Have a cannoli for stamina!

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  86. Anne Garboczi Evans, lots of information here applies. THE BEST info I can share is to find authors who you resonate with and tear their books apart. Take a pink and ble highlighter and mark up the books. (LOTS of books-must read lots of what you want to get sold in).

    Notice:

    Opening hook.
    H/H meet
    POV
    Ending hooks
    Internal Conflict
    External Conflict.

    Hope that helps.

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  87. Great to see you here, Karen Kirst and Angel Moore!!! Thanks for taking time to stop by and cheer!

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  88. Cynthia Herron! You changed your profile picture! Love it. Your name is entered!

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  89. Thanks, Julie! All I did was post it. The LIH authors and Emily Rodmell are generous to share their knowledge!!

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  90. "Whenever a LI has a pitch opportunity like this, it reminds me to always be prepared! Then you can jump on a chance to shine for the editors."

    You said it, Jan Drexler.

    BE PREPARED!!

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  91. Thanks for those detailed answers Danica and Sherri!

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  92. Good stuff here today, isn't it, Missy??

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  93. Good morning! This is my first time as a guest on Seekerville, though I've been a fan for years. What an honor. :)

    I sold to Love Inspired Historical last year through the Blurb2Book contest, and it changed my life. I'm so excited to see a focus on the historical line this year, and I encourage everyone who is interested to participate. The editors look at every single submission and it's a wonderful way to get feedback on your writing. It's also a wonderful way to get noticed and contracted!! :)

    Waving at Annie (thank you for looking forward to A Mother in the Making!), and hello to everyone else. I recognize many familiar names. I can't wait to see the official announcement later today.

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  94. I am so looking forward to this announcement this afternoon. I have a historical fiction I have been wanting to write. I have been researching it. Now it may get written sooner than I thought. this will also change what I planned for Speedbo.

    Please enter me for the drawing for the books. I will comment more and ask questions after the announcement.

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  95. Gabrielle! Congratulations on your sale and release and welcome!!!

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  96. Enjoying this post and the comments are chock-full of good advice. Hope to come back and catch up on all the comments.

    Now, I'm taking Danica's advice and just writing. No rules this morning! :)

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  97. Congratulations on your sale, Gabrielle!

    Thanks for hosting us, Tina. :)

    I think it was Cheryl St. John who said to keep track of your research sources. That's a valuable tip that will save you time in the long run. I didn't do that once and had a terrible time backing up my information.

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  98. On the same thread as Cheryl's advice to keep track of your research sources, keep track of your series! As Cheryl said, readers adore series. They like to see familiar characters pop up in the new stories.

    Set up what's called a 'series bible' (Little 'b') from the VERY beginning. Track all your characters, what they look like, what happens to them. Jot down descriptions of the characters, the town, the secondary characters. (Who runs the general store?!) Sketch out of map of the town for reference.

    Whether it's a computer bible on Scrivener, or a binder on your desk. You think you will remember the stuff you make up yourself, but after 5 or 6 or 10 books - you forget!!

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  99. Smart gal, Pam. Writing always comes first!

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  100. Always a pleasure to welcome, anything Love Inspired to Seekerville, Karen. More than half of the Seekers sailed off Unpublished Island thanks to the great editorial staff at LI.

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  101. YES!!!

    I have had to look at previous books numerous times for the spelling of something in a town I created and forgot how to spell. I learned the hard way that Sherri's advice is SPOT ON!

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  102. Thank you, Tina and Karen! And that's great advice, Sherri!! I need to start this immediately. :)

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  103. Great post! Chock-full of fabulous tips! Thanks, Tina for collecting and organizing!

    Thanks to all who contributed and congrats on your books!! Thanks to Angel Moore for the new resource link, etymonline.com.

    Thanks to Emily for the insider info! Can't wait for this afternoon's announcement!

    I'd like to be entered in the drawing too! Thank you!

    It's a gorgeous Monday morning here in Northern California...wishing you all a tea-lightful week!!

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  104. Good morning, Kathryn Barker! You are entered.

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  105. Hi, Kathryn Barker. I don't know how I made it through the first book without this resource. It sure did make for long hours revising. Who knew so many of our words came into usage in the last 100 years? Thankfully, it's saved me a lot of time since.

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  106. This all sounds very exciting. Thanks to all the authors for the tips.

    Please enter me for any of the books.

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  107. I have a question for Emily.

    Awhile back you mentioned wanting more Pony Express stories. Does this still hold true? I noticed it wasn't on the list.

    I'm at the beginning stages of lady rider w/the Pony Express story. Would I better to go w/another hook?

    Thanks.

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  108. You could enter a Pony Express story in the "Choose Your Own Hook" category.

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  109. Awesome! I will be watching this for sure. Please put me in the giveaway for Want Ad Wedding:)

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  110. Thank you for stopping by to answer that question, Emily!

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  111. Welcome to Seekerville, Melody Jewell. You are entered.

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  112. Gabrielle, congratulations on your debut A Mother in the Making!

    Janet

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  113. Howdy, Seekers, Seekervillagers and my savvy LIH editor, Emily! I'm so excited to see LIH in the spotlight today. Manuscript Matchmakers is such a great opportunity for those writing inspirational historical romance. If you've ever thought about writing for LIH, I highly encourage you to enter. You'll have the support and encouragement of many and will receive guidance from one of the best editorial teams in the business.

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  114. Please enter me into the draw. I would love to read any of these books.

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  115. I am excited about this but have lots of questions.

    First I kept trying to write on the forums on the Harlequin site but was never allowed. I called the company but did not receive any help. If I make it past the first round but then are not allowed to participate in the forums will it be a problem.

    I am glad there is an other category because my story does not fit the others. I am wanting to write about the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina in the early 1800's. I was named after a Cherokee who married Tsali who gave his life so the Cherokee's could stay in North Carolina. I have searched for the story of Tsali and Wilani but have not been able to find much on Wilani's story. Years ago I decided I would have to be the one to write that story. It appears that now is that time.

    Since my name is the same as the heroine in the story should I come up with a pen name to not confuse people or will it be all right to write under my own name.

    I am sure I will have more questions. I am so hoping I learned from last year and will at least make it past the first round.

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  116. Wilani, sometimes you just need to change your search engine. If you tried to use Chrome, try Internet Explorer. Since you enter the contest by email it shouldn't be a problem.

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  117. Hey, Keli! You are right on all counts. Great opportunity. Great editors.

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  118. Welcome to Seekerville, Sara. You are entered.

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  119. Thanks to all the writers for the tips. Must go now ... need to finish a WIP :-)

    Best wishes to all who enter!

    Nancy C

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  120. Hello Seekerville and hello to my excellent editor, Emily! These pitch opportunities are incredible and offer so much possibility. I particularly appreciated the interaction available with the editors. Don't be afraid to ask questions! :-)

    I curtesy to all the historical writers! Your detail to research is amazing. Many prayers for the writers and the editors in this pitch.

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  121. Congratulations, Gabrielle! We're so glad you're here!

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  122. His Prairie Sweetheart by Erica Vetsch

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  123. Such an exciting day!!! I love how inviting LI is to writers...they're encouraging you to submit. So if you have a story, make it happen.

    Great tips from all the LIH authors. Thanks for sharing, ladies!

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  124. Gabriella, thanks for being with us today. Congrats on your success! Isn't it great being part of the LI family!

    Hugs!

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  125. What a great day on Seekerville! A chance to get information directly from the ones who want to buy it! And great advice and a great chance to wade in and pitch!

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  126. Meghan's editor is also my wonderful editor. Emily Rodmell is fantastic! She knows story and how to make a manuscript shine! When she speaks, I listen!!!

    Historical writers, don't let this opportunity pass you by!

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  127. Wilani, if you're having trouble with the forums, please feel free to email me. danica at danicafavorite.com. I can help.

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  128. Glad to see everyone is excited. We hope to have a lot of entries. Published, unpublished, full manuscripts or just a germ of an idea. All are welcome.

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  129. Makes a writer wish she wrote historical. HA!!!

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  130. No questions. Just popping in to say best of luck to everyone who may be pitching in this event. Something tells me there are going to be lots of new lih authors.

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  131. Hey, BelleC. Good to see you! Great, great opportunity!

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  132. The Matchmaker announcement looks like a great opportunity! Such access to the editors of the Love Inspired line is rare indeed. I hope everyone who enters has a great experience.

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  133. I LOVE the varying quotes from some of my favorite LIH authors....here's one that stuck out to me and that I LOVE to read in a book: " From the very beginning, show us why the hero and heroine cannot fall in love--and then prove us wrong" by Gabrielle Meyer.
    Conflict, there was just a post on this the other day too. I love when the hero & heroine just can't see eye to eye and there's no way for them to fall in love. Since these stories end in a happily ever after, the journey from conflict to love is my favorite part of the stories! It gets me emotionally involved with the characters and I can let out a satisfied sigh at the end of the book :-)

    LIH is my favorite of the line and it seems I can't get enough historical fiction. I love the details the author tosses in, the description of the times/places/clothes etc, it launches me into a different era where I can escape for a few hours!

    Such an awesome post to read, and probably one of my favorite so far! But I may be a bit biased...lol :-)

    I have "A Home of Her Own" by Keli, "The Matchmaker's Match" by Jessica, and "The Ranchers Christmas Proposal" by Sherrie...so ANY of the other ones I'd love to win!! Thank you so much for the chance :-)

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  134. Yes, Trixi, that gave me a good pause as I am working on my current project. Well said, Gabrielle. You are in, Trixi.

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  135. I know the subject today is LI Historicals, but I was just wondering has anyone ever written a LI historical suspense? Or would that be to much going on compared to the higher word count allowed in full length novels. I'm not even a writer and my wheels are turning.

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  136. Good question, I have no idea, so hopefully someone can answer. There are a lot of great historical suspenses out there but in a LIH? hmmmmm. Tracey, did you see the note from Sherri Shackelford earlier?

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  137. Great tips for historical romances! Thanks. It's a wonderful opportunity.

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  138. Wow, what an exciting opportunity for all you writers! I love reading the Love Inspired books and it's always fun to fall in love with a new author's writing. Please include me in the drawing! I'd love The Bounty Hunter's Redemption, His Prairie Sweetheart, The Texan's Engagement Agreement, or A Home of Her Own. (I already have the ones by Karen Kirst and Sherri Shackelford)

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  139. Hey there, Heidi! Always good to see a Love Inspired fan! You are entered.

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  140. Hi Cara! Yes. A really wonderful opportunity!

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  141. This is a keeper post!!! I'll file it away to read more thoroughly when I have time to digest all the incredible information and advice.

    Sorry I've been AWOL, Seekers. I see the back surgeon on Thursday. As they say in the south, "Ain't Skeert." ;-)

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  142. I'm like my buddy Belle. No questions. Just so excited for the new opportunities with this pitch. These pitches are so much fun, and chance to learn from the amazing editors at LI is priceless. (I feel like a Verizon commercial).

    I sold during a Love Inspired Suspense pitch, but I am an avid reader of all three lines.

    Can't wait to see all the new books bought by the editors.

    Best wishes to all the entrants!

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  143. Yes Tina, I saw it and have talked to her today. Thanks for mentioning it though.

    Here's a funny for you TINA, I was reading a LIS before bed the other night and ended up dreaming I was being chased. I ran into a art district shop which was a handmade jewelry store. You were the owner and a mystery writer. You agreed to help me figure out why the thugs though I had information they wanted and solve the mystery. Too bad I woke up, I could have written my first LIS. Isn't that hilarious?!

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  144. DREAMING OF TINA....

    Or mayhap since you were being chased, it's nightmares about Tina?????

    Hmmmmm........

    :)

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  145. Haha Ruthy, I'm sure it's because of what I'd been reading, I've always been a dreamer. Then Tina's been to all these police academy's..the subconscious mind goes where it wants to go, lol

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  146. A Home of Her Own by Keli Gwyn ~ I want to know what happens when James finds he has already come across Becky! Read on ~ Write on :D Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
    Please enter my name for a win. lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  147. I love this post! I love, love, love LIH books! Thanks for all the info from the various authors!
    PLEASE put my name in the drawing for Danica Favorite's book! It was hard to choose but I love Danica's books!!!!
    Valri

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  148. Tracey, we can cowrite. Tracey Radcliffe or Tina Hagwood or T.T. Hagrad or TT Radwood.

    The possibilities.

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  149. You are entered Kathleen (Lane Hill) and Valri!

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  150. Always good to see your smiling face around here Dana!!

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  151. Many thanks to Editor, Emily Rodmell and the Love Inspired Historical Authors for answering questions and joining us today in Seekerville. Hope all you historical writers will take advantage of this awesome opportunity! Spread the word!

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  152. Exciting! Thanks to Emily Rodmell and the LIH authors for all the advice! Please put my name in for any of these great books. Fun!

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  153. I'd never thought about from the titles point of view. Keli, I will have to go through that list in detail.

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  154. Hey Walt, good to see you! Another day, another opportunity!

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  155. Would love to enter! These all look like wonderful books. I would happily accept any of them, but I really like "The Texan's Engagement Agreement". Looks like a lot of fun!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

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  156. This looks so fun! Okay, I have a question or two:

    -- If we reference the hero in the title, should we open with his point of view, or if the heroine, etc?

    -- May we submit more than one idea in the initial entry stage?

    Wow, so many books! I'll go with Gabrielle Meyer's A Mother In the Making. They all sound like fantastic stories!

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  157. I am sorry to be late to the party. I have been at the hospital all day with my daughter who had surgery today. She's doing great! :)

    I would encourage historical writers to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. I know I wouldn't be an LIH author if it wasn't for last year's Blurb2Book contest! Working with the LIH team has been wonderful!

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    1. Oh, I'm happy to hear Heather's surgery went well. I pray she has a speedy recovery.

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  158. Natalie, I'm so excited to hear you're thinking of entering! From my experience, I don't believe it matters whose POV you start in. For A Mother in the Making (which references the heroine), my story starts in the hero's POV. Also, I believe you can only enter one story--but I'd check out the contest details, just to make sure. Thanks for mentioning my book!! Good luck in the drawing. :)

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  159. So nice to see everyone here today! Tina, thank you for being a lovely host. Seekerville is one of my favorite blogs. Everyone here is so much fun!

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  160. Natalie, stop by eharlequin and ask about subbing more than one entry.

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  161. So glad your daughter's surgery went well, Erica! Thanks for stopping by!

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  162. Janette you are entered! Thanks for stopping by!

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  163. Gabrielle, thanks for being present today! Always a kick to have fellow LI authors with us.

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  164. What wonderful information. As an aspiring historical romance writer LIH are my go-to books to study the genre. Would love a chance to win.

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  165. Natalie - the editors say 'one entry per person'. Happy Writing!!!!

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  166. I adore the Love Inspired line and really enjoyed this informative post! Thanks so much for sharing, ladies! I would love to be entered in the giveaway!

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  167. Britney, welcome to Seekerville. If you are brand new be sure to check out our about us tab at the top and request a welcome packet. You are in the drawing!!!

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  168. Sandy you are entered in. Be sure we have a way to contact you!

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  169. Tracey, I just saw your question about suspense in a historical. While a LIH is a vastly different story than a LIS, I'm able to include a bit of suspense in my stories. In my March release, A Home of Her Own, the heroine, Becky, is on the run from a person attempting to frame her for arson. Without too much of a spoiler, the villain causes trouble for Becky. Until that happens, readers will experience the suspense element. I hope this helps.

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  170. Connie, I wish you well as you work on your new story and come up with a name for it. I hope my tip helps.

    One thing to bear in mind regarding titles is not to get too attached to them. They often change. On all three of my contracted my LIHs my editor has asked me to come up with a list of possible titles--in addition to the working title on the submission. On the first two books, the LIH team chose a title from the alternate list I sent them. On the third, Make-Believe Beau coming out in August, they went with the working title. I'd used my own tip when I came up with it. The title tells readers what the story is about and fits one of the tried and true LIH tropes.

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  171. Trixi, thanks for being such an enthusiastic fan of LIH and the LIH authors, myself included. You rock!!!

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  172. Kathleen (aka Lane Hill House), I appreciate your support. I hope you enjoy A Home of Her Own. James and Becky's story is dear to my heart. His mother has cancer, as did my beloved mother-in-law. I worked in much of the emotion I experienced during Mother's last days. James isn't too happy when Becky shows up to serve as his mother's nurse, so the caring woman has her work cut out for in more ways than one. There are sparks. =)

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  173. Hi, Walt! Great to see you! I hope my title tips prove helpful.

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  174. Erica, I'm glad your daughter's surgery went well. I wish her all the best on her recovery.

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  175. Very Interesting! I love to read Historical Fiction. I enjoyed the tips as a reader, because I think the same things as I read. :-)

    I would love to be entered into the drawing I have some of the books but would love. . . Want Ad Wedding, the Marriage Bargain, A Home of Her Own, The Texan's Engagement.
    Thanks
    Becky B.

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  176. They all look wonderful! Please enter my name - I know I would enjoy all of them, so I will happily accept whatever I might win :)

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  177. All these historical fiction titles look like winners to me! Please put my name in the hat :)

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  178. So much great advice! I adore historical romance. Haven't read as much as I'd like, but that can always be remedied. (And yes, please enter me.)

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  179. Beth and Crystal, you are in! Thanks for stopping by.

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  180. Wishing you all much success in the contest! I do enjoy historical romance!
    please drop my name in the hat :)

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