Thursday, February 18, 2016

What I’ve learned from Working with Multiple Publishers (AND a Cover Reveal!)

with guest Susan Anne Mason.

Hello Seekers and Villagers! So nice to be back and a huge thank you to Tina for inviting me!

You’ve probably heard the old saying “Be careful what you wish for”! Well, I’m here to tell you it is all too true! One minute I was a writer struggling to get published, and the next I had contracts with THREE different publishers. In the space of 17 months (from August 2014 to January 2016) I’ve had FIVE books published. How did that happen??

Well, I finally figured out what had been holding me back on my journey to publication: FEAR! Fear of not being able to handle the pressure of writing on demand, fear of having to promote myself, fear of being confident enough to pull this whole “Author” thing off. Once I let go of the fear and turned it over to God (I figured He knew how much I could handle), I ended up with the joy—AND THE STRESS—of being multi-published. Because I’m not going to lie, there has been a lot of pressure, especially in the last six to eight months, which is why I decided to write about this topic. 

So what have I learned from all this? I’ll try to cover the main points!

I’ve learned to —

JUGGLE!! In the past six months for Bethany House alone, I’ve had to juggle deadlines, editors, blog visits, contest giveaways, line edits and galleys – all with different expectations attached. It gets stressful when you have one manuscript due to the editor, galleys for another book arriving, and a new book release to promote. I’ve learned it’s important to prioritize your tasks and your time—and to just buckle down and do it. Also, it helps to tell the family not to expect much in the way of cooking, cleaning and laundry until the deadlines are over!

BE FLEXIBLE: Each publisher handles the publication process differently and I’ve had to learn to adjust to each way. For instance, with White Rose and Love Inspired, I was sent edits electronically and was able to view all the edits marked on the document. I knew exactly what was being changed. With Bethany House, it’s completely different. Once the content edits (to the plot and characters) are done, a line editor gets the document. When I see it next, my manuscript comes in the mail as one big document. 

 For Irish Meadows, I had almost memorized the whole book, so I could tell when the editor had changed something. But I had my laptop open to and went through along with the hard copy to find all the changes. For A Worthy Heart, I asked for a marked up copy. My lovely editor explained that they don’t want the writer to do that. She asked me to go through the edited manuscript as a reader, not a writer, and if there was something I really couldn’t live with, we could fix it. That made the second line edits much easier!

BE ASSERTIVE without being rude. This is hard for someone like me who likes to please people and doesn’t want to make waves. But I’ve found it necessary a few times to assert my opinion, in a way that I feel heard, even if the publisher chooses not to listen. For example, when “Irish Meadows” was coming out with Bethany House, I received the mock up for the cover and was horrified! I had pictured a lovely historical cover along the line of Karen Witemeyer and Tracie Peterson—something pretty with green meadows and horses in the background. I opened the document and almost cried (well, I did cry and had one sleepless night). 

So I spent hours in the early morning searching for alternatives and tried to word an email to my editor about why this cover was SO wrong for the feel of my book. I found out later that they almost never alter a cover for an author, but thank heavens they changed the color of her hat and dress to royal blue. That made all the difference in the world! And happily, for the cover of A Worthy Heart (out now – shameless plug here!), I was over-the-moon thrilled! The beautiful dark-haired model is exactly how I pictured Maggie Montgomery, the Irish girl who wins Adam O’Leary’s heart!

Recently with my third contemporary romance for White Rose (Redeemed Hearts, also due out in September), I had another occasion to be assertive. For my first two White Rose books, I had a fabulous editor and everything went swimmingly. This time I had a new editor, and when I opened the document to a literal sea of red, I wondered if any of my original story was left. Again, I’ve learned to let the extreme emotional reaction simmer for a bit, and then after I cool down, figure out how to handle the situation. When I read through all the edits, I tried to take any personal hurt out of the equation and realize that this person’s style was simply VERY different than mine—which was okay, but she was cutting my voice, my personality out of the story. Which was NOT okay. So I left in the edits I could live with and where I couldn’t accept the changes, put back my original words. Then when I returned the manuscript, I included (what I felt was) a polite email asking the editor to respect my author voice and to accept the changes I had made. If this had been my first book, I would never have had the confidence or temerity to do this. I’m still waiting to see what happens, but I’m certain we can achieve a balance.

ASK FOR HELP. I’ve learned that it’s okay to admit you’re struggling and ask for help. The last two books in my Courage to Dream Series for Bethany House were challenging, to say the least, with really quick turnarounds. The nine months between books indicated in my contract ended up being six months, and that makes a huge difference in a 100,000+ word book. Throw in some family health issues and I was in over my head, which I didn’t fully realize until my agent asked: “Would you like me to get you an extension to your deadline?” I had never even considered the possibility. Right away I wrote back, “Yes, please!” And very quickly I had an extra month to finish the book. What a relief! Suddenly I wasn’t feeling paralyzed and could make the book much better than it would have been.

But the biggest thing I’ve learned from all of this is that God really does have my back in all the details! His timing is impeccable and everything will turn out all right in the end!
What fears are holding you back?

COVER REVEAL:  Now for the first time I am going to reveal the cover of my third historical for Bethany House, due for release in September 2016. The title is Love’s Faithful Promise. This book is set mainly in the winter of 1922 and focuses on the youngest O’Leary, Deirdre. I think they did a great job getting the period clothing right! And I love the model’s face and eyes which are so close to how I envisioned Deirdre! Hope you guys like it, too!

GIVEAWAY: I’d love to offer one lovely commenter the chance to win a copy of either Irish Meadows or A Worthy Heart. (If you haven’t read Irish Meadows I suggest you start there since it introduces the whole O’Leary clan). Both Book 1 and 2 of the Courage to Dream Series,  are out now!  Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

  A Worthy Heart

The answer to Maggie Montgomery’s dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she’ll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attention. She’s intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life. 

While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she learn he’s Rylan’s brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother’s request.

Adam O’Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam’s only desire is to earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone’s effort to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break—but they soon discover the past isn’t easy to overcome.

Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She loves incorporating inspirational messages of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness into her characters’ journeys. A Worthy Heart is her second historical novel in the Courage to Dream series. Irish Meadows won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Authors chapter of RWA.  

Susan lives outside Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She loves red wine and chocolate, is not partial to snow even though she’s Canadian, and is ecstatic on the rare occasions she has the house to herself. In addition to writing, Susan likes to research her family history on-line, and occasionally indulges in scrapbooking. Learn more about Susan and her books at


  1. I am over-the-moon happy to read a post by you Susan!!!!! You're one of the newest "favorite" authors of mine :-)

    Thank you for allowing a fan-girl moment..haha! It's always interesting to see a writers journey, from a dream to now reality. I love it when God fulfills a desire in our hearts in a way we never even considered or thought! I'm also so glad you didn't give up that dream when faced with a page (or manuscript) full of red corrections. You buckled up, faced your fears, and kept moving forward! And us readers surely appreciate that :-) I am also LOVING the cover of your newest book coming out. I was surprised to read you didn't like the one for Irish Meadows! I suppose it would be hard when you imagine one thing and the publisher has a vastly different idea in mind. But like you, they did good by changing her dress to a royal blue, it makes the cover and the model stand out more.

    Please add my name to whatever hat or container you are using to win a copy of "A Worthy Heart" as I already have "Irish Meadows" sitting pretty on my shelf. I think AWH is the most beautiful of the covers, the model is picture perfect :-) Thank you for the chance, it has been on my most wanted list!

    Keep on writing for our reading pleasure and His glory!

  2. Wow! You're new cover is gorgeous. Bethany House makes beautiful covers in my opinion.

    I'm so happy for you and love seeing your books.

    Isn't it amazing how fear can hold us back? I know the thought of multiple deadlines sounds intimidating to me.

    I'd love to win book two, so please throw my name in the hat.

  3. Thank you Susan for that inspiring post. Your post reminded me that if you don't let fear stop you and give your fears to God to handle you can accomplish many great things! Also want to compliment you on your Courage To Dream series, It looks great.Looking forward to reading it sometime.Thanks for the behind the scenes story about it and for the giveaway!!

  4. Thank you Susan for an amazing post, sharing with us not only our experience with different editors/publishers, but also how God had your back. He really does, doesn't He? He has all our backs, not only on the big things, but the little ones too.

    Your Courage to Dream series are high up on my TBR list! All the covers are gorgeous. Each one seems to say so much with their expressions, especially their eyes. I'd be thrilled to win either of them. Thank you.

  5. Sue, it's great to see you back in Seekerville. I remember so well the announcements of your rapid-fire contracts. I did so much happy dancing on your behalf that it's a wonder I didn't throw my back out of whack.

    Fear can creep in when we least expect it, robbing us of our joy. I'm happy to hear that you've found ways to deal with it--and that you've generously shared them with us.

    I love the covers of your BH books. They're all stunning, but that red really does pop, doesn't it?

  6. Great post and very timely for me! God had been teaching me a lot about fear lately and trying to train me to use that emotion to remind me to give the problem or whatever it is to Him sooner rather than later or never. I fail more than I succeed, but I am making progress.

    Your book covers are beautiful! Congratulations on your newest one and I pray God blesses your work and uses it greatly!

  7. WOOT!

    Congratulations to you.
    Wonderful covers. They are different enough, yet cohesive.

    Appreciate your honesty and good words about your experiences.

    All the best as you continue!

  8. Thanks so much for a great post, Susan! I love all your Bethany House covers but agree the blue version is definitely so much better :) And as someone who is madly trying to keep up with just having two books come out in six months I can't even get my head around how you've managed FIVE in fifteen!

  9. I'm so glad you were assertive for the cover of IRISH MEADOWS. The blue is so much better.

    They are beautiful covers.

  10. Thank you for sharing your incredible story. You handled your fear and an amazing overload of contracts...all with God's help! You are an inspiration to us all.

    Please enter my name in the drawing for your book. It looks like a great read!

  11. Good morning, Susan, and thank you for sharing your wild & woolly post-publication journey! After waiting forever to get "the call," it's an entirely NEW set of challenges once you sign on the dotted line, isn't it? Uncharted waters that published authors can tell you about, but has to be experienced to fully understand.

    I can't imagine being a newly published author and suddenly finding myself with deadlines for THREE publishing houses. I commend you for being brave enough to overcome the fear and wade right there! Congratulations on your sales -- and your beautiful covers!

  12. Welcome, Susan! Your story is incredible. Newly published and working with three different publishing houses, you definitely kicked fear to the curb. As I work on my first line edits for my book, I found your advice extremely helpful, so thank you. Your new cover is fabulous! Congratulations!

  13. Susan,

    ALL of your covers are lovely. People will pluck them from the store shelves based on the covers alone. Although I do know what you mean about covers and how you had them pictured.

    Congratulations on all of your writing contracts.

  14. Good morning Susan!

    You're story is inspiring. I agree, the blue version is much more appealing, but I love all the covers.

    My question is will you continue to work for 3 different publisher or try to narrow it down to 1 or 2 in the future?

  15. Oh, and toss my name in for a Worthy Heart.

    The hero being fresh out of prison intrigues me.

  16. Susan, you sure ended up with a platefull and a great outcome. All of this forced you to react and with God's guidance and you came through fine and are ahead with several published books. What a fasttrack way to work with publisher's and editors. All your time spent writing was worth it. And the end results prove that. What a good learning experience, you can take a deep breath now. Beautiful covers and the insides arei very well written. Kudo's to you.

  17. Wow, I'm even more impressed by all an author has to do to get her story told. I wrote and self published 2 cookbooks, including funny stories through the years, because I didn't want anyone telling me what I couldn't do. But I don't consider myself a writer, I just state what happens and everyone thinks it's funny. But writers, you constantly create stories, and that amazes me!

    missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

  18. GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE! I am so thrilled to be back in Seekerville again! I must admit with all the writing busy-ness,I haven't been visiting here as often as I would like!

    This blog was so important to me earlier in my writing journey! I had been writing in a virtual vacuum until I found this blog (or until Tina found me as a finalist in the Golden Heart contest!) I learned so much from these lovely ladies and their wonderful posts, I always hoped to be able to give back words of wisdom and inspiration to other writers one day.

    I'll hang around a wee bit now, but then must be off to work for a few hours.

    Enjoy coffee, tea (hot because it's COLD up here), bagels, strawberries and cream cheese!

  19. Susan, your books are gorgeous! The colors on all 3 covers are just vibrant and beautiful. Please toss my name into the hat for the giveaway. I haven't had the opportunity to read any of your books yet, so the first one might be better to start with, but I'll happily read either!

  20. Susan, thanks for sharing your journey (and the attendant problems). No one realizes how difficult the author's journey can be until they experience it, but then again, it's a nice problem to have. I appreciate your post.

  21. TRIXI - The first commenter! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! You're one of my favorite cheerleaders! Good luck in the draw!

    TERRI - A fellow Pelican Book Group (White Rose) author! Great to see you here! Wishing you the best of luck with your writing!

    LYNNE - Lovely to 'meet' you! You're right - fear is a huge obstacle in our lives. If we can get out of our own way, wonderful things can happen!

    JUST COMMONLY - Glad you enjoyed the post! I love being able to provide inspiration to other people, writers or not!

    KELI - Thanks for dropping in! (Keli is a fellow Golden Heart finalist from back in 2008). So happy to watch your blooming career with Love Inspired Historicals! Watch for Keli's books, folks! They're wonderful!

    OKAY, off to work now. Will check in again early this afternoon!

  22. Susan, I love watching your success and am so proud of you!

    Yes, fear holds us back too often. Glad you broke its spell! :)

    Deirdre is beautiful! Love all your covers. They pull me in...and invite me to read your delightful stories!

    Thanks for sharing some great insights today. This writing gig can be a challenge. Sharing what we've learned helps all of us move forward.


  23. Hi Susan - I remember the day you shared in Seekerville about your Bethany House contract. What a great day. I would love to read Irish Meadows. And your new cover is as beautiful as the others!

  24. Susan, you are an inspiration to us all.
    I'm encouraged that you asked your editors for an extension -- and got it.
    And I'm encouraged that you contested it when the editor tried to get you to write in "her" voice. It is true, so many of us have so many different styles, and I like to think I'd know when someone was imposing theirs on me. We'll see, and see if I have the courage to do anything about it. Hope it's not on my first book.
    Please enter my name in the drawing, I have "healing the widower's heart" and would love to read more of your work.
    Kathy Bailey

  25. Susan,

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your journey. I think there is a ton of fear on the road to publication, and you inspire me.

    Your book covers are beautiful! Again, congratulations!

  26. Good morning, Seekerville. Oh boy did I bring food. Lemon curds and jam and scones. Vanilla and raspberry scones and dark chocolate scones.

    Susan and Seekerville met when she finaled in the Golden Heart. And like many of you Villagers she continued to learn and study her craft until she sold.

    So many lovely Villagers are making that same journey until they are off the island!!

  27. Beautiful covers, Susan! So glad you could join us today with these great lessons from your writing journey. I remember when my first two book contracts came through within a month of each other, someone told me getting published can be like tapping and tapping on the bottom of a ketchup bottle. Nothing happens forever, it seems, and then all of a sudden it gushes out. We definitely have to learn quickly how to manage all the new demands on our time!

  28. Trixie, you are right, we need a special hat for today! Or a steamer trunk, sturdy enough to handle a trip from Ireland to the US.

    Which reminds me...the movie BROOKLYN is out on DVD on MARCH 15. Good timing. Right before St. Patrick's Day!

  29. Susan, this was a timely post for me. Even after close to 50 books, I still let the process overwhelm me at times.

    By the way, you were spot on to insist on a change on the Irish Meadows cover. The result is striking and eye-catching. Bethany House historically does gorgeous covers!

  30. This Irish/Scottish woman thinks you're amazingly blessed! What an honor to be recognized by these publishers! Good for you!

    I'm totally in on the lemon curd, please and thank you, Tina! Awesome!!!!!

  31. Curious writers want to know. What's your next book project. Any more Love Inspired romances coming up?

    What a juggle this is.

    When exactly do you write?

  32. Trixi, I liked the brown dress, too. I think it was more in keeping with the time, but the blue is pretty.

  33. Remember that it's all about keeping on. Keep writing, even if you put those books under the bed. Be ready when opportunity presents itself. Like the Love Inspired Historical pitch opportunity coming Monday.

    Imagine, you sell and suddenly you have ten books under the bed to pitch and you have a whirl wind of product. And everyone things you are prolific!!

    Love this sort of HEA.

  34. True, Ruthy, the brown was the time period. But wow the blue does set off her hair and eyes.

    The heroine on Worthy looks just like RORY in the Gilmore Girls.

    Love the new release cover as well.

  35. Great post, Susan!

    And what a whirlwind journey you're on! I thought I was dizzy from writing for two publishers, but three?

    It sounds like you're doing it well, though. I like what you said: "I’ve learned it’s important to prioritize your tasks and your time—and to just buckle down and do it." It's amazing what you can get done when you set your priorities and decide to get it done.

    Don't put my name in the drawing - I have both books, and I'm looking forward to Love's Faithful Promise!

  36. Dr. Mabry, so delighted to have you stop by today!

    And Linda Goodnight, our esteemed RITA winning author.Thrilled to have you visit us today!

  37. So happy for your success, Sue!!! I can relate to feeling overwhelmed and having to ask for more time! That's happened to me once or twice in the last couple of years that I've been writing 3 books a year! :-) We unassertive people have to learn to speak up in this business, too! Keep up the good work!

  38. Jan, that's right you did the dance with two publishers. And I guess this is becoming more and more normal in the current publishing landscape. Ruth Logan Herne has three publishers and indie publishes and has a day job.

    Spin those plates authors!!

  39. And there is that Melanie Dickerson with two publishers at the moment.

    Waving to Melly!

  40. By the way, any one want to comment on the reading the whole manuscript like a reader for the final read through? I really like that. And I think that I need to remember that when I do my final read through. Excellent editorial advice.

  41. Tina, Bethany does a galley review (my term maybe?) before the final galley. So the book isn't laid out like a galley but it is mostly final. So this is your last chance to make significant changes because one you get the galley you have to be careful not to mess with the formatting, like make a paragraph so much longer it starts a new line and maybe pushes the whole page enough it jumps to the NEXT page. That really messes with their all-tidy, laid out galley version.

    I just did a galley edit on the book releasing in July (I think July).

    The thing I LOVE (among fifty or one hundred things) about Bethany house is they send a page or two of revision suggestions about a month or two after I turn in my final manuscript.

    Rather than go line by line they will give several paragraphs as an overview and they always start with compliments "Our Favorite Things(God bless them) then they have several paragraphs of 'concerns'.

    example of Our Favorite Things on Fire and Ice:
    A story that grabs your attention and holds onto it. Good tension, action, intrigue, suspense, and humor throughout.

    Bailey’s desire to be independent and steer clear of men is a great contrast to Gage wanting to take care of her, to be married, and his loyalty to the men on his ranch.

    Great hints at Bailey’s secrets, making us turn pages to find out what stories she’s hiding.

  42. That was getting too long.

    Then they do what they call: Questions, Comments, Suggestions. Here's an example of an overview?
    Gage’s mother’s personality doesn’t feel fully fleshed out yet. She seems to cry and whine a lot, and doesn’t get much onscreen time or dialogue or a reason to contribute to the plot. Consider ways to make her a more well-rounded and developed character—bring her to life more, find a way to use her in scenes. For instance, how does she dress? Does she have a Texas accent or speak in a unique way?

    See that's big picture stuff, developing a character.

  43. Then they go chapter by chapter and more specific.
    Ex. Ch. 2—Great sparks and tension between Bailey and Gage in this chapter!
    Make it clear why Gage feels he has any right to Bailey’s land. Is there a reason Gage hadn’t already purchased the entrance to the canyon? Why didn’t Bailey claim the canyon land when she realized she’d need it—did she know Gage already owned it?

    See they're not asking me to CHANGE it, they're asking me to make it clear, if they're confused the reader will be confused.

    My favorite thing about Bethany is once in a while they ask me to do something I don't want to do. (this is very rare) And when I say, "I didn't make this change because I...."
    Their response is, "This is your book, your name is on the front of it. You get to decide what you want to change or not."

    I just love them for that. And almost always, again close to 100% of the time, their revision notes places that didn't quite make sense or ring true. So I love that they are a neutral ... and very knowledgable ... set of eyes. I take what they say very seriously because if they don't say....LIKE Gage's mother then that's MY PROBLEM, right? Even if in my head I have her balanced good and bad, if that's not coming through then I need to fix it.

  44. As for covers, I try and be very laid back and cooperative with covers. My thinking is, we are on the same team. They want this book to sell as much as I do. And they're the pros.

    So I give them a huge amount of trust on this.

  45. She asked me to go through the edited manuscript as a reader, not a writer, and if there was something I really couldn’t live with, we could fix it. That made the second line edits much easier!

    Good advise from that editor. I suspect most authors handle their first edits the same way as you did, Susan, with a fine-tooth comb and trying to decide what we said and what was edited. lol

    But I agree with the editor. It really gives us a fresh eye on the project if we can read line edits as a reader.

  46. Their response is, "This is your book, your name is on the front of it. You get to decide what you want to change or not."


    WISE, Editorial staff.

  47. And there is Pammy who is juggling two publishers and indie publishing!! Seems that's what it's all about. HA!!

    I guess I didn't think about it much until Susan's post.

    Lots of jugglers these days.

  48. So not only is Bethany House wonderful to and for their readers, they're great for their authors, too! More and more reasons to like BH...

  49. Tina it IS wise and it is very encouraging to me to work with them because I just know they're on my side. We are all working for a great book.

  50. Okay I was called away and now I'm back.
    My Cowboy's ancient laptop wasn't working.
    He asked me to fix it.

    This is TERRIFYING because of course I know almost nothing. My solution? I shut it down and restarted, which worked (Praise the Lord) but he never shuts it down. He just keeps it going. It's a laptop but the battery is shot...this thing might be ten years old. So it is always plugged in. He opens it, uses it, closes it and sets it aside.

    One of these days it's going to die and I'm dreading it, because it's Windows 7 and heaven knows a new one isn't going to have that!

    Anyway, shut it down (which in this case because it was a black screen completely unresponsive) means unplug it. Wait a few minutes, plug it in again, and here come the updates. Good grief, the whole process took FOREVER!

    And it finally went all through the update cycle and whatever else and BAM! It's working again.

    ps My Cowboy and my mom are the only people who think I'm a computer genius, please don't inform them otherwise, I'm not getting that from ANYONE ELSE!!!!

  51. Hi Susan!

    Thanks so much for the words of wisdom from your writing experiences. I know they will help me out in the future.

    I have to say that I simply LOVE your latest cover. Congrats!

    Don't enter me in the giveaway because I have your books on my nightstand waiting for me to finish the ones I'm reading now.

  52. It seemed like I had something else to ....okay, remembered.

    In the last couple of years I've been writing for Bethany, Thomas Nelson, Barbour, Ten Talents (a small pub through my agent) and the indy work we're doing with the Seeker novellas.

    Very interesting ride.

    I don't know how long you tried to kick your way through that stubborn door to publishing, Sue, but I know for me, it took FOREVER and I NEVER forget that. I never, yes even after 45+ books, I never, ever stop being grateful.
    I do say no to some things now, I just have to, but God bless anyone who wants to give me a contract to write a book.

    It's humbling every time...and I think it helps that I heard NO for so long from so many. The thrill is NOT gone for me!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Mary. I'm inspired by this whole discussion today.

  53. There you go, Sarah. This calls for a scone.

  54. Five publisher's Connealy..and being a freelance computer whiz. Honey, you better go lie down. Or is it lay down?


  55. Loraine, good to see you. How's the writing journey going??

  56. Typo alert. No apostrophe after publisher. Still nursing coffee cup number two. Way behind on fuel this am.

  57. Great post Susan. Congrats on all your success. It does sound stressful but you have given great suggestions for handling it.

    I have not read Irish Meadows so please put me in the drawing for it.

  58. Good morning, Sandy Smith. You are in the steamer trunk drawing. How is the weather in Nebraska? 65 here in AZ. Cold snap.

  59. That's right, Radcliffe, I'm a computer repair-person.

    God have mercy if my repairs go beyond, turn it off, turn it back on. LOL

    So far that part of my job isn't taking a HUGE amount of time.

    Plus I'm pretty sure my mom's computer isn't even online anymore. If it is, it's not working.

    She does have wifi which is always a nightmare to log into. I think we reset the password every single time we try and use it. (that'd be four times a year!)

    And mom doesn't know or care, only when the grandkids come with their devices does it matter. And most of them are realists at this point and don't even try.

  60. Susan! So good to see you! Congratulations on ALL you've accomplished with your writing -- and thank you for sharing the excitement/challenges of publication. I appreciate your honesty.

    Fear. I like the anonymity of writing non-fiction, as well as the quick turnaround and uncomplicated contracts :-) Having worked with deadlines, edits, etc., my greatest concern writing fiction is the loss of privacy. Did you have reservations about that?

    Also, how many of your books were already written (in one form or another) before you were published? Did you need to start any of the series 'from scratch'?

    Nancy C

  61. Loss of privacy. Interesting thoughts Nancy C.

    I don't put any family on my social media and scold my kids when they post on my social media sites.

    I am an author and sorry, but not willing to put my whole life out there. Or I have no havens of comfort.

  62. Nancy C I have one daughter with small children and she does NOT want them on Facebook on my pages.

    She's not a fanatic about it, more like nervous. And with a few exceptions, I've never put them other daughter isn't so worried. On the rare exception, like I posted my family's Christmas card picture, I didn't include names or link it to my daughter's facebook page.

    I keep telling her Christian fiction readers are the worlds NICEST stalkers. So if one of my friends DID stalk her it would probably just be so they could bring her a cake or something.

  63. On another note, do any of y'all have experience with using NetGalley?

  64. Just Commonly and Trixi and Kav would be your contacts for NetGalley. Authors don't usually have time to deal with review sites. Email them.

  65. Tina Radcliffe said...
    .... I am an author and sorry, but not willing to put my whole life out there. Or I have no havens of comfort.

    Havens of comfort -- super description. Thanks for your answer :-)

    Nancy C

  66. Passing you a dark chocolate scone too!! :) Ruthy hates scones. MORE FOR US!!!

  67. Mary Connealy said...
    ... I keep telling her Christian fiction readers are the worlds NICEST stalkers. So if one of my friends DID stalk her it would probably just be so they could bring her a cake or something.


    Nancy C

  68. MARY - I recently purchased a new laptop with Windows 7 through Amazon.
    Toshiba Satellite 17.3" Laptop Computer with Windows 7 Professional (2.2GHz Intel i5-5200U Processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Multi-DVD Drive)

  69. Back after lunch to skim the comments before getting back to work, and what I'm coming up with is . . .


    I must have accidentally stepped through a portal into an alternate universe. Hopefully this is also a world where chocolate scones have no calories.

  70. Susan, what an inspiring post! I definitely understand fear. I dare say most of us do. :-) Your historicals look so interesting, and I love the covers. An Irish heroine? Sign me up!

    Tina and Mary, I agree on the social media privacy. I post my children sometimes, but no names, and they don't have their own social media accounts. It's a delicate balance, being open and available to readers but protecting our families.

  71. CLARI, MAY, MARY & BETTIE - Thanks for much for dropping in! And I'm glad you love my covers as much as I do!

    KARA - Yes, it has indeed been very hectic and I'm hoping for a little down time soon!

  72. BETTIE - Glad I can be inspiring to others!!

    GLYNNA - New challenges is so right! But we always seem to rise to them, don't we?

    JILL W - Glad I could be of help with your line edits! Congrats!

    ROSE - Thanks for your kind comments!

  73. CONNIE asked: Will you keep working with 3 publishing houses? Great question. I would definitely like to narrow it down to two for sure. With more manageable timeframes. For bigger books like my historicals, I've found that 6 months between books is too short. Maybe Nora Roberts can do it, but I need more time!! LOL.

    1. I think you are going to have a 4th soon. We'll work it out.;-)

  74. SUZANNE - I wish I could take a deep breath and relax, but there's always something going on!

    MELODY - Congrats on putting out your cookbooks! That takes courage, too!

    SARAH C - I hope you'll be able to read "Irish Meadows" one day and get hooked on the O'Learys!

    RICHARD - You're right! It is a NICE problem to have, as I'm sure you know!

    DEBBY G - Thank you for your love and support! It's always so nice to see your smiling face at the conferences! Hope to see you this year!

    CINDY - Thanks so much! Hope you get a chance to read my books!

  75. Jill seriously, you can still get Windows 7? I did it like a year after Windows 8 came out, when I needed a new laptop but I figured no way they'd be there anymore.

    I'm tempted to buy one and just HIDE IT! And save it for the inevitable day his laptop dies.

    He does almost nothing on it. So he's not stressing it out to much. Just checks email and he knows about three websites.

    One called Steer Planet. A reminder to us all that the internet has something for everyone! ps don't go there, I just did and for some reason they are selling Semen Tanks.....and no that's not tank tops for sailors just TRUST ME and don't go there!!!

  76. Myra, my darling, come into an alternate universe and let me repair your computer while you eat calorie free scones.

    It's lovely here!!!


  77. Yes, the new laptop, purchased in late December, has Windows 7 and I love it. I was afraid to go with 10 since everyone seemed to dislike 8, but my old laptop was on is last leg.

  78. KATHY - So happy you got to read "Healing the Widower's Heart". It's one of my faves b/c it was the story that finaled in the Golden Heart contest! (Way back when!)

    JACKIE - Glad my story can inspire others! Keep going!!

    TINA - Thanks for bring the food! We may need lunch now! OH, I LOVED the movie "Brooklyn". Well worth watching.

    MYRA - Love the ketchup analogy!! So true!

  79. SUSIE-Q!!!!

    Wow, did this post take ME back to some shivers!!

    YOU SAID: "For Irish Meadows, I had almost memorized the whole book, so I could tell when the editor had changed something. But I had my laptop open to and went through along with the hard copy to find all the changes. For A Worthy Heart, I asked for a marked up copy. My lovely editor explained that they don’t want the writer to do that. She asked me to go through the edited manuscript as a reader, not a writer, and if there was something I really couldn’t live with, we could fix it. That made the second line edits much easier!"

    The worst editing experience of my short writer's life came with A Passion Most Pure when my copy editor did exactly what you stated above. I still remember reading the galleys in the car on our way to visit my daughter at school. I literally caught my breath out loud, and my husband said, "What?" I was stunned to discover the copy editor not only did what you stated above -- changed my wording, sentence structure, deleted lines and added her own WITHOUT tracked changes -- but she actually peppered the entire ms. with negative comments, one of which went something like this: "You know, if your purpose in portraying Faith this way is to make her look immature and stupid, then this works."

    Like you, I knew my story back and forth, and I have a rhythm and flow to my writing that was completely destroyed by this woman, so much so that reading the galleys was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I don't fully remember the exact number of major edits she made, but I'm sure it was over a 400. I cried for a full week before I contacted my agent, and WOW, did I get action then! She went straight to my editor who immediately contacted me to say that "this was my story, not the copy editor's, and if I didn't agree with her changes, then I could change them back as long as they didn't go against Revell policy." I was OVERJOYED, and immediately asked to never work with this copy editor again, and she told me I didn't have to. The new copy editor I got was WONDERFUL, and I've had her for all the rest of my books! Of course, it helps when your copy editor actually likes your style and what you write, which this first gal obviously did not. I am sorry you had the same experience, but I'm guessing it's pretty common.

    I have to say that the cover for A Worthy Heart is EXCEPTIONAL and never have I seen a more Irish-looking lass. If I didn't know it was an Irish saga, I would think it was from that very cover -- GORGEOUS!

    I remember well your upset over the first cover, though, and although I think the blue is very pretty, I honestly cannot for the life of me understand why they didn't make her dress Kelly green for a book entitled IRISH MEADOWS. Their reasons for that escape me to this day. Did they ever tell you why???

    Sooooo fun to see how far you have come in such a short time, Sue -- that is truly amazing!!


  80. LINDA G - Oh my! Thanks for taking the time to comment! You are one of the authors that got me hooked on LI!! Love your writing!

    RUTHY - Waving from across the lake!!

    TINA - you asked about my next projects. Well, I have a contemporary releasing with White Rose in September called "Redeemed Hearts". It's the third of the Rainbow Falls series with them. And I have a manuscript just submitted to Love Inspired for consideration so I won't know for a month or two. But I would love to work with LI again! Also brainstorming ideas for another Bethany House project, but taking my time with that.

  81. I have Windows 10 and like it. Of course I went to the Mary Connealy School of Computer Wizardry and graduated top in my class.

  82. JAN D - Congrats on your career taking off! Two publishers as well!!

    MELANIE - My gosh!! 3 books a year is amazing! And I love your newest cover!

    MARY C - My fellow BH Author!! You're so right. BH knows how to sell books!

    PAM H - This is a great approach to editing. It means releasing a little control which is hard but freeing!

  83. LORAINE - Thanks for popping in! Glad you like the cover for LFP!

    MARY C -FIVE PUBLISHERS??? And cows??? You do need to lie down. Maybe I do, too!

    SANDY - Appreciate you dropping in! Good luck in the draw!

  84. NANCY C - You ask hard questions, girl!! Loss of privacy? So far I haven't had to worry too much. You do get some people asking for free books and you have to be careful about that.

    As for which books were already written? All 3 for White Rose were written, but all involved major revisions, so I did a lot of re-writing! Healing the Widower's Heart was done (formerly Wyndermere House) but I had to rewrite the last third of it for Love Inspired (which was a good thing!). For Bethany House, I only had "Irish Meadows" written and NO IDEA for the other 2 books. So they were completely written on the fly in 6 months! No wonder I need a vacation!!

  85. I have been a die-hard Mac user since about 2008, but we finally gave up a year or two ago and bought a Windows 7 laptop for the sole purpose of running Quicken. Now it keeps prompting me to upgrade to Windows 10. I promised it I would consider the upgrade after we got our income taxes filed. That's done. Now I have no more excuses.

    Mary, do you want to come over and take care of this for me? Bring scones.

  86. MEAGHAN C - Thanks for popping by!

    JULIE L - Hey, Julie! Sorry you had such a bad time with edits for APMP. That must have been so hard on your first 'baby'!

    I hope I didn't make anyone think that my edits for Bethany House were bad, because that wasn't my intention. All the editing with them has been fabulous! It was just me having to get used to THEM! They know what they're doing.

    I'm so happy that for Book 3 I get to keep working with Charlene Patterson even though she's left BH. She's doing some freelance work and thank goodness she is going to continue with my series to keep the continuity going. And yes, thank goodness she likes my style of writing.

    As for the cover of IM, the most popular color for riding habits at the time was black. (They were going with a Downton Abbey type feel, aka Lady Mary's riding habit). And the model wasn't actually a Bethany House shoot. (Long story.) But I'm not sure why they didn't choose green. I think the blue color was also popular at the time so they went with that. Which I'm glad for because I LOVE Maggie's green outfit on the second cover!

    BTW, I loved "Isle of Hope"!! Keep up the good work!

  87. Susan, I read your post earlier, but this is my first chance to comment. :) It's amazing to see how God has launched your career. Thanks for sharing your story, and the lessons you're learning about working with different publishers. I really resonated with your point about being assertive. I imagine, at times, you need to pray for the grace to do this well. :) So hard.

    So fun to see you here, and learn more about what's going on with your writing!



    (I'll email you privately and plead with you also)

  89. Tina my best pupil ever (also ONLY).
    We learned our lesson didn't we Miss Tina???

  90. Oh this is so much fun! Congratulations on your runaway success -- and thanks for sharing wisdom from your experiences. It's all so fascinating and foreign to me. It's a thrill to read these success stories.

    Fear is a huge distractor for me too -- on so many levels. I never thought I was a fearful person until I started having these health problems and then suddenly it became quite apparent that I wasn't as together as I thought I was. LOL I keep giving God my fear but I'm also guilty of holding a smidgen back which, of course, morphs into something larger and pretty soon I have to repeat the exercise. Getting better at it though.

    No need to enter me in the draw -- I have all your books to date and am looking forward to reading more. :-)

  91. JEANNE T - So happy to see you here! Thanks for your kind words. What's happening with your career? Looking forward to the day I can read your books!!

    KAV - My wonderful cheerleader! I so appreciate your support and your reviews! Wishing you much improved health and a wonderful spring to come!

  92. Hi Susan,

    So what's next?

    Just kidding, but as I read your post, all I could think was this woman needs a vacation.

    Congratulations on all your success and on the lessons you have learned. Congrats on the new cover. It's definitely my favorite of the three, though I have to confess, I think I love your LI cover best. That lake house looks so inviting!

  93. Thank you for the great post Susan! This is pretty much my first day back in Seekerville since having a total knee replacement on 01/04/16. I must say I had initial fear before surgery but without going into detail, God had my back all the way and He still has my back in this healing process. Praise God!

    I would love to be in your drawing for Irish Meadows. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. Also, all your cover art is beautiful!

    May you all be blessed!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  94. Great to see you back in the saddle, CindyW!! Go God!

  95. CATE - Thanks for your comments. I love my LI cover too! Hoping to get another contract with them! The only downside with LI is the short shelf life. But they do have a huge following!

    CINDY W - Yikes! A knee replacement. Well, I hope you are soon pain free and running marathons! Good luck in the draw!

  96. wow.

    just that. wow.

    I'm glad you're sharing what you learned with us, especially about standing up for your voice. I love your covers, and agree that Bethany House does a really nice job with book covers. Huge Congrats on your overwhelming success.

    I'd love to be in the draw for A Worthy Heart. I'm sure I'll be hooked and have a pressing need to purchase your other books - once my budget allows it, that is... Seekerville introduces me to so many great authors/books and here I am, with not enough time. *sigh*

    Mary: you crack me up. I hate having to explain to co-workers why I'm snorting water through my nose.

  97. I do the final read through as a reader on every story. And if I'm low on time, I ask for a day or two, because that's a clutch read for me.

    What a great crowd today, hey, THUMBPRINT COOKIES are here! Fresh and melt-in-your mouth worthy!

    Tina, you're right on the dress, too.... I was thinking Irish historical in my head, but as for eye-catching, the blue pops.

    Does liking the brown mean I'm a DRUDGE?????

  98. Sue, what a blessing to have all those contracts. Even with the stress, I'm sure it's worth it to see your dreams come true.

    I love your new cover! LOVE all those Bethany House covers. They're stunning.

  99. DEB H - Thanks for your comments! I hope you get a chance to read my O'Leary stories! I'm laughing to myself thinking of you snorting water at work!! That Mary!!

    RUTH - No way, you're not a drudge. And actually the color of the inital dress was really BLACK. My husband thought it was a vampire book!! LOL! I thought it looked like a dark, gothic read, not the tone of my book at all. So I was happy they changed it! Thanks for the cookies!

  100. HI MISSY! Thanks for dropping in, and thanks for your lovely comments!

  101. HI Susan,
    Congratulations on the many books and thanks for sharing your journey. I love that you say God had your back. Great reminder! Your covers are stunning. They catch my eye every time I see them.

  102. Hey Sue!! Well, I've been without internet service ALL day (until a few minutes ago) and all I could think about was "I'm missing Sue Mason's Seekerville post today" Ugh! So...I'm so happy to have service now and that you're the guest today! I am thrilled for your success, and love your covers! :) You are an inspiration to me (and others, I'm sure).
    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

  103. I am staying far away from Windows 10....

    I am kissing my laptops with Windows 7.

    Why fix what is already perfect?

    But I love my Office 16.

    LOVE IT.

  104. Thank heaven's Myra responded. Now she KNOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  105. These are NOT opinions. This is the law of right and truth and justice and COMMON SENSE.

    So you're welcome!



  107. I always love it when Ruth Blodgett stops in with cookies. That woman is a crazy talented baker!

  108. Hello Susan! The cover for Love's Faithful Promise is gorgeous! So glad that you leaned on the Lord during ALL that you had going on! My biggest fear is missing out on what He has for me....

    Please put me the drawing.

  109. Wait. So TINA is happy with Windows 10? But MARY and RUTHY are warning me away?

    Whom to trust . . . whom to trust.

  110. LYNDEE - Thanks for your kind comments! Glad my covers are catching your eye!

    PATTI JO - Hi Sweetie!! So glad you were able to get your internet back and join the fun! Your support and friendship is a true gift!

    CARYL - I love the cover for LFP too! I was worried how they would depict Deirdre but they did a FABULOUS job! And don't worry about missing out - I find that things have a way of working out the way they should. For instance at a conference I couldn't get any agents or publishers interested in Irish Meadows, but for some reason I didn't despair. I believed in my story and knew that someday, somehow it would get published. All in God's timing! Trust, and Believe and it will happen!

  111. Notice I am staying out of the Windows 7, 8, 9 and 10 debate!! (Wait, what happened to 9? Why did they skip to 10?) I like my 7 thanks!!!

  112. Ruth, I just finished off some thumbprint cookies yesterday!! They were Harry & David and were AMAZING.

  113. Great cover, as always! I admire how you handled the editor situation at WRP. I think I would have requested a second editorial review.. not sure if that would have flown either. Congrats on the release!

  114. SUSAN, this is why I prefer my Mac. :) Although Apple hasn't convinced me to upgrade from Yosemite to El Capitan. I keep watching the reviews to see if they're working out the bugs.

  115. Just don't say I didn't warn you, Myra Girl.

    Again I will say, upgrade from 8 to 10, probably okay. 10 MAY BE an improvement over 8, which is just loaded with changes for no reason except for the SAKE of change. All the stuff you use is just GONE. But once you get used to Windows 8, if you are still alive, then maybe upgrade.

    Upgrade from 7 to 10 NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Not only a radical change but also I don't think the new loads well over 7, they're just to different.

    I can only advice. You must listen to me.

  116. Just don't say I didn't warn you, Myra Girl.

    Again I will say, upgrade from 8 to 10, probably okay. 10 MAY BE an improvement over 8, 8 is just loaded with changes for no reason except for the SAKE of change. All the stuff you use is just GONE. But once you get used to Windows 8, if you are still alive, then maybe upgrade to 10. I understand the change isn't too radical and improves some of the worst glitches of Win 8.

    Not only a radical change from 7 to 10, but also I don't think the 10 loads well over 7, they're just too different.

    I can only advise. You must listen to me.

  117. I think you endured too much in this process. From an agent's perspective, if you are having a problem, I'm always the bad cop in terms of complaining and have your back in getting things fixed. Covers get changed all the time even complete re - dis although I don't win every time. No editor developmental editor line editor or copy editor has the right to write her own book instead of editing yours or change style or voice or historical accuracy. Your agent can help avoid that. Anything that seems to be going wrong should be brought to your agent as your advocate and champion to reduce the pressure to be assertive and keep your relationships as amicable as possible with everyone in the house.

  118. I absolutely love the Worthy Heart book cover - it's beautiful! Please include me in the drawing - I would love to read the book. I'm a reader, not an author bug your post is very insightful.

  119. ROBIN - thanks for dropping by!

    NATASHA - Yup. Still learning what to go to the agent for and what to handle on my own. Good to have that support!

    LOVES TO READ - We love readers!! Good luck in the draw and if you win, I suggest starting with "Irish Meadows", the first in the series. It sets the background of some of the key characters in "A Worthy Heart".

  120. Susan, this has been such an encouraging post! I love the covers for your Bethany House books. And I love that you have been willing to let go of your fear and embrace your calling.

    I just bought the second book in your trilogy. Guess I should get the first so I can start it in the right place.

    Congrats on all your success!

  121. I'm late to the party, but better late than never! I loved IRISH MEADOWS, and am literally praying I get the sequel. Somehow! I loved your post, Susan, and the peak into your life. Has anyone ever told you YOU ROCK? Well, YOU DO.
    And so do you, TINA, for having her. Now, when my life seems to be spiralling out of control, I'll think of Susan and her publishing.

  122. DANA - Thank you so much!! Maybe you'll win the draw and can get the first one for free! I appreciate your support!

    Well, everyone, it has been a blast! But I'm off to bed soon, so I'll bid you all 'adieu'. I'll check back in the morning to catch any night owls!

    Cheers and Happy Reading!

  123. MARIANNE - Just caught you as I was signing off! I am thrilled that you loved Irish Meadows! And no, no one has ever told that I ROCK!! So thank you for that!!

  124. Gorgeous covers! I love the blue better than black. Glad they changed it.
    Would love to win your book.

  125. Susan, Thank you for the post. I always love reading about diligence and learning from published writers about when something is crucial enough about how to politely work with the publisher. Congratulations on your published novels, and thank you for sharing with us who are diligently pursuing publication your own story.

  126. I agree the blue hat & dress really makes the Irish Meadows cover pop. Not sure why someone thought a monochrome brown would make the book stand out.

  127. Hi Susan! Thanks for the answer re: how many books you had written and how many you had to write. You DO deserve a vacation :-)

    Best wishes for even more books -- perhaps at a slightly slower pace? -- in the future.

    Nancy C

  128. Susan,

    Thanks for such an encouraging post. I think that FEAR holds many people back, not just from writing/publishing, but from acting on the dreams they have. I speak personally here.

    Please put my name in the drawing!

  129. Susan, thank you for sharing your publishing journey with us. It was an answer to prayer for me, as I wrestled with fear last night and prayed for the strength to push through the professional editing process of my writing journey.

    I also want to thank all the writers commenting here today. I recently adopted a pen name for privacy and have been wrestling with doubts over this decision. But I'm feeling better about it now.

    Also, I want to express my gratitude to all the founders of Seekerville for creating a place for Christian Writers to come together with coffee and scones, and for sharing their experiences with all of the fledgling authors who ate lurking in the shadows. I was beginning to feel like an island until I came across this site. God bless you all and thank you for all your hard work and time.

    Thank you, Susan, for your wonderful post today.

  130. Susan, thank you for sharing your publishing journey with us. It was an answer to prayer for me, as I wrestled with fear last night and prayed for the strength to push through the professional editing process of my writing journey.

    I also want to thank all the writers commenting here today. I recently adopted a pen name for privacy and have been wrestling with doubts over this decision. But I'm feeling better about it now.

    Also, I want to express my gratitude to all the founders of Seekerville for creating a place for Christian Writers to come together with coffee and scones, and for sharing their experiences with all of the fledgling authors who ate lurking in the shadows. I was beginning to feel like an island until I came across this site. God bless you all and thank you for all your hard work and time.

    Thank you, Susan, for your wonderful post today.

  131. Everytime I see A Worthy Pursuit's cover I think: IS that the girl off Gilmore Girls. It looks so much like her. It has to be here. How did they got Rory on that gorgeous cover?" Anyone else think it looks like Rory or is it just me???? Loved today's blog! And of course I'd love to win me some books!! All three covers are very eye catching.

  132. Hi Tina - I'm sorry to say that the writing is going verryyy sloooooowww... *big sigh* - I just moved so I have all kinds of excuses for not working on it. Would you pray for me to get my fingers to the keyboard?

  133. The difference in appeal of the two covers of Irish Meadows is dramatic (and the royal blue really is so much better!). Glad you perservered and overcame!

    Please enter me in the drawing for Irish Meadows.

    Thank you and may God bless you and all of Seekerville!

  134. I am a reader not a writer, but I can imagine it would be difficult to work with different editors on books in the same series.
    I haven't read either book in the series, but I'm pretty sure I have the first in my to be read stack, but would love to win a copy of the book two!

  135. I would love to win Irish Meadows

  136. Susan I think your advice about allowing things to simmer down before you respond applies to a lot of areas. (Always been a down fall for me). It's easy to say things you regret when emotion is high. Thank you for outlining the deadlines and pressures of a multi published author.

    I love the blue in the cover for Irish Meadows- I would love to win a copy. Blessings

  137. Congrats, Susan on your great books! I have not read any of them, so count me in, please!

    Welcome back to Cindy W. (after knee surgery); hoping I do as well with mine in April.

  138. Congrats on the great books. Please throw my name in the hat for Irish Meadows as I have not yet had the privilege to read it :)

  139. All these covers are absolutely gorgeous with those vibrant colors! Love them! I'm hoping to get my hands on one of them soon.