Seekerville began as a Yahoo Group in 2005. We were divas who kept bumping tiaras on the contest circuit. We came together with the intent to pray each other into publication. The blog itself began in October of 2007.
A decade ago we sat on Unpublished Island waiting for a chance to sail to the mainland. We had a lot to learn! (and still do!) Besides hanging out in Seekerville, we've been busy writers. Here's a peek at our journey.
Debby Giusti was the FIRST Seeker to leave Unpublished Island. Find Debby Giusti books here.
"In the summer of 2005, I entered and won three contests where the final round judges were Love Inspired editors. Each entry received a request for submission. Wanting to meet the editors in person, I attended my first RWA National Conference, held in Reno at the end of July, where I also met Janet Dean, Myra Johnson, and Julie Lessman. It was there that the idea for what would eventually become Seekerville was first discussed. While at the conference, LI senior editor Krista Stroever shared with me that Joan Marlow Golan, the LI executive editor, was reviewing my manuscript. Needless to say, I flew home, eager and anxious about what might unfold. Three days later on August 3rd, I received “The Call.” Nowhere to Hide, my debut Love Inspired Suspense was published
A short time later, same year, 2005 at the ACFW conference in Nashville, Mary Connealy sold her first manuscript. It was released as Golden Days. Find Mary Connealy books here.
"Every year at the ACFW conference Barbour Publishing gives a contract to an unpublished author. I was so hopeful! I had a book submitted to HP and they’d asked for revisions. I knew there was a chance it could be me.
Tracie Peterson, the acquiring editor for Heartsong Presents at that time, called my name. I get chills saying that! It was a wonderful, thrilling shocking moment. I had to go up and get the contract, in front of 350 other writers, all clapping. A great, great moment in my life."
Audra Harders, Julie Lessman & Ruth Logan Herne Circa 2005, ACFW Conference.
In July of 2005, Janet Dean, Myra Johnson, Julie Lessman, and Tina Radcliffe were the four finalists in the Inspirational category of the RWA Golden Heart. The Golden Girls met for the first time in Reno for RWA. Myra Johnson won with Autumn Rains which would later be published by Barbour.
In 2006 Julie Lessman sold what would become her epic, award-winning, first novel, A Passion Most Pure. Find Julie Lessman books here.
"After receiving the booby prize for the most rejections at an ACFW Conference (19 at that time), I was signed by agent extraordinaire, Natasha Kern, who actually blanched a bit when she first signed me, realizing after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed a contract for me within six months.
The call came—appropriately enough—when I was in the middle of praying with my prayer partners. My heart dropped when I heard Natasha’s voice, but when she said that the editor, Lonnie Hull Dupont, told her she'd never seen a pub board vote unanimously for a book before, I started crying. I repeated everything she said so my prayer partners could hear, and they were screaming and jumping up and down in the background. Lonnie told Natasha it was very unusual for an editor to call on the day of pub board, but that she was too excited not to, and that a number of the editors had stayed up late the night because they couldn’t put the book down! She said they were so excited that they actually started brainstorming taglines for me, one of which was “a Christian Maeve Binchy.” Believe me, after 46 rejections and another publisher giving me a slice-n-dice rejection the very week before, this phone call was a balm to my battered soul."
And that same year, Janet Dean sold to Love Inspired Historical. Find Janet Dean books here.
"On June 29, 2006, my agent called with the news that Melissa Endlich, Senior Editor, Steeple Hill Books, wanted to buy my manuscript Orphaned Hearts for the Love Inspired Historical romance line launching February of 2008. I was home alone and so excited I could barely contain myself. I called family and friends and told my husband the news the minute he walked in the door from work. I could barely choke down dinner before heading out with my published critique partner to her out of town speaking engagement that evening where she told attendees I’d received The Call.
I had to wait for what felt like forever to see my debut re-titled Courting Miss Adelaide hit the shelves in September of 2008. I will always be grateful to Melissa Endlich and Love Inspired for opening the door to publication, enabling me to sail off Unpubbed Island, to my readers who have blessed me beyond measure, and to God, who gave me the gift to write for Him. "
ACFW Conference 2006
Front-Audra Harders, Camy Tang, Cheryl Wyatt.
Back, Debby Giusti, Janet Dean, Myra Johnson, Ruth Logan Herne, Sandra Leesmith, Cara Lynn James & Missy Tippens.
I listened to the message.
Then senior editor, Krista Stroever, asked me to call her when I got in. I knew they don’t call for rejections! They only send a letter for that—those letters with which I had become well acquainted. :) When I called Krista, she said they loved my story and wanted to offer a contract. She said she knew I would want time to consider the offer and told me to call her back when I decided. I stifled a maniacal laugh and acted as if I had enough sense at the moment to respond professionally. I was still in shock a couple of hours later after I called back to accept. Only later that evening did I finally gather my wits enough to celebrate! I'll be forever grateful to Emily for making my dreams come true."
Myra Johnson sold to Abingdon Press in 2008. You can find Myra's books here.
"In July of 2008, 25 years and 200+ rejections into my writing career, I learned of a new fiction line at Abingdon Press. Barbara Scott was the editor then, and she had put out the word that she especially welcomed submissions from unpublished but talented writers who had "paid their dues." I figured that described me, so right away I shot Barbara an email describing the novel manuscripts I had available. She requested one of them, and barely a month went by before she called with a contract offer for what would become my first published novel, One Imperfect Christmas.
Sharing about “the call" on my personal blog, here’s what I wrote: "So I’m calling myself the poster child for publication perseverance. It has been a long, arduous journey, a roller-coaster ride emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I’m smart enough to realize I haven’t arrived' yet. This is just the next leg of the journey, and one I can’t wait to explore! If God has given you the desire, talent, and skill to write--or whatever He may have gifted you with--until He personally tells you otherwise, keep on keeping on. If success seems long in coming, ask God to help you see what you still need to learn, how He still wants to grow you up. Our path through this life is not about what we can achieve, but what God wants to shape us into. He is the Potter, we are the clay. Be moldable!"
In 2008 Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner for Golden Days. She is also a finalist in the Best First Book category with Petticoat Ranch.
In 2008 Debby Giusti was a Carol Award finalist with Nowhere to Hide.
L-R Debby Giusti, Lenora Worth, Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, Linda Goodnight (with RITA), Allie Pleiter, Debra Clopton, Pamela Tracy, and Merrillee Wren.
Sandra Leesmith, Missy Tippens, Debby Giusti and Janet Dean.
|Myra, Julie, Mary, Cara, Janet, Debby & Darlene Bucholtz|
|Missy, Janet, Editor Emily Rodmell, Debby|
Glynna Kaye sold to Love Inspired in January of 2009. You can find Glynna Kaye books here.
"Although I’d finaled or won quite a few contests with my unpubbed “chick lit flavored” romantic mysteries, in August 2008 I entered The Golden Pen contest with the first book I’d written that was specifically targeted toward Harlequin Love Inspired. By October it finaled and in mid-December, it had not only won first place in the inspy category, but finalist judge/Love Inspired Senior Editor Melissa Endlich wanted to see a full “right away, please!” With my Seeker sisters cheering me on, I frantically finished writing the book (Pam and Sandra even dived in to critique it for me). I sent it “priority” mail on January 13 and 9 days later I got an email from Melissa asking what the best time would be for her to contact me about “some good news.” Believe me, I was bouncing off the walls and thanking God when the NEXT MORNING, Friday, January 23, 2009, at 7:25 a.m. I got the long-awaited “Call!” Unbelievably, in October of that same year my first published book, “Dreaming of Home” was on store shelves!"
Ruth Logan Herne sailed off Unpublished Island in 2009. You can find her books here.
" The Call came on June 7, 2009.... But I wasn't home! I was in New Jersey, babysitting a beautiful granddaughter while my daughter and son-in-law flew to Ethiopia to bring home her little brother... Two amazing reasons to celebrate. But this hadn't been an easy year... we'd lost a grandson in utero in January and it broke my heart... It was so hard to write sweet words while my daughter and son-in-law were grief-stricken. They'd moved here in the fall and had been looking for work, and then... the baby we expected in spring was gone. Just like that. In February two wonderful editors contacted me, one from Toronto, one from New York... they made it clear that they wanted to work with me and my daughter grabbed my hands and said "You've been doing this for eight years, waiting for this moment. Get to work. This is your chance. We'll be fine. I promise".
I went through all the steps. I sent manuscripts, and I waited. Beth and Jon both got jobs that week, and that was a symbol of hope. We rode the roller coaster of emotions daily. They found a house. We got them moved. Spring blossomed all around us, despite our sore hearts. And then June rolled around... and The Call. Melissa Endlich, leaving a voice message on my phone, a voice message I have NEVER ERASED because that call changed everything. She jump-started my career, and I've been pinching myself ever since. And Beth and Jon are now the parents of four little ones here on earth... and baby Joseph, in heaven. The darkness of that winter blossomed into this beautiful time in our lives, and we are forever grateful.
2009 is a big year! Cara Lynn James was a Golden Heart finalist!
Cara Lynn James left the island July 10, 2009! Here is her call story from the archives.
You can find Cara Lynn James books here.
Photo: Missy and Cara at the RWA gala in 2009.
Sandra Leesmith literally kayaked off the island on July 23rd, 2009. You can find all of Sandra Leesmith books here.
And here is her call story from the archives!
In 2009 Julie Lessman was a Carol Award winner in the Best First Book category with A Passion Most Pure.
In 2009 Mary Connealy was a finalist in FOUR categories of the ACFW Carol Awards with Montana Rose, Buffalo Gal, Clueless Cowboy, Of Mice and Murder!
Photo Circa 2009: Mary Connealy & agent Natasha Kern.
Mary was also a Christy Award Finalist in 2009 with Calico Canyon.
In 2009 Janet Dean was a Carol Award finalist with Courting Miss Adelaide.
In 2009 Missy Tippens was a Carol Award finalist with Her Unlikely Family.
In 2009 Debby Giusti was a Carol Award finalist with Countdown to Death.
Agent Natasha Kern and Myra Johnson.
|Ruth Logan Herne & Missy Tippens.|
|Sandra Leesmith & Carla Stewart|
Tina shares her call story in this archived post!
Audra Harders sold to Love Inspired in January of 2010 also! You can find Audra Harders books here.
Enjoy Audra's archived call story post here.
Mary Connealy won a Carol Award in 2010 for Cowboy Christmas.
In 2010 Julie Lessman was a Carol Award Finalist with A Passion Denied.
In 2010 Myra Johnson was a Carol Award Finalist with Autumn Rains.
Glynna Kaye was an ACFW Carol Finalist in 2010 with Dreaming of Home.
Cara Lynn James & Glynna Kaye.
Melanie Dickerson & Mary Connealy.
Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, Ruth Logan Herne, & Debby Giusti.
Debby Giusti, Missy Tippens, Michael Hauge, and Janet Dean.
In 2011 Ruth Logan Herne was a Carol Award finalist with Winter's End.
Photo: Circa 2011 ACFW Gala with Carol Award finalists. Linda Goodnight, Senior Editor Melissa Endlich (back) Irene Hannon and Ruth Logan Herne.
Also in 2011, Mary Connealy was an RWA Rita Award Finalist with Doctor in Petticoats, and an ACFW Carol Award finalist with The Husband Tree.
In 2011 Pam Hillman was a Golden Heart finalist. Not only that but that year she became part of The Golden Network's Hall of Gold - for chapter members who have finaled in the Golden Heart contest three or more times. She also finaled in the Golden Heart in 2001 and double finaled in 2004, when she took home the award.
|Mary Connealy and Audra Harders|
More ACFW 2011
|Ruth Logan Herne & Cara Lynn James|
|Debby, former Executive Editor, Love Inspired, Joan Marlow Golan & Janet Dean|
|Mary Connealy, Pepper Basham, Myra Johnson, Janet Dean & Cara Lynn James|
|Ruth Logan Herne, Audra Harders, Cheryl St. John & Sherri Shackelford|
Tina Radcliffe was a 2012 Carol Award finalist with Oklahoma Reunion.
Myra, Missy, Debby, Melanie Dickerson, Audra Harders, Debby Giusti, & Mary Connealy.
Myra Johnson was a 2013 Carol Award finalist with A Horseman's Hope.
Myra, Debby, James Scott Bell, Missy and Janet.
Back row, Mary, Myra, Missy, Janet, Debby. Front row, Pam & Julie.
Missy Tippens was a 2013 RITA Award finalist with A House Full of Hope.
2013 RITA Finalist Missy Tippens and LI author Janet Dean all glamed up at the HQ pre-party for RITA finalists.
Find more RWA 2013 pictures here and here.
Tina Radcliffe was a 2014 Carol Award winner with Mending the Doctor's Heart.
Tina Radcliffe, Associate Editor Shana Asaro, Editor Emily Rodmell.
Genre Dinner with Mary Connealy, Janet Dean, and Debbie Giusti.
Genre Dinner with Glynna Kaye & Tina Radcliffe.
Glynna Kaye, Janet Dean, Mary Connealy, Pam Hillman, Debby Giusti & Julie Lessman.
Find ACFW 2015 Pictures here.
Find RWA 2015 Pictures here & here.
Missy Tippens was a 2016 Carol Award finalist with The Doctor's Second Chance.
Find RWA 2016 photos here.
Find ACFW 2016 photos here.
Once a year we allow ourselves a little pat on the back for a job well done. This is that once a year. We have been privileged -thanks to God- to leave the island, to help others off the island, to kick a few off the island, and to be here with you. And we'll keep doing what we do as long as He says so.
Thank you, Seekerville for celebrating with us!
Leave a comment today and we'll pick two winners for a Seekerville author E-book of choice as available on Amazon. Winners announced tomorrow in the Weekend Edition.
We're giving away a Kindle Fire or Amazon $50 Gift Card every Sunday in October, and at the end of the party, all names go in the birthday hat for an Apple iPad mini.