Thursday, October 13, 2016

This is One Bullet You Won't Want to Dodge!

We're talking cowboys and bullets in the village today, and there's a VERY GOOD REASON why we're doing this...

Him.

4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK by Romantic Times Review!!! Thank you, Carrie Townsend for that amazing review of "Home on the Range". I'm so glad you loved it... and that it touched your heart. Your words meant so much to me!

Working on the Double S novels gave me a chance to immerse myself and my characters in a new setting, decidedly Western, some mountains, a lush valley... But cowboys aren't generally the gun-carriers they used to be, so while they have a gorgeous, pistol-packing ex-cop housekeeper on the ranch... the guys aren't using bullets on a regular basis.

But as a writer, you can... and this might give you the impetus you need to keep your threads woven throughout the story.

My first stories wandered. I thought that was pure genius. I thought that was the cat's meow. I thought I would take the literary world by storm with my totally telling/wandering story approach to this biz.

SO WHEN THAT DIDN'T WORK.... (laughing!) I took the advice of some very smart people (it is good to surround yourself with VSMs and I'll tell you why: Because most folks surround themselves with people at their level or below... because that makes them feel good. To learn to humble yourself and surround yourself with the successful folks is to your advantage. They obviously have done something right and more often, they've done dozens of things right... and emulating them is not only smart... it can be profitable!

I make bullet lists for every book I'm working on, and I keep it open on the computer so I can quickly refer to it, chapter by chapter to make sure the emotion of the story, the moment, the character is true to form. This is a huge and simple help to me. Simple because I'm not taking time to learn new skills and new programs because new programs come out about every two or three years, and I'm quite happy with the ones I know well.

And huge because it brings the grit of the story to me visually. Remember, I'm not a craft book person, I like quick, visual aids to keep me on track... And every writer needs to find their own way to sustain productivity and creativity in such a crazy, fun business!

Here's an example for "Home on the Range", releasing in FIVE DAYS but you can pre-order it RIGHT HERE!!!!


  • Cowboy
  • Western
  • Fragile
  • Heartsick
  • Lost
  • Hidden
  • Precious
  • Winsome
  • Painful
  • Whimsy
  • Quirky
  • Bird
  • Dog
  • Sister
  • Sam
  • Healing
  • Hope
  • Faith
Glancing at those words, I can visualize the major and some minor elements of the story. The emotions are clear here, so I can glance at this and know if I met those emotions in the finished chapter... did I keep the characters true to form? Kelly Bridgewater asked a couple of weeks ago how to learn to "be Barbie" and not play with Barbie... Kelly, that was such a great question, and this is a help to me. By seeing these words, I can remember why Elsa feels the way she does, and why she's sequestered herself in a hobbit house in the woods. I can see Cheyenne's face as she tries to hard to win her mother's love in a hopeless battle because mother-love should never have to be earned.. it should be a given.

And the dog and bird is to remind me to NOT FORGET them!!! If she leaves her toadstool shack house, who's caring for the macaw and the faithful dog? (On my real list I put "Hoyl" and "Achilles" the animal's names, but here I thought it would be clearer to use what rather than who...)

Here's the list for "Back in the Saddle":
  • Western
  • Prodigal
  • Hidden
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Resilience
  • Resolution
  • Peace
  • Homecoming
  • Horse (Yesterday's News on my real list)
  • Culture
  • Devotion
  • Forgiveness
  • Work
  • Snow
  • Ranch dogs (Kita and Bee Bee on my real list)
  • Noah
  • Isabo
  • Sam
  • Questioning
Here's a good reason why this helped me with these two books. Last spring we talked about how to make a story stand out in a series... and this series has several similar key elements in each book. Rugged, handsome cowboys, horses, the exact same family ranch, the exact same family, the exact same town... so I had to make sure that I diversified the stories to be individual and distinct. Looking at the bullet lists gives you a quick idea of how that worked, because while so much of the series is the same... the bullet lists present a very different dynamic for the reader, right?


I know there are lots of more intricate ways of doing things out there... but I like simple. I'm a simple woman who loves to write, and keeping things simple helps my productivity. And I'm a big believer that a writer's very best friend... and the key to success in a volatile and changing marketplace... is productivity. And the best way to do that is to write, to sit down in that chair and get the 1k/day done. Remember: 1K/Day is 365,000 words in a year.

That's FOUR BOOKS.

There's really no secret to productivity. None at all. It's simply to sit down... and do it! And the bullet lists help me make each day count!

Hey, we've got this G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S book releasing in 5 days, but you can win it here today...

I've got THREE copies to give away, and I'd love to draw your name out of Stripey's cat dish! And if you win, I'd love your review on Amazon or B&N or Christian Book dot Com... those reviews matter to readers who are browsing... 

And if you'd like to join my newsletter list, let me know in the comments... but be sure I can either find your e-mail or send it to me at loganherne@gmail.com.

Coffee's ready and we've got carrot cake to celebrate our NINTH BIRTHDAY for the early birds... Let's talk romance, cowboys, faith and writing, and let's see if bulleting the story's points can work for you! Remember, our birthday bash goes ALL MONTH LONG, no days off, so make sure you stop by regularly....  And huge thank yous for being with us today!

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is having the time of her life whether she's writing sweet books or selling pumpkins or teaching small children life-long manners... You can join in the fun with her on facebook (friend Ruth Logan Herne) or on Twitter @RuthLoganHerne or stop by her website to see what's going on! She's also over at Yankee Belle Cafe today with a wonderful Cheesy Biscuit recipe that the cowboys of the Double S Ranch love, love, love! 






152 comments :

  1. Love this post. Thanks for sharing how to keep things straight! I'd love to have my name put in Stripey's cat dish for a copy of your book Home on the Range. And I would love to post a review of your book when I'm finished reading. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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    1. Sally, I'm so glad you liked it! And yes, tucking your name into Stripey's dish. (Stripey is really Stripey Two... because the original Stripey Cat had passed away.... And the new Stripey has no stripes, and it's amazing how a little kid can rationalize all that, right??? But you have to read the book to see more! :)

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    2. My grandmother had a horse. Come to find out, it was several horses, they were just all named Nancy.

      Finally created a spreadsheet to keep all my contest submissions straight! And I got my first rejection letter on a manuscript, so now I have started a submission spreadsheet. If I could just remember it's nice to have everything I need in one place, I wouldn't have to go looking everywhere when I want to find something.

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    3. Oh, Sally, I'm in awe of your organization. Tina and Pam can go back and tell you everything they've done... I don't know if any of the rest of us are that organized!!!! But it that helps you keep track of things, go for it. I was kind of nervous about the MONSTER-SIZED stack of rejections... I kept slipping them away, out of sight, out of mind.... But when I find them now, I can laugh!!!!

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    4. We had neighbors that always had a female dog, and every dog was named "Daisy"....

      Aren't humans the funniest creatures????

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  2. You're not a fast writer, Ruthy, you're a steady writer. (okay, sometimes you seem kinda fast to me)

    But it's the steady that adds up. I've had (I believe) one day in my writing life where I wrote 6000 words in one day.
    It was an odd situation with a computer, no internet and a powerful need for distraction.

    But that's it ....like I said, once in a lifetime.

    It's the 1000 words a day that gets you through.

    Even 300 words a day, that's a page and a half, adds up to 109,000 words. that's two Love Inspired novels. Or an 80,000 word book, how long mine are, plus a novella. That's at 300 words a day. YOU CAN DO IT!

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    1. I totally agree! And I do that 1K before anyone else gets up in the morning or shows up here because then it's done... and if nothing else gets done that day, I know I've gotten my word count in. I honestly meant what I said: I'm a simple person. I refuse to complicate this business because that takes the fun out of it!!!

      And a 6K day is amazing... and I think I had ONE of those, too. But I'm happy at my 1K-2K days (if I get an extra writing sprint in....) And I love your example that even at 300/day, you can complete a couple of books/year! YES!!!!

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  3. I pre-ordered Back in the Saddle and can't wait for it to get here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. I know you mean Home on the Range... but I'm putting it here so folks don't get confused. Sometimes when you and I get goin', folks get confused.

      I wonder why that is? (BIG GRIN ATTACHED!)

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    2. Sorry, I love the titles in these series. They're such a great match, but clearly there are those who get confused.

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  4. You had me at CARROT CAKE Ruthy, because we talked cake the other day and that is my MOST FAVORITE in the whole wide world!!! And of course we have to have your famous cup of joe to go with it, perfection in cup :-)

    And talking about perfection, the cover to Home on the Range is just as perfect as can be. Cowboys and kids?? Yes please!! I love your bullet points to describe the book and how you refer back to them while writing. You found what works for you and my motto is stick to what works :-) Each one of us is different and I think that goes double for writers, each one has their own method of doing things and what feels comfortable/right.

    I hope Stripey doesn't mind you borrowing his/her cat dish to toss all the names in, lol! Please add mine to it, thanks so much! This would look perfect next to Back in the Saddle :-)

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    1. Trixi, you are right on so many counts, LOL! We all attack this job/business differently, and I love that difference because it reflects that we're such different people... and then that shines through our stories!

      All kudos for that cover go to Kelly Howard of Waterbrook... Isn't it amazingly wonderful? And that precious little girl is the cowboy's REAL DAUGHTER... I'd picked her from the model shots and then we decided if she and Dad were both available, we'd get more real emotion from her... and it worked. All Kelly's idea!

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    2. Trixi, isn't that the best cover ever??!! I love how she's holding his leg. :)

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    3. Ohhhh, embedded comments....LOVE IT!! I can respond right under the replies to my original one or reply directly to someone elses instead of having them in outer space! :-)

      I didn't know this is a for real dad and daughter, that makes it even more special and *again* perfect! How fun that must have been for both of them :-) She's just the cutest little cowgirl & you can see the love between the two shining in her eyes! Super precious.

      Missy, I agree! She knows who she can cling too, reminds me of how we have a Father to cling to as well! He gives us comfort, peace, love, shelter, and a sense of "home".

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    4. Trixi, I love how you phrased that... "how we have a Father to cling to as well..."

      That's perfect.

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  5. Ruthy!!! You're posts are always so inspiring! I just want to jump up from the computer, throw a few air punches, dance around, and then get to work!

    I love this bullet list idea so much. I'm an ultra planner. My plans have plans. My outlines have their own backstories. I GMC to death. I'm one of those people who needs to put the planning down, back away, and just write that first word for goodness' sake! But I'm also a big picture person, so it helps to have a tool to take all that backstory, plotting, character work and boil it down to a word or two. Something quick and visual to keep me on track. I'm going to use this!

    And Mary, thanks for reminding us that even 300 words a day can be productive. I'm in a season where I'm thrilled to get 200-500 words in a day and then an occasional BIG day of 1K-1500. But every little bit is progress and that's what matters!

    I love that all of you experienced authors--ahem, VSMs--are here to surround us newbies! What an awesome village this is to be a part of!!! And I CAN'T WAIT to read Home on the Range. That cover! I'm all twitterpated just looking at it <3

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    1. Megan, thank you my sweet friend! I love the air punches, LOL! Yes!!! GO US!!!!!

      You know I'm the opposite of the ultra planner... that I think of what emotions do I want in the story, and then I match a story line to those emotions... it sounds backwards, but it works for me. And I don't mean I don't have a glimmer of the story, I do. But I don't have details because they'll come to me through the character's emotional reactions. As long as I keep them in character and that's where the bullet list comes in handy. It's a simple device, but crazy effective for me!

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    2. Megan, your comment totally cracked me up!!! I, too, probably need to back away from the planning some. It truly does slow me down.

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    3. Right??? Sometimes we have to go out on a wish and a prayer.....

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  6. What a terrific continuity idea!!! I am running with this, thank you.

    And another gorgeous cover!!!!!! Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you on both! And I'm beyond delighted to have this sweet book releasing... and I could just sit and stare at that cover.... and sigh. :)

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  7. Great reminder for any of us to accomplish any project, Ruth! It helps to write down what our goals or focuses are, and then keep them in front of us, just as it helps in our walk as Christians. Slow and steady, everyone! We're going to win this!

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    1. Fedora, yes. That's it exactly. We can apply the bullet list method to most anything, right? It's like the little sayings/reminders I surround myself with... "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." (Eleanor Roosevelt) "To everything there is a season..." (Ecclesiastes) "When this old you will be, look this good, you will not." (Yoda)

      Wait.

      THE REAL YODA ONE IS "There is no try. There is only do. Or do not." :)

      But I like the first one, too, LOL!

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    2. ROFL! Exactly so, Ruth!! And a good sense of humor, far it will take you! ;) Thanks for the sweet reminders!

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  8. I'm not a writer and I still love bullet points. You should see my shopping and to-do lists.

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    1. Mary, yes! We're talking apples to apples here, the listing is usable in all walks of life... and I find it good for writing just to keep me on the right track so I don't lose things in the story or mess up the characters' frame of mind.

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  9. Love your bullet points Ruthy! Having read both books I enjoyed seeing your lists.

    Speaking of both books, if ya'll haven't picked up a copy of Back in the Saddle or pre-ordered Home on the Range I would highly suggest you do. This series of Ruthy's is phenomenal and I fell in love with the characters in both books. I love this series!!!

    No need to include me in the giveaway.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Cindy, good morning for real! You're up early, too! And thank you for your kind words, I'm so glad you loved their stories! We're polishing Trey's story this month and that will be a fun project... because his backstory breaks my heart and he's like so many people, walking around... heartsore inside, and a happy smile on his sweet, handsome face... A man who has groupies throwing themselves at him all the time, but has never been able to find sweet love.... I hope you love "Peace in the Valley" just as much next spring! :)

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  10. Ruthy, you've been an inspiration to me for many, many years, not to mention a wonderful encourager. I recently used bullet points to help me map out a synopsis...love them! Congratulations on your much deserved success. Your cover is fabulous! Please toss my name in.

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    1. Oh, Jill... I am so proud of you and all of your hard work! I love seeing it pay off because I know how hard it is to wait at that door!!! (panting like a puppy!!!!) :) I love using bullet points, I was just coming up with a new list for Grace Haven 5... and it helps me nail where I want the story to go from the beginning. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!!!

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    2. Thank you, Ruthy! Yes, I did resemble a puppy at times...still do. :)

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    3. I was a puppy panter at that door, too. You know now, with the option for indie pubbing, there is still a nice thing to be said for someone wanting what you do BADLY ENOUGH to pay for it.

      There's a satisfaction in that.

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  11. I like your lists. Tell me, do you write one for the cowboy and one for his heroine? Or just one combined lists, which is what it looks like. Very easy, and I can see how it would work nicely. I'm trying your idea today. Thanks for the tip, Ruthy!

    May I have a slice of carrot cake? Pouring a second cup of coffee.

    BTW, your covers are too die for...well not really die, but you know what I mean. Swoon is probably a better word. Such handsome, manly guys! Be still my heart! Must pre-order!

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    1. Typo alert. Combined list, not lists. May I mention that I don't do well with embedded comments? My preview gets all messed up. And I can only review a few lines at a time. Sorry to complain. I need more coffee. :)

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    2. Deb, I know you're not a fan of embedded... and I am on a computer because I'm not savvy enough to use a phone, so they work great on a laptop!!! But I hear you... So yes, I combine the whole thing for my ease, and just as a reminder that Colt and Nick are very different, the words on their lists show me that... Which is huge for mental differentiation when so many aspects of the story setting are identical... I think of Bonanza and how different those brothers were... but we could see the difference visually, so I have to create that margin of difference in wording and attitude and responses... so that's where the list helps me. Colt brooded... Nick's just plain grumpy, he's kind of like Weeza in "Steel Magnolias"... "I am not depressed"! (she shouts at M'Lynn) "I've just been in a VERY BAD MOOD for thirty years!!!!"

      :)

      I love that movie!

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  12. Good morning, Ruthy! You say surround ourselves with very smart people, and that's why I come to Seekerville every day. (The same is true in tennis, if you practice and play against better players, you'll get better. That's not to say don't help those who are learning and trying to get better, but when you're practicing for yourself, find those who are better.)

    This is definitely a keeper post. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jackie, that is the perfect analogy. My grandson is 9 years old and he's playing in a 12 year and up league because the coaches see his potential... he's like a boy genius at tennis and it's so exciting to see him play...

      And that's just how I see business/writing/aptitude. It's so easy to stay on a level playing field, and there's no shame in that... but I've always found that surrounding myself with positive attitude people who love to do their best... helps me to absorb that same attitude.

      And that's exactly why we created Seekerville! That free advice, hand-up thing is a great tangible!!!!

      Sending you Ruthy hugs!

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  13. MMMMMM. Carrot cake! My fave! (Ok, one of... But definitely up there.)

    How. Simple. Is. This.

    Love love love this bullet point idea.
    Love it.

    Thank you VSMOS (Very Smart Mentor Of Seekerville) ~ What a simple, yet profound idea.

    And yes, remember the critters at home. This is key!

    Thank you Ruthy.
    Everyone have a productive day! I just got yet another boarding pass. Lotsa travel these days it seems, but hand-selling books wherever I go. That's a good thing, right?

    Rock on, Seekerville. Happy happy 9th barkday!

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    1. KC have fun on your trip!!!! And I'm glad you like this, I thought it was worth sharing!!!

      I love the VSMOS idea!!!! LAUGHING!!!!!

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  14. Congrats again on the RT Top Pick, Ruthy! I sure do love those covers! They can't be beat!

    I have similar concise lists when I start a story--things like the premise, GMC, greatest fear, hero/heroine's prime character strength/flaw etc., that I want to be constantly reminded of as I write each scene. I have it posted next to my computer.

    I have to keep myself of reminded of pets, too, so they don't make one appearance and never show up again. Can't have any KIDS AWOL either. :)

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    1. Thank you, Glynna!!! My first Top Pick and I'm just delighted by it... gotta celebrate the good times!

      You do more lists, and I know that because you're a more thoughtful-planning person. I can totally see you being that organized, and that's why I love that we can all share success and yet be ourselves.

      This is a wonderful part of this business!

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  15. Ruthy, I love your down-to-earth approach to listing the bullet points when you're writing a new book. As I read them it set firecrackers off in my own imagination and thoughts bombarded me. What a unique way to spark your ideas and get the muse flowing. Simple but most effective. Loved it. I have a novel to revise. I want to write my own list and see if I stands up to the goals I hoped for. Bless you for sharing. I want to mention when I first started writing I wrote longhand and boy could I get 4000 words out fast. Now I write on the computer and I find it sort of slows you because that inner editor takes over no matter how hard I try to squash her. Have a great writing day and bless you for sharing.

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    1. Suzanne, I'd shoot that inner editor. (Possibly Not Kidding)...

      I love working on the laptop, but I totally understand the urge to jump in and edit... I do light edits as I go, nothing major... and then I edit every 100 pages in hard copy to catch things I might have lost or strayed from...

      But the bullet lists are a huge help just to keep me in mode. Often I'm editing one story in the afternoon and writing a different story in the morning, and it's really important to not blur those lines. Elsa from #Range wouldn't work well in Grace Haven!!!! :) So I use the bullet lists to keep me "present" in whatever story I'm working on.

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    2. Suzanne, that's really interesting that the computer slowed you down. It makes me want to try writing longhand just to see what happens.

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  16. RUTHY, the cover of Home on the Range, the review, the title--everything about this book is stellar!!

    Love your idea of using bullet points to keep you on target! Do you come up with the list in advance of your writing--almost like outlining--or do you add to it as you go?

    Janet

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    1. Janet, thank you!!! I love that cover!!!! I do both with the bullet points. I start with basic emotions or story themes, then add words as I write. It's just enough for me to glance at it and know if I'm on the right track.

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    2. You're amazing! One word wouldn't be enough to keep me on track. I outline and even flesh that out.

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  17. Happy Birthday Seekerville on your 13th day of celebrating. Today I add a key lime cake and an orange spiced tea to the breakfast buffet.

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    1. KEY LIME CAKE???? Oh be still my cake-loving heart, Suzanne, don't toy with me, darling...

      Is there a recipe that goes with this cake????

      Inquiring minds want to know!

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  18. Congratulations Ruthy on the new book release and ALL your success. I love that book cover, btw.

    I am such a visual person and I am much the same as far as keeping things simple. I'm huge on graphics, charts, anything that I can put up and refer to quickly. I haven't used the bullet list format but I will for the next book I'm writing during NaNoWriMo.

    You know what I find helps me stay on track for the overall theme/feeling of my story? I make a mock book cover on Canva. It takes me about 20 minutes or so and I upload it as my laptop wallpaper.

    And yes, to surrounding yourself with VSP (that's why I'm here!)

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    1. Josee, I love that we can VSP together, LOL!

      You have found great ways that work for you... YES!!!! Tina uses graphics too... And I'm not sure who else.

      What a clever idea to do a mock book cover. That's awesome! And you're good at Canva... I'm so stinkin' proud of you!!!

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    2. Josee, what a great idea!!! Of course, it would probably take me an hour or two. LOL I have such a hard time with that type program. But maybe it would help me get better. :)

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    3. I wish I could upload it here just to show you. You can also go through Picmonkey or any program you're comfortable with. With Canva you can do kindle covers and there are a lot of great templates to choose from.

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    4. Thanks for that info! I just started using Canva for my blog posts this past month. I'll explore the site!

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    5. And I will have Beth explore the site because that genius didn't descend upon my big, square head. I have no eye for it... but I love it when I see what folks can do now! Amazing!

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  19. Wow, Ruthy! I'd love to spend just one day inside your brain and watch how you make all those connections. Gotta confess...my eye skimmed right through your bullet list. That's when I realized I'm not a bullet point person. I'm more of mind map person. I start with a character or a concept in a circle and then draw lines out from it with relevant details. Nobody else could make heads or tails of it, but it works for me to brainstorm.

    Say hi to the kitty for me! No need to put me in the drawing. I'd rather you give a copy to one of our newer Seekerville residents as a welcome gift. :-)

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    1. Barb Scott, I'm laughing! A day in my brain would be cruel and unusual punishment, LOL!

      Our brains are all so unique. They work differently, and I'm always crazy interested in the genetics that makes that happen, but yes... if the map is better for you, go for it!

      I used to do some Venn Diagrams/spider mappy things but then I'd forget to add things, and it was a mess.

      This works for me because I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to planning unless a wedding is involved, in which case I dot every stinkin' I and cross every T... Isn't that funny?

      Hey, keep us posted on Sandie's progress, will you? Sandie Bricker (to everyone else) is a lovely author whom I just met in Nashville... and she's suffering from a brain bleed, possibly tumor-related, so we're all on bended knee asking for the best possible results the Good Lord can give. She is just a lovely woman, and I was so delighted to meet her... with Barbara Scott, I might add!

      She's in my thoughts and prayers.

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    2. Barb, I used to use a mind mapping app on my computer. I just realized I don't have it on my new computer and probably need to download it again. I think it's called MindNode.

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    3. Missy, did it help? Because if it didn't really help, darling, step away from the download... (she said in the nicest, softest voice ever...)

      Louisa Mae Alcott didn't have a program...

      Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't have a program.

      I'm pretty sure the BRONTES and Austen....

      :)

      I'm just sayin', darlin'.....

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  20. RUTHY, Congratulations on your newest release! Who can resist a cowboy?! Certainly not me! *wink*

    Have an AMAZING day!

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    1. Caryl, thank you! And I am lovin' on some cowboys, for certain!

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  21. Ruthy!!! Another fabulous addition to the Double S Ranch series! Is there anything more attractive than a little girl like Dakota lovin' on her daddy and Nick, her daddy protecting and loving her right back? Not that I can think of! That's one of my favorite types of guys, one who's been deeply wounded but in spite of his own pain stays in the trenches and is strong for those he loves!

    *I love that you've explained your writing as a simple math equation, that's so you! But might I add even though the numbers count, WHAT you are creating matters a great deal too. Which leads me to my next point-

    *I have tried for a number of years to figure how you get me so emotional EVERY TIME I read one of your books. I open one and say to myself, "Okay, this is a Ruthy book, she's going to make you feel things you weren't expecting, so prepare yourself". I think I'm prepared and sometimes get almost to the end of the book thinking I'm in control, and then BAM, emotional teary rollercoaster! I think your explanation to Megan is the key, you decide what emotion you want a story to have and then write the story that will create those emotions. Not backwards at all, it makes perfect sense, your brilliant! (I'm not trying to embarrass you I just love how your mind works)

    *Now all I need is Trey's story in Peace in the Valley to round out my Stafford men trilogy, but I'm letting you know in advance, he'll have to pull off something really incredible to pull me out of my love for Nick!(as you see, I like bullets points too, lol)

    I'm so happy for all your well deserved success, enjoy the fruit of your labors Ruthy!

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    1. I forgot to add my question while I was crushin' on Nick ;)

      *in your early morning 1K writing, do you ever get on such a roll you just want to keep on writing? If you do, but must stop because of time constraints, does it squash creativity of make you lose your train of thought the next time you write?

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    2. First, I love your post, and now I FEEL BRILLIANT, so you've accomplished your goal of making me feel like a smart person. YES!!!! :)

      Trey's story grabs my heartstrings... it just totally grabs me because no little kid should ever have to go through what Trey went through. Selfish adults are such a misery to children.... So I hope you love it when you see it!!!!

      Okay, brilliance aside, I'm glad I explained that to Megan, then, because while I'm not a planner or plotter, I know what I want to have happen and the emotions that will get my characters there.... so I'm glad that works, darling Tracey!!!! YAY!!!!!!! :)

      And the answer to the 1K early hour is yes... but in a way it's good for me to stop because then I come back fresh a few hours later. I have time to think about what I did in the wee smalls and then I can tweak it, and move on. Think of it like building with Legos. (We love Legos here!!!!) Two wide a base makes the bridge look awkward and ill-formed... So if you bury the "base" of the bridge with buildings/neighborhoods/roads, etc.... and then the bridge kind of just lifts itself across the span of water... and then sets down on the opposite shore and we re-bury the necessities of infrastructure with more eye-friendly stuff.... a park, a neighborhood, a street of shops.... that's how I see the emotion. It has to be present at both ends, and it needs to weave seamlessly across the water... but of course there's going to be a storm of some sort! Or a power outage and darkness prevails, but the darkness holds so many keys... and then we emerge into a new chance, God-given.

      Does that make any sense???

      So while I hate to stop, I keep my day job because I think it's good for me to stop and immerse myself in young families, little kids and critters.... and then I pick up the threads again.

      Delete
  22. RUTHY!!!
    VSMOS you are!
    I adore your cowboy series and the covers put this graphic artist in ultra happy mode. Drool worthy cowboys and adorable children... what's not to LOVE?????

    I really need the reminder of writing a little bit every day because I feel like that is beyond me at present - but there I go... thinking my feelings are reality when they are not. Must break out of that and start writing. (thanks MARY, for the 300 word note - I sooooo needed to see that!)

    I know I have stories to tell - even if they may only be for me to type out. Like Debby said, finish about six manuscripts and THEN begin (or something like that...) Kinda the Chuck Jones school of thought (for animators/artists): everyone has about 10,000 bad drawings in them - draw everyday to get that over with so you can get to the good drawings faster. Translation for writers: everyone's got a few thousand bad sentences in them - write every day to get rid of them and the good ones will start flowing.

    I've posted a review on Christianbook dot com and waiting for Amazon to allow me. I LOVED Home on the Range!!!!! AWESOMENESS!!!! Anyone who hasn't gotten either book needs to do so, IMHO.

    I come to Seekerville every day so I can get my VSM fix. You Ladies are the BEST!!! YAY!!! *Kermit arm flail of happiness*

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    1. Deb, thank you so much for posting reviews! I am so grateful.... and I love the VSM kudos, LOL! And the Kermit arm flail!!!!

      And Deb, you know you're the only one who can assess the best time to jump aboard the Mainland Express from the Island.... it's got to be right for you, my friend.

      But if I was you, I'd be practicing my heart out, a little at a time. Because why not?

      Delete
  23. Coffee and carrot cake? Count me in!!! Mmmmm!!!! Hugs Ruthy!!!

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    1. Rachel with one "A"!!!! I love seeing you over here, and I've got your coffee and cake all set for you.

      And there is KEY LIME CAKE, too!!! Courtesy of Suzanne, and I don't know how to make Key Lime cake, but we're going to find out because doesn't that sound MARVELOUS????

      Delete
  24. Ruthy, congrats on the RT Top Pick! How could anyone bypass that gorgeous cover and catchy title? I absolutely love the little girl clutching the cowboy's leg - it gets you right here (heart), you know??

    Nice list of bullet points. Very simple; very Ruthy. So, question, it's a long list of things to remember (of course, if it was short, you wouldn't have a problem remembering). Do you review the entire list with each scene? Or review it before you write the scene and think about certain elements that need to be incorporated?

    Either way, it's a great, simple tool that looks very useful.

    Thanks for sharing, Ruthy!!

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    1. I like simple. If I get too complex, I shrug it off. I'm better with simple prods (a cattle prod would do, most likely!!!) :) And thank you so much for your congrats! Sending hugs way out west!!!

      Delete
  25. Ruthy,
    thanks for such a great idea - especially for pantsters! Can't wait to put this idea into practice!

    Please add my name to the kitty's bowl

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    1. Edwina, right???? This is made for US!!!! And your name is in Stripey's dish!

      Delete
  26. The bullet sheet is a really good idea, I'm going to have to try it! I generally do something similar in which I write down brief, choppy sentences to remind myself of things that I have to write in the course of the chapter, but this helps you remember the mood and everything, and is definitely something I should give a try.

    And wow, your 1k a day thing. Based off of the word count of my first book I'd get like 7 books done! Then again based off of the word count for my second book I'd only really get about 2 finished (yes that's right my second book is a mammooth- at least compared to the first- skyrocketing at about 130,000 words)

    Please add my name to the cat dish because I would love to win your book!

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    1. Nicky, I'm tucking you right in, darling girl! And I love that you're experimenting with different kinds of writing. I did that too (and still do to a lesser degree) and it keeps my brain fresh.

      I love trying new things!!!

      Tossing "Nicky" into Stripey's dish!

      Delete
  27. RUTHY, congratulations on your latest release and all the encouragement and inspiration here this morning!

    I just LOVE your bullet list idea. Who knew? Makes perfect sense the way you described your process. Words are powerful (duh) and just seeing a particular one can trigger emotion. You should offer your method as an ACFW workshop. Or have you already? Maybe I've missed it.

    Thanks for the carrot cake and coffee! May I have seconds? :-)

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    1. Cynthia, I'm so glad you liked it! YAY!!!! I'm not an ACFW member (you know me, I don't play well in the sandbox with others...) but I do love coming to visit folks at conference time... and I think this kind of thing would be beneficial to lots of writers.... but... (come closer, darling).... (whispering).... THEY CAN GET IT HERE FREE!!!! :)

      That's the beauty of Seekerville... Although I get what you mean, sometimes it's better to see the plan in action and it settles into our brains better!

      And yes to seconds! Carrot cake or lime????

      Delete
  28. RUTHY!!! Cannot WAIT to read this book, girlfriend, because I thought Back in the Saddle was AWESOME!!

    Like you, I'm a simple woman (when it comes to writing prompts, not me as a CDQ), so your list method intrigues me. Unfortunately, I subscribe to the "blind" method where I just write by feeling without how-to books and hope it works. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but this list idea does pose a draw ...

    In today's industry, getting four books out a year is the key, in my opinion, which means writing 1,000 words a day NO MATTER WHAT is also the key, so thanks for reinforcing that!

    Hugs and more hugs!
    Julie

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    1. Julie, I hear you! We simple gals must stick together. Got glue???

      (giggling.....)

      I love the blind method... And it's so nice that we can do this job (that I love so much!) and do it our way and no one is right or wrong... but in order to get it done, that 1K/day or 500 words/day.... man, there is no secret handshake in writing.

      There's just... writing!

      Delete
  29. Can you imagine, (oh ,yes, I think it was planned) what I thought when I saw the title? Great job, both on the post and the win! I'd love to have my name in Stripey 2's cat dish, as long as he/she doesn't mind. Cat, dog and horse names have nothing to do with colour or anything, do they?

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    1. Marianne, I'm tucking your name right in, darling, and I'm laughing! And yes, we can shrug off colour in order to give our pets the Best Name Possible... even if a white dog is called "Inky".

      It only makes it more fun!

      Delete
  30. RUTHY, Congratulations on your newest release! The book cover is beautiful. I do like a western story, cowboys and all.
    Blessing,sTina

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    1. Tina, so nice to have you here, and I love, love, love that pic of you guys. I'm just smiling, looking at it!

      Thank you! We western lovers must stick together... We can start the "More Cowboys Now" chant!!!!

      We want cowboys! We want cowboys! We want cowboys!!!!

      Delete
  31. Grr. Just wrote a post that disappeared!

    Good morning, Ruthy!

    I don't have many stories under my belt, but I have learned I've written each one a tad different. I'm working on a suspense and am having to jot down a lot more notes. With my western historicals, I just write.
    Sometimes I write down themes/conflicts so I won't stray too far from the main path.

    Even I can write 300/day. :)

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    1. Connie, I hate when my comments disappear!!!!

      Good morning, back to you, and I love that you're working on a suspense!!! GO YOU!!!! They do require some more notes but I've heard people say that about historicals, and I'm kind of laughing because those come naturally to me, too.

      I have to think carefully with suspense, and I'm in total admiration of Debby Giusti and Shirlee McCoy and Margaret Daley and Lynette Eason... they seem to do it flawlessly....

      So we all have our talents... God's plan, alive in us!

      Delete
  32. I like your bullet lists. Simplicity is powerful. I'm always looking for ways to do the "pre-work" in writing, whether it's structure, plotting, or whatever. I can't seem to plot out everything that will happen. But some lists seem to help.

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    1. Dana, so nice to see you! I'm glad you like them. I expect they're not for everyone, but it's such a simple, useful tool for me. If I take a wrong emotional turn in a book, that's a lot of re-writing... So this helps me avoid at least a few pitfalls!

      Delete
  33. Enjoyed reading about how you use bullet lists to keep your stories on track, Ruthy! And apparently it's working really well for you, because you are one prolific and mega-successful author!

    I also really liked what you said about surrounding yourself with other successful writers. We can learn so much from each other, especially in an environment like Seekerville, where it's all about sharing and encouragement.

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    1. Myra, thank you!!!

      I'm a big believer in that surrounding yourself with success if you desire success. And I don't mean monetary success (although we all like getting paid...) but the success of launching good books, either with traditional publishers or independently... whatever our path does, we should do it well!

      And being in a mix of talented people in Seekerville and beyond is a wonderful thing.

      We tell kids they have to "stretch" to grow. I've always thought the same was true of writers!

      Delete
  34. I love the bullet lists it makes it less intimidating for hitting the points in my writing and I LOVE Cowboys!!!!

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    1. Jeri, cowboys are one of my favorite hero prototypes... There's just something about the affinity with animals, work, and caring that I find appealing...

      Well...

      Chaps don't hurt. :)

      Delete
  35. Ruthy, I can definitely tell the difference in the feel of the two lists. This is a great idea! I especially love that it reminds you of the animals and other people. I've written stories before and then at the end realized I totally forgot to keep the pet going through the whole thing. :)

    Congrats on the new release!!

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    1. Missy, me too! And this is so simple, just enough to keep my brain firing to remind me of the conflict vs. the emotions.

      And sometimes I'll add in a phrase like this "angry drunk" or "nosy neighbor" which reminds me that those incidental town people have a part to play, and not to forget them.

      Delete
  36. Hi RUTHY, this is good advice. I tend to wander, too, and what's working for me right now is to keep track of my GMCs for every scene. When I'm working on a draft, I put the GMC for each character, and how I achieve it, at the top of each scene in red. (Naturally I take this out when I submit to a contest or editor...) The more sharply focused we are, the better the book. I love your bullet point idea, too, especially for the pets. We wouldn't leave them behind in real life, or we shouldn't. Please enter me in the drawing.
    Tks,
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Kathy, you're in and I love, love, love the picture of you!!!! Every time I see it, I smile!

      And cool beans that you've got a method that works for your writing... I think evolving to what works for us is a key to productivity.

      Delete
  37. There's also a difference between "wandering" as a pantser and wandering because you believe every word of your precious manuscript is directly given by God and He doesn't want you to change a thing. Pantsers do craft, they just don't do it the way plotters do.
    KB

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    1. I've encountered many a writer who simply can't/won't change a word.

      What can you say?

      To each his own.

      But I have to tell you that my editors are smart women and they know their audience. And that's a big part of staying employed, respecting that aspect of the craft!

      Delete
  38. Although in my experience with crit groups, it's usually Poets who believe every word is directly Given From God.
    KB

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    1. Oh my stars.

      Those poets will get you every time, darling!

      Delete
  39. What an excellent idea, Ruthy! I will try this with my book. Maybe that will help me.

    Please enter me for your book!

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    1. You are entered, and I hope the bullet list idea helps you, Sandy!

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  40. First of all, I LOVE this book. I love it even more than the Romantic Times reviewer, and that's saying a lot! :)

    Second, I'm stealing your bullet list idea. Not actually stealing it since you gave it to us, but I'm using it.

    I keep myself from wandering by laying out thirty plot points - kind of a road map to get from beginning to end in my story. But quite often I forget to bring back something I mentioned in a previous chapter. This kind of list would keep those important elements in the foreground throughout the story. I can see it working for me!

    Don't enter me in the drawing - my copy of "Home on the Range" came a couple days ago. :) Can't wait for the next one!

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    1. BTW - I surround myself with Very Talented People every time I visit Seekerville. :)

      Delete
    2. Jan, thank you for your kind words, my friend! I had so much fun rooming with you in Nashville, oh my gosh, it was so hard to leave!!!! SIGHING..... And I'm glad you're going to try the bullet list idea. It's like the perfect tool for me to just glance over... and be either happy with what I've done, or know that I need to jump back in when I come back and interject a little of this or a smidge of that.

      Kind of like how I cook, Jan!!!! :)

      Delete
  41. Your ideas would work well in many different scenarios, not just writing! Since I'm a reader, I like to apply things to my life! Thanks, Ruthy!

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    1. Valri, I agree... Applicable in multiple places!

      Delete
  42. I love the idea of VSM. When you surround yourself with people who are better, you become better. I have been looking for those ladies at church and hanging out with them. It stretches me in good ways. Please put my name in the cat dish. I am excited about your new book. I would love to be on your email list and will send you an email.
    Becky

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    1. Becky, I'll gladly add you to my e-mail list, thank you!

      And I agree... I like the people at church who are the quiet pillars... who don't need a lot of recognition to do nice things, who quietly go through life blessing others in so many ways.

      They bless me by their wonderful example of how to be at peace with my faith and my efforts.

      Delete
  43. Ruthy, thank you so much for sharing the bullet point list idea. I've never seen that before, and I love learning new writing craft tools from you and all the VSMOS.

    Congrats on your new book and your Maggie win. I turned to my husband at the Maggie ceremony, and I said I met you in August, and you were absolutely delightful (or something equally positive to that effect).

    I am presently reading The Lawman's Second Chance, and I love the humor in your LI Kirkwood Lake book. Alex and Lisa are compelling characters, and I especially like Becky (well, Josh is pretty cute, too!).

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    1. Tanya!!! That's the book inspired by my dear friend Lisa who dared to trust me with her four babies while she taught school... and then when baby #4 was 14 months old, she found the lump... and went through a full year of treatment. That book is our salute to Lisa and all who fight cancer... and her husband still calls himself "Alex Steele".... It's so stinkin' cute! And the real Lisa hit her five year anniversary in June, and I took my bracelet off that day. It went to every wedding and formal event I went to in the last five years, because remembering to pray for Lisa was HUGE. :) I'm so glad you like it! And thank you for your kind words.

      And was I really delightful???? Dagnabbit, I should have written down the day and time, Tanya!!! Bless you, and keep writing. If you ever need someone to critique an entry, give me a shout. I'll make it somewhat painless, darling. (Okay, that's a lie...) Not the helping part. The painless part!!!

      Delete
    2. What a happy ending! Love that her husband still calls himself "Alex Steele." And yes, you are always delightful! (And I always appreciate critiques! And I'm always thankful for those who offer! I'm working hard on my revise and resubmit now.)

      Delete
  44. Ruthy, Congratulations on your new release!! Thanks for an enlightening post!!

    I'm a verified List-Lover...just ask my kids who tease me about all my lists!! I'm going to try this method with the re-write I'm working on.

    I adore the cover of your new book. I love how he's looking at the little girl. I have a picture of an older cowboy sitting down (chaps on, hat off) with a little dark haired girl in a bright yellow dress having tea. This always melts my heart because my beloved father-in-law...a real cowboy...often had tea with our little daughters. Our youngest was only eighteen months old when he showed up with a pony, bridle and a little saddle...a surprise for all of us!! LOL...He was a man of action and very few words!!

    Look forward to reading Home on the Range!!

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    1. Kathryn, I love that image of your father-in-law. And that's what I love about cowboys... Strong enough to be gentle... :) Thank you for showing that to us so eloquently.

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. Well done Ruthy!

    I *loved* "Back in the Saddle" and am very much looking forward to "Home on the Range" whether I win it in this drawing (please enter me!) or buy it. I believe I did an Amazon review and gave Back in the Saddle 5 stars. I didn't realize that was your first Western romance. So extra well done!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Phyllis, thank you so much! I'm glad you loved "Back in the Saddle"... me, too! And I actually got started on Westerns by being invited into a Western continuity for Love Inspired... so that was my first Western, but I discovered a love and affinity I didn't know I had! And it just blossomed in these sweet books. I am over the moon, happy with them!

      Delete
  47. Ruthy!!! I like your bullets, lady! I was up until 4:30 a.m. one night this week finishing a book and posting my review just so I could request a review copy of "Home on the Range" as soon as it became available *a little obsessive but don't worry, your house is too far away for casually driving by* So, the first book of that batch of 20 copies is coming to this happy little book nerd! :D I am determined and enthusiastic about my love of books. PLUS, it's amazing how much I was able to accomplish on about 2 hours of sleep (but don't tell my husband, he's on the night shift and none the wiser to my all night escapade)!

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    1. Hahahahahaha! I love that you're doing that, you little Night Crawler, you! And huge thank yous for requesting Home on the Range, Beth! I hope you love it... I know I do, it was such a wonderful story to tell.

      And hubby will HEAR NOTHING FROM ME.

      Shh....

      Our secret!

      And we can talk cowboys sometime. LOVE IT!!!!

      Delete
  48. I can't wait to read your new book! That cover is so touching.

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    1. Heidi, thank you! Didn't Waterbrook do an amazing job? You can feel the story come right through that cover....

      Delete
  49. Thanks for the encouragement Ruth. I'm a slow writer myself, but Mary's comment about even doing 300 words a day really gives me a boost to work harder. Congrats on your latest - your covers are always so great.

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    1. Loraine, you're welcome! And you're right, even 300/day will give you 9K/month... And that's nearly 60K in half a year! It's not the speed... it's the steadiness of moving forward that pays off. So good to see you here!

      Delete
  50. I loved this series, Ruthy, and can't wait for Peace in the Valley!! I have my review ready when Amazon accepts. No need to enter me in the drawing!

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    1. Jackie, thank you so much for being an influencer. I love that you're willing to take the time to do that. Huge thanks and hugs!

      Delete
  51. RUTHY SAID: "I totally agree! And I do that 1K before anyone else gets up in the morning or shows up here because then it's done... and if nothing else gets done that day, I know I've gotten my word count in."

    I've done this once or twice, Ruthy -- gotten up before the chickens to write -- and it really is the way to go! Thanks for the tip. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, it won't work for everyone... I know that... but for us part-time or full-time workers, this is a clutch way of making it happen. And for me, that's my best creative time. I can't wait to get going in the morning, it's like EXCITING to wake up!!!!

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  52. Love your input, Ruthie. It's always so good!

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    1. Aw, Sherri, thank you! Tucking your name into Stripey's dish, darling!

      Delete
  53. Hey RUTHY! You're on my list of VSP's that I'm so grateful to have amongst my friends!

    I love the steady but sure method. I can't always do 1,000 words, but I can always get a couple hundred. It's a great feeling to see the story grow bit by bit.

    Love your bullet list idea. I have a board with a two-five word description for each scene. That helps me remember where I'm heading next.

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    1. Dana, thank you so much! Right back at you, my friend! And I'm right there with you on the steady, turtle plodding.... I don't need huge days as long as I'm true to my daily goal. It's amazing how quickly it adds up! The board idea is smart, super smart because when you're writing suspense, it's a four-thread plot line. The suspense, H/H, faith.... and to weave them properly, you have to nip and tuck as you go. And you do that beautifully!

      Delete
  54. Your new book has a very sweet cover!

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    1. Thank you, Janet! Totally Kelly Howard at Waterbrook!!!!

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  55. Love this, RUTHY - can't wait to try bullet points! I have several documents for each book I'm working on, and I keep all research, lists, names, occupations, even just random words I like together. I'm thinking bullet points will fit right in. BTW, I love that cover!! Congratulations!!!

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    1. Laura, thank you! I love the bullet points. They're that "quick visual" that keeps me on track from scene to shining scene... :) and it saves me time back-tracking!

      Delete
  56. Your cat is named Stripey? For some reason I wasn't expecting that.

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    1. The cat in the book is named Stripey... if you ask Dakota. If you ask Cheyenne, the cat's name is "Snickers"... only one of MANY things the girls disagree on, LOL! But I've had a couple of Stripeys because we are ridiculously unoriginal! Orange cats named Pumpkin, Calicos named Callie and we have a Snickers right now.... Walt, when you let kids name the cat... well... that's what I get, LOL!

      Delete
  57. And I try to surround myself with Seekers and Seekervillagers, as those are VSPs.

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    1. Thank you!!!! And you have GRW which is chock full of VSP and you are so blessed to have it!

      Delete
  58. I LOVE a Ruthy-post!! :)
    Sorry I'm so late chiming in - - I read your wonderful post this morning, but then my day was a bit "chopped up" LOL so just now getting to comment. Wow! You truly are amazing, Ruthy - - and such an inspiration. I still remember when you first sold - - and look at you NOW!!!
    I LOVE your "bullet lists" and am going to try that - - what a great idea. Had to smile when you wrote about liking things simple - - YES! I've said (about many things over the years) that the "simpler the better"- - why make something complicated if it doesn't have to be?! Of course, being a former kindergarten teacher I knew that a simple approach worked well in many areas. ;)
    Thank you sooo much for sharing your wisdom with us. And I love that your cat is Stripey!! I called one of the many strays who dines on my front porch "Stripey" (yes, I name the strays, LOL).
    CONGRATS on your latest book!!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, I have to name strays, too! Just because everyone deserves a name, don't they? :)

      Honestly, I can't believe what the last seven years have brought, and I really do pinch myself to see if it's real... and then I get right back to work, LOL!

      I LOVE SIMPLE. Now I know this doesn't work for everyone, but simple works for me. My brain doesn't like to be inundated with charts and graphs and in depth detail. It balks. So if I keep the story to the emotion of the characters, everything else seems to fall into place.

      And the bullet list helps me jive from what's in my head to what I want on the page.

      And then EDITORS HELP, LOL!!!!

      Delete
  59. Congrats on another beautiful book, RUTHY - love your stories and your Seekerville posts also!! I so agree with you on "simple", and I've always learned more quickly when receiving personal instruction and then applying it - vs learning from written instructions.

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    1. Bonnie, me too! The written instructions and craft books are totally lost on me. And huge thank yous for the congrats... and all of your shouts out and good wishes. Bonnie, you are an instrument of God's word in so many ways. You LIVE your faith daily. I love that about you. Bless you, my friend, and I'm so glad you loved the story!

      Delete
  60. All day I told myself to get over here. Hubs and U spent the better part of the day traveling home from an anniversary getaway. But, I digress. I LoVE the idea of making a bullet list to stay on track with a story. Ruthy, thank you for sharing such practical tips for writing. This girl needs them!

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    1. Jeanne, we all need them. Honestly, it doesn't matter how many books we've/you've written, or what we're doing, if we can simplify the process and gain productivity time: BONUS!!!! I'm so glad you made it over here!

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  61. You know how much I love this series? And to see your process and outline with them, makes me apprecoate it more. Thanks RUTHY!!!
    (No need to enter me in giveaway. I have both.)

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    1. I know you love this series, and that simply makes my day, Annie! :) BIG RUTHY SMILE!!!! And isn't is amazing what a simple list can do to delineate the differences between the books/plots/brothers?

      Thank you for coming over, and I am not putting your cute little name into the dish!

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  62. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I must say that writing 1000 words a day sounds impossible for me BUT that is because I'm not an author!
    Yes, please add my name to Stripey's bowl and please add me to your newsletter list.
    Thank you!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  63. I love the bullet list. And I love your books! The cover for Home on the Range is adorable! Would love to win this one. I read the first one and can't wait to read this one as well! Mmmm ... carrot cake and coffee ... perfection! :)

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  64. Enjoyed the bullet list. Love your covers and the story's in your books. cheetahthecat1986(at)gmail(dot)com

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  65. This was such a GREAT post, Ruth! Thank you so very much! Sometimes I get bogged down with the character arc, synopsis-outline, characterization, etc. Keeping such a simple list sounds almost "too good to be true". What a fantastic was to stay focused!! A fun and useful idea! Loved your last book and looking forward to this one also!! Blessings and hugs to you!

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  66. Loved that book Ruth! Now I've got to get the first one read :)

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  67. Bullet lists. What a great idea. Me, I just scribble things that I remember/come to mind as I go through my drafts and add them in the next drafts.

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