Sunday, July 3, 2022

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests

Icon of 70 Disciples

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'"

Luke 10:1-9

 The Seekerville bloggers are praying for YOU and for our entire blog community. If you have any special intentions that need additional prayer coverage, leave a request for prayer in the comment section below. 

Please join us in praying for our country and for an end to the problems that plague us at this current time, such as the rising cost of fuel and food, and the shortages of necessary items, especially baby formula.

Together, let's pray we can, once again, become a prosperous and productive nation. Also, please join us in praying for the protection of our military and for law enforcement officers and border agents.   



We are so grateful for all of you—for your friendship and your support! 

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.  

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Weekend Edition


If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Please send to If the winner does not contact us within two weeks, another winner may be selected.

Monday: Pepper wowed us with the back story of her new release. Winner of The Heart of the Mountains are AA Haynes and Jackie Smith!   

Tuesday: Ruthy hosted a Re-Release Party!

Wednesday: Fun Wednesday! Scroll down a bit for the answers to our game and the winners!

Thursday: Erica Vetsch took us back to the very beginning with Where to Start when Writing Your First Novel.

Friday: Bestselling author, Sandra Byrd stopped by Seekerville for the first time and shared a bit about making a living versus making a life.  The winner of her upcoming release, Heirlooms is kaybee.

Fun Wednesday answers!

Here are the correct answers to our "Two Truths and a Lie" game:

#1: Erica's lie was C. The Fossdyke Navigation was built by the Romans, not the Vikings.

#2: Mary's lie was A. Two men were killed during the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

#3: Winnie's lie was B. The law forbids the use of elephants to plow cotton fields. I guess camels are ok!

#4: Carrie's lie was C. She loves books of many genres and many settings, but the 1920's is not her favorite.

#5: Mindy's lie was C. She has lived a lot of places, but never Ohio.

#6: Pepper's lie was C. Captain Turner survived the sinking of the Lusitania.

#7: Dana's lie was C. Forensic Entomology is the use of bugs during an investigation.

#8: Cate's lie was A. Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state, not Maine.

#9: Debby's lie was C. Although many Amish farmers use manure to fertilize their crops, they often also use synthetic herbicides and pesticides, so their produce cannot be certified organic.

#10: Jan's lie was C. August is the only month that measurable snowfall has not occurred in the Black Hills.

The winners are: 
Once Upon a Time is the winner of a copy of Mary Connealy's new release,
Terri Lynn Schump is the winner of a book from Winnie Griggs' prize vault.
Sandy Smith is the winner of Erica Vetsch's The Debutante's Code.
Amy Anguish is also the winner of a book from Winnie's prize vault.
Doris Lankford is the winner of Jan Drexler's newest release, The Sign of the Calico Quartz.
Angela Glover is the winner of Dana Lynn's Amish Cradle Conspiracy.

Thank you for playing, everyone!

Monday:  Happy July 4th! Please celebrate safely!!

Tuesday: Mary Connealy will be here talking about her new release, coming this week, Inventions of the Heart

Wednesday:  Mindy will be here with some tips for polishing that manuscript before you hit Send.

Thursday:  Audra will continue her journey into retirement
Friday: Janice Cantore is back on Seekerville sharing about incorporating real-life events into your story. Drop by, say hello and enter the giveaway to win a copy of her upcoming release, Code of Courage.

Lumber Baron's Daughter Series
Coming this week





    If you missed them before, get them now!


Mission to capture a killer

The Colonel's Daughter 

A killer is targeting the families of soldiers in a US Army colonel's brigade, and Criminal Investigation Division special agent Jamison Steele vows to stop him. The colonel's daughter, the woman who loved and left Jamison without a word, came face-to-face with the murderer. But uncovering the serial killer's motive requires asking Michele Logan the questions that may lead them both into a deadly trap.

The General's Secretary 

Lillie Beaumont's dark past has just turned up on her porch—fatally wounded. The dying words of the man imprisoned for killing Lillie's mother suggest hidden secrets. Criminal Investigation Division special agent Dawson Timmons has his own motive for seeking the truth. As they investigate, Dawson fears that a murderer is waiting to strike again. And this time, Lillie is right in the line of fire…

Order NOW on Amazon!

Disclaimer: Any blog post that includes an offer of product purchase or service is NOT to be considered an endorsement by Seekerville or any of our authors (please see our Legal page )

Easy Tricks for Crafting Memorable Characters by Tess Barbosa at Writer Unboxed

Stop Trying to be Jello by Betsy St Amant at Learn How To Write A Novel

3 Design Secrets for Captivating Book Ads by Teresa Conner at Writers Helping Writers

Promote Your Book with Your Values by Sonya Huber at Jane Friedman

Query, Proposal, or Complete? by Tamela Hancock Murray at Steve Laube Agency

Why is Writing so Hard? at Write To Done

Get Better Book Launch Results by Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz

Threads in the Writing Tapestry by Kay DiBianca at The Write Conversation

The Secret to a Successful Book Publishing Career by CS Lakin at Live Write Thrive

Book Marketing 101 by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur

Friday, July 1, 2022

Making a Living or Making a Life

 by Sandra Byrd

Making a Living or Making a Life

I quit.

What, you too? Okay, so we’re in good company because, according to the experts, it’s currently a quitter’s market in what has become known as the Great Resignation. Millions of people are asking themselves, What am I doing? And why? A few months ago, 44 percent of workers were looking for new jobs. Some cited the desire for better pay, working conditions, and flexibility. But these have always been reasons to ladder hop or ladder climb. So what’s new now?


The pandemic brought into sharp focus that life is short and unpredictable; maybe we don’t want to spend the bulk of our lives making a living but not making a life. If the cattle on a thousand hills are already his, our ultimate goal can’t be to make money, can it? Is life, as Thomas Hobbes famously claimed, nasty, brutish, and short? Although the son of a clergyman, he seemed to hold little hope in faith. He moaned, “My mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear.”

More than we’d like to admit, we make career and professional decisions based on fear, not faith in how we’ve been created and by whom. We’re told—and we sometimes tell our kids—that “useless” degrees in areas such as history and English will lead to unemployment. On the other hand, STEM degrees are the clear path to success, so we’d better head into science, engineering, or math. My son, a bioengineer who was resolutely sad when he had no more calculus courses to enjoy, once told me that math is the language of God. “I sure hope not,” I replied, “because if that’s true, I don’t know who I’ve been talking with all these years.” Instead, God speaks to me in metaphors that are personal and intimate and which have also helped me build a profession neatly dovetailing with how he created me.

And no one wants my math abilities. Trust me.

I don’t think life is nasty or brutish though it is definitely short. And because of that, I’m going to pitch an alternative view for our professional lives and callings. Life can be rich and filled with joy. Jesus contrasts his intentions with those of the destroyer of our hopes in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

War, plagues, pandemics, inflation. It makes it difficult to believe that we can have an abundant life right now. TobyMac questions this in his song “Promised Land.” Many Christians might be nodding right along to that tune. Yeah. Hey. Where is my Promised Land? And yet, despite the turmoil roiling our earth, which a student of history sees punctuates every era, we were born for such a time as this. You were divinely placed in this season, designed and equipped to thrive.

Author James Clear tells us, “It’s only work if you would rather be doing something else. Find a way to carve a career out of what you already want to do.” My friend Renee Chaw took one of those “useless” history degrees and merged it with other things she loves: vintage clothing and caring for the environment. She said, “To me, finding, repairing, and often saving pieces from landfills to be worn and cherished by another generation thousands of miles away is the most rewarding part of what I do. Digging through digital archives to research each garment puts my history degree to good use. I never thought I could make a living doing what I love. But I am!”

Of course, not all jobs pay the same. My son, the engineer, made more money right out of college than most artists—myself included—do after decades of work. I refer to myself as a carbing artist, not a starving artist, because sometimes the stress of a writer’s life—reviews, deadlines, financial concerns—leads to a deep dive into a piece of cake or a bag of Ruffles. And yet God provides. In addition to writing, I coach, helping and encouraging those created to write, like I was. There may be seasons when we need to stay at a job we don’t love. We might need to splice together several opportunities to make a whole. We could choose to work a day job by day and a life job by night until the job we love becomes the job we keep and keeps us.

Our culture sometimes insists that we be content and thankful we have a job, as though it’s somehow selfish to look for a career path that is a good fit. One day on a research trip in France for my French Twist series, I wore a pair of pretty but ill-fitting shoes. Instead of enjoying Parisian art, food, and architecture, I spent the day looking for blister pads. A pair of shoes just right for my feet, pretty or not, would have helped me enjoy the journey. Would anyone suggest I continue walking in those painful shoes rather than buying a pair that fit and enjoying my stay?

However, just because we want a career that fits doesn’t mean it will be delivered to us in an Amazon van. In that John 10:10 verse, “may . . . have it abundantly” is written in the present tense (it’s for now, all time, to those who believe) and subjunctive mood. That means it’s a mood of possibility, potentiality. We have to do something. We must act instead of simply expecting it will be provided for us. It’s the same kind of action expected one chapter earlier, when Jesus rubbed mud onto the eyes of the blind man, providing the solution, and then told him to go wash, act for himself, and partner with him.

In my new book,
Heirlooms, my modern-era heroine has a decision to make, and she doesn’t have much time to make it. Does she play it safe to make a living? Or does she take a significant risk and choose to do things others don’t understand or approve of to make a life, one she felt God created and prepared her to enjoy? Each of the book’s four principal characters has a decision that leads her to take risks to create the life she wants to live in their essences, not their identities.

In his book, Called to Create, Jordan Raynor quotes Dorothy Sayers: “Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

What do you live to do? How can you offer yourself to God through this? Is this the year you’re willing to risk so you can make the life you want?

About Sandra

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books. Sandra's delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor's Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God's Love Devotional. Please visit to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.

About Heirlooms

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives. After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life. Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives. Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

Release on July 5, 2022.


Thank you, Sandra!

Leave Sandra a comment below, or answer her ending question(s), and be enter to win a copy of her upcoming release, Heirlooms.*

*Giveaway prize courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers and is subject to Seekerville and Tyndale House Publishers' Giveaway terms and conditions. U.S. mailing addresses only.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Where Do I Start?

 Erica here with you today. Not on my normal 4th Monday of the month, because our darling Pepper had a book release on Monday, and I was coming home from a writing retreat and would have been scrambling to get a post up. 

Also, the idea for the post didn't come until Tuesday. :) So there's that.

Today's post is the most basic of basics. It's for those folks who are thinking of writing a novel, but haven't put a word to paper just yet. 

Earlier this week, I had a friend from church say she had an idea for a novel, and she was seeing scenes in her head and having ideas for her story, but she didn't know where to start.

Which gave me pause. It's been a minute since I was in that position, ready to write my first story. How did one start?

There are a couple of angles from which you can attack writing your first fiction, and it depends upon what type of person you are.

1. Dive in. Start writing, telling the story that you see in your head. Fingerpaint and play, words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, with all the joy in the world.


2. Study. Learn. Take classes, read books, examine characterization and story structure, pace, theme, point of view, subtext, goals, motives, conflicts, and more. Dissect story to learn story.

I fell into camp #1, mostly because I didn't know camp #2 existed. I thought you just wrote what you wanted and it became a story. (Yeah, I know. But I didn't know what I didn't know.) It wasn't until I got my first contest entry critique that I realized I didn't know what I was doing and would need to study and improve. 

If you're like me, and you're in Camp #1, here is my advice:

1. Get your writing critiqued by someone who knows what they're doing. Join a critique group, enter a contest, pay an editor to look at your first chapter. You want to learn what will improve your writing, and this is a quick way to get to the nitty gritty.

2. Set aside some time to work on the mechanics of writing. Read great writing, evaluate and break down stories that resonate with you, learn how story works, and embrace the new vocabulary of story structure.

3. Consider attending a conference, a retreat, an online workshop. Try different methods of learning about how to write, finding the one that resonates best with you. 

4. Understand that writing is a skill as much as an art, and you can always improve your skills. If you want your writing to shine and be loved by readers and noticed by editors, polish it!

If you're going to follow the Camp #2 approach, I recommend the following:

1. A select few writing books that cover the basics. For me these are: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Goal, Motivation, & Conflict, by Debra Dixon, and Heroes and Heroines -16 Master Archetypes by Cowden, LeFever, and Viders. These will get you started without giving you too many voices in your head all bossing you around. 

2. The Seekerville archives are your friend. There are hundreds...yes, hundreds! of articles on the mechanics of writing a book. If you're curious about a particular subject, check the archives. They're searchable! And better yet, FREE!

3. Consider attending a conference, or an online class, or a writing retreat. This is an expense, but you do have to invest in your career if you want to have a career. There are lots of Seekerville posts on the benefits and expectations and how to go to a writer's conference. Check them out.

4. Write. Write. Write. Eventually, you have to put the manuals and classes down and actually write. 

There is no wrong approach. You do you. But remember, that eventually, you will do both. You will study, but you can't get bogged down in the study. Even the most intelligent and apt student will eventually have to sit down and write the story. You will write, but you will need to learn to write. Even the most naturally gifted writer in the world gets better through editing and practice.

You don't have to know anything when you first start writing. Experience the joy of splashing words on the page, living an intensely vivid life that you're putting into words. Or, if you're more of a student, study and prepare for writing, analyze to your heart's content, and then practice and execute what you've learned.

Which do you consider your leaning? Write first, or learn first? I'd love to hear how you first got started writing!

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn't spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They've been living double lives as government spies--and they're only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family's legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors--not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents' last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she is married to her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at where she spends way too much time!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Fun Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

We had an extra end-of-the-month day here at Seekerville, so we thought we would have a little fun and YOU are the winners!

This game is called "Two Truths and a Lie." 

Here's how to play:

Below, we've listed two truths and one lie provided by our Seeker gals. Sometimes the items are personal, sometimes they're gleaned from the author's research.

Your job is to guess which one of the three is the lie!

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

Enter your guesses in the comments and you'll be entered in the drawing for a prize (a fun surprise prize!) If someone gets ALL the answers right, they will receive an extra special prize - a gift certificate to!

When you enter your guesses, you can just write: "#15, c" (using the correct numbers and letters, of course.)

Are you ready to play? Here we go!

1. From Erica Vetsch:

a. An estimated 300,000 horses lived and worked in London at any given time during the Regency period.

b. Nearly 50,000 men died at Waterloo, the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars for good.

c. The oldest canal in the UK is the Fossdyke Navigation, and it was built by the Vikings.

2. From Mary Connealy:

a. The gunfight at the OK Corral, one of the most famous shootouts in Wild West History, lasted 30 seconds, was not by the OK Corral, and no one was killed.
b. Wyoming was the first state (then a territory) in the union to allow women to vote.
c. The Villisca Murder House, where eight people were killed in the house with an axe…the crime never solved…you can spend the night for about $500. Bring your own sleeping bag.

3. From Winnie Griggs:

a. Ferries were once powered by horses that were actually on board the boats rather than the bank

b. North Carolina has a law on the books prohibiting the use of camels to plow a cotton field. 

c. In the mid nineteenth century the Mississippi River literally ran backwards.

4. From Carrie Schmidt:

a. My first word was book.

b. I've read 'Newlywed Games' by Mary Davis so much that I have it mostly memorized.

c. My favorite time period to read about is the 1920s.

5. From Mindy Obenhaus:

a. I've lived in Oklahoma.

b. I've lived in Iceland.

c. I've lived in Ohio.

6. From Pepper Basham:

a. The reason the ocean liner the Lusitania sank in 1915 was due to a torpedo hitting the starboard side of the ship. 
b. Over 100 Americans died when the British liner, The Lusitania, sank in 1915.

c. Captain Turner, of the Lusitania, sadly went down with his ship.

7. From Dana R. Lynn:

a. Eleanor Roosevelt once had a pet snake named Emily Spinach.

b. In an Amish home, it's the youngest child who inherits everything.

c. Forensic Entomology is the use of fingerprints during an investigation. 

8. From Cate Nolan:

a. Due to its rocky coastline, Maine has more lighthouses than any other state.

b. Spring is slow to arrive in Maine, but when it does, it brings gorgeous Magnolia trees in bloom.

c. Maine is home to rocky beaches as well as soft, sandy stretches of beach.

9. From Debby Giusti:

a. Amish farms are typically about 40 acres in size, which is the area a man and his son can farm without needing extra help.

b. The Amish use natural fertilizer, ie. manure from their livestock.

c. Many Englisch folks buy Amish produce because it is organically grown.

10. From Jan Drexler:

a. Keystone, South Dakota, with a population of 240 residents, hosts more than 2 million visitors to Mt. Rushmore each year (including 2020.)

b. In spite of an occasional sighting, the Black Hills of South Dakota does not have a population of bears or wolves.

c. It is possible for residents and visitors to the Black Hills to experience a measurable snow fall during any of the twelve months of the year.

And that's it! Give us your best guesses and have fun!



Tuesday, June 28, 2022



No one said that getting rights reverted, files scanned and cleaned and manuscripts updated would be easy, but you know what? 

Hard doesn't scare me! :) I kind of love it, I love a challenge which makes the release of this beautiful story even more exciting.

I hate to see stories sit idle... and that's what happens to older stories that aren't being re-released or reprinted by publishers. They sit, puffing dust, waiting for a chance to be held, read, nay... devoured again! So I was thrilled when the good folks at Love Inspired returned the rights to several of my early novels. 

It is so much fun to see them come to life again! To hear from new readers! To chat it up with folks about the Southern Tier or Wishing Bridge or the North Country and soon to come: Kirkwood Lake! 

I am so blessed! 

So next week.... "A Family to Cherish" releases!

Then a few weeks later we'll be announcing the release of "Love's a Mystery in Sleepy Hollow, NY", part of a new and wonderful contemporary romantic mystery series for Guideposts. I had the distinct pleasure of working with the wonderful Gabe Meyer on that novella pairing!

Then the next story will release in September. That one is  "The Lawman's Second Chance", a bestselling and award-winning story that's won hearts across the land. 

And then "Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge" hits the shelves in late October, about the time that pumpkin love and mania quiets down here in Western New York... writing takes over those extra hours. :)

And that wonderful book should be followed by the contemporary story in "Love's a Mystery in Cut and Shoot, Texas", a wonderful Christmas story coupled with Janice Thompson's historical novella!

I am so excited to share this news with you. To share this book with you! And I have two copies to give away (these are Kindle copies, the paperback will be available in two weeks) and I'd love to hear what you think... 

Today we celebrate! Today we toast the release of a book from captivity, LOL! And I'm thrilled to bring the updated edition of this story to you for Kindle at $2.99 and then paperback at $7.99.


So let's celebrate new books! I've brought sweet tea, trays of bars, ice-cold lemonade and a fresh pot o' joe... no matter what part of the country you call home, we've got something wonderful and amazing... and timeless.... here for you!

Bestselling and award-winning inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is currently living, breathing and talking pumpkins, squash and 3000 chrysanthemums on her popular pumpkin farm in Western New York. She is no stranger to dirty fingernails, chemicals, equipment breakdowns and dealing with occasionally grumpy farm folk, so you probably can't rattle her! She loves hearing from Ruthy (and yes, she actually is the person who answers her email) at, visit her website and friend her on Facebook although she admits to social media disenchantment as the possible scourge to mankind as we know it... but that's a blog for another day! :)