Friday, June 30, 2023

Good Night Sweet Blog


Mary Connealy

Good night sweet blog. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Yes, Seekerville is closing up. I hate it and I'm ready. This blog has meant so much to me. This outlet as a professional writer. This attempt we've all made to help others and express ourselves. There were so many people who helped me learn how to write. And when a group of authors and friends formed an email loop and were just having a ridiculous amount of fun, we decided maybe we had something to share with other aspiring authors.

Seekerville was born. 

Giving it up feels wrong because it's been a home online for me for a long, long time. But it also feels right. The effort to find some new way to talk about the lessons of writing are hard. And I feel like I fail at it more often than I succeed. Or I repeat myself.

So I accept that we're putting our blog to bed for the last time today. Good night sweet blog.

And thank you to my Seeker sisters and to all the readers who've met with us along the way. Today we've got a few more good-bye posts from Seekers present and past. 

Ruth Logan Herne

Seekerville was never just a blog.

It was a give-back from fifteen authors who prayed one another into royalty-paying publication.

In a time when self-publishing was raising its head and viability, these authors created a sisterhood of faith, hope and love… and met their goal! All fifteen authors were published and in the middle of that, when only a handful had gotten “the call” we decided to start a blog to help other aspiring authors. We believed in giving, helping, leading and encouraging.

We were and are blessed!  It has given me countless friends and delightful readers and I will be forever grateful for both!


Erica Vetsch

What Seekerville has meant to me…

Where do I start? We’re supposed to submit a paragraph, and I feel I could write a Julie Lessman-long post and not quite scratch the surface. When Seekerville started, I was a fledgling writer, absorbing everything I could about writing, the writer’s life, and books. I read every day, I commented so much, the original Seekers must have thought I was stalking them, and I learned so, so much. I loved that the Seekers spoke of more than just their own books, but brought in guest posters, too. One of those guest posts changed the way I write. (The Plot Board) I loved the sense of sisterhood, of support, and cheerleading the Seeker-Community provided. When Mary Connealy asked if I would like to join as a Seeker a few years ago, I was all over that opportunity. Though I knew every Seeker and had met them in person, I didn’t realize how our relationships would grow. We’ve shared the ups, the downs, the way downs, the way ups, and the way sideways bits of life, not just those concerned with writing, but with life. They have become a sisterhood, and I don’t say that lightly. I will miss the posts and the community of Seekerville, because it was something quite special. I’m glad the archives will be available for me to refer to when I need to learn or relearn something about the writing life…or just reminisce about some really good times. 

Missy Tippens
The Seekerville blog has been a huge part of my life for almost two decades. I met many writer friends online through the blog and at conferences when we would gather and experience the joy of meeting in person. Thank you to all who helped form this wonderful, supportive community. Thank you for contributing to the knowledge we shared and fun we had here. You’ve all been a big blessing in my life! I’m so thankful God brought us together through the years.—Much love,

Debby Giusti

So many memories…

As we know, all good things must end, even Seekerville, although it is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell. Your kindness and encouragement have touched me deeply, and I’m so grateful. The memories of the love and laughter we shared will never fade and will be special treasures that will warm my spirit in the years ahead.  Know that you are ever in my heart and in my prayers. 


I love you all!

Debby Giusti

Janet Dean

I’m beyond blessed to have been a Seeker, one of 13 writers who joined forces to support each other on our journey to publication. When we started the blog Seekerville our intent was to share writing and industry tips meant to help ourselves and others along the way and to promote books with giveaways and prizes. We had a blast doing it while meeting and connecting with wonderful writers and readers! But what we ended up sharing the most were our lives! Writing is a solitary business and having this vibrant community to visit each day forged special connections and friendships we’ll always cherish! I learned oodles about writing from our posts, enjoyed the interaction both online and at writing conferences. But by far the best part of Seekerville was seeing ours and countless others’ dreams realized and celebrated in Seekerville! Though I’m retired and no longer write, I’ll always be grateful to have been part of it! Thanks to all who came, all who stayed, all who gave so much of themselves!    

Mindy Obenhaus
Seekerville has been a fount of knowledge for aspiring and published authors from its beginning. It’s been a valuable resource for me throughout my career. I remember being tickled pink when Janet Dean approached me in 2013 about doing a guest post on the original Seekerville shortly after I received my first contract. It wasn’t until I sat down to write that post that I felt the pressure to come up with something of value that would benefit others still awaiting their first contract. So you can imagine how humbled I was when I was invited to join Seekerville 2.0 back in late 2017. I felt a huge responsibility to help other writers grow had been placed on my shoulders, and I never took that for granted.

Back in the heyday of blogging, Seekerville stood out as a safe place for up-and-coming authors to learn, share victories and disappointments, and to cheer each other on. It was more than just a blog, it was a community. Many authors attribute their success to Seekerville, and I’m one of them. Iron sharpens iron. That’s what Seekerville has always been about. And I’ve been honored to be a small part of it.

Julie Lessman

How do you close the book on one of the greatest chapters of your life? It’s not easy. But what is easy is reflecting on all the blessings Seekerville has been to so many people over the years.
For me as an aspiring author, Seekerville was a lifeline in a sea of doubt, buoying me with hope, wisdom, and support every step of the way. But far more important than the encouragement and education that Seekerville provided, were the dearest of friends it brought at a time when I needed them most. Seekerville was more than a blog—it was a sisterhood that began with twelve women, each with a dream in her heart. And it was those very women who helped turn every one of our dreams into a reality with laughter, tears, and solid friendships that will go on forever.
For the reading and writing community who called Seekerville home, it was a light in the darkness and a lamp unto many of our paths, inspiring, encouraging, teaching, informing, and supporting both readers and writers alike with the Word of God and wisdom gleaned over the years, both literary and spiritual.
So, I say goodbye to Seekerville, both with a heavy heart and a grateful one, that God allowed me to be a part of it and the lives of the many people it has so richly blessed.
Hugs and more hugs,

 Jan Drexler

In the fall of 2010, our family was in the middle of making one of our many interstate moves. While I was in Kansas waiting for our house to sell and home schooling our two youngest children, I felt the nudge to start the writing career that had been pushed aside for years. As I searched the internet to find out information on how to start this plunge into unknown waters, I stumbled upon a blog. Fifteen authors – some published, some pre-published – were giving advice for people exactly like me! And not only advice, but encouragement, well-timed lessons, and a camaraderie that made that little corner of the internet feel like home.

The invitation to join the Seekers in 2017 was a dream come true! It was a bittersweet time, though, as we said goodbye to so many original Seekers who were retiring. I feel that same bittersweet feeling now, as times have changed, and blogs are no longer the best way to reach aspiring authors. But you all know where to find us, right? We’ll still be on social media – be sure to look for us there!

Love to all, Jan Drexler

Audra Harders

Hmm, summing up what Seekerville is to me in one paragraph? Impossible! There are innumerable memories rolled up in all the terrific events, posts, discussions that have transpired over virtual brunches of cinnamon rolls, red velvet cake and omelet bars, LOL. But, if I had to choose one aspect of Seekerville I loved the most, it would be all the Seeker Villagers who have touched my life over the years. As most know, Seekerville was born as a group of unpublished authors banded together through their love of contests and sought to pray each other into publication. Along the way, we launched a blog to help other unpubbed authors learn about their craft and offer encouragement along the way. As the Lord says (my paraphrase), Give with a cheerful heart and He will bless abundantly (2 Cor 9:6-8). If there was one thing you can say about Seekerville, we are a cheerful bunch and approach each of our posts with joy, compassion, laughter and of course, virtual food to feed the masses!!

For me personally, that joy and love was returned to me beyond measure. Our Villagers are the heart of Seekerville and YOU made our little safe haven of learning and love a place to cherish through all the ups and downs of this crazy writing life. Thank you for your faithfulness and encouragement as we shaked and shimmied our way through 16 years of love.

Bless you all, Audra 

Glynna Kaye


“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  (Matthew 6:33) 


That’s where it all started in 2005 when, through “meeting” each other in writing contest winners’ circles, God drew the original Seekers together. We shared industry news, teamed up to serve as beta readers, encouraged each other, challenged each other, prayed for each other--and became friends. Some soon escaped from “Unpubbed Island,” others of us gradually set sail one by one.


In the autumn of 2007--almost 16 years ago--we launched Seekerville The Blog, wanting to share with other writers what we were learning on our journey. We hoped that through sharing posts on our personal experiences, the craft of writing, the publishing industry, words of encouragement--and prayer for all--that other aspiring writers might attain their own publishing dreams. What came about during Seekerville’s “heyday” was a living, breathing, close-knit community of Seekers and the scores of fabulous and faithful “Seeker Villagers” who called the blog home! (A good number of whom are now published!)


I’m so grateful for my Seeker Sisters and all the many Villagers who joined us on the journey. THANK YOU! And thank you to our Heavenly Father who brought us together for a purpose and an amazing time in our lives!

Myra Johnson

I’ll always be grateful for the invitation back in 2005 that brought me together with 14 other determined writers in support, encouragement, and prayer for our journey toward publication. As one by one we began sailing off Unpubbed Island (some sooner than others!), creating the Seekerville blog in 2007 seemed like the perfect venue for giving back to the larger community of writers and to share what we were learning along the way. I am honored to have served as one of the original Seekerville bloggers during its first 10 years, and I’m thankful for the new Seekers who came on board after several of us “retired” to pursue other avenues in our writing careers. I will never forget Seekerville for all the writing tips, learning opportunities, laughter, and regular “kicks in the pants” that comprised our daily fare. Most especially, I cherish the friendships. You will all ALWAYS be in my heart! —Myra Johnson 

Dana R. Lynn

So many thoughts are going through my head. Seekerville has been a part of my life ever since I began my writing journey in 2013. I remember the excitement of joining others for Speedbo, the Seeker version of NanoWriMo. I would read the posts to glean what wisdom I could as I pursued my dream. And continued afterwards when I received that first contract. But Seekerville was more than a resource. Through online interactions and in person meetings at conferences, I developed real friendships. It was an honor to join the Seekers for the past year. And while this is bittersweet, I know that the relationships I formed will last beyond the blog.


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Learning Persistence from Taylor Swift

 I'm on a very tight deadline at the moment, but I'm also in my last week of school, so time is precious. I started to write a new blog post, but I realized I was PROCRASTINATING from writing the final scene in my first draft.

As I was debating new vs an oldie (another chance to procrastinate), I came across the one I'm posting about. 

Since everyone and their uncle seems to be either talking about Taylor Swift and The Eras Tour or FOMO on Taylor Swift and The Eras Tour (I kid you not, I got an email today from a teaching blog that used FOMO Taylor Swift as the hook!), I decided to go with the flow.

It seemed appropriate for a couple of reasons -

1) It followed a post on procrastination

2) My daughter has been listening to Taylor non-stop every time we are in the car together 

3) Seeing all these photos of Taylor's record-breaking, sold out tours makes is sweet to look back at the persistence of an 11 year-old and see just  how far she has come.


Way back when, I shared this post:

A few months I did a blog on the P word – procrastination.

Today, I’m back to talk about a different P word, the one that determines the possibility of success – Persistence.

I have two quotations that have guided my writing career for as long as I can remember.
The first is:
A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. (Often attributed to Richard Bach, bus he supposedly disavowed saying it.)

I have read a lot of differing opinions about that quote ranging from arguments about what constitutes a professional writer to what determines the level of success required to claim writer status. I’m not really interested in any of those arguments. In my mind, it comes down to this – writers write. So whether you do it for a lot of money or none, if you haven’t quit yet (or have and came back to it), then you’re on the right/write track.

The second quote follows naturally from that. 

She wrote what she loved, until she loved what she wrote, and she sent it out one more time.
I have no idea where this quote came from. I have it on a scrap of paper that is so old it’s turned yellow and brittle.

When I tried to Google the source of that quote, I got a bunch of links to Taylor Swift’s new album. It’s really tempting to tag Taylor in this post and see our views skyrocket. I have no idea why that quote triggered Taylor's name, but when I thought about it, I was glad it had.

 A lesson in procrastination vs. persistence

The other day, I was supposed to be writing, but when I signed on to Twitter to join my #1k1hr group, #TaylorSwiftonGMA was trending. I very easily got sucked down a rabbit hole of Taylor Swift videos. 

Avoiding that kind of rabbit hole is a constant struggle for me. My husband used to drive me crazy flipping channels on the television. It seemed he’d stay on something just long enough for me to get hooked. He would move on, but by that time, I would be begging him to turn it back (to some show I'd probably be embarrassed to admit watching), because once I'm hooked, I need to find out what happens.

Which is what happened last Thursday on Twitter. First there was a video about Taylor's father handing out pizza to the people who waited on line overnight. Then there was Taylor singing a song from her new album. Then... and so on.

It's important to note here, I've never particularly been a Taylor Swift fan. I was just curious about what all the fuss on Good Morning America was about. My interest had been piqued. 

Am I alone in this? I know we joke about going to Facebook to check one thing and discovering we've spent an hour instead of the scheduled 5 minutes.

As it turns out though, watching Taylor Swift videos for an hour wasn’t without some benefit. One of the clips on GMA gave a history of her career starting as an 11 year-old girl determined to make it in Nashville. She explained that her mother and little brother waited in the car while she delivered karaoke demos she’d made. She talked about walking up and down Music Row knocking on doors.

"I would say, 'Hi, I'm Taylor. I'm 11; I want a record deal. Call me."

I cannot imagine having that kind of dedication at my age, let alone at 11. 
But the story didn't end there.

I found an article on ENews that included this:
"She came back from that trip to Nashville and realized she needed to be different, and part of that would be to learn the guitar," Andrea told EW. "Now, at 12, she saw a 12-string guitar and thought it was the coolest thing. And of course we immediately said, 'Oh no, absolutely not, your fingers are too small—not till you're much older will you be able to play the 12-string guitar.'
"Well, that was all it took. Don't ever say never or can't do to Taylor. She started playing it four hours a day—six on the weekends. She would get calluses on her fingers and they would crack and bleed, and we would tape them up and she'd just keep on playing.  ENews

What intrigues me is how someone has that kind of drive to succeed - especially at such a young age. 

Taylor is not unique in her work ethic. We hear stories all the time about athletes and their superior dedication to their sport, practicing endless hours until they can sink that three-point shot flawlessly, or lead a team to another Super Bowl victory.  

What can we, as writers, learn from this mindset?

That question has really been on my mind a lot lately. Writing is not a career for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of hard work, is often solitary, and you can go many years honing your craft before you manage to snag that contract.

And when you do, you just get to do it all over again.

Some writers succeed brilliantly, and others, as in my quote above, never rise to that professional level for one reason or another.


I found some interesting thoughts on that topic in an article at a teaching workshop I attended this week. I'm going to link the article. Take a minute and go look - it's short.

The article states: The question, then, is why some people are better at developing their potential than others. 

What intrigued me about the answer was the psychological analysis. I'm just going to share a couple of key quotes that intrigued me. They will all make more sense if you read the article.

The trouble is that most people don’t seriously want what they say they want.
’I want’ means, ‘if I want it enough I will get it.’ Getting what you want means making the decisions you need to make to get what you want.”

In other words, few of us are willing to do what it takes to achieve what we desire.

Some aspirations are simply superficial desires for status, not declarations of will followed up by action.

Real motivation is the key ingredient. Those who actually succeed at getting better are obsessed with their goals, turning that motivation into genuine talent over time.

These thoughts hit home with me, because throughout my life, whenever I was working on something that I cared passionately about, I was unstoppable. My energy was boundless, nothing could stand in my way.

When I find myself faltering, it's usually because some little voice in my head is whispering, Do you really want it enough to work this hard?

Obviously adolescent Taylor Swift did.

Do you?

Is writing something you feel passionately about and are you ready to make the decisions you need to succeed. Are you willing to put in the time to develop the talent? Are you ready to bloody those fingers?

If you’re not a writer, is there something else that you are passionate about to this level?

Let's chat.
I'm off to persist on this draft!

Monday, June 26, 2023

Five Ways NOT to Start a Story

Erica here. It's a smart writer who doesn't waste effort. Yesterday, I was the presenter/speaker at the ACFW MN NICE chapter in the Twin Cities, and I thought I would use a bit of what I taught there for this blog post. :) 

From Wild0ne via Pixabay

I spoke on Five Pages to Impress: How to Start a Story Strong. One portion of the presentation was a 'what not to do' section, based upon what I see so often when judging contest entries.

1. Please do not start with a prologue. I know. Writers love a prologue, but 97.5% of the time, they are completely unnecessary. They mess with the timeline, obscure just who the protagonist is, and often they steal the writer's thunder, revealing something they should be saving until later to totally blow their readers' minds. If you think your story opening isn't strong enough without your smash-bang, action-packed're right! So change your opening chapter!

2. Do not start with a dream. Please. Just. Don't. Dreams are overdone. It's promising the reader the story will be about one thing, and then pulling a bait and switch on them when it turns out the POV character was just dreaming. (Bobby Ewing, anyone?) Dream sequences delay the start of the real story, and are not based in the reality of the real tale. 

3. Do not start with someone arriving somewhere. Please. It's the ultimate cliché. Heroine steps off the train onto the dusty platform in Dodge City. Heroine drives her Prius up to her grandmother's house, that she's soon going to sell to a developer once she cleans it out, but she's convinced by the hunky, flannel-clad neighbor next door to stay in town and convert it to a B&B and marry him in the process. Arrivals often slow the story to a crawl as the protagonist reflects on all that brought him/her to this point. 

4. Do not start your story with a Back Story Dump. Back story dumps tell the reader a lot of stuff they don't need to know at this point. But, how can I make the reader care if they don't know the character right away? Listen closely. I'm serious, lean in, because I'm about to drop a pearl of wisdom here that, if you follow it, will put your contest entry/agent submission/opening chapter FAR above many that I see. It is not your job to make the reader care about your character right away. It is your job to make your reader CURIOUS about your character right away. 

Do you get that? If a reader is curious about a character, they will keep reading. They will come to care for the character because they cannot wait to know what happens. 

Back Story Dumps slooooooow the story to an absolute crawl. It's like reading someone's resume. It's telling me through a mini bio about the character. Back story does not reveal as much about the character as you think. Knowing About someone isn't Knowing them. Treat your story opening not like the introduction of a new board member, but as making a new friend. You don't walk up to someone you've never met and say, "Hey, I'm a single-mother from Tennessee who was abandoned by her father when she was three, got pregnant when she was fifteen, and joined the army at eighteen." Stuff like that needs to come out slowly. 

Character isn't revealed through reciting a story's past. It's revealed through Dialogue, Action, and Subtext. What the character says, what they do, and what they think but don't say.

5. Do not start with a bunch of Happy People in Happy Land. It's boring. If you have no conflict, you have no story. "But what about establishing the normal world for my character?" you ask. Oh, by all means, do that. But give them something to want right away, or some obstacle, even if it is minor, to overcome. Put your heroine up a ladder in a dark storeroom trying to replace the lightbulb, but afraid of heights of any kind. The reader will learn a few things about the heroine without you even having to tell them. She's afraid of heights. She is determined even when she's scared. Through her mutterings or thoughts, you can reveal if she's snarky, given to brave self-talk to get through a circumstance, or if she prays when she's scared. It's an everyday occurrence that reveals a lot, and makes the reader wonder right away if she's going to accomplish her task, if she's going to cave to the fear and stop trying, or if she's going to topple off the ladder into the arms of her handsome neighbor.

I judge a lot of contest entries during the year, and these are five of the most common problems I see with story beginnings. I'd be curious to know what other ones you're aware of, or what you've heard is not a good way to start a story.

In other news, the Joy to the World Regency Christmas Novella Collection is now available on Audiobook! How cool is that? My contribution, Wonders of His Love, features a spin-off character from my Serendipity & Secrets series, and a handsome Scottish portrait painter.

You can get your audiobook copy HERE.

Best-selling, award-winning author, Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum. You can connect with her at her website, where you can learn about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at where she spends way too much time!

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests

The Christ Pantocrator of St. Catherine's Monastery at Sinai,
a 6th-century encaustic icon. [PD-US]


Jesus said to the Twelve:
"Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father."

Matthew 10:26-33

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

Please pray for our country and for an end to the problems that plague us at this current time, such as the increased cost of fuel and food and the rise in crime. Please pray for world peace, for the protection of our military, law enforcement officers and border agents.   

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

God bless you and keep you safe.