Monday, March 20, 2023

It's a Birthday Bash!

 Erica here. Guess what? It's my birthday!

And guess what?

It's Mary Connealy's birthday, too! 

Mary and I are birthday twins! How cool is that? Mary was one of my very first writing friends, and I love her dearly, so imagine my joy when I found out we shared the same birthday!

Did you know we also share our birthday with two other famous people? That's right. We share a birthday with the incomparable Mr. Fred Rogers...

And Big Bird from Sesame Street. 

How cool is that? Birthday buddies with so many beloved people! I'm blessed!

To celebrate our mutual birthday, we're serving calorie-free virtual cake. Lemon drizzle with a blueberry buttercream frosting! (Guess who has been watching too much Great British Baking Show?)

We're also giving away prizes! Two winners will be drawn to receive a print copy of the books below, plus a $5.00 amazon gift card, and FOUR MORE winners will be drawn to receive $5.00 amazon gift cards! A total of SIX WINNERS!

How do you enter? Either or BOTH of two ways. Comment below telling us what famous people you might share your birthday with (not the year, just the month/day) and/or use the rafflecopter link below, follow us on Social Media, and be entered that way!

Here's the link to the Rafflecopter:

A couple of happy writers on a
freezing cold writer's retreat in January.

Thanks for helping us celebrate our birthdays! 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests


Healing of the Man Born Blind, painted by El Greco in 1567, Dresden, Germany. [PD-US]

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him,
"Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
"Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"
Some said, "It is, "
but others said, "No, he just looks like him."
He said, "I am."

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
"He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see."
So some of the Pharisees said,
"This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath."
But others said,
"How can a sinful man do such signs?"
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
"What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?"
He said, "He is a prophet."

They answered and said to him,
"You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?"
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
He answered and said,
"Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"
Jesus said to him,
"You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he."
He said,
"I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.

JN 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

The Seekerville bloggers are praying for YOU and for our entire blog community throughout Lent. If you have any special intentions that need additional prayer 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. Also pray for world peace and a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

Additionally, 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! 

God bless you and keep you safe.

May the Lord bless all of us during this prayerful time of Lent with a new appreciation of His mercy and love.    

Saturday, March 18, 2023

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. **(All winners' emails will receive a response within a week. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, we may not have received it. Please leave a comment in the following Weekend Edition.)

Monday: Guest Candace West offered pointers on Outsmarting Your Blurb 

Tuesday: Dana talked about Memorable First Lines. The winner of a choice of one of her backlist books is Connie Porters Saunders.

Wednesday: Debby shared Writing Takeaways from St. Patrick

Thursday: Winnie talked about a New Series she's in and how it came to be, Winners of her giveaway of choice of any backlist book are: Lori Wachtman, Terri Lynn Schump, Sally Shupe, Sandy Smith, Anonymous ( and Connie Porter Saunders

Monday: It's a Birthday Bash! Join Mary and Erica to celebrate their mutual birthday with some virtual cake and real prizes!

Tuesday: Pepper chats about the challenges and joys of writing a series where the main hero and heroine stay the same in Dynamic Duo Diamonds and Duds. Giveaway!

Wednesday: Cate is our hostess. She'll be talking about the ups and downs of the industry and staying motivated in the waiting times.

Thursday: Pam is our hostess and shares more about her process for creating children's books.

HER AMISH WEDDING QUILT, Book 1 of Winnie Griggs Hope's Haven series, is on sale for $2.99 during the month of March.

Spirited Greta Eicher has been told to change her ways or she’ll end up a spinster. When her last hope for a husband chooses another, Greta pours her efforts into her quilts.

Widower Noah Stoll needs a new wife so when Greta offers to matchmake for him, he accepts. But no one she chooses seems quite right. Could it be because their feeling have grown into something more than friendship?



Check out Mary Connealy being interviewed for Christian Historical fiction Talk

Mary Connealy Author Chat - Christian Historical Fiction Talk Episode 121 - Author Liz Tolsma

Pepper Basham's upcoming book, Positively, Penelope, is up on Netflix if you'd like to apply for an early read :) 

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 )

More Cool Settings by Kate Dane at Free Expressions

Why Fear is a Terrible Friend and How to Crush It by Nicki Howell at Live Write Thrive

A Fresh Start by Darlene Turner at ACFW blog

What is "Bad Writing?" by Janice Hardy at Fiction University

Write Like There's No Tomorrow by Ann Gordon at Rocky Mtn Fiction Writers blog

Writing About the Past: History vs Legend by Eldred Bird at Writers In The Storm

How to Write a Bedtime Story by Sarah Rexford at Write To Done

Writing Goals Not Resolutions by Christen Krumm at Learn How To Write A Novel

Supper vs Dinner: What's the Difference? by Alex Simmonds at Pro Writing Aid

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Fun New Series


Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I’m very excited to report that I’m participating in a fun new multi-author project. As most of you know, in addition to Seekerville, I’m also the member of another author blog, Petticoats & Pistols. The authors on that blog specialize in Western and Americana romance novels.

Late last summer we started kicking around the idea of doing a group of connected stories. But there's a lot of work that goes into setting up a project like this, especially when there are so many authors involved.

After some discussion to determine interest and availability a few of the members took the lead in developing a suitable premise. There were several iterations of this as the development team came back to the group with ideas and continued to refine them until in the end I think we landed on a very fun and exciting concept.

The series is called The Pink Pistol Sisterhood and is about - wait for it - a matchmaking pistol! 

Here's the setup for the series: A one-of-a-kind pink-handled pistol is gifted to Annie Oakley. The pistol comes with a legend, one promising that whoever possesses it will find true love. Annie passes the gun on to one of her students and sets the whimsical journey in motion as it passes from one heroine to another. 

Once the concept was decided there were many other parts and pieces to take care of. One of the members took the lead on the artwork, including the series logo, cover concept and the development of most of the covers themselves. Another member volunteered to help with the book formatting so that we had consistency throughout. A release schedule was determined and then we all had to figure out where we plugged into that. And then there was brainstorming around promo and marketing, release venue and pricing as well as wordcount targets. But in the end it all came together, thanks in big part to our fabulous core team: Pam Crooks, Karen Witemeyer, Shanna Hatfield, Jessie Gussman and Kari Trumbo. 

All told 11 of us were able to participate. All the books are sweet western romances, and they span the time period from 1893 to the current day. Some of the stories are historical, some are set mid-century, and some are contemporary, but the thread that binds them all together is the journey of the pink pistol and the loves and lives of the women it touches.

The books will release every ten days, starting on March 30th with Karen Witemeyer’s story In Her Sights and wrapping up on July 10th with Jessie Gussman’s book Pistol Perfect.

As a gift to our readers we've created set of magazines to go along with the series. There will be four in total and each will contain excerpts, puzzles, author interviews and lots of other fun content. Two of the magazines are already available and can be acquired via the links below. And note, these are free and  you can absolutely rest assured that you are NOT signing up for anyone’s list.

There is also a facebook reader group where we post behind the scenes info, celebrate good news, host release parties and just generally have fun. If you’re interested in joining here’s the link: Pink Pistol Sisterhood Reader Group

The participating authors, in order of release date, are: Karen Witemeyer, Shanna Hatfield, Cheryl Pierson, Kit Morgan, Kari Trumbo, yours truly, Linda Broday, Pam Crooks, Jeannie Watt, Julie Benson and Jessie Gussman

Mine is the sixth book in the series, the exact middle. Here is a little bit about it:


A sharpshooter hiding her identity. A preacher with a guilty past. Will secrets ruin their shot at love?

Violet, who performs in a traveling show as the mysterious Masked Marvel sharpshooter, has an accident that puts her arm in a sling. To maintain the mystery of her identity she secretly swaps places with her identical twin, a “townie” dressmaker, until it heals. Of course that means Violet also has to take on her sister's role as director of a children's church program. Before slipping out of town, her sister informs Violet that she’s sweet on Carson, the pastor and co-director of the children's program, so she’d appreciate it if Violet doesn’t mess anything up with him.

Carson became guardian to an orphaned eight-year-old six months ago and to his frustration he hasn’t been able to make any progress in building a relationship with the boy. It’s to the point where he’s begun to wonder if he’s even fit to be a pastor.

As Violet and Carson work together on the children’s program the attraction between them grows. But the knowledge of her sister’s feelings and guilt over her deception hold Violet back.

Little does she know that Carson is harboring guilty secrets of his own…

 My book isn’t yet available but I’ll be sure to let you know when it is

This series uses a unique object as a connecting thread - a pistol with a pink mother-of-pearl handle - that is passed on from one person to the next. Do you have a special keepsake that was passed on to you? Tell us about it in the comments along with a note about what meaning it holds for you and you'll be entered in a drawing for one of my books. I'd also welcome any thoughts you might have on the Pink Pistol series itself.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Writing Takeaways from Saint Patrick

By Debby Giusti

Many of us, whether we’re Irish or not, will be wearing green this Friday and wishing friends and relatives a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.  Irish immigrants flocked to the United States in the 1800s and brought with them a love for their patron saint. That love spawned celebrations around the country wherever the Irish settled. New York City hosts what is considered the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade followed by Chicago and Savannah, Georgia.

What do we know about Saint Patrick?

Born in the second half of the 4th Century, Patrick called himself both a Roman and a Brit, casting confusion on his place of birth. Some speculate he was born in Dunbarton, Scotland; others claim Cumberland, England as his birthplace and some have him hailing from northern Wales. In his early teen years, Patrick was captured by Druid renegades and sold into slavery. He spent the next six years working as a shepherd in north Ireland. His living conditions were harsh, and young Patrick endured his cold and lonely existence by turning to prayer. He found solace in his Christian faith, and his trust in the Lord grew. Eventually, a dream encouraged Patrick to flee to the southern coast of Ireland. Believing the dream to be divinely inspired, Patrick traveled 200 miles on foot to Wexford where he boarded a ship that transported him to Britain.

Upon his arrival, he was taken captive by a gang of bandits but escaped after two months. For the next fifteen years, Patrick traveled throughout Europe, studied in France and eventually was ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He ministered in both England and France, was made a bishop at the age of forty-three and, at some point, wrote an autobiography entitled Confessio. Throughout this time, Patrick always yearned to return to Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher
(Photo taken on my trip to Ireland in 2018)

In another inspired dream, Patrick had a vision of the Irish people calling out to him. The dream solidified his desire to return to the place of his enslavement, and he soon sailed back to the Emerald Isle. After winning over pagan chieftains, he traveled throughout the country teaching and ministering to the people, and the Christian faith quickly grew under his spiritual guidance. He founded monasteries, many Irish men were ordained and, in turn, did mission work in Europe where the faith had waned.  Patrick died in 461 at the age of 76 and was buried in County Down.

Irish countryside. (Debby's photo)

What can we learn from Saint Patrick?

Patrick did not allow personal hardship to undermine his faith, in fact his love of the Lord only deepened with adversity. His commitment to Christ helped him recognize God’s promptings in a dream to escape to freedom. Returning to Europe, he strengthened his knowledge of Scripture and the teachings of the Church through study and committed his life to priestly service. Never satisfied to remain stagnant, Patrick had the conviction and courage to return to the country of his enslavement in order to spread the Good News.

An Irish Cottage (Debby's photo)

What can we take away from Patrick’s story?

No matter our calling in life or our circumstances, prayer and faith in God are of paramount importance. As writers and like Saint Patrick, we recognize the necessity to study and hone our craft or ministry. Determination and dedication were two of Patrick’s key traits that are essential for writers as well. Patrick refused to be discouraged or dismayed in spite of the negative influences he had to endure in his early life. We, too, need to overcome rejection and have the fortitude to persevere in achieving our writing dreams.

Blarney Castle (Debby's photo)

As writers, we need to pray, to study, to keep moving forward and to never allow discouragement to hold us back.

This Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ll remember a courageous man who answered God’s call, a man who inspires me to persevere in both my faith and my writing.

Share any thoughts you have about Patrick’s tenacity and strength as well as the traits that buoy you on your writing journey.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all!

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti

Cover Reveal for my June release: 


A deadly explosion.
A dangerous search for the truth.

After an explosion rocks Becca Klein’s bakery and kills one of her customers, she teams up with the victim’s son to find justice. Though estranged from his father, 
Englischer Luke Snyder is compelled to help the Amish woman uncover why his father died. But ruthless killers believe Luke’s father gave Becca something they want, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it. Can Luke keep Becca safe until they discover the truth?


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Memorable First Lines


A storm struck on the night Laura Shane was born

I read that line back in 1989, and I have never forgotten it. But why? What made this line from LIGHTNING by Dean Koontz, an author I’d never read before, stick with me? It struck me enough that I bought the book after reading that first line. Other lines have stuck with me through the years. Such as Jane Austen’s first line from the classic PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” That line always makes me roll my eyes and snicker. So much sarcasm wrapped up in that elegant prose.

This is my goal. To write first lines that will capture readers’ attention immediately.

One of my favorite first lines from a book I’ve written is from A DARK SILENCE. “Heidi Martin flipped on the overhead light and looked into the eyes of a killer.”

I love throwing the reader immediately into the inciting event. Sometimes I do this with dialogue. I was interested in discovering the favorite first lines of some of my author friends. I asked them to include both books that they had read and books they had written. Here are a few I learned. (I’m keeping a list of books I need to add to my TBR shelf!)

Katy Lee: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” This iconic line is from REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier. Katy Lee’s favorite line she’d written was from SANTE FE SETUP.  “Luci Butler was a thief. Albeit a cute one, but still a thief.”

Lisa Phillips said her favorite line came from her book COLD DEAD NIGHT. “If Kenna didn’t run fast enough, a child would die tonight.”

Sami A. Abrams chose: “Did the crazy girl want to get herself killed?” from IMPENDING STRIKE.

Rebecca Hemlock’s favorite line she’d written was from her book HIDDEN PASSAGES TO DARK SECRETS: “Levi wasn’t sure he’d ever experienced “normal”.” Her favorite line from something she read was, “Melancholy was a condition of the spirit and soul, but also of the mind.” (Jaime Jo Wright, THE CURSE OF MISTY WAYFAIR).

Kelly Underwood offered a line from UNINTENDED DETOUR by D.L. Wood. “Do I have what it takes to kill a man?” From her own writing, she gave me the first line from DEFENDING HONOR, “Laila Rabbinowitz tossed the binoculars onto the passenger seat and stifled a shudder.”

Jennifer Pierce, the author of EXPECTING DANGER, wrote, “The hair on the back of Kate’s neck stood on end, and the feeling of being watched crawled along her skin in goose bumps.”

Author Shannon Redmon said one of her favorite first lines was from THE GUARDIAN by John Grisham, “Duke Russel is not guilty of the unspeakable crimes for which he is convicted; nonetheless he is scheduled to be executed for them in one hour and forty-four minutes.”

Of course, no discussion of great first lines would be complete without including an author who had won an award for the best first line. Dani Pettrey won the Thrillerfest’s Best First Sentence Contest for the first line in her novel, SUBMERGED:

"Never wager unless you control the stakes."

And now I want to go and read some of these great books!

So what about you? What are some of the most memorable first lines you’ve ever read? I’m giving away a copy of one of my backlist books to one commenter. 

Dana R. Lynn is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and Amish romance who believes in the power of God to touch people through stories. Although she grew up in Illinois, she met her husband at a wedding in Pennsylvania and told her parents she had met her future husband. Nineteen months later, they were married. Today, they live in rural Pennsylvania and are entering the world of empty nesters. She is a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by day and writes stories of romance and danger at night. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray with the Steve Laube Agency. Dana is an avid reader, loves cats and thinks chocolate should be a food group. Readers can contact her or sign up to receive her monthly newsletter at


Monday, March 13, 2023

Outsmarting Your Blurb - GUEST POST with Candace West

HUGE THANKS to Candace West for popping in and guest posting while I (Jaime Jo) am on a tight deadline! Be sure to leave her welcomes and hellos in the comments! ALSO: WINNER OF THE BOOK DRAWING FOR PREMONITION AT WITHERS FARM IS - AMY! Congrats.


Do you love writing blurbs?

If so, I wish I could sit at your feet and absorb your technique (no rhyme intended). If not, take a huge breath and release the frustration. Help is on the way. I hope. 

A deadline was approaching, and I had no story for an upcoming anthology. I brainstormed and stumbled on an idea. The more I mulled on it, the better I liked it. A woman, owner of a horse rescue, is desperate to hire a master groom because hers walked off the job, leaving her to deal with the chaos. Good start. However, it wasn’t enough to grab interest. What other conflict could I hurl her direction? Then, in the middle of my musings, I was asked to write the blurb. My mind immediately scrambled like Mama’s platter of buttery eggs at breakfast. How could I write a blurb without a plot? After all, no story equals no blurb. Right? A crazy idea rattled around in my brain. I knew the basics of my storyline and the initial conflict. Why not write a blurb focused on these and worry about the details later? 

I gave it a whirl, several actually, scribbling on notebook paper rather than my customary paper towel. Don’t judge me. Paper towels are the savior of all housekeepers/authors. But I digress. 

Here’s what I penned: 

Charity McDonald, owner of a horse rescue, hires new stable master Gilbert Bennett to settle the chaos her previous groom abandoned. She has compounded her problems, however. First challenge: Gilbert is blind. Second challenge: She is responsible for the accident years ago that caused it. Worst of all, Charity can’t muster the courage to tell him who she is.

The blurb isn’t earthshattering, and it needs tweaking. The important thing is that it taught me a lesson I’ll apply to my future short stories, novellas, and novels. Always, after finishing a story, my mind was crammed with the characters, plots, subplots—all the details. Narrowing all of it down to a short blurb was a nightmare. I liken it to clearing out a house of heirlooms where you’re allowed to keep five items that signify the whole collection. Where do you even begin?

Start with the heart of the story. When a character or idea interrupts your relaxing bath with a tantalizing story flash, write a blurb that focuses on the initial conflict. Include a hook that leaves you wondering where the story will go. Do you realize we do this in the writing process? Writers are always unraveling those internal hooks that keep our fingers tapping the keyboard. Revise the blurb as your story develops, keeping it concise and centered on the main issue that drives the characters and the plot. When you reach the end of your story, you’ll discover this: writing the blurb first provides a launching point for your final blurb. It is your lifeboat, keeping you from drowning in an ocean of details. It’s also your anchor, keeping you from drifting. 

This idea might not be for you, and that’s okay. But then again, it may be a gamechanger. I challenge you to try it the next time inspiration sparks.