Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tina James, Senior Editor, Steeple Hill Books, Welcome to Seekerville!


Good morning to you and thank you so much for playing with us in Seekerville! Let me just say our buddies have been chomping at the bit…

Wait, that makes them sound like horses.

Okay, they’ve been eagerly anticipating your visit. I have been plied with questions and thoughts from all kinds of people, but first...



Tina I know you guys have Starbucks nearby but the Starbucks Corporation was gracious enough to set up a full coffee, frappuccino and cappuccino bar right here on the beach, to celebrate your visit with us. We've got a spread of amazing tarts, fresh fruit and a delightful homemade tiramisu (yes, I interrupted NaNoMo to bake, because Steeple Hill was here today!!!)so we're set with food for a while at least. Shout out if I've missed anything!

But let’s start with a little bit about you. Tell us about Tina, the editor.

From the moment Tina James learned to read she could usually be found at a bookstore or the public library searching for a good book. Her love for books led her to a job during high school working as a library page shelving books. After graduating from college with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Publishing Studies, she began her editorial career at Harlequin Enterprises in 1995 as an editorial assistant and worked her way up. Currently she is Senior Editor for the Love Inspired Historical and Love Inspired Suspense lines.

And we love those lines in Seekerville. Solid. Strong. A great readership.

Tina, “eHarlequin” does a wonderful job of outlining guidelines and offering editor podcasts to help authors target the proper line. I’m putting links here for Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historicals, and Love Inspired Suspense so people can flip there to check things out. Links to editor podcasts should be to the right of the screen once it opens and I’ve listened to them on several different Harlequin sites, a great resource to help writers target their work.

Tina, the historical books have a longer page count/word count. Why is that?

The Love Inspired Historical books are longer in length because these are more complex stories rich in period detail. These stories should be well-researched and give a feeling for the time in which they are set. Beyond creating a vivid sense of the time period, these stories should also have the characteristic we look for in any submission: a captivating story, interesting characters, etc.

I know a lot of reading gets taken home. Is there a request you’d like to make of submitters? Paper weight, font, clarity, etc.? If you’re a subway traveler, little things like this can make a difference.

Essentially, you want to make your submission neat, professional, easy to read. Please make sure the submission is double-spaced and use a standard 12 point font such a Courier. Each page should be numbered sequentially, with the author’s name and project title in the upper-left hand corner and the page number in the upper-right hand corner.

Tina, the Seekers met and formed a sisterhood because we kept bumping heads in contests, sharing wins, places, etc. We decided to form a group and pray each other into publication and that premise has been our groundwork. We kept the contest angle for our blog because this is a lonely business at times and it’s nice to know you’ve got friends (with good food, of course!) in cyber-space.

Harlequin and Steeple Hill have been totally awesome with the kind of time and support they offer writing contests. Several of us (including yours truly!) have reaped the reward of publication by gaining a spot on an editor’s desk through contest finals. How many contests do you guys try to do in a year, and what do you look for in a solid entry?

The Steeple Hill team enjoys judging contests because it is a great way to see new projects and find new authors. There is no specific number of contests we try to judge in a year, but this year Senior Editor Melissa Endlich, Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell and myself judged at least 6 contests each.

In a solid contest entry, I look for a distinctive and appealing voice, vivid characters and a powerful, emotional story. I look for a well-crafted story that provides wonderful character development and a compelling opening.

Harlequin sometimes sponsors contests of their own in the search of new talent. Are there any plans for Steeple Hill to sponsor a first chapter/synopsis contest similar to what they do at Harlequin Presents?

At the moment, we are not planning on sponsoring a first chapter/synopsis contest. However, the Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical lines are actively seeking new authors and we encourage writers to submit to us.

Tina, I loved meeting you in Denver. I know you said then that you’d love to see some differentiation in the submissions for the historical line, Love Inspired Historicals. What are you looking for and what would you ‘oh-my-goodness, it’s-about-time’ love to see?

We are always interested in Westerns, but we need non-western stories, too. We would love to see stories set in European historical eras (e.g., Tudor, Regency, Victorian England, 18th century Scotland), or in ancient times. We are also interested in stories featuring missionaries abroad in exotic locations during various historical periods.

Tina, I love it when a story wraps me up and whisks me into another place, another time, giving me a glimpse of what life was like there and then.

A lot of us are looking forward to Carla Capshaw’s The Gladiator that just hit the November shelves. This book is a good example of ‘outside the box’ historical thinking. Would you like to see more like this, set in ancient times?

Yes, we are interested in more stories set in Roman/early Christian times.

We talk a lot about the benefits of getting to conferences, meeting editors and agents face to face, chatting with them face to face without actually stalking them. Do you have your line-up for who will be where for 2010 yet, and do you find it beneficial from an editor’s standpoint to meet new authors, get a feel for them?

At the moment, we haven’t finalized which conferences we’ll be attending next year. However, we enjoy attending conferences and meeting face to face with authors because we get the opportunity to speak with authors about the exciting things that have been happening and are happening at Steeple Hill Books and we get to let authors know what we’re looking for.

The guidelines for historical mention ‘post-Civil War Americana’.

Does that mean you don’t want to see Civil War stories ever? Like as in “No, do not under any circumstances ever, ever, ever send me a Civil War story or I’ll use it for kindling in my fireplace with my new hubby”...


you gently prefer stories set post-Civil War but might entertain the right story set amidst the traumas of North-South strife if it’s so well done you can’t possibly resist?

We’re focused on good stories, well told. If an author queries me about a Civil War story with a solid story line, a cohesive plot and irresistible protagonists, then I’ll be interested in reading the project.

Tina, one of my personal favorites published by Steeple Hill was The Road to Home, the 2006 Christy Award winner by Vanessa Del Fabbro put out under the Steeple Hill Fiction banner. I loved that book. Still do. It maintains a treasured spot on my “keeper” shelf. Does Steeple Hill have plans to go with longer fiction or more mainstream fiction with romantic elements again? Or even simply with longer romances?

As of July 2009, the Steeple Hill Single Title program was discontinued. However, if you are interested in writing for Steeple Hill, guidelines and submission information for our Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical lines are available on our Web site at

Romance wouldn’t be romance without a yummy hero and giving a hero a ‘sensual’ feel while working within faith-filled parameters can be a challenge. Do you have suggestions for our readers on how to evoke those feelings of love, romance and longing without being explicit?

Remember the raising tension comes from the emotional intensity that surrounds the hero and heroine coming together and overcoming the conflicts in their lives by helping each other. Internal conflicts especially can create an emotional connection, causing sparks to fly. Let the reader experience the hero and heroine’s building tension by use of the visceral detail—e.g. pounding heart, racing pulse, response to the other’s person’s scent, etc.

Tina, tell us about Melissa…


She’ll never know. Promise. (inserting wicked grin here).

Okay, seriously, I know that the internal workings allow some buying leverage for the editors and assistant editors. Can you explain this to us? Who can acquire for what line and how that all works? It makes it easier for people to target contests if we’ve got the skinny on who does what for Steeple Hill.

All acquiring editors on the Steeple Hill team, with the approval of the appropriate senior editor and/or executive editor, can buy books for the multiple Steeple Hill lines. The Steeple Hill team includes Executive Editor Joan Marlow Golan, Senior Editor of Love Inspired Melissa Endlich, Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell, Assistant Editor Elizabeth Mazer and Editorial Assistant Sarah McDaniel, as well as myself.

Is there such a thing as a typical day in your life as you juggle spinning plates in the air of pre- and post-production editorial duties? Show us a day in the life of a Harlequin Senior Editor. Pretty please.

I arrive at the office at 9am and I usually spend the morning answering emails, responding to urgent messages, proofreading typeset materials, and working on any projects that are due into Production, like art fact sheets and back cover copy. I spend the afternoon returning phone calls, reading proposals and line editing manuscripts.

Tina, do you work better with blondes, brunettes or redheads, because I know some gals who are willing to GO THE DISTANCE to get your attention, even if it means dealing with root touch-ups on a regular basis. That’s how devoted they are!!!!

And Tina, one last question: We hear the familiar adages about writing the book of your heart vs. targeting the market, fresh, new voice, something that grabs me and won’t let me go… What is it about a book that grabs? That pulls? Or what is it about a new voice that tweaks your attention?

An appealing voice, compelling characterization and emotional impact are distinguishing factors that often get an editor’s attention. A story with a strong emotional conflict and depth of character is of paramount importance to a good, involving read. Without a compelling, interesting conflict, or characters that can hold my attention and sympathy, the book isn’t providing a satisfying reader experience.

Aspiring Steeple Hill writers should familiarize themselves both with our guidelines and our books. For updated submissions guidelines, information about writing and tips, I urge unpublished writers to visit By reading our books, the aspiring writer will get a very good sense of what the readership likes and, by implication, what doesn’t work.

The Love Inspired line publishes six books a month and the Love Inspired Suspense line publishes four books a month. In January 2011 the Love Inspired Historical line will be increasing from two to four books per month. There are a lot of great opportunities for both new, unpublished authors, and previously published authors in the three lines. From published authors we’d like to see a detailed synopsis and three sample chapters; from unpublished authors only completed manuscripts will be accepted.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Tina! Thank you so much for being here in Seekerville! We are truly grateful to the great gals at Steeple Hill (nodding and waving to Joan, Melissa, Sarah, Emily and Elizabeth…. Kisses and hugs coming your way, ladies!) for the opportunities they’ve opened to new authors everywhere, but especially to the Seekers and the Seeker friends who are now on your desks or in the pipeline…

Steeple Hill goes above and beyond to open the door of opportunity and that’s rare in this industry today. YAY YOU!!!!!

Bless you for being with us, and we’ll look forward to seeing your answers as people pepper you with questions about Steeple Hill and Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historicals.

You totally rock!



  1. Tina,

    Thank you so much for coming to Seekerville. This is helpful information.

    I wondered if you could expound upon what makes a compelling, interesting conflict. Or, on the flip side, what are some problems you have with the conflicts you see?

    Are certain occupations almost taboo, or cause for immediate rejections for editors?

    Also, do you have anything you're finding over- used in the area of occupations?

    What are some differences in how the hero and heroine relate in an inspirational? Should they be equal, yet she follows his lead, for example? Or is that too old-fashioned?

    Okay, as an early commenter, I would traditionally bring breakfast. It's past 1 a.m. here so I'll leave that to someone else. :)


  2. Tina:

    Great to hear from you at this hour of the morning.

    All tips are appreciated.


  3. Okay, Helen, at first I thought you were talking about Starbucks tip the barista.

    Welcome Ms. James..I have a hard time calling Tina, Tina since I am Tina.

    But seriously, thanks so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to be with us. We hope you like the hut we assigned you.

  4. Welcome, Tina!! I'm like Cathy, on the Wednesday night/Thursday morning end. So I'm heading to bed. But I wanted to say hello and I look forward to checking back in!

  5. Hi Tina,
    it's a great interviews and tips!

    as an avid reader, your job makes us read the whole story 'beautiful'!

    thanks Tina !

  6. Cathy, great questions and good morning!!! And Helen, a fine good morning to you as well. And Mariska! Love that name.

    Hey, grab some of that Starbucks coffee from the "Steeple Hill Cafe" set-up we've got going in the back of the room. Wonderful brew. There's juice too if you're so inclined.

    And remember all, we'll be giving away a book an hour to a lucky commenter starting at 8:00 ET ...

    You don't have to comment DURING that hour. Anytime preceeding that is fine.

    And how cute is that Tina James, I ask you???? And smart? Great gal.

    Okay, I'm putting out the tiramisu and oh my goodness, look at that...

    The gals on Unpubbed Island made tropical muffins studded with pecans, coconut, mango and some sort of yummy wild berry we discovered isn't poisonous because none of us died after eating it!!!

    Great job, Sandra, Audra, Tina and Pammers!!! :)

    Tina, I'm raising this cup of coffee in your honor. Thanks so much for being here.


  7. Hi Tina!

    Wonderful interview. I've been looking forward to it since I first heard about a couple of weeks ago. :-)

    Thank you for the great information.

  8. Hi Tina,

    I enjoyed the interview - lots of great information here! And I love hearing from you at ACFW and reading it again here that Steeple Hill is looking for new authors. Great news!

    As for the Seekers, I really like the sound effects you've added to the site... I've been off line for a while, so this may be old news.

    Headed to the coffee counter, then off to work!


  9. Cool interview! Thanks so much for sharing all that info. I'd wondered about which editors acquire for what. :-)

  10. Tina,
    I'm so glad you're here, along with all of your helpful information. I was just introduced to Steeple Hill this year, through the Seekers.
    I can't wait to reread the post and learn more from your insights.
    But first...breakfast and getting kids ready for school
    Then I'll be back.

  11. Carla, tipping a mug o' coffee your way, darling... Thanks for stopping in!

    And Christy, you too! Don't you love the fact that Steeple Hill is open to new authors, new ideas, new voices.

    Yowza, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for that, for their open generosity.


  12. Wonderful interview! I'm so glad to hear that Starbucks coffee has arrived in Seekerville. I'm enjoying some coffee right now and will soon need a refill.

    Tina, what is the average response time, if there is one, on submissions to the Love Inspired lines and is there an appropriate amount of time to wait before a hopeful writer might inquire about the status of a submitted project?

  13. Tina,

    Sounds like you guys are having a great time with breakfast and Starbucks. Unfortunately, I have to run to work now so I can't hang around. Enjoy.

    Thanks for the great information. Definitely things I needed to know very soon.

    Question: If targeting a Steeple Hill line, such as the Suspense line, to whom specifically are those queries directed? Do you request they query you directly, or is there an assistant editor who handles the initial queries?

    Thanks for taking the time Tina to chat!

  14. Hi Tina,
    We've been awaiting your visit for so long!!! Thanks for being with us today.

    You did a wonderful job explaining the various Love Inspired lines at the ACFW workshop you gave in Denver. I took lots of notes!

    I was at the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon in Birmingham last Saturday and so many gals told me how much they love Steeple Hill books. Seems once they discover the Love Inspired lines, they're readers for life. Of course, that success is due to the great editorial direction authors receive at Steeple Hill. Don't know how you keep up the pace! Thanks for all you do.

    Hugs to Emily, Joan, Melissa, Elizabeth and Sarah!

  15. Ruthy,

    Terrific interview, dahling. Thanks for sharing Tina with us today! And speaking of sharing, did Starbucks supply Chai or is it straight coffee?


    Thanks for visiting Seekerville today. I loved meeting you at the ACFW conference. Your late night chat answered many questions. I came with a few more questions, but I see the early birds already beat me to them. I'll sit back, sip my Chai, and enjoy reading your answers. :-)

  16. Good morning, Tina! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to come to Seekerville! As a newbie to Steeple Hill (discovered by a SH editor in a contest!), I really enjoyed meeting you and other Love Inspired authors at ACFW in Denver a few months ago. The Spotlight on Steeple Hill and your "gathering" of LI authors were fun and informative.

    By the time you've had your coffee and settle in here, I'll be heading off for the day job, but I look forward to reading all the posts this evening. Hope you enjoy your day in Seekerville!

  17. Ruthy,
    Thanks for arranging the Starbucks coffee bar!!! I'm filling up my mug! The buffet lines looks yummy as well!

    I've brought shrimp and grits--a mix of island seafood and a Southern staple! Everyone knows GRITS stands for GIRLS RAISED IN THE SOUTH, right?

    Tina Russo, did you mention Tina James is in a hut? Or was that Ruthy? I hope it's the 5-star oceanfront reserved for only our most fav guests! I'm sure you scheduled her for an afternoon visit to the spa as well.

  18. A Tina James interview AND Starbucks! Seekerville rocks--big time.
    Thanks for the interview. It's always great hearing what the editors are looking for. Sometimes it sparks something that we probably knew but kind of put on the back burner of our mind.
    Off to work-have a great day Seekerville.

  19. Welcome to Seekerville, Tina! Thanks so much for taking the time to come and share information about writing for Steeple Hill.

    I'm so excited that the Love Inspired Historical line will grow to four books in January 2011! Even three books later, I'm still amazed to be one of your authors!

    Please tell Joan, Melissa, Emily, Elizabeth and Sarah hello.


  20. Good, solid, quirky interview, Ruthy. Good job! ;-)

    Tina James, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. Thanks for the info!

  21. Hi Tina, It was great meeting you in Denver and thanks for this interview. Lots of super information.

    Thanks also to you and the rest of the staff who take the time to judge contests. Please let them know how much we appreciate it.

    If you need a break this afternoon, we've hung our plush hammock amidst the palms with a nice sea breeze and dynamite view.

    Ruthy, Good job on the interview and thanks for arranging the Starbuck's buffet. Yum. Hits the spot.

  22. Oh, I did think of a question for Tina--could you give us a brief rundown of the titling process. How often does an author get to keep or choose the name for the book?


  23. Good morning!
    Thanks for the great interview and information--I'll be reading it several times yet. =] I love Steeple Hill books and have stacks of them, it's a super way to relax and 'research' at the same time. LoL At least that's one way I rationalize kicking my feet up for a bit. =]

    Since I'm an MK (missionary kid) from Ecuador and love historicals, your comment about 'missionaries abroad in exotic locations' really snagged my attention. (LoL I don't consider Ecuador exotic--it's simply home, but I've got an idea it might be. *g*) I've heard some pretty interesting stories--real life happenings...

    Oh my. I've sat here staring at this screen for awhile. My brain just kicked into brainstorm mode and it's pretty wild in there right now. Um. Where was I? Oh! Real life romances on the mission field that kicked me into fictional romances on the mission field. I'm drooling.

    Thank you for being here at Seekers! You've opened a whole new line of thinking for me. Steeple Hill has been my target and this is a new wrinkle.

    Off to explore...

    Oh! I almost forgot the cinnamon rolls my daughter and I made last night. I'll just add them to the delish buffet line. Woot! Food! I need some! =]

  24. Wow, Ruth, thanks so much for asking my Civil War question. This is seriously encouraging news, that is, if I daresay my voice and characters are up to snuff. : )
    Thank you, Tina, for your generosity with both your time and expertise.
    This interview gets me over the hump for NaNoWriMo. November is a lo-o-ong month.

  25. Great interview! Really enjoyed reading it:)

  26. M'mm. Coffee.

    This is so much fun to read. I'm encouraged ;-)

  27. DARE I ASK? I will accept STARBUCKS cards to ask...

    Okay, okay, stop pushing me, I'll ask.

    Ms. James,

    SH accepts only fulls from those living on an unpubbed island. Usually the submit process is a query letter, then if requested, a partial, then if asked to submit--a full.

    How do you like to see submissions come in for the Historical and Suspense lines?

    Thank you.

  28. Thanks for such a great interview! I love hearing about the workings of publishing a book.

  29. Great interview Ruthy and Tina! And welcome to Seekerville, Tina. I'm glad to hear you're going to increase the number of historicals every month.

  30. Seriously good coffee!!!

    Yay Starbucks. :)

    Hey, I brought plenty of food for grazing... And we've got an eggs and sausage/bacon buffet being brought in mid-morning for a full out brunch attack.

    Rest and recline, share the stir-sticks please, we seem to be running low on them.

    Mary Connealy, can you bring in some more stir sticks or even plastic spoons would do. And some of those nice big straws. I think Julie Lessman is nipping things again. You know how she likes to entertain... At our expense!

  31. First drawing is slated for 9:00 A.M.

    Need not be present to win, LOL!


    All names will stay in the "hat" until tonight, 8:00 ET, 5:00 PT.

    Lovin' the company!

  32. Hi- Popping in to say hi, looking forward to today.

    A huge big thunderstorm is brewing here so I'll pop back later to read the interview

    God bless

    Ruth Ann Dell

  33. Great interview Ruthy & Tina! It's nice to get a glimpse into the different lines of Love Inspired.

    Mmmm...Starbucks. I'll take a decaf grande raspberry white chocolate mocha. My usual would be caffeinated, but Baby J can't handle that much caffeine in one sitting, so decaf must suffice for a another few months. :)

    ~ Beth

  34. Ruthy, great interview! Nothing less than we'd expect at Seekerville!

    And I do have a question for Tina. Should an unpubbed writer who has had a full requested also send blurbs on follow-up books related to that initial manuscript?

    Thanks again,
    Patty Smith Hall

  35. Great interview. Thanks, Tina, for taking the time.


  36. What a fun interview! Very enjoyable to read.
    Is this where I comment for the drawing? If so, please enter me!

  37. Hi Tina,

    Great to read your blog post and know that the Love Inspired Line is open to new writers.

    My question for you today is: Are older heroines/heros taboo in the Love Inspired lines?

    Seekerville Ladies, thanks for planning such a fun day.


  38. Great interview and tips!
    Also love to read all the books :)
    Thanks Tina and Seekerville!

    Large coffee with extra cream and sugar for me!


  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Hello, Tina! Thank you for the wonderful interview and insightful tips. I can see that you are a great reader as well as a great editor! Have fun today everyone.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  41. Hey, guys, Shout out to Pepper Basham the winner of the first hour's drawing, a book by our own beloved Wings of Refuge author Cheryl Wyatt!!!!

    YAY PEPPER!!!!!

    All commenters stay in the "hat" for the day!

    And I'm seein' people comin' out of the woodwork today...

    so to speak. :)

    Congrats Pepper and so happy to see so much interest in our friends at Steeple Hill today!

  42. I loved the interview. It was very informative. It gives me a better idea of what Steeple Hill is looking for in a book. Thanks!

  43. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, Tina - this is a real blessing and honor to have you here today, not to mention that it puts Ruthy in a good mood, which is really important.

    And, NO, Ruthy ... I haven't "nipped" anything yet as I just rolled out of bed (late night writing, thank God!), but give me a couple of hazelnut coffees (sorry, Starbucks is a little too robust for me this time of the morning ... uh, not unlike certain people I know), and I'll be "nipping" something (or someone). And trust me, it won't be the straws!).

    But I digress.

    Anyway, Tina, Rose's question really picqued my interest and that was: Are older heroines/heros taboo in the Love Inspired lines?

    As an "older" romance reader (and writer), I personally love to read about romance at the Baby Boomer level, but I guess it all depends on your demographics.

    So, MY question is: What IS the breakdown of age groups in the LI market and the percentage you draw in each (i.e. teens/20s, 30s-40s, 50's- up)?

    Our thanks to you and Steeple Hill, Tina, for taking the time out of your busy day to provide a truly encouraging and exciting interview.

    Oh, and GREAT job, Ruthy -- lots of grace and grit. Mmm ... must be the Starbucks ... :)


  44. Thanks, Tina, for an insightful interview. I'm loving Steeple Hill, especially the historicals. And I really appreciate, both as a reader and writer, how they differ from a standard "formula". I love the vivid details and unique characters and settings.

  45. Good Morning.

    A wonderful interview...Looking forward to spending the day w/
    'the seekers.'

    karen k

  46. Good morning and good grief! 42 comments already! Poor Tina!
    Thank you so much for being on Seekerville, Tina.
    I'll give your email address to Cheryl and she'll be contacting you to give you YOUR CHOICE of all her terrific books.
    25 minutes to the next drawing.

  47. Gee Tina,
    You really circumvented Ruthy's question about whether you preferred reading submissions from blondes, brunettes, redheads..etc ;-)
    Nowadays, we can change to meet any preference you have, you know ;-)

    I'm so glad you prefer a compelling voice. I'm working on mine.

    You must really enjoy what you do to spend so much time at it. It must be particularly fulfilling to watch a project go from the infancy stages to full-grown.

  48. Woohoo, hey Ruthy. Send that win to Hannah. I promised. :-)

    That sweetheart can be here during her school day, so I'm entering for her.

  49. Oops, I meant to write 'CAN'T" be here during the day because of school.

    Mary - could you send Cheryl Hannah (or Project Journal) in my place?

  50. gee whiz, I can't write! AHH!
    Hope you get the idea ;-)

  51. Wow, what a turnout!

    Fun interview!

  52. I am so sad that Steeple Hill has discontinued the single title series but I'm super excited that they're looking for books other than westerns for the historical line! I mean don't get me wrong I LOVE a western but variety is the spice of life! I should be getting the Gladiator sometime soon! I'm really looking forward to reading that!

    xoxo~ Renee


  53. Hello, Ladies! This will be such a fun day : ) Thanks for sharing!

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  54. Great interview. So great of Tina to come share her insights.

  55. The winner of the second hour drawing is.............

    HOPE C
    I got your email address off your comment box GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

    The book we're giving this hour is your choice of mine, Hope. You lucky girl! :)

    Keep checking in every hour on the hour for the winner. Your name, if you've left a comment, remains in the drawing all day.

  56. i'm sorta sad to hear that the longer books (Steeple Hill Cafe and now the Women's fiction line) are now all gone. I really enjoyed reading those. Don't get me wrong, I love the LI lines but sometimes I like a little more length to make the story more in depth.

  57. Tina, thank you so much for sharing all the invaluable information and for you devotion to contest judging.

    I was wondering do you have any favorite author "discovery" stories?

  58. I've always wondered why are Steeple Hill books so short? The story lines often sound interesting to me, but I rarely purchase them since I finish them in a bit over an hour, and I like my reading time with a story line to last longer than that.


  59. Hi Tina,

    As a reader I am so excited to hear what Steeple Hill books has planned. I am especially excited to hear that you are planning on doing more books like The Gladiator set in ancient times. In my opinion there are not enough books set in those time periods so I would be thrilled to see more out there.

  60. I appreciate the cleanness of your inspirational books--your list of 'no-no's'. Makes me know I won't find something offensive in your books. Thank you for taking the time to discuss your methods of printing choices and number of books in each section. Do you have to turn many away?

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  61. I love receiving my box of 4 Love Inspired Historicals in the mail every other month. Now with the new change in January, I can enjoy four new historicals *every* month!
    Great move!

  62. Good morning, Tina and welcome to Seekerville!

    Great pleasure meeting you in Denver. I'm so glad you were able to join all of Seekerville in the after awards banquet affair : )

    Thanks for the information, too. BTW, I absolutely LOVE the covers on SH books! Mega kudos to the art department!

    Okay, kids. Island favorite coconut/banana pancakes are being flipped as we speak : ) Come grab a plate!

  63. Thank you, Mary C! Wishing everyone the hope of the holidays in your heart all year long!

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  64. I'm enjoying reading all of the comments...what a wonderful morning.

    karen k

  65. AND because I said Hope's name but took Virginia's email address we are giving away a SECOND book this hour to Virginia C.

    Congratulations, ladies.
    I've already talked to Virginia and emailed Hope.

  66. Mercy sakes, now there's 67 comments. I started writing my first one earlier than my computer shut down. Now I'm back.

    Anyway, Hi Tina,

    This is Tina P. or Tina three today.

    thanks for stopping by and giving such wonderful information.

    I'm sure if I go to the website I'll find the answer to this question but I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

    You accept queries from agented writers, and unagented if they get your interest at conferences, do you accept them from unagented writer's any other time?

  67. The winner for this hour is
    You win the book of your choice from Debby Guisti.

    Contact me and I'll connect you to Debby.

    And everyone keep checking in. Another drawing next hour....11 Central Time...MY time...the REAL time.

  68. Thank you for taking the time to visit Seekerville and all of the information you shared! I thoroughly enjoy the books published by Steeple Hill and dream of the day when I see my name on a Steeple Hill book!

  69. That was very interesting to read. I just started enjoying Love inspired Historical. I get irritated with the normal "inspired line" as I am not a big short story fan, I like more depth, but the Historical ones, I can see the thought you put into them and can depend on them to be a clean romance, with some good history. I would love to see some good civil war ones, any particular reason you really did not like that? Were you worried about that it would get into the debates that are between north and south? martha(at)lclink(dot)com

  70. Oh Mary,

    What's this 11:00 stuff. We all know the real time, the one that truly matters is 9:10 well, that will change so let's just say MST.

    Have we come to any conclusions about whether hair color makes a difference. I'm due.

    I might be persuaded to give red a try if it will help.

  71. If we want a chance to win each hourly contest, don't we need to leave a comment each hour? Just checking. That's the method I'm going with! :-)

  72. Hello Tina James:

    Do you have any objections to having historical characters, like St. Paul, St. Augustine, or St. Thomas Aquinas, appear in the storyline as secondary characters?

    Do you ever ask authors from other lines to write for you? I’d like to see Michelle Styles, from Harlequin Historical, write a Roman novel for you. (She also wrote a book about a Gladiator.) Right now HH is buying Viking books. Just an idea.


  73. Great interviews.I'm glad to hear you're going to increase the number of historicals every month.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

  74. Hello everyone!!! I'm taking a vacation day and can visit with y'all today. Yay!

    Ruthy and Tina, great interview. Love it!

    Pass the coffee and one of those tiramasu thingies.

  75. Thanks for all this info! There is so much here, I need to do more than merely read; I need to study! Thank you. cm

  76. I really enjoyed this interview! Thank you, Tina, for giving us the inside scoop about Steeple Hill. It was very interesting and insightful. It is great to hear things from an editor's perspective.

  77. OK, this is a lot to digest. I am sending my husband to the coffee shop on the corner to get me a sugar-free, decaff soy milk way latte (actually it is better then it sounds) and then I'm going to re-read it. Caffeine make help the words soak into my thick skull a little bit better. Thanks for a ton of great information.

  78. This is really a neat idea here:) Having a great time looking at all the fun going on. Wish I was having some Starbucks right now:D

  79. Ruthy, you did a fantastic job with this interview. And Tina, it was a pleasure getting to know you a bit more. I've spoken with Melissa at an ACFW conference, as well as Joan and at one time Krista.

    I see you state that published authors need only submit a detailed synopsis and 3 sample chapters. Does this mean that if you find a story you like from a published author, you'll contract it based on a proposal -- even if the author hasn't been published with Steeple Hill before?

    So many publishers will only accept full manuscripts if an author is new to their house. But once you're already published, it's difficult to write additional full novels that aren't under contract on the chance they might sell.

    Thanks so much for being here at Seekerville.

  80. I would have to drive an hour to get to the nearest Starbucks. That's OK though. I'm a tea drinker.

    BTW, the appropriate time is 11:30 EST. Representing the east-coasters here!

  81. enjoying all of the posts :)

    karen k

  82. Oh my stars, look at the buffet!!!

    Out the door and counting.

    Yes, we have tea, a full selection and the most amazing chai you've ever tasted... I'll play barista for a bit and get everyone settled.

    Fresh cream. Sweet cinnamon. So wonderful.

    And oh my gosh, look! Crepes! Sandra, thank you! They look lovely, and are those cherry blintzes I see???

    Melissa loves crepes. And tiramisu. And Godiva chocolates. And Starbucks.

    You girls rock! Way to prep!

    Mary Bailey, nope although I love seeing you here, you're entered for the day for commenting once. You're good.

    But I love seeing the questions, the comments. Super wonderful. And I was happy to ask the initial questions for you guys. The Steeple Hill staff is super approachable, especially post-coffee.


  83. Hi, Tina. Enjoyed meeting you at the conference and best wishes again for you marriage. Thank you for the interview as it answered a lot of questions I've pondered.

    I love the Suspense line and have several on my tbr pile as well as a few Christmas stories.

    Thanks for taking the time to give us so much good information.
    Blessings for a wonderful day.

  84. Well that was almost spooky. My first drawing Virginia won again but TOO BAD GIRL, we're going to only let each commenter win once per day.

    Still, Virginia, if you've ever considered buying a lottery ticket, today might be the day.

    The winner of the Missy Tippen book of your choice is LINDA.

    I'll get Missy your email so she can contact you and get your mailing address.






    RUTHY LOGAN HERNE ROMANCE SEEKING THE you see that? Her book has the word Seek in it.

    Yep, she named it after Seekerville. Ruthy is nothing if not LOYAL.

    That drawing comes in ONE HOUR

  86. Hey, Mary! I won the book I really wanted: Cowboy Christmas! It's fun to win, but it's also fun to participate and read all the other comments. Have fun today!

  87. Well, it's 12 o'clock somewhere.

    What's for lunch?

  88. What an exciting interview! Can I just say I love and appreciate how willing you at Steeple Hill are to serve as judges for contests!
    Glad you saved some starbucks and chocolate for us West Coasters:)

  89. Thanks for the great interview, ladies! I love that Steeple Hill is expanding its lines, especially the historicals. Gives more hope to those of us in the unpubbed category. :-)

    You already have so many other questions to answer I'm sure they'll cover anything I want to know. Thanks for joining the island crew today!

    leigh at leighdelozier dot com

  90. It is 12pm here and I'm ordering a pizza. Come on over!

  91. My, my, my, would you look at the goings-on in Seekerville today! What a turnout for our lovely guest editor! Thanks for the wealth of information about Steeple Hill, Tina!

    And naturally the Seekers are all hoping and praying you will help clear out Unpubbed Island once and for all!

  92. This is really enjoyable. Reading all the comments is fun too! Lori L

  93. I'm enjoying all of the posts today...

    karen k

  94. I can't believe I'm so late to the party! I'm jumping in just to say, "Hey everyone". Now I'll go back and actually read the post. :)

  95. Well, this is fun today! Thanks for the giveaway, too (it looks like Virginia C and I both wanted the same book!)

  96. Whew! Thanks for the invite, Debby! Just taking my lunch break at the office, and stopping in to chat... Y'all have been rocking! Gotta go get my DC (Diet Coke) and prepare for some good reading!

  97. Yay, Linda! I look forward to sending you one of my books! :)

    Hey, Ruthy, I have a new creamer for you to try!! Oh, my, it's so yummy!

    International Delight Coffee House Inspirations (in the refigerator section). The flavor?? Caramel Macchiato.

    Mmmmm.... Especially paired with my Starbucks Sumatra beans.

  98. Oh my goodness Missy! I just got myself some of that creamer a few days ago and it IS AWESOME! I recommend that along with Coffee Mates pumpkin spice...yum!!! :-)

    xoxo~ Renee





  100. Hi everybody! Just popping in to say hi before i head out the door. Welcome to Seekerville, Tina!

  101. Caramel Macchiato,

    I may have to give that one a try. That's the coffee my hubby picks when we hit Starbucks.

    Tina, As for my earlier question. About submitting. No need to worry about tackling that. I know the house has so many lines it would get totally crazy to even try.

    I'll let my fingers take a walk to the website.

    As for a new question.

    What are some of your favorite stories?

  102. Hi Tina! Welcome to Seekerville. Enormous thanks to Steeple Hill for rescuing so many of us from Unpubbed Island. We appreciate Harlequin's heart to take a chance on unpubbed, unproven authors.

    Thanks so much!

    Great interview, Ruthy.


  103. Have enjoyed this interview with Tina and learning more about SH and what they are seeking. They appear to be more new author friendly than so many others. The questions have been great and I wait to hear the answers to them.
    Another question for Tina: Does SH consider the WWII years as historical fiction? If so, are you accepting submissions now? Thank you Tina and Ruthy.

  104. Love all of the comments...have recently tried Coffee Mates 'pumpkin spice' Yummy!!!

  105. Tina,

    I write Native American Romance and Mystery Are you currently looking for that kind of work?


  106. Ummm...


    Good try but the NEW name of my book is:

    Winter's End...

    Due out from Love Inspired, Steeple Hill Books in March of 2010...


    Mary was actually one of my expert advisors on beef farming as I wrote that book and she was one of the first readers, so I actually THANKED HER in the book..

    And she can't even remember the flippin' name.

    Great, Connealy.

    Just great.


    Except Tina's here so I'm having a wonderful day in spite of my good friend's forgetful nature.

    Just sign me,

    Magnanimous Ruthy

  107. CATHY!!!!!!!!!!

    First ever!

    Oh yay you and yay me!!!!!!!


    Grinning from ear to ear in WNY because Cathy actually had me as a contest judge and...



    STILL LIKES ME!!!!!!!!!!!!


  108. Renee, pumpkin spice is my other favorite! I stock up each fall when it comes out. I doesn't usually expire until January sometime. :)

  109. Hi everyone, Mary is one of my heroes. We blog at Petticoats and Pistols. This is a great interview and very inspiring (pun intended LOL). I want to make the switch from sensual Western historical to inspirational. My hubby's recent battle with cancer (successful YAY) has tons to do with that, God helped me not lose my mind during it. Everything here today is most helpful.

    Best wishes to you all out there! oxoxoxo and God bless.

  110. Hi Julia,
    Thanks for stopping by Seekerville on your lunch break!!! Good seeing you here. Come back again, okay?

    Ann, congrats on winning the 11 AM drawing for one of my books. Looking forward to contacting you soon! Send Mary C. your email addy so we can connect!!!

  111. Hello everyone, Thanks for all the comments and questions. Sorry for not stopping in sooner, but it’s been a hectic day here at the office. I’ll do my best to answer as many questions as I can.

    In answer to Cathy Shouse’s question about whether certain occupations are taboo, there are some elements that our readers typically don’t respond well to such as professional athletes, politicians, musicians, actors–glamorous professions don’t often seem romantic.

    In answer to Walt M’s question about the average response time, that can vary, but at absolute outside—3 months. If you haven’t heard back after 3 months, you can contact the editor to check on the status of your project.

    In answer to Dianna Shuford’s question about who to specifically direct queries, feel free to submit queries to Senior Editor Melissa Endlich for Love Inspired. For Love Inspired Suspense or Love Inspired Historical, please send the initial query letter to Assistant Editor Elizabeth Mazer.

    In answer to Tina M. Russo’s question about how do I like to see submissions come in for the Historical and Suspense lines, if you’re asking about the form in which manuscripts should be submitted, then we ask that you send us a hard copy of the manuscript, rather sending the manuscript via email.

    In answer to Tina Pinson’s question about whether we accept queries from unagented writers who we might not have met at a conference, we do accept unagented queries. For unpublished writers, we ask that you submit a query letter. This consists of a brief cover letter introducing yourself and your work, explaining why you feel your story is right for Love Inspired or Love Inspired Suspense or Love Inspired Historical, including your publishing history and affiliations, if any, and a two-page single-spaced synopsis of your entire story. Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply.

    -Tina James

  112. Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Are you SURE that's your books name, Ruthy?


    I went and checked just to be SURE BEFORE I WROTE THE COMMENT.

    How 'bout you go take the old name off your web site.

    Which is
    Ruthy's Website

    I'm so glad we can have these little talks.





    She's the winner of Glynna's bright and shiny brand new release. YAY!

    Email me, Julia at and I'll connect you with Glynna.

    I heard someone say, Argh just today and remembered how wonderful Glynna's book started on National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

  114. I'm enjoying reading all of the wonderful guys are wonderful.

    karen k

  115. Tina,

    Thanks so much for sharing your time with us. For such a busy person, it's all the more special.

    Thanks for all the insights into Steeple Hill.

    One question I didn't see the answer to (and Ruthy may know this) who decides on the title of a new book? Does the author get any input?

    Thanks so much!

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

  116. YAY, Julia!!! You won Glynna's book!!! Which is a delightful read!

    Julia and I always chat at the Birmingham Readers Luncheon. Last SAT I told her about the fun we were going to have on the Seekerville blog today! Glad you stopped in to say hello, Julia!



  118. Great interview!

    I had to put my story on pause to drop in and say hello. It's always fun to stop by and see what's going on here.

    Always very helpful information. Thanks!

  119. oops, mean to add Renee (Steeler Girl), email me at and I'll connect you with Janet.

  120. Thank you for this information.



  121. Wow!!! This place sure is hopping. Thought I would stop by again and see what else I could learn to find out you have already topped over 120 comments. Talk about busy.


  122. Oh my gosh, Tina was here!!!

    Right here!!!


    So, Susan, titles...

    It depends. I kept one title of the three books, and I'm so okay with that.


    Melissa had us brainstorm a list of potentials for Winter's End and Made To Order Family, and then she picked from them to best reflect the feelings evoked by the book.

    So I love the titles and very honestly (I can be honest, Tina's not looking...) you have to go into this ready to accept change to the manuscript, title, word count, etc. because these guys work hard to know their audience, their readership, their demographic.

    And that's a huge part of Harlequin's success story in all departments.

    So yup, I had input (with the help of multiple Seekers, most notably Mary Connealy who thinks she's probably named at least 10% of SH's '10 collection and should get at least some small commission...

    Or a frappuccino.


    Shoot, it's Mary, she'd be happy with a Snickers bar.

    Not the small one, mind you.)



  123. Ruthy,

    Since I didn't win your book, would you please tell me when it's coming out so I can sleep overnight in front of the bookstore to be first in line?

  124. I would be happy with a Snickers bar. It's mid afternoon. A Snickers bar right now is EXACTLY what I need to be happy.

    As soon as I call Myra's winner, I'm totally taking a Snickers break. I'm NOT waiting for Ruthy to send one.

  125. Tina, Melinda asked about Native American stories. Can you answer more broadly about having lead characters of color? I wonder whether some of the guidance, like using small town settings, impacts this? (A lot of the Kimani's have more urban settings, and I wonder whether a lot of authors of color are more familiar/comfortable with writing them.)

  126. Mary,
    I don't have a snickers for your break, but I'm making Choc-Oat-Chip Cookie bars.
    Still warm.
    Great with vanilla ice cream

  127. Wow, how fun to see all the winners of Seeker books!

    I love the sound of the surf and birds too, Christy. So soothing. That hammock on the beach is a perfect place to snooze. If only we had the time!


  128. Ruthy, great interview! Tina, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule and answering our questions. I have a few friends writing historicals set in Australia. Is this a time period you would consider for LIH?

    And Mary, I've just finished breakfast! It's 8am here and way too early to eat a snickers bar with you all :-)

  129. I have to say I LOVED The Gladiator. its so thought provoking and I hear there is another coming out mid year next year.

    I enjoy the histrorical ones. Would you ever consider one with an Australian setting. (Im and aussie) I dont write but we do have a great history.

  130. You were right, Debby -- y'all are terrific! And so funny -- you almost make me want to drink coffee :) I'm definitely coming back to visit...I'll even bring some Krispy Kreme doughnuts ;)

    Thanks for drawing my name, Mary!!! I so rarely win anything -- did you hear my screech?

    I really appreciate your recommendation, Debby! Tina's interview and comments were incredibly helpful to this novice... And thanks to Ruthy and the Seekers for taking the time to pull together this great interview and blog day -- hope to "meet" you one day!


    The winner of YOUR CHOICE of Myra Johnson Books is:
    Kathleen L.

    Kathleen, email and I'll connect you to Myra...unless you already know how to contact her. Then I'm just a big ol' middle man/Road block

  132. Hi Julia! I drink coffee in the AM, but after three cups, I'm a Diet Coke gal, too!

    Narelle, so good seeing you in Seekerville!!! Hope all is well. RWA in 2010? Would love to see you again. All the best!

  133. Hi Tina! (big wave)
    And greetings to all the Seekers and adjacent Seekers. :)
    Tina is as warm and wonderful in person as she is online, and we're so lucky to have her running LIS and LIH.

    Ruthy--you literally crack me up! One day, when I meet you in person, I'll have to give you a big hug! Hope that'll be soon!

  134. Hi everyone,

    In response to Melinda’s question and PatriciaW’s question, we look for a strong story and compelling characters—of any ethnicity—for each of our Love Inspired lines so you’re welcome to submit stories about characters of varied ethnicities.

    In response to Ausjenny’s question, I would consider an Australian setting in Love Inspired Historical.

    In response to Pat Jeanne’s question, we are certainly interested in WW stories in Love Inspired Historical.

    Tina James

  135. THE WINNER OF THE HOUR of the book of your choice from CAMY TANG.

    Milissa Austin Jenkins

    I'll email you, Milissa

  136. Loving all these Seekerville comments. I haven't played on the island veyr much lately due to being sick, but now I'm playing catch-up on the posts I missed.

    Off to preorder Winter's End!!

  137. Hi Tina,

    Thanks so much for being here! I'm really enjoying your answers to the questions.

    I'm wondering what you enjoy reading in your spare time. I guess the better question is, do you have spare time? Are there any books you've read recently that you thought were really good?

    Also, for those of you who don't know... this month is the Spotlight on Love Inspired at There's a free online read from Margaret Daley, as well as a great discussion on Thanksgiving traditions. If you haven't visited recently, and have any interest in the books at all, stop by for a visit. There are a lot of great discussions!

  138. Melissa, look at you sneaking in there!

    Next time I come to NYC, I want to come visit. Drink Starbucks. Eat NY Deli food. See the offices. Talk about Cheryl, Glynna and Deb behind their backs. :)

    Not Missy. She's just too stinkin' nice for me to do that.


    Oh, and we need to get some sugared nuts from the vendors in Battery Park. Yum.

    Thank you for stopping by, ME!! We've gone light on Tina because we're trying to exude a nice, friendly, holistic approach to inspirational fiction.

    It's just a front, of course, but hey, ya' gotta start somewhere, right???


    And the ethnicity question...

    My heroine in Waiting Out the Storm is an ethnic mix of Native American, Caucasian and a splash of African American on her mother's side.

    Gorgeous girl. Oh my stars, I'm so pasty white and freckled I'd pay good money to transplant a little color into this Irish blood.


    Mary, I bought you TWO Snicker's bars and mailed them today because I love you THAT much and obviously the reason you totally BLEW the name of my debut book was because you were so totally invested in the project from the beginning.




  139. WALT....

    You'll love Winter's End.


    And I'm not saying that to brag because I don't roll that way, ever, but I love that story...

    Love it.

    For lots of reasons, but that first book is dedicated to Mom and it was a perfect tribute to her.

    March, Dude.

    March, 2010: Winter's End.

    Still pinching myself here.

  140. The name of which is, let me repeat.
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Winter's End
    Buy it here:

    Winter's End
    Or HERE
    Winter's End
    Or HERE
    Winter's End
    Or HERE
    Winter's End
    Or HERE
    Winter's End
    Or HERE
    Winter's End

  141. Here, let me make this a handy LIVE LINK to the eHarlequin site


  142. I'm a little confused. What was the name of the book? Just being a trouble maker. Sorry, I couldn't help it!

  143. Jenny,
    Wasn't it called
    Summer's Beginning?






  145. We've got one more book drawing at the top of the hour...

  146. Hi everyone,

    I’m sorry if I didn't get to answer all of your questions, but thanks for letting me be your guest in Seekerville. And thank you all for your interest in the Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical lines. We are actively acquiring for these series and we encourage writers to submit to us. I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

    Tina James

  147. Wow, y'all have had a lot of comments today. gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

  148. Tina, we're the grateful ones. Thank you so much for visiting, for answering, for leaving us at least a little tiramisu... Why girlfriend, I didn't even know they MADE FORKS THAT BIG!!!


    And thanks for bringing your sidekick along!!!

    You guys are great to visit, to chat openly, to drop by. We know how crazy your days are and we're appreciative of what it takes to get it all done.


    We think Seekers and friends of Seekerville are righteously cool, all looking for good strong fiction that reflects our beliefs in God, chocolate and the American way.

    Note I put God first.

    In case he's watching.

    Thank you, Tina, from all of us. You gals from Steeple Hill totally rock.



    Dianne, email me at and I'll connect you with Debby to claim your prize.






  150. Congrats to all the winners -
    And what a FUN day. I'm placing this post in favorites so I can go back and reread it...
    Most of my favorites have http://seekerville as the address.

    Thanks for doing this, Ruthy. And thanks for stopping by, Tina.

  151. We're almost there (for the chocolate) but bummer...I didn't
    win the book form Ruthy

    Wintery Finish isn't it.


    Thanks so much for making it day with us Tina.

    And Seekerville, wonderful as always.

  152. Caramel machiato creamer...

    oh my, that sounds so wonderful.

    Missy, I love it when you think of me, Cupcake!

    And Heather, we LOVE the West Coast in Seekerville. Hey, our Camster is a WC gal. We're Pacific sympathizers and you guys have great monster trees.

    I stock up on Pumpkin Spice stuff too. Too yummy to leave for fall, right???

    Domino: Thans for stopping in. Always a pleasure.

    Steeler Girl: One word for you:



    Although I love Montana, Favre and McNabb, too. But at least I've got good taste in football heroes!!!

    NARELLE: Girlfriend. Please. A Ruthy Rule: It is never too early to eat Snickers. Or M&M's. Or Russel Stovers. Or See's...

    Are ya' gettin' this mate??? :)


    I was so glad to finally meet you in Denver, chickie!!! Hey, that Spotlight stuff means serious savings for book buyers, some great promo stuff and the free online read by my buddy Margaret is nothing to shake a stick at. I love Margaret Daley. To pieces. Great gal. Did you know her hair is all natural???



    You're not funny.

    Okay, you're A LITTLE BIT FUNNY..

    just a smidge. :)


    You I expect it from. I mean, with a spiced-up hotsy-totsy name like that... Seriously, funny. But now you've gone and corrupted poor Jenny. I mean talk about the all-American girl name...


    She used to be SO SWEET!!!!

    Oh my gosh, this has been fun. And we kept Tina late. These gals put in a full day at SH...

    Totally awesome.




    Audra is in charge of chocolate, Melanie. But honest, if you get it and there are teeth marks in it, you just let me know and we will sort Audra OUT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you all for being part of one of the most fun days we've every had and THANK YOU TINA JAMES for joining in the fun at Seekerville and giving us so much great info.

  154. What a fun day!

    And Mary trying to keep up with the winners


    Mary, I TOLD you to use an excel spreadsheet, but nooooo

    I've been absent for a few hours. My MIL grilled steaks for the fam.

    Mmmm-mmm, good!

  155. Mel won the chocolate????

    How mahvously appropriate!!!!

    Congratulations, Mel!!!

    Snickers, snickers...


  156. I have had SO much following all these comments today! Thanks for laughs and congrats to the winners! =]

    I haven't gotten a thing done all day (at least of the things on my to-do list LOL) because my brain is still going wild with ideas and possibilities. Thanks so much for a great post, Ruthy! =]

  157. Dianna,
    How fun that you won the 7 PM drawing!!! I've got a book coming out in DEC--CHRISTMAS PERIL. It's a two-in-one with Margaret Daley. My story's YULE DIE and Margaret's is MERRY MAYHEM. Let me know if you want a copy...or one of my other books. Your choice.

    Dianna is a GA gal and doesn't live far from me!!! I get to see her often at Georgia Romance Writers meetings.

    Thanks, Mary, for drawing our winners each hour!!! Thanks to Tina Russo for managing our blog!!! And special thanks to Tina James for being with us in Seekerville today!!! Ruthy, you were a great MC!!! Thanks for all the laughs.

    Now, everyone, start writing. Let's all create great stories that Steeple Hill will want to publish.

  158. That was fun to read even if I did not win anything!!!

  159. I am so psyched to win a Myra Johnson book. Woo-hoo! You gals rox.

    And did I hear someone mention Big Ben Roethlisberger? I believe that was Mrs. Logan Herne. Sorry, my infrared man-finder sensed heat. A hottie, indeed!

    Have a wonderful evening, and thanks for a great day.

  160. OHGosh! I'm gasping for breath, LOL!! I just can't get over the image of Melanie getting a package of chocolate with Audra's teeth marks in it!!

    Thanks, Mary. I can't tell you how many years you've added to my life by making me laugh hysterically.

    It's so bad that whenever I sit at the computer and laugh out loud, my hubby asks me what Mary has said now. :)

  161. Wintery Finish???

    Oh man.

    I'm doomed. :)

    Hey, there will be other Ruthy book give-aways as we approach the release date.

    And I'm so blessed to have the support of this group because oh my gosh WHAT IF I STINK????


    So I HAVE to give some away to buy love.

    FEEL the LOVE, Tina P.!!!

    Oh, man, I need food. And a nap. And coffee. And maybe a longer nap.

    Pepper, you honor us! Bless you, kid. I'm always honored to know another mother who doesn't mollycoddle her children and believes that donuts and cartoons are not necessarily a BAD thing.


    My Doodle puppies are 2 to 2.5 lbs. already. Ten puppies. Perfect Christmas babies.

    Life is good.

    But there's a lot of laundry around here.

    As you can see when I get tired, my mind wanders at random. I distinctly think I heard Mary yammering something about being held up by a garden gate, or a cranky gate...

    Maybe it was a creaky gate???


    Except that Ivan Connealy is the nearest thing to a saint I can think of unless it's Keith Lessman.


  162. Ah, Kathleen, lass.

    Big Ben.





    Oh my stars.

    And yet...

    And yet.....

    Not one holds a candle to Jeter. I mean not even close, ya' know????



  163. Wow, Debbie, I won one of your books! Go figure that one. The Christmas duo sounds great. You know I'm not picky.

    Thanks Seekerville for sponsoring this blog today. Even though I posted before seven am and didn't get to respond until after nine pm, it's been fun reading the posts after the fact. And, I won!

    Thanks Debby for the book!

  164. Bummer. Tina wasn't able to get to my question. Guess it got missed in all the chatter that happened. Boy, y'all are boisterous. :)

    Perhaps another LI author knows the answer though.

    Will they contract a book from a published author new to their house/line on only a proposal (syopsis and 3 chapters)?

    Thanks for having Tina here and Mary, thanks so much for doing all the drawings. Great to have all you authors donating books to readers too! LOVE this place, even if I don't often have time to comment.

  165. Just got home and WHOA, BABY, you guys have been bizzzzzzy!!! Great job Ruthy and Mary, and mega thanks to Tina James and Steeple Hill for a great day!

    Congrats to all the winners, and YEAH, Lisa ... one less Christmas present you have to buy, girl!! :)


  166. Tiff, I'll ask Tina off-blog and get back to you.

    Anybody else have a question that didn't get answered?

    If so, let me know at

    I can give you her response personally or I'll JUST PRETEND it's her response and look all important and cool.

    Uh huh. ;)

  167. So sad that I had to miss this! Lemme tell you though...Between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm, I was home for 25 minutes and that was swallowing some food whole and picking up my sister! Lol...actually it's not that funny!

    I was gonna stop by last night to say CONGRATS to everyone, BUT I was drained! Our show is 3 hours long(an hour longer than past shows)! And I have 7 costume changes : D So, yeah it's tough!

    Not to complain though...I love it. Saturday night I can pretty much guarantee that I will be bawling my eyes out! It's my last high school show :`( It makes me tear up just thinking about it, so I'm!

    Lol....anyway, sorry I missed it, but this week is just ummmmm crazy!

    Talk to you all later : ) Gotta go get ready to head for the show already!

  168. Hannah,
    Get your contact info to me or Mary and we'll get your book out to you!!
    You won the first book of the day.

  169. Lol! Wow! I never win : ) Only my sister does! Lol....

    Are you positive you don't want it, Pepper? I'm not even sure what I won....I'm so darn tired! I just barely got home about a half hour ago *grin* We had a mini cast party tonight!

    Anyway, I will totally get back to you....when I can actually think : D

  170. Tiff, since you're still a fairly new author who's building her readership, meaning you're not yet the caliber of Karen Kingsbury or Dee will *probably* be required to still send in a full mss. Just my guess and what I've seen other authors at our level be required to do.

    It depends on the editor and on your proposal I think though. You could try to send three chaps and then see if they ask for more. Or start out with a query letter and ask then for permission to submit as well as ask direction as to what they would want.