Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Readers Want... And Don't Want!

Good morning, Seekerville!

Cub Reporter Ruthy here, following up on an assignment given by Seekervillager Amy, a reader who shared some thoughts and concerns she's encountered the past few months in "READERLAND", a cozy, delightful window-seat loving community where books and cats roam free....  :)

But first, a word from our sponsor:

My One Word

Instead of  quickly discarded resolutions, "My One Word" is a way of changing behavior... or focus... by picking a word to help us be:
 A better man/woman.
A better friend.
A stronger child of God.
A tougher competitor.
A gentler, kinder person.
A more compassionate brother/sister.
More productive.
More disciplined.
More in tune with life.
Seekerville is keeping a file of your words

Mosey on over and check out your word... that way when you forget what your word was, we'll help you remember!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program....

We received Amy's e-mail in December. She talked about being an avid reader, loving blogs, loving authors, and winning prizes, but then she mentioned a few things that made us wince: (And when I wince, I run for the anti-wrinkle cream because time is of the essence at my age!!!)

1. Authors snatching e-mails and using them to ask readers to buy their books.

2. Authors sending unsolicited newsletters.

3/ Authors contacting winners of books asking winners to make sure the book is read and review posted by a certain date.

Whoa. Wow. Well. I'm frowning as I re-type that, and frowning drives up my anti-wrinkle cream expenditures and that becomes pricey.... But if AMY felt that way, you can bet many others have similar thoughts. They say for every one letter you get as an author, a hundred others share those feelings but remain silent. (This also helps an author assess how his/her books fare in the marketplace, by the growing e-mail response book-by-book).

And Amy went on to assure us that Seekerville was never among the places that pestered her, and that our authors weren't involved. Which was a good thing because I instantly blamed Connealy.

It's what I DO.

But she wasn't guilty so I couldn't blame her. More's the pity!
#1. We Love Readers.
Therefore, we took the e-mail seriously.

Writers are expected to promote.

Readers are expected to buy books.

Sounds simple, right? Except when it's not.

I put the word out that I was looking for straight talk.

Oh. My. Stars.

Well. I got it, LOL!

From one reader: "With the transition from personal pages to author pages and being a “friend” as well as a “liker,”  I got to see sides of my favorite authors I honestly did not want to see, particularly in this last political season. The rants and raves, as well as the downright hatred of some toward those they disagree with, turned me off to the point I had to unfriend them or now have a major stumbling block in my mind when it comes to reading their next book.

Writers using Facebook for political rants????  Say it ain't so, Joe!  :)

This reminds me of a contest entry I judged years ago where the Texas heroine declared her dislike of Republicans and the Bush family.... In the opening pages of the book. My notes to her were:  "Political views are fine but personal. Are you sure you want to alienate 50% of the reading public in the first three pages of your novel?"  Authors, take heed: Your political agenda should be kept personal or risk losing reader base. It's that simple.

And I personally jumped off the Facebook author page bandwagon after I created mine. I saw it as a no-brainer: why ask people who like me already to jump through hoops? Not my style. I'm approachable with or without Facebook so I play on my regular Ruth Logan Herne stream and giggle with my "friends".... and I don't do cheesy things to drive my friend count up. If your books touch enough hearts, the friends will come. And that's a God thing.

Edwina offered several great points, and when Edwina talks, Ruthy listens:

1. Even though our readers love to read fiction (well now, there's a no-brainer for ya), I believe they want facts woven into the story. Whether the facts are spiritual or of this world, I think readers want to learn as they read. I call this type of book - faction.
"FACTION" = Factual Fiction.... Edwina, I love it. And I'll tell you why: Folks know if you're talking out of your head, if you're skimming reality and haven't done your homework. And even when an author is limited in size and scope by a 40,000 word book or a 60,000 word book, making sure you use intelligence and facts to support your story is huge. Limiting the same so that you don't bore a reader to tears is also clutch. I love that Melissa (Melissa Endlich, my editor at Love Inspired) reins me back if I go too deeply into fact... but she wants the backdrop strong enough and factual enough that the reader doesn't feel cheated. Her vision helps me attain that balance.

For this book I toured the Cornell Agricultural School's sheep farm prototype in St. Lawrence County. And  I talked with two sheep farmers there, and one in Wisconsin who taught me about working dogs... lambing...ethnic sales for lamb in big cities...STAR breeding... What a fun time that was... And I got to meet so many great people!
 Heather made a good point with this comment: "Over use of of Jeremiah 29:11 and similar verses. And I know  authors probably don't have much input on covers but I get tired or seeing women with perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect eyebrows, perfect figure. I'm amused when I see covers of Amish books where the women are wearing makeup."
Heather, the first point we have complete control over.... It's not as if the Bible doesn't give us a gazillion and one meaningful quotes.  And I admit to using The Serenity Prayer often as a basis for guidance... But I also try to mix in secular quotes (historic military figures and political figures are GREAT for this...) because there are some great adages and sayings and proverbs out there.

The second one, regarding book covers... Oy, that's a juggling act. Some authors have more say than others, but it literally comes down to Art/Sales/Marketing team choices. Covers entice.... So I think we're not likely to see much change there. We can make a mental pact to ADD TWENTY POUNDS to all female cover models from now on, okay? Skinny legs are over-rated.  ;)
Mary and Donna agreed on animal abuse: "Any kind of animal abuse turns me off. If a story goes in that direction, I put it down.

Mary and Donna aren't alone... you can kill off characters, but don't you dare touch Rex and Fluffy!!!!  Mary went on to say this, and I think her words are key, ".... especially if it's gratuitous."
And that's it, right there., Animals and people die. If treated as a fact of life and an organic part of the story (aging animal, end is near, car accident, guilt-ridden owner, child loses pet, learning experience that prepares them for life's ups and downs...) you can have animals die, but you cannot do it carelessly and not in an abusive way. We know it happens, but your readers don't want to cry and throw your book across the room.

And Anna had some great advice for us:

What draws me in:

A unique voice
Well developed characters
Stories about humanity
Stories that evoke emotions
Stories that leave me bound to them for a long time.
Tension and intrigue
Historical period transformed in a realistic way
Stories that are different and unique.
Unique settings
International settings

But Anna doesn't like:  

Descriptions not drawn out in historical novels
Dialogues and situations not suitable to the time and place
Characters being stupid and using weak motivations to act the way they do
Anna also doesn't like the predictability of category romances... She misses description!  :)  

Dawn's understandably annoyed by mistakes in books: 

Grammar and spelling mistakes. I feel like I catch at least 5/book. Not minor or questionable ones... full-out wrong words. For example, the one I'm reading now has "that" instead of "than".... Then the sentence doesn't make sense and I have to re-read it 3X.

Dawn, that one's going to happen on occasion, but it shouldn't happen 5X-in-a-book. Because manuscripts go through revision processes and several editors and type-setters, an occasional mis-struck letter will happen. But it should be rare. Of course, if you look at books like mine (60,000 words), if there are two mistakes in a book... That percentage is really good! 2/60,000 would get me A-ROD'S contract with the Yankees!!!  And speaking of Yankees:

I just had to put in one gratuitous pic of Jeter.... Who (I hear) is recovering nicely, thanks so much for asking!!!  :)

Six weeks until they report for spring training... aye, caramba!  Ice cream and the boys of summer.... Color me happy!!! Oops, off-topic.... Sorry!!!

So, authors.... We've got stuff to think about. I adopted the rule-of-thumb as advised by my editor and agent: When on social media, be a friend ten times more than you're an author.... For every one post you make about a book.... Make ten about life... hope... faith.... love. 

We know that I shamelessly exploit small children and animals to win hearts... :)  Be natural, be yourself, but be attentive to others.

I think what readers are telling us is simple: Don't mess with their genteel image of us... and keep writing great books.

Hey, coffee's on. Food's inside. And I've already thrown a hand full of names into the cat dish because today's somewhat questionable "What Are You Thinking" prize is a twenty-minute (or so!!!) phone call with ...



Really, if you'd rather have a book, I'll UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY!!!!



  1. My, oh, my. What a lot of likes and dislikes to digest!

    Food for thought.

    And there's coffee to wash them down.


  2. Captain Jack's one word is Ecumenical?

    Excuse me while I die laughing

  3. Thanks for the super post, Ruthy. Lots of interesting points to ponder today. My main gripe is all the typos in books which are so common these days, especially in Kindle books.

    Here's a glass pot of South African rooibos (redbush) tea to get the day going. It's especially good for those who have allergies of any type as well as being delicious for everyone.

  4. Blogger does not lime me. :(

    I like having this list available although it frightens me. I worry I'll be on the do not like list more than the like.

    Pet peeves- inconsistencies, things that don't ring true and feeling like I'm spammed on Twitter (not one of the Seekerville authors are guilty of this one).

  5. Hi Ruth:

    First: there is no such thing as a gratuitous pic of Jeter. What price can you put on even one moment that gladdens your heart?

    Next, I like a book that holds my interest and provides a great reading experience. Authors can feel free to do this anyway that works for them. I like it that so many authors are very different in many ways.

    I’m also amazed by how many have listed their one word. I never expected so many. Most words are one of a kind but the big winner is “Discipline”. I think we need another visit from Tina and that master sergeant DI.

    As far as Bible quotes go, I don’t mind seeing the same quotes over and over again. But I do want the Bible quotes to somehow factor into the story.

    On my list of what I would like to see more of are surprising historical facts that are woven into the story. I really like to experience an “I didn’t know that” moment when reading. I didn’t know that cowboys read the Police Gazette in the bunkhouses in the late 1800’s. I didn’t know the dollar bill was once about four times bigger at the turn of the century. That kind of thing. These, “I didn’t know that”, experiences make a book more memorable and increase the perceived value of the historical content.


  6. Definitely agree with Anna on this:

    Characters being stupid and using weak motivations to act the way they do

    Dig down deep and make it real, not convenient.

    I actually like the author facebook page thing as a reader. A lot of my real life face to face friends want to hear about my life and children, opinions, etc. don't care much about my writing. I mean,they don't talk about the mechanics of their job at the supermarket, or hospital or county clerk office much unless it relates to life, but if you like an author or musician or actor on an artist page, then you don't really want to hear about the parade they went to or their family reunion, you want to hear where their next concert/signing is.

    So, I like the different information. Sure, some is going to be crossover, but if I like you as a person, I want to know how your day is going, if I like you as an author, I want to see covers and contest opportunities and where you're signing books. With a separation, I feel like I'm choosing what info I get as a facebook user....what I don't particularly like is when I like a person and their professional page and get the exact same thing twice.

  7. Hi Mary:

    I don’t think Capt. Jack was being funny. ‘Ecumenical’ is a very savvy word for a pirate. He’ll pirate any country’s ships. Isn’t that Ecumenical? These pirates are pretty savvy characters. BTW: Capt. Jack’s other word was ‘savvy’.

    I do think it is funny for him to have two One Words. Those pirates are always looking for an edge.


  8. I totally agree with Heather on the Jeremiah 29:11 thing and I'm going to add in Romans 8:28 (all things work together for good yada yada).

    I was reading a book today that managed to pack those of those into one sentence. Really?

    I agree with Melissa re the personal/writer FB page thing. I try and keep the two as separate as possible. Let's face it readers don't care about a photo of the delicious dinner out I had with my husband last night, and a lot of my personal friends don't even know what an agent is, let alone care enough to be excited about me signing with one!

  9. First-- I love the list of 'one words' becuase I get to connect the people with their 2013 desires. yay! Praying for everyone's success!

    Secondly, why did I not think of snagging e-mail addresses when I saw them and spamming Seekerville commenters??? I think that could have really sold a lot of books.


    Anyway, I do love your facebok page, Ruthy dear. And I'd like to say I keep my author page and personal page separate, but I usually just post sayings and funny stuff to the author page. The personal page gets all the silly comment threads where I get to know people.

    Totally agree about the politics. We all needed to speak up this election... But I saw/read a lot of ugliness. It made me cringe. I also unfriended a few favorite (secular, not Seeker, not even romance) authors because of their relentless haranguing (is that a word?) over political adversaries.

    I think the final straw for one author was when he posted a pic of the final tally election night and he was WEEPING with happiness. He'd had the same pic for 3 years.

    *sigh* Unless he was just glad it was over. Because I sure was!!!it seemed a little excessive. Like all his posts. The next day was fileld with 'nya nya nya' cartoons. Alrighty then!

  10. And yes, I'd love a chat or a book.

    But Ruthy would have to yell over the chaos here.

  11. Helen, the coffee is perfectamente!

    And yeah, food for thought is the best way of summing all that up, isn't it?

    Um, Connealy....

    Jack is a very open-minded pirate... Need I remind you he's been very good to so many of us here in the village, regardless of denomination and brick-and-mortar affiliation... In fact, I called Jack with your snarky remark and here's what he said: "Ah, Mary. Our Mary. A lass of beauty rare and deep. The brand she wears in a very special spot? I have fond, fond memories of long, languid discussions of many things with our fair Mary. Best regards to her, will you now?"

    How much more ecumenical can you get than that? Open-minded, equal-opportunity pirate!

  12. Great idea on this post, Ruthy! It's good to hear what readers think on any subject, but especially this one. After all, without their support, we'd just have some nice stories gathering dust on our computers :)

  13. Ruth Ann I've heard that complaint. I wonder why that happens. Is it human error by whomever puts the book in e-format?

    Especially with older books, someone must be transferring the data either by hand or scan, right? You're making me ponder.

    It's too early to ponder.

    Shame on you. (reaches for coffee, drinks deeply... sighs...) :)

    Christina Can you explain spammed on Twitter? I'm still smokin' mad about what happened to Helen on Facebook yesterday... And I made a joke about it that's haunting me because I didn't realize how these clowns that stole her identity on facebook were messing with her. Helen, I don't think I can apologize enough for making light of it... open mouth, insert BIG RUTHY FOOT!!!! But Christina, tell me what you mean. (And like Tracey said yesterday, I do well with Facebook, I don't have time to do Twitter and have it be sensible, so I've planted my seed in the best field for me. I like Facebook.... I like the visual and reparte and connecting with readers. Maybe because I'm a talker??? Dunno.

  14. Vince my buddy, I think that's what Edwina was referring to, also. Those "gotchas" that inform as well as evoke.

    In my September 2013 book, the mean town supervisor quotes Lincoln to the farmer... reminding the farmer that he's doomed to fail. But the farmer throws the quote back at him in a public forum, because Lincoln was quoting Mark's gospel... and the farmer used that as a turning point to bring the town together.

    And thank you for understanding about Jeter. :) I concur. Although I think my job is to gladden OTHER hearts... but a little bit of self-gladness is understandable, right???? I wonder if it makes others happy when I make fun of Mary????

    Because it SHOULD.


  15. Melissa, that's interesting. I'm just the opposite. I loved LaVyrle Spencer's writing... still do... but what I also loved was that she gave readers glimpses into her personal life with her husband and family.

    I loved that! But I also recognize not everyone is comfortable with the world romping in their sandbox. I just figure as long as the cat hasn't been digging in the sandbox for indiscriminate measures, all are welcome. But that goes back to picking the mode that works best for us... and having fun with it.

    Funny Story: When my DIL set up my new Droid in May, it imported ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS.... So when I have to find a peep to call it's just plain crazy... Well someone I love abuts a famous author... and twice my fat, fumbling fingers have hit the author's info asking him to friend me... and twice I've gotten the auto reply: "Ruth, thanks so much for asking me to be your friend! May I ask you to go to my author page at CoolAuthorOnFacebook and "Like" me instead?"

    I did it the first time because I was embarrassed that I inadvertently sent a friend request. (No, I never send friend requests. Ever. Unless it's a friend or a reader who has asked me to do so) The second time??? Oy, I just stared at the message and thought: Wow. Way to connect with your readers, wise one.

    Now would others be offended by auto-replies?

    Probably not.

    Or arch a brow being directed like a herd of mewling cattle into a pen?

    Naw... they'd just go. But Melissa, you and I are alike in that way. We kinda sorta hate being told what to do! And that's how I see the "like" pages.

    Of course the fact that I was not one of the popular kids in school, and my teeth are too big for my mouth might have jaded me to artificially "liking" anything. Where's Oprah when I need her sweet touch of therapy most????

  16. Vince, good job calling Jack out!!!

    He's such a rascal.


    Credit for the list goes to my daughter Beth who combed 2850 comments to find everyone's word and note it for me...

    And if there's an easier way to do it, DON'T TELL US HERE...She'll see it and then there's no telling what she'll do!

  17. Kara, good for you to see what works for you so clearly!

    I agree on the Biblical phrasing. Do you think it's because those two quotes/verses are fairly generic in their all-encompassing comfort?

    I do like to find more specific verses. I actually used my Facebook stream to help me find great quotes for the retired soldier in His Mistletoe Family... and those guys were a great help with that. I didn't realize there were specific Bible verses that military families use, so that was an eye-opener.


    Oy, decisions, decisions! :)

    The other thing I do with facebook that I like...(and I don't know if others like it, but it's fun for me...) I'm a stream of consciousness talker. (Tina hates that and wants to smack me regularly. I try to tone it down in her presence... NOT!!!! (evil grin inserted here) :) So I like to pop random silliness into facebook... The hard thing now is that streams have changed and I don't see folks as easily as I used to to comment on their stuff. That's annoying.

    But there's not enough time to go hunting individual pages, either.

    I figure if I'm having that problem, so is everyone else, and that's the equalization quotient.

    I hope!


  18. Ginny-Lou-Who, it sure got ugly, didn't it?

    Remember Anne of Green Gables? She quoted Matthew as saying "A man should agree with the father in matters of politics and with the girl's mother in matters of faith."

    There's some truth there!

    Now let me point out that there are a lot of authors who don't use Facebook or Twitter and sell TONS OF BOOKS.

    They write great books.

    And they keep writing great books.

    And they keep selling great books.

    And the readers come. It's very "Field of Dreams":

    "If you build it, he will come..."

    If you sell it, the readers will come. But it's a job like any other and production is a huge part of the key. (Tracy touched on that yesterday too).

    Write. Write. Write.

    And be nice.

    Now this might be a personal thing too, but I see authors whining on facebook about a whole lot of things... personal things, weather, kid's teachers, finances....

    I'm an Eleanor Roosevelt gal. Put your game face on in public and keep it there.


    No Whining Allowed.

    Whining is a total turn-off to me, especially if you're a published author and some of the folks following you would just die to have the chances God has given you....

    That just screams "smack-down" and I cringe... and wince... and think "why are you saying all that????"

    Do authors know that editors read these things?

    (banging head against wall, ouch, ouch, ouch!!!!!)

  19. Wow, great information. It's nice to know what readers are liking/not liking. I was interested to hear that they like the facts so much. That's an area I'm trying to improve in my writing.

    Btw, Ruthy, I'm currrently reading After the Storm on my Kindle. I was wondering how you knew so much about sheep. I thought it was because you had a farm and did all that stuff yourself :)

  20. WAITING OUT THE STORM....Arghhh. Ruthy, I'm not trying to rename your book. WAITING OUT THE STORM.

  21. Mia, good morning!

    Mia knows that my computer died Sunday night.

    And that my notes for this post were in it and that's the one thing (with everyone's thoughts all copied into a nice, neat word doc so I could write this post with some semblance of order...)

    And that I was using Beth's computer to work and Beth's IE fights with Blogger.

    And wouldn't upload my pics to the blog.

    And wouldn't let me type because each time Blogger saved my work, weird things happened and her computer PAUSED... which is why you've got a dozen weird fonts on the post!!!!

    But how nice of her to let me borrow her laptop... and my new one has arrived and SURPRISE: Google Chrome synced all of my faves from my broken computer and brought them into this one... All my bookmarks, etc. are in the "cloud" and it imported them when I told it to sync.


    I think Mia is probably one of the best examples of keeping a firm line of separation between her writing life and private life... and we still love each other even though I put my laundry on the line daily....

    (I miss clotheslines. They're so stinkin' country. I need to put one up again. Not today.)

  22. Morning Ruthy,

    Enjoyed your blog this morning. What a lot to think about.

    It's always nice to get Vince's perspective, isn't it?

    Is it too late to get my "one" word on the list?

    And last, please throw my name in the pot. Thanks!

    Jackie L.

  23. wow. eye opening post. i do agree with the pet peeves of Amy. i also agree that the women of Seekerville have NEVER (to the power of infinity) been guilty of said peeves.

    in fact, i look forward to the playful banter in the comments between Connealy and Ruthy. such entertainment and all for FREE!!!

    seriously, Seekerville is a HUGEblessing and may you Seeker ladies never feel that it is anything less.

    i'm not a social network person, mostly because of my work - but i do enjoy author pages that have occasional glimpses into their personal lives. please note: occasional. TMI sometimes makes me feel like a cyber stalker. (Ruthy, pix of cute kids is NEVER too much IMHO. the things children say/do are precious)

    my two bits of thought...

    i'm not good at phone conversations Ruthy, but i know we could fill the time talking 'bout the boys of spring. wahooo!

  24. Ruthy, what an informative post. Some of these I'd thought of, but some....It's just good to have this insight compiled into one post. So, thank you!

    And a phone call with you? Please put me in the drawing!

    MELISSA said: "Characters being stupid and using weak motivations to act the way they do

    Dig down deep and make it real, not convenient."

    Loved it, Roomie! GREAT thought.

    RUTH ANN--thanks for the little facts on Rooibus tea. Call me crazy, but I've always wondered about that tea. :)

  25. UH-OH ... I know I'm in trouble when a blog nails me in the first quarter ... :|

    HEATHER SAID: "Over use of of Jeremiah 29:11 and similar verses."

    Would you believe I haven't used Jeremiah 29:11 once in eight books (I don't think), but it's in my ninth??? So ... do I get some credit for holding off so long or am I automatically tossed into the groan bag with the other Jeremiah folks??

    HEATHER ALSO SAID: "And I know authors probably don't have much input on covers but I get tired or seeing women with perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect eyebrows, perfect figure."

    Well, this I can speak to because in my fifth book I had a heroine whose face was scarred by hot grease at the hand of an abusive husband, but my editor wanted me to pretty her up because the truth of the matter is, no matter HOW unrealistic or vain or selective those covers are, pretty sells, period. ESPECIALLY in romance, which is more of a "Calgon, take me away" type of reality. Can't fight city hall ... at least, not if you hope to sell books in a given market. :|

    Great blog today, Ruthy, and very thought provoking, although like you, I think it's a little early to have my thoughts provoked.

    Where's the coffee ...


  26. Annie, I love that story and it was so much fun to research... You know the best compliment I got on that was when I went to NYC to meet with Melissa Endlich and Joan Marlow Golan and Joan asked how big our sheep farm was...

    And I said we didn't have a sheep farm, we grew vegetables.

    And she said, "But you must have sheep or have had them at some time, right?"

    "Um... no?" (hesitant, hesitant, hesitant!!!)

    "Well, I thought you must. Very well done."

    BIG SMILE ON RUTHY'S FACE, LOL! Of course that was right before I found out I had to re-write an entire book....

    in 30 days....

    In December.

    But I did it and I'll tell you, re-writing that book with Melissa's advice was better than any college class could have prepared me for the publishing world. What a great lesson, and they paid me... SWEET.

  27. Any blog with Carol Moncado in her pile of books is a good blog. :)

  28. That is a big compliment, Ruthy!...But maybe you should add at least one sheep to your farm, seeing that you know so much about them now :)

    Re-write an entire book in 30 days? I don't even want to know how many late nights that involved. And in the month of December?

  29. INVALUABLE! That's a one-worder for THIS POST, Ruthy. :) What great advice.

    Because I've experienced many of these things as a reader (authors asking for a review by a certain date, rants on Facebook etc.) I've learned what NOT to do when my book is published. Love every point made in this post.

  30. LOL! Mary! I was TOTALLY shocked to see that!

    I'm guessing it may have something to do with using pics of Ruthy in my Writer's Alley blog tomorrow [dear Pepper is hosting me].

    Great post Ruthy! Not that that's surprising, of course.

    To go with the 'lost the document' thing though, get Dropbox. Seriously. As long as your computer is online, a saved file is backed up to the online server [and any other computers that share that Dropbox account] within seconds. And up to 2 gig is free.

    Wanna talk about a guy who knew how to sell books? Mark Twain. He's still selling. In fact, my 11yo started Tom Sawyer this morning.

    And he never email bombed people.

    Still trying to figure out the whole Facebook page thing, but working on it.

    As for the guy who asked you to like his page, I've had authors do that - especially ones I don't know personally. It's a way to keep their personal facebook pages more personal and they connect on their public facebook pages. I don't have a problem with that. Now, Ruthy's friend request[s!] were accidental but usually they're people who want to connect with that author and that's the way the author prefers to do it.

    And yeah. I've used Jer 29:11.

    I haven't sold that one. But I've used it.


  31. Hmm... double posting.... I'm not sure if this is me, my new computer or Blogger....

    (Slight frown between eyebrows)

    Jackie!!! Never too late... Missy sent me hers last night...

    Tell us what it is and we'll include it, of course!

    Mary's still pondering, too. If anyone has ANY HELP for her, please: post it here.

    We're here to help. ;)

  32. Deb, I'm putting your name in the cat dish because I don't have to talk writing to talk...

    which gives my friends many reasons to complain and try to silence me!!!

    Aw, thank you so much! Your words and thoughtfulness make me/us smile, Deb!

    And Connealy's funny, isn't she?

    Kinda like a direct hit on your elbow, funny bone.

    Painfully funny.

    But she's so stinkin' cute and she's got COWS so when I need to talk cows, Connealy and her cute cowboy husband are my go-to peeps.

    And they're adorable.

  33. And phone call with Ruthy?

    Put my name in that cat bowl :D.

  34. Morning Ruthy, Loved the word list and the viewpoint of readers.
    I think its so cool that readers also come to Seekerville.

    Who would guess they would want to know about the process of writing that wonderful book they just read.

    But I commend them for doing so because it is a lot of work to write a book. And it tickles me that they are interested. Readers Rock.

  35. Jeanne, you're in and yes, I agree with both Anna... who sent me a marvelous e-mail, I could have written a whole post from just that one e-mail, very well done.

    I see that as what editors call "organic" story telling. If the story doesn't rise up from the character's history, arch-type and emotion, then it's going to fall flat. It has to. And even though we don't have a lot of wiggle room in a shorter book, look how amazingly well writers like Ray Bradbury evoked emotions in short stories.


    So I totally agree that characters and plots need to work not only for the author... but for the readership. Sometimes that marriage of the minds is tricky.

  36. I have to laugh every time I read that readers don't like Facebook posts that only focus on a book. I am so guilty of that but not so much for the intent of publicity.

    Its when the guilt gets to me and I decide I better learn how to do this and then the only thing I can think of that might be interesting to all those strangers out there is my book. I mean who cares what I'm doing for the day? OR what my dog does?

    Oh well, guess that's why its best I stay off the thing. LOL

  37. Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite verse but I always take it through the following verses.

    I am wondering if authors pick verses they believe are the most familiar to readers, as well as the most fitting?

    I am just glad Helen is here today. Are we sure it is the real Helen?

    Peace, Julie

  38. Jules, such good points, even without coffee....

    Scarred faces might turn off potential buyers....

    But evocative covers can reflect the story and still draw readers. I think that's why sometimes they vary with landscapes.... seascapes... beaches... sunsets.... all of those evoke romance without a soul in sight. The eye is a clever device!

    You know, I think the complaint about the Bible verse falls under "Verses of convenience".... and if you read a lot of Christian fiction, you see exactly what she meant. Some verses are rubber-stamped or good "umbrellas"... I think you do a marvelous job of not only reflective verse use (verses that beautifully reflect either the angst or the solution) but putting the reality of those verses into your characters.

    I'm just sayin'.... :)

  39. Connealy, I use Carol as a blog-pull whenever I can. I've actually hired her to appear in all of my blogs this year, reading Seeker books, because she's THAT STINKIN' AMAZING!!!

    Love you, Carol! :)

  40. Annie, it was how timing goes sometimes.... Hard work but as soon as we talked about the book, I saw what she meant. It wasn't a bad book... but I hadn't withdrawn the romance from the longer Women's Fiction story with the right emotions. That book became "Made to Order Family" and got my third 4 1/2 Star rating from Romantic Times, so the effort was well worth it.

    But it was a very busy month, LOL! Toss the full-time job in... Have I mentioned I love coffee???? And now I've discovered Pocket Coffee put out by Ferraro..... Oh my stars, a chocolate candy filled with liquid espresso.... This is indeed a WONDERFUL WORLD IN WHICH TO LIVE!!!!

  41. Cheryl, if nothing else, those words are why we do this....

    This whole blog...

    To help us to be better writers and authors and to help us be more in tune with readers... That's such a huge thing. Cheryl, I'm so glad you liked it! Thank you!

  42. Good morning, Sandra!!!

    I think a lot of our lurkers are readers. I think this because some of them e-mail me or comment on Facebook that they saw me in Seekerville, or they refer back to something I said in Seekerville.

    Talking in a "room" full of authors might intimidate folks... I know it would have scared the pants off me!

    But yeah, I love that they come over. Grab coffee. Check us out! And then they stop in the cafe to see what's cooking!

    (Which today is Tastefully Simple Lime Cheesecake, stinkin' easy and sooooo delicious!)

    <a href=">Stop By The Cafe</a>

    Hey, where are you now? Back home yet???

  43. Carol, baby, you're in! I haven't talked to you in wayyyyy toooooo long!

  44. Carol, nope, Tina sent me your pic days ago... last weekend.

    So I loved you even before I knew you were using me.

    Great minds think alike and all that.

    Pass the coffee, 'kay?

  45. I'd like to put my name in for the 20 minute phone call with Ruthy.

    C'mon, Ruthy! Unblock my number!!! I'm sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Helen, is that you?

    Ah, Julie, our poor Helen....

    Can't you just picture stupid people picking up people's info on facebook and then plotting to embarrass them???

    Get a life, dudes.


  47. All I want from a book is to be entertained. What it takes to do that varies.

    I get mad at stupid characters.

    I don't mind if the story's predictable as long as the ride is fun.

    I'm forgiving of grammar and even poor writing if the story holds my interest.

    Facebook, I'd agree w/everyone else. Show me a pleasant you and let me know of upcoming books or book signings. But please don't harrass me.

    And put my name in the cat dish too.

    Connie Queen

  48. Lots of great points in your post, Ruthy! We authors want to please our readers but no matter how hard we work at our storytelling, that's not a given. Mercy, I struggle to please myself. My story never quite measures up to my vision. But I write for God so bottomline I do the best I can.

    See how "do" creeps in. I love my 2013 Word! Was fun to see all the One Words in Seekerville!


  49. Thanks for listing my one word, Ruthy.

    Ouch on the Jer 29:11. I used it last Sat on our weekender Scripture pic over at the Inkwell. It seemed like a good verse to start off the new year, but upon reflection, I realize I could have found another verse to say the same thing. And it would've given me more time with Him. sigh.

    Very interesting post with lots of good info. Thanks.

  50. I feel like I'm pretty forgiving when I read a book. But one thing that does drive me crazy is if there are several characters and then the author randomly starts calling some by their last name (usually in dialogue). It doesn't seem to be an issue in the romance genre though.

    Helen, sorry to hear you got hijacked. That happened to my sweet little niece once.

  51. First of all, My One Word (COMPLETE, if you didn't catch it on Tuesday) is not listed on that charming PDF list over at the Seekerville website.

    Just sayin'.

    Wow, Ruthy, if authors can't learn something from this post, it's nobody's fault but their own. Good job!!!

  52. I feel like I just got a whole day's worth of information in ten minutes! Awesome post and I love the way your personality came out in what you wrote. :)

  53. Jeremiah 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

    This is for that rare Seekervillager who does NOT have the Bible memorized.

  54. I think I may flunk this test at least on Facebook.
    I have all these auto-loads from my blog and Seekerville and twitter.

    I'M SORRY!!!!!!!!
    I tried to turn them off once and I can't figure out how!!!!!!!!!

    (exit question...have I had to apologize a bit too often on Ruthy's post, both today and over the years!!!???)

  55. Connealy

    Unblock you? Phone or e-mail?


    Phone, e-mail and FACEBOOK!!!!

    Honey, why in the name of all that's good and holy would I want to do that?????

    Oy, I've just erased the last set of wrinkles you gave me, and it was NO EASY TASK.

    Nor, cheap.

  56. As a reader, i love to read the comments here. i come for Helen's coffee, mostly and stay atleast till i read Vince's take on the day. Facebook? i love it when you write what your dog did, or even what you did. But remember, if you don't what the whole universe to know, don't. Mostly i just love to read, whatever you have for me, wherever. Just not excerpts, don't like those at all. Have a great day, the coffee's wonderful, the sweets almost as good.

  57. Connie, you and I are sympatico.

    There are a few books I love that cannot be called stellar...

    But they speak to me.

    Sometimes that's all it takes.

    Hey, you're in. You're BRAVE enough to talk to me. I knew I loved you!!!


  58. Janet, I love that list, too. What a great reminder of a rousing weekend holiday party...

    And awesome reminders of our goals and dreams and self-awareness.

    For me, self-awareness is huge. Not to fool myself that I'm more than I am, but to know God gave me the skills and brains to BE more than I am.

    So simple to be so difficult.

  59. Anita, that's a great verse. I think the comment was made because it's a fall-back....

    A great verse for all seasons.

    Does that make it bad? Of course not. But if a bunch of us (and Christian fiction is not a huge pool of authors, so it's something to be more aware of for us...) are re-using or repeating a verse, then it's good to have a wake up call.

    I bet your reflection/pic was beautiful, filled with your heart and soul. True things of beauty shine through!

  60. Myra, sorry! I didn't have yours when I sent the list to Teeeena last week. We harvested the words from the Rockin' New Year's Eve Seekerville Bash

    Note to self: Add Missy and Myra and Jackie when she sends it along!

    Donna, I hear you. When I do that, it's usually like cop-speak or guy-speak... because on the work force that often happens. But it's usually in one POV so that person (the sergeant, the commissioner, the boss, etc) stands out. Kind of like Perry White did on Superman.


  61. Hi Ruth:

    Mary revealed her One Word with great fanfare the other day. Do I detect a little repression going on? Gladding should be made of sterner stuff. :)

  62. Misty

    BLESS YOU!!! You said, "I love the way your personality came out in your post!"





    DOUBLE WIN!!!!!

    Thank you, Misty. You just made my day!

  63. Hi Mary:

    Thanks for posting this bible quote:

    Jeremiah 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

    I love it. Do you know what this means? God is a plotter!

    BTW: My plotting instructors know you are coming to the live workshop: they have read your posts and they are ready. : )


    P.S. The Plotting Bootcamp is very, very character-driven. Pantsers should feel right at home.

  64. Ruthy, it works well when it's used that way. But I'm referring to a huge novel where the last name is mentioned once 10 chapters back and now someone starts using it. My memory just isn't what it use to be.

  65. I think people should be their best selves on both their author pages and personal pages, if there's a difference. It's a place to be yourself but not to rant, especially for a Christian author. IF I ever publish, someone remind me of what I just said. John Wesley or somebody said, "Unity in essentials, liberty in nonessentials." Maybe it was Lincoln. It's hard not to be political on some things -- I'm so pro life I won't eat at a salad bar -- but there are tactful and classy ways of presenting our views. I would love to talk to Ruthy on the phone.

  66. wow, Vince. I'm having dinner (me and 20 other writers) with Elle and Delilah of the Plotting Bootcamp, TOMORROW NIGHT.

    I will try to hide if they get snippy about PANSTERS.

  67. Ruthy, I’m so glad you addressed this issue.

    As a writer, I try to write what I want to read. I have a list of word phrases that make me cringe when I read them, therefore I never, never write them. Here’s two off the top of my head
    1. the fact that (Gives me the hebbie jebbies).
    2. To be honest. (This is a facebook game, not a dialogue tag.)

    Others things that irritate me while I’m reading.
    1. Men talking about their budding feelings with their guy pals. (Men act out their feelings. They do not talk about them.)
    2. No action. (Please, please. Let your characters do something.)
    3. Showing the same thing over and over again. (You don’t have to beat me over the head to get my attention.)
    4. Insensitive reaction to tragedy. (I recently read a book where a young virgin was raped. After crying in solitude for three days she emerged singing about sunshine and lollipops. Her fiancé hero felt no guilt that he let a pirate rape her, and everything was as it was before because to him her soul was pure.) COME ON! You’re joking me right.

    It’s a good thing this isn’t facebook, else I could be accused of ranting. None of the Seeker books I’ve read included any of the above.
    But to be honest, the fact that these situations appear in books at all is appalling.

  68. Every minute I spend here at Seekerville is worthwhile. I learned so much in this post.

    Staying non-political last fall was extremely hard - and the happenings over the last few months have made it even harder. But last summer I realized that even though I have both a personal Facebook account and an author page, both of them are quickly becoming very public. So I've taken my hints from you, Ruthy, and keep very personal stuff off Facebook altogether. It's more fun that way, isn't it?

    And I agree with the comment about the models on covers of Amish books wearing makeup. I'm so picky about this that one publisher has gone to the bottom of my submissions list because all of their Amish covers are so unrealistic. All of them.

    Oh...I think I just let everyone in on my pet peeve.

    We won't even start on that "Amish Mafia" TV show. I watched two minutes. That's all I could stand.

    I have to get back to my WIP - loving my new story :)

    Oh, and a phone call from Ruthy? Stick my name in the cat dish. Twice.

  69. I don’t mind when authors post book news, as long as they don’t post the same link every ten minutes.

  70. BTW, Ruthy dear, I noticed my name appeared on the One Word list twice.

    Does that mean you think I need a double dose of discipline?

    You're probably right :)

  71. I remember a quote once that affects me and being public about my political views.
    Back in his Hey Day, Michael Jordan was a liberal Democrat but he wasn't active in politics at all.
    Someone asked him why he didn't get involved.
    His response....Republicans buy shoes, too.

  72. BTW I just blocked someone from my twitter feed because (thought I do very little on twitter) every time I'd go there every other tweet was from her. I didn't disagree with the tweets so much as I just got tired of my whole tweet page being half HER.

  73. "Ruth, thanks so much for asking me to be your friend! May I ask you to go to my author page at CoolAuthorOnFacebook and "Like" me instead?"

    This made me laugh because I was at someone's blog and they asked me to friend them on facebook-- "whee! Friends!"

    Then I got the auto-reply. Ugh.

    I'd already liked their author page so I just shrugged.

  74. WHAT????

    Helen got spammed?

    I thought that was her and friended her! It wasn't????

  75. This is the real me. I think. ;)

    I just did another search on Facebook, and there are still TWO of me on there. The second one has gained some more friends. She now has about a third as many friends as "I" have. Grrrrr

    I've reported it, but have had no response. I've also had others report on my behalf.

    Guess this is another test of patience. I don't know anything more I can do. And I can't for the life of me understand WHY someone would copy the account of little ole hillbilly me.

    Ruthy, you have nothing whatsoever to apologize for. Sometimes making light of things is the only way to handle them. Throw wisecracks at me any time you wish.

    Oh, a glass has been ordered for the fireplace door that blew up.


  76. Helen! You changed your picture!

    You'll have to do the same for your real facebook page so we know which is which :)

  77. "
    Whining is a total turn-off to me, especially if you're a published author and some of the folks following you would just die to have the chances God has given you...."

    But I love to whine!

    And I love to let people know that everything is not all rosy in my little section fo the garden.

    I think there's this idea that once you're published, you have to pretend your life is PERFECT.

    I so admire seeing people like Shannon Hale whimper about sick kids and deadlines (she has baby twins and two older kids) because she seems SO REAL.

    I know she's NYT bestseller, but she hates revisions and editorial snaffus and when she whines I feel... better. Like I'm not the only one.

    But then, maybe people jut see my whining and think I'm whining for the heck of it.

    No.... It's aultruistic whining, baby!

  78. Oh, I sound ungrateful.

    But thanks for the advice!

    I'll try not to whine as much.

    But maybe I'm like you and Melissa, not liking to be told what to do.

    *hangs head*

    (Did I look chastened??)

  79. Um, Did I say somewhere that I don't like being told what to do, or do I just come off as really obstinate?

    Altruistic whining. Cute. ;)

  80. Jan, I went to my profile to change the picture. It was easy in blogger, but I can't see how to do it in FB. Can you tutor the poor little hillbilly dummy?

    Actually, I'm about ready to quit facebook altogether at this point.

  81. If Jan's name is in that cat bowl twice, can I get mine in there three times?

    Or seventeen?

    /eyes cell phone which may or may not have a number for Ruthy in it from when she and Andrea were driving back from Tulsa in a thunderstorm/

  82. Melissa, I was quoting Ruthy!!

    (But I think you pm'd me about being stubborn once. :D Hahahaha! I have proof!!)

  83. Helen, hover your mouse over your profile pick and it will give you a pop up list of option.

    Choose either download profile or choose from pictures. Change it to annything. Since you changed your fb password (you did, right??) they won't be able to copy you.

    Also, sent you a link to the doubled account and reported.

  84. Well hasn't this been an education??
    Thanks to all the readers who so bravely contributed to this post.

  85. Helen, I reported your stolen FB page as well when I unfriended them.

  86. Tina, thank for reporting it. Hopefully, if enough people report it, something will be done.

    It's embarrassing to think that all my friends have been "friend requested" again.

    Virginia, I've already gone to the Edit options, but delete or replace aren't included. And, yes, I've changed my password.

  87. OH, Vince!!!! I had no computer the day Mary was on.....


    Must scroll:

  88. Vince, help me....

    I looked and saw nothing except a very well-named HEROINE NAMED RUTHY!!!!!


  89. Ruthy!
    And Dear Readers!

    Thank you all for this post. Good info.

    Question: My first book talks about how May becomes a K9 Spy. She was rescued from an abusive situation (in real life, and therefore the story). It isn't overly developed but it's there. As with any audience, some have a problem with it, some don't.

    Any thoughts about this? We have 5 rescue dogs and my Dad is a veterinarian so I totally qualify for serious animal lover.

    The story is told in May's POV. She and I thought it important to include, but not be over-the-top about it. Especially since it's for kids.

    (Honestly... So many adults have told me they are enjoying the series that I've changed how I tell people who the audience is. I used to say "Middle Grade Adventure." It's morphed to "For animal lovers 8 and up."

    So I really would appreciate feedback there.

    We make a concerted effort to be as factual as possible and include as much detail as we can without being boring (yikes!)... Which does call for research trips... ;D Ruthy, your trips finding out more about the sheep, etc. would be right up my alley!

    Haven't had time to read comments yet. Will do after while. Today is a writing day!

    PS - suggestion on the ONE WORD in .pdf Might it be a better change to a spreadsheet? We could find ourselves easily and also see who else is focusing our the same word... :)

  90. Ok...
    Had to glance a bit.
    Vince brought up a good point about Captain Jack.
    May had a word too - Terrific! (Last year's was PAWSOME!) BOL!

    And Tina acted as a DI to me last night so, she's in good form. (Thanks T!)

  91. Kav, I didn't know one of my critique partners couldn't handle things happening in stories until I had one killed early in my WWII story and then had a dog go missing in the present.

    The first was by Nazis. The second I rewrote for the dog to be found immediately. But still don't know that the dog is going to fly.

    I appreciate the mention of rescue and being saved from abuse. Even my four year old grandchild knows there are bad guys out there who hurt people and good guys who rescue them. I think there is a different between a detail in the back story and when it is a detailed look. Just me.

    Peace, Julie

  92. These pet peeves and annoyances get an echo from me. The overabundant, obvious typos, especially.

    Another thing that I've gotten burned with is not getting the HEA at the end. If it's a romance, I expect a happy ending. I read one a couple years ago where the heroine's true love dies at the climax and she ends up with an ugly, taciturn recluse. Not a romance IMHO. lol. I cried for days and wish I'd have had some kind of warning from this skilled author, who usually writes HEAs. I haven't read her since. Not saying I won't, but I have too many guaranteed happy books on my TBR list to risk one I might not like.

    If someone has to write a tragedy, I just wish they'd give us some kind of warning that it's women's fiction. I've had a hard time telling these apart when I read back cover blurbs.

    Awesome post, Ruthy!

  93. Marianne, I love that you come here and hang out with us... and yes, the coffee is worth the price of the ticket!!! :)

    It's interesting what you said about excerpts. You're not the first person who has told me that and some of them have said it's too revealing, then they don't want to read the book...

    Or it makes things too long. That taught me to not use them in my teaching posts or go very short, and that's hard for me and Julie.

    (We're talkers... sigh....)

  94. Vince, God is the Divine Plot-Master...

    But he made me a pantser.

    Oh, that God!

    Donna I get what you mean. And you know what happens? Sometimes we just get ahead of ourselves and forget to go back to the fundamentals of "Does the reader know this?" "Will the reader understand this?" "Is this entire scene based on what I've written or just what's in my HEAD??????????"

    I have been guilty of that myself. I've found that the Love Inspired editors (I've had Melissa Endlich, Jess Regante Alvarez, and Krista Stroever edit my books) are great about keeping me from getting disjointed... Or throwing things in randomly that aren't properly fore-shadowed or pre-explained.

    And Melissa reminds me that the readers don't live in my head therefore they actually need to know what is pushing the action.

    Duh on me!

  95. Oh, BRIDGETT!!!!! Do you know how much I love you right now?????

    You stated that so perfectly that I've got nothing to add except lunch...

    chicken salad with celery (grapes and walnuts on the side in honor of Haley's Panini at the Crossroads Mini Mart in Jamison New York, His Mistletoe Family) ....

    On Rosemary Focaccia bread, of course!

    What a perfect illustration of things that bug us as readers. I've found that I'm less easy-going about it now that I'm writing and I wonder if my work bugs others the same way because I always have a hard time seeing my own repetitive flaws and yet they glare at me from other books....

    AND... I had the same problem raising kids. OY!!!!

    Thank you!

  96. Kathy Bailey, you're in the cat dish, darling!

    And I concur. I don't have a facebook page under my legal name, Ruth Blodgett....

    Because you have to know how crazy my extended family is and they're ranters and ravers and they forget decorum....

    But they behave on my writing stream because they know I'd be embarrassed.

    Really, I think they should send me a thank-you note for helping them maintain heightened standards of behavior.

    (they would not necessarily agree!!!)

    But you're right, when and where did we lose our good manners? The Thumper rule? The Golden rule?

    Silly us.

  97. Connealy

    You're going out to dinner?

    With others?

    And they know you're coming?????

    Umm... where? Exactly?

    I might want to warn the restaurant owners.

    Just because.

    Hey, we pantsers are proud. God don't make no junk....

    And while he might have pre-planned US, he didn't send an instruction book, therefore declaring us pantsers by right.

    And I'll fight for my right to pants!

    (Wait, that kind of sounded bad...)

  98. You guys are so funny! I was just reading an Amish novel. As I was looking at the cover, I wondered why the models on the cover of Amish novels have makeup. Makes no sense!
    I agree with Bridgett. Those updates from an author that repeats over and over and over.... are quite annoying.
    Thanks, Ruthy, for the fun post. :)
    Amy C

  99. Drex, you're the first one to ask to be put in twice, so I did it!!!!

    "Ask and she shall receive!" LOL.

    God's rule and all that.

    I agree wholeheartedly. It's better to shut up and appear stupid than to open your mouth and prove it to everyone.

    This is a sensible thing for us loud-mouthed Irishers.

    And I know a few Germans and Scots (and one Italian) that just might fall under that umbrella.

    No one you guys know, of course.


    Bridgett, exactly! Everyone knows we want to sell books, but you know what I remember? Is how I traveled to the library and used book stores when money was too tight to buy books retail. I learned to love authors, love their books, how to write, and then write differently, what I liked, how to plot series books, how to build double arcs for books.... and at very little cost because I had no money.

    I think that makes me sensitive to believing that God always finds a way.

    If I write a book that tugs emotions and hearts...

    Enough people with $5 will buy it to keep me contracted.

    And the ones that can only afford the $.25 garage sale copy are beloved! Because you never know what they'll do when they hand it on... or write a review... or comment on Facebook about their new fave author.... Every ripple has an effect and I love those tiny ripples! But you're right, continuously posting about your books gets O-L-D quick. I'd rather hear about the swallow on your deck rail....

    And the geese flying overhead.

    At least that way I can glimpse your soul.

  100. Jan, I checked that list myself...

    Clearly it's a God-thing so, yes: Self-discipline for you X 2!!!!

  101. Connealy, good point.

    When you friend a person who constantly clogs a feed with tidbits of their wisdom, random photos taken from other websites, and sayings taken the same way, it's like articulating: I don't have anything real to say, so I'm sending this so you don't forget me.

    Write an unforgettable book (if you're an author)....

    No one will forget you.

  102. MVCM....




    We have to agree to disagree on this one because that drives me bonkers... Not because it's not true, I know it's true and I'll chat about that honestly with you behind the scenes, but in public...

    On Facebook....

    or on a blog....

    I wanna slap someone.

    And I don't mean posting about the plumbing blowing up....

    Or a kid with 102 degree fever....

    Or the car not working.....

    that's venting.

    I don't mind a vent or two.

    But deadlines?

    Gag me. It's not as if we don't know they're coming for months....Revisions... Part of the job.... Marketing.... Make it fun or at least grin and bear it!

    So as much as I love you, I'd be making faces and getting wrinkles when I see those posts. I'd be tellin' 'em to thank God for their blessings and eat a popsicle.

    Nothing can be tooooo bad in life if you've got a red popsicle.

  103. Hi Ruth:

    Here’s the help you requested!

    Mary’s announcement was in Myra’s Post. Here it is:

    “I decided the word I'm going with for this year is (brace yourselves) RELENTLESS.

    I've got to never pause. Forward march. Be disciplined, keep my word count moving ever forward to get everything done. Which, honestly, I've done now for a long time. But maybe this year, a bit more than usual.

    So that's my word.

    I am scaring myself.”


    I think ‘Relentless’ is perfect as a description. As a prescription, it may be redundant. It’s like God picking the word ‘perfect’. So what else is new?

    Here is the Bible quote I’d like to see used:

    Romans 8:31

    “What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

    This takes on a whole new meaning once we establish that God is a plotter.


  104. Hahahahaha!!! Melissa, there are some of us that don't have to say right out that we don't like being told what to do....

    Folks just seem to figure it out, LOL!

    I count MVCM right in there....

    And JHS and MC and a whole host of others because we must have stepped out of line when the meek and mild genes were being dished out.

    And I hope I didn't just insult anyone!!!!!

  105. Carol Moncado, I'm adding your initials to that stubborn list and yes, you have my number...

    I'm only a phone call away!!!! :)


    Geez, Louise.

    Hey, there are stuffed baked potatoes to go along with the chicken salad.

    I decided the salad alone was too girly.

    And where's Walt today with all his muscle about takin' me DOWN in March??????

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Bring it, Walt.

    Bring it.

    Anybody got chocolate?

  106. My husband would TOTALLY disagree with you, I was blessed with super meek and mild genes....or rather my fantasy husband says that.

  107. Helen, me too.... And I e-mailed everybody who friended you on the phony site and told them to unfriend you....

    Nicely, of course.

    Because we love you.

    And Tina, yes. Brave souls. I love brave, opinionated women.

    I wonder why you and I get along so well????

    Just thinking out loud.

  108. So, Vince you're saying, instead of Relentless, I should have chosen.

    not very exciting.

    You know we should be picking cooler words, powerful words, TRENDY words.

    I'm kind of fond of the word 'splodey

    slang for explodey, like 'my head's all 'splodey' from Ruthy's post.





    Or DEBACLE (wait, maybe not that one)

    You get my drift, FUN words, EDGY words. Much more exciting.

  109. Hi,

    Great post Ruthy, thanks! And my word was not listed, maybe because I had been wavering between persist and endure? I will say now that I choose persist. Thanks for the chance to nail it down!


  110. Melissa, I have heard about how meek you are. In fact what I actually heard was, "Melissa says she's meek and she was SLAP ANYONE who says she's not."

  111. Thank you Ruthy---I always LOVE Ruthy-posts, but this one is going to the front of my Keeper files. Even though I'm not yet published, it's great to know all these likes/dislikes from so many others. And I must agree with lots of them (especially the animal abuse one--I cannot even bear to listen to a news report about that). ~ I figured Derick Jeter would appear somewhere in this post, so I had to smile when I saw his photo! ~ Please toss my name in the cat dish--the talk or book would be awesome (or hey---with 8 cats, I'll even take some cat food, LOL). Hugs, Patti Jo

  112. 108 comments when I come into the room?!?

    Must confess I skimmed here and there because I don't have a lot of time today. But some things I just have to respond to:

    RUTHY & BETH: thanks so much for doing the list of One Words! Great to read through!

    VIRGINIA: thanks for praying for all of our One Words. Great idea too, that way we support each other in the changes we all chose for ourselves.

  113. I was surprised to read that writers send readers email and newsletters without them having ever signed up for anything.

    Yes, it's easier than getting people to sign up for a newsletter or something of their own accord, but you don't want people badmouthing you because you intrude into their mailbox!

  114. im in the city with limited time did like the post and agree about some authors who after contacting them to say you love the book etc you then get on the kist and get constant buy my book emails. I have one that was sending out emails a couple of times a week. Not a seeker or seeker friend.
    I have to say its no often.

    On a high my team won last night and i got to see it live

  115. Then about what readers want contents-wise:

    boy, am I the only one who sometimes gets frustrated at the mention of compelling characters or unique situations and the like? We all know that, but how to do it right?

    Description is such a tricky thing too. I read a historical where I felt like the scene never really came to life, because there was not enough description going on. Then a review said the thing was so evocative you felt like you were there in person bumping into the characters. Uhhh...

  116. Motivation is an important one. Also to make characters more likeable. They may make bad choices but if they've got good reasons for it, Í'm willing to go a long way to stick with them.

    About killing pets: don't make me think of a fav author of mine, not Christian, who actually in the third book in a series about a team killed off one of the key members of the team!!!

    I had read books one and two, totally loved that character (and the budding romance between her and another team member), then BEFORE I bought book 3, I read online somewhere that something shocking happened and someone important was killed off. Via the author's website I found out it was indeed that character. I so hated that! How could he do that???
    I mean, if we don't want to see Fluffy die, we certainly don't want to see a character we care for die!

    Needless to say I never bought the book and imagined my own happy ending for the character and her love interest on the team. Still smiling when I think about that :D

  117. You didn't insult me. I know I am not going to inherit the earth, Ruthy!

    peace, Julie

  118. And a question for those of you who want to answer it: do you like information about a character's past relationship with another character straight up and spelled out, or more subtly woven in?

    I'm noticing a trend lately of the heroine in her first thoughts on the page immediately rehashing that she doesn't want to see X (the hero) ever again, because he treated her like this... and he wasn't a strong believer when...

    As a reader I get frustrated with this, because I'd rather like to know now that she's upset with him for some reason and then find out why later. It's too much in-your-face.

    And to my writerly mind it feels like a way of sneaking in backstory way too soon in the story.

    BUT... since I'm seeing it all around, it must be alright, so...

    Am I missing something here? Do you really have to slap the reader on the head with all the information on their past together right away? Or is a subtle hint at the conflict just as effective?

    What do you all think? Writer's and reader's comments more than welcome!!

  119. Actually, Ruthy, I thought twice about using that scripture for my reflection pic because the photo I used was my best pic of a sundog.

    And while that in itself is spectacular, it looks like this giant eye ball in the sky. I thought it was cool to remind everyone that God is always watching you. However, when coupled with Jer 29:11, I've wondered if it seemed more of an eerie thing than a comfort to some people.

    And now you're mentioning it here. Although I understand your post is on over-use, it just seems strange that you would speak of it this week when I was already questioning it.

  120. sometimes one scripture being used in a few books can speak to a reader there have been times its just what I needed to read at that time. while it may annoy others there are probably some it is ministering to.

  121. Sorry, been at court all morning then lunch with a friend.

    I missed what happened to Helen, but I can only imagine. Sorry about that, Helen. I worry about mine getting hacked since I use an unsecured network a few times here and there. It makes me mad how these people take advantage and for what? What do they gain?

    Anyway, what I meant by 'feeling like I'm spammed' on Twitter is there are authors who show up in my feed more than I'd like pitching their book. Let's say I have 20 tweets, a good 15 of them may be from the same person with varying pitches or snippets from their book. I realize it's promotion and authors need to promote themselves but it's too much.

    Pam just released a book (like y'all didn't know) AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!!! Okay, any way she's promoting but she is NOT, I repeat NOT spamming my tweet box. I find her approach very professional and not like I'm swatting at an annoying fly.

    By the way, I'd love a chat or a book.

  122. Now wait.

    Julie, there's a difference between being obnoxious like the rest of us, and being obnoxious and CARING.

    The difference with our dear Julie HS is that she actually cares.

    So, she worries before she has to make her opinion known, states the opinion gently, then worries afterward that she might have hurt someone.

    She helps me remember to treat others gently.

    Or at least worry about how I've treated them AFTER I've given them the smack down.

  123. I like the idea of praying over the everyone and their words. Great idea.

  124. ANITA--

    LOL! I loved the 'eye is always watching you' verse.


    And somewhere (I think it's in my first post on Seekerville) there's a great article about that verse.

    How everyone quotes the first half... but there's more to that...

    Here's an excerpt. Pretty funny stuff.
    -----“Yay Lord!” I hear us all cry. Verses 11-14 are just the tonic we need. But did you see verse 10 – it’s going to take a while to happen.
    This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place."

    Ouch! 70 years!

  125. Yeah, my fantasy husband, he says I'm meek and mild--in my dreams.

    I'd like to be submissive...sometimes...I really would.

  126. Well, goodness gracious. I knew I came over here for information, but didn't realize it'd be to find out who that un-Helen-like person on FB was yesterday.

    Yes, I friended her too and was quite unnerved when she kept pushing me to contact the FB agent because I'd won some money. It was only after I repeated that Canada has strict laws against that sort of thing that they backed off.

    Praise God it wasn't the real Helen, because I like her.

    I will now proceed to unfriend and report the phoney one.

  127. This was a fantastic post. ; )

    Plus, my Novel Sister Carol with her colossal stack of books = AWESOME!!

  128. An important post, Ruthy! A lot of shameless self-promotion is -- well, shameless! We have to not push ourselves on others like some obnoxious salesmen. Most of us study hard to become good writers and most of us don't know much about selling and marketing. We should be careful how we do it. IMHO

  129. Phew, thanks Virginia. I feel better already. :)

  130. KRIS!!!!!!!!!

    I CANNOT WAIT to add yours to that stack my friend.

    Except that's a stack of Seeker books so it won't be in THAT stack, but you know what I mean ;).

  131. VIV,

    It depends on the story whether I want it spelled out or revealed late in the book.

    Sometimes I get tired of everything being a secret. Move on to the action, especially if it's not that important. If we're deep in the herione's pov, she's going to think of all those rotten things the hero did to tick her off and thats why she dumping coffee on his head right now.

    But sometimes, if the motivation/backstory is big and emotional, don't dump it on me. Give me hints and make me wonder what happened, and then BOOM, I finally get it.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Connie Queen

  132. Helen, I got a friend request from you. I saw it and thought, "Aren't Helen and I already friends?"
    But I of course accepted it. But I just now went and hunted and don't find TWO Helens. i just have the ventriloquist Helen. That's you, right? Like your picture here on Seekeville?

  133. I didn't notice any extra contacts because of the mysterious Faux Helen.

  134. If we have to ask to be in the cat's me asking. :)

  135. NOW AMY C and all you other Amish Make Up Phobic Readers, c'mon, the reason they slap totally inappropriate make up on those ladies is possibly because....without it....they are UGLY.

    Who's gonna buy that book, huh?

  136. Vince, I love Mary's word!!!!!

    Relentless.... It fits.

    Vince, I've used that quote... Hmm, in what book?

    "If God is with us, then who can be against us?" Was it Yuletide Hearts, Vince, because it fits with Emmanuel... God with us.

    Oh, Grr, I can't remember, but I love Paul's wisdom and his redemption from Saul to Paul. He's like the first Darth Vader...

    You know what I mean, do not scoff, it's really unbecoming!!!!


    Okay, gotta start a list and I have no WORD on this computer yet. That's one of tonight's jobs....

    I could use...



    Old school.

  137. Okay, I found my Sticky Notes in my computer so I'm jotting things down on Sticky Notes... I LOVE THAT PROGRAM!!!!!! NO LIE, NO EXAGGERATION.

    Ruthy Loves Sticky Notes.

    (Pass it on!)

  138. K.C., I wouldn't change a thing... May is a rescue dog herself, and I love, love, love how you handle that, so I'd keep it.

    I think what people object to is seeing the cruelty go unabated.

    Now personally I've read books and sometimes bad guys do really bad things and that includes family pets.... Or dysfunctional families where the dog is the scapegoat...

    To show a really conscienceless mind is to show child or animal abuse...

    But in a romance, you have to be very careful because while we all want fact and reality, the reader wants to feel the growing joy and love. So a rescued animal is always wonderful and I'm putting rescued horses (did I say this already today? I know I chatted with the folks from <a href="http://<>THIS OLD HORSE</a> about using their pics and talking with them about aging horses, rescue horses, etc.) And I know I've got folks offering comments on Facebook... and right there is another great use of Facebook and giving readers a chance to be part of the story's birth... I love getting advice from my Facebook friends.

    My hero's journey will shadow the horse's journey and it works beautifully in my head... now if I can just do it justice on paper.

    K.C. I think you're right on with the age thing too. Think Disney's Homeward Bound. I don't know an adult who doesn't enjoy those stories.

    Wonderful. As is yours!

  139. I knew it was Mary's fault.

    I agree with most of the reader comments. I guess writers should take a step back and view their work/attitude/approach to marketing from a reader's POV. If it would annoy/bother you, opt out.

    1. People on covers? Well, beautiful people on the covers help the overall experience. No, it's not reality, but fiction is not reality. I love the escape. I like that heroines are beautiful and heroes are handsome. I'm not shallow. I'm okay with physically imperfect H/H. Do their imperfections make it onto covers? Not usually, but I know that there is a disconnect between cover images and the images authors have when writing.

    I sort of like the covers they're doing that show part of the H/H, but not all of them. Like, part of their body, up to their chin. You know the ones.

    2. NEVER mess with animals. Movies, T.V., books, I will banish you, never to be heard from again. Animal abuse/neglect is prevalent in RL; I don’t need to read/see it when trying to enjoy some R&R.

    3. Typos? Yup. Usually one per book. No big deal. I get it. It’s bound to happen when you’re juggling even 40,000 words.

    4. Politics? *groans*

    5. Bible verses—I love the oft referred to verses, but being able to at least add some lesser known ones is much appreciated. It keeps us from getting desensitized to the spiritual tone of the book—from losing the connection with the H/H “because it’s been done too much.”

    6. Yes, please weave historical fact into historical fiction. It paints a much clearer, tangible picture.

    That’s my two cents worth!


  140. Melissa, oh, I knew I should call hubby...

    Melissa, meek and mild.

    Ruthy, meek and mild.

    All right, you and I need to go take some "Mary" classes.... but then I get to make a list of "Marys" I know and send them to Martha sessions.

    But then we'd probably all BLEND and what fun would there be in that?????

  141. Head hopping is something that bothers me. I can only tolerate so much of it.

  142. Mary, I love your word, although debacle does carry a certain Connealy-type-ring to it!



    It almost rhymes. :)

    Piper!!! Got it, cutie: Persist....

    And jotting it on my new Sticky Note program!


    Melissa... Connealy seems to suspect as I do.... Clearly you are misunderstood, dear.


    Patti Jo, you're in! And with that many cats, you're in twice! And published or not, these are good things to see/read/hear as you work your way toward the goal. Soak in all you can and run, screaming....

    Or stay the course and we'll just laugh and say "I told you so!" :)

    But would I change anything besides my hair color and wrinkles????




  143. Viv, I love your honesty.

    I skimmed and I wrote the darn thing.


    I'll pass your thanks on to Beth... she did a great job.

    I did pay her. She used to work for free to help me and then people started paying me...

    After a while she FIGURED IT OUT.

    Sheesh. ;)

    And yeah, we've heard about authors "capturing" names and e-mails, but that alone screams "DESPERATE AND NEEDY, NO ONE'S BUYING MY BOOKS, WHAAAA!!! WHAAAAA!!!! WHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!"

    People spend all that time messing up the rules and to what end?

    Nothing. Nada.

    They could have put that time to use writing a book...

    Polishing. Editing. Laughing, smiling, hugging a baby, for heaven's sake.

    Desperation does not a pretty author make.

  144. For sure! I agree and keep my personal profile non-writing related for the most part and only friend/accept friends that I'm actually friends with or have met in person or know. My author page is where the writing stuff is and a few personal things when they're related.
    Just like Melissa J. said, my family gets tired of hearing about the great book I just finished.
    I totally want my name in the cat dish for a chat with Ruthy. A couple of times if we can make that happen, LOL.
    Whitney, I was reading that and was like... yeah that's so Whitney!
    And Vince, I recognized your factoids and things you know that aren't so in your comment.
    I'm trying to incorporate a few of those in my historical when I can tie them to the story.

  145. JENNY!!!

    Jenny sent me a great e-mail and it didn't make it in because of my computer issues since Sunday...

    I thought I was all that and a bag o' chips organized... I'd taken every message from FB, every e-mail, every comment on FB and I copy and pasted them all into a Word file and saved it to my computer. The one whose fan seized up on Sunday.... So I got into when it cooled long enough to email the books I'm working on, the proposal I'm doing and the AFS for the covers, but I forgot to e-mail myself the Word Doc with everyone's pet peeves....


    And then it was in the shop and unattainable before today.

    But yeah, Jen, I know you are such a good friend to writers/authors. You go the distance, and you told me that sometimes that just gets you grief.

    That made me sad.

    We shouldn't ever make someone feel bad about a book. Oh, and I was in Walmart the other day and couldn't find Clari's book OR Myra's.... Now I'm going to the other one (opposite direction) in the next couple of days because I want those books.... I will find them or die, trying.

    (Well, if God wants me)

    But that God-guy, he's smart. And he's probably enjoying a NO-RUTHY-IN-HEAVEN respite right about now.

    Can't exactly blame him.

  146. Viv, you know what you've discovered?

    That what works for one reader, doesn't always work for others.

    My older sister fell in love with Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, a wonderful writer and I mean him no disrespect....

    (Picture this scene):

    "Ruthy, darling girl, you must read this book, it's just so amazingly good, it just rocked me to my core!"

    "What's it called?"

    "Angela's Ashes and it's just gripping beyond belief."

    "Okay, sure. Fine."

    So she gives me the book. I read the first chapter and put the book down and NEVER, EVER touch it again. Not because it wasn't well-written but it was the most depressing play-by-play of what I'd survived as a kid that I weighed suicide vs. murder...

    Okay, not really, but clearly for my sister reading about horrible alcoholism is soothing.


    No. No. No. Give me grace and warmth and light and promise and hope.

    If I want to be depressed I'll watch the National Debt clock <a href=">HERE</a> and wonder when we decided it was smart to stop paying our bills....

    People see stories differently, and that's probably a good lesson to learn and good for us all around... variety! But that doesn't mean we'll always understand it.

  147. Faction! I love that word. I will share it with historical writer buddies. I'm sure the poor word will be overused in no time.

    Insightful comments from readers, Ruthy. I read them through first as a reader, nodding in agreement. Then a second time, as a writer. And lo and behold, there was that light bulb moment (you know, the 'doh' momenh) when the oft-heard words "write what you love" finally sank in. Thank you for helping with that :-)

    Nancy C

  148. Ruthy! I just found sticky notes on my laptop. I am in trouble now.

    Piper, do virtual sticky notes work as well as the real thing?

    Peace, Julie

  149. Viv, I love that you were proactive and made up your own ending! My kind of girl.

    Sometimes I think authors get desperate to "break out" and hit the big time... or if they're "A" list authors, they want to go higher, get better credits, reviews, movies... So they use shock value.

    I remember an agent once saying that she cringed every time she heard an author say, "I really, really went deep inside and found myself this time," because she said it generally meant the book was 400 pages of depressing, unsalable scenes.


  150. Julie, LOL!

    Me, either.

    But mayhap, we're a work in progress?????


  151. Anita, you know what? I call that Holy Spirit Time.

    There's Miller time.

    There's good times.

    And there's Holy Spirit Time. Those nudges we get, those taps on the shoulder, those sudden thoughts for no particular reason. Not inspired by TV or radio or newspaper, just there: BOOM! Out of nowhere.

    Or creeping in alongside our hearts when we're watching a sunrise with 3 year olds.

    I think often those nudges come to many of us at once, and I don't know why.

    That's the second question for God.

    The first?


  152. Jenny, what a beautiful spin to put on the scripture use!

    Oh my stars, you are an eye-opener for sure.

    You're right, of course. Just like a book hits different readers in varying ways, a verse might help gentle readers here or there.

    Thank you for reminding us of that. That our overuse might be someone's blessing.

  153. Christina you're in!

    And I figured that's what you meant, but thank you for your perfect explanation.

    There's a fine line between marketing...
    and haranguing.

    Mother Teresa: "Peace begins with a smile."

    I used that quote in September's book and it's a perfect quote... not Biblical but so providential... and it's about building family peace.

    How often do we find ourselves wanting to be critical.... and if we smile instead, it turns the whole thing around?

    Christina, you bless us. I hope you know that!

  154. MVCM, Julie is here to remind us of more genteel ways...

    Very "Downton" of her, don't you agree?

    Whereas we are aggressive know-it-all Americans, a cheeky bunch.

    Good hearts and all, but really common folk.

    Like Tom the chauffer. I love Tom.

  155. Viv, Viv, pick me! Pick me!!! (raising hand frantically...)


    You know, it depends on the editor sometimes. In one book she had me put it all there in the opening pages. You knew exactly what had happened and what went on....

    But in others, she'll have me pull back and drop bits in slowly, like trolling for fish. Tidbits here and there. And when she read the latest manuscript she said "I love that you didn't reveal that up front! I kept wondering what had happened and then when it was explained, it all made perfect sense."

    But that was actually her idea originally, to stretch out that thread.

    I know they want the conflict there, up front, in a romance. They want readers to feel the energy zap... for some readers that's a turn-off, they want the build up, but that's not usually the way with category... And I'll tell you, I've learned so much by producing these sweet books that I should probably be paying them.

    (I'm kidding, Melissa... I love my paychecks. REALLY!!!!)

  156. Virginia, isn't a hoot what happens when we take a snip out of context....

    And then when we put it back in????

    Oh we are a clever people!

    Anita, now Helen's situation was a debacle. Dagnabbit, what wretched person wastes God-given time being a stupid jerk.


  157. KRISTY!!!!! So good to see you, lovely lady!!!!

    And don't you just love, love, love X 10,000,000 that pic of Carol??????

    I giggle every time I see it, because I'm imagining where she put the kids.

    Tucked in closets, no doubt.

    Stuffed under beds!!!!

    Maybe one in the dryer?????

  158. This comment has been removed by the author.

  159. Hey, we love to see Friends of Seekerville books in those stacks, Moncado.



    I make it a point to stock up on peeps books when they come out and give them away as a surprise... or eyes wide open, so you can include them in the next pic, 'kay????

    And we love that so many of you are getting the call.... getting agents.... getting close.... finalling in contests.... entering contests.... WORKING!!!!!

    So stinkin' proud!!!

  160. Mary, Faux Helen may have been confiscated.

    I haven't been over there to see, but I heard Faux Helen was NAUGHTY and CRUDE.

    And I teased Nice Helen about it before I realized how serious and AWFUL Faux Helen was.

    I hope he/she is gone.

    Bad boy. Girl. Whatever!

  161. UGLY AMISH????

    Can it be?

    You know the Amish are their own enigma. Can I say that here?

    I live near Amish country. My books are set in Amish country. And each community is its own little group of folks. Some like other Amish.

    Some don't.

    Some like us Englischers.

    Some don't.

    So it's an interesting mix and rarely do you find those real differences in Amish fiction.

    I wonder what they'd think of it sometimes?

  162. Helen said: "Yes, Mary, the dummy is me!"

    Ruthy fell down laughing and can't get up....

    Call for help.


  163. Whitney May I hire you to either write or edit my next post?


    That was so stinkin' perfect....

    I got nothin'!

    Nada. Zilch. You covered it.

    So I'm resisting the urge to say more... but it's so hard for me.

    So very hard.

  164. Helen, that's an interesting point.

    When I read head-hopping authors (Nora Roberts, LaVyrle Spencer) it doesn't bother me at all because I read it for so long that is seems fast-paced and just plain right....

    So now the trend is to carefully thread the POV's and we lose pacing.

    And surprise. And it weakens fun reparte in lots of ways.

    But... it can be done and it's the lay of the land and it's what's getting me a paycheck so I obey the rules, but I kinda like those head-whipping pages...

    Not when someone changes mid-paragraph, but from paragraph to paragraph...

    His Pov...

    Now hers, frantic....

    His, making fun of her....

    Hers, less frantic but possibly homicidal...

    His, smirking....

    Hers, reaching for dried out large pizza as a weapon....

    His hand, grabbing hers.

    Her gaze, lifting....


  165. Nancy Kimball, you're in! And hey, just to be fair, I included all the peeps that responded to me on FB and in e-mails in the cat dish, so if I pull out someone who isn't here today, but is in the post or sent me stuff, don't think I'm a big, bad cheater-pants...

    I promised I'd throw them in but for the life of me cannot even imagine why you'd want to talk... because youse know you won't get a word in edgewise, right?

    And no making fun of my annoying voice.

    Oh, grr, it's what I was born with. And I don't hear what youse hear when I talk, so I get a nice, resonant, sweet tone...

    You get kind of a sing-songy annoying voice that makes fingernails on a chalkboard sound inviting.

    I'm not kidding.


    Maybe a little. A smidge. Perhaps.

  166. Julie, Sticky Notes Are Da Bomb!

    Dey go "Boom!"

  167. Mrs. Curry!!!!!

    She's got her teachin' cap on!

  168. Aw, Nancy C., I just love when you comment.

    Because I felt the same way when I read those letters and e-mails. They made me feel like no matter where I'm at, I can and should do better...

    And that was a good thing to see!

  169. OOOPS. Off to delete and recomment.

  170. Strike two!!! Blogger is a head.

    Me? Bless? What brought that on? Wait, I don't want to know. Time to go back to my cave.

    V, you said something profound earlier and I was going to comment but I forgot what it was. Hmmmm......

    You have to forgive me. I just got back from Romper Room, I love those kids, kinda, sorta, maybe. They did make me feel better after not receiving a friend invite from the Helen who really isn't Helen. I mean, what's up with that? I can't even get spammers to be my friend. No worries, I'll get over it. ;)

    Mary, I've decided your word should be bask. That is if you don't have one. You know, like a turtle basks in the sun? Just bask.

    Melissa, I've been thinking about this fantasy husband, trying to think what mine would say and I draw a blank.

    Julie H.S., (V's comment is starting to come back, not quite though) you obnoxious, caring worry-wart, you. What are we supposed to do with people like you who consider their words, before and after the fact?

  171. Christina, the fantasy husband says the opposite of the zinger he likes to get you with, the one which you can't deny, because you know it's true. But you just stay silent so you don't have to admit it.

  172. Hmmm...what's the opposite of severe OCD?

  173. Btw, Melissa, are you going to conference this year?

  174. which, Called to Write or ACFW? But the answer is, I don't know yet, to either. :)

  175. Christina, I'm so sorry you didn't make the Faux Helen cut....

    Hey, that's sports, honey.

    We roll with the punches.

    And striking out with Blogger???? Hey, that's a regular thing 'round here. Working on Beth's computer her IE kept fighting with Blogger and it stared me down when I tried to upload pics....

    I'm not even kidding.

    Almost scary.

    But not quite.

    Do you have any idea what Melissa Jagears is talking about, darling???? And what are you doing with her husband?

    And is it the fantasy one or the real one?

    I'm just wondering.

  176. Just dropping by to say, I totally feel like a clutz with the facebook author page and normal friend thing. I never know which info to post where, and then I never want to bother going to facebook to post anything. So I pretty much ignore them both!

    But I did post on my very neglected author page a month ago that I started writing the sequel to Sanctuary for a Lady. And guess what? People actually cared and were like "Oh that's great! When will it be out? I want to read it." And they were a bunch of people I didn't really know, (since I ignore fb). And I was like, "Wow, cool!" Four people whom I've never met actually care that I'm hunched over my computer writing a story. Who would have guessed."

    Then I wondered if I should try to talk to the nice people more and couldn't figure out what to say. :-/

  177. Ruthy, I figured if Melissa could have a fantasy husband I could too. ;)

    Melissa, both. I'm debating on both. I would really like to go to ACFW we'll see, though.

  178. This comment has been removed by the author.

  179. Oh, and I will say that at some point (not sure when, exactly), when I got reader emails, I started asking people if they'd like to be put on a mailing list so that they get an email when my next book comes out. Every one of them has answered back with a resounding yes. So I ask, they say yes and seem pretty happy. I'm not being pushy or highjacking anything, am I?

    And I'm not exactly asking for reviews or likes on facebook or anything READERS have to do. I'm just asking if I'm allowed to send them an email.

    Now if only I can figure out how those mass email list things work before my next book comes out. Gulp. Good thing I've got another 12 months to go!

  180. Ruthy, I'm up for the 20 minute phone call, as I would love to bounce a couple of plots off of you.

    I had an author suggest something to me that I may try whenever the blessed day arrives. For every valid mistake found, thank the person and offer to send them a copy of your next book or a copy of the existing one autographed to someone else.

    I'm still praying for readers.

    And remembering my word: FINISH!

  181. LOL, Ruthy. Anytime. ;)

    *waving* Hi, N.K.! Looking forward to next Feature. :D


  182. OMG, Ruthy! You could've expanded this post into at least 2 of them, if not three! Great idea asking READERS what works. Afterall, we need to keep them coming back for more.

    And honey, who wouldn't like a 20 minute conversation with you...of course, there's no way it'll be 20 spend the first 20 minutes just saying hi! LOL!

    Great post, babes!!!

  183. i am here checking in. tired but here. the wrist is giving me grief.
    most authors are great but some dont understand about promoting. one thing i did say was when a person hosts an author on a blog its nice when there are comments for them to be acknowledged. i have had a few authors ask for a spot but once i get the interview back i never hear again. again not many but a few.

  184. As a reader I will forgive the odd error in a book, but if they continue I have to pass on the book.

  185. Naomi, LOL! That's so true. I think Sandra feels much the same way on facebook.

    And you know it's not for everyone.

    I like chit-chatting and checking in and "seeing" people. Laughing with them and praying for them....

    But I have so little time that I feel like I'm neglectful if I don't pop over a couple of times a day because they may not know or care that I'm in absentia, but I do.

    I love that you're writing a sequel and I think that's your best, best friend right there.

    Write. Write. Write.

    I know, I'm redundant and probably boring, but as the books mount, so do the readers...

    And the more readers you have, the more fun social media becomes.

    But I need food.

    And we appear to be foodless.

    Dadgum, I'm grabbing some crescent rolls and making "Honey-rolls"...

    Right now.

  186. Naomi, that's exactly how to do it.

    You ask.

    They answer.

    And Mary's got the easiest one ever, it's a Yahoo group she formed to send out e-mails and newsletters.

    No fancy format.

    No fees for the author.

    Simple write the e-mail and click...


    I love simple.

  187. Walt, you're in and I love talking to you, too.

    Are those plots wearing Kevlar???

    Because I come packing heat and shooting bullets through weak plots.


    Hey, that's an interesting idea, Walt. Sending a different book and passing it on.

    I just scowl and tell 'em to get over it.

    Clearly your way is BETTER!!!!

    I love your word... I would pick that word for you if you hadn't picked it yourself. It's perfect....

    Finish the book, finish the book, finish the book...

    This is our mantra, my friend!

  188. Audra, I know... on both counts.


    And 20 minutes is the minimum.... I think Julie Steele and I spent an hour or better on the phone... and now we're besties.

    You guys all know it's okay to have lots of besties, right?

    One bestie????

    Way too limiting.

    That's like one favorite episode of NCIS too limiting.

    Expand. Reach out. Gladden. Develop multiple besties.

    So totally worthwhile.

  189. JENNY!!!!

    I did that to you.

    I forget when I'm on, the kids get here, and then I forget to check in and I'm a TOTAL LOSER.

    I will never forget that.

    Loser Ruthy.


  190. Mary, I agree. Any book can have a mis-step or printing error. And if it's a printing error that affects pages, they'll replace the book for you.

    Which is only right.

    The occasional error is understandable, but I read a book in a major contest last year. A published book, and in that book a character's name was one thing for half the book...

    Then a similar but different name (think Amanda vs. Angela) for the second half.

    And it was disconcerting that neither an editor or the author read that final copy carefully enough to find this often-repeated mistake. It was the hero's deceased wife, and it took me right out of the story when she suddenly changed identities from the grave.

    A simple Find and Replace takes care of that error.... Or, if it's in edits, a careful read through... Or "find" on your computer file to flag every page you have to change on the new file....

    and then you check those pages to make sure you've changed them manually.

    That kind of error is carelessness and readers deserve better than that.

  191. The readers had some good tips for writers! as well as for life in general! you could never be boring Ruth and Mary!

  192. Shelia, I love it when you stop by!!!

    Hey, fresh coffee...

    Or soda.

    Your choice.

    And really? You don't find Mary boring???

    'Cause I do.


  193. I enjoyed this post. Very practical. I have to agree with the comment made about book covers. I have a problem with that - big time. As to Julie's comment about her book cover - I was reading that book and kept turning back to the front cover frustrated. It would only seem realistic to add at least one scar. Nice to hear that she agreed.
    I have a word for 2013 as well, even though it is not on the list. It is trust. Last year I had eternal - trying to gain a bigger, better perspective but half way through the year I realized I couldn't have an eternal - give it all to God's big plan outlook when I didn't fully trust Him. That was an ouch and an eye-opener. So this year I am backing up a (huge) step.
    Thanks to all here at Seekerville. I receive the notification of the post a whole day late, but then I can get a good morning laugh at all the shenanigans that go on here. Thanks!
    Add me to the bowl of names. I would love a phone call with Ruth. Just read over at Alley Cats what a great encourager she is!

  194. What a great post! Please enter me in the drawing!
    Amber S.
    Larkspur, cO

  195. This post was thought-provoking and hilarious! In fact, I absolutely must check out your books because I LOVE your voice!

  196. Great post, even when it's read a day late! Thanks for the heads-up, Ruthy. You're so wise for a woman so young...