Seekerville: The Journey Continues | (page 121 of 124)


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

   If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to

The following folks have bingo-ed their way into our hearts by 
loving Christian fiction, Christian fiction authors and
Seekers and Seekervillagers! 
E-mail us at and we'll 
send you the recipe book file! 

Beth Jamison
Sally Shupe
Tracey Hagwood
Cindy Regnier (BLACKOUT BINGO!)
Sherida Stewart
Jeanne T
Sandy Smith
Caryl Kane
Julia Buzard
Sabrina Templin

Congratulations ladies, and thank you from all of us in Seekerville! 

Monday: Jan Drexler gave us interesting insight as she discussed Redeeming Darth Vader. Sharee Stover is the winner of copies of "The Prodigal Son Returns" and "An Amish Courtship."

Tuesday: DiAnn Mills joined us with a discussion on Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Wednesday: Debby Giusti hosted Villager Walt Mussell. Walt shared his experience with Kindle Scout in a blog post titled, "The Opportunity of Kindle Scout."  Walt is giving away four copies of his historical romance, The Samurai’s Heart. The lucky winners are Chill N (Nancy C), Anna Taylor Sweringen, Carolyn Astfalk, and Connie ( Congrats!

Thursday: Cara Grandle shared the Newest in Writing Tools with an assortment of craft books she likes... winner of "Write with Excellence" by Joyce Ellis is Anne Carol! 

Weekend Edition

Monday:  You don't want to miss Erica Vetsch today with "How Writing a Book is Like Making a Quilt."

Wednesday:  Melanie Dickerson will be continuing her fantastic blog series with "Conflict & Tension Part 2!"

Friday: Amanda Cabot joins us and offers A Conference Quiz! 

Weekend Edition

Don't miss this amazing sale on Ruth Logan Herne's "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" going on for four more days! $2.00 KINDLE EDITION for this wonderful 4-Star rated story of how an old pledge between three girls in foster care becomes the kept promise in a snow-filled Western New York town a dozen years later. If you love faith and friendship and have a heart for romance... this book's for you!

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition
Join Seeker Pam Hillman and 29 other authors on the
Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!
March 1st through March 4th
For more Details, Click Here!

Jan Drexler is taking part in a reader event in June in Deadwood, SD! There will be some other familiar names attending! Click here for more information. This is a great vacation destination spot for readers, and there are still a few open spaces for authors!

Weekend Edition

Jan Drexler will also be visiting some blogs to talk about "The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart." Be sure to stop by!
Amish Fiction Authors
The Yankee-Belle Cafe

The third book in Debby Giusti's Amish Protectors Series, entitled AMISH RESCUE, will be out in April. Here's a sneak peek!

Weekend Edition

Amish Rescue
By Debby Giusti

Hiding with the Amish
Englischer Sarah Miller escapes her captor by hiding in the buggy of an Amish carpenter. Joachim Burkholder is her only hope—and donning Plain clothing is the only way to keep safe and find her missing sister. But for Joachim, who’s just returning to the Amish, the forbidden Englischer is trouble. Trapping her kidnapper risks his life, but losing Sarah risks his heart.

Pre-Order HERE!

Weekend Edition

The Difference Between a Revision, a Rewrite, and a Redraft by Janice Hardy at Fiction University

How I Boosted Print Sales by Discounting My Ebooks by Beth Revis at Bookbub Partners Blog

Emotion Commotion: Getting Emotion Right on the Page by Margie Lawson, Writers In The Storm

4 Tips to Declutter Your Writing  featured at Books and Such

What Should Be In Your Files another great tip from Books and Such!

Published contests open for entries are ACFW's Carol Awards (deadline March 15th) and FHL's Reader's Choice Awards (deadline March 1st).

The ACFW Genesis Contest (deadline March 15th) for unpublished authors is also accepting entries.

Weekend Edition

Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't

Do you all remember that game? They featured it in "The Santa Clause", starring Tim Allen. It was his ex-wife's Christmas wish and she realized that there was no Santa Claus because she never, ever got the game... And she was CRUSHED....


Well today we're not crushing anybody's spirits. We are not stomping on anyone's dreams. Today we're going to have fun.

Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't

How, you ask?

By working together.

Today is all about you. About your work. Your thoughts. Your prayers. Your goals.

Tell us what we can pray for. Tell us where you see yourself in two years. Five years.

Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't

Years ago I was at an ACFW conference and I had signed up for a fifteen minute slot with a big author. She asked me about goals and dreams and said "Ruth, where do you see yourself in five years?"

And I said "I'll be like you, a multi-published, award-winning author, living my dream."

She looked startled and said, "Let's pray."

I felt like I wasn't supposed to have the audacity to say that in the presence of greatness. Now maybe I caught her off guard, maybe it came out wrong and she didn't mean that I'd need a boatload of prayer to get there... BUT THAT'S HOW IT FELT. :) So I hope I've been careful not to squash or quash dreams, hopes and aspirations.


Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't

So here's the scoop: You are my mystery dates. 

If you want to post a short excerpt about your hero or heroine or story, post it and I'll tell you what I think... and I'll advise... but you don't have to take the advice, because you know your story best!

Are you feeling brave?

Are you feeling confident?

Doesn't matter.

Like Nike says:  Just Do It.

And we'll play. I've got most of the day at home today, so it's the perfect time for you to be my Mystery Date!!!!

Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't

Coffee is here.... and fresh Cronuts from NYC because you might need sustenance.

And the other gals may stop in and offer wisdom.... So where else can you get a published audience, looking at your work... and praying for your success? Just like we prayed for one another's!

Grab a cuppa and let's have some fun!

Mystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't
Multi-published, award-winning and sometimes bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves to cheer others on to success, sometimes by helping them, often by browbeating them. She smiles when she does it to lessen the pain (or so she thinks). Make her feel good about herself today by jumping in and having some fun with her... She did bring you pretend food, after all! :) And she didn't add ONE BOOK LINK to this post. Right there you know it's all about you!!!! Although there might be a surprise drawing at the end of the day... you never can tell when Ruthy's in the house.

The Newest in Writing Tools

Welcome all you wonderful writers, 

Cara Grandle here.

If you would like to listen to this post instead of reading it, here is my podcast link with a little more information and some sass. Life Caraphrased.


Today’s Seekerville post will add to your resource pile. I would like to introduce you to several up and coming or newly-released craft tools. Some are books and some are moooooore than books.

If you don't have access to the podcast through iTunes above, here is a link. Life Caraphrased-Seekerville Edition. 

First of all, hats off to Julie Lessman who let me blog in her place. To say thank you, I’d like to give a shout out to her Non-fiction book, Romance-ology 101.


Julie will teach you how to keep the careful balance between the gas pedal and the brakes when writing the passion in your romance.

And now on to our next introduction.

Did you know that Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young have put their heads and experience together and wrote a new non-fiction series? The first short book in the series, Finding and Working with an Editor will release on March 15, 2018. Available for pre-order now. Here is a blurb:

Finding the right editor can be daunting. And the wrong editor? Devastating! How do you know who (or whom) to trust? Easy. Use the insider information, tested tips, and wealth of worksheets shared by a seasoned editor to guide you.

And for a straight up grammar, punctuation, usage craft book, how about checking our Joyce K Ellis’s Writing with Excellence 201



She adds a clever charm to all the gritty craft layers. Joyce has kindly offered to provide a GIVE AWAY!!!  ANYONE who leaves a comment will be added into the drawing.

And if you soak up all you can from those, then you will love adding Melissa Jagears’s new writers life hack.

Seriously, this non-fiction tool is a must. If you haven’t met Melissa yet, let me tell you she is one sharp cookie. She’s managed to use some of the engineering-math-y type tools that are hidden behind the scenes inside both WORD, OPEN OFFICE and SCRIVENER to make a search-and-destroy-weasel-words cheat that will save you loads of time in your editing process. 


Seekerville people can download the templates or macro code for free using coupon "SEEKERVILLE" until the end of February. Here is a blurb about her craft tool and a link:
Weasel Words
Self-edit better with software you already own!
Whether you’re a writer editing your first novel or a seasoned author wanting to provide your editor with cleaner copy, searching out particular words in your manuscript can help you self-edit with confidence. Weasel words aren’t just words that have weaseled their way into your writing and need to be tossed back out; many can alert you to places where rewriting will help keep readers enthralled.
If you don’t have the luxury of having a writing expert point out your mistakes, Word, Open Office, and Scrivener can be taught to highlight your weasel words with just one click of a button. And with the clear instructions and examples in this book, you’ll know what to do with each and every weasel word you encounter.
Inside this self-editing mini-workshop for novelists, you’ll learn how to set up your writing software to catch everything from grammar flubs to writing craft problems. You’ll be certain you’ve never used a single your or you’re incorrectly, you’ll find places where you’ve told instead of shown, and much more.
Understanding weasel words can help writers at every stage improve their writing without the hefty cost of extra editing.

And after all that goodness I want to make sure you've heard about The Christian Writers Institute.

CWI is an online resource for writers. Think conference caliber teachers and speakers at your fingertips, in your preferred style of learning. Video courses, Audio classes, PDFs, and a place to find all there is on writing craft books. The best-of-the-best teaching you in the comfort of your own home, on your own terms.

If you sign up for the newsletter you can receive a free ebook on how to write a proposal written by Steve Laube of the Steve Laube Agency himself. Talk about learning from the source of proposal wisdom.


Yes. There is more. I hope I don’t sound to used-car sales-ish, but I can’t help it. These new tools are cool.

Did you notice that The Christian Writer’s Market Guide has been revised for 2018.


This is the book for you, if you are looking for where to send short stories and articles for possible publication.

Childrens stories, poems, interviews and soul-enriching real stories are all being requested. If you want to see who-is-who for publishing houses, editors, and agents, the CWMG is a staple.

Annnnnnd, they now have a continuously updated subscription version that you can pay for monthly ($5.99 per month), Semi-annually ($3.00 per month), or Annually ($2.09 per month.) You pay for this and no more dead leads. How cool is that? Thank you Steve Laube! Here is the link.

It’s always easier if you have the write tools for the job. Haha. Yes, a corny joke. I couldn’t help myself.

Craft tools can help stir the pot on the sticky parts of your WIP. You can never have too many.

Thank you for letting me show you what’s new. Never stop learning, my Seekerville friends, never stop learning.

Have you heard of these? Are any of these interesting to you? What is your favorite craft help? Any new craft helps or hacks that you want to let the Seekerville crew know about? Don’t forget all commenters will be added into the giveaway, a copy of Joyce's "Write With Excellence 201".

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

I'm so happy to welcome fellow Georgia Romance Writer and Seeker Villager, Walt Mussell, to Seekerville today. Walt's going to explain an amazing opportunity for writers and readers. Walt, thanks for being with us!

Debby, thank you for having me. I’m ecstatic to be back in Seekerville!

I still remember back in March 2017 when I received an email from Amazon notifying me that my novel, The Samurai’s Heart, had been selected for publication through the Kindle Scout program. I think the word “finally” accompanied the relief that flowed through me. I showed the email to my wife and then sat down and let it sink in. . .I was going to be a published author.

So I’m here today to talk about Kindle Scout and the opportunity it provides not only unpublished authors, but ANYONE who wishes to submit their novel for consideration.

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

Kindle Scout is an ongoing, reader-driven competition. It can be found at Authors submit an unpublished work to Amazon, along with their bio, a blurb, a tagline, and the answers to a few author-type questions. Amazon will review your submission, and then create a campaign page with an excerpt, posting it on the Kindle Scout website. Submissions are never removed from the site, so I’ve posted a screenshot of mine below.

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

The excerpt will be posted for 30 days, along with 150-200 other hopefuls. Readers will vote on the submissions. After the 30-day period expires, Amazon reviews the campaign and notifies you of their decision. The whole process, from submission to notification, lasts no longer than 45 days.

For readers, aka Scouters, it’s a great opportunity. If you vote for a book that’s selected by Amazon, you receive a free copy prior to the publish date. Scouters can have only three active votes at one time, so avid Scouters review books that are soon to expire and then choose new ones when their votes open up again.

For authors, though, it’s nail biting…and only 3% are chosen.

So would I recommend it? The answer is yes. The whys are below.

1)    Before you submit to Amazon, you must polish your book. Had I not been selected, I would have self-published my book. It was ready to go.   

2)    If you self-publish your book, Amazon sends out an e-mail blast to everyone who voted for you, providing instant traction.

3)    During your Kindle Scout campaign, you receive a lot of stats from Amazon on things like where your traffic is coming from, how many page views you have, and your time in the “Hot and Trending” category (the top 20 books on the site). The only thing you don’t know is the number of nominations you have.  I’ve posted a picture of my page view stats below.

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

So what does it take to be selected? I wish I had a straight answer. The Kindle Scout Winners don’t know for certain either. Is it the “Hot and Trending” list? Is it the number of page views or nominations? Amazon will not comment. My personal thought on the subject is traffic. Kindle Scout is a bit like a literary Netflix. If selected, your e-book becomes exclusive to Amazon. Books that expand traffic to new readers grow the reader base. Books that get readers to spend a lot of time on a selection get noticed by Amazon.

In other words, the most important thing remains the same. . .the book.

I have asked some of my fellow Kindle Scouters for their suggestions on what authors should concentrate on. Two comments are below:

“Focus on the story and learning how to hook readers. First impressions matter a lot for newcomers.”
-          Lincoln Cole, author of Kindle Scout winner Raven’s Peak and the Kindle Scout Guide (a primer for authors planning to submit)

“Kindle Scout readers and publishers are looking for well-written, marketable books. So, focus on having a spectacular one line and blurb, a good cover, and a well-written, well-edited book, not on the campaign itself. That's your free ticket to a contract.”
-          Cristiane Serruya, USA Today bestselling author and Kindle Scout winner with her book Love Painted in Red

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

One thing more to mention. Your submission is the signing of a contract. When you submit, you give a 45-day exclusive to Amazon and you’re committed if Amazon says yes. But the benefits make it worth it:

1)    A $1,500 advance
2)    Retention of paperback rights. Easy reversion of other rights.
3)    Amazon’s marketing

Seekerville, thank you again for having me. Please ask any questions you have about Kindle Scout. I’m giving away four e-copies of my book. I can send these pretty much anywhere in the world. (e.g. I’ve sent books as gifts from the U.S. and people have been able to download them in other countries.) For anyone interested, Amazon has my e-book on sale for $1.99 in the U.S. (link: ) and Canada (link:

The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt Mussell

Also, I have a new website at It just went live this month and I would love visitors, as well as people to sign up for my newsletter. (I was at a conference last November and one of the publishers told me I would need a newsletter of 7000 for them to consider a book like mine. This will take time. 😊) Thank you.

Walt Mussell lives in an Atlanta-area suburb with his wife and their two boys. He works for a non-bank finance company and writes in his spare time. Walt primarily writes historicals, with a particular focus on Japan, an interest he gained during the four years he lived there. He refers to his work as “Like Shogun, but the heroine survives.”

Walt is a member of Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. He is a 2017 Kindle Scout winner, which led to the contract for his first novel, The Samurai's Heart. 

The Samurai's Heart
Imagine you're in medieval Japan where your duty to faith can get you killed...or worse.
With the death of her older sister and sole sibling, Sen must return home and find a husband to marry into the family swordsmith business. Failure ensures her family's craft, honed through generations, will die. Her father's handsome apprentice, Nobuhiro, would seem the ideal choice for a husband and her parents press the issue.  Sen rejects this offer as she wants a Christian husband, difficult as the religion is banned. Eschewing her parents' advice, Sen decides to seek out local Christians to find a suitable match.

The prodigal third son of a high-level samurai, Nobuhiro seeks to prove his worth to his harsh father by becoming a great swordsmith. But when his master's daughter begins seeking local Christians, he finds he must protect her from the group of anti-Christians that killed her sister. Despite his growing attraction to her, he believes her devotion to her faith reckless. Yet failure to protect her dooms the family he serves. And falling for a Christian dooms reconciliation with his own father, who must enforce the ban.

Will faith forge love or will it forge death?

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Guest Blogger DiAnn Mills

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

A successful writer builds her marketing and promotion platform long before a single word is written. When a story idea settles into the writer’s heart and mind, she considers how the story content can draw in readers. This doesn’t mean the writer looks to the latest trends to mine book topics, but it does mean she actively seeks opportunities to share her story in ways that provide inspiration and encouragement for her readers.

The focus on marketing and promotion doesn’t divert from creating a quality project. It adds value with fresh writing and enhances the ability to propel the project into the reader’s hands.
When developing a marketing and promotion program, consider all that drives a book to the retailer’s shelf: readers’ specific needs, dreams, strengths, challenges, and desires.
How can story content meet those criteria? Develop blog themes, contests, memes, book signings, speaking events, hashtags, giveaways, podcasts, Pinterest board(s), posting tips, videos, speaking topics, and whatever other social media platforms that will fit into the writer’s brand.

Agents and editors are attracted to writers who embrace a can-do attitude to marketing and promotion. The following are a few items to consider in proactive marketing and promotion.

        When a writer has a grasp on how to approach readers with a targeted topic or genre, every thought has value.
        Each scene or section of a book has potential. Look to the subject matter for distinct possibilities to draw attention to the writing project.
        At the completion of the book, the writer is able to compose and calendar blogs, contests, memes, hashtags, tweetables, giveaways, and events.
        The writer can request guest blogs months in advance, ensuring the exact date of the book release corresponds with the blog post.
        Promotion events can be scheduled, planned, and perfected months ahead of the designated time.
        A successful writer who has mastered marketing and promotion is eager to begin the next project.

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

For example: Bonnie Bestseller is writing a novel about a heroine who works as a coffee barista in Telluride, Colorado. The story takes place in January when the town is filled with skiing enthusiasts. Business is booming, and the coffee shop centers as a conversation spot. Bonnie has sworn off dating and refuses any of the male flirting tactics.

In the midst of keeping customers happy, the coffee shop is sold to a single man who knows nothing about roasting coffee beans, making delicious drinks, or keeping patrons happy. He’s shy, extremely good looking, knows nothing about snow or skiing, doesn’t drink coffee, and requires the heroine’s help to make the coffee shop a continued success. The thought of working for her boss is detestable, but she has no choice.

The writer creates a spreadsheet titled: Marketing and Promotion. She lists the ideas that pop into her head with the understanding some will be tossed and others will be valuable. For example:
       Skiing Tips the First Day on the Slopes
       Coffee Addicts are Fun
       Memes or Instagram:
       A photo of someone reading your book and drinking coffee - “Common          Grounds is the best romance ever!”
       In my new novel Common Grounds, my heroine is a barista who works for a man who hates coffee or tea. What is your favorite go-to beverage when it’s cold outside?

       Love #coffee and #romance? Common Grounds @BonnieBestseller will thrill you. (click to tweet)
       A humorous video on grinding coffee.
       Contest Giveaways:
       Gift card to Starbucks
       Speaking Topics:
       Coffee Research
       Board about coffee roasting, brewing, etc.
       Board about skiing tips
       Board about what to see and do in Telluride
       Where I find story ideas.

Re-visit and complete this process when the story is in the galley stage while the contents are fresh on your mind. The technique saves time and is filled with numerous ways to promote your next book.

Click on this link where you’ll find a spreadsheet titled Proactive Marketing and Promotion to assist in the process of marketing and promotion during the writing phase. 

With a little forethought, traditional and Independent publishing efforts become enjoyable and simplified.

Are you ready to accept the challenge?

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Proactive Marketing and Promotion
High Treason

When someone attempts to assassinate a Saudi Prince on U.S. soil, FBI Agent Kord Davidson and CIA Operative Monica Alden head up a task force to keep the Prince safe and find those responsible to avoid an international incident that could have devastating consequences.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

Proactive Marketing and Promotion
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at

Redeeming Darth Vader

Redeeming Darth Vader
Jan Drexler
When we talk about antagonist we love to hate, Darth Vader has to be at the top of the list.

Who can forget the scene in Star Wars IV when Darth Vader comes striding out of the smoke of the laser fire, the sound of his ominous mechanical breathing adding an unknown power to his imposing figure? Just the sight of him was enough to strike terror into the faint of heart!

Face it. As much as we cheered for Luke, Leia, and Han in that movie, Vader was the one who stole the show. He was unforgettable.

He was the quintessential antagonist.

What is an antagonist?

There are two basic kinds of antagonists in fiction: personal and impersonal.

The impersonal antagonist is a force the protagonist needs to fight against. It might be a major weather event, or a natural disaster. It might be something like a mountain that needs to be conquered or a war that needs to be won. Or it might be the lies that trap the protagonist in a dead-end life.

Redeeming Darth Vader

The personal antagonists are more apparent. These characters are the bullies, the rivals, or the murderers...anyone that the protagonist has to strive against to meet his goal.

How do you use an antagonist in your story?

In my first book, "The Prodigal Son Returns," I had an antagonist that worked well for my character, Bram. A 1930's era Chicago gangster was on the hunt for him after finding out that Bram had been an informant for the FBI. As Bram hides out in his childhood home - the Amish community in northern Indiana - this antagonist is an impersonal threat in the background for most of the story. Will he find Bram or won't he?

But the story needed another antagonist. One that was more personal. One that would force Bram to make decisions that would propel the story forward.

I decided to use Bram's estranged brother, Samuel. In this book, Samuel was the perfect foil for Bram. He reminds Bram of all the reasons why he left the Amish community in the first place. When Samuel appears in the story, he comes across as a bully. Someone who forces Bram to dig deep into a past he would rather forget.

Redeeming the antagonist.

When the book was finished and I had the opportunity to write more Amish stories for Love Inspired Historical, I kept thinking about Samuel. Would he always remain an antagonist?

My August 2017 release, "An Amish Courtship," was my chance to let Samuel tell his side of the story. I had learned a lot about writing between my first book and this seventh one, and I was finally able to turn Samuel into a sympathetic character.

In this book, he starts out in the same place where we left him in Bram's story. Samuel is a bully with no friends, lost in his own self-pity. But he couldn't stay there if I was going to show readers how he was being redeemed. He had a lot to learn, but with the help of a good woman - Mary, the heroine - and his own antagonist to work against, he discovered how to trust God and became the man he always wanted to be.

Like Bram, Samuel had two antagonists. His rival for Mary's affections was one, but the other one was internal. Impersonal. Samuel had to fight against the self-image his dysfunctional childhood had seared into his heart and mind. But his trust in God and his love for Mary conquered the antagonist and Samuel found redemption.

Redeeming Darth Vader

Redemption comes at great cost.

In Star Wars, The Return of the Jedi, Luke saw Darth Vader's redemption, but at the cost of his father's life. George Lucas knew the value in bringing Darth Vader - Anakin Skywalker - full circle, back to the man he had once been rather than the monster he had become.

As the author, you get to choose if and how your antagonist can be redeemed. And that's a story we all need to hear.

Who are some of your favorite antagonists?

Redeeming Darth Vader
Redeeming Darth VaderI'm giving away one copy each of "The Prodigal Son Returns" (in a 2in1 volume) and "An Amish Courtship" to one commenter so you can read Samuel's journey from antagonist to hero for yourself. Be sure to tell me you want to be in the drawing!

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

   If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to
Monday: The winners of a copy of Missy Tippens's new novella release, Back to You, are JeanneT and Amy Anguish!

Tuesday: Audra Harders talked about Storyworld and eggs...if you're curious, pop back and check it out, LOL. Winners of a signed copy of the 2in1 collection feat. Rocky Mountain Hero: Connie, Nicki Chapelway, Sandy Smith.

Wednesday: Megan Besing posed the question "What Does Valentine's Day Mean To You?" The winner of The Mail-Order Brides Collection is Amy Anguish!

Thursday:  Ruthy (Ruth Logan Herne) cleaned a closet and found THREE COPIES of "Swept Away" her newest Guideposts mystery... so the lucky winners from her Thursday post "Ten Tips to Succeed at Writing Without Really Trying" are Crystal, Tammie Eddington Shaw (great name!) and Linda Matchett. Congratulations! 

Weekend Edition

Monday:  Jan Drexler will be Redeeming Darth Vader. Can this be done? Stop in and see!

Tuesday:  Author DiAnn Mills will be bringing a fantastic post on "Proactive Marketing and Promotion" geared for the busy writer. You don't want to miss her excellent example!

Wednesday:  Debby Giusti hosts Villager Walt Mussell. Walt will share his experience with Kindle Scout in a blog post titled, "The Opportunity of Kindle Scout." Stop by to learn more about the program that benefits writers and readers. Walt will be giving away four copies of his historical romance, The Samurai’s Heart.

Thursday:  Stop by and check out "The Newest In Writing Tools" with Cara Grandle. Cara is offering a craft book giveaway as she explores some great tools of the trade!

Friday: MYSTERY FRIDAY!!! Who knows what Friday the 23rd will bring? Whatever it brings, it will be fun, informative and certainly worth a drive-by... and maybe a sit-down lunch! Come by and see!

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Don't Forget .. Pam Hillman's Claiming Mariah

is Available for 99cents during the month of February!

Click here to purchase Claiming Mariah from your favorite online Retailer!

Weekend Edition

This giveaway from BookSweeps ends soon! If you haven’t already entered, don’t miss your chance to win 35 inspirational contemporary romances, plus a brand new eReader AND a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering. Audra Harders, Candee Fick, Pepper Basham are just a few of the authors participating. 
Enjoy, and good luck!

Enter here:


Ruthy's beautiful story of three friends, keeping a twelve-year-old promise to come running as needed has soared to #1 on the Amazon Christian charts... and Amazon is offering the Kindle edition of this beautiful story at $2.00... TWO DOLLARS!!! Aye Caramba, that's a deal! Grab it while it's on sale, and if you love Mayberry-type small towns... if you love friendship that stands the test of time, even when slightly neglected, if you love a romance that shouldn't be possible... but is... and throw in a newborn baby, just for fun... and heart-grabbing town characters that draw you in... then this book is for you. Give it a try and tell us what you think. $2.00... Here's the link:  WISHING BRIDGE ON SALE AT AMAZON

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Inside Look At A Launch Team from The Ambitious Author

Cohesion and Resonance from Helping Writers Become Authors, K.M. Weiland

Using Third Person vs First Person Novel Narratives from Writers In The Storm
Weekend Edition

Questions as a Starting Point

Questions as a Starting Point
Photo Credit: ©Elaina Burdo    

Questions are always a good place to start a writing project, and to keep it going.

When I first started writing, my questions lined up with the five standard “W” questions (and one “H”). Who is the main character of the story? What is the conflict? Where does the story take place? When does it take place? Why is this story different? How am I going to structure the story? Many stories start with a simple “What if . . . ?” question. See if you can identify these stories:

What if a man was accidentally marooned on Mars?
What if a boy and girl from feuding families fell in love?
What if a girl fell down a rabbit hole and ended up in a strange world?
What if books were outlawed and firemen started fires rather than putting them out?
What if the captain of a whaler becomes obsessed with hunting down and killing one specific whale?

The first book I wrote after becoming a Christian was Redeeming Love, and it didn’t come from a question. It came from the life of a prophet, Hosea, and how God used him to show how deep God’s love for His people is. I had been writing steamy historical romances set in California between the 1840s and the 1880s. God’s love for each of us was so different from the love I had been writing about. His love is patient, passionate, persistent. He pursues us. I wanted readers who had followed my career to know what real love is. The book of Hosea laid out the entire story, but a question could have started it. What does real love look like?

I thought Redeeming Love would be the last novel I ever wrote, but questions kept coming up about what it means to walk by faith. And the best way I could think to answer them was by studying Scripture daily and writing a story with a cast of characters who play out all the possible answers—with one person clinging to the teachings of Jesus.

Questions as a Starting Point

How do I share my faith when people don’t want to read the Bible or hear the name of Jesus? This question launched A Voice in the Wind. Hadassah, a Jewish-Christian girl with weak faith, finds herself the sole survivor of her family after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The cast of characters live out their ideas of hedonism, tradition, paganism, idol worship, and self-reliance. Hadassah is tested on every front, and her trust in God deepens. What I learned in the months of writing this story is God is always faithful and people notice those who follow Him. A life of faith brings persecution, but persecution builds strength of character. People watch how we live, and eventually ask why we live the way we do. And when that question comes, God gives us the words to speak.

Here are questions that started a few of my stories:
An Echo in the Darkness—How many times can you forgive someone who hates you and wants to destroy you?
The Atonement Child—Is there forgiveness and restoration for someone who has had an abortion?
The Scarlet Thread—What does sovereignty mean?
The Last Sin Eater—What is the difference between guilt and conviction?
And the Shofar Blew—What is a church? How do you build one?

Questions as a Starting Point

My newest book, The Masterpiece,started with how early childhood trauma shapes the way a person thinks as they grow up. How can survivors be turned into victors? How does God use the worst things that happen in life to good purpose? Both Roman Velasco and Grace Moore are impacted by traumatic childhood experiences. How do they handle temptation? Each is a survivor, but what trials will it take to make them victors? The Masterpiece is a love story about two people with opposing points of view about life and eternity, and how God works behind the scenes so that they will be equally yoked.

Questions are a good starting place for Bible study. Right now, I have mentors on my mind. What does it take to be a good mentor? How many examples of mentors can I find in Scripture? What do these mentor-mentee relationships teach me? I’m beginning to see an older woman in my mind, one who has made many mistakes. She meets a young woman just starting adult life, and she’s falling into the same problems and making the same (bad) decisions that destroyed the older woman’s relationships. I imagine grown children for the older woman, children with major problems. I see her wishing she had lived life differently and hurting when she sees what’s happening in the younger woman’s life. Should she step up, step in, or mind her own business? How does a baby boomer relate to a millennial?

And so it happens. One question starts me thinking and presses me into God’s Word for answers. Can we redo life? Can the past be untangled? How would that look? The quest begins.

Questions as a Starting Point

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.

Read the first chapter here.
More information here.

Questions as a Starting Point

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers has published numerous novels—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for many honors, and in 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. In 2015, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Francine’s novels have been translated into over 30 different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign countries. She and her husband, Rick, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Ten Ways To Succeed at Writing Without Really Trying

That title is an example of click-bait.  Click bait is a title or blurb that tempts you to click on the story... and then you often find out that the bait wasn't as it seemed.

That's true here. In my opinion there is no way to succeed at writing without really trying, but if you want to try... if you want to succeed... read on, my friends! Because there are tried-and-trued ways to do this thing!

Everyone wants to be an overnight success. Everyone wants to be The Next Big Thing... but no one knows what that is.  Unless it's really Bitcoin!!!!


Who expected those spinner-things to take the world by storm? And how many parents and teachers have thrown the things away because they're a mind-draining annoyance?

Who expected a great story about a forlorn, magical boy that lived beneath a staircase to become an international sensation and catapult the author to amazing heights?

Who thought in a country that claims to be 75% Christian (according to a poll asking questions of self-definition) that  a book about sexual bondage would sell over 50 million in the USA alone and hit 100 million by 2014 worldwide?

Why am I tossing these facts out there?

Because there is no sure thing. There is no baseline predictor that would have put Harry Potter, Sweet Valley High, Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey and James Bond in the same exclusive high sales categories...

So do you have to copy one of these formats to ensure success?

No. No, because by comparison you've already lost. And to be yourself, to be your best writing self, you need to produce the best possible work that makes you happy. 

So where do you focus? How do you choose?

1. What do you like to read? This is the first step toward what you write because you should start with something you'd like to read. If you love romance, write romance. If you're big into fantasy, then create your own netherworlds. If you love fearing for your life in the dark of a storm-filled night, write suspense or thrillers. WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE, FIRST. This doesn't mean you're locked in, darlings. It means you've begun. And if you never begin, well... no one goes anywhere without starting somewhere.

2. Prepare for disappointment. It is sure to come. My first book was a brilliant SAGA that went on forever. The first chapter was all telling. No dialogue. No action. Just emotion, how the hero was feeling. DEAD IN THE WATER. That's how bad it was... because I didn't know better. I knew I could write. I didn't know how to naturally just tell a story... Now I do.

3. Is this a hobby? Or a job?  If it's a hobby, that's fine. You can write when you want, as you're able, but if it's a job... if this is your career path, your career change, then you need to shake things up a little. Think of the first four years as a college course load in creative writing. You don't have to spend a lot of money. You do have to invest time. You have to write. So set a goal. A reachable goal. 500 words/day for 5 days of the week. 

4. Plan your work time. If you were selling Avon or going to a job or free-lancing for someone's firm, you would SET A WORK TIME. That's what we do when we have a job. So set a work time. Before work is what I do... I get up early, I write when no one's around or awake, even the resident mice are generally asleep (although not always) and I write. That way no matter what happens, that job's done.

5. If you're a night owl, then disappear for an hour or ninety minutes when others are watching television or doing puzzles or yelling at the football game, baseball game, basketball game, Olympics, Stock Market exchange, etc., etc., etc. 

6. Don't make excuses. Just don't. I pull my hair out (luckily I have really thick hair, birds have been known to make nests in my hair) when people list the reasons they couldn't write. No pencils. No pencil sharpener. The house was too hot. The house was too cold.  The stool's too high. The chair's too low. Standing to type hurts my back/side/leg/heel/fill in the blank... If you don't have the burn to do it, that's okay... Trust me, not everyone is meant to do this. And there's nothing wrong with letting it go, retiring, moving on, whatever you need to do to stay sane... If you can quit writing, do it. If you can't... then you're a writer. (R. A. Salvatore) although I've heard this in multiple places... but he's a clever Star Wars writer and I love Star Wars so we'll give R.A. the nod!

7. BUT IF YOU LOVE IT... if there is that dag-blasted burning desire inside you to make up stories, to weave tales, to invest in characters and fix their sorry existences, the existences you created for the poor slobs.... then keep going. 

8. Develop self-discipline. THIS MAY BE THE HARDEST PART. If you're a self-disciplined person, then this won't make or break you. But if you aren't... Ouch. This is where we separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls because if you don't push yourself... no one else is going to do it for you! That's the difference between this and that college course load. No one's grading you. You are self-motivated. You're not even guilt-ridden because you are paying big bucks to a liberal arts university to get five people's ideas of what makes a good writer...  Without the self-discipline this is Not A Fun Job... if you have to drag yourself to the laptop daily.... and make every excuse not to sit down.... then this is Not A Fun Job.... 

9. Can you teach yourself self-discipline?  DUH! Of course you can. With practice. Sit down. Write. Sit down. Write. Sit down. Write. Remember that anything you make yourself do for THIRTY DAYS becomes a habit. Make writing your habit!!!

10. Love yourself. Love yourself, the amazingly wonderful creature God created you to be no matter if you succeed at writing or not. No matter if you never get that first book done, or you write five and they all stink (Ruthy raises hand on that one). Love yourself because you are special. You are a child of God. You are one of the siblings of the Most High. Wonderful. Counselor. The Prince of Peace. The Everlasting Father.  You have it in you to do anything... but it does not have to be this.

And that's it. After publishing 44 novels and novellas with six more on the way in the next eighteen months... and almost 2,000,000 copies sold.... trust me. I know whereof I speak. 

Ten Ways To Succeed at Writing Without Really Trying
My 45th book and my second mystery with Guideposts... Thank you, Susan Downs for thinking of me with this crazy fun series!

But even saying that, there is no one right way to do this. There are plenty of wrong ways, and most of us learn from the school of hard knocks, but there are many correct ways... because if you get results, then you're doing all right! 

So are you a writer? And what's your stumbling block?  Let's chat, just us... :) And maybe a few dozen others, chiming in!

I've got a copy of my newest Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard book "SWEPT AWAY" looking for a home today, but you have to tell me you want it, darlings.... 

And a quick shout out to Amazon/Waterfall Press whose current $2.00 promotion drove "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" to #1 in three Christian genre categories! And #144 overall out of millions of books. To say I'm excited and thrilled is a gross understatement... What a fun thing to celebrate today!

Ten Ways To Succeed at Writing Without Really Trying

And there's fresh coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a big ol' pitcher of sweet tea for youse!

Come on in. Visit with The Yank... and we'll talk writing. Just like it should be.

Ten Ways To Succeed at Writing Without Really Trying
Bestselling, Award-winning inspirational author Ruthy Logan Herne loves to write and eat chocolate, a disparate conundrum of lifestyle factors that make her welcome the coming of spring and farm work, garden work, donkey detail and lawn work... because a short gal who likes to eat and write, well... we all know how that one goes! She lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York, she's got 6 kids, an extra one thrown in, and 14 grandchildren, with a couple of Ruths and Logans in the mix... that makes her smile, of course! Friend Ruthy on facebook, follow her on Twitter, add her to your BookBub faves or your Amazon favorites... all of this makes her editors very happy, and Ruthy loves happy editors! And that picture is nearly five years old, but of course, Ruthy hasn't changed one bit! :)

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

If I say the words Valentine’s Day.
What are the first things that pop into your head?

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

Is it:
The color red?
Yummy chocolate?
All the money that’s spent?
The first thing that always comes to my mind is actually NONE of those things. It’s an incident that happened exactly thirteen years ago today.

My husband and I hadn’t been married quite two months yet. Weirdly enough, at the time, we weren’t even living in the same house. (Not by our choice mind you.) He was living on post with all the other soldiers going through advanced military training. And I had dragged his middle sister seventeen hours away from our hometown so I wouldn’t have to live in a huge city by myself. But it was worth it to be able to see my husband a few hours a week. (Did I mention we grew up in a town of under 500 people, which was ever so slightly smaller than the 2 million population we moved to. As you can imagine, traffic on the interstates weren’t quite the same as our gravel roads…)

During those months of his training, I was thrilled anytime I was able to see him, and when he received clearance to have a few hours off for Valentine’s day…well, I was excited.

We had to spend the evening in “double date” style, because of the “battle buddy” requirement. (In training they always had to have another soldier with them.) But that was okay, it didn’t dampen our very limited time together. We all went to a pizza buffet, got separate tables from the other soldier and his wife, but I noticed that the other soldier’s wife kept peering over at my husband and me…which felt…. odd.
However, it soon made sense.

In the midst of our first Valentine’s day as a wedded couple.
Right in a crowded restaurant.
Before I had finished my pizza.
My husband told me that he was soon going to be deployed.

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

Did you know that restaurant napkins aren’t ideal tissues? Well, they are so not, and crying in public is never on my top to-do list. Let’s just say our first married Valentine’s Day went anything than how I expected or planned or wanted.

Later, I learned that my husband had known the bad news for a few days, that no other soldier in his group received the same orders, and he had carried the burden all by himself because he hadn’t wanted to tell me over the phone, wanting to share it with me in person. And the next in-person time just so happened to be February 14th…which is sort of sweet in theory….at least a little. But I asked him to in the future, to please go ahead and share any bad news asap. Unfortunately, he would have the chance to do just what I asked, but that’s a story for another day.

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

In my debut, Perfect for the Preacher, which is included in The Mail-Order Bride Novella Collection, things also don’t go as everyone had pictured nor planned either. The hero, Amos, orders himself a mail-order bride to appease his potential church congregation. But when his bride, Sophie, arrives and the burden she carries are revealed…it isn’t a day the members of Hilltop Chapel will be forgetting anytime soon.

Both life and stories are full of surprises, containing good and bad. A lot of the times not turning out how we hoped or pictured. (Kind of like this post, huh. You probably expected a happier theme?) But amongst our dreams and plans for tomorrow, the reality that becomes our today often is a beautiful mess. One that doesn’t have to stop us from cherishing all we’ve been given.

My husband and I don’t do much on Valentine’s Day these days, not because of our “ruined” first one, mainly because…well, flowers make my nose itch and crowded restaurants make us both a little crazy. And since I know I’m probably not alone in our lack of enthusiasm for the holiday, I thought it would be fun to share some of the smaller things in life that I do “love”. Aside from Jesus, family, and friends, here are a few items that would help ensure me an enjoyable Valentine’s Day. (Not necessarily in a particular order. 😊 )

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

The Beach––    There’s just something about the rhythmed roar of the water hitting and splashing across the sand. And oh, the sight of its vastness, going on and on until it reaches the sky. Beauty. Power. It’s my place where I KNOW that GOD IS AWESOME. (I know this everywhere else too, but especially here. 😊 ) I love, love the beach. Just wish we lived a bit closer!

Music––     It can brighten my mood, make me sing, and cause me to want to dance. Music everyday cannot be bad for the soul.

Taking Pictures––   I love capturing a moment, especially of my kiddos. Pictures help me remember that they grow up too fast and to treasure each and every day.

Reading––   I love to travel, but I might enjoy reading even more. Within a story, I can cover lands and dreams and years…It’s like tv, but way better. Plus, it’s cheaper than actually traveling. If I got to spend the entire Valentine’s Day reading, I would not complain one bit. 😊

Writing—    More specifically writing AND receiving a book contract. Now, that would be a Valentine’s Day I’d want to remember.

Vanilla Coke— I know water is healthy. I know my body needs water. However, my taste buds prefer this soda. #truth And my husband knows I preferred to be surprised with a Vanilla Coke instead of a bouquet of flowers. 
Mascara––   Though “love” here is bit strong of a word, but you guys, I ‘need’ it. Lol. Soooo it’s going in the “love” department today, right up there by the trusted Chapstick. (Got to have that too. Anyone else?) But I don’t normally spend much money on makeup, or things for myself in general, so if I would receive one of those fancier brands as a Valentine’s Day gift…I wouldn’t complain.

Cheese––    Cheese makes everything better. Need I say more?

Those items make my short list for the day. I’d love to get to know some of the smaller things in life that you “love” to be doing, or receive today. Maybe a gift that you’d like to receive that isn’t a typical Valentine’s kind. Or you can share your story about a not so picture-perfect Valentine’s day you’ve had. 

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

Ruthy note: Megan has graciously offered a copy of the Mail Order Brides collection to one lucky comment-maker today! So let's talk romance... Valentine's Day... what's gone right? And what's gone terribly, horribly wrong! 

What Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?
Megan Besing adores reading, writing, and reviewing stories with happily-ever-afters. She’s received many awards, including being a multi-category finalist in ACFW’s Genesisand a winner of MCRW’s Melody of Love contest. Her debut Perfect for the Preacherreleased February 2018 in Barbour’s Mail-Order Brides Novella Collection.

She lives in Indiana with her husband and their children, where she dreams of the beach and drinks way too many Vanilla Cokes. Connect with Megan on Facebook and at

The Mail-Order Brides Collection: 9 Historical Stories of Marriage that Precedes Love
Escape into the history of the American West along with nine couples whose relationships begin with advertisements for mail-order brides. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will each bride be disappointed, or will some find true love?

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
1897, Indiana
Fresh from seminary, Amos Lowry believes marriage will prove to his skeptical congregation that he’s mature. If only his mail-order bride wasn’t an ex-sal
Weekend EditionMystery Date and Why Some Things Work... and Others Don't The Opportunity of Kindle Scout with Guest Blogger Walt MussellProactive Marketing and PromotionRedeeming Darth VaderWeekend EditionQuestions as a Starting PointTen Ways To Succeed at Writing Without Really TryingWhat Does Valentine's Day Mean to You?

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