Seekerville: The Journey Continues | (page 6 of 130)


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers


Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers

Happy Friday, Seekerville!

I'm delighted to be back with y'all today. I've taken a break for the last few months as we dealt with some family changes. My father died in December, so I've of course been working through my grief and figuring out how to do life without his hugs or his steadiness. Then my father-in-law moved here to Georgia from Kansas after some significant medical challenges, and the tentative new normal we'd established after my dad's death was altered again. So needless to say this year has been one of adjustment, but I'm happy to say that I finally feel able to breathe again 💜

When I first started blogging here at Seekerville (gosh, that feels like just yesterday and forever ago, all at once) I had ZERO intentions of ever publishing a book. There were several reasons for this, but the main reason is that I am almost exclusively a fiction reader and I don't have any stories clamoring to be written. I'm content reading the ones that authors like my Seekerville sisters write - and then talking about them to whoever will listen haha

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers
But in the middle of this crazy year of hard changes, I was invited to participate in a special project - a non-fiction book written by four authors - each a 'gatekeeper' of the industry - to help aspiring AND multi-published authors learn how to win the hearts of agents, publishers, editors, and readers. (That last part is where I come in.) Did I have time to write a book - even a fourth of a book? Nope. LOL. Did I decide I had crossed the line into 'insanity' more than once during the process? Yep. But ultimately I agreed to write my section of Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers because I knew it was one more way for me to do what I love most - help authors get their words read! 

And thus a book was born. 

What can you find in Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers

1. Candid conversations from an agent (Hope Bolinger), a publisher (Linda Fulkerson), an editor (Rowena Kuo), and a reader/influencer (me) on how to align yourself, your platform, and your writing in ways that will make you an appealing author to each of these gatekeepers. 

2. Among other practical tips you'll learn how to work with your agent as a team, how to polish your manuscript before submitting it, and how to build a platform that publishers AND readers will gravitate toward.

3. Behind-the-scenes insight to make you more aware of what it's like on the other side of the aisle, such as the work that goes into your manuscript from agents, publishers, and editors ... and how to find and approach influencers.

What can you find specifically in my section of the book? 

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers
I love that Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers doesn't only address issues and questions that aspiring authors might have - I get to continue the conversation for published authors with topics such as:

  • where to find readers of your type of book
  • prioritizing your focus instead of trying to promote in all the places
  • how to determine which influencers truly want to help & which influencers are only in it for the free books
  • how (and how not) to approach influencers
  • what makes readers try a new-to-them author
  • the importance of cover, blurb, and author website must-haves in making a good first impression on readers
  • how to make word-of-mouth work for you
  • the importance of community in reader engagement
  • why your story matters

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers
I am so grateful for the sweet endorsements I've received from authors, including these from some of the Seekers!

Carrie Schmidt is someone I've learned knows more about Christian fiction and how to promote it, than anyone I've ever known...certainly more than me. For Carrie to gather her knowledge together in one place and share it with the world is a true gift. I can't wait to get my hands on this book and keep it close. – Mary Connealy, author of The Lumber Baron’s Daughters series

What author hasn’t wondered how to reach readers? Carrie Schmidt speaks to writers – not only the successful and accomplished author, but the introverted and overwhelmed author – giving them tools to engage readers in authentic and personal ways. From tips on participating in a successful blog tour to finding and retaining enthusiastic readers, Carrie gives the author the tools they need to reach those most important of all people – the readers they long to share their stories with. You will be putting this book on your “keeper shelf” and referring to it often! - Jan Drexler, author of The Sign of the Calico Quartz 

Carrie Schmidt not only draws from her years of involvement in the bookish world and her love of books, but also her heart of readers and authors alike. As she’s done so well in her blogging and social media outlets, Carrie continues to use her encouragement, knowledge, and passion in helping build a bridge of understanding between readers and authors so that we can all tell one big and beautiful story together. ~ Pepper Basham, author of The Mistletoe Countess and Authentically, Izzy

Want a copy for yourself? 

Getting Past the Gatekeepers is available for preorder (releasing October 11th) in ebook & paperback, with hardcover & audiobook versions coming soon!

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers
Remember when Dorothy finally reached the Emerald City only to be halted by the Gatekeeper, blocking her hopes of seeing the Great and Powerful Wizard? 

The path to publication is like that. Agents, and Editors, and Publishers, oh, my! Each one is a barrier between you and a publishing contract. 

But what if you understood what agents, editors, publishers, and readers really want? 

If you’re struggling to get past the publishing gatekeepers, this book will give you a behind-the-scenes peek at how to win the heart of each type of publishing professional. In fact, Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers won’t just give you a peek—it will give you a guided tour. In this book, four publishing professionals—an agent, a publisher, an editor, and an influencer—share what it takes to unlock each “gate” within the publishing industry. 

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers is a must-have resource for all aspiring authors, and it offers insights to help multi-published authors as well.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository

Subscribe to the Publishing Gatekeepers newsletter and receive a tip sheet on 12 ways for getting past the gatekeepers.

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers

Starting today, you can read the introduction to each section (a new one releases each day) in the four (!!!) days leading up to release day! You can click the preview graphic above or go to

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers is also on tour with JustRead Tours this week, and by leaving a comment on this post you can gain an entry when you fill out the Gleam entry form!

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers 
Leave a comment & then enter the giveaway here
Which section of Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers
do you think will be most helpful for you - agents, editors, publishers, or readers? 

Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie started the popular blog in 2015 and since then has had the honor of co-founding the Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat and JustRead Publicity Tours. In addition to these endeavors, she is a regular contributor to Seekerville and has written for magazines such as RT Book Reviews and Christian Market. Carrie now lives in Georgia with her husband, though her roots range from East Tennessee to Central Kentucky and northern Illinois. 
Connect with Carrie by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email updates.

Retirement Pt 5, New Beginnings

Hi Everyone! Audra here.

Thanks for following along on my journey into retirement from the day job. Retiring due to age gifting you the right isn’t as easy as people believe. There are pitfalls that occur as we change our years’ honed routines into a world of self-made decisions:

Time Management



Health and Exercise

Still, for those who looked forward to the time when you can make your own schedule and pursue long-awaited hobbies, volunteering activities, devoting more time to family and friends, or (fill in the blank), these bumps in the road aren’t anything for alarm. With a bit of concentration and effort, you too will be ready to live the dream.

Retirement Pt 5, New Beginnings
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Speaking of living the dream, my life now dreams of picking up where I left off in my writing career and has captured a spot on my Prayer Hit Parade. Funny thing, prayers – God has a way of answering them, even though the particular scenario He chooses isn’t exactly how you’d envisioned the answer when you submitted the prayer.

You see, I started writing for publication a looooooongtime ago. I prayed the good Lord saw favor with my work. He did. I began to win contests. I prayed He’d steer me to the right editor and publisher. He did. I was honored to join with other contest-winning, contract-driven, God-loving writers who became known as the Seekers, uniting together to pray each other into publication.

God smiled and blessed us with contracts at various publishing houses.

I enjoyed the honor of becoming an author writing for Love Inspired. I envisioned contracts ahead and ideas for future books peppered my brain as I’d never experienced before. My dream had come true.

My Love Inspired book!!

I enjoyed a year of living the dream until a series of events – some book related, some not – caused me to choose between the hit-and-miss, contract-to-contract life doing the work I loved (novel writing) and my stable, but increasingly demanding work I liked very much (admin position). It became increasingly obvious I couldn’t do both and the admin position offered more for my future and for my family.

Fast forward now to my saying good-bye to the 40–70-hour work weeks for an employer who was demanding, but awesomely great to work for. After leaving, I took my time to unwind and enjoy freedom. Then I sat down to write a book.

Retirement Pt 5, New Beginnings
Photo by Max Saeling on Unsplash

I had a great idea for a series, but every time I sat down to write, the ideas all jumbled together. The idea revolved around a series of books set in a small mountain town in Colorado. I wrote pages, but the story didn’t come alive, it seemed the characters could care less if they saw the light of a printed page.

So, I went back to cleaning out closets and folding laundry (see prior posts about retiring). I’d get an idea and start to run with it but hit a wall. I couldn’t believe God kept the desire to write burning with in me only to stymie my efforts to re-engage with words-on-page.

Friends, it all comes down to timing. God’s timing.

Retirement Pt 5, New Beginnings
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

With most of the COVID-19 restrictions lifted for travel, I decided to go to the ACFW conference hosted in St Louis and get some hugs and loves from fellow Seekers and author friends I hadn’t seen in forever. That event was so good for the soul!

I traveled and roomed with a fellow author from Colorado and between reuniting with friends and making new memories, we also spent time brainstorming book ideas. From that very first night, ideas sparked and plots ignited. By the time we left the conference, she had 3 books ready to write and I came away with detailed concepts for 6 (count’em 6) novellas that would coincide with an historical romance series I had tried to complete for decades.

Retirement Pt 5, New Beginnings
Photo by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash

God has taken a book of my heart that He wouldn’t let me complete for years and He whispered, “now is the time.”

So there, my friends, is the conclusion of my retirement saga. I hope you find the first 4 parts helpful as you transition away from the work force someday, and that you find hope in resurrecting your dreams that might have been put on hold for the greater good.

Like I said earlier, prayers are a funny thing. Yep, the good Lord answers them, you just have to be open-minded to His plans because they are so much better!!

Your turn! Have you retired from your day job? Are your dreaming about? Please share, I'd love to hear your thoughts and plans!!

And, for sticking with me while I muddled through these past few months, if you leave a comment, you'll put in a drawing for a mystery gift from my recent trip to South Dakota! Check the WE on Saturday for the winner!!

Audra Harders writes "rugged stories with heart" featuring fearless men who haven't a clue about relationships, rescued by ladies who think they have all the answers. In real life, she's married to her own patient hero, has two adult children, and a very strong-willed Corgi. She began writing right after her second kidlet was born and sold her first book to Love Inspired mere months before that same young adult graduated from high school. Surviving those years in between reminds her God does have a plan for her life...and that He has a tremendous sense of humor. You can visit Audra at:
Twitter: @audraharders

All Those Moving Parts


All Those Moving Parts

by Mindy Obenhaus

I just turned in the proposal for book four in my current series, Hope Crossing, and let me tell you, there were a lot of things I had to keep track of. The hero, the heroine, a K-9 companion, two grandmas, previous/secondary characters, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, maybe not that last one, but it is a Christmas book, so you never know.

Yes, there are a lot of moving parts to every story. Those details you need to keep track of so that your heroine doesn’t start out with blond hair and blue eyes and then have brown hair and brown eyes by the end of the story. But when you’re doing a series, it’s not just about those characters. You have to consider all the ones who came before them. And, if the current characters have been in other books prior, you need to stay consistent with not only their physical appearance, but what the reader already knows about them.

Here are a few things you need to mindful of when writing a series –

Backstory – It goes without saying that you need to know the backstory of the person/persons your story is about, but what about secondary characters, particularly those who might have been in a previous book? How are secondary characters connected to the main characters? What’s happened to them since the last time the reader saw them in another book? Have they married or had a baby? None of these need to be lengthy, just snippets so the reader understands the relationship to the main characters and either satisfy the reader’s curiosity if they’ve read the previous books (readers want to know what's happened with those characters they've connected with) or make them curious enough that they want to go back and read about the other characters.

Timing – How much time has passed between the ending of the previous story and the opening of the current story? Not between release dates, but the stories themselves. Does the current book pick up where the last one left off or is it months later? This also plays into the ages of the characters, as well as seasons and changes in the lives of previous characters.

All Those Moving Parts

People – Whether they are main characters or secondary characters, keep the physical appearance consistent, unless there’s a specific reason for a change. What role do they play in the main character’s life? What’s their connection? Or, if they’re a secondary character who’s going to have their own story later, what can you hint at? The heroine in the proposal I just sent off has a cameo in my upcoming Christmas book. I was able to create a connection between her and the heroine in my upcoming release that I was then able to use in my current WIP.

Setting –Are there any landmarks, businesses or other places people frequent? Make sure your descriptions of them are consistent, though they can be tweaked based on a character’s perception. How does the landscape change with the seasons? If there’s a flood in one story, don’t have a drought in the next unless there’s been a reasonable passage of time.

Book series are a great way to build readership. If they like one, they’re apt to pick up the next. If they read one out of order, they may decide to start at the beginning so they can fit all the pieces together. However, there are a lot of moving parts that the author has to keep track of. Some use spreadsheets while others use a document or even a notebook. And then there are those who find themselves pulling up previous manuscripts to check their facts (raising hand but contemplating a spreadsheet 😉). Whatever works for best you.

Readers, have you ever read a series that had inconsistencies? Writers, how do you keep facts straight on your stories? Leave a comment for an opportunity to win a signed copy of my latest release, The Cowgirl’s Redemption OR a copy of Her Holiday Lawman a 2-in-1 rerelease with Ruthy’s The Lawman’s Yuletide Babyand my The Deputy’s Holiday Family. US mailing addresses only, please.

All Those Moving Parts

All Those Moving Parts

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at

Branding with MockingbirdArtist

 Erica here, and it is my joy to introduce you to my niece, Rebekah Firmin, the genius behind MockingbirdArtist. 

When I started writing fiction, I had no idea that I would need a graphic artist, nor how helpful one could be. I went with a blogger template for my blog, my website...when I finally got one...was slapped together by yours truly...and I had no idea how to even post a picture on FB.

My how times have changed. For me, it all started with a business card and logo. I asked my niece if she could create a logo for me that would reflect my books, would be small enough to fit on the spine of a book (if I should ever decide to indie-publish) and look really smart and professional.

And she came through! 

Branding with MockingbirdArtist

Since then, she's created some book covers (still to be revealed to the world) reworked my website (a never-ending task) and designed custom pieces (to make me stand out among all the great authors out there.)

One of my favorites is for my recent release, Millstone of Doubt. Rebekah created custom paper dolls of my hero and heroine to be given to those who pre-ordered the book from Baker Book House.

Branding with MockingbirdArtist

This pre-order thank you gift proved to be enormously successful, and I am so grateful to Rebekah for helping me pull it off!

Need bookmarks? Totebags or T-shirts? Coffee mugs? Keychains? Book illustrations? Book design? Some other creative thing? I highly recommend MockingbirdArtist.

Now, here's Bekah to talk about what she can do for you! (And don't forget, pre-published authors need to be developing your brand so folks will recognize you!)

Rebekah Firmin: MockingbirdArtist

What a joy and an honor it is to get to be a part of this group and to share with you a bit about myself. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Rebekah Firmin and I am the owner, artist, and author behind MockingbirdArtist. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with many authors by creating and refining their brand through websites, logos, book covers, promotional items, as well as, pieces to help them better tell their stories, such as character maps, book lists, and fantasy world maps.

As an avid reader myself, it brings me joy to work with authors and help readers identify their works and better visualize their stories.

My continued thanks to the following authors for trusting me with their work and vision: Kimberly Burkhardt, Gabrielle Meyer, Julie Klassen, Erica Vetsch, Mollie Joy Rushmeyer, Crystal Caudill, Amanda Wen, Mary Connealy, Christina Rich, and Kristen Grafton

Along with working with authors, I create custom artwork and designs, as well as goods and apparel that feature MockingbirdArtist art, sold online in my Etsy shop and Vakti Gallery, or locally at Scout and Tag, Pressed Books and Coffee, and Bok Tower Gardens in Florida. To stay up to date on my journey, follow me on Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest, and Facebook (@mockingbirdartist) or sign up for my monthly newsletter here. For information on commissions and projects, visit:

In celebration of your welcome, I would like to offer a giveaway for a copy of my new children’s book, ‘My Little Mockingbird’, the story of a little Mockingbird who becomes overwhelmed by the noises of the world and learns how to tune its heart to the song of its Creator who sings, "You are loved, you are never alone, and all that was lost is being restored". ….

Erica here again: You surely have questions! Ask Bekah a question about her graphic arts business, and you'll be entered to win a copy of My Little Mockingbird. 

A New Release!!! Coming October 11th--And a giveaway!

 A Model of Devotion

A New Release!!! Coming October 11th--And a giveaway!\
She's finally claimed her independence . . . how far will she go to keep it?

A brilliant engineer, Jilly Stiles has been educated since childhood to help run her father's lumber dynasty. With the company safe from her stepfather after the marriages of her two sisters, Jilly can now focus on her dream of building a mountaintop railroad--and never marry.

Nick Ryder came into Jilly's life when he saved her mother from her no-good stepfather, and he's prepared to protect Jilly from anything that threatens to harm her--as long as he keeps his heart from getting involved.

But when a cruel and powerful man goes to dangerous lengths to make Jilly his own, she must make a decision between her safety and her hard-won independence.
A Video Trailer I made with my rusty skills.
Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests
 "Figure of Christ," by German painter
Heinrich Hofmann, 1884. [PD-US]

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied,
"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?
Would he not rather say to him,
'Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished'?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, 'We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'"

Luke 17:5-7

Join us in praying for all those who were in Ian's path. 

Lord, we lift up to you all those who lost homes and property, for those who were injured, and for those mourning the loss of friends and relatives who were victims of the storm.

Protect all who are working to build back the areas devastated by the hurricane.

God bless them all!

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

Please pray for our country and for an end to the problems that plague us at this current time, such as the increased cost of fuel and food and the rise in crime.

Together, let's pray we can, once again, become a unified nation. Also, please join us in praying for the protection of our military and for law enforcement officers and border agents.   

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

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.          

Weekend Edition


If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Please send to If the winner does not contact us within two weeks, another winner may be selected. **(All winners' emails will receive a response within a week. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, we may not have received it. Please leave a comment in the following Weekend Edition.)

Monday: Erica Vetsch brought you a peek behind the publishing curtain!

Tuesday: Carmen Shober

Wednesday: Cate Nolan

Thursday: "Does your character believe a lie?" DiAnn Mills asked readers that very question.  The winner of her latest release, Concrete Evidence is: JCP.

Monday: Mary Connealy

Tuesday: Guest blogger Rebekah Firmin of MockingbirdArtistStudios will join us! And you could win her new book, My Little Mockingbird

Wednesday: Mindy Obenhaus will be here to share something she hasn't quite figured out just yet. 

Thursday: Audra Harders wraps up her retirement series with encourage for those with a dry well of creativity. Leave a comment and check back on Saturday to see whose name is drawn for a prize!  
Friday: Meez Carrie 

Jan Drexler's newest book is out! 
The Case of the Artist's Mistake, book two in The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries!



By Debby Giusti

An assassin’s loose in Amish country…

and she’s not the only target.

When a radio broadcast describes taxi driver Lily Hudson’s passenger as an armed criminal, she becomes his immediate target. Narrowly escaping, Lily accepts Matthias Overholt’s offer to hide at his Amish family farm for Christmas—until evidence reveals the gunman’s plan is tied to Lily’s past. Now to prevent an assassination, Lily and Matthias must unravel a years-old conspiracy…and evade a sniper who has them in his sights.

 Pre-Order HERE! 

Disclaimer: Any blog post that includes an offer of product purchase or service is NOT to be considered an endorsement by Seekerville or any of our authors (please see our Legal page )

Walking with the Wise by Kay DiBianca at Kill Zone blog

How to Use Chapter Cliffhangers in Your Fiction by KM Weiland at Helping Writers Become Authors

Free Amazon Ads Marketing Challenge begins October 12 - for more information, click here

Free Historical Romances - Book Funnel Promotion

Damage Control for Authors by Mark Dawson at Self Publishing Formula

When a Town Becomes a Character by Lisa Schnedler at ACFW blog

Showing the World Through Your Character's Senses by CS Lakin at Live Write Thrive

How Libraries Help Authors Reach Readers by DiAnn Mills at The Write Conversation

Amazon Changes Ebook Return Policy by Debbie Burke at Kill Zone blog

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?

 by DiAnn Mills

Lies distort a character’s view of the world. The lens of reality twists the truth, causing the character to react in unforeseen ways, which is win-win situation for the writer. The result is an unpredictable and unexpected plotline fueled by a character who is motivated by a lie.

Have you ever believed a lie? The emotional ramifications can destroy us if we don’t muster the courage to explore the truth. Consider your character. With the personality, culture, and life experiences assigned to them, how does the writer weave a powerful story?

The character who learns he or she has been the victim of a lie faces the devastation of hurt, anger, and betrayal. The person who spoke the fabrication may deny it, and that becomes another issue for the character. To maintain good mental health, the character must reach deep for forgiveness and take cautionary steps for the future. The relationship may or may not ever be restored. Trust must be earned.

How the character responds to the realization of a lie shows the inner character and lays the foundation for a protagonist or an antagonist. The determination of a lie can motivate the character into a positive realm or a negative one.

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
Lies influence the character’s goals, wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, dialogue, behavior, and emotion. When rage drives the character’s actions, unpredictable behavior sets the stage for a page-turning story. Yet the process of weaving all the intricacies of literary techniques into a profound story takes hard work.

But what about the lies our characters accept about themselves? How does a character journey on an adventure when they hold a false outlook of life? Aren’t our characters supposed to embrace strength? How does that affect their decisions and motivate them into action when they accept a distorted truth destined to stop them from reaching their full potential?

Perhaps the problem with our character is not what the writer believes about them, but what the character believes about him- or herself.

Writers develop situations that force a character to face a lie. Those powerful drama-filled scenes move the story in exciting directions, often explaining how and why the falsehood entered the picture. Some characters do not have the courage to accept the truth and will never change their beliefs or values. They flee from scenarios that force them to examine their true selves. The result is a weak character who cowers to life happenings or becomes an antagonist who strikes out in rage.

The origin of a character’s misconception is often rooted in childhood. During the development years, physical, mental, and spiritual stimuli mold a child’s view of where he or she fits in the world and how to cope with life’s trials. Peer pressure and those who are respected can instill admirable or detestable behavior.

The character may believe
  • I have no choice but to be perfect.
  • Life isn’t fair.
  • I’ll never be happy unless I have lots of money.
  • Everyone is out to get me.
  • God’s love must be earned.
  • Without a face-lift and tummy tuck, I’ll never be beautiful.
  • Morals are a personal preference.
  • Laws are to be broken.
  • Relationships are fifty-fifty. Anything less and I’m out of here.
  • The only way for someone to love me is for me to take care of them.
The character may choose to believe
  • No human is perfect, but we strive to do our best. We make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward.
  • Life isn’t fair or easy, but challenges have the potential to grow us into better people.
  • Money buys what we need and sometimes what we want. It’s a vehicle to provide for ourselves and others. True happiness is internal.
  • Bad attitudes result from selfishness. Take steps to put others first in a healthy way.
  • God’s love is unconditional. We can’t do a thing to cause Him to love us more or less.
  • True beauty is an attitude of the heart and how we treat others.
  • Right vs. wrong behavior is established by spiritual and moral resources to show justice, equality, and love.
  • Laws are in force to protect us from danger and keep us safe.
  • Relationships are always 100 percent of what we can give, not what we can take.
  • Caring for others is admirable but caretaking is not the vehicle of self-worth.
For writers determined to create real and unforgettable characters, I encourage the following:
  • Study psychology books, reputable blog posts, and articles that focus on the behavior of one who experiences a lie.
  • Interview counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are trained professionals in human behavior.
  • Explore respected websites that focus on human behavior and counseling techniques. 
  • Stay alert to people and the world. Keep a journal of conflicting emotions that could have resulted from a lie.

When a writer discovers the source of what a character internalizes about him- or herself, the character must choose. Is he or she motivated to change? How does the process work? Will it be painful? Does the character grasp the courage to process the lie and step forward with truth? The result is an impressive novel certain to entertain and inspire readers.

About DiAnn

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn 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 through her website at

About Concrete Evidence

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Releases October 4, 2022.


Please leave a comment for DiAnn for a chance to win a copy of Concrete Evidence.

*Giveaway courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers and is subject to giveaway terms and conditions of Seekerville and Tyndale House Publishers. US Mailing addresses only.

Using Short Films to Analyze Story


I believe I've mentioned before that during the pandemic I got in the habit of tuning in on Wednesday nights to a Facebook Live group called Friends and Fiction. During the hour long show, the four author/hosts interview other authors. They have a recurring question I like so much that I've adapted it into my teaching. They ask each visiting author to tell what their book is about and then to tell what it's really about.

As a teacher, I've realized that question is a powerful tool for getting students to explore the difference between plot and theme.

I also like to teach using Pixar shorts. These short films have so much depth and tell incredible stories in a very short amount of time.

Today, as I was combining the two, I was thinking of how these would be good practices for us to engage in as writers.

Let's take this film for example.

It's really cute, so feel free to go watch. Then we'll discuss.

So what is it about?

Spoiler alert - A father and grandfather whose job is to create the phases of the moon take a young boy on his first trip to the moon. There is conflict between the father and grandfather who each want the boy to do things their way. But when a large star lands on the moon, it's the young boy who is able to solve the problem.

So what's it really about? - Finding your identity. Being true to your own self.  

You probably know from my past posts that I love to deconstruct stories to figure out how they work.  

These shorts are whole stories in under ten minutes. They're great to use with students because they give a fun visual explanation of elements of story structure. It's easy to construct a plot chart after watching a short movie. To answer that, we have to analyze the characters. It's amazing how well developed they are with no dialogue at all.

I've included two more of my favorites. I thought it might be fun to analyze why they work.

Who would like to join in? What enables these short films to capture and hold our attention?

PS - There are also some notably bad shorts (bad as in boring). I'm trying to be upbeat, so I won't link the ones with sagging middles because it's kind of bad to have a sagging middle in such a short film. Still, we can learn from analyzing the good as well as the bad.

20 Year-Old Me - Guest Post by, Carmen Schober

Hello Seekerville Readers!

My name is Carmen Schober, and my first novel came out a little less than a year ago with Bethany House, so you might not have heard of me yet. But, even though I am a newbie author, I'm a seasoned Christian fiction reader, thanks to Francine Rivers and Gilbert Morris--my favorites growing up. The genre has expanded so much since then, and it's a joy to be a small part of that growth. 

Thank you sincerely
for the opportunity to share my writing journey with you. Before I dive in, though, let me tell you a couple of other things about me besides the creative click-clacking I do on my keyboard each day.

I’m a wife to Jeff, a mama to Vivian (age 4), Sofia (age 2), and Leo (age 1...yes, we're very busy), and I’m a proud Cuban-American. My grandparents fled Cuba during the rise of Fidel Castro, and they are inspiring examples of American dreamers. Being a writer isn’t nearly as hard as being a factory worker or a seamstress, as my grandparents were, but I like to think I’m following in their footsteps each day as I raise my babies and write my books, even when the task feels too overwhelming. 

Before I wrote After She Falls, I spent seven years at Kansas State University first as a student, then as a graduate student, then as a writing instructor. It was a difficult, faith-testing experience in a militantly secular environment, and I found myself hiding my love for Christian stories until I finally left the university to have my first daughter, Vivian. Life with a newborn baby came with many challenges, but it came with blessings, too, like the opportunity to revisit the books I'd loved so much as a younger woman. 

It was during one of those late-night feeding sessions that

I dove back into a Francine Rivers book and had a wild thought...

"Maybe I could write something like this." 

That was when the seed was planted, but the real inspiration came a little later when I was taking an online screenwriting class just for fun. The professor tasked us with "reimagine" our favorite movie, so I picked Rocky and let my mind run wild with ideas until I ended up with a scrappy female Cuban underdog with a broken dream to put back together. I faced many doubts and discouragements during the writing process, but Vivian supplied me with a new kind of inspiration. When I was tempted to give up, I would think to myself, "What would I want Vivian to do in this situation? Give into her fears and critics or press on?" 

The answer was obvious, so I kept writing, and by the grace of God, about two years later, After She Falls was on bookshelves around the country. 
My second book, Pretty Little Pieces, is a whole new cast of characters set in the glitzy world of reality television and home makeovers, but my favorite elements from After She Falls are still there: Scrappy heroines, broody heroes, tricky romantic dynamics, and bold, leap-taking faith. I never water down the "Christian" part in my fiction, but I do make it raw and real for modern women navigating our ever-changing culture. 

I write with everyone in mind but especially 20-year-old me. I know that's oddly specific, but that's the version of me who desperately needed an inspiring but relatable vision of what it meant to be a Christian woman in a confusing, postmodern world. As I was bombarded by pressures and lies and insecurities, I longed for truth, beauty, and romance, and I think stories like After She Falls or Pretty Little Pieces would've given me so much hope. So that's how I know a story is finally complete--when I’m confident that 20-year-old Carmen would love it! 

I hope you love my stories, too! Or your sister, or your daughter, or your friend--whoever might need a book about finding love in all the right places. A book is a gift that keeps on giving, and Pretty Little Pieces comes out just in time for Christmas! And, for a limited time, you can get both of my books from Baker Book House for just $16 plus free shipping! Just put them in your cart and use the code SCHOBER50 at checkout.

Thank you for all you do to keep the love of Christian fiction alive! It's more important than you realize. 

God bless you, 


Carmen Schober (, author of After She Falls and Pretty Little Pieces, is a wife and mother, a proud Cuban-American, and a woman of eclectic interests, ranging from gritty combative sports to feminine design shows. She writes unexpected romance novels for the modern woman, with relatable but inspirational heroines and heroes. When she's not writing fiction, she blogs about Christianity, motherhood, writing, and everything in between. She earned a master's degree in English literature and creative writing from Kansas State, and she currently lives in Manhattan, Kansas.
Getting Past the Publishing GatekeepersRetirement Pt 5, New BeginningsAll Those Moving PartsBranding with MockingbirdArtistA New Release!!! Coming October 11th--And a giveaway!Sunday Scripture & Prayer RequestsWeekend EditionUsing Short Films to Analyze Story20 Year-Old Me - Guest Post by, Carmen Schober

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