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It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day

It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day


When the sun goes down on my side of town

That lonesome feeling comes to my door

And the whole world turns blue


Oh, wait, wrong topic, wrong song, wrong everything. Sigh.

Seriously, I heard that country-sad-song yesterday and when I looked out the window and saw the sun going down, and an empty screen staring back at me, it seemed to fit.

It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day


Sigh.

What do you DO when all the ideas for your blog post just get up and walk out on you?

I really wanted to blog about the cool online class that Missy and I, along with THOUSANDS of others took, this past week: Bryan Cohen’s Author Ad Challenge, which is an introductory class to setting up advertising on Amazon. 

It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day


It’s INTENSE and takes about 1-2 hours a day to keep up. And, did I say that it was free, or at least the week-long challenge is. Bryan and his team offer a much more intense program of coaching, teaching and “hand-holding” for a fee called Amazon Ad School (I believe that’s the correct term), but the free training was more than enough to help me get started.

However, I didn’t want to give away information that Bryan and his team have done tons of leg-work on. And what’s the point of blogging about it if I can’t give Seekerville readers a small taste of how Amazon ads work? The good news is that the Amazon Ad Challenge will be offered again in April 13th, so if anyone wants to take the class, you’ll be able to then.


Now if you lose your one and only 

There's always room here for the lonely


So, one topic down. Then I planned to blog about past (as in LONG past) contest entries where I would find snippets of what judges had to say about what was wrong (or right) about a passage from a contest entry, then show the various stages those passages went through before they made it into publication, but that was also a no go. I couldn’t find much in what I kept from 10, 15, and, yes, TWENTY years ago, to be helpful.

It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day


And, let’s be honest. Do I really want to go back all those years and be reminded of how bad some passages were way back in the beginning? And, would I want to share them with you? Probably not.


To watch your broken dreams

Dance in and out of the beams

Of a neon moon


Yeah, let’s just say that it’s best that blog post left me, too! lol

So, here we are, singing a sad song and looking BACKWARDS at lost love (blog posts and horrible writing) and broken dreams … 


Whoa!!!!!

Wrong topic! Wrong Story!

WRONG EVERYTHING AGAIN!!


Let’s turn this train around, folks. Right here… I mean RIGHT HERE, I stopped working on my blog post and read Cate’s post from Wednesday. Why would I feel the urge to do that? In some ways, she already said what I'm saying again today, but I think we're both trying to hammer a point home, without even knowing that the other one was on this same track. Go back and read Cate's post here! What an encouragement!

Seriously, that neon moon song is a catchy tune, but if that gal's gone, she’s gone. Right? Right!

She -- meaning a blog post, that idea for a short story or a novel that packed up and left a long time ago, an submission opportunity I missed in 2020 because my head was stuck in the sand... or even staring (figuratively) at a neon moon… -- ain’t coming back. Let’s stop whining about it. Let’s stop going to the dark, smoky places that aren’t doing us any favors. Stop moping around mooning over that particular story, that particular area of our lives that we can’t fix, that we can’t bring back, that just isn’t working anymore.

And before anyone gets all up in arms, I’m NOT talking about torn relationships, sick family, fractured lives, financial woes, and burning the candle at both ends until you're burned out. I’m talking about writing for those of us who write. I'm talking about just holding on.

Turn on ALL the lights, brighten things up and write something big, beautiful and new. Create a NEW thing. Draw bright, sunny pictures with the kids or the grandkids. And if you don't have any kids in your circle, borrow somebody's for a day or volunteer in Sunday School or at a preschool for a day.

Put some brightness in your life and that neon moon will pale in comparison to the big, beautiful new sunrise you’ll wake up to tomorrow!!

I’ll leave you with this…

It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day


It's gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

It's gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day


Let's choose to live in a bright, sunshiny day, not under a "neon" moon.

A Surpise Post?????

 Good morning all! 

This not-so-surprising post is to remind you that this is a New Year.... Day 7! 

This is where you start pushing yourself to write something each day. 

No shirking.

No excuses.

But if you miss a day, the world will not nor should it end. That's up to God. Not authors.

So then you jump back on the bandwagon and you write.

A Surpise Post?????

Now if you LOVE WRITING this isn't a hard ship.

If you don't love writing then it's more of a job.

I am blessed to be of the former category, but I know a lot of successful authors who are of the latter ilk.

(I wanted to use the word "ilk")

The trick is, there is no trick. They just keep working.

So today is your reminder to pull up your big kid panties and let's get on with it.

"When I stand before God at the end of my days I want to be able to say 'I used everything you gave me'".        Erma Bombeck

Smart lady.

Good mantra.

Enjoy your Friday and please... join me at the keyboard because never have there been so many amazing opportunities for authors!

A Surpise Post?????

Bestselling, multi-published author Ruth Logan Herne is loving what she's doing as she creates stories that make folks smile... and sometimes cry. She loves God (He's like her BFF, bestie and really good friend), her family, her country, dogs, puppies, chocolate, little kids and bigger kids, too. She's often seen with coffee. Email her at loganherne@gmail.com or follow her on Facebook. 


What Story Do You Need to Tell?

 

What Story Do You Need to Tell?

 Nearly every day for the past sixteen months, I’ve taken Sam for a two-mile walk.


What Story Do You Need to Tell?
Samwise the border collie

Early morning is our time – before six o’clock is my sweet spot in the summer, and after seven in the winter. I try to walk when most of the rest of the neighborhood is still at home and off the roads.

(Blame Sam. He thinks his job is to control all the cars on our road, and all the deer he can see. That herding instinct is strong!)

But even during this peaceful time, I’ll meet neighbors who are enjoying the same early morning routine as I am. And since we’re fairly new in our little community, some will strike up a conversation.

It usually goes like this:

Neighbor: “I’ve seen you walking your dog.”

Sam lays on the gravel road, waiting for a treat. Or a pat. Or anything.

Me: “He needs his road work every day.”

Neighbor: “You live down there?” (she points)

Me: “We bought Fred’s place and moved in a couple years ago.”

Everyone knows Fred.

Neighbor: “How is he doing?”

Me: “I haven’t heard, but I know he’s living in town now.”

Then comes the ultimate question…

Neighbor: “What do you and your husband do?”

Me: “My husband is retired and I’m an author.”

And then the response…

Neighbor: “Oh.” She looks down the road. “Well, I had better finish my walk.”


I don’t need to ask my neighbor any more questions. I know where she lives – she waves when I walk by with Sam in the morning as she has coffee on her front porch. I know she and her husband leave together every morning at 7:10. I know she likes to feed the deer.

I also know she is not a reader.

 
Because if she WAS a reader, her response would have been something like…

“I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t know where to start.”

And the hopeful look. The questioning glance. After all, I’m an author. I must know the secret.

What Story Do You Need to Tell?
Jack the corgi

 Well, yes, I do know the secret. If you’ve been reading the Seekerville blog for very long, you know the secret, too.

Writing a book is work. Hard work. Work that demands perseverance and determination.

What Story Do You Need to Tell?
  

Sometimes, though, you meet that person who is challenged when you tell her that writing isn’t easy. She is enthusiastic about visiting the blogs I mention (including Seekerville,) and then follows through and actually looks up the blog.

I recently met a young woman on my walk who is house sitting for our neighbors (hi, Shana!) The next time she saw me she said she had stopped by to visit Seekerville.

That is the kind of person who may actually write a book and may actually finish it. And may actually have it published.

Because that kind of person won’t let anything stop her.

Her story will become her life. She’ll think about the next plot point while she’s cooking dinner. She’ll talk to her characters when no one else will listen to her. She’ll be surprised to see green grass in the yard in July because her story is set in the mountains in December.

She will stay up late into the night researching a quirky allergy her character has and rise early in the morning to write five hundred words before work.

Weather won’t stop her. A pandemic won’t stop her. A boat-load of zucchini in the garden will only delay her for a few hours. And a border collie puppy? No problem. The book will still be written.

What Story Do You Need to Tell?

 
Because when we have a story to tell, we have to tell it.

Is there a story you need to tell?

Whether you're a writer or a reader,
whether your story is written down or it's still in your head,
tell us a little bit about it in the comments,
(100 words or less – practice your “elevator pitch”) 
 and you’ll be entered to win a copy of “An Amish Christmas Kitchen.”

Because we all need a bit of Christmas in July!

(US only for paperback, e-copy wherever Amazon will send it.)


What Story Do You Need to Tell?
As the weather grows cold and the nights grow long, the cheer and warmth of the Christmas season is one thing all readers can find comfort in. This collection from bestselling Amish fiction novelists Leslie Gould, Jan Drexler, and Kate Lloyd finds the beating heart at the center of the holiday and offers three novellas that celebrate family, faith, and especially the sights and smells of a bustling holiday kitchen.

Leslie Gould tells the story of how, in the wake of a heartbreaking loss, a young Amish woman finds unexpected comfort and hope in a yearly baking tradition surrounding the local Lancaster Christmas market. Jan Drexler offers a sweet tale of a shy Amish woman who decides to use her gift for sweets to woo a local Amish boy with her beloved Christmas cookies. And Kate Lloyd offers a heartwarming tale of a woman's unexpected discovery about the truth of her past, and the warm and welcoming Amish family table she finds herself invited to on Christmas.



 

 

Indie Doesn't Mean You're Alone

 

Indie Doesn't Mean You're Alone

By Kathy Geary Anderson

One month ago today, I launched my first book baby into the world. Nine months before that (yes, I’m aware of the irony of that time frame) after lots of prayer, some prodding from my husband, as well as a couple of deep conversations with my agent, I made the decision to pursue indie publishing. COVID may have had a voice in that decision, but honestly, I’d been toying with the idea for some time.

One of the biggest reasons I was balking was the thought of having to do everything on my own. Taking on all those tasks and responsibilities alone seemed almost insurmountable. So much to do. So much to learn. Well, it’s ten months later, and guess what? The biggest lesson I learned throughout this whole process was indie publishing is by no means a solo endeavor.

If, like me, you are considering indie publishing, here are some of the people you’ll want on your team:

1.       The Experts. Very few people are experts at everything. If you decide to indie publish, you are taking on a lot of roles. Not only do you need to write your book, but you’ll also need to see that it’s edited, published and marketed well. Like a general contractor on a building project, be willing to hire experts for the jobs you don’t do well. And, even if you consider yourself a pretty good editor, don’t try to edit your own book. Find a good developmental editor. Then, find a copy editor and proofreader. The money spent on their services is well worth it. Don’t know any experts? Ask around. Look at the front matter of indie published books you admire. You’ll often find the names of editors and cover artists there. Then, do your research.  Professionals will usually have lists of references of other books they’ve edited or portfolios of covers they’ve created. Choose more than one name you’d like to work with and be prepared to be flexible with your publishing timeline because the best experts are also often the busiest.

2.       The Teachers. The writing community is one of the best communities I know for sharing knowledge. If you want to learn something, chances are you can find a blog, a YouTube video, or a writing community (like The Seekers) that will be glad to supply the answers. Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formulais one of the most comprehensive sites I know for the indie publisher. If the cost of his entire Self-Publishing 101 is too prohibitive, be aware he has plenty of podcasts and free resources as well. He also offers mini courses at much cheaper prices. Another gold mine of information is the blog at  Reedsy.com. Their easy-to-understand articles helped me wrangle MetaData, ISBNs and BISACS into manageable bites. Also, KDP University, IngramSpark Academyand Draft2Digital all provide tutorials to help navigate publication on their sites. With the wealth of information out there, you’ll be sure to find a teaching style that works best for you.

3.       The Encouragers. This group is a must for any writer, traditionally or indie pubbed. For me, many in this group are fellow authors--friends I’ve met at writers’ conferences, local writers’ groups, and online communities. Shortly after I made the decision to indie publish, God placed me in an online prayer group with a group of authors, the majority of which were all indie published. Their support has been invaluable, not only for the advice and direction they provide, but for their ability to pray me down off the ledge on those days when frustration and anxiety sought to get the better of me. Cultivate your author friendships, but also surround yourself with close friends and family members who, though they may not fully understand your writing journey, are willing and eager to celebrate each milestone you reach along the way. Celebrations are key.

Who are the most important team members in your publishing journey? Leave a comment below to be eligible for a drawing for a free signed print copy of The Trouble with Jenny. Also, drop by my website kathygearyanderson.com and sign up for my newsletter to receive a free prequel to Jenny’s story.

 A south-Texas transplant to the good life of Nebraska, Kathy Geary Anderson has a passion for story and all things historical. Over the years, she has been an English teacher, a newsletter and ad writer, and a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not reading or writing novels, she can be found cheering (far too loudly) for her favorite football team, traveling the country with her husband, or spending time with her adult children. Connect with her at www.kathygearyanderson.com.

 

Indie Doesn't Mean You're Alone
Click to Buy

She’s always getting into trouble. He’s always getting hurt.

At the turn of the 20th century, New York socialite Jenny Westraven is in trouble . . . again. An orphaned heiress from a large banking family, she’s expected to follow the rules of society and marry according to her wealth and status. But Jenny craves adventure and anything BUT the ordinary. So, when her guardian aunt and uncle return from a European vacation to find Jenny working as a typewriter girl in a Newark law office, they are appalled. Worse yet, they interrupt a kiss between her and her young boss Mr. “Ben” Bennett.

Jenny has been getting Ben in trouble since he was ten, so he’s secretly relieved when her guardians reject him as a suitor. He has other plans for his life, and they don’t include his troublesome childhood friend. When Jenny uses outrageous methods to reject the suitors her family does approve for her, her aunt and uncle decide to send her to her brother in Wyoming.

Then, a family tragedy takes Ben out west as well, and his path crosses with Jenny’s once again. As they work together to end an injustice, what was merely an attraction between them develops into something more. Unfortunately, Jenny’s involvement with another man comes between them and puts her in the worst trouble of her life.

Now Ben must decide whether to risk his heart to rescue her once again or cut his losses and let her go.

Hi, I’m Kathy—a south-Texas transplant to the good life of Nebraska with a passion for story and all things historical. A life-time ago, I earned a Master’s degree in education and over the years that followed have taught school, raised children and written a plethora of ads, newsletters, blogs and stories. Most recently, I retired from my longest, hardest, but most rewarding job as stay-at-home mom. Now an empty-nester, I’m diving full time into my dream of turning the stories in my head into novels. When I’m not reading or writing novels, you can probably find me cheering (far too loudly) for my favorite football team, striking out on traveling adventures with my husband, or spending time with my young adult children.

Kathy's Website

Find Kathy on Facebook

 

Those Flaming Arrows

Those Flaming Arrows

by Mindy Obenhaus

Ever felt as though you’re under attack? You know, going through life, kind of enjoying your comfortable little routine and then along comes something to throw you off balance. So you address that issue, then, before you know it, here comes another one. And then another, none of which are catastrophic, yet they keep bombarding you until suddenly all of those little things start to feel huge.

Yeah, that kinda sums up the last month for me. Not that I should be surprised. After all, Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.”

Well, that doesn’t make me want to jump up and down for joy, but the good news is that Jesus didn’t stop there. He went on to say, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Indeed He has. Yet while He’s called us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), I can easily spend more time whining than conquering.

Those Flaming Arrows

You’ve often heard it said here at Seekerville, “If He calls you, He will equip you.” Yes, we’re talking about writing, but the same holds true for every other aspect of our lives. So how do we deal with those flaming arrows when they take aim at us?

Faith.

Ephesians 6:16 NIV says, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Yes, right there we see that God has equipped us. He’s given us a shield of faith to have at the ready. Except sometimes we leave our shield in the closet or tuck it under the bed. Even if it’s only in the corner of the room, it takes effort to walk over and pick up our shield.

The King James version is a little more direct. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Not take up but taking. As in always having it with you. And it doesn’t just say “in addition,” but “above all.” Hmm, Paul is really stepping on my toes now.

Those Flaming Arrows

So what is faith? Faith is confidence. Trust. In some ways, faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Unlike muscles, though, you can choose to have faith at any time. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar or be part of an intensive Bible study or even quote scripture verses. You simply have to believe that God is bigger than whatever you’re facing and that, no matter the outcome, He is with you and will guide you through it.

Why am I sharing this today? Because my posts usually reflect something I’ve been struggling with since we last talked. And I know that somewhere out there one of you is facing the same battle. So sister, I’ve got your back. Let’s take up our bedazzled shields of faith (because let’s face it, why have a plain old shield when you can have a sparkly one?) and quench some fiery darts. 

And while we're at it, let's giveaway something. Giving and/or receiving always brightens my day. So how about this? Leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of my March release, A Brother's Promise, OR the 2-in-1 anthology with Her Colorado Cowboy. Your choice. US mailing addresses only, please.

Those Flaming Arrows
Those Flaming Arrows


Those Flaming Arrows

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 www.MindyObenhaus.com

 

Ten Steps of the Successful Author

Okay, there is no mystery in this post, except the one I'm giving away two copies of!!!  My newest Guideposts Mystery from the Savannah Secrets collection "Patterns of Deception"!


Ten Steps of the Successful Author

No mystery to my advice, whatsoever.

None.

Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

There are, however, layers of potential success, so let's talk about those today because if you go into this business with a full heart and a gentle soul and wide-eyed dreams of becoming the next Karen Kingsbury, J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, you may succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

YAY! 

Or you may miss seventeen very important steps, trip yourself up, fall flat on your face, and crawl away, sobbing like a two-year-old.

But the difference lies in those seventeen steps! (There aren't really seventeen, there could be twelve or eleven or thirty-two, I used seventeen solely for the purpose of syncopation with the word 'steps'. A long, multi-syllable word sounds even better when paired with a short, snappy word. Can you tell I've been teaching fifth graders all year? And yes-- before you ask the obvious-- I am, in fact, smarter than a fifth grader.)

But let's get back to the steps. Did you know that steps, while a basic form of architecture, are not easily achieved via wood/saw/concrete/stones/etc.? 

Level steps are a simplified masterpiece of mathematics. If your angle for the step is slightly off, then the person going up or down feels that "tilt" and compensates. A good step is flat and requires no compensation. A good step needs to be weather-resistant. It needs clean lines, flat planes, and the same degree of "rise" (from step to step) to make it easy to climb and safe.

Listen up, Einstein! Your book has similar needs.

1. TELL ONE STORY (this was my first major mistake, thinking I was brilliant and all that and a bag of chips. You get the drift...) You can add a subplot or reflective story but it is very difficult to tell multiple stories in one book unless you're penning a book of short stories. Focus on the one story, like a spider focuses on the center of her web, then take avenues from that center. 

2. KEEP WRITING (Your first book is probably junk no matter how much it means to you. There are exceptions to this rule. But that's why they're called exceptions, because they are not the norm. Toughen up, finish the book, let some smart folks read it (other writers or contest judges, critique partners) and grow a firm skin because just like not every baby is the cutest (although every baby IS THE BEST EVER) not every book is good. 

3. WRITE MORE BOOKS.

4. TAKE GOOD ADVICE. (You will hear that not all advice about your book is good, and that's true. But having said that, if you have several people tell you it makes no sense for hero to do/say/act like this, then you haven't laid the groundwork for his actions. That's your bad, darlings, so go back and rewrite. If it isn't clear to the reader, it doesn't matter that you meant it to be clear... That means you have to edit/revise to make it clear and sometimes that means going back to page one and re-delineating your hero and/or heroine's reasons for living and/or being a jerk or a wimp or a whiner or a tough gal or whatever it is they are supposed to be. It all begins on page one.)

5. IGNORE SOME ADVICE  This comes with practice and paying attention. I avoid jerks. I ignore them. If someone is inherently negative (and they are as prevalent in publishing, Christian or otherwise, as they are in life) I avoid them and not all negative people appear to be openly negative. You can often recognize them for the excuses they make about, well, most things. Like forever. Decades. When confronted with that advice, it's a consider-the-source moment. And quietly recede. But recognizing these people sometimes takes work on your part. 

6. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA  Social media is a total time-suck. It's up to you, of course, but if you waste your ninety minutes of writing time every day by cruising Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever, that was your choice to squander the time. Not for the good of mankind or your new career. Just... a waste pit of lost opportunity. Focus. Focus. Focus. Like a good fifth grader, you learn to allot your time, not put things off, and stay focused. The reason they teach this diligently in fifth grade is because:

       A. Kids are old enough to comprehend it at age ten.

       B. Kids are old enough to make a conscious choice and deal with consequences.

       C. Kids learn from their mistakes.

7. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY (Here's the dealbreaker for so many wannabe authors. They don't want the real responsibility of writing every day, of making up stories and typing them out, of revisions and edits and marketing and they slip away, sometimes not so quietly, blaming all kinds of folks for all kinds of things and you know what? That's okay... This business is sometimes wonderful and often brutal and there are people who do not long for your success so if you don't personally long for it enough to take the heat, then it's okay to leave the writing kitchen. I mean that. Sincerely.)

8. BE GRATEFUL FOR EVERY OPPORTUNITY GIVEN You may not love each opportunity the good Lord puts before you. You may not appreciate what editors have to say, the rewrites and revisions, the phone advice, or the revise and resubmit letters you might receive, but even if it's not what you envisioned, remember that if you're working with a publisher, they call the shots. They want what they want, not necessarily what you want to write. Build a base and stand by that base once built, but don't be afraid to branch out and deliver as requested. You might find out you're not the know-it-all you thought you were. You might-- gasp-- learn something! :) And learning is good.

9. GET UP.  One thing I know about this business and about life is that you will get knocked down. You may want to pout or whine or cry, and that's okay, but let's do the Eleanor Roosevelt thing, okay? Let's go into the bathroom, run the water, and gnash our teeth in there because whiny authors are a pain in the neck... although they are out there and a meany-pants like me just sighs and moves on and refuses (mostly) to engage in their drivel and I will tell you why: because they choose to be that way. You can choose to be that way, too. Or you can pull up your big girl panties, get back on the bike and learn to ride without training wheels because that's what the big kids do... and they don't gnash their terrible teeth, and show their terrible claws and roll their terrible yellow eyes without blinking once in public. Because. Gosh. That's dumb.) 

10. BE GRATEFUL. EVERY SINGLE STINKIN' DAY

CAVEAT: This is the expected Ruthy rant about respecting your country, taking time to appreciate not only your God-given gifts, but each little and big opportunity that comes your way every day. If you woke up? NEW OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT. It's up to you. Consider this your warning that the rant ensues below.

You're welcome! :)

Gratitude should be a no-brainer. 

Unfortunately that is not the current truth.

I look around this great country and I am constantly amazed by whining, lack of industry, laziness, lowered expectations and so many things that seem to fill mainstream media 24/7 today. I look at stories written and I may know that some of that story is actually untrue, but the story is written, edited and published as is because it follows a chosen narrative.... And lately that narrative is to mock, scourge, deride and besmirch our country, the kind of thing that is encouraged when often rich and power-hungry people want things to eventually tip in their favor. Encouraging discouragement in a populace is a very real maneuver, and golly gee whillikers, folks, what have we got to be discouraged about? Depending on your bar of measure, here's my take:

Not much.

We have more material goods than is good for us. We are blessed with opportunity, jobs, income, health and amazing health care, but still we yearn.

Well, we're silly.

We should be like Mary, following that cross. Not whining. Standing strong for the faith we share and the life we have. Standing firm in faith, together.

My "bleeds red/white and blue heart" loves being patriotic. I love this country, this land of opportunity, the options, the choices, the chances we're given to be our best so understandably I cringe when folks go out of their way to bring it down because if you've read history (not Cliff notes, darlings) then you can see the parallels of creating dissent for no other reason than dissent itself and how it affects a nation.

So be grateful. If not for yourself, then your grandparents or great-grandparents who risked life and limb for freedom, not to have it squandered two generations later... but to secure your freedom.

From that spirit of gratitude may come great words! 

Or maybe not.

But at the end of the day you won't feel like a jerk, you'll probably be nicer and maybe less whiny and that right there is a blessing to others. :)

So we bless them by appreciating our blessings. And that's a win for everyone! 

Ten Steps of the Successful Author

Leave a comment below about pretty much anything and I'll enter your name into the drawing for one of these absolutely wonderful mysteries! 

Ten Steps of the Successful Author

Multi-published, award-winning and really bossy author Ruth Logan Herne loves chatting up writing with all kinds of folks. She also loves God, her family, country, she bleeds red/white/blue and has been known to say the Pledge of Allegiance on the spur of the moment... and she thinks God is the coolest of the cool.


Friend her on Facebook, email her at loganherne@gmail.com or stop by her website ruthloganherne.com... she'd love to get to know you when she's not growing pumpkins, making wreaths and running a very busy and fun pumpkin farm!


Facing Turmoil? Write!


I don’t have to tell you that we are in the midst of a tumultuous time. The last eleven months have been anywhere from disruptive to horrendous, depending on where you live.

But depending on how old you are, this isn’t your first go-round with pandemics and political turmoil.

Today, January 18, 2021, is Martin Luther King Day. 


His rise to public prominence, his famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” and his shocking assassination all took place during the 1960’s – a time of political turmoil.

Just think of the nation-shattering events that took place during that decade –

Wait, let’s narrow this down to one year: 1968.

On January 23, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, initiating an eleven-month standoff between the US and North Korea

On January 30, the Tet Offensive was launched (part of the Vietnam War) and continued into September.

On April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, sparking riots in more than one hundred cities across the country.

In April, student protests at Columbia University in New York sparked similar campus protests across the country.

On June 4, Robert Kennedy (John F. Kennedy’s brother) was shot in Los Angeles while campaigning for president.

On August 28, anti-war protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago turned violent, now known as the Chicago Riots.


It was a year filled with violence, division, and hatred. It was the capstone of the 60’s – a decade that changed America. 

What other events shaped that decade? Sputnik, the Cuban Missile crisis, the construction of the Berlin Wall, the US involvement in the Vietnam War exploded, Woodstock happened in the midst of the 1969 “Hong Kong Flu” pandemic, Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 sparking riots in Los Angeles that left more than thirty people dead, and John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Is this beginning to sound familiar?


We aren’t the first generation of writers to be telling our stories in the midst of great upheaval and change – or even a pandemic.

Here is a smattering of the books that were published during the tumultuous 1960’s (there were hundreds):

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Do you see my point?

Writers write. In spite of what is going on outside their writing cave. 


So, have the events of the past eleven months affected your writing life?

Have you spent days staring at your computer, feeling unable to put two words together?

Do you feel like the well of ideas has gone dry?

I’m not surprised if you said yes to every one of these! 


Writing is hard (as if I have to tell you that!) 

My theory (completely untested and based only on my own observations) is that our bodies and brains can only handle one major project at a time. So, while we’re being distracted by pandemics and politics, our minds are looking at our work-in-progress and saying, “I can’t handle that right now.”

What is a writer to do?

Well, we could ignore the news.

Or we could unplug from everyone or anything.

But neither of those are realistic. 

Writers write, remember?

Maybe this is the time to put all that “fight or flight” energy into putting our reaction to the world’s events into our stories.

When historical romance wasn’t working for me back in April, I started writing a cozy mystery. Believe me, thinking and plotting how my bad guy is going to meet his doom (in the form of police handcuffs) is a great outlet for my 2020 emotional roller coaster!

Or when I need a break from my cozy, I go back to my historical romance. There is nothing like escaping to the Old West where the deer and the antelope play. Living in another world for a while is a great way to handle the 2020 stress.

Still don’t feel like you can write? I’m sure authors sixty years ago felt the same way.

But think of this: Where would our culture be without the books I listed above? There would never be an offer we couldn’t refuse, Scout would only exist in Harper Lee’s imagination, and Sam I Am would still be trying to get someone – anyone – to try green eggs and ham.

Where will our culture be if you never wrote the story God has laid on your heart? 



The comments are open and waiting for you! Have you had trouble writing during the past year? Or has it been a year of great inspiration and productivity for you?

Where do you see your writing going in 2021?

One commenter will win an audio copy of "The Sound of Distant Thunder," book one in The Amish of Weaver's Creek series!




 

 

 


Recalculate, Reinvigorate, Restart

Recalculate, Reinvigorate, Restart
by Mindy Obenhaus

Here we are, officially at the halfway point of 2020. It’s been one for the record books, hasn’t it? Now, this may be tough, but I’m going to ask you to look all the way back to January 1. Back when COVID wasn’t even a blip on our radar and you were looking forward to what 2020 might hold. What were your goals for this year? Go ahead, pull out that list, mental or written, and look it over. Are you able to check anything off?

I know life has been wonky, so some of the things on your list may be out of your control, but what about the rest? Are you going to throw in the towel or press on, no matter what life throws at you? Because let’s face it, there has always been and will always be obstacles. The loss of a job, illness, death of a loved one. 

Mary Cate talked about procrastination and the inability to focus during these tough times in her post last week (if you missed it, you can read it here). She had a more scientific approach, but she’s a lot smarter than I am. So today I’m going to give you a laywoman’s approach to pressing on.

Recalculate – Think back to when you wrote down that goal. Was it simply a wish or were you determined to achieve it? Why were you determined? Did you have a plan of action? It’s okay to go off the map, but there comes a time when you have to get back on if you want to reach your destination. Look at where you are now and then think about where you want to be at the end of the year. Come up with a realistic plan of action and resolve to stick to it as much as possible.
Recalculate, Reinvigorate, Restart

Reinvigorate – Surround yourself with things that uplift and/or motivate you. Praise and worship music always lifts my spirits and helps me refocus. Bible studies or books on the craft of writing or whatever else might interest you can reinvigorate your desire and motivate you to push through. And encouraging people are always a blessing. Is there someone in your life who will encourage you to press on? Is there someone you can share your goals with, knowing that they’ll support you? If so, I’d encourage you to do that. And, of course, the ladies of Seekerville are always on the sidelines, cheering you on every step of the way. Our goal is to motivate and encourage you on your journey. Remember, you are not alone.

Pray – Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest. God gave you the desire for whatever it is you want to achieve so that He could partner with you every step of the way. Tell Him your struggles, your weaknesses and fears, knowing that He's big enough to help you overcome whatever obstacles cross your path. Claim those scriptures that promise He will never leave you nor forsake you. Hold tightly to His hand and then get ready for the ride of your life.

Don’t lose heart or give up on your goals just because the world has gone crazy. Revisit them then recalculate, reinvigorate and restart your journey. 

How are your goals for 2020 shaping up? Are you staying on task or is it time to recalculate? Leave comment for a chance to win a copy of my new release, A Father's Promise. 
(US mailing addresses only, please)
Recalculate, Reinvigorate, Restart

Is he ready for fatherhood?
He doesn’t think he deserves a family… But now he has a daughter.
Stunned to discover he has a child, Wes Bishop isn’t sure he’s father material. But his adorable daughter needs him, and he can’t help feeling drawn to her mother, Laurel Donovan—a woman he’s finally getting to know. But can this sudden dad overcome a past tragedy that has him convinced he’s not meant to be a husband or a father…and make a promise of forever?


Recalculate, Reinvigorate, Restart
HOLT Medallion winner and three-time Carol Award finalist, 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 www.MindyObenhaus.com

Embrace Your Season

Embrace Your Season

by Pam Hillman

It’s been a really strange spring. I realize COVID-19 has consumed our country and the entire world, and it’s certainly played a big part in my life the last few months as well.

However, something closer to home has occupied my time and energy even more than a worldwide pandemic. My elderly mother had a health scare in March and we’re still dealing with some of her health issues and will be for some time. So I can certainly understand the worries and fears that so many families faced when they couldn’t see their loved ones or stay with them in the hospital. Yep, been there, done that, and it’s a terrible feeling!

But then our family has also had blessings upon blessings heaped upon us. I have a new grandson. He’s one month old as you’re reading this, and he, his mom, dad, and big sister are all doing well and with the parental leave act can pretty much hunker down away from all the big, bad scary stuff of the world for these precious first few weeks at home. Of course all of this means that I’ve only seen him twice, but that’s okay.

I led into this blog post with a bit about my current crazy life. Even after 5 days in the hospital with my mom, I didn’t go back home for three weeks, and I live a short 4 miles from her. Under normal circumstances, she would have been in the hospital, but with COVID-19 patients there, her doctors decided that my brother, me, and home health (bless home health!) could take care of her just as well. We were thankful to be sent home.
Embrace Your Season

So, how does this relate to writing? Well, I sort of feel guilty about not be really productive during this time. I mean, many of my writer friends are happily plotting and writing their latest novel right now. We’re used to social distancing, aren’t we? We tend to go for days without seeing another living soul, except for the occasional glimpse of a spouse or a few kids or grandkids. So being cut off from the world should be right down our alley, isn’t it?

But this “stay home, stay safe” isn’t necessarily a vacation or a sabbatical, is it?  I suspect plotting, planning, and spending hours upon hours has been far down the list for others as well. Some of us have been involved in elder care, others have had to dive into the uncharted waters of homeschooling, or even babysitting grandchildren because daycares are closed and one or both parents are essential employees. Our family is overrun with nurses (praise the Lord!), so I’ve done my share of extra childcare over the last few weeks as well.
Embrace Your Season

I guess my point is that for everything there is a season, and maybe this season is one where we have to stop and reassess our priorities. Mine right now are taking care of family. Interestingly enough, I look back over the last few years and see that God knew this time was coming. He knew I’d need this time to take care of my mom, and I’m in a place where I can take a breather. In other words, I don’t have a LOOMING deadline.

As I type this, I’m sitting on my mother's front porch with my feet propped up late at night, listening to the frogs croaking in the nearby swamp. Mom is doing her crossword puzzle and we’re both yawning, just waiting for 9 o’clock so we can go to bed. We're in a new season, a different one to where I was two months ago, a month ago, even last week.
Embrace Your Season

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Whatever it is, we need to be prepared to embrace it.

I’m playing with new story ideas, new series, new plots and enjoying the process, but I'm not putting hours upon hours of time into getting words on paper. But those stories will have their season.

Someday.

So, if you're feeling a little down because somehow self-quarantining didn't result in that great American novel you always dreamed of writing, look outward, instead of inward. Look at the blessing you've been to your family, your friends, the elderly, your country, or whatever, wherever you've been needed during this time.

That's your season right now. Embrace it.




Embrace Your Season
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

Fellow authors, writers and readers, we don't want to belabor the current situation, but The Seekers are a group of Christian authors and bloggers.

Key word: CHRISTIAN.  That comes first, before the word author or blogger.

From Love Inspired author Mindy Obenhaus:

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

We are believers.

We are women of God, believers in Christ, sisters of the Spirit, bound together not just because we love good books and great stories and romance...

We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord... and they'll know we are Christians by our love...

So that's what today is about.

Everyone reading this has a story right now. We are living in the pages of a coming history book, the Covid 19 Pandemic of 2020, and students will look at graphs and curves and numbers and they'll see that we were willing to risk one of the best economic booms we've had in decades to save lives.

A verse that brings solace to Missy Tippens:

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times


But that doesn't come without pain and sacrifice and worry as millions of people are told to stay home from work and millions of others lose their jobs as schools and businesses face a mandatory closing order.

So here are some beautiful sayings that help us keep it in perspective because that's what God expects us to do.



From Debby Giusti....

Dear Friends, I select a new scripture verse each day and write it on a 3x5 card that I place on my kitchen counter. I also open my Bible to that verse and keep both close at hand to pray throughout the day. The verses are from the daily readings. 

My verse today is Psalm 34:7
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.

Nature is nature. Nature will change things. Nature is not always predictable, and sometimes awful things just plain happen.

And we learn to take up the yoke and walk with it.

Here's a beautiful verse from Carrie: (meme by Beth Jamison)

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

And here is a favorite from Winnie Griggs, one that I think we all love and embrace: 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
BE NOT AFRAID...
Someone once said that there were 365 exortations to "not be afraid" in the Bible. This gal checked that out and found 145... And that's still a lot, my friends! And you know why? Because we're human. We get nervous. We don't like change. We're normal. Simply put, we are not God. And so we get anxious and we fear and the Lord, our God says "Fear not!"

Annie shared these three verses that bring her comfort when life and the world get out of hand: 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
- Romans 8:28


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 
And Mary Connealy said offered up one of my favorite verses, too:
Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times
 And Mary sent this along with the meme.... 

This makes a wonderful prayer. Isaiah 40:30b-31

And I try and remember when  you pray for someone using this prayer that, when someone doesn't survive whatever this life hands out, then God lifts them up, as if on eagle's wings. He takes them to himself to a place and renews their strength. A place where they can run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.

That is what we believe.
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his son, our Lord. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

In this time of anxiety, nerves and reflection, when it seems like our world has been put on pause, or flipped upside down, we are blessed to have God.

And blessed to have each other.

I'm pretty sure I have one more copy of Sarah Young's  "Jesus Calling" and let us know if you'd like it... it's absolutely lovely and I'd be happy to put your name into the candy dish.

No cat dish today.

We're going full tilt on candy, and we are happy to share with all of you.  Leave a comment or tell us your favorite verse in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

And may God bless you, all of you, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

And a beautiful way to draw this to a close is with this verdant reminder from Jan Drexler:

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

The Seekers are a great bunch of gals who love great books, who write great books and who are blessed to call one another friends... and who enjoy welcoming people into their lives. 

Thank you for being here with us today.

It's Gonna be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny DayA Surpise Post?????What Story Do You Need to Tell?Indie Doesn't Mean You're AloneThose Flaming ArrowsTen Steps of the Successful Author Facing Turmoil? Write!Recalculate, Reinvigorate, RestartEmbrace Your SeasonFear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

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