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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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Remembering Vince Mooney (June 14, 1944 - April 29, 2022) ... With Love.

 Vince Mooney, a good and dear friend to Seekerville and the Seekers went home to heaven two weeks ago. When we heard that Vince had entered hospice last fall, we wrote this tribute to him. We repeat it now, knowing that a good, kind, funny, cryptic, smart man has made heaven a more philosophical place than it was on April 28, 2022.

We love you Vince and Linda Mooney... you've stood tall for faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.

THE SEEKERS.

Remembering Vince Mooney (June 14, 1944 - April 29, 2022) ... With Love.

BACKSTORY: Sixteen years ago a group of fifteen contest-winning unpublished Christian/Inspirational authors formed a group with one sole goal: To pray one another into publication by a royalty-paying publisher.

Their dreams came true when Pam Hillman was offered her Tyndale contracts. YAY! WE DID IT!

Back in 2007 that original group of 15 started a writers' blog and called it "Seekerville". The goal was to encourage and help aspiring authors, meet readers and build a platform for book launches. The blog-- this blog!-- was successful on all three. Blessed by the work of many and the faith of all, Seekerville was born and achieved the coveted "Top 101 Writing Blogs" multiple years in a row. 

A lot has changed! 

Many of the original Seekers have retired or gone their own way. Life happens.

New bloggers were welcomed on-board and we forge on, loving books, writing, readers and the chance to connect with both through this blog. Vince was right there, encouraging us to keep on keepin' on as seen in this "Changing of the Guard" post nearly five years ago: 

https://seekervillearchives.blogspot.com/

From the beginning, or nearly the beginning, Vince Mooney Jr. has been a constant. He's encouraged, laughed, lamented, learned and taught with his wisdom, a wisdom gained through life, love and liberty. A well-read man of faith, a veteran, a sage, philosopher and successful businessman, Vince's comments were often a blog in themselves and he's never been afraid to argue or back up his points.

We've loved him for years. He and his wife Linda have welcomed Seekers with open arms when we've visited Oklahoma. His Amazon reviews are amazing, but then he is amazing so that's no surprise. 

Vince's "Philosophy of Romance" blog offered advice, wisdom and kudos to various authors. I was blessed to be one of those authors. I was blessed to know Vince, to win his love and support, to spar with him, laugh with him, and if we lived closer, I'd have had coffee with him on a regular basis. Yeah. He's that smart. :)

Vince has entered what he predicts to be a short-term hospice. Today's post is to thank him for his love, his words, his wisdom, his constancy, his support and that beautiful faith that has sustained him. Vince, my friend... from me personally... I don't have the right words to tell you how much your love, support, encouragement and enthusiasm for my work has meant to me. I am so glad to have known you for so long... what a blessing to me! And I have never forgotten your reaction to my debut novel... and my gratitude for your belief in me.

Go with God, my friend. I'll miss you. We all will. But that's the way of life, isn't it?

Until we meet again...

Ruthy

Remembering Vince Mooney (June 14, 1944 - April 29, 2022) ... With Love.

 Dear Vince,

 

Thanks for your support and encouragement over the years. One of my biggest thrills was having THE OFFICER’S SECRET selected as the Philosophy of Romance Inspirational Suspense Book of the Year! You've always been so willing to affirm my writing, and your positive comments have meant so much to me. I still remember your praise for my novella, YULE DIE. Your kind words continue to buoy me, especially when I'm struggling to create a new story and feeling at low ebb. You’re a great cheerleader, Vince, which is what every writer needs.

 

Thanks, too, for being a loyal Seekervillager. Your posts always provided food for thought and lots of sound advice. You’re a Renaissance Man, dear Vince, and certainly one of a kind. You’ve enhanced my life in so many special ways.

 

May God bless you. I know the Lord’s holding you in the palm of His hand, and in His perfect time, will call you home to Eternal Glory. Prayers for the journey, dear friend, and God speed!

 

With love, prayers and gratitude,

Debby Giusti

Remembering Vince Mooney (June 14, 1944 - April 29, 2022) ... With Love.

Dear Vince,

I want you to know that you always have been, and always will be, one of my favorite people, not only in Seekerville, but in the world. So much so that, as you know, I named a character after you in one of my books and then dedicated another to you as well – A Wing and a Prayer – because YOU were the creative force behind this story, my friend. As I said in that dedication, you never cease to amaze (and bless) me with your incredibly brilliant and fertile mind, and I will be forever grateful for both your creative input and your precious friendship. God bless and keep you always. 

Hugs,

Julie

From Myra Johnson:

Vince, I will always remember my delight in meeting you in person when you came to one of my very first book signings. Remember Steve’s Sundry in Tulsa? What a special day! You have been such a staunch encourager and advocate for authors of romantic Christian fiction. I treasure your insightful reviews, and I’m honored to know you, truly a man of integrity and deep faith. Praying God’s comfort and strength upon you and your dear wife, now and always.

From Janet Dean...

I treasure knowing Vince Mooney, both as a reviewer of my books and as a vital, faithful member of the community of Seekerville. Vince is a man of faith, well-read, intelligent, and generous with this time and yes, with his opinions. His views might sometimes differ from mine but his points always made me think. His reviews brought depth and meaning to romance books that rightly elevated our genre and encouraged us writers. When I was struggling with getting words on the page, I’d sometimes reread a couple of his reviews and receive a boost to keep on keeping on. When I was active in Seekerville, I appreciated his male point of view and could count on him to show up each day with fresh perspectives and occasionally controversy that made our exchanges interesting. I think of Vince as a true Renaissance man.

 

God bless you, Vince, on your journey home. My love goes with you.

Janet Dean 


From Mary Connealy:


I had the pleasure of meeting Vince once, and his wife Linda. 

I did a book signing in Tulsa Oklahoma with Ruth Logan Herne and Tina Radcliff, inspired by Tina having lived in Tulsa at one time and setting her book there. 

Vince came to our signing and made us feel welcome in everyway. We visited the Will Rogers Museum with him and shared a meal. I learned so much about Will Rogers from the museum and also from our trusty tour guide Vince. 

Now when I think of Will Rogers, which I do frequently because he’s such a great humorist and cowboy, and his trick roping is fascinating, I think of Vince and what a fan he was of Rogers and how he compared me and my romantic comedy with cowboys to Will Rogers. I consider that a great honor. Vince Yates, the hero of Stuck Together, book #3 of the Trouble in Texas series, is named for Vince.

Vince had been a faithful follower of Seekerville for years and with his marketing background, has always been full of advice that’s different that what we usually get from people more centered on writing. He’s a friend and an encourager and a man of faith. Thank you, Vince. 


Remembering Vince Mooney (June 14, 1944 - April 29, 2022) ... With Love.


From Sandra Leesmith:


Dear Vince, 

What a blessing you have been to all of us in Seekerville.  And you have always been a blessing to me as a writer.  You have an uncanny/godly gift of always saying the right thing at the right time. Your words to me were always right on time.  I always thank God for that my dear friend.  You probably have no idea how much your words touched my heart just when I needed them the most.  I always felt so honored that you enjoyed my books.  And I treasured your reviews.  Thank you dear friend.  Know you will always have a special place in my heart. Love and hugs, 

Sandra 


And so it is that as we pass through life we touch people's lives in so many ways. Their hopes, their dreams, their thoughts, their beginnings and sometimes their ends.


Vince, I hope you see this. I hope you know how much you are loved and respected by so many. And we all hope that when we reconnect in God's heavenly kingdom, we can raise a cup to your health, hope and happiness. All things you shared with us.


"May the Lord bless and keep you. May his face shine upon you and give you peace."


Amen.

Another Winter Gone

 It's a saying we use up north and it's usually uttered cryptically, sarcastically or candidly ..

"Got through another winter."

There may be a wry note or a hike of expectation. It might be a declaration of success or an anticipation that no matter what you do, winter will come again.

"Got through another winter."

It's funny... and sometimes sad. Sad because not everyone makes it through a rough winter. It's not a guarantee.

I was thinking of this the other day as we were organizing the attic. My attic is finished. It's got two finished rooms, long before the advent of "bonus rooms" in houses up here.

FYI: Bonus rooms are a clever way of getting around a bigger septic system because the size of your septic system here is governed by the number of bedrooms in your house. So a 4 bedroom house must have a bigger system than a 3 bedroom or 2 bedroom and septic systems here are five-figure investments... So that adds up really quick. So houses have begun incorporating "bonus rooms" so that they're not flagged for a bigger, pricier septic system.

I love my attic. At least I will love it again when it's cleared out, so between yesterday and today we organized, filled totes, labeled and moved all those books to the big shed. The sales shed is 14' x 36' so it's like a small house. :) We love this shed. Built by a formerly Amish family in Pennsylvania, they trailered it up last spring and I honestly don't know what we did without it! But I digress, the two-room attic had become a hidden harbor for books. 

Another Winter Gone

So many books! My books! The generosity of publishers meant I had hundreds of books to give away every year so even if I had 50 books that didn't get given away, over 11 years, that's 550 extra books. :) That's a lot of books.  So we've been doing book giveaways for assisted living centers, nursing homes, senior apartments or neighborhoods, fundraisers... we've been making sure that we're getting them out there, but there were still enough to fill 14 plastic totes of varying sizes, but we got smart.... We sorted them, got appropriately sized totes, labeled them and they're all living in their own spot in the big sales shed... My goal to reclaim my attic is near at hand. :) 

What does reclaiming the attic have to do with writing or books or winter?

Stories are created in a step-by-step fashion. They're never a single entity, they're a blending of setting, characters, plot, angst, desire, goals, conflict and resolution, and when an author finishes a book... when we do that last round of edits, that final polish, that slice-and-dice to tighten the laces on a really great new pair of boots, it's like clearing out the attic. Or a closet. Or a pantry. It's that feeling of success and satisfaction. Only--

At least at Blodgett Family Farm--

No one pays me to clean a closet or an attic or a room or anything, LOL! 

But they do pay me to write books, and that's a wonderful reason to finish the book, wrap it up, take a deep breath and move on to the next one.

In my life there's always another room to clean and in my professional life (so far)...

There's always another book to write because it's a lot like getting through another winter. The truth is that I love writing stories...

And I actually like winter because there's nothing like the anticipation of spring and color and grass and flowers and warmth once you've mastered winter. It's a natural high...

So I'm happy to say...

"Got through another winter."

And we're mighty glad it's spring! 

Another Winter Gone



Another Winter Gone

Bestselling inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is living the life she dreamed of a long time ago when she was a little girl, longing to write the stories she loved to read. Here she is, author of nearly 70 books and co-owner of a popular pumpkin farm that delights old and young alike. Come see her on the farm, friend her on Facebook, email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com , visit her website or visit with her here in Seekerville. She makes a mean cup of coffee and loves to chat with people! 


ALL ABOUT YOU!!!!!

 So this Friday we're flippin' the switch.

We want to hear from you.

ALL ABOUT YOU!!!!!

Are you a writer? Reader? Both?

If you're a reader, what are your faves? 

If you're a writer, what are your questions? Where are you in your writing journey? How can we encourage you?

This is not an easy business.

It's a rare person who makes a livable wage writing. I am blessed to be one of those people, and we have a host of authors here whose experience, wisdom and professionalism show decades of work in the industry.

We've ridden the waves of change... some drowned. Some treaded water. Some left the mainland of writing completely and that's okay.

This job/business/career isn't for everyone.

You need motivation. You need self-discipline. You need time. You need something to pay the bills until writing pays off. Those things can be daunting, right?

But mostly you need the determination to stick it out, to work, edit, work some more, then edit some more. 

But in the end, to quote my buddy Lenora Worth, on the very worst day I have the very best job possible.  And I love it. I love creating stories and story worlds.

So what about you, writers and readers?

THIS IS YOUR DAY! 

Let us know what you like, where you're at, what your dreams and aspirations are... and let's have fun together! We have another package of those awesome cookies for you! 

Leave a comment below and we're putting you into the drawing! 

ALL ABOUT YOU!!!!!


Prepare Ye the Way!

 Oh, those words.

They resonate.

They call out!

They command, they direct, they compel us to move forward, to think, to pray, to ready ourselves for what is to come, and why was John the Baptizer moving out in front of his beloved cousin Jesus... risking death and scorn and humiliation... by heralding Christ's coming?

Because he believed.

He knew.

He understood that what was coming after him... Who was coming after him... was a gift so great, so big and bold and beautiful that despite the normalcy of Christ's looks (remember he was of no special bearing...) He held redemption in His holy hands.

He held Scripture in his mind and His Father's love in his heart.

He risked it all to be the Christ. The Anointed One. The Alpha and the Omega.


Prepare Ye the Way!

We are guilty of taking so much for granted today and I think that shows in the outpouring of love for The Chosen because it's not embellished in ways to make things look better or worse than what they were. We see the humanity and frailty and weariness of the people... and we feel their joy when Jesus teaches, when He comes among them. His very presence heals and helps! Hooray for that!

So this week, this Holy Week, the Seekers wish you all the beauty and love and hope of a week fraught with emotion, filled with anguish and ending in tears of joy... because He is Risen!

He is risen, indeed! 

So we enter Holy Week knowing our King is at hand... and remembering what He did to achieve our grace and ascend to His kingdom.

Thank you, sweet Jesus! 

Prepare Ye the Way!


NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS

 First we pray for Ukraine. First I lift my eyes up to the Lord, who has made heaven and earth. First I pray for the people of Ukraine, caught in a decades-long goal of an evil dictator in Russia. A power-monger... a land-grabber... a man of strength with a core of evil. We are living a history our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will learn about. (Hopefully...) A time when a tyrant ruled and they will look back and know what was done-- and what wasn't.

And now back to THIS NEW RELEASE!!!!


NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS

Okay, it's actually a re-release of one of my first Love Inspired stories, an absolutely delightful book!

The joy of re-releasing stories is in the updates. I was able to go in, update the book, change a few things and I realized (again) that it's amazing how technology has changed since this book was published in 2013.... Nine years... think of what's happened in nine years!

WE HAVE "CLOUDS" NOW!!!!!

Everyone and their brother has email.

Cell phones from that year are pretty much dinosaurs now.

BLACKBERRY??? WHAT??? TIVO???? DITTO!!!!! 

It's funny to see that as the tech world goes, so go our stories and now I'm more careful about specifying tech stuff because it does go out of date so quickly. When that happens, it dates your story. Instead of being relatable and timeless, it's like "HUH????"

So I'm enjoying that process and learned a lot.

The other side of this is the business of writing. I have loved working with publishers. I've learned so much. But I also like running my own business and vagaries of publishing the past few years tipped me further into the indie side of publishing. Not because I didn't have contracts... but because the industry had shifted stripes/colors/intent and I realized I was a fish out of water. And that's okay.

NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS

I also learned that nothing is perfect. No industry, no business. But when you're running your own business and you love to write, to produce stories, Amazon has offered an amazing opportunity that certainly pays off. And what a bonus, to have older books that won't be reproduced by Harlequin become a commodity that gets shelf life again! That makes me so happy and I was inspired by authors who fought for that right less than two decades ago. So much has changed.

A dozen years ago authors had little choice. It was hard to get your rights reverted so once stories lost their place in bookstores, they were done. And then the law decided that wasn't fair to writers (truth!) and indie publishing was growing... and the influx of authors with rights-reverted books and new stories blossomed. 

That became a cornerstone for good books on Amazon because we're talking famous bestselling and award-winning authors.... and there were a lot of them. 

NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS

Indie publishing has changed, too. The industry is still fluid... and in a flux following the ravages of the pandemic.

But in the middle of all that are authors who write... who work... who republish and newly publish and work with publishers and with KDP (Kindle Direct)/Amazon.

We are blessed!

So we have just released book 2 of the Southern Tier Romance series... Small Town Hearts... Kindle and paperback. It's a warm, sweet, inspirational story that inspired my homemade Maple Fudge, a fudge we sell at the farm now! :) I love it when one business "bleeds" into another.

The road to publishing and self-publishing isn't easy.

I don't think it's supposed to be.

I've watched authors who got "the call" fairly quickly crash and burn because the work required and the expectations of editors and publishers means that we adjust/change/edit/revise as directed and most often that means a better book... but you do swallow your pride! :) And humility is a wonderful if acquired taste. 

Enjoy your day! Pray for Ukraine.... Help in any way you can.... and if you want another lovely Ruthy-read, go grab this book and get lost in the small town grace of Jamison, New York tucked in our very own Allegany County, NY.... South of Wishing Bridge and a bit north of Pennsylvania. And thank you!

NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS

SMALL TOWN HEARTS AVAILABLE HERE!!!!!

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THIS BOOK AND A SWEET SURPRISE! 

Books three and four coming this spring and summer! 

NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS


NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDS

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is co-owner and manager of a busy pumpkin farm in Western New York which means she is kind of dirty, messy, sweaty for six months of the year, and yet having so much fun.... almost as much fun as writing nearly seventy books. Living her dream, Ruthy is the mother of six with a seventh "daughter of her heart", a slew of grandkids and a couple of goofy Golden Doodles who had nine puppies last years. She loves God, her family, her country, kids of all sizes, chocolate, coffee and has such faith in her Lord and Savior... and the goodness of mankind... that she knows God's blessings first-hand. Friend Ruthy on Facebook, email her at loganherne@gmail.com, or stop by her website at ruthloganherne.com. 


Back-handed Writing of Mysteries

 


Back-handed Writing of Mysteries

Good morning!

Ruthy here with some of the fun things I've learned about writing mysteries.

First, they are crazy fun. And I mean that sincerely. As an author who never thought of writing mysteries who is now a huge fan of writing mysteries, let me just say my fave, fave, fave is writing mysteries with some romance attached.

I love romance.

I love the common goal of solving a crime or a puzzle while we have romantic division because it means that the hero

Back-handed Writing of Mysteries
Shot by Arrul lin/Unsplash


 and heroine 

Back-handed Writing of Mysteries
Shot by Sarah Cervantes/Unsplash

are there organically, not by an engineered plot. And that's a very important point. If the hero and heroine are naturally thrown together by circumstances neither can change then they have a chance to deal... grow... learn... adjust.... and be attracted without it being manufactured. Lots of fires begin with the tiniest spark... that then smolders... flares... and ignites. 

But I also like extended romance plotlines (Think Castle, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, etc.) where the relationship evolves over time and a whole bunch of things get solved. Now that's the premise for the indie series I'm working on to be released in 2023/24  "Perpetual Mysteries", a group of time-slip mysteries that make me smile every time I think of them!

But I owe the skills to developing that series to Guideposts and my work with them in Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard, Savannah Secrets, Miracles and Mysteries of Mercy Hospital and our newest one (another time slip that I love!) Mysteries at the Whistle Stop Cafe'.  

Everything's an education.

When you get a chance to try something new or spread your wings, I say go for it! Learning to work with other authors is huge... learning to develop stories within a story: Also huge.

Look at it this way. A stand-alone mystery is great.

A stand-alone mystery in a line with six or eight or ten other mysteries is exponentially better if you have the setting/characters/ideas to make the mysteries sing. And no matter if you're looking at the indie market or traditional publishing, the more you have, the more you sell. 

I work backwards in a mystery. I need to know the end game to write the story, so once I know what the characters are going to discover.... what the crux of the mystery is... I can figure out a path to get them there. I don't do it mathematically. Not intentionally. I want a beginning, a middle and an end, but in that middle I want them to be surprised... maybe discouraged.... thoughtful... surprised again... scared.... depending on the type of mystery because not all mysteries have a fear element. And I want them to be solving some internal personal problem, see some growth as the character(s) go through the steps.

But first they need a mystery, right? 

A child, given away seventy years ago. Why?

A child, given away last week. Why?

A cache of letters in an old metal box beneath a floorboard.

A bundle of clothing, stained and dirty as if it had been worn yesterday discovered in an old closet that hasn't been opened in a hundred and fifty years because no one knew it was there.

A son not given a stipend by his father... Why?

A woman who can't remember why she's on a quest to a little town in Northern New York but has a pair of tickets for a boat ride there.

Once you know what the question is, you can come up with answers... and then chart the path.

I don't know if it works this way for everyone. I know it works for me.  And while I can write suspense, I veer away from real suspense because I'm nightmare prone. No one needs that. But mystery?

No nightmares there!

I've got a copy of a mystery to send out to one commenter today... Leave a comment today to be entered and tell me what you like, love or don't like about mysteries. And if you're a writer, are you game to give one a try?

Back-handed Writing of Mysteries

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruthy Logan Herne is still having the time of her life as she creates wonderful stories, the kind of stories she likes to read with the kind of characters that live in her town and the small Western New York towns surrounding her. Email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com, visit her website or friend her on Facebook where you will see she is a flag-waving, dyed-in-the-wool conservative/libertarian-type gal who loves God, her family, dogs, coffee, chocolate and kids! 

How to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable Characters

 

How to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable Characters

Mary's post on Monday was wonderful. She started with an amazing opening about women running for escape, women running for their lives, for freedom, for a chance to get out from under the cruelty of an evil stepfather.

She drew me in instantly.

So I'm going to talk about setting today, a setting strong enough to embrace and support those unforgettable characters we work so hard to create.

I'm choosing contemporary settings... it's different for a historical because the setting is unique to the time. Current day settings are beset with modernisms and that changes things, something I've discovered as I'm prepping my early Love Inspireds for the indie market.

From "Rebuilding Her Life", book one of my final Love Inspired series "Kendrick Creek"

How to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable Characters

Hello, childhood.

Jess Bristol sucked in a breath as she steered her rental car along mountain roads she hadn’t seen in years. Curve upon curve, the lush Appalachian forest floated by on her right while a winter valley stretched wide on her left. Beautiful. Bucolic. Pastoral.

But when she hugged a bend that took her further down the mountain, the Manhattan trauma doctor's breathing went tight for a different reason. The aftermath of the recent forest fire surrounded her. While some things had been completely consumed by the raging inferno, others had been randomly skipped over, leaving a tree here, bushes there. But not much had escaped the fire’s wrath along this stretch, and the sleepy mountain town below—her hometown—had taken a nasty hit.

The late December fire had started high in the hills and swept down, fed by a strong east wind. Around her, the remnants of that two-day blaze lay haphazard and dark against the fresh falling snow.

Burned trees and ash peppered what had been a pristine landscape. She’d seen the news reports and her mother had sent several pictures of the recent disaster that had besieged the area. But the photos hadn’t done it justice.

Devastation sprawled to her east, west and south. The fire’s path had traveled straight for Kendrick Creek, the Tennessee mountain town she’d called home for over two decades. From here she could see the swath of wreckage along this edge of the fire. It hadn’t burned the whole town, but it had ruined enough. In a little place like Kendrick Creek, it didn’t take much to have a huge effect.

This was this opening to the story.... You know Jess is a Manhattan trauma doctor, you know she was raised in a little Appalachian town and that she's coming home...

But it's the setting that takes the day and sets the stage. Destruction. Ruination. Remnants of a wind-fed fire that left homes, businesses, churches and Christmas decorations in rubble...

That opening setting has set a backdrop for the angst of the story. Whatever else happens, the reader knows that it occurs in the backdrop of disaster... leaving the story and the series ripe for redemption and renovation. 

BOOK TWO: The Path Not Taken:

How to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable Characters

I've seen folks say "never start a story with weather..." I expect they mean rote weather, you know, this kind of thing.... "It was a cold, wet, rainy day. Gayla searched for her umbrella. She needed it. Otherwise she'd show up at work looking like a wet poodle because her hair always crinkled more in high humidity. 

The car.

She'd left it in the car which meant that she needed to run a block down the road to get to the umbrella. And the car."

So let's re-do this opening to make the setting pop:

Rain.

Not just any rain.

Stinking, pouring, drenching, pooling rain and when one lived in a busy city where folks selfishly parked their over-priced cars over the lines so normal people had to park a block away, a storm wasn't just an inconvenience. It was an entity.

Sprawling leafless trees bent in the wind. They weren't dancing. There was nothing Joyce Kilmer-poetic about these trees. They were angry. Pure and simple. Thrashing their arms to protest their lack of protection.

Her, too.

Her umbrella was right where she'd left it last week, on the back seat of the car. The car she'd parked over a block away. The umbrella was laying quite comfortably on the back seat. Safe. Warm. Dry.

The opposite of what she was about to be.

She had no choice but to make a run for it.

The wind tunneled, total Chicago, lashing her, soaking her. Strong enough it probably would have turned that cheapo umbrella inside out and then it would have joined the hundreds of other useless umbrellas dotting Chi-town's metro garbage pails every April.

She missed the green light at the corner and had to wait, chin tucked, eyes down as the north-south traffic hurried toward its destinations. 

The light turned.

She knew better. She really did. She'd been working in the city for over three years, determined to make a name for herself, so she knew to look left then right before stepping down.

Her bad. And his, the guy who hurried through an almost red light, late for whatever.

The wall of water didn't just splash her.

It bathed her. Top to bottom. Stem to stern. Even inside the  ugly boots. And she had absolutely no choice but to keep on going.

And after biting back some really bad words, that's exactly what she did.

So this is how I see setting. I see it as an integrated part of the scene, not something separate or generally poetic and descriptive. More like another character, action-packed, boring or soothing, the setting creates an imminent feeling in the reader.

Debby Giusti uses settings in her suspense novels and she does it beautifully. Whether it's the alleys of a city or the thickly forested hills, when Debby sets a scene, you feel the threat approaching, even if the scene is light... you know the shadows loom.

Setting is huge for reader satisfaction. Think of it as another character, a changing one, and don't over-sell it... make it work with and for the scene either as a villain...

Or a friend!

BOOK THREE: "A Foster Mother's Promise"

How to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable Characters


How to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable Characters

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is busily writing mysteries in her very snowy, cold Western New York home. She is enjoying the peace of winter because warmth brings work and Ruthy runs/owns a pumpkin farm with her husband... and that makes the quiet of winter a lovely thing! She loves to chat with readers and writers. Email her at loganherne@gmail.com, swing by her Facebook page (although she is generally annoyed at social media, but she does love to share cookies, cakes and Ruthyisms!!!) or her website at ruthloganherne.com 


Leave a comment below and Ruthy will tuck your name into a really cute Southern style hat for a Support Your Favorite Author $15.00 Amazon card.... so you can grab one or two books you've been longing for and just couldn't quite let yourself do it!  

Put a Fresh Face on Those Older Books

 

Put a Fresh Face on Those Older Books

Good morning!  I LOVE that fish image... because sometimes you have to be brave enough and savvy enough to just go the other way. I think having survived a really rough childhood, I learned to swim upstream as needed.

Ruthy here. Ruthy who has gotten the rights back on four books this year.... and has the wonderful task of being able to go through them...

Word for word, step by step...

And re-publish them.

#BONUS

#AMAZON

#NEWOPPORTUNITIES

In the old days... like fifteen years ago... your old books sat on a publisher's back stock and most likely were never seen again. Now that's not true of Nora Roberts and Jodi Thomas and Debbie Macomber and Linda Howard.... those category authors hit the big time with bigger imprints and then their early works were published and repackaged and republished, and packaged again and republished.... and the author got whatever the original deal was.

Amazon/Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing changed all of that.

And the law... the law helped, too, by saying that if an author's work was not being marketed, then the publishers needed to set reasonable guidelines to return the rights to the author if those guidelines were met. And that's the time we live in. As the author of 30 category books, I am very happy about that because that means my backlist doesn't die. It gets republished, only now I'm the publisher. So what does that mean? 

I'll tell you.

First, THIS IS NOT A DIFFICULT PROCESS. It takes time and work and effort but you are going to make money, so to me, that's a no-brainer.

1. Find the cleanest copy you can, complete with edits. (my original Love Inspired books in 2009 to 20013 were done with hard copy edits. I mailed them into the office in NYC, so those aren't available except in the story itself and back then, they sent LOCKED files so that you couldn't open them for editing. You simply printed the page with the edits. And mailed it.) 

SO MUCH  HAS CHANGED!!!!! Harlequin was gracious enough to send me unlocked files, which is wonderful. But they shift as I'm working.... so there's a lot of restructuring.... and they shift again during formatting, so leave time for two complete read-throughs. Am I particular about these read-throughs?

Yes. Because I want the best possible product for my customers, my readers. They deserve nothing less.

2. Arrange for formatting or if you have a Mac and Vellum and know how to do it, go for it. 

I don't. I don't have a Mac, nor Vellum, and I hire Jen at Killion to format all of my books (and I've put out a lot of them) and here is why: I have gotten no complaints from readers. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

When I see an indie book that's got publishing issues, I wince because it doesn't have to be that way. It costs me $60 for a Kindle format and $80 for a print. And as I get my rights back to multiple novels, I put every one out in print and Kindle format because I still have readers who love, love, love books. The print books are a minimal part of my monthly sales, but I love my readers and they have supported me for twelve years, so I'll do what I need to make accessibility to Ruthy books EASY.  I will do audio soon, too, God willing. Covid hit four weeks after I bought the equipment for my own little audio center, and my house has been noisy ever since...  Anyway, I want my indie books to look just as professional as my traditionally published books. Inside... and out.

3. Design a cover that reflects the book and/or series.

I don't find covers as important as some would have you believe.... BUT... having said that... I like good covers. When I went on cover hunts, though, I realized that the AUTHOR sells way more books than the cover, so as I release more and more books to the indie market, that readership (and page reads on Kindle, a wonderful marketing tool) increases. This is not overnight success. This is regularly feeding the tiger (Amazon) by getting books out there on a regular basis.  So the covers are important, but the readers' love for the author is still the #1 reason they buy or read your work.  And if you have the time/talent/wherewithal to design your own covers, go for it! Practice makes perfect. Personally, I gain traction by writing more and having Beth do covers and graphics. And I am not good at that stuff!!!! Not good!!!!! I can own it!!!!!

We've talked behind the scenes about series specific covers... I believe in that, it makes it easier for the reader to recognize the book/series/style. In my wonderful and long term with Love Inspired, the series didn't have a cover "feeling".... they were well done but looked like anybody's cover and one series could easily be stacked with another and no one would know the difference. Now I had the power to change that.

Here are the WISHING BRIDGE COVERS. The first two were designed by Waterfall Press/Amazon/Brilliance Audio the original publisher of books one and two. I wanted the ensuing covers to reflect the first two. To fit as if designed by the same person. Beth Jamison of Jamison editing created the covers for "Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge" and "Embracing Light in Wishing Bridge".

Put a Fresh Face on Those Older Books


But when I had Beth do the North Country Series, my first three books whose rights reverted to me, I had her do a distinctively different look:

Put a Fresh Face on Those Older Books

And now that I have rights back to several of my Men of Allegany County series with Love Inspired, they will have their own distinctive look. I wanted small-town/rural looks that reflect the feelings within each book but done in a style that shows the books are related. 

Put a Fresh Face on Those Older Books

Reunited Hearts has been re-released, Small Town Hearts is coming in March, and then The Lawman's Second Chance is coming in June and A Family to Cherish is scheduled for July/August.... 

Now, once you have the book updated (TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED SO MUCH IN TEN YEARS!!!! My references to cable TV, to flip phones, to what's available to businesses needed some updating.... the story was solid, but every mention of that stuff dated the story as 2011... :) Oh my stars, who knew?????) you're going to plan your launch. 

kdp.com walks you through it. And if you're going through the process and have questions, email me and ask. It is mostly a simple "enter your answer" process. And ten years ago, it changed like three times a year. That's not true now, the tech behind the scenes is much more solid.

Planning your launch.... This is where I differ from a lot of authors because when you're brand new at this, a big launch isn't always the best way to go.  It's like a splash of water in a pan of hot grease... quickly burned off. Think of how a mill wheel works along a historic creek bed.... the movement of the water pushes the wheel. Slowly at first... and then, as the wheel gains momentum, the water moves the wheel more easily. And the wheel speed is controlled by how much water is channeled to the wheel, right? Our "water" is the number of books... 

I plan ahead. I've had the Southern Tier books since last summer, but wanted them to fill in 2022 between Wishing Bridge launches. That way I'm feeding the fire every couple of months. I'm asking for several more books this year.

I am working on a mystery series for 2023 and 2024.... because I'm still doing traditional contracts. And I want four of these mysteries done before I publish the first one. So I write them when I have down time and I keep them tucked away like money in the bank.

I look ahead to make sure I'll have product to keep the wheel turning. Patience is your friend when launching indie books. And steady work helps keep you in the mix.

Are these hard, fast rules? No. But it's what's worked for me over the years, and the key component, the basic element is to keep producing work. Keep publishing. Keep writing.  

ALL RIGHT, THAT'S IT FOR TODAY!  To thank you for getting to this point, I've got a copy of any Wishing Bridge or North Country book... or Reunited Hearts... to send to some lucky winner! E-book or print, your choice. But in order to be considered, you've got to leave a comment below... what scares/worries/concerns you about indie publishing or getting rights reverted? Are you afraid to hurt editor's and publisher's feelings?

Leave a comment below and let's talk. Hey... it's Friday, I have a new bathroom that I've been waiting 32 years for... yes.... 32 years!!!!! So I'm in a real good mood! :)

Put a Fresh Face on Those Older Books

Bestselling, award-winning inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream of writing the kinds of books she likes to read. Email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com, visit her website at ruthloganherne.com or friend her on Facebook where she shares probably WAY TOO MUCH information, but she does love, love, love her readers! Ruthy and Farmer Dave own a very busy pumpkin farm in Western New York, and for six months of the year her life is cray cray with planting, weeding, fertilizing, etc... but she loves it! And she knows So Much About Pumpkins and Squash that she's quite a bore to talk to as she shares copious amounts of pumpkin/squash and mum production. :) And yet, people keep coming! 


Letting the Story Unfold

 I've often called myself a "pantser".

Once published, you have to come up with plans for stories to gain contracts... unless you're like Super A-List Author Person but for us normals, you need a plan and it was in coming up with those plans that I realized I'm not a pantser... or a "plantser", putting together plans and seat-of-the-pants writing.

I'm an inspired author. Most (not all) of my books flow from an idea that kind of overtakes my brain and I let it simmer.... or the whole stinkin' idea falls into my lap and I hit the "take-off" button and go for it.

And now I'm wondering where others fall on that spectrum.

I've talked before about how stories unfold in my head... It's not a muse. I believe it's a Holy Spirit blessing that my head clears cobwebs overnight and I've often awakened with how to solve my plot problems. Like Sleep Sorting System, right? And sometimes with a whole book/plot/series that's righted itself overnight.... but it's not always a sleeping thing, often it's a wherever I am thing and that's what happened with this future mystery series.

Letting the Story Unfold

When it happens I actually see the story, the characters, the premise, as if it's one idea blossoming in a bubble while other bubbles or pages pop up and intersect. Only there are no bubbles, it's not visual, it's there, in my head and I see and feel the story.

Maybe weird... maybe innate "talent" or gift from God? That's my guess, that my mother probably had this quirk and I know one of my daughters has this gift... so it's clearly written in our genes. (One of the good things written in our genes, the strong thread of mental illness from my mother's side is also there, so we're living proof of the power of dominant genes... or recessive gene mash-ups. But that's a whole other blog.)

Here's the difference feels between plotting out/working a story and being blessed with it:

I was working on a profile for an independent mystery series set to launch in 12 to 18 months. I'll write these stories between contracts and Wishing Bridge 5 "Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge", and I want at least four mysteries done before I release book one.... I wanted light, warm, poignant, fun and fast-paced mysteries and I set up the series, wrote the opening chapters, edited, then set them aside for holidays.... 

And then I got an idea.

An amazing idea. It was a combination of things people said and did that made me think of it and I loved it. LOVED IT! 

Letting the Story Unfold


I could see these characters, these mysteries, the progression of the series, the openness, the warmth of history blended with modern times, the growth of industry like I saw in Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary, how history affected far more than those living it... 

And book one is almost writing itself. 

There was such a difference in the linear path of the story, the characters, the series projection and how smoothly it went that I decided to blog about it because writing isn't easy. When you're heading toward book/novella #70 and ideas have been used and re-used and re-structured, you want to hit the ground running with something that not only excites  you but will excite the readers! 

And this will... because it's quirky enough, fun enough, warm and inviting enough and threaded with enough mystery to make you wonder.... and enough history to make you appreciate what's gone before you.

I may never write that other series because it doesn't have these elements, not in the same way... and yet, it might roll over me at some point, as part of another plan, another day, another time. I've done that with books before and it's amazing how no good work goes to waste if you're actively writing!

This was like technical elements waging war against inspirational elements. 

Or maybe it's just easier for me to write this one because I can envision it?  I'm not opposed to that possibility! 

So that's what I want to talk about today. Do you work on waves of inspiration? Or do you story-build like I see in so many workshops. (Which, most of you know, I avoid because I'd rather write... but again, that's another blog. :)

Let's chat it up and I have a blessing for someone today....

A copy of Jesus Calling, going out to someone. Just mention you'd love to have it in your comment because I know some of you already have it....

And a copy of Embracing Light in Wishing Bridge, book four of my "Wishing Bridge" series. 

Letting the Story Unfold


Let me know if you already have it and I can sub in a book of your choice that I have in stock here.

Sending blessings of winter.... snowy here, finally, and cold... and that's way better than mud, my friends! 

Letting the Story Unfold

Bestselling author Ruthy Logan Herne is loving the quiet of winter on her crazy busy pumpkin farm in Western New York because she actually gets time to write more than once a day and that's not a bad thing! She loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate and Diet Mtn Dew... and is regularly seen with coffee. She's the co-owner and manager of Blodgett Family Farm and she loves sharing the crazy parts of farm life and writing and family with her Facebook friends. She loves hearing from readers and writers so email her at loganherne@gmail.com. 


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. 


Remembering Vince Mooney (June 14, 1944 - April 29, 2022) ... With Love.Another Winter GoneALL ABOUT YOU!!!!!Prepare Ye the Way!NEW RELEASE AS HISTORY UNFOLDSBack-handed Writing of MysteriesHow to Create a Strong Setting to Balance Unforgettable CharactersPut a Fresh Face on Those Older BooksLetting the Story UnfoldA Surpise Post?????

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