Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Weekend Edition


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

 Please note that December 29th, 2017, our email address changes to Update your address books!

Monday: Winner of the throwback copy of Missy Tippens' first book, Her Unlikely Family, is Kelly Blackwell!

Tuesday: Myra Johnson shared "Survival Tips for Writers (and Readers)." Melanie Pike is the winner of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.

Wednesday: Debby Giusti blogged about that for which she is most thankful concerning the writing life in, "A Writer Gives Thanks!" The winner of the first two Publishers Weekly bestsellers in Debby's Amish Protectors series, Amish Refuge and Undercover Amish, is Cynthia Herron! Congrats, Cynthia! Happy reading!

Thursday:  Lizzie Poteetformer editorial assistant with St. Martin's Press and now an agent with The Seymour Literary Agency, was our very special guest today. Trixi Oberembt is the winner of an Amazon gift in honor of her visit!

Monday:  Janet Dean is your hostess.

Tuesday:  Pam Hillman blogs today!

Wednesday:  Seekerville is delighted to welcome Mary Vee with her post, "The Writer's Perfect Resource." Stop by to chat with Mary and you could win an ecopy of Anders' Redemption: A Christmas Novella Mystery.

Thursday:  Seekerville is closed to give thanks. We give thanks for you!

Friday: The Best of the Archives featuring a classic post from our ten years of blogging. Comments are closed on Fridays to catch up on reading and writing.

Ruth Logan Herne is giving away a paperback or Kindle copy of this beautiful story to one weekend visitor! Leave a comment and yes, tell her you want to win "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" and Ruthy will tuck your name right into her wishing well!
Celebrating the official release of Ruth Logan Herne's newest 4 Star novel "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" from Waterfall Press. Set in the hills of Western New York, Kelsey McCleary never meant to stop in the quaint village her miscreant mother mentioned decades before, but when fate has other ideas, or maybe destiny, or it could always be God's perfect timing. Kelsey finds herself in a place where prayers, wishes, and dreams just might come true. Kindle, paperback and audio copies available! And that has the happy author dancing in the Western New York snowflakes!
Tina Radcliffe has teamed up with over 50 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of inspirational romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! And you'll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering. Inspirational romance authors in this sweep include Susan May Warren, Stacy Henrie, Barbara Scott, Bethany Turner, Kara Isaac, Mary Connealy, and of course, Tina Radcliffe. For a total of over 50 books. Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

Send yourself a reminder to check out Thankful for Books Winter Stock Up with Melissa Wardell! Under the Mistletoe will be featured Thanksgiving weekend along with other holiday sale reads. Under the Mistletoe is free Wednesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 26. 

Wrap your heart around a cozy little romance that starts with a red wool scarf, an angel or two, and ends with Ben Logan and Lucy Fielding under the mistletoe. An uplifting tale of romance and faith for the holidays. 

Just in time for the holidays, a sweet novella about family, love, and letting go.
He offered her his past.
All he wanted was her future.
The Christmas Angel is available at a holiday price reduction of $.99 on Amazon.
Buy link is here.

TICK ... TICK ... TICK ... only 6 more days to save a $1.00 off on Julie Lessman's prequel novel to her brand-new Western series, 
Silver Lining Ranch. So pre-order For Love of Liberty NOW
before the release date of November 24!

Thanks for the link love!

Congratulations to the ACFW First Impressions Finalists

Why Your Favorite Author Probably Can’t Give You a Free Book (Bethany House Fiction)

Behind the Wizard's Curtain (Writer Unboxed)

Author Blogging 103: Guest Blogging, or How to Write for Exposure (The Digital Reader)

3 Ways to Boost Your Word Count Every Writing Session (Fiction University)

Supplying Breadcrumbs: How to Hint at a Character’s Emotional Wound (Romance University)

Maintaining Writing Accountability (WITS)

Pronoun Is Dead: The Ebook Retail Universe Redux (The Book Designer)

How to Talk About Your Book (Bad Redhead Media)

Getting the Green Light: Notes from an SCBWI Agents Panel (PW)

What Is a High Concept, and Do You Need One? (Pub Rants)

6 Weekend Editions Until Christmas.
 We're doing a countdown of gifts for readers and writers!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Best of the Archives: A Business Chat With Ben Franklin!

This topic is PERFECT for fall (this was published a few years ago, and I know it's November now, but humor me, okay???) the month of resolve, one-words, plans and goals!

Here's a Franklinism to start us off:

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

Now that might appear negative, but I think Ben was referring to the human tendency to want more... In Isaiah 56 the prophet laments how the lack of satisfaction prevails, and that's such a good lesson for us to grasp. I think it came through to me in that quote from Charles Ingalls: "Enough is as good as a feast!" I can't read or hear that quote and not smile! And having a competitive nature, I've learned to run roughshod over ambition. As long as I control ambition, we're okay... but when I let it control me, well... trouble starts!

"1776" is one of my all-time favorite movies... I love it THIS MUCH!!!!
An author is a small-business owner. 

As a business owner/professional/manager, we get bombarded with decisions that affect our annual bottom line. Dozens of little decisions can add up to costly business expenses, so January is a good time to examine costs vs. effectiveness. We've got the "books" out, doing taxes and we've got clear vision of the balance sheets.

When I was first offered contracts, another author laughed when I estimated my projected earnings. I wasn't offended, I was puzzled.... and then she told me my financial outline was impossible, that writing little books would barely break even. Even when I showed her my estimated figures of sales x royalties x #of books she scoffed.

Real numbers don't lie. (Darlings, this truism is not to be confused with statistics which can be twisted, shaped, referenced in multiple ways to build a case for or against just about anything these days!) But math is still math, addition still works and I knew I was right. My goal to make a solid living writing delightfully affordable category romances is blossoming daily.

Can still be found on shelves nationwide or on shelves at our friend Mr. Amazon! 

And yes, you can still get your copy HERE!!!!!

No matter how beautiful your work/your story(ies), publishers need to cover a bottom line or lines fold. And while I was sad to see lovely Christian lines fold, I have to say that working with Summerside editors and Anna Schmidt on "Love Finds You in the City at Christmas" (Come on, you knew I'd get a shameless plug in here, didn't you????? Really, it's me, it's to be expected!!!!) was an absolutely wonderful experience. Guideposts and Summerside had/have a great staff and marvelous insight. I was truly blessed to have that chance. (Current note: And now I'm moonlighting writing mysteries for Guideposts "Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard" series... and I love it! Who ever thought of Ruthy & Mystery in the same sentence?? Not me!!!)

You Can Order This FIRST Martha's Vineyard mystery HERE!!!!

Now here's the thing, chickie-chickie babies!!!! We're all different. God has modeled us from various cloth and life has wielded our sculpture with its own hand, therefore none of this is written in stone. It can't be because our business and our cause-and-effect are individual.

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. (Ben Franklin)

Certain expenses are a given for most of us:

Computer (and maybe a back-up in case one is down for repairs?)

Internet service (minimize this by working in a library/coffee shop/mall, etc. As long as you don't spend money there, which may or may not be considered downright rude in the coffee shop!)

Internet Back-up (Mozy, Norton, etc. in case a worm/bug/virus wipes your files clean)

Website (Hosting and domain name can go from minimal cost right up to hiring professionals to build/maintain your website, this can be a several thousand dollar differential)

Blog (Hosting, possibly free i.e. "Blogger")

Internet presence  FREE... (You can find this by "Googling" your name... if other things come up on that first page, you should heighten your internet presence by writing more books, blogging, guesting on blogs, did I mention writing more books???? Oh, yes! I see that I did! )  BIG GRIN HERE, and a reminder to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!!!

Paper (Most of us catch more repetitiveness and issues on hard copy, but that might be my age talking)

Ink (To use with aforementioned paper)

Postage (For contests/editors/agents who request hard copy)

Envelopes (I use free ones from Post Office and send via Priority Mail)

Food/Drink of choice:  (For me it's coffee and broccoli slaw!!! But you're fooling yourself if you think you can work effectively and be longing for a Diet Coke and none is in the house... or that you're hungry and decide you need Oreos and must go to the store. Those are stall methods, and you're better than that!!!!)

Ongoing courses, either online or via craft books, to stretch your knowledge and application. This can be a small price or crazy over-expensive. Choose wisely! Please note how easy I made that to see! You're welcome!  (BIG GRIN!!!)

Janet Dean reminded me that business cards are a good thing.... Which means I should order new ones because mine are ancient. (updated note, Beth Jamison designed new business cards and bookmarks for me so that I appear far more organized than I am...)

Books to readMary Connealy wants you to know that this can done through purchasing or library borrowing... and that it is ESSENTIAL that she read so much!!!! To keep up with the market!!!! :)

Also from Mary: 
"Fan for summer--Space heater for winter--my office (enclosed porch) seems to have faulty duct work. Grrrrrrrr....... I've proposed selecting a different office, My Cowboy seems to think I'll be messy and turn a tidy guest room into a war zone. He thinks this BASED ON NOTHING."

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.  (Ben Franklin)

Specific to unpublished authors:
(non-expense items listed first):

Knowledge of who's publishing what, this is your homework. This helps your focus and drive. There might not be much expense in learning this, if you use an up-to-date library... or it can be the cost of books X number of books. I did the Good Will Hunting library route and incurred very little book expenditure because money was tight. And it worked. I love Will Hunting. And I love "Edward" from Pretty Woman because he taught me that sleep is not as essential as we make out.... and I BELIEVED him, LOL! And of course there's Ben's take on that subject, a real-life man that I love beyond belief:  "Plenty of time for rest in the grave!"

I love that Franklinism!!!!

Self-discipline even though unpaid AS YET!!!! (Gotta trust in God, in the future and go for the gold at your pace. It will all come together, but like the Polar Express, ya' gotta "B-E-L-I-E-V-E"!)

Increase that web presence

Items requiring expense for unpublished (as yet!) authors:

Writing contests sponsored by publishers and/or writing groups: (some of these have costs, many are now online with electronic entries, cutting your cost substantially). These provide opinion/critique from numerous sources, an invaluable tool if you truly want to improve your craft AND a chance to final and win a spot on a targeted editorial desk. This is what brought the Seekers together, a mode and method (note the mathematics I'm throwing your way!!!!) proven true.... and we're all grateful for the outcome!

Conferences (National, local, regional, genre specific) (Writing classes, industry information, networking, agent and editor appointments.)

College classes or local classes focusing on writing/publication/website-building, etc.

For the published author:

Contests for published books (fees/cost of books/shipping)

Conferences (National, local, regional, genre specific, these prices can range from a few hundred to an easy $2,000. Choose wisely. Deb Giusti did the best blog I've ever seen on this here in Seekerville:  LINK TO DEB'S BLOG ABOUT CONFERENCES!!!!

Ongoing classes 

Promotion of books (Newsletters, Facebook ads, Book launch services, books purchased for give-aways, bookmarks)

Gifts for agents/editors 

Amazon Prime Account (this is optional, but I love mine. It gives me perks I use as an author and as a person.... Hey, you know what I mean!!!)

And from the wisdom of Connealy again:

Gas for trips to booksignings/writer gatherings

Lap Desk...second lap desk...third lap desk...My laptop was hot. Now it's winter, plus my hot flashes seem to have eased and I quit using a lap desk and just use my lap. Money wasted, closet full of lightly used lap desks! (Ruthy note:  SIGH..... 'Sall I'm sayin'..... SIGH!!!!)

Tetley's Earl Grey Tea with draw string bags. (Hey, it's an indulgence!) Ruthy note: (This is a delicious tea and a worthy indulgence, must go order some because the drawstring bags are that cute, although I'll do Mandarin Orange Spice if they have it. I like Z-I-N-G with my tea.)

Camera bought on a whim because I was going to a cool museum and I forgot my camera. And everybody has a camera on their phone now (except me) so no one wants my camera. Does anyone need a camera?  (Ruthy note: I will bet dollars to donuts she has a camera on her phone and has NO CLUE HOW TO FIND IT OR USE IT.... But that's just a guess, of course!!!)  :)

Elliptical makes a nice luggage rack. (On this topic we totally concur, only mine is a treadmill... Do you know how many cute shirts and unmentionables you can DRY on a treadmill??? Mind-boggling!!!! 

Well done is better than well said.  (Ben Franklin)

Here's your homework: Your task is to be a good money steward. A good money steward doesn't throw money away recklessly and a good business person weighs cost vs. reward for everything they do. Remember, being frugal is not the same as being "Scrooge".

If money is tight, look at the must-haves and deal with those. (I did that for many years and I have no regrets, zero, zilch, nada, nil).

And even if money isn't tight, examine the reasons behind your choices. If a $1500-$2000 conference isn't affordable, why do it? What is in it for you? If there is no professional advantage to it, is there a better way to use those funds? Depending on which stage of writing you're at right now, your internal response to that should vary.

I view published author contests very carefully as well. My nature prefers to give away books to lots of readers than to worry about winning/placing in contests. Remember my unpublished contest goal wasn't to win, it was to get a spot on an editor's desk. That mission has been accomplished multiple times, and I could not be happier. Here's an amazing story that helps keep things in perspective for me:

If you need your laptop upgraded, do you buy the $400 HP or the $1250 Mac because you heard it's better? And then when a kid spills soda on it (happened here, I can testify to the fact that DIET SIERRA MIST and laptops are not a good mix!!!) you might let them live.

Note: MIGHT.  :)

Choices surround us. Being frugal becomes easier every teeny, tiny step we take. Wisdom and courage should be part of the prayerful process of setting/keeping/polishing a budget. Wisdom to recognize the necessary and the courage to take charge of our business and personal lives.

Of course you should never be so frugal as to not order the newest Ruthy book... which today is this just released Women's Fiction from Waterfall Press!

Available here from and Waterfall Press!

Best of the Archives is brought to you by the crazy fun authors of Seekerville... and comments are closed today to give us all a chance to focus on writing.

Ruth Logan Herne lives in upstate New York where lake effect snow likes to bury her and a house full of munchkins on a regular basis. Every now and again she pokes her head up to check the weather, then retreats to her writing hole where she writes sweet, evocative books that make folks smile and sometimes cry... and she's okay with both!  Visit her at, here in Seekerville or on Facebook at Ruth Logan Herne. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Chat with Literary Agent Lizzie Poteet

When I was 18 I was absolutely positive I was going to go to theology school after college. I'd taken an Old Testament course as a freshman, so obviously, I knew what I was doing. The plan was undergrad then post-grad theology school so I could be a college professor. I knew what I was going to do. I had a plan.

 I didn't go to theology school. 

Then when I was a much more mature 21-year-old, I was definitely going to work in publicity. No question. Theology was so in the past. I wanted to work with books. Specifically romance novels. I'd move to NYC and work in publishing as a publicist. I'd be the best book publicist around. I was sure of it. 

I didn't get any job offers in publicity. 

So I switched gears, after all at 22 I was both wiser and more determined, and my new plan was to be a romance editor. I was in NYC for the long run. I scoffed at colleagues who talked about wanting to leave the city to have families or a yard. I had a rat-infested park on my block, same thing as a yard. I was focused, I was confident, and this time my plan was on track. I landed the perfect job at St. Martin's Press in editorial with a fabulous boss and a cool team. I had the job, I had the drive, I was meeting amazing authors and making amazing friends on my romance team, but something was missing. 

The plan was working perfectly. 

As years went by I hit some big milestones in my career: first acquisition, first award nominee, first bestseller. Everyone told me how great I was at my job, and I was focused on being great at my job but... I was unhappy. I was lonely in New York and throwing myself into my career plan wasn't helping. I missed my family in Nashville - and I mean that literally. I was so dedicated to my plan I missed my little sister's college graduation, my grandfather's funeral, my brother's courthouse wedding. Sure, I went home the weekend after my sister graduated. And yes, I flew home the week after my grandfather passed before his funeral and made it to my brother's celebratory wedding reception, but being so far from my support system was wearing on was the creeping doubt that maybe I didn't love my job the way I'd thought I would. I loved my colleagues. I loved my authors. But I didn't love being an editor. 

My life was going according to plan but I started to realize, my plan wasn't working for me anymore. What do you do when your plan fails?

For me, it meant hitting pause. I threw "the plan" out, stopped trying to live my life based on what I thought I needed to do to achieve my definition of success. I made some calls. I made some lists. I took what'd I'd learned and made some changes. What did I want? 

I wanted to move closer to my family. I wanted to leave editorial. I wanted a career that allowed me to still do what I love - working with authors, building careers, developing projects - but in a way that would fit me better. I wanted to have more of a work-life balance. Which is how I ended up an agent with the Seymour Agency working in Nashville. It wasn't my original plan, but so what? For years I felt trapped in NYC because leaving meant failure, leaving meant the fear of the unknown, but now I can't help but think I'm where I'm meant to be right at this moment. Here for my baby sister's engagement. Here for a difficult family diagnosis. Reconnecting with friends, helping out with my grandmothers. I had to accept that there are a whole lot of different paths you can take if you let yourself be open to them. does that apply to you? The writer?

 Simple: it's great to have a plan, to know what you want, but sometimes things don't happen like you think they will. Sometimes you have to shift gears. I'm not saying don't write down your goals and strive for them, but I am saying that if something doesn't feel right, if you're frustrated, sit down and reassess. 

Here's some real-life practical advice from me to you. Every author's journey to publication and success looks different, so don't be afraid to follow your own path if needed or even throw out the plan.

Why haven't I been signed by an agent?

1. Maybe your book just isn't ready yet. I often get pitches from authors who aren't technically ready for representation. Meaning their writing still needs work. The voice might be missing, the story arch might be too simplistic, the dialogue might be unrealistic, the syntax might be a bit too amateur. Just because you've finished writing your book doesn't mean you're finished working on it.

 Even published authors are constantly honing their craft, so don't be afraid to hit pause on your timetable and admit to yourself that "hey, it's amazing and inspiring that I've finished a book, but now I'm going to really pay more attention to the technical side of writing." Join a writer's circle, get some beta readers, attend workshops. Step back from pitching and querying and focus on your craft. For every author who sat down and instantly wrote a bestseller, there are five more who had to write and rewrite to get there. 
Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

2. Maybe your book just isn't The One. As an agent, I'm looking for authors whose voice I am passionate about, whose writing inspires me, and... who I think I can sell. Sometimes I get queries that are creative and inventive but have no idea what to do with them. Okay, you wrote an Amish time travel YA... sounds cool, but do I know the inspirational YA market? Is there an inspirational YA market? And would they want time travel or Amish? If my answer to any of these is "I don't know" then I'm not going to waste your time by signing you. We always say don't write to trends, but the flip side to that is unless I can see a publication strategy for your book, I'm not going to be the right fit. 

So what can you do? Maybe it means doing more research on the market by gathering strong comp titles in your genre - show me that there's a market for Amish YA! -, maybe that means doing more research on the agents you pitch. In some cases, maybe it means shelving this book while you start on another project. As I mentioned before, authors learn something new with each book they write. There could be something missing from your Amish YA that a little distance and time will help you see.

3. Maybe a traditional path isn't right for you. Some authors find it weird to hear an agent advocating indie publishing, but I realize that the traditional path isn't right for everyone. Are you a type A personality who loves to be hands on? Do you want to publish and write shorter stories? Are you writing something that isn't easily defined? Indie publishing is a great way to find an audience for genres that are harder to sell traditionally. Just look at the thriving paranormal romance genre in digital right now. That said, if you do decide to go indie, commit to it. You're publishing a book when you go indie. It's not a placeholder.

 Often I get queries from authors telling me that the book they've pitch me just came out on Amazon two weeks ago. Ummm...okay? My primary job as an agent is to sell your work to publishing houses, so pitching me a story that's already been published doesn't start us off on the right foot. If you've tried indie and want a more hybrid career (traditional and indie) or just found it wasn't for you, then come up with a new idea and query that - not the book you've already put up for sale.

So if you aren't happy, you aren't seeing the success you want, don't fret. Instead, sit down, look at what you're writing, identify what you really want, and don't be afraid to change paths.

What are your thoughts and questions about the journey?
 What do you do when your plan fails?? 

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Poteet attended Colby College where she majored in English and Religious Studies. While studying at St. Andrews, she realized that though she enjoyed Shakespeare and the Dead Sea Scrolls, she preferred reading stories with a little more heat and heart. Lizzie took her passion for romance and turned it into a position with RT Bookreviews as a romance reviewer. In 2011, she joined the editorial team at St. Martin's Press where she worked with romance, YA, nonfiction, and women’s fiction. Then in 2015, Lizzie became the e-book original coordinator for SMP Swerve, helping launch the digital-only romance imprint.

 Lizzie is always looking for a good love story. She loves classic romance tropes, strong dialogue, sassy heroines, witty banter, and good old fashion romance. She’s actively seeking inspirational romance, cozy mystery, New Adult, YA, romantic suspense, historical and contemporary romances, and loves anything with a happy ending.

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card that Seekerville is giving away in honor of Lizzie's visit. 

Winner announced in the next Weekend Edition.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Writer Gives Thanks!

By Debby Giusti
Each of us started our writing journey for a reason. Some of us wanted to see our names in print. Others may have yearned for fame and fortune. But most of us probably put pen to paper because we had a story to tell. That initial “story of our heart” propelled us forward and gave us the wherewithal to not only begin writing but to keep working until we typed “The End.” The process of taking an idea and developing it into full-length fiction exhilarated us, and before long we were creating the next story and the one following.

We worked long hours, often in less that comfortable conditions. Our stories were sometimes maligned or misunderstood, and we learned the hard truth that caustic critiques and rejections are part of the writing process. Yet we forged on, honing our craft in hopes of creating the best possible story so we could attract an editor and land a contract.

No matter the reason we began to write, we soon discovered new reasons to continue writing.

Most of us sit at our computers, usually in small work spaces in our homes far from other people, but thanks to the internet, we’re able to interact with writers online. Conferences and writing events provide opportunities to meet face-to-face.

It doesn’t take long for anyone who has attended RWA National or ACFW to realize that writers are creative, motivated and intelligent. We’re life-long learners who strive for excellence. We’re also a warm and welcoming group that forms friendships quickly.

We’ve seen that in Seekerville. What started as a group of women on the road to publication has turned into a blog community, a family of writers and readers, who share a common love for the written word.

Writers on this blog—and indeed the majority of writers I know—support and encourage one another. We find opportunities to share what we’ve learned in hopes of smoothing the path for those who come after us. We post blogs or teach workshops to pass on tips and techniques. Some of us lead writing classes, others publish how-to books or host mentoring groups and brainstorming sessions. All of us are focused on the same destination, yet the journey never ends because there’s always something new to learn.

Some folks write for their own personal satisfaction, but most of us create stories for our readers…for the high school graduate applying for his or her first job, for the single mom struggling to pay the rent or the guy who works two jobs to send his kids to college or the mother of five who finds a few minutes to read at the end of her busy day. Whether reader or writer, we speak the common language of story that breaks down barriers and makes us kindred spirits, sharing the same love for the written word. Connecting through email or letters or personal contact makes us work all the harder to create stories that uplift and inspire and touch our readers’ hearts.

Looking back on my writing journey, it’s not the books I’ve written that bring me joy; rather, it’s the people I’ve met because of those books.

This Thanksgiving, as I count my blessings, I’ll thank God for the writer and reader friendships I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t started on the road to publication years ago.

As always, I thank God for Seekerville, a cyber home that stretches around the world. Each of you are at the top of my list of blessings. Thank you for bringing joy to my life and for giving me a reason to write.

Share the blessings you’ve discovered on your own writing journey. What motivates you to keep moving forward as you work toward publication and beyond?

Leave a comment to be included in a drawing for the first two Publishers Weekly bestsellers in my Amish Protectors series, Amish Refuge and Undercover Amish.

I’m serving hot cider as well as coffee and tea along with pumpkin donuts and spice coffee cake. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Undercover Amish
By Debby Giusti

After Hannah Miller’s mother is murdered and her sisters go missing, someone comes after her. Now the only way she can survive is to entrench herself in an Amish community…and rely on Lucas Grant, a former police officer who is planning to join the Amish faith, for protection. But finding refuge for Hannah—disguised as Plain at a secluded inn—pulls Lucas back into his old life. And when Lucas discovers the criminals after them may be the people who killed his partner, the mission to take them down becomes personal. With the assailants closing in, though, can Lucas stop them…and finally put his past behind him to start an Amish life with Hannah?

Order here

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Survival Tips for Introverted Writers (and Readers)

Today’s post is for the introverts in our midst, and according to my unofficial assessment (also supported by several internet sources I consulted), most writers are introverts. (Sources also suggests a high percentage of avid readers are introverts, so we’re all in good company!)

Yes, I know several extroverted writers and also a few ambiverts—people who are very comfortable being extroverts when they need to be but pulling back into introversion when it’s time to recharge. Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, we each have our own ways of relating to others and the world around us.

So, even though I’m primarily addressing introverts today, I hope all you extrovert Villagers won’t flip over to Facebook or Twitter too soon, because even though we introverts might be an enigma to you, if you’ll take a little time to understand us, we’ll all get along better in the long run.

Okay, borrowing from various Twelve-Step programs, here are my suggested tips for surviving—and thriving!—as introverted writers and readers in an extrovert’s world.

  1. As introverts, we admit we cannot change ourselves into extroverts by force of will—and we don’t have to. It’s who we are, the way God created us. Yes, it’s hard at times. A lot of the time, in fact, since according to some surveys, in the world population as a whole, we’re in the minority.
  2. As introverts, we rely on God to help us find ways to live comfortably with the extroverts in our lives. Because maybe there are a few things we can learn from them, like how to make small talk when necessary in social settings or how to speak with confidence to agents, editors, book clubs, etc.
  3. As introverts, we turn our will and our lives over to the care of God and accept that He made us this way for a reason. I mean, can you imagine if the whole world were extroverts? Think of all the books that wouldn’t get written, the works of art we’d be missing out on, the heavy thinking that might never get thought.
  4. We make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves—our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, what drains our physical, mental, and emotional batteries and what recharges them. Feeling too overwhelmed at a writers conference? We give ourselves permission to skip a workshop and retreat to our room for an hour or two. Nervous about our agent or editor appointment? We have our one-sheet ready plus some responses printed out in advance to help us answer any questions we might be asked about our book.
  5. We are honest with God, ourselves, and the extroverts in our lives about our introversion. We do so neither in apology nor as superior beings, but because we accept that extroverts, introverts, and everyone in between are created differently and are equally usable by God for His purposes.
  6. We cease once and for all to let our introversion cast suspicion on our “mental health” or to judge ourselves as less somehow because it’s draining to be social and we need our alone time. We are not weird because we enjoy spending hours and hours alone with our laptops or curled up with a good book. We are not crazy because we hear characters’ voices in our heads or talk to ourselves while rehearsing the scene we’re working on.

  7. We humbly acknowledge our introversion and cease asking God to turn us into extroverts. We look instead to our strengths and use them productively, whether by claiming the quiet time we need to write and read or by finding and claiming appropriate opportunities to share our thoughts and insights with the extroverts in our lives.
  8. We interact with others in “safe” ways that preserve our energy. We use social media to our advantage, because being “extroverted” online takes only a few minutes, and afterward we can log off and recharge for as long as necessary. At large gatherings, we can befriend other introverts who might be feeling stressed or overwhelmed. (We recognize them by their deer-in-the-headlights expression and the fact that they’re lingering near an exit . . . pretty much the same area we’ve migrated to.)
  9. We identify extroverts we feel comfortable with, those dear friends who understand us and willingly run interference. We make every effort to hang out with these extroverts at conferences and other gatherings because they always make a point of introducing us to editors, agents, and other writer friends, and they subtly try to include us without making us feel like conversation-school dropouts. 
  10. As far as it is possible, we make amends to anyone who may have felt slighted because of our introversion. When phone calls or face-to-face encounters are too intimidating, we express our care and concern with heartfelt handwritten notes or by sending meaningful gifts. Or we can gather our courage for an hour and invite our friends (only one or two at a time!) to meet us for lunch or coffee. 
  11. If we have an extroverted spouse or other family member who thrives on social activity, we promise not to always say no to outings and social gatherings. In turn, we expect their consideration and understanding, and together we plan ahead for when “enough is enough.”  This could be an agreed-upon signal for when it’s time to go. Or we could arrive in separate cars and politely take our leave while the other person stays to enjoy the party.
  12. Having fully embraced our introversion, we carry this message of acceptance and hope to other introverts who may still be struggling to find their place in a world full of extroverts.

Finally, here are a few resources you may find helpful in your journey as an introvert (or to share with your extroverted friends and family members who might need to be enlightened):

(also find them on Facebook)
The Introverted Writer (Steve Laube Agency Blog)

16 Personalities (where you can take a personality test)


The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron, PhD

So, did you see yourself (or an introverted friend) in any of the twelve steps? Introverts, what are your greatest struggles? Do you have other coping tips you could share? Extroverts, please share your experiences with introverted friends or family members.

Join the conversation today and let me know if you’d like to be entered in a drawing for your choice of Susan Cain’s book Quiet OR Joanna Penn’s book Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives, and Other Introverts.

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About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, a two-time Maggie Award finalist, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they miss Texas bluebonnets in the spring and may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They have also inherited the “cat with a ’tude” their daughter and family had to leave behind when they recently moved overseas.

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