Saturday, September 23, 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

Monday: Tyndale author Janice Cantore returned with her post, "The Presumption of Innocence." Janice upped the ante and is giving away three copies of Crisis Shot. The winners are Connie Queen, Jubilee Writer, and Marcia. 

Tuesday: Dora Hiers, aka Tori Kayson, was our special guest. Ever thought of writing under a second identity? Dora shared her experiences and advice. Jackie Smith is the winner of a "Faith plants the seed, Love makes it grow," journal, and Heidi Robbins wins the "I have always imagined Paradise to be a kind of Library" scarf.  

Wednesday:  Our own Debby Giusti took us on a tour of Holmes County, Ohio, the home of the largest Amish population in the US. Winners of advance copies of Undercover Amish, the second book in her Amish Protectors series along with some surprise goodies that she'll throw into the gift baskets are Deana Dick and DebH.  

Thursday: Glynna Kaye was our hostess today. Winners of "Mountain Country Cowboy" are MH, Phyllis Wheeler, Nicki Chapelway and Cindy W.

Monday: Seeker Tina Radcliffe brings you, "Camping Outside the Promised Land Redux." A second look at the writing journey with an absolutely fun fall giveaway!

Tuesday: Debut author McCall Hoyle is our special guest. Her Golden Heart winning manuscript, "The Thing with Feathers," is out now from Blink/HarperCollins! She'll be blogging about writing hopeful stories for young adults. Be sure to come by for a chance to win a copy of her book!

Wednesday: We're delighted to welcome back Tanya Agler with her post, "Writer Under Construction." Stop by to chat and you could win a $15 Amazon gift card.

Thursday: Seekerville is thrilled to welcome 2015 RITA Award nominee and USA Today best-selling author, Stacy Henrie to our village. Her post is, "Vacationing like a Researcher."  Do stop by for the fun. Stacy is giving away an e-copy of her newest inspirational historical romanceThe Keeper of Her Heart, to one commenter.

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.

Cover Reveal! Preorder here.

Seekers Mary Connealy and Pam Hillman at the 2017 ACFW Conference.

More ACFW photos. Feel free to send us your pix and we'll post them as they arrive this weekend. Send to

Mary Connealy & Connie Queen

Sharee Stover, Jackie Layton, Connie Queen &  Sherrinda Ketchersid 

They did it! Somehow, Julie Lessman actually managed to do a Facebook Live “Q&A with a CDQ” session with special pop-in guest Laura Frantz, so check out the video below!

THEN … mark your calendar for Julie’s next Facebook Live featuring a full “Q&A with Laura Frantz,” THURSDAY, 10/12, 7PM CDT on Julie’s FB author page! Hope to see you there for a double giveaway -- one of Julie's books and one of Laura's!


HELP! Julie Lessman needs a favor. Her cover for Love Everlasting is currently in the InD'Tales Magazine Creme de la Cover Contest, so if you have time (and you like the cover!), can you cast your vote? You have to subscribe to vote, but it's an easy process and most importantly, it's FREE for a great magazine that'll pop up in your email once a month.

And if you do, let Julie know via FB message or via the Contact Julie tab of her website, and your name will be tossed in the pot to have a character named after you in Julie’s upcoming December release, For Love of Liberty, a signed e-copy, and another e-copy of any of Julie's indie books. Here's the link and THANK YOU!!


This Tuesday morning at 9 AM PST, Julie Lessman is being interviewed via live video on Cara Grandle's Periscope show. The interview won't be live till Tuesday morning at the link below, but come on over on Tuesday if you can, okay?

This upcoming Monday, leave a comment on  Julie Lessman's blog on Southern Writers Magazine's SUITE T Blog between September 25-28, and you're in the draw for any of Julie's e-books ... INCLUDING a brand-new release in December called For Love of Liberty! Odds of winning are good as comments are generally low, so give it a shot! NOTE: Here's the link, but it won't go live until Monday, 9/25:

Thanks for the link love.

 Congratulations to the 2017 Genesis Award Winners and the 2017 Carol Award Winners! See the 2017 LIVE GALA BLOG HERE.

Congratulations to the 2017 Christy Award Finalists!

Time Blocking 101 (BookEnds Literary Agency)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Best of the Archives: The Seven Deadly Sins--They're all EMOTIONS

This post by Mary Connealy first appeared in Seekerville on 
October 1, 2014. Comments are closed today so we can catch up 
on our reading and writing!

This post is part 3 of a 3 part series on Emotion.

Part One-Putting Emotion on the Page

Part Two-The Medium is the Message

And now today, in part three I want to talk about the power of emotions and how God made us a list of the things that can either provide a motive for your bad guy in your books or it can challenge your good characters, because we all wrestle with sin.

It’s what keeps your romance from settling in easily.

It’s what haunts your characters in their backstory.

It’s what drives the plot.

We don’t have to go digging for these emotional hot spots. God has done the work for you.

All seven of these sins can be used in different degrees.

  • 1. Lust
  • 2. Gluttony
  • 3. Greed
  • 4. Sloth
  • 5. Wrath
  • 6. Envy
  • 7. Pride

Lust is a sin but desiring your spouse or even desiring your beloved isn’t a sin. It’s what you do with it, it’s when it tips over from perfectly God-blessed desire to lust. Usually for someone you’re not in an honorable relationship with.

Do you remember the movie Wall Street when Michael Douglas says, “Greed is good.”

Well, that’s a little disturbing to us because greed is one of the seven deadly sins. But think of it another way. Not Greed is Good, but rather, it’s human nature to try and better yourself, provide for your family, earn enough to create a good life. That’s why capitalism works because it’s so basic, so normal to work for your own betterment.

 Don’t call that greed.

And envy, where is that line, where you see something and want it, or something sinful awakens in your heart because they have something you don’t.

You can see how each of these sins can be used in a powerful blatant way, or in a subtle way…driving your hero and heroine in a certain direction or keeping them apart.

I remember once, early on in my writing, telling one of my daughters I needed a crime.

I had the story and the characters and it was flowing along but I needed a bad guy and a crime. My daughter sat there and gave it some thought and said, “How about cattle rustling?”

For some reason that makes me laugh. It was a great idea and I used it. It might have been Montana Rose.

But note that my CRIME is an actual physical act. Stealing, like in the Ten Commandments. What we're talking about with the seven deadly sins ... did you notice that they are all EMOTIONS? They are all INTERNAL. 

After all, Murder didn't make the list. Lying. Stealing. Even sexual sin isn't there. It's the emotional life that is all listed...separate from what you do about it. My rustlers no doubt suffered from greed, probably sloth, envy, maybe pride in some twisted version. But those are all internal. That they followed up with stealing is separate from their sinful internal life.

Sometimes we need a crime, a motivation, a barrier to love. So use this list. Use the seven deadly sins and slap one on your hero and heroine in a mild way, or onto your villains in a powerful version.

Tell me about the conflict in your book and whether it fits into the Seven Deadly Sins.

Mary Connealy writes suspenseful romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a two-time Carol Award winner and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. She is the bestselling, award-winning author of 50 plus books and novellas.

Find Mary online at: 


Cowboys, Action, Humor, and History Collide in Connealy's Latest
When an explosion kills men and damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them.

Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back East and all that New Mexico offers. Sure he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys running the mine and, when he's honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone. Particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who may not stay long at the ranch. She's determined, however, to help the Bodens finally put an end to the danger that's threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm's way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Five "Fun Size" Pre-Writing Starters to Ground Your Story

How thrilling it is as a writer to settle your fingers on the keyboard and type “Chapter One.” But even when filled with the exhilaration of new-story-itis, starting a book-length endeavor can often be intimidating.
Whether you’re a plotter, a seat-of-the-pantser or something in between, it never hurts to launch out on a story journey with a roadmap in hand (or at least in your head). Yes, you might take some detours along the way, but giving serious thought to your destination in advance can pay off in the long run.
I find nailing down 5 core elements before I start writing helps immensely, and I try to approach them as FUN, not something that will strangle my story-telling freedom. In fact, I find working through “fun size” starters actually energizes my storytelling confidence and enhances my writing freedom.

·       Goal, Motivation, Conflict (GMC)

·       Story Concept

·       Story Premise

·       Moral Premise

·       500-Word Synopsis

For me, none of these “fun size” starters are stand-alones. I can start out with any of them and they feed off each other. If I’m trying to decide whether ideas have enough “umph” to carry them from beginning to end, I’ll run them through a few of these “filters” to see how they hold up.

It doesn’t take long to throw a few less promising ones back into the idea ocean—and for one or two of them to catch my imagination as possibilities. Once I’ve decided on the core idea, then I move back and forth among the five elements—playing, building, tweaking—until the idea solidifies into a story I’m excited to tell with an engaging beginning, rock-solid middle, and a satisfying end.
Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (GMC) – We all know how important it is for our protagonists to possess GMC. Lacking even one of them—or having a weak one—seriously sabotages our efforts. Into this GMC bucket, I like to throw giving thought to greatest flaws and fears—and the source of them, the worst that could happen if goals aren’t met, the lie my characters tell themselves, and how they will change by the end of the story. It’s fun, too, to give them a secret!
To get the juices flowing on GMC, I often simultaneously play around with the other 4 elements—and I do mean PLAY. This is a fun way to make the development of GMC somewhat less painful. I’m not one of those gifted writers to whom a full-blown story appears in my mind like a big screen movie and I just transcribe what I see. Coming up with a viable story can often be grueling, so anything I can do to break the struggle into more “fun size” pieces, the better things go.

Story Concept – There are a lot of conflicting definitions regarding concepts and premises, etc., but for my own purposes I personally like to think of the concept as the 1-liner idea that first sparked my imagination. The very high-level story question. For instance, this is where my upcoming April 2018 release, “Mountain Country Courtship,” started:
Can an abandoned-at-the-altar city guy and a small-town runaway bride find the home of their hearts in each other’s arms?
Not a lot of detail there, but it hints at conflict…and romance.
Story Premise – I think of the story premise as more detailed, involving a little GMC and plot. Again, this is not a “textbook” definition of the word – this is just what I do when I’m trying to get a grip on a new story that’s formulating in my mind. This was one of my first shots at it for the same book:
With opposing agendas and a mutual need to prove themselves, an abandoned-at-the-altar city guy and a small-town runaway bride are stuck working together renovating an old bed & breakfast inn as they race to beat the clock to accommodate an all-important wedding that could make or break their future—and their chance at love.
Just added some detail that made me give further thought about GMC and plot.

Moral Premise – I like to think of this as what the core of the story is REALLY about under the surface of the action and dialogue. Knowing this as you write can greatly strengthen the story as you subtly weave it into your scenes.
Wrestling the steering wheel away from God in order to control life’s outcomes leads to directionless confusion and distancing from love. Turning the wheel over to God leads to inner peace and room for love.
This moral premise established for me the characters’ current inward state—and how they need to change.

500 Word Synopsis – 500 words is about one single-spaced page or two double-spaced, so you must stick to the bones of your story. It forces me to pull the other “fun size” pieces AND critical plot points together to reveal if the story holds together for the long haul.
This mini-synopsis quickly spotlights areas that are weak, that haven’t been thoroughly thought through, and that aren’t yet solid enough to carry the story successfully to The End. Discovering those things early on with a 500-word investment (and performing needed triage) is so much better than getting blind-sided halfway through writing the book.
For a seat-of-the pants writer, this short synopsis on the page or in your head may be all you need to get rolling. For a plotter or planster (or a pantser who must submit a full-blown synopsis with a book proposal), it’s a great foundation for writing a longer, more detailed synopsis.
Keep in mind that when I’m playing around with these “fun size” starters I’m not trying to make the elements perfectly written for anyone else’s inspection and critique (although I have at times polished up some of them to use in a proposal or to flesh out my publisher’s art fact sheet questions). For everything but the synopsis, I’m usually sitting somewhere away from the computer with a blank newsprint pad on my lap and letting my pen flow as the ideas come.
For me, spending a little upfront time solidifying the high-level plot and characters—while having a bit of FUN—can make all the difference in the world as to how I approach Chapter One…and journey successfully on to The End.

Please share with us today how much YOU need to know before you start writing in earnest. Do stories come to you full blown and ready to transcribe as the “movie” rolls through your mind? What, if any, pre-planning do you do? How do you get your ideas to “gel” enough to determine if they hold sufficient substance for a book-length story?
If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my latest release, “Mountain Country Cowboy,” please mention it in the comments section!

GLYNNA KAYE treasures memories of growing up in small Midwestern towns--and vacations spent with the Texan side of the family. She traces her love of storytelling to the times a houseful of great-aunts and great-uncles gathered with her grandma to share candid, heartwarming, poignant and often humorous tales of their youth and young adulthood. Her Love Inspired books—"Pine Country Cowboy” and “High Country Holiday”--won first and second place, respectively, in the 2015 RWA Faith, Hope & Love Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards. Just out in May 2017 was ”The Nanny Bargain,” out now is “Mountain Country Cowboy,” and coming in April 2018 will be “Mountain Country Courtship” (the final story in the 6-book Hearts of Hunter Ridge series).
Mountain Country Cowboy. When he’s offered a job at Hunter’s Hideaway, single dad Cash Herrera immediately accepts. It means the former bad boy can start over and gain custody of his son, Joey. Still, small-town folk have long memories—especially Cash’s pretty childhood nemesis. Rio Hunter is now a lovely, courageous woman…and Cash’s new boss. Past betrayal makes them both wary, and Rio’s secret promise will soon take her away from Hunter Ridge. Yet working with Cash and teaching Joey about her beloved horses draw her closer to both. Can she create a loving family with the man who’s claiming her future?