Monday, January 1, 2018

Seekerville: The Current Blog AND The Archives!

Hello, friends!

Welcome to "Seekerville, The First Ten Years", the archives of our crazy popular writing blog. Within these posts you'll find a decade of information sharing, testimonies about craft, the industry, agents, editors, experiences and all the things that go into developing the career path of a published author... BUT... since this biz is changing almost daily and absolutely weekly now, we've renovated the blog with new bloggers, up-to-date information, new thoughts but the very same goals:

To reach out to readers and writers/aspiring authors and let them know we're in their corner. We've got their backs. We're cheering for them.... and you!

GO HERE FOR THE CURRENT SEEKERVILLE but if you need the wealth of information in the archives, well, help yourself.

That's exactly what it's here for!

The Seekers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Seekerville's Annual Rockin' It New Year's Eve Party!


Well, we say that every year, but this year is special... this year marked twelve years of being "Seekers" the group we formed to pray each other into publication.... and we all know how well that worked. God hears prayers and he gives us one another as helpmates. And it sure helped each one of us.

Then we started the blog.... Seekerville... and we've had TEN GREAT YEARS of blogging, of teaching, of learning, of sharing... we've made friends and built relationships and won awards... but it's not about the awards. Or the page count. Or the follows. Seekerville was begun to create a friendly community, cost-free, where aspiring and established authors could meet and greet with readers and other writers and move forward. Where we can share our successes and failures and know we're not alone in a business that can get mighty lonely at times.

Now we move forward again. We've got a few gals retiring, nothing unusual about that, but with that change, Audra and I wanted to look back and enjoy what these first ten years have brought to us. Faith, Hope, Love... and Laughter.

From long-time villager and marvelous friend Vince Mooney:

Seekerville was really the first internet Reality Show! 
It was a quest!
It was the great escape from Unpublished Island!
It was lived in real time with real egos at risk! 
Courage was the byword.
Faith provided the sustenance.
Persistence was the life blood.
Prayer providing a salvation.
Love: the reward. 

Yay on the great escapes from the Island, although we get the lure of island relaxation for our retirees... The Zac Brown band made a great song about sittin' in the sand, dippin' toes in the water... and time to read! :)

And of course there's always our favorite "Auld Lang Syne" from "It's a Wonderful Life"... where an angel surely does get its wings!

Should old acquaintance be forgot? And never brought to mind? 


Not around here. We started this enterprise with fifteen authors... 
and as life moves on, as folks find new roads and take new curves and bridge new waters, we're not afraid to move forward with it... because we're no strangers to change around here! 

We've changed editors... agents... addresses... dress sizes... and dress sizes again! 

We've lost family, we've lost friends, we've lost money... and gained all three as well, depending on the year.

We began as a team, but like any team, when folks retire the team brings on new players... who'd have imagined anyone but Jeter in pinstripes at shortstop? And yet Sir Didi Gregorious is doing the job wonderfully, three years later...

Times change, people change, but the goal remains... to welcome aspiring writers into Seekerville, to advise and counsel them, to embrace new readers because we love them to the moon and back... and to welcome some marvelous new bloggers into the fold as we bring more inspirational and Christian fiction to the public's attention.

But with those new opportunities come memories, those days of old. And some good days they were! 

From Cindy Woolard: 
Cindy's Peppi Pooh Bear! 
Memories...there have been so many wonderful things throughout the year(s) that to pick just one would be difficult. I have laughed and I have cried over posts from the Seekers and comments from Seeker Villagers. What really touches my heart is the 'heart' and 'love' poured out by the Seekers. The prayers offered up for me when I had my knee replaced in January 2016, I felt so blessed. Then this year, as a caretaker for my Mom, I received support again through prayer. We lost Mom on 02/01/17, it was devastating for me because she was also my best friend, but the Seekers were there for me again, offering prayer and cards of condolences. I was so touched by a group of wonderful women who have never met me but reached out to me with love. I appreciate you all so very, very much!


Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, Ruth Logan Herne, Debby Giusti at Harlequin Party!

Debby Guisti, Missy Tippens, Darlene Bucholz, Janet Dean, Sandra Lee Smith, Myra Johnson, Ruth Logan Herne, Anita Mae Draper

From writer and editor Barb Scott:
Memories. Too many to list. Getting to know all of you better is a blessing. 
Seekerville feels like home.

From multi-published author Mary Jane Hathaway:
Sometimes, years after you’ve written a book, you realize the ending was THIS CLOSE to being fantastic, but you simply weren’t a good enough writer at the time to get to it. And that’s okay. There’s no shame in looking back on old books and seeing flaws you didn’t see before. That means you’ve grown and changed as a writer. Seekerville reminds me that we’re writers with a calling, souls on a journey. We do the very best we can, where we are, right now. It’s not about awards, royalties, or headlines. It’s about reaching readers with a story and honoring the Giver of this gift called writing. 

Patti Jo Moore, Mary Connealy, Janet Dean and Julie Lessman!

Mindy Obenhaus and Mia Ross! 

Award-winning authors Tina Russo Radcliffe and Missy Tippens!
From MH...

It’ll be my first Seekerville New Year Party! How exciting!
Memories...I remember meeting the Grammar Queen on this blog for the first time and laughing out loud....reading about the process of writing, editing, publishing, and promoting and thinking it’s really really hard for authors and being grateful for those who continue to write....realizing that Julie Lessman can make me laugh until I cry....

From Jeanne Takenaka:

Memories: One of my first times ever commenting on a Seekerville post, I was nervous and shy. It was a post Mary had written. And it may have had to do with first lines. I was so blessed by Mary’s feedback on my first line. It was helpful and fun. 

I loved, LOVED meeting Seekers at my first-ever ACFW. I think that was the year that Tina offered to buy dessert for villagers who won the opportunity to spend some time with her. Other Seekers were there too. I was the shy, quiet one, who mostly listened and soaked in all the good-vibes shimmering around the table. 

I’m so blessed by critique feedback I’ve received from Seekers. I’ve learned from each one. 

It was fun to run into Debby Giusti, Janet Dean, and Missy Tippens in the hallway at ACFW a couple of years ago. Their warm smiles invited me into conversation.

And meeting Ruthy! Loved our chance meeting one morning, during your dash in and out of ACFW 2016. 

I was blessed by your prayers for me after I tore and had surgery on my ACL. Debby messaged me on Facebook. The fact that she took the time to reach out to me spoke deeply to my heart.

Each one of you ladies is an inspiration. I’ve been encouraged, uplifted and blessed by your comments, your words and your kindnesses in the time I’ve been a part of this community.
From Sherida Stewart:

Seekerville memories.....I immediately think of the fun, laughter, tears and smiles shared among everyone in Seekerville. All of you are dear friends. I appreciate the encouragement and felt the prayers offered on my behalf. And I love winning books! There’s no place like our home in Seekerville!

And, one more thing . . . I have met some of the wonderful, encouraging writers in the the Seekerville community. Carol Moncado—the amazing GF cookie-maker and giver,  Jackie Layton and Patti Jo Moore are all such encouragers and uplifters. 

From historical author Keli Gwyn:
Keli Gwyn fell in love with Seekerville nine years ago when Tina went searching for her in cyberspace and invited her to guest post. Keli, a fluorescent-green newbie writer at the time, didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone how to comment on one. She quickly learned that the Seekers are known for being helpful since they coached her through that daunting experience. They’ve taught her a great deal since then, teased her a bit (waving at Ruthy!), encouraged her and celebrated with her. She’ll be forever in their debt.
And a note from Cindy Huff!

Ruth, I've been following Seekerville for years before I was a published author. So much encouragement and helpful posts. Seekerville is like family. I've discovered some wonderful authors to add to my reading list.
Cindy Huff

And one from Marcia Scott:

I think this will be my third or fourth New Year's Eve with Seekerville, and there's not a more fun time or place I'd rather be! Bring on the fun!

Like Cindy said, I've seen so much heart and love, and all of it truly meant. The support from everyone makes the journey a bit easier. Just like family!

From Jackie Layton come these sweet pics:

Jackie and Sherrinda Ketchersid

Bethany McManus and Jackie! 
Jackie Layton, Sharee Stover, Connie Queen and Sherrinda Ketchersid

More from Vince Mooney!

10 Years of Seekerville Memories  
1. Being introduced to Seekerville by Cheryl Wyatt when I won a writing contest on her website.

2. Being asked by Mary Connealy to guest a Seeker posting.

3. Cheering as one Seeker after another got 'the call' sometimes many months apart!  (I believe only one Seeker, Debby Giusti, had published when I first came into sight of Seekerville.)

4. Experiencing the thrills of having 10 guest posts on Seekerville and seeing the words I wrote beautifully laid out better than I could have imagined it.  Thank you Tina!

5. And best of all: spending a day with Ruth, Tina, and Mary when they came to Tulsa!!!!

Like all of you, we cherish our memories... but we're also young enough to want to make new memories, break new paths, help more folks and keep the tradition going, so as we go forward... With a plucky and fun new staff to round us out...

We anticipate more of the same!

Only different.

And gosh.... we think that's okay and hope you do, too.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! And because Connealy cleaned a closet, we have TWO KINDLE FIRES TO GIVE AWAY TONIGHT!!!!

Leave a comment to be entered in any of our drawings today! And... Let's get this party started, my friends!



Saturday, December 30, 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. Our new email address is

Tuesday: Sandra Lee Smith chatted with folks about her decision to retire... and to save huts on the island for future retirees! Sandra, thank you so much for your years of writing, advising, laughing and blogging. You blessed us and so many others. Happy trails, friend!

Wednesday:  Ruth Douthitt was our special guest with her thought-provoking post, "Is It Just My Imagination?" Vince Mooney is the winner of an ecopy of First Christmas in Paris. 

Thursday:  Sherrinda Ketchersid visited with her post, "Resolutions and One Words for 2018." She brought along a little post-holiday merry!  Winner of a hand-decorated Moleskine journal and a $10 Amazon gift card is KayBee (Kathy B).

Whoa... "next week" in Seekerville begins on SUNDAY this week as we ring in a new year... and a new page as we end 2017 with our annual Rockin' It New Year's Eve Party... a poignant time as we wave goodbye to retirees who've served well and long and deserve their best hopes and dreams as they move on... 

And then we welcome a beautiful and delightful new staff to the mainland... 

Who will it be???

Who's coming on board???

What form of mischief is this???? :)

But that announcement is in Mary Connealy's competent hands as we sail into January 2, 2018...

A new year, a new calendar, some new staff, but the same dreams... of writing, laughing, loving, publishing, helping, aspiring, leading... And all beneath the banner of the Most High. Mark us blessed to be inspirational authors, and join us for our end-of-year celebration... which is also a New Year celebration! For while change is in the air, what hasn't changed is the love we have for our villagers, our readers, our colleagues and our God...  

Monday:  Closed for the holiday.

Tuesday: Mary Connealy--On TUESDAY we are talking about CHANGE. Don't just accept it, don't even embrace it grudgingly...instead SEEK IT! You might as well because it's coming anyway!!!
Come by on Tuesday and meet the Second Generation bloggers of SEEKERVILLE....There'll be prizes!

Wednesday: Amanda Barratt will be bringing us "Words are Light." Amanda will give you a chance to win a copy of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls New York, and since this is Seekerville, a chocolate treat! 

Thursday: Join award-winning author Cathy Gohlke when she primes us for a new year with a “Purpose Driven Fiction—God’s Calling on Your Pen," a truly inspirational post you will not want to miss! Giveaway included.

Friday: Audra Harders returns to kick off the new year with a message of encouragement to all who face "Word Blackout!"

Ruthy (Ruth Logan Herne)  will be talking smokin' hot cowboys and great heroines over at Petticoats & Pistols on Thursday, January 4th as she gives us a glimpse of her upcoming Shepherd's Crossing series from Love Inspired... and how much fun it is to bring three Southern Belles into the rugged hills of Western Idaho... and the heroes waiting for them there! Join Ruthy as she chats about the fun of writing strong heroes and the heroines who meet them step-for-step.

There's still time to win one of Julie's indie e-books during her last Facebook Live of 2017, so check it out, and you may be surprised how easy it is! Here's the video and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And what an honor from our friends at Writer's Digest! Last spring they ranked Seekerville #11 in the 19 Most Excellent Websites for Writers!  and just gave a lovely shout-out in this blog post as they call for 2018 nominations. How sweet!Thank you to you, our villagers, for nominating us... and huge thanks to Writers' Digest for the recognition. It's our absolute pleasure to serve.

Today, December 30, 2017 marks a change for us in Seekerville... and changes always come with mixed emotions. We've got the coffee pot fired up, a selection of creamers, the tea leaves are fresh and aromatic and there are fresh Christmas cookies... nothing stale today! Stop in and chat... Grab a cookie (or two) and a cuppa... While we get ready for tomorrow's New Year's party! We might even put you to work hanging streamers!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Best of the Archives: The Secret Life of An Inspirational Romance Writer and More...

with Tina Radcliffe.

This post first appeared in Seekerville on 7/30/15. Comments are closed today.

In my ordinary world, no one knows that I'm an inspirational romance writer. 

This week a co-worker asked about my recent absence. I shared that I went to New York City for a conference on my vacation.
"A conference? What kind of conference?"
"Um, I do a little writing on the side."
"Oh, a hobby."
Sigh. "Not exactly a hobby...."

This is a typical reaction to my revealing my secret life. 

Of course, there is the occasional flip-side of that. I have another coworker with whom I have shared that I write inspirational romance. She told me that her mother is a voracious reader. So I brought in a copy of my latest release, (in a brown paper bag, of course) for her mom.

That coworker came by my desk later with tears in her eyes and a stunned expression on her face. 
"I texted the cover of your book to my mom. My mother already read your book. She said it was really good. She wants to read it again."
"Your mom is a fan of mine?"
Those moments are far and few between, but they are absolutely priceless. They make me want to shout!

"I'm an inspirational romance writer! I'M AN INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE WRITER!"

So although I'm not fabulously rich and famous.

And no one recognizes me when I walk down the street.

And though I don't dress in full tiara mode.

Or sit in on a mountaintop waiting for a word from God.

There are a few perks to this gig...

I write fun and sassy books about real Christians and their daily struggles and my name is on the cover of those books.

I get paid for that honor.

My book is on the shelf in the grocery store!

I'm honored to have the privilege to share my faith in a way that is truly me. 

And once or twice a year I get to meet my tribe at a conference. And there is nothing like it. That amazing feeling of being surrounded by like-minded individuals who really, really get me.

Each year the tribe grows a bit more as I reconnect with old friends and add new ones. It's truly an amazing honor and a kick in the pants as well. I'm not ashamed to admit I need my people and yes, they do validate me in a real and very necessary way. After five days with my peeps am ready to go back to the cave and back to my solitary life for another year or so. 
The End. 

As Seekerville begins its eleventh blogging year, 
several Seekers are moving into new seasons.

Dear Seekerville,

Happy Holidays!  2018 will be a year of exciting changes for me. After an entire year of prayer, I have decided that this is the time to retire from Seekerville. Today is my last day in the role of a Seeker author.

 I have spent ten wonderful years in the ministry called Seekerville, and I have been blessed over and over again by the many amazing people who continue to touch my life.

You can still keep up with me by signing up for my newsletter here or checking my updated webpage here to see where I will be in 2018. You can also email me at

My One Word for the upcoming year is BEST. The best is yet to come! I'm beyond excited to see what the Lord has in store for the next ten years. I'm also delighted that I can visit Seekerville in my new role as Villager.

I pray that 2018 is a year of harvest for you. 

Much love,

Tina Radcliffe

My dear Seekervillagers, what an adventure we’ve shared over the past 10 years! However, the time has come for me to step back from my Seekerville responsibilities so that I can devote more focused attention not only to the writing I love but to the everyday things that make life worth living—faith, family, home, and friendships. Being a part of Seekerville has been such a blessing, especially getting to know so many dedicated writers and readers as friends. I promise to visit often, and I’ll be watching right along with you to see what changes are in store for Seekerville in the New Year.

 I hope you’ll stay in touch with me on FacebookTwitter, and my website. I also share book news, giveaways, and other fun stuff in my newsletter, so please subscribe!

By the way, Grammar Queen has a new home, too! She now has her own page on my website and will be conducting future lectures via my blog. You can also follow GQ on Twitter. She's always happy to take questions, and you may find yours answered in an upcoming class!


Myra Johnson

Somebody pass the Kleenex—please—because this announcement is not easy for a CDQ! 

Like Tina, I also have felt God’s leading to retire from Seekerville, so on December 31st, I will be retiring as well to focus more on God, family, and writing. But actually, I prefer the term “Seekerville alumni” rather than retiree because I hope to return with guest blogs here and there. 

This is not an easy transition for any of us because the Seekers and all our Seekerville friends are family, so I’m trying to think of it more as a move to a different state where I don’t see my family quite as often as I used to. :) But we can still stay in touch through Julie's Facebook page or my website, so please don’t hesitate to come by to say “hey,” okay? 

Oh, and you’ll still see me in the comments section with plenty of caps and exclamation points to let you know I’m still around! 


Julie Lessman

Harlequin’s decision to close the Love Inspired Historical line has had me examining the pros and cons of continuing to pursue publication. I’m still awaiting God’s direction. Wherever He leads, I’m so grateful for the privilege of having had published books on the shelves and the blessings publication has brought into my life. I especially want to thank those who’ve read and reviewed my books and encouraged me during this fabulous journey.

With the uncertainty about the direction of my writing, I’ve made the very difficult decision to retire from Seekerville. I never dreamed when we stepped into cyberspace ten years ago that Seekerville would become this amazing, close-knit community of writers and readers. As we’ve prayed for each other, celebrated and commiserated with one another during life’s ups and downs, we’ve evolved into what feels like family. 
This isn’t goodbye. I’ll be a frequent visitor to Seekerville to keep up with all of you and to support my Seeker sisters moving forward. 
Thank you for sharing your lives with me!
 May the Good Lord bless you mightily, as you have blessed me!  
 Janet Dean

Dear Villagers, as I am retiring from writing, (see my post here) I will also be signing off on the Seekerville blog.

I plan to visit and enjoy the new directions my treasured Seeker friends will travel. Happy writing and reading, everyone. 

Happy New Year. 

Sandra Leesmith

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Resolutions and One Words for 2018

with guest Sherrinda Ketchersid.

Christmas has passed and I’m breathing a sigh of contented relief. The parties are over, the presents are unwrapped, and it is quiet in my house. I have an empty nest, so the times when everyone is under our roof, laughing and playing together, well, it is the most wonderful time of the year. While I love the loud roar of family about me, I must confess I enjoy the silence that comes when they leave. This is the time I clean up, organize, and begin to dream of the year to come. 

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I used to but never could keep them. I don’t know if they were too drastic or if I chose the wrong thing to focus on, but I never could make those resolutions a habit. Then I heard about the My One Word revolution. What you do is choose a word that you want to focus on for the year. Just one word. It is a word that will shape your life and everything you do for the coming year. 

This choosing of My One Word has changed my life. I no longer fail at keeping resolutions. There is no more guilt – no more failure. Now I make decisions based on My One Word. I chose my dreams, goals, and activities based on My One Word. Every little step I take falls under my word. It was about progress, not perfection. 

Let me share some of my past words and how they have shaped me.

2014: ANTICIPATE–After a financially difficult year, I wanted… no, needed… hope. I wanted to anticipate a year of blessing from God. I don’t mean I expected riches and comfort, but God did bless in that area. I got a new job with a $6,000 increase a year, with a smaller commute. Our cars did not break down that year. It was the year we were able to get back on our feet and help others.

2015: BRAVE–I’ve never been a brave person. I’m one of those people who cares too much about what others think. I don’t want to buck the system or rock the boat. But y’all, that is no fun! So this was the year I opened an Etsy shop, I spoke at a teacher meeting about my Bible Journaling, and I did some things I’ve always wanted to do, but was too afraid to try. This was by far my favorite year. 

2016: SURRENDER–Yep. I dislike this word and I didn’t want it to be my word, but God kept putting it before me, so I… surrendered. I didn’t know why this had to be my word, but by the end of the year, it made complete sense. This was the year where difficult family situations arose and I had to put aside my Etsy shop and time for me in order to focus on others. It was a time I had to give up control and leave things in God’s hands. It was a perfect word for that year and I gained peace in the beauty of surrender. 

2017: THRIVE–After surrendering so much the year before, I wanted to thrive! This was the year God allowed me to write again. God led me to set aside writing five years earlier due to it becoming an idol in my life. In December 2016 I felt the nudge to write once more, so I prayed about it and God answered my prayer with an email from an incredible published author who wanted to mentor me in 2017. Don’t you love it when God answers prayers so beautifully? And boy, did I thrive! Here is what I have learned this year:

  • I learned how to edit a manuscript.
  • Out of the 6 writing contests I entered this year, I finaled in 4 of them.
  • I started a newsletter – even though I’m not published or have much to say yet! 
  • I have a wonderful writing community to encourage and motivate me on the journey.
  • I’ve stepped up and organized our church’s ladies Bible studies this year.
  • To get healthy, I began a low carb eating plan and have lost 46 pounds so far. 
  • After prayer and planning, I took a leap of faith and quit my good paying job to pursue my writing and calligraphy. 

So are you curious what my One Word is for 2018? It is CULTIVATE.

 I’ve really been taking stock of different areas in my life and feel like I need to tend those areas better. Whether it be my spiritual walk, my relationship, my writing, lettering or homemaking, I want to till up the hard soil and make it a place where I can grow in each of those categories. I don’t want to get stagnate and lifeless. I want to flourish.

Cultivating takes work and discipline, yet the fruit of that labor will be worth the effort! Just think of the possible fruit that could come from cultivating: hearing God better, deeper marriage, stronger friendships, stronger writing (get an agent or book contract!), extra income, and a lovely, organized home. That sounds like a great year to me!

As a writer, I intend to cultivate my writing this year by incorporating the following:

  • Critique group – I have joined a group where I will be sharing my work. Yes, this is scary, but the rewards will be tremendous.
  • Read at least 1 book on the craft of writing per month. 
  • Keep following Seekerville and learning from the masters. (This is a given, but I need to join in on the conversation more and ask questions!)
  • Keep writing daily.
  • After I finish my second manuscript, try a different, more marketable genre. (Medieval is currently not the right era for the Christian market.)
  • Blog twice a week. This was difficult while working full time.
  • Newsletter once a month. 
  • Read one fiction book a week, especially in a different genre. 

I pray this is not too ambitious, but since I will have more time this year, I want to utilize every minute. I want progress, not perfection. I want to grow and tend to the things that matter most. It doesn’t have to look perfect. In fact, messy forward motion is still progress. Get your hands dirty and make what matters a reality in your life. It will be worth it.

Do you have a My One Word for the New Year, or do you make New Year’s resolutions? What are you looking forward to most in the year to come? In what area do you want to make progress in during 2018?
   Share in the comments for a chance to win a hand-decorated Moleskine journal and a $10 Amazon gift card. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

2017 Genesis finalist, Sherrinda Ketchersid is a born and bred Texan, preacher’s wife, mother of 4 children, and grand-mom to 3 cats. With the children grown and out of the house, she spends time weaving her love of romance with history to bring joy and the hope of love to those who may one day read her stories. 

You can connect with her through:
Personal blog:  
Facebook: Sherrinda Ketchersid  
Twitter: @sherrinda  
Instagram: @sherrinda  
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