Monday, July 11, 2016


with guest blogger LeAnne Bristow.

Are you one of those people who everything comes easy for? Are you so naturally talented that the words fly off your fingertips onto the page and editors and agents are begging for your work? No? I didn’t think so. And by the way, if you ever meet one of those people, run. Run fast. Because they obviously aren’t really human. 

I admit. I was a person that a lot of things came easily for. I didn’t have to study to make good grades. I was popular. (Disclaimer…there were only 13 people in my class. Everyone was popular.) I was Salutatorian of my graduating class, President of the FHA, Secretary of the National Honor Society, cheerleading captain, and homecoming queen. (Again…only 13 people in my class.)

So several years ago, when I found a box full of all the stories I’d written in my high school years, it rekindled my dream of becoming a published author. I got so excited. My kids were grown and gone. What better time to pursue my dream?

Eagerly, I sat down at my computer and began writing. This would be easy. After all, I’d just finished my master’s degree and wrote a 1200 word essay every week. My professors commented on my strong writing skills. I would be at the top of the New York Times best-seller list in no time.

I scoured the internet for information on how to become a published author and stumbled onto the Seekerville website. Contests? There are contests for writers? Sign me up. I’ll win them all. I was almost giddy with excitement. 

Then I got my first score sheet back. It was AWFUL. I realized this was going to be a little harder than I thought. I went back to the Seekerville website and this time, when I read their tips for writing, I had a whole different attitude. I was lucky enough to win a first chapter critique from Tina and waited. Then cried when I got it. Crying seemed appropriate because my heroine cried five times in the first chapter and Tina was having none of that. Too much head hopping. What was that? Shallow POV. Too much telling. An abundance of –ly adverbs. And a whole slew of other things wrong with my writing. 

Well. Apparently, this wasn’t as easy as I thought. 

I could take that box of stories outside and burn it, or I could pull up my big girl panties and start studying. Really studying. I read so many craft books and took so many workshops that some days I thought my head would explode. I got up early to write so I wouldn’t be disturbed and sat up late after the husband went to bed. 

I kept entering contests. I finaled in some. I even won one. But still, no one was clamoring at the door to publish my book. But I wasn’t ready to quit yet. 

Perseverance - steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Preservice is developed by failure. Last week, I was listening to my favorite Bible study program and the topic was failure. Failure, the pastor said, is factored in by God to make us what he wants us to be. He went on to list three things to do in order to overcome failure. 

Acknowledge your failure. That’s easy to do. I have a pile of rejection letters that won’t let me forget.

Accept God’s forgiveness. Failure itself is not a sin. But getting so wrapped up in my own pity party and forgetting to lean on Him is. Forgetting to seek His guidance in my writing and all aspects of my life is. I needed to stop trying to do this on my own.

Apply the lessons of failure towards success. I learned something from every rejection, every judge’s comment, and every critique. I could’ve tossed those comments out the window and said “What do they know? This is my story and I’ll tell it my way.” But I didn’t. I used those comments to make me a better writer. After my third rejection from Love Inspired, I was really frustrated, so my agent suggested I try something different. Then I remembered something I’d chosen to ignore. In my first year of writing, I’d done a pitch session with an associate editor at Love Inspired. She liked my story, but it had a lot of elements that didn’t work for LI. Those same elements worked great for longer stories like Heartwarming, she said.

In my determination, I’d failed to apply all the lessons I’d learned. So I went back and looked at the story that had been rejected three times. I started to play with it and it started to flow. Maybe the longer story really was better for me. I started trying to learn everything about Heartwarming that I could. Although their stories don’t include a faith element, they are clean, wholesome romances that I was comfortable writing.

At RWA, I attended the Heartwarming Open House. I discovered they weren’t looking to acquire any more stories with a major element that mine had. I was heartbroken. I called my agent. “They don’t want any more stories where the hero or heroine returns home to care for an ailing parent. That’s my entire story! What do I do?” He calmed me down and told me to pitch the story anyway but tell them I’d look for ways to change it. So I did. Dana Grimaldi was kind enough to listen to me pitch the story. She liked elements and despite the overused trope, asked for a full. 

I got home and started brainstorming with my critique partners to find a way to revise the story and replace the ailing parent. My agent sent in a proposal with the new ideas. He called a few weeks later and said she loved the changes and wanted the full. But my story wasn’t quite finished! I put my nose to the grindstone, locked myself in my room and started working. 

The next time my agent called, it was to tell me Dana liked the new version, but wanted some revisions. Was I willing to do it? As the Seekers would say, THIS IS CALLED OPPORTUNITY! I locked myself back in my room and six weeks later submitted the revisions. And the following week found out that Dana was leaving Heartwarming and moving to the American Romance line. I panicked. This was it. She would pass the story to a new editor and they would hate it. 

On June 3rd, my agent called. I had sent him some ideas for new projects and figured he was calling to discuss them. I was babysitting my granddaughter, so I was juggling her when I answered the phone. When he told me Victoria Curran wanted to offer me a contract for my story, I almost dropped the baby. Once I could breathe again, I sat my granddaughter on the floor, she was a little dizzy by this time from all my jumping up and down, and cried. 

Yeah. I cry a lot. 

Perseverance -steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

At least that’s the dictionary’s definition. But it goes deeper than that. Perseverance is staring at that rejection letter with tears in your eyes and wondering why on earth you ever thought you could be a writer. It’s locking yourself in your writing cave when the rest of your family is going to see that new movie with your favorite actor. Perseverance means learning to say no. “No, I can’t go to lunch with you. I need to work on my story.” “No, I can’t volunteer next week, I have a deadline.” (I’m still working that one.)

So tell me, what does perseverance mean to you?

 I’d love to be able to give away copies of my new book…but it won’t be out until March 2017. But I will give a $20 Amazon gift card to a lucky commenter! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

 LeAnne Bristow often hid books inside her desk and read during class. A teacher actually commented on her report card that "LeAnne would do much better in class if she would stop reading." When she outgrew Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beverly Cleary, she graduated to Walter Farley and Judy Blume. Then her favorite aunt gave her an old box of Harlequin romance novels and she was hooked. After reading the entire Americana series by Janet Dailey, LeAnne dreamed of becoming a writer. Life happened and LeAnne followed her country boy from a small town in central Texas to a smaller town in southern Arizona. She spent the next 25 years corralling three of her own children and 20+ kindergartners. Now an empty nester and new grandma, she's pursuing her dream of bringing you emotional stories that make you hold your breath waiting for that first kiss. LeAnne's debut release from Harlequin Heartwarming will release in March of 2017.


  1. WELCOME to the mainland, LeAnne. So very proud of you!

    And now everyone is totally terrified of my critiques. LOLOLOLOL.

  2. Love your post, LeAnne! Congrats on the sale and your perseverance!
    Happy Dancing for you!

  3. First of all......CONGRATS LeAnne on your Heartwarming contract and 2017 book release!!!!! I'm so excited for you, you persevered until you got what you wanted to accomplish :-) Pushing through all the obstacles to obtain your goal, I'm so proud of you!!

    Second of all, you didn't give up when you could have. You had a goal in mind, and you used every critique, rejection, revision to hone the skills you now have. Sometimes it takes the fire and the hammer on the anvil to make that knife sharp! I can understand when it wasn't easy and you just wanted to give up & toss those pages in the garbage. But I admire people who, though they get to that point, push through those obstacles in spite of opposition. That's my definition of perseverance :-) You said "perseverance is developed by failure"; well I can tell you from personal experience that's the crux of it! I've failed at many things in my life, but if it's something I REALLY want, I'll learn more by failure. Sounds strange doesn't it? Kind of backwards? But I think sometimes the failure is a motivator for us to reach deeper in ourselves for the strength to go on. And absolutely rely more on the Lord, pray more, and ask Him to show you the way!! That's key my friend....the LORD :-) He gave you that dream in the first place, why would He let you down? Maybe it will take going through the fire of life (rejection or revisions, or any number of things), but you're sure to come out as pure as gold! :-)

    Loving your post!! Thanks for sharing your heart LeAnne :-) Please add my name to the pot for the gift card, thanks so much!

  4. Tina - thanks for having me! I'm so excited to be here. :)

    Lyndee!!! Happy to see you here. :) Thanks so much!

    Trixi - Thank you! You have no idea how many times that garbage can tempted me. Love your definition of perseverance. I'm going to add that to my list.

  5. Hi LeAnne:

    I was really surprised to read your comment below:

    "I got home and started brainstorming a way to revise the story and replace the ailing parent with my critique partners."

    Were the critique partners also ailing and did you use their real names? : )

    I'd sure like to read this story. I'll be happy to wait until March 2017 if that is the fastest way to get a copy.

    For me: 'Perseverance' is never taking yes for an answer.

    This is the first time I've learned about Heartwarming and I used to know and read all the Harlequin lines. Did it used to have a different name? I am now going to have to read one and see what I am missing.

    Several comedians are quoted as saying, "90% of success is just showing up." I like that. In order to persevere you first have to show up."

    Good luck & much success.


  6. Okay, Vince. Good one. Yes. Her critique partners are now in the story. And you will be in the next one, as the unnamed secondary character who is run over by a large truck in act 2.

  7. Vince, the Heartwarming Senior Editor, Victoria Curran was in Seekerville.

    See this article: One Editor's Top 7 Revision Notes by Harlequin Senior Editor Victoria Curran

  8. LeAnne, loved your call story! Warmest blessings and much success!

  9. Vince, my face is bright red now. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe I should've sent the post to my critique partners first. I'm sure they would've caught that for me.

    Tina, you crack me up!!

  10. Hi Cynthia! Thank you so much! I love seeing all these familiar faces!

  11. March 2017 - I can't wait to read it. Great lesson on perseverance. Congrats, LeAnne.

  12. Thanks Beth! I'll be back to visit Seekerville in March. I'll have some giveaways then. :)

  13. Wait, Vince gets a cameo for pointing out bad sentence structure? Well, I saw a typo! Do I get something? How about stepped on by a horse!?

    Seriously, I loved this post, especially the part about your first contest scores. I LOVE contests. I entered probably 40 or more in the years before I got the call. My very first contest was the Genesis and I think I got the lowest score ever recorded. Maybe there wasn't even a score. Just a big frowny face.

    I also won a Tina critique! I remember reading it and thinking, "This person really hates my writing. She must be insane because my writing is AWESOME."

    No, truthfully, I think I might have sunk down in my office chair until I was sitting on the back of my neck. The best part of the crit went something like "PLEASE MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN". I think my first drafts still tend to have way too much introspection, but I've learned to curb the impulse to include a ten page driving-while-thinking scene (which happened at night so there wasn't even any scenery to break the monotony).

    Congratulations on the call!!!

    And I'll let you know where the typo is when you tell me what kind of cameo I get!

  14. Congratulations LeAnne! I loved your call story!
    Perseverance was my one word in 2013...for me, it's getting back up, after you've been knocked down for the 100th time.


  16. I actually save all the critiques. I did not say that. HA.

    2010. A lifetime ago.

    I did say this: Thank you for the pleasure of reading your story. I’m very excited about it and love your spunky, impulsive heroine and I love the title btw. The Girl from Flea Bite Creek has so much potential.

  17. Man this is a tough crowd today. I'm bringing out the chocolate eclairs and chai expresso.

    Then I'm putting on my Kevlar vest.

  18. This was really encouraging for me --while I'm not writing, perseverance applies to my job search in finding a permanent librarian position. =)

    I'm glad to be back in Seekerville thoug! ^_^

  19. I enjoyed your post. Welcome to Heartwarming!

  20. Awwwww, what a great post! Congrats on your success. :-)

  21. Welcome to Heartwarming, LeAnne!! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Can't wait to read your first book! ;))

  22. CONGRATULATIONS, LeAnne!!!! I'm so excited for you!

    Thank you for this timely post!

    Please put me in the draw for the GC.

  23. LEANNE, congratulations on your debut with Heartwarming!! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story of perseverance!! That journey to publication is often a lot of ups and even more downs, an emotional roller coaster ride for sure. But as you've shown us, when you hang on and work hard, dreams do come true!


  24. Hi LeAnne, congratulations on your book contract. I couldn't be happy for you.

    Great post today on perseverance! You made me laugh out loud when you said, "This is called opportunity." Way to go to keep persevering! You're a real inspiration!

  25. TINA, after LeAnne's endorsement, unpublished authors will and should be lining up for your critiques!

    Laughing at your exchange with Vince. :-)


  26. Congrats! I'd love to be entered for gift card drawing.

  27. LeAnne, this is the kind of perseverance this business not only wants, it kind of demands it!

    The willingness to change things, to see an editor as an expert and the link between you, your story and readers who will love your story!


    I am happy dancing for you, and I love that you didn't cave... (crying doesn't count, we all do that stuff, and then we pull up our big girl panties and get on with it!)...

    You listened and responded and made it work.

    GO YOU!!!!

    I'm so stinkin' proud of you!

  28. Vince, LOL!

    You've got a sharp eye, my friend! Laughing!

    And Victoria Curran's day in Seekerville was so fun! LeAnne, she's awesome to work with...

    And laughing at the Tina critique stories!

    She is direct and to the point.

    Did I mention very direct?

    And straight to the point????

    You both done good!

  29. Wonderful story of hard work and perseverance, LeAnne! And truly, if you can apply the posts in the Seekerville archives to your work and learn to take feedback from a great mentor like Tina--and apply it--you learn so much about writing so much more quickly than you can learn floundering around on your own.

    That's why contest feedback was so important in my journey--seeing how writing craft tips directly applied to MY manuscript through a judge's feedback made all the difference.

    CONGRATULATIONS! Let us know when we can order your book!

  30. Congratulations, LeAnne! Thanks for sharing your story.

    I need to hear these success stories and just keep believing ... though I find that perseverance isn't necessarily the hardest thing for me ... it's the believing in myself enough to keep at it. Cause some days (not today) it just feels impossible. And when it feels impossible it's hard to do what might make it possible (to persevere).

    Do you have a title yet for your book? I was completely unfamiliar with LI and Heartwarming until I joined Seekerville. I've read one Heartwarming since and I enjoyed the style, so I'll have to keep an eye out for your book.

  31. Congratulations LeAnne! I bet you did a lot of happy dancing along with the crying!

    Perseverance to me, means you try until you get it matter what "it" is.

    Many blessings to you.

    Cindy W.

  32. Okay. I have a pounding headache right now. I meant to write, Perseverance to me, means you try until you get it matter what "it" is.

    Cindy W.

  33. Lara, isn't amazing how we stumble on information????

    I'm so glad you found us.

    We're bossy, but we sure are fun.

  34. Congrats, LeAnne! Can't wait to read your book!

  35. LeAnne,

    Congratulations on your contract with Heartwarming and your book coming out in 2017. Your post was one of great encouragement! Thanks so much for sharing.

  36. Hi LeAnne

    Such an inspiring post. Perseverance is the driving force that's kept me going--that and urgency.

    Congratulations on your first release. I love Heartwarming and thought it had been discontinued. Happy to hear that's not true.

  37. Sorry I'm late this morning! I had to go rescue a friend of mine who ran out of gas on the side of the road. Yes, at 4:30 this morning! She was dropping her kids off at church for camp. Oh well...I need coffee. Lots of it!

    Mary Beth - a typo? Geez....WHY am I trying to be a writer???? Thank goodness for good critique partners and editors! Hmmm...If Vince gets run over by a truck, the least I can do is have you fall out of a tree. :)

  38. Good morning, Jill! Love your definition of perseverance! I'm going to copy all the great definitions and print them out so I can hang them on my bulletin board for motivation!

    And Tina, we love you! You make us soon as we wipe the tears away. HA! And thanks for the eclairs. I needed that this morning!

  39. Good morning Artist Librarian! Welcome back to Seekerville! Perseverance can apply to just about anything you do in life. Good luck with your job hunt.

    And I'm so glad I could be an encouragement to you, Kate. It's so easy to get discouraged!

  40. Thanks so much for coming by Liz and Anna! Two fellow Heartwarming authors! I just get chills saying that. I couldn't be more thrilled to be with Heartwarming. They are such a supportive and welcoming group!

  41. LeAnne, it's 6 am in Arizona-no need to apologize. Those East Coasters have 3 hours on us.

  42. Thank you Jessica, Cathyann and Caryl! So nice to meet you!

    Janet - Thanks so much. I usually avoid roller coasters because I get motion sickness really bad, but this is one roller coaster ride I plan to enjoy!

    Jackie Layton!!! Why didn't you make me send you this post for editing before I posted it? Then Vince and Mary Beth wouldn't have to get hurt. :( HAHAHA! Thanks for coming by and I can't wait to come here to read YOUR call story.

  43. Hello Ruthy! Thanks so much. I've been doing the happy dance for a straight month! And I remember Victoria's post but I think I'm going to go back and reread it.

    Glynna Kaye - you are SO right! Every time I would get feedback from a judge in a contest, I usually ended up on Seekerville, looking through the archives for tips. Best resource ever!

    And Lara/Storm - Keep believing! You got this! Especially with the help of Seekerville. The title of my book may change, but right now it's called The Rebel's Redemption. I'm glad you found Heartwarming and Love Inspired. They're great books!

  44. Thanks Cindy! I hope your headache goes away soon. Do you need coffee? Maybe one of Tina's chocolate eclairs? Your definition is going on wall!

    J Baugh, and Edwina, thank you! I'm so glad you stopped in this morning!

    Hi Elaine! I wonder if you're thinking of Heartsong? It was discontinued a while back. Heartwarming is still here and going strong. Thanks for stopping by!

  45. I love the concept of Heartwarming. I love sweet romance, maybe because I was raised on that??? Sex wasn't a big thing in my early romance reading, so when I found really steamy books, I was surprised.... and then they were everywhere.


    So I read some, but not most because while sex is a wonderful thing, I wanted stories that gave me that emotional lift not a physical reaction. And with the pendulum swinging so far to the left, I'm just crazy glad it swung back to the right enough to give us an opening.

    I love writing sweet stories, and it's a bonus when I can weave a faith thread, too, but I love them both.

    Sweet romance is a Ruthy fave!!!!

  46. Welcome, LeAnne, and thanks so much for sharing your inspiring writing journey! Congratulations on persevering and for your sale to Heartwarming!!!

    Considering it was 25 years from when I first got serious about a writing career until my first novel was accepted for publication, I can attest to everything you said about perseverance as truth. We have to be willing to do the work--study the craft, seek out AND accept criticism, and keep working to improve our skills. Giving up is not an option.

  47. Congratulations, LEANNE!! I'm so happy for you and I cannot wait to read your book! Thank you for sharing your story - truly inspiring!

    I've found TINA's critiques to be sooo helpful! Not only is she honest about what's wrong, but she balances it out by pointing out things I've done right. That's very important when you're just getting started and you wonder if you'll ever figure it all out. A little encouragement goes a long way, and that's something that Seekers and Villagers do so well! Thanks everyone!

  48. As one of LeAnne's critique partners, I can tell you she has worked SO hard for this and definitely persevered! Her book will be amazing!!
    Tina has been so much help to our critique group, too!!

  49. LeAnne, what an encouraging post! It spoke to my heart. I've vacillated this year between "I can DO this" to "What was I thinking?" When my dream agent gave me a very kind "no" earlier this year, it forced me to come to terms with the truth that God really IS in control of this writing journey, and the fact that I needed more work than I realized in writing craft. So, I continue to work, as kids and schedules allow, and I pray. And I've been given the opportunity to resubmit to her when the manuscript has been revamped. So, in the meantime, I persevere, and I think on your wise words today.

    I had to laugh when I read your bio. I used to hide books in my desk and read too. :) SO glad I'm not the only one.

    Congratulations on your book coming out. I'm thrilled for you!!!

  50. P.S.—I LOVE Tina critiques!

  51. Hi LeAnne Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for such an inspiring and encouraging post. And super congratulations on your perseverance and contract with Heartwarming.

    WE have hit it off and now I know partly why. I started out with Harlequins by reading Janet Dailey's American series. She wrote those in her Airstream trailer so that is why I figured I could write in my RV. How funny.

    I'm so looking forward to seeing you this week at RWA in San Diego. I'm here now with the high school girl friends and it is nice and cool. You're going to love it.

  52. As far as perseverance, anyone who is published knows that word to the core. LOL

    Thanks for showing us how it works. I love stories like this because then it gives us hope.

    I love how you made the changes. That shows an editor that you will be someone they can work with. Very important.

  53. Ohhhh -- this is such an encouraging post! Loved hearing about your publication journey. Versatility comes to mind when I think of perseverance. The two go hand in hand and your experiences illustrate that beautifully. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

  54. LeAnne, you dug in and put in the study and work it took to reach your goal. We in the chapter are so proud of you.

  55. Thanks, Jeanne!! :)

  56. Thanks for the vindication, Janet Ferguson and Laura CK.

  57. LeAnne, I am so very happy for you! It's a thrill to have you join the Heartwarming authors group.

    (And I am relieved to hear that you did NOT drop your granddaughter, even if she was a little shaken.)

  58. Oh my goodness! I left for a bit to go snuggle with my granddaughter while my daughter did her morning workout out, and look at all the comments!

    Ruthy, I also love those sweet romances. I don't mind a little steam in a story, if it's part of the story. And it's usually not. It's just thrown in there. The emotion is what makes the story memorable, right?

    Hi Myra! Twenty-five years? Woot woot! That's awesome! I've found a lot of people don't mind studying the craft. It's the criticism they have a hard time accepting and that's such a huge part of it! You have to have thick skin.

    Good morning Laura! You are so right! Tina's comments are incredible helpful. You learn so much more from someone who isn't afraid to tell you what ISN'T working in your story, especially when it's given correctly. That is the trick. Some people are just mean and snarky about it. That's why we love her!

  59. Good morning Janet! Tina is the one that put our little critique group together years ago and look at where the journey has taken us? So glad you stopped by this morning, I know you're super busy right now with your 2nd book release. I LOVE YOU!

  60. Good morning Jeanne!!! So glad that you enjoyed the post. Some days its so hard, especially when we get rejections. Harlequin has always been my dream and that first rejection was soul-crushing. Keep praying and keep working!

    SANDRA!!! Do you know that every time I read about one of your adventures, it always makes me think of the Americana series? It's so funny that you read them to. A few years ago I was going to Kentucky to see a friend of mine, so I pulled out the Kentucky book and read it. Even after all these years, I still go back and reread them. BTW, the book gave me some great insight on what to order at a restaurant. And it was really good, too!

  61. Good morning Kav! Thanks for the wonderful comments. Versatility. That gives me an idea for next post....

  62. Good morning to two more Heartwarming authors that stopped by to visit! Waving to Roz and Kate! I'm so glad y'all came over to say hi.
    Roz, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You're always there to encourage me.

    And Kate and I first connected when she thanked me for a review I left on Amazon. I was so impressed and thrilled that one of my favorite authors took the time to thank me personally. It goes to show how much reviews mean to authors and really set an example as to how I'd like to be with my readers.

    Also, waving to Tina...just because I love her! ;)

  63. That's great that you persevered! Congratulations on finally getting your book accepted!

    I totally know the feeling of struggling to write your story. I just finished writing my second book a book that I started back in December of 2014! I considered quitting many times and moving on to writing other stories, but I didn't and now it's done and I am so happy with the finished product! Thanks for your words of encouragement! Perseverance (even if I have a hard time with it) truly is essential for a writing career.

  64. Good morning Nicky! Congratulations on finishing your book. I won't tell you how long it took me to finish my first book. Let's just say it was more than a decade before you started yours. *cough* Isn't that a great feeling when you finally finish?!?

  65. What a terrific story, LeAnne, and congratulations! Thank you also for the Seekerville reminder of what OPPORTUNITY is! :-)

  66. CINDY W.-- I thought that was BRILLIANT-- "You try until you get it WRITE!"

  67. Good morning Meghan! Thank you for coming by. :)
    And Jana, you are right..Cindy's pun was perfect!

  68. LeAnn! Congratulations!! Thank You!

    PERSEVERANCE is walking through the Mud Puddle, getting out on the other side, taking a breath, & stepping into the next mud puddle (because we all know there is another one right there waiting for us)!

    The TRICK is to learn to enjoy the mud while I'm walking through it!!!

  69. Oh, WOW, LeAnn ... I actually cried with you when I read you got the call, so PRAISE GOD and pass the peach cobbler (is Patti Jo in the house, I hope???)!!

    LOVED this post!! As a person who persevered with my first book, A Passion Most Pure, which was rejected 46 times before somebody snatched it up (;) smile), I can attest that you are spot on with this incredibly encouraging and uplifting blog, so THANK YOU for sharing your wonderful story AND your wonderful writing style. Gotta feeling this is only the first of MANY books your readers will be lucky enough to devour down the road.


  70. Ruthy,

    I wished I'd found this place sooner :-). And bossy is okay as long as there's support too. (And there is)

  71. Oh Jana! Loved that comment! It's a good thing I don't mind a little mud. How true your statement is!

    Thank you so much Julie! Wow. 46 times? It just goes to show you that we can't predict God's timing. I, for one, am so glad that you persevered!!! Now, where's that peach cobbler?

  72. I think your first sale might have more impact on people if they knew what balls you are currently juggling.

    Tell the lovely people, LeAnne!!

    Don't forget Contest Coordinator.

  73. HA! They'll think I'm crazy. Let's see. During the school year, I teach kindergarten from 7:30 to 3:30, and teach gymnastics from 4 to 7:30. I babysit my granddaughter all day on Saturday.
    I "thought" life would get slower in the summer, but my daughter took on extra classes for the summer. You know. Because I'm off. I babysit her 4 days a week (plus the hubby is off on Friday's and he's very high maintenance, so really, I babysit 5 days a week, lol). Still teach gymnastics from 4 to 7:30 and to top it off, I'm the contest chairman for my online chapter's writing contest which has really turned into a 24/7 job.
    I get up at 4:30 every morning to make breakfast and lunch for the hubby, who leaves for work at 5. That gives me some quiet time for Bible study and writing before I start school/babysitting duties (depending on the time of year). And I rarely get to bed before midnight.
    Whew. Just typing that made me tired.

  74. hi LeAnne
    Your post today is a huge encouragement. Also, thanks for being a teacher to the littles. That's a calling and I so appreciate the work the early teachers put in with molding young minds. I wouldn't be an artist if it weren't for my second grade teacher, but as the saying goes, all I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten.

    I like your definition of perseverance. I've been attempting to teach that to my six year old. It's okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. It appears the busier a person is, the better they are at writing. Just look at you, Ruthy, and Tina.

    And speaking of... I believe I had Tina critique a short story of mine and it seemed pretty tame compared to other people's stories of their critiques. Of course, it was only around 1,000 words long, so... I think I really need to get something with more "meat" written so I can truly benefit from Tina's sharp eyes and to the point helpful commentary. So TINA, you can tally me under the "Tina critiques aren't THAT scary" column.

  75. Thanks DebH. I think poor Tina is getting picked on! She's not scary at all. Just honest. And that's what I needed. I needed someone to say, your heroine is a cry baby. And she's NEVER mean about it. And she says plenty of good, positive stuff too. But my favorite thing is that she offers resources to help in all the areas that she points out, links to Seekerville blog posts about the topic or links to craft books. Besides, no one ever gets better if they aren't told how to improve, right?

    Six year olds have lots of perseverance...when it's trying to wear you down to get something they want! Don't give up on it. Hey...another quip about perseverance. :)

  76. I am exhausted now, as well. Going to lay down.

    Are you a desk writer or a laptop roamer?

  77. Both! Usually my laptop is on my desk and I sit there. I've found that when I roam, I get too distracted. :)

  78. So excited about your book, LeAnne. Can't wait to read it. Please count me in for the A. card drawing!

  79. Hello LeAnne!

    I just want to congratulate you again on your sale to Heartwarming. You and I have crossed paths a few times in the contest world. I was so encouraged to learn that you sold. I'm right behind you and can't wait to rub shoulders again in the near future.

    Keep up the good work. I can't wait to read your novel. See you around the bend.

    Aka, Renee McBride

  80. Hi Renee! I love seeing all the friends I've made through contests. Can't wait for your call story!

  81. RENEE!!! Good to see you. You know we Seekers used to cheer when a diva sold, that meant the competition was narrowing. Hurrah! Ruthy sold, I might finally final in xx contest. LOL

  82. Hi LeAnne,

    Thank you for this encouraging post, which I really needed today as it's been one of those "why in the world did I ever think I could write *anything* decent/worthwhile/ get the drift - days where I feel like banging my head on my computer. Perseverance is key and yet it's still discouraging to read over those rejections.

    I think it's wonderful that you were passed on to Victoria Curran and congratulations on your Call story. I'll look forward to reading your book in early 2017! Reading stories like yours makes the rest of us hopeful that our dream will really come true.



  83. Congrats, LeAnne! A great post to remind us about perseverance in life too! I'm a reader and enjoyed your post! Look forward to your book next year!

  84. Hi Laurie! I loved your comment "Reading stories like yours makes the rest of us hopeful that our dream will really come true." I've said the same thing and I still can't believe it's happened for me. And it'll happen for you, too! Perseverance!!!

    Thanks so much Valri! I'll be back in March with some free books. :)

  85., so very happy for you!! Your post is inspiring!! I seem to be surrounded by persevering people...what could be better?

    I, too, have been the beneficiary of winning a TINA-Critique!! Oh, yeah...but, it's been the MOST helpful advice I've ever received!!

    Looking forward to reading your book in March!

    Thanks for your uplifting words today!!

  86. Hi Kathryn! So glad you stopped by! We should form a club. ;)


  88. LeAnne these people:
    Are you so naturally talented that the words fly off your fingertips onto the page and editors and agents are begging for your work?

    are a myth
    As well to ask if we've seen Big Foot.

  89. I think it is fair to say that I am the QUEEN of perseverance (and that's one thorny crown, baby)

    Ten years?
    Twenty finished books?

    I was stuck on unpubbed island from about the time the first volcano blew and formed a rocky little atoll.

    But I persevered.

    And I stand before you (yeah, I'm sitting, whatever) a published author.

    Success born in stubbornness. Yes, some might call it that.
    All I know is, I love writing. I think I'd still be writing today whether I'd gotten published or not.

    I didn't stop not so much because I persevered as because I just love it and always have an idea for a new book. It's my profession, my hobby, my obsession, my craft project, my cure for insomnia, my default.

    Some people quilt or jog or travel or sing or belong to committees...I write.
    I'm glad someone will publish me.
    And I never get over the amazement that someone pays me for this.
    And no one is more surprised that I ever amounted to anything than ME!

  90. LeAnne, I am so thrilled for you. I'll be looking for your book.

    To me perseverance means you keep at the task until it is perfected and ready. It's also not giving up. I've learned at times I need to put something on a back burner until the right idea or solution to the problem presents itself. Then it is time to take it off the back burner and move to the front. Says the lady who is just a fledgling writer and has a long way to go. My goal is still to be a published writer some day, but I want to journey to be full of learning and doing what needs to be done

  91. Thanks, Connealy,

    That was a visually pleasing comment. I saw you on top of the mountain, on unpublished island, with your legs crossed, wear a gray muslin pantsuit, with a small but neatly trimmed beard,chanting as you wrote your daily 1K.


  92. MARY! I bow to you! You're awesome. "Success born in stubbornness." I LOVE that. I think my husband would agree with you. :)

  93. LeAnne, congratulations on your book! You'll let us know when it's on the shelves, right?

    Your post is super, so full of energy and encouragement ... and truth :-)

    There are two quotes I like about perseverence -- "Fall seven times, stand up eight" (which I'm told is a Japanese saying) and "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer" (which I'm told is from Albert Einstein).

    I'm saving your post for one of 'those' days when I ask myself why I thought I could write. Thanks!

    Nancy C

  94. Hello Wilani! I've put a lot of things on that back burner. Sometimes I've let them simmer too long. This journey is awesome and I feel like I'm just beginning too. Published or not, we travel it together. :)

  95. Hi Nancy! I love your quotes. Adding them to my list!

  96. Congratulations, Leeann. You have to be really excited. If your enjoyable post is an indicator of your writing style, I can't wait to read your book.

    My husband always says "Football is life. Life is football." HAH! Perseverance is life. . . well, you get the rest of it. And it is so hard not to try to do it on your own, especially when you're driven to persevere.

    Tina's critiques are a game changer. She probably doesn't actually know how much she blesses people. I think I learned about the 24 hour rule from Julie Lessman- says you can cry and feel sorry for up to 24 hours and then you put on your big girl panties. I felt accomplished when I didn't have to use the whole 24 hours!:-)

    Thanks for an especially encouraging post, blessings to you

  97. It's yoga pants, not a pantsuit.
    And the beard.....I'm just disturbed by that.

  98. You are so right Barbara! I love the 24 hour rule. Although, I'll admit, a few of my rejections required at least a week to come back from.

    And thank you for your kind words. I'm already stressing over the next book. Time to persevere some more. :)

  99. Wonderful post, LeAnne! Congratulations on the contract with Heartwarming! I can't wait to read your book.

  100. Congrats LeAnne on your sale!

    I love your call story and your honesty.

    You hit it right on. I think all us writers are surprised at how much we have to learn. And I for one believe head-hopping made writing a lot easier. :)

  101. Hi Rhonda and Connie! We've run into each other a lot in contests, too! Thanks so much. And I agree Connie, I did a lot of head hopping.

  102. Great post, LeAnne, and a BIG CONGRATS on your contract!! Sooo exciting!
    Perseverance was my "one word" a few years ago (am thinking maybe I should let it be my ongoing word, LOL).

    On a personal note, I'm smiling from spending the day with some Seeker folks!
    Had a delightful visit and lunch with DEBBY GIUSTI, RHONDA STARNES, and CONNIE QUEEN! :)

    Now - - must get back to writing!
    Blessings, Patti Jo

  103. I loved this post, LeAnne. I chose perseverance as my word for the year a few years ago. I took my sale to LIS as validation.

    Congrats on your sale. I'm so excited to read your book.

  104. Oh my Patti Jo! What wonderful company! No wonder you're smiling! I just love the word perseverance! Now...get back to writing!

  105. Patti Jo, Debby, Rhonda and Connie!!!! DID YOU TAKE PICTURES???

  106. Just for the record TINA.....if you were to ever to start critiquing book reviews, I'd SO be there ;-) Or teach a book review class....I'd pay to go! It just seems you're getting picked on here today so I wanted to smooth your feathers down a bit...and plus...I REALLY do like you :-)

    Do I get brownie points..........hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

  107. LeAnne What a clever idea to go back and read one of her books about the state you are visiting. And it helped. That is wonderful. I should have saved the set. At one time I had all of them. One for each state. I still do have a hard bound she signed of Touched By The Wind. Did you ever read that one?

    Looks like you are really having fun today. Thanks again for making our day so special.

  108. Patti Jo I'm so jealous. Are you all having your own mini RWA get together. smile

  109. LeAnne. First let me congratulate you on the upcoming book. What a great accomplishment to look forward too. As far as perseverance, I have been told that I am driven. Too me they mean the same thing. Someone I worked with once told me I couldn't write. That forced my hand and I went on to sell 15 stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul assorted anthologies and several short mysteries, etc. Now I'm am driven to sell a novel. Your blog today gave me more inspiration to continue on my path, even when the rejections come rolling in. I toast you for taking the time and giving back to us Seekerville writers. Keep writing.

  110. LeAnne, I loved this post! Perseverance for me usually comes after a temper tantrum where I swear I'm done writing and then I plop into my chair and start typing again.

  111. hahahaha Trixi!!! Hugs to you!

  112. Sorry I'm late to the party!!! LeAnne, I loved reading your First Sale story! So excited for you. And I love Victoria Curran. She came to M&M a few years back. Totally charming. You'll love working with her! Lucky her to be able to work with you!!!

    Oh my! Your schedule has me in heart failure. You may have more energy than our Ruthy. Just maybe!!!

    Congrats to selling to Heartwarming! Fantastic!!! Kudos and hugs!

  113. I am very late checking in tonight. Congratulations, LeAnne. Perseverance paid off for you and I appreciated the post and the encouragement it gives me.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  114. Congrats as well LeAnne. Your blog offered me some grit and determination to use tomorrow. Please enter my name in the drawing/

  115. Congratulations, Leanne! So thrilled for you and that you decided to persevere and look for new opportunities :)

  116. Congrats Leanne! So, what does perseverance mean to me? Stick to it until I get it. If I fail.. oh well, start over think positive and keep on. Toss me into the drawing too please :)

  117. Congratulations on your new book! Persistence does pay :) Eventually!
    Please enter me into your drawing. Thank you and may God bless you and all of Seekerville!

  118. Hahaha, Tina! I didn't get back here yesterday but I hope the Kevlar served you well. ;)

    And I have always appreciated your supportive words. I hope you know that.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled snark.

  119. You look too young to be a grandmother, LeAnne! Thank you for your input on perseverance. I'm also a recently-published author. And yeah, I had phi theta kappa, Who's Who Among Students, and highest honors sitting in my drawer, but writing a publishable story didn't come easy. Actually, it wasn't until I was willing to embrace correction that it finally came. Oh, and I recently moved to Southern Arizona, the land of long summers with no mosquitoes. I love it here.

  120. SO needed this written spirit-booster to keep on keeping on--come what may. Thank you for these wise, transparent words!

  121. I loved reading your story of perseverance and success!!! What a sweet moment that must have been. Good for you for being willing to do the hard work to reach your goals!

  122. LeAne,
    I'm a few years ahead of you in age and a few years behind you in writing skills, but I'm on the same steep learning curve you've experienced, and I'm going to keep climbing. That's perseverance.

  123. Thanks for stopping by Heidi!! LeAnne will be by in March again when her book debuts.

  124. Sandy, Olivia, Kara, Deanna!~ Thanks for stopping by!

  125. Seriously, Peggy??? 111 degrees today! OMYGOSH!

  126. Meghan, hope you are feeling much improved. Great to see you here!

  127. You are IN, Phyllis!