Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The End is in Sight!

With Award-winning, Best-selling author Linda Goodnight!

The End is in Sight!

Linda Goodnight here, thrilled to be invited back to Seekerville to share some editing tips and other fun things. Hugs, kisses and bows to the fabulous Ruthy for the invitation.

For a month now, you brave, brilliant writers have pounded away on Speedbo full steam ahead, compasses pointed true north. No limits! You are, in short, doing something that the majority of the populous will never do. You’re writing a book.

Pause here for cheers and to ring Mary Connealy’s cowbells and blow those blower things you have leftover from New Year’s Eve. Really. If you’re still writing anything, you’ve earned the high praise.
In celebration of all you’ve accomplished I give you this extra bit of encouragement to keep on keeping on:

What could be more encouraging than a little Superman eye candy? Henry Cavill, aka Superman, was my visual aid for Eli Donovan, the hero of The Memory House, which-ahem-releases today!

I’m actually launching my first women’s fiction novel from HQN here at Seekerville. At this moment, somewhere in the world, a copy of The Memory House is sitting on a shelf, waving its branchy arms, awaiting a reader. So, remember handsome Eli and grab a copy (or leave a comment and win one!) And with my compliments, have a virtual glass of peach tea made my heroine, Julia, at her antebellum bed and breakfast in rural Tennessee.

I’ll even throw in a delicious banana nut muffin for sustenance because, let’s face it, sometimes writing is hard. Lots of times it’s hard, but those times separate the real writers from those who mostly wish they could or those who talk about writing but never do.
The Memory House was not an easy book to write. If I’d quit all the times the writing was hard, I wouldn’t be celebrating today. That’s another key to perseverance. Envision the day your book launches, the day when you hold your book in your hands or see it on the shelves. Visualize. Dream.
Though I have about fifty titles under my belt, I’d never stretched as far as I did with The Memory House. There were days when I sat with my head on my desk and prayed more than I wrote. But I also experienced days of pure joy and creativity and the absolute wonder of seeing the ideas and people in my head come to life.

Isn’t that the best feeling?

So, if Speedbo has brought you to the end of your manuscript, congratulations! Now, it’s time to edit. Don’t groan. Editing is fun because-think about this-the hard work is over! The story is on the page.
To edit, I usually go through the manuscript a minimum of three times, and each pass has a different focus. I also use little sticky flags to mark places that need work. Below are some of my editing strategies. Keep in mind everyone has different techniques so this method is not in concrete. But it works for me.
1.     Print a hard copy and move away from the computer. This tells your brain you’re in editing mode, which is different from writer mode.
2.       Read through the pages paying attention to major developmental items. Does the story make sense from beginning to end? Are the characters believable and realistic? Would they really behave this way? Is the dialogue stilted or silly or out of character? Is there enough white space? Are there too many pages of narrative? Would you want to read this scene/book if it wasn’t yours?
3.   I generally scribble notes at the top of each chapter about the content and whether I think it needs a little or a lot more work.
4.   Flag any areas where your attention drifts. You may need to rewrite, tighten, or cut those passages because if you lose focus, so will your readers. Also pay attention to scenes that feel flat. If so, make a note to check for those all-important five senses, especially crucial in scenes where the emotions are heightened. (If you struggle with this, read Julie Lessman’s books. She does a great job of squeezing in those five senses.)
5.      The second pass is to fix all the things you found on the first pass! Sometimes during this edit, I find places I can deepen and strengthen. I also find where I’ve overused the characters’ names in dialogue or used my demon words too often. We all have them. Figure out which words you overuse (Really? Just? Heart?) and reduce the number of them or grab Rodale’s synonym finder for an alternative.
6.      The third and final edit is for grammar, punctuation, typing errors, and those tiny tweaks you may have missed before. And voila’, you’ve reached the magical, The End!

In honor of your accomplishments this month, I’m giving away a signed, print copy of The Memory House. All you have to do to be entered is to leave a comment!

Now, let’s get this conversation started. Tell me how Speedbo went for you. Was it hard? Did the words flow? Did you carve out the whole week or thirty minutes here and there? Will you keep going?  If you’d rather, share an editing tip or a favorite line from your manuscript. Or just talk to me about anything. I’m a good listener.

NY Times and USA Today Bestseller, Linda Goodnight’s stories have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and her husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Connect with Linda on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.lindagoodnight.com, and look for her new book, The Memory House, available right now!!

Linda’s blog tour continues all week. For details and more chances to win a copy of The Memory House, see the blog schedule posted here. www.lindagoodnight.blogspot.com

Ruthy here: I love Linda, she's such a great example of all that's right in this business and the world that I had to get her over to Seekerville and celebrate the release of her new single title "The Memory House". I can't wait to buy it and read it, and I'm grabbin' hold of a nice, tall glass of peach tea right now!

And Ruthy-cookies, of course! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Writing: Art or Business?

with guest Jan Drexler.

Last year I joined our local writers group. It’s a secular group with a broad range of writing experiences and goals among the members. And like any group of writers, there are a lot of aspiring authors who come to learn and grow. Several of the members have had some success in the indie publishing field, but I’m the only regular attender who is traditionally published.

That, plus the fact that I’m new means that they really aren’t sure about me yet. (That’s okay. Sometimes I’m not sure about them, either!)

One of the other members and I walked out to our cars together last month. She hadn’t realized before that meeting that I’m a published author with multiple contracts waiting to be fulfilled (i.e. I should spend all of my time writing!).

“How did you do it?” She thought she really wanted to know.

I hesitated for a half-minute. She wasn’t going to be happy with what I wanted to say, so I started with my standby answer for that question:

“I entered contests that put my name and my story in front of publishers and agents.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“You’re published by Harlequin, right?”

“Yes, by Love Inspired, Harlequin’s Inspirational line.”

She looked past my shoulder and unlocked her car door. “Don’t they have pretty strict guidelines? Don’t they make you change your story?”

“They expect you to make revisions to improve your story and so that it will fit their style. Every publisher does.”

She tossed her bag into her car. She said goodbye. She drove away. No, she didn’t really want to hear what I had to say.

If she had stayed around, ready to chat under the street lights on that unusually balmy February evening, I would have told her a secret.

Writing is an art. But once you hit the send button, it becomes a business.

When you’re in your writing cave, your story is all your own. It’s a wonderful thing to spend an hour or two every day in a world peopled by characters you’ve created. At this point, writing is all about imagination, craft, and answering the “What if?” questions.

I love this part of the process. It’s a little like giving birth, with all the pain, agony and delight that accompanies bringing a new life into the world. It’s exhilarating! And it’s all yours!

But if you want to become a published author, once you’ve finished your story you need to switch modes. This story needs to have a life of its own.

Let’s take the birth analogy a little bit further. If you’ve raised children, you know that it is unhealthy (and impossible!) to force them to remain babies forever. They need to walk, to explore, to become separate people from their parents. As much as we delight in babies, we don’t want them to turn into some twisted copy of ourselves. We want them to become the people God intended them to be. To become adults. 

The same goes for your story. If you have any desire to publish your work, you must put it out there for others to see. You have to listen to and evaluate comments from critique groups, contest judges, and eventually, potential agents and publishers. Why? Because these are the people who are helping your baby grow into a self-sufficient adult.

Some authors hold onto their stories too tightly. They keep their writing snagged within their prideful grasp, thinking no one else understands their story like they do. They refuse to accept help to make it better, and they refuse to change anything to make it fit someone else’s standards.

If you want to be published, you won’t be that kind of author.

You’ll be the kind of author who understands that once you hit “send,” your story is now a business. Rather than keeping it close to your heart, you humbly open your hands and let it grow.

If an agent suggests that your story will sell better told in third person rather than first person, you start planning how to make that change and still keep the meat of your story intact.

When an editor sends you a list of revisions that need to be made and invites you to resubmit your story, you put everything else aside and make those changes.

When you get a request for a partial or full manuscript, you comply in a timely manner because that’s good business practice.

Soon you’ll find that those changes and revisions make your story stronger. More complete. Saleable.

And when you see your book for the first time, you’ll cry. You really will. Because that’s what parents do when they see their babies all grown up.  

Which kind of author will you be? What do you need to do to move your writing from art to business? #NoLimits!

Today Jan is giving away 5 (COUNT 'EM. FIVE ) copies of A Mother for His Children to lucky commenters. Ecopies to international winners. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

 A Mother for His Children


After her sweetheart's betrayal, Ruthy Mummert leaves behind the small-town gossip of her Amish community for the first opportunity she can find: a housekeeper position in faraway LaGrange County, Indiana. Ruthy didn't realize the job meant caring for ten children—and for their handsome widowed father.
To Levi Zook's mind, Ruthy is too young and too pretty to be anyone's housekeeper. A marriage of convenience will protect her reputation and give his children the security they dearly need. But it could also give them the courage to grasp a new chance at happiness—if Ruthy is willing to risk her wounded heart once more.

 Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of more than thirty years, their four adult children, two active dogs, and Maggie, the cat who thinks she’s a dog. If she isn’t sitting at her computer ruining – I mean living – the lives of her characters, she’s probably hiking in the Hills or the Badlands, enjoying the spectacular scenery.

Jan’s debut novel, The Prodigal Son Returns, was published by Love Inspired in May 2013, and her second novel, A Mother for His Children, was published by Love Inspired in August, 2014. Coming in September 2015 from Love Inspired is A Home for His Family.

Future releases include the series Journey to Pleasant Prairie, starting in March 2016 with Hannah’s Choice, published by Revell.

Find her here:
Website: www.JanDrexler.com
And on Mondays at the Yankee-Belle Café!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Weekend Edition-Speedbo Week 4

We Have Winners

Did you claim your giveaway from Last Week?  To see the last three weeks worth of Speedbo winners go here and scroll down to the bottom.

 This week's winner of a $25 Amazon Speedbo gift card is Patricia Radaker.  Winner of a one chapter manuscript critique is Bettie.  The box of books winner is Jackie Smith.

All prizes are mailed out April 1. During Speedbo we write.

Comment any day this week to win the VERY SAME GIVEAWAYS in week FIVE AND THE FINAL WEEK of Speedbo! Remember that you must either be enrolled in Speedbo for the gift card and critique or have declared yourself a cheerleader for the box of books!  Let us know how you're doing and if you want to be entered!

Winners of Susan Mason's Love Inspired release, Mending the Widower's Heart are Wilhani, and Tracey Hagwood.

 "How does your Speedbo garden grow, Part I. " Pam Hillman was your hostess today and she talked about the weeks and months you’ve spend preparing the fertile ground for Speedbo and the time you’ve spent sowing your words in March. Valri is the winner of an e-copy of With This Kiss, either Contemporary or Historical.

Tuesday Sandra Leesmith was your hostess and she shared some tips about "Swag and Promotional Tools" to have around for all occasions. Winner of a See’s chocolate bunny and e-copies of Contemporary and Historical With This Kiss, is Natalie Monk.  

Wednesday we barreled into the last days of SPEEDBO with Ruth Logan Herne as she shared "Contemporary vs. Historical: The Rest of the Story. Winners of  With This Kiss  Historical are : Olivia & Rachel Koppendrayer. Winners of  With This Kiss Contemporary are: Sara Claucherty & Ohiohomeschool.

Thursday Erica Vetsch stopped in Seekerville today to talk about courage. “Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means you stuff your fear into your hat and then sit on your hat.” Winner of The Homestead Brides Collection -Autographed by all NINE Authors is Patti Jo.

Friday was time for the April Contest Update with a chance to meet our April Contest Diva, Patti Jo Moore. Winners of advanced copies of Tina Radcliffe's June release, Safe in the Fireman's Arms are: Sandy Smith, DebH, CindyR, Cindy W, Sherida and Sarah C.

Next Week in Seekerville

Monday: 48 hours of Speedbo left! Revell and Love Inspired author Jan Drexler is our guest  with her post, "Writing: Art or Business?"  Five commenters will have a chance to win A Mother for His Children! Woot!

Tuesday:  We end Speedbo with a BANG! Today NY Times Bestseller, Linda Goodnight stops in to launch her new book, The Memory House. She’ll share some editing tips, give away a book to a happy commenter, and serve up a refreshing glass of Miss Julia’s delicious peach tea. Y’all come on over and sit a spell.

Wednesday: Debut Love Inspired author Jill Kemerer is our guest today. She's ready to help you edit your Speedbo pages with her post "Tricks to Keep Your Eyes Fresh When Revising." And she has a giveaway of her release Small-Town Bachelor for one lucky commenter.

Thursday:  Throw Away That Thesaurus!! Wow, is that a statement or what? Join Audra Harders and see why using a Thesaurus may be counter productive for writers. There'll be a giveaway, too. Tune-in on Thursday to see what it is.

Friday: Barbara White Daille stops in today to ask "Where in Your World are We?" Barbara will be talking about choosing the setting for a story and the fact that what matters is orienting the reader into your fictional world, no matter where that might be - even if it's simply your own backyard. Barbara will do a giveaway of one autographed print copy of her previous book, The Texan's Little Secret, to three people who comment on the blog.     
Seeker Sightings
Pick up the May/June Writer's Digest! We did it again, thanks to our Villagers!


Join Seekers Ruth Logan Herne, Debby Giusti, Missy Tippens and Tina Radcliffe as they celebrate at the Killer Voices Release Party on April 1st on Facebook! Stop by and congratulate these debut authors.

The ACFW FOUNDATION SILENT AUCTION is getting ready to begin. Today is the last day to donate. All proceeds from the ACFW Foundation Online Silent Auction go toward scholarships. If you'd like to make a donation, click on this link: http://bit.ly/1wY1PBi 
The Seekers have a special auction item this year, so be sure to check it out when the auction goes live April 2-6.  

Myra Johnson's ebook Pearl of Great Price, previously only for Amazon  Kindle, is now available for  iBooksNookKobo, and  Scribd

Available April 10! Contemporary & Historical!
Random News & Information

Thanks to the friends who sent links!

 The Secret Part of Bravery People Struggle with Most by Jon Acuff (Michael Hyatt)

9 Things All Author Websites Need to Have (Unbound) 

 Groove to Free Playlists for Writers (The Writer)

Don't forget about your From Blurb to Book Entries. Details here.

 Author Entrepreneur: Increase Your Revenue  (The Creative Penn)  

 The Indie Author’s Bookshelf: 20 Best Titles for Self-Editing (Beyond Paper Editing)

Dear Reader: Librarians Should Never Forget You (Publishers Weekly) 

The DIY Book Tour: How to Organize a Tour Yourself (WD)

New Literary Agent Alert: Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency (WD)

Be prepared to share how your Speedbo month went next weekend for a special giveaway!

Friday, March 27, 2015

April Contest Update

As Speedbo rages on, remember that that these contests are the perfect place for your 2015 Speedbo masterpieces!   

Dear Readers! Interested in Judging the 2015 Maggies? Fill out the application here.

Meet all the finalists here!

Published Contests

National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Contest-Deadline April 1. Open to Indies

 The Published Maggies. Opens January 2, 2015. Deadline April 3. Open to Indies.

Book Buyers Best-Deadline April 15. Open to Indies.

Read her Diva post here!

Unpublished Contests

The Rosemary. Deadline-March 31. Published and Unpublished Authors. Published and unpublished authors. Submitted manuscripts must be new, original, YA or NA fiction that has not been published, self-published, or contracted.  First 25 pages of manuscript (manuscript wordcount of at least 40k).
 Final Judges: 

YA Contemporary - Agent Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary, Editor Aubrey Poole of Sourcebooks, Editor Elizabeth Tingue of Penguin/RH 

YA Historical - Agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary, Editor Jessica MacLeish of Harper Teen, Editor Robin Haseltine of Entangled Publishing 

 YA Paranormal - Agent Holly Root of Waxman Leavell Literary, Editor Kristin Daly Rens of Balzer & Bray, and Editor Natashya Wilson of Harlequin Teen 

 YA Speculative - Agent Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency, Editor Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark, Editor Vicki Lame of St. Martin’s Press 

 New Adult - Agent Cate Hart of Corvisiero Literary, Editor Amy Stapp of Tor Forge, Editor Angela James of Carina Press.


Touched by Love. Deadline April 1.   First 20 pages of an inspirational manuscript, 2-page synopsis.  Eligibility: All authors who have not accepted a publishing offer from a publisher or self-published a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more in the past three years. Final Judges: published authors.  Top Prize: Overall Winner will win $100 for writing-related expenses and an editor critique. This year's editor is Kim Moore of Harvest House. Categories are Historical, Long Contemporary and Short Contemporary.

Fool For Love. Deadline April 1. No page count. Now a 7500 word maximum word count.All categories, except the Published Author category, are open to entrants who have not published and are not contracted in any novel-length fiction.

Short Contemporary
Final Judge: Allison Lyons, Harlequin

Long Contemporary
Final Judge: Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore and Company

Final Judge: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Dark Paranormal
Final Judge: Laurie McLean,Fuse Literary Agency

Light Paranormal
Final Judge: Madeleine Colavita, Grand Central Publishing 

Romantic Suspense
Final Judge: Esi Sogah, Kensington Publishing

Young Adult
Final Judge: Tamar Rydzinski, Laura Dail Literary Agency

New Adult
Final Judge: Karen Grove, Entangled Press

Published Author
Final Judge: Julie Mianecki, Berkeley

The Catherine. Deadline April 30. Enter the first pages of your manuscript plus a synopsis of up to 5 pages. Entries must be no longer than 7500 words including synopsis.

Categories/Final Judges:
Contemporary Series - Piya Campana, Harlequin
Contemporary Single Title - Esi Sogah, Kensington
Historical - Katherine Pelz, Berkley
Paranormal, Fantasy, Futuristic - Brenda Chin, Belle Books
Romantic Suspense - Dana Hamilton, Grand Central Publishing
Strong Romantic Elements - Kerri Buckley, Carina Press
Young Adult - Annie Berger, HarperCollins Children's
New Adult - Megha Parekh, Grand Central Publishing
 Top Prize: Top entry in each category is entered into a Gold Ticket round to be judged by Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. The Gold Ticket winner receives a three-chapter critique by NYT bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

Unpublished Maggies.  Deadline April 30.  Entry consists of first pages and synopsis, not to exceed 35 pages. 

 Single Title Romance-Madeleine Colavita Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing

Contemporary Category Romance-Ann Leslie Tuttle-Senior Editor, Harlequin

Inspirational Romance-Stephanie Broene-Senior Acquisitions Editor, Tyndale

Historical Romance-Gabrielle Keck-Editor, Avon

Paranormal Romance-Rose Hilliard Editor, St. Martin’s Press

Young Adult-Candace Havens Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements -Sarah Murphy Editor, Ballantine Bantam Dell

Erotic Romance-S.N. Graves-Senior Editor, LooseId

The Golden Rose. Deadline April 30. The Golden Rose accepts entries up to a maximum of 10,000 words including prologue (if any).  
 Contemporary Series Romance
 Elizabeth (Lizzie) Poteet, St. Martin’s Press

Contemporary Single Title
Tera Kleinfelter, Samhain

 Robin Haseltine, Entangled Publishing

Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Sinclair Sawhney, Tule Publishing Group

Lauren Smulski, Harlequin/HQN

Romantic Suspense
 Amy Stapp, Tor

Young Adult/New Adult
Gabrielle (Elle) Keck, Avon/Harper Collins

Start gearing up NOW for the TARA! One of our favorite contests!

 Tara Contest. Deadline May 1st. Open to unpublished and published authors of novel-length fiction; however, the entry must be the author’s original work, unpublished and not contracted as of the time of the contest deadline.  Entry consists of the first 4,500 words of a qualifying manuscript (actual word count). First and subsequent chapters up to the maximum entry word count of 4,500 words. 

 Series Contemporary JoVon Sotak Montlake Publishing
Inspirational Raela Schoenherr Bethany House
Historical Sue Grimshaw Penguin/Random House
Romantic Suspense Chelsey Emmelhainz Avon Books/Harper Collins
Single Title Brenda Chin Imaginn
Women’s Fiction Abby Zidle Simon & Schuster –Gallery Books
Paranormal Latoya Smith Samhain Publishing

Inspirational Category! Myra WON!! (TEN YEARS AGO!!)

Other Fun Writing Opportunities

The Golden Donut Short Story Contest. "The Writers' Police Academy has officially opened the 2015 version of its wildly popular and extremely fun Golden Donut Short Story Contest! So it's time to let this year's contest photo inspire a perfect entry. The primary rule is your story must be EXACTLY 200 words. The submission deadline is: Midnight June 30, 2015 (the precise point in time between 11:59 pm 6-30 and 12:01 am July 1, 2015).Good luck and have fun. The contest is open to all writers--regardless of whether they're attending this year's Writers' Police Academy. So be sure to tell your author friends about the contest.

Here's the Chicken Soup 2015 Line Up!

Welcome to the April Contest Diva: Patti Jo Moore!
Patti Jo & Patches! Patti Jo is immortalized in Tina Radcliffe's Paradise series as the owner of a Bakery & Cafe.

My contest journey has been rather slow in getting started—much like myself before my first 3 cups of morning coffee. However, I am finally beginning to see the wisdom in Tina Radcliffe’s encouragement to so many of us: Contests really are a great way to improve our writing, grow as a writer, and for many folks—even lead the way to publication. 

So now that I’ve finally come to this realization (not that I ever doubted Tina’s wisdom—she is truly one of my heroes) I am a bit braver about submitting my work to contests. I would love to present an impressive list of my contest achievements, but since I don’t have many, I’ll share what I’ve done so far AND am working on now!   

 In 2012 I entered the Genesis, and even though I didn’t place, the feedback was very valuable. One judge’s comment in particular has remained with me: I want you to keep writing. Don’t give up. Wow, those simple statements have kept me going when I was tempted to put away my writing for a month or more. At Tina’s urging I entered the Seekerville Read Me contest and was thrilled to be one of the 10 finalists. Then I went through a spell where I really meant to enter a contest or two, but just didn’t push myself enough. So now in 2015 I’ve decided that I am not getting any younger (LOL) and if I’m serious about my writing (which I AM!) then I must do everything possible to work towards my goal of publication (Lord willing---I only want what He wants me to do, and at this season I feel this is what I’m supposed to do).  I’ve entered the 2015 Genesis contest, and am presently polishing my entry for the unpublished Maggies, in addition to preparing my entry for Harlequin’s “From Blurb to Book” pitchfest.

I applaud those of you who’ve been more assertive than I have, and for those similar to me I say it’s time for us to do ALL we can to move forward, which includes entering those contests. As always I am so very, very grateful and appreciative to  ALL the amazing Seekers. You ladies truly are the best, and I am honored and blessed to call you friends.


Comment today for an opportunity for an opportunity to win an advanced copy of my June release, Safe in the Fireman's Arms. Print only.

That's it! Now Go Forth & Contest!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Courage To Be Brave

Today's Guest Blogger Erica Vetsch
Did you know that signing up for Speedbo, or writing any fiction, means you’re courageous? I know. If I was asked to name a few of my best attributes (not that anyone has ever asked me this) I don’t know that courage would rank very high.
COURAGE: [kur-ij, kuhr-] noun. The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain,  etc.,  without fear;  bravery.
The above definition comes to us courtesy of Dictionary.com, and I agree with it for the most part, but there’s one phrase that I don’t think is true. It’s the part that says “Without Fear.” I once read a definition of courage that went something like that. “Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means you stuff your fear into your hat and then sit on your hat.” That suits me better, because if the qualification for being courageous meant being ‘without fear’ then I would never attain courage.
But, being a novelist requires a certain level of courage, because writing fiction is creativity at its most basic, and creativity is all about courage. Don’t believe me? Read on!
Novel writing requires risk-taking.
1.       Trying something new and unknown is scary. If this is your first attempt at fiction, the doubts can crowd in louder than Jayhawk fans at a home game at Allen Field House. (That’s loud, BTW.) Why did I think I could write? What if nobody ever reads this? What if I don’t have the writing chops to translate my idea into a story? Even if you’ve written a hundred novels, each time you sit down to create a new story, a new character, a new chapter, you’re launching into the unknown. It’s a risk, every time. Pitfalls abound. Will you be able to do it again? Is this the time when your creativity dries up? Can you create something fresh and new?
2.       Fear of failure…however you define failure…is a part of the writing process.  Nobody likes to fail, not even in the privacy of their own head. What if nobody likes what I read? What if I never land an agent? What if I’m only kidding myself about this writing thing? What if this is the time when my agent/publisher/readers realize I’m not really a writer after all? Even the most seasoned writer feels these doubts.
The Legend of Obadiah Wilder free ebook at amazon
Novel writing requires vulnerability.
1.       Writing is deeply personal. When you write, you’re opening up the deepest, most sensitive, most defenseless part of yourself. You’re inviting people into your thoughts. You’re letting people read your mind. If that isn’t scary, then nothing is! You have to muster the courage to be honest about what you think and the way you see the world, and brave enough to let someone else in on it.
2.       Others may or may not like what you’ve created, which can feel like an assault on your character. Not only are you allowing someone else to judge your work, but they are free to spread their opinion far and wide. If there is anything more humbling for an author than the amazon.com review process, I don’t know what it would be. People you’ve never met can say whatever they want about your work, accurate or not, and in some cases whether they’ve even read it or not. And some of it is great! But some of it is not so very great. At times like these, it takes courage to follow the advice of the inestimable Allie Pleiter, who once said “Don’t engage theloonies.”  (If you haven’t read Allie’s guest post here on Seekerville, hie thee to this page forthwith!) 
Novel writing requires having expectations and also letting those expectations go.
1.       We need to have expectations, otherwise we belong to that set of people who don’t write, they just talk about writing. That group that wants to “Have written.” You don’t have to be brave to belong to that group. It’s safe. But safe won’t accomplish your dreams. So set some goals, invest in those contests and workshops and conferences and writing how-to books.  Query that agent, pitch to that editor, evaluate your career and map out a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. Have the courage to aim high and the grit to work at those goals.
Erica has fantastic fingernails!!
She's also on Coffeecups and Camisoles!
2.       But on the flipside, we need to let go of expectations. This might be the most courage-testing task of all for a writer.  How do we not hold tightly to something we want so very much? How do we not live and die on whether an agent likes our proposal, or whether an editor will ask for a full manuscript? By having the courage to not focus on the outcome and focus on the process instead. By having the courage to let those creativity-paralyzing hopes go and write free for the sheer love of writing, the love of story, the love of creating.
Taking risks, being vulnerable, having expectations…these all require great amounts of courage. The courage to stare down that blinking cursor and put into words the vivid images in your head. The courage to slash and cut and rewrite and edit your story. The…GULP…courage to let someone else read and evaluate your work. The courage to take a critique. The courage to change and grow and get better at your craft, and the courage to stand behind what you’ve written.
So as we are nearing the end of Speedbo 2015, congratulate yourself on your risk taking, on your willingness to be vulnerable, on your guts to set some goals and work toward them. Congratulate yourself on your bravery!
You. Are. Courageous.
Then, of course, stop padiddlin’ around and get back to writing! It’s Speedbo, after all!

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a copy of The Homestead Brides Collection-Autographed by all NINE Authors!  

The Homestead Brides Collection--Nine novellas...Nine Authors...all fun. Including THREE SEEKERS AND ERICA!!!

Mary Connealy, DiAnn Mills, Erica Vetsch, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Darlene Franklin, Carla Olson Gade, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Becca Whitham

Promises of free land lured thousands to stake their claim to the vast American plains. 

They built make-do homes and put all they had into improving the land. 

Readers will enjoy nine adventures as God helps homesteaders find someone with whom to share the dream—the work—and the love.

Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.
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