Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Three Ways to Make Your Writing Come Alive!

with guest Janice Hardy.

The best stories are the ones that come alive in a reader's imagination. They pull the reader into the story world and sweep them away in the struggles and dreams of the characters. For us writers, envisioning our stories is the easy part, and the trick is getting what's in our heads onto the page. When we don't, we get a story that falls flat and dies (and who wants that?).

One of the best ways to bring our tales to life is to show them, not tell them. Sadly, this is also one of the hardest things for new writers (and some experienced writers), to do. "Showing" is a moving target that varies by which point of view you use, the narrative distance, and even the genre. What works for a first-person literary journey might not work for a multiple third-person thriller.

Luckily, there are techniques that help you better show your scenes no matter what perspective or genre you write in.

1. Create a Strong Point of View

Point of view (POV) is the silver bullet of writing. If you master this, 95% of the common writing problems a writer faces will vanish. A solid point of view puts you (and your readers) firmly in a character's head, seeing the world through their eyes, and experiencing that world as they would naturally experience it.

This lets you decide which details to use when describing, what actions the character would take, and what they'd think about as they struggle to solve their goals. Seeing the story through a character's eyes means you'll write it as that character sees it, not as you see it. It helps keep you from pulling away and describing (telling) the scene from afar.

For example, a solid point of view changes a detached, flat sentence into something alive:

Weak POV: Sara was so upset that John forgot their anniversary that she threw a vase at him.

Strong POV: Sara heaved the vase at John's head. "Does twelve years mean nothing to you?" 

The weak POV explains the situation--it tells what Sara did (throw the vase) and why she did it (she was upset). The strong POV shows how someone in this situation would act--it shows what Sara did (she threw the vase and voiced her unhappiness) and lets readers figure out how she feels by watching her actions. 

Writing the scene from inside a character's head allows readers to watch and guess why the characters are acting and how they feel. It makes them part of the story, not a spectator on the sidelines getting a detailed play by play of the action.

Look at your current story--what point of view are you using? Do you have one POV character per scene? Do you show the scene through their eyes? Are you describing things that POV character wouldn't know or be able to see (common in weak or unfocused POVs)?
Try picking a POV style you're comfortable with and writing the story with that POV. For new writers, it's much easier to pick one or two characters and write from their POVs only. Trying to show the entire story from multiple characters or an omnificent narrator is difficult to do until you get the hang of it.

If you're not sure which POV style you prefer, try writing a scene from both a third person and a first person perspective. Odds are one will feel more natural for you, and for the story itself.

2. Control Your Narrative Distance

Narrative distance is how close readers feel to the story. A close narrative distance makes them feel inside the narrator's head (such as in first person), while a far narrative distance makes them feel as though they're standing off to the distance watching (such as in omniscient third person). A closer narrative distance feels more immediate and intimate, as though the story is happening in the moment as the reader reads it. The farther the narrative distance, the more detached and impersonal the story feels.

Where you put your narrator determines how close readers feel to your story. If you're inside the head of a character seeing the world through their eyes, readers will feel a part of the narrative. If you're explaining the story from a distance, readers will be kept at a distance and not connect to the characters the same way.

For example:

Far narrative distance: It's over, Bob thought, realizing she'd never forgive him for hurting her.

Close narrative distance: He sank to the floor, numb. It's over. She'll never forgive me for this.

Narrative distance is closely linked to point of view, as you can see by these examples. The farther the narrative distance, the more detached the point of view feels. The closer the distance, the more personal the POV. The two worked in tandem to dramatize (show) the story.

Look at your current story--what narrative distance are you using? Does it feel like the characters are living the story, or like someone outside the story explaining what's going on? 

Does it jump around from close to far depending on what's happening? 

Try revising for consistency. Pick a narrative distance you're comfortable with and keep everything in the story at that distance. Some red flag words to look for that often mean you're telling more than showing include, realized, knew, decided, because, and felt. If you see a lot of these words in areas that also feel a little distant, odds are you're telling from a far narrative distance.

If you're not sure what narrative distance you prefer, try writing a scene from both a close and a far distance and see which one reads better, and which is easier for you to write. But remember--the goal isn't to tell readers everything and explain the scene, it's to show them enough details so they can figure out the what and why by observation.

3. Show What the Characters Do, Not What They Intend to Do

Once you have a solid understanding of point of view and narrative distance, you'll be able to show what the characters do and bring the story to life. Stories are about interesting people solving interesting problems in interesting ways. So show what they do, not what they plan to do. 

One of the most common "tells" is to explain motive. My favorite example is simple, yet something writers write every single day:

She reached over to pick up the cup.

Here, we see the action (she reached over) but then the reason why is explained (to pick up the cup). We never actually see her pick it up, because the action isn't described--just the intent to do it. To turn this from told to shown, we'd change one word:

She reached over and picked up the cup.

Now we see the action and can guess that she reached over to pick up the cup, because we see her reach and then pick up the cup.

While this is a small tell (and writers do it all the time), it's a great example of how easy it is to explain motive and not actually show the action in the scene. Some common red flag words for explaining motive include, to [verb], when, decided, because, in order to, and tried.

Not only will showing the action make scenes feel more immediate and alive, they'll keep readers invested in what's going on, because they won't be told everything ahead of time.
For example, if your character thinks, "All I need to do is sneak past the guards and slip out that window and I'll be able to escape," and then you show him sneaking across the room, you lose all the tension. Readers already know the goal (to get to the window and escape) and they assume it'll happen, because you just told them it would. So there's no suspense and no reason to keep reading.

But if you just have the character start sneaking and working his way across the room while guards patrol mere feet away and readers aren't told why...then readers will wonder what he's up to and why he's risking getting caught. They'll keep reading to find out. Tension stays high and there's something they want to know--does he escape and how.

Look at your current story--how often are your characters thinking about what they plan to do instead of actually doing it? Are they "deciding" to act? "Trying" to act? Moving to "do something" but are never shown physically doing it? Revising these simple explanations turn a flat scene with nothing happening into a scene with lots of action.

And don't forget--"action" doesn't mean the life or death explosion-heavy scenes from a summer blockbuster movie. Action is just characters physically doing something. If they're interacting with the external world they're acting, and that keeps the story moving. If they're thinking and describing what they plan to do, they're internal and not doing anything at all.
Try reworking any scenes that feel too internal with the characters thinking and musing instead of acting. Look for ways to dramatize those plans.

Bringing a story to life is all about making it real for readers. Half the fun of reading is figuring out what's going on and why the characters are behaving as they do. The more we explain those reasons, the less reason readers have to read our stories. But when we show characters acting in intriguing ways and readers have to work to figure out why--they can't stop turning the pages.

What do you struggle with in your writing? What's keeping your scenes from coming alive? 

For more on showing and not telling, check out my book, Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting it), and learn what show, don't tell means, how to spot told prose in your writing, and why common advice on how to fix it doesn't always work. 

Today Seekerville is giving away an ecopy of Understanding Show, Don't Tell: (And Really Getting It) in honor of Janice's visit!   Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of The Healing Wars trilogy and the Foundations of Fiction series, including Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for planning or revising a novel, the companion Planning Your Novel Workbook, and Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished DraftShe's also the founder of the writing site, Fiction University. For more advice and helpful writing tips, visit her at or @Janice_Hardy.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Transforming an Ordinary Concept into an Extraordinary One

with Belle Calhoune.

Good morning, everyone.  Belle here.  I’ve brought along some pumpkin donuts and a mug filled with eggnog.  It’s never too early in the morning to have a little eggnog, especially at this time of the year.  Cheers!

In the competitive world of publishing, every author or aspiring author needs to write a book that shines.  In my humble opinion, one of the most effective ways of creating a compelling read is to take an ordinary premise and make it something extraordinary.  

 Unusual.  Different.  

Back in 2012 when I stumbled upon a Speed dating pitch on the Harlequin forums, I discovered an opportunity to become a published author with Harlequin Love Inspired.  When I began writing my book, which was titled “The Return of the Preacher’s Daughter,” (A title I still love) I knew two things.  One—I wanted it to be a reunion romance.  Two—I wanted the heroine to have really endured something profound that separated her from her hometown and the people she loved, including the hero.

Think about it.  When you read a book about a hero or heroine who hasn’t been back home in a long time, as an author you must create a compelling reason for this long-term absence. 

Let’s rewind to my childhood when I lived across the street from a public library and devoured Harlequin romances like nobody’s business.  Although I loved these novels it always bugged me to see the heroine doing a lot of hand-wringing over a situation that seemed fairly minor.  Even at the age of twelve, I knew it wasn’t that serious.  It made the heroine appear weak and it lessened the overall impact of the character arc.

I had a lightbulb moment while brainstorming my plot for the book I hoped would earn me a contract with Love Inspired.  My reunion romance story needed a shot of adrenaline.  It needed to be elevated.  After a lot of brainstorming, I came up with this:  Eight years earlier the heroine Cassidy had fled her hometown after being the driver in an accident that left her best friend a paraplegic.  Before she left town, Cassidy ditched her fiancĂ©, who was the older brother of her best friend.  There’s also a plot twist about the accident.  BAM! I had a reunion romance-heroine coming home story with tension, conflict, secrets and twists.  

When I received “the call” from my editor, Emily Rodmell, she told me my book had a lot of hooks and Harlequin Love Inspired wanted to buy it.  Lots and lots of hooks, if I remember it correctly.  It was clear to me how important my hooks were to the sale of the book which ended up being titled, Reunited with the Sheriff.   

When you add hooks to your work, try to create something compelling and unique.  Put your own twist on it! Sell that book!  I took the simple idea of a reunion romance and turned it on its head.  There were many layers to the story, including a character who was a paraplegic.  One of the most challenging things I’ve ever done as an author is to create a story featuring this paraplegic character, Holly.  Heart of a Soldier was a tough book to write because it delved into areas that weren’t always comfortable.  Romance between a rugged, able-bodied man and a paraplegic woman confined to a wheelchair is a tricky road to navigate. 

However, it was a completely fresh approach and full of hooks.  The heroine Holly had met the soldier hero Dylan due to a pen pal and email correspondence so he had never seen her in person.  Again.  Turning a story on its head.  Readers loved this particular book, which showed me the rewards of digging deep and taking a romantic story and turning it upside down.  I was by no means an expert on paraplegia, but I did my research and created an accurate portrayal of a paraplegic.

If you take your story concept and twist the screws a little bit, you’ll have a book that stands out from the rest.  Readers will love you for it.  Publishers and editors also.  If you’re trying to get a publisher to notice your work, I think it’s a great way to go about it.  

As a means to this end, brainstorming is a great tool for authors.  I highly recommend getting a huge storyboard and then start fooling around with a romance trope.  Think of ways to make it unique.  Out of the box.  Flip it upside down and twist it around.  Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  It’s difficult and sometimes uncomfortable to challenge the status quo, but in the end, you’ll reap the rewards.  And so will your readers.

Author Jolene Navarro shares some of her insights on this very subject.  “With The Soldier’s Surprise Family I started with the popular secret baby plot and thought about ways to make it different.  What if he didn’t know about his son?  His wife wouldn’t let go of her past so he left the drama behind and cut all contact with her.  Five years later she is killed by her boyfriend in a murder-suicide situation.  CPS shows up at his door.  Not only is his son traumatized, but he refuses to speak and needs a home.  There’s a baby girl too.”

Jolene elevated her secret baby story to include a traumatized child and an additional baby—a sibling of the hero’s own son.  Complex, huh?  She flipped the secret baby-child story on its head and created something highly original and poignant.

My December release for Love Inspired is entitled Reunited at Christmas.  I have a confession to make about this particular story.  I wrote it in part because I don’t particularly like amnesia stories.  I wanted to challenge myself to do the very thing I didn’t necessarily want to do.  

My heroine Ruby Prescott wasn’t just any amnesia victim.  She was a search and rescue worker who had been presumed dead after an avalanche in Colorado.  Her family in Love, Alaska has been grieving her loss for two years.  Add in the fact that Ruby and Liam are an interracial couple with a five-year-old son she can’t remember.  Oh, and her return is a few weeks before Christmas, the most blessed time of the year.  Plus, her husband is hiding a secret about their marriage.  

In celebration of my new release, I’m giving away ten copies of Reunited at Christmas Winners will be announced in the Weekend Edition.

Happy Holidays everyone! And remember—don’t be afraid to take your novel and make it a gem. It’s like polishing a diamond.  Make it shine!

So, my friends.  How are you challenging yourself in your writing? 

A Season to Remember 

Two years after the avalanche everyone thought had claimed her life, Ruby Prescott returns to the remote Alaskan town of Love. And no one is more ecstatic than her husband, Liam, and their young son. Even if amnesia has robbed Ruby of her memories, she's soon woven back into the fabric of their lives. As they celebrate the holiday season, Ruby is falling head over heels for the man she's told was the love of her life. But she can't escape the feeling that there's something Liam is keeping a secret. Will the return of her memories tear them apart for good—or will this be a Christmas she'll never forget?

Belle Calhoune grew up in a small town in Massachusetts as one of five children. Growing up across the street from a public library was a huge influence on her life and fueled her love of romance novels.  Belle is the author of seven Harlequin Love Inspired novels with two more contracted.  She has Indie published the popular and best-selling inspirational romance series, Seven Brides, Seven Brothers.  Her new indie series, the Secrets of Savannah is a spin-off of her debut series.  Belle loves writing romance and crafting happily ever afters.  When she’s not wrangling her two high maintenance dogs or spending time with her husband and two daughters, Belle enjoys travel and exploring new places.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Brainstorming with a non-writer brain

I had a recent experience that I found energizing, and I wondered if others did this.

Just as part of a fun (small) family get together, I ended up brainstorming with three non-writers. And now that I think of it, My Cowboy was sitting with us, and he might’ve even tossed in an idea or two, or at least nodded (or grunted) when something struck him as … uh … grunt-worthy. (?)

I have one daughter who has done some brainstorming with me before, but not often.

I remember once on a boat in a lake in Minnesota (I guess the fish weren’t biting) this same group started brainstorming, but rather than brainstorming my book, they started throwing ideas at me for the book they wanted me to write. It was fun, and very funny. We started because we thought if we could base a book on a Minnesota lake maybe we could deduct our fishing vacation. That never worked out. (I think the trip has to be MAINLY about your work rather than being mainly about fishing) We flunked that test but we still laughed a lot.

Anyway there’s a dead body at the bottom of the lake and some poor hapless heroine finds it, then they get cops who dive and find the bottom of the lake is someone’s ‘burial ground’. And the lake is privately owned and eerie and the heroine is not supposed to be on it. And then someone tries to kill the heroine and then the hero is one of the cops (the toughest, cutest one) and he thinks the heroine is the murderer, and then he ends up being her body guard.

At one point one of my daughters said, “And of course the guy who owns the eerie lake tries to drive amateur investigators away.” (We’ve abandoned the ‘burial ground’ idea by now)

And at one point one of my brainstorming buddies said, “I think we’ve just brainstormed and episode of Scooby Doo.”

Then we all laughed until we could barely breathe and go back to fishing.

But this time, instead of making up books, I just sort of casually mentioned that I started a new book on Friday. And I mean JUST started. I’d been daydreaming the beginning and had come up with something. And it was tense and suspenseful but not the EXPLOSION I like at the beginning of the book. And my one daughter, who’s probably the most writer-like of all my kids, starts by asking questions.

Considering I have no real interest in changing the opening I’ve come up with—I was satisfied with the suspenseful opening—it was just chit-chat.

But she’s asking what the book's about. Well, it’s book one in a three book series. So it takes some ‘splaining. And then I answer and try to go forward and she keeps saying, ‘this doesn’t make sense.’ Or ‘I can’t really see this, did you…?’

So finally she starts to get the big picture, where book one fits, how this goes on from there, a glimpse of what I want out of book three. And she tosses an idea at me that is really an improvement in my suspenseful opening. Then my other daughter says something else, then my son-in-law says, “I watched this documentary once and this guy said…”

And my daughters (they’ve read most of my books) say, “I can’t remember you ever opening a book with…”

In the end I felt like I’d really gotten some terrific ideas that were just odd and different. And I’m using them. What’s cool about this is, I’m having a hard time really imagining writing this. It’s bigger and edgier and action packed, with danger coming from different directions.

And to me, attempting to write something I’m not really sure if I can write is fun. It’s fascinating. It sparks my creativity and makes the book something to sharpen my teeth on.

I can see movie action in it and this documentary my son-in-law watched was a way different kind of angle, really intriguing.

I just decided that as authors, who brainstorm with other authors, maybe we need to spread our wings a little more. Tap into a different set of ideas.

I’ve done some really great brainstorming with authors, too. Authors play a great game of ‘what if’.

But this was a group of rookies. It tapped into their different background. Less ‘book based’…if that makes sense.

Have you ever done it? Have you ever brainstormed with non-writers? Tell me about it, if it worked or didn’t.

I never had.

We’d invented book ideas that were fun but didn’t fit into my genre…like that far-out Scooby Doo idea at the lake…but I’d never really corralled these guys with one of my books.

I’m hoping if I dedicate my book to them, they’ll be sucked into doing it regularly. Ah, so gullible!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Weekend Edition

Welcome to the Weekend Edition!

We Have Winners

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

On Monday, Connilyn Cossett was our special guest. LeAnn Bristow is the winner of Shadow of the Storm. 

Tuesday K. C. Frantzen & May the K9 Spy, presented "Beyond the Bookmark," an in-depth look at swag!  Wilani and Cindy W are the winners of May the K9 Spy e-books. Please specify Amazon, Kobo or Nook. Caryl Kane is a third winner, who  may choose any hardcover May book and their choice of plush toy: Mini-May, the star of our series or Nykeeda the Cheetah, from the latest release May Saves the Day: Situation in St. Petersburg! 

On Wednesday we featured The December Contest Update. Did you stop by to meet our Contest Diva, Laurie Wood?  Amazon Gift Card winner is Nicky. The first 15-page critique winners are Sherida Stewart, Cynthia Herron, Kelly Bridgewater and Kelsey. You have 8 weeks to submit your pages per our legal page. 

Happy December! Seekerville welcomed back, Jill Kemerer, on Thursday, with her post, "When Your Calling Flatlines." Linda Truesdell is the winner of a copy of Yuletide Redemption, her latest release from Love Inspired.

Next Week in Seekerville

Monday: Mary Connealy is your hostess. She'll be talking about brainstorming with a non-writer brain.

Tuesday:  Today we are delighted to welcome back, Belle Calhoune with her post, "Transforming an Ordinary Concept into an Extraordinary One." She's not only got tips for us, but she's giving away TEN copies of Reunited at Christmas. Merry Christmas from Belle! 

Wednesday: We are honored to have Fiction University's Janice Hardy with us today. Don't miss her post, "Three Ways to Make Your Writing Come Alive!" Plus, we're giving away a copy of her latest craft bookUnderstanding Show, Don't Tell: (And Really Getting It), in ebook formatto one lucky commenter.

Thursday: Multi-published author Ruth Logan Herne loves to set her stories in big cities and small towns, but join her here on Thursday to talk about that really big story in that initial small town: Bethlehem. What was it like to be the newcomers, creating a ruckus, bringin' in angels and draggin' shepherds from their jobs? Let's examine this sweet, small town together... and there might just be a $15 Starbucks Card for one lucky chatter!

Friday: Join us for the Best of the Archives with Julie Lessman. Each Friday  comments are closed so we can catch up with our reading and writing

Seeker Sightings

Get your free copy of the December issue of Family Fiction Magazine with Julie Lessman on the cover and recipes from Julie and Ruth Logan Herne inside. 

Tina Radcliffe is delighted to have another sale to Woman's World Magazine. It will appear in this week's issue, available to non-subscribers on Thursday, December 8th.

Tina Radcliffe will be blogging at Shelia Stovall's blog on December 5, a Monday. Friendship, Hope & Fried Fruit Pies! Love that name. Join Tina for a post called, "Slow Down!" and  for a chance to win Rocky Mountain Cowboy.

Tina Radcliffe will also be appearing on Cheryl St. John's blog for the 2016 Great Christmas Tree Tour on December 9th. Check it out here.

Debby Giusti invites all her Seekerville friends to join her for Romancing the Smokies. March 17 – 18, 2017 Knoxville, TN. A delightful reader event with Friday and Saturday night get-togethers,Saturday Readers Luncheon, Book Signing, and SWAG!
Don’t miss this fun weekend with more than 20 of your favorite authors!

And get ready for a rollickin', food-fun-faith-filled New Year's Eve at our annual "Rockin' It With Seekerville New Year's Eve" party! We'll start the festivities and the hourly giveaways from 6:00 AM  Eastern Time (Ruthy's shift!) to 3:00 AM Eastern Time (Midnight on the West coast) with Keli Gwyn wishing all a Happy New Year! Prizes, fun, chatter and non-caloric pretend food round out the day! What could be better than that?  Hang with us as we make a pledge to "Kick Discouragement to the Curb"... TOGETHER!

Random News & Information

Thanks for sending links!

Details here. Please share this!

A Writer's Life-Hard Choices We All Face (The Write Conversation)**

Editing: Are You Right Brain or Left Brain? (Maris Soule)**

Decoding Agent-Speak: I Didn’t Know Where the Story was Going (BookEnds)**

The Top 7 Details You Need to Think About When Writing Historical Fiction (Writer Unboxed)

10 Bookish Tech Gadgets We Didn’t Even Know We Needed (Book Bub Blog)

The Perspective from Inside a Character (The Editor's Blog)**

How Character Attributes and Flaws Work Within Character Arc (Writers Helping Writers)

What Agents and Publishers Want and Why (Writer Unboxed)**

Facebook Ad Types: When to Use Each Objective (Andra Vahl)

The End is Near: What Makes a Good Ending ( Fiction University)

Recommended Books for Writers (The Creative Penn)

Backing Away from the Cliffs of Insanity (Novel Rocket)**

Short on Time? Read ** First and come back later for the rest!

🎄  Writer, Reader, Cat-Lover, Editor & Agent Gift Suggestions for Holidays 2016

Left to Right. Click on Image to see details. Ho. Ho. Ho.
Novel Teas Collectible Classic Novels Metal Tea Tin Set 

#amwriting Square Notepad from  Better Novel Project

2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Cat Lovers from Meow Box

Literary Candles at Uncommon Goods 

Chronicle Books Typewriter Paper Notes

Writer's Block Soap on Amazon

 Writer Signs on Etsy

Foot Hammock on Amazon

Stay Up Late and Write Mug on Etsy

James Patterson Master Class

That's it! Have a great reading and writing Weekend

Friday, December 2, 2016

Best of the Archives: The Secret Life of an Inspirational Romance Writer

This post first appeared in Seekerville July 30, 2015. Comments are closed today as we enjoy a day to catch up on reading and writing.


Today I'm going to set the record straight. 

What's it really like to be an inspirational romance writer?

It's fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

Sure, it's annoying to have to dress incognito when I go into the world, but that's a small price to pay for the life I live. 

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. The truth is I do dress incognito. My whole life is incognito. HA!

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

This week  a coworker 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, Safe in the Fireman's Arms (in a brown paper bag, of course) for her mom.

That coworker came by my desk later with tears in her eyes and 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 mountain top 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 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 in the cave and back to my solitary life for another year or so. 

By the way, another perk of conference is I still get to be a fan girl who crushes on her favorite authors.

Here I am with suspense author and two-time RITA winner Laura Griffin. (EEEEEK!)

And with New York Times and USA Today, best-selling author Shelley Shepard Gray who asked me (ME!!!) to sign a book at the Harlequin Book signing event. Another fan girl moment! (omgosh, omgosh, omgosh) 

 The morning after the Harlequin Black & White Ball, I could barely walk after hours of moving on the dance floor like a John Travolta wanna-be. Limping and suffering quietly, with only four hours of sleep, I met Kate Breslin for breakfast. 

Kate! You were worth the pain. 

What a treat to chat with her and Irene Hannon and Lisa Carter and Tanya Agler over scrambled eggs. 

Surrounded by STARS!!!!  I can now die happy! MY TRIBE!!!  

Today I'm back to my office. This is  the reaction I got upon my return.

So what about you? What's your world as an inspirational romance writer like? Do you ever share that you have a secret life? Does anyone get it?  

Tina Radcliffe is thrilled to share that Rocky Mountain Cowboy, is available for preorder. If you enjoyed Dan Gallagher's book, Stranded with the Rancher, you'll love how the mighty falls. Joe Gallagher in in Rocky Mountain Cowboy.

P.S. Apologies for the excessive use of exclamation points in this post. It was..well, unavoidable!!!