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"Seekerville" - 5 new articles

  1. The Weekend Edition-Speedbo Week 4
  2. April Contest Update
  3. The Courage To Be Brave
  4. Writing Contemporary vs. Historical Books: Must We Choose?
  5. Part I: How Does Your Speedbo Garden Grow?
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Seekerville
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

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: 
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!


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!


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, 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 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.
Find Me On Facebook

Writing Contemporary vs. Historical Books: Must We Choose?

Okay, before we debate this, let me add a caveat:


Having said that, the influx of indie publishing, hybrid authors (similar to supersweet corn only not as crunchy!) cross-readerships and multiple venues has changed the rules, virtually giving you a #nolimits opportunity.

This is a good thing for authors. And because I'm the kind of gal who bends rules often, I see nothing but potential by writing historicals like "Red Kettle Christmas", "A Town Called Christmas", "Prairie Promises" and my newest one "His Beloved Bride". However, before you jump in the water of both ponds, it's good to note these tips:

1. Readers do not like to be misled.

2. If you've ever gotten a less-than-stellar review, you know that readers have opinions.

3. Readers voice opinions.

4. Historical readers and lovers of history are more likely to hunt for and cite errors.

5. These errors are not necessarily errors.

6. There are certain rules that make certain eras difficult. I avoid those.

7. Pioneer romance has wide parameters because there was little recorded on paper at the time. Basic rules apply. Know when they used motors. When they didn't.

8. Colonial rules are similar but a little tighter, because the colonists were in well-developed enclaves/towns/cities fairly quickly.

9. I went to the Mary Connealy school of clothing. I don't try to name it all, half these women had two dresses, one for good, one for work. Pick a calico or color, easy peasy.

10. Early railroad lines in the Midwest and West often criss-crossed and became obsolete early on, so the development of the railroad in certain areas left some interesting ambiguity. I like to use that to my advantage!

11. Ten rules are enough, for pity's sake, it's SPEEDBO month, I don't want to bore you. If I already have, then please accept my abject and sincere apologies, but I am giving away four
"With This Kiss" collections today (to be delivered via Kindle to your device 4/10) so cut me a little slack, okay??? Geez, Louise. :)

I thought writing historicals would be too hard.

It's not.

I thought I wouldn't have time to do proper research.

I was wrong. There's this amazing thing called the Internet. Oh mylanta, what a nice invention. That + Life = Possible Usable Information.

I realized that my bootstraps-style farm life actually lends itself to understanding many points of pioneer life. My daughter pointed out that I DRAGGED my children to historic museums, that I loved reading them Little House on the Prairie (until they were old enough to read them themselves) and that Sarah, Plain and Tall is one of my favorite books, right up there with Little Women, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Crucible and To Kill a Mockingbird. She also noted that we've traversed all of Independence Park in Philly (and pretended we were colonists, well, I pretended. The kids tried to hide any and all relationship to me but I had the money so in the end they had to come home with me.) We've explored Valley Forge. We've even had weddings at the Genesee Country Village and Museum.

In short, my pleasure reading/work/child rearing was preparing me for writing historicals with characters, places and settings I love.

So was it a natural jump from contemporary stories to old-time romance?  NOT AT FIRST.

I was scared! But of course I did not admit that, I just plowed in and did it.

And when that story came out so well... When I lived to breathe again!!! When I took a critical look at "Red Kettle Christmas" and decided it was an absolutely delightful book, I was hooked!

Four generations of Blodgetts: Beth, Grandma (holding Elijah) Grandpa, Dave
History starts right here, doesn't it?
So here is where Point A meets Point B.

I already had an established readership for my contemporary stories. Would they enjoy historicals?


If they didn't, (back to the list of ten above) I was pretty darn sure I'd hear about it, LOL!

I believe in branding to a point. Which means, yes, grab your "brand" (cowboy stories, medical thrillers, Amish,  contemporary romance, etc.) but don't be afraid to stretch your brand.

My brand is "Hearth and Home Romance".

I didn't put time limits on it, and neither do my readers! "Hearth and Home" gives me latitude, and pushy gals like me like some latitude.

So do you have to choose? I think initially you need to build a readership, an audience, but I also think that if you're working in a more generic "brand" like the one I picked, golly gee whillikers.


Years ago New York Times bestselling author Karen White told me to write in as many genres as I wanted until I sold. And then to focus on that genre while building my platform.

I took that advice and ran with it because it makes sense. Build your base... then expand. These words of wisdom have worked for Karen and others, and I'm not all about re-inventing the wheel if copying someone's brilliant success seems like the way to go.

Thank you, Karen!

Okay, coffee's on, my friends! And I brought along cheese-stuffed blintzes with triple berry topping and whipped cream. I refuse to get plump alone!

Come on in, leave a comment and tell me what you're writing... and what you'd like to write. I might make fun of you (says Ruthy who has an Amish trilogy waiting to be finished AND a fantasy she can't wait to work on next winter...) or I might be all fun and nice and supportive, you know. Like a good friend would be.

In any case, I'm throwing your names into the cat dish for 2 copies of THIS DELIGHTFUL CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION:



Both collections feature five (5) wonderful, heartfelt stories written by a collection of multi-published, award-winning, best-selling authors.... and we've given them a reader-friendly price of $2.99 because yes....

I want some of Mary's readers.

And Cara's.

And Pam's.

(Big grin!)

Etcetera. And if we can get our work into people's hands at a reasonable price like this, I'm all over that idea! See you inside!

Ruthy Logan Herne loves to write sweet romances filled with faith, family and fun, well, once they fix all the dysfunctional family stuff! She lives in upstate NY with way too many chickens, fresh eggs, lots of little kids and a couple of black bears that seem to find her farm intriguing. Visit her website or find her on facebook where she loves to market her books by exploiting other people's children and small, cute animals!


Part I: How Does Your Speedbo Garden Grow?

Photo by Pam Hillman
Since my novella in the With This Kiss Historical Collection deals with farming, I must have gotten bitten by the farming and gardening bug. And the more I pondered the mess my characters were in, the more I realized that writing is a lot like gardening.

Photo by Pam Hillman

First, I mean NO disrespect to our resident Marys, or to anybody named Mary anywhere. I am sure that most people named Mary are NOT contrary.

So, with that disclaimer in place, let’s talk about your Speedbo garden! I’m so excited to see how many words everyone is planting this month, and I know you didn’t get to this stage of your Speedbo gardening project willy-nilly. There was a lot of preparation ahead of time, right?

Choose Your Plot

First, you had to decide where to plant, or rather, what story you wanted to tell. As is usually the case in the first blush of spring, this is the most exciting part… the part where an idea floods your thoughts like the first burst of sunlight after a long, dreary winter. It’s all you can think about for weeks, until your fingers are itching to start digging in the dirt, or at the very least to grab your laptop and start typing.
Photo by Pam Hillman
Prepare the Ground

Tilling the ground for a garden is backbreaking work, but it has to be done if you’re going to have a successful harvest. So, once you decide where to plant, you know you have to get to work. Now, for some that means mapping out your story very loosely in your head, for others, it means a very detailed synopsis.

Some might write everything on little sticky notes, or in a spreadsheet, or in Scrivener. Whatever method you use to prepare the ground to sow your story words, it must have worked, because here you are, on the FOURTH AND FINAL WEEK of Speedbo, still sowing away. Good job!

Photo by Pam Hillman

Gather Seed, Tools, and Supplies

But I'm getting ahead of myself. If you’re like me, as soon as spring hits, I tend to buy before I prepare the ground. As soon as I see all the rows and rows of flats of bright flowers in the gardening center, I can hardly resist buying a bunch, adding 50 lbs of potting soil, as well as a new shovel (because My Cowboy has absconded with the last one). I usually need a new hoe or least have to get the old one sharpened before I can even begin to think about digging. But none of that stops me from dreaming.

Photo by Pam Hillman

Since we’re on day 24 of Speedbo, and many of you have been merrily sowing away for over three weeks, then it’s safe to say that you had an ample supply of words and ideas to work with. You have your tools on hand: computers, pen and pencil, alphasmart. iPad, dictionaries, thesaurus, character sheets, Pinterest boards. Music! And every farmer or gardener needs nourishment after working all day in the blistering heat of the day. You stocked up on coffee, tea, sodas, and water. You pulled out the ol’ crockpot so that meals would be a snap. (My grandmother would have loved to have such a device while working in the fields!) And, I know, I know, I know as sure as cockles grow, that you have CHOCOLATE on hand, yes???

Photo by Pam Hillman

Planting Days!

What seeds are you planting in March? 


Lots and lots and LOTS of words. Tens of thousands of words. Keep planting, friends. You are so close to the end of planting season. Only seven more days to go. You might have had to weather a few storms that kept you out of the fields this month, but as soon as the sun came out and dried up your cares and worries, like any good farmer, you hooked up your mule and started planting. A bit of rain and mud can’t keep you down.

In a few more days, you’ll look over your field of words, anxiously waiting to see them flourish and turn into an ORGANIZED story. But there’s still work to be done. Stay tuned for next month when we’ll discuss Part II of How Does Your Speedbo Garden Grow?

In the meantime, keep sowing those words!!!

And... today's giveaway is a humongous pack of Wildflower Seeds guaranteed to draw butterflies and hummingbirds to your Spring garden OR if you're not a gardener, an e-copy of With This Kiss, either Contemporary or Historical, winner's choice.


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