Wednesday, March 31, 2010

July Cover!

I'm excited to preview the cover of my July book which is the first of a duet I have out this summer with Harlequin!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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What day is it?

This morning, I got up early. My cat, Sophia Maria Lolita Conchita Chequita Banana, is in a mood. Last week we had lovely weather and she was allowed outside everyday. Yesterday, we had rain mixed with hail and she had to stay indoors. She takes this personally, as if I somehow control the weather so that I can control her, and she fancies herself a free spirit. No amount of lecturing sways her opinion...

But I digress...

Writing is sort of a solitary profession but the Internet has really spiced things up. Still, I have days when I just want to get out of the house. Deadlines typically preclude that, so I find myself agreeing to do things all over the place. For instance, I'm blogging seven times in July. Yes, seven. I'm giving three online workshops in the next few months. And I'm going to more than a few conferences.

None of that seems ridiculously difficult, unless I get a deadline. Or my son gets sick. Or my daughter has a crisis. Or my youngest son moves (he bought the house he's moving into next cross fingers!). Or my husband makes a plan that includes me.

The funny thing about working from home is that sometimes, somehow, your personal life and your work life knit together. Right now I have someone who wants me to make my airline reservations for an upcoming speaking engagement so she can make hers...and my response is I can't. After I get my work done today I need to go grocery shopping and houseclean the living room for the holiday.

I winced when I sent the email. I know she's going to think I'm nuts. How can I give grocery shopping the same level of importance as meeting a deadline or making travel arrangements? It's easy. I like to eat. (Maybe a bit too much!) And the cupboards are bare.

I've done dishes and put in a load of laundry while talking with my editor about my next project. And, of course, I've been known to scribble notes about my next book while eating dinner or attending church.

Creating is such an odd business that you (seriously) can't control it. You cannot say I will write from eight until noon and then houseclean for company tonight. If the words are flowing and you WILL find a way to both write and cook dinner. In fact, I suspect most writers have done it. I also bet some of us have run to the ladies room when out to dinner with friends, taken a notebook from our purse and written a scene.

One of my favorite places to write seems to be in church. I'm not particularly proud of this, except that I think that if you get your best scene ideas while sitting in church it could be argued that those scenes have been divinely inspired...Not buying it? Neither does my husband! :)

Anyway, the point I'm making, in my roundabout way, is that despite my best efforts, it took my Google calendar to remind me that I was supposed to blog today.

At first I gasped in horror that I'd be so late in posting, then I realized...Hey, I actually did remember.

And that's my second point. Somehow in this crazy existence where housekeeping and public speaking get the same level of importance (but different clothes) it all works. Because of my career, I do have time to take my son to doctor's appointments and help houseclean my mom's house. I can tell my dentist, "Put me in whatever time YOU have available." Dentists love that. And so do hairdressers. My sister can schedule me at a time that suits her, making it possible for her to please cliets who aren't so lucky.

So writers are a bit crazy. Our lives are definitely weird. But it's a fun, interesting kind of crazy!

susan meier

susan meier
A duet from Harlequin Romance July and August 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

NOLA's conference is wonderful!

My family thinks I'm a bit crazy. (Who's family doesn't think they're a bit crazy?) Friday, I boarded a plane in Johnstown, stopped in Altoona, flew to Washington, DC, then on to Dallas where I caught a plane for Shreveport, Louisianna...for one day at a conference.

Only a writer, someone who works at home, in her pajamas, with a cat as a best friend and confidante, can understand why someone would spend 12 hours in the air and in airports for a mere thirty-six hours with other writers!

Our lives really aren't boas and bon bons. Boas are itchy and my butt would be huge if I ate candy every day. But more than that the chance to actually interact with other creative people makes anybody who writes absolutely giddy.

Plus, industry professionals attend conferences. I spoke with Melissa Jeglinski, a former editor at Silhouette who is now an agent at the Knight Agency, Beth Miller also an agent from Writer's House, Laura Bradford from Bradford Literary Agency and Jessica Sebor from Bantam Dell.

Now, Jessica Sebor is looking for a project like one of my current projects, but all the agents I chatted with don't necessarily represent what I write. Still...The thing about conferences is you can bet your last dime that everybody you meet loves books. I can bring up just about any title or author and find myself in a stimulating conversation.

What a glorious opportunity!

So I'm back at my desk today, about to dive into the project that might just fit in Jessica's list. I'm happy, rejuvinated, filled with glorious, wonderful energy. In spite of the five feet of snow that's still in my front yard!

I also chatted with Sara Reyes of the web site Fresh Fiction! I'd heard of the site but, busy girl that I am, I hadn't had the chance to check it out until this morning. Imagine my delight when I skipped over and found a picture of myself with Peaches! What a great site!

But the real bottom line for the success of this conference was the wonderful people! I never felt alone. I immediately felt I was among friends. I talked about books and kids and writing so much that I've sort of lost my voice this morning.

The workshop I gave was well received. I very much appreciated all the thank yous!

So thank you NOLA Stars! In my book, you truly are all stars!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Hair Dye Day!

Every month (or six weeks) Hair Dye Day is a holiday at our house. Not only do I actually leave the house for several hours, but I take a book to read. We usually order out or I bring home dinner. And we play some Wii golf.

As I was humming to myself this morning -- enjoying Hair Dye Day -- I thought about the weird things that fold into our lives and become odd little traditions. Like getting pizza on Friday nights. Or going to the movies on Tuesday afternoons. (This week we'll go on Thursday afternoon since Hair Dye Day interrupts our regularly scheduled movie.)

My son plays darts once a week. I drive him and then have a glorious half hour all to myself in the car. That's a blessing that only people with kids truly understand.

Lots of the members of my family gather at my mother's house every Sunday afternoon. It's mostly grandkids, cousins, who spend two or three hours every week, catching up, keeping in touch.

The little traditions or rituals we have actually make up the framework of our lives, the things we look forward to, the nice things we do for ourselves, the ways we can turn an otherwise ordinary day (Hair Dye Day!) into a holiday.

I'm giving a workshop this weekend at the NOLA conference. My topic is conflicts. I base my theories of conflict on incorrect core beliefs. But thinking about the odd traditions and rituals all around me, I'm beginning to see that those can tell you as much about a character!

So Happy Hair Dye Day. I hope you have a few fun, comforting, or just-for-ease traditions of your own!