Monday, May 17, 2010


On Friday I boarded a plane with my friend Ann and headed for New Jersey. I'm a member of New Jersey Romance Writers of America, so when they asked me to speak at their monthly meeting I was thrilled. I flew over, had a great dinner with Jamie, Mo and Marlo, slept like a rock in the hotel, and dressed to give my one-hour workshop.

It went well. Mostly because the audience was eager for the information. I have a great system for revising/polishing/rewriting a book after you've been rejected by editors or agents or asked by an editor or agent to revise, or just plain after you've finished drafting. So the information was timely and well received!

After the meeting we had an informal, roundtable discussion of revisions and it was a great opportunity for me to hear from some of the members.

Then I got back on a plane, flew to Pittsburgh, and drove for two hours to get to my house!

The next thing I knew it was Monday morning and I was at my desk, with a page goal to meet.

At first I was shocked. I felt like I hadn't had a weekend. But I had. I'd even spent it with friends. Talking about writing which is tons of fun. So I had a more relaxing weekend than my friends who are moms who work 40-hours a week, then spend Saturday and Sunday shuttling kids to T-ball and ballet, doing laundry, and cleaning house.

Like writing, parenting is tons of fun but exhausting. Of course, when I finish a book, I get a hundred print copies, do some PR, watch as it sells (or doesn't--shudder) and then move on to the next book. Parenting lasts forever.

I'll never forget the day at the Annual Petrunak Reunion, when my Aunt Helen explained to me that your kids may grow up but you're always their mother and you will spend the rest of your life worrying about them, cheering for them, giving them money. (The last one made my eyes pop!)

Over the years I've discovered my aunt was right. A mother is always a mother. But in some ways that's good because kids don't outgrow the need for a shoulder to cry on or an inexhaustable source of cash. LOL

But being a shoulder to cry on is sometimes a reward in and of itself. If your kids like and trust you enough with their secrets, then you've done your job. And hopefully they'll be such a great parent to their kids they'll also become a shoulder to cry on (and in fairness) an inexhaustable source of cash.


Don't forget MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE is now available on AMAZON for preorder!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A moment of truth!

Last week, I had to clean out my closets and drawers. I didn't want to. I love all my clothes. Even the old things. But I couldn't get some drawers closed and my closet is small, so...I trudged on.

You know the questions you must ask when cleaning out drawers. Will I really ever wear this again? Sure, it looks like it could stand one more wearing, but, seriously, will I ever pull this out on the drawer and wear it? And what about...Really? Do you think you'll actually be this size some day? Ouch. That one hurts. And then there's the ever popular ... Do you seriously think THIS will ever come back into style? I clung to platform shoes for a decade, positive they'd come back. And they have. But they're different and my ankles don't like them anymore.

When it comes to clothes and drawers and closing drawers, we all have to face reality sometimes. Good Will needs what we no longer fit into. And even if we're forced to put some old T-shirts in the trash, our world will be a better, more organized place for it.

I survived moment-of-truth-for-clothes-day, but today when I stepped into my office and my gaze lit on the two boxes of notebooks with old ideas in them and the two file drawers of folders full of new ideas...I had moment-of-truth de ja vous.

Shouldn't I give the same respect to my file drawers that I gave to my dresser drawers? Do I really need those two boxes of notebooks? Will I ever actually look at those ideas again?

I sometimes wonder if clutter doesn't prevent us from going forward. Knowing I had two dressers (not just drawers entire dressers) filled with shorts and T-shirts, I kept myself from new things for a year. And dressed out of style. Which is hideous for a woman over forty because you might as well wear a sign that says, Hey, I bought this in the eighties and I'm clinging to my youth.

Is the same true for story ideas? Does having 80 old ideas in folders and scribbled on notebooks keep some of us from moving forward? Is our old vampire idea now hopelessly out of date because vampires have evolved? Is the time-travel we thought so quirkly and fresh now kind of silly?


I also think clutter weighs us down. We look around at our disorganized office, knowing we can only write one book at a time, or maybe (if we're lucky and speedy) five or six books a year, and overwhelm trips our procrastination switch. Why bother? Why try? I can't write books for all the ideas I why not go swimming?

So as I sit here in my cluttered office, with a desk littered with papers, not having written a word today (LOL) I wonder...maybe it's time. Maybe I should admit some ideas are outdated, just plain wrong, or something I'm no longer interested in and toss them.

Wow. I just shivered. Tossing an idea is something I've never before done.

I guess I'll have to ponder this awhile!


By the way, I'll be in New Jersey over the weekend, giving CAN THIS MANUSCRIPT be saved to the eager chapter members for their monthly meeting. This is an updated version so even if you've seen it before, it will be new!

I can't wait to see everyone!


Monday, May 3, 2010


One of the newbees on a published-author loop recently asked us what we do in our downtime. She’d been “bought” the year before and in that time had written another book and an anthology. Now she had a proposal in and she wondered what she should do. She wanted to know what we did in our downtime.

The answers from the authors on the loop were great! Two authors traveled. Seriously traveled. LOL One had planned a trip to Thailand! Now that sounds like fun.

One author wrote books and articles for other companies. Still another wrote things she didn’t think would ever get published. They were works she used to stretch her creativity and her imagination.

But most of us did promo work.

While waiting to hear from my editor one DAY, I wrote my ezine (which comes out during the months in which I have a book being released), I updated my website, wrote blogs, wrote ads for two books to be released this summer. I posted excerpts of my books and recipes on two other blogs I run in conjunction with my website, and posted replies to other peoples’ blogs! I practiced a workshop I’m giving live next weekend. Wrote a workshop. And put up 2 lessons of a workshop I’m teaching online.

I did all this while calling my doctor, finalizing my taxes, picking out new siding for my house, programming my GPS unit for a trip on Sunday to my son’s new house, paying the monthly bills, taking the online health survey for my insurance company, doing laundry and dishes, cooking, and cleaning up after the holiday.

I don’t get a lot of downtime between books. So when I get a day, even if I think that day might stretch into two or three, I have to get done absolutely everything that I can.

Lots of people gasp when they see my to-do list. Others shake their heads in awe. But the truth is most working women do this much work in a day, if not more! Especially if they have kids.

This is why I’m proud to be a romance novelist. The books we write typically end up in the hands of frazzled females, desperate for a few minutes of piece and quiet. Maybe some excitement. Maybe a little romance. I’m happy to provide it.

I understand what it’s like to be that frazzled mom. Even though my kids are grown, it wasn’t so long ago I was shuttling little ones to Little League or gymnastics.

And I’m not alone. Most authors understand what it’s like to be at the end of a very short rope.

That’s probably why so many readers love romance novels. Readers click with the books because they were written by women very much like them.

Susan Meier

Saturday, May 1, 2010