Just a little tiny note

Okay, so I know I haven’t posted in like, well, nearly forever. And this isn’t much of an update though I hope to write one soon. But I can at least post a link to some pictures of what I’ve been doing instead of writing the last few months. (That is, when I haven’t been sick which I was for over three weeks including the week I was on vacation.)

Most of you already know that we recently bought a house (here in the Silicon Valley, no less! Go us!) Here are some various picture galleries of the house as we bought it and some of the things we are doing to get settled. The last gallery (bottom row on the right) is of my office, just to tie this a tiny bit to writing.

Like I said, more soon, I hope. For now, thank you to those that have written and nudged me. I miss being here a lot but I also need this time to figure out how to do everything I have to do every day and still live a life I want to live.

The pictures can be found here:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |7 Comments

Monday, Monday

Okay, I am going to try and post more about the move and the house and such later today but for now, pop over to WordyGirls and you read my post WHEN WRITERS DON’T WRITE

Monday, March 26, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

VOYA – this is fun!

This month’s VOYA magazine is out and HUGGING THE ROCK is on their list of Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers for 2006. Between this and making the ALA notables list, I’m thinking I like 2007 a lot.

Sunday, February 4, 2007|Categories: Susan's Books|Tags: , , |24 Comments

the news that has nothing to do with writing

Okay. So some time ago I mentioned I was packing and moving and you probably thought all that had happened already. Wrong. I haven’t posted about it in all the detail until now for a couple of reasons. One, because heck, it is probably going to be boring as heck to anyone who isn’t me, two, it has nothing to do with writing (except it does because our environment affects our writing whether we want it to or not, and three, because I had to be careful what I said and when. My blog is public and I very rarely make anything friends only because I figure, if I don’t want the rest of the world to read about it, I’ve got no business putting it in my blog. So here’s the edited version…

Currently we live in a rental house. Back in the fall the property manager told us that the owners were very likely going to want to sell in the spring and she wanted to give us a heads-up about it. It was a good thing. We had been thinking about buying a place in the near future and this sort of kick-started us on the journey. She said that she figured to be able to give us 90 day notice in January. So we started looking at houses, got pre-approved, began to pack the 6,000 books, etc, etc, etc.

We looked at a ton of houses but none that we fell in love with and felt like we had to make an offer on at once. After all, we had plenty of time. (This would be where you cue up the movie music, you know, the kind that warns the viewer that something horrible is going to happen and there is no way to let the person it is going to happen to know what is coming.) Still we were getting a good idea of what was available and what it would cost to buy in areas we wanted to live in. It wasn’t that there weren’t a lot of homes for sale. There were. People were still on a selling high. But we were firm on what we were willing to spend and picky about what we were going to spend it on. We knew there would be trade offs. Right now we live in a nice neighborhood (as far as people, safety,etc) and have a huge yard (compared to Silicon Valley basic neighborhoods) But we also live 3 houses from the sound wall of the freeway and in all the time we’ve lived here, even with double-pane windows, I’ve never gotten used to the noise. We found a lot of houses that would have been fine had we the money to do a fixer upper, or if we were in our 20s and just starting out and just wanted to buy something to live in for a few years and then move again. But I’m not 20 something or 30 something (and way too close to the end of 40 something) and I didn’t want to move again. On top of that, we had books. Lots and lots of books. And we currently have a 27 foot long living room that is wall-to-wall books. Most people looking to buy have to think about what school their kids would go to. For us it was the question of where would we put the books?

Christmas came and all was well. Then we got our official notice to vacate but instead of it being a 90 day notice it was a 30 day notice. (this is where the story is severely edited….grumble grumble….we’ve been in this house for almost 3 years, perfect renters, etc, etc, etc.) They offered to sell us the house. We said no. (Money can fix everything in the house but it can’t move the freeway.) Oh, and did I mention that while all this has been going on my husband has been traveling M-F home only on the weekends?

Much of my recent stress has centered around that blankety blank notice. So we went back out looking again. Only after Christmas there wasn’t as much inventory available. 30 days turned into 25. Then 20. (Sleep? Why no, I haven’t had much of that these past few months.)

But there was this one house. We had looked at it when we first went looking and then it went off the market. But now, here in January with so little inventory, it came back on the market again. And we went back to see it again. And again. It needs work but nothing right away (okay, there is the little issue with the electrical stuff but really, almost nothing.) It’s big. (probably too big for just the two of us but we don’t care.)

We decided to make an offer and set up a meeting with our agent. An hour before the meeting the phone rings. It’s the property manager. The owners of the house we rent had changed their mind and rescinded the 30 day notice. Suddenly we didn’t have to move.

Insane. That is the only word for it. Do we stay in the rental and hope to find a better house? (Scary thing to do considering the books and all and the fact that the house was halfway packed.)  Do we make an offer and hope it is accepted? (and what do we do if people outbid us?) Do we run away to the mountains and live in a cave? (Only slightly kidding on the last one. It was the potential lack of Internet that has kept us in town.)

Knowing that the owners of the house we were living in could change their mind again at any time, we went ahead and made the offer.

So did someone else.

We countered.

And then things really got interesting (sorry, that part of the story will not be shared) but thanks to our marvelous, wonderful, fabulous agent, we won. We got the house. And in the land of crazy, where people are still paying several hundred thousands of dollars OVER the asking price, we got it at the price we were willing to pay and still slightly under the listed price. The max, but still, that’s okay. We bought a house. We close in 3 weeks and we move into it a month from Saturday.

Whew! Now I can YAHOO!!! and go back to packing up those 6,000 books.

Thursday, February 1, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |48 Comments

from old blogger to new blogger help

Okay – I know a lot of folks also maintain blogger blogs. I finally went back over to Write on Right now to try and start up my writing prompts again and it let me sign on to the old blogger but it won’t publish. Have they forced the issue now where you have to update? 

I feel like I am coming back to the land of the living again. I have a stack of boxes almost ready to go to the Post Office (if you’re someone I owe a box to, it should be heading out soon.) I’ve got most of my email caught up. I don’t think I owe anyone any money but I haven’t managed to get the dog to the vet yet.

There is still news to share, soon I hope (not writing realted but important) but in the mean time, I’m reading blogs (and evidently posting a bit too.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |3 Comments

YALSA lists are in!

Congrats to all who made the lists

Best Books

Quick Picks

Top Ten


Tuesday, January 23, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

to be a writer

If you are one of the 3 or 4 people who have not yet read Cythina Lord’s marvelous entry about getting “the call” and what it means, hop right on over there and read it now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |11 Comments


Yeah to Cynthia Lord for winning the Schneider Family Book Award !!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |5 Comments

an update of sorts

Okay…so I sorta dropped off the face of LJ for a while. Actually off the face of a whole bunch of things. So here’s a mini update with more coming as I work my way back into some sort of pattern just in time to go crazy again.

First, thank you to those who have been emailing and nudging and asking if I’m okay. The answer is yes. Better now. Much. I knew that I had been approaching a breaking point where I simply couldn’t put one more thing into my day but I didn’t realize it was going to knock me on my rear like it did. So I opted out of almost everything for a while. I couldn’t take time to explain because I knew I would just get caught up again. Then a couple of things happen that were basically the universe saying, “Hey, I’ve been trying to give you a wakeup call and you weren’t listening so WHAM!”

I know that sounds mysterious but I’m really not going to go into all the blecky details. There have been some health issues (not mine), some stress issues (mostly mine), some family and some work messes that can’t be fixed and simply have to be survived. Several people know some things but no one really knows the entire story of what has been going on and I’m not going to hash it out here, mostly because I’m all about going forward and not backward and also because most of it has nothing to do with writing and that’s what this blog is supposed to be all about. 

But I’m okay now and will slowly work my way back into what I hope will soon pass as normal. I’m sure it is all grist for the mill, right?

Sunday, January 14, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |63 Comments

Happy New Year!

I’m sure that blogs all over the blogosphere are busy posting about resolutions and reflections about our lives in 2006. So why should you think I would be any different? 🙂 Actually, my post about looking back is over here at WordyGirls. I’d love you pop over and give me your feedback.

Monday, January 1, 2007|Categories: Random|Tags: |2 Comments

Happy holidays

To all my friends (and lurkers too), I wish the very best to you and all your loved ones at the most celebrated time of you. Though I have been often silent of late, I am grateful for the friendship you have shown me and the encouragement many of you have given me for my books.

May all your holiday dreams come true.

Monday, December 25, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |7 Comments

If you have a Post Office box

you really have to check it once in a while.


Thursday, December 7, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |5 Comments

The hairyness and hairlessness of it all

Okay, so here’s a pic of the new hair. I HATE pics of me and this was as the end of the day after wandering around Santa Cruz in the wind so it doesn’t look as good as it can when it is styled. Which brings me to the one problem with it – styling. I’m dyslexic when it comes to styling hair. Sigh. That’s one reason it was so long and boring for so long. I finally cut it because it dawned on me that I had it up in a clip much of the time because it kept getting in my way. I put it in a clip to drive because it got caught in the door and the seat belt. I was tired of fighting with it. But I get up for work at 5am and I used to be able to wash it, dry the bangs and put it in a clip and go to work. 

This is NOT a wash and wear style. It looks best when curled with a big fat curling iron which means the hair has to be dry. It takes me 30 minutes to dry my hair then another 30 to curl it. I don’t have an extra hour in the morning and I sure as heck am not getting up an extra hour for my HAIR. Sigh. So do I love it? Sorta. I love that is much thicker now that it is mostly the same length. I love the way it frames my face. And when it is all curly I really love it. But I can’t figure out how to get it like that except on special occasions. I do have to wash it every day and no, I can’t wash it the night before. On top of that, holding a blow dryer and then a curling iron for so long is really hard on my bad shoulder. I’m not sure if there is any kind of a solution for any of this. And I can’t my bangs to look decent no matter what I do. The stylist put product on them and lightly curled them but when I do it it looks silly. Not loving that part of it. On the plus side a female co-worker told me I looked a lot younger and that’s always nice to hear.

Monday, December 4, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |58 Comments

driveby posting

Not a big update (and absolutely nothing to do with writing) but a big change for those of you who have met me or seen some pictures – I cut 12 inches off my hair!

There wasn’t enough of it at 12 inches in the condition that Locks of Love want so I wasn’t able to do that but this was a major change, in the midst of so many other major changes.

And of course, being as I work with engineers, none of them ever even noticed.

Sunday, December 3, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |33 Comments

odds and ends

First, a thank you to Mother Reader for this kind review of Hugging the Rock. And she tagged me for the 5 interesting things about me which I am pondering while I pack and wait for a revision letter on the Alamo book and plot the new novel. I don’t know if I can find 5 interesting things but I will try.

I am way, way behind with my blog reading and writing but I did a quick scan tonight. Most of the posts I saw were about Halloween though a few not-so-spooky ones caught my eye. In case you haven’t already seen it, the 8th Carnival of Children’s Literature has posted. Also, Nina over at Nina’s Newbery has room for one more book on her Mock Newbery discussion list. Check out her list of titles that people have suggested (posted at Powell’s ) She’s already pulled some titles from that list for her discussion but if you don’t see your favorite  now’s your chance to speak up. Every book needs a champion so now’s your chance to speak for the book you love. Also, and how cool is this, the Cybils award made the newspaper.


 Woohoo for the power of the press.

Okay. Night night for me.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |1 Comment

you know it's a bad day when . . .

You know it’s a bad day when the housekeeper calls to warn you that they “accidentally” cleaned your house and you burst into tears.

Stress level – HIGH!

     * we’re moving. It’s sudden and there’s a whole bunch of things that go into it that are out of my control.
     * the day job
     * not writing
     * school visit on Thursday and trying to prepare for that
     * not getting enough sleep

I had actually called and cancelled the housekeeper and told him we’d be back in touch for him to clean after we moved out. I should be glad for it getting cleaned one more time but really it is just more stress because the move everything around and don’t put things back where they were.

Back to printing my overheads.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

It was . . .

a wonderful night. Absolutely wonderful.

More later but there is nothing I would have done differently. Not a thing.

Color me happy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |28 Comments

Thank you, Debra & Sara

You ever wake up feeling kind of grumpy and know there isn’t really anything you can do about it? That was me this morning. And then I checked Hugging the Rock at Amazon because, yes, I am one of “those kinds” of authors and found a nice review posted by dlgarfinkle. That would have been nice enough but what was even better was that it removed from the top spot another review that while not horrible, it wasn’t the sort of review one wants on top. I had even considered posting (okay, perhaps it might have been out and out begging) people who had read the book to post something on Amazon just to move that icky one down a notch or two.

Edited to add more thanks to Sarazarr for her kind words about Hugging the Rock in a recent entry in her blog.

So thank you Debby and Sara.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Calling librarians, reviewers and others who work in children's lit

If you don’t already know about it, YA ARC is place where you can sign up to get ARCs of current YA books and some MG books sent to you and then you pass it on to the next person in your group. They went through some growing pains recently and the new set of rules can be read here.

Why am I posting this? Well there is an ARC of Hugging the Rock available here

Sunday, September 17, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |1 Comment

Winners of the "design a cover" contest! (with judges)

Congratulations to lizjonesbooks and Jose G. (age 11), the winners in the Hugging the Rock “design a cover” contest!

                  Check out the winning entries!

Both winners will receive autographed hardback copies of my JUST RELEASED book, HUGGING THE ROCK.

Yes, originally I was going to give away ARCs of the book but there were delays on the judging and posting the winners so I decided to award the brand new books. Now aren’t you sorry you didn’t enter? 🙂

Thank you to everyone who did enter and congratulations again, to the winners.

Whoops! I forgot to thank the people who helped me judge the contest, Nicole Geiger, Publisher of Tricycle Press and artist (and writer) Don Tate. Thanks Nicole and Don!

Monday, September 11, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |5 Comments

Back in the saddle again, sorta

Seems like the more I want to be regular in my updates the harder it is but here I go trying again. The finger is still broken, but healing. I get to take the splint off for part of every day and do finger therapy. Oh joy. But I am happy that I can almost make a fist with my left hand again and I mostly don’t feel like crying when I do it. So that’s progress and I’m grateful.

I feel horrid bouncing in here after a long absence of not commenting to everyone else but I don’t know how else to get back on track again except to start. Yes, this tremendous guilt is just one of the many reasons I never quite managed to keep a diary or anything like it for any length of time. But I keep trying and that has to count for something, right?

Expect bursts of short posts as my brain kicks back into gear and I remember what all I have to share. For now, well, I don’t think I posted that I had a rebus in the August issue of Highlights magazine. That issue just happened to be the BILLIONTH issue printed. Wow! I grew up with it. My kids grew up with it. And now my grandson is growing up with it. I love continuity. (And if I did already share this, well, chalk it up to an almost senior moment.)

The cover contest winners should be up this week.

I sold another ESL book to Unibooks in Korea.

I’ll be back as I remember more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |9 Comments

wanted – contest ideas

I have a couple of galleys left of Hugging the Rock and I am trying to come up with a fun contest to give them away. Anyone have any brilliant ideas?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |15 Comments

I need a hero

A LiveJournal hero that is. Can anyone tell me how to EASILY be able to customize my links list so I can add more than 50 links? I’d like to keep all my blogs here on my front page but there’s a limit of 50.


Friday, May 5, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |8 Comments

D for Done!

At 10pm last night I finished my last run through of the galley pages for Hugging the Rock. Today they are on their way back to my editor. The next time I see it, it will be a real book!

It was nice to know, as other LJers have mentioned of late, that I still love my characters, that I still feel their pain and their hope, and that I am very proud of the book. It was also nice to know that it feels done. Time to cut the apron strings and move on.

Friday, April 28, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |22 Comments

artistq tagged me

I was tagged with the letter N, write ten things the start with your letter and why they are important to you!

1. Networks – well there’s two kinds of networks and I love them both. The networks that connect all our computers are wonderful (and keep my husband gainfully employed) and the networks of friends that loop back and over and under and keep my smiling and supported are fab!

2. Novels – uh, duh.

3. Nicknacks – oh dear. I have hundreds of them. Truly. Little tiny to medium size to a few large and the plastic and the porcelain and a few wooden ones and they are all characters that are either writing or reading.

4. Night – I’m a nighttime kind of gal (which is why being at work at 6am is so painful for me.) My creative juices start rolling fast around 3pm and on into and through the night. (Which is why there are many nights that I simply don’t sleep._

5. Nature – When I am stressed or upset or depressed, we drive through the redwoods to Santa Cruz. As soon as I hit the redwoods, I can feel the tension leave my body. Ideas circulate better th

6. Nastursiums – They make me smile. Throw them in the dirt, a little water to get started and then you can pretty much ignore them. They repay you with bright blossoms all summer and deep into the fall. It was the first thing I remember growing at school, in an egg carton, and my grandmother let me plant them in the front yard where everyone could see them. I can drive by the house I grew up in and still see nastursiums there. Right night my backyard is a riot of orange with nastursiums and poppies.

7. Negotiations – The best ones of these bring contracts and money. What’s not to love?

8. Nerves – Nerves let us feel our emotions. You might have noticed I’m a wee bit of an emotional type of person. I need my nerves. 

9. Nerf balls and assorted Nerfy stuff – Because nothing else gets an engineer’s attention faster than throwing a Nerf-something at him. And because a bunch of stuffed shirts can’t stay all stuffy in a meeting when I give them Nerf toys to play with. And because I am moving cubicles next week and my boss and I will be able to have Nerf-battles from my cube to his office.

10. Nickels – I think they are an underappreciated coin. And they add up and you can buy cool stuff.

Oh dear….do I give someone an “O” because it is next? Gonna have to do it. I tag kellyrfineman 
(Sorry Kelly!)

Thursday, April 27, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments

Amazing Race HELP?

Help, someone please recap the Amazing Race for me. We forgot that with Alias back we needed to set up the old-fashioned VCR (Gotta have my One Tree Hill fix) and I don’t know what happened.

Thursday, April 27, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |14 Comments

Monday madness

Well I would love to say that I have not been posting because I have been terribly busy doing terribly important things but that’s simply not the case. I’ve been terribly busy trying to do nothing at all. (I’m not very good at that.) More about that later but for now a few shout outs.

Like hey, how cool is it that cynthialord fabulous book  RULES was a KidPost Book of the Week in The Washington Post??? And congrats to lauramc whose new book, Water Shaper, made its official debut in a lovely party dress. If you’re in the Bay Area (of California, that is) don’t forget that literaticat is throwing a party for Sarah Dessen in a couple of weeks. Read all the details over at notyourmothers – she’s even letting us grown-ups come. How great is that? And woohoo to Janni whose brand new book Secret of the Three Treasures is out now. 

I met up with KL Going (author of Fat Kids Rule the World, Liberation of Gabriel King, and the soon-to-be-released Saint Iggy) over at Myspace. She’s launched a forum board on her website and invites writers and readers of all ages to come visit and participate.

And thanks to all of you who have signed up for my newsletter, Susan Writes. Don’t forget the contest for subscribers to win a free galley copy of Hugging the Rock. The first drawing will be held this Friday, April 21st! 

Oh, and that part about trying to do nothing at all, I’m trying to learn how to relax and let my mind go and sit and smell the flowers that MUST be growing with all the rain we’ve been having. In short, I am trying to start a new book. ARgh!!!! The pain. Off to acting class.

Monday, April 17, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

has anyone used

Have you used to share miles? Did it work okay or should I be wary?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |8 Comments

know anything about Electronic Surveillance ankle bracelet?

You know, like that thing that Martha wore for house arrest?

What I wonder is if they would ever use one of those on a kid, you think?

Sunday, April 9, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |13 Comments

A PS to last night's post

Last night I wanted to share the love of some people I enjoy here on LJ. Lately I’ve been carrying a load of guilt that I am not getting around to other journals to post enough (though I do read you all as often as possible) so I figured I could at least reach out a bit in my own journal and let people know I was thinking of them. And I did. And those that posted replies here in the spirit of LJ, well I think you all understood me and that I couldn’t mention EVERYONE I KNOW.

But some people didn’t understand and boy, they let me know in other ways.

Well, heck, what can I say? I have a large friends list and I could have just as easily listed them all and said “Go read them and learn great things” because after all, I must have friended them for a reason, right? Please understand this: if I mentioned you in last night’s post it’s because, of late, you’ve been filling a particular need of MINE. If you are on my friend’s list, it is because I enjoy reading you, sharing the writing journey and the love of books with you. If I didn’t mention you, it doesn’t mean a thing. Not a thing. Okay? Thank you. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |38 Comments