Category Archives: Susan Speaks

Still In Need of Promotion?

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Books do tell our stories! Not only should we support the NEA and NEH, but we should support each other, as well! Let me do that by sharing promotion opportunities with you.

Featured New Book.

Lines of Distinction.

Two easy promotion methods that I offer here at West of Mars — why aren’t more of you using them?

If you have, or if they are too hard for you (really? All you graphic teaser people?), here’s another promotional opportunity for you. It’s over at Wise Words Book Blogger, where Louise Wise is looking for current affairs articles written by your protagonist.

Seriously.

And seriously fun, no? Especially if you have a protag who doesn’t share your worldview. Stretching yourself to understand how your character would view something happening in the news right now is a great way to get to know not only your character, but to gain a better look at the world, as well.

We’re always told to write what we know, but sometimes, the demands of fiction don’t allow us to do that. This is a great opportunity to learn new things, stretch your writerly wings, explore a bit — and get some eyeballs on your project(s), too.

Go for it. Tell Louise I sent you — and be sure to drop me the link when it runs!

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Call for Submissions: Hot Holiday Reads

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Here’s an anthology I was invited to join. Not quite a call for submissions, but it’s an anthology! And they could have hated my story and sent it back, but it’s one of my favorite from the Trevolution. Grab a copy if you haven’t already.

Today’s call for submissions is for you romance writers and man, I wish I had something to submit. The deadline to submit is November 10, so if you’ve got something that needs a final polish, go for it. Otherwise, start on something for next year! (I am NOT kidding!)

The source is Fuse Literary — yes, a literary agency! — but don’t expect to back door your way in, and don’t disqualify yourself if you are already repped (but, of course, DO let your agent know what you’re up to, as they have a vested interest in your career). This is an anthology Fuse puts out annually, and the money from it goes to charity.

If you’re picked to contribute, you’ll get $10, which can be turned over to the charity, wink wink nudge nudge.

Here’s more about what they’re looking for:

The theme is winter-holiday romance. This can be any holiday in winter, any romance sub-genre, any heat level, any orientation, any fetish, etc. All are welcome, and diversity is encouraged.

Stories of all lengths will be considered, but this is not the place to submit a full-length novel.

We’re signing non-exclusive rights, so you’re free to publish your story elsewhere (let us know if your story has been published before).

As always, there’s no submission fee.

If your story is accepted, you will receive a single payment of $10, which you can choose to have donated directly to the Lung Cancer Alliance.

If you have any questions, leave a comment here so everyone can benefit.

For the record, this is the fourth time they’ve done this, so they’re old hands at by now (one would imagine). Submit your best!

And, since logic says they’ll go for the nice round Number Five (don’t ask how five is round; it is my brain), if you don’t have anything, start planning for next year. At worst, you’ll get a chance to write and push yourself and grow a little bit as a writer. And how is that possibly the worst that can happen?

Here’s the link to submit again.

As always, if you make the cut, let us know so we can brag about you and post links when the anthology goes live. Best part of the day when we get to do that!

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Another Source for Promotion!

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Speaking of promotion, here’s a freebie for my friend JJ Hensley. Pick up his latest, why don’t you?

I love my clients, and I absolutely adore being an editor. I get up every morning, eager to see who’s dumped what in my inbox, and what’s happening in my current edit-in-progress. I am one of the luckiest people ever, because I get to work with great writers on great projects.

But having great projects that turn into great books doesn’t mean anything if readers don’t ever hear about them. That’s why I offer the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction.

It’s also why I like to share your success stories, and also to let you know of calls for submissions… and for promotional opportunities. Like this one.

The POTL: All Things Books, Reading and Publishing blog is accepting Wednesday Book Spotlight submissions from now until the end of the year. All you have to do is email NN Light your name and book title, and they will take it from there.

It’s first come, first served, of course. But it’s promotion, and who doesn’t need promotion?

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Call for Submissions: Women on Writing

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Pink Snowbunnies
I’m totally going to have to have a graphic made for these calls for submissions. Wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, this is the cover for an anthology that I submitted to — and made the cut. Seems fitting to include it here.

WOW-Women on Writing hosts a twice-yearly contest and call for submissions for both flash fiction (word count between 250 and 750; open topic) and creative non-fiction.

There IS a $10 entry fee, but they are clear about where the money goes (yay for transparency!) — and they are only accepting the first 300 entries. That sounds like a lot until you stop and consider that entries are open to writers worldwide and we all know I’m not the only one spreading the word about this contest!

Yes, it’s a contest. Did you miss the other times I mentioned that? Winner gets the entry fees — and more!

BUT there’s a few extra twists happening here. One is that for double the entry fee, you can get a critique back on your piece (once the contest ends, obviously. Right? Wasn’t that obvious?) — and having been a judge in a contest that asks for critiques, I’ve heard from the entrants that the critique is really nice to have in your hands. (THAT was some weird discussion, as I couldn’t out myself as a judge!)

The rules for non-fiction are a bit different, so go check them out at the WOW-Women on Writing site.

And, of course, be sure to read ALL the rules. There’s a downloadable file, so be sure to download, open, and READ IT. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by skipping that step (why am I giving myself the stink eye?)

Enter away! Once they hit the max number of entries, the buttons will be disabled, but as I’m typing this, they are live, so go have some fun!

As always, if you make the cut at any stage or wind up the winner, be sure to let us know so we can all cheer you on. And remember: you can totally do a Featured New Book Spotlight for published short pieces, as well!

Good luck, and here’s that link again.

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Tip O’ the Iceberg

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It kinda boggles me that I have to say this, but… here goes.

Vague, bombastic comments are a hallmark of our current Narcissist in Chief. He loves them.

But guess what?

They’re a form of narcissistic abuse.

Once again, I’m faced with the difficulties imposed by narcissistic abuse. It’s sneaky. Pernicious. Insidious. (Not sure of the difference? See what Merriam-Webster has to say!)

And it’s hard to remember that not everyone has learned to spot it so easily.

So. Let me break this one (and all the other vague statements) down.

These sorts of vague statements are a tease, a way to keep you coming back for more. How often do your local TV news broadcasts tease you like this? “Did that really happen? Find out at five!”

And, of course, anyone my age or older remembers Who Shot JR?

This is one of the reasons this form of abuse is so effective: we’re used to it. Acclimated to it, accustomed to it. We almost don’t think about it.

But we should. And we need to.

Because a narcissist uses this sort of vague tease to control you. To keep you sitting at his feet, salivating and anxious for the next tidbit that he’s going to dole out… whenever he sees fit to. Which could be soon, or it could be later, or it could be never because most likely, there was never anything to wait for. No iceberg, and no tip of it. At least the news media delivers on that promise to tell the story during the 5 p.m. newscast. After a looooooong summer of wondering, the world found out who shot JR.

A narcissist, though, won’t give you the answers. For one thing, he’ll tell you that you’re not worthy of being answered… but he will never admit that the second he feels he’s losing you, you are suddenly worthy. That’s when he will set his hook, cast his bait, and you’re caught up in his cycle once again.

Truth be told, he’s not interested in satisfying you; he’s interested in keeping you close, your attention fixed on him. He’s oh, so very vested in watching his victims run in circles, trying to figure out what he’s talking about. That confusion you feel, that need to know, to be seen, to be acknowledged. It feeds his need. He’s got you, his captive audience, and it’s sooo good. All that attention, hanging on his every word. He never has to explain himself, instead using a word here, another tease there, and he’ll watch his minions spin off into emotional reactions that allow all reason to fly out the window. They’ll continue to sit at his feet and salivate, and they’ll always be at the ready to do his bidding… because they’re always waiting for a satisfaction that never comes.

This, friends, is abuse via control. It’s a deliberate manipulation of your attention, your choices, your focus, your thoughts. It’s a constant keeping you on tenterhooks, constantly keeping you craving his attention, his favoritism. He’ll take you to the point where you don’t know what’s real and what’s not, where you are so utterly dependent on him that you couldn’t identify which way was up if you lay on your back on the ground and stare at the sky.

Don’t fall for it.

When the Narcissist in Chief makes these kinds of statements — and let’s face it, if he did it on Facebook, we’d all accuse him of vaguebooking and be angry with him — ignore them for the gaslighting and abuse they are. Don’t reply to him, don’t use his name.

But do call out the behavior. Do teach others what to look for, how to recognize the abuse for what it is. Talk amongst yourselves, not to him.

It’ll drive him crazy and make him escalate, sure. But it’ll also drive him to make mistakes — and that’s when we’ll all begin to really see the winning happen.

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Susan Speaks: I’m Standing Right Here

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Another in an intermittent series dissecting what something looks like, but in reality isn’t.

Last week, there was a lot of talk online. Seems the Narcissist in Chief made a comment about how his wife was sad she wasn’t present.

Except… she was standing right beside him.

Most people wrote it off as dementia. It’s an easy enough excuse. It’s handy. It seems to make sense — and it’s the default explanation used by many, so it’s also the most comfortable reasoning. Dementia! Surely that’s it!

But those of us who’ve experienced this garbage firsthand, we know better. It’s not dementia. It’s not a mistake made by a garbled old man.

Oh, hell no. It was a quite deliberately aimed comment. And while the rest of the world was writing it off to the first, easiest, most popular reason, the target herself knew what was going on: She was being told, point-blank and in front of millions, that she didn’t count. That she wasn’t wanted there, that her presence offended, that she should have stayed home. She had erred in some way, and maybe she knew what that way was and maybe she didn’t, but it didn’t matter. The message was sent. And I promise you, the message was received.

If I had to guess, I’d say someone is jealous that his wife — who he recently introduced as “the star of the … family” — is better liked than he is.

And he can’t have that. Narcissists never can, even though spouses and children are generally viewed as nothing more than extensions of themselves, there only to serve the purpose of making the narcissist look good.

But there’s also a war within the narcissist happening here: No one can get more attention and love than I can. And they love you, which makes me look good.

A narcissist can’t understand that it’s okay if the object that’s supposed to make him look good is more popular.

And so he lashes out. He refuses to acknowledge her existence, her presence.

And that, my friends, is abuse.

The world witnessed a man abusing his wife. And very few people can even recognize it for what it is, let alone speak up about it.

Let’s change that.

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Susan Speaks: More Interviews!

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The cover of Trevor’s Song, because that novel is as personal as this post. If you’ve read it, please leave a review! If you haven’t, grab a copy at your favorite retailer.

I don’t usually get this personal when I give interviews. I don’t like to, and I often skip them. I encourage all authors to draw their own boundaries about what they will and won’t talk about, and I encourage their/our hosts to allow them/us to do so.

But something compelled me in this media query. Maybe it’s my own need to finally share with the world my real perspectives and my real truths, things I’ve kept hidden from all of you but increasingly not to myself. Maybe I’m making up for fifteen years of hiding.

Or maybe I just feel comfortable talking about it at last. Certainly, my truth may be another’s lifeline, salvation, or help. Hell, maybe it’ll inspire some fiction, and that’s the best compliment an editor like me can get.

The article is up at Reader’s Digest. I’ll let you click through and read it, not because it’s too horrible and personal to talk about but because a reporter did some good work and you should check it out and give her props for it. Fiction ain’t the only kind of writing I love and respect (it’s just my preferred type of writing to work on), and I encourage you to seek out good writing and good reporting wherever you can.

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Clicky Clicky!

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Yes, that’s an invitation.

My new site design went live just now — well, last night most likely — and I’m showing it off.

There are, of course and as always, some bugs to work out. I know some links are broken. It might even be more than some.

BUT, to celebrate and to invite you to look things over, I’m making you an offer, one I hope you won’t refuse:

Either 50 pages edited for free

OR

$50 off your edit

IF you find the most typos on the site.

Now, the blog archives are HUGE. They go back almost eleven and a half years. So I don’t expect you to wade through all of them (especially because that’s where the most broken links are). But if you want to, there’s a lot of work in the past eleven and a half years that I’m proud of. A lot of fiction, even, if you are thinking of hiring me or never really paid attention to my writing chops because you’re so focused on my editing skills.

Those of you who know me well know that despite the prickly exterior, I’m generous and a softie at heart. Which means that maybe there are going to be more than zero free or discounted edits offered around here. I’m not promising anything because it depends on how generous a mood I find myself in, but…

That’s the offer.

Either 50 pages edited free or $50 off your whole thing.

You choose.

Have fun checking out the new site.

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Another Promo Opportunity for Authors!

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Seems like a good time to remind us all that many of our fellow authors rely on grants from the NEA and NEH to help pay the bills.

In addition to Lines of Distinction and the Featured New Book Spotlight, both of which always have openings for authors of all ilk, I’ve got news today of a site that loves to post author interviews. And they make it super easy!

The site is called The Book Squirrel. Know going in, my friends, that they consider themselves to be family-friendly, so that means:

I will not feature erotica, violence, or covers that are erotic/look like porn.

Got that? I expect you to honor that.

Seriously.

After that, though, things are pretty easy. There’s a choice of questions and you answer up to ten of them, then submit. Provide the buy links for your book and your social links and voila. Interview completed.

It’s easy, and I’m all about easy, so I encourage you guys to take the time and answer the questions.

As always, remember to tell your reader base where to go in order to visit the site and see your answers for themselves. And if you’re so inclined to add The Book Squirrel to your reader and discover new stuff, well, I highly encourage that, too! Remember that to be part of the community, you have to act like part of the community.

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Call for Submissions: Short Stories

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This is an anthology I’m featured it. It was unjuried and authors were invited to submit. But still! It’s a publication credit, and don’t discount those.

I have some very dear friends in publishing, and because they are dear friends, I’m always happy to share news of what they are up to. This one, however, I almost didn’t talk about, simply because I don’t want to expand the pool of submissions and make it that much harder for myself to make the cut. See how much faith I have in you guys?

But then my sense of fairness kicked in and if it’s good for me, you know it’s good for you. So here you go.

Running Wild Press has put out a call for submissions for a new short story anthology. This will be their second, so you’ll be getting in on the ground floor of something pretty special. Or maybe not the ground floor, but the first floor, right? Because it’s the second anthology and the first was the ground floor…

Yeah, yeah. You’re not here for a close-up look into the demented world of Susan’s brain (but it’s such a good editorial brain!). You’re here for the deets and the links.

I don’t know much else. There’s no talk of payment, so I’d expect that’s not something that should motivate you to submit or not.

What there is talk of is genre. And here’s what they say about that:

Genre agnostic. Great writing and great stories that cross genres.

Now, to me, that’s pretty contradictory. Are we agnostic, or do we want to cross? One or the other, please! Or… as I ultimately decided, maybe they just want really good fiction and won’t care if it’s agnostic or if the story’s been colored outside the lines.

Oh, and a 15,000 word limit, too, so you have plenty of room to have fun and play.

Submit via Submittable before September 15.

Good luck, and if you make the cut, be sure to let me know so we can all cheer you on!

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Call for Submissions!

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So I like bringing you guys opportunities to further your writing and/or your careers — because the world deserves the best writing we (yes, me included in that) can offer.

Except that by telling you about them, unless it’s my own site, I can’t really endorse them. I mean, most of what I bring to you is stuff I come across, not opportunities for promotion or calls for submissions that I have personal experience with. Which means you should always, always vet an opportunity carefully, even though I’ve already looked things over and decided that hey, they look pretty solid.

Today’s entry fits that category: I looked ’em over but have no personal experience with them.

Crystal Lake Publishing will be opening their submissions on October 1 of this year. I know! That’s a month and a half away, so why am I telling you about it now?

So you can write something, silly. Pull out something you’d set aside and polish it up. Whatever it is you have to do.

They ARE looking for haunting stories. Not necessarily ghosts, but something that’ll stick with the reader. And yes, they want it dark-themed (but no, although the anthology will be called Tales from the Lake, they aren’t looking for stories with lakes).

So that’s the bare bones, no pun intended. I’ll let you go over to Crystal Lake Publishing and read their call for submissions. You’re big people and you’re professional writers. You can do some of the leg work yourself.

Have fun. Let me know if you need a set of eyeballs on your piece before you submit it, and definitely let me know if you’re accepted.

Now, go rule the world with your literary stylings. That’s an order.

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Susan’s Decoder Ring: “On Many Sides”

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For better or for worse, there’s something about me that’s Edward Cullen glitter to narcissists. They love the challenge I pose, and they always approach me knowing I can see straight through them. That gives me a lot of power over them.

But now with a Commander in Narcissism at the helm and influencing more than just real estate, it’s time to teach you guys how to use the Magic Decoder Ring that all of us who’ve survived narcissistic abuse learn to create.

Let’s start with the speech the other day. The one that was carefully scripted — until the end. And if you watch carefully, you can see when the decision to add “on many sides” is made. You can see the smug face that no narcissist can hide after they’ve lobbed one they know will be successful.

But here’s the thing about those three words: The fact that they pissed off half of America, if not all of it and if not a good cross-section of the world, was a bonus. A calculated and deliberate bonus, sure, and here’s why:

It was very clear that our NPD’s handlers had been very clear about the importance that he read the statement, only the statement, and nothing but the statement. What makes it clear? The fact that it happened.

But right there at the end, just as everyone relaxed — hey, he did it! He listened! He behaved! — he slipped those three words in. Frustrated hands flew in the air. Disgust crossed faces. Handlers and advisors turned on each other, screaming, pointing fingers and flinging blame that you couldn’t control him and Eff you, I did everything I could! No one can control that bastard!

I’ve witnessed these scenes. They’re not pretty.

And the narcissist loves them. Feeds on them, even.

Because the narcissist has no conscience. There’s no distinction between positive attention and negative attention. So all the NPD processes is, “Look at that reaction! I really riled them up and I’d only do that if they loved me.”

And don’t forget the bonus: “While they’re going on about how great my speech was, no one will pay attention while I do this over here. It’s okay that it’s illegal. They love me! They won’t mind. Besides, look at them. They don’t care what I do.”

That’s the easy part. The part any psychologist can tell you.

Now, listen up to the deeper part. This is the part the survivor can tell you.

That’s the message that was sent to the speechwriter: MY contribution was the best. The part I added? Got the biggest reaction. And because mine was better, yours sucked. It was inadequate. You are nothing next to me.

Logic says if the NPD isn’t happy with the speech that was written, the speechwriter would be fired.

But… this is narcissism. And one of the best things a narcissist does is play with the victim’s emotions. Which means not only will that speechwriter stay around, but his/her inability to write a speech as good as the NPD’s is something that will be held over his/her head… forever.

Why put up with it?

Because at the same time is the challenge: top me. C’mon. I know you can. I hired you because of how good you are. You are the exact person I need. (But really. I’m the best. Not you. Me.)

It’s a sick cycle that victim and NPD engage in. It’s blood to the vampiric NPD, so they’re not going to end it. The victim has to stand up and leave the relationship.

I know. You think all this is a stretch.

But stay with me. I’ll keep outlining the message of narcissistic abuse as they happen or are revealed. You’ll learn to see the pattern. You’ll learn to see how the gaslighting works, how the abuse happens. Narcissistic abuse is the most insidious of all forms of abuse, but it’s time to step out of the shadows and show you how it works. How to defuse it, and how to identify it so you can save yourself from being its victim.

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Susan’s Promo Tales: Two Opportunities for Authors!

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The cover to my friend Sharon Cathcart’s fun novelette. Pick it up! (That’s an affiliate link)

Not only are there openings for the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction that I’d LOVE to fill (hint!), but once again, my buddy and name-sharing author friend Susan Leigh Noble is looking to feature authors, herself. She’s looking for excerpts, guest blog posts, and interviews. She likes to post these on Fridays, whereas the Featured New Book Spotlight runs on Mondays and Lines of Distinction runs any day I have an opening — but Susan will hold certain Tuesdays for blog tours, cover reveals, and publication announcements.

So there you have it. Two Susans, both offering our author buddies (existing and brand new) promo opportunities.

How can you go wrong?

Go here to learn more about what Susan’s got for you.
And once more for the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction.

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Susan Speaks: The July-August Crush

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The cover for the anthology in which Pink Snowbunnies in Hell appears because August is the month it was chosen for inclusion.

No one’s been able to explain it, but historically, July, August, and September are my busiest months of the year. My theory has to do with vacations, wanting to get the book done so you can not worry about it while you’re gone, but September?

At any rate, I’m so swamped right now that authors are clamoring for me, the $75 rush fee that I charge when you want to skip to the head of the line has kicked in, and more than one client is paying it. That has me working crazy hours and too many days a week.

And I love every second of it. My clients are sending me truly strong, well-written manuscripts that make the hours fly and consistently have me looking up and wondering where the day has gone. So much for that bike ride I’d promised myself! That’s got to happen after dinner — which the kids make because I’m in here, working.

Of course, all of this is a great way to say that right now, I’m being crushed with work. And that I love it. And to keep it coming. I can maybe kinda sorta see the end of the queue, and to be honest, I do like it when I can see a longer stack of manuscripts waiting for me. Job security. You know how it is.

I have a million things to talk about, and I’m keeping careful notes and drafts that I’m not fully satisfied with. Just for now, keep sending your manuscripts. Keep telling your friends about me.

And, of course, submit more for The Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction. In amid my crush is the simple pleasure of taking a few minutes to schedule a post highlighting some of the great books being written and published of late.

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Susan Speaks: Feed the Beasts!

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June was, editorially, a slow month. For some reason I have yet to figure out, June ALWAYS is a slow month in terms of editing work.

But it gave me plenty of time to do other stuff — although not everything on my To Do list got started, let alone finished! — and one of those other things was making the media rounds. I hope you’re having as much fun with it as I am, because now I present to you some tips on feeding teens, compliments of US News and World Report.

It’s now mid-July and the summertime slam has begun, so this is probably it for a while, in terms of press. I’ve got manuscripts stacked up in the queue, which is a very very good thing. Keep that happening, keep sending in your own hard-crafted works, and keep referring me to your friends and colleagues. I’ll even take a few enemies, too, so long as they are mentally stable.

At the end of the day, I’m an editor and I love what I do. But it’s fun to fill the gaps with a little bit of press, even if it’s not press that’s directly about books and editing. That’ll come.

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Reopening the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction!

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Even though the site redesign isn’t finished, I’ve been able to get into the broken control panel long enough and consistently enough now that I’m willing to go for it and reopen my promotional offerings to my author friends — old, new, and just-made.

Here’s the word about the Featured New Book Spotlight. One question! How hard can it be? (Apparently, pretty hard.)

And here’s the word about Lines of Distinction, for you guys who like to make graphic teasers and/or who’d just like to spotlight their books ’cause you’ve written a book worth spotlighting.

Remember: Read the pages. Follow the directions. They are easy.

Spread the word. A new book only needs to be new to my audience, you know what I’m saying here?

So stop in. Come by often. Tell your friends.

Let’s get more attention for you guys. In an increasingly crowded market, you guys deserve it. And did I mention it’s free?

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Susan Speaks: A Personal Note

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Despite having blogged pretty extensively about my eye injury, I think of myself as a pretty private person. I don’t talk much about my kids, for example, although clearly it’s my kid who introduced me to my new love for Ultimate Frisbee. So you guys know I have kids. They exist, mostly offline. My daughter is more of a social media person than my son, who’d be perfectly happy to never hear anyone say, “But you NEED a Facebook page!”

But every now and then, I talk about my kids. Like here. In the New York Times.

Yes, the New York Times.

They asked, so I answered, and here you go. What my young people — I can’t call them small anymore, since they’re both taller than me — are up to this summer.

You, ahh, might want to refer me around as the freelance editor par exellence that I am. These activities ain’t cheap, and college is on a lot of minds around here!

(And, as always, join the conversation by letting us all know what your kids are up this summer. Do I really need to tell you that?)

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Susan Speaks: And we’re back?

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So. It actually happened more in the middle of the A to Z challenge, but I woke up one day, went to check my blog dashboard and… it was missing.

So I got a hold of my awesome web designer and she… didn’t have good news. The site, she said, was broken. Beyond repair.

I’d been putting off a redesign (yes, the white on black is going to be history!) and… well, I couldn’t put it off anymore.

If you’re on a reader, you’d need to click through to see that nope, the new design isn’t done yet. What had been the end of May/early June has been pushed back to July. But what I’ve seen so far has been really slick. Jen lives near me; we’ve had dinner as part of some Pittsburgh groups before, and… she’s nailing the design. It marries a new, slick professionalism with the fonts, the colors that are quintessential West of Mars. And like I said, no more white font on black backgrounds. Even I found that hard to read, and now with the eye? Ugh. I’ll be glad to see that go.

Now, after being told that the site was broken beyond repair and use, imagine my surprise when I came to visit my dashboard the other day out of morbid curiosity (I think I needed something to be pissed about, since the things I’m currently pissed about aren’t things I can change), and… yes! There it was! My dashboard was back!

I don’t know how long it’ll be here, so I’ll try to take advantage when I can. And yes, I’ll have a party when the new design goes live and offer celebratory editing rates or something. I don’t know. Too early to make those decisions, and I’m still pissed about those things I can’t change, and well, my website isn’t the only thing in my life undergoing a facelift right now.

The A to Z posts that never got posted have been saved for next year’s A to Z Challenge. There were only three of them, and I already have a bunch of topics listed. I also have a whole slew of posts that I need to write and post…

Right now, it’s about those facelifts, those things I’m pissed about, and thankfully the constant influx of work that’s been keeping me busy and driving the business to some good, profitable places. I might be able to afford these facelifts!

Keep my editing queue full, and I’ll check in here more often between now and the new site design’s launch date. Worst comes to worst, I won’t be able to post anything. But given that I’ve managed to get in here a couple times now, I expect… hit or miss. And for a site that’s supposed to be broken beyond anything, I’ll take it.

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Susan’s Promo Tales: Read an E-Book Week Features The Trevolution

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It’s March, and that means one thing: Time for Read an E-Book Week at Smashwords!

If you read e-books but don’t already have an account at Smashwords, what are you waiting for? They truly offer the best royalty rate around, which helps authors immensely. Yes, you can download to your Kindle, folks! For us authors, they distribute our books to retailers and libraries for us. I’ve used them as long as I’ve been publishing, and we’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary mark for that.

Those of you who haven’t read my Trevolution books yet, grab them. Read them. Realize how old they are, and cut me a break. I’ve learned a lot since then, as a writer, as an editor, and as a person. Life is, after all, a journey. Books are moments on that timeline, which is what makes them fun when you know the author well.

Yes, I’m working on new stuff. No, I don’t know when they’ll be out; hopefully soon. My accident knocked me off schedule (go figure!) and even after all this time, my stamina’s not quite back yet. So for now, enjoy the old stuff — I usually manage a couple hundred downloads every year, and I’m hoping this year won’t be any different. Why should it be? If you’ve read the books, help spread the word!

Finally, remember that the best way to say thanks for a free read is to write a review. Heck, the way to say thanks to an author for any book you read is to write a review. It can be as simple as “I liked this because…” or “I didn’t like…” — negative reviews are helpful and good things, believe it or not!

If you are struggling to write a review, do your best and drop me a line. For a whopping $5 — yes, five bucks! — I’ll help you master the art of the review and create something that helps make you, the reader, look good. (Remember that a couple years ago, I was working as a pro book reviewer, so you’re in good hands.)

So go. Download, read, and enjoy. And holler if you need help.

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Susan’s Promo Tales: The #AtoZChallenge

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You know you’re up for this one!

(Okay, I’ve been scheduling posts for a couple weeks now, so I’ve got one or two up on you… but that doesn’t mean this challenge is insurmountable!)

I first became aware of the A to Z Challenge a couple of years ago. I kept vowing to team up with Jett and do it over at The Rock of Pages “next year,” and then 2016 was going to be our year. We were going to take the plunge.

And then I took a plunge of another kind.

So now that it’s 2017 and I’m picking up the pieces that got left behind in a pool of eye goop (charming, huh? I’ll fess up: there was no pool of eye goop. I’m taking an author’s liberties), and the A to Z Challenge is one of them. Only… I’m going to do it over here, not at The Rock of Pages. Jett is busy and I’d rather put the time in here. I’ve been absent for too long.

Here’s how the challenge works: You blog about something starting with a certain letter of the alphabet every day during April, usually taking Sundays off. Because of the way the calendar worked this year, there’s a Sunday or two that you have to blog on, but… that’s what the scheduling feature is for!

You can read the rest of the details over here, at the post announcing this year’s challenge.

This is a great way to widen your circle of networking contacts, make new friends, and push yourself to accomplish something new. Come join me during April. It’s going to be a lot of fun — and if not, hopefully thought-provoking.

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