Category Archives: Susan Speaks

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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Susan Speaks: Talking to Others

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I always tell people that when they see the Orange S on the Red Background, they know it’s me.

But sometimes, when I have given an interview or a quote and it appears on other sites, or it’s not proper to use, you can’t see the Orange S on the Red Background. And you may not know it’s me. Or you may not know to look.

I’ve got two such links for you today.

One’s from, of all places, Huggies.com — yes, the diaper people! (And yes, when my kids weren’t in cloth, they were in Huggies. Hard to believe, as I look at them now, but there it is.) The question of the day was “The Best Job in the World: Inspirational Quotes for Moms and Dads.” Click on through to see my words of inspiration.

The second one is more political, so if you’re dead set on the need to get rid of the ACA and don’t want to listen to reasons why it’s been good for people, don’t click through. This one’s on Rewire, and it talks about how the ACA has allowed me to be the amazing editor you guys know and love — and how it saved my hide during the saga of my eye. My medical totals have gone up since I gave this interview, and let how much money is involved boggle your mind. It sure boggles mine.

I’m at work on other spots to spread the gospel of Susan, such as it is. Know of anyone who’d like to host an editor? Send ’em my way.

And like always, get your manuscripts in my queue!

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Susan Speaks: An Overdue Eye Update

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People have started coming up to me, asking how things are since I haven’t updated about my eye in… eons.

There’a reason for that. Multiple reasons, actually.

First is that leading up to the third surgery, I was a total basket case. It was either going to be a perfect operation, the sort of thing you write textbooks about. A walk in the park.

Or.

It was going to be an absolute disaster that would turn into an emergency and would necessitate a fourth surgery the Monday after Christmas. We even had my original surgeon standing by, just in case.

The original surgeon actually walked me from pre-op to right outside the operating room the cataract guy used. The cataract guy was standing outside, waiting, when the original surgeon and I arrived.

I have never felt more cared for.

Now, it didn’t go totally smoothly. I was all wrapped up, the anesthesiologist had started to do her thing, the staff was great about telling me exactly what they were doing, I was having a great conversation with the surgeon and his chief resident (who was only introduced to me by his first name and as the surgeon’s assistant, and who I don’t recall ever actually seeing because he stood at my head) about the size of the cataract — it was bigger than they’d anticipated — and the microscope, which was really cool. I was kinda fascinated by it, to be honest.

It looked nothing like I’d expected.

It was WAY cooler. But not blue.

I don’t think.

And then… the staff forgot to tell me they were bringing something toward my face, I had a flashback to a certain pink-taped handlebar and… next thing I remember was being wheeled out of the ER and into recovery and the surgeon walking out behind me and giving a whoop, a fist pump, and yelling, “That went GREAT!”

Thank you, Tony the Tiger.

But he was right. The filaments in my eye, which we’d been so worried had been wrecked by the impact, had survived, entirely intact. The entire cataract surgery had taken five minutes.

Five.

Five minutes.

And then the surgeon and his chief resident spent ten minutes cleaning up some of the inside of my eye. They weren’t entirely successful, since they didn’t want to risk ripping anything, which would have sent the whole thing south, so they proved my original surgeon’s maxim: Everyone talks about how good a surgeon’s hands are, but they forget that what makes a truly brilliant surgeon is the exercise of good judgement and knowing when to stop.

Christmas Eve morning, I woke up and… I could see better than I had in almost a year.

Now, things still aren’t perfect. They need to finish cleaning up that spot on my eye, and they’ll need to use another laser to do it. I’m already fascinated by how this works.

And… it seems my close vision is what it is. Any correction we’ve tried with it has only made it worse. So I’m pretty much going through life now with a left contact lens and a bionic, Frankenstein right eye. I have a pair of glasses that make my distance vision crystal clear, but… at the sacrifice of my close-up vision. And they make my face feel funny, too, which is a really weird sensation. It’s like it’s melting.

Does this mean I’m disabled? My original surgeon says he doesn’t believe you’re ever disabled. He also doesn’t believe in concussions, but when I went to the concussion doc at the end of January, he used my own metrics to be pretty convincing: when I first saw him in August, my memory was in the 16th percentile. On January 31, it was in the 93rd.

But I can work. And I have been, pretty steadily, although of course I’ve got room in my roster for more. I’m starting to rebuild what I lost over the past year, bringing in new subcontractors so that we as a collective can turn out more of the quality work you’ve all come to associate with the West of Mars name. A bigger and better editing service is at your command.

Yet the question remains about how much I can see. And the answer is that it’s hard to answer. Yes, I can easily work. No, I can’t thread a needle, but that’s okay because I am less than domestic to begin with. I have trouble finding new places in the dark, even with a GPS or nav system–but I can read street signs. But I can see a Frisbee fly. And I can see the road in front of my bike. Can’t shop at my local Trader Joe’s, and florescent lighting is my worst enemy.

I may look into getting a funky pair of glasses that I can slip on without having to take out my contact, something so that I have that crystal clear(ish) vision when I go to the movies, to the theater, maybe to watch my beloved Thunderbirds. I’m not sure yet. I want that fourth surgery, with the laser, before I make any decisions.

But I’m here. And I can see you. Best of all, as I’ve been able to do all along, I can see my clients’ manuscripts.

So to those clients who stayed with me, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

And for those who didn’t stay by me over the past year… well, I hope you find someone as good as the editor you walked away from.

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Susan’s Promo Tales: For you Paranormal, Time Travel, and Ghost authors (and readers)

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(A little reminder never hurts)

So. There’s a call for authors of time travel, paranormal, and ghost stories over at Wise Words Book Bloggers (aka, Louise Wise’s blog).

I’m still seeing a fair number of these subjects cross my desk, so if you’ve written one, here’s some free promo for you! Free is always good, especially if you’ve gotten active and donated your promo budget to worthwhile causes of late.

And if you’re a READER, a lover of ghost, paranormal, or time traveller stories, what are you waiting for? Add Wise Words to your feed reader, to your e-mail, however you like to read your favorite blogs, and find yourself some good new reads!

Don’t forget… reviews help authors more than words can say (pun intended). If you need help with a review, holler! I’ll fix you up, although, sadly, not for free. I do have a mortgage to pay!

And, of course, there’s free promo for you here at West of Mars. The Featured New Book Spotlight (and remember: it only has to be new to my readers) and Lines of Distinction.

Advocacy and #Resist is important. But so is taking time for self-care and escapism. Do it through a book!

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Susan Speaks: It’s Simple, but Oh, so True

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Thanks to Ramona DeFelice Long for the amazing graphic.

And for you authors out there, remember that now that I’m healthy(ish) again, the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction are yours. Use them. They’re free, they’re simple, they’re easy.

Don’t merely spread the word about your book. Remind the world why reading matters.

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Susan Speaks: Meditate Your Writing into a New Place

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This showed up in my inbox, and I thought I’d pass it along.

Here’s the thing: I love Madhu Wangu. If you haven’t read her fiction yet, what are you waiting for? I totally love her works, and I suspect if you like smart, woman-first fiction, you will, too.

But Madhu doesn’t just write. Oh, no! She’s way more versatile than that. She leads a local writer’s group at a restaurant near me. Why don’t I go, you ask? I wish I could! But it’s a many-hours-long enterprise and my clients, all of whom I love dearly, keep me busy enough that I can’t go routinely, and the meditation work is the sort of stuff that you need to do consistently in order to make progress. Plus, not being there consistently would lead to disruptions when I do put in an appearance, and who wants that? While the attention is nice, it’s the wrong time for the spotlight to be on me.

I wish I could go because I believe strongly in Madhu’s meditation guidance. Her practitioners say it makes them better writers, and they are certainly all — well, the ones I know — lovely people with amazing things to say. They have learned to find the stillness they need for their fiction in walks in the woods, in walks down city streets, at home at their desks… wherever they need to. And like most people with important things to say, Madhu wants to reach more writers — or even people looking to enhance their focus, their creativity, their… anything! — by producing a new CD with material that can be downloaded and accessed whenever you like. Perfect for people like me, who can’t be there in person.

Things like professional recordings cost money, though, so Madhu’s put up a Go Fund Me page. I know… there are a million Go Fund Me accounts, and all of them are for good causes, so why is this one different?

Because it benefits YOU. Need some help to stop screaming like a harpy at your kids? Trying to find the inner strength to do something new and difficult? This would work! And Madhu’s voice — I say this because I’ve met her in person — is hypnotic in the good, soothing way. I’d listen to her before some random YouTube person leading a meditation. Maybe that’s because I’ve met her and know how warm and caring she is.

Can you tell I’m a fan girl? Total and utterly.

Please. Take a new direction for your writing and/or your life. Even five bucks will help, and best of all, that’ll leave you money to get the CD when the recording is done and polished and ready to be listened to and absorbed. This is one of those Go Fund Me campaigns that will give directly back to you.

As Madhu says at the end of her Go Fund Me Page, “Thank you so much for helping me bring these meditations to the people who want focus, inner-depth, productivity and connectedness into their creative life.”

(and before you ask, nope, Madhu hasn’t paid me off to be her ad campaign. I’m doing this because I adore her and want good things for a really good person. Who can argue with that?)

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Susan’s Promo Tales: Got an Opp for You!

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Got a book you’re promoting? Looking for somewhere to do it?

Not only do I offer two options — and they’re free (unless you want to reserve your date) — but my buddy Susan Leigh Noble is booking for her 2017 spots.

Go on over. Check out what Susan’s doing. Drop her a line (yes, in that order!)

And, of course, send me your graphic teasers or your answer to the one-question interview. I miss hearing what you guys have to say, so look for more of these to pop up in 2017.

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