Tag Archives: leap of faith

Author Susan Speaks: Unpublished



I don’t fully understand it, but here it is.

After thousands of downloads, after Amazon’s continued refusal over a span of many years to price-match, I’ve had to unpublish one of the short stories of my heart, Mannequin.


Because four years ago, Smashwords changed the requirements for the size of their covers. And the cover for Mannequin was no longer compliant.

Faced with the choice of spending money on a perma-free story that wasn’t leading to increased sales (and, despite the downloads, I don’t remember the last time I saw a review of it! See, folks? Reviews MATTER) or… doing something else, I chose the latter. I suppose I could have left it at Amazon, gone exclusive with it over there (although I don’t believe in exclusives) or taken it out of Smashwords’ premium catalog and left it at Smashwords itself, since so many of those downloads came from there. But… nope. That felt like doing something halfway, and I don’t like to do things halfway. Not when I can help it.

So I was conflicted. What to do with this little story I love so much?

Credit my teenaged daughter with a creative solution: she created an account for me over at Wattpad — yes, the domain of the young and the unpublished and the hopeful and the experimental and the fan-based — and slapped Mannequin up over there.

You can go read it.

If you have a blog, you can talk about it. Reviews matter. Reviews help drive sales. And the benefit to you? If someone reads a review you wrote and agrees, you’ve just become a tastemaker. Go, you.

I’m sad about this. Like I said: story of my heart.

But on the other hand, the girl is going to fill my shelf with stuff. She’s going to talk to cover artists she knows. She has plans for her mom, with the promise that if there’s any revenue to be made, she’ll get some. I’ll get that kid through college with only large, instead of insurmountable, debt yet!

So stay tuned. You just may see some fiction up there that you’ve never seen from me before. Like I said, the girl has plans. And I have a hard drive that’s full of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day.

Why do I have a feeling there’s a lot of revision in my near future?


Featured New Book: Sovran’s Pawn by JC Cassels


My friend JC Cassels is one cool lady. I adore her, and not just because she originally posted this over at her blog and is graciously allowing me to repost it here. It’s a long post, so we’ll wax poetic about JC another day, and you can see for yourself how truly awesome she is.

While involved in a writer’s discussion several weeks ago, the topic turned to music as inspiration for our writing. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t alone in listening to music to help me get in the mood to write certain scenes. What I found fascinating was the wide range of musical tastes and genres preferred by the different writers. Some of their choices surprised me, but knowing their books, I could see the influence the songs brought into play.

I started writing BARRON’S LAST STAND first to the soundtrack of artists like Great Big Sea, Dropkick Murphys, and Flogging Molly. SOVRAN’S PAWN was originally part of my backstory notes for what I’d planned as a stand alone novel ~ a last desperate bid at publication. From the first moments Bo Barron and Blade Devon strolled across my imagination, I’d always planned to tell their story as a series. After nearly 30 years, delays caused by personal crises and multiple rejections from agents and publishers, I was almost ready to give up. BARRON’S LAST STAND was in actuality what the title suggests.

A submission call from an editor I admire and wanted to work with came out last October. BARRON’S LAST STAND was nowhere near completion, but I had enough of the backstory written to cobble together a novella. I toyed with the idea for weeks while continuing work on BARRON’S LAST STAND. It wasn’t until a spate of family tragedies hit that I turned to the goal of completing and submitting a novella to escape my own emotional turmoil. I needed a realistic challenge to regain a sense of control over my life and my situation.

With apologies to BARRON’S LAST STAND, I set it aside and threw myself headlong into SOVRAN’S PAWN.

It was about that same time that my husband took me to St. Augustine to see one of my favorite bands in concert supporting their new CD, released six months prior. The band is Duran Duran and the CD they were supporting is ALL YOU NEED IS NOW. As the band who provided much of the soundtrack for my misspent youth, I’ve always found a measure of inspiration in their often obscure lyrics and their haunting melodies. That night was no exception. I came away from the concert as inspired as I had been the night I drove home from their STRANGE BEHAVIOUR tour back in the late 80’s.

The title track touched a responsive chord in my soul and with this CD as my soundtrack, I attacked SOVRAN’S PAWN with an optimism I hadn’t expected to find. One track on my playlist kept returning to haunt me ~ LEAVE A LIGHT ON. The song captured for me the very essence of theme of the book as well as the relationship between Bo and Blade; and I played the hell out of it. Before I knew it, my novella became a full-length novel and I completed it in record time.


ALL YOU NEED IS NOW started out without a record label as a labor of love and a leap of faith by Duran Duran. I’d followed their progress on social media and was impressed with the grassroots way they rallied their fan base. By the time the tracks hit iTunes in December 2010, they had generated enough buzz to warrant a CD release, a music video and now a concert tour they’ve been on for more than a year.

Inspired by their faith in their own project, and the fact they recorded, released and now support it on their own terms, I decided not to submit SOVRAN’S PAWN to a publisher who wouldn’t have as much at stake, nor be as emotionally invested in the project as I would be. I followed the example Duran Duran set and I’ve published independently, on my own terms. I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do so without witnessing the painstaking progress of ALL YOU NEED IS NOW.

I didn’t set out to link my book to this CD, or to Duran Duran. It just happened that way. I’m so very glad it did.

Thanks guys!

As always, apologies for not getting the graphics in… anyone want to teach me and answer some REALLY dumb questions?

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